'Hehe, I always wanted to use that line...'
Han De's feet touched the ground as he finished his greeting. His arrogant young master form came out on its own and replaced his previous stoic expression.
"Does the Qui family not care about their face? A Martial Grandmaster attacking a Martial Disciple… The very thought should make your face red with shame! Hmph!"
With his hands at his back, Han De slowly walked towards the patriarch. In each step he raised his displayed cultivation by one stage, starting from the first stage. Martial Initiate, Disciple, Adept, Expert, Master, Grandmaster, King, Emperor, Saint, and God. That was the end of this world's cultivation scale. The Qui family patriarch fell on his knees with a terrified expression, but Han De continued to the 11th, 12th, and finally, the 13th stage.
If the MC wasn't in critical condition, Han De would've gone through the Foundation Establishment stage too, but the pressure of that would be too high to bear for a wounded 2nd stage disciple. Unlike the aura from his sword art, the pressure caused by displaying his cultivation didn't discriminate. It affected everyone equally. Han De felt he was quite considerate under the circumstances!
Of course, Han De could shield the MC from his cultivation pressure, but he didn't feel like putting in that much effort.
Boy A and the random elder beside him succumbed to the pressure and passed out. They were beaten to a pulp by the MC, this result was within Han De's expectations. He silently sent a small amount of healing energy from the Golden Spark healing spell, just enough to stabilize their condition, but not enough to make them visibly recover.
Despite the serious injuries, the MC seemed to be doing fine, but his eyes were filled with anger and determination.
'Didn't this guy call himself god-king or whatever? Why is he getting so pissed off by these random people? Shouldn't he have the willpower of a god-king? Is he acting? Well, whatever...'
Han De flicked his sleeve with practiced ease and used the Golden Spark healing spell on the MC. At the same time, he solidified his plan.
A transmigrated god-level MC wouldn't make a good disciple. Neither would a harem MC. Both archetypes were too troublesome to deal with. However, this MC, being a transmigrated god-level MC, had a high chance of leaving this world in the future. The odds of Han De meeting this particular MC were quite low, but there was still a chance. Even a 0.000001% chance couldn't be ignored. If the MC owed Han De a debt of gratitude at that time, everything would proceed much more smoothly.
The Golden Spark rapidly did its work, and as a response, an expression of genuine bewilderment appeared on MC's face. Han De gave a mental thumbs up to the MC for his accurate acting, then shifted his focus to the patriarch.
"I thought you were ordered by the previous emperor to accommodate him."
The white-haired patriarch flinched with Han De's every word. The cultivation difference was too high, and despite his age, the patriarch was too inexperienced in these matters. However, his survival instincts were truly top-notch. He gave in quickly and started explaining. Han De gave a mental thumbs up. This guy did not hesitate and did not dawdle.
"V-Venerable M-Martial Saint! I-It was the previous emperor that sent him here! But the imperial palace does not wish well for him-"
It was the MC that shouted with surprise and anger but was ignored by the patriarch. Hierarchy of power was already established, and the MC was nowhere near the top.
'Hmmm, I actually don't really care about this. Shouldn't have asked that-'
"Why would the imperial palace want me dead? Is it because of my father?! Where is he?! What did you do to him?!"
The patriarch continued to ignore the MC. He was only obeying Han De because of his cultivation, after all. This was a double-edged sword that could quickly turn extremely tedious. Han De decided to expedite the process.
"You, white-haired guy. Be sure to answer my following questions with truth, and nothing but the truth. Be concise as well. Be concise as if your life is depending on it. Understood?"
"Y-Yes. Y-Yes!! Understood!"
"Good. First, why was his father exiled from the capital?"
The MC seemed frustrated from getting ignored by both parties. Han De gave him a sideways glance, a nod, and a wink. He wanted to make sure his intentions were getting across. If he couldn't get his 1 unit of gratitude, listening to this boring exposition would be pointless!
"... Our Qiu family doesn't know. There were rumors about the minister Yu Zexian eloping with a concubine, but those rumors were quashed by the imperial family in full force. None that spread those rumors were spared. However, 16 years ago, then favorite concubine Quan Na did die during childbirth, along with her baby. Many think that Yu Zexian was somehow involved with her death."
Han De nodded to himself then pointed at the MC.
"Second question. Did you do anything to this guy's father?"
