Supreme God King/C19 Target, First Place in the Clans Tournament!
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Supreme God King/C19 Target, First Place in the Clans Tournament!
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C19 Target, First Place in the Clans Tournament!

As Lei Hu and his companions departed, everyone in the forest recognized that the day's entertainment had come to an end, and the crowd dispersed in a lively commotion.

Yet, it was clear to all that today was merely a prelude to the tense Clans Tournament in Wu Town. The main event, set to take place in twenty days, promised to be even more fiercely contested.

With the crowd gone, only Gu Qing, Gu Xin'er, and Meng Fann remained in the woods. Gu Xin'er let out a cheer and darted into the trees, her face lighting up with delight as she gathered green snakes from the ground.

Meng Fann's face broke into a smile at the sight of Gu Xin'er's joy—it had been ages since he'd seen such happiness on her face, her innocence as pristine as a snow lotus.

Suddenly, a chilly voice cut through the moment.

"Meng Fann, do you remember your promise to me?"

The question caused Meng Fann's smile to fade into a frosty expression. He turned to meet Gu Qing's gaze and replied with measured calm.

"I've always been aware."

Gu Qing nodded, her tone icy.

"Good. Remember, Meng Fann, Xin is out of your league. And it's not just you—no one in Wu Town or the Qinglong Mountain Range has the right to claim her."

A serious look flickered across Meng Fann's eyes as he considered Gu Qing's words. Her prideful declaration hinted at a significant influence behind Gu Xin'er—perhaps linked to the mysterious cultivation technique?

But what concern was that of his? Shaking off his curiosity, Meng Fann gave a wry smile and responded briskly, "Understood." With that, he began to walk away, paying no further heed to Gu Qing. However, Gu Xin'er, having captured all the green snakes, approached him, her voice as delicate as an orchid's fragrance.

"Brother Meng Fann, I've caught all the green snakes. Thank you!"

Meng Fann softened at the sight of Gu Xin'er's flushed cheeks and replied gently.

"No problem at all!"

"Mm!" Gu Xin'er nodded, her eyes lingering on Meng Fann, her cheeks tinged with a blush. She was about to speak again when Gu Qing abruptly interrupted.

"Xin, you need to get back to your cultivation right away—the Clans Tournament is about to start. And let me tell you, this year's competition is unlike any other. Just a few days ago, Dad returned from Yanlang Mountain with a Grade 3 Spirit Herb and a blood stone. You're aware of their potent effects, right? I overheard Dad saying he's planning to award these treasures to the winner of the tournament!"

No sooner had Gu Qing finished her announcement than Gu Xin'er playfully stuck out her tongue, saying, "But Sister, you've said it yourself—the prize goes to the first place. How could I ever outdo you?" While speaking, Gu Xin'er glanced at Meng Fann and noticed his expression had grown tense. Meng Fann fixed his gaze on Gu Qing, his voice firm as he inquired, "Are you suggesting that the Clans Tournament champion could receive the blood stone as a reward?"

"Exactly!" Gu Qing replied with a cold huff, then swiftly took hold of Gu Xin'er's hand and started to lead her away. Gu Xin'er, reluctant yet unable to free herself from her sister's grasp, left with a sense of helplessness. Over her shoulder, she called out with a hint of sadness, "Brother Meng Fann, don't forget to help Xin catch snakes again!"

Meng Fann, however, was no longer concerned with Gu Xin'er's request. His mind was laser-focused on one thing: the Blood Stone. He had read about the Blood Stone before—it was a miraculous substance formed from a drop of dragon blood. Given that dragons were the sovereigns of Devil Beasts, one could only imagine the sheer potency of their blood, especially in treating diseases brought on by the cold. It might even have the power to... completely cure them!

With this thought, Meng Fann's fists clenched tightly, the memory of Xinlan's suffering echoing in his heart. Without hesitation, he sprinted home. Once there, he headed straight to his room, retrieved the black bead, and began to absorb its warm energy. Though the energy was subtle, it was sufficient to widen his meridians and boost his Vitality.

The day's battle had laid bare the stark differences between realms. Now secluded in his room, Meng Fann quietly channeled the Vitality, nurturing his meridians and steeling himself for the next leap forward in his cultivation journey.

As dusk settled, Meng Fann finally emerged from his room to find Xinlan had prepared dinner and was waiting for him to begin his meal.

Seated at the dining table, Meng Fann ate in silence while Xinlan tenderly moved every piece of meat from her bowl into his. She then presented him with a bag, urging, "Take a look, what do you think is inside?"

Meng Fann accepted the bag with a moment's hesitation, only to be astonished to discover it contained a staggering one hundred gold coins. "Mother, how did you come by so many gold coins?" he asked, visibly shocked.

In Wu Town and its environs, gold coins were the currency of choice. Meng Fann had managed to save only two over the years, so a hundred coins represented a fortune to him.

With a gentle laugh and a soft touch to his forehead, Xinlan reassured him, "Don't worry. With the Clans Tournament approaching, I sold some jewelry. Take these—you might even be able to trade them for a Spirit Herb!"

At her words, Meng Fann's eyes reddened, tears threatening to spill. Over a decade ago, Xinlan had left Shangjing City with him, leaving behind everything they owned. Everything that once belonged to Meng Cang stayed with the Meng family, except for some jewelry. Those pieces were keepsakes from Meng Cang to Xinlan, now sold without a second thought.

Meng Fann trembled, finding himself at a loss for words. Xinlan stroked his head, smiling, "You must focus on your cultivation. I remember your father, at your age, had already become an outer sect disciple of the Tianhan Sect!"

Mid-sentence, Xinlan was seized by a fit of violent coughing, instantly transforming Meng Fann's worried expression into one of deep concern.

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
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