Changluo, Aroma Pavilion, Chrysanthemum Room.1
Chen Qing was currently drinking. In the room, there were only several women dancing to the the tune of a guqin, but it was very clear that their wonderful dance was unable to attract Chen Qing’s attention. He absentmindedly drank, a brooding expression.
“As the number one juren of Changluo’s provincial examination, you appear very unhappy, Young Lord Chen.”
A mocking voice from beyond the door teased his depressed mood. A tall man strode into the Chrysanthemum Room. He wore black clothes, was young and handsome and had a bright demeanor. Upon seeing this man, the depressed Chen Qing’s eyes lit up. A smile immediately filled his face as he waved his hand to dismiss all of the entertainers.
“Brother Zhao Yan,2 you’re here. Come, drink.” Chen Qing respectfully poured a cup of wine.
“I wonder how your cultivation is, Young Lord Chen?” Zhao Yan took the cup and drained it.
“I recently finally broke through to Essence Flower Late Stage.” Chen Qing said.
“Essence Flower Late Stage, that’s actually not bad. But to take the spotlight at Chuan Province’s court examination, I’m afraid it isn’t too realistic.” Zhao Yan seemingly smiled as he drank a few more cups.
The Divine Warrior Examination’s second phase was the metropolitan examination, which was held in the central city of each province. The metropolitan examination assembled all of the juren warriors from every town, school, low and high noble families, sect, and more. Several thousand warriors would come to fight for ten openings.
“Changluo is the domain of my Chen Family. Who in this place could be greater than I?” Chen Qing arrogantly said. With his Essence Flower Early Stage, he was able to seize his place as Changluo’s number one juren. Cultivation was merely secondary. What was more important was that he had a heaven-sent geographical advantage and background. He believed he could take the top pick slot of Changluo.
Zhao Yan faintly smiled: “Good that Young Lord Chen Qing has self-confidence, however, our prince3 has nevertheless heard of some things that he wanted me to look into.”
Chen Qing’s expression turned taut, and his tone became nervous: “What information has the prince received?”
“Chen Zhangtian’s fourth son, Chen Mo, has attained juren qualification at Azure Dragon Town. He is qualified to enter the metropolitan examination. I fear he ought to be rushing towards Changluo now. I wonder how Young Lord Chen Qing compares to Young Master Chen Mo. Just who will this Changluo obey?”
Chen Qing gnashed his teeth, and his eyes spit fire as he did his best to restrain his fury.
When he first heard of this information, Chen Qing was shocked and angered. In his eyes, that trash young master was unexpectedly actually able to obtain juren qualification in the Divine Warrior Examination in just three months’ time. However, this was not enough to send Chen Qing’s anger into the heavens. He later learned of Iron Blade’s betrayal and defection to Chen Mo, and that Chen Mo surprisingly used Qi And Blood Nine Turns strength to defeat Azure Dragon Town’s number one genius, Qing Wan, the woman who had cultivated to Essence Flower Realm.
For such a warrior to unexpectedly soar into the skies within three months, Chen Qing had never heard of this.
Zhao Yan slightly grinned.
“Ever since Chen Zhangtian went to Chang’an, this Changluo has been under our Chen Family’s control. We’ve operated for more than ten years here. How can a piece of trash seize control from us.” Chen Qing coldly said. However, he knew these words were somewhat of a lie, even to himself.
After Chen Mo arrived at Changluo, who would dare to not give the son of Lord Chang’an face?
And among the current Changluo’s hundred thousand guards, there were still some trusted confidants of Chen Zhangtian who remained here. Even during normal times, Chen Qing’s father was unable to command them.
“Trash? Ha, ha, does Young Lord Chen Qing still think of him in this way?” Zhao Yan’s words carried a bit of mockery. He clearly was aware of Chen Mo’s situation.
“I wonder what the prince thinks?” Chen Qing calmed down and asked.
“The prince naturally is unwilling to see that happen. No matter what, Chen Mo cannot enter the court examination. The prince hopes there won’t be any variables.” Zhao Yan said.
