Chapter 2.1: Tracing the Source Imprints
Inside the inner palace, ambient silence filled the room, the air so heavy and overwhelming that none could hardly breathe.
Zhou Yuan looked at his father, Zhou Qing. His usual dignified aura appeared full of sorrow, helplessness, and powerlessness at this moment for the memories, the events of the past dealt a huge blow to his self.
His own son taken by his enemy, robbed of his fate, of his luck, and he all the more powerless to stop his enemy’s advances, watching everything laid before him crumble. Coiled deep within him was the shame of a father who could do nothing but watch.
Zhou Yuan bit his lip, sorrow blanketing his eyes. He knew all too well his father’s character. If he’d no one to protect, no need to save the hundreds of thousands of people in the Great City of Zhou, no wife, no child, he’d have chosen to burn with his enemy, their grey, ashen bones buried deep in the earthly grave.
“It turns out the root of my sufferings is this… unable to cultivate.” Zhou Yuan said bitterly. “This King Wu is really good at using vicious means.” When he gazed at the markings on his palms, his eyes raged, burning a sea of fire.
The King of the Great Wu Empire stripping him bare of his fate, destroying his Sacred Dragon, intending to cut off his Eighth Spiritual Meridians by sealing the Sacred Dragon’s resentment thus slowly forming the Dragon’s Venom.
But the thing that made Zhou Yuan furious was the fact that his mother had less than ten years left as a result of a severe injury which damaged her vitality.
Zhou Yuan breathed deeply, suppressing the rumbling rage within the core of his heart while turning over lethargically, his face pale like jade, weak and frail like a flower that sways with every wind causing others who looked at his countenance to stumble and feel as if their heart had torn apart.
“Father, what of mother? Her lifespan…” Zhou Yuan trailed off.
Zhou Qing remained silent, his eyes like the dead sea, like all the odds are stacked against him. He sighed. His mouth parted, speaking unhurriedly and softly. “Within the heavens and earth exists myriads of treasures capable of extending one’s lifespan. Yuan’er, if we are able to obtain enough of those, we can indeed extend your mother’s lifespan, however…”
Zhou Qing smiled bitterly, his enemy had wounded his wife, though indirectly. She’s now a mess of gorgeous chaos and you can see it in the way she looks.
“Those sort of heavenly defying treasures are extremely rare. I’ve already tried all I can, all I’m able to do. I’ve sent our best and brightest to seek out treasures which could prolong your mother’s life but to no avail, we could not find one.
“Our Great Zhou was not what it used to be, no longer proud, powerful, and glorious. Presently, we are like a turtle, barely able to protect ourselves.”
Zhou Yuan clenched his fist. In this singular moment, in this instance, he understood the basis of strength and what it brought forth. If he possessed the foundation, the necessary strength, then even if he’d chosen to venture out into the vast, dangerous openness, he’d be able to seek out those heavenly defying treasures capable of prolonging one’s lifespan.
But tragically, his body’s been stripped of its Eighth Spiritual Meridians making him incapable of protecting himself and lacking the ability to protect those he treasured dearly.
Zhou Yuan gritted his teeth, his voice bleak and gloomy. “Father, am I really not able to become an Origin Master?”
Self-remorse and blame filled the core of his heart. It was because of him that his mother’s blood essence was damaged to the point of no return, her lifespan shortening with the passing of time. As her own child, how can he bear to watch her suffer agonizingly and do nothing?
So be it, had he known nothing of the disputes between the Wu Family and his Zhou Family he’d forever remain ignorant but since he learned of the conflict between his Great Zhou Family and the Great Wu Family, then the debt and damage caused by the Wu Family won’t be so easily settled.
However, all these relied on the mere fact that he possessed the necessary strength.
And in this harsh, rough world he lived in, the group of people who undoubtedly possessed the greatest strength, the one who could hold the skies on their shoulder were none other than Origin Masters.
Zhou Qing’s brows locked together upon hearing Zhou Yuan’s words. “You really are unwilling to give up?” He spoke gently as the stars in his eyes glinted a little too brightly.
