Chapter 4 - Tyranny

"Spare us, sirs! How could we dare to illegally extract from a magnetite mine? My family has lived in Qiaotou Village for generations, and we have all been dutiful people," Qiao Liu's wife pleaded with tears streaming down her face as she crawled toward the cyan-robed man. She extended her hands, wanting to tug on his sleeve, but was sent flying to the ground by the man's kick, disdain visible on his face.

"Lies! You have the scent of magnetite on you! You can't deceive my hyena," he angrily shouted. After the man finished shouting, two other disciples of the Heavenly Dao Sect who were wearing the same cyan-styled robes quickly walked up.

One of them also picked up the 11-or-12-year-old girl from the ground, letting her shredded clothing fall down.

The girl struggled, but she was brutally slapped. This slap even made crawling up from the ground nearly impossible.

Qiao Liu's wife screamed and abandoned her husband again, and with a sob, she scrambled toward her daughter. She shakily took off her own outer garment and draped it on the girl's shoulders before repeatedly calling her daughter's nickname, "Xiao Ya, Xiao Ya."

"Mother, Mother!" Qiao Ya tightly clutched onto her mother's outer garment, her knuckles white. Her face was filled with fear and uneasiness, and her head also felt dizzy.

Instantly, several glinting swords were pointed toward the chests of Qiao Liu and his family.

"Let me ask you again, where is the magnetite mine? Tell me the truth, and I will leave your corpses intact. Otherwise, don't blame the Heavenly Dao Sect for being merciless!"

Suddenly, the hoof sounds of 10-20 galloping horses were heard, and dust was sent flying in the air, choking everyone. They rapidly yielded a broad space in the middle of the road to allow the group of horses to pass.

Qiao Mu took advantage of the chaos to struggle free and successfully escaped from her father's embrace, nimbly jumping onto the ground and darting toward Qiao Liu's family.

"Qiaoqiao!" Her mother, Wei Ziqin, shouted in surprise.

The horses halted, and a group of youths in black agilely jumped down from them. Afterwards, they led their horses to the side, opening up a wide path.

The night was beckoning as the sun set over the western hills. A youth urged his horse forward with a smile on his lips, his white clothes untouched by dust and his hair fluttering in the breeze. He was akin to the cleansing spring wind, every spot that he touched caused everyone to stare and be unable to look away.

While everyone's gazes were fastened on him, his own gaze was solely focused on the stoic little girl. The smile on his lips grew bigger, even tinging the depths of his eyes.

The breeze of a summer night swept over the people, but the air was bursting with intangible stuffiness. Everyone stopped speaking and intently watched as the handsome youth in white trotted forward.

Qiao Mu indifferently glanced at him before calmly looking away. Her tiny hands brashly and forcefully shoved the sword-holding hands away and pointed behind her. Her cool eyes did not contain any warmth as she unwaveringly stared at the leading cyan-robed man.

Her actions were met with glowering looks from the surrounding cyan-robed men. "What are you doing? How impudent!"

"Impudence, impudence, impudence! How could you dare to make a racket in front of His Highness!" The paunchy officials quiveringly rushed forward and hurriedly knelt down. "This official greets Your Highness the Crown Prince Lian. We didn't know Crown Prince Lian was coming, so we failed to come and receive you. Please pardon us, Your Highness."

As the officials said this, they did not forget to gesture for the people around them to all kneel down and greet His Highness. "Kneel down! All of you, kneel down, kneel down!"

A bunch of improper and ignorant people! They actually dared to look directly at His Highness the Crown Prince's sacred countenance. How extremely audacious!

The villagers, who had seemed as if their pressure points had been sealed, all kowtowed in fear and trepidation. Who would dare to rashly look around anymore?

The cyan-robed men of the Heavenly Dao Sect did not dare to cause trouble anymore, but they did not perform a grand ceremonial greeting like the villagers. Instead, they knelt on the ground on one knee with an arm across their chest as they respectfully called out in unison, "Disciple of the Heavenly Dao Sect greets Your Highness the Crown Prince."

  1. Lian means lotus

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