Zhao Jundu was only five years old back then when he accidentally witnessed his infant brother in a heavily injured state and his parents fighting. The young boy wasn’t able to figure out the gist of matters, but when he came to, his brother was already nowhere to be found.
Zhao Weihuang let out yet another long sigh after recalling the night long discussion he had with Zhao Jundu before his departure.
Qianye, on the other hand, was filled with inexplicably complicated emotions when he glanced at Zhao Weihuang again. There were too many doubtful points regarding the matters of the past, but to him, all of those were minor details he no longer wanted to know.
“Where is that crystal my mother left? Can you give it to me?” Qianye asked. This was one of the reasons he had returned to the Zhao clan.
Zhao Weihuang pondered for a moment before producing the crystal from his chest pocket.
Qianye’s hand was even trembling a bit when he received the object. The crystal’s quality was ordinary, and its craftsmanship was coarse. The drawing was quite different from those normally seen, but he immediately understood the meaning after laying his hands on it—the ancient runes upon it indeed represented his name.
Qianye put the crystal fragment away with great care. This was perhaps the only connection he had with the mother he had never seen before.
After recounting the story of the past, there was little left to say between the two men. Zhao Weihuang’s eyes gradually turned sharp as he recovered the posture of a leader who had long held the fate of many in his hands. He scanned Qianye from head to toe and suddenly tossed his sword over.
Qianye caught the blade out of reflex.
“This sword is called Slaughter, and it has accompanied me in battle for eighteen whole years. It has cut down countless enemies and drunk so much blood that the blade’s edge has gradually developed a sanguineous hue. It can be considered a greater success when blood flows wherever the blade points—it can then be considered a divine weapon. I see that you’re somewhat capable, so I’ll gift it to you.”
Qianye was astonished. This weapon called Slaughter could actually develop itself over time and was undoubtedly a rare weapon. This blade having followed Zhao Weihuang for eighteen years meant that it had been nurtured for the same length of time. Just what kind of character was the Northwestern General Zhao Weihaung? The Fire Beacon Corps had been fighting non-stop since its founding. Throughout the eighteen years, the sanguineous glow on the blade had grown increasingly brilliant. Its killing intent retracted, and there was even a gentle aura about it. It was seemingly not far off from the greater success stage.
A divine weapon like this was invaluable and not something money could buy. Yet, Zhao Weihuang had casually tossed it to Qianye as though it were an ordinary origin sword.
Qianye flicked the blade with his finger and listened as the sword emitted a continuous hum—the blade’s tip was shrouded in a hazy sanguineous mist. His basic sword technique had been refined by the Book of Darkness. As an expert in swordplay, he naturally couldn’t stop sighing in admiration at the three-meter sword.
But he still passed Slaughter back to Zhao Weihuang. “This sword is not a very good fit for my martial dao. I already have the heavy-sword East Peak. It isn’t as good a blade as Slaughter, but it’s more suitable for me.”
Zhao Weihuang was startled upon hearing his words. “East Peak? Song clan’s East Peak?!”
Qianye hadn’t expected Zhao Weihuang to actually know this blade—it was quite the marvel. With the latter’s status, he probably wouldn’t even put a grade seven or eight weapon in his eyes, not to mention East Peak—a weapon from an external storehouse that any descendant could choose. For instance, Slaughter was a grade-eight weapon in terms of imperial classification, and it would become grade-nine after greater success—only one grade below the Ten Grand Magnums.
There was nothing left to hide since the conversation had reached this point. Qianye thus recounted the process by which he had obtained East Peak.
Zhao Weihuang’s eyes lit up as he said, “Did you say Elder Lu? Then, there shouldn’t be a mistake. Go and bring East Peak for me to see.” He summoned an aide and had him retrieve the sword from Zhao Yuying’s residence as per Qianye’s instructions.
After the aide left, Zhao Weihuang beckoned at the air, bringing Slaughter into his hand with a sharp cry. Immediately afterward, he performed a slash at lightning speed and cut down at Qianye!
