Chapter 297: Omniscient Seal [Volume 5 – A Distance Within Reach]
Take this moment for instance—Zhao Junhong had stopped to offer greetings at such an inopportune moment. For any other aristocratic scion, it would seem that the person had come to watch this joke play out. But with Zhao Junhong, it might not necessarily be an intentional move to embarrass them.
Song Ziqi could only calm down his anger and respond to the conversation with a different expression. Song Zining, on the other hand, was already proficient in such matters and seemed as if he was bathed in the spring breeze.
Consequently, the atmosphere changed swiftly from the verge of a group brawl with daggers drawn to a conventional conversation between nobles who had not seen one another for a length of time. However, Song Ziqi’s mood was presumably quite sour at this moment, seeing as how he had to swallow his anger after taking such a loss.
Qianye watched from behind as the three chatted in an extremely delighted manner and couldn’t help but praise these aristocrats for their ability in keeping up appearances. Even that Song Ziqi who had entered the scene with great malice had wiped away his rascally demeanor, assuming the proper bearing of a Song clan descendant and conversing with great elegance.
Qianye glanced up after sensing yet another gaze on him. He suddenly realized that everyone had also quieted down and were looking in the same direction.
A person had, at one point, appeared beside the central car of the Zhao clan motorcade.
That person was extremely young, slender, and as elegant as a lady. At first glance, he was full of grace and blessed with an almost resplendent beauty. After a second glance, however, one would find that he was as cold as ice and his eyes seemed as if they would cut everyone down the very next moment.
He walked straight toward Qianye as if there weren’t anyone nearby and the Song clan warriors subconsciously made way for him. Suddenly, someone cried out miserably—one of Song Ziqi’s subordinates covered his eyes and fell rolling onto the ground with blood seeping out of his fingers.
No one knew how this warrior was wounded. However, the two nearby warriors had clearly recognized this young man’s identity; they wore apprehensive expressions and didn’t dare move to support the victim.
Song Ziqi’s expression changed rapidly. How come it was this malignant star?!
This person was even more beautiful than a lady, but it was a taboo to mention his appearance. Back at the primary academy in the imperial capital, he had beaten up nearly half of the students for this—even the son of the imperial prince wasn’t spared. It was likely that Song Ziqi’s subordinate had no idea who this was and had revealed something inappropriate in his eyes; he should’ve been blinded already.
Although Song Ziqi had broken through to the champion rank, he had absolutely no wish to compete with this person. He simply didn’t dare!
He secretly cursed his subordinate and was just thinking about what he should say when Zhao Junhong calmly turned around. “My Fourth Brother has a somewhat urgent temperament. He only came to get acquainted with the Song Seventh Young Master.”
Zhao Jundu stopped at a point about ten steps away and removed his glasses. His pitch black eyes gradually lit up with a layer of violet mist as he said, “Song Zining?”
Qianye’s expression sank. He took a step forward but was dragged back by Song Zining.
Tufts of violet flames suddenly emerged flickering in the air and fixed themselves in the four corners before splitting into two. Each violet flame then transformed into a beam of violet qi which shot into the sky, forming a total of eight violet pillars and locking Song Zining in the middle.
Domain: Omniscient Seal!
This was the most powerful domain of the West Pole Violet Qi. Originally an ability only champions could activate, only Zhao Jundu had cultivated it successfully in the entire Zhao clan.
Song Zining’s gentle smile didn’t change in the slightest as he responded, “It is I.”
Only a “whoosh” was heard before countless leaves rustled down within a radius of a dozen or so meters. They drifted with great speed and momentum as if blown by a violent storm and blocked the eight beams of purple qi outside.
Song Ziqi had almost choked on Zhao Junhong’s words and now he was petrified by the scene before him. Using a domain right off the bat! He even suspected whether these Zhao clan brothers were here for revenge.
But he quickly reacted and immediately decided to go with the flow. “By all means, brother Junhong. I have an appointment, so I’ll be leaving first. When you arrive at the Enlightenment Manor, you must visit the Cloud Crown Hall and allow me to fulfill my duties as a host.” He then left immediately after saying some formal parting words.
