The Tyrant’s Cannon Fodder Male Empress Chapter 70

Chapter 70

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Xue Yao gently wiped the dirt off the chubby cub’s face and blew on the reddened area.

The Seventh Prince squinted his eyes from the blowing, feeling a bit itchy. He scratched it and immediately pouted in discomfort.

It seemed the kick wasn’t light.

Unable to hold back his frustration, Xue Yao turned to look at Old Zhang with an annoyed huff.

No matter what, you can’t kick the prince’s face!

Although there was a rule that “no blame for collisions during martial arts practice,” the royal martial arts instructor didn’t spar with the prince using iron weapons. They typically used thin, flexible whips or light wooden sticks and stopped short of full-blown combat. No one dared to engage in such a full-fledged brawl.

Old Zhang perceived Xue Yao’s resentment. Without waiting for accusations, he quickly defended himself, “I, Fourth Zhang, has no was to repay the Princes and Young Master Xue’s kindness. It’s rare for all of you to appreciate my martial arts skills. I am willing to impart my knowledge wholeheartedly! 

“However, learning martial arts comes with master-disciple relationship to succeed. I’m unworthy of the title of master, but I must fulfill the responsibilities of one. Training methods that involve holding back and not going all out severely hinder progress and combat effectiveness.

“I once witnessed the Crown Prince playfully spar with the royal martial arts instructor a few rounds. Both were afraid of harming the other. Such training methods truly squander the exceptional martial talent of the Crown Prince.”

The Sixth Prince’s expression changed as he protested, “Eldest Brother is extremely skilled. He was just holding back in front of the instructor. If he were to fight seriously, he could take on hundreds!”

Old Zhang nodded. “The Crown Prince’s martial skills are indeed impressive, but it depends on who the opponent is.”

“Are you suggesting that Eldest Brother can’t defeat you?” the Fifth Prince demanded.

Old Zhang nodded in response. “Forgive my arrogance, judging from the Crown Prince’s performance in the palace training, if he were to go all out, I could at least match him. His evident martial talent surpasses mine by a significant margin. If not for the rigid training methods of the royal martial arts instructor, with the Crown Prince’s talent, he could truly take on a hundred of me.”

The Sixth Prince and the Fifth Prince exchanged a glance. “What if we secretly invite Eldest Brother to join us in martial training?”

Xue Yao furrowed his brow, feeling uneasy.

After all, the Crown Prince was the eldest brother, and he couldn’t act recklessly like his younger siblings, disregarding palace rules.

If this matter were to be disclosed to the Crown Prince, it would put him in a difficult position.

Fourth Zhang spoke to the Sixth Prince, “The Crown Prince has already passed the age of maximum adaptability. Many incorrect fundamentals have become instinctual and are hard to correct. Even with my skills, which are on par with the Crown Prince’s, it might not necessarily help him improve if the fundamental groundwork can’t be rectified.”

The young princes reluctantly accepted his explanation.

The Fifth Prince asked with curiosity, “If you teach us real martial arts, can we become as skilled as Eldest Brother in the future?”

Fourth Zhang smiled. “By finding the right talent direction and tailoring the instruction to each of you, Your Highnesses can at least surpass me by a wide margin.”

The young princes immediately grew excited upon hearing this.

“But we’ve only practiced swordsmanship,” the Sixth Prince expressed some concern, “You easily disarmed us with just three or two moves. If we switch to other weapons, we might not even last a moment. Does that mean we have no talent at all?”

Fourth Zhang chuckled, shaking his head. “For unfamiliar weapons, assessing talent can’t be based on a few moves. I’ll consider your natural tendencies in attack and defense to determine which foundational training suits you. Once you’ve mastered it, you won’t be limited to just one weapon but will excel in various types.”

“That’s amazing!” The Fifth Prince waved his hand. “Let’s get started quickly! I think I’d be good with dual hammers. I’ll spar with you using them next time!”

“Certainly,” Fourth Zhang nodded.

“Then I’ll go with a long spear,” the Sixth Prince said, casually selecting a weapon.

The Seventh Prince turned to Xue Yao nervously, “Does Your Highness have to endure more beatings?”

Xue Yao: “……”

Xue Yao didn’t want the chubby cub to get hurt, but children at the age of twelve or thirteen were in their prime for martial training.

Old Zhang was undoubtedly a highly skilled martial artist, likely having received guidance from the Sword Saint. His teaching method was certainly more reliable than those of the royal instructors in the palace.

