An Zheng copied down the flourish on Chen ShaoBai’s wine gourd and brought it to old Huo. Old Huo looked at it for a long time, but couldn’t remember if he had ever seen it from before.
– “Once upon a time…”
Old Huo dropped the paper down:
– “I have heard that there were many big families. At that time, the Emperor’s power was still weak, so almost all the powers were in their hands. Big families had their own armies, and they dominated their own area. They made money by themselves, and they never even paid any taxes to the Emperor. Those big families were most likely to have been independent nations. Although they are under the Emperor’s rule on paper, the Emperor, in fact, had no real position of authority.
– “That period was the darkest age in history. Each family had its own flag and medal. This flourish looks like those in that age and it is still preserved until now. You said that your friend is about to inherit a big family, but it belongs to a secret one. Therefore, it must belong to one of those big families of that age.
– Later on, the Fuxi was unified, but it did not mean that those families had also been destroyed. Obviously, part of the history was excluded, but another part was shaded. They still had big power, and just because the Fuxi was too strong, they dared not to fight against. Once there were any events, they would definitely show up.
An Zheng obviously knew this story. However, because it was old history, he did not pay attention. When he heard old Huo reminding, it was partly correct then.
That period was known as the Dark Age or the Warring State Period. Big families kept all resources, and wars between the big families had never ended. An Zheng recalled carefully: “In the Warring State Period, there might be a big family named the Chen family who ruled the east coastal place. In their Golden Age, they used to occupy one-fifth of the area of the Fuxi.”
Mentioning about Chen Yi Fu of the monarch of Hai Ling army, many people were still afraid of him.
However, later on, the Chen family was killed by the two monarchs of Su Yang of Tan Tai and the monarch of Gao Sheng from Dong Ye Hu. From then on, the Chen family had disappeared. It was said that the survivors of the Chen family had fled to a wild island, and from then on, no one has seen their return.
Now, there were many people looking at the historical period, and some of them had even assumed that that period was the age of good people, and of course, that it was also the golden age of the practitioners.
When An Zheng had started to practice, he heard about those great tartars. One of them were the disciples of Tan Tai, the monarch of Su Yang., To please the guests, he had grown a peach in one night, and made it blossom the night after. Moreover, there was a legend about the monarch of Gao Sheng Dong Ye Hu, that he was accompanied by three thousand disciples as he went to DongTing Lake. They met a senior magical beasts, and he had cut down that Dragon on his own.
It was the most bloody and chaotic period, but it was also the golden age of the practitioners.
Old Huo had a sip of wine and said:
“I have even heard in that age, the practitioners of the Basic Sky Stage were more than one hundred and even more.”
An Zheng nodded gently:
– “In the chaotic world happening, there will be heroes, but I like peace.”
Old Huo said:
– “There have been battles for years in the neglected Sixteen Kingdoms of You Yan, so the Illusory Perennial Domicile which did not essentially exist, had appeared. You see the Fuxi, people there can live their lives many times more peaceful than here. Therefore, no matter what age it is, no matter who declares war, and no matter what reason it is for, the ones who have to suffer are the civilians. No one expects chaos. Those who expect chaos have wicked intentions because they can only feel their reputation in the chaos.”
An Zheng sighed:
– “I just hope that chaos will never come.”
Not knowing Chen ShaoBai’s background was An Zheng’s pity. However, An Zheng did not have much time to think about these stuffs because he still had too much work to do in the TianQi martial school.
To avoid attention from the outsiders, An Zheng still arranged for those three people to take on the reading task during the day time and the practicing task during night time in the Repugnant seal. Old Huo tried taking out a few herbs with some soil in the Blood Cultivating Pearl to put it into the Repugnant seal’s space. With old Huo’s power, he could just maximally put one-tenth of the herbal valley into the Repugnant seal.
He stopped at that amount of the herbal valley so that he could make sure that nothing bad would happen to An Zheng. If it was not because An Zheng wanted to try, old Huo would not have done this job.
– “You are appointed to take care of these herbs.”
An Zheng sat on a mountain side in the Repugnant seal, saw the herbs which had just been transferred, and felt very happy. It was happy enough for him to have the martial school upgraded with his current age and cultivation base. In his mind, he had many guidelines for practice, so he did not need to admire the library which was full of books in the Illusory academy. He had a herbal valley in which he was sure to cure people’s injuries in case they had trouble in practicing.
– “I also have this!”
An Zheng took out the Unicorn Steel he had won and gave it to Qu LiuXi:
– “These packs of the Unicorn Steel are for you. Old Huo and I have learned that the best material which can be used to make the block house in the Illusory Perennial Domicile is the Unicorn Steel. The Unicorn Steel is a white item. Causing the Illusory academy to give the higher-red items is raising difficulties for them, so it is probably impossible. Before, I did not give this to you because I had asked old Huo to refine it so that it will be easier for you to make medicine.”
Qu LiuXi’s eyes turned red:
– “These items were exchanged by your life.”
An Zheng fondled her hair:
– “Don’t think too much. Just take it. Later on, find old Huo and recognize him as your master. Although he has less experience in medicine refining, he is an expert in weapon refining. Ask him to make you a block house, and you can make medicine then. I know that your passion is in studying medical skills, not practicing.”
Qu LiuXi was so touched that she stood there speechlessly, and then she burst into tears.
