Song of Adolescence Chapter 460 See You in the Martial World (Final Chapter)

Chapter 460 See You in the Martial World (Final Chapter)

"The Crown Prince of Nanjue, Ao Yu, has yet to ascend the throne and he’s already acting like the ruler of Nanjue. No wonder back then, even Xiao Se did not dare to underestimate this guy." Xiao Lingchen stood at the top of the city walls and looked at the army of hundreds of thousands of men in the near distance. He couldn’t help but feel rueful.

Xue Duanyun exhaled a sigh. "If our reinforcements don’t get here soon, I’m afraid we’re all going to be buried here."

"It’s also our fortune to die in battle. But, the way Nanjue is showing their might today, I’m afraid they’re going to invade us all the way to Heavenly Revelations. When that happens, we won’t be the brave warriors who died in battle, but guilty subjects who precipitated the fall of our country." Xiao Lingchen shook his head lightly. "Is there news from Heavenly Revelations?"

"We have two pieces of news, and both are good news. Which one do you want first?" Xue Duanyun said with a smile.

"At a time like this, we actually get good news? And two pieces? I’m a little worried that you’re lying to me. Let’s hear the one that arrived first," Xiao Lingchen smiled bitterly.

"Mingde Emperor is dead. According to the report, a huge riot broke out in Heavenly Revelations City, which was quelled overnight. But three days later, Mingde Emperor passed away," Xue Duanyun reported.

Xiao Lingchen froze for a moment, digested the news for a long time before he sighed heavily. "How is that good news? At this stage, am I still hoping for him to die sooner? The life and death and survival of this country is at stake. If he’s dead, it’s like adding frost onto snow, chaos into a chaotic situation? When the two armies are fighting, our monarch dies of an illness, the army will lose morale. I’m afraid this battle is over."

"That will depend on the second piece of news." Xue Duanyun walked forward and looked at the army below. "Our reinforcements are here."

"How many?" Xiao Lingchen’s eyes lit up.

"200,000," Xue Duanyun replied.

Xiao Lingchen’s eyes brightened even further. "Who’s leading the army?"

"General-in-chief Cheng Luoying. Army Supervisor…" Xue Duanyun paused to build up the suspense. "Yong’an Prince, Xiao Se."

"Alright!" Xiao Lingchen slapped the city wall hard. "That kid really has it in him. I didn’t trust him in vain. With our reinforcements of 200,000 men, plus Xiao Se’s support, fuck you, Ao Yu, just you wait! "

Nanjue Camp.

His long hair was scattered loose about him as Crown Prince Ao Yu, fitted with a black armour, twirled the cup of wine in his hand and looked down at his officers. In a faint voice, he asked, "Are they still cooped up in defence today?"

The officer replied, "Yes. From the looks of things, they’ve realised that they cannot fight our army head on so they can only hide in the city. It’s all thanks to the Crown Prince for leading the army in person. The Crown Prince is indeed triumphant in every battle."

"Triumphant in every battle? I lost once." Ao Yu drank the wine in his cup. "It even happened in Heavenly Revelations City. The city we captured yesterday was the city I lost back then. I’m very curious though. Can he take it back from my hands again?"

An attendant in black rushed into the tent, walked to Ao Yu’s side, and reported softly, "Your Highness, we have news from the other side."

Ao Yu waved his hand and dismissed the other men in the tent. When he was alone with the attendant, the attendant lowered his voice and reported, "Xiao Yu lost. Mingde Emperor is also dead. Right now, Xiao Se is bringing the army’s reinforcements and he’s on the way here."

Suddenly, Ao Yu burst into loud laughter. "Good! Good! Good!"

The attendant was confused by the three successive ’good’s and he asked, "Our plan failed. This subordinate does not understand what’s good about it?"

"What kind of person is Xiao Yu? He’s just an ambitious, ruthless but short-sighted guy. I placed my bets on him only because Grand Eunuch Jin Xuan supported him. But, I’ve always felt that the only one who could stand equal with me, who could vie for all under Heaven against me is Xiao Se." Ao Yu brushed his fingers over the chained curved blade at his waist, starting to look a little impatient. "To be able to meet again, and to meet on the battlefield, I can’t help but feel a little excited. By the way, now that Mingde Emperor is dead, has the new emperor ascended the throne?"

