The scorching sun was already overhead when Luo Jianqing brought the twelve little radishes to Liangzhou’s Yi Tian City.
The twelve Qi Foundation cultivators who were all dressed alike, plus the handsome, peerless Core Formation cultivator, formed a battle formation that was too powerful, attracting many people’s attention the entire journey. They could not fly in the city, so Luo Jianqing and the others came down from the flying magical tool and stepped into Yi Tian City.
They were just about to enter the city when Luo Jianqing saw the four Qi Foundation junior brothers and sisters, as well as the other twelve new disciples.
The four disciples saluted Luo Jianqing one after another when they saw him, yelling, “Great senior brother.”
The twelve newcomers also immediately saluted. “Great senior brother.”
Luo Jianqing faintly nodded, sweeping a mild gaze over them. When he saw Li Xiuchen, he didn’t react, but only calmly shifted his line of sight. Then he guided the crowd to Yi Tian City’s stronghold and took the men Yi Tian Sect had prepared.
Today, they stopped to rest in the largest tavern of the city. A man as tall and strong as a horse saw Luo Jianqing, surprise flashing through his eyes. Then he cupped his hands and said, “Fellow Daoist, I am Liu Dong, an elder of Yi Tian Sect. Concerning the matter of the Hidden Realm, my sect has already assigned people to investigate. Today we will invite everyone to rest for the time being in this guest house. Tomorrow morning I will lead everyone to the entrance of the Hidden Realm.” He paused and said, “What is this fellow Daoist called?”
To others, Luo Jianqing’s expression was calm as he said neutrally, “Luo Jianqing.”
The man was startled, his eyes wide. After a while, he lowered his head and said, “Fellow Daoist Luo.”
After the four Qi Foundation disciples made the proper arrangements for all twenty four newcomers, Elder Liu left unhurriedly. Before leaving, he quietly sized up Luo Jianqing several times with a complex and unreadable look.
Luo Jianqing doesn’t pay attention to these sorts of trivial matters, but he knew what this elder was thinking.
The reputation of the Seven Children of Tai Hua has long spread all over China. In “Seeking Immortality”, when Elder Liu heard the leader was the little junior sister, the Last of Tai Hua’s Seven Children, he had the same reaction. After all, for a small sect like Yi Tian Sect, the strongest had only passed no further than the late stage of Core Formation. Even Elder Liu just then was only in the late stage of Qi Foundation.
At Tai Hua Mountain, it was only possible to become an elder by attaining late stage Core Formation as well as establishing great merit. All the regular elders were above Nascent Soul stage. Among the seven peaks, Sir Xuan Lingzi of Yu Xiao Peak was the only cultivator on Earth who reached Spirit-Refining. For the other six peaks, the fifth Peak Lord was at the Mahayana stage, and only Yu Qingzi was at the Calamity Passage stage.
Tai Hua Mountain was located right in the heart of China. Yu Xiao Peak was so high it clashed against the skies, and it was said that it towered above all living things. Among the millions and millions of places Tai Hua Mountain encompassed, the schools there all received Tai Hua Mountain’s protection. Their only request was that when they found any remnants of the Hidden Realm, they must inform Tai Hua Mountain so they could explore them.
It seemed that these remnants that the Nascent Soul cultivator of Yi Tian Sect discovered was only one among others.
Yet Tai Hua Mountain still looked down on the remnants that the Nascent Soul cultivator found. But fortunately, this was the first time the newcomers had come out for practice in ten years, so the sect leader let the new disciples come here to learn.
This seemed to be very similar to “paying tribute” which was a good thing for these small sects. As they said, treasuring a jade ring turns into a crime, and since their strength was not enough to protect their treasure, they could only rely on Tai Hua Mountain’s protection, which benefit them.
That night, after Luo Jianqing finished meditating in cultivation, a Qi Foundation disciple came to him.
The disciple was from Hao Ming Peak, and it could also be said that he was a trusted follower of Xie Zizhuo’s. After he entered Luo Jianqing’s room, he immediately said tactfully, “Senior brother, my senior brother Xie told me to tell you that he doesn’t like that thing you don’t like either. So at this time, the thing you don’t like has been handled properly.” After speaking, he chuckled.
