Lang Hua seemed to understand what her husband was talking about, the soft smile on her face growing a bit larger. But Yin Long and his sisters had no idea what their father was talking about, curiously tilting their head while questioning.
"Is Mama pregnant again?"
"A new family member, is Papa adopting someone?"
"Has Papa been cheating and has to bring home an illegitimate child?"
Lang Meng nearly burst into a violent coughing fit from the last question, the one posed by the oldest Lang Ru. Didn't she know that jokes like that were best made when their mother wasn't around? He quickly cleared his throat and leaned forward, patting Lang Ru on the head while maintaining his normal smile.
"No, I can assure you that nothing like that has been going on. A sworn brother of mine is coming over and bringing someone with him, you'll see who it is tomorrow."
Lang Meng's smile turned a touch mysterious towards the end, but he refused to say anything more about just who would be joining their family. Yin Long and the others gave up on questioning him, returning to looking out the window and counting the number of lightning bolts that struck the earth. In this somewhat quiet manner, the hours slowly passed and night arrived, the Lang couple putting the children to sleep so that they could be well-rested for the following day.
By the time the morning sun rose over the horizon, Yin Long and his entire family had already gathered in the reception room located closest to the mansion entrance. They were all clad in dark yellow robes that were in pristine condition, the back of the robes embroidered with the emblem of the Lang clan, a wolf howling at the three majestic moons that orbited their planet.
The reception room was lined with potted flowers that filled it with a pleasant scent, a circular table made from slightly warm wood serving as the centerpiece of the room. The table was surrounded by somewhat large chairs covered in a soft layer of fur, a pot of steaming tea and still-warm pastries standing ready on the table. But even though everything was ready on the table, Yin Long and the others weren't allowed to sit down while waiting, they had to stand next to their parents. And half an hour after Yin Long and the others arrived in the room, the double doors were violently flung open as a boisterous voice and laughter rocked the room.
"Dirty Meng, you absolute bastard! Hiding within a neat reception room and waiting like a good little lad, come here you little shit!"
The people entering the room were a man, a woman, and a young girl who seemed to be only a year older than Yin Long and Lang Huo. The young girl had an adorable face and a head full of neatly combed golden hair, her blue eyes somewhat shyly looking at Yin Long and the others. The woman had a somewhat short and lithe figure, her raven-black hair was tied up into a neat ponytail that hung all the way down to her buttocks and her deep blue eyes contained a gentle light.
The man walking a step in front of these two women was the exact opposite, he was tall and had a body rippling with muscles, his golden hair so bushy and unruly that it resembled the mane of a lion. His eyes were a dark amber hue and the corners of his mouth were curved up so far that one could see his sharp canines. It was he who had laughed so loudly that it rocked the room slightly, and he was currently walking towards Lang Meng with his arms wide open. Lang Meng's own mouth curved into a wide grin as he stepped forward and embraced the man, laughing uproariously.
"Brother Heng, you loud and foul-mouthed cunt, you haven't changed a bit even after taking up your position! I'd way your mouth before I have you executed for disrespecting the clan leader! In fact, I'll have three generations of your family executed!"
It was only when his father spoke the name of the lion-haired man that Yin Long understood exactly who the man was. Tang Heng, the leader of one of the four villages that were under the control of the Lang clan. With that being the case, Yin Long looked at the woman and the girl, could these be his wife and daughter? The eyes of Yin Long and the little girl met as he looked over at them, the little girl flashing him a somewhat shy smile before hiding behind the legs of her mother. Yin Long flashed a smile in return, him and his twin sister both muttering out their thoughts at the same time.
The two twins looked at each other after muttering out the same thoughts, sharing a grin and a wink at the fact that they had come to the same conclusion. Tang Heng and Lang Meng finished their embrace and pulled away from each other, Tang Heng grinning widely while allowing his eyes to sweep over his friend. He then politely greeted Lang Hua and turned his eyes onto Yin Long and his sisters, grinning widely at them while nodding.
