"What did you mean when you said half-brothers?"

Once Liang Cuifen's brain restarted she remembered Yu Xian's words right away. Han De had mentioned that her circumstances weren't unrelated to his. A rather roundabout way of saying Yu Xian was actually a bastard prince! Her question was only to confirm this with her ability. She had already connected the dots.

Yu Xian glanced at the two women. The newcomer was at the 1st stage of the Qi Condensation realm. In his eyes that was the same as being a mortal. Her looks were only so-so as well. For some reason, she was holding Liang Cuifen as if to protect her from him.

'Perhaps this Han De really does prefer mortal women? This one is freckled too...'

The first time was just a coincidence. The second time involved an extreme yin constitution, so it was understandable. But now, Han De was on his 3rd mortal woman. And two of them had freckles. This was good information!

Everyone had their own tastes. Compared to what Yu Xian had seen in his previous life, this was nothing.

"It means exactly what you think it means.

… But don't get the wrong idea. The son of the concubine Quan Na was sent away after her death. He did not grow up as part of the royal family. Today, I will settle his mortal debts..."

Yu Xian's voice was devoid of emotion. It was as if he was talking about someone else. And he truly was! He couldn't bring himself to refer to the original Yu Xian's parents as his own. Separating them, treating them as if they were remnants of 'his' mortal life was the best he could do.

His words didn't contain any deception, but there was something off that Liang Cuifen couldn't pinpoint. She didn't know that some sects would cut off their mortal ties completely. The reason Yu Xian suddenly started to refer to himself in the third person completely eluded her.

Wen Jiayi on the other hand, frowned. This blue-haired boy's demeanor was eerily close to that of Yu Xian, the serial cheater. The art of the graphic novel was very basic and had no discerning features between the characters other than obvious things like hair color, facial hair, moles, or general body shape. Yet the simple existence of blue hair combined with his demeanor kept reminding her of the graphic novel character.

'Quite the coincidence. That jade slate must be affecting me more than I thought. Obviously, there is no way he is Yu Xian.'

* * *

The spiritual sense of the Immortal Kidnapper followed Han De all the way through. Thankfully, there were only 9 severely injured people in the commoners' area. Healing them was no effort at all. He purposefully didn't pay attention to the noble areas. They were rich, they could deal with it. Even if they couldn't, Han De wasn't going to risk helping some potential enemies of Yu Xian. Of course, he skipped the palace as well. They were the enemies of not one, but two MCs!

He didn't have any estimates about total deaths, but at least a few thousand compound homes were completely vaporized by the talisman. Han De couldn't help but sigh.

'At least they'll reincarnate...'

In this Xianxia universe reincarnation was real. Dying wasn't the end of the road, it was just a reset button. This was a fact of life. Mortal, cultivator, higher being... It didn't matter. They would all reincarnate in the end, as long as they still had a soul.

Except for Han De. He was banned from reincarnation through the grace of his newly acquired soul constitution. Remembering that made him frown, but he didn't dwell on it.

* * *

There was no dust to settle, everything was carried away by an ill wind right after Yu Xian's attack. It was the people that needed time to recognize what was in front of them. Once the reality hit them, wails of anguish and pain filled the background.

Liang Cuifen knew she should've felt sorry. These people were innocent. They were only living here by circumstance. Of course she should try to help them…

However, when she looked towards the palace, and saw it in ruins… She was glad. Some part of her felt liberated, while the other mourned. Not for the people of this huge city, but for her parents. Their only fault in life was to give birth to a daughter like her.

"Thank you… Yu Xian..."

Yu Xian glanced at Liang Cuifen and nodded. He was waiting for the inevitable response from the family of the original Yu Xian.

Meanwhile, Wen Jiayi was frozen.

'No, I must've been mistaken. She didn't say Yu Xian. She actually said...'

Through her perfect memory, she recalled the last few seconds.

'She actually said… "Thank you… Yu Xian…" … ???'

Wen Jiayi considered every possible explanation, and came to the conclusion that this was just a big coincidence. There must be millions, if not trillions of blue-haired youths called Yu Xian under the heavens. The universe was much bigger than one could fathom. Coincidences would happen all the time.

Except, there were no coincidences when it came to cultivators! She spoke with an uncertain tone while sending deliberately sneaky glances at the fake Yu Xian.

"I'm not from around here, but I heard the imperial family was surnamed Qin, not Yu..."

Wen Jiayi learned the name of the local imperial family exactly 15 seconds ago, when she scanned the entire city with her immortal sense.

Since she suspected there was something odd going on, of course she wouldn't ignore it! She would find the cause and solve the mystery once and for all. Who in their right mind would ignore something that could have links to a primordial artifact?

Her question to Yu Xian was an easy way to confirm his identity. The Yu Xian in the graphic novel very rarely delved into his past. Including the ones about his master and previous sect, there were exactly 13 mentions of his youth. One, in particular, was about his name.

