Nine Astra Skies

Mad Snail

10 The Grand Ancestral Worshipping Ceremony

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Day after day, Ye Chen practiced Thunder Emperor Technique without fail. His Celestial Chi had broken through yet another rank barrier and ascended to the Fifth Stage on the sixth day since the last clan meeting. 

"Finally! The Fifth Stage," Ye Chen muttered as he revolved the Celestial Chi within his body. With his Celestial Chi more strengthened than before, Ye Chen could now maintain his Primordial Thunder Body form to last at least ten seconds, which delighted the young man. After all, 'Ye Kongyan's currently at the Fifth Stage too, was he not?'

Taking the purity of the Celestial Chi circulating in his body as well as his mastery over the Primordial Thunder Body— the Ye clan's most secretive technique— into account, Ye Chen was finally a.s.sured of the certainty in prevailing over Ye Kongyan.

It was a feat of its own to achieve the Fifth Stage, this was evident in the number of people who had actually attained it within the entire clan. Despite its thousands of members, only two hundred people had ever managed to reach this Stage. Hence, these fighters also doubled up as the combatants of the family. Subsequently, being able to attain the Sixth Stage before they turned eighteen was even considered a testament to one's ac.u.men for martial arts because failing to do so before eighteen dramatically plummeted your chance of ever reaching higher Celestial Chi stages in the future as your meridian channels succ.u.mbed to an age-induced stasis. 

Of course, as his body had previously been baptized by the mystical Celestial Chi courtesy of the Flying Dagger, Ye Chen's body was now perpetually in the Pure Yang State. In other words, he would continue to be perfectly apt for martial arts cultivation regardless of his age.

After reaching the Fifth Stage, the speed of Celestial Chi

deposition

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began to decelerate. However, Ye Chen was far from anxious as he knew cultivation was never about forcing the speed of Stage Advancement. Instead, he remained dedicated to training, developing his Celestial Chi with Thunder Emperor Technique in tandem with practicing the Primordial Thunder Body, Rumbling Thunder Burst and Roaring Thunder Fist.

Despite him improving his martial art skills at such great measures, Ye Chen had remained humble and continued to train as hard as he could at every possible moment. The hardships he had endured during those three years when his meridian channels were damaged had forged a mind of precocious maturity. 

Meanwhile, for most of the Ye clansmen, these few days had been a bustling period as they basked themselves in the preparations for the upcoming Grand Ancestral Worshipping Ceremony. 

The clan may have fallen into financial distress but one could never forfeit the necessary grandeur befitting a grand ceremony for their ancestors. Even clan members who had been stationed out of Ye castle for a myriad of family businesses had gradually returned home in droves. Among these homecoming clansmen were Ye Chen's two elder brothers.

None of Ye Chen's brothers had attained the Sixth Stage before they reached eighteen. Hence, their Celestial Chi had only remained at the peak of the Fifth Stage. Not showing the promise of being exclusively talented in martial arts, the brothers were stationed outside, their delegated jobs concerning the House of Ye's mercantile affairs.

They had wanted to visit Ye Chen the first thing since arriving home but Ye Zhantian had intercepted. Unbeknownst to them, their little brother's meridian channels had already recovered. Hence, in order to protect Ye Chen, Ye Zhantian had banned anyone from seeing the young man. The lesser the number who knew about Ye Chen's true status, the easier it was to have the secret kept.

Truthfully, Ye Chen was far from being the only one who had been training for the upcoming match. Everyone who was eligible to partic.i.p.ate in the match for the t.i.tle of Successor Patriarch had all been training themselves with much dedication in the hopes that they could subvert expectations on the day of the match itself. 

After a period of extensive ceremonial preparation, the day had finally come for the House of Ye— the Grand Ancestral Worshipping Ceremony which was held once every five years.

The central plaza was already packed with people on the morning of the Grand Ancestral Worshipping Ceremony. In the middle of the crowd stood a gigantic, towering altar where freshly butchered poultry, prepared by a dozen clansmen, would be laid down as offerings to their ancestors.

