Chapter 119 - Opportunity?
(TL' note: This chapter is written in a very metaphoric manner, so might have to read up one idiom to understand it better. But I've done my best to reduce it normal reading standard, since the context revolved around a typical Chinese idiom, which can be hard to find on the internet.)
Apart from this one, there was another piece of news which was causing a sensation.
There were riots inside the Tian Xiang imperial city a little while ago, and the northern part of the city was destroyed overnight. The Tang Family had gone on an unbridled and unrestrained man-hunt and this whole incident had caused them some serious losses in man-power. It would appear that they had lost something very valuable.
This item turned out to be a ninth grade beast Xuan's Xuan Core.
Even though this news wasn't confirmed, someone had mentioned this to be the reason behind the unrest, and the rumor quickly grew wings and spread thought the continent in a very short period of time.
"This is a great opportunity! We must seize the Xuan Core!"
Inside the imperial tutor's house, Li You Ran was sitting on Li Shang's bedside.
"Really? Our last venture ended up a case of the 'mantis stalking the cicada, unaware of the oriole behind', how can you be so sure that this is a good opportunity for us?" Li Shang's health was a lot better now, but he was still very weak. Even though he hadn't been able to return to his normal health, he was still talking in a normal tone. At the moment, his eyes had a look of glimmer inside them, as he watched his grandson, and waited for his reply. (TL's note: the quoted text in the para is a Chinese idiom. I'd explain it in detail, but that would make it another story altogether. It basically means that you make a small term gain only to realize that it comes back to bite you later on.)
Since that day, after the damage to his Dan Tian, his health had stabilized after undergoing several treatments, but his physical health was still on the declining end of the curve. Li Shang was quite disheartened to know about the state of his physical body, and knew that he wouldn't be able to carry on for long, which is why he was using his time to educate his dearest grandson, Li You Ran. No matter what the issue at hand would be, he would first ask Li You Ran for his views on the matter, and would then point out the flaws in it.
This time however, Li You Ran didn't let him down and there was a massive progress in his previously finite thinking ability. Even though his understanding was limited on most matters, he was showing a keen interest in learning, which was warming Li Shang's cold heart and was coming as a consolation to him since it seemed that he had finally found his successor!
"Right now, the situation is very clear. The Tang Family's Xuan Core was stolen. I believe that only three gangs are capable of stealing something like this, but neither of them is stupid enough to allow the matter to leak out to the public since it would cause them a great amount of trouble, especially at the hands of the Tang Family. The Xuan Core is too important, even more than its owners estimated, and if one of these three gangs had stolen this Dan and the other two found out, then they would try to steal it from the original thief. So it seems that this item was stolen by someone else."
"In other words, we should be able to seize the Xuan Core if we were able to identify this party!"
"On the day of the theft, the person manages to steal something important without anyone noticing it, and then managed to disappear without a trace. So it's not surprising that there was no further news on this matter for a while. But now, suddenly, there is more news on this subject, and identity of the item has been revealed: a Xuan Core from a ninth rank Xuan Beast. This is a very surprising thing since that person managed to disappear without a trace on the day of the theft, and has chosen to wait this long to make his move... there must be a hidden intention behind this!"
"His intention.....your grandson is still quite stupid, and has only been able to identify a few reasons....firstly, although a Xuan Core was stolen, the person didn't know how to use it, or may even have not known its true utilities. In the pursuit of finding out its usage, he must have attracted too much attention, and the news could have spread out from that end. This could be a possibility, since the Xuan Core is a very mysterious treasure, and even the Tang Family had been researching its true potential for the last few decades and still haven't understood it fully. Even us, if we hadn't had our knowledge, then maybe even we wouldn't be able to understand its true value."
"Go on." Li Shang's eyes revealed a color of appreciation.
"Secondly, this person could belong solely to the Tian Xiang city, and is unlikely to a low level man, and in fact is a very high level expert, maybe even as high as the Sky Xuan or something similar, or could be preparing for a major breakthrough right now. Otherwise, he wouldn't have revealed this information, and would have definitely built a cocoon around him and would have patiently waited for this incident to calm down.... So based on that, I can only think that this person is about to make a major breakthrough."
"Yes! And is there a third possibility?" the shade of appreciation in Li Shang's eyes was getting denser.
"Third... this person belongs to a very power clan, and knows that they he will have the backing of a very strong network! This looks like the most likely situation at present! There are several very powerful and wealthy families and characters in the city, but we would be looking for someone who can muster the entire strength of their family, since only such an individual could be capable of acting so boldly." Li You Ran's voice was very low and careful-sounding.
"Very well analyzed. As a result, it can be said that the number of targets can be reduced to very small number." Li Shang was tapping the center of his palm with his other hand with a pleased look on his face. "Do you have any suspects in mind?"
"Well, we should rule out our Li Family and, naturally, the Tang Family. So that leaves the Jun Family, Mu Rong Family, Du Gu Family, Meng Family and Song Family. It could be any one of these five!"
Li You Ran raised his index finger: "The Jun Family, even though they are our enemies, Jun Zhan Tian is an honest and upright man, and wouldn't get involved in such an activity. Jun Wu Yi, even though his physical body is a waste, but his mind is still fully functional.... but then again, he is physically handicapped and that limits his mobility. As for the Jun Family's young dandy, Jun Mo Xie, I'm afraid that he isn't capable of mobilizing the Jun Family entire power base. So for now, the Jun Family is our least likely suspect, but then again, we can't completely exclude them either since anything is possible in this case!"
