Long Ruolan stared blankly at her great-grandson.
Did this punk… just threatened her?
It was such a bizarre thought, Long Ruolan really couldn’t believe it!
Yet Han De was calmly meeting her gaze, as if he really believed his disappointment was a deterrent in and of itself.
Was he alright? Long Ruolan inspected his body in an instant found nothing wrong. His soul still had vast amounts of restorative energy, but there were no markers for madness anywhere.
Oddly enough, her intuition was somehow warning her. Before she attempted something rash, she should look at him with her true body. Unfortunately, this purposefully weak clone was cut off from her true body due to an annoying void being. She had to wait until Long Ai decided to clear the obstacle.
Han De was also the cause of that situation, albeit indirectly.
In truth, Long Ruolan really couldn’t understand why he didn’t like her. Wen Jiayi would be a rare breed at the height of the primordial times. No one could come close to her qualifications in the last few dozen cycles! Today, she was simply unequaled. Was he throwing a tantrum because they calculated against him? Was he really going to reject a perfect candidate just because of that?
Of course, Long Ruolan couldn’t allow something like that. With Wen Jiayi’s unique roots, and Han De’s yet-to-be-crafted constitution, their descendent would certainly fit the criteria of that useless Yin-Yang Gate.
Long Ruolan noticed how Han De paid special attention to giving face, then sent a voice transmission to him.
<|This was an arrangement made personally by Long Ai…|>
Long Ruolan was the one that managed it from start to finish.
<|… And her word cannot be taken back…|>
Long Ai never really paid any attention to those details and would frequently go back over her word.
<|… But you are correct. An arrangement of this nature needs your consent...|>
If Han De were to refuse her offer now, there was another backup plan. But if that were to fail too, the third option was to use strong aphrodisiacs on both of them.
<|… We may be able to find an opportunity for annulment in the next few thousand years, but that will come with a significant cost…|>
Long Ruolan couldn’t care less about this lesser reality. Except for the Long family, everything here was a means to an end.
<|… While we wait for an opportunity, why not evaluate Wen Jiayi? If your decision doesn’t change, we can proceed as planned.|>
While waiting for Han De’s answer, Long Ruolan calculated the time it would take to produce a descendent through aphrodisiacs.
If Han De were to use their arts, a considerable amount of time could be shaved off. Perhaps if she could find a way to make him practice…
Han De expected some resistance. And an evaluation period was his first guess. They were using the excuse of Long Ai’s face to put him and Wen Jiayi together. Regardless of their intent, he still needed to give face to Long Ai one way or another.
‘This should be their gentle method. If they really want this alliance, they might resort to forceful methods too.
I can’t be too greedy, they are family, and Ning Bi needs a flame of the previous cycle…’
Han De pushed down his concern and anxiety as much as he could.
A few thousand years of trial phase was an acceptable compromise. Of course, there was already a very real chance of Han De not surviving those ‘few thousand’ years. Even a single thousand years was basically forever! How could he survive that long?
In any case, he was confident he could annul the engagement long before hitting that end line. If he couldn’t, that would be a problem for future Han De.
Naturally, mentioning such a long timeframe wasn’t an accident, but a basic anchoring technique from a paper salesman. Who would’ve thought Long Ruolan would so readily accept that? Old monsters really had a completely different view of time! He made a mental note to increase his baseline to a few hundred thousand years.
<Thank you, great-grandmother. I will follow your arrangements.>
Long Ruolan didn’t need to think to know what was going on. Just as she expected, Han De was going take the matter to his own hand and annul the engagement by himself.
She decided that the moment Long Ai finished the creation of Han De’s constitution, she would bring out the aphrodisiacs. It was quite unfortunate he needed to ascend to the Immortal Realm first.
Han De had no idea of his great-grandmother’s thoughts, he only saw her nod in response.
‘Now all I need to do is to figure out what makes Wen Jiayi tick. Then, I can adjust everything until we both want to annul the engagement. Giving face wouldn’t be that hard in that environment…’
What if Wen Jiayi really were perfect? Naturally, Han De would still annul the engagement without a heartbeat. Nobody was perfect. If they looked perfect, there would surely be something extremely wrong underneath!
