My Master Disconnected Yet Again Chapter 11-20

Chapter 11: The Ghost King is Born

"Hahaha, this Fiend's Bell is finally mine." Suddenly, out of nowhere appeared a person standing on the thistles in the center of the array formation. The man appeared to be about forty to fifty years old and was dressed in full black with even his face covered in black stripes. He excitedly held onto the box that the young cultivator had dropped.

"It's you!" Just as Cultivator Lu was about to wake the girl up, he looked up and saw that person.

"You know him?" Yi Qing asked.

"He… he was just at the Treasure Pavilion bidding against me for my Dharma artifact." Cultivator Lu glanced at the man whose face was covered in black stripes, shrunk back and said, "Never did I expect him to be a Fiendish Cultivator."

"Hmph, you punk!" The Fiendish Cultivator took out a bell- shaped Dharma artifact from the box and glared at the young cultivator. "This Fiend's Bell should be a fiendish cultivation Dharma artifact. How dare a puny punk like you snatch it from me." "Nonsense. A Dharma artifact is not a spirit item, it does not need to recognize its owner. It was obviously bought by me."

"You lived long enough to buy it, but let's see if you can live to use it!" With a wave of his hand, a mass of thistles and thorns erupted from the ground again, thrashing towards them.

Yi Qing immediately rushed towards the field of thistles with his sword. The sword shone as it weaved through the thistles as if it were alive. Within a moment, the thick forest of thistles was sliced into small bits and fell to the ground.

"You're a Golden Core cultivator!" The Fiendish Cultivator's brows furrowed together, his face filled with dread, and then he stared at Cultivator Lu who was standing nearby. "You punk, never did I expect you to get a Golden Core cultivator to escort you. But too bad…" He waved his hand to remove the seal and sneered, "Since all of you met me, you are destined to die here."

The next moment, the array formation on the ground turned red, and those thistles and vines that had been chopped down suddenly disintegrated into copious amounts of black smoke. In the blink of an eye, the whole forest was engulfed in the smoke and the surroundings became extremely chilly. "It's Yin Qi!" Yi Qing held onto his sword tightly as he turned back to give a warning. "Stand back. Shut your five senses to prevent the Yin Qi from entering your body."

Cultivator Lu hurriedly did as he was told. While setting up a simple defense array formation, he warned the girl beside him, "Fellow Daoist, get into the array formation quickly. Yin Qi can cause a great deal of harm."

However… he was only met with snores.

"…"

Still… Still… Still asleep. How exactly did she walk all the way till here!

(╯°Д°)╯(┴┴

Engulfed in Yin Qi, the surroundings had become much darker. Even more thistles emerged from the center of the Fiendish Cultivator's array formation. With the black smoke being used as a shield, the opponent's attacks became more aggressive. Yi Qing cut down a few thistles, but he realized that the opponent was aiming for the two people at the back.

It seemed like the Fiendish Cultivator not only wanted to steal the treasure but was also eager to kill Cultivator Lu. Yi Qing furrowed his brows and then with no hesitation, he mustered all the Spirit Qi in his body. With Sword Qi being manifested, ten swords formed out of Sword Qi appeared all around him in an instant. The swords flashed with a glaring light as they cut through the array along with the forest of thistles and the black smoke.

The array formation below the Fiendish Cultivator's feet cracked open all of a sudden, and he spat out a mouthful of blood as he stared at Yi Qing in disbelief. "How is this possible? My array formation of Yin! You… you are a Sword Cultivator!" The other party's cultivation was clearly above his. With this array formation, there was no way the other could have beaten him unless the opponent was a Sword Cultivator—only Sword Cultivators would be capable of challenging him regardless of cultivation level.

Sword cultivation was about the cultivation of Sword Dao. The focus was on the sharp sword in hand; heart and sword as one. Without relying on any spells or alchemy, this path of cultivation was focused on the cultivator himself. Hence, they were always more powerful than cultivators of the same level. Other cultivators would thus find it difficult to measure up to Sword Cultivators of the same level. They were very rare to come across, so little did he expect to meet one, and one that was a Golden Core Sword Cultivator at that.

"Sword Cultivator, Yi Qing," Yi Qing said.

"Yi Qing!" The other party was shocked, seemingly recalling something as his face turned white as a sheet. "You, you… you are the one who killed Rui Mi!" His expression changed and without caring for a response, he made a move with all his strength; he summoned forth a skull-shaped cloud of black smoke to attack as he turned to run away.

Yi Qing switched to another sword technique and used it to cut right through the black smoke, and then the  spiritual swords surrounding him charged toward the direction that the Fiendish Cultivator had gone. Now surrounded by a sword array, the Fiendish Cultivator was trapped in the middle.

The Fiendish Cultivator panicked. He struggled to try to break the sword array but to no avail, his face so pale that there was no sign of blood on it. Panic-stricken at the sight of Yi Qing flying nearer to him, he quickly threw the Dharma artifact over. "Here… here you go! I don't want it. Since all of you are alright, how about you let me go? I was only momentarily blinded by greed so it won't happen again. Please, I am begging you!"

"You are a Fiendish Cultivator." Yi Qing stepped closer without a change in expression. "It must not be your first time committing such acts of murder and stealing treasures. If I were to let you go, wouldn't I be helping you do evil? This time I must not let you off!"

He raised his sword at the end of his words, and as the brilliant gleam of his blade consumed the surroundings, a massive amount of Sword Qi was directed towards the array.

"No, no!" The Fiendish Cultivator was seized with terror as he screamed. Just as the Sword Qi was about to pierce him, a ringing sound was heard—the bell-like Dharma artifact that he had thrown out flew above and headed straight for Yi Qing.

"Dao Lord, be careful!" Cultivator Lu cried out. Yi Qing's sword paused and his basic reflex was to retreat and avoid the Dharma artifact. But all of a sudden, the Fiendish Cultivator broke apart the sword array and threw a sharp palm attack at Yi Qing's chest. Although he missed, he seemed to have grabbed something away.

Not good!

"The Soul Devouring Banner!"

"Hahaha…" The Fiendish Cultivator held the Soul Devouring Gonfalon as his black smoke grew in abundance and broke free of the sword array. "It was really a piece of cake getting this."

His laughter grew wilder, his face filled with excitement. "I had originally just wanted to snatch a small Dharma artifact, but never did I expect to come across such a Banner. You were even stupid enough to bring it along with you! You really thought that this sword array could hold me down!"

He had purposely acted as if trapped by the sword array so as to throw the fiendish bell at him in a sneak attack. His target was actually the Soul Devouring Banner on Yi Qing!

Yi Qing furrowed his brows; he had been too careless. Although the Banner was already sealed, its Ghost Qi would seep out and dissipate into the surrounding. He had thought that his Spirit Qi could contain the Ghost Qi in the  Banner which was why he brought it along with him so that it would not cause harm to others. However, he had forgotten that even the tiniest amount of Ghost Qi could be easily spotted by a Fiendish Cultivator even if a normal cultivator could not sense anything.

"Let go of the Soul Devouring Banner!"

"Let go?" the Fiendish Cultivator sneered. "Do you think I am like that fool Rui Mi?! With such a treasure in hand, how could I lose to you! So what if you are a Sword Cultivator. Today I will sacrifice you to the Banner!" He then mustered a stream of Yin Qi, tapping directly on the seal of the gonfalon.

"Stop it!" Yi Qing flew forward in an attempt to stop him, but it was too late. The seal that he had placed on the gonfalon shattered—the golden Dharmic amulet broke into thousands of pieces, and the temperature fell rapidly as dense Ghost Qi spewed out.

"Hahaha, the Soul Devouring Banner is mine!" The Fiendish Cultivator's eyes widened in excitement along with his growing laughter. He excitedly looked at the eerie Ghost Qi surrounding him. "From now on, no one below Soul Formation stage can stand up against me. Millions of ghosts are at my beck and call, and I… pfft!" But before he could finish what he was saying, he spat out a mouthful of blood and the situation suddenly took a turn.

Out of nowhere, a claw appeared above his chest. The claw did not have a solid form; it was formed out of black smoke yet it had directly punctured his chest and gripped within the palm of the claw was a heart that was still pumping.

Shocked, the Fiendish Cultivator looked down at the fresh and still-beating heart, and he seemed unable to react. The next moment, the claw tightened its grip causing the bloody heart to burst.

"Ghost… King!" Speaking his last words, the Fiendish Cultivator's eyes were still wide as he fell straight from the sky, utterly void of breath.

Chapter 12: Taming the Ghost King

High above in the sky, a blood-red banner was flapping in the wind and emitting large amounts of Ghost Qi. Eerie wails as if emanating from a ghostly orchestra drifted towards them. Suddenly, something seemed to leap out from the banner. The moon, which had been lighting up the night sky earlier, was now hidden completely by black clouds. Gusts of Yin qi started blowing in from all sides.

It was difficult to see through the miasma of the Ghost Qi. A huge, hideous looking black apparition appeared in the distance. They could not make out its features, but could sense its Ghost Qi which was so dense that it was almost tangible.

Yi Qing tensed up at the sight. He had known all along that the Soul Devouring Gonfalon would eventually give birth to a Ghost King, which was why he had wanted it delivered to the Blackheaven Sect urgently. However, he had not expected that it would choose now, of all times, to give birth. Its rapid growth had likely been aided by the Yin Qi emanating from the Fiendish Cultivator.

Only the one who natured the Banner could control the Ghost King, but the Fiendish Cultivator had died from self-implosion which meant that this Ghost King had no owner. It existed only to kill and massacre.

"The Ghost King is born, leave here at once!" Yi Qing turned to shout out a warning. If even a Nascent Soul cultivator could not destroy a Ghost King, what chance did they have?

But it was too late; the apparition had completely condensed into a material form. The next moment, a sharp and ghostly scream pierced the air. They were unable to make out its gender. Although there was clearly only one sound being made, it was like the combined wail from a cacophony of ghosts. Their brains felt like exploding. Gusts of Yin qi whipped up  the square, and even the ground trembled.

Yi Qing felt his blood and Qi surging, and then his feet buckled as he spat out a mouthful of blood. Even the Golden Core in his body seemed on the verge of exploding. And over on the other side, the cultivator named Lu lay flat on the ground, felled by the impact of the sound.

Yi Qing desperately mobilized his Spirit Qi to create a defensive barrier. Just as it was completed, there was another ghostly wail. He vomited blood again and fell to his knees—the barrier had been instantly torn apart. His whole body felt unbearably heavy. Utterly overcome by the formidable power of the Ghost King, he knelt there motionless.

