returnCH 148.1(1 / 1)  Estrangedhome

typeface:big middle small


As one of the disciples of the Celestial Abode Shenxiao, Fu Dongyuan used the weapon common among the disciples there—a sword.

But he was confident in his skills, since there were few people in this world who were more proficient with the sword than he was.

Right before the Qianlin Assembly began, he had finally comprehended the heart of his sword, Chunrui, which allowed him to control it with his thoughts. This level of comprehension was the highest a human could attain. For most cultivators, a sword was just an exceptionally useful tool. However, if they wanted the weapon to possess a soul, they would need to be of one mind with the sword, which was obviously not easy.

It was unusual for a cultivator as young as Fu Dongyuan to reach this level of skill. It could only mean that he was talented and excelled in grasping the essence of the teachings of his sect. Had he belonged to a different sect, had no famous teacher to instruct him and had no resources been provided by his clan, he would not have developed so fast.

Fu Dongyuan did not look down on Jiufang Changming, despite receiving his training from a famous family. After all, after Jiufang Changming had suppressed his real cultivation level, he looked just like a high-rank cultivator, which was not a bad achievement in itself. However, this did not attract much attention at a place of young talents like the Qianlin Assembly.

Once the competition had started, the other three pairs began exchanging blows, but Jiufang Changming and his opponent did not move.

Fu Dongyuan was in no hurry at all. He seemed almost indifferent as he was waiting for his opponent to start.

But Jiufang Changming did not move an inch.

“Is daoyou Sun too nervous?” Li Muxing, who was looking at his posture from far away, could not help asking.

She had performed excellently. She fought back at a crucial moment near the end of the fight and turned the tide, which gave her a good head-start at the assembly. Now, she had gotten rid of her stiffness, which had been caused by worry, and was completely relaxed.

Xia Zheng’s situation was the opposite. He had lost his first round to Fu Yunqi, and was now afraid that every other opponent would be just as strong, so he was absent-minded and missed her words.

But Lin Wenyu answered her. After all, he had come here to keep his shixiong company and knew what level he was at, so a defeat did not put that much weight on his mind.

“I believe so. After all, not everyone is unlucky enough to get Fu Dongyuan for their first match. Even his younger sister is so strong, which speaks volumes about his abilities,” Lin Wenyu was certainly not disappointed at daoyou Sun’s misfortune. “Why don’t we place our bets as to how many blows daoyou Sun will be able to take from Fu Dongyuan?”

Xia Zheng furrowed his brows: “How can you bet on daoyou Sun’s victory or defeat?”

Lin Wenyu did not take his words seriously: “Why not? Fu Dongyuan is so strong that even if daoyou Sun doesn’t win, he won’t lose his face. However, if he can hold on for a while, he might become famous right away!”

Xia Zheng thought of his match with Fu Dongyuan and felt that these words were slighting him. He did not like it in the slightest, but said nothing.

Li Muxing pondered for a moment and said: “Daoyou Sun always does something unexpected. I’m sure that he’ll give us a pleasant surprise this time as well.”

A pleasant surprise? I’ll be surprised if he can withstand even a few attacks, Lin Wenyu wanted to say, but in the final moment, realized that this might sound unpleasant, so he forced himself to remain silent.

Many people noticed the indecisiveness on Jiufang Changming’s face.

It was not surprising. Any unknown cultivator who came at the Qianlin Assembly for the first time only to face a disciple of the Celestial Abode Shenxiao in the first round would be anxious and indecisive.

“Daoyou Sun, please,” Fu Dongyuan was also losing his patience.

As soon as he uttered the last word, his opponent moved.

Too fast!

Fu Dongyuan’s face dropped. It was not that he had never fought a person who could move so fast, but he did not expect to see this skill demonstrated by an unknown cultivator.

Which sect is he from? The Daoist Temple of the Imperial Palace, right??Fu Dongyuan had heard of the sect, but never thought much of them.?When did this third rate sect acquire such a talented individual?

The thought flashed through his mind, and two rays of light flew out of his sleeves as he leapt back.

If at this moment, his opponent thought that Fu Dongyuan was overwhelmed and continued onwards, they would have made a mistake. The two wisps of spiritual power were actually a distraction meant to test him, and had Jiufang Changming met it head on, he would have faced an illusion of Fu Dongyuan instead of his real enemy.

