Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
In the morning, Li Changshou finally returned to the vicinity of the straw hut after working throughout the night in the Pill Chamber.
Before he came close to the straw hut, he faintly smelled wine. He expanded his spiritual awareness to look into his junior sister’s room, and then could not help but smack his forehead.
‘I should make a detour.’
The scene in the straw house was not bad.
Various cards from the Immortal Life Simulation were scattered across the ground, along with the ‘Poker’ cards, which Li Changshou had made for his junior sister several years ago.
These cards were quite extravagant. Li Changshou had used the special paper, which had been used to create his paper dolls. This paper came from the sap of a precious tree, and the manufacturing process was extremely complicated.
It was obvious that these people had been playing all night. At last, they had been knocked unconscious by the wine that Jiu Jiu had produced…
Li Changshou’s spiritual awareness detected a huge sword on the ground, along with a long skirt, a blouse, and several shoes and socks.
Jiu Jiu and Lan Ling’e both lay on the mattress, snoring. Jiu Jiu was hugging Lan Ling’e’s thigh, while the latter was hugging Jiu Jiu’s jade-like arm.
Youqin Xuanya was lying down quite elegantly in the corner of the mattress. However, in her hand, she held… someone’s pink undergarment.
‘I cannot look. I cannot look.’
Li Changshou activated the array formation next to the straw hut, and then turned around and walked towards the willow beside the lake. He retrieved two incomplete paper dolls and used his Dharmic powers to work on them.
Man-Forming Paper Cutouts was considered an advanced mystical ability. It was recorded in the Dao sects’ 36 Ways of the Big Dipper. It was only by chance that Li Changshou had managed to learn this mystical ability.
50 years had passed since he had learned this ability, and he had only achieved initial success.
After Li Changshou became an immortal, the Man-Forming Paper Cutouts would become truly powerful. The paper dolls he created would contain a bit of his essence soul, and he would truly be able to move out of his own body for a limited amount of time.
Man-Forming Paper Cutouts was also one of the mystical abilities of his main cultivation. He could hurt his enemies without putting himself in danger. It was perfect for him.
The other array formations, talismans, pills, and poisons were just his side-endeavors. They could be considered hobbies and extra ways in which he could protect himself and get on with his true pursuit.
Half a day later, Li Changshou kept his two new paper dolls. He glanced at the straw hut and discovered that there was no sign that the three ladies had regained consciousness.
‘Master has not returned from his banquet either. I guess he will be out for a long time.’
His master had only become a Turbid Immortal, but his status within the sect had obviously improved.
People who had not ascended to immortality were mere mortals, who could live no longer than 3,000 years.
The people whom Qi Yuan knew in his early days had maintained a distance from him in these hundreds of years for various reasons. It could have been that they did not see as much value in Qi Yuan as they did initially, or that they did not want to feel too sad by Qi Yuan’s passing, or that they did not want to give Qi Yuan undue pressure.
However, since Qi Yuan was now a Turbid Immortal, if all went well in the future, he could become a Perfected Immortal.
Although his reputation suffered, he now had a long life to look forward to. The friends that Qi Yuan made back then returned once again.
People in immortal sects were quite practical as well.
‘Master’s cultivation journey from now on would be a difficult problem as well.’
As he thought about this, Li Changshou suddenly turned to look outside the mountain.
There was the sound of something cutting through the sky. Li Changshou immediately hid on the other side of the willow, raised his left arm, and pointed his left hand towards the little jade sword, which was shooting towards him. The jade sword stopped in the air 100 feet away from him.
A middle-aged man’s hoarse voice sounded from inside the jade sword. “Little Changshou of the Little Qiong Peak, come to the Bai Fan Hall for a discussion as soon as possible.”
Li Changshou answered, “At your command, Master.”
The jade sword immediately turned around and towards the Heaven-Breaking Peak.
A while later, two more jade swords flew towards Li Changshou from the same direction. However, these headed straight into his junior sister’s straw hut.
At once, realization dawned on Li Changshou.
He shook his head and mounted a white cloud, advancing ahead of the rest. He wanted to avoid Jiu Jiu and Youqin Xuanya, who were both headed to the Bai Fan Hall as well.
This gathering probably concerned the trip to the East Ocean for the Demon-Sweeping Meet.
In order to avoid attracting any attention, Li Changshou sat under a tree outside the hall for some time.
Indeed, no one noticed him.
Ten-odd figures appeared in the south-west corner of the Bai Fan Hall. Li Changshou finally walked in and blended into the shadows in the corner.
‘Uncle-Master Jiu Wu is devious, petty, narrow-minded, and likes taking advantage of others. However, at the very least, he has some good points, such as being a man of his word.’
At that moment, in the eyes of others, Li Changshou was an ‘exemplary’ disciple in the Second Stage of Void Return. Jiu Wu had not revealed Li Changshou’s true cultivation level as being the Sixth Stage of Void Return.
When Li Changshou arrived, six of the top ten disciples of his generation were already there. There were also six or seven Perfected Immortals who were over 1,000 years old.
