Chapter 18 (I): Bao Pu1
Like Cang Ya, Bao Pu Sect was also located in the Western Continent, with one in the South and one in the North. On opposite ends, Bao Pu Sect faced Cang Ya Mountain in a distant manner, and was one of the ‘Three Mountain Sects’. When people mentioned the Western Continent, the first thing they would think of would be Cang Ya Mountain. And right after that, they would remember Bao Pu Sect.
A lot of people had forgotten, but two thousand years ago, Bao Pu Sect had been the number one Sect of the Western Continent. Their prestige and influence had far exceeded Cang Ya Mountain’s.
This would have continued to be the case……had Cang Ya Mountain not birthed a Sword Saint. In addition, this Sword Saint’s relationship with Bao Pu Sect was very terrible.
In other words, Cang Ya Mountain’s rise was accompanied by Bao Pu Sect’s decline.
The wheel of history continued to roll onwards, casting behind their days of glory. Slowly, the prestige they once had was annihilated by the dust.
However, there were always people unwilling to forget the honours one no longer had, and even fewer accepted this fact.
The resentment within Bao Pu Sect had already been stewing for the past one thousand and six hundred years. Like the Taiji array that remained unchanged over time, this resentment was also passed down generation after generation.
For the purpose of avoiding inconveniences, before they had set off, Luo MingChuan had released his aura; the oppressing might of a cultivator in the Revelation realm.
Sure enough, mountain bandits and small fry all avoided them and scattered, saving them a lot of trouble. However, they hadn’t expected that there was another group of cultivators rushing toward the Flower Picking Festival along the Panlong Mountain range, a route where perils were near but help was distant. To them, Luo MingChuan’s oppressing aura appeared somewhat like a provocation.
Thus, their current situation was formed.
Among the people dressed in light blue robes, a lone cultivator walked out. He was merely at the early-stage of the Soul Manifestation cultivation realm. But despite facing down Luo MingChuan, who was in the Revelation realm, the cultivator’s attitude was incredibly domineering and imposing. “Bao Pao Sect is handling our affairs. Where did this small fry spring from to obstruct the path?”
Originally, Luo MingChuan had intended to let them go first.
However, when the Bao Pu Sect disciple said that, although he had already been leaning to one side in preparation to move, Luo MingChuan suddenly paused. Then, instead of making way, he performed a ceremonial salute.
“Cang Ya Mountain, Xi Qian Peak, Luo MingChuan.”
By now, both Yin BiYue and Duan ChongXuan had already made their way there, and were just in time to hear Luo MingChuan introduce himself. Thus, Yin BiYue also greeted them with a ceremonial salute. “Cang Ya Mountain, Xi Hua Peak, Yin BiYue.”
“Xi Hua Peak, Duan ChongXuan.”
Although the three of them had greeted them with a half salute, the Bao Pu Sect group had to return a full salute.
This was because Luo MingChuan was Cang Ya Mountain’s succeeding disciple, while Yin BiYue and Duan ChongXuan were the Sword Saint’s disciples. But as for the Bao Pu Sect group, all of them were merely third-generation disciples.
The Bao Pu Sect disciple who had spoken up managed to snap out of his shock. His complexion had already become ashen, but he still led his group to return a salute.
When Luo MingChuan had announced his name, he had nearly broke into loud curses. Did they think he was a stupid, three year old urchin, one that believed in any lies? Why would Cang Ya Mountain’s chief disciple be dressed poor rags like this?!
However, the two standing behind Luo MingChuan made him stiffly choke back his anger.
Being the Sword Saint’s disciple wasn’t something anyone would recklessly lie about.
One couldn’t blame the Bao Pu Sect disciple for being arrogant. After all, Luo MingChuan wasn’t wearing the robes of Cang Ya Mountain, and was instead dressed in a plain white robe. The hood of Yin BiYue’s black cloak was still hiding half his face. And then add on Duan ChongXuan’s outfit, the one that made him look like a moving, little golden man……
All of this made them look nothing like the disciples of a proper and honourable big Sect.
Instead, it made them look awfully soft and easy to bully.
However, when Luo MingChuan saluted them first, this ‘softness’ became a soft knife2 instead.
Thus, the Bao Pu Sect disciples wearing fine robes were the ones who became rude and uncouth mountain village men.
If Luo MingChuan had not saluted them, since they were not from the same Sect, it would have been unnecessary to pay particular attention to their difference in generations and corresponding etiquette.
But now, they had no other choice but to return their salute, so they returned it with stifled unwillingness.