"No. We sent him on a trade mission using the Yellow Plains trade route. It is a miserable journey, but there should be no real threats."
"Third question. Why did you attack him now?"
"... The previous emperor requested that we accommodate and protect him and his father. That protection only lasts as long as they don't intend any harm on our family..."
There was a reaction from MC, but Han De ignored it. He narrowed his eyes and stared at the Qui family patriarch. Naturally, he was using his spiritual sense to its fullest potential and did not miss the hidden panic of the patriarch.
'This little shit... is actually trying to keep information from me?'
A moment later, as if he understood the meaning of Han De's gaze, the patriarch continued.
"... 2 y-years ago we received a message from the palace to stop protecting the Yu family. O-of course we rejected it..."
Han De kept staring, but the patriarch swore that was everything. Meanwhile, the MC seemed to have enough and started shouting.
"Why would the emperor want me, or my family dead?! Worm, answer this G-... answer me!!"
'What the hell is wrong with this guy? Is he not an MC? Why is he so shocked and panicky all the time? Is there a point in asking the obvious?'
"You… dare to ignore me?!"
Han De stopped the MC with his hand. He had already somewhat solved the scenario in his mind, he thought the MC would too, but apparently that was a naive thought. He cleared his throat and started explaining.
"It may sound complicated, but in reality, it is pretty simple. That concubine was your mother, and your father is the emperor. White-hair said the imperial palace sent a message, not the emperor, or someone else at the capital. You see, there are only a few people that can casually ask people to ignore the previous emperor's commands. The only one that fits the criteria here is obviously the empress.
Your foster father became the fall guy because the local empress was furious with your mother, who was the favorite concubine at the time. She probably poisoned your mother too. Then, your grandfather, who was the previous emperor, took pity on you and sent you away from the empress' wrath. Pretty typical really."
Han De nodded to himself. While the Qi Condensation realm was powerful compared to normal people, even a proper 6th stage disciple would still die against a trained army in the end. Not everyone had a freaky infinite spiritual power cheat after all. The situation was even worse for the half-baked cultivations of the locals. The emperor trying to appease the empress made sense.
Complex politics and sharing of power were inevitable in the absence of overwhelming strength. That made this planet look a lot more like a historical drama with wuxia elements, rather than a wuxia with historical drama elements. Such developments could never occur on Han De's homeworld.
"White hair, is the empress' family influential?"
"... Yes, they control nearly all the sea trade routes..."
Han De nodded with a profound expression. He was only 70% sure, but now it was a solid 80%.
"I knew it. There were probably some other families involved too. Obviously, the empress wouldn't do the deed with her own servants. She needs to maintain her face as royalty.
Hmm. You know what, this is an excellent opportunity to experiment. Do you have anything that belonged to your mother?"
The MC seemed unsure of what was happening and seemed to hesitate for a second, but still threw his bracelet to Han De in the end.
'I was just asking, but did you really threw a memento from your mother to a random guy that appeared from the sky? Really?'
Han De made a note to warn the MC about the way he acted. A transmigrated MC should be mindful of the habits of the previous owner. Then he turned his attention to the stars.
Using the bracelet as a conduit should give him a divination result. In theory. He did not notice how the MC's face turned solemn as he used his divination scripture.
The information about the bracelet appeared in his mind as if it was a forgotten memory. As he expected, the bracelet had a very defined line of ownership. He didn't need to use much spiritual energy to get the relevant parts.
"It was carved up by a burly man with nimble fingers, bought for a low price by an arrogant noble, who lost it to a drunken scholar in a gambling den, who then gifted it to his little blue-haired sister, who wore it until the day she was poisoned. Moments before her death, she hid the memento from her dead brother under her baby's blanket."
Han De nodded with satisfaction. It felt good to make an accurate divination! Though the grandmaster within him thought he couldn't take all the credit, since the clarity of the results depended on the conduit itself.
After the divination grandmaster within him was satisfied, Han De realized what he did was not only insensitive but was also a serious invasion of privacy. He tentatively sent the bracelet back with a simple telekinesis spell.
The MC accepted the bracelet with a thousand-yard stare. Droplets started to form in his eyes. Once the tears started tricking, he touched his wet cheeks with disbelief.
Making a transmigrated god-king cry was beyond Han De's expectations. Who would've thought the MC couldn't handle an expedited storyline? Either this was an Oscar-worthy performance, or there was something wrong with the MC.
