Huo Yuchong originally wanted to compete with Xie Zizhuo, but Luo Jianqing lightly coughed, and Huo Yuchong looked at his senior brother carefully before giving up and muttering “I’ll settle the score with you later,” standing obediently on the side.
Luo Jianqing had quite a bit of prestige among his fellow disciples, as in the world of cultivation, whoever had the bigger fist was the boss, and the Taihua Seven Children were all famous figures in the outside world. But once they were within their own sect, they would be beaten by the senior brother until they couldn’t find their way north.
Only Zuo Yunmo could rival Luo Jianqing, and among the other five, even Third Senior Sister Wei Qiongyin was not a match for him.
Soon, Sect Leader Hao Xingzi arrived on a cloud and sat down in the center of Lingyun Hall.
As if he hadn’t noticed the commotion among these juniors, Hao Xingzi briefly explained the precautions for this sect’s competition, then let Zuo Yunmo explain in detail before saying, “This year’s sect competition is just right for the twenty-four new junior brothers and sisters who joined Taihua Mountain. Remember to remind the new disciples that it’s not about winning, but about learning from each other. This has nothing to do with the Yuxiao Peak, Zuo Yunmo, you’re responsible for handling it properly.”
Zuo Yunmo stepped forward and nodded, “Yes, Master.”
Yuxiao Peak had only had Luo Jianqing as a disciple in recent years, and every sect competition had been sparsely populated, unlike the other peaks, which were enthusiastic and extraordinary. But Luo Jianqing was happy with the quietness, as with just him and his sword, he could win first place for Yuxiao Peak.
When he was in the Qi Refining Stage, he was the first in the Qi Refining Stage in Yuxiao Peak. When he reached the Foundation Building Stage, he would undoubtedly be the first in the Foundation Building Stage. Now that he had become the highest-level disciple among his peers, he was undoubtedly the first in the sect competition, and even Zuo Yunmo could not snatch a single point from him.
In Lingyun Hall, the senior brother in white with wide sleeves was calm and composed, like Yuxiao Peak towering above all other peaks, cold and unapproachable. Luo Jianqing had a tassel attached to the long sword hanging from his waist, with a small green jade bead on it, which was Yuxiao Peak’s token and a symbol of his identity.
He stood there calmly, but there seemed to be a unique aura emanating from him that was not due to his excellent appearance. This was Luo Jianqing, the eldest senior brother of Taihua Mountain, who was one-of-a-kind.
For many years, Sect leader Hao Xingzi had been in charge of Taihua Mountain and was somewhat verbose when giving instructions. However, all of the chief disciples of the various peaks had long since passed away, except for Zuo Yunmo. Even Luo Jianqing was just standing straight, but his mind was already thinking about some recent problems in his cultivation.
After some time had passed, he suddenly heard a smiling voice in his ear, “Senior Brother, I’m about to break through.”
As soon as these words fell, Luo Jianqing was suddenly awakened and looked at Zuo Yunmo in surprise.
He saw Zuo Yunmo wearing a light-colored uniform belonging to Cangshuang Peak, with a slightly curved brow and eyes, whispering to Luo Jianqing in front of their master, “In this sect competition, I will do my best and hope that Senior Brother will not go easy on me.”
Luo Jianqing nodded solemnly, “I will be prepared.”
On the other side, after about fifteen minutes of talking, Hao Xingzi probably realized that these chief disciples were being careless. The old man with white hair coughed in annoyance and continued, “I will remind you again about what I just said, but from now on, you need to be one hundred percent focused and listen carefully to me.”
Everyone immediately looked at Hao Xingzi with seriousness.
Hao Xingzi’s expression gradually became solemn, and he spoke sternly, “A demon cultivator has appeared in Changzhou.”
There was an immediate commotion in the hall.
Wei Qiongyin’s face turned cold as she stepped forward and said, “Master, I am willing to go and destroy the enemy!”
Hao Xingzi waved his sleeves and said, “The demonic cultivator has already destroyed an entire sect, killed two elders, and the highest cultivation level elder has already reached the Nascent Soul stage. You would just be sending yourself to death!”
A chill spread across Wei Qiongyin’s beautiful and cold face as she heard Hao Xingzi’s words. She gritted her teeth and said, “I will kill the demonic cultivator!”
Hao Xingzi sighed upon hearing her words but didn’t say anything more.
Wei Qiongyin only arrived at Mount Taihua during the Foundation Establishment period and did not grow up there. According to the rules, Mount Taihua only accepts new disciples without any cultivation base, but Wei Qiongyin’s parents had a life-and-death friendship with the peak master of the Bi Shen Peak on Mount Taihua. Therefore, when the demonic cultivator destroyed Wei Qiongyin’s family, the peak master of Bi Shen Peak overcame all obstacles to take Wei Qiongyin in as a disciple.
There are a total of 81 great dao and 3,000 minor paths in the world of cultivation.
