The next day, Wu Chen-zhenren from Frostcloud Sect returned from his travels bringing an eleven-year-old level-1 Qi Refining disciple with him. Although it was currently not within the duration when the sect opened its doors, there were special circumstances. They had not found the legendary auspicious person of the sect, so this particular disciple did not go through the sect selection process but was directly absorbed into the inner gates.
Naturally, this disciple was Jing Yue in disguise. To avoid being recognized, he consumed a Camouflage Pill and concealed his cultivation level, and even the blue phoenix was left behind at Whitefog Summit.
He chose to start from the inner gates because the inner gates were heavily influenced by the core disciples, and at the same time, their influence greatly affected the outer gates too. It was akin to the bridge in the middle; once the bridge was broken, the core disciples would lose their roots, and the disciples of the outer gates would lose their source.
His main objective at the moment was to find out the current situation of the three factions. Of course, he could choose the easy way out and just get rid of these people, but the symptoms were not the root cause, so he had to solve the problem fundamentally.
With the sect token in hand, Jing Yue traipsed through the beautifully kept compound of the inner gates and came to the dormitory assigned to him.
At this time, the evening class had already ended, so his three other roommates were in the room. They had most probably received the news in advance and were not surprised to see him, but merely glanced at him indifferently before turning their heads away and ignoring him.
Jing Yue took it in stride and said graciously, “Greetings to all the Shixiong, my name is Jing Shan.”
A lanky young man who seemed to be the oldest responded coldly, “Oh,” his eyes never leaving the book he was reading. The other two were both in their teens. One of them looked very refined, even without speaking, he looked a little delicate. The other person was a bit chubby. He stole a peek at Jing Yue before looking around furtively and ended up staring out of the window.
If the information collected by Jing Yue was accurate, all three of them belonged to the Civilian faction, whereas he was brought back by a Golden Core Zhenren, so by definition, he belonged to the Primary faction. In that case, it was natural for him to be ostracized by his roommates.
Evidently, Jing Yue was not going to be deterred by that. He said directly, “Why are you ignoring me?”
When normal people were given the cold treatment, should they not feel embarrassed or angry? How could he casually state it aloud this way? It was now the roommates’ turn to feel uncomfortable.
Chubby Guy was the first person to react. He stood up and cleared his throat, “That, my name is Yu Xiaobao.”
Jing Yue responded enthusiastically, “Yu-shixiong, how do you do!”
Yu Xiaobao used to be the youngest in this dormitory, but he was actually five years older than newcomer Jing Shan. He saw the silly innocence portrayed by the other party and could not bring himself to be cold to him, so he replied awkwardly, “Just call me Xiaobao. My cultivation level is not as high as yours.”
He had just recently guided Qi into his body.
Lanky Guy snorted coldly and Yu Xiaobao quickly shrank back into his seat.
Upon seeing this, Jing Yue approached Lanky Guy, “This Shixiong, may I ask for your name?”
Lanky Guy was not as unsteady as Yu Xiaobao. He leisurely flipped a page of his book and snorted again, “Hmph.”
Jing Yue said earnestly, “Hmph-shixiong, how do you do.”
Lanky Guy, “…”
Delicate Guy could not hold back his laughter. He shook his head and said to Jing Yue, “His surname is Liang, the name’s Liang Yuan.” He clasped his hands in a greeting, “My surname is Shi, name Nian.”
Jing Yue, “Shi-shixiong, your surname is quite uncommon.”
“Yours too.” Shi Nian smiled and continued, “What’s your spiritual root talent? It’s amazing that you’re already a level-1 Qi Refining at the age of eleven.”
He was already eighteen this year but merely a level-2 Qi Refining.
Frostcloud Sect was unlike the remote Megasun City. In Old man Liu’s opinion, Body Forging at the age of ten was already a genius among geniuses. But to the Frostcloud Sect, it was a usual occurrence. According to legend, there were people with extraordinary talents that could guide Qi into the body at seven or eight.
However, guiding Qi into the body was a big hurdle, and it would also take some time before moving to the Qi Refining stage after that. Even within Frostcloud Sect, someone with Jing Shan’s talent was rarely seen.
