"Wang Bugui? Wang?! Could it be... tell me whether the blue light came from a pendant," asked the charlatan frantically.
"How did you know?" Wang Bugui asked in surprise.
"What? It's really that object. So, you're already..." the charlatan muttered blankly as he took two steps backward involuntarily.
"Who are you exactly, and how come you know that I have a pendant?" Wang Bugui asked, feeling that there was some connection between this man and his father.
"Me? Of course I know about that. That pendant belongs to my disciple, so how did it fall into your hands?" asked the charlatan, looking lost.
"What did you say? This, this belongs to your disciple? So, you're my father's Master?" Wang Bugui continued asking, again surprised.
"You're his son? Tell me quickly, is your father still well?" the charlatan asked hurriedly, his eyes glowing.
"He, he died in a foreign land defending the survival of humankind..." answered Wang Bugui, his voice trembling slightly.
The charlatan was extremely distressed upon receiving the bad news and coughed out a mouthful of blood. He looked upward at the skies, his eyes devoid of joy. "Heaven! You're unjust! Xuanming, Xuanming! Argh!" he shrieked in agony.
Wang Bugui could observe from the man's actions that he was not faking, and that he was really the Master of his father. The charlatan's shouting shook the entire Jade Lake, and terrible cracks began to appear on the surface of the ground. The boy knew that this man's power was at least on par with that of this own father's, and hurriedly went up to stop him from causing more damage.
"Stop quickly, you're about to cause the entire ground to collapse!" Wang Bugui shouted as he tried to shake the man back to his senses.
The charlatan gradually calmed down as he heard the boy. He turned to look at Wang Bugui, realizing that his features were extremely similar to that of his father's, especially his handsome and resolute looking face, if not for a slight devilish aura. His tone was a little haughty, exactly like that of Wang Xuanming's. The boy reminded him of his disciple, but he sighed upon accepting the fact that Wang Xuanming was never going to return back to life.
"Did your father tell you to look for someone called Yun Jinghong?" the man asked.
"Yes, he told me that this person will be able to teach me the ways of Tao," Wang Bugui replied.
The man gave out a slight sigh and replied, "I'm Yun Jinghong."
"You're Yun Jinghong?!" Wang Bugui asked, extremely shocked. He had expected his father's Master to be someone respectable and extraordinary looking, not a charlatan who had just tricked him the day before.
"That's right, I'm Yun Jinghong, the master of your father, Wang Xuanming. I believe he told you to look for me because he trusts me. After all, I watched him grow up, and I taught him his skills in Tao. But, how could he have died like this..." Yun Jinghong sighed as he shook his head.
"You are really Master Yun Jinghong..." Wang Bugui said, not knowing how to continue. The Master he had been looking for all day long had tricked him the first time they met, and they had even fought just now.
"Show me your pendant," Yun Jinghong said as he extended his hand toward the boy.
Wang Bugui took the pendant off and passed it to Yun Jinghong, and he rubbed it between his palms, unwilling to take it out for a look. This was the same pendant that Wang Xuanming had found when he was young, but now he was gone. He had high hopes for his student and even believed that he could finally attain enlightenment, but unexpectedly he had died at such a young age. His brows were slightly furrowed, and his eyes filled with sadness, as if he had suddenly aged 100 years.
"Follow me," he told the boy before turning around and walking away.
Wang Bugui followed closely behind him, and both of them made their way to Yuxu Peak. Yun Jinghong made sure that nobody else was around them before emitting a few rays of divine gold light from his hand. They formed into talismanic words and floated in the air.
There was a sound of the talisman breaking as a white door appeared before them. Yun Jinghong waved an arm, leading it to open slowly. He then led Wang Bugui in, and the door shut tightly after them as their surroundings reverted back to their original state.
"Wow! Is this the place where immortals reside?" asked Wang Bugui, extremely surprised by his surroundings. He was stepping on a lush bed of grass which was as green as it could be, and he was surrounded by flowers of so many varieties unknown to him. Just this scenery alone was enough to captivate him, but in front of him stood a palace suspended in the air with two Immortal Hills at its sides.
Wang Bugui also realized that the five auspicious vapors were hanging in the air around him, as well as the presence of a very thick purple aura, so much so that he noticed drops of purple fluid dripping down from the air. Yun Jinghong did not linger and led him on. The sights that he saw along the way were so amazing that the boy felt he was in a dream.