Among them, human cultivators can be divided into four categories: dao cultivators, Buddhist cultivators, ghost cultivators, and demonic cultivators. Dao cultivators focus on cultivating the Great Dao, Buddhist cultivators seek to save all living beings, ghost cultivators are formed by the souls of the dead, while demonic cultivators are an exception.
Demonic cultivators are rare on the Xuantian Continent, so rare that ordinary cultivators cannot find their traces. However, they are extremely powerful, with extremely ruthless and vicious cultivation techniques. They are hunted down by all cultivators. Although they also join forces with other cultivators to fight against the demonic race in the war between humans and demons, as long as they are not fighting against the demonic race, demonic cultivators will turn around and hunt down human cultivators.
Luo Jianqing knew that demonic cultivators were usually solitary and rarely gathered together. However, all demonic cultivators in the world respected a late-stage Mahayana demonic cultivator as the Demon Lord. This person’s cultivation was second only to Xuan Lingzi and could be considered the second strongest person in the world.
There was a demon lord who created the Demon Sect and many demon cultivators joined under his leadership. Apart from him, there were no other organized factions for demon cultivators, and they were all wandering cultivators.
Even as a wandering cultivator, demon cultivators were enough to make orthodox cultivators get headache. Before the Nascent Soul stage, demon cultivators were no different from other cultivators, but their strength was higher than normal cultivators. Once they reached the Nascent Soul stage, demon cultivators were even more powerful, and cultivators of the same level could only die when facing them.
Thinking of this, Luo Jianqing stepped forward and asked, “Senior Master, should we send elders to deal with the demon cultivators this time?”
Hao Xingzi shook his head slightly and said, “That demon cultivator is only at the Nascent Soul stage. This time, Taihua Mountain will send an Unity (Body Fusion) stage elder to lead the top three winners of each realm in the sect competition to go out and train.” After a pause, Haostar said, “Yunmo, tell your senior brothers and sisters about the specific details.”
Zuo Yunmo smiled and said, “Okay.”
Half an hour later, everyone flew away together and went back to their respective peaks to handle their own affairs, except that Luo Jianqing stayed on the Cangshuang Peak and worked with Zuo Yunmo to handle the reception matters for the sect competition.
Although they asked for Luo Jianqing’s help, it was mainly Zuo Yunmo who did most of the work. The vast Yuxiao Peak had only Master Xuan Lingzi and his two disciples, even though Luo Jianqing had the title of big senior brother, he was not good at handling internal affairs. On the other hand, Zuo Yunmo often helped the Sect Master with his work and had a lot of experience.
As the evening approached, Luo Jianqing left first. Before leaving, he couldn’t help but ask, “Junior Brother, are you going to the Changzhou Flowing Flame Valley early because of that demon cultivator?”
Zuo Yunmo smiled slightly and asked gently, “Senior Brother, do you not believe that our sect can take the top three spots in the Golden Core stage disciples?”
Luo Jianqing hesitated for a moment before shaking his head and saying, “If there are really demonic cultivators causing trouble, then you should stay at Taihua Mountain and assist our sect leader. Besides, you didn’t obtain any treasures in the Flowing Flame Valley this time, but instead suffered injuries and had to recuperate for half a year…”
Luo Jianqing didn’t finish his sentence, but his worried expression couldn’t be avoided under the moonlight. His eyebrows lightly furrowed like distant mountains, and the sparkling stars in his phoenix-like eyes couldn’t be ignored. After a long while, he still hadn’t heard a response from Zuo Yunmo.
Luo Jianqing couldn’t help but look up, only to see his usually calm second senior brother looking at him with an inexplicable expression. After a moment, he said, “Senior Brother, you don’t need to worry. I have confidence in surviving the Flowing Flame Valley, and even if I can’t obtain any opportunities, if I can help you obtain treasures, it would still be considered a gain.”
Luo Jianqing tried to persuade him further, but Zuo Yunmo just smiled and didn’t say anything.
When Luo Jianqing flew towards Yuxiao Peak, he didn’t see that the smile on Zuo Yunmo’s face slowly disappeared, and he let out a gentle sigh.
A green light quickly flew towards Yuxiao Peak, and before Luo Jianqing had even arrived, he saw someone waiting at the foot of the mountain.
Luo Jianqing smiled knowingly and landed in front of the person, raising his eyebrows and asking, “How long have you been waiting?”
Xie Zizhuo immediately scowled and snorted, “Senior Brother, I’ve been waiting for you for a quarter of an hour!”
Luo Jianqing swept his sleeve and took out a white jade bottle, saying, “I was talking to Second Senior Brother and was late. This third-grade pill was made from the materials you found, so you should keep it. It might come in handy in the future.”
Xie Zizhuo pushed back the elixir and said, “No need. If Junior Sister sees me with it, she will get angry and chase after me to beat me all around Mount Taihua.” After pausing for a moment, Xie Zizhuo got to the point and smirked. He leaned in and whispered to Luo Jianqing in a lewd manner, “Senior Brother, I have been working hard for the past six months and haven’t let you down.”
Luo Jianqing raised an eyebrow and asked, “What have you been doing?”
