Chapter Nine: Something that shouldn’t be there was growing wildly
Translated by Jouissance of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
In South City, cultivators and mortals lived together. Cultivators who had yet to reach Foundation Establishment were unable to sustain themselves without sustenance, so there were quite a lot of restaurants opened by mortals to satisfy the people’s desire for good food.
“I’ll take you to eat something first,” Chu WuQing said, leading Gu Yu along the street. Yet, they passed by restaurant after restaurant without a glance.
Gu Yu was so hungry, his vision was swimming, only his sense of smell was shockingly acute, capturing every scent that wafted out of those restaurants without fail.
But he didn’t want the other to be disappointed in him, and he didn’t want to offend him. He wanted to make sure the other only saw the best side of him, so he continued walking forwards gracefully like a young aristocrat. There was no hint of the pitiful state he had been in not long ago. His hands were curled into tight fists inside his sleeves, doing his best to control the trembling in his body that came from starvation.
When they walked past the last restaurant on the street, Gu Yu’s fists clenched tighter, his nails digging into his palms and causing them to bleed. However, he didn’t make any noise of protest, looking very cute and docile.
He could even manage a gentle smile when Chu WuQing turned his head slightly and looked over, hoping to gain the other’s attention for longer. Just that was enough to give him infinite courage.
“What an ugly smile.” Chu WuQing mercilessly laughed. It really was an ugly smile, just as ugly as in his past life. He was always pretending to be so innocent and pure, more docile than a bunny rabbit, but under that skin was the soul of a hungry wolf.
Cruel and crazed, only bowing to Lin Yi.
That laugh had Chu WuQing’s expression brightening up with life, as if he was no longer the sky, distant and untouchable, like a falling star had torn open the silent night sky. It made people want to grasp hold of that light tightly, never letting go.
No matter what he said, or what expressions he made, it made others feel fortunate, fortunate to be noticed, fortunate to be spoken to…but they could never reach him, never touch him.
Gu Yu felt mesmerized. He could feel his heart thumping wildly, something that shouldn’t be there was growing wildly…
It wasn’t until Chu WuQing had turned, getting ten steps ahead that he snapped out of his stupor, running to catch up with stumbling steps and following the other closely, a light flashing through his dark eyes.
Wherever there were cultivators, even in a place where they lived amongst the normal people, cultivators would always be considered an ‘upper-class’ of sorts. That was why the inner city of South City existed.
Though they called it the inner city, it was actually just a small street, but it had their best guarding it. That’s right, these two Peak Qi Condensation Stage cultivators were untouchable divines in South City.
To enter this street, it cost ten spirit pearls per person per entry.
Gu Yu had naturally heard of this street before and he knew that the Family head successor would often come here to get things for cultivating, but it was something he didn’t even dare dream of for himself.
In the Gu Family, only core disciples were allowed to spend spirit pearls like that.
“I-is it really okay?” Gu Yu gathered his courage to ask. He didn’t want the other to waste precious spirit pearls on him.
The white-robed cultivator waved his hand lightly and twenty spirit pearls flew into the guard’s hands. Then, Gu Yu stepped into the inner city he had always wanted to see, following Chu WuQing to a tavern.
The tavern wasn’t a lone building, but several connected pagodas, the tapered and curved roofs stacked, with countless etchings and statues. The words ‘Divine Crane Tower’ was handwritten on a plaque above.
Divine Crane Tower was the only tavern in the entire South City that provided spiritual energy infused food. In the entire Gu Family, only elders and the family head had ever come here before.
When they sat next to the window on the second floor, a sudden sense of incredulousness welled up within him.
Chu WuQing ordered five dishes. This area was very remote, so the spiritual energy infused rice used wasn’t even good enough to be graded. It didn’t really do much for cultivators, but it was very good for a mortal’s body.
As for food that was really saturated with spiritual energy, if a non-cultivating mortal consumed it, their bodies wouldn’t be able to take it and break down, killing them.