"No, the Dragon-Sealed Scroll is in Xiao Se’s hands, but he has not ascended the throne," the attendant replied.

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Ao Yu smiled and said, "Looks like he wants to use the victory of this war as the cornerstone of his ascension to the throne. Xiao Se, Xiao Chuhe, this is getting interesting."

"As for Heavenly Revelations City…" the attendant hesitated.

"Ao Xu, you have to remember this line from now on."

"Your Highness, please speak."

"Rebellions and conspiracies can only play a small role. In the end, a fight to conquer all under Heaven must be decided with blood by the blade!"

The next morning.

The war drums beat long and hard.

In his tent, Ao Yu snapped open his eyes.

"Your Highness Crown Prince! Your Highness Crown Prince! The Beili Army suddenly began their assault!"

"Are their reinforcements here?"

"Yes. This subordinate has already ordered the men to prepare, but I didn’t expect… The news only arrived yesterday, and they’re here today. And they didn’t even rest and immediately started their attack."

"That’s his style, alright. Always doing everything in a burst of energy while never dallying." Ao Yu picked up his chained curved blade next to him. "Prepare my horse. I will meet him on the field."

"Why are you here already?" Xiao Lingchen bellowed as he rode his horse. "Didn’t you take breaks?"

"No time to rest. Don’t need any tactics either. Let’s catch them by surprise and raise the army’s morale. We fight, then run. Understand?" Xiao Se commanded loudly.

Xiao Lingchen growled, "Our Langya Army are soldiers of tigers and wolves. But you’re making us behave like foxes."

"You’ve been hiding in the city for days. I think your soldiers of tigers and wolves are more like soldiers of tortoises." Xiao Se grinned, kicked his horse and rushed ahead. "Soldiers, for the glory of Beili! "

The whole army roared in unison.

"Some people are really just born to be a general." Even Cheng Luoying was moved. "I get the feeling that even though it’s only been a few days, my Luo City Army has become his."

Xiao Lingchen glanced at the man who couldn’t be considered his friend and shook his head. "I think you’re wrong. You should say: some people are just born to be an emperor!"

Xiao Se wielded his Heaven Breached sword and slashed his way through the formation until he reached the other side. A handsome and bright red horse charged towards him as if it was following the blood spraying in all directions. The man riding the horse was dressed in black-coloured light armour, and he held a chain connected to a sharp curved blade. Wherever he passed, blood splattered.

"Ao Yu." Xiao Se frowned slightly.

"Xiao Chuhe!" Ao Yu shouted with a loud cackle.

Back then, Ao Yu was an emissary who was visiting Heavenly Revelations City. He was at the peak of his power and praised as the most talented prince Nanjue had ever seen in decades. He was impetuous and arrogant. He challenged the martial arts arena in Heavenly Revelations City and won every match. He moved on to the gambling tables and wagered extravagantly, staking thousands of gold on a single throw, but finally lost to Xiao Se. For years, he had never forgotten this vengeance and this time, he would take it back!

The curved blade shot out. Xiao Se drew his sword and deflected it smoothly with a sword move.

"Good sword. What’s it called?"

"Heaven Breached!"

Ao Yu was alarmed. "Heaven Breached?"

Xiao Se raised his sword and leaped into the air, his voice loud and clear, "Yes, that Heaven Breached sword you’re thinking of right now!"

Mingde Year 23. In the war between Nanjue and Beili, Nanjue sent an army of 600,000 men and the Beili Army lost three cities in a row. They retreated to Lingluo City and stayed in the city for three days until the reinforcements of 200,000 men arrived. Yong’an Prince Xiao Se led the army in a raid and returned in decisive victory.

However, that was only the first day.

The long war continued.

Heavenly Revelations City.

A solemn and desolate atmosphere still pervaded the most prosperous city in the world.

The great war was still continuing at the border, and the national mourning continued. In Heavenly Revelations City, all the taverns, brothels and gambling dens had temporarily closed their doors. Even Grand Golden Terrace, which had always been as busy as a marketplace, had folded up its gambling tables.

Second master Tu sat in the middle of the grand and lonely hall, feeling a little melancholy. "As long as the new monarch doesn’t ascend the throne, this national mourning will not end. Xiao Se, hurry up and return to be the new emperor. I’m still waiting to make money."

