On the road back to the estate, Prince Yan turned around and looked at Ning Chen and the sulking Xian Nianyi behind him. His brows knitted together as he said, “Help him push the wheelchair.”
Their faces immediately changed to one of unwillingness as they averted their eyes. However, neither was willing to stand up to the man’s oppressive command.
As she walked up to his wheelchair, she had a look on her face that could probably frighten a person to death. His body shivered reflexively from the lady winter behind him.
“I’m fine pushing it myself.”
Unable to take it any longer, he rejected the offer with a wry smile on his face. At this rate, that unruly girl might just stab him in the back. Given their proximity, there was no way he could dodge that blow.
“Let her push it.” Prince Yan immediately denied his rejection in a flat voice.
“You dare to show displeasure at this Princess’ goodwill?” Her temper immediately flared up upon hearing the teen’s words. It was alright for her to reject it but there’s no way she would allow this brat to do so.
She was already angry enough to feed him to the fishes. She would’ve done so as well if not for her Third Uncle standing in front of her.
Ning Chen promptly shut his mouth. A good man doesn’t argue with an evil woman.
No matter how proficient one was at martial arts, they were still susceptible to a stab. Now that he was under their rooftop, he didn’t dare to provoke this unruly girl or she might really just stab him with a blade. Who was he going to complain to if that were to happen then?
As the three of them slowly proceeded onwards, the commoners made way for them, bowing when the prince walked past them. Within the Empire, this particular prince had an insurmountably high reputation that stemmed from his equally formidable talents and martial prowess. Had it not been for his aversion towards the throne, the dragon throne might just belong to another person right now.
This was also one of the reasons why the current Xia Emperor was so lenient with this sibling of his. It was even said that the previous Emperor favored this talented son of his so much that he wanted to make him the crown prince. However, this was rejected by Prince Yan himself.
This was also why the current Emperor was particularly cold towards this sibling of his despite his exceptional leniency.
Ning Chen just could not understand what such a maverick of a prince was doing here accompanying this unruly girl as she threw her tantrum.
Thinking back on it, he suddenly realized that he still didn’t know what the exact purpose of that arena was; so whatever thoughts he had now were just his assumptions.
Out of curiosity, he quietly turned around and glanced at the unruly girl. In a soft voice, he said, “Princess, may I ask a question?”
“…what?” She asked in a suspicious tone. Their relationship had long since deteriorated past the stage of keeping up decorum, so his sudden politeness truly left her feeling uneasy. Was this brat plotting something?
Ignoring the look in her eyes, he decided to focus on the question instead. Compared to their personal grudges, his burning desire for gossip trumped everything.
“What was the purpose of that arena just now?”
Ning Chen tried several times to think of a better way of asking this but failed, so he decided to just pose it to her straight.
“You don’t know?”
A strange look crossed the face of Xia Nianyi as she said that in a voice full of scorn. He actually stepped onto the arena without knowing what it was for? What was his brains made of?
Hearing that, he scratched his head in embarrassment. His poverty had driven him mad for an instant; he was simply afraid that he might lose out on an opportunity to earn money, so he rushed up the stage.
However, Xia Nianyi didn’t notice the awkward look on his face and continued, “Third Uncle needed a sword attendant so he set these rules, whoever is able to withstand ten of his blows can follow him.”
Having said that, she turned to the teen with a sceptical look on her face, “Then what did you think it was?”
“Nothing.” Ning Chen quickly whipped his head around and hid his awkward expression from the unruly girl. So the one with potatoes for brains wasn’t Prince Yan but him.
A princess finding a suitor by setting up an arena? How did he even think of that? He really had to hand it to himself for thinking of such a ridiculous notion.
“He thought you were looking for a suitor via that arena.”
It was then that Prince Yan casually interjected himself with that finishing blow of a comment, stunning the two teenagers into silence.
Ning Chen had never once thought that the prince was listening in on their conversation, and he even knew that much. Was the answer written on his face or something!?
Yet, could he ever say that? No way!
However, compared to Ning Chen’s irritation, Xia Nianyi’s expression was one of utter shock as her jaw fell to the ground. A moment later, her temper erupted. With her fingers wrapped around his neck, she viciously strangled the boy.
“Is this Princess truly that undesirable?!”
She had previously thought that his abrupt departure was because he was trying to create trouble; never in her wildest dreams did she imagine that he turned around because he saw her.
The teen gasped for air as his hand tried to pry the girl’s hands away. “Princess, Princess, don’t be rash, Prince Yan was just joking.” He barely managed to force out that explanation amidst his struggles.
However, she clearly didn’t buy that as she strangled the teen even harder. She was going to strangle this brat to death no matter what! Nowhere in this world was there anyone who was daring enough to actually give her the cold shoulder.
“Princess, no matter how dumb I am, there’s no way I would think of such nonsense given your lofty status,” gasped the teen with a face as red as a tomato.
Xia Nianyi loosened her grip despite the suspicions in her heart. Thinking about it, this kid had a point, there was no way anyone would be stupid enough to think of that.
She was a princess of Grand Xia after all. Her marriage should be decided by the Emperor. Even if she wasn’t favored, she still wouldn’t end up in a state where she had to hold a tournament to find a suitor.
Unfortunately for her, she had underestimated the boy’s vivid to the extreme imagination. To a transmigrator whose view of the world was about to collapse, even a flying sow wouldn’t surprise him.
