Chapter 133: Return

Chapter  133: Return [Volume 3 - The Place Where My Heart Feels At Peace]   

This time, Qianye stayed taciturn for a longer period of time.

A letter addressed to Qiqi had been attached to the report Qianye delivered, requesting the termination of this commissioned task. Previously, he had believed all along that this was a case of a young lady of an aristocratic family dissatisfied with her marriage, hence this game with her elders out of spite. Since ample revenge had been served, he didn’t mind being treated as the clear target; after all, which task for hunters didn’t come with danger?

However, Qianye never thought the games of aristocratic families and prominent clans could actually use an independent company from the whole standing army as a mere pawn. If it wasn’t for Old 2 and Yu Yingnan serving as his guarantors when he received the mission, he simply might not have returned to this camp. He had even thought, maybe he’d never be able to know who the main culprit was, and whether it was one person or a group of people.

Qianye didn’t like this kind of game, one that could treat an entire reinforced company of brave men as cannon fodder.

But the information Ji Yuanjia brought completely exceeded Qianye’s expectations. He was certainly aware forcefully requisitioning troops would result in disastrous losses; Qiqi must also be clear about this, so why did she do it?

Qianye snapped out of his reverie and looked at Ji Yuanjia, the latter not expressing even a hint of impatience. The half-foot shortsword, bright as the autumn waters, circled about his palm like a halo of time.

“When do we leave?” Qianye asked.

“If you don’t have other business, pack up your things and leave with me right now!”

Even though it meant setting off through the night, Qianye didn’t have any objection. The two, one in front and one in back, passed through the military drill grounds and walked towards the brightly-lit barracks.

At the outskirts of the training grounds, Qianye paused. More than ten burly men with foreign appearances, each sturdy in stature and steady in gait, stood in the open space; one could tell at a glance that these were experts. These people didn’t appear like soldiers from the army. Rather, only looking at the assortment of unique equipment each person wore, they appeared more like mercenaries.

Qianye suddenly asked, “If I don’t agree to go with you, what’ll happen?”

Ji Yuanjia only smiled.

Qianye inhaled deeply, and said somewhat mockingly, “Lieutenant Colonel Ji, I couldn’t tell, but you really are thorough.” At this time, Qianye finally realized why Ji Yuanjia had sought him out to fight the instant he had entered. Half of Qianye’s strength could be considered long-range sniping; if he had a gun at hand, the situation would undoubtedly become much more troublesome. Though Ji Yuanjia could suppress him in close combat right now, if long distance was also considered perhaps he wouldn’t be able to leave him behind easily.

Ji Yuanjia’s smile was as gentle as ever. He replied without batting an eyelid, “I only hope to do everything well for Miss Qiqi, that’s all.”

Qianye didn’t want to say anything else and opened the door to his room. He also didn’t have much to pack, so not long after, the party of people left just as silently as they had entered.

In a certain great city of the Qin Continent named Caged Sun City, a landwalking beast ran across an empty street inside the city before stopping in front of the main entrance of a grand residence. This residence was constructed completely in an old style with red walls, blue tiles, vermillion eaves and flying beasts. A striking horizontal tablet was aligned on the door, and the words ‘Yin Residence’ was written on it. The tablet was signed by none other than the former emperor himself.

The rider immediately entered the residence through a corner gate, and handed an entire bag of express mail to the butler. Just a moment later, an urgent mail was placed inside the study.

A middle-aged person, accompanied by an elderly man, strolled along a winding corridor.

The middle-aged man had squared facial features and projected an aura of dignity. He stroked the short beard on his chin, and said slowly, “Mister Shui Yun, this child Qiqi is indeed talented. Only, her temperament and conduct are truly lacking; how can one be at ease? The successor exam is such an important matter, yet she only treats it as child’s play. The results of the other three are neck-and-neck, but her? Until now, it’s still zero!”

