Chapter 304: Decisions

Chapter 304: Decisions [Volume 5 – A Distance Within Reach]

The young warrior went mute on the spot. He managed to force out a few words as he watched Qianye calmly put on his clothes and then walk toward the door. “Don’t… be reckless! Our family… our family’s young master has something to say to you.”

He hadn’t even finished his words when he ran scuttling toward the courtyard.

Qianye walked to the door and saw that ten-odd people had arrived in this small courtyard, led by a tall youth. He had seen the relevant information and thus knew that he was the Song clan’s second young master, Song Zian. Yin Qiqi’s maternal lineage was attached to his branch of the Song clan. This person was one of the three champions of the younger generation and also recognized as first in combat strength.

Song Zian sized Qianye up from head to toe and said nothing. It felt to him that even speaking a couple of words to his brother’s subordinate was beneath him.

A follower beside him said, “So, you’re the Seventh Young Master’s guest warrior? Our second young master needs to use the cultivation chamber. Please vacate it! Afterwards, no matter how much compensation you want, we’ll reward you.”

Qianye’s fury completely calmed down at this point and his emotions were as calm as the water surface. Glancing at the crowd and recognizing the steward at the rear, he extended a finger and said, “You, come here.”

The steward didn’t dare speak directly after being picked out and said with an apologetic smile, “Well, Steward An, you see that Second Young Master has his reasons for doing this. All of this is for the examination. So, why don’t you switch to another room? After all, you’ve already cultivated for an entire day, right? Things like cultivation can’t be rushed…”

There were no fluctuations in Qinaye’s expression as he cut the steward short. “Is my time up?”

The steward was immediately drenched in sweat and said with a salute, “Well, there is indeed some time left…”

The follower from Song Zian’s party who had spoken just now shouted in dissatisfaction. “Brat, Second Young Master is waiting for your reply!”

Qianye ignored both the man and Song Zian’s somewhat unsightly expression. He only gazed fixedly at the steward and said calmly, “Since my time isn’t up, then why did someone open the cultivation chamber door?”

The steward forced out a few words. “This… I guess they were just a bit impatient.”

“Please bring over the elder on duty.” Qianye’s tone was neither high nor low and was devoid of any fluctuations.

“Eh? Elder?” The steward's sweat fell like rain.

“I remember there’s an elder on duty here every day. I wish to see the elder.”

The steward couldn’t help but bow down and said apologetically, “We don’t need to alarm the elder with this small matter, do we?”

“You have no right to decide whether or not this matter is small. Will you go and invite the elder or do I need to go myself?”

One of Song Zian’s followers could no longer endure. He stepped toward Qianye and said furiously, “Brat, you don’t want to be given face huh?”

Qianye lowered his gaze. Even under the cover of medicine, one could see that his hand on the gun had lost color and green veins were throbbing on the back. He inhaled deeply but ultimately decided not to act. Instead, he turned toward Song Zian and said coldly, “Does a stately Song clan second young master not dare to meet an elder?”

Song Zian finally frowned and gestured for that follower to return. “You’re called An Renyi, yes? This cultivation chamber is very important to me. How about this? State your terms and I’ll grant them as long as they’re not too excessive.”

Qianye raised his brows at Song Zian’s words and was quite surprised.

However, Qianye had no idea that Song Zian was actually forced into showing his weaker side due to the circumstances.

He hadn’t thought that a mere regional steward under Song Zining was actually so shrewd and ruthless in his conduct. He was neither servile nor overbearing, neither alarmed nor angry. So much that he hadn’t even gotten into an argument with his subordinates and only demanded to see the elder. He had originally wanted to use the conflict as a pretext, but now his calculations had all gone awry.

This way, the situation had become fairly tricky. Song Zian’s party was in the wrong in this matter. Regardless of who the on-duty elder today was, even if it was one who supported him, it would be very problematic if this matter was blown-up. Even if he and his followers could get off just fine, the steward absolutely wouldn’t be able to escape the crime. He would certainly be sacked and investigated.

No matter how mediocre Song Zining was, he was still the seventh young master of the Song clan. How easy would it be for him to cause trouble for a clan member without office?

If such an incident came to be, who would be willing to express goodwill or work for him in the future?

Qianye pondered in silence. He was fairly hesitant because the other party had come with great momentum but had turned soft in the end. He hadn’t expected Song Zian to actually lower his stance like so. But this incident was clearly intentional—they had done this deliberately in order to prevent him from entering the arena. How could Qianye be willing to let the matter drop like this?