Just outside the gates of Heavenly Revelations City, several horse carriages were waiting.

Over the past few days, entering and leaving Heavenly Revelations City had been extremely strict, but nobody dared to stop this group of people.

Twelve white-robed swordsmen from Snow Moon City.

There was also Lei Wujie, the swordsman in red, who was now famous, not only in Heavenly Revelations City, but all under Heaven. There was also Sikong Qianluo, the daughter of the Spear Immortal, and Ye Ruoyi, the daughter of the General-in-chief. Everyone knew their relationship with Yong’an Prince Xiao Se, and in many people’s hearts, Yong’an Prince Xiao Se was the next monarch of Beili.

"You can see us off from here, then. We will be returning to Snow Moon City and won’t be leaving for the foreseeable future. Once you’re finished with what you have to do in Heavenly Revelations City, come look for us in Snow Moon City." Lei Wujie smiled at the people who had come to see him off.

Xie Xuan, Li Fansong, Fei Xuan as well as the monk in fluttering white robes, specially came to see them off.

"Hey monk, aren’t you going back to Outerheaven?" Lei Wujie asked him.

Wuxin clasped his palms together and solemnly recited Buddha’s name. "Shixiong has gone back to Snowy Peak Temple, and Mister Luo brought Mother to Admirable Desolation City. Once things are finished in Heavenly Revelations, I will go to Snowy Peak Temple and stay there a few days. Then I’ll go to Admirable Desolation City, which is on the way back to Outerheaven anyway."

"What about Ming Hou and Yue Ji?" Lei Wujie asked.

"They’re killers. You’re a disciple of the orthodox Snow Moon City. They’re not on the same path as you. Everyone has a wide road under the sky and each should go their own way. No need for sentiment. After all, we were never really friends," Wuxin said with a smile.

"Killers are cold-hearted after all," Lei Wujie groused, then turned to Xie Xuan and added, "What about Mister Xie? What are your plans?"

Xie Xuan replied, "I will stay with them in Heavenly Revelations City for a few more days. After that, Fei Xuan will continue to stay at the Directorate of Astronomy to cultivate his Daoist arts. Li Fansong and I will wander the world. Of course, we will definitely attend the Full Blossom Festival at Snow Moon City."

"Then we will await the grand arrival of Mister Xie." Lei Wujie cupped his fists.

"Where are the other two ladies? Why aren’t they here to say their farewells?" Xie Xuan laughed.

"Earlier, Miss Ye said she wanted to say farewell but she’s been too exhausted the last few days. I checked on her earlier and saw that she was asleep so I didn’t want to wake her. As for Sikong-shijie… she’s probably still angry." Lei Wujie shook his head and said his final goodbyes. "Everyone, we shall meet again."

"We shall meet again."

Lei Wujie boarded the horse carriage and saw Sikong Qianluo’s face, still filled with resentment. He couldn’t help but laugh bitterly. "Shijie, don’t worry. That Xiao Se is already approaching the Profound Realm and he’s even armed with the Heaven Breached sword. He’ll be fine."

Sikong Qianluo retorted, "We’re going to Nanjue City!"

"We’re going to Snow Moon City!" Lei Wujie responded helplessly.


"Fine. Shijie, do you know the way to Nanjue?"


"I saw the map, I know. Then, let’s go to Nanjue. With my talent for getting lost, when this snowfall is over, I estimate we’d have arrived at Snow Moon City!"

Lei Wujie whipped the horses and the horse carriage sped off onto the road.

However, he heard a sudden crisp ringing sound from behind. Ding ding dang dang, it sounded like some sort of musical instrument.

Lei Wujie turned his head and looked up at the city walls. Twelve flying swords were lined up in front of a young man with a sword casket. The youth was using his fingers to flick the swords.

"Flying swords can even be used as a musical instrument, huh." Lei Wujie laughed, turned back to face forward and waved his whip again. "I look forward to the day we meet again."

The young citymaster who would soon be called the little peerless sword immortal by the martial world put away his sword casket and murmured softly, "Looking forward to the day we meet again. And we can have a proper duel with our swords."

White Prince Residence.

