The strongest villain system
Text font
Font size

Chapter 349 The Sword Appreciation Conference Begins

7873words in this chapter2024-02-28

Zhao Yuandian smiled and bowed to Su Xin,saying,"So it's Master Su Xin,indeed a young talent in the martial world.It seems that the Great Zhou Dynasty still has a keen eye,not missing out on such outstanding figures like Master Su."

Su Xin also bowed in return,saying,"His Highness overpraises.I am not a master in the presence of His Highness."

Zhao Yuandian was quite satisfied with Su Xin's attitude.He looked at Qiu Mingle and the others and said with a smile,"The incident just now was a misunderstanding.You are all pillars of mine.Su Xin is also here to help me upon Chen Jing's recommendation.So,it was just a misunderstanding earlier.Let's consider it a getting-to-know-each-other scuffle."

By now,the blood flames on the person who intervened had subsided,revealing the appearance of a tall Hu man.His appearance was extremely frightening;his hair was red,and even his eyes were crimson,as if he could devour someone at any moment.Moreover,his body was covered with various strange black patterns,making him even more eerie and detestable.

Pointing to the man,Zhao Yuandian said,"This is Yandaruo,the third on the Great Zhou's ranking list,known as the'Demon of the Fire Domain'.He's also a hero I've recently recruited with heavy rewards.Actually,I just wanted him to step forward and mediate,but it escalated into a fight.Nevertheless,it's fine.As the saying goes,no fight,no acquaintance."

Su Xin looked coldly at Yandaruo.Despite being ranked third,Su Xin saw him as nothing but a lunatic.When Zhao Yuandian asked him to mediate,he ended up attacking like a madman.Su Xin couldn't fathom what he was thinking.However,Yandaruo had long had a notorious reputation.Back in the Western Regions,he was known for his love of killing,even committing massacres.Although Su Xin had indirectly caused the deaths of many,his killings were justified.On the other hand,Yandaruo killed purely based on his mood,utterly illogical and akin to that of a lunatic.

With Zhao Yuandian's decree,the few from the Eastern Jin Dynasty could only snort disdainfully and left with the already heavily injured Xiang Yulin.Unlike in the Great Zhou,where martial forces were somewhat separate from the court,here in the Eastern Jin Dynasty,they were deeply intertwined with the imperial court.They didn't dare to defy Zhao Yuandian and were,in fact,aligned with his faction.

After they left,Zhao Yuandian bowed to Su Xin,Chen Jing,and Yan Dongchen,saying,"Since you have come to my city of Xiaoyang,I must extend my hospitality.The Sword Appreciation Conference is just a few days away.I invite you three to stay at the royal palace."

Accepting Zhao Yuandian's invitation,Su Xin and Chen Jing had originally intended to get closer to him,so they both agreed.Yan Dongchen,though not planning to join Zhao Yuandian's faction,had been invited to participate in the Sword Appreciation Conference and thus followed Su Xin and the others to stay at the royal palace.

However,as Yandaruo left,he flashed a sinister smile at Su Xin and the others,as if he had spotted some delicious prey.

After being entertained by Zhao Yuandian's banquet,Su Xin walked back to his room with Chen Jing.Sitting down with a cup of tea,Su Xin said casually,"You didn't mention Yandaruo's involvement."

Chen Jing scratched his head and replied,"I didn't expect Zhao Yuandian to bring in that lunatic.Yandaruo spends most of his time in the Western Regions,rarely coming to the Central Plains.Who would've thought he'd leave the Western Regions this time and immediately be recruited by Zhao Yuandian?"

Yandaruo's arrival threw a wrench into Su Xin and Chen Jing's plans.Originally,they were waiting for Zhao Cheng to send assassins,and they would intervene only when Zhao Yuandian was in dire straits.Given Zhao Yuandian's penchant for buying hearts,they knew there would be benefits for them.But with Yandaruo joining,Zhao Yuandian's power had surged.If the assassins were easily dealt with,how would they highlight their importance?Zhao Yuandian would naturally offer them fewer rewards.

Chen Jing was at a loss,but Su Xin thought that if it came to it,he would seize the opportunity to kill Zhao Yuandian and take the sealed pouch back to the underworld to pay the price for assistance.The underworld had many skilled individuals,including experts in divination.A sealed pouch with an imprint shouldn't be a problem for them.

