When Luo Jianqing and his party arrived at the Flowing Flame City, Elder Shan went straight to the only inn in the city and picked up the plaque belonging to Taihua Mountain.
This inn was specifically opened by the city lord of Flowing Flame to accommodate foreign cultivators. It had been closed for fifty years and only opened for “One Mountain, Four Sects, Eight Great Families, and Sixteen Sects.” The rest of the cultivators had to compete for rooms based on their own strength.
When the Taihua Mountain disciples entered the inn, the elders from the other four sects came up to talk with Elder Shan. They all had a pleasant conversation, while Luo Jianqing began arranging rooms for each disciple. He carefully reserved single rooms for every female disciple, while male disciples had to squeeze together in rooms of two or three. Even he himself shared a room with Xie Zizhuo, as there were no more rooms available.
Upon hearing this, Xie Zizhuo quickly waved his hand and said, “Senior Brother, you can have your own room. I actually have something to discuss with Junior Brother Nineteen, so we’ll share a room with Junior Brother Eighteen. Right, Nineteen? Hehehe.”
Junior Brother Nineteen smirked and replied, “Yes, Senior Brother. Junior Brother Xie and I have a lot to talk about…”
Seeing their lewd smiles, Luo Jianqing raised an eyebrow and said, “That’s fine, but you’re not allowed to leave the room at night.”
Xie Zizhuo immediately looked distressed and said, “Senior Brother! We finally got to leave the mountain, how can you confine us like this?”
Luo Jianqing sneered and said, “Where do you think you’re going? I already know. Be careful or I’ll tell your Master about it, and see how he’ll deal with you when you get back.”
Xie Zizhuo and the others immediately wilted.
Over there, Elder Shan and four other combined-stage elders from other sects were still talking. He delegated the upcoming affairs to the leader, Luo Jianqing, and went upstairs to the elegant room to exchange information about the Flame Valley with other elders, discussing how to find and kill the Nascent Soul stage demon cultivator after their disciples entered the Flame Valley.
Luo Jianqing made the disciples sit down and ordered a few dishes to fill their stomachs. Although cultivators could go without food after reaching the Foundation Establishment stage, the ingredients used by this inn were all high-grade spiritual plants.
There were benefits to being wealthy, and coupled with the delicious flavors of the dishes, Luo Jianqing also took a few more bites.
However, before they finished their meal, they heard a sound of metal hitting metal coming from the lobby of the inn. Luo Jianqing still had his head down, eating in front of him, while Xie Zizhuo and the other disciples looked over curiously. They only heard a low and soft voice saying, “So, there are no rooms available?”
The voice was soft and alluring, slightly higher pitched, and slightly rising at the end, like a feather brushing against everyone’s heart.
Xie Zizhuo whispered in surprise, “Senior Brother, there are actually men in the world who are so beautiful, like girls!”
The next moment, a sound of wind came through the air and shot straight towards Xie Zizhuo.
Xie Zizhuo was momentarily surprised and had no reaction, but Luo Jianqing lifted his chopsticks and lightly caught a thin needle. They heard the other person chuckle twice, and asked in reply, “You ignorant kid, the person next to you looks even better than me. Why did you only say I looked like a woman and not him?”
Luo Jianqing looked up at the other person.
The person was wearing a blood-red robe embroidered with dark red patterns. Their long hair was tied up with a white jade hairpin, and their beautiful peach blossom eyes were smiling with an ambiguous gaze fixed on Luo Jianqing. With a smiling face and red lips, coupled with such a slender figure, this person looked more like a woman, but a cultivator couldn’t possibly mistake the most basic gender.
This was a man, a man who looked too much like a woman.
Xie Zizhuo finally reacted. As the top figure of Taihua Mountain, he had never suffered such humiliation. He slammed the table and said, “What do you mean by this? My senior brother is naturally better looking than you, but he’s not as effeminate as you.”
The person narrowed their eyes but had not spoken yet, when Luo Jianqing said calmly, “It’s true that my junior brother was rude first, but you went too far by using poisoned needles.”
