Volume 5 – A Distance Within Reach, Chapter 97: Unyielding
Zhao Yuying nodded and turned to instruct the Dark Flame warriors, “Wait for me here.” She then followed the guard into the courtyard on her own.
The area inside and outside of the courtyard were two different worlds. The decorations within were beautiful and refined. Count Yuyang was standing there with his hands behind his back and admiring an ink-splash mountain and river painting. If the owner of this courtyard were present, he wouldn’t even be able to recognize his own residence. The ability to completely change one’s surroundings without missing a single detail was indeed the style of a major clan.
Zhao Yuying entered the room and said, “Sixth Grand Uncle seems to be rather spirited.”
There was undisguisable anger in her voice. Count Yuyang didn’t turn around and only replied calmly, “You’re still unable to control yourself. Brother Xuanji might be disappointed to see you like this.”
Zhao Yuying no longer maintained her bearing and reverted to her usual style. “There was never an aspect of me that has satisfied him before. Where’s Zhao Fenglei that bastard? Tell him to get out here and meet me!”
Count Yuyang turned around and said with a sigh, “I’ve sent him away. He should’ve left the war-zone by now. Moreover, you shouldn't use those words just now on Fenglei. If it were made known, my two elder brothers won’t be happy.”
Zhao Yuying snorted heavily and said coldly, “Fine, then I won’t curse at that bastard anymore. But Sixth Uncle, is today’s matter your idea or did he do it of his own volition?”
Count Yuying frowned after seeing Zhao Yuying’s hands crossed in front of her chest in a tyrannical manner. “I’ve heard about what happened. Fenglei was indeed too impetuous. But what’s so serious about killing a few lowlifes? Your words back then, on the contrary, were out of place. Do you know what consequences will follow if it were to be spread?”
Zhao Yuying sneered. “Did Zhao Fenglei not tell you he wanted to kill Qianye?”
Count Yuying responded with a question of his own, “Was it Qianye who raided the Nangong family’s base of operations last night?”
Zhao Yuying nodded. “I had him do it. What about it?”
A wisp of fury flashed across Count Yuyang’s face. “How willful! Your moment of impetuousness has caused the big picture to deteriorate to such a state! Originally, we could’ve used your injury to make the Nangong family submit and stand with the Zhao clan. Now, it’s troublesome. What good does killing some insignificant private soldiers do apart from venting anger? Now, the Nangong family will lean toward our enemies. Think about the merits and demerits in this!”
“Zhao Fenglei even wanted to kill Qianye back then. What are the pros and cons of that?”
Count Yuyang’s expression eased slightly and said, “It’s not as if you don’t know Fenglei’s feelings. He’s already reached a state of madness. It’s unavoidable that he’ll be impulsive after witnessing such a scene. Moreover, although Qianye is talented, he’s still an ordinary civilian. His identity remains the same even if Jundu brings him into his residence. There’s no way he can compare to Fenglei. Even if Qianye really does enter our Zhao clan, he must follow the rules. Even Jundu can’t ignore this logic.”
“Qianye, he…” Zhao Yuying stopped her words at this point.
She was very clear that Zhao Fenglei held back in the end, not because of her threat, but because he feared Zhao Jundu. Zhao Jundu had caused quite a commotion in an attempt to bring this person into his residence and was reportedly going to recognize him as an adopted brother. If Zhao Fenglei had killed this person outside without any reason, the enmity would be serious. In the end, Qianye’s life wasn’t as important to Zhao Fenglei as Zhao Jundu’s face.
The difference in identity was a deep chasm. This was the same even if Qianye became a Zhao clan member in the future. The meaning in Count Yuyang’s words was clear. It wouldn’t be a big deal even if Zhao Fenglei killed Qianye in the future.
Zhao Yuying said coldly, “This means that Sixth Uncle is intent on siding with him to the end?”
Count Yuyang was enraged. “What kind of words are those?! This old man has always prioritized the Zhao clan. Fenglei made a small mistake, but you lot have destroyed the big picture. The results will be the same even if we bring this matter to the council of elders.”
Count Yuyang was observing Zhao Yuying’s expression while speaking. In the eyes of various elders of the Duke Yan lineage, Zhao Yuying’s temperament wasn’t at all suited to become the mistress of a major family. Duke You, however, had no other lineal granddaughters of a suitable age. This discussion had dragged on all this time simply because they needed to bridge the five-degree gap in bloodline between the two lineages, breed talents for the next generation, and because of Zhao Fenglei’s own determination.
Zhao Fenglei’s heart was in turmoil and likely failed to discover it, but after hearing that Qianye was the person Zhao Jundu wanted to bring into his residence, Count Yuyang immediately sensed that Zhao Fenglei might have been mistaken about certain matters. It was likely that Zhao Jundu wanted to interfere with Zhao Yuying’s wedding to weaken the alliance between the two branches, but that person probably wasn’t Qianye—the latter was, after all, unqualified even if he did enter the Zhao clan in the future.
What then was the reason for Zhao Yuying’s unusual concern about Qianye? Perhaps he should investigate the lord of this small frontier city in detail.
While Count Yuyang was pondering thus, Zhao Yuying suddenly sneered. “You take my life and exchange it for your branch’s merit. What a good plan! I didn’t bring any men from the Dark Flame independent division when I went out hunting this time, so how did Nangong Xiaofeng know my whereabouts so clearly? I must make this matter clear with my grandfather.”
Count Yuang was finally moved and said anxiously, “Our Yan and You branches are like one family. Yuying! You can’t speak wantonly like this!”
