In the deep curtain of night.
The Qing Family’s higher-ups all bowed their heads and stood respectfully before the Qing Family Ancestral Hall. The surrounding torches were not lit. Twinkling starlights were reflected in the snow upon Qing Yuanshan and the others’ faces. Each person had an exceptionally grave expression. Even their breathing was cautious.
Soon after, the hall’s heavy lacquered wood doors were slowly pushed open.
Under the color of night, a tall and thin old man appeared at the threshold. This old man’s appearance was simple and elegant, his face full of wrinkles, his gaze ice-cold. There was a mysterious air swirling above his head, as if it was a blooming flower. This made the old man’s energy appear much more vigorous than a young person’s, as if unaware of his own age, making Qing Yuanshan very awestruck.
“Turn Essence into blood, thus blood and qi is indestructible,” this was the “Essence Flower Gathers Overhead” level of “Three Flowers Overhead.”
Qing Yuanshan and the others respectfully addressed him.
The old man was none other than the Qing Family’s ancestral master. In noble society, the title of Ancestor inevitably was reserved for the clan’s strongest and most qualified person. Qing Bugai’s1 expressionless eyes swept over everyone, not hiding his displeasure in the slightest.
“Yuanshan, what business has left you so flustered. Did This Ancestor not entrust you with full powers to manage things?”
“Yuanshan begs Ancestor for forgiveness. This matter concerns the life and death of the Qing Family, the ramifications are enormous. Yuanshan does not dare make a decision without your permission.” Qing Yuanshan answered fearfully.
Qing Bugai was deeply aware of Qing Yuanshan’s calm disposition. He had a wide ken and grasped the overall situation, so he was comfortable with leaving the Qing Family to him to act as head. Hearing him say this, Qing Bugai realized that something major had perhaps happened to the Qing Family. The old man asked in a low voice: “What has happened? Can it be that Tao Family and Shen Family have joined forces against our Qing Family?”
“Answering to Ancestor, matters are thus.” Qing Yuanshan forced a smile, recounting in full detail what transpired at Azure Dragon Mountain, from the weakened Star General to Chen Mo’s single-handed victory over the entire Qing Family’s warriors, not leaving anything out.
“Is what you said true?” Qing Bugai was astonished. “That Chen Mo has such enormous ability, to defeat you all by himself alone? If even half a word of what you spoke of is false, This Ancestor shall not let you off!!” The old man’s tone was stern. Chilling killing intent enveloped Qing Yuanshan and the other elders, making them nearly collapse.
“Yuanshan does not dare deceive Ancestor.”
“Yes, I can testify for Elder Brother.”
Qing Changzai and Qing Song’gu spoke up one after another.
“Is that brat really so capable?” Qing Bugai’s face was stretched taut in its seriousness. He knew of Chen Mo, the fourth young master of Lord Chang’an. Because of his inability to practice martial arts, he was sent to Azure Dragon Town to self-cultivate. However, everyone knew that this was a euphemism for “exile.”
Qing Bugai actually did not mind this. Towards a person unable to circulate qi and blood, no matter how noble their bloodline, that was of no use in these martial force-focused Star Fields.
Originally, he bowed respectfully to Chen Mo, even if he was quite displeased about it. He had even once spoke to his granddaughter Qing Wan, bidding her to cultivate assiduously, to seize and thwart that Chen Mo’s flame in a single blow at the Divine Warrior Examination. But in all his planning, he could not possibly have considered that Chen Mo was capable of defeating all of the Qing Family’s warriors.
Qing Bugai attentively listened to Qing Yuanshan describe how Chen Mo swept through everything.
“The Bagua? It appears that the Chang’an Mansion indeed cannot be looked down upon. If the slightest chance presents, even a cripple can soar into the heavens by relying on a noble family.” Qing Bugai nodded, making his assessment. The old man’s heart had already attributed Chen Mo’s heaven-defying actions to be the result of Chang’an Mansion’s resources, after all, he was the son of the Human Sovereign. Techniques like some super first-rate Bagua were indeed what noble families hoped to have back them.
“Can if be that the Qing Family’s life and death hangs in the balance because of this?” From a standpoint of Chen Mo only injuring everyone but not taking their lives, Qing Bugai felt that youth held no will to kill against the Qing Family. Furthermore, people up and down the Qing Family ordinarily understood propriety, that it was not worth it to offend the young lord of Chang’an Mansion, and hairs need not be split over the grudges of the young ones. Fortunately, their Qing Family were hegemons of the area. There would never truly be a massacre.