Luo Jianqing raised an eyebrow. “How did he handle it?”
The disciple looked all around him. Luo Jianqing coolly waved a hand to set up an enchanted boundary, cutting them off from anyone who might watch.
The disciple explained, “We Hao Ming Peak do not like that Li Xiuchen. You know that the next sect-wide competition is less than a year away and last time, Hao Ming Peak came in second-last. We were only ahead of Qing Feng Peak by a little bit, and they devote themselves to refining medicine pills. Everyone at our peak is very driven, and we want to work hard and climb up. Who would’ve guessed that some lucky bastard with no constitution came along, and what’s more he’s a newcomer that thinks he’s better than everyone else.”
With competition came motivation, and the ranking at the sect-wide competition was just and fair. The disciple continued, “Also, what’s strange is that after Li Xiuchen came to Hao Ming Peak, he didn’t properly cultivate and just gave up. And he would also run to the back of the mountain practically every day. Every single new disciple has reached Qi Foundation already, while he’s just wasting time.”
Having heard what was said, Luo Jianqing finally wrinkled his eyebrows. “Today I saw that he was already at the second phase of Qi Foundation.”
The disciple immediately nodded. “Exactly! This is the strange part. Obviously he never cultivated, but half a month ago he suddenly entered Qi Foundation, and after seven days he entered the second phase! Even senior brother Xie thought this was very strange. He doesn’t like him, and sent some disciples to provoke him, even taking away his meals, but anyway he was really angry and confronted us, and also…”
At this point, the disciple stopped. After thinking for a long time, he finally said, “Right! Li Xiuchen said, ‘Thirty years the river runs east, thirty years the river runs west, (1) do not deceive a poor young man’. He was talking while standing on top of a rock looking at us all high and mighty. Then he said he will leave us behind in the end and make us into his stepping stones. So senior brother Xie didn’t talk to him and planned for a few new disciples to beat him up.”
Luo Jianqing, “…”
The disciple spoke with an admiring expression, “Senior brother Xie truly deserves to be our senior brother Xie. He only said one sentence and made Li Xiuchen speechless. He said, ‘Laozi is at the Core Formation stage, you are at the Qi Foundation stage. We Hao Ming Peak are as strong as kings. Do you believe that Laozi can crush you with just a finger?’”
Luo Jianqing finally let out a snort. “Pfft.”
The disciple still continued to talk about Li Xiuchen’s run ins with bad luck at Hao Ming Peak. After an hour, he finally left Luo Jianqing’s room. Before he left, the disciple looked at the sword mark on Luo Jianqing’s forehead in astonishment, and couldn’t help asking, “Senior brother Luo, I did not know you were…”
Luo Jianqing sensed the disciple’s gaze and opened the door with a flick of his sleeve, saying indifferently, “It’s just a little something. You don’t need to worry about it.”
It was obvious that Luo Jianqing wanted to see him out, so the disciple did not dare to ask any further. He cupped his hands in salute, then left immediately.
After there was only one person left in the room, Luo Jianqing raised his hand up into the air to draw a water mirror, looking at his reflection peacefully.
If someone practiced Yu Xiao Peak’s unrivaled cultivation method, the True Nine-Petaled Lotus Record, then practiced the sword, a sword mark would form on the forehead. This sword mark was shaped like a nine-petaled lotus. From the beginning of the Qi Foundation stage, the first petal of the design would open, then a second petal at Core Formation… at the Spirit-Refining stage, there would be eight petals opened altogether, and finally when someone flew heavenwards and became immortal, they would attain the ninth petal, becoming the nine-petaled lotus. From that point on, they could gallop all over the world, unstoppable.
Luo Jianqing currently had a two-petaled green sword mark on his forehead, whereas Xuan Lingzi’s golden sword mark already had eight petals.
Xuan Lingzi’s thought had entered Luo Jianqing’s stream of consciousness and took shape in the form of this red seal. Luo Jianqing had rushed to Yi Tian City, carefully examining the red seal the entire journey, but in the end, it was unable to be covered up, much less removed.
