Huo Yuchong still wanted to compete with Xie Zizhuo, but Luo Jianqing coughed quietly. Cautiously, Huo Yuchong raised his gaze to glance at his great senior brother and finally decided to keep silent. He mumbled begrudgingly, “I’ll get my revenge later,” then obediently stood to the side.
Luo Jianqing stood with dignity among his fellow disciples. After all, in the cultivation world, the strongest came out on top. Tai Hua’s Seven Children were famed throughout the outside world, but if they came across someone of their own sect, the great senior brother would beat them by a mile.
Zuo Yunmo could stand against Luo Jianqing once or twice, but among the other five, even the third senior sister Wei Qiongyin could not match Luo Jianqing.
Shortly after, Sir Hao Xingzi flew over on a cloud and sat down in the very center of Ling Yun Hall.
As though he did not notice the earlier squabble among the disciples, Hao Xingzi carried on, highlighting the important points of the sect-wide competition, before passing it on to Zuo Yunmo to further explain.“The 24 of you newcomers are just in time for this year’s sect-wide competition. All peaks must remember to remind the new disciples not to seek victory, but seek to learn. This does not apply to Yu Xiao Peak. Yunmo, you are in charge.”
Zuo Yunmo stepped forward and nodded. “Yes, Master.”
These years, Yu Xiao Peak’s only disciple was Luo Jianqing. The participants in each sect-wide competition were few, and it did not seem that the other peaks were as unusually enthusiastic. However, Luo Jianqing was quietly cheerful, since he could get first place for Yu Xiao Peak just by himself.
When he was at Qi Condensation stage, the first person to achieve Qi Condensation was from Yu Xiao Peak. When he reached Qi Foundation stage, the first person to achieve Qi Foundation was, of course, from Yu Xiao Peak. Nowadays, he firmly held the position of having the highest cultivation out of this generation of disciples. The winner of the sect-wide competition was matched by none, and even Zuo Yunmo couldn’t hold a candle to them.
Inside Ling Yun Hall, the great senior brother in his white wide-sleeved robe had an unhurried expression, just like the towering summit of Yu Xiao Peak, cold and unapproachable. Long tassels hung from Luo Jianqing’s waist, which held a tiny bead of green jade. This symbolized that someone belonged to Yu Xiao Peak.
The way he stood calmly seemed to tell everyone that he was one of a kind.
It was not because of his exceptional beauty; it was because it was Luo Jianqing, Tai Hua Mountain’s unrivalled great senior brother.
Sir Hao Xingzi had been the leader of Tai Hua Mountain for many years. When he gave explanations, it was usually a bit long-winded. All the other inheriting great disciples’ minds were already wandering except for Zuo Yunmo. Even Luo Jianqing was standing straight as a pole, but his thoughts were already turning towards cultivation.
No one knew how much time had passed until a smiling voice was heard by his ear. “Senior brother, I’m going to make a breakthrough.”
Once his words fell, Luo Jianqing was suddenly roused and stared with astonishment at Zuo Yunmo, who was standing by his side.
Zuo Yunmo was wearing Cang Shuang Peak’s light-colored uniform. His eyes curved slightly as he whispered to Luo Jianqing in front of his master, “This time, I will try my hardest, so I hope senior brother will too.”
Luo Jianqing nodded seriously. “I am prepared for anything you throw at me.”
After Sir Hao Xingzi talked for another 20 minutes, he noticed how indifferent the inheriting great disciples were. Depressed, the white-haired old man coughed and continued, “After I finish speaking of these matters, Yunmo will carefully warn you once again. But you must prepare yourselves well for what I’m about to say next.”
Everyone immediately looked seriously towards Hao Xingzi.
Hao Xingzi’s expression gradually became more grave as he spoke grimly, “A demonic cultivator has appeared in Changzhou.”
The main hall was suddenly in an uproar.