Zhao Junhong shot a glance at the figure of his back and no longer paid him any more attention. As expected of the of Song clan’s descendants, they possessed the qualities of a merchant and were mostly cognizant of the situation. But sometimes, they were so adaptive that it made one feel contempt for them.
At this time, the Zhao clan motorcade and Song Zining’s warriors all received the order to pull back to over a hundred meters away, leaving only four people at the scene.
Zhao Jundu reached out and dragged an illusory leaf over. He then crushed the leaf into fragments as it materialized in his hand. His countenance was as cold as a glacial rock, and his voice didn’t have the slightest warmth in it. “Does a Yellow Springs graduate only know such effeminate tricks?”
Song Zining raised his brows. Even within the Song clan, only a handful of people knew he had gone to the Yellow Springs Training Camp. Just who was Zhao Jundu investigating? Was it him or Qianye?
“Yellow Springs actually isn’t as scary as the rumors make it be.” Song Zining finally withdrew his gentle expression and revealed a profoundly evil smile. “My identity as an aristocrat is a guarantee for walking out of that place alive.”
He spoke the word aristocrat slowly and clearly, causing the violet intent in Zhao Jundu’s eyes to grow deeper.
Among the empire’s four great secret training camps, the distinguishing feature of Yellow Springs was to push the law of the jungle to its greatest extent. It was said that the rate of elimination for every batch was 99%. Then how ever did Qianye walk out alive?
Zhao Jundu inhaled deeply. He cut short the verbal spar and said directly, “Qianye must not fight for you in this life and death arena match. Get someone else. I’ll provide double compensation for all losses incurred. Otherwise, you no longer need to participate in this examination.”
Zhao Jundu was, of course, very clear about the contents of the Song Clan’s successor exam. Thus, after recognizing Qianye, he immediately realized that there was absolutely no other reason for him to be here except to serve as a guest warrior.
Qianye, who had maintained his silence all this time, suddenly spoke. “Zining is my brother. We’ve even fought through the life and death battlefield together, let alone a mere arena match.” There was neither emotion nor any fluctuations in his tone. It was as if he were describing a truth.
Zhao Jundu’s perpetually ice-cold demeanor shifted ever so slightly. Beside him, Zhao Junhong let out a sigh as if he wanted to say something, but he had no idea what to say at this moment.
Song Zining smiled at this time and said, “Zhao Fourth Young Master, are you implying that I’m manipulating Qianye? But the child from back then would’ve long become a skeleton in some unknown corner if he were any less fortunate. So many years have passed by and now you come to say such things. Are you sure it’s not at all for your benefit?”
Zhao Jundu’s eyes suddenly erupted with killing intent. The violet flames in the air began to circulate and gradually contract toward the center.
Song Zining’s countenance quickly turned pale. He raised his hand and swiped through the air—leaves would freeze in place wherever his hand passed, their borders flickering like the cold gleam on a blade’s edge.
A clash between domains was totally free of pretense. Strength and weakness, life and death—everything was clear and decided in an instant.
However, at this moment, Qianye suddenly moved. He threw a simple punch toward the violet flames. The moment his fist arrived, there was a split second of complete silence, progressing to the sound of tides and gradually erupting in a deafening blast of thunder. In the end, the strike arrived with great momentum akin to myriad galloping horses!
As Qianye’s fist blasted out, Zhao Jundu’s Omniscient Seal flickered unsteadily for a moment. Song Zining grasped this opportunity—all the fallen leaves spun together to form a gigantic tornado which blasted toward the violet qi from within.
Amidst violent rumbles, an origin power tempest clashed in the air, churning, raging, and sweeping away everything. Occasionally, some dancing leaves and sparks of violet flames would escape from within and fall down like tiny meteors.
Suddenly, a clear and melodious hum of a blade echoed as eight silvery sword beams rushed into the tempest and began to grind away indiscriminately at the remnant origin power radiance from the previous explosion. Zhao Junhong’s Silver Sword Finger finally swept the residual origin power clean after its second wave.
