Chapter 161: Those Days of the Past [Volume 3 - The Place Where My Heart Feels At Peace]
Qianye let out a low shout. Not only did he not withdraw his attack, his fist abruptly sped up and struck Xie Yumiao at her chest like thunder!
His strike was absolutely beyond the girl’s expectations. She never imagined that the young man with a beautiful face would attack her so mercilessly. It was too late too dodge, so she tried to raise her arms to block it, but before they even moved to position Qianye’s punch had already struck her in the chest. Qianye’s origin power was like a violent tide that destroyed her defenses instantly, surging into her body.
Xue Yumiao immediately flew backwards until she crashed outside the ring. Then, she vomited a mouthful of blood and lay there in exhaustion, unable to climb to her feet anymore. Two soft clangs resounded as a pair of blades as thin as a cicada’s wing fell out of her sleeves.
One could say that Qianye had won his match with exceptional ease. Judging from the unusual shape of her weapon, Xie Yumiao probably had a secret combat technique that complemented it well. The fact that she was able to get through her first fight without any injuries also meant that she must be pretty strong. However, she was taken down before she was able to execute anything at all, so the match was practically a free win for Qianye.
But although Qianye might have won his match, he was showered with plenty of strange looks as well. After all, not everyone could make the attack as ruthlessly as he did.
The third round began, and this time Qianye encountered an average looking young man. He was a rank six landowning household fighter who requested to use weapons immediately after they entered the ring. He held an imperial standard military blade in his hand.
Qianye nodded and pulled out an identical blade from his waist.
The moment the battle began, the duo pounced forwards at the same time and intersected each other!
Slight surprise rose in Qianye’s mind when he looked down and saw a long wound on the outer side of his left arm. He was injured already in one simple exchange! But the edge of Qianye’s blade was also dripping with blood. The young man’s upper outer garment was split apart by a hole one-sixth of a meter long, and a wound was inflicted between his chest and stomach.
Qianye frowned slightly. The wound on his arm wasn’t very deep, but he felt almost no pain except a bit of numbness. This unusual reaction alarmed him greatly, and he immediately circulated his origin power around the wound once. Unsurprisingly, he discovered that some minuscule foreign origin power had clung to the wound and reduced its ability to self-regenerate. It was extremely difficult to remove from his body.
It was a special origin power similar to Ye Mulan’s Deep Frost and Steward Wen’s Polar Yin Needle!
He was a powerful enemy!
The duo charged forwards at the same time again and clashed a second time. This time both combatants fought in close quarters where deadly fists were intermingled with sharp blades. The fight lasted for an intense moment before they abruptly split away and stared closely at each other. They both knew that they had met a powerful enemy.
Qianye suffered a few extra wounds on his body even though he had done his best to minimize the surface area of his wounds using all sorts of techniques. It didn’t matter too much, because the young man’s special origin power had prevented all of his wounds from recovering naturally. The young man wasn’t faring much better, however: he suffered only one less wound compared to Qianye.
One round of exchange was enough for Qianye to realize that this landowning household young man had incredibly adaptive combat experience. His fighting style was very much like the one Qianye was taught at the Yellow Springs and Red Scorpions in that it was simple, effective, and completely lacking in unnecessary movements. When the classic murder art was paired with an origin power that affected one’s ability to heal, they created an extremely dangerous opponent!
The duo walked circles around each other for a few times before they clashed against each other once more! This time both combatants dueled with speed and dished out several slashes at each other the second they met.
The fight that ensued later was a competition of combat techniques. Sometimes the ring would resound incessantly with the sound of clashing blades, but sometimes not a ring was heard even after tens of exchanges had passed.
The landowning household young man possessed incredible combat instincts, and he knew some little tricks that only a veteran of the battlefield would know. He saw through every one of Qianye’s attempts to bait him into a trap, but the young man failed to do the exact same thing to Qianye as well.
When the next round began, both combatants came to the undiscussed but unanimous decision to trade wounds with each other.
Their movements became even more simple and vicious than before. Every time they attacked, they would inflict wounds on each other’s body. This was a battle of attrition to see who would last until the end.
