Zhang Ruochen, Concubine Lin, and maid Yun were seated in a roan antelope ancient carriage, slowly moving away from the Yunwu Palace.
Different from a real horse, an antelope-horse was a savage beast with a horn on its head. It was like a small elephant at just over three meters tall and it could move five times faster than a normal warhorse. Some strong antelope-horses could run as much as 3,000 miles per day.
Without knowing how far the roan antelope ancient carriage had gone, it slowed down and finally stopped.
After getting down from the carriage, Zhang Ruochen glanced at the two resplendent gates nearby and the horizontal inscribed board hanging above the gates, on which was written two powerful Chinese characters in gilded calligraphy: “The Lin’s Mansion!”
He was surprised because the surname of his mother was also “Lin”!
Looking around the magnificent mansion, it appeared that the Lin family was not humble, but eminent.
“If my mother is from an eminent family, why can’t she get support from her family to save herself from other concubines’ continuous bullying in the Commandery Prince’s Mansion?”
There had to be a story behind it.
Concubine Lin also got down from the carriage. Looking up at the gate, which was both familiar and strange to her, she said, “Chen-er, I bet you cannot wait to see Ningshan! Now, you have also developed the Sacred Mark and I believe that you and Ningshan may have many things in common. Take advantage of this opportunity!” . .
Zhang Ruochen had no idea who Lin Ningshan was. He felt that Yun’s and Concubine Lin’s words were strange.
Led by Concubine Lin, Zhang Ruochen and Yun walked into the Lin’s Mansion.
Theoretically, a concubine should receive a grand reception upon returning home. However, there was only one elderly butler who came to welcome Concubine Lin and Zhang Ruochen.
Concubine Lin was guided into the inner house by the elderly butler, leaving Zhang Ruochen and Yun in the outer house. Only two maids were left to care for them.
Zhang Ruochen could sense that something was off, but he had difficulty finding someone to ask. Thus, he had no choice but to remain silent.
“Ninth Prince, why don’t you go see Ningshan? She must be in the Drill Coliseum, where all the young people of the Lin Family are practicing,” Yun said…
Zhang Ruochen was more and more curious about this girl “Ningshan”, who both Concubine Lin and Yun had mentioned several times. “I might as well see her.” he thought.
“Okay! Let’s go to the Drill Coliseum,” Zhang nodded and said…
It was in the inner house of the Lin Family.
In the quaint hall, Lin Fengxian, the leader of the Lin Family, was sitting upright in Taishi chairs.
He was about 30 years old with a mustache. He took a glance at Concubine Lin, who was sitting opposite to him, and said, “The Ninth Prince is part of the future generation of the Commandery Prince’s Mansion. Even if he has unlocked the Sacred Mark, he should have gone to the Book Collection Pavillion in the Commandery Prince’s Mansion to gather books about practice skills. Concubine Lin, why are you asking for them here?”
Concubine Lin bit her lip and said, “I am not asking, but begging, my eldest brother. Could you please give Chen-er a book about practicing skills, even if it is only due to the fact that he is your nephew.”
Lin Fengxian growled with disdain as he thumped the table, saying, “Now you need me? How dare you come to discuss kinship with me! Three years ago, I went to the Commandery Prince’s Mansion to plead with you. Why did not you save your nephew, Chenyu? You knew that Chenyu was my legitimate son and also the once-in-a-century genius of the Lin Family. He would have been saved as long as you had begged the Commandery Prince. However, you did not…”
“Three years ago, I…” Concubine Lin was extremely grieved and could hardly hold back her tears. She wanted to tell him the truth.
However, Lin Fengxian interrupted her and said, “Just go! The family has already cut ties with you long ago. Never come back, Concubine Lin.”
Concubine Lin kneeled down on the ground, weeping and choking with tears, and said, “My brother, how can you be so ruthless? I want to see dad.”
“Father has gone to Omen Ridge. He will be there for three months. You can’t see him right now,” Lin Fengxian said in an apathetic voice. “One more thing. The Seventh Prince and Ningshan will be engaged soon. Please tell the Ninth Prince to stay away from Ningshan from now on.”
Concubine Lin was desperate and said, “You know that Chen-er has been so fond of Ningshan. If he knew about their engagement, how sad would he be? Besides, why the Seventh Prince?”
Lin Fengxian said, “The Seventh Prince opened a Seventh Class Sacred Mark when he was only three years old. Doesn’t that mean that he is a genius? Based on his current martial cultivation, no one in his entire generation in the Yunwu Commandery can catch up to him. The Lin family will benefit in the future if Ningshan can marry the Seventh Prince. Although the Ninth Prince and Ningshan are cousins who used to be childhood sweethearts in the past, the Ninth Prince is only mediocre. He didn’t obtain the Sacred Mark until he was 16. That means that he will never make any great achievements in his life, and the Advanced Stage of the Yellow Realm may be the utmost that he can practice. He cannot compare with the Seventh Prince.”
