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Gongyi Tianheng unhurriedly stood up, and walked down the stone steps one at a time.

His Tianlong Guard’s commander, Dragon One, also immediately stood up. He leaped down towards the center of the battlefield.

Gu Zuo stared ahead.

Could it be that Dragon One was going to fight on Tianheng’s behalf?

If it was like that, then actually, his patron wasn’t likely to be in any danger. But how could the other Great Clans allow something like this to happen? Would the imperial family also have no objections?

Strange, just too strange.

As a matter of fact, it was because his patron was a damaged individual that it didn’t violate the rules!

Gu Zuo’s facial expressions were a little weird.

It was unlikely that his patron truly had much energy… He definitely held a deep admiration for his patron, but he vaguely understood that some matters weren’t so simple.

At this time, Dragon One stood calmly in the middle of the platform and Gongyi Tianheng stood at the base of the platform, his hands clasped behind his back. There were other Tianlong guards close to the battlefield as protection.

Across from Dragon One appeared the figure of a young man with above average strength. He had thick eyebrows and big eyes, a square jaw and broad nose — he had a somewhat heroic appearance and his body emitted a very powerful aura.

Both parties were in the same martial arts group; both were among the Meridian Condensing rank. That was, martial artists at Houtian seventh stage or above.

Dragon One and that young man from the Helian Clan were both Meridian Condensing third stage.

However, by comparison alone, the Helian fighter was much older than Dragon One. He was merely considered to be a talent who the Helian Clan highly regarded, nothing more.

At this moment, Gongyi Tianheng uttered: “Turning Sky Three, Black Tortoise One, Dragon Snake Four, Quaking Earth Seven, Armor Up!”

Meanwhile, Dragon One brazenly charged in!

His palm upturned, and abruptly shot out a knife of black, icy power, striking the Helian martial artist. Then, Dragon One turned his body and he took the shape of a snake and tortoise: his arms twisted like serpents and his legs were like a tortoise on the ground, his stance was rock-steady. And not only did his two arms bombard the Helian martial artist into submission, but the rebounding power behind each attack caused his arm movements to overlap with after-images as he struck his flanks!

The Helian fighter beat a hasty retreat, intending to dodge the attacks. However, Dragon One once again changed stances. His whole body seemed like a hissing python, and he leaped forward like a divine dragon thrashing its tail. He suppressed that martial artist utterly and completely.

At this time, the opponent fell to the ground. Unfortunately, sudden tremors rocked the floor and prevented him from getting stable footing! He furrowed his brows and clenched his teeth. In spite of what happened beneath his feet, his two arms extended as he gathered tremendous strength. He resolutely looked up and smashed forward!

As it turned out, Dragon One found himself losing momentum. However, yellow light abruptly radiated out from his whole body and he was wreathed in armor. The other martial artist concentrated more than half his power into his two fists, which fell upon the armor. However, the yellow light only shuddered a little, and  Dragon One wasn’t truly injured.

Gongyi Tianheng instantly issued his last orders: “Black Tortoise Thrust, Warp Strike!” [1]

Dragon One acted nearly simultaneously. His body was like a spiral drill as he twisted around and directly splattered the Helian martial artist’s head! The opponent’s body was blasted backwards to the edge of the martial arts battlefield.

The Helian fighter was dead!

Gu Zuo nearly held his breath as he watched those quick succession of moves, which lasted no more than a minute. It truly left him dumbstruck.

At last, he understood what he was watching: Dragon One’s fighting methods were entirely based on his patron’s instructions. Their tacit understanding was excellent, but how did his patron make out so many of that Helian martial artist’s intensions beforehand? After Tianheng gave his instructions, all of the opponent’s moves seemed to have been predicted already. Dragon One only had to follow along, and logically, that martial artist would die!

This, this seemed as if his patron was just disposing of the Helian fighter. Dragon One was merely a simple puppet, just inputing a command sequence and letting it run… Could it be that this was precisely his patron’s way of participating in this martial arts competition?

Really too difficult, too monstrous!

