The seven men identified by Dugu Wudi were all precisely the younger generation of the Dugu family. Dugu Zongheng had chosen their names such that the combination of the seven men’s given names meant “heroes and legends bravely rushing forward”! They were truly imposing names.
Dugu Zongheng had originally meant this to be the first line of a couplet, with the second line being “dragons, tigers, leopards, and wolfs flying through the heavens!”* He had been waiting for his three sons to work hard to complete the couplet, but he didn’t expect that after the birth of these seven grandsons, only one precious granddaughter, Dugu Xiao Yi, was born.
[*He had hoped to name his next seven grandsons Long, Hu, Bao, Lang, Fei, Man, and Tian, which is pinying for “龙虎豹狼飞满天” and translates to “dragons, tigers, leopards, and wolfs flying through the heavens.” Dugu Zongheng had hoped that his grandson would be a dragon among men and so forth—that all his grandchildren to be leading figures among their peers. His couplet is what is called an antithetical couplet, a form of traditional Chinese poetry]
The old man decided to keep his hopes up, but alas, it was just not written in his fate. This made Dugu Zongheng endlessly depressed, and he was forced to put the second line in the back of his mind. Whether the “Storm Riding General” will complete his couplet has become a moot point; such a beautiful line will never have an opportunity to be used
For this reason, it was only natural that the greatly disappointed Dugu Zongheng would have directed quite a few scowls, stare downs, and curses at his three sons for not being more productive, cough, failing to live up to expectations. Although the old man may be rude and excessive, he also did not casually scold his daughter-in-law’s, and thus directed his wrath at his sons.
Only Dugu Wudi, the eldest of the three sons, is currently residing in the capital. The other two, Dugu Wushang and Dugu Wutong, were defending the Kingdom’s southern and eastern borders and had made no plans to ever return; the direct result of the old man’s abuse over the years. A general also needs a little face. Having earned distinctions for defending the borders, they obviously will not return on their own volition!
The eldest brother had also wanted to leave home to avoid the old bag; unfortunately for him, his younger brothers had been deployed, and he was not allowed to leave. Other than returning for their parent’s birthdays each year, the two of them would play deaf-mute even if the old man ordered them to return. The two times they do come home, they normally did not wait for Dugu Wudi or the old man to sober up before they were already gone without a trace.
The other two borders of the Tianxiang Kingdom are defended by men under the old man Jun’s personal command and had no connections with the Dugu Family. This state of affairs made Dugu Wudi feel wronged in his heart. I’m the eldest brother! Why was I born under such an ill-fated star? A tirade of abuse every three days and violently assaulted every fortnight. How long do I have to endure this? When all is said done, I am still a great general, a government official, and a forty years old father…
At this time when a cloud of misery hung over the Li family, and a conflagration raged in the Dugu Family, the source of one family’s woe and another’s fury, Jun Mo Xie, was indulging in excessive drinking with his grandfather.
The black-clothed Jun Wu Yi was sitting to one side and could only watch, but not partake; his Adam’s apple repeatedly moved up and down as he swallowed his saliva. This was in accordance with Young Master Jun’s prescription—since your injury had just healed, you cannot drink wine for the time being. Unfortunately, this pair of grandfather and grandson was smacking their lips as they savored the wine, an extremely satisfied appearance; with the sweet fragrance of the wine assailing his nostrils, Jun Wu Yi couldn’t take it anymore…
“Mo Xie, your grandpa is very curious about your Xuan art and strange cultivation method.” Jun Zhan Tian asked as while pouring himself another cup of wine. Even Jun Wu Yi’s eyes opened wide and his ears stood erect when this question was asked.
That was because Jun Mo Xie’s Xuan Art really was too inconceivable. The two men could be considered to have extensive experience, but they have never seen nor have they heard of a Xuan Qi capable of such effects. It could not only heal and dispel poisons, but it also does not emit any light! Its power can only be matched by its abnormality.
This kind of miraculous Xuan Art ought to be extremely famous throughout the Xuan Xuan Continent, but there have never been any such rumors, which was extremely baffling.
Jun Mo Xie remained silent for a while before he replied. “Grandfather. Third Uncle. Do you have to ask me about this? I would rather not lie to you.”
“Ah, this old man understands.” Jun Zhan Tian came to a sudden realization. “Did the expert that taught you this Xuan Art ask you to keep it a secret? Haha, these people tend to have eccentric dispositions. It would do you more harm than good if news of this miraculous Xuan Art spread. The fewer people that know, the better! Haha, this old man will not ask further, yes, will not ask further.”
“Yes, we will not only stop asking about Mo Xie’s miraculous Xuan Art, but we must also do our utmost to keep this a secret.” Jun Wu Yi nodded. “Who would not drool over such a Xuan Art? Just a small rumor could lead to unthinkable consequences.”
“Correct! All that matters is that Mo Xie is a member of our Jun Family. That is already more enough!” Jun Zhan Tian laughed to his heart’s content. He gave Jun Mo Xie a meaningful glance, and his affection for his grandson grew.
Jun Mo Xie only returned a blank stare; who could have thought that before he could even fabricate an explanation, these two men had already convinced themselves with their flawless reasoning…
“Mo Xie, your Third Uncle is now recovered. What do you intend to do next? Tell your grandpa!” Jun Zhan Tian was in a very good mood. He looked at his grandson with satisfaction as he ran his hands through his beard.
