The years passed quickly, and the Halley’s Comet passing by the Nine Regions had become an old story. Only a few people knew that their lives had almost ended on that day.
The people of the Blue River Region were only concerned with one thing- the Celestial Gathering at the beginning of the next month. Many heroes and geniuses would be attending the Gathering.
The so-called Celestial Gathering was really just different Xiuxian sects recruiting new disciples. Upon entering the sect, the disciples would begin practicing and cultivating under the instructions and guidance of the sect, until they finally ascended as an Immortal. [TLN: I will be using Celestial and Immortal interchangeably]. However, the Xiuxian world only had five peak-level Sects that had the right to call it a “Celestial Gathering”:
The largest sect in the entire Xiuxian world, residing in the Central Region, the Sheng Jing Sect; based in what was called the origins of the Xiuxian world, the Kun Lun Sect; the Sect with the largest number of Celestial books and scrolls, and referred to as the ‘Xiuxian Museum’, the Ten Thousand Arts Sect; the Sect with the strongest forces in the Nine Regions, the Royal Soldier Sect; and the disciple-less, money-less, inheritance-less, God-knows-why-they’re-in-the-five-peak-level-Sects, the Spirit Blade Sect!
The Spirit Blade Sect had very few disciples, and kept a low profile. Even if it were to be compared to other normal first-rate Sects, let alone the other four great Sects, it would still be hard for it to match up. However, the names of the five great Sects were like golden recruitment boards, shining in every eye, and the Xiuxian world had not had a Celestial Gathering in quite a while.
The Spirit Blade Mountain’s Celestial Gathering had spread to all of the Nine Regions since three years ago. The only prerequisite was that the applicant had to be twelve years of age or under, with no other conditions. Compared to other Sects which sometimes investigated the ancestors of applicants up to the eighteenth generation, this was simply unbelievable. As such, many youngsters started heading for the Celestial Gathering. Some were villagers in remote villages, some were sons and daughters of nobility and royalty… the allure of the path of the Immortal was simply too great; nothing in the mortal realm could compare.
At the present time, there was still one week until the Celestial Gathering. Below the Spirit Blade Mountain, the Spirit River Town had been completely packed. The Spirit River Town was the border between the Spirit Blade Mountain and the mortal world. Normally, the number of people living there averaged around one hundred. However, because of the Celestial Gathering, there were now over ten thousand people! The numerous inns had all been fully booked, and there were even people setting up tents next to public toilets for convenience.
There were many people, but not enough space. It was inevitable that some conflicts would arise. This was especially so at the prestigious Ru Family Inn- everyone wanted to be able to lodge there.
Three men flew out from the entrance of an inn, and rolled along the ground. Two of the men, with large bodies and faces smeared with blood started cursing loudly, “Oi little lady, our boss is the Prime Minister of Azure Wave Kingdom, and yet you dare to be so rude to us!?”
The two big men helped the other person up. He had short, brown, curly hair, and was evidently a young lord. His nose bleeding, he stared at the coldly laughing proprietress with a look of disbelief.
He, Wen Bao, had never even been hit by his father before, and yet this proprietess had dared to give him such a big slap.
The proprietress was not old at all, looking only around fourteen or fifteen. She wore a robe made of rough cloth, and an oil-stained apron. However, her demeanour was that of an arrogant princess.
“You think a Prime Minister is so mighty? Even if your Emperor came, he’d still get slapped. I told you this inn is full, so it’s full. Can’t you understand human speech!? Even the Prince of the Great Ming Kingdom is in the woodshed, and yet you little peasants from your little Kingdom want to live in the inn!? And you don’t think you deserved those slaps? I never thought the people from the Azure Wave Kingdom would be so unmannered.”
Wen Bao was an extremely patriotic person, and instantly became enraged. He shouted, “You dare to insult our mighty Azure Wave Kingdom?! Don’t think that just because you’re living in Spirit River Town I’m afraid of you! You…”
“Shut up and piss off!”
Before Wen Bao even finished his sentence, the proprietress, swift as the wind, flew towards the young lord. Even though the two bodyguards were martial arts experts, they could not react in time, and could only watch as he was kicked away like a sandbag, and rolled along the street.
