Yang Qi nodded. “In that case, I’ll wake them up and make them spill the secrets of their royal-class Four Seasons Swordplay.”
As the ancient saying went, when soldiers come, send a general to stop them; when flood waters come, use earth to block them. The ball was already in motion, and it wouldn’t do any good to sit around worrying about what bad things could possibly happen. Instead, energy could best be spent deciding how to react.
And at the moment, the most important thing was becoming stronger as a clan.
The Four Seasons Swordplay was an authentic royal-class energy art that outclassed even the Invincible King’s Fist. If Yang Zhan could master it, his Master of Energy cultivation base would become even more stable.
Besides, the only way to reach the Lifeseizing level was to use a royal-class energy art such as this. Without one, he would end up being stuck in the ninth phase for the rest of his life, unable to seize life from the heavens.
As for Yang Qi, he wasn't particularly interested in the technique. He was too wrapped up in the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth, and had no time for distractions. He had just awakened the power of two more ancient megamammoths, which made him even stronger than his father. Unfortunately, he was still only in the seventh phase, and needed more enlightenment to progress beyond it.
In Energy Manifestation, one could take energy and give it a shape, turning it into things like dragons, tigers, boulders, enormous hands, etc. However, if he could reach the eighth phase, and perform Mind Incarnation, then he could bring forth Humanoid True Energy and use Thousand Kilometer Soul Locking, techniques of a much higher level than he was capable of right now.
Those abilities involved transformations of one’s true energy and soul, and required intensely difficult training.
Yang Qi wasn’t overly anxious about it.
The life force quintessence of the lightning mammoth was still there inside of him, which enabled his cultivation base to advance by leaps and bounds. Of course, he knew that once that life force quintessence was gone, his progress with the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth, as well as his cultivation base, would slow down, and he would advance like an ordinary person would.
But that was something to worry about in the future.
Taking advantage of his present circumstances was the best thing to do.
Tapping each of the young women with his foot, he sent some true energy into them, opening their meridians and waking them up.
As soon as she opened her eyes, one of the young women said, “You Yang Clan dogs!” As she struggled to her feet, she glared at Yang Zhan, Yang Qi, and his brothers and went on to curse them with full vehemence. “How dare you! You think that crippling our martial arts will solve all your problems? Keep dreaming if you think that’s true! The House of Spring and Autumn has Lifeseizers who can help restore our seas of energy.”
‘What? People in the Lifeseizing level can restore destroyed seas of energy?’ Although Yang Qi was surprised, he knew that he had these two young women under his complete control, and that they had no way to fight back.
Instead of saying anything in response, he waved his hand, sending a stream of true energy into the three corpses of the young men. Before long, he had a stack of banknotes, some medicinal pills, and several pieces of paper in his hand.
Unfortunately, the papers did not contain the Four Seasons Swordplay itself, but rather, notes about it that the young men had written during the course of their studies. It was all very random, almost like journal entries.
“Talk,” Yang Qi said. “Tell me how to cultivate the Four Seasons Swordplay. Otherwise I’ll just kill you.” As for the banknotes, they were worth about three million energy convergence pills, a considerable sum.
There were also some demon cores of similar value to those from the white ape.
All in all, it was quite a fortune.
The events at the Chen Clan had completely reversed any financial misfortunes of the Yang Clan, and in fact, they were now much richer than before, although they still couldn’t compete with the city magistrate. However, they now had plenty of funds to expand their forces and interests.
“Forget it!” the other young woman said disdainfully. “The Four Seasons Swordplay is a transcendent energy art from the House of Spring and Autumn. How dare a bunch of nouveau riche country bumpkins even think of trying to use it!”
“Alright, enough,” Yang Zhan said. “Qi’er, your energy arts are profound, but not sufficient for the task at hand. Now that I'm a Master of Energy, I've gained a bit of enlightenment about matters pertaining to souls and communication with them. Let me see if I can force an answer out of them.” Two manifestations of Humanoid True Energy suddenly appeared, then lunged forward and entered the two young women.
Within moments, the young women’s eyes glazed over as Yang Zhan utilized an energy arts hypnosis technique.
“Now, let me ask you again. How do you cultivate the Four Seasons Swordplay? There’s no rush. Take your time. Start with the mnemonic.”
“Okay.” Speaking in very mechanical fashion, the young women went on to repeat the mnemonic. “Four Seasons Swordplay. Spring, summer, autumn, winter. Spring rains touch the mind and heart. Summer lightning strikes with violence. Autumn frosts blanket the earth. Winter snow fills the sky. Utilize the transformations of the four seasons to stimulate the yin and the yang in the meridians. Take vital energy and convert it into spirit seeds. Converge them in the sea of energy. Wait for the signs of spring to appear, and for all living things to blossom. The spirit seed will then grow….”
Yang Qi, Yang Zhan, Yang Yunchong and Yang Hualong listened with rapt attention as the cultivation mnemonic was spoken in full detail.
That was especially true of Yang Zhan, who was a true connoisseur of cultivation techniques. As he listened to the mnemonic of a royal-class energy art, his true energy surged, and his face began to flicker with an expression of enlightenment.
As for Yang Qi, he also benefited from the information, which made him even more confident in being able to reach the eighth phase.
In the city magistrate’s mansion.…
Yan Gufeng was anxiously discussing matters with his subordinates.
A big conflict had just erupted between two major clans, and as the city magistrate, he couldn’t just sit idly by; he was responsible for trying to intervene and resolve differences.
