It was a black sword, darker than Ning Chen’s Ink Sword; darker than night. It was as if it had sucked in the light itself with its pitch black darkness.
The moment that sword left its sheath, the aura around Prince Yan changed. His Qi soared through the roof, surpassing the bounds of Houtian and finally breaking past the realm of Half-step Xiantian. Yet, the heavenly trial never descended, even as his Qi definitively entered the realm of the Xiantian.
Searching for answers, the Man King stared at the sword in the prince’s hands for a long while. Suddenly, his eyes rapidly shrunk as realization dawned on him.
This was! This was the sword of sealing, Scrying Abyss.
Countless swordsmen have searched for this ancient sword over the years, but who would’ve thought that this sought-after sword was actually in the hands of Prince Yan.
Scrying Abyss. Just as its name suggested, looking at the sword was like scrying into an endless abyss of darkness.
“So you’ve stepped into the realm of Xiantian long ago.”
The Man King marvelled in astonishment at the growing pressure he was feeling. Without a doubt, this was the aura of a Xiantian.
Based on what he had just witnessed today, Prince Yan must have sealed a portion of his strength into the Scrying Abyss a long time ago. With this sealing sword by his side, the heavens wasn’t able to detect that he had crossed into the realm of Xiantian and thus didn’t enact the heavenly trials on him.
The world knew of the legend of Grand Xia’s peerless military and literary arts, but even then, they had underestimated this genius. The sixth Xiantian wasn’t Mu Chengxue, it was this peerless hero of Grand Xia!
“Come,” he declared slowly but clearly, in a calm tone.
It was a shame that he had to use this sword; he had never intended to do so.
With his full might unleashed, the Qi surrounding his body surged and began violently vibrating. The expanding Qi rapidly engulfed the surrounding space, causing it to howl horrifically as it was pushed beyond its limits. However, this was only the result of his cultivation returning to its former heights, once his body was acclimatized to this change, the surrounding Qi would naturally rein itself in.
The next moment, Scrying Abyss made its move. The surroundings darkened, and in split second, it seemed like space itself was being devoured. With the voracious sword raised high into the sky, he swung it down in the first and last slash of Scrying Abyss.
A fist flew out from the Man King and collided with the impending darkness. Yet in the very instant they impacted, his divine might was sucked into the endless abyss causing his body to be thrown back from the resulting impact.
Pillar after pillar collapsed as the titanic force sent the Man King flying backwards like a bowling ball crashing into a bunch of stony pins.
Prince Yan stood his ground with the sealing sword hanging loosely by his side. He didn’t choose to press his advantage as the battle had already ended. The Man King had just broken through resulting in an unstable cultivation base that simply wasn’t a match for the special properties of Scrying Abyss.
Amidst a field of rubble, the Man King struggled to his feet; his face was slightly shell shocked as he wiped off the blood dripping down the corner of his mouth. Never in his wildest dreams did he imagine that he would lose so quickly.
He had lost, lost in the very first battle since he became a Xiantian.
Prince Yan stood there, neither talking to him nor comforting him as he turned around, walked up to the sword rack and returned Scrying Abyss to its sheath.
At the same time the sword entered its scabbard, the Qi around him swirled before rapidly shrinking, returning the prince back to the peak of Houtian a second later.
The Man King wasn’t a man with a narrow heart. Whatever he picked up, he was willing to put down as well. After a few stunned seconds later, he regained his gallant forthrightness and even offered to host the pair for a couple days.
Prince Yan graciously accepted this much needed offer. Having gone through such a difficult battle, he needed time to recuperate and wasn’t in a hurry to leave.
Ning Chen was in a state of extreme shock at the moment. Having witnessed first hand the battle between these two peerless heroes, he finally realized how insignificant and weak he was in this vast world.
Mankind’s eyes truly needed to be forward looking because the world ahead was simply too vast.
In the following days, the pair rested in the Man Dynasty. Throughout these few days, Ah Man would visit them daily and set about fulfilling her promise. She had said before that she would try her best to fall in love with Ning Chen, and thus she had to do so.
