Ling Tian shook his head as he sighed.
The disciples inside an aristocratic family ultimately were not people of the martial world! They would always use their own opinion and thinking in evaluating others. Indeed, the information restriction on the Ling Family was seamless. However, during the grand ceremony of the Ling Family previously, there was no slip-up, which meant that the plan of Above Heavens in scheming against Sky Bearing had completely failed. No news was leaked out, but to have the Second Master Xiao able to return safely after the grand ceremony, what did this mean?
If Ling Tian's hypothesis was right, most likely the Xiao Family was actually within the palms of the Above Heavens Sect. Once they were to move, the first matter would be to completely kill all of them!
If they really planned to wait for the Above Heavens Sect to make a move, most likely, the hegemon that was the Xiao Family would no longer exist…
The ruthlessness of those in the martial world was not something these greenhouse plants from the aristocratic families could understand or accept!
The Above Heavens Sect was definitely aware that when they reached the end of the road, once they confirmed that the Xiao Family had betrayed them, if they did not resort to a life or death struggle, would they still be termed as the Above Heavens Sect?
The Above Heavens Sect Leader, Meng FanYun stood with his hands behind his back at the main hall, his head raised as he stared at the portrait of the founding ancestor of the Above Heavens Sect without moving. Behind him, lining in two rows along the hall were dozens of men clad in green robes, all completely still without letting out a single sound.
Starting from this morning, Meng FanYun had felt a mysterious sense of irritation as well as anxiety in his heart. He could not put a finger to this feeling, which left him feeling terrible. It seemed like his chronic disease was about to flare up once again…
Forcibly suppressing his anxiousness, he stood calmly, as though prepared for everything possible. However, only he knew that the left hand within his robes had been covered in a layer of cold sweat for some time.
"Is everyone prepared?" Meng FanYun lowly intoned.
"Everything has been done according to instructions. The entire household of the Xiao Family has a total of 360 people, which have already been concentrated within three courtyards. There are a total of 300 death warriors standing guard on the outside, together with our own experts. However, once our plans go awry, this subordinate dares guarantee that these people's heads will roll at the first command!"
"Good, keep it low profile and don't let them find out. After all, this is only conjecture, but if needed… they might still be of use in the future."
"Reporting to Sect Master, Junior Sister Xiao YouHan has arrived." A youth respectfully spoke at this time. He was precisely the youth that was sent to escort Xiao YouHan back.
"Let her in!" Meng FanYun raised his brow slightly at the news but did not turn around, instead commanding in a deep voice. For the six of them to die was well within their expectations. It would be odd if they could come back alive after such a commotion was created! Xiao YouHan's ident.i.ty as part of the Xiao Family definitely acted as a protective talisman for her, and this was one of the reasons why Meng FanYun had selected her for this trip.
"Yes!" Following this came the sound of scattered footsteps, as Xiao YouHan walked into the main hall step by step.
Meng FanYun's heart grew even more anxious, the ominous feeling within his heart growing ever stronger. However, he still remained perfectly still, scrutinizing and counting the breaths taken by Xiao YouHan to curb his inner frustrations. He leisurely replied, "Youhan, your breaths are uneven, just what exactly happened? For the operation in Sky Bearing this time, what was the result?"
Xiao YouHan shook and raised her head up.
"This time, the operation to Sky Bearing, Elder and the rest..." Xiao YouHan followed the instructions of relating the falsified version and narrated it to the rest.
"A complete wipe-out?" Meng FanYun's brows jumped, and he coldly smiled. However, his back still faced her as he said, "Then how did you manage to return? Even Elder Fan Lang was unable to avoid death, so how could you have the ability to escape?!"
"According to Elder Lang's instructions, I did not partic.i.p.ate in the action this time. Furthermore, they mentioned that they did not wish to make things difficult for me." Xiao YouHan calmly replied.
"Not make things difficult… that's right, they naturally would not trouble you." Meng FanYun serenely interjected, his tone pa.s.sive without any joy or anger. "Right now, your Xiao Family should be at an even closer relationship with the Ling Family than before, right?"
Xiao YouHan heart skipped a beat, and she immediately replied, "Why would Sect Master say such words? The Ling Family s.n.a.t.c.hed my family's mountain pa.s.s, killed 10,000 of my family's troops, and even kidnapped my Second Uncle. This hatred will not allow us to share the same sky! How could there even be a way to coexist?"
Meng FanYun slowly turned around at this time, sizing up Xiao YouHan. "I merely talked about your two families being closer in relationships, when did I say that you both have mended your relations? For you to explain in such a panicky tone, what is the meaning behind it? Are you trying to cover up something?!"