The proprietress was a businessperson. As a businessperson, she was required to exercise restraint, and thus did not use any killing moves. The kick seemed powerful yet gentle, and Wen Bao did not feel any pain. However, his whole body was paralysed, and he could only roll, roll, roll…
With the support of his bodyguards, Wen Bao returned to the inn, his face bruised and battered from rolling. He hated the proprietress so much that if he had the chance, he would torture her to death. However, he stayed silent, wordlessly showing his submission.
It was impossible not to respect this proprietress.
As Spirit River Town was the boundary between the Spirit Blade Mountain and the mortal world, it was protected by the Spirit Blade Sect. Even damaging a blade of grass or a tree would not go unpunished, let alone hurting the proprietress of an inn. There was a bodyguard of the Prince of the Yan Kingdom who had become drunk and unruly. A passing Spirit Blade Cultivator beheaded him, and sent the head as well as the Prince back to their own country. Compared to the Yan Kingdom which occupied half of the ‘You’ Region, the Azure Wave Kingdom was indeed quite small. Moreover, the son of a Prime Minister could never compare to the Prince of a Kingdom. [TLN: 幽州 = You Region; to avoid confusion I put it as ‘You’ for the first time].
Wen Bao’s heart was full of both hatred and regret. He had known the rules of the Spirit River Town before he had arrived: if anyone arrived before the Gathering, the family of any applicants would not be allowed to roam freely, and could at most take two body guards… and they must obey all of the laws of the Town.
If it hadn’t been for the long and arduous journey they had just completed, which stopped them from thinking straight, coupled with the proprietress’ appearance of an uncultured country girl, they would not have dared to cause such a ruckus in the inn. They had no idea if the Spirit Blade Sect knew of this incident, but they knew that their futures already had a shadow cast over them.
The bodyguards appeared to want to say something, but hesitated. Seeing this, Wen Bao sighed in his mind. They wanted him to go and apologise to the proprietress. However, he was the dignified son of a Prime Minister, and his status in the Azure Wave Kingdom could even be said to be higher than the Prince’s. If he was forced to lower his head to this country girl, it would be very hard for him to swallow!
Standing at the entrance of the inn, Wen Bao took a few deep breaths. His emotions gradually calmed down, and he tried to cast the humiliation from the incident just then from his mind. He also looked away from the glares of the people around him- these youths who also came from noble and royal backgrounds usually displayed courteous and friendly dispositions while at home. However, without their elders around, as well as being surrounded by people who were all hostile towards each other, they did their best to intimidate each other.
Wen Bao walked into the inn, his face full of smiles. However, that smile only lasted for a few moments.
This was because inside, the proprietress was also smiling. However, her smile was much more sincere, but it was directed towards a young boy of eleven or twelve years of age, who was dressed in very plain clothes.
“No worries, one premium room. Please wait, I’ll arrange someone to prepare it for you.”
Wen Bao instantly felt enraged and betrayed. A premium room!? The proprietress had just said that the inn was completely full, and even the Great Ming Kingdom’s Prince was in the woodshed. So what was this about the premium room?
However, this time it wasn’t Wen Bao who voiced out his displeasure. Many other people in the reception hall became furious, “Proprietress! What’s the meaning of this?! Didn’t you say the inn was full!?”
“Yeah, didn’t you say there weren’t any more premium rooms? Young master I offered a thousand liang of silver, and that wasn’t even enough to get the woodshed. What right does he have to get a premium room!?” [TLN: One liang is an ancient Chinese measurement of weight. One liang = 50 grams, so a thousand liang = 50 kilograms].
“Even if it’s the Spirit Blade Sect, there should be fairness right?”
“Proprietress, give us an explanation!”
Hearing the reception hall erupt into chaos, the proprietress’s businesslike smile instantly became cold, “What are you all yelling for? If you don’t want to lodge here, then piss off! You think I want to wait on you pieces of trash?”
The proprietress’ outburst fanned the flames even more. Seeing that a riot was about to happen, a kind-hearted local who was passing by pointed at the inn’s sign, “All you foreigners, if you’re not blind, come out here and look carefully.”
