“That was quite heroic, Brother.”
“Yeah. Dropping to your knees was a nice touch.”
“‘I offended a Senior Sister…’ That made it sound like you really regretted your impulsive actions.”
“But… I did.”
“No, really. You don’t know how these things can escalate. You step on a cockroach today, and a hidden expert comes for your head tomorrow.”
“You’re over exaggerating, Brother.”
“No, I’m really not. Do you know how many times I’ve seen weird chains of connection that make absolutely no sense? It starts with, ‘The girl I have an interest in has spoken to you. Therefore, you must die.’ Then it escalates to, ‘You have offended a young master of the Stupid Clan. You are now the world’s enemy. This feud cannot be settled, even with the blood of eight generations of your family.’”
Bai and Mei didn’t expect Hei to give them such a long speech. It seemed this particular topic touched a nerve.
“That’s why offending a Senior Sister is such a nuisance.”
Hei decided to move on. He would deal with the trouble as it came. Besides, he was about to head off on a mission, so things shouldn’t be so bad for the time being.
In the end, he may even emerge a hero. The first ever to bring missing disciples back. How would Senior Sister Fung mess with him then?
“Since I’ve got the both of you here, there was something I wanted to tell you, so let’s go to the Shao Clan residence.”
After saying this, Hei wrapped his sisters in his Qi and took them over to the Man Peak.
The three were seated at the table but before Hei could speak, Bai asked a question.
“Why did you stop us from going with Senior Sister Fung, Brother?”
She wanted to know why her brother had stopped her from learning a potentially beneficial technique for the Shao Clan.
“That’s because… I don’t want you to learn about dual cultivation techniques yet.”
“Why not? Um…”
Hei started to think about what he was going to say.
There were many reasons why he didn’t want Bai and Mei to come into contact with this kind of information at this time.
“There are several reasons, but one of the bigger ones is that I think you are too young to know about these things.”
“But above all else, I am a selfish brother who doesn’t want his adorable little sister to change. Will you acquiesce to this unreasonable request from your brother?”
“But change is inevitable.”
“You’re right, but some changes can be delayed.”
“… All right then.”
“If you don’t want me to know about it, then I don’t want to know.”
Hei turned to Mei, who nodded her head.
“But that can be a little dangerous, don’t you think? For me to insist that you remain ignorant…”
“If I can’t trust you, Brother, then I can’t trust anyone.”
“Mm. And that’s no way to live.”
Hei was left speechless for a moment.
“But aren’t you curious?”
Both of them shook their heads.
“Not even a little bit?”
They gave the same response.
Hei was surprised by this. Most people would be quite interested in forbidden things. The simple fact that it was forbidden would bring curiosity on its own.
“You don’t want to know what could be so bad that I don’t want you to know about it?”
To this, Bai responded.
“I am interested in that. After all, we have Vacuum Cultivation. Isn’t that also what could be called a dual cultivation technique?”
“No! Why do people keep saying that? It’s completely different!”
“The form is different, but the function is the same.”
‘Where have I heard this before?’
“The form is the problem!”
Hearing this, Bai placed a finger on her chin and tilted her head slightly.
“Then… Why not change the form?”
Hei realised that he didn’t have a counterargument to this.
“Ah. You’re right…”
He had been too focused on making sure dual cultivation techniques stayed away, that he failed to realise that he could just use the concepts within to create a different cultivation technique that didn’t involve the things he wanted to omit.
“Okay then. I’ll create a dual cultivation tech- You know what? We’re going to have to come up with a different name for it. Anyway, I’ll come up with the technique, but I still want the two of you to stay away from them.”
Bai and Mei nodded their heads.
Bai’s concern was that her brother seemed to have been ignoring the benefits of dual cultivation techniques.
Even though they had Vacuum Cultivation, it was a technique that required the presence of either Hei or Tianlan. This made it innately impractical, which would be felt more as the clan grew.
The dual cultivation techniques Senior Sister Fung had mentioned were things that could be practised by any pair of individuals. Much more versatile in their use.
Now that Hei was going to incorporate the concepts into a new technique, there were no problems.
Since this issue was resolved, Hei decided to tell them what he had wanted to say before Bai had asked him about this whole thing.
But before he did that, he made sure to make amendments to the manuals he had given Mei on how Bai was to be looked after.
‘To think that the one thing I didn’t anticipate, happened. It’s a good thing I came to this sect.’
Having brought his sisters to a women-only sect, Hei had assumed all these risks would be eliminated.
Evidently, he was wrong.
He shuddered upon remembering how he had initially rejected Jingfei’s proposal. If she hadn’t turned out to be a blue, he would have been the one who was blue instead.
