Fragmented Memories Ch. 0-165

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  • edited June 21

    Chapter 137: Time Spent Together

    As if a camera descended from the sky gently, one could slowly see two people, a man, and a woman sitting together on the grass.

    “Zhào Lǚ, you need to be careful, if Jīn Fèng heard that she would probably be tempted to beat you,” Zhàn Méi giggled and gently smiled to the point that there was a slight curve on her stoic face.

    The two chatted for a bit of time after the whole situation was solved and the two of them quickly got changed into dry clothes and the two of them decided to take whatever that had planned to do that wasn’t major and spend some time together.

    Being the oblivious person that he was to not knowing anything about love or relationship, he didn’t mind and was happy to chat with her. However, the opposite was for Zhàn Méi. In her mind, all she could think about was the word date repeating in her head over and over again.

    Even though she was very emotionless and stoic when it came to things, hence her name Icy Queen; besides the fact that she likes to use ice a lot, she did really care for many situations or rarely expressed it. Yet when it came to certain things, she became very emotional about things, especially about love. In a way, she was your typical girl who got extremely embarrassed about certain situations despite acting tough.

    “Oh ya, I almost forgot!”

    “Hmm?” Zhào Lǚ who was currently laying against a looked with a puzzled expression. She could see her conscious focusing on her storage ring, however, he was curious as to what she wanted to get.

    Zhàn Méi took out a golden box with a pink ribbon and opened it. She hesitated slightly but moved the box closer to him, “I had a bit of dough leftover so I made extras. Originally I was just going to hand them over to you, but that previous situation stopped us. S-So just take the rest that I don’t want anymore!” she quickly shoved the box on his hands and quickly looked away not knowing whether to laugh or cry.

    Being amazed at the food that was baked, he did not notice the weird situation around Zhàn Méi and almost drooled as the aroma still remained, showing off its tastes. He looked towards Zhàn Méi who had her face towards another direction but still trying to look at him to see his reaction. “Thank you Zhàn Méi! I love you!”

    Hearing those three final words she almost blew up and blurted out loud, “W-What do you mean you love me!?”

    Being oblivious he answered her, “Aren’t people supposed to say that to those who they like as a thank you?”

    “Don’t tell me that’s what it said in your books,” Zhàn Méi stared at him with a poker face while her left eye started to twitch ever so slightly.

    “Yes? Even though a lot of the time it’s between a man and woman in the thing called a ‘Romance Genre’, isn’t it just a way for someone to express their love for one another or for multiple people?”

    Currently, she wanted to just go and collapse in a pool of lava. She tried her best to explain to him what love is and after about ten minutes he finally got a small grasp on it so she left it there as love was truly a complicated topic. Even the progenitor wouldn’t be able to explain it completely. It was like asking someone what someone’s meaning of life was, each has different values, each has different ideologies. They all connect but they all separate at the same time.

    “I don’t understand entirely, but I think I understand it. It’s when two people want to be together forever and will even sacrifice themselves for another?” he asked.

    Having enough of his ignorance she just smiled and nodded while not knowing whether to laugh or cry internally, “Y-Ya, somewhat.”

    “Hmm,” he thought for a few seconds, “then do you love me?”

    After he said those words a bomb immediately exploded in her head. She took a whole minute to finally respond as she had to recollect herself so she doesn’t faint from embarrassment, “Um… Ask me another time! It is supposed to be for those who make your heart feel weird and fuzzy.”

    “Huh, it doesn’t make your heart feel weird when you see me? I guess I have to go out and experience life then,” he rubbed his chin with his fingers and contemplated it.

    Zhàn Méi immediately stopped him in fear that he would accidentally drive down a path where horny females would drag him down as they wanted to use him or he would think that they were doing something innocent, “No no! Just… Um… Wait until I give you a proper response!” Her face which was totally flushed red spoke out and she heaved a sigh of relief that he didn’t have his memories as if this was anyone else they would have immediately caught on.

    She got up from the grass and looked in the opposite direction instead of facing Zhào Lǚ before speaking, “I should probably get going. Good luck with your training!” she immediately walked so fast that she could catch up to any mortal who was running at a fast pace. After being asked that question she was forced to leave or else a miniature nuke would have been set off inside her head.

    Laying his head against a tree, Zhào Lǚ continued to eat the pastries and waved his left hand towards her while saying goodbye with a muffled voice due to the food in his mouth. As usual, he was confused, but he learned to not question things so openly.

    =====

    After leaving, in order to cool off, Zhàn Méi started to wander the rich district of the kingdom. Despite wearing very common clothing no one dared to disrespect her. Only one junior dared to attempt to do anything but before he could voice an opinion their ancestor immediately slapped them and told them to shut up before they get killed.

    Even though she was in the rich district, she did not idle around the rich stores and restaurant and took random directions, traveling across beautiful grassy roads and the like.

    The majority of the time she had her head down, thinking about the event that happened earlier. If this were an animation, puffs of smoke would’ve been coming out of her a long time ago.

    While she was looking down she noticed the floors suddenly changed causing her to look up. She realized that she was at the academy that Chǎng was at. In the distance, she could see two words,  “Liokal Academy”. This was the only academy that dared title itself that as the king himself helped the founder built the place up with resources and the like.

    She decided she may as well take a stroll around as considering her prestige, no one dared to block her path beside the principle. Not only that but she had the Five Element Ring that was on the fourth tier so her orders were solid tight, only people like the Princess, King, Captain Shi, Zhào Lǚ or the Progenitor can cancel them.

    However, before she could get through the gates a guard stopped her, “Damn commoners! How did you even make it through the district to the main area? You look pretty enough… Let me take care of you-” as the guard was moving towards her the guard next to her sent him flying to the gates with his spear.

    Just as the guard that harassed her was about to speak, the other guard yelled at him, “You fool! How dare you call the Icy Queen a mere commoner! This is why you got reduced to such a position despite your cultivation,” he turned and bowed towards Zhàn Méi, “I greet young master.”

    The guard that was knocked eyes shone with great regret. Just as he was about to apologize Zhàn Méi stopped him, “Enough, I don’t want an apology from a lying fool. If this happens again off with your head and family!”

    Despite being at the Rising Dragon rank, the guard who harassed her said zero words and bowed until she left through the gates.

  • Chapter 138: Fight of the Small

    As she was walking up the hill, a couple of students who were chilling out as they had no classes during the time stopped talking and stared.
    “Oh my goodness, the Icy Queen is paying a visit!”

    “Despite her wearing common clothing she still looks beautiful. If only I could marry someone on her level!”

    “Pft, you marrying her? Not a chance. As beautiful as she is, there is a reason she is named Icy Queen. I don’t think any man will be able to touch her.”

    “Ah, Big Sis, I wonder though, if she did get a husband, who would it be?”

    “Probably someone who is as much of a genius or even beyond her. It would be a shame if a mortal or someone with little to no talent even got close to her. Sadly these are the situation of geniuses. Only someone with prestige, strength, wisdom, and a good background could actually marry another genius.”

    Many people started to chat and chat, and some even started to communicate with those in class or in the halls in order to tell them of this news.

    Because of this, as she finally finished ascending to the main school building a bunch of people was already in the area, preparing to see her and possibly get to know her. Yet despite this, there were only fifty people out of the hundreds, and even thousands of students.

    Even though she did not care much for popularity, judging from the situation she could tell that something was up.

    But before she could even speculate someone who appeared to be almost an adult came up to her and greeted her. “Ah, Senior Sister, welcome! I did not expect you to be here. If you aren’t doing anything then do you want to possibly come with me? Right now there is a competition amongst those who are very young and I was going to head there.”

    Looking to her right she could see that there was a female, about the age of seventeen who wore a long and beautiful dress that had strings of gold flowing around it. She was the child of a direct cousin of the king so naturally even though she did not gain a huge amount of fame, she was still respected more than a noble would.

    “Wáng Fēngfù, it is nice seeing you again. I was truly just taking a stroll around the area to get rid of some thoughts but ya I don’t mind checking the battle between the young,” Zhàn Méi nodded and spoke to her in a cold way. Even though she did know her they were not friends. In fact, she had only seen her a couple of time due to her wandering around the palace.

    Upon hearing this Wáng Fēngfù smiled and ignored the cold voice, “If I may ask, what has been bothering you lately Senior Sister?”

    Getting triggered by those words, Zhàn Méi took a second to calm down as she didn’t feel like causing a commotion cause she blushed or something along with the likes. She shrugged and replied with a simple answer, “Nothing much, sometimes cultivating and dealing with other things can be a bit stressful. I find walks to be enjoyable and a way to let everything loose.”

    “Hmm, you are right about that. I do take walks as well. Sometimes just around here, in the rich district, the poor district, anywhere as long as I get to experience new things.”

    Upon them walking, some of the students who planned to welcome her or at the very least greet her immediately died and envied Wáng Fēngfù for even knowing her. Even though others in other kingdoms or nations might not care too much about the group of five, Wáng Wèi and her group, the people in Liokal viewed them as the next immortals, the next geniuses. It could be said, whether one went to school, whether one was even a cultivator, their names were spread out to the kingdom.

    =====

    As they were speaking, in another area, a large group of students was sitting in a large coliseum-like area cheering on people over and over.

    This was the fight that Wáng Fēngfù was talking about. Currently, a bunch of kids, around the age of eight and twelve were currently fighting amongst each other. Even though this was not something too exciting as they were still around the first and beginning of the second realm, it was a time for them to shine.

    The majority that arrived cheered them on as these children were either their family, friends family, or people they had to pay respects to. Especially those with lower status came to spot out the geniuses to befriend or to ensure that they get on their good side. While some came with goals, some decided to just watch as studying all day was too boring.

    “Arg!” a little kid was thrown out the arena, coughing due to the pain.

    “Xièxiè lost! Hóngsè won!” the crowd cheered and clap as a teacher announced the results. After everything settled down the teacher sounded out the upcoming people, “Up next, Wāi versus Chǎng!”

    The crowd clapped and cheered like usual, however, some spoke with concern, “Isn’t she nearing thirteen years of age? Why is she in here?”

    “Oh, brother you probably haven’t heard. One day two men came in barging into the class, saying that she was enrolled. The teacher obvious became pissed, however, before anything could happen the principal came in and instead of kicking the two out, he instead bowed towards him in respect!

    After some people talked with her, they found out that she is new to cultivation, never touching it in any shape or form. Obviously, she would have been kicked out, especially since she isn’t the daughter of some amazing noble but a mere maid, yet those two men must have had an extreme background to cause the principle to immediately enroll her and treat her with great respect.”

    “Huh, weird, if they really valued her she would’ve started cultivating a long time ago. Now I’m curious about her background.”

    “They must have found her as a maid somewhere else I guess. When she came back to class after almost two weeks of training she was at the seventh level, but now she’s at the eighth level. I wonder what kind of training she went through.”

    “Hmph, you two brothers are gloating over her for no reason. At the end of the day, she is just a mere maid. I could probably go up to her and command her to warm up my bed. No need to warm up to a commoner.”

    Some people spoke in positivity, some in negativity. But at the end of the day it seemed that despite the age, she was quickly accepted most likely due to those two men behind her which of course was Zhào Lǚ and Wáng Dòu

    On the stage, Chǎng pulled out her spear and prepared to fight. The person with the first name of Wāi also prepared and he smiled with a smirk and trait that only some old ancestors would be like, sly as a fox.

    The teacher that was taking control of the situation waved his hand down as if he was chopping something and he announced the word, “Begin!”

    The two slammed against each other almost immediately as they were not too far away.

    The spear clashed against the dagger that the boy who appeared to be eleven wielded. Upon that clash people, especially those that were older and were bored started to cheer as they could tell from watching lots of fights that this one was actually going to be entertaining as they were almost equal in strength.

    “Wooh, Little Wāi go and beat that little girl! Once you beat her and make her your maid Big Bro is going to take you out somewhere special!” a teenage boy screamed as he cheered the dagger-wielding boy on.

  • Chapter 139: First Battle

    “Alright, Big Brother! Haha, don’t you worry little maid, even after I get married to a beauty I’ll still use you! No need to worry!” the boy named Wāi shouted out loud for everyone to hear.

    Those who were older and knew about the deeds between people behind closed doors immediately cringed and even cursed the two behind their breaths. Some people even wanted to publicly humiliate the two, however, they stopped upon realizing that the two were from the Hú. 

    Even though the clan was not immensely powerful, being heavily overshadowed by the top clans, they had something that many feared. A strong connection with many clans. In fact, they could be considered an ancient clan, and in the past, hundreds of years ago the clan had actually annihilated a local kingdom that had an immortal when the king that took them in was angered enough by them. Of course, it wasn’t because they were very powerful, instead it was because they had a large connection, allowing them to get clans to back off and allies to join.

    Later on the clan moved into Liokal, however, even the father and son duo had to be aware of their presence and if it wasn’t for the Hú clan’s ancestors agreeing to a two hundred year treaty where they would not attack the kingdom as long as they wouldn’t attack, the progenitor and king would have never allowed such a clan that could backstab them enter.

    However, despite their dangers, many kingdoms and even immortals wanted to invite them to temporary reside at their kingdoms or personal area despite knowing the consequences. The reason being is that because they have a lot of connections to clans, known and unknown, allowing them to have a huge trading center like depicted in other novel or fairy tales. 

    In fact, it was not just Liokal, they had large trading centers and stores in a large area of the continent that they lived in. Even though they weren’t all-mighty and had a lot of battles and loses, they still remained mighty. Because of their background, no one dared to raise a voice, regardless of whether or not they did something bad. Even if they took someone’s sister home they would barely raise a complaint.

    “Hmph, my master is good enough to annihilate your stupid clan. But since you desire for it, I shall defeat you myself!” Chǎng pressed her foot onto the ground and lunged towards Hú Wāi. 

    Everyone including the teacher stared in disbelief. Even immortals had to be careful as the Hú clan could gather their enemies in large numbers and hurt them. Obviously, before, if Chǎng had said this she would have been extremely embarrassed and most importantly scared. However, after living and hanging out with immortals, powerful figures, and going through the Illusion that her teacher sent her through, she toughened up the courage to barely say these things with little hesitation.

    “Ooh, a feisty one. You will really entertain me when you warm my bed, haha!” Hú Wāi shouted as he took his dagger and also lunged towards her with a strong force. Even though he was merely at the sixth level at the Qi Refiner rank, he had better treasures, more resources, a deeper foundation, and most importantly he was someone who was somewhat of a genius whereas Chǎng was merely someone with average talent who managed to bounce through levels with the training that her teacher put her through.

    “Boom!” a small miniature shockwave explosion sounded out as the two fought. Of course, the shockwave would have been drowned out by the sound of clapping, however, no one dared to clap as almost all of them would support Chǎng but they feared the Hú clan. 

    For an eleven-year-old to be this perverted, those who didn’t know him as a person would immediately turn against him if they could. Even though the majority of them did not care about the poor or commoners due to their arrogance, they still had morality to an extent.

    While the two backed off a few meters away, Chǎng quickly charged and used Snake Thrust, launching her spear towards him at a fast rate. She knew he had cards up his sleeve and did not dare to attack ferociously, yet when her spear came close to him she saw that Hú Wāi’s dagger and arm shone with a slightly yellow yet translucent glow and he started to attack rapidly in the area. 

    Even though he did not aim anywhere in specific besides in front of him, the rate that he was attacking was really fast to the point that she could only see blades of light piercing through and only barely see the dagger moving. If this were any normal cultivator they would’ve gotten hit in some way, however, being from a huge rich clan he had enough resources to obtain a technique where even if he was distracted he could just launch attacks.

    The spear was obviously knocked away and even though Hú Wāi was surprised at the attack, upon parrying it he smiled and used the extremely small amount of time to dive in and take a hit. His dagger glowed up with a red glow and he sliced towards her with increasing speed. 

    Even though she had a better reaction then he did due to expecting such a thing she was still surprised at the might the blade carried with it. She immediately summoned Iron Body, causing her body to toughen up, yet when she thought she would be good, the dagger pierced through her skin and sliced her cheek. Despite it not being a deep cut it was still a cut nevertheless. Her Iron Body could not stop it and she had to think of a new strategy.

    After backing off from the other, Chǎng waited for the despicable pervert to attack. Upon seeing her stand there waiting, Hú Wāi charged at her and smirked as he summoned the two techniques that triggered the red and yellow glow. 

    Even though she had an understanding of what they did, she was scared about what other things he had. Currently, she had two options, fight until his qi ran out, or figure out a way to attack him. While the first option seemed reasonable considering she was two levels higher, causing her dantian to have a larger storage, she had an extremely tough time defending him with that red glow.

    As the perverted boy grew closer, she decided it was best to risk everything and try to defeat him. However, she needed to think of a way to defeat him. This wasn’t some stereotypical show or novel where the main character suddenly sees through the patterns of an enemy. Right now her chances of losing could dramatically increase or decrease with a single action. She had to be more careful than a human wandering in an abandoned dragon’s lair.

    She decided that she might as well test his and her speed. Her foot descended to the ground after being lifted up and she attempted to charge to the back of the boy. However, he was able to see what she was doing and decided to attack both in front of him and behind him after looking at how fast she was going.

    An immortal could attack all around them if needed, but he was a mere mortal at the Qi Refiner rank. But a similar situation could be said to be the same as Chǎng. To attack with such precision that she attacked at his sides required her to be an expert at the spear, in which she wasn’t.

    However, upon looking, his eyes widened by a large amount and he was shocked to see her body be covered with an almost translucent silver layer that caused her feet to land on the hard rocky surface and upon his gaze as if time slowed down, he knew he was in trouble.

    In Chǎng’s mind, she was happy and cheering because she knew that she was lucky as he did not have a way to protect more than two areas. What she did was that she summoned Iron Body as even though it protected her skin, it also added weight to her overall body, causing her to descend much quicker. With that, she used Snake Thrust and Qi Tip to sudden attack and injure him.

    With this, everyone screamed as they knew an attack at this scale was enough to heavily injure a cultivator at her level.


  • Chapter 139: First Battle

    “Alright, Big Brother! Haha, don’t you worry little maid, even after I get married to a beauty I’ll still use you! No need to worry!” the boy named Wāi shouted out loud for everyone to hear.

    Those who were older and knew about the deeds between people behind closed doors immediately cringed and even cursed the two behind their breaths. Some people even wanted to publicly humiliate the two, however, they stopped upon realizing that the two were from the Hú. 

    Even though the clan was not immensely powerful, being heavily overshadowed by the top clans, they had something that many feared. A strong connection with many clans. In fact, they could be considered an ancient clan, and in the past, hundreds of years ago the clan had actually annihilated a local kingdom that had an immortal when the king that took them in was angered enough by them. Of course, it wasn’t because they were very powerful, instead it was because they had a large connection, allowing them to get clans to back off and allies to join.

    Later on the clan moved into Liokal, however, even the father and son duo had to be aware of their presence and if it wasn’t for the Hú clan’s ancestors agreeing to a two hundred year treaty where they would not attack the kingdom as long as they wouldn’t attack, the progenitor and king would have never allowed such a clan that could backstab them enter.

    However, despite their dangers, many kingdoms and even immortals wanted to invite them to temporary reside at their kingdoms or personal area despite knowing the consequences. The reason being is that because they have a lot of connections to clans, known and unknown, allowing them to have a huge trading center like depicted in other novel or fairy tales. 

    In fact, it was not just Liokal, they had large trading centers and stores in a large area of the continent that they lived in. Even though they weren’t all-mighty and had a lot of battles and loses, they still remained mighty. Because of their background, no one dared to raise a voice, regardless of whether or not they did something bad. Even if they took someone’s sister home they would barely raise a complaint.

    “Hmph, my master is good enough to annihilate your stupid clan. But since you desire for it, I shall defeat you myself!” Chǎng pressed her foot onto the ground and lunged towards Hú Wāi. 

    Everyone including the teacher stared in disbelief. Even immortals had to be careful as the Hú clan could gather their enemies in large numbers and hurt them. Obviously, before, if Chǎng had said this she would have been extremely embarrassed and most importantly scared. However, after living and hanging out with immortals, powerful figures, and going through the Illusion that her teacher sent her through, she toughened up the courage to barely say these things with little hesitation.

    “Ooh, a feisty one. You will really entertain me when you warm my bed, haha!” Hú Wāi shouted as he took his dagger and also lunged towards her with a strong force. Even though he was merely at the sixth level at the Qi Refiner rank, he had better treasures, more resources, a deeper foundation, and most importantly he was someone who was somewhat of a genius whereas Chǎng was merely someone with average talent who managed to bounce through levels with the training that her teacher put her through.

    “Boom!” a small miniature shockwave explosion sounded out as the two fought. Of course, the shockwave would have been drowned out by the sound of clapping, however, no one dared to clap as almost all of them would support Chǎng but they feared the Hú clan. 

