"Oh right, Claire, the Intymen clan actually agreed to give us five percent of the profits without us doing anything. How unexpected." Li Yuewen suddenly came back to her senses, smiling radiantly.
"Of course," Claire said, a little displeased. This cousin of hers was so talented in many aspects yet completely incompetent at business.
"Claire, you're formidable after all," Li Yuewen praised sincerely. The more she knew about this younger cousin of hers, the more impressed she was.
"Oh right, has the weapons shop been opened yet? How about the clothing store? Has Camille selected anyone yet?" Claire sat down simply.
"It's opened. Many people are paying attention. The first day it opened, there were many orders, all seeking the type of sword showcased at the donating convention. As for the clothing store, just as you instructed, we first sent a set of clothes for the princess and have changed the styles of the month accordingly," Li Yuewen reported. "The effects of showcasing at the convention are evident. Camille has also selected a few people who are currently engrossed in work.
"Mm. Have those old foxes made any movements? Is there any chance of them resisting and fleeing to the Hua clan?" Claire stroked her chin. Of course Claire had the insight to see the possibility.
"Don't worry about that. Claire, although those old fools don't use their brains, they are extremely loyal to the clan and will never become traitors. And there has never been any traitors before either. This is the reason why they are so against your mother. Now..." Li Yuewen all sat down. Saying out of the corner of her mouth, "Now they all treat you as a savior and want to approach you and help at the weapon and clothing shop. The old things all want to meet you and talk to you, but you have kept on preventing them."
"It's enough to let them forge metal." Claire looked up into the night sky. "Cousin Yuewen..."
"Mm?" Li Yuewen turned to Claire. Unexpectedly, she saw a trace of grief in Claire's expression. "What is it?" Li Yuewen sensed something was wrong.
"I will achieve all of Mother's dreams. Mother definitely would want to see the Li clan's revival. But if the Li clan is revived, Lagark's power will rise. Lagark and Amparkland's relation will become more and more strained...
"Claire!" Before Claire finished speaking, Li Yuewen interrupted her. "Look at me, Claire."
Claire turned. Facing Li Yuewen's serious face, she grew puzzled.
"Claire, even if you said you wanted to go back to the Hill clan, I would not stop you. I will not stop you from doing anything. Of course I hope for your happiness. If the day Lagark and Amparkland become enemies arrives, I will try my best to..." Before Li Yuewen finished speaking, Claire was already smiling brightly.
"Cousin Yuewen, I've never regretted any of my decisions and I won't in the future. If that day truly arrives, nothing will matter. I will try to protect the people I care about the most. So, Cousin Yuewen, don't worry. I will become strong, strong enough to protect everyone." Claire's eyes glinted resolutely, her words powerful.
"I have total faith you will do so." Li Yuewen stared unflinchingly at Claire. "The martial arts competition is in two days. Are you prepared? Has there been any changes with the Azure Ripple blade?"
"This stupid sword?" Claire retrieved the Azure Ripple blade from her interspatial ring and twirled it in the palm of her hand casually. "I haven't noticed anything special about it. How useful is it supposed to be?"
Stupid sword? Li Yuewen's mouth twitched. The artifact crafted painstakingly through the Li clan's blood and sweat was being called a stupid sword?
Then something strange happened.
The sword started vibrating in Claire's hand, as if it were protesting.
"What? Are you unsatisfied with my words? I've never seen you do anything particularly outstanding." Claire gave the sword a hard flick, creating a melodious "ting" sound.
Li Yuewen was surprised for a brief moment before she started smiling. The Azure Ripple blade had a will afterall, so this behavior could not be considered unusual. But in any case, the sword and Claire seemed like two stubborn little children, one flicking "ting"s, the other vibrating more and more intensely.
As the sword started vibrating more and more furiously, CLaire finally realized something was amiss. The Azure Ripple blade wasn't protesting, but warning!
But what was it warning about?
Claire stood up abruptly and looked into the vast night, frowning as she humphed. "Who is it?" A feeling of unease arose. Who could it be? Who was hiding? Unexpectedly, she couldn't sense their aura at all. If it weren't for the sword's vibrations, she would have been completely unable to sense there was someone hiding.