A few rounds later, the landowning household young man discovered in shock that Qianye was losing blood at an extremely slow rate even though he had inflicted many wounds on Qianye’s body. In comparison, blood would gush out of his own wounds every time he used too much origin power.
This shouldn’t have happened! The reason the landowning household young man was unafraid to fight a battle of attrition was because he knew that his origin power would negatively affect his opponent’s recovery. However, Qianye’s constitution was apparently special in a way that rendered his origin power almost completely useless.
When the distance was widened, it became nearly impossible to fill up the gap between the two of them. Another round later, the landowning household young man finally wobbled and collapsed to the ground, passing out completely.
Qianye himself was breathing quite rapidly and incessantly. Every wound on his body was currently numb and painful because the landowning household young man’s origin power was still wreaking havoc in them.
Although Qianye had caught onto every possible opportunity to dispel some of the origin power during combat, no such room existed during the latter half of the match. Therefore, he had no choice but endure them forcefully. He even made sure to suppress his blood energies and kept them from swimming out of his heart and devouring this origin power for fear that one of the onlookers might notice something amiss. Thankfully, he ultimately managed to hold out to the end of the battle.
Qianye slowly walked to the edge of the ring after breathing out slowly. When a hand was stretched over to help him, the face that entered his eyes was Song Zining’s sunny smile. Zhao Junhong was also standing two steps away from them and looking at him.
Song Zining’s hand stopped in midair halfway. There were so many wounds on Qianye’s body that he was a little unsure where to start.
He carefully avoided the longest wound on the outer side of Qianye’s arm and held his elbow, saying, “Thank goodness this is your final match today,” His eyes focused, and he noticed the foreign origin powers wreaking havoc in Qianye’s wounds. He shook his head, waved his hands above the wound, and crushed the persistent origin power to bits.
Qianye immediately felt a lot better and gave him a wry smile, “There aren’t many people out there who’re as good as he is. I’m just unlucky to be the one to run into him.”
Song Zining smiled faintly, “He’s the one who’s unlucky to run into you! He could’ve entered to the sixth round at minimum if he hadn’t run into you,” Aristocratic descendants joined the fray starting the fourth round, and most of them possessed rank six or seven origin power. However, that landowning household young man had special origin power and great combat technique. He should have been able to get through two rounds before his fighting style became familiar to all other contestants.
Qianye nodded and expressed his agreement. As expected, sleeping tigers and hidden dragons did exist in this spring hunt. He didn’t imagine that a young man who had been completely unremarkable during the early stage of the spring hunt would possess such amazing combat strength. With his level of talent and strength, the young man could have qualified as a member of the Empire’s top ten elite corps. He wondered why he was still a free agent today.
Suddenly, a cry came from Qianye’s side. He saw Qiqi passing through the crowd hurriedly while followed by a Yin Family bodyguard who was skilled in battlefield treatment.
Qiqi looked incredibly surprised when she saw Song Zining supporting Qianye with his hand. She wasn’t surprised that Song Zining would show here since she had heard of his unfitting wall climbing act after returning from the feast. In fact, she even saw the gift box Song Zining had sent someone to deliver as an apology to Qianye. It was just that she told her men to throw it back to Song Zining’s lap.
But by the time she was done it was already the latter half of the night, and although Qiqi didn’t need to participate in any battles today, Qianye had three consecutive rounds to fight through. That was why this young miss had broken her habit and actually restrained herself for once from charging into his room and shooting questions at him. She never thought that she would witness today’s sight.
Knowing that Qianye was the kind of person who wouldn’t mince words even before Zhao Junhong, she knew that there was no way Song Zining’s status would have any effect on him. That was why she found the sight of Song Zining supporting him, and Qianye not resisting at all so strange. Was he so hurt that he couldn’t move again? Qiqi rushed towards Qianye, grabbed him and examined him closely. Thankfully, his injuries weren’t as bad as she imagined, although the sheer number and appearance of these wounds were pretty scary.
Qiqi snorted, “Who told you to be a show-off? Did you forget that you still have a match to fight tomorrow?” Behind her, the Yin Family bodyguard had already laid down his backpack before rushing forwards to treat his injuries.