The surprise and the bafflement of the MC lasted a long while. Though Han De didn't observe him with spiritual sense, there was a visible change in the MC's attitude. He became calmer and more collected with each passing moment.
'Could it be that his body is affecting his thoughts or emotions? He is in the body of a teenager after all. A mortal teenager too. Hormones should be raging inside him right now.
Hmm, Yao Qing seemed pretty OK all things considered… But then again… She did agree to becoming a disciple of a Core Formation expert. Which Celestial Realm master would do that? She also gave her secret away pretty easily...
Maybe she was affected by her body after all, but had enough time to somewhat adjust to her circumstances before meeting me?'
Han De was reminded of the rumors about the soul cultivators, and how they all eventually went insane. Now that he had a grandmastered soul cultivation method in his mind, he knew there was some truth to those rumors.
'The MC did mention that his soul was attacked. Maybe if he entered the body of a Unity Realm expert things would be different. But he did enter the body of a mortal, and a mortal body does mortal body things. If he truly became one with that body, its existing brain chemistry must have an effect on him.
At least in Yao Qing's case, she came back to her own body. In my case… well…'
"Thank you, senior, for revealing the truth. I, Yu Xian, will remember this favor."
While Han De was in deep thought, the MC seemed to have reached a conclusion on his own. Perhaps he also became aware of his situation but that was impossible to know. An MC's mind would move in mysterious ways.
'Considering how he so easily accepted my explanation plus the divination, he still doesn't have a good grasp on things yet. Who would trust the words of a random guy?! Well, that's fine. I got what I wanted. 1 unit of gratitude acquired. Mission accomplished. Let's get the F#$% outta here!'
On Han De's right, the white-haired patriarch was still bowing and furiously sweating at the same time. On his left, the MC was giving a hard-to-decipher look at the patriarch. The situation between them wasn't settled at all, Han De realized.
Although Han De knew the MC was an MC, the MC didn't know that he knew. Leaving without making an attempt to diffuse the enmity between the MC and the Qui family had a chance to devalue his 1 unit of gratitude. A normal 2nd stage disciple wouldn't last a second against a 5th stage opponent after all. Under normal circumstances, Han De's behavior would be highly suspect if he didn't do anything.
"White hair, this kid seems to be a late bloomer. I hope you'll give me some face and drop this matter..."
The Qui family patriarch audibly gulped, then quickly nodded to demonstrate his willingness to follow Han De's wishes. Since he had some trouble speaking, Han De accepted his body language without making a fuss.
Patriarch was the second truly old-looking human Han De encountered. Besides him, and that soul cultivating Wu Fu guy, the oldest looking person he saw in the sect was in their late 50s. Although he knew not to trust a person's appearance in a Xianxia, he couldn't help but feel conflicted. Watching elderly people cowering in terror wasn't part of his plans.
Han De used a tiny portion of his spiritual sense to tentative gauge the MC's state. His heartbeat was steady, his spiritual power was stable. Golden Spark did seem to have done a splendid job. In fact, perhaps it did its job a bit too well. There were some residual Primordial Light Qi that was slowly revolving around the MC's meridians. The spell was supposed to fix superficial wounds, not meridians, but Han De glossed over that fact. An MC's body would work in mysterious ways too.
Everything seemed normal with the MC. In fact, things were better than normal. However, for some reason, the MC was now staring at the unconscious Boy A with clenching fists.
Engagement between the MC and the nameless faceless fiancé did exist. If it wasn't for the MC's behavior Han De would've forgotten about it already.
Of course, a previously trash MC had to have a fiancé. Of course!
This wasn't the first time Han De had encountered this situation. His 3rd disciple, Jin Shu the Nameless Horror, was once engaged to a previously trash MC too.
One could say, Han De had a certain bias towards the villainess fiancé sub-plots. Originally, he wanted to take the MC away, then maybe throw a few filler lines and be on his merry way. Now though, he felt compelled to stay, to make sure that he wasn't helping a ruthless MC.
Han De completely enveloped the MC with his spiritual sense for the first time. Normally he would never do such a thing until he confirmed that the other party didn't have any means to detect such a move. However, since he was going to show interest in the matter, not using spiritual sense would be more suspicious!
In Yu Xian's case, Han De's preparations were meaningless, the MC truly couldn't detect spiritual sense at his current level. Han De didn't know that, but even if he did, he still would've done the same. He was dealing with an MC, not some random low-tiered boss.
