Since ancient times, the human race and demon race were like water and fire. Conflicts sprung up everywhere.
The demon race originated from the cultivation of demon beasts. Just like they said, “those who are not our kin are sure to be of a different heart”. Since the beginning of ancient times, the humans and demons warred against each other time and time again over resources, up until now, where there was already a deep sea of resentment, and it was too late to ever turn back.
Luo Jianqing had known about what Zuo Yunmo said about the persisting 230-year war. That war was the ultimate hatred between the two races in all history. The demon race had three demon masters, and the human race had two Mahayana stage cultivators. Among them, one of them was the Hao Ming Peak Lord of Tai Hua Mountain, Luo Jianqing’s one martial ancestor.
However, Luo Jianqing had presently cultivated for no more than 36 years. In that time period, everything was peaceful as can be, and no conflict broke out between the two races for a full 100 years. The high-level demon beasts were all in seclusion and did not come out, and the human race did not take the initiative to stir up conflict. Only Body-Fusion cultivators and below and demon beasts below eighth-level would battle hand-to-hand at the borders, though there was no conflict now.
The Wan Shou Mountains that Luo Jianqing frequented were an unregulated zone set up by the human and demon race. Any demon beast eighth-level and below could enter as they pleased, and any cultivator Body-Fusion stage and below could enter as well. Here, life and death, poor or rich; it was all destined. The two races could freely unleash their hatred through reckless carnage.
Zuo Yunmo’s soft smiling voice echoed in the quiet courtyard, “Senior brother, although True Lord Beidou is not strong enough, he acquired a great amount of merit during the war and obtained many treasures. When you went through the remnants during this practice experience, that was his lifebound magical tool, the Ursa Major Seven Star Formation. This is one earth-rank formation that could kill a Nascent Soul cultivator. A pity that the remnants are closed now. Otherwise, you could take over. It would be of great use to you in the future.”
Hearing what he said, the corners of Luo Jianqing’s lips raised slightly. He asked, “Junior brother, when did you learn to be so analytical?”
Zuo Yunmo said helplessly, “The sect-wide competition is in half a year. Senior brother, I certainly do not wish to be rebuked by our sect leader again.”
The two people laughed and bantered for quite some time, then the paper crane brandished its wings and slowly flew off into the sky, swiftly disappearing from Luo Jianqing’s view. Gazing at the crystal clear sky, Luo Jianqing slowly squinted his eyes. His sleeves flicked as he turned around to go back to his own room.
After he came back, Luo Jianqing immediately took out the blood-red jade piece from his storage ring and studied it meticulously.
“Nine Heavenly Seizure Record”. The name sounded tyrannical enough, and especially the words “heavenly” and “seizure” made Luo Jianqing feel apprehensive in his heart.
True Lord Beidou said that this was a manual he had gotten, but Luo Jianqing felt that this was impossible. Even if that True Lord Beidou came to own a great number of possessions during the war, set up remnants that were far beyond an ordinary Nascent Soul cultivator’s ability, he should not have such an extraordinary cultivation method.
If True Lord Beidou truly practiced this cultivation method, then surely he would not have fallen to such a low cultivation level, been killed by a demon beast, and finally die a tragic death.
After struggling against the phantom demon fox’s possession, Luo Jianqing only remembered being in extreme pain and nothing else after that. When he regained consciousness, he saw Li Xiuchen, who was covered in blood.
After two days, Li Xiuchen awakened. Even though he was blind in both eyes, he was not deaf nor mute. Luo Jianqing made someone question him for the truth, but Li Xiuchen only remembered that he had finally gotten to the last pass and didn’t remember what happened afterwards.
——Li Xiuchen had also lost his memory.
Luo Jianqing’s intuition told him that this matter was definitely complicated. He and Li Xiuchen probably had their memories erased by someone powerful.
His thoughts came and went. The only theory Luo Jianqing could come up with is that there was probably some connection to True Lord Beidou, but he was no longer able to enter the remnants and figure it out for himself.
It had already been two months since Luo Jianqing reincarnated. He could clearly feel spiritual energy slowly flowing inside his body. This speed meant that when the sect-wide competitions came around half a year later, there was no way he could beat second junior brother, Zuo Yunmo, who was always working hard at cultivation. Even third junior sister Wei Qiongyin could probably defeat him.
Most importantly, his cultivation levels were probably heading south.
