Yang Chen knew two of them, Absolute Sword Taoist and Ling Xuzi.
Notably, compared to before, Ling Xuzi's cultivation had improved greatly. He was now in the initial phase of the Kui Water stage.
The third man was quite handsome, dressed in a purple robe. His cultivation was in the initial phase of the Ming Water stage. This man was Xuan Jizi.
After waving at Yang Chen, Yang Gongming nodded at the trio with a smile before strolling out of the backyard. It seemed like he did not intend to concern himself with this matter.
Seeing that Yang Chen appeared with Tang Wan, Xuan Jizi combed his beard and picked up the teacup to sip at his tea. His countenance was nonchalant as if he had no plans on greeting Yang Chen.
On the other hand, Ling Xuzi was the first to rise to his feet. With a surprised tone, he said, "Yang Chen, we haven't met in two years, and you've already caused such a huge ruckus in the illusionary dimension and even advanced into a high level of cultivation. I'm so envious."
Yang Chen was quite fond of the frivolous cultivator from Kunlun since the latter was the one who inspired him to step into the Houtian stage.
In this meeting, Ling Xuzi remained the same. His congratulatory message was also sincere.
"You've improved a lot too. I suppose you're in the Xuan realm?" Yang Chen asked casually.
"Just recently. Still, compared to you, my achievement is nothing."
Because of Blinding Leaf, no one could see through his cultivation. Nevertheless, based on what he did in the illusionary realm, no one doubted that his cultivation was above the Tai Qing Heavenly Lightning.
"Hah," Xuan Jizi chimed in, "Ling Xuzi, we're not here for you to catch up on old times."
That made Ling Xuzi feel awkward. After apologizing, he retired to the side. As Xuan Jizi was an elder in the Earth realm, he dared not disobey the former.
Only then did Xuan Jizi get up and walk to Yang Chen and Tang Wan. With his head held high, he uttered, "Are you the Yang Chen who wreaked havoc in the Xiao and Luo clan?"
Yang Chen motioned Tang Wan to stand to the side. Probably because she was facing the culprit who destroyed her family, she could not seem to suppress her emotions and was trembling.
"Did you come to look for me to ask nonsense?" Yang Chen asked.
In his mind, he was sneering. You're just in the initial phase of the Ming Water stage. If I wasn't forced to come over and listen to what you have to say, I would've killed you with a snap of my fingers. Don't think I don't dare to touch you just because you're the Hongmeng messenger.
That was precisely what Xuan Jizi thought. He did not think Yang Chen would be crazy enough to challenge Hongmeng. After all, Hongmeng was associated with the government of China and was crowned as the national protector.
"Such a sharp tongue you have there. Do you know that you're in major trouble?" he snarled.
"Enlighten you? Is there even a need for that?" Xuan Jizi mocked. "You know full well that you've angered the Xiao and Luo clans, and even the hidden forces behind the Meng clan. You can no longer bear it, or else you wouldn't have fled overseas. Am I right?"
"You've said so much, yet I still don't know why you're here."
With his hands behind his back, Xuan Jizi said haughtily, "I'm here to tell you the decision made by the Taishang elders of Sky Island. To strengthen the stability of the mundane world and prevent you from fighting with the hidden clans which would, in turn, harm the citizens, Hongmeng decided to be your sanctuary, though only under certain conditions. With our protection, the hidden clans and the hidden force of the Meng clan would not dare to act hastily as they wouldn't challenge Hongmeng openly for you."
Yang Chen narrowed his eyes and was about to speak when Xuan Jizi extended an arm to cut him off.
"Yang Chen, don't celebrate just yet. I said that it comes with a price."
Amused, Yang Chen thought, He thinks I'm planning to accept the offer.
Xuan Jizi was all smiles when he leaned over to whisper, "You offended Elder Yan Feiyun before, and he's Elder Yan Feichen's son. Taking this into consideration, you should be grateful that he's willing to forgive you. As long as you hand over your cultivation technique, pills, and the Chaos Cauldron, we would offer protection to you and your family. We will ensure that no one can harm you guys!"
Initially, Yang Chen thought he had misheard. When he confirmed that he did not, he cackled.
"What are you laughing at?" Xuan Jizi was weirded out.
Shouldn't he be struggling to make a decision now?
