Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The level of gathered qi was the starting point of the Martial Way.
The requirement at this level was to absorb the Spirit in the atmosphere, incorporate it into the body and convert it into qi, storing it in the various meridians in the body. The meridians in a person’s body started out very small and could only hold very little qi.
To hold even more qi, it was necessary to expand the meridians through practice to enlarge and widen them.
When the meridians was expanded to a certain degree, the stored qi would be enough to generate the strength of one bull when expended, and you would be considered to have attained “level-one of Qi-gathering.”
To become even stronger, one must further widen the meridians.
Up till now, I have been practicing for five days… relying only on the qi stored in my meridians, and I am already capable of generating half a bull’s strength of force!
In a room in the Magnolia Guild, Zhou Donghuang, who was sitting cross-legged on the mattress as he practiced, opened his eyes.
In at most five days, I will be able to smoothly attain level-one of Qi-gathering, and become a level-one adept of Qi-gathering!
Zhou Donghuang’s eyes lit up at this thought.
Today is… the twentieth, the twelfth month, 1227 in the Ziyun Era.
Zhou Donghuang’s eyes narrowed subconsciously as he tore off the old page from the calendar and looked at the new one.
In his previous life, the messenger from the Lin family of the prefecture capital would arrive and announce the decision the patriarch of the Lin family had made: As a consequence of the Magnolia Guild having leaked the Lin family’s precious formula, the Lin family will no longer support the Magnolia Guild, and Lin Lan will also be expelled from the Lin family.
His mother, Lin Lan, would be angered to death.
“Young Master! The Lin family of the prefecture capital has sent someone!”
Zhou Donghuang’s drifting train of thought was yanked back to the present by Granny Lian’s voice.
Presently, he left his room and walked to the receiving chamber together with Granny Lian.
“Lin Lan, this letter is addressed to you from the fourth elder.”
As the two of them arrived at the door of the receiving chamber, they heard a confident voice.
In the receiving chamber, a travel-worn middle-aged man in a green robe was handing a sealed letter to Lin Lan.
“I will inform you of the patriarch’s decision once you have read the letter… this was what the fourth elder explicitly instructed me to do when he handed me the letter before I left.”
“By the way, you should thank the fourth elder, if not for him, you would have been expelled from the Lin family!” the middle-aged man said after he had handed the letter to Lin Lan.
In the moment it took for Zhou Donghuang and Granny Lian to enter the receiving chamber together, Lin Lan had already opened and read the letter.
An awful expression rapidly spread across her face, and she swayed as though about to fall.
“Mother! What’s the matter?”
Zhou Donghuang’s expression changed, and he reached out a hand to take the letter in Lin Lan’s hand, but she stopped him.
“Clan-brother, I’ve read the letter… please continue,” Lin Lan said to the middle-aged man, sighing deeply. However, her eyes were full of anger and indignation.
“Regarding the formula given by the clan that has been leaked by the Magnolia Guild, from this day on, the clan will no longer support the Magnolia Guild, and will hence take back the title deed of the Magnolia Guild.”
“You all have three days to move out of the Magnolia Guild… in three days’ time, the clan will send agents to take over this place and establish a new guild.”
The middle-aged man said solemnly, “The patriarch’s decision: You, Lin Lan, will not have a clan to turn to, you are to be barred from entering the family compound.”
The middle-aged man paused and shook his head, saying, “Speaking of this, your luck is actually not bad… Recently, the fourth elder managed to obtain a formula for an even better blood-staunching elixir from elsewhere and handed it over to the clan. Bearing this in mind, the patriarch did not expel you from the clan. If not for this, given the grave error you have committed, there is no way that you would not have been expelled!”
As the middle-aged man finished speaking, Zhou Donghuang’s expression darkened. A murderous look flashed across his eyes, and he subconsciously curled his hands into fists.
He had guessed correctly after all.
That fourth elder of the Lin family of the prefecture capital had indeed coveted the formula Zhou Donghuang had given his mother. The fourth elder had not misappropriated it and used it for himself, but had used it to improve his standing in the Lin family and benefit himself.”
Granny Lian’s expression changed as well.
She was about to speak, but Lin Lan stopped her and stepped forward simultaneously, telling the middle-aged man in a low voice, “I would like my clan-brother to take just one sentence back to the patriarch… I, Lin Lan, thank the patriarch for showing mercy.”
“I will.” The middle-aged man nodded and acknowledged and continued, “Next, I am required to inform the clan-brother, the level-two adept stationed here, that he has been recalled by the clan.”
The level-two adept of Qi-gathering, the commander of the guards of the Magnolia Guild, was a scion of the Lin family of the prefecture capital who had been sent to Qingshan Town. He was stationed at the Magnolia Guild.
Now that the Lin family would not support the Magnolia Guild, they would naturally not allow him to stay.
The middle-aged man finished speaking and left the receiving chamber.
“My lady, why didn’t you tell him that the formula the fourth elder handed over to the clan was actually from you?”
Granny Lian was hopping madly and would have said so herself if Lin Lan had not prevented her earlier.
Zhou Donghuang was also looking at Lin Lan.
“An arm cannot defeat a leg.” Lin Lan sighed and smiled bitterly as she passed the letter in her hand to Granny Lian.
Granny Lian opened the letter and read it, and her expression changed at once.
“Shameless! Too shameless! That Lin Tonghong should go and die!”
Lin Tonghong was the fourth elder of the Lin family of the prefecture capital.
Zhou Donghuang had also moved beside Granny Lian and finished reading the contents of the letter.
