In a dusky cavern, light suddenly started to gather above a stone platform. Space vibrated as two figures emerged from the light.
Zhou Yuan’s head was in a daze after once again experiencing the transfer. He massaged his forehead, trying to alleviate the discomfort.
A happy and surprised voice could be heard from the front when the light scattered. Zhou Yuan raised his head and saw Zhou Qing joyfully looking at him from in front of the stone platform.
Zhou Yuan smiled and said, “Father.”
“You really gave me a huge scare you stinking brat!” Zhou Qing’s eyes were filled with impatience as he quickly walked forward. More than half a day prior, he had seen Zhou Yuan disappear on the stone platform. That sight had alarmed him greatly and caused him to be at a loss.
When Zhou Yuan saw Zhou Qing’s expression, he understood that Zhou Qing had likely been worrying himself to death here and felt somewhat sorry. Zhou Yuan scratched his head and promptly said, “Father, my eight meridian channels have appeared!”
Zhou Qing’s body jerked as his hand hastily slapped onto Zhou Yuan’s shoulder. A stream of Genesis Qi entered Zhou Yuan’s body to probe.
The outcome was known to Zhou Qing several breaths later as his hand involuntarily started to tremble. He was overwhelmed with emotion as he heavily patted Zhou Yuan’s shoulders.
“Good, great, excellent. It is truly a blessing from our forefathers. The heavens have not closed their doors to our Zhou clan!” Zhou Qing’s voice was slightly trembling, and his eyes had become moist. It was easy to imagine how emotional he currently was.
Zhou Yuan’s inability to begin channel opening cultivation had been a thorn in Zhou Qing’s heart. He had felt that it was because of his powerlessness as a father back then that Zhou Yuan’s destiny would be stolen by king Wu at birth, causing him to be in this miserable state.
Zhou Qing had seeked out every method, but none of them could find Zhou Yuan’s channels. Hence, Zhou Qing could only place his final hope on the secret saying that had been passed down in their Zhou clan.
And now, it looked like the heavens was still looking after their Zhou clan.
A warm feeling flowed in Zhou Yuan’s heart when he saw such a look on the usually calm and dignified Zhou Qing. The former reached out his arms and lightly patted Zhou Qing’s wide back as he gently smiled and said, “Don’t worry father, we will make sure to take back everything our Zhou clan has lost!”
Zhou Qing collected himself a little as he forcefully nodded. It was at this same moment that he looked behind Zhou Yuan and saw the girl in green standing there hugging a little gray creature, while her bright eyes coolly watched them.
“Yuan’er?” Zhou Qing at a complete loss as he looked towards Zhou Yuan. It was obvious that he did not know why Zhou Yuan would return with a mysterious girl.
Upon seeing this, Zhou Yuan started to describe everything he had seen and what had happened in the mysterious domain.
After listening, Zhou Qing was silent for some time before he spoke, “Since our Zhou clan forefathers left behind such a secret saying, they must have some relation to the elder in black. Moreover, having received his gifts and blessings, you must naturally accomplish the task he left to you.”
Having said this, Zhou Qing revealed a warm smile to the girl in green and said, “Little miss, if you have nowhere to go, you can stay in Great Zhou. We will definitely ensure your safety here.”
Yaoyao’s small head lightly nodded when she heard this as her soft yet indifferent voice sounded, “I’ll have to trouble you then.”
“It’s no trouble, no trouble at all.” Zhou Qing smiled as he waved his hand, before he turned to Zhou Yuan and said, “Since your problem has already been solved, let us prepare to return to Great Zhou city. Your mother has been waiting for news of you all this time.”
Zhou Yuan nodded. Likewise, he really wanted to tell this good news to Qin Yu.
The trio followed the secret passage out of the cavern and walked out of the shrine on the summit of the mountain.
Zhou Qing went ahead to instruct the imperial guards to get ready while Yaoyao hugged Tuntun as she stood at the edge of the cliff. Her pretty eyes were a little blank as she observed this foreign land.
A breeze brushed at her clothes, outlining her exquisite curves while also making the girl look rather lonely and distant. There was only Tuntun in her arms making small noises to console her.
Zhou Yuan walked to Yaoyao’s side and softly said, “Big sister Yaoyao, you don’t need to worry. Master possess great powers and will be alright. We will definitely see him again in future.”
He knew that no matter how much calmness and indifference Yaoyao displayed, there would still be some unease in such a foreign place.
Yaoyao glanced at him and said in a small voice, “I know that grandpa Hei chased me away because formidable enemies were coming.”
“These foes came for me, and grandpa Hei stopped them for me.”
Although Cang Yuan had never spoken of these matters to her, she was keenly able to
sense that these disasters had been drawn to them because of her.
Zhou Yuan scratched his head. He did not know the identities and background of these two individuals. Thus, he was unaware of the story that was hidden here.
Zhou Yuan slowly said, “Big sis Yaoyao, perhaps it is as you say. However, I feel that the current you should not blame yourself, else, you will have betrayed master’s efforts, and everything that he has done will lose its value.”
Yaoyao’s fair hand gently stroked Tuntun’s soft fur as she gazed into the distance. Soon after, she showed a light-hearted smile to Zhou Yuan and nodded. “Relax, I am not that kind of person. I will make sure to get to the bottom of this matter in future. When that time comes, if anything happens to grandpa Hei, I will definitely avenge him. Not a single one of those people will be able to escape.”
Her calm and cool voice contained an iciness that made Zhou Yuan tremble a little.
