The North bank, in the past thousand years, had always stood above the South Bank. More than half of the top ten of every Heaven’s Chosen War had always been composed of disciples from the North Bank. First place was, of course, always claimed by the North bank as well. This brought great shame to the South Bank.
The fact that the North Bank had four peaks, whereas the South Bank only had three peaks, could be considered the main factor. Yet, a thousand years before, the South Bank, with just three peaks, was completely different from what it was now. From spirit refinement to medicinal refinement, they were the pillars of the sect. No one dared to cross their path, and the sword-focused Green Peak Mountain of the South Bank even had the title of Spirit River Sect’s strongest mountain.
Things were different now. Due to certain reasons, the tides were completely overturned. The North Bank had grown strong. After each victory, they always gained a massive amount of resources that continued to tilt the favors to their side, gradually increasing their strength as a whole. In addition to the vast differences between the South Bank’s and the North Bank’s cultivation methods, the North Bank made many external sects and cultivator clans regard the North Bank as Spirit River Sect’s strongest, which in turn made them the ultimate leader of the Spirit River Sect.
The Spirit River Sect’s South Bank was good at manipulating objects, while the North Bank was good at controlling beasts!
Disciples who had just entered the sect in the South Bank would learn the Purple Cauldron Qi Manipulation Technique, just like when Bai Xiaochun first entered. On the North Bank, however, newly admitted disciples would study the Tong Tian Shape Manipulation Technique!
That was why the Ten Thousand Herbs Pavilion not only had the five volumes of herbology, but also had the five volumes of spirit beasts!
During the battles the last thousand of years, the South Bank had managed to lose every single one of them! The one thirty years past, in particular, had only one representative from the South Bank that was able to reach the top ten, infuriating the ancestors and elders of the peaks in the South Bank so much, that they made up their mind to personally go out, a reason why three new Heaven’s Chosen from the South Bank had appeared.
Shangguan Tianyou, Lu Tianlei and Zhou Xinqi were the ultimate participants prepared by the South Bank this time around. They had been taken in by various ancestors of different mountains as disciples, and were nurtured with utmost care, pushing them to the eighth level of Qi Condensation. In terms of battle prowess, they had already surpassed many of those in the inner sect.
Shangguan Tianyou was particularly even more shocking. He was an expert in the technique of void and was regarded as the South Bank’s number one outer sect Heaven’s Chosen.
Lu Tianlei, a lightning specialist, on the other hand, had shockingly strong lightning array skills, winning praise from even Elder Xu Meixiang, essentially qualifying him as someone sure to make the top ten.
There was also Zhou Xinqi. She did have her interest focused on medicine at most times, but in reality, her formation array skills were personally taught by Li Qinghou himself, making her reach an extremely high level.
After learning all of this from Xu Baocai, Bai Xiaochun was displeased, feeling as if the North Bank was bullying them.
“Just wait until I achieve the Foundation Establishment, I’ll slaughter the lot at the North Bank and show them who’s the better outer sect disciple!” Bai Xiaochun proudly placed this thought at the bottom of his heart. As for the qualification battles of the North Bank and South Bank, and even the war of the Heaven’s Chosen after that, he had no interest at all.
Battles and war just weren’t his thing, he felt that it didn’t fit his status. He was an Honourable Disciple, the junior disciple of the Sect Head, and after all, he placed himself on a different level from his peers. Bai Xiaochun thought that he shouldn’t involve himself with the younger generation.
“What if I fail to beat them, though? Wouldn’t that shame Senior Brother Sect Head. Oh well, I guess it’s better to stay out of this.” Clearing his throat, Bai Xiaochun felt that such a sacrifice for the sect and the Sect Head was something worth talking to his master over an incense stick.
Or so he thought. Two months after that little thought, he completely forgot all about it. Zhang Fatso One had been visiting him to refine more stuff and after using his Turtle-shell Pot when Zhang Fatso One wasn’t looking, every time he unveiled the result, Zhang Fatso One would always respond with excitement and joy.
What was originally disbelief coming from Zhang Fatso One gradually became surprise, and then it turned to glee. Now it was but a daily occurrence, thoroughly convincing him that he was truly a genius in spirit refinement.
