Jing Yue was very angry.
Ever since Long Ritian tried to make things difficult for him, he was on fire. All these people had great talents and had a promising future, but they deviated from the path of Dao due to internal factional struggle, to the extent of distorting their mental aptitude, wasting their energy on meaningless things.
Therefore, he had decided to teach them a lesson.
He thought things would end there, but these people did not know when to retreat. By employing such unscrupulous means, what was the difference between them and demonic cultivators? Perhaps, many people in Frostcloud Sect had already succumbed to demonic arts.
If that was the case, he would no longer hold back.
Unlike Long Ritian, Mu Feng was more rational and cautious. After witnessing Jing Shan’s strong display, he did not boast of giving his opponent three moves.
As soon as the match began, the long sword left his hands.
However, his opponent seemed to have changed into another person.
This time, Jing Yue had no reservations. His actions were ruthless, every move contained endless variations, leaving Mu Feng helpless to predict his next intention.
No matter how he adjusted his sword moves, Mu Feng only felt he was completely controlled by his opponent, as if every inch of the court was Jing Shan’s trap. He formed a seal with his hands to call his sword back to him, but the sword that had been with him for many years simply rattled on the spot, unable to escape the opponent’s confinement.
His heart filled with trepidation and the blood gradually drained from his face.
Suddenly, a purple light flashed across his eyes. With a crisp sound, his sword was knocked to the ground, breaking into several fragments.
After that, he completely lost his connection with the sword.
Mu Feng spat a mouthful of blood, hands clutched at his chest, his eyes filled with disbelief.
From the beginning to the end, it took less than fifteen minutes, and he had suffered absolute defeat.
“A-jing… he’d defeated Mu Feng?” Yu Xiaobao grabbed Shi Nian’s hand in amazement, his tongue in knots.
Shi Nian was also stunned and even forgot to withdraw his hand from Yu Xiaobao’s hold, staring at the scene with his eyes wide.
After a long while, Liang Yuan reluctantly said, “They only used basic swordplay without any magic spells, can it still be considered as true strength? Otherwise, Jing Shan can’t rival Mu Feng.”
Despite that, he knew in his heart that the difference of cultivation level between the two should have directly determined the outcome of the match. He was a level-3 Qi Refining himself and could not survive ten moves in a spar with Mu Feng, but Mu Feng also could not survive ten moves during his spar with Jing Shan.
The crowd was abuzz with excitement. All the disciples witnessed the strength displayed by Jing Shan that defied the law of the cultivation levels, and they could not help thinking of the name that everyone was in awe of—Qin Yanzhi.
No, it was not the same, but shocking enough.
But Mu Feng could not hear anything. Only the dazzling purple light remained in his eyes, like a purple hue in the sky, radiant and captivating. Not only did it confine his sword, but it also confined his confidence and determination.
At that very instant, he knew clearly that something had shattered within him.
The lecturer’s face was as pale as a sheet. He could no longer find any excuses to embarrass Jing Shan further, so he said a few words hastily before the class was dismissed.
When Jing Yue returned, Yu Xiaobao rushed up to him excitedly and stammered, “A-Jing, you, you, you’re really amazing!”
He noticed the people around looking at them, their eyes full of curiosity, wariness and envy, and his heart welled with pride for some strange reason. He raised his voice on purpose, “How did you do that?”
Jing Yue, “Cultivate whole-heartedly, of course.”
Yu Xiaobao was taken aback. Although Jing Shan had said something similar several times, he never took it to heart before, so he was at a loss for a moment.
After that day, Jing Yue got closer to his roommates. In the past, Yu Xiaobao and Shi Nian just treated him kindly and politely, but now, it was as if a barrier had been removed. Even Liang Yuan seemed to lower his guard a little. Although he still rarely took the initiative to approach him, there was occasional interaction between them now.
As for the Primary faction, they totally went silent. Even their strongest contender was taken out by Jing Yue so easily, who else would dare to provoke him?
Despite that, Jing Yue knew that this matter would not end there.
Time passed unknowingly up in the mountains, especially in Frostcloud Sect.
There were no changes of the four seasons here, but the scenery of the four seasons could be enjoyed all year round. There was emerald bamboo on the East, autumn leaves on the West, flowing rivers on the South, and snowy plums on the North.
Amidst the scenery, it was as if time had stopped.
But in the mortal world, a hundred days had passed.