The old man smiled. “The Third Miss only likes to fool around a bit. Ah, young people, it’s not like it’s something really serious. The miss had always been independent since young, and when have you ever seen her fail to complete a task in the end? In my opinion, the reason she hadn’t acted hastily is because she is confident in her chances. A true general is capable of enduring any pressure without faltering in composure!”

The middle-aged man snorted and said, “A true general? I think she’s just fooling around. Look at Peace Hall’s Yin Xu; he’s almost at five hundred points already!”

The old man called Mister Shui Yun, however, didn’t seem to mind. “Five hundred points? That’s nothing more than ten thousand insignificant cannon fodder, or no more than about a hundred rank five or six Fighters. You can easily accumulate a score like that in one big battle.”

“It’s just a bunch of children. Where would you find a big battle like that?!”

Mister Shui Yun sighed. “Tianhang, you mustn’t underestimate the children of now. The fact that Third Miss chose Evernight Continent means she had a plan since long ago. After all, that continent is a place of great conflict! Plus, who else but Qiqi can inherit Esteemed Father’s Moonlight Flowing Cloud Art?”

Yin Tianhang snorted, and said, “A patriarch’s position isn’t something that can be secured by origin power alone!”

Shui Yun stroked his beard and smiled, “But it is also difficult to convince masses without strong origin power, is it not?”

The two men spoke as they walked, and entered the study in the blink of an eye.

Yin Tianhang saw the report on the table. After opening it to read, he immediately yelped in surprise.

He looked through it another two times before he finally passed it to Mister Shui Yun, saying, “Well this is strange!”

Mister Shui Yun also looked very surprised when he looked through the report, “The Third Miss broke through the roof of the military accomplishments ranking in just a month? This is unbelievable, let me take another look… Hmm, these one thousand points came within just ten days’ time, and they all came from a division level battle. The points accumulated from a defense node at Earth Castle alone totaled almost five hundred points. Tsk tsk, it must’ve been a bloodbath! But even with such results, they only lost an expeditionary force battalion and a reinforced company of the Seventeenth Corps? Tianxing, have these numbers been verified?”

Yin Tianhang chuckled. “This is the dark race’s internal casualty report, how could it be inaccurate?”

Mister Shui Yun smiled while he stroked his beard, “We all know how strong an expeditionary force battalion is. This reinforced company beneath the Third Miss is truly astounding. It would seem that she has managed to gather some talented people again,” As he continued to read downwards, he said with a bit of surprise, “The special intel bonus point is over one hundred points? The third miss actually encountered the Monroe princess's guards! The Summit of Peaks’ tracks were discovered on the battlefield too? This is too dangerous. The 60th Division’s temporary deployment…”

Yin Tianhang, however, couldn’t conceal his delight, “Which great general of the empire didn’t walk over from atop the tips of swords? This is a good thing. This is great news; Qiqi now has some real experiences under her belt! The matter of the 60th Division really isn’t much. Seeing as they fought to such success, who in the army can have anything to say about this?”

Mister Shui Yun nodded and asked with a hint of worry, “Evernight Continent is pretty stormy lately, and the situation at Xichang City seems a little chaotic. Should we summon her home now that she has accumulated one thousand points and finished first in the military accomplishments ranking?”

“The Profound Heaven Spring Hunt is about to start immediately. Qiqi will be heading there in a few days’ time.”

Mister Shui Yun recalled another matter, “Brother Tianxing, about Qiqi’s marriage…”

“Anything but that!” Yin Tianxing’s smile was immediately withdrawn as he turned him down immediately, “The Yin Family has survived a thousand generations together with the empire itself. How could a major event like marriage be treated as child’s play! Since we decided upon Qiqi that year, it isn’t something we can change.”

He eased a little, and continued, “Moreover, the situation at Reverence Hall right now is fairly good. Old 17 may command the military power right now, but it is only a matter of time before he retires. If Qiqi’s Moonlight Flowing Cloud Art reaches the level of great attainment, she may be able to succeed him as the general. However, her temperament is unsuited for command and strategy. Liyu, on the other hand, is good at stratagem and watertight tactics. He is an excellent choice in complementing Qiqi’s abilities.”