All four of them staggered backward.
Zhao Jundu lost color for a split second and soon recovered. Meanwhile, the other three could hardly catch their breath. In truth, Zhao Junhong had attacked both sides at the same time, but even then the result was actually a draw.
Qianye shot a silent glance at Zhao Jundu and then gave Zhao Junhong a thankful nod before turning to leave with Song Zining in tow.
Zhao Junhong said softly after watching the two leave, “Fourth Brother, have you given it any thought? It’s impossible for him not to hate us after knowing the truth.”
Zhao Jundu was silent for a long time before he replied slowly, “But, I can’t allow other people to tell him false stories.”
Zhao Junhong hesitated for a moment. “Song Zining likely isn’t such a person.”
Song Zining, of course, wouldn’t know the details of that incident back then. In truth, even the siblings themselves had some lingering doubts and suspicions. As a clan descendant, Song Zining might have guessed some things, but Qianye’s gaze toward them was overly calm and didn’t seem like one who had listened to rumors.
Zhao Junhong also knew that his fourth brother had strongly suspected whether Qianye had killed the Darkshore City Guard Captain Zhao Youpin out of his hate for the Zhao clan. Who would have guessed investigations would reveal a Zhao clan trading company’s plot to murder a customer for profit?
This matter made Zhao Jundu extremely furious. Although the two perpetrators had both died on the scene, their relatives were all implicated. This could be considered a fairly severe penalty, but this misunderstanding likely stirred up Zhao Jundu’s emotions even more.
Zhao Jundu slowly closed his eyes, and when he opened them again, his violet pupils had once again reverted to their dark color.
He retrieved his glasses and put them on. His emotions could no longer be discerned from his speech as he said, “Song Seven seems unremarkable within the Song clan, but in truth, he already holds a sizeable power in his hands. But most of them are scattered outside of the main family and hidden in the darkness. This person is extremely shrewd and his schemes are difficult to fathom, but he approached Qianye deliberately. Who knows what intentions he has?”
Zhao Junhong suddenly asked, “Back then, who was it that wanted to kill Qianye?”
Zhao Jundu replied coldly, “No doubt it’s one of those old fogeys. Perhaps it’s some of them or it might even be all of them. Those old fools only fear that the world wouldn’t be in chaos!” His voice was suffused with deep hatred and anger.
Zhao Junhong sighed in his heart. Zhao Jundu was a prodigy and thus had already begun to remember things back then. As such, it became an obsession after many years of accumulation.
“Fourth Brother, I’ll always stand on your side no matter what.”
“Thank you, Second Brother.”
“No need for such words between brothers.”
Meanwhile, their other half-blood-related brother was feeling perplexed. Qianye stayed silent for a long time but ultimately couldn’t help but ask, “Just what had happened back then?”
Song Zining was resting against the seat with his eyes closed, his face suffused with a bloodless pallor. There was a sizeable gap between him and Zhao Jundu. The lengthy confrontation in addition to that last strike had virtually drained him of all origin power.
He opened his eyes after hearing Qianye’s words and replied in a weak voice, “This matter is a top secret even within the Zhao clan. How can I know the details? I have my own conjectures, but I can’t just speak without thinking it through. Otherwise, I might mislead you.”
Qianye laughed wryly. “Don’t tell me the only way is to go and ask Zhao Jundu.”
“You’ll have to face this matter sooner or later. It makes no difference whether you do it now or later,” said Song Zining, “at least, the Zhao Fourth has no evil intentions toward you. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to leave his domain standing. Neither you nor I am a match for him at this point.”
Qianye keenly discerned the meaning hidden within Song Zining’s words and said with a frown, “Just him?”
“Yes, and add Zhao Second into the equation. In major aristocratic families, even blood-related half-brothers might not be of the same mind. No one can be trusted without sufficient certainty.” Song Zining’s words were so calm that it almost sounded grim.
The end of the highway was at the base of the Cloud Mountain. When Qianye got out of the car, he was greeted by a scene akin to an extremely magnificent mountain and river painting.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
2/7 of the week! ^_^