At this moment, a male voice spoke up from the forest. Within his indifferent tone was a note of oppression that wouldn’t let others refuse him.
“Martial Nephew, step down.”
Delight appeared on that leading Bao Pu Sect disciple’s face. He respectfully answered, “Understood, Martial Uncle He.”
He hadn’t been the only one who immediately became happy. Ten or so Bao Pu Sect disciples all became rather cheerful. Spontaneously, the group parted in the middle, welcoming the man who had walked out of the forest.
Yin BiYue had long known that for the Bao Pu Sect disciples to be so arrogant, the one with the highest cultivation level definitely couldn’t have been the one who had spoken up before.
And after the Bao Pu Sect disciples found out their identities, although the group became astonished, none had been panicked. It could be assumed that their actual leader had to be someone with an identity and a cultivation realm equally matched to the three of them.
Although they had called him ‘Martial Uncle’, the person who had walked out of the forest was a young adult.
His figure was slightly on the thinner side, and he had a pale complexion. Although he wore the same light blue robe as the others, it gave him a profound aura. It resembled the accumulation of moss on a rock after many long years.
The might of the Revelation Stage aura surrounding his body was revealed, transforming him into someone who could rival Luo MingChuan’s prowess.
The rest of the Bao Pu Sect disciples gathered behind him, allowing him to lead them.
The circumstances of the scene became reversed.
Yin BiYue had already started considering which Sword Art he should use first when he drew his sword later.
The teenager cupped his hands in greeting before returning a half salute. “Bao Pu Sect, He Lai.”
His name was very simple. So uncomplicated, it was somewhat baffling.
However, Luo MingChuan’s expression made it evident that he understood something. This was because He Lai was indeed very well-known.
The young man’s tone contained a hint of contempt, “We were unaware Cang Ya’s brilliant disciple was here, and were unable to recognize you. We have offended you greatly and request forgiveness.”
Although he requested forgiveness, it was apparent he still did not have any intentions of making way for them. On the contrary, when he said ‘being unable to recognize you’, he suggested that the three of them were the ones that were bizarrely dressed, and that their appearances were improper.
He Lai swept his gaze across Duan ChongXuan. Immediately, hints of scorn appeared in his eyes, along with some faint disappointment.
He was indeed disappointed.
This was because everybody was wondering how the Sword Saint’s disciples would be like. Now that he saw them in person, he only felt that in reality, one’s renowned reputation was difficult to live up to. A large reason as to why he decided to enter this year’s Flower Picking Festival was because he had received news of how the Sword Saint’s disciples were attending.
Now, it seemed like they were nothing more than this. They were truly unworthy of him making a trip down the mountain.
No one present was an idiot, so naturally, everybody understood the meaning behind He Lai’s words.
A wave of sneers erupted within the group of Bao Pu Sect disciples. They were light, but ear-piercing.
But Duan ChongXuan also chuckled. He took two steps forward, and then nodded in greeting.
“Senior-apprentice brother He, I’ve long looked forward to meeting you. Now that I’ve seen you, it’s truly an honour.”
Yin BiYue keenly noticed that the aura surrounding the chatterbox had changed.
It didn’t look like false bravado or a bluff, but rather like an innate momentum.
Even his ostentatious silk changpao embroidered with belladona blossoms in gold thread seemed to have become a proper and graceful Emperor’s gown.
Although Duan ChongXuan said ‘nice to meet you’, it sounded more like, ‘kneel before me’.
Duan ChongXuan continued to speak, “Master, our elder, has always taught us that ‘every honest action done must never cross the line’. To not allow outside influences to sway the heart, and to not be deceived and allow our eyes to be blinded. To ‘change the direction of others’ rather than ‘allow others to manipulate me’. If one’s heart is firm and unwavering, every action honest and true to oneself, then no matter if it is a famed blade or a simple folding fan, plain clothes or finery, all are viewed as external influences.”
He Lai’s complexion was somewhat bad. However, he couldn’t retort and say that the Sword Saint was wrong.
Duan ChongXuan suddenly changed the topic. The smile on his face gradually deepened as he said, “Meeting each other by chance must be an event directed by Fate. Although there is the saying of ‘first come, first served’, today I have personally seen my Bao Pu Sect friends are truly upright and honest, like clear jade containing pearls. To be content with poverty and to strive for virtue in this way truly makes me admire you! Since these friends seem to be in a hurry and are unable to wait, how could we not make way?”
Duan ChongXuan gestured forward with his fan before gracefully retreating, “May everyone please pass first!”