Chapter 456: Extremes of Progress
Song Qisi’s brows jumped as he finally discovered something wrong with the ambiance. He said with an apologetic smile, “These people have fought quite well in the past, and the troops under their command are the elites of our Song Clan. They’ve accumulated quite a bit of contribution already. Moreover, they're all from your uncle’s generation. Zining, you’re still quite young after all, and one must rely on experience when marching armies into battle. With their assistance, you can ignore the unimportant matters related to the actual army formations and concentrate on advancing your cultivation. Isn’t that even better?”
Song Zining said nothing after listening to these words. He only waved his fan constantly, causing those scantily-clad ladies, especially Song Qisi’s great-great-granddaughter, to flash past the old man repeatedly.
Song Qisi’s smile became more and more forced, but he couldn’t drop his smile or avert his gaze yet.
Song Zining spoke only after a moment of silence, “And if I don’t agree, my branch of the family will be punished, is that right?”
Song Qisi laughed dryly and said, “We naturally don’t dare to treat the clan lord disrespectfully. It’s also fine if Little Seven doesn’t want to join the battle. We’ll only reduce family allowances according to the rules. It’s not a big deal.”
Even Qianye understood what would happen should Song Zining refuse. The elder assembly wouldn’t touch Clan Lord Song Zhongnian, but Song Zining’s father would be implicated. An allowance reduction didn’t sound like much, but the reduction could be ten percent or it could very well be ninety percent.
Song Zining’s mother passed early, and his father was a man of frail constitution who rarely left the depths of the Enlightenment manor. Now that Duchess An was in isolation, it could be said that he had lost his protection. Daily life under another person’s roof was the most troublesome—there was no telling what would happen.
This method was truly ruthless.
But if Song Zining dared go back at this time, he might not have the freedom to return. He would be punished for a year at least, and it might even involve “isolated reflection”.
“What did the clan lord say?” Song Zining suddenly asked.
Song Qisi replied, “The clan lord is naturally unwilling, but since the elder assembly has decided thus, Song Zhongnian can only agree. This is also our family’s rule.” The last words were spoken with great righteousness and power.
Song Zining suddenly let out a lonely smile. “The clan lord hasn’t exercised veto-power this year, has he?”
Song Qisi laughed. “Why would he need to take it that far for such a small matter?” The man had instinctively sensed that things weren’t doing so well. Song Zhongnian was Song Zining’s grandfather. There was definitely something out of the ordinary since Song Zining was addressing him as clan lord.
Song Zining nodded with a tired expression and said, “Great Granduncle, you’ve all made a mistake. This Blackflow City isn’t mine, but Qianye’s. You’ll have to talk to him if you have any suggestions.”
“This…” Song Qisi wasn’t expecting such a situation. He glanced toward Qianye but didn’t know what to say.
Blackflow City wasn’t worth anything. The true value was with Dark Flame.
However, status and identity were the most important in the eyes of Song Qisi and the clan elders. Qianye was a mere Evernight civilian and still a person of low social status despite his status as a high-ranking expeditionary army officer. There was no way to bring him into public view without a noble title.
That was why the Song clan had never considered this person before. Their only worry was Zhao Yuying, but the Zhao clan was too busy dealing with its own problems in this bloody battle, and they had never even mobilized Dark Flame before. This went to show that they didn’t care about this mercenary corps at all. Why then shouldn’t the Song clan make use of it?
Song Qisi became secretly apprehensive after seeing Qianye. This was born of a habitual line of thought that it was impossible for ordinary civilians to possess combat strength exceeding their rank.
In truth, this Song clan elder was somewhat angry with Song Zining. His actions and words today had more or less realized the allegations of disobedience. In the old man’s eyes, the elder assembly was indeed insightful and farsighted in claiming that Song Zining was not worth nurturing. What use was a disloyal descendant?
Hence, after Song Zining pushed everything onto Qianye, the first thought Song Qisi had was that the former wanted to haggle. It was just that he needed to do some calculations before naming the price.
Song Zining’s expression had returned to normal at this point, seemingly free of any worry. Qianye, however, had been listening from the side and knew that he must be feeling uncomfortable. As the Song clan lord, Song Zhongnian possessed at least two or three chances to exercise veto power, but he wasn’t willing to use it for this matter. Regardless of the reasons, he was still planning to let Song Zining suffer this grievance.
Qianye stood up slowly without waiting for Song Qisi to finish mulling over his choice of words and walked over to Song Zining’s side. There, he placed a hand on Song Zining’s shoulder and said coldly, “I built Dark Flame alone, and this city is mine through and through. Zining’s investment will naturally secure him a share of profits, but I have no intention of working with the Song clan.”
Anger flashed through the depths of Song Qisi’s eyes. Throughout the many years of handling matters, he had rarely, if ever, encountered a situation where he was declined before he had even spoken. He squeezed out a smile after some thought and said, “What future does this desolate land have? The present bloody battle is a great opportunity to gain merit. If you hand over Dark Flame, our Song clan will give you a background. This old man will find you a branch family and grant you the surname Song. This will be the foundation for your future noble title.”
Qianye was speechless. He simply couldn’t understand the reasoning of these Song clan people. He couldn’t help but break into a laugh before saying, “Song clan’s employment strategy is truly eye-opening. I’ve heard about how your esteemed clan values only the direct lines and restrains the branches. I fear your Song clan surname isn’t worth that much.”
The Song clan’s problem wasn’t a secret throughout the empire, and it was also a frequent topic of gossip. But nobles naturally wouldn’t expose things so unceremoniously like Qianye.
Song Qisi flew into a humiliated rate. “Not worth much?! But even if you approach the Zhao clan, that Zhao Yuying won’t grant you their clan surname and identity!” The Zhao clan was the proudest among the major clans—it was the only family that refused to intermarry with landowning households, let alone bring someone of a different surname into their clan.
