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*thud*

*thud*

Han De heart both Yu Xian and Liang Cuifen collapse right after teleportation.

|They will need some time to get used to this space.|

He found the situation rather odd. Despite that, he nodded, even though he didn't know what Long Ai meant.

They were underneath the shade of a giant tree, overlooking a vast valley of alien fauna. As Han De breathed, he couldn't help but notice how clean the air felt.

|You absorbed it better than I thought.|

As she spoke, Long Ai came closer and scrutinized Han De. A moment later she seemed dissatisfied and put her hand directly over Han De's dantian. Then moved to his heart. Then his forehead.

|A few more Beginning and End Heaven Warding Lilies should be ready shortly. A few centuries at most. By the third one, you should make a complete recovery, without any hidden dangers.|

Of course, hearing that, Han De's mind could focus on one thing.

'F#$%, there are hidden dangers now?!'

However, acceptance came easily, because he had already assumed there would be hidden dangers in the first place. His surprise came from Long Ai openly admitting it.

"Thank you, grandmother."

Han De's gratitude was genuine. Not only to the Long family but to Long Ai herself too. He felt he needed to convey his feelings properly this time.

Seeing his serious bow, Long Ai smiled.

|It's just a trifle. Such things need not mentioned.|

By the end of her sentence, her voice had become firm. Han De could guess what she meant, since his mother, Long Xiu, also used that tone on occasion. Long Ai was saying, if he kept showing more gratitude, it would be equivalent to treating her as an outsider.

To that, Han De could only smile and nod. Technically speaking, Long Ai was an old monster. Even if she weren't family, Han De would still do whatever she asked. Old monsters were delicate creatures! One wrong move and they could be offended in hundreds of different ways!

But Long Ai was family. And she treated Han De as family. Naturally, her definition in Han De's mind was slowly changing, the lines of 'Old Monster' were slowly becoming blurry.

'… Please don't refine me.'

Slowly. Very slowly. The lines were definitely getting blurrier! Somewhat!

|Hmm. If I keep you to myself more, Xiu-Xiu will start to get angry. I will pay you a visit later.|

Long Ai sent him away with a grin. Her great-great-grandson's intuition was unusually strong, though a bit misplaced at times!

Before Han De could ask about the items required to awaken his disciple's bloodlines he was teleported away…

"-heuk-"

… and something smashed into him at the same time. Then, an enormous crushing force made him unable to breathe.

"Xiu, stop."

The crushing sensation stayed for a while more, then slowly lessened.

In response, Han De started hugging his mother back. Long Xiu buried her head and simply hugged Han De, without uttering a single word.

An unknown amount of time later, Long Xiu finally let go and took a step back. The usual playfulness in her eyes was nowhere to be seen. Instead, they were filled with relief and joy. Han De's eyes inevitably went to her left arm. The one that was missing the last time he saw her.

Money was truly the best superpower, the best cheat of all. His mother seemed alright, but naturally, Han De wasn't alright with what happened.

"What happened?"

Long Xiu chuckled after seeing her son so concerned about her.

"Same thing that happened to you, more or less. It is over now, there is nothing to think of it."

Just as Han De had guessed, the day that leviathans attacked, his family was attacked too. He wanted to ask more, but understood that it wasn't a good memory for everyone involved.

On the side, Han Wei silently gazed at Han De with the same emotions as Long Xiu.

If this was the past, Han De would've simply nodded, because that was the limit of the cultivation idiot's behavioral pattern. Long Xiu didn't conform to traditional ideas to begin with, but Han Wei did. So did Han Shan, and the cultivation idiot.

However, at the moment, Han De didn't particularly care about keeping up the cultivation idiot's facade. Though it was awkward to admit, there was a very real chance that the cultivation idiot was his reincarnation. Did that mean he was the cultivation idiot, and the cultivation idiot was him? Han De didn't know, and he didn't really want to think about it. He had the idiot's memories, and they were far brighter than his memories from Earth. It was difficult not to have an emotional reaction to certain matters.

There was also the little fact that Han De had been purposefully treating the cultivation idiot's family as his own. Even while thinking of them, he purposefully called them 'my family, my father, my mother' every time. All to avoid creating suspicion. A small gesture, a few thoughtless words, even trivial changes in behavior, could cast a shadow of a doubt on Han De's identity. A risk, that Han De could not afford to take, no matter how small.

The culmination of all his efforts, naturally resulted in him caring more about 'his' family than he'd like to admit.

