Hei walked along the streets of the Zhu Clan’s residence, getting closer to the ascension hall.
At some point, a wave of terrified people rushed past him.
He continued walking, and a while later, he saw someone running, holding their arm which was bending in unusual ways.
He stopped him.
With the news that Auntie Yimin and Xiaoli were breaking through to the minute realm, everyone momentarily forgot about the two people who invaded their clan.
“You have to stop Yimin! She’s-”
Hei took out a bottle of healing pills and held them out to the man, who responded with a confused expression.
“For your arm.”
“Ah. Many thanks. But you need to hurry.”
Hei proceeded on his way, behind him he heard the man pleading with him not to harm Auntie Yimin.
When he reached the ascension hall, he saw a young lady surrounded by ten people. One of them, he had met not too long ago.
“Activate the formations!”
She felt something pressing down on her, restricting her movements, of which she wasn’t making any. Why the provocation?
“Stop this Yimin!”
But she hadn’t done anything. Why couldn’t they see that she was trying so hard not to hurt them? Why did they ignore the repelling force she was sending out?
“Mm. We’re all family here, Yimin. There’s no need to be so upset.”
Upset? She wasn’t upset. She was-
“Auntie Yimin. You need to stop! You’re going to destroy the clan!”
Stop. Stop! It was always stop! Why couldn’t she be like everyone else? Why was she the one who always had to stop?
She tried so hard to wait for the one she could go all out against, She knew he would come. But they didn’t understand. Instead, they provoked her even further.
She couldn’t hold herself back any more.
Her foot lifted itself and landed one step away, sinking into the ground.
The ten people surrounding her were thrown off balance by a wave of earth which spread out from the impact area.
Her fist landed on someone’s abdomen, she wasn’t sure whose, but she quickly felt the weight leave her hand.
There were now nine people remaining.
She felt two instances of resistance against her legs. Both only lasted a moment.
There were now seven people remaining.
She held her hand out and clenched it into a fist, before spinning herself around, her leg extended. She felt more resistance this time. Around five times as much as before, maybe six.
There was now only one person remaining.
She turned to that one and hesitated for a moment before the wind rushed against her body and her fist launched itself towards his face.
“Come, Auntie Yimin. Let us fight to our hearts’ content.”
Her fist stopped just in front of that person’s face. He fell to the ground, but she didn’t pay attention to that.
She turned to the source of the words she had heard, tears streaming down her face.
He had come.
He had come and he didn’t tell her to stop. No, he wanted to do battle.
“Can I really?”
He gestured for her to approach.
She wasted no time in planting her foot firmly on the ground and using the force generated by her leg to lunge forward, sending a fist at his abdomen.
He caught the fist and was forced a few steps back.
“Is that all you have, Auntie Yimin? Just this much isn’t enough to wake me from sleep.”
He said this, but he was shaking his hand after letting go of her fist as if it were in pain.
“Are you okay?”
“It’s too soon for you to be worried about me. Come!”
This time, he made a move, mirroring her own.
She caught his fist as he did to hers and felt the weight behind it. She was also forced a few steps back, her feet sinking into the ground.
As she held his fist in her hand and felt the reverberations as he pushed her, she couldn’t help smiling.
It had been a long time since she had felt the thrill of the fight.
“You talk a lot, but that wasn’t much. Perhaps you aren’t as strong as they say you are.”
She felt an impulse in her hand, and her fingers were forced away from his fist.
Immediately afterword, he placed his palm on her stomach and she felt another impulse, sending her back a few metres.
As her feet sank into the ground, she turned her head up to look at her opponent. Her eyes were shining brightly with battle lust.
She didn’t say any more words, only launching herself head first at this worthy opponent.
Xiaoli had just finished her lightning tribulation and was feeling great. She wanted to bask in the praises of the clan elders and witness Jing’er’s jealous face as she strutted around.
The fact that she had received a lot of external assistance would remain a secret, of course.
She pushed open the doors to the ascension hall, revelling in the words of praise from the elders within it and stepped out with her arms outstretched.
She waited for the adoring sounds of her fellow clansmen with eyes closed, but all she could hear was the muffled sounds of collisions.
Confused, she opened her eyes, and what she saw when she did, was a ground cracked all over and a few elders struggling to get up.
Jing’er was also there, seated on the ground, looking up to the sky.
Xiaoli walked over to him.
“Jing’er. What happened here?”
“Oh, Xiaoli. Congratulations.”
Xiaoli didn’t quite get the response she was looking for. Jing’er didn’t seem to be jealous at all and was quite distracted in his response.
After speaking to her, he turned his gaze back to the sky.
Xiaoli did the same.
“Hm? Whose that fighting with the masked one? She’s dressed so indecently…”
She didn’t quite like what she saw. That woman… She was doing a little too much, wasn’t she? And why had she never seen her before? Was she another intruder?
“That… It’s Auntie Yimin…”
“Auntie Yimin?! But…”
“… Y- No! Why is she so young-looking?”
“She did break through to the minute realm, you know?”
“But does it do that much? She… She looks better than I do…”
Xiaoli clicked her tongue and slapped the back of Jing’er’s head.
“She looks better than your fiancee too!”
“In what world?”
“Never mind that. Does this mean Auntie Yimin’s lost control again? I should go help.”
“There’s no need.”
“What do you mean?”
“Look at her face.”
Xiaoli did just that, and she saw a bright smile on Auntie Yimin’s face as she and the masked one clashed in the skies.
“She’s so happy.”
