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Chapter 518: Recognizing a Son

    Chapter 517: Recognizing a Son

    Lan Qing looked between Luo Xianni and Lan Jue, clearly confused. However, he remained perfectly respectful, bowing before her. No matter who she was, as father's woman, she was their elder.

    "Your Majesty, hello." Lan Qing greeted.

    She flicked a wrist, and then there was something else resting in the palm of her hand. A silvery metal, that shimmered in the light. "Call me mother. Here, take a gift for our first meeting. Ah, if only I had children as handsome as you two."

    Lan Qing wasn't sure how to take that, but he accepted her gift all the same. "Thank you so much for the consideration, but I can't accept. This is too expensive."

    Her face darkened. "What? You don't want to get to know your mother?"

    "Bro, take it." Lan Jue plucked her gift out of Luo Xianni's hand and gave it to Lan Qing.

    In truth, Lan Jue fostered a silent pity for Luo Xianni. She was infatuated with Jue Di, but he only wanted to hide from her. As members of the younger generation, it was their duty to try and help work things out.

    Lan Qing held himself to a strict code of morals. This felt inappropriate, but before he could say anything further Chu Cheng took a big stride forward.

    "Hey auntie, if you want some more sons to look after I'm available. What do you think?" He put on his best charming smile and directed it to Luo Xianni.

    She looked him up and down, her brows furrowing. "So young with those bags under your eyes... I can tell you're a lusty sort of youth. I have no interest in a son like that."

    Chu Cheng's face twitched. "Auntie! The bags are just because I don't sleep well. There's no lustiness about it." He didn't believe she could see him that clearly after half a moment.

    Appearing almost bored, she explained. "It isn't something you see on the face. I've had decades of experience reading people, so I know precisely the kind of person you are. It's not hard to see that you're Kidney-deficient, either."

    "Kidney... Kidney-deficient?" Chu Cheng's face drained of color. Motherf-... in front of so many people! Chu Cheng had a thick hide, but right now he desperately wished he could dig a hole and disappear. 1

    Mika, Xiuxiu, Lin Guoguo and Ke'er couldn't help it, and all burst in to a fit of tittering laughter. Hua Li and Lan Jue were howling. Lan Qing even joined in with a sensible chuckle.

    Luo Xianni wasn't done. Her eyes darted to Hua Li. "This one's grown up well. A pity he's so girly. Far too soft, and manly-deficient. Hm, my Bupang does have a good eye - my boys are good choices."

    Lan Qing couldn't stand it anymore. He was the soldier of a generation, and he was expected to simply become adopted by this crass woman. But he took a cue from Lan Jue's expression. He could tell his younger brother didn't seem to mind. This was the only woman their dad had ever appeared close to on any level. Mom made a kind of sense.

    "What's your name?" Luo Xinni fixed her eyes on Lan Qing."

    "I am Lan Qing," he replied.

    "Call me mother. Let me hear how it sounds." She cooed a genuine plea.

    For a moment the commander hesitated, stunned. His thin lips twitched, and after a time he managed to chew out a word. "Mother..."

    Her face dropped in to an admonishing frown. "Ah, little Qing. You're not as obedient as my little Jue. Say it with warmth. Remember next time."

    "Aunt." The Wine Master rushed in to interject.

    "Oh, right. What did you bring them here for?" She turned her attention to her nephew.

    He gestured to them. "They're friends, here to spar for a little while. I promised to offer them a space to do so."

    "Ah, there's going to be a fight! Excellent, I'm in!" This was a woman who surely thrived on chaos.

    The Wine Master entreated calm. "Aunt, please. Be reasonable, they wouldn't be a challenge. You should serve as proctor." It was a long shot, but he couldn't let her wreak havoc in this place. Who could be her opponent, anyway?

    She acquiesced, though clearly displeased with the idea. "Fine. You need a ref, I'll be a ref. How are they fighting? Boy-girl pairs or full-on melee?"

    The Wine Master stood there speechless. He shot Lan Jue a look.

    The Jewlry Master hastily replied. "Chu Cheng and I are going to test each other out first. Then it'll probably me and my brother."

    "So about standard and boring. Fine, start whenever you like. Make it interesting!" She clapped, and even before the ringing sound dissipated, there was a flash of strange light. Lan Jue and Chu Cheng were by themselves.

    Lan Jue shivered. He'd easily sensed that transition, and to him it felt like reality was being carved up like a loaf of bread. This place had been carved apart just for them, and they they were transferred in to it. It had happened so quick that it looked easy, but even the Wine Master would find it difficult to manage so fluidly. Her strength was proven once again! At the very least, she was stronger than the Cosmagus.

    The two young men stood, staring at one another. The light of excitement was reflected in one another's eyes.

    "A-Jue, I'm not going to go easy on you! I will turn my grief in to power!" His public humiliation at the hands of Luo Xianni had him ready to fight, like an angry bull. It was clear in his eyes that he anticipated what was to come. He'd prove it by deed - he was not Kidney-deficient!

