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3121-chapter-6

Chapter 6

Once the two esteemed guests had their fill of fighting, the South Courtyard was nearly demolished, and everyone could finally sit down for a proper discussion.

Li Que continued to insist that Ao Xiu had ulterior motives and stole Daozun’s body. Ao Xiu scoffed and denied it, demanding evidence. As the two began to argue again, Xu Manman pulled out a bill.

“Today, you two had a grand showdown, demolishing the South Courtyard and causing significant losses to Siyi Sect. I trust that such esteemed individuals won’t shirk from this small debt,” Xu Manman said with a beaming smile.

Li Que furrowed his brow, not even glancing at the bill, and responded, “It’s a trivial matter. I certainly won’t shirk from it.”

He paused, looking at Xu Manman with displeasure.

“But what business is it of yours?”

Xu Manman sighed and said slowly, “There’s something I haven’t mentioned before. In fact, Daozun had written a will, leaving all her assets to me.”

Everyone present was stunned, watching Xu Manman take out a letter and hand it to Ning Xi.

Ning Xi carefully opened the letter, and upon seeing it, her eyes immediately reddened, choking up, “It’s the master’s handwriting. I can’t be mistaken…”

Master’s handwriting, casual and messy like chicken scratches, could not be imitated by anyone.

Ning Xi read the letter earnestly, then solemnly put it away. She looked up and said to everyone, “Master made it very clear in her letter. All the treasures she accumulated in her lifetime, including Siyi Sect, are to be inherited by Shi Niang Xu Yanyue, and I, her senior disciple, am to take over as the head of Siyi Sect. Everyone in Siyi Sect must protect Shi Niang.”

When Xu Manman took over Siyi Sect from Nian Yi, it only had three or four dilapidated houses. Now it spanned thousands of acres, with countless buildings and thousands of disciples, all thanks to Xu Manman’s efforts.

The reason Xu Manman slept so soundly this morning was that she had come up with this plan the night before. She had written a will herself, ensuring the handwriting matched, and had spent some effort to age the seal. It wouldn’t withstand close scrutiny by Ming Xiao Fazun, but it could easily deceive the emotionally driven Ning Xi.

Actually, this wasn’t really a deception; it was indeed the wish of Lian Yue Daozun…

“Ning Xi, my cultivation is shallow, and I’m unfit for great responsibilities. The task of recovering Daozun’s body still falls upon you. As for the treasures that Daozun accumulated in her lifetime, I will temporarily manage them. If any are suitable for the disciples, I will reward them accordingly. It’s better than letting them become dead objects in the inheritance ground.” Xu Manman said it earnestly.

Ning Xi nodded vigorously.

“I will follow Shi Niang’s arrangements.”

Ao Xiu frowned deeply and said in a stern voice, “Such a significant matter cannot be decided hastily. Her identity is unclear, and the authenticity of the will is in question.”

Li Que’s suspicious gaze moved between Ning Xi and Xu Manman, mumbling, “The relationship between these two is suspiciously close…”

Ning Xi, hearing this, immediately frowned, and her voice turned cold.

“Is Young Master Li Que doubting me?”

Li Que replied, “If it’s a private matter of Siyi Sect, we wouldn’t interfere. But if it involves the Daozun, it concerns me as well.”

Ao Xiu raised his eyebrows and added, “Indeed. Since the Daozun’s relics are still here, Ning Xi can search for them. If she finds my dragon scale, it will prove that what I said was true.”

Li Que also said, “Yes, and my Primodial True Feather as well.”

Xu Manman scratched her head and smiled wryly…

Last night, she had thought for half the night and finally remembered where Ao Xiu’s dragon scale was and who Li Que was. Yes, she had taken the dragon scale and plucked Li Que’s Primodial True Feather. She had a habit of not throwing things away randomly and would put everything into her Qiankun Bag. Over the years, she had accumulated a lot of valuable items and kept a lot of useless junk. If she remembered correctly, these two items were in Qiankun Bag No. 2 and No. 6, respectively. If she searched, she would surely find them. Although she had no particular relationship with these two, now that Lian Yue Daozun was gone, it was up to the living to weave stories.

Xu Manman coughed twice, knocked on the table, and signaled everyone to be quiet.

“Actually, you all have valid points.”

Xu Manman started, trying to soothe everyone.

“We all came together from various places for a common partner.”

Li Que and Ao Xiu frowned slightly.

“I am willing to believe that you all loved Daozun deeply, and that she loved you as well.”

Li Que and Ao Xiu’s frowns eased.

“Although we are rivals in love, we are also family.”

Li Que and Ao Xiu frowned again, even feeling a sense of foreboding.

“I knew Daozun the longest, so by seniority, I should come before you.”

Xu Manman looked at Li Que with a loving expression and said, “Since you call Immortal Lang Yin your elder brother, you should call me elder sister.”

Li Que’s face changed drastically, pointing at Xu Manman, speechless, “You…”

Xu Manman held his finger and blinked.

