Chapter 4: This Is a Good Thing
Translator: CKtalon Editor: CKtalon
A study within Mirror Lake Meng Manor.
After practicing for an entire day, even though Meng Chuan remained energetic and excited, he still had to rest due to the exhaustion of his Quintessential Energy. He came to the study room to begin what he did every day—painting.
There was a piece of paper lying on the tabletop, and beside it, a beautiful color palette. All the paint was of high quality.
Meng Chuan put his heart into painting. He had fallen in love with painting since he was young.
Perhaps it was because his mother was good at painting and had taught him how to draw. This was what he loved the most when he was young. Imagine a three-year-old child painting for nearly eight hours straight, to the point he forewent his meals without complaining about fatigue. He would still laugh happily despite his paint-covered body. His mother had said, “My son is extremely talented. He will definitely become the number one artist in the world. Every painting will be worth its weight in gold.”
He was born in the Meng family; his parents doted on him, so he was carefree.
However, when he was six, over a hundred thousand people had died in a great catastrophe. His mother was no exception.
After his parents protected him with all their might and retreated to Eastcalm Prefecture, he focused on cultivating. However, he would still draw for two hours every day. Whenever he drew, he would forget about his fatigue from cultivation. He felt as though he had returned to a time when he was young. His mother would give him pointers, and his mind would be incomparably peaceful.
Now, he was fifteen years old.
After painting for over a decade, and being taught by several accomplished artists, he had long surpassed his teachers. His mother had been right. His talent was indeed outstanding—at least higher than his talent towards saber arts.
But what use was that? Could the best artist slay demons?
Knock. Knock. Knock.
There was an urgent knock on the door outside the study.
Huh? Meng Chuan looked outside curiously. No one disturbs me when I’m usually painting. What’s going on?
He put down the brush, then opened the door. His father, Meng Dajiang, was standing outside. His normal jovial smile was gone; his current expression was rather solemn.
“Chuan’er, quickly follow me to the ancestral mansion,” said Meng Dajiang.
“Okay.” He immediately followed his father without hesitating. “Dad, why have you been frequently visiting the ancestral mansion recently?”
“It’s nothing.” Meng Dajiang didn’t elaborate.
“Then why are we heading to the ancestral mansion now?” Meng Chuan asked again. As a junior, he paid a small handful of visits to the ancestral mansion annually.
Meng Dajiang glanced at his son and said, “It’s about your engagement with Yun Qingping. We decided to annul the engagement after a discussion between our families.”
“Annul the engagement?” Meng Chuan was shocked. “Dad, why is it suddenly being annulled?”
“You can’t bear to have it annulled?” Meng Dajiang looked at his son.
“Not at all.” Meng Chuan immediately shook his head. “I only meet Yun Qingping once every few months. Our personalities don’t match, so annulling the engagement is a good thing for me.”
He was only fifteen this year; he didn’t know anything about love. He saw Yun Qingping as a familiar and willful younger sister. Nothing more.
“It’s good that you think that way. Our families have already agreed to annul the engagement,” said Meng Dajiang. “When we reach the ancestral mansion, you just have to listen. Don’t speak too much.”
Meng Chuan nodded. “Yes.”
The Meng family’s ancestral mansion was situated in Eastcalm’s western district. It occupied a very large area—more than two thousand clansmen resided there. From the center of their occupied land, over half a kilometer could be traversed from south to north.
The Meng family’s foundation was in the countryside. Due to the threat of demons, people in the countryside combined forts to protect themselves. Each fort had thousands of people inside; it was very common for the same clan to gather in one fort. After a millennium of reproduction, the Meng family had three large forts and numbered over ten thousand people. There were few clans this large in Eastcalm Prefecture.
The special thing about the Meng family was that they had a Godfiend. They immediately became one of the five major Godfiend family clans with the highest status in Eastcalm Prefecture.
The ancestral mansion was very orderly. Some of the patrolling clan members bowed and greeted Meng Dajiang respectfully when they saw the duo.
Meng Dajiang was one of the three strongest members of the Meng family. He was still considered young and had a sliver of hope of becoming a Godfiend. He was to be the family’s next clan leader.
Meng Chuan followed his father into the guest hall.
Several people were already seated on both sides of the hall. On one side were those from the Meng family and the other—the Yun family. However, the atmosphere was clearly not quite right. At a glance, Meng Chuan could tell that the elders from his family didn’t look too good.
“Brother Dajiang is here.” Yun Fu’an stood up and smiled. “Have you brought the marriage agreement?”
“Yes.” Meng Dajiang nodded slightly.
Yun Fu’an smiled and said, “The other Elders have no objections to the annulment of the engagement. I believe it’s the same for you, am I right, Brother Dajiang?”
Meng Dajiang stood there and laughed. “If both families have the intention of building close ties through marriage, that will be nice. However, since there’s no intent, it’s better to annul the engagement early. This is the marriage agreement.”
He took out a scroll and handed it to Yun Fu’an with both hands.
After Yun Fu’an received the scroll, he unfurled it and took a closer look. He nodded slightly after seeing the names signed on it. It was indeed the marriage agreement from before. The two ancestors’ handwriting couldn’t be forged.
“Yun Fu’an, please tear the marriage agreement apart right here,” said a bald, thin elder from the Meng family.
“Haha! Are you worried that I’ll bring it back, and await a critical moment before using it to force Meng Chuan to marry my daughter?” Yun Fu’an laughed. “Don’t worry, I won’t do anything that shameless!”
As he said that, Yun Fu’an tore the marriage agreement.
“I’ve already torn the marriage agreement—everyone can bear witness. All of you can be at ease now.” Yun Fu’an smiled as his gaze swept across the Meng family Elders. “I won’t intrude any longer.”
