Around midday, a pair of warhorses stopped outside Ze Tian Palace. Tang Xiao Xi got down from her horse to follow Lin Mu Yu to where a group of Imperial Guards were ready to welcome them.
"Princess Xi!" one of the Imperial Guards respectfully addressed her.
"Please send word to Her Highness Yin that Tang Xiao Xi wants to see her.”
At this, a guard mounted his horse and left, only to return not ten minutes later. He cupped his fist in his other hand in respect. "Her Highness Yin is practicing archery in the Phoenix Perch Pavilion. She bade me to lead you there.
"Alright, thank you!"
They rode their horses further into imperial palace.
This would be the first time Lin Mu Yu has entered Ze Tian Palace and he was pleasantly surprised. The palace interior was a stretch of white jade, shining with an exquisitely with the luster of gems. Further ahead was shrouded in mist, and jade roof tiles were suspended in front of the green lattice windows reflected light rays with a guard sentry was posted every ten steps. The palace did not lack in extravagance nor security.
Passing through the halls, they eventually arrived at the Phoenix Perch Pavilion where Qin Yin resided. Lin Mu Yu was speechless upon seeing the lavish structure occupied by a single person. He originally thought that the villa he lived in was already luxurious, but next to Qin Yin’s residence, it was nothing but a shanty.
The courtyard seemed to be designated for martial arts, a persistent thumping of horse hooves could be heard. Imperial Princess Qin Yin wore a golden cloak while sitting atop a horse with an exquisite bow in one hand hand. She was enshrouded in her golden God Binding Lock martial spirit as she released the reins and nocked an arrow, aiming at a target in the distance.
With a small echo, the arrow hit the center mark and the maids clustered nearby smiled and praised, "Excellent shot, Your Highness!"
But Qin Yin was looking elsewhere. She came down from her horse and walked towards Tang Xiao Xi and Lin Mu Yu, her gold embroidered boots treaded along the sandstone ground. "Xiao Xi, you have come!"
Tang Xiao Xi pulled the reins and smiled. "Xiao Yin, Mu Mu and I came here for a favor. Can you take us to the medicine storehouse? Mu Mu urgently needs two level 10 herbs, you must help us...."
Qin Yin startled, her eyes fell upon Lin Mu Yu. "If that's the case, then let's go. I know the steward there, he will let me pass."
When they arrived at the storehouse, they were indeed allowed to enter. Aside from her beauty, Qin Yin holds the favor of Light Emperor Qin Jin. She had already awakened her God Binding Lock martial spirit at a young age that not even the Emperor Qin Jin or the previous emperor were able to do; thus cementing her position as the successor of the empire. The younger generation of Qin family, Qin Yin and Qin Lei have already awakened their martial spirits, establishing themselves as the generation of hope.
Unfortunately, despite the three of them combing over the inventory records, they were still unable to find any dragon tendon vine or night bright grass. The steward cautiously spoke up. "Your Highness, these two herbs have not been seen for many years, let alone here in the storehouse. I have heard tales of a place deep in Dragon Seeker Forest called "Dragon Tomb" that is said to be the graveyard of the dragon race. If you can find it, then you can as many dragon tendon vines as you want. But the deeper you go into the forest, the more dangerous it is, that is why the alchemists are unable to reach that place."
"Is that so?"
Qin Yin’s gaze grew distant as the heavens. "Then..."
Lin Mu Yu suddenly had an unpleasant premonition .
In the end, it was Tang Xiao Xi who broke the silence. "Why don’t we take the opportunity to go to Dragon Seeker Forest?"
From the corner, The Forbidden Army’s Commander Feng Ji Xing was adamant. "It's foolish. Even I don’t know the location of this Dragon Tomb. Knowing the dangers of Dragon Seeker Forest, going as the heir of the Qin family and the princess of the Seven Seas Dukedom is foolhardy. You must not enter the Dragon Seeker Forest!"
While speaking, Feng Ji Xing glared ferociously at the steward. "You incited them to go to such a dangerous forest. I will not report it this time, but if there is a repeat, I will lop off your head!"
The steward hurriedly knelt down and pleaded. " Commander, please spare me, I didn't do it on purpose."
"Don't kneel, I am younger. This is unacceptable...quickly get up, or else my sword will taste blood...."
Lin Mu Yu smiled. "Elder Brother Feng, don’t threaten him like that."
Feng Ji Xing could not help but laugh. "I am trying to be strict but you can still see through it..."
By now, Qin Yin had already taken Tang Xiao Xi outside and both of them already getting on their horses. Feng Ji Xing immediately ran after them, calling loudly, "Your Highness, what do you mean to do?"
"I will go meet with father. I remain stuck at level 59, I want to go to Dragon Seeker Forest for a breakthrough!"
Feng Ji Xing complained incessantly, having long since reached his breaking point, as this stubborn Imperial Princess insisted on going back to Dragon Seeker Forest. Bad things happened every time they went, this time would surely be no exception!
At Ze Tian Palace, in all its glorious gold and jade splendor.
