At midnight, the streets of Nandu city seemed lonely and desolate. It was probably because of the conflicts happening at the border; everyone in the city was tense. The wind of early spring blew over the cold stone road, and the dreary steps of the patrolling soldiers made one feel even more nervous.
Different from the rest of the city, the southern gate of the city was extremely busy. Countless torches were lit, people could be heard yelling and dogs were barking. Countless soldiers held spears and torches in their hands as they marched out of the southern gate of Nandu city.
“It seems that the war is imminent with the barbarians. We can help them transporting food and materials overnight.” Flying high in the sky, Ye Kong looked down at the scene under the cover of night.
“It’s none of your business.” Huang Quan said with a snort.
“I’m also a child of the Ye family. Why wouldn’t it matter?” Ye Kong disagreed.
“It’s a mortal war. If you want to take part in it, you should take part in it as a mortal, but I advise you to leave it alone.”
What Huang Quan said was true. There were immortals that were part of every nation, including the barbarians. Every country had immortals, but none of them intervened in the war between mortals.
On one hand, it could be said that they were all busy with cultivation. On the other hand, they were not willing to expand the war to the immortals. It would be the case of ‘You have immortals, but so do we’. The war between mortals would turn into a war between immortals.
It didn’t need to be said that powerful cultivators had the ability to destroy heaven and earth. If a fight broke out between the truly powerful immortals, the number of deaths caused by their involvement would be too many to count. No one wanted that.
So no matter how bad the war fared between the mortals, the immortals would not get involved.
However, war always brought out the extreme in people. In fact, many wars also had immortals taking part, but these immortals were generally only those weaker cultivators from small sects, or a disciple who acted secretly, which would not have a big influence on the war.
Even though he was flying through the city sky at night, Ye Kong did not attract any attention. He managed to fly through the city and arrive at a remote location near the Ye Family estate.
“Eighth young master, you have returned.” Li Laosi was on night watch, so he would encounter anyone who returned during the night.
“Well, how is everything recently? I think the situation seems very tense. Oh, come sit down and talk with me for a moment.” Ye Kong did not rush towards the inner court, but sat and discussed with Li Laosi.
Li Laosi was very obedient after being beaten by Ye Kong, but it could also be said that he was bullying this servant, but Li Laosi wasn’t alone. The second young master, the third young master and the ninth wife were all bullied by him. Who was left in the Ye Family who would dare to make trouble with him?
Ye Kong, who was famous for his hot temper, was being polite today, and it caused Li Laosi to be at a loss.
“Eight young master, I prefer to stand when talking with you.”
Ye Kong found out why the current situation was so tense. The war had not yet begun, but there had already been two small-scale battles between the two countries.
After these two skirmishes, each side had a victory and a loss. These small skirmishes were not large in scale, but the losses were still very tragic. Each side had lost a commander and many more were killed in battle.
Li Laosi explain that this was because the barbarian soldiers were fierce, unafraid of death, and loved to battle. However, within the Ye army, it was said that because the soldiers had not been fighting much within the last ten years, they had become weak and complacent.
Ye Kong thought this could be a possible reason for the loss, but another reason could be that Ye Wei was feigning weakness on purpose. Although the Ye army hadn’t had many conflicts in the past years, the training that the Ye soldiers endured had only increased. How could they be weak?
Why didn’t the elites from the Tiger Camp join the skirmishes?
It was very simple. If the soldiers under control of the Ye Family eliminated the barbarian threat, the Ye Family would be in crisis. Ye Haoran would not be able to return. Only when there was in a troubling situation on the border would he be given a chance to leave Andu city.
This battle was extremely troubling for the Ye army. They had to face the enemy attacks from the the front while guarding their back from the emperor. However, if Ye Haoran was allowed to return, it would be a huge victory for the Ye Family.
“Ye Wen and Ye Wu left for the barracks a few days ago.” Li added.
Ye Kong nodded. “Good. Very good. They fear what would happen if they remained in Nandu city.”
In fact, Ye Wen and Ye Wu couldn’t stay in Nandu city. Many people within the family knew of the secret behind the second wife’s death. They were embarrassed to return to Ye Family. Even when they walked the streets of the city, they could feel other people staring at them.
They knew that they had to go to the battlefield to accumulate military merits in order to change their fate.
“Well, it’s getting late. It’s almost three o’clock and your shift is ending. I’ll head back first.” After saying goodbye to Li Laosi, Ye Kong headed to the inner court.
It was still late and every room was dark when he arrived. Ye Kong did not disturb Chen Jiuniang and her two daughters, so he quietly returned to his room.
“I have decided to refine the rest of the immortal Qi while I am her and then I will go to take a look at the border situation when I am done.” Ye Kong thought as he sat cross legged on his bed.
Huang Quan also flew out of the small sword magic tool and said, “This is unwise. I’m afraid that you don’t know the dangers. If you want to go take a stroll into a warzone while at the third level of Qi refining. Hmmm, I’m afraid that you won’t survive to tell the tale!”
Ye Kong said with a wry smile, “Huang Quan, can you stop looking down on me? I’m not that weak. I just killed a cultivator in the sixth layer of Qi refining a few days ago.”
