Chapter 442: Parting on Bad Terms
The elder assembly dispersed on bad terms without any results.
Naturally, no one objected to Song Zhongnian’s branch increasing the combat squads dispatched to Evernight Continent, but it was impossible to mobilize the Song clan’s private army. But everyone knew that most of these so-called Iron Curtain units were hired locally—it was fine to exchange some contributions for their lives, but breaking the Blackflow City siege was impossible.
The sky was already dark by the time the elders walked out of the hall in twos or threes.
Song Zhongcheng was accompanied by six or seven elders, all of whom were his close friends. He cupped his hands all around and said, “It’s all thanks to your help this time. There definitely won’t be a shortage of benefits for everyone if my business succeeds.”
One of the elders replied with a laugh, “Brother Zhongcheng is too polite. We’ve known each other for decades. There’s no need to mention such a slight effort on our part.”
Another elder chimed in, “Allow me to congratulate you in advance for welcoming Miss Lil’ Xin into the household. The next clan lord’s position isn’t so certain now!”
The other elders agreed.
Song Zhongcheng stroked his beard and said complacently, “The marriage selection is close at hand, so Zian has to be well-prepared. We’ll have to trouble Elder Hu and Brother Zhongming for everything.”
The two elders in question replied hurriedly, “It’s what we should do.”
Another elder looked around and said with a laugh after finding that Song Zhongnian still hadn’t come out from the hall, “Little Seven’s talents are indeed astonishing, but it’s a pity that his luck has never been good. I think he might not get through this ordeal in Blackflow City.”
Song Zhongcheng smiled. “The clan lord’s position remains unclear. Even if we don’t do anything… do you think his branch is all that unified? Actually, it’s also fine to dissolve Little Seven’s engagement. In any case, he’ll have become a defeated general after the Blackflow City battle. His reputation won’t be that great anymore.”
The elders nodded in quick succession. In truth, they were already scared witless after reading the reports on the dangerous situation in Blackflow City. It was already a big surprise that Song Zining could hold out for so long.
At this time, Song Zhongnian finally walked out from the hall accompanied by three or four elders, a group far inferior to Song Zhongcheng’s in number.
Seeing Song Zhongcheng’s pleased demeanor, Song Zhongnian snorted loudly and left the courtyard in large strides. At this moment, an elder sighed. “It’s unfortunate how short-sighted Zhongcheng is. He really thinks he can win this marriage by suppressing Zining. How can a mere Song Zian win that position? Zicheng’s chances might be better.”
The elders all sighed.
After gaining the first place with great dominance in the exams, Song Zicheng successfully sought the hand of Princess Rongyang of the imperial clan; their marriage date would soon be announced. That was also the reason why the grand elder’s lineage was so blatant regarding this matter and couldn’t even care about other people trampling over the Song clan’s face. There was simply no time left to go in circles.
Song Zhongnian said slowly, “Let it be. It’s unfortunate that Zining is not fated for this.”
The elders all glanced at each other but couldn’t find any words to say. Song Zining had displayed his outstanding qualities in recent years, and all those battles under Blackflow City had pushed his name to the peak. He was the best among the Song clan’s younger generation both in terms of talent and martial ability, so much so that some people had begun comparing him to the geniuses of other major clans. This had never happened before.
Such a genius-level character splitting off to establish his own organization was undoubtedly a big loss for the Song clan. In the end, Song Zhongnian decided to help him dissolve his engagement and represent the Song clan in proposing a marriage to Duke Wei. This was not only to have Song Zining remain, but also for the future of the clan.
It was just that Song Zhongnian had never expected such resistance from the elder assembly—even those who usually refrained from offending anyone were suddenly standing on Song Zhoncheng’s side. The latter’s popularity and influence weren’t enough to produce such a change.
Song Zhongnian and the elders were all supreme characters. With their shrewdness, how could they not know why this matter had reached such a stage? How could it be just Song Zian who didn’t wish for Song Zining’s return? There were others who would feel threatened if this dragon among men were to continue rising in the Song clan.
At the thought of this, Song Zhongnian’s face turned weary as though he had aged ten years in an instant. He could only shrug as he stepped out of the courtyard doors.
