The woman stopped attacking. Instead, she withdrew, maintaining a distance from Claire, then stared at Claire for a while from her position.
"At just this level, there's no way you can win the martial arts tournament," the woman said coldly, then rose up in the air, about to leave.
Claire paused for a moment, not understanding what the woman's intentions were. Did she come just to test her strength? It didn't seem like it. So strange, what exactly did she want? Claire suddenly discovered that there were times when she too could not read someone.
The woman rose up and flew straight into the city, not caring about Claire any more. Claire did not attempt to follow. She only stood there, watching as the woman disappeared into the darkness. The woman had the strength to kill her, but after luring her out, she didn't. Who was she? What were her intentions?
When Ben, Li Yuewen, and Jean had arrived, they only saw Claire standing there alone, lost in thought. The surroundings were both dry and wet at places. Some of the ground was burned, other parts damp. The nearby trees and rocks were in greater disorder. It was apparent a large battle had occurred.
They hurried over. White Emperor and Black Feather hopped from Jean's shoulders to Claire's, chirping and peeping.
Claire raised her face and said with a low voice, "I'm fine."
"What happened? Where did that woman go? Are you injured?" Li Yuewen examined Claire worriedly.
"I'm fine. Let's go back," Claire said indifferently. "I'm tired. Let's go back and rest."
Li Yuewen wanted to ask more questions, but seeing Claire's apathetic expression, she kept them to herself. What exactly had happened? Why did Claire look reluctant to answer any questions?
At the same time, the mysterious woman cloaked in black descended into a remote alley in the city, then took off her cloak and walked directly to the Feng mansion. Only now would they be able to see that under the cloak was a stunning beauty with flamboyant red hair.
A maid hurried over and greeted the woman. "Madam, his grace has been waiting in the study for a while." At home, the woman was no longer the minister of defense, but a wife and mother. This was the promise she made with Feng Yixuan's father long ago, so at home, all the servants addressed her as madam, not duchess.
The woman was An Lisha, Feng Yixuan's mother. When she heard the maid's words, her expression changed. She walked towards the study apprehensively.
Pushing the door open softly, she entered the room. A refined and handsome man was sitting quietly before a desk, reading something. His appearance was similar to Feng Yixuan's, but he emitted a completely different aura. Feng Yixuan was arrogant, wild as fire, but he was as gentle and calm as the surface of a lake.
"Dear..." An Lisha called out in a small voice, apprehensive.
The refined man took no notice, continuing to read.
"Dear..." An Lisha raised her voice, but was still apprehensive. The fiery woman feared nobody, nothing except this refined man who didn't know any magic or Dou Qi.
The refined man closed the account book he had been reading and looked up towards his beloved man and said quietly, "In the end, you still followed our son." The refined man was the talented money maker, chairman of the Feng clan chamber of commerce and Feng Yixuan's father, Feng Yihan.
"I..." Currently, the normally fiery An Lisha was not wild or arrogant at all, looking completely like someone who had made a mistake as she lowered her head, not daring to speak.
"You... *sigh* I really can't do anything about you." Feng Yihan smiled gently. He simply couldn't bear his wife looking so pitiful. He stood up and reached out, saying gently, "Come over here."
With a little cheer, An Lisha jumped into Feng Yixuan's arms, completely cute and lovable.
Who knew what would happen if an outsider witnessed this. Perhaps they would cough up blood and faint. How was she the female t-rex? The t-rex woman of steel who people fled from the sight of, beasts dying when they met, flowers not daring to bloom in her presence?
"Did you meet her?" Feng Yihan brushed aside his beautiful wife's bangs gently.
"Yes." An Lisha nodded enthusiastically.
"What kind of girl is she?" Feng Yihan asked softly. He was also curious. What kind of girl would was his wild and reckless son so infatuated with to the point that he was willing to risk his life to undo his seal?
"Oh... a stubborn girl. She's very pretty and strong, but not strong enough." An Lisha snuggled into Feng Yihan's bosom, her voice soft.
Hearing this, Feng Yihan couldn't help but laugh. "Haha, it seems she's passed your preliminary test." He understood his dear wife's personality better than anyone. Getting her approval was harder than reaching the heavens. Such an evaluation was already pretty good, coming from his wife.