Yu Xian, the one in the flesh, looked strangely at Wen Jiayi. He thought for a while, then answered with a half-smile.

"The name Xian was given by my mother, and Yu is the family name of my father."

One of the strange circumstances of both current and original Yu Xian was how they got their name. It was one of the reasons why Yu Xian wanted to fulfill the original's filial duties. They were both named by their mother, and both took the surname of their father.

Wen Jiayi controlled her emotions. This wasn't the time to make hasty decisions. Yu Xian's response was almost the same as the graphic novel's Yu Xian. Of course, the former was using a different language than the latter. Some of the phrasings would naturally change to fit the language!

'If he is Yu Xian, then this should be his birthplace. In the graphic novel, his birthplace was deep within the netherworld infested space...'

Naturally, there weren't any netherdemons around Wen Jiayi right now. Nor could she detect any weaknesses in the veil around the world.

The information of Yu Xian's homeworld was useless for the present. There was one scene that could, maybe, provide some spatial information. When Yu Xian and Fan Cai were descending to his homeworld, the graphic novel showed a detailed shot of the stars behind the celestial boat. Some hundred thousand, or even a million years were nothing but a blink of an eye for celestial bodies.

Wen Jiayi diverted her full attention towards the sky and even stopped monitoring Han De. Within a few seconds, she gasped. An Immortal Realm expert like her, really, audibly gasped!

There were some differences of course. Some of the brighter stars didn't exist in the graphic novel scene. Considering the state of the graphic novel Yu Xian's universe, this level of difference was to be expected. But the major constellations were all there. They were a match.

Then she remembered. Though she had learned this world’s language on a whim, she hadn’t checked the local writings. Within seconds she found a library and used her immortal sense to search through. This time, her gasp was silent, but she still gasped! Though there were some differences, the script of this world, and the one inside the graphic novel, was a match!

'I Got Betrayed by Celestials, Was Cast out From Heavens, but by Using My Peerless Blacksmith Skills I Will Get Everything Back. Celestials, Feel My Wrath! Heavens, Bow Before Me! I Am the Peerless Divine Blacksmith God!'

That was the name of the graphic novel where Yu Xian was the main character. And that main character, was now standing right in front of her. Dark lines appeared on Wen Jiayi's face. Not even the clay treasure could hide the seriousness and weight of the consequences brought by knowing the future.

As a form of entertainment, the obnoxiously named graphic novel was rather interesting. However, living in an age where disaster upon disaster struck countless realms, was far less preferable than reading about it.

'Should I just cut him open and steal his little hammer? He's just a Qi Condensation discip- No, he shouldn't have the hammer yet. It was mentioned that the hammer was from a fortuitous encounter that he had as a Transcendent Realm master...'

Another thought struck Wen Jiayi.

'What about his master?! He told Huang Shu that his master found him in his homeworld. Should I wait?'

Wen Jiayi quickly realized the paradoxical nature of her actions. Naturally, she would've wanted to exploit the graphic novel and gain the treasures that Yu Xian found. But if she did that, the scenes of Yu Xian finding treasures wouldn't happen.

What if she were to kill Yu Xian right now?

The curious part of her brain treated the idea as a very serious thought experiment. But the practical part of her brain knew there wouldn't be any benefit in killing him.

'I need to find where he ran after leaving his homeworld first if I want to snatch those treasures. In the graphic novel, Yu Xian and Fan Cai had to go across the void just to get here.'

Doubting the nature of the primordial jade rectangle never crossed Wen Jiayi's mind. The evidence was overwhelming. This wasn't the first time she heard about time-related primordial artifacts either. Up until this point she never suspected the jade slate because everything in it was so different from the universe she grew up in. At most, it was a slightly realistic but still heavily stylized story.

'The Story' was intensely focused on everything Yu Xian did. Information about the places he visited, techniques he learned, treasures he found, were inconsistent at best. Sometimes a small object would get 16 pages of explanations, sometimes an important event of the past would be brushed off with 'then they lost'.

Wen Jiayi reviewed every single piece of information from the graphic novel through her perfect memory.

'Vast regions of space surrounding this world will go through some sort of calamity. Yu Xian will join a sect called Imperium of Light, and gain the title of Jade Emperor. The graphic novel starts fifty thousand years after he left the Imperium of Light. In the 1114th chapter, Yu Xian and his sect ran to another universe because an unmentionable calamity had awakened.'

The graphic novel's name was rather suspect too.

'I Got Betrayed by Celestials, Was Cast out From Heavens, but by Using My Peerless Blacksmith Skills I Will Get Everything Back. Celestials, Feel My Wrath! Heavens, Bow Before Me! I Am the Peerless Divine Blacksmith God!'

