"You all should go rest. I'll take care of her," Li Yuewen said to everybody else then continued, "Elder brother, bring the others away to rest. I'll keep watch over her here until she wakes up. I believe in her. She wouldn't die that easily."
Li Mingyu wanted to say something, but when he made eye contact with Camille, Camille nodded. "It's no good waiting here anyways. Let's just get some rest. Maybe by tomorrow this kid will be bouncing around, wanting me to make tea for her. Besides, she needs some peace and quiet."
The last sentence made everyone agree to first leave the room to rest. Everyone else left with only Jean standing by the entrance, waiting.
Seeing Jean silently standing there, Li Mingyu couldn't help but say, "Go and rest. You'll be in the room next door. If anything happens, you can come over quickly."
"No need, I will wait here until Miss wakes up," Jean said a bit indistinctly, but his tone was incredibly resolute.
Seeing this, Li Mingyu could only leave.
"Master, master, the three Elders wanted to meet you after hearing of your return. They're already waiting in the main hall," a young maid hurried over, her tone a little worried. Everybody knew that those three old men were had been eyeing the position of Patriarch since forever, waiting for an opportunity. What were they going to try now?
Li Mingyu's expression darkened. Of course he knew that those old foxes were looking for him for. He had spent a lot of energy and money on the journey to find the Azure Ripple blade, but had come back empty handed. It would be tricky this time without a proper explanation.
Li Mingyu nodded slightly. "I understand. You may leave. Tell the elders I will arrive immediately."
"Yes, Master," the maid replied with worry, then turned and left.
Li Mingyu looked back at the room at both Claire who was lying on the bed and Li Yuewen who was sitting nearby. He sighed, then turned and left.
Nobody knew, but at this time, Claire was battling the two forces within her body.
Master-servant contract? Nice try!
Li Mingyu sighed quietly, then headed to the main hall.
The main hall was well lit. Giant silver candlesticks hanging from the ceiling, all lit. Triangle candle holders also decorated the walls, each holding a lit candle. The Li clan could not afford beautiful ores any more, using candles for light instead. The formerly glorious Li clan was no more.
Three finely dressed old men sat at the top of the main hall, looking from above. Their clothes were decorated with beautiful, precious jewels, but they were from the past. They wore rings of all kinds of gemstones and sat with solemn expressions. Their appearances were all similar as they were all brothers of Li Mingyu's grandfather. And sitting beside them were their sons and grandsons, all glowering at Li Mingyu. Li Mingyu sighed in his heart. These people, they just would not let go of Li clan's former glory and all eyed his position. Until when would they accept reality?
"Mingyu, I trust you haven't disappointed us with the results of your journey?" The eldest Elder who was sitting at the foremost smiled and said, but his smile was clearly fake. And his form of address was belittling Li Mingyu's status, as if his status was higher than Li Mingyu. Li Mingyu was already the Patriarch, but none of the Elders addressed him like so. And they had such fake attitudes with all their niceties.
"That's right, Mingyu, I believe you've returned with the Azure Ripple blade," Second Elder said, also with a fake smile.
"You vowed that you would definitely find the Azure Ripple blade. That was the only reason why we lent you the Azure Ripple bronzeware to find the Azure Ripple pearl," the third Elder smiled smugly, gazing profoundly at Li Mingyu.
The people standing next to the first Elder all watched Li Mingyu coldly, malice flashing through their eyes. They had seen Li Mingyu walk in without a sword and Li Yuewen didn't have the sword either. With their personalities, there was no way the artifact would be stored in an interspatial ring. Judging from these facts, there absolutely did not find the Azure Ripple blade! Humph, what was their young and promising Patriarch going to explain himself? If it weren't for the fact that they weren't a match siblings, they would have used force to drive him off the Patriarch position long ago.
"I didn't bring back the Azure Ripple blade," Li Mingyu said softly.
The first Elder's expression changed greatly. He furiously roared, "What?! Li Mingyu! Do you understand what you're saying? The national martial arts tournament is happening two months later, a chance to take back the Li clan's glory. But you said you didn't bring back the Azure Ripple blade?!"
His address had now changed from Mingyu to Li Mingyu*. His aged face was now energetic and menacing.
*TL: Think of like "Joe" vs "Joe Smith"
The second Elder furiously slapped his chair's armrest as bellowed, "How are you qualified to be our Patriarch?" His wrinkles became more pronounced.
"Li Mingyu, hand over the Azure Ripple bronzeware, hand over the Patriarch Seal!" The third Elder even stood up to yell. His entire body was shaking, as if he was doing a heroic deed.