At high noon, Emperor Qin Jin is in the middle of entertaining a group of officials: high officials, the minister of war, minister of justice, as well as various army generals-all in their designated seats. Qin Jin held a jade cup in his hand, smiled and said, "Come, come. Let's all have a drink!"
Everyone held their drinks with great care. Cautious not to spill a single drop of wine bestowed by the emperor, for fear of losing their heads.
In the middle of it, a loud announcement came from the outside. "Announcing the presence of Her Imperial Highness, Qin Yin, Commander Feng Ji Xing, Tang Xiao Xi, and...this kid. Who are you? You are not permitted to enter. Guards, take him away..."
"Stand down, this is my friend!" Qin Yin's voice came through the commotion.
Qin Jin can't help but put down his cup with a helpless face. He loved and hated his daughter, loved her outstanding and beauty, but hated her stubbornness and craftiness. But his hate only equated to the smallest degree. He loved her very much like a father would his daughter. "Let them come in. Servants, a seat for Princess Yin."
Qin Yin, wearing the Qin family cloak, had already entered. “Father!"Her clear and sweet voice immediately dissipated his angry mood. Qin Jun, laughable and a little irate said, "Xiao Yin, what is it now? You are already a 20 year old lady, learn to be less brash. You are the heir of the family! Feng Ji Xing, speak, what does she want now?"
Feng Ji Xing cupped his fist in his hand in salute, “Your Majesty, Her Highness...she said she wishes to return to Dragon Seeker Forest so that she can break through Heaven Realm. I felt that this is inappropriate as Dragon Seeker Forest is too dangerous."
Qin Yin glanced at Feng Ji Xing. The intention of her stare conveying that, if he still had a conscience, he should refrain from mentioning the Dragon Tomb, lest father not allow it.
"Hmm...Dragon Seeker Forest?" Qin Jin can't help but laugh, "It hasn't been long since you've been there last, Xiao Yin, why would you go again?"
Qin Yin pursed her lips. Raising her palm, a strip of golden rope emerged, just like the spiral dragon surrounding her body. "Father, look. The God Binding Lock of mine had already reached level 5, if not refined further in a fight, I'm afraid it will become useless."
"Nonsense, how can the God Binding Lock become useless?!” the sound of Qin Jin's voice echoed. Yet upon seeing Qin Yin eyes flash with hurt, his heart softened and said, "Go, then. But only within the family hunting grounds."
"How can that be?" Qin Yin lifted her head to look at her father who sat on the throne, "the beasts in the hunting grounds are too weak, I cannot ascend even if I killed them. Father, please allow me to go deep into Dragon Seeker Forest to train?"
Qin Jin helplessly sighed, "Your princess wants to go into the Dragon Seeker Forest, which of you is fit to protect her?"
One of the officials stood. "Your Majesty, the son of Prince Jin Ning, master Qin Lei, commander of the Imperial Guards is formidable. Since he grew up with Her Highness and are childhood sweethearts, it is most prudent to send him with a group of soldiers to accompany Her Highness for her training."
Qin Jin nodded. "Okay. Any other suggestions?"
Another stood. “Your majesty, I suggest Commander Feng Ji Xing lead a thousand of the most elite of the Imperial Guards on horseback to go with them. After all Her Highness Yin is the crown princess, the successor of family and must be protected at all costs. Among the six White-Robed Royal Guards, only two may be dispatched at a given time. Lei Hong manages the Temple, so he is unable to attend to other matters. While Qu Chu is finding inner peace through nature, otherwise, it would be preferable if Master Qu Chu is the one protecting Her Highness."
Qin Jin ecstatically smiled. "Then it's set, Commander Feng Ji Xing, you will lead two thousand of the Imperial Army to protect the princess; Qin Lei, you will lead a hundred of the Imperial Guard. You must protect Her Highness at all times, do you understand?"
Feng Ji Xing and Qin Lei both knelt with one knee and with their fists cupped in the other hand. "Yes, Your Majesty!"
Late in the afternoon, shouting and horses neighing could be heard from Ze Tian Palace, an army of more than two thousand traveled towards Dragon Seeker Forest.
Qin Yin sat helpless, she originally planned to go with only Tang Xiao Xi and Lin Mu Yu, not expecting an entire legion to go with them. She is the heir of the imperial family, maybe this was the price she had to pay for being above other people.
Qin Lei and Feng Ji Xing wear White-Robe Imperial Guard armor, consciously protecting Qin Yin from her flanks with Tang Xiao Xi and Lin Mu Yu followed from behind, a squad of cavalry lead the front. With much grandiose, they exited the city. Lin Mu Yu had not had enough time to go back to the Temple to arrange his luggage, but as long as he had Prairie Fire, he doesn't need anything else.
After sunset, they entered Dragon Seeker Forest.
Because they were still on the edge of the forest, everyone was still complacent. With only stars to light their path and the eerie calls of the nocturnal creatures, the company gradually grew anxious.
White tents flapped along the edge of the camp. Detaching from the party, Lin Mu Yu held Prairie Fire and stepped onto the grass. He looked over the surroundings but was still unable to spot any shining plants. They were probably too close to Lanyan City, still a ways away from finding any night bright grass.
Translated by: shogun
Edited by: seriouspotato