Han De walked over to his father and hugged him as if it was normal. He was a westerner from Earth, and far less reserved against physical touch, or showing affection.

Han Wei, who was used to displaying his affection as if he were a mountain, was dumbfounded by his son's sudden behavior. However, he did his best and tried to respond in kind.

After the awkward father and son reunion was over, Long Xiu immediately started her interrogation. Unlike Long Ai, who passively listened, she interrupted Han De frequently. Only after a few hours of intense questioning, was she satisfied.

Han Wei listened instead of contributing to the 'discussion'. In the end, he couldn't help but warn Han De.

"Redoing your cultivation was reckless. You can discern enough to notice that we didn't give you higher cultivation methods for a reason."

From Han Wei's perspective, neither the Primordial Void/Chaos/Whatever Dragon bloodline nor the System existed. Of course, it was natural to warn his son about reckless behavior like that. However, what he said made Han De think.

It was true, that the Starfall Scripture he was given by the Han family only had methods up to the Nascent Soul realm. In the past, Han Wei had hinted that the Starfall Scripture had higher realm methods when the cultivation idiot had asked.

However, Han De wasn't concerned about such things, because the System had methods up to Transcendent Realm for everything he had comprehended. Including the Starfall Scripture.

Han De narrowed his eyes. "Is that so. Then I think you should start telling me that reason."

Han Wei gave a sigh mixed in with a smile, while Long Xiu awkwardly averted her eyes. "This… might be better left for your grandfather to explain…"

Han De made a stop gesture with his hand. "No. I think it is better if you explained it to me right now."

'Do you think I will let this go? Really?'

Han De wasn't going to take the bait and wait for an explanation that may come too late, if ever. The more reluctant his parents were, the more he became convinced.

Han Wei saw the unmoving temper of his son. He thought for a while before speaking.

"Like your grandfather, I also have Light element roots. On your mother's side, up to your great-great-grandmother, everyone has Dark element roots. Both sides have single element roots up to the same generation. Under normal circumstances, you should've had Light or Dark element roots."

Spiritual roots were hereditary. There were complicated rules behind it, and sometimes there were exceptions. It wasn't an exact science as far as Han De knew.

"You were born with Yang roots, but you also have the Yin energies."

The first thought in Han De's mind was that why didn't that show up in the status panel. He felt like there should've been mentions of a special constitution or something.

"We stayed until your cultivation neared the Nascent Soul realm. You weren't supposed to breakthrough with the Starfall Scripture, and you weren't supposed to breakthrough on that world. That, was a miscalculation on our part…"

Han Wei's regret was obvious, and on the side Long Xiu was uncharacteristically silent.

"Yin and Yang complement each other, but they can also be in conflict if they aren't in balance. In the Starfall Mountain sect, the Light element is rare. But outside, it doesn't exist.

With its healing properties, the Light element was more suitable for you to grow up with. Then, in the Nascent Soul realm, you would slowly interact with the suppressed Yin energies inside your soul. By the time you've reached Immortal Realm, you would be able to achieve balance, and have dual Light and Dark roots."

Han De frowned. All that effort was so that he could have opposing elemental roots?

'There was that one-off line from the System…'


[7. Evolution will result in conflicting spiritual roots.]


Han De's frown grew deeper. Weren't there simpler methods to do such things? Weren't Yin-Yang constitutions a thing? With the resources his family had, surely it would've been a simpler matter to build a special constitution at an early age! This wasn't rocket science! Was there even a need for secrecy?!

'So wait, back in the sect, if I tried to use that Spiritual Seed token and selected dark element roots, would I have succeeded? Would the token work without needing a catalyst or whatever?'

"You should ask your grandfather for more details. He was the one that wrote the Starfall Scripture for you. Not even I know much about it, because the fewer know the details the better."

Han De sighed. "Is he in seclusion again?"

Seeing his father's wry smile, Han De nodded. As expected from an old monster.

'Looks like they won’t say anything else...'

Han De felt suspicious of his family's behavior. Unlike his father and mother, he could pressure his grandfather to some degree. He decided to tentatively wait for now.

"Then I'll see my disciples first and pay him a visit after. Where are they?"

* * *

"Young master!!"

Old Peng bowed deeply after seeing the young master of the Han family. He was quite emotional! For a time, the young master's situation was uncertain, and the Long family elders didn't seem to care.

