Chapter 90: Guest Envoy

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Ning Chen was about to do something, something only he knew, something insane and audacious.

Fan Lingyue didn’t know that he was alive so now was the best time to give her a giant surprise.

However, before he could do that, he still had to figure out a way to stab this mongol clan in the back. It was something he had to do otherwise he couldn’t live with himself for allowing their transgressions against Zhang Sun. In this world, there were lines one shouldn’t cross. It was fine to bully him but bullying Zhang Sun was something he would never allow.

Qing Wushuang wasn’t a simple woman for sure; she was able to endure what most people couldn’t. He also heard that the Qing family had another young master named Qing Wuyou though that person hasn’t been seen in the manor for some time now.

While he wasn’t sure what kind of role the Qing family played in Fan Lingyue’s schemes, destroying them should, at the very least, cause her some trouble.

Seeing as Qing Wushuang showed interest in recruiting him, there was no better time than now to infiltrate the Qing family. Give how deep the waters of the Qing family ran, it wasn’t that strange that Qing Wushuang and Qing Wuyou didn’t get along. To begin with, such conflict amongst potential heirs was only to be expected in large aristocratic families. This, even more so thanks to the appearance of the Lady Strategist.

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Because of Fan Lingyue, the position of women in the Mongolian Empire had risen significantly to the point where Qing Wushuang had a viable shot at the position. However, before she could attain that position, she had to step over Qing Wuyou.

The current head of the Qing family was an extremely low profile person. Perhaps this was due to his personality or perhaps it was caused by circumstances but either way, in the era of Fan Lingyue, it was only to be expected that the other powerhouses in the Mongol Horde would keep a lower profile.

This also resulted in the younger generation of the Qing family outshining the previous generation to the point where one almost forgot the current head existed. Other than those two however, the Qing family also had an extremely mysterious eldest daughter named Qing Wuhen.

The Qing family heirs consisted of one son and two daughters. In the past, Qing Wuyou’s candidacy for the position of clan head was basically a shoo-in. Now however, there was no guarantee that would be so. Putting aside the eldest daughter who was nowhere to be seen, Qing Wushuang alone was enough to challenge his claim. No matter what, she wouldn’t accept anyone else as clan head other than herself.

The night passed peacefully and the sun rose once more. On the second morning of his stay here, Ning Chen arrived punctually in the front hall. Shortly thereafter, Qing Wushuang arrived as well. As always, she had that icy look on her face, even her disgust was still vaguely visible.

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However, Ning Chen could completely sympathize with that disgust. Last night, out of pure curiosity, he smiled to himself in front of a mirror and was just as disgusted as she was by what he saw.

Even so, there was something that had to be said. ‘Even though I’m hideous, I have a gentle personality.’

“Second Missus.” Ning Chen respectfully and exuberantly greeted her, having decided to put on a good showing today.

At that, Qing Wushuang couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow, clearly she couldn’t come to terms with his sudden attitude change. Though, had it not been for his nauseatingly hideous face, she would have loved to foster a good relationship with a formidable warrior like him.

“Mhm, did you get a good rest last night?”

Qing Wushuang nodded her head in acknowledgement while she returned his greeting. As she did so, she quietly comforted herself saying that no matter how ugly he was, she would get used to it eventually. Having done that, her tone unknowingly softened as well.

“It was alright, it just felt a little lonely without a chick to keep me company.” At that, Ning Chen gave her a broad grin.

“…”

In this world, there was a saying that went, a dog can never change its feces eating habits.

Qing Wushuang coldly harrumphed but still maintained the same level of calmness as she said, “I’ll arrange for a maid to keep you company tonight.”

Hearing that, his heart sank sank and his mind went blank; he had gone overboard with that bit of acting. Coming back to his senses, he hurriedly chortled, “How could those tramps ever be worthy of the Pale-faced Husband? Now, it would be a different story entirely if Second Missus would volunteer herself.”

(TL: The author changed it to Pale-faced Husband.)

Her face immediately darkened upon hearing that. Could this fellow even get a couple of sentences in without reverting back to that disgusting behavior of his?