"The chances of this being Du Gu Family's work is not very high either. Although they have the influence and the power to be our 'Orioles', but fundamentally speaking, the Du Gu Family lacks the ambition! Otherwise, given the strength of the Du Gu Family, they could have easily replaced the Jun Family by now. The reason His Majesty tolerates the Du Gu Family is because: they are a family of warriors but unlike the Jun Family, they don't have any powerful commanders from the past! The Du Gu Family's warriors can charge and break past the enemy ranks, but unless a man from the Jun Family, like Jun Wu Hui, Jun Wu Meng, or Jun Wu Yi is overseeing the overall situation, the military might of the Du Gu Family is far from capable of notching a victory on their own. But that doesn't mean that it's not them yet!"
"If they are the ones behind this, then the Du Gu Family could be seeing the emergence of major personality and His Majesty would probably suppress the entire Family! After all, even though the Majesty considers the Du Gu Family to be very reliable, they don't have the merit that the Jun Family has. But it could still be them? The Du Gu Family still has a lot of power, right?...."
"To think about it, the Du Gu Family is great, and have numerous offspring, but they don't have the unity that the Jun Family does. Although the Jun Family might appear to be ruined, but the past victories of their four marshals have left behind enough henchmen to shake the foundation of the entire kingdom!"
"But still, the Du Gu Family's chances are slightly higher than the Jun Family's, but when I say that, I would also like to add that I don't really see the emergence of any major characters in their family, and nor do I hear of any movements on their part."
"The Meng Family, firstly, they are our allies. And secondly, there is no particularly powerful character in the Meng Family. So I'd say that their probability is also quite low."
"Among the major families, the Song Family has always kept a very low-key profile, but sometimes the dog that never barks is the one that actually bites, so I would suspect them. Mu Rong Family.... Well the Mu Rong Family has always been very ambitious, and keeps coming up with new schemes all the time! Since they have a strong relation with the royal family, the royal family is unlikely to suspect them of anything, which is why I believe that we should pay a lot of attention to the Mu Rong Family....." Li You Ran was very carefully analyzing the situation, which is why he was speaking in a very slow paced manner, and his low-pitched voice indicated that he was quite nervous about his opinion.
"Well, that was good." Li Shang nodded: "However, there are several other aspects in addition to these families that you've missed out on."
"Please correct my mistakes Grandfather." Li You Ran stated.
"In this city, the most influential family is the Royal Family, and you haven't even considered them at all?! The Royal Family is the most powerful family! Although His Majesty's treasures are still remain hidden from common knowledge, if it weren't for the many strong men who are protecting him around the clock, His Majesty would have already been assassinated countless times! You should pay particular attention to that! There also the three major gangs in the city, all of whom have considerable strength to do this, and you need to include them in your line of sight."
"In addition to this, we cannot neglect that this could be the work of a mysterious organization, potentially from outside the Tian Xiang City. Also, there are a few well-known groups of assassins that are operational in the city, and could also be our targets ah." Li Shang coughed a few times, and was barely able to keep up with his health: "This Xuan Core incident will likely lead to an unprecedented storm, and You Ran, you must be very careful as well since our present strength is somewhat insufficient!! If you enter this affair...... then you will need a lot of support and manpower to come out on top! .....if you cannot manage that support, and your brothers are unable to back you up, then I would advise that you exit this scramble!"
"For you may easily get drowned in this storm!" Li Shang sighed loudly as he slowly laid his body down on the bed.
"Yes. I've already issued the order to our birds in the cover of wee hours, and I believe that they will be making their decisions soon." Li You Ran nodded seriously.
"Well, how your progress to the Sky Xuan layer coming about?" Li Shang faintly closed his eyes.
"I've reached the pinnacle of the Gold Xuan." Li You Ran's voice had a hint of guilt in it: "But the state is a little unstable at present. Once it has stabilized, then I will be able to impact the Jade Xuan but....."
Li Shang raised his hand and stopped him in mid-sentence: "Let's not leave any room for carelessness here since we know the consequences of it. I will gladly help you in making the impact: after all, you are the best hope for the future of the Li Family. You do not bother yourself with this too much now."
Li You Ran gasped.
Li Shang had previously used a Jade Sea Coral for healing purposes, which had unexpectedly self-detonated. Although Li Shang had sustained serious injuries, and even Li You Ran's handsome face had been bombed in several places by the explosion, the incident hadn't been a complete disaster, and Li You Ran had unknowingly gained some benefits from it.
The Jade Sea Coral contained a lot of Aura, which was supposed to help Li Shang heal, but he was unable to absorb it entirely due to the explosion. Because of the sudden interruption, a considerable part of this Aura had entered Li You Ran's body during the explosion, and had been left stranded inside his meridians. A blessing in disguise! At that time, due to the injuries sustained on his face, Li You Ran had been unable to focus on his practice properly, but at present, due to the underlying support from this Aura, he had managed to advance from the base of Gold Xuan to the apex of Gold Xuan in a single swoop! He was one step away from entering the Jade Xuan, which considering Li You Ran's age was not just unprecedented, but was also a feat which would ring in the ears of his contemporaries throughout the continent!