Chapter 391: One Step Away

Chapter 391: One Step Away [V5C98 - A Distance Within Reach]

Volume 5 – A Distance Within Reach, Chapter 98: One Step Away

A middle-aged man with long, slender eyes walked down from the airship. He was clad in Chinese style apparel, and there was a faint aura of frostiness around him. Without a word, he headed straight toward the city lord’s mansion immediately after disembarking.

There were numerous guards at the door to the city lord’s residence. A young soldier stepped forth to face them and asked, “Who are you people?”

His words hadn’t even ended when a figure flashed out from behind the middle-aged man and flitted past the young guard. The soldier’s expression froze, and immediately afterward, his head flew high into the air, accompanied by a gush of fresh blood.

The figure didn’t stop at this and continued to encircle around the remaining soldiers. Hence, several heads flew into the air as the guards all turned into headless corpses.

The middle-aged man ignored all of this and walked straight into the main residence.

The city lord had received news at this point. He rushed over, fell to the floor, and cried repeatedly, “I did not know of Sire Nangong’s arrival and my foolish subordinates dared clash against the esteemed guests. This servant deserves to die!”

The middle-aged name was the current lord of the Nangong Family, Nangong Yuanbo. Despite his bad mood, he found it rather difficult to lash out at this prostrating city lord. He only asked, “Where is he?”

The city lord secretly wiped the sweat off his brows and said hurriedly, “Please follow me, sire!”

Moments later, Nangong Yuanbo finally met Nangong Xiaofeng within the city lord’s own room, the best in the city. At this moment, his aura was withered as he lay on the bed gazing at the ceiling with a blank expression. He didn’t even react to people entering the room.

Nangong Yuanbo’s gaze froze upon seeing what remained of Nangong Xiaofeng’s arms and legs. He glanced back to inquire, “Can he be saved?”

An old man behind him stepped toward the bed and said after a thorough examination, “The limbs can be regenerated with secret arts. There will be a loss in power, but there’s still hope of him recovering to his current combat strength. Future breakthroughs, however, might not be possible.”

At last, there was some expression on Nangong Xiaofeng’s face. He let out two soft chuckles and said, “It seems I’ll still be of some use.”

Nangong Yuanbo forcefully suppressed his fury and asked, “Who did this?”

“First, I was injured in the battle with Zhao Yuying. Afterward, I was ambushed by that brat called Qianye. My arm and leg were destroyed in the fight with him.” At that point, a trace of self-deprecation that wasn’t easily noticeable to the bystander emerged on Nangong Xiaofeng’s countenance.

He had never taken that Dark Flame mercenary corps seriously. Naturally, he hadn’t memorized the related data and was unable to recognize Qianye amidst the chaos. Only after he escaped with grievous injuries did he feel as though he had seen that beautiful yet insane youth somewhere—he subsequently realized that he had been injured in the hands of someone he had once treated as an insect.

“Qianye?” For a moment, Nangong Yuanbo couldn’t recall who it was and only realized when a follower whispered in his ear that it was that mercenary corps commander. He paced back and forth in front of the bed with an even graver chill around his body.

Moments later, Nangong Yuanbo came to a sudden stop and said, “Xiaofeng, you acted on your own this time. Do you know how much trouble you’ve brought upon our Nangong family? Duke You has sent us three letters in a single day demanding an explanation!”

Nangong Xiaofeng laughed. “Isn’t it just Duke You? You can still handle it, right? Moreover, hasn’t the Zhang clan invited you for a chat already?”

Nangong Yuanbo snorted coldly. “The Zhao clan’s eyes have always been on top of their heads. Their alliance is only in name when, in truth, we’ll become subordinates. Judging from their style, they definitely won’t treat us with any respect. As for the Zhang clan, they’re not much better either. What difference will there be?”

Nangong Xiaofeng was startled because he had understood Nangong Yuanbo’s thoughts from his words. He said in exceptional astonishment, “Are you planning to side with the imperial party?”

“Why shouldn’t I?”