Mister Shui Yun said, “A leader doesn’t need to do everything personally. In this one battle alone, she has accumulated enough merits to match another person’s half a year of achievements, so we know that she is capable of recognizing and using talents. In my opinion, her achievements won’t stop at just Reverence Hall.”

Yin Tianxing waved a hand and said, “It’s not a problem even if Qiqi did become the patriarch in the future. Liyu is a good kid. As long as we help improve his family’s status, is there any doubt that he would do his best to serve the Yin Family?”

Mister Shui Yun replied slowly, “On the contrary, I’ve actually heard of a few different assessments.”

Yin Tianhang raised his eyebrows, and said, “Let’s hear it.”

An airship descended beside a Yin Family courtyard, precisely at twilight’s deepest time.

Qianye looked at the long stretch of pavilions and buildings beneath his feet, shaded by a beautiful expanse of flowers and trees. In his eyes, however, the narrow alley through the Earth Castle reappeared along with the black smoke and the collapsed roofs. These two scenes overlapped, giving off a feeling that a lifetime had passed between them.

Immediately after exiting the airship, someone headed over to whisper in Ji Yuanjia’s ear.

Ji Yuanjia turned to Qianye, and said, “The Miss is currently in the back garden; I’ll bring you there directly.”

Qianye was currently assessing his surroundings. He had already noticed the guard around other courtyards had been strengthened. At the corners of passages, burly men, armed to the teeth, would flash by constantly. After hearing what was said, he couldn’t help but stare blankly, “At this time?”

Ji Yuanjia let out a bitter smile, “The Miss has been like this for the last two days, unable to fall asleep until deep into the night.”

“Are her injuries serious?”

Ji Yuanjia shook his head, and replied, “You will understand once you see her.”

Qianye followed behind Ji Yuanjia in a haste, passing through many twists and turns of a long corridor. Qianye had never been to this courtyard area. The surrounding structures grew more and more sparse, and the vegetation became more and more lush. The winding alley, if viewed during the day, must be extremely beautiful and elegant, but submerged in the dim light of the night it only appeared somewhat cold and desolate.

Up ahead, a moon gate crawling with wisteria appeared.

Ji Yuanjia stopped, and said quietly, “You should enter by yourself.”

Qianye looked up. A wall with engraved hollows lay past the door. The pale moonlight sprinkled down as if it had entirely scattered into a dense mist, rendering the scenery inside completely unclear.

Qianye walked through the entrance. A gust of moist warmth blew over, the mist still as dense as before, seemingly bringing about a lingering delicate fragrance. He realized only now that an enormous lotus pond lay in front of him, and a single long bridge led to the pavilion atop the water.

The star, Gemini-α, hung precisely at its lowest position on the curtain of night, massively suspended atop the inclined eaves of the pavilion. The water surface was a reflection of the full moon; at a glance, the entire space seemed to spread over the surface, and the fields of lotus flowers looked just as if they had grown on the moon.

Qiqi was sitting on the ground of the water pavilion while wearing a wide-sleeved robe. Her head rested on her knees as she gazed at the water surface calmly. Under the universal presence of the moonlight, her figure actually seemed somewhat bleak and lonely.

Qianye slowly walked behind her, and called out, “Miss Qiqi.”

Qiqi didn’t turn around, and said with a light sigh, “Uncle Li died, right in front of me. He’s someone who watched me grow up, I didn’t think he’d leave just like that.”

Qianye listened silently.

“Uncle Li was a Champion rank expert since a long time ago. If he hadn’t stayed in the Yin Family, he would’ve earned both fame and fortune in the army or anywhere else. However, he stayed with me, took care of me and protected me all these years. If it wasn’t to protect me, he wouldn’t have…”

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