The cockroach's father recognized Han De. As he naturally would, considering Han De was the one who burned the soul of his son!
|What is the meaning of this?!|
Hearing the roaring voice from above, Han De glanced at Long Ai and saw her expressionless face. Considering the power difference there wasn't anything to worry about, technically speaking.
However, Han De couldn't relax. It wasn't in his nature. There were hundreds of things that could go wrong, and start a feud in instant, instead of ending one. Meanwhile, Long Ai finally broke her silence.
|Since when did the Shen family become so great to meddle in the affairs of my Long family?|
Long Ai's voice was calm, which immediately started ringing alarm bells in Han De's mind.
Above, at high orbit, Shen Gao gritted his teeth. His son's murderer was standing right beside Long Ai, and she called this the Long family affair?! How was this any different than admitting that it was the Long family that killed his only son Shen Xing!! Shen Gao's blood was long past the boiling point.
Unfortunately, Long Ai was part of a senior generation. And not only that, but she was also incredibly ruthless. Even so, Shen Gao felt like he couldn't back down. Long Ai was powerful, but his son's murderer was only at the Nascent Soul realm, a cultivation level so low that he could die from a mild killing intent.
All was not lost. Shen Gao knew that the Long family did not value the offspring, males even less so. Even if that boy was related to the Long family somehow, he could still kill his body, and claim his soul later.
Though his intuition was telling him there was something wrong in this picture, he was too consumed by grief, and hatred, to listen to his better judgment.
|Leave the boy behind, and the Shen family will not pursue this matter.|
Down below, Han De successfully prevented his jaw from dropping.
'Is this guy out of his mind?!'
The thought of Long Ai giving him away didn't even occur to Han De. Nor did he even think that Long Ai could lose. Thanks to the Reality Sense, the power difference was completely clear.
Surely, a higher being would be able to recognize this difference, however, the father of the cockroach seemed to be ignoring all common sense.
'Wait, is he influenced by someone?'
Could the void grandpa influence a higher being? Once again, Han De didn't know. But that didn't prevent his alarm bells from ringing. A crazy guy getting even crazier by a crazy void grandpa whispering crazy things… that was really close to being the worst-case scenario.
Han De started to wonder if he should activate his bloodline and order Shen Gao to commit suicide.
Long Ai and Han De weren't the only ones that listened to the conversation. Li Ling's eyes went wide by Shen Gao's domineering words. What was wrong with him? Did he not know he was talking to Long Ai?
The fact that Li Ling was still conscious was all thanks to the treasures she possessed. The brown fox had passed out long ago. Surprisingly though, the old monk seemed to be praying.
Long Ai spoke once more.
|I ignored your trifles with Long Juan on the account of your son. Yet, it seems that made you even bolder…|
'… Oh no.'
There was a strange surge of power coming from Long Ai's voice. On high orbit, Shen Gao felt the killing intent that laid waste to countless generations. But even that couldn't deter him. He was dead set on riding this tiger!
|That boy and the Shen family cannot live under the same sky!!|
Li Ling saw Long Ai narrow her eyes. Shen Gao could actually anger the Long family ancestor to this extent… This was some ability too… This, this was the first time Li Ling regretted running away from her family.
Long Ai’s voice filled the void.
|Dying in the hands of my descendent was your son's good fortune.|
Han De did a double-take. It almost felt as if he was hearing things! Long Ai though, continued without pause.
|It seems that the Shen family is simply unable to differentiate good from bad.|
Han De's whole body froze as he listened to Long Ai's calm voice in horror.
|Run back to your little abode and forget these useless thoughts. Know your place.|
This was beyond the worst-case scenario, and it was happening right in front of his eyes! He desperately tried to make a sound, but his body wasn't responding. He tried to use voice transmission, but his Qi stayed stagnant.
It was as if Han De was witnessing the birth of an MC. Maybe it would be Shen Gao himself, or maybe it would be his other descendants, or one of his students. It could be anyone! Han De knew. Somewhere along the line, an MC would appear and inherit this debt of karma.
