Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
‘Is there something going on between Senior Brother and this beautiful Senior Sister Youqin as well?’
Li Changshou’s only official Junior Sister, Lan Ling’e, was seated cross-legged on a meditation cushion, in front of a short table in her straw hut. In her hands, she held a teacup filled with smoking-hot tea. She looked to be in deep thought.
She glanced towards her left, where the Ice Mountain Youqin Xuanya sat. She was seated with her eyes closed as she meditated, waiting quietly for Lan Ling’e’s senior brother to appear.
Then, Lan Ling’e glanced towards her right. There, her Aunt-Master Jiu Jiu was slumped across the table and snoring gently, looking like she had been deprived of sleep for a long time.
The atmosphere was slightly awkward.
‘Why are they all looking for Senior Brother? He had only been to the North Continent once to look for herbs. Now, two female cultivators have their eyes on him? If Senior Brother goes on the next Priming Meet one year later, wouldn’t I run out of seats in my house?!’
Lan Ling’e sighed in her heart. She did not understand which part of her senior brother was attractive. He was extremely cautious and afraid of death. ‘Why would girls apart from me like him? What’s more, the person on my left is the brightest star of our generation of disciples.
‘On second thought, however…
‘Senior Sister Youqin is very beautiful indeed. Even when she’s meditating, she looks captivating. If I were Senior Brother, I would not be able to resist her charm.
‘Er, that’s not right. Senior Brother might simply like…’
Lan Ling’e turned to glance at her right once again. Aunt-Master Jiu Jiu was slumped over the table.
Lan Ling’e looked up at the copper mirror behind the door, and could not help but rest her forehead on her hand.
‘I probably would be able to mature further in the future. Maybe.’
The problem with her senior brother aside, as the owner of this straw hut, Lan Ling’e felt that she could not let the atmosphere become even more awkward than it already was.
“Senior Sister Youqin,” said Lan Ling’e, smiling slightly. In a soft voice, she asked, “What brought you to our Little Qiong Peak?”
Youqin Xuanya opened her eyes and answered in a gentle tone, “After I went back to the mountain, I was punished and made to stay in seclusion on the Heaven-Breaking Peak to reflect on my actions. I did not get an opportunity to come here and thank Senior Brother Changshou. I just came out of my meditation today and realized that I had served my sentence. With Master’s permission, I came to the Little Qiong Peak to thank Senior Brother Changshou.”
Lan Ling’e could not help but tilt her head. “What did my Senior Brother do… to deserve your thanks?”
“He saved my life,” answered Youqin Xuanya, pursing her lips gently. She lowered her head slightly, but Lan Ling’e saw a hint of a spark in her treasure-like eyes. “He did that twice at that.”
Lan Ling’e blinked.
The expression on Youqin Xuanya’s face was similar to the one on Lan Ling’e’s each time she looked at the copper mirror and thought about her senior brother!
‘Aunt-Master Jiu was already giving me immense pressure. Now, Youqin Xuanya seemed to drop out of the sky!’
Once again, Lan Ling’e rested her forehead on her hand. Her affectionate heart cried out in frustration and anger. From time to time, she felt deep sorrow as well. All of a sudden, her entire body felt terrible.
‘I have to win over Senior Brother at all costs as soon as possible to avoid sleepless nights…’
“En? Little Ya, what are you doing here?”
Jiu Jiu suddenly sputtered as she sat up and rubbed her eyes.
Youqin Xuanya respectfully repeated what she had just said. As she did this, she stood up and bowed towards Jiu Jiu. She only sat back down after she got Jiu Jiu’s permission to do so.
After that, Jiu Jiu turned to face Lan Ling’e. She pouted and then yawned. Finally, she asked, “Has the huge array behind been deactivated?”
Lan Ling’e answered, “Not yet, Aunt-Master Jiu. Senior Brother seems to be refining pills or cultivating. I sent him a voice transmission earlier to call him over, but he did not respond.”
“Alright. We already set the time to refine pills… perhaps he is in the midst of comprehending something.”
Jiu Jiu turned to face Lan Ling’e, and then glanced at Youqin Xuanya. As if suddenly recalling something, she smiled and said, “It’s a good thing that Little Ya is here. Ling’e, let’s play that!”
