The night basked in a gentle moonlight and thick fog enveloped the spiritual flowers and plants. In the courtyard, Liang Yuan and the others waited for Jing Yue anxiously.
Yu Xiaobao, “Why do you think they asked A-jing to stay behind alone?”
Liang Yuan huffed impatiently, “How would I know?”
He kicked a pebble irritably. “It’s all because of him, offending people the moment he came. I only hope the Shixiongs will not make things too difficult for him.”
Shi Nian wanted to say something too, but he saw Jing Yue as soon as he raised his head and called out hurriedly, “A-jing is out!”
They sighed in relief and eagerly asked for the reason.
Jing Yue, “They want me to join the Civilian faction.”
Everyone was stunned. Yu Xiaobao asked nervously, “So, did you?”
Jing Yue told them in great detail about what happened, and Liang Yuan was both angry and disappointed after he heard the story. “Aren’t you a bit too daring? That’s Yan Min-shixiong, a core disciple of the sect! You dare refuse his invitation?”
Jing Yue, “My attitude has always been this way.”
They thought about it and found that he was right.
Shi Nian, “So it seems that we’re invited because of A-jing.”
Liang Yuan exchanged a glance with Yu Xiaobao and both felt a little depressed.
That night, everyone in the dormitory had their own thoughts.
In another courtyard within Frostcloud Sect, someone said, “Yan Min invited Jing Shan to join the Civilian faction, but Jing Shan refused.”
Another person said, “Really?”
“The news came from someone close to Jing Shan. It can’t be wrong.”
“Hah, this Jing Shan is really amazing. Even the Civilian faction had thoughts about him.”
“Aren’t you optimistic about him too?”
That person smiled. “That’s true, but now, he has offended two factions and his cultivation will inevitably be hindered in the future. When he has suffered enough and no longer as glorified as today, he can only turn to our Noble faction for help.”
“But he said he won’t join any factions.”
“Then we’ll just wait and see how long he can hold out. It’s rare to meet someone who doesn’t forget their original intentions. I’m looking forward to it.”
After the networking event, no one caused any further trouble for Jing Yue, but he felt that he was deliberately being ignored. The inner gates would never invite him for any training opportunities, and the resources that belonged to him were also not given using all sorts of excuses, as if he had been completely forgotten.
On this day, Shi Nian returned with a piece of news.
“I heard that the Mauve Aurora Sect has issued a challenge against the core disciples of Frostcloud Sect in Frore City.”
Jing Yue, “Are they here already?”
As the day for the Patriarch Initiation Ceremony drew closer, more and more people had arrived in Frore City.
Shi Nian, “Except for the Sword Inscription Sect, disciples from the Three Realm Temple, Palace of Nine Moons, and other major sects have already arrived.”
Liang Yuan said angrily, “How dare they! This is the territory of the Frostcloud Sect!”
Jing Yue, “So what? Would the Zhenren of Frostcloud Sect prevent the juniors from exchanging pointers? If our disciples are still as strong as the past few thousand years, would the Mauve Aurora Sect dare to provoke us?”
Liang Yuan was unwilling to concede, but he could not find a rebuttal.
It turned out that the challenge would be held on this day. The Mauve Aurora Sect had already chosen three Foundation Establishment disciples, while Frostcloud Sect would select one disciple from each faction of Primary, Noble and Civilian to face the challenges. The challengers from both sides were cultivators at the Absolute-level Foundation Establishment stage, and they were all known figures on the Flying Immortal List.
How could they not watch the excitement? Besides, it was also related to the dignity of Frostcloud Sect. The few roommates immediately went down the mountain and met many groups of people from the same sect along the way.
When they entered the city, the challenge was just about to begin.
The outside of the martial arts arena was already packed like sardines. If not for the enchantment barrier surrounding it, the crowd would have swarmed into the arena.
Fortunately, Shi Nian thought of another way and led his companions to the Jubilee Restaurant located two blocks away. It seemed that the second floor of the restaurant near the window area would overlook the martial arts arena.
When they arrived, however, they realized that many people had the same idea as Shi Nian. The second floor was already packed.
