Chapter 108: An Encroaching Sense of Foreboding (1)

“Leaving… Jiang’an?”

Accompanied by the gentle spring breeze, the news struck An Fei’s mind with the astounding force of a nuclear warhead. The young girl gaped at the solemn minister, her mind skidding to a halt.

“Father, why… do I have to leave Jiang’an?”

“This…” Wei Xuan hesitated, before reaching over to firmly pat the girl’s head in an attempt to console her agitation.

The minister’s lips struggled and quivered as they attempted to dislodge the heavy burden, but ultimately surrendered with a heartfelt sigh.

“Father doesn’t want you to leave Jiang’an, ah. However, the Imperial Palace listed your name as one of the numerous participants for the special opportunity granted by the Taiyi Sect. Father tried to contend against the edict, but the emperor…”

“Special opportunity? What special opportunity?” the girl indignantly demurred, the cracked scarlet irises glinting with a hint of annoyance.

“What’s more, a special opportunity from the Taiyi Sect? Isn’t that where Eldest Brother studied at, this edict is essentially commanding me to die in an unknown wasteland, no?”

“Ahem… Father managed to convince the empress to accompany you on the trip. If you disguise yourself as one of her followers, the trip should be reasonably safe and secure…”

Wei Xuan wiped beads of sweat from his brow, ready to pounce upon the young girl at the slightest inclination that she released her frustration.

Staring at An Fei who appeared to be on the verge of exploding in a completely justified anger, the minister couldn’t help but harbor a strand of guilt in his heart.

…a little strand of guilt, but the sword’s sharpness couldn’t be ignored, ah!

“…is the empress even secure?”

The young girl’s mutter filtered into the minister’s ears, jolting him awake from his momentary daze.

“From what Eldest Brother said, even the emperor has to bow to the Taiyi Sect. How would traveling with the empress serve any purpose of saf-“

“Quiet, lass!”

Wei Xuan hurriedly reached over across the table separating the two in the pavilion to block An Fei from speaking any further.

His eyes glancing furtively from side to side, the minister tapped the back of the young girl’s ears, softly muttering while continuing to block her lips.

“With Father’s influence in the court, you can slander the emperor any way you wish, and he’ll even laugh along. Just don’t mention the empress in any negative statement, otherwise the golden seal will stamp you into oblivion…”

“Oh…”

An Fei mouthed after Wei Xuan had removed his hand. Biting into a piece of juicy and tender meat that had rested atop of the rice for a little too long, the young girl paused for a moment, before her eyes gleamed with interest as she glanced upward towards the ravenously eating minister.

“Father, does the emperor have more beauties in his backyard than just the empress? After all, he should have more than Father does, right?”

The carefully prepared combination of scallions, green onions, and a tantalizing strip of roasted beef slipped from Wei Xuan’s chopsticks to scatter across his bowl.

“…little lass, why are you even interested in the harems of other men, ah!?”

Alas, nobody could give witness to the minister’s aggrieved cries except for an Eldest Young Master holing himself in the study of the Flowing Wind Residence.

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“…Father, can you tell me the specifics of why I’m supposed to leave Jiang’an?”

An Fei inquired whilst moving a plate of dishes to the washing basin.

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Dumping the plates into the warm soapy water, the girl proceeded to grab the scrubber covered with thick linen, scouring each plate with a fierce rub.

“This… then I’ll have to speak from the beginning then…”

Wei Xuan replied in an absentminded tone, wistfully gazing at the assortment of knives and pots before him. Rolling up his sleeves, the minister settled himself onto the narrow stool, beginning the grisly task of washing cast iron pots and sharp knives.

…after all, the servants within the Wei manor were currently undergoing a harsh screening, and would not return for quite the long period of time.

Though he didn’t mind spending a few silvers buying an exquisite meal for the Eldest Young Master and the Fourth Young Miss who were confined to the study, Wei Xuan wanted to experience cooking for himself.

…other than An Fei accidently setting his robes on fire and he nearly flooding the pots with cooking oil, everything proceeded in a smooth and fine manner…?

“After your Eldest Brother came home, the Taiyi Sect dispatched messengers to the three empires’ ruling families to notify them of a special opportunity to cultivate. This opportunity was a completed set of cultivation and martial arts techniques, and was confirmed by the Sect’s elders to be capable of reaching beyond the Nascent Soul Realm, perhaps even into the fabled Mortal Tribulation Realm…”

“…didn’t Father say that the emperor of Great Yong was only that of an early-staged Nascent Soul Realm cultivator?” the young girl paused to gaze at the minister.

