[First Seed of the Iridescent Path Orchid]
[Belongs to an orchid species created by Tao approximately 0.02749 cycles ago. Can be used to create a separate space. Will cause endless mutations when absorbed.]
[Notes: A seed from a previous cycle.]

Han De tried his best to try his dumbfounded expression, but there was a limit to everything. Song Nuan casually chuckled.

|I had a few lying around forever. This is the last one. Make sure you never swallow it. Even I don't dare to.|

Han De hesitated. Normally he would have to reject and let the gift giver insist. After going back on forth a few times he would end up accepting it, to give face to the gift giver. A lower realm disciple couldn't simply accept the goodwill of anyone.

But of course, Han De couldn't afford to perform that dance right now. This was an item related to his disciples, it was worth offending an old monster. He looked at Song Nuan with a serious expression and gave a polite nod.

"Thank you."

Song Nuan's eyes turned into crescent moons. She was glad that Han De accepted her gift right away. As expected from a sword cultivator!

Han De closed the box and carefully put it inside his storage ring. Two-thirds of the ingredients were acquired. Only the flame from the previous cycle remained.

'Wait, the description says a seed from _A_ previous cycle, and the bloodline wants a seed from _THE_ previous cycle for awakening…'

Would it work? Until he tried to awaken Jin Shu's bloodline, there was no way to know. A difference of 3 letters… could make a difference when it came to the System.

Of course, Han De decisively ignored the mention of Tao. In these matters, ignorance was bliss. If he didn't know, he could maintain plausible deniability!

Meanwhile, Song Nuan was trying to come up with a better gift. Usually condensing her sword intent was enough for someone from the 1st step. But that was useless because Han De didn't need any guidance. He was already at the stage of forging his own path.

After considering some of the primordial treasures in her possession, she gave up. Han De had accepted her gift without a fuss and already stopped being an outsider from her perspective. She could give him another gift anytime she wanted. There was no need to rush, or to calculate.

Since she had already decided, she might as well help him with a smaller matter.

|Your senses are out of balance, aren't they? Drink this wine. It will allow you to get used to them quickly.|

She took out a jade flask from her sleeve and sent it towards Han De, who instinctively status-checked it.

[Million Years Old Golden Decay Rice Wine]
[A failed product brewed by Song Nuan. Created by refining golden rice grown with Song Nuan's Wood Qi and fermenting them with the corpses of 128 types of plant-based demons.]
[Notes: Safe for consumption for Late-Stage Core Formation realm experts and up. Recommended dosage is 15ml per kg of body weight divided by cultivation level index. Has no effect on current cultivation base. Approximately 999140.00474 years old.]

After reading the description, Han De couldn't help but stare at Song Nuan. Rarely would the System deign to include a person's name in the description of an item. And Song Nuan's name was right there.


|Heh. If I told to how long I've been brewing this wine for, you would never believe it.|

'She… did give me the seed…'

Song Nuan was clearly fond of casual behavior. Her speech patterns, her body language all pointed towards that direction. She was also showing clear favor towards Han De. Which made it difficult for him to refuse her.

In the end, Han De didn't want to be rude.

'If I have to taste the corpses of plant-based demons for the seed of a previous cycle, so be it!'

He conjured a pair of abstract gothic wine goblets. If he was going to drink corpse juice, by the gods he was going to do it in chuuni style!

Song Nuan raised her eyebrows upon seeing the handiwork of the Wandering Mirage scripture. Even before Han De opened the jade flask, she took one of the goblets and inspected it upside down.

The faint smell of alcohol radiated from the wine as he poured. There were hints of other scents too, but remarkably, that was all Han De could detect. Was there something wrong with his Nascent Soul sense of smell?

'No, this is a good thing. I don't want to smell 128 varieties of corpses!'

From far away, Han De heard the mellow voice of the announcer.

|Entering, the 4th heir of the Long family, high elder of the Long family, the Ruler of Celestials, the Annihilator of the Sacred Order, the Disaster of the Immaculate Emptiness Realms, the Slayer of the Fateless, the Inheritor, the Destroyer, the Undefeated, and the One that Surpassed the Will of the Heavens, Long Xiu.

Entering, the 2nd successor of the Han dynasty, the last born of the Origin Light Realms, the Destroyer of the Luminous Heavens, the Bane of the Weeping Star Realms, the Conqueror, the Guardian, the Relentless, Husband of Long Xiu, and the One Chosen by the Heavens, Han Wei.|

'What? Destroyer of Luminous Heavens? Heavens?! When did that happen?'

A certain amount of embellishment was to be expected in social events like this one. Han De ignored the announcement and raised his goblet towards Song Nuan. The latter watched Han De's motions curiosity.

Unlike the regular and spiritual food Han De tasted after his evolution, Song Nuan's wine didn't have an overwhelming taste of any kind. He could detect dozens of different ingredients, but because the number of them was so high, his sense of taste wasn't monopolized by any single one of them.

Han De stared at the wine with surprise.

"… This is… pretty good!"

Song Nuan watched Han De take few more consecutive sips. It seemed as if he was getting pleasantly surprised each time. Song Nuan roared!

|Good! Very Good!!|

Han De's mind immediately went into overdrive to figure out how he offended this old monster! But he froze once her saw Song Nuan was smiling from ear to ear.

'Are you… serious?'

