The apprehension of the man with the knife should have been the end of the situation. If things went according to the plans of the hidden perpetrators then the knife-wielding man and the one responsible for taking advantage of the confusion would both quietly disappear whether they failed or succeeded. They would get into a scuffle with some guards and would die as a result, leaving behind as few traces as possible. But those scheming behind the scenes failed to account for one thing, the furious wrath of a lioness and her mate.
Five of the guards that had escorted Yin Long and the others surrounded the burly man with the knife and the other two quietly went after the man who got stabbed by Yin Long. The five guards slowly made their way closer to the burly man, all of them holding their axes ready for the moment the burly man made even the slightest movement so that they could cut him down. But then, despite there not being a single cloud in the sky, the sound of thunder shook the entire plaza, a furious roar echoing out along with it.
The black-haired and green-eyed Lang Hua arrived directly in front of the burly man, crashing down from the sky like a bolt of lightning, her hair dancing wildly as it crackled with violet lightning. The sheer heat of the lightning crackling around her was all directed straight at the man, his face instantly getting horribly scarred, a crisscrossing pattern of lightning bolts ending up seared into his flesh. Lang Hua's finger flickered slightly due to how fast it moved, the man's right arm severing at the shoulder and falling to the ground, both the stump and the end of the arm scorched so that not even a drop of blood could spill.
Lang Hua's right arm then stretched out and grasped onto his throat, her hand exerting so much force that her knuckles turned white. She and her husband had received a report from one of their personal spies, one that not even the clan knew of, about exactly what had taken place here, resulting in both of them rushing over at full speed. With her hand on the man's throat, it took all of her power to hold herself back from killing him, from crushing or roasting his throat.
Her children were the dearest thing in the world to Lang Hua, a miracle she had waited almost 4000 years for, anyone who dared harm this miracle deserved death. But she had to keep him alive for now, she had to question him first, she could still kill him after getting all the answers she was looking for.
She turned her body in a swift movement while still holding onto the man's throat, quickly rushing over to Yin Long and the others to make sure that they were fine. The man's right arm was severed and his left was bent in an unnatural fashion, but she was still a bit worried so she flooded his head with lightning and overloaded his brain, temporarily knocking him unconscious. She then quickly swept her gaze over the children, her pupils trembling fiercely when her gaze landed on Yin Long's right hand.
"Little Yin, did he hurt your hand? You have to tell Mama if he hurt you, okay?"
Lang Hua quickly crouched down and used her other hand to grab onto Yin Long's hand, pulling it closer to inspect it. Only now did Yin Long realize that he had been a bit careless when stabbing the other man, a bit of blood had spurted out from the wound and landed on his hand without him noticing it. Yin Long's mind raced for a short moment as he came up with an excuse, using his other hand to wipe away the blood while his mother was watching.
"Don't worry, Mama, it's not my blood. See? He never got close to me so it must have sprayed on me when Little Huo knocked him flying with her rhino-like tackle."
Lang Hua wasn't completely convinced, wiping Yin Long's hand multiple times to make sure that he really wasn't wounded. She even gave the rest of his body a quick check, making sure that his robe didn't have any blood stains or even the slightest tear in it. Only after checking his entire body and then checking the three other children did she let out a soft sigh of relief, dropping the unconscious man and wrapping her arms around the children.
"It must have been scary, but it's all okay now, you all did well. Your father will come soon, we'll head back to the mansion together then."
While Lang Hua was dealing with the burly man and making sure that the children were fine, the tanned and somewhat thinner man that had been stabbed by Yin Long was rapidly rushing away from the market. He knew that there was definitely someone after him to kill him right now, and since he had failed in his task it meant that his family would not get the same safety that they would if he had succeeded. As such, he fled. He didn't run in hopes of surviving, nor did he run out of desperation or despair, he ran because he knew that there was one ray of hope left for his family.
He turned a corner and ran into one of the smaller alleyways that were scattered throughout the city, one of those that was reserved for storing trash until it was picked up. But he only managed to take five steps into the alleyway before a piercing pain assaulted him, his own shadow rising up and turning into thin needles that pierced through his feet and sowed him to the ground.
The shadows within the entire alleyway started to rise and grow once the man was nailed to the ground, a blanket of darkness covering the entire area as the golden-haired and brown-eyed Lang Meng stepped out from the darkness with a chilly expression. The tanned man looked at his feet, which had become utterly ruined thanks to the shadow needles, and then looked at the stab-wound in his abdomen, the corners of his lips curling up into a very thin and humorless bloody smile.
"Geheh, so that's where your son learned his tricks. Lang Meng, how about you and I make a deal?"
Lang Meng arrived at the market square only a minute after Lang Hua, his brows slightly furrowed in thought. The people that still remained in the market swiftly opened a path for Lang Meng, no one daring to block his path after seeing the violent fury of Lang Hua. He quickly reached his wife and the children, his gaze momentarily lingering on Yin Long's back before he unfurrowed his brows.
"I've checked the entire area, but no one else has seen any other possible assailants, nor were there any tracks that there might be more. From the looks of it, we'll have to interrogate that bastard there to learn the full story."
Lang Meng showed no signs of deceit as he spoke, even shrugging his shoulders in a dejected manner. He didn't tell his wife anything about the deal yet, nor did he say anything about what he heard about Yin Long. A man didn't keep a secret from those closest to him for no good reason, and even though Yin Long was still very young, Lang Meng considered him a man and thus didn't push him for answers.