Xiao YouHan was stunned into silence. It was only after a long period of time did she finally sadly mutter, "If Grand Teacher does not wish to believe in this disciple's report, then this disciple also has nothing to say. Ever since I received the favor of Grand Teacher, I obtained the opportunity to enter the Above Heavens Sect and cultivate all kinds of profound martial arts. The grace bestowed upon me is as high as the heavens and as deep and the earth, so how could I even have the thoughts of betrayal? The sect and the family are like fish and water, intertwined harmoniously with each other. Disciple here has always been happy about this in her heart, but now that Sect Master is suspicious of this disciple. In order to prove my innocence, I, Xiao YouHan, am willing to commit suicide in front of Sect Master!" As she spoke, her sword was pulled out of the sheath in lightning-quick speed, the point reversed as it stabbed viciously towards her chest!
She was unaware of when Ling Tian's plan would begin, but she knew that the only thing she could do now was to stall for time as much as possible. For every second she could delay, it might mean more of her clansmen being saved. Right now, given the large degree of suspicion Meng FanYun had towards her, with the s.p.a.ce between his eyebrows exuding killing intent, there was a high chance his next words would be to send an order to wipe out the Xiao Family!
As such, Xiao YouHan decided to innovate, using retreat as a form of advance, betting her life in this strike!
If Meng FanYun stepped out to stop her, disallowing her from committing suicide, this would go to show that his suspicions were not too heavy, at least not to the point of being non-negotiable. Naturally, this would mean that there was a chance to continue dragging it out. However, if he was unwilling to step in, then by actually committing suicide, including the previous words she spoke, even Meng FanYun would seriously reconsider his suspicions. Whichever the case, it would result in some extra time bought over.
However, for her act of committing suicide, every single fiber of her being was irrevocably committed to it! In front of this old fox that was Meng FanYun, if one wished to pretend and attempt to scam him, it was akin to seeking death!
Thus, Xiao YouHan's sword was quick as lightning, carrying with it sounds of air tearing as it stabbed straight at her chest!
A sorrowful smile hung on her mouth as she thought, Coffin board, this is goodbye! I'll never see you again! I can never compete with you as to whose face is colder. However, if my death can save the entire Xiao Family, then it is truly worth it! This is what I should do as a daughter of the Xiao Family! It's just that… I feel it is hard to part with you!
These thoughts flashed past her mind like shooting stars and lightning arcs.
Her movements were akin to a rabbit jumping up or a falcon swooping down, a feast for the eyes. And at this moment, even Ling Jian who was hidden outside the Sect on a tree was unable to come to her rescue despite his peerless movement techniques!
With a 'shua' the sword stabbed into her chest. Xiao YouHan felt a piercing pain, accompanied by a wave of chilling coldness, as though a frozen needle had pierced into her.
This, is this the feeling of death? Xiao YouHan mused to herself, before suddenly realizing the strangeness of the situation. Why can I still think clearly? And even have consciousness? She could not help but open her eyes.
In front of her, two wizened fingers gently held onto the blade of Xiao YouHan's sword as though it was effortless. The sword stab powered by Xiao YouHan's full strength had actually only managed to pierce her own skin, without going in any further!
Meng FanYun held onto the sword blade with his two fingers as he coldly looked at her. After a while, he loosened his fingers, and the sword made out of steel essence actually shattered into pieces!
Meng FanYun finally smiled as he spoke, "You silly la.s.s, always so stubborn! To actually go through on your words right after speaking them, without any hesitation! For these sorts of things, we can always talk it out, why do you need to use your life to prove anything?"
Since he was not certain at this moment if the Xiao Family had leaned towards the Ling Family, Xiao YouHan must not die! After all, she was a descendant of the Xiao Family, and if the news spread about her returning and dying immediately after, he would have no way to explain the situation! This was the reason why Meng FanYun took action in the end, and not because he pitied her, nor was it because of the relationship between teacher and disciple.
"Many thanks for the trust Sect Master has shown, to save YouHan's little life." Xiao YouHan also felt herself breaking out in cold sweat. She also experienced some form of otherworldly experience, that living could actually be so good, that she would have the chance to see him…. once again.
Meng FanYun's face broke into a smile, rea.s.suring her with a few words, before dismissing her with a wave of his hand.
Gazing at her silhouette leaving, Meng FanYun suddenly felt as though something was wrong, but could not pinpoint the problem. However, Xiao YouHan indeed used her full strength in attempting suicide previously, without any pretense. Was he getting too suspicious? Just as he was pondering the matter, he felt a rush of anxiety well up from his heart, causing him to violently gasp for breath. His eyes immediately turned a scarlet red!
In the end, it has still come! This chronic illness has been flaring up the last few days, and while I've been trying to suppress it, the aftereffects get worse each time. To think that it still could not be controlled after all!
The heavy panting, bringing with it an aura of violence, as well as the disorderly aura made Xiao YouHan, who had just reached the door to turn her head back.
