Book 7 Chapter 57: Great Evil

Hearing them cry out “uncle”, Xiao Xia was completely stunned.

Since the formation had broken, everyone stood beneath the same sky. Xiao Xia also saw that elegant looking elder. Bao Da Tong and Wan Li had both met Ruan Zhan’s father before, but this was her first time seeing him. Although she didn’t have a Yinyang Eye, she could still tell her was a soul and not a real person. It wasn’t because he had no shadow. No one had shadows on this dark and gloomy night. It also wasn’t because he was floating. In fact, he stood firmly on the ground. It definitely wasn’t because he looked ferocious and sinister. He actually looked quite kindly.

Although he didn’t look as handsome as Ruan Zhan, there were truly some similarities. Especially the straight bridge of his nose and the tightly pursed lips. She didn’t understand why Ruan Zhan and Wan Li never suspected this elder of being Ruan Zhan’s real father. Was it because the lines on the elders face were much softer than Ruan Zhan’s, or was it because the impression as an adoptive father from the get go was too strong?

Knowing the elder’s sudden appearance would be a huge blow to Ruan Zhan, Xiao Xia hurriedly turned to look at the man next to her. As expected, Ruan Zhan seemed frozen to the spot. She could tell that all his muscles were tensed tightly!

She grabbed his hand and felt that it was colder than ice, his fingers seeming unable to even bend anymore. Xiao Xia’s heart ached and she wanted to embrace him, but she knew he wanted to speak to the father who left behind so many riddles. Therefore, she merely squeezed his hand supportively before letting go again.

The warmth from his fingertips caused Ruan Zhan to snap out of his frozen state. He took a step forward. His father stood not too far away. He merely looked at him silently. There was a complicated look in his eyes. His face was cold and expressionless but his gaze roamed over his body.

Ruan Zhan opened his mouth but no sound came from his throat. He didn’t know what to say. For so many years he had thought himself as an abandoned child who was adopted by his father. He only found out a few days ago that the person who abandoned him and the person he was grateful to was one and the same. Furthermore, that person refused to admit that they were blood relatives after finding him again!

For how many years did his father watch him struggle emotionally without giving him any hints about his life. He never reached out to his only son after faking his death, and after he really died he never visited him in his dreams. So what was he doing here now?

He took another step, desperately trying to speak yet unable to do so. It seemed as if all the pent up grievances over thirty years was stuck in his throat. Apart from him, there were three people and three souls present, but no one spoke. Only the sounds of insects filled the air.

Clang…

The bloodwood sword in Bao Da Tong’s hand dropped to the ground. Ruan Zhan moved, picking up the sword and pointing it at his father. “Give them back!” He was finally able to speak, but his voice was so cold, as if he was brandishing the sword at his nemesis.

Xiao Xia was closest to Ruan Zhan. She saw that despite his tensed body, his hand was trembling slightly, clearly repressing his inner turmoil. She hurriedly went and grabbed his arm. Any spirit would be destroyed upon contact with the bloodwood sword, apart from its owner. Ruan Zhan’s father had passed the sword to Ruan Zhan, so now the elder wasn’t able to touch that righteous yet evil sword. How could such a terrifying object be used during the reunion between father and son?

Ruan Zhan shook her hand off. Because he used too much force, Xiao Xia fell to the floor. He had never treated her so roughly before. Even when they first met, when they were strangers, he had never done so. Moreover, he actually didn’t realize Xiao Xia had fallen. He still extended his arm towards his father.

Bao Da Tong helped Xiao Xia up. He was about to speak but was stopped by Xiao Xia. After going through so much together, she deeply understood Ruan Zhan. His heart was incomparably tough, but also incomparably fragile. Betrayal was the worst kind of injury to him. Was there anything harder for him to accept than being betrayed by his own father?

“Return them, and leave!” Ruan Zhan repeated coldly.

“Can even a chance to repent not be given?” Ruan Zhan’s father finally spoke. His voice was slow and firm. He felt like a staunch person.

Xiao Xia saw Ruan Zhan’s arm slacken at his voice, but he righted it again. “There is no coming back from many things, no chance of starting over.”

Both father and son spoke words with multiple meanings behind them. Ruan Zhan’s father still held the fiends injured within the Wind Screen Formation in each hand, both on their last breaths. “They no longer have the power to commit evil. Killing to prevent killing is not a good method.”

“Tell that to the victims whose souls got devoured.”

“Child…you’re too stubborn!” Ruan Zhan’s father let out a long sigh, his voice filled with boundless sorrow. “Steel snaps when it’s too rigid. You must remember, some things can never be regained once abandoned, but it’s also important to know when to let go!”