This was a great opportunity for martial training. He couldn’t be overly protective of the chubby cub.

“Your Highness, be brave.” Xue Yao gently blew on the chubby cub’s cheek, held his hand, and comforted him, “Martial arts training requires determination and hard work. Only by enduring hardships can you become the most formidable.”

The Sixth Prince approached and consoled, “It’s alright, Seventh Brother. If you don’t want to train, you can rest aside. When I’ve achieved unparalleled martial skills, I’ll be able to protect you,” he turned to Xue Yao and smiled, “and you too, A’Yao.”

The Seventh Prince took a sharp breath, immediately pulled his hand away from Xue Yao’s and turned towards Old Zhang with ambitious determination. “Your grandpa is the most formidable.”

In the subsequent sparring sessions, the chubby cub never dropped his weapon again and sought a hug from Xue Yao.

His competitive spirit was akin to Long Aotian’s rise.

Eighteen different weapons were yet to be tested, and Old Zhang’s expression became increasingly incredulous.

During the seventh round of sparring with the Seventh Prince, Old Zhang abruptly halted and asked with confusion, “Your Highness, how on earth did you discern my attack patterns? You have no foundational skills, so how is it possible to see through my techniques?”

The Seventh Prince was left momentarily stunned, gripping the meteor hammer with a bewildered expression.

The Fifth Prince stepped forward to explain for his less articulate brother, “Seventh Brother has exceptionally fast reflexes, surpassing even our chief instructor on the training ground.”

“It shouldn’t be just because of quick reflexes.” Old Zhang furrowed his brow, focusing on the Seventh Prince. “Even when you can’t avoid my attacks, you can anticipate my striking patterns in advance, at least the right direction to evade. Furthermore, on the day you went to the Crown Prince’s palace, how could you instantly recognize my lightness skill among over a dozen eunuchs? And how did you deduce that my lightness skill surpassed that of a first-grade guard? What’s the basis for your judgment?”

With this revelation, the Fifth Prince and the Sixth Prince also grew curious, both turning to look at their younger brother.

The Seventh Prince found this question difficult to answer. He glanced at his big brothers, but none of them offered an explanation.

“I need to know why, please don’t keep it a secret,” Old Zhang urged earnestly. “I suspect you bear some rare talent. I need to know precisely what that talent is so it won’t hinder your progress.”

Xue Yao was eager to understand the principles behind Long Aotian’s “radar receiver” and joined the crowd, awaiting an answer.

Seeing his brothers and Silly Yaoyao with expectant expressions, the Seventh Prince grew somewhat nervous. He glanced down, swinging the meteor hammer in his hand.

This little guy often fiddled with small objects when he couldn’t fit into the outside world.

Xue Yao knew the chubby cub well, recognizing his behavior as a sign of not knowing how to explain, a means of avoiding communication.

“Don’t be anxious, Your Highness,” Xue Yao took the meteor hammer from the Seventh Prince’s hand and gently placed it aside, offering reassurance, “It’s alright if you can’t explain it clearly or if you make a mistake. Just tell us how you feel, Your Highness.”

Fourth Zhang nodded in encouragement. “Take your time and think about whether you have any differences from others.”

The Seventh Prince raised an eyebrow, his eyes gazing intently through long lashes at Fourth Zhang, and confidently responded, “Your grandpa can eat three more. The others can be full with just one.”

“He’s not asking about Your Highness’ appetite!” Xue Yao hastily covered the chubby cub’s mouth and whispered to him, “Your Highness, having a good appetite isn’t a particularly remarkable skill. Don’t tell them this secret! Old Zhang wants to know how you feel about your surroundings and what sets you apart from others.”

The Seventh Prince glanced at Xue Yao with a tilted head.

His Highness didn’t know what others felt.

Fourth Zhang patiently guided, “Think carefully, how did you determine my attack patterns?”

The Seventh Prince answered, “You were moving.”

“What?” Fourth Zhang inquired further, “Could you elaborate?”

The Seventh Prince kept his eyes on him but pointed to his left rear, “A butterfly is also moving.”

The group followed the direction indicated by the Seventh Prince’s finger and discovered a fluttering, colorful butterfly.

The Seventh Prince’s fingertip slowly changed direction in sync with the butterfly. Although his eyes remained fixed on Fourth Zhang, he softly recited, “Up, down, down, east, up, south…”

The group’s eyes gradually widened in amazement.

That butterfly seemed to be under some sort of spell, obediently following the directions called out by the Seventh Prince — up, down, down, east, up, south…

“This… this can’t be possible!” Fourth Zhang was utterly astonished.

