After a final slash, Chu Mang finally stopped. He inclined his head, looking up towards the Heavens and bellowed, “How satisfying, haha!”
Chu Mang at this moment, felt that his entire body was in a very ‘relaxed’ state. The column of snowflakes spiralled around him, directed by the unconscious flow of his qi.
“Big Bro Mang, come and have something to eat. You must be thoroughly worn out after all these days of practice,” Qin Wentian called out. Chu Mang’s gaze shifted over in the direction of Qin Wentian and Fan Le as he heartily agreed.
With a single step, Chu Mang traversed the distance between them and landed on the stone platform. An expression of puzzlement appeared on his face as he glanced at Ye Xi, “Who’s this little sister?”
“Hi Big Bro Mang, my name is Ye Xi.” Ye Xi smiled as she greeted in a sweet voice. Chu Mang rubbed the back of his head and laughed, “Ye Xi, are the goodies made by you? I must definitely try them.”
“Yeah, her pastry-making skills are really excellent.” Qin Wentian laughed.
“Ah, it’s snowing again. I wonder how my big brother is doing now?” Chu Mang stared at the drifting snowflakes as he mumbled.
“Don’t worry, Brother Wuwei will definitely make Chu even more prosperous than before.” Qin Wentian’s thoughts shifted to Chu Wuwei as well. That incomparably calm and serene Emperor of Chu that was always in control.
“Mhm.” Chu Mang heavily nodded his head as his eyes turned slightly red. He truly missed his big brother.
“Ye Xi, where is your family?” Qin Wentian gazed at Ye Xi as he inquired with a smile.
Ye Xi’s smile instantly faded, but she quickly recovered and forced out a joyful look as she replied, “They are in the Royal Capital of Qiyun Country.”
“Then what are you doing here?” Chu Mang was slightly more clumsy and often blundered his way through things that needed diplomacy. He didn’t notice Ye Xi’s expression and hence, he straightforwardly asked the most direct question.
“I didn’t like it there so I ran out.” Ye Xi’s smile was extremely strained.
“Okay.” Chu Mang nodded somewhat stupidly.
“I’ll talk to you guys next time, I suddenly remembered that I have something to do.” Ye Xi took up her basket and frantically walked away. Staring at her departing view, Qin Wentian shook his head. He knew that this little girl had worries in her heart.
Yes, that’s right, a sixteen year old young lady coming to the Gazing-Dragon Mountain every day, yet not for cultivation. There should be a special reason behind it.
“Wentian, when are we leaving for the Azure Continent?” Chu Mang asked.
“I’m currently at a bottleneck, give me a few more days. I want to see if I can make a breakthrough before we enter the Azure Continent.” Qin Wentian smiled. He had already been stuck at the bottleneck at the fifth-level of Yuanfu for quite some time.
“Okay, I will go look at the rampart and see if there are any innate techniques suitable for me to practice.” Chu Mang nodded.
The snow fell with greater intensity and lasted for a total of seven days. After that period of intense snowy weather, the warm rays of the sun felt brimming with warmth and vitality. The last vestiges of snow melted, as the myriad of living things on earth rejoiced, the beautiful landscape resurfacing once more.
The number of visitors to the Gazing-Dragon Mountains increased once again, returning back to the same period of hustle and bustle before the winter.
Chu Mang was still immersed in his cultivation. Although he wasn’t intelligent, he was a cultivation fanatic, he could spend the whole day in his own world, practicing the same move over and over again. This was also the reason why back then, he was ranked first amongst the ten prodigies of Chu.
And because of this particular personality trait, Chu Mang’s rate of cultivation was many times faster than the ordinary cultivator.
And Fan Le, although he appeared extremely lazy on the surface, had put in effort during cultivation as well. The word ‘hardworking’ was gradually imprinted into his bones as well.
“Hey, come and enjoy these delicacies.”
The voice of a young lady drifted over. Momentarily, Qin Wentian turned over and stretched his back, having just woken up from sleep.
