Four figures landed before a noisy town, Zhuo Fan, Chu Qingcheng, Shui Ruohua and Dan’er.
In a month, the four had made most of their journey to Double Dragon Manor.
“All we had to see so far was mostly wilderness. A bustling town like this is most welcome. We can finally rest. How about we stay for a day?” Zhuo Fan suggested.
The girls nodded with a smile. Dan’er threw a coy smile at Zhuo Fan, “Brother Zhuo, it must’ve been so hard always staying in the wild. Now you’ll have time to catch up with sister Qingcheng tonight.”
“Wretched girl, say that again…” Chu Qingcheng blushed and glared at her. Zhuo Fan merely touched her arm and laughed, “Ha-ha-ha, Dan’er, you understand us so well. Since you know my plan, we’ll each mind our own!”
“Y-you’re just as bad as her…” Chu Qingcheng turned her red cheeks to glare at him.
Zhuo Fan snickered, walking forward, “Come, let’s find an inn first.”
Seeing his quick step, the girls giggled.
“After getting married, Zhuo Fan is like another person. At least he’s not as cold as ice.” Shui Ruohua spoke.
Chu Qingcheng nodded, “Looking at him so lively and carefree is all I wanted. Just that… is this what he wanted?”
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“Regardless of what he wanted before, now he only wants you. Don’t think about it too much.” Shui Ruohua patted her shoulder.
Dan’er came over giggling, “Yeah, he’s so much better now, no longer crude and rude. They say a woman changes a man. You’re so amazing sister Qingcheng.”
Chu Qingcheng shook her head and sighed. But as she saw Zhuo Fan so happy, the weight on her heart slowly lifted.
She wondered if her presence could wear down this man’s ambition, but seeing him so cheerful now, what did it matter?
“Qingcheng, let’s rest here.” Zhuo Fan stopped before a tavern and gave the girls a bright smile.
Chu Qingcheng sighed, feeling with joy as she nodded. The girls followed him in.
Taking a table, a waiter was right there to take their order. He soon came with the tea as the other tables were noisy.
Despite the clamor, Zhuo Fan looked at Chu Qingcheng’s delicate features and closed his eyes in peace.
[This is the life of the common people. It’s so much easier than those days of fighting and killing to survive.]
“Oh, sister Qingcheng, since we’re going to Double Dragon Manor, are we from Mystical Heaven Sect or Demon Scheming Sect?”
“It should be the Demon Scheming Sect since we betrayed the Mystical Heaven Sect and they must’ve cast us out.”
Dan’er cried out and Shui Ruohua answered first with a bitter smile.
Dan’er did not understand, “But we’re righteous cultivators. Won’t we turn demonic like this? We’ve never trained in any demonic cultivation methods.”
“Silly, we’ve stopped being righteous since we betrayed our sect. Even if we don’t become demonic, we’re still demonic cultivators.”
“That’s too random…”
“You think? That’s the righteous path, not allowing the slightest breach in rules or you’ll be judged.”
Dan’er and Shui Ruohua chattered on about what side they were on now. Zhuo Fan closed his eyes and sipped his tea with a smile.
[Righteous and demonic, who in this world can truly set them apart? What was righteous? What was demonic? Nothing more than biased notions people decided on themselves. Elder Yuan is right after all, righteous and demonic are paths leading towards Dao. Ha-ha-ha…]
[Only a fool will argue about making a distinction, sinking into this pit and straying from Dao. Fools, utter idiots…]
Suddenly, Zhuo Fan furrowed his brow, hearing a voice calling out Nine Serenities. He found that he couldn’t even open his eyes and felt utterly powerless. He could only cry, “You know about the Nine Serenities Emperor?”
[Nine Serenities… we’ve been waiting for you. You must come back, you must attain Dao and return…]
Zhuo Fan flashed his eyes open, his brow soaked as he looked around in panic. The girls looked at him in worry.
“Zhuo Fan, what’s wrong?”
“W-what’s wrong?” Zhuo Fan frowned, filled with doubt. All he felt was the strong beating of his heart.
Feeling his chest, Zhuo Fan felt it sink, as if a weight had been placed on it.
Wiping his brow, Chu Qingcheng muttered, “Zhuo Fan, you were asleep. We’ve been calling you to wake up but you’ve been out for an hour!”
“I’ve been asleep for an hour?” Startled, Zhuo Fan was shocked. With his nature, there was no way he’d fall asleep so deeply.
[That’s like handing my life on a silver platter.]
He then recalled the voice and felt as if it brought him to another place. This had to be why he didn’t wake up.
Dan’er gave him a hard look and grinned, “Brother Zhuo, you’ve been so tense lately. Frustrated maybe?”
Rolling his eyes, Zhuo Fan wanted to glue this lass’ mouth shut.
[As strong as I am alive, nothing can affect me.]
[Moreover, this brat only knows how to learn bad words.]
Chu Qingcheng was agape, glaring at her with a red face. Shui Ruohua gripped hard on her shoulder and spoke in anger, “Girl, who taught you to say that…”
However, Zhuo Fan cut her cursing short and he shouted.
Dan’er lit up and teased, “You’re really frustrated?”
Zhuo Fan glared at her and muttered, “Haven’t you noticed that the town became quiet?”
The girls looked around and found the entire place empty, not even the owner or the waiter was here.
Gone was the bustle from outside, people no longer walked the street. The eerie breeze lifting the dust from the deserted street gave it a dark tone.
Chu Qingcheng frowned and tensed, “The town is suddenly empty, just like that time with Yan Mo.”
“What, Yan Mo again?” The other girls cried.
Zhuo Fan shook his head, his heart sinking, “I fear this is worse. Yan Mo struck at night and we met by chance. But this is broad daylight when all vanished. This shows this was a damn trap!”
As he finished, a fierce gale blew and a heavy pressure slammed into them.
The inn began to disintegrate, with sawdust slowly falling to the floor.
Zhuo Fan panicked and rushed the girls outside, “Be careful!”
A loud noise echoed and the entire inn was razed to the ground, kicking up a cloud of dust as it formed a tornado.
Once the dust scattered, they saw a hundred meters wide palm imprint into the ground where the inn was.
Above it was an old man with silver hair, looking down with cold eyes, “Humph, you’re not the winner of Double Dragon Gathering for nothing, most outstanding young demonic cultivator of the generation. You managed to sense my palm and dodged.”
“Who are you? Why are you after me?”
Zhuo Fan pulled the girls to their feet, his heart racing. From that palm, he could tell the old man was stronger than an Ethereal Stage expert. He was in the Soul Harmony Stage!
This was an expert no lower-three sect could send out. It made his heart sink.
[Laying such a huge trap, there’s no way he is alone. Does that mean there’s no escape?]
Zhuo Fan clenched his fists as his mind raced to find a way out.
“Ha-ha-ha, Zhuo Fan, we meet again. Only this time, a vile spawn like you won’t escape again!” A very familiar cawing was heard.
Zhuo Fan sighed inside. He never thought that his biggest worry would come find him…
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