"I did hear about a fiancé. Junior, why don't you tell this old man what happened?"
After the System guided evolution Han De was looking younger than ever. Which was the perfect setup for calling himself an 'old man'. The younger he looked, the more effective the phrase would be.
No response came from the MC, but his muscles twitched, his heart rate increased, blood flow was diverted to the internal organs, the tiny bit of spiritual energy inside became chaotic. Whatever the MC was thinking was stressful enough to put a physical burden on his body.
"Did they kidnap her to forcefully cancel your engagement?"
Han De, being an avid Xianxia reader, naturally recognized the opportunity to face slap the MC. If the MC's template was different and/or he felt like seeking death, maybe he would've taken it. But neither was the case. The question was a bait, and the MC immediately jumped on it.
"No. She is a wicked, calculative woman that dares to plot against me… She is the one that planned my death with the help of the Qiu family."
"... I see. She decided to kill you instead of accepting a slow death."
The reaction of the MC was just as Han De predicted. Surprise mixed with anger and hatred, those turbulent emotions only lasted a moment. Soon the MC's eyes went cold.
"A slow death?"
Han De nodded nonchalantly.
"She has the talent, she has the looks, she has the lineage. Why should she accept marrying a trash?"
Han De had no idea if any of that was true, and continued without pause.
"Yes, yes, you are not a trash anymore. So? How could she know you were going to awaken in the future? Did you really expect her to peer through the veil of time?
Even if she knew, so what? You can't force the matters of heart."
Han De profoundly shook his head.
"If you had a sister or a daughter, would you allow a trash to marry her? How could a trash protect your sister? How could a trash protect the honor of your daughter? Would you really leave her to a trash on the chance that he might awaken?"
Han De took special care to add and enunciate an extra 'trash' to every sentence.
Although Han De didn't know the whole story with his disciple Jin Shu's ex-fiancé, he was naturally biased towards his disciple. If that ex-fiancé hadn't disappeared, his first plan was to solve things through a friendly discussion. The second plan was a neutral negotiation. Any problem that could be solved through the power of money was no a problem at all. The third and final plan was the complete elimination of the ex-fiancé MC's and his grandpa's bodies and souls through the usage of 50 or more Transcendent Realm experts. Of course, that was all history now. That MC had disappeared long ago.
One had to be decisive when dealing with an MC. Making too many plans involving an MC was bound to backfire. Exhaustive plans were only suitable for preventing contact or dealing with the aftermath after getting in contact. Even after knowing the consequences of burning the cockroach's soul, Han De still firmly believed in this.
While Han De was lost in thought, the Import MC's anger reached a critical point. Veins popped up in his neck and forehead as he shouted.
"A man should never be humiliated!! That wicke-"
"So it's fine as long as others are humiliated? As long as it's her father, mother, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, those people should be fine with being humiliated? Hmph. Impudent!!"
Though Han De sounded angry, his voice wasn't too loud, and his frown wasn't too deep. The body language he used was slightly stiff, as if he didn't want to commit what he was saying. What he wanted now was to display a Disappointed Profound Expert.
"Junior, you are about to start your journey to immortality. On this path, you will go through unimaginable hardships. Your mind and heart will face countless tribulations. Cultivation isn't for the weak-willed. Pursuit of the Great Dao isn't for the faint-hearted."
Han De regretted that he didn't conjure a wuxia beard illusion in preparation. If he could stroke a beard right now, his bulls#$% would've been much more impactful.
"Are you afraid this will become a knot in your heart? It's true, unresolved events from your past can create wounds in the present, and the future. And more importantly they can distract you... weaken you."
The MC who was staring at Boy A turned his attention to Han De. Behind his slight frown, an irregular heart rate, speeding up and slowing down without a rhyme or reason. Han De lightly shook his head and softened his voice.
"If you choose to fight, if you choose vengeance, it is a path few turn away from once the first steps are taken. It carries with it a terrible price. In the end you may find you have nothing left to sacrifice, and all you have wrought is more pain.
The moment you have awakened to your talent was the moment that the old you died forever. Do not carry on the mistakes of the dead."
After a brief pause, Han De wiped all of the seriousness on his face, then very obviously dropped the Profound Expert persona. He purposefully acted as if he realized his mask had slipped.
