Xiao Chen leaped to his feet instantly, "Why did you not tell me about this earlier!" With that, he immediately rushed out the courtyard and went straight to his father.
"Yes. I think it is Perfected Immortal Zixu, the leader of the Three Pure Sect. It appears that even our family has someone who is blessed with the fortune of becoming an Immortal. We will not have to fear the Huangfu Family anymore," said Xiao Yifan with a smile.
"Is the leader still here?" Xiao Chen asked anxiously.
"He left two days ago. There was news of a strange and evil flower that consumes the souls of humans. He and your grandfather had left with Master Lingjue of the Sanctum of the Arcane Spring to investigate this matter."
Xiao Chen frowned with dismay. He was hardly interested in evil flowers. He then asked again nervously, "Who are the three persons that Perfect Immortal Zixu had chosen?"
Xiao Yifan pondered and replied, "There is Xiao Han, Xiao Wan'er, and lastly, your cousin, Xiao Yu..."
Xiao Chen could feel his body quivering with disappointment. Had the fortune of being an Immortal just slipped past his fingers? Xiao Yifan noticed the gloomy look upon his son and said, "They will be leaving in a few days. Your sister sends for you. She might want to say her goodbyes before her departure."
"I see..." Xiao Chen responded, his voice heavily laced with gloom. Before long, the somber-looking Xiao Chen meandered into a courtyard filled with beautiful blooming flowers. Falling leaves showered gracefully in a soft breeze that filled the garden with the scent of fragrances from the flowers, which are refreshing to both mind and soul of anyone who steps into this utopian paradise.
Just then, Xiao Chen felt a swift force boring down on him from behind. He swiftly spun on his heels, only to find the tip of a short, green sword stopped before his forehead. The point of its tip glimmered with a cold flash and holding the hilt of the sword, was a young girl, looking seventeen of age.
Her skin was fair as snow and her eyebrows were distinct dark lines. Clad in flowing robes of purple, her hair was hung straight down her back. She stood in the midst of the shafts of light, as if a sacred and celestial glow had been cast upon her purple robes.
She was none other than Xiao Yu, the Third Young Lady of the Xiao Family, Xiao Chen's cousin who was three months his senior.
Xiao Yu giggled heartily, "Why are you not evading my stroke, boy? Word has come to me that you now can fight. This is perfect timing! Come, spar against me!"
It was hardly a secret to everyone within the household that the Third Young Lady was an avid lover of the martial arts. She was profoundly skilled in wielding the sword, with mastery of the weapon that might even put Xiao Yuan to shame, for the latter would never dare behave pompously in her presence.
Xiao Chen lightly pushed away the blade of her sword and asked, "Why is it that you have sent for me, Sister?"
Xiao Yu sheathed her sword and giggled gently, "An old Taoist master came two days ago and said that I am born with Spiritual Meridians. He wants to take me as a disciple. Hmph, surely my father's own swordsmanship is stronger than the skills of a little Taoist shrine."
Xiao Chen lifted his head, "But that is no ordinary Taoist shrine... That is a Cultivators' sect..."
Xiao Yu broke into a roar of laughter, "Be that as it may, I have no intention of joining them. Ah! What a coincidence! You can go in my stead!"
Then it dawned upon him. Xiao Yu had sent for him not to say her final goodbyes, but to allow him to go in her stead, knowing full well that Xiao Chen had always been interested to study the mystics of Immortality.
Despite some may question the veracity of deities and the supernatural, none would hardly forgo the chance of pursuing immortality and everlasting life. Many have schemed and plotted against one another only for the one chance of such an opportunity and fortune of extreme rarity. Yet, here it was, a person who would give up her own chance for him...
"Fret no more, boy. Xiao Han and Xiao Wan'er are also chosen. You will have to sit for a test before you will be truly accepted. I have long been irked by Xiao Wan'er and her antics; her trailing behind and swooning over Xiao Yuan every day. Make sure that you are better than both of them."
Xiao Chen broke into a light smile and replied, "Of course. Thank you so much, Sister."
Xiao Yu threw an arm over his neck and pulled him to her. She said, "Remember: bring back the Huangfu girl as your wife after three years and remember to return the favor to that Qin Xiu for the humiliation that he had given you."
Xiao Chen forced a smile in return; even Xiao Yu had heard of this news. He then returned to the Water Immortal Pavilion, where he relayed the news to his parents. Xiao Yifan was overjoyed by it but Su Qing turned morose and morbid.
"You cannot go!"
The sudden shriek caught Xiao Chen and his father, as well as Lil Ruo who was cleaning in the living hall, unaware that they jumped in unison. Xiao Chen turned to his mother and found that all colors have left her; her face deathly pale. Never before he had seen her in such a state for more than ten years.
"I have been very clear! You must not go! Why must you leave to study the ways of Immortality! You will remain at home and go nowhere!"
Su Qing rose to her feet suddenly and roared angrily.
