Wu Chang Jie Chapter 41-50

Chapter 41

"You attacked with your sword too slow here. Yes, you must not hesitate when attacking. No, it's still wrong here. I've said it many times, this stance should be done by catching the wrist and pecking, loosening the wrist and storing strength. It's the wrist that drives the arm so that the force can reach the tip of the sword without lessening." Song Zi Heng, with one hand behind his back and his sword in the other, fought with Song Zi Xiao, his stance as straight as a pine, steadily stepping back, giving Song Zi Xiao room to attack but not allowing him room to venture in.

Song Zi Xiao’s mood was a little agitated, and when this emotion reached his sword movements, he appeared to be in a bit of a hurry. With his moves blocked and dismantled by Song Zi Heng, and still having to listen to verbal admonitions, he fought more and more aggressively.

The tip of Song Zi Heng's sword picked up and the blades clashed, Song Zi Xiao's part of the hand between the thumb and index finger became painful and he was unable to hold on to it, his sword was directly removed by this move.

The sword fell to the ground with a loud bang.

"What's wrong with you? So inattentive." Song Zi Heng scolded.

Song Zi Xiao gritted his teeth, hooked his sword with his toes and said indignantly, "Come again."

"Let's stop here for today." Song Zi Heng sheathed his sword, "What can you practice with this half-heartedness?” "I'm half-hearted?" Song Zi Xiao gave a heavy hum, "Isn’t it because I want to learn from big brother? When you get a wife, are you going to take a bunch of concubines like Father?"

"What nonsense are you talking about? I haven't married a single one yet."

"Once you marry one you will have more, yet you said you will still care about me. By then you will have a large number of concubines and grandchildren. How will you have time to care for me?"

Song Zi Heng frowned, "It's been a few days, and you're still being difficult with me?"

Song Zi Xiao turned his face away indignantly.

"Don't worry, I won't be like my father. I never intended to take a concubine." He had grown up watching his mother suffer. The deep palace was bitterly cold. The nights were long. If he truly treated a woman with heart, how could he bear to subject her and their child to harsh treatment? That is why he would never take a concubine.

Yet this phrase has another meaning in Song Zi Xiao’s ears. He shouted, "You haven't even met her, and you're already thinking of spending a lifetime together. Are you so eager that you want to marry her the next day?!”

"Song Zi Xiao!" Song Zi Heng shouted, "You're losing your sense of propriety. Who gave you permission to talk to big brother like that?"

Song Zi Xiao said crossly, "Then punish me so that I don't get in the way of you marrying your wife."

"You ...” Song Zi Heng said with a stern face, "You are forbidden to set foot outside your bedchamber for three days. Xiao Jiu, it is time for you to grow up." After saying that, he flicked his sleeves and left. Song Zi Xiao's face was full of resentment. His chest was heaving violently. Suddenly, he fiercely used his sword and slashed. The sword light like a wolf running after a tiger, fiercely shot out. A distant tree that looked like two people hugging, was actually cut off at the waist!

The crown of the tree fell to the ground with a crash, and the trembling underfoot did not stop after a long time. Song Zi Xiao gripped his own sword tightly, his eyes bursting with a ruthlessness beyond his age. That bullshit daughter. He hadn't even seen her yet, and she had already caused his big brother to rebuke him and lose his temper. What will happen if she walks through the door?

He swore in the dark that he would break up this marriage.

---

Although the marriage had not yet been decided, Shen Shi Yao had already made preparations in advance. She had invited the best tailors in the palace to make clothes for her and her son, and she also wanted Qinghui Pavilion to be whitewashed and repaired. Song Zi Heng was also specifically instructed not to leave Daming during this period, and she wanted Song Ming He to bestow the marriage as soon as possible so that it will not be a long night's dream.

In fact, Song Zi Heng was originally going to make a trip to Chunyang Sect.

In the past three years, although the evil spirit had been identified and had returned to his hometown for burial, the core hunter who attacked them in Gutuo Town was still at large.

When Elder Tai Wei personally went to the Cangyu Sect to question them, Cangyu Sect had to admit that Chen Xing Yong, the leader of the Lion Alliance, was a traitor to their sect after murdering their elders and stealing Gong Shu Ju. He then set up his own sect in Jianghu, killing countless cultivators over the past ten years. Chen Xing Yong is not difficult to deal with, but Gong Shu Ju is a powerful aid to combined combat, as it can set up formations to trap enemies in a "game" that it controls, and then drain their strengths before breaking them down one by one.

Moreover, with this magical weapon, you can shrink the ground when you say so and teleport when you say so, thus it is extremely difficult to catch these people. The Song Clan, Chunyang Sect, Cangyu Sect and Huaying Sect had joined forces to chase them for three years. They engaged in close combat twice, yet they still escaped.

Song Zi Heng could tell that his father was not attached to the matter and had barely asked questions for three years, but fortunately, the other three sects were still persistent in their pursuit. Among them, the Huaying Sect was out for revenge, the Cangyu Sect was out to get rid of their traitor, but only Chunyang Sect was simply out to do justice, which made Song Zi Heng feel good. Over the past three years, he had exchanged many letters with Xu Zhi Nan, and they had become close friends.

Two days ago, Xu Zhi Nan sent a letter to tell him that he had found traces of Chen Xing Yong again, and he wanted to go to Chunyang Sect to discuss countermeasures with Xu Zhi Nan and take personal action to avenge his past.

But at the moment, it was obvious that he could not leave. Looking at Shen Shi Yao's springtime smile, he was always a little uneasy in his heart. Since he had missed the Jiaolong assembly three years ago, his father had been even harsher on him. Even if father agreed to this marriage, what about the Empress? The Empress is always very wary of him. If he could think of this, his mother must have thought of it too, which is why she was so eager for his father to bestow the marriage.

Song Zi Heng was now lying in bed, tossing and turning over the matter. year, Song Zi Xiao would be participating in Jiaolong assembly, and whether he won the title or not, he would certainly do very well. By then he would be even more redundant in his father's eyes.

Song Zi Heng's pupils dimmed as he let out a shallow sigh. When he was young, he would still ask his mother why his father did not like him. He had always worked hard and been diligent, hoping his father would look at him more. He would be happy for a long time if he received a compliment. Unfortunately, the little attention he had earned was also knocked back after he missed the Jiaolong assembly.

He would be twenty next year and it was time to make plans for the future. Perhaps it would be a good opportunity to leave Daming and start a family and a career. In fact, he had wanted to get away from this suffocating deep palace for a long time, but he just couldn't leave his mother alone.

And Xiao Jiu ...

Thinking about Song Zi Xiao, Song Zi Heng felt another headache.
Whatever, he should be fine when he grows up.

A soft knocking sound suddenly came from outside the window. Before Song Zi Heng could reply, the window had already been pushed open and a figure deftly tumbled in.

Song Zi Heng said in mock seriousness, "Didn't I tell you not to set foot outside the bedchamber?"

"Three days have already passed." Song Zi Xiao skillfully kicked off his shoes, climbed into bed, lifted the blanket, and wrapped his arms and legs around Song Zi-Heng's waist, moving like a flowing stream, obviously having "rehearsed" this many times.

Song Zi Heng not knowing whether to laugh or to cry while glaring at him in the dark.

Song Zi Xiao said curtly, "Big brother, don't be angry at me."

"I'm already angry. Eldest brother is like father. Do you still have any semblance of respect for me as a big brother? Still losing your tongue."

"I didn't mean to."

"You did it on purpose." "Well, I did it on purpose."

"You brat ...," Song Zi Heng slapped him on the head, "Go away, stop pestering me."

Song Zi Xiao hugged tighter, "Big brother, don't ignore me."

"Look at you, do you have any manners of a prince? You are going to be thirteen soon, even the boys from ordinary families will not be as childish and ignorant as you are when they reach your age."

"I just don't want people to rob my big brother away." Song Zi Xiao buried his face into Song Zi Heng's chest and said with grievance, "I don’t want to be separated from big brother in my whole life."

Song Zi Heng clearly warned himself not to be soft-hearted, but he was still soft-hearted, he couldn't help it, he had loved this younger brother the most since he was a child. He hummed lightly, "I really don't know what you are thinking in that brain. What rob or not? We are brothers. Blood is thicker than water. Who can separate us?"

"But, if you take a wife, you will have to sleep with her, and I won't be able to sleep with you."

Song Zi Heng blushed for a moment, "Nonsense again, is this, is this not the same thing. Come on, go to sleep now."

"That's what second brother said."

"Don't listen to your second brother, it's not the same thing." "Why isn't it the same thing?"
Song Zi Heng slapped his buttocks heavily and ordered, "Sleep!"

Song Zi Xiao bristled and said reluctantly, "Big brother, I was distracted that day. I can be very good when I fight properly."

"I know, I was still a step behind you when I was your age." "Really?" Song Zi Xiao said joyfully.

"Really." Song Zi Heng laughed, "Xiao Jiu is very good."

"Then I must be able to win the championship at the Jiaolong assembly next year, right?"

"This matter ah, of course you should do your best, but there is no need to take the momentary gain or loss too seriously. Big brother believes you will be able to defeat all your opponents at the Jiaolong assembly one day, but it may not be next year, you are still too young."

"But I do want to get the sword quenched by the Shen Nong Ding right away."

"That kind of divine sword you can't harness even if you get it now, so listen to your big brother, do your best, don't ask about gains and losses, and don't be sad if you do lose, next session ..."

"I will not be defeated." Song Zi Xiao looked at Song Zi Heng, his pair of eyes looked unusually bright in the darkness, "I have reasons why I must win."

"Oh, what reason?"

"I want to win for big brother." "Why?"
Song Zi Xiao said with certainty, "I want to tell everyone that although Uncle is my mentor, Big Brother taught me more, and without Big Brother, I wouldn't be who I am today. The glory that big brother missed at the Jiaolong assembly, I will fight for you to get it back."

Song Zi Heng felt his heart warm and touched. He used his finger to scrape the tip of Song Zi Xiao's upturned nose and said with a smile, "I didn’t pamper you for nothing." Song Zi Xiao burrowed hard into Song Zi Heng's arms and said with a wicked smile, "You have worked so hard to bring me up, next time I’ll look after you in old age and give you proper burial after you die."

"You bastard. When I’m old, you'll be an old man too, we don't know who'll send who off yet."

The two brothers laughed and played on the bed.

Chapter 42

For several days after the weather turned cool, Song Zi Heng was busy in his orchid garden, preparing his flower beauties for winter.

The winter in Daming is very cold and many flower species are naturally delicate and fear the cold, so if the roots are not protected, they will not survive the long winter. Some need to be moved indoors and planted back into the soil next year, while others need to be covered with blankets and pressed with layer after layer of hay to keep them warm.

Song Zi Heng's third sister, Song Ruo Ning, also loves flowers, so she usually helps him out, and this year she has done the same.

Song Zi Xiao, on the other hand, had never had such leisure time, but he insisted on sticking to his elder brother, so he was practicing his sword at the side.

"Ruo Ning, be careful with your hands."

"It's alright, as a sword cultivator, who still cares about delicate hands?" Song Ruo Ning said briskly.

Song Zi Heng laughed, "I was afraid that if you hurt your hand, you would be lazy and not practice."

Song Ruo Ning pouted, "How can big brother say that about me, I'm not lazy." She glanced back at Song Zi Xiao, "Ninth brother is the one who loves to be lazy." "Since when? Ask big brother, when have I ever been lazy in the past three years." Song Zi Xiao said unconvincingly.

"Well, Xiao Jiu knows how to behave now."

"That's because big brother is watching over you." Song Ruo Ning said, "You should stop practicing, take a break and come over and do some work."

"Are you letting me rest, or are you letting me work?" "Nonsense, do whatever sister tells you to do."
Song Zi Xiao grunted lightly, put down his sword and came over to lend a hand, but after he had worked for a while he became misbehaved. He rubbed the dirt into Song Ruo Ning's face, and the two siblings made a scene.

"Alright, alright, you two." Song Zi Heng scolded with a smile, "Xiao Jiu, don't bully your sister. Ruo Ning, you are about to get married, why are you still acting like a child?"

"He was the one who started it." Song Ruo Ning said sullenly, "Besides, it's not like I wanted to get married."

"Third sister, if you don't want to, why do you have to get married." "You don't understand."
"It's because I don't understand, that’s why I'm asking you."

Song Zi Heng looked at his witty and lovely sister, his heart felt begrudged: "Wuling is not far from Daming, big brother will visit you often."

When she was very young, Song Ruo Ning had a marriage engagement with the son of the head of the Wuyun Sect. Now she’s an adult and would be married off after the New Year. Unlike ordinary people, most people in the immortal sects are not in a hurry to get married because most of them live long and youthful lives. They are obsessed with cultivating in a lifetime, so it is not uncommon to see people who remained single, especially when female cultivators have the ability to go to great lengths and are not as easily manipulated as compared to ordinary daughters.

It's just a pity that they were born in a royal family and wrapped up in too much power. Sometimes even have less freedom than ordinary people.

"But I've never left the Daming, I've never left my mother, I ..." Song Ruo Ning glanced at Song Zi Heng fearfully, "Big brother, I'm a little scared."

Song Zi Heng gently stroked her hair, "Don't be afraid, Mr. Xue is young and talented, he is a perfect match for you, you will definitely be happy."

Song Zi Xiao also said, "Third sister, if he dares to bully you, big brother and I will go and beat him to death."

Song Ruo Ning snorted with laughter.

A chambermaid suddenly hurried into the Orchid Garden, "Your Highness, Your Highness."

"What is it?"

"Consort Shen is throwing a tantrum at Qinghui Pavilion, you should go and take a look."

Song Zi Heng put down the shovel in his hand and wiped his hands hastily, "You guys play by yourselves, big brother is leaving first." He ran towards Qinghui Pavilion with his long legs.

Song Ruo Ning and Song Zi Xiao looked at each other.

Just as they walked into the courtyard, they heard a breaking sound from inside, like the sound of broken porcelain. "Mother." Song Zi Heng hurriedly ran into Qinghui Pavilion and saw several servant girls and chambermaids all kneeling on the ground, not daring to breathe, with vases, tea sets, fish bowls and bonsai smashed all over the floor by Shen Shi Yao.

"Mother, what's going on here?!" Song Zi Heng waved his hand and told his servants to all go down.

Shen Shi Yao's back was facing Song Zi Heng, her slim shoulders heaving violently, obviously moved with great anger.

Song Zi Heng lightened his steps and walked over, carefully holding her shoulders.

Shen Shi Yao turned around. Her eyes were red and her originally soft and beautiful face was now full of resentment and ruthlessness.

Song Zi Heng was startled. He had never seen his mother like this before. Although his mother was somewhat jealous, it was all justifiable. The majority of the time, she was gentle and loving.

"What are you ... doing?"

Shen Shi Yao grabbed Song Zi Heng's hand, looked at the sludge that he hasn’t washed away from his fingers, and said coldly, "You've gone to tend the flowers and plants again."

"..."

"As a prince, why do you like to do such work done by a servant?"

Song Zi Heng said helplessly, "Mother, singing of the wind and the moon, and enjoying flowers and plants are elegant things to cultivate one's body and soul."

"You as a cultivator, don’t spend your efforts on cultivation, yet doing these useless things is just a waste of time!" Shen Shi Yao forced her eyes on Song Zi Heng, "Your ninth brother is now in the limelight. In a few years' time, he might be above you. Why don't you know how to panic?!" Song Zi Heng's mouth was opened and speechless.

"Song Zi Mo has the position of the crown prince and has powerful relatives. Song Zi Xiao has supreme talent and the emperor's favor. What about you? What do you have?" Shen Shi Yao's delicate face almost twisted, "You have nothing!"

Song Zi Heng squeezed Shen Shi Yao's shoulder and said softly, "Mother, what's wrong with you? Who has made you angry?"

Shen Shi Yao's eyes were filled with tears.

"Son doesn’t have nothing, this son has a mother." Song Zi Heng gently wiped away Shen Shi Yao's tears that were about to come out of her frame.

Shen Shi Yao choked out, "The head of the Huaying Sect sent someone up to Daming to ask for marriage, and it was clearly you that he was interested in, but that bitch Li Xiang Tong said that Song Zi Mo and the Hua family's daughter had met at the Jiaolong assembly, and they still miss each other."

Song Zi Heng was stunned for a moment and slowly frowned: "Does second brother really like the Hua family’s daughter, or ..."

"If he really liked her, how could he have ignored her for three years?! Li Xiang Tong just can't see your good!" Shen Shi Yao shouted shrilly, "She wants to steal everything from me. She stole my husband, she stole my throne, she stole your throne, and now she even wants to steal your wife!"

"Mother, keep your voice down. Calm down." Song Zi Heng was sweating coldly. Although this was their bedchamber, he was really afraid that there were ears outside the walls.

"How do you want me to calm down?" Shen Shi Yao gritted her teeth, "Do you still not understand? The marriage with the Huaying Sect is your only chance. Are you willing to lead a vain and humdrum life? You have already missed out on the Jiaolong assembly, you must not miss out on this marriage!" "Mother, one's achievement ultimately lies in oneself. Even if I am not the son of Emperor Song, as long as I concentrate on my cultivation, there will be a place for me in the Immortal Cultivation World."

"You speak so lightly, have you forgotten that you have a younger brother who is no less gifted than you?"

Song Zi Heng was as if he had a fishbone stuck in his throat.

"You have nurtured him well, but have you ever thought that one day when he wins the championship at the Jiaolong assembly and gets the divine sword quenched by the Shen Nong Ding, you will have to live under his shadow for the rest of your life?"

More than once, Shen Shi Yao had explicitly and implicitly expressed her scorn for Song Zi Xiao. He was reluctant to talk back to his mother, but never took it to heart either.

Song Zi Heng sighed, "Mother, why do Ninth Brother and I have to be compared? Wouldn't it be stronger for us two brothers to join forces?"

"You ... how could you be so stupid!" Shen Shi Yao was so angry that she fiercely pushed Song Zi Heng away, "You think you have deep brotherly love, but has the emperor treated you both equally? Weapons, magical weapons, immortal pills, cave houses, has he ever given you these things before? Will he give them to you in the future? You will only end up with nothing! Am I doing you a disservice by trying to get you to marry the daughter of a famous sect?!"

Song Zi Heng pursed his lips, his heart clogged with pain. He whispered, "It's not that this son doesn't understand mother's painstaking efforts, it's just that ..."

Shen Shi Yao grabbed Song Zi Heng's arm again with force and glared at him, "Listen carefully, although Li Xiang Tong crossed the line, but Hua family’s daughter may not look at that waste Song Zi Mo. The emperor also knows what kind of virtue his first son is, so he’s hesitating. year, at the Jiaolong assembly, you should take the initiative, so that the Hua family’s daughter only marry you."

"This son does not know how to get along with the girl."

"Are you stupid? You have been out of the palace several times to travel and you can't even find a woman?"

Song Zi Heng blushed.

"It's okay." Shen Shi Yao stroked Song Zi Heng's face, "Mother has given birth to a handsome son, any girl will like you. Remember, I don't care what method you use, you must marry the Hua family’s daughter."

Shen Shi Yao was tired of making a fuss and was helped into the house by Song Zi Heng to rest. Only after guarding her as she fell asleep did Song Zi Heng walk out with a gloomy face.

His mind was still in turmoil, and when he looked up, he saw Song Zi Xiao leaning on the doorpost, his boyish face had a few coldnesses on it.

Song Zi Heng was startled in his heart. Song Zi Xiao had been able to hide his scent, and he wondered when he had arrived and how much he had heard.

Song Zi Xiao said coldly, "Consort Shen wants you to woo the Hua family’s daughter."

Song Zi Heng nodded woodenly. "So you're really going to do it?"
"... Big brother's heart is in turmoil, so go back." "Why?" Song Zi Xiao asked viciously.
The word "why" contains too many questions. "Don't ask why. There are some questions that you can only understand when you grow up, and some questions that you may not understand even in your lifetime." Song Zi Heng's voice was very low, he also had many "whys" in his heart, but he did not even have someone to ask them openly.

He felt that a lot of Shen Shi Yao’s point of views are inappropriate. He did not want to compete with his younger brother for favor, nor did he want to live a life of competition and calculation. He had grievances in his heart. He had been upset and resented his father's indifference and harshness towards him, but he did not want to confine himself to this place, either in body or in mind. He saw Jianghu before and knew that only birds can fly wherever the sky and sea are broad. As a man, how can he be depressed about this?

But his mother was already bound by this deep palace, thus he could not blame her for her narrow-mindedness, for he knew that she had suffered too much to dispel the hatred and grievances in her heart. His heart ached for his mother.

Song Zi Heng's expression in his eye changed as he walked past Song Zi Xiao and headed out.

"Big brother, where are you going?" "To find your second brother."

Chapter 43

Song Zi Heng found Song Zi Mo in the back garden.

From a distance, he could see Song Zi Mo playing and laughing with some palace maids, and the sound of their voices rippled far away, causing people to frown.

When he came close, they didn't even notice him. As a cultivator, their vigilance is so low

Song Zi Heng loudly coughed once.

Only then did Song Zi Mo see him. He froze for a moment, his face changing from surprise; from embarrassment to a quickly armed self- possession. He smiled, "It's big brother ah, what a coincidence."

The palace maids bowed, "Your Highness."

"Second brother." Song Zi Heng nodded. Although he was the elder brother, there was a ranking difference between the son of the first wife and the son of the concubine, so he’s always very polite to Song Zi Mo.

"Oh, I'm teaching them to practice Qi." Song Zi Mo explained.

Most of these palace maids and inner eunuchs were ordinary commoners, but those who had little roots disguised and whitewashed in order to join the immortal sect, preferring to work as fire-burning disciples in the alchemy room rather than as subordinates, so it was far-fetched to say that he was teaching these people to practice Qi, who will never have a chance of immortality in their lives. But Song Zi Heng didn't expose him. He couldn't teach his playful and lazy brother as much as he did Song Zi Xiao. When they were similar in age and didn't know any better, they could still play together, but when they grew up, they gradually drifted apart.

"Second brother, I especially come to see you." Song Zi Mo said, "All of you go back."
Song Zi Heng looked at Song Zi Mo calmly, suddenly realizing that the two of them were in the same Wuji Palace, yet they had not seen each other for at least half a year. After growing up, they had not only slowly drifted apart because of their positions, but their temperaments and preferences were also far apart. In fact, this younger brother was not bad, but he was just promiscuous by nature, which he was not used to seeing.

Before Song Zi Heng could say anything, Song Zi Mo had already rushed to say, "Big brother, I know why you came to find me. I was going to explain it to you even if you don't come to me."

"..."

"It's because of Hua Yu Xin, isn't it?" Song Zi Mo showed a difficult expression, "In fact, at the Jiaolong assembly three years ago, I really fell in love with Miss Hua at first sight. I also told Queen Mother, at that time, Queen Mother said that both of us were still young, and that we would… talk about it two years later. I didn't expect it to be like this."

Song Zi Heng was silent.

"Big brother, it seems like I'm making excuses when I say it now, but what I said is true. In fact, it's not that I have to marry her, but Mother said that she has always liked Miss Hua too and had to … you know, Queen Mother's character is like that, I can't even persuade her." The more Song Zi Mo said, the more embarrassed he became.

At that point in time, Song Zi Heng couldn’t tell whether Song Zi Mo was lying or not. Three years ago, it’s true that he and Hua Yu Xin were both present at the Jiaolong assembly. It’s true that he will hit upon an idea when he becomes lustful. It’s true that he’s scared of his own mother, but whether Li Xiang Tong really likes Hua Yu Xin or not is worth a good guess.

Based on Li Xiang Tong’s character, if she really wanted something, she would not have waited quietly for three years. There has been a continuous flow of people who went to Huaying Sect to propose a marriage, so isn’t she afraid that the daughter-in-law she has fixed upon will be taken by someone else on a first come first serve basis? He’s afraid that it’s really what his mother had said before, Li Xiang Tong just doesn’t like them.

Song Zi Heng's heart swirled with anger. Since he was a child, he and his mother had suffered many injustices and grievances, harsh treatment and ostracism. He did not want to live in hatred all day long, and only advised his mother to endure. When he grew up and had his own world, everything would be fine. But why, when he had never wanted to compete with his second brother for anything, was Li Xiang Tong so intolerant?

Could it be, could it be that the ambush he and Xiao Jiu were subjected to in Gutuo Town three years ago was really related to her?

Song Zi Heng drew a backward breath,

admonishing himself for indulging this type of terrifying hypothesis without evidence,

just that his chest was clamouring, and unable to calm down. He whispered,

"Second Brother, Huaying Sect

wants me to tie the knot because they were grateful that I guided* their sect’s guard. You have heard about this right?”
"I have heard." Song Zi Mo grabbed his hair, "This matter makes it seem like we, as brothers, as if I am going to rob of something you cherished. I really, really didn’t mean it. But I also really dare not to disobey Queen Mother. But don't worry, Father has also said that this matter still depends on what Miss Hua wants." He smiled, "Big brother, although I can't stop thinking about Miss Hua, but if Miss Hua's heart belongs to big brother, I will never steal it from big brother, and on your wedding day, I will definitely send you the most generous congratulatory gift."

Song Zi Heng secretly clenched his fist. His face was hot, but his heart was cold.

Song Zi Mo was right. He didn't have to steal from him, because he always got everything and he had nothing, so maybe he didn't purposely want to "steal", but he didn't care about "stealing" either. To say accurately, in this person’s heart, there was no ‘stealing’ in the first place. He can get what he wants naturally.

As sons, why must they be so different?

---

Song Zi Xiao searched for a long time and finally found Song Zi Heng in the Orchid Garden.

By now, it was late at night, and the courtyard, after the flowers had withered, was only lit by a thin lamp, making it seem a little bleak. Song Zi Heng was still turning the soil and laying the grass alone, silent as if he was a spirit that had grown up on the land and just burying his head in tending to his own acre of land.

"Big brother." Song Zi Xiao called out in a very small voice. He was not close enough to see Song Zi Heng's face in the darkness, but he could already feel Song Zi Heng's despondent mood accurately.

Song Zi Heng paused in his movements, "It's so late, why aren't you in bed?"

"I couldn't find you, and I wanted to sleep with my big brother." "You're twelve years old, it's time for you to be independent." "I don't want to be independent."
Song Zi Heng didn't say anything.

Song Zi Xiao walked over and crouched down next to Song Zi Heng. He narrowed his eyes and said indignantly, "You haven't even met that woman. Is she worth being so upset about?"

Song Zi Heng did not know how to make his younger brother, who’s inexperienced in life, understand exactly why he was upset.

This silence was considered a tacit acknowledgement in Song Zi Xiao's mind, and he was so angry that his eyes were on fire.

"Xiao Jiu." Song Zi Heng called out softly. "What." Song Zi Xiao said in a vicious voice. "When you grow up, will we still be like this?"
Song Zi Xiao froze for a moment, "We could have been like this all our lives. You were the one who wanted to take a wife."

"It has nothing to do with that, I mean ... when you grow up and find out that big brother isn't as good as you thought, is limited in what he can do, and isn't really an unrestrained and open-minded man, will you still think that big brother is better than anyone?"

"Of course!" Song Zi Xiao said without hesitation, "Big brother will always be the most powerful, the best and the most loving in my heart."

"And what if one day, you are better than big brother?"

Song Zi Xiao was frozen. It wasn't that he hadn't fantasized about it, and had often defiantly dropped a bold statement when he was being trained on all fours, but Song Zi Heng's cultivation was like a thriving tree; when he grows taller, the tree also pumps higher, and he could never seem to beat big brother. He was competitive, so he worshipped his big brother who is even stronger. He had never actually thought seriously about what would happen if he really did defeat his big brother one day.

This was also the first time Song Zi Heng said this possibility.

Song Zi Xiao blinked, "Even if, even if I'm better than you, you're still my big brother." He suddenly laughed, "I'll be better than you sooner or later. I warned you long ago. How’s that? Now you know how to be scared? Do you regret being so mean to me?"

Song Zi Heng smiled faintly, "Big brother believes in you, that one day you will surpass big brother." The gap between him and Song Zi Xiao nowadays all originates from age. Every step Song Zi Xiao took was higher than his own at the same age. He loved his youngest brother, but feared being caught up by him, so he dared not to slack off for a moment. But he also knew it was futile; good swords, magical weapons, immortal pills, he had none of them, and these things would eventually fill the age gap. One day in the future, representing the highest combat power of the Daming Song clan, bring the Zongxuan Sword Technique to its contemporary peak, perhaps it will not be him, it will be Song Zi Xiao.

He had never delved into this before, but it turned out that it had already been influenced by what his mother had instilled in him.

Song Zi Xiao heard the difference in Song Zi Heng's words, and he stood up, lying on Song Zi Heng's back like he did when he was a child, and wrapped his arms intimately around his big brother's neck: "Big brother, why are you saying this? Anyway, no matter which of us is more powerful in the future, the two of us together will be the most powerful in Jiuzhou!"

Song Zi Heng's heart felt like it had been punched hard, dispelling the foggy air that had been blocking his chest.

This was an enlightening statement.

What was he thinking? He’s actually jealous of his brother, who was seven years younger than him? He prided himself on his open-mindedness, but he still ended up with the narrowest of thoughts. He and Song Zi Xiao are blood brothers, so why should they compare themselves to each other? If they worked hand in hand, they would surely be able to dominate the world in the future. He had even used this reason to advise his mother. How could he be so confused when it was obvious that even a child knew this?

Song Zi Heng felt guilty for Song Zi Xiao. He stood up, turned around and hugged Song Zi Xiao, saying shamefully, "Xiao Jiu, you are right, if we join forces, no one will be able to beat us in the future."

Song Zi Xiao grinned, "Big brother, then don't be unhappy."

"Okay." Song Zi Heng pinched his face and laughed, "Why are you so happy?"

"I'm happy that you can't get a wife." "Saying nonsense again."
"Hmph."

"However, since there is no further information on this matter for now, I should be able to leave the palace." Song Zi Heng muttered to himself.
"Leave the palace, where are you going?" Song Zi Xiao brightened up. "I'm going to Chunyang Sect to find Xu Zhen Ren. He found traces of the
Lion Alliance again, and this time, I'm going to hunt down those beasts myself."

"Take me, take me!" Song Zi Xiao said urgently.

"Don't even think about it." Since the attack on Gutuo Town three years ago, Song Zi Heng no longer dared to take Song Zi Xiao outside.

"I've been holding it in for three years, I really want to get out of the palace so badly. Big brother, please, take me with you." "No." Song Zi Heng stroked his head, "You stay in Wuji Palace obediently, don't be lazy in your readings and sword practice, prepare well for next year's Jiaolong Assembly. Big brother will bring you a present when I return."

Song Zi Xiao pouted his lips, indignant.

Song Zi Heng had forgotten for a moment that this younger brother of his was never one who could be honest and obedient.

guided*[度化]---the ‘guide’

mentioned here is related to Buddhism. 

Chapter 44

When Song Zi Heng packed up and went to bid farewell to his mother, Shen Shi Yao was drinking tea and talking with Song Zi Xiao's mother, Chu Ying Ruo.

"Mother, Consort Chu." Song Zi Heng saluted one by one. Of all his brothers, he’s closest to Xiao Jiu because their two mothers have a good friendship. But that day his mother said those words and the way she looked as if nothing had happened today made him a little uncomfortable when facing Chu Ying Ruo.

"Zi Heng is going out again?" Chu Ying Ruo said, "No wonder Xiao Er has been sullen these past two days."

"I'm going on a trip to Jingzhou, I shouldn't be out for too long. You tell Xiao Jiu that I'll test him on his homework when I return, so that he doesn't slack off."

"Don't worry, I'll keep an eye on him." Chu Ying Ruo smiled faintly. Such a light smile looked like a gorgeous flourishing flower blooming on her face, very beautiful.

Chu Ying Ruo was born in a small sect. Although her family was not well known, she was born with a beautiful face. That year at the Jiaolong assembly, everyone was astonished by her beauty. And now, even though she’s already a mother, she was still rumored to be the number one beauty in the immortal world. Initially, Chu Ying Ruo already had a marriage contract, but Song Ming He snatched her away. Of all the concubines, she was the most favored, so what Song Zi Xiao enjoyed from a young age was not much different from the son of the first wife.

Such a woman was naturally unpopular when she entered the palace. In particular, she had a pair of charming hanging fox eyes, a very aggressive beauty that would not naturally please the same gender. At that time, only Shen Shi Yao became friends with her. They were both regarded as a thorn in the Empress’s side, so they naturally embraced each other.

Shen Shi Yao sighed lightly, "I worry when you go out, but I can't shut you up. Go on, take good care of yourself outside."

"Mother, you can rest assured."

"Sister, there is no need to worry, Zi Heng has already cultivated to the seventh Chongtian of the Zongxuan Sword, ordinary people can't deal with him."

"Easy to dodge the spear in the open, hard to avoid a stab in the dark*.” Shen Shi Yao said meaningfully, "Back then, weren’t he and Zi Xiao attacked by someone? Otherwise how could they have almost lost their lives."

Chu Ying Ruo's pupils were suddenly covered with a layer of cold frost: "Yes, fortunately, they were lucky to have a good life. Zi Heng, when you are out and about, people's hearts are dangerous, so you must not fail to take precautions."

"Yes."

With a stifled breath, Song Zi Heng walked out of Wuji Palace as fast as he could, then immediately rose up with his sword and went straight up to the clear sky. Looking at the Wuji Palace he left behind him, getting smaller and smaller, further and further away, and looking at the vast and lofty sky and land in front of him, he felt his heart and mind enlightened. That dazzling palace was like a magnificent cage that only trapped one's mind and body in a cramped corner. The more you live there, the narrower it became. That day, when he was overwhelmed by his mother's tears and the Empress's harsh treatment, he almost forgot that he did not want to be here at all.

He was a man who wanted to live a life of pleasure. To be free, to know the greatness of the world, to love the grass and the trees.

---

Chu land, a land and water route, with thousands of miles of fertile fields, where fishing, herding and farming are all developed. It is a land every soldier wants to compete for since ancient times.

This rich and fertile land is divided between two sects, Jingzhou’s Chunyang Sect and Wuling’s Wuyun Sect.

In fact, a thousand years ago, these two sects belonged to the same lineage. The ancestor who started the sect was an eminent monk. Later on, the martial and sword cultivators gradually formed their own sects and even began internal strife, eventually splitting into two.

The Chunyang Sect inherited the monastic philosophy of the original sect, which was based on the Five Precepts and Ten Virtues of Buddhism, and practiced them for centuries.

The Wuyun Sect, on the other hand, takes its name from the Five Aggregates of Buddha's teachings*: form, sensations, perceptions, formations and consciousness. The person with these views is the reason for the birth of Five Aggregates. But all laws are empty, and karma is not, so there is no need to demand the extinction of human desire. This is why they are the opposite of Chunyang Sect, with fewer rules and regulations and an attitude similar to that of the monks who said, "Wine and flesh go through the gut, but Buddha stays in the heart*".

The two sects in Chu land have fought endlessly for centuries until the Daming Song clan ascended to the throne and became emperor, and only under this pressure did they maintain a subtle peace.

When they arrived at the Chunyang Sect's Luojinwu, the disciple guarding the gate went to report, and Xu Zhi Nan personally came out to greet them.

"Brother Xu."

"Your Highness, long time no see." Xu Zhi Nan greeted him with a smile. As he looked at Song Zi Heng, he couldn't help but sigh, "Three years ago, Your Highness was still in the form of a teenager, but now you seem much more mature."

Song Zi Heng disapproved, "I call you big brother, if you call me that again, you truly treat me as an outsider.”

"Haha, okay. Zi Heng, please come in."

In fact, Xu Zhi Nan's age was comparable to Song Zi Heng's father’s, yet he only looked a few years older in vain. Over the past three years, the two of them had written to each other constantly, and when they met at first, there was no unfamiliar feeling.

They asked each other about each other's recent developments.

"I've heard that the Huaying Sect is interested in tying the knot with you." Xu Zhi Nan said, "You and Miss Hua are a good match. The man is talented and the woman is beautiful*. This is a blessing in disguise, a virtue has its rewards ah.”

Song Zi Heng did not intend to tell outsiders about the disagreements between the Empress and concubines and between brothers, he said evasively, "I have only heard about this matter, my father has not yet decided."

"I think it's not far off."

"Brother Xu, how is the Chunyang Sect doing these days?" "Everything is fine."

"What about the Lion Alliance?"

"Well, we just found traces of Chen Xing Yong in Yan City a few days ago. We don't dare to act rashly and alert the enemy, so we just have people keeping an eye on him secretly."

Song Zi Heng narrowed his eyes, "It's been three years, I finally have the chance to take revenge myself."

"This matter still needs to be carefully deliberated and make a thorough plan. Chen Xing Yong is too cunning, and with that magical weapon, we actually let him escape twice."

"Gong Shu Ju is indeed difficult to deal with." Thinking about his experience at the inn back then, he still had palpitations. At that time, although he was young, he was outstanding and he was escorted by two high-ranking cultivators, so how could he have been forced to almost die by a nameless person from Jianghu? All because of that Gong Shu Ju. He said, "Isn't there any way to break that magical weapon?"

"I have asked the Cangyu Sect. That magical weapon does have flaws. The range of the spell cast relies entirely on the spiritual power of the cultivator, and once there are more people, he cannot pay attention to one thing without neglecting the other. At that time, Chen Xing Yong separated the four of you into three spaces, and the people in all three spaces were not good enough to deal with. That should be his limit, so to deal with Gong Shu Ju, we need more people, preferably more than theirs."

Song Zi Heng nodded, "We can definitely catch him this time. There's no time to lose, let's go to Yan City now."

Xu Zhi Nan said soothingly, "Don't rush yet. If many people go together, it is inevitable that they will attract attention. I have already sent my junior brother to Yan City to scout out the situation, he should be back soon, so it's not too late for us to move when we have discussed the matter." "Senior Brother." A disciple came in to report, "Senior Brother Cheng has returned."

Xu Zhi Nan smiled, "Look, speak of the devil, let him come and see me."

In a moment, a disciple of the Chunyang Sect walked in, his face was cold and unsmiling, "Senior Brother, I'm back."

"Yan Zhi, you've worked hard. Zi Heng, this is my junior brother, Cheng Yan Zhi, Yan Zhi, this is Emperor Ning Hua's son His Highness."

Cheng Yan Zhi arched his hand, neither haughty nor humble, and said, "Greetings, Your Highness."

Song Zi Heng nodded and thought to himself: These Chunyang Sect disciples, the higher the level of cultivation, the better looking they really are. All of them are tall, handsome and dignified. If they stand in a row, they will look more like blood brothers.

"Yan Zhi, tell us the situation."

"At the moment, Chen Xing Yong and his seven subordinates have been found in Yan City. They have been in Yan City for at least six days. We have been monitoring them day and night, but other than eating, they barely leave the house, not sure what they’re doing. It looks very much like they are waiting for someone."

"Waiting for someone." Xu Zhi Nan mused, "Are they waiting for their next target to strike, or are they waiting for a buyer?"

"Both are possible." Cheng Yan Zhi said, "However, we have been hunting down the Lion Alliance for the past two years, and they hardly dare to commit any crimes. We have lost a few people in the past few months, so I guess they should not dare to harm anyone at this time."

"So that means they’re waiting for the buyer?" Song Zi Heng said coldly, "Behind the Lion Alliance, who exactly is behind this heartless trade with them?" Li Xiang Tong's arrogant face came to his mind. In fact, his mother was right. In terms of motive and strength, Li Xiang Tong is very suspicious.

"No matter who it is, if we find out, it will definitely set off a reign of terror." Xu Zhi Nan said gruffly, "The one who can afford to buy human cores and secretly shelter the Lion Alliance is bound to be a big shot."

Cheng Yan Zhi said, "Then it is all the more important to find out the truth. With such scum in the immortal cultivation world, they must be eradicated."

"Zi Heng, it's getting late. You can stay overnight at Luojinwu first, tomorrow we will leave for Yan City."

"Okay."

---

Song Zi Heng could not sleep at all as he thought about the recent events. Could Chen Xing Yong be caught this time or not? Could he get rid of the evil from the Immortal Cultivation World and avenge him and Xiao Jiu? And who was the person behind Chen Xing Yong, and who relied on this vicious method to cultivate?

In the middle of the night, some commotion came from outside the door. Song Zi Heng was in a daze and immediately woke up again. He rolled out of bed and ran out to see several clusters of fires on the vast martial arts training ground of Luojinwu. They were scattered all over the place and they looked as if they were looking for something.

Song Zi Heng walked over and asked one of the disciples, "What's happening?"

"Your Highness?" One of the disciples said, "Someone has trespassed though the barrier, and from what the other brothers have said, it was a child, but that child is nowhere to be seen. We are looking for him, afraid that he will be hurt by the barrier." "A child?" Song Zi Heng was a little confused. "Quick, it seems to be there."
"Why are you trespassing into the Chunyang Sect? Do you know that this barrier could kill you!"

"Hey, kid, we don't want to hurt you, put down your sword."

"Go away, don't make me hurt you." The voice was brittle and childish, yet arrogant.

Hearing that voice, Song Zi Heng's eyes went black and he shouted in anger, "Song Zi Xiao!"

Easy to dodge the spear in the open,

hard to avoid a stab in the dark*. [明枪易挡,暗箭难防]---it is hard to guard against secret conspiracies
Five Aggregates of Buddha's teachings* [ 五蕴]--- Skandhas; The five aggregates
or heaps are: form (or material image, impression) (rupa), sensations (or feelings, received from form) (vedana), perceptions (samjna), mental
activity

or formations (sankhara), and consciousness (vijnana). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skandha Wine and flesh go through the gut, but

Buddha stays in the heart*[酒⾁穿肠过,佛祖⼼中留]---So long you have Buddha in

your heart, it is okay to eat meat and drink wine.

The man is talented and the woman is
beautiful*. [良才⼥貌]---usually this phrase is used to praise a couple 

Chapter 45

"Big Brother ..."

The aggrieved and mournful voice rang out quietly in the room. The rest of the voice trembled a few times, like a puppy that was mumbling.

Song Zi Heng lay on his bed, eyes closed with attention. In fact, he wasn't asleep, he knew Song Zi Xiao knew he wasn't asleep either, but he wasn't going to pay any attention to him.

"Big brother, I'm so tired, my legs are numb."

"Xiao Jiu is so hungry ah. I've come all the way here, so tired and hungry.
I just wanted to see big brother, yet you scold me and punish me."

"I touched the Chunyang Sect's barrier and almost got hurt, you don't feel sorry for me at all do you?"

"When I was little you were so concerned about me. You worried about my bumps and bruises, now you punish me so frequently. Am I not your brother anymore when I grow up?"

Song Zi Heng could not stand it anymore and sat up, looking at Song Zi Xiao who had been crouching in a horse stance for half the night and hanging his head. He was angry and amused: "You still dare to speak. Who allowed you to run out without permission?"

"Who told you to leave me alone. Besides, I'm twelve years old. When a cultivator reaches that age, he should go out on his own for training. He doesn't need anyone's permission." "Then you can go wherever you want and don't come looking for me."

"If I don't come looking for you, you'll have to go looking for me everywhere, won't you? I'm trying to save you the trouble, and you don't even appreciate it."

"Still talking back."

Song Zi Xiao bristled and wailed, "Big brother, my legs are numb, really numb."

Song Zi Heng glared at him for a moment, "Come here." Song Zi Xiao's body relaxed and he nearly fell to his knees.
Song Zi Heng subconsciously reached out his hands to help, and then retracted, still looking at Song Zi Xiao in a pretend serious manner.

Song Zi Xiao rubbed his leg before he swung over, "Si ... it hurts like hell, I might not even be able to get out of bed tomorrow."

"You only squatted for 4 hours. You're getting more and more petulant." Song Zi Heng twisted his ear.

"You try squatting ah."

"Why should I squat? I didn't do anything stupid." Song Zi Heng's remaining anger was still fresh, "Running all by yourself from Daming to such a faraway place and having to touch Luojinwu’s barrier. Do you know how dangerous it is?"

"I didn't know there was a barrier either."

"It's more than just the problem of the barrier." Song Zi Heng thought of the Lion Alliance and how they had nearly lost their lives at the hands of the core hunters back then, and even after three years had passed, he still had lingering fears. How did this brat dare to run around on his own? He's always been so arrogant and conceited. What will happen when he grows up? Song Zi Xiao sensed his big brother's worry: "Big brother, are you remembering that year when we were attacked in Gutuo Town?"

"Since you know, yet you are still not alert."

"But you also left the palace when you were twelve. There will always be bad people, you can't just give up eating for fear of choking*."

"You should have at least waited until you were a little older and had the strength to defend yourself. Today is not like the old days, our cores ..." Song Zi Heng stopped abruptly.

Song Zi Xiao stayed with him in silence for a moment and said, "Big brother, is it really the Empress who wants to harm us?"

Song Zi Heng glared at him, "Who did you hear that from?" "I overheard what Consort Shen and my mother said."
Song Zi Heng's mouth was opened and speechless. He did not want to instil such unfounded conspiracies in his young brother, for fear that a child might not be able to hold his tongue and cause trouble, but if he directly refuted it, would he not be saying that his own mother was talking nonsense? After considering, he said, "Xiao Jiu, there is no evidence to prove that the Empress had anything to do with this matter. Mother is saying this because she is eager to protect her son and is overwhelmed with worry when she sees that I am injured. In fact, these are words said in a fit of anger, do you understand?”

Song Zi Xiao looked at his elder brother, his thin eyelids gently opening and closing as he said calmly, "But, Consort Shen's speculation is not baseless."

Song Zi Heng was startled in his heart.

"However, I also hope it is not the Empress." Song Zi Xiao said, "Second brother has been quite good to me."

"Well, your second brother also loves you." "But second brother is stupidly gifted and doesn't think ahead. In the future, if the Daming Song Clan wants to gain a foothold in the immortal cultivation world, it still has to depend on us."

"You, who taught you all this? Do you know ...," Song Zi Heng heard until his cold sweat came down.

"I know." Song Zi Xiao said without changing his expression, "I know all that. But I wasn't wrong, was I?"

Song Zi Heng’s expression sank, "Such words must not be said again, regardless of if you're in front of anyone, do you understand?"

"Of course I only said it to you."

Song Zi Heng realized at this moment that this youngest brother had also grown up, and he suddenly felt some reluctance in his heart, and even a bit of trepidation grew.

He calmed down for a moment, "Well, let’s sleep*."

"Didn't Xu Zhi Nan find out about Chen Xing Yong's trail? When are we going to catch them?"

"That's not for you to worry about, you stay honestly in Luojinwu. Wait for me to send a letter back to Daming tomorrow and ask Huang Hong and Huang Wu to come and pick you up."

"I don't want to be picked up. I'm not going back!" Song Zi Xiao shouted, "I want to take revenge personally."

"No fooling around. Those core hunters are very dangerous. They escaped both times when they were captured."

"So, wouldn't it be better to have an extra man?" "You're still ..." "If I can't even defend myself, why should I join the Jiaolong assembly? Does big brother despise me that much?" Song Zi Xiao was also annoyed, "I'm not a child anymore. You were as young as I was when you were traveling around the world, subduing demons and eliminating evil spirits, how am I any worse than you?"

Song Zi Heng remembered that when he was twelve years old, he was also very ambitious and traveled around Jiuzhou alone without the slightest fear, but when it was Song Zi Xiao’s turn, he could not help but worry.

"Besides, with so many cultivators around, the Lion Alliance would only be able to scurry off like a frightened rat, which is not at all the same thing as the attack on Gutuo Town at that time."

"Having said that ..."

"Anyway, I'm not going back, I'll go wherever big brother goes from now on. You send me back, I have legs, and I'll be out again." Song Zi Xiao glared stubbornly at Song Zi Heng.

Song Zi Heng sighed. Perhaps he just had to slowly accept that his younger brother had grown up and would become more and more assertive in his own way; if he were older, he might be even more difficult to control, but he could not keep the fledgling from spreading his wings*.

When Song Zi Xiao saw that Song Zi Heng had obviously loosened up, he immediately wrapped his arms around his neck and pouted, "Big brother, my leg hurts, can you rub it for me?"

"You clingy bastard." Song Zi Heng said helplessly, "Why are you so clingy?"

"I'm only clingy to big brother." Song Zi Xiao tilted his head at Song Zi Heng's hollow part of the shoulder, a silly smile spread across his face, "I'll cling to big brother for the rest of my life."

Song Zi Heng squeezed his leg and softened his tone, "Big brother is doing this for your own good, do you understand?" "I do."

"What do you understand?"

"I understand that you are worried about me."

"The attack on Gutuo Town three years ago was the most frightening time in big brother's life." Song Zi Heng whispered, "They couldn’t even spare you. If something really happened to you, what would big brother do?"

"I will never let you worry again, I am now much stronger than before, even if I encounter a high-ranking cultivator, I think I can at least escape."

Song Zi Heng glanced at his brother and smiled lightly.

"Really, if I really run into danger, I will run and definitely not hold you back anymore."

"Okay, it's a deal."

---

The next day, several people discussed their next actions together. This time they would join forces with the Cangyu Sect to besiege Chen Xing Yong in Yan City, and having learned from their experience from the previous two times, they have sent many men this time.

In order not to alert the enemy, they would split up into several groups, entering Yan City at different times, and they cannot use their sword to fly. They changed out of their conspicuous cultivator’s clothes, dressing as ordinary Jianghu people, and mounted their horses.

It was at least a four-day journey from Jingzhou to Yan City. The two brothers traveled with Xu Zhi Nan and Cheng Yan Zhi.

On the way, Song Zi Xiao asked curiously, "Brother, are all the people of the Cangyu Sect neither masculine or feminine?” "I haven't had much contact with them either. This sect is very mysterious, but it's true that there are more female cultivators."

"Haha, isn't that the exact opposite of the Chunyang Sect." Xu Zhi Nan laughed.
"I heard that they also bragged of being the guardians of the Shen Nong Ding, but Shen Nong Ding has been there for a million years. What does it have to do with them, and what rights do they have to charge protection fees?"

"This point is indeed criticized by people. But the Cangyu Sect is in Kunlun and has a geographical advantage. If they are offended, there is no guarantee that the quenching process will not be interfered with."

"Hmph, when Father gives me the quenched sword, I'll see how difficult they will be."

Using the Shen Nong Ding to refine any divine object would cause a shock in the immortal cultivation world. After all, that was the lifelong aspiration of all cultivators, and upon hearing this, both Xu Zhi Nan and his junior brother turned their heads in surprise to look at Song Zi Xiao.

Song Zi Xiao said proudly, "Yes, Father promised me that when I win the championship at the Jiaolong assembly next year, Father will quench a rare divine sword for me with Shen Nong Ding."

Xu Zhi Nan, who came from a merchant family, was smart and accommodating, and was very good at reading people's expressions. He swept a glance at Song Zi Heng without a trace and said with a light smile, "Congratulations, Your Little Highness."

On the contrary, his junior brother, Cheng Yan Zhi, was much more straightforward, and his gaze immediately fell on Song Zi Heng's sword.

As the eldest son of Emperor Song, Song Zi Heng's sword was far too ordinary and far from worthy of his origins. It seemed that all the outside rumours about this eldest prince not being favored were true.

Song Zi Heng felt the gaze mixed with surprise and disbelief, despite his eyes looking ahead. His face instantly burned a little.

A sword to a sword cultivator is not just a weapon, but also a companion in life and death, a status, a face, and usually a good sword could accompany a swordsman for the rest of his life.

And he only had an ordinary sword.

A good sword is lightly priced at a thousand gold, but heavily priced at ten thousand gold. His mother was an orphan girl, and without a strong family to back her up, they could not afford to buy a good sword with just the palace share of their mother and son.

Emperor Ning Hua had wanted to present him with a good sword at the Jiaolong assembly, but he had missed out.

Hearing his youngest brother talk in such a smug and light-hearted tone about the sword made from the Shen Nong Ding, and then looking at his own sword, he was never a vain person, but he could not help but feel uncomfortable.

Xu Zhi Nan changed the subject at the right time, "Yan Zhi, is there a town in front of us?"

Cheng Yan Zhi took out his map and looked at it, "Up ahead should be Green Willow Town, let's stop here for tonight."

give up eating for fear of choking*[因噎废⾷]---refrain from doing what one should fear of running a risk

let’s sleep*[睡觉吧]---SQC had a typo in her original novel, she typed it as 谁叫吧 (who’s calling)

fledgeling from spreading his wings* [雏鹰展翅]--- It is an analogy of young people

starting to live and work independently.

Chapter 46

Upon arriving at Yan City, Xu Zhi Nan first summoned the Chunyang disciples who were keeping an eye on him, and learned that Chen Xing Yong had met a man late yesterday night. That man was dressed in black and wore a mask, even his sword was covered, so there was no way to tell where he came from. When that man left the city, one of the disciples tried to follow him, but soon lost him.

Hearing this, Cheng Yan Zhi sternly rebuked, "Who gave you permission to act without permission?"

The disciple mumbled, "I thought that man's identity must be extraordinary, so ..."

"If he is really an extraordinary person, it is likely that you have already been discovered. Before I left, I specifically instructed you not to act rashly and alert the enemy. Did you even listen!?"

"Senior Brother Cheng, I was wrong."

Xu Zhi Nan frowned, "Forget it, since Chen Xing Yong hasn't left yet, it's likely that we haven't been discovered yet."

Song Zi Heng said, "If that man is the one Chen Xing Yong is waiting for, then highly likely he is the buyer of the Lion Alliance, but it is a pity that he had escaped."

"As long as Chen Xing Yong is captured alive, we can uncover all the people behind the curtain." "But Chen Xing Yong will leave any time after he has finished meeting the person he wants to see, so I'm afraid we won't be able to wait for the Cangyu Sect’s people."

Xu Zhi Nan asked, "How long will it take for the Flying Plume Ambassadors to arrive?"

"It will only be a day or two."

"Continue to keep an eye on Chen Xing Yong, and act as soon as they arrive."

"Yes."

"Yan Zhi." Xu Zhi Nan said, "After sunset, take your men out of the city and quietly spy on that man in black. The tighter he covers up shows that he has a high status. The people of this generation are not rich and cultivators are not common. Ask the people in the surrounding towns if they have seen any cultivators or rich people during the day."

"Yes, Senior Brother."

After Cheng Yan Zhi left, Song Zi Xiao asked a question, "Big brother, why did the Lion Alliance come to this place? There aren't many named immortal clans around here and they are poor, even if it is to avoid the eyes and ears of other people, isn't it safer to be hidden in the city?"

"You have a point. But since it's to meet someone, that place might have been set by the man in black."

"Brother, that man in black, could he have something to do with us being attacked back then too?"

"Perhaps." A layer of frost covered Song Zi Heng's eyes, "That's why Chen Xing Yong must be caught alive."

--- They settled in a small inn for the time being, waiting for the Flying Plume Ambassador Qi Meng Sheng of the Cangyu Sect to arrive and capture Chen Xing Yong together.

Chen Xing Yong used to be an insignificant person in the Cangyu Sect. His talent and cultivation level were neither high nor low. If he was to face the battle head-on, a big battle is not needed to deal with him, but this magical weapon Gong Shu Ju is too powerful, at worst, it can help him escape.

A person with an ordinary cultivation level can obtain such a terrifying power just by having a magical weapon. It was no wonder that so many cultivators would compete until badly battered just because of this magical weapon. For example, Chen Xing Yong, who had deceived his master and destroyed his founder, was cruel and ruthless, and after taking away Gong Shu Ju, he had also risen to the ranks of high-ranking cultivators by eating human cores. The Daming Song Clan had issued a wanted notice for him, and the Chunyang Sect, the Cangyu Sect and the Huaying Sect had been hunting for him, but so far three years had passed, and he was still at large.

"Big brother, if we catch Chen Xing Yong, I want Gong Shu Ju." Song Zi Xiao said frankly, as if the magical weapon rightfully belonged to him, and he did not need to hide his desire at all.

Song Zi Heng's hand lurched.

He had called the innkeeper, brought up a bucket of hot water, and was now washing Song Zi Xiao's hair.

"It's okay to give it to big brother, we share everything anyway." Song Zi Xiao sat in the tub and scooped up the water and splashed his face, "Big brother, the soap keeps dripping down, you wash faster ah."

"That magical weapon is not something you can get by saying you want it. It originally belonged to the Cangyu Sect."

"It doesn't belong to the Cangyu Sect. The treasure left behind by the ancestors belongs to those who have the ability to get it." Song Zi Xiao looked at Song Zi Heng seriously, "Big brother, don't you want Gong Shu Ju?"

"Who wouldn't want a magical weapon like that? But this matter is not that simple. Do we have to fight within ourselves again over who gets the magical weapon after capturing Chen Xing Yong?" Song Zi Heng scratched and rubbed Song Zi Xiao's hair, "Don't indulge in fantasy, our aim is not the magical weapon."

"Your purpose is not the magical weapon, then have you ever thought about their purpose?" Song Zi Xiao turned around and faced Song Zi Heng, "Why is Xu Zhi Nan so keen? Regarding this matter, we and the Huaying Sect are for the sake of revenge and to find out the truth, the Cangyu Sect is for the sake of getting rid of their traitor and retrieving the magical weapon, what about the Chunyang Sect? What does this matter have to do with the Chunyang Sect? They won’t wake up early for no profit*."

"..."

"Whoever captures Chen Xing Yong will get Gong Shu Ju." Song Zi Xiao gave a bad smile, "Big brother, if we get Gong Shu Ju, will they really dare to steal it from us, dare to go against the Daming Song Clan?"

Song Zi Heng was a little shocked. This brother he had brought up with his own hands, why was his personality completely unlike his own? But on second thought, his life was used to retreating, retreating in order to protect himself, while Song Zi Xiao was used to being aggressive in his whole life, because every time he was aggressive, he gained something. He sighed tersely, unable to say what he felt in his heart.

"Big brother?" Song Zi Xiao wondered, "Am I wrong? It's not like anyone's name is engraved on that magical weapon. The one who can get it gets it, that's the rule of the immortal cultivation world."

Song Zi Heng took a gourd ladle and poured some water on top of Song Zi Xiao’s head. "Ah ... eyes." Song Zi Xiao rubbed his eyes that the soap had gone into, and didn't open them for some time.

"Xiao Jiu, you can't ask for what you see. This mortal realm will not always be as you wish." Song Zi Heng said warmly, "Gong Shu Ju was taken away by Chen Xing Yong who killed his own master. After taking it back, it should still be returned to the Cangyu Sect. This is moral righteousness."

Song Zi Xiao opened his eyes, his dark pupils looking unblinkingly at Song Zi Heng.

"As for big brother Xu, I think he has no other purpose than to get rid of the scourge Chen Xing Yong. This is the chivalry and righteousness that every cultivator should have. The way you are thinking of him, is measuring a gentleman's heart with the heart of a villain."

Anger flashed across Song Zi Xiao’s face, but was immediately replaced by sadness: "Big brother, don't talk about me like that. You've only met Xu Zhi Nan twice. What makes you believe in him so much?"

Song Zi Heng also realized that his words were heavy. He wiped the foam off Song Zi Xiao’s face, "What big brother means is, don't always think the worst of people."

Song Zi Xiao said unconvincingly, "What's good or bad about getting what you want based on your ability?"

Song Zi Heng said seriously, "If you think this way, then Chen Xing Yong thinks the same way too."

"... I'm not the same as him."

"Of course you're not the same." Song Zi Heng stroked his younger brother's damp hair, "So stop thinking about Gong Shu Ju."

"Is it true that big brother doesn't want powerful magical weapons?" "I want them, but while wealth is covetable for a gentleman as well, he takes it in its natural course. We can't rob others."

"Hmph, nevermind. I may not even take an interest in Gong Shu Ju. One day in the future, I want the Map of Shanhe Sheji."

Song Zi Heng snorted, "Your tone of voice is not small."

One of the four ancient magical weapons, the map of Shanhe Sheji, was in the treasure trove of the Daming Song Clan. Unfortunately ancient magical weapons could hardly be harnessed by mortals, such as the Shen Nong Ding, which required the power of a hundred high-ranking cultivators at the same time.

"Our ancestor of the Song Clan once used the Map of Shanhe Sheji, so why can't I use it? Sooner or later, I will be powerful enough to harness the ancient magical weapons."

"You ah, first walk the path steadily before thinking of flying."

Song Zi Xiao snorted coldly and suddenly his whole body sank into the water, leaving only a string of small bubbles on the surface.

Song Zi Heng wrapped his fingers around his seaweed-like hair floating on the water's surface, "I'll see how long you can hold it in."

Song Zi Xiao, like a fighter, just wouldn't come up to the surface, and only when he finally couldn't hold it in anymore did he burst out of the water, deliberately fluttering and gradually splashing Song Zi Heng with water.

"Little bastard." Song Zi Heng scolded jokingly, and also began to splash water on his face.

The two of them fought a water war across a tub and ended up spilling water all over the room, getting Song Zi Heng all wet.

Song Zi Xiao was having so much fun that his cheeks were stiff with laughter and his whole little face was flushed. "All right, stop it, you're not even obedient about taking a bath." Song Zi Heng wrapped him up in a cloth towel and put him on the bed with one hand, rubbing his body haphazardly.

Song Zi Xiao was smiling at first, but within a moment, his face took on a strange look, dodging uncomfortably as he squirmed and curled up to snatch the cloth towel, "Alright, I'll wipe myself."

"You wipe up, your hair must be dried. I need to change my clothes."

Song Zi Heng stepped aside and turned his back to Song Zi Xiao to undress, removing his wet clothes layer by layer. He was slender, with soft white skin and a physique somewhere between a teenager and a young man. His strong bones were covered with thin muscles, like a piece of jade that had been finely carved, but without unimaginative craftsmanship, exuding a warm, pure and delicate glow.

Song Zi Xiao peeked at his elder brother's back, and his face inexplicably flushed. He could not yet figure out why his body had changed, or why he wanted to watch his big brother change his clothes, but did not want him to know he was peeking.

He thought: Big brother's body is so white, so thin, his waist is so thin, his legs are so long, everything looks so good.

When he went to bed that night, for the first time, Song Zi Xiao did not stay close to his big brother, and he deliberately pulled back a little. On such a cold day, there was his favorite source of heat lying next to him, but he was affected by shyness and dare not come close, as if afraid of being burned.

---

They slept until dawn when the rooster crowed and both brothers woke up at the same time.

After washing up, they went downstairs and went to the atrium for their morning exercise. Xu Zhi Nan and several Chunyang disciples were also up. The brothers had never sparred with a martial arts cultivator before, so they were eager to try.

At that moment, the innkeeper carried a wooden bucket through the atrium and greeted them with a smile, "Sir, you woke up early ah. I'll go next door and get fresh tofu, and I'll stew it for you in the morning."

Song Zi Heng smiled and said, "Alright."

The innkeeper went out the door and suddenly, his scream was heard as the wooden bucket fell to the ground and banged. He came back rolling and crawling, "Demon, demon ah!"

"What's going on?!"

The group ran out following the sound, only to see a dark shadow the size of a house appearing behind the early morning mist, coming towards them step by step, each foot landing bringing a tremor to the ground, through the soles of their feet straight to their heads.

Several people did not dare to breathe.

What kind of demonic beast was this? Demonic beasts usually live far away from the herd and are unlikely to appear in human territory, let alone such a large one.

The demonic beast suddenly stopped, as if it was also looking at them through the fog.

Xu Zhi Nan took out a wind talisman and flung it out, a gust of wind blew away the white fog, and something appeared in front of him a dog.

Song Zi Heng was horrified, wasn't this the big yellow dog on the street? Song Zi Xiao said, "A dog, why has the dog become bigger!?"
Xu Zhi Nan said gruffly, "It's not that the dog has become bigger, it's that we've become smaller."  

won’t wake up early for no profit*[ ⽆利不起早]--- It is an analogy of doing

something for profit. If there’s no profit, why would you even make an effort

to do something? ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Chapter 47

"What?!"

"We've been discovered by the Lion Alliance?" "It's Gong Shu Ju, it must be Gong Shu Ju!"
Song Zi Heng instinctively grabbed Song Zi Xiao's shoulders, shielding him in his arms, and looked around warily, "Isn't Gong Shu Ju only used on dead things?"

"That's what we thought." Xu Zhi Nan lifted his head and looked up at the houses that had suddenly turned into behemoths around him, "Perhaps Chen Xing Yong relied on this trick to escape from our pursuit twice."

This period is a cold winter day, yet a thin layer of sweat appeared on Song Zi Heng's forehead. He is holding his sword in one hand and his brother's shoulder in the other. Three years ago, he still had the courage of a newborn calf* when it came to the strange and varied spells, but after nearly losing his life, he no longer dared to underestimate this magical weapon.

He was so sure of himself on this trip, thinking that with his cultivation of the seventh Chongtian of the Zongxuan Sword and his teaming up with many cultivators, it was impossible for him to be in such a mess as he was at the beginning. But in this situation, the inn, the ambush, the Gong Shu Ju, it was as if it was yesterday all over again, he could not help but be terrified. Song Zi Xiao said coldly, "How were we discovered?" He glared at the Chunyang Sect disciples.

Song Zi Heng also pondered the question. Yan City was not like Gutuo Town. In such a large city, a handful of people could hardly attract attention. They had been carefully hidden all the way, disguised and entered the city in groups, even the shopkeepers did not see that they were cultivators, how could they have been discovered by the Lion Alliance in less than a day? Was it because the Chunyang Sect disciples had followed the man in black without permission and revealed their whereabouts, or had Chen Xing Yong had known long ago that he was being watched?

Whatever the reason, they had lost the first hand. The first two times Chen Xing Yong had fled in despair, but this time, instead of fleeing, he had taken the initiative to attack, so he must have come prepared, and they were in a worse position than they had been three years ago.

There was no point in blaming anyone now, so Song Zi Heng said in a deep voice, "Calm down, no matter how powerful Gong Shu Ju is, its spellcasting range is limited. Three years ago, Chen Xing Yong separated the four of us into three spaces, very close to each other, that was already his limit, even if he has become stronger with the human core supplement, this kind of spell is bound to be extremely spiritually draining. As long as we can see it coming, he will be unable to bear it before us."

"But what does he want exactly?" One disciple's voice clearly had a slight tremor in it.

Whether it was a ferocious demonic beast or a tricky evil spirit, it was not enough to make a cultivator afraid before he even made a move, because they knew what they would face. Their lifelong cultivation had taught them how to deal with it, but what was happening in front of them was like an imaginary demon. The crowd did not anticipate that they would be made smaller even if they thought about it. It was like the first time he faced Gong Shu Ju, not knowing that a section of the corridor he would not be able to run to the end of, and not knowing the stairs can eat people. Not knowing is the most frightening. The big yellow dog was very curious about them and circled the tiny inn and stuck its huge head out, its wet nose wrinkling as it sniffed vigorously.

They were as if facing a formidable foe. After all, this dog could swallow everyone with one open mouth right now.

Suddenly, the big yellow dog turned around, held its buttocks at them and raised one of its hind legs.

The crowd looked at one another and reacted at the same time in the next instant, cursing and running, covering their heads and scurry off like frightened rats.

The urine turned into a waterfall before their eyes at this moment, falling from the sky. The splashing liquid accompanied by a pungent fishy stench, splashing in all directions. They tried to hide as far as they could, yet they are not immune to the consequences.

"Bastard! Bastard!" Song Zi Xiao's face turned red with anger. He had never been so humiliated in his entire life. He was not sure whether he was scolding the dog or Chen Xing Yong with the word "bastard".

The others' expressions were also ugly. It was humiliating enough to fall into the enemy's trap, but to be drenched in dog's urine. If word got out, what face would they have left?

"Again, it’s coming again!" A disciple pointed to the sky and shouted in horror.

Looking up, a huge pillar of water smashed straight down from the sky, in the shape of a dragon, with teeth and claws that had the grandeur of swallowing the sky and devouring the earth.

"It's Longxishui*!"

Longxishui is a water-based technique that could draw and transfer water from the sky and the ground for its own use. This technique is very simple, any cultivator would know how to draw water to pour a cup of tea, but if he wanted to make a great use of it, he must have a majestic amount of spiritual power like the sea. It was not a problem to overturn seas and rivers*.

However, to deal with them now, they did not need a lot of water; a bucket could drown them.

Only then did they realize that the whole inn was in a low-lying area. "Quickly call the people in the inn "
Before Xu Zhi Nan could say anything, the water dragon tumbled down like a sharp sword falling from the sky, smashing the inn into pieces.

The water came rushing in, reaching past their ankles in the blink of an eye.

The crowd rose up on their swords, but just as they flew up, they were blown and swayed unsteadily by Longxishui, and nearly fell off their swords. The higher up they went, the stronger the wind became, and they couldn't fly at all. They were too small, and even if that big yellow dog breathed on them, it was a gale of wind for them.

"Help, help ah     "

Voices of distress and cries came from the inn. Xu Zhi Nan called out, "Go and save the people."
They entered the collapsed inn dripping with water. There were many people pinned under the roof beams and were shouting. Most of these people were still asleep, how could they have imagined that when they opened their eyes, it was already flooding?

"Zi Xiao, you must stay close to big brother!" As the rain poured down overhead, Song Zi Heng's shouts were almost drowned out, and he could only search for people in the inn while holding onto his younger brother's hand. Song Zi Xiao also held that hand tightly, "Don't worry!"

The two of them found an unconscious woman and carried her out. The disciples of the Chunyang Sect placed the rescued people on the framework of the remains of the inn. By now the water was past their thighs and rising very fast.

When they set the woman down, she woke up and looked blankly for something: "Where is my daughter? Where is my daughter?"

Song Zi Heng looked at the wrecked wood in the water and did not know how to answer her.

"Mister, where is my daughter!?" The woman grabbed Song Zi Heng's arm and cried, "Please save my daughter, I beg you."

"Don’t panic, I'll go find her." Song Zi Heng picked Song Zi Xiao up and placed him on a high beam, "Xiao Jiu, wait for me here, don't move."

"I'll go with you."

"The water is about to flood over you." "I can swim!"
"I told you to wait here!" Song Zi Heng said sternly, "You don’t want to listen to your big brother."

Song Zi Xiao opened his mouth and looked at Song Zi Heng worriedly.

Song Zi Heng rubbed his wet head, turned around and walked towards the inn with water dripping off him.

By the time he stepped into the inn, the water was up to his chest and he took a deep breath, held it and dove in.

The wreckage of the inn was blocked in all directions, making it impossible to tell where the way out was, and almost impossible to find anyone in such a situation. Song Zi Heng drew his sword and kept clearing the front with his sword qi. Suddenly, a piece of beam came crashing down over his head, and he did his best to dodge it in the water, but he was still grazed in the back, and the blow made half of his body numb, and water entered his mouth and nose.

He choked on the water and swam back to the surface, breathing heavily.

The water was up to his neck, and soon the whole inn would remain underwater, and the woman's daughter, he feared, would have been …

Just as Song Zi Heng was about to give up, he suddenly noticed a peachy pink garment floating on the water surface not far away, and with a flash in his heart, he quickly swam over and dove headfirst into the water.

There was indeed a young girl under the water, wearing only her loincloth, her hair fluttering helplessly like water plants.

Song Zi Heng wrapped his arms around her waist and dragged her out of the water.

"Big brother!" Song Zi Xiao was outside in a state of distress.

"Big brother is here!" Song Zi Heng answered and swam back with the young girl in his arms.

The woman cried out when she saw her unconscious daughter.

Song Zi Heng placed the young girl on the wooden beam and pressed his hand hard on her chest.

"Senior Brother Wang, there's a girl who drowned! Quickly come here!"

The man who was called Senior Brother Wang hurriedly swam over from afar.

Song Zi Heng infused spiritual energy into her, trying to stimulate her pulse, which he could feel was still struggling faintly. After the infusion of spiritual energy, he proceeded to press on her chest and open her jaw, lowering his head.

Song Zi Xiao's eyes widened and he stopped Song Zi Heng with one hand, "What are you doing?"

Song Zi Heng said sharply, "Saving someone's life." "You, you're going to kiss her?"
Song Zi Heng froze for a moment, "I'm giving her air!" "You're not allowed to kiss her!"
"Don't cause trouble!"

"I'll do it, you're not allowed to kiss her!" Song Zi Xiao tugged Song Zi Heng relentlessly.

"You …”

"Let me see." Senior Brother Wang quickly swam over and picked up the young girl, skillfully squeezing her chest and abdominal cavity while pouring in spiritual energy, and soon, the young girl coughed out a large mouthful of water and she woke up.

They all breathed a sigh of relief.

The woman held her daughter and pointed at Song Zi Heng, "Quickly, thank your benefactor. It was this gentleman who saved you."

The young girl was still very weak and her face was as white as a sheet of paper, but when she saw Song Zi Heng, her face suddenly turned red and she stammered, unable to speak.

Song Zi Xiao's brow furrowed and he jumped on top of Song Zi Heng at once, wrapping his arms and legs around his neck and waist, deliberately blocking the young girl's view. "Don't be afraid." Song Zi Heng's arm went across his younger brother's waist and wrapped tightly around him.

Song Zi Xiao said ruthlessly, "I will cut Chen Xing Yong to death by a thousand cuts."

Song Zi Heng lifted his head and looked at the pillar of water that reached the sky, and then at the inn that was about to be submerged in front of him, his heart burning with anxiety.

This water could not kill the cultivators, and even if they could not fly with their swords, they still had ways to save their lives, but what should these ordinary people do? Chen Xing Yong must have known that they could not leave these dozens of innocent lives behind and intended to trap them alive.

Xu Zhi Nan swam to Song Zi Heng's side and said under his breath, "I have a plan, but it's a bit risky."

"Tell me quickly."

courage of a newborn calf*[初⽣⽜犊的勇猛]--- a metaphor for young people who

have little ideological concerns and dare to act.
Longxishui*[⻰吸⽔]---direct
translation is Dragon Sucking Water. Just a name. overturn seas and rivers*[翻江倒海]---overwhelming

Chapter 48

Xu Zhi Nan said, "Since Gong Shu Ju's greatest vitality is its’ extreme spiritual power consumption and limited range, Chen Xing Yong must be very close to us, and now that a quarter of an hour has passed, he must be struggling to hold on, so we will consume his spiritual power all at once, otherwise ..."

The water was about to flood the inn, and all the people were standing on the eaves, desperately waiting for the drowning moment to come.

"But how can I drain his spiritual power?"

Xu Zhi Nan's expression had a hint of oddity, as if it was difficult to speak, "I once read about a formation in the ‘Yellow Emperor's Yin Fu Heavenly Secret Scripture’."

At these words, the cultivators looked at each other, not knowing how to take it for a moment.

This Heavenly Secret Scripture is a forbidden book, containing too many evil and powerful techniques that can bring great hidden dangers to the practitioner and others. Since ancient times, countless people have tried to make a name for themselves by relying on this book, but have invariably ended up dead, and the orthodox immortal families have even kept this book a secret. Slowly, almost no one dares to practice it.

In fact, this book was written by the Yellow Emperor Xuan Yuan. It is a book on the art of war condensed from his lifelong cultivation, and the techniques in it are so profound that they cannot be mastered by mere mortals. The forefathers of the immortal cultivation world were able to dominate the world after learning all the subtle things from this book. Now, all the immortal sects that are well known in the immortal cultivation world are more or less influenced by this book in their founding techniques, and many of the talismans, witchcraft and formations that are widely circulated are also improved by the techniques in this book.

It can be said that the Heavenly Secret Scripture is the most powerful secret book of Kungfu in the world, and is one of the sources of the immortal cultivation world today. It’s just that the dross has been removed and the essence has been taken*. Of course, everyone knows that the so- called "dross" is the real "essence" of the book, but it cannot be used by mortals. There is also a saying that only those who have obtained the ancient magical weapon, the Xuan Yuan Heavenly Secret Talisman, can understand the book. Those who practice blindly will go off the rails and will not end well.

Although this book is a forbidden book, it has been printed in countless copies and is not difficult to obtain, nor is it possible to destroy it completely. It is generally believed in the immortal cultivation world that in order to stop people from practicing evil arts, it is better to avoid it than to stop them.

But at the same time, no one would openly claim to have read it.

Now it was a time of necessity, and Song Zi Heng asked, "What is the formation?"

"The Ten Thousand Gathering Air Formation. It is said that the ancestor of the Medicine Valley created the Spiritual Breath Returning Formation which was inspired by this formation."

Song Zi Xiao said in surprise, "The Spiritual Breath Returning Formation is used to heal many people at the same time, by channeling the spiritual energy from the eye of the formation, so is this Gathering Air Formation ..."

"That's right, just the opposite, it can suck all the spiritual energy of the people around it into the formation eye." Song Zi Heng sucked in a cold breath. Such a sinister formation deserved to come from the Heavenly Secret Scripture. After all, the Heavenly Secret Scripture also taught people to dig out other people's golden cores to refine immortal cores to supplement themselves.

Xu Zhi Nan explained again, "It's because this formation is very similar to the Spiritual Breath Returning Formation, almost like two sides of a mirror image, that’s how I remembered it."

Right now no one would bother to look deeper into what Xu Zhi Nan was saying. If they didn't break this Gong Shu Ju, dozens of lives would be drowned alive.

"Brother Xu, there's no time to lose, let's quickly set up the formation." "Okay, we ..."
"Wait." Song Zi Xiao glared at Xu Zhi Nan, his tone cold and hard, a depth beyond his age in his eyes, "Who will be the eye of the formation?"

They were still in a life-or-death situation. If their spiritual energy was sucked away at this time, they would lose their power to resist, and if they failed, they’re afraid that only the person who was the eye of the formation could escape.

Xu Zhi Nan paused: "His Highness will be the eye of the formation." "Senior Brother ..."
Xu Zhi Nan waved his hand, indicating that they did not need to say much.

Song Zi Xiao nodded in satisfaction.

Song Zi Heng did not push back, not because he harbored selfishness, but that the eye of the formation, while receiving spiritual power, also bore the responsibility of fighting the enemy alone, and as the eldest son, he was most accustomed to taking on the responsibility since he was a child. Xu Zhi Nan used his spiritual power to draw a formation on the water. Song Zi Heng was at the eye of the formation, and together with the others, they injected spiritual power into the formation. The stronger the formation's spiritual power, the greater the range it could draw, and Chen Xing Yong and the others must be nearby.

The spell floated on the surface of the water, and the mysterious spell emitted a black and red glow, reflected by the water waves in a demonic way. Not long after, the spell formation glowed brightly and all the cultivators felt a powerful force, like a hand seizing their golden cores, greedily pumping spiritual energy outwards, which they could hardly resist.

It was the first time they had all been sucked out of their spiritual energy, and the feeling that it seemed to be gutting one from the inside was truly terrifying.

It was not easy for Song Zi Heng either. The reckless flow of spiritual energy into his body, which did not belong to him, was so difficult to control that he nearly lost his composure, and at the moment when the water was already reaching his mouth and nose, he had to exclude external disturbances and meditate before he could barely control the surging spiritual energy, allowing it to gradually flow through his body in an orderly manner.

This bizarre experience, which felt very long, was in fact very brief. A strong wave of dizziness hit him, and space seemed to stagger and distort before his eyes, followed by the sound of water clattering, and the suffocating feeling of being pressed against his chest by the water instantly disappeared.

Song Zi Heng opened his eyes and found that although he was soaked to the skin, he was no longer in the water, just sitting on his butt in a puddle of standing water.

He looked up sharply. The houses, the trees, the green slab stones, all returned to their normal size, no, they returned to normal! The cultivators and the people were slumped to the ground, and the occasional passerby in the distance all looked at them in amazement.

Song Zi Heng leapt up, his sharp gaze quickly locked on those who intended to escape, they had all risen into the air with their swords. It seemed that the formation had not completely sucked out their spiritual energy, so many people had scattered and fled, and he could not tell from their backs who was Chen Xing Yong. He had to chase them one by one, he simply was unable to go after them all at the same time.

Song Zi Heng’s expression sank as his spiritual pressure surged around him, not angry but powerful. He poured his spiritual energy into his sword and used the seventh Chongtian of the Zongxuan Sword Technique. His sword waved in the air, his white clothes flying, and his sword energy transforming into an arc of swords, chasing the enemies in the air as if they had eyes.

The silvery-white sword arcs flew through the sky, brushing against the branches and leaves with the sharpness of a blown blade. When they hit the flesh, the result was predictable.

Wails arose, blood splattered, and one by one, people fell from the sky.

Song Zi Heng sharply withdrew his sword and glared sternly at his enemies on the ground. Despite being soaked to the skin, he did not look in the least bit wretched, but rather like a little white dragon out of the water, with his chest up and head held high, looking proudly at the world.

"Brother, you're amazing!" Song Zi Xiao ran over and looked at Song Zi Heng with surprise and admiration, "You've reached the high realm of the seventh Chongtian?"

Song Zi Heng said in a warm voice, "Not yet, I borrowed everyone’s spiritual power to make it."

"Without our spiritual power, you can do it with a full-power strike, right?" "It's not as powerful as you think." Despite Song Zi Heng's estimation of his own power, he could not say so. It would be disrespectful to his elders if others knew that at the age of nineteen, he had almost caught up with the cultivation of his eldest uncle and father.

Xu Zhi Nan also sighed in admiration, "Zi Heng, the rumors are true, you are truly worthy of a generation of heavenly pride."

Song Zi Heng calmly explained, "Big brother Xu, you are over- complimenting me, if I hadn't sucked away everyone’s spiritual energy, I wouldn't have been able to use this move."

"Big brother, your sword ..." Song Zi Xiao suddenly pointed nervously at Song Zi Heng's sword.

Song Zi Heng looked down at his sword, only to see that the silver blade was crawling with fine cracks, thinking it was because the sword had never taken on such a huge amount of spiritual power at once, that's why ...

Song Zi Heng frowned and carefully ran his fingers gently over the sword's body.

Only a soft snap was heard and the silver blade broke from the middle. The crowd was frozen.
Song Zi Heng's heart was torn hard. Looking at the broken sword in his hand was like looking at an old friend breaking before his eyes. Even though it was just an ordinary sword that had been with him for over ten years. This sword was given to him by his eldest uncle before he went into seclusion, originally for him to use for practice, but he used it until now, as it was the best sword he could get.

"Big brother ..." Song Zi Xiao looked at Song Zi Heng carefully, only to feel the pain endlessly. The lost and distressed expression that his big brother had never had before, he remembered it for the rest of his life. "Zi Heng." Xu Zhi Nan said comfortingly, "This sword has completed its mission."

Song Zi Heng pursed his lips and nodded shallowly, but his mind was bewildered. He did not know what a swordsman should do when he lost his sword.

The disciples of the Chunyang Sect had already pulled out their binding ropes and tied those men in all directions, and someone called out, "Senior Brother, we've found Chen Xing Yong!"

Xu Zhi Nan narrowed his eyes and said in a cold voice, "Tie them up and watch them closely."

The Song brothers looked at the unconscious man at the same time, hatred erupting in their eyes.

Song Zi Xiao drew his sword and said through clenched teeth, "Wake him up, I want to..."

"Immortal Lord." A soft female voice rang out from behind.

Song Zi Heng turned around and saw that it was the young girl he had saved.

"Thank you Immortal Lord for saving my life, I don't know how to repay you." Her cheeks were blushing, and her little daughterly attitude of wanting to look at Song Zi Heng but not daring to do so was very cute.

"There is no need to be polite, it is all because of us that you have been involved in this unwarranted disaster."

"May I ask your name?"

"Is my big brother's name also something you can ask?" Song Zi Xiao said before Song Zi Heng could say, "You don't need to say thank you, just go."

The young girl froze on the spot. Song Zi Heng scolded, "Zi Xiao, you are simply rude and impolite, is that how big brother taught you?"

"I'm young and don't know any better." Song Zi Xiao said with a straight face.

"You ..."

Xu Zhi Nan said, "Zi Heng, there are many people here, let's interrogate Chen Xing Yong in another place."

dross has been

removed and the essence has been taken*[ 取其精华, 去其糟粕]--- Absorb the best things and discard the bad and useless things

Chapter 49

After Song Zi Heng had bathed, changed his clothes, and wiped himself down for a long time, he still suspected that the smell of dog urine lingered on him, and he asked, "Xiao Jiu, does big brother still smell?"

Song Zi Xiao looked at him with his cheek in his mouth, "Yes, there’s an orchid scent."

"Am I smelly?"

"Smells good, big brother has always smelled good."

"That's good." Song Zi Heng sighed in relief, "Did you get yourself clean?"

"Mmm."

"Come, let big brother take a look." Song Zi Heng took a towel and wiped his younger brother's hair, wrinkling up his nose and sniffing, "Hmm, you seemed really clean."

Song Zi Xiao looked up at Song Zi Heng, "Big brother, have you kissed before?"

Song Zi Heng looked at him askance, "What kind of nonsense is going on in your little head?"

"Have you ever kissed?"

"I'm not married, of course not." "Second brother is not married either, but he has been to a brothel."

"A cultivator should not indulge in lust. Whether it is lust for material things, food, victory or defeat, or lust for sex. A human’s lust is a bottomless pit that can never be filled. One must cultivate one's body and, more importantly, one's heart."

Song Zi Xiao slowly revealed a smile, "Worthy of being a big brother." "But today ..."
"I stopped you today for your own good, lest she wavers your heart of Dao."

"I was anxious to save people. How can I think of those irrelevant things?
You really aren’t sensible." Song Zi Heng rebuked.

"I just don’t want big brother to kiss her. What if you kiss her and you keep thinking about her? Even if you don't think about her, what if she keeps thinking of you?"

"Where did you learn so much nonsense?" "You taught me."
"I didn't teach you that." "You did."
Song Zi Heng scolded jokingly, "Don't be ridiculous."

Song Zi Xiao stole a glance at Song Zi Heng's always red lips and a strange emotion arose in his heart.

How strange, why do people kiss? What does it really feel like to kiss? "Alright, let's go. Let's go see Chen Xing Yong."
--- Today's events had already caused an uproar in Yan City. Three people had drowned in the inn, and to avoid friction with the local Guardian Immortal Sect, Xu Zhi Nan left two disciples to take care of the aftermath, while the others took the captives of the Lion Alliance and left first, finding an abandoned Taoist temple nearby to settle down.

When Chen Xing Yong woke up, although his face was as pale as dirt, he looked a little provocative.

Song Zi Heng stared at Chen Xing Yong, "Chen Xing Yong, you have done so much evil, you have lost your humanity, and now you are dying, yet you have no remorse?"

Chen Xing Yong laughed, "If I show remorse and cry for mercy, will Your Highness let me go?" Chen Xing Yong had a clear face, a pale complexion, and a hint of femininity in his speech.

Contrary to the Chunyang Sect, the founding ancestor of the Cangyu Sect was a female cultivator who practiced the most yin and cold based techniques, and men who practiced this path would be increasingly lacking in masculine energy.

"Shameless!"

Song Zi Xiao said, "Big brother, why do you need to talk nonsense with such a lowly person? He will not easily reveal the buyer behind the curtain, so why not just use torture?"

Xu Zhi Nan said in a cold voice, "Chen Xing Yong, you have stolen cores and killed people. You have committed many crimes, you are not worthy of death. If you want a quick death, then answer our questions honestly, otherwise, there are people who are itching to skin you and pull out your tendons."

"Xu Zhen Ren, I have no enmity with you, why are you pursuing me so hard?" Chen Xing Yong said frivolously, "Let me guess, you want Gong Shu Ju too, right?" "You are a scum of the immortal world that everyone will kill. As a centuries-old immortal sect, I, the Chunyang Sect, need no reasons to eliminate harm for the people and support the righteous path."

"In that case, you don't want Gong Shu Ju?" Chen Xing Yong's tone was full of mockery.

Song Zi Xiao also looked at Xu Zhi Nan. Despite his big brother telling him not to judge others by himself, he still did not believe that someone would be completely unselfish about such a powerful magical weapon.

Xu Zhi Nan took out an unattractive, ancient wooden ruler from his Qiankun pouch, "I will look after this magical weapon for you, and when the Flying Plume Ambassador arrives, I will hand Gong Shu Ju and you, the traitor of the Cangyu Sect, over to her together."

Hearing the words "Flying Plume Ambassador", a hint of fear finally flashed across Chen Xing Yong's face.

"However, before that, you must tell us what you know. I have always acted openly and honestly in the Chunyang Sect, but when dealing with beasts like you, there is no need to talk about the ways of a gentleman."

Song Zi Xiao suddenly stood up from his chair, paced in front of Chen Xing Yong, and kicked him in the face.

Chen Xing Yong flew backwards and hit the wall, blood gushing out from his mouth and nose.

Song Zi Heng frowned slightly.

"Do you still remember three years ago in Gutuo Town, when you almost killed me and my big brother?" Song Zi Xiao's boyish face looked very gloomy at this moment, "You wanted my core. You think you’re worthy of it?"

Chen Xing Yong spat out the blood in his mouth and did not say a word. "You are afraid of Flying Plume Ambassador Qi Meng Sheng? Why?" Song Zi Xiao smiled and showed a mouthful of white teeth, "You don't think I'm worthy of your fear?"

Chen Xing Yong stared warily at the pretty teenager in front of him. "Xiao Jiu, come and sit down." Song Zi Heng said.
Song Zi Xiao twisted his head to look at Song Zi Heng, "Big brother, let me interrogate him. For the past three years, I have been thinking about how I will take revenge when he falls into my hands one day. I will make him talk."

"Xiao Jiu, come here." Song Zi Heng aggravated his tone. Song Zi Xiao bristled unconvincingly and backed away.
"Chen Xing Yong, I'm asking you." Song Zi Heng said in a deep voice, "How many people's golden cores have you dug up in total, where did those golden cores go, and who directed you to attack us in Gutuo Town three years ago?"

Chen Xing Yong said flatly, "If I told you, I would really be dead. Would you tell if you were in my shoes?"

"You are already a dead man, what are you still delusional about?"

Chen Xing Yong laughed twice, "I have to disappoint Your Highness.
You can't take this cheap life of mine just yet, do you know why?" Song Zi Heng narrowed his eyes.
"Because the Sect Leader’s senior brother of Chunyang Sect, does not dare to kill me."

Xu Zhi Nan opened his mouth to speak.

"Unless." Chen Xing Yong laughed, "He doesn't want his good junior brother's life anymore." Xu Zhi Nan froze and shot to his feet, "What have you done to Yan Zhi?!"

Song Zi Heng was also startled. Cheng Yan Zhi had gone to track down the mysterious man in black and had not returned all night, could he...

Chen Xing Yong laughed out loud.

Song Zi Heng only felt a pale golden shadow flash past his vision, and in the next instant, Xu Zhi Nan was already holding Chen Xing Yong's neck and pushing the man into the earthen wall. He simultaneously heard the sound of the wall crumbling and Chen Xing Yong's bones breaking.

Chen Xing Yong gave a short, miserable howl, and his face suddenly lost its color. Droplets of sweat sliding down his forehead.

Xu Zhi Nan said sternly, "Where is my junior brother?!"

Song Zi Heng and Song Zi Xiao both looked astonished. It was the first time they had seen Xu Zhi Nan show his strength. When the inn had flooded previously, they had only thought that the Chunyang Sect disciples were extremely fast at saving people and held their breath underwater for much longer than normal, but it was still surprising to see Xu Zhi Nan's speed and strength with their own eyes.

People who cultivate are already superhuman in their brawn, and the high-ranking cultivators of the Chunyang Sect were on the verge of being inhuman.

Chen Xing Yong looked at Xu Zhi Nan breathlessly, "Your junior brother may keep his life if I live, otherwise, you'll just wait to clean him up." He coughed up blood while revealing a fierce smile, "and not the full corpse."

Xu Zhi Nan's forehead was covered in veins, and he secretly tightened his grip on Chen Xing Yong's neck. He could easily break this neck if he wanted to. Song Zi Heng came over and said in a calm and reassuring tone, "Brother Xu, let go of him first, we need to know the whereabouts of Cheng Zhen Ren first."

Xu Zhi Nan slammed Chen Xing Yong to the
ground and gritted his teeth, "Yan Zhi's cultivation is not bad. He shouldn't be easily subjected to others. Chen Xing Yong, if you dare to
swindle

me, I will make you neither live nor die*!"

Chen Xing Yong fell to the ground in a state of distress and said, holding back the pain, "One life for another, let me go and your junior brother will naturally return."

"You are dreaming."

A disciple of the Chunyang Sect suddenly ran in, "Senior Brother, the Cangyu Sect's Flying Plume Ambassador has arrived!"

Xu Zhi Nan glanced at Chen Xing Yong, who was cowering on the ground, and said to Song Zi Heng, "Go, go and see Qi Meng Sheng first, and discuss countermeasures together."

neither live nor die* [求⽣不得,求死不能]---utter misery; one hopes for life but

cannot live and one prays to die but cannot die

Chapter 50

The Cangyu Sect of Kunlun is the oldest sect in the immortal cultivation world today. This sect originates from witchcraft, and legend has it that the predecessors of the sect were a group of ancestors who worshipped the Shen Nong Ding, and were the descendants of the celestial beings and mortals left on earth after the disruption of the heaven’s passage. Since ancient times, they have taken upon themselves to be the guardians of the Shen Nong Ding. They mainly practice magic, especially cold and ice magic, with the aid of weapons, elixirs, magical weapons, talismans and formations, so the Cangyu Sect has all kinds of weapons, and their practice is not limited to one type. Refining poisons, witchcraft spells and dual cultivation, apart from the fact that they don't blatantly seek to kill people for money, they do a lot of evil things.

Kunlun is located in the coldest part of Jiuzhou, and in the eyes of the people of the Central Plains, they were uncivilized barbarians. It was only after more sects gradually established in the Immortal Cultivation World, and became orthodox, that the Cangyu Sect began to interact with the Central Plains, absorbing Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism, but remained generally closed. Later, when the Daming Song clan unified Jiuzhou and ascended to the throne as emperor, the Cangyu Sect was unable to compete with the Song clan and was forced to become a subordinate, before being formally incorporated into the current lineage of the immortal cultivation world.

The Central Plains sects did not like the Cangyu Sect at heart, thinking that they were crooked and evil, but they did not dare to offend them easily, both for fear of their strength and for the sake of Shen Nong Ding. The so-called "Flying Plume Ambassadors" were the protectors of the Cangyu Sect's Sect Leader, usually the successor to the Sect Leader.

This year's Flying Plume Ambassador, Qi Meng Sheng, was not only the most gifted female cultivator, but also the best compared to men, and her beauty was very attractive. But rumor has it that she is vicious and merciless, called a demoness of the generation, and held the title of snake and scorpion beauty. Telling all cultivators under the sky to have a heart but no guts, and only dare to watch from afar.

At this moment, they saw a beautiful woman dressed in the grey clothes of a cultivator, with a few disciples stepping into the Taoist temple. Her costume was very different from that of the people from Central Plains, full of exotic charm. She was wearing a snow cloak of the same color, her figure was graceful and slender, with a broad forehead and fine eyebrows, and with the flesh of ice and bones of jade, like a tree full of silver branches on the frozen Kunlun Mountain, but still proud of the snow and facing the wind. Her grey is a clear, frozen ice spreading beneath a pale blue sky, cold and noble.

Song Zi Heng used to think that Chu Ying Ruo was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, but the one in front of him, the Flying Plume Ambassador, was also magnificent, but compared to Chu Ying Ruo, who was known as the world's most beautiful woman, they could only be described as a summer lotus and a winter plum, each with its own color and beauty.

The Chunyang disciples held their breath for a moment, and even Xu Zhi Nan, who was experienced and knowledgeable, was stunned.

People from the Cangyu Sect rarely visit the Central Plains, so Qi Meng Sheng’s beauty only existed in legends. Not many people have actually seen her, so it's no wonder the crowd was so shocked.

Qi Meng Sheng stood in front of him, with just the right amount of arrogance, and said, "Qi Meng Sheng of the Cangyu Clan, greets Your Highness, Ninth Highness and Xu Zhen Ren." Xu Zhi Nan returned the greeting, "Greetings, Flying Plume Ambassador."

Song Zi Heng nodded, "Flying Plume Ambassador is famous for her beauty. Looking at you today, I am truly amazed."

"Thank you, Your Highness, for your compliments." Qi Meng Sheng said with neither haughty nor humble, "My traitor Chen Xing Yong of the Cangyu Sect has committed a heinous crime by brutalizing fellow cultivators, and has even put Your Highness and Ninth Highness in danger, I am truly ashamed."

Song Zi Xiao snorted coldly, "You all used to hide and arrest him secretly for the sake of face. If he had been wanted in the immortal cultivation world earlier, he would have been caught long ago. Feeling ashamed to us, then what about the cultivators who died in vain?"

Qi Meng Sheng said lightly, "Your Ninth Highness is right to reproach. Our sect has indeed been at fault. Our sect has been trying to get rid of this traitor. Thanks to the assistance of the two Highnesses and all fellow cultivators, he was finally caught."

"This time it should have been a joint effort to capture him, but we ended up nearly drowning alive, yet you guys didn't make any effort."

"Xiao Jiu." Song Zi Heng scolded lightly and said, "Flying Plume Ambassador, right now there are more important matters than Chen Xing Yong."

"What is it?"

Xu Zhi Nan made the cause and effect clear in two sentences, "It is still impossible to guess the identity of that mysterious person. I have sent my disciples to look for my junior brother, but if my junior brother has really fallen into the hands of these miscreants ..."

"Don't worry, Xu Zhen Ren, my sect will do its best to save your junior brother." Qi Meng Sheng said, "Can I meet Chen Xing Yong first?" Xu Zhi Nan was a little hesitant.

"I won't do anything to him until I save your junior brother." Qi Meng Sheng's gaze grew colder.

"Fine."

Qi Meng Sheng walked past the crowd and walked into the compartment where Chen Xing Yong was being held expressionlessly. Before closing the door, all they could hear was Chen Xing Yong's trembling cry of "Senior Sister".

Song Zi Xiao turned his head to look at the closed door, lifted his foot and was about to go over.

Song Zi Heng held his head down and dragged him back to his side, "Be obedient, don't run around."

"I want to go and have a look."

"Not good." Song Zi Heng said to Xu Zhi Nan, "Brother Xu, if the other party has captured your junior brother, they will come to us of their own accord in order to save Chen Xing Yong. Right now, we can only wait."
Xu Zhi Nan sighed, "Chen Xing Yong is really cunning in various ways." "But he was still caught by us. Evil cannot overcome good. Cheng Zhen
Ren will definitely be safe ..."

A piteous scream suddenly came from inside the room.

Song Zi Heng turned his head in surprise. Xu Zhi Nan frowned and took two steps back, then paused, thinking that with Qi Meng Sheng’s status, she will have a degree of seriousness.

A short while later, Qi Meng Sheng came out, "I wanted to ask about your junior brother's whereabouts, but it seems he won't talk easily." "He relies on this to save his life, so naturally he won't open up." Xu Zhi Nan looked into the room, wanting to say something.

"I just broke his hamstring so that he couldn't escape."

Qi Ming Sheng's expression remained dull as she said this, causing everyone around to break into a cold sweat.

She added, "This is not a suitable place to stay for long. There is a Cangyu Sect property in a nearby town. Why don't we go and set up there?"

"That's good."

---

The group moved together.

When they arrived at the place, the Cangyu disciples who were stationed there presented a letter they had just received a while ago.

The letter read: South of the city outskirts, at Dayang Slope, between 1- 3am. Bring Chen Xing Yong alone in exchange for your junior brother.

Xu Zhi Nan read it again in a whisper, as if chewing the words between his lips.

"Senior Brother, you absolutely cannot go alone."

"Yes Senior Brother, let's go together to save Senior Brother Cheng."

"It has been said above that I should take Chen Xing Yong alone." Xu Zhi Nan's sword brows knitted slightly, a layer of cold frost covering his handsome features, "I'll go and meet this mysterious man and see who he really is."

Song Zi Heng said, "Brother Xu, I know you are worried about Cheng Zhen Ren's safety, but at times like this, the more calm you must be. You must leave yourself a good way out, both for Cheng Zhen Ren's sake and for the sake of Chunyang Sect." Xu Zhi Nan was the next head of the Chunyang Sect, and it was no wonder that they were extra nervous.

"Don't worry, I won't act recklessly. Since I want to save my junior brother, I will also never hand Chen Xing Yong over."

"Does Zhen Ren have a plan?" Qi Meng Sheng asked.

Xu Zhi Nan nodded as he looked to his junior disciples, "Which one of you is a good practitioner of the Bone Shrinking Technique?"

The Chunyang Sect disciples immediately understood, "Senior Brother, me. Let me go."

"Bone shrinking technique?" Song Zi Xiao said curiously, "Is it a technique that can change the skeletal structure and appearance? I have heard of it."

Xu Zhi Nan nodded, "The Yuanyang technique forges the physical body from head to toe, from the inside out, and changing the bones is a necessary cultivation."

"Are you guys thinking of ..."

---

The half-moon was high, and after the twilight had set in, the chill was biting, and at this time, ordinary people's homes were closed early. Dying to gather the warmth from the charcoal fire and keep it in the house forever.

But there was a knock on the door of Song Zi Heng's room. "Zi Heng, it's me."
Song Zi Heng was meditating with his legs crossed. He opened his eyes, "Xiao Jiu, go and open the door."

Song Zi Xiao went over and opened the door, and outside the door was none other than Xu Zhi Nan. "Brother Xu, how are you guys getting ready?"

"All preparations have been done already, we'll leave in a few minutes." "Do you need my help?"
"I do have a favor." Xu Zhi Nan looked at Song Zi Xiao with a hesitant look.

Song Zi Xiao immediately understood, and he said unhappily, "Do you have any sense of propriety? How dare you try to separate me talking to my big brother alone?"

"Xiao Jiu, don't be rude."

"He was the one who was rude in the first place." "Ninth Highness is not to blame."
"Xiao Jiu, please step back for a moment." "Big brother ..."
"Go on."

Song Zi Xiao angrily walked away.

Xu Zhi Nan closed the door and said helplessly, "Zi Heng is as gentle as jade, but this Little Highness, however, who knows who he resembles."

Song Zi Heng smiled, "He is still young, I will discipline him properly." He looked at Xu Zhi Nan, and was very curious in his heart as to what Xu Zhi Nan was looking for him for.

"Zi Heng, you should have heard of my origins." Song Zi Heng nodded. "My father grew up aspiring to be from an immortal family, but unfortunately, his ancestors never produced anyone with immortal roots. Once I was born, there was a casual cultivator who came from nowhere and said that I had fantastic roots. My father was so happy that he rewarded him with a hundred taels of gold, and I don't know if he was there to scam money." Xu Zhi Nan smiled, "At that time, it was popular for wealthy families to send their sons to the Chunyang Sect, where they could get a strong body in exchange for a few years of training as a child. Chunyang Sect also didn’t care whether these children have immortal roots or not, and doesn’t even care whether they will continue to stay in Chunyang Sect after they’ve reached adulthood. Anyway, I've made a lot of money from this, so it's all good. So I went to the Chunyang Sect at the age of five, and just as the casual cultivator had said, I did have fantastic roots, and was even accepted by the master as an admission disciple."

Song Zi Heng laughed, "Did your father regret it?"

"Yes, fortunately I am not the only son, so it is up to my brother to pass on the legacy. But my father was still unwilling, saying that if I want to cultivate immortality, he will support me. He even went to the Giant Spirit Villa to forge a good sword for me at a heavy price, hoping that I would cultivate another sect instead, but how could I let go of this cultivation, and how could I let down my master's utmost care and fostering? So this sword, in my hands, was wasted."

Song Zi Heng had already realized what Xu Zhi Nan was going to say, and he was at a loss for words.

With a wave of Xu Zhi Nan's large hand, a precious sword in his Qiankun pouch appeared in his hand.

The scabbard was forged in white jade, engraved with inscriptions and relief carvings, but was not inlaid with any gold or silver jewelry, giving it a noble and elegant appearance. Xu Zhi Nan handed the sword in front of Song Zi Heng: "Draw it out and take a look at it."

Song Zi Heng's pupils were already dark and large, and now his eyes glowed, making him look even more radiant and handsome. A little blushing and a little exhilarated, he grasped the hilt of the sword with one hand and with a swish and a clear sound, the light of the silver blade stood out in the dim candlelight.

Song Zi Heng carefully examined the sword and simply loved it: "A good sword, a really good sword!"

Xu Zhi Nan said, "This sword comes from the hand of Master Ran of the Giant Spirit Villa, a good sword matches a gentleman, Zi Heng, I will give it to you."

Song Zi Heng's heart beat like a drum, he looked down at the sword and did not reply for a moment.

Xu Zhi Nan was careful and well-thought: "Zi Heng, this sword has become dusty with me. It is really a great grievance for it. If you let your imagination run wild, thinking that it is a loss of pride for you to receive it, and pretend to evade, that would be to belittle both you and me."

Song Zi Heng lifted his head and looked at Xu Zhi Nan frankly: "Brother Xu, I will not think that way. I like this sword very much. It may be able to accompany me for the rest of my life. If I pretend to evade, I will lose my charm. Thank you, I will return the favor of this sword."

Xu Zhi Nan smiled, "Alright, it is considered that I've found a good home for it, and my father will be very happy when he finds out in heaven."

"Thank you, and thank your father too." "Don't mention it again. Hey, give it a name."
Song Zi Heng stroked the blade with infinite tenderness and his eyes were full of emotion, "I like orchids the most, so why not, let's call it 'Jun Lan*'."

"Gentleman* like an orchid. Good, a good name."

Song Zi Heng looked at his Jun Lan. His heart was half joyful and half sad. He never thought that a person with no blood relations would give him such a good sword, while his real father had hidden countless treasures, but was stingy in giving him even little things.

"Zi Heng, the time has come, let's set off."

*Jun Lan [君兰]---Jun = gentleman (君⼦) and Lan = orchid (兰花)
---remember Junlan

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