Silence covered the inner palace. The atmosphere was so stifling that it made one unable to breath.
Zhou Yuan gazed at Zhou Qing, who was seated beside him. The latter’s usually imposing face was listless and filled with powerlessness at this moment. It was obvious that the events from back then had been a huge blow to him.
His son’s destiny had been stolen by his enemy right in front of him, destroying the former’s foundations, and he had been completely powerless. It was possible to imagine what kind of humiliation that had been for any father.
Zhou Yuan bit into his lips. He understood Zhou Qing’s character. If it was not for the sake of protecting the hundreds and millions Great Zhou subjects, it was likely that he would have chosen to go down together with king Wu.
“So that is why my eight meridian channels have never appeared, making it difficult for me to start cultivating. This king Wu’s methods are truly vicious.” Zhou Yuan gazed at the slowly squirming bundle of dark red on his palm with anger in his eyes.
Taking his destiny and destroying the roots of his sacred dragon had not been enough. This king Wu even intended to completely eliminate him by slowly forcing him to his death through the Dragon’s Resentment Poison.
What infuriated Zhou Yuan the most, was that his queen-mother had suffered greatly because of this, and she now had less than ten years to live.
With a deep breath, Zhou Yuan slowly pushed down the surging rage in his heart. It felt as if his heart had been cut open by a blade when he looked towards the pale face of the sleeping Qin Yu by the side, and asked, “Father, what can be done for mother? Her
remaining life span…”
Zhou Qing was silent for a while before he slowly replied, “In this world exists mystical treasures that can extend one’s life. If we can obtain such an item, we will be able to prolong your queen mother’s life, however…”
When he reached this point, Zhou Qing bitterly smiled, before continuing, “Such mystical treasures are extremely rare. I once used the humongous manpower of Great Zhou to search, but we were still unable to find any.”
“Great Zhou is after all nothing compared to back then. Now, we can only hole up here. We barely have the power to defend ourselves.”
Zhou Yuan’s hand tightly clenched. At this moment, he finally understood the advantages of having power. If he had power, he would be able to search, even the most dangerous forbidden grounds, for those mystical treasures that could extend one’s life span.
However, the seemingly never showing eight meridian channels of his body made it such that he did not even have the power to protect himself.
Zhou Yuan gritted his teeth, and spoke in a low voice, “Father, am I truly unable to become a
His mother had lost her essence blood for his sake, reducing her lifespan. As her son, how could he possibly sit back and watch? Moreover… it might have been fine if he did not know of everything the Wu clan had done to Great Zhou and himself, but since he now knew, such a debt would not be written off so easily.
But all of this could only be established if he possessed sufficient power.
And in this world, the group of people with the greatest power were naturally Genesis Masters!
Upon hearing Zhou Yuan’s words, Zhou Qing’s deeply frowned, as if he was thinking about something. A long while later, he finally replied in a soft voice, “Are you truly unwilling to give up?”
Zhou Yuan lightly nodded. Although he had his fill of suffering and torture over the years, it had also led him to possess a maturity and determination that transcended those at his age.
He knew that ever since the Wu clan rebelled and stole his destiny, there was already no way for both of them to coexist.
The fact that Great Zhou was still alive today was all due to the vow that king Wu had made back then. Once the hundred year vow was over, it was easy to imagine how the Wu Empire would be the first to massacre Great Zhou, preventing any future potential troubles.
Hence, to change such an outcome, he needed to possess enough strength.
Zhou Qing was rather gratified by the determination Zhou Yuan had shown. After being silent for some time, he roughly patted Zhou Yuan’s shoulder. “Good! Unwilling to easily give up. As expected of my son! Since you are willing, father will naturally do all he can to help you!”
Upon hearing these words from Zhou Qing, Zhou Yuan’s eyes instantly brightened, pleasantly surprised as he said, “Father has an idea?”
Zhou Yuan nodded. Soon after, he bitterly smiled and said, “You shouldn’t celebrate too early, because even I am not certain if this method will work.”
“What method is it?” The liveliness of a youngster was finally seen from Zhou Yuan’s impatient appearance.
“The ancestral offering ceremony is three days later. This time, you will follow me to the ancestral grounds.”
Zhou Qing merely chuckled and did not explain in detail. Soon after, he paused before continuing, “However I have one condition for you.”
“What condition?” Zhou Yuan was stunned and he curiously asked.
