Volume 5 – A Distance Within Reach, Chapter 52: Drastic Measures (Part 2)
Wei Potian said gradually, “I’m greatly indebted to all of you for your favor during the recent days. In terms of family background, temperament, and looks, all of you are more than a good match for me. But even as a n.o.ble heir, I can only have one primary and two parallel wives according to imperial law.”
The smiles of the three n.o.ble ladies were more or less forced—they, of course, knew this. In truth, being a parallel wife was already extreme injustice for them. But how could they not contend for it under present circ.u.mstances?
These n.o.ble lineal daughters were born to riches and honor. However, there were also corresponding responsibilities behind the glamorous lifestyle, and one of them was marriage. This was a duty given to them by the family and clan. Just take the marriage with the Marquis Bow.a.n.g’s heir for example. They would enter a new life with new authority and responsibilities after winning this position, but everything would start all over again if they failed.
Stories like being deep in love and marrying into humble families without regard for one’s status only existed in folktales and opera. These n.o.ble ladies had to do it for the family even if not for themselves; they had to fight for a good family background for their future children.
Even if there really was a person reckless enough to let go of everything, things wouldn’t end with just her contentedness with poverty. The high-ranking n.o.bility would never allow the existence of such a conduct which challenged convention and ruined the family name.
This was the price of being born with everything; authority and responsibility were always proportionate. There was only one way to break out of these shackles, and that was to be strong—strong enough to break free from all these bonds.
Just as the three n.o.ble ladies were worrying, Wei Potian suddenly halted this topic and turned to another one. “Ah, yes. I almost forgot one thing. It’s also time for Zining to build a family.”
“Song Seven? Isn’t he engaged to a landowning household?” Nangong Ling asked curiously. These young n.o.ble ladies didn’t know about the secret conflict between Wei Potian and Song Zining. They only saw that both of them were quite close to Qianye and a.s.sumed the three of them shared a good relations.h.i.+p.
Wei Potian waved his hand and said casually, “How can that landowning woman sit in the Song seventh madam’s position? She’ll be removed sooner or later. You might not know, but Zining shocked everyone at the most recent decennial examination and jumped to the second successor’s position. Don’t forget that he’s an entire nine years younger than Song Zicheng. The future clan lord, heh, heh, there’s no telling who that will be!”
The Song clan didn’t announce the results after their recent examination. Although it wasn’t difficult for interested people to obtain relevant information, it was actually the first time the three ladies had heard of this.
Song Zining’s engagement to a landowning family was a major problem, but it wasn’t impossible to settle. Moreover, even if they themselves weren’t suitable, there were still other lineal sisters and close friends who would become their support once they became in-laws with the Song.
The three n.o.ble ladies and their companions couldn’t help but feel great waves in their hearts. They remained calm on the surface, but the flicker in their eyes revealed some of their thoughts.
With Song Zining’s current momentum, he could be considered a popular candidate in the Song clan and was sure to eventually become a grand elder even if he couldn’t sit in the clan lord’s position. He would receive a n.o.ble t.i.tle in due time, and, with enough luck, accomplishments and a territory—the t.i.tle might even become hereditary.
Even if such a future prospect wasn’t as stable as Marquis Bow.a.n.g’s heir, it could be considered outstanding among the empire’s younger generation. The three n.o.ble ladies began to suggest some suitable ladies from those at their side, but it was also unavoidable for them to have certain thoughts in secret. So what if it were themselves? How could their families object?
It was hopeless to try and keep secrets when the group of ladies got together. Night hadn’t even fallen when all the n.o.ble ladies became aware of Song Zining’s situation and value.
Meanwhile, Song Zining suddenly received numerous appointments, and being direct invitations from lineal n.o.ble ladies, most of them were difficult to reject. Song Zining realized something was wrong by the time he received over five of them.
Wei Potian dragged Qianye to hid in the war-room and was laughing quite happily. He was enjoying some peace and quiet after a small part of the firepower around him was split off. Song Zining, on the other hand, had been held up, and it would be impossible for him to join the westward expedition with those ladies surrounding him.
