Ye Chen rushed out of his cabin and headed straight to the Patriarch's Residency, his steps light and fast as he was beyond excited to inform his father of the miracle that has happened.
There was already a crowd as he arrived. In the great hall, Ye Zhantian, Ye Zhanlong, and Ye Zhanxiong were present. Joining them were Ye Moyang, Ye Kongyan and Ye Zhanxiong's daughter, Ye Xuan.
Ye Chen's eyes scanned the hall and noticed Ye Rou standing close by. Her mysterious origin may have placed her in an awkward standing among the clan but most of Ye Chen's uncles and clan elders had always treated her as if she was their daughter.
Something was brewing in the midst of the crowd, the biggest giveaway was how fl.u.s.tered and red with rage everyone seemed to look. Ye Rou waved at the young man and Ye Chen walked quietly toward Ye Rou, taking his place next to her.
"Tell me, Ye Zhanxiong, as to why my son is unfit for your daughter." Ye Moyang demanded. "Ye Kongyan is one of the most superb in character and talents within their generation in the House of Ye! Or is it the fact that you've always secretly looked down upon me and that is the reason for your refusal??"
Ye Chen looked to the side and spotted Ye Xuan hiding behind Ye Zhanxiong, her head hung low and nearly in tears.
Ye Xuan was his third uncle's daughter and his cousin. She was easy on the eyes and also a gifted fighter who was on the brink of crossing into the Sixth Stage.
Ye Kongyan stood next to Ye Moyang, his nervousness showed.
"Your wish does not trump theirs when it comes to our children's relationship! If there are no feelings between them, there would not be happiness after all. Dear Xuan, do you wish to be Ye Kongyan's wife?" Ye Zhanxiong turned to look at his daughter whilst adding. "It's okay to be honest, dear."
"Oh, for goodness sake! All marriages require are the parents' agreement and the matchmaker's blessing. You don't always begin with love – people work on it after marriage anyway! Ye Zhanxiong, you are just making up excuses as you go at this point!" Ye Moyang bellowed.
Xuan was a kind-hearted, gentle soul but found herself not having an opinion of her own most of the time. On the other hand, Ye Kongyan was calculative and deceitful – a carbon copy of his father. It did not take much to deduce that there was no happiness in store for Xuan if she ever married Ye Kongyan. So, what was the underlying scheme that this proposal would serve?
Ye Xuan raised her head and scanned the room filled with adults. When she finally rested her gaze on Ye Kongyan, she took a determined breath and said, "My esteemed uncles and elders, I…have just broken into the Sixth Stage."
The crowd a.s.sembled in the hall froze. Ye Zhanxiong, who could barely conceal his joy, probed his daughter. "Did you really, Xuan?"
Ye Zhanxiong gripped her by the hand, using his Celestial Chi to sense the change in her. Soon, he nodded in affirmation to her claim. "She had really attained the Sixth Stage!"
"Congratulations, Brother!" Ye Zhantian and the rest immediately offered their cheers, their mind appeased by the fact that the younger generations were finally showing some promises.
"With all due respect to my clan-brother Ye Kongyan, I enrolled in Emerald Cloud Sect three days ago and had pa.s.sed their entrance examination. I would like to train under the sect for two years, so I apologize that we will have to push back the prospect of marriage until then." Ye Xuan finished, giving her suitor a not-so-subtle rejection of his proposal.
In response, Ye Kongyan cast a nasty glance at the girl. Her public rejection of his offer had humiliated him in front of the others.
"Emerald Cloud Sect's approval of Xuan's capabilities is an honorable achievement. It is certainly significant enough to postpone the marriage proposal, don't you agree, Great Elder?" Ye Zhantian turned to Ye Moyang.
Ye Moyang remained silent. It was true that Ye Xuan's two years of training with the sect would not have hindered his plan, yet to have the proposal denied right there dampened his mood considerably. He heaved a cold sneer and snapped. "We shall see what other excuses you come up with in two years' time. In the meantime, please excuse me."
The man turned sharply on his heels, his sleeves flailing in the air before he hurried out of the hall. Ye Kongyan followed behind.
Those who remained in the hall sent them off with quiet stares.
"Helping Ye Kongyan propose for Ye Xuan's hand in marriage at this very moment? What are his motives?" Ye Zhanlong's eyebrows furrowed.
'There's always a scheme whenever that sly fox is involved.' He thought to himself.
"The Ancestral Worship Ceremony would be held seven days from now. It's been three years since Chen had his meridian channels damaged which was why he had to give up the role as the Successor Patriarch." Ye Zhantian gave a brooding sigh.
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"That sly fox! He was scheming to make his son the Successor Chief after all! The most promising ones of their generation were either dead or crippled, leaving Ye Kongyan, Xuan or Rou as candidates. Since Rou isn't actually one of the Ye's, she wouldn't be able to join the fight with any legitimate reasons. Meanwhile, Xuan's marriage to Kongyan would automatically render her eligibility moot. In the end, Ye Kongyan would be the only logical candidate." Ye Zhanlong who was trailing onto his brother's thoughts finally figured it out in a split second. He looked at Ye Zhantian pensively and remarked, "G.o.d knows how long that b.a.s.t.a.r.d had planned this out."
He was about to lift the young man up when a jolt of realization coursed through his body and morphed his expression into one of disbelief. He stared at Ye Chen as he muttered. "C-Chen, your meridian…"
He did not finish his sentence as his mind has been seized by complete shock. His mind drew a blank for some time before he forced himself back to reality.
"Leave us, please. I need to speak to Chen privately," Ye Zhantian said with forced composure, his voice shaky, giving away that he was not composed.
The Chief helped Ye Chen up before they walked toward the back of the hall.
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Watching their backs, Ye Zhanxiong shot Ye Zhanlong a mildly confused glance. "What came over, Big Brother?" He had noticed the change in the Chief's decorum, which worried him no less.
'Had Chen's body worsened?'
Ye Zhanlong's eyes continued to linger on both the men as he shared Ye Zhanxiong's concern. "I don't know either," he answered as he shook his head.
Ye Zhanlong had always been the closest to Ye Zhantian among the siblings. He had always been able to read the latter like a book. He knew that Ye Zhantian's expression was not one of sadness but of pure shock.
"We should go." Ye Zhanlong concluded and waved his hand. Sure, he wanted to check on them but he thought better of that. Perhaps it was best to give them some s.p.a.ce.
"Uncle, you don't think something bad happened to Brother Ye Chen, do you?" Ye Rou approached Ye Zhanlong and asked worriedly.
Even Ye Xuan who was standing quietly by the side harbored concern in her eyes and prayed quietly. 'Please don't forsake a good man such as Brother Ye Chen.'
"Oh, worry not, dear Rou. Your Brother Ye Chen is definitely not in any trouble," Ye Zhanlong said mirthfully, patting the girl's head.
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