Chapter 172: One Night

Chapter 172: One Night [Volume 3 – The Place Where My Heart Feels At Peace] 

Qianye gazed at Qiqi in silence but didn’t reply.

As Qiqi’s gaze shifted to the tall and vigorous figure, she couldn’t help but recall the first time she met this exceedingly handsome youth within the study of the Yin family external residence. Back then, despite carrying himself with a seemingly battle-hardened sharpness, he was a bashful and amiable child. When was it that she had lost control of her emotions? Or could it be that the initial sense of control was just an illusion?

Qiqi raised her head to reveal her face. “Fine, let’s not talk about such unhappy matters anymore! What do you want the ‘Resounding Strike’ for? This thing is supposed to be attached to a large caliber origin gun and can’t be used on the Twin Flowers.”

Qianye replied, “Don’t you feel that the Yin family owes me an Eagleshot?”

The spirit in Qiqi’s eyes dimmed as she stared blankly at Qianye. She let out a sigh after a while and said unenthusiastically, “I understand. You’re determined to leave. I… I won’t say anything more. Just go to sleep!”

She stood up and headed towards the bedroom before giving him an undeclinable command, “Come here and accompany me. This is my final order!” Her serious tone of voice was overbearing and willful.  

Qianye accompanied Qiqi into the bedroom and prepared to spend the night on the couch. He didn’t expect Qiqi to suddenly pat the bed with a faint smile. “Come here!”

Qianye was somewhat startled. He threw a probing glance at her before taking off his shirt and climbing onto her bed.

Contrary to expectations, his actions shocked Qiqi a fair bit as she shrunk towards a corner and made space for him. Qiqi stole a glance at the unperturbed Qianye and couldn’t help but ask, “How come you’ve become so bold? Could it be that you…”

Qianye’s smile abruptly disappeared as he turned around to touch her hair. “Why not? What should I be afraid of?”

Qiqi was petrified and, for a moment, felt rather muddled. Even if Qianye hadn’t realized it when he accepted the mission, he should’ve already discovered that he was a pawn for attracting hostility in public.

In truth, the effectiveness of Qianye’s mission had far exceeded Qiqi’s expectations. Perhaps because Gu Liyu had always found it easy to handle Qiqi’s previous provocations, this time, he had actually stirred up a whole series of problems in his desperation. Although everything seemed to have been quietly settled, how could a matter involving so many conspiracies not leave any traces?

Moreover, in many aspects, proof actually wasn’t an absolute necessity to act. This applies to the person laying down the trap and similarly holds true for the person disarming it. Thus in the end, although Qiqi couldn’t do anything to Gu Liyu, everyone in collusion with him behind the scenes were thoroughly rooted out by Li Yuanjia. He could’ve done much more than this if he didn’t have to consider the interests of the Yin family as a whole.

Li Yuanjia was originally promoted from 17th corps due to his accumulated accomplishments. With his ability and finesse, he was already well qualified to become a leading officer of the Yin family’s forces. His position within the Yin family was self-evident. This would spare Qiqi a great deal of impediment from both Gu Liyu and others within the clan if, one day, she wished to develop further with the 17th corps as a foundation.

However, the direct cause of this matter, Qianye, was still well and alive. He would surely become a target for Gu Liyu and the other Yin family candidates in the future, for honor even if not for vengeance. What else did he have to fear under such circumstances?

Qiqi was speechless for some time. As if speaking to herself or trying to explain something, she said, “I have considered every method possible but have found no way to escape this marriage. An aristocratic family like the Yin family will put reputation and trust above all else. Actively canceling this marriage would be worse than death for my father. The only way was to force Gu Liyu to withdraw. That’s why I sought these ‘lovers’ one after another, but unfortunately, none of them were of any use. Unless I…”

Qiqi suddenly trembled, overcome by an uncertain emotion. It wasn’t quite fear of what was to follow but a vague sense of mixed anticipation.

“He won’t withdraw from this marriage even if you really did sleep with numerous men.” Qianye’s voice was transmitted from above Qiqi’s head. His breath was naturally warm since they were so close to each other, yet it actually caused Qiqi to shiver momentarily.

Qianye rubbed Qiqi’s hair and switched off the lights, plunging the entire bedroom into a suppressive and stifling darkness. His clear voice resonated coldly within the silent room. “Go to sleep. I’ve told you before not to play with fire.”

After a long while, their breathing calmed down and it seemed they were about to fall asleep.  At this time, however, Qiqi suddenly spoke. Her voice was so soft that one could easily think she was talking in her sleep, permeated by a hint of weakness one would never witness during the daytime.

“I know you hate me. You feel unsafe, knowing that you might suffer a stab from the back at any time. But it’s the same for me. I’ve never truly felt safe since my mother passed away… You won’t understand how it feels when all your brothers, sisters, uncles and aunts are planning to kill you at the earliest opportunity. I’ve done many weird things and I know how everyone looks at me. But this is the only way for me to avoid thinking of all those things…” Qiqi’s voice revealed a small part of her pain.

Qianye listened in silence. The conflict within the Yin family had been going on for a long time. Perhaps it had already begun when the marriage with the Song Clan branch took place 20 years ago or even earlier. One had to pay the price to borrow another’s authority. It was vastly unreasonable to marry someone else’s daughter and then marry off the granddaughter to a landowning household.  

Qianye lacked experience regarding the aristocratic families but he wasn’t stupid. Furthermore, with Song Zining’s character, he would never do something meaningless. The latter had gone to great lengths to conceal his identity when he saved Qianye during the hunt but had approached him openly later on. Aside from acting to escape his own marriage, he also seemed to be sending Qiqi a certain warning message. 

