Zhou XueTing’s heart stirred slightly. The martial arts passed down in their Shu Yun Peak attached heavy importance to comprehension. There were two reasons for someone like her to be only twenty yet already possess the early stage of Golden Core stage cultivation. One reason was because she grew up in Liu Guang Sect. She had received her elders’ protection in no small measure, and she never lacked various kinds of resources. However, the second reason was precisely because she possessed astonishing comprehension skills.
People with merely good spiritual veins were easy to seek, but cultivators with good comprehension were hard to find. If one thought about it, in their entire Shu Yun Peak, Zhou XueTing was the only one with such good comprehension skills.
It was also precisely because Shu Yun Peak’s martial arts had standards for comprehension that were too high, that the disciples on their peak numbered the least among the seven main peaks of Liu Guang Sect. If it wasn’t because their Master’s strength was outstanding, being able to suppress other Peak Lords by a head with her late stage Nascent Soul cultivation level, perhaps they would have already been moved out of Shu Yung Peak.
When she saw how Zhou XueTing’s heart seemed to have stirred somewhat, Little Peach became even more spirited. From her point of view, Xu ZiRong was good in this way and good in that way. Basically, he didn’t have any bad points. If they didn’t manage to recruit him to Shu Yun Peak, then it was simply a loss for everyone in their Peak!
“That’s enough, Little Peach. You’ve been noisy enough that my head already started hurting,” Zhou XueTing helplessly rubbed her temples. Whenever Little Peach got excited, her voice would unconsciously get louder and louder. Although the other people in the main hall were also arguing very loudly, Little Peach’s voice obviously possessed the best penetration attribute.
“Oh? XueTing ah, are you intending to accept disciples on behalf of your Master?” An elderly man with a white beard asked with affection.
Zhou XueTing promptly replied, “That’s right, Martial Uncle Wu. Little Peach keeps on recommending this Xu ZiRong to me.” After she finished speaking, she secretly gave Little Peach a glare in a helpless manner.
Little Peach stealthily stuck out her tongue, before she shrunk her head back, not daring to speak.
This Martial Uncle Wu was definitely a very good person, but for some unknown reason, he was particularly fond of going against their Master. Their friendship was built on their noisy quarrels and had to be a few centuries old. However, they still acted like children, and they liked competing against each other in almost everything.
“Xu ZiRong?” The white bearded elder naturally knew who this person was, but that child’s brilliance always seemed to be covered up by his brother. He hadn’t expected this Little Peach to actually have such sharp eyes.
He glanced at Little Peach, only to notice how the other was currently hiding behind Zhou XueTing like she was lacking confidence. He thought about it before realizing that this little girl was definitely afraid he would try snatching potential disciples with that old woman.
Speaking of which…… It seemed like it had been three or five years since he last accepted a disciple?
The elderly man stroked the white strands of hair on his beard as he started pondering. Hmm, should he fight over a disciple with that old woman?
But within the blink of an eye, he abandoned this thought and threw it to the back of his mind. That old woman herself wasn’t even here. Even if he did snatch away a disciple, he wouldn’t feel a sense of accomplishment.
The white-bearded elder didn’t continue paying attention to Xu ZiRong. The martial arts he practiced did not match either of the Xu family brothers. Thus, no matter what kind of amazing achievements these two boys obtained, they wouldn’t end up worshipping him as their Master.
Within the main hall, numerous Golden Core elders were attentively watching every move that happened in the water mirror. The people in the water mirror were naturally the ‘preparatory disciples’ they were paying attention to.
The white-bearded elder had always been closely following Xiahou Lian. Xiahou Lian’s Dual Water and Wood Spiritual Veins were actually extremely compatible with the martial arts he practiced, the Embodiment of the Wooden Lotus Secret Arts. However, this Xiahou Lian was also a popular disciple everyone was fighting over, so he wasn’t sure if he would be able to win her.
At the same time——
After Xu ZiYan and Xu ZiRong experienced the test with the mermaid, they followed the mountain road behind the flat land and advanced up the mountain. After walking for approximately half a shichen1, they arrived at the summit.
The summit of the mountain was coincidentally arranged in a crisscross pattern with another peak. The two peaks were connected by a wooden bridge that was about one chi2in width.
