Old Mi simply disregarded those words. A notorious wastrel of Brightmoon City possessing good talent? Is that even possible? Everyone else must have been blind all these years!
He could only think of one explanation. “Perhaps your body is well-suited for this movement skill. Quickly familiarize yourself with it. It should be enough for you to at least survive against Yuan Wendong. Also, don’t tell anyone about this martial skill, and never speak its name ‘Sunflower Phantasm’ either. It might get you in trouble.”
Zu An nodded quickly in response. “Yes, I understand.”
Looks like Old Mi is quite a low-profile person too. If that wasn’t the case, how could he have remained a humble gardener in the Chu clan for so many years?
Hearing Zu An’s assurances, Old Mi finally left the garden in peace.
Zu An continued practicing the Sunflower Phantasm, but a thought soon surfaced in his mind. This movement skill is quick and unpredictable. It’s too much of a waste to use it just for defense. What if I were to use it for offense?
Zu An recalled Bai Susu’s explanation that the Elementary Swordplay was focused on dealing the greatest damage against one’s opponent at the fastest possible speed and within the shortest distance. It had many openings in the eyes of a true swordmaster, but these openings became practically nonexistent if one could move fast enough, preventing them from being exploited.
Just thinking about it made Zu An’s heart beat faster. He started practicing the Thirteen Forms of Elementary Swordplay and the Sunflower Phantasm in unison. Before, the Elementary Swordplay had looked quite monotonous and straightforward. However, once combined together with Sunflower Phantasm, it left brilliant gleams of light flashing around the garden in unpredictable trajectories.
Someone walking into the garden at that moment would see only a shadow flitting around amidst flashes of light. The sight would have been more than enough to frighten them.
All of a sudden, Zu An sensed a disturbance, and hurriedly retracted his sword. As he did so, a couple of guards rushed over, yelling, “Young master, is something wrong?”
These were the guards that Chu Zhongtian had assigned to protect him after the incident with Snow. You guys sure are useful. I didn’t see you rushing in when Old Mi strutted right in earlier.
“I’m fine. I’m just practicing my swordsmanship.” Zu An wiped the sweat off his forehead as he beamed a smile at them.
“All right, we shan’t disturb you.”
Seeing that there was nothing amiss, the guards quickly resumed their posts.
“Our young master’s body sure is weak. Just practicing the Elementary Swordplay is enough to make him sweat so profusely.”
“I sure pity our young miss.”
“I’m certain I sensed quite a huge commotion coming from there, though. Am I hearing things?”
“Tsk, your nerves must be too strung up during this period. Do you think that it’s possible for our young master to have caused a huge commotion by himself?”
“I guess not.”
Zu An’s face darkened at their whispering. There was a truly pressing need to enhance his reputation.
He had been worried about the Clans Tournament earlier, but he was more confident now that he had the Sunflower Phantasm. This movement skill and the Elementary Swordplay were the perfect combination, reminiscent of the Bixie Swordplay Manual from right out of the novel.
All of a sudden, his face stiffened. He noticed that there was the word ‘Sunflower’ in its name. Old Mi had also mentioned a huge hurdle that most people were unable to overcome, which prevented them from learning the movement skill. On top of that, there was that lingering gaze on his crotch…
What the hell!
This can’t be the Sunflower Manual, can it?!
This terrifying thought made him toss his sword away in fright.
Why am I constantly haunted by this?!
Zu An could feel the malice the world bore towards him. It was one thing for ‘little Zu An’ to be sealed, but now, he was even paired with the Sunflower Manual and the Bixie Swordplay Manual?!
With a dreadful look on his face, Zu An stomped his way back to his residence and went to sleep. He had lost all motivation to continue practicing.
Meanwhile, there was another person who was in a worse mood. In the headquarters of the Plum Blossom Sect, an expensive porcelain cup was smashed to the floor, shattering into countless pieces.
Kneeling on the floor, Mei Chaofeng’s eyelids twitched in horror. That was his favorite teacup! A great deal of effort had gone into acquiring it, and he was so fond of it that he always kept it by his side. If anyone else had dared touch the teacup, he would have had the person held down, diced into pieces, and fed to the dogs. However, he dared not direct his anger towards the person who had just smashed it into pieces. He could only tremble fearfully on the ground.
