On hearing the plans for the Jun Family, Xue Shuang Qing immediately became tense, and clenched her husband's arm tightly, unable to bear it anymore.
"This cannot be done!" Han Zhan Meng's eyebrows suddenly arched like two sharp swords which had been unsheathed quickly. "I don't have any problem with the Great Elder's first two plans, but I will not agree to the extermination of the entire Jun Family! Moreover, wasn't the suffering we had to endure ten years ago, the first time this plan was put into play, enough?"
Han Zhan Meng looked coldly at the elder, and continued solemnly, "Ten years ago, many of the Xiao Family's Spirit Xuan experts secretly went off to deal with the Jun Family and involved themselves in the war of two other nations without even taking permission; and because of this, the Jun Family came to the verge of ruin! And even though I put a stop to all of it, the Jun still suffered three successive attacks; as a result, the only surviving member of their second generation was crippled, while only a debauchee was left in their third. It doesn't matter what you say, this is too much!
"No matter what, the Jun Family is good and faithful, and the grudge between your families is your personal matter, so why are involving the rest of us? Also, I could not understand the Great Elder's words from the very beginning; what did you mean when you said that the Jun family has repeatedly provoked my Silver Blizzard City, and questioned its power? The only one which seems to have been provoked is the Xiao Family! This matter will not be mentioned again! And if anyone else decides to go forth in order to deal with the Juns without permission, the same will be punished according to the city's laws; no mercy will be shown to them!"
"But, now the Jun Family has got two powerful individuals supporting it, and sooner or later, they are going to create big problems for the Silver Blizzard City. Anyway, even if we don't take the initiative to deal with the Jun Family ourselves, they will certainly try to harm the Silver Blizzard City in order to avenge what they've suffered in the past, owing to our animosity! Whether it was right or wrong, we killed four important members of the Jun Family, and though it was a mistake, crippled one of them; nothing can change this fact. An animosity which is carried forward from generation to generation cannot be dissolved this easily. Will my Xiao Family have to stretch its neck and bear the Jun Family's resentment for the Silver Blizzard City's future, all alone?" The Great Elder's face clearly showed his indignation.
"The actions taken by the Xiao Family, in the past, are the root cause of this problem. Does the Great Elder really wish to add to the list of mistakes which have already been made, and commit more wrongs thereafter? The Great Elder is willing to bleed us all, forever, simply because of the mutual feelings harbored by two young ones; you are completely mistaken! They are good men, and they will not be killed needlessly because of this; such madness will not be allowed in my Silver Blizzard City!
"This matter has been in dispute for ten years! And in ten years, it has only seen stalemates! I have no interest in discussing it again." Han Zhan Meng gazed coldly as he looked up. "Great Elder, if the Jun Family truly, and seriously, attacks the Silver Blizzard City in order to extract their revenge, then you do whatever you feel like, and I will not meddle therein! However, unless the Jun Family attacks us first, we will not do anything!"
"The Jun Family taking on the Silver Blizzard City? That is a big joke; it is just another family, without any significant capability; will it not be akin to courting their own death? Even in a hundred years, the Jun will not have enough strength to pose a threat to the Silver Blizzard City!" A tall and thin elder snorted; he was named Xiao Bu Yu, and was in fact, the Second Elder of the city.
"If the Jun Family is really that weak, then why is the Xiao Family so worried?" Han Zhan Meng stared coldly.
"The thing is that . . . your eldest daughter Yao isn't young anymore, and is still unmarried, and if this continues . . . " looking at Han Zhan Meng's stubborn resistance to his proposal, the Great Elder decided to change the direction of his argument instead of insisting upon the same thing.
"This matter requires further consideration." Han Zhan Meng's face appeared as if he was having a headache. "Great Elder, have you forgotten what happened ten years ago? Do you really want Yao to go mad; do you really wish to force her into torment herself to death again? You've always loved her like she was your own granddaughter! Are you really so heartless that you'll do this to her!?"
On hearing this, the Great Elder sighed sadly, but didn't speak anymore.