More importantly, how would he even know that she was a princess!
“*cough cough* It’s true.”
He massaged his throat gently and hurriedly nodded his head while simultaneously berating the prince in his heart. It’s fine and all that you managed to guess it but why did you have to say it out loud. You’re simply enjoying the show aren’t you?
What if he had lost his temper and beat up this unruly girl?!
Despite his enormous misgivings about the girl, he still didn’t intend to offend her too much seeing as she was Zhang Sun’s niece. Even if one didn’t like the monk’s face, one should still give face to the Buddha behind him.
Prince Yan smiled at the teen and didn’t say anything more.
After that short interlude, the three proceeded onwards with Prince Yan taking the lead. His expression was calm as he took each step, one by one, neither too slow nor too quick. His clean, austere green tunic fluttered in the wind serenely without losing its dignified look.
Ning Chen sighed in his heart. This prince was no mere man. With his peerless disposition that left one in the dust, it was no wonder that Zhang Sun was almost betrothed to this multi-talented third prince.
Unfortunately, Prince Yan had never thought of getting married, a move that caused the countless daughters of the court officials to wait in vain for years until they finally grew old.
This was a legend of Grand Xia, a living legend in the flesh.
Compared to him, the prince who ascended to the throne in the end seemed to be lacking in comparison.
Ning Chen didn’t know what happened between the princes of Grand Xia; but even though the current Xia Emperor finally managed to ascend to the throne, he ended up losing all of his brothers. On the other hand, Prince Yan ended up winning the respect of all of his siblings despite giving up the throne.
As the three of them entered the royal estate of Prince Tai, they came upon the prince himself, sitting on the main seat within the main hall, sipping his tea quietly as he waited. Seeing his brother enter, Prince Tai rose from his seat and lowered his cup of tea.
Seeing her father, Xia Nianyi immediately abandoned the irksome teen and rushed up to him with a smile as sweet as honey.
“Father, I’ve returned.”
Prince Tai laughed as he stared tenderly at his beloved daughter. “Did you cause any trouble for your Third Uncle?”
“No way, your daughter is the most obedient girl ever.”
Ning Chen was left speechless by the shameless lie he had just witnessed. How was she even able to tell such a lie without feeling any embarrassment? If she didn’t cause any trouble, what was he doing here right now? Did they pick him up along the road or something?
He truly wanted to yell: I’m the trouble you caused.
Naturally, Prince Tai knew to take his beloved daughter’s words with a grain of salt. Knowing what his daughter was capable of the most, he promptly turned to Prince Yan and asked, “Third Brother, Nianyi didn’t cause you any trouble, did she?”
The girl in question immediately threw him a pleading look that said, if you don’t help me now, I’ll cry.
While he wasn’t one to be threatened so easily, he shook his head in the end and said, “No, she didn’t.”
In his eyes, that incident just now wasn’t enough to be considered trouble but was instead a tiff between two children.
Hearing that, Prince Tai nodded slightly before turning to the wheelchair bound teen, “And this is?”
“Ning Chen, one of Wuyou’s subordinates.” Prince Yan introduced the boy with a serious look on his face.
“This one pays his respects to Prince Tai.” He said while cupping his hands.
“Be at ease.” The man promptly answered with an astonished look in his eyes. What was this person doing in Peerless City?
He naturally knew of this eunuch as well. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the showdown between Grand Xia and Zhenji was a one man show on his part. However, this illustrious eunuch ended up disappearing after he was shoved down a cliff by the Divine Child while escorting the marriage entourage.
Peerless City was rather far from the Imperial City, this meant that his spies weren’t as informed as those palaces in the capital. Thus, the matter of Ning Chen entering the Academy had escaped his notice entirely.
However, he didn’t care about matters in the Imperial City anyway. He simply didn’t want to get involved anymore.
“Third Brother, how did your search go? Did you manage to find a Sword Servant?”
Prince Yan pointed at the teen before calming saying, “Him.”
“Oh?” Prince Tai narrowed his eyes before rushing forward, drawing a sword and slashing at the teen in one swift motion.
Ning Chen’s pupils shrunk as they focused on the flashing steel. Without retreating or evading, he drew forth his Ink Sword and chopped down on the incoming prince in a decisive move that was sure to result in injury on both sides.
The prince rotated his sword around and blocked the oncoming Ink Sword. With a clink, the metals collided, sending forth a shockwave that ruffled their sleeves.
He stowed his sword as he praised the teen. That was a ruthless move, not only towards his enemies but towards himself as well.
Given their strength disparity, that suicidal move was the only right choice.
In a battle between the weak and the strong, the weak barely had any chance of victory in the first place so any hesitation was nothing but a quick route to defeat.
Ning Chen was rather peeved right now, very peeved in fact. He wasn’t some object to be tested out at someone’s whims. This sort of pompous behavior was exactly what he detested the most.
While Prince Tai might not have meant for it to be perceived as such, this was what he displayed.
“Prince Tai, Prince Yan, I appreciate your show of favor but I have no interest in being a Sword Servant. Plus, I still have matters I need to finish. Farewell.”
As he said that, he turned his wheelchair around and prepared to leave. He came only because he respected Zhang Sun otherwise no one could force him to do anything.
While he treasured his life, that didn’t mean that he was willing to give up everything for it.
As a man of Grand Xia, you can lose your life but you mustn’t lose your dignity!