Chapter 12: Picking Flowers
Although Yin BiYue did not rest for an entire night, his mood was actually very good when he went to the meeting the next day.
He stood tall and straight, while his eyes were limpid and glittering.
When Liu QiShuang saw this, she felt extremely gratified. “It looks like junior-apprentice brother is feeling much better.”
Yin BiYue nodded, “Many thanks for senior-apprentice sister’s concern.” Then, he looked toward Jun Yu and Duan ChongXuan, “Many thanks to eldest senior-apprentice brother and fifth junior-apprentice brother.”
What he thanked them for was the visits during his captivity in the dungeons, and their kindness when they protected him last time in the Palace Hall.
Even though Liu QiShuang and Duan ChongXuan hadn’t helped him the way he had wanted……but when all was said and done, the outcome had been a success.
Liu QiShuang saw the youth’s sincere expression and felt a bit guilty in her heart.
She felt that she had never fulfilled her responsibility as a senior-apprentice sister. This time, she didn’t really do much either. However, even after this teenager underwent so much harm and torment, he was still sincere and grateful as he expressed his thanks toward them. His temperament was truly, extremely good.
As expected, the meeting location was Jun Yu’s ‘Primary Courtyard.’ Like before, the chairs and table were provided by Duan ChongXuan.
After Yin BiYue thanked everyone, he looked at Jun Yu. He knew that since there was a meeting, this eldest senior-apprentice brother must have something to say.
The man clothed in black sat there in an upright position. He held himself tall and straight, like a sword that could be unsheathed at any moment, emanating a dense, cold aura.
Jun Yu gazed at his two junior-apprentice brothers before saying, “In three months, it will be Zhong Ming Mountain’s Flower Picking Festival. The two of you should go and take a look.”
Since he didn’t talk often, his voice seemed somewhat frigid, sluggish and rough, while his tone was stiff.
Liu QiShuang added on, “Ming Lake’s Thousand Leaf Lotus has the ability to ‘eliminate anxiety and resolve a heart’s melancholy’. By chance, the two of you have chosen the most fortunate timing to leave the Peak and travel.”
Yin BiYue suddenly remembered that the Academy’s Director said how it would be best if he headed southward.
And Zhong Ming Mountain was precisely on the South Continent.
This opportunity came truly fast.
The Flower Picking Festival. What was being picked was precisely the Thousand Leaf Lotus from the Ming Lake.
On the Ming Lake, the lotus’ leaves shroud the sky for a hundred acres in all directions, but there was only a single lotus flower blossom. It opened every ten years.
For a cultivator with their slow lifespans, ten years couldn’t be considered as long.
However, no one was willing to wait.
Due to how the Thousand Leaf Lotus drew spiritual energy from the Zhong Ming Mountain to cultivate, other than its ability to ‘eliminate anxiety and resolve a heart’s melancholy’, it could also purify one’s constitution, improve their cultivation aptitude, and create a good foundation for one’s future path in cultivating.
For cultivators below the Enlightenment stage, there wasn’t a better heavenly treasure.
Using strength to demonstrate their right to speak, the victor would climb up the mountain to pick the flower. Thus, under the foot of Zhong Ming Mountain, the name ‘Flower Picking Festival’ originated from this.
Ultimately, after consulting with every sect, it was decided that in order to encourage the younger generation to cultivate, cultivators under the ‘Enlightenment stage’ but above the ‘Essence Cleansing stage’ were all allowed to attend. This was because to cultivators more advanced than the ‘Enlightenment stage’, this flower was something of little value. And if they were under the ‘Essence Cleansing stage’, the cultivator would be unable to completely assimilate the spiritual energy from the flower.
The ‘Three Mountain Sects’ and ‘Double Buddha Temples’ took turns presiding over this festival. And by now, it had long developed into a distinguished meeting where the younger generation competed against each other.
Thus, countless teenagers with astounding talent travelled thousands of miles to go to the meeting. Not only because of the Thousand Leaf Lotus, but also in order to become famous.
This was also an opportunity for big sects to reinvigorate their prestige, determine their statuses, and mutually probe each other out.
