“The food is here. Let’s dig in.”
Ritian and Ridi discerned a trace of impatience in Jing Yue’s tone. They were apprehensive and naturally fell quiet during the meal, so the voices from the other table seemed particularly clear.
“The Gu family really doesn’t know what’s good for them. They didn’t put the Moonedge Pavilion in their eyes and actually dared to mention conditions! Do they really think they’re still a big family with Frostcloud Sect as their backer?”
Jing Yue and the rest had good hearing, and when they heard the Gu family being mentioned, they pricked up their ears and listened.
“Pah! They are nothing but a family fallen from grace. What right do they have to occupy the recommendation letter from Nine Heaven Academy? Who else in that family has the eligibility to attend?”
“That’s right! The only promising Gu Xia has been banished to the Schism Ocean, and they have also offended the child patriarch of Frostcloud Sect. Sooner or later, the sect will…”
The crisp sound of a slap was heard, and Jing Yue and the other two glanced sideways in that direction.
A person covered his face and said to Wang Yishui in horror, “I’m sorry… I misspoke.”
Wang Yishui sneered, “Child what? You must be tired of living. This is the Evernorth region. If you want to die, don’t drag us down with you!”
The crowd echoed.
Wang Yishui said solemnly, “Very soon, it will be the Open Day held by the Nine Heaven Academy once every ten years. Based on Hao-shixiong’s capability, he has great hopes for entering the academy. It’s a pity that the Pavilion only has one letter of recommendation that doesn’t belong to Hao-shixiong. If I can get the recommendation for Hao-shixiong, putting aside the fact that Hao-shixiong will appreciate the gesture, even Shizun will hold me in high regard.”
“Yes, of course.” The others nodded in agreement.
Wang Yishui glanced at them contemptuously, but looking at their flattering manner, he felt a distorted pleasure again.
Back then, he had no status like these people, always suppressing himself and flattering others. Initially, he thought that leaving Frostcloud Sect was the end, but he didn’t expect to join the Moonedge Pavilion after that. Besides, his talent was quite unique within the sect, so he was directly accepted by the Pavilion Master as the closed-door disciple, and became an important figure in Moonedge Pavilion.
He had gradually stopped thinking about the shames and regrets of Frostcloud Sect. So what if they were the top school? He only knew that the Moonedge Pavilion was where he could lord over the others.
Amid everyone’s praise and admiration, Wang Yishui’s temperament became more conceited and reckless. “Since the Gu family doesn’t know what’s good for them, they can’t blame me for being ruthless. I want to see if Frostcloud Sect would stand up for a disciple who has been banished to Schism Ocean!”
As soon as he said this, the anger in Ritian and Ridi’s eyes ignited, and the expressions on Wang Yishui’s companions also changed.
Someone said hesitantly, “Wang-shixiong, don’t be rash. About the recommendation letter, why don’t we inquire again?”
Even though they cursed so fiercely just now, they only dared to vent their anger in private. How would they have the courage to confront the Gu family head-on? No matter what, they still had one disciple in Frostcloud Sect. Even if he was temporarily exiled, what if one day he gained power again?
Wang Yishui scorned this bunch of cowards!
“Frostcloud Sect abhorred the Gu family for a long time now, so what do we have to fear? It’s the natural law for the strong to rule over the weak. Now that we are stronger than the Gu family, why not take advantage of it? Even if there are hidden dangers, the road of cultivation is to strive for a ray of life. The opportunity is right before us, so why not fight for it?”
Everyone wavered at his remarks, but Frostcloud Sect had accumulated power for a very long time, and they dared not make the decision so hastily.
“What if Frostcloud Sect pardoned Gu Xia for his wrongdoings?”
Wang Yishui laughed uproariously until tears were about to fall, and his words were full of irony, “He still hopes to be pardoned after offending the new patriarch of Frostcloud Sect? Not to mention that he’s only a small Foundation Establishment cultivator, even a Golden Core Zhenren is nothing but an ant in that patriarch’s eyes, a mere speckle of dust that can easily be wiped away on a whim.”
Jing Yue, “…” Bruh, you’re overthinking it.
