Regardless of whether the roommates were convinced by Jing Yue, they could only endure the remaining days without pills.
At noon one day, the sun hung high above the mountains.
Suddenly, Liang Yuan rushed into the dorm like a gust of wind, the excitement on his face could not be concealed, and even his voice trembled. “I, I’ve received an invitation to the networking event.”
Yu Xiaobao and Shi Nian quickly surrounded him, their eyes shining brightly.
“Really. He-shixiong even invited all the dorm mates to attend together!”
Yu Xiaobao’s eyes widened, pointing at his own nose incredulously, “I, I can go too?”
“That’s right.” Liang Yuan nodded in affirmation.
“Wow…” Yu Xiaobao’s chubby body swayed; the huge surprise had made him dizzy.
Shi Nian, “Wait a minute. You said all the dorm mates… does that include Jing Shan too?”
Liang Yuan was taken aback and his tone became strange, “His name was written on the invitation.”
Jing Yue, “What networking event are you talking about?”
Shi Nian glanced at him. “It’s a networking event organized by the Civilian faction. Initially, the purpose was for the sharing of training experience. After that, it gradually gained traction. Not only can you ask the seniors to share their knowledge, but you can also enquire about information, exchange resources, and even assign tasks, as long as you pay the corresponding prices.”
Jing Yue, “Civilian faction? Why am I being invited then?”
They exchanged glances and Liang Yuan replied, “It’s quite strange indeed. Usually, only high-level Qi Refining disciples are invited. For mid to low-level disciples, only those who are extremely talented get the chance to receive an invitation.”
Shi Nian, “Perhaps their target is actually A-jing?”
Seeing the confused stares around him, he explained hesitantly. “By right, neither Liang-shixiong, Xiaobao, nor I are outstanding, so we have never received an invitation in the past. But A-jing…”
Liang Yuan huffed unhappily, but he also realized that Shi Nian was speaking the truth.
Shi Nian, “When the news about the incident with the boundary stone spread, the conflict between A-jing and the Primary faction has become greater. Perhaps the organizer of the networking event has plans for you.”
Liang Yuan and Yu Xiaobao became thoughtful.
Jing Yue, “Stop speculating. We’ll find out when we attend. When is it?”
Liang Yuan, “Tonight.”
The night grew dark, but one particular courtyard on Frond Island was very lively.
As soon as Jing Yue and his roommates entered the garden, many people looked over and were stunned at the sight of him.
A level 7 Qi Refining disciple approached them. “Who are you? Do you have an invitation?”
Liang Yuan quickly handed over the invitation. “The card contains the names of all the four people in our dorm.”
That person carefully flipped through the card and said dubiously, “Why is a person from the Primary faction here too?”
Jing Yue was already a celebrity in the inner gates and very few people do not recognize him. He merely smiled in response to that question.
Another person said, “This is a networking event for the Civilian Faction. Primary faction disciples like yourself have the Golden Core Zhenren to guide you personally. Isn’t this sort of event unworthy of your status?”
Liang Yuan explained, “A-jing didn’t join the Primary faction.”
That person said again, “He doesn’t even appreciate the guidance from a Golden Core Zhenren, so how could he look up to a little faction such as ours?”
Loud murmurs of assent echoed around as if the invitation produced by Liang Yuan was a fake.
Liang Yuan’s face flushed as his anxiety grew when a young man in white robes approached. “These people are my guests. Don’t be impolite.”
Thereafter, he clasped his hands in a greeting to Liang Yuan and the others. “Everyone just has doubts in their hearts and has no other intentions. Please disregard any unpleasant words.”
“No, of course not.” Liang Yuan’s entire body was stiff, as cautious as a little daughter-in-law. “We are very honored to be invited by He-shixiong.”
Shi Nian and Yu Xiaobao nodded repeatedly. Only Jing Yue complained silently in his heart. These people had already seen the invitation but still made things difficult for them, so they probably wanted to exert their superiority first.
No, it should be said that he was the one being targeted.
He refused to believe that no one knew He-shixiong had invited him. His current status was a little awkward. If the Civilian faction had any ideas about him, they must have tested the waters beforehand.