Concubine Lin said, “Is Ningshan willing to be engaged to the Seventh Prince? Will she be happy to marry for the benefit of the family?” Lin Fengxian stared at Concubine Lin and indifferently said, “You are wrong! It is Ningshan herself who made the decision!”
The Drill Coliseum of the Lin Family was very spacious, about half the size of a football field.
Young people in cyan colored Martial Arts robes from the Lin family were practicing martial techniques in the Drill Coliseum. Some of them were practicing fist techniques, other sword techniques, and the rest, broadsword techniques.
They were the elites of the Lin family and everyone had opened the Sacred Mark. All of them were dedicated to practicing under the guidance of a senior member in what appeared to be a flourishing atmosphere.
Zhang nodded his head and said to himself. “The Lin family can be thought of as a noble family in the Yunwu Commandery.”
Suddenly, Zhang Ruochen noticed a young lady who was slim and stunning.
The young lady seemed to be only 14 or 15 years old, but she had a petite body, eyebrows like willow leaves, starry eyes, and fair skin. What a pretty young lady!
She was holding a sword that was covered by weak starlight and giving off a cyan colored glow. A vast amount of Sword Breath surrounded her and followed her as she walked, which was as graceful as a flying swan and as beautiful as a flying dragon. The subtlety of sword technique had reached its climax.
“The rarefied power has been released. It’s the realm of Sword Following the Heart. Her Martial Arts skills have reached the Medium State of the Yellow Realm, at the very least, which is much better than the Eighth Prince.” Zhang Ruochen thought.
“Wow! Is that the Ninth Prince? Who would have thought that he would come to Lin’s Mansion?” One of Lin’s young followers saw Zhang Ruochen standing outside the Drill Coliseum and sneered with an ironic smile.
“He must have come here to see sister Ningshan. What a pity! She doesn’t want to see him at all.”
“I heard that he has opened the Sacred Mark.”
“Aha! He didn’t open his Sacred Mark until 16. How can he make any achievements? If he wasn’t Ningshan’s cousin, he might not even have a chance to enter the Lin’s Mansion.”
“I heard that Ningshan will be engaged to the Seventh Prince very soon. What a perfect match!”
“Hey! It was said that the Ninth Prince always had a crush on her. What do you guess his facial expression will be when he learns of their engagement?”
All the young warriors of the Lin family stopped practicing and stared at Zhang Ruochen standing outside the Drill Coliseum. They pointed at him, whispered among themselves, and mocked him.
Lin Ningshan also stopped practicing and glanced at Zhang Ruochen, waving her arms to precisely sheathe the Splendor Sword five meters away.
Lin Ningshan walked over to Zhang Ruochen, looked at his thin body, and said, “I haven’t seen you for a long time, cousin. I heard that you have opened the Sacred Mark, right?”
When they were young, Lin Ningshan and Zhang Ruochen were childhood sweethearts. But later, Lin Ningshan unlocked her Sacred Mark and started to spend most of her time practicing, which gradually alienated her from Zhang Ruochen.
After the event happened three years ago, she had never been to the Yunwu Palace again. Although Zhang Ruochen had been ill for years, he still visited the Lin family to see her. Even meeting her once still excited him.
However, he began to see her less and less. He had not seen her for over half a year. She had always told the maid to send Zhang Ruochen away.
“It turns out that she is my cousin.”
Actually, it was the first time Zhang Ruochen had seen Lin Ningshan in this life. He felt nothing toward her. Thus, he was very calm and modestly said, “I have indeed opened the Sacred Mark. But the queen said that it was a Zero-Class mark. Therefore, it can’t be compared to yours.”
Lin Ningshan nodded, tipped her chin as supercilious as a swan, and said, “You have already turned 16. Unlocking the Sacred Mark may be a blessing for you. You have to work hard in your practice. Although you can’t have strong Martial Art skills, it can still build your body to help you be free from sickness. For you… you can at least be a normal person.”
Zhang Ruochen slightly frowned and nodded, saying, “I will practice as hard as I can, and do my best to catch up to your cultivation.”
Lin Ningshan definitely knew that Zhang Ruochen liked her. When she heard his words, she took it for granted that Zhang Ruochen still had a crush on her and wanted to go after her.
“Well! Cousin, my cultivation has reached the Medium State of the Yellow Realm, which is very close to the Final State. As for you, you may never reach the Medium State. What you need to do is to practice step by step. You shouldn’t make inappropriate requests and bite off more than you can chew. Otherwise, you will suffer from your actions,” Lin Ningshan said with a double meaning.
Zhang Ruochen wrinkled his brows even harder.
Lin Ningshan sympathetically looked toward Zhang Ruochen and said, “Cousin, one more thing. I hope that you won’t be too sad. In three months, I will be engaged to the Seventh Prince when the Commandery Prince completes his refining.”
“It will be interesting! Hehe!”
All the young warriors of the Lin family were amused by this. They turned their eyes, one after another, to see what Zhang Ruochen’s reaction was to her words.