Chapter 597: Return to Mercenary City (Three)
Jian Chen was received by the Tianqin clan once more. He was honored at the compound just like the last time he was here. Even the head and the senior figures of the clan made their way over to greet Jian Chen. Jian Chen was, after all, the King of Mercenaries — a status that the Tianqin clan would not dare show arrogance to.
As he was being warmly received, Jian Chen finally met up with Qin Xiao. Years may have gone by, but Qin Xiao had not changed much, whether it was his personality or his body. However, his strength had increased a tremendous amount since he was now an Earth Saint Master.
The moment Qin Xiao saw Jian Chen, he became ecstatic, and wrapped him into a hug, “Hey, Jian Chen! I’ve been waiting for you return. Any later and I would have gone looking for you instead.”
Untying himself from the embrace, Jian Chen gave a cursory appraisal of Qin Xiao before approving of the change, “Not bad, you’ve become an Earth Saint Master. What talent you have. If I’m not wrong, you’ve only just hit the age of thirty. Hmm, a thirty year old becoming an Earth Saint Master. That’s an achievement that the entire Tian Yuan Continent would regard as true talent.”
Replying for his son, the head of the Tianqin clan laughed with pride. “Qin’er is talented indeed. Even in our Zhuya Kingdom, there is not a single person that holds as much potential as he does. Just half a year ago, the king himself betrothed his daughter to Qin’er. Many of the other factions of the kingdom have already tried their hand at arranging a marriage as well!”
Nodding at the man, Jian Chen looked to Qin Xiao, “Qin Xiao, is that true? You’re wedded now?”
An embarrassed look overcame Qin Xiao’s face when he heard Jian Chen’s question. Laughing, he said, “The wedding day has already been established. In two years, I will be wed to the third princess of the Zhuya Kingdom. Jian Chen, you and Ming Dong have to make sure that you attend my wedding.”
“Of course, of course we will.” Jian Chen laughed with joy because of Tianqin’s excitement.
Moving on, Jian Chen and Qin Xiao walked deeper into the courtyards of the clan, talking as they pleased.
Entirely out of the blue, Qin Xiao blurted out a single question as soon as they were alone, “Jian Chen, although I am not of the same level of strength as brother Ming Dong, I am still an Earth Saint Master and a man capable of my own decisions. I’ve stayed with the Tianqin clan long enough. Would it be possible for me to follow you during your travels through the continent?”
“Really? Of course you can! As things turn out, I have founded a mercenary group that is short of people I can trust at the moment. If you’re willing, why not join my mercenary group?” Jian Chen laughed.
“Coincidentally enough,” Qin Xiao began with a bright look in his eyes, “I had been entertaining the notion of creating a mercenary group with you, but since you’ve beaten me to the punch, I’ll save my breath. Jian Chen, when will we leave? Staying around the Tianqin clan has bored me to death. I’ve had half a mind to leave earlier already.”
Evasively, Jian Chen shook his head when he saw the impatient look on Qin Xiao’s face, “I estimate that there’ll be some time before then. I still need to take a trip to Mercenary City and the surrounding area. When I come back from, I’ll be able to bring you to the mercenary group I made.”
Not even a moment after Jian Chen finished speaking, the gentle and refined sounds of a zither could be heard being played. The notes were delightful and pleasant to the ears. It was almost like they were filled with an enchanting type of magic that captivated any listener. The music caused Qin Xiao and Jian Chen to stop their conversation for just a moment. By listening to the music of the zither, the two of them felt calm and tranquil, like undisturbed water.
At a pavilion nearby, a white-robed, young woman could be seen seated on a stone table as she plucked at the strings of her zither. It was almost as if the entire world around her harmonized with her music since the flowers and the grass nearby swayed and turned with the rhythm of the beat while the wind blended with her notes.
“Right. My younger sister enjoys playing the zither in her spare time. Compared to the past, her ability at playing it has improved so much that even I can’t help but feel intoxicated by the music she plays.” Qin Xiao sighed in approval of his sister’s music.
“Yes, your sister has grown skillful in the art of the zither since she is able to influence the heart and mind of a human with her music.” Jian Chen agreed. The effects of her music had been more than enough for Jian Chen to recognize her improvement.
He calmly walked to the pavilion with Qin Xiao. The two of them sat at a nearby table to listen to the next ballad of the zither without disturbing her.
If the second daughter of the Tianqin clan saw Jian Chen and Qin Xiao enter her audience of one, she did not make notice of it. Her eyes remained unmoving as she focused completely on her zither, playing earnestly. In this one moment, her eyes were solely glued on her zither and nothing else in the world mattered to her.
The ballad continued on for some time before finally receding to silence. Her tender fingers paused their movements. She lifted her eyes away from the zither at last and moved them to Jian Chen and Qin Xiao, who were nearby. Her eyes registered them with a bright gleam of light that contained a lively look like they were sentient.