That person was a Spirit-Refining Stage cultivator. Even though he himself was very gifted, he still hadn’t gotten past Core Formation.
Both were separated by five great boundaries. Even if it was merely a thought, he couldn’t resist the other person.
Looking at the red seal in the water mirror for ages, Luo Jianqing slowly restrained his pupils and dispersed the water mirror with a flick of his sleeve. He slowly turned around to meditate, following what that person said and concentrate on cultivating.
On the second day, he watched the Qi Foundation disciples around him, then watched the twenty-four new disciples. After that, he nodded with satisfaction and activated the flying magical tool, letting everyone get on, and headed towards the remnants together.
This time, it was not the Qi Foundation Elder Liu who showed the way for Luo Jianqing, but instead an old early-stage Core Formation man. He cupped his hands in salute, saying, “Yi Tian Sect did not know that Tai Hua Mountain had surprisingly assigned fellow Daoist Luo as the leader this time. There was truly no respect shown yesterday. This one is the third elder of Yi Tian Sect, Cao Haining. This time, a specialist has come to guide our fellow Daoist. I hope that fellow Daoist Luo will find it in himself to forgive us, please do not be angry.”
“Seeking Immortality” didn’t mention Yi Tian Sect replacing the guide, but Luo Jianqing didn’t mind. After he spoke a couple sentences with Elder Luo, he returned to his own room and opened an enchantment boundary, continuing to meditate in cultivation.
Sixth junior brother had sent this flying magical tool to Luo Jianqing a few years ago. Its external appearance was a treasure ship, and had eighty-one rooms in total. It was two times slower than a Core Formation cultivator, but it was very cozy and quite suitable for transporting these little radishes.
When they approached the remnants, Luo Jianqing put away the magical tool and headed towards the land with the other disciples.
Naturally, cultivators had extraordinarily strong legs, but the remnants were deep in the Yi Tian Mountains. They walked for an entire day, but not a trace of the remnants could be seen. Elder Cao, worried that Luo Jianqing would misunderstand, immediately cupped his hands and said, “Fellow Daoist Luo, these remnants are in the depths of the Yi Tian Mountains, and they are completely hidden from sight. We must travel for another day before we arrive.”
Luo Jianqing nodded in acknowledgment.
With how strong his and Elder Cao’s legs are, it was natural that they would soon arrive. But these little radishes were different. Among them, the best of them was not anything more than Phase Four of Qi Condensation, and a dozen or so of them were merely new cultivators who had just reached Phase One of Qi Condensation. They had done well keeping up to now and being undemanding.
At night, the party sat on a mat in the meadow of the mountain woods. Everyone was divided up at two bonfires, while Luo Jianqing had his own. Even though Cao Haining and Luo Jianqing were both Core Formation cultivators, he knew that at Qi Foundation, the first of Tai Hua’s Seven Children had once killed a demonic cultivator who was at the early stage of Core Formation. He was so powerful that he could match his strength.
Elder Cao looked at Luo Jianqing distantly and sighed in sorrow. “Fellow Daoist Luo is truly hard-working, cultivating on the entire journey.”
A Qi Foundation disciple laughed. “Elder Cao, you don’t really get it. Our great senior brother is the famous madman of Tai Hua Mountain. In those years, senior brother wasn’t anything more than a baby when martial uncle Xuan Lingzi brought him to Tai Hua Mountain. That time, second senior brother had reached Qi Foundation long ago, and he was older than great senior brother by a year! But now? Great senior brother already reached the middle stage of Core Formation, and second senior brother hasn’t reached anything higher than the early stage of Core Formation.”
Elder Cao said, aghast, “Is fellow Daoist Luo really so audacious?”
