MEN Volume 3 Chapter 27

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Volume 3 – The Place Where My Heart Feels At Peace, Chapter 27: Duel

Ji Yuanjia and Qianye turned their heads together and looked to where the voice had come from. They saw a few young men walking their way up the stairs.

The youth clothed in blue wore a blue martial uniform that was so gorgeous it was excessive. He was the one who voiced the taunt just now. Meanwhile, Qianye also spotted the young man whom he had knocked out in a single blow from the people who showed up one after another behind him.

There were both males and females in this young group. They were escorting a cool and proud young girl like stars adorning a moon. She wore a light purple shirt of the Han style and a skirt with unusual hem shaped like many folded layers of triangles. They looked like inverted double petals of lilies. She had an extremely beautiful face, but the tip of her brow to the corner of her eyes were filled with a cold detachment that rejected all men and women.

Ji Yuanjia frowned and lowered his voice. He swiftly told Qianye, “Watch out, that woman at the center is Ye Mulan. She’s the fiance of Song Zining, the seventh young master of the Song Family.”

Qianye’s face turned a little odd, “Song Zining? Which Song Family?”

Since Ji Yuanjia’s attention was put on the newcomers, he did not notice the abnormality on Qianye’s face. He simply said, “Of course it’s the Song Family of the four grand households!”

These noble youths had already walked in front of their table and came to a stop. The positions they assumed seemed careless, but in reality they had vaguely sealed off all of their retreat path. Qianye greatly disliked having so many people invading his private space as he put on an obvious frown.

The blue clothed young man glanced at the dishes on the table and let out a ridiculing smile, “Yo! And here I was wondering how a commoner and a man from a poor family could afford to eat at such place, but in reality they are just ordering the cheapest stuff! Brother Muhai, I’m sure that a pot of your tea leaves is worth more than this, isn’t it?”

Ye Muhai was the guy who was knocked out by Qianye at the dinner feast in a single punch. Right now he was glaring at Qianye with eyes that could almost shoot fire out of them, and upon hearing the blue clothed young man’s words he immediately let out a snort and said, “Even if these are the cheapest dishes, they probably cost more than a month of Lieutenant Colonel Ji’s salary, don’t they? So it’s either Lieutenant Colonel Ji taking more bribes than usual, or Captain Qian getting quite the sum of rewards. You must have pleasured Miss Qiqi quite well recently, haven’t you?”

Qianye’s complexion immediately darkened.

By now Ji Yuanjia had already risen to his feet and exclaimed coldly, “You are slandering an active officer of the Empire. Bring out the evidence, or you will come with me and explain things to the military supervision team!” he paused for a moment before his expression turned even colder than before, “Also, anyone who dares to slander Miss Qiqi again had better consider the consequences carefully. I will pass on every word back to the Miss.”

The group of youths fell silent for a moment. They did not think that slandering an imperial officer born from a poor family was anything worthy of consideration, but it was a different matter if their target was Yin Qiqi.

These people were all born of landowning households. Forget about them, even their own families would not dare to offend Qiqi in normal circumstances. The fact that Qiqi had reached the final stage of the Drinking Horse Yin Clan’s successor examination meant that the resources and authority she controlled far exceeded any other landowning household family’s.

It was at this moment Ye Mulan said coldly, “You can tell Yin Qiqi that I said that she is not all that extraordinary! As for today’s matter, this is gossip at best. These people are all my friends, so touching them then it will be the same as touching me!”

Ji Yuanjia immediately choked on his own words.

Ye Mulan already had her good reputation as a genius girl before she was an adult, but since she was born in a landowning household, Ji Yuanjia, who had risen to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the imperial main corps before he was thirty years old wasn’t really too far behind her. However, the thing that caused other people to flinch before Ye Mulan’s presence was her other status. Offending the girl of a landowning household was nothing, but offending the fiance of the seventh young master of the Song grand household was a different matter. If the Song grand household took it as a slight, forget lieutenant colonel, Ji Yuanjia would not be able to endure the consequences even if he was a major general.

