Translator: Atlas Studios
Editor: Atlas Studios
When Li Changshou and Ling’e landed in front of Bai Fan Hall, hundreds of other people were already gathered there.
From afar, Li Changshou saw that the young men and women dressed in Dao robes and long skirts were chatting and laughing happily. Few people among them were ugly.
In this place, there were as many female cultivators as males. Most of them were beautiful and had slim figures. One could say that they were all beautiful in different ways, but a few of them were particularly outstanding. They looked like cranes among a flock of chickens and the moon among ordinary stars.
Take Lan Ling’e, who was beside Li Changshou, for example…
“Isn’t that Little Qiong Peak’s Ling’e? She is really getting more and more beautiful. I heard that her qualifications are good, too. She only joined our sect ten years ago, but she’s already at the Eighth Stage of Qi Refinement. She’s about to break through into the Soul Formation soon.”
“I heard that even the Grand Elder is interested in recruiting her. None of the rest of us have that kind of good fortune.”
“Who is that next to her?”
“Oh, I guess it’s her Senior Brother. I don’t think there are many people on the Little Qiong Peak. This man seems to be among the top 300 people in the sect. I don’t have much of an impression of him.”
“I remember. His Dao name seems to be Changshou.”
“This Dao name is really… simple and ordinary, yet very unique.”
“Don’t discuss disciples from other peaks behind their backs! Behave yourselves! If the elders of the sect hear this, they’ll think that the people from our sect are ill-disciplined!”
The whispers entered Li Changshou’s ears, but he acted like he did not hear them. The corners of his lips curled up into a small smile. He did not bother scanning to size up the group. Instead, he led Lan Ling’e into the hall to report their attendance. Then, they went to an empty corner to wait.
The bell kept ringing. More and more young cultivators flew in from various peaks.
This was the Priming Meet that the Immortal Du Sect organized for their disciples every five years. The intention was to allow disciples to see the outside world so that they could improve their cultivation and comprehension.
Every sect’s official disciples would casually apply to take part in activities like this. What’s more, there were twelve destinations to choose from, which would cater well to disciples of various stages.
The Immortal Du Sect conducted mass-recruitment of disciples every 200 years. That meant that there were 200 years between each generation.
It was said that the fastest-progressing disciple in this generation of disciples was already at the Sixth Stage of Void Return Realm. He had already caught up to many other ‘oldies’ who had spent 1,000 years cultivating but had only average potential.
Qi Refinement, Soul Formation, Void Return, Dao Requital. These were the four main realms one had to go through before becoming immortal. They would also decide one’s skills and strength, as well as the upper limits of one’s cultivation and journey after becoming an immortal.
Lan Ling’e had only joined the sect ten years ago. The Master she looked up to was someone who did not have much fame and had not even become an immortal yet. Still, she was able to get to the Eighth Stage of Qi Refinement. Naturally, she attracted a lot of attention.
Li Changshou and Lan Ling’e kept three feet between them as they sat under the shade of a tree. Many people looked at them—most of these people thought that the relationship between the Senior Brother and Junior Sister was not good.
Lan Ling’e folded the shoot of a willow branch and then twirled it gently between her fingers. Several times, she wanted to speak. However, she held herself back each time.
The first term of their vow: they had to keep a three-foot distance between them in front of outsiders.
The second term of their vow: they could not engage in conversation in front of outsiders if there were nothing meaningful to discuss.
“Senior Brother, where are you going?”
“You won’t tell me. I’ve been asking you for several days now.” Ling’e tutted. Then she softly mumbled to herself, “In any case, I’m following you wherever you go. I’m going to stick close to you.”
Li Changshou smiled nonchalantly, his lips parting. His voice traveled into Lan Ling’ e’s ears—he was using a method of voice transmission.
“Junior Sister, you have now achieved at least initial success in all areas of Qi Refinement. It’s time for you to learn to face difficulties independently.”
Lan Ling’e rebutted indignantly, “I was sent by Master to keep an eye on you. He told me not to let you cause trouble, Senior Brother. You cannot destroy the Little Qiong Peak’s reputation!”
Li Changshou smiled slightly but did not say anything in response.
The bell rang six times. One by one, figures flew out of the Bai Fan Hall. In total, more than 60 cultivators lined up in the air.