    For an eleven-year-old to be this perverted, those who didn’t know him as a person would immediately turn against him if they could. Even though the majority of them did not care about the poor or commoners due to their arrogance, they still had morality to an extent.

    While the two backed off a few meters away, Chǎng quickly charged and used Snake Thrust, launching her spear towards him at a fast rate. She knew he had cards up his sleeve and did not dare to attack ferociously, yet when her spear came close to him she saw that Hú Wāi’s dagger and arm shone with a slightly yellow yet translucent glow and he started to attack rapidly in the area. 

    Even though he did not aim anywhere in specific besides in front of him, the rate that he was attacking was really fast to the point that she could only see blades of light piercing through and only barely see the dagger moving. If this were any normal cultivator they would’ve gotten hit in some way, however, being from a huge rich clan he had enough resources to obtain a technique where even if he was distracted he could just launch attacks.
    The spear was obviously knocked away and even though Hú Wāi was surprised at the attack, upon parrying it he smiled and used the extremely small amount of time to dive in and take a hit. His dagger glowed up with a red glow and he sliced towards her with increasing speed. 

    Even though she had a better reaction then he did due to expecting such a thing she was still surprised at the might the blade carried with it. She immediately summoned Iron Body, causing her body to toughen up, yet when she thought she would be good, the dagger pierced through her skin and sliced her cheek. Despite it not being a deep cut it was still a cut nevertheless. Her Iron Body could not stop it and she had to think of a new strategy.

    After backing off from the other, Chǎng waited for the despicable pervert to attack. Upon seeing her stand there waiting, Hú Wāi charged at her and smirked as he summoned the two techniques that triggered the red and yellow glow. 

    Even though she had an understanding of what they did, she was scared about what other things he had. Currently, she had two options, fight until his qi ran out, or figure out a way to attack him. While the first option seemed reasonable considering she was two levels higher, causing her dantian to have a larger storage, she had an extremely tough time defending him with that red glow.

    As the perverted boy grew closer, she decided it was best to risk everything and try to defeat him. However, she needed to think of a way to defeat him. This wasn’t some stereotypical show or novel where the main character suddenly sees through the patterns of an enemy. Right now her chances of losing could dramatically increase or decrease with a single action. She had to be more careful than a human wandering in an abandoned dragon’s lair.

    She decided that she might as well test his and her speed. Her foot descended to the ground after being lifted up and she attempted to charge to the back of the boy. However, he was able to see what she was doing and decided to attack both in front of him and behind him after looking at how fast she was going.

    An immortal could attack all around them if needed, but he was a mere mortal at the Qi Refiner rank. But a similar situation could be said to be the same as Chǎng. To attack with such precision that she attacked at his sides required her to be an expert at the spear, in which she wasn’t.

    However, upon looking, his eyes widened by a large amount and he was shocked to see her body be covered with an almost translucent silver layer that caused her feet to land on the hard rocky surface and upon his gaze as if time slowed down, he knew he was in trouble.

    In Chǎng’s mind, she was happy and cheering because she knew that she was lucky as he did not have a way to protect more than two areas. What she did was that she summoned Iron Body as even though it protected her skin, it also added weight to her overall body, causing her to descend much quicker. With that, she used Snake Thrust and Qi Tip to sudden attack and injure him.

    With this, everyone screamed as they knew an attack at this scale was enough to heavily injure a cultivator at her level.

  • edited June 29

    I have been way too addicted to RPG Maker MV  :s :(


    Chapter 140: Arrogant Child!

    The teacher suddenly stood up and announced the results, “Chǎng won! Hú Wāi lost!” 

    With that announcement, many people suddenly clapped and cheered to their heart's content. Even though they feared the Hú clan, with the number of people cheering, especially Chǎng’s friends, some stood up fearlessly. 

    The reason being was that no matter how powerful the Hú clan was. They could not annihilate every single one of them. A single death did not matter, but multiple would not only trigger the king, but it would also trigger the progenitor himself!

    However, the only person not cheering and was fuming with rage was Hú Wāi’s older brother. He quickly descended on the stage and quickly pulled out medicine and stuffed it in his little brother’s mouth.

    Luckily he was not heavily injured to the point of being crippled. But he knew that his little brother would not be leaving the bed for a month, if not multiple in an unlucky situation.

    While a mortal at the age of fifty starting to cultivate is not impossible, it does have its downsides. While they would be at a pace that their natural talent allows it, besides working hard, of course, they would have missed out on the opportunity of tempering their own self.

    At the age of fifty, that person would have already been tempered, stained, corrupted by the taint of society, living, etc. However, someone who was young would be born almost pure, specifically pure in a sense that they do not have an external bias, opinion, or view of the world, unlike people who are already old. Because of this, those who are young will be able to develop faster regarding the mind and heart as there are fewer things restraining them.

    He looked towards Chǎng and suddenly yelled at her at the top of his lungs, overshadowing most of the other students as they were using their mortal voice’s while he was not. “Damn you, ugly woman! I will take revenge!” 

    Quickly getting up, he took a few steps forward and unleashed his aura. Being at the fifth level of the Void Foundation, his aura quickly overwhelmed Chǎng, causing her to get on her knees, attempting to resist the pressure.

    Of course, with the teacher being around them, in a matter of a second, he suppressed the oppressive aura and yelled at him, “Hú Qiángdà! Do you have no shame!”

    Before the teacher could continue, Hú Qiángdà quickly sent a transmission towards him, “Teacher, I will request a rage battle. If Teacher agrees, I will give you a Death Flower along with owning you a favor that is within my reach.”

    The teacher quickly hushed up and pretended to stare at Hú Qiángdà with rage while thinking in his head about the deal.

    Hú Qiángdà quickly bowed and cupped his fist, “Teacher, this student of Liokal Academy requests that you watch over a rage battle.”

    The teacher pulled off his best acting voice and snorted, “With who, Chǎng? Give me a good reason to allow such a thing.”

    He smirked, hiding his smile from the students, “Teacher, I want to congratulate Chǎng with her victory. My brother has really been too arrogant. But at the same time, arrogance spreads. I have given it to my brother, and after the fight he cured it. But I want to make sure she does not have such a thing happen to her. A talent like hers can’t be lost!”

    Everyone was stunned at such a scene, and a few people including Chǎng’s friends shouted out in anger, “Arrogance? Yes, you gave your brother it, but on what kind of mind would truly believe that you have to right to speak it? Even the dumbest of the dumb can say that you are such an arrogant stupid child.” Lěngjìng Wénxiàn shouted out in anger as she knew what he was trying to do.

    Without a doubt, she had already guessed that he already secretly messaged the teacher in order to try and persuade him. Of course, she had no proof and didn’t actually know, but from knowing him and observing, this was most likely the case. Not only that, but she wanted to ensure that her new friend did not enter a rage battle.

    In the academy, there are a lot of strict rules set in place to keep things in order. But one thing that remains almost free is battle. Students can have sparrings, actual battles to an extent, and finally, a rage battle. A rage battle is the most dangerous as even though students can not kill each other, they for sure can heavily injure another. As long as they do not cripple, or injure them to an extreme amount, the student will get away with it. 

    Of course, what she was scared was not Chǎng being heavily injured. But instead, she feared that she would die. At the end of the day, accidents happen. Weapons do not have brains. Swords are not blunt and arrows do not bounce off. There have been cases where a student accidentally killed another in rage battles, causing it to be the last resort for those with immense problems.

    A battle between Chǎng and Hú Qiángdà would be a one-sided battle. And the results are pretty obvious. But due to this, there are many excuses that Hú Qiángdà could pull off that could result in her being crippled or worst case, dead.

    Just as the crowd started to sweat bullets, the teacher finally answered. “Weapons do not have brains, nor at they blunt. But even so, I know that you will be able to handle such a thing. So I agree with this challenge!” 

    His words caused almost everyone to collapse. Yet no one dared to breathe a single puff of air. Daring to defy a teacher was one of the greatest sins in the academy. Even though a student could report a teacher, at the end of the day that only mattered if they could reach the principle in time. 

    A teacher, especially those that have been around for a while, contained enough power that only the principle and his assistant can stop them.

    Just as panic was about to arise in the area, a sweet, gentle, yet lazy voice sounded out, causing everyone to look towards the entrance, “A rage battle. Interesting.”

    “It's the Icy Queen!”

    “Zhàn Méi… a genius who can rival others in the continent.”

    “Why is she here? Don’t tell me she is going to save the day.”

    A lot of people whispered towards each other, gossiping about the situation that had just occurred.

    Ignoring all of them, Zhàn Méi walked onto the stage, not caring about the teacher’s presence at all. She continued on and stared at Hú Qiángdà before smiling. “A young arrogant child indeed. How about I invite you to somewhere private. Just me and you.”

    Even though she did not say it in any way and just in a normal voice, everyone started to freak out. Many questions were raised to their heads. Did she find interest in Hú Qiángdà? Was she going to let Chǎng be beaten up? No one knew the answer besides Zhàn Méi herself.

    Being a teenager, especially one who is already indulging with many females, Hú Qiángdà couldn’t control himself and stared at her as if she was a priceless vase. His face went up and immediately became obedient, “My queen, of course, I will. Anything for you.”

    While everyone was going crazy at the scene, the only person smiling was Chǎng, yet everyone did not notice as the spotlight no longer remained on her.

    “Is that so? Then die,” she raised her finger, and an icy needle ran straight into his soul, not allowing a single droplet of blood to come out. Collapsing it in front of everyone. Even the teacher had to back up in his chair as he had never expected for such a scenario to happen.

  • edited June 30

    Chapter 141: Arrogant Noble

    “Y-Y-You! Do you know what you have done!!! Do you know who he is!?” the teacher got up and screamed at the top of his lungs. Even if he was not the one responsible for this mess in any sort of way, at the end of the day, the Hú clan will definitely not let him off.

    Everyone else in the audience felt the same, and some even wanted to leave, yet no one did. Some could say they're like ducks, some in fear of angering the woman, some wanting to see what happens next.

    “Yes, I do. Hú Qiángdà, one of the ten sons of the patriarch. Even though his position isn’t at the peak, it is still better than four of the worst sons according to them. Even though they have a ranking system, even the worst and weakest one is highly valued by the clan, causing an uproar if a single hair was touched.”

    The teacher quickly sat down and sweat dripped from his chin. He knew that he could not touch her, so he did not dare. That was the least of concern. He was more worried about what would happen to him in a few days.

    Zhàn Méi snorted and quickly picked up the storage ring of the deceased boy. “What is there to care about a mere clan. I already have to look out for an amnesiac man, there is already no time to focus on such a thing.”

    Even though Zhàn Méi was being arrogant as the Hú clan was truly not something to easily mess with, she believed that they would not dare to start a war, even if they bypass the treaty by letting outside enemies attack. 

    Not many are aware of certain information, however, she was due to Wáng Wèi, the king, or other ways. Even though the kingdom had two immortals, at the end of the day, while Liokal has accumulated enemies, it has accumulated allies. An easy example is Láng Fàn, the person who owns Diastra City. Even if a few others that are allied with Liokal don’t show up, there is still an important trump card. 

    Obviously, the trump card is Zhào Lǚ and his Gonggong. For a Gonggong to be able to snap an immortal in half was already a large achievement, regardless if the immortal was new or not. To fight against an immortal, some Rising Dragon cultivators can do, but to heavily injure one with a  single attack, the idea was too out of reach even for other immortals.

    Hearing the sentence come out of Zhàn Méi’s mouth, Chǎng couldn’t help but chuckle in the already silent room.

    “Brat! How dare you giggle! I should teach you a damn lesson!” Wáng Fēngfù stepped in front of her and glared at her with killing intent.

    Not being used to killings, nevertheless the intent of it, she immediately shook as her body was not used to the pressure and the feeling slightly sickened her.

    “Stop!” Lěngjìng Wénxiàn and the other members of the book club immediately hopped off the area that the audience was at and ran towards her. Even though they could barely intervene when the teacher was about to do something, now that he was unable to speak, they quickly decided to stand up for her. Whether they were close to Chǎng or not, she was a sincere member. They had to protect her as long as it didn’t cost them their own lives or clan.

    “Oh, Lěngjìng Wénxiàn, are you trying to rescue your little friend? We are trying to have a serious moment here and like usual you just slack off. Even at parties when we meet important figures you slack off and do nothing. Finally trying to change?” realizing the situation they were in, Wáng Fēngfù quickly tried to take advantage of it.

    Even though everyone knew what she was trying to do, no one spoke up and instead, some sneered in their hearts. Being both the leader and a calm person she normally was, she didn’t speak with anger or disdain, “Wáng Fēngfù, it is nice to meet you too. Now excuse us, I have to scold this little girl.”

    Just as she was about to go and stop Wénxiàn, Zhàn Méi told her to stop and proceeded to walk towards them. Fēngfù immediately backed off and went to the sidelines. However, the book club was hesitant about retreating. Yet upon seeing that she had no killing intent, Wénxiàn stepped back in order to what happened.

    Zhàn Méi walked over to Chǎng at a relatively slow pace. While everyone was tensed, Chǎng was internally smiling. Upon reaching an arm’s distance, Wénxiàn prepared to intervene even if she could not beat her. However, something that no one expected was that Zhàn Méi, the Icy Queen, actually put her hands on Chǎng’s head.

    “Little Sister, how have you been?” she said with a monotone voice and poker face. 

    Chǎng smiled and replied happily, “I’ve been good Senior Sister Méi! Besides Master being gone, I have made good progress in my cultivation.”

    No matter who they were, the teacher sitting on the sidelines, or the students sitting down, every single one of them stared in shock. Seeing how she ruthlessly killed Hú Qiángdà, they were expecting for some terrible situation to arise. Even Lěngjìng Wénxiàn who was generally optimistic believed that something horrible would happen.

    “Huh, Senior Sister, why did your face twitch when I mentioned Master?” being a young child, Chǎng couldn’t help but ask.

    With the further mention of Zhào Lǚ, her face almost became slightly red, causing her to look away while giving a hesitant response, “C-Cause he pissed me when I saw him earlier.”

    With this, a wave of conversation could not be helped as everyone started to chat.

    “Did you see her face? It turned red!!!”

    “Could it be possible that our Icy Queen is into Chǎng’s master?”

    But before any further conversation could go out, a terrifying aura quickly rose as killing intent surrounding the audience. They knew that it came from Zhàn Méi and they immediately hushed up.

    Not knowing what everyone was talking about and why her face was kinda red, she asked, “You met Master earlier? No fair! I want to visit him!” she pouted after she finished speaking.

    Zhàn Méi turned around and started to walk away, “You can visit him later. From what I can tell all he’s been doing is trying to adapt in society and working on a few other things.” Looking around, she saw that Wáng Fēngfù had already left the area. Even so, she kept walking, no longer caring about her.

    Once she left the academy as she finished what she was doing, she felt her storage ring vibrate slightly and saw that a talisman that Wáng Wèi used to contact her vibrated. As soon as she touched it the message was sent to her conscious, “Zhàn Méi, it seems that the situation is not great. Those two came, they are pushing against the marriage even further. My father tried his best to decline them but it turns out that they came with hostile intent. Come over when you can. We need to talk about this as soon as we can. Even though we can’t fight in a battle of immortals we need to prepare for the worst.”

    Her eyes widened and she proceeded to take out a carriage and hopped onto it, driving her to Wáng Wèi mansion at a faster pace.

  • edited July 2

    Chapter 142: Father and Daughter Bonding

    “Master! Master!” a little girl ran around while the moon shone with its dark gaze as the sun slowly set. 

    Ahead of her, a shirtless man had a sword on his lap as he sat on a cold and wet rock meditating near the waterfall. A snake slithered around and moved quickly before resting on the little girl’s head. Being scared of snakes, she immediately shivered even though she knew the snake was friendly. Trying her best to ignore it, she walked towards the meditating man and sat across from him, sitting there silently.

    After the time it took for an incense to burn, the man finally woke up and was surprised to see a little girl in a maid outfit sitting across from him. “Chǎng how did you find me?”

    “Senior Sister Méi told me!” she smiled.

    “Huá, can you help get some wood for a fire?” he asked the snake on Chǎng’s head.

    “Huá?” this being the first time she heard such a name for the Gonggong, Chǎng tilted her head as this was new.

    “Hmm, I decided I should give Huá a name. Even though I raised it as a baby, we never really interacted as living beings. So I am finally decided to give it a name,” he stretched his arms and waist, preparing to get up. “Oh ya, how has your cultivation been?”

    She got up as well and smiled brightly. If the sun was not slowly falling, the light would have shone on her as if she was an angel. “Hehe, with the help of a teacher at the academy I managed to reach the eighth level of the Qi Refiner rank!”

    “Oh, that’s impressive! I heard it takes even some children of nobles two years after they started cultivating to break past the first rank into the second! Yet you only did it in a few months. Good job!” he patted her head, causing her to feel proud.

    “Master gives me to much praise. If it were not for teaching putting out resources and time into giving me lots of training, there would be no way of getting at this level.”

    “Hmm, I should probably meet your teacher and thank that person. Anyways, do you want to help me? While Huá gets wood, we should go and hunt down some animals.” Zhào Lǚ grabbed his sword and waited for her to respond.

    “Hmm!” she nodded and then the two of them headed into the forest.

    =====

    After some time, the two of them came back with two dead bores and one dead rabbit. However, amongst the two, one of them had a gloomy and saddened face.

    Chǎng didn’t know whether to laugh or cry and reassured him, “Master, just because you spent over an hour killing the rabbit doesn’t mean life if all over. You at least attempted it!”

    “Chǎng, you can’t say that when you kill two pigs as soon as we spotted them…” he carried the dead rabbit in his hand and looked at Chǎng who had two medium-sized pigs on a leash.

    “Either way, why did you go in here? I’ve been feeling lonely without you in the mansion and so have Senior Minty and the other maids.” she pouted. Even though she had matured over the past few weeks, she was still a kid and acted a typical scenario of a parent going somewhere for a bit of time, causing them to complain.

    “I assume you know that my memory, cultivation, and everything is gone. Even though it is slowly recovering at an extremely slow pace, it is still recovering. But even so, I don’t know what is going to recover, and what isn’t. 

    If I hadn’t spent the past few weeks in the forest, I would have been clueless if I was sent to the wilderness because I had never experienced such a thing. Not only that but I also want to work on my sword and trying to get better at. Rather be useless and attempting to do something, than sit back and let it happen. Also, shouldn’t you be home by now? I’m sure your parents are worried.”

    “Not really, I already told them I wouldn’t be home as often. I’ve been sleeping at the mansion for a few days now,” she said with a more serious tone.
    He tilted his head and couldn’t refrain from asking, “Did something happen?”

    “It’s just a few days ago I encountered two assassins who tried to kill me. I managed to find a way to get rid of them by pretending that I was calling an expert and it worked, but I'm still worried that something might happen sooner or later.” 

    Concerned for her, he hurriedly replied, “Do you want me to send guards with you? If that doesn’t work I can let Huá escort you to the academy and home.”

    “Ah, no I’m good! I am already residing in the mansion which is safer than most mansions that nobles reside in. Besides, I don’t want to be further in debt,” as she said those last few words she became quieter.

    “More in debt? What do you mean?” confused on the silence and awkward atmosphere he peered in.

    “Well, you already took me in, cared for me, and allowed me to venture into the path of cultivators. Even though you aren’t, I already consider you to be my father…” she looked away in embarrassment and sped up her pace slightly.

    “Your father? Don’t you have one already?” Not understanding the situation entirely he asked out of confusion. Even though he understood that the status of a parent to a child is important, just like the love talk with Zhàn Méi, he had never experienced or more specifically remembered scenarios like this.

    She hesitated for a while, but after a minute she finally decided to speak, “Even though I don’t know what my father does for his job, he is almost never at home. And when he does, Mom says its to talk with her about something, but every time he comes home, all I hear is him yelling and my grandfather trying to stop him…

    In my family, the only people who really care about me is my mother and my grandfather. Yet whenever father comes home, it is either I get scolded, neglected or beaten for no reason. The only time he actually shows any care is when mom was always at the brink of insanity where he tosses her a gold coin.”

    Her face grew grim, and under the remaining light that held value in the sky, she stopped walking and a small hiccup sound voiced out every few seconds. Even though Zhào Lǚ could be said to be “dumb”, he understood enough that she was crying. He went on a knee and hugged her as tears dripped down.

    =====

    After a bit of time, the sun finally died out and the moon took over. The two sat at a fireplace after coming back to the area near the waterfall and started to ignite a fire as Huá proceeded to place each log and stick down.

    With some effort, Zhào Lǚ wiped the sweat off his body and took his sword and carved the rabbit and pig down as the fire start to escalate from a pebble-sized flame to one the size of an animal.

