Everyone was left speechless. What kind of situation was this?
Did Fang Long not know who he was talking to?
Some of the audience broke into discussion.
“Ah. This Fang Long is so stupid. Didn’t he hear what happened to Fang Lian?”
“That’s right. If it were as he described, the childish sages would have already been punished.”
“But it looks like he is willing to use force.”
“Force against the childish sages? That’s suicide!”
The audience couldn’t believe their ears. Not only did the childish sages have a profound understanding of cultivation, but they also weren’t afraid to toss elders out on their backsides.
How would a mere junior, even one of the Dual Polarities, hold any weight before them?
“Looks like he was tricked by Fang Lian. He likely doesn’t know the situation.”
“That’s right. Since he has been in seclusion, he may not know their status.”
Even Hei was kind of surprised at this. He turned around and spoke to his siblings. Instead of solving the problem, he wanted to use this situation as a case study.
“Mm. This is what we would call a fodder character. He exists just to be an idiot and get in the main character’s way. A tragic fellow.”
“What about the other two? What’s their role here?”
“That’s what I don’t know. I haven’t seen cases where a main character goes on a face reclaiming expedition. Especially for someone else. And Fang Lian probably wants Ji Dian to prove himself to her or something stupid like that.”
“Is this part of the problems you described would come with impressing a senior sister?”
Tianlan made some parallels to Hei’s previous description.
“Now you’re getting it. This is exactly that kind of thing. Think about it. There is no logical reason for Ji Dian to be here. The only thing it could encourage is a conflict with us. It was the same when she came to the ‘office’. She brought Ji Dian as backup.”
“Because their relationship is still shallow?”
“That would be my assumption. Fang Lian’s face isn’t too important to Ji Dian at this time, which puts him in a weird place of having to follow her around but having no reason to act.”
Bai stepped in.
“So, by your reasoning, Ji Dian won’t participate in whatever this is?”
“That’s right. It will probably be Fang Long alone who acts. Even Fang Lian herself probably won’t actually do anything-“
As he was speaking, Hei heard a shout from behind him.
“You are wasting my time. Are you going to apologise or not?”
It was Fang Long.
Hei turned to Fang Long and then turned back to his siblings.
“You see this? He is practically begging to be dealt with. But we don’t want to do that.”
“It’s a trap.”
“Mm. It could trigger all sorts of side quests. We beat him this time, then some elder gets mad and looks to us for an apology. We obviously won’t apologise, so that gets blown up. Then it will be ‘Matriarch. Are you going to side with these outsiders or with your own clan?’ Then the matriarch is in a tight spot, making it harder to take her in. The Fang Clan would become split into factions, those who have received our help like Sister Ren and those who fear us like the elders. In the end, we’ll probably have to either get rid of the Fang Clan which doesn’t do anything for us at all, or we could stop interactions with them. But if we do that, they will think that we are enemies waiting to strike and everything goes to poop.”
Tianlan and Bai were surprised at Hei’s deductions.
“Do you think it would be worth it?”
Hei asked his siblings. To be honest, either way, things would work out for them in the end, it was just an awful lot of trouble that could be avoided.
“I guess not…”
Bai added on.
“So, what should we do?”
Hei smiled in response.
“Nothing. We’ll go see the matriarch.”
After saying this, Hei turned back to Fang Long and started walking toward him.
Bai and Tianlan followed behind.
Seeing this, Fang Long spoke.
“What are you trying to do?”
The three didn’t respond and continued walking at a leisurely pace.
As they approached, the audience became agitated.
“Are they going to fight?”
“This is crazy. The childish sages in action!”
“Someone go tell the elders. This can’t end well.”
“Eh? You go tell them. I’m not missing this.”
Fang Long also became tense. He didn’t expect a fight to break out just like that, but since he had just broken through to the internalisation realm, he was itching to test his strength.
“Do you think I’m afraid of you? Come!”
Fang Long stepped forward and flame engulfed his fist.
After seeing the three continue on their stroll, he ran forward and launched a fist directly at Hei’s face.
As the flames were about to come into contact with Hei’s skin, he suddenly disappeared.
Fang Long was startled.
He quickly looked to the left and right and found that Bai and Tianlan had also disappeared.
