Chapter 381: Moldy, Grievous Ghost
Yun Heng willed himself to take two steps forward as he stared at Yi Qing in fright. Something flashed across his face as he anxiously said, "Fellow Daoist, do you mean that there are other ways to deal with deviant ghosts?"
Yi Qing's expression darkened. "It is obvious that these deviant ghosts have been formed with hundreds of thousands of remnant souls. Remnant souls are also parts of souls. You would know that the Soul-Extinguishing Array would destroy whole souls. There is no way that these souls will survive the array!"
The more he spoke, the angrier he got. At first, he thought that Yun Heng could not be a bad person if he had a glow of merit around his body. Yi Qing did not think that Yun Heng would be one to suggest extinguishing a hundred thousand remnant souls. Cultivators aside - even demons would not think about doing something like that.
Yet, nobody around thought much of it. Instead, they looked at Yi Qing angrily.
"What remnant souls? What extinguishing? That's a load of bull."
"That's right - if you don't get rid of deviant ghosts, living people would suffer."
"Stop spreading rumors to scare the crowd - I'm waiting to see justice being done!"
"Master Yun Tian, don't bother listening to them talk more nonsense. These evil people will attempt to do whatever they can."
"No!" Once again, Yun Heng stood in front of the crowd to stop them. There was no anger on his face. Instead, there was a little excitement as he turned to face Yi Qing, his eyes twinkling. Eagerly, he said, "According to what my fellow Daoist is saying, how should we deal with these deviant- I mean, remnant souls?"
Yi Qing's suspicions were raised. Something was amiss. He frowned and answered, "Of course we have to bring them back to the River of Forgetfulness. We need to let them reincarnate in the Underworld." "Forgetfulness? Reincarnate?" Yun Heng stared at him blankly. He looked confused, and he was just about to ask a question.
But Yi Qing already turned around to walk toward the deviant ghosts. He used both of his hands to conjure a seal so that the ground under his feet glowed golden. A moment later, a huge array that led to the world appeared beneath his feet. It quickly spread throughout the entire forest.
The black deviant ghosts looked like gray clouds being blown away. The black Qi started to dissipate. Even the Yin Qi around the ghosts dissipated. What remained of the ghosts were their transparent figures, which looked so weak that some of their figures seemed like a blur of white Qi. They began to spread out so that they looked like hundreds of thousands of little white figures.
The crowd was stunned by what they were seeing. They continued to stare at the crowd of figures in disbelief.
"What…. what is this…" "Why do the deviant ghosts suddenly look like that? Have… they become ghosts?"
"But why isn't there any Yin Qi?"
"Eh, is that… the Patriarch of the Yan Family? Isn't he…" Dead?
All of them sucked in a deep breath, as if they had never seen anything like that before. They wanted to take a closer look, but Yi Qing lowered his hands so that the entire forest full of weak remnant souls turned into green smoke that entered the River of Forgetfulness below them.
Within a few minutes, the deviant ghosts - which numbered so many that they could cover the skies or destroy the entire Longxing City - disappeared completely. All that was left behind were withered and dried leaves.
Yi Qing activated his divine perception to survey the forest. There were no remnant souls left. It looked like Song Ren was the only one left. The grievous energy that the other ghosts had were not so thick that they could not even enter the River of Forgetfulness.
All the Mystic cultivators present were still stunned. They said nothing for a long while.
Yun Heng was the first to react. He walked toward Yi Qing quickly. "Fellow Daoist, those deviant- remnant souls, where did they go?"
"I sent them to the River… Eh?" Before he could finish speaking, he saw a bright light coming from above. He raised his head and exclaimed, "It's bright!"
"There's no time - I have to go back to cook!"
"Huh? Ah!" He has to what? Once Yi Qing finished speaking, he picked up something that looked like a dandelion from the ground. He withdrew his sword and disappeared immediately.
They audience's eyes widened even further. They looked at Yun Heng in confusion.
Nothing was more important than making breakfast for Master!
Longxing City, in a certain inn.
"That's what happened," Yi Qing narrated his experience while clearing up the table. "Oh." Shen Ying had just finished eating breakfast. She turned the chopsticks in her hands and squatted next to a certain dead coward. "In other words… he's acting up again?"
Yi Qing paused. Then, he nodded profusely. "Yes!"
"I think he's been influenced by the grievous energy of those deviant ghosts," he explained. "This time, he exploded with much more grievous energy than he did before. I've already sent a message to Meng Po, but… I think even she would have difficulties cleansing him of the grievous energy."
Shen Ying glanced at the black Qi being emitted from the man's body. He looked like he was molding. "Is there no other way?"
"I haven't found out about his past - I'm not sure what is causing Song Ren all this grief. That's why I haven't been able to get rid of the grievous energy until now." "Let's throw him aside for now then?"
"I can only keep him locked up in this illusionary body. But grievous energy can swallow one's soul. If this continues, his soul will be gone sooner or later."
"That's so troublesome!" Shen Ying tilted her head. "Why not we throw him back to Father Niu?"
Yi Qing paused. A moment later, he said somberly, "That's possible, but we haven't found Yu Hong. If we go back now… I think we will lose about three months of allowance."
"And…" Yi Qing continued, "If Song Ren is not better by tomorrow, we will not have any money left to remain in this inn."
Shen Ying hesitated. A moment later, she threw aside the chopsticks, patted Yi Qing on the shoulder and said, "Chef, you're right! The Treasure Hunter Ghost has been with us for several days now. We're loyal people. Even if he becomes moldy Ghost, we will not leave him!"
"…" moldy… What does moldy Ghost even mean?
"But he's molding pretty badly!" Shen Ying scratched her head and exclaimed as she surveyed the ghost beside her who was still emitting black Qi steadily. "Why not we shake him and hang him outside to dry so that we can get rid of the mold or something?"
As she spoke, she bent over to pick up Song Ren's illusionary body, which continuously emitted grievous energy. She grabbed one side with each of her hands and shook the ghost out like a blanket.
A moment later, they heard a strong wind. A huge ball of grievous energy formed a rectangle in front of them.
-_-||| "Mas… Master!" Yi Qing frowned. He stepped forward to stop her. "The grievous energy in Song Ren's body cannot be shaken… Eh? It's shaken off!"
Before he could finish speaking, he saw the huge patch of grievous energy retreat from Song Ren's body like a turtle hiding back in its shell.
How is this possible!
"All done!" Shen Ying announced after two full minutes of shaking Song Ren's body. The ball of grievous energy was all gone by then. All that remained of Song Ren was a translucent soul. He was still unconscious, and there was still some blackness trapped inside of him. "We just have to hang him up to dry now." Yi Qing: "…"
You… You are indeed a master!
Yi Qing was just about to say something when one of the waiters in the inn knocked on their door. "Guests, Master Yun Tian told me to send a message to you. He is wondering if it will be convenient to meet the two of you now?"
"Master Yun Tian?"
He's really fast!
"Master, he's the Soul Formation cultivator that I was talking to you about," Yi Qing explained. Then, he nodded and allowed the waiter to lead Yun Tian in.
"Oh." Shen Ying couldn't care less.
A moment later, a huge patch of golden light walked into the room. It was absolutely blinding.
Shen Ying started. She narrowed her eyes. What a huge… lightbulb!
(⊙ o ⊙)
She glanced at the moldy ghost in her hands.
Heh heh heh…
Chapter 382: Breaking Apart the Mystic Cultivation
"Fellow Daoist." The moment Yun Heng entered the room, he bowed to Yi Qing. He looked extremely excited. "I apologize for interrupting - please forgive me."
Yi Qing faced him. He had guessed that Yun Heng would pay them a visit, but he did not think that he would arrive this early. It looked like he really was outstanding among the other Mystic cultivators. "Master Yun Tian, please don't stand on ceremony. Take a seat." Yi Qing gestured to Yun Heng to sit down. It was timely - there were some things that Yi Qing wanted to confirm with him.
"Fellow Daoist, please call me Yun Heng," Yun Heng said more politely. There was respect in the way Yun Heng looked at Yi Qing. "How should I address you, Fellow Daoist?"
"Yi Qing," Yi Qing replied. He turned to look behind him. "This is my master, Shen Ying."
It was as if Yun Heng had just noticed Shen Ying standing there. He paused, and immediately bowed to greet her, When he recalled the reason for his visit, he dispensed with further ceremonies and looked Yi Qing in the eyes. "Yi Qing, the reason for my visit is that something major has happened in my world. I want to consult with my fellow Daoist regarding this. Fellow Daoist Yi Qing, I plead with you to be honest with me."
He now looked very nervous, as if what he was about to say was extremely important to him. He subconsciously clenched his fists beside him.
Seeing this, Yi Qing nodded. "Fellow Daoist, please go ahead."
Yun Heng took a deep breath and sat upright. He began, "I wonder what my fellow Daoist meant when he referred to remnant souls before?"
"People have ten parts to their soul. Together, we refer to them as one soul. When one dies, their soul becomes a ghost. Remnant souls are a broken piece of one part of one's soul. It's not strong enough to form any one part of the soul, that's why we refer to it as a remnant soul." "Then what did you mean when you said you wanted to send the souls to the River of Forgetfulness to reincarnate?" He was getting more anxious.
