As they continued their way up, dried bloodstains could be found everywhere. Even the steps and their surroundings were somewhat damaged too.
While Chu Liuyue’s heart grew heavier as she took in the scene, Ye Ranran appeared to be immune and unconcerned. She couldn’t resist asking, “Ranran, how long have you been in Chong Xu Cabinet?”
Ye Ranran gave the question a thought for a moment before saying, “More than two years, I guess? My master and I spent most of our time on outside training though, so we rarely came back. It was only after what happened to Chong Xu Cabinet that we stayed here.”
“Your master is?”
“Ah, my master is Elder Xia Yi. He’s one of the four elders in Chong Xu Cabinet, but the other three elders have… Anyway, my master is now responsible for many affairs here.” A trace of sadness flashed across Ye Ranran’s face when she talked about this.
The other elders are all good people. What a pity… Chu Liuyue pursed her lips. Out of the four elders, only Elder Xia Yi remains alive… It’s no wonder that everyone has a pessimistic view of Chong Xu Cabinet. Without those elders holding down the fort, Chong Xu Cabinet is no longer as they were before.
Word has it Weichi Song has yet to recover from the grave injuries he suffered back then. Previously, I vaguely sensed that something was wrong with his body, but I didn’t ask him about it. If the Cabinet Master and the four elders are all in such a state, then it must be worse off for the others…
“Ranran? Oh, you guys are here!” Halfway up the mountain, they saw a young man yelling at them.
Ye Ranran happily waved her hands in the air when she looked up and saw him. “What are you doing here, Senior Lu?”
A hint of amazement streaked across Lu Zhiyao’s eyes when he swept his gaze over to Chu Liuyue and Qiang Wanzhou. “The Cabinet Master told me to fetch you guys! These two must be the first and second place winners of the Wan Zheng Competition! Come on; everyone is waiting for the two of you!”
Chu Liuyue cocked an eyebrow in surprise at the extraordinarily enthusiastic Lu Zhiyao. Even if they want to welcome us, fetching us from the middle of the mountain is a little overdoing it… Also, did he just say that the entire Chong Xu Cabinet is waiting for us? Do they have to welcome us… to such an extent?
At this moment, she still had no idea that Chong Xu Cabinet hadn’t had any new disciples joining their sect ever since what happened a year ago. Now that they suddenly had two new disciples—particularly capable ones at that—it was only natural that everyone in the sect was excited about it. Even the simple task of picking them up was a hard-earned chance won by Lu Zhiyao.
“We’ve already prepared rooms for you to stay in when you’re on the mountain, juniors! Even though I’ve heard from the Cabinet Master that you’ve already found yourself a residence in Xi Ling City, you’re still welcome to stay over on the mountain! Our sect isn’t that rigid and is, in fact, pretty lax in this aspect! You can enter and leave the mountain at any time you want; just make sure to watch out for your safety!”
“Oh yeah, we’re growing some herbs on the mountain. You’re a heavenly doctor, right? Feel free to ask us for whatever herbs you need if you want to refine pills!” While rambling nonstop, Lu Zhiyao carefully read Chu Liuyue and Qiang Wanzhou’s expressions as if he feared that they might get upset.
Chu Liuyue couldn’t help but be amused when she noticed this. She had met Lu Zhiyao—who was also Elder Xia Yi’s disciple—twice in the past. Back then, she only thought that he was a talented young man who was restrained and polite. She never knew that he was quite the chatterbox.
Then again, now that even the Cabinet Master has to sell his things to raise money for Chong Xu Cabinet, the rest of the people in the sect… Lu Zhiyao must be really happy about our arrival if he can say that.
Ye Ranran didn’t find Lu Zhiyao annoying as she listened from the side. On the contrary, she would chip into the conversation every now and then.
In summary, upon finding out that both Chu Liuyue and Qiang Wanzhou had chosen to join their sect, the entire Chong Xu Cabinet had been mobilized just to welcome them and make sure that they were satisfied.
Are they afraid that we’d leave the sect? wondered Chu Liuyue.
While Chu Liuyue would join the conversation as she followed them up the mountain, Qiang Wanzhou stayed silent the entire way.
Lu Zhiyao thought to himself, As Chu Liuyue is always smiling, she looks like a friendly and easy-going person. Although Qiang Wanzhou is a little aloof, it seems that he listens to Chu Liuyue’s words. From what I see, he’s not bad either!
Chu Liuyue found out about a lot of things from her conversation with Ye Ranran and Lu Zhiyao.
When they were about to reach the mountaintop, Lu Zhiyao suddenly shouted, “Our juniors are here!”
He shouted so loudly that his voice reverberated throughout the mountain.
The corners of Chu Liuyue’s lips twitched as she felt a sense of foreboding. As expected, a group of people suddenly appeared in front of her the next second. At a glance, there seemed to be a few dozen people here.
“You’re finally here, juniors! We’ve been waiting all morning!”
“Yeah! Hey, move it. I can’t see them!”
“Well, I got here first!”
“Calm down! Don’t scare the juniors!” Lu Zhiyao raised his voice again.
Meanwhile, Chu Liuyue and Qiang Wanzhou were speechless. Chu Liuyue couldn’t resist taking a look at the sky to check the current time. We left home early in the morning. Technically speaking, it’s still morning now, so how can they possibly have been waiting all morning? Besides, we aren’t some kind of exotic species. Why did so many people come to welcome us? I thought we were just here to pay our respects to our masters. I wasn’t expecting this at all.
“Come on. The Cabinet Master is waiting for you!” urged Lu Zhiyao excitedly.
Qiang Wanzhou finally couldn’t help but whisper, “You didn’t choose Chong Xu Cabinet because of this, did you?”
Upon receiving a murderous glare from Chu Liuyue, he immediately zipped his mouth.
After a warm introduction from Lu Zhiyao and Ye Ranran, Chu Liuyue and Qiang Wanzhou greeted their seniors. By the time they managed to escape the crowd, Chu Liuyue’s forehead was already densely dotted with sweat.
“It’s a good thing that the others didn’t come… Otherwise, just greeting the seniors along would take us all day,” muttered Chu Liuyue under her breath.
Lu Zhiyao—who was leading the way—suddenly stopped in his tracks and turned to look at her with a complicated expression. “That… was actually almost all of the disciples we have left.”
“W-what?!” She looked at him in disbelief and shock. There used to be 600 to 700 disciples in Chong Xu Cabinet! How come only so few are left?
Upon seeing her expression of shock, Lu Zhiyao hurriedly said, “A few others aren’t back yet, so I’ll introduce them to you later.”
“If I may ask, Senior Brother… How many disciples are left in Chong Xu Cabinet?”
He sighed and then said, “About a hundred or so.”
She sucked in a cold breath of air at that. “Chong Xu Cabinet suffered such heavy casualties from back then?!”