After successfully fleeing from the incident regarding the Du Clan for the second time, An Fei finally managed to obtain a breather.
The young girl leaned against the stone wall not from physical exhaustion, for her mind was exceedingly sore from the series of events.
People… could become this troublesome, even in the ancient age – no, more so because they were in the ancient age…
Having averted a momentary crisis, Yang Jian had led the rest towards a nearby inn owned by the Yang Clan, a subsidiary host to exert their influence over Dong Lin City.
Standing from afar and marveling at the scenic building, the young girl was forced to deliver an appraisal worthy of praise.
The entire inn was four stories high, with a perimeter exceeding three hundred meters in a rectangular compound.
Compared to the surrounding buildings that could barely afford a supplementary length of fifteen meters, the inn was a massive powerhouse that dominated the street’s income.
Conforming direct to the ancient and conservative themes of fashion with the wooden skywells, clay tile panels for the roof, and animalistic carvings and sculptures serving as the silent sentinels of the inn.
Furthermore, the exterior composition of the building was of a series of fragrant wooden materials with iron beams, creating a rather homely atmosphere in contrast to the more solemn and desolate aura seeping through the midnight streets of Dong Lin City.
“Brother Yang, your Yang Clan truly has a nice taste in construction, ah.”
Shen Haoren patted the handsome man on the back, taking the initiative to lead the group into the inn owned by the Yang Clan.
With a disheartened sigh and a flicker of regret flashing across his countenance, Yang Jian gestured for the rest to follow the middle-aged man with a potbelly and a horrendous tune escaping his lips.
“Brother Shen… that’s lacking way too much tact…”
Tang Yunhe shrugged with a wry smile as he sauntered in hand-in-hand with Wen Jiu, the latter constantly craning his head to peek back towards a certain young girl.
Unsure of what she was bound to thrust herself into, An Fei toddled behind Shen Haoren’s wife and children, with Tang Shiqi’s pair of eyes constantly focused on her visage from the side.
The little raven screeched towards the youth of the Tang Clan in an act of intimidation that was sorely wasted.
As the little creature began to sulk after realizing that Tang Shiqi’s expression had hardly shifted, Shen Haoren’s garrulous voice echoed from inside the inn.
“That’s right; little lass, the Yang Clan’s inns usually don’t allow talkative spiritual beasts. Shut that raven up or it’ll have to stay outside for the night!”
The little raven’s eyes bulged as it soared into the air, an invisible shockwave traversing through space to strike the receding figure of Shen Haoren squarely on the central vertebrae on his spine.
Without taking the time to admire its handiwork, the malicious creature returned to its perch on the young girl’s shoulder, its feathers puffed forward in pride.
An Fei was to serve as witness for the middle-aged man’s screech of pain, though she quickly ducked her head to avoid Yang Jian’s reproachful and inquisitive stare.
If only the little raven could be obedient and quiet as the small fox… but that was surely bound to be impossible, right?
“Oh?” Tang Yunhe gasped in admiration as he stepped into the reception hall of the inn.
“Brother Yang, the Yang Clan truly wasted no small amount of resources for this project. You have your brother’s respect once again, ah!”
When An Fei finally obtained the opportunity to enter the towering behemoth of the street, the young girl similarly couldn’t restrain the surprised gasp of air escaping her lips.
A large, crystalline chandelier hung from the ceiling, the crystals embedded on the silver structure bestowing a bath of multicolored light onto the ground.
Each portion of the interior received the blessing of a different hue of light, creating a mysterious scene to dazzle their eyes.
Compared to the external appearance that of an ancient and conservative themed inn, the interior was unique and rather interesting. Instead of dividing the building by the floors, the Yang Clan’s inn had relegated them to platforms.
The center of the building had been left empty to accommodate the massive chandelier and the spiral stairs leading to each of the platforms.
On the sides, An Fei could spot numerous doors marked with numbers, as well as a railing to provide a modicum of safety to the customers of the inn.
The ground floor was the only region of the inn fully intact to its original d
esign, but the decorations had been swapped for a different appearance. There was no sporadic expenditure of furniture, only a few potted plants and herbs neatly placed throughout the ground floor.