– “But, but you are the sect head, and you are also our teacher. In the past, my master used to tell me that I could not join other sects once I had recognized my master. Therefore, after I had come to the martial school, my master forced me in stopping the teacher and student relationship and recognized me his daughter.”
An Zheng said:
– “You are not my disciple, and I am not your mentor, too. Therefore, we don’t have anything to avoid. I essentially know nothing about medicine refining. I just know of some kinds of medicine. Old Huo essentially refines weapons, so he may understand about medical skill better than me. He can most likely help you. Therefore, don’t hesitate. Wait until everything has settled down, and I will go to the Value Assembly Courtyard in order to find if there are any good materials for a block house.”
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After speaking, An Zheng urged Qu LiuXi in finding old Huo.
Waiting until she left, An Zheng sat down cross-legged to practice and felt the outside spiritual atmosphere. Actually, it was true to say that practice was difficult, but it was also true to say that practice was easy. Practicing would be never beyond four words, breath in, breath out. Breathing in the fresh air from the outside, breathing out the toxic air from the inside. Practicing was taking the fresh air into the Qi Sea and changing it into usable power.
People have different levels of sensing the spiritual power in the air. Some would be very sensitive with steam in the air, so they were usually oriented in “Water”. Some would be sensitive with fire, and some sensitive with gold. Air did not only maintain living beings, but it also had potential with spiritual powers.
That was the way that the people practiced, and so were the wild beasts.
Actually, the magical beasts were common names. The animals which could release power were called the magical beasts. Those kinds of animals were divided into three types. The first type was spiritual beasts, the second type was demonic beasts, and the last one was the magical beasts. The refined beasts were simple creatures like trees, flowers, grasses, fruits, and even soil and rock which were somewhat enlightened and released spiritual power so that they could practice in the future. The demonic beasts were just evolved forms of wild beasts like birds, snakes, fish, etc.
If basing on the division, Shan Ye was really a demonic beast.
An Zhen was sitting down and meditating in the Repugnant seal. Feeling like time had passed for so long, stood up and went out to prepare dinner. In the martial school, he was in charge of all positions from a teacher, a big brother, a cook, to a farmer. When he was at the gate of the Repugnant seal, An Zheng once again saw the ant which he had seen before. At this time, the ant had moved a bit far.
– “Hang in there.”
An Zheng talked to the ant, and then he left the Repugnant seal.
It was night time when he went outside. It was the time when those three people would come in the Repugnant seal to practice. Each of them was very excited about that time.
When An Zheng came to the kitchen, he saw a shadow outside the martial school. The shadow stood still like a statue. However, the bronze bell did not have any reactions, so that person must not have had evil intentions.
– “Sect head!”
The person from the outside clasped his hands and said:
– “I am Qi ChangChen.”
– “Qi ChangChen, the Dean of the Illusory academy, why does he come here?”
An Zheng was quite surprised. He went forward and opened the door:
– “Please come in!”
Qi ChangChen smiled a bit:
– “Aren’t you beware of me?”
An Zheng said:
– “Visitors are guests, so how can I let my guests wait outside?”
He went ahead and led Qi ChangChen, who was behind him, politely:
– “Where are your disciples?”
– “They’re my friends, not my disciples. I don’t also know where they are playing. It has just been night time, and they have already disappeared like the horses released from their saddles.
– “Yes, they are still children. That they like playing, is common sense.”
Qi ChangChen moved to the room and looked around:
– “Your room is quite simplified. It shows the manners of an ancient person.”
– “Qi Dean, just be direct and say that I am poor. I am not an elegant person. If I have more money, I will be assured in decorating my room with jewelries and gold, and I will make a gold naked person, putting it in my bed to satisfy me.”
Qi ChangChen laughed:
– “You are really honest. If so, I will not beat about the bush anymore.”
He sat down and said:
– “You and your friends all are faithful and talented, so your future must be very bright. In such a small place like the Illusory Perennial Domicile, your talents may be dimmed. Although I am the dean of the Illusory academy, I am also the deputy general of the Refine Flowing Iron Flame Cavalry. If you want, I will write a recommendation letter for you. You will bring my letter to the Yan Kingdom, and you can join the Martial Honour Courtyard of the army. Once you are there, you will be taught very carefully. Moreover, I believe that you will be famous very soon in the Yan Kingdom with your talent and efforts.”
An Zheng had to think twice not for him but Xiao QiDao.
Ye Aunty had gone to the Yan Kingdom. Although Xiao QiDao did not say anything, his mother missing had not been fulfilled. That little boy had full knowledge of the facts, so he had never mentioned his mother with An Zheng. However, An Zheng had seen Xiao QiDao sit in quietness for many times.
But finally, he declined because he knew what Ye Aunty was afraid of.
– “Thank you for your kindness.”
An Zheng clasped his hands and said:
– “I have heard that three and half more years later, the Yan Kingdom will celebrate the Great Yan’s Autumn Harvest. I think… it is not too late until then.”
Qi ChangChen sighed:
– “I’m afraid until the Great Yan’s Autumn Harvest, you will have been famous all around the world, and you will not put the Martial Honour Courtyard in your eyes.”
He took out a jade from his chest:
– “If you change your mind, you can find me at any time. I am the representative of the Martial Honour Courtyard of Yan Kingdom. I will always welcome you.”
After saying, he stood up and said goodbye.
An Zheng looked at the jade on which a picture of a fire wolf was carved.
On the back of the jade were three words… Flowing Iron Flame Calvary..