Lan Ling’e asked softly, “Aunt-Master, play what?”
Jiu Jiu’s eyes seemed to light up as she replied, “The game that we played together with your senior brother last month! DIdn’t you say that it was the Little Qiong Peak’s reserved item?”
“Well, of course, we can. Please wait for a while, Aunt-Master.” Lan Ling’e tapped her finger gently, causing the short table in front of her to shift towards the entrance. A huge space suddenly appeared between the three ladies.
She took a clean beast’s skin out of her storage Dharma artifact and laid it out in front of the three of them. On the beast’s skin was a long path that led through the clouds. The cloud path was divided into little squares. There were also many peaks and huge ponds drawn around the path.
Lan Ling’e asked, “Do you want to play, Senior Sister Youqin?”
Youqin Xuanya hesitated for a while as she looked at the ‘map’, not understanding what it was for.
Jiu Jiu suddenly spoke up from the side. “This was made by Little Changshou. It’s very interesting.”
After hearing this, Youqin Xuanya immediately nodded and said, “If it’s Senior Brother Changshou’s work, please allow me to be included.”
“Senior Sister, please take a look at the rules. They are written here.”
Youqin Xuanya looked where Lan Ling’e pointed and saw familiar handwriting. She read the rules out in a soft voice.
“Road to Immortality, also known as ‘Immortal Life Simulation’ or ‘Immortal Monopoly’…
“Participants are to place the wooden game piece representing themselves on the starting point of the immortal path. Throw the die and move your wooden piece along on the path according to the number displayed on the die. Each time you land, different events would be activated on the road to immortality.
“At the start of the game, each person will have 300 spirit stones. This will be represented in numbers. The first person to reach the end of the road will win. If any of the participants wants to end the game early, the person with the most number of spirit stones will win.
“Remember: do not use your immortal or spirit senses to check the various treasure chests. You are not allowed to use your Dharmic powers to control the die either.”
By the time Youqin Xuanya finished reading the instructions, Lan Ling’e had already set up the treasure chests of various colors by the side. There were many square cards in each treasure chest. Each of the chests also had all kinds of labels.
After that, Lan Ling’e retrieved three game pieces, each a different color. She placed them at the start of the path and then took out a six-sided die.
Then, the game began.
Youqin Xuanya thought, ‘Where have I seen something like that before?’ At that moment, she felt confused.
Jiu Jiu smiled and said, “We’ll play one round, and you’ll understand, Xuanya! Come, come, let’s begin! I’ll throw the die first!”
Lan Ling’e immediately stopped Jiu Jiu. “We have to play ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ to decide the order in which we throw the die.”
“Alright, alright. You lasses really know nothing about respecting your elders. Let’s play Rock, Paper, Scissors!”
Youqin Xuanya looked at the bouncing Aunt-Master Jiu Jiu, and then at the serious-looking Lan Ling’e, who had just lectured her Aunt-Master. She felt uncomfortable, but she went along with Rock, Paper, Scissors anyway to decide who was going to throw the die first…
Youqin Xuanya had her turn first. She threw the die and got a five. Then, she held her wooden game piece and advanced five steps on the path in the clouds, before looking at the words underneath her game piece.
“You performed exceedingly well when cleaning up the sect’s stairs. The elders of the sect rewarded you with 20 spirit stones.”
“Senior Sister, you can write ‘+20’ behind your current number of spirit stones!”
“Oh, alright,” replied Youqin Xuanya, as she followed Lan Ling’e’s instructions. She was beginning to understand the rules of the game.
Jiu Jiu picked up the die and blew into her palm before throwing it carefully.
When she saw the number three on the die, she immediately grinned. Then, Jiu Jiu moved her wooden piece forward three steps, landing on top of a square with a purple pentagram on it.
“Quickly, pass me the purple treasure chest! I’ll pick a card, I’ll pick a card!”
Lan Ling’e handed the purple treasure chest over, as Jiu Jiu reached in and groped about. Soon, she pulled out a wooden card.
“Good stuff, good stuff!
“Ling’e, it’s your turn! Throw the die! Give your Aunt-Master a huge golden pill!”