Sure enough, following those events, the referee shouted: “This battle is Gongyi Tianheng’s victory!”

In addition, there were many people sitting on the stone platform seats; their faces showed dignified expressions, but their eyes contained flashes of constrained fear. And the fear was directed right at Gongyi Tianheng.

After Tianheng’s victory on the battlefield, he voluntarily walked over to the first level of the Gongyi platform and sat down. When he calmly and unhurriedly brushed away the nonexistent dust on his clothes, he appeared even more outstanding than a multitude of adolescent supporters. [2]

These good looks would, indeed, attract lots of appreciative or adoring gazes.

Dragon One got off the battlefield, and rigidly stationed himself behind Gongyi Tianheng.

His figure was so straight he looked like a javelin. However, if someone were to take a close look at his minute facial expressions, they would discover that Dragon One felt incomparably proud.

Gu Zuo was completely astonished.

Over these brief couple of days, his worldview was rewritten once again.

From being forced by his patron to adapt to seeing death and blood, he sensed that his patron’s disposition greatly differed from what he could see on the surface. It made him admire Tianheng even more. Gu Zuo felt reverence for him, and sincerely didn’t want to disobey him. And from watching him instruct Tianyang and making him see his patron’s intellectual side, Gu Zuo felt that his patron was truly justified in his reputation. Tianheng was even more awesome than he could have ever imagined. And today, once more, watching his patron’s methods for fighting, he couldn’t help but increasingly feel that his patron was deep and immeasurable. Gu Zuo’s mind was a little giddy…

However, no matter what was said, this kind of patron seemed even more powerful —

Even though he couldn’t practice martial arts, inside and out, it was still a kind of strength.

Afterwards, Gongyi Tianheng repeatedly “fought” on the battlefield, and each battle was just like the first. At the start, Tianheng was capable of discerning at least half of his opponent’s fighting style and gave prior instructions to Dragon One. Then, he could quickly give follow-up orders, allowing Dragon One to rapidly defeat his foes.

Several battles passed, and not only did Dragon One remain unscathed, but his body’s energy consumption was minimized.

It’s just that the battles had yet to finish, and the two people had yet to leave.

Gu Zuo watched and watched; and in the end, he could no longer endure it.

He glanced at his side and saw the agile and adorable third young lady, Gongyi Mingxia. In a soft voice, he asked: “Third young lady, with young master Tianheng like this… Is he going to be okay?”

Several of Gongyi Tianheng’s direct subordinates and close relatives knew that Gu Zuo was actually his “contributor.” Seeing as how Tianheng didn’t view him as a servant, they naturally treated him with a certain amount of courtesy.

Although Gongyi Mingxia was young, her behavior was very good. Seeing that Gu Zuo cared about her big brother, she generously answered: “Rest assured, big brother always does his work with calculations in mind. He’s unlikely to have any issues.”

After saying this, she saw that Gu Zuo’s expression still had some misgivings. With a glint in her eyes, a sudden idea came to mind and she couldn’t help but laugh: “Brother Ah Zuo, you’re wondering why big brother can use this kind of fighting method, right?”

Gu Zuo promptly nodded.

It was exactly that. He really wanted to know.

Gongyi Mingxia’s face was flushed with pride: “Originally, this broke the rules, but who could let those old bastards scheme against big brother? As a result, it evoked the opposite reaction in big brother; as if he’d willingly swallow this bitter fruit [3]. As it turned out, big brother could become one of the five young masters of the imperial capital, which was beyond this scheme’s expectations!”

Gu Zuo curiosity grew stronger: “What scheme?”

Mingxia wrinkled her nose, and unhappily said: “Brother Ah Zuo knows that big brother’s health is bad, but he’s our bloodline’s eldest grandson. Having all this attention focused on him, he really didn’t have an easy time of it. But big brother had a super high IQ since childhood. When he was six or seven, he could already talk with the adults on their level [4], whether due to his kinship or talents. Big brother didn’t want to merely rely on the Clan like a shield to live out his days. So with grandfather’s support, he received a portion of the Clan’s businesses; and sure enough, he made the business grow day by day and generated huge profits. Afterwards, big brother took over more and more businesses, and earned lots of money. His status in the Clan also steadily rose.”