He turned back to the audience, ready to ask what had happened when he saw that right behind him, the three were continuing their stroll, as if he hadn’t launched an attack at all but instead had politely gotten out of their way to let them pass.
Fang Long was flabbergasted and he wasn’t the only one.
The audience broke into discussion.
“Did you see that? That was insane!”
“See it? I didn’t see anything. The childish sages have been walking at the same pace the whole time.”
“But Fang Long seemed to pass through them. Was he using some intimidation tactic?”
“Passed through? Your spiritual perception is off. It’s obvious that the childish sages dodged and returned to their position, making it look like the attack passed through.”
“But it was so fast. How did they do that?”
Fang Long became furious. It was obvious that they were trying to embarrass him.
He rushed forward and launched consecutive attacks. Each of them seemingly passing through the childish sages, not disturbing their pace in the slightest.
As they were walking, Hei was talking to his siblings using his branded Qi.
This was another application of the externalisation realm. By creating vibrations, the sound could be created right beside the recipient’s ear, preventing others from being able to hear it easily.
Hei and Bai were already working on an encryption system so that messages wouldn’t be overheard by others.
Hei was also thinking of creating a long-distance form of communication, but he didn’t know how to solve the problem of locating the recipient.
“If we do it this way, the only one who can become angry is Fang Long. There is no reason for anyone else to get involved. Little Bai, step left half a meter, then lean forward 12 degrees.”
While relaying information, Hei was also directing his siblings in avoiding Fang Long’s attacks. This was necessary because they lacked spiritual perception and were vulnerable to attacks from behind.
“Now, my only question is, when will he give up? Tianlan, dodge.”
Tianlan was not very pleased with Hei’s vague warnings. Bai got very direct instructions, but Hei would always tell him ‘dodge’.
The three continued to walk until they neared the audience.
They started to part, creating a path which the three could walk through.
“These are the childish sages… Unbelievable.”
“Mm. I wonder how old they really are.”
“Im going to guess around 30. That seems about right.”
“The only question is, why do they walk around looking like children? And what’s up with Sage Hei’s skin? Did he choose the colour because of his name?”
Hei heard this last comment and almost responded.
The three continued to walk, passing through the path created by the audience, and Fang Long was growing more and more furious.
He pulled out a sword and started slashing at the three.
The audience started losing respect for him.
“Ah. Can’t he just give up? What is he trying to prove?”
“This is the Dual Polarities? Pathetic.”
“That’s right. Just a few sessions with the childish sages and even I’ll be able to handle the Dual Polarities.”
“Isn’t that the truth? I actually managed to break through to the internalisation realm a little while ago, thanks to the childish sages. Who’s to say I’m any weaker than Fang Long? The only difference is, he’s younger than me.”
“You aren’t the only one. I also managed to break through to the internalisation realm thanks to the childish sages.”
Several juniors in the audience who had a session with the three were sharing their gains.
After a while, Fang Lian could feel that this was a mistake. With Fang Long being unable to handle the situation, she was only dragging her own face through the mud.
She could hear that the audience was starting to look down on the Dual Polarities, which had always been a coveted title in the Fang Clan.
The only thing she could think to do was to get an elder to settle the matter.
While Fang Lian was gone, Fang Long continued his attack.
He was relentlessly launching attack after attack at the three, all seemingly passing through.
The three’s walking was never interrupted.
Hei continued in his one-way communication.
“This is what happens when one is too confident in oneself. He is unable to stop, even though he knows that his actions are fruitless. Take this to heart.”
Eventually, Fang Lian returned with an elder.
When the elder saw what was happening, his eyes opened wide.
“STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING AT ONCE!”
He shouted these words with authority.
Fang Long heard them and stopped his attack.
The three also stopped walking and turned around.
Hei saw the elder.
Thinking that Hei was now afraid, Fang Long proceeded to explain the situation.
“It’s good that you’re here Elder. These three have been disrespectful to Fang Lian and by extension the matriarch, and the Fang Clan as a whole. I came here to have them publicly apologise.”
The elder looked at the three and when he saw Hei’s smiling face, he felt a terrible fear deep in his heart.
When Fang Lian had described the situation, she had said some children were causing her offence. She never said it was the childish sages. If she had, he would never have involved himself.
It had been a long time, but he still remembered what the consequences of offending him were.
Fang Lian had her arms crossed and a triumphant bearing, thinking things were resolved.
