Translated by Jouissance of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
XiaoShan Sect had a plain name, but it was the second greatest sect of the lower realm.
Though they were said to be the second, that was just in title. Fifty years ago, the XiaoShan Sect was the greatest sect in the entire cultivation world, but today, the LingYang Sect and even the Fifth and Sixth sects didn’t think much of them.
The XiaoShan Sect had already lost five times consecutively in the Ten Great Sect Alliance competitions, and each time, they had to give away a portion of their resources.
One step back leads to more steps back, weaken one generation and you only get weaker!
The only reason it could still just barely maintain its position of second was because of their Patriarch Xuan Shan.
The Patriarch Xuan Shan was a prodigy amidst prodigies, the single greatest cultivator of his generation. In a world where Golden Core stage was the upper limit of one’s cultivation, Patriarch Xuan Shan had used his talents and efforts to reach halfway to Nascent Soul.
It was an extremely unique situation, half Golden Core and half Nascent Soul. The entire world was shocked from it, iridescent clouds appearing in the skies. It seemed as if the entire world had come to life to celebrate the only half Nascent Soul in half a century.
All the factions of the cultivation world, friend or foe, were all moved by such a phenomenon. Even if they were deeply jealous, they all hoped that Patriarch Xuan Shan would succeed in achieving Nascent Soul stage.
It was because this would mean that Nascent Soul was no longer a myth. Golden Core stage cultivators would be able to work towards a goal instead of slowly growing old and approaching death as their cultivation stagnated.
Yet, the Patriarch Xuan Shan only formed half his Nascent Soul when the dense spiritual energy suddenly dispersed, as if all the spiritual energy in the world had suddenly been used up and was unable to replenish itself. The iridescent clouds in the sky also disappeared.
It was as if the cultivation world had been cursed, trapping them at Nascent Soul stage forever. No cultivator had ever felt more despair than the moment the iridescent clouds disappeared, and the spiritual energy dried up.
Xuan Shan didn’t believe that they were really cursed. He refused to believe that Nascent Soul was an impossible dream. If the heavens truly didn’t want anyone to live forever, then why give them spiritual roots?
Xuan Shan chose to go into critical secluded cultivation; he wouldn’t come out unless he reached Nascent Soul.
Fifty years passed and there was no news from Patriarch Xuan Shan. The XiaoShan Sect that had grown strong due to him slowly began to decline as well.
In the next fifty years, if Xuan Shan still didn’t come out, the other sects probably would no longer care for this so-called patriarch. XiaoShan Sect would fall to the bottom of the Ten Great Sects, and would even become like the XianLing Sect, helpless.
Yet, the XianLing had risen once more, but… where was their, the XiaoShan Sect’s, hope?
The XiaoShan Sect leader sat upon the elevated seat in their meeting hall. Looking down at the elders and the four core disciples, an indescribable, complex grief welled up in his heart.
“Sect Leader, please, make your decision.” The Grand Elder pushed his weak faltering body up and knelt in a half-kneel. He was old, too old. Four-hundred years was basically the end of a Golden Core stage cultivator’s lifespan. The aura that powerful cultivators possessed had long since faded from him and wrinkles covered his face. His cultivation was no longer able to sustain his youth. “These old bones of mine can still fight for my sect one last battle.”
Resolve flashed through the grand elder’s eyes. “I implore you, Sect Leader, to grant me this final wish of mine. Let me die fighting for my sect and not cowering as I watch our sect decline.”
His words touched the hearts of everyone there, and those who were originally hesitating also kneeled with the Grand Elder, asking for the sect leader to give the order. “We are willing to die for our XiaoShan Sect.”
The QingLing Sect secretly reported what had happened at the XianLing Sect to the LingYang Sect and the XiaoShan Sect was situated between the two sects. If the XianLing Sect’s army wanted to reach the LingYang Sect, they would have to pass through here. If they set up an ambush, then they would be sure to deal a critical blow to the XianLing Sect!
Compared to the cultivator legion that LingYang Sect had trained, the XiaoShan Sect was more well-versed in assassination. Their cultivation technique was more suitable for dark areas. That was why they always had a disadvantage in the alliance competitions which were held under the sun.
The LingYang Sect was willing to pay a huge sum for this. If the XiaoShan Sect was willing to set up an ambush, then the LingYang Sect would give them three whole spiritual mines.
Three spiritual mines!
That was enough to allow the XiaoShan Sect to raise eight more core disciples, eight more potential Golden Core cultivators!
There were only four Golden Core stage cultivators in the XiaoShan Sect, including the Sect Leader. Of them, the one with the highest cultivation, the Grand Elder, was reaching the end of his lifespan. He wouldn’t act easily, for every time he fought, he was depleting his own life.
And the XiaoShan Sect couldn’t afford that.
That wasn’t all the LingYang Sect had agreed to. They even agreed to give the XiaoShan Sect their training technique for battle cultivators.
