Ning Chen’s pride was hidden within his bones, engraved into the deepest reaches.
His normal shyness, affability and even shamelessness was nothing more than his way of coping with his damnable fate. If one were to truly force him into a corner, he would rather jump into a burning furnace than relent. He had already died once after all, what was one more time?
It was at that moment that Prince Yan opened his mouth; his normally calm expression was noticeably darker ever since that sword left its scabbard.
Ning Chen stopped and looked at the man, the stubbornness and arrogance within his eyes were in full view of the two princes.
Prince Yan turned around and faced his sibling. “Second Brother, Ning Chen was brought here by me and is my guest. Your probing actions just now displeases me,” said the handsome man in a grave tone.
Having said that, he took a couple of steps forward and looked at the teen: “Ning Chen, Prince Tai is this prince’s elder sibling so this prince cannot ask of him to apologize. However, just as I said before, I brought you and thus you are my guest, this prince will compensate any trespass against you!”
Ning Chen squinted in a bid to hide his emotions from the man. This prince had once again surprised him with his extraordinary performance. Not only was he talented and powerful, his magnanimity was unparalleled as well.
No wonder everyone referred to him as the Legend of Grand Xia. His perfection was one that you could only look up to.
In the past, he had once told Li Er that perfection was nothing but a lie that was waiting to be exposed. Today, he took it all back.
On this man’s person, there were no defects to be found. Perhaps there might be deficiencies, or perhaps there might be regrets, but there were definitely no defects.
“Ning Chen apologizes for his previous brashness as well.” He lowered his head as he said that, in a way befitting a junior addressing his senior.
“Then regarding the matter of my Sword Servant?” Asked Prince Yan with a slightly gentler look on his face.
To him, there was no one more suited for this role than Ning Chen. Also, he had faith in Zhang Sun’s eyes; anyone favored by her was worthy of his favor.
Hearing the prince bring up that matter once more, Ning Chen gave a light sigh and replied in a sincere voice, “This one does indeed have a matter that requires attending to, I hope that Your Highness can find a replacement elsewhere.”
Ning Chen’s eyebrows jumped in surprise, clearly not understanding the man’s insistence on choosing him. Giving it some thought, he finally decided to reveal his intentions. “I’m planning to head to Sword City to find a person.”
Hearing the words “Sword City”, Prince Yan’s eyebrows furrowed as he said, “It’s a trip you must make?”
“It’s a trip I must make.”
Ning Chen nodded his head as he replied. After travelling such a distance, there was no way he would give up before seeing Mu Chengxue.
The Prince looked at the teen, contemplating for a moment before promptly making his offer in a slow, thought out fashion, “This Prince will accompany you on that journey on the condition that you take on the role of this Prince’s sword servant.”
Given his knowledge of the dangers of Sword City, the teen would most likely lose his life in there if he were to make the trip alone.
“How long?” Asked the teen, having seen the value in this offer.
“Not possible.” Ning Chen immediately rejected the offer without a second thought. Ten years was simply asking too much of him even for a man like Prince Yan.
“State your terms.” The Prince’s eyebrows knitted together as he said that. This was the largest allowance he could give.
A year…that was still too short, but he sorely needed a sword servant…
In the end, he nodded his head and cemented the deal with Ning Chen. From today onwards, Ning Chen was to be his sword bearer. The term: a full year with no option to quit halfway.
Prince Yan had a total of four swords, one blue, one red and one that was ocean blue. The last sword was stuck fast in its scabbard and he had no way of removing it.
Each of these swords were extraordinary swords in their own way. The blue and red swords were icy cold and scorching hot respectively while the ocean blue sword had a soft, rippling aura to it. As for that last sword, Ning Chen was unable to sense any aura from it, yet this was the sword that he feared the most.
“Prince Yan.” Ning Chen tried to address the senior but was immediately struck with a sense of awkwardness. The Prince had felt it as well, judging from his raised eyebrows. If Ning Chen were to accompany him for a long time, constantly addressing him as Prince Yan wasn’t an option.
In the past he had always been alone, who would’ve thought that the addition of just one more person would require him to revisit such a minor matter.
“Just senior is fine.” He answered in a casual tone after giving it some thought, his eyebrows relaxing as the words left his mouth.
Objectively speaking, Ning Chen had already been with Zhang Sun for a while now so he deserved the right to address him as senior.
Calling out the word in his mind, he instantly noticed how much easier it rolled off his tongue.
“Senior, when will we leave for Sword City.”
