A few minutes after Han De left.
Yu Xian and Liang Cuifen left the restaurant called the Red Moon in silence. Taking care of the girl was obviously Yu Xian's ticket to more resources. Joining Han De's sect wasn't enough. Yu Xian needed a fast pass as well.
A 3rd Stage Qi Condensation disciple's senses would be at the peak of humanity. Not enough to call it supernatural, but still enough to detect the faint stench of filth from the girl next to him. He didn't say anything but changed their direction to a bathhouse he had seen while he was searching for Han De. He did not try to engage in conversation and opted to review his cultivation instead.
'Even without pills, reaching the Foundation Establishment stage will take a month at most. I can feel that my current metal roots are even better than my previous ones.'
His starting point now was truly on another level. Even if he didn't join Han De's sect he could breeze through the early realms easily. The only limitation was his comprehension of the Shattered Veil Scripture.
Yu Xian made more calculations about his cultivation. In truth, he needed far more than mere pills. Supplementary formations, secondary refining treasures, etching formations on his bones and organs, reinforcing his meridians, refining his own veins, marrow, and organs in certain order to be a part of a natural array connected to his soul and spiritual roots, and more. Much, much more...
Shattered Veil's complexity was on another level. It even required Yu Xian to refine his spiritual roots even further after the 1st step. Otherwise, further advancement was impossible!
However, none of that was able to affect Yu Xian's mood. He kept his calm and confident stride.
Walking beside him, Liang Cuifen wasn't so calm anymore. It was as if the world had stopped for her and was just now starting to turn again. She had processed everything in her calm state, now she was processing them again in her normal state.
Naturally, Yu Xian had guessed the condition of the girl and suspected the same mental technique that Han De used on him. He couldn't help but lightly shake his head. Illusions were one thing, but mental manipulation was one of the most sinister techniques a cultivator could master. On top of that, only those with unshakable hearts could resist the temptation of using those techniques on themselves.
Yu Xian's opinion of Han De changed a few times already. At this point, he didn't know what to think, and adopted a wait and see approach.
"Um… Your name is Yu Xian, right? I'm Liang Cuifen."
The girl talked as if she were talking to someone younger, which was a reasonable assumption even from Yu Xian's point of view. He replied with a nod. His eyes occasionally glanced at certain far away directions.
"Do you know where mister Han De comes from?"
Yu Xian mulled over his words while guiding her through the busy streets.
"I don't know. He isn't from this world. If he didn't tell you anything it would be best not to dig deeper.
Senior is not someone to be trifled with. No matter how powerful you think the royal family is, they cannot even damage a single strand of his hair. They should be thankful that they are still alive. The concern of a village girl like you is meaningless."
"H-How did you know a-..."
Liang Cuifen's eyes nervously jumped around. Even if Han De was all-powerful, she wasn't! What if someone heard what Yu Xian said?
Yu Xian understood her concern, but he simply did not care. They took yet another turn.
"You don't know any table manners. Your choice of words is similar to salt merchants of the black mountains. Those alone are enough to prove that you're from the countryside. But you also didn't feel anger when I called you a village girl. You prefer being a commoner over the nobility. Not a typical response for a girl of your age, which suggests the involvement of high-ranking nobles of some kind.
A cultivator of senior Han De's stature won't be involved with the affairs of mortals. You must have some value for him to step into the mortal affairs. It wasn't obvious at the Red Moon, but now that you are walking so close to me, I can detect a tiny drop in the air temperature. Your gender, age, disposition, and senior's interest in you all point towards a variation of an extreme yin constitution.
A body constitution of that nature is not something that lower nobles can covet. The royal family may be weak, but they aren't stupid. They kept you for their benefit after discovering you. However, in the absence of absolute power, the currents of influence can change rapidly without warning. After staying at the palace for several years you grasped an opportunity and escaped. Eventually, your path led you here.
Did I get anything wrong?"
Liang Cuifen stayed silent. The number of people on the streets gradually decreased as time went by, but she didn't notice any of it.
"Possessors of extreme constitutions can obtain anything, save for a peaceful death. Martial families, kingdoms, empires, sects, they will spare nothing to acquire someone like you.
But… Your luck is enviable, you've met a senior like Han De. Do well to cherish it."
While they were with mister Han De, Yu Xian lied through his teeth. Yet now he didn't utter anything but the truth. And that presented some problems.
The official language of the Qin Empire put tremendous emphasis on descriptiveness. A slight sound adjustment could completely change a word's meaning.
Unlike the royalty and nobles of the Qin palace, Han De used everyday vocabulary. Talking to him was unexpectedly easy. However, Yu Xian's way of speaking was extremely specific. To the point of making listeners question his sanity.
Han De wasn't from this world? Meaning, not only he wasn't from the Qin Empire, but he wasn't from the main continent either? Nor was he from any other known or unknown continent? Was he supposed to be living in the heavens?!
