Chapter 90 – I’ll Repay You with the Position of Imperial Preceptor
Morning the next day.
When Su Yi woke from his meditation, the tower ship had already resumed its journey down the Great Azure, and everything was peaceful once more.
He left his room, and when he reached the first floor of their private pavilion, he saw his companions waiting for him.
A sumptuous breakfast was already on the table.
“Master Su, we were waiting for you to begin.
Let’s eat,” said Yuan Luoxi chipperly. Her eyes were bright as the light of dawn reflected in spring waters, and her tone was affectionate.
Su Yi noticed the subtle change in her demeanor, and he couldn’t help but smile.
He casually took a seat.
“Let’s eat together.”
Only then did Yuan Luoxi, Cheng Wuyong, and Huang Qianjun take their seats.
As they were eating, Cheng Wuyong suddenly started coughing.
Su Yi’s eyebrows shot up.
“Were you injured last night?”
“A minor injury, that’s all,” said Cheng Wuyong with a smile.
“It’s not a big problem.”
Huang Qianjun couldn’t help but interject, “Brother Su, last night, Senior Cheng relentlessly chased that rogue who insulted you.
He got injured in the life-or-death battle that followed.””
Su Yi was stunned for a moment before he suddenly recalled something.
“You mean the man who promised to take my head off in a single swing?”
The image of the middle-aged scholar he’d seen the night before rose up in his mind.
“None other,” said Huang Qianjun with a smile.
“But Cheng Wuyong already took his head off instead.”
“That was considerate of you.” Su Yi couldn’t help but glance at Cheng Wuyong.
Cheng Wuyong said hurriedly, “Master Su, you needn’t be so polite.
It was the right thing to do.”
It was then that a low voice rang out from beyond the door to the pavilion— “Ol’ Cheng, is Young Lord Su awake?”
“That’s Zhang Yiren,” said Cheng Wuyong softly.
“Master Su, he already knows what happened last night.
Unless I’m mistaken, he’s here to thank you.”
With that, Cheng Wuyong went to welcome their new guest.
As Su Yi ate, he ordered Yuan Luoxi, “Tell me what happened last night.” His tone was calm and natural.
Yuan Luoxi instantly set down her bowl and chopsticks, then spoke in a tone reminiscent of a bird chirping from a secluded valley. When Huang Qianjun saw this, he couldn’t help but admire Su Yi.
That’s the pearl of the Yuan Family, the little princess famed throughout the Cloudriver Prefectural Capital! But Brother Su is talking to her as if she were a servant.
Who’d dare believe such a thing?
How arrogant and unreasonable is Yuan Luoxi’s personality? She even dared kick Young Master Zhang Yuanxing in the family jewels! But in front of Brother Su, she’s downright meek and obedient!
And looking at her face, she seems to like him….
As a pampered playboy and frequent patron of Guangling City’s brothels and flower boats, there was no way Huang Qianjun would miss it.
He could tell that if Su Yi were interested, Yuan Luoxi couldn’t escape his clutches.
He’d take her easily.
Of course Huang Qianjun admired him!
He thought himself an old hand at wooing women, and he had confidence in his approach.
But now, Su Yi seemed to tower like a mountain; Huang Qianjun could only look up to him. If Brother Su wanted to ‘play the field’, I’m afraid even fairies and immortal beauties would fall right into his arms!
The sound of footsteps drew near, interrupting Huang Qianjun’s scattered thoughts.
When he looked up, he saw the stalwart, grave, and resolute Zhang Yiren walking over alongside Cheng Wuyong.
“Master Su, you needn’t get up.
I’m only here to express my gratitude.
I’ll leave as soon as I’m finished.” When he saw that Su Yi was about to rise, Zhang Yiren hurriedly gestured for him to sit back down.
Then, he cupped his fist, crossed his arms, and bowed solemnly at the waist.
He was indeed the straightforward type.
Even his gratitude was clear and to the point.
After a brief exchange of pleasantries, he turned and left.
