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Chapter 4 - Third Phoenix Clan

Later that day, guests began to slowly arrive, filling Fire Shrine with a lively atmosphere. Ryu, however, was content to continue to spend time with his family.

"Look at you, you've grown more handsome since grandma saw you last." A beautiful woman who seemed to about in her late 50s lovingly caressed Ryu's cheeks. Despite her age, her looks could still topple a nation. Everything from her pure white hair to her demeanor was refined to an extreme. "Tell me, has that little vixen vexed my little boy?"

Ryu smiled lightly, taking his maternal grandmother's arm as they strolled through the palace.

"Of course not, grandmother. Elena is lovely."

"Hmph. Those Holy Wing tramps are no good. My grandson deserves better. There are many nice young ladies in grandma's Ice Phoenix Clan. Grandmother will introduce you to them all today. Hmph, hmph."

Ryu knew quite well that this grandmother of his wasn't venting her hatred for Elena, but rather, Elena's own grandmother. The two of them had been rivals ever since their youth. It was their worst nightmare for their grandchildren to be bonded in such a way.

Those of the Holy Wing Clan weren't supposed to marry. Much like ancient era Amazonians, they used men like tools to continue their lineage. If the child was a boy, he would become the "property" of the father. If the child was a girl, the Holy Wing Clan would take her in.

In the past, Ryu's grandmother and his grandmother-in-law were love rivals. The result was his maternal grandfather choosing his grandmother. However, in a very domineering fashion, his grandmother-in-law cornered his maternal grandfather and poisoned him with a potent aphrodisiac. In the end, the result was a female child that she subsequently barred Ryu's maternal grandfather from seeing. This child was the current Priest Saintess of the Light Shrine.

Luckily, this child wasn't Elena's mother, or that would make Ryu related to his fiancée by blood. Elena's father was actually unknown to her, or anyone, for that matter. For some inexplicable reason, his grandmother-in-law refused to tell anyone, something that was a far cry from her usual domineering openness.

This aside, for obvious reasons, these matters sent his usual lovable grandmother into a rage whenever she thought about them. Such a culture was the darkest secret of the Holy Wing Clan. On the surface, they were maidens of the light, unblemished by worldly affairs. But, in the dark they were suffused with ancient and outdated practices.

Ryu only smiled, continuing to accompany his grandmother.

"Speaking of the Clan, grandmother, I've found some clues about that ruin you asked me about."

"Oh?" The Mistress of the Kunan family, Vorena Kunan, sighed. "The Ice Flame has been in decline for a long time, yet the Holy Wing Clan seems to pump out a new Saintess every year. Grandma really might die of frustration. The heavens really don't have eyes."

Ryu didn't need to meet his grandmother's gaze to know that she meant more than what it seemed by her last words. By all rights, Ryu had the perfect constitution for cultivation. Yet, his meridians lay dormant. If one couldn't say the heavens were blind because of this, then when could you?

"This ruin should have a small spark of hope." Ryu spoke with an eerie calm. "It's actually not an Ice Flame ruin, but rather a Phoenix ruin."

"A phoenix ruin?" Mistress Kunan responded in surprise.lightsnovel

Ryu nodded, his eyes lighting with passion that was completely out of place for his usual apathetic appearance.

Mistress Kunan's heart warmed when she looked toward this grandson of hers. He was usually so cold, but it all seemed to melt away when he spoke about his hobbies.

Ryu's comprehension of archeology had reached a level that could no longer be properly classified. He put those Ruin Master old fogies to shame.

"As you know grandma, I have Ice Phoenix blood from mother and Fire Phoenix blood from father running through my veins. But, according to a few historical documents I've pieced together, there was a final, third species of phoenix that have been long forgotten."

"A third?"

"Mm. Usually, the elements are the simplest of heaven's laws to comprehend. There are only two exceptions to this rule."

"Lightning and Fire."

Ryu nodded. "Right. The flame, in particular, is quite enigmatic. It's the root of all life however… it's also the root of all death."

Mistress Kunan fell into a contemplative state. Her Ice Phoenix Clan controlled the Ice Shrine and the Life Shrine. This was entirely due to the special characteristics of their Ice Flame.

At the same time, Ryu's paternal grandmother's Fire Phoenix Clan controlled the Reincarnation Shrine. If it wasn't for Ryu's paternal grandfather's Fire Dragon Clan controlling the Fire Shrine, they would also monopolize it.

Simply put, while their flames were known for the cold and heat respectively, their true root was control of Life and Reincarnation. The strongest flames in the world would always preside over such lofty quintessence.

This was the secret behind the power of the Tatsuya Clan. Their marriage alliance with the Kunan Clan brought not just two, but five Shrines into a single family! While a single clan might not even control a single Shrine, the Tatsuya and Kunan Clans controlled the Fire, Ice, Reincarnation, Life, and Lightning Shrines!

"So by death you mean…"

"Yes." Ryu said with a slight coldness.. "A Dark Phoenix Clan once existed."