Ten years ago, when Han Yan Yao had returned to the Silver Blizzard City, she went mad, and destroyed her meridians in front of Han Zhan Meng upon finding out the treatment the Juns had received at the hands of the Xiao Family. She had sworn that she would live and die with the Jun Family; the image of her blood staining the entire floor was still very vivid in everyone's mind! This was why Han Zhan Meng was so vehemently opposed to Great Elder's plan to eliminate the Jun Family!
No one had forgotten the hards.h.i.+ps that were faced to save Han Yan Yao from the clutches of her death. At that time, the Great Elder had presumed that given her weak physical condition, she wouldn't be able to harm her meridians any further; and thus, he had decided to go ahead with his plan to deal with the Jun Family again. However, on learning this, that stubborn girl pierced herself with two swords, right up to the shaft, and stood covered in blood from head to toe in front of the elders, and demanded that they immediately withdraw their orders!
As a result, the Great Elder was rendered helpless and was forced to cancel his secret plan to destroy the Jun Family. However, Han Yan Yao's recklessness had already put her life at a great risk; and because of that, the Old Master of the City had gone into a fit of rage, and even Han Zhan Meng and his wife were furious with the Xiao Family; it was then, that the first signs of dispute between these two families of the Silver Blizzard City had started to appear.
Naturally, only a very few important people within the Silver Blizzard City had any knowledge of this incident, while outsiders were completely unaware of what had happened.
"Tracking the conversation back, wouldn't teaching a lesson to the Solitary Falcon be a huge blow to the Jun Family? The Jun Family will not be able to rise again after that; and therefore, there will be no need to exterminate them anymore!" saying this, Han Zhan Meng sighed and his gaze swept the hall as he looked outside at a solitary snow-capped peak in the distance, and then wondered in his heart, [Yao, your father can do only this much for you right now. The rest . . . you can just hope . . .]
"In that case, I would like to make some arrangements." although the Great Elder did not agree with Han Zhan Meng, he had no option but to relent. "This time, the capable second brother will lead the fifth and the eighth Elder. And to make our efforts foolproof, I would like to request that the Old Master of the City shall allow them to take the Seven Swords with them as well. After all, if the mysterious person actually turns out to be that formidable, then wouldn't the Seven Swords provide extra a.s.surance?"
"Good! It is decided then! As for the remaining matters, I give the Great Elder full authority to make arrangements." hearing this, Han Zhan Meng rubbed his forehead, got up, and started to move out of the hall with his wife. But just as he had reached the gate, he turned his head and warned, "In any case, no one is to involve themselves with the Jun Family; and if anyone disobeys this order, I will make sure to send a report to my father. And I can promise, that man, will be expelled from the Silver Blizzard City! Without any exceptions!" after saying this, the two leisurely walked away.
This left the Great Elder standing there expressionless for a moment. And though he continued standing calmly rooted to his spot, a trace of anger could be seen flas.h.i.+ng in his eyes. Then, he suddenly turned towards Xiao Bu Yu, "You will make preparations to descend the mountains this afternoon; act immediately and without fail!"
"Elder brother so . . . what about the 'Jun Family' issue?" Xiao Bu Yu asked wrinkling his silvery eyebrows.
"There will be many opportunities for you to make use of in order to complete that task." Xiao Xing Yun took a deep breath and replied in an expressionless tone. "And after you get down, do what you think is necessary!"
Outside the hall, Xue Shuang Qing patted her stomach, letting go of some of her worries, though some concerns still lingering in her mind. "Thank you dear husband, if you had not insisted, then perhaps the Jun Family would have been annihilated . . . and if such a thing were to happen to them, I fear that Yao . . . "
"Even though I have stopped things from progressing any further for now, Yao's still got a lot of problems . . . we can only help her one step at a time." Han Zhan Meng sighed deeply and looked up to the heavens as he quietly said, "Our daughter has suffered a lot of pain in the last decade. And as her father, how can I let her last source of hope be extinguished?
"No matter what, no one will ever harm my daughter! Nor my family!" Han Zhan Meng said in a low voice. And as he waved his arm from his sleeves, a huge ice rock suddenly shattered into tiny pieces, which scattered into the air like snowflakes!