“Bai Yutang, I do not wish to hear you speak of that ever again. Alright, now that you’ve joined the Qing family, there are some rules you have to follow. Come with me to the disciplinary hall for your first task.” Having said that, she turned around and left in the direction of a remote hall in the west.

Wiping that smile off his face, Ning Chen promptly followed the girl without wasting any more time. Having just received a terrible scare, he became noticeably tamer with regards to his acting.

The disciplinary hall wasn’t that far off from the central hall and its steward was that middle aged man from yesterday. Upon entering, Qing Wushuang gave a courteous greeting after which he pulled Ning Chen to the forefront and officially introduced him.

“Name.” Asked the middle aged man as he stood in front of a stone pillar filled with names

“Bai Yutang , Bai(White) as in Pale-faced Husband, Yu(Jade) as in winds blowing through a jade tree, Tang(Dignified) as in a dignified appearance.” Said Ning Chen with the straightest face possible.

“…” It took her every last bit of willpower to restrain herself from kicking the shameless teen.

In the meantime, the middle aged man placed his finger on the stone pillar and slowly engraved the words, Bai Yutang, amongst the dense wall of names.

“From today onwards, you are officially a guest envoy of the Qing family. The Qing family doesn’t care about your background, so long as you perform well enough, the surname of Qing will be yours one day along with all the privileges it provides. I hope you will treasure this opportunity.”

‘Pfft’ Ning Chen immediately, and without any hesitation whatsoever, spat at the man’s words in his mind. To think he was able to tell such a lie with a straight face. Without a doubt, there were already countless people in the field trying to secretly uncover his identity.

However, trying to uncover the past of a person that appeared out of nowhere wasn’t easy and by the time they managed to do so, there was no doubt in Ning Chen’s mind that he would be gone by then.

Even so, Ning Chen did his very, very best to nod his head solemnly before saying, “In order to marry the Second Missus as soon as possible, this Little Master will do his best!”

Hearing that, the middle aged man and Qing Wushuang couldn’t help but sigh in exasperation. Exactly where did this man’s confidence and shamelessness come from.

“Two days from now, the Qing family will choose three candidates to participate in the palace’s tournament, do you wish to register?” After the giving it some thought, the middle aged man decided to inform Ning Chen of this opportunity in the end, as per regulations.

Hearing that, Ning Chen’s eyes narrowed for a split second as he quietly cheered, his chance had finally arrived. This was precisely the reason why chose to be a guest envoy. Ever since Fan Lingyue took control of the empire, the Mongolian khanate would host an annual martial tournament.

Each aristocratic family was alloted a certain number of slots and at the end of the tournament, the top three winners would receive a special award from the Great Khan himself.

According to what he heard, that young officer serving beside Fan Lingyue was the champion of the first ever martial tournament.

Yet in the seven years this martial tournament was enacted, the rules underwent constant revisions. In the initial three years, all participants had to be under the age of 20. Following that, the age limit was raised to 30 and under for the following two years. After that, it was raised once more to allow those 35 and under to participate.

This resulted in the martial tournament being skewed more and more against the younger generations. However, Ning Chen wasn’t surprised by this at all.

In Fan Lingyue’s eyes, there was no such thing as fairness. All that mattered was whether you were useful or not.

Seven years ago, Fan Lingyue was still at the stage of stabilizing the government so she needed to groom a batch of youngsters with potential that were also obedient. Three years later, the government had begun to stabilize, thus she needed officials who were in the process of maturing and weren’t lacking in ambition. As for the most recent couple of years, the Mongolian Empire had entered a stable state which meant that officials who were mature were more suited to her needs instead.

By now, the Qing family’s younger generation had already matured. Normally, their three slots would never be given to outsiders but based on what Ning Chen had seen so far, Qing Wuhen and Qing Wuyou weren’t in the capital at all. That meant that there were at least 2 empty slots belonging to the Qing family.

Thus, the moment the disciplinary elder said that, Ning Chen couldn’t help but smile. It was a brilliant smile that seemed joyful yet strange at the same time. Ning Chen knew that whether or not he could give them a good stab rested entirely on this tournament.

“This Little Master will register.” Having said that, he turned around to face Qing Wuyou and with a wide grin, said, “Second Missus, if I win this tournament, will you consider marrying me?”