What was to be done? No one below Soul Formation stage could stand against a Ghost King. He was afraid that the next attack would…

The Ghost King was already opening its mouth to let out another blast of sound. Yi Qing clenched his teeth and gripped his sword. All that was left now was to fight to the death.

Suddenly…

"What's with the noise!"

It was a familiar female voice. The rage contained in the voice was so devastating that it caused the Ghost King to immediately swallow the scream it was about to let out.

All at once there was silence. This voice… Master!

(⊙_⊙)

The person who had been snoring with her head bowed was now looking up, glaring at the huge ghost in front of her. "Shut. Your. Mouth," she boomed.

The Ghost King paused, then seemingly provoked, let out an even louder roar. Four black claw-like shapes extended from the shadows, shooting like a laser beam towards the only person who was standing.

Anxious, Yi Qing tried to get up but to no avail. "Master, be care-…"

But before he could complete his warning, he saw Shen Ying deftly raising her hand to catch something. Those ferocious ghost claws were stopped before her chest in an instant.

"Caught… caught?" (⊙ o ⊙)

The Ghost King roared again, its whole figure shaking in exasperation as if trying to withdraw its claws. Although it tried long and hard, its claws hardly moved an inch.

Shen Ying looked up straight at the huge ghost, her eyes narrowing. It was as if something terrible was emanating from her body.

A murderous aura! What an intense murderous aura! Yi Qing could not help shuddering. Why did he suddenly feel that Master looked… a little scary?!

Arrh...

The Ghost King became even more agitated. It roared again.

Shen Ying narrowed her eyes even more, and there was a faint cracking sound. She spat out the following words one by one: "What. Are. You. Yelling. For. Do. You. Know. There. Are. People. Sleeping!"

Suddenly, her hands which had been gripping the claws shot up, and the huge, mountainous ghostly figure was raised a dozen feet off the ground. She flung it over her shoulders, and the earth trembled from the crash that followed. She then repeated this action in a cycle, over and over and over…

For a time, the whole forest was filled with earthquaking crashing sounds mixed with her angry questioning. "Didn't you know I was sleeping, didn't you know, didn't you know…"

Yi Qing: "…"

Cultivator Lu: "…"

Σ(°△°|||)

Cultivator Lu gave a great shudder. How… how terrible! She was actually tossing about the Ghost King like a hammer wheel. Could such a person be just a cultivator? Yi Qing was confused. He suddenly understood what the Rabbit Monarch had meant that day. When they were repairing the house, it had nervously pulled him over to whisper, "Never disturb her sleep! Otherwise, the consequences will be very serious." Now he knew, uh… It was serious alright.

He had thought that there must have been other explanations for what the rabbit demon had said about Master destroying the nine great Demon Monarchs by herself. Moreover, when he had sought apprenticeship under Master, her high cultivation had not been his main consideration so he had never asked Master what level she was at. But he did not expect Master to be so… so amazing!

She was indeed worthy of being his master. He had chosen the right teacher!

o(≧v≦)o~~

"Dao Lord, your master…" Cultivator Lu, who had silently moved over to Yi Qing, was about to ask him something when he realized that Yi Qing was looking at the person in front with star-gazed eyes. Huh? That look of exaltation, joy and hero- worship… His smug expression seemed to say that he wanted the whole world to envy him. What was this about? Just what kind of guards had he picked?

Shen Ying's one-sided bashing match lasted half an hour. The powerful Ghost King was utterly incapable of resistance. Its once formidable voice which had started out as a roar, turned into a whine, then finally into a meek whimper…

╮(╯▽╰)╭

Every time she smashed the ghost, the Ghost King's Qi dissipated a little and it became a little thinner. The previously giant Ghost King was now only a third of its original size. The deafening ghostly scream of before had been reduced to a mere whisper.

"Er, Dao Lord…" Even Cultivator Lu could not  help interceding on behalf of the Ghost King.

"What!" Shen Ying suddenly turned her head  around violently. A killing vibe, or rather a 'being-disturbed in-her- sleep' vibe, filled the entire atmosphere. "Nothing… It's okay, carry on!" He swallowed his words silently. Yes, he didn't see anything.

Shen Ying turned back and continued smashing! Each smash was louder than the last.

For no reason, Yi Qing suddenly remembered that night when he was tricked by Rui Mi; Master had used the same move back then as well. The only difference was that she had used a left and right smash then, but now it was an up and down smash. Don't tell me Master only knows… knows this one move?

No, no, no. Yi Qing immediately dismissed this  ridiculous idea. Master was so strong, how could she know only this style of kid-fighting? Impossible!

An hour later…

The Ghost King had already lost the strength to even groan. Shen Ying finally stopped this one-sided thrashing match because… she had fallen asleep again. -_-|||

Seeing that its  opponent  was  not  moving,  the  Ghost  King, who was already half its original size, instantly turned  into  a black gas and burrowed back into the  Soul  Devouring  Banner. The seal array was so torn that only a few runes could be seen on it. It desperately tried to hide itself behind a rune. The whole flag was shivering!

Yi Qing: "…"

Cultivator Lu: "…"

————————

When Shen Ying woke up, it was the next morning. She stretched her waist in routine. She could see two pairs of eyes looking straight at her. The only difference between them was that one was filled with enthusiasm and the other was filled with… fear? "Er, good morning!" Startled, she greeted reflexively.

"Good morning, Master." Yi Qing could only manage this reply after a long moment. He glanced at her hesitantly. "You're… awake?"

"Yes." Shen Ying nodded, rubbing her shoulder. She casually asked, "By the way, how did I fall asleep last night? Why does my back feel so sore after waking up as if I've been in a fight?"

The two: "…" Didn't you just fight?

"Master, you… don't remember?" asked Yi Qing.

"Why are you looking at me like that? What's wrong?" Shen Ying frowned. Why were they looking at her with that constipated expression? "What happened last night?"

The two exchanged a look and answered resolutely in unison. "Nothing!"

"Nothing!"

"Oh." Unconcerned, Shen Ying started shaking  her particularly sore left hand. She then realized that half of the surrounding bamboo forest had been toppled down, and most of
their branches were bare except for a few leaves. Were there strong winds yesterday? Must have been some powerful wind. She walked two paces, and saw a huge hole in front of her as if the ground had been smashed hard by something. Well… the scenery was really interesting.

"By the way, whatever your name is… how much further to your house?" She looked back at the cultivator named Lu.

Cultivator Lu shivered, hiding himself behind Yi Qing. "Not far… not far, the bamboo forest is just ahead. We will reach there in a quarter of an hour."

"Good!" She turned to Yi Qing. "Chef… Disciple… er, your name is Qing something?" "Master, I am Yi Qing."

"Oh, Yi Qing. Let's hit the road and escort him back."

"Right, Master."

Yi Qing immediately followed behind, at the same time picking up a bell from the ground which he handed to Cultivator Lu.

"Hey… Qing… After sending him back, will we have enough to pay for the travel fare?"

"We will have enough, Master."

"Do you think that Whatever-you-call-it Sect is generous with its hospitality?"

"Master, they are called the Blackheaven Sect, an established sect for cultivating immortals that has many followers. As for their hospitality, I do not know."

"Then do you think… they will invite us to stay for dinner?"

"Huh? Huh!"

"I'm famished."

"…"

Chapter 13: Journey to Xianmen

Blackheaven Sect, Qingyun Temple

"Tell me again. What was the man carrying up the mountain?" Startled, the Blackheaven Sect's Sect Master, Xi Qiu, shot up in alarm from his high seat in the great hall.

"Sect Master, the man said it was a Soul Devouring Banner," replied the disciple.

"Soul Devouring Banner? It's a Devouring Banner! Could the man be the Fiendish Cultivator Rui Mi?" Xi Qiu stepped forward with an angry look on his face and said, "The cheek of that Fiendish Cultivator! He actually dares to break into my Blackheaven Sect. I'd like to see what he is capable of. Come with me comrades, let's destroy this fiend together." Saying that, he prepared to lead a group of elders down the mountain.

"Senior Brother, wait!" Disciplinary Hall Master Xi Chen held him back hastily. "In my opinion, this person might not be that fiend." "How so?" asked Xi Qiu, surprised.

"Senior Brother, have you heard the recent news about the sudden resurgence of Fiendish Cultivator Rui Mi's Myriad Fiend Den?"

"Of course I've heard about it." Xi Qiu nodded. "How is he connected to this matter?"

"A few days ago, I took a look at the Fiend Den," Xi Chen explained. "I found that the harmful creatures inside had been totally destroyed. I didn't see any sign of the fiend, but all his lackeys who practiced on live humans had been killed, and killed by a single stroke of the sword, no less. There was still some Sword Qi lingering in the den. Someone must have broken into it."

"You mean…" Xi Qiu was stunned. "That person was a Sword Cultivator!" It was rare to come across a Sword Cultivator in this world, and one who was capable of breaking into the Myriad Fiend Den had to at least be at the Golden Core stage. "Yes!" Xi Chen nodded. "Seeing how this man dared to come up to Blackheaven Sect so openly, and counting the fact that he is carrying the Soul Devouring Banner, I think he is probably the one who broke into the Myriad Fiend Den."

Xi Qiu's eyes lit up and his anger subsided. He looked at the disciple in the hall and instructed excitedly, "Quickly, ask the man to come up."

He walked back to the main seat and sat down. Within a quarter of an hour, he saw a man in white robes approaching from the entrance. He looked no more than twenty, and his entire body exuded powerful Sword Qi. A closer look revealed that he was actually a Golden Core Sword Cultivator, and he was holding a black flag in his right hand. One could faintly see the Ghost Qi swarming inside the flag. This flag was indeed the legendary Soul Devouring Banner.

"Sword Cultivator Yi Qing, paying my respects to the Perfected Ones." He clasped his fists and saluted.

"Yi Qing!" Xi Qiu exclaimed in surprise, rising from his chair once again. "You are that itinerant cultivator Yi Qing." "That's right," replied Yi Qing.

Yi Qing's reply surprised him even more. Even the hall masters present all turned to look at the person in the center of the hall. It was no wonder as Yi Qing was such a well-known name among itinerant cultivators and even among Fiendish Cultivators.

No one knew where he came from because when he appeared, he was already a Golden Core Sword Cultivator. Rumor had it that he abhorred evil with a vengeance and that he was willing to champion the cause of justice. Countless Fiendish Cultivators had died by his hands.