The man in the red robe sneered, “This little beauty here, your junior brother said I’m effeminate.”
Xie Zizhuo was about to swear again, but before he could even say the word “effeminate”, Luo Jianqing silenced him.
Luo Jianqing moved his finger, and the poisoned needle turned into a faint light and flew back. The man in the red robe raised his sleeve and took back the poisoned needle. Luo Jianqing bowed and said, “On behalf of my junior brother, I apologize to you. But sir, could you also explain the meaning of this poisoned needle? Although you have reached the late stage of the Golden Core realm, Taihua Mountain is not to be trifled with.”
The person asked with a strange voice, “People from Taihua Mountain?”
Luo Jianqing narrowed his eyes and said, “What’s your point?”
In response, the other person smiled instead of getting angry and looked Luo Jianqing up and down with a pair of enchanting eyes. Luo Jianqing didn’t care, but Xie Zizhuou and the others were very annoyed. Even Wei Qiongyin drew out her sword and looked at the other person dangerously.
The man in red laughed and said, “From your appearance, you must be Luo Jianqing, the eldest disciple of Taihua Mountain and the closed-door disciple of the respected Xuan Lingzi?”
Luo Jianqing didn’t answer him, but asked, “May I ask for your name?”
Luo Jianqing was surprised. The man in red leaned against the table and said, “Mo Family, Mo Qiu.”
Luo Jianqing turned to look at Wei Qiongyin, but she shook her head lightly and said, “Our Wei Family has had little contact with the Mo Family. Senior Brother, I’m not familiar with the people of the Mo Family.”
Ranked below the One Mountain and Four Sects were the Eight Great Families, including Bai, Yun, Cang, Mo, Que, Yu, Geng and Wei Family.
Bai Family was the strongest with two old ancestors in the Mahayana stage, while Mo Family was also one of the top four families, with an old ancestor in the Mahayana mid-stage. Although Luo Jianqing knew the news of the top young talents of these Eight Great Families, he had never heard of the name Mo Qiu. What was even more surprising was that this Mo Qiu was a cultivator in the later stage of Golden Core, and he seemed to be no more than fifty years old, which was undoubtedly a first-class genius in the world of cultivation.
Wei Qiongyin seemed to see through Luo Jianqing’s thoughts and whispered, “Senior Brother, the Mo Family has many factions. I’ve heard that one branch of the Mo Family committed a crime and was exiled to the desolate and barren wilderness. They cannot return to their family until they reach the Nascent Soul stage. Perhaps this Mo Qiu is from that branch.”
Luo Jianqing nodded lightly and turned his head to look at Mo Qiu, indifferent as he said, “What about your apology?”
Mo Qiu was slightly stunned and instinctively asked, “Do I need to apologize?”
Luo Jianqing said coldly, “Since you used a killing move first, you must give an explanation to our Taihua Mountain. If you refuse to apologize, then we will fight.”
Mo Qiu sneered and said, “Little beauty, do you want to fight me? You’re only in the mid-Golden Core stage.”
Luo Jianqing raised his eyebrows and said, “Are you unwilling to apologize?”
Mo Qiu laughed coldly and said, “What a joke. Anyone who dares to comment on my appearance deserves to be cut a thousand times. Today, I spared that kid once for the sake of your Taihua Mountain’s face. But the next time we meet, I will definitely skin him alive and…”
A green sword light suddenly rose up!
Mo Qiu’s voice abruptly stopped as he suddenly had a blood-red long whip in his hand, which he used to block Luo Jianqing’s attack.
The sword light and whip shadows constantly flickered in the small inn, and vast spiritual power collided with each other, creating waves of spiritual power fluctuations.
As early as when the dispute between Luo Jianqing and Mo Qiu began, some sensible wandering cultivators had dispersed to the side. The disciples of the other four sects were watching from the sidelines, and four cultivators in the later stage of the Golden Core realm were scrutinizing Luo Jianqing and Mo Qiu with evaluating eyes. Now that they had started fighting, the four narrowed their eyes and watched carefully.
