Chapter 11 - Unusual Change
Zhang Xiaofan looked at the bead for a long while, his breathing gradually slowed. But other than the faded colour of the bead, he couldn’t tell any other differences and so placed it back in his clothes. He looked at Tian Linger beside, she was still unconscious but her complexion looked better.
He took up the Amber Scarlet Silk, carefully examined, this was the ﬁrst time he was so near to the weapon. He felt the softness of it, very comfortable and recalled Tian Linger’s beautiful silhouette while ﬂying and felt envious of her.
After a while, he imitated Tian Linger and gestured in the air, “Up!”
The silk, like a dead snake, did not move.
[Ji ji ji ji] that grey monkey was clutching its stomach, fell lying on the ground, laughing ceaselessly. Zhang Xiaofan glared at it but after experiencing calamity with the monkey, he felt certain closeness to it, the enmity before that was also all gone. He stuck out his tongue and made funny faces at the monkey, ignoring it, placed the silk beside Tian Linger and looked across at that lake in the empty space.
It was a small lake, not very wide, the water source unable to tell, most likely it was formed by underground spring water. The water was jade green, from his view he couldn’t tell the depth, on the west side of the lake there was an opening, water poured from there, forming a tiny stream, winding away.
In the middle of the lake, there was a pile of rocks, big and small, each different shape, parts of it seen above the waterline. In the middle of the pile, a black short stick was stuck tilted, about one chi above the water, the rest submerged, the stick was black, couldn’t tell what it was made of and it looked ugly.
Zhang Xiaofan did not take much notice of it, only felt the place was odd and wanted to leave as soon as he could but Tian Linger was still unconscious and she refused to wake up no matter how he called her. In comparison, that monkey was up and alert, touched its ears and leaned on its cheeks, scratched itself and played by itself, not a moment settled, in-between it even scurried into the forest, grabbed a few fruits from somewhere, threw two to Zhang Xiaofan and then sat on the ground and ate with gusto.
Zhang Xiaofan took one and bit, it was sweet with succulent, stimulated his appetite. He had went up the mountain since dawn, and until now it was almost noon, he had not even drank a sip of water and was long famished. He ﬁnished the fruit with two, three bites and was about to take the other one when he suddenly shook his head and placed it beside Tian Linger.
He felt better after eating the fruit and he became much more alert too. He stood up and stretched, looked around and saw that the ancient woods and little stream, the scenery was rather beautiful, who would have guessed it would be this odd.
And at this moment, Zhang Xiaofan suddenly felt his chest warm, and heard [ka ka ka] mufﬂed sounds, as if something was cracking. He got a shock and quickly took out that bead, the entire bead was glowing brightly, the dark-green energy in it was like wolf or tiger, trying its might to break out from the bead, and the Buddhism symbol that obstructed it was turning weaker and dimmer, looked as it would soon fail.
How would Zhang Xiaofan know, this ordinary-looking bead, was actually the world-renowned ominous item - ‘Sinister Orb’. The orb origin was unknown but it had a strange ability, devoured living things’ blood, if any living thing came near it, the next moment it would be sucked dry by this orb and die, leaving only a skin of skeleton, it was really a horrible evil item.
Many thousand years ago, this bead was obtained by the Evil Sect Elder Blackheart, because of its ability he smelted it into a weapon and at that time, swept away all obstacles and had massacred innumerable Good Faction members, became famous and then became one of the four treasures of Evil Sect. After his death, the bead went missing.
Tianyin Temple Puzhi by chance, thirty years ago found this bead at the big marsh in the west, at that time within a radius of ten miles, white bones were found everywhere, not a single living thing, the people were plunged into an abyss of misery, resentment charging up into the sky. Puzhi’s compassionate heart was moved, with Buddhism great powers subdued it, and from then on, day and night used Buddhism secret skill of subduing evil on it, suppressing the evil power, never once stopped for thirty years and strung it with his Buddhism treasure ‘Jade Meditation Bead’, used its clean and tranquil energy to obstruct the Sinister Orb’s evil intentions, ﬁnally suppressed this evil spirit and contained it tightly within the bead, unable to see the light of the day under the layers of Buddhism power.
However, unexpectedly in the Grasstemple battle, Puzhi was heavily wounded by the mysterious black-attire person, almost at his end, although the person ﬂed with injuries but Puzhi knew the injuries were not deep and was determined to get the Sinister Orb, therefore he took the ‘Three days must die’ pill in order to extend his life by three days, with such thoughts, he handed the Orb to Zhang Xiaofan and instructed him not to show it to anyone, and threw it down a deep valley when he had the chance. Although it could still harm the innocents but it was better than in the hands of the evildoer.
But Puzhi never expected because of gratitude, Zhang Xiaofan kept the ominous object as keepsake. This Sinister Orb, without Puzhi’s Buddhism power to suppress it or the Jade Meditation Bead energy, the evil spirit was gradually breaking out of its conﬁnes. Tianyin Temple’s subdue devil great power was not idle too, although the constraints lost their master but it still continued to guard loyally for the next three years. Just that over time, it eventually could no longer suppress it, and today, seemed like this Sinister Orb was going to break out of its conﬁnes and bring trouble to the world.
Zhang Xiaofan although was unaware of all of these but he felt something was amiss. During the Grasstemple Village battle between Puzhi and that person, the Buddhism symbol 卍appeared many times, although he was very young at that time but he remembered it clearly. Right now he saw that the situation on the bead was becoming more urgent, his heart felt anxious, his mind made up, he clutched the bead tightly, stimulated his rudimentary‘ Great Brahman Wisdom’ into the bead.
Both were from the same origin, the 卍 character indeed brightened much but before Zhang Xiaofan could smile, it instantly dimmed, at the same time, a cold feeling seeped into his body, half of his body immediately felt numb.
The grey monkey beside saw Zhang Xiaofan in agony, dark- green energy on his face, [zhi zhi] shouted and was in anxiety. But Zhang Xiaofan naturally couldn’t care much, he only felt his entire body blood essence was ﬂowing backwards, towards the direction of the bead in his right hand. And the Great Brahman Wisdom in his body collapsed upon touch, was totally not that icy energy’s match, right now his entire body vital channels were convulsing, unable to describe in words.
He could not take it anymore, staggered and stepped back, suddenly his body shook again, a familiar nauseous feeling surged again, into his ﬁve organs, he had inadvertently entered into that empty ground again, but this time, he no longer had that warm energy to protect him.
That grey monkey panicked, [zhi zhi zhi] shouted non- stopped but it dared not stepped into that area again.
Zhang Xiaofan was at a loss at what to do, he felt hot a moment and cold the other, like thousand of ants biting him, felt like throwing up but there was nothing to vomit, dying was better. His consciousness was gradually blurring, he staggered forward but did not know he was walking in the wrong direction, he only felt his entire body strength was gradually disappearing. His entire body quivering, his limbs without strength, his legs weakened and he collapsed onto the ground. Right now he was already at the lakeside, using his last bit of mental strength, he summoned Tai Ji Xuan Qing Way, managed to take some Heaven and Earth energy into his body and transforming it into Great Brahman Wisdom, although it gave him some relief but the next moment, it was gone, Zhang Xiaofan couldn’t care much, struggled to cast the spells even for temporarily.
However, that icy energy was really too strong, and with the strange nauseous feeling, almost ﬂipped his internal organs over, straight to his head. His vision spun and his breathing in chaos, suddenly his throat felt something sweet, [wa] a sound and a huge mouthful of blood spat out, almost fainted.
And at this moment, a mufﬂed sound, in that instant, the entire sky darkened, the Sinister Orb burst out in bright light, the entire bead glowered, a dimmed golden light ﬂashed past, the 卍 character was completely shattered, Zhang Xiaofan’s body was immediately enveloped by the dark-green energy, like a blood-sucking demon, once again reborn. But the strange events had not ended, almost the same time the dark energy gained freedom, a loud sound came from within the lake, immediately the wind started and clouds surged forward, the piles of rocks explode outwards, making loud sounds. Waves started in the lake, spinning around the centre, forming a huge vortex. And in the middle of the vortex, the waves formed to cover the gap, an object slowly surfaced, dark energy soared, it was that black short stick, two chi long, not gold nor metal, an ominous energy, assaulted over.
Zhang Xiaofan shouted out , fell back, that Sinister Orb was stuck to his palm, he was unable to shake it off, he could indistinctly see, faint colour of blood was seeping into that orb.
A loud whistle, within the waves, the black stick suddenly shot out, towards that Sinister Orb and then the next moment, a loud bang, the two ominous objects collided, Zhang Xiaofan received a great shock, ﬂew up almost one zhang high, the empty ground below him, turned into a huge pit because of the impact.
Zhang Xiaofan fell onto the ground, blood ﬂowed from his face’s seven apertures, his head spun and his vision blurred but the pain in his body seemed to subside a little. He only saw a blanket of red before his eyes but it was because blood was ﬂowing from his eyes, he quickly used his hands to wipe but saw that the strange black stick was stuck on top of the orb, dark energy like threads went forward to attack. The Sinister Orb seemed to be alive, knew that it was its foe, gathered all of its dark-green energy to resist, both sides seemed to be equal and the icy feeling in Zhang Xiaofan and the nauseous feeling instead retreated.
Zhang Xiaofan panted heavily, his mind was still in a mess, he subconsciously ﬂung his hand but that two strange objects, as if part of his body, remained stuck there and continued to ﬁght.
Zhang Xiaofan was scared and wanted to be as far away from these two objects, he struggled to stand up but before he could take a step, his head felt dizzy and his body wavered, his legs had no strength and he again fell down onto the ground. The two energies from the bead and the stick entwined and the dark energy soared, it seemed to be winning.
And the next moment, the dark energy inﬁltrated in strongly, the dark-green light receded, seemed unable to defend, at this moment, Zhang Xiaofan felt a sharp pain in his palm, he looked down and his heart almost jumped out. Around the bead, blood poured out from his palm unceasingly, gradually forming a big blood drop.
Zhang Xiaofan shook, his face turned pale, the bead soaked in the blood and immediately its light brightened, retaliated back strongly, not only turning the situation around but also gradually suppressed the dark energy.
As the blood from his palm continued to pour out, Zhang Xiaofan became to lose his consciousness. The blood ﬂowed up and soon reached where the stick and the bead was joined and it stopped, the stick and the orb energies continued to ﬁght, and the blood seeped in, gradually dying red the area where the stick and the bead touched each other.
A faint stench of blood, wafted in the air.
And as time passed, the red colour turned darker, and until the end, glistening brightly, but for some reason, the energies started to dim, from the initial look of ﬁght, to being joined. And not knowing for how long, this strange evolution ﬁnally reached the end, the dark stick and dark-green bead had totally lost their brilliancy, with a [ka], fell from Zhang Xiaofan’s hand and onto the ground.
“Xiaofan! Xiaofan! Little junior brother!...” an urgent call, reverberated around his ears.
His mind in a jumble, felt his head was in an extreme pain, almost took all of his strength to open his eyes. Tian Linger’s anxious and panicked face, slowly formed before him, he moved his lips and called out, “Senior sister.”
Tian Linger was delighted, said, “Xiaofan, are you awake?”
Zhang Xiaofan forced a smile, said, “I am alright, senior sister.”
Tian Linger helped him to sit up, Zhang Xiaofan immediately looked at his palm but his palm looked normal, other than pale-colour, there was nothing strange. He was stunned and clearly remembered blood was pouring out from his palm, why was there not even a scar left?
Could it be this was all a nightmare?
“Xiaofan.” Tian Linger saw that he was in a daze, felt worried and pushed him a little.
Zhang Xiaofan startled, was about to tell her but did not know where to start, he too felt it was too weird and he himself was also in doubt, paused and eventually said, “Nothing, nothing much, senior sister.”
Tian Linger was relieved, after she woke up, she saw that the sky had turned dark, she was lying under a big pine tree but her junior brother was instead lying far on the empty ground, unconscious. Feeling afraid, she quickly ran to Zhang Xiaofan and managed to wake him.
Tian Linger looked around, said to Zhang Xiaofan, “Junior brother, this place is too weird, we better leave fast, tomorrow I will ask my mother to come take a look and let’s talk again then.”
Zhang Xiaofan nodded, was about to stand up but suddenly felt his entire body in pain, his head spinning, if not for Tian Linger supporting him, he almost fell again.
Tian Linger saw his pale was very pale, was really worried about him and supported him up, Zhang Xiaofan composed himself, examined himself but did not see any wounds, said, “Senior sister, I only feel a little dizzy, it’s nothing serious.”
Tian Linger examined him and saw it was so, nodded and said, “Then let’s quickly go back, it’s dark already, father and mother and the other senior brothers would be worried.”
Zhang Xiaofan said, “Yes.”
Tian Linger took a deep breath, checked herself and mumbled why did she faint for no reason. And gestured, red light ﬂashed, Amber Scarlet Silk with a whoose, appeared. Tian Linger was about to bring Zhang Xiaofan up when suddenly [zhi zhi] a sound, both of them turned around, it was that monkey who had suddenly appeared, grinned and holding a dark, one chi long, stick.
Before the Observed Silence Hall, Tian Buyi paced, his brows frowning, anxiety on his face. His daughter had went up the mountain with that good-for-nothing seventh disciple and until now there was no sight of them. Suru had long went to search and now the other disciples were also dispatched out to search but there was no sign of them at Big Bamboo Valley, the surroundings were all undulating mountains, dense forest, looking for them was like ﬁnding a needle in the sea.
While he was worrying, the sound of wind was heard, he looked up, it was Suru who had brought the two imps back. As he saw that both of them looked ﬁne, and a monkey on Zhang Xiaofan’s shoulder.
Tian Buyi then felt relieved but the anger on his face did not recede. Zhang Xiaofan took two glances at his teacher, did not dare to move and lowered his head, but that monkey was mischievous, kept touching his head, as if looking for ﬂeas. Tian Linger kept the silk away, saw her father’s angry face, her eyes turned a few times, smiling like a ﬂower, extremely adorable, skipped to her father and pulled his hand, “Father, we are back.”
Tian Buyi humphed, said, “Where did you go?”
Tian Linger smiled and said, “Xiaofan was bullied by a monkey while chopping bamboo, I went to help catch it, oh, it’s that monkey.” After speaking, she pointed towards Zhang Xiaofan.
The monkey was startled, [zhi zhi] at her twice, looking angry and then scratched its head, again put its attention back to Zhang Xiaofan’s head.
Tian Linger made a funny face at it, and brieﬂy told them about the pursue incident, “...and until the valley, I suddenly felt nauseous and for some reason, fainted and when I woke up, Xiaofan was also on the ground, unconscious. However, fortunately we were not injured and when we were about to come back, I saw that the monkey seemed attached to Xiaofan and so brought it back too.” Tian Buyi frowned, turned to his wife and said, “What happened?”
Suru shook her head, “When I found them at the rear mountain, I went down to investigate but found nothing strange. I guessed most likely Linger’s cultivation is still weak, and still brought Xiaofan on her Amber Scarlet Silk, in the end became over exhausted.”
Tian Linger pouted and said, “Mother, what are you talking about, how would my cultivation be weak. Xiaofan, right?”
Zhang Xiaofan hurriedly said, “Yes, yes, yes!”
Tian Buyi rolled his eyes at Zhang Xiaofan, coldly said, “As Qing Yun disciple, you are actually bullied by a monkey, if this gets out, my face would be totally thrown by you.”
Zhang Xiaofan turned red, did not dare to reply, continued to lower his head. Suru went over, pulled Tian Linger’s hand, gently said, “Didn’t eat for the whole day, must be hungry right?”
Tian Linger stuck out her tongue, smiled and said, “I’m famished mother!”
Suru cast a glance at her, pulling her towards the kitchen while saying, “Young age yet so mischievous!”
Zhang Xiaofan also felt famished but before Tian Buyi, he dared not move, as Suru and Tian Linger went further, there was no sound from his teacher, he sneaked a glance, there was nobody in front of him, Tian Buyi had left and most likely he would feel that its a waste of energy to even scold this idiot disciple.
Zhang Xiaofan for a moment at a loss, stood for a long while until his stomach rumbled, he then turned and walked unwillingly to his room.
When he was back, he closed the door, the monkey with a [zhi] sound, as if it knew this was home, leapt down and scurried up to his bed, jumped up and down and ﬂung his pillows around, extremely happy.
Zhang Xiaofan looked at the monkey, a smile also revealed on his lips but immediately was reminded of his hunger, he sat down beside the table, poured out the cold water from the day before from the ﬂask and drank.
A cold sensation, straight to his heart.
He sat dazed for a while, took out an object from his bosom, it was that ugly-looking stick. The bead that Puzhi had given him was now tightly joined with the unknown stick, even its colour was also dark-green and black, and the part where the objects joined, it was dark red, like blood clot, not only ugly but also a little disgusting.
He looked at it for a long while, suddenly with a bitter laugh, ﬂung it at the wall, the stick hit the wall and dropped, rolled to a corner. The monkey was startled, looked up at Zhang Xiaofan, not knowing why he was angry. Zhang Xiaofan sighed, removed his shoes and went up his bed, covered his head with the blanket and slept. The monkey scratched its head, puzzled.
This night, Zhang Xiaofan tossed and turned, his hunger unbearable, until late night where he managed to doze off.
Chapter 12 - Reunited
After returning from the secluded valley, another six months passed, Zhang Xiaofan had already been in Qing Yun sect for a total of three years, at the same time, his career of chopping bamboo had also came to an end, just that the results he had shown before he ended it, made himself turned red too.