Suddenly, a gust of wind assaulted them head-on, nearly causing the two elders to the west of the road to stagger.
Song Zhongnian glanced over with a frown. “Zhongxing, what are you in such a rush for? Moreover, look at the time! You arrived only after the assembly ended…”
The person who had arrived was precisely the clan lord’s younger brother, Song Zhongxing. He had always been a short-tempered man who spoke frankly. He would usually still give his own brother some face, but now, he only rolled his eyes and said, “What’s the point in attending this broken assembly? Haven’t you come back empty-handed once again?”
Seeing that the former grand elder’s group had emerged from the courtyard and was watching them argue, the moody Song Zhongnian replied immediately in displeasure, “Zhongxing…”
Song Zhongxiang, however, didn’t have the patience to listen to his brother’s lecture. He cut the latter short and said with a cold voice, “Brother, you don’t need to worry anymore. The situation in Blackflow City has been resolved.”
Silence descended upon the small lane outside of the Culvert Jade Courtyard. It was so quiet that one could hear the leaves rustling in the wind.
However, the stillness was soon followed by a great clap of thunder as Song Zhongxing spoke in a tone of joyous mockery, “Zining charged into the army of ten thousand and took down the commanding general, beheading him in front of his troops. The dark race army was completely routed. Haha, our Song clan’s Fueled Fire Spear once rivaled the Bai clan’s Feathercloud Art on the battlefield. Today, it has regained its former glory in Zining’s hands. Everyone, aren’t you all delighted?”
The expressions of all the elders were indescribable with all kinds of colors present—it was as though they had opened a dye shop.
Song Zining’s fame would surely soar like the midday sun after this battle, likely enough to elevate him to the same level as the handful of major clan geniuses. However, such a person was destined to never become the Song clan’s future pillar. The clan’s movements as they avoided battle during this period could hardly be hidden from the other aristocratic entities. Having reached such an outcome after all their scheming, the Song clan would definitely become the laughingstock of the entire empire.
Song Zhongxing tossed out yet another big bolt of thunder. “Oh, and by the way, I actually came to beg for forgiveness today.”
Song Zhongnian’s heart, at this moment, was filled with a plethora of emotions. He hadn’t even recovered from the previous shock when he heard Song Zhongxing say, “I went to check the prison just now and happened to see the two Ye family whores trying to break out of prison. I was careless and accidentally killed them. It looks like we must push this case onto the Ye family. I refuse to believe that they have no idea what the two sisters are doing.”
Song Zhongnian hadn’t even said anything when the grand elder Song Zhongcheng roared loudly, “Song Zhongxing, you committed murder to silence people!”
Song Zhongxing laughed. “What? Does the grand elder think I should stand there and allow them to kill me? Only two landowning family women. Big brother, isn’t your prejudice too obvious? If one didn’t know any better, everyone would think your daughters-in-law just died.”
Song Zhongcheng was so angry that he couldn’t find words to say. The finger he was pointing toward Song Zhongxing trembled continuously. Song Zhongxing was still an important expert of the Song clan despite the fact that his temper was loathed by everyone. Even if Song Zhongcheng wanted to teach him a lesson, it would only end with a drawn-out battle since the two were roughly comparable in strength.
Song Zhongxing scanned everyone’s faces with a mocking gaze and waltzed away with a “Heh”.
As night fell upon the great land, Blackflow City welcomed its first truly peaceful night in quite a while.
Calling it silent was hardly viable since the entire city was brightly lit. Dark Flame soldiers were scattered throughout the battlefield, cleaning up and collecting the spoils of war.
Within Blackflow, a small portion of the city had turned into rubble. Although the dark race army had retreated, the bloody battle was yet to be over. They naturally had to make the best of this time to repair the defensive structures. Not to mention the others, three out of the four stronghold cannons had broken down after operating at overload for all this time. They had to be repaired immediately.
Qianye and Song Zining were standing atop the gate tower and gazing at the scene in and around the city. Both of them were slightly tipsy.
Song Zining sighed. “How many years has it been since we met at the Yellow Springs?”
Qianye was also moved by the changes that had taken place in their lives.
“Qianye, have you considered what path you’ll take in the future?”
Qianye shook his head. “I have it easy since I’ve always been alone, and can come and go as I please. You, on the other hand, will be in quite a bit of trouble after this battle.”