At the start, Ning Chen didn’t think too much about this, but as time went on, he began to feel more and more uneasy. Outside of earshot, he started pressing the prince to leave earlier.
“What are you afraid of?”
Prince Yan threw down those words before promptly leaving the courtyard for the banquet.
Ning Chen was afraid that this determined girl was really going to do what she said; even more so, he was afraid that he might cave in as well.
He didn’t wish to fear her, she was a good girl.
Thus, he had no choice but to rush their departure, before Ah Man really fulfilled her promise.
However, Prince Yan pretended not to notice this unease and ignored the teen, causing him to be even more worried.
Finally one day, the thing he was worried about finally came to fruition.
On the day they were preparing to leave, Ah Man entered the main hall and declared her intention to marry Ning Chen.
The Man King looked at his daughter and asked, neither dissuading nor stopping her, but asking one simple question, “Do you like him?”
“Yes.” Ah Man answered without a moment’s hesitation and nodded her head.
The Man King didn’t say anything more and directly requested for the presence of Prince Yan to express his views and standpoint.
Prince Yan furrowed his eyebrows and said, “I can’t decide this matter.”
Ning Chen was simply his sword servant and not his actual servant. Other than making him bear his sword, he couldn’t decide anything for him.
“Then get someone who can.” The Man King said in a straightforward and slightly crude way.
Prince Yan thought about it for a moment and promptly nodded his head in acceptance.
On this day, a letter flew out from the palace of the Man Dynasty heading straight for the Imperial City.
While he couldn’t make this decision, there was someone who definitely could, and that was Weiyang Palace’s Zhang Sun.
Naturally, he knew that Ning Chen and Zhang Sun’s relationship wasn’t as simple as just servant and master, as there was no way Zhang Sun would specifically mention an ordinary eunuch.
As they had to wait for the reply letter, the pair ended up spending more time in the Man Dynasty. Throughout this entire process, all Ning Chen knew was that Ah Man had requested an audience. As for what the two men discussed, he knew nothing about it. However, the unease in his heart had grown noticeably worse.
The fact that Ah Man hadn’t appeared in the past few days was odd enough as it was.
What he didn’t know was that in the Man Dynasty, girls who were about to get married couldn’t leave their rooms.
Half a month later, the reply from the palace of Grand Xia finally arrived. There was a total of two letters, one was given to the Man King and the other to Prince Yan. Their contents were simple, Zhang Sun agreed to the marriage and accepted it on behalf of Ning Chen.
As for the other letter, it was naturally meant for Ning Chen.
While Ning Chen wasn’t aware of the other letter, seeing the letter lying in his hands, he finally understood the source of his growing unease. In this world, if there was someone he didn’t dare to defy, it was Zhang Sun.
Inside the letter, Zhang Sun berated the teen, telling him in very specific and harsh terms not to reject this marriage again.
Had she tried to command him with her status as an Empress, Ning Chen might have protested this decision; yet, she berated him as a senior, instantly deflating any courage he had to resist her.
It was because of this decision that an undue amount of stress was placed on him.
Zhang Sun occupied an irreplaceable spot in his heart. Ever since he came to this world, it was Zhang Sun who brought him into Weiyang Palace, and it was her who blocked the stormy winds and rains in the palace for him. If it wasn’t for that, he might have died several times over by now.
Zhang Sun was the one who raised him, and even more so, was the one who protected him. This favor and this compassion was as heavy as the mountains themselves.
Thus, when Zhang Sun was furious, he didn’t dare to talk back.
He didn’t dare to object to it, but he couldn’t accepted it either, and it was this contradiction that irked him to an unprecedented level.
Zhang Sun’s interference was something he completely didn’t expect. He had anticipated Prince Yan’s interference but didn’t think much about it.
He was his sword servant and was only required to bear his swords; nowhere was it said that he had to accept his decisions.
“Were you the one who told Her Majesty about this?”