Despite that, Jiufang Changming charged forward regardless. His bright sword, as powerful as crashing waves, crushed the wisps of spiritual power with sheer force, and he rushed at Fu Dongyuan immediately.

That was precisely what Fu Dongyuan had expected him to do. He clasped his hands to form the?Green Cloud?Seal and silently recited a mantra. A bright cloud that was glowing red appeared in front of him, engulfing the sword qi. He jumped and flew high up, using the cloud, before diving down abruptly. Then, he pulled his long sword out of his sleeve and aimed it right at his opponent!

Green Cloud: 1) heaven 2) noble 3) lofty 4) hermit

With the force of a thunderbolt, merge all of existence!

The sword’s glow split into a thousand blades that fell down like rain, shining in different layers. Then, the light gathered suddenly into a point before rushing down again.

A bystander would have thought that this skill of Fu Dongyuan had no weak points and that there was no way to stop or dodge it.

Yet Fu Dongyuan stabbed only thin air!

Or, it would be better to say that he had stabbed a puppet.

Fu Dongyuan revealed a surprised expression. He thought that this technique would perplex and conceal its true nature well, and as a result, his opponent would be unable to see through it. So, when did Sun Wuxia manage to create this puppet and escape from right under his nose?

Sun Wuxia’s real body must be—

Behind my back!

Without even looking, Fu Dongyuan slashed backwards, moving firmly and without any hesitation. And indeed, his opponent was just ordering his sword to attack Fu Dongyuan from behind his back. The blindingly bright swords clashed together, while their spiritual powers met directly, which then burst out in an earth-shattering explosion.

The earth shook, and dark clouds gathered, changing the color of the sky. A red glow flashed.

Instead of two exalted masters of cultivation, it was two young men—one of whom was a nobody—who had caused the sky to change through their battle. This surprised everyone, and they turned from the other three matches to watch them.

Before everybody’s eyes, the white and red lights created a vortex that moved outwards from the two of them. If it was not for the formation around the battle area, innocent bystanders could have been injured.

It was not that such spectacular grand battles had never happened during Qianlin Assemblies, but they normally did not occur during the first round since most of the participants tried to save some strength for later. After all, many people thought that it was better to perform moderately in all ten rounds than to lose one of them in an especially painful way.

“Who’s that against dashixiong?”

“So there is someone to rival Fu Dongyuan this time.”

“I doubt that. This man tries to look impressive, but he probably only appears strong. After all, these small sects come here to show off, but as soon as they use up all they have, they are forgotten by the next Assembly. One of these cultivators had even eaten a pill to progress faster and wanted to become famous overnight, but he didn’t realize that there is always someone better, and in the end, he died of exhaustion. You could call this retribution.”

“I’ve heard that story—it was a huge commotion. It happened at the last Qianlin Assembly that was held at the Holding Jade Mountain, right? That person’s sect claimed that the Holding Jade Mountain held a personal grudge against that man, so they put the pill into his dish. The dispute between both parties was quite violent.”

“Who knows? Nowadays, young people are daring enough to rush straight into danger in order to become famous!”

“Hey, you’re talking as if you’re any older, stop with the pretense!”

While these young cultivators were whispering gossip into each other’s ears, their masters had long since started paying attention to the battle between Fu Dongyuan and Jiufang Changming.

“Daoyou Ouyang, my congratulations! Compared to several years ago, Dongyuan’s cultivation had progressed. Since there is someone who is able to take over the Celestial Abode Shenxiao, you must feel relieved.”

“You flatter me, daoyou Ren. Your Haishan is a very promising talent as well. I saw him exchanging blows with Dongyuan last time and know that his prospects are boundless, he is in no way inferior to Dongyuan!” The master of the Celestial Abode Shenxiao, master Ouyang, laughed while stroking his beard, but his words sounded quite polite.

Even though most of the spectators could not even tell Jiufang Changming apart from Fu Dongyuan or predict the outcome of the battle, these masters of cultivation could immediately see that Fu Dongyuan had the upper hand and would most certainly win.

However, since the victory would be hard-won, his opponent should not be looked down upon.

“I’ve heard that that young friend is from the Daoist Temple of the Imperial Palace, called Sun Wuxia?”

“That’s right. I’ve also heard that he is the most talented disciple of the Daoist Temple of the Imperial Palace of this generation. He came alone, so his sect must have high hopes for him.”

