Cultivators from the outside world called the seven inheriting great disciples of Tai Hua Mountain’s peaks “Tai Hua’s Seven Children” for a reason.
These seven were the most remarkable disciples that ever existed in Tai Hua Mountain’s entire history. Save for the little junior sister Mu Tianxin, who specialized in refining medicine and whose cultivation differed slightly, the other six were the very first to achieve Core Formation out of nearly a hundred disciples. They never failed to reach the top ranks in each sect-wide competition.
To a cultivator, age was fleeting. Before Luo Jianqing formed his golden core, he was actually the little junior brother. However, Tai Hua Mountain had a custom. Forming a golden core implied “being able to walk anywhere under the skies, not failing Tai Hua Mountain’s name”. Therefore, whoever formed a golden core first among the direct disciples would become the great senior brother.
Zuo Yunmo came before Luo Jianqing in order of age, but he was ranked second simply because he formed a golden core later than Luo Jianqing by a year.
This was the first time Luo Jianqing saw Zuo Yunmo after his rebirth.
His second junior brother and third junior sister Wei Qiongyin were the same in that they were both cultivation fanatics. Zuo Yunmo wished he could shut himself inside the mountain and never come out, cultivating all day long except to manage Cang Shuang Peak’s affairs.
Among Tai Hua’s Seven Children, Zuo Yunmo had the most ordinary constitution. The great senior brother Luo Jianqing had a one-in-a-million superior level constitution, and the other martial brothers and sisters all had a great constitution, except for Zuo Yunmo who had a decent constitution. However, this did not mean Zuo Yunmo was weak.
The only one who could ever match Luo Jianqing in the sect-wide competition was Zuo Yunmo.
After being in seclusion for half a year, Luo Jianqing came down the mountain after hearing Zuo Yunmo’s voice, his clothes not even tidied up. Zuo Yunmo smiled faintly upon seeing his hurried manner, extending a hand to help his senior brother fix up his clothes. “Senior brother, you are this old, yet you still continue to act like an impatient child?”
He spoke only with resignation and tenderness, voice as gentle as a spring breeze.
Luo Jianqing was caught off guard when the other person pressed his head. Feeling helpless as well, he was obliged to say, “How can you say that while I’m still the great senior brother? Junior brother, are you trying to lose face?”
Zuo Yunmo’s delicate face betrayed a hint of astonishment. Finally, he pretended to be hurt and said, “I thought of our childhood when this junior brother would take senior brother to play all over Tai Hua Mountain. Senior brother, in those days, you especially loved to sit on my shoulders and let me take you over the clouds. This was at least thirty years ago. Have you forgotten, senior brother?”
Luo Jianqing’s face was full of shame. He immediately changed the subject: “What about the sect-wide competition?”
Zuo Yunmo immediately burst into a detailed explanation.
The half-year period of seclusion had already passed by earlier. A few days ago, Luo Jianqing noticed the time and asked Xuan Lingzi if he could come out of seclusion. Xuan Lingzi did not oppose him at all, only replying coldly, “Do not make Yu Xiao Peak lose face,” then continued to cultivate in seclusion.
At this moment, Luo Jianqing was flying with Zuo Yunmo towards Cang Shuang Peak.
Although he was the great senior brother, Zuo Yunmo was much better suited for handling sect related affairs. He spoke very clearly about the details and crucial points of this sect-wide competition. Each time when he raised an important matter, he would remind Luo Jianqing to pay attention, though his tone was always respectful and never challenged the great senior brother’s authority.
Luo Jianqing listened and nodded, but his gaze unconsciously wandered off to Zuo Yunmo’s face.
In his past life, on Duan Qing Cliff where his body was buried, Li Xiuchen shamed him for slaughtering his fellow sect members with a voice of righteousness.
Although he had already fallen into demonic cultivation at that time, there was no way Luo Jianqing would ever hurt his fellow sect members. However, that time, the entire world believed that he killed his own two junior brothers, and even his master Xuan Lingzi would not stand up for him.
Because the evidence was too damning.
