"That little fellow Long Chen really is daring. And you, little fellow, you're not that lacking anymore either," praised Cang Ming. He patted Ling Yun-zi on the shoulder. The first thing he had heard after returning was that the thirty-sixth monastery had tried provoking them.
As Ling Yun-zi and Tu Fang had expected, as soon as he learned of it, Cang Ming's temper had exploded. He was about to go over to the thirty-sixth monastery.
But Ling Yun-zi and Tu Fang stopped him, telling him about how the matter had ended. Only then did Cang Ming calm down a bit.
When Cang Ming heard the whole story and how Long Chen and the others had ruthlessly returned the thirty-sixth monastery's humiliation back to them, he almost began to dance in excitement.
Ling Yun-zi and Tu Fang's expressions became a bit odd as they watched him. That was especially true of Ling Yun-zi. As far as he recalled, this was the first time he had seen Cang Ming so happy.
After Cang Ming had calmed down a bit, he said, "Little Ling-zi, ever since my senior apprentice-brother passed away, this is the first time I've been this happy.
"The reason I'm so happy isn't just because our monastery has produced a genius like Long Chen, but because of you.
"Have you realized it yet? Your heart was covered in shackles of your own devising. As a sword cultivator, for your sword to become corroded by dust, you are essentially crippled.
"You know, I cursed you over and over again, but you never tried to fight back. All day, all you did was try to increase the monastery's ranking to accomplish your master's final wishes.
"Is ranking and fame so important? I personally went to your master's grave and cursed him for a couple days for leaving you with this problem."
Ling Yun-zi's expression became a bit odd, but inside, he was extremely moved. Although this uncle-master of his had an explosive temper, and was sometimes completely unreasonable, he had truly treated him well.
Cang Ming continued, "After his death, you jumped into a hole and couldn't get yourself out. I could only watch as you did that to yourself. That's why I never gave you any face whenever I saw you. The fact that a genius like you was wasting away was just too painful for me."
"Uncle-master… I… I'm sorry…" Ling Yun-zi thought back to when he was young and how Cang Ming had always looked after him.
At that time, this uncle-master cherished him even more than his master. In fact, when his master would punish him, it was always Cang Ming who pushed for leniency.
"Good child, it's fine now that's everything's over. Seeing you recover your confidence and become the old, unyielding Ling Yun-zi, uncle-master is extremely happy." Cang Ming patted Ling Yun-zi on the shoulder.
"It's all thanks to Long Chen. Otherwise, I wouldn't have even known that I had formed a heart-devil," sighed Ling Yun-zi.
Thinking of what he had done recently, he couldn't help calling himself stupid. A grand sect leader, a powerful Xiantian expert, had actually formed a heart-devil without even knowing it.
Ever since his master had passed away and handed the monastery to him, he had been focused on the monastery, wanting to reverse their humiliation of always being in last place for the past three thousand years.
By doing so, he had unknowingly placed a set of shackles on himself. As he failed to change the monastery's fate time after time, those shackles became incredibly heavy.
They had tightly bound Ling Yun-zi's Dao-heart. At the same time, it had also bound up his precious sword. At some point, he had been so focused on being the sect leader, that he had forgotten himself to be a prideful sword cultivator.
He only began to realize this once Long Chen arrived. Long Chen had stepped across the corpses of countless experts to bring about miracle after miracle.
He didn't know he was a Divergent, and he knew even less about his own fate. But he always dared to resist; he always dared to challenge his enemies.
When did Long Chen ever act like an ordinary person? He always dared to do what others didn't. And yet, when he did those things, he didn't even frown.
At first, Ling Yun-zi had disliked Long Chen's way of handling things. He had thought such actions were foolish and impetuous. A smart person would never act like Long Chen.
He had simply thought this was a Divergent's fate. They dared to challenge the Heavenly Daos. But the only ending for them was death.
But after seeing the miracles created by Long Chen, Ling Yun-zi had realized he had been wrong, extremely, extremely, wrong.
What was a martial artist? Martial artists should always advance courageously. Whether facing a mountain of blades or a sea of fire, they had to charge through regardless. Otherwise, what were you cultivating for?
If you didn't even have that courage, then why bother bitterly cultivating? Wouldn't being an ordinary mortal with a lifespan of less than a hundred years be better?
Since you've chosen the path of cultivation, then you couldn't care about how long you could stay on that path. The important thing was whether or not you could manage to show your own radiance.
From Long Chen, Ling Yun-zi had realized that he was not just a sect leader, but more importantly, he was a sword cultivator. He had been so engrossed with his empty title of sect leader, that he had forgotten his own sword.
A sword cultivator's most precious partner was the sword in their hand. But he had allowed this partner of his to become covered in years of dust.
Now, he had finally remembered his partner. He had recovered his sword cultivator identity and become the old, high-spirited Ling Yun-zi.
Back then, if Luo Bing had really refused to admit she was a pig, Ling Yun-zi would definitely have cut off her head. He had not been just trying to scare her.
Right now, he was a sword cultivator, not a simple sect leader. Now that he had broken through the shackles on his heart, he would no longer by a coward afraid of every little thing. This was the true him.