“To be frank, Chen Mo’s development has far exceeded my expectations. He may have chanced upon some fortunate encounter. Even my old bodyguard Iron Blade has defected to him. It looks like he really has some strength.” Pausing, Chen Qing said. “Why not ask the prince to seek out the Tang Sect again?”
“This matter does not need your concern. For this metropolitan examination, the prince has dispatched people. You only need to dedicate yourself to self-cultivation and take control of Chuan Province along the way. Soon, Lord Chang’an’s family shall be exterminated, and the prince guarantees you won’t need to worry about your future.” Zhao Yan ate a grape, savoring the flavor of the Crystal Grape that came from the Western Regions, his expression somewhat amused.
“Please inform the prince to be at ease.” Chen Qing said.
“You know what to choose then?” Zhao Yan asked once more.
Chen Qing chuckled: “Of course. The Great Chong imperial family wants his life. When Chen Zhangtian’s life runs out, who else can protect him. I, Chen Qing, naturally am willing to render my humble services to the prince and the imperial family.”
Zhao Yan clapped his hands and praised: “That is for the best. With Huan Wen on our side, Chen Zhangtian’s days are numbered, even a Human Sovereign. Take this…”
A black shadow flickered.
In Chen Qing’s hand were an exquisite porcelain bottle and a jade case. “This bottle has ‘Qi Gathering Mind Destroying Powder,’ a Grade Six Pill. It can allow you to ascend to Qi Flower Realm. With Qi Flower Realm, you should be victorious over Essence Flower warriors, right? If you lose, the other box can help you stake everything onto one throw.”
A Grade Six Pill.
Chen Qing’s eyes glittered, his expression becoming somewhat excited.
The Great Chong Dynasty’s medicines were ranked from Grade Nine up to Grade One. The higher the rank, the more costly. For example, a Grade Six Pill could not necessarily be purchased simply with money without a noble background.
“Chen Qing is very grateful for the prince and His Majesty’s favor. I will definitely jump into scalding water and plunge into raging fire for you.” Chen Qing did not forget to express his gratitude.
“Then, cheers to our collaboration. In the future, Chuan Province will be yours. I feel that the little Young Master can become a marquis.”
“I won’t ever forget Big Brother Zhao Yan’s favor in the future.”
The two of them toasted, smiling knowingly.
After leaving Zhongli Sanmei and Nianyou at the mountain fort, Chen Mo rode alone on horseback to Changluo.
As the testing center for Chuan Province’s metropolitan examination, as of this moment, the warriors from each of Chuan Province’s major cities had all entered Changluo to wait for the examination. Chen Mo surreptitiously sized up all of the warriors who looked to be less than twenty years old.
Most of them were between Qi And Blood Nine Turns and Essence Flower Realm, not opponents he needed to fear. However, Chuan Province was close to Chang’an. It would not be odd for there to be crouching tigers or hidden dragons.
Chen Mo did not immediately go to the Chen Mansion.
Nominally, Chuan Province was under Chen Zhangtian’s control, but Changluo was given to Chen Huhao to manage. If Chen Mo came, Changluo’s Chen Family would definitely entreat him generously. However, Chen Mo disliked trouble, and he was very aware that Chen Qing perhaps would have already learned from all of his sources about how he became Azure Dragon Town’s juren. Presumably, Chen Qing was panicking, having not anticipated that Chen Mo would surprisingly be able to surpass him in a short three months.
Chen Mo had no interest in either Changluo or Chuan Province.
He had no interest either in serving as a governor for the region. If he was only a Human Star warrior, then such a pursuit was actually possible, but his goal was the Central Star Field’s Maiden Mountain. He did not have any interest engaging in this little business.
Chen Mo strolled about the streets. Because of the increase in the number of warriors, the streets were packed with more soldiers and officers on patrol. Despite the strict discipline of these troops preventing them from being as free as a warrior, the truth was that each of these soldiers had at least Qi And Blood Nine Turns, even Three Flowers Overhead or higher, strength.
Chen Mo then went to the “Divine Warrior Governor House.”