What if she really were the ideal wife? Naturally, Han De would still annul the engagement. Without a heartbeat! An ideal wife? From a Xianxia princess? With those titles?? Han De refused to believe something like that would ever happen. Besides, he didn’t subscribe to the concept of ideal-Xianxia-wife anyway.
As if she read his mind, Wen Jiayi smiled at Han De and served food to his plate. Her effortless and graceful motions only served to emphasize her exotic features. The simple sight of her serving food became a mesmerizing event.
<Don’t… Don’t do that.>
Wen Jiayi adjusted her expression to ‘reluctantly acquiesce'. Acting like an obedient wife was a matter of testing waters. Unexpectedly, Han De didn’t seem to like that act. But his heart rate did accelerate before returning to normal a moment later. Wen Jiayi interpreted that as him being fascinated by her beauty.
Using all her physical senses to observe Han De was a little tiring, but it was working well all things considered. She would have a much easier time if she could envelop him in her spiritual sense, truly a shame that Long’s would consider such as act as courting death! At least she could still hear his heartbeat and notice his faint frown just fine.
Han De felt a massive power appear from behind, and reflexively looked towards the source. Finally, Long Ai had arrived.
Everyone, from Long Ruolan to the random higher being guests, everyone stood up and bowed. The hall felt like it was charged with invisible energy, stirring the blood of all that was inside.
Even without the Reality Sense, Han De could see the difference between Long Ai and the other higher beings. Despite her expressionless face, the temperament she displayed was unique. It was as if she was a different type of being altogether.
When she spoke, Han De felt that distinct feeling she exuded took a deliberate step back. Perhaps it wasn’t time to let the monster loose. Not yet, at least.
|Our beloved great-granddaughter has returned.|
Han De heard his mother’s clear voice.
“Long Xiu greets great-grandmother.”
|En. You have done well. Where is your son?|
This was Han De’s cue. These lines were written in Old Peng’s report and seemed to have some traditional significance.
“Han De greets great-great-grandmother.”
Long Ai’s gaze evaluated Han De for a moment.
|Your orders, matriarch.|
|Confer little De the name of Long. From this point, he is both Han De, and Long De.|
That last line from Long Ai wasn’t in the script, but thanks to Long Ruolan mentioning it before, Han De wasn’t surprised. The audience bowed once more, but this time, it was towards him.
Hundreds of higher beings bowing towards him raised Han De’s evaluation of the Long family. This was beyond simple definitions like ‘not simple’ or ‘not ordinary’. Han De felt something was wrong, but he couldn’t afford to get distracted at that moment.
Long Ai nodded in approval, then continued with a cold voice.
|Where is Long Juan?|
|The granddaughter is here.|
Thanks to Old Peng, Han De had a rough timeline of events within the banquet. After announcing Long Xiu’s return and acknowledging the presence of Han De, the banquet should’ve starter proper. But now they were completely off the script.
As he kept observing, Han De thought Long Ruolan was secretly annoyed. Though he didn’t know how he arrived at that conclusion.
Meanwhile, Long Ai looked at Long Juan, then back at the banquet.
|Do we have no eyes?|
Long Juan seemed to be trembling slightly. She… seemed to be excited!
|Turns out there were some that did not put my Long family in their eyes. Juan!|
|Your orders, matriarch.|
|Those that refused my goodwill, they don’t need to exist anymore.|
While Han De was puzzled, the people that stayed on the lower tiers of the banquet collectively sucked a cold breath. They couldn’t see inside the palace but could hear Long Ai’s voice.
Some factions opted to stay neutral in the conflict between the Long and Shen families. Long Ai’s words were a declaration of war. Of course, these were the thoughts of the lower tiers, of those that were not qualified to know.
Among the higher beings of the first tier, Long Ai’s words meant extermination, not war.
The hidden message beneath was that the Shen family had crossed a line that should not have been crossed. Anyone siding with them would be wiped out in the same manner, while the Shen’s themselves would be left for the new generation to serve as a steppingstone.
The timing of the incident, coupled with the bestowment of the Long name, made it clear that this important new generation was Long De. After that, making a connection between Long De the Slayer of Shen, and the Shen family heir Shen Xing’s death was an obvious matter.