    While he was carving, he spoke out towards Chǎng, “Hey, do you want me to get Wáng Wèi or someone to deal with the situation?”

    Hearing this, hey slightly red eyes shone with light but it quickly faded away, “Even though I hate my father, I don’t want to take action. My mother and grandfather are already satisfied with the money I bring them, and he only comes for Mom every now and then. But if I see him touch her one more time, please…”

    He nodded and took a stick and proceeded to place it on the fire.

    After a long time, the meat finally looked almost ready. He then took out some spices and proceeded to spread them on the meat, at least on half of them. The other half he had already coated it in spices that he found in the wilderness and after grasping the skill the sense when the food was finished, he took out a few and gave it towards the other two. 

    They all sat down and all three of them, a man, a girl, and a snake proceeded to eat to their heart’s content.

  • edited July 4

    Chapter 143: Further Training

    A loud yawn penetrated the skies as the sun came up. Even the nearby waterfall could not cover up all the sounds and caused a few birds to fly away in fear.

    “Master, shut up!” a pillow was thrown towards a man laying on the grassy field.

    A small gurgle rose and a man slowly got up while looking as if he had only gotten two hours of sleep. “Oh, good morning Chǎng.”

    “Last time we were at the formation of the deceased you kept snoring like a giant pig. And now you are doing the same even with a waterfall!” she quickly got more pillows from her storage ring and stuffed it around her face. Preparing to go to sleep once more.

    Being already awake, Zhào Lǚ slowly got up after what appeared to be an eternity and went towards the lake before washing his face and messy hair up. After stretching and cleaning himself, he got a poorly made stick and decided to do some fishing. Though if anyone saw the fishing rod that he was holding, they would've thought that he had just taken a rope and stuck many sticks together to form an oddly shaped yet broken rod.

    If anyone were watching, they would be very surprised. With a small and barely visible thread, an almost broken and garbage fishing rod, and no bait besides a worm coming near him every decade, he managed to catch three fishes in an hour. Huh, at the very least I don’t suck at fishing compared to my lack of talent towards the sword or any weapon in general.

    Starting a fire, he cooked the three fishes and proceeded to wake the lazy snake and the dead girl. The two rose up and sent hissing glares at him, but they washed themselves up and prepared to eat.

    “Oh, Chǎng, don’t you have school today?” he said with a blank expression as his teeth sank into the meat.

    Hearing this, her body paused and she started to sweat, not knowing whether to laugh or cry. “Ah! It’s going to take me over an hour to get there! I’m going to be late... “ she pouted and her eyes got watery. 

    Despite the crying child, Zhào Lǚ just started to laugh. Noticing this, she stared at him while pouting and gave him a look that was supposed to be angry but in reality, it was just cute and childish.

    He took his hand and patted her head, “You forgot that we have Huá to take care of the situation. You could probably arrive in ten minutes or so. Probably even faster.”

    Immediately her face lit up and all her worries went away.

    =====

    After she got all dressed and prepared, the Gonggong expanded in size, and with a bit of hesitation, she managed to get on its back before being sent off on the skies.

    All she could do was close her eyes as she was not used to being in the sky, only having been in the skies once due to the Gonggong taking her to the formation during the competition. Even so, currently she was screaming internally and tried her best not to look down. Unlike a horse, or something with reins, the gonggong did not have any of that and the only thing stabilizing her was that she was hugging it with the strength of a billion oxen. Trying her best to not die.

    Luckily, while her mind was so focused on staying alive, she finally felt the piercing wind die down and once she opened her eyes, she found out that she could see the front gates from afar. Quickly getting off of the hellish ride, she thanked the Gonggong before walking towards her school.

    It was a good thing that Huá landed on the sides instead of the direction the guards at the front entrance were at so she did not make much of a commotion while entering. However, one odd thing in the area was that no one dared to disrespect or ignore her. Every student that she walked by smiled or greeted her.

    This was a very unusual thing as while a handful did greet her, the majority would either just simply ignore her or a few would talk behind her back. Either way, she assumed it was just because of how close Zhàn Méi was with her that made them change their acts. 

    But at the end of the day, she did not care as when she was still living and hanging around the streets, she had already learned that anyone attempting to pull out a hand always has some sort of intention. Whether it is bad or good, they always want something. It is until that person gets to know them that they should lower their guard.

    =====

    After classes started, the day went on pretty quickly. She did the homework that was required, participated and focused in class. Hung out with her friends during lunch. And did everything that a typical girl could do. The only class that was left was one where she, Wǔqì Huā, and Wūyā Shèngkāi, have lessons with their teacher.

    As she arrived at the area where classes were being held, many people greeted her, some even gave her gifts. She kindly took it but did not take note of anything they said as she knew it was not to be her friends, but instead, they wanted to obtain benefits.

    “Oi, Chǎng!” Wǔqì Huā waved towards her and signaled for her to come. After greeting each other, they sat down and sat in silence as their teacher was right in front of them. However, for some reason, while others started class, she sat there in silence. 

    Chǎng sat there in silence and looked at either Wǔqì Huā or Wūyā Shèngkāi to see what was going on. Wǔqì Huā being the energetic and sociable person she was, sent a transmission, “Whenever someone gets a really good score the teacher of that student would give their students some sort of reward or prize. For teacher Fēngbào, last time she gave out an award, it was for Wūyā Shèngkā for getting fourth, she took her to some secret area and stuff happened!”

    “And stuffed happened? Did she gain immortality, all the riches, what did she gain?” Chǎng sent back.

    “Ugh, that’s what she won’t tell me! We knew each other since kids, but she says it is too secretive to be told!!! Chǎng you have to tell me what it is if you go there! I need to know! My curiosity and boredom is consuming me too much to resist~”

    While the two were talking, after a couple of minutes, Teacher Fēngbào opened her eyes and got up while speaking in a dead yet patient tone, “Chǎng, since you have obtained tenth out of the over one hundred students. You shall receive a prize for your hard work. Follow me.”

    The two walked off in the distance and within some time, the two were at the bottom layer. A hooded figure immediately blocked their path and questioned the teacher, “Young lady, state your reason of entry.”

    “Ancestor Chen, I have come to give my student here the chance to take the test of shadows,” she bowed gently.

    “... Please proceed,” the hooded figure moved away and allowed the two to enter.

  • edited July 5

    Chapter 144: The Shadow Fight

    As the two walked, Fēngbào turned to Chǎng and spoke to her in a serious voice, “Before we go in, there are two ways of training. One is for me to just use logic and observations. Use what I know of you to give you the best training scenario. The second is to go into your memories. Even though this is invasive as I will see things that you may not want to be shown, it will give you the best results. 

    Wūyā Shèngkāi wanted to try the first one, and then the second one, and at the end of testing, she chose the latter as it was truly beneficial for her at the cost of privacy. I won’t judge you if you pick one as everyone has their secrets. Which path of training will you pick?”

    Surprised by the sudden talk, Chǎng immediately looked down and started to contemplate on what she should do. Even though she did not have any earth-shattering secret, or is hiding something that is extremely taboo, at the end of the day, her and anyone else, would almost never let their memories be checked. In fact, a hundred gold coins offer to someone who was poor and a mortal was barely enough to sway a lot of people. While there are some who would easily give in, many would still hesitate.

    Patiently waiting for an answer, after five minutes passed of her standing still thinking, she finally gave an answer. She said yes and the two of them proceeded to the area once more. At the end of the day, Zhào Lǚ, Wáng Wèi, or anyone else has never given her something that was sacred or taboo. Nor did she commit anything that would be shamed upon by many.

    As soon as she said yes her teacher reassured her and told her she would take an oath to never spill anything. This caused her to suddenly be confused, “An oath?”

    Understanding her confusion, she immediately answered, “What I will do is make an oath to the heavens. Essentially, it is making a statement towards the heavens that you will follow or do something. And don’t even think about breaking one. As soon as you break one the heavens will do its best to kill you. It is not like a tribulation where while they do try to kill you it is limited. They will send a full array of attacks to eliminate you. 

    Of course, the reason why these are rarely heard of it because of two reasons. One is that no one would dare throw it around randomly as it would immediately equate to one having to do something. There are no going back on your words. The second reason is that mere mortals actually cannot take oaths. Once you step on the path of cultivation you are no longer considered a mortal. You are considered a betrayer under the heavens. Well, at the very least that is how we perceive it.”

    “Betrayers under the heavens…” Chǎng immediately murmured. The word heaven is either sacred or thrown around everywhere. But at the end of the day, many can come together and conclude that no one truly understands the heavens as they are just too powerful.

    After the two finally walked and walked down the long hallway, they finally entered a large room that was like the purple-glowing room when they went for previous training in the illusioned world, but instead, it glowed with an eerie grey aura.

    This concept was the same, however, compared to the world filled with illusions that seemed real, this one was merely automated. Before Fēngbào just used her qi to manipulate the scenarios that happened, however, everything was done according to how nature, animals, and living beings acted. She only needed to create the world, the beings that roam around it, and other aspects. Like if someone was using a pre-built program to make a video game.

    Yet the reason she did not take Chǎng here before for training was that this was more arduous to her. Even though as a teacher she was very powerful in the mortal world, at the end of the day, this required her full focus. Not only was it time-consuming, but it was also very painful to the mind. It was like being baked in the hot sun, having nothing to cool one’s self off. Like a grand and experienced cultivator, she was used to pain and suffering, but nevertheless, no one would ever want such a thing, especially if it was for others.

    “You know the drill,” Fēngbào pointed towards the lake that shone with a grey glow as if they were in a typical ghost adventurers video. 

    Entering the lake, her eyes were forcefully shut and she found herself on a stone-brick like platform while a white and orange glow shone around her being. Yet when she was starting to prepare for whatever was going to launch at her she heard footsteps behind her. Looking at that direction, she saw a gentle and beautiful yet skinny lady standing there with eyes as if she were staring at her child being in danger.

    “M-Mother?” Chǎng almost walked towards her and quickly tightened her fist, causing it to feel pain from her nails. It’s an illusion! Snap out of it! she thought. But before she could finally get her composure settled her eyes suddenly opened as she saw her own mother charging at her with a weapon.

    This can’t be Mother! These formations are too scary… Every time I look I see Mommy’s eyes staring at me as if it were real… Her mind wandered while backing away, trying to make sense of the situation. Even though she already experienced the powers of illusion, she was still twelve. The thought of her own mother attacking her made her want to cry.

    However, before she could hesitate, she noticed something, that she had a shadow! Even though she didn’t know where there was a light source, she noticed that she had one anyway. But that matter was not important, the important factor was that the figure did not have a shadow!

    Even though she knew it was fake, the being that appeared to be like her mother was too realistic. But now she had a larger sense of murder, knowing that she did not have to hold back.

    While she was trying to settle her mind while dodging the attacks, Fēngbào watched from an unknown place and sighed. What prevents you little kids from ever becoming true adults is not your age, not your talent, but whether or not you will separate your mind from the heart. Sometimes things need to combine, but sometimes they should not be together. If you can not gain any progress in separating your feelings of your mother, family, or anyone else in this trial then do not call me Teacher ever again!

    Even though she was being harsh, she was an old lady already. Even though she still remained the looks of a forty-year-old, at the end of the day she raised many students before and many have disappointed her. While there were many reasons to failing in school, life, or ahead, she could see that some things always come up in a cultivator’s life, causing them to stop advancing. And this was one of them! The separation of one’s mind to their heart!

  • edited July 8


  • edited July 8

    Chapter 145: The Shadow Fight (2)

    “Chǎng… That’s a nice name for her…” a female voice sounded out in the room. Despite it being at a normal volume, it was mainly because the room was so quiet. In reality, her voice was almost dried to the brink of death. Yet despite the deathly hollowness to the voice, it contained joy.

    “Little Méiguī, are you trying to end the family’s tradition! Ending the family with the name of Plant is not a way to go,” another hoarse and dead voice appeared next to her. However, it was not like the woman who despite having a dead voice looked decently young. Instead, the dead voice next to her was actually an old middle-aged man with wrinkles going across his face.

    “Father, I know. But look at us, almost dead. Maybe she will be our shining hope, but at the end of the day, only time can tell. All I just wish for her is to find someone who is nice to her. That is all I wish, for the heavens to do this for us despite pulling us down to the bottom of the sea. Besides, her name could either mean the death or the rebirth of our clan.

    Imagine, plant as a general meaning for life around us. We don’t know what she is, her future, her life, her lover, nothing. Maybe in the future, she will find her own name. I just want her to live a happy life, that’s all. Whether it relates back to Father, let us just leave it up to the future,” while speaking, the woman slowly caressed a small sleeping figure, about the size of a shoe.

    Feeling the warm yet weak hands go across its face, it laughed gently and tried to hold the hand that touched it.

    The old man sighed and gave up, “I guess you are right. While I told you to stop reading those philosophical books, ancient poems, and otherworldly languages, I guess at the end of the day it really helped us get through life. I only wish there was simply more time to live life. Yet the world comes at full force. No time to relax… Heh, I really am starting to get old.”

    The weak woman next to him quietly laughed, “Father, you are right. I remember as a kid you would always be the one everyone feared. Even if everything declined, you were the one that struck fear into others heart’s while the remaining amount tried to bring us up in the world again. Now, you are just gentle like a deadly flower,” the woman continued to giggle before coughing loudly.

    “Little Méiguī, just rest for now. I will take care of her for a few hours. Even though I am old, don’t forget your father has been a mighty cultivator who focused on the body! I have more vitality than those bastards around us, even if I am but a mere cripple,” the old man proceeded to take the baby off of the woman’s hand and the woman nodded before closing her eyes to sleep.

    “That damn bastard! If it weren’t for him lusting over my daughter’s charms, we would have never been in this situation! A husband he calls himself.” He muttered and muttered to himself before coming back to reality after hearing a slight and tiny whine coming out of the baby. “Ah, Chǎng’er, stop crying… Grandfather will ensure that you will become a strong lady in the future! A good life to live young one, Haha!” as soon as he laughed the baby also laughed, seemingly catching the contagiousness that went through his mind.

    “Ugh…” however, before he could even think a spear was stabbed into his heart. When he opened his eyes from laughing, he could see a young girl around the age of twelve with long black hair had attacked him. However, he did not frown, he instead laughed, “Haha, Chǎng’er, you really have grown well. I guess I can finally rest… Forgive Grandpa for passing on the burden… Haha, Hú’er, my love, I can finally be with you…”

    While he was saying these words, the figure that was holding the spear had tears dripping down her face as her face was forced to the ground while the spear in her hand trembled despite the harsh pierce. Her spear slowly exited the bloody body, causing her too almost collapse, but with her spear’s rear on the ground, she was able to support herself. Yet, even so, the blood that dripped down from her spear immediately awakened her, causing her to slightly panic.

    Even though she could finally rest for a few seconds, she immediately got up and moved to the left as fast as she can. Luckily she moved fast enough as if she was a second slowly her shoulder would’ve been torn to pieces, yet now only a small cut remained on it. 

    “Mother… it seems as if I really have to fight you… It is already hard enough to kill grandpa, but killing you now… Even if it is an illusion, just the thought of it…” she muttered while her hands tensed up as she gripped the spear with immense strength.

    =====

    W-What is this!? Impossible! An immortal being chewed off in half by a mere snake… This… No wonder why the principal warned me. I would’ve been dead long ago if I even dared… Currently, in a dark grey room, a mature woman stood in a lotus position at the shore of a grey lake. Across from her a young girl about the age of twelve laid on the water, floating as if it accepted her.

    Currently, while she was controlling the formation to give Chǎng a fair battle, she was also peering into her memories. Both for curiosity sake, but also for the sake of improving the performance. If Chǎng had chosen the first option, she would have only fought, Wǔqì Huā, Wūyā Shèngkāi, and a few other people. However, now that she had access to her memories she was able to fight her loved ones, allowing her to accelerate in the growth of her heart.

    I should probably visit that man in the future. Getting on bad terms with him would be the end of me. At the very least, according to her memories, his memories are sealed. This should give me the opportunity to go and get on good terms with him. Being on friendly terms with an immortal. This would seem impossible, but now... Greed filled Fēngbào’s heart but she immediately got rid of it and focused on the fight between Chǎng and her mom.


  • edited July 9

    Chapter 146: The Shadow Fight (3)

    “Why…Why do you desire to kill your mother so much!” a knife was thrust towards a young girl, causing her to dodge to the right while trying to attack the woman that wielded the knife.

    “You are not my real mother! Die!” the young girl took her spear and started to run through the empty white void as her foot stepped on an invisible surface. “Woosh!” the spear pierced through the air. When she looked, she could see that the woman had already dodged and was going to attack her from above. 

    She quickly cast Iron Body around her hand and grabbed the knife and she cast the technique again on her forehead and slammed her mother in the head. Both of them flew away from each other, however, if a bystander were to watch the battle, it was the young girl that would have appeared to be more injured.

    Currently, her face was drenched in blood, sweat, and tears. No, she was not working hard or doing something insanely impressive, instead, she was merely injured while her face dropped a fountain of tears every now and then.

    Who would not cry at a moment like this? To first kill the grandfather that you loved, cared for, and respected in cold blood, in your own hands. Yes, it was fake, yet every second that she was in there, despite knowing it was fake, made her shiver as the feeling of the old blood constantly creped up on her like a snake. And now, she had to kill her own mother.

    “Was it that man… Was it that man that took you in, that cared for you to cause you to try and stab your own mother! To kill the one who birthed you in this world? Was it my fault… my fault for not having taken care of you longer, for not taking care of you more…” the woman cried and cried. 

    The scene was so real that it could become surreal instantly. This view seemed to be like a play, but in reality, it was not. It had the mother’s accent, the mother’s warmth, the mother’s touch. Everything was too realistic. This was not where she was simply imagining a scenario. Right now, to her, despite understanding the truth, this scenario felt too real.

    “No, it wasn’t him… What I need to do… Is kill you. My heart can not be affected like this! Not by a mere clone!” Chǎng tightened the grip on her spear and quickly ran forth, preparing to strike. Snake Thrust! Qi Tip! Hmph, I won’t stop until it is over! The thought ran through her head. Now was not the time to mourn, instead, now was the time to kill! All the emotion that was falling out of her clogged up and she decided to face the consequences, the feeling, the torture later. Right now, what she followed was not a fake voice, not the roaming thoughts, but instead, her heart!

    Even though Chǎng was not aiming when she attacked, only focusing on the general area, she did, however, strike ruthlessly. With confidence and arrogance. If there was a visual image of her dao heart, one would be able to see that her heart started to shine with a small glow. As if it could break out at any moment and advance somehow. Yet she was missing something as it seemed to be at the pinnacle, yet a key item or a small step was missing.

    A loud cough could be heard and when she looked after noticing that her spear pierced through something, she saw her spear stabbing into her mother’s stomach. Right then and there, she had to make a decision, to kill or to be killed. Having the first option in mind, she closed her eyes as she took out the spear and prepared to stab it down. 

    However, her body shook greatly and the spear dropped after her ears picked up four words, “Chǎng… I love you…” Those words caused the spear to drop on her, however, because her body shook, the tip of the spear landed next to the woman, leaving only a scratch. 

    Just as she realized what had happened, a hand gripped her neck as she saw that her mother was perfectly fine and had baited her into lowering her guard. Struggling to get out, she could see that her mother was slowly reaching for the spear. Once she grabbed the spear, she held it near the tip, not caring for the unbalanced weight. The spear inched closer and closer, aiming for her forehead with the surrounding pressure increasing. 

    If this were anyone else they would have long since collapsed by now as it was extremely difficult to breathe, think, or even move a millimeter manually. Not giving up yet, Chǎng used the pressure to help her think less of the morality of killing a loved one, and suddenly summoned a weak version of qi tip and stabbed the hand that was gripping her with her own nails. Even though this did not cut it, it most certainly damaged the woman.

    With this, she suddenly dropped to the ground and the pressure stopped. She grabbed the spear from the woman’s hand and ran away to try and get some distance. However, as soon as she got a safe distance from her, looking back, her body shivered. The scene in front of her changed and all that appeared was her mother and her as a smaller child playing with each other in the house.

    This scene almost made her cry as memories came in her, covering her with ecstasy that seemed almost addicting. Of course, this feeling came from the formation itself. Despite coming from such a source, Fēngbào had no desire to ease the feeling. With this, her dao heart shook. If it could become a vivid image in front of her, she could see that it was on the verge of cracking.

    But before such a thing could happen, she did something that none could ever expect. Even old sly foxes that were not afraid of death would never do this. She took the spear in her hand and held it by the tip before pointing it at her. She immediately sliced the spear and blood came rushing down her face.

