Wei WuXian heaved a sigh. The discussion conference was almost over. It was already the sixth day and Xue Yang still had yet to appear. On the second day of the discussion conference, Wei WuXian decided to stop attending it. He had chosen to walk around in the street of Qinghe instead, knowing that if he remained in Unclean Realm, then Xue Yang would not dare to appear.
Nie MingJue had objected and stated that he would stand by his side and he would never let him go out of Unclean Realm alone but Wei WuXian had refused and told him to remain at the discussion conference. First of all, he was a sect leader and he could not just leave the discussion conference held by the Qinghe Nie sect. Besides, Xue Yang would not dare to come to him if he saw the great Chief Cultivator standing at his side. He also did not allow A-Qing to follow him and had told Nie MingJue to protect her. Staying in Unclean Realm would be safer for her. After a round of arguments, Nie MingJue finally nodded his approval after Wei WuXian agreed for him to send a few Nie disciples to protect him in secret.
But who was he kidding? He knew those Nie disciples were not there merely to protect him. They were going to inform Nie MingJue once Xue Yang appeared, and he was sure Nie MingJue would rush to his side in an instant.
He was about to return to Unclean Realm disappointingly when he felt a sharp danger coming his way. Shuanghua appeared in his hand in an instant and the sound of metals clanging was as loud as a bell.
“Is it true that you are marrying Nie MingJue?” The voice sounded filled with anger.
Wei WuXian did not answer and the force on the other sword increased, “Xiao XingChen, answer me!”
“It is true,” Xue Yang heard Xiao XingChen said and he gritted his teeth in anger.
“Brother Xian, don’t let him go! The man in front of you is Xue Yang!”
Xue Yang turned to see that it was A-Qing shouting there with Nie MingJue beside her.
“You blind brat! I really should have killed you a long time ago!” exclaimed Xue Yang. Nie MingJue immediately pushed A-Qing behind him. He looked at Nie MingJue before turning back to Xiao XingChen and gritted his teeth. There were so many things he had to talk to Xiao XingChen about, but he knew he needed to escape as soon as possible. More cultivators were appearing to stand behind Nie MingJue, and he knew he would not be able to defeat all of them alone. It was dangerous for him to stay any longer.
Xue Yang stepped back and snapped his fingers. Wei WuXian could then hear something dropped from somewhere high.
“It’s a fierce corpse!” Someone had exclaimed.
“Xiao XingChen, here is your old friend. Don’t you miss him?” said Xue Yang, a sly smile could be seen on his face.
“Brother Xian, it’s Song daozhang!”
Wei WuXian gritted his teeth in anger, “Xue Yang, I must kill you today!”
Wei WuXian charged forward with Shuanghua. The sound of two swords clanging could be heard but he realized it was not Xue Yang standing in front of him. He could feel resentful energy coming from whoever it was that he was fighting with. It must be Song Lan, he thought. While he was distracted, Song Lan, as the good swordsman he was, pushed him backward. When he nearly lost his balance, he felt Nie MingJue supporting his weight by wrapping his arm around his waist and Baxia was out on his right hand, fighting with Song Lan.
Once Wei WuXian had balanced himself to stand without anyone else supporting him, he took out his flute and started presenting a piece of music. Resentful energy started appearing around him. He could hear the crowd whispering and chattering, but he ignored them all. Within a blink of an eye, the crowd was gasping and staring in shock instead of whispering and chattering.
Another fierce corpse had appeared, standing in front of Xiao XingChen.
Wen Ning, the ghost general.
Wen Ning was not a normal fierce corpse. Not every demonic cultivator could summon him and if someone managed to summon him, there were only two possibilities. It was either he was a talented demonic cultivator, or a certain dead demonic cultivator had returned to life.
“Wen Ning, do not hurt him. MingJue, let Wen Ning deal with him,” stated Wei WuXian.
Nie MingJue nodded and stepped aside. While Wen Ning dealt with Song Lan, Wei WuXian charged forward towards Xue Yang again.
Xue Yang narrowed his eyes, “You are not Xiao XingChen. Who are you? Where is Xiao XingChen?”
