“Right, have you found Lu Seven yet?” Ming Zhaoshu suddenly asked.
Tang Si shook his head. “No, he hadn’t even set foot in the crown prince’s palace, so he may not even have entered the capital.”
Ming Zhaoshu frowned at the unexpected news. “Did he die?”
“Your Highness, he’s just a commoner. There wasn’t much use even if he did make it into the crown prince’s household.”
“I know, but it’s precisely because he’s a commoner that he should be even safer. No one would ever expect me to send an ordinary person into the crown prince’s household. He’s a scapegoat that I meticulously arranged. Forget it. It’s alright even if he didn’t make it.”
Tang Si remained there, standing silently, as if he had something to say.
Ming Zhaoshu glanced at him. “What’s the matter?”
Tang Si half-kneeled as he said, “Your Highness, your subordinate wishes to challenge Li Zimo.”
“No, the gap between the two of you is too large.” Ming Zhaoshu explicitly rejected the request.
Tang Si’s face dimmed. “Even still, I wish to personally try my hand against the number two on the List of Tempering.”
Ming Zhaoshu looked at Tang Si. “Li Zimo has fascinating blade techniques, such as the killing technique, Silence, that he has honed from a young age. Also, Crown Prince Ming Hao does not allow the top ranker on the list to appear for two reasons: the first is to eliminate the hidden threats within the List of Tempering while the second is to have the top person avoid Li Zimo. He is very strong and can rank at the top of all Martial Kings.”
Tang Si raised his head with a firm look within his eyes. “Your Highness, I beg for your permission. I’ll die without any regrets.”
Ming Zhaoshu sighed and looked up. He then grimaced as he lamented, “Ming Hao, oh, Ming Hao. It looks like you made the correct decision when you created this List of Tempering. How many on this Shenwu Continent will sacrifice everything they have just to leave their name on the list, and how many experts have you found through it? You have my respect.” The king then looked at Tang Si before finally saying, “Very well, I’ll agree to your request. Go now and don’t have any regrets about challenging him. I’ll try to preserve your life.”
Tang Si was delighted. “Many thanks, Your Highness.”
The Reverent King’s palace in the capital was very large, and it even had a specialized training ground.
News of Tang Si’s challenge to Li Zimo quickly spread throughout the Reverent King's palace, and even outside the palace. It piqued the interest of many.
Tang Si was ranked eighth on the List of Tempering, and he was widely known to be invincible with his spear. Li Zimo was second on the list, and even Ming Zhaotian marvelled at his self-created Silence technique. He was one of the strongest members of the Shenwu Empire’s younger generation. The battle between these two was enough to excite anyone, and even the four powerhouses atop the high peaks would be watching their battle.
Ming Zhaoshu sensed that the time had arrived, and he looked up to look around in all directions before focusing on the battlefield. “A battle between ranked members of the List of Tempering is a battle of life and death.”
Outside the grounds, Lu Yin closely stared at the scene. He was very curious about Li Zimo who was ranked second on the List of Tempering. This person represented the standard of the Shenwu Continent’s entire younger generation. He stood above all the other Martial Kings, not only those of the younger generation.
Li Zimo had a completely indifferent expression on his face as he held his long sword and quietly stared at his opponent.
Tang Si, on the other hand, gripped his spear as his eyes widened with intense focus. He charged out at an extreme speed and stabbed straight at Li Zimo, the tip of his spear causing the void itself to tremble. A sharp aura streaked past Li Zimo and tore through the void while the shockwave rent the earth and caused sparks to fly out. This attack could not be blocked. Lu Yin was shocked, because he could see that this attack could rival three-lined battle force.
On the other side of the battlefield, Li Zimo’s eyes lit up and even held a hint of admiration within them. He gripped his blade and calmly lifted it before letting it fall downwards as his body vanished. The blade returned to its scabbard in one smooth motion, though there was no sound nor any abnormal movements.
Everyone was stunned as they could not understand what had just happened.
Ming Zhaoshu narrowed his eyes and looked apprehensively at Li Zimo’s figure.
