Nangong Xiaoniao’s face turned beet red as she replied furiously, “Isn’t it clear enough? M-My childhood incident… you all know about it already. Why are you asking me again?”
“No, not that reason,” Song Zining shook his head and continued, “with Nangong Yuanbo’s identity and status, what kind of woman can’t he have? As a clan lord, he didn’t hesitate to offend the Zhao clan, the expeditionary army, and Red Scorpion at the same time. Do you really think he’ll do that just for your body? If Nangong Yuanbo were such a person, he would have never become the clan lord in the first place.”
A barely noticeable wisp of anxiety flashed through Nangong Xiaoniao’s eyes. Song Zining leant forward while staring into her eyes and asked word by word, “Nangong Xiaoniao, just how much are you hiding from us?”
“No, none!” Nangong Xiaoniao was frantic. She couldn’t help but lower her head under Song Zining’s sharp gaze and couldn’t look at at all.
Song Zining said in a serious tone, “I don’t want to help you, but I have to help Qianye. He’s already in deep trouble because of you, and it might bring him even greater danger if you keep hiding these things from us. You don’t think the Iron Curtain will be here forever, do you? What will he do once the Iron Curtain disappears?”
Nangong Xiaoniao crossed her little hands in front of her, trembling and hesitant.
“I'll only know how to prevent the disaster if you tell me the reason. Otherwise, it’ll be too late once the Iron Curtain disappears. I don’t want Qianye to be ignorant about what he’s fighting for when all the experts of the Nangong family descend upon him.”
Nangong Xiaoniao’s face turned pale, but she finally shook her head and said, “I have no secrets. I’d better return to Red Scorpion if you’re not willing to have me here.”
Song Zining sighed. “You can stay as long as you want, but do take care.”
Nangong Xiaoniao wanted to say something but seemed hesitant. In the end, she just left.
Song Zining walked slowly over to the wall and gazed at the war zone map for quite a while. He then reached out and drew a line over it, passing through the human territory borders into the Dark Nation and all the way over the border of the continent. After passing through the void was another continent and another nation before finally reaching neutral territory.
It wasn’t the first time Qianye had ridden an airship, but he was still shaken every time he saw the earth flit pass beneath his feet.
The old airship let out a deafening roar as the entire cabin trembled—it was as though the vessel would fall apart at any moment with no comfort to speak of. Cabins that have been used for a long time would always have a peculiar odor to them, an inexplicable mixture of body odor, tobacco, and alcohol.
A series of rolling smoke emerged from one side of the airship's rear and dragged out a long trail behind it. The occasional gust of wind from behind would blow some of the dense smoke into the cabin, and the odor would linger on the passengers for a long time before dispersing.
They avoided public air routes for this journey and didn’t use Zhao clan vessels either. Instead, they went via a private route just as Qianye had when he went to the Western Continent last time. This time, however, Qianye and Zhao Junhong occupied the two best rooms on the airship. The vessel was carrying dozens of other people, and all their destinations were other continents.
Qianye threw himself onto the bedding. He wanted to rest, but he just couldn’t calm down as countless thoughts ran chaotically through his mind. He simply opened his eyes and stared at the mottled ceiling without the slightest bit of movement.
The airship passed over mountains, oceans, and open land to finally arrive at an airship port tens of times larger than the previous. At a glance, one could see a dozen-odd airships in the air—some rushing in and others traveling into the distance. There was no shortage of military battleships and large-scale military transports among them. After each transport airship landed, the cabin doors would open and large squads of soldiers would march out from within.
Just from this airship port, one could see that the empire’s war machine had already started running.
Zhao Junhong brought Qianye to a high-grade but unlabeled small airship, ready for immediate takeoff. Their speed gradually increased as several origin sails opened up. The ship finally leaped into the void between the continents, heading for the Western Continent.
One day later, the airship landed at an airship port on the borders of the Western Continent where it would quickly resupply before flying anew. Zhao Junhong would be turning back to the Evernight battlefield from this point.
The vessel body had barely touched the ground when the urgent sound of the cabin doors being pulled open was heard and Zhao Yuying walked in with large strides.
“How have you been?! Little Five, did you miss mommy?” Qianye received a fairly typical greeting from Zhao Yuying upon meeting her, as well as a violent hug.
“This…” Qianye didn’t know how to respond to such a greeting.
Fortunately, Zhao Yuying didn’t need him to reply either. She turned to Zhao Junhong and gave him a powerful slap on the back. “Second Brother, how come you’ve broken through again just after a few days?”
Zhao Junhong was well prepared. He took a side-step toward the cabin doors and said with a laugh, “My martial prowess is just so-so. I can’t catch up to you no matter how many times I advance.”