This turn of her head let Xiao YouHan witness an unbelievable scenario!
Under the bright lights of the lanterns, a piece of sky seemed to distort, forming into a shadow. The shadow sped through more than a hundred feet in an instant like a specter, appearing in front of Meng FanYun!
This action was quick to the extreme, and had already surpa.s.sed the boundaries of what the martial world termed as 'movement technique'. Even with such a long distance to cross, the lit candles within the main hall never once moved!
This person's movements could actually not give rise to any disturbance in the surrounding air!
A pitch black sword, akin to a curse delivered by the Devil, seemed to materialize from the illusory realm, appearing directly in front of Meng FanYun's throat!
The tyranny of this sword could be described as mountain shattering and heaven splitting, fast to the point that the sword blade actually did not reflect the light from its surroundings.
While it was soundless and sightless, it's might could shake heaven and earth!
Up to this point, the sword and its owner appeared as unmoving as mountains, as profound as the sea. Even for such a life reaping blow, there was still no killing intent leaked out!
Meng FanYun went berserk! Facing such imminent death, it was as though he had sunk into a nightmare. His mind still remained crystal clear, but his body had long stopped listening to his instructions.
Facing such a world-shaking sword, a sense of powerlessness welled up from his heart. It was not merely just being unable to avoid, he also had the feeling that he should not avoid such a sword! By the time he snapped out of his reverie, the sword had already reached his throat.
With the threat of death looming before him, he utilized all his strength to twist his body to the side, almost snapping his neck in the process. However, he finally avoided the grisly ending of having the sword pierce through his neck! As the sword shot past his neck with a 'shua' sound, it brought with it a blast of ice-cold air, causing gooseb.u.mps to form on his skin.
Meng FanYun toppled onto the floor, before borrowing this force to shoot out towards the door. Escape!
The shadow flashed, and an icy-cold light shone as the pitch black sword pursued unceasingly, like a maggot burrowing into the bone. Meng FanYun performed his movement technique seven times consecutively, but could not avoid the sword in the end. With a sickening 'puchi', the sword stabbed into his shoulder, its impetus akin to a bolt of lightning!
Even though the sword had stabbed in, there was no blood to be seen. Meng FanYun madly used the force to escape another 70 feet away! In contrast, the man in black robes retrieved his sword, but did not chase. Instead, he kept the sword, although his sense continued to lock onto the retreating Meng FanYun. He stood there coldly, not speaking a single word.
There was only hiding, escaping, but no retaliation!
Facing a sword stab of such power, even though he was the Sect Master of Above Heavens, he could only avoid the attack. He could not, nor was he prepared to counterattack!
At this moment, his wound finally burst out in a spray of blood! His arm sagged down powerlessly. While the sword wound was small, Meng FanYun's heart was totally cold at this point!
It was a sort of feeling as though a hero had been driven to his wit's end!
While the sword did not dig deep, it had managed to sever his tendons and ligaments in that instant. From the stab wound, a sharp sword energy was also wreaking havoc in his surroundings, making him feel as though his entire arm was being split apart, no longer his own! How could this be? The sword was initially aimed to his neck, and having swerved to avoid it, he would have thrown the accuracy of the wielder off. So how could the sword still so accurately pierce his tendons, how was this even possible?
Only now did the people from the main hall react! A hubbub of noise resounded from within.
Meng FanYun revolved his inner energy, sealing up his own left arm. He then turned to face the black-robed man, hatefully spitting out, "Master of the First Pavilion?"
In that instant, Meng FanYun had already identified the person. To possess such movement techniques, sword skills, and arts of a.s.sa.s.sination, and to even be able to face a Sect Master of the three great hidden sects, a grandmaster of martial arts, with such an outcome!
Other than the First Pavilion's Master, whose reputation had spread far and wide, n.o.body else was capable of this!
"It is I! Sect Master of Above Heavens, you indeed have good eyesight!" The person in question coldly smiled.
The a.s.sa.s.sin was indeed Ling Jian!
While he was still dressed in customary black robes, his bearing was akin to a drawn sword, exuding a life-reaping killing intent. In his hand, the sword he carried even had a droplet of blood congregating on the sword point before it dripped onto the ground with a faint 'pa' sound.
At this moment, a ripping sound resounded through the main hall. This was the sonic boom caused by the frightening speed previously reached by the sword! It sounded as though a hurricane had torn through the place.
The candles within the entire main hall extinguished simultaneously.
In the darkness, the silhouette of that masked man in black seemed to resemble a devil that had just touched down on the mortal world, looking in disdain at everyone else. The dozens of people inside the hall did not dare to move under his gaze!
As for Xiao YouHan who was standing by the doors, she felt her heart jolt, as she stared dumbfounded at the scene!