Of course, Old Peng only interacted with the regular elders, and couldn't know the higher elders' opinions. Nor did he have any idea of the concept of true Long's.

"Peng."

"Yes!! Young master!!"

"I've heard you've followed the orders of my disciples, and worked in the shadows for their benefit."

Peng went down on one knee and bowed again. This was natural. Of course they would fulfill their duties, even when their young master was absent!

Seeing the square-faced gangster in decent shape, Han De smiled. If he had his lackeys with him, handling the harem MC and the human-lie-detector would've been so much smoother! Both would end up joining the Long family instead of becoming Han De's disciples!

Why the Long family? Because naturally, Han De wouldn't want to have both anywhere near his disciples. Both of them were toxic MCs in different ways! But what was done was done…

"Give me a report on my disciples first. I will look at the condition of the anomalies later."

An ornate scroll case immediately appeared in Old Peng's hands as if he anticipated this moment. It was just a report, why did it look so fancy? If Han De hadn't heard some concerning words from his mother, he wouldn't have even bothered with getting a report in the first place. He would've just went to his disciples instead.

Han De opened the case and started reading the report. Like the case itself, the report was also extraordinary, as it was clearly written by a calligraphy master. Han De would know, since the cultivation idiot took many calligraphy lessons when he was young.

In front, Old Peng seemed to be in a complex mood. Han De couldn't help but glance at him a few times. Suddenly, he had a bad premonition.


---------------------------------------------------------
Month of Reversal, Day 16.
---------------------------------------------------------

Subject: Disciple D0-000
---------------------------------------------------------

The mental condition of the Disciple D0-000 stopped deteriorating after meeting with their family. Physical condition unknown, assumed to be in close to peak form. See addendum C0-001.

Father, an exiled member of mortal dynasty W01-M52, and mother, regular mortal with unknown origins. Attempted divinations failed for both Disciple D0-000 and their parents. Details on addendums D0-000-01 and D0-000-02. Information on Disciple D0-000's sibling is on addendum D0-000-03.

No other noteworthy events happened.


Subject: Disciple D0-001
---------------------------------------------------------

Disciple D0-001 continued training with a REDACTED. Attainment of the REDACTED has reached REDACTED realm.

Disciple SA15-000 inquired about Disciple D0-001 to a REDACTED elder. More information is on file SA15-000.

No other noteworthy events happened.


Subject: Disciple D0-002
---------------------------------------------------------

The source of Disciple D0-002 ability U0-000 is unknown. Subject spent all day REDACTED a spiritual herb.

No other noteworthy events happened.

 

---------------------------------------------------------
Month of Reversal, Day 17.
---------------------------------------------------------


Subject: Disciple D0-000
---------------------------------------------------------


---------------------------------------------------------


'The F#$% is this?'

Han De remembered teaching his lackeys this format to observe anomalies and record their powers in an anonymized manner. Anonymization was just insurance, something that could allow them plausible deniability, if, or rather when, an unlikely event occurred.

Naturally, Han De never left instructions to monitor his own disciples. Unfortunately, the scroll seemed to contain nearly a month's worth of records. Han De only glanced at the dates and did not read anything else.

"When did I tell you to treat my own disciples as anomalies?"

Old Peng's smile froze. There seemed to be something wrong with the young master's tone. He seemed… a bit too calm…

"Remind me, what was the default command that I left for the treatment of my disciples?"

"One. Stay in the shadows. Two. Eliminate significant dangers with extreme force. Three. Don't interfere unless necessary. Four. Follow any and all their orders unless they contradict the second command."

Han De nodded. "It is good that you remember. I guess this is my fault. From now on, there is a fifth default command. My disciples are exempt from all other standing orders, unless otherwise specified. Destroy this scroll and all of its copies, don't try to catalog them, ever."

Old Peng silently gulped. And so did Han De.

What if Ning Bi saw this scroll in the future? Wouldn't the lack of privacy shock her? Wouldn't she get disillusioned in an instant? What if that had a cascade effect and eventually ended up forming a grudge? Unacceptable! How could Han De allow such a thing?!

Besides, Han De was a modern person and thought the lack of privacy was a grave issue by itself. Even if the records could be kept 100% hidden, he still would be against monitoring the daily lives of his disciples. It was only common sense!

Thinking of the past, Han De couldn't even find fault with his lackeys, because he emphasized recording MC's information many, many times. Regardless of their identity. The problem clearly originated from his own orders not being specific enough.