The Divine Warrior Governor House was a division that the Great Ancestor emperor arranged back then for the thirty-six provinces. Under direct control of the imperial family, they were nominally for the sake of the Divine Warrior Examination’s preparations. In truth, the Divine Warrior Governor House had Divine Warrior operations. Although the warriors here were only a little over a hundred in number, each one was Three Flowers Overhead, not to be looked down upon. This office was used to monitor the city’s officers for any hints of betrayal.
At this moment, all of the warriors preparing to participate in the metropolitan examination were gathered at the Divine Warrior Governor House, each checking in with their juren tokens and making exchanges.
Each juren token’s material was different, representing the capacity the warrior had achieved as juren. It also corresponded to some juren prizes that one could receive from the Divine Warrior Governor House, including gold, silver, cultivation methods, pills, and more. If one was willing, they could even join the Divine Warrior Governor House for additional rewards.
After joining the Divine Warrior Governor House, it was comparable to becoming part of the imperial family’s bodyguards. Those who were lucky could even be recommended to the imperial palace’s “Divine Guard Battalion” to be raised, with many benefits as well. Back then, the Great Ancestor Emperor could be said to have gone through a lot of trouble, attempting to use such a method to monopolize the Great Chong Dynasty’s superior warrior talent.
Indeed, it was somewhat effective at first, however, it was later instead exploited by the larger noble clans to expand their own influence, treating it as a tool to gauge the other party’s strength. Practically all the warriors entering the court examination had their own backing and support, judging from within the depths of each other’s strength.
The Divine Warrior Governor House’s warriors were honestly too numerous. The window to register and redeem rewards was already snaking along, everyone every orderly.
Of course, with Chen Mo’s status, he could claim privilege as he pleased. However, this time, he wanted to enter the spotlight on the basis of his own strength alone, to make everyone else take notice of him. He did not want to flaunt his status, therefore, he honestly put himself at the back of the queue.
“Did you hear, the rumors say our Chuan Province has a matured Three Flowers Overhead juren.”
“What? Three Flowers Overhead? With the Three Flowers Gathered Overhead?4 You’re sure this is true?”
“Of course. According to what the great aunt of one of my distant cousin’s neighbor’s relative’s friend’s nephew said, she personally witness that juren competition. He blossomed Three Flowers over his head, and those warriors participating for the juren token all kneeled.”
“Nonsense, that’s definitely nonsense.” A disdainful snort.
“It’s definitely overexaggerated. I heard some Azure Whatever Town had a Qi And Blood Eight Turns warrior beat an Essence Flower Realm warrior senseless. This is completely impossible.”
“Exactly. A warrior able to refine an Essence Flower has indestructible qi and blood. How can a Qi And Blood level warrior, however powerful they are, be able to defeat a warrior with indestructible qi and blood? This is blind nonsense, they must be trying to intimidate us.”
Some of the warriors in the Divine Warrior Governor House’s main hall were in discussion. They came from all over Chuan Province. Even the smallest piece of information could be obtained here.
Chen Mo felt that the initial conversation he heard was interesting.
A Three Flowers Gathered Overhead warrior, huh?
This was certainly formidable. Chen Mo was aware that even if he cultivated Star Energy, victory against a Three Flowers Gathered Overhead warrior would be quite taxing because after the Three Flowers gathered overhead, the warrior’s “Essence,” “Qi,” and “Sprit” would reach great heights. This was the limit that any warrior could pursue. Any higher, and they could only tackle Thunder Tribulation Realm.
Even if he cultivated Star Energy, this would not bring too great and advantage against such an expert. However, after listening, Chen Mo could not help but smile. Was he not the very topic of their conversation?
“Does Three Flowers Gathered Overhead even matter. I know that this court examination will have an even more frightening warrior.”
Suddenly, a voice as rough as steel growled from behind him, somewhat disdainful of these conversations.
Chen Mo turned his head back and was slightly surprised.
- That name sounds scandalous. ↩
- 趙彥 ↩
- So this is a bit ambiguous. This can mean prince, marquis, or some other noble title. I’m going with prince for now. ↩
- The author makes a subtle distinction here. “Three Flowers Overhead” is the general term for this level of cultivation. “Three Flowers Gathered Overhead” refers to the state in which all three flowers are manifested at once, that is, completeness in this level. ↩