Chapter 322 - Rebellion of the Cadet Branches
Hu Chang’an’s original expression changed from suffering to endurance, and then turned into unswerving determination. The medicinal properties of the decoction he was soaking in had already been absorbed, and the influx of energies within the liquid of the decoction were likewise continuously absorbed by him. His entire body showed overwhelmingly powerful changes!
Gu Zuo saw that, with Hu Chang’an at the center, countless strands of true qi were forming a huge, constantly-revolving vortex. Soon enough, the more the vortex turned, the faster and larger it became. It practically enshrouded Hu Chang’an’s whole body as it continuously grew, until it finally formed a hurricane-like existence. As for Hu Chang’an, he was the eye of that hurricane! Alternatively, this was the convergence of gigantic waves upon a surging ocean of true qi. When the waves approached, they were flattened and dragged in by some kind of enormous power. Then, a sunken depression formed, and sitting upright and cross-legged at that hole in the ocean was Hu Chang’an!
In actuality, if one needed a better visualization, Hu Chang’an was sitting at the bottom of a funnel. Endless amounts of true qi enveloped him. Moreover, it was increasing and changing nonstop. As one could well imagine, when he genuinely broke through, these streams of true qi would turn into profound qi, which would strengthen Hu Chang’an’s power even more!
Suddenly, Hu Chang’an’s eyes opened abruptly, and the seemingly tangible and intangible true qi funnel exploded in midair. Untold amounts of qi energy burst forth, which directly struck the stone walls, causing numerous, fine holes the size of pins to appear. It was incomparably sharp!
Gu Zuo promptly covered Hu Changbi and Hu Changfeng as they retreated. His psychic power immediately discharged, and formed a thick barrier in front of them. After that, they edged closer to the cave entrance so that they wouldn’t suffer excessive injuries. However, there were still some traces of small and minor scrapes on their bodies.
In the medicine pond, Hu Chang’an slowly spat out a breath of turbid air. This time around, his body didn’t have an ounce of unwanted fat. His skin also wasn’t suffused with any strange grease.
His looks were preeminent, his muscles were well-proportioned, and his figure was trimmed. Although it couldn’t be said that his outward appearance looked rock-solid, a person could see that he was strong and unyielding.
As words typified the author, so too did qi embody the martial artist.
Hu Chang’an’s temperament had undergone a transformation. Granted that his inherent qualities hadn’t changed, at least he no longer carried the previous gloom and inferiority, which he had tossed into a corner of his heart and dared not speak of. Now, he felt the power in his body, and he had great confidence in himself.
Gu Zuo saw this, and started to speak: “Congratulations, Brother Chang’an! You’ve smoothly advanced to the Immortal Realm!”
Hu Chang’an revealed a smiling expression. Within this smile, one could make out a shadow of his gentleness and compassion: “I still need to thank Brother Ah Zuo. If it hadn’t been for you, I would’ve lugged around that ruined body till the day I died.”
Gu Zuo shook his head: “It’s also due to your endurance. Otherwise, no matter how many preparations I made, you would’ve only failed.”
Hu Chang’an replied: “Endurance is part and parcel. Brother Ah Zuo’s medicinal decoction and prescriptions are the real stars of the show.”
The two of them exchanged words just like this. Soon after, they looked at each other, smiled, and stopped acting so modestly.
Afterwards, Hu Chang’an realized that he was located inside a cave. He was somewhat puzzled.
Hu Changbi, this young, little girl, took a step forward. Her elegant eyebrows were furrowed, and her heart was filled with worry: “Big brother, this is within the restricted area. Big brother has been soaking in the medicinal decoction since the day before yesterday. Because the medicinal effects were exceptional, Big Brother Ah Zuo said that you could break through to the Immortal Realm. But at the restricted area, our clan members…”
Her words were clear as she quickly told Hu Chang’an about their encounter in front of the restricted area, the plan they were forced to make, and their current situation — Although Hu Chang’an’s previous nature was somewhat weak, he was the eldest brother in the end. Hu Changbi and Hu Changfeng were both young, so regardless of how they made decisions and raised suggestions normally, they still depended on their eldest brother deep down in their hearts.
Previously, they had been very cautious at all times. It was quite the ordeal. It was only now that they relaxed a little bit.
When Hu Chang’an heard this, his brows furrowed: “The people of the cadet branches have truly gone too far.” He lifted his head, “Then, what’s going on now? Where are the cadet branches currently?”
Gu Zuo eyed the outside, and said: “We used some small tricks at the entrance. Originally, we believed that they would quickly come over, but we didn’t expect that no one would show up for a whole day… Although the cause was unknown, we also thought about quietly taking a look to see whether we could escape after Brother Chang’an finished breaking through. However, silhouettes have suddenly been wandering around outside within the past few hours. Perhaps, it wasn’t that the cadet branches’ people weren’t paying attention, but rather they had readied their preparations just now?”