Lang Hua nodded her head and stood up, picking up the unconscious man and tossing him to Lang Meng due to a signal he sent her with his gaze. She then took Lang Huo and the frightened Tang Fen by the hands, the group quickly returning to the clan estate after Lang Meng dismissed the guards.
A butler was already waiting for the group when they stepped through the doors of the mansion, an older looking man with a bald head covered in small wrinkles, Jiu Meiyu. Lang Meng looked somewhat deeply and apologetically at the butler before handing him the still unconscious burly man.
"I'm sorry, but I must thrust this burden on you."
His words contained an unspoken message known only to him and the butler, his oldest follower, and most trusted subordinate and friend. Jiu Meiyu was born about 500 years after Lang Meng and had been at his side almost every day since then, he had helped Lang Meng complete all sorts of tasks, both savory and unsavory. Jiu Meiyu accepted the unconscious man, his expression not shifting in the slightest as he bowed.
"Please don't apologize, it's all for the clan. Young Master, Young Misses, I am glad that you have all returned safely."
Jiu Meiyu left after greeting the children, heading off to perform his duty as not just the torturer to interrogate the burly man, but also to serve as the bait that might draw out some of the people scheming behind the scenes. Lang Meng had received a fair bit of information from the tanned man he took care of, but he wasn't naive enough to believe that just those few people would have the guts to do this. With Jiu Meiyu taking his leave along with the burly man, Lang Meng turned his head to look at the children, coming to a decision.
"Come, it is about time that you get the tools to properly defend yourself. At the same time, Little Yin, I would like to take you up on the offer you made earlier, having you teach Little Huo how to use the sword. I'll also start teaching her how to use the sword, but you two sparring should be a good type of practice as your strengths should be a bit closer."
Yin Long seriously nodded his head upon receiving the request from his father. He had been getting beaten nonstop by Bai Xiang for these last years so it would be a nice change of pace to spar against someone else. Lang Hua didn't reject her husband's plans, seeing what had just happened it was indeed about time that they gave their children some tools to defend themselves, tools to kill those that might want to harm them.
Lang Meng and Lang Hua led the children through the hallways, but rather than heading for the higher floors as usual, they took the stairs down into the basement. They headed for an old storage room filled with training dolls and wooden weapons, Lang Meng walking over to one of the walls and pulling on some of the weapons in seemingly random order. But by the time he pulled on the sixth weapon, the wall on the other side of the room slid to the side, revealing another set of rough stone stairs that descended further into the ground.
The group headed down the stairs, the rough earthen walls lined with small stones that unleashed a soft white light that illuminated their path. They reached a circular stone door filled with almost 1000 finger-sized indents after descending for almost two minutes, Lang Hua placing her index finger in some of the indents and pushing a bit of her Qi into them. The 1000 holes all lit up after she filled the 9th hole with Qi, the door sliding to the side and revealing the room hidden behind it.
Stretching out in front of the Lang couple and the children was a large room that Yin Long guessed was at least two kilometers wide and four kilometers long, rows upon rows of metal shelves filling the room. Each shelf was stacked with wooden or jade boxes, each box marked with a number and a letter but no proper indicator of what might be inside it. The shelves filled the inside of the room and the walls of the room were lined with racks upon racks of weapons, armors, and shields, each one emitting a faint gleam. Lang Meng led the children into the room, gesturing towards the racks lining the walls of the entire room.
"The armors are all designed for grown men so none of them will fit you, but you can all take one weapon. We'll give each of you an interspatial ring as well, so don't worry about the size of the weapon, choose whatever resonates with your heart."
Lang Meng's words served as the signal that the children could start searching, each of them scattering like children in a candy store. Lang Ru was the first one to pick a weapon, choosing a somewhat small bow made from azure wood covered in small green vines. While picking a weapon, she also found an item Yin Long hadn't expected to be stored here, a brewers kit.
The kit was placed right inside the door, looking more as if someone had forgotten to take it out with them again rather than something that had been purposefully stored here. Lang Meng and Lang Hua saw no harm in it so they allowed her to take it, giving her stern orders that she had to wait until she was 13 before she could use it on her own, until then she had to use it only when they were around. The couple then gifted Lang Ru a brown acorn-shaped interspatial ring of her own, teaching her how to use it by inserting a bit of her Qi and consciousness.
The next person to find a weapon was Tang Fen, picking out a light blue rapier that was easy to carry and a bit easier to get a handle on. She too was gifted an interspatial ring, a purple one shaped like a plum flower.
Lang Huo was the next one to find a weapon, and hers could only be considered excessive, it was a large crimson greatsword that was nearly two meters long and half a meter wide. Lang Huo had the highest cultivation among the children and thus had the strength to wield the weapon, but it just looked comical when she tried to swing it around while grinning at it. The interspatial ring she received was as crimson as her hair and shaped like a rose.
Yin Long was the last one to find a weapon, he took his time as he walked along the walls and let his hand glide over each and every weapon. Some he would pull out and hold to test before putting them back and resuming his walking. It was only after letting his hand slide over all the weapons in the room that he returned to one of the earliest weapons, an exceedingly normal-looking Jian sword that had a pure white blade that was about 80 centimeters.
It was this weapon that had felt the most balanced and right, the length was a bit too much for him right now but he was confident that it would suit him perfectly once he grew a bit more. As for the interspatial ring he received, it seemed like Lang Meng had picked it out with consideration for his name, or perhaps something more. The ring was a light yellow color and featured two long dragons coiling around a dark amber dragon's eye.