Monarch of Evernight - Volume 8
Qianye looked around the living quarters, unceremoniously claiming everything Zhang Xuance had brought here. He picked up some seasonal fruits and stuffed them into Little Zhuji’s hands, giving her something to munch on as he opened the gates and let Ji Rui in.
Ji Rui had stood outside for an entire hour, but there was no impatient expression to be seen. His face was full of smiles when he saw Qianye, and it seemed like the man wanted nothing more than to bow and sc.r.a.pe at his feet.
Qianye was no longer giving Ji Rui any face. As an old friend and longtime subordinate, the hot-headed Guan Zhongliu wore a sour expression despite knowing how powerful Qianye was.
Qianye ignored the second-in-command and nodded toward the city lord. “Come in.”
Guan Zhongliu wanted to follow in as well, but fortunately, Ji Rui was able to read body language quite well. “Go back, I need to speak to the sire about some things.”
Guan Zhongliu nodded reluctantly.
Frowning, Qianye shouted, “Hold it!”
Guan Zhongliu turned about. “What?”
Qianye sized the man up briefly. “What, has your temper grown worse during this period, or have you found a backer?”
Ji Rui was shocked. He quickly stepped in between with a smile, saying, “Ole Guan’s in a bad mood because some things haven’t been going well. Please forgive this idiot.”
While saying this, Ji Rui forced Guan Zhongli away. His face was once again full of smiles when he turned back to Qianye.
Qianye returned to the living room and took his seat. Ji Rui had gotten fatter during this period of absence. It would seem he had been living a decadent life and was not in the mood to cultivate.
“City Lord Ji, it seems you’ve been living quite comfortably these days.”
A trembling Ji Rui forced out a smile, saying, “There’s nothing I need to manage, anyway. I just sit around and collect some small money, what’s there for me to be discontent with?”
Qianye nodded. “Young Master Zhang seemed rather content with your performance. Even that Commander Guan doesn’t respect me anymore. I heard you’re still the city lord after his arrival?”
Ji Rui’s smile was rather forced and his plump face was drenched in sweat. “Who doesn’t know that this so-called city lord is just a t.i.tular position? People let me stay in this position because I spent some effort building this city back in the year. Now I don’t interfere with anything regarding the city. Guan Zhongliu’s commander position is also an empty t.i.tle. What’s there for him to command? All we have are a couple hundred guards from our residence.”
Qianye only gazed at him in silence.
Ji Rui gradually became restless, and sweat rolled down in sheets. He wiped his face time and again, but it just wouldn’t dry up.
Finally, Qianye spoke, “City Lord Ji, you look a bit unwell.”
Ji Rui smiled wryly, “I don’t know why, but I feel weak all over when I see you. It’s not discomfort per se, but rather, fright. That’s odd because I never felt like this even when facing the Wolf King. Sire Qianye, did you obtain some miraculous fortune in the Great Maelstrom and become even stronger?”
Qianye looked up. “City Lord Ji has held this position for many years. As expected, you really do know how to talk. I’m still who I was before. If you must know what has changed, I’ve advanced to rank-sixteen, one level below you.”
Ji Rui shook his head. “Rank holds little meaning for you. I’ve never seen a rank-sixteen who can send a divine champion running in one blow.”
“You didn’t come here to say these things did you?”
“Sire, I just wanted to talk about Young n.o.ble Zhang… about Zhang Xuance’s arrival.”
Ji Rui wiped the sweat of his brow as he narrated the entire story.
He had just finished speaking when he noticed a strange sensation behind his back. The city lord couldn’t help but glance back even though Qianye was in front. What entered his eyes was Zhuji’s little face, one that was just starting to show signs of calamitous beauty.
Ji Rui found her somewhat familiar, and in a flash, recalled where he had seen this face.
“It’s you!” Ji Rui screamed. The city lord toppled over in his chair, then rolled several times into the wall. He finally managed to sit up against the wall, but his entire body was trembling. He pointed a finger at Zhuji but no words came out of his open mouth.
He remembered that past incident where Zhuji had killed countless mercenaries with her poison. He simply couldn’t find her expression cute but, rather, similar to a hungry carnivore. He touched himself subconsciously, wondering if he had been poisoned.
“Zhuji, come here,” Qianye called out.
The little la.s.s went behind Qianye reluctantly. Leaning on his back, she whispered, “He doesn’t look tasty at all…”
“As expected!” Ji Rui was secretly overwhelmed.
Zhuji added, “Too fatty, he won’t taste good when cooked either.”
Qianye felt a headache come over him. “You can’t say something like that in front of the person.”