When they were inside the Red Moon, Yu Xian clearly lied when he used the word ‘senior’. Now he was telling the truth?! Did he just realize Han De was older than him?! And not only that, but A Senior of Han De's Stature? That level of Senior? Was he supposed to be some sort of immortal that predates the Qin Empire?!
Mortal affairs?! Mortal?!? Was everyone supposed to die tomorrow?!?!
Liang Cuifen was stuck between questioning her worldviews and questioning her ability. Could it be that Han De's power was so vast that her ability simply didn't work on him? And, most importantly...
"… Do you think mister Han De saved me because..."
As if she weren't sure of what she was asking, she couldn't even complete the sentence.
"Of course he saved you because of your constitution. Why would he save an ordinary mortal? Would you intervene if you saw two ants fighting in the wilderness?"
After a moment of pause, Yu Xian added one more.
"There are many ways to detect those with strong fates."
Liang Cuifen lowered her head in deep thought. Though she looked like a simple village girl, that was only because of her circumstances. Yu Xian wasn't the one to underestimate a talent. The twinkle in her eyes showed that she understood far more than she let on.
Liang Cuifen nearly jumped from the unhidden hostility within the stranger's voice. She had no idea how they ended up in an abandoned street with no one in sight. Reflexively she looked at Yu Xian, the blue-haired boy. But he only glanced at her with a half-smile and whispered.
"They will never let you go as long as you stay here."
There was no trace of deception in his words. Liang Cuifen involuntarily shuddered after realizing the truth. Even if she got away from the Qin Empire, there would be others that would go after her. It would be a never-ending cycle with no escape.
However, this wasn't the time to think about her future! She was ready to run at a moment's notice, but the cue to run that she waited from Yu Xian never came. Instead, he seemed to be calmly waiting for something.
Dozens of men surrounded them while they waited. The critical time for escape was gone, causing Liang Cuifen to cuss inwardly. Had she known, she would've run away herself!
She swallowed her frustration and fear. The boy had immense pride, but that pride wouldn't save him from dozens of royal guards!
However, all was not lost. Not yet. Han De had given the blue-haired boy a means to defend themselves, and the boy himself was a cultivator too, whatever the hell that meant! She still frantically looked for an escape route while trying to look normal from the outside.
"Boy, this is a matter that involves the royal family!"
A giant man with bulging muscles and a twirly mustache took a step forward. Eyes filled with disdain; he took out a token made of pure gold. Just the simple act of displaying it increased his arrogance tenfold! Liang Cuifen instantly recognized the token as the insignia of the Qin dynasty.
However, the token failed to produce any effect on Yu Xian. The blue-haired boy only silently stared at the giant man.
"Hmph! It seems you have some guts! Fine! Tell me your name, and I'll make sure to send your body back to your family in one piece!"
The giant man sneered. Suddenly his mustache started to sway, and Liang Cuifen felt an enormous weight that came from every direction. She couldn't understand what was happening and instinctively tried to resist.
Yu Xian turned to the man whose mustache was still swaying without a wind.
"You don't deserve to know who I am."
In a calm manner, Yu Xian touched Liang Cuifen's arm to lessen the pressure on her. A simple trick, since the culprit was only at the 2nd stage of Qi Condensation.
At this point Liang Cuifen was utterly confused. This boy had a stack of paper that could wound a Core Formation something. Why wasn't he using it?!
"Impertinent! You threw the kindness that I, Feng Shi, have shown you?! Hahaha..."
The giant man kept talking, making Liang Cuifen more nervous by the second. Yu Xian wasn't doing anything but letting the giant man talk! At this point, she was all but certain that she couldn't run away more than a few meters!
"... Maybe I should bring you back to the palace. The 3rd prince likes to personally teach a lesson to those that dare to oppose him!"
Though the giant man was oozing pride, Liang Cuifen couldn't register it. Her heart nearly stopped after she heard the mention of the 3rd prince. That personal lesson was something that changed her life because she learned that her parents received it once.
Yu Xian sneered but stayed silent. Liang Cuifen tried to signal him with her eyes, but she was completely ignored! Both parties stood still.
Just as Liang Cuifen couldn't endure the agonizing standoff anymore, she saw beads of sweat on the giant man's face. On the side, Yu Xian looked towards her and finally spoke. His voice was full of confidence.
"Not bad. You finally noticed."
Liang Cuifen thought there was something wrong with the situation. Yu Xian explained as his gaze returned to the giant man.
"I've seen many arrogant people throughout my life. This man, is not one of them. In fact, he could be considered reasonably cunning.
Of the 34 men that were following us, only 32 of them are here. One is observing from far away, and one completely disappeared. Three messaging birds were sent away, and four were received in the last half an hour.
Their reinforcements must be very close!..."