Jing Yue scrutinized the genteel young man in front of him and came to a conclusion—this was a good guy / bad guy trope.
Nevertheless, of course he would not cooperate with this trope. Even an invitation to a networking event could be so conniving?
Jing Yue, “I’m really puzzled with the hospitality we’ve received thus far. Since we’ve been invited by He-shixiong and we also produced the invitation for inspection, why are there still so many complaints? Are they dissatisfied about your decision to invite us?”
He Xianzhi, “…”
Jing Yue, “Fortunately, all of us have good tempers. If you met someone arrogant and bad-tempered, wouldn’t they have taken offense and left already?”
The ‘bad guy’ audience, “…”
Jing Yue, “On account of He-shixiong, I won’t pursue this matter. Just don’t do this again in the future. Oh, by the way, I’m a very forthright person, please excuse me.”
Liang Yuan & Shi Nian & Yu Xiaobao, “…”
He Xianzhi forced a smile. “You should take a walk around first. I need to excuse myself.”
After he had left, Liang Yuan pulled Jing Yue aside and said in a low voice, “Are you crazy? That’s He Xianzhi-shixiong, the chairperson of the networking event! He’s already attained the Absolute level of Qi Refining, just one step away from the Foundation Establishment stage. If you offend him like this, what if he doesn’t invite us again in the future?”
Jing Yue, “He must be a very petty person then.”
Liang Yuan decided to ignore him.
Jing Yue wandered around aimlessly and saw the disciples gathered around exchanging information, mostly regarding their recent cultivation experiences, as well as some major events in the sect or the cultivation world.
Such as the changes in the ranking of the Flying Immortal List, or Fairy Mengyan being controlled by the demonic cultivator to assassinate Qin-zhenjun, or the upcoming Patriarch Initiation Ceremony, or the big pit that appeared at the entrance a while ago…
Jing Yue heard the name ‘Jing Shan’ mentioned several times.
“I heard another disciple from the Mauve Aurora Sect has been promoted into the Mountain River List. With that, their number of Foundation Establishment disciples on the list has surpassed us already.”
“So what? As long as their patriarch doesn’t reach the Tribulation Passage, they can only remain behind us, and no amount of upsurge can make a difference.”
Jing Yue stirred. Mauve Aurora Sect? They seemed to be a magic cultivation school in the lower South region, and likely to have made impressive progress for Frostcloud Sect to feel the threat. Otherwise, these disciples would not feel so angry when they mentioned it.
Frostcloud Sect had been sitting in the top spot for far too long that it could no longer take a clear view of the situation.
Jing Yue walked all the way to the back of the garden where rows of tiny stalls were at full display, about forty or so at one glance. Anything and everything was sold in the stalls, including weapons, techniques, pills, spiritual herbs and so on. To the extent, even XX-shijie’s hairpin or YY-shixiong’s socks, and other items that had nothing to do with cultivation could be found here.
For example, he held a book titled ‘Picture Book of the Top 100 People in the Cultivation World’. He wondered why such things were sold at the networking event, and how did it help in cultivation?
The stall owner seemed to look through his heart and spoke cryptically, “Have you heard of faith?”
Jing Yue, “… Not really.”
“Wrong!” Blue phoenix quickly corrected him. “You should ask him if he has heard of Amway^?”
(TN: Anli 安利 is incongruous with the tireless marketing strategy that promotes recommending, sharing or forwarding information, only done if you have ‘faith’ in the products.)
Ignoring the stall owner’s endless rant, Jing Yue casually flipped through…
Eh? Was this his good friend from the past life? So he died this way? What a pity.
Ah? Was this his archenemy from the past life? So he died that way? Good riddance.
Huh? Was this him? The portrait was exactly the same as the one in the Hall of Patriarch, so it seemed to had been widely circulated.
Jing Yue put the book down, walked a few more steps, and stopped in front of a certain stall that only displayed a note in front—For A Reward: How to increase the travel distance when using an Earth Traversing Technique?
Jing Yue thought for a moment before he asked, “When you activate the Earth Traversing technique, how do you mobilize your spiritual energy?”