Song Zining’s voice came through from afar just as the two parties were in a deadlock. “Second Brother seems to be in high spirits today.”

Everyone glanced over and found Song Zining approaching swiftly with a number of followers. Among them was a burly man who quite resembled a steel-tower. He was an entire head taller than the others and every step he took would cause the ground the shake. He was surrounded by an almost tangible killing intent and his facial features seemed as if they were carved with knives and axes.

After the steward turned around to see this kind of lineup, sweat fell from his forehead like rain and extreme regret welled up in his heart.

The corner of Song Zian’s eyes twitched momentarily. He greeted Song Zining and then took the initiative to repeat the conditions he had given to Qianye.

Song Zining had already walked to Qianye’s side. His expression changed greatly as his gaze landed on the corner of Qianye’s mouth and that trace of blood the latter had no time to wipe away. Killing intent immediately surged up from the bottom of his eyes.

But his expression had normalized by the time he turned back to Song Zian and said with a smile, “It’s rare for Second Brother to be in such high spirits. This is a small matter. As long as Second Brother compensates us with twice the time quota afterwards, this cultivation chamber is yours.”

Song Zian broke into a frown and was immediately overcome by a major heartache. Usage rights for the sky-grade cultivation chamber could only be acquired by quota and converting contribution merits. This chamber was registered for two more days, so it would come down to four days after conversion. Even though he was already formally participating in clan affairs, this would amount to an entire half year of contributions.

But Song Zian was also a decisive person. He knew that it was the most beneficial for him to immediately settle the matter at hand. Realizing from Song Zining’s words that he had no intention to look into the matter of his guest warrior’s injury, the former immediately said, “Seventh Brother is indeed considerate. Then it’s settled.”

With that Song Zian said to the steward, “Transfer four days from my quota to Zining’s name”

“I’ll do it immediately!” Feeling lucky to have gained a new lease life, the steward immediately fled to handle the procedure.

Afterwards, Song Zian once again said, “Thank you, Seventh Brother, I visited the Sparkling Plains not long before and brought back a number of pretty good local produce. I’ll have someone send them over to you soon.”

Song Zining only nodded with a smile and left the courtyard with Qianye in tow. As they reached the side of the jeep, he whispered, “Who injured you? Point him out.”

Qianye indicated that young warrior who had pulled the cultivation chamber doors open.

With a nod, Song Zining turned back and said, “Song Ge.”

A follower stepped forward and said softly, “That person is called Yue Feng. He’s born of a landowning household and is now a rank-seven fighter serving as a small unit leader in the Second Young Master’s guard unit. He’s not a guest warrior in this exam.”

A wisp of ruthlessness flashed across Song Zining’s forehead. “Then don’t let him live past this examination.”

Song Ge replied, “His sister is the Second Young Master’s concubine.”

“If that woman is too talkative, just let her accompany the brother,” Song Zining said calmly, “then send two dancers to Second Brother.”

Song Ge responded, “Yes, sir.”

At this moment, Song Zining’s followers all arrived near the car.

The burly steel-tower-like man walked over and opened the front passenger seat on Song Zining’s car. Since he was able to sit in the same car as Song Zining, it was clear that his position wasn’t low. The burly man crammed himself into the seat, shaking the car somewhat before saying in a hoarse voice, “Young Master, are we leaving just like that? Are we letting that bastard off?”

Song Zining replied, “An Renyi is wounded, so we must return right away. Remember their faces well. You know what to do if we meet them in the arena.”

Only then did Qianye understand that this burly man was actually Song Zining’s other guest warrior, Gao Junyi. He was also the strongest under the champion level among Song Zining’s warriors who weren’t of the surname Song. One look was enough to tell that he was an old veteran who had come from the battlefield, and it was unknown just how much blood was on his hands.

The burly man laughed maliciously, “Understood. Rest assured, Seventh Young Master.”

The injuries caused by disrupted cultivation had to be treated without delay. Otherwise, not only would it leave detrimental effects, but it was even possible to be crippled. Once both parties turned violent, the first thing that would happen was a delay in Qianye’s treatment. And it wasn’t even certain whether Song Zining could gain an advantage. That was the actual reason Song Zining had decided to endure the anger.

Song Zining stuffed a tube of medicine into Qianye’s hand as the car began to move, “Drink it. We’ll go back first and find someone to treat you immediately.”

