Qin Yu’s heart skipped a beat. After several seconds of contemplation, he slowly said, “Who is it that came?”
“Sect of the South End, North Sea Palace, Dark Purgatory, Great Thunder Pagoda…” It was a long list of names. Placed within the Land of Divinity and Demons, they were all great influences. Finally, Kang Mingqiao stopped and said, “The most important is the Immortal Sect and Demonic Path.”
They really came!
Even if he had expected it, Qin Yu still felt his heart quicken. But, he didn’t reveal any of this on his face. He deeply sighed and said, “I didn’t think I would cause such a disturbance this time.”
Kang Mingqiao revealed an astonished look. “Fellow daoist Ning Qin doesn’t seem to be happy?”
Qin Yu shook his head. “If I said that I like to live a life free from chains like a wild crane flying through the clouds, would Arena Steward Kang think that my explanation is too superficial?”
Kang Mingqiao thought for a moment. “A little.” He smiled. “But the decision-making power is in fellow daoist’s hands. As someone on the Ancient Perishment Decree, no one can force you.” He said this with full confidence. “But, I think that even if fellow daoist doesn’t want to accept any invitations, it’s best if you explain this yourself in order to avoid appearing too disrespectful. Of course, this is only my suggestion. Everything will depend on what fellow daoist decides.”
Qin Yu let out a breath. “Since they made the trip, I might as well see them. I’ll have to ask Arena Steward Kang to make the arrangements for me.” Beneath his black robe, a sharp light flashed in his eyes. If he could pass this hurdle then he could wash off his suspicions as the ‘ninth-ranked on the Ancient Perishment Decree’. Later, he wouldn’t have to worry about the Immortal Sect targeting him anymore.
“Then how about a banquet tomorrow evening? I can hold a banquet at the Dao Arena’s banquet hall and invite the guests that visited from all over. Fellow daoist Ning Qin only needs to make a timely appearance.”
Kang Mingqiao bid his goodbyes and left. As he took two steps out, he hesitated for a moment and then said, “Fellow daoist Ning Qin, since you have already accepted my first suggestion, allow me to give you another suggestion. If you really don’t wish to accept any invitations, then it’s best not to accept any of the gifts they present to you. To speak so openly while being relative strangers, if I have offended you anywhere, I ask you not to blame me.”
Qin Yu cupped his hands together. “Arena Steward Kang is thoughtful. I will remember this.”
He watched Kang Mingqiao leave. Although he knew that his words and actions were done deliberately to form a better relationship between them, he still had a more favorable impression of the man. If he accepted the gifts and chose a side, then with a great background behind him, the other parties could only assume that their conditions weren’t good enough and they wouldn’t say anything. But, if he accepted the gifts and didn’t choose anyone in the end, wasn’t that the same as playing them?
To develop a grudge with so many powerful influences was an extremely dangerous thing. Thus, Kang Mingqiao’s reminder could be said to stem from good intentions. He wanted to prevent Qin Yu from being blinded by the dazzling gifts and then regretting what happened afterwards.
With Qin Yu’s understanding of the situation, cultivators of the Ancient Perishment Decree might be some of the most important guests of the Dao Arena, but the people who made it on the decree in recent years didn’t seem to develop any connections to the Dao Arena in the end. It seemed as if they were only creators of the list and didn’t care too much about the people on it.
If so, then why was Kang Mingqiao so thoughtful towards him? Maybe he was just a good person…that was right, this possibility did exist, but the chances of it being true were almost zero.
Perhaps the Ancient Perishment Decree had another function that outsiders didn’t know of.
Qin Yu shook his head, no longer thinking about it. A sharp light flashed in his eyes. Since he dared to agree to the banquet and respond to the invitations from all the various factions, he naturally had some confidence that he could conceal the truth from the probing of the Immortal Sect.
Everything would depend on tomorrow.
The weather grew increasingly cold. Heavy snow had fallen for five continuous days. If it weren’t for troops often clearing out the snow, then the giant Four Seasons City would have already been submerged. At this time, dark clouds covered the skies. It was only dusk, but the weather had already fallen completely dark. The vault of heaven was like a deep black cloth, shrouding the world.
In the wind and snow, an old man with a hunched back carried a bundle of firewood with a hatchet in his hands, arriving through the snow. The curve of his back was steep, as if he couldn’t withstand the heavy weight of the firewood. He lumbered on slowly in the gloomy weather.
But this slowness was only a trick of the eye. In one blink of the eye the old man was far away, in the second blink of the eye he was even further away, in the third blink of an eye…he had already entered the city.
Several guards at the gate shrank back. Their complexions changed and fear colored their eyes.
The young guard captain turned and shouted, “Shut up! No one speak a single word about what happened today. Just pretend you never saw anything!”
When Woodchopper Fu entered Four Seasons City, his steps still seemed slow. He brushed past many pedestrians, but no one seemed to have noticed him. As he crossed through several lively streets and entered a small alley, Woodchopper Fu turned and helplessly said, “I only came today to choose a mortal body. That isn’t going against your rules, right?”
Light appeared, enlarging into the outline of a human figure. An ice cold voice sounded out, “If you act recklessly, I will suppress you!”
Woodchopper Fu curled his lips, disdain in his eyes. He clearly didn’t want to argue with an ice-cold array formation which couldn’t change at all. “Alright, alright, I promise I won’t cause trouble. You can rest assured!”
The human figure didn’t respond. The light instantly converged into a single mote of light that disappeared.
