The Bone Spirit Town finally bade its two plagues of misfortune and drama good farewell, its spirits soothed after watching the carriages depart into the distant plains.
The citizens of the town were fairly unaware of the calamities that were Shen Haoren and An Fei, but the domestic and regional clans stationed in the dismal location could not help but wipe the sweat from their brow, a faint but definitely perceptible chill racing down their spine.
A single thought of their actions was sufficient to terrify the older generations of the clans, and the Purity Road even fell into an unusual state of harmony following the two’s departure.
One was a well known refiner of spiritual accessories and enhanced artifacts, his reputation racing across the jianghu.
A genius at a young age with a consistent record of empowering artifacts that had produced a vast array of local legends, save for a single problem that caused many to balk at his name.
Shen Haoren was widely known as one of the few refiners capable of creating spiritual accessories that could employ general utility into specialized enhanced artifacts, and few dared to offend the middle-aged man with the bulging stomach.
On the other hand, the Fourth Young Master of the Shen Family was more than keen to offend as many people he could observe with his beady eyes, then relying on his reputation and influence to squash any resistance or vengeance.
The other person was a young girl whose name, appearance, and age were not known, but the Bone Spirit Town’s clans and even those of the regional divisions trembled at the faintest mention.
They cared not about her overwhelming qualities or potential as a person of the jianghu, but An Fei’s massacre at the Peaceful Road was sufficient to cow these clans suffused with arrogance.
What other mortal girl could completely slaughter the well-trained and talented militia of the Xiao Clan, as well as force three of the seven elders of the clan to surrender without actually making a move?
And the key point of the issue was not that she triumphed over three cultivators of the early stages of the Foundation Establishment Realm, but that the young girl herself did not possess any cultivation whatsoever!
…the young girl was either in possession of an extraordinary external martial arts technique, or her background was far too immense for the Bone Spirit Town…
Thus, the domestic and regional clans of the dismal plains discreetly labeled the two as either ‘large’ calamity, or ‘small’ calamity.
Obviously, it went without question as to whom received the moniker of ‘large’ and ‘small’ –
“-hey, old man,” the young girl scowled, her countenance displaying a firm expression of displeasure.
“Are you sure that we are the only ones departing?”
An Fei pointed from inside the wooden carriage, her dainty finger aimed directly towards the heart of a certain youth.
The little raven, small fox, and young girl dispatched their respective gazes of discontent, displeasure, and disdain towards the obtruding element of the gathering.
Shen Haoren rubbed his head with a rueful smile, his chubby countenance suffused with bitter guilt and resentment.
The middle-aged man then turned to bury his head into the arms of his astonishingly beautiful wife to An Fei’s shock and disbelief, and a sobbing voice soon echoed throughout the main gates that bade the way out of the Bone Spirit Town.
“Second Elder Sister never told me about this, and I’m still being slandered – my heart… my heart!”
“Alright, alright, you’re such a big man, and you still cry in my arms?” the young woman consoled with a gentle smile, her fingers running through Shen Haoren’s hair.
“Look! You’ve scared that young lady to death with your act, are you satisfied now?”
The middle-aged man released a final sob whilst locking his face against his wife’s bosom, and ‘regained’ his demeanor after a few breaths of time.
Shen Haoren glanced at the utterly bemused and disdainful expression on An Fei countenance, releasing a huff of air as he glared at Tang Shiqi with malicious eyes.
“Well, Young Master of Tang!” the middle-aged man exclaimed with a brutal smile.
“Our Shen Family only prepared a total of two carriages, you see. One is for me and my beloved family, and the other is for the young lady over there – she’s a rather important guest of our family, after all.”
Tang Shiqi aroused himself from his daydream as he snapped his head towards the sinister aura emanating from Shen Haoren’s body, his expression turning queasy in an instant.
The youth of the Tang Clan’s mouth dropped open, and barely recovered after an entire minute of delay.
“…what about me?”
Shen Haoren had finished persuading his gentle wife into the larger wooden carriage of ashwood, his large figure squeezing into the driver seat of the massive box.
