Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Shortly after the Heavenly Tribulation ended, Qi Yuan went through a long, complex journey in his heart.
In the beginning, he thought, ‘Heh, I was delivered by execution under the Heavenly Tribulation and became a Turbid Immortal…
‘And this happened in front of everyone. I decisively ate an immortal pill that helped me employ Deliverance by Execution and used it to avoid the tribulation…
‘Hehehe, from now on, I cannot raise my head outside the sect again.’
Soon after that, Qi Yuan recalled the scene when his own disciple knelt down in front of him and handed him this immortal pill.
‘Forget it. Changshou had good intentions.
‘As his master, I kept thinking about the ideals of dying in the Heavenly Tribulation. I neglected the efforts my own disciples went to to make sure I survived.
‘It must not have been easy for him to get this pill. Changshou had endured so much for this. He just broke through the Void Return Realm in the North Continent. How can I waste his effort?
‘So what if I’m a Turbid Immortal?
‘The road ahead is not sealed. I’ll be much stronger than if I were a Ghost Immortal, or if my soul was destroyed. I will be able to protect my two disciples, as well. That’s enough.’
That was why Qi Yuan gave Li Changshou a Dao salute.
Again, figures emerged from various places to congratulate Qi Yuan.
Qi Yuan was stunned at first. Then, he cupped his hands and greeted them one by one, catching up with old friends he had not seen in a long time.
‘Turbid Immortals are immortals too. I can live and enjoy tens of thousands of years. I can work hard to become a Perfected Immortal and take in more disciples. This will bring glory to my Little Qiong Peak!’
Qi Yuan slowly cheered himself up.
At the same time, while he was surrounded by people congratulating him, Qi Yuan heard a voice transmission from his older disciple.
“Master, if someone asks you what pill you ate to employ Deliverance by Execution, tell them it was an Immortal-Melting Pill.
“The recipe to make this pill can be found in the second last bookshelf in the north-west corner of the Dao Sutra Outer Hall. It is recorded on sheepskin.
“After that, if people ask you if you have any spare Immortal-Melting Pills, you can give out a maximum of three pills. As much as possible, make sure that those people you promise are immortals who are reliable, close to you, and have a real need for the Immortal-Melting Pills.
“It is very difficult to make these things. What’s more, it can immediately poison immortals. One could easily get in trouble with these things.”
Qi Yuan hesitated for a moment and then turned to face his two disciples. He subtly smiled and nodded, indicating that he understood Li Changshou’s directions.
Li Changshou felt the last weight on his chest lift. He was finally relieved and energized, and he was breathing smoothly once again. He turned to Ling’e and said, “Junior Sister, you wait here. If Master invites people in for tea and a chat, remember to serve them well.”
Lan Ling’e quickly asked, “Senior Brother, where are you going? Aren’t you celebrating with Master?”
Li Changshou smiled and answered, “I’m going to rest while waiting for Master to finish what he has to do. According to the traditions of the sect, Immortal Ascension is a huge matter. Many people will come forth to congratulate Master. We don’t have to be anxious.”
“Alright!” answered Lan Ling’e. “Quickly, go and rest, Senior Brother. You have been working hard during this period. I will watch Master!”
Thus, while many immortals rushed towards the Little Qiong Peak, Li Changshou snuck away and hid in his Pill Chamber.
He did not activate the huge array formation around the Pill Chamber. He only activated the array formations within 1,000 feet of it.
He moved a rocking chair and sat in front of the Pill Chamber, looking out into the forest and the water body. His eyelids fluttered shut as he gently rocked back and forth.
‘After working so hard for so long, Master has finally made it through the Heavenly Tribulation.
‘After observing Master’s Heavenly Tribulation, I feel more confident about making it through mine. I will wait for what I have accumulated to be enriched. Then, I will not need to suppress my cultivation level anymore. I can start to risk the Heavenly Tribulation.
‘However, I cannot go through the Heavenly Tribulation inside the sect. Otherwise, at least half of the trump cards that I have worked so hard to hide in these 100 years would be exposed.
‘Yet, speaking of this, Master’s skills were really bad before he went through the Heavenly Tribulation. The Immortal-Melting Pill almost immediately melted his body and soul…’
Li Changshou closed his eyes and hummed the immortal melody that he had heard when his master turned into an immortal. Soon, he entered the realm of enlightenment, halfway between consciousness and unconsciousness.
He controlled his breathing as his soul merged with Heaven and Earth.
A lotus flower with nine petals floated out of his chest. The lotus flower looked fresh, bright, and full of life as it held the Dao, which Li Changshou had comprehended. Everything looked mysterious yet natural—it was hard to describe in words.