The LingYang Sect representative urged them, “Master of the XiaoShan Sect, our sect’s sincerity is clear. The XianLing Sect army is currently gathering its forces. If you don’t make a decision now, then you won’t get another chance. You know how the current sect leader of the XianLing Sect came out of nowhere. Who knows what intentions he has towards the Ten Great Sect Alliance? Their so-called Eldest Shixiong single handedly killed five thousand Foundation Establishment cultivators. Is that really something a Foundation Establishment cultivator can do? Someone who could commit genocide against their allied sects then say something like he won’t touch anyone who will leave them alone, can you really trust that?
“The TaYue Sect does, indeed, have bad blood with the XianLing Sect, but that’s the XianLing Sect’s grudge, and it has nothing to do with Chu WuQing and his servant. Would you help a weak sect take revenge for nothing? It’s no more than an excuse. He wants to use the XianLing Sect to get rid of the other sects. That’s his true objective.”
“If one falls, it leaves others exposed. Today, it’s the TaYue Sect and LingYang Sect, but who’s to say it won’t be the XiaoShan Sect tomorrow! In the past, even though our sects have had friction due to fighting to rank higher, but no matter what, we’d always leave each other some space to breathe and survive. We’d leave each other the chance to develop and grow anew; we’d never truly cut off each other’s hope for continued existence. But what did the XianLing Sect do? They wiped out the entire TaYue Sect.” At this, the representative’s expression was full of grief. “Sect Leader, whether you let the XiaoShan Sect become a sect truly worthy of its position as second, or allow the Patriarch Xuan Shan’s Sect to become no more than history, it’s all on you.”
Everyone in the cultivation realm knew that the current Sect Leader of the XiaoShan Sect was once a mere human cauldron, but he was purchased by the Patriarch Xuan Shan who taught him dignity, and how to live as a human.
He even helped the other become a Golden Core stage cultivator, a Peak Golden Core stage cultivator that stood at the top of the world. The Patriarch Xuan Shan had basically given him rebirth, a new life.
No matter what, the XiaoShan Sect Leader would do his utmost to protect the XiaoShan Sect and the Patriarch Xuan Shan’s legacy.
Originally, he was apprehensive about the XianLing Sect and didn’t want to get involved in this mess, but in that moment, he wavered.
The LingYang Sect representative continued, “The XianLing Sect only relies on Gu Yu and their warship and that warship requires a Golden Core stage cultivator to use. Apart from their Sect Leader, the XianLing Sect doesn’t even have a Golden Core stage cultivator. More importantly, your sect is adept at assassination, if you can kill Gu Yu, it’ll be over for the XianLing Sect.”
The Sect Leader was now completely persuaded and he gritted his teeth, “Then if so, to make sure nothing goes wrong, I’ll go after Gu Yu myself, but, the LingYang Sect will have to give us five spiritual mines.”
The representative said, “Very well!”
This time, Chu WuQing didn’t head out with the rest of the sect. He merely handed Gu Yu three drops of his blood so that the other could use his bloodline to call back the warships.
Chu WuQing remained on the ancestral peak, meditating. He had only just established foundations, his cultivation still unstable, when he was attacked by Chu YunShu, so now he had to stabilise it.
However, barely half an hour after the army had left, Chu WuQing felt his chest tighten. Soon after, a cultivator covered in blood arrived, barely able to walk. It was one of the Foundation Establishment cultivators from last time.
“Eldest Shixiong, we’ve been ambushed by the XiaoShan Sect. Master Gu Yu is seriously injured and things aren’t looking good for us.”
XiaoShan Sect’s talent being assassination wasn’t for show. After all, Xuan Shan’s brilliance and talent was blinding. If he weren’t trapped in the lower realm, he would for sure be able to become a top tier prodigy of the WenXian Rankings that would shake all the sects.
The XiaoShan Sect Leader’s assassination techniques as a Peak Golden Core stage cultivator was an inescapable net.
The LingYang Sect deployed a battle legion and put them under the XiaoShan Sect. Every member of this legion had sworn a death oath that they would belong to the XiaoShan Sect once the battle was over.
The heavily injured Gu Yu hid himself with a concealment array, but the XiaoShan Sect Leader didn’t rush things. With those injuries and no high-level cultivator to heal him, it was basically over for Gu Yu. He’d fall out of his concealment array eventually.
The XiaoShan Sect Leader even purposefully let Gu Yu go a couple of times, like a cat playing with its prey. Gu Yu was no longer able to deliver orders or send signals to his army, but it could deal a blow to the XianLing Sect’s morale.
Their general was being toyed with yet they were unable to do anything about it. Their morale was slowly declining.
The LingYang Sect representative couldn’t help but rush the other. “Sect Leader, wouldn’t it be better to kill Gu Yu as soon as possible? Though toying with him like this can cause them to waver, dragging it out leaves time for changes in the battlefield.”
The XiaoShan Sect Leader closed his eyes. “Change is exactly what I want.” He hid the mourning that threatened to leak from his gaze, forced to act as if nothing was wrong.
