1782 Old Place, Old Acquaintances
It was clear that Zhang Ruochen was not an ordinary person. As soon as he walked out of the Qianshui Royal City, he composed himself and hid everything deep down his heart.
There were more important things to do.
Raising his head and taking a deep breath, Zhang Ruochen noticed something different.
"Qianshui Commandery can only be regarded as a remote place in the Eastern Region. To think that the spiritual qi here is so potent that there is a trace of Saint Qi flowing in the air.
"It looks like the Kunlun Realm is really beginning to recover!"
Some time ago, the concentration of spiritual qi in Qianshui Commandery had been less than one-fifth of what it was now.
It could be inferred that sacred grounds occupied by top-class sects and schools would have even more potent spiritual qi and Saint Qi.
A second later, Zhang Ruochen began exploring the place.
He soon realized that the Kunlun Realm's dimensional structure and material hardness had increased by several times. While it was still far behind the Celestial Court, it was not weaker than the top one thousand realms on the Merit List of Ten Thousand Realms.
The soil seemed to contain spiritual substances, and even ordinary weeds grew like green emeralds.
"I quite look forward to this. What level would the Kunlun Realm reach once it completely recovers?"
Zhang Ruochen released his spiritual power and summoned Awesome, the Little Taoist, as well as the Mastadon-Devouring Rabbit and Demon Ape, who were still in the city. He then drove the Golden Dragon Carriage toward Yunwu Commandery.
The distance between Yunwu Commandery and Qianshui Commandery's royal palace was about a hundred thousand miles. With the Golden Dragon Carriage's speed, they crossed the borders of Yunwu Commandery a mere two hours later.
As they arrived outside the royal city...
"I'm finally back!"
Zhang Ruochen jumped down from the carriage and looked at the familiar city in the distance with high spirits.
He would be able to see his mother, his fourth elder brother, and ninth elder sister soon. If the family could get together again, even if it was just for a simple meal, it would be a happy occasion.
For the past two years, Zhang Ruochen had been fighting and killing in the Celestial Court. He faced a storm of blood every day with the possibility of either him or the other side dying. Zhang Ruochen's heart was just really tired!
This time around, upon his return to Yunwu Commandery, Zhang Ruochen would bring all of them into Qiankun Realm.
If it was possible, Zhang Ruochen even planned to pick up all of Yunwu Commandery's civilians and take them away.
Suddenly, Zhang Ruochen's gaze sank slightly as he sensed many powerful auras emanating from within the commandery. Although they had used qi-restraining techniques, they could not hide from Zhang Ruochen's perception.
"Four Saint Kings, and thirteen Saints. For so many powerful persons to be in the small Yunwu Commandery..."
Yunwu Commandery's royal city was not too far from the 13th sub-terminal, and the appearance of so many cultivators was not very surprising. However, Zhang Ruochen had many enemies, and he needed to be on guard.
Plus, the Saint Kings from both the Heavenly Realm and Infernal Court possessed valuable items that could hide their auras, and Zhang Ruochen's perception might not necessarily be able to detect them. There was a possibility that there were even more powerful characters in the city itself.
"Hopefully, nothing happens."
Zhang Ruochen did not want to arouse suspicion, so he did not release a spiritual avatar to probe the matter for fear of being sensed by elites.
After he got Awesome, the Little Taoist, as well as the Mastadon-Devouring Rabbit and Demon Ape, to wait outside the city, he activated the power of the Bodhi Emperor beads to hide his aura. Then, he sneaked into the royal city.
A moment later, Zhang Ruochen appeared inside the palace.
He did not find his mother, Concubine Lin, his fourth elder brother, Zhang Shaochu, or his ninth elder sister, Zhang Yuxi, and Zhang Ruochen's heart tightened slightly. Had the thing he worried about the most happened after all?
As he left the palace, Zhang Ruochen's eyes brimmed with cold light. He was ready to reveal his identity and force all of the Saints and Saint Kings in the city out. Perhaps he would be able to glean something out of their mouths.
Zhang Ruochen abruptly stopped as he looked to the side of the street and saw a magnificent mansion. Two forcibly written words, "Lin Manor", were displayed on a gilded plaque above the gate.
The Saint Light in Zhang Ruochen's eyes flickered, and he could see that something was off, so he walked toward the door.
Clang clang, clang clang...
Zhang Ruochen held the gate knocker and knocked.
After knocking for a long time, he heard light footsteps inside, and the heavy door was opened. A beautiful woman in her early twenties appeared before Zhang Ruochen.
Lin Lingshan, Zhang Ruochen's cousin sister...
The girl who had looked down on Zhang Ruochen back then reappeared in front of him, and just as in the past, Zhang Ruochen's heart remained calm. His face was impassive.
Lin Lingshan's eyes seemed a little dazed, and when she recognized Zhang Ruochen, a look of joy filled her pretty face. However, she soon became nervous again, her expression bizarre.
It appeared that she had matured a lot over the years, and she no longer possessed that sense of youthfulness and haughtiness.
The moment she saw Zhang Ruochen, a look of inferiority flashed across her face, but shortly after, she blinked anxiously as if to hint something to him.
Zhang Ruochen was apparently not able to see her hint, and he said, "We have not met for so many years now, won't you let me in to have a seat?"
Lin Lingshan's neck stiffened, and she shook her head slightly. Yet, the next moment, her face became pale as she sighed and nodded. "Come in... Come in..." she said quiveringly.
Zhang Ruochen calmly followed her from behind as he limped into the Lin Manor and walked about ten feet.
