The people from the Empire left swiftly toward their fortress. They only stopped after half a day of travel, when they were a good distance from the Constellation Well.
Along the way, Zhao Ruoxi was uncharacteristically sulky. She seemed somewhat distracted and didn’t even stick to Qianye as she would usually do. Qianye didn’t quite understand the reason, but he never got down to asking her as they were traveling in a rush.
The Great Maelstrom was actually quite vast, and the group hadn’t gotten too far from the high-gravity region even after a good while. The nights here were still dangerous, and there were a few powerful nocturnal beasts. Even people as reckless as Ji Tianqing and Zhao Yuying weren’t willing to travel through the night.
After setting up camp to rest, everyone found some time to talk.
At this point, everyone’s attention fell on the crystal Qianye had condensed. Zhao Yuying said, “Lil’ Five, what good stuff did you produce. Broaden my horizons!”
Wei Potian nodded as though his head was a hammer.
They all saw the chaotic star power at the bottom of the well, and knew that Qianye had swept all the primal stars clean. Something condensed from that much power might shock the entire world, so much so that a new grade might need to be coined above the top-grade.
Qianye didn’t know what to say, so he simply remained silent. The Book of Darkness and Wings of Inception were his greatest secrets—especially the former. It was something that no one must see. Once the tome was revealed to the world, it was sure to stir up great winds and waves.
The star power from the nine primal stars had been absorbed by the Book of Darkness, and he never had the chance to examine the situation inside. How could he bring out an origin crystal?
Song Zining probed, “What, Qianye, is it not convenient to tell?”
Zhao Yuying said tactlessly, “What’s there that’s not convenient? We’re all on the same side here. As I see it, you’re the only stranger here, Song Seven.”
Song Zining coughed awkwardly. “How can that be? Qianye and I share a deep friendship. There’s really no outsider here, everyone has a deep relationship…”
He hadn’t finished speaking when two incisive stares descended upon him and forced his words back down. There were so many people around, but Song Zining knew those gazes were coming from Ji Tianqing and Li Kuanglan. He had just spoken casually, never expecting that the two would react with such intensity. He then recalled how they had spent several days with Qianye in the high-gravity region. Could it be...
Such a guess could never be voiced.
Noticing the awkward situation, Qianye said, “Actually, it’s not inconvenient, but I haven’t figured out what happened. I don’t know where the star power went after entering my body, and the Storm Pearl has also disappeared.”
“There’s nothing?” Song Zining found it strange.
“None at all.” Qianye nodded.
The Book of Darkness was of mysterious origins and Qianye wasn’t about to let people find out. Everyone had different expressions upon hearing this, most of them concern and worry. It looked like the two factions were playing a game, even competing against one another, but that was only because the participants were the most outstanding characters. In truth, ordinary cultivators would find entering the well itself a perilous endeavor, and failing a condensation was commonplace.
Zhao Yuying said, “That’s strange. Lil Five, will your body be alright? The star power seems harmless, but it’s actually quite powerful. Absorbing that much might not be a good thing.”
Zhao Yuying had also entered the well before, so she knew just how scorching the star power was. It was as firm as steel and completely unmalleable. Such energy entering the body in large amounts would be a disaster. The least serious effect would be his origin power becoming impure, causing his future prospects to be cut off.
That was also the reason why the Jingtang Li Family had spent so much effort to produce the Storm Pearl to serve as a medium for crystallization. Qianye hadn’t just absorbed a little bit of star power. It could be said that all the others added together couldn’t match up to him. One could easily imagine the perils a human medium would have to face during the transformation process.
Seeing Zhao Yuying’s concern, Qianye shook his head. “I’m fine, probably because my constitution is special.”
Qianye possessing a vampire bloodline was known to almost everyone by now, and Zhao Yuying wasn’t about to flip through uncomfortable memories. Feeling that she had made a faux pas, she let out a sigh but didn’t know how to console him.
After this topic was over, everyone started discussing their harvests delightfully. Qianye had refined two top-grade crystals, each a peerless treasure in and of itself. Especially the crystal that could grant one a vampire constitution, it was something even divine champions would fight over. With this crystal, one could cultivate the many forbidden arts that were never an option before. Who would give up on the opportunity to open up closed doors?
The others had their own harvests. Even the most mediocre of origin crystals could be sold for a good price. There was no such thing as too many of those.
In the end, only Song Zining had taken a loss. He had cleared away numerous smaller daybreak stars and made Anwen suffer somewhat. The price for that, however, was him failing to condense an origin crystal. Ji Tianqing suggested compensating him, but Zhao Yuying strongly objected to the notion. The young miss of the Duke You manor had fought alongside Song Zining in numerous battles, but for some reason, she just didn’t like him.
