Translator: Zen Translations Editor: Zen Translations
Zhou Weiqing loved his freedom; that showed in his thinking, his unrestrained and unbridled mind that jumped about freely. He had always dreamed of soaring around like a bird or swimming the oceans like a fish, to live a free life of his dreams. He would never hope that he would be restricted or tied to a single place.
Without question, if he agreed on Shangguan Tianyang’s suggestion, he would lose that freedom, with the seal of the Heaven’s Expanse Palace placed on him deeply. From there on, he would always be influenced and controlled by the Heaven’s Expanse Palace, no longer belonging to himself or even his own homeland.
When Zhou Weiqing thought about this point, he immediately calmed down. Of course, that was not to say that he could never pay the price of freedom, but it was a matter of whether or not it was worth it.
On deeper thought and self reflection, the answer was no. That was because, what the Heaven’s Expanse Palace was offering, Zhou Weiqing was confident that with his own hard work and efforts, he would eventually be able to accomplish it by himself. In that case, why should he give up his own freedom for a shortcut that would only save him some time? As he slowly calmed down, he began to ask himself the second ‘why’. Why would Shangguan Tianyang give such an attractive offer? To complete an entire Legendary Set, the cost of that was so exorbitant that even the wealthy Heaven’s Expanse Palace could not easily ignore it.
Furthermore, even if they knew his Skill Storing method, they would not be able to duplicate it. First of all, they did not have the strange tiger bloodline that they did, and they also did not have help from Fat Cat. If he told them about his method of Elemental Jewel Skill Storing, that would undoubtedly be betraying Fat Cat, and that was something Zhou Weiqing would not do. Earlier, when he had left the inn, it was because of the fact he was afraid things might be difficult for Fat Cat that he left her in the inn.
So, why would the Heaven’s Expanse Palace give him such favourable terms? When Zhou Weiqing calmed down and thought further, he quickly understood the reasons.
If Zhou Weiqing really accepted Shangguan Tianyang’s terms, only then would the Heaven’s Expanse Palace know about his Skill Storing methods. That meant that at least currently they did not know that this method could not be duplicated by them. As such, it also meant that in their eyes, it would definitely be worth that price. After all, a method that allowed one to Skill Store from Heavenly Beasts of much greater power levels, that was a priceless treasure that could be passed down as a legacy to generations down the road, and was of almost unthinkable value to the Heaven’s Expanse Palace. In comparison, a mere Legendary Set was of nothing if one were to put it in perspective of a Great Saint Lands. Of course, that was all on the premise that they could make use of the method.
Secondly, if the Heaven’s Expanse Palace helped Zhou Weiqing create his entire Legendary Set, that would mean that he would have to give them the entire Legendary Set design. That would also mean the Heaven’s Expanse Palace would gain a new full Legendary Set design. This might not seem to be as valuable as an actual Legendary Set Equipments, but in truth, that was only for an individual person. In the point of view of a Great Saint Lands, the two were definitely of almost equal worth. After all, with the design, they would be able to continually create more of these for their own use.
Thirdly, by making the entire Legendary Set for Zhou Weiqing, it would bind him to the Heaven’s Expanse Palace tightly. After all, not only was the Legendary Set difficult to make, he would also need to continually grow in cultivation level before he could use the next ones. In such a way, there would be yet another invisible thread binding Zhou Weiqing to them, leaving his heart and soul with the Heaven’s Expanse Palace. In addition to his connection with Shangguan Bing’er, after some time, it would not be difficult to slowly absorb Zhou Weiqing into the Heaven’s Expanse Palace. In the end, wouldn’t that mean that this Legendary Set would end up working for the Heaven’s Expanse Palace?
It could be said that on the surface, it would seem like the Heaven’s Expanse Palace was offering a lot, but in truth, what they gained was so much more. Other material gains aside, they would be gaining an outstanding talent, allowing them to groom him further as well.
When Zhou Weiqing thought through all of that, he couldn’t help but feel an even greater sense of gratitude towards Mu En. There was always two sides to a coin, and one often had to examine something thoroughly to find out all sides. Behind a massive benefit, there was usually either a corresponding trap, danger or poison. Zhou Weiqing felt his hands twitch slightly… in that moment he truly understood why his father had sent him to this old fellow nicknamed the God Eye Scoundrel, and why as he did so, he had told him that learning from Mu En would allow him to better survive in this world, even without any powers.
“Why are you still hesitating?” Shangguan Tianyue asked Zhou Weiqing impatiently.
A small smile tugged at the corners of Zhou Weiqing’s lips, and he said: “Thank you Senior Shangguan for that great offer, this junior is truly honoured. However, I am also a Consolidating Equipment Master, and I hope that one day I can become a God Tier Consolidating Equipment Master as well, to wear the Equipment that I have personally created. I am afraid I have to refuse this tempting offer.”
“You are actually refusing the offer?!” Shangguan Tianyue stared at Zhou Weiqing in shock, as if looking at an idiot.
Shangguan Longyin also had a surprised look on his face, the expression in his eyes changed as he looked at Zhou Weiqing.
Shangguan Tianyang started momentarily, then he smiled gently and lifted his hands in a soft clapping. “Good… good… good.”
Three ‘good’s. But it caused Zhou Weiqing’s heart to skip three beats alongside. He could not tell what Shangguan Tianyang was thinking about at all.
Nodding towards Zhou Weiqing, Shangguan Tianyang said: “I believe that in this world, there isn’t another person who will reject the offer I just made. Weiqing, I must admit that I have underestimated you. From now on, I will treat you like someone of my own level. Of course, that is because of your possibility and future. In that case, our previous trade will still go through as promised, and the custom God Tier Consolidated Equipment designed for your Fei Li Battle Team Leader, I shall also agree to that.”