Zhou Yuan nodded lightly, determination adorning his face. He’d not the choice to walk the paved road of normality where it was comfortable to walk. He grew up under years of suffering, under years of endless tortures, enduring and enduring the pain brought to him since he could remember. But it was because of this reason alone that he held an emotionally mature aura, a more tenacious will more so than his peers.
Since the Wu Family deprived him of his fate, destiny, and luck, he reckoned the two families were destined to fight, unable to rest till one fell to their deathly grave.
At present, their Great Zhou lived under the rocks, able to survive temporarily due to a vow, a decree the Great King Wu made fifteen years ago. Once a hundred years passed, the Great Wu Empire would surely make certain to massacre generations of his Zhou Family, eliminating of any potential threats arising in the future.
If he wished to change the tragic fate that would befall his family, he himself needed power, needed strength to protect those he loved. What use were his belief and revenge if he had not the strength to back it up?
Zhou Qing fell silent for a moment, feeling somewhat gratified with Zhou Yuan’s resolution. He smiled gently, placing his hand on top of Zhou Yuan’s shoulder. “Good! Not willing to give up despite all sufferings, you are worthy of being the son of I, Zhou Qing! Since you have such desire, then father will naturally assist you!”
“Father has some methods?” Zhou Yuan cried out in surprise, his eyes lighting up.
Zhou Qing nodded his head as he let out a short bitter laugh. “You should not be happy so soon. Even I have no way to ensure such method will yield any results.”
“Which method?” Zhou Yuan responded rather impatiently. Such current scene showed the vigor of youth of one around his age.
“In three days time, you will accompany me to the ancestral ground to give offerings to our ancestors.” Zhou Qing did not speak in detail. “However, I have one condition.”
“Which condition do you speak, father?” Zhou Yuan prodded.
“No matter if you succeed in opening your spiritual veins or not, you absolutely cannot give up learning Source Origins. If ever your Eighth Spiritual Meridians does not open, studying Source Origins would be your last result. As you continue to study Source Origin to its highest realm, it is possible that you are able to suppress the Dragon’s Venom coursing within you.”
In this world, Origin Masters are a highly regarded existence by myriads of people in this vast continent. Though the Profound Way of an Origin Master is a popular choice amongst many practitioners, it is not the only one—it is like one of the hundred flowers blossoming ever so incandescently in the spring, and as it blooms, the flowers opens many paths, a myriad of paths one can tread upon.
While suffering from his bittersweet setbacks, lacking the ability to cultivate, Zhou Yuan began to study Source Origins under his father’s guidance and incitement as Source Origins need not stress out ones body. Moreover, the majority of Origin Masters dabbled in Source Origins.
Zhou Yuan nodded, carefully digesting his father’s words, comprehending it’s underlying meaning. His father feared if he’d chosen to give up, the possibility of drowning in despair would occur if he was unable to fix his Eighth Spiritual Veins and inability of becoming an Origin Master.
Zhou Qing nodded, his lips curved slightly.
“Go and rest. Tomorrow you will head to our Great Zhou Academy and continue your studies. In three days time, we will go to the ancestral grounds.”
“Yes, father.” Zhou Yuan replied, his voice filled with hope.
Zhou Qing smiled. He leaned over, rubbed Zhou Yuan’s head before turning back, and carried his pale, sickly wife, Qin Yu who fell asleep before walking out the inner palace with Master Qin.
Zhou Yuan looked at the back of his father as he watched him leave. He thought of his once noble and dignified back had lost its luster and now replaced with pain, ache, and agony that looked to break one’s heart with one single glance. He knew his father once had lofty aspirations in the past but the cruel reality of it all wore him down, gradually losing everything till he had nothing left.
And the initiator of this all was none other than King Wu.
Zhou Yuan bit his lip tightly, his immature face exposing a trace of coldness.
“Wu Family… Wu Family… all these debts, I’ll account for each and every one of them later!”