The little kid was absolutely starving, but once the dishes were brought, he maintained his elegance even though he was dying to just bury his face in that food now.
Gu Yu ate quickly and demolished the entire table of food in no time at all, yet somehow managed to not seem rude or desperate. Chu WuQing was rather amused by this and his spirits lifted.
After Gu Yu finished, Chu WuQing spoke. “I need an array prodigy at my side, so I spent a fortune to have a Diviner find someone for me. He found you. So I came. I will take you away from here and you’ll become an outer disciple of the Chu Clan, as well as my follower. You may address me as Chu-gongzi, Shixiong,” he paused here, gazing at Gu Yu’s face, which would later grow into beauty enough to shock the three realms, and felt a sense of malicious mischief swell up in him, “or Master.”
“Master,” Gu Yu said without hesitation. His face flushed as he spoke, making him seem soft and docile.
–– His blood roared under his skin.
Chu WuQing was surprised at how obedient Gu Yu was, and he seemed to be all to willing to call Chu WuQing Master. Chu WuQing then asked him, “What are you planning on doing with the Gu Family? It won’t take me more than a few words to annihilate them. Of course, you can also choose to go back in the future to deal with them yourself.”
Though he gave the other two choices, Chu WuQing knew that Gu Yu would pick the latter of the two. Gu Yu might be weak now, but he wasn’t someone who depended on others for survival. If it wasn’t for him being in One Blade to Seal the Heavens, with Gu Yu’s history, personality, ability, he’d probably be another protagonist.
When he bowed his head, smiling gently and elegantly, and said, “I don’t like seeing blood.” He could turn countless people into bones instantly. There really wasn’t any blood.
“I want to deal with them myself,” Gu Yu raised his head, intoning quietly.
“Some people from the Gu Family are here.” The corner of Chu WuQing’s lips lifted into a slight smile. “You can do whatever you want. Don’t disappoint me.”
Though it was said that the overly smart and cunning were like demons, the Gu Yu of now was still a blank sheet of paper. More specifically, he was a blank sheet of paper to Chu WuQing, who could see right through him. Wouldn’t it be amusing to paint colors on this sheet of paper, bending his decisions and character?
For a small cultivation family like the Gu Family, they wouldn’t let go of any chance to climb up the social ladder.
When Chu WuQing first came, the Family Head had been absent and their highest cultivation level elder had been in secluded cultivation, which was how Chu WuQing had avoided them and gotten Gu Yu out of there so fast. Once Gu Yu had left, the Gu Family members immediately reported back to their Family Head and Elder.
Though they didn’t know Chu WuQing’s real identity, they could see that Chu WuQing held an elegance to himself that not even the City Master’s son held.
“Fools!” The Gu Family head yelled, “Don’t you people know to direct that Xianshi’s attention towards all the other talents of the Gu Family? Gu Xiang has even obtained his Level One Runesmasters certification already. How could you let that Xianshi take that useless piece of trash?”
Upon knowing that Chu WuQing hadn’t left yet and had even taken Gu Yu to the most high-class restaurant in the entire city, Divine Crane Tower, the Gu Family head and elder immediately brought all the talented youth in the Gu Family with him there. They had to swap one of their talents for Gu Yu, for the sake of the future of the Gu Family!
The elders in the Gu Family were deeply regretting how they had stopped the Gu Family head from disposing of Gu Yu originally.
That’s right, after Gu Yu’s father died, his uncle had quickly taken power and since he wanted revenge, he definitely wouldn’t willingly leave Gu Yu alive. However, the elders didn’t agree. After all, the previous family head had done much for the Gu Family, and managed to obtain divine items for them many times. They couldn’t watch as the previously clan head’s son died just like that.
But in the end, the previous head had no more power, and the current clan head had gotten to Sixth Level Qi Condensation already at only thirty-six years old. He might even reach Foundation Establishment!
If he did, then the entire situation in South City would change.
For the Gu Family, they could tolerate everything else the current clan head did, including the abuse that Gu Yu endured, including making everyone think Gu Yu was unable to cultivate, so long as he didn’t directly kill Gu Yu. That was the agreement they had come to.