Itinerant cultivators had always been a disorganized lot, made up of all manner of people. Most of them would either switch to become Fiendish Cultivators or turn to pilfering, killing and robbery. He was like a breath of fresh air in the world of itinerant cultivators, and he had ironclad integrity. Any wicked creature who fell into his hands came to no good end. And as if that were not enough, he was also a famous Sword Cultivator who was one level higher than his peers. It was rumored that Fiendish Cultivators below the stage of Golden Core had all been thrashed by him. Very few Fiendish Cultivators committed crimes in places he had passed through. "Fellow Daoist Yi, what brings you to Blackheaven Sect?" Xi Qiu asked.

Yi Qing immediately placed the flag which he had been holding in his right hand on his other palm, saying, "I'm here to give this to you. I would like to ask you to use your sect's Spirit Cleansing Qi to rid the Ghost Qi in the flag and release the thousands of vengeful spirits from the Banner."

"This is the Soul Devouring Banner."

"That's right!"

"Fellow Daoist Yi, is Rui Mi…"

"Rui Mi is dead!"

Sure enough, Xi Qiu was a little excited but before he could speak, the hall master next to him asked urgently, "A month ago, something happened to the Myriad Fiend Den. Was it your doing?" "Yes!"

A chorus of amazed exclamations erupted yet again. It really was him! The Fiendish Cultivator Rui Mi had always been a big headache for the Blackheaven Sect. Although he committed many acts of evil, he managed to keep his whereabouts a secret. No one knew the location of his old hideout, the Myriad Fiend Den. Also, he had perfected his Golden Core cultivation and possessed the Soul Devouring Banner. There was no real chance of defeating him even with the help of a Nascent Soul cultivator. Many times the Blackheaven Sect had wanted to besiege his hideout but could not find any trace of him. And to think that Yi Qing had managed to solve this problem. He had actually defeated the Soul Devouring Gonfalon whose cultivation level was higher than his. He definitely lived up to the high standards expected of a Sword Cultivator.

"Hahaha, you really are an outstanding young man!" Xi Qiu laughed loudly, and then exchanged looks with each of the hall masters in turn. Everyone had the same thought: such a talent had to stay with them no matter what.

"I give thanks to Fellow Daoist Yi for helping us get rid of Rui Mi, the scourge of our sect," Xi Qiu said with a brilliant smile, patting Yi Qing on the shoulder approvingly. "I did not subdue the Fiendish Cultivator by myself," Yi Qing answered honestly.

"You don't have to be modest. That man had been wanted by all the factions for a long time." Xi Qiu smiled even more happily, pointing to the flag in his hand. "Now that he is in my sect's jurisdiction, it is our duty to release the souls from the Soul Devouring Banner."

"I greatly appreciate your help, Sect Master Qiu." Yi Qing passed the flag in his hand directly over to him. "Since this matter is over, Yi Qing will now take his leave." But as he was about to turn around and walk out, Xi Qiu blocked his way.

"Fellow Daoist Yi, wait a moment." Xi Qiu quickly stamped a few seal arrays on the flag before keeping it away. "I can see that my fellow Daoist is naturally outstanding and brimming with Sword Qi. I think it is only a matter of time before you condense Sword Intent. But the process of understanding Sword Intent is always dangerous and cannot be interrupted. No doubt you will find that going at it alone will be much harder. Have you ever thought of joining our sect to receive our protection?"

"Thank you for your kind offer." Yi Qing shook his head and continued, "But I have no intention of joining your sect."

"Fellow Daoist Yi, don't refuse so hastily." Xi Qiu continued to try to persuade him. "My Blackheaven Sect, though not very well known, is the leader of the Three Sects Four Schools. Among the Three Sects Four Schools, my sect possesses the deepest knowledge regarding sword cultivation. My sect's Senior Master was a Soul Formation Sword Cultivator. For many years, he has been wanting to get a disciple of his own. If you remain at my school, with your qualifications, he will definitely select you." It was a great honor to come under the tutelage of a Soul Formation cultivator. No cultivator would be able to refuse this offer.

Yi Qing, however, began to frown. "I'm sorry, I already have a master."

"What! Aren't you an itinerant cultivator?" Surprised, Xi Qiu blurted out, "Who is your master?"

"I am!" Just as he completed his sentence, a raised fist appeared before his eyes and the next moment a super-sized face zoomed right in front of him. "I say, big brother, don't you think you are too much trying to lure my staff away right before my eyes?"

Startled, Xi Qiu took a step back. "Who are you… where did you come from?"

"I've been here all this time." Come on, it was obvious that she had entered together with her chef disciple.

Yi Qing instinctively stood half a step behind her. He straightened his back a little haughtily, and pronounced in a grave tone, "My master, Shen Ying."

Chapter 14: The Soul Formation Supremacy

"Shen… Shen Ying?" Who! Who? He had never heard of her. But the main point was—since when had this person been standing here? He was a Nascent Soul cultivator, yet he hadn't detected her presence at all. Xi Qiu swept a questioning look at his sect members, but they all wore an equally surprised expressions.

His heart immediately sank and he became on guard. He glanced at the girl, releasing a bit of his Divine Perception. His Divine Perception revealed that she did not possess any Spirit Qi
—she was only a mortal.

Xi Qiu breathed a sigh of relief, thinking that he had not noticed her because he had been overcome by surprise. But… it was certainly strange that Yi Qing, a Golden Core Sword Cultivator, had actually sought a mortal woman as his master. Although the path of a Sword Cultivator was arduous, his future would be limitless once his Core reached fruition. Why had he chosen a master like this?

"Miss… Shen," Xi Qiu greeted her with a smile. She was definitely a mortal. He thought it over again, and surmised that perhaps this girl was Yi Qing's mortal master from before his cultivation practice began. Perhaps even after he started on the Immortal Dao, he still could not forget his teacher's kindness which just proved the nobleness of his character. This further convinced Xi Qiu that he had to recruit Yi Qing.

"Since you already have a master, I will certainly not force you to choose another." He smiled and continued to persuade him, "But there is always the position of guest elder in my sect, and since my Fellow Daoist is already a Golden Core Dao Lord, how about becoming a guest elder in my sect?"

Yi Qing frowned uncertainly.

Xi Qiu immediately added, "Although guest elders are nominal sect members, we usually don't impose any restrictions on them. Fellow Daoist can still travel like you did before. Only, you can expect help from my sect during your travels. For instance, we can assist in matters such as releasing souls from Banner, saving you much trouble. Just instruct my disciples to bring them back to our sect."

Indeed, being a member of a sect did have its benefits. More than anything, one only had to look at the matter of Rui Mi. If he had had the support of a sect, he could have solved the problem before the Soul Devouring Banner gave birth to the Ghost King.

"Besides, my sect always gives our guest elders special treatment." Xi Qiu continued to try and persuade him. "You can choose whatever cultivation technique you want from our Dao Repository. We will also provide a separate cave abode and a monthly supply of spirit stones and elixirs. If you have  any other requests, please feel free to bring them up."

"Are meals provided?" Yi Qing was just about to refuse when Shen Ying suddenly popped a question.

"What?" Xi Qiu was momentarily stumped. What kind of request was that?

A thought suddenly struck Yi Qing who had been unmoved by Xi Qiu's speech until that point. There was an contrite expression on his face. He had forgotten that master had not had breakfast yet. This reflected badly on his competency as a disciple. "Sect Master Xi, does your sect provide your disciples with a daily supply of food such as spirit rice and fruit?" he asked solemnly.

"Yes, we do…" Is this a very important condition? Isn't food only required by outer sect disciples who are yet to practice Grain Liberation? "If you like, you can obtain it from the Outer Affairs Hall."

"Okay, I'm in!"

"Huh! Huh?" You agreed just like that… don't you need to think it over?

!!!∑(゚Д゚ノ)ノ

"Sect Master, I must trouble you to arrange a place with a kitchen." Yi Qing clasped his hands in a show of thanks.

"Alright…" A bemused Xi Qiu called over a disciple to lead the way. However, Yi Qing's group was already rushing out of the hall with the disciple. Though they were some distance away, the gist of their conversation could still be heard.

"I'm famished!"

"Fellow Daoist, please lead the way quickly. My master is hungry."

"How much longer?"

"Master, don't worry. We are almost there."

"Oh, please make soup today. I have been hungry for too long, so I need to warm my belly."

"Yes Master, no problem Master!"

Xi Qiu: "…" Xi Chen: "…"

Hall masters: "…"

What should they make of this oddball master and disciple?

————————

An array formation was spread throughout the  Jing  Qing Hall. In the middle of the golden array formation, a black flag fluttered in the windless air. A great mass of Ghost Qi was surging inside the flag. There was a broken formation in the center, but not a trace of Ghost Qi could be seen outside.

Four Nascent Soul Elders sat nearby, looking at the flag in shock.

"What is going on? Why is our sorcery totally useless?" Xi Chen frowned and looked at the ghost flag in the center. "If we don't release the evil spirits, we can't purge the Ghost Qi inside. The seal on the flag surface is already torn, but why is there still no sign of any ghosts emerging?"

"The flag was definitely made by Rui Mi who has always been a cunning one. There must be a mystery in the flag that we have yet to figure out." Xi Qiu replied with a serious expression on his face.

"What is to be done now? If it goes on like this, the Ghost Qi will only grow stronger."

Xi Qiu flexed his hands tensely before looking to Xi Chen and saying, "I'd better ask Uncle-Master to come. He was the expert in array formations."

Xi Chen immediately took out a Dharmic talisman and formed a hand seal. In the blink of an eye, the Dharmic talisman turned into a stream of light and flew outside. It wasn't long before the hall rang with the sound of a male voice. "What is it that you urgently need to see me about?"

A figure had suddenly appeared in the hall. He looked extremely young, clad in a long and white gown over a blue outfit, and held a jade flute in his hands. Sporting shoulder- length hair, he had a handsome face and his whole body exuded an aura of Spirit Cleansing Qi. He seemed like an immortal untouched by earthly concerns, giving off the impression that he might ascend into the heaven in the very next moment.

"We pay our respects to Uncle-Master Lonemoon!" The four men got up and saluted.

"Hmm." He nodded, still wearing that expression of saintly indifference. Looking around, he set his sights on the  flag above. "Soul Devouring Banner! Why is it here? Have you gotten rid of that Fiendish Cultivator?"

"With all due respect Uncle-Master, Rui Mi is indeed dead, but we didn't kill him." Xi Qiu bowed and explained, "He was killed by an itinerant cultivator who delivered the flag here to be purged of its Ghost Qi."