Ye Zhantian and others of similar stations had already occupied their designated seats around the perimeter of the altar. There were sixteen of these seats. Out of the fifteen, two of them belonged to Eighth Stage fighters while the rest were in the Seventh Stage. These high-ranking fighters c.u.m high council were the central support of the entire clan. Right in the middle, flanked by these fifteen chairs, was an empty seat.

Ye Chen and others of his generation were standing behind the higher-up's seats.

"h.e.l.lo, Brother. How's your health?" Ye Chen's middle brother, Ye Mu, who was older than Ye Chen by five years asked. He had not been able to attain Celestial Chi Sixth Stage before eighteen, so Ye Zhantian had sent him off into Donglin county to take charge of the Ye clan's trading business. Years of experiencing the outside world had given a touch of serendipity in Ye Mu's natural gentleness, which reflected in his intriguing countenance. 

Ever since his return to Ye Castle, Ye Mu had wanted to visit his brother but to no avail. Now, as he looked at his youngest brother, Ye Mu's eyes were warm with concern.

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Ye Chen's chest felt fuzzy when he heard the care in Ye Mu's tone. He nodded and said, "I've gotten a lot better."

"I knew it! There's nothing in the world that can defeat you, is there? Oh, here! A little something from your two big brothers!" Ye Chen's eldest brother, Ye Peng, affectionately pulled Ye Chen closer to him as he pushed a silk-covered box quietly into his hands. Being the eldest brother of the three, Ye Peng had always been the most honest and dependable. In fact, he frequently doted on his two younger brothers.

Ye Chen had tried to push the gift back to Ye Peng, yet he found his big brother to be quite persistent. In the end, Ye Chen opened the silk-covered box and found that there were two Chi-ama.s.sing Pills in it.

Ye Peng and Ye Mu have never been very well-endowed despite being merchants. They must have been living a frugal lifestyle in order to save up enough money just to trade in two meager Chi-ama.s.sing pills.

Ye Chen felt a pang in his chest. His two elder brothers may not have visited him frequently but they had never once forgotten about him.

"Big Brother? I don't need Chi-ama.s.sing Pills anymore…"

"Oh, hogwash! You need a lot every month, don't you? Hey now, we are brothers! Don't you dare be embarra.s.sed about accepting a gift from your big brother!" Ye Peng replied earnestly.

"I-I…" Ye Chen wished he could just blurt out 'My meridian channels had recovered!' but there were too many people around them. Ye Chen could not possibly risk telling them the truth right this instant. 

The warmth emanating from his two brothers made Ye Chen realize the true meaning of brotherly bond. He looked at the silk-covered box sitting on his palm and lapsed into a brisk period of silence. Then finally, he gripped the box and placed it inside his inner pocket, a place where he could keep anything safely. In the young man's eyes, this box contained more than just two Chi-ama.s.sing Pills!

"Chief! The Former Chief has returned!" A clansman dashed to their attention, his face illuminated with excitement.

"Our uncle has finally arrived." A smile surfaced on Ye Zhantian's face as all of the Elders stood up and cast their eyes down from the altar where the rest of the clan had been standing. They watched the sea of people slowly but surely part into two sides as they ushered an elderly man toward the top of the altar. The elderly man, donning a soft grey robe, had hair that had long grayed into a snowy white, yet he emanated an equipoise of vigor as he strode toward the altar with a nimble, flight-like gait.

"Former Chief, glad to see you!"

"Former Chief, we bid you a good day!"

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The clansmen around the elderly man quickly gushed their earnest greetings in glee as he walked past them. Among the entire Ye clan, the Former Chief, Ye Changxuan, was seen as nothing less than a G.o.d in flesh and blood; the blessing and the protective spell that had kept the family from being subsumed by other powerful clans. Being the only Ninth Stage fighter in the family, his status as the Ye clan's apex martial art savant served as a warning to all other clans out there. Without the Former Chief's presence, the family could not have survived in this society by relying on Ye Zhantian and the rest of the Elders alone. 

Suddenly, a huge explosion of untamed Pressure radiated from Ye Changxuan, no doubt triggered by an amalgamation of shock and fury. "Who are the perpetrators?!" The old man bellowed.