Holding his stomach, Yang Chen pointed at Xuan Jizi. "Xuan Jizi, there must be a loose screw in your head. Or did those bunch of old geezers run out of the asylum? Oh, right, they're too old-fashioned to know what it is. All right, I'll make things simpler for you. Scram!"
"You… How dare you insult me!?" Xuan Jizi said menacingly, "I know that you robbed many treasures from the Xiao and Luo clans, and you have them with you. Do you think you can safeguard them by yourself? You'd better listen to us when they've yet to attack. Otherwise, you'd be as good as dead!"
Wearing an impassive expression, Yang Chen retorted, "What if I say no?"
Xuan Jizi sneered and sent a message to his mind.
"Yang Chen, don't try to put up a tough act. As long as I report you to Sky Island for killing my disciples Hao Changfeng and Lu Huating, you'll be treated as the number one enemy of Hongmeng!"
Yang Chen raised his brows and responded in the same manner, "Oh, so they're your disciples."
"Hah, did you think you left no traces behind? You used the Xuanshui Flying Sword in the Yang clan before, and many people saw it. All I had to do was ask around for the past two days, and I found out everything. If you give me some spiritual pills, then I'll consider concealing them for you. Or else, you'll have to face the wrath of Hongmeng, the Xiao clan, and the Luo clan!"
He was even trying to extort resources from Yang Chen.
Thinking there was no need to continue the topic, Yang Chen opened his mouth to speak. "Then do you think no one knows what you did? Do you still remember the pregnant woman you assaulted in the Tang clan?"
Behind them, Absolute Sword Taoist and Ling Xuzi were puzzled, wondering what they were talking about.
As expected, Xuan Jizi's pupils constricted, and he promptly denied it. "I don't know what you're talking about."
Tang Wan, who had been observing his expression, confirmed that he was the culprit. Along with tears, hatred and killing intent welled up in her eyes.
"I wasn't planning on making you admit to it. Regardless, you have to die today."
All of sudden, Yang Chen's aura changed, and he exuded his oppressive True Yuan. Like a giant mountain, it crushed Xuan Jizi downwards, rendering him immobile.
"You used a wicked method to absorb a pregnant woman's pure Yin energy and threatened her. You are not worthy of having the title of the Hongmeng messenger!"
Horrified, Xuan Jizi staggered a few steps backward. His face was flushed as he yelled, "What kind of nonsense is that? Have you lost your mind? How dare you attack me!?"
Even Absolute Sword Taoist and Ling Xuzi were appalled. They did not expect Yang Chen to be so daring.
"Yang Chen, calm down! Elder Xuan Jizi is the messenger. You can't kill him, especially when you're in a precarious situation! Let's all calm down and have a civilized discussion. This is a chance for you to collaborate with Hongmeng."
"I don't need it." Yang Chen sneered. "The Xiao and Luo clans fought with me to snatch my spiritual pills and artifacts, yet those old geezers sent a fool over, hoping to get their hands on my treasure effortlessly whilst standing on the moral high ground. To me, they are lesser than the hidden clans!"
At the end of his sentence, he hovered his hand over Xuan Jizi's head.
Rooted for the spot by Yang Chen's True Yuan, Xuan Jizi could not muster the strength to resist.
Without missing a beat, Yang Chen injected a surge of Chaos Energy into his dantian. Like a tornado, it absorbed his True Yuan rapidly.
Xuan Jizi felt as if his flesh was being sliced off one by one. The pain was too much to bear that he shrieked and wailed.
The shrill cries made the color drain from Absolute Sword Taoist and Ling Xuzi's faces.
A cultivator in the initial phase of the Ming Water-stage was considered an elder of the Earth realm in Hongmeng. Yet, he was utterly defenseless against Yang Chen!
"You… You have no evidence!! How dare you!!" Xuan Jizi roared until his face went beet red.
"Evidence?" Yang Chen snorted. "I'm not a police officer. Suspicion is enough for me to kill someone. Evidence isn't needed."
In the blink of an eye, Xuan Jizi lost the energy to even speak. That was because his True Yuan was fully absorbed by Yang Chen. Following that, his dantian shrank, and his meridians lost vitality. At that moment, he was a weak ordinary human being.
Yang Chen tossed him before Tang Wan. "All right. Lil'Wan (Tang Wan), I've rid him of his cultivation. It's your turn to take his life."