“Mm. I’ve never seen her like that. Even when your parents come back from vacation.”
“I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that.”
Auntie Yimin flew forward and sent out a sweeping kick to Hei’s abdomen, which he avoided by manoeuvring backwards using Point Impact.
“How do you move like that in the air? It’s so sharp.”
Auntie Yimin was slightly jealous. This must have been attained after much practice. She couldn’t make such sharp and jagged movements as he could.
“This method is very inefficient. I’m not a minute realm cultivator so I have to use other ways to stay airborne. That’s why my movements aren’t as smooth as yours.”
“You’re not in the minute realm? Are you serious?”
Auntie Yimin did a front flip and sent a kick down, which Hei blocked using both of his forearms.
Hei separated his arms and sent Auntie Yimin back a little.
“It is only because of my affinity with natural qi that this is a feasible method. Otherwise, my qi reserves would have been exhausted long ago. You, on the other hand, have only just broken through to the minute realm, and yet you’re already able to perform at this level. Perhaps this is what it is to be a battle genius.”
Hei moved behind her and sent his own kick down to her shoulder.
She caught his leg.
“Flattery won’t make me go easy on you.”
She swung Hei over her head and threw him down to the ground, then chased after his falling body.
Right before impacting the ground, he moved back. Auntie Yimin wasn’t able to change her course in time, so she ended up slamming into the ground with her feet.
As the ground rippled under her feet, she held her hand out and clenched it into a fist, reversing the ripples and pulling Hei towards her.
He went with the flow and increased his speed as he approached her and they collided with their hands clasped together as they entered a power struggle.
Auntie Yimin could feel rapid pulses coming from his arms, and he could feel a heavy weight coming from hers.
“Which aspects of the earth element have you focused on?”
“Heaviness and attraction.”
Hei tried to make a joke.
“Then I suppose it’s a good thing the chairs were sturdy.”
“… Haha. Very funny.”
“No good, huh?”
“Not at all.”
Hei sighed. He really didn’t seem to be good at humour.
Auntie Yimin thought she heard a more serious tone to his voice, though it pretty much sounded the same as always.
“What’s the matter? Tired already? I’ve only just gotten warmed up.”
“That’s not it.”
“Then what is it?”
“Why do you dress like that?”
Auntie Yimin raised her brows and a smile crept up from her lips.
“What? Are you having difficulty focusing? You can’t fight to your fullest?”
“Don’t get me wrong. I’ll take you down regardless.”
“Oho. Those are big words when you haven’t had the advantage thus far.”
Auntie Yimin exerted more force through her legs and started to push Hei back.
“I just wanted to know. You weren’t dressed like this earlier, and truthfully speaking, it is quite distracting. I’m not quite sure where to look or where to strike either. It makes things slightly more difficult.”
Hei returned the favour by using Point Impact to propel himself forward, entering a stalemate with Auntie Yimin.
“Sigh. It’s a long story.”
“I have a few spare minutes.”
“So… Are they done, or…?”
“Done? Don’t you feel the energy they’re putting out?”
“But they seem to be having a conversation. Why are they being secretive though?”
“Don’t ask me.”
Xiaoli and Jing’er watched the proceedings.
At this point, a few more people had gathered and were watching the standoff.
They were all relieved to see Auntie Yimin in a calm state.
The elder who’s arm was broken had already returned and distributed the healing pills Hei gave him to the others. Fortunately, their injuries weren’t too grievous.
“Yimin seems to have regained her senses.”
“Mm. I’ve never seen this before.”
Two of the elders were discussing when a third one approached.
“I have. She was like this when we were little. She loved sparring matches more than anyone. But she would always take it too far.”
“That’s right. I remember sparring against her once. She didn’t allow surrender.”
Some of the elders who had played with Auntie Yimin when they were younger felt cold chills down their spines as they remembered the look she would get in her eyes when her opponents tried to admit defeat.
Now, it seemed she had met her match. Someone who wasn’t too strong that she wouldn’t dare to face them, but also wasn’t someone she could easily defeat.
Jing’er turned to Xiaoli.
“How did you reach the minute realm, Xiaoli?”
“Hm? Ah… This… I… had a fortunate encounter.”
“It was him, wasn’t it?”
Xiaoli pouted. Now that she thought about it, anyone would come to the same conclusion.
“Then it seems I’ll have to ask for help as well.”
Jing’er sighed as he looked at one of the people who had driven his father to his death.
He had heard all about the events of the day when he exited the library, and after combining it with the message his father left him, he knew that things couldn’t be left alone.
However, he didn’t have enough strength to face his responsibilities at this time. He could only seek assistance.
Xiaoli looked at Jing’er, who seemed to have accepted things for what they were. She was relieved that he didn’t seem to hate the masked one, otherwise, things could become very sticky.
Then she heard his surprised exclamation.
“Eh? Did he make Auntie Yimin change her clothes?”
Xiaoli looked back to the two who were now standing a metre apart. She saw a veil of mist dissipate, revealing an Auntie Yimin in more appropriate dress.
“It’s a good thing. Old ladies shouldn’t go around dressed like that.”
After saying this, Xiaoli could have sworn that she felt a fierce spiritual perception focus on her. So much so, that it sent a cold chill down her spine.
She straightened her back and spoke loudly and clearly.
“Of course, young and vibrant ladies such as Auntie Yimin should feel free to display their gifts. It is I who am too embarrassed by my own lacking physique, which is why I choose to dress modestly. It goes without saying that a beauty of Auntie Yimin’s calibre would be comfortable no matter how she dressed.”