Among the younger generation of the Taihua Mountain Sect, the once-in-a-blue-moon talents were hard to come by, but among the other four sects and aristocratic families, most of the top young talents were in the later stage of the Golden Core realm. The four cultivators present were the eldest disciples of their respective sects.
The green sword light was accompanied by a chilling aura, while the blood-red whip was deadly with every lash.
The two fought fiercely, and Xie Zizhuou was particularly at ease because he knew that although his senior brother was only in the middle stage of the Golden Core realm, he was invincible below the Nascent Soul realm! Cultivation was important, but strength was the foundation of a cultivator. Sir Hao Xingzi had long ago said that the only two superlative aptitudes in the world had given Luo Jianqing such an unbeatable strength that he could kill those of higher cultivation levels.
However, as time went on, the four onlookers tightened their brows and watched Luo Jianqing and Mo Qiu with caution. Xie Zizhuou was even more surprised, he never thought that someone from the Mo family branch could fight Luo Jianqing to this extent!
Luo Jianqing’s body shook and stopped, a whip mark appearing on his face.
Mo Qiu in red clothes also breathed heavily, a bloodstain appearing on his left arm.
Both of them stared coldly at each other for a long time, but Mo Qiu let out a low laugh and said, “It’s the first time in my life that someone has forced me to apologize to someone else.”
Luo Jianqing raised his Shuang Fu Sword and pointed it straight at Mo Qiu’s brow. “Do you want to fight again?”
Mo Qiu narrowed his eyes dangerously and looked at the white-robed youth in front of him. After a moment, he sneered and turned to look at Xie Zizhuo, saying, “It was my fault for using the poisoned needle this time, but you better stay away from me in the future, kid. No one has ever survived my attacks, don’t make me do it again.”
Xie Zizhuo was silenced and could only angrily curse in his heart: “So arrogant, you didn’t even win against my senior brother!”
As Mo Qiu turned to leave, he suddenly heard Luo Jianqing’s calm voice say, “Fellow Daoist Mo, since the misunderstanding has been resolved, why not let bygones be bygones? It seems you were having trouble finding a room earlier, but Taihua Mountain still has a vacant one that I can offer to you.”
Nineteenth Junior Brother was surprised and asked, “Senior Brother, didn’t we run out of rooms? You…”
Luo Jianqing said, “I can share a room with someone else.”
Mo Qiu looked at Luo Jianqing with amusement but didn’t say anything.
Luo Jianqing asked calmly, “What do you think,Fellow Daoist Mo?”
Mo Qiu retorted, “Are you trying to win me over?”
Luo Jianqing didn’t answer.
Mo Qiu laughed heartily, “Taihua Mountain is truly interesting, and its people are even more interesting. Hahaha, alright, I accept your invitation. But you don’t have to share a room with someone else, I’ll share a room with you.”
Upon hearing this, a flicker of darkness passed through Luo Jianqing’s eyes, but he remained silent.
After finishing a meal, Luo Jianqing summoned Wei Qiongyin to another place and carefully asked about the affairs of the Mo family. Listening to Wei Qiongyin’s words, Luo Jianqing’s eyes gradually darkened, and finally he laughed and said, “So that’s how it is. I didn’t know that the Mo family was the leader of the eight great aristocratic families in ancient times.” Then he returned to the inn.
That night, Luo Jianqing slept on the floor, which made Mo Qiu grin and ask, “Little beauty, are you afraid that my sleeping position is bad or that I’ll harass you in the middle of the night?”
Luo Jianqing’s expression was calm and he replied coldly, “It is because I have a bad sleeping position.”
Mo Qiu laughed.
In the middle of the night, Luo Jianqing did not fall asleep. He lay on the ground with his clothes on, staring at the ceiling, and remembered something that happened a long time ago.
In his past life, Luo Jianqing had learned about the tragic deaths of two of his junior brothers. Despite the danger, he went back to the far north to search for them. In the end, he only found the sword tassel of Zuo Yunmo, and even faced attacks from many righteous cultivators. Luo Jianqing was already injured and was not a match for these people, so he fled in defeat and ended up in a valley.