Han De couldn't tell if she was joking or not. Was she offended or not?

|You have good taste! I could only give you this wine because of your cultivation. Normally anyone below the 3rd step couldn't withstand a single drop.|

It didn't seem like she was joking.

|It might be from a failed batch, but it is still the wine I brewed myself!|

Han De could say nothing after seeing how Song Nuan raised her chest with pride.

Neither the cultivation idiot, nor himself on Earth had experience in wine tasting. He simply didn't have anything to compare. Though there was an aftertaste of decay, the wine was… genuinely nice.

Considering how his senses became so sensitive after his evolution, it made sense that higher realm masters would be extremely fussy eaters. If Han De could taste the 'impurities' within the food, he would also be reluctant to eat anything.

"If this is a failed batch, I can't even imagine the successful one."

Since his praise was genuine, Han De didn't hold back. He was starting to understand the character of Song Nuan. She was still a bit too unpredictable, but it was clear she meant well.

Song Nuan looked extremely pleased as she gulped down the wine.

Suddenly, Long Xiu's relaxed voice came from the side.

"Aunt Nuan."

Song Nuan's eyes shone brilliantly.

|Little Xiu, how have you been? Come on, sit down. I haven't seen you since forever!|

'Oh, so she wasn't some random candy-giving stranger. That's good.'

Unlike Long Xiu, Han Wei, who came together with her, gave a polite bow. His demeanor was the same as Han De remembered, but today he seemed more dignified.


"Greetings lady Song Nuan."


|So you are Han Wei. Not bad. Sit.|

Corners of Han Wei's lips curled upwards. At that moment, Han De understood why there were so many rumors about his father's previous marriage candidates. Ceremonial robes gave him the authority of a king, but the underlying hunk aura was still oozing out.

Of course, Han Wei couldn't know his son's thoughts. He was only expressing his appreciation towards Song Nuan, the greatest sword master since time immemorial. Her legends were known even in the original home of the Han dynasty. Sitting at the same table wasn't an ordinary event. Even his father Han Shan would be honored.

Han De greeted his parents in an official manner. They were, after all, surrounded by many higher beings. It wouldn't be good to forgo the etiquette towards his family.

Once the pleasantries were out of the way Long Xiu spoke towards Song Nuan.

"I was afraid aunt wouldn't join us today."

Song Nuan wasn't on the guest list, nor was she announced. In her typical fashion, she came and went as she pleased.

|I heard your son was a sword cultivator, I thought should take a look.|

Both Long Xiu and Han Wei became interested at once. Of course, Song Nuan was only making conversation. If there was a reason for her attendance today, that would be because of fear. Not of Long Ai, but of 'her'.

|He is much better than my disciples. If those rascals had half of his talent they would've had far easier lives.|

Long Xiu glanced over at Han De, who was drinking a questionable liquid from a foreign cup. As long as it wasn't about swords, Song Nuan gave compliments easily and frequently. She could even praise a child for tripping on a flat surface.

When it came to swords though, Long Xiu never heard her praise anyone. If asked, her mother Long Juan would also give the same answer. Sword was the life path of Song Nuan, she would never settle for anything below her impossible standards.

Both Han Wei and Long Xiu were filled with pride. Though they were a bit startled at the same time. How did Han De manage to impress Song Nuan to this degree? They thought they knew everything about him, but now it was as if they didn't know anything.

Song Nuan's praise was of course genuine. She could see why Long Ai would dote on the boy, and why she would even ask for a seed personally. Han De's cultivation and sword art were too abnormal. But the strangest one was his fate. Song Nuan couldn't detect his ripples no matter how hard she tried.

Other 'higher beings' in the banquet would never dare, but Song Nuan gave it her all! She really tried!

How could a mere Nascent Soul disciple hide his past, present, and future from her? That was impossible. If Long Ai protected him, she would've known. Even if 'she' protected him, Song Nuan would've known.

Someone else may have the thought of cracking Han De open to figure out the reason, but for Song Nuan, this mystery only added to his charm. The boy reminded her of Long Ai in their youth. His temperament wasn't ordinary. Just like Long Ai's.

Han De accepted the praise by smiling and raising his goblet. Song Nuan seemed to be the type that liked to give and receive praises. It wouldn't be surprising if she would take offense if Han De acted humbly all of a sudden.

As if to confirm his guess, Song Nuan gave an affirmative nod at him.

'This is going pretty good. There were no random arrogant elders, no challengers, no mention of the d-word anywhere...'

Han De was pleased with how the banquet was turning out. His luck was truly working overtime today. It felt as if nothing could go wrong!

'…Wait. No. That wasn't flag. No way. That doesn't count!'

A few seconds later he was reminded of the fact that he wasn't attending the banquet alone. His disciples were attending too, and they were placed at one lower tier.

Three heaven-defying beauties that received hundreds of marriage proposals were attending the banquet together. What could possibly go wrong?

'Relax. Peng is cooperating with the Long family. Who would dare to provoke them?...'

What were the chances of arrogant young masters hitting on his disciples?

"Excuse me, I will be going to check up on my disciples."

|Do they cultivate sword like you?|

"No, none of them do."

|Tsk… Go, go.|

It seemed as if Song Nuan was already expecting this answer. Han De left without following the proper etiquette and made a mental note not to turn this behavior into a new habit. He couldn't let Song Nuan's easygoing attitude bring him trouble in the future!


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