Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
The short Daoist priest cupped his swollen cheek and complained, “I was just making a joke to ease the tension in the air. Why are you so aggressive, Little Jiu? I have overcome many hardships to raise you up. Anyway, back to business.”
The Dao name of the short Daoist priest was Jiu Wu. When Jiu Jiu had been accepted as a disciple, the Exalted Wang Qing had started undergoing secluded cultivation regularly. Jiu Wu was indeed the person who had raised her up.
Although they were martial siblings, their relationship was similar to that of a dad and his daughter. They were used to fooling around together.
Jiu Jiu looked as though she was about to have an outburst. Jiu Wu’s eyes circled, and he changed the topic of the conversation immediately. He pointed at the people behind him and threw a series of questions at her.
“Their masters are all here. Who are the missing ones? Where did they go missing? How long have you been trapped here?”
Jiu Jiu’s face turned gloomy. She cupped her hands and bowed to those people standing behind. Jiu Jiu was at a loss for words momentarily, so she lowered her head and bit her lips.
Liu Yan’er and Wang Ji looked elated. They flew there from the corner and paid their respects hurriedly to their master, uncle-masters, and aunt-masters.
Many powerful immortals were standing behind Daoist priest Jiu Wu. There was Jiang Jingshan from the Heaven-Breaking Peak. She was a Perfected Immortal, the master of Youqin Xuanya, and was the disciple of the current sect leader of the Immortal Du Sect.
There was also Lin Qi from the Heaven-Breaking Peak. He was a Perfected Immortal and the master of Yuan Qing.
The immortals from the Du Lin Peak and Little Ling Peak were from the same generation as Jiu Jiu. They had found their respective beloved disciples, so there was no need for further explanation about their identities.
Jiu Jiu’s gaze fell on the white-headed old Daoist priest that was standing at the end of the cluster.
He was Qi Yuan from the Little Qiong Peak. He was also Li Changshou’s master.
This old Daoist priest looked haggard. Jiu Jiu could not look at him in the eye. She lowered her head and sighed. She knew internally that Li Changshou was a very important disciple to this old Daoist priest. He was hopeful and hesitant about Li Changshou.
Jiu Jiu said in a low voice, “Senior Brother Qi Yuan, the last time I saw Changshou, he was heading towards the north. Yuan Qing and Xuanya headed north-west. They were accompanied by a general from the Xuanya clan. His name is Yuwen Ling. If I am not wrong, this is a plan against Xuanya.”
“Haiz.” The old Daoist priest Qi Yuan laughed bitterly. He cupped his hands at Jiu Jiu, bowed deeply, and said, “Life and death are all destined. It’s all part of the priming process outside the sect. I have yet to ascend to become an immortal. It is hard for me to do anything in the North Continent. Please… please help me search for the whereabouts of my disciple. The Little Qiong Peak will be incredibly grateful for that!”
Jiu Wu replied anxiously, “People who are from the same family need not be very polite to each other. Rest assured, Junior Brother Qi Yuan. We will split up to search for the missing disciples. Jiu Jiu and I will head north with you.
“Ninth Junior Sister, snap out of your daze! Pull yourself together! We’ll talk about the punishment only after we find them!
“These two Essence Immortals were guarding the array formation. When I found them, they were busy mending the array formation. It is apparent that they are two of the culprits that plotted against you lot. Both search parties will grill one of them. Let’s see if we can get anything from them!
“Come on. Let’s go!”
Jiang Jingshan and Lin Qi completely agreed to the idea without raising any doubts. It was apparent that they were all extremely anxious.
As the short priest Jiu Wu waved his sleeve, the two unconscious Essence Immortals appeared beside him by telekinesis. He threw one of them to Lin Qi.
They did not say anything else. At that moment, the most important task at hand was to search and rescue the missing disciples.
They agreed to a frequency to transmit letters to one another and designated an area for each group to search. Finally, they decided to split into three groups.
Wang Ji’s master would bring Wang Ji and Liu Yan’er to the nearby town to ask around.