"The River of Forgetfulness is the beginning and the end of all souls. It flows through the three realms and the six paths, and leads all living creatures in the world to the Underworld. As long as one goes through the River of Forgetfulness, he or she will be able to reincarnate!"
Yun Heng paled, as if he had just been hit by a huge blow. His body swayed and he looked like he was going to pass out at any moment. Yet, he steadied himself with his fist and sat upright once more. A complicated expression flashed across his face. A moment later, he looked at Yi Qing nervously once more. "Then the dharma spells that my fellow Daoist used earlier were…"
"An array - the Future Life Array."
"Future Life… Array," Yun Heng repeated after Yi Qing, scanned him from head to toe. "Please excuse my ignorance - my fellow Daoist, are you using mystic cultivation?" "No."
"Sorcery. The sorcery of immortal cultivators."
"Immortal cultivation!" Yun Heng exclaimed. "Then you're-"
Yun Heng stared blankly at him, unable to respond. Although he did not know what a cultivator was, he understood that it was completely different from a Mystic cultivator. Several different emotions flashed across his face, one after another, A moment later, as if figuring something out, he said, "So… I see! There's such a sorcery in this world. So we have been following the wrong kind of cultivation. That's no wonder…" Yun Heng sighed as he shook his head. He looked like he did not know whether to laugh or to cry.
Yi Qing frowned as he looked at him. He asked, "Fellow Daoist Yun, can you answer some of my questions?"
Yun Heng looked up. "Fellow Daoist, please go ahead."
"Have you Mystic cultivators always gotten rid of ghosts by extinguishing them?"
Yun Heng paused. Suddenly, he broke into a smile and replied, "I know what my fellow Daoist is trying to say. But in the world of Mystic cultivation, there is indeed no other way of getting rid of ghosts."
No other way?!
Yi Qing started. Wasn't directing spirits to the River of Forgetfulness to be reincarnated one of the most basic methods?
He recalled something and sighed deeply. A moment later, he continued, "Fellow Daoist, you might not know this - a few hundred years ago, a strange phenomenon appeared in this world… remnant souls. It caused the living creatures to turn to ash. At that time, nobody knew of any method to get rid of these remnant souls. As a result, cities full of people in the north got consumed by these remnant souls and perished. Later on, the ancestors of us Mystic cultivators spent ten over years to create that "Deportation Array". It helped to trap those deviant ghosts from invading the mortal world. Later on, they died because of this array. That's how the Mystic cultivators later joined these pieces of information up together to create the Mystic Gate."
His expression grew heavy. He sighed and continued, "The Mystic Gate made use of this array. Its primary purpose was to deport the deviant ghosts and protect the mortal world. We managed to salvage a piece of land by keeping all of the deviant ghosts in the north. That's why the Mystic cultivators only know this one method."
"…" Are you all retarded? It's obvious that there's something wrong with this method!
"But after so many years, the number of deviant ghosts did not reduce. Instead, it was increasing rapidly. From the looks of it… we should have recognized our mistake from the beginning. These deviant ghosts… No, these remnant souls do not need to be deported - they needed to be sent to Samsara."
He turned to face Yi Qing. He cupped his fists and said in a serious manner, "Fellow Daoist Yi, Yun Heng is begging you to show us Mystic cultivators the cultivation that leads to future life. Save our world from facing these threats again and help the remnant souls to be reincarnated."
Yi Qing frowned. Although he had guessed this earlier, he never thought that this would be the reason.
So they were only ruthless toward the remnant souls not because they were cruel, but because they did not know that these remnant souls were also parts of others' souls. The funnier thing was that they called themselves Mystic cultivators who specializes in dealing with ghosts and spirits. Yet, they knew nothing about dealing with spirits apart from extinguishing them! Suddenly, he recalled the Soul-Extinguishing Array. Yun Heng had merit in his body - he could indeed use that array to extinguish all the ghosts. But given the others' cultivation levels, even jointly, they would not be able to activate even a tenth of the array's powers. The most they would have been able to do was dissipate the souls. Yet, the remnant souls did not enter the River of Forgetfulness. Instead, because of the grievous energy in their bodies, they gathered back together.
Afterall, this was a small world. That was probably why the deviant ghosts managed to grow in numbers that threatened them all so greatly.
So all of this happened because their cultivation techniques were incomplete. One might even say they were severely lacking in this area. According to logic, the Spirit Qi in different small worlds would be different in terms of richness. However, in the end, they would all end up on the road to immortal cultivation. Yet, this particular world seemed to have fallen off the path somewhere along the way. What's more, they were deviating more and more as time went by.
"I can help you," Yi Qing said in a low voice. "I can teach you not just the Future Life Array. I can also teach you other techniques related to ghosts, spirits and the supernatural." Yun Heng's face exploded with elation.
"But…" Yi Qing added. "You have to make all of the Mystic cultivators stop using the Soul-Extinguishing Array immediately."
"Of course!" Yun Heng nodded profusely. Since he knew that those deviant ghosts were remnant souls, he had no intention to allow anyone to use the array any longer.
"And can you let me see the manuals of your so-called Mystic cultivation?"
"Alright. This concerns saving our world - I'm sure everyone would be agreeable."
"Thank you, Fellow Daoist Yi. I will go and instruct the rest of the patriarchs to gather their disciples now." "Hmm."
"And the major races of the Mystic cultivators will all arrive here within three days. They will spread this news to all of the Mystic cultivators under the Heavens."
"Fellow Daoist Yi…"
"Your subordinate has one last question."
"I want to ask…" He suddenly pointed to his forehead. Then, he turned around and glanced at the person behind him. "Why is it that this lady has been hanging this piece of gray cloth over my head ever since I entered?"
Yi Qing: "…"
Shen Ying, "…"
Ah! I'm discovered!
My concealment technique is not up to scratch today - the moldy ghost hasn't even dried up yet!
Chapter 383: Daily Cheating of Father
Yun Heng was too fast. By the second day, he had already moved out a bunch of Mystic Daoist classical texts. Yi Qing thought that the texts would be about the different techniques, but they were actually filled with different blueprints for talismans. There were minor talismans which did not have any practical use - like the Dust-Gathering Talisman and Acceleration Talisman - and there were major talismans which were mainly used in attacks - like the Lightning Charm and Fire Talisman. All kinds of talismans could be found in the texts.
"I just want to understand how your cultivation is different from mine. It'll be enough if you just show me your basic techniques?" Yi Qing explained, thinking that Yun Heng probably misunderstood him.
"But… these are it!" Yun Heng nodded. "All the talismans and techniques that are part of the Mystic cultivation can all be found here."
"These!" Yi Qing once again scanned the books on the table. "Aren't there also techniques that allow you to draw Qi into your body?" Yun Heng stared back at him blankly. "What do you mean by that?"
"…" Yi Qing suddenly felt like something was wrong. "Have you never sucked spirit Qi into your body?"
"Spirit Qi?" Yun Heng was clearly confused now.
"How do you normally draw your talismans?" Yi Qing tried to switch tactics.
"Oh, we just need a sensing of the heavens and the earth. Let me demonstrate." He immediately retrieved a talisman paper as well as paint and stones so that he could demonstrate for Yi Qing. First, he burned some incense. Then, with an extremely somber look, he picked up his brush and began to write on the paper.
Yi Qing looked over with suspicion. He realized that his spirit Qi was not even stirring. The spirit Qi from the surroundings, however, flowed toward the brush and stuck on the paper. Within seconds, a low-level talisman appeared on the table. -_-|||
"All done." Yun Heng set his brush back down and looked pleased with himself. "Without much effort, I have created a Dust-Removing Talisman."
Yi Qing: "…"
He was a Soul Formation Supremacy after all. Did he have to look so proud after creating just one Dust-Removing Talisman?
Suddenly, Yi Qing understood. These Mystic cultivators did not… know how to activate their own spirit Qi? Then how did he even become a Soul Formation cultivator?
After some thought, Yi Qing conjured a seal so that all the spirit Qi in the surroundings gathered to form temporary spirit- measuring beads. He reached out to Yun Heng and said, "Put your hands on these beads."
Yun Heng paused. Although he did not quite understand what Yi Qing was trying to do, he obliged.
The next moment, the measuring beads showed displayed five colors that overlapped to form one body.
"Five-Elemental Mixed Spirit Root!" Yi Qing jumped. No wonder…
The Five-Elemental Mixed Spirit Root was quite similar to the other elemental spirit roots, but they were two different extremes. It was much better than any ordinary elemental spirit roots. The Five-Elemental Mixed Spirit Root could absorb all five different types of spirit Qi, but the spirit roots would mix them all up into one body. In other words, they could absorb any kind of spirit Qi, but their bodies did not need to separate between the different types before they could use it. This type of spirit root was the best among all.
The more important thing was people with Five-Elemental Mixed Spirit Root necessarily had five-elemental spirit bodies. Their bodies were especially sensitive to spirit Qi, so that they did not even need to consciously absorb spirit Qi. Spirit Qi would automatically gather in their bodies. Given the high quality of this man's body, automatic absorption of the spirit Qi from all around would not case a bottleneck. It was no wonder that he had become a Soul Formation without much effort.