In a fit of anger, Wei WuXian exerted enough force onto Shuanghua to push Xue Yang backward, “Keep your mouth shut! You have no right to call Xiao XingChen’s name! It’s all because of you that my martial uncle had chosen to end his life!”
Xue Yang widened his eyes, “No! It could not be! Martial uncle? Who in the world are you?!”
Wei WuXian held his sword tightly and said, “Since you are so interested in my identity, I will tell you before you die. My name is Wei WuXian, a martial nephew of Xiao XingChen. I am here to get revenge for what you have done to my martial uncle and for those you have killed mercilessly.”
Wei WuXian charged forward, but he could feel Xue Yang dodging him.
Xue Yang laughed, “A blind man, what can you even do?”
Wei WuXian kept charging forward and Xue Yang kept dodging him. Wei WuXian clicked his tongue in annoyance. As expected, he still needed some more time to adapt to getting blind. However, there was no time to waste. He must kill Xue Yang today.
He stabbed Shuanghua on the ground before he reached for his flute again. Resentful energy once again gathered around him as he summoned all of the nearby corpses to be on his command. After the piece of music was completely played out, he felt blood leaking out at the corner of his lips and he immediately held on to Shuanghua which was still stabbed onto the ground in order to keep himself standing.
Nie MingJue was by his side in an instant, “WuXian!”
Wei WuXian raised a hand to wipe off the blood on his lips, “I am fine. It’s been too long since I summoned so many at once.”
The sound of Xue Yang struggling against the corpses could be heard by Wei WuXian. Wei WuXian had ordered the corpses to hold him in place so he could no longer dodge him.
“Don’t worry, they will not hurt you. After all, I will be the one to end your life,” said Wei WuXian as he advanced to Xue Yang.
With a swift move, Wei WuXian brought his sword forward towards Xue Yang’s neck. Blood started spilling onto the ground immediately. The fierce corpses under Wei WuXian’s commands then started disappearing, leaving the dead Xue Yang to fall onto the ground.
“Xue Yang is finally dead!”
Hearing such comments, Wei WuXian finally heaved a sigh of relief. Knowing that his task was done, he suddenly felt the previous strength leaving him and nearly fell if not for Nie MingJue standing by his side and caught him in time.
A-Qing dashed to Wei WuXian worriedly, “Brother Xian, are you all right?”
Wei WuXian gave off a weak smile and patted A-Qing’s head, “Don’t worry. I am just a little tired.”
“I will carry you home,” said Nie MingJue.
“No, wait. There is still Song Lan. MingJue, can you please bring me to him?” asked Wei WuXian and Nie MingJue silently guided him to Song Lan who had been tied up by the Nie disciples to avoid him from attacking anyone or running away.
“Song Lan?” Wei WuXian questioned, but there was no response.
“His tongue has been cut out and he seems to be unable to recognize anyone, looking as if he is still under control,” stated Nie MingJue.
Wei WuXian frowned. He clenched his fists, feeling infuriated. He regretted letting Xue Yang died so easily. He should have cut out his tongue too, but perhaps not. A-Qing was here, and many other junior disciples who had come to attend the discussion conference were here too. They did not deserve to watch something so disturbing.
Wei WuXian stretched his hand forward, and he reached forward until he felt what he was touching at the moment was Song Lan’s head. Just then, he felt something at the back of his head. He tried pulling it out and Song Lan started screaming. He stopped for a moment before he proceeded to pull it out at a swift speed.
“Untie him,” said Wei WuXian.
The two Nie disciples standing behind Song Lan turned to Nie MingJue for his approval. When Nie MingJue nodded at them, they started to unbind Song Lan.
“Ah… ah… ah…” Song Lan tried speaking as he grabbed Wei WuXian’s shoulders.
“I am sorry, Song daozhang. I am not Xiao XingChen. I am his martial nephew, Wei WuXian. My martial uncle had decided to end his life and brought me back to the world, requesting me to kill Xue Yang. He also told me you seemed to be in Xue Yang’s control and told me to free you. So then, now you are free. What will you be planning to do now?”