“Morning, Ye Xi,” Qin Wentian greeted.
“Morning? Brother Wentian, the sun’s rays are already shining on my bum, it’s almost noon already.” Ye Xi rolled her eyes and laughed.
“Hehe, Ye Xi, come let me take a look at your bumbum.” Fan Le grinned, his words causing Ye Xi to redden. She glared at Fan Le and mimicked Qin Wentian’s tone as she scolded, “Damn Fatty.”
“HAHAHA!” Fan Le laughed uproariously when he heard Ye Xi’s reply. He stuck his hands on his hips, “Ye Xi you better make things clear, which ounce of this esteemed genius’s body is fat?”
“Nope, not fat at all.” Ye Xi played along and laughed. Little Rascal had long snuggled its way onto Ye Xi’s bosom. The four of them and an adorable little puppy, the scene was like something out of a sit-com.
Throughout those days, Ye Xi would always deliver delicacies over to them. And because Qin Wentian, Fan Le and Chu Mang would endlessly praise her pastry-making skills, Ye Xi felt extremely encouraged. Somehow, being in this group of ‘weirdos’, made her experience once again the feeling of family warmth. Ye Xi felt extremely relaxed when hanging out among them, greatly loving this atmosphere of joy. In any case, since she had to come to the Gazing-Dragon Mountain Rampart every day, she didn’t feel it was a chore to prepare delicacies for them to enjoy after they ended their training.
“Little lady, why are you so friendly with the Sleeping God, Axe Demon and that fatty? Come make us something nice to eat as well,” someone in the crowd jested good-naturedly. Sleeping God was the title they gave to Qin Wentian, while Axe Demon was referring to Chu Mang.
“You are not good-looking enough.” Ye Xi laughed, her cute manner of refuting instantly caused everyone in the crowd to break out in laughter. The person continued, “But this older brother is very powerful oh, I’m definitely stronger than Sleeping God and Axe Demon.”
“Bleh, who knows.” Ye Xi stuck out her tongue. That person laughed again, “I’m an expert that has a cultivation base at the third-level of Yuanfu, my combat prowess isn’t something that Sleeping God, who spends his days in slumber would be able to match. Why don’t you come and be my little wifey instead?”
Ye Xi rolled her eyes, and ignored him. When that person was just about to speak again, abruptly he closed his mouth as his gaze became fixated in a certain direction.
Ye Xi noted his countenance as she too, turned her gaze over that direction. Momentarily, the smile on her face vanished as her countenance turned pale white.
“Ye Xi, what’s wrong?” Chu Mang inquired. Qin Wentian followed Ye Xi’s gaze and saw a group of silhouettes making their way over to them. The person in the middle was clad in luxurious gold-colored robes, an indication of his status and position in that group. The rest of them appeared to be his bodyguards, except for a few that gave a similar air as the golden-robed leader, albeit of a lower rank.
Qin Wentian took note of their cultivation bases. These people were all at the Yuanfu level, the young man in the middle at a cultivation base at the fifth-level of Yuanfu. As for those standing by his side, the weakest among them had a cultivation base at the third-level while the strongest was at the seventh-level of Yuanfu. One had to know that Yuanfu cultivators were already almost at the peak in small countries such as Chu, Snowcloud and of course, Qiyun.
These people definitely had an extraordinary background in Qiyun.
These group of people instantly appeared in front of the mountain rampart, and the young man in the centre cast a glance towards the surrounding region before smiling, “The citizens of my Qiyun are truly hardworking, not bad at all.”
“We greet young lord.” Many people approached, while bowing to the young man.
“Mhm.” The young man lightly nodded in response. “Fine weather after the snow, the High Princes will come here tomorrow to comprehend the depictions on the rampart. The whole lot of you at the front of the rampart better wise up, and give up your space for them.”
“As you command.” The crowd all nodded, they knew the background of this youth, hence they were all willing to obey.
