Tome of Troubled Times - C.75: Fourth Layer of the Profound Gate

Tome of Troubled Times

C.75: Fourth Layer of the Profound Gate

Zhao Changhe, in any case, was polite. He took the pill and asked, “This is?”

“Treasures that can transform your body and expel its impurities can only be discovered, not sought after; they’re not something you can just buy because you have money and power. Not even the imperial clan might have one. However, not every child is born with a good body. Families are always thinking of ways to improve their constitutions. For example, this is one way. This pill can increase the toughness of your meridians and raise their durability.”

Zhao Changhe thought what he said was reliable and asked, “What’s the difference between widening meridians and increasing their toughness?”

“Your meridians are like a small creek that can only let that small bit of water flow through it. If you were to widen them, then it can change to be more like a rushing river. However, rivers must also be dammed up firmly, or they might overflow. It’s not hard to understand this difference.”

Zhao Changhe nodded. “I understand. Put another way, I can’t widen this small creek of mine, but I can reinforce it and it’ll allow it to hold greater streams.”

“Correct. Even if you widen your meridians afterward, this increased toughness will still be of use. What’s more, if your meridians aren’t tough enough, if an opportunity to widen your meridians appears, you might be too scared to seize it. You’ll have needed this pill sooner or later, so do you still think that I’m unable to give you anything?”

Zhao Changhe coughed dryly. “I never said such a thing.”

Cui Wenjing did not expose him and replied indifferently, “Of course, this thing doesn’t exactly solve your current predicament. It’s just a temporary measure. We’ll need some luck to find a solution that tackles the root of the problem. We’ll help you keep an eye out for such news.”

“I’m very grateful.” Zhao Changhe took the pill from Cui Wenjing and ate it without a word.

Seeing him immediately pop the pill in his mouth, Cui Yuanyang got a little nervous. “Will any problems arise if he just rushes to eat the pill like that?”

Cui Wenjing could not help but laugh. “Don’t be so flustered. Your father is here; what could go wrong? I gave it to him so he could eat it. He knows much more than you. If he doesn’t take the chance while I’m here for me to watch over him as he consumes it, is he supposed to rely on you to look after him? If a problem really arises, what can you do other than cry?”

Cui Yuanyang, having just received this slap in the face from her own father, continued munching on her food in anger.

Cui Wenjing was frustrated at her unrealized talents. “You don’t even have what it takes to give advice on such matters of cultivation. Do you know how stupid it was to waste these ten years of your life? If you knew what to do, you could have helped him. In fact, he wouldn’t have had to swallow his pride and lose face or act so apologetical in front of me.”

“I understand...” Cui Yuanyang muttered. “I’ll begin training now.”

There was a pleasant look in Cui Wenjing’s eyes.

Everyone in the clan knew Cui Yuanyang’s natural aptitude to be exceptional. From a young age, she would only have to learn things once to pick them up. It was just that she was never willing to practice diligently. However, after all was said and done, she built up a foundation since she was a child, and so was not in as difficult a position as Zhao Changhe. If Cui Yuanyang could really begin diligently training, there would be no limit to what she could achieve. After a certain amount of time, she would be able to shake the world. What need would she have for a husband then!?

To be honest, Cui Wenjing did not think that Zhao Changhe could make it onto the Ranking of Man in three years even if he threw all of the Cui Clan’s resources at him. What help he could provide, he would provide to the fullest. There was no problem investing in Zhao Changhe, and it made his daughter happy. And if he succeeded? Then the pay off would be massive.

However, in the end, the thing he most hoped for was that Cui Yuanyang woke up from her laziness. That was more valuable than anything.

Suddenly, he heard Cui Yuanyang call in a low voice, “Father...”


“Are we allowed to give his majesty’s saber away? Would it be betraying him? We’re not even that afraid of h—”

“Watch your tongue.”

Cui Yuanyang quieted down.

“Do you really believe Xia Longyuan has gone senile and has lost his hold over the political situation? Do you think that he’s to blame for the darkness consuming the world today and has to rely on Tang Wanzhuang, sickly as she is, to prop up the empire? Do you think you’re reading a folk story?” Cui Wenjing said coldly. “The number one man on the Ranking of Heaven is beyond your comprehension. This is something you must not get involved in. Stop letting your imagination run wild.”

Cui Yuanyang lowered her head, dispirited.

Her Big Brother Zhao had given up so much for her and even had his name run in the mud by others for her sake, yet there was nothing she could give him. The young lady felt sorry for him and wanted most to take him to take what he wanted, but realized that there was nothing she could give him. She could not even take him to her room.

Cui Wenjing cast her a glance and suddenly realized her intention when she asked about the saber. His expression turned strange as he looked at Zhao Changhe, who now had his eyes closed as he absorbed the medicine to reinforce his meridians. Cui Wenjing stroked his beard and said softly, “It goes without saying that we can’t just casually give away his majesty’s saber. That would be extremely disrespectful. However, that is not necessarily an impediment when it comes to...certain people.”

Cui Yuanyang stared at him. “Even if that was the case, we can’t just decide by ourselves to give it to him, can we? Wouldn’t we still be overstepping our authority?”

“You’re finally thinking of your father before you open your mouth.” Cui Wenjing chuckled. “I said just now that the number one man on the Ranking of Heaven is beyond your comprehension. Ordinary people have no way of wielding his saber—they’ll be violently rejected by it. If there was someone compatible with it, it makes perfect sense that the Cui Clan should give it to them. How would that be overstepping our authority? We’re following his majesty’s will.”

