When Luo Jianqing arrived at the Yitian City in Liangzhou with the twelve small radishes, the scorching sun was already high in the sky.
With twelve Qi-refining cultivators dressed in matching clothing, plus a handsome Foundation Establishment cultivator, their formidable lineup attracted the attention of many onlookers along the way. As flying was prohibited in the city, Luo Jianqing and his team had to descend from their flying treasure and walk into Yitian City.
As soon as they entered the city, Luo Jianqing saw the four Foundation Establishment junior martial siblings and the other twelve new disciples.
The four disciples greeted Luo Jianqing and called out, “Senior Brother.”
The twelve new disciples also immediately saluted and called out, “Senior Brother.”
Luo Jianqing nodded slightly, his gaze sweeping calmly over everyone. When he saw Li Xiuchen, he showed no reaction and simply shifted his gaze. He then led the group to the stronghold inside Yitian City and handed them over to the people arranged by Yitian Sect.
Inside the largest inn in the city, a tall and burly man was surprised to see Luo Jianqing and respectfully introduced himself, “Friend, I am Yitian Sect elder Liu Dong. Our sect has already sent people to explore the secret realm. Today, please rest here in this inn and tomorrow morning, I will lead you all to the entrance of the secret realm.” After pausing for a moment, the man asked, “May I ask how to address you, friend?”
To outsiders, Luo Jianqing remained calm and indifferent as he replied, “Luo Jianqing.”
The man was stunned for a moment, his eyes widening. After a long while, he lowered his head and said, “Friend Luo.”
After the four Foundation Establishment disciples had arranged all twenty-four new disciples, Elder Liu Dong left. Before leaving, he secretly took a few glances at Luo Jianqing, his eyes complex and uncertain.
Luo Jianqing paid no attention to this small matter, but he knew what the elder was thinking.
The name of the Seven Children of Taihua had already spread throughout the entire Xuantian Continent, and it was mentioned in the book “Seeking Immortality”. When Elder Liu Dong heard that the leader was the youngest junior sister of the Seven Children of Taihua, he probably had this kind of reaction. After all, for a small sect like Yitian Sect, their strongest cultivator was only at the Golden Core stage, and Elder Liu Dong was only at the Foundation Establishment stage.
In Mount Taihua, only those who have reached the late stage of the Golden Core realm and have made great contributions have the possibility of becoming an elder, with normal elders being at the Nascent Soul realm or above. Among the seven peaks, Xuan Lingzi, the venerable of Yuxiao Peak, is the only cultivator in the Deity Transformation realm in the world. Among the other six peaks, the peak masters of the Five Peaks are in the Mahayana realm, and only Yu Qingzi, the venerable of Qinglan Peak, is in the Tribulation Crossing realm.
Mount Taihua is located in the center of the Xuantian Continent, with Yuxiao Peak towering into the clouds, overlooking all living beings. Within a million miles around Mount Taihua, all sects are blessed by Mount Taihua, with the only requirement being that when these sects discover any ruins or secret realms, they must inform people from Mount Taihua to come and explore.
Although Mount Taihua doesn’t really care about the ruins of a Nascent Soul cultivator, it happened to coincide with the once-in-a-decade new disciples’ training, so the sect leader decided to let the new disciples come here for training.
For these small sects, this kind of “tribute” is also a good thing. They can’t keep treasures with their own strength, and only under the protection of Mount Taihua can they obtain things that are beneficial to themselves.
That night, after Luo Jianqing finished his meditation, he summoned a foundation building disciple.
The disciple was from Haoming Peak and could be considered one of Xie Zizhuo’s confidants. After entering Luo Jianqing’s room, he immediately spoke respectfully, “Senior Brother, Xie Senior Brother asked me to tell you that he doesn’t like the things you don’t like, so he has taken care of them during this period.” After speaking, he even chuckled.
Luo Jianqing raised an eyebrow and asked, “How did he take care of it?”
The disciple looked around and Luo Jianqing calmly set up a barrier to block others from eavesdropping.
The disciple explained, “None of us from Haoming Peak like Li Xiuchen. As you know, there’s less than a year left until the next sect competition. Haoming Peak ranked second to last last time, only slightly better than Qinglan Peak, which focuses solely on alchemy. Everyone on our peak is putting in all their effort to climb up the ranks. Who would have thought that a new disciple with no aptitude but only good luck and an arrogant attitude would show up?”
Competition breeds motivation, and it’s only natural for the sect competition to determine each peak’s ranking. The disciple continued, “What’s even more strange is that after Li Xiuchen came to Haoming Peak, he didn’t even bother to cultivate properly and kept running to the back mountain every other day. All the new disciples have already reached the Qi Refinement stage, but he’s still wasting time.”
Upon hearing this, Luo Jianqing finally frowned and said, “Today, I saw that he’s already at the second level of Qi Refinement.”