Another person knelt next to him. She was dressed in a green robe, and her hair was tied into a beautiful ponytail. It was none other than Snow.
Mei Chaofeng had always had a bad impression of the lass. Right now, however, he felt a strange sense of camaraderie with her.
A young man sat majestically on the chair in front of them. He was dressed in a purple silk robe, fastened by a white belt around his waist. He had long, lustrous black hair and a beautiful face.
Unfortunately, his graceful appearance was somewhat marred by his livid expression. He glared at the two kneeling before him, unfettered rage burning in his eyes.
“You incompetent fools! Snow, it wasn’t so long ago that you sent me a message telling me that everything was under control. You told me that you would make that piece of trash, Zu An, disappear from the face of the world soon enough. Yet now you’re telling me that you were exposed, and had to flee from the Chu clan?”
The young man had a smile on his face, but it did nothing to warm his cold and biting tone.
“Young master, please pardon me! Some minor accidents occurred along the way!” Snow lowered her head in utter shame as she gritted her teeth tightly. She had wanted to share the young master’s burden, but who knew that she would end up messing things up?
Not only that, but her failure was all because of that notorious wastrel of all people!
“Minor accidents?” the young master sneered coldly. “Do you know how many resources and connections I had to tap into in order to have you infiltrate the Chu clan? You had lain in wait for so many years, and it was just about time to reap the fruits of your efforts. And yet, you managed to mess it all up just like that!”
“I’ll surely make up for my mistakes! Young master, please spare me!” Snow kowtowed deeply, her body trembling uncontrollably.
The young master sniffed as he turned his head aside, not wanting even to look at her anymore. He turned to Mei Chaofeng and bellowed, “You too! Snow is still young, so it’s understandable that she’s inexperienced when it comes to such worldly matters. However, you’re the veteran here, a powerhouse of the underworld. How did you manage to get done in by that piece of trash too? You actually lost seven-and-a-half million silver taels to him! Did you even earn me that much money in total over the years?”
Cold sweat dripped down Mei Chaofeng’s back. Is the young master intending to make an example out of me so as to warn others? He berated Snow harshly earlier, but let her go softly. Now that it’s my head on the chopping block, he’s starting to assign responsibility.
He anxiously defended himself. “I apologize for my mistake. It was already too late by the time I received the news. I never thought that someone would be able to win seven-and-a-half million silver taels in just two short rounds. I wasn’t planning to acknowledge the debt, but Miss Qiao insisted that I write out the promissory note, so I had no choice but to go along.”
His nervousness was well-founded. The young man before him was the Sixth Young Master of the Shi clan, Shi Kun, whose father served as the Minister of War. There was no question that the Shi clan was one of the most prominent clans in the capital. Shi Kun was a dashing young man, and a renowned prodigy on top of that. He held the hearts of everyone in the Shi clan, and he was often entrusted with great responsibilities.
He was the one who managed most of the Shi clan’s ‘underground affairs’ as well. Based on what Mei Chaofeng knew, the Plum Blossom Sect had many equivalents that operated in the other prefectures all over the country.
Despite how intimidating the Plum Blossom Sect seemed, the reality was that most of its earnings had to be submitted upward, to the Shi clan. This was why Shi Kun had been furious to learn that they actually owed Zu An so much money.
“Oh? Snow ordered you to write it?” Shi Kun turned to look at Snow. “Are you the spy of our Shi clan, or are the spy of the Chu clan?”
Snow hurriedly explained herself. “Young master, there was no way to defuse the situation back then. I didn’t want to cause any further complications, and I thought that it would be easy to get the note back, so I didn’t consider all the possible ramifications.”
Shi Kun cleared his throat angrily. “The Shi clan has groomed you for so many years, yet you still remain so incompetently ignorant! Did you think that the Chu clan would really dare to mobilize their Red Cloak Army for that? As long as they made a move, the royal court would surely have cracked down on them the following day!”
Snow lowered her head. “It was my mistake.”
Shi Kun continued his interrogation. “I can let that matter slip, but how did your assassination of Zu An fail so spectacularly?”