Because of that strange trip to the secluded valley, in the next six months, Zhang Xiaofan frequently felt dizzy and tired easily. He pondered it himself and guessed it could be because he had coughed up a big pool of pool on that day. But he checked himself and did not ﬁnd any wound, he felt uneasy but did not dare to approach his teacher and so kept it in his heart.
Though he did not say, but his body showed. In his past duties, he could at least chopped two big bamboos, now he was already panting with just a few chops and had cold sweat, for half a day he could not even chop down one. Actually this was not strange too, that day at the valley, Sinister Orb almost sucked half of his body’s blood, if it was not because his body had been sturdy all along, he might even bed-ridden. But for him to resume his strength in chopping bamboo as before, that would be far-fetched.
The situation continued, until after six months he felt his body had improved slightly and his energy better. However, his bamboo homework also ended at this time. At the last day, before his senior brothers who had came to inspect his achievements, Zhang Xiaofan exhausted all of his strength and in the end only managed to chop one.
Song Daren and the rest looked at each other, speechless, only Tian Linger came forward, smiled and patted his shoulder, “Xiaofan, it’s alright, you have one-tenth of your senior sister, me, ability, it is already considered not bad.” ‘
Zhang Xiaofan forced a smile.
At dinnertime, the Big Bamboo Valley members sat around in the dining hall. After Tian Buyi couple sat down, Song Daren reported Zhang Xiaofan’s progress ﬁrst, Tian Buyi sneered and did not even look at Zhang Xiaofan, instead it was Suru who smiled and said, “Ah, Xiaofan you have already been here with us for three years.”
Zhang Xiaofan hurriedly replied, “Yes, teacher’s wife.” Suru gently sighed and said, “Ai, time passed really fast, a blink and three years has gone.” After speaking, she suddenly paused, raised her voice and spoke to the other six disciples, “Do you all feel this too?”
The disciples were startled, quickly sat straight and replied, “Yes!”
Suru humphed, said, “Now that your junior brother has also grown up, but for the past three years, all of you have not progress at all, do you want to push your teacher and me to our graves!”
The rest did not dare to speak but all looked towards Song Daren. Song Daren, urged by the other brothers, picked up the courage and said, “Teacher’s wife please be assured, we will make you proud this time!”
Suru looked disbelieving, about to speak when Tian Buyi suddenly interrupted, “Lao liu.” Du Bishu immediately became alert, looked up and asked in surprise, “Teacher, you called me?”
Tian Buyi indifferently said, “These few days I noticed you making dancing gestures to the pots and pans in the kitchen when you were not busy, what’s happening?”
Du Bishu turned red, stammered and replied, “Teacher, you, you how did you see it?”
Suru exclaimed, said, “Bishu, what is it?”
Du Bishu hesitated for a long while, quietly said, “Disciple wanted to see if those things could be moved…”
Everyone was shocked, ‘Driving Object’ realm was Qing Yun sect’s magical weapon practice’s basic foundation, unimaginable if one did not reach Tai Ji Xuan Qing Way Jade Realm’s fourth level. Tian Buyi nodded, although his face did not reveal anything but his eyes ﬂicked a ﬂash of delight, said, “How is it?”
Du Bishu quietly said, “Seems like, seems like it moved a little.”
[Rumble] A hubbub of noise and movements, all pleasantly shocked, Lao wu, Lu Daxin, hit his shoulder hard, his face all smiles. Suru also smiled widely, said, “Good fellow, didn’t expect you to catch up, when did it happen?”
Du Bishu felt the infectious energy, also relaxed, said, “Just recently, a few days ago I was training in my room, suddenly realized that under my chanting, the water cup on the table moved a little, I wondered if I have broken through level three.” He laughed a bit embarrassingly, continued, “But disciple is uncertain, did not dare to believe, and so frequently performed a few tries, didn’t expect to be found out by teacher.”
Tian Buyi smiled, “It’s like this, Jade Qing Realm’s fourth and third level level, although the power has a difference of Heaven and Earth but the initial cultivation will not be obvious. Your character is sharp, although u joined us late but didn’t expect that you will catch up.”
Everyone laughed and each went to congratulate him, Tian Linger also cut in and said, “Sixth senior brother, then have you decided on your weapon?”
Du Bishu was stunned, said, “Have not, I have only just conﬁrmed that I have reached level four from teacher, I have not start to think yet.”
Suru smiled and said, “No hurry, these few days you can take your time to think, but you know your teacher, he has never forced you all to take up the sword, whatever you like, just go and ﬁnd the materials after you have decided.”
Zhang Xiaofan sitting beside was full of envy, his sixth senior brother was smiling broadly, Tian Buyi was heard speaking again, “Lao liu.”
Du Bishu quickly acknowledged, “Teacher.” Tian Buyi said, “Accordingly to our Qing Yun sect old practice, disciples who have reached the fourth level, will have to go down the mountain to gain real experience, at the same time search for good spiritual materials to forge the magical weapon, as for whether you will be able to gather celestial objects with Heaven and Earth spiritual energy, it will have to depend on your destiny. Get prepared, you will set off in the next few days.”
Du Bishu was stunned, reluctant shown in his eyes but it also contained some happiness, quietly said, “Yes.” after speaking he seemed to recall something, said, “But teacher, disciple has always been preparing the meals, after disciple leave…”
Lu Daxin beside him laughed and said, “What are you worrying about, they had me before you joined, don’t worry, they won’t go hungry.”
Du Bishu and the rest laughed, only Tian Linger said, “Fifth senior brother you are not embarrassed to say that, just your dishes and I had nightmares when I was young!” Lu Daxin turned red, the rest roared with laughter, after the laughter subsided, Tian Buyi spoke, “Let lao qi handle the kitchen from now on.”
Everyone was surprised, Lu Daxin said in shock, “Teacher, junior brother he is still young…”
Tian Buyi glanced sideways at Zhang Xiaofan, Zhang Xiaofan quickly said, “Teacher please don’t worry, I have frequently follow sixth senior brother in the kitchen and assisted, I know how to do it.”
Tian Buyi nodded, only waved his hand and said, “Eat!”
After three days, Du Bishu packed his bags, handed over the chores and instructions, and left. For three years among the disciples, Du Bishu was the youngest and his personality was bubbly, he was closest to Zhang Xiaofan. Now that he had left, Zhang Xiaofan was rather sad and felt lonelier on the Big Bamboo Valley. Following which, Zhang Xiaofan started his second ‘homework’ at Qing Yun sect - cooking.
That day was the ﬁrst time he ofﬁcially prepared and cooked the meal, he was busy by himself in the kitchen for the whole day, rinsed rice, washed the vegetables, extremely busy and didn’t realize that time had passed till noon, Tian Buyi and the rest entered the dining hall, saw that the table was set with food like usual, Zhang Xiaofan sat at the tail end, both hands tightly wrapped together, anyone could see his nervousness.
Everyone sat down, Tian Buyi did not speak, Suru instead glanced at Zhang Xiaofan, smiled and said, “Xiaofan, how was your ﬁrst day of cooking?”
Zhang Xiaofan opened his mouth but could not think of what to say, Tian Buyi snorted and said, “Eat.” The rest acknowledged, took up their chopsticks and food, and ate.
In the hall, there was a blanket of silence. Zhang Xiaofan was so nervous that his heart could have jumped up to his throat and eyes, sweat dripped from his forehead, quietly said, “Teacher, senior brothers, I, I didn’t cook well, you, you all…”
“Wa, this is really delicious!” Tian Linger suddenly shouted out, couldn’t help but stuff another bamboo slice into her mouth. Zhang Xiaofan was stunned, saw his senior brothers smiling, nodding and their chopsticks as swift was the wind, kept praising.
“Didn’t expect that little junior brother still has this skill, awesome, awesome!”
“Hmm (unclear), better than lao wu, no, better than lao wu and lao liu combined together, hehe!”
Even Tian Buyi couldn’t help but took more food, nodded, his eyes smiled. Zhang Xiaofan saw that and felt satisﬁed.
After that, Zhang Xiaofan continued on in the kitchen. He was not outstanding in his cultivation training path but had a ﬂair for cooking, he learnt it by himself and the dishes he cooked were all delicious, far surpassed others. And in his heart, as long as Tian Buyi nodded and approved, that was his biggest reward.
Time passed, another six months went by, soon Qing Yun sect’s ‘Seven branches martial contest’ conducted every sixty years arrived, not only Suru, even Tian Buyi started to supervise his disciples. Everyone focused on training, nobody came to bother Zhang Xiaofan and none harboured hope on him too.
Zhang Xiaofan did not mind, everyday he was busy in the kitchen, derived his joy from working with the pots and pans, in his spare time he would train by himself, and every late night he would practise ‘Great Brahman Wisdom true way’, his days passed by peacefully.
And in this period of time, that grey monkey which had followed him back, also stayed for half a year. The human and monkey had grown close and Zhang Xiaofan even named it - Xiao Hui. The name was similar to his, simple and plain. Ever since he started work in the kitchen, Xiao Hui received special advantages due to its position, it frequently followed him to the kitchen, grabbed a bamboo slice on the right, a fruit on the left, sneaked and ate food the whole day, and six months later it gained twice its weight, but on the Big Bamboo Valley, Xiao Hui actually had a rival, that was the big yellow dog raised by Tian Buyi since young - Big Huang.
For some reason, Big Huang found the monkey an eyesore, initially it always barked at it every time it saw Xiao Hui, Xiao Hui was so frightened that it always scrambled to higher grounds and later on as time passed, it ﬁnally was forced to acknowledge Xiao Hui was also a member on the Big Bamboo Valley but every time they met, it bared his teeth ﬁercely and Xiao Hui would be so frightened it would [zhi zhi] shrieked out while Da Huang would [wang wang wang] barked, raised its head high, shook its tail and walked away.
Autumn left and winter came, the air on the mountain became colder, other than Tian Buyi and his wife who were highly skilled, were no longer bothered by the ordinary cold, the other disciples started to increase their clothing. This day, it was a rare day where the sun shone and warmed the summit, Zhang Xiaofan after ﬁnishing his chores in the kitchen, walked out, stretched his back and sat down by a pine tree outside. Leaning against the tree, he closed his eyes and enjoyed the sun.
After a while, as he was about to doze off, he suddenly heard barking from afar, he opened his eyes and saw Da Huang was also lying down and soaking in the sun and Xiao Hui was slowly nudging towards it from the back.
Zhang Xiaofan was curious, Da Huang frequently came to the kitchen to look for food and he was familiar with it too, and so he was also aware of the dog and monkey’s relationship. Today the sun seemed to rise from the west, Xiao Hui actually took the initiative to go near Da Huang! Zhang Xiaofan immediately paid attention and watched closely.
Xiao Hui soon came near, Da Huang did not realize but its nose moved and soon smelled the scent, it turned around and immediately snared, [wang wang wang] barked. Xiao Hui shrank back, still looked rather afraid but its eyes shifted around a few times, its right hand raised, waved in front of Da Huang.
Da Huang at ﬁrst did not notice and kept barking but soon its nose twitched and picked up something, its dog eyes immediately stared at Xiao Hui’s hand, unblinking and unmoving, it stopped barking too, opened its mouth and rolled its tongue out, even its tail started to wag, signalling friendliness.
Zhang Xiaofan couldn’t believe his eyes, looked carefully and laughed silently, Xiao Hui was holding a meat bone, the meat fragrance he could even smell from this distance. That was what he was using to boil the soup broth and he knew Da Huang liked it and so had placed it at a high place after cooking, unexpectedly Xiao Hui had stole it and used it to gain favour.
Xiao Hui shook it twice and threw it in front of Da Huang, Da Huang was already salivating, immediately bit the bone and [ze ze] munched non-stopped. Xiao Hui looked at Da Huang, [zhi zhi] called out and carefully approached it, hesitated and stretched out its paw towards Da Huang’s head. Da Huang suddenly growled, Xiao Hui quickly took its hand back but not long after, it tried again. This time Da Huang did not react and was busy with its bone, Xiao Hui gently smoothed Da Huang’s head shiny soft yellow fur, Da Huang actually seemed to feel comfortable, retreated its head a little, softly called out but it seemed no longer hostile.
Xiao Hui became bolder, laughed and called out twice, started to mess with Da Huang’s fur, as if looking for lice, a few times Da Huang turned its head and actually licked Xiao Hui, the relationship between the monkey and dog, seemed to change faster than anything.
Zhang Xiaofan watched dumbfoundedly, thought to himself that Xiao Hui was really smart, but seemed like he would have to hide the bone somewhere else next time.
While thinking of that, the sound of wind piercing past was heard from above, two white streaks of light swept over from the west, Da Huang seemed to get a shock, barked at the white lights, Xiao Hui patted it on its head, as if assuring, and it really worked, Da Huang actually quietened down. Zhang Xiaofan watched as the two lights landed at Observed Silence Hall, after a ﬂash, two people, one slim and graceful, carried himself with ease and poise, white robes ﬂuttered, extremely dashing. Another was a youth, shorter in height, about ﬁfteen, sixteen years old.
Zhang Xiaofan suddenly held his breath, a forgotten pain slowly surfaced from the depths of his heart, because of that back ﬁgure which looked somehow lonely!
“Jingyu?” He stood up, his voice hoarse, called out.
That youth’s body shook, immediately turned around, both eyes became wide and he opened his mouth, as if wanted to say something but in the end, thousands of words became only two:
Chapter 13 - Rare Talent
“Longshou Valley Cangsong Taoist’s disciple Qihao, Lin Jingyu, pay our respects to Tian teacher uncle, Su teacher aunt.”
In the Observed Silence Hall, Tian Buyi and Suru sat on the chairs, the other disciples lined up beside, the two white-robed persons, was Lin Jingyu and the dashing youth named Qihao, were greeting Tian Buyu. Zhang Xiaofan stood at the end of the line of disciples, looking at Lin Jingyu.
Not met for several years, everyone had grown up.
And at this moment, Lin Jingyu also turned and glanced at Zhang Xiaofan, both of their glances met, Lin Jingyu smiled, Zhang Xiaofan felt a warm feeling, emotions running through him, nodded.
Tian Buyi’s gaze lingered at Qihao and glanced at Lin Jingyu, his face turned dark, these two elegant demeanour, alert and good features, with his eyes, he could tell immediately that their aptitude far surpassed his disciples. Not to mention Qihao who was already well-known among the Qing Yun sect younger generations, it was instead the young Lin Jingyu, from the fact that he could wield his sword and ﬂy, it would mean he had already practised until Tai Ji Xuan Way fourth level and above, and he had just entered the sect three and a half years ago, it was really astonishing.
Tian Buyi subconsciously glanced at Zhang Xiaofan, comparing the two, Tian Buyi’s mood turned ugly, coldly said, “Why did you teacher send you over?”
Qihao cupped his hands together and said, “Reporting to Tian teacher uncle, our teacher Cangsong Taoist as instructed by sect head Reverend Daoxuan, is organizing the Seven branches martial contest to be held two years later. And as there are quite a few changes, he especially instructed me and junior brother to come forward to report.”
Tian Buyi snorted, assessed Lin Jingyu from top to bottom, said, “He deliberately wants to show off right!”
Qihao and Lin Jingyu’s countenances changed, Lin Jingyu was about to speak up but Qihao grabbed and stopped him, smiled and said, “Tian teacher uncle really knows how to joke, we are all under Qing Yun sect, furthermore Tian teacher uncle is someone of noble character and high prestige, our teacher does not have any intention of being disrespectful.”
Tian Buyi’s face was dark, there wasn’t the slightest change, instead Suru smiled and gently said, “You don’t have to mind, Tian teacher uncle was kidding. Oh right, you said there are changes, what’s happening?”
Qihao respectfully said, “Replying to Suru teacher aunt, the thing is this, for the past ‘Seven branches martial contest’, every branch will send out four people and the main branch Tongtian branch will send out another four, a total of thirty two people and we would pick lots to decide the matches and the winners get to advance. As such there would be ﬁve rounds and the last winner will become the most talented among Qing Yun sect younger generation and receive the various elder teachers’ devoted teachings.”
Suru pursued her lips and smiled, her bearing graceful, “Speaking of which at the last contest, you were the centre of attention, I remembered in the end you were the runner up, if it wasn’t for the main branch who had Xiao Yicai, most likely you would be the contest number 1 martial arts scholar.”
Qihao’s countenance did not change, smiled and said, “Su teacher aunt is too kind, at the last competition Xiao Yicai from the main branch, Xiao senior brother who is a gifted talent, his cultivation deep, I am far from him and I admitted defeat sincerely. But as for the upcoming competition, our teacher and Reverend Daoxuan had discussed and made some changes to the rules, and instructed us to come forward to update both teachers.”
Tian Buyi and Suru were surprised and asked, “What is it?”
Qihao said, “Our teacher Cangsong Taoist felt that the competition’s intent is to discover the disciples’ potentials and further develop them. And Qing Yun sect today already has about close to a thousand, there are many new disciples and no lack of many who are outstanding talents. As with such thoughts, with this opportunity which comes only every sixty years, only four are sent from every branch, it is really too little. Therefore, our teacher suggested to have nine per branch, and additional one more from the main branch which has the most disciples, a total of sixty-four people, and as per tradition, we will choose lots and a total of six rounds to determine the winner. This way we can also eliminated the regret of unrecognized talents.”
Tian Buyi and Suru looked at each other, his expression turned even more worse. His disciples were few and their aptitudes poor, initially upon hearing they seemed to be at an advantage but in reality it was a great pro to the main branch, Tongtian Peak, and Longshou Valley who had the biggest population and most talents.