Hu Chang’an sighed: “Brother Ah Zuo, second sister, and little brother have shouldered these toils on my behalf. In the past, I didn’t have any breakthroughs, so naturally, it was improper to come here. But since I’ve made a breakthrough, it also proves that what you guys said when you wanted to bring me into the restricted area was the truth. Entering the restricted area to make a breakthrough is in accordance with the rules. The cadet branches’ people shouldn’t have made things difficult.”
Hu Changbi hurriedly said: “But in the end, we’re the ones who barged in!”
Hu Chang’an laughed and said: “Although you guys rushed inside, the fact is that I made a breakthrough. Those guards barred my movements, which was something they shouldn’t have done. The moment I leave here as an Immortal Realm, would they still be able to investigate it? If it was investigated, it would also be found that they had obstructed me. They’re at fault for almost preventing me from having a smooth breakthrough! They would have to gloss over this matter, and it would be appropriate for both sides to take a step back.”
Gu Zuo suddenly had a bright idea: “By the way, it’s true that we’ve entered the restricted area, but no one can prove that the people who used the Trick Pills that night were us. At that time, so long as we don’t admit to it, wouldn’t it be better if we said that we didn’t break into the restricted area and that we didn’t see any guards?”
Hu Chang’an thought deeply: “Brother Ah Zuo’s words are reasonable.”
Hu Changbi and Hu Changfeng both let out sighs of relief.
However, Gu Zuo also said: “But I don’t suggest that we leave right now…”
Hu Chang’an didn’t understand: “Why?”
Gu Zuo also wasn’t completely sure as he said: “It wouldn’t matter if the cadet branches found an excuse to make things difficult for the direct branch over common, trivial matters. But this time was clearly related to the breakthrough of the clan’s young lord. Yet, they still blocked you. This wasn’t merely making things difficult for you. This practically meant that they didn’t consider you, the young lord, important at all. They wanted to cut off any possibility of your survival! After all, they should’ve only known that Brother Chang’an was suffering from a bone-rotting disease, and that you needed to break through to the Immortal Realm to have a way to live… Where did they get this courage to act this way? As a result, I eventually had a bad premonition.”
Hu Chang’an also stopped: “If it’s like this, the Grand Elder wouldn’t have permitted it…”
Gu Zuo didn’t know if this was just a conspiracy theory, but he still said: “Could it be that there have been changes on the Grand Elder’s side?”
The expressions of Hu Chang’an and the other two siblings shifted.
Soon after, Hu Chang’an calmed down, and stated: “In that case, we won’t go for the time being. I’ll wait for a while, and take another look…”
Gu Zuo had no objections. He watched as Hu Chang’an turned around to look at the numerous markings on the walls. As Gu Zuo started comprehending some things, he also hesitatingly placed a comforting hand over his own heart.
No. Besides the bad premonition concerning Hu Chang’an, it seemed like he also had a special feeling that made his chest warm up.
This was… What was going on?
But Gu Zuo didn’t have any time to think about it.
Because, at this time, some terrifying voices suddenly resounded from outside the cave.
Most of all, the colored glass-like formation sealing the cave entrance slowly cracked as if it was being chipped away bit by bit.
Gu Zuo was shocked, and he hastily said: “Brother Chang’an, you guys take a look!”
Each of the three Hu Clan siblings woke up from their own contemplations. They looked at the cave entrance, and their expressions became slightly alarmed.
Hu Chang’an composed himself. After seeing the formation being opened, he noticed the figures outside had become visible.
Those people were all members of the cadet branches. The one who led them was an elder of the cadet branches. Although he had only been a golden-level pharmacist up until now, his seniority was high. His existence was equivalent to an old antique.
Currently, he had brought lots of manpower, and was waiting outside with an intimidating attitude.
Hu Changbi silently gritted her pearly-white teeth: “Hu Long…and Hu Jun.”
Gu Zuo thought for a moment, and recalled these two people.
Hu Jun was a twenty-four year old, golden-level pharmacist. He was the strongest genius of the cadet branch bloodlines. He was also the youth who posed the greatest threat to Hu Chang’an. Hu Long was the former’s lackey. His specific strength was unknown, and his realm was Xiantian stage six.
— The premonition in Gu Zuo’s heart worsened.
Sure enough, at this time, that elder asserted: “The Grand Elder passed away. Elder Hu Jiao has smoothly made a breakthrough, and has become the new Grand Elder. Hu Chang’an, Hu Changbi, and Hu Changfeng of the original main branch have insufficient qualifications, and cannot be treated as the clan’s leaders. The Hu Clan honors those with power. Thus, Grand Elder Hu Jiao’s bloodline shall be the main branch, and Hu Chang’an’s bloodline shall be a cadet branch. The current main branch’s Hu Jun has extraordinary aptitude, and will be trained to become the young lord.”
He continued: “Hu Chang’an, since you’ve already broken through, why don’t you come and pay your respects to the young lord? The young lord is charitable and merciful. Although you, with your cadet branch identity, have committed the crime of trespassing into the restricted area, he is also willing to give a lenient punishment. He has only ordered you to move out of the master courtyard, and will confine you for one year. After one year, you will naturally have the same treatment as the other members of the Hu Clan. Hu Chang’an, you should pay your respects and apologize to the young lord!”
