Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The second day of the first month in the year 1228 of the Ziyun Era.
Granny Lian presented a letter from the Qin family to Zhou Donghuang early that morning.
“Young Master, someone from the Qin family delivered this letter… he said that it was written personally by Grand Patriarch Qin Yi of the Qin family.”
“The banquet was canceled?”
The letter stated that although the banquet organized by the Qin family that was to take place in several days had been canceled. Qin Yi guaranteed Zhou Donghuang that the Qin family would never mistreat Qin Xiaoyu, but he would not be taking her as his adopted daughter.
Besides that, Qin Yi also wrote that he had burnt the paper that recorded the lesser-grade palm technique and that he would no longer practice it, nor would he pass it on to anyone in the Qin family.
“It seems that Qin Yi is also afraid of the three lesser families of the prefecture capital.”
Zhou Donghuang put the letter down with a resigned smile.
“Young Master,” Granny Lian spoke up, “The news I received yesterday says otherwise… the grand patriarch of the Qin family never intended to cancel the banquet to celebrate his adoption of Qin Xiaoyu. However, the elders of the Qin family were adamant, and the patriarch of the Qin family Qin Long and First Master Qin Fei kept adding oil to the fire… finally, the grand patriarch of the Qin family had no choice but to relent,” Granny Lian said with a sigh.
“That’s why I said that this does not seem like something Qin Yi would do… that explains it,” Zhou Donghuang said with sudden realization.
When he read the contents of the letter earlier, he thought that he had been mistaken in his judgment of Qin Yi.
As it turned out, there were other circumstances behind this. However, this response from the Qin family was not unexpected.
The banquet thrown by the Qin family and Qin Yi’s adoption of Qin Xiaoyu as his daughter were seen by the people of Qingshan Town as attempts by the Qin family to pander to Zhou Donghuang.
Most people in the Qin family probably felt that way too.
Only Zhou Donghuang knew that Qin Yi was not trying to pander to him but had done this to return the moral obligation from Zhou Donghuang’s gift of the lesser-grade palm technique.
Even then, so what?
The people of the three elite lesser families of the prefecture capital would only acknowledge what the people of Qingshan Town told them, and if they discovered the close connection between the Qin family and Zhou Donghuang, they would definitely not spare the Qin family.
The Qin family canceled the banquet to draw a line between themselves and Zhou Donghuang and thus protect themselves.
“The three elite lesser families?” Zhou Donghuang raised his eyebrows as a cold smile spread over his face. “In order for Yunxuan Restaurant to be open for business as soon as possible… it seems that I had better visit the prefecture capital personally.”
Regarding the matter of the three elite lesser families, each day it remained unresolved was one more day that no one dared to work for him.
Because of this, Yunxuan Restaurant could not open for business.
Just when Zhou Donghuang decided to visit the prefecture capital, Freezing Wind arrived.
“Young Master, I have settled matters at Green Wolf Bastion… from now on I will follow you.”
Zhou Donghuang nodded in acknowledgment, returned Freezing Wind’s greeting, then led him to a quiet room.
“Young Master, what are your instructions?”
Seeing Zhou Donghuang lead him to a quiet room, Freezing Wind thought that Zhou Donghuang had some duties to assign him.
“I have a way that will enable you to attain level-two of Qi-gathering within three days,” Zhou Donghuang said directly. “And also, you will be able to utilize the full potential of your muscles, which will allow you to exert your maximum muscular strength.”
“Attain level-two of Qi-gathering within three days?”
Freezing Wind sucked in a breath of air, looking at Zhou Donghuang with shining eyes. Although he did not understand the concept of maximum muscular strength, he did not think much of it.
Although Freezing Wind was confident of attaining level-two of Qi-gathering, it would have taken him at least two months. How could he not be excited when Zhou Donghuang said that he could accomplish it within three days?
“The strength of a normal young person is somewhere between one and two hundred or more jin… and the maximum muscular strength of a normal young person is about 1500 jin,” Zhou Donghuang continued.
Hearing these words, Freezing Wind began to take the maximum muscular strength mentioned by Zhou Donghuang seriously, and his breathing sped up. “Young Master, you mean… within three days, other than attaining level-two of Qi-gathering, this will also give me over a thousand additional jin of muscular strength?
If an ordinary person had told him the same thing, there was no way he would have believed it. But since Zhou Donghuang had said it, he did not suspect that it was false. Nevertheless, he still felt that it was unbelievable.
“Not only that,” Zhou Donghuang continued, “in the process of enabling you to exert your maximum muscular strength, the qi in your body can be stored temporarily in your expanding muscles… at that time, I will pass on an even better technique, and you can switch to practicing that one. Within three days, not only will you be able to return the qi to your meridians, but you will also be able to break through smoothly and attain level-two of Qi-gathering.”
Freezing Wind’s eyes grew brighter and brighter as Zhou Donghuang spoke, and he bowed promptly.
“I thank Young Master for his indulgence!”
Although he still found it hard to believe, Freezing Wind was prepared to give it a try in case it really worked.
