After muttering to himself for a good while, the Duke of Xianyu was more annoyed. "With the court in chaos, many dukes secretly support their own favored princes, and I am the only duke staying out of it, but I'm afraid that won't last for long." the Duke of Xianyu said, his heart heavy with worry.
Since ancient times, in the struggle for imperial power, it was difficult for those in the middle ground to meet a good end. The Duke of Xianyu was not keen on power, but the Xianyu prefecture was adjacent to the Imperial City in the Imperial Capital; soldiers could storm the Imperial City in 10 days.
Such a trusted and close strategic location, how could the princes not view him as a thorn in their sides? It would be hard for him to stay out of it.
In recent years, with His Majesty's health increasingly weakening, the three princes' overt competition and struggle for power was becoming more intense. A few months ago, the Duke of Jiuchuan, who threw in his lot with the Third Prince, was charged with the crime of inciting conspiracy, and he beheaded after all his possessions were seized and confiscated.
In fact, the First Prince and Second Prince joined forces to suppress the Third Prince. Among the three princes, the Third Prince, humble and respectful of talent, was very popular, resourceful and strategic, surpassing his two brothers. But, he was born of a concubine without any foundation in the Court, so it was well within reason that his two brothers would join forces against him.
The Duke of Xianyu already smelled the blood and chaos in the air that came with the succession of a dynasty. As a duke, it was difficult to evade, his only hope was not to implicate Xianer and Su Yu.
At that moment, an old man entered through the door. Wearing a woven straw raincoat, his face had a dull expression and behaved furtively. He was Senior Qin, the one who secretly protected the young princess that day.
"You're back, Senior Qin?" The Duke of Xianyu suddenly got up, and somewhat courteously asked, "How is the investigation of the situation?"
Senior Qin rasped, "The Duke's deduction was quite right, the servants and guards are moving about all over the Xianyu prefecture, the young princess's past may have already been divulged, I hope the Duke can make some early arrangements."
The Duke of Xianyu looked somber and was silent for quite a while, "I know!"
Senior Qin nodded without expression,andretreated back into the shadows like a ghost.
Su Yu was in seclusion in the arena, where he was putting the old man's one-finger point to use. He comprehended it somewhat. Opening up Purple Star Thunderbolt again, he suddenly felt much more enlightened. What was once extremely indecipherable and cryptic script had become simple and easy to understand.
"Can it be that since I can comprehend the Holy Decree, some cryptic and mystifying object is now simple and clear?" Su Yu delighted, secretly grateful for the one-finger point of the old man in the mural.
10 days passed by...
Su Yu suddenly opened his eyes and threw a punch without any warning.
Something amazing happened. An unexpected weak spark of violet thunder appeared within the fist. Faint wisps of a burning smell wafted through the air, caused by the thunder! Su Yu beamed!
After 10 days and nights of cultivation, he finally reached the entry level! Although it was not even at the Lower Class level, after combining with it The Holy Decree, he could actually condense a spark of thunder! Thunder, what a formidable power of nature? Merely possessing a spark of thunder was terrifying.
Purple Star Thunderbolt, exactly which level of cultivation technique does it belong to? It's already so scary, even at entry level! Su Yu was utterly puzzled.
What also made Su Yu happy was the huge progress in Tempest. With Tempest cultivated to Stage Three Lower Class, one leg could produce snow and wind at the same time. An astonishingly formidable power, greatly surpassing before!
Furthermore, with the duke's rare medicinal plants, first class cultivation room, and personal guidance, his cultivation base had unconsciously advanced to Level Four Upper Tier! A full 10 days, and a massive breakthrough!
Now, even without using the ray of diabolic light, he could easily defeat the Level Four Peak Jiang Zhishi. He was also assured that he could beat Shao Li of the 10 great demon students.
"Yu-er, come over, there are guests arriving from the imperial capital. You and Xianer will make an appearance together for the welcome." The Duke of Xianyu arrived with a smile just as he came out of his seclusion, assessed Su Yu with a quick look, and found that his vital spirit essence was different from earlier. He was immeasurably gratified to know that his strength had progressed.
Su Yu's heart warmed hearing the name Yu-er. The Duke of Xianyu had already regarded him as a real son. During those 10 days, whether it was resources for the cultivation, personal guidance, or life experience, all were offered as if Su Yu was his own son. The Duke of Xianyu had been without a son in his entire life, and somewhat saw Su Yu as a son to make up for his regret in life.
Su Yu of the past had been in business his whole life, accustomed to the vicious world. When he encountered an elder such as the Duke of Xianyu, he was touched. Arriving at this strange other world, alone and impoverished, no family or friends, the Duke of Xianyu gave him a close familial feeling.
"Very well, my father-in-law." Su Yu answered energetically.
Being addressed as 'father-in-law' filled the Duke of Xianyu with happiness and satisfaction. Looking at Su Yu from a distance, he thought to himself, "Yu-er, you and Xianer must live well..."
When he came to the assembly hall, the young princess was dressed in a pink skirt, with her exquisite and lovely small face, all made up, adorable and lovable.
"Hey! Degenerate!" The young princess wrinkled her exquisite nose, "My wretched father, marrying me off to you! I want to run away, escape this marriage!"
Brandishing an elegant fist, the young princess protested. She was very petite, her head only up to Su Yu's chest. Su Yu crouched down with a light smile, so that his line of sight was level with the young princess's, as a show of respect.
Conversing with her face-to-face for the first time, Su Yu sincerely said, with a light smile, "Young princess, many thanks for your kindness in pleading for leniency on that day." The young princess's big, bright eyes blinked. What plea of leniency?