“Thank you Senior.” Zhou Weiqing bowed deeply once more. As the saying goes, it is never wrong to be polite, especially since with the connection of Bing’er, these few men in front of him were considered his elders and relatives as well. Not wanting to be tied fully by a trade was one thing, but he still had to give them the respect they deserved.
“There is no need for thanks, it is what you have earned. Longyin, the rest I leave it to you. You can bring Weiqing to go about the trade we have agreed upon.”
“Yes, Palace Master.” Shangguan Longyin turned and bowed deeply towards Shangguan Tianyang. In the next instant, he flash stepped in front of Zhou Weiqing, and the two disappeared swiftly in a bright flash of gold light.
After the two had vanished, Shangguan Tianyang looked towards Shangguan Tianyue and said smilingly: “Second Brother, what do you think?”
Shangguan Tianyue’s angry expression disappeared, and he smiled: “That child’s character… it looks like Bing’er has made a good choice.”
The smile on Shangguan Tianyang’s face grew a little strange, and he sighed softly as he said: “I’m just afraid that this child will be the same as you when you were young.”
Naturally, Shangguan Tianyue knew what his own big brother was talking about, and couldn’t help but flush slightly in embarrassment, as he said: “Big Brother, don’t mention about such things so far back in the past. Who hasn’t been young and stupid before? That little rascal Zhou Weiqing… in this aspect alone… hmph, he is even stronger than I am. Besides Bing’er, he has still some relations with that Little Witch. I even heard that this little brat actually accidentally kissed Fei’er.”
Originally, when Zhou Weiqing accidentally kissed Shangguan Xue’er, no one else was around. With her nature, naturally she would not go around spreading it about, and only Shangguan Fei’er had managed to find out, and even so that had been deviously. As such, these two elders here did not know about that matter.
Shangguan Tianyang said with a faint smile: “You shouldn’t keep scaring that poor little fellow. After all, no matter what, you are his future father-in-law. In truth, to us, everything else are just minor details… as long as both sides are willing, us old fellows shouldn’t interfere too much the younger generation. This Zhou Weiqing might be a little cunning and wily, but there is a side of him buried deep in his bones that I truly like. To be honest, before today, I would never imagine that anyone could possibly reject the offer I made just now, let alone someone of his age. Although I am a little disappointed that we aren’t able to fully bind him to us in that way, I can’t help but feel overjoyed with him. After all, no matter what, he is your son-in-law.”
Shangguan Tianyue gave a rather discontented humph. “What son-in-law? Wait for him to defeat Xue’er first!”
Shangguan Tianyang said: “You ahh… you are just too stubborn. You have clearly approved of him, yet you must always act like that. However, that child has truly shown too much of himself in this Heavenly Jewel Tournament, and that may not be a good thing. Luckily, he is not as flighty and impulsive as most other youths of his age. Well, at least with the Heavenly Demon Sect and Heavenly Snow Mountain people around him, we should not need to worry too much about his safety.”
Shangguan Tianyue said: “Enough about that little brat. I do not know why, he can really rile me up so easily. Perhaps it is the feeling that every father has for the fellow who steals his daughter away. Anyway, Brother, I will be heading to the Heavenly Bow Empire to bring Xian’er 1 back. With Bing’er here, and now that I finally have her actual location, no matter what, this time I will definitely bring her back.”
Shangguan Tianyang nodded, saying: “Xian’er has suffered a lot for you. You should hurry and bring her back.”
Shangguan Tianyue said: “What about the border? Should we send some men to help? Recently, the WanShou Empire have been attacking viciously.”
Hearing him mention the WanShou Empire, Shangguan Tianyang furrowed his brow, saying: “No, we’ll have to hold on that temporarily. Once we actually send people to join in the fight, it will be finally truly tearing open the relations with the Heavenly Snow Mountain. Although in terms of overall combat, we might be slightly ahead, fighting in the north is just too unfavourable for us. Furthermore, if the two of our Great Saint Lands fight, it might cause a mass world war in the entire mainland, dragging all of the Great Saint Lands into war as well.”
A cold light flashed in Shangguan Tianyue’s eyes and he said coldly: “So what if we are dragged into war? With the power of our Heaven’s Expanse Palace… and with the support of the Passion Valley and the Blood Red Hell, I do not believe we cannot suppress the Heavenly Snow Mountain.”
Shangguan Tianyang gave a bitter smile and said: “If it were as easy as you say, I would not need to be so troubled all the time. You should know as well that the WanShou Empire occupies the entire north, but that place is a bitter cold, sparse land. In such a place, ordinary humans cannot survive in such a place. Furthermore, such conditions are very beneficial for the WanShou Empire and Heavenly Snow Mountain powerhouses to fight. Even if all three of our Great Saint Land powerhouses invade them, we will not be a match in their territory. Even if we are actually able to temporarily defeat the Heavenly Snow Mountain powerhouses, all they need to do is to retreat deeper into their lands, and what can we do? Our ordinary armies are not able to join in the invasion due to the conditions, and our personal strength is limited after all. Even a Heavenly God Stage powerhouse, when facing an army of millions, will eventually fall, no matter how many he might take with him. Furthermore, in terms of ordinary soldiers, the power of the WanShou Empire is unmatchable and add on to the fact that they have no northern border to worry about… if not for the threat of our three Great Saint Lands, they would have invaded and crushed the rest of the Boundless Mainland long ago. Alas, we can still be a deterrence in terms of defense, but we do not have the capabilities of offense. After all, do not forget that all these years, the Beastmaster Armies of the Heavenly Snow Mountain has obeyed our treaty and not fought in the wars since.”
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