    Lan Jue, by contrast, simply smiled. He did not stomp or puff himself up dramatically. His right hand slowly rose, and motioned for Chu Cheng to come at him.

    He blinked, and suddenly Chu Cheng's eyes were dual balls of fire. The air around him swirls and was replaced by a thick red aura. He set his stance with his left foot, and punched with his right fist.

    The punch itself looked simple and direct. However, there was a rooted sense to it, like it was followed by all the force of a mountain. More importantly, Lan Jue could feel the hidden, explosive quality wrapped up within it.

    This was the protogenic essence of fire, explosiveness!

    Chu Cheng had been honest, and it seemed he hadn't spent all his time chasing skirts. After the tournament he must have also worked hard on his cultivation, which resulting in this power spike. All four of the Monarchs knew each other as well as brothers, so even small changes were quickly spotted.

    Lan Jue strafed to the side while his arms rose. They swirls in arcs that sought to seal off Chu Cheng's punch. All of a sudden, everything about Lan Jue seemed softer. There was no more radiation of energy from around him. Instead, all their surrounding energy seemed drawn to that spot between his arms.

    Puff! The force of Chu Cheng's punch vanished in to a void. His capable attack was swallowed up by what he could only describe as an infinite vacuum. There was no resistance, like his opening move simply failed to find a target.

    In that instant, Lan Jue's figure vanished. Half a breath later, he reappeared from Chu Cheng's flank. Lan Jue crashed in to Chu Cheng's shoulder like a freight train.

    Chu Cheng growled, and bent his knees so as to maintain stability. He dropped his shoulder in to Lan Jue's charge. Fire poured out from his shoulder like a river of magma. Chu Cheng's control over Hades' Fire was muscle memory by this point.

    Lan Jue had already exposed his secret, and Chu Cheng knew his opponent was no more than fifth rank. The Northern Hades descendant was seventh rank, nearly eighth - far higher than Lan Jue's. The gulf in power was enough, he suspected, that he could simply overwhelm him with overwhelming offense.

    Bang! Two shoulders met. Just before contact, a shimmering light of black and white - the mysterious energies of yin and yang - appeared around Lan Jue. The swirling image of black and white forced Chu Cheng's hellfire away to create passage. Lan Jue found his target.

    Chu Cheng could feel the incredibly unloading force as Lan Jue made contact. He reeled, and Lan Jue followed up with another shoulder smash. Their encounter occurred in a very small radius, but Chu Cheng was able to recover and push back with gusto. He fought for a few inches, then lunged to the side to increase the distance between them.

    One-Inch Guard! A rare and difficult Taiji technique, only one who understood the true nature of the martial art could call upon it. Jue Di had imparted the knowledge to him only recently. A practitioner who mastered this skill could difuse tremendous destructive power in a very small area. It was a nigh-mythical ability.

    Chu Cheng was not aware of it. The unforeseen reversal took him by surprise. Lan Jue - in the midst of his retreat - thrust out his arms and threw dual bolts of golden lightning at his dumb-struck opponent.

    He was on his back foot, but Chu Cheng would not be caught off guard so easily. His right hand quickly shot forward with fingers splayed, and from the gesture a thick shield of flame was born. The lightning bolts hit it and were deflected away.

    Lan Jue's arms were moving again, tracing out a slow circle in front of him. The pull of the void sprang up around them once more. Chu Cheng fought desperately to resist it, eventually stabilizing once his Discipline activated.

    Lan Jue slid his foot forward and shifted posture, suddenly within striking distance of Chu Cheng. He swung his hips, and his right hand exploded forward. Skimming Hammer punch!

    Bang! The shield of fire broke apart in to a million errant flames, then vanished. Chu Cheng stumbled backward.

    Lan Jue was like a leaf on the wind. He leapt forward, seven alternating steps. Every silent footfall sent waves of pressure out to Chu Cheng that forced him to keep up the retreat. On the seventh step, his Seven-Star Hammer punch was poised - ready to flatten mountains.

    Chu Cheng was out of defensive maneuvers. He could only try to defend by putting his arms between them. When they made contact, he was almost crushed beneath wave after wave of explosive force coursing through the Jewelry Master's fist. Beneath the alternative waves of pure force and gentle retreat, his defenses were unable to cope. He went flying.

    The others watched from a distance. Each of them looked at Lan Jue with new eyes.

    Luo Xianni, though, carefully watched with no visible change in expression. Lan Qing was quietly nodding his head, for he recognized that his brother's comprehension of Taiji was much deeper than it had been when he saw him on An Luo. Their fight wasn't a dramatic display, but the skill they demonstrated was incredible to watch.

    Chu Cheng found himself at a disadvantage, even though he was stronger than Lan Jue. His foe wasn't letting him call upon his full strength, dictating the pace of the fight. It was very telling.

    Lan Jue was relying entirely on the properties of Taiji to undermine Chu Cheng's advantages. Technical superiority was winning the day.

    1. The short version is she is saying he gets down too much, either with girls or with his hand. She's calling him a slut/sex addict.
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