Wei Qiongyin’s face was cold when she stepped forward, saying, “Martial uncle, I wish to be the first one to wipe them out!”
Hao Xingzi waved his wide sleeve. “That demonic cultivator wiped out an entire sect and killed two great elders. The elder with the highest cultivation had already reached Nascent Soul stage. You will only be throwing away your life!”
Wei Qiongyin’s cool and elegant face was full of frost. Upon hearing Hao Xingzi’s words, she clenched her teeth as she spoke, “I must kill all demonic cultivators!”
Hao Xingzi sighed and did not speak any further.
Wei Qiongyin had come to Tai Hua Mountain when she was at Qi Foundation stage and hadn’t grown up there at all. It was reasonable to say that Tai Hua Mountain only accepted new disciples who had no cultivation, but Wei Qiongyin’s parents were best friends with the Bi Can Peak Lord through life or death. After demonic cultivators wiped out her family, the Bi Can Peak Lord took Wei Qiongyin as a disciple.
All cultivators under heaven cultivated the 81 Greater Daos and the 3,000 Lesser Daos.
Among them, human cultivation branched out into three different cultivation paths: Buddhist cultivation, ghost cultivation, and demonic cultivation. Cultivating by the Greater Daos was the most basic, while Buddhist cultivators universally ferried across all the common people under the heavens. Ghost cultivators were the ghosts of people that cultivated after death. However, demonic cultivators were the one exception.
Xuantian had few demonic cultivators, so few that ordinary cultivators could not find any traces of them, but they were ferociously strong. Their hand sealing was cruel and vicious, and they discriminated against no one when dealing out punishment. Even in the Human-Demon War, demonic cultivators joined hands with other cultivators in an effort against the enemy, but as long as they were not fighting against the demon race, they instead went over the top killing human cultivators.
Luo Jianqing knew that demonic cultivators were usually reclusive and very rarely met together. But every single demonic cultivator respected a demonic cultivation master who was at late Mahayana stage. This person’s cultivation was lower than Xuan Lingzi, and it could even be said that he was the second-best cultivator on earth.
The demon master set up his own demonic cultivation temple, which many demonic cultivators depended upon. He was the only demonic cultivator that set up his own school or sect, while all the others were wandering cultivators.
But even one wandering cultivator was enough to give a righteous cultivator a headache. The reason was that before Nascent Soul stage, demonic cultivators were not any different from other cultivators, except they were much stronger than normal cultivators. And once they reached Nascent Soul, demonic cultivators were fierce and powerful. Any normal, ordinary cultivator had no other option but death if they met one.
Thinking of this, Luo Jianqing stepped forward and asked, “Sect leader martial uncle, about this demonic cultivator that appeared, do you want to send elders to resolve this?”
Hao Xingzi lightly nodded. “They are nothing higher than Nascent Soul stage. This time, Tai Hua Mountain will send an elder at Out-of-Body stage to lead the first three winners of this sect-wide competition to go out and practice.” He paused and added, “Yunmo, tell your martial brothers about the specifics.”
Zuo Yunmo smiled. “Yes.”
After an hour, everyone went together, soaring on clouds as they returned back to their respective peaks to handle affairs. Luo Jianqing was left at Cang Shuang Peak, working with Zuo Yunmo to manage admittance to the sect-wide competition.
Even though Zuo Yunmo asked Luo Jianqing for help, he ended up doing most of the work. As big as Yu Xiao Peak was, Xuan Lingzi and his disciple were the only two there. Even if he was the great senior brother, Luo Jianqing was not very good at managing internal affairs. Instead, Zuo Yunmo was usually the one who helped the honored sect leader with those matters and was quite experienced in it.
When the sky was getting dark, Luo Jianqing walked out first, but before leaving, he could not help but ask, “Junior brother, Changzhou’s Liu Yan Valley opened early this time because the demonic cultivator was making trouble. Are you going too?”
Zuo Yunmo smiled slightly and asked softly, “Senior brother, do you not believe that your junior brother can become one of the first three Core Formation disciples?”