Jing Yue, “I have a mutated Lightning spiritual root.”
As soon as the words were spoken, Shi Nian and Yu Xiaobao were shocked, and even Liang Yuan could not help but glance at him.
A single spiritual root, and a mutated one at that. No wonder…
Liang Yuan became more guarded. With such talent, it would take no time at all before the Primary faction came looking for him. Tsk, assigning Jing Shan to their dormitory was no different than planting a mole amongst them.
He got so frustrated that he put out all the lights in the room with a wave of his hands, “Stop talking nonsense and go to bed. There are classes early tomorrow morning.”
The room went silent.
Jing Yue looked out the window and realized the sky was not even dark yet.
Besides, do they still require sleeping? Were they not supposed to wash up before going to bed?
At this moment, Jing Yue was lost.
In the early morning, sunlight penetrated through the gaps of the ancient trees and spilled on the courtyard, the green foliage was stained with morning dew, and the ground was covered with floating thin mist. Suddenly, the piercing call of birds shattered the tranquility of the peaceful morning.
As soon as Jing Yue stepped out of the dorm, a blue baby bird rushed into his arms. Its wings and claws clung tightly to his clothes and it sobbed bitterly, “I beg you, please don’t leave me behind. What am I supposed to do without you? I’m most lonely during sleepless nights…”
Jing Yue noticed a patch of feathers missing from the top of its head and caught on, “Yi Ye bullied you again?”
Blue phoenix hiccuped, buried its head in Jing Yue’s arms and wept sadly.
Jing Yue, “…”
However, the blue phoenix was too conspicuous. Furthermore, Qianyue and Liu Tianhao had seen it before. Jing Yue considered briefly and thought of a way to disguise it.
Unfortunately, the Camouflage Pill could only be consumed by humans, so he found several common plants to make dye mixture.
“What colors do you like?”
Blue phoenix recalled all the fashion trends of the different worlds and fell into deep thought. It was a long while before it replied, “Mary Sue colors.”
Jing Yue: ???
“Colorful feathers, colorful beak and colorful claws.”
Jing Yue, “…”
In the end, the little blue chicken turned into a little yellow chicken. Jing Yue did not fulfill the blue phoenix’s strange aesthetic.
He told blue phoenix to find a place to stay before he hurried to the classroom by himself. All his roommates had already left without him.
“Why didn’t you wait for me?” Jing Yue squeezed between Yu Xiaobao and Shi Nian before saying candidly, “Remember to wait for me next time.”
There was nothing special about the morning classes in the inner gates of Frostcloud Sect. The lectures were mainly conducted by Foundation Establishment disciples on a rotational basis, and the class today discussed the tips of basic cultivation methods. Jing Yue listened for a while and found nothing wrong with it, so he closed his eyes and practiced on his own.
After the morning class, someone called out to Jing Yue and told him to collect his resources for the month.
To Jing Yue’s surprise, Liang Yuan, who had never been pleasant to him, offered to accompany him and even brought Yu Xiaobao and Shi Nian along.
Jing Yue was perplexed until he was surrounded by a few levels 4 and 5 Qi Refining disciples after he had collected the cultivation resources.
“Shidi, there’s a proper hierarchy in this sect, you should pay respects to your Shixiong after receiving good things, understand?”
Out of the corner of his eyes, Jing Yue saw his roommates standing a good distance from him, expressions full of gloating. He silently retracted his gaze and handed over the spirit-stones and pills without any hesitation or unwillingness.
“…” He was so forthright that they could not find fault with him.
The group of people who had achieved their main objective huffed and left. Jing Yue turned to his roommates and saw them straightening their backs when they noticed his look.
Liang Yuan looked at him guardedly, Shi Nian’s expression was unfathomable, but Yu Xiaobao looked slightly guilty, his eyes evasive.
Jing Yue smiled, “Let’s go back. Thank you for accompanying me.”
In the evening, while Jing Yue was not around, the three roommates held a private discussion.