Zhou Qing sternly said, “Regardless of whether you are able to unlock your meridian channels, you cannot give up on studying Genesis runes. You must know that if your eight meridian channels are not unlocked, Genesis rune cultivation will be the final path you can take. If you are able to ascend to the peak of Genesis rune cultivation, it may be possible to suppress the Dragon’s Resentment Poison in your body.”
Genesis Masters were the most prevalent power in this world, however, it was not the only path. There were many different styles and paths, and the path of Genesis runes was the most broad and deep amongst them.
During the time where Zhou Yuan’s eight meridian channels had yet to appear, under Zhou Qing’s instruction, Zhou Yuan studied the Dao of Genesis runes. As the saying went, having more skills will not burden oneself. In fact, many Genesis Masters would also have some basic understand of Genesis runes.
Zhou Yuan lightly nodded his head upon hearing this. Truth be told, he understood the underlying meaning behind Zhou Qing’s words. He was worried that Zhou Yuan would abandon himself to despair if his eight meridian channels still did not appear, denying him from becoming a Genesis Master, and in the end give up on that final path.
Zhou Qing nodded, as a happy smile formed on his face.
“Rest for today. You still have to go to the Great Zhou Institute to study. I will bring you to the ancestral grounds three days later.”
“Okay!” The youngster’s voice was brimming with anticipation.
Zhou Qing chuckled as he tousled Zhou Yuan’s hair. Subsequently, he carried the unconscious Qin Yu and walked out of the inner palace with Master Qin at his side.
Zhou Yuan gazed at Zhou Qing’s back. The usually dignified back currently gave off powerless and tired aura that made one sad. He knew that there was a time when his father was filled with grand aspirations. However, cruel reality had little by little whittled away these aspirations.
All of this was because of that king Wu.
Zhou Yuan’s lips tightly pursed as a chilling look surfaced on his rather scholarly and young face.
“Wu clan, king Wu… I will make sure that these debts are paid back one by one in the future!”
The next day.
When early morning arrived, Zhou Yuan left the palace under the protection of a group of guards, heading straight for the north-west district of Great Zhou City where the Great Zhou Institute was located.
Zhou Qing had personally given the command to establish the Great Zhou Institute years ago. At the same time, he had gathered the experts in the army to become tutors. The Great Zhou Institute did not discriminate when it came to accepting students, as long as one had enough talent, even the commoners were allowed into the Great Zhou Institute to practice cultivation.
Over the years, the Great Zhou Institute had groomed several outstanding individuals, hence allowing its status to grow greater and greater in the Great Zhou Empire. Thus, even his royal highness Zhou Yuan would come here to study.
The gates of the Great Zhou Institute were tightly guarded. Guards in armor rigorously checked the identities of all who entered. However, Zhou Yuan was naturally exempt from this procedure. After all, everyone in Great Zhou City recognized the prince.
“Greetings your highness!”
Therefore, the guards respectfully bowed to Zhou Yuan when he appeared at the gates.
“Your highness.” Several Great Zhou Institute students came and went along the way. There was a some respect in their expressions as they smiled at Zhou Yuan.
Zhou Yuan likewise returned their smiles and cupped his fists together in greeting. He knew that most of these students were commoners, and the respect they had for him was mostly due to his father’s establishment of the Great Zhou Institute. It had allowed commoners like them to raise their status, and gave them the chance to change their destinies.
West district of the Great Zhou Institute.
Desks were arranged in a orderly manner within a rather spacious and bright teaching hall. Numerous youths were seated in a kneeling position before the desks. It was a tranquil atmosphere.
Zhou Yuan also quietly seated on the first desk of the first row. A bright and clean looking jade tablet, while a dark red long brush lay by its side.
The body of this brush was made entirely of red jade, while the hairs of the brush head came from the softest belly hair of a flame rat. Light glimmered on the fine hairs. It was a Genesis Rune Brush.
When it came to the most important item for drawing Genesis Runes, everyone would answer these three same words; Genesis Rune Brush.
A Genesis Rune Brush was the medium for Genesis Runes. Only with a brush would one be able to draw the mysterious and profound Genesis Runes, draw in the Genesis Qi of the land, and display great power.
Hence, nothing more needed to be said about the importance of the Genesis Rune Brush. Without it, no matter how great one’s talent in Genesis Runes, the power of one’s Genesis Runes would suffer.
Zhou Yuan held the red jade Genesis Rune Brush, while he looked to the very front, where a middle-aged lecturer was lecturing with a calm voice.