Youqin Xuanya observed the wooden card closely and saw the words ‘Me too’ written on the front. There were two lines of words on the back.
‘Once all the players in this round get their turn, the person with this card can choose to duplicate any of the benefits that they obtained in this round.’
“It’s my turn! Hehe!”
Lan Ling’e threw the die and got a two. It was an empty square—she got nothing.
Jiu Jiu cast her a contemptuous look, and then held out the wooden card to Youqin Xuanya, shouting, “Me too!
“What is this? It’s rare to get a card like that, yet I only got 20 spirit stones from it.”
Even Youqin Xuanya could not help but laugh softly. Very naturally, she picked up the die and threw it. This time, she triggered a random event. From the blue treasure chest, she pulled out a bamboo card.
‘Found a Good Partner: You’ve found a Dao companion who would spend the rest of your life with you. You held a wedding banquet. Other players give you 100 spirit stones each as a gift.’
Jiu Jiu and Lan Ling’e whined at once.
Youqin Xuanya gently exclaimed, “Can I look at the rest of the cards? Senior Brother Changshou is indeed mysterious and creative!”
Although they were bursting with excitement, Jiu Jiu and Lan Ling’e had no choice but to pause the game. They poured out the bamboo, wooden, copper, and jade cards from their respective boxes so that Youqin Xuanya could take a look.
There were 12 cards for each material, targeting skills, random positive events, random negative events, and treasures, respectively.
‘What does this look like…?’
‘I’m Too Distressed: You’ve met with many difficulties on your cultivation journey. You are overcome with sorrow that you had to go through so much to get to this cultivation level. In order to comfort you, the other players each give you 50 spirit stones.’
‘Epiphany: Move one step forward.’
‘Distracted: You were distracted by poems and songs, and ended up shouting and dancing for too long. This delayed your cultivation journey. You lose the next two turns.’
‘Huge Cheat Card: You activate the Huge Cheat Technique and successfully cheat one target of your choice. You get either 200 spirit stones or any treasure of your choice from this person.’
“Wait, wait, wait, wait! Did Senior Brother Changshou make all of these?” asked Youqin Xuanya, shocked. The two ladies beside her could only nod in affirmation.
“Stop looking, Xiaoya! Let’s continue!”
“Yes, Aunt-Master. Your disciple has gone overboard. This thing is extremely interesting.”
“Pui, pui! Look at me! Haha, I get to pick another card! Appear, ‘Me Too’!”
“Aunt-Master Jiu, you cannot cheat.”
“I won’t. Do I need to cheat when playing with the both of you?”
Slowly, the straw hut was filled with laughter and jokes. The awkward atmosphere that was present before soon disappeared.
It was evening time.
Li Changshou had just advanced another small step in his cultivation journey after having read Volume One of the Inaction Sutra. Slowly, he walked out of the forest.
He had been in the secret room the entire time, but now, he had his own aura solidified. Nobody would be able to see his true cultivation level.
From afar, he could hear laughter coming from the straw huts. He expanded his spiritual awareness and discovered Youqin Xuanya.
‘Toxic… Why is she here?’
After some thought, Li Changshou quietly walked back into the Pill Chamber. The gentle breeze carried in the joyous laughter.
He heard Jiu Jiu’s loud and carefree laugh. “Hahaha! Me too! Your Aunt-Master is going to be rich!”
Youqin Xuanya’s laugh was more restrained, but she whined uncharacteristically, “Ai, I’m really unlucky. Your disciple got ‘Distracted’ again.”
Lan Ling’e, who was emerging victorious in this round, smiled brightly as she said to the other two ladies, “I got ‘I’m Too Distressed’! It’s time to collect spirit stones!”
Li Changshou could not help but laugh softly. He activated the array formations on the outside and thought about having to set out towards the East Ocean in a few days.
‘I’ll go and check my storage Dharma artifacts again. With Aunt-Master Jiu Jiu’s help these few years, I’ve managed to produce several poisonous pills that can kill even Perfected Immortals. I will deal with these pills later on and turn them into poisonous powder or fluid. They will be more convenient in battle. Although I will not need to use them this time, it never hurts to be more prepared.’