Song Lan was silent as he lowered his head and stared at the ground. Knowing that he was having difficulties deciding on what he wanted to do next, Nie MingJue decided that there was no rush in making a decision at the moment.
“There is no rush. You can stay at Unclean Realm and slowly think of what you want to do next,” said Nie MingJue before he turned to his right-hand man, “Show him the way to a guest room.”
After Song Lan left with Nie MingJue’s right-hand man, Nie MingJue turned to Wei WuXian and said, “Don’t worry too much.”
Wei WuXian turned to the man beside him and smiled. He opened his mouth and was about to say something when he heard something dropped in front of him.
“Young Master Wei, I am sorry. I was too late to save you,” said Wen Ning as he knelt on the ground. Wei WuXian was bewildered at first until he realized Wen Ning was referring to what happened 13 years ago.
Wei WuXian frowned and reached forward to grab Wen Ning’s shoulders, pulling him up, “It is not your fault, do not blame yourself.”
“Young Master Wei…”
A soft smile appeared on Wei WuXian’s lips. He was happy to know that Wen Ning was still the same after so many years had passed. He pulled him into a silent hug.
Wen Ning wrapped his hands around Wei WuXian, “Young Master Wei, we have missed you a lot, especially Sect Leader Nie.”
“I know,” Wei WuXian said as he smiled again, knowing just how much Nie MingJue had really missed him.
Wen Ning then suddenly released his hands from Wei WuXian and called out respectfully, “Sister.”
Wei WuXian turned around and felt someone embraced him.
“Wen Qing…” Wei WuXian started. He did not know what he should say to her. He knew he must have worried her a lot.
“There is no need to say anything. Wei WuXian, welcome back.”
Wei WuXian smiled, “I am back.”
Wen Qing released him and stepped aside. Wei WuXian heard light footsteps coming towards him, but then there was a silence. He could not see, so he could only make a guess.
“SiZhui? A-Yuan, is that you?”
Wei WuXian was caught off guard when he suddenly felt someone jumping up and hugged him, “Brother Xian, A-Yuan really misses you so much!”
Wei WuXian wrapped his arms around him, “Brother Xian misses A-Yuan a lot too.”
Seeing how the two were inseparable, Nie MingJue smiled at how warm-looking the scene before him was. Wen Qing walked towards them and put her arms over both of their shoulders, “All right, A-Yuan. Your brother Xian must be tired now. There is plenty of time for us to talk, but I guess we should go home first.”
Wei SiZhui nodded and wiped his tears away. Nie MingJue stepped forward and wrapped his arm around Wei WuXian, “Yes, our home.”
Wei WuXian smiled warmly at the mention of home. Yes. He had one now. A home, a family. He allowed Nie MingJue to lead him forward as they started walking back to Unclean Realm until he heard someone shouted for his name from behind.
He froze immediately. He would never forget such a gentle voice belonged to who. It was the very same voice who had comforted him when he was young. It was also the very same voice who had made him felt warm and understood what a family was, but it had been destroyed 13 years ago when Jin GuangShan had told him it was his Shijie who wanted him dead more than anyone else.
Wen Qing, Wen Ning, Wei SiZhui and A-Qing who were behind Nie MingJue and Wei WuXian turned around and stepped aside after seeing that it was Jiang YanLi who had called out to Wei WuXian.
“Let’s leave,” said Nie MingJue as he guided Wei WuXian to continue walking forward.
Wei WuXian felt someone came from the side and grasped his left wrist. That was another voice that he would never ever forget. It was the voice that had argued with him since young, and it was also the very same voice that would sometimes sound worried when he saw him injured.
Jiang Cheng, the man that he was willing to give his golden core to him.
Nie MingJue was infuriated. After 13 years of grieving, his happiness finally returned to him, yet the Jiang siblings must come back into the scene and tried stealing his happiness away again. In a fit of rage, he pushed Jiang Cheng away and sent him staggering backward.
Hearing that something was not right, Wei WuXian stretched out his hand like he was trying to catch the man in front of him, “Jiang Cheng!”