He walked out as he spoke. The other Yun family members followed behind him.
When he passed where Meng Chuan was, Yun Fu’an stopped and smiled. “My dear nephew, take heed. You are no longer related to my daughter, Qingping, anymore.”
“Yes, zero ties,” replied Meng Chuan.
Only then did Yun Fu’an nod his head and lead everyone away.
Meng Dajiang watched as Yun Fu’an left and frowned slightly. He calmly said, “Chuan’er, the engagement has been annulled. You can return. I still have matters that need attending to.”
“Yes.” Meng Chuan glanced at the Elders and left obediently.
The door to the hall closed. The hall remained bright through candle illumination.
“What bullies! They’re too much!” The bald, thin elder’s walking stick slammed onto the ground—producing a mildly deafening thud.
“It appeared like we were negotiating, but in reality, we had no choice at all. Could we thicken our skin and go through with the marriage alliance?” A swarthy elder sneered. “If we dared to cook up a storm at the Yun family, we will probably be slapped to death by the Yun family’s patriarch!”
“Having the engagement annulled is also good. Would it be of any use to use the engagement to force the Yun family’s hand when it’s just the marriage between two juniors? The Yun family would just bear a grudge against us. A marriage alliance is to aid one another. It’s better not to ally if we were enemies. This marriage is honestly trivial to our Meng family. Third Sis’ injuries are what has shaken our Meng family’s foundation!” An elegant elder looked at the fat elder above them. “Clan Leader, can’t we treat Third Sis’ injuries?”
The fat elder frowned. “Third Sister will return to Eastcalm in two days. We’ll talk about it when that happens.”
Meng Dajiang listened and frowned.
The Meng family’s pillar was on the verge of collapsing; the Meng family Elders were also worried.
The Meng family kept the news secret, and only the Elders knew about it. If such news spread, over ten thousand clan members would be thrown into a state of panic. It would only add to their troubles.
The upper echelons of the other four Godfiend family clans also knew, but they didn’t spread it either. They were afraid that ignorant juniors would anger the Meng family. After all, Fairy Meng wasn’t dead yet! Even if she was dead, she had many Godfiend friends. However, her Godfiend friends wouldn’t interfere as long as one didn’t go overboard.
Without a Godfiend, the Meng family would not be able to bear many of the heavy responsibilities. They naturally wouldn’t be able to enjoy so much power if they couldn’t bear their responsibilities.
Responsibility and power were equal.
From lowly mortals to esteemed Godfiends, presently, nobody could escape responsibility.
As long as a mortal reached the Marrow Cleansing realm, they would have to serve in the military for five years at the age of twenty—regardless of gender! Only half would return alive. However, people still wanted to reach the Marrow Cleansing realm because the rules of the Imperial Court forbade them from many occupations if they were so weak that they held little value to the military. They could only be bottom-feeders, living the most pitiful lives.
As for Godfiends, they were the backbone of humanity. Every single Godfiend had spent their entire lives fighting and protecting. Even if they returned to their hometown to rest, they had to guard their hometown’s city.
As a result, Godfiends were illustrious and exalted. Their family clans bathed in their glory. When Godfiends passed away or were unable to take on such a heavy responsibility, their family clan would retire from the important positions they occupied.
It was almost dark when Meng Chuan arrived home.
“Ah Chuan, quickly have dinner. I heard that you and Uncle Meng went to the ancestral mansion. I thought you weren’t coming back for dinner today.” Liu Qiyue was sitting while eating porridge and pastries. Meng Chuan sat across from her, and a maidservant brought over a bowl of porridge. He drank some porridge as his mind wandered.
“Why aren’t you talking? What happened?” Liu Qiyue asked.
After snapping back to his senses, Meng Chuan casually said, “Our families have decided to annul my engagement with Yun Qingping after discussions.”
“Annul the engagement?” Liu Qiyue’s eyes lit up.
“Yes, it just happened. The marriage agreement was torn apart on the spot.” Meng Chuan nodded.
Liu Qiyue carefully observed him and asked, “Why? Are you very sad about annulling the engagement? Why are you drinking porridge in a daze?”
“No.” Meng Chuan shook his head immediately. “It’s not like you aren’t aware that Yun Qingping and I don’t click. She’s happy to annul the engagement and I’m relieved too. This is a good thing for both of us. How can I be sad?”
“Then why are you in a daze?” Liu Qiyue asked.
“I just feel like something isn’t right,” said Meng Chuan with a frown. “The engagement was made personally by the two ancestors back then. Even if they came to annul the engagement, the Yun family would have at least sent their Three Heroes. This is the most basic form of respect for my Meng family. However, they sent only Yun Fu’an, the fifth and most useless child. Isn’t he looking down on my Meng family? This is my first doubt.”
“Secondly, the Clan Leader and the Elders had ugly looks on their faces inside the hall. But from beginning to end, they held back. Since when did the Clan Leader have such a good temper?”
“Thirdly, Yun Fu’an usually has a fawning, lowly attitude when in front of my father and the rest. But today, he was much more insolent. What instigated such behavior?”
“Most importantly, there must be a reason behind the annulment. What caused the engagement, agreed between the two ancestors, to be annulled?”
Meng Chuan looked at Liu Qiyue. “I’m guessing that either the Yun family has obtained a huge backer or it’s because of my Meng family.”
Liu Qiyue was shocked. “Ah Chuan, I really can’t figure out how you thought about all this at once.”
“It’s just wild speculation. Since Dad didn’t tell me, he naturally has his reasons.” Meng Chuan smiled.
“To think that the person whose engagement was just annulled can still smile. Hurry up and eat your pastry,” Liu Qiyue urged with a smile.
“Yes, yes.” Meng Chuan immediately picked up the pastries and started eating.