Chapter 305: Calligraphy and Hemorrhaging (5)

“What now?”

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Wen Jiu’s brows knit as an annoyed sigh escaped his lips. The handsome man stared directly towards the equally irritated countenance of a man in his late thirties.

His sleeves flapped around in the nonexistent wind as he howled grief after grief towards Young Master Wen, and his lips refused to cease their emotional banter.

I say, this Young Fellow here, can you please do something about that wife of yours? At this rate, she’ll cripple all of my revenue in a single week! A calamity, I say! A true calamity!”

Calm down, Innkeeper, calm down. Take a step back and let’s mediate calmly, ah?”

Wen Jiu extended his hands to sooth the raging innkeeper’s mood, all the while struggling to escape his mind from its confusion. With such persistent and cordial gestures from the handsome man, the owner of the plain inn wrung his hands with a sad smile.

Young Fellow, your wife is nice and quiet, and has all of the virtuous qualities we all seek. However… there are some aspects of mystery that I simply cannot seem to understand.”

“Mystery?”

“Just moments after she enters her room, I and the few workers can constantly hear random and truly scary noises. Harsh winds, bursts of crackling sparks, and even some ghastly noises. One of my employees nearly broke his arm stumbling from a shattering noise coming out from the room.”

…so please, just tame her a bit, ah?

Wen Jiu’s lips twitched as he quickly recognized the angst buried deeply within the innkeeper’s impassioned rant. Storing the piece of information deeply within his heart, the handsome man stepped forwards to pat the mumbling innkeeper on his shoulder.

“…everyday, I lose more and more patrons, and those who did decide to stay either leave early or don’t return. This really needs to sto – ah?”

“Don’t worry,” Wen Jiu earnestly promised.

I’ll talk to my wife about this matter – she’s been interested in studying martial arts techniques, which could have triggered the mysterious noises you heard in the room.”

Before the exhausted innkeeper could blubber in protest, Wen Jiu cast the bait of studying martial arts techniques. The innkeeper who was no more than a mortal human quickly latched onto the bait, effectively steering the conversation from the sensitive topic of a moody An Fei.

Your wife practices martial arts? That’s interesting – does Great Yan allow for the free practice of martial arts techniques?”

“Indeed, they do – many citizens of Great Yan practice martial arts techniques in their spare time,” Wen Jiu nodded with an honest smile.

Is this not the case in Bei Tang as well?”

At the mention of Bei Tang and martial arts techniques, the expression of the innkeeper immediately became downcast.

Rubbing his hands against the coarse fabric of his outer clothes, the man in his thirties heaved a long, heavy sigh.

Indeed, our Bei Tang allows for the practice of martial arts techniques. The only question is who obtains such a divine opportunity.”

“Mastering a martial arts technique is beneficial to the body,” he stared directly into the skies.

“Increased strength, longevity, agility, and physical senses – who wouldn’t want such a blessing bestowed onto themselves? The problem is that however many people wish to practice martial arts techniques, there are only so many techniques, and none that have successfully escaped the grasp of the aristocracy.”

Aristocracy?

Wen Jiu’s eyebrows arose as a thoughtful smile graced his lips. As the handsome man successfully coaxed the tired and mentally stressed innkeeper into revealing more information, a few scattered memories arose to his mind.

Unlike the empires of Great Yong or Great Yan, Bei Tang lacked a strict Imperial Family that oversaw the empire.

Instead, they had two systems of conflicting aristocratic societies constantly colliding against each other, effectively swapping the owners of the empire every fifty-odd years.

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The specific reason why these two aristocratic societies couldn’t merge into a singular entity was unknown, as with Bei Tang’s inability to declare an Imperial Family just like its neighbors. Nobody in the Shattered Star Continent was truly aware of the proceedings, but all of the historical records that still existed hinted at a single possibility.

The heavens forbade those of the Bei Tang culture from merging into a superior empire driven by a paramilitary state. And however absurd such a claim could be, history had proved the scholars wrong time and time again.

The longest artifact that recorded any resemblance of the two aristocratic societies of Bei Tang had a splendid age of four and a half millennia. It contained a brief history of the origins of Bei Tang, as well as the special barrier that prevented the empire from hosting a single Imperial Family.

Great Yong and Great Yan resulted from a constant development of settlements that later developed into expanding towns, cities, then city-states as their populations increased.

The larger the scale of the societies within a single region of land, the greater the chance for a merging of all city-states into a massive empire, of which both Great Yong and Great Yan could trace the essentials of their roots.

Bei Tang, on the other hand, did not originate from the Shattered Star Continent.

The first settlers had drifted in from a set of islands lost in the passing of time, having discovered the existence of an enormous stretch of unoccupied and uncivilized territory. The settlers were from both cultures that belonged to Bei Tang, and ultimately developed in the same region of land.

They weren’t necessarily disharmonious in their relationships, though a few conflicts were unavoidable.

But if they attempted to merge into a singular empire or any form of government that possessed a single ruling entity, the heavens displayed their disapproval.

There would be a decade-long famine beginning from the third day after the new ruler assumes their position, and all members of such family or association were driven to their deaths by a peculiar and bloodthirsty strain of insanity.

The first few times, the people of Bei Tang could ignore it, but when the events faithfully reenacted themselves every time Bei Tang attempted to raise a single Imperial Family, they had to let go…



Having a teacher guiding her movements was equivalent to living in a paradise. Especially when the “teacher” was a heavenly dragon who had witnessed both the Realm and countless mortal worlds in their development of combat and methods of inducing death.

Xilong knew everything…

“Your feet must be spread apart, to evenly distribute the weight of your body on both sides without any discrepancies. Be careful now – don’t stretch them too far, or you wouldn’t be able to react in time if someone were to attack.”

“Your sword should always provide the largest possible area of coverage across the vitals. Raising the sword above your head to deliver a powerful blow is a horrible idea, and one seeking death.”

“Before you strike, always ensure that the point of the blade is facing the opponent. This is to allow for the chance of refracting light into their eyes – disregard all sense of honor, that trash won’t keep you alive in a fight.”

…but it also meant Xilong nagged about everything…

“You’re not protected when you utilize <Calligraphy>! Stop allowing for the sword-point to drop towards the ground – are you waiting for the enemy to slice off your neck while you decide on which character to write!?”

“There’s… there’s too many characters that I could possibly write! Besides, why would the <Steps of Underlying Shadow> dissipate before I even write the first stroke?”

An Fei protested with a pair of trembling arms. The young girl fought to keep a rudimentary blocking stance with the taijijian’s slender blade guarding her chest, her lungs heaving for burning air.

This damned dragon, did it have to intentionally triple the sword’s weight!?

“If you can glean the Construct of <Calligraphy> and <Shadow Dance>, we wouldn’t be having this issue! All you need then is remembering how to draw the first stroke, and the martial arts technique will guide the remainder of your movements without fail!” Xilong emphasized with a brief snort.

“ –but such a magica –“

“–are you taking us Immortals of the Realm as a joke now? We spent millions of mortal years refining these techniques and invested metric tons of divine essence and our brainpower – don’t start your questioning!”

“Hurry up and practice – or you’re really going to die the next time you even raise your sword! I don’t want to see that sword drop below your navel, or you’re looking for a painful spanking!”

The young girl trembled at the additional order that was barked from the heavenly dragon’s mouth. However, her countenance drained of color the next second, and her eyes bulged with disbelief.

“You were the one playing around with the fan!?”

“I was not playing around with the fan – some old grandfather was! Now, hurry up – I see that arm drooping!”

- my thoughts:
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