An ash-grey stone tablet stood on this side of the wooden bridge. Three big characters written in seal script3 were carved onto the tablet: Li Chen4 Bridge. It obviously had the meaning of separating oneself from the mundane world.
Xu ZiYan took a deep breath. The hand he used to hold Xu ZiRong’s hand also tightened unnaturally. The moment he stepped onto this Li Chen Bridge, it meant that he could never return to the peaceful and happy days of the past. At such a pivotal moment like this, even if Xu ZiYan had long done some mental preparation, it was inevitable that he would still feel a bit fretful.
It wasn’t that he hadn’t thought about bringing Xu ZiRong far away from the cultivation world, so they could find a peaceful small town to pass this life. However, he couldn’t allow himself to so selfishly decide Xu ZiRong’s entire future.
In addition…… In the end, after coming to a world like this, if he hid away without giving the cultivation life a shot, even Xu ZiYan would look down on himself.
“Big brother?” Xu ZiRong stared at Xu ZiYan in confusion. He didn’t know what his brother was hesitating over.
As long as Xu ZiYan stepped onto this bridge, with his achievements in the test, he would absolutely become one of the top inner disciples. Even if there was another test afterwards, it could be assumed that those Elders of the Liu Guang Sect definitely wouldn’t want to let go of a good seedling like him.
Xu ZiRong wasn’t worried about his own prospects at all. With his cultivation at this current age, it could also be assumed that he wouldn’t be assigned to be one of the Liu Guang Sect’s outer disciples. And as for which Elder he would worship as Master, Xu ZiRong personally didn’t care at all.
After all, his Blood Sea Heart Sutra was a top-notch martial arts technique. Since he already possessed the Heart Sutra, anything else he learned was merely supplemental.
“I’m fine,” When he saw the concern in Xu ZiRong’s gaze, Xu ZiYan’s heart softened as the resolve in his eyes grew firmer.
He turned to look at the wooden bridge with mist swirling around it and slowly closed his eyes. By the time he reopened his eyes, the last trace of bewilderment in his gaze had thoroughly subsided.
Xu ZiYan walked across the Li Chen Bridge in a very relaxed manner. When he reached the other mountain peak, he found a man wearing light blue robes watching him with a smile.
“Congratulations, you are the first person to arrive here,” the smile on the man’s face was very gentle, making one feel close to him.
“Thank you,” Xu ZiYan sincerely expressed his thanks. He didn’t know whether or not it was the Li Chen Bridge’s special effect, but he felt as if his heart had lighten loads after walking across it. All the annoying mental knots that had been accumulating in his heart these past few years seemed to have vanished without a trace. He felt as if his whole person had been refreshed.
The man wearing blue robes smiled before his gaze passed over Xu ZiYan’s shoulders to look at the person behind him.
Xu ZiYan followed his gaze and looked over as well. As expected, Xu ZiRong had also crossed the Li Chen Bridge, thus arriving at Liu Guang Sect’s main peak, Qian Yuan Peak.
“You are the second person to arrive here. Congratulations.” When the blue-robed man faced Xu ZiRong, his attitude was obviously a bit cold. The man shot Xu ZiRong a faint glance, but didn’t say anything more.
Xu ZiRong didn’t notice this man’s attitude. Currently, his expression looked somewhat bewildered, and even Xu ZiYan was able to notice his uneasiness.
“Since you already entered my Sect, you must abide by my rules. Your killing nature is too strong. If you do not wish to implicate your close ones, you will have to be cautious when evoking your killing intent.” While Xu ZiRong felt quite uneasy, the blue-robed man suddenly passed on a transmitted message that flitted past his ear.
Xu ZiRong’s eyes suddenly narrowed, before he rigidly stared at the man in front of him.
“ZiRong? What’s wrong?” Xu ZiYan’s heart skipped a beat. He had noticed that the blue-robed man in front of them did not seem to be fond of Xu ZiRong, but he never expected ZiRong to direct such a glare of hatred at the other.
The man clothed in blue turned a blind eye to the gaze brimming with hostility. He merely gave Xu ZiRong an indifferent glance. But, this one glance, made Xu ZiRong’s pupils suddenly shrink before he bowed his head.