The various immortal sects naturally saw huge events like the Demon-Sweeping Meet as arenas of competition, since various immortal sects would be gathered. How could these sects show off their disciples’ talent and potential? They could do so by showing their disciples’ cultivation levels and ages.
If one was of a young age, but with a high cultivation level, it would show that he had a high level of talent and comprehension. This would bring glory to his sect.
This was why Jiu Jiu would never miss events like these unless she happened to be in seclusion.
Li Changshou waited for a while inside the hall, as Perfected Immortals kept walking in. Two or three more young disciples entered.
When Jiu Jiu and Youqin Xuanya finally arrived, there were a total of 11 young disciples and 16 Perfected Immortals.
These represented all the people who were asked to gather here today.
Elder Ge, who was in charge of expeditions outside the sect, arrived together with two other elders. They began to explain the purpose of their gathering in detail.
Elder Ge said, “The East Ocean’s Dragon Palace is organizing a Demon-Sweeping Meet at the Coast of the East Ocean. They have invited the main immortal sects in the East Continent to join them. The Immortal Du Sect is among those invited.
“I believe you have all seen or heard about the wretched dragon invading our sect earlier.
“On top of that, this wretched dragon purposely gave us the wrong date for the Meet. He wanted to see our Immortal Du Sect make a fool of ourselves.
“Fortunately, the various immortal sects in the East Continent look out for one another. We found out long ago that the Meet will take place in seven days. In four days, our Immortal Du Sect will head towards the East Ocean together with the other immortal sects.
“The Sect Master has given orders for Exalted Wang Qing to lead our disciples this time. Other elders who have borne fruit from the Heaven Immortal Dao will follow along…
“All of you, Perfected Immortals, will follow along as well.”
Once Elder Ge finished speaking, he scanned the 27 people in front of him. Then, he spoke again.
“The Dragon Palace is organizing this Demon-Sweeping Meet for none other than three purposes.
“Firstly, they want to draw a clear boundary between the East Ocean and the Coast of the East Ocean.
“Secondly, they want to recover their lost glory from the various immortal sects who went to the East Ocean to get rid of demons the last time.
“Thirdly, they want to give their dragon disciples a chance to show off their military strength.
“The dragon race will surely hold up certain treasures for good luck during this Demon-Sweeping Meet. Young disciples should constantly share learning points with one another and defend and attack accordingly.
“The ten of you…”
Elder Ge scanned the ten young disciples standing at the back and then glanced at the corner in which Li Changshou was standing. He corrected himself.
“The eleven of you have the highest cultivation level in your generation. You are… er, the sharpest as well.
“A few years ago, we went to the East Ocean to get rid of demons. The Dragon Palace will surely target us during this Meet. Other immortal sects whom we have feuds with will also create stumbling blocks for us in secret. They want to watch you, young disciples, make a fool of yourselves.
“Remember this! You cannot bring shame to the Immortal Du Sect. You cannot throw aside the poise of the Immortal Sects of the Three Schools!
“If someone challenges you in secret, do not bother about them. Let them witness your prowess while you officially swap pointers with them during battle!
“The various immortal sects had a discussion earlier. The younger generation of disciples from the East Continent, who will be heading to the East Ocean, are all under 150 years old. Few of them are in the Dao Requital Realm.
“If you are able to obtain those treasures, take them as individual rewards for your efforts.
“Do you understand?”
Many of the eleven disciples looked overjoyed. Together, they answered, “Your disciples will bear your teachings in mind, Elder Ge.”
Elder Ge nodded and mumbled to himself for a while. Then, he said, “There is one more thing. Exalted Wang Qing intentionally instructed me on this…”
Everyone kept quiet and listened closely.
“Where is Li Changshou of the Little Qiong Peak?”
“Your disciple is here,” answered Li Changshou. He cursed in his heart. He had indeed underestimated how sly the rascal Jiu Wu could be. However, he remained neutral as he bowed.
Elder Ge said in a low voice, “All the young disciples must listen to your instructions during this expedition. You will be… the leader of the younger team.”
At that moment, not only did the ten other disciples look confused, but the 16 Perfected Immortals also turned around to size up Li Changshou.
‘Why is a disciple in the Second Stage of Void Return being made the leader?’
Li Changshou sensed everyone else staring at him. The corners of his lips twitched downwards.
‘He’s doing this on purpose. Jiu Wu must be doing this on purpose! This short Daoist is forcing me to expose my trump cards!’
Before this, Li Changshou thought that there wouldn’t be many problems even if he followed the team along to the East Ocean. This was because there would be Heaven Immortals and Perfected Immortals in the sect protecting them.
At the same time, he hoped to find a vast land with few people near the East Ocean, where he could seclude himself and endure the Heavenly Tribulation.
Little did Li Changshou know that Jiu Wu had set up a trap for him!
Before this, Li Changshou had hoped that he would not incur any losses on this trip. Now, it looked like he would lose blood for sure…
Jiu Jiu asked happily, “How did Master know about this rascal?”
However, a few disciples and Perfected Immortals from other peaks could not hold in their questions any longer. They were about to start their questioning when Li Changshou spoke up.
“Your disciple thinks this is inappropriate.” Li Changshou spoke quickly. He was frowning, and his head was lowered. His aura was slightly messed up, and beads of perspiration formed on his forehead.