"Hmm." Lonemoon responded calmly, and at the same time formed a hand seal in passing before directing it at the flag. There was still no response from the flag—it did not so much as tremble. "Huh?" Lonemoon was stunned. This Soul  Devouring Gonfalon could actually resist the sorcery of a Soul Formation cultivator.

"Uncle-Master, the four of us have just tried the same thing. No matter what spell we used, this ghost flag still did not respond. I wonder why?" Xi Qiu elaborated.

"Maybe it's because of the seal formation on the flag." Lonemoon looked up at the flag with a frown, scrutinizing it closely. After a while he commented, "I do not know who laid this formation. It seems broken, yet it wields such great power."

A thought struck Xi Qiu and he immediately said, "This may have been caused by the Sword Dao."

"Sword Dao?" asked Lonemoon, turning around.

"He is a Golden Core Dao Lord, and he has quite a reputation among the itinerant cultivators," Xi Qiu said laughingly. "He has joined our sect as a guest elder. His name is Yi Qing." "What!" Lonemoon exclaimed, unable to maintain his usual calm demeanor. "What did you say his name was?"

Xi Qiu was puzzled. He could not understand why Uncle- Master was so shocked, but he repeated it nevertheless. "Sword Cultivator Yi Qing."

"Yi Qing, his name is really Yi Qing. Where is he now?!" Growing increasingly excited, Lonemoon urged Xi Qiu for an answer.

A bewildered Xi Qiu pointed the way. "At Yingyuan Peak…"

Before he could finish speaking, the man in front of him had flown off like a gust of wind.

The remaining four looked at each other wonderingly for some time before they finally returned to the matter at hand.

"Uncle-Master, the Soul Devouring Banner" What now?

Chapter 15: Supremacy Fights Over Disciple

Flying at record speed, Lonemoon soon reached Yingyuan Peak. It was only then that he realized that he had not asked Xi Qiu which cave it was. He had to scan the whole mountain peak using his Divine Perception before finding an unfamiliar figure in a small yard below the mountain peak.

After taking a moment to settle his mind, he made a beeline for his target. He heard the beating of his heart which he had not heard in a long time. It had been three hundred years, a full three hundred years! The person he had been waiting so long for had finally appeared.

Flexing his hands, Lonemoon took a deep breath in an effort to restore his usual placid expression before entering the small courtyard. Finally, he was going to see the person who was going to become the greatest fighter of the Three Azure Realms, the Sword Immortal Yi Qing. Raising his head, his eyes followed the trail of the Sword Qi. He had no idea what Yi Qing actually looked like and what he was doing at this moment. Perhaps he was practicing his swordsmanship, or perhaps he was trying to fathom Sword Intent, or perhaps… he was cooking?! Huh?

What? He's cooking! And this is the greatest fighter of the Three Azure Realms, the Sword Immortal?! Isn't this taking humbleness a little too far?

(╯‵□′)╯(┻━┻

Lonemoon felt as if something was blocking his throat, and a stream of blood suddenly spewed out from his mouth. He was blind. He must be blind!

"Hey 'Qin'. Are you finished 'Qin[1]'?"

"Master, wait a moment. It will be ready in a moment." The spatula in Yi Qing's hand moved at an even greater speed.

"Remember to add more meat." "Yes Master, no problem Master!"

Lonemoon: "…" One could almost hear a faint shattering sound of disillusionment.

He stood in front of the yard for a whole quarter of an hour until the figure in the kitchen walked into the house at a brisk pace with his vegetables. It was then that he remembered his purpose in coming here. At present, Yi Qing was still a Golden Core cultivator and not the future immortal of the Three Azure Realms. So if Yi Qing was not quite what he had imagined him to be, it was reasonable. Totally reasonable.

He closed his gaping mouth and walked in.

"May I have the honor of knowing the Supremacy who has just arrived?" The person inside the house turned around to look at him. He had discovered Lonemoon's presence even before he had stepped in.

Lonemoon felt a little more settled, and a hint of appreciation crossed his eyes. Yi Qing was only a Golden Core cultivator yet he could tell Lonemoon's cultivation level with a  look, indicating that his Spirit Qi was highly developed. All at once, he felt the pang of his disappointment lessen a little.

"Lonemoon." He replied curtly with his hands behind his back, still wearing that cold expression.

"So you are Supremacy Lonemoon." A flash of surprise showed in Yi Qing's eyes, and he immediately got up to give a salute. Everyone in the Immortal Cultivator world knew the name of Lonemoon—he was an Immortal Cultivator prodigy. It was said that he took only three hundred years before reaching level of Soul Formation. He was one of the three Soul Formation Supremacies in Blackheaven Sect. Although his cultivation level was not as high as the other Supremacies, he was the only Sword Cultivator among them. No one could defeat him in actual battle. Yi Qing, being a Sword Cultivator, had naturally paid attention to this man.

As if accustomed to the surprise of others, Lonemoon asked coolly, "You are the one they call the Golden Core Sword Cultivator?"

"I am indeed a Sword Cultivator." Although he didn't know the other party's intentions, Yi Qing still nodded without any reservations.

Lonemoon swept his eyes at him. "You are an Innate Sword Embodiment. You are indeed most suitable to be a Sword Cultivator."

Yi Qing brows tightened, somewhat surprised. This was the first time someone had been able to tell that he was an Innate Sword Embodiment at one glance.

"You don't have to worry about it." As if he could tell what Yi Qing was worried about, Lonemoon said, "Innate Sword Embodiments are rare no doubt, but to me they are nothing special." An Innate Sword Embodiment represented the perfect quality to being a Sword Cultivator; it was something coveted by many people. Looking at Yi Qing's expression, Lonemoon guessed he had encountered such situations before.

"May I know what matter that Supremacy has come for?"

Lonemoon took a step forward before answering, "Since you have entered my Blackheaven Sect, I will of course not reveal your Innate Sword Embodiment to others. Sword cultivation is no easy task. From today onwards, I would like you to join our sect to become my personal disciple."

"That's not necessary."

"You don't have to thank me, I just… What did you say?!" Lonemoon paused, and swallowed back the words that had come to his mouth. Did he hear it wrongly? A Soul Formation cultivator wanted to take him as a disciple. Yet he… he actually declined! His trademark cool expression stiffened, and he blurted out questioningly, "Why?"

Before Yi Qing could answer, a female voice suddenly cut in. "Because—" This was followed by the sound of food being swallowed. "—I am his teacher." Seems like this is another case of chef snatching.

"What?" It was then that he saw a woman sitting at the wooden table in the room, her clothes unkempt and hair dishevelled, clutching a pair of chopsticks. Suddenly, he remembered a certain long-lost term—foodie! Who was this person? He made a quick search through the names in his memory, but found that none of them matched.

When Lonemoon first came here, he had been so shocked by the sight of Yi Qing stir-frying food that he had missed what they were saying. He would never have thought that this woman without any Spirit Qi was actually Yi Qing's teacher. The Sword Immortal has a master? This wasn't in the script!

"You are…"

"She is my master, Shen Ying," Yi Qing answered with a respectful look on his face, not forgetting to give her another bowl of rice.

Lonemoon's mouth twitched a little. He really had not expected that Yi Qing would already have a master and that their relationship would be so strong. He looked up and down at the girl who was still eating like crazy, but he was still unable to assess the depth of her skills. He decided to probe subtly.

"Little sister… Miss, pardon my ignorance, but may I know what your cultivation level is at?"

"I don't know." By the way, what the hell is cultivation?

She doesn't know, so it seems that she really hasn't practiced immortal cultivation!

"Then are you good at sword techniques?"

"No!" Shen Ying replied honestly.

"Weapon refinement?"

"No."

"Elixirs?"

"Never heard of it." "Beast riding?"

"Nope!"

"…" Yet you have the cheek to take in a disciple!

凸(艹皿艹)

Lonemoon's thoughts took a turn and he came to the same conclusion as Xi Qiu had: this girl had to be Yi Qing's master from before he started immortal cultivation. So she really was a mortal. With that thought in mind, he felt reassured.

"You are indeed an empathetic and righteous person." He nodded at Yi Qing in appreciation. "Since that's the case, I'll permit you to continue taking care of her even after you join my sect." As the saying went: 'Once your teacher, forever your teacher'. He could understand Yi Qing's feelings for his teacher.

"Supremacy, you misunderstand. I have no plans to look for another master." "You…" Lonemoon was a little angry now. He was, after all, a Soul Formation cultivator. He had taken the initiative to take him on as a disciple, yet Yi Qing had the gall to reject him again and again. Even if he was the future Sword Immortal, he did not have to put on such high airs. "Although the saying 'Once your teacher, forever your teacher' is not wrong, it does not apply to those who practice immortal cultivation as they are different from mortals. For the sake of your immortal future, you should forgo traditional proprieties."

"Supremacy, please leave!" Yi Qing frowned, showing a hint of anger. "I, Yi Qing, though only a Golden Core cultivator, will never do anything to betray my master." And so saying, he turned solemnly to Shen Ying and said, "Master, please be assured. I will remain your disciple for the rest of my life."

The subject of his pledge merely mumbled, "Oh oh oh…" and continued guzzling her food.

"You… why can't I knock sense into your stubborn head?" Lonemoon was so angry that he started pacing back and forth. He really wanted to say, 'Do what you like,' and turn and leave. But for the sake of his future, he had to latch onto Yi Qing's coattails. Taking a deep breath, he continued, "I say, Brother, I'm doing this for your own good. I am a Soul Formation cultivator of a sect, and as my disciple you would automatically become a rich second generation. You could have anything you desire. Aren't you almost at the point of attaining Sword Intent? I can help you!"

"That's not necessary. My master's knowledge is enough to last me an entire lifetime." Yi Qing was completely unmoved. With a look of pride, he said, "I don't need to look for another master."

"You…" Seeing that Yi Qing did not take the bait, he resorted to psychological warfare. "If your master knows what's good for you, she will also want you to become an apprentice under me. She is only a mortal after all. What the heck does she know about immortal cultivation. In the future, if you…"

"Supremacy, please choose your words with care." Yi Qing thumped the table fiercely. He seemed provoked. "My master knows a lot, and not just anybody can impose judgement on her." You can criticize me, but not my master!

Lonemoon was dumbfounded. Sensing that Yi Qing would turn against him if he said another word, he quickly changed his tune. "My apologies, I spoke out of turn." Turning around, he saw Shen Ying still calmly eating her food. Another idea came to him. He would have to throw a curveball to save the situation. "Sister… Yi Qing is indeed a rare talent. If he accepts me as his master, his future will know no bounds. I know his reluctance is due to his loyalty to you. Maybe you can help me to persuade him."