    Fēngbào, who was spectating everything almost collapsed from shock. She had never expected that a girl about the age of twelve, would end up slicing her own eyes. Whether this was a formation, illusion, or not, only those with strong dao hearts or those that were crazy could ever attempt such a crazy attempt.

    Was this really a good idea…? Doubt started to linger in Fēngbào’s heart, but she swiftly cast it away and decided to proceed. Since you are so crazy to do such a thing, then let me test you! She waved her hand causing lots of voices to suddenly appear. Of course, these were not billions of different voices, instead, they were just Chǎng’s mother’s voice speaking many different things at once such as, I love you, Chǎng’er, and many other lines.

    However, this proved to be barely effective to her as right now she was constantly screaming in pain. After a minute she finally decided to pick up her spear and started to wobble around, trying to find the source of the billions of voices. But after a bit of time, she slowly started to walk, then finally she started to run where she thought the voice was coming from. 

    Right now it was not a battle of one versus another, it was a battle of one’s heart! Her mother stood still in an area far away, standing there like a puppet. As Chǎng ran, she started to tumble due to the pain of cutting her own eyes out. Even though she could not see, she knew where her mother was.

    As her feet started to tumble more and more, she knew she was at her limit. However, before she took one final fall, she threw the spear as hard as she can, causing the bones in her body to break. Even though she had no vision, now her mind slowly closed into a black void.

    Fēngbào, a mighty cultivator stood there with sweat coming off her forehead. She who was watching knew the answer to it all.

  • edited July 14

    Chapter 147: The Dao Heart

    I must stay awake! a young girl screamed in her mind and immediately got up. However, as she did her she almost screamed in pain. 

    “Little girl, don’t move. Even though you haven’t suffered physical injuries, you most certainly have suffered mental injuries,” an older woman spoke out while she tapped on a clipboard with a fountain ink pen.

    “Huh?” she slowly opened her eyes out of instinct and when she did she screamed. She closed them and laid on the surface that she was on. After calming down, keeping her eyes closed, she realized that she was on a bed instead of floating on the water.

    After trying to adjust to the surroundings, she finally managed to barely open her eyes for a bit of time before needing to rest them up. 

    “Don’t worry about your eyes. They aren’t injured as I said. But after what Little Fēngbào told me, after cutting your eyes off in the illusionary world, right now you are just experiencing mental drawbacks. It’s like trying to look in the dark after being in the sun, you just need a bit of time to adjust,” the older woman spoke once more.

    Resting her eyes for a bit, she slowly opened them once more only to see a mature, middle-aged brown-skinned woman writing on a clipboard, not paying any attention to her. The brown-skinned woman put down her clipboard and stared at the girl.

    “Ah, how rude of me Little Chǎng. I truly am getting old. My name is Huā Yùhé. Feel free to just call me miss. No need to be respectful and all, to me that is just tiring and only for those who are truly worthy of respect. As you can guess, I am the nurse here. You’ve been out for a while, yet I assume the gains are grand.”

    “Then can miss tell me how long I have been here?” Chǎng immediately asked while placing a hand to the right of her to block the light outside from killing her.

    “Just a day. Right now it’s at the end of the day and club is going to start in about five minutes. So really you only missed one day of school. You can decide whether you want to stay for an hour or leave. The only thing I will say is too simply rest your mind. Don’t focus on trying to do anything tiring, that also includes anything physical. We are mere mortals, we can’t sustain ourselves with the qi of the world, we can merely use it to help us but not too the point that immortals can.”

    “Thank you, miss. I will be leaving, though I will hurry up and rest, thank you for the advice,” getting up from the bed, she stumbled and almost fell a few times as her body felt like it was in pain when it was not, while her eyes were still trying to adjust as her brain thought that she had really sliced her eyes earlier.

    She headed towards the book club and once she arrived everyone greeted her and asked where she was and if she was alright. Of course, upon seeing that she was staggering all over the place, they quickly helped her settle down.

    “You’re in luck, today we are just talking about things, book-related or not. Since at least we, the older kids have exams coming up we might as well just take it easy and relax,” Gōngzuò Jiǎndān spoke out, reassuring the dead girl who appeared to be half-dead, half-alive.

    “Hmph, you are just three years older than Chǎng, and two years older than the two girls, stop acting like you are some mature prince that’s already married,” Qiángdà Rén snorted while she spoke to him.

    “Well give it a few years, and I will really marry you and make you my wife,” Gōngzuò Jiǎndān whispered under his breath.

    However, everyone heard it and they all laughed. Yet only one person didn’t, Qiángdà Rén who was sitting next to him immediately looked the other way as her face filled with the color red.

    Wūyā Shèngkāi who had a poker face on at the moment quietly commented on the situation and an awkward tension ripped through the air, “You two always fight yet at the end of the day, the two of you want the other in their arms. To kiss each other and confess your love, yet you two are just too embarrassed to admit it.”

    Being spoken too like this by a girl younger than them almost caused the two of them to just hide underneath the table out of embarrassment. Even though they were close with the others, it was still embarrassing to have a scenario like this as what she said was true, they really are scared of bringing it up and none of them wanted to take the first step.

    “Jeez, Shèngkāi, you are really going for their necks. This is why I need to introduce you to more action! More heroism! More xianxia! Not those cringy romance novels where the girls fall in love and the guy conquerors her heart, or where she gets captured and he rescues her, or or-” as Wǔqì Huā was speaking, she was suddenly interrupted.

    “I have never seen a single guy fallen in love with you, this is probably why you are still single and almost no one ever wants to ask for your hand in marriage,” Wūyā Shèngkāi immediately talked back as even though the two were best friends, they had a rivalry when it came to the argument of whether romance or action was better.

    But before the two could argue, a gentle voice immediately crushed them into pieces, “Shèngkāi, I have seen a few boys attempt to go for you, but you have harshly turned them down, I don’t think you will gain a lover in a long time,” as she finished speaking, Wǔqì Huā was about to laugh and say ‘ha’, but she was interrupted, “As for Huā, you are never aware of your action and the effect it has on society that you won’t even stop to at least try and please a man, I don’t think you will only get a man to find you attractive before being turned off by the way you act.”

    The two of them immediately held their heads down and currently the only person laughing was Chǎng. She was the only person not affected and putting their head down in shame besides Lěngjìng Wénxiàn. Even though they could come for her, at the end of the day, she was like a typical superstar in high school. Perfect grades, high-cultivation, a good background, good at many things, and has a lot of men trying to chase after her.

    The six spent some time relaxing and laughing for the rest of the hour before deciding to head home.

    =====

    Upon the next day, the sun rose high in the sky. The academic classes ended already and lunch just ended. Upon arriving at the arena where a bunch of students and teachers huddled up at, she saw Fēngbào silently waiting as usual.

    After the other two came, she finally decided to start class.

    “I want to talk to you three about another branch of cultivation today. Do you know much about the dao heart?” 

    No one dared to speak out loud as they truly did not know much besides the basics. 

    Wūyā Shèngkāi finally spoke towards their teacher, “Teacher, could there be a cultivation path towards the dao heart? One where instead of focusing on the qi they focus on the heart?”

    “Hmm… Yes and no. The cultivation of the dao heart is a path but it can be done without taking too much of your main cultivation’s time. In fact, the main reason is that cultivating the heart is near impossible, it is so difficult that the number of people that are able to successfully cultivate the heart and use it properly is less than finding mortals that can use the dao. Even immortals have trouble cultivating it properly as they would either have to rely on talents or on luck."

  • edited July 14

    Chapter 148: The Dao Heart (2)

    “Then is there a ranking system for the dao heart?” Wǔqì Huā spoke out in excitement.

    “Hmm, of course. However, be aware that the ranks do not measure their actual strength. Obviously, finding someone who is only a mortal to have the best dao heart in the universe is pretty much impossible. But typically those who are powerful have the strongest of dao hearts compared to those who are weaker. 

    Yet despite being rare and precious, many who have powerful hearts find themselves only using it for a few things in their life. One of the main things being will power; the ability to resist, persist, and move forward.”

    As the three listened, Chǎng couldn’t help but ask a slightly dumb yet good question, “So what are the uses of the dao heart then besides that?” 

    Fēngbào sighed and took a breath before replying, “Well, that is the problem. If we really knew, we wouldn’t be as weak, would we? In the world of mortals, there exist those at the Rising Dragon rank who have the power to fight against immortals. I wouldn’t really say kill since immortals also have a lot of treasures and resources behind them, but they can most certainly harm one into running away if they were powerful enough. 

    Those types of people are rare, but amongst the people in history, while some relied on the dao, on treasures, on inheritance, a few of them relied on the dao heart to do so! In fact, one man severely injured an immortal a long time ago using both the dao heart and his dao! Even though these are rumors, it is more or less confirmed by ancestors and immortals who lived back then that there was a man named Gōng Xīn who was a mighty immortal before disappearing after a long time. 

    This man, during the time when he was at the Rising Dragon rank, would use both his dao heart and the dao of the poison during his battle, causing him to achieve great fame. A few immortals and ancestors who saw the battle recorded what they saw, and they recorded that they were able to see the immortal’s dao heart collapsing in the middle of the fight, causing him to be distracted by illusions in which combined with the dao of poison, caused great damage, making the immortal flee for his life before finally being hunted down by his other enemies.”

    The three children awed in shock as the idea of immortals still shook them to their core. Even Chǎng who had been in the presence of immortals due to Zhào Lǚ was still shocked to the core. Even though she did not know their exact strengths, she already knew from their presence and abilities that immortals were not to be messed with. Yet little did she know, that Gōng Xīn was actually Zhào Lǚ’s disciple-in-name!

    “Remember this, do not take the dao heart as some light thing. Through the times, some nobles, geniuses who were born with insane natural talent, body parts equivalent to immortals, immortal-meridians, and many more have fallen not to enemies, but to their own heart! To their own inner demons! To the crack and destruction of their hearts!” her voice raised slightly so it was not only for the three to hear, it was loud enough for a large section of the students and teachers in the arena to hear. 

    Many teachers nodded silently while many students began asking their teachers questions about the dao heart.

    “Teacher, what are the ranking then?” Wǔqì Huā reminded her teacher as she was really curious

    “The ranks as I said generally correlate to one’s cultivation, or at least around it. After some of the first immortals from our planet left and ventured out, they discovered that just like our current cultivation system, the official terms for the dao heart, at least in the ‘mortal’ rankings are the Glassy Shell, Warm Light, Stone Will, and Lightnings Tempering rank. As you can guess, a lot of those at the Rising Dragon rank would be around the Warm Light and Stone Will level while some, including a few immortals, are at the Lightnings Tempering rank.”

    “What about Gōng Xīn? What rank was he? And what rank are we at?” Wūyā Shèngkāi asked in a stoic voice.

    Fēngbào, a knowledgeable and powerful teacher actually thought hard about this before finally giving an answer, “While the fight was recorded down into talismans, jade slips, and the like, no one knew his exact rank. It could have been at the Lightnings Tempering rank, but even though this was the final rank for mortals, the immortal he fought was pretty new. So if he was so powerful to dominate that immortal, he would have to be at the first rank of immortality, the Life and Death rank.

    As for you three, you and Chǎng are at the Glassy Shell rank. Normally this would take many until the third rank, Void Foundation, to advance, you two had advanced early. As for Wǔqì Huā, it will probably take you a bit of time before advancing. Those two went through tough training, yet for you, I would say you will have to temper yourself in blood and gore before advancing!” 

    Wǔqì Huā gulped and nodded. Even though there was not a lot of uses towards the dao heart currently, she was slightly envious that the other two had already reached that rank but that feeling of envy quickly dissipated and turned into determination, telling her to stop slacking off and spend more time improving herself.

    Fēngbào looked at the three of them seriously and spoke to them in a righteous tone, “But you three now understand how truly important the dao heart is right? If it were not for our dao heart’s we would have quit cultivation long ago and become sore losers. We would’ve been consumed by our demons, outside influence, and many more! Just because you can’t use something does not mean it is not useful. Carrying an extra bottle of water will save you in the future. Now go along and ponder on what you think your dao heart truly is, who you are, and what it is about.”

    The three of them nodded and left the arena to do their own things before cultivating.

  • edited July 19

    Chapter 149: The Dao Heart (3)

    Three young girls walked down a beautifully placed road, taking their time to go to their destination. A small yet happy girl spoke to her companion on her right, “Hey, Chǎng, what are you going to do later? Me and Shèngkā are gonna go talk to our father’s about the dao heart to see if we can get any insights. You wanna join?”

    “Eh, sorry, I plan on going to five people and ask them about their experiences. Besides, your father doesn’t really like anyone with low statuses.”

    “Hey! My father may be rude and may disregard you but he is just putting on that face. Besides, I am already at that age to talk back!”

    A voice to appeared to the girl’s left, “Huā, even though you say that your father is going to beat you relentless. But you are right, our father’s may not be the nicest people, but at least they’ll treat you right if you can put up something for the clan or prove your worth.”

    Wǔqì Huā, who didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, carried along with Wūyā Shèngkāi’s response, “Either way, you could still join us Chǎng. Also, who are these five people you are meeting? Are they powerful?” 

    Before she could start asking any more questions, Wūyā Shèngkāi immediately stopped her, “Dummy, who in this kingdom that is powerful, popular, and well-known that are a group of five. Of course, she is talking about the princess and her four friends.”

    Wǔqì Huā’s body shook and she stared at Chǎng in awe. “Chǎng! Why didn’t you tell me! I thought you just met Miss Zhàn Méi from some crazy encounter! Tell me how you know all of them!” she squealed upon thinking of the idea that she could possibly meet the five. Even though outsiders might not be as hyped as her, anyone who lived in the area of Liokal would have heard of their name’s many times. 

    Even though the five were not the top geniuses in the entire world, they are definitely up there. Not only that, but the main reason why everyone loved them was the fact that an immortal who specialized in predicting people’s future has said publicly that as long as each one grew up without harm, they would have a high chance of becoming immortals! 

    The immortal who had predicted this was also famous for predicting some of the famous immortals that had appeared throughout the ages. However, right now it was not just one, but instead, five people had the chance to become immortals! Even though they appeared to not be as rare as a phoenix’s feather, the chances for even some of the top geniuses to become immortals were extremely low and it would take many tens to hundreds of years for an immortal to even spawn!

    Becoming a Rising Dragon ranked cultivator ensured that when one establishes a sect, it would stand mighty and powerful with the ability to last for a long while. However, if an immortal establish a sect and left, it would not only becoming a domineering sect, it would last for hundreds of years! And as long as they did not piss off a mighty cultivator that rivaled immortals, and they did not decline, it was unknown how long a sect would last, but it would definitely last for even thousands of years!

    Such a case happened with many sects around the world. Some declined due to poor decisions and arrogant disciples, however, to this day, there are many sects that are well above the thousand-year range, and even a few that are over ten thousand years!

    Seeing the hype in Wǔqì Huā’s face, she would feel bad if she did not answer her. “My master is friends with all five of them so he knows them very well and they’re all close. While we had our break, they asked if he wanted to join them in going to a competition, with him watching. With that, he invited me to join him and because of that I met all five of them.”

    Expecting a good reaction to come from Wǔqì Huā, she instead got a depressed one. “Shèngkāi, this isn’t fair... Chǎng is so popular, watch as the next day arrives, she is going to walk past us cause we are just mere nobles…” her face was filled with a stereotypical sad puppy face, making the situation weird yet funny to watch.

    Before she could do anything else, a whack appeared from her left, “Huā, even though I may be picky and not appealing to men, this is how you know you will never get a husband.” With her stoic face, she slowly insulted the girl, leaving her to slowly rot as she had no comeback for the burn.

    The three soon parted ways and Chǎng was on the road towards a large mansion in the distance. However, once she arrived, as any guard would, they stopped her as despite having a maid outfit, they have never seen her around here, nor should one ever just arrive in the afternoon.

    Despite the domineering pressure of the guards even though they did not release their aura, they still had to stop her and question the intent of her arrival. Yet once they asked, the response made them confused and shocked, “I have come to see Senior Sister Jīn Fèng. I am a friend of hers.”

    Between the two guards, one old and one young, the older one gave a glare at the younger guard as a warning to just watch and he gave a slight nod towards the young girl. “Young miss, please wait out here. I will immediately go in and get the young master as fast as possible!” 

    After the old man said that, he immediately sent a transmission towards the younger guard, “Little boy, make sure to treat her well and treat her like royalty! I have already seen and heard of many young guards like you who offended great figures or people close to them, causing them to either be thrown into the pit or to die on the spot. Don’t be arrogant just because she has a maid uniform on!” He then opened the gate before speeding through the long path with his cultivation to get to the mansion as quickly as possible.

    =====

    In little to no time, a tall, mature yet young woman walked through the long path and arrived at the gates. “Chǎng’er! Haha, I was about to drink gallons of beer if you arrived late. Let’s go inside. I’m assuming you need something or wanted to talk since the ugly Zhào Lǚ isn’t here,” the woman looked away and slightly hmphed, causing Chǎng to look at her with a weird face.

    After settling in, they finally began talking, “So Chǎng’er, what did you need?” the woman proceeded to drink some coffee instead of any alcoholic drink

    “I was wondering if Senior Sister could assist me in the dao heart. My teacher at the academy started to talk about it and its system, but I wanted to talk to you and the others so I can get a better grasp on the ideas of it and what you experienced during the journey,” Chǎng spoke while staring at the woman in front of her.

    “Hmm, that seems fine. Sometimes cultivating endlessly is a good thing, but if all you do is cultivate, you will never breakthrough. You must have heard, but when I was younger I was raised in the slums, always taught to hide my life so no one could bother me. But with that, my cultivation continued to soar despite having an average talent. I guess I am qualified to tell you my experiences,” her lips puckered as she started to remember the past.

  • edited July 21

    Yay! 150 chapters, halfway to 200  B)

    Chapter 150: The Dao Heart (4)

    Seeking Jīn Fèng’s help regarding the dao heart, she was amazed at her explanation and the way she described the path towards the dao heart. While she and the others were famous for having a good chance at becoming immortals, Jīn Fèng was actually the person that people least expect to achieve immortality. As a thriving race of humans, there are many humans roaming around the planet. With that, there is one thing that dominates the world, whether they were cultivators or not, and that was gossip. 

    It was no surprise that her, the others, and many other geniuses in the world had much information spilled out to the public for their personal viewing. Some of this information included the talent of each individual. While this wouldn’t matter too much unless someone had heaven-defying natural talent, bodies, and more, the thing that set Jīn Fèng off from others was the fact that her talent was one of the worst. 

    Amongst all that was listen as talented, that were the shining stars of the world, in terms of talent, she was actually placed near the bottom. Compared to the others, even Zhàn Méi who didn’t have as good talent as Wáng Wèi, she was still in the middle area of the list. Yet for her, it took her forty years to reach the seventh rank! For another comparison, Wáng Wèi, someone who was not the top-ranked genius in terms of talent but still up there, was already at the sixth rank at the age of twenty-two. 

    Obviously, cultivating was extremely difficult, and no one was sure when someone could break-through as there were many factors, but one thing that people were sure of was that in about ten years, as long as nothing bad happened she would most likely already be at the seventh rank!

    Even though that seemed short as that was just a ten-year difference, the first seven stages of cultivation were ‘easy’. While they were many stuck at the beginning stages, the fifth, sixth, and so on, Wáng Wèi and the others were those that were fed with golden spoons and blessed with talent, so surpassing the first sixth stages was just a matter of time. Yet once they reached the seventh, the difficulty sky-rocketed. Many geniuses had even spent over a hundred years reaching the peak of the eighth rank! This showed not only how difficult the last three ranks were, but how important it was for them as they were still mortals. 

    Because of this, Chǎng was surprised at how knowledgeable she was. Not only that, but Jīn Fèng had a weird and outgoing personality. Sometimes she was drinking to her heart’s content, other times she would just lazy around. She had never expected for her to be someone to act very professional, like a true teacher.

    “There was a quote I read in a book once. It was a very difficult book to read, but a very profound one. In the book, the author said something that I feel like so many ignore. That was the idea of instead of seeking the truth by searching for the truth, why not do the opposite? Why don’t you just seek for the lies, the false truth, the arrogance, everything that people deem to be bad for you, the things that people say shouldn’t matter in life,” she smiled at Chǎng, trying to see if she understood what she meant.

    Obviously being young and oblivious, she didn’t understand everything that she said, “But is that how you search for the truth? Also, how would I apply this to my Dao Heart?”

    “Hmm, let me ask you a question. Is being arrogant and ignorant a good thing?” already understanding what she would say, Jīn Fèng smirked and silently watched.

    “Well… Don’t a lot of nobles die from that? Like they piss off some supreme expert or main character, and then pew! They die sooner or later, or however long an author extends their life,” she tilted her head as she was confused about where she was getting at.