Over the last few days, Xiao Chong’s life had not been quiet because he had to receive wave after wave of visitors at the residence. Xiao Yu was dead, Xiao Se had gone to battle and in the entire Heavenly Revelations City, he was the only Prince who could take charge of matters. What’s more, he was the current regent of state together with Lanyue Marquis. However, he turned away all visitors who were not here on official business. And those who did come on official business were dismissed with a wave of a hand if they so much as brought up another topic.

No one knew what Xiao Chong was really thinking at the moment.

Even Xuan Tong, the little eunuch who attended to him at his side, didn’t know.

However, his guest today was someone he couldn’t turn away. Because the person who came was Grand Eunuch Jin Xuan and in his hand was the Dragon-Sealed Scroll. In name, he could be considered a court official appointed by the late emperor to be his regent, which gave him an extraordinary status.

"Serve tea to the Grand Eunuch." Xiao Chong met him in the main hall.

Jin Xuan sat down and smiled. "Has Your Highness been waiting for me these last few days?"

Xiao Chong admitted frankly, "Yes, I’ve been waiting for the Grand Eunuch to come to me."

"Right now, Xiao Se is not in the city and the other Dragon-Sealed Scroll is in my hands." Jin Xuan retrieved the scroll from his sleeve. It was painted with the dragon seal and looked like it had never been opened.

"The Grand Eunuch has not opened this scroll?" Xiao Chong asked doubtfully.

"The late emperor said that this copy must be left untouched and cannot be opened. But, I have seen Xiao Se’s copy so I know who the throne belongs to," Jin Xuan said with a smile.

"Oh?" Xiao Chong raised his eyebrows. "Whose is it?"

"It could be Your Highness’s." Jin Xuan chuckled.

Xiao Chong straightened his back and sat still. "Explain."

"Now that the scroll is in my hands, and you’re the only prince in Heavenly Revelations City. If you ascend the throne right now, it would be perfectly legitimate. Even if Xiao Se returns victorious from the war, he would have no choice but to acknowledge your claim as legitimate. Otherwise, he would be committing treason," Jin Xuan said slowly.

Xiao Chong let out a long sigh. "Does the Grand Eunuch wish to form an alliance with me? But you used to be on lao-Qi’s side."

"I am on His Majesty’s side and was ordered to stay beside His Highness Red Prince. It was an opportunity to enter the game and observe all the people in the party disputes. Then I could help His Majesty get rid of them one by one," Jin Xuan replied.

Xiao Chong drank a sip of tea before he spoke faintly, "Is that so? But I think that from the moment Father fell ill, the Grand Eunuch supported the Red Prince wholeheartedly. You held a golden ticket of pardon and used Father’s orders to get involved in the party disputes. Otherwise, if you were only there to observe the party disputes, the Grand Eunuch was a little too convincing in your role. Finally, you abandoned Xiao Yu and returned to the emperor’s party by taking advantage of the fact that Father didn’t really know what happened in detail."

Jin Xuan gently set down the teacup and his smile vanished. "We’ve all reached an impasse. If Xiao Se comes back victorious from the war, we will have no way out."

"You’re wrong. If Xiao Se is defeated, we will truly have no way out. The country will fall and the people will be dead. Without our home, where else are we going to retreat to? Grand Eunuch!" Xiao Chong admonished sternly.

"I see that Your Highness White Prince does not wish to cooperate with me." Jin Xuan kept the scroll.

Xiao Chong shook his head. "But what I said earlier, that I’ve been waiting for the Grand Eunuch to come, was the truth."

Jin Xuan stiffened and he rushed to his feet.

The door to the main hall was already shut.

Wrath Sword Immortal Yan Zhantian, Confucian Sword Immortal Xie Xuan, Outerheaven Wuxin, Unrivaled City Wushuang, and Eunuch of Incense Jin Xian. Nearly all the martial experts still in Heavenly Revelations City had gathered there.

Jin Xian drew the Snowstorm sword from his waist. "Shixiong, it’s time for all this to end."

Jin Xuan let out a long laugh, bowed his head and said, "Very well!"

On the same day, the Grand Eunuch Jin Xuan was arrested on grounds of treason and imprisoned in the Court of Judicial Review’s Heavenly Prison.

Three days later, Jin Xuan vanished from the Heavenly Prison without a trace, and his whereabouts were unknown ever since.