But Li Mingyu was unaffected. "Forgive me for not being able to do so," he said coldly.
"What?" Everybody's expression changed. They never expected Li Mingyu to be so bold even though he had failed his task.
"Li Mingyu, not only did you fail your task, are you going to let the Li clan's thousands of years of foundation be destroyed in your hands? If your dead grandfather and father knew, perhaps they too wouldn't agree." The first elder said viciously, his wizened face now twisted into an ugly sight. His words had been a slap to the face.
"It is BECAUSE I don't want the Li clan's thousands of years of foundation to be destroyed that I cannot leave the Patriarch position," Li Mingyu said insipidly. He sweeped his disdainful gaze over the Elders and the people around them. These people, they were all thoughtless and cared about material goods. If the Patriarch position was left in their hands, the Li clan would be truly finished.
"What did you say?!" the third Elder thundered. He pointed at Li Mingyu and yelled, "Are you saying that none of us are qualified to be the Patriarch? Unable to lead the Li clan?"
Practically nobody in the Li clan would be able to bear such criticism. And they were the Elders of the Li clan, the oldest authority, the most renowned people of the Li clan!
Without a change in expression or his clear cut tone, Li Mingyu spat out a few words. "That is exactly what I mean."
Now, the first elder was also so furious, he slapped down on his arm rest and stood up. The armchair instantly turned to dust. "You!! Li Mingyu, you are currently revolting. Do you think that nobody here can control you?"
But Li Mingyu's expression still hadn't changed. He said softly, "Does this mean you have already chosen someone to represent the Li clan at the national martial arts tournament two months later? And they will definitely win?"
With one sentence, everybody in the hall was silenced. If they all faced him at once, then perhaps they could beat him, but for the martial arts tournament, there was nobody in the Li clan who was Li Mingyu's match one on one.
"Don't think you can threaten us with this. Do you think that besides you, there's no one else in the Li clan? The fact that you failed your task is true! You must hand over the position of Patriarch! As for the tournament two months later, it is your duty to participate as a member of the Li clan!" The first elder's face was completely distorted. He thundered, "Come, arrest him and search his body for the Patriarch Seal!"
But just as they were about to arrest Li Minyu, the unexpected happened!
A powerful, frightening sword Qi attacked.
It passed by like a tornado, destroying everything in its path. Whether it were the tables, the chairs, or the floor, they were all destroyed.
A terrifying crack appeared in floor and started expanding rapidly, heading straight to the Elders. Their complexion paled because there was absolutely no way for them to contend against the terrifying power!
In an instant, it was pandemonium.
The prestigious Elders who had been so threatening and imposing a moment ago were now the fastest to dodge, all cutting sorry figures as they tried to avoid the attack. And their sons and grandsons were even quicker on the uptake.
Where the Elders had been sitting was now a pile of rubble.
The hall was permeated with smoke, a complete mess.
"Haha, I've never seen such shameless people. You have truly opened my eyes. Not qualified for the position of Patriarch but pressing for it anyways, don't have the capabilities to participate in the tournament, but boasting like dogs with all bark and no bite, and not only that, you even want to send someone you've deprived the position of Patriarch to represent you. It's the first time I've seen such shameless vermin!" A clear, caustic voice brimming with disdain rang within the main hall.
"Who?" All the Elders asked angrily. Who dared to insult them with such words! Dogs? Vermin?!
As the smoke finally cleared, everybody's gaze was drawn to the person standing at the entrance.
A girl with golden, lustrous hair and enchanting emerald green eyes stood at the entrance. She looked on coldly and arrogantly, a sword in her grip that she had stabbed casually into the ground. Standing next to her was Li Yuewen, who was completely furious.
"Where did a little b*tch like her come from, so rude and daring to insult the Li clan?!" A member of the Li clan cursed angrily.
Claire glanced coldly at the young Li clan member. With just one glance, he shivered as his blood ran cold as if he had been locked inside a freezer. He felt utterly powerless, his entire body going weak.
"Should I cut off your tongue? Or maybe one of your hands." Claire had a conflicted expression, as if she didn't know which one of the two options was better. "Even though you are a member of the Li clan, you still deserve punishment."
The next moment, Claire raised her sword and waved it slightly. A visible sword Qi shot towards him like lightning.
Bam! There was a giant sound. The rude young men slammed into the wall behind him, creating web-like cracks, a shocking scene. The young man's body slide down weakly. He spat out blood. There was no way to tell whether or not he was alive. Everybody was stunned. Everybody had seen the young girl attack, but nobody was able to stop her!