Ning Chen barged into the man’s room and threw his first tantrum ever since he came to this world. He definitely wasn’t the one who told Zhang Sun about this matter so it had to be this man.
“Mhm.” Prince Yan nodded his head, not intending to hide this fact at all.
“I challenge you to a duel,” declared the teen in exasperation, his fury clearly reflected in his eyes. Having lost his rationality, he drew out his Ink Sword and wheeled forward.
“Alright.” Prince Yan agreed to it and promptly left for the outside.
Ning Chen never thought that he could win this fight, all he wanted to do was give the prince a good thrashing.
Yet reality didn’t proceed as he had envisioned. The battle ended without any ambiguity in his complete defeat. Even his face was beaten out of shape by a slap from the prince.
Slightly shell shocked, he climbed back up to his wheelchair in the midst of a maelstrom of emotions. He sat there for a second, temporarily at a loss for what to do.
“Do you hate that lass?” Prince Yan asked with raised brows.
Ning Chen bitterly laughed as he shook his head. He never hated Ah Man, even in his current situation.
It was just that, she was a stubborn mule. Once she locked in on a matter, she followed through with it. She was innocent, direct yet also headache-inducing.
“Then try accepting her.”
“That’s easy for you to say! Why don’t you try accepting her!” Ning Chen’s fury flared up once more. Accepting a person simply wasn’t such a simple matter.
At most, they could become friends but nothing more, especially not marriage.
“I’ll leave that up to you. If you want to reject this marriage, you can tell Wuyou yourself.” He threw down those words and promptly left the room.
Ning Chen gritted his teeth, temporarily at a loss for words as to how to respond. If Zhang Sun was that easy to talk to, he wouldn’t be in this plight to begin with. Having known her for so long, when had he ever managed to convince Zhang Sun of anything? Even the matter of leaving the palace was of his own initiative. He knelt for three whole days and was almost bludgeoned to death by a teacup.
Truth be told, Zhang Sun was the hardest person to talk to in this world, whatever she decided, she never changed.
Ning Chen was rather peeved by her misinformed attempt at matchmaking; this was basically forcing him to abscond again.
However, with that prince by his side, running away was an idea he swiftly dismissed. Besides, he had a history of running away so Zhang Sun would’ve definitely told the prince to watch out for that.
“Since you’re so eager, why don’t you marry her. Why force me to marry her?” He muttered unhappily to himself.
Well whoever started this problem had to fix it herself. With no other choice, he wheeled himself to the Princess’ yard.
Being a princess of the Man Dynasty, how could someone with such a lofty position marry someone like him who couldn’t even stand up.
What was this girl thinking when she made that decision?
His sullen mood stemmed in part from Zhang Sun’s pressure, and the rest came from his unwillingness to hurt Ah Man.
Truthfully, rejecting this inexplicable marriage was the most direct way to solve this problem. However, this was simply too cruel to the 17-year old girl, especially considering that she was a princess.
Doing that was akin to slapping her face in front of everyone and that was something he simply couldn’t abide by.
Those he didn’t care about, he could ignore. Those he hated, he would even step on their corpses a couple of times, but Ah Man belonged to neither of those so he couldn’t act so heartlessly.
As he brooded over this problem, he found himself in front of the Princess’s room. Yet just as he was about to enter, he was stopped a by beautiful palace maid.
“Young Master, you cannot enter, that’s against the rules.”
Ning Chen’s eyebrows knitted together. What rules was she talking about, he hadn’t heard of such rules in the past few days.
Could it be that new rules were enacted in just these short few days?
The palace maid saw that he was of the Central Plains and probably didn’t know of such rules so she patiently explained this matter to him, “Young Master may not be aware, but in the Man Dynasty, whether you are a commoner or a princess, you may not leave your room while awaiting marriage. Naturally, not just anyone can visit you either during this period.”
Ning Chen was stunned by what he heard, his mind thrown into disarray once more. Could Zhang Sun have actually accepted the marriage on his behalf?
Why did no one mention this to him?