Nine Astra Skies

Chapter 18 - Go or No Go?

Chapter 18: Go or No Go?

Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

“Come now, Chen, out with it. What was it that you were making?”

“I’m still researching it but when I finally get it right, I promise I’ll report to Father and all seniors!” Ye Chen replied.

Ye Chen used to read a few wuxia novels in his past life. It was those books that introduced him — and he was quickly taken in — by a certain type of tiny-but-mighty explosives called the Explosion Seeds. The difference between the ones in the wuxia novels and his own was that the former was made out of run-of-the-mill gunpowder, while his mix involved an additional material. It was this ingredient that was responsible for the extra puissance.

Seeing that his first experimental Explosion Seeds had already achieved a result akin to a Ninth Stage fighter’s full-force impact, the young man was very excited about the prospects of it.

Ye Changxuan and the others had nothing much to say since Ye Chen was deliberately playing coy. However, seeing that two-zhang-wide crater still left an unforgettable impression on them.

“Chen, you should focus on your training, alright? Don’t spend your time being idle!” Ye Zhantian chided with a stern expression.

“Understood!” Ye Chen quickly answered.

With that, the seniors left his quarters.

Outside of the Patriarch Residency, a murmuring crowd had already gathered, their primary interest was the sudden force of impact.

“Uncle, what happened?” The juniors chorused. A few Elders were staring at Ye Zhantian as they waited for an answer as well.

“It was nothing. The Former Chief and I had a spar.” Ye Zhantian waved dismissively.

Convinced by its plausibility, the crowd dispersed gradually.

“So it was a fight between the Former Chief and our Chief, huh? That would have explained why it created such powerful tremors!”

“I wonder who’s more powerful—the Former Chief or the Chief?”

“That’s easy. It must be the Former Chief! He’s been a Ninth Stage master for so long!”

“Oh, I don’t think so. The Chief still packs a lot of punches, while the Former Chief’s already quite, you know, elderly…”

In a distance, almost nondescript among the crowd, stood Ye Moyang. He shot a scowl at the Patriarch Residency, his expression dour. Ever since Ye Zhantian had attained the Ninth Stage, he had instantly garnered so much influence and veneration that everything he said had become indisputable. Even his old friends among the Elders had been ignoring Ye Moyang ever since the latter was disgraced, just so they could remain in Ye Zhantian’s good books.

To describe it simply, Ye Moyang had become an interloper within the House of Ye.

‘Ye Zhantian… You’ve forced my hand,’ Ye Moyang thought darkly. Lately, there have been a few extra pairs of eyes watching the former Elder’s every move, and he knew the reasons for it. What infuriated him even more, was that Ye Zhantian apparently acted as if all it took to make sure Ye Moyang was not up to anything was this meager sum of people!

A week or so had passed and the House of Ye was living in relative peace.

Inside the Patriarch Residency, Ye Zhantian was explaining his own insights of the Thunder Emperor Technique to his son when there was a commotion outside of his door.

“Report for the Patriarch! Urgent report!”

Ye Zhantian’s eyebrows furrowed. There had not been any major incidents as of late, so he was not sure what urgent matter could have been left unnoticed. “Let him in.”

A clansman burst into the hall and promptly presented two letters to the Chief.

Ye Zhantian picked the one where two huge letters in red were printed on its surface and opened it. As he read, his eyebrows furrowed completely into the middle.

“Father, what is it?” Watching his father’s expression, Ye Chen felt a sense of dread rising in his chest.

“That Second-rank Prince of Donglin has gone too far!” Ye Zhantian slammed his hand on a table close by, fuming.

“The Second-rank Prince?” There was a very brisk flash in Ye Chen’s eyes. ‘The very same Second-rank Prince whom Father had begged help from, only to be humiliated and kicked out of the palace in public?’

“A mutiny had been incited in the Longnan county of the Empire and the war waged against them has become imminent. With this as an excuse, that Second-rank Prince of Donglin had confiscated several wares from different lines of business for his war effort—including the Xuan-iron! So from now on, every Xuan-iron business within the Donglin county must be exclusively proceeded by the House of Yun alone. Any sale of Xuan-iron not performed by personnel from the House of Yun would be seen as going against the law and will entail punishment in accordance!” Ye Zhantian thundered hotly. “Just like that, all three of our shops in the county have been forcefully shut down!”

Watching Ye Zhantian’s expression, Ye Chen knew that his father’s ire had truly been provoked. All of this reeked of the House of Yun’s calculative strategy to annihilate the House of Ye via the Second-rank Prince of Donglin — they knew that the House of Ye had been suffering from a frigid financial issues, with only the mining mountain in the woods and a few mercantile businesses in the County to stay afloat. Should the House be cut off from these revenues, even if it was just for a few months, it would have been enough to weaken the entire House significantly.