The sword intent engulfed half the hall and Qianye simply had no time to evade. He only felt a wisp of intense power travel down from this forehead and past his entire body. The clothes in front of his chest were suddenly cut apart, and even the essence gold chainmail underneath was divided into two. However, there wasn’t the slightest bit of damage to his skin. One could see from this single strike that Zhao Weihuang was already at the very peak both in terms of accuracy and might.
His perfect body was revealed after his clothes were cut open. There was a faint luster to his incomparably exquisite skin—it was just that he was excessively pale. Zhao Weihuang was surprised to find that there was no scar, and his brows rose as he put down the sword in his hand.
“Jundu said that your hidden injuries hadn’t healed, but it seems you have encountered other fortunes. Not only have you recovered, but your constitution has even reached such a degree. It’s quite the rare case.” Zhao Weihuang’s eyes flashed with delight. “I was at first worried that the Combatant Formula would have caused too much damage to your body and that it won’t be enough to suppress the might of the qi vortex even if you change to the Zhao clan’s secret arts. But apparently, there’s no such problem.”
Qianye was drenched in cold sweat after being caught off guard. It was fortunate that he had placed a lot of focus on concealment after forming his blood core. At this moment, not only was his Bloodline Concealment completely activated, but the auric flame blood had also sunk to the depths of his vessels. The Book of Darkness And Wings of Inception had even formed barriers of light—one gold and one dark—to envelope his blood core layer by layer, preventing it from being detected.
Zhao Weihuang only used an ordinary origin power scan despite being a divine champion. This, fortunately, allowed Qianye to escape his eyes.
Qianye immediately spoke, “I don’t need to change cultivation arts anymore.”
Zhao Weihuang frowned. “It’s not that the Combatant Formula can’t bring you through the advancement, but the shearing forces of the condensed vortex will even surpass the level a grade thirteen or fourteen champion can withstand. Your constitution right now is quite good, but in consideration of your future development, it’s best not to take this risk.”
Qianye said stubbornly, “I’ve already cultivated the Song clan’s secret art…” With that, he condensed a small mass of origin power in his hand—much like a big drop of water.
Zhao Weihuang immediately recognized that Qianye’s origin power had liquefied and reached the extremes of development. He gazed absentmindedly for a moment before saying, “Song Clan’s secret arts? Could it be that the seventh young noble of the Highland Song clan gave it to you?”
Zhao Weihuang went silent for a moment. The Zhao and Song clan secret arts were roughly the same in terms of their levels. Even if the Zhao arts were superior, the difference would be fairly limited. And the most important point when considering a cultivation art was how suitable it was for the cultivator. Since Qianye had been able to cultivate this art to such a degree, it was proof enough that the art was most suited for him—as such, there was no need to cultivate a new one.
At this moment, the aide who had gone to fetch East Peak entered with a knock and delivered the blade.
Zhao Weihuang picked up East Peak and weighed it in his hand before nodding to himself. He carefully studied the blade’s edge and even used Slaughter to slash at it. Even with the latter’s sharpness, Zhao Weihuang’s slash left only a barely noticeable mark on East Peak. If this were a real battle, it could be said that East Peak possessed the ability to contend against Slaughter for a short while.
“This is the one. This East Peak indeed comes from Old Lu, and it could be said that this is the final product of his career. It can be considered fate that you were able to obtain this sword.”
Qianye was fairly astonished after hearing Zhao Weihuang give such a high assessment. In his eyes, there was really nothing special about East Peak apart from the special material of the blade, its sturdiness, and its weight. Song Zining had fiddled with it several times and was also of the same opinion.
It was just that Qianye was fairly used to it now after such a long period. Moreover, the Book of Darkness had refined Nirvanic Rend with East Peak as the foundation. Now that Qianye’s physique was fairly powerful and he had produced the auric flame blood, any other weapon felt too light in his hands.
“What good points does this East Peak have apart from being heavy and hard?” Qianye couldn’t help but ask.
