Ning Family, Disciplinary Hall.
The atmosphere was cold and unfriendly. There was a long and narrow table in the dim hall. Five Ning Family cultivators sat behind it, their gazes so dark that it seemed they could drip water.
“Qin Ning, what gall you have, you still won’t admit to your guilt after all this time!” Second from the left, a middle-aged man with a short beard roared out, his voice shaking with anger.
Qin Yu cupped his hands together. “May I ask exactly what mistake I made?”
“In the alchemy competition with Immortal Eclipse Valley, you avoided the battle, greatly damaging the prestige of my clan. This is simply an inexcusable crime, and you still want to argue?” Another Ning Family cultivator bellowed.
A different person spoke up, the expression on his face seeming to ask how this shameless boy could continue showing up in this world, “My clan valued you so much and even had the intent of cultivating you, yet who could imagine you would be so underwhelming and ruin the trust of my clan!”
Qin Yu had an innocent expression. “It’s not that I didn’t want to avoid the battle, but my stomach really hurt at the time. Everyone has the three urges, no one can avoid them.”
“There is no need to argue! No matter how glib your tongue is, do you still think you can fool us all!?”
“This disciple doesn’t dare. But, all of this was an accident; I am also suffering…”
“You still want to shift the responsibility…”
No matter what aggressive the threats and scolding was, Qin Yu strongly shouted out about the injustice of the matter, clearly not willing to accept the situation. This was so that the Ning Family wouldn’t be able to decide on his punishment and so he could drag out the situation for as long as he could.
Sea region, demonic path, Immortal Eclipse Valley, all three sides had arrived here and Qin Yu believed that the turning point he had waited all this time for would arrive soon. It wasn’t a problem for him to act like a rogue for a while.
After arguing for a long time and not being able to get Qin Yu to acknowledge his guilt, the five Ning Family cultivators were beginning to run out of breath, and even their shouts seemed a bit hoarse. The bearded middle-aged cultivator waved his hand. “Qin Ning, don’t think that just because you stubbornly deny the truth, we don’t have any way to punish you! Men! Lock him up! As long as he doesn’t acknowledge his guilt, he cannot come out! Let’s see just how long he lasts!”
Two ferocious men walked forwards. They swept their eyes over Qin Yu, contempt in their gazes. If Qin Yu remained so obstinate, it would only further enrage the Disciplinary Hall. This brat was in for serious punishment.
The Gold Noble Family had extremely strict rules and regulations. When it involved foreign disciples, they had to be even more careful. These were rules that were established in the early years to stabilize the foundation of the family, and they had indeed proven very useful in drawing extremely talented cultivators from the outside world.
There was a special point to be made here. The reason that the Gold Noble Family wanted to bring in outside cultivators was similar to the reason why Qin Yu was asked to be the Emperor’s son-in-law during his adventure at the sea races’ capital city.
The reason the Gold Noble Family was powerful was that they had inherited an extremely formidable bloodline. They brought in outstanding cultivators from the outside world and added in their bloodlines to ensure that the Gold Noble Family’s bloodline didn’t fade.
Because of this reason, it was unavoidable that some foreign cultivators would be dissatisfied with the Gold Noble Family. Thus, as long as it was something involving them, it needed to be done justly and transparently.
Qin Yu was taking advantage of this system. Otherwise, as a mere third-grade alchemist, a tiny thought would be enough to crush him to pieces. Of course, if the Gold Noble Family really tried this, they would discover that the harmless little white rabbit would instantly transform into a human-eating dragon.
“This brat Qin Ning has a firm will. We have tried for a long time but nothing has worked. I fear it will be difficult to punish him.”
“Mm. Having him admit guilt on his own initiative won’t be simple.”
“This junior Qin Ning is too sly and crafty. If he stubbornly holds onto the fact that all people have three urges, any punishment will appear too severe for such a reason.”
“Maybe we can bring in an outside cultivator to exert a bit of pressure. He might be able to feign stupidity in front of us, but this might not work with other people.”
“That might be a good plan!”
Thus, beginning from Ning Yiran, all other Ning Mansion cultivators that entered the Blue Cloud World with him received a message in their status tokens, requesting assistance in the investigation.
On the next day, there were visitors to Qin Yu’s prison cell.
Ning Yiran furrowed his eyebrows together. He slowly said, “Qin Ning, you really disappoint me!” He had once regarded Qin Yu as his rival and even a goal to strive towards. But, who knew he would end up in such a pitiful state?
A beautiful woman calmly stared at Qin Yu, her gaze steady and unwavering. But, there was a bit of confusion deep in her eyes. She didn’t believe that someone as cautious and intelligent as him would make such a crude and basic mistake. But, the scene before her proved that this was the reality of the situation.
The next to speak was Ning Le. There was a hint of suppressed joy beneath his serious expression. “Qin Ning, you are someone recommended by the Ning Mansion. It's fine if you are lacking in talent, but you keep trying to evade responsibility! Let me give you some advice. Acknowledge your guilt now or you will suffer more in the future. The main family has numerous methods that will make you speak up.”
Qin Yu glanced at him. He shook his head. “I’ve already explained everything. This matter was beyond my control. It was just a coincidence.”
“Humph! What ridiculous nonsense. Do you really think we are all idiots here? Us cultivators all have healthy bodies resistant to injuries and poisons, so how could you have sudden unbearable abdominal pain completely unprovoked?” Ning Le laughed. In his eyes, this sort of weak and paltry excuse was just laughable.
Qin Yu closed his eyes. “I already explained myself. If you don’t believe me then there’s nothing I can do.”