And his copy of the Dragon-Sealed Scroll was now sitting on the table in Xiao Chong’s bed chambers in the White Prince Residence. Xiao Chong sat under the lamp for a long time, until he finally picked up the scroll. He held it up next to the candle flame and waved it gently.

The dragon seal melted and the scroll unfolded slowly.

Xiao Chong looked at the name on the scroll and stared at it for a long time.

Reports of grand victories kept coming in from the border. Although there were occasional losses, the news gave peace of mind to the citizens of Beili, after all. The solemn and desolate mood in Heavenly Revelation City gradually lifted. Lanyue Marquis looked towards the south and expressed his frustration. "It’s about time for you to come back."

Two months and eleven days after Xiao Se left with the army reinforcements, all the cities they lost were finally recovered. Xiao Se rode his horse out of the city and shouted, "Ao Yu."

Ao Yu was no longer as calm and composed as he was before. He even appeared rather flustered and was in quite a state. He represented Nanjue and walked out from amongst his forces.

"I got my cities back. I don’t want your cities. Let’s negotiate," Xiao Se said.

Ao Yu was stunned for a moment. At this moment, Beili’s army was at the height of its morale and it was their best chance to take advantage of their victory and attack. He did not expect Xiao Se would be the one to initiate peace talks. With a cold scoff, he asked, "Why?"

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"I didn’t come to join the war in the first place. I’m very busy and I still have other things to do." Xiao Se yawned. "I really don’t like going to war."

"What are your terms?" Ao Yu asked.

Xiao Se scratched his head. "You’ve suffered many losses in succession, after all, and you were the one who started the war. So, every year, you’ll have to pay some silver, and hand over your spoils of war. I’m not interested in discussing the specifics with you. I’ll send someone to talk to you later. Goodbye, Ao Yu."

Ao Yu looked at his back and vowed fiercely, "One day, I will take it all back."

"That day will never come." Xiao Se waved at him.

Many people expressed their bewilderment over Xiao Se’s decision to withdraw the army. They felt that Xiao Se was too short-sighted in his vision. Only those who really understood the situation would know that Xiao Se’s decision to withdraw the army was extremely wise. Because right now, there was no sovereign in Beili. Besides the princes, those eligible to inherit the throne included Mingde Emperor’s many brothers. They were all living in their own fiefs of land, and had so far been relatively stable and peaceful. However, if the period of interregnum went on much longer, there was no guarantee that they would continue to be so peaceful.

Three days later, Xiao Se brought the heavy cavalry back to Heavenly Revelations.

The whole of Beili began to praise the merits of this Yong’an Prince.

And now, he had returned to Heavenly Revelations City in grandeur with an army of hundreds of thousands that had completely submitted to him during this war. Everyone knew what he came back to do.

He was going to become the emperor.

"The new emperor is coming back. We have to make preparations." The regent, His Highness the White Prince, said these words to the Ministry of Rites.

Lanyue Marquis grinned and said, "That’s right. Beili is about to become a new Beili."

"Back then, were the cheers that greeted Langya wang-shu something like that?" Xiao Se asked Xiao Lingchen.

Xiao Lingchen nodded. "Pretty much."

"But later, the people cursed him for years. Said he was a traitor and couldn’t wait to cut his body into pieces and feed it to the dogs," Xiao Se said.

Xiao Lingchen smiled and said, "What do ordinary citizens know about this? They only know what the ruler and nobles want them to know."

Xiao Se waved his horse whip in a snap. "Speed up."

Xiao Lingchen asked curiously, "Are you in a hurry?"

Xiao Se nodded. "I’m in a big hurry. I don’t want to delay this any longer."

Heavenly Revelations City welcomed the arrival of the army with the grandest of ceremonies. Perhaps it was because Heavenly Revelations City had been stifled for too long during the national mourning period, or perhaps it was because their victory in this war was extremely important for Beili. But it was mostly because everyone treated this ceremony as the new emperor’s enthronement, so this time, the ceremony was even grander than back then, when Langya Prince returned victorious.

Flowers lined the street all the way from the gates of Heavenly Revelations City to the gates of the imperial palace.

Xiao Se rode his horse through the whole of Heavenly Revelations City, through the palace to the great hall, all the way until he arrived at the steps below the hall before he dismounted and walked the rest of the way. He had already changed out of his military uniform and put on his favourite fox fur coat. However, he no longer exuded that laziness that he used to. His eyes burned in a rare display of spirit.

