Li Kuanglan spoke while shaking his head—it seemed like he was talking to Qianye, but it also seemed like he was muttering to himself, “You’re too wounded and weak, it’s not interesting to kill you now. You’ll be a good opponent after a couple of years. I’ll let you have this, cultivate it well. I’ll come to find you after a year. If you’re still not my match at that time, you might as well die under Cold Moon’s Embrace!”
With that, Li Kuanglan flicked over an object which Qianye duly caught. He was quickly astonished after seeing what it was.
It was a tube carved from a whole piece of jasper, and upon it was the depiction of a phoenix perching on a parasol tree—clearly the work of a master. There were four ancient words below it: Stillwater Rebirth.
The legendary Stillwater was so weak that it couldn’t even keep a feather afloat, but it was exceedingly clean and could purify every form of defilement. The content of the tube naturally wasn’t this legendary material, but it made little difference to the people.
The object in the tube, named after the legendary Stillwater, was one of the empire’s few sacred medicines. It possessed the miraculous power to regenerate flesh from bones and repair one’s martial dao foundations. And due to a special requirement in its production, it was said that the Jingtang Li Clan’s inherent talent was necessary to concoct it. Even the imperial family couldn’t duplicate it. Only a small number of this Li clan secret medicine was produced each year.
Qianye flipped the tube over and, as expected, found a familiar clan insignia at its base. A similar crest could be found on a certain belt-shaped defensive tool in his spatial necklace. The original owner of that belt, Li Xu, had worked together with the vampires to attack the Ningyuan Group caravan.
Qianye couldn’t help but frown when he recalled how this young man had announced himself as Li Kuanglan. He would have to be a lineal descendant of the Jingtang Li Clan to be able to bring out such a priceless item.
Li Kuanglan observed all of Qianye’s movements, then said, “I heard you’re friends with Song Zining?”
Qianye was just thinking about the caravan Song Zining had used as bait when Li Kuanglan brought up the latter’s name. Qianye looked up cautiously at Li Kuanglan, his expression solemn.
Li Kuanglan seemed to find Qianye’s reaction amusing. “I saw him before I came here. Speaking of which, he’s only rank eleven and his combat strength is slightly inferior to you. But he actually dares lead a thousand ragtag soldiers deep behind enemy lines and has the ability to charge back out afterward. He was only surrounded after arriving close to the imperial defensive lines.”
Qianye’s expression was extremely cold at this point. The short period of interaction has allowed him to understand this blue-robed youth’s temperament slightly. His words proved that he had likely watched with folded hands as Song Zining fought an arduous battle. Moreover, the Jingtang Li Clan had taken part in robbing the Ningyuan Group caravan back then—was that just a coincidence?
Li Kuanglan broke into a laugh. “Now you’re truly filled with killing intent! You have to know that this accursed place is no different from the Iron Curtain. There are no consequences to killing anyone. When I met Song Zining, he was already spent and surrounded by a Perth clan count. I clearly helped him out of a predicament, but he never lowered his guard against me.”
Qianye’s expression relaxed slightly upon hearing this. It was just that he didn’t understand at all what Li Kuanglan’s intentions were.
Qianye was completely exhausted at the moment—if Li Kuanglan had evil intentions, he needed only to attack in full force to cut him down. But the man had given him a priceless medicine instead. If he had no malice, then why did he drag the conversation over to Song Zining? What deeper meaning was there to all the stealthy actions taken by the Jingtang Li Clan?
Qianye sighed lightly, no longer willing to continue this odd conversation. He waved the Stillwater in his hand and asked directly, “Why?” This little bottle was, in fact, incomparably heavy. It was worth countless times more than the entire Blackflow City.
Li Kuanglan laughed, “I told Song Zining that I’ll be going down to kill you, but now I’ve changed my mind.”
Qianye asked with a frown, “Why?”
These two questions naturally represented different meanings, but no one knew whether or not Li Kuanglan had caught on to it. “I require people to accompany me partway as I ascend on the path of the sword and to serve as a grinding stone for my blade. ‘Stillwater Rebirth’ is indeed scarce, but that depends on who it is used for. I’d rather use it to prepare some grinding stones for myself rather than let those trash collect it. And you happen to be someone qualified.”
Qianye’s expression recovered its calm. “But it’s still too valuable.”
Li Kuanglan’s smile grew somewhat mysterious. “There are two more reasons. Firstly, someone told me that this item will be of great use here and that it would benefit me greatly. I feel that now is the time he had spoken of. Secondly, since you know how precious this Stillwater is, then you must know that this is me saving your life, so do consider it a favor owed. That favor will have been repaid if you die in my hands one day.”
Qianye stared at Li Kuanglan for a while before putting the Stillwater away. “Very well.”
The latter was somewhat surprised at his straightforwardness and the interest in his eyes grew even deeper. “You and Song Zining are quite different from how the rumors make you out to be.”
Qianye did not reply.
Li Kuanglan did not continue on this topic after seeing Qianye’s silence. “Stand aside, I’ll be going now.”
Qianye stood in place and pointed at the side tunnel behind Li Kuanglan. “Go another way.”
“But this road is the shortest, I’m not a fan of detours.” Li Kuanglan’s expression was cold.
“Take another road, this one isn’t convenient.” Qianye remained unmoved.
“I won’t need to take another road if I cut you down, will I?”