Thinking of this, Luo Jianqing tightly clutched the blood-red jade piece in his hand.
Time passed outside the window. The sunset slowly fell behind the mountains, and the clear moon rose up from the east. On the second day when the morning sun soared from the earth and leapt out, Luo Jianqing walked to the window in deep thought, gazing at the bright, glittering, round sun. Finally, he let out a long sigh and went back to the couch.
This time, Luo Jianqing arranged enchanted boundaries all around the room so no one looking for him would be able to go inside.
He probed the jade piece with a thread of spiritual sense. Less than a moment later, that ear-splitting noise rang again. In his mind, he could read the words of the secret method “Nine Heavenly Seizure Record”. Luo Jianqing shut his eyes and sat in the lotus position on the soft couch, his two hands forming hand seals in the air.
At first, he was extremely slow, but he got faster and faster the more time passed until they were forming virtual images.
“Watch how dogs are cut down by all, how the world is cold and heartless; the years leave no trace behind, seeing all as worthless dregs.”
“We are cultivators. We cultivate our true feelings. We cultivate ourselves. We cultivate every living thing in the world, yet the one thing we do not cultivate is the heavenly law!”
“What do you cultivate?”
The green light on Luo Jianqing’s body released. The sounds of thunder rumbled inside his mind. He suddenly opened his eyes and raised his head to look up. His gaze pierced beyond the ceiling, looking directly at the sky!
“I cultivate the way of seizing the heavenly law. I rebel against the heavenly law. I will become the heavens!”
Luo Jianqing’s voice had just fallen when the green three-petaled lotus on his forehead erupted. Ancient qi slowly floated up from underground and took shape of a transparent phantom. As if it were a thin snake, it slithered up his body, but Luo Jianqing seemed to be completely unaware of it. The thin snake stretched inside his body and turned into boiling spiritual energy.
This spiritual energy boiled like magma, frantically colliding against every inch of spiritual veins in his body. The pain made him grit his teeth tightly, but blood still flowed down from the corners of his lips. Inside this trail of blood contained boundless spiritual energy. Finally, Luo Jianqing couldn’t bear it any longer and spat forth a mouthful of blood!
The spiritual energy inside the blood was vast as a great river. Fortunately, Luo Jianqing had used the magical tool that sixth junior brother gifted to him to set up the boundaries around him, and it could stop any curious Nascent Soul cultivator. The cultivation of Yi Tian Sect’s great elders were nothing more than the middle stage of Core Formation, so they would not discover any abnormalities.
The first heart’s blood was only the beginning. After the thin snake entered his body, Luo Jianqing spat out mouthful after mouthful of blood, as if he was going to spit out all the blood in his body. The spiritual energy that was contained in this blood frantically rammed against the enchanted boundaries. Finally, the enchanted boundaries began to resist it little by little and it slowly dissipated into the air, returning to the skies.
Luo Jianqing’s boundaries did not stop tumbling.
Beginning stage of Core Formation, late stage of Qi Foundation, middle stage of Qi Foundation…
Finally, his cultivation fell right to Qi Condensation!
After Luo Jianqing spat out the last mouthful of blood, his body shook. He toppled backwards feebly and lost consciousness.
At this moment, a sighing voice lowly echoed in his mind, “‘True Nine-Petaled Lotus Record’… someone from a later generation of Yu Xiao Peak?”
After the voice fell, the sound of thunder echoed again!
“With every waking moment do the spirits of nature struggle; if the heavens thy desire dost follow, seize them!”
“Seize their all-knowing power. Seize the seasons’ rhythm.”
“The first seizure of the ‘Nine Heavenly Seizure Record’ will be the seasons!”
The voice had just fallen when all the plants, flowers, and trees in the tiny courtyard started to shiver and sway timidly as if they wanted to flee. A violent wind blew past, an imaginary force that blew from their bodies, carrying rays and rays of bright light as it swept by, but did not enter Luo Jianqing’s body.
In a flash, Luo Jianqing’s body trembled, and he abruptly sat back in meditation reflexively.
His fingers wove hand-seals effortlessly as the rays of light bore into his meridians and joints all over his body. The light moistened his slowly drying meridians, restoring them back to their original state. Then it came to Luo Jianqing’s dantian, approaching the golden core inside his dantian.