Yet, her face remained covered by a single piece of cloth when she smiled at the two, making her exact appearance unclear. “Brother, my apologies, I’ve kept you waiting. My lord Jian Chen, I had no idea you would come in as well.”
There was a faint smile on Jian Chen’s face when he nodded, but when he was about to speak, Qin Xiao beat him to it, “Sister, you spend more than enough time wearing that veil outside. Why do you wear it in our own home as well?”
“Wearing this veil has become something of a habit for me. To take it off now would be a strange change.” She softly replied. Turning to Jian Chen, she continued, “If I remember correctly, the last time we met, lord Jian Chen, was a year ago. Have you been well since our last meeting?”
A bright smile appeared on his face, “Worry not, this one has been well. On the other hand, you seem to have made great progress in the art of the zither.”
“This girl has been studying the art of the zither for as long as she’s lived. Every day I try my best to study and dedicate myself to the art. Even now, my skills are still lacking in comparison to someone like the famous Heavenly Enchantress.”
Jian Chen’s heart skipped a beat when he heard mention of that name. “Perhaps you wish to follow the Heavenly Enchantress’ footsteps and delve into the way of the zither rather than Saint Force?”
“I’d bet so. My sister has always been a smart one with a power of comprehension stronger than others. Even her skill at cultivation is decent, but what made my father disappointed was her lack of motivation to continue with her cultivation. As a result, she is only at the fifth layer of Saint Force. She spends her time focusing on the zither instead. Although the ballads she plays are captivating, they are rather useless against an enemy.” Qin Xiao shrugged his shoulders noncommittally. The fact that his own sister was so entranced by the zither had been the source of headaches for him. He did not see any applicable way it could be used for cultivation.
Even though her brother had criticized the usefulness of the zither, she did not grow angry. Instead, she explained, “Brother, you underestimate the zither. I have not yet reached the beginning steps of the way of the zither, that’s all. The profound mysteries of the music that a zither produces is something you couldn’t possibly imagine. In the case that one truly embarks on this path of cultivation, then the fighting prowess they bring is far beyond what Saint Force could compare to.”
“Aside from the Heavenly Enchantress, I have never heard of anyone else using the music of a zither as a way of cultivation. Sister, you don’t have any guidance nor teachings on how to embark on this path. To try and find this path by yourself is difficult. Why not cultivate with Saint Force instead?” Qin Xiao pleaded.
She shook her head in response, “This is what I plan to do with my life. I will use all of my energy to accomplish my goal, and even if there lies nothing at the end of my path, I will not regret it.”
“Qin Xiao, if your sister is so set on this path, then let her walk the path she chooses. Although the music your sister plays is far below what is needed to fully captivate the soul of a person, it has reached a point of maturity in its own right. As long as your sister continues to practice and study, she will grow and learn. She will definitely reach the way of the zither she talks of.”
Qin Xiao could only sigh in response to Jian Chen’s words. In his mind, he really couldn’t approve of the arduous path his sister set for herself.
“Thank your lord Jian Chen for your encouragement. My name is Qin Qin. Please feel free to call me so in the future rather than sister of Qin Xiao, my lord.” She smiled, but the smile was hard to distinguish behind the veil.
“Qin Qin!” Jian Chen said to himself, “So that is your name? It is a delightful sounding name that suits a lady like yourself.”
The lively light in Qin Qin’s eyes danced as she looked at Jian Chen and nodded. Without another word, her eyes turned back to the old-looking zither on the table, and her fingers moved to caress the strings once more to induce a melodious sound.
Looking at the zither, Jian Chen hesitated for a moment, “Miss Qin Qin, this one has once had the pleasure of meeting the Heavenly Enchantress in Mercenary City. In the future should I meet her again, this one will ask to see if she will impart any guidance on you.”
Qin Qin’s eyes lit up with suggestion, “Then I will be in your care, my lord. To ask the Heavenly Enchantress to be my master, that alone has been my greatest desire since young.”
Jian Chen did not remain at the Tianqin clan long after that. Talking briefly with Qin Xiao and Qin Qin for a moment longer, he finally left the clan after a short discussion with Qin Xiao about the next thing he had to accomplish. Leaving Walaurent City, Jian Chen flew back to the Dazhou Kingdom once more.
Jian Chen’s trip was uneventful trip when he finally crossed into the Dazhou Kingdom. He headed to the palace where he had the king welcome him. No objections were made and Jian Chen to used the Space Gate to travel hundreds of thousands of kilometers to reappear on the other side in the forests near Mercenary City.
Confirming his own position on a map, Jian Chen rose into the air and shot into the sky, headed to the city. He planned on entering Mercenary City to buy several things for elder Xiu and to hopefully find things worth his notice.