"I still don't know if she likes our son or not," An Lisha mumbled, then started laughing again. "But I have faith in our son, He will definitely woo back a beautiful wife."
"Who is she the daughter of?" Feng Yihan sat down, motioning for her to do so too. An Lisha turned around and sat down on his leg, wrapping her arms around his neck.
"Her background is a bit troubling. She's Claire Hill of the Hill clan in Amparkland, the one I told you about, the person Feng Yixuan lost to in the competition between countries." An Lisha frowned slightly as she remembered and humphed coldly. "So disgraceful, he was actually stepped underfoot." Although Shui Wenmo later told her it was because Feng Yixuan himself had bent down in surrender and Claire couldn't stop her movement fast enough that she had stepped on him, the truth of the matter was, Feng Yixuan was still stepped underfoot and made a fool of himself!
"Oh, that child again?" Evidently, Feng Yihan had not forgotten. "You already chased him over hundreds of streets and gave him a sound beating."
"Let nature take its course then. The situation will resolve itself in the end. Dear, let's first not think about it..." An Lisha lowered her head, her enticing red lips meeting Feng Yihan's warm lips.
Then the study was filled with "tender feelings".
At this time, Claire had already returned to her room. She was sitting cross legged in the lotus position, starting to cultivate the Treasured Lotus Style. She had already passed the seventh level, but made no progress with the eighth. Just as Golden Lotus said, breaking through to the seventh level was easy, but reaching the eighth would be difficult.
Claire was still thinking back to what the woman cloaked in black had said.
At just this level, there's no way you can win the martial arts tournament.
With her current strength, she still couldn't win? Claire frowned slightly, recalling how Feng Yixuan had been able to approach her without her sensing him at all now that his seal had been undone. Did Shui Wenmo also improve? What about Hua Yilin of the Hua clan? And who was the woman cloaked in black? Was she too going to compete in the tournament? If so, then her strength was truly far from enough.
Claire clenched a fist and shut her eyes tightly, starting to cultivate the Lotus power once more, but she still made no progress.
She wanted to ask Golden Lotus, but no matter how she called, Golden Lotus did not respond, still sound asleep.
Claire laid down, frustrated, staring at the bed curtains above. The eighth chapter of the Treasured Lotus grimoire was very bizarre with only one word: circulate. What was it supposed to mean? Repeat endlessly? With only one word, how would she break through the eighth level? What made Claire even more annoyed was that both her magic and Dou Qi were not improving either. It seemed she had reached a bottleneck.
She lacked the last step to break through.
The next morning, after breakfast, Claire went straight to the Li clan training grounds. When she reached the training grounds, she discovered that there were already quite a few children training there. The moment they saw Claire, they started crowding around her, wanting to give their greetings.
"Cousin, you've come!"
Everybody surrounded Claire and called her Cousin affectionately with hopeful expressions, eyes full of gratitude.
Claire looked at all of their faces but could not remember a single one. She only knew that they were all children of the Li clan.
"Elder Cousin, thank you. Before, whenever I ventured out, I would always be looked down upon. Now nobody dares to," A little girl with black hair squeezed to the front, her gaze full of adoration.
Everybody else echoed her words, their collective voices indiscernible.
Claire smiled faintly. She patted the little girl's head. "Then do you know why they don't dare to any more?"
"Yes, it's all because of Cousin Claire," the little girl said firmly, raising a fist.
"No, it's not like that." Unexpectedly, Claire's expression turned serious.
The crowd froze, not understanding what Claire meant.
"It's not that they don't dare to be disdainful, but because they want to use the Li clan, want to create a relationship with the Li clan. They want the swords forged by the Li clan, they want to meet Lan Ling. This is fawning, not fear. If it were fear, at best, it would be only be fear of the crown prince's current interest in the Li clan, not fear of the Li clan itself." Claire said, exceptionally serious. "What would make others truly afraid of the Li clan is if the Li clan continuously grows in strength. Power is the source of authority."
The children's expressions fluctuated continuously. Clearly, Claire's words had left a strong impact.
"I understand now! Once they lose their interest in us, they will switch back to their previous attitude," the little girl said fiercely, her eyes fiery. "We will train diligently until we are as powerful as you! Then nobody will bully us!"