These n.o.ble ladies possessed impressive ident.i.ties, and even the clan ladies who had come along with them weren’t of low status. One would have no choice but to marry them after climbing into their beds. Wei Potian laughed with great cheer thinking about how that lecher Song Seven would be surrounded by a group of beauties but could do nothing but watch.
Qianye was still unaware of what had transpired. He only felt that it was fairly abnormal to see Wei Potian laughing frequently like an idiot.
The latter had brought along a champion when he came to visit Qianye just now. He wanted his guest warrior to join the western expedition because he couldn’t go personally and was worried about Qianye.
Although an extra champion would indeed bolster the strength of their unit, Qianye still didn’t agree on the spot. It wasn’t that easy to use a guest warrior champion from an aristocratic family, and the man might not fully obey Qianye’s instructions in battle. Moreover, that person’s original duty was to protect Wei Potian. How could he suddenly agree to leave his side?
But Qianye understood the reason very soon.
The war-room doors were suddenly pushed open. Song Zining walked in and, without so much as a word, materialized his origin power into a pile of razor-sharp leaves. He then flung all of them straight at Wei Potian’s face. The latter was apparently prepared; he circulated the Thousand Mountains within a split second and blocked all the attacks.
That Wei clan guest warrior made no attempt to block Song Zining’s attack, and instead retreated awkwardly to one side. Then under Wei Potian’s amused gesture, he said goodbye to Qianye and left the war-room in a hurry.
What followed was a chaotic battle.
Qianye only learnt of the issue after the two had worn themselves out. It turned out that Wei Potian had caused Song Zining to be unable to go to war. Then, in order to make up for the loss in fighting power, he had stuffed his own guest warrior into Qianye’s hands. It was unknown just how many benefits the Wei clan heir had promised the man in order to make him go to battle and also keep quiet about the matter.
Qianye didn’t even want to get angry with these two fellows who were always trying to hinder one another. The young miss of Duke You was in high spirits after she found out about this matter and felt that the opportunity to decide everything in one battle had come. She immediately patted her chest and took complete charge of everything. “You can rest a.s.sured. When this mommy here goes into action, she can do the job of two people.”
Qianye’s expression turned even darker. Young miss Zhao Yuying was indeed worth two men in terms of unreliability. This big beauty definitely wouldn’t listen to his commands on the battlefield.
Qianye came to a firm decision on the eve of the western expedition. If there was ever any important business in the future, he would have each of them take charge of one aspect, but would never have them working together.
The predetermined time arrived very quickly, and Dark Flame’s armored battalion was the first to set out—the western expedition had begun.
Qianye and Zhao Yuying sat in the command vehicle and left the city with the main force. Meanwhile, Wei Potian and Song Zining were left to deal with all the n.o.ble ladies. It was just that one’s mood was on cloud nine, while the other’s was in h.e.l.l.
Song Zining seemed to have been stimulated after being given a taste of his own medicine by the wild boar. He had used up his normal half a year’s worth of paper and books to train with great diligence. According to his words on the night of Qianye’s departure, he had already touched upon the meanings of “deep twilight” and would soon break through to the sixth realm of the Three Thousand Flying Leaf Art’s middle-rank.
Meanwhile, Wei Potian was in a great mood and had touched upon the threshold of forming an origin power vortex during practice. It seemed the two had arrived at the same destination despite having taken different paths and were making great progress in their martial power.
Zhao Yuying was sitting across Qianye in the command vehicle and said casually while peeling a fruit with her army knife, “It seems I have to deal with that d.a.m.ned count. But this won’t come cheap! I’ll let you take a look at this.”
She reached out to kick the black crate beside her. The cover sprang open on its own, revealing a silver physical bullet which was the size of a palm and as thick as a fist. The origin array patterns on it ran in straight lines and were filled with a somber aura.
Qianye asked in surprise, “What is this?”
