He was definitely fantasizing about some nonsensical thoughts just now , Ning Chen admitted that much. But he definitely didn’t expect his delusions to come true.
However, after that short moment of astonishment, Ning Chen’s expression darkened. More than anyone else, he understood that the prince’s heart only had room for the sword and would never accept the lady.
Back at the clearing, the boys all had a dissatisfied look on their faces but they didn’t dare show any disrespect.
At the same time, the girl slowly made her way down the platform, her steps seemingly echoing the shyness within her. Stepping forward, she draped the ceremonial red sash in her hands, over the shoulders of her love interest as a way to express her intentions.
The crowds erupted in exuberant cheers at that. To them, she was the most beautiful pearl of their settlement and deserved the greatest of blessings.
“If you’re done watching the festivities, it’s time for us to leave.” Face as placid as before, he stated that in the blandest of voices after which he turned and left as if he had never once taken notice of this matter.
Behind him, the red sash and the flower ball fell onto the ground amidst a backdrop of deafening silence. As the winds blew through the scene, the ball rolled forward but it wasn’t able to change the mind of the departing prince at all.
Ning Chen sighed in his heart before wheeling himself forward to leave as well. In this world, even lovebirds weren’t guaranteed an everlasting marriage, let alone people who didn’t love each other.
The senior was a Xiantian, a man of the heavens. Furthermore, he was a peerless genius who managed to step into the realm of the Fourth Tribulation despite having only cultivated for thirty-odd years. There was simply no way he would be bound by such earthly emotions.
Seeing her ceremonial sash and ball discarded like that, the beautiful girl was stunned into silence. For that brief moment, it seemed like all the light had left her eyes as she stared blankly ahead.
“Men, restrain them!” It was then that a white bearded elder stepped forward and yelled, face immeasurably grim.
“Understood.” As that shout echoed back in unison, ten burly men rushed forward to chase the pair. Each of them had the typical rugged look of a typical man born in the Mongolian Steppes.
Yet, just as the ten of them were about to approach the pair, an indomitable force burst forth and in an instant, blasted them away.
“Martial practitioners.” His eyes narrowed. The white bearded elder immediately realized that these two weren’t simple but he couldn’t allow the Pei Tribe’s dignity to be sullied like that either. No matter what, this matter mustn’t end like this.
(TL: The author used the word Qiu instead of Pei but I think it was just a typo on his part.)
“Ming Cheng, restrain them.” The elder exclaimed with a face that grew darker by the second.
“Understood.” As soon as those words were said, a scimitar was drawn from the waistband of a black shirt man. Kicking off with his left left, his body flickered before rushing towards the pair as a black shadow.
Scimitar clashed with sword and the black shirt man’s path was blocked. Applying more force to his sword, Ning Chen shoved aside the man, eyebrows jumping as he did so.
That curved blade was similar to the one he saw during Zhang Sun’s attempted assassination. Most likely, those assassins were armed with these scimitars as well.
In this world, there weren’t many who used curved blades, those that used a crescent shaped scimitar were even rarer.
Opposite him, the black shirt man stirred once more. Scimitar slicing through the air like a deadly crescent moon, death silently descended on the pair.
A thunderous bang resounded in the air. Around the two combatants, the dust and sand violently swirled around like a vortex and yet in the midst of all that, a distinct crack could be heard. A conspicuous crack had formed along both the wheel of Ning Chen’s wheelchair.
Glancing at the damage, Ning Chen couldn’t help but frown. Focusing his Qi onto his left hand’s finger, he stabbed at the man’s chest and at the moment of impact, withdrew 70% of his strength while allowing the remaining 30% to pass through.
The black shirt man grunted for a split second before he was thrown backwards and had to stumble back several paces before he managed to steady his posture. Right as he did so, a gout of blood erupted from his mouth and his face paled.
“Senior, let’s stay for a while.”
“Is there some matter you need to handle?” Prince Yan stopped and asked.
“There is.” Ning Chen nodded.
He wanted to verify whether or not that black shirt man had any connection to the people who tried to assassinate Zhang Sun. Plus, his wheelchair was about to collapse and needed a quick repair.
