The blue and red swords returned to their scabbards with a loud shing that was made even louder by the deafening silence in the air. Prince Yan’s strength had left all of them at a loss for words. To think that two Peak of Ninth-grades would lose so completely, without any chance to retaliate at all.
Ning Chen was equally astonished by this display of might. He had witnessed a number of battles between Ninth-grades before but none of them were ever so one-sided.
Seated in the leading guest seat, a desire for battle flashed across the eyes of Yin Moxiao. A moment later however, it was forcefully suppressed by the youth himself. He knew that the current him wasn’t a match for the legend of Grand Xia.
The Prince’s formidable showing had left a mortified expression on the governor’s face. Like everyone else, he didn’t expect the two masters to lose so completely.
In just a mere span of twenty years, the legend of Grand Xia had surpassed everyone in his generation; he travelled a greater distance along the martial path than anyone else, a much greater distance indeed.
Amidst the shocked gazes from the crowd, the Prince slowly walked to the middle of the Silvery Court of Heavenly Snow and stomped. Immediately after, a deafening rumble echoed in the hall as a bottomless rift tore open.
The sudden tremor awakened an expert slumbering deep within the recesses of Peerless City. A frightening aura descended from the heavens, crushing down on the crowd in a bid to stop the Prince’s attempt at stealing the sword.
However, the unparalleled prince wasn’t one to be deterred by such a paltry attempt. With a cold snort, he sent a column of True Qi bursting into the air, and with a boom, dispersed the oppressive aura into nothingness.
“Even if you resurface now, it still won’t stop this Prince from retrieving this sword. No matter what, the Peacekeeper will be mine today.”
As those words left his mouth, he rotated his right wrist triggering a powerful suction force in his hand that slowly drew the Peacekeeper from the bottomless rift.
As the dark gold sword resurfaced for the first time in nearly a thousand years, the mansion suddenly shook from the dense pressure emanating from it. Having been buried deep underground for so long, its already leaden body became even heavier thanks to the excessive Earth Qi it absorbed over the years.
Prince Yan tapped lightly on the sword tip sealing the burdensome Earth Qi, and with a prompt wave of his hands, sent the massive sword flying off in a beam of black gold. With that, the sword rack behind Ning Chen had gained another occupant.
The wheelchair immediately sunk a centimeter into ground, forcefully breaking apart the blue stone slabs beneath it.
“You overstep your boundaries!”
Within the depths of Peerless City, a momentous aura rapidly awakened. But just as it was about to break its seal completely, it was stopped by another presence, “Leave him be, it’s just a heavy sword, it’s not worth starting a fight over it.”
“Hmph.” The previous presence let forth a cold snort before promptly reining in his aura and returning to a dormant state.
Back on the main seat, the governor’s knuckles had already turned white from gripping down on the armrest. Yet there was nothing he could do about it seeing as even the old ancestor had spoken.
Prince Yan threw the teen a glance before turning around to leave, his pacing deliberate and steady as he stepped out of the resplendent mansion unhindered. Even as he took the last step out of the door, not a single person dared to step forth and stop him.
“That was…so cool.”
Ning Chen sighed to himself before pushing his leaden wheelchair forward with a strained look on his face.
From now on, he was going to be a diehard fan of the prince. However, this sword was so damned heavy!
Outside of the governor’s mansion, Ning Chen turned to the prince and with curiosity in his eyes, asked, “Senior, have you already stepped into the realm of Xiantian?”
“Haha.” The prince laughed mildly before saying, “Not yet.”
“This prince is rather curious though, how did you manage to infiltrate the palace?”
Beads of sweat immediately ran down his back and forehead as that seemingly offhand question stumped him.
This Prince Yan actually knew about this beforehand?
There’s no way that Zhang Sun would ever expose this secret so that meant that he found this out by himself. But…when did he make such a mistake?
From the start until now, he never came into contact with the prince, not even for a split second. So how was this secret exposed?
“There’s no need to keep guessing. Your hands had previously touched the blue sword, that was when this Prince found out about your unpurified body.” Prince Yan continued leading the way without turning around to look at the teen as he calmly explained himself, “Men have their own aura and so do swords. The blue sword has been with this Prince for a long time and had long since formed a bond with this Prince’s aura. This Prince is able to sense anything it comes into contact with as well.”
Ning Chen’s eyebrows jumped at the startling revelation. There was actually such a thing in this world?! Incredible!