Luo Jianqing hesitated for a moment before shaking his head. “If there really were a demonic cultivator causing a fuss, then you should remain at Tai Hua Mountain and help out sect leader martial uncle.” And besides, you have no magical tools to help you at Liu Yan Valley, you’ll be recovering from your critical injuries for half a year…
Luo Jianqing did not say the last part, but he could not hide the anxiety emerging on his face under the moonlight. His long, ink-black brows were knit tightly, and light glimmered in his phoenix eyes like stars. A very long time had passed, but he did not hear any answer from Zuo Yunmo.
Luo Jianqing could not help but raise his head and saw his always composed junior brother watching him with an indescribable gaze. After a while, he finally said, “Senior brother, you do not need to worry. I promise with absolute certainty that even if nothing good will happen at Liu Yan Valley, if I could help you win the magical tools, then that is already some success.”
Luo Jianqing tried to persuade him again, but Zuo Yunmo only smiled and stayed silent.
When Luo Jianqing flew towards Yu Xiao Peak, he did not see the smile on Zuo Yunmo’s face slowly fade away or the light sigh that followed.
A beam of green light rapidly flew towards Yu Xiao Peak. Luo Jianqing had still not ascended when he saw someone waiting at the base of the peak.
Luo Jianqing smiled in understanding and dropped behind the person. He raised his eyebrows, asking, “How long did you wait?”
Xie Zizhuo’s face immediately darkened. He snorted, “Senior brother, I’ve been waiting on you for 20 minutes already!”
Luo Jianqing produced a white jade bottle from his storage ring. “I spoke with second junior brother a bit too long. This third-level medicine bottle was something that you found and refined. You should keep it, as it could be very useful to you later on.”
But Xie Zizhuo refused the medicine pills. “I don’t need it. If little junior sister catches sight of this, she’ll get angry at me again and chase me all over Tai Hua Mountain.” Pausing, Xie Zizhuo chuckled and vulgarly withdrew his neck. He moved right to Luo Jianqing’s ear and spoke, getting right to the point, “Senior brother, the past six months I’ve been working as hard as I can, so I won’t disappoint you.”
Luo Jianqing raised his eyebrows and asked. “What? What did you do?”
Xie Zizhuo clapped his hands together, and an unrelenting torrent of words began to pour from his mouth. “First I have to bring up what I did before the past six months! I was thinking during that time that senior brother, you’d seclude yourself as soon as you came back and give me a whole mess to deal with. How could I talk about Li Xiuchen being the second best out of the new disciples and becoming an inner disciple of our Hao Ming Peak, and how he kept to himself when he went out, but when he came back he suddenly changed, my hands were completely full…”
Luo Jianqing knew from experience that Xie Zizhuo exaggerated a lot. In his words, Li Xiuchen basically died and came back 10 times. Each life was full of pain and suffering, even more tragic than the eighteenth layer of hell. And Xie Zizhuo’s descriptions of himself were vivid and brilliant, admired and revered by countless disciples.
Luo Jianqing’s face was full of amusement as he listened to Xie Zizhuo talk. When Xie Zizhuo had talked for roughly an hour, he asked, “Thirsty?”
Xie Zizhuo, “…A little.”
Luo Jianqing gave a snort of disdain and chided, “Then speak plainly!”
Xie Zizhuo, “…” Senior brother, you bully!!!
Actually, even though Xie Zizhuo was exaggerating a little, Li Xiuchen really did become completely miserable this past half year. First was his palm, which may have been completely healed, but his meridians were clogged; another was his blindness, which no elder wanted to waste their cultivation on, so Li Xiuchen was a bit… blind. From day to night, he could not see anything clearly.
The most important thing was that Xie Zizhuo dedicated an incredible amount of energy to bullying this new disciple.