Every year during this period of time, a group of High Princes would come over to study the depictions engraved on the rampart. The Emperor would then personally examine the High Princes to determine which of them had made the most progress on their comprehension. Needless to say, the one that comprehended the most would often receive the highest amount of recognition from the Emperor and hence, this period of time was highly regarded by the High Princes. Of course, they did not stipulate that someone would need to clear the path for them, however this young man in the golden robes took it upon himself to do just that, as a way to express goodwill with the High Princes.
The background of this young man was extraordinary as well. He was the second son of a conferred King, hence he naturally wanted to form good connection with the various princes.
The young man’s gaze slowly surveyed the area, before eventually landing on Ye Xi. He then coldly remarked, “Ye Xi, regardless of your attitude, you are still of noble birth. What are you doing hanging out with this bunch of riffraff every day? Are you doing this to commemorate that cheap slut?”
Ye Xi turned even paler at the young man’s words. She angrily retorted, “You are the cheap slut.”
“Hehe, Ye Xi, if it were not for the kindness of his highness, you would have been punished long ago. And if you continue with your insolence, then don’t blame me for not being polite,” the young man spat. After which, he turned his glance towards Qin Wentian, Fan Le and Chu Mang who stood at her side. “I don’t want to see your faces here tomorrow morning.”
After speaking, he flicked his sleeves and left. “Remember, everyone, when the princes are here tomorrow, the front-most stone platforms are to be left for them. No one, I repeat, no one must occupy it.”
After speaking, the whole group of them departed, leaving behind a pale-faced Ye Xi.
The crowd all walked away from the aforementioned platforms, opting to choose one at the more remote corners. They couldn’t afford to antagonise the Royal Clan of Qiyun.“Ye Xi, what’s wrong?” Qin Wentian asked in a low voice as he saw how strange she looked.
At this moment, Ye Xi eyes were brimming with tears, appearing extremely sorrowful.
“Nothing.” Ye Xi shook her head.
“If you want to cry, just cry. In front of your Brother Wentian, there’s no need to restrain your emotions,” Qin Wentian gently spoke, as he patted Xi Ye lightly on her shoulders.
Ye Xi collapsed onto Qin Wentian, slightly leaning against his shoulders, her last line of defenses crumbling away. Only now did her tears fell freely.
“Brother Wentian, do you know why I come here so often? Because my mother died right in front of this mountain rampart,” Ye Xi sobbed uncontrollably, as she told her story.
So it was revealed that Ye Xi’s father was a lord that was conferred Kingship of Qiyun Country. But because he preferred to be unfettered, and not bound by imperial authority, he would often roam about instead of working for the imperial court. Eventually, during one of his jaunts away, he met Yet Xi’s mother on of his journeys, a meeting he would always feel extremely blessed to have had. Ye Xi’s father’s talent in cultivation was pretty good, and he would often come to the mountain rampart in a bid to comprehend the teachings of the past Qiyun Country’s sovereigns.
One day, the elder brother of the wife of another lord in authority that was conferred Kingship, met Ye Xi’s mother by chance over at this mountain rampart. Because of her beauty, that man lusted after her, constantly teasing and humiliating her with words. Conflict arose soon after and during an exchange of blows, he accidentally slayed Ye Xi’s mother.
When Ye Xi’s father rushed to the scene, he killed that man in a fit of rage. After which, he slaughtered his way to the mansion where the lord in power was staying, wreaking havoc all around. Eventually, he was seriously injured during the skirmish, and he was forced to retreat while in hot pursuit.
That conferred King was none other than the father of the young man earlier. And as for the person who slayed Ye Xi’s mother, it was none other than the uncle of that young man.
Ye Xi’s father, that unfettered King, had been stripped of power and was currently being hunted everywhere. Only when one of the High Prince laid down a command to stop the hunt, recruiting Ye Xi’s father as his personal bodyguard instead, did this matter come to an end.
Hence, Ye Xi would often come before the Gazing-Dragon Mountain Rampart.
When she ended her story, Qin Wentian gently hugged her, while lightly patting her shoulders, trying his best to console her.
Emperor > High Prince > Conferred King