Xiao Chen raised his head and said happily, "Brother Yifeng! It's really you!"
"I didn't expect to see you here either. It's been ten years. You've grown so tall. How is Senior Changfeng?" The man pressed his shoulder and looked apparently happy.
The crowd was shocked upon seeing their intimacy. Mo Yu looked more and more terrible, uneasy and terrified.
Their friendship began a long time ago. This man was called Yu Yifeng, and his master was a good friend of Xiao Changfeng. On Xiao Changfeng's birthday ten years ago, Yu Yifeng happened to have some business to do in the Human World, hence he visited the Xiao Family to celebrate the birthday. Xiao Chen met him then.
Yu Yifeng was a low-key person and did not show his aura of an Immortal in front of the mortals. Ten years ago, Xiao Chen naturally could not tell if Brother Yifeng was a Cultivator or not. He could never expect that Brother Yifeng was exactly the Cultivator that he would search for a few years later. As for Xiao Changfeng, there was only one word to describe him—unfathomable.
At this moment, Xiao Wan'er ran here and giggled, saying, "Brother Yifeng!"
Yu Yifeng looked at her and asked, "You are?"
Xiao Wan'er giggled and said, "I'm Brother Xiao Chen's sister."
People nearby gasped and thought, "The backing of this pair of brother and sister was too strong! With their relationship to this man, they will definitely become elders' Core Disciples. What are they taking the test for? Are they here to show off?"
Yu Yifeng nodded and looked at Xiao Chen, saying, "Lil Chen, you can do it." He then jumped back above the stairs with a tap of his foot-tip. He looked at the two people in teal and white and said, "You can continue. I won't bother no more."
"Yes, yes, yes. Farewell, Senior Brother Yu." The two people were still scared. In their eyes, those who came from the Violet Manor were true Immortals. If they could talk to a true Immortal, it was a ten-year blessing.
After Yu Yifeng left, the Three Pure Sect disciples were relieved. They now had a different look toward Xiao Chen and the other two companies.
Xiao Chen's brows furrowed tightly. The truth was that he did not want to meet Yu Yifeng at this point. He joined the sect by his strength, not relationship. But now people had seen this, and there would be misunderstandings.
The two people in teal and white stepped forth and said with a cough, "Everyone, please go back and have some bath. Tomorrow, you will take the Spiritual Meridian Test, and elders will decide who will stay in the sect."
No one chattered. Many people peeked Xiao Chen and thought, "This guy has the highest score and performed the best. He can join the sect even without that relationship. Anyway, there will still be four numbers available."
Then, the disciple took the participants to the temporary dormitories, when an urgent voice rose from behind. "Young Master! Young Master!"
Xiao Chen looked over to the source of the voice and saw Lil Ruo. She rushed to his front and asked while gasping, "Young Master, have you passed?"
Xiao Chen stroked her sweaty hair by her ear and said with a gentle smile, "Yes, I have."
The temporary dormitories were located on the mountainside, consisted of numerous small yards. After Xiao Chen took his bath, he wore clean clothes and plunged into the bed. These days were tiring, and he finally could have some rest.
He gazed at the ceiling for a long time, as a trace of worry merged between his brows. After tomorrow, he would join the Three Pure Sect and acknowledge a master. However, he still thought himself as a Mystic Cyan Sect disciple and the sole disciple of his master Ling Yin. Acknowledging another master without informing was a major disrespect to his current master.
"Master, where are you exactly..."
Early in the next morning, the air on the mountain was exceptionally fresh and fragrant with vegetation and flowers. Xiao Wan'er and Xiao Han had gotten up early and prepared themselves. Upon seeing Xiao Chen walking out of his room, Xiao Wan'er leaned forward with her hands on her back, giggled and said, "Brother Xiao Chen, good morning!"
This time, she called him "brother" instead of "cousin". Maybe sometime later, she would directly address him as "brother".
Xiao Chen smiled and said, "Morning." Back in the days when he was still a "loser", Xiao Wan'er looked down on him just like the others. However, she was his kin after all, hence he held no grudge against her.
He noticed Xiao Han's cold face and jested, "Hey! Ice face, it's early in a new day, why are you looking deadpan? Somebody owes you money or something? Or is it that your creditor came to you this morning for his money?"