"Y-Young master…"

<Use voice transmission. Give me the important bits only.>

Old Peng gave a salute immediately. <Disciple D0-… Disciple Ning Bi received 85 engagement proposals. Disciple… Yao Qing received 74, and disciple Jin Shu received 96. Elder Long Xiu blocked all, except one. Someone named Feng Xiaoli claimed that disciple Jin Shu was already their fiancé, and sent a date for the marriage ceremony…>

While Han De was expecting his disciples to be popular, wasn't getting 255 marriage proposals a bit too much? Once he heard Jin Shu's case, he instinctively frowned.

<Is that one of the anomalies that slipped through?>

<Y-yes. Disciple Jin Shu confirmed the name. However, the situation is already solved.>

'Solved. Huh.'

Nothing was ever simple if his mother was involved. Old Peng continued as if he could read Han De's mind.

<Elder Long Xiu gave disciple Jin Shu a command token.>

'Oh… That's… That's not bad…'

Give the MC an opportunity to solve their own problems? That could work. Unfortunately, the opponent was also an MC, which made the result rather unpredictable. Still, it should be better than his lackeys clumsily moving around, right?

<… The final report is on addendum DR0-002-017>

Seeing Old Peng's proud smile, Han De got goosebumps.

'Oh no.'

---------------------------------------------------------
DR0-002-017
---------------------------------------------------------

Final report concerning event DE0-003-001. Year 14-384-1687.

Summary and timeline of events
---------------------------------------------------------

Month of Reversal, 20th day. A marriage proposal from sect HPRS-014-07416-007 concerning D0-002 was received by REDACTED.

Month of Reversal, 21st day. REDACTED approved involvement of D0-002 by giving a REDACTED. D0-002 ordered complete intelligence collection. REDACTED started acting as liaisons between REDACTED.

Month of Reversal, 31st day. D0-002 gave orders to REDACTED and REDACTED.

Month of Beginning, 1st day.

Incident report.

REDACTED wiped out 5416001 assets belonging to the sect HPRS-014-07416-007. See report HPRS-014-07416-007-46 for details.

REDACTED wiped out 313840 assets belonging to the sect HPRF-914-0021-003. See report HPRF-914-0021-003-94 for details.

Month of Beginning, 2nd day.

Incident report.

HPRS-014-07416-007 and HPRF-914-0021-003 have been banned from all HPR series associations.
HPRS-014-07416-007 and HPRF-914-0021-003 have been banned from all HPR series trading activities.

Month of Beginning, 3rd day.

Incident report.

HPRS-014-07416 and HPRF-914-0021 series have been collectively banned from all HPR series associations.
HPRS-014-07416 and HPRF-914-0021 series have been collectively banned from all HPR series trading activities.

Month of Beginning, 4th day.


---------------------------------------------------------

<... What is this?>

<Disciple Jin Shu insisted that we do not take any lives and instead use the plan she created herself.>

Han De looked at the report once again. Judging from Old Peng's expression and the way he accentuated how they didn't take any lives, it seems they had ample 'fun'.

No wonder the Old Peng was beaming ever since Han De arrived. Just a week ago he had a recharge!

'Ok, this is a bit too grandiose, but it should work as long as they didn't leave any trails...'

While the report was short and to the point, it didn't include anything concerning stealth, or the measures taken for keeping anonymity. This wasn't a good sign.

<Where is the section for measures taken for keeping our identity hidden? Didn't I specifically tell you to record everything, then alternate methods to prevent creating an MO?>

Old Peng wasn't concerned about Han De's question at all. In fact, after hearing how the disciples should be exempt from all the other rules, he was doubly sure that they did the right thing!

<By disciple Jin Shu's orders, we did not hide anything. In fact, we even-…>

'Oh no.'

<…-taught that boy a lesson personally, one by one, to teach him his place! How dare he offend the disciple of our young master!!>

Old Peng, and the other lackeys, were quite stressed inside the celestial ship. The Han family had yet to leave the Long family homeworld, and Han De was missing. Jin Shu's predicament had been a rare opportunity to… wind down.

Han De didn't even need to ask why. He knew his lackeys' tendencies. <W-where is the boy, the anomaly, right now?>

<Since the fate between them have been settled, disciple Jin Shu instructed us to let him go.>

At this point, Old Peng started showing some regret.

<We wanted to bag the boy, but the Long family people interfered and prevented us. Tsk.>

For a moment, Han De forgot to breathe.

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