Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Dawn on the twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month of the year 1227 in the Ziyun Era.
Zhou Donghuang and Lin Lan were having breakfast together in the dining room when Granny Lian burst in.
In her hand were two invitations.
“My lady, these invitations were delivered personally by the patriarch of the Qin family Qin Long; he said they are for you and Young Master.”
Granny Lian placed the invitations on the table and retreated.
“Invitations?” Lin Lan stared blankly. “Could there be some happy occasion in the Qin family?”
In the next moment, Lin Lan opened the invitation, read it, and was dumbfounded.
“This… the grand patriarch of the Qin family is taking Xiaoyu in as his adopted daughter? Isn’t this… a little too far-fetched?”
In Lin Lan’s view, the grand patriarch of the Qin family Qin Yi was already past sixty, and Qin Xiaoyu was only an eleven-year-old girl.
Even Qin Yi’s grandson was older than Qin Xiaoyu. And now, Qin Yi was going to adopt Xiaoyu as his daughter?
Hearing Lin Lan’s words, Zhou Donghuang was also momentarily dumbstruck, and reaching out for the other invitation, he opened and read it. Then he shook his head and smiled.
“That Qin Yi really knows how to conduct himself.”
He was very satisfied with what Qin Yi had done.
At least, as long as the Qin family did not fall, Qin Xiaoyu would be able to live her life in safety and without worries.
Although Qin Xiaoyu was not his biological sister, their friendship over the past few years had long ago ensured that he treated Qin Xiaoyu as his own biological sister.
“Donghuang, is this because of you?”
It was not difficult for Lin Lan to guess why Qin Yi had done this.
“But then, even if the Qin family doesn’t dare mistreat Xiaoyu because they fear you, there still would be no need for them to go to this extent, would there?”
“What if I gave a lesser-grade palm technique to the Qin family?” Zhou Donghuang countered.
Realization dawned on Lin Lan.
As to why Zhou Donghuang had given the Qin family a martial art technique, she did not probe because she knew that her son would have his reasons for doing so.
“Mother, how has your practice been going recently?” Zhou Donghuang asked Lin Lan. The past few days, although he knew that Lin Lan had been concentrating fully on practicing, he did not know how she was progressing.
“Donghuang, that technique you gave your mother is wonderful… and together with the qi-gathering elixir you formulated, my level is improving by leaps and bounds.”
Hearing Zhou Donghuang bring up her practice, Lin Lan became lively and animated, and she was in high spirits.
“Soon, in less than a month, your mother is confident of regaining the level of level-one of Qi-gathering.”
Although Zhou Donghuang’s talent was on an entirely different level from Lin Lan’s, she had originally been a level-one adept. Even though she had expended all the qi in her body and began practicing from scratch, the meridians in her body had already been expanded long ago and had not shrunk.
Now, all she needed to do was to let the qi fill her meridians, and she would smoothly recover level-one of Qi-gathering.
Thus, she could very quickly return to level-one of Qi-gathering when she practiced from scratch.
“Mother, when you are not practicing, you can try to master these two martial art techniques.”
Zhou Donghuang passed Lin Lan two sheets of paper that were rolled together. The third-grade techniques, Star-Stepping Footwork and Weighted Sand Palm, were recorded on them.
These two martial art techniques that Zhou Donghuang previously gave to the second-in-command of the Green Wolf Bastion Freezing Wind and the Qin family were actually intended for Lin Lan. Zhou Donghuang had written them out for her, but because she was practicing in seclusion, he never had the chance to give them to her.
He had written out these two copies that very morning.
Lin Lan’s eyes lit up, and she eagerly reached out to take the two pieces of paper that Zhou Donghuang passed to her. She opened one of them and read it and was immediately dumbstruck.
“Weighted Sand Palm… this is a third-grade technique?”
Lin Lan tore her gaze away from the paper with some difficulty and looked up at Zhou Donghuang with incomprehension written all over her face.
“The other one, Star-Stepping Footwork, is also a third-grade technique.” Zhou Donghuang smiled.
After reading the other swiftness technique, Star-Stepping Footwork, that was recorded on the other piece of paper, Lin Lan was completely stunned.
In the country of Yunyang, only the Royal Household and the Imperial Court possessed third-grade techniques, and her son had not only casually produced one, but two of them!
Zhou Donghuang had given Lin Lan too many surprises during this period of time, and therefore, Lin Lan was able to recover fairly quickly this time.
After hurriedly finishing her meal, Lin Lan left the dining room and went to the backyard to practice the martial art techniques she had just received.
Third-grade techniques were the lowest grade of martial art techniques from Zhou Donghuang’s thousand years’ worth of memories, and they were no different from rubbish to him.
However, these were incomparable treasures to Lin Lan.
After finishing his breakfast alone, Zhou Donghuang also returned to his room to practice.
What he did not expect was that on the afternoon of the second day, the grand patriarch of the Qin family Qin Yi would appear at the door, caked with dust from his travels and with obvious black circles under his eyes.
“Young Master Donghuang, here are the herbs you wanted. I only managed to get two-thirds of them… I visited all the large medical halls in the prefecture capital, but there was no stock of the remaining third,” Qin Yi said with a tinge of regret.