He swept the orange ring on his finger, a framed piece of paper appearing in his grasp. Yin Long had heard of a ring like this before, it was called an interspatial ring and it was an item that contained a compressed section of space, allowing those who attuned it with their own Qi and blood to freely take out and store items in them. They were known to be extremely useful, almost a necessity, for anyone who wanted to do any type of traveling. Tang Heng placed the framed paper on the table, gesturing towards the little girl with a sweeping motion.
"You already know why I've come here, my family has been blessed with luck just like yours, we've got another child on the way, Tang Fen is going to be a big sister! With this, we can finally fulfill the contract we signed after that drunken night, we'll be closer than ever. And looking at that little gem of yours, we can look forward to some adorable little critters in the future. Imagine, golden and silver hair as far as the eye can see, it'll be like looking into a treasury!"
Yin Long peeked at the paper, giving its contents a quick skimming out of curiosity. The writing looked very old so it was clear that it had been written long ago, but the words were still easy to understand. The contents were fairly simple, it stated that in the event that the Tang family ever got two children, they would keep one as their own heir and would betroth the other one to the future leader of the Lang clan.
This was clearly written before they found out that Lang Meng and Lang Hua seemed to be unable to get children, but they had clearly saved the contract even after the truth came to light. Just from this alone one could tell that Tang Heng had a strong trust in Lang Meng, firmly believing that he would one day bring about an heir to the Lang clan. And time proved his faith correct, Lang Meng hadn't brought about just one heir, but an entire three. And one of those three heirs was even a boy, he would be the perfect match for Tang Heng's daughter.
The little girl, Tang Fen, clearly understood what they were talking about, bashfully peeking out from behind her mother's legs and looking at Yin Long with a slight blush. Yin Long was little more than a young child so he had yet to have many interactions with the opposite sex other than his sisters, so seeing that blushing smile, he couldn't help but respond with a wide grin and a slight blush of his own.
Lang Meng and Lang Hua didn't look the least bit surprised by Tang Heng's proclamation so they had clearly known about it ahead of time. Lang Meng picked up the framed piece of paper, which turned into a faint light that vanished into the purple ring on his right hand, nodding his head with a grin while placing his head on Yin Long's head and ruffling his hair.
"You hear that you brat? Little Fen is part of our family from this day on, so if I hear that you've been bullying here then I'll duke it out with you worse than Uncle Xiang ever can. Now come, let's show her to the room she'll be using, we also gotta show her around the area."
Tang Heng laughed loudly and took the lead in heading for the door, the two families leaving the room together and making their way through the mansion. But as they slowly made their way around while explaining the various rooms, Yin Long quietly, or so he thought at least, snuck up to Tang Fen, who was lagging a bit behind her mother and father.
He grabbed her hand and placed a finger in front of his mouth to gesture that she should remain quiet. She gave a very small nod of her head, Yin Long doing his best to tiptoe away without being discovered. As his twin sister, Lang Huo had stuck close to him, grabbing onto Tang Fen's other hand and mimicking Yin Long, the three people sneaking away from the group. Lang Ru glanced at the three departing children, but the voice of her father stopped her from doing anything.
"Just let them go, it's a good way for them to get closer."
Yin Long, Lang Huo, and Tang Fen quietly snuck away from the others, Yin Long and Lang Huo letting out sneaky laughters once they rounded a corner and felt that they had escaped. Yin Long winked at Tang Fen, prodding her with his elbow while continuing to laugh sneakily, Lang Huo swiftly mimicking him.
"Hehe, see? They didn't even notice that we snuck away. Come, come, let me show you to the best places!"
"Come, come, we have to show you the fun places!"
Yin Long and Lang Huo quickly dragged the still rather bashful and shy Tang Fen out of the mansion and towards the forest around it. Yin Long liked feeling the soil beneath his feet so he took off his shoes and socks the moment they left the mansion, storing them safely next to the entrance. Neither Yin Long or his twin sister had ever gotten to leave the mansion grounds so even though they said that they would show her the best places they could in fact only show her the area around the mansion. As a young child, Yin Long, of course, had some desire to show off, especially now that his twin sister was following along, so the first place they went to was the edge of the foggy area where Bai Xiang and his wife resided.
"This is the forbidden area of our clan, Uncle Xiang and Aunty Ru live in there and only those they allow to can pass through this fog. I'm the only one in the clan that can enter this fog as I please, I'm also the only one who gets trained by Uncle Xiang!"
