Chapter 696: Revealing Oneself
An unusual atmosphere covered a spacious and well lit large hall. A couple of human figures were seated within it. They would occasionally chat and smile, but even while they chatted, some of their gazes would involuntarily turn to the door. Clearly, they were a little absent-minded.
Although those people who were seated in this place were the leaders of the powerful factions within the Jia Ma Empire, they still felt somewhat ansty...
The tightly shut door suddenly opened as the clear sound of a door opening quietly resounded across the hall.
The backbone of these people within the hall could not help but straighten after the door was opened. Their gazes instantly shifted before stopping at the entrance.
The tightly shut door was completely opened under everyone's gazes. A moment later a black-robed figure who had been absent for three years entered their eyes.
"Everyone, we have not met for three years. Are you well?"
The black-robed person's appearance and laughter was missing a sentimental tenderness from three years ago as it reverberated softly in the hall.
The reverberating laughter within the hall also caused everyone to throw their gazes toward the entrance. A black-robed, young man was standing with a smile at that spot. Sunlight shone into the hall through windows and coincidentally covered the young man in light. Under the sunlight, that somewhat familiar face revealed an additional maturity and reservation as well as a missing tenderness and vigor compared to three years ago.
Everyone in the hall faintly felt somewhat absent-minded as they looked at the black-robed, young man who was standing at the entrance. Three years was not considered too long for them but in these short three years, the young man back then had completed a total transformation.
"Ke ke, little brother Xiao Yan, it is really unexpected that you have reached such a level after having not met for three years. It really makes the old me feel ashamed." Jia Xing Tian was the first person in the hall to recover. He hurriedly stood up and spoke in a clear, loud voice.
There was still a lady wearing a luxurious gown seated elegantly beside Jia Xing Tian. From the beautiful appearance of her, she was naturally Yao Ye whom Xiao Yan had met that day. However, the latter had currently removed her phoenix crown and her entire person appeared to be less majestic and more like a woman.
At this moment, Yao Ye had also thrown her gaze over when the black-robed young man appeared. Her lips contained a somewhat moving smile.
Xiao Yan's gaze glanced at the linen-robed old man and smiled. He slowly walked into the hall and said, "Jia Lao's demeanor still remains the same." While he spoke, Xiao Yan's gaze also slowly swept across this bright hall. There were some other familiar faces other than Jia Xing Tian. There was Mu Chen from the Mu clan and the somewhat unnatural faces of Nalan Jie and Nalan Su from the Nalan clan...
"Little brother Xiao Yan, please take your seat. We are just waiting for you." The head of the Mu clan, Mu Chen, looked at this tall black-robed, young man who appeared extraordinary before glancing at Mu Zhan beside him, who was already the most outstanding person among the younger generation of the Mu clan. He sighed in his heart. Three years ago, the two of them were still on the same line. Now, however, this gap...
Mu Zhan, who was seated beside Mu Chen, also sensed the latter's gaze. He immediately rolled his eyes and looked at Xiao Yan who was around the same age as him. He was speechless in his heart. During these three years, he had been working extremely hard on his training. However, he was merely a seven star Dou Ling at this moment. This kind of achievement could indeed be considered quite good if placed in the Mu clan or any other clan. Yet, if he were to compare with Xiao Yan in front, they were undoubtedly worlds apart.
"This fellow... I really don't know how he trains. His strength actually rose so quickly?" Mu Zhan muttered in his heart. Back then, he could be considered to have exchanged blows with Xiao Yan at that party. The both of them had approximately the same strength back then. However, now this gap had extended to a somewhat frightening extent.
Xiao Yan also smiled when he saw the smiling Mu Chen. Although the Mu clan did not go all out to help him like the Primer clan did back then, the matter of Mu Tie still caused Xiao Yan to have a favorable impression of them.
Xiao Yan slowly walked into the hall. He smiled and greeted some people, and neglected only Nalan Jie and Nalan Su by the side whether intentionally or by oversight.
The smile on Nalan Jie's and Nalan Su's face was somewhat forced when they saw Xiao Yan finish his greetings with everyone before finding a chair beside Hai Bodong and taking a seat. This action of Xiao Yan clearly indicated that he still bore a grudge to their Nalan clan. However, given their clan's past actions toward Xiao Yan, it was not wrong for them to receive such a treatment. Hence, the both of them could only act like mutes and not voice their bitterness as they stiffened their faces and sat down beside the table. The current Xiao Yan was no longer that tender young man back then. With the latter's current strength, he no longer needed to view the Nalan clan too seriously.
Everyone in the hall had also taken notice that the Nalan clan was ignored. However, their expressions did not change and the laughing conversations were not reduced.
Fa Ma and Qi Mier also walked in from the outside not long after Xiao Yan took his seat. After which, they took their seats. With everyone seated, the leaders of the few strongest factions within the Jia Ma Empire had all gathered.
"I think that everyone should clearly be aware of the reason that I have gathered everyone here. Hence, I shall not beat around the bush." Xiao Yan raised his gaze and slowly spoke with a smile after everyone had taken their seats.
Everyone in the hall immediately paused their mouths after hearing Xiao Yan speak. They knew that the main event was about to begin...
"I have not been back for three years and did not expect the Misty Cloud Sect to have expanded to such an extent. This is indeed beyond what I had foreseen..." Xiao Yan was unconcerned at everyone's silence as he spoke faintly, "The Misty Cloud Sect has destroyed my Xiao clan and I will definitely avenge this blood feud. Hence, I, Xiao Yan, and the Misty Cloud Sect are in a situation where we won't stop until one of us dies. Today, I have invited everyone over in order to join hands and eliminate the Misty Cloud Sect, this empire's cancer!"