“Okay. So, the reason I brought you here was to tell you that I’m going on a mission to find nine missing disciples. I don’t really know how long it will take, so I may be gone for a long time.”
“Can I come too?”
“Don’t forget me.”
After hearing that Hei was going to be going on a mission, Bai and Mei were excited.
In both of their lives, the farthest they had gone was into the Spring Leaf Forest, which wasn’t very interesting.
“Ah… No. You’re still too young for this one.”
Hei didn’t know how deeply this mission tied into Jingfei’s situation so he didn’t want to bring his sisters along and potentially expose them to something they shouldn’t see yet.
Bai puffed her cheeks out.
“You keep saying I’m too young. When will I be old enough?”
“I don’t know. Maybe 15? That’s when I told Tianlan some things, so let’s say 15.”
“15? So long…”
“Hahaha. It’s only seven years. It will be over before you know it.”
Bai crossed her arms grumpily.
“You know, the only reason I want you to stay ignorant of certain things is that the world is more fun when you believe in magic.”
Bai and Mei looked at Hei with raised brows.
Wasn’t there magic everywhere?
Hei also realised this. There weren’t all that many things one could imagine that couldn’t be done through cultivation in this world, so it was fairly magical.
“What I mean, is that the world is more fun when you see the good points. No matter which world it is, how crazy everything is, it is meaningless if you can’t see what’s wonderful about it.”
Bai and Mei were listening attentively to their brother’s words.
“That is what it is to believe in magic. And even in this kind of cold and ruthless world where strength determines everything, I will show you a world full of wonderful things.”
This was why Hei was trying to keep certain things away from the Shao Clan.
He knew that sheltering them to this extent may not be the most beneficial thing for their futures, but he rationalised it through the fact that they would be living very long lives.
What would it hurt to have a hundred years of blissful ignorance?
They could turn into cold and unfeeling murderers later in life. It didn’t have to be right now.
Bai and Mei responded to Hei’s words.
“I think anywhere would be wonderful as long as you’re there, Brother.”
“Mm. You, yourself, are something wonderful.”
Hei’s brows raised slightly. He didn’t expect to hear these words.
“Are you trying to earn affection points or something? I’m not a capture target, you know?”
He rubbed both of their heads.
“Nice heartstrings no jutsu though.”
Bai and Mei could tell that he was taking their words as a joke.
Before they could say anything, he had already disappeared leaving behind only a few words with his Qi.
“I’ll be starting my mission now, see you later.”
The girls looked to each other.
Why hadn’t their brother just said goodbye like a normal person?
But it wasn’t over.
“If you look in your left shoes, you will find the encryption and decryption techniques for my communication system. I’ll try to keep in touch every now and then, so you won’t worry about me.”
The girls checked their shoes, and indeed, Hei had somehow placed pieces of paper in them without them feeling it.
“And obviously, don’t let anyone see them.”
After taking a look at the techniques, they destroyed them.
“One more thing.”
Bai and Mei waited for the following words. They wondered what else their crazy brother had prepared.
“You also make this world bearable for me.”
After that, the room remained silent for a long while.
After leaving the residence, Hei went up to the sect’s gates.
He presented his identity jade, which detailed the information for his mission, which was recorded by the guards.
After he left the sect, he began a leisurely stroll through the forest roads.
Outside of the sect was a large forest and beyond that, more forest. Hei presumed this was some way to slow down any enemies who decided to show up.
The truth of the matter was inconsequential, so he stopped thinking about it.
As he walked, he felt something strange, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it.
That was until his last step.
The world had lost its colour. Everything became grey.
‘Oh? Why is this?’
Hei took a few steps back and some of the colour returned.
He then took a few steps forward and again he found himself in the grey.
‘Is it proximity to something?’
He continued taking steps forwards and backwards trying to isolate the cause.
After a few trials, Hei noticed that whenever Mei and Bai were outside of his spiritual perception, he would find himself in the grey.
He pulled Onyx from his storage space, but nothing changed.
[Eh? What is it?]
Hei didn’t bother to answer Onyx before putting him back into the storage space.
‘Then it’s the Shao Clan?’
This was the conclusion Hei came up with. There was something about the Shao Clan that felt like home to him.
Knowing the cause, he retracted his spiritual perception, re-entering the grey.
‘I’m finally back.’
It had been a long time since he had been here. Over 10 years.
He raised his hand and stared at his palm, thinking about how he hadn’t seen his mother in a long time.
‘And I guess I also miss you too, Dad.’
Kaner Chang lived in a grey world. He was a serious and goal-oriented person, who avoided showing any emotion and tried to finish his tasks properly.
He didn’t particularly enjoy the grey world, but luckily for him, his mother and father brought colour into his life.
The only problem was, every time he entered his home, his aura would completely change.