But Cheng Wuyong was beside himself.
He sighed with emotion, “Master Su, that bow Zhang Yiren did just now? That’s the Greenplate Army’s highest ceremonial show of respect.
It represents a great benevolence that’s yet to be repaid, a kindness to be remembered at all times.
It’s an expression of his willingness to repay you no matter what, even if it kills him!”
Su Yi couldn’t help but be surprised.
“Someone like him is worthy of praise.”
Immediately before his departure, Zhang Yiren presented a generous gift, a jar of spirit wine.
This wine was called “Blizzard Stride,” and the Spiritmartial Marquis, Chen Zheng, had brewed it himself.
He soaked sixteen types of spiritual medicine in the blood essence of tier-four spirit beasts, then buried the jars deep in ice and snow to absorb their piercingly cold energies.
The wine only reached full maturity after a decade.
The wine contained surging spirituality and vitality.
It far surpassed ordinary tier-two medicines.
The value of a jar of wine like this was impossible to estimate.
Blizzard Stride? Great winds and snow, descending with aplomb.
The name is actually rather extraordinary, thought Su Yi.
Presenting him with such a generous gift made it obvious just how grateful Zhang Yiren was.
Su Yi opened the jar and poured a cup.
The liquid was a bright, clear red, lustrous as nectar, with an extremely potent alcoholic fragrance.
“You decapitated my enemy for me, so allow me to ‘borrow another’s flowers as an offering to the Buddha.’ Consider this wine is a show of my respect.” Su Yi raised the glass, then gave it to Cheng Wuyong.
Cheng Wuyong was stunned and flattered.
He hurriedly accepted it.
“Thank you for generously sharing your wine.”
“No need to be polite.
It should help your wounds heal,” said Su Yi offhandedly.
When he saw Yuan Luoxi and Huang Qianjun staring pathetically at him, he couldn’t help but smile.
“This wine is extremely potent.
If you drink it now, you’ll spend the rest of the day cultivating.
Let’s wait for evening, then drink together.”
Yuan Luoxi and Huang Qianjun smiled and agreed.
Not long after, the purple-robed youth and Qing Jin paid them a visit as well.
“Young Lord Su, fortunately, you were there to help us last night.
It’s thanks to you that we averted an enormous crisis.
Here’s a humble gift, a token of my respect.
Please accept it.”
As soon as he stepped through the door, the purple-robed youth proffered a gift box in both hands.
When he saw that Su Yi didn’t object, Huang Qianjun shot to his feet and accepted it.
Cheng Wuyong, meanwhile, smiled and invited the youth and Qing Jin to sit down.
When they faced the sixth prince, even Yuan Luoxi and company were noticeably more reserved than usual.
But Su Yi just sat there leisurely as if none of that had anything to do with him.
“Have you already finished your investigation?”
“I won’t keep it a secret: after last night’s interrogation, we’ve already determined that the assassins all hailed from the ‘Starbane Alliance.’
The youth continued gravely, “They’re an underworld organization lying dormant in the empire’s dark underbelly.
The experts under their command are all heinous evildoers.
“Someone hired them to carry out this operation.
Their client promised ten thousand taels of gold, one hundred stalks of spiritual medicine, ten profound-grade secret tomes, as well as a heaven-grade cultivation technique…..”
When he saw that the youth seemed to have more to say, Su Yi cut him off.
“Who hired them?”
The purple-youth instantly looked a bit awkward.
“They didn’t know either.
They made contact with their client through an anonymous middleman.”
Su Yi had anticipated something like this, so he didn’t find it strange.
“Then who do you think the mastermind who hired them is?”
“That…” The purple-robed youth hesitated, then said, “My guess is that this incident can be traced back to my third brother.”
The third prince!
Yuan Luoxi and Cheng Wuyong looked at each other, shock written on their faces.
“Conflict between princes? I’m afraid it’s yet another inheritance struggle.” Su Yi shook his head.
This was a mundane nation.