Ye Changxuan had inspected Ye Chen's meridian channels with his own Celestial Chi five years ago. The boy had shown to be the most gifted among all of the younger cohorts and had exhibited a remarkably high chance of ever attaining the Ninth Stage. In other words, the future of the family lied squarely on Ye Chen's shoulders. Hence, to have him ambushed and left in a state of being crippled was tantamount to leaving the entire Ye family crippled. 

"We don't know yet," Ye Zhantian replied.

"Once this old man knows who those b.a.s.t.a.r.ds are, they are going to be paid a visit!" Ye Changxuan said darkly. He looked at Ye Zhantian once more and asked, "So how is the child, Ye Chen, now?"

The Chief was about to answer when Ye Moyang interjected without invitation. "As you know, Ye Chen was rescued but left permanently crippled. So three years ago, the Chief issued an absolute ruling that the entire clan must put the welfare of Ye Chen's body above everything else. Just like that, the entire clan had been focusing on gathering every Chi-ama.s.sing Pills they could trade in to help preserve and nourish the Chief's son to the point that many of our businesses have gone bankrupt. This is the reason why Uncle's being greeted by such somber state of the family."

Hearing Ye Moyang's tirade, a crossed expression instantly befell Ye Zhanlong, Ye Zhanxiong and the rest. This sly fox was trying to persuade the Former Chief into chastising Ye Zhantian!

"What was the other option? Leaving the kid in excruciating agony? Of course we can't do that!" Ye Zhanlong rushed in to protest. 

Ye Changxuan looked at Ye Moyang placidly and asked, "What would you do if this happened to you, while you were the House of Ye's Chief?"

Upon hearing the old man, Ye Moyang could feel his heart skipping a beat. 'Had the position of Chief been pa.s.sed to me, the Ye clan would not have seen such pathetic state at all!' 

"Why, I would never let my personal issue take precedence over the welfare of the entire clan!" 

"This is the reason why I'd rejected the thought of pa.s.sing the mantle to you, Ye Moyang," Ye Changxuan replied serenely. "What defines personal matter, and what defines a family? What, indeed, is a clan? If a clan does not even care to offer a sanctuary to its members even when they needed it the most, then why even protect and hold onto a clan? If there was an outsider who dared to harm a single member from our family, the action we should take as a clan is, of course, to fight the enemies with all of our might and if need be, our lives. Should there be anyone in the clan who's inflicted with a terrible disease, or wounded gravely, the Chief of the Ye family shall not hesitate to pour in every resource the family could muster to help the individual in need, even if it may cost the clan financially; for the Chief is the spine of the family, the head of the clan! I can a.s.sure you, even if Ye Zhantian had to resign for his deed, the next Chief we elect from the family would still be someone who understands the spirit of a clan!"

Ye Moyang's face was flushed in scarlet, his lips quaking. He had wanted to rebut the Former Chief but no words escaped his throat.

Ye Chen's eyes watered. He could hear their exchange from where he stood, and when he heard the words of his distant granduncle coming to his defense, a sentiment of respect and veneration rose within his chest. He reflected on the kindness his uncles, brothers, and cousins had shown him and rooted the word "clan" deeply in his mind. 

"Our esteemed Former Chief and current Chief, before the proper worshipping ritual, the younger cohort would like to have a match for the selection of Successor Chief. Shall we begin now?" One of the clansmen standing by asked.

Ye Changxuan heaved a sigh. There was nothing he could do to help Ye Chen recover from his broken meridian channels by now, so all those hopes for the young man to be this clan's successor had basically been dashed. The only thing he could do was to hope that there were other suitable leaders among the candidates; a leader who could ensure the survival of the Ye heritage long into the future. On the other hand, hearing the news that Ye Zhanxiong's daughter, Ye Xuan, had pa.s.sed the prestigious entrance exam of Emerald Cloud sect had given him some hope, too. 

Ye Changxuan waved and said, "Let us begin."

Deposition is a process of turning gas/ vapor directly into solid form in chemistry. The same connotation is used here! Now you know what Chi Deposition Pill does too!

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