Xiao Han suddenly sighed and then gazed at the blue sky and white clouds for a long time. Finally, he said something astonishing, "The Way of the Heaven. What is the Way of the Heaven?"
Xiao Chen's body shook a bit. He looked around and said in a low voice, "How dare you say such thing here? Do you still want to join the sect?"
All of a sudden, he felt this person strange. The Xiao Family was such a big family that it had countless collateral families. Xiao Han came from a collateral family, but Xiao Chen did not know which. It was as if Xiao Han had never appeared in his memories.
Two hours had passed, and the disciple who was supposed to pick them up had not come. Xiao Wan'er sat on a little bench with hands supporting her head. She looked so boring. Suddenly, she stood up as if she had thought of something interesting.
"You two, which elder do you think will accept us?"
Xiao Han did not answer. Xiao Chen, who was leaning against a pine tree, yawned and casually said, "Whatever. It doesn't matter." He would not stay here forever.
"How can you not care about this matter?"
Xiao Wan'er rubbed her chin and said to herself, "The First Elder had the highest cultivation level, but he is too stern. I won't be his disciple. The Second Elder is a kind person, but he is obsessed with astrology and Bagua; this is annoying. The Third Elder is the youngest one and she should be the best option for me. However, her words are so sharp that no one can retort her. Also, her cultivation level is the lowest..."
Xiao Chen suddenly moved. "The Third Elder. That woman resembles my master..." He smiled and said, "Forget it about it. You don't even know if they want you or not in the first place. How can you nitpick?"
"Humph! They will recruit me! Didn't you see that those elders spoke so courteously to Brother Yifeng yesterday? If Brother Yifeng had told them to recruit us..."
"What? How can you think this way?" Xiao Chen crossed his arms on his chest, turned to her and said seriously, "Xiao Wan'er, remember this. In the path of cultivating, you can't depend on the relationships just like before in the Xiao Family. The path to becoming an Immortal..." He suddenly shook his head and said, "Never mind. You don't deserve my time."
Xiao Wan'er ran to him, grabbed and shook his arm, saying, "Tell me. Tell me. You used to talk a lot about this. You must know about this very well. Tell me about it, would you?"
Xiao Chen looked at her and shook his head. "Then I'll just tell you one sentence, and you'd better bear it in mind. For I am abstracted from the world, the world from nature, nature from the way, and the way from what is beneath abstraction."
"Abstracted from the world, the world from nature... What do you mean? For example?"
"For example?" Xiao Chen moved his fingers, pretending to calculate some numbers. "For example, a disciple will come to pick us up in two hours."
Then, two hours had passed. A cold breeze blew through the courtyard and brought them a piece of leaf.
Four hours had passed, and Lil Ruo was falling asleep.
Six hours had passed, when a voice rose at the gate, "You... Haven't you slept well last night?"
Xiao Wan'er opened her eyes. The tree shadows were slightly tilted. This was already 3 p.m. in the afternoon. She said, "Finally, senior brother. I thought you have forgotten us..."
The disciple scratched his head and smiled awkwardly, saying, "No, how can it be? It's just that the elders had so many issues to deal with today. Let's go take the Spiritual Meridian Test now."
Xiao Wan'er knocked Xiao Chen with her elbow and whispered, "You said that it'll be only two hours, you liar..."
All of the newcomers had gathered in the square. Many Three Pure Sect disciples and Yu Yifeng were also present. It seemed that they came here to supervise this test and make sure that nobody cheated.
In front of the stairs stood a black stone which was about a man's height. It was covered with talismans, and there were 12 apertures on its top. A palm print was carved in its front, and the participants would have to place their hands on it without carrying any magic tools.
Xiao Chen and the other two people were the last to arrive here, hence they were the last in line to take the test.
A 16-year-old youth walked to the stone carefully, and he looked hesitant. He then placed his hand in the palm print. A short moment later, a one-foot-long beam narrowly emitted through one aperture on the top of the stone. The white light looked a bit grey and turbid.
"One beam. Medium. Next."