“That was a poor and useless guy. It’s not much to have killed him. What if you encounter the woman who attacked you during the play? She is more powerful and has better magic tools than you. You can’t escape! Don’t rely on me to save you then!” After yelling at him, he stretched out his open hand as if demanding the bead from Ye Kong.
“Oh.” Ye Kong took the bead from his storage bag and handed it to Huang Quan.
Then he touched the other bag on his waist and asked, “Old ancestor, you said that you would help me cultivate a top-grade spirit insect…”
As soon as Ye Kong opened his mouth, he was interrupted by Huang Quan. “Don’t bother me, boy. I’m busy studying this bead. I’ll help you do it some other time.”
Ye Kong had no choice, but he still stared at the beast bag for a while as if he was in a daze, then he went over Huang Quan and said. “Old ancestor, tell me about the origin of this bead. Maybe I can help you study it. They say that three cobblers can match Zhuge Liang.”
(TN: Two heads are better than one)
“Who is Zhuge Liang?”
“…”Ye Kong was helpless. There was no doubt that the Southern Land knew nothing at all, he even didn’t know such a famous name.
“He was a very wise man.” Ye Kong didn’t explain. Of course, if Ye Kong told the story of Zhuge Liang, he would go with the ‘romance’ version rather than the historic record.
Huang Quan didn’t ask questions or plan on listening to him. He held the bead and said, “This bead is the most prized treasure of the Shadow Clan, it is the Pipa bead.”
“The treasure of the Shadow Clan!” Ye Kong knew that it must be precious, but he didn’t expect it to be so precious. Considering that the Shadow Clan had ruled the Southern Land for so many years, they must have countless treasures. For this to be their most treasured possession, how valuable must it be?
It must be a treasure amongst treasures. It would be a treasure more valuable than any other.
“Ancestor, you are so strong. The treasure of the Shadow Clan is in your hands. I really admire you!” Ye Kong’s eyes were different when he looked at the bead again.
“Would I appreciate something that is second-rate? It is much better than the measly thousand spirit stones that you desperately want! This is why I said that this treasure is worth betraying anyone to obtain! It doesn’t matter the price which needs to be paid.”
Ye Kong interrupted; “But I think some costs are too much.”
Huang Quan rolled his eyes, “You are stupid! Idiot! If you were not such an idiot, I would have killed you already!”
“I think you are the idiot. You killed yourself to obtain this treasure. You betrayed your friend to obtain this, but don’t even know what use it has. Aren’t you hurting yourself and others while not benefiting at all? Looking at it this way, do you think you’re stupid or I’m the stupid one?”
Huang Quan was left speechless. He rolled his eyes several times and then snorted, “I won’t argue with you. Sooner or later, I will figure out the secret behind this treasure. If you don’t want to help, don’t delay my work.”
Ye Kong said with a smile, “In fact, I also have some ideas. Let me tell you what I think and you can tell me your thoughts,”
Huang Quan immediately focused his attention. Although he scolded Ye Kong every day for being stupid, he knew that this young boy was much smarter than him. In the words of Earth, Ye Kong had a high IQ.
Ye Kong cleared his throat and said, “First of all, this bead is not a magic tool, nor a weapon, or a spiritual tool, so they can be excluded. Secondly, it can’t be eaten, as we know the material can’t be digested. So it’s not a pill used to improve cultivation or heal a cultivator, so we can exclude pills…”
“Bullshit. Say something important.” Huang Quan impatiently interrupted Ye Kong.
“Well, thirdly, this bead is likely to be a precious material. I don’t know if you have tried to refine it with your nascent fire, so is there a possibility that it could be a material for refining a powerful spiritual tool?”
“Impossible.” Huang Quan shook his head. “As the most valuable treasure of the Shadow Clan, it can’t be a material. No matter how precious a material it is, it would not be worth being called the treasure of the shadow clan until it had been refined into something which had use.”
Ye Kong also agreed with this analysis, nodded and said, “Then I’ll say the fourth point. You said this bead is called the pipa bead. Does it have anything to do with the pipa? It’s said that all powerful families enjoy music, even more so for the Shadow Clan. Is this bead related to music? Does it have some relation to the pipa?”
Huang Quan blinked, looked at the bead and nodded, “That makes sense. Why didn’t I think of it before? I will find one tomorrow.”
At this time, Huang Quan suddenly grew depressed. “If this is the case, isn’t it useless to me? I don’t have any interest in music. It’s useless to me.”
Ye Kong had some idea about the treasure. After learning the shadow martial arts, he knew that shadow martial arts had to match a corresponding rhythm to unleash the true power of the martial arts. Maybe this bead was the key to an even more powerful version of the shadow martial arts?
Huang Quan was obviously not happy with this result, and asked, “This is the fourth, is there a fifth and sixth possibility?”
“Of course there is!” Ye Kong said again, “The fifth is that this may be a token. It might be used to identify a benefactor. Maybe when it is presented to a powerful immortal or the Shadow Clan itself, they will grant one of your requests.”
“That’s interesting.” Huang Quan nodded and asked, “What’s the sixth point?”
Ye Kong shook his head. “I couldn’t think of a sixth.”
Huang Quan looked down for a while thinking, then he sighed and said, “We will go find a pipa player and try it tomorrow.”