Even the unbridled Nangong Xiaofeng was shocked by Nangong Yuanbo’s words. He glanced around the room and found that none of the trusted aides of the Nangong family were too amazed despite some change in expression. It seemed Nangong Yuanbo’s thoughts about this didn’t just happen within a couple of days.

Nangong Xiaofeng laughed heartily in his mind and said slowly, “Most of the new nobility are born of humble origins. Uncle, can you bear their vulgarity? Moreover, His Majesty is just waiting to flatten the major clans and aristocracy… What use will we be to them? When the time comes, the Imperial Party will recall that we’re also an aristocratic family.”

Nangong Yuanbo said in displeasure, “Nonsense! Is the so-called nobility and Imperial Party not imperial officials all the same? His Majesty is bound to accomplish much in the future, so it’s inevitable that he must establish his might and cut off some disobedient people. Why would he eliminate all the aristocracy?! Serving His Majesty is the correct path. Why must we care about the opinion of the four major clans?”

After a short pause, Nangong Yuanbo laughed. “The skies over this empire is due for a change.”

“As for this person, Qianye, let him disappear in this bloody battle!” Nangong Yuanbo waved his hand casually. This kind of small matter didn’t require any extra effort from a clan lord like him; his aides would deal with it.

Qianye had no idea that his moment of anger had more or less affirmed the Nangong family’s previous resolution. He was unaware of how he had dropped a small stone into the lake of politics and stirred up a small wave therein.

The words imperial politics were indeed too big and too far away from Qianye. The only thing he knew was that strength was the only thing he could rely on whether it was the Iron Curtain or the clans he had to face.

Qianye’s Combatant Formula cultivation improved by leaps and bounds perhaps because he had just launched a brazen attack on the Nangong family base and his mind was still filled with fearless slaughter. He actually broke through forty-nine cycles in one go and was only one step away from Zhang Boqian’s accomplishments during his youth.

And only after reaching this step did Qianye realize just how terrifying the Combatant Formula’s fiftieth cycle was. The might of every added cycle after forty-five was equal to the nine earlier ones. The incited origin power tide swept through every corner of his body and resonated with all of his origin nodes. His vessels surged forward like raging waves—it was as though the entire world had disappeared, and only the surging tides remained.

As the tides brought about by the Combatant Formula grew stronger, he somehow happened to draw upon a wisp of daybreak origin power from the void. This strand of daybreak origin power was incomparably pure and already close to the origins, even more so than the origin power purified by the Song Clan Ancient Scroll’s Glory Chapter. After it entered his body, Qianye’s Nine Origin Nodes began to vibrate at the same time, accompanied, unexpectedly, by the sound of thunder.

However, even Qianye’s vampiric constitution bolstered by the dark golden and purple blood energies could only reach forty-nine cycles at the maximum. His body was already showing signs of collapse. Qianye perceived a wondrous feeling at the exact moment the Combatant Formula reached the peak of its forty-ninth cycle. It was as though something was breaking out through the waters of this all-encompassing tide.

Qianye had to spend twice the usual time to completely calm the tides of the Combatant Formula. He recalled the process of this cultivation and confirmed that his final reaction wasn’t an illusion. It seemed the Combatant Formula had undergone an astonishing change after he reached fifty tides. It was just that the recoil wasn’t a force he could endure in his present state.

He couldn’t help but sigh in admiration at Zhang Boqian’s talents. He still couldn’t compare to Zhang Boqian’s accomplishments from back then even though his strength had far surpassed ordinary vampire viscounts. This marshal of unrivaled bearing who could already aim for the rank of Heavenly Monarch in the prime of his life was indeed worthy of his fame. It was almost impossible to catch up to him.

But even on the day of his ascension to a heavenly monarch, Zhang Boqian had no intention to renounce his position as the so-called Empire’s Twin Paragons. It was said that some busybody had, in earnest, requested the emperor to revoke the term Empire’s Twin Paragons because Lin Xitang was no longer worthy of being addressed at the same level. Unexpectedly, he was severely berated by Zhang Boqian. This person’s bootlicking had gone too far—he had thoroughly offended both the paragons and made himself the empire’s laughingstock for quite a while.