And right now, he was waiting for the fighting to break out, and casualties to be inflicted….
A vicious expression was slowly overtaking his face.
“Magistrate,” Luo Hun said, “the Chen and Yang Clans have presumably begun to fight by now. How about I go check on the situation, then report back?” Yan Gufeng nodded instantly, and Luo Hun left.
A moment later, another guard stepped in, and from the energy fluctuations on him, it was obvious that he was no less powerful than Luo Hun. As it turned out, the city magistrate’s mansion actually had eight experts on the same level as the Armored Devil-Ghost.
“Magistrate, I’ve already put our soldiers on high alert. All it will take is one word, and we can go arrest the experts from the two clans in question.”
“Remain combat ready, and wait for my orders,” Yan Gufeng said.
“Sir, yes sir!” the guard said, then left.
At this point, Yan Gufeng looked over at an old man sitting off to the side. “Mr. Sun, do you think we should just take out both clans? The Chen Clan is in league with the House of Shadowblight, and is a major threat to our clan. And then there’s Yang Qi from the Yang Clan; we don’t know how he did it, but his cultivation base has grown so powerful than he can defeat Luo Hun. If we don’t cut the weeds and eliminate the roots, then it could cause serious problems for my thousand-year-plan.”
The mysterious old man was clearly one of Yan Gufeng’s close advisors. He looked like an erudite thinker, and his eyes fairly glittered with schemes and conspiracies.
And the fact that Yan Gufeng addressed him as Mr. Sun showed that he had a very high standing. It was actually impossible to even see the level of his cultivation base. 
“I've been watching that Yang Qi kid,” Mr. Sun said, fanning himself with a goose feather fan.  “He really did benefit in miraculous fashion from that lightning strike, which caused his martial arts to advance by leaps and bounds. You’re right. He’s very dangerous, and has almost limitless potential. If you can’t use him, then the best thing would be to nip things in the bud and kill him now. City Magistrate, do you think it might be possible to recruit him?”
Yan Gufeng shook his head. “No. Impossible. He stole my Latent Dragon Pill, and obviously is holding a grudge over how his martial arts were crippled. Besides, as the saying goes, two tigers cannot live on one mountain. If things go as planned, and we found the State of Yan, then the Yang Clan will be our feudal vassals, and would be required to kowtow to us. How could he possibly go along with that? Besides, Yang Zhan is very ambitious. He would never agree to such an arrangement.”
“That’s true,” Mr. Sun said, lazily fanning himself. “The Yang Clan definitely won't submit. Very well, you have the authority to do what you wish. If you can’t recruit them, then the only thing left to do is kill them.”
“I can kill that punk kid right now.” Yan Gufeng kneaded the bridge of his nose. Apparently, he had made a decision. “A year from now, it will probably be impossible. And that’s not to mention that Yang Zhan might become a Master of Energy.”
Mr. Sun laughed loudly. “You don’t need to worry about that, City Magistrate. Sir, you know very well how difficult it is to reach the Master of Energy level. It involves an interconversion between true energy and one's soul. There’s no way Yang Zhan will achieve that breakthrough anytime soon.”
“By now, the Yang and Chen Clans must be in the ultimate heat of battle. Considering the Chen Clan has experts from the House of Shadowblight on their side, they probably have the upper hand.” As he spoke, Yan Gufeng continued to fiddle with a large thumb-ring on his right hand.
That ring was a valuable treasure that could store true energy. It had a name: Bloodbody Thumb-ring. The implication of the name was that the ring was similar to a person’s body.
Even Masters of Energy had limited reserves of true energy. When they fought, that true energy would be drained away. However, with a Bloodbody Thumb-ring, one could store up true energy to use when fighting. Essentially, it could make an energy artist much stronger in a fight.
With that thumb-ring, Yan Gufeng could actually take on two Masters of Energy at one time in a fight. In other words, no single Master of Energy could possibly be a match for him.
It was an invaluable item that people from the most powerful organizations would covet, even individuals from the institutes. It was probably worth more than all of Yanhaven as a whole.
“Something bad’s happened!”
In that very moment, a soldier rushed in and dropped to his knees, followed by Luo Hun, whose expression was grave.
“What’s going on?” Yan Gufeng asked. He then smacked the table. “Don’t tell me the fight between the Yang and Chen Clans is already over?”
“It's not just over, it ended in a rout!” Luo Hun said. “That punk Yang Qi single-handedly captured Chen Dalei, and defeated all the experts of the Chen Clan, along with their entire army. He killed more than ten experts from the House of Shadowblight, all of them in the eighth phase. Even worse, Yang Zhan reached the Master of Energy level in the middle of the fight. The Yang Clan army already marched on the Chen Clan mansion and started to clear it out.”
“What did you just say?!” Yan Gufeng said, half-convinced he was hearing things. Trembling, he continued, “That punk Yang Qi single-handedly wiped out all the experts from the Chen Clan and the House of Shadowblight? Was he really possessed by a thousand-year-old demon?”
That was the only explanation Yan Gufeng could come up with for what was happening.
1. In this case Sun is a surname, and has nothing to do with the burning ball of fire in the sky. To address him with the title “mister” is very respectful, something that Yan Gufeng would normally not need to do since he's the top dog in town.
Chronicles of Baby Deathblade: BDB is growing up so fast. For the most part, he has adjusted very quickly to life in the U.S. as opposed to China. One thing he did not like was swimming class (at first). He's finally warmed up, and MDB and I are very happy. Check him out in action here.