Suru saw that her husband was fuming, shook her head slightly, signalling with her eyes. Tian Buyi understood his wife’s message and since this matter was already discussed with the sect head, it meant it was already decided, it was useless to argue, and so coldly said, “As such it is good, I don’t have any opinion.”
Qihao smiled and said, “Like this will be the best. Other than that, before leaving teacher has also instructed, that is this Lin junior brother and Tian teacher uncle’s disciple Zhang junor brother are old acquaintances, hoping that Tian teacher uncle allow both of them to catch up.” Tian Buyi was already feeling agitated, waved his hand and impatiently said, “Allow, allow.”
Lin Jingyu was already long impatient but did not dare to speak as before him was an elder senior, and once he had heard it was allowed, he turned and walked towards Zhang Xiaofan, Zhang Xiaofan feeling emotional, also walked out.
Lin Jingyu came to him, carefully assessed him, his eyes suddenly turned red, hoarsely said, “You have grown up Xiaofan.”
Zhang Xiaofan, feeling different emotions gushing together, nodded hard and said, “You too. Oh right, the tragic case at the village, do you have any news?”
Lin Jingyu shook his head said, “I have asked the teacher many times for the past few years, but there is no progress, you?”
Zhang Xiaofan smiled bitterly, “Me too.” Lin Jingyu pulled his hand and said, “Let’s talk outside.”
Zhang Xiaofan hesitated, turned and looked at Tian Buyi and Suru, Tian Buyi ignored him, Suru smiled and said, “Go ahead.”
Zhang Xiaofan was greatly delighted, nodded and quickly went out with Lin Jingyu. In the great hall, Qihao was the only guest. Wearing white, he was outstandingly charming and looked at ease, he looked over at the disciples and ﬁnally on Song Daren, cupped his hands and said, “This must be Song Daren senior brother, we met once at the last contest too.”
Song Daren quickly returned the gesture, said, “Qi senior brother has good memory, actually remembered me this defeated soldier.”
The rest were surprised, Tian Linger stood beside her mother, quietly asked, “Mother, was big senior brother defeated by him?” Suru nodded, whispered back, “Yes. Your big senior brother had managed to win two rounds, both your dad and me were delighted but unexpectedly at the third round he met this person, and after a few exchanges he lost.”
Tian Linger stuck out her tongue and said, “Then isn’t he very powerful?”
Suru did not answer her immediately, instead glanced at her husband, he was still looking grim, sat unmoving, shook her head, said, “Qihao’s aptitude is indeed above your big senior brother, that day at the competition there wasn’t any fake showy movements, especially that celestial sword, “Ice Sword’, was made using extreme northern ten thousand years old ice, it has great powers, your big senior brother cannot win over him.”
By then, Tian Buyi seemed to feel something, turned and looked at Suru, both of them looked at each other, looked through what both’s hearts were thinking silently, if Big Bamboo Valley had such a talent, how wonderful it would be! Qihao and the other disciples chatted together, he had accomplished cultivation, trusted by the teachers and frequently travelled out, he was knowledgeable and eloquent, his words a stream of witticisms, immediately the rest felt close to him, even Song Daren who was defeated also had no enmity.
Laughters were heard, no matter what crude jokes that Qihao said, the rest laughed loudly, following which Qihao’s gaze landed on Tian Linger who was standing behind Suru, and then the ‘Amber Scarlet Silk’ on her waist, his eyes lit up, smiled and asked, “This lady must be the famous Tian Linger, Tian junior sister?”
Tian Linger raised her eyebrows, asked, “How did you know me?”
Qihao smiled, walked up and said, “Tian junior sister this year is sixteen, has made amazing progress on Tai Ji Xuan Qing true way, this is well-known in the sect, I have long admired. Today I have seen you, it is really as said.” Tian Linger turned red, annoying asked, “You have not duel with me before, how do you know I am as said?”
Qihao was stunned for a moment and then smiled, “Tian junior sister is not only as beautiful as a ﬂower, you are also sharp, really made me as a senior brother ashamed.”
Tina Linger saw that this tall and handsome ﬁgure standing before her, and praised her beautiful, her heart felt sweet but her face remained the same and said, “Only know how to speak nonsense, what senior brother, no shame!”
Tian Buyi frowned, Suru had already spoken, “Linger, do not speak nonsense.”
Qihao quickly said to Suru, “Su teacher aunt please do not blame junior sister, it is all because I have spoken without thoughts, offended her.” He paused and took out a small box from his bosom, passed to Tian Linger, smiled, “Tian junior sister, the ‘Clear cool pearl’ in this box I had obtained by chance many years ago when I followed my teacher to do justice and exterminated a group of Evil sect disciples, although it is not any rare treasure but it is able to drive away the heat and cool the body, and it is also said to be beneﬁcial to women’s skin. Today I will give to junior sister, as to ask for forgiveness.”
Tian Linger turned red again, before she could speak, Suru cut in, “Qi nephew, this ‘Clear cool pearl’ is also a treasure, Linger does not deserve this, please take it back quickly.”
Qihao smiled and said, “Su teacher aunt did not know, this ‘Clear cool pearl’ doesn’t really has great beneﬁts to me, it's like a chicken rib. But Tian junior sister is young and beautiful, this is just right for her, it is also considered a little sincerity from me, I hope Tian junior sister does not mind.”
Tian Linger glanced at Qihao, her expression had turned much gentle, took over the box and quietly said, “Many thanks Qi senior brother.”
Qihao seemed really happy, smiling broadly, “Don’t have to, don’t have to, junior sister you are naturally clever, in the future your future is boundless. To mention although Qing Yun sect had many talents but with your aptitude there are not many, I too acknowledge my inferiority.” Tian Buyi heard it and for the ﬁrst time, revealed a smile.
Tian Linger said, “Senior brother you are too kind.”
Qihao shook his head said, “No, I am also brought up the mountain by teacher since young but to have your cultivation level at this young age, I am far from it. But…”
Tian Linger was young and had good feelings towards Qihao after he praised her, when she heard ‘but’, she couldn’t help but ask, “But what?”
Tian Buyi and Suru also turned over, wanted to hear what did Qihao mean by his ‘but’, Qihao continued, “But if it's just comparing aptitude, he could rival Tian junior sister.”
Tian Linger was surprised, said, “Who?”
Qihao smiled and pointed outside the hall, “It is my junior brother. Ever since he accepted by our teacher three years ago, in the short space of time his progress is astonishing, he is also a gifted talent in cultivation, there is none comparable in our branch, in three years he has broke through Jade Qing Realm fourth level, for a thousand years we have never heard of someone like that.” Qihao was full of warmth and love when he spoke of this, “Teacher is full of praise for Lin junior brother, said he is a rare talent once in a thousand years, almost can be compared to our Qing Ye founder!”
[Pa!] a crisp sound, everyone was shocked, turned and looked, Tian Buyi’s face was ashen, his countenance extremely ugly, the chair’s sturdy armrest was physically broken off by him.
Qihao was stunned, quietly asked Suru, “Su teacher aunt, did I say anything wrong?”
Suru forced a smile and was about to speak, suddenly a loud shout outside, “Aiya!” before the sound ended, a ﬁgure crashed in onto the ﬂoor and rolled a few times back, dust covered his face, a sorry sight. Everyone looked carefully, who could it be other than Zhang Xiaofan?
Everyone was shocked, Tian Linger was the closest to Zhang Xiaofan, was the ﬁrst to dash up, helped him up, urgently asked, “Xiaofan, what happened?” Zhang Xiaofan had a bad fall, he was still feeling giddy but still said, “Not, nothing, I am alright.”
And at this time, Lin Jingyu also ran in, looking anxious, said, “Xiaofan, are you alright, I lost control for a moment…”
Tian Linger heard that and knew this person had bullied her junior brother, immediately enraged, and after hearing Qihao praised Lin Jingyu earlier, felt she was inferior to him and was even more uncomfortable. Without much thought, she stood up and angrily said, “Who are you to bully others?” and with a hand formula, red light ﬂashed, Amber Scarlet Silk was already wielded, [suo] a sound and it charged to Lin Jingyu.
Suru and Qihao at the same time shouted, “Stop!”
But Amber Scarlet Silk was as quick as lightning, the next moment already before Lin Jingyu. Lin Jingyu was surprised but calm, saw colourful lights before him and knew it was a celestial weapon, immediately stepped back three steps, his left ﬁnger pointed to the sky, right ﬁnger to the ground, his hand forming the formula, with a loud shout, “Up!” [Crash] dragons singing, immediately ﬁlled the hall, Lin Jingyu was enveloped by a green light, a celestial clear sword illuminating thousands of zhang was wielded, the blade as clear as autumn water, auspicious air rising abundantly, for a moment not only suppressed Amber Scarlet Silk’s ﬁerce rays but it also reﬂected each and everyone’s face in the hall as jade colour.
Tian Buyi suddenly humphed, coldly said, “Cangsong is really willing to part with, actually passed him the ‘Dragon Slayer Sword’”.
Qihao saw that Lin Jingyu was not hurt and so was relieved, smiled and said, “Teacher has once said, junior brother is gifted, in the future will surely be someone great, and so do his utmost to groom him, this is also a given.”
Tian Buyi’s expression turned uglier.
The Amber Scarlet Silk and Dragon Slayer Sword was equally matched but Tian Linger’s eyes turned wide, her arms shook, red clothes ﬂuttered, her body actually was raised up, right and left hands crossed in front of her chest, making an orchid- shape, shouted, “Fu shen!”
Bright rays immediately extended, the original three chi long Amber Scarlet Silk, suddenly retreated and ﬂew to Tian Linger, after a loud crisp sound, bright rays illuminated, extremely swift, in that instant grew to multiple times bigger, ﬁlled the entire hall completely, suppressed Dragon Slayer Sword’s green light and the next moment, transformed into thousands of silk ropes and charged towards Lin Jingyu, enclosed him tightly.
Suru stood up and shouted to the air, “Linger, do not be imprudent!”
But while she was speaking, the thousands of red ropes had already enclosed tightly around Lin Jingyu, not only they couldn’t see him but Tian Linger was also encased in layers of bright red light.
Zhang Xiaofan was dumbfounded, and suddenly heard someone said from behind, “Amber Scarlet Silk really lives up to its name!” He turned and looked, it was Qihao whose gaze was transﬁxed on the scene, his mouth muttering but he looked totally unconcerned.
It looked as if Tian Linger was winning, suddenly a sharp noise was heard, a gap appeared from the layers of red ropes, revealing a little green light.
Tian Buyi and Suru changed countenance at the same time.
[Rumble!] a loud sound, like an angry dragon howling to the sky, the sound shook nine heavens, in that instant that gap expanded several hundred times, green light again surged out, Lin Jingyu joined with the sword, entire body an indistinct dragon ﬁgure, like an arrow leaving the bow, its momentum unstoppable towards Tian Linger.
Everyone was shocked, Tian Linger did not panic, both hands before her chest formed a Tai Ji drawing, drawing the air, the layers of red ropes returned to her and transformed into a barrier. Sounds of crackings unceasingly, Lin Jingyu’s Dragon Slayer Sword slashed layer and layer of red ropes, its momentum slightly reduced but its force ahead did not reduce, soon both of them would come to a ‘life death’ outcome.
A cold energy was felt, Dragon Slayer Sword like cotton waste, was hit back. Lin Jingyu was shocked, looked up but in that instant, it formed an ice wall between him and Tian Linger, the energy assaulting, Dragon Slayer Sword force was astonishing but it could not go past this wall. And Qihao was already before him, pulled him back and retreated about one zhang away.
On the other side, Tian Linger was pale and Suru had already in an instant pulled her to her bosom, retreated to Tian Buyi side.
The two celestial weapons without their controls, gradually lost their radiance, each ﬂew back to their owners’ hands.
In the Observed Silence Hall, a blanket of silence.
Chapter 14: Divine Power
Lisa's Note: This is from another translation group. Some names and terminologies may not match the previous translation group.
Tian Bolis stood up and examined Baye. The colour of his face was extremely bad. He said coldly: "Good skill! Good momentum!"
Kevern whispered to Baye: "Shidi, apologize quickly."
Baye frowned and stepped in front. He spoke, but it was to Shaw Danon: "Xiao Fan, that was my bad. It was just testing to see each other's level of cultivation; however, I didn't hold back my strength. Sorry."
Shaw Danon was really worried about his friend, but he said: "No, it was nothing."
Tian Bolis became more angry. He suddenly took a step forward. Red glow passed by on his face. Kevern began to worry. He was different from Baye. He was in Jadeon for a long time and knew Bamboo Peak is way weaker than the other six houses; however, their head master Tian Bolis and his wife Surin had unbelievable strength. No one ever dared to underestimate them. Even the proud Master Vasp Caelo reminded him before they departed: Although Tian Bolis has a bad temper, his cultivation skill is extremely high, plus his wife is also well known in Jadeon for her wisdom. Even our Head of the Faction Master Doyel Shen needed to treat the couple with high respect. It was best not to make him mad if not necessary.
But Baye didn't know about it. Even if he did know, he wouldn't remember it anyway.
Tian Bolis became even more angry. Just when he was about to make a move, Surin pulled his hand, her lips lightly smiled: "You are already so old, why bother arguing with a junior?"
Tian Bolis was startled for a moment and stopped. Kevern quickly stood in front of Baye, also said: "Tian Shishu, please forgive us. For the sake of our master, please don't argue with the ignorant younger generation." Shaw Danon knew Baye had made his master angry. In his eyes, Baye was the only orphan of Grass Temple Village; Baye was just like his own brother. He couldn't help but keep down in front of Tian Bolis, said: "Master, it's all disciple's fault. I saw Jing Yu, no, Lin Shixiong had brought his sword, so I was interested to see his level of cultivation. That's why we fought, it's all disciple..."
Tian Bolis was already holding his anger and had no place to express it. Kevern was enough already, but now Shaw Danon speaking there like an idiot. He couldn't hold his rage anymore: "Shut up, you useless fool!"
Then, he waved his sleeve. Shaw Danon felt strong wind blow at him. All the air surrounding him seemed to disappear. The mighty force pushed his body away and threw him into the wall of Hall of Quietude. "Bang!" His body landed on the hard, stable wall, then he fell on the ground. Shaw Danon felt dizzy, then he spewed out large amounts of blood from his mouth.
Within Hall of Quitetude, everyone was stunned. "Dad!" Hidi was the ﬁrst one to cry out. She rushed forward and helped Shaw Danon to stand up. Baye ran almost at the same time. He saw the blood on Shaw Danon's chest. He wouldn't be as angry if the one who had been injured was himself; however, Shaw Danon was trying to help him and that's why he got injured. Bay couldn't care anymore. He turned and shouted at Tian Bolis: "Short fatty, what were you
trying to do?"
At that time, Dragon Slayer seemed to understand its master; the green glow brightened up again.
Tian Bolis' eyes opened wide. He must have been mad because of the words "short fatty." He swung his arm, then disappeared in front of everyone's eyes.
Kevern quickly shouted: "Shidi, careful."
Baye was already prepared. He saw Tian Bolis moving as swift as a ghost. Baye immediately held up Dragon Slayer, using the sword spirit to create a green aura to protect himself. Tian Bolis saw the mighty green light as nothing. He suddenly appeared in front of Baye and forced all the green glow to back away three feet. Tian Bolis' large, angry eyes were almost touching Baye's face. Baye was nervous. He took a few steps back unsteadily. Even in this case, Dragon Slayer was still hanging in mid-air defending its master.
Tian Bolis laughed coldly. His right hand suddenly reached out and passed through the sword spirit. Red glow appeared on his palm. With the red glow he pushed back the green light, he quickly seized Dragon Slayer.
Kevern immediately dashed in front of Baye and shouted loudly: "Tian Shishu, please have mercy!"
Tian Bolis didn't go after him. He let Baye be protected by Kevern. He just focused on an examination of Dragon Slayer.
At that time, almost all the green sword spirit was gone; however, Dragon Slayer still struggled in Tian Bolis' hand, shone half of his body green. Tian Bolis raised his eyes and said coldly: "Dragon Slayer is Nine Skies Esper, but it doesn't guarantee invincibility!" Then, his ﬁngers suddenly grabbed hard onto the handle. Dragon Slayer immediately stopped moving. At the next moment, green glare rose up again, much more brightly than Baye's. Kevern cried out: "Tian Shishu........" Tian Bolis' face was as cold as ice. He said no more. His right hand held Dragon Slayer
and gave a powerful slash toward Baye and Kevern's direction. The green light mightily glared, creating a green pillar that is two persons in height.
Kevern grit his teeth. Both of his hands held out sword ﬁngers and drew out a white sword. This was his famous "Frozen Ice" sword.
The green pillar Tian Bolis released almost reached them. Kevern protected Baye and walked back a few steps. His right hand made a different sword mark. "Frozen Ice" swiftly sent out white light, formed seven layers of ice wall.
The green sword chi broke through the ice walls easily unlike Baye's. It crushed the ice walls into millions of pieces. The green sword chi had no sign of weakening, it charged toward Kevern like an angry dragon. Kevern's face was pale and had nowhere to go. He used all his strength and used Frozen Ice to form a shield with a white glow.
"Bang!" The green sword chi hit against the white light. Although it didn't immediately crush the shield, it pushed the white glow back rapidly. Kevern used all his strength and managed to hold the green sword chi one foot away. It was just like a human trying to hold off against an aggressive beast.
Kevern tried to keep the shield going, but his feet began to collapse and be pushed backward by the powerful strength.