Ji Rui felt as though he had been granted a great amnesty. Feeling elated, he decided that he would eat even more from now on, that he would devour five meals a day and try to gain 15 kilograms within one month.
There wasn’t a single good person in this Qianye’s group! No one knew where this girl came from, but she actually ate humans for food!
Qianye pointed at the chair. “City Lord, please sit. Why are you scared of us, are you feeling guilty about something?”
Ji Rui was shocked. “Sire, I’ve told you everything. Now… I don’t even want my cultivation to progress anymore. What should I be guilty about?”
Toward the end, Ji Rui’s voice turned somewhat bitter.
Qianye pondered for a while before saying, “I understand the gist of things now. You can go back first. I’ll make a decision after figure everything out.”
“Yes, Sire.” Ji Rui left the courtyard with a bow. His brisk steps proved that he didn’t want to stay here a moment longer.
Qianye sat quietly after Ji Rui’s departure. He neither spoke nor moved, once again falling into a state of deep contemplation.
Little Zhuji, on the other hand, couldn’t stay still at all. She bounced about the entire courtyard looking for new things to entertain her. Bored, she soon returned to Qianye, climbed onto him, and started moving about restlessly.
Her current strength, despite her delicate appearance, wasn’t something ordinary people could endure. Even someone of Qianye’s const.i.tution felt somewhat uncomfortable. An ordinary expert in his place would already have had several bones broken.
Qianye finally noticed something unusual about Zhuji. “What’s wrong?”
“I feel itchy all over and my bones ache. I… want to fight, or spit poison.” Little Zhuji panted.
Qianye was somewhat surprised to see her panting. He placed the little fellow before him and observed her for a good while, then asked her a couple of things. Finally, he figured out the reason.
It turned out that the six-armed giant’s heart was too much of a nourishment. It allowed her to develop rapidly, jumping over ten years in growth-period in a short while. Her body had been growing constantly since waking up, but even that wasn’t enough to release the overflow of essence and energy. According to the natural characteristic of arachne, it was time to hunt and kill. Small arachne from the same nest would be released into the wide world to hunt—their enemies included not just wild beasts and other dark races, but also peers of the same race.
Only the fiercest of spiders would survive the b.l.o.o.d.y ma.s.sacre, and gain the opportunity to awaken great intelligence. Although the arachne had placed restrictions on in-fighting after joining civilization, the instincts they had inherited over ten-thousand years still remained.
Little Zhuji was beginning to lean toward violence. Most of them should be able to control their instincts at this age, let alone someone as intelligent as Zhuji.
“What do you want?” It was only natural that he would ask because the little girl was rather distracted. Even rubbing her head against Qianye was something she did subconsciously.
“Papa, we should fight now.”
“Oh, who?” Qianye was interested.
“Those who robbed our things! They look quite strong, fighting them would be quite satisfying.”
“Why do we have to fight?”
“Because then I can beat people up and spray poison.” The little fellow accidentally let her thoughts slip.
Qianye didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. She would have him start a retaliatory war just so she could fight and spray poison; it truly made one wonder where she had learned this from. Other arachne would at most sneak out and start fighting instinctively.
Qianye patted her head, saying, “Wait for a couple of days, there’ll be a fight.”
Zhuji said with a pouty face, “Fine, I’ll wait.”
Qianye nodded, returning to his meditation once more.
The sun was setting, and the house was growing dark. Zhuji glanced about and ended up switching on the lights herself. The darkness actually had no effect on arachne, but little Zhuji had grown up with Song Zining and Qianye. She was already used to having the lights on at night.
She ran over to Qianye and stared intently at him.
Qianye finally sensed her. “What is it this time?”
“Papa, what’s wrong?” The little la.s.s asked.
“Me? I’m fine.” Qianye found it odd.
“You’ve changed a lot. Even…” Little Zhuji tried to form a descriptive sentence, but she was still lacking in vocabulary.
She succeeded after a good while. “You’re always lost in your thoughts.”
“Lost in thoughts?”
“Yes! You’ve stopped paying attention to most people. You only realize they’re talking to you after a good while. Those people became hostile because they thought you were looking down on them.
Qianye glanced at Zhuji with an odd expression. “You sensed their hostility?”
The la.s.s nodded. “It’s obvious.”
Since he killed Zhang Xuance’s guards and heavily injured the divine champion elder, everyone in Southern Blue treated him with respect and hid their enmity well. However, this little girl could actually notice it. Her talents were rather terrifying.
“Fine, I was thinking about something.”
“What are you thinking about? About Aunty?”
“If you miss her, go and talk to her.”
Qianye remained silent for a good while. “She’s… probably gone by now.”
“When will she return?”
“…I don’t know.”