Luo Jianqing soon fell into demonic cultivation after being driven out from Tai Hua Mountain. The sect leader of Tai Hua Mountain, Sir Hao Xingzi, issued a Tai Hua command to the rest of the world that this degenerate traitor was wanted for arrest, making Luo Jianqing go through an especially depressing period of time. Three years after it was issued, two people found him: Zuo Yunmo and his sixth junior brother Xiu Hen.
The three engaged in a great battle in the Far North. No matter what great talent Luo Jianqing was endowed with, he still lost to his two junior brothers because how exhausted he was from running. That time, Xiu Hen stepped forward, and said with grief and anger, “Great senior brother, follow us back. I will definitely ask what sect leader martial uncle thinks. I will not believe that you are truly that kind of person!”
However, Zuo Yunmo stopped Xiu Hen and faced Luo Jianqing.
Up until his death, Luo Jianqing would never forget how his second junior brother who was older than him, looked at him with a complex gaze that burned like fire, as if he could see the improper feelings he held for his master in his heart.
Zuo Yunmo was always smiling, but back then, there was no smile on his face.
When Xuan Lingzi carried Luo Jianqing back to Yu Xiao Peak as a baby, Sir Xuan Lingzi’s naturally cold disposition made it hard for him to take care of a child. So he let Zuo Yunmo, who was in his teens those days, take care of Luo Jianqing as he grew up. From Zuo Yunmo’s fumbling inexperience at the beginning, to his later attentive care, Luo Jianqing’s childhood was filled with an older brother’s warmth.
Zuo Yunmo wasn’t wrong. Luo Jianqing indeed enjoyed playing with him in his childhood, until he officially began cultivation and they gradually drifted apart.
The one who understood Luo Jianqing the most in this world was not Xuan Lingzi, or even Luo Jianqing himself, but Zuo Yunmo.
In the gales of the Far North, Zuo Yunmo stopped his impulsive sixth junior brother and faced the weary Luo Jianqing, who had fallen into demonic cultivation. At last, he let out a heavy sigh and said, “You have already turned to demonic cultivation. Naturally, you cannot exist alongside us righteous cultivators. Luo Jianqing, you cannot return to Tai Hua Mountain. Fend for yourself. You still have a long life ahead.”
Then Zuo Yunmo stopped Xiu Hen and let Luo Jianqing go.
After three days, Luo Jianqing finally discovered that his two junior brothers died at the Far North, and even their bones could not be found.
Everyone whispered that Luo Jianqing took advantage of his junior brothers’ friendship and killed them both. But what no one knew was that after Luo Jianqing found out, he nearly fell apart and even went back to the Far North in spite of all its dangers. In the end, he never found their bodies, only the tassel on Zuo Yunmo’s lifebound sword.
The lifebound lamps had already gone out. There was no doubt the two were dead, and they also died without a funeral.
Luo Jianqing was hated by his junior brothers and sisters until the end of his past life, except for the other six of Tai Hua Mountain’s Seven Children who had no complaints against him.
The fifth junior brother, Huo Yuchong, was not close to him but never held any hate for him. The fourth junior brother, Xie Zizhuo, would speak up for Luo Jianqing time and time again, but was stopped by iron-clad evidence. The third junior sister, Wei Qiongyin, never raised any questions, but after Luo Jianqing was driven out from Tai Hua Mountain, she immediately shut herself up in seclusion, and Luo Jianqing never did hear if she ever came out. And his little junior sister was absolutely heartbroken, but she was stopped by her cultivation partner Li Xiuchen.
“In this sect-wide competition, the four schools and the other sects will be able to send people to come to see the matches. Master told fourth junior brother and me to organize the reception. But senior brother, you know that fourth junior brother keeps duelling with fifth junior brother these past several months. I fear there will not be much time. Senior brother, I don’t suppose you would be willing to do your junior brother a favor?”
Having been lost in distant memories, Luo Jianqing was startled back to the present when he heard him.
He turned his head to face Zuo Yunmo and saw his pupils shrink. Then he raised his hand to tuck a long strand of hair behind his ear, and said helplessly, “Senior brother, what happened in the past few days to make you look like this…” Zuo Yunmo paused, then smiled. “To make you look so sad.”