On this day, Yu Xiaobao finally broke through to level-1 Qi Refining. To celebrate his success, he decided to invite his roommates to the most expensive restaurant, Cyclamen Restaurant, in Frore City for a good meal.
There were some heavy snowfalls recently and Frore City was completely swathed in white with very few people walking around. There were more cultivators within the city, and many of them displayed tokens from other sects.
“Are they here for the Patriarch Initiation Ceremony that’ll be held two months later?” Shi Nian said. “Counting the days, the bigger sects that are further away should be here by now.”
Yu Xiaobao came to a sudden realization. “You’re right! I almost forgot about this important sect event. Speaking of which, as disciples of Frostcloud Sect, we don’t even know anything about our new patriarch. I wonder whether it’s a male or female, and how old they are.”
Liang Yuan, “We’ll see during the ceremony. They inherited the legacy from the Daoist-Master, so I wonder how they’d carry themselves.”
Jing Yue scratched his nose awkwardly. Glancing around, he saw the Flying Immortal List again, surrounded by a huge crowd as always.
At the tug of his heart, he pulled his companions along with him and squeezed through the crowd.
The ranking on the list had not changed much from the last time. Jing Yue saw Qin Yanzhi’s name at first glance, still in the first place on the Amethyst Abode list, above the rest.
“Huh? Lin-zhenjun of the White Phoenix Sword Sect has moved up the ranks again?”
“Ah, Daoist Yan from the Villa of Scattered Stars has also moved up the ranking, getting closer to the Foundation Establishment list.”
The changes were mainly concentrated on the Mountain River List. Liang Yuan and the others read the list and discussed among themselves, while Yu Xiaobao envied, “It’d be nice if my name can appear on the list someday.”
Shi Nian smiled and said, “I don’t know if you can make it, but for A-jing… there’ll be a place for him in the future.”
Yu Xiaobao gave Jing Shan a respectful look and unconsciously moved closer to him.
Suddenly, he heard Jing Shan ask, “How many Golden Core Zhenren from Frostcloud Sect are on the list?”
Yu Xiaobao blinked. “Five.”
Jing Yue, “What about Sword Inscription Sect?”
Yu Xiaobao, “Nine.”
Everyone fell silent at that.
After a brief pause, Yu Xiaobao said, “But we have two more than the Ghost Lurking Sect!”
Jing Yue did not say anything, merely stared at him quietly, and Yu Xiaobao’s head sank lower and lower.
Demonic cultivators were mainly concentrated in West Shu region, and their cultivation resources could not be compared with the righteous sects. Despite that, Frostcloud Sect only had two more people on the list compared to the other, so they ought to be ashamed of themselves.
They were devastated. It was the first time they realized that the world’s number one sect that seemed to be flourishing might, in fact, be plagued with hidden threats and currently in grave danger.
Everyone fell into low spirits and they arrived at the restaurant with a lot on their minds.
Since the main hall was already full of guests, the waiter showed them upstairs to a table next to the windows. Right after placing their orders, they heard the voice of the storyteller from the main hall.
“…Fairy Mengyan of the Palace of Nine Moons has been infatuated with Qin-xianzhang^ of Sword Inscription Sect for hundreds of years. Just a few days ago, she went directly to the Sword Inscription Sect and stated her intention to become the Dao partner to Qin-xianzhang. After being rejected, she remained at the bottom of the mountains without giving up, insisting to meet up with him.”
(TN: Xianzhang 仙长 can be translated as Celestial Master or Immortal Master.)
Jing Yue listened with vague understanding. “Qin? Is he referring to Qin Yanzhi?”
Liang Yuan, “Who else can captivate Fairy Mengyan except for that one? After all, Fairy Mengyan is an Amethyst Abode elder of the Palace of Nine Moons, I’ve heard…”
He blushed abruptly and fell silent.
“What’d you hear?” Yu Xiaobao pursed his lips in dissatisfaction, his cheeks bulging like a plump dumpling.
Shi Nian laughed lightly. “Apparently, Fairy Mengyan possessed the Divine Yin^ physique, most suitable to be a human cauldron^. Anyone practicing dual cultivation with her can help both parties to improve their skills greatly and is highly coveted by many people. But she has kept her innocence all this time and only wants to be with Qin-zhenjun.”
(TN: Yin阴 refers to Yin-Yang of dual elements. Yin element from a female can complement the Yang element of a male, achieving the result as a ‘human cauldron’炉鼎 during dual cultivation.)