It was easy to enter the valley, but difficult to leave.
Luo Jianqing did not have the good fortune of Li Xiuchen. After falling into the valley, he did not find any magic treasures or spiritual medicines, only a skeleton and a blood-written letter. The letter said that the skeleton was a cultivator from the Mo family, and he knew that his own clan would definitely be isolated and even slaughtered by other clans after this failure.
The Blood Letter didn’t explain what this predecessor did, but their actions were enough to make other members of their clan direct their anger towards their descendants. However, the hatred in the Blood Letter was powerful enough to shake the heavens, and even after crossing countless years, it still deeply affected Luo Jianqing.
“I am guilty, but it does not involve my descendants. I hope you can assist my future generations, and all these treasures and magical objects are yours.” Luo Jianqing did not see any magical objects or elixirs, only a pile of bones in front of him. However, he still remembered to repay the favor, as he had no other choice. He used his demonic cultivation to absorb all the remaining spiritual energy in the bones, and thus regained his strength.
This predecessor was a powerful cultivator in the Nascent Soul stage, and his bones also contained vast spiritual energy. However, after all the spiritual energy was absorbed, the bones turned into a pile of ashes, scattered by the wind.
Before leaving, Luo Jianqing kowtowed three times to the Blood Letter, secretly vowing: “Today, I, Luo Jianqing, destroyed the remains of the predecessor, but if I have the chance, I will help find your descendants and protect them.”
The predecessor’s surname was Mo, and a branch of the Mo family was exiled to the cold desert wasteland, where they had been for tens of thousands of years, according to Wei Qiongyin.
If this was true, then Mo Qiu was probably the predecessor’s descendant.
Although all of this happened in a past life, Luo Jianqing could not forget that he had gained a chance to survive because of the predecessor’s remains. He was grateful for the opportunity to escape the valley, and he felt that he had to repay the predecessor’s kindness. Asking Mo Qiu to apologize to Xie Zizhuo and Taihua Mountain was one thing, but he also had to repay the debt to the predecessor.
“But…I wonder who took the treasures and spirit medicines mentioned in the blood book…”
“Little beauty, what are you talking about?”
Luo Jianqing was slightly taken aback. When he looked up, he saw Mo Qiu leaning over his bed, smiling at him with a beautiful and charming face. Although his smile was pleasant, Luo Jianqing felt something strange about it. It seemed like he was not looking at him as an equal, but more like a junior.
However, according to the standards of mortals, Luo Jianqing was more than ten years younger than Mo Qiu and could be considered a junior.
Luo Jianqing did not answer and closed his eyes, saying, “Fellow Daoist Mo, are you going to enter the Flowing Flame Valley?”
Mo Qiu said with a smile, “Why, are you going too? It makes sense, for the Flowing Flame Valley to open. How can Taihua Mountain not enter?”
Luo Jianqing asked, “Why aren’t you going in with the other members of the Mo family? I heard that the third young master of the Mo family, Mo Feng, is also going, and he will lead many members of the Mo family in.”
Mo Qiu did not answer.
But Luo Jianqing had already figured out the answer for him.
People from Mo Qiu’s branch have been exiled for over ten thousand years, so he was probably sneaking into the Flowing Flame Valley by himself. The Mo family couldn’t accept him, so he wanted to enter as an independent cultivator.
Thinking of this, Luo Jianqing said, “Mo Daoist, why don’t you join our Taihua Mountain team? Even if we can’t get many treasures, the chance of survival will be higher.”
Mo Qiu smiled lightly and suddenly asked, “Luo Jianqing of Taihua Mountain, why are you so good to me?”
Luo Jianqing’s throat tightened. He opened his eyes and saw that Mo Qiu had leaned over half of his body, bending his eyes and looking at him. The distance between the two was less than three inches!
A glint flashed between Luo Jianqing’s eyebrows, and after a moment, he said, “If you don’t want to, then forget it.”
Mo Qiu didn’t immediately answer. He carefully looked at the sword marks on Luo Jianqing’s eyebrows and finally stopped at the small cinnabar mole on it. Mo Qiu asked, “Do you still have a cinnabar mole on your brow?”