"Fellow Daoist, what do you mean by 'spirit root'?" Yun Heng was still confused. He could not understand what Yi Qing was talking about.
Yi Qing frowned and looked at him with a mixed expression. It seemed that the situation was more serious than he had thought. It was not as simple as handing them the Reincarnation Array and Death Surpassing Technique.
They had to start right from the beginning!
He turned to glance at the Mystic cultivators who would glance into the inn from outside from time to time. He sighed. This was such a troublesome matter. He had to think about how best to do these things.
After explaining the situation to Yun Heng very briefly, they agreed that they would tell the rest of the Mystic cultivators what was going on the next day. Then they would invite all of them back.
"Sect Master…" Yi Qing looked over to the person who was gnawing at her fruits by the side. "What should we do now?" If Yi Qing read the situation right, this little world's cultivators were seriously lacking in skill. If they wanted to solve the problem of the strange ghosts, they would likely have to start by teaching them the basics - how to gather spirit Qi into their bodies.
"Why not…" Shen Ying began seriously. "Give Father Niu a call?" It sounded like they had to set up a school? This would not be the first time, anyway.
Yi Qing paused, his eyes brightening. That was a great idea!
Father Niu had the most experience in teaching disciples.
He immediately sent out a transmission amulet. A moment later, a familiar figure jumped out of the amulet.
"Get lost!" He had just finished telling Lonemoon the situation when Lonemoon shut him up. He glared at the two of them and said, "They can't cultivate - what does that have to do with me? Can you stop giving me so much trouble? You want me to go down and start a school? Do you think I don't have enough to do over here?"
"You can go ahead and teach if you want to! Why are you asking me?"
Yi Qing kept quiet, not knowing how to respond.
Shen Ying tilted her head and said, "Father Niu, you are the expert over here."
"Get lost!" Lonemoon rolled his eyes. He looked to their left and right. "Where are Yu Hong and Little Black? What exactly are the two of you doing down there?"
"Er… Stop being so caught up in all these details." "Details my ass. You didn't freaking look for them, did you?" Lonemoon exposed them immediately. "Hurry up and bring them back. The two of you can settle everything else."
"Oh." Shen Ying narrowed her eyes and sighed. "Alright, there are so many people in this world who have not yet learned how to cultivate. They don't know what they're missing either. Chef…" She patted him. "You can think about how to teach them."
Yi Qing paused, as if suddenly realizing something. He nodded. "Yes, Master."
"Wait!" Indeed, Lonemoon interrupted. "What do you mean they have never cultivated?"
"There are no cultivators in this entire world - that's what she means," Yi Qing explained. He added, "Among these people, there are even some with the Five-Elemental Mixed Spirit Root. Yet, no one here knows how to cultivate. It's… such a pity."
He sighed long and deep, completely out of character. The smart Father Niu's mind became filled with the idea of people with the Five-Elemental Mixed Spirit Root. Five- Elemental Mixed Spirit Root! A pitiful small world with little spirit Qi was harboring people with the Five-Elemental Mixed Spirit Root. The place was overflowing with so much potential. They even had these types of spirit roots - that means there were people of good-quality bodies walking all around on the streets!
"They really don't know how to train with spirit Qi?"
"Of course, come and take a look if you don't believe us!"
Lonemoon looked at them suspiciously. Although he knew they were doing this on purpose, he could no longer suppress the excitement he felt in his heart. There was not one cultivator in the entire small world. That meant that there were many people with great potential who were just waiting for him to choose them. That meant that Lonemoon would be able to teach them in any way he wanted. That meant… there would soon be a world full of sword cultivators!
(⊙v⊙) Lonemoon turned around and saw a sect full of golden barbies…
"Master, are we going now? Your disciple's cultivation technique may not be suitable for them, but I can give it a shot."
"Oh." Shen Ying nodded. They were just about to step out.
"Stop right there, the both of you!" Lonemoon glared at the two people who were obviously hooked on acting. He pursed his lips. "Are you almost done? Wait right there for me, let me get ready. I'll be there tomorrow!" If he allowed Shen Ying, the cheat, to get started on those cultivators, Lonemoon was sure that there would be a second Invincible Sect in that small world
"Yes, Father Niu! No problem, Father Niu!" The two of them replied obediently.
Lonemoon tutted. The figure disappeared from the talisman immediately. Done!
"Chef, you cooperated well with me." Shen Ying nudged Yi Qing.
"Master, you taught me well."
Daily cheating of Father Niu - done!
(๑•ᄇ̀ •)و́ ✧
Chapter 384: High-Key Entrance
By the time Song Ren came to, it was three days later. The grievous energy in his body had all dissipated by then, and he returned to his old translucent self.
The only thing was… why was he hanging on the clothes- drying poles?
Exactly what happened?
"Hey! Are you dry?" Shen Ying climbed onto the windowsill and waved at him.
"Exalted Immortal Shen…" Song Ren paused. What did she mean by "dry"? She meant to ask if he was awake, right? He instinctively tried to float over to Shen Ying, but there was a bright flash of light that caused him to be hung back up on the pole. That was when he realized there was a translucent array surrounding him, causing him to be stuck on the clothes-drying pole. He could not even move. "He… here?" "Oh, then you need not be afraid that the wind would carry you away," Shen Ying explained. She turned to address the man behind her. "Chef."
"Yes, Master." Yi QIng used one hand to conjure a seal which undid the array around Song Ren immediately.
It was then that Song Ren finally got down from the clothes- drying pole and floated indoors.
"Exalted Immortal, I… What has happened to me?" He looked absolutely confused. The last thing he remembered was going with Exalted Immortal Yi Qing to settle the problem with the deviant ghosts. How did he end up hanging on the drying pole?
"You don't remember anything?" Yi Qing frowned as he asked.
Song Ren stared blankly back at him, a mixed expression on his face. A moment later, he scrunched up his face and said, "I… don't know either. I think we arrived at some place with a lot… a lot of people." Yi Qing started. Could it be that he was regaining his memories from before? "What else do you see?"
"I think… someone told me where to go." He was looking increasingly terrible as he tried his hardest to remember. After awhile, he shook his head. "I can't remember. I just feel like that place was extremely cold. Exalted Immortal, am I-"
"Yes." Yi QIng nodded. It looked like there was no way he could figure out where all of this grievous energy was coming from. Yun Heng, however, could help him.
Ever since Yi QIng settled the bunch of remnant souls in the city, the city's Mystic cultivators began to treat him differently. Nevertheless, they remained suspicious of him. That was, of course, apart from Yun Heng, who seemed to be the idol of many, who used every last bit of effort he had to increase Yi Qing's popularity. The next day, when they went to the Mystic gates, they found the place crowded with many more Mystic cultivators. Among them, however, there was not one person who believed in immortal cultivation like Yun Heng. Most of them listened with suspicion, and some even went so far as to make jokes out of what they were hearing. If Yi Qing had not gotten rid of all the remnant ghosts from the city, they probably would not even be standing there.
In fact, Yi Qing could understand. They have inherited hundreds of years of knowledge and experience. Now, somebody has tuned up to tell them that everything they have known was a mistake. Of course they would find it hard to accept. As for Yun Heng - he was at the Soul Formation stage. Of course he would be better able to grasp the Heavenly Dao compared to everybody else. For all Yi Qing knew, Yun Heng had begun to suspect the Mystic cultivation from early on. Perhaps that was why he so easily believed what Yi Qing was telling him.
"Fellow Daoist Yi." Yun Heng took one step forward and looked at Yi Qing. Although he did not know why Yi Qing wanted to gather all the Mystic cultivators, he carried it out for him. "Everyone is here. Can we begin?"
"Let's wait for awhile," Yi Qing replied. "What are we waiting for?"
"We're waiting for Father Niu."
"Huh?" Yun Heng hesitated. "Who's Father Niu?"
"It's… It means a parent," Yi Qing attempted to explain.
Parent? Was he the patriarch? Could it be that he came from a hidden family?
Before Yun Heng could react, a voice sounded from the skies. It sounded like it was right next to everybody's ears, yet far far away at the same time. Everybody immediately got excited.
"Look above!" Someone shouted. Everyone looked up in shock.
A huge hall appeared in the sky and floated in mid-air. All around it were huge patches of green light, which caused the hall to look like an illusion. It looked almost like a wonderland. All at once, a certain suppressive force flowed out from the hall, covering the entire sky and causing each one in the audience below to tremble in fear.
Everybody was positively shocked. They were looking at the sky in disbelief. All except the two who had been informed earlier.
Yi Qing: "…"
Shen Ying, "…"
Father Niu's entrance this time was really high-key! He was making such a scene for himself.
The next moment, a few figures flew out of the hall and stopped in mid-air, on top of the obvious. They were all dressed in white robes, with symbols of golden clouds embroidered onto them. Under their legs was one spirit sword each. They were not wearing anything on their faces, yet for some reason, nobody could see their features clearly. All they could see were their silhouettes. The one in the middle was especially blur. He looked like he was covered in a terrifying aura. They could not even stand to look at his silhouette for more than one second before they began to feel uncomfortable.