“Ancestor, this concerns the Star General.” Qing Yuanshan’s expresison was bitter.
“The Star General?” Qing Bugai’s face was even more grave. The matter with Chen Mo was too jarring, so much so that all of Qing Bugai’s attention had been placed on the Chang’an Mansion.
“Yes.” Qing Yuanshan explained again.
“How did a weakened Star General appear here?” Qing Bugai was not as enticed by the Star General. The old man was more concerned about the Star General’s origins.
Star Maidens were very mysterious in the Outer Star Fields. Chances of encountering a Star General were basically slim, let alone one that was weakened. This was undoubtedly suicide.
At that time, Qing Yuanshan was completely focused on killing the Star General to obtain her Star Energy, Innate Skill, or Star Weapon to think too much. When the old man said this, he also noticed this was indeed very strange. Generally speaking, a weakened Star General would appear only for a few possibilities. One was that they had encountered danger. Another was that they had only just inherited the Star Name not long before.
QIng Changzai said: “Perhaps this is related to the Azure Dragon Footpath?”
“Legend says that the Azure Dragon Footpath contains a remnant treasure chest from the time of the Star Duels. That Chen Mo becoming so formidable, perhaps he is related to this.” Qing Yuanshan felt there was some logic.
“We now ask for Ancestor to make a decision!” They respectfully asked for instructions.
“Since the Qing Family has already fallen out quite acrimoniously with that Star General, there is no more room to turn back. We must kill her.” Qing Bugai muttered to himself. He actually did not blame Qing Yuanshan for being blinded by greed. In truth, if he had been present at that time, he would not have hesitated to land a killing blow either upon seeing a weakened Star General.
A Star General’s Star Weapon, Star Energy, and Innate Skill were all sufficient to drive any warrior into a frenzy, let alone the greatest feeling of vanity for having actually killed a Star General.
Of course, if the a sect did not kill the goose that laid golden eggs, then raising a Star General would enormously bolster the sect’s strength. However, for a noble family like the Qing, they clearly lacked the qualifications.
“If we wait until that Star General recovers her Star Energy, then This Ancestor fears our Qing Family will be over.” Qing Bugai slowly breathed. He felt chills all over his body, sensing the gravity of the situation.
Seeing Qing Yuanshan and the others so heavily injured, Qing Bugai knew their intentions.
Now that the Star General fled into Azure Dragon Mountain, she would likely traverse the Azure Dragon Mountain range to escape. The depths of Azure Dragon Mountain were rumored to contain Demon Beasts, danger lurking around every corner. This was not a place an ordinary warrior could intrude into. “This Old Man shall show his face then. Hmph, if we can kill that Star General, the Qing Family shall bound to the Heavens in a single leap henceforth.” Qing Bugai nodded.
Hearing the Ancestor say this, Qing Yuanshan and the others breathed sighs of relief.
At this point, only the Ancestor’s emergence could deal with this.
“Yet for that Chen Mo to surprisingly save the Star General, he makes This Old Man very curious, hm. Is this brat truly stupid, or is he faking, to unexpectedly let go of such a good opportunity to kill a Star General.” Qing Bugai sneered.
“Is it possible for him to be that Star General’s Servant Star?”
Qing Song’gu felt this was the only reasonable explanation. When a Star General’s life was on the line, they were sometimes forced to transform a person into a Servant Star. In this case, that Servant Star had the qualifications to protect her. Should the counterpart even also be a cultivator that cultivated in Star Energy, the Star General herself could also obtain that Star Energy, recovering a bit of her power.
“This is impossible. Everyone knows how arrogant those Star Generals are. On what basis can that Chen Mo become a Servant Star.” Qing Yuanshan firmly objected. He disdainfully said: “I think that brat was being self-righteous and too stupid.”
“Yet you were all defeated by a single self-righteous brat.” Qing Bugai hardened his expression. The prestige that the Qing Family had accumulated bit by bit over a hundred years had become a laughingstock. If it was not for the shield of Chen Mo’s background, he would have invaded that mansion and taken his head this instant to wash away the Qing Family’s humiliation.
The others sneered.
“Forget it. Leave this Star General to This Ancestor to handle.”
“Oh, right. Song’gu, what level has Wan’er cultivated to now?” Qing Bugai thought of this genius granddaughter, who was considered a once in a generation youth for the Qing Family. Only sixteen years old and able to refine to Qi And Blood Eight Turns. In the future, she had the qualifications to open Three Flowers Overhead.
“All of the Qing Family is currently putting forth all effort to help Wan’er attack Qi And Blood Nine Turns. She should be able to reach it in time for the Divine Warrior Examination’s provincial examination.”