Liang Yuan, “Say, don’t you think there’s something wrong with this newcomer Jing Shan? He didn’t care when we gave him the cold treatment, and he didn’t care when he was robbed of his spirit-stones and pills by the Civilians Shixiong. He’s really thick-skinned.”
Yu Xiaobao said hesitantly, “Maybe because he’s still young. He didn’t even get angry today when we stood by and watched without doing anything. I feel a bit guilty about it.”
Shi Nian thought for a moment, “Maybe it’s not that he didn’t care, but he has a deeper scheme in mind.”
Yu Xiaobao, “He’s only eleven years old. How could he be scheming anything?”
Liang Yuan chuckled, “You think he’s as foolish as you?”
Yu Xiaobao, “I’m…”
“What are you talking about?” Jing Yue pushed the door open from the outside, a yellow chick sprawled on his head. “I picked up this little thing from the back of the mountain. It looks very cute. Can I keep it?”
Blue phoenix blinked pitifully.
Everyone ignored him, and Jing Yue pretended to heave a sigh of relief, “It’s good to know that you don’t object to it. I know all of you are good people.”
Liang Yuan: ???
Shi Nian and Yu Xiaobao: …
At this time, a female voice called from outside the room, “Is Jing Shan-shidi in there?”
Liang Yuan and the rest startled for a moment before they quickly realized: Here it comes!
It must be the people from the Primary faction!
Jing Yue ignored the odd look on the trio’s faces and pretended to be confused, “Who’s looking for me?” He turned and walked out again.
A male and a female were standing under the ancient tree in the courtyard. Jing Yue paused. He recognized the male as Liu Tianhao, the person who joined on the same day as him.
Indeed, Liu Tianhao was invited to the sect by a primary disciple, so he could be considered as part of the Primary faction to a certain extent. However, after he left that day, he wondered if any Golden Core Zhenren had taken a fancy to him?
The female’s gaze swept across him and said mildly, “You’re Jing Shan?”
“Yes, I am.”
“Mm, come with me then.”
“Where are we going?”
The female seemed impatient and frowned slightly, “There’s a congregation this evening and you’re required to attend.”
Jing Yuan, “A congregation? Is it for cultivation?”
“Then, is it for any important sect matters?”
“No.” The female’s eyebrows were twisted in a knot and had obviously lost all patience.
Liu Tianhao noticed her reaction and jumped in, “You talk too much for a kid. Are you attending or not?”
Liu Tianhao, “…”
Jing Yue, “Since it’s not for cultivation and doesn’t involve any major sect matters, then what has it got to do with me? But still, I want to thank Shijie and Shixiong for inviting me.”
The female’s face darkened, “Do you know what you’re talking about? This congregation was held by Qianxia-shijie.”
Jing Yue, “But… that has nothing to do with me?”
The female thought Jing Shan was not aware they were a member of the Primary faction, so she stated more explicitly, “Qianxia-shijie is the primary disciple of Li Yuan-zhenren!”
The female could no longer tolerate it and sneered, “Very well, watch out for yourself then!”
With that said, she left without a backward glance.
Liu Tianhao fell behind and taunted, “Don’t you regret it!”
When Jing Yue entered the room again, all his roommates were dumbstruck.
Liang Yuan assumed Jing Shan was new and was not aware of all the implications, so he said sarcastically, “Are you sure you’re not going? That’s a congregation of the Primary faction. Or, could it be that you’re not aware? Once you attain Foundation Establishment, you’ll join under Wu Chen-zhenren and become one of them.”
Jing Yue, “I understand what Liang-shixiong is talking about. Today, someone has already approached me and told me about the Primary faction, Noble faction and Civilian faction. Oh, he also mentioned that all of you belong to the Civilian faction.”
Shi Nian was puzzled, “Then, why did you refuse? Without the protection from the faction, no matter how talented you are, you’ll be nothing but a loner that anyone can bully.”
Jing Yue gave them a strange look.
“I’m here to cultivate. As long as I succeed in my cultivation, who can bully me? If the mind is wasted on miscellaneous matters and impede cultivation, isn’t that the same as putting the cart before the horse?”