Qianye inspected his body after a moment of rest. Just the wisp of daybreak origin power he had obtained in the middle was equal to half a month of grueling cultivation. It was just that a second one never appeared up until the end of his cultivation. It seemed such a fortune could only be encountered and not sought after.

Meanwhile, the forty-nine cycles of Combatant Formula absorbed the origin power of the heaven and earth akin to a whale swallowing seawater. Its cultivation speed had far surpassed the so-called secret arts of the aristocratic families. Perhaps only the core cultivation arts of the four major clans and imperial family would be comparable. As such, Qianye didn’t need to cultivate long before the daybreak origin power in the vicinity was no longer sufficient. Not only had it been wiped clean, but even a fair amount of darkness origin power had been drawn into his body as well.

Any other person would have to invest extra effort to obstruct and clear out the darkness origin power, but it was not a problem for Qianye. The darkness origin power, after entry, was suppressed by the Combatant Formula, whereupon they would be driven towards his heart and devoured by the blood energies therein.

Theoretically, the origin node resonance was already a sign of advancing into the champion level. However, Qianye discovered that his situation was special. Even though the Combatant Formula’s cultivation speed was extraordinary, only a fraction of the energy it had accumulated remained after the Song Clan Ancient Scroll’s purification process. As such, he was still quite a ways from being able to form an origin vortex with overflowing energy. It didn’t seem too far off, but he would need to spend much more time than ordinary people.

Naturally, the purification of origin power had great advantages. He didn’t need to suppress his level at the champion threshold and could break through as soon as his origin power was completely full. At this time, Qianye couldn’t help but recall the cultivation chamber back at the Song clan—only that cultivation session could be considered satisfactory.

But even Song Zining only had so many quotas each year. It was easy to imagine how valuable it was. That single cultivation was able to balance out half a year of arduous work. The aristocratic descendants were afforded such advantages which, after gradual accumulation, formed an unsurpassable barrier for other people.

After several days of strenuous cultivation, Qianye was once again faced with another problem in addition to whether or not he should advance to champion rank. The Song Clan Ancient Scroll’s second chapter required darkness and daybreak origin power to exist alongside each other without too much deviation. This also meant that his darkness origin power had to reach the viscount level when his daybreak origin power reached champion rank.

There was a big difference in cultivation method between the dark races and humans. No matter the race, a telltale sign of reaching the viscount level was the formation of an origin power core. The vampire blood cores, the demonkin dark cores, and the arachnid crystal of the arachne were all similar items. As for advancement, most of them came naturally. They would transform naturally once the time was ripe.

At the thought of this, Qianye suddenly felt flustered. Could it be that he would condense a blood core in his body? After some thought, he felt that the possibility was high. The three blood energies had already taken his heart as their headquarters. The purple blood energy was continuously changing Qiuanye’s constitution while the dark golden blood energy was strengthening his heart. This so-called strengthening was, in truth, a type of transformation, and it wasn’t impossible for a blood core to form during this process.

But if this came to be, Qianye himself wouldn’t know whether he would be considered human or vampire. He laughed wryly and decided to let go of these terrifying thoughts for the moment.

It wasn’t easy to advance his blood energy. Although absorbing essence blood was a shortcut, the consumption rate was similarly frightening. Moreover, the Book of Darkness and Wings of Inceptions also needed to be fed, and their absorption rate was uncontrollable. Hence, the difficulty involved in raising his darkness origin power was no less than upgrading his daybreak origin power.

Qianye walked out of the isolation room and looked up at the perpetually dark sky. He had already decided to walk the path to advancement. Whether it was to nurture his blood energies or to collect murderous qi for cultivating the Combatant Formula, the best choice was to nurture power in battle.

The iron curtain above his head was unusually calm, and even the Gemini Alpha star that would approach Evernight once a month was nowhere to be seen. The near tangible darkness seemed to be constantly reminding everyone that the bloody battle was about to break out any time.

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-Legion-'s Thoughts

Chapter 5/7 of the week. Enjoy!

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TL: Legion   ED: Moxie


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