Lin Lan, I know you sneaked a look at the formula for the blood-staunching elixir that I obtained that was intended for the family. If you dare spread it around, you should think of that martial invalid son of yours, even if you are not afraid of your own death.
The letter from Lin Tonghong did not reveal that he had stolen Lin Lan’s formula but was intended to threaten Lin Lan.
It had to be said that this was a brilliant move on his part.
Using me to threaten my mother?
Zhou Donghuang broke into an ugly smile, laughing coldly in his heart.
You, Lin Tonghong, handed over that formula to the Lin family, and the Lin family will surely reward you. Enjoy the pleasure for a few days… one day I will go to the prefecture capital in person and knock on the Lin family’s door, and we will meet face to face!
It was clear to Zhou Donghuang that whatever he said to the Lin family’s messenger would be useless because the messenger would not possibly believe him.
Of course, he could have written out a formula for an even better blood-staunching elixir for the messenger on the spot. But what purpose would it serve? It would not prove that the fourth elder of the Lin family had stolen his formula.
In addition, Zhou Donghuang’s character was such that he most enjoyed collecting his “debts” in person!
“Mother, don’t worry… I ensure that you will enjoy a fair outcome in this matter,” Zhou Donghuang promised, looking at Lin Lan with a sincere expression.
“Donghuang, don’t do anything silly… you must remember that I only want you to be safe, on top of everything else.”
Lin Lan dutifully forced a smile, saying to Zhou Donghuang, “Anyway, the patriarch did not expel me from the Lin family, and even though the right to return to the Lin family has been taken away, I am still a member of the Lin family.”
Zhou Donghuang knew in his heart that other than himself and Chen Dandan, what she valued most in her life was her identity as a member of the Lin family.
The Magnolia Guild came second.
Not long ago, Chen Dandan’s betrayal had pierced his mother’s heart. What his mother was left right now was just him and her identity as a member of the Lin family.
Previously, the reason for his mother’s suicide was that she had been expelled from the Lin family.
This time, his mother had not been expelled from the Lin family, and naturally would not be seeking death like she previously had.
“Mother, you and Granny Lian pack up your things… we will go to Yunxuan Restaurant together in two days’ time. Other than the front area that is open to the public for meals, there is a large private compound behind Yunxuan restaurant where Zhao San used to live. Now that he is gone, we can stay there,” Zhou Donghuang said to Lin Lan.
Since Zhao San had given him Yunxuan Restaurant, it had been his second home, and the more he thought about it, the more convinced he was that the decision to treat Zhao San’s ailment had been the correct one.
“I would have forgotten it if you hadn’t mentioned it… my son, you are now the owner of Yunxuan Restaurant.”
Lin Lan smiled at Zhou Donghuang’s words, and the previously dejected look in her eyes was replaced by a sparkle.
After the Lin family’s messenger had left the Magnolia Guild with the level-two adept of Qi-gathering who had been the commander of the guards, Lin Lan gathered the servants and guards of the Magnolia Guild and asked them if they were willing to move to Yunxuan Restaurant.
Anyone who did not wish to move could claim three months’ payment and was free to go.
Even though the Magnolia Guild was about to become history, Lin Lan could still afford this.
Yunxuan Restaurant was the most profitable business in Qingshan Town after all, and it rolled in god knew how much more money than the Magnolia Guild. In the end, not a single servant girl or guard chose to leave, and they all decided to move to Yunxuan restaurant together.
This was a great consolation to Lin Lan.
At the same time, the matter of how the Lin family of the prefecture capital had dealt with the Magnolia Guild spread slowly throughout Qingshan Town.
The whole of Qingshan Town knew shortly that the Magnolia Guild was about to fall.
Three days later, agents of the Lin family of the prefecture capital would arrive in Qingshan Town and establish a new guild.
In a spacious garden in the Wang family mansion.
“Father, I’ve secretly asked Chief Steward Li Xian of Yunxuan Restaurant… he said, there is no special relationship between Zhao San and that little swine Zhou Donghuang. Whether he lives or dies, Zhao San does not care. The reason he gave Yunxuan Restaurant to that little swine seems to be that the little swine did him a favor, and he was merely discharging a moral obligation.”
As night fell, Red Crane Wang had just returned and sought his father out immediately, the grand patriarch of the Wang family one generation above him, Wang Yukun.
Wang Yukun was the only level-two adept of Qi-gathering in the Wang family, and he had been away on a long journey, having just returned the night before.
“Right now, the level-two adept of Qi-gathering at the Magnolia Guild has left with the messenger from the Lin family of the prefecture capital. The only ones that the little swine, Zhou Donghuang can rely on now are Lin Lan and that old granny with Lin Lan.”
“Second Younger Brother and I can easily handle Lin Lan together. That old granny with Lin Lan is also a level-one adept of Qi-gathering, and I’ll bring two elders who are level-one adepts of Qi-gathering to handle her.”
Red Crane Wang outlined his plan. “We are preparing to lead men over tomorrow… Father, you need not go over, they are not worthy enough for you to get personally involved.”
He did not even make mention of Zhou Donghuang, as though Zhou Donghuang was no threat to them since they were level-one adepts of Qi-gathering.
Of course, this was also because Guild Master Hong Yue of the Sunset Guild was protecting his image, and he did not spread the word of how he had been defeated by Zhou Donghuang.
Otherwise, Red Crane Wang would definitely not have dared to look down on Zhou Donghuang.
“I will bring Feng’er over together with you all tomorrow,” Wang Yukun said with an icy expression. “Lin Lan and that old granny are yours… that little swine, I will capture him personally and hand him over to Feng’er, and let Feng’er kill him with his own hands!”