The disciple immediately nodded and said, “Exactly! That’s the strange thing. He clearly hasn’t been cultivating much, but he suddenly broke through to the Qi Refinement stage half a month ago and then again to the second level in just seven days! Xie Senior Brother also finds it strange and dislikes him. He even sent some disciples to provoke him and withhold his meals, but he confronted us angrily and even said…”
Speaking of which, the disciple paused and thought for a while before saying, “Right! Li Xiuchen also said, ‘Thirty years in the east of the river, thirty years in the west of the river, do not bully the young and poor.’ He was even standing on a stone, looking down at us with arrogance while saying that we would eventually become his stepping stones. So Senior Brother Xie was very dismissive of him and arranged for some new disciples to beat him up.”
Luo Jianqing: “…”
The disciple said with admiration, “Senior Brother Xie is truly Senior Brother Xie. He only said one sentence and made Li Xiuchen unable to speak again. He said, ‘I am at the Golden Core stage, and you are only at the Qi Refinement stage. Our Haoming Peak is the strongest, do you believe that I can crush you with just one finger?'”
Luo Jianqing finally couldn’t hold back his laughter: “Pfft.”
The disciple went on to tell some unfortunate things that happened to Li Xiuchen on Haoming Peak. After half an hour, he finally left Luo Jianqing’s room. Before leaving, he looked at the sword mark on Luo Jianqing’s forehead with surprise. After a moment, he couldn’t help but ask, “Senior Brother Luo, I wonder what this is…”
Luo Jianqing noticed the disciple’s gaze, opened the door with a sweep of his sleeve, and said calmly, “Just a little something, you don’t have to pay attention.”
The meaning of Luo Jianqing’s send-off was so clear that the disciple naturally did not dare to ask more. He bowed and left immediately.
After the room was empty, Luo Jianqing raised his hand and created a water mirror in the air. He looked at himself with a deep and serene gaze in the mirror.
The supreme technique of Yuxiao Peak, the Nine Lian Origin Heart Scripture, would leave a sword mark on the forehead if one practiced it and then practiced swordsmanship. This sword mark was shaped like a lotus, and the first petal would bloom during the Foundation Building stage, the second during the Golden Core stage… and by the time of the Nascent Soul stage, all eight petals would have bloomed. Upon reaching the final stage of Ascension, the ninth petal would bloom, and one would become the Nine Lian Origin Heart, attaining immortality, soaring through the heavens and earth, unstoppable.
Luo Jianqing’s forehead now had two green sword marks, while Xuan Lingzi already had eight golden sword marks.
At this moment, in the center of his green sword mark, there was a bright red mole. It was as red as fire, dazzlingly bright, and this bright red mole seemed to make his elegant and extraordinary face even more vivid, giving him an unapproachable immortal aura.
After Xuan Lingzi’s intention entered Luo Jianqing’s sea of consciousness, it formed the cinnabar seal. Throughout the journey to Yitian City, Luo Jianqing carefully investigated the seal but could not conceal or eliminate it, as Xuan Lingzi was a Nascent Soul cultivator and he was only at the Golden Core stage, separated by five major realms.
Luo Jianqing looked at the seal in the water mirror for a long time before closing his eyes and continuing his cultivation, following Xuan Lingzi’s instructions. The next day, he looked at four Foundation Establishment disciples and twenty-four new disciples, nodded in satisfaction, and opened his flying treasure to take them to the ruins.
This time, it was not Liu Dong, the Foundation Establishment elder who guided them yesterday, but a Golden Core cultivator named Elder Cao Haining. Elder Cao apologized for their previous mistake and offered to guide Luo Jianqing. Luo Jianqing did not mind and talked briefly with Elder Cao before returning to his room to continue his cultivation.
Luo Jianqing’s flying treasure, a comfortable boat-shaped object with eighty-one rooms, was a gift from his sixth senior brother. Although its flying speed was slower than that of a Golden Core cultivator, it was perfect for carrying a group of young disciples. When they approached the ruins, Luo Jianqing landed the treasure and walked with his disciples on foot.
The ruins were deep in the Yitian Mountains, and it took a whole day of walking to reach it. Elder Cao was worried that Luo Jianqing would be angry, so he informed him that they still needed another day to get there. Luo Jianqing understood and nodded.
Although Luo Jianqing and Elder Cao could arrive at the ruins in no time, the young disciples were not as strong. The highest cultivation level among them was only at the fourth level of Qi Refinement, and there were also new disciples who had just reached the first level of Qi Refinement. Therefore, it was already impressive that they were able to walk this far, and Luo Jianqing did not push them too hard.
With their speed, he and Elder Caowould naturally arrive in no time. However, the group of young disciples was different. The highest level among them was only at the fourth level of Qi Refining, and there were more than ten new practitioners who had just reached the first level of Qi Refining. It was already good enough that they could persevere until now, and it couldn’t be forced.