Xue Shuang Qing nestled against her husband, and suddenly felt a sense of security warming her heart. She felt that as long as her husband's broad and st.u.r.dy shoulders held the burdens, no harm would come to either of her two precious daughters; and thus, she could not help but smile satisfyingly...
Inside a cave of a solitary peak not far from the hall stood a lone and frail woman, dressed in white clothes and a mask. She opened a letter with her lily white hands and read it very quickly; but the moment she finished reading the letter, her fingers started to tremble while her eyes started to brim with tears.
"Is he really . . . ! His injury has really healed; thank G.o.d . . ." The woman dressed in white, cried tears of joy as her slender body bent forward while her shoulders trembled like dead leaves in the wind. Her heart had become very cold during the past one decade; however, this letter had finally broken through that ice, and her now precarious mental state was clearly reflecting the weakness, and the helplessness she had been feeling all these years!
With tears in her eyes, the woman in white sobbed softly for a while; but then, she suddenly stood up and walked over to the mouth of the cave. She knelt down with her hands cupped in devotion and looked up to the heavens as she prayed in a soft voice, "Thank G.o.d, for he has completely recovered; thank G.o.d for he is no longer in pain . . . give him happiness . . . this woman will trade ten . . . or even twenty years of her life for his safety and happiness . . . "
"Even if we can't be together . . . I am still your Yao . . . forever!"
She gently prayed on the ground; and as her plea quietly faded in the blowing wind, a strong gale arose from the heavens above, and kept getting stronger and stronger; without relenting. The waves of snowflakes started becoming bigger and denser, and started to fall down upon the mountains with much more ferocity than before . . .
And though this lone woman on that snowy peak was completely covered in snow soon, she remained motionless; kneeling in prayer as her unceasing tears fell on the floor and froze . . .
However, not long after this, ten shadowy figures shot skyward and flew out of the Silver City. They descended down the mountains; hidden by wind and snow . . .
Inside the Jun Family residence, Fatty's ghost-like howls woke up the Young Master of the house very early in the morning; he was dragged from his bed by Fatty. And when he opened his eyes, he saw that the Fatty was covered in black clothes from head to toe, and surprisingly, seemed to be in good spirits. Moreover, the fatty also appeared somewhat thinner than before; now he looked like a man . . . at least a little bit.
And not just that, his face was scrubbed clean and his hair was unexpectedly neat, while his body was giving off a faint hint of a honey locust's fragrance. After looking at his face, one could see that he had applied a lot of cosmetic powder . . . this Fatty had actually covered his face with cosmetic powder, and that too, with a very thick layer . . .
"Bleuuurgh . . . " Jun Mo Xie burst out retching. "Fatty, that much powder on your face looks scary because of your body type; you know that right? Are you trying to play the role of a ghost with such a thick layer of cosmetic powder on your face? And why did you wake me up so early in the morning?" he looked out the window to see the early glimmer of dawn.
"Third Young Master . . . brother . . . ", Tang Yuan was being uncharacteristically bashful, "did you not promise that you'll accompany me to meet the Sun Family's Young Miss…"
"Miss Sun . . . oh, that Miss Sun?" Jun Mo Xie realized suddenly, and stood up. "Isn't she your fiancée? The one you had once lost while gambling?"
"Bullsh*t!" Fatty retorted in a somewhat fiery manner. "Is it possible that you wouldn't mention that matter before her? Haven't I always stayed away from such despicable things since then?" he said as sized himself up; looking quite satisfied. "I look thinner; pretty good right?"
"Uhh yes . . . really slim. In fact, you almost look like a person." Jun Mo Xie whipped out from the corner of his mouth. "You really are looking very slim. In fact, I am truly confused . . . "
Tang Yuan opened his big mouth and let out a loud and narcissistic laugh. Then, he swirled around twice, thinking he looked very elegant.
However, this swirling movement ruined whatever arrangements he had done in order to look slimmer. As a result, his belly drooped down again, which then flew out like a flexible elastic bag; followed his axial rotation, and then changed its direction once again as he stopped, only to dropped down to slap his thighs and knees.
"I'm meeting Miss Sun for the first time; I must make a good impression on her!" a look of longing and happiness flashed in Tang Yuan's eyes while his pupils almost resembled the shape of a heart.