At last, Shen Ying stopped eating and looked up at him, blinking her eyes. I say… I know you people in the immortal circle like to headhunt, but do you really expect me, his boss, to help you as well?

"Don't worry, I have only the best intentions for him. Feel free to air any doubts you have," Lonemoon added hurriedly.

"All right!" Shen Ying sighed, holding up her chopsticks. "I only have one question."

"Ask away!"

"How long has it been since you transmigrated?" "Not long, only about three hundred years."

"… Oh."

A while later…

Lonemoon: "Oh no!"

Σ(°△°|||)

[1] Qin is a respective word in contemporary Chinese to address someone akin to sir. It also is a homophone to Yi Qing. This becomes a running joke that she can never remember her disciple's name.

Chapter 16: No Need to Expose

"Master. Supremacy Lonemoon is here again," Yi Qing said hesitantly as he put away the cutlery.

"Oh," lazily responded the person laying on the table, having eaten her fill.

"It has already been the fifth day." Yi Qing continued, "He stood by the door everyday, but for some reason does not come in." If he wanted to stand, let him be. The plant at the entrance was already balding because of him plucking its leaves.

"Perhaps exposing him in front of everyone was a little too much!" Shen Ying could not be bothered. She turned away and continued to lay there. "Just get used to it and it will be fine."

"Expose?" Taken aback, he suddenly recalled that five days ago, Master had indeed asked a question which resulted in Supremacy Lonemoon dashing out in a hurry. Ever since then, he had begun to wear an expression that suggested constipation, and stood by their door daily. "Oh right, Master mentioned transmigration that day… What does that mean?" Could it be some kind of high level Dharmic Dao? "This… explaining might be a little troublesome." Shen Ying furrowed her brows before continuing, "You can understand it as… that he came from the same hometown as me."

Shocked, Yi Qing said, "So he and Master actually has such an affinity!" No wonder Supremacy Lonemoon came over here everyday but did not come in—it was all because of the affection and sentiment towards his hometown that made him want to look for Master to reminisce it.

Wait a moment!

If he were from the same hometown as Master, Lonemoon must have heard of how formidable Master was. Previously, he wanted to get him as his disciple so perhaps he did not recognize her but, now that it was out in the open, could it be that… recalling the past events gave rise to his admiration and worship of Master, and made him want to… also become Master's disciple?!

o(?Д?)っ! Yi Qing's heart wrenched at the thought and felt stuffiness in his chest. The figure by the door immediately became an eyesore; he had only just managed to become Master's disciple yet people were already being envious.

With this thought in mind, he quickly finished washing the dishes, summoned out his spiritual sword and plunged down onto his knees before the table.

"What are you doing?" Shen Ying was shocked.

Yi Qing raised his head with anticipation. "Master, please impart me the ways of cultivation."

Shen Ying stiffened up and she shed a drop of sweat. It's here. The chef wants to start learning skills. Cultivation… what exactly was cultivation? Now what? It was time to get what she deserved for all those times she acted cool!

Σ(っ°Д°;)っ "That… isn't so urgent right?"

"It cannot be considered a matter of urgency," he said with a face of conviction. "But thanks to Master's sympathy and understanding from before, I have completely recovered, and my Spirit Qi is also back to normal. I am ready to practice cultivation."

"You… are sure that you can?" Please don't. I can still be more sympathizing.

"Yes!" He nodded hard. But looking at Shen Ying's awkwardness, he suddenly thought of something. "Master, is your body not alright?"

"Uh… No…" Is feeling sleepy after eating till full considered not alright?

He breathed a sigh of relief then said, "Master, please give me your guidance." "…"

"Master, are you worried about my current level of swordsmanship?" guessed Yi Qing, seeing that she did not reply for a while. "It's my negligence. How about we change location and I can demonstrate for Master to see. Perhaps you can then guide me from the side?"

"Uh… Oh." Could she even refuse?

Yi Qing stood up immediately, his face lit with excitement as he formed a hand seal before habitually bringing Shen Ying along on his sword and flew out of the peak.

The Blackheaven Sect was located on the Black Sea. The entire sect floated above the waters and below it were thousands of islands of different sizes. Yi Qing landed directly on the largest one. Compared to the other islands, it had a flatter terrain and there was a large area with rocks stretching for 5 kilometers; it was indeed a great location for practicing the sword.

It seemed that Yi Qing had done his fair share of research on the land the past few days. He was indeed a diligent and eager chef… disciple.

However…

"Why did you follow us?" Shen Ying turned to glance back. Right behind them was Lonemoon, dressed in blue and white with his show-off attitude.

"Who are you to care!" Lonemoon rolled his eyes. He couldn't even be bothered to act well-learned and totally just let himself loose. "Aren't you going to teach your student? The whole Blackheaven Sect is my territory. Are you going to charge me for watching?"

"…" Shen Ying's mouth twitched. Did this fellow eat an explosive? He had an entirely different attitude from before.

Lonemoon was truly angry. He had lived in this world for a few hundred years and the journey had been rather smooth sailing. He was also extremely lucky as his cultivation of immortality easily led him to the Soul Formation stage. He even thought that his whole life would continue to be as smooth. In his heart, he almost thought of himself as the main lead of a transmigration story. Although he later found out the truth of this world, that wasn't much of a concern to him.

On the day that his identity was exposed, in all honesty, he was truly shocked. He had wanted to verify her identity but at the same time was afraid. Such an unexpected revelation that he was not all-powerful took away the only bit of sweet joy in him. Who could understand that?! Who could understand that?!

щ(゚Д゚щ)

He had fallen into contemplation for five full days before reluctantly accepting this fact. Finally recovering from the shock, it was obvious that the individual named Shen Ying was just like him and also knew about the storyline. Moreover, she had been one step ahead in making the same decision as him. This also meant that his plan was freaking intercepted.

(╯‵□′)╯(┻━┻ The more he brooded over it, the angrier he felt. He took several deep breaths before holding back the resentment and said, "Hey, I was looking for you to discuss a matter. Follow me and let's talk about it."

Shen Ying was caught by surprise. But before she could answer, Yi Qing stepped forward and seemingly blocked the path between the two of them. "Master is going to teach me cultivation, so I am afraid now is not a good time. If Supremacy has some matters to discuss, perhaps you can come back another day." Hmph, don't think I don't know that you are here to become her disciple.

Lonemoon was taken aback by his interference. Was this an illusion? Why did it feel like the future Sword Immortal had murderous intent towards him? This was all Shen Ying to blame. She must have said something to cause this misunderstanding between the Sword Immortal and him, this scheming bitch!

"It will only take a while."

"Master is not free." "You can train later."

"Matters such as cultivation cannot be carried out sloppily."

"I have serious matters."

"Supremacy, please forgive me!"

Lonemoon: "…" That scheming Shen!

Yi Qing: "…" I am the rightful disciple of Master!

Shen Ying: "…" Oh, if the both of you continue a while more, it will be time to go back for dinner.

"Alright, alright, alright, you teach. I'll just remain silent okay?" Finally, Lonemoon stepped back and glared at  Shen Ying. "Aren't you going to teach your disciple? You teach, you teach!" He wanted to see what she could actually teach. Don't think that he did not know. She was just a mortal, so how could she know the Immortality Sword Dharma. She must have uttered some nonsense to get the Sword Immortal to come under her wing. Now was the perfect time to expose her. Wait till Yi Qing saw her true colors, then he could still get him to become his disciple.

Yi Qing then turned around and took hold of his spiritual sword and said, "Master, the sword technique that I am cultivating now is called the Dang Tian tactic. It is a Sword Dharma that I invented. Master, please provide me with your guidance!"

As he said this, he took a couple of steps forward and started to showcase his swordsmanship. Every movement of his sword was very sharp, the brilliant gleams given off by the sword enveloping the whole island and causing the large patches of sand and stones on the ground to be blasted away. His figure disappeared amid the flashing strokes of his blade as if he had merged with the Sword Dharma.

Lonemoon became more intrigued as he watched. This was the Sword Dharma that the Sword Immortal Yi Qing was famed for. These simple strokes by themselves contained so much power, so the addition of Spirit Qi had to be able to make them at least ten times more powerful. There already existed a shadow of Sword Intent within every sword move—it was no wonder he was able to defeat Rui Mi despite the difference in their levels.

Chapter 17: False Epiphany

Yi Qing demonstrated this set of sword techniques for almost an hour. His movements were ever-changing and powerful. Although he had tried his best to rein in the force of his Sword Qi, the entire upper section of the island had been cleaved off by him by the time he finally withdrew his Qi.

"Master, this is the sword technique I usually use." Yi Qing turned towards Shen Ying, his fists cupped in respect. He looked straight at her with shining eyes.

Without really thinking, Shen Ying praised, "Ah, not bad!" It's just a little too slow.

"Thank you Master!" He grew even more emotional. "Please guide me."

"…" Flustered, Shen Ying began to perspire. What guidance could she give? She didn't know anything about sword techniques. Noticing her predicament, Lonemoon smirked and said, "Yes, guide him, guide him."

"Er… this…"

"Master doesn't have a weapon on hand?" Yi Qing quickly passed her the spirit sword in his hand. "Excuse my oversight. Please use mine for the moment."

"…" Do you need to be so considerate?

"Quickly, guide him, guide him." The grin on Lonemoon's face widened even more. He gave her a nudge and said, "You need to hurry, the sun is going down soon."

"Master?"

Shen Ying looked at the sword in her hand. "Actually… I think you were just fine." I'm sure there's nothing that needs to be changed. "Enough of this!" Before Yi Qing could reply, Lonemoon jeered, "Stop pretending. If you can impress me with a trick or two, you can be my master!"

"You?" Shen Ying glanced at him. "Can you cook?"

"I have never had to cook for myself."

"Oh, then I don't want you."

"You…" Who the hell wants to be your disciple!

(╯‵□′)╯(┻━┻

Shen Ying ignored him. She took two steps forward, looked at
the flat island, and gripped the sword with her hands. How did the chef disciple wield the sword? Seemed like it needs to be raised first…

She lifted  the  sword  directly  with  one  hand  and  raised  it above her head like she was holding a dumbbell. One couldn't discern any method behind her move, let alone a technique…

Oh! Lonemoon couldn't help laughing again,  watching  as Shen Ying was about to swing the sword down forcefully. He was waiting for her to make a fool of herself.