Cold sweat spread across his fair white forehead. Xu ZiRong only felt as if someone had poured a pail of cold water on him during the twenty seven days after the Winter Solstice, the coldest days of the year. It felt as if the man had seen through him completely.
He wasn’t this man’s match!
The blue-robed man standing in front of them emanated an extremely dangerous feeling. Xu ZiRong was afraid that even at peak form in his past life, he would not be an opponent for the man in front of him, let alone his current self, who was merely a child at the Qi Condensation Stage.
After he calmed down, Xu ZiRong realized something. This man didn’t seem to have any intention of exposing him. If that wasn’t the case, the other wouldn’t need to specifically transmit a message to him.
Xu ZiRong curbed the hostility in his gaze. After respectfully saluting the man, he spoke up gently, “I apologize. Just now, my state of mind was very unstable. I’ve truly been lacking in manners.”
“It’s no bother,” the man dressed in blue was still as indifferent as before. It seemed like no matter how Xu ZiRong treated him, whether with respect or with hostility, the man still wouldn’t feel much.
Xu ZiYan couldn’t help but frown. He felt as if something had just happened right now. However, although Xu ZiRong acted very cute and obedient in front of him, after three years, he had long understood the other’s stubbornness. If Xu ZiRong didn’t want to say anything, even Xi ZiYan wouldn’t be able to pry any information from that mouth of his……
“From here, go straight. The third round requires everyone else to be present before it can start. You guys can rest in the plaza outside the main hall first.” The man in blue said softly.
After Xu ZiYan thanked him, he began walking forward with Xu ZiRong in a quick pace. Although this blue-robed man looked gentle, he kept feeling as though this man was quite hostile towards ZiRong.
“Big brother, I’m fine.” Xu ZiRong’s heart softened, and the expression on his face began relaxing as well.
He believed that even if the man from before was extremely powerful, he definitely wouldn’t have known how he had been reincarnated. Since that was the case, at most, the blue-robed man would only have noticed the bloody atmosphere surrounding his body, and thus probably believed he had learned some kind of demonic art.
When he thought of that, Xu ZiRong couldn’t help but let out a sigh of relief. In his last life, the reason his path had never intertwined with the Liu Guang Sect was precisely because Liu Guang Sect’s attitude toward demonic cultivation was much better compared to the attitudes of other Righteous Sects. In the very least, cultivators from this Sect wouldn’t want to fight a battle where only one side was left standing the moment they saw a demonic cultivator. One had to know that sometimes, the scum from the Righteous Sects did much more ruthless things compared to demonic cultivators.
The two of them didn’t walk for long before they saw a magnificent and gorgeous main hall. The doors of the main hall were tightly shut, and two youths dressed in white robes were guarding them. However, the doors on the sides of a side palace hall were wide open, and some food and water were laid out inside.
“Who comes hither?” One of the two white-clothed youths asked in a stern tone.
“Inner disciple candidate Xu ZiYan/Xu ZiRong, greets both senior-apprentice brothers.” The two brothers replied at the same time.
When that white-clothed youth heard their reply, he immediately smiled. “So it turned out to be two junior-apprentice brothers. Please wait for a little bit longer. The third round of your examination can only start after all the candidates are gathered here.”
After Xu ZiYan thanked the two of them, he went to the side palace hall to choose some food before eating. Although his inter-spatial bag was stuffed full with fasting pellets, those things were practically light-years apart from the word ‘delicious’.
Xu ZiRong also indifferently ate some food. He definitely didn’t abhor the fasting pellets as badly as Xu ZiYan. However, as long as it was food Xu ZiYan personally cooked, he absolutely wouldn’t miss eating it.
As for these things…… He only ate them for big brother to see.
After they waited for approximately half a day, some qualified candidates began arriving at the main hall doors one after another.
Xu ZiYan had long eaten his fill. Currently, he was meditating with his eyes closed in a peaceful corner. If the following third round hadn’t changed, then the rest of them still had to eat some suffering.
- Unit to measure time, is approximately 2 hours long.
- Chinese foot, 1/3 of a meter long.
- An ancient style of writing Chinese characters, for more information check here.
- This can be translated as ‘Leaving Dust’.