Inside the great hall, hundreds of court officials paid their respects. "We respectfully welcome the triumphant return of Your Highness Yong’an Prince."

Xiao Se looked at them and nodded. "Continue kneeling, then. In any case, there are some important announcements to make. If you rise now, you’ll have to kneel again later."

The officials were well aware of what he meant. Instead of begrudging the order, they lowered their heads even further.

Xiao Se walked up to the throne, where Lanyue Marquis and Xiao Chong flanked the seat on both sides, waiting for him. Xiao Se brushed his fingers across the throne and shook his head slowly. "Why do so many people like to sit in this position?"

"I’ve never sat in it so I wouldn’t know." Lanyue Marquis grinned.

Xiao Se flopped onto the seat casually.

This was a grave breach of etiquette, because he was not yet proclaimed the monarch.

But, the Imperial Censorate was obviously not going to step forward and denounce him.

Furthermore, Xiao Se stood up again almost immediately and shrugged. "Makes no sense at all." He retrieved the scroll that he’d hidden in his sleeve and handed it to Lanyue Marquis. "Huang-shu, I know everyone is waiting for this. You’re the best person to read it."

Lanyue Marquis nodded and received the Dragon-Sealed Scroll. He opened it and was a little stunned for a moment.

"Read it," Xiao Se urged.

Lanyue Marquis glanced at Xiao Se, but he had to read it in the end. "We have recently fallen seriously ill and we’re afraid that we will soon meet our demise. Our second son, Xiao Chong, is noble of character and gifted with both talent and virtue. He will definitely be able to fulfil our will, ascend to the throne and inherit the position of the emperor."

Everyone in the hall was shocked. The late emperor actually bestowed the throne to the second prince?

Was Yong’an Prince going to order his army to charge into Heavenly Revelations City?

The official did not dare to raise their heads, each of them sweating profusely. They could no longer hold it in and began to whisper amongst themselves.

"Insolence!" Xiao Se bellowed all of a sudden.

The officials felt a jolt to their hearts.

Xiao Se rebuked angrily, "Lanyue Marquis has read the edict. How dare all of you ministers hesitate in paying your respects to the new emperor!"

The officials came back to their senses, and finally the Minister of Rites took the lead in chanting, "Long live the new emperor, long live the emperor!"

The officials dared not hesitate further and they bowed their heads to the floor, chanting in unison, "Long live the new emperor, long live the emperor!"

Xiao Se breathed a long sigh of relief and grinned at Xiao Chong. "Er-ge, you’ve got your work cut out for you. Goodbye."

Xiao Se, dressed in his fox fur coat and fine robe, turned around and left the hall swiftly. He walked down the steps, mounted his magnificent horse and snapped his horse whip. "Let’s go!"

He kicked up a cloud of snow flurries and sprinted off.

"Mister Xie, Li Fansong, Fei Xuan. I’m leaving!" Xiao Se shouted when he passed by the Directorate of Astronomy.

"Mister Dugu, Hu Dan, Wu Daidai. I’m leaving!" Xiao Se shouted again when he passed by the Universal Exports shop.

"Shifu, Ji Xue. I’m leaving!" Xiao Se shouted haphazardly, since Bai Xiao Hall would hear him anyway.

"Monk, I’m leaving!" Xiao Se also shouted as he passed by his own princely residence.

The house steward came out with tears in his eyes. "Your Highness, you’re leaving."

Xiao Se laughed. "I will send you a letter in the future, and you can come look for me. Or, you can stay here and wait. I’ll visit a few days every year."

The house steward wiped away his tears. "Just be happy, Your Highness."

"Don’t call me Your Highness, call me young master." Xiao Se waved his hand. "Where’s that monk?"

"He left yesterday," the house steward replied.

Xiao Se laughed. "There’s a document in my study. Send it to Grand Golden Terrace."

"Understood, young master. The road is long ahead, please take care," the house steward called out but Xiao Se had already left.

In the Grand Golden Terrace, second master Tu did not hear Xiao Se’s farewells but he soon received a sealed document from the Yong’an Prince Residence. He opened it and was slightly taken aback. The attendant beside him asked, "Er-ye, what is it?"

"The title deed to… Fallen Snow Villa?" Second Master Tu’s hands were trembling.