He did not say mention that he sent the other to be an outer disciple, or that he usually sent people to harass Li Xiuchen. Every time Li Xiuchen said a sentence to him such as, “Do not deceive a poor young man” or “Sooner or later you will all be trampled beneath my feet”, Xie Zizhuo would get an excited gleam in his eyes and make people come beat him up.
——Being beaten will gain you a certain reputation, watch closely, Li Xiuchen; your disrespect towards your senior brother will turn into a hail of curses!
Anyway, the truth was that although Xie Zizhuo spoke of his constant troublemaking, Li Xiuchen was really not very popular at Hao Ming Peak. Ever since he became blind, he became even more irascible and treated the servants who had no cultivation in an absolutely disgusting manner, but to the other martial brothers, he was polite and well-mannered.
Once there was a Qi Foundation disciple that walked right by and ignored him, only saying carelessly in passing, “It’s too dark at night to see the mountain road, let’s walk a bit faster.” Li Xiuchen suddenly stumbled on his walking stick out of anger, making the other person confused and a bit embarrassed.
In the cultivation world where strength dominated, a Qi Condensation disciple’s eyes suddenly flashing toward the sky was extremely offensive.
When Xie Zizhuo got to this point, he didn’t understand it either. “He’s pretty weird.”
Xie Zizhuo didn’t get it at all, but Luo Jianqing understood a little.
When all was said and done, Li Xiuchen was only a young man in his teens, and his temperament was not yet stable. When they met in the past, Luo Jianqing discovered that Li Xiuchen seemed that he was aware of his own good fortune and opportunity. He had many magical tools, and so Luo Jianqing made a guess: Li Xiuchen was the same as him. He also had that book “Seeking Immortality”.
However, Li Xiuchen seemed to have no memories of his past life, which really surprised Luo Jianqing.
Anyway, so long as Li Xiuchen had “Seeking Immortality”, then his rude conduct made sense. Because Li Xiuchen knew the heavens were on his side, he also knew that he was the main character in the book “Seeking Immortality”. That was why he seemed to lack willpower or sense, so when things didn’t go the way he planned, he would lose his bearing and be unable to act.
For example, in the book, Li Xiuchen was a disciple of Yu Xiao Peak, and the other disciples looked up to him. He had no need to get involved with Hao Ming Peak or the other disciples. When he had no point of reference, naturally Li Xiuchen revealed his true colors, making other people disgusted with him.
There was one point that made Luo Jianqing knit his brows tightly: “Has he reached Phase Four of Qi Condensation?”
Xie Zizhuo was still depressed. “Yes! Everyone that I sent told me he never cultivated once, but he’d somehow gotten to Phase Four of Qi Condensation already! Senior brother, you said that he does not have a superior-level constitution, he never had any constitution from the start, but then how did he cultivate so quickly…”
Luo Jianqing was silent. After a moment, the senior and junior brother said their goodbyes at the bottom of Yu Xiao Peak.
Xie Zizhuo’s story definitely clarifies what was going on with Li Xiuchen and still wanted to continue bullying that new disciple who looked towards the sky. But Luo Jianqing smiled lightly, while he hid the growing sentiments in his heart.
By the time Luo Jianqing returned to Tai Hua Mountain, the two bamboo houses shone like jade in the moonlight, cold and silent.
Xuan Lingzi’s door was firmly shut. It seemed that he did not care about his disciple’s late return. Luo Jianqing had secluded himself for half a year, though Xuan Lingzi was always in seclusion. He only came out to help with Luo Jianqing’s cultivation questions. Other than that, he never stepped out the door.
Luo Jianqing looked back at that closed door, then stepped into his own house.
After seven days, all the large sects arrived together. Luo Jianqing and Zuo Yunmo entertained them outside.
In total, there were three goals that these sects wanted to achieve. One was Tai Hua Mountain facing the demonic cultivators. The second was how to open up Liu Yan Valley. And the last one was Tai Hua Mountain’s sect-wide competition that would take place in three days!