Suddenly, a hurricane seemed to form out of nowhere and the sword emitted a beam of light as bright as daylight, arching over the earth and across the sky. Shen Ying swung the sword down. There was a loud boom and the entire island was split in two. The beam of light continued to travel straight ahead, directly sweeping through the nearby Blackheaven Sect, splitting apart a mountain on the upper right of the sect, and then shooting straight into the sea before finally disappearing into the horizon.

The white clouds in the sky split apart and the entire surface of the sea suddenly sank. The waters of the sea parted, revealing a deep and bottomless crack that extended into the distance. It was as if the earth and sky had been sliced open by a sword. Everything was silent except for the sounds of water rushing through crack in the sea. Yi Qing: "…"

Lonemoon: "…"

"Er…" I must have used too much force. Shen Ying scratched her head and then threw the sword back to the chef. "What's- your-name, what's for dinner tonight?"

The two men were dumbfounded. At last, the experienced Yi Qing was the first to return to his senses. He answered reflexively, "Ma Po… Tofu… I think?" Master is truly a master! (✪ω✪)

"Ok, when do we head back?"

"Right away. Since Master is tired today, shall I prepare another dish?"

"You really are a good chef… disciple!" Lonemoon: You really are… a frightening woman.

Wait a minute! She just used the word chef? That was definitely what she said, right?!

"Why don't we head back to prepare dinner right now?"

"Master, wait!" Yi Qing took a deep breath and looked at Shen Ying with an expression of earnestness such as he had never shown before. "Please forgive your disciple's  ignorance.  I  have yet to understand the intent behind this move of Master's."

"…" I didn't intend anything.

"Disciple does not understand. How could that simple move of Master's be so powerful?"

"Er…" Shen Ying's mouth twitched, thinking: how would I know? "Maybe I… have more strength?" "Strength?"

Lonemoon: Are you kidding? Can something like this be done
with mere strength? (╬皿̄  ̄)

"Have you not heard of it?" Shen Ying said seriously, "One strong man can overcome ten!"

Lonemoon: You obviously borrowed this saying from martial arts novels. Only a fool would believe you! 凸(艹皿艹)

"So what Master is saying is that as long as one has attained the capability, sword style and technique is not important!"

Lonemoon: You really believe that?! (°Д°)

"One strong man… can overcome ten? One strong man can overcome ten…" Yi Qing silently recited this to himself a few times. Suddenly, the Spirit Qi and Sword Qi in his body began to soar up and even the Spirit Qi in the surrounding began to surge in response. Lonemoon: What, don't tell me you're having an epiphany?
This is clearly a scam, Brother! ヽ(?Д?)?

"Chef, what's wrong with you?" Seeing that he remained unmoving after suddenly sitting down, Shen Ying couldn't help reaching her hand out to poke him.

"Don't touch him!" Lonemoon slapped her hand away. "He's having an epiphany. Interrupting him now will cause great danger." You can't even tell that, so what kind of master are
you! And now you don't even bother with the pretense over his
title. Is it really wise to directly address him as Chef?

Suppressing his urge to complain, Lonemoon quickly formed a hand seal, setting up a heavy defensive array formation around Yi Qing. Epiphanies could be long or short and judging by his strong Spirit Qi and Sword Qi, it was probably a major epiphany. How long would it last? The worst thing to do during an epiphany was to interrupt it. This array formation was necessary, and to be on the safe side, he decided he should get back to the sect and ask the sect leader to arrange for some men to guard over him.

Turning around, Lonemoon took a glance at Shen Ying who was still wearing a blank look on her face. All at once his mouth twitched. Why did he suddenly feel that he did not want a disciple after all?

Lonemoon looked once again at the two halves of the island, at the sea that was still parted, and then at the mountain peak of Blackheaven Sect which had been split in two.

Wait a moment!

Why did he feel that the mountain peak looked a little familiar?

"Oh no! My Lingyun Peak!"

Σ(°△°|||)

————————

Five days later. "I say, temp-…"

"Don't you dare call me a temp chef!" Without waiting for Shen Ying to finish her sentence, the figure stir-frying in the kitchen turned around fiercely. "Or believe me I will really thrash you!"

"Er…" Pausing, Shen Ying reworded her sentence. "What's- your-name, has my disciple woken up? It's been five days."

"Do you think an epiphany is something so simple?" Lonemoon glared at the person lying immobile on the stone table. "And I'm called Lonemoon, not 'What's-your-name'! I don't care if you can't remember the name of your own disciple, but I'm from your hometown, so you better remember mine!"

"Ah… I haven't eaten in five days." How can I remember names when I don't have any strength left.

"Five days…" Lonemoon threw the object in his hand straight at her. "Then what have you been eating these past few days? Pig swill?" She caught it deftly and muttered, "It's worse than pig swill." Seeing that it was a spatula, she threw it back quickly. "Hurry up and stir, the food is turning mushy!"

Lonemoon's mouth trembled and something in his brain snapped. He raised his hand and flung the spatula to  the ground. "What did you just say? I dare you to repeat it." He tore off his apron in a huff and stormed toward her. "I am a Soul Formation Supremacy who has never cooked for anyone, whether it be in my past or present life. You think I like to cook for you?! Whoever wants this job can have it. I quit!"

"But I didn't ask you to come." Wasn't he the one who came asking whether she needed anything? "Besides… didn't you ask me to wield that sword the other day?"

If she hadn't wielded that sword, her chef wouldn't have had an epiphany. If he hadn't had an epiphany, he would have been able to cook for her and she would not have had to eat Lonemoon's pig swill.

"You…" He would never have come here if his Lingyun Peak had not been split apart by her. Well, it was definitely not because he wanted to look for the only person from his hometown!

He took a deep breath. Forget it. I won't quibble with a woman.

Turning back, Lonemoon saw that she still looked about as alive as a half-dead chicken. The question in his mind surfaced again. "Hey Shen Ying, seriously… where does that terrifying ability of yours come from?" That stroke of her sword… had almost hacked heaven and earth apart.

"Didn't I tell you?" she replied lazily. "I don't know!"

"You really don't know?"

"Well, I was like that from the day I was transported here."

Lonemoon frowned. As far as he knew, no one was capable of parting the sea with a single blow of a sword. Even the most powerful Soul Formation cultivator in the world could not do it. She seemed like an ordinary mortal without any Spirit Qi in her entire body, and she didn't even possess a cultivator's basic response to Spirit Qi. But why did she have such strength? What was more outrageous was that she herself did not know why.

He thought for a long time, but as he still couldn't connect the dots, he gave up. Turning around and throwing a plate  of mushy food in front of Shen Ying, he said, "Hurry up and eat. After eating, you have to go to the island to see how your disciple is getting on with his epiphany." Why do I feel like I've
let  myself  in  for  unnecessary  trouble?  Or  rather,  two  big
troubles of the type that fills the heart with worry.

Shen Ying poked at the mound of mush before her, but did not pick it up with her chopsticks. Her disgust deepened, and her expression openly conveyed how she felt about this 'pig swill'. She would have continued poking at it but as it appeared that someone was about to leave in a huff, she had no choice but to stuff it into her mouth.

It's really hard to eat… but it's better than what I cook!

Chapter 18: Purging the Ghost King

Finally finished with the meal, Lonemoon was about to drag this lazy bum to the sea island when a disciple rushed over and greeted hurriedly, "Greetings, Supremacy!"

"You are a disciple of the Main Peak?" Lonemoon furrowed his brows. "Why is Xi Qiu looking for me?"

"Supremacy, Sect Master said that the Soul Devouring Banner is undergoing strange changes and would like for Supremacy to hurry over to examine it."

"The Soul Devouring Banner has not been purged?!" Lonemoon was shocked. Three days ago, he had already set up a huge purge array; logically speaking, the demon souls inside the Banner should have been purged no matter how powerful they were. Could something unforeseen have occurred again?

"Let's go to Jing Qing Hall!" He signaled towards the disciple. But just as he was about to ride his sword, he thought for a bit before turning around and grabbed Shen Ying aboard. "No sleeping! Didn't you bring that Banner over here? Come and take a look with me!" "…" So troublesome.

The both of them flew over to Jing Qing Hall swiftly. The moment they stepped in, Xi Qiu came over wearing a grave expression.

"Uncle-Master!" Xi Qiu cupped his fists and bowed. He turned and pointed towards the inside of the hall. "You have finally arrived. Come and have a look at the Soul Devouring Banner ."

Lonemoon looked up and saw that the eerie Banner was indeed still floating above, looking as black as ink; it had not changed a single bit since three days ago. The huge purge array he had set up on the ground was still gleaming with a white glow while the rest of the hall masters sat around the array powering the Spirit Qi.

"What? Could it be that the Ghost Qi in this Banner is immune to my array formation?"

"No, that is not the case!" Xi Qiu quickly explained, "But we are not sure why the demon souls never came out of this Banner even when their Spirit Qi was eroded by the array formation, which was why they could not be completely purged."

"What? Even the purge array cannot force the demon souls out?" Did they want their souls to be pulverized into non- existence by staying inside the Banner ?

"You are right." Xi Qiu's expression became graver.  "Demon souls are most afraid of Spirit Qi. Now that three  days  have passed and they have yet to come out, I'm guessing that this Banner may already have a Ghost King."

"The Ghost Qi of a Ghost King is overwhelming, but this Banner seems very clean!" It was too clean to be exact, with not a bit of Ghost Qi seeping out at all. This was also the reason they did not inquire clearly of Yi Qing about the Soul Devouring Banner in the beginning, thinking that it was nothing serious. But now that he wanted to ask, Yi Qing was having an epiphany.

"Perhaps this is a special Ghost King!" Xi Qiu continued, "Legend has it that a Ghost King has a formidable power different from the rest of the demon souls. Moreover, the day of its birth can cause the earth and sky to transform, bringing about strange changes. Five days ago, the waters of the Black Sea suddenly parted in the middle and an island on the sea along with Uncle-Master's Ling Yun Peak were simultaneously destroyed. Perhaps that was the sign of a Ghost King being born."

"…"

Lonemoon's mouth twitched as he understood what was being talked about. He faintly felt his forehead gathering wrinkles as he patted Xi Qiu's shoulder and said, "Xi Qiu, you think too much." No one else was clearer as to how Ling Yun Peak had disappeared than him! It was certainly because he did not have time to explain… absolutely not because it was too embarrassing to mention.

(ー` ́ー)

"But besides the birth of the Ghost King, what could have caused the earth and sky to transform?" Xi Qiu looked blank.

