Jing Yue had no sense of the dangerous situation on the outside world—he was facing a life and death crisis of his own at this moment!
It seemed like a volcano was erupting in his body, the spiritual energy boiling like it was about to burst. The collision made it feel like his skeletal muscles were being crushed by thousands of mountains, the severe pain almost robbing him of his mind.
Jing Yue tried his best to release his divine consciousness, no longer caring if his physical body could withstand it. He must wake up from this meditative state!
But it was in vain. It was like being bound by the power of the heavens. No matter what he did, he couldn’t break free.
And then, the sword of the apparition moved.
Stars sparkled as the sword light moved, spreading out in the void universe that was as silent as the deep sea, containing the eternal mystery and vastness.
With one sword, everything was covered by light.
At that moment, Jing Yue saw the Nine Heaven Galaxy!
—The Galaxy that fell into the Nine Heaven! It was the last style of the Canglan Sword Technique!
Ten thousand years ago, it was precisely because Jing Yue comprehended the rudimentary form of this style that evoked the lightning tribulation in advance. The power of this technique was far beyond that of a heavenly grade, okay? If the apparition made this move, the lightning tribulation would definitely be evoked again. With his Foundation Establishment cultivation base, even his soul and spirit would be obliterated with no chance of ever returning!
Was he about to suffer the same fate in both lives?
Jing Yue was so anxious that he almost vomited blood. He felt like he was going to suffer from qi deviation soon, but he still couldn’t stop the move from happening.
Jing Yue opened his eyes wide and watched helplessly as the apparition drew the sword. He was about to abandon his physical body and take a huge gamble with the destruction of his divine consciousness at stake.
Suddenly, he felt a pain in his back, his vision went dark, and he lost consciousness.
The clouds of tribulation retreated and the sword qi dissipated.
Qin Yanzhi knelt on one knee and half-embraced Jing Yue in his arms. The other party’s face was drained of blood, hair messy, clothes scarlet, but his breathing smooth and even. However, he looked very fragile and he couldn’t help but softened his strength.
Qin Yanzhi was stunned. What powerful technique did this young patriarch comprehend that packed such a punch? As an Amethyst Abode cultivator, even he felt pressured by the sword qi that overflowed. And his Daoyi sword technique, although also a heavenly technique, had never caused a lightning tribulation!
The people from Frostcloud Sect rushed over, looking panicked.
Qin Yanzhi, “He’s fine. He just passed out.”
Elder Wang looked him over carefully before he was relieved. He quickly bowed in gratitude. “Thank you Qin-zhenjun for your righteous action!”
Qin Yanzhi, “No need to stand on ceremony.”
Accompanied by coughs, Jing Yue gradually woke up and smelled a cool fragrance, like a plum forest in the snow.
And then, he found himself being held in the arms of another man. His entire body went stiff, but he quickly calmed himself and sat up slowly.
Qin Yanzhi released his hold while Elder Wang stepped forward to help Jing Yue. Blue phoenix, who hid somewhere just now, also threw itself into Jing Yue's arms, sobbing and crying, “Jing-jing, are you okay? Ji-ji is so scared.”
Jing Yue noticed a sword wound on blue phoenix’s wing and leg, and then looked around—the ground was crisscrossed with cracks and the jade slabs had suffered extensive damage. Even the stone statue of Luo-zhenjun not too far away had a broken arm.
“…” Didn’t he say he don’t want to disturb other people’s assessment?
Jing Yue guessed that this situation was caused by him. His face hurt and he felt ashamed. He held blue phoenix up and said, “I’m sorry.”
Blue phoenix was taken aback. It didn’t expect Jing Yue to apologize and instantly shed tears of grievances, leaning its head on Jing Yue’s chest and whimpering.
Jing Yue stood up shakily and looked at his savior. “Thank you Qin-zhenjun. What happened today is my fault. I’d definitely make compensation.”