“Focus your soul into the tip of the brush to draw each stroke. Every line and stroke must be drawn with one’s soul as the ink. Only then will the drawn Genesis Runes be able to utilise the Genesis Qi of the land.”
“You must remember that when drawing Genesis Runes, one’s heart must be akin to still water, and no distractions can be present. Only by making the Genesis Rune Brush a part of your body, will you be able to focus your soul into the tip of the brush, such that the brush and your will become one, allowing any action to be smoothly completed with a single breath.”
After finishing his explanations, the lecturer said, “Next, we will continue practising the three Genesis Runes that I taught you last month. I hope that someone will be able to successfully
complete one of the three today.”
The moment these words were said, cries of grief rang could be heard in the lecture hall, and many youths had pained looks on their faces. Though practising Genesis Runes might seem simple, every practise session would exhaust one’s spirit, and make one feel extremely worn out.
When he heard their cries, the middle-aged lecturer spoke out in a stern and angry manner, “Humph, stop your whining. The three runes that I taught you; Rampaging Bull Rune, Light Body Rune and Metal Skin Rune are merely elementary level.”
His voice was brimming with resentment towards these students of his whom had failed to meet his expectations.
The many youths shrunk back when they saw that their lecturer had been angered, and did not dare to make any more noise. Afterwhich, all of them grabbed their Genesis Rune Brushes and started to draw on the jade tablets before them.
Zhou Yuan smiled slightly. Brush in hand, he started to focus, and the surrounding noise was immediately shut out. His heart was akin to a serene pond as he concentrated on the clean jade tablet. Rays of light emerged between his brows, and the tip of the brush started to flicker with faint red light.
Zhou Yuan’s brush fell, and the brush tip slowly moved across the jade tablet, leaving behind several complicated strokes. These strokes looked like the horns of an antelope, and gave off a certain charm. When they were completely assembled together, they seemed to
possess a magical power.
Every Genesis Rune was made from numerous strokes and lines. In general, the more strokes and lines there were, the greater the quality and might of the Genesis Rune formed.
The rune that Zhou Yuan was currently drawing was the Metal Skin Rune. It was merely an elementary level rune, and had over a hundred strokes. However, a tremendous amount of practise was required to perfectly draw the over hundred strokes.
The tip of Zhou Yuan’s brush quietly flowed like water. There was no hesitation at all, and its movement had a natural and a free flowing kind of beauty.
Due to the fact that the eight meridian channels in his body had not appeared in the past year, practically all of Zhou Yuan’s time had been spent practising Genesis Runes. Thus, his foundations were far stronger than the other students.
Of course, the most important factor was that he could sense that his soul was stronger than ordinary people. Although his destiny had been seized, and his sacred dragon root damaged, it seemed that his soul had fortunately not been hurt. It was likely that his soul had yet to fully form because he had been too young, hence allowing it to avoid that disaster.
Several minutes later, Zhou Yuan’s slender hand made a light curving movement downwards, and a radiance suddenly emerged from the jade tablet in front of him. One could only watch as a complex and beautiful Genesis Rune slowly took shape.
“Good, good. The strokes are perfect and full of liveliness. This Metal Skin Rune can be considered a successful masterpiece.” The moment Zhou Yuan completed his work, an exclamation of admiration was suddenly heard from the side.
Zhou Yuan lifted his head, only to find that the lecturer had been standing beside him since some unknown time, and was currently looking at the Genesis Rune on his jade tablet with a smile of appreciation.
The other youths in the lecture hall raised their heads and looked towards Zhou Yuan. There was some surprise in their eyes. They had yet to even start, while Zhou Yuan had already succeeded.
The lecturers mood was much better as he lamented towards the many students, “It would be nice if all of you learned as well as him.”
The youths chuckled and shook their heads upon hearing this. His highness Zhou Yuan was clearly rather talented in this area. How could the lecturer expect everyone to be so good?
However, a strange laughter suddenly rang out amongst the chuckles.
“Hehe, lecturer’s words might be a little unfair. Most of our efforts are concentrated in opening our meridian channels, hence we naturally cannot put our hearts and soul into the study of Genesis Runes like his highness. Otherwise, would we not be putting the cart before the horse?”
This laughter was rather piercing, and immediately silenced the lecture hall, as numerous gazes shifted over.
Zhou Yuan slightly raised his eyebrows and likewise cast his gaze over. Subsequently, he saw a youth in embroidered clothes looking back at him with a superficial smile as the latter lazily twirled the Genesis Rune Brush in his hand.
The corners of this smile had slight hints of mockery.