Out of the blue, a dark wind came rushing down from above his head.
Lin Lingshan quickly turned and exclaimed, "Watch out!"
Without her reminder, Zhang Ruochen had already noticed that something was wrong, and he slowly raised his head.
He only saw the dark wind above him condense into the form of a dark and terrifying ghost that emanated a tyrannical aura. In an instant, Lin Lingshan was pinned to the ground by the aura, and her eyes were full of fear.
At the second, she saw something even more shocking, though.
Zhang Ruochen stood still, exhaling once, and the terrifying ghost let out a screech before it was dispelled by the force of his breath.
Immediately after, Zhang Ruochen raised his arm and performed a grabbing motion in the direction of the stone pond.
A man in a black robe materialized as a result. He was a Spiritual-power Saint and the one who had controlled a ghost lord to attempt the murder of Zhang Ruochen.
Realizing that he had provoked something out of his league, the black-robed man promptly activated a Saint Art and rushed farther into Lin Manor.
Zhang Ruochen flicked his finger, and a sword flew out of his fingertip.
The black-robed man's body burst open and turned into a cloud of blood.
Lin Lingshan had yet to recover from the shock. The black-robed man had been so terrifying earlier, and the Saint Aura he unleashed earlier was similar to that of a true god. The entire Lin Clan's cultivators would have to kneel before him.
Despite that, he was like a gnat in the face of Zhang Ruochen, killed with just the flick of a finger.
The second Lin Lingshan looked at Zhang Ruochen again, her eyes were filled with awe, and she immediately knelt before Zhang Ruochen. "Cousin... I beg you... Please... save Big Brother... Please save the Lin Clan... I beg you..."
Zhang Ruochen glanced deep into Lin Manor and said, "Get up. Lead the way."
Zhang Ruochen did not actually like Lin Manor or Lin Lingshan and her brother.
If it had not been for the purpose of finding his mother, Zhang Ruochen would never have walked in.
Of course, since he had already walked in, he could not ignore what was going on.
The Lin Clan's Ancestral Hall.
The members of the Lin Clan, as well as their servants, were all gathered together, and they knelt on the ground. Among them was Lin Lingshan's elder brother, Lin Chenyu, who had been castrated and made into a slave because he had offended the Seventh Prince, Zhang Tiangui.
After Zhang Tiangui slaughtered the Lin Clan, both Lingshan and Lin Chenyu, through some means, actually gathered the children of the branch families and rebuilt the Lin Clan. It seemed that the clan was now much stronger than before.
An extremely seductive woman in a black robe stood amid the crowd. She had long slender legs and extremely short underclothes, which revealed her snow-white waist and sexy belly button, while a perpetual smile hung on her face.
She was a charming and beautiful person who could turn the world upside down, but no one dared to have any untoward thoughts about her. Instead, everyone was trembling and terrified.
The woman in the black robe grabbed the empty space with her fingers, and a large amount of black haze poured out.
Lin Chenyu's body was wrapped in black mist and floated off the ground. The black haze, reminiscent of tentacles, drilled into Lin Chenyu's head.
Lin Chenyu's face contorted, and he screamed.
An elder of the Lin Clan, who had reached the Tianji Realm, seemed to have found strength from somewhere, and he broke through the suppressive aura. Standing up with red eyes, he roared angrily, "Let go of the patriarch! If there is an issue... come at me."
The black-robed woman turned around and smiled at the clan elder. "Okay. Then, tell me, where is Zhang Ruochen?"
"I do not know," the clan elder said.
"I knew you would say that, so I did not bother asking you in the first place. Using the Soul Search directly, I can naturally find the information I want to know. But, my Soul Search is quite the powerful spell, and anyone who is afflicted with it will be reduced to a muddled fool, hehe." The black-robed woman chuckled.
"This old one will fight you!"
That clan elder rushed toward the black-robed woman, but barely three steps in, a big bald man by the side stepped forward and swung an iron staff to his knees.
The clan elder's legs shattered like ceramic, turning into pieces of flesh and blood.
With a thud, the clan elder crumpled heavily to the ground as blood flowed all over, creating an indescribably miserable sight.
Lin Lingshan rushed into the hall and knelt down as she hugged the elder's upper body in tears.
The big bald man lifted the bloody rod and licked his lips as he guffawed. "Girl, who was knocking on the door outside just now? Has that person been eaten by Xie Hong's ghost lord?"
Lin Lingshan was obviously very afraid of the big bald man, and her eyes could not help but move toward the direction of the corridor.
The big bald man noticed something and stared in the corridor's direction too, only to see a young man limping over.
"Where did that cripple come from? Where's Xie Hong?" the big bald man drawled.
He sensed a dangerous aura emanating from the cripple.
The black-robed woman looked over as well, and shock instantly appeared in her beautiful eyes. "Zhang... Zhang Ruochen..."
The space around shook slightly as Zhang Ruochen's figure materialized before the black-robed woman.
Right then, the woman's face turned pale as she struck both of her palms forward simultaneously. She transformed her spiritual powers into thunder and lightning, which then turned into a dozen thunder dragons that flew toward Zhang Ruochen.
"A spiritual power Saint King, I see."
Zhang Ruochen pressed his palm forward, and a vortex appeared out of nowhere. Meanwhile, all of the thunderbolts that had been rushing toward him suddenly changed direction and struck the black-robed woman instead. The hits sent her flying through the walls and deep into the ancestral hall.
Within Lin Manor, more than ten black-robed, Saint-level cultivators ripped through the air and surrounded Zhang Ruochen.