Liu Yan’er’s master would head north-west to search with Jiang Jingshan and Lin Qi.
Jiu Wu would head north to search with Qi Yuan and Jiu Jiu.
These immortals from the Immortal Du Sect stepped on the journey in search of their disciples hurriedly.
At the same time, a pretty girl who did not wish to be named was hiding in a newly formed cave far north. She started a bonfire and held a bamboo book roll in her hand as she waited for the arrival of her powerful aids. She was not at all flustered but was instead a little too comfortable.
Youqin Xuanya sat cross-legged inside the cave. She closed her eyes and meditated. Every once in a while, she would open her eyes to look at the silhouette that was at the entrance of the cave.
She wanted to start a conversation with him, but she could sense that Li Changshou did not want to talk every single time.
After killing Yuan Qing, Youqin Xuanya had lost her consciousness for three days. When she woke up about twelve hours ago, she had found that her wounds were almost healed. The only thing that was hurting was her scalp.
“Senior Brother Changshou, are we going to wait here?”
“Yes,” Li Changshou replied casually. “I have left Immortal Du Sect’s secret markings in many places within a 150-kilometer radius from here. I have also set up an array formation that conceals our tracks outside the cave. This place should be safe for now. According to what you have described, Yuan Qing has other accomplices. We could land in their hands if we head further south. Counting the number of days that have passed, no matter if Aunt-Master Jiu Jiu managed to escape or not, the immortals that were sent from the sect to help us would have reached the North Continent already.”
Li Changshou paused, lifted his head, and looked at Youqin Xuanya. “If you are still worried, we can also make a detour and walk for around 1,500 kilometers. However, there is still a chance for us to be caught by them.”
“I… am not worried…” Youqin Xuanya replied softly. She lifted her head and looked at Li Changshou. Their lines of sight crossed.
Youqin Xuanya used to think that she was an upright person who would not do anything that hurt her conscience. However, for an unknown reason, she could not look at Li Changshou in the eye. She lowered her head and looked away.
She felt that her heart was a little empty. It felt as though there was a cat’s paw scratching the walls of her heart.
She was a little uneasy and unsure.
‘The reason should be because Senior Brother has saved me twice,’ she thought.
Youqin Xuanya thought that she should find a way to return the favor, even if she was still currently enjoying the protection by Senior Brother Li Changshou.
“Senior Brother, is there anything I can do for you?” she asked meekly.
Li Changshou answered casually, “Yes. Do not release your spiritual senses for no reason.”
“Okay,” Youqin Xuanya replied solemnly. She felt a little dejected internally.
She seemed to have become a burden to him.
A crackling sound was heard from the bonfire, and the flames became smaller.
Li Changshou took out a grey and dry piece of wood from his sleeve and placed it in the bonfire to make the flames bigger.
It was only then that Youqin Xuanya noticed there was something peculiar with the flames. Not only was there not a hint of smoke, but the flames also emitted a light fragrance.
“Senior Brother, is there anything special about this fire?”
Li Changshou looked at the bonfire and replied calmly, “This is not an expensive piece of wood. It was obtained from the Northern Vitality Winter Pine Trees that were grown in the south of the North Sea. This pinewood is not a spiritual root. It was only a normal tree in ancient times. Its characteristic is its ability to grow in the winter. This kind of pinewood had almost become extinct after Miasma Qi engulfed the North Continent. However, its quantity managed to multiply eventually. From then on, the Northern Vitality Winter Pine Trees had a special characteristic. The trees are not afraid of Miasma Qi, and the aura that they emit would chase away venomous insects and beasts. This small bonfire ensures that there are no poisonous creatures within 3,000 feet from us. From what I’ve heard, there are currently huge forests of Northern Vitality Winter Pine Trees in the Mages’ colonies. This pinewood is not worth many spirit stones, and not many people use it either.”
Youqin Xuanya was engrossed in his descriptions. Her eyes reflected Li Changshou’s side profile. She said softly, “Senior Brother, you are really knowledgeable…”
“The books in the sect have records about this,” Li Changshou replied calmly. He lifted the bamboo book in his hand and continued reading it. It appeared that he did not want to continue the conversation.