Even if Gu Yu really did starve to death, they would let it happen. They had no choice. As a member of the Gu Family, one had to make sacrifices for the good of the family. They had already done their best to save him. Was that not enough to thank their previous family head already?
But now, they were regretting their original decision all those years ago. If Gu Yu had died back then, he wouldn’t have been able to destroy the Gu Family’s future now and taken this opportunity that should’ve belonged to a more talented youth of the Gu Family.
When they arrived upstairs and saw Chu WuQing and Gu Yu, the Gu Family head and elders were alright, but the youth that came with them went red-eyed.
That was spiritual energy infused food! A whole five plates of it! Bad quality elixirs would have side effects when consumed, leaving behind toxic traces. However, spiritual energy infused food wouldn’t, it would only nourish the meridians. However, for most cultivators in South City, this food wasn’t valuable because of the benefits it gave, but as a display of background, influence and wealth.
Yet these valuable dishes had been consumed by Gu Yu, a piece of useless mortal trash. He dared steal their food!?
“Xianzhang,” The Gu Family Head stepped forwards, bluntly expressing his intentions, “The Gu Family has plenty of runesmanship prodigies if that’s what you’re looking for. Why choose this useless trash who isn’t even able to cultivate? No matter how many recourses you spend on him, your valuable efforts and time will only go to waste.”
“That’s right, Xianzhang. This good-for-nothing Gu Yu can’t even read, he’d only anger you. He’s not worth your time or effort,” One of the elders then said.
Yet, no matter what they said, Chu WuQing ignored them, his gaze directed at what was outside the window. The Divine Crane Tower was on the edge of the inner city looking over a beautiful scenery of rivers and mountains. Countless white cranes soared across the skies. Chu WuQing didn’t even glance at these people, treating them as air.
As if they were a bunch of beggars on the street.
Though the Gu Family had fallen to this point, they still held a high position in South City. This treatment annoyed them, but Chu WuQing clearly wasn’t someone they should offend. They had to stifle their anger, directing all their hateful gazes towards Gu Yu.
They wanted Gu Yu to submit to their whims, and Gu Yu had always been soft; he knew to be self-preserving, no?
As expected, Gu Yu acted, jumping down from the seat. He was short enough that when he sat his malnourished body on the chair, his feet hung far from ground.
However, this action didn’t seem silly at all. There was a lofty kind of beauty to it.
This was Gu Yu? That little beggar that anyone in the Gu Family could torment as they wanted?!
The family head, who had always felt he had everything in the palm of his hand, felt a sense of foreboding creep up on him, as if something was about to spiral out of his control. He forcefully suppressed that feeling and barked, “Gu Yu, you should kneel when you see the family head.”
He thought that the kid would struggle into a kneeling position despite the pain like usual, obedient.
Yet, this was all just an act by Gu Yu. If he didn’t stay obedient, he would’ve died under the family head’s spiritual aura ages ago. He was weak and frail; he couldn’t even endure what normal healthy mortals could. If he died, they would just say it was his own fault.
But he had never given up on life, and these survival instincts of his told him to feign weakness, obedience. They told him to endure, allowing him to survive until now… when he met Master.
“As the son of the previous family head, I should’ve been the one to succeed. No one here is allowed to make me kneel.” Gu Yu smiled gently, his words elegant and eloquent, like a well-educated young aristocrat. He walked up to the grand elder of the Gu Family, sounding very mature as he continued, “Grand Elder, thank you for saving my life back then, but not testing my potential is the greatest mistake you’ve ever made in regards to the Gu Family.”
“You little bastard, you dare!” The Gu Family Grand Elder finally spoke up. “You dare speak to an elder like that! A good-for-nothing doesn’t need to be tested. It’s nothing but a waste of the Gu Family resources.”
His Level Eight Qi Condensation Stage spiritual aura came down at the child like a landslide.