“Being a concubine for Daozun isn’t beneath you.”

Li Ying’s words left Li Que speechless. His handsome face turned blue and red, and although he could argue with Ao Xiu, Xu Manman’s soft yet firm approach left him without a retort.

Ao Xiu was about to leave, but Xu Manman’s other hand grabbed his sleeve.

“You came the latest, so you can be the fourth brother.”

Ao Xiu’s face turned ashen.

Li Que suddenly felt less aggrieved and said to Ao Xiu, “Call me, third brother.”

Ning Xi was in awe: Shi Niang truly was the woman chosen by Master; she was indeed capable!

Immortal Lang Yin was unaware that he had suddenly gained several siblings. According to Ning Xi, he had locked himself in the herb garden for the past few days, busy planting flowers.

Xu Manman smiled wryly. The romantic reputation of Lian Yue Daozun was bound to spread far and wide, but who knew that none of these nominal partners truly loved her.

Ao Xiu’s motives were clear from the start; he had great ambitions. When she met him, he was on the verge of death, and she saved him out of pity. Later, Ao Xiu tried to use the power of the Siyi Sect and the Daoist Alliance to pull her into his plans to become the Sea Emperor.

He tried all sorts of inducements, but Xu Manman watched coldly, refusing to be swayed. Once he had recovered enough to fend for himself, she left him. She hadn’t expected Ao Xiu to succeed in becoming the Sea Emperor in just ten years, using unknown methods. He appeared after her death, pretending to be her partner, with unclear motives but certainly not out of love. Xu Manman suspected he wanted to use Siyi Sect’s power to solidify his position as Sea Emperor.

As for Li Que…

Xu Manman felt unfamiliar with him because she had never seen his human form before. About a hundred years ago, when she had just taken over Siyi Sect and was not yet the Daozun, she traveled to expand Siyi Sect’s influence. While passing through the Yong Kingdom, she saw a group of beasts fighting over a bird egg. The egg was pure white, crystalline, and brimming with spiritual energy, likely the egg of a great bird spirit beast of the Feather Clan, but for some reason, it was unguarded. A beast consuming such an egg would immediately gain sentience and a hundred years of cultivation.

Xu Manman, being someone who loved to meddle, chased away the beasts and guarded the egg for a day and a night. She didn’t wait for the mother bird, but the chick hatched.

This was her first time seeing a bird hatch. She watched curiously as the little beak pecked through the eggshell, which was like jade, and a tiny head cautiously emerged. Its round, dark eyes met Xu Manman’s, and it chirped joyfully twice. Xu Manman suddenly felt uneasy as she remembered something—the Feather Clan tended to regard the first being they saw as their parent!

She wondered if the bird’s real mother would hunt her down…

The newly hatched bird was quite unattractive, with wet, grayish-black down sticking to its body. It nuzzled her knee affectionately, wetting a patch of her Daoist robe. Xu Manman, feeling quite helpless, saw that the bird’s mother never came. Fearing it would be eaten by predators, she stayed with it, finding bugs for it to eat every day. The little bird was picky and refused to eat the bugs, only reluctantly accepting some fruits.

Xu Manman laughed wryly and scolded, “You little crow, what will you eat if not bugs?”

There were six or seven thousand types of birds in the Feather Clan, and she couldn’t recognize them all. Judging by its dull gray color, it was likely related to crows. After half a month with no one claiming it, she resigned herself to the task of taking care of the little crow. Since many Feather Clan disciples trained on Lingju Island, which was more suited to their cultivation, she decided to take it there. As the head of Siyi Sect, having a crow as a spirit pet was quite undignified.

The crow grew quickly, from a small, ugly chick to a large, ugly bird. It liked to perch on Xu Manman’s shoulder, nuzzling her ear affectionately. Xu Manman treated it like half a son, raising and teaching it. It was a spiritually intelligent bird spirit beast and quickly understood her words, though Xu Manman couldn’t understand its calls.

As they neared Lingju Island, Xu Manman sent a message to the island’s senior disciple, saying she would bring a crow for cultivation. The crow overheard and became angry, pecking her in protest. Xu Manman gently reassured it, saying that if it trained well on Lingju Island, even a crow could become a phoenix.

For some reason, these words agitated it further, and it flew away. Xu Manman searched for it all day until it finally returned, flapping its wings with a brilliant golden-red feather in its tail. Xu Manman thought it had stolen a beautiful feather and angrily grabbed the crow, plucking out the feather.

“Crows can’t become phoenixes! Even if you train hard, you’ll still be a big crow! Don’t think you can make yourself prettier by stealing someone else’s feather! You look even uglier now!”

She detested the Blood Sect’s practice of consuming others’ cores to steal their cultivation. Assuming the crow had a similar nature, she angrily scolded it. The crow, deeply hurt, struggled free and flew away. This time, Xu Manman didn’t look for it. She casually tossed the feather into her Qiankun Bag, intending to ask someone from Lingju Island about it later, but she forgot amid other matters.