“How I wish to speak is my business. And tell Zhao Fenglei to give it up! It won’t be his turn to touch my finger even if I have a hundred or even a thousand men!”
“You!!!” The calm Count Yuyang was momentarily at a loss for words.
Zhao Yuying spoke no more and left the small courtyard. On her way out, she broke through the courtyard gates with a loud bang.
Count Yuyang sat alone in the room and sighed deeply after a good while.
By the time Zhao Yuying returned to Dark Flame headquarters, Qianye’s wounds had already been dressed. It was already dawn, but he was maintaining the Twin Flowers instead of resting.
Qianye was calm and focused as though nothing had happened before. However, this made Zhao Yuying’s heart tremble. How could she not know his temperament after interacting with him for so long? The calmer he was, the more he took the matter to heart.
“You’re back?” Qianye looked up after hearing the door.
“Zhao Fenglei has run away, and I just had a rather tense discussion with Sixth Granduncle,” Zhao Yuyang said openly. Afterward, her countenance flushed red as she began to cough violently as frothy blood seeped out of the corner of her mouth.
Her injuries were even more serious than Qianye had expected. It wasn’t obvious when she was moving about as normal, but the torment of this journey had overstressed her internal organs.
Qianye said with a frown, “Sit down and rest for a while. Your internal wounds require a period of convalescence.” Following which, his voice turned cold, “Let Zhao Fenglei run. The days that follow are long. We’ll definitely meet again unless he hides in the Duke Yan manor without ever coming back out.”
Zhao Yuying threw herself into the sofa and said with a depressed tone, “Zhao Fenglei is different from Nangong Xiaofeng. What he did is insignificant in the eyes of those old men.”
“I know. It’s a small matter even if I had died.”
“No! You’re not the same.” Zhao Yuying found that she couldn’t continue her words. Qianye was naturally important to both her and Zhao Jundu, but his life and death was also a small matter to the Zhao clan as a whole. Even if Qianye’s status as a bastard of the Duke Chengen lineage was restored, he would only be one among the tens of thousands of young scions.
At the thought of this, Zhao Yuying smiled wryly. “You’ve already provoked the Nangong family. You can’t afford to offend Duke Yan.”
Qianye only smiled and said calmly, “What’s one more to me? If worse comes to worst, I’ll just give Dark Flame to Zining and hide away into the wilderness. I’ll just treat it as tempering myself, but they can forget about sleeping soundly as long as I’m alive.”
Zhao Yuying didn’t know what to say. She said softly after a while, “Zhao Jundu will be taking part in this battle. Will you meet him?”
Qianye’s hands on the Twin Flowers paused for a moment. Then, he proceeded to remove the muzzle and said indifferently, “No.”
Zhao Yuying thought about it for a moment and continued, “Qianye, let's go back to the Zhao clan once the bloody battle ends. The Marrow Cleansing Pool there can awaken your potential to the maximum. Advancing ranks there will be much better than any other place. This is an important matter, so don’t be stubborn.”
Qianye said after a moment of silence, “Let’s see.”
This time, Zhao Yuying didn’t say anything else. She stood up to excuse herself and returned to her room.
After Zhao Yuying left, Qianye lay the Twin Flowers down on the table and sat in silence, his heart wracked with complicated emotions.
He understood Zhao Yuying’s intention. Advancing to the rank of champion was a step every expert had to take. It was also the first great barrier. Everyone had to treat it with incomparable importance since any carelessness could affect one’s future accomplishments. Meanwhile, the Zhao clan’s Marrow Cleansing Pool was one of, if not the very best, supplement for advancement.
However, using it meant returning to the Zhao clan. No matter what reason Zhao Jundu used to bring him into the family, he would no longer be Qianye and instead become Zhao Qianye.
This didn’t sound like something he should be distressed about—in the eyes of many people, it was even an opportunity to ascend the heavens in a single step. Who wouldn’t want to live in the Zhao clan? Even a descendant of its side-branch was much more powerful than the lineal son of an aristocratic family.
It was just that Qianye recalled how he had grown up at a junkyard since his first memory and that sinister, giant scar which occupied his chest despite the multiple upgrades in his constitution. His heart was screaming with an unwillingness to return.
In the depths of his heart, he used to be extremely obstinate and unyielding.
But first Zhao Jundu, then Zhao Ruoxi, and later Zhao Yuying—his interaction with the younger generation melted most of the ice in his heart. Zhao Yuying had been wounded so badly, but there wasn’t even a receptacle for physique restoration fluid in Blackflow City, to speak nothing of facilities that can help champions recuperate. She should’ve returned to the upper continent long ago, but she stayed back all this time for fear that the Nangong family would rain vengeance upon Qianye.
Who else apart from a madman like Nangong Xiaofeng would dare move recklessly against Zhao Yuying?
Qianye’s heart was in complete disarray. He had thought at first that the Zhao clan’s fetters would end with the item left behind by his mother, but now, he had discovered that some things weren’t that easy to sever—blood relation for instance.
At the thought of this, he suddenly recalled his two friends who were also born of nobility. Although Song Zining and Wei Potian’s situation in their respective clans were different, they both had things that were beyond their control.
With the bloody battle imminent, things were developing with great momentum. At this moment, a small, unassuming city at the border of the Transcendent Continuent was welcoming a guest of the highest status in its entire history. A row of airships was descending toward the city in what could be described as a sky-blotting scene. Although the emblem on the airships had been hidden, knowledgeable people would easily recognize that this was the Nangong family’s main fleet.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
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TL: Legion ED: Moxie