Song Zining appeared unconcerned. “To hell with it, I don’t fear such small troubles. If things go out of hand, I can always leave with Nanhua for a continent outside of the empire. I’ll just live a carefree life as a royal son-in-law.”
“You? I’ll be damned if you can hold back your desires.” Qianye mocked without reservations.
Qianye learnt from Song Zining that Nanhua was actually the princess of a small, external continent country called Solemnity.
Solemnity was a tiny nation even smaller than some of the larger imperial counties, and it could be considered one of the empire’s vassal states. They had mobilized in full force for this bloody battle and its bountiful rewards since this was a rare opportunity to gain large batches of imperial equipment. Meanwhile, Nanhua had another thought—that was to get to know the accomplished and handsome youths of the empire. Later on, she met Song Zining.
Qianye only had one assessment for Nanhua: “You’ve met the wrong person.”
But Solemnity’s customs were quite open-minded, and the people there weren’t as rigidly stratified as the imperial clans. Nanhua didn’t mind Song Zining’s so-called engagement at all. In fact, this princess might even be hoping that he didn’t have such a celebrated surname.
Song Zining only laughed mischievously at Qianye’s mockery. “When do you plan to visit Nangong Xiaoniao?”
Qianye was immediately at a loss for words.
Song Zining didn’t pursue this topic further after gaining the verbal high-ground. He merely asked, “What do you plan to do afterward?”
Qianye replied, “I need to rest for a couple of days. Afterward, I’ll go play with those Nangong people.” Unknowingly, his words already contained faint traces of tyranny.
Qianye’s body was full of internal injuries after the battle with Luther and required urgent recuperation. But he had also gained vast amounts of essence blood when he used Life Plunder toward the end of his charge. All those who had surrounded him at the time were Luther’s personal guards, and none of them were weak. In that instant, he was filled with vitality to the verge of bursting. Such a large amount of essence blood required immediate digestion.
Qianye excused himself without further delay and left Song Zining hanging on the City Tower, drinking in the wind. He quickly arranged a quiet room and entered secluded cultivation after ordering that he was not to be disturbed unless it was an important matter.
Although he had sustained a lot of injuries in the battle, they were fortunately not too serious. Most of them came from the backlash while he was launching frantic attacks at Luther. The injuries on his body surface weren’t alarming, but the internal organs were a bit problematic.
Qianye sat down in the isolated room and slowly activated his blood core. He didn’t know many secret arts, and the only one with healing powers was the Yin family’s Nurturing Rain Art. But compared to the strength he currently possessed, both the speed and effect of the Nurturing Rain Art were mediocre at best. It was probably faster to use blood energy for healing.
The blood core began to pulse in a moment and its rate gradually increased. The hibernating blood energies also showed signs of activity, and his injuries would start to heal wherever they passed. Most of his surface injuries were gone in a mere half a night’s time.
The night was still young at this moment. Qianye circulated the Song Clan Ancient Scroll and began digesting the massive amounts of essence vitality in this body.
One day and night passed in a single meditation session.
His digestion speed was much faster than before. All of the vital essence blood turned into darkness origin power, which was then absorbed by the dark golden and purple blood energies. Quite surprisingly, both the Wings of Inception and the Book of Darkness were lying low without competing for the darkness origin power.
By the time the final bit of darkness origin power was absorbed by the dark golden blood energy, a warm current suddenly gushed out from his chest and spread to his entire body in the blink of an eye. It was inexplicably comfortable. He hurriedly looked inside in astonishment and found that some specks of golden light had flowed out of his blood core at some point. These radiant blobs would make his entire body feel warm and comfortable wherever they went, and his vitality seemed to be growing all the more exuberant.
The specks were great in number, and would gradually fade away after traveling through the bloodstream for some time. Qianye focused on one of them and his vision quickly zoomed in down to the smallest detail.
He saw that the golden specks weren’t made of pure light. There was an incomparably small granule at its center, surrounded by diffuse golden mist akin to a burning flame. The granule grew smaller and smaller as the combustion continued until it eventually disappeared.
At the sight of this, Qianye was slightly shaken as he thought of a certain possibility.Previous Chapter Next Chapter