"Ke ke, mister Xiao Yan, the Misty Cloud Sect is indeed currently becoming more and more powerful. However, this does not seem to have an overly direct impact on us..." The first person who opened her mouth to speak after hearing Xiao Yan's words was Yao Ye who was sitting elegantly beside Jia Xing Tian. At this moment, this beautiful female emperor of the empire glanced at Jia Xing Tian beside her and immediately smiled as she said, "However, as a member of the imperial family, we are naturally unwilling to see any faction become too powerful and even result in the loss of an equilibrium. Hence, if mister Xiao Yan really has the confidence to deal with the Misty Cloud Sect, my imperial family can perhaps give some help in areas where our abilities are incorporated."
Xiao Yan smile and shook his head after raising his eyes to look at this woman whose words were calculated. He suddenly said, "Not long ago, when I passed through the 'Zhen Gui Pass' during my return to the Jia Ma Empire, I coincidentally met an Elder of the Misty Cloud Sect. At that time, that Elder was helping a deputy commander who belonged to the Misty Cloud Sect to snatch the spot of the commander... As soon as he could become the highest ranking commander in the 'Zhen Gui Pass', the troops that were stationed there would likely change to being under the command of the Misty Cloud Sect."
The expressions of Jia Xing Tian and Yao Ye drastically changed simultaneously when they heard Xiao Yan's words. They involuntarily cried out loud, "How can this be possible?"
Xiao Yan smiled when he saw the two of them whose faces had changed from the great shock. It seemed that Mu Tie had really yet to report the news.
"The commander of the 'Zhen Gui Pass' is called Mu Tie. I think the both of you should have some impression. He is someone from the Mu clan." Xiao Yan smiled as he said. "Whether things are true or otherwise, it is likely that news will arrive in another day to two..."
Yao Ye's and Jia Xing Tian's expression became somewhat volatile as they heard this. If this matter was true, did that not mean that the Misty Cloud Sect had truly began to act against the imperial family?
"I think that given everyone's information network, all of you should know a little about the wild ambition that the Misty Cloud Sect has displayed during these few years. When that time really comes in the future, all of you will have two choices. One is to be destroyed by the Misty Cloud Sect. The other is to surrender to them. Everyone's family assets are things that your ancestors fought hard for. I think that everyone would feel some guilt to your ancestors if you were to just surrender in this manner to the Misty Cloud Sect, right?" Xiao Yan's gaze swept over the entire place and spoke with a smile.
"Hence, I have called everyone here today just to further heat up the situation for everyone. Currently, the situation in the empire no longer allows for any neutrality." Xiao Yan crossed his ten fingers and softly spoke, "I will engage in a final decisive battle to the death with the Misty Cloud Sect. This great battle is extremely crucial to me. Hence, I will not allow any accidents to appear. Everyone must express their stance with Xiao Yan before this decisive battle..."
These words of Xiao Yan clearly told everyone that if he were to have a big battle with the Misty Cloud Sect, he would not be reassured if any faction within the capital were to simply observe from the side. After all, if any accident were to occur and some faction were to launch a sneak attack from behind, it would likely cause quite the unexpected change to the big battle.
These words lacked some gentleness and had an additional overbearing feeling. However, no one seated felt that this pile of words was inappropriate. This was because they knew that the current Xiao Yan possessed such a qualification!
The atmosphere in the hall felt somewhat oppressive under Xiao Yan's words. Jia Xing Tian, Fa Ma, Mu Chen, Nalan Jie, and the others exchanged gazes with one another. All of them descended deep into thought. The choice of their position was not a game. Should they choose wrongly, they would definitely end up in destruction. Hence, even they had difficulty making a decision in a short while.
"Ke ke, my Primer clan will stand on Xiao Yan's side. The old me knows that even if one were to seek refuge with the Misty Cloud Sect, one would likely not come to a good end. The current Yun Shan, hee hee... everyone better think carefully." Hai Bodong laughed and spoke when he saw everyone hesitating.
Everyone curled their lips when they heard Hai Bodong's words. His Primer clan and the Xiao clan had basically reached a point where it was almost impossible to separate the two. He would naturally help Xiao Yan... although they thought along these lines, all of them still felt a little sour in their hearts. Back then, Hai Bodong was not the only person who had identified Xiao Yan as an extraordinary person. However, he was the only one who had the guts to risk offending the Misty Cloud Sect to lend him a hand...
"*Cough*... mister Xiao Yan, may I know what are your chances of victory in this big battle between the Misty Cloud Sect and you?" Mu Chen gently coughed before suddenly speaking. At this moment, the manner in which he addressed Xiao Yan had changed a little. The latter's age appeared to have been ignored by everyone at this moment.
Jia Xing Tian and the others hurriedly braced their ears when they heard Mu Chen's question. If Xiao Yan wanted them to choose a side to stand on, it was only natural that Xiao Yan needed to reveal some trump cards that could reassure them.
"The chances of victory are fifty fifty..." Xiao Yan merely smiled and replied faintly as everyone opened their ears.
This chances of victory that were neither high nor low clearly caused everyone to become somewhat dissatisfied. Jia Xing Tian immediately laughed dryly as he said, "Although you have brought back quite a number of expert Dou Wangs this time around, the Misty Cloud Sect also possesses quite a number of Dou Wangs. Moreover, according to what we know, the Misty Cloud Sect has at least three elite Dou Huangs whose strengths are even stronger than Yun Du's and Yun Sha's. Of course, the most troublesome person is naturally Yun Shan. May I know if you have the confidence to deal with him?"