Nothing like that ever happened, and nothing like that was ever mentioned. Maybe that was the reason why he went away? Could it be that he was cast out by some lower-level Heaven after advancing too fast?

'No point in speculating about this. Less I think about the Heavens the better.'

After thinking it over Wen Jiayi decided to cut off unreliable elements of the Wen family once and for all. They were a family that was deeply rooted in their territory. Obviously, that had to change as soon as possible if the graphic novel was prophetic in nature.

There was a newfound intensity in Wen Jiayi's energy.

* * *

'Relax. Just continue acting like a Profound Expert and delay as much as possible. The situation shouldn't be too dire. Right?'

After stealthy returning to the side of two MCs and the kidnapper, Han De realized the latter seemed preoccupied. Her spiritual sense was all around Yu Xian, but she seemed to be hesitating.

Corners of Han De's lips nearly started twitching!

'Mission F#$%&@# Accomplished!'

Considering she didn't try to seduce him immediately, Han De created a backup scenario, just in case calling her a kidnapper one was a false alarm.

'Of course... A high cultivation female expert runs away from home and takes refuge in a random lower world. Ends up encountering the MC, starts to get curious about his origins, and eventually becomes interested in him.'

So, she was either Powerful Runaway Female Lead, or Man-Devouring Immortal Kidnapper.

The potential kidnapper/runaway was still hesitating whether to envelop Yu Xian in her spiritual sense. At this point, Han De couldn't stop himself. He chuckled. Once. He immediately looked away as he fixed his expression.

Amongst the distant cries for help from the poor residents of the capital city, Han De's single chuckle stood out.

Liang Cuifen felt a chill crawling up her spine. She looked for the source of that dreadful snicker, only to see Han De, deeply gazing at the distance.

To her, Han De already had an otherworldly feeling around him due to the way he carried himself. Always calm, always in deep thought. It was as if he was unbound from the troubles of life, and the existence of the world around him was only a trivial distraction.

Of course, Liang Cuifen was self-conscious enough to realize that some of her thoughts were probably influenced by her imagination. Probably. It didn't help that Han De looked more beautiful than anything she thought was possible.

She learned to separate her opinion of a person from their visual appearance early into her childhood. Young, old, repulsive, attractive, noble, peasant, their reasons differed but in the end, everybody lied. Later she realized, the beautiful, the rich, and the distinguished, seldom told the truth. This was a side effect of her 'stay' at the Qin Palace. Reversing this bias would take years, that is if she even could notice it in the first place.

Because she had no idea of her bias, the constant bombardment of truth from Han De... was rather shocking! It was only after leaving and regaining her usual sense, her mind was able to register that fact.

And now that she saw Han De's indifferent eyes, she fully grasped that they really were worlds apart. The word 'otherworldly' couldn't even begin to describe the difference! He was almost like a different form of life!

The chill that she felt in her spine became even stronger. All her life she was taught that the empire was mighty and good. As long as citizens served, nobles ruled, and saints guided, everyone would lead fulfilling lives. Yet, those saints turned out to be demons, and Han De who looked like an enchanting devil turned out to be a saint. Almighty was weak, and weak was almighty.

Liang Cuifen made her decision at that moment.

At the same time, Han De felt a change in her. It was difficult to describe and quantify. Something started weighing on her very soul, he felt. The feeling was elusive, and after a few seconds everything seemed to return to normal. Or rather, that feeling became the new normal.

"Mister Han De. I thought about your words carefully. I wish to cultivate and-"

Han De lightly shook his head and interrupted Liang Cuifen. He naturally wanted her to cultivate and improve her strength. She was too weak and had a too valuable constitution. It was a recipe for never-ending disasters. At the same time, he didn't want to mislead her and incur future troubles for himself.

What if she became a powerhouse but suffered many calamities along the way? What if she starts to blame Han De? Her situation demanded a certain amount of groundwork from Han De, to cover all bases first!

The timing also didn't escape his attention. He decided to be more vigilant in the future and collect more data.

"Cultivation can only enhance your inherent qualities. It will not bring you safety. On the contrary, the more powerful you become, the more exposed you will be to dangers."

After a short sigh, Han De continued.

"If I told you everything else that you don't already know, you'd run from here in terror…

There is no hurry, think it over again. I will give you a method, if your answer remains the same."

Liang Cuifen didn't dare to look at Han De and only responded with a nod. In her heart, her decision didn't change. Even now Han De still told her the truth. Could he be trying to manipulate her by speaking only certain truths? Unlikely, she thought. The feeling that she got was that Han De felt he had nothing to do with her. His help was only for her benefit. Not because he was kind, but because she was too weak! Weak, weak, weak…

Yu Xian was originally focused on 'receiving his relatives', but the interaction of Han De and Liang Cuifen caused him to raise an eyebrow. He really didn't think Han De would reject the girl so readily.

'Wasn't he?... But he brought another one…? Is she also?...'


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