From the beginning of this interaction until now, Tian Bolis stood still where he was and did not make a move; Dragon Slayer's green glow, however, was getting brighter and brighter. Kevern and Baye were pushed out of Hall of Quietude to the ground outside. At the place where the green light passed by, it seemed like it had been slashed by a large blade; a one foot deep rift was left in its way.
The green light pushed back Kevern another three yards. The white light shield was only six inches away from Kevern's body. His feet sank into the earth. A moment later, Kevern couldn't hold any longer. White light disappeared. Frozen Ice got hit with great force into the air and lost control.
Kevern and Baye's faces were as pale as a dead person. But then, the green light suddenly stopped in mid-air at the critical moment.
Kevern was sweating, he did not dare to move.
After a while, the green light was no longer controlled and slowly disappeared.
Frozen Ice landed on the ground in front of them. Kevern put himself together a little. He quickly said respectfully: "Thank you for Tian Shishu's kindness." Baye was still surprised to see the common looking Tian Bolis had such great power.
Suddenly an item was tossed out from Hall of Quietude. Kevern and Baye were surprised. It was Dragon Slayer. It landed right in front of them, next to Frozen Ice.
"You two leave!" Tian Bolis' voice returned to normal.
Coldness was clearly visible.
Kevern quickly responded and pulled Baye along. They retrieved their their own swords and ﬂew back.
The disciples saw Tian Bolis' anger. None dared to make a sound. Especially Shaw Danon, it was his ﬁrst time seeing Tian Bolis use his mystic power. He almost forgot his own wound on his chest. He accidentally tore his wound, he immediately cried "Ouch!"
Tian Bolis heard Shaw Danon's cry. He looked toward Shaw Danon. Shaw Danon forced himself to bear the pain. Tian Bolis did not say anything. He looked at all the disciples. Everyone lowered their head and did not want to meet his eyes.
Tian Bolis sighed and shook his head. He put both hands on his back and walked toward the rear hall. Surin told everyone: "All of you leave for now."
The disciples answered. Hidi carried Shaw Danon and left with the disciples. After everyone walked out of Hall of Quietude, Surin went into the rear hall and passed the back door. She saw Tian Bolis standing in the corridor and looking at the bamboo in the courtyard.
Surin walked next to her husband, softly asked: "Why so mad today?"
Tian Bolis slight shook his head, responded back: "When Ling Er fought with Baye earlier, Kevern formed ice wall to stop Dragon Slayer. You saw what happened, right?"
Surin sighed: "He didn't take out Frozen Ice." Tian Bolis snorted: "Last Seven Peaks Tournament, Kevern needed to rely on the power of esper to form ice wall; I can't imagine he already reached that level within just several decades." Then he turned and looked at Surin: "What level of cultivation do you think he is at?"
Surin said: "When he cast, he seemed relaxed and not using all his power, that means he is at least Yu Qing level eight."
Tian Bolis opened his mouth then stopped. Surin helped him to continue: "Within Bamboo Peak, none can be his opponent."
Tian Bolis deeply looked at his wife, then slowly he turned his head, looked at the bamboo in the garden. As winter grew closer, the green leaves had become yellow.
After a moment, he suddenly asked: "How is seventh?"
Surin looked at him, her lips smiled: "How good can he be, he coughed out loads of blood due to you great master." Tian Bolis' fat body shook, but he didn't turn his head: "Tonight, bring him a Yellow Pill. Don't let him pretend to be dead tomorrow and make all of us starve."
Surin kept on smiling.
Night came, the sky darkened.
Shaw Danon slowly walked back to his dormitory. After he pushed the door open, Ashh was the ﬁrst one who rushed into the room; then Big Yella followed. The monkey and the dog played around in his room.
Shaw Danon smiled a little. He sat down next to the table. His chest still hurt, but his brain was ﬁlled with the scene of battle between Tian Bolis and the others. He could not help but sigh.
"What is the use of sighing?" A gentle sound came from outside. Shaw Danon was surprised. He turned and saw Surin was standing at the door. The night wind blew her clothes about, like a fairy from heaven. He quickly stood up, said: "Shi niang."
Surin walked to him, put her hand on his shoulder, smiled: "It's alright, sit."
Shaw Danon followed the order and sat down. Surin carefully examined his face and put her hand on his chest, then nodded: "Good, nothing too serious." She took out a white bottle and poured out a yellow pill that's about the size of a ﬁnger tip. She passed it to Shaw Danon: "Take it."
Shaw Danon hesitated for a moment, then he took the pill and swallowed it. A warm feeling came from his stomach, then to his limbs. The pain in his chest disappeared.
Shaw Danon rose up and exercised his body. Everything was normal. He hurriedly said to Surin: "Thank you, Shi niang."
Surin nodded. She took back the bottle and sat on the other chair. She said: "No need to thank me. It was your master who was the one who told me to bring you Yellow Pill."
Shaw Danon was startled, asked: "Master is not mad at me anymore?"
Surin looked at him, smiled: "He told me to come see you, surely he is not mad at you. I don't know if you are mad at him?"
Shaw Danon was surprised, immediately said: "No, Shi niang, I would never dare..."
Surin raised her hand and stopped Shaw Danon, said gently: "Xiao Fan, listen to me, okay?"
Shaw Danon quietly said: :Yes, Shi niang."
Surin said: "Today your master hit you, it was his fault. I saw it. However, he regretted after he hit you. His temper is just..." Her gentle face had signs of sadness, she continued: "He is a competative person, always cares about his reputation. Even if he regrets, he won't say it out loud, so don't hate him."
Shaw Danon shook his head: "Shi niang, I am not mad at master. It's just me being too stupid, made master mad."
Surin looked at him, lightly sighed: "It has nothing to do with you, actually. Cultivation is based on one's quality and potential. Although hard work will pay off, but still the result will be less than others. Your master understands that. What he was worrying about is not that."
Shaw Danon was curious, asked: "What is it that master worried about?"
Surin smiled helplessly: "The people like Kevern are almost impossible to get. Now in Jadeon, Bamboo Peak is getting weaker and weaker. Although your master's cultivation is high, disciples often got teased by all Shi bo and Shishu. His heart has a lot of difﬁculty bearing it. He also worries one day he will leave, Bamboo Peak will never be able to come back. He won't be able to face all the ancestors of Bamboo Peak. All the burdens are on him. Actually, it is very miserable." Shaw Danon was silent. Surin then realized, smiled bitterly: "Really. What is the use to tell this to a fourteen year old kid?" She stood up and slapped his shoulder: "Rest early."
Shaw Danon answered: "Yes, Shi niang, walk slowly."
Surin nodded, then left. Shaw Danon followed her to the door. After he saw Surin's shadow was gone, he returned back into the room.
But just when he came back, he saw, next to his desk, in the light a candle, a lady in red standing there.
He was startled, then quietly cried: "Shijie!"
Chapter 15: Secretly Teach
The lady was Hidi no doubt. She was worried about Shaw Danon's injury, so she came to see him, but she could never have imagined her mother would be there, too. So Hidi hid outside of the door and waited for Surin to be gone.
She noticed Shaw Danon was rooted on the ﬂoor, she said angrily: "What are you standing there for?"
Shaw Danon woke up. He tried to ﬁnd an excuse, but then he saw Hidi lowered her head. It's because Big Yella came and pushed against Hidi's leg.
Hidi bent over and patted Big Yella's head. Big Yella licked her hand.
"Creak creak" Ashh went behind Big Yella and pulled on its tail; seemed like it wanted to pull Big Yella away from Hidi. Ashh felt Hidi's eyes, he looked up and showed his teeth. Hidi didn't get angry. She made a face toward the monkey in reply. Since Ashh came here, it went along well with everyone except Hidi. Hidi was surprised to ﬁnd Big Yella didn't go aggressive at Ashh.
"What happened?" Hidi asked Shaw Danon while pointing at Ashh and Big Yella.
Shaw Danon told her about the meat bone. Hidi laughed: "Can't believe that stupid monkey did that trick." Then she changed topic, she examined Shaw Danon, asked: "Today, my dad hit you, anywhere not feeling well?"
Shaw Danon shook his head: "Nothing, Shijie."
Hidi said: "What's the matter with dad? He is not happy and vented his anger onto you!"
Shaw Danon quickly said: "No, it's my stupidity that made master mad..." Hidi stared at him. Shaw Danon held back what he was going to say. Hidi snorted: "It has nothing to do with you, actually. It's just because he saw the two people had good potential, so his mind..." Then she stopped and looked at Shaw Danon. She realized that meant she was saying he is stupid, then she changed topic again: "What was my mom coming here for?"
Shaw Danon replied honestly: "Shi niang came to visit me and gave me two 'Yellow Pills.' Very effective, I was fully recovered after taking one."
"Yellow Pill?" Hidi was surprised.
"Yes," Shaw Danon looked at her, asked: "What it is?"
Hidi said: "That is my dad's treasure. I heard Mom say it was made from twenty-three different types of spiritual herbs. Marvelous medicinal effect. Even I didn't have the luck to take it."
Shaw Danon's mouth opened wide. Hidi's eyes rolled, continued: "Perhaps my dad was impressed by you, but doesn't seem like it."
Shaw Danon said: "It must be master's kindness. He saw me injured, so he gave me a magical pill. He, senior, is very broad minded!"
Hidi laughed: "My dad, broad minded...heh heh. Anyway, I'm not going to argue this with you. Huh, why is there the sound of rain?"
Shaw Danon listened carefully. Outside really was raining. Hidi walked to the window. She pushed the window open. Cool wind came in from the window. Cold, tiny rain drops hit on the face.
The sky rained in the silent dark of night. Everywhere was dark except for the blurry shadow of the bamboo in the courtyard. The rain fell from the sky. In Shaw Danon's eyes, it was gentle. He even felt that the night was beautiful, the rain was melodious; when the rain drops hit against the bamboo leaves he was pleased to listen to its sounds. The sound that resonated within his soul. Standing next to him was a beautiful lady. Happiness and sadness within this beauty. She was watching:
At this rain!
Big Yella and Ashh also quieted down. Big Yella lay on the bed. His eyes were half opened. Ashh sat next to Big Yella and searched through Big Yella's thick fur.
Candle's ﬁre suddenly ﬂickered in the mountain wind, making a soft popping sound.
"It's raining." Hidi softly said.
Shaw Danon answered: "Yeah."
Hidi stared into the night for a few moments, then turned back to the table; quietly said: "Xiao Fan, close the window will you? It is getting cold." Shaw Danon nodded and closed the window. Hidi sat next to the table absently. She took out a small box, then opened it under the light.
The candle reﬂected in her eyes, like a pair of gentle ﬂames.
"Say, do you think this 'Refresh Bead' is pretty?" Hidi's eyes were ﬁxed upon the bright, small bead. Her voice wasn't stable. Shaw Danon's heart suddenly felt empty, slowly sank.
He went to her with all his courage. He used all his strength to make himself look normal. Hidi raised her head and looked at him. She suddenly found her Shidi's eyes were so bright, but at the same time, so sorrowful and wild.
She lightly closed the box, asked gently: "Xiao Fan, what is it?"
Shaw Danon lowered his head, fell silent for a moment, then said: "I am alright, Shijie." Hidi felt weird, but didn't bother much about it. She stood up and said: "Okay, it's late now. I should head back."
Shaw Danon woodenly stood up. Hidi took a few steps, then suddenly stopped and turned around smiling. The beauty of that moment hit deeply in Shaw Danon's heart. "How could I forget this; I even forgot the point for me coming tonight."
Shaw Danon took it and red a few lines, then he cried: "Pure Essence incantation! Shijie, this..."
Hidi rolled her eyes, said angrily: "Why did you cry out so loud?"
Shaw Danon immediately lowered his voice: "Shijie, this is the level three incantaton. You..."
"Me?" Hidi snorted: "Of course I am giving it to you."
Shaw Danon was surprised: "What?" Hidi said: "I know dad always looked down on you. Today he hit you, it was even more idiotic. Huh, he doesn't even bother to teach his own disciple and scolds you. I don't want to see it anymore. You use this incantation and practice it secretly. Achieve whatever someday and show my dad. Don't be so embarrassed like today."
Shaw Danon frowned: "But Shijie, if master and shi niang know it, they will scold you."
Hidi said impatiently: "You already said they will scold me. Just a few words and lock me up for a few days. So what? I can't let you get fooled by other people!"
Shaw Danon was shocked. His heart was like a burning ﬂame. He looked at Hidi's ﬁgure. At that moment he thought, even if he died for her, he will never regret.
Hidi said: "You also need to remember to put in more effort. One day, ﬁnd a chance to have a draw with that stinky Baye. However, you will never catch up to Kevern Shixiong, don't even think about it." Then, she waved her hand: "Keep everything as secret." She left and disappeared into the darkness swiftly.
"You will never catch up to Kevern Shixiong!"
These words, each hit heavily in Shaw Danon's heart. His face was pale. His hand held the paper tight.
Within the mountain and rain, sky and earth who can see that youngster, walking in the rain and looking at the sky.
At dawn, after the rain, Shaw Danon came back to his familiar kitchen and began to boil water.
The bright ﬁre in the stove was like an evil spirit dancing on the ﬂame; shone red against his face. Shaw Danon used a thin piece of ﬁrewood as a ﬁre stick and moved the ﬁre wood around.
"You will never catch up to Kevern Shixiong!" These words, he had repeated in his heart thousands of times. Each time it just hurt his heart even more. He knew he was being stupid. Shijie didn't mean it. She only said the truth that everyone would agree with.
However, he couldn't help it. There was a wild ﬁre like this in his heart. It kept burning his heart, until the actual ﬁre burned his hand.
"Ouch!" Shaw Dannon shouted. He jumped back. The thin ﬁre wood caught on ﬁre when he was not paying attention and burned his hand.
He blew on his hand. Shaw Danon went to the jar and put his hand into the cool water. Shaw Danon smiled bitterly; of all the things he needed most now is a ﬁre stick.
"Um, um, um" A few calls came in from the outside. Shaw Danon recognized this was Big Yella's voice. He was wondering why Big Yella's usual "bark, bark" had turned into "um, um." Shaw Danon walked to the door and found Big Yella and Ashh were ﬁghting over a black, short rod. Big Yella's mouth was biting one end of the rod while Ashh used its hands to tug at the other end. Because Big Yella was biting the short rod, its voice turned into the weird "um, um."
Shaw Danon took the short stick away from them and drove Big Yella and Ashh away. He knew they would not go away easily, so he threatened them: "Go, go. Don't mess around in here, or else I will not make lunch for you two."
Big Yella and Ashh exchanged looks. One roared at Shaw Danon while one made a face. Then, Ashh jumped on Big Yella's back and they walked away.
He cursed at the two animals. After Shaw Danon returned to the kitchen, he realized the short rod was the strange, short, black stick found in ancient valley half a year ago. Ashh recovered this somewhere in the room and used it to play with Big Yella.
Shaw Danon sighed, then an idea came to him. He walked quickly to the stove and pushed the ﬁrewood around with the black stick. That stick was made out of some unknown material, it won't catch on ﬁre, and also didn't transfer heat. After the entire morning, the stick was still cool. Shaw Danon thought this stick was perfect for him.
Pity for the dead Black Heart Elder. If he knew the "Sinister Orb," the most powerful esper of the evil factions, was being used as a ﬁre stick; even if he were resurrected, he would die again of anger.
That day at noon, everyone of Bamboo Peak's disciples were sitting in the dinning room. Tian Bolis was the last one who entered. His eyes landed on Shaw Danon for a moment. Shaw Danon lowered his head, then, Tian Bolis moved his sight away.
"So, all of you saw what happened yesterday, right?" Tian Bolis asked.
Everyone was quiet, only Xavion said: "Yes, master had shown his might and punished the..."
"Nonsense!" Tian Bolis suddenly shouted. The disciples were terriﬁed. Tian Bolis said angrily: "Yesterday, all of you should know other house's disciples were highly cultivated. Not to mention Kevern, even though he had been adopted for only three years, had came and began messing around. Don't you know that?"
Everyone was silent, only Shaw Danon suddenly raised his head.
Tian Bolis coldly said: "Seven Peaks Tournament is almost here. All of you useless people, from today on, everyone lock themselves in their room. If you can't have any decent improvement, let us see if I will peel your skin off!"
Everyone had the word "unwilling" shown on their face, but none said a word. Hidi carefully asked: "Dad, then I shall..."
"You too!" Tian Bolis said without hesitation.
Just when Hidi was about to speak, her sleeve got pulled on by her mother. Hidi turned and looked at Surin, she then took back the words that she was about to speak. Tian Bolis' voice was resounding through Hall of Quietude: "Except for seventh, who is responsible for meals, all of you cannot leave here for these one and a half years. Lock up and practice, understand?"
So, in the peaceful Bamboo Peak, it was covered by nervousness that had never appeared before. All the disciples were focused on cultivation except a free dog, a naughty monkey and a boring cook.
Chapter 16: Navigate Object
The bark of a dog and the scream of a monkey mixed together across Mount Jadeon's Bamboo Peak, breaking the peaceful quiet. Shaw Danon ran out from the kitchen with the black ﬁre stick in his hand, he shouted angrily: "Stupid dog! Stupid monkey! I dare you not to run!"
Ashh jumped on Big Yella's back. Big Yella was already prepared and ran away. Shaw Danon couldn't catch up, and all he could do is watch as Ashh made a face and put a delicious bone into Big Yella's mouth. Big Yella was so happy that if it had not been because its teeth needed to hold the bone, it's jaw already fell open from laughing so hard. Shaw Danon went back to the kitchen with an angry face. He took care of the kitchen since he was fourteen. His cooking skill was unexpected to everyone. Even the "cultivated dog," Big Yella, couldn't help but also hunger for Shaw Danon's meal, especially the bone he used for making soup.