It wasn’t until today, watching Li Que and Ao Xiu’s battle and seeing the Di Luan manifestation, that she realized the crow’s feather wasn’t stolen. It was the first Di Luan feather the crow grew through diligent training. She had misunderstood it.

Maybe it had understood her words back then, knowing she wanted to send it away, and had forced itself to grow the feather early. She told it to train hard, and even a crow could become a phoenix, but it wanted to tell her it was a phoenix all along…

Who knows if it ever searched for her after she left, how long it searched, or when the Di Luan Clan reclaimed their young master.

Sigh…

Xu Manman thought guiltily: No wonder the ancestors opposed relationships between humans and spirit beasts; communication was a significant problem.

Li Que returned to Li Ying, looking aggrieved, and exaggeratedly complained about Xu Manman’s antics.

“She also said that since we’re all family of Daozun, we should work together to avenge Daozun and eliminate the Blood Sect. Whoever contributes the most will get the inheritance,” Li Que said.

Li Ying was leisurely brewing tea. Hearing this, she smiled and said, “Interesting. No wonder Daozun chose her.”

Li Que frowned.

“Sister, are you siding with her too?”

“Just stating facts,” Li Ying replied with a smile. “In this chaotic situation, she managed to bring about harmony. With Siyi Sect suddenly losing its leader and the Blood Sect eyeing it, she pulled Sea God Palace and Radiant Vermillion into the fold. Outsiders, not knowing the truth, would think twice before targeting Siyi Sect, giving it some breathing space. I’m not sure if Lian Yue Daozun truly loved this woman, but she certainly cares deeply for Siyi Sect.”

Li Que, after hearing Li Ying’s analysis, began to understand.

In the Feather Clan, women have always held positions of respect. From the moment Li Ying was born, she exhibited extraordinary phenomena and possessed a pure divine bloodline, marking her as destined to be the Feather Emperor. She had held a high position for many years, leading six thousand members of the Feather Clan, and was accustomed to viewing the bigger picture from a superior vantage point.

“Sister, is the Di Luan Clan really going to let the Siyi Sect use them?” Li Que asked.

“It’s mutual use,” Li Ying replied with a faint smile, lowering her eyes. “We are already set on dealing with the Blood Sect. Since our goals align, we might as well travel together.”

Li Que’s expression darkened. “Are you sure it was the Blood Sect that ambushed me back then?”

A hundred years ago, while traveling, Li Que was ambushed and had to undergo a forced rebirth, burning himself to ashes and transforming into an egg to hide his presence and evade his pursuers. The Di Luan Clan can undergo two rebirths in their lifetime, each one costing them a life, destroying their cultivation, and erasing their memories, forcing them to start over. When they grow old, they usually undergo rebirth, protected by their clan, to avoid accidents. But his situation was sudden; he had to undergo rebirth in the wilderness. Had Xu Manman not passed by, he might have ended up as a beast’s meal.

He stayed with Xu Manman for over a year, becoming attached to her. But she eventually scolded and hit him, wounding his inherent pride and dignity. Ashamed and angry, he flew away, waiting for Xu Manman to coax him back. When she didn’t come, he tried to find her on his own.

But he couldn’t find her…

Panicking, he searched and called for days in the forest without finding her. Only then did he realize he had been abandoned. He couldn’t remember her name or face, only the hair crown he would nuzzle against when perched on her shoulder.

Feeling wronged, he flew weakly, retracing every path they had walked together but never finding her. Years later, he finally grew his Di Luan feathers. All who saw him knelt in reverence. Li Ying heard of this and personally came to bring him back to Radiant Vermillion, helping him regain his pre-rebirth memories.

Yet he couldn’t forget the one who saved and then abandoned him. He didn’t know if he missed her more or resented her more.

He had intended to let go of that obsession, but seeing that crown at Xianyun Hall brought those dormant memories flooding back. He felt a brief joy, then despair.

It was her!
And she was dead…

His feelings for her had long faded. It wasn’t romantic; it was a mix of gratitude for being saved and resentment for being abandoned, which turned into an obsession over the years. If he found her, he probably just wanted an explanation.

But now, she was dead, and his century-old obsession could never be resolved.

A lingering resentment and sadness filled his heart, making him want to burn everything. Perhaps his sister noticed this, so she let him challenge Ao Xiu and fight intensely.

“Li Que, for years you’ve used the loss of your Primodial True Feather as an excuse to avoid marrying Lingzhi. I haven’t forced you to marry someone you don’t love, but your divine bloodline is crucial, and the clan elders will eventually push you to produce heirs. I might use widowhood as an excuse to delay this for a century. During this time, if you find someone you truly love, no matter how difficult, I’ll help you achieve your marriage. But if you don’t, after a hundred years, you’ll have to accept your fate.”

“I understand,” Li Que said, lowering his eyes in sadness. “What about you? Won’t the elders pressure you to marry and produce heirs?”

Li Ying smiled faintly, her demeanor calm. “If they have the ability, they can try.”

Li Que: “…”

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