Thinking back on it, Qiqi no longer asked him to accompany her to social activities since then.

The contest for the Yin family heir had already reached the stage where everyone had their daggers drawn. They were even willing to shoulder the price and risk of interfering with the Profound Heaven Spring Hunt. This goes to show how desperate the mastermind behind all of this was. Comparing an aristocratic scion like Qiqi to someone like Qianye who had grown up in the garbage dump, it could only be said that both of them had their own misfortunes and frustrations.

“I don’t hate you at all,” Qianye replied calmly, “you’ve done more for me than necessary. For instance, the matter with the 60th division and your assistance during the spring hunt.” 

Qiqi let out a faint chuckle. It sounded rather peculiar for just a moment but seemed to have returned to normal as one paid attention to it. “But to you, this is just a deal with somewhat better conditions...”

It was merely a business transaction from the very beginning. To this, Qianye didn’t reply anymore.

Qiqi edged closer to him in the dark and snuggled up into his arms. She moved around a bit until she found a comfortable posture before curling up like a startled kitten.

Qianye would have never imagined that there would be such a side to this usually fiery lady. Perhaps this was her true self hidden beneath the wanton and unrestrained personality. 

Qianye extended his arms and embraced her. Neither did Qiqi move nor speak.

The two fell asleep nestled against one another, each feeling warmth, dependence and safety from the other’s body.

Tomorrow... all of this would come to an end

The vast world was illuminated by the distant starlight. Among the numerous continents and millions upon millions of living beings, the two were less remarkable than two grains of sand within the ocean. After parting, there was no telling when these grains of sand would meet again as they drift along the currents.

This parting was, perhaps, eternal.

Qianye left Qiqi’s bedroom early next morning, but including the maid, many people within the courtyard already knew he had spent the night in Qiqi’s room. The maids also noticed that two people had slept on the bed when they went in to tidy up the room. Before long, the news had spread to many other people.

Noon. Qianye received the prize from the spring hunt. Apart from the ‘Resounding Strike’ and ‘Radiant Edge’, he chose to withdraw the remaining credit in gold coins. He didn’t select any medicinal items. The curious attendant who delivered the items asked him why he had chosen a vampire dagger.

Qianye honestly told him that it was because the weapon was convenient to carry and easy to sell in the lower continents. This caused the attendant's expression to turn quite odd; likely no one had ever spoken so frankly of their intentions to sell the prize.

That afternoon, Qiqi and the Yin family entourage finally left the Duke’s courtyard. After several days of airship flight, the darkness outside of the windows lightened and the silhouette of the Evernight Continent once again appeared within Qianye’s vision.

Qianye began to sort out his luggage after returning to the Yin family courtyard. Apart from the various weapons, he didn’t have a lot of other items. However, he couldn’t leave just yet because the Eagleshot Qiqi had custom ordered for him hadn’t arrived.

Qiqi didn’t come to see Qianye in the several days that followed. He also didn’t leave the room. Every day, he would either cultivate or work to integrate the combat experience he had obtained during the spring hunt. He had witnessed several confrontations between the secret technique users of aristocratic families and had learnt certain tricks regarding the better control of origin power which he had never understood before. Even though he lacked a secret technique, several principles were interconnected.

Apart from his battle with Zhao Junhong, Qianye had actually received the greatest enlightenment from the three battles between Song Zining and Wei Potian. The latter’s fists were simple, straightforward and unyielding, not unlike the military combat techniques driven by the combatant formula. But the technique he had used in the end to lockdown space made Qianye recall his battle with Ye Mulan. Back then, he had also inadvertently sealed her escape route with swift fist strikes. 

Qianye had learnt about the advantages of secret techniques during his discussion with Song Zining. Apart from possessing special properties, secret techniques could also affect a certain area after breaking through to the champion rank, just like the terrifying isolation ability afforded by the Three Thousand Flying Leaves Art. Then, if his speculation was correct, couldn’t the Combatant Formula also be used as a combat skill?

Four days later, Qianye was greeted by a brand new Eagleshot as he walked out of the virtual combat system. 

This Eagleshot was also a modified item of excellent quality. Its attack power was 20 percent greater than the original, and its range had been extended by 200 meters. Two high-level artisans of the Yin family also arrived to install the ‘Resounding Strike’ on the Eagleshot. The little accessory was only the size of a fingernail and appeared lustrous and crystalline.

After installing the ‘Resounding Strike’, the Eagleshot’s attack power increased by another 20 percent. This was a sixth grade tactical accessory and was actually an origin array. Its value lay in the fact that it could be reinstalled as long as the accessory itself wasn’t damaged and would only expire after three installations.

After receiving the Eagleshot that night, Qianye checked its various parameters and was greatly satisfied. This new weapon’s attack power was 18, which also meant that the power of a single shot was equal to the sum of 18 grade one origin firearms. This kind of attack power had already reached the level of grade 5 sniper rifles, but the origin power expenditure remained at the former level.

With Qianye’s current origin power, he could shoot five or six times in a single battle without absorbing blood. Relying on his “Heavy Caliber” and  “Accurate Shooting” abilities as well as special origin bullets, Qianye was confident that he could inflict a fair bit of damage on rank six dark race warriors. Add to that the 1200 meter coverage of the Eagleshot, Qianye could already control the flow of a local battle in minor campaigns.

Qianye glanced at the corner of the room. The moonlight flooding through the window washed over his luggage, dying the ash green backpack an eerie scarlet. It was another night of the scarlet moon. This exceptional phenomenon distinctly reminded the people that they were in the abandoned land of Evernight.

At this time, there was a sudden knock on the door as Li Yuanjia’s voice came through, “Qianye, can I come in?”

“Of course.”

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