But the soup was made for humans, although Big Yella was the oldest, should be receiving the highest respect, all he could do is simply watch and not get to eat. After he became friends with Ashh, the scene that just happened appeared very commonly in Bamboo Peak. For the past two years, no matter how hard Shaw Danon tried to hide the bone, with Big Yella's nose and Ashh's agility, this bone battle always resulted in defeat for Shaw Danon.
Two years passed by fast, actually one and a half years. Shaw Danon had grown into a sixteen year old young man. His body was taller than his Shijie Hidi now. For this period of time, under Tian Bolis' order, every Bamboo Peak disciple needed to practice their cultivation except Amandla, who was traveling; only Shaw Danon as a cook was the most relaxed.
For two years, under nobody's watch, Shaw Danon practiced alone. But the thing he couldn't believe is: following the instruction of Xavion's incantation, with barely one year of practice, he seemed to master the second level of Yu Qing - reﬁning vigor.
He questioned himself, but he didn't ask Tian Bolis. Xavion and Hidi were focusing on cultivation. They had no time to spare for him. Amandla was also not here. As a result, Shaw Danon could only bury the question in his heart. But there was a more important thing facing him. Hidi gave him the incantation for third level secretly. He understood that was a serious act against the faction's rules. But then, every night when he was standing alone in the courtyard and looking at the sky, he always remembered one phrase:
You will never catch up to Kevern Shixiong!
Ten nights later, he began to practice level three's incanation!
In Pure Essence, Yu Qing's ﬁrst three levels are the foundation of all magic. The difﬁculty progressively increases. Third level was different than the ﬁrst two. The ﬁrst two were "Introducing Spirit" and "Reﬁning Vigor." The third level's main idea was "Energy," focus began to be aimed toward cultivating Tai Chi Energy. The Incantation stated: "Tai Chi energy, three combine to one. Chi, neutral; Yuan, beginning, follow the twelve periods...Yin and Yang combine, energy starts at Zi, becomes all things." (From 《汉书-律历志》)
When Jadeon disciples practiced this far, the difference between potentials will be made clear. Intelligent disciples would pass this level quickly and move straight into "Navigate Object," built upon a stable foundation. The disciples with slightly worse potential would stay there forever and might waste their entire life in it.
Shaw Danon had entered Jadeon ﬁve years ago. He heard a lot from his Shixiongs. Clearly all the Shixiongs grouped him on the "worse" side.
Shaw Danon returned to the kitchen and began to boil water. The ﬁre brightened again. He used the poor ﬁre stick" to move the ﬁrewood around a few times. After the ﬁre became stable, his eyes looked at the ﬁre stick.
He hadn't discovered anything. He was just doing a very natural thing-day dreaming. The entire ﬁre stick was mysteriously black except for the round bead. It was only a foot long. The strange thing was that you could faintly see the red vein-like lines under the black colour of the surface.
Shaw Danon's entire body had shaken. The idea of forging with blood made him sick. These years, he slowly forgot the journey to the ancient valley. Once in a while he woke up in the middle of the night from dreaming of the ancient valley again.
At that time he felt he was lonely. One person facing the unknown beast. One person facing the mysterious death. Each time, he had uncontrollable excitement and rage. He was thirsty for blood. He even thought of the Monk Pozhi in Grass Temple village a few years ago.
Shaw Danon did not know why he would have such a feeling.
Fortunately he had a way to calm his mind: Fawin Wisdom!
This Fuwa incantation could clear out evil thinking from one's mind. He practiced it for ﬁve years, and the most common use for it was to suppress the strange thought that appeared in his mind for the past two years. Suddenly something hit Shaw Danon's head. It was a pine cone. Anger rose inside his heart. Shaw Danon turned and shouted: "Stupid monkey, don't let me catch you ore else...oh, you are...ah! Sixth Shixiong!"
Shaw Danon saw a person was standing at the door, with a bag on his shoulder and a smile on his face. It was Amandla.
Amandla carefully looked at Shaw Danon, said: "Wow, after just a few years, you brat you have grown as tall as me."
Shaw Danon swiftly walked toward him and grabbed his shoulders, smiled: "Sixth Shixiong, why gone for so long, we all missed you."
Amandla smiled: "I am back now, aren't I?"
Then Shaw Danon asked: "Does master and Shi niang know you are back?" Amandla said: "No. I just came back and saw there was smoke coming out from the kitchen, so I guess you must be working there, kid. Didn't see me for a few years, did you miss me?"
Shaw Danon nodded. Amandla patted his head, suddenly whispered: "Come, go see master with me."
Shaw Danon was startled, asked: "Why do you need me to go with you?"
Amandla said: "Master let me travel for one year, but then I played...no, I mean, I used an extra half a year to ﬁnd good material for an esper. I am afraid master will be mad at me. Come with me."
Shaw Danon stared at him: "So that's why you came to see me ﬁrst. Oh yeah, sixth Shixiong, what esper did you craft?"
Amandla hollowly laughed: "Ho ho, I just feel like seeing you ﬁrst. Xiao Shidi, come, come." Then he pulled Shaw Danon away. After a while, both Big Yella, who was chewing the bone in the corner, and Ashh, who was catching a ﬂea on Big Yella's back, heard a furious roar coming out of Hall of Quietude: "Disgraceful person, you tried to anger me to death!"
At dinner time, for the ﬁrst time in two years, everyone was here, sitting in the dining hall. After everyone had their seat, Tian Bolis' face was still angry. When people greeted Amandla, they couldn't help but ask: "Sixth, why was master so angry after he met with you?"
Amandla was embarrassed. He kept switching topic. Shaw Danon, on the other hand, was holding his laughter, making his face look weird.
Then, Hidi ﬁnally couldn't help it. She asked: "Dad, sixth ﬁnally came back, why are you so mad at him?"
Amandla slightly raised his head and looked at Tian Bolis. Tian Bolis stared back at him and Amandla was forced to lower his head again. Tian Bolis snorted: "Sixth, why don't you show them your esper?" Amandla's mouth opened wide, could not say a word. Then he looked toward Surin, but Surin smiled: "Bishu, let them see it; let them know what made your master so mad."
Amandla knew he couldn't avoid it. He slowly took his bag and took out a few items and let them lay on the table.
Everyone did not even blink, afraid to miss some important details. It was extremely quiet in the dinning hall. On the table, there were three wood-made cubes with a half-a-ﬁst size. It's white all over with dots carved on it. They were three dice.
Everyone was stunned. Then, everyone laughed.
Amandla blushed. Tian Bolis angrily said: "Rotten wood can not be craved"
Surin, however, shook her head and smiled: "It doesn't matter, it's not really important. Let it be. The esper is for him to use anyway." Tian Bolis stared at Amandla, then said to Surin: "How do you know he is not using it to scam people?"
Amandla was surprised, quickly said: "Master, Shi niang, disciple would never do such a dirty, shameful thing. It's just because I found a thousand year-old Three-Bead Tree at Chi Shui Lake south of here. The tree is very spiritual, so I used it to craft three dice. I didn't realize..."
Tian Bolis was still angry, said: "Now you are happy, right? Hmph, now great, you've crafted a gambling tool. At the Seven Peaks Tournament, which is just a month away, when you show up on the stage with this thing. Will I be able to save face?"
Amandla did not dare to speak. Surin shook her head, said quietly: "Buyi it is the thing he likes. Don't force him. You still remember Vanti Shixiong..."
Tian Bolis suddenly was shocked and turned to Surin. Surin sighed, told Amandla: "Bishu, you know your master and I never forced you to craft a sword like the Shixiongs of the other houses. Esper, however, is always of a major concern. You need to act accordingly."
Amandla looked at Tian Bolis again and saw his master was still unhappy. He did not dare to speak much, so he nodded: "Yes, yes."
Surin looked at her husband again, then said to everyone: "Time passed so quickly. Next month is already Seven Peaks Tournament. At that time, we will all go to the main house Peak of Widow. Make sure to be prepared." Then, her beautiful, gentle face became serious, rapidly she said: "this time, do not let me and your master be disappointed, get it?"
Everyone immediately answered: "Yes!"
"Shi, Shi niang." A weak voice appeared within the response of the disciples. It was Shaw Danon. Surin frowned, asked: "What is it, Xiao Fan?"
Shaw Danon cautiously said: "You mean I will be going, too?" Surin was startled, then looked at Tian Bolis. She smiled: "Yes, aren't you a member of Bamboo Peak?"
Shaw Danon cheered with Amandla. He was so happy that he ignored what Tian Bolis said: "There are nine spots, anyway. Even if we give one to an idiot, still one is wasted."
At nightfall, Shaw Danon went back to his room. Big Yella and Ashh were already resting on Shaw Danon's bed. One and half years ago, because Big Yella became friends with Ashh, it also moved to Shaw Danon's bedroom. At ﬁrst, Tian Bolis was very worried because he couldn't ﬁnd his dog. Then, after he found out what happened, he snorted and left. Shaw Danon saw Tian Bolis didn't say anything, so he didn't drive Big Yella away. (Actually, it was a case of being unable to drive Big Yella away. Big Yella took half of the bed, Ashh took half of the other half; it is obvious how the owner felt.)
As time passed, however, Shaw Danon got used to it and did not complain about sleeping with Big Yella and Ashh anymore. That night, Shaw Danon's mood was great. He sat next to the table and saw Big Yella lazily laying on the bed. Ashh took the black ﬁre stick from the kitchen again and used it to rub Big Yella's body.
He felt Ashh was really interested in this ﬁre stick. But now he didn't want to bother thinking about it. His heart was ﬁlled with happiness that his master allowed him to go to Seven Peaks Tournament.
Shaw Danon looked toward the monkey and dog, but it seemed like he was talking to thin air: "Look, I get a chance to join Seven Peaks Tournament. That is just great. Master is really broad-minded. Even though I am so stupid he is allowing me to come and learn. Um, maybe I can meet Jing Yu there."
Then, he paused and quietly spoke to himself: "But going on the platform and dueling will just bring shame to master. Anyway, if it's meant to be then let it be. Big Yella, Ashh, am I right?"
"Creak Creak!" Shaw Danon raised his head. Ashh put all his thought into Big Yella's fur and catching ﬂeas. Only screamed a few times in response to answer him. Big Yella is even more direct. Its dog ears folded and ignored him.
"Stupid dog!" Shaw Danon angrily called out. Ashh threw the ﬁre stick at him. He dodged it and the ﬁre stick bounced on the table and landed on the ground.
"Creak Creak!" "Bark Bark!" The dog and monkey's sound became symphony. Shaw Danon made a face toward the two animals. He sat down, then his mind came up with the image of Kevern in Bamboo Peak two years ago.
"Form wall of ice!" Shaw Danon quietly said. When he didn't practice, it was ﬁne; however, after he did, it became worse. He began to realize the far distance between himself and Kevern.
Then, he thought of that night. Hidi was sitting in this room next to the light. Those soft, glowing eyes!
His heart felt like being stabbed by needle. The ﬁre stick quietly lay quietly on the ground. Shaw Danon suddenly felt himself to be much like the ﬁre stick; so lonely, laying on the ground alone.
"Alas" he sighed, imagining if he could reach that level of cultivation. Then, a totally relaxed, uncaring movement. He did his ﬁrst "navigate object" movement: he waved his hand toward the ﬁre stick.
That moment felt like an eternity.
Shaw Danon was very normal, with no disappointment and acceptance of his failure. Then, he saw the ﬁre stick moved a little.
Just that little bit, slight movement, seemed like awakening from a long sleep, it moved!
Rotten wood can not be craved mean, no matter what you do to a rotten wood, they can not become better.
Chapter 17: Attend
That morning, everyone was excited for the Seven Peaks Tournament. The disciples were especially excited, every one of them had a smile on their face. Although there would be some nervousness, they all got covered by excitement.
Within them, only Da Shixiong Xavion, second Wu Dayi, third Zheng Dali and fourth He Dazhi had participated in the previous tournament. Fifth Ludaxin and Sixth Amandla were new students and, of course, Shaw Danon and Hidi, too, had never been there; it only took place every sixty years.
As Tian Bolis and Surin were making the ﬁnal preparations, Hidi pestered Xavion, who is the most experienced: "Da Shixiong, is it really that many faction members attending Seven Peaks Tournament?"
Xavion said: "Correct. Seven Peaks Tournament is the most important event in our faction. Anyone who can represent their house in the tournament is a talented student. Not to mention the exciting battle scene." Fourth He Dazhi heard them talking and came over. He winked at Hidi, smiled: "Xiao Shimei, you may not know, actually Da Shixiong still has something he did not tell you."
Hidi asked: "Ah? What is it, fourth Shixiong?"
He Dazhi smiled: "Being the winner and standing in the middle of the platform while listening to the applause of hundreds of people. This pride cannot be escaped. But, if a young beautiful Shimei from the other houses admired and cheered for Da Shixiong, isn't it a more joyful occurrence in one's life?" Then, he turned and asked Xavion: "Da Shixiong, am I right?"
Hidi was curious, asked: "Da Shixiong, why is your face red?"
Xavion shook his head hard, kept on murmuring: "No, no, my face didn't turn red..." He Dazhi coughed and saw everyone had gathered around him. Shaw Danon and Amandla were puzzled, but Wu Dayi and Zheng Dali were both smiling. So He Dazhi said: "Oh, second Shixiong and third Shixiong are both here. I have a bad memory these days. I think it was at the previous tournament, when Da Shixiong won twice in a row and entered the third round, there was a young, pretty Shimei. Um, I forgot her name..."
Wu Dayi quickly said: "Ah, I can't remember it clearly. I think she is a Shimei from Bamboo Heights. Her face is extremely pretty. But the name..."
Zheng Dali said: "We all forgot her name. But we can still remember she clapped her hands the loudest, and ﬂirted with Da Shixiong."
Everyone laughed. Hidi began interrogating: "Da Shixiong, who is the Shijie who was being so nice to you?"
Xavion was embarrassed. He stared at He Dazhi and hollowly smiled: "No, no such thing. Don't listen to your fourth Shixiong. Bamboo Height's Baako Shimei was just cheering for me because of Shi niang."
"Huh?" He Dazhi immediately said: "Da Shixiong, that's odd. Me, second and third Shixiongs all forgot her name. How come you recalled her name so fast? But the kindness of Baako Shijie to Da Shixiong is..."
Everyone laughed. Xavion realized he said it wrong. He knew He Dazhi was an expert in battles of wits. The more he said the more mistakes there will be. He snorted and ignored them: "Stupid people. Heh heh, I am going to check if master and shi niang is ready yet."
Hidi still wanted to ask, but Xavion ran away fast like the wind. So, she could only ask He Dazhi. Her eyes were ﬁlled with excitement: "Fourth Shixiong, tell me, what does Baako Shijie look like?"
He Dazhi said: "Xiao Shimei, aren't you always going to Bamboo Height to visit Master Shui Yue with Shi niang? How come you never saw Baako Shijie? She is Master Shui Yue's favourite student." Hidi shook her head: "Mom and I went directly to Master Shui Yue when we went to Bamboo Height. We rarely met any Shijie there. Come on, tell me."
He Dazhi smiled: "No need to hurry. Today, when we go to main house's Peak of Widows, you will see her, most likely."
Hidi rolled her eyes, seemed like she realized something: "Oh, no wonder why Da Shixiong was so excited today, he had some evil thought in his head!"
Everyone was confused, then when they realized, they all laughed. Hidi herself also laughed. The little nervousness was gone. She looked around and saw everyone had a smile on their face. But when she looked at Shaw Danon, she was surprised. Even though Shaw Danon had a smile on his face, Hidi could sense that Shaw Danon was lost in thought.
Hidi pulled Shaw Danon aside, quietly asked: "Xiao Fan, you have any trouble?" Shaw Danon was startled. His right hand touched his chest, then ﬁnally responded: "I am ﬁne, Shijie."
Hidi directly asked: "What is it? Let me see."
Shaw Danon hesitated for a moment, then took out an item and let Hidi see it. Hidi was surprised, asked: "Why would you bring this black ﬁre stick with you?"
Shaw Danon looked at Hidi's surprised face. He mumbled: "Master's kindness allowed me to participate in the Seven Peaks Tournament..."
Hidi understood what Shaw Dannon was saying. She couldn't hold in her laughter. "Ah, ha ha, that's why. You bring this, this ﬁre stick to participate in Seven Peaks Tournament? Jadeon's two thousand year history, sixth Shixiong's gambling dice is already weird enough. Can't imagine, can't imagine you really, really bring this ﬁre stick to...ha ha ha ha, it's killing me."
Disciples heard Hidi's laughter and came to see what happened. They laughed after they heard the reason. Shaw Danon saw Shixiongs and Shijie next to him were smiling and happy, but anger arose in his heart.
The anger in his heart was just an instant; however, it was so intense that it almost made Shaw Danon stop breathing.
He lowered his head and held the ugly ﬁre stick tight. The familiar chill spread to his palm.
"Xiao Fan." Hidi suddenly took back her smile: "I am sorry."
Shaw Danon was shaken, he raised his head.
Hidi said: "I was planning to give you an esper so you won't become a joke within our faction. But Mom forced me to practice too much, I forgot about it."
Shaw Danon shook his head, said: "Shijie, cultivating is more important. You don't need to worry about me." Hidi patted his shoulder, smiled: "Doesn't matter anyway, everyone knows your limits. This time is just a chance for you to learn." She lowered her voice: "If anyone is giving you a hard time, you have to tell me, hmph, and I shall help you get back at them."