He would become a good for nothing, unproductive man-child.
A complete goofball.
Not to mention his chuuni tendencies.
As a result, he preferred being outside.
Unfortunately for him, his mother decided to home-school him, which meant he was in a constant state of being a chuuni.
University was his one saving grace, but unfortunately for him, he had made an agreement that he would be living at home for two years afterwards.
One may wonder why he didn’t just leave home.
That was because his mother had always told him to honour his commitments. Even the ones he made as a goofball.
His mother’s word was essentially law in his heart.
He always felt that he was a burden to his mother, but she still treated him as her darling child. This had a profound effect on him and caused him to develop a deep respect for her.
He was also very appreciative that she had taught him a wide range of extremely practical skills, such that he was completely self-sufficient and wouldn’t require much assistance in his living.
From doing the laundry to fixing the washing machine, he could do it.
From growing food to cooking it, he was able.
He couldn’t imagine a more practical person than his mother, and thus, he respected none like his mother.
He also appreciated that his father would pay for all of the things he messed up. It really helped in his growth.
And now, after 10 years of lying dormant, he had finally come back.
‘Why am I still a transcendent realm cultivator? Shao Chen knows realms far above this. Surely, he can teach me how to break through.’
Hei was wondering why he had hesitated on this.
‘Speaking of Shao Chen, why am I even involving myself with the Shao Clan in the first place?’
Even if he wanted subordinates, they didn’t necessarily need to come from the Shao Clan. In fact, it may be better to have non-family subordinates.
He then remembered the vow he made.
[If that's the case, then I will take this family to the peak of the world!]
‘Darn it. So troublesome.’
Hei didn’t quite appreciate the burden he had voluntarily taken on.
‘And now I have to find nine missing disciples, and Jingfei’s mother. Sigh.’
He continued walking as he complained in his mind.
He should have been hyper-focused on returning home. Why was he taking on these additional burdens?
‘First things first, let’s go visit Shao Chen.’
As he decided this, he could hear a few voices.
“I wonder why they sent three of us after this little brat.”
“That girl seems to be trying to do something funny.”
“Never mind that. All we need to do is kill him.”
There were three people quickly approaching Hei from all sides. It seemed they wanted trouble.
Hei set up a barrier to block all incoming and outgoing signals. This was to prevent any communication between these three and their companions.
As they got near, Hei wasted no time in sending out his chains.
Without being able to react, all three people were captured and brought over to Hei.
He dropped them in front of him and restrained them using his chains.
“You are unworthy.”
Without saying anything else, Hei plunged his hands into two of the three men’s chests, extracting their spirit roots, leaving them unconscious.
He then used his Qi to cover up their vital signs making them appear to be dead if one were to check on them.
He put the spirit roots in his storage space and turned to the last man.
“Answer my questions or you’ll end up like your friends here.”
There was no anger in Hei’s voice. He was completely calm.
The man didn’t appear to be scared in the slightest.
“Heh. You think I’m afraid to die?”
The man immediately circulated his suicide technique, but to his horror, his Qi wouldn’t circulate the way he wanted to.
He then tried to break the poison capsule he had hidden in his teeth, but his jaws couldn’t provide the strength required.
This was because Hei had already activated Bai’s Marionette to prevent such an event.
“Do you think death is the worst thing that can happen to you?”
He brought out one of the spirit roots he had just taken from his storage space. He then used temporary fire spirit roots to create a flame which he used to light the spirit roots.
After that, he used his qi to mimic the voice of one of the fallen men.
From the spirit roots, a heart-wrenching wail could be heard.
The man’s eyes opened wide.
What he was looking at was an indistinct glowing ball of who knows what. To any ordinary person, this would look very similar to the descriptions of a soul.
Hei then put away the spirit roots.
“Are you ready to answer my questions now?”
This man had been scared out of his wits.
He had heard stories of unfathomable experts being able to burn one’s soul for thousands of years.
Even as a trained sacrificial pawn, who didn’t fear death or torture, he couldn’t escape the fear of eternal torment.
“Who sent you here?”
“I’m from the soaring eagle mercenary group. I was sent by a rich young master who has a grudge against you. As for the details, I don’t know. It was all done undercover.”
The man spoke in a relaxed tone. It was as if he had said this a thousand times before.
After the man said these words, Hei could see a flash of colour.
‘The lie detection ability?’
He had been relying on this. If it didn’t work, he would have no way of knowing what was true and what was false when interrogating people.
Fortunately, Crystalia pulled through this time.
Hei plunged his hand into the man’s chest and gripped his heart.
“That was the first and last lie I will allow. Who sent you here?”
“I-I was sent here by the Zhu Clan!”
‘Bingo. Looks like I won’t need Bai and Mei after all.’