He spoke again in a low voice. “I beg Elder to retract his orders.”
“Oh?” Elder Ge frowned. “Are you unsatisfied with Exalted Wang Qing’s orders?”
“Your disciple would not dare, but there is something fishy about this.” Li Changshou kept his head lowered. He hesitated for a while and asked softly, “Your disciple will venture boldly and ask whether Exalted Wang Qing gave these orders himself, or whether Uncle-Master Jiu Wu passed them down?”
Elder Ge frowned and said, “Jiu Wu passed them down.”
Li Changshou heaved a sigh of relief in his heart, and carefully changed his expression to look slightly panicked and slightly helpless, as if to say, “I knew this was the case.”
Jiu Wu must have used Exalted Wang Qing’s name on purpose. He had probably not informed Exalted Wang Qing about something as small as that, which only concerned the younger disciples.
Creating a fake story like that would mean nothing to Jiu Wu. Not only would Exalted Wang Qing not pursue the matter, but he might even lie on behalf of his beloved disciple if need be. One could say that Jiu Wu was merely acting first and reporting later.
However, this left a big enough gap for Li Changshou to work with.
Li Changshou immediately decided on his counter-attack.
‘Uncle-Master, since you tried to set me up, don’t blame me for returning the favor!’
Leading the younger team would be akin to becoming the shepherd of the younger generation. This was very significant, and it would definitely push Li Changshou to the heart of the struggle.
Once word got out, immortals and younger disciples from various peaks would probably have their eyes on Li Changshou. Trouble would also come after him, wave after wave!
He could not take on a task like that!
Li Changshou looked extremely guilty as he sighed and said, “I won’t hide it from Elder. In recent years, your disciple has gotten much closer to Uncle-Master Jiu Wu of the Heaven-Breaking Peak. We have gotten into the habit of appreciating wine together.
“Before this, while Uncle-Master Jiu Wu and I were drinking wine together, he joked drunkenly that he could make even an unknown and mediocre disciple like me become exalted by the other disciples in the sect.
“I did not think that Uncle-Master Jiu Wu would take his own words so seriously. I guess to protect his own pride, he made such an arrangement. I am now extremely terrified.”
Elder Ge frowned deeply, but a look of realization illuminated the other disciples’ faces.
‘So that was what happened…’
At once, the stares lost their enmity. Most people were surprised that a sect attendant like Jiu Wu would use his power in such an unrestrained manner. At the same time, they felt pity for Li Changshou.
Jiu Jiu could not help but mumble, “Why is Fifth Senior Brother so childish?! Seriously!”
Jiu Wu, who was standing thousands of kilometers away, could not help but sneeze continuously while he flew.
In the Bai Fan Hall, Li Changshou sighed again and said, “Your disciple does not dare to put Elder in a spot. I also do not dare to blame Uncle-Master Jiu Wu for his good intentions.
“However, your disciple cannot take on such a responsibility.
“Elder, would you please appoint another disciple with outstanding skills and character to lead the team? I will be thick-skinned and continue to travel to the Coast of the East Ocean together with the team.
“If Exalted Wang Qing really gave these orders, your disciple would not shrink from my responsibility, and I would follow those orders to the best of my ability. I would not hesitate to risk my life for the sect.
“However, if Uncle-Master Jiu Wu is just playing a trick on me, your disciple will not dare to masquerade as a leader. I can only hope that I would at least be a token member of the group.
“Elder, I hope you will wisely analyze this situation!”
Once he finished speaking, Li Changshou lowered his head and bowed. He did not stand up again for a long time.
The other immortals felt sorrowful. All of them thought that Jiu Wu had really played a trick on this poor disciple.
‘It must not be easy.’
One of the female disciples even gently said, “Junior Brother Changshou, why don’t you be the leader? We understand your situation. We will not complain.”
The other disciples nodded in agreement.
“Changshou makes sense,” said Elder Ge. His eyes were filled with admiration for Li Changshou.
Elder Ge added, “Coincidentally, Jiu Wu has gone to the Middle Continent, and I cannot contact him. It will not be appropriate to bother Senior Brother Wang Qing about this either. Well, as you said, we will find another leader.”
Once Elder Ge finished speaking, Youqin Xuanya stepped forward, cupped her hands, and bowed. In a determined voice, she said, “Your disciple is willing to bear the burden!”
Li Changshou felt slightly surprised. ‘Why does Toxic… seem to understand my intentions today? She has indeed grown from her years in seclusion. Her toxicity has dissipated…’
Before Li Changshou could heave a sigh of relief, Youqin Xuanya spoke again.
“I hope that Elder will form two teams. Senior Brother Changshou and I can share the responsibility. That would please both sides!”
Li Changshou immediately choked.
‘F*ck! Her toxicity did not dissipate. It has become worse!’
Just then, Youqin Xuanya turned to glance at Li Changshou. Her eyes were filled with determination, and she looked extremely serious about this plan. However, she also looked slightly shy.
‘Leave it to me, Senior Brother Changshou. Xuanya will not put you in a spot.’
At that moment, Li Changshou felt like he was being torn apart…