Shaw Dannon looked at Hidi's gentle eyes. He wouldn't doubt her promise. He could also feel the kindness from other people around him; however, his emotion was still unstable. What is it, that burning inside of his heart like raging ﬁre, making it difﬁcult for him to breathe.
Hidi was still grinning. She patted her favourite Xiao Shidi's shoulder. She whispered: "Let me tell you. There are a lot of fun places in Peak of Widows. This time, we sneak out and go there, sound good?"
Shaw Danon suddenly didn't want to look at her beautiful face. He lowered his head. His mind was sweet and frustrated. He said: "Yes, Shijie."
He Dazhi suddenly said from behind them: "Master and Shi niang are here." They turned and saw Tian Bolis and Surin were coming out from Hall of Quietude. Tian Bolis wore a sky blue robe. His face looked serious. If not for his fat belly and short body, he would look more like an admirable master. Surin wore a light green dress and a jade ﬂower in her hair.
Xavion followed behind them. His face looked as serious as it could be. But as other disciples saw him coming, their face was working hard not to smile. Following behind Xavion were Big Yella and Ashh. Ashh was already used to sitting on Big Yella's back. When Ashh saw Shaw Danon, it screamed: "Creak creak" and jumped on Shaw Danon's shoulder.
Tian Bolis looked at each disciple and nodded: "Let's go." He waved his right arm. Red light ﬂashed in the middle of his palm. His famous esper "Flame Spirit" appeared. Just when Tian Bolis was about to step forward, his pants got pulled on by someone. It was Big Yella. It kept swinging its head and tail, and its mouth moaned. Its dog eyes stared at Tian Bolis.
Tian Bolis hesitated and murmured, but still waved his sleeve and rolled up Big Yella and brought Big Yella to Flame Spirit. Tian Bolis stood on Flame Spirit and was the ﬁrst to ﬂy away. Surin shook her head, smiled: "Come." Then she paused, spoke to Xavion: "Daren, Xiao Fan's skill isn't strong enough. You carry him."
Xavion nodded: "Yes."
Surin nodded. Green light ﬂashed and brought her to the sky and followed Tian Bolis' red light.
Among the Bamboo Peak's disciples, Wu Dayi, Zheng Dali, Ludaxin's cultivation had not yet reached level four and could not use an esper. Shaw Danon rode with Xavion while the other three rode with He Dazhi, Amandla and Hidi. Hidi's esper was Phoenix Soul. He Dazhi's esper was "Landscape Brush," really ﬁtting his book-worm personality. However, the most comical was Amandla's gambling dice esper. Once it was activated, white light ﬂashed and the dice enlarged ten times of its size, circled around in min-air. If comparing the gambling tools of this earth, the winner would be here.
Fifth Ludaxin worriedly looked at Amandla's dice, asked: "Sixth, that thing won't fall out of the sky, right?" Amandla grinned: "Fifth Shixiong, let's have a bet. If it falls from the sky, you win, then I..."
Ludaxin said: "Will I dare to win this bet, then?"
Amandla was startled: "Oh, that's right!"
Xavion walked in front of Shaw Danon, smiled: "Xiao Fan, are you ready?"
Just when Shaw Danon was about to nod, Ashh screamed from his shoulder. They were surprised. Ashh pointed to the sky, then pointed to itself. Shaw Danon was startled: "You want to come too?"
Ashh grinned. Shaw Danon hesitated for a moment, then looked at Xavion. Xavion thought for a while, then smiled: "Master brought Big Yella anyway, let's bring Ashh there too." Shaw Dannon was glad. He nodded. Ashh was even more excited.
Xavion turned to the others, said: "Let us get going too, or else master will be mad if we are late." They answered and left with their esper. Hidi told Shaw Danon before she departed: "Be careful, hold Shixiong tight."
Shaw Danon nodded, said: "I know, Shijie."
Hidi smiled. Her hand pointed. Phoenix Soul rose and carried her to the sky. Xavion drew out his esper "Ten Tiger." He was Bamboo Peak's oldest disciple. Although his Shidis crafted different espers, he still crafted a sword. "Ten Tiger" was yellow all over, four feet long and two inches wide. It was slightly larger than the average sword. Sadly an esper's strength could not be determined by size.
Shaw Danon had experience with riding Hidi's Phoenix Soul. So, when Xavion pulled Shaw Danon to "Ten Tigers," he wasn't surprised. But Ashh, on the other hand, had held Shaw Danon's head tightly. Xavion lightly smiled: "Xiao Shidi, here we go." Then, his right hand pointed at the sky. "Ten Tigers" roared. The sword ascended three feet. Shaw Danon grabbed Xavion's back.
The sword tip slowly raised at about a seventy degree angle. Shaw Danon needed to rely on Xavion in order to not fall. Then, "Ten Tigers" charged into the sky.
Shaw Danon held Xavion tightly. Although he was nervous, he didn't want to close his eyes. He saw Bamboo Peak was getting further and further away from him. Suddenly, everything in front of him turned to white. He was inside of thick clouds and unable to see anything.
Clouds were surrounding him. The wind blew against his face feeling like it cut. Shaw Danon's body was shaking. It's nervousness. It's excitement. Flying within sky and clouds, a dream had become true!
Within the sea of clouds, ﬂying for some time now, just as Shaw Danon's emotions became settled, there was another surprise waiting for him. "Ten Tigers" had brought them out of the sea of clouds. The blue sky, as blue as a deep ocean, so pure and boundless. When they came out from the clouds, the cloud beneath their feet seemed like a water spray, following them, creating long, thin cloud trails. Like the waves in the sea, the thin cloud trail slowly descended back to the sea of clouds.
Xavion ﬁnally lay the sword ﬂat after they were three hundred yards above the clouds. They headed straight to Peak of Widows.
The mountain peak stood tall and magniﬁcent. There was the ringing of bells echoing from the peak. Peak of Widows looked like a stairway to heaven.
Shaw Danon held his breath, as he saw countless amounts of colorful lights near the mountain peak. The closer to Peak of Widows, the more concentrated the lights were.
Shaw Danon knew those were the light of disciples' espers. Due to the ﬁve elements, they came with different colours, very pretty. The lights like stone rain rushed toward the mountain peak. Shaw Danon and Xavion with "Ten Tigers," soon joined into the colourful river of light. ※※※
Xavion and Shaw Danon landed on a huge square. Once they landed, Ashh looked around and jumped off of Shaw Danon's shoulder. It jumped around in the square. Shaw Danon did not care about it. He saw the white jade fence.
This place was familiar to Shaw Danon. He remembered this place was "Jadeon's six scene"'s "Cloud Sea." He hadn't seen it for ﬁve years; however, it was exactly the same without any changes. It was still beautiful. Today was just slightly more crowded than usual.
The square was very crowded. The disciples attending Seven Peaks Tournament seemed to be temporarily staying here. There was approximately a few hundred people. Most people wore Jadeon clothing. Many were the younger generation. Jadeon had been cultivating many young disciples.
Although there were a few hundred people in the square, the square still seemed spacious. Xavion searched through the crowd, suddenly a bright sound called "Da Shixiong, we are over here." Shaw Danon and Xavion looked toward the direction where the call came from. It was from the Bamboo Peak's disciples. They were standing next to one of the forges in the middle. Hidi was waving to them.
Xavion answered and walked toward them with Shaw Danon. Shaw Danon looked around and saw the disciples from other houses were standing in groups. They were happily chatting. They all seemed to be looking forward tot he tournament.
He Dazhi was the ﬁrst one to ask: "Da Shixiong, was the trip all right?"
Xavion smiled: "It's not the ﬁrst time coming here, what could happen?"
Hidi looked at Shaw Danon, smiled: "Xiao Fan, the scene along the way is ﬁne?"
Shaw Danon recalled the magniﬁcent scene of the mountain peak in the sky, said: "Very beautiful." Hidi giggled, patted his shoulder, said: "Try harder in cultivation. When you craft your esper and learn how to ﬂy, you can go into the sky and see as much as you wish."
Shaw Danon didn't answer, instead he smiled and nodded.
Xavion looked around and asked He Dazhi: "Fourth Shidi, where are Master and Shi niang?"
He Dazhi said: "We followed Master and Shi niang to here, then the head house's brother lead master and Shi niang to Crystal Hall. They said it's seven house's master's meeting. Discussing some of the tournament's details. Master ordered us to stay here and wait for him."
Xavion nodded, then he waved his hand to gather his shidi around him. He looked around and whispered: "I have seen many new faces from other houses. You guys were here earlier, get any information?"
He Dazhi shook his head: "I also have the same feeling. It seems like the other houses have recruited many new people." Second Wu Dayi looked around: "There are many new people. But, I guess, when we go on the stage tomorrow, most likely we will be facing the previous cultivated Shixiongs. They are the ones who have the experience."
Xavion suddenly sighed: "Second Shidi, it may not be so. Do you still remember the young disciple Baye from Dragon Head Peak two years ago?"
Wu Dayi was startled, then everyone was silent. They looked at each other in the eyes, nobody said a word. Shaw Danon had a complicated feeling pass by. It was gladness, admiration and also jealousy.
"What can trash do?" Someone suddenly said.
Everyone was surprised. That was Hidi. Her cheeks began to turn pink, her eyes opened wide, angrily said: "If he doesn't come to the tournament, it will be ﬁne. However, if he does, the best will be meeting me on the stage, at that time we will see who will be the victor." Bamboo Peak's disciples looked at each other. Amandla was smart, reacted to it quickly. He smiled: "Xiao Shimei is right. If it really happens, heh heh, shixiongs, let's have a bet on who is going to win."
"Get lost!" Fifth Ludaxin kicked him away.
Xavion smiled, just when he was about to say something, someone lightly coughed from behind him. A lady softly said: "Song Shixiong, long time no see."
Xavion seemed to receive a heavy blow.
Chapter 18: Come Across
Xavion was startled. The call was like the celestial melody within his ears. When he woke up, he turned around like lightning and saw ﬁve to six female disciples were standing there. From their clothing, it appeared that they were from Bamboo Height, the house that only accept females.
A beautiful lady was in the front facing them. A smile was on her face. Shaw Danon wanted to ask which house the Shijies were from, but when he turned around and saw Wu Dayi, Zheng Dali and He Dazhi, each had an evil smile on their faces. Then he turned to Xavion and saw his face had a silly smile and stunned look. It appeared that he could not ﬁnd the right word to say. Shaw Danon thought for a moment, and knew who that lady was.
He Dazhi and others were standing there waiting for a show; however, Xavion was just standing there with a dumb look on his face. Not only the Bamboo Peak disciples couldn't take it, even the Bamboo Height disciples were giggling. The lady blushed slightly, said softly: "Song Shixiong." Xavion still hadn't reacted. He Dazhi was impatient, said: "Ha ha, Baako Shiji. We haven't seen each other for many years. How are you?"
Baako turned her eyes at him for a moment, smiled: "You are He Dazhi, He Shixiong?"
He Dazhi nodded: "It's me. Wen Shijie has a good memory.
We only met once sixty years ago and still you remember me."
Baako smiled: "He Shixiong was ﬁghting against a powerful opponent in the last duel and showed us your surprising skill. Of course I will remember."
He Dazhi blushed. At the previous Seven Peaks Tournament, he had faced a powerful opponent from Peak of Widows during the ﬁrst round. Even though he tried his best, he still lost. But he just smiled: "Let's not mention about my past history. My cultivation level will never be able to match Wen Shijie and our Da Shixiong. By the way, after the tournament, our Da Shixiong was often thinking about you." Baako's face ﬂushed slightly, but did not reply. She peeped at Xavion. The Shimeis behind her were already laughing. Xavion used to be a brave fellow, now, he looked like a shy young man. He quickly answered: "No, no, when did I often..."
"What?" A young lady behind Baako cut in before Xavion ﬁnished: "Does that mean you did not miss our Baako Shijie?"
Xavion peeped at Baako. Baako was also looking at him. Her eyes did not blink. He blurted out: "No, no. I did miss her..."
Every one of Bamboo Peak and Bamboo Height disciples laughed. Especially the girls behind Baako who laughed the loudest, causing disciples from other houses to look toward them.
He Dazhi waited for the laughter to be gone, then he told the Bamboo Height's ladies: "Shijies, actually our Da Shixiong didn't mean that he does not miss Baako Shijie, it's not just thinking about her often..." "Then what is it?" Someone from Bamboo Height asked.
He Dazhi looked at her and smiled: "He was just thinking about her every quarter of an hour, saying her name every quarter of an hour. So, that's why he said he did not think about her often." (Often also means every hour in Chinese)
Everyone laughed. Xavion glared at He Dazhi. He looked at Baako and found that she wasn't mad. He was relieved and murmered: "Wen Shimei, they were just joking, don't, don't listen to them."
Baako smiled, then turned around and held her Shimei who laughed so hard that she almost fell. After that, she turned back and asked: "How does your heart feel?"
Xavion kept saying: "I, I, I..." but couldn't ﬁnish his thoughts. Looking at his face, the other girls laughed again. Baako shook her head and glared at him and ignored him. She walked to Hidi, held her hand, looked at her face, asked: "You are Ling Er Shimei?" Hidi was surprised: "Yes. Wen Shijie, how do you know me?"
Baako smiled: "You often came to our Bamboo Height visiting Master with Su Shishu. We already know you. Have not seen you for a number of years, you have grown more beautiful."
Hidi held Baako's hand, smiled: "How can I ever be able to compare to Baako Shijie's beauty?" Then she whispered: "My Da Shixiong was enchanted by you."
Baako peeped at Xavion. Xavion immediately had a silly smile on his face. She shook her head, quietly said: "Your Da Shixiong really is a wood brain."
Hidi chuckled. Baako took Hidi to the Bamboo Height disciples. Laughter often came from the girls. They all ignored Xavion and the others now.
Xavion wanted to speak with Baako, but did not know what to say, so all he did is stand in the same spot. Even Shaw Danon shook his head. Amandla suddenly said: "Huh? A lot of people have arrived."
Shaw Danon was curious. He turned and was shocked to see about thirty people were coming toward them. Everyone was in white clothes. Everyone looked proud and handsome. The ﬁrst person was Kevern.
Shaw Danon stared at them. He repeated his name again and again. Fourth Shixiong He Dazhi suddenly laughed: "Dragon Head Peak was expected to have such a signiﬁcant number."
Kevern also saw the Bamboo Peak disciples. He quickly walked toward them. The others followed. He held his hands in front of himself, saluted: "Song Shixiong, we meet again."
Xavion did not want to be impolite. He returned the salute: "Qi Shixiong, you have come as well. I wonder, are you going to join the tournament?" Kevern smiled: "I do not want to come. But master said I still need practice for my cultivation, and he ordered me to join, so I took a spot."
Xavion nodded: "That's great. With the talent of Qi Shixiong, victory must be yours."
Kevern shook his head, modestly said: "Song Shixiong has ﬂattered me."
When those two were talking, Shaw Danon's eyes searched through the disciples behind Kevern. After a moment, Baye's eyes, which were also searching for him, met with Shaw Danon's. They came out from the crowd and held each-other's hand. There were thousands of words to say, but they couldn't say anything all of a sudden.
A while later, Baye asked: "Xiao Fan, you joined this tournament?"
Shaw Danon nodded, smiled: "Yes, Master was being very kind to me. He let me come with. What about you?" Baye said: "I joined this tournament too. Hmph, what's so great about your shorty master? Two years ago I came to your place and your master treated you in such a way..."
Shaw Danon quickly said: "No, he is not like that normally.
That day he was just in a bad mood."
Baye realized that it's a rare chance to meet with his best friend and did not want to ruin it with this silly topic. He quickly switched the topic, smiled: "You brat, I haven't seen you for two years, you have grown so tall."
Shaw Danon punched him, grinned: "What, only you are allowed to grow and I'm not?"
Baye laughed. They could talk about anything they wanted since there were no elders nearby and the other people did not bother them. Shaw Danon unintentionally turned around and saw Kevern was greeting the ladies. A strange pain struck at Shaw Danon's heart, caused his face to change.
Baye was surprised: "What is it, Xiao Fan?" Shaw Danon shook his head, forced himself to smile: "Nothing." His eyes were still ﬁxed on Kevern.
Kevern was in front of Hidi and Baako alread. He greeted Hidi ﬁrst: "Tian Shimei, still remember me?"
Hidi was chatting with Baako and the other Bamboo Height's female disciples. All of a sudden, she saw Kevern appeared in front of her. She blushed, her voice turned very low: "Yes, hello Qi Shixiong."
Hidi's pink face and watery eyes; this beautiful face reﬂected in Shaw Danon's eyes, felt like a knife had sliced through his heart.
"Xiao Fan, what's wrong? Why does your face look so pale?" Baye was puzzled. He was concerned: "Are you ill?"
"Not, nothing. I am ﬁne." Shaw Danon said quietly. Baako's mind was shaped. She looked at the reaction of Hidi and understood what happened. She asked Kevern directly: "Qi Shixiong, why do you only recognize Tian Shimei. So we, the Bamboo Height's Shimei are not worthy enough for you to remember?"
After that all the girls behind her began to ask. Kevern immediately responded: "What do you mean Wen Shijie, how could I dare to be impolite to Bamboo Height's Shijie?"
Baako chuckled: "Qi Shixiong joined Seven Peaks Tournament again, surely you are determined to win?"