This lotus flower slowly faded away with the wind. However, like a magnet, it pulled many more lotus flowers out of various parts of Li Changshou’s body. They revolved around him, as Li Changshou’s narrowed eyes reflected a sense of peace.
Very quickly, Li Changshou regained his composure. He batted the surrounding lotus flowers away and sealed his own aura, which he had almost revealed.
The Pill Chamber was not completely safe. If he wanted to cultivate, he had to go to the secret underground room.
For all he knew, a Heaven Immortal as powerful and skilled as Exalted Wang Qing might be sweeping his immortal senses past the Little Qiong Peak.
He lay back down on the chair and rested for a bit.
A white cloud suddenly floated over from the lake in front of the mountain.
Li Changshou immediately opened his eyes to observe it. When he saw the short Daoist on the white cloud, he quickly deactivated the array formations around the Pill Chamber and stood up to welcome him.
“Your disciple pays his greetings to Uncle-Master Jiu.”
Jiu Wu smiled and chided. “Your master is hosting a banquet and attending to guests, yet you are hiding here and slacking away. Your Junior Sister’s slender legs are going to break from all the running around!”
“Your disciple does not like crowds. I had no choice but to ask my skillful Junior Sister to work harder,” replied Li Changshou, smiling. He waited for Jiu Wu to get closer to the Pill Chamber before he reactivated the tens of array formations around them. Cupping his hands, Li Chanshou said, “Uncle-Master, please take a seat inside.”
“There’s no need. I don’t have time for that now. I must go out on a trip. I made some time before that to come here and tell you two things.” Jiu Wu waved his hand, retrieved a jade slip from inside his sleeve, then tossed it to Li Changshou.
Joyfully, Jiu Wu said, “Look. See what this is. Don’t say Uncle-Master only drank your dry wine without giving this ‘friend of wine and meat’ any benefits!”
Li Changshou was rendered speechless.
‘Friends of meat and wine? We have only drunk wine together seven or eight times in the past two years. What’s more, each time this Uncle-Master appeared, I used Aunt-Master Jiu Jiu’s Ganges River’s Dry Wine to entertain him.’
Using his left hand, Li Changshou reached out and grabbed the jade slip. He allowed it to float beside him as he used a wisp of spiritual awareness to analyze it.
‘Oh? Volume One of the Inaction Sutra?’
Li Changshou felt slightly shocked. He raised his chin to look up at Jiu Wu, who remained on the cloud. “Uncle-Master, is this… appropriate?”
“Why are you asking if it is appropriate?” Jiu Wu grinned. “The unspoken rule in the sect is that the top 20 disciples of each generation will be allowed to try comprehending Volume One of the Inaction Sutra in advance. Ordinary disciples can only get a hold of this book after they ascend to immortality. You’re probably in the Sixth Stage of Void Return now, aren’t you? You’re most definitely one of the top ten disciples in the sect. I remember you seemed to have broken through another stage when we last drank together.”
‘The last time…’
Li Changshou was helpless as well. In order to avoid going through the Heavenly Tribulation unprepared, he had to suppress his cultivation level and stop himself from reaching the Ninth Stage of Dao Requital.
However, a few months ago, while he had been drinking with Jiu Wu, they had discussed poems. A strange feeling had suddenly washed over him, and he accidentally had an epiphany.
It was a good thing that he still had three more minor realms as a buffer. What’s more, at the time, Jiu Wu had been dazed from drinking.
He heard Jiu Wu add, “Don’t worry, I did not reveal the fact that you are at the Sixth Stage of Void Return. Volume One of the Inaction Sutra is the reward for this trip. I spent a lot of effort talking to the elder of the Reward Hall in order to get this in advance for you. That’s why I brought it over here early.
“What do you say? Do you want to learn it? This is the Immortal Du Sect’s main Dao heritage!”
“I do,” replied Li Changshou, smiling as he nodded. Yet, he handed the jade slip back to Jiu Wu. “However, I have never liked going out of the mountain. I’m afraid I will have to turn down Uncle-Master’s good intentions.”
Jiu Wu frowned and narrowed his eyes. “I didn’t say anything. How did you know you would have to go out?”
“The East Ocean’s Dragon Palace invited us to the Demon-Sweeping Meet,” answered Li Changshou, his expression serious. “News has been spreading within the sect. It would be difficult for me to remain in the dark. Many fellow, outstanding disciples are fighting for opportunities to go to the Demon-Sweeping Meet and make a name for themselves. Uncle-Master, why do you want a lazy person like me to add to the numbers?”
Confused, Jiu Wu asked, “Since you know that people are fighting for this opportunity, why are you unwilling to go?”
