Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
“I overstepped the boundaries earlier. Senior Brother, please be magnanimous.”
Li Changshou’s expression remained somber as he was seated at the front of the wine gourd. He watched Youqin Xuanya as she cupped her hands and bowed her head. In his heart, he wanted very badly to curse her. Yet, he had no choice but to simply say that it did not matter.
Li Changshou felt that the gazes of the others were no longer filled with content and dissatisfaction. Instead, they were filled with pity and sympathy.
“Changshou,” Jiu Jiu coughed. She said in a sincere tone, “This must be a mental demon. Perhaps it’s a result of being cooped up on that mountain, cultivating with your Master.”
“Senior Brother Changshou.” Yuan Qing floated to Li Changshou’s side, holding a bottle of pills. He said in a low voice, “These are pills to clear your heart and focus your mind. Perhaps they will help Senior Brother’s condition.”
“Thank you, I appreciate it.”
Li Changshou smiled awkwardly. Yuan Qing seemed to understand something at once. Adeptly, he changed the topic.
Li Changshou took this chance to observe everyone else’s reaction.
Yuwen Ling remained unfazed by the entire fiasco. He sat quietly in the corner with his eyes closed, fully focused on his own meditation.
Liu Yan’er was looking at Li Changshou with pity in her eyes, while Wang Qi was looking at him with sorrow.
He was probably thinking, ‘This Senior Brother (or Junior Brother) has average cultivation potential, and even has to deal with a mental demon like that. Finding a Dao companion in the future will probably be considered a luxury for him. His cultivation journey will be difficult.’
Finding a Dao companion to cultivate together with was an oft-sighted thing within the Immortal Du Sect.
After Yuan Qing finished talking about random things, he walked to the back of the wine gourd. Wang Qi then stepped up to chat with Li Changshou.
Li Changshou maintained a subtle smile the entire time, without saying much in reply.
Apart from Yuan Qing, the other disciples of his generation, who had their minds fully set on cultivating, were considered old in age, but their thinking was exceptionally naive.
That was right. These few disciples of his generation were the cream of the crop. Most of their time was spent on cultivating and training. They had few opportunities to socialize.
This little fiasco quickly came to an end.
A while later, peace was restored in the wine gourd. Everyone went back to cultivating and meditating, while Li Changshou picked up his bamboo slip and began reading it again. His mood was not affected in the least bit.
Immortal Jiu Jiu hugged her arms and sat cross-legged, right in front of the wine gourd. At that moment, she was deep in thought. She was thinking about how to help Li Changshou deal with his mental demons and resume cultivating happily.
‘Do I have to use the beauty of women? I have to cure the ill with poison?’
Immortal Jiu looked down at herself, as a sly grin spread across her face.
Li Changshou did not mind the new addition to his ‘character settings’.
Although he had only done this to avoid Aunt-Master Jiu from discovering his true cultivation level and potential, he would have to remember this little detail for the rest of the journey.
In any case, remaining cautious was not going to be difficult for Li Changshou.
“Senior Brother Changshou,” a voice called out from behind him. Li Changshou turned around to see Youqin Xuanya looking at him apologetically.
Li Changshou really wanted to say, “Please be as aloof and proud as an Ice Mountain Beauty should be.” However, he had no choice but to smile slightly and wave his hand, gesturing for her not to say anything more. Then, he turned back around and continued reading.
Youqin Xuanya pursed her lips, the apologetic look not leaving her face.
With his spiritual awareness, Li Changshou caught the slight frown on Yuan Qing’s face, even as he had his eyes closed.
After two days, they slowly passed by the East Continent, which had a huge land area, few people, and many immortal sects.
For the entire journey, the huge wine gourd had been flying among the clouds. Day and night, it did not rest. Finally, they made it to the north-west region of the East Continent.
Li Changshou did not cultivate the entire journey. Instead, he focused all of his attention on the small area around him. He could even see the figures flying through the sky from time to time.
It was a good thing that they did not meet with any obstacles along the way.
Jiu Jiu stretched her body as the huge wine gourd slowed down and flew downwards, towards the towering mountains and precipitous ridges below.
Immortal Jiu yawned, and then shouted at the people behind her, “Be alert! We’re going to enter the boundaries of the continent.
“All of you, listen up!
“The North Continent is not a kind place. You are coming here to train! Do not risk your lives to obtain any treasures or herbs.
“I will bring you to an entry point to the North Continent after this. Remember this place. If you want to come to the North Continent on your own in the future, do not try to barge in blindly.”
The five disciples stood up at once, cupping their hands and bowing to Immortal Jiu. Together, they said, “Yes, Aunt-Master, we understand.”
Jiu Jiu nodded, satisfied.
Liu Yan’er asked softly, “Aunt-Master, isn’t the North Continent one of the four continents? Why are there entry points? Could the Miasma Qi here have formed a natural array?”
Jiu Jiu pursed her lips and said nonchalantly, “Who among you knows? Explain it to her.”
Yuan Qing, who was standing behind, smiled and said, “To cultivators in the Void Return realm, who already have knowledge of the Heavenly Cycle, Miasma Qi in the North Continent is not hard to fend against.
“The most troublesome things here are the poisonous insects and herbs born out of the Miasma Qi, as well as the ferocious and poisonous beasts all around. They are extremely hard to deal with.”
Jiu Jiu rolled her eyes and chided Yuan Qing. “She’s asking why there are entry points. What are you talking about?”
Yuan Qing smiled awkwardly, and could only cup his hands.
Yuwen Ling said in a low voice, “Because of the demons.”