Cang Ya Mountain went every year, but Xi Hua Peak had never gone before.
The main reason Jun Yu made this decision was because of Yin BiYue’s ‘White Hair Illness’.
Liu QiShuang also believed that regardless of whether it was to treat an illness or travel around, the Zhong Ming Mountain’s little festival was an excellent choice.
Despite being an opportunity to demonstrate one’s prowess in cultivation, the Sword Saint’s three disciples, Jun Yu, Liu QiShuang, and Yan Xing, all hadn’t gone to this kind of event that was specifically conducted for genius teenagers. It seemed to be somewhat inconceivable.
Jun Yu was the Sword Saint’s Chief Disciple. When he became famous, the ‘Flower Picking Festival’ hadn’t yet existed. Later, when he left the Peak to travel, he was already at the Enlightenment stage. In addition, he specifically picked difficult, dangerous, and desolate places to go. For example, places like the Shiwan Mountain, savage marshes, and the snowfields of the north. There were very few people who had truly met him.
In Liu QiShuang’s case, she had originally been intending to go to the Zhong Ming Mountain. Not in order to pick the flower, but merely because she wished to seek evenly matched opponents to temper herself. However, the year she left the mountain, she coincidentally chanced upon the revival of ‘Jasper Palace’ from the Twelve Demonic Sects. Thus, she followed after the Sect Leader and a few Elders, killing their way up to Xi Ling Mountain to exterminate demons.
At that time, many cultivators at the Enlightenment stage had died, however, Liu QiShuang, who had only been at the Soul Manifestation stage lived. She ended up missing the Flower Picking Festival, but fortunately she had already found her rival during that fight and thus didn’t have any regrets.
When it came to the year Yan Xing left the mountain, he went to the Flower Picking Festival and took a look around. After surveying everyone present, he believed that no one there would be able to win against him. Thus, Yan Xing felt extremely bored.
Galloping forth with weapon in hand, he swaggered off without a second thought for those left behind, and traces of where he went were difficult to find.
But in reality, regardless of whether it was Jun Yu’s ‘slaughter across realms’, or Liu QiShuang’s ‘battle at Xi Ling Mountain’, or Yan Xing’s ‘single night leap to the Revelation stage’, they were all things that many people knew of, but little people saw with their own eyes.
Should Yin BiYue and Duan ChongXuan go this time, they wouldn’t be merely representing Cang Ya Mountain. No, they would be more representing Xi Hua Peak, and representing the Sword Saint’s disciples as a whole.
This was the first time in a hundred years that the Sword Saint’s disciples formally appeared in front of living people.
And not in a file’s stiffly written records, or a storyteller’s embellished and exaggerated tales, or within countless cultivator’s speculations.
This was a head-on battle with equally young and innately talented youth. There would be rivals who would meet face to face, and compete to see who was best.
When Yin BiYue thought of this, his mood became somewhat serious.
Because he understood that this was no longer a matter of whether he won or lost. Now, he also had to undertake the responsibility of upholding his cheaply obtained Master’s fame for fighting prowess.
However, Liu QiShuang had even more thoughts about this matter. She believed that this time, junior-apprentice brother could go out and travel, competing against others and learning from each other. It could also coincidentally open up his horizon, and let him understand just how big the skies and earth were.
If he was no longer restrained to a single place, it could perhaps lighten the impact of what Luo MingChuan had done to him.
Junior-apprentice brother’s current personality was somewhat innocent and naive. A big reason for this was probably because his environment as he grew up was too limited. If he wasn’t in the Academy studying behind closed doors, then he was bitterly cultivating in seclusion within the mountains.
Although being outside would lead to experiences where one must go through thick and thin, where one would see how a human’s heart could be unfathomable and treacherous, one would also mature as a result. Junior-apprentice brother needed to mature.
Liu QiShuang looked at Yin BiYue before smiling slightly. “Youngsters all ought to have some sharpness to their spirit.”
Yin BiYue restrained the corner of his lips from twitching.