Even its martial artists saw imperial authority as the ultimate power, and they went mad over it.
The purple-robed youth pondered, then suddenly rose and clasped his fist.
“Young Lord Su, there's no need to hide the truth any longer.
My full name is Zhou Zhili, and I am the sixth prince in the direct line of descent.
Last night, I witnessed your peerless bearing, and I…..
Before the prince even finished speaking, Su Yi chuckled.
“You want me to work for you?”
Zhou Zhili’s expression was earnest, his words sincere.
“With your support, I’d be like a tiger granted wings! I can guarantee that, should you aspire to governmental office, I can assist you in becoming a king or minister.
“Or if you single-mindedly pursue the Dao, I can do everything in my power to scour the empire for rare and secret arts!”
He paused, and his eyes shone with determination.
“And if I one day claim the throne, I’ll be certain to name you imperial preceptor!”
Just hearing these words sent waves through Su Yi’s companions’ hearts; they were utterly shaken.
An imperial preceptor!
In the Great Zhou, the position of imperial preceptor was second only to that of the emperor.
Their status was so lofty and their authority so vast that oftentimes, even princes needed to rely on their prestige.
Take the current Imperial Preceptor, Hong Shenshang.
He was the head of one of the Jade Capital’s peak-level clans, as well as the palace head of “Phoenix Pass Academy”, one of the Great Zhou’s ten great academies.
Furthermore, he himself was a long-established Xiantian Martial Ancestor.
The power of his Martial Dao was profound and inscrutable!
“Imperial preceptor?” Against all expectations, Su Yi merely arched his brow and said flatly, “Setting aside the fact that I have no desire for such a title, you’re just the sixth prince; you’ve never held true authority.
Your words are nothing but rhetoric and empty promises.
Zhou Zhili was dazed, and his cheeks flushed red.
“Master Su, I sincerely hope you can lend me a hand.
I dare swear to the heavens that I meant every word I said.
If I uttered any falsehoods, may I die a terrible death!”
“No need to say more,” said Su Yi indifferently.
What a joke! A mere prince? Was he worthy of Su Xuanjun’s allegiance?
He was off his rocker!
Zhou Zhili instantly fell silent, then slumped dejectedly into a chair.
He felt stifled.
Were Su Yi anyone else, even a Martial Dao Grandmaster, he likely would have agreed by now.
Yet Su Yi stubbornly disdained to lower his head! This inevitably left the prince a bit frustrated.
After witnessing this entire exchange, Yuan Luoxi, Cheng Wuyong, and Huang Qianjun lamented inwardly.
The way they saw it, Zhou Zhili had made an enormous mistake.
He simply didn’t understand that Su Yi was like a fallen immortal wandering the mortal realm.
How could mere mundane wealth and authority buy his loyalty?
Had Zhou Zhili humbled himself, set aside his position as prince, and approached Su Yi as a friend, he might very well have won himself some of Su Yi’s benevolence.
Suddenly, Qing Jin spoke up, her words carrying a hint of rebuke.
“I told you, didn’t I? Those experts whose aspirations are focused on their cultivation disdain the wealth and power of the mundane world.
I told you, but you refused to listen.”
Zhou Zhili smiled bitterly and shook his head.
How was he supposed to know that this youth with lofty and inscrutable attainments in martial arts already saw wealth and authority as no more important than the passing clouds?
Zhou Zhili took a deep breath then said lightly, “No matter.
I was fortunate enough to meet you; I’m already pleased.
Besides, you saved my life.
I’ll naturally bear your benevolence in mind.”
He then rose and prepared to leave, but Qing Jin hesitated.
Then, she seemed to steel herself.
She looked up, turning her beautiful face toward Su Yi, and her sharp eyes bore into him.
“I know what I said last night, and I intend to keep my word.
Tell me: what is it you want me to do?”
Her tone was decisive, like a convict awaiting sentencing and mentally preparing herself for death.
Everyone’s expressions suddenly went strange.
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