This big sis looked like a little fairy, but when she became serious, it appeared that she would be able to kill decisively.
Great Zhou royal palace.
The moment Qin Yu came to know of the news, she immediately hugged Zhou Yuan on the spot as she cried, causing him to feel both touched and helpless.
Zhou Qing helplessly said from the side, “Alright, alright. Yuan’er being able to cultivate is good news, there is no need to weep so much.”
“Don’t tell me that you did not cry?” Qin Yu wiped her eyes and glared at Zhou Qing.
Zhou Qing awkwardly rubbed his nose. He had likewise been on the brink of tears when he sensed Zhou Yuan’s eight meridian channels in the cavern. However, these tears had been forcibly suppressed in the end.
Zhou Qing did not dare to speak any more and hastily changed the topic. “First help make arrangements for Yaoyao.”
Only then did Qin Yu realise that there was someone else watching from the side. She was somewhat embarrassed as she wiped away her tears and revealed a warm and gentle smile to Yaoyao. “Yaoyao, you do not need to care about other things while staying here. We will definitely ensure that you will not face even the slightest mistreatment.”
Qin Yu was extremely affectionate to Yaoyao. Although it was mostly out of gratitude for helping Zhou Yuan, it was evident that she rather liked this girl. After all, anyone who saw such a pretty girl would definitely be fond of her.
Yaoyao was a little unaccustomed to Qin Yu’s warmness. She had after all lived with Cang Yuan in that isolated domain since young and had practically zero contact with any outsiders. Moreover, she was aloof by nature and was not good at communicating with others.
However, she could feel the sincerity and gratitude from Qin Yu’s heart. Therefore, she was not overly resistant and merely glanced at Zhou Yuan before allowing Qin Yu to drag her away.
While Qin Yu led Yaoyao away, Zhou Qing and Zhou Yuan exchanged a look and helplessly chuckled.
“Your majesty, headmaster Chu seeks an audience!” An imperial guard reported at this moment.
Headmaster Chu was the headmaster of Great Zhou Institute, Chu Tianyang, while also an important general under Zhou Qing.
“Let him in.” Zhou Qing nodded before looking towards Zhou Yuan, who was about to leave, and said, “Stay. In any case, you are the prince of Great Zhou and should know of certain matters.”
Zhou Yuan was slightly stunned. He did not reply but nodded his head in acknowledgement.
A well-built figure walked in from outside the great doors of the inner palace. It was a middle-aged man wearing a purple jacket. He had a determined-looking face and wind seemed to accompany his steps with ‘whoo whoo’ noises.
“Greetings your majesty.” The middle-aged man wearing a purple jacket bowed as he cupped his fists together towards Zhou Qing, before he looked towards Zhou Yuan by the side and nodded with a smile, “Your highness.”
“Headmaster.” Zhou Yuan did not dare to be the neglectful. Chu Tianyang was an important official who had father’s deep trust and was also his right-hand man. In addition, he was the headmaster of the Great Zhou Institute.
Zhou Qing waved his hand and smiled. “What is the matter?”
After hearing this, Chu Tianyang first glanced at Zhou Yuan.
Zhou Qing chuckled. “There is no problem. Let him hear it.”
Chu Tianyang nodded. He had a bitter smile on his face as he sighed and said, “Your majesty, Xu Hong is currently eyeing my position as headmaster.”
Zhou Yuan’s heart shivered a little. Xu Hong was the current deputy-head of the Great Zhou Institute. However, he was on king Qi’s side and blindly followed the latter. He often payed lip service to the Great Zhou royal clan while opposing them in secret.
Zhou Yuan knew that king Qi had desired the Great Zhou Institute for a long time and wanted to take control of it. Thus, he had secretly tried to sink his claws into the institute and Xu Hong’s current position had been arranged by him through various means in an attempt to seize the position of headmaster.
“Your majesty, according to the information I have secretly obtained, that little prince Qi Yue has use an extremely high price to continuously coerce or entice the outstanding students that emerge in the Great Zhou Institute.”
“In this year's newcomer exam alone, more than half of the students that are able to enter the top ten have been drawn to his side.
“Moreover, once these students pass the newcomer exam, they will chose to enter Xu Hong’s B class. After the newcomer exam comes the class ranking exam. In the past two years, the quality of the B class students on a whole has been higher than my A class, and they have already obtained first place in the class ranking exam twice. If they are allowed to succeed again this time, Xu Hong will take the opportunity to rise up and seize the position of headmaster.”
Back when Zhou Qing established the Great Zhou Institute, to motivate the various classes, he had created the rule that any class master that was able to take first place in the class ranking exam for three years in a row would be able to run for the headmaster position.
Chu Tianyang’s A class was originally the strongest, but due to Xu Hong’s subsequent emergence and king Qi’s strong financial support to continuously draw the outstanding students to their side, the originally strongest A class had been suppressed by B class for the past two years.
It was evident that Xu Hong’s target was the headmaster position. Once he became headmaster, the Great Zhou Institute would likely fall into king Qi’s hands and the flow of talented individuals would be taken away by the latter. For the royal clan, this was practically cutting off their flesh.
Most importantly, if king Qi was allowed to get away with this, it would result in the many factions on the sidelines thinking the royal clan was in the decline and no longer able to contest with king Qi. It would be devastating if these factions chose to cast their lot in with the latter.
Zhou Yuan’s brows were tightly furrowed as he looked towards Zhou Qing. The latter’s eyebrows were currently twitching a little. A long while later, a dark voice was slowly spat out from between his teeth.
“This king Qi truly has a huge appetite!”