“MingJue, do not –”
Do not hurt him, that was what he wanted to say but he was frozen immediately when he felt a pair of thin arms wrapped around his waist.
“A-Xian. Please don’t leave, I am begging you. I know you hate me, but please give me a chance to explain. It is not like this. I have never wanted you dead. How could I? You are my younger brother!”
Wei WuXian noticed his hands were trembling when he raised them up, trying to touch the arms wrapping around his waist.
“WuXian, do not believe her!” exclaimed Nie MingJue.
“A-Xian, please..!” Jiang YanLi begged.
Wei WuXian could almost feel Nie MingJue and Jiang Cheng staring at him, waiting for him to state whether he believed in Jiang YanLi or not, and with each hesitating second, he could feel the arms wrapped around his waist grown tighter. This was his first time feeling such a persistent side of Jiang YanLi.
He grabbed the arms wrapping around him and pushed them down before he turned and grasped Jiang YanLi’s hands, “Shijie.”
“WuXian!” exclaimed Nie MingJue in dissatisfaction.
“MingJue, I believe Shijie. If she says she never wanted me dead, then there must be some misunderstanding in between,” said Wei WuXian.
Nie MingJue heaved an exhausted sigh, “Fine. Then Lady Jiang, do tell me how is it that you have been misunderstood. Is the hairpin given to A-Yao a fake one, or are you trying to say that it did not belong to you? Or are you trying to say someone stole the hairpin and framed you?”
“Sect Leader Nie,” said Jiang Cheng, annoyed at the tone Nie MingJue was using to speak to his sister as if he was mocking Jiang YanLi.
Someone had voiced out, and everyone turned to see that it was Jin ZiXuan who had spoken up.
“I was the one who took A-Li’s hairpin. It has nothing to do with A-Li, she did not know it was missing until when Wen Ning showed it to everyone on the very same day that you died,” said Jin ZiXuan.
“It’s you?!” Jiang Cheng said in a rage before he turned to his sister, “A-Jie, is that true?”
Nie MingJue snorted, “Don’t think you can just pull this off by making your ex-husband take all the blame!”
Wei WuXian was taken aback, “Ex-husband? You damn peacock, you dare divorce my Shijie?!”
“Didn’t they divorce because of you?!” exclaimed Jin Ling who was walking towards his father.
“Me? What is happening here?” questioned Wei WuXian, puzzled.
“I don’t think it is suitable to speak here. Can we all go into Unclean Realm to speak instead? Besides, Wei WuXian, you are looking rather pale. I think I have to check on you,” said Wen Qing.
Nie MingJue agreed in reluctance. He did not want to hear their excuses. He only wanted them to leave and not to disturb his betrothed and him again.
All of them started to move and get into Unclean Realm, but Jin GuangYao had stopped them as he spoke, “Elder brother, the discussion conference…”
“Either HuaiSang or you can take my place,” said Nie MingJue without looking back to his youngest sworn brother.
Jin GuangYao was about to argue that it was not appropriate, but Nie MingJue did not seem like he cared and had already walked into Unclean Realm. Jin GuangYao heaved a sigh and turned around to where he saw Nie HuaiSang was standing previously. Since Nie MingJue had abandoned them, Nie HuaiSang, being the sect leader heir, obviously had to be the one responsible to be Nie MingJue's replacement at the discussion conference.
“HuaiSang, I guess you will have to –”
Jin GuangYao blinked his eyes and turned around desperately. Nie HuaiSang was nowhere to be found.
Lan XiChen chuckled, “HuaiSang ran away just as soon as elder brother left. A-Yao, I guess you will have to be the one to take care of the discussion conference then.”
Ignoring Jin GuangYao who was standing there in a daze, Lan XiChen, along with the other cultivators, walked back into Unclean Realm and took their seat. Jin GuangYao went to where Nie MingJue had previously sat and scrutinized his surroundings.
The Yunmeng Jiang sect leader was gone.
The Lanling Jin sect leader and the sect leader heir were gone.
With only the Gusu Lan sect having all his people here, he somehow had to wonder if there was even a point to continue this discussion conference. He turned to look at Lan XiChen who was enjoying his tea, looking as though there was nothing wrong at all with the current situation.