And under that radiant confidence, his refinement skills grew stronger along with his confidence.
As time slipped by, a month passed. Three days before the qualification battles, Bai Xiaochun received a notice that any disciple at the eight level of Qi Condensation was required to participate, without any exceptions.
After scanning through the contents of the jade scroll, he sighed, not thinking too much of it as he continued refining.
It wasn’t until three days later at dawn did he nonchalantly walk out along with a mass of other disciples with their expressions solemn, dead serious. Seeing this, he snapped out of his carefreeness and left the mountain as the bells of the South Bank rang.
It wasn’t long before they reached a valley behind the three mountains of the South Bank. It was a cavernous space, with roads made of white jade. The valley was similar to a grand square, with many dragon pillars raising high above.
Between every two pillars, there was a sculpture. They were sculptures of monstrous beasts, exquisitely carved into a vivid likeliness, causing them to exude savageness and brutality throughout the entire valley, causing a chilly atmosphere around the square.
On the mountain walls surrounding them, there was an elevated platform where a number of seats were arranged for the ancestors of the three peaks such as Li Qinghou and Xu Meixiang. Even the Sect Head of the Spirit River Sect himself, Zheng Yuandong, had already made an appearance.
The qualification battles of the two banks were held separately, the battles of the North Bank were scheduled to come after the South Bank’s. As the head of the sect, Zheng Yuandong was required to be present on both battles and not allowed to pick sides.
Li Qinghou and the others were beside Zheng Yuandong, chatting with smiles.
Behind them were the elders of the three mountains, Elder Zhou included. They were either resting with closed eyes or speaking with each other in low voices as they gazed down at the approaching mass of disciples.
In the crowd, Bai Xiaochun had a lazy gaze as they reached the square. Not long after he moved to the side of it and curiously looked around. He hadn't been here before and those sculptures in particular caught his curiosity, attracting him closer to investigate it in detail.
“These beasts seem so life-like. Interesting.” Bai Xiaochun even noticed some of the fur on the monstrous beasts swaying with the wind, finding it incredibly impressive.
Suddenly shouts spread through the crowd.
“Senior sister Zhou is here!”
“Senior Sister Zhou’s cultivation had reached the eighth level of Qi Condensation long ago. Without a doubt, she will definitely enter the top ten. With her identity, it's safe to say that she'd even reach the top three!”
A blue streak of light came into sight as it travelled from the distant clouds, assuming the form of Zhou Xinqi within a blink of an eye. With her hand cupped into a fist, she made a greeting to the platform at the top, before making her way to the side, closing her eyes to rest. Although she seemed calm, deep inside her heart, Zhou Xinqi still felt a quite anxious. She couldn’t afford to lose. If she did, her years of training would have been for naught.
On the platform, Li Qinghou gave her a kind smile, a hint of praise evident in his eyes.
“Qinghou, this Zhou Xinqi… Not only does she have great skill in medicine, the might of her techniques are very formidable as well. Certainly, she will be able to bring glory to the South Bank.” Zheng Yuandong said with a laugh.
“Sect Head exaggerates. This disciple of mine still has a lot of room to grow, but her nature is indeed rare. A disciple with great potential, I'm sure.” Li Qinghou modestly answered.
Just as the many present disciples admired Zhou Xinqi with envious eyes, Bai Xiaochun glanced at her as he cleared his throat. Imitating Li Qinghou, he folded his arms and looked at her with praise.
The hype about Zhou Xinqi was still going on when the crowd suddenly went into another uproar, many of them raised their heads high, staring above. As the sky rumbled, a single streak of silver lightning flashed by, and on it was a green-clothed youth pridefully riding it.
Behind him, uncountable streaks of lightning swam about, rumbling with power. He flew past Zhou Xinqi, landing on the valley square. The moment his foot made contact with the ground, the surrounding ten meter area surged with electricity as the fearsome bolts crackled about.
On his body, lightning twined all the same, circling all around him.
“It’s Purple Cauldron Mountain’s Lu Tianlei! Senior brother Lu, who went into solitary meditation the moment he entered the sect, is an inheritor of the rare lightning-infused blood! His arrival today… look at the amount of lightning he is releasing!”