The excitement intensified. This was not any form of Mystic arts. This looked more like… the ways of immortals!
The few people stood in the air, about ten metres away from the audience. The person on the right began to speak in a voice that was not loud, but that rang clearly in each person's ear.
"Disciples of Invincible Sect, we have come at the orders of our sect master to seek out those with whom we share the same fate. Come forward to learn the ways of cultivation. We hope that each and every one of you would grasp this opportunity to learn these orthodox ways and do your part to protect the world!"
Once he finished speaking, the man waved his hand. Everyone looked on in fear as a stage rose up out of the plain field to their right. "A minute later, we will begin the testing of spirit roots. We will select a few disciples with good potential to impart our cultivation skills to. Everyone is free to come and get tested."
After he finished speaking, the few figures disappeared. They returned into the hall that was now situated behind several clouds.
The entire scene went quiet. It was awhile before anyone reacted.
A moment later, they fought their way to the stage on their right. Soon, they formed an excited line that could not wait to be tested. Although they did not know what it meant to have their spirit roots tested, the scene that they just saw was definitely real. They had no doubt about it. There really was a way for them to become immortal. Master Yun Tian was speaking the truth!"
At that moment, in the hall in the sky.
The four people who watched the entire show and who had just been transported into the hall: "…"
"Hey, Father Niu." Shen Ying waved at the figure in the middle of the group.
The other party rolled his eyes at her.
The eyes of the few girls around him, however, twinkled. One by one, they bowed. "Your disciple greets Sect Master!"
Shen Ying waved at them. "Hey, Little Green, Little White, Little Pink, Little White… two?"
Si Yu, who was wearing pink robes, tugged at her sleeves. She thought about whether she should change back to her usual green. Indeed, now that she was wearing different colored robes, her nickname had changed as well. "Ah, there are so many people here!"
"And you all entered in such a high-key manner!" Yi Qing continued.
"Didn't you say that nobody has ever trained with the spirit Qi here?" Lonemoon asked. "Of course I had to prepare everything well. Otherwise, how can i make them believe?" He did not want people to begin fighting about how his training should be set up. Therefore, he knew that if he wanted to publicize, he had to make it impressive.
The few of them hesitated and thought about the Mystic cultivators they were facing just moments ago. He was right! When they saw the group appear, people who only half- believed, and people who did not even believe Yi Qing in the first place, all had a change of heart.
"Fellow Daoist, you are indeed wise and experienced!" Yun Heng exclaimed, overjoyed. He suddenly realized what Lonemoon was saying. Others aside - even Yun Heng had been shocked by the hall that appeared in the skies. At first, he was still wondering how he should get all the Mystic cultivators to learn proper cultivation. After Lonemoon's show, this problem was solved. After witnessing such impressive work, they naturally knew what was good for them
"Are you light- er, Master Yun Tian?" Lonemoon smiled politely at Yun Heng, who was standing beside him. The moral golden light around Yun Heng was blinding. Subconsciously, Lonemoon squinted. Indeed, just as Shen Ying had said, he was a walking light bulb.
Chapter 385: Training Sword Cultivators
"Fellow Daoist, please call me Yun Heng." Yun Heng's tone was polite and his eyes twinkled as he looked at Lonemoon. "How should I address you?"
"Lonemoon," Father Niu answered, putting on his business- like smile He Turned around and introduced the people around him. "These are the disciples of Invincible Sect. They have come to spread the word. They look forward to cooperating with Fellow Daoist in the future."
"Of course, of course." Yun Heng nodded. It was obvious from his expression that he was overjoyed. "Spreading the word cultivation is a huge matter - as long as Fellow Daoist says the word, I will definitely do what I can to be at your service."
Lonemoon had no intentions of speaking too much with Yun Heng. After exchanging a couple more pleasantries, he allowed Yun Heng to lead Si Yu and the others down to test spirit roots. There were only the three of them left in the hall, along with one ghost. They were no longer required to be involved in recruitment of disciples. In fact, that would be insulting to their positions They put so much effort into making a grand entrance
- they had to make sure that they played that role well to the end.
However, Lonemoon could not help his curiosity toward the quality of people in this small world. He retrieved a crystal which displayed the testing stage below them. At that moment, there was a long line before the stage. All sorts of Mystic cultivators were excitedly waiting. Perhaps it was because Si Yu and the others were already there - the crowd was not pushing and jostling to get to the front. Instead, everything was progressing in an orderly fashion.
The miraculous thing was everybody who was on the stage, including those who were standing guard at the city gates, had a spirit root. Of course, this was apart from one or two civilians who were just there to enjoy the excitement. Those who had spirit roots were not of bad quality either. Most of them had either two or three spirit roots. Within an hour, they managed to find two people with celestial spirit roots.
People of this caliber were rare in other small worlds. It was almost as if everybody with good-quality bodies had gathered into one city. The only thing was…
"Why do they all have cultivations?" Lonemoon glared at the two unreliable master and disciple duo. "Didn't you say there are no cultivators in this world?" Everybody who had their spirit roots tested were in their first- to fifth-stages of Qi Refinement.
"Perhaps it's because of what they call Mystic cultivation," Yi Qing replied. "They had been training in a cultivation that was mainly concerned with creating talismans. That was what most of them did before, although they claim they do not know how to gather Qi into their own bodies. Nevertheless, they know how to activate the spirit Qi in their surroundings to create talismans. Of course they would gain some form of cultivation from that." What they were missing was an understanding of spirit Qi. That was why they did not know how to activate it. Of course, they would not know the basics of how to endure lightning tribulation. That's why they could not reach Foundation Establishment after going through the lightning tribulation., and why they were all only at the Qi Refinement stage.
Lonemoon pondered over this. Then, he released his divine perception to scan the crowd. Indeed, he did not find one cultivator in the Foundation Establishment stage. Suddenly, a question popped into his head. "How did Yun Heng become a Soul Formation cultivator?" "He has a light… he has merit," Yi Qing answered.
Lonemoon stared blankly back at him as he recalled the golden glow around Yun Heng. People with merit would normally be taken care of by the Heavenly Dao. Given that the glow around Yun Heng was so bright, it was natural that he did not face any obstacles while training. That was probably the reason why he could advance without having to go through the lightning tribulation.
He looked into the crystal curiously, specifically at the man who was very seriously trying to help Si Yu write names into the register. "He realized that there was a mistake with his own cultivation and immediately became determined to change his training technique. The key was he did this not for his own selfish gains, but for the benefit of this small world. A heart like Yun Heng's is rare indeed. He deserves to have accumulated so much merit."
"Indeed." Yi Qing nodded. Yun Heng was probably the first to find out that there was a problem with this world's cultivation. When he realized that Yi Qing knew the way to train and become an immortal, he did not succumb to temptation and change his own training techniques like ordinary people would. Instead, the first thing he did was ask Yi Qing to tell the rest of the Mystic cultivators about his method of cultivation. He had no selfish intentions in his heart. The only thing he desired was for the small world to get out of danger. "He indeed is a rare, kind-hearted soul."
"You can't put it that way," Song Ren suddenly interrupted the two of them. He tutted as he looked contemptuously into the crystal. His expression darkened. "You can't tell just from looking at the surface of some people what they harbor in their hearts!"
Shen Ying, who had been chewing on a fruit beside them, paused and turned to look at the rich ghost. "You don't like him?"
Yi Qing and Lonemoon turned to face Song Ren as well, surprised that he would say something like that.
Song Ren frowned as he continued to look into the crystal with contempt. Instinctively, he answered, "He looks like a sun - so blinding. What's there to like? Hmph!" The hatred in his eyes grew deeper as he began to get riled up. He could not take his eyes off of Yun Heng. Yi Qing jumped and stepped forward. "You can see the glow of merit around his body?"
"It's so bright - who wouldn't be able to see it?" He looked at Yi Qing, as if offended that the latter would suggest he was blind.
Yi Qing exchanged a meaningful glance with Lonemoon and said, "Song Ren, did you know Yun Heng before?"
"Huh?" Song Ren turned. "I didn't."
"Then… why do you have so much hatred toward him?"
Song Ren paused, as if realizing what he had said. A look of confusion flashed across his face as he scratched his head. "I don't know. I just… he doesn't look like a good person. He's hateful!" Once he finished speaking, he nodded hard and glared at the man in the crystal. His entire body tensed up.
Yi Qing frowned even more deeply now. By right, people with the glow of merit should be likeable and friendly. Song Ren was a timid ghost, and he was not hard to get along with. He was even kinder and more friendlier than his own master. Lonemoon would not have expected him to form such an extreme view of Yun Heng on his first time meeting him.
Could it be that before he died, he knew Yun Heng?
It looked like they had to ask Yun Heng about this soon.