He had seen numerous peak ninth-grade experts but never had he heard of such a thing before; this Prince’s talents could only be described as invincible!
Ning Chen fell silent at the unexpected question. He was at a loss for words on where to start this story. Simply put, that incident was too complex to be explained in just a couple of sentences.
“If you do not wish to say it, it’s fine. It’s nothing worth brooding over, just focus on the road for now.”
The handsome man broke into a dashing smile and pursued this matter no longer, not that he particularly cared to. Everyone had their own secrets and so did he. Furthermore, these secrets weren’t there to satisfy the curiosity of others so he shouldn’t force this matter either.
Ning Chen breathed a sigh of relief as he heard that…seeing as he truly didn’t know how to start explaining the incident.
Having left the gates of Peerless City, Sword City wasn’t that far off now. However, as the sky had gotten considerably darker, it became significantly harder for the wheelchair-bound teen to travel, thus the pair slowed down their pace significantly.
At their current pace, they would reach their destination before daylight even if they lowered their speed further. Thus, they weren’t in any hurry.
“How much did you understand from that battle?” Asked the prince in a gentle voice as he sauntered under the night sky.
“The twin swords of Senior were of the ice and fire element while the swords of the two masters belonged to the wind and rain elements respectively. Senior used the crimson sword to battle against the Wind Master, wind complements fire and fans its growth thus there was no way the crimson sword could lose. As for the blue sword, rain is of the water element and would freeze under the frigid temperatures of ice. Senior made use of this advantage to counter the Rain Master.”
Word for word, he recounted all he had observed from the fight. While the prince’s strength had completely dominated the two men, his tactics were just as astonishing as well.
Of the four swords, Prince Yan chose the most suitable swords instead of the strongest ones. If Ning Chen had to say which was the strongest, it would undoubtedly be the sword he couldn’t draw. In terms of strength, it could probably suppress those two swords easily. Other than that, that ocean blue ancient sword wasn’t any ordinary sword either; its strength was definitely not beneath those twin swords.
At the front, Prince Yan nodded his head and said, “Remember this, the sword is a tool for killing and is the king of weapons. As a king, one must possess both intelligence and bravery. Relying on bravery alone to suppress a person with strength is, in the end, an inferior tactic.”
Ning Chen bowed and respectfully said, “Many thanks for the Senior’s guidance.”
“Mhm.” With a nod, the prince ended the discussion and continued on his way.
As he quietly followed the prince, he reflected on the previous battle. Such a fight between peak ninth-grade experts was a rarity especially at such a close distance, undoubtedly this experience would prove to be a boon for his martial cultivation.
Amidst his reflections, he vaguely sensed that he had stumbled upon something, but that fleeting sensation disappeared just as suddenly as it appeared.
Back in front, an astonished look flashed across the Prince’s face as he slowed his pace down even further. Looks like this kid was about to make his breakthrough.
The Fifth-grade was a bottleneck along one’s martial path, once you crossed it, a whole new world opened up before you. If you weren’t able to, you would forever be a frog residing in the bottom of a well.
This kid had a rare cultivation base that was so strong even he envied him. Once he broke through that bottleneck, what awaited him wasn’t any old increase in strength.
As they continued onwards, Ning Chen’s pace began to unknowingly slow down. Gradually, he began to stop moving entirely as he immersed himself in his reflections.
At that, the prince halted his advance as well and stood quietly by the side, observing the teen.
Roughly an hour later, the energies around the teen exploded with a loud bang. A burst of silvery light lit up a circle roughly 3 meters wide originating from the teen; rapidly chilling his surroundings, solidifying the moisture in the air and causing a swirl of hoarfrost centered around the teen.
As the prince quietly watched the teen, the violent energies buffeted him, ripping his blue shirt to shreds. Within the sword rack, the blue sword began humming softly as if it was celebrating.
A moment later, the boundless spiritual energies gathered up the countless pieces of hoarfrost in the air into a violent vortex that rushed into Ning Chen’s body, and in one fell swoop, shattered the bottleneck, raising his cultivation realm all the way to the peak of Fifth-grade.
Watching the spiritual energies rush into the teen, the Prince’s eyebrows began to furrow.
There’s actually another aura within him!
Within his Qi Ocean, the dark golden Qi Whirlpool began to rotate even faster as if it was trying to forcefully absorb more spiritual energy from the air.