"Is that the inn Yong’an Prince mentioned once?" the attendant asked.

"No no no no no." Second Master Tu shook his head repeatedly and exclaimed incredulously, "It’s the Fallen Snow Villa in Heavenly Revelations City! The real Fallen Snow Villa!"

"Xiao Lingchen, I’m leaving!" Xiao Se shouted out loud when he passed by the garrison of the great army.

Xiao Lingchen choked on a sip of wine and cursed angrily, "Just go if you’re leaving. What are you shouting for!"

Cheng Luoying looked at Xiao Se disappearing into the distance and was visibly moved. "In this world, there are truly such amazing people."

Xiao Lingchen took a sip of tea and said with contempt, "The world is full of amazing people. It’s you who has seen too little of the world."

He rode his horse through flying snow in the winter wind, one reign trampled on the sovereign’s heart.

Xiao Se rode his horse out of Heavenly Revelations City without looking back once, but suddenly, a man and his sword stood in his way.

The sword was the Army Destroyer sword, and the man was the Wrath Sword Immortal.

Yan Zhantian handed him an item. "Don’t worry, I’m not here to stop you. Chong’er asked me to give this to you."

Xiao Se accepted the item and continued riding away on his horse. Without pausing or dismounting, he opened the package and realised it was a scroll. The dragon seal on the scroll was broken; it had been opened before. He was surprised but he unrolled the scroll.

The rest of the contents were exactly the same as what Lanyue Marquis read out loud earlier. Only the most important part was different.

The heir was the sixth prince, Xiao Chuhe.

"Father is really cunning, huh." Xiao Se shook his head with a smile and raised the scroll high up into the air. Within moments, the scroll was ripped apart by the wind and shredded.

Mingde Year 23, the longest period of interregnum in history was finally over. By the order of the late emperor, the second prince, Xiao Chong, ascended the throne, and declared the era name, Chonghe.

Chonghe Year 1. Warm spring, flowers bloomed.

The last winter had passed, and this winter had also passed.

But the innkeeper was still not back.

Without the miserly innkeeper, the workers managed to keep the business running for a while, yet business at Fallen Snow Villa was improving steadily. Recently, as soon as they reopened for business, they received a number of distinguished guests who looked like they had a high social status. The workers were beaming with joy but there was still a measure of melancholy in their hearts.

The innkeeper appeared miserly on the surface but was actually very good to them. When was he coming back?

Xu Hulu was one of the more senior workers. Because he looked sort of like a gourd, they called him Xu Hulu. He sat at the front desk and murmured, "Should we go look for the boss? He’s always offending people when he talks and so stingy when dealing with people, maybe he’s being held captive by someone outside." He was murmuring and pouring tea at the same time, and suddenly heard the guest in front of him laugh. "Waiter, the tea is spilling out."

Xu Hulu hurriedly raised his head to apologise, but he was shocked as soon as his eyes locked on the other’s. He hadn’t noticed it earlier but he clearly recognised him! Wasn’t this the youth in red who owed the boss money and took the boss away!

"You you you you you you!" Xu Hulu pointed at him and exclaimed repeatedly.

"Long time no see." Lei Wujie laughed. "Where’s your boss?"

Xu Hulu couldn’t get over his shock. "Our boss!"

"Is right here." A lazy-sounding voice completed his sentence. Xiao Se took off his fox fur coat, revealing his fine blue robes underneath as he walked in through the door.

"Boss!" All the workers dropped whatever they were doing and rushed over to greet him.

Xiao Se waved his hand and forced them back three paces. "Work properly. Don’t be lazy!"

"Boss, how did you get back?" Xu Hulu asked.

Xiao Se raised an eyebrow. "Why? Would you rather I never came back so this shop will then be yours?"

"No way no way no way!" Xu Hulu clarified hurriedly. "I recorded every bill and account properly over the past two years. They’re all on the counter. The money too. I’ve been waiting for Boss to come back so that I can hand it all over to you!"

"You’re a good man. Didn’t waste my effort in treating you well." Xiao Se looked at Lei Wujie and the others. "Has their food and wine been prepared?"

Xu Hulu shook his head. "I just served some tea. They haven’t ordered yet."

"My treat," Xiao Se said loudly.

Xu Hulu was shocked and he felt his heart go cold. Was this still their boss? Had he been replaced by an imposter?