Shi Nian sighed in disappointment, but Jing Shan directly approached a table where only one young woman was sitting.
“May I ask if we can share the table?”
The woman hesitated when suddenly, a fat little chicken flew onto the table and with its wings closed, it gazed earnestly at the woman as if begging for her consent.
Blue phoenix was forced by Jing Yue to peddle his cuteness.
When it saw the woman’s expression softening, it quickly clamped a walnut with its wings and walked sideways towards the woman, eagerly pecked the walnut shell open with its beak, and offered it obediently to her.
The woman grinned broadly and accepted the blue phoenix’s bribe. Blue phoenix immediately flew onto her shoulder and released the best move that it was most proud of—rubbing its furry little head on the woman’s neck.
“Okay, that’s enough.” The woman could not help but say, “Have a seat. This little thing is too cute. Is it a spiritual bird? It’s so smart.”
Jing Yue thanked her before he replied, “It’s just a wild pheasant.”
Blue phoenix froze, sat down on the woman’s shoulder, and went still.
After everyone was seated, the woman said, “My name is Lu Yuan, from the Ministone Gate of Credence City. How about you?”
Jing Yue knew that Credence City was very close to Frore City, but he was unfamiliar with the name Ministone Gate. He did not pursue the topic but merely said, “We belong to Frostcloud Sect.”
The expression on Lu Yuan’s face changed slightly and she said, “If you announced your identity just now, many people here will give up their seats for you.”
Jing Yue, “Even the Frostcloud Sect must abide by the rules.”
Lu Yuan twitched her lips in a smile but said nothing. For some reason, Jing Yue felt some irony in her smile.
Before he could ponder about it, the competition had begun.
As soon as the disciples from both sides entered the arena, someone from the next table exclaimed loudly, “Ah! Mauve Aurora Sect has sent Wei Li to fight. He just made it into the River Mountain List recently. As for Frostcloud Sect…”
“It’s Wang Ye-shixiong!” Yu Xiaobao’s eyes lit up. “Wang-shixiong has attained the Absolute-level of Foundation Establishment ten years ago and is currently ranked 82nd on the River Mountain List.”
When Jing Yue heard Wang Ye’s name, he recalled that the other party belonged to the Civilian faction. No wonder Yu Xiaobao and the rest looked at him in admiration.
He twisted his head to look out of the window. The fight had already started.
From Wang Ye’s moves, it could be seen that he was a double spiritual root of Water and Wood, while Wei Li had a triple-element spiritual root. Within the enchantment barrier, the shadows and glares from the swords could be seen, the water splashed and the fire raged, while vines appeared from within the steam produced from the water and fire, winding and circling like a giant serpent, waiting to devour its opponent.
From the looks of the battle, Wei Li was clearly at a disadvantage.
Someone at the next table asked, “The rank difference between Wang Ye and Wei Li is so great, so the outcome of this match is quite obvious, right?”
“Of course!” His companion answered decisively, and after thinking about it, he hailed the waiter, “I want to place a bet, Wang Ye for the win.”
“Sure!” The waiter came forward holding a tray.
Liang Yuan startled. “Can we place bets in the restaurant?”
Hearing his question, the waiter hurried to answer, “Customer, all the major gambling dens control the odds and payment. We just help to collect the money.”
Liang Yuan and Yu Xiaobao’s eyes met, and the latter immediately said, “Me, me, me! I want to place a bet too, Wang-shixiong to win!”
When the waiter heard that they were from Frostcloud Sect, his attitude became more respectful. “Wang-xianzhang’s odds are one to two, while Wei-xianzhang’s odds are one to eight.”
Yu Xiaobao laughed loudly and moved to take out his spirit-stones.
Jing Yue slowly retracted his gaze. “I’d advise you not to place the bet. If you insist, you should buy Wei Li for the win.”
Yu Xiaobao was disgruntled. “A-jing, how can you uplift other’s prestige and destroy your own esteem?”
Jing Yue, “It’s up to you. Don’t cry when you lose.”
Liang Yuan huffed indignantly, threw a pile of spirit-stones on the waiter’s tray, and said boldly, “Wang-shixiong for the win!”