Lonemoon was excited. He did not think that he would suddenly have so many disciples who would train in sword cultivation. The next day, Si Yu reported to him the outcome of all the tests. There were 17 celestial spirit roots, among whom two had extraordinary spirit roots. They found a few hundred people with two or three spirit roots each. This was even more than the number of people with waste spirit roots that they had found. Among these, Lonemoon picked a few people with better quality bodies to be sword cultivators. To these, he personally imparted his skills. He let Si Yu and the others train the others to gather Qi into their own bodies, and to teach them basic sword techniques. Again and again, Lonemoon reminded them not to train them in body cultivation. Moreover, he isolated Shen Ying from all the new disciples, and allowed them to enter the hall to train.
The more he looked at the few cultivators he picked, the more satisfied he felt. It was a fact that they were slightly older, had already missed the ideal window period to begin training, and had accumulated several waste energies and qualities in their bodies. However, Lonemoon was confident that as long as they could train hard and form their cores before they reach the end of their lifespan, they would be well on their way to immortality
- much less to become Soul Formation cultivators.
There was very little spirit Qi and spirit herbs and plants in the small world. However, this did not affect sword cultivators. Sword cultivators depended on their own sword techniques. Pills and herbs would have no use to them apart from if they found themselves gravely injured. Moreover, they had Yun Heng! He was himself a Soul Formation cultivator. All he had to do was to train a bit harder in this cultivation and endure the lightning tribulation. He would soon become an immortal, fit to enter the immortal realm.
Naturally, he was following the sword cultivation manuals.
Lonemoon could almost see the entire place filling up with sword cultivators. He was fully dedicated to the great cause of imparting cultivation to this entire population.
Shen Ying, who was skiving in broad daylight: "…"
Er, why did she feel like she was forgetting something?
Forget it, that probably was not important.
"Chef, can you prepare my afternoon tea? I'm hungry."
"Yes, Master. No problem, Master!"
Chapter 386: Collective Grain Abstinence
Perhaps it was because they had a foundation in creating talismans, everybody was very quick in picking up their new cultivation techniques. Within a short few months, everybody had increased by one or two levels. Yun Heng was improving especially quickly, he was already in the mid-stage of Soul Formation. The only negative thing about it all was that these people's meridians were not used to dealing with so much spirit Qi. Now that they have remained dormant for such a long time, their bodies were showing some forms of resistance to building up a strong foundation.
To deal with this, Lonemoon decided to allow them to stop gathering Qi. Instead, they were to begin forming a strong foundation for their sword techniques immediately. Their sword techniques could help to strengthen their bodies and activate their meridians. Apart from this, Lonemoon was also making them abstain from grain so that their bodies would stop being polluted by waste.
The first part of grain abstinence was always difficult. Although they did not feel hunger thanks to the grain abstinence pill, they were already used to having three meals a day. Even if they weren't hungry, it would be hard for them to resist eating during meal times. This was also the reason why it was ideal for cultivators to start training from a young age.
Most of the people who were changing cultivations were adults who were used to eating five different types of grain for tens of years. Asking them to suddenly stop eating grains was as good as torture for them. However, Lonemoon was a strict teacher. He was determined to force them to abstain from grains. He forbade people from working in the canteen and even closed the hill gates.
Thus, the only place in the entire sect which served fragrant rice was the rear hall. The rear hall became the place where all the disciples had to walk past when revising their manuals.
So… so fragrant!
They turned around to peek inside. The disciples lined up around the walls, drilling as their bodies glowed green. Shen Ying stared blankly at them. With hundreds of eyes on her, she ate a mouthful of rice. Indeed, the next moment, she heard a series of growls along the walls. Faintly, she heard them swallowing their saliva.
She began to feel worried. Was this wall… going to collapse?
Even though she had hundreds of eyes on her like this everyday, Shen Ying displayed… absolutely zero pressure. She even wanted to increase the amount of food that was served to her each time.
"Chef, cook two dishes for me. I'm not full."
"Yes Master, no problem Master!"
Lonemoon, who just entered: "…"
Yun Heng, who just entered: "…" The people lined along the wall: "…"
"Ahem!" Lonemoon cleared his throat and successfully caught the attention of the people lined up along the wall. His gaze was cool. "Have you finished learning the basic sword techniques for the day?"
One by one, their expressions turned guilty. They looked like children who got caught being naughty. "Reporting to… to Master, we have… have already finished."
"You still have energy to climb walls. It looks like that was too simple for you. From tomorrow onwards, practise 100 more times!"
All of their faces paled. "…" Are you a devil?
Within seconds, the crowd climbed down the wall, muttering and groaning under their breaths. They disappeared back to their training ground. "And you!" Lonemoon turned to glare at a certain foodie. "Do you have to eat in the yard? Why can't you eat in your own room!" You're distracting our soldiers!
Shen Ying scooped another spoonful of rice as she replied, "The table in the room is too small - it can't fit all of my dishes."
Lonemoon looked at the table full of food and pursed his lips.
There was no way he could answer to that.
"Master, please do not worry," Yun Heng said as he grinned. "They're just beginning to abstain from grain and therefore are not used to it. As time goes by, they will be used to it."
That's all Lonemoon could hope for.
A few days later, the people who climbed the wall and drooled at Shen Ying's food lessened. They no longer wanted to observe. Instead, they began to ask more questions.
"Master Shen, I heard that your cultivation is different from ours."
"Master Shen, I heard that you don't have to abstain from grain?"
"Master Shen, I heard that you were the one who imparted your skills to Master Si Yu and the others!"
"Master Shen, when will you be free to teach us a thing or two?"
"Master Shen, do you think my body type is suitable for learning your cultivation? The kind that does not require me to abstain from grain?"
Yi Qing: "…"
Shen Ying, "…" Lonemoon, "…"
Lonemoon's heart sank. He could almost smell a second Invincible Sect forming.
He suddenly felt the urge to fire the person who was breaking the harmony in the sect.
"Heh, well…" Yun Heng laughed nervously. He quickly changed the topic. "Oh yes, Fellow Daoist Yi Qing, you called us over here in such a hurry. What's the matter?"
It was then that Yi Qing recalled that there was business to tend to. He turned to face Song Ren, who was looking at Yun Heng suspiciously. He raised his hand and conjured a spell, causing his silhouette to materialize a little bit more. "Yun Heng, have you ever met him?"
Yun Heng hesitated, not understanding what Yi Qing was saying. Yet, he looked scanned Song Ren from head to toe. A moment later, he turned back to Yi Qing and shook his head. "I have never met this brother." "Who is your brother!" Song Ren immediately retorted. He tutted, "Don't act chummy with me."
Yun Heng started. This was the first time he was meeting such a rude man. Of course, he replied patiently, "I'm sorry - I was rude. But…" He turned back to face Yi Qing, saying, "Indeed, I have never met him. Why did Fellow Daoist Yi Qing ask this question?"
"You really haven't met me?" Song Ren scanned him from head to toe suspiciously, his face unable to hide the contempt he was feeling.
"I really haven't." Yun Heng nodded.
"You're not lying, are you?" The suspicion in Song Ren's tone intensified. He turned to face Yi Qing. "Exalted Immortal, these Mystic immortals are the best at acting like they have not done anything wrong. Don't believe him so easily."
"Well…" Yun Heng said innocently. In a good-hearted tone, he said, "Fellow Daoist, I have been in seclusion for tens of years. This is my first time on the outside. I really do not know who you are."
"His name is Song Ren. He has forgotten everything important in his life by accident," Yi Qing introduced. "That is why we are trying to find out more about him."
"I see…" Yun Heng nodded. As if recalling something, he suggested, "Although I don't know him, there are many Mystic cultivators here. Most of them have traveled around the world. Why don't I ask around for you to see what I can find out?"
"That's really kind of you?" Song Ren said sarcastically before Yi Qing could respond.
"Since Fellow Daoist Song is a friend of these Exalted Masters, Yun Heng will definitely lend a helping hand to you."
"You've put it very nicely!" Song Ren was sounding more and more aggressive. Angrily, he added, "Who knows what you're trying to gain this time?" "…"
"I don't need you to handle my business. Who knows what kind of trouble you will cause in the process."
"Fellow Daoist Song… do you not trust me?"
"With a face as annoying as yours, how can I trust you?"
"You-" Even the best people would get angry. With Song Ren being this rude, Yun Heng could not help but frown.
"What? Are you going to kill me to silence me?" Song Ren looked enraged. He was trying to suppress this rage in front of everybody, but his body was so tense that he looked like he was about to explode at any moment.
"Rich Ghost!" Shen Ying suddenly patted Song Ren's shoulder. Song Ren jumped. All the rage and tension that was flowing out of his body earlier disappeared in an instant. He turned around and stared blankly at Shen Ying. "Exalted… Immortal?"
A look of confusion flashed across Song Ren's face. Then, he looked down and said nothing more.
Chapter 387: Mischievous Ghost
Song Ren and Yun Heng seemed to be at loggerheads. To put it more accurately, Song Ren could not stand Yun Heng. Each time they met, Song Ren's entire ghost body would feel uncomfortable after just exchanging a couple of greetings. In the past, when Yun Heng was busy managing the other Mystic cultivators and came by the rear hall less often, things were better. Ever since he began to train, however, he could not keep away. His cultivation was high, naturally his skills would be different from everyone else's. He could only consult Yi Qing and Lonemoon and had no choice but to run into the rear hall every now and then. That was why he bumped into Song Ren more often as well.