The two people in teal and white yesterday were here to hold the test. The teal one recorded the results, while the white one kept order. Behind them was a high platform where Yu Yifeng and an elder in charge of the Spiritual Meridian Test. Many Three Pure Sect disciples, including Mo Yu, Wen Qingyu, Luo Shangyan, and Cheng Ying, were down below the platform.
The youth resentfully walked back. The chance for him to join the sect was basically gone. The Spiritual Meridian had quality ranks. The purer the beam, the higher the quality rank; vice versa.
Then, a young girl walked to the stone. And the light beam was kind of pure and about three feet long.
"One beam. Upper. Next."
That girl was overjoyed upon hearing this and ran back bouncily.
Most of the following 40 participants had only one Spiritual Meridian. Few of them had two Spiritual Meridians, but the quality was all Lower. The elder on the platform had sighed and shaken his head many times. Yu Yifeng also smiled and shook his head, telling the elder not to worry.
Mo Yu smiled coldly and said, "I've seen this coming. What can a bunch of losers do? They are nothing but leftovers of the other sects..."
Before he finished his words, the crowd exclaimed in the square. There were five pure white beams emitting a few feet high. This was once seen in a century.
The elder in charge of the Spiritual Meridian Test was so excited that his hands were shaking, and he almost burst the tea cup in his hand.
"Gosh! Five Upper Spiritual Meridians. Senior Brother Mo Yu only has four, right? Who is that girl exactly?"
The clamor lasted for a long time. The two people in teal and white were in a dazed stupor for a few moments before they came to their senses and said, "F-five beams! U-upper!"
Shangguan Yan smiled gently and turned around as her long hair flew up and suffused a faint scent. It was none other than her who had five Spiritual Meridians.
"She... She even has five Spiritual Meridians!" Xiao Wan'er clenched her fists and said.
Xiao Chen placed his hand on his forehead. He had not expected that this Ghoulish Woman could have such a good talent. The god was not fair. He was also worried about what would he do later. Evernight used to warn him that he'd better not let the others know he had full 12 Spiritual Meridians; otherwise, it would lead troubles to him. But he could not resist the mystic power of that black stone.
The test continued. Some people had good talents with three Spiritual Meridians. It was finally Xiao Wan'er's turn. She looked very nervous and walked forth. When she saw four pure white beams, she jumped up with excitement.
Xiao Chen put his hand on his forehead and said, "What a loser."
The elder in charge of this test kept smiling. Xiao Han walked to the stone and then caused a sensation among the crowd. There were six 10-feet-high pure white beams dashing to the sky!
The two people in teal and white were already dumbfounded. "Six beams. Upper. Is there anyone else?"
"Young master, it's your turn." Lil Ruo pulled Xiao Chen's sleeve.
Xiao Chen nodded and smiled. He walked forth calmly, when Yu Yifeng smiled, Luo Shangyan clenched her fists, Shangguan Yan looked at him with great interest, and Xiao Han gazing at the blue sky.
Xiao Chen straightened his clothes, coughed gently, and placed his right hand in the palm print. A short moment later, nothing happened. He then placed his left hand in it, and still, nothing happened at all.
The crowd started to chatter. Mo Yu crossed his arms on his chest and smiled coldly. Yu Yifeng frowned. Xiao Wan'er was confused.
The chatter became louder as a few drops of cold sweat appeared on Xiao Chen's forehead. "What's happening? Mu Chengxue had already unsealed me." He then placed his right hand in it again, and nothing happened. The crowd instantly booed him.
The elder on the high platform was about to say something, when Luo Shangyan said loudly, "Wait! He must have Spiritual Meridians!" She remembered that day when he fought against that giant bear. He showed a sign that he was at the Qi Refining Realm. How could one cultivate to Lv 1 Qi Refining Realm without a Spiritual Meridian?
All of a sudden, the stone suddenly shook, and then 12 beams dashed to the clouds as if they could break through the firmament. People could not see the end of the beams.
"Uhh! What's happening?! How can this be?!"
The square was filled with exclamations. The elder in charge of this test broke his teacup in his clench.Yu Yifeng suddenly turned pale.
The 12 beams were neither turbid nor pure white. They were pure black! The darkness was so thick and full of demonic senses!