Ritian and Ridi were furious. Although the Gu family made a mistake, they were still attached to Frostcloud Sect at any rate. How could they allow an unbefitting little clan to humiliate them?
Moreover, the malicious and dissatisfaction towards Frostcloud Sect and Laozu hidden in Wang Yishui’s words made them feel extremely ear-piercing and intolerable.
The two were about to confront him but was stopped by Jing Yue.
He asked softly, “What’s with the Nine Heaven Academy? Who’s in charge?”
Jing Yue had seen the Nine Heaven Academy from the scrolls and knew that it was the largest library in the World of Seven Continents, but the details were not clear. Since the Nine Heaven Academy was not a sect or clan, he had never bothered to find out about it either.
Ritian and Ridi were stunned. They did not expect the Laozu to ask such a superficial question and replied subconsciously, “It’s Qin-zhenjun.”
For Ritian and Ridi to call this name so cautiously yet with sparkling eyes, Jing Yue guessed it without thinking.
“Isn’t he a disciple of Sword Inscription Sect?”
The Long brothers exchanged a glance with each other and saw the disbelief on the other’s face. Was it possible the Laozu did not know anything about Nine Heaven Academy?
Jing Yue noticed their skepticism and said shamelessly, “I’m still young.”
Oh, right, the Laozu was only seventeen.
No way, seventeen was not too young, right?
Anyway, in their eyes, the omnipotent Laozu ‘open-heartedly asked for advice’, so the two immediately became excited.
Long Ridi, “We have to start from the Nine Heaven Academy then. Has Laozu heard about them before?”
Jing Yue nodded and told them what he knew.
Long Ridi, “It’s not only that. The Nine Heaven Academy was founded by Luo-zhenjun, a cultivating genius, six thousand years ago. He spent three thousand years collecting various collections of books from all over the World of Seven Continents, including manuals, medicinal pills, refining tools, formations, miscellaneous studies, collections, and so on, and gradually transformed Nine Heaven Academy from a humble bookstore into the most abundant resource in the World of Seven Continents.”
“At the same time, Luo-zhenjun also had fantastic ideas, which brought many new trends to the cultivation world. For example, all kinds of novels that are now so popular in the market, the cultivation movies filmed with the memory stone, as well as the newspapers and magazines that were once very popular in the Central region, all of these came from the Nine Heaven Academy originally.”
“Movies? Newspapers?” Why did Jing Yue find these terms so familiar?
“It’s me! Ji-ji told you about it!” Blue phoenix was very excited and kept jumping on the table. “That person! He must be the protagonist! He must have transmigrated into the upper realm from other small realms. The world order in some smaller worlds is different from the cultivation world. They have bountiful entertainment methods!”
Jing Yue, “…”
Long Ridi, “After Luo-zhenjun attained the Return to Void stage, Nine Heaven Academy was officially opened to the public. He imposed a rule that everyone can enjoy the resources in the library for free, and this attracted many talented cultivators of Foundation Establishment stage to settle in the academy and allowed them to study there for 30 years. However, the condition was, any new techniques that the cultivators comprehend during this period, or any of their cultivation insights, belongs to Nine Heaven Academy.”
“With the increasing influence of the academy, various sects of different sizes also began to send disciples as exchange students and study there. However, if the sect wants to increase the quota, they must use the sect’s inheritance to exchange for it.”
Jing Yue thought internally that this Luo-zhenjun was very scheming. In this way, the resources in Nine Heaven Academy would only be endless and the status as the first library would never be shaken. Furthermore, even though he had not founded a cultivation sect, all the students who had studied at Nine Heaven Academy were undoubtedly his hidden connections.
Over time, as Luo-zhenjun’s cultivation progressed further, he would most likely be the top cultivator in the cultivation world.
However, for such a high-profile character, why had he not heard of him before?
Long Ridi, “According to rumors, apart from the core inheritance and legacy from each celestial sect, most of the rest were available in the library. There are also some rogue cultivators or recluse practitioners who’d submit any techniques or insights they have comprehended in exchange for the qualifications to enter the academy.”
“Nine Heaven Academy has accumulated countless cultivation resources for thousands of years. It’s a pity that the hero was unable to withstand the temptation of beauties. Luo-zhenjun, the genius of his generation, died because of the jealousy of several Dao partners.”