Kevern's eyes brightened, said: "At the previous tournament, Wen Shijie had passed three rounds, but unfortunately lost to Enu, Xiao Shixiong. After sixty years of practice, plus Master Shui Yue's careful teaching. With the title of Bamboo Height's best student, you also seem to want to shoot for the champion spot of the tournament."
Baako smiled: "No way, no way, how could I dare to compete against Qi Shixiong. As for the title of Bamboo Height's best student, I am not really ﬁt for it." Kevern frowned: "Wen Shijie, you are too modest..."
Baako smiled: "Nope. Master Shui Yue's knowledge is uncomparable. My potential is too dull, can't get a secret teaching from her senior. My house has another talented Shimei, Qi Shixiong, you need to be careful."
Kevern was excited, but his face was still smiling: "That's even better. With the ability to defeat Wen Shijie, that person must be a brilliant prodigy. I will be looking forward to meeting her."
Baako chuckled and nodded. Then she pulled Hidi to the side.
At that time, a whistle came from the sky. The sound was louder than thunder. A few hundred Jadeon disciples looked above them. A red light arrived, now they could see a Daoist from Peak of Widows was standing on top of a red sword. He announced: "All Shixiongs, the Heads of the Houses and Faction have delivered orders; all Shixiongs who are participating in Seven Peaks Tournament, please come to Crystal Hall." A disturbance within the few hundred Jadeon disciples lasted a while. Then, some people came out and walked to the other side of the square.
Shaw Danon thought the highly cultivated disciples would ﬂy there directly. But, it seems no one had the intention to do it; everyone just walked. He walked with Baye. Looking around he saw Hidi was walking with Baako and the other Bamboo Height disciples. Xavion and other Bamboo Peak disciples followed behind them.
As for the Dragon Head Peak, about seven or eight people came out from the crowd, but they walked in the other direction. They greeted the other disciples from other houses. Kevern especially, he was very familiar with the disciple's names. Everyone smiled at him.
"Qi Shixiong is very good at making friends." Noticing Shaw Dannon kept looking at Kevern, Baye said: "He is highly cultivated, deeply trusted by Master Vasp Caelo. Everyone respects him."
Shaw Danon nodded slowly, expressionless. At the end of the square, it was one of the Jadeon six scenes "Rainbow Bridge." Five years ago, Shaw Danon and Baye had walked past here after they were saved. Now they revisited this place again, their minds were mixing with different types of feeling.
Stepping on such superb craftsmanship, seeing the clear water running down at the sides of the bridge and still reﬂecting the seven colours of the rainbow, the ignorant children from ﬁve years ago had now become Jadeon's disciple. They walked at the rear of the crowd. Baye suddenly sighed: "Five years!"
Shaw Danon remained silent and just kept walking. The sight before him was the same as that day. As they got higher up on Rainbow Bridge, the clouds sank below them. The clear blue sky lay above their heads.
"Why don't you ﬂy up there?" Shaw Danon asked suddenly.
Baye was a little surprised: "You don't know that disciples are forbidden to ﬂy near Crystal Hall. Kevern told me it is to respect the Head, so we need to walk in a holy place like Crystal Hall; also, when Master Jadeon founded Jadeon Clan, for protection purposes, he set up an extremely powerful array at Peak of Widows called 'Regenesis Sword Array.' Any who dare to ﬂy above Peak of Widows will get slain by 'Regenesis Sword Array.'"
Shaw Danon was surprised: "So that's why even the skilled disciples don't ﬂy in here. Is that 'Regenesis Sword Array' really that powerful?"
Baye looked at the mountain peak before him, said: "I haven't seen it either; however, it must be powerful. From what I heard, 'Regenesis Sword Array' was passed down by Master Jadeon and a thousand years ago Master Jade Leaf improved the power of it. With that, no one ever dared to come to Mount Jadeon and harass us."
Shaw Danon also looked at the magniﬁcent mountain peak, said: "Amazing!"
As they talked, they walked across Rainbow Bridge with other people. Shaw Danon looked at those people. There were about sixty people. Majority of them were male, about thirteen or so were female. Most of the females were wearing Bamboo Height dresses. But regardless of male or female, they were all ﬁlled with spirit. Male were digniﬁed and handsome; female were beautiful and polite. No matter who see them, they would say Jadeon had worthy successors and bright furture.
After Rainbow Bridge, it was the Jadeon's spiritual beast protector "Water Kirin's" pond. Unlike ﬁve years ago, the ancient beast "Master Spirit" didn't hide in the pond this time, but already lay next to the pond. The lazy appearance of it, however, had no difference compared to ﬁve years ago.
When the Jadeon disciples got off of Rainbow Bridge, they bowed to the enormous beast, then went to the steps of Crystal Hall. Shaw Danon and Baye followed behind them. Baye whispered to Shaw Danon: "Do you still remember our ﬁrst time here?"
Shaw Danon nodded: "Remember. Got myself soaked. But that doesn't really matter. Seeing that large monster scared me to death." Baye smiled: "Yup, when did we ever see such a thing while we were still in Grasstemple Village. I thought the world's largest animal was the bear from Mount Jadeon."
Shaw Danon burst into laughter. Everyone turned and looked at Shaw Danon. Shaw Danon immediately settled down. Baye was also surprised. He coughed twice. His face was slightly red.
The other people looked at each other, then continued walking. Shaw Danon was relieved. He turned to Baye. They looked at each other in the eyes and smiled.
Shaw Danon and Baye walked down from Rainbow Bridge, arrived at the green pond. They bowed to the Water Kirin. The Water Kirin, however, was sleeping since the beginning; it didn't react to anyone. The snoring was loud as thunder. Surely it didn't know the two young Jadeons had bowed to it.
Shaw Danon and Baye didn't expect Water Kirin to react anyway. They walked toward the steps. Shaw Danon said: "Jing Yu, last time you came to Bamboo Peak in such a hurry. I didn't have time to congratulate you on your level of cultivation." Baye smiled: "It's thanks to Master Vasp Caelo and all Shixiongs' teaching." Then he paused, voice grew deeper: "Actually the ﬁrst few year when I practiced, I always thought of the bloody bodies in Grasstemple Village, so I pushed myself to work harder, hoping one day I can attain vengeance for our parents and friends."
Shaw Danon's heart grew sour. He held out his hand and patted his shoulder. Baye settled his emotions, then grinned: "Okay, let's not talk about the past. What about your cultivation?"
Shaw Danon shook his head: "You know I was not as smart as you when we were still young. These years in Bamboo Peak, Master and Shixiongs had treated me well. But I'm too stupid, very slow in progress. I really let them down."
Baye snorted: "You are not stupid. I think it's most likely because your shorty master purposely made things difﬁcult for you, not teaching you the true Jadeon incantations."
Shaw Danon didn't know the conﬂict two years ago still caused Baye to hate Tian Bolis. He smiled: "Can't be. My master is not that kind of person. Anyway, let's not talk about me. Is your esper still 'Dragon Slayer?'"
Baye nodded, smiled: "That divine sword is Dragon Head Peak's most valuable treasure. Master handed me this sword. Besides its might strength, it is always very spiritual. Helped me a lot in cultivation."
Shaw Danon was envious, even his face had shown it: "That's great."
Baye asked him back: "What about you, Xiao Fan, you have any esper?"
Shaw Danon was startled. He put his hand on his chest and touched the black "ﬁre stick." A chill slightly rose in his palm.
"No." He quietly said: "My cultivation is not high enough to use an esper yet." Baye didn't have any reactio to it, clearly he had already expected this answer. He comforted Shaw Danon: "It doesn't matter, Xiao Fan. As long as you work hard, you will be successful at last. We are still young yet, just pretend this is a chance to learn."
Shaw Danon's lips moved. Looked at his old friend's kind face, listened to his friendly words, but in Shaw Danon's heart, he didn't feel any pleasure.
Everyone thought he came here to learn. A sudden anger rose in his heart, like a ﬁre wad burning, but extinguished a moment later. He lowered his head, didn't say anything, not even an idea to blame his friend, for he found he himself also agreed with what his friend just said.
Like an answer in his heart, the "ﬁre stick" in his clothes reacted. A coldness suddenly rose from his palm to his shoulder. Shaw Danon was surprised. Then he found that his feeling did no damage to his body. The coolness was quite comfortable. He looked at Baye and found he didn't notice the change.
Just when Shaw Danon felt relieved, suddenly, a deafening roar burst behind them. Shaw Danon, and even the cultivated Baye, also felt the shock in their ears. Their ears kept ringing. The Jadeon disciples also turned around and checked what was going on.
Everyone was bewildered to ﬁnd such a weird roar in the holy place of Jadeon. They turned, and after a look, everyone was frightened by what they saw.
Chapter 19: Draw Part
Near the green pond, the sleeping Water Kirin was suddenly awaken. Aggressively it turned its head. Its eyes burned with immeasurable hatred. The hair on its back stood on end. Opening its huge jaw and bearing the two long fangs, it was preparing to attack. Its target was the Jadeon disciples.
Water Kirin was an ancient spiritual beast. The blue sky had darkened. As it took its ﬁrst step, the quiet mountain wind turned into ﬁerce howling gusts, passing through Peak of Widows. The water in the pond also changed. Previously the water had been as ﬂat as a mirror; now the water was whirling at high speed forming a deep vortex. From the vortex, a pillar of water rose into the sky. The pillar was about three yards thick, circling in mid air. Then, seeming as though it had received some sort of command, the water pillar thundered down in front of Water Kirin.
At that time, every Jadeon, including the highly cultivated Kevern, could not keep calm. Some had even grown pale and begun shaking. The reason why Water Kirin was able to be a great helper to Master Jade Leaf and had become the protector of Jadeon had shown. Within the ﬁve elements: metal, wood, water, ﬁre and earth; Water Kirin was the legend of all spiritual water beasts. Without any assistance it could control the water and form a water pillar of such size. It didn't even appear to be hard work. The spirit strength was far stronger than that of a normal
cultivator. Within Jadeon, only a few could do that with the help of an esper.
Jadeon disciples bore witness to the rage of Water Kirin that had not shown for thousands of years. Everyone was stunned. Water Kirin kept on roaring. Its eyes ﬁlled with anger as though it felt something it really hated and was prepared to ﬁght to the death. The water pillar became faster and faster. Then, the water pillar struck at the Jadeon disciples.
Just at that critical moment, a call came from the sky: "Master Spirit, please calm down!"
A dark green ﬁgure arrived and stood between the disciples and Water Kirin. It was the Head of Jadeon, Master Doyal Shen. He had not changed in the past ﬁve years. He frowned, also unclear about what happened to Water Kirin. The situation, however, is dire; the students behind him were the ﬁnest disciples. Within the water pillar, there were shadows of many kinds of beast that had once been slain by Water Kirin. The souls were absorbed by Water Kirin into its body and did not allow the souls to reincarnate. Now, Water Kirin put these souls into the water pillar to increase its strength. Even with the divine strength of Master Doyal Shen this water pillar may
be difﬁcult to deal with.
Seeing the water pillar in front of him, Doyal Shen had nowhere to go. He took a deep breath, said: "God of compassion!" He held up both hands. Quickly, but softly, he formed sword ﬁngers and drew a Tai Chi in front of his chest. The Tai Chi circle glowed with white light. Then Doyal Shen turned around and allowed the Tai Chi to attach to the back of his dark green robe. Then the robe fell off into mid air and stretched ten times wider, protecting the disciples.
The water pillar hit against the enlarged, dark green robe. The beasts inside the water pillar roared furiously. Under the heavy blow, the green robe was being pushed back a few yards immediately. On the stairs, the young Jadeon disciples felt strong wind blowing against them. Except for the few more highly cultivated disciples, none could stand ﬁrmly. They couldn't imagine what might happen to them if Master Doyal Shen did not help them block that strike.
Shaw Danon also fell. Baye wanted to help him, but he himself could not stand either; he fell to the other side.
Shaw Danon let go of the black ﬁre stick and held out his hand seeking for support. He didn't notice the chill had left the moment he let go of the ﬁre stick.
In mid-air, Master Doyal Shen's face was solemn, prepared. Behind him, many people arrived. They were Master Vasp Caelo, Tian Bolis, Surin as well as other elders and heads.
All of Jadeon's masters were here. Facing this situation, anyone would be fearful. The Water Kirin, however, had no sign of fear under the eyes of Jadeon's elders; the anger in his eyes had extinguished and been replaced by a look of confusion. The water pillar also shrank and fell on the ﬂoor creating a large pool of water on the ground. Water Kirin grew quiet, but its enormous body still appeared fearsome. It ignored all the elders, who were standing in the sky. Its eyes searched through the Jadeon disciples. Its nose sniffed and could not ﬁnd any smell. It repeated this weird movement for a few times, then gave up. Water Kirin shook its head, turned back and lay back down. Its eyes closed. After a moment, the sound of snores rang out.
Everyone was speechless.
Master Vasp Caelo was the ﬁrst to put himself back together; quietly he went and joined Master Doyal Shen, whispered: "Head Shixiong, it is not good for the disciples to remain here for long."
Doyal Shen realized, then nodded: "You bring our disciples up there ﬁrst. I will check Master Spirit." Then, he dashed to Water Kirin.
Vasp Caelo turned around and announced: "That was just a joke from Master Spirit. No need to worry everyone. Now, whoever is participating in Seven Peaks Tournament, go to Crystal Hall in order." The disciples responded; they fell to rank. Their hearts knew that had deﬁnitely not been a joke.
Following the group, Shaw Danon and Baye entered the magniﬁcent Crystal Hall. Standing in the hall, the memories from ﬁve years ago suddenly refreshed in Shaw Danon's mind.
"Jing Yu." Shaw Dannon said suddenly.
"What?" Baye looked at Shaw Danon.
Shaw Danon asked: "I suddenly remembered one thing. For these years, did you see Uncle Bozo?"
Baye's face darkened, shook his head: "No. Today is also my ﬁrst time returning to Peak of Widows. I asked Kevern Shixiongs about Uncle Bozo three years ago. I heard he was still crazy, running aorund Peak of Widows all day. With the care of the Shixiongs in Peak of Widows, however, he should be ﬁne."
Shaw Danon was silent for a moment, said: "When the contest is over, I want to see him. You want to come, too?"
Baye nodded: "Yes, I also want to see him."
All of a sudden, a green ﬁgure passed through the hall. Master Doyel Shen had returned. All Jadeon elder's eyes landed on him. Master Vasp Caelo walked forth and asked: "Head Shixiong, Master Spirit..."
Doyal Shen held up his hand and gave him a look. Master Vasp Caelo immediately stopped. Then Master Doyal Shen turned around as though nothing happened, kindly said to the Jadeon disciples: "Everyone is here. Good, good."
Everyone bowed, said: "Greeting, Head of Faction." Master Doyel Shen smiled and returned to his seat. He looked toward Master Vasp Caelo. Master Vasp Caelo stepped forward, announced: "Everyone, you are all Jadeon's best disciples. From the establishment of Jadeon clan until now, it has already been two thousand years. Jadeon is the orthodox Daoists and the leader of the side of Good. However, there is a saying: Achievement comes from hard work, the fallen is a result of laziness. Also: Go against the water current, ﬂow
backward if not advancing forward. Our faction's ancestors
wanted to remain for the next generation and passed down the Seven Peaks Tournament events. This is already our twentieth session."
"Ah." the Jadeon disciples were amazed. Twentieth, once ever sixty years; that meant it had already lasted one thousand two hundred years in length.
Master Vasp Caelo was satisﬁed to see the reaction of the disciples, then said: "Today, under the leadership of Head Shixiong, Doyal shen, Jadeon became prosperous. Numerous of the young, talented disciples are in Jadeon, so we specially increased the number to sixty-four people to prevent any regret of undiscovered talent." Shaw Danon could not help but look at Tian Bolis. Tian Bolis sat next to Master Doyal Shen. His face was emotionless, but his eyes showed impatience. This change was said to be discussed between the heads of the houses, but in reality, it was just an agreement between Doyel Shen and Vasp Caelo.
Master Vasp Caelo continued: "Because of the increased number, there are a few changes in sortation. Everyone look this way." He pointed tot he right side of the hall. There was a large, red, wooden box. On top of the box, there was a hole large enough for an arm to enter.
"In this red box, there are a total of sixty-three wax beads. Each has a piece of paper inside with a number written on it, one through sixty-three." The conversation within the disciples roused to out of control. Master Vasp Caelo ignored them, continued: "After the sortation is completed, the contest will carry out based on the numbers; number one versus number sixty-four, number two versus number sixty-three and so on. In the second round, the victor between number one and sixty- four will face the victor between number two and sixty-three and continue onward; this will take place until the ﬁnal. Understand?" Jadeon disciples were silent for a moment, then somebody shouted out: "Excuse me Vasp Caelo Shishu, there are sixty- four people but why are there only sixty-three wax beads?"
Master Vasp Caelo appeared to be prepared for this question. He coughed: "The rule for this session is each house sends nine representatives. Peak of Widows sends one extra. But, ahem, because only one house can send only eight representatives, meaning one person is missing, results in sixty-three people."
Everyone's eyes landed on Head of Bamboo Peak, Tian Bolis. Though Tian Bolis' face was mad, he sat still in his seat. The Jadeon's disciples discussed with each other.
When the talking quieted down, Master Vasp Caelo solemnly said: "But this is not difﬁcult to work around. Within these sixty-three wax beads, whoever draws number one will be extremely lucky, because there is no number sixty-four as an opponent, so the ﬁrst round there is no need to ﬁght."