Tang Fen had clearly heard the rumors that had spread about Bai Xiang and his wife, her eyes nearly became as wide as saucers as she looked at Yin Long, her mouth hanging open in an 0-shape. But wherever there was someone willing to brag, there was someone willing to put them down, and in this case, the betrayal came from Yin Long's own twin sister.
"Bleh, what training? All you do is go in there and get beaten down. I, however, have already reached the 1st Mortal Door and can beat you easily!"
Yin Long shot Lang Huo a quick glare, his mouth twisting slightly as he stuck his tongue out at her.
"Bleh, you're just a braggart who only knows how to rely on your cultivation."
Yin Long didn't pay the slightest bit of attention to the hypocrisy in his words, but it wasn't lost on Tang Fen, who couldn't stop herself from letting out a giggle. Lang Huo stuck her tongue out at Yin Long in a victorious manner, taking the lead in dragging Tang Fen to the next place they had to show her. The place they took her was a somewhat bent and gnarly tree that actually stretched almost 100 meters into the sky, the crown high above them filled with large pears that were nearly the size of pineapples. Lang Huo pointed up at the pears, standing up on her tiptoes as if she wanted to show just how tall the tree was.
"This is the biggest fruit tree in the entire orchard, it also has the best and juiciest pears! Big Yin, can you please get one for her?"
Lang Huo looked at Yin Long with the most adorable puppy eyes she could muster, puckering her lips and clasping her hands in a pleading gesture at the same time. Yin Long had just been shot down by Ling Huo, so his stubborn and still childish nature forbade him from backing down here so he beat his chest with his fist.
"Of course, climbing a tiny tree like this is no problem, and it would be a big shame if Little...Big? Fen didn't get to taste the great pears we have to offer."
Yin Long was a touch uncertain as he spoke, should he refer to Tang Fen as older or younger? He temporarily cast the question aside and started climbing the tree, the gnarly bark had plenty of ridges he could grab onto so it was more than easy to climb the twisting tree. He easily reached the crown of the tree and the pears, but then he faced a slight problem, he had no way of plucking the pears.
The stems of the pears were as thick as a grown man's finger, they had to be to support the weight of the pears. He couldn't snap off such a stem with just one hand, nor could he take both hands off of the tree, otherwise he would most likely fall. He racked his brain while stretching out his left hand, pointing his finger at the stem while muttering incessantly to himself.
"It's not wind, not wind he says. Then what could it be if not wind? Gah, Grampa Xiang you old coot, you have to explain things better! Not wind, not wind, don't focus on the wind."
Yin Long was trying to replicate what he did during training, creating a sword out of nothing. He thought it was made out of wind back then, but Bai Xiang had immediately rejected that notion. But Yin Long still felt that he had been on to something with the wind, only giving up on it after it continuously failed him. So right now he was doing his best to not focus on the wind, his concentration and senses mindlessly stretching out as if he wanted to take in the entire area around him, searching for whatever it was that might have become his sword.
And with his senses aimlessly expanding, a change actually did occur at the tip of his finger. He felt something akin to wind gathering in front of his finger, a small transparent sword the size of his little finger materializing and slicing through the stem of the pear. He quickly stretched out his hand and caught the pear, the sword that had appeared in front of his finger vanishing. But even though the sword vanished, a wide grin hung on Yin Long's face as he had to stop himself from jumping around in joy.
"Success! Hehehe, it worked, it worked! Take that, Grampa Xiang, I'll use this to catch you off guard so that I can beat you as lumpy as you beat me!"
While snickering about these thoughts, Yin Long slowly made his way down the tree with the bounty in hand. He let go of the tree and dropped the last two meters, landing stably in front of Tang Fen and presenting the pear with a grin.
"Tadah! Let's eat!"
Yin Long split the pear into three large pieces by tearing it apart with his bare hands. The fact that he might have become able to freely create that small sword was his own little secret, the hidden weapon he would use against Bai Xiang, so he wanted to keep it as hidden as possible. Tang Fen and Lang Huo accepted their portions of the pear, the three children enjoying the juicy fruit that signaled the start of their life together.