Song Zining, though, didn’t quite mind that. He waved his fan with a smile, saying, “I don’t care about such meager amounts. Money is not an issue after my business takes off. Even now, it’s just a number for me.”
Zhao Yuying couldn’t stand all that boasting. “Pray tell, what business are you dealing in?”
Song Zining smiled. “It’s not that big of a business, I’m just planning to build some warships and sell them.”
“Oh, airships… eh?” Zhao Yuying wasn’t too subtle about things. “You’re building warships? Warships? What standards are you using?”
Warships could be of varying standards. To be a bit shameless, one could install some small cannons on a civilian airship and call it a warship.
“Of course they’re built according to Imperial standards.”
These words caused everyone to exchange glances. There was ever only one set of standards for military warships, and that was something everyone knew. To force it a bit, building even an armored gunship would involve extraordinary costs, and not every family could afford them. To be a bit stricter, only vessels above the corvette class could be considered a warship. These hundred-meter monsters would weigh thousands of tons in materials alone.
Even a rich clan like the Zhao couldn’t produce that many warships for their own use, usually less than ten vessels spread across all sizes. This was a business only the high-ranking aristocratic families and the four major clans had access to. Song Zining setting one up was truly difficult to imagine.
This boast was probably too excessive. But then again, Song Zining might be vague about unimportant stuff, but he was usually quite serious about important issues. He wouldn’t spout nonsense regarding something like this.
“Where is your factory then?” Wei Potian butted in. He was already thinking about whether he could get his hands on a warship before going back. Although he hadn’t been on great terms with Song Zining during his younger years, as someone shouldering great responsibilities, he had already learned to prioritize the Wei clan.
Song Zining pointed above. “In the neutral lands.”
Ji Tianqing’s expression was odd. “You’re placing your factory in the neutral lands?”
“Where else, the Empire? Will they let me?”
Ji Tianqing only shook her head with a sigh.
Night gradually descended upon them. The cold night breeze carried a chill that cut to the bone, causing everyone to shiver.
Song Zining immediately produced his divination tokens and channeled his arts. However, the process didn’t go off smoothly. He infused the tokens with a deluge of origin power, but they simply wouldn’t budge. Hence, there was no outcome.
Qianye wanted to persuade Song Zining to stop, but he didn’t want to interrupt, either. Divination arts were clearly not so effective in the Great Maelstrom. However, Song Zining seemed to have sensed something. He gritted his teeth and refused to give up, focusing his entire being on continuing this divination.
Time went by in this manner until finally, Song Zining’s face turned red, and he spat out a mouthful of blood.
Shocked, Qianye rushed over to help him. “What’s wrong?”
Considering Song Zining’s accomplishments in the field and how serious the backlash was, he had likely divined some major character.
Qianye scanned the seventh young master with his perception and found that he was largely unharmed apart from the weakness. “What exactly is going on?”
Song Zining wiped the blood from his mouth and glanced helplessly at Zhao Ruoxi. “It’s that sister of yours of course!”
Qianye turned around to see Zhao Ruoxi looking somewhere else. Knowing that she was feeling guilty, he asked, “Ruoxi, what’s going on?”
Zhao Ruoxi said with an innocent look, “What? There’s nothing going on.”
Song Zining coughed. “Young Miss, you’ve been here for some days now, and you’ve had your share of fun. Isn’t it time to go back? If you don’t return, her highness will flay me alive.”
Zhao Ruoxi knew she couldn’t escape. “It’s your skin she’s flaying, not mine. What does that have to do with me?”
Song Zining glanced at Qianye and found him looking around with a wry smile. This sister of his wasn’t someone he could control.
The seventh young master said seriously, “Young Miss, don’t you think the Red Spider Lily’s a bit too powerful in here?”
Zhao Ruoxi finally looked back. “Of course I did! Do you know the reason?”
“I don’t know,” Song Zining replied as though it was all right and proper.
Zhao Ruoxi became furious after recovering from the daze. She grabbed Red Spider Lily by the hilt and swung the magnum at Song Zining. This famed gun, known as the most sentient of them all, was being used as a hammer.
Without using the netherworld flowers, the power of the Grand Magnum couldn’t be displayed, and Zhao Ruoxi was nothing more than an ordinary girl. Song Zining blocked the attack casually and duly avoided a head concussion.
Qianye’s gaze flickered as he watched the two quarrel. He knew of this good friend’s reputation—he was pretty much a playboy who would take advantage of ladies in passing.
However, it seemed as though Song Zining had changed into a different person today. He kept his hands tucked inside his sleeves and would avoid all direct contact with Zhao Ruoxi. This stunned Qianye.
Song Zining finally managed to stop Zhao Ruoxi from escaping. Unable to hold back, he shouted, “Young Miss, do you want us all to die? Because that’s what will happen if you don’t go back.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Legion ED: Moxie