Volume 1 –
Chapter 123: Yang Zhan, Lifeseizer
“You’re finally back, Qi’er!”
The sight of his son caused all sorts of feelings to well up in Yang Zhan’s heart. Yang Qi was famous now, and was making his way in the world, bringing honor to the clan ancestors, and even earning rewards from the Sage Ancestor Dynasty.
The Yang Clan was now the number one clan amongst all the cities for thousands of kilometers in all directions.
And all of the aristocratic clans had bent the knee, and had provided military forces to serve the Yang Clan. As of now, the clan was the ruler of the entire area, and Yang Zhan was the king.
The only thing that was lacking was a proper name for the nation that Yanhaven had become.
Even as Yang Qi was offering formal greetings to his father, Yang Yunchong and Yang Hualong rushed out.
“Eldest Brother. Second Brother.” Laughing happily, he hurried forward and embraced his brothers.
Waving his hand at the nearby soldiers, Yang Zhan said, “Cancel the night curfew; we’ll have three days of feasting to welcome my son home. Arrange for fireworks, and distribute medicinal pills to the mortals young and old. And summon the civil and military officials to the royal palace for a banquet.”
“You really don’t need to go to all that trouble, Father.” Yang Qi couldn’t help but feel that it was going a bit overboard to have official banquets, and a virtual festival for the commoners.
“It’s no trouble,” Yang Yunchong said. “Third Brother, you might not be aware, but although all the clans of Yanhaven have officially capitulated, there are still people plotting against us. Some are even working with outside sects to foment rebellion. In fact, we’ve received intelligence reports that people from the House of Shadowblight and the House of Spring and Autumn have been seen on the borders, presumably preparing to make a move on the city. Father is hoping to use your return to scare the clans into submission, and increase our prestige and reputation. In fact, it might be a good idea to demonstrate your energy arts at the banquet. That would probably be particularly effective.”
“Ah, so that’s how it is,” Yang Qi said. Clearly, his family had thought these matters through.
“Your assistance is much appreciated, Qi’er,” Yang Zhan said. Leading them all toward the royal palace, he issued a few more orders to a nearby guard, a man who happened to be in the eighth phase. “Summon the chief elders. Tell them we’re going to have an important meeting.”
“Yes, Your Majesty,” the guard replied.
“Father, your energy arts have peaked, and I suspect you’re having some difficulty reaching the Lifeseizing level. Thankfully, you’ve absolutely mastered the Four Seasons Swordplay, as have I. Why don’t I help you reach Lifeseizing? As a Lifeseizer, you shouldn’t have any problem keeping Yanhaven under control.”
They continued to discuss the matter as they made their way through the palace.
Yang Qi could see that everything was strictly organized. There were guards and maids everywhere, and he even caught sight of some court eunuchs. The palace complex was enormous, and filled with countless winding corridors. There were overhanging eaves, and imposing columns and crossbeams, everything carved with dragons and phoenixes, giving the place a profoundly royal feeling.
Of course, it had all been left behind by the previous city magistrate, Yan Gufeng, who had also been a profoundly ambitious individual. He had hoped to establish a dynasty that would last for a thousand years, so he had naturally turned his palace into a place fit for royals. Sadly, he never managed to take full control of the city, and had eventually been driven away. Even his treasures stores had been seized, including the impressive collection of medicinal pills therein.
The court eunuchs were also left behind by him.
As he looked around at the situation in the mansion, Yang Qi took time to assess his father and brothers’ cultivation bases.
Yang Zhan was at the peak of the Master of Energy level; the power of his airmastery plant had been fully assimilated. He seemed like he could float into the air like an immortal, all with the simple wave of a hand. Both of his brothers were Masters of Energy as well, and with their Four Seasons Swordplay, were far beyond any ordinary Master of Energy.
However, it would take longer before they could hope to reach the Lifeseizing level. They would need some fabled item such as life force springwater to achieve their breakthrough.
Soon, Yang Clan elders of various rankings had assembled, along with the clan lords of the subsidiary branches. Yang Xingshi was there, as was Dowager Yan.
They were still the highest-ranking chief elders, and yet, the first thing they did was offer respectful salutations to Yang Zhan.
“My respects, Your Majesty,” they both said. The meeting hall was large enough to fit thousands, so the several hundred clan members had plenty of room to situate themselves. As everyone offered deep bows of respect to Yang Zhan, they cast glances at Yang Qi.
“Rise and find your seats,” Yang Zhan said, sounding every bit a king.
After everyone was seated, he continued, “Today is a wonderful day, as my son Yang Qi has returned from the Demi-Immortal Institute. Qi’er, have you brought any gifts for the clan?”