Even though Yun Heng was good-tempered, he would get angered every time he made contact with Song Ren. Song Ren, on the other hand, loved to see him get agitated. Even when Yun Heng did not come to the rear hall, Song Ren would go out to look for him just to irritate him.
From time to time, Song Ren would doodle on Yun Heng's dharmic robes. He would also dig pits in the roads that Yun Heng had to walk on. While Yun Heng was sleeping, Song Ren would break his bed's headboard. He would also take away all the tissues while Yun Heng was in the toilet. These things were not major, but they drove everyone crazy. The sect would echo with the disciples' angry screams aimed at Song Ren every now and then.
Yet, Song Ren was having loads of fun. Every time he saw Yun Heng suffer, he looked relieved.
"By the way…" Shen Ying could not hold back any longer. "How much do you hate Lightbulb?"
"I don't hate him!" Song Ren blinked innocently. In a serious tone, he said, "Exalted Immortal, please relax. I am not such a petty person."
"Oh." Shen Ying tilted her head and pointed to Yun Heng, who was opposite from her. "Then can you please take that pail away from above that man's head?" He had already been pouring water over Yun Heng for half a day. He's a man, not a radish - why did he have to water him?
Yi Qing: "…" Lonemoon, "…"
Yun Heng, who was drenched to the bone: "…"
"Yes, Exalted Immortal!" Song Ren immediately set the pail down with a relieved expression. In any case, the pail was already empty.
Yun Heng wiped the water off his face and conjured a new seal that he learned - a dust-removing seal. A few moments later, his robes were dry again. It was as if he was already used to people playing pranks on him. He turned around and bowed to Lonemoon. "Thank you for teaching me this, Master. Your disciple understands now. I will take my leave to practise now."
"Alright, go ahead." Lonemoon nodded.
He quickly held onto his robe, which was covered in strange, different-colored tortoises, and ran out, as if afraid that Song Ren would stalk him. Everyone turned to stare at a certain ghost…
"I didn't do anything!" Song Ren hid the pail behind his body and looked to the sky nonchalantly.
The three of them: "…" Do you think we're blind?
It was not that they did not try to stop Song Ren either. However, Song Ren was especially stubborn when it came to matters related to Yun Heng. No matter what they said, he would not budge. Even if they put him in isolation, he would imitate the other disciples and train as a ghost immortal. Once he was released, he would return to annoy Song Ren. All they could do was watch as he changed from a cowardly ghost to a terribly mischievous ghost.
"You…" Yi Qing scanned him from head to toe and sighed frustratedly. "Forget it!" Yi Qing could not tell if he had been influenced by Radish's illusory body before. For some reason, he was becoming more and more like Radish. What's more, he had always felt this repulsion toward Yun Heng. Yi Qing was sure there was a reason for it. Although Yun Heng really did not know who Song Ren was, they could have had some kind of connection on another level. There was cause and effect. They could not interfere too much with these things.
"Exalted Immortal…" Song Ren suddenly recalled something and turned to face them. He took a long detour to get to Yi Qing and said in a low voice, "Do you think… my illusory body is sick?"
Yi Qing paused and looked at him. "How can an illusory body be sick?" It's an immortal body, not a mortal one.
"But…" His expression turned complicated. He seemed to be worried about something. Scratching his temple, he squirmed and answered, "I feel like my body is different from before. This body came from you. How about… you check it out for me?"
"Huh?" Yi Qing frowned. Song Ren's soul could generate grievous energy. It would indeed be troublesome if there were problems with this illusory body. Thus, Yi Qing place touched his forehead with one finger. A moment later, he retracted it. "You're fine."
"How can that be?" Song Ren looked shocked. "That's not possible? Why don't you check again?"
"You're really fine."
"Well…" He became more anxious. He looked at Lonemoon desperately. "How about-"
"Chef said you're fine - that means you're definitely fine," Lonemoon interrupted before Song Ren could finish his sentence. "An illusory body is a product of immortal sorcery. He knows more about these things than I do."
"But I really " Song Ren was looking more strange now. He became paler as he became tongue-tied.
"What are you trying to say?" Lonemoon asked.
Yi Qing could also tell that Song Ren did not look quite right. "Just spit it out!" "I…" Song Ren stole a glance at Shen Ying, who was beside him. Something flashed across his face as he cleared his throat. "Well, Exalted Immortals, can we… step aside and talk?"
After he finished speaking and before either of them could react, he took each one of their arms with each of his hands and led them outside, leaving behind Shen Ying, who was still chewing on her fruits.
Shen Ying, "…"
Were they talking about some male secrets that she could not listen to?
"What's the matter?" Yi Qing frowned. He was now looking at the sneaky ghost in an annoyed manner. Master was too far away - what if she got kidnapped?
"Exalted Immortals…" Song Ren's expression turned anxious once more. "My illusory body really does have a problem. In these two days, I feel markedly different."
"In what way?"
Song Ren looked confused as he replied, "Reporting to Exalted Immortal - these two days, my body has been feeling warm. It's also been hurting a bit every now and then, as if something has been added to it! I don't know what's the cause."
"…" Yi Qing stared blankly back at him. Suddenly, he recalled something. He stiffened.
"What's the matter, Chef?" Lonemoon turned to ask him. "Is his condition serious?"
"…" No. Yi Qing pursed his lips. A moment later, he said, "His illusory body… was made from Radish's dandelions."
Dande… lions? Radish's!
Lonemoon immediately understood and stiffened as well. Both of them immediately looked down at Radish's private area.
The silence became pregnant.
"What… what's the matter?" Song Ren felt a chill at his lower body. He started. Beginning to wonder if he had contracted a chronic illness, he gritted his teeth and asked, "Is this a novel situation that you have never seen before? Why don't you take a look for me?" They were all men afterall. He began to pull down his pants.
"Stop!" The two of them exclaimed. The two men reached out and held onto his hands with a death grip.
"We're not that close!" Don't imitate Radish in this aspect!
"Then what should I do?"
"Relax, you're alright!" Yi Qing's expression was slightly strange now. "Your illusory body… was like this to begin with. That's normal - you just have to get used to it!"
"That's right, that's right!" Lonemoon nodded profusely. "This is all normal."
"No buts! Wait for a few days. You can pluck it off once it grows out." "That's right. For all we know, you could even hand it to the disciples to use for pill refinement and consumption or whatever."
Song Ren, "…"
Pluck it off? Pill refinement? Consumption!
Are you demons?!
Chapter 388: Reappearance of the Deviant Ghosts
Ever since the conversation about his illusory body, Song Ren became much quieter for a couple of days. He did not even have the mood to bully Yun Heng anymore. Instead, every time he saw Lonemoon and Yi Qing, he would go into hiding while covering the lower half of his body. He always looked so afraid, as if they were planning to do something to him at any moment. His eyes were also always filled with indignance.
"Hey, hey, hey, why are you looking at us like we're wolves?" Lonemoon pursed his lips. He could not resist grabbing Song Ren and confronting him. "Even if your thing is growing out, we're not interested in it! It's not like we're lacking it."
"Not… lacking it? Song Ren's eyes widened. What did that mean? Did they pluck off many in the past?
"We have cupboards full of that thing that you have." Radish would sprout one every now and then..
"Cup… cupboards full!" Song Ren looked terrified. Even his legs began to tremble.
"That's just about enough from you. Do you really think we care for your thing?"
"…" You already have cupboards full of them - how dare you say you don't care for it?
"Since this thing has begun growing on your body, it's up to you how you want to deal with it. You can give it to others or you can use it to refine pills. We don't care! But I'm reminding you - if you don't use sorcery to preserve it after plucking it off, you must use it for pill refinement within three days. Otherwise, even if you refine a pill with it later on, you would not be able to consume it."
Pluck it off, and eat it, and refine pills with it!
w(゚Д゚)w Song Ren felt a chill run down his spine. His body was beginning to hurt. "You're a bunch of demons!" After shouting, he threw his hands in exasperation and ran out, not even noticing Yun Heng, who just walked into the hall. In a flash, he disappeared.
Yi Qing: "…"
Shen Ying, "…"
"What are you all looking at me for?" Lonemoon turned to glare at the master and disciple duo. "Did I say something wrong?"
"N-No." The two of them shook their heads.
Get rice, get rice, get rice… Cook, cook, cook…
You're rich - you're always right!
"Three Exalted Masters…" Yun Heng, who just walked in, looked extremely confused. "What's going on with Fellow Daoist Song?"
"Perhaps he's going through a rebellious phase?" Lonemoon replied, glancing at him. "Were you looking for us for something?"
It was then that Yun Heng recalled his purpose for entering. He handed a letter to Lonemoon and said excitedly, "It's like this, Exalted Master, when I went to the Mystic Sects to report urgent news to them early, I found a series of deviant- remnant souls in the north once again. They were traveling steadily in our direction as well. Your disciple was thinking that since we have all been training for a long time, could we-"
"You want to bring people from our sect up there to deal with the ghosts?" Lonemoon frowned. "Yes." Yun Heng nodded. He looked more excited. "Everybody's purpose for cultivating was to deal with these deviant ghosts and do justice for the world. Why not we take this opportunity to let everyone-"
"No!" Lonemoon interrupted. They hadn't even grown their wings and they already wanted to fly. "They have only just learned to gather Qi into their bodies. They don't even have their foundations yet, and they've only learned a couple of seals. Yet, you're thinking of sending them to deal with a huge bunch of ghosts - and ghosts with grievous energy at that. Why not just kill them immediately?"
