Chapter 296: Meeting on the Narrow Path [Volume 5 – A Distance Within Reach]
Song Zining listened attentively to Qianye’s narration and said after a moment of thought, “If you plan to go to the Zhao clan residence, remember not to enter directly for any reason. Contact Zhao Jundu with the token and have him come out and meet you.”
Qianye was momentarily stunned because he hadn’t expected Song Zining to say such a thing. “Do you believe what he said is true?”
Complicated emotions flashed through Song Zining’s eyes. “That fourth young master of the Zhao clan has a vile temperament, but his words hold enormous weight. Besides, with his position and authority, why would he need to recognize a stranger as a brother for no good reason?”
The room fell into a period of silence.
In the end, Song Zining said, “Although the clans will definitely send people from the younger generation to offer birthday congratulations, chances of meeting Zhao Jundu aren’t very big. His position is a bit too high for this. Actually, it’s the Eldest Brother Zhao Junyi and the second brother Zhao Junhong who usually appear in recent public events of this nature.”
The two no longer talked about such stuff and began preparing to set out.
There was quite a distance to cover from Evernight Continent to Highland County in the imperial territory, and Duchess An’s birthday was six days later. Their schedule was already relatively tight.
Most things had been prepared in advance. The problem was that Qianye needed a new identity and a complete makeover in appearance. But there were as many experts in the Song clan as there were clouds in the sky and an excessive disguise definitely wouldn't escape their eyes. Thus, he only made some changes to his temperament, using some medicine to change his skin color, then applying some appropriate changes to his appearance and facial hair.
Qianye’s new identity was called An Renyi. There was indeed such a person, a manager whom Song Zining had taken in two years ago. He was only a couple of years older than Qianye, and the two were similar in build and height. That person was one of Song Zining’s hidden agents who rarely made any public appearance. Moreover, he had recently been dispatched on a faraway mission which required him to have no identity at all.
Originally, Qianye was to assume this identity and participate in the examination. Later on, he would become a guest in the Song clan, thus obtaining a formal identity with which he could make public appearances. But man proposes and God disposes—who would’ve thought he would bump into Zhao Jundu on the Western Continent.
At noon on the third day, the airship on which Song Zining and Qianye were riding landed at the airship port outside of Trade Hill City.
Trade Hill was the capital of the Highland County and also the home city of the Song clan. The city was already incomparable in its prosperity due to the hundreds of years of meticulous development. The region was situated with the Cloud Mountains at its back, and the Lan River at its front.
This place was also the center of transportation for the entire province. The Song clan, founded on commerce, possessed only one province in the empire’s interior. Even if they did cultivate new lands, those places would be outlying locations disjointed from their main clan. Although the land they possessed was limited, it was nonetheless extremely abundant; their natural resources and fertility were many times superior to the harsh frontier fortresses.
Qianye glanced out of the cabin window as the airship gradually descended. He saw that the city was still far in the distance and that the one before them was a small airship port city.
On the parking site which extended into the distance, there were actually dozens of large airships laid out in an endless row. The air was filled with a dense fleet of hovering airships waiting to enter the port while airships landed and took off in turn from the eighteen landing platforms.
Perhaps because Duchess An’s birthday was drawing near, many small to mid-sized airships here bore the insignias of different clans and families. Befitting of a trading clan, the airships bearing the Song clan insignia were mostly freight vehicles.
The aides Song Zining had left behind at the main family had long since arrived to await his arrival. His car was decorated with a crest symbolizing his status as a direct descendant of the Song clan. Even so, they had to queue for nearly half an hour on their way out of the airship port.
Qianye and Song Zining rode the same car, watching as the scenery outside flew past in reverse.
Their destination wasn’t within Trade Hill City, but the “Enlightenment Manor” in the western suburbs where Duchess An resided in seclusion.
But merely by looking at the state of the road, one could discern that the position of this “Enlightenment Manor”, despite being known as a place of seclusion, wasn’t the least inferior to the capital city. It was a majestic road where eight jeeps could travel side by side, not at all smaller than the circumferential main road of Trade Hill City.
Not long after they entered the highway, Qianye saw an 80-meter tall kinetic tower. Such an installation dedicated to providing energy for the illumination and defenses of a single highway could only be seen in the first-class highways of the empire.
There were several jeeps overtaking them from the adjacent lane. “Eh?” An exclamation of surprise was produced from one of the jeeps as the two motorcades crossed each other. Following which, those jeeps made rapid turns and forcefully cut into Song Zining’s convoy.
The driver stomped down on the brakes, causing the tires to emit an ear-piercing screech from the friction.
Song Zining’s body suddenly became as light as a feather. He reached out to the front seat and lifted himself up to hover in empty air. Qianye, on the other hand, braced himself against the side of the car. This caused the steel plate to crunch and cave in while he sat firmly and completely immobile in his seat.
A certain follower sitting at the front seat, however, wasn’t that capable. He crashed headfirst into the windscreen and flew out directly. Afterwards, he slammed into another car with a bang and fell to the ground.
The jeep spun crazily and only stopped after shooting off to the side of the road following a brief impact with the incoming car.
The doors of the opposite jeep opened, and from it jumped a smiling young man.
He spread his arms and called out with an exaggerated voice, “Ah! Isn’t it my beloved seventh brother? What a surprise seeing you here. You have no idea how sad I was all this time!”
He then snapped his fingers toward his back and said angrily, “Get down here! Are you all dumb?! How dare you all sit so boldly on the car in the presence of the Seventh Young Master? I’ll chop off your legs when we get back!”