Qing Bugai nodded: “Wan’er, This Ancestor truly has judged her accurately. Her defeat this time at Chen Mo’s hands has perhaps delivered a great blow to her. As her father, you must properly console her.”
Qing Song’gu smiled: “Ancestor, be at ease. Wan’er is naturally bright. She will know what to do.”
“Then bestow this weapon upon Wan’er.” Qing Bugai waved his sleeve.
A green sword floated out. This sword had a wavy design, like a slithering snake, its tip a bronze color. It had snake scales, a chilling light, accompanied by three twinkling stars.
Upon seeing this sword, everyone was astonished.
This sword was called “Green Snake.”
This was the Qing Family’s ancestral Star Weapon, passed on through the generations. It was already Three Star at Grade Six. Only the Ancestor of the Qing Family was able to possess it.
“Pass this sword on to Wan’er. Have her properly cultivate the Green Snake Sword Techniques. It will be of help to her in the Divine Warrior Examination.” Qing Bugai calmly said, flipping over his hand to bring out two green fragrant pills: “These two Grade Eight ‘Mind Concentrating Green Washing Pills’ are treasures This Ancestor collected over the years. They can help her break through to Qi And Blood Nine Turns.”
“This is the first humiliation that the Qing Family has suffered in a hundred years. Although the opposition is the young master of Chang’an Mansion, he has landed in front of This Ancestor. In this Divine Warrior Examination’s provincial examination, we must have Wan’er use full power to defeat Chen Mo, to recover the Qing Family’s lost face.” Qing Bugai looked at them. He truly wanted to berate them, to tell them they were all trash, to have surprisingly lost to a single Qi And Blood Seven or Eight Turns warrior.
“Yes, yes, yes.”
Qing Yuanshan and the others promptly submitted, their figures endlessly sorry.
“Will Ancestor take action to teach that brat a lesson?” Qing Changzai asked.
His words immediately drew criticism from his Elder Brother. “Idiot, the Ancestor is a Three Flowers level warrior, how could he ever lower himself to that brat’s level. If word got out, the Qing Family would not avoid being known as sore losers.”
“Leave the affairs of the young for the young to resolve.” Qing Bugai was not terribly interested in Chen Mo. Currently, his objective was the Star General.
As for a young master, he would meet him later if there was time.
The next day. The blizzard finally stopped, decorating Azure Dragon Town with icicles reflecting the shining sun and an abundance of warmth.
Chen Mo awoke.
This time when he gazed out the window, he already lacked the interest in reciting the poem of “wrapped in silver and white, a sight exceptionally enchanting.” He completely devoted himself to cultivating qi and blood. Waking up this morning, Chen Mo found that his Qi And Blood refined into his bone at an already satisfactory level. The speed of his progress was even faster than he had thought.
Reflecting, Chen Mo immediately realized the reason.
Yesterday, he fought a hundred Qing Family warriors at Azure Dragon Mountain. Each swing of Northern Dipper consumed a large amount of his qi and blood, but because of the Northern Dipper Great Overflow, each swing also was equivalent to cultivating qi and blood. With so many Qing Family warriors to spar with, his qi and blood was in an even more excited state. It was only logical then that he was able to refine into his bones at a sufficient level so quickly.
Chen Mo wryly smiled.
If the Qing Family were to realize they unexpectedly became tools to bolster his own strength, he wondered how they should feel.
A full Qi And Blood Seven Turns. Afterwards, Eight Turns was using qi and blood to cultivate his meridians. This process was a threshold that was unbearably painful for the absolute majority of warriors. Meridians were not like bones in their distribution over a person’s body. If bones supported a warrior’s physical form, then meridians were attached to the bases of these supports, assuming full control of the body’s inner and outer strength, influencing the whole body.
Meridians were minute. To cultivate them was very difficult, required a warrior to spend much of their psychic constitution. Even a genius like Qing Wan, who had broken through to Qi And Blood Seven Turns at age twelve, had spent more than four years still at Qi And Blood Eight Turns.
However, all of this challenge did not amount to much to Chen Mo.
Because he could maintain the Nose Locking Art endlessly, through night and day, cultivating down to the most minute degree, even the infinitesimal meridians did not require Chen Mo to painstakingly spend so much effort to be able to cultivate. “Then I’ll aim to reach Qi And Blood Eight Turns by the provincial examination, to fight on even terms with Qing Wan.” Chen Mo’s lips held back a smile. He now had a goal.
- 青不改 ↩