“Lu Tianlei… Impressive. What is he practicing? How can he possibly control lightning to this degree?” The crowd was in an uproar. Proud, Lu Tianlei greeted the high platform as he cupped his fist, and turned to walk to the side. As he turned, the outer sect disciples in his vision amounted to nothing, the sole person he acknowledged as a rival was Zhou Xinqi alone and no one else.
On the platform, Xu Meixiang smiled lightly, the satisfaction was obvious in her eyes.
“Sect head, this disciple of mine and that domineering lightning manipulation... What are your thoughts about them?”
“That electricity and his eight level of Qi Condensation… With something like that, I’m sure that this kid is already a Heaven’s Chosen that will reach the Foundation Establishment.” Zheng Yuandong smiled slightly, taking a few more glances at Lu Tianlei.
At this moment, the ancestor of Green Peak Mountain raised his head. He was skinny and pale, but he gave anyone around him a sense of danger. The edge of his lips curled into a smile as he looked into the distance.
With a sudden change of expression, Zheng Yuandong shifted his gaze at where the Green Peak Mountain’s ancestor was looking. All elders followed suit.
With a flash of light, an immense power grew near, rumbling the skies and distorting the clouds. The presence was strong enough that the clouds swirled and rolled, and the spectators could make out a slight figure of an ancient sword as it flashed into a green rainbow, splitting everything in its path, going straight for the square.
This ancient sword had a green bronze ting, its great age evident by its appearance. It was quite a sight.
On the flying sword stood a young man clothed in an outer sect disciple’s robes. His pitch black hair was flowing with the air, and his extremely handsome face made him even more conspicuous. With his arms folded, he had an imposing presence. He was covered in a layer of faint golden light, and the rainbow behind him transformed into an illusory jade lotuses.
Even farther behind was a thirty foot monstrous beast with a fish head and a dragon's body, swimming in the skies as if it was an ocean, leaving rain in its trail.
There was still a distance between the youth and the square when a gust of wind and rain blew past the area, forcing many of the disciples to lower their heads. They took a deep breath after witnessing that scene.
“It's Senior Brother Shangguan Tianyou!”
“The top of the Heaven's Chosen in the South Bank, Shangguan Tianyou!”
“Rumour has it that he possesses a sword’s spirit in his body, and he is the reincarnation of a great swordsman. For some reason, the heavens felt guilty about his death, and so he was blessed with innumerable fortunes. At the age of three, he managed to come across an ancient blade as he was walking, at the age of seven, a young Scarlet Cloud Beast fell from the sky and made him its owner, and at the age of thirteen, he obtained a protective golden light. Therefore, he was given the name Tianyou!”
Zhou Xinqi slowly opened her eyes, and when she noticed who was in the skies, her expression turned solemn.
Lu Tianlei, who was further away, quickly raised his head as well. Sparks of lightning could be seen flashing across his eyes as countless streams of electricity grew restless around him. He made his presence known, his eyes revealed provocation.
“Shangguan Tianyou, greets the Sect Head, Master, Ancestors, and all the Elders present.” The green rainbow descended as he greeted towards the platform while cupping his fist. He swiftly landed in one motion, smiling as he nodded to the disciples around him.
His eyes were kind, and almost all of the disciples responded to his nod with their own greeting, some of the female disciples even blushing as they glanced at him.
“Good. Good, good!” On the platform, sect head Zheng Yuandong’s eyes revealed a surprising glow to them and he burst out laughing.
“Regardless of whether Shangguan Tianyou is the reincarnation of someone great, the fact that he has a sword spirit inside his body before the Foundation Establishment is such a rare occurrence in this world!”
“This time, the participants of the South Bank are too promising! Astonishingly promising!” Zheng Yuandong laughed, looking at the ancestor of the Green Peak Mountain.
Li Qinghou and the others smiled as well, the elders behind them laughing. The atmosphere seemed to say that all shame the South Bank had experienced would be wiped away in this war!
He was about to continue speaking when he saw Bai Xiaochun standing beside a sculpture with his arms folded and a smug expression, emitting the air of someone above the masses.
“This Bai Xiaochun… What's he up to now?” Zheng Yuandong let out a small chuckle.
Translated by: Marcus, Nat Nat
Translated by XianXiaWorld