Ning Yiran shook his head. “Qin Ning, Ning Le is right about one thing. If the main family wants someone to admit their guilt, they will always have a method to do so. You don’t have much time left to consider this. I hope you make the right choice.”
He turned and left.
A trace of disappointment flashed in the woman’s eyes. She thought that Qin Ning might have some reason behind his actions, but besides a flimsy excuse that he was stubbornly holding on to, there was nothing else.
But, was this really useful? She wanted to say something, but after looking at him, there was no need to speak anymore. She gently sighed and turned around, a bit of inexplicable sorrow in her heart.
The other Ning Mansion cultivators all coldly sneered, following behind the two. Right now, they were all supposed to be working hard to rise higher, so how could they waste their time here? Hehe, the Gold Noble Family’s youngest third-grade alchemist, a youth with boundless prospects…but as they thought of him now, all that came to their minds were taunts.
Ning Le squatted down across from the array formation that stabilized the prison cell. He chuckled, “Qin Ning, I really, really don’t like you. So, whether it was the Ning Mansion or Blue Cloud World, I helped in spreading rumors about you. No, to be more exact, in the Blue Cloud World, I was the one who deliberately started the rumors and urged everyone on. You are just a lowly foreign cultivator, so on what basis can you be more splendid than me? After today, you are destined to be locked in here as you fall into the abyss. As for me, I will rise step by step, becoming a brilliant existence that you cannot even look at.
“Aren’t you asking me why? Don’t you want an explanation? Hating someone and then finding a way to ruin them is an incredibly simple thing to do. Unfortunately, the one who ultimately ruined you was yourself, and it had nothing to do with me. In the future when I think of this, perhaps I might be a bit disappointed.”
Ning Le stood up, a bright smile on his face. To speak the words in his heart without any scruples at all, this was the right of the victor.
And it was obvious he was the victor!
However, what surprised Ning Le was that Qin Yu remained completely calm as he heard these words, without even a change in his complexion. He didn’t even open his eyes and glance over. Could it be that he didn’t want to lose face in front of him? Perhaps he was already raging with anger deep in his heart.
Ning Le brushed off the nonexistent dust on his body as if he didn’t want to be contaminated with the bad luck here. Then, he turned and walked away. He had already said what he wanted to say. It was unlikely the two of them would ever cross paths again in the future, so there was naturally no need for him to waste any more time here.
And at this time, in the prison cell, Qin Yu’s eyes opened, divine light flashing within them!
An old voice echoed out deep in his mind. “Little Friend Qin Yu, if you don’t make a move now, when are you going to?”
In the next moment there was a heaven-shaking rumble. The entire prison trembled with it. And, this place was deep underground, far from the surface. From this alone, one could imagine how much horrifying strength was contained in it!
Ning Le paled and his mind buzzed. His face paled with panic. He had no idea what was happening. Before he could regain his composure, he heard another thunderous rumble from behind him. Blinding light erupted all around. He swiveled around and his jaw dropped open, as if he was seeing something completely inconceivable.
Qin Yu gripped the prison cell bars with both hands and pulled outwards. The array formation runes on the cell began to crazily swirl around and terrifying bolts of thunder crashed onto his body. But, the array formation runes and the terrifying thunder weren’t able to hinder him at all. The prison cell was torn open wider and wider. The ground shook and cracks appeared, rapidly spreading out like a spiderweb.
Ning Le watched with wide eyes filled with panic. Endless fear submerged his mind. He knew what he should be doing right now; he should be running away as far as possible. But, his legs were locked in place and he couldn’t move at all, as if his entire body had taken root to the ground.
So, he could only watch with despair and horror as the prison cell spit open with a deafening bang and the underground prison blew apart.
Qin Yu stepped outside.
He walked out, not even glancing to the side. Ning Le’s heart leaped into his throat before he relaxed a little. Perhaps he had been too busy to think about what was happening, but his heart raced with the joy of someone who survived a calamity. Slowly, the confusion that flooded his thoughts began to fade away. How could Qin Ning possess such terrifying strength?
His twisted mind immediately took the upper hand. Hate rose in his face. No matter how strong you think you are, breaking out from prison is a capital crime! The masters up above will surely kill you!
As he was ecstatic with anticipation, Ning Le suddenly felt his field of vision flip on its side. He could see the body of someone right in front of him, spurting blood from their severed neck.
Eh? Those clothes are so familiar. Where is his head?
Qin Yu rose upwards. The prison doors weren’t closed. The guards outside were looking towards the distant skies with shock on their faces, so they didn’t notice Qin Yu emerge.
Looking up, that place seemed to be the entrance to the Blue Cloud World. The vault of heaven seemed to be collapsing and giant canyon-like cracks spread through the skies.
An extremely terrifying aura pulsed outwards. Even from this distance, Qin Yu could clearly feel it. His expression turned dignified. He had thought that the Sea Sovereign was the most formidable existence in the world. He never imagined that he would see someone that could compare to the Sea Sovereign in strength, and even two of them at once!
The one who spoke to him must have been one of these two people. But, why help him? They were even willing to disregard any price and make the Gold Noble Family an enemy. If this other party was willing to pay such a great price, one didn’t need to be a genius to tell that they were scheming something.
Qin Yu suddenly discovered that everything occurring had surpassed his expectations. Dread began to appear deep in his heart. But with things having gotten to this point and the method to Nascent Soul right in front of him, even if he knew something was wrong he couldn’t back away.
“Qin Ning! Why are you here!?” Ning Yiran shouted out. This future leader of the outside Ning Mansion was the first to discover him.
The gazes of the prison guards locked onto him, killing intent thick in their eyes.