Each of them looked different. Some had white hair and wrinkles, while others looked youthful, like 28-year-olds. However, most of them showed maturity and stability.
Each of the 63 people seemed to release a bit of their aura. The place in front of the Bai Fan Hall fell absolutely silent. A wisp of immortal light surrounded the figures in the sky.
Those were immortals from various peaks. They were in charge of ensuring security during this Priming Meet.
A crane cried. A red-crowned, white crane emerged from the clouds and landed on a thin, old man sitting cross-legged.
If one took a closer look at this old man, they would see that he had a faint cloud tagging along behind him. On either side of him were two green lotuses. The way he carried himself was extraordinary—not even a bit of his aura leaked, but people around him could feel his majesty.
He was the Assistant Sect Lord of the Immortal Du Sect, Exalted Zhong Yu. It was said that he was a Heaven Immortal, among the top ten people in the Immortal Du Sect.
Exalted Zhong Yu did not give a long, draggy speech. His eyelids drooped as his lips parted, and his voice echoed throughout the main peak.
“All of you should remember the sect rules as you go out this time. Hold the name of our Immortal Du Sect high. Do not do anything that would bring us shame.
“There will be a total of twelve destinations during this Priming Meet. Recently, there have been reports of demon attacks in several sects in the Coast of the East Ocean. I hope that you can defeat these demons and protect the Dao, as well as our fellow men.
“Elder Ge, you may begin.”
Once he finished speaking, Exalted Zhong Yu ascended his crane and left. He did not stay a second longer than he needed to. The disciples all bowed down as he took his leave.
An elder standing in front of the hall cupped his hands to receive the orders. Then, he shouted, “Those who are heading to the Coast of the East Ocean to kill the demons, stand on the far left. You must be at least at the Sixth Stage of Qi Refinement! Those who are headed there will be rewarded according to the number of demons you kill.”
The disciples below quickly started moving. Nearly half of the disciples headed towards the left. Immediately, that area became crowded.
This was a common occurrence during each Priming Meet. Among the twelve destinations, one would always be relatively less dangerous and difficult but would offer generous rewards.
Lan Ling’e turned to look at her Senior Brother and noticed that his legs were not moving.
‘Indeed, Senior Brother was not hoping to reap material benefits…’
“Junior Sister, your cultivation level is quite low. Go with the majority.” Li Changshou tried to persuade her using voice transmission. The corners of Lan Ling’ e’s mouth curled downward, as she remained still with her Senior Brother.
They listened as Elder Ge continued to shout, “Those who are headed towards the south-east region of the Middle Continent to kill demons, go to the right side to wait. You must be at least at the Eighth Stage of Qi Refinement.”
This time, tens of disciples moved. However, each of them was of relatively high cultivation. All of them were in the Soul Formation Realm.
Just like that, Elder Ge kept shouting instructions. One by one, the disciples chose their destinations and went to their assigned area.
Elder Ge kept announcing more destinations, but the minimum required cultivation level kept increasing. By the time Elder Ge announced that the minimum cultivation level was the Second Stage of Soul Formation, Lan Ling’e turned to glare at her Senior Brother grudgingly.
Her true cultivation level was the Second Stage of Soul Formation.
“Senior Brother, where exactly are you going?”
Li Changshou kept smiling without saying anything in response.
Very quickly, only 23 people remained in their original positions. There were only two more unannounced destinations.
Among these 23 people, apart from the Senior Brother and Junior Sister duo in the corner, the rest were Immortal Seedlings from various peaks. These were people selected from this generation of disciples to be specially nurtured. They were also among the top few of all the disciples.
Elder Ge glanced at Lan Ling’e and continued shouting, “Those who are headed to Lin Yun Island on the East Ocean, go into the hall to wait. You must be at least at the Ninth Stage of Soul Formation.”
Among the remaining 20-odd people, 17 moved at the same time. All of them released a wisp of their aura—they were all in the Second or Third Stage of Void Return Realm!
There were various cheers and exclamations around as the 17 disciples headed into the hall.
At that moment, only six people remained in their original positions. All the disciples quickly turned to look at the young woman, dressed in a fiery-red fairy skirt and carrying a broad-bladed sword on her back.
The young woman had her eyes closed at that moment, as she remained in her position. She looked like an otherworldly fairy, like an immortal from the Nine Heavens. A few words seemed to float around her body: ‘Stay away’.