Ye Mulan snorted coldly at Ji Yuanjia’s expression. She said disdainfully, “You guys are nothing the moment you leave the Yin Family’s influence!”

The group of youths immediately grew lively and let out disdainful laughters.

The blue clothed youth swaggered his way towards Qianye and slapped right onto the table, causing the wine cups before him to become crushed into piles of powder. Then, he stared at Qianye and laughed coldly, saying, “How dare you compete with Big Brother Gu with that tiny ability of yours! I’m going to break your doggy legs and scratch that pretty face of yours sooner or later! I’ll let you know that a commoner should keep to your role and not dream of those things that aren’t fated to be yours!”

Qianye actually relaxed upon seeing this slight. One could discern neither joy nor anger from his face as he measured the blue clothed young man in front of him and confirmed that he was also a rank five Fighter. This group of youths could be considered a bunch of good seeds. Unlike grand households, a landowning household did not possess a sea-like amount of resources, so every person who was nurtured with all of the family’s powers was a genius.

Qianye took the opening to glance at Ye Mulan as well. This quiet, elegant and arrogant girl that was like an ice mountain was almost at the same age as Qiqi, but the fact that her seventh node was actually glowing faintly was a sign that she was about to undergo a breakthrough very soon. One could say that she was overflowing with talent.

Seeing that Qianye was unmoved and that he had even looked away from him, the blue clothed young man’s expression changed slightly before yelling without a trace of politeness at all, “What are you looking at? Do you want to die, peasant?! Look any longer and I’ll dig out your eyes! At best Qiqi would pay you some money and have you leave, don’t even think that she would ever defend you on your behalf! You are just a plaything!”

Ji Yuanjia took a step and cut in between the blue clothed youth and Qianye. He had already sensed that this coincidental encounter was not as simple as it appeared. These people were obviously aiming at Qianye, and judging from the fact that Qianye had been easily provoked into a challenge at the dinner feast that night, the opponent was obviously trying to restart another fight by provoking him again and again.

The blue clothed youth laughed in a strange tone, “Lieutenant Colonel Ji, are you trying to teach me a lesson for disrespecting an officer?”

With an absolutely dark face, Ji Yuanjia spat out a single word, “Yes.”

Suddenly, a cold snort rang crisply from the opposite side. Ye Mulan’s beautiful eyes were like a pair of snowballs that locked onto Ji Yuanjia firmly.

A red clothed young man walked out from behind her and walked in front of Ji Yuanjia with a mocking smile. He touched Ji Yuanjia’s shoulder badge with his hand and cried out exaggeratedly, “A lieutenant colonel, is it? I’m scared, I’m so scared! Hahaha, that being said, you cannot mete out private punishment in the military, officer, so you better show me a warrant first before you try anything! But unfortunately, the person to investigate and grant a capture warrant seems to be my father. So why don’t you tell me if he will sign a warrant to capture his own son?”

The rest of the youths laughed and jeered rowdily all at once.

The imperial army had a rigid structure, and disrespecting an officer was an extremely severe criminal charge. However, these youths were all placed under the expeditionary forces, and they were not of the same number as Ji Yuanjia’s seventh corps. If Ji Yuanjia attempted to harm them without direct jurisdictive power, he would be accused of misconduct. In Xichang City where the expeditionary forces had the upper hand, any minor disputes would absolutely be overlooked through the excuse of long investigation process.

The blue clothed young man folded his arms and glared at Qianye with the corner of his eyes and sneered at him, “Alright, I withdraw my previous words. Perhaps Lieutenant Colonel Ji had only accepted a bit of protection fee.”

Ji Yuanjia’s complexion was ashen. Suddenly, he sucked in a deep breath as origin power began to circulate throughout his entire body.

It was at this moment Qianye patted Ji Yuanjia on the shoulder and said indifferently, “Don’t. With your status, you will only be honoring them by attacking them.”

Ji Yuanjia was startled. It wasn’t that he didn’t know how severe the consequences might be after he raised a hand against them, but he seriously could not swallow his anger.