Unexpectedly, Zhao Yuying glared at him with wide eyes and said furiously, “Zhao Junhong! Stop trying to expose my weakness in such a roundabout way! I only lost a couple of tabletop strategy games against you, and that’s because this mommy was careless, alright?!”
Zhao Junhong smiled. “I was only fortunate. If that were a real battle, you can naturally break through the central army, and the situation really might be different.”
Zhao Yuying was immediately satisfied and said, “As long as you understand!” Apparently, she hadn’t discerned the meaning in Zhao Junghon’s words at all. Since he already knew Zhao Yuying would break into the central army, how could he, with his solid commanding skills, not make any preparations?
Zhao Junhong didn’t argue, either. He only nodded at Qianye and said, “I’m relieved now that Yuying is here to accompany you. Let us part here. I’ll be returning to Evernight.”
“Zhao Second Young Noble…” Qianye paused for a moment. “Take care.”
Zhao Junhong smiled faintly. “The Iron Curtain is merely a game. We brothers will meet again outside of it after you advance to the champion rank.”
Qianye watched as Zhao Junhong left with a plethora of feelings in his heart. The latter hadn’t brought up the matter of the Iron Curtain very often during their limited interactions during this period. He also stated that neither he nor Zhao Jundu had the intention to officially recruit Qianye into the Zhao clan combat unit despite his many contributions under Zhao Yuying’s name.
At noon two days later, Qianye and Zhao Yuying stood before the main gates of the West Pole Manor.
The Zhao clan residence was like a small city, and its main gate was no different from a city gate—the tower therein was fifty meters tall and a hundred meters wide. Above the red doors studded with copper spikes were the words “Swallow Cloud Zhao Clan”. Every character spanned several square meters, with strokes of silver and hooks of gold, filled with myriad variations.
Qianye and Zhao Yuying alighted at the residence gates and got into a vehicle for in-residence use.
Once they had gotten onto the car, Zhao Yuying waved her hand in a carefree manner and said, “Have someone send a letter to Duke Chengen! But afternoon is when uncle sorts through military affairs so he might not have the time. You should come to my place first.”
And just like that, the car started up without waiting for Qianye to speak. The vehicle half-spun through the plaza before rushing toward the Duke You Residence on the eastern side.
Meanwhile, the two followers standing beside their transit point were completely ignored by everyone. Zhao Yuying didn’t even spare them a glance, and Qianye naturally didn’t know that they were actually subordinates from the Duke Chengen Residence.
After passing two streets in succession, a group of cheerful young descendants walked out from the side, and judging from their clothes, they were all lineal scions.
A young man at their center looked up and saw Zhao Yuying on the car. He immediately became excited and walked over hurriedly while calling out in a loud voice, “Yuying! You’ve returned to the residence?”
Zhao Yuying’s relationship with this young man seemed quite good, and she was also in a great mood today. She instructed the driver to stop and got down the car.
The young man walked over swiftly until he was standing before Zhao Yuying; his movement techniques were quite impressive. Tall, handsome, and radiant, it would seem he had also inherited the characteristics of the Zhao clan bloodline. Additionally, his smile was sincere and carefree.
“Yuying, why did you run out when your injuries haven’t healed yet? A good friend of mine brought some boiling dragon powder, and it has great effects in treating origin power damage. I was thinking about how to hand it to you when you appeared. I’ll have someone send it over in a while!”
Zhao Yuying laughed. “It’s not good for you if my injuries heal fast! Weren’t you miserable enough last time? Do you want to get beaten up by me again?”
The young man immediately felt a bit awkward, but he laughed loudly and said, “Do I give up fighting just because I can’t beat you and Jundu? It’s merely being beaten up, nothing too big. Moreover, you might not beat me in terms of strategy.”
His eyes turned toward Qianye in a fairly casual glance, but he was slightly astonished after seeing Qianye’s excessively handsome appearance. He immediately asked with a smile, “Yuying, is this your friend?”
This person’s discourse was fitting for the occasion, and his temperament was extraordinary. Qianye had a good impression of him, but he could sense a wisp of cautiousness in the other party’s question.
It was a mystery just what Zhao Yuying was thinking when she placed a hand on Qianye’s shoulder and said, “He’s my best friend!”
The last two words were stressed quite a bit.
The young man’s smile became unnatural at that moment, but he still retained his elegance. “Yuying’s friend is my friend. Welcome to the Zhao clan. Where are you two headed?”