Upon hearing this, Jing Yue asked curiously, “Is Qin-zhenjun handsome?”
Yu Xiaobao, “Of course he is! He’s just… Ahh, there’s a portrait of him in the gallery. Just take a look at it and you’ll understand.”
Jing Yue ignored Yu Xiaobao’s suggestion and continued asking, “Why’d he refuse? Is Fairy Mengyan ugly?”
Liang Yuan gave his trademark snort, “How can Qin-zhenjun be so superficial? He’s just pursuing sword Dao wholeheartedly without allowing anything to distract him. Even if Fairy Mengyan is one of the top ten beauties of the cultivation world, she’s no different from vegetation in his eyes.”
Jing Yue, “Liang-shixiong is so knowledgeable.”
Liang Yuan, “…”
Right at this time, their orders were served, relieving Liang Yuan’s embarrassment.
The storyteller continued with his tale. While listening, Jing Yue fed a bean to the blue phoenix, which came along with them.
Suddenly, the clapper made a startling noise and gave Ji-ji a fright. The bean in its mouth rolled away and it sprawled aggrievedly on the table, chubby body leaned heavily on Jing Yue’s arm, and it stopped moving.
“…Fairy Mengyan begged and pleaded, but in the end, it was the sect leader of Sword Inscription Sect who relented and allowed her entry. Unexpectedly, the moment she saw Qin-xianzhang, she released a killing move and went in for his life!”
Yu Xiaobao, “Has Fairy Mengyan’s love turn into hatred?”
Liang Yuan, “Perhaps, if she can’t get his love, she wants to get his body, even if it’s a dead body. After that, she’ll follow him in death, and fulfill the saying of ‘til death do us part’.”
Jing Yue flicked a glance at Liang Yuan’s direction and marveled secretly that he was not as he seemed, a theatrical drama queen at heart.
“… How could Fairy Mengyan be an opponent for Qin-xianzhang? Even though she launched a surprise attack, a sword Qi released by Qin-xianzhang pierced through her chest and abdomen. A wailing scream was heard and a black wisp of smoke escaped from Fairy Mengyan’s wounds before it was dissipated by another strike from Qin-xianzhang. As for Fairy Mengyan, her body rotted instantly as if she had been dead for a very long time…”
Loud cries of exclamation were heard in the tavern.
“Could it be that Fairy Mengyan is a demonic cultivator?”
Shi Nian, “This handiwork… it reeks of the Cadaver Gate.”
Jing Yue, who had been well-trained by the blue phoenix on modern internet slang, was perplexed. “What Cadaver Gate?”
Shi Nian, “It was a demonic cult that created chaos five hundred years ago. Not only can they turn the corpse of a cultivator into a puppet, they can also detach their soul-mind from their own bodies and attach it to a corpse of another cultivator of the same level. It was almost no different from a living person. Furthermore, they can even wield the same techniques of the dead cultivator, making it difficult for outsiders to tell the difference.”
Jing Yue, “So, what you’re trying to say is, Fairy Mengyan has already been dead for a while, and her corpse was controlled by the soul-mind of a demonic cultivator?”
Shi Nian nodded. “It’s my guess. However, the old demon lord of the Cadaver Gate was severely injured by Patriarch Liu Yun five hundred years ago, and the whole sect also disappeared after that…”
Liang Yuan, “Maybe the old demon has regained his cultivation?”
Shi Nian, “Impossible! His cultivation level was directly reduced by Patriarch Liu Yun. For him to regain his strength to the Return to Void level, how can five hundred years be sufficient to do so?”
They could not come up with a plausible explanation even after cracking their heads over it, so they relieved their frustration with food and fine wine.
After a satisfying meal, the sun had set and they rushed back to the sect.
Unexpectedly, as soon as they stepped through the boundary, they were stopped by two people.
One of them sneered sarcastically, “Jing-shidi, long time no see. It seems that you’re leading a carefree life these days.”
Jing Yue, “Excuse me, you are…?”
Author’s Note: Mini-theater
Jing-jing: Is Qin-zhenjun very handsome?
Yu Xiaobao: Buy this picture book and you can see for yourself!
Jing-jing: I need to buy a picture book just to see a man? Not interested.
Blue phoenix: Let me do it, Jing-jing, I’ll help you!
Half a day later
Blue phoenix: Yu Xiaobao is a liar. He’s so ugly. His hair and mouth are not colorful. Even his eyes are not of different colors!!