Cang Ming was incredibly happy to see this Ling Yun-zi return. "Excellent, with an existence like Long Chen in our monastery, our ranking will go up whether we want it to or not, haha."
"It's not so simple." Ling Yun-zi shook his head. "After Luo Bing failed this time, I had Tu Fang stealthily go to the supermonastery, and he heard a piece of news…"
After Luo Bing had left, both Ling Yun-zi and Tu Fang had felt this matter to be fishy.
They had no enmity with the thirty-sixth monastery. Even though Luo Bing had said she had come because of losing quotas for the Jiuli secret realm, if that was true, she wouldn't have come so brazenly and with so many disciples.
In the past, the 108th monastery had never had more than a handful of core disciples. As for Favored, they only appeared once every few decades.
And yet, Luo Bing had immediately brought four Favored as well as a Chosen. Even if she had been planning on a perfect victory, there should have been no need for her to bring so many troops.
Thinking of everything that had happened, Tu Fang had made a secret trip to the supermonastery.
And as they had expected, with something this big happening, it was impossible to conceal the news.
That was because the supermonastery's top fifty monasteries all had an intense competition between them. Each of them had spies in other people's monasteries.
There was no way around it. For those larger monasteries, they all had disciples numbering in the hundreds of thousands or even millions. It was a crazy man's dream to not have any spies present.
Although Luo Bing had brought her people back stealthily, the next day, news had come out that the thirty-sixth monastery's Chosen and two of their Favored had almost been crippled.
That immediately caused a clamor amongst the other monasteries. They had investigated curiously, and as expected, there was no way the thirty-sixth monastery could keep this matter concealed.
All the details of that competition were known to anyone who cared to find out now. Some people had even managed to obtain photographic jades of that day.
As a result, one person spread it to ten people, ten spread it to a hundred, and now, there was basically no one who didn't know about the thirty-sixth monastery's tragic defeat. When the thirty-sixth monastery had seen those photographic jades, they had almost gone crazy with rage.
The angle of those photographic jades were from the side of their own disciples. In other words, it was their own disciples who had transmitted those photographic jades out.
Although Luo Bing had tried to suppress this news at the beginning and had told all her disciples to hand over their photographic jades, there were many smart people. At that time, some of her disciples had actually been using two photographic jades to record, and had only given her one of them.
And as the saying went, opportunities are left to those who prepare. Those disciples had had an opportunity to sell those photographic jades.
Those disciples had been laughing heartily at that time. The thing that made them laugh the hardest was that no matter how the thirty-sixth monastery tried to investigate this, they would never be able to figure out it was them.
As a result, the 108th monastery had instantly become a topic of hot discussion. Many monasteries even sent Elders over to pay a visit.
Those Elders all said they were just paying a visit, but in truth, they were supposed to investigate the 108th monastery to determine what was true or false.
The previous Ling Yun-zi would have definitely enthusiastically welcomed them. After all, the more monasteries that had a better relationship with them, the easier they would be able to grow.
But the current Ling Yun-zi had already recovered his sword cultivator's pride. He directly refused to allow any of those Elders into the monastery.
Those Elders cursed him furiously, saying that the 108th monastery didn't know what was good for them and that they were clearly being petty.
However, Ling Yun-zi simply ignored them all.
Nowadays, Ling Yun-zi no longer cared about anything like ranking. All he cared about was his disciples' growth. All he hoped for was that the monasteries' scheming wouldn't stupidly hold back his disciples' cultivation.
Tu Fang had put on a fake identity in the supermonastery and finally obtained a piece of important information from a knowledgeable member of the supermonastery.
Once Luo Bing had returned to her monastery, in less than two hours, she and her brother had gone straight to the first monastery.
As soon as he had heard that, Tu Fang had had a bad feeling. He had immediately gone to Ling Yun-zi to report it.
"Then what you mean is that the one pulling the strings behind the curtains is the first monastery?" Cang Ming frowned.
"There's a ninety percent chance, yes." Ling Yun-zi nodded.
The 108th monastery had never had any relationships with the other monasteries, especially not any of those in the top fifty rankings.
Only this time had they ended up with a slight conflict with the first monastery because of the application for Long Chen's Chosen disciple position.
But that couldn't even count as conflict. They had made one application, failed, then made a second application with proof.
After failing again, they had already realized it was useless. They hadn't further antagonized them. Furthermore, the next day, the first monastery had then announced that they had given birth to a fourth Chosen as well as made the 108th monastery a laughstock, saying they had wanted to cheat over a Chosen disciple position.
From start to finish, Tu Fang had been incredibly irritated. He had never said a single thing bad about the first monastery, and yet he had to suffer because of them. That was enough for him to explode with rage.
"Fuck, they really are excessive! Do they think we're that easy to bully?!" Cang Ming was completely infuriated when he heard all this.
"Uncle-master, you also know Long Chen's character. Once he enters the secret realm, who knows what he will do. And so…" said Ling Yun-zi.
"Don't worry, when that time comes, if anyone dares bully our disciples, I'll smash them to death with my awl! Looks like your uncle-master's weary bones are about to see some action!" snorted Cang Ming.