It was a request that sounded as nonsensical as his previous outbursts and yet Qing Wuyou didn’t reject him this time. Instead, she unexpectedly accepted his terms, “Alright!”

“Wushuang, you mustn’t joke around like that!” The middle aged man immediately chided her.

“Elder Fa, Wushuang knows what she is doing.”

“Haha, so forthright.” Ning Chen gave an uproarious laugh after which he turned around to leave the hall. In that moment however, a hint of coldness graced the smile on his lips, a coldness that rivalled that of the coldest winters.

“Wushuang, you’re too rash.” The middle aged man chided her once more, clearly unhappy with what she did.

However, Qing Wushuang merely shook her head and answered, “Elder Fa, what I said was the result of thorough deliberations. Of the thirty two participants in this year’s tournament, the weakest participant is at least stronger than the average sixth-grade martial practitioner. The majority are at the level of seventh-grade and there a number of eighth-grade participants as well.”

“These past few years, the tournament has seen its age limit increase as a general trend. Because of that, becoming the champion has become noticeably harder as well. If he truly has the ability to grab the champion’s title, it wouldn’t sully my name to marry him.”

The middle aged man sighed. “It’s your decision.” As he said that, there was a clear trace of helplessness in his voice.

This Second Missus of theirs was perfect in every way except that she was too calculating. Even her own future happiness was a bargaining chip to be used.

Having visited the disciplinary hall, the two then paid a visit to the elders of the Hall of Righteous, the Hall of Darkness and the Hall of the Divine. With that all settled, Ning Chen had completed the orientation ceremony for the Qing family.

By the time he returned to his room, he was on the verge of collapsing. Ning Chen had to admit, the rules of the Qing family were bothersome and these were merely the rules meant for guest envoys. Who knows how many more tests he would have to complete in order to take on the Qing surname.

However, the next couple of days were much more relaxed. Qing Wushuang only came over once during that period in order to deliver a pair of swords of which he could pick one. One was a heavy sword while the other a light one.

Naturally, he unabashed chose to take both. At that, Qing Wushuang frowned once more. How could this fellow be so greedy.

“Little Master has always been a twin sword user.” He answered in the same arrogant and unrepentant tone of his. To begin with, why should he care about what this missus thought.

A couple days later, his words were forcefully proven right when, in the selection tournament held by the Qing family, Ning Chen used those two swords to cleave his way to victory and a slot in the annual tournament.

Seeing that, the Qing elders weren’t all that surprised either. While the kid was slightly ugly, there was no doubting his strength. No matter which aristocratic family he joined, he wouldn’t have any problem securing a slot for himself.

What was slightly troubling was the kid’s background. According to his own words, he came from the country of Ni in the south. The problem was that, they truly didn’t know when the world gained such a strange sounding country.

However, the world was simply too large for any one person to understand. With all the kingdoms and states scattered around the world, there were plenty of countries they couldn’t name so disproving him wasn’t possible either.

Naturally, they didn’t take his words at face value either. The spies they sent out had already left for the south, as per the kid’s instructions, to search for this country of Ni. No matter what, they couldn’t just believe some person of unknown origin. For a person to join the true ranks of the Qing family, they had to undergo a stringent vetting process.

With regards to that, Ning Chen’s conscience was clear. He only learnt to doodle a little so whether or not they could find that so-called country of Ni wasn’t his business at all.

In the seven days leading up the tournament, the Qing family did everything in their power to fulfill the needs of their three candidates of which Ning Chen was naturally included. To them, this tournament was of vital importance thus by extension, those three candidates were important as well.

Qing Wushuang wasn’t a part of these three as the cultivation technique she practised was rather unique, making it an unsuitable choice for a public event like that. Because of that, her slot was given to someone else instead.

Since the Qing family decided to be so generous, Ning Chen naturally wasn’t going to be shy about his demands either. Taking advantage of this opportunity, the first thing he asked for was a wheelchair. The wheelchair he had right now was basically a bargain bin wheelchair that only cost him 10 taels. Given its workmanship, it would probably fall apart after a couple of fights.

Yet, it was at that moment that a piece of bad news was conveyed to the Qing family. The moment it was delivered, the atmosphere of the family rapidly tensed up.

The Xiao family had brought in a ninth-grade guest envoy.

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