Jin GuangYao heaved a soft sigh before he announced for the discussion conference to be resumed. When he felt some cultivators staring at him with questioning looks, he could only offer them an awkward smile.
“That totals up what had happened 13 years ago,” said Jin ZiXuan after he was done explaining from what Jin ZiXun had told him to how he had decided to give Jiang YanLi’s hairpin to Jin ZiXun and how Jiang YanLi had divorced with him after learning the truth.
“A-Jie, I did not know about this. I am sorry,” said Jiang Cheng.
Jiang YanLi shook her head before turning to Wei WuXian, “A-Xian?”
Everyone turned to Wei WuXian, waiting for him to indicate whether he believed in what Jin ZiXuan had said.
“I… but…” There were still so many questions unanswered, and he felt he was in a state of bemusement.
“A-Xian,” Jiang YanLi said as she bent down in front of Wei WuXian, “You do not believe me?”
“No, but Shijie..! Jin GuangShan said..!”
Jin ZiXuan felt a headache coming over. Even after his death, his father still managed to trouble people.
Nie MingJue frowned at the mention of the man who he would not mind killing repeatedly for at least a million times.
“That day when I was captured by Jin GuangShan, I was dragged in from the entrance. Many disciples were staring, Jin GuangShan said everyone in Lanling knew I was in his hands. The fact that Shijie did not show up to stop him meant Shijie wished for me to… In the end, he told me that he had decided to send me to the village as a sacrifice because it was Shijie and Jiang Cheng’s idea.”
Jiang Cheng and Jiang YanLi widened their eyes in shock.
Nie MingJue stood up in a rage, “You..!”
If eyes could kill, the Jiang siblings would have been dead by now.
“Wei WuXian, he lied! We did not, why would we even do that? Please trust me, I have never thought of hurting you. We also did not know you were in Jin GuangShan’s hands at all until Sect Leader Nie barged into the hall with you in his arms on the day of Jin Ling’s full-month celebration,” said Jiang Cheng.
“A-Xian, when were you captured? I really did not know anything,” said Jiang YanLi.
“Two days before Young Master Jin’s full-month celebration,” answered Wen Ning.
At that said, Jiang YanLi and Jin ZiXuan immediately widened their eyes. After 13 years, they finally understood what Jin GuangShan had been planning back then. Jiang YanLi dropped onto the ground, taken aback by the fact that she had missed the chance to save her brother.
Jin ZiXuan rushed to his ex-wife’s side to check if she had injured herself. After making sure that she was fine, he turned to look at Wei WuXian before he started to speak, “Two days before A-Ling’s full-month celebration, my father –”
Jin ZiXuan paused, a little ashamed to call such a man his father at a time like this, and he cleared his throat, “Jin GuangShan had insisted that both A-Li and I must be exhausted with the preparation and all, so he told us to forget everything for a while and to go out and have a walk and enjoy ourselves. We declined, stating that we are not tired at all but he insisted, he even said that he prepared a gift for us out there, and told us to not return at least until night. We felt strange at how strongly he insisted for us to go out but when the day got darker, there were fireworks which seemed to have been prepared for A-Li and I by him, so we thought he just wanted to make sure we received his gift.”
Jiang YanLi reached out for Wei WuXian’s hands, “A-Xian, please believe me. I really did not know. I…”
She paused and sobbed, “It’s all my fault. Sect Leader Nie is right to say that I was the one who had caused your death. It’s my fault. I really…”
Wei WuXian could not handle listening to his Shijie crying any longer. He rushed forward and embraced Jiang YanLi, “No, Shijie. It’s not your fault. Please do not blame yourself.”
The warmth of her brother finally willing to embrace her made her tears unstoppable and she allowed herself to cry in her brother’s arms. Wei WuXian embraced Jiang YanLi tighter and repeatedly told her that everything was over and they were all fine now, hoping that such words could make her feel better and perhaps stop her from crying harder, but it did not work.
