The battle had long since ended by the time the patrolling experts arrived. Due to the high level of combat arts used by both parties, there were very few traces of battle in the courtyard. The baffled Zhao clan experts inspected the place several times over but couldn’t discern anything.
Toward the end, Qianye couldn’t help but say, “Everyone, you’ve been looking for so long, have you found anything?”
These words were clearly mocking them. The captain’s face went red as he came up with a vague answer, “This… we’re lacking in experience, so we need to examine everything carefully. Additionally, we found no traces of that person you said was hiding outside of the courtyard.”
Qianye actually understood that mysterious person’s ability. That person definitely wouldn’t leave any clues behind, at least not any that these Zhao clan people could find. But no one would be in a good mood after being challenged to a fight out of the blue and almost getting slashed at the throat.
Seeing that these people were intent on investigating, Qianye could no longer bear it. “Everyone, I think you should just let it be. You won’t find anything even if you keep looking. The defenses in the core region are truly strict, heh, heh.”
The experts wore awkward expressions but still checked the scene thoroughly before leaving. Qianye had already told them that the visitor was, in fact, Li Kuanglan, but things involving such characters were beyond their decision-making ability. It would require at least one of Zhao Jundu’s status to determine how to proceed. These people could only gather as many clues as they could to facilitate the superiors’ decision.
Back in the room, that “calamity falls from heaven” divination sign was still sitting on the table. Qianye wanted to sweep them all flying with his sword. However, he put the blade down after some thought and put the divination sticks away.
After several consecutive interruptions, Qianye’s mood was no longer suitable for cultivation. He simply went into the courtyard to recall and carefully analyze the moves he had experienced during his fight with Li Kuanglan.
The latter’s sword strike was simply too fast. Even a spark flying off the flint wasn’t enough to describe its speed—even Qianye could only see its radiance flicker once before the blade was in front of his eyes. He would find it difficult to counterattack if Li Kuanglan were to go all out. All he could do was defend passively and prevent himself from falling into a disadvantage, all the while waiting for the opponent to err.
The cons of this overly passive strategy were fairly evident. Li Kuanglan’s attack power seemed unimpressive during their battle, but that was because she was merely using an ordinary sword. Her might would increase several-fold with Cold Moon’s Embrace in her hands. Qianye wouldn’t dare engage in a direct defense at that point; he would have to retreat immediately and search for a different opportunity.
Thus at the moment, he was looking for a way to break this technique, else he would have to retreat once Li Kuanglan arrives with her famed sword.
He tried out several moves during his analysis, slashing left and right in a fairly clumsy manner.
At this moment, a gentle chuckle came through from outside of the courtyard. “What ugly sword forms, is this really the one young miss has taken a fancy to?”
Qianye had long since noticed the two young girls in aristocratic apparel. They were standing on a nearby wall where they could see everything in Qianye’s courtyard. It was just that they were standing on someone else’s walls. Moreover, Qianye’s moves were simply in their nascent stage at the moment, so it was useless even if they saw him. No one would know what he was practicing unless they had seen Li Kuanglan’s rapid sword.
It was fine if they were just looking, but now they were even commenting on him. Moreover, their words were riddling—which young miss was it, and when did she start fancying Qianye?
These maids were merely rank five or six. Their power might not be low in a middle-ranking aristocratic family, but in Qianye’s eyes, this meager strength wasn’t impressive at all. At the very least, they were worlds away from being able to see through his sword arts. Such weaklings were actually commenting on him from afar—they were truly a bit lacking in judgment and upbringing.
The two girls showed little signs of respect for Qianye. Pointing and sniggering in private, they spent quite a while here before leaving.
Qianye shook his head, pushed this small interlude to the back of his mind, and continued analyzing the sword technique. Since Li Kuanglan was from the Li family, her relationship with the Zhao clan couldn’t be that great. Unraveling their sword art was of utmost importance right now. Even though it was unlikely for her to kill Qianye, the latter’s relationship with the Li family wasn’t really great, and he would very likely suffer if he ran into other Li family experts who knew this sword art.
In truth, Qianye wasn’t entirely without a solution. His Oceanic Vortex, the incomplete Sweeping Calm, Spatial Flash, and the Shot of Inception—all of them could overpower and even heavily injure Li Kuanglan. But using a domain involved twice the effort for half the results and Sweeping Calm was a technique for use in perilous junctures; even Qianye himself couldn’t control the strike once it had been unleashed. The last two were both vampire secret arts that couldn’t be easily revealed. As such, Qianye had to solve this problem purely in terms of technique.
In one of Indomitable’s small alleyways, Li Kuanglan was walking at a steady pace with that young maid in tow. Her gait looked quite calm at a glance, but her hands were clasped firmly on the hilt of her sword and her fingers were slightly pale. Apparently, she had overexerted herself.
Upon reaching the middle of the alley, a slender figure appeared to block the other end of the path.
Li Kuanglan had long since known that she would appear. The former sneered as her gaze landed on the person’s imperial lieutenant uniform, “A stately young miss of the Ji family is actually here pretending to be a lieutenant. What’s the point?”
The lieutenant replied calmly, “Somewhat better than a fellow who refuses to use a divine weapon and was then beaten black and blue.”