Zhao Weihuang flicked the edge of the blade and said, “It’s not entirely correct to say that this blade is Old Lu’s final product because he didn’t quite finish it. More accurately, the sword is only a half-finished product.”
Zhao Weihuang understood Qianye’s suspicions and said, “I and Old Lu are old acquaintances, and I’ve heard him mention his intentions regarding East Peak back then. The sword’s original intention was to draw upon the great momentum of the mountains and seas to defeat the wielder’s enemies without any fancy tricks. Just from the name, East Peak, one can see just how grand his aspirations were. Back then, Old Lu had an odd piece of metal originating from the extracontinental void, which he soaked in the fresh blood of a void beast and spent several years just to produce East Peak’s body. But I heard Old Lu thereafter failed to find a suitable material to perfect East Peak. Only after seeing this sword did I know that the rumors were indeed true.”
Qianye hadn’t expected East Peak to actually have such a story behind it, but that was only normal. After obtaining this sword, Qianye felt that its might far surpassed his expectations, but he hadn’t expected the blade to have such an extraordinary background.”
Zhao Weihuang tested out a few stances with East Peak and said, “Since you already have East Peak, it’s natural that you won’t feel comfortable with Slaughter. But a matter impossible for Old Lu doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for our Zhao clan. I happen to have some Heavenly Dew Silver in my hand. I’ll hand it to the Crafts Manor tomorrow and have the smiths think of a way to incorporate them into East Peak. It should be able to raise East Peak’s might by one grade. It’s just that the sword’s weight will increase greatly. Can you handle it?”
Qianye pondered for a moment and replied, “I can use anything below five tons with ease.”
“Good, leave East Peak here. We’ll only know how long the reforging will take after the craftsmen take a look.”
“I’ll leave first now if the clan lord has no further instructions.”
“Jundu has already ordered people to clean up his Ketu Violet Courtyard for you before he left.”
Qianye gave it some thought. “I guess it’s better not to keep moving around all the time. I want to return to Evernight Continent after my ascension. The military affairs there are in a critical state.”
Zhao Weihuang sighed as he watched Qianye’s receding figure. Qianye was respectful and courteous toward him but never called him father.
After leaving Zhao Weihuang’s Martial Hall, Qianye walked out of the Duke Chengen residence in the company of two aides. He had just stepped through the doors when he encountered several dozen people who seemed to have been waiting for some time.
A white-bearded old man stepped forward and said with a somewhat squeaky voice, “Is this Young Noble Qianye before me?”
Qianye was somewhat startled as he replied, “That is me. What seems to be the matter?”
The old man replied with a smile, “You’ve finally appeared, Young Noble. Our princess wishes to see you. Please follow this lowly one for a while if Young Noble doesn’t have any other matters!”
“Princess?” Qianye’s pupils shrunk.
“It is indeed Princess Gaoyi.”
Zhao Weihuang’s aides shot each other a glance. One of them stepped forth and whispered in Qianye’s ears, confirming the other party’s identity. However, he said nothing more apart from that.
Qianye’s countenance turned cold as he said calmly, “Then I’ll trouble you to lead the way.”
“It’s no trouble. Please follow this lowly one.”
The old man turned and walked ahead. The group of followers, on the other hand, separated into two lines and, intentionally or otherwise, placed Qianye between them. Qianye sneered secretly as he calmly followed them. One of Zhao Weihuang’s two followers followed along, while the other went back inside.
Princess Gaoyi’s Lucid Calm Palace could be considered quite far from the Martial Hall and took a fair bit of time to arrive on foot.
Qianye paused slightly on the plaza before the palace hall. Glancing over, he could see that the Lucid Calm Palace was completely different from the other buildings in the Zhao clan. The maids here were also different in both the uniform they wore and their bearing. Moreover, it was clear that the servants moving about busily had all been castrated—this was a rule enforced only in the imperial palace.
The old man announced their arrival before leading Qianye into the palace hall.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
We wade into more grey waters...
TL: Legion ED: Moxie