Qianye laughed. “You may leave now. From now on, this place doesn’t welcome people from the Song Clan. Additionally, the area 500 kilometers from Blackflow City belongs to my war zone. I don’t want to see any Song clan squads showing up here. Otherwise, I won’t guarantee their safety.”
Song Qisi was both shocked and angered. He shot up from his seat and roared, “What’s the meaning of this?”
Qianye said coldly, “My intentions are clear. I do not welcome Song clan people on my land. There’s no telling what will happen if your combat squads so much as take one step into the area. I might accidentally kill them if my mood is sour.”
“You!” Song Qisi was so angry that his fingers were trembling, but he couldn’t find any words to retort. He wanted to spit out some fierce words but was also afraid that Qianye would suddenly attack him. His nephew was still unconscious outside. In the end, he waved his sleeve and said furiously, “You barbaric plebian!”
Qianye laughed coldly as he summoned some Dark Flame officers and ordered them to send Song Qisi’s entourage out of the city, politely “escorting” them all the way to the borders of the Blackflow War Zone. This action was no different from expelling them, an immediate realization of Qianye’s previous words about not allowing Song clan members on his land. Song Qisi was so angry that his vision grew dim, but no one really cared about his wrath.
After dealing with these matters, Qianye turned to Song Zining and said, “Your Song clan members’ insult lines are all the same.”
Song Zining leaned back into the chair and sighed. “The Zhang clan is powerful, the Zhao clan is noble, but what does our Song clan have? We are lacking in martial prowess, so all we can do is discuss reason through literature and make up complicated rules as a display of our power. After such a long time, those old men have turned into coarse, uneducated characters who are even less honorable than ourselves.”
Qianye glared at Song Zining and said, “Aren’t you the same?!”
Song Zining became more spirited as he opened his fan and laughed. “You’re inferior to me in every aspect of the four arts. What are you if not a barbarian?”
Qianye only replied with a snort, “It seems I have to let you taste true barbarism.” With that, he raised his right arm and flexed his wrists.
Song Zining’s eyelids twitched, and his smile immediately turned unnatural. He had no wish to taste the might of the tyrannical Profound Combatant Formula.
Qianye suddenly said, “Let me go back with you to the Song clan and see how uncle is doing.”
Song Zining’s face couldn’t help but turn gloomy, and he spoke only after a good while of silence, “Won’t we be playing right into their hands? The Enlightenment Manor is my great grandmother’s isolation site. It’s even more difficult to enter than the Song clan’s primary residence.”
Song Qisi had made the elder assembly’s forceful intentions quite clear. It was still fine if Song Zining remained outside, but walking into the trap was the worst of strategies. Those old men certainly wouldn’t hold back.
Qianye frowned as though he wanted to say something, but Song Zining said, “I have some channels inside the clan. Let me probe a bit before deciding. Now you see just how many people are after our military contributions, don’t you? The Song clan is only one of them. The longer we hold this piece of fat meat, the more visitors there will be. It’s better to just use it up quickly.”
Qianye nodded, moved by the same thought.
Song Zining suddenly shifted the topic of conversation. “How goes your cultivation? How’s your origin power purity?”
Qianye had quickly opened up all of his nine nodes, and all that was left was to accumulate and purify origin power. His cultivation speed was already a dozen times faster than others because of the Combatant Formula. However, the strength of Qianye’s constitution afforded him a much greater origin power capacity, thus requiring him to spend greater effort to reach advancement.
But Song Zining estimated that Qianye had already reached the final juncture before the champion rank. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have returned in such a short time.
Hearing Song Zining’s question, Qianye stretched his hand and shot out a beam of origin power. The beam lit up the entire room with its scorching brilliance and caused a sharp rise in temperature—it was as though a small sun had formed on the tip of his fingers.
An autumn leaf floated past Song Zining to filter out the powerful light and heat. Song Zining was completely shocked when he was finally able to see the shape of Qianye’s origin power. He shot up from his chair and gasped. “Origin Distillation?!”
He hadn’t seen wrong—that which had shot out from Qianye’s fingertip was a tangible line of liquid. This was a sign that his origin power had been condensed to the extreme and subsequently liquefied.
“How can this be? It shouldn’t be possible to reach this level even with the Glory Chapter.” Song Zining was greatly surprised.
Qianye withdrew his origin power and said, “It wasn’t possible at first, but I discovered that I can temper it once more with the Glory Chapter after reaching a bottleneck, so I tried it out.”
Song Zining did some calculation and said in amazement, “Re-temper? Then just how much origin power would you need to advance?!”
“Don’t forget that I have the Profound Combatant Formula.”
Only when Qianye actually cultivated with the Profound Combatant Formula did he realize just how powerful this art was. It relied on the pressure of the great sea vortex to crack open the void and draw upon the endless void origin power therein. This alone increased his cultivation speed to many times that of the forty-ninth cycle Combatant Formula.
Additionally, void origin power was inherently different from the natural origin power of the world. Ordinary daybreak origin power would be reduced to a tenth after being purified by the Glory Chapter, but two portions of void origin power would yield one portion of pure origin power.
Qianye had thus refined all the origin power in his body once more and liquefied them. He was now at the extremes of progress, the last juncture before the champion rank. In terms of origin power purity, he was equal to the major clan geniuses who had suppressed their ranks before ascending to the champion level. His return to Blackflow was to find a suitable place to undergo isolated cultivation and formally advance to the champion rank.
Song Zining laughed loudly after listening to Qianye’s words. “Just in time then! Take a look at this!” He fished out a jade tablet from his pocket and passed it to Qianye.Previous Chapter Next Chapter