Qianye glanced at the label on the tube: Origin Power Restoration Medicine Type-3. This was a special medicine used to treat a loss of origin power control and its price was astonishing. It was divided into three types, and the higher the number, the better the effects. The type-3 medicine in his hand was of the highest grade, something even champions wouldn’t use lightly. This was probably something Song Zining had saved up for life-saving situations.

Qianye felt a faint warmth in his heart. He returned the restoration medicine to Song Zining and said, “I’m fine. I’ll recover after some rest. There’s no need to use such a medicine.”

“Don’t be careless! This is no ordinary injury. It’ll affect your foundations if improperly handled.” There was some anxiety in Song Zining’s voice.

Qianye extended his hand and said, “I’m really fine. Take a look and you’ll see.”

Song Zining grabbed Qianye’s hand and focused on it. He then sent a wisp of origin power to probe the situation inside Qianye’s body. As expected, origin power was flowing just as normal—it was calm, steady, and only some of his organs showed signs of new injury. Only then was Song Zining reassured and his expression relaxed.

In truth, Qianye could be considered fortunate. What he was circulating at the moment of disruption was the Song Clan Ancient Scroll. As such, the impact from his loss of origin power control was equal to the 45th tide of the Combatant Formula and the injuries weren’t severe. With his constitution, he could recover completely in one night even without any medicine.

After the two returned to Deep Cloud Hall, Song Zining still couldn’t relax and forced Qianye to soak into a physique restoration fluid for three hours. Qianye’s injuries had fully healed when he woke up. He was still a hair’s breadth away from breaking through to rank-nine, but the advancement was only a matter of time and not something to be overly worried about.

Qianye clothed himself and walked out of the isolated room. There, he saw Song Zining sitting in the courtyard and bathing in the twilight glow. He seemed to be pondering over something with a cup of tea in his hand.

The tea within had long since gone cold and there was even a leaf on its surface. However, Song Zining was totally unaware of it. He gulped down the tea in the cup as he heard the door open and turned to ask with a smile, “You’re awake? How’re you feeling?”

Qianye replied, “I’m completely recovered.”

Song Zining got up and grabbed Qianye’s hand to inspect the condition of his origin power flow. Afterwards, his smile grew brighter.

Qianye glanced at him and suddenly asked, “Anything troubling you?”

Song Zining shook his head, but after seeing Qianye’s expression, he smiled ruefully and said, “Is it that obvious?”

Qianye broke into a laughter. “You even ate a leaf just now. Don’t tell me that’s how you cultivated your Three Thousand Flying Leaves Art.”

Song Zining was stunned, then he rotated the teacup in his hand as if he had understood something and sighed. “How did you see that? Mn, it’s actually not that big a case. Since I have no plan to become the clan lord, I should sell my chips for a good price and act without any restraints. This should prevent other people from thinking I’m easily bullied and stepping all over me.”

Qianye was startled but soon realized the meaning. “You’re going to form an alliance?” Or perhaps speaking more precisely, submit to someone. But Song Zining really could obtain abundant remuneration by forfeiting his ranking in this examination.

Song Zining nodded and said, “Qianye there’s no need to consider the effects it’ll have on me if you encounter my second or third brother in the examination. It doesn’t matter even if you kill them. I’ve never feared criticism about infighting.”

Normally speaking, it would be lucky for them to get away with their lives in the face of a champion. It was just that combat strength wasn’t always decided by rank. Song Zian had long since become a rank-eleven champion—he was equal in strength to a second-rank viscount and was perhaps a formidable opponent. Song Ziqi who had just crossed the threshold of a champion couldn’t enter his eyes at all.

Qianye frowned. “I’ve never heard you mention having any great animosity toward Song Zian. Is this because of me?”

Song Zining replied with a smile, “Of course not, it’s for myself.” He waved his hand and said, “I’m heading out to run some errands. Tell Song Ge if there’s anything you need.”

“Zining,” Qianye called out to Song Zining who had just turned to leave, “do you really have no intention to become clan lord?”

Song Zining gave it some thought and said with a serious expression, “Zhao Junhong was right. I have no more time. I’ll need at least ten years if I want to sit at the clan lord’s position. But neither the Song clan nor I can live through this ten-year trial. Additionally, an aristocratic family name is both an assistance and a restraint, and what I want has never been limited to such things.”

Qianye gazed intently at Song Zining and nodded after seeing no signs of reluctance.

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