Chapter 4
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Riku’s peaceful days were short. In fact, barely two hours after he rid himself of his ex-fiancée, his father came storming in.

His father wanted to slam the door open (once again, a common habit among cultivators), but that particular door opened outwards, so he ended up hurting his hand on the doorframe. Embarrassed, he quietly opened the door. 

“Dad! Give me three hours! I’m in the middle of an episode,” Riku called out, without even sparing a single glance at his father.

“What kind of episode are you watching that lasts three hours!” the father furiously retorted.

The father went to unplug Riku’s computer, but how could Riku not know his father’s tactics? The plug was welded onto the wall and protected with a steel case. 

Giving up on that solution, the father tried to go forward to pull Riku off the computer, but at that moment, a spirit stone array was activated, creating a barrier that stopped his father’s advance. Riku’s father was actually a Severing Mortality cultivator of the 8th grade, very close to achieving an immortal soul. He couldn’t believe that a mere spirit stone formation could stop him, yet when he put his full power into breaking it, absolutely nothing happened. Perhaps the shield of light flickered once, but the barrier looked as strong as ever.

Immortal cultivation had five stages in the mortal realm: Qi Gathering, Foundation Establishment, Core Formation, Nascent Soul, and Severing Mortality. In Qi Gathering, the cultivator gathers spiritual energy (qi) into their body, strengthening it and setting up the stage for the next realm of cultivation. Foundation Establishment establishes a foundation to allow the formation of an immortal soul. Core Formation creates the embryo of the cultivator’s immortal soul, called the core, and Nascent Soul gives birth to a half-immortal soul. The immortal soul would only be complete once the cultivator severed their mortal body in Severing Mortality, upon which they could ascend into higher realms.

This is very confusing and over-complicated, so the author will just describe the amount of farts a cultivator would let out if they failed a breakthrough from now on.

Anyways, Riku’s father had a cultivation of forty-eight farts, which was near the peak of the mortal realm. However, this force field could block him! The strength of a spirit stone array was proportional to the amount of spirit stones used to power the array; thus, one could only imagine how many thousands of spirit stones were being burnt every second just to give Riku some more anime-watching time.

The father angrily yelled past the barrier, “I will turn off the electricity if you do not give me an explanation!”

Riku’s face paled. Even though Riku had a back-up generator for this exact purpose, his father seemed especially angry this time around. Riku’s room was a veritable fortress, but even the sturdiest of castles could be starved out. Also, Riku forgot to soundproof the barrier. His dad looked angry enough to set up a loudspeaker to constantly blast at him to stop watching anime, so Riku just sighed and turned the force field off. 

“An explanation for what?” he asked.

“Why,” the father took a moment to seethe before getting even louder, “did the Chiba clan request to break the engagement! What did you do to their young lady!?”
“Dad, you know how I feel about this. 2D is so much better than 3D! How could I ever marry a woman from the third dimension? I had to resort to, ahem, certain means to get her to leave…”

Upon hearing his son’s words, a vein popped on the father’s forehead. “You’ll marry her whether you like it or not! She’s the most beautiful single woman in Chiba prefecture! She’s a genius at cultivation! And most importantly, I already paid her clan seven million spirit stones to get her clan to agree to the marriage! I had to pay her clan another seven million spirit stones to get them to shut up after what you did! Even if I have to tie you up and lock you away, you will give me grandchildren!”

Riku’s eyes glowed. “Lock me away? Where? If there’s internet, a computer, and nobody to bother me, please don’t hesitate to lock me up!”

“Arghhhhh! Where did I go wrong in raising you! She’s pretty! I don’t know about her personality, but to be honest, who cares! Her genes are good enough to offset yours! Why don’t you want to marry her?”

The father was on the verge of exploding.

“Well, you see,” Riku said bashfully, “I already have somebody I like…”

Riku’s dad instantly calmed down and his eyes gleamed, “Who? Who? Tell me who they are and you’ll be married tomorrow! Even if she’s already taken!”

“Don’t worry, Dad. She’s single…”

The father smiled widely. “That’s great then! So who’s the lucky girl?”

Riku shifted his eyes and blushed, as if he was embarrassed to say it, “I-It’s… Haruka-chan from Haruka’s Normal Adventure! She’s kind, she’s cute, and she isn’t 3D!”

Perhaps Riku had become the first person in the world to make a Severing Mortality cultivator to pass out with just words; his father had collapsed to the floor.

Riku, noticing the god-given chance, tried to tiptoe out the door, but a hand reached out to tightly grab him in the leg.

“You aren’t going anywhere…” A low, angry voice called out from behind him.