Tang Si’s spear broke. Half of it fell onto the ground with a crisp ringing sound. Tang Si seemed to be completely stunned as he remained rooted in place while a look of extreme unwillingness and also respect blossomed in his eyes.
Lu Yin was alarmed. In his mind, Li Zimo’s figure was superimposed over that of Liu Shaoqiu. That sword had been nearly identical in form the First Sword of the Thirteen Swords. The only difference was the First Sword did not require any movement and that it could travel through the void. Li Zimo’s body had followed behind his sword, and this technique required both of them to travel a certain distance, but the speed of this attack was about the same as that of the First Sword. This difference was probably a result of the space in the Shenwu Continent being more stable than the rest of the universe’s. If this attack had been launched in the greater universe, then it may not have required any movement either, and would be almost identical to the First Sword of the Thirteen Swords in every facet.
Li Zimo, a native of the Shenwu Continent, had created a technique that could rival the First Sword! If the Sword Sect were to discover this, they would trip over their heels to recruit him as a core disciple. This was an outstanding level of natural talent, and he was a brilliant genius in every sense of the word.
Liu Shaoqiu was a genius who had inherited the Thirteen Swords, but this Li Zimo was a genius who had created the First Sword. Who knew which was stronger, though Lu Yin was leaning towards Li Zimo, as this person’s talent for the sword was too terrifying; he only lacked a solid starting point. If he had been given the Thirteen Swords, then his speed of comprehension might have even surpassed Liu Shaoqiu’s.
Lu Yin had finally witnessed the true strength of the Shenwu Continent’s younger generation. Li Zimo could definitely match up to the top eight in the Astral Combat Tournament. If that just now was not his strongest attack, then he may even be equal to the top four and be a match for Lu Yin himself.
This was the second rank on the List of Tempering. Lu Yin wondered how strong the top person was.
The surrounding audience had not even recovered from their shock yet, but Li Zimo had already left.
Tang Si was ranked eight in the List of Tempering, but he could not even take one strike from the second rank. The difference was too staggering.
Tang Si was agonized and was still panting heavily. He looked at the broken half of his spear lying on the ground, and he closed his eyes. Before this battle, he had hoped to learn of the disparity between them so that he could chase after it. But now, he no longer entertained any such thoughts; the gap between them was just too great.
Ming Zhaoshu walked over to Tang Si. “This is why I didn’t want you to challenge him. Can you still use your spear?”
Tang Si gripped the spear handle and pondered for a moment before raising his head. “Yes.”
Ming Zhaoshu nodded. “When you can shake off the shadow of that sword, you’ll be able to challenge him again.” He then turned to leave.
Lu Yin looked deeply at Tang Si and left. He had to guard the palace’s back door.
“Damn! Is this really a primitive continent? That sword was way too vicious! That guy can even rival our five Academy Masters,” the Ghost Monkey exclaimed in surprise.
Lu Yin leaned against the door. “The Shenwu Continent has resisted the covert attacks of the Darkmist Weave for a thousand years. It is just one continent, but it has birthed so many experts. There’s definitely more than just one genius at Li Zimo’s level.”
“What a pity. If only this continent belonged to you. I still remember your identity as King Zishan, but with the strength of this continent, you would have had a respectable place amongst your human’s Outerverse,” the Ghost Monkey casually commented.
The monkey’s words moved Lu Yin, as he had not thought of this before. Yes, it would be great if this continent belonged to him, but he could only dream about such a thing. This continent held Hunters, and more than just one at that. Its vast strength could be seen by how it had held back the entire Darkmist Weave. Against that sort of strength, even the entire Great Yu Empire might not be enough to rule it, let alone just Lu Yin himself.
The next few days were very ordinary. There were some changes made to the List of Tempering, as those who had recently won their spots on the list were torn down over and over. Many grew interested in what was happening, though Lu Yin guessed that all this movement was a result of the mysterious number one pulling them down. He also believed that the person who was ranked number one kept changing, but that their name had been hidden to maintain the mystery.
This genius was Crown Prince Ming Hao’s final bit of control that he had placed when he set up the list.