Li Kuanglan’s eyes narrowed and waves of chill started to drift around her body. “You might not win against me even if I don’t use Cold Moon’s Embrace. Besides, the opponent I failed to take down was Qianye and not you.”
The lieutenant’s expression turned cold. “Since you’re so confident, why don’t we fight right now?”
Li Kuanglan hadn’t even replied when the maid cut in, “Do you have any shame? Our young master has just gotten out of a big battle. Just say it If you’re trying to fight a tag-battle, what’s the point of being secretive?”
The lieutenant's eyes finally landed on the young girl and suddenly turned into an amber color!
The maid let out a cry of surprise and hid behind Li Kuanglan. Nonetheless, her movements were a tad too slow, and those amber eyes managed to lock onto her.
The lieutenant’s eyes turned back, and then she said with a smile, “I was wondering who it was! So it’s the Kong family’s young miss! You were also a bit famous back then, but you vanished for over half a year. You’d actually run off to the Li family to become their maid. This is truly surprising. Don’t tell me the Kong family wants to join the Li family so much that they even gifted their genius daughter away?”
The maid was livid. “T-This is my own business. It has nothing to do with the Kong family! Stop spewing nonsense. I’m only playing around, nothing else.”
“Ah okay, I understand.” The lieutenant nodded repeatedly. Judging from her expression though, she didn’t seem to buy it at all.
The indignant maid was stomping her feet and was just about to argue further when she was stopped by Li Kuanglan. The latter said calmly, “Lil’ Xuan, hand this matter to me. It’s been a while, I also want to know what she’s learned from the old ancestor.”
The lieutenant smiled spuriously. “You really want to fight right now?”
“Why wouldn’t I dare?!”
The lieutenant, though, wasn’t in such a hurry to fight. She suddenly changed the topic and said, “I find that person quite interesting. He’s actually worth young noble Li traveling tens of thousands of kilometers and putting off such important matters. You’re even willing to offend Zhao Fourth. All of this just for a match? Even I don’t dare provoke the man so easily. Don’t forget that he’s a future Heavenly Monarch.”
Li Kuanglan’s expression sank. She shouted, “What I do is my business. You don’t need to care.”
The lieutenant kept talking on her own, “Speaking of which, Qianye is really so dumb and cute despite his inferior status. His talents aren’t bad, either. He might not be my match, but he’s a bit stronger than you are. Thinking of it that way, he can almost be considered a match for me. What say you?”
Li Kuanglan’s replied with a furious expression, “Wishful thinking! He’s completely unrelated to you.”
The lieutenant smiled mysteriously upon hearing this. She looked fixedly at Li Kuanglan and said, “Why are you so nervous?”
“I am not!”
“Of course! Enough with the nonsense, are you fighting me or not?”
The lieutenant stretched lazily and said, “Of course not, I have more important things to do. Who has the time to fight with you?”
Li Kuanglan’s expression shifted rapidly. “What are you up to this time?”
“Nothing, I just recalled that a certain someone doesn’t have a personal bodyguard yet. I’m going to try getting that position.”
“You!” Li Kuanglan uttered through clenched teeth, “Do you have nothing better to do?”
The lieutenant smiled treacherously. “What can you do? Oh right, he’s almost a lieutenant general now. My current rank is a bit too low. I should change it.”
With that, she actually tore off her rank insignia and replaced it with a major’s. All the while, she made no effort at concealing her actions.
Li Kuanglan was dumbfounded.
She had actually brought different rank insignias; even an idiot would know she had planned this in advance. Who would be so senseless as to prepare multiple sets of different rank badges?
Li Kuanglan took a step forward and looked like she was about to attack. The opponent, though, was much faster, and her figure immediately flickered out of existence.
The former glanced about at the entrance of the alleyway, but how could she find any trace of that lady? Li Kuanglan was very clear about her and knew that there was no way she could catch up to that woman in the complex city environment.
Meanwhile, Qianye was single-mindedly devoted to practicing the sword. He eventually noticed some slight improvements, and he now had a vague idea how to deal with the Li family’s rapid blade. He would be able to make substantial improvements soon at this rate. At that point, he wouldn’t be forced to defend passively when fighting Li Kuanglan again.
It was at this time that a knock resounded on the door.
The sound came suddenly and without the slightest of warning signs. Even Qianye, with his powerful perception, couldn’t sense who it was beyond the gates. The knock was clear, but it felt to him that there was no one outside. He couldn’t sense any aura at all.
Qianye had experienced something like this a while ago. Origin power in full circulation and blood core pulsing, he took a deep breath and quickly brought himself to a battle-ready state. Then he picked up East Peak and opened the courtyard gates.
The one standing outside was the female lieutenant. It was just that she had become a major at the moment.
She beamed radiantly and said, “Imperial army major Ji Tianqing reporting in. From today on, I’ll be your personal aide!”
The sudden news almost stupefied Qianye. How could he allow a person of unknown origins follow him every day? He thus replied calmly, “Where are the appointment papers from the military department?”
Ji Tianqing slapped her forehead. “Oh my, I almost forgot about that.”
She reached into her pocket and fished out an empty appointment paper. Then, she filled it out right in front of him and passed it over. “Here!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter