Shi Yu returned to his sleeping chamber. In it, a woman dressed in an imperial robe sat there waiting. She appeared no older than 28 and was incredibly pretty. Her eyes were bright and she wore a smile on her beautiful face.
When she saw Shi Yu enter, she bowed and walked forward. "Your Majesty, you have overworked yourself in the past few days. Please take care."
Shi Yu shook his head slowly and did not reply to the woman's advice. He sat down and looked quietly at the roof, as if his gaze could pierce through the void. After a while, he asked suddenly, "Nuan Nuan, do you remember the Battle of Xiling City five years ago? When the leader of the Celestial Sect first arrived in Xiling City, I welcomed him with a banquet."
Consort Nuan nodded her head and said, "Yes, I remember."
Shi Yu said, "After the banquet, do you remember what did I talk to you about?"
Consort Nuan replied slowly, "Yes, Your Majesty." With that, she closed her mouth and said nothing else.
Shi Yu did not ask her to recount the events. He slowly closed his eyes and the sleeping chamber fell into a deep silence.
After a long while, he exhaled slowly in a long sigh and said, "Changes don't wait for anyone."
As the higher echelons of the Great Qin Empire wracked their brains over this, Wang Lin, Shi Tianhao and company in the Barren Expanses bade Lin Feng farewell as they headed northwest.
Halfway, Shi Tianhao waved his arm and the sleeves of his robes expanded. Two human figures fell out before everyone else. With the help of Shi Tianhao's mana, they stood in the void.
One of them was a youth with bright eyes who resembled a tiger. While he was large, his face retained a trace of childishness. It was Shi Tianhao's immediate disciple, Huang Zhenting. To his side, there stood an elegant girl exuding warmth. She was another exceptional disciple of Shi Tianhao, Zhuge Wanqiu.
When the two of them revealed themselves, they paid their respects to Wang Lin, Shi Tianhao, Yang Qing, Li Yuanfang and Luo Qingwu, "Greetings, Third Senior Uncle, Fifth Senior Uncle, Sixth Senior Uncle and Little Junior Aunt."
Li Yuanfang and Luo Qingwu too used their spells. Behind Li Yuanfang, a slim youth with handsome brows and a stern gaze appeared. On first sight, the youth was evidently someone with a lot of self-discipline.
It was the most outstanding second-generation successive disciple under Li Yuanfang's River Abode, Tan Yunqing.
Tan Yunqing joined the sect during the third sect-opening ceremony. Despite the other talented disciples, Tan Yunqing was able to stand out with his exceptional intelligence and innate ability. He was the third-most outstanding recruit from the third sect-opening ceremony, ranking right after Xiao Yan's Tang Jun and Luo Qingwu's Han Yang.
His personality was calm and steady and he had high expectations for himself and those around him. As a perfectionist, he would write his own reflections every single day.
After the examinations, he became Li Yuanfang's first disciple. He later became the representative personality of the River Abode. While he joined the sect late, Tan Yunqing was already rather well-known in the sect.
What Luo Qingwu had joked about earlier came true. Gradually, some in the Celestial Sect of Wonders lumped Tan Yunqing together with Zhou Yuncong and Xu Yunsheng, labelling them the 'Three Yuns'.
When Tan Yunqing revealed himself, he bowed straightaway without hesitation to Wang Lin and the rest, saying, "Greetings Third Senior Uncle, Fifth Senior Uncle, Little Junior Uncle and Little Junior Aunt."
On the other side, a purple-robed youth with a sly and slightly proud face appeared before Luo Qingwu. It was Luo Qingwu's only disciple, Han Yang.
Han Yang's expression was serious as he formally bowed to Wang Lin, Shi Tianhao, Yang Qing and Li Yuanfang. However, before Luo Qingwu, a naughty look crossed his face as he said with a smile, "Master, the flow of spiritual energy in the Barren Expanses is truly annoying."
Luo Qingwu tapped his head with her fingers and said, "Think carefully and stop spouting so much nonsense."
Han Yang covered his head with his hand and laughed, "Master, can you hurry up and get another disciple? If not, I will be the only victim of your taps!"
Shi Tianhao looked at Han Yang, Huang Zhenting, Tan Yunqing and Zhuge Wanqiu and said smilingly, "It is rather rare for us to venture so deep into the Barren Expanses and hence, we brought you here. If you come out by yourself, you may not be able to go so far."
Lin Feng's visit to the Barren Expanses this time was to settle his debt with the Golden Cicada Master and retrieve the hostages. Hence, he tried to keep it as low-profile as possible for fears of attracting unwanted attention. He may come into conflict with the powerful demons of the Barren Expanses.
For these demons, Wang Lin and Shi Tianhao may be able to handle them. The others, such as Yang Qing, Li Yuanfang and Luo Qingwu, were no match at all, let alone Han Yang, Tan Yunqing, Huang Zhenting and Zhuge Wanqiu.
While they were protected by their seniors, they may be killed by just the mana waves from an actual fight if they weren't properly taken care of.
Lin Feng dared to bring Yang Qing, Li Yuanfang and Luo Qingwu over for training. However, after they had left Lin Feng's side, Shi Tianhao, Luo Qingwu and the rest knew that they might not be fully able to protect their own disciples.
However, to the four of them, it was undoubtedly a rare training opportunity.
Yang Qing looked at them and said quietly, "This is a rare chance and there are both good and bad sides to it. Make the best out of it."
Wang Lin looked at Shi Tianhao and said, "If it's necessary, the two of us may need to step in."
Shi Tianhao stopped smiling and nodded his head and said, "Naturally, since we have brought them out, we must bring them back safely."
Luo Qingwu smiled and said, "We hope that through this expedition, the Celestial Sect of Wonders will gain four more Aurous Core stage cultivators."
Han Yang, Tan Yunqing, Huang Zhenting and Zhuge Wanqiu were all in their Advanced Foundation Establishment stage.
Amongst them, Huang Zhenting and Zhuge Wanqiu were already in their Advanced Stage of the Foundation Establishment stage during the Spiritual Conference of Kunlun Mountains two years ago. However, they had just begun to form their spiritual altars and crucibles. Today, both had deep foundations and they were in the peak of the Foundation Establishment stage. They were only half a step away from the Aurous Core stage. Hence, there was a chance that they could break through their bottleneck and form their Aurous Cores.
The two of them were not very old and hence, after the Spiritual Conference of the Kunlun Mountains, they did not spend much time doing accelerated training in the Universal Light Hall.
Cultivation required time. One could not take shortcuts and be lazy about it.
However, many time, blindly doing closed-door training was just a waste of time too. It was utterly useless.
The important thing was that due to the differences between individuals, cultivators themselves had to carefully improve their mastery under the guidance of their seniors and masters. This was to prevent them from going down the wrong path and wasting their precious time.
When the chance presented itself, coupled with an understanding of the Dao and enough experience, one could then hope to overcome the bottleneck and continue progressing forward.
Sometimes, the road ahead may be difficult and this might cause many to lose their patience and faith in themselves, especially when they saw those formerly inferior to them catch up or even surpass them while they themselves did not progress. This may cause them to become mentally unbalanced and hence, try to rush their progress. This would only further block their paths.
This was one of the many hazards of cultivation. Overcoming it would lead to an entirely new experience and level. The path of cultivation was never smooth and many different challenges awaited every cultivator.
Huang Zhenting and Zhuge Wanqiu faced this very problem. Han Yang and Tan Yunqing who joined the sect after them had already caught up to them. While that was partially because of the Universal Light Hall and accelerated training, from a purely chronological perspective, there wasn't much difference.
Hence, Wang Lin and Shi Tianhao brought them along hoping that this expedition would benefit them.
Amongst the second-generation disciples, other than Dao Yuting and Zhou Yuncong, Lin Tong, Xu Yunsheng, Ying Luozha, Li Xingfei, Liu Xiafeng and Tang Jun had all reached the Aurous Core stage.
Amongst them, Lin Tong, Xu Yunsheng, Ying Luozha, Li Xingfei, Liu Xiafeng and Tan Jun formed their Aurous Cores before Zhou Yuncong. However, as Zhou Yuncong formed his Aurous Core at the same time as his Tribulation of the Yin Fire, he reached the Intermediate Stage of the Aurous Core stage straightway after forming his Aurous Core, beating Lin Tong and the others.
This time, Ying Luozha beat Xu Yunsheng and became the second second-generation disciple of the Celestial Sect of Wonders, other than Dao Yuting, to form his Aurous Core. Hence, Zhu Yi gave him the Daoist Name of Tian Bi.
This came from Zhu Yi's own understanding of the Way of Changes. The Bi Trigram told Ying Luozha to be interact more and be more cooperative. Only then would he be powerful. It too represented the reminders and expectations Zhu Yi wished to convey to him.
Amongst the others, while Lin Tong formed her Aurous Core after Ying Luozha, she was the only other Intermediate Aurous Core stage cultivator other than Zhou Yuncong right now. In terms of mastery, she was only slightly behind Dao Yuting, who was in the Advanced Aurous Core stage.
She was simply too powerful.
After she formed her Aurous Core, Xiao Yan gave her the Daoist Name Tian Qing. This was because an alternative name for Parasol Trees was Qingyu. Hence, her Daoist Name came from the character 'Qing'.
After Xu Yunsheng formed his aurous core, Zhu Yi named him Tian Xu. Likewise, it was from the Book of Changes too.
The Xu Trigram represented waiting and had elements of trustworthiness in it. Doing things righteously would assure you the smoother path. That was Zhu Yi's expectations of Xu Yunsheng.
After Xu Yunsheng formed his Aurous Core, he followed Zhu Yi's arrangement and headed for the Celestial Wonders World. However, to others, he said that he was touring the world.
After Li Xingfei formed her Aurous Core, Wang Lin named him Tian Chi. Xiao Yan named Liu Xiafeng and Tang Jun Tian You and Tian Cang respectively.
After Zhou Yuncong formed his Aurous Core, Yang Qing named him Tian Jin.
Amongst the other second-generation disciples, Huang Zhenting, Han Yang, Zhuge Wanqiu, Tan Yunqing, Yang Tie under Zhu Yi and Zhao Huan under Yue Hongyan had the best hope of reaching the Aurous Core stage.
Lin Feng was very concerned about this too. From the system's clock, there was still much time. Other than the more exceptional ones, everyone else was rapidly catching up. Hence, he did not mind Shi Tianhao and the rest bringing their disciples out for training. On the contrary, he encouraged it.
If he was unwilling to even take such a small risk, how could he achieve anything? Nothing in the world was perfect. Even his own disciples, Li Yuanfang and Luo Qingwu, suffered much in the past few years.
Tun Tun ignored Han Yang and the rest. Her eyes swept her surroundings excitedly and finally, it landed on a huge pond in the distance. Her eyes shone as she said, "It's there! It's there! That's the ancestral home of the Xuanming Tribe."