The Fifth Prince, who had always believed the Seventh Prince’s exceptional agility was due to his outstanding reflexes, now found it hard to believe that this little guy could predict not only the actions of others but even those of flying creatures and animals!

“Old Seventh! How… how can you foresee how it’s going to fly?” The Fifth Prince anxiously grabbed the Seventh Prince’s shoulders and shook him with force.

“It’s moving,” the Seventh Prince lowered his head, gazing at the palm of his hand and murmured, “The airflow changes ahead.”

Fourth Zhang’s eyes widened. “Where do you sense the airflow? Can you feel the airflow?”

The Seventh Prince nodded, raising his hand toward the side of his face but without touching the skin. He maintained a slight distance and informed Fourth Zhang, “It’s warm.”

Fourth Zhang adjusted his breathing, carefully trying to sense the young prince’s hand but felt nothing out of the ordinary. “I can’t feel it, I only sense the slight warmth of your palm. Are you saying you can feel the airflow around your fingertips?”

“It’s all over.” The Seventh Prince lowered his hand and pointed to a spot half an inch below his navel, explaining, “Here, there’s a warm flow circulating throughout the body, radiating outward. When you move, the airflow precedes, and you can feel it.”

“I still don’t understand.” The Fifth Prince was thoroughly perplexed.

Fourth Zhang, however, grew increasingly astonished, mumbling after a long pause, “Is he a natural-born martial artist? Can there really be such an extraordinary individual in this world?”

“What does that mean?” the Sixth Prince asked in astonishment. “Does Seventh Brother have a special talent?”

Fourth Zhang nodded, his brows furrowing as he assessed the Seventh Prince from head to toe “The old Sword Saint couldn’t find one in over fifty years, and now I unexpectedly encounter one. Fate can be quite capricious. With my own abilities, how can I sculpt such a gem? And he’s a child in the imperial family…”

“What are you talking about?” the Fifth Prince turned to his younger brother with joy, pinching the chubby cheeks, “Could our Old Seventh have extraordinary innate talent? Will he be even more skilled than Eldest Brother in the future?”

Fourth Zhang let out a heavy sigh.

Far more than extraordinary innate talent, this was an exceedingly rare martial arts prodigy. Sadly, with his current abilities, there was no way to fully unleash the potential of this child’s talent.

Xue Yao overheard Fourth Zhang’s murmured words.

It was like an official declaration of Long Aotian’s exceptional talent! It was practically stamped on the forehead of his chubby cub.

His fake Long Aotian could still be saved!

“So…” Xue Yao approached Fourth Zhang quietly and asked, “Would being a bit plump not affect His Highness’ martial training?”

Fourth Zhang turned to look at Xue Yao and laughed softly. “His Highness isn’t really plump. Children with the ‘natural-born martial artist’ disposition need a significant amount of physical strength to maintain the flow of energy throughout their body. By the time he reaches the age to shed a few pounds, this weight might not even be enough to convert into more energy-storing muscles. In my opinion, he should actually eat more.”

“! ! !” Xue Yao was on the verge of excited tears!

This was the first time someone said his chubby cub wasn’t fat!

It was the most heartwarming encouragement in the world!

Xue Yao immediately went back to tell the chubby cub, “Old Zhang said that Your Highness is a great seed for martial arts! Your Highness is truly…”

“That’s fantastic!” The Fifth Prince interrupted Xue Yao, patted the chubby cub’s shoulder with great joy. “I’ve long seen Old Seventh as a martial arts talent, even the instructor…”

The Seventh Prince suddenly covered the Fifth Prince’s mouth, turning to Xue Yao with a serious look, “You were saying.”

His Highness only wanted to hear Silly Yaoyao’s flattery.

The Fifth Prince, with his mouth covered: “……”

“Your Highness truly possesses exceptional talent!” Xue Yao enthusiastically praised, along with some flattery.

The Sixth Prince’s gaze fixated on Xue Yao’s radiant smile, and he couldn’t help but chuckle for a moment. However, his expression suddenly turned melancholic. His head lowered, his shoulders slumping as he chose the next weapon.

Just a little more effort would be enough.

Seventh Brother was quite lazy, and innate talent might not be of significant help. In the future, he would still need the protection of the Sixth Prince.

A’Yao would definitely need his protection as well.

To become everyone’s reliance.

Like how Mother Consort relied on Father Emperor.

So he wouldn’t be abandoned or despised.

He must put in double the effort.

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