"…" Yun Heng fell silent. He knew that this was a risk. "But… if we leave the remnant souls there, they would invade the civilians' cities once again. What should we do then?"
"Let Chef and I go!" They were just remnant souls after all.
They could not be allowed to affect his sword cultivators!
Yun Heng's expression changed, He looked pained. Hesitating for awhile, he finally said, "Of course I trust in both of your skills, but… everybody has been training for a period of time. Of course, the disciples would be grateful to have their masters' help. But we haven't actually been to war before. If too much time passes…"
He could not complete his sentence. His face crumpled with worry and guilt.
Lonemoon hesitated, suddenly understanding what Song Ren was saying. Lonemoon did indeed neglect one important factor - a man's heart!
In the beginning, Lonemoon made such a grand entrance and went to great lengths to build such a huge immortal palace just to show this world - that had never before encountered immortal cultivation - that immortal cultivators do indeed exist. For the past few months, these people have truly begun to gather Qi in their own bodies and train in sword cultivation, all in the hopes of one day dealing with the deviant ghosts themselves.
Yet, the problem was they had never witnessed it for themselves. In other words, all that they knew was theory. They had been training in isolation for so long that they had never gotten a chance to put their skills into practice. In the beginning, this did not pose much of a problem. However, if more time is allowed to pass, they could begin to have doubts about their training. At that time, once their hearts were distracted, they would not be able to train properly.
"I understand." Lonemoon nodded. Indeed, it was time to bring his disciples out on an adventure. "Tell Si Yu to bring over a couple of disciples who have been training frequently with spirit Qi along with you. The group of you will come to the north with us."
"Yes, Exalted Master!" Yun Heng heaved a sigh of relief and turned to walk out.
Si Yu gathered a total of seven people. Most of them were at the sixth-stage of Qi Refinement and were all relatively young. In other words, they had less waste materials in their bodies. Naturally, the spirit Qi was able to flow more smoothly within. Lonemoon had never thought of allowing them to become his assistants. They would only follow to witness for themselves the effectiveness of their training. To put it bluntly, they were only tagging along for publicity's sake. Therefore, he gave them a few simple instructions before summoning his flying artifact and flying toward the north, where Yun Heng pointed him toward. All of them were obviously getting excited. They got even more excited when the random plank that Lonemoon tossed aside turned into a boat that carried everyone into the air.
They remained stunned for a full half-hour before they dared to walk around on the boat. Before them, multi-colored lights flashed.
Since they were all disciples who were in the Qi Refinement stage, Lonemoon guessed that they would not be able to withstand the pressure should they travel too quickly. Thus, he intentionally slowed down the speed of the artifact. It took them an entire day before they arrived.
From afar, they could see the deserted lands. The ground looked completely scorched - they were all black. There was not even a bit of green on the entire land. The scene looked especially bleak.
Lonemoon activated his divine perception and steered the spirit boat toward the west, where the Yin Qi felt the strongest. The further he flew, the darker the skies got. Just a second ago, it was broad daylight. Now, it seemed like everything around them was pitch-black.
From in front, they could hear the faint and chilling cries of the ghosts, which pierced their ear drums.
"There are deviant ghosts! Deviant ghosts are in front!" The disciples exclaimed at the top of their lungs.
Lonemoon immediately caused the boat to land before keeping it. Everything around them was completely dark by now. The air was chilling to the bone due to the presence of rich Yin Qi, which covered the skies and threatened to overwhelm them. The terrifying cries seemed to be right beside their ears. They were becoming clearer by the second.
Everybody began to panic. They drew their swords and looked toward the front with fear.
"Calm down…" Lonemoon reminded them. "Regulate your spirit Qi, like we trained you to do!" They all paused. One by one, they began to follow Lonemoon's instructions. Indeed, the chilling Yin Qi that was there earlier began to dissipate. The temperature of the surroundings just around their bodies slowly creeped upward. It was as if they had formed a layer of protection around themselves so that the Yin Qi could no longer reach them.
Chapter 389: Missing One After Another
"It's… it's working!" The fear in their eyes turned to excitement. In the past, in order to deal with Yin Qi, they had to use countless talismans. Even then, they were only able to activate a bit of spirit Qi, and the effect did not last very long.
"If you have spirit Qi protecting your body, the ghosts and spirits would not go anywhere near you," Lonemoon explained. "As long as you have spirit Qi around your body, those remnant souls would not be able to harm your body."
The moment he finished speaking, the crowd got excited.
The next moment, the huge groups of remnant souls began to fly toward them. The big patch of black traveled, carrying with them the chilling and terrifying cries of ghosts. Faintly, they could see their frightening faces.
The sheer number of these remnant souls was much larger than what they encountered in the city earlier. Yi Qing frowned and stepped forward, ready to conjure a seal. "Wait!" Lonemoon suddenly grabbed his arm. He turned and faced Yun Heng, saying, "Let him come."
Yun Heng paused. Even the golden glow of his merit trembled. He widened his eyes in disbelief. "Me… Me?" Am I hearing you right?
"Yes." Lonemoon nodded. Since he wanted publicity, he had to make sure it was done right. "Didn't I teach you how to conjure the Reincarnation Array?"
Yun Heng pursed his lips. "But… But you only taught me that yesterday." He had not even practised it - how was he going to set it up so quickly?
"Try your best!" Lonemoon patted his shoulder. "You are of the highest cultivation level among all your peers!" I have faith in you.
"…" Are you sure you're not setting me up? The remnant souls were about to charge at them. The glow around the group was about to be swallowed, like ink covering up water. The piercing screams coming from the ghosts were beginning to hurt their ears.
The disciples' chests tightened, yet they could not find any physical injury on their bodies. Indeed, as Exalted Master Lonemoon said, as long as they had spirit Qi protecting their bodies, the ghosts and spirits would not be able to harm them.
Yun Heng gritted his teeth. He had no choice but to try his best.
He tried to recall the seal that Lonemoon had taught him in passing the day before. Regulating his spirit Qi, he conjured a seal and recited a complicated curse under his breath. A moment later, a golden light shot forth from his palms. Beneath his feet, a familiar array appeared.
The array flashed for a couple of seconds and then disappeared one more. Yun Heng sucked in a deep breath and tried to conjure the seal again, muttering the same curse under his breath. Again and again and again he tried, yet each time, the array disappeared almost immediately. This went on for four or five times, yet Yun Heng still did not succeed. His entire head was drenched in perspiration.
"Keep the array's spirit Qi steady," Yi Qing reminded Yun Heng, unable to hold back any longer. If they wasted any more time, he would not be able to rush back in time to cook dinner for Master.
Yun Heng hesitated. His eyes brightened, as if he had finally figured out something. "Thank you for your guidance, Exalted Master." Yun Heng took one more deep breath, closed his eyes and tried to imagine what the array would look like. He regulated the spirit Qi in his body and formed the array once again, inch by inch, muttering the curse under his breath.
The next thing he knew, the array had formed underneath his feet. What's more, it was getting bigger and bigger. Within seconds, it had spread to cover the ground underneath the entire group's feet. The Yin Qi around the array dissipated. The ghosts that had attempting to attack the group non-stop earlier also finally rested. They now looked like translucent human figures. Even their expressions appeared normal. Then, they turned into green smoke and disappeared.
Yun Heng was a Soul Formation cultivator afterall. His spirit power was not comparable to Yi Qing, the divine being. What's more, there were many more remnant souls this time than there were before. He set up the array a total of six times before he managed to send all of the remnant souls into the River of Forgetfulness.
Since these were his first times setting up the array, and since he was not yet adept at controlling spirit Qi, Yun Heng's body was more or less wiped out of spirit Qi after setting up such an elaborate array a couple of times. He bent over, placing each of his hands on each of his knees, panting. Yet, he looked extremely excited. He looked like he was pining to set the array up one more time.
This was the first time he understood that remnant souls could be dealt with in this manner. It was different from when he dealt with the deviant ghosts with the Mystic cultivators before. This time, he did not feel the same heavy suppression that he usually did before. It was obvious that this time, the remnant souls had really been sent back to where they should have gone. His body was drained of spirit Qi, yet he felt satisfaction and peace like he had never felt before.
It was as if he had not just seen remnant souls disappear, but new lives being formed.
This… was the real life of the future!
The other disciples looked on excitedly and in disbelief as well. They watched as the surroundings brightened up, and their own eyes began to fill with light. In the past, hundreds or even thousands of Mystic cultivators would be required to deal with deviant ghosts. Now, all it took was one. Moreover, he settled it in a few minutes and no one died.
So this was the power of immortal cultivators! If they carried on training, the deviant ghosts aside - they would be able to solve just about any problem in the world. Even… ascending to immortality, like their exalted masters said, seemed within reach now.