Just then, someone in the hall exclaimed, “Wang Ye is injured!”
Liang Yuan was taken aback and turned around quickly, his neck cracking loudly in the process.
Wang Ye clutched at his chest with his hands and spat a big mouthful of blood. With a sway of his body, he knelt with one knee on the ground, supported by one arm so he did not fall completely. He seemed to be seriously injured.
The restaurant suddenly became very quiet. Jing Yue saw Wei Li clasping his hands to Wang Ye before he walked out of the martial arts arena.
“Wang-shixiong… lost?” Liang Yuan’s face was pale and he could believe his eyes.
Jing Yue, “He lost.”
Liang Yuan stared at the spirit-stones in the waiter’s tray in a daze, and his face turned green.
The sounds of discussions grew louder and louder until it seemed like ten thousand mosquitoes were buzzing all at once.
“I thought the Mauve Aurora Sect had given up on this match when they sent Wei Li to lead the competition. I never expected that he’d actually win. What happened in the end?”
“It seems that Wei Li used an earth spell and Wang Ye couldn’t evade in time.”
“If Wei Li has defeated Wang Ye, doesn’t it mean that he’ll move up in the rankings? Mauve Aurora Sect has already overtaken Frostcloud Sect when it comes to the number of cultivators at the Foundation Establishment stage on the list, and now, they are progressing further. On the other hand, looking back at Frostcloud Sect, do they still look like the top cultivation sect in the world?”
That person shut his mouth in a hurry after he finished his sentence, seemingly to realize that he was currently standing in the territory of Frostcloud Sect.
His companion said, “Don’t be too hasty, there are two matches to go, not to mention that the number one Foundation Establishment cultivator is Lian Chenzi from Frostcloud Sect.”
Liang Yuan gritted his teeth. “That’s right, there are two matches to go! Wang-shixiong is not considered the strongest contender among the Civilian faction and can’t represent the highest standards of the core disciples. The Shixiong in the next two matches will definitely win, and with two wins out of three, it’s still our win!”
Jing Yue crushed a walnut with one hand and said coolly, “Not necessarily.”
The dash of cold water made Liang Yuan glared furiously at him, and even Shi Nian could not help shaking his head.
However, two hours later…
Liang Yuan hammered the table fiercely and glared at Jing Yue. “You’re a jinx!”
Around his ears, he could hear the words ‘Frostcloud Sect lost all three matches and lost all face’, ‘Lian Chenzi lost the top spot of Foundation Establishment ranking’, ‘Mauve Aurora Sect leading the race’, ‘All major gambling dens broke the bank in compensation’ and so on.
Jing Yue remained calm. “I have my basis for saying so, but there’s really no need to be concerned about it. This time, the Mauve Aurora Sect was clearly prepared, while Frostcloud Sect accepted the challenge quite hastily. Besides, looking at the current cultivation environment in our sect, isn’t this outcome expected?
Liang Yuan stood up. “Jing Shan!”
Jing Yue raised his head and saw that Liang Yuan was about to faint from anger, so he attempted to calm him down. “Okay, I’m sorry. Our Frostcloud Sect is unparalleled and will never fall.”
He looked around and noticed that Lu Yuan had already left without informing them. He raised his eyebrows slightly and said, “Let’s go back too.”
Blue phoenix flapped its wings and returned to Jing Yue’s head. “Jing-jing, aren’t you going to slap some faces? Frostcloud Sect is facing some unprecedented embarrassment this time and everyone’s talking about it fervently.”
Jing Yue’s tone was calm and unwavering. “What can I do about it? I’m only at level-3 Qi Refining. In terms of cultivation level, I’m nothing more than cannon fodder. Besides,” he paused for a brief moment, “I hope that one day, they can win back their dignity by themselves.”
Without a doubt, the disciples of Frostcloud Sect were brilliant, and those who took part in the matches today were even more outstanding.
However, they had been stymied by the current Frostcloud Sect, and this phenomenon had almost ruined the future of Frostcloud Sect too.
Author’s Note: Mini-theater
Jing-jing: I bought ten catties of walnuts.
Ji-ji: I’ll crack it open for you.
Jing-jing: New skills unlocked.