Jadeon disciples began another uproar. Jadeon was a famous clan, the rules were very strict. This method of selection was ridiculous, but no one opposed it. Master Doyal Shen stood up. Everyone immediately quieted down. Master Doyal Shen nodded: "Then, let's begin."
Everyone's eyes landed on the large, red, wooden box. First, ten disciples from Peak of Widows went to the box, each put their hands into the box and took out a wax bead one-by-one. Dragon Head Peak's disciples followed.
Baye said something to Shaw Danon then followed the others to the red box. Shaw Danon watched Baye's back for a moment, then moved his sight to the seven masters and all the elders. Among these people, Master Doyal Shen, Master Vasp Caelo, Master Tian Yun, Master Shang Zheng Liang and Master Ceng Shu Chang who Shaw Danon met ﬁve years ago. Only the Taoist nun seated at the farthest right was unfamiliar to him. She was most likely the well-known Bamboo Height's master, Master Shui Yu.
Shaw Danon heard his Shixiongs talk about this master often. He hear that Bamboo Height was the only house that exclusively adopted female disciples. Master Shui Yu's cultivation skill was very deep and well-known within Jadeon. The Bamboo Height disciples often performed well in Seven Peaks Tournament. Shaw Danon looked at Master Shui Yu. Her age seemed to be around thirty like Surin. Her robe was moon white. Behind her, there were no elders, but a young female disciple. Her clothes were as white as snow, her face was very beautiful. A long sword was on her back. It was sky blue from the handle to the edge. Waves could be faintly seen ﬂowing around the sword.
The young lady felt his eyes. She turned suddenly and stared at him. Shaw Danon felt as though he had been shocked by lightning. He was surprised and his face turned slightly red. The girl had no expression on her face, but her eyes were ﬁlled with scorn. She quickly lowered her head. Just at this embarrassing moment, someone pulled on his hand; it was Hidi: "Xiao Fan, what are you doing, it is our turn to draw the wax bead."
Shaw Danon hurried: "Yes, yes." Then he didn't look at Master Shui Yu any longer and followed Hidi to the red, wooden box. Only Bamboo Peak and Bamboo Height had not gone yet. Xavion and other Bamboo Peak disciples each picked up one wax bead from the box, then went back to the center of the hall. Everyone was busy checking their number from the bead. Baako and the other seven disciples from Bamboo Height came out. The girl in white whispered something to Master Shui Yu, then Master Shui Yu nodded: "Go." The girl in white responded and walked with the Bamboo Height disciples and smiled to Baako. They took out the remaining nine wax beads from the box.
The disciples were checking their numbers. The masters of the houses also became nervous, hoping their disciple had drawn a lucky one. The paper with the number one written on it.
Seemingly in response to the masters' feelings, words issued out from the Jadeon disciples:
"Aw, I get twenty-six."
"Mine is thirty-three, eh, what number is yours?"
"Oh, mine is fourty-seven, I wonder what number is my opponent, let me see "
....... After long while, no one said they got they precious number one paper.
Vasp Caelo frowned, coughed then asked: "Who got the number one paper?"
His voice covered all the disciples' sounds. The hall was silent. Then, after a long time, within the crowd a small sound, with surprise and caution, seeming like he was not believing his luck, answered: "Reply, reply to Vasp Caelo Shibo. It is here."
Everybody looked at him. Shaw Danon was standing there, with a piece of paper in his hand, looking at Tian Bolis, speaking timidly.
Chapter 20: Trace of Evil
Instantly, everyone's eyes landed on this unremarkable Bamboo Peak disciple. Tian Bolis and Surin looked at each other. Surin smiled, nodded.
The Bamboo Peak disciples surrounded him. Ludaxin hit heavily on Shaw Danon's shoulder, said: "You stinking brat, never knew you had such luck."
Shaw Danon scratched his head and stuck out his tongue. Amandla regretfully slapped his head: "I should have put a bet on who may get the number one wax bead. Heh, heh, must be unexpected!"
"Get out." Hidi pushed him away, then told Shaw Danon: "Xiao Fan, you are going to be useless in round two anyway, give this to me!"
Shaw Danon never expected his Shijie would say that. He was startled, then said: "Oh." He proceeded to hand the paper to her. Xavion said quietly: "Xiao Shimei, don't mess around."
Hidi chuckled. She held out her ﬁnger and ﬂicked against Shaw Danon's forehead, said: "Silly, I was just joking."
Shaw Danon blinked, and laughed.
Vasp Caelo frowned, announced: "Good, the sortation has completed. In a moment, come see me and report what number you received. Later they will be posted on a list on a red board, so you can check who your opponent is. Now, Head Shixiong has prepared a speech."
The disciples immediately grew quiet. Master Doyal Shen left his seat and walked slowly to the front. His eyes swept across the disciples, then said: "Everyone, all of you are Jadeon's hope for our next generation. Everyone here possess great potential. In the future, the position of master, elder, or even the head may be succeeded by one of you."
Many Jadeon disciples were excited. Master Doyal Shen showed a gentle smile: "Of course, to get this far and attain the seat of elder and master, you all need to work hard."
Everyone said at same time: "Yes."
Master Doyal Shen held his long, then nodded: "We Jadeon clan, since Master Jadeon to now have always been a well known faction of Good. Today, we are the leaders of the Good cultivators in this world. The Good rise up while the Evil hid themselves. People live peacefully. The remaining Evil, however, are treacherous and vicious. Their hearts never die. In the recent years, there are signs of Evil preparing to rise up again. In the times like this, they need the Good to get rid of them. So everyone must focus on cultivation, strengthen your mind. If we are strong, the Evil can ﬁnd no opening for them!"
All the disciples shouted: "Understand Headmaster's teaching!"
Master Doyal Shen smiled: "Good, good. Another thing I want to announce: To encourage Jadeon disciples, I have discussed with masters and elders and it has been decided from now one, the winner of Seven Peaks Tournament will receive a small prize."
Master Doyal Shen looked at those young disciples, said: "The reward for this session is: Union Mirror."
"What is that?" Shaw Danon had never heard of it before. He turned to Hidi and Amandla, but they were also confused. Other young disciples appeared to be lost, too. But, for the older disciples, such as Kevern, Xavion and Baako, their faces shone with the rare excitement and yearning.
Hidi noticed Da Shixiong knew something. She got closer and asked: "Da Shixiong, what is Union Mirror?"
Xavion whispered: "Union Mirror was the esper of Master Wu Fang Zi, the tenth head master of Jadeon. I had never seen it before, only heard master told me it is one of our faction's treasures. Extremely powerful. The one unique feature of it: if the spirit power of the caster is strong enough, Union Mirror can reﬂect all attacks. The caster will be undefeatable."
Everyone's mouth opened wide, Amandla stammered said: "That, that means invincible?"
Xavion shrugged: "I am not sure how it looks exactly anyway. But master shouldn't be wrong about it this time," he peaked at Master Doyal Shen, then whispered: "it seems the masters had to pay a great price into holding this tournament."
Everyone's faces were strange. Most people swallowed. With the treasure in front of them, even as cultivators, their stable minds were shaken.
Master Doyal Shen stopped for a moment, smiled as he watched the disciples were discussing about the tournament. After a while he said: "Good, so bassically that is it. All of you return and take a rest, for tomorrow morning the contest will begin." Together the Jadeon disciples saluted, said: "Yes, Headmaster."
Master Doyal Shen nodded: "Go."
The disciples left the hall, leaving the elders and the heads remaining. Master Doyal Shen turned and smiled to the elders: "Shixiongs, you shall rest, too. Beginning from tomorrow, there will be many competitions that need all of you to take care of."
Some elders had wrinkles all over their faces, while others appeared very young. They said nothing and left the hall. Finally, only the heads of the seven houses were in Crystal Hall.
Master Doyal Shen slowly took back his kind smile. His eyes swept through the six other people, said: "Okay, only seven of us are here now."
On the right, Head of "Sun Rise Peak" Shang Zheng Liang frowned, asked: "Head Shixiong, what do you want to tell us?" Master Doyal Shen nodded. Slowly said: "I checked Master Spirit."
Everyone was shocked.
After the incident at the stairs, the disciples were still frightened as they were passing the pond. This time Water Kirin was peacefully sleeping.
Passing the Rainbow Bridge back to Cloud Sea's square. Baye said a few things to Shaw Danon then left with disciples from Dragon Head Peak. Shaw Danon went back to Bamboo Peak's people, listened to Xavion talk about things that need to be regarded and about lodging. As Shaw Danon was listening to him, he suddenly recalled, cried: "Damn!"
Everyone was surprised. Hidi asked: "Xiao Fan, what it is?" Shaw Danon looked around, said urgently: "I was talking to Baye and forgot about Ashh. Now, I have no idea where he went."
Everyone realized they hadn't seen the ﬁgure of the grey monkey. They immediately searched the square. The disciples from other houses were already gone, but there was no sign of Ashh.
Shaw Danon was anxious. Since two years ago he brought Ashh from the ancient valley, for two years, he and the monkey (plus Big Yella later on) had lived together. Peak of Widows was inconceivably large. How could he ever be able to ﬁnd him again if Ashh went into the forest and looked for wild fruits.
Shaw Danon suddenly heard Hidi "Huh?" He turned and saw Hidi grinned and pointed: "Look."
Everyone could not help but laugh. Ashh was sitting on Big Yella's back. It screamed and waved at Shaw Danon. Big Yella's jaw was closed tightly. Its mouth was holding a bone. Big Yella carried Ashh and arrived in front of them Ashh jumped on Shaw Dannon's shoulder. Shaw Danon patted its head and made a mad face: "Where did you go?"
Ashh wasn't scared. It grinned, pointed to Big Yella, then gestured with its hands. Shaw Danon watched it for a moment, then suddenly asked: "Where did you ﬁnd this bone?"
Ashh gestured again and pointed to one end of the square. Shaw Danon looked at Xavion. Xavion quickly looked around and saw no one nearby. He whispered, embarrassed: "That place is Peak of Widow's dinning hall."
Everyone was startled, laughed, then shook their heads. Xavion lead them to one end of the square, said: "We shall go to the dormitory now. Xiao Shimei, you are a girl, we have arranged for you to join the Bamboo Height's Shimeis. No problem, right?"
Hidi shook her head, smiled: "I wanted to talk more with Baako Shijie anyway. Plus, I can help Da Shixiong to say some nice words to her." They laughed. Xavion blushed and pretended not to hear anything and walked away. Shaw Danon glared at his monkey: "Stupid monkey, next time if you go and be a thief, watch how I am going to punish you."
Ashh "creek creek" screamed and grinned. It was either that he didn't understand or didn't care about Shaw Danon.
Shaw Danon scolded again. Then he turned back and shouted: "Hurry, you stupid dog, all you know how to do is eat."
Big Yella raised its eyes and saw everyone was walking far away. It stood and caught up with them lazily with the bone in its mouth.
In Crystal Hall, the seven houses' heads were there. All their attention was on Master Doyal Shen. "Sun Set Peak's" head master Tian Yun was the ﬁrst to get up; said: "Head Shixiong, did you ﬁnd out what happened to Master Spirit?"
Master Doyal Shen sighed, slowly said: "I had carefully checked. Master Spirit had nothing unusual."
"What?" Every master was surprised.
Master Doyal Shen looked at his Shixiongdi, said: "Indeed. I had repeatedly checked many times. Everything was normal for Master Spirit. I really can't understand why it suddenly became so aggressive, then left so quickly."
Tian Bolis pondered for a moment, said: "I think the target of Master Spirit was the disciples. Can it be one of the disciples had provoked it?"
Head of "Bamboo Height" Master Shui Yu said: "Impossible. If a disciple really made it mad, then why would Master Spirit give up after the ﬁrst strike?" The tone of Shui Yu's voice was extremely cold. The voice made people feel chilled. Tian Bolis stopped speaking.
The oldest looking Ceng Shu Chang, the head of "Peak of Wind," said: "Head Shixiong has a conclusion already?"
Master Doyal Shen sighed: "Not to conceal it from you, I am also confused by it. Master Spirit is our mountain guardian. It cannot be underestimated. I wanted to use the secret 'Psychic Art' to investigate, but then..."
Master Doyal Shen unexpectedly stopped. Tian Bolis asked: "Head Shixiong, what was it?"
Master Doyal Shen was embarassd: "Psychic Art is a simple trick. It can help us to communicate with Master Spirit. But when I tried to use it, Master Spirit was sleeping already, I could not do anything about it."
They were stunned. Master Doyal Shen coughed, said: "No need to worry about it at the moment. We can plan later when Master Spirit wakes up. There is one more issue laying in front of us. I want to discuss with all of you."
Seeing Master Doyal Shen's serious look, seemed it was not a minor issue, they removed their smile from their faces and sat silently.
Master Doyal Shen also returned to his seat. Pondered for a moment, then said: "You know the 'Kongsang Mountain' three thousand miles east from here?"
They were startled. Master Vasp Caelo said: "Head Shixiong, are you referring to the Kongsang Mountain that contains 'Cave of Fangs'?"
Master Doyal Shen Nodded: "Exactly."
Ceng Shu Chang frowned: "I heard 'Cave of Fangs' is a natural cave, immeasurably deep. The climate there is ice-cold and wet. Only countless numbers of bats live there. It is said to be be home to more than millions of them inside the cave. This kind of barren place, why does Shixiong mention it?"
Master Doyal Shen said slowly: "All of you may not know, even though no life goes near that place now, eight hundred years ago it was a major hideout of the Evil. The climate there is just right for the Evil to practice their curses. Later, the Daoist from the side of Good went there and wiped them out. The Evil ﬂed away and left this place deserted."
Master Shui Yu spoke coldly: "So, what are you trying to say, Head Shixiong?"
The manner of Shui Yu was impolite to Doyal Shen. Everyone knew, however, Master Shui Yu always spoke like this. Master Doyal Shen also didn't care. He sighed and said: "Shui Yu Shimei, I had received a letter from Incense Valley half a year ago. It said that near the Cave of Fangs, there is signs of Evil remaining active. So, they want to ask my opinion. After some consideration, I sent my disciple Yi Cai to quickly investigate Kongsang Mountain." Sun Rise Peak's Shang Zheng Liang smiled: "Isn't that great? Enu Shizhi's potential and cultivation had earned him the champion position of last session's Seven Peaks Tournament. With him there, what can not be accomplished?"
Master Doyal Shen smiled back: "Shang Shixiong praised too highly of him. After Yi Cai had gone for a few months, he sent a letter back to me. The Evil people truly had been active around Cave of Fangs. But their purpose, it is more surprising."
Everyone was surprised. Ceng Shu Chang asked: "What is it?"
Master Doyal Shen was still remaining calm. He said: "According to Yi Cai's letter, he had captured an Evil follower. After interrogating him, Yi Cai found out Cave of Fangs was the head quarters of 'Blood Forger' faction, eight hundred years ago. During that time, Blood Forger was one of the ﬁve largest Evil factions. After they were defeated by our Good ancestors, they had fallen. The Cave of Fangs was also deserted. In recent years, Blood Forger has shown signs of rising. Although all important Blood Forgers were slain by the Good in the Cave of Fangs' battle, there was a secret cave that has not yet been found. There are many unique treasures and evil incantation scrolls that had not been discovered." Everyone understood. Master Cang Song laughed coldly: "Evil minded people, wishful thinking!"
Master Doyal Shen shook his head: "No matter if this rumor is true or not, according to what I know, after the battle eight hundred years ago, the side of Good didn't ﬁnd any treasure storeroom located in Cave of Fangs. If there really is an undiscovered secret cave, I am afraid there will be an extremely evil object that we must be wary of."
Master Tian Yu asked: "Shixiong, what is the extremely evil object, is it really that important?"
Master Doyal Shen said quietly: "Sinister Orb!"
Master Vasp Caelo was surprised, said: "Didn't that disappear along with Elder Blackheart's death, already?"
Master Doyal Shen shook his head: "Though Elder Black Heart is dead, that doesn't mean Sinister Orb will have vanished from this world. The evil object like this cannot be controlled by normal people. The evil disciples may hide it since they can't use it. Elder Black Heart was from Blood Forger. Sinister Orb may very possibly be inside of the secret cave."
They were silent for a while, then Master Shui Yu coldly asked: "What is the will of Head Shixiong?"
Master Doyal Shen said: "After I received Yi Cai's letter, I immediately informed Incense Valley and Skysong Temple. They replied and said they will send their best disciples to Kongsang Mountain to stop the Evil followers."
Tian Bolis frowned: "Then you are saying"
Master Doyal Shen smiled: "This time is a rare chance for our disciples to earn some experience. There are many prodigies in Jadeon, but most never go out there and practice. Also, these years the world is so peaceful, there have not been battles with the Evil for a long time. From this chance in Seven Peaks Tournament, I decide to send our top four disciples to Kongsang Mountain. It can stop the Evil Follower's plot and also allow our disciples to gain experience. And..." he exchanged his smile for a solemn look: "I heard both Skysong Temple and Incense Valley have some very talented disciples. If we do not do anything about it, we can't hold our position as leader of Good any longer. Then, I will have no face to see my master and ancestors!"
They nodded. Master Vasp Caelo said: "Head Shixiong is very correct."
Master Doyal Shen looked at the other masters, said: "So, that means everyone is ﬁne with it?"
Master Doyal Shen said: "Good, then that is set. I had already prepared rooms for Shixiongs in Crystal Hall. Please, you may all go rest now." Then he clapped his hands three times. Several children came in. "Lead the heads to their room."
The children answered. The heads got up and saluted to Master Dayol Shen, then left. Kongsang is name after the mulberry forest near the town. Kongsang town is the birth place of Confucius.