All the disciples present fell into an amazed silence. Lonemoon, on the other hand, frowned. He turned to study the northern direction, from which he could still sense overwhelming Yin Qi. Over there…
"Let's go back?" Yi Qing asked. Just for safety, he added, "It's late!" I have to go back to cook dinner.
Lonemoon pursed his lips. You're talking as if you had not prepared spare food for that foodie.
He retrieved the same wooden plank and threw it to the sky. He conjured a seal and the plank immediately turned into the spirit boat once again.
"Get on the boat, it's time to go back!
"Yes, Exalted Master!" The group replied respectfully. They all loaded onto the boat excitedly.
Yi Qing was just about to board the boat when he felt a chill run down his spine and felt the wind rush past his face. His heart stilled. There was a rush of sword Qi and a loud crash.
The ground began to split apart, yet he could not locate anything that was responsible for it. A dark aura appeared all around him, rushing toward the boat, bringing with it an explosive Qi.
Lonemoon started. Their spirit Qi could protect them from Yin Qi, but not grievous energy! Everybody was going to be swallowed by the grievous energy before their very eyes. Lonemoon instinctively conjured a seal with one palm. A golden light covered the group of people in the spirit boat, keeping the grievous energy out.
"Heaven Master Yun Heng!" The disciples in the boat screamed.
Lonemoon's heart sank. He turned to look and realized that Yun Heng had not boarded the boat! The grievous energy had consumed him. With a flick of his wrist, sword Qi shot toward him.
He meant to chase the grievous energy away, but as the sword Qi came close to Yun Heng, the grievous energy dissipated. Together with Yun Heng.
"…" What happened? Where's he?
"Over there!" Yi Qing turned and pointed toward the north.
He mounted his sword and gave chase.
Lonemoon frowned. Once again, he added several layers of arrays around the spirit boat. "We're going to save him. All of you should return first!" After he finished speaking, he waved his hand and caused the spirit boat to be activated. The boat flew in the direction of the sect.
Lonemoon summoned his spirit sword and was just about to chase after Yi Qing when a red beam of light appeared in his peripheral vision. Something seemed to be trembling at his waist. This was the transmission amulet he left Si Yu!
He quickly retrieved it and sent a sliver of spirit Qi over. Immediately, Si Yu's holographic figure appeared on the talisman. "Elder Lonemoon, things are bad! Sect Master… Sect Master is missing!"
Chapter 390: Searching for Shen Ying for the Umpteenth Time
"What happened?" Lonemoon exploded. Indeed, the moment he turned his back, she would go missing. "Didn't I tell you to watch that directionless idiot? Why did all of you turn your backs?"
"No…" Si Yu sounded anxious. "We were keeping an eye on Sect Master, but… but Sect Master just disappeared before our eyes!"
Lonemoon frowned. It was a moment later before he understood. "Alright, I understand. Watch the disciples in the sect. Chef and I will be back in awhile."
Lonemoon kept his transmission amulet, frowning even more deeply than before. Although Shen Ying was unreliable, it was not like her to disappear after Lonemoon gave specific instructions for her to remain where she was. What's more, from what Si Yu was saying, it was likely something had happened to her. On further thought, Lonemoon mounted his sword and chased after Yi Qing.
Chef was not far away. In less than half a minute, Lonemoon had found him. Chef had also located Yun Heng, who disappeared in the grievous energy earlier. Yi Qing was now setting up his sword array to trap the ball of grievous energy that was trying to make its escape with Yun Heng. He was just about to conjure a seal to drive the grievous energy away.
"Chef!" Lonemoon called out eagerly. "Shen Ying is missing!"
"What!" Yi Qing whipped his head around. The sword intent in his body exploded so that even the spirit swords that had been neatly aimed in mid-air fell to the ground.
"Ah~" The man who was being consumed by the grievous energy let out a pained cry. He had been stabbed right through the thigh with a small dagger. The stubborn grievous energy had been wiped clean by the explosion of sword Qi, leaving behind a weak and panting Yun Heng who looked like he was in excruciating pain.
Ah, ah, ah! It hurts, it hurts, it hurts…
"What's happened to Master?" Yi Qing asked Lonemoon, panicked. He no longer cared about anything else.
"They're not sure right now. Si Yu said that she suddenly disappeared before their eyes." Lonemoon shook his head.
Yi Qing's expression darkened as his body filled with rage. "Which little bastard was trying to steal his master!"
"Let's head back!" He started to mount his sword.
"Wait!" Lonemoon held him back. "Don't be rash! You know Shen Ying full well. If she does not want to move, nobody would be able to make her. This time, she may have disappeared so strangely because… she found out something strange!"
Yi Qing frowned. He calmed down slightly and pondered over this. After awhile, he said, "The only strange things in this world are those so-called deviant ghosts. Could it be that Master's disappearance is related to them?"
Lonemoon had thought about this as well. "There are indeed so many remnant souls on this world that it's frightening!"
"Father Niu, Master has a transmission amulet with her. Can we contact her?"
""Knowing her self-preserving character, a transmission amulet is likely useless on her." It was not like Lonemoon had never tried contacting her using the transmission amulet before. Any communication device to her was… Wait! He suddenly thought about something and glanced at his wristband. His eyes brightened. "I remember there's a work reporting function in this wristband. It allows us to reach the Manager directly." As he spoke, he tapped on his wristband. He had not read that instruction manual in vain. A moment later, a screen bounced out of the wristband and floated in mid-air. Shen Ying appeared on it, seated somewhere and chewing on a piece of pastry.
Yi Qing: "…"
Indeed, they were worried for nothing.
"Eh, Chef, Father Niu?" Shen Ying's hand paused for a second before she stuffed the last pastry into her mouth and dusted her hands off. "Why are you looking for me?" The communications device suddenly rang and gave her a fright. She thought it was her sister.
"Master, are you alright?" Yi Qing asked.
"I'm fine!" She tilted her head. Lonemoon pursed his lips. "Where are you?" He looked closely at her surroundings but could only see something gray . Her surroundings was a gray blur.
"I don't know!" Shen Ying shook her head. "I've never been here."
"Stay right where you are and don't move. We're going to get you now." Lonemoon had not hoped that Shen Ying would be able to tell him where she was.
As he tapped on the wristband, he shot Yi Qing a look. Both of them summoned their spirit swords at the same time, ready to look for Shen Ying.
"Exalted… Masters!" A weak voice called out from behind them. Yun Heng, who finally gathered up the strength to speak again, raised a hand feebly. "I… I'm here!" Have you forgotten something? Like me?
The two of them paused. Shit! They really forgot about him.
Yi Qing walked briskly up to him and scanned him from head to toe, his gaze lingering on the spirit sword in his thigh. Frowning, he pulled the sword out. Then, he conjured a seal to heal Yun Heng's wound. He sounded annoyed as he said, "Your sword technique hasn't been perfected. Don't take your sword out to play."
Yun Heng: "…"
Whose sword was this!
"Father Niu, where's Master?" Yi Qing carried Yun Heng onto his own sword and asked Lonemoon. Red words appeared on Lonemoon's screen.
[This search is unauthorized!]
"Shit!" Lonemoon was extremely close to spitting out blood. What kind of freaking authority did they want? He had no choice but to give up and ask the person on the screen. "Shen Ying, describe your surroundings."
Shen Ying replied, "Foggy!" Extremely foggy, at that.
"Nonsense!" Stop using these vague adjectives - do you think we're in the capital? "Say something more specific!"
"Oh." Shen Ying looked around and lazily said, "I'm sitting on a rock. There's a tree beside me. Without any leaves."
"What else?" "The temperature here is quite low. There's also some kind of noise further up… Eh?" She suddenly tilted her head. "There are a few figures coming toward me. I think these fools have been standing there for half the day now."
"What people? What are they wearing?"
"I can't see - I said it's foggy. There's low visibility."
"Then walk over and freaking take a look!"
"It's too troublesome!"
"Shut up!" Lonemoon finally exploded with the rage he had been trying to keep in. "Who the hell am I doing this for? What's more, you-"
"Father… Niu." Before he could finish speaking, Yi Qing patted his shoulder. "What?"
Yi Qing answered strangely, "I think… I know where Master is."
"What?!" Lonemoon exclaimed. "Where is she?" How did you locate her?
Yi Qing pursed his lips, his expression turning even stranger. After awhile, he raised his hand and pointed in front of them. "There!"
Lonemoon turned to look in the direction that Yi Qing was pointing. Yet, there was Yin Qi all over so that all he could see in that direction was a patch of gray. Yi Qing conjured a wind seal to clean up that area, blowing away the thick Yin Qi.
A hundred metres away from them, a familiar figure could be seen seated on a huge black rock. She was resting her elbows on her knees and swaying. Lonemoon faintly felt something snap in his mind. An enraged roar echoed throughout the area.
Would it f*cking kill you to make a sound? You're doing this on purpose, aren't you? You must be!
Wait a moment!
What did she say was coming toward her? She talked about trees, rocks, and three fo-
You'd better make clear who the hell you were calling fools?!