Another Qi Foundation disciple explained, “Actually, it should be said that martial uncle Xuan Lingzi was extremely harsh to great senior brother. Apparently in those days, great senior brother could break martial uncle Xuan Lingzi’s Qi Foundation record, but martial uncle Xuan Lingzi said great senior brother’s foundation wasn’t stable enough, and stubbornly made great senior brother go to Wan Shou Mountains to kill demon beasts for three years. After that, he let him pass Qi Foundation.” He paused to sigh. “Great senior brother was only around ten years old at that time…”
Elder Cao’s eyes were wide with fright. “Sir Xuan Lingzi is truly… truly spirited!”
Everyone laughed loudly.
Gossiping like this, even if someone reached Core Formation, would inevitably lead to depravity. Very soon, the sly foxes Qi Foundation disciples began to tell a story about some sex scandals on Tai Hua Mountain. Excluding Elder Cao, the rest of the new Qi Condensation disciples strained their ears to listen with curiosity.
In the pitch black night, no one saw Li Xiuchen sneakily stand up and move next to a bonfire not far away.
Luo Jianqing set up an enchanted boundary for himself so cultivators below Core Formation could not approach him. However, he did not set up an enchanted boundary that was soundproof. Li Xiuchen looked at Luo Jianqing up and down with an odd look, and finally whispered, “TV set?”
Luo Jianqing still had his eyes closed in cultivation.
Li Xiuchen said again, “Computers? Contra? Internet?”
Luo Jianqing’s expression was unperturbed. His radiant face contrasted against the flames, making him even more shockingly beautiful.
Li Xiuchen continued to ask incessantly, “Brothers, the 2008 Olympics? Korean groups? The four heavenly kings of Hong Kong?”
Li Xiuchen had been talking for a whole three minutes, but not once did Luo Jianqing raise his eyes. Right when he was about to say something else, he saw Luo Jianqing suddenly open his eyes and fix his ice-cold gaze on him. Li Xiuchen’s entire body shook. When he was on the verge of opening his mouth, Luo Jianqing flung his wide sleeve. Li Xiuchen wailed as he was flung a complete ten meters away. He knocked into a large tree, producing a loud monstrous sound.
Everyone nearby who had been gossiping, “…”
Luo Jianqing rose and brushed dust off his body, and said with a cold expression, “Shut up. Go back to your own spot.”
Li Xiuchen grit his teeth and got up. When he returned to his spot, Luo Jianqing had sat back down a while ago, continuing to meditate.
At this time, Li Xiuchen was suffering while staring at Luo Jianqing with eyes full of threat and wrath. He muttered quietly, “Thirty years a river runs east, thirty years a river runs west. Right now, you may be pleased with yourself, but wait until… ah!”
The other disciples looked appalled when they saw Li Xiuchen fall three or four meters down, then knock into another several-hundred year old tree. For some inexplicable reason, his face had another shoe print on it. Blood slowly flowed from his nostrils. This time, he was completely knocked out.
Everyone didn’t understand what had happened except the early-stage Core Formation Elder Cao, who wiped off his sweat with a shaking hand. Secretly, he thought, “This… this power is truly astonishing. Luo Jianqing is as quick as lightning, and I didn’t even see how he kicked him. And he even went back to meditate.”
Truly, no one is deceiving me. This is the First of Tai Hua’s Seven Children! He was really worthy of the title First of Tai Hua’s Seven Children!
After a day, everyone was finally approaching where the remnants were supposed to be. Li Xiuchen felt disgruntled as he followed behind everyone else, the shoe print still on his face. No matter how he washed it, it wouldn’t come off, so he could only walk with his head bowed and a shoe print on his face.
Not long after, they saw a middle-stage Core Formation cultivator walk towards them in mid-air. First he nodded to Elder Cao, and exchanged glances. Then he turned his head to face the graceful and renowned green-clothed cultivator in the crowd, cupping his hands in a salute. “Fellow Daoist Luo, I, Yi Tian Sect’s second elder of Zhao Yu Peak who leads thirty Qi Condensation disciples and twelve Qi Foundation disciples, have been looking forward to this for a long time.”
- (1) Thirty years the river runs east, thirty years the river runs west (三十年河东，三十年河西): Describes natural cycles, rising and falling… ah, Li Xiuchen, you embarrass me just reading about you…