Saying that, her elegant eyebrows wrinkled: “But brother Ah Zuo, you can also imagine that in our Clan, a person’s status won’t be stable just by earning money. Also, father and grandfather can’t help big brother forever. They could only dispatch troops to help keep big brother safe.”

Gu Zuo listened, and could feel that his patron’s younger years were full of danger and distress.

However, this was merely a foreshadowing [5]. There ought to be many things occurring in the future. At that time, then they could talk about stuff like schemes and such.

Gongyi Mingxia continued to talk: “At that time, the Tianlong Guard was established. Although we descendants all had our own task force, how good was it? Whether a guard could become a great asset or not, or being able to accurately measure his capabilities. And in big brother’s hands, there was a sudden change in the Tianlong Guard that had everything turning on its head!”

She spoke with some excitable emotions: “Some people didn’t expect big brother’s perception to be so frightening. He was actually able to improve those guards’ cultivation methods, which made the Tianlong Guard’s power suddenly increase. In fact, the speed of his guards’ development was even faster than some of the other descendants’ factions!”

Gu Zuo was dumbstruck.

Improving a cultivation method? This was also possible?!

Gongyi Mingxia saw Gu Zuo like this. She was pleased with herself and smiled: “Passing big brother’s improved cultivation method, a person’s strength can increase ten to thirty percent. If big brother’s health wasn’t so bad, then maybe he wouldn’t still be this way!”

A line of words suddenly sprung up in Gu Zuo’s mind: The Tiandu Body!

This couldn’t be a mistake. This was certainly due to the Tiandu Body!

As it turned out, that so-called “wondrous” IQ was unexpectedly such a “wondrous” cultivation method.

However, thinking about it, if he didn’t have the Tiandu Body’s formidable IQ, how could he be made into an existence envied by the very heavens? Could someone originally bestowed with such an exceptionally cultivated aptitude be permitted to exist?

Granted that he was a pharmacist, compared with his patron who wasn’t even a system, he felt rather jealous…

Gu Zuo thought about the appearance of Tianyang respectfully seeking instruction from Tianheng, and he felt that it was normal.

For his patron who could improve cultivation methods, giving instructions to cover his younger brother’s mistakes wasn’t a piece of cake.

Finally, Gongyi Mingxia said this bit about the scheme: “Granted, our cadet branches have assumed control over a portion of the Clan’s businesses. However, that was merely for the purpose of generating wealth for themselves. Their energy is still focused primarily on practicing martial arts. Big brother’s energy is entirely focused on his business. With his identity like this, he became the breaking point for the other Clan’s old bastards, attempting to slander big brother. Then, at that time, the Clan Head — that is, grandfather’s position [6] became unstable. Originally, grandfather wanted to pass on his position to father, which then caused a lot of troublesome matters to pop up. It could’ve possibly triggered an internal power-struggle over the position of Clan Head.”

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[1] While all of Tianheng’s move sets are rather straightforward, his last order was 绞杀 Jiao sha. Jiao in this context is to twist strands into thread or to entangle, and sha can mean kill or attack. I needed a cooler name; hence, warp strike.

[2] This sentence totally confused me. Any ideas?

[3] 苦果 - Ku guo, euphemism for a painful experience, a.k.a. a bitter pill.

[4] 博古通今 - Bo gu tong jin, conversant with things past and present. However, Gongyi Mingxia is still a kid, so I need to change her vocabulary a little.

[5] é“şĺž« - Pu dian, while it can mean bedcovers, it can also mean foreshadowing.

[6] For clarification, it seems that the de jure Clan Head is the grandfather, but in day-to-day dealings, the father is the contemporary de facto Clan Head. Maybe.

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T/N: This author used such an abstract way of describing the fight. How is this poor translator supposed to convey their meaning? Please let the fights in the future be more straightforward.

On another note, I feel like this chapter’s translation is falling a little flat compared to my usual standards. Please let me know if there are any huge mistakes. Thank you.

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