“Yes, father,” he replied coolly, fully aware that this particular clan forum was being held in order to intimidate everyone present. “During the course of my studies at the Demi-Immortal Institute, I’ve reached the Lifeseizing level. I’ve also learned much of spell formations. In fact, I can set up a spell formation here to help members of the clan progress much more quickly in their cultivation. Ladies and gentlemen, please hold back any questions or comments until I’ve provided a bit of a demonstration.”
At this point, the rippling blue light of his thumb-ring could be seen as a huge spell formation appeared right in front of Yang Zhan’s throne.
Everyone could sense the rippling power of the energy formation of the dao of monarchs. As for Yang Zhan, he leaned forward, an intoxicated expression on his face as his true energy surged within him.
“Father,” Yang Qi said loudly, “go through your energy arts forms. Pull your true energy back into your sea of energy. I’m going to help you break through to the Lifeseizing level right here and now!”
Without any hesitation, Yang Zhan called upon his Four Seasons Swordplay. The energy of spring, summer, autumn, and winter surged in the area, and yet, was held in place by the formation.
Everyone watched as the energy shifted back and forth between spring rain, summer lightning, autumn frost, and winter snow.
Maintaining complete focus, Yang Qi called upon the sword energy of the Four Seasons Swordplay that existed in his own sea of energy, and sent it into the formation. The energy quickly entered Yang Zhan’s meridians, causing true energy to forcibly push his life force substructure to a higher level. After all, Yang Qi’s cultivation base was already in Tertiary Lifeseizing, and his true energy was as strong as a Septenary Lifeseizer. With his help, Yang Zhan was shaving dozens of years off of his cultivation, perhaps even as much as a hundred.
In some ways, a single strand of Yang Qi’s sword energy was more than some people could accumulate in a lifetime of cultivation.
Yang Zhan now seemed like a deadly, unsheathed sword! At the same time, his life force quintessence was being bolstered by the energy formation of the dao of monarchs.
Before long, his energy reserves reached their limit, and then blew past them.
Sword energy shot upward, breaking through the ceiling.
However, Yang Qi reacted quickly, splaying his fingers as he summoned an energy field that restrained the sword energy and forced it back into Yang Zhan.
Yang Zhan’s life force substructure was transforming dramatically, and the flow of vital energy streaming into him caused everyone in the hall to stagger in place.
Yang Qi sucked the spell formation back into his thumb-ring, revealing Yang Zhan standing there, eyes closed.
“Congratulations on reaching the Lifeseizing level, Father,” Yang Qi said. “The Yang Clan is now assured of standing strong for a thousand years.”
‘I almost can’t believe I’m a Lifeseizer!’ Yang Zhan looked down at his hands, which glowed with bright light. ‘Such power! I’m so far removed from before that it defies description! No wonder a Master of Energy could never beat a Lifeseizer in a fight. One is like a tiny mouse, the other is like a mighty eagle.’
All members of the clan were shocked, and immediately broke out into discussion.
“He really reached Lifeseizing!?”
“That aura is incredible.”
“The clan lord broke through? And it was Yang Qi who helped him? How strong does that make Yang Qi…?”
As for Dowager Yan and Yang Xingshi, they looked on with barely-concealed envy. They too wished to reach the Lifeseizing level, and yet, were stuck at the peak of the Master of Energy level. Although they both had decades of longevity left, which meant that they could live far longer than ordinary people, the more time that crept by, the less likely it was that they would break through.
But now, they had hope.
Without any hesitation, they rose to their feet and walked over to Yang Qi.
He watched them, his gaze sharp and powerful.
They dropped to their knees in front of him.
“Young Lord Qi,” Yang Xingshi said, “we two chief elders have treated you poorly. Not even death could make up for our crimes, but still, we hope that you’ll let bygones be bygones. Sir, would you possibly be inclined to allow us to cultivate using this energy formation of the dao of monarchs? We will swear to follow the clan lord with complete loyalty, and completely abandon any duplicitous thoughts.”
Yang Qi looked them over. “I came back to set up this energy formation here in the clan, to extract subterranean spirit energy for use in cultivation. Hopefully, it can become the core of our clan’s cultivation. In fact, anyone who performs meritorious service can use it. Rise, you two. As long as you cooperate with my father, and perform heroic contributions, then you will be rewarded.”
Yang Qi knew that these two most powerful of the chief elders had always harbored misgivings. Generally speaking, it would be more beneficial to allow the young prodigies in the clan to use the formation to become Masters of Energy.
After all, not even members of the Outer or Inner Campus back at the institute had access to formations like this.
And if Yang Xingshi and Dowager Yan broke through to the Lifeseizing level, it could theoretically be opening a can of worms. However, as long as they were truly loyal, then it was worth considering.