Luo Jianqing quickly readjusted his expression. “Nothing important. Anyways, what did you say just now, junior brother? I was just thinking about something and didn’t hear you clearly.”
Zuo Yunmo was not annoyed at all and explained to him again.
Luo Jianqing said, “Alright, since fourth junior brother is occupied, let’s organize this together.”
Zuo Yunmo smiled as he nodded.
The two quickly arrived at the plaza of Cang Shuang Peak’s main hall and walked towards the main hall. After walking half the distance, Luo Jianqing could not help asking quietly, “Junior brother, this sword tassel… seems a bit worn, why did you not change it even once?”
They were hit by a burst of wind. Luo Jianqing’s words were drowned out by the wind, and Zuo Yunmo did not answer, as if he did not hear him.
But before they entered, Luo Jianqing heard the amusement in Zuo Yunmo’s voice as he spoke next to him. “Senior brother, your junior brother has always been a sentimental person.”
Luo Jianqing stopped walking, but Zuo Yunmo already went inside the main hall.
After nearly an hour, Tai Hua’s Seven Children were all assembled inside Ling Yun Hall. They were waiting for the hurrying Sir Hao Xingzi.
Even while they were inside Ling Yun Hall, fifth junior brother still chased after fourth junior brother for a fight. Every kind of magical tool was lined up in preparation for battle, and there was also a fifth level demon beast he set loose. It was like he was saying, “Laozi will not peel your skin off today, Xie Zizhuo. You are just a weak old man!”
Xie Zizhuo continued to plead, “Junior brother! Junior brother! That was only a sixth level demon beast, aren’t I your dear senior brother! That demon beast may be valuable, but your senior brother is even more important!”
The fifth junior brother Huo Yuchong, who had short red hair, spat and cursed, “Nonsense! You, Xie Zizhuo, are not even higher than a soft hair on Laozi’s demon beasts! Who do you call your junior brother? Laozi is your enemy!”
Xie Zizhuo cried and wailed with grief. “It’s already been half a year, how long are you going to hold this grudge against me!”
Huo Yuchong sneered. “Until you catch another sixth level demon beast for me!!!”
This was the first time that Luo Jianqing knew about this. Fifth junior brother’s sixth level demon beast really was dead, but in his past life, he had never heard about fifth junior brother chasing after fourth junior brother for an entire half a year.
He saw little junior sister pull on his sleeve, whispering, “Great senior brother, I didn’t refine the third level medicine pill very well. I’ve given you the pills I’ve refined for you to try out several times, but I still hadn’t succeeded in refining a third grade pill for that boy Xie Zizhuo. By the time I finally managed to refine one, I heard that the demon beast was already dead.”
Luo Jianqing felt like he had made a mistake somewhere. “…”
But little junior sister didn’t see anything wrong and added more fuel to the flame. “Senior brother, this is the medicine pill I gave to Xie Zizhuo before. Take it. Since that guy can’t use it anymore, you should use it. When you tame a spiritual beast, this pill will save it.”
Xie Zizhuo was worn out but angry at the same time. “Little junior sister, that’s the stuff that I found for you!”
Mu Tianxin chuckled and rolled her eyes. “Your stuff is my stuff. You give me, Mu Tianxin, something that I put in my mouth and you want me to spit it out? Not a chance!”
Luo Jianqing felt like there was a hot piece of coal in his hand. “…”
Everyone messed around for a while, then they saw that the white-bearded Sir Hao Xingzi was about to arrive, but Xie Zizhuo was still messing around with Huo Yuchong. Luo Jianqing knit his brows slightly. He had just thought about stopping the two when suddenly a sword light flashed and he saw Zuo Yunmo lifting the two in each hand.
Just as he saw Luo Jianqing draw out Shuang Fu, Zuo Yunmo smiled slightly. “No need to trouble senior brother. I will get these two to Xunjie Gate later.”
Luo Jianqing, “…”
Xie Zizhuo, “!!!”
Huo Yuchong, “Fine! When I get to Xunjie Gate, let’s see where this little bastard will run to now!”