“Tonight, but before that, we need to retrieve a certain sword.” As he said that, Prince Yan walked off into the distance. Startled by this revelation, Ning Chen paused there for a second but promptly wheeled off after the senior.
The Silvery Courts of the Heavenly Snow. This was the main estate of Peerless City’s governor and was one of the more exquisitely decorated places the governor used to entertain guests. Situated right above a natural hot spring, the surroundings were warm all year round. Coupled with its falling pear blossoms that looked like snow from a distance, it was almost as if the estate was experiencing spring amidst winter.
Peerless City wasn’t like any other city in the Central Plains. It had existed since time immemorial and had witnessed the rise and fall of countless empires. If one were to dig into its origins, one would find that it was ancient to a terrifying extent.
It was said that the shadow of Peerless City could be seen even in the founding of Grand Xia. In recognition of its help, the first Xia Emperor specifically made the governorship of Peerless City a hereditary one.
After a thousand years and ten thousand changes, the only thing that hadn’t changed was the strength of Peerless City. In this world, there was no one who dared to underestimate this ancient city that; despite its long history, it hadn’t declined one bit. This was especially so for the governor’s clan who had grown to be a powerhouse within the city.
Thus, while Grand Xia had dispatched a military marquis here for the express purpose of deterring the Sword of City in the east, that wasn’t the only reason for doing so.
Today, the resplendent Silvery Court of the governor played host to an esteemed guest. Naturally, this person wasn’t Ning Chen but was instead a youth known throughout the land as the No.1 person of the younger generation, Yin Moxiao.
According to rumors, Yin Moxiao had already been accepted by one of the Grand Dukes, Duke Xiyu, as his personal disciple. It wouldn’t be long before this esteemed youth would become a marquis.
Seated on the main seat was the governor of Peerless City clad in his immaculately straight, purple official robes. Tied to his waist was a waistband of similar color, embroidered throughout with gold thread. His black hair was tied up in a knot that was held upright above his head by a golden crown. As he sat there, body as straight as a pencil, he addressed his guest with a calm voice that didn’t seem to diminish his bearing at all.
At the side was the man’s wife, who raised her wine cup in respect with a smile on her face while dressed in garments that were not only extravagant, but ostentatiously so. On the other side of the governor, sat Qin Wushuang. Her beautiful eyes quivered as they intermittently sneaked a glance at the youth seated beneath the main seat, their meaning painfully clear to everyone present.
As the men gathered within the resplendent halls, they feasted merrily with hidden agendas behind each of their smiling faces. Today, these halls were occupied by the powerhouses of the various factions gathered here with the leaders of their younger generation.
Yet, it was at this moment that an unwelcome guest made his appearance. Behind him, came the clattering of his newly recruited sword servant’s wheelchair.
Ning Chen had a slightly helpless look on his face at the moment. He wasn’t here to create trouble and was merely here to bear the man’s swords.
The Governor addressed the man with a grave look on his face. To think that the prince actually came to steal the sword.
With a calm voice, Prince Yan declared to the men, “I’m here to retrieve the sword.” While his voice wasn’t the least bit menacing, it made the gathered powerhouses balk from its implications. Everyone here knew that the governor’s household had a treasured sword known as Peacekeeper, hidden within these very halls.
Peacekeeper was a sword handed down by the second Xia Emperor. It was a one-of-a-kind sword that was not only a heavy sword but was also an emperor’s sword at the same time.
Back then, Peerless City was embroiled in endless internal strife. Its citizens suffered tremendously within the unending flames of war. In light of this, the second Xia Emperor specially handed down this sword, allowing the governor to command the 100,000 strong army garrisoned nearby in order to quell this unrest.
Yet, while the unrest had ended, the second Xia Emperor ended up dying of sickness before retrieving this emperor sword. With the Imperial Capital in turmoil, they naturally had no resources to expend on such matters. Taking advantage of this, the governor buried the Peacekeeper within these halls and lied to the world that it had been lost in battle.
This was an open secret that everyone knew about but no one exposed.
Ten days ago, Prince Yan dispatched a messenger to the governor’s mansion. The contents of his letter was simple: the Qin family either handed over the sword to him or he would make the trip himself to retrieve it.
Prince Yan was a lover of swords and his expertise in the sword was known throughout the empire. In light of this, the Xia Emperor once decreed that as long as the sword belonged to the Court, as long as it belonged to the Imperial Household, he could freely choose it.
“Prince Yan, you’ve come to the wrong place, I do not have the sword you speak of.”
