“What? No way! That blind swordsmith is the first steward and founder of the Luo Alliance?!”
In a gloomy forest, a dozen people walked through the bushes. Long Jianshan cried out once Luo Sifan explained, staring with wide and dull eyes, “It’s obvious now why he’s so familiar to our alliance and knows everyone, not afraid of me, being the grandson of the original elders. He is above even them!”
Xie Nianyang rolled his eyes, huffing, “Please, he didn’t need to be the most important in the Luo Alliance to disregard your origins, not with his strength.”
“Oh, you’re right.”
Recalling how Zhuo Fan repelled the
Dragon Cleaving Sword King, Long Jianshan’s heart sank.
[Such a peak expert would hardly care about anyone. He must’ve left since the Luo Alliance was so tiny for him. The Luo Alliance is filled with experts but none to the level of Sword Kings. Being second best in western lands is hardly enough to impress this god.]
Long Jianshan sighed, “He stands at the very top and can defeat the entire alliance by himself, so why care about us? Now we’re asking for his help and we’re yet to know if he’ll accept. Why else then did he hide his true identity? He must not want to be on our side.”
A quick palm struck him over the head.
Long Jianshan shrank, looking back to see Luo Yunchang staring daggers at him.
“Brat, what nonsense are you spouting? You know nothing of our founding steward. When we were at our weakest, he did everything for us, without the thought of casting us aside. Now it’s no different.”
Luo Yunchang spat as she set him straight, “You think all are like you, selfish and cocky? I’ll have to pay your grandfather a visit to get you in shape. Your dad’s upright act was a bad influence.”
“Auntie Luo, I was just saying. Why so angry?” Long Jianshan’s face fell, “Dad may be sloppy, but I follow grandfather’s example and uphold our clan’s honor.”
Luo Yunchang laughed and the others smiled.
Luo Sifan glared at him, whispering, “Long Jianshan, stop back talking. Steward Zhuo is very important to auntie. Try to complain about him some more and see how she’ll tear you to pieces.”
Long Jianshan shivered, sneaking a peek at Luo Yunchang’s icy look.
[Auntie Luo, the blind swordsmith can’t be your man, right? He-he-he…]
“What are you looking at?”
Feeling his nasty eyes on her, Luo Yunchang could read his mind like an open book, snapping at him. Then she shouted in annoyance, “Sifan, are we there yet? Where is that punk?”
Luo Sifan bobbed her head, not wanting to earn the ire of a woman in menopause, pointing, “Just up ahead. There’s a Sword Shack where the blind uncle lives.”
“I finally found you, rotten bastard!”
Luo Yunchang was furious, though the light in her eyes danced with joy. Ignoring Luo Sifan, she rushed forth only to see the place desolate.
The rest smiled.
[Young miss can’t wait after a hundred years, ha-ha-ha…]
The others were just as eager, hurrying over. But as they neared the shack, they found the bamboo place empty, with Luo Yunchang coming out devastated.
“Sifan, where is he?”
Luo Sifan glanced at the empty place and rushed inside to check better, “This isn’t right. We’ve been here twice now and it was filled with spiritual swords. Where have they all gone?”
Li Jingtian and the five venerables offered, “Yeah, when we woke up from our wounds, there were hung spiritual swords everywhere. How come there isn’t any now?”
“Humph, isn’t it obvious? That bastard scampered off. Does he hate seeing me so much?” Luo Yunchang gave a forlorn chuckle, on the verge of crying.
She had been worried sick over him for a hundred years, every second of it. Now that she got a clue, what greeted her was a cold and empty place.
Luo Yunchang felt her heart breaking. It was no longer a matter of finding Zhuo Fan, but him avoiding them like the plague.
No one could find him, not while he was running away.
Luo Yunchang slumped on the ground, hugging her knees as she sobbed, “Did I do anything wrong? Does he hate seeing me so much?”
Luo Sifan had never seen her so devastated and heartbroken.
An old hand touched her shoulder, in comfort.
Zhuge Changfeng sighed, turning grave, “Miss Sifan, what happened then? Are you certain the blind swordsmith is Steward Zhuo?”
Luo Sifan frowned, “The three were talking while we shooed away. We couldn’t hear them and didn’t know who he was.”
Zhuge Changfeng took a deep breath, calculating as he spoke to Li Jingtian, “Those three are the strongest while the kids are just in the Radiant Stage. If they didn’t want the kids to hear, then not a word would reach them, not with how large the gap in strength was.”
“Yeah, why would Steward Zhuo just let some children eavesdrop on him when he avoids us?”
Luo Yunchang only cried harder, “That punk, he doesn’t want to see me…”
The others were stumped on how to console the crying miss. But this was not the time for comfort, it was to find Zhuo Fan to save their head.
Someone flashed before them and bowed, presenting a jade slip to Zhuge Changfeng, “Steward Zhuge, there’s news from the border. The Sword Star Empire sent a jade slip for Steward Zhuge.”
“A jade slip from the empire?”
Zhuge Changfeng squinted, “Baili Jingwei is ready to use Clan Head.”
“In that case, he must’ve wanted to speak terms with us.”
Zhuge Changfeng agreed with Leng Wuchang, “This might be Clan Head’s lifeline. Let’s see what trick he’s up to.”
Zhuge Changfeng pondered, then turned to the crying Luo Yunchang, “Young miss, Baili Jingwei wants to talk with us and negotiate Clan Head’s fate.”
Luo Yunchang raised her red eyes, “You mean Baili Jingwei wants to talk about conditions? Yunhai can return?”
“Yes, we’ll see what he wants. It might not be good, but hope still remains.”
Luo Yunchang wiped her tears and stood up, her tone harsh, “Steward Zhuge, you three will go with me. Elder Qiu and sister Xue will follow as well. The rest are to stay here and wait for the punk to come back. Make sure to keep him here!”
“Auntie, will he come? There’s nothing here!”
“Humph, regardless of what he does, you are to not leave the place out of your sight.” Luo Yunchang shouted, making Luo Sifan flinch in fright.
Hell hath no fury as a woman scorned.
[She wants to tear Steward Zhuo apart.]
Li Jingtian frowned, “Young miss, it’ll be dangerous going with so few.”
“We must go regardless. Yunhai’s life is at stake!”
“At least take more men.” Li Jingtian proposed.
Zhuge Changfeng denied, “Elder Li, it’ll be fine. Sword Star Empire is filled with experts. If he wanted to hurt us, our numbers wouldn’t matter. He has no such intention. Even surrounded, it won’t matter. The issue is that we must step into this trap.”
Li Jingtian sighed and nodded, “Take care.”
“Since it’s just talk, Baili Jingwei won’t touch us. There’s thousands of ways to grab us, not needing his direct attention. We’ll be fine.”
Zhuge Changfeng smiled, cupping his hands at Li Jingtian.
Luo Yunchang took one last long look at the shack and left with a ruthless heart.
[Just you wait, devil, I’ll chase you to the ends of the world if I have to!]