Qin Yanzhi had a trace of doubt in his eyes. His lips moved slightly, but in the end, he didn’t ask the question.
Of course, all he wanted to know was the technique that Jing Yue comprehended. Jing Yue guessed his thoughts but he didn’t want to say it, so he lowered his eyes in silence.
The scene was very quiet for a while.
In the end, Qin Yanzhi gave a salute and left.
As soon as Qin Yanzhi left, Elder Wang eagerly asked Jing Yue about his injury. The latter said, “I’d be fine after a few days of recuperation. Don’t worry. It’s just that…”
Jing Yue looked around at the cultivators who looked scared or sluggish, and said with a headache, “Let’s go into the academy quickly.”
Elder Wang quickly supported Jing Yue. When they walked past the Mauve Aurora Sect, he deliberately stopped, yanked his chin up slightly, and huffed triumphantly. Elder Wei, who was still in a frozen state, successfully thawed from the provocation and instantly went as pale as a sheet.
This snort also caused the others to wake up.
“Just now… what happened?”
“A heavenly technique? But when Qin-zhenjun comprehended the Daoyi sword technique, he didn’t evoke the lightning tribulation!”
“Maybe what Qin-zhenjun comprehended was just the rudimentary form?”
“Now that the plaque is destroyed, no one would know the truth.”
“Actually, there’s another possibility… hehe, forget it, I think too much.”
“You mean a divine technique? Impossible. Divine techniques only appeared during the Middle Ages. At that time, there were ancient cultivators whose strength was comparable to the gods. As for now…”
“I know, it’s just a fleeting thought.”
Elder Wei listened to the comments around him and his chest felt constricted as if he swallowed ten thousand needles.
Frostcloud Sect was going to be famous this time. Very soon, the entire cultivation world would be flooded with the news of the child patriarch of Frostcloud Sect who comprehended an amazing technique that evoked a lightning tribulation. Who would have the mind to pay attention to the profound technique comprehended by the disciple of Mauve Aurora Sect? Moreover, he was the one who caused this to happen!
The more frightening thing was, the child patriarch was so talented and even inherited the legacy from Daoist-Master Jing Yuan, so he was bound to grow extremely fast. With him as the future pillar of support for Frostcloud Sect, would Mauve Aurora Sect still have the chance to rise above the competition?
He could only hope that this incident would create a bad impression on Qin-zhenjun and put him under pressure in the academy.
But Qin Yanzhi was the one who saved him just now…
Elder Wei felt like crying. He finally understood the meaning of going out for wool and coming home shorn. He shot himself right in the foot!
He had lost the face to return to the sect. Boohoo…
On the other side, Jing Yue had checked in to the guesthouse of Nine Heaven Academy.
He looked around at the elegant furnishings in the room, nodded with satisfaction, and said to Elder Wang, “Tell the medicinal hall of Frostcloud Sect to prepare some pills and give them to the cultivators who’d suffered from this incident.”
Jing Yue thought for a while and reluctantly took off the Sumeru Ring and handed it to Elder Wang. “There’s a small spirit mine in this. Make some compensation as you see fit.”
Elder Wang immediately said loftily, “How can I let Laozu spend money? Let me!”
Jing Yue said quietly, “Haven’t you already given me everything you owned?”
Elder Wang, “I… think so.”
“Very well, go on then.”
When only Jing Yue was left in the room, he first healed blue phoenix's injuries, and then sent it out to play, while he calmed down and sorted out his thoughts.
That sword move was indeed the last style of Canglan sword technique.
The completion of the Canglan sword technique was closely related to the perfection of his mind. It was the opportunity for his ascension. He lost his previous life because of this, but he got it by accident again today.
However, what he saw was still a rudimentary form, only more complete. It was like forging a puppet. The current stage was just prepared with the refining materials. Nothing had been fused or assembled, so it was fleshless, bloodless, and soulless.
If the apparition had really made the sword strike, perhaps he could comprehend more, but the power was beyond the endurance of his current cultivation base. Forcing it would only result in death.