Cui Yuanyang’s eyes sparkled, looking like she was eager to try something. Cui Wenjing cast a sidelong glance at his daughter and said indifferently, “But I suggest that you don’t go to find trouble for no reason.”

Cui Yuanyang smiled apologetically. “No, no. I’m just asking.”

“Refrain from speaking about things like this,” Cui Wenjing said indifferently, “Even if he denies his own suspicious identity, it’s still incredibly valuable, because as long as it’s not verified, people can only guess. They’ll hesitate when deciding how to deal with him. Once he runs off to try out some shitty saber and finds that he’s not compatible with it, even though it’s not a definite confirmation, the chances of him being the real thing will plummet and his identity will lose all value. Do you know why I never discussed the matter concerning his identity with him? This is one of the reasons.”

Cui Yuanyang was at a loss for words and immediately retracted her thought of stealing the blade for her boyfriend.

There were matters that adults had to give serious consideration to. She could not act wantonly.

“But...” Cui Wenjing lowered his voice and said to himself, “If he secretly went to test out the saber and it turned out that the saber does accept him...hehe, things would get interesting.”

Cui Yuanyang’s eyes lit up once more. If I stole the saber for him to try, wouldn’t that be secretly testing? If he’s rejected, I’ll just put it back and pretend like nothing happened. If the saber accepts him...

Cui Wenjing said, “I put your third brother on trial again this morning. Nothing came of it. Tonight, Yuanyong has returned. Do you want to be present at the final trial in the Ancestral Hall? It’ll be best if you confront some things yourself.”

Cui Yuanyang lowered her head and said, “I don’t really want to... Why don’t we put down the matter?”

“Nonsense! You may think your life unimportant, but it is of utmost priority for the Cui Clan to root out this spy! Put down the matter?” Cui Wenjing said coldly. “This time, I’m afraid we might have to use the Qinghe Sword.”

Cui Yuanyang was dumbstruck.

Zhao Changhe wondered why this treasured sword was stored away and left unused. It was because the divine sword of Qinghe was righteous and overwhelming, able to bring peace and prosperity to the world; no villains or scoundrels could hide from it. However, this divine blade had a mind of its own. Blood would be spilled when it was used. With Cui Wenjing’s strength, he had no problems using the sword, but he was not at the level where he could make the blade obey him while he was distracted.

Just how many truly upstanding people were there in the world? Not even Cui Wenjing himself could be considered one. If, by chance, in a moment of carelessness, the sword began randomly attacking people, or even slit someone’s throat, it would be all over for Cui Wenjing as a person.

However, if he focused while wielding it, there would definitely not be any problems.

Things have gotten so troublesome. They can no longer uncover anything. It’s gotten to the point where we need to use the Qinghe Sword?

As Cui Wenjing said this, his mood soured. He flicked his sleeves and said, “Alright. Zhao Changhe has absorbed the medicine without a hitch. He’s about to wake up. You bring him to rest. I still have some matters to settle.”

Zhao Changhe indeed opened his eyes at that moment. For a moment, they shone with a malevolent, blood-red color, but it disappeared in an instant.

Right as Cui Wenjing was about to walk off, he stopped and looked at Zhao Changhe in shock. “You’ve reached the fourth layer in the Vicious Blood Art? The medicine I gave you was for the meridians used in internal arts. How did you break through the Profound Gate for external arts without a sound?”

Zhao Changhe smiled honestly. “This internal art of mine is a bit special. It can fuse with and boost the blood and qi used in my external art. Before this, I didn’t have enough strength. As you said, my meridians were like a small creek and couldn’t support that much qi. After taking the medicine, I realized my qi began to surge. I’ve already accumulated enough blood qi and vicious qi these past few days in the jianghu. Prior to this, Yangyang also fed me some medicines which helped to replenish my blood and qi. I wondered if I could attempt a breakthrough with the increased intensity of my qi, so I did.”

The corner of Cui Wenjing’s mouth twitched.

Zhao Changhe made it sound as simple as eating.

When Zhao Changhe just left Beimang, the Tome of Troubled Times appeared before Cui Wenjing and announced that “Zhao Changhe, having only cultivated for four months, broke through to the third layer of the Profound Gate.” In other words, it had only been five months since he’d started cultivating and he was already at the fourth layer.

Strictly speaking, Zhao Changhe could not be considered a true internal and external arts practitioner—there was an imbalance between his external art, now at the fourth layer, and his internal art, which still remained at the third. Even so, the efficiency with which he cultivated was absurd. Cui Wenjing searched through his mind and actually failed to find anyone that had ever progressed faster than Zhao Changhe.

When Old Cui himself was young, after his first five months of cultivating, he had not even reached the first layer...

Of course, his circumstances were different. The esoteric internal arts of the Cui Clan required one to slowly build up their foundation and progress step by step. Of course, this meant that Zhao Changhe’s constitution, comprehension of cultivation, and aptitude were one in a million. His only flaw was that he had started training at too old an age, so his meridians had already fossilized. If he could fix this problem, then his achievements...

Cui Wenjing remained calm and leisurely left with his hands clasped behind his back. “Not bad. You act decisively. But this efficiency isn’t too special. You’re still a ways off from me when I was your age. Don’t become conceited. There is room for improvement.”

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