“Since he has managed to withstand so much from your first disciple, he must be outstanding! It’s a pity that he has already chosen a sect, otherwise I’d have been very tempted to invite him over, hahaha!”

“Old Ren, be careful, your nasty old habit is causing trouble again! You already have cabbage at home, yet you’re hankering for someone else’s cabbage!”

“I’m just saying!

The Celestial Abode Shenxiao had always been on good terms with the Kunlun Sword Clan, so when the masters of the sects gathered, they chatted more freely than others.

Ren Yousu suddenly nudged Ouyang with his arm and whispered: “Look at that old bastard Luomei, he can’t take his eyes off the battle! You think he’s also interested in Sun Wuxia?”

Without waiting for the master of the Celestial Abode to say something, Ren Yousu answered his own question: “He’s really bad at raising disciples. First, it was that Yao Wangnian, now, we have Jiang Li—is it that all his disciples were in the wrong, or is he to blame?”

No matter how quietly he was speaking, how could these words not reach the ears of a cultivator? Ren Yousu seemed to be whispering, but in fact, he deliberately allowed those who wanted to hear his words. Master Ouyang could not stop him and only forced a smile. Immortal Luomei had indeed heard Ren Yousu, and a disciple of the Wanjian Immortal Clan who had been standing behind his back glared at Ren Yousu.

Ren Yousu casually looked at them.

“What? It’s not as if I’m lying. Even though outsiders shouldn’t meddle in your clan’s affairs, Yao Wangnian’s mother is a relative of my Ren family, albeit a distant one. It is only right if I, the oldest member of the family, sympathize with him a bit!”

Immortal Luomei’s expression did not waver and he nodded: “Master Ren is absolutely right. Because I wasn’t strict enough, my Wanjian Immortal Clan had to suffer this humiliation and caused you, daoyous, to laugh. Today, in order to clear the reputation of my sect, I intend to discuss the matter right here at the Qianlin Assembly.”

Ren Yousu was surprised and said: “Discuss?”

But Immortal Luomei did not answer. His eyes were on the battle between Fu Dongyuan and Jiufang Changming as he suddenly smiled.

“Sun Wuxia of the Daoist Temple of the Imperial Palace, right? So young yet so talented, isn’t he? My two rebellious disciples were close in age to him, but they’re neither as gifted nor as quick to adapt as Sun Wuxia.”

Ren Yousu raised his eyebrows: “Is this a jab at Fu Dongyuan?”

Immortal Luomei: “Why don’t we make a bet?”

Ren Yousu: “What kind of bet?”

Immortal Luomei: “On the winner.”

Ren Yousu: “Fine, I’m betting on Fu Dongyuan. What are the stakes?”

Immortal Luomei: “This is just a little game, there is no need to bet anything.”

It seemed that he was in a good mood, and his expression was tranquil and relaxed. When master Ouyang of the Celestial Abode Shenxiao looked at him, he could only see the half of his face that was not illuminated by sun and was submerged in shadows, so he could not quite pinpoint his mood.

In his head, Ouyang frowned. He was no longer concerned about the battle between the disciples, and, after thinking for a while, he got up and headed outside.

“Ouyang, where are you going?” Ren Yousu asked.

“I’ll take a walk so that Fu Dongyuan doesn’t feel pressured by my constant supervision and make a mistake because of it.” He came up with a lazy excuse, and even though he sounded cheerful, he did not stop for a second.

Ren Yousu muttered that he had always felt that Ouyang was spoiling his disciples too much and never refused them anything. On top of that, he was now even concerned about Fu Dongyuan not performing well because of the pressure, which was in extreme contrast to Luomei, who had given his disciple a dressing down in front of everyone so mercilessly.

When Ouyang left the pavilion for spectators, he called over his confidant, elder Chang.

“Has anything strange happened in the Wanjian Immortal Clan in the past couple of days?”

“No,” elder Chang thought for a bit. “However, last night, I saw the head of the Zhengrong Mountain Villa, master Liu, leave his room late at night. I saw him from far away and only for a moment, and I couldn’t tell where he was going.”

Ouyang said nothing.

Elder Chang asked him probingly: “Do you think they are hiding something?”

Ouyang asked him instead of answering: “What kind of person is Immortal Luomei in your eyes?”

Elder Chang: “Scheming, prescient, shrewd and secretive.”