It was an imperious, forceful, and one-sided monologue!
No matter how good Hu Chang’an’s temperament was, he couldn’t listen to the words of this group of people who had switched right and wrong. What’s more, he couldn’t tolerate their absolute disregard for the rules. But at the same time, he was greatly stunned — The Grand Elder had passed away? With his capabilities, it wouldn’t be a problem for him to live a few more years if he didn’t refine medicine. So long as he was diligent, he would’ve certainly been able to support himself. However, the Grand Elder’s death drastically cut down the time available for him to develop. Granted that Hu Chang’an had the Myriad Leaking Body, he was an insignificant Immortal Realm. How could he resist a rebellion of the cadet branches’ forces? At this moment, he suddenly hated himself. When he was forced to this degree, he was still powerless to do anything about it!
Gu Zuo felt that this turn of events was anything but reassuring. This move of the cadet branches was too abrupt! Did the fighting between the main branch and the cadet branches reach the tipping point just when Hu Chang’an got his hopes up?
At this moment, after the cadet branches’ elder finished monologuing, he was pleased to see that Hu Chang’an’s qi was trembling impotently.
That Hu Jun was a handsome young man, but his eyes flickered with treachery. This let one know that he wasn’t easy to get along with. At this time, he spoke a few words to Hu Long, who gave a flattering smile.
Soon after, Hu Long shouted in a loud voice: “Hu Chang’an, you still haven’t come out to pay your respects to the young lord? Don’t you know the rules? Could it be that you’re going to refuse a toast, only to be forced to drink a forfeit? Do you want us to invite you to come out? Hu Chang’an…”
Hu Chang’an took a deep breath. After closing his eyes, he clenched his teeth and said: “Okay, we’ll come out!”
He lowered the tone of his voice: “Brother Ah Zuo, I’m sorry for dragging you into this.”
Gu Zuo shook his head: “This isn’t Brother Chang’an’s fault… Let’s go out and see what they want.”
Hu Changbi and Hu Changfeng followed close behind.
The group of four finally walked out of the cave.
Across from them, the cadet branches’ elder, Hu Jun, and the others had formed a half-circle around the entire cave entrance. Even though Hu Chang’an was an Immortal Realm, it would be hard to escape even if he had eighteen hands and feet.
Gu Zuo silently pondered and reflected over his getaway methods.
With so many people, how would they leave… Truly, this was quite unlucky.
On the other side, Hu Long and the others still wanted to see Hu Chang’an grovel before Hu Jun. Hu Long coaxed and pleaded, allowing Hu Jun to stand in the front. They were waiting for Hu Chang’an to pay his respects and apologize.
Hu Chang’an only felt humiliation in his heart.
He wasn’t resigned to being coerced with such methods, but he faintly understood that, although this move of the cadet branches was excessive, it was the true meaning of the law of the jungle. He didn’t have enough time to mature, so he could only be crushed.
But when all was said and done, he was once the young lord. He remained unwilling…
While Hu Chang’an was in this deadlock, Hu Long’s gaze suddenly fell upon Gu Zuo. He remembered that this person reclaimed some face for Hu Chang’an. As such, this person should be rather important to Hu Chang’an, right? A thought immediately rose within Hu Long’s mind.
Hu Long whispered something into Hu Jun’s ears.
From the corner of Hu Jun’s mouth, the trace of a smiling expression leaked out. He slightly nodded his head.
Hu Long raised his eyebrows, and spoke in an uncanny voice: “In the end, Hu Chang’an once had a precious identity, so it’s also natural that, for the time being, he can’t accept that his status has changed. However, since you aren’t willing to pay your respects and apologize, then it’s not impossible to order your important retainer to do it for you.”
He looked at Gu Zuo and said: “It would be for the best that this retainer comes here to take your place, don’t you think?” He raise his voice, “Why hasn’t this retainer kneeled down yet?!”
Gu Zuo: “…”
Unexpectedly, the fire had spread to him!
Yet, how could he possibly get down on his knees for this group of wretched fellows?
He was practically fuming at the ears!
Hu Chang’an was even more infuriated. His body shuddered fiercely. He couldn’t endure this.
Hu Long was immensely proud of himself. He bluntly advanced a few steps, and reached out a hand to grab and press Gu Zuo down…
At this moment, from a certain distance, a slightly low voice unhurriedly thundered out: “Who dares make my Ah Zuo kneel?”
T/N: It shouldn’t be a surprise that the MC and ML will reunite in the next chapter. However, I’ve noticed that some readers were unaware of when the reunion would occur. About a month ago, I made a post on the discord to let everyone know which chapter to look out for so they could stockpile chapters and binge it all at once to avoid cliffhangers. As a reminder, I make posts about any delays, updates, and special announcements concerning this translation on the discord.
Thanks for the corrections, Charysa.
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