The next morning.
Chen Chen and Zhang Ji arrived at the spot of assembly, which was agreed upon beforehand. By then, almost all of the two hundred people that were chosen yesterday had gathered.
All of them were traveling light, with only a few pieces of baggage, whereas Chen Chen was the only one who had brought along three horse carriages.
“Chen Chen, there’s no need to bring so many things. Once we get to Tianyun Clan, we will provide all that you need,” Wei Shanhe couldn’t help but remind him when he saw the three carriages crammed to the brim with stuff.
“Elder, my things are all great stuff, there’s no way I can throw them away. By the way, I heard that all skilled cultivators have things like storage sacks or storage rings. Do you have any of those, elder? How about lending me one? I’ll return two to you later on.”
Wei Shanhe’s eyes twitched when he heard what Chen Chen had just said. He turned away, pretending not to hear.
The pupils around them had strange looks on their faces upon seeing what had occurred.
This fellow always pretended to be close with people. How dare a mere pupil borrow stuff from the elders? More importantly, the elder did not even chastise him. This elder from the Tianyun Clan seemed way too negotiable.
A moment later, all the members had assembled. Wei Shanhe reckoned that the clan master would soon arrive too, so he gave them the command to depart from the city.
All of them got on their horses upon receiving the command. With high spirits and great exuberance, they advanced toward Ji Zhou’s city gates.
A lot of commoners had gathered along to watch this procession, their eyes filled with envy.
They knew that although this group of people were all ordinary men for now, they would return with immortality, setting them apart from the rest.
“Elder, why are you following me?”
Chen Chen fell behind the procession, staring vigilantly at Wei Shanhe, who seemed to be in close proximity to him.
“Brat, why would I follow you? I’m bringing up the rear!” Wei Shanhe argued awkwardly.
Chen Chen sped up immediately when he heard that, reaching the middle of the procession before long.
Wei Shanhe almost choked on his anger when he saw his action. He was following him to make sure he could protect that brat, but he didn’t even appreciate it? Outrageous!
However, he still hurried forward to follow him for his own safety. He didn’t have a choice; if anything untoward happened to this brat, the clan master would flay him alive.
Before Chen Chen could question him again, Wei Shanhe explained on his own, “It suddenly occurred to me that I’d be better able to protect all the pupils from the middle.”
Chen Chen grew more doubtful upon hearing those words. Out of nowhere, he asked in a soft voice, “Elder, I sometimes hear cultivators talking about the concept of soul replacement. Are you people trying to replace my soul because you see that I’m talented?”
“Soul replacement is something that only the masters of primordial spirits are capable of. There is no such master in the State of Jin right now. And where did you hear these nonsensical sayings?”
Wei Shanhe was laughing out of anger. Soul replacement? He wished he could do it, but he didn’t have the necessary capability.
“Well, that makes me feel better. By the way, I have a few more doubts to raise…”
Their two-sided conversation filled the rest of the pupils with envy. Only the talented pupils had the privilege of chattering so merrily with the elders, even before the enrollment.
If they went forth to ask questions, they would most probably be greeted with eye-rolls.
Unknowingly, they had departed from the city gates of Ji Zhou and stepped onto the main path.
Wei Shanhe’s expression now turned solemn. If they really were to be assaulted by the demon clans, it would most likely occur on the main path.
Having thought of that, he was ready to have them slow down their speed. Before he could speak, however, a voice sounded in his ear.
“Shanhe, no worries, keep moving forward. I, the clan master, have arrived with the Great Elders. Today, I would like to see if the demon clans really have the guts to wreak havoc!”
The voice dissolved all of Wei Shanhe’s concerns with the efficiency of a calming pill. At that point, he was almost worried that the demon clans weren’t going to show up.
Among the clouds in the sky above them, however, several people were staring down intently with somber looks on their faces.
“My uncles, have you ascertained it? Is the brat beside Shanhe really a body of origin?”
“Yes, he’s a body of origin!”
“I am certain as well! Apart from body of origin, there is no other nature that I can associate with this phenomenon.”
The person who raised the query smiled upon hearing their responses, muttering, “God bless my Tianyun Clan.”
“Clan master, which mentor should this child be assigned to? Honestly speaking, I’ve never had an apprentice my entire life…”
“Senior, what do you mean you had no apprentice? Isn’t the brat Wei Shanhe your apprentice? But look at me! Although I have two apprentices, it’s not like they have great talents, and they clearly can’t inherit my legacy.”