“Thanks for the lecture. Now, can you return them?”

Father Ruan shook his head, the hint of a bitter smile on his face. He avoided the question. “Seeing you like this…I can be at ease.”

“Uncle Tian!” Wan Li saw things getting worse between father and son, and hurriedly tried to mediate. He naturally understood Ruan Zhan’s stubborn yet longing attitude. “Dawn’s almost here. Why don’t we find some time to chat? How about, tonight?”

Father Ruan turned his gaze to Wan Li, and then to Bao Da Tong. He smiled and nodded, his eyes filled with kindness. He seemed to be filled with gratitude towards the two who were able to keep his son company within the crowds of passersby.

“Don’t call me Uncle Tian. That was my fake name. My surname is Ruan. Although I changed it, I had my son inherit my surname.” The elder spoke. “Da Tong’s father knows. My name is Ruan Tian Yi. Remember, you are my Ruan house’s descendant.” The final words were spoken to Ruan Zhan. Then, he turned to look at Xiao Xia.

She almost teared up at the glance. She was extremely sensitive, and immediately understood Father Ruan’s meaning. The gaze contained entrustment and gratitude, as if telling her to love Ruan Zhan properly, to make him happy and no longer lonely. As for himself, he would never return. There was also a hint of pity. Why would he pity her? Was it because she loved such a withdrawn and cold man? Or was there some other reason?

But the relationship with his father was a knot that festered for thirty years in Ruan Zhan’s heart. Why was the elder trying to leave after finally appearing for only a few minutes? Why didn’t he explain things and comfort him a little?

She wanted to speak, but before she could do so the black box in her arms suddenly vibrated. In front of her, the ground suddenly writhed and a small shadow burrowed out. It was one of the kidnapped children. Then came another.

“Don’t just stand there, child.” Father Ruan reminded the stunned Xiao Xia.

Xiao Xia froze and smiled bashfully and awkwardly, hurriedly opening the wooden box. Inside was an ancient tome left behind by Master Long. The back cover was facing upwards, and the first page was blank. However, as the tome opened, those small shadows all turned to tiny black clouds that drifted like cotton towards the box, burrowing into the tome. Zhang Xiao Hua’s hostages were thus safely stored away.

Ruan Zhan furrowed his brows lightly, realizing that his father had been aware of everything. Then what was his intention? Why would he appear now to save the pair of fiend children? Was this all part of his master plan?

“It wasn’t me.” Father Ruan seemed to know Ruan Zhan’s thoughts, and directly answered him. “My death also wasn’t caused by them. I just happened to pass by Creek’s Head Inn when my previous afflictions flared up and I ended up dying unexpectedly in the wilderness.” He laughed bitterly.

Happenstance? Than was way too coincidental!

Ruan Zhan didn’t believe it. He was also very confused about his father’s first death, but he didn’t ask. This was something he learned as a child. If his father wanted to tell him something, he would. If he didn’t, then asking wouldn’t change anything!

“then, Uncle, why did you fake your death? You must have encountered some secret difficulties, right? Tell us, we can resolve things together. Furthermore, this time…” Bao Da Tong spoke Ruan Zhan’s doubts out loud.

As expected, Father Ruan didn’t explain, and merely smiled. “This time, I truly died. Therefore, I must go. Yin and Yang are separate, and our meeting like this is already a violation of heavenly law. Take care of yourselves!” He turned as he spoke.

Four voices called out, but only three of them were asking him to stay. Ruan Zhan once again repeated his words. “Leave, but return them to me!”

He spoke stubbornly, but the first words had been incomparably difficult to say!

Father Ruan seemed not to have heard. He continued walking, dragging the two small shadows along as if pulling on two rags.

All four of them chased after him, unclear what urged them to do so.

“Halt!” Ruan Zhan ran the fastest. When he was two meters away, he roared, pointing the bloodwood sword towards his father’s back at the same time. Immediately, the bloodwood sword’s red glow flared, as if a giant red orb surrounded it, illuminating the area. At the same time, it vibrated violently, making a buzzing sound.

Ruan Zhan and Bao Da Tong were frozen in shock!

The bloodwood sword was a spiritual treasure. If it encountered a benevolent spirit, it would only glow slightly red. The greater the evil spirit it encountered, the greater its light. From the moment Ruan Zhan learned to wield the bloodwood sword, it had never shone so dazzlingly red!

What was going on? Was it due to the evil of those fiend children? But it hadn’t reacted so drastically when they were battling them! Was it his father? No, no it couldn’t be! Such a dazzling glow indicated the sword was pointed towards great evil!

