Following the cry, three pairs of eyes gazed at the youth. Two were of stern rebuke, and one was of curiosity.
“…Chang Feng, Chang Feng,” Sheng Miaolan was the first to speak from within Wei Xuan’s embrace. Her eyes stared deeply into Wei Chang Feng’s soul, and whilst her voice had grown considerably softer and warmer, it permitted little dissention or rebuttal.
“Even if the Taiyi Sect is facing such a crisis and your emotions are in turmoil, why did you engage in such baseless action? Do you think that such acts will accomplish anything?”
Surprisingly, Wei Xuan deigned to remain silent, finally taking the time to glance at the young girl seated in the wheelchair.
Noticing that a thin bloodstain remained at the corner of An Fei’s mouth, the minister bit his lips as pangs of guilt pounded at his heart, but he hardened his countenance to return his gaze towards the youth.
Before he could apologize for his rash actions, he first had to beat some sentiment into this unruly son before him.
Stubborn, unyielding, and completely unaccepting of other’s opinions once convinced upon a matter.
Such a personality was far too familiar to Wei Xuan, and was not exceptionally rare in his immediate surroundings of Jiang’an.
Wei Chang Feng spoke in a solemn tone, stepping forward as his eyes glinted with determination.
“Chang Feng has thought of this matter with a clear conscience. However, even after attempting my full capabilities to avert the incoming disasters, my decision remains unchanged.”
“Of the remaining Taiyi Sect, my master has been slain.” The youth lowered his head as a cold aura wormed its head from his body.
“A cultivation at the late stages of the Nascent Soul Realm, and he was killed within three strikes from that mysterious man.”
As he spoke, Wei Chang Feng’s mind flitted back to the past, his gaze gradually becoming dull and unfocused. Though words continued to stream from his mouth, the Eldest Young Master had returned to two years prior.
A hegemon of the world of cultivation encompassing the Shattered Star Continent, possessing the greatest strength among the numerous cultivators spanning the large land. Countless sects and warriors illuminated the path of cultivation since its formation, and Taiyi Sect was its torchbearer.
The founding concept that allowed for the birth of the continent’s strongest cultivation sect rang within the hearts of an innumerable amount of youths, arising the desires of attaining strength and observing the world from the pinnacle. It had formed the central organization of the strongest cultivators amongst the continent, upholding the model of ‘unshakable’ and ‘unbreakable’.
Though its external appearance was rather laid-back and hidden amongst the commonplace regions, not one could underestimate the sect’s strength and capabilities as the most influential entity of the continent. Not even the three sovereign empires dared raise their heads before the Taiyi Sect.
Wei Chang Luo had followed suit in such belief as he entered the sect as the chief disciple.
Interacting with his fellow martial brothers and sisters, learning from his Master and advancing greatly in his cultivation, the youth had begun his path of attaining the stage of ‘unshakable’ and ‘unbreakable’.
…until that fateful day of two years ago.
A quiet day, one that passed unnoticed amongst many of the continent, but certainly not by Wei Chang Feng.
A supposedly friendly spar amongst two peers on the lonely, unexplored path of cultivation that had produced a drastic and hellish result.
A mysterious man cloaked in black had suddenly entered the grounds of the Taiyi Sect, approaching the Sect Master for a simple duel, an exchange of pointers. The old man had agreed after a moment of contemplation, and Wei Chang Feng had been assigned to observe from aside.
Three simple exchanges with the sword. Wei Chang Feng could not even detect a ripple of spiritual essence, nor had the Sect Master reveal any expression of discomfort or unease.
As a result, the Sect Master of the Taiyi Sect had instantly disintegrated into ashes after the third exchange.
None of them had gotten an opportunity to shout as the ashes burst into unearthly flames, fading into nihility.
Wei Chang Feng could only stand in silent shock at observing the death of his Master who had fallen without ever fighting back. Even as the mysterious man seized control of the sect, and the Taiyi Sect fell into the clutches of depravity, the young man could only wander in a dull haze.
It was only when the mysterious entity’s third order had shaken the entire sect, that Wei Chang Feng finally awoke from his mental slumber.
“This one declares that all members of the Taiyi Sect are to apprehend and present all females with unbalanced yin, or exhibit signs of cold deficiency. Those who accomplish such a task will be rewarded by an elevation of their cultivation to the late stages of the Core Formation Realm!”
At first, Wei Chang Feng had not minded such an order, instead continuing to repress his glaring intention to seek an explanation for his Master’s death. However, as his thoughts constantly hinted of an inconspicuous woodshed back at home, especially when he had noticed it occasionally exuding a thread of Yin essence…
“As your family, we won’t ask any questions why you came to such a decision.”
Sheng Miaolan’s steady voice snapped Wei Chang Feng out of his daze. As the youth stared in shock as his thoughts were flooded with astonishment, the First Madam expounded on the opportunity to chastise the youth.
“We are your family, hence we do not ask questions about your behavior, and forgiveness is a given for any mistakes. However, your actions have truly exceeded the bottom line.”
“Have you ever thought about the feelings and thoughts of your little sister when you acted in such a manner?” Sheng Miaolan suddenly gestured towards An Fei, the woman’s eyes blazing with an indeterminate light as she peered deeply at the youth’s soul.
“Had you succeeded with your assassinations, then your little sister would never have experienced life before she perished under your hand. Can you truly explain to her, with a straight conscience, upon meeting her in the underworld, that your act was per the intention of brotherly love and concern?”
“Do you have such little regard for our ability as your parents?” the First Madam harshly rebuked, her voice rising as anger washed over the pavilion.
Though the lakeside structure of wood did not suffer physical torment as it had previously under Wei Xuan’s wrath, the atmosphere within the pavilion had transformed into a sharp blade.
“Does your father and mother appear as weak, insignificant ants to you? Do you think that you are the sole savior of the family, that you need to take such drastic action to satisfy your false righteousness and swelled ego? Do you think the burden falls upon your shoulders, that you must kill your sibling to preserve your vanity and justification?”
“…Mother, the Taiyi Sect has already deployed an emissary to Great Yong regarding the mysterious person’s third order,” Wei Chang Feng stubbornly refuted in an unyielding tone.
“Though Chang Feng is young and lacking insight, the circumstances facing the Wei Family in the future is evident.”
“Even so! This burden is not to be taken by your shoulders!” Sheng Miaolan roared, a faint cyan light emerging from her body. Fortunately, the woman managed to suppress her emotions, sparing the young girl and the pavilion from further suffering.
“We, your parents, still stand before your eyes! Or have we already perished in your mind!?”
“Mother, Chang Feng did not convey such intent,” the youth hastily responded upon noticing that the First Madam seemed infuriated beyond her tolerable limit.
“Your son only wished to preemptively resolve the issue to avoid Father from receiving political pressure and harm -“
“Alright. I’ve had enough.”
Wei Xuan’s voice cut through the rest of Wei Chang Feng’s words, quelling the youth into silence. An indomitable aura emanating from his body, the minister departed from the pavilion, pushing the wheelchair with one hand and guiding the First Madam with the other.
“For the next three days, you will reflect on your actions alone in this pavilion. Nobody will provide you nourishment, nor should you expect any during this period.”
The calm voice rang in the Eldest Young Master’s ears, and the pavilion soon receded into a feigned tranquility.
Outside the lakeside pavilion, the young girl turned her head to gaze at Wei Xuan, her voice containing pure curiosity.
“Father, where did the rest of my maidservants go?”