Ouyang: “So how could such a scheming and perceptive person let Jiang Li off the hook after he ruined the reputation of the Wanjian Immortal Clan?”

Elder Chang: “He’ll place righteousness before his personal feelings and do what he did to Yao Wangnian back then.”

Ouyang asked him again: “Then why didn’t he kill Jiang Li when he started attacking everyone and only ordered people to take Jiang Li away, saying that he’ll provide an explanation later?”

Elder Chang: “Maybe he wants to interrogate Jiang Li to find out who has been inciting him?”

Ouyang: “Then why didn’t he agree to our request to see Jiang Li? Even if the boy has been led astray by demons, there is no need to question him secretly. Unless—”

Elder Chang was speechless.

Ouyang was not going to let him finish the sentence and continued: “Unless whatever happened cannot be shared with others, so he has to take care of everything himself and only tell us what he wants after this is over. Or, Luomei can’t kill Jiang Li in front of everyone because that will reveal something unbecoming about him or the Wanjian Immortal Clan.”

Elder Chang was terrified. He had suspected that something was wrong, but after his clan master?pierced the window paper?for him, he gained confirmation of his suspicion that there was a conspiracy behind all this.

Pierce the window paper: reveal the truth

He wanted to retort but could not find the words.

The Wanjian Immortal Clan and the Celestial Abode Shenxiao had always been at each other’s throats—this did not just start happening recently.

Yesterday, as soon as the news of Jiang Li causing havoc in the Zhengrong Mountain Villa reached him, elder Chang had rushed to the scene but was still too late. Luomei had already taken Jiang Li away, so not even a trace of him could be found. Luomei certainly reacted fast, as if he had already been notified that this might happen and was only waiting for Jiang Li to appear to handle the matter in a way that would not allow anyone to see anything wrong.

“I pity Jiang Li. I’ve met him several times myself, and he was too good in all regards. He was cordial, gentle, loyal and passionate—he didn’t seem like a member of the Wanjian Immortal Clan,” elder Chang sighed.

“The saddest part is the master he had chosen,” Ouyang said indifferently. “Returning to our main topic, a person like him should not have become a cultivator at all. The path of those who pursue immortality and study the Dao is riddled with hardships, and if he is loyal and passionate yet lacks strength, sooner or later, he’ll become someone else’s pawn.”

Elder Chang smiled bitterly: “You mean that he could have been wronged?”

Ouyang shook his head: “I don’t think it matters. He had already become a part in his shifu’s schemes so Luomei has him at his beck and call. What is important is to find out what Luomei used him for. He has just said that he is going to clear his sect’s reputation today, and I have a premonition that something might happen. Watch them carefully and order the disciples to take precautions. If anything goes wrong, report to me immediately.”

Elder Chang got nervous: “Even if something happened, it would have nothing to do with us, would it?”

Ouyang: “I don’t know, I’m just concerned about Luomei’s words. This bastard is a hypocrite and we can never agree, and I don’t want to deal with anything I haven’t foreseen today. You can leave first.”

Elder Chang nodded and left. The two of them had known each other for many years, and even though Ouyang only said a few words, elder Chang understood the gravity of the situation.

Although both the Wanjian Immortal Clan and the Celestial Abode Shenxiao were Daoist sects, there were few interactions between Ouyang and Luomei— apart from the rivalry between their disciples for the title of the first Daoist sect. Ouyang did not like him as a person, and Luomei was not interested in luring Ouyang to his side, so as the sun rose in the east and fell in the west while these two kings never saw each other.

After the incident with Yao Wangnian ten years ago, Ouyang had heard baseless rumors about the topic.

Since they were baseless and completely unfounded, no one could conclude anything, but Ouyang had always felt that Luomei was extremely harsh with his disciples.

Back then, it was Yao Wangnian, and now history was repeating itself with Jiang Li.

Other people might have assumed that his disciples had misstepped and taken the wrong path, and Luomei was decisive in his punishment, putting his feelings aside for the sake of justice, which was commendable. However, if he was so quick to forsake all good feelings he had for a disciple he had brought up himself, did he honestly care about his clan?

The Great Dao might have been heartless, but that did not mean that cultivators had no compassion.

Ouyang would admit his prejudice towards Luomei, and that perhaps, this prejudice could have influenced his judgment. However, preparation ensured security, and for the Qianlin Assembly to end with no accidents was in Ouyang’s best interest.