    “True, but what about the main character? They are arrogant as well. It is like killing for justice, the person who is evil is not the villain, but everyone that breathes. They think what they are doing is right, but they are simply following what they are told in society. In reality, what is wrong with having both arrogance and humbleness? 

    The thing that people fail to do is that they let it consume them, instead, they don’t realize that they are simply trapped in a cage, able to advance but never break free as they never touch upon the idea that they could just break the bars instead of sitting tight.

    For the dao heart, there is no clear way to cultivate, but one thing I can say is that if you keep letting your eyes automatically open and close, focusing on something, you will take so long to cultivate. But if you do not take time to actually do it manually you will never realize the smaller details, the important ones, the unnecessary ones.”

    After hearing the explanation, Chǎng sat there contemplating her words. Keeping those words in her heart, she became curious about Jīn Fèng and her supposedly vast knowledge that would surprise anyone if they knew her personality. “Senior Sister, I’ve been wondering. How do you know so much? Is it luck or was there something that got you this smart?”

    Hearing her question, Jīn Fèng couldn’t help but giggle, “I guess luck played a factor in it. After the king found me and decided to put me with the others, I noticed how inferior I was to everyone. I decided that not only did I want to become stronger, I also wanted to be smarter. Hell, back then, even though I cultivated, I barely knew how to read! With that inferiority, I decided to teach myself many things. That is when I discovered philosophy. Even though it may be hard for you to quite get into it, I would recommend that you take time to get some and read it in your spare time over the years. If you want, I can lend you some books.”

    The two chatted for a bit more time, sometimes it is more about philosophy, sometimes just about life, and many more. Getting ready to leave, Chǎng decided to ask a few more questions, this time, it was regarding what had happened a while ago. She retold the scene when two mysterious figures tried to attack her. 

    Jīn Fèng’s face slowly turned hostile the more she heard about it and thought for a minute. “I can only think of one thing. These two men could’ve been apart of an organization branching across the continent. The kingdom is merely a small area compared to the vast majority as the king has no plans to expand the land or take over another kingdom currently, but even so, the king decided to not take action against this organization as it would be tiresome and tricky.

    But, according to your clues, it is most likely that hidden organization… They probably won’t do anything to you anymore, but be careful. The branch in the kingdom is pretty weak, but that organization likes to do many things such as obtaining slaves, capturing innocents, and many more crimes as long as they are able to obtain money whether they truly need it or not. 

    If you decide to go home use the jewelry that Zhào Lǚ gave you, it should defend against those below the fifth, and maybe the sixth rank, and if they are stronger, I will ask the king to hand you an element talisman. Obviously, I will be the one giving it to you, but with that talisman, the five of us, Captain Shi, and a few other hidden Rising Dragon experts will sense your location and arrive immediately.”

    Understanding the dangers she could be in, Chǎng nodded and decided that if she were to go home, she would need to prepare herself from now on. 
    The two talked again for a bit of time but this time much shorter. Chǎng packed up, took two books from Jīn Fèng’s library and quickly went home to the mansion before resting up.

  • edited July 23

    Chapter 151: Closed Doors Opening

    “Oh, so that was who those people were… Hmm, come to me whenever you need to go home and Huá will take you there. I can’t say that I can get you to be picked up daily to go to school, but it should be enough to go home safely,” a young man spoke to a little girl who sat next to him while trying to pull a flimsy, cheap and half-broken fishing rod. With enough force, he was able to get the line of the rod closer and with a final pull, a fish the size of a shoe popped out.

    He threw the fish towards a small hole in the ground that also had five fishes in it. “Ah, I need to get the sixth one and I feel like I'll have accomplished something!” he placed the rod on the ground before laying on the grass, tired from the fishing that he has done all day.

    “Master, compared to everyone else who is cultivating ferociously, all I see is you relaxing and doing things like a rich mortal would,” a sweat dripped from her face as she didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Even though cultivators had days where they relaxed and socialized like regular human beings, most of the time they simply cultivated unless there was an event happening. Yet for over a month, all he has done was simply relax and spend an hour or few practicing the sword. Besides the sword, at most he had learned how to survive in the wilderness… that is if he didn’t face any enemies.

    “Hmm, but remember, I can’t cultivate, not only that, but I really do feel like the only way for me to break through is to experience life in general. Like that time in the Formation of the Deceased, I feel like it was because of that event that I was able to breakthrough. Right now I am just trying to find anything that I could accomplish by being here by myself; with Huá of course.

    Besides, if I can’t make a single progress at all, I think it is time for me to leave and actually explore the city, make friends, and try to see what life has in store for me. Besides, even I know that I need to grow up and do something useful instead of waiting for others to get strong. I might as well try and unlock some of the branches that are sealed.” As he spoke he got up and proceeded to fish again.

    “I guess it makes sense. I mean you can use like ten threads of qi, which is really small but good! But if you are going out, at least take me out one day! I need a day where I can just relax, hang out with master and not have to worry about teacher taking me to hell to cultivate. As much as it benefits me, it gets really tiring,” as she pouted she stared at the Gonggong that was laying on the grass, half-asleep.

    “I think it is time for me to go. I wanna go and buy something, like chocolates to give my mom and grandpa. Senior Huá, can we go to the rich district first, and then my house?” Chǎng got up and dusted her outfit before speaking towards the snake. Even though she was still scared of snakes in general, she had enough courage to at least speak to the snake without fearing for her life constantly.

    The snake hissed in a plain manner and in a bit of time the two launched off in the distance.

    However, while the two launched off, a pair of eyes were looking at the two before looking at Zhào Lǚ. However, if Chǎng were here she would surely recognize the person as her teacher, Fēngbào!

    But before she could even take the initiative to move, she felt a dominating pressure surround her, only to notice that in the distance, even though the snake was flying in the sky, away from her, she could feel its eyes staring at her. She took the warning from the snake and proceeded to not go forward.

    Even though she meant no harm and merely wanted to gain some favors from him, it was better to leave than having the chance of being eaten alive.

    While Fēngbào and the other two left, Zhào Lǚ remained idle, waiting for a fish to come and bite. Staring into the clear lake, he was able to see the many fishes swimming around. However, not a single one came towards the bait. He murmured to himself, “Maybe the bait isn’t strong enough?”

    After the time it takes for an incense to burn, none of the fish in the lake came towards the bait at all, as if they had no interest in it. Giving up as he knew that none would come towards him even if he waited an entire hour, he gave up and proceeded to cook his food. 

    Cooking the five fishes that he caught, the Gonggong returned just in time to eat. The two has a typical dinner session before they prepared to go to sleep.

    Before he went to sleep, he started thinking about the four plates that were originally his lock. Specifically, he was thinking about the red glowing plate that had two people holding hands. He was slightly confused about whether this was friendship, the ‘love’ that Zhàn Méi told him about, or whether it was some other thing. Maybe I should visit her tomorrow?

    =====

    The day quickly passed and after waking up, he finally decided to head out of the forest and actually enter society once more. The Gonggong quickly slid into his clothes, seemingly disappearing into the void. Already used to such a notion, he walked out after ensuring that his clothes were neat and not dirty. 

    If there was one thing he learned from reading many books and interacting with others, it was that people cared about face a lot. It was to the point where nobles never wanted to associate with anyone dirty looking, fearing that their reputation might be tainted. Even though Zhàn Méi wouldn’t mind as she wore rags herself, he decided to avoid unwanted trouble and tried his best to look clean.

    =====

    “Ah, young master! You are here so suddenly, it has been so long. Please, let me go tell the young miss that you are here,” a guard quickly bowed upon seeing Zhào Lǚ hopping off of the flaming horse treasure that he had. A young new guard almost took action, however, he was not stupid enough to realize that the other guard who was experienced, acted polite as if the person in front of him was a famous young master. Nevertheless, he took the initiative to speak to the young man in front of him politely.

    “Zhào Lǚ, did you finally returned from closed-door cultivation?” a young girl wearing a robe with a hoodie that appeared to be cheap came out of the gates.

  • edited July 25

    Chapter 152: The Red Knot

    “Hmm, I decided that remaining in there wouldn’t be beneficial. Besides, there is something that I want to talk to you about.”

    Hearing those words, Zhàn Méi was slightly concerned as the person in front of her was someone who was typically clueless, relaxed, and chill. Even though she knew it wouldn’t be something too dramatic she was still curious and concerned about what it was.

    After settling down in her room, she slowly scooted the green mouse and white-furred dog out the room before sitting on the bed, ready to hear what he needed to talk to her about. 

    “Can you teach me about love?” he said casually as if there was nothing wrong about it.

    With the mention of love again, she blushed and was tempted to smack him. “I told you, it is really complicated, but it should be done with someone who moves you.”

    “But… I don’t think anyone makes me feel that way. I don’t even know where to start. What if my heart moves by some random lady on the street but I don’t know whether it is love, a past friend, or something. I just wanted to continue our conversation, or at least you guide me.”

    Not knowing that he was poking a hibernating bear, he tried his best to convince her. Thinking that he would face at least some resistance, he did not expect her to suddenly agree immediately.

    “F-Fine. I’ll guide you in love,” she looked away, trying to not look at him at all. The two were sitting on her bed, but they were a good normal distance away. Yet despite this, after saying her statement she inched closer and after sitting next to him she wrapped her arms around him.

    Absolutely oblivious to what was happening, Zhào Lǚ decided to return the favor by wrapping his arms around her. It was not that he was stupid or dense like a typical romance show, but it was more of the fact that he was more like a robot trying to understand emotions, trying to understand why. He had read romance novels, but they made him feel weird, not in his heart, but instead in a sense of, he didn’t get the situation at all.

    Feeling the hands wrap around her, her face turned so red that she felt like exploding. But instead of freezing, she instead smiled. The two stayed like this for a solid minute before she hugged him tighter while speaking in a small voice, “Then… for the first question, d-do you feel anything from this hug?”

    As she was laying around his chest, he looked at her head in confusion. Thinking about it, he finally spoke, “Hmm, I guess you feel nice and warm? Like I want to hug you more I guess.”

    Instead of being the teacher, Zhàn Méi couldn’t even open her eyes to look at the surrounding. It was as if she was riding a roller coaster and she was going through many loops, the idea of opening your eyes during that event was already scary enough. Here, her heart couldn’t stop beating. Even though she originally just wanted to just talk with him about it, she had an urge to keep going.

    “T-Then… How does your heart feel,” she asked nervously.

    “Fine, I guess? I mean, when I'm with Chǎng my body is pretty calm, but I guess when you are hugging me right now, I want to hold you more? Like my heart feels weird, like it’s trying to tell me to protect you, and hold you in my arms.”

    Without noticing, he already sounded like some kind of really cheesy and bad poet. But to Zhàn Méi’s heart, even if it sounded bad and typical, she really enjoyed it. Even after being taken to be raised in a better place by the king, she was still cold by nature. Even killing for the first time wasn’t too bad for her. After taking a breath in she was already prepared for anything else. 

    It wasn’t that she was a cold-hearted murderer, but instead, even with her mom’s care, she didn’t really feel much love in any form. Yet when facing with Zhào Lǚ, every time she saw him a ticking bomb slowly counted down. At first, she truly thought that it was because she saw him as attractive, in which she shrugged off. But as time went by, she found more and more reasons to liking him than his looks or a feeling in her heart. 

    Even seeing him make some idiotic mistake caused her to laugh like everyone else, but one in which she really enjoyed. Not that she was cruel, but instead, she liked seeing. To her, he had a personality that was very unusual. But, either way, it was one that she quite enjoyed.

    “But... “ as soon as Zhào Lǚ spoke these words, her heart clenched, “when we were in the trials, I got to meet this girl. We bonded after some time and her father was nice. Even though I thought she was like any other person I met, for some reason I kept getting this weird feeling whenever I saw her. Once I killed her… for some reason I really hated myself. I don’t know why, but it hurt my chest a lot.”

    Despite still being embarrassed, Zhàn Méi closed her eyes for a few seconds before opening them again, “And you feel the same way for me just like the other girl you met? And is it only me? Not anyone else?”

    “Hmm, I don’t really feel that way with anyone else. But I don’t know why, but every time I see you and talk to you, I get a familiar feeling like I did.”

    Clenching her grip slightly tighter, Zhàn Méi decided that it was finally time to make another move than sit around hugging the person she liked. She gently pushed him down onto the bed and laid on his chest again while her arms slid onto his back. 

    “Zhàn Méi?” he looked at her really confused, yet he didn’t reject this action. Instead, he embraced her and patted her head. 

    “Let’s just stay like this for now…” she said with a slightly saddened tone. While she wanted to die from embarrassment, when she pushed him down, she knew that it was wrong. Not that it the action of forcing her onto him, but more of the fact that she didn’t want it to be a one-sided relationship or one where one or the other disbands because they fell out of love. 

    She wanted him to realize his love for her. Not that she was cynical or anything, but instead, she wanted him to ensure that he truly loved her. A lot of people would go in blindly because they love each other, but in reality, they desire this or that, or they realize that they never really loved them because they could never face the truth or it dies off. She wanted him to be sure that she was someone who he really loved.

    Even though it was slightly awkward, the two hugged each other for a long time before Zhàn Méi got up, “You can go, I’ma go do something.” With that, she quickly left in a hurry without waiting for a single response.

    This has to be the weirdest day of my entire life… He got up after trying to understand what happened and with that, he left and saying goodbye to her mother.

  • edited July 28

    Chapter 153: A Month’s Cultivation

    While the two had their awkward moments, time quickly flew by. About a month had passed and everything remained normal. Zhào Lǚ and Zhàn Méi hung out a few times during the past month, causing their relationship to slightly grow. Not only that, but during this time, both Zhàn Méi and Fù Dí increased their cultivation by a level. 

    Fù Dí broke through to the fifth level of the Qi Wielder rank, while Zhàn Méi broke through to the seventh level of the Pillar Descent rank. Even though the other three did not breakthrough, they did make progress, and even Láng Ma who only broke through a while ago, before they met Zhào Lǚ, was on the verge of breaking through the first level, going onto the second level where his feet were firmly gripped onto the rank.

    However, one person was the quickest in terms of breaking through, and that was Chǎng. Granted, she was at the Qi Refiners rank, however, she made many consecutive breakthroughs. Especially in the most recent month that passed by, Chǎng has been given a multitude of resources by the other five, and Zhào Lǚ who asked the king and progenitor if they had any spare resources to give.

    Of course, the two wouldn’t disrespect him and give her their trash, trash that was only as valuable as gold at their level. Instead, even though they purposefully did not give her heaven-defying treasures, they most certainly gave her treasures that could help her in cultivation. 

    It was not that they were greedy by hiding away treasures that were god-like to her, but a paycheck worth to them. Instead, the reason why they did not give her something to change her fate was mainly due to the reason of karma, yin-yang, or at least any system similar to it. 

    If someone with zero to no talent obtained a plant that could change their talent into those that were ensured to become powerful immortals in the future, it was honestly fine as long as they did not have any backing, power, and other things at all. It was like a ravaging beast gaining intelligence. It would only make them stronger. 

    That person has gone through pain, bloodshed, death, and so much more. They could handle it better as there were not only physical backlashes to consuming such a thing, despite its benefits; there are also mental backlashes by becoming too powerful, or by changing one’s fate.

    If one only ate porridge, bread, water, and a few other foods that were easy to get, but hard for them, and all of a sudden started consuming full-on meals, lavish drinks, the sweetness of a cake, and many more. Why would they ever come back to porridge, bread, and water? They no longer have to worry about trying to get a meal's worth of food, no longer have to deal with the horrid taste. They would probably even kill to keep their current life than the original. And this is only one of the many backlashes that could happen.

    Not only that, but at the end of the day, the only person who is able to advance, and truly reach the apex, is if one’s own self puts in the effort. No matter how many resources you give, if you don’t know how to put in the effort, you will not be able to reach for the skies without someone doing it for you.

    Luckily, understanding struggles, receiving plenty of resources was fine with Chǎng. In fact, she has not consumed a large portion, and instead consumed them slowly. Any normal person, especially with poor backgrounds would have gone crazy. Yet, for her, she knew that it won’t disappear the next day. Acting rashly would only anger the heavens.

    Due to this, even though she didn’t achieve the ‘perfect’ way of cultivating, the speed at which she cultivated already reached a genius level. Of course, it didn’t mean she could slack off, instead, it meant that she could catch up to geniuses if she worked more than them.

    Currently, it has been around three months since she started cultivating. Yet now, she was already at the edge of the eighth level, ready to charge into the ninth. But like any other typical cultivation scenario, right now she just had to solidify her foundations and find a good moment to breakthrough into the ninth level. 

    Sitting in a quiet bland room, she silently cheered as she was getting closer and closer to the second rank. When she started cultivating, she was already glad to even be slightly strong. Never expecting to even reach the Void Foundation rank. Yet now she had the confidence to maybe reach Qi Expansion, the eighth rank. Maybe she could even reach the legendary Rising Dragon rank!

    Luckily for her, having a dao heart that was stronger than her current cultivation and experience benefited her greatly. She did not rush the process, nor was she really anxious about the situation. Some might say, what is a cultivator without a great mentality?

    Attempting to fortify her cultivation and find a moment to break through, she decided to go into a forest outside of the city, well-known for their low-level magical beasts. Obviously, she was going to do this tomorrow, on a Saturday, and she was going to have Huá protect her in case anything happens.
    Saturday quickly landed and once the sun rose, Chǎng said her goodbyes toward Zhào Lǚ before riding on Huá towards the forest.

    Arriving at the forest, she decided to spend the time scanning the area. Looking around, the snake quickly disappeared, nowhere to be found. Even though she wasn’t expecting the snake’s help, she was still surprised. She grabbed a map and jotted down some keynotes, and after a minute or two, she finally found where she was. With that, she began traversing down the lonely road.

    While walking, she was admiring the beauty of the place. But at the same time, every single hair on her body appeared to be so tense that they appeared like missiles. This was her second time outside the city, and with her inexperienced self, she remained cautious of everything that moved.

    This wasn’t an illusion, this was the real world. Even though she knew Huá was watching over her, she couldn’t help but be nervous. Of course, with her dao heart, she wasn’t shaking too badly, just anxious and nervous.

    Getting a grasp on what the forest was like during her walk, she managed to find her way to one of the weakest areas in the forest. This was a place meant for magical beast below the second level of the Qi Holders rank. 

    Even though magical beast were stronger than a human cultivator at the same cultivation, she could easily wipe them. The main reason why she came here though, was to gain experience on how life was like. Living life, like Zhào Lǚ, but more dangerous, and not for a long time as the school still existed.

  • edited July 30

    Chapter 154: A Beginner’s Forest (1)

    Being at a section where the peak existences of magical beasts that were living here were only at the Qi Holders rank, she decided it would be a good place for her to attempt to breakthrough. 

    Even though there were some magical beast that would gain intelligence at the second rank, it was really rare as many had to rely on their bloodline to unlock it, which wouldn’t happen to at least the third rank for the common ones, and it was hard to find a beast that gained intelligence on its own.

    Just entering the vicinity, she already found a magical beast attacking her. Scared by the surprise attack, she immediately whipped out her spear and slashed the beast’s body. Being on the outskirts, she knew from her teachings that they were the lowest and weakest beasts to exist in places. With that knowledge, she did not even have to focus on the beast to know that it was sliced into two pieces.

    Despite this, her focus immediately tensed up, trying to be aware of everything in her surroundings. If a simple surprise attack from a beast at the very first level of the Qi Refiner rank made her jump like that, who knew what would happen to her in the real world.

    While there were respectable fights out there, people with actual honor, respect, and much more, in the real world if you weren’t careful your head would be sliced off easily.

    Seeing how despite killing the beast easily, she was attacked, she decided that it was best if she spent a few hours walking around the edge, getting a grasp of the beasts roaming around. By the time the sun was slowly reaching the peak, three people walked by. 

    “Hey, little sister you seem so young. Did your young master send you here? Did you run away?” a girl around the age of fifteen waved towards her after she noticed them. Amongst the girl, a man and another woman around the same age smiled at her. The three wore different clothing, yet on the area where their right breast was at, a small blue ribbon hung on it.

    “Oh, are senior brother and sisters from the Nature’s Cloth sect?” despite seeing their friendly faces, being as careful as she could, Chǎng decided to try and get a bit of information out of them to ensure they were not criminals or evil people.

    “Haha, you are right. No need to be so formal with us, you are just a few years younger, nor are we from the same sect,” the man who was amongst the other two spoke up and let out a hand, signaling her to shake his hand.

    Knowing that it would be rude to not shake his hand, Chǎng did and smiled back.