It seemed as if Yu Xian was enjoying the spectacle. The giant man took a step back and grabbed the hilt of his swords. Even a pin drop could cause the situation to blow up!
The royal guards that tried to capture her should still be missing according to Han De's words. Now that she thought about it, the fact that they dined on the Red Moon so openly seemed a little bit off. They were the most famous restaurant in the Qin Empire. Of course they would have connections to the royal palace! Later Han De gave Yu Xian those papers too…
Liang Cuifen's face lit up with understanding! They weren't the ones being hunted, they were the ones that were hunting! She couldn't realize this simple truth because she was so focused on escaping!
Yu Xian was the first one to break the silence. Though his expression was calm, his voice was full of disdain.
"Hmph! It seems my half-brothers are only so-so..."
A yellow piece of paper appeared on his left hand, then he grabbed Liang Cuifen with the other. There was not enough time for Liang Cuifen to register what was happening. The yellow paper flew away, and all she could hear after was muffled crashing sounds.
* * *
The situation was in control from what Han De could see. He gave another mental thumbs up to Yu Xian.
"Fairy, this matter involves someone I know, you should go back. This city is no longer safe!"
'Please stick around. Please stick around. Please stick around.'
In Han De's mind, if anyone could escape a honey trap sect unscathed, it would be a harem MC! He didn't feel any regret or remorse for potentially throwing Yu Xian under the bus.
The Immortal Kidnapper that was known as Qiao Qing gazed at Han De with her perfectly moist eyes. When she talked her voice was so pitiful that even Han De would've felt bad if he was oblivious to the situation.
"M-Mister, could… could this Qiao Qing stay with you just for a while?"
Her spiritual sense was still locked in the direction of harem S#$% and lie detector duo. That gave Han De some breathing room.
After appearing to think about her request, Han De's answer came just a little bit too quickly. He used a deliberately righteous tone to mask his eagerness underneath.
"Alright, it wouldn't be too good to leave you alone like this..."
Now that he could pass this hot potato of a kidnapper to someone else, Han De could finally calm his mind. Yu Xian was a transmigrated God-King according to his own words, and he appeared calmer and more collected at the restaurant. This MC was a tough nut to crack by conventional means. The kidnapper would probably end up knocking him out in frustration rather than succeed in seducing him. That was a premium quality risk-free delay for Han De! Well worth spending that 1 unit of gratitude that he worked so hard for!
'Didn't expect to cash in this quickly, but this is fine!'
He brought out a normal Core Formation flying sword, then gestured her to hop on. Through the Starlight's field could be expanded to allow another person to 'walk' beside him, but that required touching the said person. Naturally, Han De would never do that unless it was the last option!
Meanwhile, Wen Jiayi was internally surprised.
She saw the blue-haired boy holding a short-haired girl in his arms. Judging from both of their robes, they were involved with Han De in some way. The boy was probably the one that went through marrow cleansing in the bathtub she found before. Aside from the quality of his roots, there wasn't anything exceptional about him.
The girl though, was much more interesting. She had a once in a million years extreme yin constitution! Though she was fairly old to start cultivation, she still had her vital yin! It was almost a pity that Han De had already interacted with her. If the Wen family intervened now, the Long family could be easily offended, especially after Wen Jiayi annulled the engagement.
However, she still couldn't resist, and asked Han De to take her with him. Even if she couldn't take her away, she could still establish friendly relations now.
However, Han De's response to her request was completely out of her expectations. He… really seemed to be smitten! Wasn't she wearing her clay treasure? Didn't she have freckles? Everything about her should be screaming ordinary! Why was he so nervous to the point that he couldn't even hide his eagerness?
Wen Jiayi, a.k.a. Qiao Qing, hopped on the gaudy sword and stood behind Han De. She had to resist the urge to shake her head.
In the blink of an eye, they arrived inside the giant dust cloud that was covering the area. The crashing sounds were still present in the distance.
Han De waved his hand with gusto to conjure a basic wind spiritual spell. Just from the sounds alone, he started to have a bad feeling. After the massive dust cloud was cleared, his face dropped.
When cultivators constructed buildings, they would use materials that are fit for the purpose. Especially inside the sect, the experts wandering around the street could range from the measly Core Formation realm to the peak of the Immortal Realm. Not to mention the old monsters that are above the limit of the world itself! A wall wouldn't be a wall if any random guy from the streets could collapse it with one finger.
Of course, mortals would construct their buildings with materials at hand. And the capital of the Qin Empire was no exception. And because of that, the Core Formation level attack that Yu Xian unleashed, had far-reaching effects.
Common buildings made from earth and stone were nothing in front of a Core Formation level attack. Anything that touched the energy had vaporized, and anything that was near the energy's path was blown away. A neat little line was carved in the middle of the city, all the way up to the mountains in the distance.