However, Gu Yu didn’t faint as expected. Instead, a gentle force wrapped around him, protecting Gu Yu, yet when this force turned on the Grand Elder, it was sharper than a blade, causing him to stagger back four steps, blood dripping from his mouth.
“Grand Elder!” The Gu family members all panicked but didn’t dare act. Their Grand Elder was the strongest member of the entire Gu Family!
This young man was clearly only Level Seven Qi Condensation Stage, yet he could use his mere presence to fight off the Grand Elder, someone who had entered Level Eight Qi Condensation Stage for over seventy years already!
The family he was backed by must be ever so powerful. In those jade drives that their ancestors left them, the Gu family of the past was like that, too…
Gu Yu was also surprised. The Grand Elder of the Gu family, so influential and powerful, so many cultivators scared of even meeting him, had fallen just like that.
So this was the power of a cultivator.
“Grand Elder.” Gu Yu’s expression didn’t betray his thoughts, his smile becoming even gentler. “Since you say that I don’t have any talent for cultivating whatsoever, then let’s do a test here today.”
Chu WuQing finally turned his head, his gaze landing on the Gu family members. He scanned the area with his divine sense and realized that there was already a crowd gathered on the second floor, watching.
That’s right, though the Gu Family was nothing in his eyes, they were a powerful and influential cultivation family in the South City. That was why those cultivators who were friends with the previous family head didn’t dare intervene for Gu Yu.
It was human nature to avoid things that weren’t advantageous.
And watching the drama about a family like this was also in their nature.
“Examination artifact,” Chu WuQing intoned.
The owner of the Divine Crane Tower immediately brought Gu Yu an examination artifact.
To become a cultivator, one must possess a cultivatable spiritual root. Spiritual roots were extremely rare amongst mortals and the children of cultivators had much better chances. In addition, the more talented the parents, the more likely their children were also talented.
The reason why the Gu Family would let the current family head prevent Gu Yu from being tested and miss a cultivation talent was because Gu Yu’s parents had five and four spiritual roots respectively.
Meanwhile, the current family head was one of the only two people in the Gu Family with a triple spiritual root!
Gu Yu placed his hand on the crystal ball used for testing potential. Everyone’s attention was on him, but they were all waiting to delight in his misfortune. They could already envision how disappointed Chu WuQing would be at the result.
As for the other triple spiritual root person, the young man called Gu Xiang who had already obtained his Level One Runesmaster certification, looked on in clear ridicule.
On the artefact, runes swam and glowed. After three breaths, blue and green light appeared.
“Water and Wood Earth spiritual root!” Someone yelled practically at the moment the colors appeared.
Single spiritual roots were far too rare. They wouldn’t have any trouble below Golden Core Stage, and Foundation Establishment was a piece of cake for them. Thus, it was termed Heaven Spiritual Root, for they were loved by the heavens.
Compared to Heaven Spiritual Roots, double spiritual roots were slightly more common, but still highly unusual, so people gave it a name to compliment the Heaven Spiritual Root, calling it Earth Spiritual Root.
In this little South City, the appearance of an Earth Spiritual Root was akin to the appearance of a Heaven Spiritual Root in ChuTian City.
Chu WuQing took a sip of tea. This drama was so amusing. Gu Yu was truly a smart kid. He couldn’t take revenge on the Gu Family right now, so he decided to become the Gu Family’s biggest regret.
Gu Yu was destined to reach high, surpassing all the other members of the Gu family, and this would be traumatizing for the rest of the Gu Family as they lived in the shadow of fear that he would come back to take revenge.
As for the elders of the Gu Family, they had sacrificed a peerless prodigy for a mere triple spiritual root cultivator and were overcome by anxiety and regret. This would haunt them, mind and soul, for the rest of their lives, enough to make their Spiritual Resolve break.
This Gu Yu!
That was when Gu Yu retracted his hand, his unchanging expression giving away for a hint of confusion. He walked up to the Grand Elder step by step and raised his head to ask, “Grand Elder, what’s an Earth Spiritual Root? No one’s taught me, so I don’t understand.”