Dozens of burly men jumped down from the seven or eight jeeps. All of them were warriors whose levels weren’t low at all. They stood properly behind the young man and said in unison, “Greetings, Seventh Young Master.”
Song Zining hadn’t brought a lot of people in the first place. Apart from Qianye and himself, there were only a total of eight warriors spread across three cars. At this moment, all of them had alighted and were standing in confrontation, but their momentum was apparently much weaker.
Qianye’s eyes twitched for a moment as he whispered, “What a broadening of horizons. I thought those fellows from the Sky Snake Gang have come back to life.”
Song Zining asked curiously, “Sky Snake Gang?”
“A third-rate gang I wiped out on Evernight Continent.”
Song Zining let out a couple of dry coughs. He then opened the door, got down, and said with a smile, “Brother Ziqi, how unexpected! Are these your new recruits? They look rather unfamiliar. Where are those old people?”
Song Ziqi’s eyes overflowed with coldness. “There was an accident recently, and my losses are great. But as you can see, I’ve already supplemented my staff. I’ll definitely recoup my losses, right? Little Seven?”
Song Zining only smiled without replying.
Song Ziqi glanced at the follower who had fallen on the ground and said, “Haven’t I collected a little bit of interest here? Oh, he can still move. He’s quite the tenacious one.”
He had just finished speaking when a nearby jeep driver started the engine and immediately drove toward the heavily injured follower!
The expressions of the warriors on Song Zining’s side changed drastically. Someone immediately rushed out to grab the collapsed follower and retreated immediately. But his movements were just a little bit too slow—he was grazed by the jeep’s body and staggered back several steps with a pale expression.
As the jeep started up, Qianye suddenly felt a penetrative killing intent lock onto him. He looked up and saw, behind Song Ziqi, a gloomy-looking man with a short beard glaring at him with a frosty smile.
That rank-nine warrior was emitting a constant scent of blood and gunpowder. One could tell at a glance that this was an elite veteran who reaped human lives as he would flax. Such a character was fairly difficult to handle. In an arena where there were no restrictions on life and death, such a person would be even more dangerous than some warriors of a higher level.
Qianye smiled and moved his left hand ever so slightly. However, Song Zining reached out and pressed down on his shoulder, whereupon Qianye retracted his aura and stood silently to one side.
Song Zining replied indifferently, “Since Third Brother is in such a hurry to claim all the interest, then be my guest.”
Song Ziqi took a couple of steps forward and whispered as he approached Song Zining, “Do you think I’ll fall for such a dumb trick? Killing on the streets for no good reason will result in a forfeiture of successor rights. Heh, heh, I only wanted his legs just now.”
Song Ziqi shot a glance at Qianye and thrust his consciousness toward him in an unbridled manner. He then revealed a mocking smile and said, “This is your guest warrior? He’s not even rank-nine! Seventh Brother, is your eyesight growing worse or are you so poor that you can’t afford a rank-nine soldier? Tell big brother here if you’re really tight on money. I’ll help you pay for one! hahaha…”
Song Ziqi turned toward Qianye and reached out to pat his head like a household pet.
Song Zining was smiling just as before but a cold leaf-shaped gleam emerged between his right fingers.
However, Qianye frowned and suddenly flung a kick toward Song Ziqi at lightning speed!
Song Ziqi hadn’t expected Qianye to make a move at this juncture and thus found himself with no time to react at all as the kick landed squarely on this abdomen. The impact sent him flying backward—he knocked into several followers along the way before smashing heavily into a jeep and causing the entire bonnet to cave in.
Things developed so suddenly that the men on Song Ziqi’s side were momentarily startled. Following which, everyone drew their weapons amidst shouts and curses.
Qianye, on the other hand, paid no heed to the clamorous men who were charging over to encircle him. He kept his gaze on the silent and unmoving men at the back. Only those people were emitting an aura which made Qianye somewhat apprehensive.
Song Zining revealed no change in expression as he reached out and dragged Qianye behind him. The group of warriors charging forth with torrential momentum was obstructed, for they didn’t have enough courage to make a move against the Song clan’s seventh young master.
On the other side, Song Ziqi had already fallen to the ground. He ground his teeth and said, “You bastard, you actually dare attack your father? Even with Ole Seven’s protection, you can only leave in eighteen pieces today!”
Song Zining broke into a laughter, “Song Ziqi, why are you being so loud? As a champion kicked flying by a rank-eight fighter, do you even have any face left?”
“Stop the car.” A voice was heard nearby at this moment as a motorcade came to a stop amidst the sounds of rumbling engines and screeching brakes.
The two groups in confrontation glanced over in astonishment.
There were still cars passing by on the highway even after the conflict began, but all of them had naturally taken a detour.
Without a doubt, the Song clan cars all recognized the insignias on the two convoys. Both the ordinary descendants and the other successors wanted nothing more than to pretend they didn’t see anything. As for the people from the other clans, they, of course, wouldn’t come to watch the liveliness.
Qianye sensed someone looking at him and thus turned back to look. The person coming down from the main car happened to be none other than Zhao Junhong. His apparel was rather formal—he was dressed in ancient style clothing with a silver and black dual-colored theme. Apparently, he was the one who had come to offer congratulations on behalf of the Zhao clan.
Zhao Junhong’s smile was, just as before, fairly reserved and suffused with a tinge of arrogance. “Long time no see, Song Third Young Master and Zining.”
Song Ziqi’s expression immediately turned unsightly because Zhao Junhong’s greetings made their distance obvious. As it happened, he couldn’t act up either because the Zhao clan’s lack of tact was notorious. They had always acted as they willed and were extremely arrogant.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
1/7 of the week. Enjoy ^_^