In the secret chamber of Ye Castle.
"Chen, my son… I-is it true? Y-your meridian channels…are they healed?" Ye Zhantian asked with concern. His voice still wavering as he recovered from his perplexed state, wondering if he had hallucinated the change in his son.
"Yes, Father. Your son's meridian channels… They have healed completely," Ye Chen said. His voice cracked as hot tears rushed down his cheeks. "It's all my fault that you'd endured so much all these years, Father!"
"It's alright, it's alright. The G.o.ds have not forsaken us." Ye Zhantian's wrinkled eyes were pooling in tears as well albeit his voice was one of joy. "Everything's alright as long as your meridian channels recover."
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He would have gladly sacrificed his life if it would increase Ye Chen's shot at recovery!
"Oh, but how did they heal?" He quickly asked.
"I…I'm not exactly sure. I woke up yesterday and there they were – perfectly mended." Ye Chen had toyed with the idea of telling the truth about the Flying Dagger. However, he decided against it out of fear that it would sound too preposterous to be taken seriously. Nonetheless, he wanted to pa.s.s the knowledge of the first three grades of the Thunder Emperor Discourse to his father as soon as possible. At the time, the House of Ye seemed to be piled with a lot of misfortune. As the bastion of the family, it would be best if his father could improve his martial prowess as quickly as possible.
Ye Chen added briskly. "As I slept last night, I dreamt of an elderly man with pale, white hair. He was the one who had miraculously healed my meridian channels before imparting some knowledge in me."
"A white-haired elderly man…?" Ye Zhantian hesitated. 'Does something this surreal ever happen in the real world? But then again, Chen's meridian channels have mysteriously healed.'
"So what did he teach you?"
"It's an oral discourse on a technique." Ye Chen quickly obtained some papers and an ink brush from the desk beside him before writing down the Thunder Emperor Discourse that he had memorized.
There was a total of nine chapters in Nine Astra Skies. Thunder Emperor Discourse was only one of them but it shared a lot of resemblance with Ye Clan's very own Inner Thunderclap Cultivation Technique. Practicing this technique alone would have brought its pract.i.tioner to a height of martial prowess that has never been witnessed before. As for the other eight chapters, Ye Chen planned to try them out on his own before deciding what to do with them.
"What…" Ye Zhantian once again froze in mid-sentence. He looked at the text written by Ye Chen, his mind overtaken by surprise. "What is the name of this discourse?"
"It's called The Thunder Emperor Discourse!"
"Thunder Emperor - this is it, isn't it?! That Inner Thunderclap Energy Cultivation Technique that we now practice… It was actually just a small section chipped off from the body of an ancient, magnificent technique. Legend has it that a few millennia ago, the Ye clan was once a ma.s.sive tribe practicing an incredibly formidable Thunder-style cultivation system. Later, as skirmishes waged through the years, and the Ye family regressed, the teachings of this technique became more and more incomplete from generation to generation. Then, two hundred years ago, a few of your ancestors endeavored in collecting every single remaining dictum they came across and created a derivation of that technique— the Inner Thunderclap Energy Cultivation. Of course, as that feat was achieved centuries later, the teaching was already very far removed from the original. It was precisely due to the missing contents that had demoted the Inner Thunderclap Energy Cultivation into a mere third-rank martial art."
"But this… This Thunder Emperor Discourse must be the very same, complete Thunder-style technique our ancestors of yore had practiced – it is a treasure worth ninth rank and above! In fact, one could surpa.s.s the Tenth Stage by practicing the first three grades… Yes, our ancestors are truly looking out for us!" Ye Zhantian said, his heart pounding. Ye Chen had not expected a history this ma.s.sive from his clan. A thought wandered in his mind. 'What if my arrival in this world was no mere coincidence?'
"That white-haired elderly man you met in your dream was most likely an ancestor of the Ye clan! Our bloodline is used to sp.a.w.ning a gallery of martial art prodigies throughout the age, you see, and many of them had
transcended the Immaterial
as they achieved the arete of cultivation. I'm sure that they had taken pity of their descendants' struggles, and therefore came to you in your dream, healing your meridian channels and teaching you the complete wisdom known as the Thunder Emperor Technique Discourse!" Ye Zhantian rattled excitedly, connecting the dots on his own.
Ye Chen could feel his cheeks turning red – the existence of that white-haired man was purely a fib cut out from his imagination, yet here his father was, painting his lie with legitimacy.
"I wish to pa.s.s along the first few parts of this technique discourse to your uncles. What say you, my son?" Ye Zhantian studied the young man as he asked.
"My uncles had treated me with nothing short of unwavering kindness even when my meridian channels were damaged and I was at my weakest. I have nothing against sharing this knowledge with them. However, if this includes Lord Elder…" Ye Chen stopped short of himself.
"Your father had strived through much of what the martial world had to offer, Son. All those life experiences had polished my eyes enough to judge who possesses genuine goodwill and who was just a mendacious sellout. Every atrocity Ye Moyang had done all these years was never lost on me. For the sake of turning his son into the Ye clan's Successor Chief, he was complicit in colluding with the enemies of our family. That ambush that had started this ordeal? It was his doing— he had supplied the enemies with important intel, and he thought I had no idea about his involvement. Throughout these three years, I've been gathering many clues and evidence pertaining to that incident. For now, he shall remain in my sight, alive— but when the right time comes, I'll weed out the traitor for good."