“Qianye has just arrived, and there isn’t a place for him yet. So he’ll live at my place for the time being.” These words evoked peculiar expressions with everyone in the surrounding. Zhao Yuying waved her hand at the young man as though she didn’t see any of it and said, “We’ll be leaving first. Let’s compete again once my injuries are healed!”
“Naturally.” The young man watched them leave with a smile, and his face only turned gloomy after they disappeared around the corner.
A person nearby who had been deep in thought suddenly spoke, “Young Master Zhuxiu, we’ve never seen Miss Yuying bring anyone to stay at her residence!”
Zhao Zhuxiu’s expression changed several times. In the end, he instructed, “Go and investigate who he is. There’s no need to do anything, though, just send the information to Zhao Fenglei. Even if I have to engage in a confrontation, it’ll have to wait after I break through.”
“Young Master is wise.”
Zhao Zhuxiu snorted as he glared fiercely at the Duke You residence before leaving together with the group.
The Zhao residence was large, but news traveled extremely fast.
Duke You was reading a book in his study when a long-time follower knocked on the door and entered. He then spoke into Duke You’s ears, following which, the latter’s expression revealed a mixture of joy and worry. He pondered for quite a while before saying, “Yuying and Qianye…It’s fine if Qianye really is the kid from back then.”
“Master, but what do we do for the time being? There is no shortage of lowly slaves who like to gossip.”
Duke You laughed loudly. “Doesn’t matter, let them say what they want. In any case, the headache is on Duke Chengen, not us!”
Within the Duke Yan residence, Zhao Fenglei started stomping around as he roared, “What did you say? Zhao Yuying brought a man to live in her residence?!”
The follower trembled in fear. “Y-Yes. This lowly one saw it personally.”
“Bang!” Zhao Fenglei slapped the man. “You saw them personally. How could you just let them go like that?!”
The subordinate spoke repeatedly, “This lowly one is incapable. I’m guilty! I’m guilty!”
In truth, Zhao Yuying’s notoriety was well known throughout the residence. Not to mention a small follower like him, even Zhao Fenglei himself might not dare say anything if he were present. Zhao Yuying would not hesitate to attack anyone.
In another corner of the Zhao clan residence, there was a little building situated amidst the rocky mountains and lush vegetation. There was also a pond of jade-colored water with strands of clear mist floating up continuously, but it would spread no further than the courtyard walls. One would feel his spirit become clear and invigorated just by staying here for a while. This was due to a massive origin array beneath the courtyard transforming pure daybreak origin power for those within the courtyard to use.
There was a small building near the courtyard gates in which lived an elderly old woman who was currently dozing off. This Dawn Courtyard was a famous place within the Zhao clan residence, but it was also a forbidden area. Not only outsiders but even family descendants had to hand over an invitation token before gaining access.
Zhao Ruoxi was sitting alone near the window on the second floor and yawning lazily. A maid beside her said, “Young miss seems to be in better spirit these days!”
“Really?” Zhao Ruoxi smiled lightly, but there was a faint trace of bitterness within her expression. She exhaled a lengthy sigh in self-deprecation and said, “I’m only less worn out today, but that can already be considered spirited. A person like me must be pretty rare, right?”
The maid replied hurriedly, “That’s not true! Those ordinary people are also born with tiring fates. How can they compare to you? You’re destined to be a major character who will go down in the annals of history!”
Zhao Ruoxi sighed. “You know, I would rather be like an ordinary person. I want to be free to visit everywhere.”
Zhao Ruoxi suddenly asked after a moment of silence, “Tell me the truth. Has the recent medicine dose increased?”
The maid was somewhat flustered, but in the end, she had no other choice. She bit her lower lip and said softly, “Only a two-part increase.”
“As I thought.” Zhao Ruoxi laughed wryly. She reached out to take the mirror on the table and glanced at her own reflection within. “Is there anything new in the residence? Tell me about them.”
The maid felt that it was a good opportunity to change the topic and spoke hurriedly with a smile, “There is indeed something interesting! On Duke You’s side, Miss Zhao Yuying has just returned and has reportedly brought a man back to live in her residence. We were just saying how the Duke You and Yan residences are about to be lively! So many young masters are seeking Miss Yuying’s hand in marriage.”
Zhao Ruoxi was indeed interested. “Sister Yuying has never fancied any men before. Just what kind of person is he?”
“It’s said that he’s extremely handsome and even comparable to Young Master Jundu. Ah, right, many of my sisters say that his looks don’t lose out even when compared to those vampires and demonkin! His name is also quite tasteful. He’s called Qianye, but no one knows his surname.”
“Bang!” The mirror in Zhao Ruoxi’s hands fell to the floor and shattered.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Legion ED: Moxie