If one added together the ages from his countless transmigration adventures in the past……this sentence should become, “Old monsters should always have some sharpness to their spirit.”
Jun Yu seemed to have been able to guess his worries, “Among the participants for this year, there is a ‘Wind and Rain Sword’ who has practiced his skills to some excellence. Apart from him, the rest aren’t anything to worry about. You can let go of yourself and just fight, for no one would be able to win against you.”
Yin BiYue became suddenly speechless. He really wanted to say, ‘eldest senior-apprentice brother, I’m not you ah. I’m only at the late stage of Soul Manifestation stage.’
Speaking of this ‘Wing and Rain Sword’, he was called Zhong Shan. His reputation had exploded in the South Continent. As a cultivator at the Revelation stage at only twenty years old, he was known as the strongest cultivator under the Enlightenment stage. The genius Qing Lu Sword Sect was intensely proud of, the person showing the most promise to enter the Sage realm in the past three hundred years.
As a result, when eldest senior-apprentice brother mentioned him, he only received the description ‘was somewhat excellent’. If the Qing Lu Sword Sect knew about this, perhaps they would collectively grab their swords and commit suicide.
However, Yin BiYue still felt very grateful. Because, in order to encourage him, eldest senior-apprentice brother actually said a long sentence!
He casted a glance to the side. Sure enough, Duan ChongXuan’s eyes had already brightened. He looked so excited, he practically had, ‘eldest senior-apprentice brother, please say another two sentences!’ written on his face.
Yin BiYue heaved a sigh in his heart. However, he still solemnly said, “Eldest senior-apprentice brother, second senior-apprentice sister, please be at ease! I will do my utmost best during this trip. I won’t lose Xi Hua’s prestige, and will also take care of fifth junior-apprentice brother!”
Unexpectedly, the moment he said this, Liu QiShuang’s expression became astounded, and even Jun Yu’s face looked slightly startled for a quick second.
In his heart, Yin BiYue felt that things were a bit strange. He was Duan ChongXuan’s senior-apprentice brother, plus his cultivation realm was also higher than his. Of course he would be the one looking after Duan ChongXuan.
Duan Chatterbox smiled before saluting him, “Then, I’ll be troubling senior-apprentice brother to watch over me.”
Yin BiYue became puzzled.
Duan ChongXuan still wanted to tease him a bit more. However, he then heard Jun Yu speak up in a deep voice, “Luo MingChuan came.”
Xi Hua Peak’s restrictive protection barrier was maintained by Jun Yu. If he said Luo MingChuan came, then he must be currently blocked outside of the Peak’s barrier.
Everyone immediately silenced.
Liu QiShuang frowned and asked, “What did he come to do?”
Duan ChongXuan glanced at Yin BiYue’s complexion, “Probably……because he wants to see fourth senior-apprentice brother.”
Jun Yu already made some preparations. If the person standing outside the barrier dared to take one step further, he would strike out with sword intent.
But what they all didn’t expect was that Yin BiYue just nodded his head, before saying in a tone that made it seem like it was proper and a matter to be expected, “Then I’ll go and meet him……senior-apprentice brother and senior-apprentice sister, are there any other matters?”
Yin BiYue didn’t know why everyone’s expression all suddenly changed.
How could the villain not go see the protagonist? Of course he had to go and know yourself plus your enemy. Only this way could he accurately challenge the protagonist’s bottom line, and thereby reach his goal of frequently heading toward his death by angering him.
Liu QiShuang’s expression looked heavy and solemn. Duan ChongXuan looked like he was hesitating to say something.
In the end, Jun Yu said, “Let’s go together.”
As a result, Xi Hua Peak’s disciples majestically walked down the mountain.
……Even if there was only four of them.
However, Luo MingChuan was alone.
So, the number of people they brought could completely defeat, and even abuse him.
Jun Yu was a half-step away from Immortalization stage, while Liu QiShuang was in the Enlightenment stage.
And Luo MingChuan was merely in the Revelation stage.
Even the Xi Hua Peak disciples’ cultivation stages could completely abuse him.
Yin BiYue somewhat understood now. His fellow Peak members came to help support him ah!