He should be blamed for being careless. He truly didn’t expect that comprehending a single word would cause such a big commotion. At that time, his soul-mind was bound. If Qin Yanzhi had not used external forces to break him out of his meditative state, he would most probably suffer the same fate yet again.
Now, it could be considered a blessing in disguise.
Since this causal relationship was owed, he could only find a chance to repay it in the future.
The assessment of Nine Heaven Academy lasted for seven days, and Jing Yue’s injury had greatly improved.
This time, all the disciples of Frostcloud Sect who participated in the assessment with a letter of recommendation and all the recommended core disciples received a pass. There were more people than before, which was gratifying.
Elder Wang completed his assignment successfully and returned to Frostcloud Sect triumphantly. More than a dozen disciples of Frostcloud Sect, including Jing Yue, became students of the Starlodge Class with hundreds of others.
Once they entered the academy, they were deemed disciples of the academy.
As Nine Heaven Academy specified, no matter which sect or what status a person had, one would only be categorized according to the class they were assigned to. After all, the academy was crowded with a multitude of people. If something happened, perhaps an elder of a smaller sect would meet a disciple of a larger sect, and they would still have to pay respects to the junior? Wouldn’t that be all messed up?
Therefore, Jing Yue temporarily abandoned his title of patriarch.
But blue phoenix was dismayed. “You know, being the beloved pet of a patriarch is very different from being an ordinary disciple’s pet.”
“What’s the difference? Aren’t you still a wild pheasant?”
Blue phoenix, “…” Jing-jing was the most hateful!
After another two days, hundreds of students were uniformly scattered and divided into different dormitories, with two persons in each unit. The person who stayed with Jing Yue was called Meng Shan.
This person came from Green Bamboo Sanctuary, a well-known charm and talisman school, and also the host of every bamboo picking event. Along with Mauve Aurora Sect and White Phoenix Sword Sect, they were located in the lower South continent.
Meng Shan was a simple and kind person, utterly devoted to talisman cultivation. He did not flatter Jing Yue just because he was the patriarch of Frostcloud Sect, nor was he envious or jealous. After the two got along for a few days, he found that Jing Yue also had some understanding of talisman, and his attitude became much more personable.
This day, Meng Shan suddenly asked, “A-jing, we need to complete our registration tomorrow. Have you decided on your subjects?”
Jing Yue, “Not yet.”
The courses in Nine Heaven Academy were divided into a major core subject and a minor elective subject. According to his initial thought, Jing Yue should be majoring in magic^ cultivation, but after he had comprehended the Canglan sword technique the other day, he felt that sword Dao was more suitable for his needs.
(TN: Fa Dao 法道 is not the same as the magic in the wizarding sense. It encompasses laws, spells, incantations, and teachings of Dao. In previous chapters, Frostcloud Sect was translated as the top magic (法) school so this term is used for consistency.)
When it came to magic, he already had the Art of Ten Desolate Universe, so others could no longer teach him. Besides, Jing Yue had accumulated thousands of years of learnings, and his understanding of magic was not an exaggeration. It would be more appropriate for him to teach others instead.
His talent was mediocre in sword Dao. If he could meet a chance encounter in sword Dao, it may be helpful for him to complement and complete the technique.
As for the elective course, he was most proud of his alchemy. In his previous life, he made a lot of wealth by relying on alchemy techniques. After all, the progress of cultivation was very expensive—the higher the level, the bigger the consumption. Even if he was the founder of Frostcloud Sect, he could not always rely on the sect for support.
But in this life, he handed over most of the alchemy to the sect and inadvertently eliminated the road to gain from this expertise. In any case, it was inappropriate for a patriarch to compete with the sect for profits.
However, he still needed to accumulate some money, and among the vocational Dao, only alchemy, talisman, and artifact made the most profit. Disregarding alchemy, only talisman and artifact were left.