In the evening, the group of people sat on the ground in the mountains and meadows. They had divided into two bonfires, one for each of Luo Jianqing and the others, and one for all the other disciples. Although Elder Cao Haining was also a Core Formation stage cultivator like Luo Jianqing, he knew that this head of the Seven Children of Taihua had killed a Golden Core initial stage demonic cultivator in the Foundation Establishment stage, and his strength was far beyond what he could match.
Elder Cao looked at Luo Jianqing from afar and sighed, “Friend Luo is really diligent. He has been practicing all the way.”
A Foundation Establishment disciple laughed, “Elder Cao, you don’t know. Senior Brother is a famous practice fanatic on Taihua Mountain. When he was brought back to Taihua Mountain by Senior Uncle Xuan Lingzi, he was just a baby. At that time, Second Senior Brother had already reached the Foundation Establishment stage and was a year older than Senior Brother! But now? Senior Brother has reached the middle stage of Golden Core, while Second Senior Brother is only in the early stage of Golden Core.”
Elder Cao was shocked, “Friend Luo is actually so powerful?”
Another Foundation Establishment disciple explained, “It should be said that Senior Uncle Xuan Lingzi was very strict with Senior Brother. It is said that Senior Brother could have broken Senior Uncle Xuan Lingzi’s Foundation Establishment record back then, but Senior Uncle Xuan Lingzi said that Senior Brother’s foundation was not stable enough, so he made Senior Brother go to the Ten Thousand Beast Mountain to kill demons and beasts for three years before allowing him to establish the Foundation.” Pausing for a moment, that person sighed, “Senior Brother was only in his teens at that time…”
Elder Cao widened his eyes in horror, “Venerable Xuan Lingzi is really…really amazing!”
Everyone burst into laughter.
Even when they reached the Golden Core stage, they could not help but be immersed in gossip. Soon, these Foundation Establishment disciples who were old hands at this started to tell some interesting stories and scandals on Taihua Mountain. Except for Elder CaoElder, the new Qi Refining disciples also pricked up their ears curiously.
In the pitch-black night, no one noticed that Li Xiuchen had quietly gotten up and come to the nearby bonfire.
Lu Jianqing had set up a barrier for himself that no cultivator below the golden core stage could approach, but he had not set up a soundproof barrier. Li Xiuchen looked at Lu Jianqing with a strange expression, and finally whispered, “Television?”
Lu Jianqing still had his eyes closed and was cultivating.
Li Xiuchen asked again, “Computer? Contra? Internet?”
Lu Jianqing remained calm, and his stunning face looked even more breathtaking in the flickering firelight.
Li Xiuchen persistently asked, “Brother, the 2008 Olympics? Korean boy bands? The Four Heavenly Kings of Hong Kong Island?”
Li Xiuchen spoke for a full three minutes, but Luo Jianqing didn’t even lift his gaze. When Li Xiuchen was about to speak again, Luo Jianqing suddenly opened his eyes and stared at him with a cold look. Li Xiuchen trembled all over, about to speak, but then saw Luo Jianqing wave his sleeve. Li Xiuchen let out a cry and was thrown about ten meters away, crashing into a big tree with a thunderous sound.
The onlookers nearby whispering among themselves, “…”
Luo Jianqing stood up, dusted himself off, and said coldly, “Shut up and go back to your place.”
Li Xiuchen gritted his teeth and got up, glaring at Luo Jianqing with dangerous anger, muttering under his breath, “Thirty years in the east, thirty years in the west. You’re proud of yourself now, but just wait…ah!”
Other disciples watched in horror as Li Xiuchen flew back three or four meters and hit a centuries-old tree, his face mysteriously bearing a shoe mark, with blood slowly dripping from his nose. This time he was completely knocked out.
No one understood what had happened, except for the golden core elder Cao, who wiped his sweat and trembled, secretly thinking, “This…this strength is really amazing. His movements are as fast as lightning. Even he couldn’t see how Luo Jianqing kicked Li Xiuchen.” Luo Jianqing had already returned to his position to continue meditating.
As expected of the leader of the Taihua Seven Children, he really lived up to his reputation!
A day later, the group finally approached the location of the ruins. Li Xiuchen walked behind the team, still with a shoe mark on his face, which he couldn’t wash off no matter how hard he tried. He walked with his head down, full of resentment.
After a while, a mid-level golden core cultivator appeared out of nowhere. He nodded to Elder Cao first, then turned his head and looked at the elegant renowned green-clothed cultivator in the middle of the crowd, and said with a cupped fist, “Friend Luo, I, the second elder of the Yitian Sect, Zhao Yufeng, has led 30 Qi refining disciples and 12 foundation building disciples here to await your arrival.”