However, because of the absolute truth where ‘the people who helped support the villain never had any good endings’, Yin BiYue really wanted to warn away his fellow Peak members.
But when he finally saw Luo MingChuan, he was no longer able to say anything.
The youth in front of him had a temperament that was as gentle as it had been before, and he was also as handsome as well.
Even though it was evidently the season of spring’s sunsets, when Luo MingChuan stood in the spring’s breeze, it unexpectedly made him look somewhat emaciated, like the late autumn’s melancholy.
The space under his eyes were slightly black and sunken in, while his white robes flew emptily in the wind.
It had merely been a month since he had last saw Luo MingChuan, but the teenager in front of his eyes seemed to have become much more haggard. His current appearance was a far cry from the high-spirited youth he had first seen.
He stared at him with a heavy gaze, before he spoke with a somewhat heavy tone, “Junior-apprentice brother Yin.”
Luo MingChuan believed he had already thought through things very clearly. However, when he saw the teenager in front of him, he became unable to say anything.
Nowadays, he acted on behalf of his Master to handle all of Cang Ya Mountain’s affairs. Naturally, the jade bamboo letters passed onto Qing He Palace Hall were also his to deal with as he substituted for his Master. He only reported the big and important things to his Master.
This morning, he saw the jade bamboo letter Jun Yu had sent over, one that said: ‘Two of Xi Hua Peak’s disciples will attend the Flower Picking Festival’.
Xi Hua Peak only had two disciples that were below the Enlightenment stage.
Junior-apprentice brother Yin.
“Master, disciple wishes to go to Zhong Ming Mountain’s Flower Picking Festival.”
“Of course it’s the time you ought to go, why are you kneeling?!”
“I wish to travel with junior-apprentice brother Yin.”
Zheng YangZi fell silent. Only the water clock’s ticking echoed throughout the empty and quiet main hall.
In the end, he just waved his hand. “Go then.”
In respose, Luo MingChuan knocked his head against the floor.
Jun Yu and Liu QiShuang both didn’t intend to speak.
Thus, Duan ChongXuan took two steps forward and spoke first, “Senior-apprentice brother Luo, what errand brings you here?”
His etiquette was thorough and he had a smile on his face. Nobody could nitpick about any mistakes from Duan ChongXuan.
Yin BiYue thought, the important position of the diplomatic representative truly suited Duan ChongXuan.
Luo MingChuan calmly said, “I came because I wish to travel together with junior-apprentice brother Yin to the Flower Picking Festival.”
He wasn’t someone who wasn’t good at being eloquent. He used to speak in the Contemplation Hall, where people debated in all directions, with frankness and assurance, causing others to exclaim with admiration. In addition, he had used words to gather and steady the hearts of others during their dilemma in the Secret Realm.
But now, just saying a single sentence had exhausted all his strength.
Liu QiShuang coldly replied, “Impossible.”
Luo MingChuan’s complexion instantly turned pale. However, he was already unable to explain anything.
Hence, he used spiritual energy to cut open his finger. Beads of dark-red blood dropped, seeping into the ground.
He spoke, one word at a time, “I, Luo MingChuan, vow here to help junior-apprentice brother retrieve Ming Lake’s Thousand Leaf Lotus. Otherwise, my cultivation realm will forever remain as is!”
An oath of blood from the heart.
This was an oath very little people used. Because, forcing out blood from the heart, was already the greatest harm to a cultivator. Let alone the consequences that would happen if the person in question ended up not keeping their promise.
This was an oath with an immense price, where the things said in the oath must be fulfilled.
Liu QiShuang was extremely shocked.
Duan ChongXuan closed his fan and narrowed his eyes, “Senior-apprentice brother Luo, words can’t be carelessly said.”
Even Jun Yu’s cold and stiff expression had a trace of slackening.
Luo MingChuan’s face was pale and bloodless. He stared straight at the person in front of him before lightly saying, “Junior-apprentice brother, do you trust me?”
At this moment, everyone turned to look at Yin BiYue.
Only to see him lightly nodding his head.