Attaining level-two of Qi-gathering within three days, and to control over a thousand jin of strength, and being able to switch to practicing an even better technique—this was a golden opportunity for him!
If I become that powerful… even those three elite lesser families will not dare provoke me carelessly.
Freezing Wind’s eyes shone, and he began to tremble with barely controlled excitement as he looked at Zhou Donghuang expectantly.
“Don’t rush to thank me yet.”
Seeing how excited Freezing Wind was, Zhou Donghuang narrowed his eyes at him. “You probably have heard the saying… the greater the reward, the greater the risk. Just like how if you robbed someone from the Governor’s Household when you were a bandit, you would definitely be richly rewarded… but doing so carries great risk as well, and even a small mistake could cause the entire Green Wolf Bastion to be wiped out by the Governor’s Household,” Zhou Donghuang reminded Freezing Wind.
Freezing Wind sobered up suddenly, as though he had a bucket of cold water thrown over him.
“Young Master, what danger is there?”
“If you want to do what I have just said, you must endure excruciating pain for an entire half a day… every muscle in your body will feel as though it is being gnawed by ants and beetles.”
Zhou Donghuang gazed deeply at Freezing Wind as he spoke, “Only one out of a hundred people can endure that kind of extreme pain and live. And of those who survive, it is the will and desire of every single one that makes them so tenacious.”
Zhou Donghuang stopped and hesitated. After a pause, he continued, “Now, you have to decide if you are willing to endure this pain, and challenge death.”
“If you fail, you will die,” Zhou Donghuang reminded Freezing Wind.
Every muscle feeling as though it is being gnawed by ants and worms?
“Freezing Wind felt his scalp tingle as he listened to Zhou Donghuang, and he muttered to himself distractedly, “Only one in a hundred can survive…”
Zhou Donghuang stood aside quietly, waiting silently for Freezing Wind to make his decision.
He allowed Freezing Wind to make this choice because he hoped that when he left Qingshan Town for the prefecture capital, he could spare himself some worrying about his family at home.
This was the only way that Freezing Wind could become powerful enough to protect his mother, Granny Lian, and Fu.
Although he told Freezing Wind that only one in a hundred people would be able to endure it and survive, he did not reveal that while he was around, Freezing Wind would not die even if he could not bear the pain.
At most, he would fail.
He did not tell Freezing Wind this because he wanted to find out if Freezing Wind had sufficient courage. In addition, if he had revealed that there was a way out, Freezing Wind would certainly not only be willing to try it but might not show his full potential. Therefore, by not mentioning these points, he intended to force Freezing Wind to make a tough decision.
After approximately five breaths, Freezing Wind looked at Zhou Donghuang with flashing eyes.
“Young Master, prosperity is plucked from the jaws of danger… I’m willing to try it!”
Although the cost was grievous, the gains were generous, and Freezing Wind decided to try it.
Most importantly, he had confidence in himself!
Seeing how Freezing Wind had agreed decisively after a moment’s consideration, Zhou Donghuang began to smile.
Freezing Wind had not disappointed him.
“Wait here for a while; I’ll go and prepare some tools.”
Zhou Donghuang exchanged greetings with Freezing Wind and left to find Granny Lian to get the silver needles she prepared for him the previous day.
There were eighteen silver needles in all, and their tips shone with a fearsome light as they lay in an exquisite sandalwood box.
When he returned to the quiet room, Zhou Donghuang began to apply the needles to Freezing Wind according to the needle technique he had unexpectedly obtained on Earth, called the “Divine Marrow Cleansing of I Ching.”
As he began applying the needles, Freezing Wind merely trembled a little and broke out in a cold sweat.
After about fifteen minutes, Freezing Wind’s face was twisted into a savage mask, and blood flowed from his eyes, ears, nostrils, and mouth. His features, smeared with blood, looked exceptionally savage.
After about half an hour, blood was oozing out from all of Freezing Wind’s pores, but the color of the blood was not the pure crimson of fresh blood, but mixed with black.
This Freezing Wind really is tenacious.
Seeing Freezing Wind covered in blood after half an hour, gritting his teeth and refusing to cry out, Zhou Donghuang could not help but be moved despite all that he had seen in his previous life.
Even in his previous life, it was rare to come across someone so tenacious.
It seems that I have struck gold this time.
As Zhou Donghuang’s eyes lit up, he thought to himself, I planned to pass on to him only a passable technique… but now it seems I can consider passing on the Way of the Thousand-Star Sword to him.
The Way of the Thousand-Star Sword was one of the most potent techniques that Zhou Donghuang possessed, and it was one of the top techniques in the universe, originating from the peerless School of the Thousand-Star Sword.
Of course, Zhou Donghuang considered giving the Way of the Thousand-Star Sword to Freezing Wind also because he felt that Freezing Wind was a good person.
However, he only intended to give him the portion of the Way of the Thousand-Star Sword that was of the Qi-gathering stage.
As for the rest, he would decide later whether to pass it on to Freezing Wind or not.
It would all depend on whether he was satisfied with Freezing Wind’s performance.