Chapter 386 – The Jade Heart Pendant
In a reception room halfway up the mountain.
Gongyi Tianheng was seated at the head of the table with Gu Zuo by his side.
Both of them were looking at the slender teenager who stood respectfully at the bottom of the flight of stairs with a back as straight as a javelin. There was a trace of surprise etched in their expressions.
The slender teenager wasn’t unfamiliar to them. When they had gone on a “date” one year ago, they had helped the abandoned son of the Yu Family at the Sect Offering Academy. It was the unyielding and courageous Yu Cheng.
Ever since this child was aided by them last time, Teacher Han became aware of his name. Thus, although his stepbrother Yu Ze, who similarly entered the academy, continued thinking of ways to fault and quarrel with him, Yu Cheng was still able to tactfully avoid any pitfalls.
With his many experiences, his strength increased repeatedly, and his insight grew prudent and cautious. In this short year, his realm had already advanced to Xiantian stage six. One could say that it was incredibly fast. However, what was even more astonishing was that, no matter how quickly his realm improved, there were never any indications of unstable or hollow foundations. This was enough to prove that he had a stroke of luck, and that he was extremely hardworking.
For this kind of good seedling, Tianheng had arranged someone to observe him two months ago. Over time, this observer gradually made contact with Yu Cheng. Naturally, Pang Wei, whom they regarded with good prospects, was likewise contacted. That fellow’s progress was no slower than that of Yu Cheng. Moreover, his heaven-sent strength had become even more outrageous under the academy’s Houtian nurturing!
It was just that there were some differences between Pang Wei and Yu Cheng. Pang Wei was slow on the uptake, and his temperament was honest and straightforward. After he was approached by another observer, he didn’t notice any of the probing hints within the conversation. Instead, he only considered the contact as a new friend. In order to avoid upsetting Pang Wei, the contact developed their connection slowly, and unobtrusively mentioned some matters.
But it seemed that Yu Cheng had quickly discovered the contact’s identity.
He didn’t reject the contact because of this. Rather, he practiced martial arts as usual during this period of time. However, he seemed to have listened to some of the words the contact suggested to him. It looked like…he didn’t refuse.
Yet, based on Tianheng’s way of thinking, both Yu Cheng and Pang Wei needed to develop a connection with their contacts for a long time before they would react. Unexpectedly, this Yu Cheng somehow figured out his identity and came directly to their doors?
This piqued a bit of Tianheng’s interest.
Gu Zuo was also deep in thought: This Yu Cheng came looking for us. He sure has a lot of guts… But, why?
Under Tianheng and Gu Zuo’s measuring gazes, it was only natural for Yu Cheng to be a little nervous.
After all, he was an abandoned son. Although his improvements in the academy were fast, it hadn’t reached the point where he could see all the smaller mountains down below with a single look, and simply rush over. While he had made some preparations, he didn’t know if this would be considered offensive by this legendary prodigy…
Tianheng took measure of him for a moment. When Yu Cheng almost couldn’t bear it any longer, Tianheng gave a faint smile and opened his mouth: “Yu Cheng? I remember meeting you once.”
Yu Cheng noticed that the atmosphere that froze the entire hall had been broken. He let out a light sigh of relief, and solemnly said: “Yes. Many thanks to Prodigy Gongyi and Pharmacist Gu for thy help last year. This Yu Cheng can’t thank thee enough.”
Tianheng waved his hand: “There’s no need to talk more about what has long passed. You expressed your gratitude on that day, and it’s not necessary to give more thanks today.” His gaze swept over Yu Cheng, “You shouldn’t have come looking for me just for this?”
Yu Cheng’s body stiffened. He lowered his head: “Prodigy Gongyi, please forgive this one’s impertinence.”
After that, he slowly pulled out a lovely jade pendant of a gem-like green color. He held it up with both hands: “This Yu Cheng’s visit is related to the Jade Heart Pendant.”
Tianheng naturally knew about the Jade Heart Pendant. He also knew that this was an object that the Yu Family sought to plunder. Seeing Yu Cheng’s action at this moment, Tianheng had two guesses about what he would say next.
Tianheng smiled: “In one year, the Yu Family has been making all kinds of threats against you, but you have yet to hand this thing over to them. Now that you stand before me, are you not afraid that I will seek to steal it?”
Upon hearing this, Yu Cheng also didn’t know what he was feeling in his heart.
Back when he was rescued, he originally didn’t think much of it. But after the matter passed, he guessed that the couple of people who saved him certainly didn’t do so abruptly. They should’ve heard his and the henchmen’s words. Otherwise, that teacher wouldn’t have immediately stood on his side. However, conjecture was just conjecture. Now that Tianheng said this, it was all but confirmed, which complicated his frame of mind.