Ye Zhantian's tone was steely at the mention of Ye Moyang. If it was not for that lout, Ye Chen would not have to go through three years of pain, and the House of Ye would not have been tormented to this current state.
Ye Chen had always been suspicious of that sly man, and now that his suspicion had been confirmed by his father, he could finally express his own sentiment. "Father, please tell me you knew of the ident.i.ties behind those who had ambushed us."
'Five of my clan-brothers had died that day'. Ye Chen balled his hands into fists. 'I will avenge them.'
Ye Zhantian scanned the young man's face and hesitated. Nevertheless, he answered him, "You've been through a lot over these three years but we'd watched you grow a lot stronger through these trials, too. Now that you've matured, you have the right to know. The enemies who had attacked you then, were clansmen of the House of Yun!"
"House of Yun?" A sharp glint flickered in Ye Chen's eyes. The House of Yun had been the strongest family of all Eighteen Houses of Lianyun. As a matter of fact, throughout the years, the Chair of the alliance between the Eighteen Houses had always been a kingpin from the House of Yun.
"The House of Yun had been planning to snuff us out as far back as when our family was still at the apex of power— all because they were afraid that if there was more than one powerful clan, loyalty from other clans would falter. This is why at this moment, news of your recovery should never be known outside of this castle. Before our clan could rebuild our a.r.s.enal and forces enough to rival the Yun, we should caution against waging a war at them. Unfortunately, this also means that Ye Moyang's life would have to be spared for now— if he dies, it would serve as a red flag to the House of Yun, and they'll be all too eager to cause a conflict. Do you understand?" Ye Zhantian added. With the matter of the family's survival hanging in the balance, the Chief had to be extremely vigilant.
"I understand clearly," Ye Chen replied and nodded. He had become far more mature than he was a few years ago. Even if he could not wait to repay the House of Yun in kind, he knew that he would first have to improve himself and patiently wait for the right time.
After the serious discussion, the father and son duo had talked right into midnight. Ye Chen had only left around that time. That overjoyed expression worn by his old man after hearing the news of his son's meridian channels healed had made him look ten years younger.
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Ye Chen was happy too and relieved to see his father's exuberance.
"But you shouldn't tell anyone about this, okay?" He smiled. "H-Hey, why are you crying, Rou? Shouldn't you be happy instead?"
"This is wonderful – Big Brother's healed! I…I'm so happy!" The girl jolted up – as if she had acknowledged what was being said – and ran into his embrace, sobbing.
Ye Chen was a little stupefied at the girl's sudden burst of emotions but he recovered soon enough with a small grin and started patting the girl's back.
Ye Rou wept for a little while longer before wiping away her tears. Her voice cracked as she mumbled. "D-don't worry, Big Brother. I won't tell a single soul about this."
Both of them took some time to calm down. Somehow, with Ye Rou in his embrace, the softness of her bosom, as well as that faint sweet scent of her body, struck all of Ye Chen's feelings. He could feel a strange, new emotion arising within him. Instinctively, he patted the girl's bottom and chuckled. "Careful, Little Miss. Your snot is all over me!"
It was that unexpected bouncy feedback coursing through his palm, like a bolt of electricity, that had stunned him in mid-action.
Meanwhile, that warmth in Ye Chen's body was starting to draw Ye Rou back to her senses— in her joy, she had forgotten to observe the boundaries between a man and a woman. The emotion she felt when Ye Chen hit her bottom had roused her from her daze. Now, mindful of what she had done, Ye Rou jerked up abruptly like a cat with its tail stepped on.
Her face was burning hot, her eyes cast downward as she avoided meeting the young man's eyes. "Y-your meridian channels had just been healed, Big Brother. You would need all the rest in the world so I should get going."
"Maybe I should accompany you on your way back," Ye Chen replied in embarra.s.sment. He, too, had finally realized that he may have crossed a line.
"There is no need." In a flash, the girl hurried away.
Watching her silhouette fading into the night, Ye Chen could not help but chuckle. He looked at his hand and a thought popped into his mind. 'Well, Little Miss Ye Rou sure has a firm bottom.'
Far away from Ye Chen and hiding in the shrubs was Ye Rou watching the young man entering his quarters. She stood still in her spot, her cheeks still blazing while her heart was beating irregularly. After a few minutes, she pursed her lips and grumbled a little sourly. "How dare you bully me like that, Big Brother! When has it ever been the norm for a boy to hit a girl's bottom so flippantly?"
Following that, she burst into a fit of giggles, her smile wide and carefree. Yet, just as abruptly, as if an unpleasant thought had dawned on her, her expression darkened.
'How much longer can I stay in the Ye Castle?'
Echoing the maiden's morose question was the lonesome shivers of tree leaves.
It's just a poetic way of saying "Bruh kicked the bucket", i.e. died
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