The wheelchair Mister Lu crafted for him had already been destroyed in that explosion, and the one he was using now was actually one that he bought from a Mongol store using the prince’s silvers. Based on what happened today, it didn’t seem that sturdy at all, though that was to be expected.
With a grating squeak of his wheelchair, the pair turned around and rushed off towards the bearded elder.
“Greetings, Elder.” Ning Chen beamed as he bowed.
“Capture them.” The white bearded elder shouted as his face sank even more.
Nearby, the ten burly men dragged themselves to their feet and promptly surrounded the pair, eyes unsteady with fear as they kept a guarded distance.
“There’s no need for that, we’ll come quietly.” Ning Chen smiled as he said so.
“Yannie (Yan-er), I’ll leave it up to you how should we deal with them,” The white bearded elder asked in a grave tone as he looked at the girl standing nearby.
(TL: I’m still considering whether or not to use -er in future chapters/series, so feel free to leave your feedback down below or in Discord.)
The girl who had previously been silent up till now, finally broke her silence and answered. “Let’s bring them back to the tent first.”
Ning Chen and the prince didn’t show any objection to that and merely followed the burly man who was tasked with escorting them all the way back to the tent.
Life on the steppes was mostly a nomadic one with the majority of the settlements being constructed out of tents to allow for easy relocation.
As Ning Chen and the prince entered one such tent, they found themselves in a tent that didn’t seem at all like a prison,instead, it seemed like one set aside for hosting guests.
Looks like that lady wasn’t a petty person deep down. Even in the midst of her anger, she made sure not to go overboard.
When you thought about it, half of the blame laid with them as well. While it was true that one should do as the Romans do when in Rome, but there were still some matters they couldn’t accept so easily.
“Why did you choose to stay behind?” As he calmly said that, Prince Yan walked up to the table and poured himself a cup of tea.
“I noticed that the scimitar wielded by that black shirt man was similar to the weapons used by the assassins who tried to kill Her Majesty.” Ning Chen answered in a solemn tone.
Back then, there was a list of people he suspected, the Mongol Horde, the Eternal Night Cult and that personage in the Western Palace. From what he saw today, it was the Mongol Horde ,as he had expected.
Since that was the doing of the Mongol Horde, then Fan Lingyue definitely had a hand in it as well.
“Can you confirm that?” An icy glint flashed across his eyes as he asked that.
“There’s a high probability that it’s true, that’s why I requested that we stay behind.” Ning Chen nodded his head, his expression just as dark as the prince. Had it not been for Qing Ning risking her life to protect Zhang Sun and him, both of them probably would’ve died during that assassination attempt. Thinking back on how close that situation was, Ning Chen couldn’t help but shudder.
“Don’t hurt them by mistake, but even more so, they don’t let them go by mistake.”
Outside the tent, the white bearded elder stared at the black shirt man beside him for a moment before asking in a grim tone: “Ming Cheng, did you manage to uncover their origins?”
“No, but that teenager on the wheelchair was extremely formidable. I’m not his match at all. As for that green shirt man, I can’t feel any martial aura from him, he’s probably an ordinary person.”
“Could they be people from Grand Xia?” Asked the white bearded elder.
“We will only know for sure after we investigate.” Giving it further thought, Ming Cheng immediately followed that up with another comment, “However, I don’t think they bear us any ill will. If that young man didn’t hold back at the last second, I wouldn’t even be standing here right now.”
The bearded elder nodded his head before saying, “Better to play it safe for now. Even though the Pei Tribe doesn’t support the war between the two dynasties, the war is an an ironclad fact. We mustn’t the ones who let the wolves into our home.”
Within and without the tent, both sides had their own considerations and both sides had their own plans. Yet in the midst of all that, the one who should’ve been the center of attention ended up being ignored by all four of them. Why was it that the happiness of girls always ended up being so easily forgotten.
Pei Yan fell in love with that green shirt man at first sight, especially with his calm, tranquil disposition. It gave her a sense of peacefulness that she hadn’t experienced before.