Jiang Cheng was shedding tears too as he watched his sister and brother embraced each other. He advanced to them and said, “I am sorry too. Wei WuXian, I am a sect leader yet I could not even protect you. I did not do anything to stop Jin GuangShan and could only watch you die. It’s my fault!”
Wei WuXian turned to the source of the voice, “Jiang Cheng.”
“I am sorry,” Jiang Cheng said again miserably, closing his eyes as he allowed the tears to fall off.
Wei WuXian bit his lower lip and pulled Jiang Cheng over too. The three embraced each other and cried out for the misunderstanding that had lasted for 13 years.
The others who had been standing there and watching them – some were crying too while some others were smiling as they all felt happy for those three's reconciliation and the heavy misunderstanding that had finally been cleared out after 13 years.
When the three finally decided to separate from each other, Jin ZiXuan and Jin Ling went towards Jiang YanLi to help her stand while Jiang Cheng and Nie MingJue helped Wei WuXian to stand.
“Mother…” said Jin Ling worriedly.
Jiang YanLi wiped off her tears and said, “A-Ling, quick. Go greet your uncle.”
Jin Ling nodded and walked towards Wei WuXian, bowing to him and greeted, “Uncle Wei.”
“You are Jin Ling, Jin RuLan?” asked Wei WuXian as he reached forward to touch the child’s head, “MingJue, why did you not tell me about him at all? He has already grown so tall, must be a great cultivator, right?”
“He has never been able to defeat our SiZhui,” stated Nie MingJue.
“Hey! I am just not prepared! I will win the next time,” exclaimed Jin Ling.
The others laughed.
“Feel free to challenge me whenever you wish to, Young Master Jin,” said Wei SiZhui.
Wen Qing and Nie MingJue held their heads high, one was proud of her nephew while another was proud of his adopted son. Jin Ling was furious because they were all acting so annoying in his opinion, looking as though he would take a million years yet he would still not be able to beat Wei SiZhui in terms of cultivation.
“All right, it’s not early anymore. Wei WuXian, please rest earlier, you must be exhausted today,” said Wen Qing.
“Hmm… A-Yuan, it’s been such a long time, do you want to sleep with Brother Xian again?” Wei WuXian joked.
Wei SiZhui blushed, remembering exactly just how he had climbed up to Wei WuXian when he was young and begged for his Brother Xian to allow him there to sleep with him. He was about to tell Wei WuXian to stop teasing him when Nie MingJue suddenly moved his arms and lifted Wei WuXian up.
“You are mine tonight.”
Wei WuXian blushed when he felt Nie MingJue lifted him up into his arms. The others were taken aback by the fact that such words could actually escape Nie MingJue's lips and they could only stare in surprise at Nie MingJue leaving them with Wei WuXian in his arms.
“We should rest too,” said Wen Qing and she started leaving with the others, leaving only Jiang Cheng, Jin Ling, Jiang YanLi and Jin ZiXuan standing there.
Jiang YanLi and Jin ZiXuan were silent as they stood next to each other. Jin Ling nudged his uncle and gestured for him to look at the two. Both Jiang Cheng and Jin Ling knew the two must have a lot to talk about, and they left in perfect silence.
Noticing that they were the only two left, Jin ZiXuan tried his best to start speaking, “You… how have you been lately?”
“Good,” answered Jiang YanLi.
Both Jin ZiXuan and Jiang YanLi said together as they turned to face each other. Noticing that it had been so long since they were able to look at each other so closely, they blushed as they realized they could no longer look away from each other.
“I miss you a lot,” said Jin ZiXuan, staring at Jiang YanLi’s eyes.
“I miss you too,” said Jiang YanLi.
Jin ZiXuan widened his eyes in joy and wrapped his hands around Jiang YanLi’s, “A-Li, can you give us another chance? I really don’t want to be separated from you.”
Although short, Jin ZiXuan could clearly see that Jiang YanLi nodded. He embraced Jiang YanLi happily and Jiang YanLi who had a smile on her lips wrapped her arms around him. Jiang YanLi could not even remember how long had it been since she could feel so happy. Not only did her brother who died 13 years ago had returned and forgave her, and she was also able to get her husband back today.