In just the blink of an eye, Xiao Chen could vaguely feel the distinct changes in the environment of this world. Knowing that the Violet Manor was his best option to enhance his powers, he asked, "Do you have any way of leading me to this Violet Manor?"
Evernight glanced at him and said, "The Mu girl you met not long ago has powers of the Core Forming Realm. Even she could hardly withstand the might of her enemies from the Violet Manor who have pursued her here in the Human World. What do you, a Cultivator of the Qi Refining Realm, can do? Remember, you possess twelve Spiritual Meridians. That alone makes you a widely-coveted nourishment."
"What can I do then? Am I to remain a useless fool for the rest of my life, now that Miss Gu had removed the seals from my Spiritual Meridians? One way or another, I must make it there!"
Evernight gave a light snort and he said, "There are Cultivators' sects and covens here in the Human World, but they are mostly hidden from sight and their strongholds are protected by magical enchantments and barriers. That is why most common mortals know nothing of them. But once every few years, a select few disciples who have displayed promising talents are chosen to be sent to the Violet Manor. Surely you will know how to go from here?"
Xiao Chen finally understood: Evernight had suggested that he enroll himself into one such Immortal sects and try to gain entry into the Violet Manor. He would also be able to learn the cultivation methods of the sect he would later join and use it to reach the Foundation Building Realm. It was a very good plan that he could kill two birds with one stone.
Like a huge segoing vessel that could never travel on shallow waters, his Mystic Cyan Cultivation Method could never again function adequately with the thinning Spiritual Qi in this environment. He would now need another cultivation method; a little boat, for him to traverse the smaller stream until his large vessel can once again be used in the greater seas.
Xiao Chen's eyes flashed, renewed with hope and resolve. He must reach the Violet Manor; the greater seas where he can once again use the Mystic Cyan Cultivation Method to its greatest efficacy! He must find out what happened thousands of years ago and find his master, Ling Yin!
Just then, he heard quick footsteps pattering outside. Evernight immediately retreated back into the zither. Just as Evernight had vanished, the door of his little cottage swung opened and in came a lady, looking twenty of age, although she was, in fact, a woman over thirty years of age. She was Xiao Chen's mother, Su Qing.
"What happened, Chen'er?" Su Qing asked, immediately reaching for his wrist.
Xiao Chen immediately withdrew his hand, "I am well, Mother..."
Su Qing's eyes immediately narrowed into a cold glare, "Was it the people from the Skygale Sect who had injured you?"
Xiao Chen felt himself shudder, why was his mother unafraid of the name Skygale Sect, unlike the rest of his kin? His mother's family name was Su, but the Xiao Family had a law set by one of their ancestors, that no one from the family is to fraternize with anyone surnamed Su.
Thus, Xiao Chen's parents faced harsh and terrible repudiation when they were together. In a fit of rage, his father had then left the family with his mother. It was until three years after Xiao Chen was born, only then they all returned to the Xiao Family.
"I am well, Mother. Worry no more..."
Su Qing sighed. Her chin rose gently as she scowled at him, "You silly child. Do I not know that you have always kept things from me? From where does your power come from?"
"I-I, I..." Xiao Chen stuttered, not knowing how he should explain everything. He hastily changed the subject, "ah... Yes! I remember that the Elegant Pavilion has a new stock of jewelry from the Western Regions that came last month. How about we visit their store for a look someday?"
It was only in the afternoon when his mother finally left, relenting at last for not being able to wriggle the truth out of him. Xiao Chen heaved a breath of relief. But he had always been puzzled for he had never heard of his father speaking about his mother's family and he had never once visited his mother's family even in the festive seasons.
The sun was creeping away into the hills when he suddenly had an urge to explore the ancient crypt to see if Mu Chengxue had left anything behind. With his skills, he easily slipped past the two guards at the entrance.
A deathly chill reigned eternally in the ancient crypt of the Xiao Family. Neither beasts nor vermins dared disturb the slumber of the occupants within. The hoary blanket of moon glow upon the stones of the ancient necropolis added only to the ghastly atmosphere that lingered. Xiao Chen went straight to the cave where Mu Chengxue once hid in and found a white jade bottle. There were seven or eight healing elixirs in it.
"She had mentioned that only the elixirs in this bottle were personally refined by her. Did she leave this here for me, knowing that I would return?"
He stowed the jade bottle into his robes. He had merely mentioned about the matter in jest to Mu Chengxue, yet now things had taken an odd turn and culminated in a costly favor for him.
He slapped his forehead suddenly. He had completely forgotten to ask her about her origins. How would he be able to locate her in the sea of people in the Violet Manor if and when he reached there?
He shook his head and sighed. But just when he was about to turn and leave, he sensed a sudden turbulence of auric energies churning in the cave. It seemed to come from under the ground.