Han De thought he had a fairly good grasp of Yu Xian's character. He was just now realizing the gravity of his mistake. Yu Xian wasn't just a harem MC, but a ruthless MC as well. The lives of the mortals clearly meant nothing to him.
Yu Xian was only a decoy, and Han De wanted to display him in the best light possible. That was why he and the Immortal Kidnapper were standing staying in the air. Best seats in the house, so to speak.
"They are just mere ants. No need to concern yourself with them..."
Down below Yu Xian whispered these words to Liang Cuifen. His voice didn't carry any emotions, and his face was devoid of expression. Han De knew most cultivators really did believe that. But seeing the real thing was different. Before he knew it, a response came out of his mouth.
"Even children would know to avoid stepping on an anthill."
Han De was furious, but Wen Jiayi was speechless. The details of Han De's life were presented to her by the Long family only a day ago. She knew of his disposition, but his current devilish appearance was in stark contrast to his behavior. There was an air of wrongness about him.
"This junior apologizes for his behavior, and awaits instructions from senior."
Below, Yu Xian gave a prim and proper Dao salute. He wordlessly looked at the scene, then looked back at Han De.
Han De knew Yu Xian would never take him seriously. The ego of a God-King would not allow it. This event also involved storylines of not one, but two MC's too. Yu Xian was the exiled prince 'announcing' his return, while Liang Cuifen was the future powerhouse who was about to finish her tragic backstory.
'The Immortal Kidnapper is intensely staring at the girl. I guess she'll have to say goodbye to a peaceful life after this. The man-devouring sect definitely won't let her go.'
Han De believed that at her current state the girl would choose a quiet life over becoming a cultivator. Originally, he wanted to ask the Long Ai to move her to a peaceful place on the planet to make that wish come true. That was of course only a prelude to her eventual recruitment by the Long family!
Neither Han De nor the Long family were idiots. They didn't need to lie at all, they just needed to wait for the right event, swoop in and gain 1 unit of MC for free. That delay would serve as a distancing factor for Han De and Liang Cuifen. They wouldn't need to interact with each other after she got grabbed by the Long family.
A Win-Win-Win scenario if Han De had ever seen one. The Long family would get a genius, the MC would get loads of resources, and Han De would get his 1 unit of gratitude, along with the necessary amount of distance!
But now, it was better to let the Long family directly recruit her instead. Not an ideal situation for Han De's tastes, but still a lot better than letting her go with some kidnapper. If it wasn't for the circumstances, he would have tried to hide Liang Cuifen as much as possible.
Han De diverted his attention back to Yu Xian below. He sighed as if he were really disappointed. And he truly was! Next, he fixed his demeanor back to the Profound Expert template and spoke utmost seriousness.
"Yin and Yang cannot exist without the other."
A human lie detector, an ex-God-King, and an Immortal Realm Kidnapper were watching his every more. At this point, throwing ambiguous one-liners was preferable! Let them interpret his meaning!
Han De approached the ground level with his sword and did a gentlemanly gesture at the kidnapper to get her off his sword.
"Fairy Qiao Qing, I will leave you with these two..."
Through the Starlight scripture started operating at full power. Han De used his spiritual sense to the fullest to locate any of the injured.
'F#$%, he's not even my disciple, just a random psycho MC! But I'm still cleaning up his mess!'
Thousands of compound houses were destroyed, even more were damaged. Han De's aim was to heal the heavily wounded to reduce the collateral damage as much as possible. The most grievous injuries he saw were broken bones. Probably. Han De didn't do a detailed check, he just saw mangled and crushed limbs from afar and made an assumption.
'I'm definitely going to grandmaster an MMO-grade healing scripture as soon as I get back to the sect...'
The Golden Spark's AoE mode only technically satisfied the definition. Han De needed something that could provide healing effects over an entire city! Now that he could heal himself with Light element arts, having a disgusting healing scripture only made sense!
Wen Jiayi 'watched' Han De's efforts of healing random mortals with a frown. She kept her immortal sense on him and approached the girl with extreme yin constitution, mainly to distance her from the blue-haired boy.
Blue hair couldn't be considered common, but it also couldn't be considered rare. Wen Jiayi met many people with a wide variety of hair and eye colors. Therefore she shouldn't have felt prejudice against the blue-haired boy. However, for some reason, she was getting reminded of a certain unfaithful character whenever she looked at him. Instinctually, she wanted to protect the girl.
"Are you alright?"
Liang Cuifen flinched from the touch of an unknown woman. She looked only a few years older than herself, yet her eyes seemed to hold wisdom beyond her years. A much, much uglier, and female version of Han De was the thought that came to her mind.
Wen Jiayi saw through Liang Cuifen's thoughts and inwardly smiled. The opinion of the girl was based on her disguise, naturally she wouldn't take offense over something like this.