“That’s right, it’s because of the demons. The hunky general knows his stuff.”
Jiu Jiu looked down and steered the huge wine gourd towards a valley in the mountainous region. With a serious expression, she said, “Humans have gathered in the South Continent, leaving the North Continent to the mage race.
“In ancient times, a few Saints chopped off the four legs of a Connate Black Turtle in order to hold the crumbling sky up. These formed the heavenly pillars.
“The Black Turtle felt deeply resentful and frustrated. Hence, it used its huge body and boundless skills to turn into the Miasma Qi in the North Continent, which cannot be dissipated until this day. Look towards the north-west region. That’s not a rain cloud.”
The few disciples turned to the north-west region at the same time. At that moment, they were already very close to the mountain peaks. It was the perfect spot from which they could see the gray, billowing clouds covering the sky.
The clouds looked formless and vast.
Jiu Jiu spoke again. “The Miasma Qi has given birth to many poisonous insects and herbs so that ordinary living beings cannot go near them. In recent times, this place has also become the breeding ground of many strange flowers and fruits. There are many different types of ferocious and poisonous beasts in there. Even Heaven Immortals who come here don’t dare to go too deep into the continent.
“After the Great Mage-Demon War, the remnants of the mage race were let loose here. They went to the extreme north of the North Continent. There, it was icy and snowy, and there were fewer insects and demons as a result. They tried hard to survive, but it is said that they are on the verge of extinction. It is quite a pity.
“The demons, who harbored deep-seated hatred towards the mage race, as well as the demons that had been chased away by human cultivators, have all gathered at the North Continent too.
“As time went by, this narrow region, which expanded by about tens of thousands of kilometers from east to west, became the most important living space for demons.”
At that point, Jiu Jiu surveyed the expressions on the disciples’ faces and found that apart from Li Changshou, everyone else looked quite nervous.
The effect was not bad. She could try harder.
Jiu Jiu clicked her tongue, smiled, and continued in a low voice, “Look at the mountains around you. There are many great and old demons hidden there. Some of them have terrifying skills, and they love to eat human cultivators for dessert.”
The disciples looked even more shocked, but Li Changshou nodded calmly, looking down.
Jiu Jiu finally lost interest. She pointed below the wine gourd and said expressionlessly, “The town underneath us is the entry point to the North Continent that the experts of our human race have worked hard to establish. It is said that the demons have stopped fighting in these thousands of years as well. I don’t know when they will start all over again.
“When we enter the town, I will bring you to buy Miasma-Repelling Talismans and Detoxifying Pills.
“We have these in our sect as well, but due to some rotten rule set by somebody I don’t know, I have to allow you to experience the life of independent cultivators. I have to teach you how to trade.
“Remember, you cannot randomly fly into the sky of this town. There are various high-level cultivators keeping watch here. They have to exercise a certain amount of caution towards other cultivators. We will land at the hillside in the south-east region, and walk a short distance there.”
The five disciples cupped their hands and received the orders, bearing Immortal Jiu Jiu’s words in their mind.
This town was located in a valley. On either side of the valley were sheer cliffs and precipitous rock faces. Grottos had been carved into these cliffs and rock faces. There were also walkways and stairs.
Different types of structures filled the valley. From afar, it looked quite messy.
There were imposing and well-lit palaces and lofty and majestic pagodas. However, there were more structures made out of wood and soil. There was no order to the entire town. One could only see narrow pathways that they could barely pass through.
Of course, most cultivators could fly in the sky. There was no need for them to walk.
One could tell that many cultivators came to the North Continent. Many people passed through this place. Thus, many cultivators would set up stalls at the top of their wooden or soil buildings. One could find various herbs and treasures produced in the North Continent at these stalls.
These herbs and treasures were mostly marked ‘poisonous’.
Jiu Jiu was familiar with the area. She summoned a white cloud and led the five disciples and Yuwen Ling halfway across the town. She compared various stalls, left and right, before finally asking them to take their spirit stones out to buy pills and talismans at a good bargain.
‘Eh? Why is this brat not moving?’
Jiu Jiu looked at Li Changshou, who remained behind her with his hands clasped behind his back. Her heart dropped slightly. At once, she retrieved a purse and tossed it over her shoulder, right into Li Changshou’s hands.
Purses like these were considered simple storage Dharma treasures. Normally, they were used to store a set amount of spirit stones.
Jiu Jiu spat, “I knew that your Master wouldn’t have much to give you. I just don’t understand why he wants to guard that little mountain.
“Detoxifying Pills and Miasma-Repelling Talismans are necessary. Go and buy some. A man should not be dawdling!”
Li Changshou was stunned. He looked up at the Aunt-Master in front of him, who did not like dressing up, and could not help but smile warmly.
Only his Master and Junior Sister had ever seen a smile like that on his face.
He was just about to explain that he had already prepared everything he needed. However, before he could speak, a slender hand stretched out beside him. That hand held a stack of yellow paper talismans, and two, fat, ceramic bottles.
It was the young girl dressed in the fiery-red skirt, with a huge sword hanging on her back.
Youqin Xuanya turned to look elsewhere, trying her hardest to stay calm as she said, “Take it as an apology to Senior Brother. Before this…”
As she spoke, her fingers twitched. Skilfully, she transported the pills and talismans straight into Li Changshou’s hands. Then, she turned around and acted like nothing had happened, as she surveyed the stall next door.
Li Changshou’s interest was piqued. He cupped his hands towards her back but said nothing else.
‘This Ice Mountain really does not live up to her name.’