Zhao Yuying took a bite from her fruit and said, “This is specialized ammo for the Mountain Splitter. A single shot can blast that low-rank count half-dead. Naturally, its firepower is evenly matched by its price. With this baby in hand, we have nothing to fear from that old count whose teeth are about to fall off. But you’ll have to compensate me afterward. I want 20% of the spoils of war after this battle, and I’ll be the first to choose.”
“What are you looking for?”
“Slaves, prisoners of war or civilians, but they mustn’t be old. Demonkin are the best, werewolves are suboptimal. and arachne are useless.”
Qianye frowned. “You’re going to engage in slavery?”
“I’m not working in the slave trade, but something even worse! This matter is unrelated to you and it’s best you don’t ask. Moreover, this can’t be considered my business. I’m only helping a friend.”
Qianye pondered for a moment and said, “Fine, but reckon there won’t be many prisoners of war in this battle.”
“Civilians are fine,” Zaho Yuying replied. Her nonchalant att.i.tude was capable of producing a chill in the depths of one’s heart.
Qianye was silent for a moment and said, “I’m quite curious about your past.”
A n.o.ble lady born to a hereditary duke had turned into who she was today. Naturally, this couldn’t be solely attributed to a deviation in upbringing—it was likely that an extremely unpleasant story was involved.
Zhao Yuying laughed while looking at Qianye. “You’re just a kid. Stop asking about this and that like an adult. You’ll naturally come to understand when you grow up.”
Qianye broke into a laughter. This young miss was only older than him by a couple of years but loved to act like an old and experienced person. But then again, there was a certain appeal in seeing this big beauty call herself “this mommy” with such ferocity.
This made Qianye recall one of Song Zining’s words, “As long as you’re handsome enough, everything you do will look good.”
But Qianye had no intention to let Zhao Yuying seize the initiative just like that. This didn’t just involve the distribution of spoils but also the authority of command.
Qianye brought out a small box and opened it to reveal three origin bullets. “I won’t let Count Stuka have an easy time even if he really came.”
Zhao Yuying’s countenance changed somewhat after immediately recognizing the tiny emblem on the tip of the origin bullet. “The Song clan’s Refined Silver Bullet of Extreme Yang?”
“Correct.” Qianye closed the lid with a bang.
“This bullet requires a grade-six gun to bring out its minimum firepower, but I don’t see you holding one.”
“Rest a.s.sured, I don’t have a habit of squandering things.”
The two became silent and cultivated quietly on their own. Any sort of acc.u.mulation before the battle was good.
Zhao Yuying’s body was overflowing with dark-purple origin power and emitting an aura similar to the West Pole Violet Qi. However, it contained more of a b.l.o.o.d.y, murderous intent as compared to Zhao Jundu’s bright and imposing heavenly-flame-like violet qi.
Qianye circulated the mysterious chapter in silence, digesting the essence blood stored in his body. He had, once again, had his fill of essence blood during the last reconnaissance run, but all kinds of business had kept him from digesting it in cultivation.
After completing a full cycle, the ma.s.s of darkness origin power was dispersed and devoured by the blood energy within his body. Perhaps owing to his True Sight, Qianye was able to see the pair of golden wings plump up a bit after the dark golden blood energy had swallowed nearly half of the darkness origin power.
The darkness origin power swallowed by the purple blood energy was fewer this time. Moments later, numerous purple rays spilled out from the blood energy and flowed toward every part of his body. There would be a slight itchy sensation wherever these tiny lights went, be it his organs, flesh, or bones. Newly formed energy seemed to be gus.h.i.+ng out from each drop of blood and strengthening his body.
This was the purple blood energy’s process of strengthening and modifying his body. Comparatively, the dark golden blood energy seemed to be doing its best to nurture the Wings of Inception.
Qianye slowly opened his eyes and spat out a strand of black qi, which pierced a small hole through the car’s body.
Zhao Yuying was still resting with her eyes closed when she suddenly said, “I’m really curious about your cultivation art.”