Lan Yan City. This great city that was revered to be the pearl of the Qin Dynasty had a population of over five million people. It had always been the capital of the empire.
As the sun slowly slid down the sky, a group of armoured horses thundered down the main road.
Qin Yin abruptly stretched her body forward, dragging her mantle up, as she peered into the distance. “It’s Xiao Xi! She’s back!”
“Yes,” Feng Ji Xing nodded good-naturedly while rewrapping the bandages on his arm, “Princess Xi is back. Your Highness, you can stop fretting over her now.”
Qin Yin spurred her horse forward so she could welcome the returning party. Her black hair flowed in streams behind her as the wind of early evening blew through it. A pendant with a Yin flower dangled from her pretty neck. She looked like a lovely butterfly.
Tang Xiao Xi let go of her horse’s reins and flew off its back. The moment her feet touched the ground she was running towards Qin Yin’s arms. The two girls embraced each other while sobbing in relief.
“Xiao Xi, are you alright?” Qin Yin looked at her with emotion.
Tan Xiao Xi gazed at Qin Yin briefly before sinking back into her bosom, her face flushing red, “Xiao Yin, did you get hurt?”
Qin Yin shook her head and laughed: “Only a small wound, nothing serious.”
Feng Ji Xing sauntered over, sword in hand, and sat down beside the girls. He said to himself in a very audible voice: “Getting bitten by a 10,000 year Dragon Snake and living to tell the tale, I’d say that’s not too bad. After all it is only a small wound. Ah, the youth these days don’t cherish their lives...”
“Huh!” Xiao Xi gasped in shock.
Qin Yin glared at Feng Ji Xing: “You’ve said too much!” She said rebukingly. “Hmph! Wait for me to return to the palace and tell my Imperial Father to withhold your two months salary!”
“Your Highness, I’m a just an ordinary soldier, if you take away my salary you take away my life. And I tried my hardest to protect your life too. Look, look at this wound on my arm…”
Tang Xiao Xi laughed: “Alright, alright stop arguing. Commander Feng Ji Xing you really are too much! Don’t forget that Xiao Yin is the only daughter of the Emperor, if she gets upset with you then you really won’t be able to set your table!”
Feng Ji Xing saluted formally: “Your Highness, please forgive me, this humble soldier wholeheartedly loyal to you. Please forgive Feng Ji Xing and his big mouth!”
“Just don’t expose me anymore okay.” Qin Yin smiled dismissively and turned back to her friend. “So Xiao Xi, you put yourself in danger and took hundreds of soldiers with you into Dragon Seeker Forest. Who is this Lin Mu Yu anyway? Why did you risk your life to try to find him?”
“Lin Mu Yu is…”
Tang Xiao Xi pursed her little red lips, her eyes started to tear up, “He’s an apprentice alchemist… He is very kind and his alchemy technique is outstanding. Back in the Seven Stars Forest I was refining a Fire Jao beast spirit when I… got into an accident. If he didn’t risk his life to save me I would have died then and there.”
“So it’s like that…” Qin Yin couldn’t help but be reminded of the young stranger she met in the forest. He was also a very talented alchemist. He could refine two different kinds of herbs with both hands at the same time. But she didn’t say any of this aloud. But it wasn’t necessary. She still did not know what that money-hungry youth’s purpose in the forest was.
“Let’s return to the Dukedom.” Qin Yin said.
“Okay! You’re also hurt so you need a lot of rest.”
“And you’ve gotten thin so you need to eat more.”
“Huhu, Xiao Yin you don’t how how I’ve suffered these past few days. I was so hungry because I only got to eat fruits from the mountain, horrid skimpy things. I could only drink water from the stream when I got thirsty. Don’t the forest beasts drink and pee in those streams…”
“Alright alright, I’ll treat you to a delicious meal.”
The next day.
Dragon Seeker Forest descended into dusk, faint sounds of wolves howling and tigers roaring could be heard. This place was full of many dangers, each mountaintop was occupied by a beast of at least 2000 years. In the wake of the setting sun, a youth carried a freshly-slaughtered rabbit, looking about the area as if he were lost.
“I think I’m going the wrong way…. Xiao Xi can’t be here.”
Lin Mu Yu counted the days with his fingers. The three days Deacon Ge Yang allotted to him were almost up. He had to be back in Lan Yan city by dawn tomorrow. They would certainly punish him if he didn’t. After all he just arrived at the Temple. It was also no good to try to avoid punishment.
His horse was still missing and mostly likely he would never find it again. Lin Mu Yu felt regret, he was really unlucky, he lost his horse and couldn’t even find Tang Xiao Xi.
He sighed heavily as he made his decision. With feet as lithe as a swallow, he ran off into the distance. By dawn he must arrive at Lan Yan City!
At dawn a weary figure arrived at the gates of Lan Yan city.
“Halt! Who goes there?” A sentry yelled at him as he approached. “Do you not know that it is forbidden to leave the city after dark?”
Lin Mu Yu continued to shuffle forward, the Golden Star of the Temple glinted on his chest as it caught the light of rising sun. The sentry’s expression immediately became respectful. He straightened his back and gave a salute, “You’re a Master of the Temple. Please enter!”
“Thank you very much.”
The whole continent regarded the Temple as the most sacred temple of martial arts. Lin Mu Yu was just a trainer, but even so his rank was already revered by common soldiers. This sentry was a centurion, a soldier of rank with some hundred soldiers under his command, but he still regarded Lin Mu Yu with awe.