Her curiosity intrigued, An Fei prodded the middle-aged man’s shoulder whilst he was substantially distracted.
“Do you know what those herbs are?”
Shen Haoren blinked, his countenance flickering with comprehension and admiration as his gaze followed the direction in which the young girl’s finger pointed towards.
The middle-aged man patted his hands, his voice automatically adjusting itself to that of an authoritative figure in the path of seeking knowledge.
“Don’t take the sparseness of furniture in the ground floor as a bad thing, ah,” Shen Haoren explained with a casual but awed voice.
“The Yang Clan was indeed wise-minded when they constructed the inn – see that? Those are herbs attributed with Yin and Yang; seven spiritual herbs of Yang, when arranged to encircle four spiritual herbs of Yin in all directions save for one, they coalesce into a generic array utilized in accumulating and concentrating the quantity of atmospheric spiritual essence in the building.”
“It’s just a rudimentary array utilized to gather atmospheric spiritual qi at a higher rate than outside, which incites cultivators to rent rooms in this inn for several months or years at a time,” Tang Yunhe joined the group to interrupt Shen Haoren’s brief lecture.
“The Yang Clan is displaying their authority and influence here; these herbs are rare and their efficacy is unbelievable, creating a simple but powerful array at literally no cost in either establishment or maintenance. Aih, our Tang Clan doesn’t have the ability to invest in our outside projects like Brother Yang’s clan…”
The handsome man’s countenance became exceedingly glum, and he even sported a few sentimental tears to mist around his eyes.
Before Tang Yunhe could launch himself into a piteous tirade to scam some wealth from his dear “esteemed” brother Yang Jian, a ruthless hand chopped onto his head without any prior notice.”
“Enough, my Yang Clan isn’t that omnipotent, and your Tang Clan isn’t that far behind, either.”
Yang Jian tossed several wooden plaques marked with numbers to Shen Haoren, before distributing two more towards Tang Yunhe and Wen Jiu respectively.
The handsome man’s cold and detached countenance didn’t fluctuate as he didn’t hesitate to reject any questions regarding how he had obtained the plaques in the absence of any reception staff, instead shooing them to climb the spiral stairs of ivory.
“So… I’m staying with you?”
An Fei’s expression was rather odd as she glanced towards a fairly young and vibrant, youthful girl standing next to her. The young girl tilted her head towards the right, her lips threatening to twitch at an unforgivable pace.
This was Shen Haoren’s daughter… but what was her name again?
Fortunately, the opposite party didn’t have a malicious heart to keep the young girl struggling in her mind to dig through her memory and discover a name that hadn’t been imparted to her yet.
The youthful girl extended a delicate and well-natured hand towards An Fei, her beautiful countenance beaming with a wonderful smile.
“Ah, my name is Ming Yue; you should be well acquainted with my father, no? We’ll be staying together often, so let’s have a great time here in Dong Lin City, ah?”
An Fei hesitantly took the proffered hand and lightly squeezed it, her countenance trembling between indecision and rejection.
Ultimately, the young girl sighed, her heart giving up in defeat whilst spinning another spool of defense around itself.
“I’m Xu Lingxue. good… to be your acquaintance.”
A little white lie, but it wouldn’t do any good for Shen Ming Yue to learn her actual name or identity.
Likewise, utilizing a false identity would only bring benefits towards the young girl, especially given her present circumstances.
Being hunted by the Hundred Clan Coalition, three Great Empires, and Three Great Sects was not good for anyone’s liver or heart, ah.
“Ah Xue, ah?”
Shen Ming Yue seemed to be unaware of the brooding thoughts germinating within the young girl’s heart, for her countenance and mood remained joyous and bright as she yanked An Fei into the room.
The youthful girl shook her fist towards the young girl, her voice energetic and warm as soon as she had closed the door.
“Here in Dong Lin City, and where we’ll be visiting in the future, we’re going to run into a lot of Young Masters and arrogant cultivators. At that time, you only need to sit back and watch – this Elder Sister will knock them away with a single fist!”
…An Fei could only awkwardly comply and touch her fist against the youthful girl’s, her heart threatening to smash itself onto a block of silken tofu.
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