"Three bowls of yangchun noodles, two cups of old homebrew. A bowl of beef noodles for me," Xiao Se said slowly.

"Coming right up." Xu Hulu ran off cheerfully. This was his boss, all right. No mistake.

Xiao Se flopped onto the chair and looked at Lei Wujie, Sikong Qianluo and Ye Ruoyi. With a smile, he asked, "How’s everyone been?"

"I’m fine without you, but shijie has been miserable," Lei Wujie replied.

Sikong Qianluo stabbed her chopsticks into the table and groused, "That’s it? You’re treating me to a bowl of noodles?"

Xiao Se gestured vaguely. "This table is worth two taels!"

"You’re the world renowned Yong’an Prince, the legend who was victorious against Nanjue. Now, the Emperor has even conferred you with perpetual primogeniture. You’re only treating us to noodles?" Ye Ruoyi said with a smile.

"I’m just an innkeeper. What Yong’an Prince? Does the imperial court pay me?" Xiao Se showed his displeasure.

"What are your plans next?" Sikong Qianluo asked.

Xiao Se yawned. "Go wandering about, I suppose."

Lei Wujie’s interest was piqued and he announced loudly, "Chu Ge, the swordsman from Nanjue who uses twin sabres, has reappeared in the martial world. He issued a challenge to Snow Moon City and wants to visit. I intend to meet his challenge.

"A few days ago, a child named Er Tiao came to Snow Moon City. He likes using pebbles as a weapon. I intend to take him as my disciple. But, he already has a shifu. His shifu’s name is Chang Yi. I think he’s a well-known martial expert? Apparently, if I can defeat him, I can take away his disciple.

"In Buddhist Country, the master, Fan Tianjin, cultivated a Heavenly King Sword. I heard he’s about to enter the realm of a sword immortal. I wonder if he’s closer to a sword immortal or I am, so I plan to meet and challenge him too.

"In the north, there’s a fatty who practises a very odd internal strength called ’Wash Bones Clean’. It’s said that he’s invincible to swords and blades, and he can’t be struck by lightning. Now, he’s set up an arena for duels and he said he’s going to stand there and let anyone hit him. If someone can injure him, he will be that person’s servant.

"The martial world is such a splendid place. Just thinking about it makes me long for it. Oh yes, shijie recently accepted a disciple named Wang Beibei. She’s a very cute little girl… Also, that Luo Mingxuan, I didn’t expect him to be so brave. He said he’s going to marry his shifu and his shifu ran away on the same day. He immediately ran off to chase after her and I heard he’s now a vagrant in the martial world."

Sikong Qianluo interrupted him, "Why are you so full of nonsense! Where exactly are you going!"

Lei Wujie looked into the distance, his eyes burning brightly. "The martial world."

Xiao Se and Sikong Qianluo exchanged a glance and immediately sat down in silent agreement. They ignored the idiot next to them. "Come come come, eat your noodles."

Three bowls of yangchun noodle and one bowl of beef noodle later.

Xiao Se and Lei Wujie bumped their cups and each drank a bowl of old homebrew.

The four of them stood up and headed towards the front door.

Xu Hulu groaned in his heart. "Boss, are you leaving again?"

"Don’t worry, I won’t be gone as long this time. Take good care of my Fallen Snow Villa." Xiao Se patted his shoulder.

"Where are you all going?" Another guest sitting in the corner called out suddenly.

They had already walked out the door when they felt a jolt in their hearts, and they quickly turned around to look at the speaker.

The guest stood up and took off his hood, revealing a very familiar face, though much paler than before. He laughed and remarked, "You’re all about to become sword immortals while I’ve been lying on my back for months in the Tang Clan. This da-shixiong can’t compare to my little shidi anymore."

Lei Wujie and Sikong Qianluo exclaimed in joy, "Da-shixiong!"

Lei Wujie rushed over immediately. "You didn’t die! Da-shixiong!"

"I didn’t die, but I wasn’t far off. Lighter, lighter, hahaha." Tang Lian looked at Lei Wujie and smiled. "Don’t cry, don’t cry."

Xiao Se strolled forward slowly, his face full of smiles. "I never thought I would see you again."

"Yeah." Tang Lian reached out a hand towards him. "See you in the martial world."

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