Riku’s eyes gleamed again. “Oh, really? I can really stay here? Alright, I won’t leave until the next century!”

His dad coughed up blood and his grip weakened. Riku slipped his leg out of his father’s hand and rushed off. But how could a fourteen farts cultivator escape from a forty-eight farts cultivator? Just when Riku had dashed away and was about to open the door to the emergency stairwell, a hand was placed on his shoulder, stopping him from moving even an inch forwards.

“I’m sending you off to your grandmother.” A cold voice spoke from behind Riku’s back.

Droplets of cold sweat formed on Riku’s forehead. “Uh, for how long?”

A short, cold laugh resounded. “One year.”

Riku couldn’t help but internally curse. He didn’t have anything against his grandmother; in fact, he got along with her better than his parents. However, his grandmother lived in Rakuyo, a city of elite cultivators. As a young master himself, Riku had nothing against living with a bunch of other young masters. However, Rakuyo had one quality that made Riku absolutely detest the place.

The lack of internet connection. 

“Please go easy on me, lord Almighty. Please. I beg you.” Riku fell to the floor and performed a splendid dogeza.

His father laughed a smug laugh. “No.”

 

*

 

Chiyo wanted to cry. She had just received a text from her mother that said that the engagement would still proceed. Chiyo wasn’t an idiot; she knew that her parents were paid a large sum of money to arrange the marriage. And that response meant that her parents’ darling daughter was worth less than something as worthless as money.

A tear dripped down her face, and she hurriedly wiped it off. Her home was in Chiba, a four-hour train ride from Aomori. About two hours had passed; she was still on the train.

It was downright embarrassing to cry in public, but a second and then a third, a fourth, a fifth tear welled in her eyes and dropped to the train’s seat. She anxiously looked around the train car. It was around three on a Saturday, so it was the opposite of crowded. And those who were actually in the train were either tapping away at their phone or reading a book, a newspaper, or a magazine. Nobody noticed her tears. Which was good. Chiyo didn’t know what she would do if someone did.

The thought of living with a disgusting pervert bothered her, yes, but what truly hurt her was the fact that her own parents were the one who pushed her into this. Even after Chiyo tearfully called her parents, explaining everything she saw and felt, they did nothing to help her.

Chiyo tried to suppress her tears, but they only started to fall faster. 

 

The following two hours were long and painful, but at least it gave Chiyo time to think. Chiyo had sent texts and called her parents, but her messages were left on read and her calls weren’t picked up. And when she came home, nobody was there to greet her. 

She knocked on her mother’s room’s door and hearing no response, opened it. Nobody was there. She did the same for her father’s room and the study, getting the same result. She went to her two younger brothers’ rooms before finding nothing. Chiyo then decided to look around the rest of the house with little expectation, and after she closed the door to the attic, the small, last hope of hers was crushed. Chiyo laughed at herself for even bothering to look through the entire house. She should’ve known from the start. And now it seemed that she had put in more effort in looking for her family in this empty mansion than her family had put in thinking of her.

Her parents had escaped with her two brothers, and they couldn’t provide her with even the vaguest of excuses, like “it’s for the company” or “we really need the money” or “it’s for the clan.” Though, such a stupid excuse would probably feel worse to Chiyo. She knew her parents’ business well, and there was no urgent need for money. The Chiba clan wasn’t exactly poor either; Chiyo guessed that her family were at a resort or maybe in their vacation home. She felt that her clan was more than rich enough already.

But whatever. The Shinosaki clan was extremely powerful and could naturally assist the Chiba clan into an even greater prosperity. Everyone in the family would be richer and happier except Chiyo. Her parents probably found that sacrifice acceptable. After all, what was one person compared to dozens?

Chiyo’s phone buzzed right at that moment.

Chiyo turned on the screen, telling herself not to get excited, to prepare for disappointment. Yet, even so, her face fell when she saw the message from her father.

“People from the Shinosaki Corporation will come to pick you up in an hour. Obediently follow their instructions.”

Her tears, which she thought had already been spent for the day, started to flow again. Her knees lost support, and she fell to the ground.

Her phone vibrated again, and she deliberated whether to see the text or not. She felt that it wouldn’t be anything good and that it couldn’t be anything good, but in the end, she steeled her heart and touched her finger to the phone’s fingerprint sensor. To her surprise, it wasn’t from anyone in her family. A friend, the leader of a group she was in, had sent a message to the group’s group chat. 

“I’ll be in Rakuyo soon. Let’s meet up at the usual place and time tomorrow.”

“Rakuyo, huh,” she mumbled, “better than staying here, I guess.”

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