Song Zining didn’t look disturbed even though he was forced out of the way by Qiqi. He simply stood by in observation while speaking mildly, “It’s okay, most of his wounds are superficial. I have some body-restoration liquid at my place that will heal Xiaoye fully once he soaks in it for an hour.”
Qiqi cast Song Zining a suspicious glance before she turned back to Qianye, “I have no idea what you’re thinking, so just pass me the liquid and let me do the work!”
When Qianye saw Qiqi’s expression, he finally realized what he overlooked earlier. On the surface, his relationship with the Song Household should be pretty bad, especially since he had made a sworn enemy out of Ye Mulan. But Qianye was never good at disguising himself, so the only thing he could do after discovering this mistake was to look straight at the ground and feign complete ignorance.
Song Zining smiled, “Do you have a container at your side?”
The question caught Qiqi off guard. It was only now she recalled that the body restoration liquid needed a special container to be held in, or it would lose its medicinal substances inside really quickly and become useless before the treatment could end. This equipment was pretty complicated to install though, so the Song Household must have prepared it when they reached their side residence.
There weren’t many families who would carry such an item that took up so much space and was usable for only a couple of times outdoors, but the Song Household paid no mind to the cost of transportation and human maintenance because they were wealthy. The aristocratic descendants had the right to borrow an equipment like this from Duke Wei if it was necessary, but naturally, that list of special privileges didn’t include Qianye.
Qiqi looked at Qianye again before she stared at Song Zining. She asked doubtfully, “You didn’t really think it was real, did you?”
Song Zining smiled and said nothing. He already noticed that Qianye’s face was turning black even though he had his head lowered, and this wasn’t the right time to tease Qiqi even if he felt like it. All things were bad when done in excess, and straying too far away from his true nature meant a higher chance of making mistakes. Qiqi might be absolutely terrible when it came to dealing with relationships, but she was pretty shrewd in everything else. She wouldn’t have arrived at this point of the Yin Family’s successor examination if it were otherwise.
The bugle horn rang, signaling the end of the third round. Most people were injured as the remaining sixty four combatants entered into the next round. The winner of this fourth round would get two hundred imperial gold coins as reward, and this prize money would only increase for every round they won. This prize money was of great help to many landowning household descendants.
The Song Household’s side residence was even bigger than the Yin Family’s courtyard. The main building of the inner courtyard was a small two-story building, and there was a small crescent-shaped lake behind the building. An appeal of complexity and visibility was created despite the small space.
Although Qianye had arrived at the Song Household’s side residence, he didn’t actually bath in that body restoration liquid. His recovery ability was so strong that it wasn’t inferior to bathing inside the body restoration liquid at this level of injury. Once he dealt with the foreign origin power inside his wounds and bandaged them using high-quality medicines, he was starting to recover at a tremendous rate. He was actually more worried someone might notice his abnormal recovery speed, so the body restoration liquid was an excellent excuse for it.
Qianye was currently seated on the second floor balcony facing the lake as he watched Song Zining brewing tea with practiced motions. This was the first time he saw a complicated but leisurely recreational activity of the noble kind. None of Qiqi’s hobbies except calligraphy writing appeared to be of the traditional noble kind.
When Song Zining was done dividing the teacups, he lifted one in his hand and said, “This tea shall be our wine tonight!”
Qianye suddenly broke into a smile. He was recalling the one and only time he had a drinking competition with his fellow mates of the Yellow Springs Training Camp. Song Zining absolutely refused to drink wine with him since. It would appear that he still wasn’t willing to drink wine with him after they reunited after so many years.
Song Zining obviously recalled something to as he let out a sigh, “Did you lose to Qiqi in a drinking competition, Qianye? I can’t believe I finally got to see you in a skirt!”
Qianye was immediately indignant as he retorted, “I did not! And it’s still better than some guy who got himself stripped naked!”
Both men looked distracted for a second before they matched eyes with each other. Then, they laughed out loud at the same time, flushing clean the strangeness and distance that came between them due to years of separation as if they never existed in the first place.
No youth shared the same memories even if they shared the same past, and their deepest memories would often differ in interesting ways. It was a memory that belonged to them alone; a time that would never repeat again.Previous Chapter Next Chapter