Shen Gao's eyes were bloodshot. Long Ai's oppressive voice alone was enough to make him cough up blood. He could not ignore the sense of danger any longer. If he stayed any more, that clone would die. For the sake of his dead son, that could not happen. He stared at Han De with hateful eyes, burned his visage into his memory so that he would never forget.
|Good. Very Good. I, Shen Gao, will never forget this day.|
Only after Shen Gao left, Han De felt he could control his body once more.
Originally, Han De was quite worried that was getting MC-level developments one after the other. He never could've guessed that Long Ai would turn the situation around. Instead of getting further away from the classical Arrogant Young Master Templates, she had thrown him even deeper.
After all that effort into becoming a Hidden Expert, Han De, seemed to have been upgraded from a low-tier villain that survived maybe a dozen chapters at most, into a mid-level one that could survive a couple arcs.
Han De immediately frowned at Long Ai, but the latter seemed unconcerned and smiled instead.
|Shen Gao has high eyes but low hands. He isn't worth your attention.|
'Then why the F#$% did you piss him off?! What the F#$% were you thinking?! Are you F#$%&@ insane?!'
Naturally, Han De couldn't say what was on his mind. Even if he applied the Xianxia filter, it was useless. To hide his death-seeking thoughts he entered the Arrogant Young Master mode. Among the facades he practiced, that was the most comfortable and natural one. A quite regrettable fact in hindsight.
'Alright, maybe I can salvage this. Maybe…'
Even Han De understood the meaning of Long Ai, and if this were another time he would be filled with warm and fuzzy feelings inside.
The old monster of his mother's family was protecting him? That's great! Amazing in fact! Of all the thighs to hug, old monsters were definitely high up on the list, provided they didn't have heinous subplots.
She's slapping someone else on his behalf? Ok, that's a bit… As long as it is done in moderation, maybe…
Letting a mortal enemy go after thoroughly insulting them through their dead child? That right there was the quintessential overarching revenge plot if Han De ever saw one. A scenario that Han De could never allow to develop. To hell with becoming a multiple arc villain!
|Oh? My cute little grandson doesn't like the way I handle things?|
Han De didn't know how he should react to that. Was that sarcasm? Was she warning him? That was the logical conclusion.
However, looking at Long Ai's gentle smile, Han De couldn't eliminate the option that his great-great-grandmother genuinely liked him. The odds seemed… fifty-fifty…
'Ugh, dealing with old monsters is so tiring…'
|I'm curious, how would you deal with Shen Guo and the Shen family? Be honest.|
Han De's response was immediate.
"Extinguish Shen Guo's soul then review the Shen family lineage. Anyone that has the slightest chance to cause problems should also be dealt with in the same manner. The remaining members should be paid off well, while branch members should be forced to change names and create their own dynasty. Then start a ten-thousand-year surveillance program to ensure no enmity remains."
This wasn't all, but Han De stopped himself before going into changing public perception and taking measures against enmities that could be left behind via random legacies or through oral history. This was a topic Han De had spent a lot of nights on. Not sleepless nights, since he could sleep like a brick anywhere at any time. But many nights were spent on this hypothetical scenario, nonetheless.
Long Ai's smile grew wider as she listened. Han De was strangely ruthless, and strangely merciful at the same time. Not even reincarnation was allowed for his enemies, but he was firmly against hurting the bystanders. His thoroughness highlighted this contrast even more.
Perhaps in time he might become a second Long Ruolan, she thought.
|Shen Guo has always been a weakling. That's why he became so good at running and hiding. It's not easy to kill a higher being, Shen Guo, even more so. No one knows where his main body is, not even his own family.|
She could see from Han De's bottomless eyes that he was holding back, and that he really didn't want Shen Guo to live. It wouldn't surprise Long Ai if he had plans to deal with clones to prevent information from escaping into the main body. He was firm in his resolve, but flexible in his ways.
Now, Long Ai was convinced. She would simply watch, and let the Shen family become Han De's stepping stone. Since this was Han De's decision, there was no need for her to say anything.
Long Ai didn't know that if Han De were to read her thoughts, he would've started puking blood in gallons.
|That's enough with the trifles. Start cultivating, I will give you pointers when necessary.|
'I really should've used my bloodline. S#$%. S#$%. S#$%. S#$%...'