The stall owner recognized Jing Yue and said hesitantly, “According to the manual, the spiritual energy is concentrated on the legs. But I’ve heard that the cultivators from ten thousand years ago could travel a distance of several times more than what we can achieve now. I wonder if there’s a trick to it somehow.”
Jing Yue, “The Earth Traversing Technique is a low-level technique derived from ‘shrinking the ground into an inch’, and that particular technique requires the coordination of multiple joints in the body. You can try to distribute your spiritual energy on different joints such as the shoulders, spine, thighs, knees, ankles and so on. As for how to distribute, you’ll have to experiment it yourself.”
The stall owner pondered over it for a long while before he clasped his hands. “That makes sense. I’ll try it out. Uh, I’ve prepared ten spirit-stones as the reward, are you satisfied?”
Jing Yue collected the reward and helped several other stall owners solve their cultivation questions too. Personally, he felt that the networking event was very well designed. The sect’s disciples numbered well into the tens of thousands, and it was very difficult for the lecturers to take care of everyone when they were teaching. Frequently, disciples who faced some cultivation problems could only ponder on their own. Through the platform of this networking event, however, not only could the disciples solve each other’s confusion and expand their ideas, but they could also draw on other’s strengths and make up for their shortcomings, which was greatly beneficial to cultivation.
At this moment, in one corner, He Xianzhi asked, “What do you think of him?”
The person next to him replied, “He is indeed very talented and willing to help others too. Since he has fallen out with the Primary faction, why don’t we invite him to our side?”
Thus, when the networking event ended on that day, Jing Yue was once again brought before He Xianzhi. He noticed that the man standing beside He Xianzhi was already a Foundation Establishment cultivator.
He Xianzhi, “This is Yan Min-shixiong.”
Jing Yue bowed in a greeting. Yan Min said, “No need for formalities.”
The latter did not beat around the bush. “The reason we asked you to stay back was to find out from Jing-shidi, would you like to join the Civilian faction?”
Jing Yue bluntly refused. “I don’t wish to get involved in any faction disputes. The Primary faction, Noble faction, and Civilian faction, I won’t join any of these.”
Yan Min frowned. “But you must find a force to rely on, otherwise, where will your cultivation resources come from?”
Jing Yue, “To waste time on trivial faction disputes just for a bit of cultivation resources, is it even worth the effort?”
Yan Min was displeased with his reasoning. “How would you understand the difficulties faced by an ordinary disciple? They are less talented than you, and their resources are not as good as the other two factions. If they don’t fight for it, there is no chance of getting ahead.”
Jing Yue, “Isn’t the basis of cultivation to practice with our heart and not be disturbed by immaterial things? I believe the disciples of Mauve Aurora Sect does not have higher talents than that of Frostcloud Sect, and their cultivation resources won’t be better than ours either, yet the younger generation has already overtaken us. Isn’t that enough to explain the problem?”
Yan Min was silent for a long while before he said, “Since you’re not interested, I won’t force you. You may take your leave.”
After Jing Yue had left, He Xianzhi asked, “Jing Shan really doesn’t know what’s good for him. Should we make him suffer a little?”
Yan Min shook his head. “This matter ends here. Whatever happens to him in the future will have nothing to do with us.”
For some reason, he thought about the bottleneck that he had been unable to break through in his cultivation, and felt a sudden movement in his heart. If he could devote his entire heart and mind to cultivation, would that open a different path for him?
Perhaps Jing Shan was right, but the game had already begun, and he was already made a pawn, so how could he overturn the game?
Author’s Notes: Mini-theater
He Xianzhi: They are all unintentional. Don't take it to heart.
Jing Yue: I’m a very direct person. Don’t take it to heart. Hehe.
Many years later…
Stall owner: Big sale! Big sale! The spiritual grass touched by Jing-laozu. The spirit stones held by Jing-laozu. The pajamas worn by Jing-laozu. The pheasant raised by Jing-laozu. Normal price is 100 spirit stones, 200 spirit stones, and 300 spirit stones. Now, everything is going for 20 spirit stones! Only 20!
Blue phoenix: ???!!!
Qin Yanzhi: … Pack me one of everything.