In the face of the various powerhouses and the Grand Duke’s disciple, the governor was naturally not in the position to admit that the sword was here.
However, the prince didn’t care about his words one bit and strode forth, step by step. His aura that had the faint resemblance of a sword, spread out in waves with each step he took.
As he took the tenth step, he abruptly halted and muttered to himself, “So it was under here.”
Having been ignored by the prince, the governor’s face turned a vivid shade of red as he slammed the desk and shouted. “Prince Yan, you’re overstepping your boundaries! Men, apprehend him for me!”
As those words left the governor’s mouth, twelve guards clad in iron armor rushed forth, and without wasting anymore words, surrounded the pair.
Ning Chen’s eyebrows furrowed at the unfolding crisis. These guards weren’t any ordinary guards. Judging by their auras, the weakest amongst them was at least at the peak of Fourth-grade Houtian.
To him, handling one guard wasn’t a problem, two made it difficult for him to defend himself, while three was definitely a defeat for him.
As for the strongest amongst them, his realm was simply too high for him to identify.
Yet, the prince wasn’t the least bit fazed by this show of force. With a weighty step forward, an overbearing aura blasted forth from his body and crashed into the guards like tsunami, sending all twelve of them flying away in an instant.
Ning Chen’s eyebrows jumped at the shocking sight. He knew that the prince was strong but he never once thought that he was THAT strong.
These long years had dulled the edge of the prince’s fearsome reputation. The people had begun to forget about this once in a hundred years legend that was a genius in both the scholarly arts and the martial arts.
“Master of Wind and Rain!” The governor’s heart sank as he exclaimed in a grave voice.
The cold glint of steel rushed mercilessly towards Prince Yan from two different sides, each clad in a terrifying aura.
“It’s actually them…”
The powerhouses present had recognized these auras. They came from two famous experts who had made their name within these recent hundred years. They had stalled at the peak of Ninth-grade for longer than any of them could remember and were undoubtedly stronger than they could imagine. To think that the Qin family was able to recruit these two.
In face of these two masters hired by the governor, Prince Yan waved his hand and summoned his blue and red swords. Their scabbards clattered noisily from behind the teen’s chair before jumping into the air as the blue and red swords flew out of their sheaths and right into the waiting hands of the prince, each facing off against the Master of Wind and Rain respectively.
The four swords clashed in an explosion of flower petals. The cold rain immediately solidified into snow as the raging winds were set ablaze. The merger of these elements violently teared apart their surroundings before they finally transformed into a giant storm of water, fire, wind and frost that shocked the audience to their core as they retreated backward.
“Not bad.” The prince mildly proclaimed before twisting the swords in his hands and blowing away the two masters.
*bang* *bang* The two masters stabilized their postures in an instant. Their faces grew grave as they realized that this fight wasn’t going to be an easy one.
Taking up positions on his flanks, the men surged forth once more from the right and left. Their attacks were timed impeccably in order to complement each other in a show of offense and defense as they engaged in mortal combat with the legend of Grand Xia.
Yet in the face of their furious onslaught, the prince was calm like a willow as he spun his sword and redirected their force away, cutting off any opportunity they had to attack him.
The two masters were stunned, and even more so, the men watching the battle were stunned. No one expected that this prince of Grand Xia was this powerful.
Shortly after that exchange, the two masters activated another 30% of their cultivation base, raising their power to the utmost limit. In a split second, the space itself trembled as their attacks became that much more violent.
However, the prince was as unperturbed as before. With a calm look on his face, he swung out with the blue sword, freezing the surrounding moisture around it as clashed with the Rain Master’s sword, locking it down in an instant.
The next instant, the crimson sword in his other hand knocked away the Wind Master in a wide slash that quickly turned toward its a new target. A bloody rose blossomed in the air as the Rain Master’s arm fell to the ground amidst fireworks of blood.
Yet, this wasn’t the end of the prince’s onslaught. Without giving the remaining Master any time to react, his silhouette flickered, appearing an instant later right in front of the Wind Master. His blue sword spun in the air for a moment as the prince reversed his grip on it and stabbed it right into the Wind Master’s Dantian with his fingers formed into the shape of a sword point.
A grunt resounded in the air as the man immediately flew backwards from the resulting impact, his aura gushing out of his body as he did so. In just the span of a few breaths, his cultivation base had dropped by over 50%.
“This prince has already given you all a chance, I hope you will treasure it.”
As that chilly warning echoed in the air, the two swords in his hands disappeared, turning to rays of blue and red light as they flew back into their respective scabbards.