“Grandpa.” Pei Yan respectfully greeted the elder as she walked up to them.
“Yannie (Yan-er), have you taken your medicine?” The bearded elder asked, face filled with concern as he did so. This granddaughter of his was afflicted by heart pains from a very young age and had to suppress these pains with medicine on a daily basis.
“I ate them already.” As she said that, a warm smile crossed her lips.
“Where’s Third Brother?” Pei Yan couldn’t help but ask after looking around for a second and discovering that Ming Cheng was nowhere in sight.
“Inside the tent.”
Within the tent, Ming Cheng, who had just entered not too long ago, threw a glance at the wheelchair bound teen before turning towards the blue shirt man who was in the midst of quietly enjoying his tea. As he did so, he was struck by a sense of strangeness. No matter how one looked at them, the man seemed to be one in charge despite not having any martial aura. On the other hand, the attitude that teen took was more reminiscent of a junior’s.
The fact that the man was able to maintain a youthful appearance of twenty-odd years despite not being a martial practitioner, was strange in of itself.
“May I know how should I address misters?” Ming Chen asked courteously in the most humble attitude he could muster.
“Ning Fan, this personage is a family senior. He doesn’t enjoy talking so Ning Fan will spare you the introductions. Ning Chen smiled radiantly as he answered.
“Pei Ming Cheng is my name, many thanks for showing mercy just now, Brother Ning.” As he said that, he bowed respectfully.
“Brother Pei is too kind, we were also at fault in that matter. We should be the ones apologizing instead, Ning Fan hopes that Brother Pei would forgive our disrespect.” Ning Chen answered with a light sigh.
“Regarding the matter of my tribe sister, Ming Cheng isn’t in a position to interfere too much, that has to be resolved by Yannie herself. It’s not that the Pei Tribe is trying to make things difficult, it’s just that the matter of my sister’s matchmaking is an extremely solemn affair and the attitude shown by Brother Ning’s senior had truly left her in an awkward position.”
Ming Chen then proceeded to explain the seriousness of that ceremony. The flower ball was a form of matchmaking and the red sash signified tying their fates together. That was the custom of the Pei Tribe and had been so for the past thousand years.
There wasn’t that much pomp to the marriage of the sons and daughters of the Steppes: the man snatches the ball and the girl drapes the red sash if she is willing to marry the man, a simple matter of your desire and my consent. What happened today had never occurred before in the long history of the Pei Tribe.
Yannie was the granddaughter of the tribe leader and also the shining pearl of the entire tribe. Just hearing that, one could tell how prestigious her position was. The two of them had indeed gone overboard today.
Hearing that, Ning Chen eyed the prince who was still in the midst of drinking his tea. Suddenly, he couldn’t help but be a little annoyed at the senior. Couldn’t he just state his position already or at least say something.
“Brother Pei, it was indeed a lack of thought on our part. This is the first time we’ve visited the Pei Tribe so we aren’t familiar with your esteemed tribe’s customs. Ning Fan hopes that Brother Pei will be able to give us a solution to this matter.” As he said that, he poured himself a cup of tea. ‘Hmph, why should the senior be the only to enjoy some tea while I endure the thirst?”
Ming Cheng paused in thought for a second before saying, “Have your senior marry Yannie.”
He immediately spat out his tea upon hearing that. Even after that, Ning Chen kept coughing to the point where his face turned red.
That didn’t sound like a reliable method at all. He was better off trying to find the information he wanted and just fight his way out.
“Haha, Brother Pei, even though senior hasn’t married yet, marriage is a serious matter between both parties, both of them should consider this matter seriously. There’s no rush to decide now.”
Suddenly, his head couldn’t help but ache. What should he do now? Had it been a matter between men, he would’ve have simply fought his out if they couldn’t come to a resolution. Now that the matter involves an innocent lady, his tiny bit of gray matter simply wasn’t enough to handle such a situation.
Perhaps he should write a letter to Zhang Sun and seek her opinion? Such a thought suddenly flashed across Ning Chen’s head. However, this suicidal thought was abandoned as abruptly as it came thanks to a shiver coursing through his body a split second later.