“Plans? What plans would I have? Am I not free now that Third Uncle has recovered?! I will just continue to act as a debauchee.” Jun Mo Xie drank some wine and started digging into the wild boar meat on the table with two greasy hands. “As to what happens next, I’ll just follow Grandpa’s directions. In the meantime, Third Uncle’s recovery cannot be known by others. His advancement into the Sky Xuan level, in particular, must remain in the utmost secrecy for us all. Hiccup. This will depend on your performance, Grandpa. You will have to continue to be miserable when you leave.”
Jun Zhan Tian furrowed his brows at this proposition. He drank some wine and said. “Nonsense. I’ve already worried more than enough because of you two bastards. Now that Mo Xie is working hard to improve himself and Wuyi has also fully recovered, what is there for me to worry about? How can you ask me to pretend when all of my past frustrations are gone?!” He sighed deeply after finishing speaking. It’s not that he isn’t capable, but the old man is rather tired of those miserable days. He had no choice but to worry in the past, but he still can’t be happy now that all his worries have been resolved? Now that is depressing!
“What to do?” Jun Mo Xie licked his greasy hands. “You’re saying that you are worried that you are now worry-free? You bring up a good point. Just leave it to your grandson to make you worry again. Do you want me to cause trouble at the Magnificent Jewel Hall, kidnap the three princes and give them a beating, or bring home a few commoner girls?
“You’re looking for a spanking!” The old man was aware that it was only a joke, but he still got angry nonetheless. “I hadn’t even reprimanded you for the incident at the Magnificent Jewel Hall the other day, but you brought it up yourself! Understand that there are powers that be such as the Magnificent Jewel Hall that are above even nation-states. You cannot provoke the Magnificent Jewel Hall no matter what! They are not an organization you can afford to offend even when you advance to the pinnacle of the Supreme Divine Xuan realm! Are we clear?” The old man’s voice immediately became solemn, and his expression was quite severe.
“Just what is the Magnificent Jewel Hall’s origin?” Instead of fear, a strong curiosity arose in Jun Mo Xie’s heart. “Even a peak expert at the Supreme Divine Realm can’t provoke? More powerful than nation-states?!”
“I can only tell you that the Magnificent Jewel Hall is as large and powerful as an iceberg. Just the tip is already enough to force the world to cower at their feet. There are even a few Supreme Divine Xuan experts among their ranks! This old man can’t even begin to fathom the depth of their spy network, but I do know for certain that we must not provoke them.” Zhan Tian sighed, looked at the Jun Wu Yi, and regrettably sighed again.
Jun Wu Yi’s face twitched, anguish apparent in his eyes as if his entire spirit suffered a deep stab of pain at this moment! But he calmed down immediately and sat peacefully, if only just more quiet than before.
“In that case, the family’s secret forces will henceforth be placed under Wuyi’s control! As for you, Mo Xie…” Grandpa Jun muttered to himself, undecided for a long time before finally giving up and said. “You just do what you do best and help your uncle whenever you have time.”
Jun Wu Yi and Jun Mo Xie nodded in agreement before Jun Mo Xie called to attention. “Grandpa, Third Uncle. Before Third Uncle officially take over as the head of the family’s secret forces, we must first thoroughly eliminate any enemies within our ranks!” Pausing, Jun Mo Xie stared fixedly at the two men. “Third Uncle’s full recovery is naturally a momentous occasion for our Jun Family but becomes an additional threat to outsiders. Especially…” Jun Mo Xie faintly smiled as he pointed his fingers upward.
The meaning is self-evident.
“Grandpa had probably already purged our family’s secret forces of any agents from the other major families. I am convinced of this point. However, there must still be agents of the imperial family within our family! And Grandpa, you should have already identified these men, but you have just turned a blind eye so far, correct?” Jun Mo Xie smiled. “However, this is now a critical moment. Therefore, they must be removed!”
Jun Zhan Tian looked at his grandson in shock. Every point Jun Mo Xie made had hit the mark! His deduction had no mistake!
For a long time, an expression of agony appeared on Jun Zhan Tian’s face before he said. “Correct. There are men in our midst that were dispatched by His Majesty, and they had already infiltrated our family for more than a decade. But they have never acted against our Jun Family…”
“Since our Jun Family never act against the imperial family and have always been loyal and devoted subjects, they naturally never had the reason to make a report! But things are different now! Even though we are still loyal, if our secret is leaked, I suspect it is enough to exterminate our entire family!”
Jun Mo Xie’s eyes shined brightly and carefully said each word. “At the moment, even if they have already betrayed the imperial family and have genuinely turned into loyal men of the Jun Family, we still cannot afford to take this risk. This is not the time to be soft-hearted! He who hesitates is lost!”
Jun Zhan Tian sighed, deep wrinkles appearing on his aged face at that moment. After a long time, he said. “You’re right. In a moment, I will hand over a list of names to the both of you. As for what to do, I’ll leave it for you two to decide. You do not need to keep me informed!” Standing up, he slowly walked away with heavy footsteps.
“Mo Xie, isn’t doing things this way too cruel? Your grandpa cannot bear to! Is it possible…” Jun Wu Yi frowned, an expression of struggle appeared on his face. Jun Wu Yi would not hesitate to act against his enemies, but he didn’t have the heart to act against people who had distinguished themselves by outstanding meritorious service to the Jun Family. Even though he is fully aware that they were undercover agents dispatched by His Majesty to spy on the Jun Family, but they have been through thick and thin with the Jun Family many times!