"Any… anyway, it has got nothing to do with the Ghost King! Rest assured, I will resolve this matter with the Soul Devouring Banner ." He was suddenly not worried about what ghost was inside the Soul Devouring Banner . He raised his head and looked at the Banner in the air, formed a hand seal and kept the Banner . Even upon taking a closer look, apart from the dilapidated array formation that could not be seen clearly, he still could not notice anything special about it.

"Hey, Shen Ying." He turned and nudged the sleepy person beside him. "Wasn't this Banner sent over here by your chef… pooh, disciple? What's this array formation on its top, do you have any clue?"

"Huh?" Shen Ying was dumbfounded. As she received the Banner , she asked, "What does array formation mean?"

"Array formation is… Wait a second!" Lonemoon was about to explain but all of a sudden his eyes widened as he looked at the object in her hand. "This Banner … moved?!"

The Banner that had not budged for the past few days suddenly trembled and started to sway in Shen Ying's hands as if flapping wildly from being blown by a strong wind. "Shen Ying, what did you do?"

"I didn't do anything!" Shen Ying held up the Banner curiously. "Huh, why is it dripping water? Was this soaked in water?" The Banner was suddenly soaking wet, dripping from the water seeping out of it.

"Don't move!" Lonemoon quickly held onto her hand. "Listen, there's a sound!"

Everyone present became silent; there was indeed a tiny sound ringing within the hall. It was extremely soft as if holding back on purpose, and the sound was heard on and off: Waa… Waawaa… Waawaa…

Huh?! Why did he feel that this sound… sounded like sobbing?!

(ᄑ_ᄑ)

"Not good, it's the Ghost King's sound attack!" Xi Qiu immediately jumped back as if confronted by a formidable enemy. He shouted to the people in the hall, "Quick, set up a barrier!"

The rest of the four hall masters' expressions tensed up and they stepped back. One after another, they lit up the golden defensive barrier surrounding them. Xi Qiu explained while he removed the seal, "The Ghost King's sound attack targets the primordial spirit directly. It is not to be belittled!"

The rest of the hall masters supported this in succession.

"Never did I imagine this Banner to have a Ghost King. Uncle- Master, be careful!"

"Uncle-Master, quickly place the Banner back into the array.
We must not let the Ghost King's sound attack be transmitted!"

"That's right Uncle-Master! Although you are at Soul Formation stage, you must not be careless! It is best to use a barrier!" "The sound attack will only grow more powerful. You are alright now, but in a while it may be too late."

"Uncle-Master!"

"Uncle-Master!" x N!

The sound coming out from the Banner was indeed growing louder; compared to  the  previous  almost  indistinguishable noises that were being made, now it was already so loud that it was jarring. The entire hall was filled with the sounds made by the Ghost King from within the Banner . It cried out with deep emotions to its heart content, letting itself loose: Waawaawaawaawaawaawaa…

Shen Ying: "…"

Lonemoon: "…"

This is the sound of crying right? This is obviously the sound of crying! Wait a moment!

Could the water from the Banner be tears? The Ghost King's tears!! (⊙_⊙)

Suddenly, he experienced a moment of eureka and an absurd thought flashed across his mind as he stiffly turned his head towards the person beside him. "You… what did you do to the Ghost King?"

That person looked blank as she tilted her head. "What's a Ghost King?" Had she seen it before?

"…"

At those words of hers, the sobbing from the Banner grew louder with anguish, and the droplets of water lined up and seeped out of the Banner .

Shen Ying looked at the black Banner in disdain but felt it would be rude to directly throw away an item given to her by another. Her eyes narrowed slightly and she said, "Too noisy! If you want to cry, come out and cry!" And following that, she shook the Banner .

All of a sudden, a copious amount of black gas burst out of the Banner .

It… came out!

(⊙_⊙)

In addition, it was the kind that rolled out in lumps.

The black gas landed and showed its form. A hundred feet tall. Green face with jagged teeth. Fierce-looking, bloody mouth. Large, bulging and bloodshot eyeballs seeming capable of devouring the soul of a human. It would have looked extremely terrifying…

If… It weren't kneeling on the ground. (꒪Д꒪)ノ

The Ghost King was down on both its knees, its sharp claws laid properly on its legs in the most proper posture it could manage. Two streams of unknown liquid were leaking from the large and bloodshot eyes on its large face, but on the other hand the sound was now gone. Its sharp and jagged teeth capable of crushing souls were biting on its bottom lip, and it was wearing a pathetic look that seemed as if it wanted to cry but dared not.

Lonemoon: "…"

Xi Qiu: "…"

Hall masters: "…"

What exactly… was this ghost?

The hall remained silent for five minutes, and the entire place was filled with the sounds of tears being dripped onto the ground by a certain ghost: pitter-patter, pitter-patter… "No wonder… it's my Uncle-Master!" The first to recover from the shock was Xi Qiu. It was unknown as to what he was thinking, but his face beamed with delight as he looked at Lonemoon. "This Ghost King was indeed drawn out by you."

"…" Lonemoon's mouth twitched. What has that got to do with me, wasn't it obviously shaken out by Shen Ying?

"Uncle-Master was right. Previously, I overestimated this Ghost King. Who would have known that under the coercion of Uncle-Master, it would not be able to even stand up."

"No, I can't suppress it." It was totally not afraid of him?

"Uncle-Master, you need not be so humble. It was all thanks to your help. The Ghost King did not come out all this while because it was too afraid of Uncle-Master."

"Are all of you… blind?"

Just as he was about to explain, the ground suddenly shook— Sword Qi seemed to emerge from all directions and the Spirit Qi in the air began to move towards a certain direction out of the door.

"This Spirit Qi…" Lonemoon turned to look at the person beside him. "Shen Ying, your chef… pooh, Yi Qing's epiphany was a success." He then quickly pulled her out of the door and said, "Quick, look at that!"

"Uncle-Master, that Ghost King…" Xi Qiu urgently called out.

"Since it's already out, I shall leave it to all of you to purge it!" Lonemoon replied and disappeared at the door.

Xi Qiu squinted at the Ghost King in the middle of the hall. Was he seeing an illusion? Why did it feel like after Uncle- Master left, even the Ghost King heaved a sigh of relief? Even its tears stopped flowing out?!

Uncle-Master was indeed formidable! "Oh right, just now beside Uncle-Master… there seemed to be someone. Do any of you know who it is?"

"I have never seen that person before. Uncle-Master called that person Shen… Shen something? I didn't take a good look, so I'm not really sure as to that person's gender?"

"Forget it, not important. Let's conduct the array!"

Chapter 19: General Knowledge of the Cultivation Realm

Lonemoon brought Shen Ying along as they flew directly towards that lone island. The Sword Qi became denser as they got closer; the Sword Qi had enveloped the island within a radius of 1.5 kilometers. He could only stop in midair to look at the island ahead that was engulfed in the powerful Sword Qi. The Spirit Qi in the air was growing denser as if being drawn by something. They were combining with the Sword Qi  and moving towards the island, seemingly compressing to become something solid.

"Why are you not moving?" Shen Ying stretched out her hand to poke the person in front of her.

"Do you want to die!" He looked back and rolled his eyes. "Do you not see the sky full of Sword Qi? It would be a miracle to not get slashed into pieces!"

"Sword Qi?" Shen Ying tilted her head. What's that?

"During a Sword Cultivator's epiphany, he will release all the Sword Qi within him to realize the Dao. The Sword Qi at this time will not be within his primordial spirit's control and will attack anyone who comes near."

"… Oh."

"Why do you shake your head while saying 'oh'. If you didn't understand just tell me."

"I didn't understand."

"Damn it!" It was as he had thought. Lonemoon's mouth twitched as he scrutinized her. "Didn't you say you have already been in this world for almost four months? How can you not know anything? What have you been doing all these months?"

Shen Ying thought about it for a moment before listing what she had done out loud, "Eating sweet potato, rabbit meat, and… your pig's feed!"

"I am asking about what you understand? Not asking for your recipes!" Of course you spent these few months eating away, and what pig's feed? I am going to flip out. "Forget it! You only need to know that in this current situation, unless the Sword Qi is contained, we can only stop here."

"Oh." Could have just said that earlier!

"This kind of situation cannot  last  for  long.  Roughly  15 minutes is the longest." At the end  of  his  words,  the  dense Sword Qi and Spirit Qi in the surroundings became reduced and were sucked into Yi Qing's body in a moment's time. A scar in the shape of a golden sword slowly surfaced between his brows.

"Alright, his Sword Intent is complete." Lonemoon heaved a sigh of relief. But just as he was about to fly over, a loud rumbling sound was heard accompanied by a white flash of lightning descending from the sky and striking right at the people below.

The previously sunny sky abruptly turned dark. As a storm began to rage, glaring crackles of lightning could be seen among the clouds as if something was brewing. The mountain peaks of Blackheaven Sect behind them lit up and formed an array, turning into a huge invisible shield that enveloped the entire sect within it.

"Protective mountain array!" Lonemoon was taken aback as the sky above had become completely dark. "This is… a Nascent Soul Lightning Tribulation. He has even achieved Nascent Soul Formation stage!" Holy shit, that was really quick! One session of epiphany and he had jumped from Golden Core stage to Nascent Soul Formation stage which was tantamount to pole- vaulting. "He is indeed the future's most powerful Sword Immortal."

"Sword Immortal?" Shen Ying was dazed for a while. One moment there was Sword Qi, and then in another  moment there was a Sword Immortal. What exactly were these?

"Stop acting!" Lonemoon rolled his eyes at her. "Didn't you take him as your disciple because of this?"

"Nope."

"Cheh, do you dare say that you have never read the book Immortal Fate?" "Never read it."

"How is that possible? If you didn't read the same book as I did, how did you transmigrate here?"

"I played an online game overnight, and when I woke up I was here."

"…"

After a minute.

"Holy shit!" He abruptly took a step back, almost falling  off the sword. Balancing himself precariously, he pointed at her and said, "You… you… you really didn't transmigrate through the book? Then… then why did you take Yi Qing as your disciple!"

"Oh… because I was too lazy to dig a hole." "…" What the hell?

Shen Ying tilted her head in ponderment, and then added, "He can cook!"

"…" Why did this reason not sound surprising at all?

"You really have no understanding of this world at all?!"

"What do I need to understand?"

"…" How did she survive until now with that stupid face of hers?!