Luo Jianqing lightly responded with an “um,” without explaining.
Mo Qiu looked at it with interest for a while before moving his gaze away and saying, “As a wandering cultivator, I am used to being free. You don’t have to worry about me. I think with my cultivation at the Golden Core Stage, it’s no problem for me to survive in the Flowing Flame Valley.”
Luo Jianqing didn’t persuade him anymore. It was tiring to travel on the road, and he slowly fell asleep.
The next day, when Luo Jianqing opened his eyes, he found that Mo Qiu was no longer in the room. Luo Jianqing picked up the few spirit stones on the table and looked at the paper under the stones, helplessly smiling.
Did Mo Qiu really think that a few spirit stones would make Luo Jianqing sleep on the ground all night?
If it wasn’t for repaying the kindness of that senior, he would have made Mo Qiu take responsibility for his words and actions yesterday.
The next day, everyone was about to enter Flame Valley. Wei Qiongyin found Luo Jianqing and told him some news she had learned yesterday.
There was indeed a talented disciple named Mo Qiu in the Mo family, who was exiled to the desolate and barren region of the Cold Desert. Once Mo Qiu reached the Nascent Soul stage, he could be accepted by the family. He was quite famous among the younger generation of the Mo family, but he had never appeared in the Thirty-Six States.
Luo Jianqing thought for a moment and said, “Mo Qiu is about to break through the Golden Core stage. He is probably here in Flame Valley to seek an opportunity to break through. In addition, once he advances to the Nascent Soul stage, he can stay in the Mo family and doesn’t need to return to that remote Cold Desert anymore.”
Wei Qiongyin nodded in agreement.
The disciples of Taihua Mountain were ready to go, and they followed Elder Shan to the plain outside Flame Valley early in the morning.
At this time, tens of thousands of scattered cultivators had already gathered here, and countless small sects had also sent their best disciples: they did not expect to obtain great treasures, but just hoped to gain a little chance.
Under Elder Shan’s guidance, Luo Jianqing met with the people from the Four Sects, Eight Great Families, and Sixteen Sects. When he saw that Mo Feng, he carefully looked at him for a few moments and asked, “Friend Mo, do you happen to know Mo Qiu?”
Mo Feng had muscular body and frowned, saying, “Mo Qiu is a descendant of our Mo family in the Desert Wilderness. I heard about his conflict with friend Luo before, and I apologize on his behalf to Taihua Mountain. However, I don’t know Mo Qiu personally. He has always lived in the Desert Wilderness and this is probably his first time coming to the Thirty-Six States.”
Luo Jianqing nodded silently.
An hour later, the crack in the gate of the Flowing Flame Valley finally opened to a width of one person. Luo Jianqing calmly glanced at Li Xiuchen, a disciple of Taihua Mountain, then narrowed his eyes and flew towards the gate.
At the same time, all the cultivators present flew towards the gate at their fastest speed, each wanting to be the first to enter the Flowing Flame Valley.
Luo Jianqing was the fastest among them all, and he quickly darted through the gate. This made Elder Shan from Taihua Mountain pat his beard proudly. On the other side, the Elder from the Broken Soul Sect grumbled, “You were standing close to Taihua Mountain just now, so that’s why you were the first to go in. Watch, the second one to go in will definitely be our Broken Soul Sect…”
Before he could finish his sentence, a blood-red figure flew into the gate.
The Elder from the Broken Soul Sect was left speechless.
Elder Shan from Taihua Mountain was also stunned for a moment, then laughed heartily and said, “This Xuan Tian Continent really hides its true strength. Old man Liu, I know that person just now. He’s Mo Qiu, the defeated underling of our Taihua Mountain’s top disciple, Luo Jianqing. He apologized to us yesterday at the inn. Look, your Broken Soul Sect can’t even compare to a lone cultivator.”
The Elder from the Broken Soul Sect’s mouth twitched, and he almost fainted from anger.
The Flowing Flame Valley was officially open, and countless cultivators rushed inside, all striving for the ultimate opportunity!