Those who’d followed the patriarch couldn’t help but feel confused. It was extremely rare for him to show concern for anyone, even his own wife or son. As the patriarch, he believed that once concern was shown, it was a weakness that could be exploited against him. Alas, that was the situation in the Long Clan—the strong survived, while the weak were cast aside. Even inner members of the clan would have a tough upbringing.
But right now, this patriarch was shouting in rage, scolding those who were slow in moving the ruins burying Long Chen and Zeng Lei.
“If he’s alive, I want to see his person. If he’s dead, I want to see his corpse! You hear me! Find him!” The Long Patriarch kept shouting.
He was clear about something, Old Ji disappeared. The incredible pressure disappeared just the moment Old Ji was nowhere to be found. The old man went to the ugly lady statue in the clan, no one paid attention to it because Old Ji was a tiny mortal but as the Patriarch he knew. He also knew very well how much he tried to protect and cared for Long Chen, each birthday he would swap his reward from the clan. Even the resources the clan gave Long Chen were handled by Old Ji.
Even though he’d found Old Ji’s actions strange, he hadn’t thought much of it. There were many elders in this world with strange dispositions, after all. And Old Ji was just a mortal. Why would he care about a mortal? Now though, the patriarch knew that if he didn’t act properly, there was a chance that the Long Chen would meet disaster. The Long Clan wasn’t quite ready to deal with a Martial King.
At this moment, the patriarch ran every meeting he’d had with Old Ji through his head, and started noticing signs of Old Ji’s strength that he hadn’t picked up the first time. Dammit, how hadn’t he seen them?
Of course, as a supreme existence, Old Ji naturally didn’t have ill will towards the Long Clan—but the patriarch didn’t know this. If anything, Old Ji had done them a favor, for Long Chen. But from the patriarch’s point of view, Old Ji only cared about a single person in their clan—Long Chen. If the only person a Martial King cared for in the clan were to die… The patriarch gulped.
“Damn it! Insidious old man!” The patriarch cursed, then turned towards a few clan members who were moving a bit slowly. “Fuck! Move faster! Where is Long Chen?!”
After some time, they finally found the husband and wife, unhurt.
“What are you waiting for? Are you idiots?! Get them a full checkup! Where is that damn Elder Sun?”
The clansmen felt incredulous, especially those of the younger generation. Just what was going on? Why did the patriarch care so much about what was going on?
Elder Sun quickly arrived, examined the two, then brought the two back to his quarters for healing before he woke them up. The patriarch and several clan members followed.
After a few hours, Long Chen woke up.
“What happened? Where is my wife?” Long Chen immediately asked upon waking, concerned.
“I’m here. I’m fine.” Zeng Lei, despite having just woken up herself, answered him.
Long Chen sighed with relief. The last thing he remembered was the cube cracking open the space around them, and a huge and endless pressure that had frozen him until he’d fainted. He quickly checked and found that the cube was still inside his head, but there didn’t seem to be any changes with it.
“I’m glad you are okay, Long Chen. Don’t you worry, we will find and kill the culprit!” The Long Clan Patriarch shouted, appearing out of nowhere.
“Patriarch?!” The duo was incredibly confused. Was this still the same cold-blooded, uncaring patriarch they knew?
“What’s with this reaction? Since when have I, the patriarch, not cared about my clan members? Of course I had to make sure that the both of you are safe and sound!”
Husband and wife looked at each, confusion in their eyes. They didn’t speak further, though, in fear of offending the patriarch.
The Long Clan Patriarch tried a few tricky questions, some of them with deeper meanings targeted towards Old Ji. Zeng Lei, smartly answered for Long Chen, and avoided answering the questions directly while hinting at some deeper mysteries.
Long Chen stayed silent but stared at his wife with a smile on his face as he watched her spar with the patriarch in a battle of fake works and smiles.
With Zeng Lei’s efforts, the patriarch was convinced that the couple was related to Old Ji, and Old Ji had definitely been the cause of the surge of energy from the day before.
“Right, I almost forgot. Now that you have to work and earn your contribution to the clan. I have a spot for you in the Thousand Sect. They were kind enough to give us a spot, and you’ll be taking it.” The eyes of the patriarch shined with craftiness but Zeng Lei didn’t notice and Long Chen was… well, he definitely didn’t notice either.
The patriarch needed to send Long Chen out of the reaches of his clan—he couldn’t afford to have a time bomb under his jurisdiction! It was too dangerous! What if Long Chen died somehow, and Old Ji came back for revenge? No, the Thousand Sect could hold the time bomb for him.
“Father!” Long Yi shouted.
“Shut up. It’s been decided that Long Chen will go to the Thousand Sect. No buts!” he knew his son even better than his mother.
The patriarch bid his farewells and instructed Elder Sun to guide the couple to an empty house inside the clan estate.
“Elder Sun, I wish to retrieve my ancestors’ books.” Long Chen suddenly remembered.
“I’m afraid that won’t be possible. As I was healing you, a few clan members carelessly burned the remains of your house to deal with the ruins. Whatever you had there is long gone.” Elder Sun clearly didn’t care for his ancestors’ trashy book.
Long Chen bit his lips until his emotions stabilized.
“Calm down.” A voice whispered in his ear, followed by a warm hand that grasped his.
After calming down, Long Chen and Zeng Lei were led to their new house, where Elder Sun abruptly departed. “My job is done. I will leave.” Elder Sun departed just like that.
The two entered their new house and collapsed onto a bed, exhausted from their ordeals. But they couldn’t sleep just yet—they had too much information to process.
Particularly that he was to enter the Thousand Sect.
This was a good piece of news, to be sure. Long Chen didn’t care much about the Long family, and his wife would be able to follow him there, so there was no reason to not go. After all, the Thousand Sect was a sect with a great deal of prestige, so much so that none in the region dared offend it. Typically, only geniuses and those with particular talents would be able to become a disciple of the Sect. How could Long Chen and Zeng Lei not be excited at being able to go?
As for why the patriarch had suddenly turned so nice...
“How are you feeling?” Zeng Lei asked, resting her head on her husband’s chest.
“I haven’t seen or felt any changes. What about you?”
“Not sure. Shall we try again? With what happened between the stone and the cube, maybe something changed?”
When Long Chen summoned the cube, nothing felt different, but he did receive a bit more information from it as Zeng Lei reached out and placed her finger inside the cube.
Origin Rank: 0 (1/10)
Zeng Lei’s finger status: -132%
After a bit, he noticed that there was actually a new sensation, some sort of connection between him, the cube, and Zeng Lei’s finger. Following that feeling, a few more words appeared. This time though, they made sense.
Zeng Lei finger status perfectly matched. Evolve?
Zeng Lei looked at him as if she had seen a ghost as she felt a surge of energy pass through her finger. When Long Chen looked at the finger that had been evolved, it looked more perfect and refined even compared to her other fingers. If the same process were to be applied to the rest of her body, she would be turned into a truly peerless beauty.