Great evil? Him? No, it definitely couldn’t be! His father might have abandoned him, and might have faked his death for some reason, but he was definitely no villain!

Ruan Zhan was stunned for the third time that night. It wasn’t only him, Bao Da Tong and Wan Li were also in disbelief.

Father Ruan slowly turned. “Do you insist on forcing these two children into dire straits?”

“Stop!” Ruan Zhan practically choked the word out. It wasn’t clear if he wanted his father or the two fiends to stay.

“What if I don’t?”

Ruan Zhan didn’t answer. He flipped the sword into a reverse grip angled behind his back and charged towards his father. His left hand drew glyphs in the air before suddenly swiping downwards. He yelled out Bao Da Tong’s name at the same time.

Bao Da Tong seemed a little uncomfortable, but he still ran after Father Ruan. He used his elemental spells with each hand, but avoided Father Ruan and instead aimed at the two fiend children.

Seeing them approach, Father Ruan smiled, “You two youngsters have learned pretty well.” His tone was admiring but he wasn’t slow to move. His figure changed sizes according to his will, shrinking to avoid Ruan Zhan and Bao Da Tong’s pincer attack before retreating in a different direction.

“Uncle.” Wan Li spread his arms, blocking the way. “There’s nothing that can’t be discussed between father and son. You’re also familiar with that temper of his. How about you first leave those two fiends behind? I promise not to destroy them, and we can talk things out, alright?”

“You’re blocking me too?” Father Ruan paused. “That’s right. You also learned the flaming handprint. You’re able to help him now!”

“Uncle, excessive benevolence leads to harm!” Wan Li urged bitterly. “Their resentment runs deep, and will harm innocents if released.”

Youngster, let me have a taste of what you’ve learned!” Father Ruan ignored Wan Li’s urging and rushed forward. Wan Li had no choice and used his clumsy flaming handprint.

“Pretty good. It suits your special constitution perfectly.” Father Ruan praised. “Having a friend like you is his fortune…”

Before he could finish, Ruan Zhan and Bao Da Tong caught up from behind.

Ruan Zhan’s actions seemed merciless, but he kept the bloodwood sword behind him, afraid to cause an accidental injury. However, Father Ruan dodged and evaded, and even the three of them combined were no match. The elder was still carrying those two black shadows. Ruan Zhan couldn’t help but gradually become anxious.

He was calm in battle no matter how powerful the opponent or how disadvantageous the circumstances. Yet he grew more and more hasty at this moment, as if wanting to prove something.

Father Ruan secretly shook his head and suddenly increased his strength. He had been dodging the whole time, but now casted a spell. The three immediately stopped moving, as if frozen by an invisible layer of ice. The elder hadn’t been ordinary as a mortal, so he naturally had overflowing power now. Even Ruan Zhan wasn’t able to endure the chill as he shivered, his feet seemingly stuck to the floor.

Taking the opportunity, Father Ruan broke through the encirclement. He took another glance at Xiao Xia, who wasn’t able to get involved. Then, he walked towards the dark building, his figure turning more and more transparent, about to vanish!

If he vanished, the pair of fiends would also disappear with him. It would be impossible to find them again. Due to the urgency, Ruan Zhan raised the bloodwood sword and hurled it over.

Perhaps subconsciously, he aimed it extremely well. The bloodwood sword sailed over his father’s head and blocked his path. Then, he chose to use the space warping spell at such a short distance, immediately catching up to his father.

The bloodwood sword sensed the “great evil” beneath is as it flew, and burst forth with crimson radiance above Rather Ruan’s head. No matter how powerful he had been prior to death, he couldn’t help but shrink down and avoid the light. But Ruan Zhan had caught up by then.

“Return them, and leave!” Ruan Zhan said stubbornly for the third time.

Father Ruan turned and saw Ruan Zhan already forming a wind blade, though he kept it under control without sending it out. This time, the son actually had the advantage over the elder. Father Ruan wasn’t angry at all. A smile blossomed on his face, as if he was teaching his son the spell.

Ruan Zhan felt heat in his heart and didn’t unleash a follow-up attack. He merely stood there.

“Oh, you. Still that same personality. How will you face the upcoming Calamity of Threes like this?!” At his words, Ruan Zhan actually saw affection in his father’s eyes.  He had only seen it once before as a child, the night his father used the Night Wind Cycle.

He was speechless. At that moment, Zhang Xiao Hua who had been hanging limply like a rag suddenly wriggled out from Father Ruan’s hand.

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