Youqin Xuanya pursed her lips as she was in deep thoughts.
After a while…
“Senior Brother, have you found the medicinal herb that you were looking for?”
“I am pretty lucky to have found it.” Li Changshou smiled. He was in a good mood as he thought about that.
Youqin Xuanya did not want the conversation to end just like that. She continued asking, “Senior Brother, you seem to have prepared a lot for this trip.”
“Ah,” Li Changshou replied without even lifting his head. “I have started preparing for this trip to the North Continent from fifteen years ago. I have collated many things day in, day out that could prevent myself from being poisoned.”
Youqin Xuanya battered her eyes. “Then… What happened to Yuwen Ling and those evil robbers?”
Li Changshou replied, “They died when they were fighting the Three-Eyed Blue Wave Serpent that was about to experience Immortal Ascension. We were very lucky to have escaped. The serpent’s venom is very deadly.”
“Okay.” Youqin Xuanya sighed. “Those evil robbers would definitely pay for what they did. Yet, I did not expect that karma would strike so early.”
Li Changshou went along with the direction of the conversation. “Umm… Tox—cough—Junior Sister Youqin, I have a favor to ask from you.”
“Please go ahead, Senior Brother!”
Youqin Xuanya was immediately energized. Her eyes sparkled as she looked intensely at Li Changshou. “I would even sacrifice my life to repay your kindness when you saved me.”
“The situation’s not that complicated,” Li Changshou smiled and answered, “This trip has been very bizarre, and we have experienced so many twists and turns in the trip. Our masters and seniors will definitely ask about the details when we return to the sect. I have always been avoiding trouble, and I do not want to attract too much attention. Neither do I want to drag myself into any difficult situations. Therefore, I hope that you can avoid being too detailed about things pertaining to me when you describe the events to your master and seniors. My cultivation level is not very high. The only thing I am confident about is my Earth Escape technique. I think others might laugh at me because of this.”
“Senior Brother…” Youqin Xuanya’s expression changed. She felt that a spark of lightning raced across her heart.
Li Changshou had helped others without thinking about the rewards and avoided the chance to build a reputation for himself. He was wholeheartedly dedicated to pursuing immortality and had been a modest gentleman.
A whirlpool of emotions stirred in her heart. Youqin Xuanya’s eyes were soft as water, but her heart was very sentimental.
‘Senior Brother Changshou is really a gentleman. I can never achieve the level of magnanimity that he possesses. Yuan Qing was also a far cry away from him,’ she thought,
‘Youqin Xuanya, most of the people you surround yourself with are superficial and arrogant. Therefore, you thought that everyone in the same generation is similar. However, you did not know that there is such a person amongst sect disciples of the same generation. If I can become close friends with Senior Brother Changshou, this trip will not be wasted…’
“Rest assured, Senior Brother.” Youqin Xuanya assured him. “Xuanya understands what you mean. I will follow as you say.”
Li Changshou blinked his eyes. Did that fellow really understand him?
He had a strange feeling that her poison was not thoroughly cured.
‘Forget about it.’ Li Changshou was not going to leave the Little Qiong Peak when he returned. Even if there were troubles caused by this incident, they should subside within months.
He could only avoid karma by keeping a low profile.
As long as there was nothing abnormal after this trip, his trip to the North Continent could end on a happy note.
All of a sudden, Li Changshou’s expression changed. The webs of the Strong-Pupil Three-Headed Spiders that he had placed outside the cave had suddenly captured an image.
A few silhouettes were speeding in the air from hundreds of kilometers away. The person situated at the outermost of the group was clad in linen robe and had a lean figure.
They were flying too fast, such that he could not make out her features. However, from the tightness of the short linen robe and the astonishing curves that could be seen when the wind pressed the robe against her figure—Jiu Jiu!
“Get ready. They are here.”
Li Changshou laughed. The weights on his chest could finally be lifted.