“Alright, the show is over, everyone can scatter now.” Zhou Yuan tossed and caught the jade piece in his hand before smiling at the numerous spectators.
Upon hearing his words, the crowd smiled back and left. However, there was an additional trace of amazement in their gazes when they took one final look at Zhou Yuan before they left. This was because the fact that Zhou Yuan was unable to open his channels was long known by everyone in the Great Zhou Institute. Thus, many people believed although this prince of theirs had a high status, he did not have any power.
However, the scene today made them completely drop this belief.
Zhou Yuan was indeed temporarily unable to open his channels, but he wielded another kind of power; Genesis Runes. With Genesis Runes, even someone like Xu Lin, who had opened two meridian channels, was not the former’s match.
In this world, status was admittedly also a kind of power. However, the power that was most easily acknowledged by others was undoubtedly still one’s own power that had been gained through the culmination of one’s efforts. Because this kind of power would not be changed by one’s status or position.
“Hey, don’t lose it again alright.” Zhou Yuan tossed the jade piece at Su Youwei who had walked over. A breeze blew past, causing her uniform to hug her body, accentuating the fine and exquisite curves of a young lady that could cause one to have rather wild thoughts.
Su Youwei was a little embarrassed as she bit her red lips. Her clear eyes stared at Zhou Yuan as she said, “Are you okay?”
Girls were after all very attentive. She could see how Zhou Yuan’s hand seemed to tremble slightly.
“Heh heh, you’ve discovered it huh.” Zhou Yuan chuckled. He lifted his hand, and one could see that it was very red. This had been brought about by the ferocious punch from before.
“Without any channels opened, the innate quality of the body is after all a little lower.” Zhou Yuan sighed. Although he had borrowed the powers of the Metal Skin Rune, Light Body Rune and Rampaging Bull Rune to temporarily boost his strength, speed and toughness of his skin, the interior of his body was still too weak. A tiny bit of the backlash had invaded his body, causing him to feel rather terrible.
“Instructor has said that there are some Genesis Runes that can temporarily strengthen one’s entire body. If you manage to learn them, you will not be hurt by the backlash of power.” Su Youwei said after mulling for a while.
Zhou Yuan nodded. “The grade of such Genesis Runes is not low.”
It was said that Genesis Runes were divided into nine grades. However, the ones Zhou Yuan had used were only of the elementary level and could not even be considered grade one. Hence, he was not able to learn such Genesis Runes for the time being.
Su Youwei bit her red lips and said in a worried manner, “Then you’ll have to work hard. In the newcomer exam next month, unless you are able to draw a grade one Genesis Rune, it is unlikely that you will be able to achieve the top ten rankings.”
If Zhou Yuan did badly in the newcomer exam, bad rumors would surely spread.
Zhou Yuan massaged his hand as he replied, “Don’t worry, I know what I have to do.”
His eyes slightly narrowed. At this time, he could only hope that the trip to the ancestral grounds two days later would be able to help him solve the major issue of his eight meridian channels not appearing. If not, the only thing left would be to invest all of his energy into Genesis Rune study.
It was just that he really could not resign himself to solely studying Genesis Runes.
When Su Youwei saw Zhou Yuan fall silent, she knowingly changed the topic. Her eyes seemed to twist in thought as she beamed. “Your highness, shall I help you apply some ointment?”
“Forget it, if I accept such a great gesture from a pretty girl, I’m afraid that someone would see and surely employ some underhanded tactics against me.” Zhou Yuan playfully smiled in response. After all, Su Youwei was rather popular in the Great Zhou Institute.
Su Youwei unhappily rolled her eyes at him. “Since you are so timid, I’ll not bother with you any further. I still have to go to the library to tidy up the books.”
This was a part-time job she had found for herself to earn a little income. After all, her family situation was not good and she still had a grandfather to care for. Thus, she usually found some work to do in the Great Zhou Institute during the school term.
Upon hearing this, Zhou Yuan hesitated a little before saying, “There is only a month left till the newcomer exam, and time is of the essence. I feel that you should spend more time on opening your meridian channels. If needed, I…”
Zhou Yuan was interrupted before he could finish. He looked towards Su Youwei. The girl’s red lips were currently slightly pursed as she earnestly stared at him. Her voice was soft and gently, but it contained a strength that could not be ignored. “You’ve already helped me a lot. You brought me to this place where I can change my destiny, and I am grateful to you from the bottom of my heart. However… you’ve said before that we are friends, right?”
Zhou Yuan was taken aback as he gazed at the girl before his eyes. The depths of her glistening eyes seemed to hide something that would be difficult to sense for an outsider. It was that final shred of dignity at the bottom of her heart that needed to be preserved.
She knew that as long as she opened her mouth, Zhou Yuan would settle everything that she needed. However, if that happened, a certain change would occur in her relationship with him.
She had very carefully maintained the relationship between them since the beginning. Zhou Yuan was the prince of the Great Zhou Empire, a status that was high as could be, while she on the other hand, was a commoner. The gap between the two was too great, hence it very easily drew the criticism of others.
She was not afraid of such criticism, but she did not want to be looked down upon by Zhou Yuan.
Therefore, she put in her greatest efforts after she entered the Great Zhou Institute such that she would be able to become independent. She likewise worked hard in her cultivation to change the large difference of status between them.
She had been very successful. As the fastest channel opening genius ever since the founding of the Great Zhou Institute, everyone began to value her talent. So much so that even Zhou Yuan’s father, Zhou Qing, started to hear of her name.
In the fact of the girl’s stubborn gaze, Zhou Yuan was defeated in the end and could only hold up his hands in surrender as he bitterly smiled, “I will not interfere.”