… Several Dao partners? Could one person have several Dao partners?!
Blue phoenix, “It’s a stallion novel. I’ve told you about it before, remember? You know, Zhen-zhen and Ai-ai.”
Jing Yue, “……”
No wonder he had never heard of this person. It turned out that he was already dead.
Long Ridi, “However, the model of Nine Heaven Academy has been passed down. Once every ten years, they’d open the mountain and only recruit Foundation Establishment cultivators. It doesn’t matter what level you are currently at, as long as you enter the academy, you must start from the Starlodge class. In the academy, there is a quiz every ten years. Only by passing the quiz can you be promoted to the Moonshadow class, and finally the Suncycle class. Once the Suncycle class is completed, you can obtain the graduation certificate from Nine Heaven Academy. With this certificate, you can easily enter the major sects or become a highly-valued disciple within the sect.”
Jing Yue, “Graduation certificate?”
Long Ridi, “Yes. It’s proof that you have spent 30 years in Nine Heaven Academy and passed all the assessments.”
Jing Yue, “Interesting.”
Long Ridi, “In addition, the lecturers of Nine Heaven Academy are Golden Core Zhenren from various sects on a rotational basis. There’s also a change of Mountain Leader once every 60 years, usually by a cultivator with a base of Amethyst Abode and above. This position is currently held by Qin-zhenjun. To be able to receive guidance from these people, who’d refuse?”
“However, the Nine Heaven Academy is too renowned. Every ten years, they’d only accept about a hundred cultivators, so the spots were extremely limited. There are ten confirmed spots for the major sects, but the smaller clans and rogue cultivators will only receive a letter of recommendation, and only then can they participate in the admission assessment of Nine Heaven Academy.”
Jing Yue, “So, the letter of recommendation they are talking about refers to this? And the Gu family has one?”
Long Ridi, “The Gu family used to be a major family, so it’s not surprising if they have one.”
Jing Yue had roughly figured out the situation. In his mind, he planned to find out more information after he returned from the Central region. If this place was indeed as good as the rumors, he would like to get a spot too.
The meal ended amid gossips and eavesdropping. Jing Yue told the Long brothers to deliver the spiritual herbs while he would take a casual stroll around. The brothers were a little hesitant at first, but thinking that this was the Evernorth region, and their Laozu was so capable, they relented.
The three settled on a time and place to rendezvous before they went their separate ways.
Once Jing Yue was alone, the blue phoenix chattered incessantly, “What they said are simply common routines, just like the compulsory education in some smaller worlds. Your knowledge and exposure are just simply too limited…”
“Since you’re so knowledgeable, how come you don’t know anything about this Luo-zhenjun?”
Blue phoenix’s feathers stood on end. “Who said I don’t know him? It’s just that when I saw that he’s so capable, I’m afraid that you’d be dejected, so I didn’t tell you.”
Jing Yue, “Why would I be dejected? Oh, he was killed by those Zhen-zhen and Ai-ai, that’s pretty horrifying.”
Blue phoenix froze and finally squeezed out a sentence, “That… that’s because hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!”
Jing Yue, “No, he asked for it.”
The human heart was the most difficult to control, and the emotional debt was also the most difficult to repay. Luo-zhenjun was heavily in debt, so naturally he would encounter such a tragic end.
When the crescent moon first appeared, the setting sun still lingered in the skyline, and it was a rare sight for the sun and the moon to be framed in the same picture. While admiring the scenery, Jing Yue slowly approached the Gu family’s front door.
In the dim light, the base of the stone lion in front of the house was covered with moss, and there was withered grass in the cracks of the green brick floor. It seemed that it had been left unattended for a long time.
Jing Yue waited for a while, and soon, someone asked at the door, “Who’s there? My master is not at home!”
The other party did not even open the door, obviously very vigilant.
Jing Yue, “I’m from Frostcloud Sect.”
There was sudden silence before the door opened abruptly. It was unknown if they were too excited to hear the words ‘Frostcloud Sect’, or they assumed no one in Credence City would dare to pretend to be a disciple of Frostcloud Sect.