Some people ran out and circled around the inn’s sign. Next to the words “Ru Family Inn” was the signature of the man who had deigned to write the sign. The man’s name was Feng Yin.
Feng Yin- just the name alone meant absolutely nothing. However, if the word “Immortal” was added to it, then it became the name of the most supreme expert in the entire Xiuxian world.
How powerful was he? Living at the peak of the tall Spirit Blade Mountain, as the head elder of the Sect, Immortal Feng Yin was truly powerful.
Seeing that the inn was under the Spirit Blade Sect head elder’s protection, the various sons and daughters of nobility and royalty promptly calmed down, their faces ashen. They were unable to make a single sound.
Despite this, they were unable to quell the furious flames in their hearts, and stared towards the youth’s back. The youth, as if feeling the gazes on his back, turned around. His features were clean-cut and handsome, with an aura that transcended those of ordinary people. His long silk robe which covered his whole body did not look luxurious in the least. And yet, he looked clean and refined, not looking much different from the people around him.
The youth looked around. Seeing that there was something wrong with the atmosphere, he gently coughed.
“The situation’s different to what it looks like.”
He paused, then continued to speak, “There’s no adultery between the proprietress and myself.”
As soon as he had said this, a thought flashed across every person’s mind, “Could it be that there is adultery between this guy and the proprietress!?”
However, hearing this, the many nobles and royals slightly calmed down. If there was adultery between the two, there was nothing that could be done.
On the other hand, the proprietress’ cheeks became extremely red, and looked as if she was going to explode like a volcano and slaughter everyone.
Luckily, the youth suddenly changed the topic, “Since the Spirit River Town is hosting many guests for the upcoming Celestial Gathering, there are many events where you can win prizes. One of the prizes was a Ru Family Inn premium room voucher.”
The proprietress confirmed this, “It’s just like that. He came in with a premium room voucher, fair and square, so you trash should all shut up.”
The people in the reception hall gradually quietened down. However, some people still were not convinced.
“The events and prizes in Spirit River Town were all written clearly on the flyers given out at the Town entrance, and I looked over mine carefully. It never mentioned a premium room voucher.”
Another person chimed in, “The prizes listed on there have all been won by most people. Apart from some special statues or talismans, everyone knows about all the prizes, but we’ve never heard of a premium room voucher before. There are over a hundred people in the reception hall, so why was it that only he has one?”
The proprietress didn’t even bother to answer this question. Her head tilted, her face revealed a contemptuous smile.
However, the youth patiently explained, “Because this was a secret prize that would not be publicly given out.”
One of the Princes gave a cold laugh, “Then tell us, how does one get this voucher?”
“Oh, the process is like this. First, you have to talk to the elderly gentleman at the Town’s entrance who was giving out flyers. He will tell you the story of the Town, as well as some information about facilities, such as motels, inns, stores, etc… You need to patiently listen, after which you can proceed onto the next step.”
Hearing this, some of the royals and nobles stared, dumbfounded. The old man with no teeth at the Town’s entrance spoke incredibly slowly in a boring tone, and even repeated himself over and over again. Just the Town’s gates took an entire hour to talk about. Who had the time to listen to his entire story?!
However, with so many people present, there were bound to be a few who had persisted.
“I finished listening to him as well.”
The crowd of people looked over and some people drew a breath of cold air. It was because the speaker was the Second Prince of the Cloud Mountain Empire in the Cloud Region, Hai Yun Fan.
The Cloud Mountain Empire was one of the one or two most powerful forces in the Nine Regions, and Hai Yun Fan was the most prominent out of the Emperor’s many children. When he was 10, the masses already believed that one day he would replace his elder brother as the heir to the throne.
Who knew that the Second Prince had given up an entire Empire to seek the Immortal path!
Hai Yun Fan’s expression did not change, “I finished listening to the old man’s story, but there was no next step.”
The youth smiled, “Why would he just tell you the next step? It required you to find out for yourself. After telling the entire story, the elderly man coughed a few times, and said he was thirsty. At that time, you need to give him water to drink.”
Surprisingly, Hai Yun Fan shook his head, “At that time, I also gave him water.”
The youth continued, “Then the elderly man would say that after drinking the water, he became hungry.”