Though, it was precisely due to this that he summoned his courage and came over.
Soon after, Yu Cheng’s tone became reverent: “If Prodigy Gongyi intended to take this object away, he would’ve taken it on that day. This Yu Cheng isn’t talented, but has received care and attention on many occasions. Naturally, this one firmly believes that Prodigy Gongyi is straightforward and upright.”
This meaning held a little bit of praise, but these words weren’t necessarily empty flattery.
The edge of Tianheng’s mouth pulled up into a grin. His opinion of Yu Cheng increased by ten percent.
Although this person had been honed and sharpened many times, he wasn’t someone with only integrity and no sense of propriety. Moreover, his mind was clear-headed and fully cognizant of the consequences. Sufficient courage was admirable.
Indeed. He didn’t care about this Jade Heart Pendant. According to his thought process, this object was either a key or some other opening device for resources or fortuitous encounters that Yu Cheng’s mother left behind for her son. In this world, how numerous were the fortuitous encounters and how abundant were the resources? Tianheng was backed by Ten Ultimates Sect, and many resources were readily available. Furthermore, if Yu Cheng didn’t have this trinket, perhaps it would be extremely difficult for him to rush up in the future. Why should Tianheng cut off Yu Cheng’s path of survival, and make himself appear petty and small-minded?
Hence, Tianheng plainly said: “You will clearly explain your purpose in coming.”
Gu Zuo also curiosity looked over.
With Yu Cheng’s temperament, it wouldn’t have been just for the sake of offering the Jade Heart Pendant to his big brother, right? Then, why did he take it out for? Could it be that —
Yu Cheng composed himself, and declared his own intentions: “This one won’t hide it from Prodigy Gongyi. This Jade Heart Pendant was left behind by my mother. When she was on her deathbed, she stated clearly that this Yu Cheng didn’t have to believe in the Yu Family. After growing up, I could take this thing to a historical ruin, and search for treasures…” He hesitated slightly, but still spoke honestly, “…and the Xiao Clan’s inheritance.”
Tianheng raised an eyebrow: “Oh?”
Actually, he didn’t expect that there would be an inheritance inside, too.
However, he didn’t need an inheritance either. It was only because he was currently learning a supreme piece of ultimate knowledge. It was also because the Tiandu Body’s qi oceans were all different. He needed to create his own martial discipline. As for other martial skills and so on, he could memorize them at a glance. No matter how incredible, there wasn’t any need to steal it.
Yu Cheng saw that Tianheng didn’t care, and there were two certainties in his heart: “Some time ago, this Yu… I held onto this thing, ventured to the location of those ruins, and smoothly entered. Unfortunately, while this Jade Heart Pendant is a good thing, my strength wasn’t enough. I could only search around the outer circle. Although I did obtain some benefits, they aren’t worth mentioning when compared to the inheritance.”
Though the martial disciplines in the Sect Offering Academy were great, most of them were for building one’s foundations. There were also some complete inheritances available, but most of those required one to successfully enter Ten Ultimates Sect first, and then make many contributions to be exchanged — Unless he was lucky enough to directly apprentice himself to an excellent and venerable teacher. However, that type of possibility wasn’t high. His innate talent wasn’t formidable enough to catch a powerhouse’s attention.
As a result, for the sake of future growth and development, Yu Cheng needed to obtain the inheritance as soon as possible. After cultivating it at the earliest time, it would be possible to pull ahead of the others, and he wouldn’t have to be anxious later on.
It was only a pity that he couldn’t charge into the core region at all. How was he going to claim the inheritance, then?
Yu Cheng’s voice was dim: “That historical ruin was left behind by the Xiao Clan, and I am also considered a descendant of the Xiao Clan. But when all is said and done, my bloodline isn’t pure. Therefore, the tests were rather numerous. If I challenge them slowly, it would take a very long time. While I could gradually finish them, I’m only worried that I’ll die before I can see it through…”
Due to the Sect Offering Academy’s protection, Yu Cheng was able to deal with the Yu Family. However, every time he went out adventuring, he would be stared at by the Yu Family. He experienced many moments of life and death before safely returning. He was able to survive without a hitch once or twice, but in the end, he was just one person. Who knew when his luck would eventually run out? Yu Cheng was aware that he needed to plan for a rainy day before going out.