Li Yuewen's expression also changed. There was someone hiding in the area? If so, then their power was terrifying. She actually couldn't sense them at all!
An attack shot towards Claire with a long, drawn out sound of the air being slashed. Claire lept out of the way lithely. Turning around, she saw a person draped in black hovering in the air. The person's clothes was wrapped tightly about them. Claire could only feel a penetrating icy gaze. Li Yuewen's entire body tensed as she stared at the person floating in mid air. She knew that the person before them was powerful, extremely so. She wasn't their match at all.
Not waiting for Claire to regain her bearings, the person suddenly pounced, brandishing a sword. Claire parried with her own sword.
With a clang, small sparks flew, melodious and sharp in the quiet night.
"Who are you?" Li Yuewen pulled out her dagger, glowering at the person, secretly extremely worried. Their power was indiscernible. What was their purpose in attacking Claire? Were they from the Hua clan? Impossible. Claire had never revealed herself in public. There was no reason for them to assassinate Claire. The Hua clan had no way of knowing Claire had killed Hua Nantian either.
Claire also had a heavy expression. The opponent's power had surpassed her anticipations.
"If you don't want the Li clan to be destroyed, follow me," the person in black said, their voice muffled. They sheathed their sword, turned around, and flew off.
Both Li Yuewen and Claire were able to discern from their voice that they were a woman. Although she purposefully deepened her voice, it was obvious she was a woman.
Without any hesitation, Claire sheathed her sword too. A pair of golden wings extended from her back and she followed after the figure.
Seeing Claire chasing after the woman, Li Yuewen shouted with worry, "Claire! You stop right there!" but Claire and the woman disappeared into the night. Li Yuewen wanted to chase after them, but understood that it would be to no avail. She hurriedly descended to the lower floors to find Ben. Only Ben would be able to contend with that woman.
Claire followed the woman closely, understanding one thing. The woman had no malicious intentions. If she wanted to do anything against her or the Li clan, she would have attacked just then. But she purposefully led her outside the city. Why?
Outside of the city, cold wind blowing.
The woman finally descended. Claire also stopped.
Before Claire said anything, with a wave of the woman's hand, an enormous ice pillar brimming with wild energy shot forth. Although puzzled, Claire did not dare to be careless. With a wave of her hand too, she sent out a flame to parry the attack.
With a loud bang, shards of ice and sparks flew.
In the air, the flames were extinguished, but a small part of the ice pillar remained intact, shooting at Claire. With another wave of her hand, Claire brandished her sword of flames, slashing through the remains of the ice pillar. The ice pillar instantly disintegrating and the air was filled with a fiery aura.
"Oho?" The woman exclaimed softly, as if surprised by Claire's actions.
The next moment, Claire was already in front of the woman, about to slash with her sword.
With a wave of her hand, an ice sword appeared in the woman's hand.
The two swords clashed in mid air.
Ice and fire.
Gradually, the ice sword entered into the flame sword. To be more accurate, it was about to cut Claire's flame sword in half.
An inevitable difference in strength.
Once again, Claire experienced that there were many hidden tigers and dragons in the world who simply chose not to display their strength.
"Hah!" Claire suddenly uttered in a low voice. Instantly, white flame arrows shot out of the flame sword aimed directly at the woman's face.
Shocked, the woman instantly applied more pressure, forcing Claire back, then erected an ice shield to block the white flame arrows.
Claire's fingers were numb from the sudden increase in pressure, her hands shaking. She understand that the woman had originally not been serious, but was serious at that instant.
"White flames..." The woman muttered. Suddenly, she emanated a terrifying aura.
Sensing the abnormality in the ground, Claire's eyes widened. She shot up into the air. The next moment, a huge field of icicles appeared instantly from where she had been standing moments ago. The sharp icicles glinted viciously under the moonlight.
"Go!" the woman shouted. The field of icicles turned alive, spiraling towards Claire crazily.
Claire's expression changed. "Break!" Grasping the flame sword tightly, she slashed down fiercely. A golden flame dragon instantly appeared, roaring as it broke through the crazily attacking icicles.
In that instant, golden light flashed, the sound of shattering in multitudes. Claire exploded with a fiery aura, the air so hot one's throat would be dry. The icicles were destroyed, glowing from the intense heat before they disintegrated.