    “May we ask why you are here? We can’t sense your cultivation very well, so you must still be in your early stages! Your master must have not given you a single moment to cultivate, has he… If he is not powerful we don’t mind helping you at least getaway. Our elders can take out anyone at the Body Expansion rank!” the second girl, who wore a small ribbon on her head spoke out with confidence. Oddly enough, the ribbon despite looking cute on her made her appeared both like a tomboy and a pretty elegant lady.

    “Excuse me for my concern, but isn’t the Nature’s Cloth sect infamous for its ability to manipulate people? Especially those that are weak right?” looking around at her surroundings, Chǎng’s fist immediately tightened up.

    The other girl who had a slim face and body immediately snorted and spoke in annoyance, “Senior Brother, let us go, she obviously doesn’t appreciate our help. It is like someone who specializes in poison, they merely think of them as some wild species, as some being that will kill everyone. If that was the case we would have been annihilated long ago. Come, let us hurry and go.”

    Seeing the hate building up, Chǎng couldn’t help but feel guilty for misunderstanding and assuming, “Ah, wait! I am sorry for my behavior. This is my first time being so far out. Right now I am spending two days to train here, I wonder if seniors could help me by at least giving me tips or guiding me.”

    Seeing that she was truly sincere, the girl with the ribbon halted the other two, “We should bring her along, I kinda feel bad for her. We should at least tell her key parts and pick areas that would benefit her.”

    “Hmph, since Fèng’er has spoken, I guess we can allow her to follow us,” turning towards Chǎng, snorted once more before looking away, “don’t lag behind. We won’t be responsible for making sure you follow.”

    Nodding gently, she followed the three, not minding the rude attitude of the slim girl. After a minute of silence, she took the initiative to speak, “Um, my name is Chǎng! It’s nice to meet you three!”

    “The pleasure is mine. My name is Hú Xièxiè, and the rude one you just met was Hú Fèng,” the girl with the ribbon smiled at her.

    “The name’s Yánshí. I have no surname, but even so, I take my name with pride,” the only boy amongst the three huffed his chest out as if he had a majestic and prestigious clan behind him.

    Hearing the word Hú come out of her mouth, she couldn’t help but ask a sudden question, “Did you say your surname was Hú…?”

    “Oh! Don’t misunderstand. We are not from the Hú clan. Well, we come from a branch, but the branch was exiled for being too weak. Instead of love and compassion, we kinda have a dislike towards them. But please don’t start spreading those rumors,” Hú Xièxiè waved with her hands, trying to clear any thoughts that Chǎng might have.

    “No, it’s alright. I was scared that you were apart of that clan. I sort of have a hatred against them…” she sighed recalling the pervert Hú Qiángdà who despite being so young, tried to get her to ‘warm his bed’.

    “Did something happen between you and the clan?” Yánshí couldn’t help but go in the conversation.

    “Yánshí, don’t be rude to butt into someone’s privacy,” Hú Xièxiè gently flicked his forehead.

    “No, no. It’s alright. It’s just that a young noble from there tried to take me to his estate. Obviously, I refused, but it was not a pleasant experience.”

    A snort came from the front of the group, “Don’t tell me. It was Hú Qiángdà?”

    The other two shivered upon hearing that name. He was not a simple character at all, he was rather important amongst the main clan. 

    “Yes, it was… I got away, but he was really annoying.”

    “Hmph, if he suddenly comes charging at us, we won’t protect you. That is too severe for us to handle. I also got away from him, but keep in mind we won’t protect a mere stranger. Especially if the situation causes my family to be killed,” Hú Fèng continued walking, speaking without any restraint.

    Upon hearing that, Chǎng immediately shook and looked down slightly. It was unusual and cruel to hear someone tell them that they would abandon them immediately if danger arrived. But she did not dwell on it or hate them for it, she knew that it was already kind of them to help her on the way.
    The four of them slowly walked deeper and deeper into the forest.

  • edited July 31

    Chapter 155: A Beginner’s Forest (2)

    “Bang!” A pool of blood slowly drifted away as it was constantly being filled with a dead brown ape-like creature. It’s head and chest, big and wide, while its leg was short like a mere human. Despite the frightening appearance it had, it had a large hole in its body.

    Slightly panting, Yánshí breathed in and out for a bit before cheering, “Haha, see that ladies, your junior brother can protect you all!” Acting arrogant, he puffed his chest, trying to impress the three girls behind him.

    “Brother, if a mere Brown Ape can cause you trouble, especially one that just past its baby stage can threaten you slightly, I don’t think we need much protecting,” Hú Fèng sneered while laughing.

    “Senior Sister don’t be cruel… You know my talent and background…” the boy sulked while being berated by the slim girl.

    “Defeat something a beast at the seventh rank and I will give you a kiss,” she winked, charming the boy. 

    Being young, he could not help but shudder upon the reward given. He stopped panting and immediately walked forward with might, “Haha, Sister don’t worry, I will bring beat one with just a lift of my finger!”

    “Fèng’er, please don’t manipulate the poor boy,” Hú Xièxiè sighed upon seeing the boy get over-confident, worried that it may harm him.

    =====

    After walking for a while, killing beasts along the way, the sun was already descending from its peak.

    Suddenly stopping, Hú Xièxiè looked towards Chǎng with a puzzled look, “Ah, I can’t believe we haven’t asked you yet, Sister Chǎng, where do you want to go? Even though we don’t know every crevice of the forest we at least know the general area where beasts are.” 

    “Anywhere is good! I think I should pick a random direction to go to. But if senior really wants to help, a place with beasts over the sixth rank will do!” 
    Hearing this, Hú Fèng snorted, “Huh? The sixth rank? Little girl, you must be kidding me, you, a mere weak maid seeking to be brave and fight against powerful beasts? Ha. Look here, I may be an ass, but let me give you some advice, the route we took already evaded two Qi Holder beasts. Wandering randomly in the forest is just going to get you killed. We are about to venture past another area where a Qi Holder beast resides, just stick close to us. We shouldn’t encounter any as long as none of us make any stupid mistakes.” 

    Just as she finished speaking, a roar low-pitched roar sliced through the area. 

    “Shit! What the hell, my luck must be this bad… We really encountered a Qi Holder beast, especially after I just finished talking…” not knowing where all her bad luck was coming from, sweat poured down her face.

    “Good job little sis…” even though Hú Xièxiè didn’t sneer or snort, she was clearly displeased.

    Not acting like some typical character in a show or game, after the roar, the group immediately started to run away from the roar. This wasn’t a game, they weren’t going to for whatever reason stand still and wait for some heroic male to save them with his broken and impressive heaven-defying talent. 
    However, when they scanned the area with their qi, upon hitting something, they looked behind them to see a beast in the air! Obviously, this was not an immortal beast, but instead one with natural wings. The beast had a scorpion-like tail, wings like a bat, and an upper body like a lizard.

    What’s even scarier was that the beast’s age was only around a young teen! The group recognized it to be a Grey Stinger, a beast that slightly resembled three common creatures, but was entirely different. But the main thing that shocked them wasn’t that it was mostly at the first level of the Qi Holder rank, it was instead the talent that it held behind it. 

    A fully grown Grey Stinger could achieve at minimum the eighth rank, Qi Expansion, causing it to be frightening amongst many beasts. Just at the age of a human teen, it is already at the second rank! Even if it did not cultivate daily, it would be at the rank regardless.

    “What is a Grey Stinger doing here?! This forest is generally a place where people below the sixth rank will go to train and the like. How is our luck so bad that we met a beast that is infamous for its talent?!” Yánshí screamed, scared for his life. The beast had already seen them so he was not scared of making noise at all.

    “Do you think we can fight it? There are four of us. Even though our strength combined won’t kill it, if we apply a good strategy we might have a chance!” Chǎng said in a calm voice. Even though she was inexperienced and nervous, she had already trained a bit so dealing with these situations wasn't too scary, at least until she actually fights them.

    “Stupid! Even though it isn’t like the separation between someone at the Rising Dragon rank and another who’s an immortal, it is still a large gap! None of us come from large clans or sects, nor are we geniuses. Unless we were all at the ninth level, we have no hope of defeating it.

    Understanding the situation, Chǎng closed her mouth. She decided to go along with them. Even if they abandoned her, she knew that she had two things, the treasure that Zhào Lǚ gave her, and Huá, who is most likely watching her right now.

    Upon running, they did not get too far before they heard the beast roar once more, causing them to shiver in fear. They knew that it was catching up so they pushed their speed to the limit. They knew they couldn’t outrun the beast, but a second of extra time was better than none. 

    “Boom!” an explosion occurred behind Hú Xièxiè as a ball of grey energy spat out from the beast’s mouth causing a tall tree to collapse.

    “Dammit, we are far away from the entrance, there is no way we can make it there. We need to think of a way out!” scared of her life being taken away from the grey ball, Hú Xièxiè panicked slightly.

    “I think I can recall a large cliff that descends down into another section that leads towards magical beasts at the third rank!” Yánshí yelled.

    “Third rank?! We can’t even handle a second rank idiot!” Hú Fèng glared at him, thinking the idea as stupid.

    Seeing an argument about to break out, Chǎng quickly stopped them, “Well we need to do it anyways. Unless anyone else has an idea on how to escape, we need to take the risk. A risk versus death? I wouldn’t choose the latter. So let’s hurry up and go!” 

    After she finished speaking, Hú Fèng immediately went quiet and decided to follow the path towards the cliff. Even though it was dangerous, at the very least, the beast which had some intelligence would get the idea that they were heading into more dangerous territory. Despite being strong, it was currently not strong enough to defeat those at the third rank. Just like humans, beasts enjoyed eating other species than its own. The Grey Stinger was not ready to be another’s food at all.

  • edited August 3

    Chapter 156: A Beginner’s Forest (3)

    Arriving at the edge after some time, the Grey Stinger stared at the three, deciding whether it should attack or halt. Even though it was much more powerful than the four, it could not instantly kill them. 

    It would not take long for it to kill the four, however, the biggest problem was the fact that there were four people. If it was not careful, it could get pushed down into the cliff if they were smart about it.

    No one could ever tell what would happen to one’s self. Fortune-tellers simply did not exist, at least to their knowledge. For all the beast could know was that there was still a chance for it to be injured and pushed off.

    Even though the beast was a Grey Stinger, beasts cared less about reputation or prestige. Even though many fear and respect beasts with great blood-lines, if they could take advantage they would not hesitate to. Just like if a king were to fall sick, many would sweep in to try and take or control what they want. Even a Vermillion Bird, if heavily injured, or was a baby that could barely defend itself, would be taken advantage of despite the enemy’s fear towards powerful or heavenly beasts.

    Seeing that the Grey Stinger was hesitating, trying to pay attention to the beast, she diverted some of her attention towards the cliff. Wanting to see if there was a way down without having to risk the experience.

    Looking down, she could barely make out water flowing, but with her cultivation still at the first rank and never cultivating her body, specifically her eyes, she could not see any further. 

    With that, she sent the others a transmission, “Hey, I see a river below us. I don’t know how deep the riven is, and if we will be safe, but if it calls for it, we at least have something to ease our fall.”

    “Good work Chǎng! A plan B is always a good option to have. Now we just need to find a way to not get eaten,” Hú Xièxiè sent one back towards her.
    The four stood there for a minute, yet in that single minute caused each and every one of them to tighten up. However, despite the tenseness of their body, they knew that it was better than relaxing. Of course, they were not the only one as the Grey Stinger was constantly ready to attack.

    However, unlike them, it was not a human, nor was it a lion, it did not have the patience to deal with them. Deciding to make the first move, it shot out a small purple thread from its tail, aiming it towards Hú Fèng.

    Even though the purple thread was strong, Chǎng could tell that it would be just enough to cause Hú Fèng to go against it and be fine. Even though she wasn’t too close to her, if it weren’t for the fact that all three of them were around the Body Expansion, with Hú Xièxiè at the peak of the rank, she wouldn’t have interfered.

    Yet, little did she expect, it turned out that Hú Fèng could not defend! Each and every cultivator had their own weaknesses. Some specialized more in offense than defense, some did the opposite. Having never attacked while they were traveling in the forest, leaving it all up to Yánshí, she never knew that Hú Fèng specialized in bows! 

    At the end of the day, Hú Fèng was both unprepared and too weak to handle this! While her offensive powers would be great, the speed that it would take for her to even draw the bow and aim correctly without making any mistakes was extremely difficult! Not to mention that she made a really dumb decision to not bring her bow out!

    If Chǎng knew, she would have already rushed to her side, yet all she could do was open her eyes in shock as to why she still hasn’t defended herself. Not only that, but Hú Xièxiè, the second strongest, was not close enough to intervene. Unless she had a powerful technique to rush her way over, she could not do anything. 

    Luckily, the closest person was Yánshí. But once the thread came closer and closer, there was no time to prepare. He took his sword and put it in front of his body before standing in front of Hú Fèng, preparing to be her shield.

    Even though he was quick enough to get in front of her, he still lacked time to prepare. He did not aim his sword properly and instead tried his best to put the sword where the thread looked like it was going to. Making an error in his calculations, the thread passed the sword be an inch and stabbed him right in the shoulder.

    While all this text occurred, while it took so long to explain, all of this happened in less than three seconds. “Arg!” he yelled out. Even though it was not an attack that could kill him, it was still a strong one considering it came from a Qi Holder’s rank beast.

    “Yánshí!” Hú Fèng cried out.

    “Crap, the attack that it used was filled with poison! Even though Grey Stingers don’t have good poison attacks, it is good enough to take on weaker prey by slightly paralyzing them!” Hú Xièxiè warned Hú Fèng while holding an iron-like ruler.

    Realizing that the cause of Yánshí’s injury was her fault, Hú Fèng reached into her storage ring in a hurry before taking out random antidotes, in a panic to see which one to use.

    Seeing that she was about to use a random antidote, Chǎng couldn’t help but stop her immediately, “Don’t! Calm down! You should know that using the wrong antidote could flare up some poisons. Some of the antidotes on you will definitely flare up the poison and a few will even cause him death!”

    Realizing how she was causing even more troubles she stopped what she was doing and almost broke out on the spot. Despite being heartless and cruel, right now she was quiet and shaken.

    “That one! Is that a Sound Mushroom Antidote? Use that one, it should get rid of most of the poison in his body,” continuing to stare at the Grey Stinger, Chǎng spoke out loud.

    Saying nothing, Hú Fèng followed her action without thinking much. All she cared about was curing him of poison. After giving him a brown pill to swallow, his face immediately became better and he opened his eyes, now relieved of the pain.

    As he woke, he found himself on Hú Fèng’s lap and smiled. “Ah, I knew one day I would be having close intimate contact with my beautiful Hú Fèng.” 
    With those words, he felt a slap hit him across his face. “Bastard!” Hú Fèng yelled at him.

    “Huh, wait this isn’t a dream!?” he panicked as he realized that he said that out loud. Trying to get up he felt pain in his body, kicking him down. 

    Before anyone could panic, Chǎng stepped in, “Don’t worry, he just needs to meditate to get rid of the remaining antidote and poison. Even though the antidote wasn’t perfect, it is an easy one to obtain and use.”

    Seeing that everyone was slowly recovering, the Grey Stinger roared as it had already prepared its body for multiple attacks. It quickly shot out two threads, one towards the injured man, and the other towards the defenseless woman.

    Trying to not make a second accident, both Chǎng and Hú Xièxiè intercepted, knocking away the thread. But before they could breathe, the beast had already charged towards Hú Xièxiè, inching closer with every passing millisecond.

    She immediately raised her ruler and slammed it against the beast, causing it to be slightly knocked back while her feet dug into the ground. But the beast only knocked back slightly, it quickly recovered and launched another attack. While Hú Xièxiè was strong, the disadvantage of using a ruler was that her speed was limited so even if she blocked it, she would be sent flying due to the unprepared guard.

    Her eyes widened as the claw was about to smack her into the zone filled with Void Foundation ranked beasts.

  • edited August 7

    Chapter 157: Showing One’s Might

    “Hmph! Daring to attack!?” a spear slammed against a claw, causing it to push back with a slight cut. Despite the sudden counter-attack, the spear did not stop there. Snake Thrust! The person wielding the spear suddenly charged towards the Grey Stinger at a fast speed before aiming at one of the eyes. 

    “Roar!” blood spewed out and the beast suddenly flew back many meters before letting out agonizing screams. Its left eye had been pierced by the weapon. Even though in a typical situation, whether man or beast, they would never allow such a thing to happen, even someone at the same level will most likely not be able to attack and pierce the eyes, the beast was truly not expecting such an attack. 

    Even Chǎng was surprised by the outcome, but she knew it was most likely because she was hiding her aura a bit too well. Despite her obvious maid outfit, to others, she would either appear as someone who is doing a task for someone or simply someone following behind another, not a powerful cultivator.

    Even the other three near her were extremely shocked. While the other two, Yánshí and Hú Fèng, were confused and baffled by what was going on, Hú Xièxiè realized the situation and yelled out, “I-Impossible! D-Don’t tell me… You are at the peak of the eighth level!”

    The other two’s eyes opened widely, shocked at the sudden outcome. All three of them had severely underestimated the girl who was younger than her. They looked at her with awe, not knowing what to say. Even Hú Fèng no longer looked at her like trash, but instead looked at her with the utmost respect.

    Being at the Qi Holder rank, the beast also knew the level that she was at. However, that did not let it stop from it roaring out with a loud volume before attacking. Rage almost consumed its heart as it still felt its eyes bleeding, the pain that it suffered with currently, holding it all in.

    There were medicine, techniques, and the like that could bring its eye back, but as a magical beast who has always lived in the forest, it had no money, little treasures, and possession, at least to human cultivators, and it was a Grey Stinger! 

    While there were some beasts that roamed in the cities in their original form due to many reasons, sometimes they would be hunted down once they left due to their difference or need of a human cultivator. If the beast, a mighty Grey Stinger were to enter a city, it would be hunted down as soon as it left. While they didn’t have too many attractive or valuable features, they still had some value in pills, enhancing treasures, and a few other things.

    Deciding to end these cultivators instead of being patient, it was decided that the best person to attack was not the other three that were at the sixth level, but instead the most powerful one amongst the group.

    The beast charged forward with only one eye left. Even though the right side of it was blinded by darkness, it charged forward even more ferocious than a boar.

    Receiving the full might of a Qi Holder’s attack, even after using Qi Tip, Chǎng’s right foot dug into the ground, causing even the nearby trees to slightly shake.

    While many cultivators held back their strength to preserve for a while, the beast did not care and unleashed almost all of its strength. Normally this would be great for the group, however, only Chǎng was at the eighth level, if either she was at the ninth level, or the others were also at the eighth level, maybe they would have killed it by exhausting the beast. But considering the situation, they most likely won’t last for another ten minutes at most.

    Seeing how Chǎng was struggling the others look at each other and Hú Fèng sent some arrows to different points of the beast's body. However, of all the arrows, only one managed to pierce through slightly, creating a tiny scratch. Even though it wasn’t effective, she kept going. Even though she wouldn’t be able to pierce through something important like the beast’s eye, it was still effective in annoying it.

    Getting hit by many arrows, it decided to split its attention. While the claw continuously slammed against the spear, its wings flapped around, causing the nearby dirt to rise, causing a slight distraction and annoyance to the others. While it did that, its tail pointed towards Hú Fèng before shooting more sharp threads of poison.

    Having already experienced the situation, Yánshí quickly appeared in front of her and prepared to block the incoming threads. Despite the dust in the air, he was still able to pinpoint the general direction of the threads.

    Blocking them one by one, he heaved a sigh of exhaustion while smiling. But before he could relax, he felt a thread come in from the right of him. Having no time to put his sword up he panicked internally.

    “Bang!” the thread was pierced into pieces. However, it was not from Yánshí. Looking back, he was surprised that Hú Fèng was the one that got rid of it. 

    Seeing the stare she glared at him before snorting, “Hmph, why would I let myself be unprepared for a second-time idiot! Now let’s do something about that damn beast.”

    Already used to her attitude, Yánshí smiled and he charged at the beast knowing that he had a cover. 

    While they had their moment, Chǎng threw up a mouthful of blood. She had already taken ten full-on hits from the beast. She was no genius, it was already surprising for her to be able to even hold out a few hits from the beast. Just as the beast decided to launch another attack, it sensed something and roared loudly. 

    As it roared, the sound waves of the beast filled the air, causing the three to cover their ears. Looking up, they could see that a person was launched into the air. This person was precisely Hú Xièxiè! While the three were fighting against the beast, she decided to climb a tree in an attempt to use gravity to her advantage in slamming the beast’s body with her ruler.

    Despite being launched into the air, her face did not turn red or pale, instead, she smiled. “Haha, thank you for giving me even more distance!” 

    Learning that it had actually given her more power by launching her further into the air, it knew that if it didn’t do anything, the beast could actually face some damage.