The moment Lin Mu Yu stepped into the city walls his legs felt like lead, his Qi nearly completely exhausted. He ran madly for a while night, his two legs taking the place of a horse’s four hooves. That escapade took toll on his physical stamina and Qi.
As he was making his way through the main avenue of the city he noticed the street name was Tong Tian Street. Right. This was the street of the residence of the girl in the violet mantle. Lin Mu Yu proceeded to look at the door numbers of each building.
“#4 Tong Tian Street” Lan Yan City Ministry of Justice. The foundation of the Empire’s justice.
“#3 Tong Tian Street” Ministry of War, office of the Minister of War.
“#2 Tong Tian Street” Career Halls, if the emperor personally has a command, it can be satisified
“#1 Tong Tian Street” Luster of Heaven, the complex of the Lan Yan city Palace, also the heart of the world
In the distance, a group of soldiers were patrolling through the compound with shining blades reflecting the warm rays of the rising sun. There were thousands buildings inside the palace grounds, as it was not the usual class of luxury, so a lot of guards were needed to ensure peace and order.
Lin Mu Yu peered and could just make out the number on the large golden plate on the Palace door. He suddenly gave start!
That girl! That swindler!
A high-ranking Imperial Guard spotted the figure in the gates whipped his horse forward to approach. “Oh, it’s a person from the Temple. Young man, do you have any business in the Palace?”
It turned out that even Imperial guards treated Temple people with respect as well.
“May I please ask, #1 Tong Tian Street, is it really the address of the Luster of Heaven?”
“Hahaha, of course it is. Only the Emperor’s residence is worthy of #1 Tong Tian Street!”
“Oh!” Lin Mu Yu replied blankly. “That’s all. Many thanks…”
He turned around to leave with a feeling of disappointment. One thousand Yin gone! That girl was a little cheat. How could she really be a resident of the Palace. There is really no justice in the world!
That morning, Lin Mu Yu was paired up with Silver Star Instructor Zhang Wei for sparring. Zhang Wei’s Fierce Soul Fist was already fearsome under normal circumstances, other sparring partners always dreaded to face it, Lin Mu Yu was in no condition to train with him. Luckily, Zhang We had a soft spot for him and, upon seeing his pitiful condition, let him take a nap in the training room while he spent the time boxing alone.
Thus, after resting for half the day, Lin Mu Yu recovered 70% of his stamina and 80% of his Qi.
At noon, Deacon Ge Yang reappeared with a piece of parchment to read aloud the afternoon pairings. By chance he was paired with Gold Star instructor Zheng Shan He, who was also known for strong defense.
At this moment, a Gold Star instructor carrying a longsword stepped forward and said: “Lin Zhi is the only Gold Star trainer in the Temple, he cannot just always be paired up with Zheng He and Zhang Wei. Master Deacon, by your leave, I, Ou Yang Qiu wishes to spar with Lin Zhi this afternoon. Please grant me this request!”
Ge Yang was reluctant to allow this but there was no reason for him to deny Ou Yang Qiu. He relented: “Alright, this afternoon Lin Zhi will be paired with Ou Yang Qiu.”
“Many thanks, Master!”
Ou Yang eyes gazed at Lin Mu Yi with enmity. Killing intent flitted on the corner of his smiling mouth.
Lin Mu Yu shuddered. Ou Yang was Young Marquis Zeng Fan’s man. Zeng Fang was unsuccessful at killing him the last time and instead, was beaten and humiliated. If Ou Yang also had intentions to kill him, then he had no choice. The rule of the Temple was iron, if a trainer is accidentally killed by an instructor, there will only be a small financial penalty, the offender’s punishment is only solitary confinement for a few months and forfeiture of salary for two years, Zeng Fang is is the son of God Marquis Zeng Yi Fan, they were not short on money.
At this time, Lin Mu Yu had many things to consider, the only thing he could do was to be strong and survive.
After lunch, Lin Mu Yu had completely recovered his strength. He could feel the Qi flowing along his skin and it soothed him. He attributed this comforting flow of Qi to Refining Skin. If it were the old days, Lin Mu Yu would have been worried about whether he would be alive or not that afternoon, but now he was feeling confident.
The bell for the afternoon drills reverberated through the hall.
Prairie Fire hung on Lin Mu Yu’s back. With both hands balled into tight fists, he went through the door. His face showed confidence. Next, Ou Yang entered, his appearance made him worried but also made him excited at the same time. Facing that level of strength was the fastest way for him to gain combat experience! In this world, strength was undoubtedly most important, but it did not guarantee victory. With ample experience, a level 50 Battle Saint could stand a chance against a level 61 Sky Master!
Inside the training room, a group of instructors and trainers stood in rows facing each other. This was the customary greeting that started off training.
Lin Mu Yu’s stood erect. Beside him was Qin Qi Ling and other accompanying trainers. He suddenly clenched his right fist in front of his chest, and his left hand shot downwards like the thrust of a sword. It was also an inevitable lesson taught when you entered the Temple. The full name of the temple is “Warring Saints Temple”. It’s main function was to provide the Empire with outstanding martial artists. So whether an instructor or a trainer, during a war everybody must serve in the military of the Empire. Perhaps from the moment of entering the temple, they were already soldiers of the Empire.
“Please enlighten me!”
Everybody said in unison.
As they raised their heads, Ou Yang Qiu gave hima contemptuous sneer that made him feel uneasy.
Translated by: korezmi
Edited by: patrick_father_of_dragons