Their plan was to use Gu Yu to lure Chu WuQing. He’d personally occupy that Golden Core Sect Leader’s attention, so that the hidden Grand Elder could take out Chu WuQing by self-destructing!
Even that refined corpse wouldn’t be able to protect the other from that.
The cultivators and two Foundation Establishment deacons paled upon hearing the news of Gu Yu, simultaneously looking towards Chu WuQing.
Everyone thought Chu WuQing would be enraged, would panic, would immediately summon Master Chu You to avenge Gu Yu.
However, Chu WuQing’s expression didn’t shift in the slightest, he even smiled, softly murmuring, “XiaoShan Sect?” His slender fingers tapped against his knee as he spoke to his refined corpse, “Xiao Hong, let’s go and take a look.” Then, he boarded his flying artifact and soon disappeared into the sky.
But the direction he had disappeared in wasn’t the battlefield, where everyone thought he would go.
Chu WuQing’s flying ship was extremely fast relying solely on spirit stones when he was at Qi Condensation stage. Now that he was Foundation Establishment stage, if he put all his power into it, it was even faster.
It didn’t take more than fifteen minutes for Chu WuQing to arrive at the gates of the XiaoShan Sect.
Unlike the dignified splendour that other sects aimed for, the gates of the XiaoShan Sect were plain and old-fashioned. It was crafted from mere grade one spiritual wood. Even the XianLing Sect’s old gates were far grander than this.
“XiaoShan Sect” wasn’t etched upon the horizontal plaque above the gates either. Instead, it was their patriarch’s title, Xuan Shan.
The two characters, Xuan Shan, exuded a powerful aura, which made this humble gate seem even more imposing and dignified. It felt old, ancient and full of power, history and wisdom.
It was as if this wasn’t the gates to a sect, but an ancient gate of the Path.
Chu WuQing’s pupils dilated. The Patriarch Xuan Shan’s talent was enough to awe even him.
Chu WuQing’s arrival had the half-asleep disciple guarding the gate startling awake. They almost thought they were hallucinating and reached over to slap their also half-asleep partner. Their partner widened their eyes in surprise as well, mumbling, “Have I just seen a real god?”
The beauty in front of them was real, not a mirage.
“Wake up, we’ve got a visitor.” Eventually, all the disciples tasked with guarding the gate were fully awake. One of them stared at Chu WuQing, almost infatuated, just as his friends thought they had to whack him again, the guy said, “I heard that the Eldest Shixiong of the XianLing Sect possesses beauty impossible to describe. I originally didn’t believe that such a person could exist, but now I know that in reality, there could be beauty beyond even that of Chu WuQing’s rumored beauty.”
This person’s words had everyone’s hearts jumping. The first disciple to wake up hurriedly said, “What beyond Chu WuQing’s rumored beauty? This is Chu WuQing! He’s here to take our lives!”
No one under Golden Core stage would be unafraid of someone who could kill five thousand Foundation Establishment cultivators.
Everyone snapped back to reality and their awe was swallowed up by their fear of incoming death, but none of them backed down. Instead, they quickly formed a battle array and sent out the signal with a message, “Elder Yuan, Chu WuQing is here!”
Elder Yuan was the only Golden Core stage cultivator that stayed behind to guard the XiaoShan Sect.
The disciples all breathed a breath of relief, seeing the signal sent and knowing that their Mountain Guardian Greater Array was about to be erected.
Chu WuQing raised his hand softly and a murderous sword energy shot out from his fingertips, destroying the signal and message in an instant.
The guarding disciples had just let out a breath but now it was stuck back in their throats. Chu WuQing alighted from his boat.
Beauty approached them, getting closer and closer, but none of them felt blessed or awed by it, instead plagued with a mounting fear. When Chu WuQing was just a step away from them, the only female disciple there went weak with fright, falling into a kneel.
Chu WuQing laughed. “Don’t be afraid. Though your XiaoShan Sect killed the disciples of my XianLing Sect, I’m here to repay your malice with kindness, and bestow a huge blessing upon you.” Chu WuQing bowed slightly, reaching out with one hand and pulling up the fallen disciple. A beautiful smile played at his lips.
His voice was nothing like the disciple had ever heard before, like music from the heavens. It was lofty and untouchable yet so close. “Tell me, where is your patriarch cultivating?”
Even though the fear in her heart had yet to disperse, the female disciple couldn’t help but flush, unable to stop herself from saying, “Under the Green Jade Peak.”
“Green Jade Peak?” Chu WuQing furrowed his slender brows, conjuring a heavenly Damascus ribbon and binding it around the girl’s waist. He tugged it slightly, and the girl was pulled onto the flying boat with Chu WuQing.
The girl’s reflection was visible in Chu WuQing’s crystal clear eyes. He spoke softly, “Take me there, hm?”
Instantly, the two disappeared from before the guarding disciples. By the time they came out of their stupor, Chu WuQing had already disappeared deep into the XiaoShan Sect.
“Quick, inform Elder Yuan.” This time, the signal flew all the way up. The entire XiaoShan Sect was now on high alert!