For the higher beings, this was a safe way to assess the power of Long’s. All they needed was to stay on the sidelines and watch the brawl of dragons and gods. (TL Note: Long and Shen mean dragon and god respectively. I left it as it is here because it felt more fitting.)
After Long Ai restrained her mood, higher beings started to come up one by one to pay their respects. Han De, and Wen Jiayi along with him, had to wait until the last few. The later one paid respects, the more important they were.
This time, Long Ai followed the script. Han De and Wen Jiayi only made a silent traditional greeting. Long Ai acknowledged them, and their part was over.
Once they were back at their seats, Wen Jiayi thought it was a good time to ask.
<Why did you kill Shen Xing?>
Han De looked toward Wen Jiayi with a frown. Shen Xing, or rather, the cockroach, was a reincarnated MC. The question from Wen Jiayi made him think about whether they had a connection. It was easy to imagine a scenario where the cockroach’s previous incarnation had contact with Wen Jiayi. If that were the case, it would be better to take out Wen Jiayi here and now, rather than wait for the annulment later!
Patience for the cockroach’s associates, Han De had none left!
<I didn’t like the way he looked at my disciple.>
As always, panic, was an ever-present voice, lurking within Han De’s mind. Waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike.
The cold glint in Han De’s eyes caught Wen Jiayi off guard. She also noticed a subtle scent, a scent so elusive she almost doubted her senses.
Han De’s voice and expression became more severe with each word.
<If he were here right now, I would do the same thing, only more thoroughly this time.>
In Wen Jiayi’s mind, there was no way Han De wouldn’t know that she was once engaged to Shen Xing. She knew almost everything about him, naturally, he would know many things about her! Naturally…
This declaration from Han De, along with the killing intent radiating from his body…
<For what reason are you asking about him?>
She had met many people that became possessive over nothing. A few words, a weird coincidence, sometimes even staying silent at the wrong time, was enough to turn people into beasts. A few times she ended up having to wipe out their factions, and families! This was another personal taboo of Wen Jiayi, a big one.
This time though, surprisingly, Wen Jiayi didn’t dislike it.
It wasn’t entirely the other party’s fault this time either. Wen Jiayi was asking about her former fiancé, to her current fiancé. Even if Shen Xing was her fiancé in name only, even if they never met, even if she wanted to kill Shen Xing, the title remained. Han De’s reaction was not only understandable, but even…
‘Why am I justifying his actions?’ thought Wen Jiayi. Making excuses for someone else wasn’t like her!
The surrounding temperature dropped even further. Upon seeing Han De’s dangerous stare, she smiled as she whispered.
“I wanted to kill him myself, but this isn’t bad either.”
Once Han De processed what he heard, and noticed her sweet smile, he barely held back his gulp.
‘F#$%! Were we bonding over murder?!’
This woman was classified as both violent and unstable by the Long Xiu. How could Han De forget that?
‘This won’t work! I’m getting too jumpy! If I make a wrong move at the wrong time that’ll be the end of me…’
In hindsight, just because she asked about Shen Xing, didn’t mean she was acquainted with him. One of Han De’s titles was the Slayer of Shen. With so many big brains inside the hall, someone had to make the connection.
Han De calmed himself down, and gave an offhand comment at Wen Jiayi.
<So it’s like that…>
Wen Jiayi chuckled, then kept eyeing Han De. Maybe his handsome face really was affecting her.
* * *
Far away from Han De and Wen Jiayi’s perspective, Song Nuan shook her head as she sent a voice transmission to Long Ai.
<|It doesn’t seem like she will survive that Long. Kekeke…|>
Silence from Long Ai made her feel even more triumphant.
<|Maybe you won’t even need a descendent anyway. That breath from him, wasn’t that how you described it?|>
All higher beings inside the Long family world had felt it. Where they shuddered and pondered, Song Nuan and Long Ai understood.
Long Ai responded after thinking about Han De’s stand-off with the Li family princess.
<|No, this is much, much weaker.|>
Song Nuan’s retort was immediate. <|Sophistry!|>
<|At least now I know why ‘she’ took interest in him…|>
Song Nuan stopped drinking and placed the illusory goblet on her side. Long Ai understood her silent question.
<|’She’ posed as Long De’s personal immortal chef.|>
<|They might even have a physical relationship.|>
Song Nuan started to regret everything.