It was at that moment that Prince Yan sprung into action. In one stride, he brought himself before the teen and with a wave of his hand, drew out Peacekeeper. Immediately tapping its sword point, the prince broke the seal on the heavy Earth Qi within it.
Focusing his will, he spun the sword point around and directed the heavy Qi right into Ning Chen’s Qi Ocean.
A pained grunt escaped Ning Chen’s lips as the two different flashes of qi intertwined with each other before finally putting each other out. Ning Chen’s cultivation had broken through once more, bringing him to the Sixth-grade.
At the same time, the prince’s face changed to one of slight astonishment. “The Heavenly Bible!”
There was no mistaking it, that had to be the Heavenly Bible, and it was two scrolls as well! If it hadn’t been for them revealing themselves during his breakthrough and his close proximity to Ning Chen, he might’ve missed it entirely.
No wonder the kid had such a solid foundation; with two Heavenly Scrolls enhancing his body, he couldn’t be ordinary even if he tried.
Having lost the excess Earth Qi within it, Peacekeeper temporarily fell into a catatonic state and was sent back to its scabbard with a wave of the prince’s hand. Having done that, the prince stepped back to Ning Chen’s side and quietly awaited his awakening.
After an indeterminate amount of time, Ning Chen finally woke up from his coma having stabilized his cultivation base. He slowly opened his eyes and promptly bowed before the prince. “My gratitude for Senior’s aid!”
While he wasn’t able to move during the entire process, his senses weren’t completely shut off; thus he knew what the prince had done for him, it went without saying that this was a huge favor.
“The excess Earth Qi would’ve affected its Sword Aura anyway, rather than keeping it sealed up in the sword, it made more sense to give it to you.”
A heavy sword wasn’t necessarily stronger the heavier it got. By the same standard, more Earth Qi wasn’t necessarily a good thing either. This was the reason why the prince sealed up the greater half of the sword’s Earth Qi.
“Let’s go, we’ve already spent a lot of time here, if we don’t hurry up, we might not make it to Sword City before sunrise.” Having said that, Prince Yan turned around and continued walking.
Nodding his head, Ning Chen wheeled off after the prince.
He didn’t know that the prince had discovered those golden scrolls within him when he infused the Earth Qi into his Qi Ocean. Neither did he know that those golden scrolls were actually fragments of the Heavenly Bible. Regarding this mysterious artifact, all he knew was that it existed and nothing more.
At the end of the day, he hadn’t been in this world for long and still had a lot to learn about it.
Under the illumination of the night sky, the pair continued their journey towards Sword City, silently taking in the sounds of the night as they did so.
Finally, the sun rose and the pair had reached the southern gates of Sword City.
It was giant, deserted ancient city. There weren’t many people left in it, in fact, one had to travel a long time before coming upon another living person. Yet, this was also the most dangerous city in the continent as any random stranger you met could be some formidable expert.
Sword City was the sacred ground for all swordsman, but it was also a forbidden ground for them as well. There was no rule forbidding bloodshed within this city. The only rule was that the strong ruled.
Scattered about its ancient streets were scars left behind by the duels between swordsmen. Each scar was at least two fingers deep and was tinted a darkish red from the dried up blood caked within in. Even so, just by standing near them one would be hit by an overwhelming smell of blood.
As he took his first step into the city, his heart began pounding in suspense. He had always hoped to find Mu Chengxue but he hadn’t expected it to be this soon.
He was afraid, afraid that his worst fears would come true.
“Are you afraid?” Prince Yan asked in a soft voice with raised eyebrows. Ning Chen laughed bitterly at the question but was unable to suppress his body’s reaction in the end. He was definitely afraid, he feared that Mu Chengxue had already forgotten about him.
The aura he felt that day was cold, placid, as if it had abandoned all the emotions in this world.
Was this to say that she had really cut off all ties to her past in order to ascend into the realm of Xiantian?
“If you are so afraid, why are you so determined to come here?” Asked the Prince as he stared at the teen with knitted brows.
“I wanted an answer,” was the dejected answer Ning Chen gave.
Prince Yan continued his pressuring, “What if that answer disappointed you?”
At that, Ning Chen’s body trembled reflexively. He had thought about this question before but had already avoided answering it up until now.
She was the first person he came into contact with after coming to this world. The first person he spoke with. The first person to spare his life. The first person to slash him with a blade and also the first person to abscond with him; there’s no way she could forget about him!