Li Changshou mumbled under his breath for a couple of seconds and replied, “When we went to the East Ocean to get rid of demons during the last Priming Meet, we killed several Prawn Soldiers and Crab Generals who were out of line. If the Immortal Du Sect sends disciples to the East Ocean again this time, the East Ocean’s Dragon Palace will surely make life difficult for us. Uncle-Master, you know this. Your disciple really does not want to get involved in something as troublesome as this.”
“You are very observant!” Jiu Wu laughed softly as he mumbled to himself on the cloud.
Suddenly, he lowered the white cloud and said in a deeply worried tone, “Actually, I did not want to trouble you. However, Changshou, there are not many intelligent disciples in your generation. Even the most experienced disciple, Yuan Qing, got into trouble and executed.
“Apart from the East Ocean’s Dragon Palace, there are other immortal sects whom our disciples do not get along well with. Their disciples might make life difficult for ours there as well…
“A few other elders are worried that our young disciples would not be able to take it. They might easily get agitated by their provocative words, and cause trouble that would make a joke out of us.
“Other people in the sect also have no idea that you, Li Changshou, are full of schemes—cough—they don’t know that you, Martial Nephew Changshou, are hiding so much. However, I know that you are stable and reliable. You are also resourceful and decisive. That is why I thought of asking you to come along. When the need arises, you can guide your fellow disciples.
“What’s more, I will be leading the team personally this time. A few elders in the sect will go along together as well. You will be absolutely safe. What do you say? Would you think about it? This is the Inaction Sutra we are talking about. It’s the real secret to a long life.”
Indeed, the Inaction Sutra was tempting to Li Changshou, however…
“Uncle-Master, your disciple still wants to remain on the mountain and cultivate in peace.”
The corners of Jiu Wu’s lips twitched downwards. He sighed and looked up at the sky. “Forget it. Your Uncle-Master is not an evil man. I would not force you to do something you don’t want to. Ai, I guess we have to rearrange the ranks of the disciples to fill up the gaps…”
Li Changshou pondered slightly harder, obviously weighing the pros and cons carefully once again. Then, he nodded slowly and said in a low voice, “Your disciple can show his face as a cultivator in the Second Stage of Void Return. I will also follow Uncle-Master’s instructions and try my best to remind my fellow disciples on the trip when the need arises. However, if they do not listen to me, I will not be able to do anything more.”
“Haha, don’t worry. They would have no choice but to listen to you.” Jiu Wu tossed the jade slip back to Li Changshou and said, “Take this. Comprehend it well. Get to the Dao Requital Realm as soon as you can.”
‘Brat, I knew you would not take the bait unless I gave you some benefits. The elder of the Rewards Hall already gave me permission to pass this sutra onto you a year and a half ago. It’s a good thing that I held back and used it at the right time.’
Once he finished speaking, Jiu Wu steered his cloud upwards, a hint of a smile tugging at his lips. Then, he disappeared on his way.
Li Changshou studied the jade slip in his hand and fell into deep thought.
It was becoming more difficult to suppress his cultivation level in these two years. Once he reached the Ninth Stage of Dao Requital, he would not be able to control his advancement. He now had the Inaction Sutra, and he could look for a secluded place at the vast East Ocean.
What’s more, Volume One of the Inaction Sutra would be easy to get a hold of. It was not a deceptive half-book like The Nine Palms to Defeat Dragons. As long as he did not incur a loss this time, he would take it as a win.
It was daybreak on the day after Qi Yuan ascended to immortality.
Lan Ling’e massaged her shoulders in exhaustion as she sat in front of the now-empty straw hut.
The night before, her master had gone to attend a banquet at another peak with a bunch of Uncle- and Aunt-Masters she had never seen before. She had spent four hours after that cleaning the interior and exterior of her master’s hut.
“Annoying Senior Brother. You should have come to help!”
Immediately after she muttered this complaint, Lan Ling’e saw a huge wine gourd in the sky in her peripheral vision. At once, she pouted.
‘Aunt-Master Jiu Jiu is here to look for Senior Brother again… There must be something wrong with them! The longest interval between Aunt-Master’s visits in these few years was merely 20 days! Hmph! We’re both female cultivators. So what if you’re a Perfected Immortal? That’s not right. For a Perfected Immortal to mature to this extent is quite ridiculous…’
Lan Ling’e immediately wept and sobbed in her heart.
‘Senior Brother must like—’
A greeting suddenly sounded behind Lan Ling’e. She subconsciously jumped, gripping a silver spike with her hand as her skirt fluttered in the wind. At once, she turned to face the source of the voice.
Then, Lan Ling’e hesitated.
The person speaking was dressed in an ice-blue, one-shouldered dress. There was a broad-bladed sword in its sheath on her back. Her long hair was tied up in a simple ponytail and flowing in the wind. Her exquisite yet cold face looked extremely familiar.
“Does Senior Brother Changshou live here?”