In the following days,Zhao Yuandian treated them well,personally taking Su Xin and the others to tour the scenery of Xiaoyang City.Moreover,Zhao Yuandian,who could outshine many princes of the Eastern Jin,was a hot candidate for the next emperor.He undoubtedly had outstanding qualities.

Those weaker martial artists thought Zhao Yuandian was simply a naive person,mooching off him for food and drink before leaving and secretly calling him a fool.Little did they know they were unwittingly aiding Zhao Yuandian's propaganda.Their remarks inadvertently helped Zhao Yuandian attract more martial artists to join his cause.

Truly capable individuals would naturally be warmly welcomed and recruited by Zhao Yuandian,while those who were merely posing would be dismissed with pretense,continuing to serve as Zhao Yuandian's unwitting propagators.Zhao Yuandian was indeed clever,but unfortunately,he used his wits for power struggles.If he could focus on assisting the new heir to the throne,it would probably give the Great Zhou Dynasty a headache dealing with another rival.

However,even if the new emperor trusted Zhao Yuandian upon ascension,once Zhao Yuandian gained too much power,there was no guarantee the new emperor wouldn't dispose of him when the time came.

A few days later,the Sword Appreciation Conference commenced,marking the long-awaited debut of the Dragon's Roar and Phoenix Blood Sword.During their time at the Prince's Mansion,Su Xin had hoped to seize the opportunity to acquire the sword.Unfortunately,Zhao Yuandian kept the sword well-hidden.Although it wasn't in his sealed pouch,it was stored securely in the mansion's treasure vault,supposedly guarded by a trusted confidant of Prince Zhao,a formidable cultivator in the Nascent Soul stage.This made Su Xin cautious.

As a leading contender for the next emperor of the Eastern Jin,Zhao Yuandian,though not proficient in martial arts,had managed to enlist the support of a Nascent Soul cultivator through years of scheming.

With the Nascent Soul cultivator's presence,Su Xin dared not act recklessly.

Five days later,the Sword Appreciation Conference officially began.Hundreds of martial artists above the innate realm attended.Zhao Yuandian enjoyed considerable prestige,having cultivated numerous relationships over the years.Although many martial factions had not pledged allegiance to him,they sent disciples as a show of respect during the conference.

Su Xin and his companions were seated at the head table alongside some Nascent Soul cultivators from the Eastern Jin.The top ten of the Martial Ranking were expected to ascend to the Nascent Soul realm,so the arrangement was reasonable.

Local martial artists from the Eastern Jin also took their seats.The hall accommodated over three hundred people,with the weakest being at the Innate Divine Palace stage or representing major sects.Those who couldn't secure seats had to remain outside the hall.

Coincidentally,Su Xin found himself sitting opposite someone he knew—Qiu Mingle,the third on the Eastern Jin Martial Ranking whom he had injured previously.However,Xiang Yulin was absent,having suffered severe injuries from Su Xin's hand.

Besides Qiu Mingle,there was a middle-aged martial artist with a sinister demeanor,bearing some resemblance to Xiang Yulin.He was the master of the Sky Dragon Daoist Temple,Xiang Tianlong.

Although Xiang Tianlong was only in the Nascent Soul stage,his background was formidable.His master was the late General Lin Weiyuan of the Eastern Jin,a true Nascent Soul powerhouse who was executed by numerous experts due to his overwhelming influence.

Xiang Tianlong sat less than ten meters away from Su Xin,expressionless.Yet,if his son's plight didn't stir up resentment in him,it would be strange.

However,Su Xin's attention wasn't on Xiang Tianlong but on Zhao Wanxi,the reputedly stunning lady of the Zhao family.

Yesterday,Yan Dongchen had mentioned Zhao Wanxi's name at the tavern,but Su Xin hadn't paid much attention.He had no connection with the noble ladies of the Eastern Jin.

However,seeing Zhao Wanxi again today,Su Xin felt something amiss.She had remained indifferent despite the intense confrontation at the tavern.What was more disturbing was that Su Xin had almost forgotten about her since leaving the tavern until their encounter now.This lapse was unusual for Su Xin,whose mental faculties were usually sharp enough to remember even the slightest details.There was definitely something wrong.

As Su Xin glanced at Zhao Wanxi,a familiar sensation stirred within him.At the same time,Zhao Wanxi caught his gaze and playfully blinked at him,prompting a name to surface in Su Xin's mind.