The door attendant was stunned in a daze when he saw Jing Yue before he knelt. “We didn’t know that the Immortal Master is visiting. Please forgive our negligence.”
“It’s fine. Take me to your master.”
When Jing Yue entered the main hall, the Gu family members were already there. Everyone looked at him guardedly as if he was a ferocious beast.
Jing Yue did not explain but said instead, “I’m the Laozu of Frostcloud Sect, Jing Yue. Who is the head of the family?”
A gray-haired old man fell to his knees with a thud and said in shock, “The sinner, Gu Yibai, welcomes the Laozu!”
The other people in the hall also reacted and followed suit. For a while, only Jing Yue remained standing.
Oh no, and the blue phoenix too.
Jing Yue, “Please stand. I’m not here to question your wrongdoings, so don’t worry.”
Gu Yibai dared not stand. He still remembered why the Gu family fell from grace. At that time, they didn’t know that they offended the new patriarch of Frostcloud Sect. They wanted to wait for things to die down a little before trying to clear Gu Xia, but then…
He trembled slightly. “I wonder what Laozu’s purpose here is? Did something happen to Xia-er?”
“Stand up!” Jing Yue's tone became heavier and the roomful of people almost jumped up with horror.
“Did Moonedge Pavilion ask you for the letter of recommendation from Nine Heaven Academy?”
Gu Yibai stood reluctantly as he bowed and replied, “Yes.”
“Tell me what transpired.”
Gu Yibai did not know the reason but dared not conceal any details.
The Gu family did have a letter of recommendation, which they spent a lot of money to buy for Gu Xia. Although Frostcloud Sect had a quota, the Gu family prepared one just in case.
Ten years ago, Gu Xia successfully attained the Foundation Establishment stage. Gu Yibai was worried that his foundation would be unstable and deliberately suppressed his cultivation for ten years, but he did not expect that Gu Xia would be sent to Schism Ocean a few years ago, with no return date in sight. Naturally, this letter of recommendation would not be used.
The Gu family originally wanted to use the letter of recommendation in exchange for some cultivation resources. Therefore, when Moonedge Pavilion came to the door, they greeted them amicably, but the other party wanted to take it for nothing. After Gu Yibai refused, Moonedge Pavilion harassed him several times. The Gu family did not want to offend the other party, but things were getting annoying.
Gu Yibai, “Nowadays, I just tell the door attendant to say that I’m not at home. I thought, this is Credence City anyway, so Moonedge Pavilion won’t dare to rob it in broad daylight.”
Jing Yue twitched at the corner of his mouth, thinking that it might not be true.
“Laozu, is there a problem with this letter of recommendation? If the sect needs it, I will offer it immediately,” Gu Yibai asked nervously, but seemed sincere.
Jing Yue, “Just keep it. Gu Xia may have use for it.”
Before Gu Yibai could discern the meaning behind Jing Yue’s words, he saw Jing Yue taking out a folded talisman from the Qiankun pouch.
Jing Yue put his fingers together, writing and drawing in mid-air, and a faint white light gradually condensed from his fingers, which was then pointed on the talisman.
The white light quickly merged into the talisman and Jing Yue handed the item to Gu Yibai.
“This is…” Gu Yibai looked at it carefully before his eyes widened abruptly. “The protective charm of Frostcloud Sect?”
Jing Yue, “I have modified the charm. If the Moonedge Pavilion returns to snatch the letter from you, you don’t have to show them any courtesy.”
Gu Yibai was still in disbelief. “Laozu’s meaning is…”
“The Gu family is a noble family under Frostcloud Sect, so how could we allow Moonedge Pavilion to bully us indiscriminately? What happened in the past was over so don’t be entangled with it. Keep your back straight and stop cowering!”
Jing Yue's words made everyone in the hall tearful, and he sighed. “In the future, focus on cultivation, control your desires, and restrain your family members. Frostcloud Sect is a big sect, so why would we hold grudges against you?”
Gu Yibai was overjoyed, crying and laughing, “We listen and obey!”
Jing Yue nodded slightly. “Everything is fine if they don’t come and snatch it by force. But if they harbor any malicious intentions, this charm will peel a layer off their skins!”