Although he did try to convince the MC to take the high road, the previous owner of the MC's body was killed by orders of some anonymous people. Interfering with the matter further was out of the question. Unless the MC was some kind of a murder maniac, this was the end of Han De's involvement in the matter.
What was crucial was reminding the MC that he was a transmigrator. As a (fake) transmigrator himself, Han De felt some sympathy. He had an educated guess on what the MC could be going through right now.
The MC closed his eyes. A few moments later Han De realized the MC was practicing some sort of mental technique. His heart rate slowly stabilized, and signs of stress disappeared. There were no spiritual energy fluctuations, which meant that it was a technique gained from discipline instead.
"This junior offers his gratitude. If it wasn't for the senior's advice I may have stained my Dao heart. I, Yu Xian, have always believed that the grace of dripping water should be reciprocated by a gushing spring. This debt..."
Han De smiled and dismissively waved his hand to stop the MC. If he needed to, Han De would naturally bank on this feeling of gratitude in the future. In the present though, a humble refusal had to be shown first.
More than that, Han De was happy that the MC didn't turn out to be a psycho, at least not yet. It was a shame he was a harem MC instead of a normal one. While Yao Qing and Jin Shu were mature and sensible, Ning Bi was an extremely impressionable young purifier of planes. Han De couldn't take the risk of a grudge forming. Even if he did everything right, he could get implicated by proxy.
This Yu Xian had to be kept away from his disciples!
"Ehm. Alright then. I was on my way to the capital, why don't I take you there with me."
Han De took out the speed-focused Nascent Soul sword and gestured at the MC to get on. At the same time, he sent a voice transmission to the Qui family patriarch.
<You wanted to take my ring, did you?>
The Qui family patriarch instantly collapsed and started crawling backwards. His twisted face was almost as white as his hair.
<I will let this go on the condition that you'll never bother this boy again. Make sure that fiancé and her family know that as well. I annulled this engagement, and that is that. I do this for your own good. Remember that, and make your choices carefully.>
Before he left, Han De wanted to send a warning message. He nearly used his Heavenly Gaze spiritual spell, since the said spell's main function was the wow factor. Then he realized a crucial point.
'This spell makes a laser right? Weren't powerful lasers extremely harmful to human eyes?'
As a supercharged laser that could vaporize rocks in an instant, Heavenly Gaze would surely cause a considerable amount of collateral damage! Han De sighed inwardly. Thankfully, he noticed this flaw before he blinded the entire settlement!
Then he left pointed towards an open spot and shot his Heaven Defying Tyrannical Sword energy to the ground. His gesture was casual, but he actually put 100% effort into it. He wanted to leave a potent but small-range reminder to the Q-something family. Words could fade away easily, but if he left a long-lasting and violent sword aura, that could serve as a reminder.
Once he was done, Han De took off without giving any warning to the MC or the patriarch.
The sword aura's active effects only covered around 20 meters in radius. Even at night, one could tell its center was pitch black while the surroundings looked… bent… The white-haired patriarch couldn't comprehend what he was seeing.
After 10 minutes the patriarch stood up, still covered in cold sweat. Though he was a traditionalist, he couldn't help but remember a new and popular idiom of the unorthodox faction. Perhaps… he… truly, was the frog at the bottom of the well. Once glorious Qin Empire now seemed hollow, and fragile.
The white-haired patriarch would've sighed with emotion, if he wasn't shaking with fear at that moment. Though he was far away from the place that was struck with that dreadful energy, he could still feel the pressure. Without a doubt, if he got too close he would be shredded to pieces.
He never would've guessed that the fear he was feeling right now would only be the tip of the iceberg. As days passed, the energy on that spot did not dissipate. Weeks and months went by, the area was walled off and abandoned. Who would want to go near a cursed place like that?
Though they were a martial arts family with some degree of success amongst their peers, the Qiu family couldn't rise to challenge. They couldn't dare to defy what they did not understand. A year later half of the family compound was sectioned off by walls. No one was allowed near the place where Han De's sword energy struck. It became a secret of the Qiu family, and the truth was forgotten after the death of the next patriarch.
Even after the sword energy had dissipated, no one dared to get near that space. Only after a few generations passed, teenagers could start to use the famous unmentionable cursed ruins to prove their courage. The old patriarch's and his grandson's prudence had left a deep impression on everyone living in the town.