Han De sat down in the lotus position and tried his best to empty his mind. Soul cultivation required an even deeper meditative state than regular cultivation. Thankfully, the grandmaster comprehension also included this experience, otherwise, to say that he would've had a hard time cultivating would've been a gross understatement.
Li Ling who was watching from the sidelines, immediately bowed once she realized Long Ai was looking at her.
|Not bad, you must be Li Mingzhu's daughter. Youngsters should be bold.|
Long Ai reappeared just an arm's length away from Li Ling.
|That year Li Huai did her best to help me, with this, we can consider the debt settled.|
Li Ling's surroundings changed. She was now standing on top of the many identical towers of her home, gazing at the unnaturally symmetrical landscape. On her side, Ping Xiang was still sleeping like a log, still attempting to assimilate the sword art given by Han De, the descendent of Long Ai.
|Young lady! You have returned! Thank the heavens!|
* * *
Mao Guang, the brown fox, slowly made his way towards the Brass Stallion city. Originally, he was supposed to meet his wife, Mao Tao, the matriarch of the fox tribe. Who knew the crazy monk would entice… no, kidnap him so that they could crack the skulls-… no, teach the demonic cultivators the way of tolerance.
Though the old monk's cultivation had always been lower, he had a way with words, and always ended up being on top no matter the situation. Until today.
It only took a glance from Long Ai to destroy the old monk, in body, and soul. Mao Guang always believed that the old monk wasn't simple. Perhaps in a way that was true. To rub a monster like that in the wrong way, without uttering a single word, the old monk really wasn't ordinary.
Mao Guang looked at the starless sky and sighed with complex emotions.
* * *
It took Li Ling three days and nights to calm down her relatives. She had run away from home, of course everyone was concerned. And livid, even if they couldn't show it.
The only reason the sermons lasted only 3 days this time, was because Li Ling admitted her mistakes. A rare sight to behold from the cold Li family princess. Thanks to the sincere apology, her 'punishment' was month-long isolation inside the cultivation realm.
From an outside perspective, she entered and exited the realm within seconds. Her minor realm breakthrough was the only evidence of her time spent inside.
A servant hurriedly rushed from the shadows and gave Li Ling an envelope. She opened it with practiced ease and directly skipped the poem at the beginning. "Come when convenient." was written at the end as the only substantial information within.
Of course, Li Ling didn't need a name to know who sent the letter. From silver the decorations on the envelope alone, she knew that the sender couldn't be anyone else but Li Qingzhao, her great aunt.
Li Ling carefully folded the letter back and put it inside her storage ring. Poems from Li Qingzhao weren't simple and would often contain hints of the Great Way. Even the normal ones could enthrall an unprepared mind.
"Come when convenient."
Li Qingzhao truly meant what she wrote. It was up to Li Ling to visit, otherwise Li Qingzhao would never remember to follow up on her invite. Not out of spite, of course. She just didn't have the mind to remember such things and would soon forget everything while focusing on her next piece.
Li Ling shook her head, as if the physical motion would rid her of the useless thoughts. Li Qingzhao was a great figure, though she was distant from the Grand Path Library, she was, in the end, a Li.
Since now was the most convenient time, she headed directly towards her aunt's palace, to a flying island that traveled across the clouds. While it was more than 5 million years old, the island was still a recent addition to the Li family.
Unlike other, much more lavishly decorated palaces, this one was exceedingly simple. Even by mortal standards. If it was on land, no one would've batted an eye. Only two buildings, two courtyards, and two pavilions, how could she live in such a small space, Li Ling had no idea.
Li Qingzhao seemed to be fiddling with a strange musical instrument inside the second courtyard. As usual, her blue robes were gently fluttering even though there was no wind to be found.
Normally she would've ignored any visitor until they directly talked to her, but now she was staring at Li Ling with a strange gaze.
Before Li Ling could greet her aunt, she heard the famous, melodious voice.
|You've met Long Ai?|
Li Qingzhao didn't wait for an answer and tentatively closed the distance. She was clearly wary of something as she openly and suspiciously evaluated Li Ling.
"I've only met senior Long Ai briefly.-"
Li Ling swallowed her words after seeing her aunt's frown. The two didn't talk until Li Qingzhao's expression relaxed.
|Fine. You don't seem to be harmed. How did you meet her?|
"…In one of the frontier worlds."