    Even though the beast wanted too, it knew that it couldn’t. The reason was that in front of it, Chǎng was already attacking it, taking advantage of the situation, while the front was being taken care of, the tail of the beast, the back, was busy as Yánshí’s sword kept slamming into it. Not only that, but arrows were raining down onto the beast’s right side. Even though the arrows didn’t to much damage, if it wasn’t careful, it could actually injure it fatally if the chance was given. 

    Being trapped in this cycle, the beast truly had no time to focus on Hú Xièxiè. Realizing that they could actually beat the beast, or at least injure it, the four smiled and continued attacking even rougher. Hú Xièxiè smiled and prepared her ruler. Even though rulers weren’t known for their great offense in battle as they were slow, they most definitely had a large amount of strength and range!

    As if time slowed down, Hú Xièxiè’s ruler slowly inched closer and closer towards the beast. At this point, it was less than a meter from its body. Her face grew more and more arrogant with every slight movement. This was the day that she and her group finally took advantage of a Qi Holder cultivator!

  • edited August 8

    Chapter 158: Is It Dead?

    While everything appeared to slow down, the beast stared at its impending doom. In the small brief of time, it decided to give up. However, this sort of giving up was not what anyone would think. The body of the beast shined with a bright light, blood seeped through the shell of its body.

    Everyone stared with shock and fright. Even though they were not experts regarding information about beasts, they knew that the Grey Stinger was planning to self-destruct! The three panicked, thinking that they were going to die. If Hú Xièxiè did not land a powerful strike, at least enough to make it almost unconscious, to prevent the process from furthering, they would win. But if they did not, they would all die.

    Even though the Grey Stinger was not a prestigious beast like a True Dragon, in the mortal world, it was definitely a beast that had a lot of pride, at least when they were compared to other beasts where their natural talent would only lead them towards lesser ranks. To kill itself along with others was much better than letting them carve the beast up.

    However, only one person was calm. Even though she panicked at first, Chǎng knew that the Gonggong was hiding somewhere. Even if she wasn’t sure if the others would be protected, she knew that her life was safe.

    All of this writing appeared to take a long time, but in reality, the ruler was descending ever so slowly. As soon as the speed turned normal, it was a mere battle of life and death. 

    Panic filled everyone’s face, they all waited for that smack, a cracking noise, something to reassure them. Even Hú Fèng closed her eyes, waiting for the results as she was too scared to suddenly die. Yet her ears rang once she did. She opened her eyes only to see that Hú Xièxiè had truly landed a hit, a hit that actually stopped the self-destruction phase!

    She almost fell to the ground and had to use a nearby tree to actually support her balance. Looking at the Grey Stinger, it appeared that to at the very least, fallen unconscious as its body laid on the ground, not moving at all. 

    “D-Did we do it… Did we actually beat a Qi Holder rank cultivator!?” Hú Xièxiè stumbled onto the ground, off of the beast’s back.

    “I think we did… Ha… Haha!!! Hú Xièxiè, Hú Fèng! If we keep this up we can finally start to get a foot in the world! It won’t be long before we become mighty cultivators and you two join me as my wives in fighting them bastards!!” Yánshí yelled, not caring if he sounded arrogant at all.

    Before the others could join in the fun, Chǎng immediately waved her hand and prepared her spear, “We may have defeated it, but it doesn’t mean we are dead. Even though the self-destruction process put it into an extremely injured state, until its soul, heart, and will die, we shouldn’t put our guard down.” Having already experienced scenarios like this in her trials, she warned them out of experience.

    The other three understood what she meant by her warning. Even though they let their guards down slightly, they were still focused on the beast and their surroundings, making sure that nothing happens.

    With the need to check if it was alive or not, Yánshí decided to be the brave person and walked towards it, sword in hand, in case the beast ever decided to launch a sneak attack.

    Inching closer and closer, he decided to use some weak yet effective techniques to at least cause scratches on certain parts of its body. Swinging his sword down, he slashed against an area of its body where a small vein could be seen. This would most likely wake up the beast as blood was precious to any being.

    As his sword was about to land on the creature, a sharp aura launched out and it threw its claw towards the head of Yánshí.

    “Clang!” Hú Xièxiè who was next to him did not hesitate to block the claw before retreated with Yánshí.

    Almost facing death, Yánshí heaved a sigh, “It really is alive still. Doesn’t matter, we can still continue to exhaust it.”

    The beast hissed, even though it didn’t understand their words, it understood their actions. The beast was slowly inching towards death, it was to kill and die, or simply die.

    About thirty minutes later the beast finally collapsed, trying to put up its claw, but it couldn’t at all. Despite lasting for a good amount of time, sometimes will power was not what one needed to win, sometimes it was truly luck or pure strength.

    Deciding to be careful, the group pinned certain parts into the ground before cutting certain areas into pieces. Even if it was too weak to barely even move, they wanted to be certain that they would not get injured.

    After a bit of time, the beast no longer remained. Every single inch of it was taken, leaving only the blood-stained grass to lay in the sun. Of course, the rewards they obtained was split amongst the four. But the three in the group decided that they should only take sixty percent of the loot. Each one got twenty percent, while Chǎng got forty percent. 

    They decided that she should have the most considering it was her who helped the most. If she was not there to deal with the full-on attacks of the Grey Stinger, they most definitely would’ve been dead, even if they pulled the same tactic as before but without her.

    The group decided to set up a small camp, setting up a small fireplace, and relaxing from the tiring day. In a single day, the four of them took down a Qi Holder ranked beast, only supreme geniuses would be able to do so by themselves, or a group of ninth level cultivators.

    “Haha, let us enjoy ourselves tonight! I got this wine from an old man one day, even though it seemed suspicious at first, I suspect the old man to be a powerful cultivator who was experiencing a mortal life. The reason being is that the wine is so good, I haven’t tasted anything better in a long time!”

    As Yánshí cheered and poured for everyone, they all giggled and unwinded themselves from the day. However, if there was someone to feel awkward, it was most definitely Chǎng. The reason being was that two people were fighting.

    The fight was obviously not against another harmfully, instead it was against another to see who could win someone more. Currently, Yánshí’s two arms were being hugged by two females who stared at each other.

    After the wine was poured and the group talked for a bit, Chǎng learned that the three were actually in a relationship. Specifically that Yánshí was being pursued by the two. She also learned that the two were distant cousins who wounded up in the same scenario as the other.

    She smiled at the two females, not knowing whether to laugh or cry. This scenario certainly changed the mood, but oddly enough, it felt like a typical scenario in some romance books that she would read. 

    There is some average, regular, or decently good guy enjoying his life. Suddenly, he gets launched in a random scenario that changed his life. After meeting some random girls wandering around, they immediately fall in love with him, wanting to be with the man for eternity. 

    This was precisely the situation happening. Being a regular cultivator, Yánshí was wandering the streets before an event happened, causing him to help defend the two girls, causing them to join him.

    Finding the scenario slightly amusing, Chǎng decided to just chill and enjoy the funny trio babble on.

  • edited August 9

    Chapter 159: Hunted Down

    After the four celebrated, they quickly went to sleep, causing the sun to rise once they opened their eyes. Even though the ground was rough and not soft like a bed, everyone smiled as they felt relaxed and comfortable. Not only that, but the reward they gained yesterday was immense. 

    To compare it to values in the mortal world, the blood, scales, poison, and more, were something that even Qi Wielders, those at the fifth rank, would go crazy for. Even some Rising Dragon ranked cultivators would personally seek these treasures out due to a large number of reasons.

    Obviously, they would not jump over waterfalls just because of these items. Even though it was rare, some cultivators at the first few ranks would get items that even Rising Dragon ranks wanted, yet most of them would rarely get rewarded or a chance to jump. One can rely on luck all they want to obtain rare and powerful treasures, but at the end of the day, if one did not have the strength, whether internal or external to keep it, the treasures would naturally belong to those who did have the power.

    Even though no one said it out loud, everyone agreed in their hearts to not leak a single bit of information regarding the event unless it was to someone they trusted the most. Especially the three that Chǎng met, they had no background at all, a single hint of news being passed around was their death.

    The group quickly packed up and decided to head out in a random spot that contained beasts around the seventh level. Even though the three were at the sixth level, with Chǎng agreeing to come along, even if it was a beast at the eighth level, they didn’t have much to fear. The only reason they took it a level lower was so they can gain experience and have a higher chance of breaking through their current level.

    While they picked a random spot with seventh level beasts, the three decided to ask Chǎng a couple of questions. Even though they did share some information about them to the other, they truly did not know where she came from, why she was wearing a maid outfit and other things.

    Even though they experienced a life and death battle together, they decided that starting off it was best to not get too invasive into one’s life. With that, they decided it would be best to start off with the more easy and non-offensive questions.

    Hearing the questions asked, Chǎng looked towards them in confusion. But she decided to answer anyways, “The reason I wear a maid outfit is because I work for my master. Though we don’t have a really typical relationship where all I do is listen to orders and clean. Instead, our relationship is more like… a father and daughter? I guess that’s the best way to put it.

    But the reason I still wear this is because I am in debt to him. He picked me up from the streets around half a year ago and changed the way I lived my life forever. At first, I didn’t even cultivate due to how poor I was, but after meeting him, he helped me enroll in an academy and helped get people to help me in my cultivation. Unless he says so, when I work, I don’t dare to take this off, embarrassing or not.”

    The three looked at her in awe and confusion. The whole aspect of wearing a maid outfit still confused them, but nevertheless, they had some respect for her. Hearing that she enrolled in an academy, Hú Xièxiè could not help but be curious, “What academy do you enroll in then?”

    The three looked at her waiting for her answer. However, their jaws dropped upon hearing her answer. “Oh, I go to Liokal Academy.” Those two words, ‘Liokal Academy’, stunned them, causing them to stutter for a bit of time before being able to talk.

    “T-That’s insane... But I guess that explains why you are so much stronger than us. The academy is so famous I heard even neighboring countries that have immortals in them desire to put their students in them. The resources and heritage they have are so grand,” not knowing whether to laugh or cry, Yánshí laughed in despair.

    “Stupid, that only means we have to work harder. There are many wandering cultivators that have managed to rise through the ranks of geniuses and surpassed them. It ain't impossible for us.”

    “Ya… but it still means they are stronger, at least against the majority.”

    Leading the group, Hú Xièxiè stopped walking and looked behind her, “You two, stop babbling, we are at one of the locations. We should probably start hunting. I don’t know how long the three of us are going to be here, but Chǎng is here until the sun falls, we should hurry and start hunting.

    As we discussed before, Hú Fèng, since you have the best talent for hunting and tracking, we are leaving it up to you to find beasts for us to hunt down.

    We will split the findings into two groups, one of me, Yánshí, and Hú Xièxiè, while Chǎng will hunt down the other half that we found. And every now and then we will group up together to hunt down powerful beasts at the seventh level. Does anyone object?”

    “Hmm, I won’t disappoint you, senior sister!” Yánshí said with a bright smile.

    “I agree with it, it is a good way for all of us to gain the required experiences that we need while evenly splitting the loot and reward,” Chǎng said as she smiled.

    After Hú Fèng gave the final agreement, she went ahead of them in order to scout for beasts to hunt down. Even though Hú Fèng was going to join the other two, she wanted to increase her experience as an assassin and scout. Sometimes the best offense is when no one expects something to happen.

    With that, the sun quickly rose to its peak before slowly falling down. By the time it was around four o’clock, the group gathered together, taking a short break before they started to head out of the forest. The three decided that they should take a break and ponder on their experience as they learned a lot in the time given.

    As the group was exiting the forest, they noticed two groups talking with each other. Luckily the two groups were too focused on one another that they had enough time to hide.

    Getting close enough to listen, they were shocked at what they heard. “Hey, you guys are from the Yellow Cliff Organization, right? What are you doing here for? Hopefully, it doesn’t interfere with us…”

    Hearing this, Chǎng’s heart clenched as the two men that tried to kidnap her were a part of this organization! Even though they weren’t powerful in Liokal, in general, they are like the Hú clan, they deal a lot in businesses, especially illegal or morally wrong ones like assassination, slave dealing, and many more.

    While she thought of them, another similar name popped up, “Yes it does, but not in the way you think… Hú Lěngjìng from the Hú clan. I want to make a proposal… According to our sources, we are hunting the same person that you are. We ask for your cooperation… Even though we can’t give you to her, we will allow you to torture her if you so please…” Acting like a stereotypical mysterious character, he spoke in a deep and slow tone with a hoodie covering his face. In fact, his whole group wore the same thing.

    The person leading the group named Hú Lěngjìng responded with a sneer, “Yellow Cliff truly is frightening. I admit, even if you guys aren’t too strong, your services are very frightening. Since you know, I guess we can accept the deal. Even though our elders want the girl named Chǎng dead, as long as your elders talk to mine and establish a more healthy relationship, we don’t mind collaborating.”

    “Good, good… Since you are here, you most likely detected that she is somewhere in the forest. My men may not be strong… but they are good at tracking. We will remain at the outskirts like guards, you guys can stay and survey the area. That way, that child will have nowhere to run… Even flying treasures won’t save her, kekeke” the hooded man laughed with a disgusting old voice.

  • edited August 11

    Chapter 160: Hunting Begins

    “Hmph, and what makes you think that you guys staying in the outskirts guarantees our success?”

    “Simple… We will set up a formation. This won’t cover the entire forest obviously, we still want to be wary of a few beings in the forest… But this formation will be a small one, just about twenty meters long, but with it we will be able to identify her exact position. 

    Even if she has some sort of treasure to hide, we will be able to pick out at least her general direction. Considering we have two Soul Expansion cultivators on your side, finding her will be easy if it becomes truly difficult,” the hooded man snapped his fingers, causing a few of his men to head towards the outer area of the forest.

    “What makes you think that a puny little girl will be able to escape our senses? Even a few of our men who are at the Void Foundation rank can easily sniff that stupid maid out,” a man wearing a yellow-robed with the Hú character on it stood side to side with Hú Lěngjìng, showing off his status despite being the shortest in the whole group.

    The hooded man laughed as if he was watching a story of a puny mortal going against an immortal, “Little arrogant boy, you must be Hú Gōngniú… right? Sorry, I am not too knowledgeable with disciples of the Hú clan. But you must understand, no, know, that our organization excels in things like information. We have a much better understanding of the girl than you. 

    The girl has a master behind her… However, he appears to be no ordinary man. That old bastard Wáng Dòu, he has already sealed off multiple sources of information. As soon as we started to investigate the information of that man, multiple tunnels, sources, people, they were secretly executed. It seems as if the kingdom holds that man with extremely great value…

    We can’t be careless. Who knows what treasures that little girl has. Not only that, we must kill her with utmost haste and stealth, it is too the point that eighty percent of our elders gave us an order to immediately swear an oath to never talk about this after we finish, and even demanded that you do it as well!”

    Seeing that Hú Gōngniú was about to rage, Hú Lěngjìng placed a hand on his shoulder before taking the initiative to speak, “You already know the severity of an oath, have you talked to our elders and patriarch about this?”

    “Yes… they have all sworn an oath, at least those that know about this plan. You must understand how severe this is… right?”

    Hearing that even their patriarch has sworn an oath, Hú Lěngjìng hesitated before commanding all his troops to swear one as well. Naturally, everyone hesitated as an oath was like signing a contract that you can not get out of until it is completed, or that you are that. 

    After everyone slowly made an oath, the group decided to take action into their hands. Hú Lěngjìng gave the hooded figure a talisman that allowed the man to message him whenever he wanted. The hooded figure did the same before parting ways.

    Chǎng and the other three stayed still for a minute before collapsing. They were lucky that the group did not expand their qi in the area or they would’ve been found immediately.

    “W-What should we do now?” Yánshí looked to the others with concern.

    “This is a difficult predicament indeed… We won’t be able to escape from their grasps at all. Not only that but if we were to suddenly leave, even if we could get Chǎng to teleport out and we just walked out, we would be arrested on the spot,” Hú Xièxiè thought for a bit.

    “Since that’s the case, then it would be best for me to deal with the situation myself,” Chǎng looked towards the three of them before smiling. Even though it seemed like she was willing to sacrifice her life for the three, in reality, she was not too scared. She was frightened by the aura and hostility of the men, but at the end of the day, she knew that the Gonggong was watching her.

    However, the three did not know this, so they were shocked upon hearing such a statement. Hú Fèng quickly spoke up after Chǎng made her statement, “Hmph, you helped us with that stupid Grey Stinger, the least we can do is try to get you out of this mess.”

    “Hmm, I agree, however, Chǎng; please remember that this doesn’t mean we will risk our lives if things will go down-hill…” Hú Xièxiè added on to the statement.
    “Hú Xièxiè!” Hú Fèng gave her a glare, shocked at her words.

    Even Yánshí had to say something, “Don’t you think that is a bit too cruel and harsh…?”

    However, despite the comments, she did not apologize, “Don’t take my words as threats, I am merely warning you. Again, we are thankful but we also want to live. Now, we should think about how we should deal with the situation.”

    Yánshí and Hú Fèng stared at each other before planning out what they should do.

    The two openly discussed their plans, letting the other two listen or join in if they wanted. Currently, Hú Xiexie was listening, but while she was, she also took out random materials, most likely planning to make formations or something. 

    As the three of them did their own things, Chǎng sat near them while feeling disheartened. She was surprised and even happy that Hú Fèng turned around her attitude from when they first met, but Hú Xiexie, on the other hand, she felt more cold and distant to her. When they first met, she was happy and accepting, so why did she suddenly change?

    After a mutual agreement, they decided that it was best to scurry on the outskirts. Even though that was where the Yellow Cliff Organization was at, they had to find some sort of hole in their defenses. About twenty men could not guard the entrance of the entire forest. Even the areas where only Qi Refiner beasts existed, the area was too big to be watched by even a hundred cultivators.

    As they ventured, Hú Xiexie gave each person a few items. They were all weak formations that did a few things. They would help them venture in the forest as one silenced some of the basic things like walking, the other concealed any presence that might leak out from them, and the others did a few extra things. 

    Obviously, it wouldn’t stop a Soul Expansion ranked cultivator from finding them, but it was better to have one percent of survival than none.

    As they ventured, they noticed something, causing them to hide behind a tree. Two men were walking in the distance. “Arg, I don’t understand why we have to do this. Looking for a damn little girl…”

    “Don’t worry, as soon as this is over we will head to the brothel immediately.”

    As the two talked, the four hid behind a large rock, big enough to cover them two times over. They heaved a sigh of relief, however, as soon as they looked behind them, they almost screamed.

    A man was standing in front of them, causing them to be stunned. They did not hear any footsteps or breathing. Upon taking a closer look, they noticed that he was the person from before, Hú Lěngjìng!

    “Little girl, I have found you.”

  • Chapter 161: Karma Returned

    “Quiet, you don’t want to attract others do you, miss Chǎng?” Hú Lěngjìng said, smiling at them.

    “What do you want from me… Also what are you planning, why would you not want your men to know?” backing up, her body gently touched the rock, causing her to panic. Even though she had no reason to break out since she was being protected, the scenario was still frightening.

    Thinking that he had some evil, cruel plan going on, Hú Lěngjìng couldn’t help but laugh, “Let me just say this, I am not going to let you go. But, I have to thank you. Hú Qiángdà, he was planning to get revenge on me for taking a treasure that belonged to me, using his uncle to force me to submit. Thanks to you, he is now dead.”

    The three besides her almost collapsed in shock. She told them that she did have some troubles with Hú Wāi. But even sects or clans with Qi Expansion ranked cultivators as their peak can ward off him as he was important, but not important enough to have elders destroying them to the ground. 

    Yet, Hú Qiángdà was different! In the Hú clan, there is a system that has been going on for generations. The patriarch has as many babies as he can, at least having eight. That way the legacy of the clan can continue. Even if no supreme geniuses are born, even if there was one that had little to no talent, they were born with a path in front of them, given by the clan.

    “To kill a son of the patriarch… Scary. But either way, I will be gentle and take you over without much restraint. You can tell me if you have any dying wishes, since you helped me a ton, the least I can do for you.”

    About to be taken away, shockingly, Hú Fèng stepped between the two and prepared her bow despite knowing that it would do nothing. 

    “Trying to protect your friend? I am sorry, but orders are orders, I’ll let you guys go, but if you don’t move, I will use force.”

    “Hú Fèng, get back now,” Hú Xiexie called towards her. The two looked at her in shock. Having always listened to her orders, she was conflicted. Even though she really didn’t like Chǎng at first, at the end of the day, she saved her. Even if she wasn’t a kind-hearted person, she knew when to be grateful to someone regardless of what happened in the past.

    “Hú Fèng!” she commanded her like a boss to a servant.