The golden core had dried up when Luo Jianqing vomited out all the blood in his body. Now it had no strength left to counterattack and was helpless against the rays of light as it bore into it, rubbing and grinding once again.
Green rays of light softly blossomed on Luo Jianqing’s body, whose imaginary power had already flown outside the courtyard. They razed any vegetation they met inside Yi Tian Sect, which shook in fear until they finally gave up a bit of light as an offering.
The force swept past the courtyard where the Tai Hua Mountain disciples were resting, past the hateful and derisive Li Xiuchen, past the countless infatuated young girls surrounding Luo Jianqing’s courtyard, and finally to the Yi Tian Sect leader’s spirit herb garden.
Every single spirit herb was wiped out by the mighty force, all except a third-grade spirit herb that shook as it struggled against the force for its own life, but finally gave up a wisp of light. This light was much brighter than the others. After the light broke off, the spirit herb didn’t change but instead stretched toward the sunlight without restraint.
The second elder of Yi Tian Sect said with alarm, “Senior brother! Doesn’t the Cold Branch Grass fear sunlight? Why is your beloved third-grade Cold Branch Grass stretching its leaves below the sunlight?”
Having heard what was said, the great elder was shocked as well. “Impossible! I lovingly raised this Cold Branch Grass for many years. It already has spiritual sense. It is impossible for it to injure itself like this.”
And many other baffling incidents like this kept popping up one after another at Yi Tian Sect.
Even the Sun-Facing Flower that always faced the sun suddenly lowered its head to look at the ground, and the plants that only blossomed during the winter suddenly sprouted buds in the spring!
It appeared that these plants all gave up following the natural law and began to act as they pleased. No longer were they bound by this world’s invisible rules. Under this ego-driven competition, some plants gradually wilted, while others grew even stronger.
Luo Jianqing did not have any idea of what had just happened. Slowly, he rose to consciousness again and felt the strength in his body gradually recover.
The rays of light flew towards his body from every direction. With each one, his qi began to slowly increase. Qi Condensation, Qi Foundation, early stage Core Formation… middle stage Core Formation!
He had returned to middle stage Core Formation once again. Except for his meridians and his aching joints, it seemed that nothing had even happened. But Luo Jianqing already understood what he had just given up as he looked at the condensed chunk of blood on the floor.
The spiritual energy in his body had completely vanished!
If you wanted to cultivate “Nine Heavenly Seizure Record”, then you must give up the spiritual energy that you already cultivated.
Right now, although it seemed that there was no difference in the spiritual energy levels in his body, Luo Jianqing already felt that nothing like that ever happened. He felt that he and this world were totally incompatible as if he were rejected by every living thing in the world. Only the plants and flowers inside Yi Tian Sect seemed to be excitedly cheering and leaping for his awakening.
This was the first seizure of “Nine Heavenly Seizure Record”, snatching away the plants and seasons.
Luo Jianqing cultivated in his courtyard for three days. When his cultivation settled, he left Yi Tian Sect and flew back in the flying treasure ship to his own junior brothers and sisters. Back then, the third elder of Yi Tian Sect said, “Fellow Daoist Li, it seems that he still has not yet recovered. Fellow Daoist Luo, perhaps you would like to rest a bit longer?”
Luo Jianqing stood in the blue skies, a green gown covering his body. His long hair blew freely in the wind, his eyebrows like they had been drawn with ink. He smiled slightly and said, “No need. I must return to my sect urgently. Many thanks for your hospitality.”
The third elder said, “Since this is the case, then this one will not delay you any further. Originally, sect leader senior brother wished to see you off personally, but recently the Cold Branch Grass in senior brother’s garden are nearly beginning to wilt. Senior brother wishes to save them, and there is not a moment to waste.”
Luo Jianqing was faintly surprised when he heard that, and a bit of embarrassment flitted over his elegant face. As if the spiritual energy in his body heard the third elder’s voice, it proudly rushed forth several times, like it wanted to take credit for this achievement.
Luo Jianqing nodded in shame. He had not opened his mouth when the third elder added, “But the strange thing is, this morning, a second-grade spirit herb in the spirit herb garden managed to upgrade to a third-grade spirit herb. Fellow Daoist Luo, Tai Hua Mountain is famed for its long history, and their knowledge is broad and varied. Do you know what might have happened?”
Luo Jianqing shook his head faintly. “No, I do not.”