The Ming Constables had been sent out less than usual over these past days, and the Ming Vanguard was mostly sent out to protect important people. However, this was all just on the surface, as Crown Prince Ming Hao would never relax on his hunt for foreigners. After all, they were the true enemy.
Each island sent their congratulatory gifts to the palace, and it was rumored that there were so many that they had overflowed to several drill grounds within the imperial palace. The magnificence of the gifts was astounding.
Countless experts had gathered in the capital, and even soldiers had entered the city to maintain order. The entire capital seemed cheerful for the birthday celebration, but there was also a palpable nervous tension that hung in the air that even Lu Yin could sense.
Over the next few days, Lu Yin did not see much of Li Zimo. This person was as cold as a block of ice, and he was especially guarded while within the king’s palace, so they hardly ever crossed paths.
The Reverent King had returned to the capital, so logically, he should have received many visitors. However, during these few days, no one visited the palace, shocking Lu Yin. The relationship between Ming Zhaoshu and Crown Prince Ming Hao seemed to be extremely poor, and even those officials who had forced Ming Zhaoshu to resist the crown prince were nowhere to be seen right now. This was politics.
Fireworks exploded in the sky from time to time, and the entire capital seemed to be exceptionally lively.
Li Zimo walked out of the palace and looked at Lu Yin. “The princess is going to the Tower of Resonating Light to pray for blessings upon His Highness and His Majesty. Seven, go and ensure her safety.”
Lu Yin bowed obediently. “Yes, commander.”
Not much later, Ming Yan walked out of the palace while accompanied by a maid. Tang Si followed closely behind the two of them with a neat arrangement of soldiers around them. An armored carriage had also been brought along for the princess.
From when he first arrived at the Reverent King's palace in the capital, this was Lu Yin’s first time seeing Ming Yan. Although she was wearing a veil, her pure beauty still could not be concealed. Her eyes seemed to shine through the thin fabric, bright and pure. Yet Lu Yin noticed that her face seemed to have paled slightly compared to before, which made him feel a bit uneasy.
Ming Yan walked out of the main gate and was about to climb in the armored carriage when she suddenly paused. Her eyes flashed with delight as she turned around to look at the people surrounding her, as if searching for something.
Tang Si was puzzled. “Princess, please get in the carriage.”
Ming Yan’s gaze swept across all of their faces before finally landing on Lu Yin, where she briefly locked eyes with him. Lu Yin saw Ming Yan’s expression become delighted, and his heart jumped, but he then quickly lowered his head.
A mischievous light seemed to flash through Ming Yan’s eyes, as well as a bit of shyness. She spoke up. “Brother Tang Si, my father’s safety is more important, and Yan’er already has your protection. There’s no need for Brother Li’s protection anymore. Would Brother Li please stay behind to protect the palace?”
Li Zimo shifted his gaze. “The safety of the princess is important.”
Ming Yan raised her hand and pointed at Lu Yin. “These people are from the Ming Vanguard as well, so please allow them to protect me. Brother Li, protecting my father is much more important.”
Tang Si immediately tried to assuage her stance. “Princess, there is no need to worry about His Highness’ safety. This is the capital, and His Highness is a Martial Emperor. No one would dare recklessly attack him.”
Ming Yan stubbornly shook her head. “Can Brother Li please stay behind to protect my father? Otherwise, Yan’er will feel troubled.”
Tang Si looked at Li Zimo and was placed in a difficult position.
Li Zimo simply nodded and turned to Lu Yin. “Seven, bring a few people to guard the princess. Don’t show any carelessness.”
Lu Yin was both startled and pleased. He felt a strange sweetness and found that he was strangely looking forward to this task. “Yes, commander.”
Ming Yan lowered her head, and a faint red blush overcame her covered face. She then hurriedly got back in the carriage.
Lu Yin inhaled deeply and walked beside the cart. He was separated from Ming Yan by just a mere wooden plank; he was even closer to her than Tang Si was right now.
Ming Yan found an excuse to send her maid away, and she played with her fingers as she sat apprehensively inside the carriage. From time to time, she glanced at Lu Yin who was walking right beside the carriage. She had a cheerful expression.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Choco
Edited By: Neshi/Nyxnox
TLC'ed By: OMA