To her surprise, the elder unleashed his Qi and wrapped it around her.
She saw Fang Long flying towards them before the elder placed a hand on each of Fang Long’s and Fang Lian’s heads and brought them to the ground in a kneeling position.
“Forgive these foolish children. They don’t know what they’re doing.”
The audience was shocked. The elder was apologising on their behalf? Did this mean that the childish sages were more important than the Dual Polarities?
“Even the elders must show respect to the childish sages. It was just stupid to confront them.”
“It seems the Dual Polarities couldn’t see how high the sky was.”
“Ah. I feel bad for them. They will probably never get a session with the childish sages after this.”
“They only have themselves to blame.”
Fang Lian was still in shock. she couldn’t understand what was happening.
“What are you doing, Elder? Do you believe I won’t tell my mother about this?”
The elder ignored Fang Lian. It was much better to offend the matriarch than it was to offend the childish sages. At least the matriarch was family and wouldn’t go too far.
The childish sages, on the other hand, were loose cannons. He held absolutely no value to them, so he could be extinguished without any thought.
Seeing this, Hei spoke.
“Don’t worry about it. Children behave foolishly sometimes. It is a part of youth.”
He turned back around and resumed his walking.
Because he decided to make a mockery of Fang Long, he had gone in the opposite direction to the matriarch’s residence, which meant that they would have to walk a further distance to get there, but it was part of the image, so it couldn’t be helped.
The audience had a renewed respect for the childish sages.
“They are so magnanimous. It’s obvious that they could demand more.”
“Mm. To the childish sages, this was just a leaf passing in the wind.”
Hearing that Hei wasn’t too bothered, the elder breathed a sigh of relief and promptly left the place. He didn’t feel comfortable being here.
A while later, the three arrived at the matriarch’s residence.
They spoke to the doorman who immediately led them to the reception room. It seemed that he had already been instructed on what to do should the three show up.
They were seated on a couch facing a throne.
Shortly after, the matriarch walked in. Fang Lian was behind her.
The matriarch sat, and Fang Lian stood beside her.
Hei didn’t expect Fang Lian to be here.
The matriarch could feel the awkward atmosphere between her daughter and the three.
“Cough. It seems that there had been a misunderstanding.”
The matriarch was embarrassed to say these words. She knew full well how her daughter was, and how that wouldn’t mix well with Hei at all, but she tried to smooth things over because she knew what her daughter had to gain.
“There is no misunderstanding, miss matriarch. Your daughter is-“
Bai stepped in.
“We feel that Fang Lian has no need for our assistance. She will do just fine on her own.”
Bai knew that Hei was going to say something offensive, so she jumped in and spoke for him.
The matriarch sighed. By Bai’s words, she realised that it was too late. It was especially a shame because she wouldn’t be able to match Tianlan with her daughter.
“So, what brings you here? Could it be that you have completed your work?”
“That’s exactly the case.”
Hei pulled out a stack of papers and passed it over to the matriarch.
“Small warning though. Using this method will remove your null element core, which means you will have to use a mentally draining method to cultivate. The advantages outweigh the disadvantages though, and after some time, there won’t be any disadvantages at all.”
The matriarch took the papers and started to read through them.
After a while, she looked at the three with wide eyes.
“Something like this is possible? How did you come up with it?”
“That’s a Shao Clan secret. You can start now. And as for whether you choose to discard your cultivation and practice our techniques, you can decide that afterwards.”
Fang Lian was shocked to hear these words.
“What is this, Mother? Discard your cultivation?”
“Don’t concern yourself with these things.”
The matriarch was not interested in her troublesome yet loveable daughter right now. The solution to her problems was right before her eyes, and it was a revolutionary solution at that.
According to the papers, her cultivation speed would be uncapped after practising this method. It described that the early stages would be very mentally draining, but over time, not only would her cultivation speed increase, she would be increasing her mental energy at the same time.
Without too much delay, the matriarch started practising the technique where she was seated.
The changes were incredibly slow. This was intentional.
The three had given her this technique with the assumption that she had acknowledgement from the heavens.
The damaged roots would be repaired first then the null element core would be removed, and the loose roots would then be rearranged and distributed throughout her soul creating an entirely different structure.