The two exchanged pleasantries for a bit longer. Then Luo Jianqing waved his sleeve to start up the flying ship and officially departed from the Yi Tian Mountains.
On the ship, the nineteenth junior brother quietly came to Luo Jianqing’s door, knocked, and went inside. After all, they were returning back to their sect, and while courtesy may not have been needed when they were outside before, the nineteenth junior brother now respectfully cupped his hands to salute Luo Jianqing. “Great senior brother, I understand that we are returning to Tai Hua Mountain, but may I ask if that Li Xiuchen…”
Luo Jianqing had just been lowering his gaze to a strand of Immortal Grass. Having heard what was said, he said neutrally, “Junior brother Li’s injuries are especially severe. You have said before, that at the very least he should have a Calamity Passage elder who would take up the task, or perhaps have the ability to help him recover.”
The nineteenth junior brother furrowed his brows in confusion as he listened to him speak.
Luo Jianqing said calmly, “Our elders are the towers of strength of our sect. Helping him recover would damage our elders’ cultivation. Tell sect leader martial uncle what I said to you. As for how he will deal with it, that has nothing to do with us.” Pausing, Luo Jianqing turned his head to face the nineteenth junior brother and smiled. “Junior brother Li’s injuries are serious, and he cannot cultivate. Since this is the case, the resources of the inner disciples are going to waste. For him to recover, make him move outside Hao Ming Peak before his body recovers. I think after you return, ask fourth junior brother, and he will surely know what to do.”
The nineteenth junior brother was stunned, and then finally chuckled mischievously. “Yes! Great senior brother, I know now.”
Looking at the nineteenth junior brother’s increasingly distant shadow, the smile on Luo Jianqing’s face gradually disappeared.
Naturally, he could guess what the nineteenth junior brother was thinking. Nothing else should be done other than drive this arrogant brat with all bark and no bite out of inner Hao Ming Peak, and he will be perfectly content. But to Luo Jianqing, he wished for Li Xiuchen to die!
The scene he saw right before he died in his past life was still fresh in his memory. Luo Jianqing would not dare forget it, but nowadays he had already broken away from the heavenly will a little bit. Naturally he felt that if the heavenly will dropped 3,000 consciousness, then at the very least 2,000 was gathered onto Li Xiuchen’s body!
He could not kill Li Xiuchen.
At least for now, he absolutely could not kill Li Xiuchen.
And Li Xiuchen had a great fortune, a great destiny, yet what could a cripple do with great fortune? Only…
All his achievements would end up being useful to someone else.
Luo Jianqing’s lips raised in a faint smile.
The next day, everyone made their majestic return back to Tai Hua Mountain.
The disciples who had just gone through the practice experience felt like they had turned over a new leaf and proudly spoke to their martial brothers, who hadn’t gone through the remnants, about what happened there. And for Luo Jianqing, he went to Cang Shuang Peak to give the jade piece to the elders and wrote down what happened during the practice experience.
After the elder in charge approved of it, Luo Jianqing saluted and flew back to Yu Xiao Peak.
Right when he had just settled down, he heard a clear, cold voice behind his body. “Violating your master’s orders and leaving the mountain by yourself. Jianqing, when have you become so bold and shameless?”
Luo Jianqing shivered and turned around stiffly.
In front of the verdant bamboo and green mountains, an honored senior in a white chang pao gazed down at him with a cool gaze.
Luo Jianqing’s heart gradually became ice-cold as he stared at the other person without any trace of feeling in his eyes, only sensing his throat becoming rough. He lowered his head and said stubbornly, “Master, this disciple has always practiced cultivation earnestly without rest. The newcomers’ practice experience is an important matter in our sect. Naturally, as I am the great senior brother, it is only right that I should lead them.”
“Yet you still dare argue with me!” As he spoke, a mighty force erupted in a split second, suppressing Luo Jianqing so he could not raise his head.
Luo Jianqing’s heart hurt as he listened to these cold words. Gritting his teeth he said, “Jianqing does not know what he did wrong!”
After a while, he heard Xuan Lingzi say calmly, “Since this is the case, then let your master see the results of your cultivation. Endure ten attacks, and this matter will be forgiven. Otherwise, I will punish you by secluding you within Yu Xiao Peak for a year, and will not let you out!”