An umbrella appeared behind Li Ling and covered her with its unsettling shadow.
|Hmm. Not bad. That one is worth collecting.|
Li Qingzhao was never interested in treasures. It was a painful fact that anyone inside the Grand Path Library was familiar with. The out-of-nowhere fake compliment only managed to increase Li Ling's curiosity. Her great aunt seemed to be hesitating to ask something.
|…Why… Why was she there?|
Li Ling was about to say the elders had already thoroughly interrogated her and could answer all questions, but she changed her mind. This was the first time she had seen her aunt this anxious; it was probably better to answer her questions truthfully and sincerely.
"Senior Long Ai seemed to be there to retrieve one of her descendants. Should I go into detail?"
|No. This is fine…
… Was it Long Xiu?|
Li Ling smiled.
"No, it was a boy called Han D-"
If the descendent didn't carry the Long surname, naturally they didn't matter. Li Ling was also aware of this unspoken rule. She could explain what she saw to her aunt, but considering her aunt's condition, she decided not to. An elder would eventually send the necessary information later anyway.
Li Qingzhao threw herself onto a huge and oddly shaped pillow. She seemed to be tired just by thinking about the Long family ancestor.
|Li Huai gave permission. You will receive the Li legacy soon.|
Li Ling's eyes shook. The last person to receive the family's legacy was sitting right in front of her. No one else qualified in many years. Li Qingzhao was a higher being expert, she was already many billions of years old, if not more!
|And by soon, I mean now. You will receive our legacy right now.|
Li Qingzhao stood up with a very unladylike harrumph, leaving the already shocked Li Ling completely speechless. Was this person really her aunt? Was she really going to receive the legacy right now?
|This won't hurt a bit, but you may get a bit disoriented.|
Li Qingzhao opened her hand and revealed a small, low-quality spirit stone. There was a faint, flickering light within, giving Li Ling the impression that the stone itself was very impure. However, that flickering light soon turned into a blinding flash.
[Recognized Host: Li Ling]
Li Ling was on the Li family home, inside the palace of Li Qingzhao. There wasn't anything that could threaten her right now. Therefore she didn't panic when she heard an alluring masculine voice. She simply looked at her aunt for an explanation.
Li Qingzhao smirked in response.
|The Li family isn't as simple as you think. It seems the integration went fine, so there is nothing to worry. Just follow the instructions and you'll be fine. Our legacy is rather unique, even heavens acknowledge it.|
[Fate Type: Divine Empress]
[Roots: Water (SSS)]
[Divine Collector System]
[Strongest Poet System]
[Scientific Alchemy System]
[World-Devouring Liberal Arts System]
[Perfect White Lotus System]
Li Ling carefully listened to the voice. The one that caught her eye was the collector one. Almost as if it was tailor-made for her personality.
[Unlocking Assimilation System]
[Unlocked cultivation base XP]
[Unlocked basic cultivation art assimilation slot]
[Unlocked basic skill assimilation slot]
[Unlocked basic bloodline assimilation slot]
[Unlocked basic body constitution assimilation slot]
[Unlocked basic soul constitution assimilation slot]
[Unlocked cultivation base assimilation feature]
| There are a few things you have to look out for.|
Li Qingzhao had thrown herself into the huge pillow at some point. She lazy talked while watching Li Ling.
|First of all. The origin of this legacy is unknown. Even Li Huai doesn't know who created it.
Second. Only those who received the legacy know about it. Not even Li Huai can speak of its existence.
Third. In time you'll discover that there were many who inherited this legacy. All of them are dead, save for Li Huai, me, and finally, you.|
[Privilege Level: 2]
[Privilege level met, issuing the welcome gift box]
|The last one to die with the legacy was Shao Ru, killed by Song Nuan, that crazy sword-B#$%. Shao Ru was a peerless genius that created a primordial sect out of nothing. Her achievements were anything but ordinary. Don't get complacent. No matter how well you use the legacy, you will never be invincible.|
[Opening Complimentary Gift Box]
[You have received:]
[Assimilation Slot Token] [x5]
[Void Points Token] [x5]
[Tribulation Transcendence Token] [x5]
[Limitless Assimilation Token] [x1]
[Compatibility Token] [x2]