Ye Zhantian scoffed as if he remembered something else.

Had this letter came about half a month before—the House of Yun blatantly pulling the rug under the House of Ye—the Patriarch might just garner all of the strength they still had and marched to direct confrontation with the Yun. Then, waiting and welcoming their arrival would be the House of Yun themselves, standing by with a few other lapdog Houses, so that they could annihilate the entire House of Ye in a public display of justified self-defense.

After all, as the Chair of the Eighteen Houses of Lianyun, the House of Yun could not possibly pick a fight with their own “ally” publicly — it would only turn public opinion against them. However, if the House of Ye themselves were to knock on their front door baying for blood, then the Yun would finally have a good excuse to carry out what they had always desired.

But now, the stakes had changed. Ever since obtaining the Thunder Emperor Technique, the family might actually once again rise to their zenith. With such hopes hovering above them, Ye Zhantian could not risk even a single gaffe in his decision-making!

“What do you think, Chen?” Ye Zhantian turned to Ye Chen and asked.

“With all due respect, Father… I think that the best we can do for now is to obey their wishes for the sake of our future!” Ye Chen replied. The House of Ye was simply too weak to secure a victory over any fight with the likes of the Yun. Hence, for our own survival, we can only obey them.

“Just as I’d thought.” Ye Zhantian mumbled before turning to a clansman standing nearby. “Inform the Chief of Staff to recall every single one of our families stationed in Donglin County. In addition to that, have the Chief of Staff inform our people in the mining mountain that their operation is to be ceased!”

Now that every piece of Xuan-iron ore had been mandated to be sold exclusively by the House of Yun, the House of Ye could not possibly sell any of theirs anymore — so why even continue the operation at all?

Ye Chen could only quietly lament his inventions in his mind at the sound of his father’s decision. He had created them for better mining productivity and efficiency in his mind but now, it seemed that they were not going to debut anytime soon.

Yet, as the Chief of the Ye clan, Ye Zhantian could only bear this crushing humiliation for the sake of the family’s welfare.

“Father, what about the other letter?”

Ye Zhantian opened up the next letter. Upon recognizing the handwriting, a chilling flash of light glinted in his eyes.

“Well, well, well. We have a letter from the House of Yun… Yun Yiyang, apparently, wants to host the Grand Martial Tournament of the Eighteen Houses of Lianyun, set after a month from now. Anyone who is under the age of eighteen is eligible to participate but they must be accompanied by a senior from their own clan.” Ye Zhantian sneered coldly. “Something good is gonna come out of this, I’m sure.” Ye Zhantian continued sarcastically.

“Should we attend, Father?”

“If we don’t, the House of Yun would seize the chance to debase us. If we do, we might be heading into a trap!”

“The House of Yun desires our demise, yet they refuse to do so at the expense of their reputation. In other words, I don’t think they would harm us while we are at the event. Instead, they’ll likely plan an ‘accident’ while we are on the way to the venue!” Ye Chen thought for a while, then added, “The distance between the House of Ye and the House of Yun is only three or four miles apart. If we hurry, we should be able to avoid their traps.”

“Mm. I’ll bring this up to the Former Chief and your uncles before making any decision soon. You should return and train more,” Ye Zhantian replied, waving his hand dismissively.

Ye Chen felt an indescribable lump forming in his chest as he exited the Patriarch Residency. Trouble was brewing, and the House of Ye was the eye of the storm. ‘What if the family was gone one day?’ A thought arose in his mind. There would not be any single place in the world that could be his shelter then.

‘No, the House of Ye must prevail!’

Ye Chen returned to his quarters and immediately began training himself earnestly. After a few days, Ye Chen was making stark progress with his training in the Wind Grace Technique. Although he had no Wind-styled martial techniques to complement this particular cultivation system, he could feel the effects of the Wind-styled cultivation system within him — he had become a lot quicker and nimbler on his feet, while his Celestial Chi had become even purer and denser.

Dusk fell, and the entire Castle had befallen into a quiet stillness. Yet, the silence was occasionally marred by the chilling bays of unknown beasts as it echoed from the distant reaches of the mountains.

At a corner of the Ye Castle complex where the shadows of trees flickered and danced to the wind, a black silhouette darted toward the direction of the Ye Castle’s exit. Moonlight caught up to him, illuminating the face of the disgraced former Elder, Ye Moyang.

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