Qianye let out an icy cold smile, “But I’m different! Since these high and mighty young masters of landowning households are all of higher ranks and status than me, I’m sure they won’t turn down the challenge of a peasant, will they?” his gaze swept across the blue clothed young man who was looking pleased at himself and into the crowd, “Say Mister Ye Muhai, has the injury on your face recovered already?”

Ye Muhai’s face immediately alternated between shades of green and white continuously, unable to say even a single word at all. On the other hand, a dark and fierce emotion flowed out of the blue clothed young man’s expression after he was aghast at being ignored.

While Ye Muhai kept saying that he wasn’t prepared back the day he was knocked out by Qianye in a single punch, he knew very well that he was absolutely not Qianye’s match deep inside, even if they were to fight each other once more. The strength and speed behind that punch had far exceeded his absolute limits!

Therefore, how would he dare to answer Qianye’s provocative call? If he answered it, then he would have to duel him in battle. But if he lost again under public scrutiny, how could he possibly salvage his reputation? He would become the butt of jokes among the circle of nobles from this day onward no matter how much time had passed.

Ye Muhai could only console himself that this scene differed from their plan and thus, he was in the right for not accepting the challenge. However, he ultimately did not dare to raise his head and look at Ye Mulan’s face. Right now, his fear inspiring cousin must be wearing an extremely ugly expression on her face, and her opinion of him must have fallen to the lowest point as well.

Many of the customers who were having their meals at this floor were alarmed by the commotion. The people who could dine at Copper Peacock Terrace were all reputable figures of Xichang City, and they were most familiar with Ye Mulan, Ji Yuanjia, and the rest of the noble youths. Therefore, more and more onlookers began to gather around them.

It was at this moment the blue clothed young man walked out into the open. Contrary to the arrogance and impudence he had displayed earlier, the young man said with pretentious calm, “I am Lu Shenjiang. Unfortunately, I missed the chance to know you at the dinner feast, so I am sure that you will not turn down my chance to make up for this regret, will you?”

The moment ji Yuanjia heard the blue clothed young man announcing his family name, he immediately recalled his identity.

Lu Shenjiang might not look much older than Qianye, but in reality he was approaching thirty years old. His origin power was at the peak of rank five, and it was said that the reason he hadn’t made a breakthrough all this time was related to the secret art he cultivated passed down by his family. A person’s origin power must ascend in rank simultaneously with their combat skills so that they could combine to make the greatest power. Therefore, his combat power was absolutely not just at the level of rank five.

The Lu Family might be a landowning household, but their legacy had exceeded seven hundred years. It was said that their ancestors had once entered the ranks of aristocratic families, and it was only for the past hundreds years or so that they were met with declination. However, the secret art and combat skills of the Lu Family was worthy of being put at the same level as an aristocratic family.

He truly was the perfect candidate to cause trouble. If their opponent had sent out a rank six into battle, Ji Yuanjia would have turned down the challenge directly on Qianye’s behalf. With slight worry, he told Qianye softly about his opponent’s identity.

Qianye smiled and said, “Got it.”

The empire was warlike, and the important figures often enjoyed arranging a couple of fights to liven things up while they ate. Just like songs and dances, fights were just as welcomed as an entertainment event. Therefore, there was a readily available fighting ring on top of “Copper Peacock Terrace” beside the airship landing zone.

Before Qianye entered the ring, Ji Yuanjia told him with worry, “You must be careful! These people had come prepared because of that person.”

An indiscernible cold light flashed across Qianye’s eyes as he said, “I know how I should deal with this.”

Gu Liyu’s shadow was obviously behind this matter, therefore the situation had become both simple and complicated.

A moment later, Qianye and Lu Shenjiang had stepped into the ring and stood opposite of each other. Their surroundings were already filled with standing audiences, and among them there were quite a few familiar important figures of Xichang City.

Lu Shenjiang sucked in a deep breath as a sheen of gold light surfaced around his arms. As he spread his arms, he actually looked like a large roc spreading its wings!

The onlookers were immediately alarmed by this. Not only did the fact that Lu Shenjiang’s origin power had displayed unusual phenomenons despite him being lower than Champion rank meant that his combat skills had reached a higher level, the combat skill he cultivated itself could also be ranked among the nine grades.