She was among the most famous disciples of this generation in the Immortal Du Sect. Not only was she a stunning and natural beauty, but she carried herself exceedingly well, had an immaculate figure, and amazing potential for cultivation. At that moment, she was exposing a wisp of her own aura. She was at the Fourth Stage of Void Return.
She had joined the sect more than 60 years ago. Potential like hers was highly valued in the Immortal Du Sect. She had also entered the line of the Heaven-Breaking Peak’s Head very early on.
‘Youqin Xuanya wants to go to the North Continent, too? That’s not bad.’
In the corner, Li Changshou smiled subtly. Journeying with such an attention-grabbing machine would take the attention away from himself.
Lan Ling’e sniffed around by the side for a few seconds. Suddenly, she discovered an unfamiliar smell.
She turned to see Li Changshou’s smile. At the same time, she saw the young lady in the fiery-red fairy skirt shifting back and forth.
‘Indeed, there is something!’
She heard a few hushed discussions in the crowd.
“Senior Sister Xuanya wants to go and retrieve herbs from the North Continent?”
“Since Senior Sister Xuanya is going to the North Continent, it looks like Senior Brother Yuan Qing will head there as well.”
“Isn’t that expected? Senior Brother Yuan Qing hasn’t moved yet. He’s waiting for Senior Sister Xuanya to make her move.”
“Be careful of your words and guard your heart. You don’t want to offend either of these cultivation talents from the Heaven-Breaking Peak.”
In the air, Elder Ge frowned and looked at Li Changshou and Lan Ling’e. He slowly shook his head and continued shouting, “Those headed to Chaos Treasure Forest in the south-east region of the North Continent, go into the hall to wait. That place is perilous, and disciples often get hurt inside. You must be at least at the Ninth Stage of Soul Formation!”
The young lady in the fiery-red skirt opened her clear phoenix eyes. She tapped the floor lightly with the tips of her toes. Immediately, her skirt flowed in the wind, making her look like a blooming Fire Spirit Flower. Everyone’s eyes followed her as she flew into the hall.
Behind her followed a young cultivator who looked gentle, cultured, and refined. He revealed his own aura—he was in the Fifth Stage of Void Return!
His eyes had not left the fiery-red body in front of him. Naturally, this man was the Senior Brother Yuan Qing whom the others were talking about.
Li Changshou walked into the hall, as well. Since Youqin Xuanya had already grabbed everyone’s attention, no one seemed to notice him walking in at that moment. This made him extremely comfortable.
He had only taken two steps forward when an inexplicable chill ran down his spine. Eyes filled with grudge bore into his back…
“Senior Brother, why are you going to the North Continent all of a sudden?”
Li Changshou felt a cold breeze blow past his back. He halted, turned around, and replied in a low voice, “I’m going to collect herbs.”
“Senior Brother? Don’t we have enough herbs at home? You—”
“Little Qiong Peak[s Ling’e!” A shout came from the sky. It was Elder Ge, frowning at the Senior Brother and Junior Sister duo. He asked, “Are you taking part in this Priming Meet?”
Lan Ling’e tilted her head upwards and answered, “I am.” She felt everyone’s eyes land on her and immediately blushed.
Her expression had been cold just a second ago, but it looked extremely warm now. One could say that she was a natural at changing her expression.
Lan Ling’e quickly said, “I have worried you, Elder. I am of low cultivation, and I could not make up my mind. I have decided to follow my Senior Brothers and Sisters to the Coast of the East Ocean.”
Elder Ge nodded, smiling benevolently. In a warm voice, he said, “Take your position. Don’t delay the good hour to set off.”
Lan Ling’e heaved a sigh of relief and then turned to look for her Senior Brother. However, he was gone without a trace.
‘He really… why would he go to such a dangerous place?’
She pouted and whined under her breath, “He did not even tell me to take care! Take care of yourself, stupid Senior Brother!”
When she turned around, Lan Ling’e’s expression reverted to normal. She walked towards the group of countless handsome men from various peaks with welcoming smiles in the distance.
In the hall, more than ten pairs of eyes landed on Li Changshou, who was standing in the corner. Most of them were filled with suspicion—they had no idea who that man was.
Li Changshou quietly exposed his own aura.
He was in the Ninth Stage of Soul Formation. He had barely passed and was considered average among this generation of disciples.