“Do you think Wei Shanhe has great talents, then?”
The Tianyun clan master waved a hand before the Great Elders got into a fight, and said, “Everyone, no need to fight. I’m going to take this child in as my own pupil and impart to him the top-secret skills of the clan.”
The Great Elders wanted to argue further, but the Tianyun clan master sneered all of a sudden, staring down below the clouds.
“The demon clans really came? Humph! How foolish and reckless of them.”
Down below, all of them brought their horses to a halt because a gang of people had dashed out from nowhere, blocking their path.
The people were clad in black, their faces indifferent, like machines that had no emotions. However, none of the horses dared to take a step forward while they were ahead.
“These are puppets?” Wei Shanhe’s pupils constricted.
These turned out to be a group of corpse puppets. However, controlling puppets had never been a strong point of the 13th division of the demon clan.
“Hehe! It’s Liu Huai here, elder of the 12th division of the demon clan. I have accepted an invitation to come collect your lives.”
Moments later, a hunch-backed elder stepped forth from behind the puppets, shrouded in a black cloak. His voice was hoarse and eerie, sending chills down their spines.
“It’s not like twelve qi-training puppets and a foundation-building diabolic cultivator can end my life,” Wei Shanhe replied with a sneer after getting to know the person’s identity.
“What if we were here too?”
A few dozen people turned up from the sides of the road, one after another. There were four foundation-building elders among these people, and the rest were all equipped with cultivation as well.
With that battle array, it seemed as if all the members of the 13th division of the demon clan who were hiding in Ji Zhou had been summoned here!
Wei Shanhe was grinding his teeth in fury as the scene unfolded before him.
If the clan master wasn’t coming today, he would be doomed. Putting aside how he himself would due, the 200 newly recruited pupils would be ended right here as well.
Why in the world did the demon clan send so many people?
“Old guy, stop pretending! There must be an elder or two hiding somewhere around here to come to your aid, right?”
The middle-aged man, who had previously devised strategies during the ambush in Ji Zhou, jumped forth, a smug look on his face.
Before Wei Shanhe could reply, he continued with confidence, “Old guy, my people noticed the way you reacted when you saw this brat the other day. If my guess is right, he definitely has some astonishing talents! Which made even you, an elder of the Tianyun Clan, lose your mind for a moment!”
Chen Chen put on an innocent look when the middle-aged man pointed at him.
What? Was it a crime now to have talent?
“While choosing the pupils, you even made everyone spare you five minutes. You must have used that time to request aid from the Tianyun Clan with the messenger token because you were afraid that something bad might happen to this extremely talented brat.
“And even now, you’re guarding this brat closely at all times. All of those signs clearly show that this brat has phenomenal talents, those that even surpass Murong Yunlan! I wonder if what I said is right?”
Wei Shanhe blushed at his words. He hadn’t expected others to see right through the intentions behind all of his actions.
More importantly, the person was just a junior of qi-training level. What a shame!
‘Talent!’ Chen Chen marveled on the inside. If this person was given a bgm, he would have thought he was possessed by Detective Conan.
He really qualified for a spy allocated in Ji Zhou’s border. Both his observation and reasoning were absolutely splendid.
So here came the question: did the Tianyun Clan really send anyone to their aid?
“Old guy, you thought you were so clever, but in fact, you were extremely foolish. I noticed every single thing you did!”
The middle-aged man flashed a sneer, the demon clan elders around him looking satisfied as well.
It was a waste to leave such a talent like that in Ji Zhou to serve as a spy.
Right at that moment, the middle-aged man suddenly looked up at the sky. Then he shouted, “Our people have occupied all the surrounding areas, so if the Tianyun Clan were to hide, there is only one place they could be!
“I wonder if I’m right? Are the Tianyun Clan elders hiding among the clouds?”
Right as he finished speaking, everyone looked up at the sky.
The next moment, a calm, placid voice reverberated through the air.
“You are right, but what can you do now that I am here?”
Upon hearing the voice of the clan master, the middle-aged man who was pointing at the sky and behaving arrogantly just moments ago went weak. He nearly collapsed on the ground, as though he was struck by a bolt of lightning.
Even the demon clan elders around him turned horribly pale!