Xie Zizhuo clapped his hands and began to speak incessantly, “It all started six months ago when you came back and went into seclusion, leaving all the mess to me. That Li Xiuchen was the second-ranked new disciple, an inner disciple of our Haoming Peak. When he left, he was still presentable, but when he came back, he was completely different. I felt like I had two heads…”
Luo Jianqing was no stranger to Xie Zizhuo’s exaggeration. In his words, Li Xiuchen had died and come back to life ten times over, living in a state of deep water and hot fire every day, worse than the eighteenth level of hell. Meanwhile, Xie Zizhuo was portrayed as a shining example, admired and respected by countless disciples.
Luo Jianqing listened with a smile on his face, and when Xie Zizhuo had been speaking for almost half an hour, he finally asked, “Are you thirsty?”
Xie Zizhuo replied, “… A little bit.”
Luo Jianqing snorted and scolded him, “Then speak like a normal person!”
Xie Zizhuo, “Senior Brother, you’re bullying me!!!”
In fact, although Xie Zizhuo’s words were a bit exaggerated, Li Xiuchen had indeed had a very miserable six months. First, there was his palm, which, although it had mostly healed, had some blocked meridians. Second, there was his blinded eye, which had not been treated by any elder and still caused him some…blindness, especially at night.
Most importantly, Xie Zizhuo had always been dedicated to “bullying” this new disciple. He not only sent him to the outer sect, but also often sent people to provoke Li Xiuchen. Whenever he heard Li Xiuchen say something like “Do not bully the young and poor” or “I will step on you sooner or later,” Xie Zizhuo’s eyes would light up with excitement, and he would send someone to beat him up.
“Even when you beat someone up, you have to have a reason. Look, Li Xiuchen disrespects his senior brothers and curses all day long!”
To be honest, despite Xie Zizhuo’s interference, Li Xiuchen was not well-liked at Haoming Peak. Since he had gone blind, his temper had become even more violent, and he treated the servants without cultivation very badly, and had no good attitude towards his fellow senior brothers.
Once, a foundation-building disciple walked past him without noticing him and casually said to his companion, “The mountain path is too dark to see clearly at night. Let’s hurry up and go.” Li Xiuchen was so angry that he threw his cane and left the other person completely confused and feeling sick.
In the world of cultivation, strength is everything, and it is very annoying to have a qi-refining disciple whose eyes roll up to the sky.
At this point, Xie Zizhuo was also a little puzzled: “He’s really strange.”
Xie Zizhuo didn’t understand, but Luo Jianqing understood a little bit. Li Xiuchen was just a teenager after all, and his character was not yet firm. In their previous interactions, Luo Jianqing had already noticed that Li Xiuchen seemed to know that he would have many adventures and opportunities in the future, and would acquire many magical treasures. So Luo Jianqing speculated that Li Xiuchen had also obtained a copy of “Seeking Immortality” like he did.
However, Li Xiuchen seemed to have no memories from his past life, which surprised Luo Jianqing.
But as long as Li Xiuchen had “Seeking Immortality,” his reckless behavior made sense. Because Li Xiuchen knew that the heavens were helping him, and he also knew that he was the protagonist of this book, but he lacked the willpower and intellect. So when things didn’t develop in the direction he knew, he became confused and unable to act.
For example, in that book, Li Xiuchen was a disciple of the Yuxiao Peak and was admired by other peak disciples. He did not need to interact with the Haoming Peak and other disciples. So without reference, Li Xiuchen’s behavior naturally reflected his true intentions, which were very disgusting.
However, one thing made Luo Jianqing frown: “He reached the fourth level of Qi Refinement?”
Xie Zizhuo was also frustrated: “Yes! The people I sent out to observe him said that he didn’t practice much, but inexplicably, he reached the fourth level of Qi Refining! Senior Brother, you say he doesn’t have a superior aptitude, he doesn’t even have any aptitude at all, so how did he cultivate so quickly…”
Luo Jianqing remained silent, and after a moment, the senior and junior brother bid farewell at the foot of Yuxiao Peak.
Xie Zizhuo vowed to find out what was going on with Li Xiuchen, and to continue to bully this new disciple with eyes to the sky. But Luo Jianqing just smiled lightly and hid more emotions in his heart.
When Luo Jianqing returned to Yuxiao Peak, the two bamboo houses looked like jade under the moonlight, quiet and cold.
Xuan Lingzi’s door was tightly locked, apparently having no objections to his disciple’s late return. Luo Jianqing went into seclusion for six months, while Xuan Lingzi remained in seclusion all the time, only coming out to guide him when Luo Jianqing had questions about cultivation. He never went out at other times.
A week later, the major sects arrived and Luo Jianqing and Zuo Yunmo went out to entertain them.
These sects had three purposes. The first was to discuss with Taihua Mountain how to deal with demonic cultivators. The second was to discuss how to deal with the early opening of the Flowing Flame Valley. And the last one was the three-day sect competition at Taihua Mountain in three days!