Lonemoon's mouth twitched and his complexion changed several times like a palette for blending colors. It took him a while before he took a deep breath and then took out a fan Dharma artifact which turned into a gigantic fan, and he got her to sit on it. "We can't return to the Blackheaven Sect right now. Let me teach you some general knowledge about this world, otherwise you wouldn't even know how you died." He cleared his throat and began, "Simply put, we are in a world called the Azure World. It consists of three large and small worlds, namely the Upper Azure World, Middle Azure World, and the Lower Azure World. The Upper Azure World has the densest Spirit Qi of all, followed by the Middle and the Lower Azure World having the least. That's why most of the people in the Lower Azure World are mortals with few being cultivators. The highest form of cultivation is reaching the Nascent Soul stage. Rumor has it that the entire Lower Azure World has fewer than ten Nascent Soul cultivators."

Lonemoon gestured the number ten, and continued, "We are currently in the Middle Azure World, and over here there are less than 20 Soul Formation cultivators. The Middle Azure World has the Six Schools Three Sects, and the Blackheaven Sect is the leader of the Six Schools Three Sects and has three Soul Formation cultivators. Of course, I am one of them, and there are eight more within the rest of the Two Sects Six Schools."

"Oh, what about the last one?" "The last one would be the Upper Azure World which I have never been to. It's rumored that the people there aren't friendly." Lonemoon furrowed his brows. "As compared to our Middle Azure World, that world has top notch cultivators from aristocratic families, not sects. The Spirit Qi is the  densest there, and it is said that Nascent Soul cultivators are everywhere and Golden Core cultivators are worse off than dogs in that place."

"Oh…" Shen Ying nodded. "What's Spirit Qi?"

"…" Lonemoon felt a stuffiness in his chest, a mouthful of blood threatening to rush out of his mouth. He took a deep breath before it was kept under control. Keep your cool, she's still a newbie, albeit the rarely seen type. "Spirit Qi is something that cultivators require for cultivation. Just like how humans need to eat to survive, cultivators must breathe the Spirit Qi of the earth and heavens to improve their cultivation. All kinds of Dharma spells depend on how the Spirit Qi is manipulated."

"Alright."

"Cultivators have different cultivation methods, consisting of Dharmic cultivation, sword cultivation, body cultivation and so on… Besides those, there are also the methods that focus on life skills such as core cultivation for making cores, equipment cultivation for forging ironware, talisman cultivation for the making of talismans and such.. Yi Qing and I are both Sword Cultivators. Cultivation advancements consists of a few large realms. The beginner stage is called the Spirit Training phase. It is then split into Foundation Establishment, Golden Core, Nascent Soul and Soul Formation. Within a large realm, there are ten levels of small realms. The first to third levels are the early-stages, fourth to eighth are the mid-stages, eighth and above are the late-stages, and the tenth level is considered to have reached perfection."

"What about… above Soul Formation?"

"Going above that level would be to advance to Immortal Ascension." He spread his hands open and said, "I heard that only those people in the Upper Azure World can advance to Immortal Ascension, but I am also unsure of how the process is like. Perhaps when I have perfected my Soul Formation, I will go to the Upper Azure World to take a look."

"Oh…" So this world really does have immortals. Interesting. "These are some of the general knowledge in this world. How did you survive here for so long without knowing them?" Lonemoon expressed disdain for her ignorance once again. "What else would you like to know? On account of us being from the same hometown, let me help you a little."

"I have only one question."

"Speak!"

"The novel that you read, what exactly was it about?"

"…"

Chapter 20: The Novel's Storyline

Lonemoon had already transmigrated into this world of immortal cultivation for 300 years. The long time that he had spent in this world almost made him forget about his previous life in the other world. It was only after realizing that he had transmigrated into a book that those faraway memories began to surface.

He recalled that the book was his 16 years old niece's. She had always been a quiet girl from young, a princess-like little girl. There had been a period when she was always hugging that book, reading it countless times. Out of curiosity, he had taken a peek.

Since it was a novel that little girls would read, obviously it would not be of much depth. It was nothing beyond 'you love me, I love you', all about loving-till-death kind of stuff. He was always contemptuous of those kinds of ridiculous novels, yet this book had certain descriptions that were interesting and fresh, and he had finished it without even noticing.

After a lapse of many years, the details of the book had become blurred in his memory but the general idea of the storyline still left an impression on him. Yi Qing was one of the characters in the book, and he was an absurdly cool and super formidable character. When he was introduced in the story, he was already the greatest Sword Immortal of the Three Azure Realms, a character who truly was very powerful within the Three Azure Realms.

Although he knew the storyline, he realized that he was quite far back in the timeline before those events happened. Since they were both Sword Cultivators, it was no wonder that he grew curious of the Sword Immortal. He thought that even if he really were to meet him, it would be after his Immortal Ascension.

Never had he expected that he would meet Yi Qing so soon, and it was before he had become a Sword Immortal. He was extremely excited at that moment, and it was with almost no hesitation that he decided to cozy up to a certain powerful someone. He even came up with a perfect plan to invest in the most stable relationship with him—to get closer to him by becoming his master. Being the Sword Immortal's master would be such a cool and safe position; the thought of it was absolutely beautiful.

But he did not expect his perfect plan to be intercepted by someone else. More so by the same kind of person as him who had also transmigrated here. To be honest, in the beginning, he really hated this girl named Shen. He even dropped his gentlemanly demeanor, wanting to snatch Yi Qing over from her. In terms of strength, cultivation or luck, he did not lose out any bit. His immortal cultivation had been such a smooth journey that he could totally be considered a transmigration P2W player[1]. Little did he know that even though he could fake being a P2W player, someone else used a cheat! That slash of the sword by Shen Ying had not only sundered the sea, but also his fragile self-esteem.

Damn it, that cheat was too much for a P2W player! By right, he should have hated her more but perhaps he had lived in this world for too long, or perhaps he missed people from his hometown, or was tired of the ambiguity and how people from ancient times never expressed themselves clearly.

In any case, by the time he had reacted, he was already in the kitchen!

(T▽T)

Apart from Shen Ying, who else could he talk with when he had the urge to shout some holy shits, scold a few darn its, and also say fuck this, fuck that, and fuck everything. Who else, who else, who else?

Taking a step back, under the lack of administration for the game, it would be more beneficial to befriend the cheat than to become an opponent. Passing on general knowledge about the world was certainly the basic responsibilities of a friend. As a transmigration senior, he had hoped that the other party was surely just like him, someone who had read the book and understood the storyline before transmigrating over.

But he didn't expect that he had miscalculated again.

(╯‵□′)╯(┻━┻

Wasn't this the world of a single book? Why would other people have different ways of transmigrating? Why did the things that were taken for granted change the moment it concerned Shen Ying? Are you a freaking cheat or bug?!

More importantly, he had just taught her a bunch of general knowledge. Why did she circle back to the original question? What did you just listen to, did you even hear what I said?

"What kind of book is that?"

"…" Lonemoon's face stiffened as he thought of what the book described and felt a stuffiness in his chest.

"Novel?"

"Yeah… Forget, forget it." His mouth twitched before squeezing out these few words.

"Oh…" Shen Ying nodded. "What's written in it?"

"That was my niece's book, what else would be in there for books that little girls read?" he groaned. "Isn't it just some… stuff about girls and guys."

"A romance novel?" "Um… not exactly?" He flushed, glaring at her impatiently. "Why are you asking for such details, it's none of your business right?"

"Is it some obscene content?"

"Ru-… rubbish, there's not a lot…"

"How much."

"Four to five chapters… Hey, I said it's not obscene content."

"I understand."

"You… why are you looking at me like that?" Lonemoon immediately exploded atop the fan. What did you even understand? "I already told you it was my niece's book, I didn't buy it! Why are you looking at me like that, do I look like someone who buys porn?" "Yeah." Shen Ying patted his shoulders understandingly. "I understand. We're all adults."

"What do you know! It really wasn't porn, plus I only flipped a few pages accidentally. I didn't read it in detail." Although the obscene paragraphs had left quite the impression on him, he definitely did not remember the book because of that. "How would I have known that little girls nowadays actually like this kind of stuff. I never read them before."

"Yeah. One book is sufficient to last you for 300 years."

"…"

"Thank goodness your niece wasn't reading about gays!" Who knows what might have happened then.

"Shen Ying!"

(╯‵□′)╯(┻━┻ Could the game even continue like this?!

"Master?!" Lonemoon was just about to flip out when a familiar voice rang out.

Yi Qing had already completed his Lightning Tribulation and flown over. It was at that time that Lonemoon realized the tribulation clouds had dissipated and the surroundings had also resumed its brightness. Even the Blackheaven Sect's protective mountain array had also disappeared. Yi Qing was now exuding the pressure of a Nascent Soul cultivator. It could be sensed especially clearly from the Sword Intent scar between his brows; looking at it once was enough to feel the Sword Intent seeping out. He had indeed successfully completed his Nascent Soul Formation and had become a Nascent Soul Sword Cultivator.

"Are you done?" Shen Ying glanced at him.

"Yes, your disciple has already completed his Nascent Soul Formation." Yi Qing bowed and his tone was filled with excitement that he could not hide. He did not expect that one session of epiphany would allow him to advance to Nascent Soul stage directly; moreover, it had been so smooth sailing. It was all due to Master's enlightenment. She indeed had a great Master. "It was all thanks to Master for protecting the Dharma for me."

"Ah…" Protecting Dharma? Did I?

Lonemoon's mouth twitched. Oh please, those arrays were set up by me. Where's the strong sensing powers of Spirit Qi! Sword Immortal, are you blind?

"Congratulations, Perfected Yi Qing, for successfully forming your Nascent Soul." Alright, you're the big shot. I'll put up with it.

"Supremacy." Yi Qing cupped his fists towards him and nodded. He was far more courteous yet less friendly towards him, drawing a clear line between him and his master.

"…" He was indeed being biased. That scheming Shen! へ̄ ̄

"Is there food to eat?" Shen Ying asked suddenly. The corner of Lonemoon's mouth twitched. Do you know nothing but eating? All you care about is food. (╬◣д◢)

"Master, please hold on."

Holy shit, you really do have food! 0ДQ

Yi Qing walked onto the fan, habitually opened the storage pouch by his side and as if by magic, he dug out chrysanthemum cakes, lotus flower biscuits, fish slices, golden milk cakes, small day cakes…

Where's the Sword Immortal? Why would you bring so many pastries? You are totally a chef!

"Go ahead and eat, no need to stand on ceremony!" Shen Ying nudged at Lonemoon's hands as she pointed at all the pastries that filled the surface of the fan.

Lonemoon: "…" (╯‵□′)╯(┻━┻

Who wants to freaking eat with you? Give me back my Sword Immortal!

[1] Players who pay real cash to gain an advantage in game.

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