If Tianlan didn’t see the evidence of the acknowledgement, they could stop the process before the removal of the null element core, producing effects similar to the fruit of harmony.
As Tianlan observed, he saw exactly what they were looking for. It seemed the water element Qi really did gravitate toward the matriarch, which meant that she likely had the acknowledgement.
After three hours, the process was complete, and the matriarch could see parts of her body become crystalline.
It was an interesting sight. A finger would become transparent then return to normal again. The same thing happened all over her body.
After a short moment, she realised what this was.
“Transcendent realm. I have broken through!”
She couldn’t believe her own words. After these years of painstaking effort, the breakthrough came delivered on a silver platter and with a new set of spirit roots to boot.
The three noticed something as well.
“There is no sign of tribulation.”
Hei added on.
“Mm. We should pay attention to the blue aura from now on.”
They had strong reason to believe that the blue aura was a sign of being acknowledged by the heavens.
Fang Lian was left speechless by all of this. What had she given up by being so stubborn?
The matriarch was both excited and also a little down. Technically, she had broken through using the Shao Clan’s methods, which meant she was now their maid…
She was one to honour her agreements, so she spoke.
“Since I have broken through using your methods, I will fulfil my end of the agreement.”
Hei was surprised to hear this. It seemed the matriarch was a decent individual, unlike her daughter.
He could see that she was reluctant, so he spoke.
“There’s no need for that. This breakthrough is a result of your long accumulation. The same thing would have happened had you eaten the fruit of harmony, so we won’t count this.”
He didn’t really want to set her free, but if she had reservations, it was hard to say if it would be worth it in the end. What he needed was absolute loyalty, not just someone who kept their promises.
‘Ah well. She can still be a bodyguard for Mumu and Grandpa.’
This was Hei’s original goal. Losing a maid wasn’t that much of an issue. He just had to make sure to plan better when they came across another acknowledged.
“No. I am willing.”
All of a sudden, Hei could see the resolve in the matriarch’s eyes. He decided to speak to the matriarch in private using his Qi.
“You know what you are agreeing too, right? You don’t have to. Just owe us a favour or something.”
Hei was surprised at the matriarch’s persistence.
“Then I’ll let you know when your services are required.”
The matriarch nodded in response.
With this settled, Hei returned to normal speech and asked:
“So, will you be practising our techniques?”
The matriarch responded without too much deliberation.
“What about the trapped elders? I heard you could free them if you had a strong expert.”
“The initial stage of the transcendent realm is still not enough. Unless we had 10 of such individuals, it would be useless, and we may get trapped ourselves.”
After this, Hei handed the matriarch her body refining technique.
“This technique, unlike others, has 15 layers. By the time you reach the peak, we will probably have the externalisation realm technique complete.”
Bai added on.
“We are estimating it will take around 5 months.”
Fang Lian couldn’t help but speak out.
“Mother, this is crazy! You have been practising the core inheritance. How much better could the techniques created by these three be?”
The matriarch turned to her daughter and shook her head.
“Shao Hei is an externalisation realm cultivator, and Shao Tianlan and Shao Bai are both body refining cultivators if I’m not mistaken.”
These words left Fang Lian speechless. The three had so easily avoided Fang Long’s attacks, forced an elder to apologise and had her mother abandon her cultivation and they all had lower cultivations that Fang Long. What kind of situation was this?
After saying these words, the matriarch began to practice the body refining technique. She found herself weaker than her daughter for the first time and felt incredibly strange.
It was also quite jarring to be without spiritual perception.
She would have been disappointed, but these things were outweighed by her rate of growth. She could tell that she was building a very strong foundation for her future cultivation, but she could also feel her mental energy draining at a rapid pace as she practised the technique.
Tianlan was observing the matriarch’s cultivation.
“There are no problems. We should head out now.”
“We probably won’t return to the Fang Clan for a while.”
The matriarch responded.
“What about the juniors? They have come to idolise the childish sages.”
The matriarch had also heard the stories.
“You can make a list. For each day we aren’t here, you can add someone to the list. We’ll see those people when we return.”
With that, the three headed back to the ‘office’.
When they got there, they found Fang Ren, who was still cultivating.
They had her escort them home after telling the butler that he didn’t have to find any more juniors for a while.
The butler was relieved to hear this. He really didn’t like going outside.
After the three got home, Hei’s hazy days began.