    Not letting the situation continue, Yánshí walked towards Hú Fèng. But instead of dragging her, he instead faced his body towards Hú Xiexie. “Senior Sister, I love you, but this is wrong. Even though we only met her yesterday, we owe her a lot. If not for her, our lives would most definitely be sitting in a beast's belly right now. In this world, it is every man for himself, but many heroes have decided to protect friends and family regardless of the dangers!”

    The now cruel Hú Xiexie was stuck between two rocks. She could either leave and save her life, or she could submit to the two’s words. 

    After a brief moment, she decided to join the two, preparing her ruler. In truth she really did do it out of care for the other two, but only fate and the heart can tell whether she learned or not.

    “Interesting, preparing to attack someone at the seventh rank, a Soul Expansion cultivator, at the first rank. At least you three, well two, have some heart. But saving a friend or family will only happen if you have the necessary power, if not you will die.” Having said that, he waved his hand, causing a gentle breeze to swirl around. However, that piece knocked the three away from him.

    Before he could even take a step, an arrow shot at him. Of course, being a powerful cultivator, he dismissed the arrow without even looking at it or moving a finger. Before he made another move, a large ruler slammed against his head.

    Even though he was at the Soul Expansion rank, the only time he ever cultivated his body was when he was at the Body Expansion rank, the previous rank before his current one. With that, his body was still somewhat like a mortals in some sense. With that attack, even though he did not bleed, he did shake slightly as it felt like he got hit with a snowball. 

    Waving his hand, Hú Xièxiè was sent into the skies. Quickly catching her, Yánshí heaved with a sigh, knowing that she was somewhat alright.

    “Stop, I am already grateful that you guys are doing this for me,” knowing that the three would get into more harm, Chǎng quickly spoke out towards the others.

    “Have you already submitted? Let us go, wasting more time is just futile.”

    “I am sorry Senior, but I will not be going with you,” she said with a calm voice. 

    Hú Lěngjìng looked back with a calm expression, not fearing that she would run away, “Unless you obtained a talisman that can teleport you far away and into the capital, I am afraid you are doomed. Are there any tricks you would like to pull before being dragged away?”

    “Hmm, not today, sorry. I will be leaving in peace.” Having said that, she looked into the skies before yelling, “Senior Huá, I think we should go!”
    Hú Lěngjìng looked at her as if she was crazy, but nevertheless, prepared for anything that was coming.

    “Whoosh!” Before his eyes could even register what had happened, he suddenly saw Chǎng in the air. To be more precise, she was sitting on a snake that was somehow floating.

    “I-Impossible… Haha, I guess we really provoked the wrong person… An immortal beast…” Hú Lěngjìng suddenly fell on the ground, clearly having no intention of fighting or anything. Even a single movement will obliterate him.

    Already on the snake, Chǎng whispered to it, causing it to nod before suddenly grabbing the three and disappearing. It appeared as if it had teleported, but in truth, it was just too fast. 

    Nearing the capital, the Gonggong threw the three on the ground. “It was nice meeting you three! Thank you for the care you’ve shown.” With that, Chǎng and Huá disappeared without a trace.

  • edited August 17

    Chapter 162: Golden Week (1)

    After returning from her small adventure, she quickly ran into the mansion with the Gonggong before jumping and hugging Zhào Lǚ. Even though it has been less than a year since she has truly met him, to her, he was a father-like figure, at least one that actually cared and showed love.

    Suddenly being jumped on, he panicked slightly before realizing that the person who had done so was Chǎng.

    Hugging her back, the two walked around together, with Chǎng telling her all about her adventure, the things she gained, the people she met, and how it changed her view. As a young child, she still had a lot to learn about, however, she was slowly raising her skills regarding the social perspective. 

    Living out in the city, stealing, getting into fights with the young and even the old, running away from others, she learned to never trust anyone so loosely. But being with Zhào Lǚ gave her feel at peace, at home. It was only until she met the three that traveled in the forest with her, did she get hit in the head, making her remember that the world isn’t as peaceful as friendship and the occasional violence and fighting.

    Showing him her rewards, he was dazzled and amazed at some of the things the beast dropped. Passing by, Chef Mint helped the two appraise the items and told the usage of each item. Even though he was a chef, working under nobles, trying to climb the ladder, he had to pick up other skills and trades along the way. Even though he isn’t too good at appraising items, he had dealt with a customer selling items from a Grey Stinger once.

    Pondering on what to do, the chef decided to help her by giving a suggestion, “Since using such items would be a waste currently since you aren’t even at the Qi Wielder rank, the fifth rank, pills, bloodline, formations, and the like will hardly affect you. I decide to split your items into two categories, one that you will use later in your life, another to use as trades. 

    That bottle of blood will fetch a really good price, but selling a droplet is good enough for you to gain a treasure of high ranking at your level. Sadly this Grey Stinger was at the Qi Holder rank, if it was any higher you could have gotten even more benefits, but either way, just the amount you got could make any wandering cultivator be set for a long time.”

    Listening to the chef, she decided to save at least a few droplets of blood, meat, skin, and more in case it is ever desired. One thing that was ingrained into her mind from the academy, it was that the person who was prepared that had a better chance at facing against luck. 

    If one was being chased down by a powerful enemy and all of a sudden, that cultivator received the luck of a main character, or better known as plot armor, and stumbled onto a formation recipe, it would be easy for them to cast this plot armor formation if they were prepared as they had all the materials.

    Even though she didn’t need a lot of money as she was already getting paid two gold coins biweekly, a large amount for her family, she still needed money for treasures and resources. As much as Zhào Lǚ wanted to help, he was heavily instructed by his friends to not give any at all as it might hinder Chǎng’s progress. Unless she was in some dire situation, he should just pay her like usual.

    With that, she headed out, preparing to sell or auction her stuff. As the sun rose to its peak and slowly fell, she exited a building, sighing. Even though she made a profit and gained some interesting things, she had to repeatedly deal with guards, employees and many others as they were questioning her identity and the like. It wasn’t until a guard that was off duty that had patrolled her academy came up and helped her.

    As she finished gaining a profit, she decided to head home to her mother and give her some gifts. Even though electricity was at its bare minimum, still being introduced and worked on, there were treasures that simulated technology on earth such as an air conditioner. Even though the treasure was pricey, she managed to get one, wishing for her mother and grandfather to suffer less.

    As she was walking down the alley, she saw an old man. This was the same old man that had warned her of a potential attack from the two men. She waved towards him and they had a small chat.

    “Senior, how is your business?” haven’t been near the district, she couldn’t help but ask.

    “Alright, a lot of people are trying to shame me, calling me a fake and so on. But that’s what happens when you are not a cultivator, nor have no proof of a physique or talent along with the like. Some say I may have dabbled in the dao even, but I doubt that. Fortune telling is a rough business no matter what.”

    “What about your daughter?” 

    Hearing that question, the old man almost spat out his beer. He sent a small glare before snorting, “Her lazy ass desires an apology. Saying that I should be more respectful and actually say sorry! Though… It has been a week since we talked…” 

    Seeing that he was looking to the ground, she decided to try and make the situation more positive. “Senior, I know you have a hard time doing such an action, but you know you might not have to actually say sorry right?”

    He looked up and stared at her with a confused look, “In what sense do you mean. I do feel… slightly bad for calling that brat an idiot and almost disowning my own daughter cause of my arrogance… but, I’ve already tried other methods to talk to her.”

    “What about a gift? Your daughter should know you even more than I do! I’m sure she knows that you have a hard time expressing your emotions of others in their faces. You could get her flowers, or some sort of gift meant for both of them for their celebrated love.”

    Pondering for a while, he tried thinking of a gift, but every time he thought of something, he would make an “ah!” noise before turning it down. 

    “What gifts do you have in mind Senior? Regardless of money, what would you give her or them?”

    “Uh… I guess… She always mentioned about this damn green jade. When she and her dao partner went exploring, they discovered a cave. In it they found a green jade that had some sort of qi or whatever stored in it, making it shine with different lights every now and then. The jade is a bit pricey, but what’s important about it is the fact that it is where they fell in love…”

    Being reminded of his daughter, he couldn’t help but sigh, “But, the jade is separated from us mortals. While even those in the Qi Wielder rank will still thrive for money, for me, a mere mortal with no cultivation at all, such a thing is worth fortunes! Not even the money I keep hidden in case of emergencies can cover it all.”

    “How much is it Senior?”

    “The lowest I’ve seen it go too is twenty gold coins! Even in the poor district, places with these types of jades aren’t affordable. If I had the money I could buy it without any hassle of going into other districts and all, but at most I have two gold coins.”

    Seeing that it was simply money that was an issue, nothing else, she smiled before holding out her hand, signaling him to hold his hand out. Being confused on the gesture, he held his hand out before almost falling off his seat upon obtaining the gift. 

    He looked at his hand to see what was so heavy, and upon doing so, his jaw almost dropped.

  • edited August 19

    Chapter 163: Golden Week (2)

    “C-C-Chǎng, I can’t accept this. I know you are a good girl, but I also know your family situation, even though you now have the support of a noble, you need to keep the money for yourself or your mother. Being a cultivator isn’t just a lot of work, but it is also extremely expensive!” 

    “Hmm, Senior, you have been kind to me a lot of the times. Even though you can be grouchy and rude, you’ve helped me by warning me of danger, and guiding me with your fortune-telling skills, helping me find a gold coin in the midst of starvation! Not only that, but even though you don’t want to admit it, but grandpa told me that you were a huge help in helping my mother and grandpa escape.”

    Not knowing what to say, he accepted the money after calming down. Even though he and Chǎng weren’t close, they had a good enough relationship where one and another would help watch each other back. 

    Being a fortune teller, he had his fair share of gangs, cultivators, and the like wanting revenge because it went how he said but not enough to be at their expectations, or it backfired in the long run. While he would patch her up, she would warn him of any news or suspicion she might have.

    Even though he didn’t cry, he couldn’t help but close his eyes and silently thanked her after putting the gold away. “Before I go and apologize, at least let me predict your fortune. While I don’t have much to me, at least this is something I can give.

    Having already experienced his powers, she held out her hand. A card was soon placed on her palm. He closed his eyes and even though there was no light, no sounds, the card shuffled very slightly. After that, he opened his eyes and nodded with satisfaction.

    “It seems like you will do well. While there may be a few flies, the image I received was you enjoying a mortal’s life, being a young girl, experiencing how it is to be a girl growing up without cultivation. Obviously, this won’t last long as you have already stepped onto the path, but this period is good enough.”

    Hearing this, she smiled before saying her goodbyes.

    As soon as she rushed home, she met her mother and grandpa who were surprised at her sudden intrusion. 

    The room was decorated with a red wall with a small white layer on the top and bottom to show contrast. With the red walls, a black carpet decorated the medium-sized room. If one had never stepped into the room before, they would have thought that a noble was living in the poor district. 

    “Ah, Chǎng’er, me and father were just talking about you,” a gentle voice sounded out in the room. A woman that had similar features to Chǎng opened her arms slowly, allowing the small girl to hug her.

    “Mommy, Grandpa! I got you two gifts!” she said with beaming enthusiasm. 

    “What did you get us Chǎng’er?” the old man behind the woman spoke with a kind tone as if he was greeting his own child.

    She quickly took out the Air Conditioner like treasure and placed it on the table. Never taking cultivation seriously in her youth, her mother did not know what it was. All she could tell was that there was some sort of cold breeze coming out of the treasure.

    While the mother seemed perplexed, the grandfather’s eyes shone with glittering light. He gently held the treasure in his hand before gesturing his daughter to send a strand of qi into it. Even though Chǎng’s mother did not focus on cultivation, she did at least have a foundation and some talent towards it. Currently, she was at the first level of the Qi Holder rank, she had much more than a strand of qi to utilize. However, for unknown reasons, she stopped cultivating as a whole.

    Sending a strand of qi into the room, a strong breeze blew into the room. Outside the house, the temperature was average, every now and then a bit of wind would come in, but the blazing sun would quickly take over. Being poor and having weak cultivation, the two persisted and had always endured the heat, even if it got to the point where people would get heat strokes, they sat silently and enjoyed life.

    Yet right now, their body’s relaxed upon feeling the cold air surrounding them. The area that Liokal maintained wasn’t necessarily in the region where the equator was, but it was not anywhere in the north where temperatures would drop. Rarely would snow ever drop every few years.

    “Chǎng, where did you get such a treasure? My old eyes could already tell that this is very valuable. Even Qi Wielders would have trouble getting such a treasure easily. Did your master give you extra money?” the grandpa looked at her with awe and amazement.

    “Ah, Master isn’t allowed to give me anything than my usual payment. His friends want to ensure that I would grow up like I currently am while still gaining benefits of a noble so I can experience how it is to be both a noble with status and a wandering cultivator and not hinder my future by constantly being fed resources.”

    Even though she said it in an innocent voice, her grandpa gave her a worried look. Being a cultivator in his young years, he had his fair share of dealings and encounters with nobles. While there were truly nice people, most nobles would either care for themselves or others with actual talent, not those who will never get in their eyes. 

    “Chǎng’er, be careful. I and your grandpa are not saying they are bad people, but sometimes, even the nicest people can be devilish. Besides that, where did you get the money to afford it then?”

    “I decided to spend my weekend, well mostly just on Saturday and a bit in the morning today to get some experience hunting. When I entered, I encountered three people slightly older than me. After traveling with them we ran into a Grey Stinger that was at the second rank!”

    As she was telling her story, the two of them suddenly shivered but they remained calm considering the fact that Chǎng was still alive.

    The grandpa sighed and hoped that nothing happened, “Chǎng, you need to be careful. Even if it was just at the Qi Holder, we have no idea if it had a backing or not. Grey Stingers are rather fond of one another, they don’t cannibalize like other species, nor are they like dragons where even though they protect one another, they fight against each other. We have no idea if that beast will hunt you down when you leave.”

    Hearing that, Chǎng tilted her head and responded to her grandpa’s word, “But it can’t hunt me down. The four of us killed it and we split the loot and with that, I sold some of the loot so I can get mommy and grandpa this treasure!”

    Even her mother, who was not too well-versed in cultivation was shocked upon hearing that. Even though she wasn’t too clear on what her cultivation was she knew that Chǎng most definitely has not reached the second rank. “Ah, your three companions must be really strong!”

    “Eh, not really. They were at the sixth level but they helped a lot!” 

    Her grandpa truly had no words. But it wasn’t long before he started crying. Chǎng and her mother quickly helped him up, confused about why he was crying. “Either my granddaughter is a really lucky and blessed girl, or she is a genius.”

    “Even though it isn’t something too profound, too heaven-defying, I am still shocked that you did such a thing. Back then, when I was around eighteen, I was at the third rank, Pillar Descent, I fought a Grey Stinger at the peak of the second rank. Even though it was just a one and one fight, I almost had my life taken away. I never thought that my granddaughter would surpass me! Haha!” he cheered somewhat silently. As he said, it was not too much of a big deal, but considering the situation they were in, to have talent better than the average wandering cultivator was enough for him.

  • edited August 21

    Chapter 164: Golden Week (3)

    After talking for a bit, Chǎng walked around, inspecting the room. “Mommy, you and grandpa really decorated the place. Before it was all just wood and moss, now it’s actually clean and all!” 

    “Hmm, you already give so much, we really don’t know what to do with the money. At first, we planned to invest into things, try to create more money so we won’t have to burden you, but we found out that we really had too much money. Spending a ton won’t do good to us as we don’t have a ton of power, so the amount that we invested, if it goes well we might be able to earn some gold coins as an annual income.

    But since you gave us so much, we might as well spend it on some external things like making the house actually look decent instead of being one of the poorest places in the district.”

    “Don’t worry Mommy! In a few years, I will be able to grow much more! Once I do, I will get a lot of gold, a lot of valuable items, even if you don’t accept it, I will at least give you and grandpa enough to start a business!” Despite the obvious reality that they are living in a poor state still, especially since they don’t have any sort of cultivation or status, Chǎng smiled and spoke energetically, hoping to cheer the two up.

    After some time, the sun slowly descended, still shining its light but showing that it was going to be replaced soon, allowing it to patrol the other areas as the moon takes it position over. With that, she decided to head home. 

    On Saturday, she got to meet the three that she traveled with, reminding and teaching her the cruel ways of life, but how it could also be a blessing. Not only that, but she managed to kill a Grey Stinger that was at the Qi Holder Rank! A feat that she never expected to happen. 

    While on Sunday, she escaped the pursuit of the Hú Clan and the Yellow Cliff Organization, sold off some of her treasures while meeting her mother and grandpa. Even though she did visit, since she started cultivating, she found herself visiting them less and less. At the beginning she was scared to be forced or pressured in focusing on cultivation even at night, not allowing her to visit or enjoy time with her family, but as time passed, she found that she could still enjoy seeing her family, it was just that she had to persist and continue on her path.

    =====

    After a time skip, Chǎng found herself in the academy, writing with a feathered pen. As the teacher spoke, every single student jogged down whatever the teacher said as well as what was written in their notebooks. 

    “Without death, life would not have existed. Without life, death would not have existed. Considering this, that begs the question; Do we need to die? Do we have to die? Is it in nature’s will that we do? And more importantly, is it something that we, as cultivators have to suffer through? Can we get out of this grasp, this entanglement of life and death, touching us at every inch? What lies beyond it? 

    I am not asking you guys to answer this, in fact, if you could answer this, I would be thoroughly surprised if you could even give a solid confident answer without sounding stupid. I want you guys to ingrain this into your minds, realize the effort of your cultivation, and how it compares to life, to others, to your ancestors. Sometimes history, philosophy, and much more can impact man, a kingdom, and even a planet. That is all.”

    As the man with a grey beard and mustache stated, he clapped his hand, giving a signal to all the students that they may leave.

    “What’s with all this philosophy shit, why can’t I just cultivate? I wanna be an immortal, and once I do I will learn all that. No need to waste time on such a pathetic topic,” a young boy said as he snorted as soon as he left the class. 

    A girl next to him giggled, trying to empathize with his comment. 

    “Stupid ass, when you become an immortal will you really do it? I bet you will just drown yourself in woman and beer! You probably won’t even do adult things like taxes!” another boy who appeared older said.

    “Hmph, nevertheless, we won’t be needing it. If it was alchemy, I would be interested. Picking up a trade is good for people like me. Even If I suck at least it can benefit me. Just not damn philosophy!” the boy who ranted snorted once more.

    Chǎng who was walking behind them didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. In fact, she actually enjoyed the class a bit. She didn’t know why, but even if she didn’t understand what the teacher was saying, specifically what he meant, she still found it entertaining.

    After meeting with Wǔqì Huā and Wūyā Shèngkāi, the three of them headed towards the arena. When they arrived, they saw that everyone was gathered up like usual, however, a large area was open with no one inside it. Almost forgetting, Chǎng remembered that today they were going to have a spar. 

    It wasn’t a huge event that should be noticed, instead, it was just an event that they had every now and then to ensure that students could gain some battle experience since they weren’t wandering cultivators, trying to fight their way, risking their lives daily.

    After some time, Chǎng was called up. She had the option to pick someone to fight, or at least get recommended a challenger of her desire. Just as Fēngbào was about to pick a suggestion, Chǎng made a quick comment, “Teacher, can I face someone who is at the ninth level?”

    Hearing such a request, Fēngbào was kinda shocked. While there were many geniuses who could beat those a level or two ahead of them, it was generally those who had average or decent talent. Having taught her, she knew that Chǎng was not a natural genius, nor were any of the students besides a few, average. However, seeing the confidence in her eyes, she decided to allow it.

    A boy around the age of fourteen stepped onto the stage, he had a large red silky robe that appeared to be loose on him. He had a staff out, showing that he was not taking it easy just because she was a girl. 

    Upon eye contact, he bowed, and so did Chǎng. After the greeting, the teacher that was watching over the battle waved his hand, allowing them to start.

    “Clang!” As soon as they started, after coming into contact, Chǎng was the first to strike. However, despite striking at a face pace, her spear met the end of the staff, a small spherical grey orb. 

    Backing away, she knew that the boy in front of her had a good understanding of the staff, and she speculated that she was not the only spear user he had fought. Knowing those common tactics won’t work, she decided to take the usual tactic of finding some sort of weakness.

    Summoning Snake Thrust and Qi Tip, she took the initiative to attack with speed. Everyone had a threshold on how much they can defend and block an attack. She wanted to see if he had a good reaction or not.

    Unsurprising, the boy held his staff to the right and used his orb to block the attack. The grey orb glew as a purple wave went out, causing the spear to actually wobble before actually causing a crack!

    Chǎng’s face turned sour and she quickly retracted her spear before skipping backward to safety. Looking at her spear, she was shocked, it was not a slight chip, instead, a crack that reached three centimeters actually appeared! Even though the spear was not too important, it was still her main weapon. She had to think of a way to defeat him before her spear could fully crack.

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