“That fellow looks like a good-for-nothing on the surface, but he’s actually a cultivator,” replied Snow.
“He’s a cultivator? What rank is he at?!” Shi Kun immediately rose to his feet in agitation.
“Around the third rank, but there’s something weird about his fighting prowess…” Snow was a little uncertain about this. In terms of ki pulsations, it wasn’t wrong to say that Zu An was at the third rank. However, the force he’d exerted during their fight had far surpassed that.
“A fifth rank cultivator like you couldn’t even kill a third rank cultivator?” Shi Kun found the situation so ludicrous that he began laughing like a maniac. “Have all your training gone to waste?”
Snow’s face reddened. “I don’t really know what happened either. My stomach suddenly started hurting…”
She had gotten a physician to check on her condition afterwards, and he had assured her that there was nothing wrong with her body. When she probed further about the sensations she’d felt, all of the physicians she consulted told her that they were the symptoms that a mother would experience during childbirth.
However, Snow was still a maiden. How could she have possibly been pregnant? On top of that, the symptoms had simply vanished all of a sudden, leaving her utterly confused at her physical state.
“Your stomach started aching during a critical moment? Utterly incompetent!” Shi Kun roared with an awful look on his face. “Since Zu An isn’t truly a wastrel, it would appear that he has been intentionally concealing his capabilities. His efforts did pay off, since he managed to get the Chu clan to lower their guard and allow him to become their drafted son-in-law. If only he was a wastrel, I would have nothing to worry about. However, if he’s just putting on an act, there’s a good chance that he might just win over the heart and body of Chu First Miss!”
Just thinking about someone as beautiful as Chu Chuyan laying in Zu An’s embrace was enough to fill Shi Kun with a burning envy.
Snow knew what Shi Kun was worried about, and quickly sought to allay his fears. “Young master, there’s no need to worry. The two of them are sleeping in different rooms, and the young miss isn’t fond of Zu An at all. She won’t let him have his way with her.”
“That might be true for the time being, but how can we be certain of this in the future?” Shi Kun began to pace nervously. “This won’t do. We need to deal with the problem as soon as possible. What’s the progress with the plan that you’re working on at the moment?”
Mei Chaofeng shot a glance at Snow before explaining the situation almost mockingly. “Miss Qiao arranged for an insider to get Zu An expelled from Brightmoon Academy so that I could find an opportunity to get rid of him outside. However, the person she engaged failed to chase Zu An out; on the contrary, he himself was expelled from the academy instead.”
Shi Kun could hardly believe his ears. “If I hadn’t rushed here due to the opening of the Ursae Dungeon, I would never have known that there were so many issues cropping up! Hurry up and tell me what happened!”
Snow had an awkward look on her face. “I tapped your connection in Brightmoon City, who got Yang Wei to assist me in my scheme to have Zu An expelled from the academy. No one could have predicted that Zu An would be more skilled than Yang Wei in the field of arithmetic. In the end, Yang Wei had his own position as teacher terminated instead.”
“What? Why is this fellow able to do everything?” Shi Kun was astonished. The reports he had received thus far all suggested Zu An was a good-for-nothing, but it seemed that the reality was totally different.
Well, I can think of one thing that that fellow is inept in. Snow’s face reddened, but she had no intention of informing Shi Kun about it.
A lot of people have been asking in the comments and in quite a few other places what the release schedule is. This novel has no release schedule, it's just 2 chapters a day.
The reason why it doesn't have a steady release schedule is because I have quite a lot on my plate at the moment, and this novel is not exactly an easy novel to do like MGA where I can clear the chapters quickly. The chapters are released literally right after I'm done with them. It's not that I can't try to speed up even faster, but with speed comes more mistakes and reduced quality. I'm already unable to spend as much time on each chapter as I'd like in order to keep up with the current schedule, so I'm not sure about rushing things even more.
I know it's tough on yall to sometimes end up waiting in vain for a chapter, but I can only ask for your consideration regarding that. At least, I don't think I've missed a single day of releases yet thus far.
PS: It doesn't make sense for me to post at irregular timings to build up chapters for advanced chapters. I mean, I'm still releasing the same amount of chapters, aren't I? What's the point if I just post a few hours later when the total output is still the same @@