They walked past dense forests filled with ancient trees, and the fragrance emanating from them was captivating. As he breathed in the scent of medicine, he could feel his waste blood from using the Blood Ignition Technique earlier on stop clotting and beginning to race around his body, gaining new life from the trees.
Even the internal injuries that he had sustained during the huge battle began to heal slowly, and Wang Bugui began to wonder how effective they would be if he had actually consumed the herbs from these trees. He was taken by the thought and did not even notice when they had left the forest. When he came to his senses again, he was already standing below the palace, and he was awestruck by its majestic presence.
The entire body of the palace was sparkling white, and it gave off glows of five different colors. Combined with the clouds surrounding it, the palace was the splitting image of a palace of the immortals which landed on Earth. Yun Jinghong waved his hand, and a wave of five colors shot out from the palace, wrapped around them and brought them indoors.
Wang Bugui gazed downward as the multi-colored light brought him up and could not help but marvel at how this place seemed like the residence of immortals. He turned his attention back to his front and saw the words 'Yuxu Palace' written on the front of the palace. There were two watchtowers beside them, and the boy truly began to feel its majestic aura when he finally landed at the entrance.
"Follow me," said Yun Jinghong as he walked forward.
Wang Bugui followed behind silently, somehow feeling that he could not talk loudly in this palace. It was filled with a divine, imposing aura that did not feel pressurizing but somewhat peaceful, and there were three blocks in the Yuxu Palace- the main palace followed by two smaller ones. Both of them finally stopped at the central palace.
The words 'Palace of the Human Emperors' were scrawled over the central palace, and they were written with powerful strokes, as if the calligrapher had poured all of his Tao into them. An overpowering aura emanated from the words, as if a Human Emperor was observing them from the Heavens above. Wang Bugui could feel it crushing him, and he felt his blood vigour boil. The immense force soon led him to breathe with much difficulty.
"This is the pressure that our ancestors left behind to test the potential of their descendants. Let's see if you can withstand enough of it to become my disciple," said Yun Jinghong calmly.
Wang Bugui used all of his strength to withstand the pressure, but it increased with the amount of force he was exerting. He had already turned pale and felt the blood rising in his throat, but he forcibly controlled himself and focused his energy on fighting against the aura. Unexpectedly, the pressure on him suddenly increased, causing his body to bend further.
It grew stronger gradually, and no matter how much Wang Bugui fought, he could not seem to overcome it. He refused to give in, and soon the pressure was causing his joints to crack, and a little blood flowed out of his mouth as he grit his teeth and tried once more to withstand the force. He did not have any Tao power on him now, and was fighting against the force purely with his body and blood vigor. As such, it was already extremely surprising for him to be able to withstand the pressure for such a long while.
One hour had already past, but Wang Bugui was still standing. The pressure had already caused a few of his bones to break, but his body, which was swaying unsteadily, would not fall. In between, he nearly kneeled down for a few times, but he still managed to get back up on his feet. He was driven by a need to become stronger and the duty he felt toward his clansmen, as well as his desire to save Hanae Chiou. Yun Jinghong nodded in approval as he realized that the boy was as gifted as his father.
These thoughts helped Wang Bugui to withstand the pressure for another three hours. By this time, a few of his bones were already twisted out of shape, but he was still holding on. His vision had turned blurry, but his faith was still strong. It caused great alarm to the older man- the boy's father had only lasted for four hours, but the boy still looked as though he wanted to carry on.
Yun Jinghong's eyes gleamed as he stared fixedly at Wang Bugui. He wanted to know where the youth's breaking point was, and the aura of an immortal was long gone from him. His mouth was agape with surprise, for one could already be considered a genius if one could withstand the pressure for two hours.
Anyone who could do it for four hours had strength beyond imagination, but this boy could do it for six hours without using any skill derived from Tao! What did this signify?
He could not help but remember an old saying passed down from the founding fathers' generation after generation- Dao creates something, while that thing can create two. Two can become three, while three can give birth to tens of thousands of beings. Anyone who could withstand the pressure for six hours was somebody worthy of the respect of every soul, and a genius that came once every generation!