It was also during this time that Yu Cheng discovered those contacts, and he gradually realized that Tianheng was keeping an eye on him. After confirming that Tianheng was one of the people who saved him back then, he thought it over many times. Finally, he came to a decision.
Once Yu Cheng finished speaking, he saluted deferentially: “If this Yu Cheng may be so bold as to ask this prodigy to take action and explore the historical ruin together, apart from the inheritance, everything that this prodigy fancies will belong to him. And although it’s to accept the Xiao Clan’s inheritance, after receiving it, I would like to inform this prodigy in full… Please have mercy and allow this one’s request, Prodigy Gongyi.”
This was considered exceedingly sincere. He was laying out everything he had on a silver platter.
This was taking an enormous risk, but for the sake of being able to practice even better martial disciplines and obtaining the most optimal inheritance for himself, he could only take this risk and entrust his life to the best choice capable of making this happen.
After Tianheng finished listening, he silently pondered.
His fingers lightly drummed against the armrest. The sound wasn’t loud, but it tugged at one’s soul.
All of a sudden, Yu Cheng feel keenly nervous.
His forehead was damp with sweat. At this moment, he only felt lingering fears and apprehension about Tianheng’s possible decision.
But, Yu Cheng didn’t regret it either.
He would succeed or die trying. If he didn’t even dare to brave this bit of danger and cultivated at a smooth and steady pace, how long would it take for him to break free from the Yu Family’s entanglement?
He took a deep breath. If he incorrectly recognized a person’s character, he could only blame his own poor eyesight!
Gu Zuo felt exasperated as he watched Yu Cheng, who looked as if he was about to face the gallows.
This matter wasn’t a big deal. His big brother would definitely agree. Right now, these actions were just to frighten and intimidate people. Otherwise, it would seem like they were speaking on excessively good terms. That would be rather undignified.
The facts were just as Gu Zuo thought.
After this short period of pondering, Tianheng faintly nodded his head: “Very well. Since I’m optimistic about you, I agree to your terms. Today, you will go back to rest and make preparations. Two days from now, bring the Jade Heart Pendant. I will take along a few people, and you’ll journey with us.”
Yu Cheng was overjoyed. Regardless of how calm or steady he tried to be, he couldn’t control his voice from trembling slightly: “Many thanks, Prodigy Gongyi! This Yu Cheng can’t thank thee enough!”
Tianheng smiled and said: “You may go. If there’s anything you need, inform your contact.”
Yu Cheng’s cheeks reddened. After paying his respects once more, he departed with a spring in his step.
The outcome of this time’s visit was far better than what he imagined. He witnessed the magnanimity of this prodigy, and it made him feel…gratitude from the bottom of his heart.
Once Yu Cheng left, Gu Zuo turned his head to look at Tianheng: “Big brother, I think that this Yu Cheng is a little foolish.”
Tianheng chuckled and said: “Why is that?”
Gu Zuo thought about it, and murmured: “He’s so happy now that big brother agreed, but he hasn’t considered what he would do if we wanted to take his small life inside the ruins and rob him of everything.”
Tianheng placed a hand against his forehead: “How could this elder brother do something so meaningless?” But he was also gratified, “However, it’s great that Ah Zuo knows to guard against others now. In the future, you need to bear in mind that people’s thoughts are diverse and multifaceted. Don’t trust others easily.”
Then, he said: “Yu Cheng is young. Although he’s cautious, there are still places he has overlooked. But in the end, he had once been saved by us. Compared to other people, he will naturally trust me a bit more. With his current position, the best he can pick is only me.”
Gu Zuo nodded his head: “Actually, I was just about to say this, too. But big brother, are you really interested in that historical ruin?”
Tianheng smiled and said: “Although this elder brother has no intention of stealing Yu Cheng’s things, there’s no harm in going ahead to explore it if he took the initiative to come to our doors. What’s more, I’m also somewhat interested in that Xiao Clan. Who knows what method that clan used to preserve their inheritance? If this method is useful, it can be replicated in the future…”
Gu Zuo silently listened.
Hearing his big brother animatedly talking in this way made him very happy.
In the blink of an eye, two days passed.
The location that Yu Cheng agreed to meet at was a rather famous restaurant outside the Sect Offering Academy. Because he had been waiting for Gongyi Tianheng and the others to arrive, he already drank several cups of tea. He was somewhat restless whether sitting or standing.
Not much later, the door opened wide.
Tianheng, Gu Zuo, and a few others walked inside.
T/N: Just a heads up. After this, there are five more chapters for this volume: One triple-length and four double-length chapters. So, you guys can imagine what the upload schedule will be like.
Thanks for the corrections, Charysa.
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