With a crack of the whip, the horses tethered to the Shen Family’s official carriage rushed into the distance, a powerful voice tinged with malice snapping against Tang Shiqi’s countenance with a fatal strike.
“Sorry, this Young Master’s carriage is full. Young Master Tang, please try your luck somewhere else, ah!”
The youth’s lips twitched with helplessness as he stared at the trail of dust that shadowed the carriage bearing the insignia of the Shen Family.
His lips pursed, the youth of the Tang Clan directed his gaze towards An Fei, an obvious expression of plea visible on his countenance.
Towards such an affront to her essential dignity, An Fei merely displayed a cold smile.
“Young Master Tang, why don’t you rephrase that plea in your mind and see if you can still utter it?”
The little raven perched on the young girl’s shoulder released a piercing cry as though to commemorate An Fei’s cold attitude towards the youth.
An invisible fluctuation erupted from the tip of the little creature’s wings, the bloodthirst within them sufficient to shock the horses into moving forwards with a pitiful neigh.
It was unknown when he became cognizant of it, but Tang Shiqi found himself staring at two faded dust trails obscuring the distant horizons leading from Bone Spirit Town.
The youth’s countenance warped into a grotesque expression, rushing into the town to buy a carriage before it was too late.
“Old potbellied man, where exactly are we heading?”
An Fei asked as her head peeped from the window of her carriage, her voice forcing the middle-aged man to terminate his uncomfortable nap and jut his head to glare at her.
The young girl’s expression remained placid and unmoved by the play on empathy, prompting Shen Haoren to sigh and give up.
“We’re moving to Dong Lin city,” the middle-aged man explained, his expression gradually becoming unusual.
“It’s the closest city that our Shen Family has the greatest influence… but I don’t think you’ll like it rather that much.”
“…why is that?”
The young girl tilted her head towards the right as her countenance flooded with befuddlement.
An Fei furrowed her brows, attempting to pierce through the façade of the middle-aged man who was attempting his best not to burst into a puddle of tears.
“I… I…” Shen Haoren gaped for breath.
“Ahem… my husband… he made quite a lot of adversaries and mortal foes in that city, and a few of them are from the upper echelons of the Hundred Clan Coalition – the clans that oversee not only just the three provinces below Jiang’an, but a significant portion of Great Yong…”
“The old man found himself a lot of foes, and a few are capable of squashing the entire Shen Family in one breath…” the young girl repeated, her expression blank and vacant.
“…capable of smashing us into smithereens by their name alone – why are we even going to that city, ah!?”
An Fei exclaimed in surprise, her gaze gradually becoming accusatory as she bored holes into Shen Haoren’s pitiful countenance.
The little raven flicked its wings in bemusement, the violet hue in its eyes dissipating to return the deep scarlet glare.
“Hey, it wasn’t my fault; that youngster back then attempted to scam me of a Spirit Building Realm spiritual artifact I refined for a few copper coins!”
Shen Haoren retorted, his countenance morphing into one of devout righteousness as his voice adopted an imposing tone.
The middle-aged man jostled his body around in the limited space the driver’s cabin had allotted him, only to discover a piercing pair of scarlet irises that flickered with contempt.
“And so?” An Fei sneered.
“Got hotheaded and caused a ruckus, prompting that clan to search after your bones?”
The middle-aged man blinked for a second, his eyes lapsing into a momentary daze. From her angle that observed him from behind, An Fei thought she saw a glimmer of a tear, but wasn’t certain on her discovery.
However, it didn’t take long for Shen Haoren to recover, and a conciliatory smirk even manifested on his countenance.
“Actually, it won’t be me suffering much grievance, lah,” Shen Haoren returned An Fei sneer, the form, essence, and aura the exact same as the one he had received just earlier.
“The etiquette one follows in the Hundred Clan Coalition is that most disputes are resolved by the younger generation. Although I’m a Young Master of the Shen Family, you keep on calling me old, and I already have passed my fiftieth year, and you’re travelling with me – so every grudge generated from my hard efforts is now on your shoulders, young lass!”
The middle-aged Fourth Young Master of the Shen Family even raised his thumb as he finished his statement, leaving the Fourth Young Miss of the Wei Family completely speechless and bitterly astounded.