“Such a treasure, and the Taiyi Sect is willing to share it with the three empires of the continent?”

“Hmph, that’s because they lack capable practitioners to cultivate in the technique!” Wei Xuan snorted with a cold gaze.

Ravaging the cast iron wok before him with the scrubber, the minister vented his frustration, magnifying the object’s suffering by a considerable margin.

“From what that messenger spoke about, the treasured technique requires a practitioner with a major Yin physique to cultivate in it. Surprisingly, those diagnosed with cold deficiency also are granted the exclusive opportunity.”

“Major Yin… physique?”

An Fei murmured as she arranged the plates onto the drying rack. Her gaze distant and fleeting, the young girl instinctively frowned in confusion.

“All people in the world are born with a type of physique attributed in either Yin or Yang, regardless of whether they can cultivate or not,” Wei Xuan explained with a tense smile, tossing away the scrubber.

Hoisting the washing basins into the air, the minister carried them towards the drainage canal, depositing the used water without any hesitation.

“Great Yong’s facilities are truly great compared to other places… anyways! Those with a physique that is attributed towards Yin or Yang generally exhibit widely noticeable traits – either in their cultivation, or their demeanor at the initial stages of cultivation.”

“Yang physiques are more compatible with cultivation and martial arts techniques attributed towards Yang, and the same for Yin is true as well,” the minister stretched, directing a warm glance towards the girl.

“Major or minor Yang or Yin, those are just relative references to the balance of Yang and Yin attributed vitality within their physique. As for those with a mixed physique, hmph, they can easily practice any cultivation technique without worry, or be unable to endeavor in a single one.”

“But what about cold deficiency?”

An Fei questioned with a sharp gaze. Counting on her fingers, the girl ruminated in a soft tone, though easily captured by the minister.

“Impaired functionality for several physical functions, including blood circulation and body temperature… a weak pulse, and severe lethargy… How does that help in cultivation whatsoever?”

“That’s the mystery behind the declared treasure possessed by the Taiyi Sect!” Wei Xuan walked over to embrace the young girl.

Patting An Fei on the back, the minister gazed at the clear blue sky, his eyes flashing with an imperceptible glint.

“Cold deficiency generally hinders the critical components of the body required to cultivate, hence such ailment is considered taboo for practitioners. Whether they are truly capable of revolutionizing cultivation to permit those with cold deficiency to cultivate or they possess a nefarious plot, who knows?”

“But don’t worry so much about it,” the minister squeezed the young girl sandwiched between his arms.

“Father has already gotten the empress to promise that if you don’t want to partake in the special opportunity, she’ll bring you right back. However… the empress is also overseeing the entire convoy, so Fei’er does have to leave Jiang’an…”

“In the end, I still have to leave the city… that I haven’t even toured the streets of?” the young girl murmured, her emotions clawing at her heart.

“That is truly a blunder…”

The minister and the Fourth Young Miss simultaneously released a heartfelt sigh.

“…Father, do you know who exactly enlisted my name without asking for my consent?”

An Fei suddenly blurted out from within Wei Xuan’s embrace, her voice muffled by the minister’s robes. A flush of awkwardness dyed his countenance scarlet, and Wei Xuan quickly released the young girl to realize that other than appearing slightly discomfited, there was no harm done.

“Why do you ask?” the minister tilted his head, a blank expression shrouding his countenance.

“Because your daughter wants to abuse her father’s authority to beat that person up! Since Father can slander the emperor without fearing punishment, surely that wouldn’t be an issue, no?”

Wei Xuan could only pat the girl’s head in a doting manner, though his heart bled torrents of panic and resolve.

Little lass, the person who registered your name onto the black monolith has relations with the empress; that would be a tough burden for your Father to handle, ah!

It would be a different story altogether if Father were to release a few seals to vent your frustration, but then your Father’s master would come and beat your Father to death, ah!

“Fei’er, do you have any plans for today? Father doesn’t have to go to court today, do you want to do something?”

“Then…” An Fei paused, her right cheek filled with air in thought. Before the minister could poke it with his finger, the young girl quickly retracted her cheek, distracting him with her next words.

“Then I want to tour the streets and have some fun; I haven’t been able to explore outside of the study. Also, if the First Madam could come along, that would be nice.”

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