Su Yu said with a smile, "The princess's body is protected by 1,000 member army, how can a stranger be allowed to sully you? If it were any other princess, I think, once they caught me, they would have quickly gotten rid of me to preserve their reputation. Instead, you twice pleaded for leniency from the duke. I, Su Yu, will remember that with gratitude in my heart."
Su Yu came close to death at the arena that day. The young princess had twice asked the duke to stop and spare his life. Although she was unruly, her nature was pure and good. The majority of the princesses in high positions had long been influenced by power, and would be indifferent about the life of a stranger.
Su Yu knew, without a doubt, if he had saved another princess on that day, they would kill him without mercy, to protect their reputation! Only the young princess of Xianyu did not do so.
After hearing what was said, the young princess was secretly pleased with herself. "At least he has a conscience! I am Qin Xianer. How can other princesses compare to me?"
With Xianer's slim jade-white hands clasped behind her back and her chin raised, like a proud little peacock, she muttered, "Count your lucky stars! As a generous princess, I'll forgive you! Let's go, we have guests to welcome and the three princes have arrived." Su Yu secretly felt tender affection for her. Her temperament was child-like; any praise would cause her happiness.
All three princes came? Su Yu was in awe. Such a big empire like Fenglin, the three princes, with their tremendous power and influence, could determine the fate of millions of people! Ordinary people might revere before royalty, but Su Yu came from another world. He remained calm and collected.
He stood with his hands behind back, his clothes fluttering in the air, his ink black hair swaying, and his eyes gleaming with wisdom.
Xianer skipped and hopped while leading the way. Her small mouth hummed a pleasant tune, and she occasionally turned her head around to look back at Su Yu, her pointed little chin nodding a little from time to time.
"Don't embarrass me." Xianer fiercely warned, brandishing her elegant fist. Su Yu smiled without a word, and stepped forward to walk beside her.
Su Yu's heart was filled with warmth when he felt Xianer's vivacity and recalled the duke's devotion and generosity. Perhaps, this was his home in this other world.
After a short while, Su Yu and Xianer stood outside the assembly hall. One was dainty and lovely. The other was in high spirits with a graceful bearing beyond compare.
"The First Prince! The Second Prince! The Third Prince!" The servant outside the door loudly announced the arrival of the guests. The intermittent sound of footsteps traveled across the courtyard to the assembly hall.
The three powerful and influential princes in the courtyard resembled each other in appearance, their imperial dignity emanating in all directions.
With a face that betrayed no feelings, The First Prince, the most imperial-looking, had sharp penetrating eyes, making it difficult for anyone to look at him face to face.
The Second Prince, with his long and narrow eyes, thin lips, curled the corners of his mouth as if to smile, and had a somewhat sinister feel to him.
Although his appearance was ordinary, the Third Prince's manner was the most refined. The smile on his face was like the spring breeze and his eyes flashed with glimpses of wisdom.
"My imperial elder brothers, you came! Xianer missed you so much!" Xianer's silky black eyes looked mischievous. She giggled as she ran towards them, sweetly yelling to them.
The First Prince's eyes managed to produce a rare hint of smile. He tilted his head to look at the bodyguard following close behind.
"Young princess, this is the cloud dress that I, the First Prince, prepared for you. Impervious to water and fire, protected from the elements, guaranteed to be bright forever, it's priceless." The bodyguard offered it with both hands. Xianer smiled as she took it.
The Second Prince's pair of long and narrow eyes, covertly assessed Xianer with a look. He took a hairpin from his chest pocket and beamed from ear to ear, "This hairpin is an imperial tribute. I, imperial elder brother, specially prepared it for you. Wearing it on top of your head can nourish your inner strength and increase your cultivation base." Xianer extended a jade-like hand and took it with satisfaction.
Su Yu raised his eyebrows. He was accustomed to seeing all sorts of people and could see through all kinds, he could read the other person's mind with just an expression in the person's eyes. There was something fishy about this Second Prince's expression! He seemed to have improper thoughts about the young princess! I could not tolerate you taking advantage of my betrothed! Su Yu secretly kept the Second Prince in mind.
The Third Prince smiled wryly, "Xianer, as you know, I, your imperial elder brother, am without resources. I have no treasure that you can take, so I can only bring you this."
Xianer pouted her small mouth until she discovered, in the Third Prince's hands, a novel and an odd nine-beaded chain lock. Instantly beaming with joy, she seized the trinket on the spot and fiddled with it. As it turned out, Xianer's clever act of obedient behavior was to extract greeting gifts from the three imperial elder brothers.
Su Yu's eyes gleamed. He could roughly gauge the three princes' characters judging by their treasures. Among the three princes, the First Prince was domineering, extravagant, and presented the most expensive gift. The Second Prince was crafty. He knew that the young princess just wanted to have fun and did not like to cultivate, so he presented the gift of a hairpin which could voluntarily refine her inner strength when worn. The Third Prince was the one Su Yu admired the most, but also most guarded against! Compared to the other princes, he was the most shrewd and sophisticated!
Of the three gifts that the young princess received, the first two pieces of considerable worth elicited average reactions from the young princess. But the last piece of mediocre worth was the one the young princess favored the most. Clearly, the Third Prince's ability to capture the hearts of people was far superior to his two elder brothers.
The Second Prince's eyes flashed and fell upon Su Yu. Clad in purple, with a breezy manner, supple black hair, a fine face adorned with jade cap, he was like a handsome celestial immortal. Elegance and calm radiated from deep inside him. He could easily hold his own in front of the three princes!
"You are the duke's son-in-law, Xianer's betrothed?" The Second Prince's tone was flat, but there was a sense of aloof scrutiny, vaguely hostile.