With his Omnispirit body, his five senses and limbs were more flexible and sensitive. Hence, it would be suitable whether he chose talisman or artifact, so he was in a dilemma.
He expressed his doubts to Meng Shan who immediately replied, “Of course you should choose talisman! Artifact refining is very profitable but the cost is also very high, whereas talisman refining is different. With a piece of paper, writing materials, and a little bit of cinnabar, as long as you have ideas and good at gathering the spiritual power of heaven and earth, you can produce good talismans.”
Meng Shan’s ‘cost-effectiveness theory’ had successfully convinced Jing Yue. The next day during registration, he decided to major in sword Dao and minor in talisman.
His decision astounded all the disciples of Frostcloud Sect. After all, Frostcloud Sect was a magic cultivation school but Laozu didn’t choose magic!
Jing Yue didn’t explain but said instead, “I hope everyone will put all your effort into studying. I’ll interact with you often, not to mention that we can still meet in our elective courses.”
However, only two people in Frostcloud Sect minored in talisman-making, one was Gu Xia and the other was Zheng Bai.
Zheng Bai was a little nervous. “I heard that there’s a quiz before admission to each course. I’m not afraid of magic but I really have no confidence in making talisman.”
Jing Yue calmly said, “The test will only require us to produce the simplest talisman. Just take it easy.”
His prediction came true. The test on that day required the students to produce a Body Suspension talisman, considered one of the most useless charms among all battle talismans. Gu Xia and Zheng Bai both passed the test easily, but Jing Yue's body suspension charm was different from others. He made changes to one of the strokes and extended the time effects of the charm, and thus solidifying his confidence that he had chosen the right path.
As for the test in swordsmanship, it was all the more unriveting. The only surprise was that the person in charge of administering the test was actually the rotating academy leader, Qin Yanzhi.
“A-jing, have you heard? Originally, the person teaching swordsmanship is Yan-zhenren from Sword Inscription Sect, but he suddenly found an opportunity to break through to the next level and rushed back to the sect for close-door meditation.”
Meng Shan said pitifully, “I really envy you for having Qin-zhenjun to teach you swordsmanship personally. It’s said that even the disciples of Sword Inscription Sect who have been guided by him are few and far in between. If I knew about this earlier, I’d have chosen Sword Dao too.”
Jing Yue was fiddling with the token of Nine Heaven Academy, only the size of half a palm. It was engraved with the characters ‘Nine Heaven Academy’ on the front and ‘Starlodge’ on the back. If he successfully entered the Moonshadow Class ten years later, this token would be replaced.
He said nonchalantly, “Aren’t you minoring in Formation Dao? I heard that the teacher is a Zhenren from the Villa of Scattered Stars with a gentle temperament. If you want to switch to Sword Dao, he’d definitely not stop you.”
Meng Shan jumped in fright and waved his arms around wildly. “No, no, my sister will kill me.”
It turned out that Meng Shan was born to a family specializing in talismans in the lower South region. Most of the members of the family were talented in talismans and were disciples of the Green Bamboo Sanctuary. But talismans and formations had always been dependent on each other, and the combination of the two could produce greater power. Therefore, people who were proficient in Talisman Dao were also mostly skilled in Formation Dao.
Decades ago, the Meng family produced a very talented girl named Meng Wan, also the sister of Meng Shan. She was absorbed into the inner walls of the Villa of Scattered Stars, a sect famed in the art of formation, and was held in high regard.
Meng Wan was currently a student of the Suncycle Class in Nine Heaven Academy. According to Meng Shan, she was extremely strict with him. Meng Shan was very afraid of her, so how would he dare to abandon Formation Dao for Sword Dao?
Meng Shan sighed regretfully. “Anyway, A-jing, you must cherish it. Learning swordsmanship from Qin-zhenjun is an opportunity that countless cultivators could only dream of.”
Jing Yue nodded. He was also very curious to find out what exactly could this Qin-zhenjun, known as the world’s number one sword cultivator, bring him?