Warily, he crept slowly deeper into the cave. Through the veil of darkness, he could vaguely see eight tombstones, each engraved with strange runic symbols. The eight tombstones were erected in a hexagon, each in the positions of the eight trigrams on the Bagua symbol. In the center of the stone formation was a round, stone sarcophagus.
The strange anomaly seemed to have come from the stone sarcophagus. Xiao Chen carefully traipsed past the tombstones and stepped before the sarcophagus. The stone surface of the coffin was battered with dents and scratches; all of which were hallmarks of its age.
He placed a hand on the sarcophagus and released his Divine Sense to peer inside. But a sudden torrent of force erupted from within and blocked his Divine Sense, sending a jolt of shock into him that he nearly fainted.
Xiao Chen lurched a few steps backward that he nearly knocked down one of the tombstones. He swiftly bowed and clasped his hands with respect and apologized, "Please accept my apologies, Senior, for my brash intrusion of your rest."
Just then, a hoarse, shrilling voice squealed from within the stone coffin, "You will never be able to keep me here, Xiao Ning! The end for the Xiao Family will come when I once again see the light of day..." The hollow voice echoed from deep within the ground, sending shivers of chill down Xiao Chen's spine.
But Xiao Chen did not fully catch the gruesome roar of anger, hearing only "Xiao Ning", "once again see the light of day" and a few other staggered words. Was Xiao Ning not the earliest patriarch of the Xiao Family? Who was the person buried here?
It took him some moments before he regained his senses. The voice of the dead person resting here must be a residue of his former powers. He must have been extremely powerful that his powers still guarded his corpse even after thousands of years since his demise.
But then he thought, "Can a warrior so powerful die? Had my master escaped the deadly pitfalls of the Samsara after the great upheaval which had befallen the land?" Xiao Chen could not help but feel a melancholic gloom.
Moments passed as night came slowly. Xiao Chen was beginning to leave when the cognizance of his Divine Sense alerted him to several cubicle alcoves hewed from the stone of the cavern walls. In these crude shelves fashioned from stone were many ancient books and manuscripts which were covered with layers of dust and soot. Xiao Chen walked closer and removed a book from one of the alcoves. He looked closely at it and found its title, "Heavenly Sky Palm".
"The Heavenly Sky Palm; at its earliest its strokes fall with the grace of a peaceful dove, but powerful forces are hidden within each stroke. Its strength peaks when its user is against stronger opponents. The ending strokes contained nine different Palm Strengths; each stronger than the one before, wielding indomitable strength that could lay waste to even Earth and Sea."
As he read, he could hardly hold himself from shaking apart. This was the martial discipline that Xiao Yuan had used, although he was still not yet adept in utilizing this discipline to its fullness. Xiao Chen recited and memorized the pithy rule of the Heavenly Sky Palm and began riffling through the pages of other books he found. At length, he came across another old book, covered also by a thick film of grime.
The words "The Mystic Diabolic Enchantment" were on the face of its cover. Xiao Chen's brows furrowed with curiosity. As he was once a student of a Cultivators' sect, his interest was piqued at the "Diabolic" word he saw on the cover of the book. He flipped opened the book.
But when he opened the book, the rest of the pages swiftly turned as if being blown by a strong wind. The words from the book floated off its pages and melded together into a black mass of smoke which suddenly shot into his forehead.
In his fright and panic, Xiao Chen tried to throw the book as far as he could. He calmed himself and began channeling his powers using the Mystic Cyan Cultivation Method, trying his best to clear his minds of all thoughts. But the vile cultivation methods contained in the strange book earlier were so deeply imprinted into his mind that he could not forget about them.
"The First Diabolic Shift: your blood is your palm."
"The Second Diabolic Shift: your auric energy is your fist."
"The Third Diabolic Shift: your soul is your blade."
Just then, he began to feel his True Qi beginning to flow differently. He remembered a lesson he had learned so long ago: the inversive flow of one's True Qi could see one falling into the dark side. He immediately collapsed to the floor, sitting cross-legged and began to recite the Mystic Sacred Writ. Moments passed and finally, he was able to suppress the tempestuous True Qi churning within him.
By then, the back of his robes was wet with sweat. Gasping for breath for his luck, he realized that he was but mere inches away from being corrupted. He cast a look at the evil book he had thrown away earlier and thought of the perils which might befall humanity if its secrets were to leak outside.
Summoning his True Qi, he blasted the book into bits.
The night was almost here when he left. In the shadowy dearth of light, Xiao Chen slipped past the guards and returned to the Purple Bine Pavilion. Three days passed without any events. Every day he tried meditating and training, still, there has yet to be any noticeable increase in his powers. Instead, the methods from the evil book that he had inadvertently riffled through would beckon to him bewitchingly, troubling and unsettling him
He was frowning at his plight when Evernight's voice called out to him, "There was a person who had come two days ago. I heard that he had chosen three amongst your kin who possesses Spiritual Meridians. Only three of your kin. Do you not want to have a look?"