“That’s right.” Qianye’s hand on East Peak was just as firm as when the two had first met.
The staredown lasted for a while before Li Kuanglan spoke slowly, “There’s something at the end of this path, correct?”
Qianye stood firm, his expression unchanged.
Li Kuanglan gazed intently at Qianye in a bid to see through him and find the secret at the end of this tunnel. His sudden laughter was unexpectedly suffused with a bit of craftiness. “... Or perhaps it’s someone?”
The question fell upon him all of a sudden. He and the Perth clan count had already ended the topic about Nighteye when Li Kuanglan arrived. But that barely discernible fluctuation in the depths of his eyes failed to escape Li Kuanglan who had achieved great success in the sword dao.
A well-prepared smile emerged upon his lips as he stretched out two fingers. “Then, you owe me two favors.”
Qianye clenched his teeth and nodded slowly.
Li Kuanglan laughed loudly as he picked a random fork in the road and left. His laughter was still reverberating through the halls even after he had gone far away.
Qianye felt his body covered in cold sweat after Li Kuanglan’s departure. It felt like he was on the verge of collapse. The confrontation just now looked easy, but it was fraught with grave peril. Li Kuanglan was simply too powerful, and the only thing Qianye had was the Shot of Inception. However, the other party was as quick as a thunderbolt. It was a major problem whether or not the shot would hit.
Qianye fished out the Stillwater and found it rather heavy in his hand. This item was incomparably valuable regardless of Li Kuanglan’s true intentions. At this moment, at least, Qianye didn’t feel that two favors were enough to trade for this medicine.
He looked, in a daze, at the intricate carvings on the tube before opening the cap and swallowing the contents. It felt as though he had been drenched in sweet nectar—he almost heard a buzz in his ears as fine rain drizzled within his body. Even his flesh felt like it was opening up to bask in the illusory grace.
The daybreak tides that had reached rock-bottom rose up once more and were flowing gently like a deluge of spring rain. His nourished flesh was like the new earth after a harsh winter; each and every muscle fiber was regenerating.
This wondrous state seemed to persist for a long while, but it also felt like a fleeting instant. When Qianye opened his eyes, the greater half of his injuries had been healed, and even the lingering black titanium had been eliminated. Only the injury to his blood core was unhealed.
The effects of “Stillwater Rebirth” were indeed miraculous. The two favors he owed Li Kuanglan were simply too great.
Qianye shook his head as he picked East Peak up and returned to the great hall where Nighteye was sleeping. He walked over to her side, knelt down, and watched her in silence. It was as though he wanted to carve that perfect countenance into the depths of his heart.
Moments later, Qianye opened her collar and cut a small hole over the position of her blood core. A stream of golden flames erupted as the pure Venus Dawn came into contact with her blood energy! However, this cauterized the flesh around the injury and effectively sealed it.
Nighteye’s brows locked into a frown. Apparently, it was fairly painful to have her wounds closed via a collision between daybreak and darkness origin powers, but she didn’t wake up. It seemed no amount of clamor could rouse her after the initial repair of her blood core.
Qianye sensed the situation within Nighteye’s body and found that it was just as he had guessed. That drop of origin blood wasn’t enough to completely heal her blood core. It had saved her life, but without an energy supplement like the blood pond, she wasn’t even certain to regain her present strength. Perhaps her entire life’s progress might halt here.
Qianye was unexpectedly calm as he reached out and stroked her cheek. Nighteye was asleep, but Qianye could almost sense her thoughts. That pain in her chest wasn’t the only reason for the lingering darkness in her expression.
She was an extremely proud woman with countless aspirations, but all of her hopes had been destroyed so suddenly. Qianye knew she would surely take her life rather than spend what remained of it in mediocrity.
Qianye’s blood core pulsed as another drop of origin blood formed within it. This time, a river of blood seemingly appeared within those boundless memories and flitted past like a bird skimming over the water. A drop of newly condensed blood appeared at Qianye’s fingertips.
Qianye dripped it into the wound on Nighteye’s chest. A wisp of golden flame leapt up therein but was extinguished soon afterward, leaving a layer of amber-like substance which sealed the wound. Nighteye’s breathing grew rapid, and her body temperature shot up as though she were lying in raging flames. Her skin turned red as she tossed, turned, and finally let out a loud cry.
The cry was accompanied by a spurt of blood! Immediately afterward, Qianye heard a low but powerful sound beating steadily like an ancient drum.
The sound of her beating blood core!
Qianye was delighted as he listened to the beat and sensed Nighteye’s blood energy soaring rapidly. This drop of origin blood was surprisingly effective, and her blood core’s regeneration had increased several times over.
Qianye stepped out of the small rocky compartment and sat down in the main hall, waiting silently with East Peak in his arms. Time quickly passed by. The sounds of fighting came through from time to time, but there were no more uninvited guests.
After one day and night, Qianye noticed that Nighteye’s breathing had calmed down and the beating of her blood core gradually eased up. As if he had sensed something, Qianye stood up and walked over to the stone room. He merely observed from afar, but the Eye of Truth told him that Nighteye’s injuries had fully healed and that she would wake up any time.
At this point, Qianye turned around calmly, picked up East Peak, and slowly left this cavern hall.
He didn’t look back at all on his way out.Previous Chapter Next Chapter