Xiao Yifan was also bewildered and shocked for he had never witnessed his wife in such a rage. It took him a moment to recover before he strode over and spoke to Su Qing gently, "Why the tantrum, my wife..."
Su Qing looked at him and said, "Never before I have defied your will and never again I will dare spurn your instructions. But I must insist this time." Swiftly, she called to the sentinels standing guard outside, "Men! Escort the Young Master back to the Purple Bine Pavilion! Bar him from leaving the Pavilion in a month!"
Two guards stormed from outside the hall. Xiao Yifan pointed to two of them and commanded, "Halt! Stop right there!" He held Su Qing and slowly led her aside and coaxed her into the seat of a chair. With a gentle smile, he said, "Look, my wife. Look at how our son has grown. We must understand that we cannot keep him by our side for long. He needs to see how great the world is and realize his own potential..."
But he had barely finished when Su Qing retorted sharply, "Say no more, husband. I will never consent to him leaving us."
Xiao Chen could hardly believe his ears. Why? Why had his mother forbidden him from studying the ways of the Immortals? How would he be able to find out what happened thousands of years ago and locate his master if he was indeed forbidden from going to study the mystic arts of Immortality?
He dropped to his knees and said, "I am sorry, Mother. I have made my mind. I can only ask for your forgiveness as an unfilial son if you still intend to stop me..."
"You!" Su Qing's face paled even more. Xiao Yifan grimaced with agony, "Ah! What are you doing, my son! Get up!"
Lil Ruo too frowned with distress, "Please get up, Young Master. Please do not anger Lady Su any more." Even she was shocked by Su Qing's sudden change in demeanor.
"I am sorry, Mother. But I will not get up until I have your consent."
In a fit of rage, Su Qing snatched the feather duster Lil Ruo was holding and stomped towards Xiao Chen, screaming, "You would not get up, eh?"
Xiao Chen kept silent. Xiao Yifan barked to the two guards, "What are you looking at! Back to your posts!"
"Yes, Sir!" The two guards replied and immediately slinked away.
Overcame with intense fury, Su Qing was about to whip Xiao Chen with the feather duster when Lil Ruo immediately threw herself in between with a cry and tried to shield Xiao Chen from his mother's furious strokes, "No, Lady Su! Please!"
Su Qing thrashed her sleeves and threw the feather duster to the ground before she left. She came back moments later, "Listen to me, my son. The pursuit of Immortality is not like what you think. You know nothing of the terrible costs that follow..."
Xiao Chen raised his head, "I know, Mother. The journey in pursuit of immortality is but a most perilous undertaking. But there are questions in my heart that require answers; questions that only be solved this way, lest I will regret my entire life."
Hours passed as the sun was finally creeping back into the bosom of the western mountains. Su Qing's pale white lips moved finally, "Up you get..."
"M-mother... You allow me to go?" Xiao Chen gasped with joy.
Su Qing did not reply. Xiao Yifan threw a look at Lil Ruo, who understood his tacit gesture and came over to help the Young Master to his feet. Xiao Yifan laughed and said, "Let me cook tonight."
He then prepared an entire tableful of dishes. But none of them could lift their chopsticks to eat. Tears rolled silently down Su Qing's cheek and into her bowl as she struggled to stifle the sadness of seeing her son go.
Later in the night, a silvery moon hung in the sky. Xiao Chen gazed at the luminous orb perched up high. He could not sleep, wondering on the reason for his mother's unrelenting refusal to allow him to learn the ways of the Immortals. Suddenly, he remembered of what Mu Chengxue told him, that somebody had deliberately sealed his Spiritual Meridians using powerful sorcery and had altered his Destiny.
A thought came to him suddenly that made him sit up: could it be that the person is Mother? No, it is impossible that his mother would have such incredible powers. But what could be the reason behind her intransigent refusal? Who could she be actually...
Through the entire night, Xiao Chen remained wide-awake. Two days then passed without any events. On the third day, a disciple from the Three Pure Sect came to the residence to lead the three prospects to the stronghold of the sect.
In the Water Immortal Pavilion, Su Qing, her face blank and expressionless, asked again, "Are you certain of this, my son?"
Xiao Chen nodded wordlessly, conveying his resolve. On his back, he was carrying a case which contained the Jade Zither.
Xiao Yifan led his son aside and slipped to him a Well-being Talisman. He whispered to his son, "This is made by your mother for you. Inside, it contains a piece of the heirloom of our family, the Blood Jade. It was cleaved into four halves and one of it is for you."
Xiao Chen accepted the Well-being Talisman from his father. But as soon as he touched it, he instantly felt a most familiar sensation. He projected his Divine Senses and found that it was a fragment of a Samsara Jade!
The Samsara Jade was a very, very old Blood Jade, a treasure that could last for ages and protect the soul of its wielder. Ages ago, it was his teacher who had then sealed his soul into the Samsara Jade. But never did he know that it was broken and it had also ended up in the Xiao Family!
By then, he could not help feeling fearful and worried. What was going on with him? His reawakening in this age was definitely not by chance, but an intricate plot concocted by somebody unknown!