His voice had just fallen when an expansive sword light flew straight towards Luo Jianqing. He reflexively drew back, but the sword light still cut off a strand of hair. A green light flashed between his forehead, and Shuang Fu appeared in his hand.
He saw Xuan Lingzi swap the sword for bamboo, and said with a voice cold as ice, “Your master has suppressed his cultivation to early stage Core Formation.”
Luo Jianqing grit his teeth. “Yes!”
Two figures, one white and one green, flew rapidly through the bamboo forest. Shuang Fu released burst after burst of lightning snakes but were all blocked by the unassuming bamboo sword. The bamboo sword had nothing remarkable about it. It was only because its wielder was the world’s strongest cultivator. It rose up sharply and lifted a mighty sword force, pressing Shuang Fu down that it had no strength to resist.
Luo Jianqing struggled as he blocked Xuan Lingzi’s attacks. This time, he seemed to be truly furious, as each attack headed straight for Luo Jianqing’s vital points. Although he suppressed his cultivation to early-stage Core Formation, his cultivation level surpassed Luo Jianqing’s by miles. A mere thread of sword intent alone was enough to make Luo Jianqing roll over.
Another ray of golden sword light flashed past yet again. Luo Jianqing hastily dodged, though a trail of blood marked his face.
Xuan Lingzi’s face remained impassioned, and the force behind his attacks grew stronger with each blow. On the ninth attack, his sword pointed at Luo Jianqing’s chest. Luo Jianqing raised Shuang Fu to block him, his entire body shifting to the side.
The bamboo sword split Luo Jianqing’s sleeve, exposing snow white skin. The red mark on it was bright and dazzling as if a red flower was blooming, creating an extremely beautiful contrast against his fair skin.
Xuan Lingzi’s pupils shrunk, and his movements suddenly came to a stop.
Luo Jianqing poured all his spiritual energy into Shuang Fu. Immediately, the sword light flared up, and the silver lightning around Shuang Fu’s blade rolled and boiled. Luo Jianqing pulled up his sword and thrust it towards Xuan Lingzi, who, surprisingly enough, did not resist. When the sword light and the lightning were nearing his face, he hurriedly dodged, and a strand of hair was cut off.
Luo Jianqing returned Shuang Fu between his forehead. “Master, this disciple defeated you on the tenth attack.”
Xuan Lingzi was completely silent.
Luo Jianqing raised his eyes in astonishment and just caught Xuan Lingzi looking at his tattered cuffs with a complex gaze. Luo Jianqing turned his head to look at that red scar, and said quietly, “I seem to have gotten this mark by something inside the remnants. I used Concentrated Jade Syrup, but it would not disappear. This was nothing important, so I ignored it. Master, do you know what made this scar?”
A red cloud quickly flew across Xuan Lingzi’s fair face. Once his face was cold again, he sent Luo Jianqing flying three meters away with a flick of his sleeve, then said neutrally, “Your master… does not know either. But this seems to be nothing important, so pay it no mind. As you have cultivated well, this time you will be in seclusion for half a year. When the sect-wide competition arrives, you may leave.”
Luo Jianqing stared blankly when he heard what he said, but finally, he nodded in agreement.
In a blink of an eye, Xuan Lingzi vanished, like he did not even wish to spare another second for his own disciple.
Luo Jianqing looked on dumbly at this scene. After a while, he sighed, and said to himself with a bitter smile, “I remember that each time little junior sister went back to do the practice experience, Lady Yu Qingzi looked after her with the utmost care. She wished she could lock up little junior sister and never let her go out for the practice experience again.”
With only a faint smiling expression on his elegant face, Luo Jianqing peacefully gazed toward the confining bamboo door, and whispered, “Wu Yin, I escaped within an inch of my life this time, but you didn’t show the slightest bit of concern. Do you… even care at all?”
His bitter, pained voice gradually dissipated into the air. Luo Jianqing broke through the bamboo forest and quickly returned to his bamboo house.
Half a year hurried by. One early morning, a pale yellow figure appeared at the base of Yu Xiao Peak.
The arrival’s face was delicate and pretty. Though he was not very handsome, his features were soft and tender. He said in a loud voice, “Great senior brother, there’s only three days until the sect-wide competition begins. Master ordered me to come and tell you to be there within a shichen.”
This was the second of Tai Hua Mountain’s Seven Children, Cang Shuang Peak’s inheriting great disciple, Zuo Yunmo.