“That’s right, so I gave him some of the food we had.” Hai Yun Fan replied.
The youth replied, “He said thank you, but obviously he did not look very happy while eating.”
Hai Yun Fan frowned, “… and then?”
“After that, you need to ask, why do you not seem happy? The elderly man will say that it’s not because he’s not happy, but rather, it’s because he suddenly thought of the Eastern Willow Diary’s thousand layer cake.”
“Then… you bought him the cake? And he gave you the voucher?”
“Do you really think it would be that simple? After going to the Eastern Willow Diary’s dessert store, the store owner will tell you that all of the thousand layer cakes have been sold out. If you continue to ask him about it, you would find out that the Teahouse’s owner bought ten of them. After going to the Teahouse, you’ll find out that the owner is currently playing chess with a guest. At that time, you shouldn’t bother him by asking for a thousand layer cake. Instead, you need to secretly help him to win. Afterwards, he’ll give you a thousand layer cake for free. In exchange for giving him the thousand layer cake, the elderly man will give you a recommendation letter. By giving the recommendation letter to the Town Mayor, he will ask you to collect some materials for him… then you need to go to the Tailor’s shop… after that, you have to go outside the Town… and then… after that… finally, you give the bronze ring to the elderly man at the Town’s entrance, and he’ll give you the premium room voucher.”
All that could be heard were the rapid heartbeats of the crowd of royals and nobles.
The crowd of royals and nobles had come from all over the land. Although they were all still young, they all held high positions in their respective Kingdoms or Empires. They had heard all sorts of fantastical stories before, but after hearing this youth’s arduous quest to obtain the premium room voucher, they all felt incredulous.
If this event was designed by the Spirit River Town, whoever had designed it was a retard. At the very least he probably had brain damage. Who could imagine such a ridiculous and overcomplicated series of events? Even the intelligent and careful Hai Yun Fan only reached the second step, and yet there were still more than ten troublesome steps after that! Each step became more and more ridiculous!
And yet, this youth had run in and out of the Town for an entire day for this premium room voucher! He definitely had problems as well! No one told him that doing all these things would have a reward, so why the heck did he do so?!
Even Hai Yun fan couldn’t stop himself from asking, “Did you know about the prize at the end?”
The youth raised an eyebrow, “Why did I have to know? Seeing all these massive tasks in front of me, any qualified risk-taker would follow the path to the end!”
After he finished talking, he turned and followed the inn staff upstairs.
Hai Yun Fan frowned. The youth’s matter-of-fact tone made it seem like only an idiot wouldn’t have understood what he was saying and yet… he was indeed unable to understand what the youth was saying.
However, this was not the most important thing. In fact, even the premium room voucher was not the most important thing anymore. The question was, who was this godly youth?
All of the youths gathered in the Spirit River Town were all young heroes and geniuses. The more famous ones and ones with special abilities were all known by Hai Yun Fan. However, he had never seen or heard about this youth before. With this sort of ridiculous deduction ability, he should not be just some ordinary person he had not heard of… At this point, Hai Yun Fan felt that this person was becoming more and more mysterious. Apart from the youth of royal and noble families, the only other people who would come to such a place were the sons and daughters of Xiuxian families. Could it be…?
Hai Yun Fan was not too far from the counter, and looked at the register, and saw the person’s name.
“Wang Lu…? Never heard of him before.”
Although there were many famous and strong people in the reception hall, Wang Lu’s name still began to quietly spread.
“Could he be from the Southern Ridge Region’s Wang family? I heard that every generation is very monstrous, that sounds about right?”
“No way, I heard that there is hatred between Southern Ridge Region and the Spirit Blade Sect. No Xiuxian family from there would allow their descendants to become a Spirit Blade Sect disciple.”
“Could he be from the Wang family in Sheng Jing?”
“Giving up an opportunity to join the Sheng Jing Sect in order to join the Spirit Blade Sect? Although the Sheng Jing Sect rarely organises Celestial Gatherings to accept disciples, I’m sure the Wang family has its methods for its descendants to ‘enter through the back door’.” [TLN: ‘enter through back door’ = use connections to get in].
“Ai, you guys are discussing so passionately; how do you even know he used his real name??”