Woodchopper Fu sighed. “A mere array formation actually dares to warn me…hah, I’m tired of living!” He turned around, and although he didn’t speed up, his pace clearly changed. After several steps he vanished deep into the alley.
A moment later, Woodchopper Fu appeared in the great square outside the Dao Arena. He looked up at the giant tablet radiating light in the night and his pupils shrank with a hint of fear.
“Dao Arena…” He muttered to himself, sighing. “I can’t mess with them! I can only wait outside. That boy can’t hide in there forever…hah, I’m really tired of living!”
With a slight movement, he used the old hatchet in his hands and slashed out once. A crack appeared in space and Woodchopper Fu stepped inside.
Qin Yu woke up early in the morning. After a night of cultivation, numerous sparks flashed in his eyes. His understanding of the path of metal was reaching its final crescendo. There was a trace of awareness in his heart and he knew that he could only rely on himself for what followed. If he could gain further insight then he could enter large success of the metal path, but if he didn’t he could be stuck there for ten years or even 100 years.
He let out a light breath and left the training chamber, headed straight to Ning Liang’s room. The banquet would begin tonight and he would need to deal with the investigation from the Immortal Sect. he had to maintain his vigilance and couldn’t underestimate them at all.
So after he sent Kang Mingqiao off yesterday, he had told the attendant to inform Ning Liang that the treatment would begin two hours earlier today. This was so he would have extra time to recover.
“Greetings, Grand Authority Ning!” The three maids respectfully bowed, their voices full of awe.
Qin Yu waved his hand. “There is no need to be so courteous. Is Miss Ning prepared?”
A maid said, “The miss has been waiting for Grand Authority Ning’s arrival.”
Qin Yu nodded and then pushed open the door and entered. Ning Liang stood not too far away. She bowed, “Greetings, Grand Authority Ning!”
Ninth-ranked on the Ancient Perishment Decree…whenever she thought of this, she felt that this man in front of her was like a passing cloud in the sky; someone she could only look at but never reach. But, Ning Qin always treated her warmly. Even after his honored status was revealed, his attitude towards her hadn’t changed and he had even worked harder on her treatment.
This caused her to feel some hope and anticipation in the depths of her heart.
Qin Yu smiled. “Miss Ning, in perhaps another ten days, your body’s cold poison will be fully dispelled. You might even be able to turn misfortune into a blessing and use this cold poison to your advantage.” He waved a hand. “Alright, let’s begin today’s treatment.”
Every time the poison was dispelled, it would be discharged from her body through her sweat, causing her clothes to paste closely to her skin. So during treatment, Ning Liang would lie down on the bed with a quilt covering her body.
She took off her shoes and lay down on the bed. Qin Yu sat down near the front. After examining her situation as usual and determining that there was nothing wrong, he proceeded.
The sun began to set. When it hung near the horizon, Qin Yu opened his eyes and let out a breath. “It’s done.”
Ning Liang untensed. Her complexion was pale as she gasped deeply for breath. “I’ve exhausted Grand Authority Ning.” She could feel that as the cold poison in her body was reduced, it became even more difficult to remove. Doing so required one to consume more of their mind and strength.
Qin Yu stood up. “Rest well. I will return tomorrow.”
Ning Liang suddenly said, “Grand Authority Ning, I hear that you are inviting all sides to come today. I hope everything goes well for you!”
Qin Yu smiled, nodded, and left.
He returned to his room first. He meditated and started to restore his losses. Once he reached his peak condition, he washed himself, constantly thinking about what was to come and making sure that he wouldn’t make a careless mistake.
Standing in front of the mirror surface, Qin Yu’s thoughts moved. He restrained his aura, but soon it was sent back out. On the surface it didn’t seem that his aura had changed, but if one looked carefully, they would discover that the contents were completely different. After fusing with Grandmaster Yao’s soul, changing his aura wasn’t difficult at all.
Some people from the Dao Arena had already been waiting for Qin Yu to appear. When he did, they bowed and said, “Greetings, Lord Ning Qin.” Even if they all knew that the name Ning Qin was fake, as long as Qin Yu didn’t toss it away on his own initiative, they would pretend that they didn’t know.
“Let’s go.” Qin Yu lightly said.
The several Dao Arena cultivators guided the way. Each of them had a solemn expression, but they were puzzled inwardly. Although they knew that the Ancient Perishment Decree was a remarkable achievement, with the Arena Steward’s status, he could stand as an equal to any nearby overlords. Did he need to be so cautious?
Of course, although they were puzzled, they wouldn’t reveal this nor would they speak about it. Because if one couldn’t accomplish these two simple things, they simply would never have had the chance to become Arena Steward Kang’s close subordinate.
Soon, the banquet hall appeared in sight. From far away it was brilliantly illuminated, a wondrous sight of beauty. Although the many powerful auras within were restrained, when they interwove together it was still a terrifying might that soared into the heavens.
There was a substance to this invisible aura. All of the wind, snow, and clouds were shaken apart and scattered!
While heavy snow still fluttered down in the Four Seasons City outside, the skies above the banquet hall were clear, with the visible moon hanging high in the night. The bright moonlight fell to the world, gently sprinkling across the earth.
Qin Yu took a deep breath. He composed himself one last time and then stepped into the moonlight.
Kang Mingqiao’s eyes flashed with surprise but he immediately restrained himself. He said in a loud voice, “Everyone, the main star of tonight has arrived!”
Countless looks gathered towards the entrance to the hall!
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