Su Youwei’s eyes bent into a crescent moon when she heard this. Meanwhile, she secretly breathed a sigh of relief in her heart. She knew that if Zhou Yuan were to insist, she would not be able to reject. It was just, that would be a little disappointing.
At the very least, she knew that Zhou Yuan had respected her last bit of dignity till now. His choice to concede made a glimmer flash in her eyes as her heart filled with a peculiar kind of gratefulness.
“Don’t worry your highness, I will not slack off in my training. I promise you that I will definitely obtain one of the top ranks in the newcomer exam and enter the A class.” Su Youwei smiled sweetly. Her bright and beautiful smile was filled with confidence.
There was a dozen classes in the Great Zhou Institute and the A class was naturally the strongest.
Zhou Yuan nodded. He pondered for a moment before suddenly taking out the Genesis Gathering Jade he had used as a wager in the fight against Xu Lin previously. Subsequently, he lifted Su Youwei’s fair hand and placed it on her palm.
“Don’t take this wrongly, I am not giving but lending this to you. I have yet to open any meridian channels and can’t make use of it for now.” Zhou Yuan immediately said when he saw that Su Youwei was about to reject it.
When Su Youwei heard Zhou Yuan’s words, she swallowed the words that were about to exit her mouth before giving him a glare. This fellow, how could he say it in such a manner!
“I’m leaving!” Su Youwei kept the Genesis Gathering Jade and with a soft snort, she brushed past Zhou Yuan.
“So defiant yet lovable…”
Zhou Yuan watched the graceful and slim figure of the girl as she departed and shook his head. Just as he was also about to leave, he suddenly sensed something. He raised his head and looked towards a building in the distance, only to find a figure in white was currently looking back at him with a gaze that was as sharp as a blade.
“Qi Yue.” As Zhou Yuan gazed at the figure in white, his eyebrows raised slightly.
The figure in white was the heir of Qi Manor, Qi Yue.
A slight smile surfaced on Qi Yue’s face when he felt Zhou Yuan’s gaze as the former cupped his fists together towards the latter.
Zhou Yuan coldly chuckled in his heart, but maintained a smile as he nodded his head, before turning to leave.
Atop the building, Qi Yue watched Zhou Yuan’s leaving figure. A playful look emerged on Qi Yue's face as he mumbled to himself, “I never imagined that his highness would unknowingly attain some proficiency in the Dao of Genesis Runes…”
A pretty figure walked out behind Qi Yue. It was a tall and slender girl whose looks were also very beautiful. The only flaw was her slightly thin lips which made her look a little unkind. Compared to Su Youwei, the former did lack some charm.
She disdainfully glanced in the direction Zhou Yuan had left in as she coldly snorted. “Genesis Runes are after all a side path. No matter how great one’s attainments, one would still be unable to transform oneself and there will remain a limit to one’s lifespan. Carelessness might even result in being killed by an ordinary person.”
She was known as Liu Xi and her father was a marquis of Great Zhou. People called him Marquis Liu, and he was naturally one of the big shots. On this topic, there could be said to be some relation of sorts between Liu Xi and Zhou Yuan.
Several years ago, Zhou Qing became aware of how powerful Qi Manor was growing. To keep them in check, he planned to place a ‘weight’ on Marquis Liu. Thus, Zhou Qing proposed a marriage between their factions; he intended for Zhou Yuan and Marquis Liu’s daughter, Liu Xi, to be married and strengthen the ties between the two clans.
Marquis Liu was somewhat hesitant with regards to Zhou Qing’s proposal. After all, the royal family of Great Zhou was in decline and the sole successor, Zhou Yuan, was unable to open his meridian channels. In addition, Marquis Liu was extremely doting on Liu Xi, and thus asked her about her thoughts. Liu Xi was an extremely proud girl and felt that Zhou Yuan was merely a crippled prince. Hence, she rejected the proposal without any hesitation, and even spread word that his highness was a toad that wanted to dine on a swan’s meat. It even became a popular joke back then.
Upon seeing her response, Marquis Liu use it as reason to reject Zhou Qing.
Although this matter had occurred long ago, Liu Xi naturally felt a little uncomfortable in her heart when she now saw Zhou Yuan, the same Zhou Yuan whom she had once called a toad.
Qi Yue laughed and nodded upon hearing her words. “The highly ranked students partaking in this newcomer exam have already cast their lot in with me. If our prince Zhou Yuan believes that he will be able to make it through with just this teensy bit of proficiency in Genesis Runes, I can only make him lose all face.”
At this point, he paused as his eyes narrowed. “However, that Su Youwei’s talent is indeed astonishing, and her future prospects are very bright. If there is a chance, we need to do all we can to pull her over to our side.”
A look of unhappiness flitted across Liu Xi’s face when she heard these words. She frowned and replied, “She is merely a lowly lass who has opened three meridian channels. If we cannot win her over, we should find an opportunity to cripple her.”
Liu Xi’s was of a noble family and was also very talented. In the past, she was undoubtedly the most dazzling pearl in the Great Zhou Institute. However, ever since Su Youwei’s appearance, the former’s radiance had been suppressed. This undoubtedly caused Liu Xi to find this commoner girl Su Youwei extremely distasteful.
Qi Yue was naturally able to hear Liu Xi’s dislike for Su Youwei. He chuckled and did not speak about it. Instead, he merely stared at Zhou Yuan’s disappearing figure.
“Looks like this Zhou Yuan no longer has any confidence in himself. That is why he intends to support a genius to rely on in future…”
“Zhou Yuan ah Zhou Yuan. The sacred dragon of the Zhou clan has truly become a crippled dragon.”
“Since that is so, your Zhou clan is going to be done for.”