“The grand patriarch of the Qin family need not blame himself, to be able to buy this much herbs already exceeds my expectations… go home and rest first, I’ll visit the Qin family another day to settle accounts for these herbs.” Zhou Donghuang said with a slight smile, looking at Qin Yi with a gaze that carried more than a hint of friendship.
Qin Yi had returned from the prefecture capital within two days and two nights, and even riding the ferghana horse, he would not have had time to rest on the journey.
It was obvious that Qin Yi had not rested for the whole journey.
“Young Master Donghuang, these herbs are a gift to you from the Qin family, if you are going to talk about money, don’t blame this old man for turning hostile.”
At Zhou Donghuang’s mention of money, Qin Yi’s expression became ugly in an instant. “What are these trifles compared to what Young Master Donghuang has given to the Qin family?”
“Agreed, as the grand patriarch of the Qin family wishes.”
Right then, Zhou Donghuang was hoping that Qin Yi would return home to rest as soon as he could, and he did not haggle over the money that Qin Yi had spent to buy the herbs.
He would just find some other way to return Qin Yi the favor.
After Qin Yi left, Zhou Donghuang muttered to himself in a low voice, “In eight days’ time, Qin Yi will take Xiaoyu as his adopted daughter… that day, I’ll give him and the Qin family another martial arts technique. Hmm, I’ll modify the Star-Stepping Footwork and give it to him as a lesser-grade swiftness technique.”
Zhou Donghuang soon reached a decision.
Regardless of whether in his previous life or this life, the thing he did not want to owe the most were favors.
Just like the benefactors who had helped Zhou Donghuang on Earth in his previous life—although they had helped Zhou Donghuang, he had already returned the favor during his previous life…
In this lifetime, Zhou Donghuang had not gone to Earth, and it was impossible for those people to help him, but he still intended to return to Earth and help them out of their troubles.
A little act of grace would be repaid many times over.
This was a basic principle of how Zhou Donghuang treated others.
The thirty-first day of the twelfth month of the year 1227 in the Ziyun Era was the last day of the year 1227 in the Ziyun Era.
However, all was not peaceful in the Li family of the prefecture capital.
“Second Young Master, you must avenge me!”
The middle-aged member of the Li family of the prefecture capital whose four limbs had been maimed by Zhou Donghuang had finally been sent back to the Li family of the prefecture capital after many days.
The Li family of the prefecture capital was a preeminent family, and the lesser families in the small towns could not hope to compare to it. The strongest in the lesser families in the small towns was usually a level-two adept.
But in the preeminent families, level-two adepts of Qi-gathering were as numerous as the hairs on a cow.
In the lesser families of small towns, a level-one adept could be elevated to the rank of an elder, but in the preeminent families, only level-three adepts of Qi-gathering could be elevated to the rank of elder.
This was the extent of the difference between a lesser family and a preeminent family.
Of course, this was not the most important difference. The most important difference was that preeminent families had at least one level-four adept in charge.
A family without a level-four adept in charge would not be acknowledged as a preeminent family, and no matter how many level-three adepts of Qi-gathering it had, it would still only be considered a lesser family if it did not have a level-four adept.
Of course, lesser families of this kind were usually only found in the prefecture capital, as they would not be content to remain in a small town.
“Who did this?” asked an ordinary-looking man dressed in rich, brocaded clothes. He gave off an air of arrogance, and he frowned slightly at the middle-aged man on the stretcher.
He was the second young master of the Li family of the prefecture capital, Li Pingyun, the only son of the patriarch of the Li family, and the designated heir to the title of Patriarch of the Li family.
If nothing went wrong, he would be the future patriarch of the Li family.
“It’s the new owner of Yunxuan Restaurant in Qingshan Town Zhou Donghuang. I did as Second Young Master commanded and went to buy Yunxuan Restaurant over from him. He not only said that Second Young Master was a deluded idiot but also maimed my arms and legs!”
The middle-aged man had a savage expression, and staring vengefully, he said in a low voice, “He said, he let me live so that I can report to you, Second Young Master… that if you dare attempt a takeover of his Yunxuan Restaurant, you will share my fate!”
With all four limbs maimed, his life was ruined, and the middle-aged man now lived for only one thing—to exaggerate the details of the incident to provoke the second young master of the Li family so that he would take action and have Zhou Donghuang killed to avenge him.
Of course, not everything he said was a lie.
At least, Zhou Donghuang had indeed refused to sell Yunxuan Restaurant to the second young master of the Li family.
“Isn’t he a martial invalid? You are a full-fledged level-two adept, and still, you were maimed by him? Are you joking?”
Although Li Pingyun’s voice remained calm, the fires of anger were already burning fiercely in the depths of his eyes, and once released, it would not be quenched!
A nobody in a small village dared claim that he would maim Li Pingyun’s arms and legs? Besides that, Li Pingyun did not believe that a youth of sixteen years could maim the middle-aged man before him. Although this middle-aged man was only a relative from a side branch of the Li family, he was still a level-two adept.
If he recalled correctly, the strongest person in Qingshan Town was only a level-two adept.
“Second young master, I too thought that he was a martial invalid at first… but after he acted, I realized that he wasn’t a martial invalid, he was an adept of greater ability than me.”
The middle-aged man’s voice still carried a trace of dread at the mention of Zhou Donghuang’s ability.
“Even if he has not already attained level-three of Qi-gathering, I fear he is already close.”