Lu Shenjiang yelled, “Secret Art: Fist of the Gold-winged Bird King!”

His aura grew stronger and stronger as the gold light around his arms also grew brighter. He actually managed to form the fledgling appearance of a pair of wings. It was only when his aura had risen to its limits that Lu Shenjiang let out a long howl and abruptly pounced towards Qianye. With his hands curved into claws, hooking both arms at Qianye’s shoulders like a pair of sharp hooks!

But just as he was at mid-pounce, Qianye suddenly let out a low roar and stomped his right foot on the ground, causing the entire fighting ring to shake once!

Qianye’s figure abruptly disappeared, leaving behind only a big hole where he once stood. A fist became reflected in Lu Shenjiang’s pupils, passing through the gaps of his claws and growing larger and larger before his eyes! The ferocious origin power that surged towards his face sparkled and rumbled deafeningly!

Lu Shenjiang’s heart nearly stopped beating. Right now only one thought occupied his mind, “So fast! And so heavy!”

He did have some real abilities of his own, so although he was intimidated by this earth-shattering punch, his well tempered body acted instinctively and caused his arms to withdraw unto itself, crossing before his head and chest to forcefully endure Qianye’s blow!

There was a dull bang and the tiniest sound of breaking bones. Qianye swayed backwards and retreated a step, but Lu Shenjiang’s fate was far worse as he skidded ten meters backwards by the single punch!

Startled cries had filled the fighting ring already.

Lu Shenjiang could only see gold stars flying everywhere before his eyes, and feel the air in his chest doing backflips repeatedly. He was infinitely thankful that he had instinctively chose to defend himself, or that punch would have landed on his heart even if he did penetrate Qianye’s shoulders.

While shocked and furious, Lu Shenjiang finally realized for the first time how Ye Muhai had felt at the time. When the punch had landed on him, it literally felt like an entire mountain peak was crashing down on his head. Even though his combat power was at least twenty percent stronger than Ye Muhai’s, he still found the blow indefensible at all.

However, Qianye did not plan on giving him time to reflect on his mistakes. He was already striding forwards after quelling the rebound force for a brief moment. Right now, the origin power in his body was rising higher and higher as cycle after cycle of tides slapped against the shore. When the tides had reached a total of nine levels, Qianye had already ran into melee range and swept a lashing kick at the still recovering Lu Shenjiang.

Qianye’s leg become covered in faint yellow light in midway, and the sounds of explosive origin power crackled clearly in everyone’s ears. The Combatant Formula! The military’s combat arts! How could it possibly be this powerful?

How would Lu Shenjiang dare receive such a kick? Unable to care for his own image any longer, he rolled on the ground and barely avoided the blow, but before he could stand still and affirm his defenses, Qianye chased after him like a shadow and swung his foot down on Lu Shenjiang’s head like a giant axe or longsword!

There was another dull smack. Lu Shenjiang had raised his arms above his head and forcefully endured Qianye’s kick. However, he literally became shorter after enduring the heavy blow. As it turned out, Qianye had literally kicked him into the ground.

Expressionlessly, Qianye withdrew his left leg and raised his right leg instead. While clasped in surging origin power, his leg swung fiercely at Lu Shenjiang once more. This time the gold light around Lu Shenjiang’s body was completely destroyed as he fell backwards and even spat blood in midair.

Stomp stomp stomp! Like a giant beast, Qianye tread the land in large steps and chased after Lu Shenjiang mercilessly.

The entire fighting ring had fallen into silence.

The Combatant Formula was both harsh and forceful. As the tides layered upon one another, it became more and more unstoppable the long it was used. Right now Qianye’s aura had obviously reached its completion, and he was like ten thousand mounted soldiers riding straight into the heart of the enemy. If Lu Shenjiang were to suffer yet another blow, he almost definitely wouldn’t survive.

Suddenly, a faint purple figure flashed in front of him and chopped at Qianye!

It was Ye Mulan!


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