Chapter 82 The decree of the Grandmaster
Walking up to the Institute of Celestial Ascension, it was clear right away that it was a punishment from the Grandmaster.
The incident from ten years ago caused a big uproar. Even when the Grandmaster stayed hidden, there were always idle people seeking him out to complain.
Pei Jing thought, it would be best if he didn’t hold onto that person who talks nonsense.
In the middle of Qiantian Mountain Range, as the formation activated, the clouds and mist disappeared. Even after a hundred years had passed, the path from the Institute of Celestial Ascension to Enlightened Realm remained the same, step by step.
It was early spring, and the snow in the mountains hadn’t melted yet. The plants and trees were covered in white. The wind blew from above, bringing a sharp coldness.
Chen Xu realized halfway, “Wait! The Grandmaster only told you to walk up. Why should I follow? You take your time. I’ll go ahead.” He flew up on his sword.
Pei Jing broke the branch in his hand, his face emotionless.
The Institute of Celestial Ascension became lively once again.
Pei Jing walked slowly to the mountaintop to find the Grandmaster.
Along the snow-covered pathway, she bumped into Yu Qinglian and Ji Wuduan face-to-face.
Within the past ten years, the five of them had gradually reached the Nascent Soul stage.
Three years ago, Yu Qinglian had already taken over the affairs of Yingzhou, becoming the ruler of an island. Her temperament had gained a sense of stability. She wore a beautiful water-red dress, and her white feet stepped on the snowy ground without feeling the cold. Delicate and elegant veils adorned her arms, swaying in the wind, with golden bells tied around her wrists.
Ji Wuduan, by her side, still looked sickly, with a pale scholarly appearance. He carried an aura of gloominess, as if he walked between the realms of Yin and Yang.
Yu Qinglian was in the middle of speaking to Ji Wuduan, who was accustomed to his usual demeanor of listening.
The two of them walked around the courtyard and bumped into Pei Jing.
Their gazes met, and there was an instant silence.
Pei Jing grinned and said, “Long time no see.”
It was the same mischievous smile that had once caused chaos throughout the Institute of Celestial Ascension.
Ji Wuduan looked at him with a strange gaze.
However, Yu Qinglian couldn’t help but cover her lips and burst into laughter.
When they visited Zhonglian Village, Pei Yuzhi’s questions made her guess most of it. She thought it would take him a long time to catch on, but Yunxiao’s event had become widely known this time.
Yu Qinglian smiled and asked, “Why did you come so late?”
Pei Jing honestly replied, “The Grandmaster instructed me to walk up step by step.”
Yu Qinglian’s words carried a meaningful tone, “Oh, I thought you went to Tianyan City first.”
Having anticipated this scene long ago, Pei Jing pretended, “No, no, no. Following the Grandmaster’s orders, I came to the Institute of Celestial Ascension immediately after leaving seclusion.”
Ji Wuduan, who had been silent all along, now confirmed it. The incident from ten years ago was indeed true. The corner of his lips tugged up as he said, “I never expected that out of the five of us, you would be the first to find a partner.”
Only heaven knows that when he heard the news in the Ghost Realm back then, his hand trembled, almost crushing the skull in his grasp. His emotions were incredibly complex, even harboring some curiosity—could it be that Pei Yuzhi, with his picky and detestable nature, had found someone he considered worthy? And did he, with his personality that even dogs disliked, actually understand how to love?
It was hard to put into words, but that was roughly the feeling.
In fact, Pei Jing was also puzzled and asked, “Yes, ten years ago, when I went to find you, your father was already looking for a partner for you. How come even now, you’re still unmarried?”
Whenever Ji Wuduan heard this, it would give him a headache and annoyance. “Who knows,” he replied.
Pei Jing asked again, “Didn’t I give you a mesmerizing beauty who can transform in a thousand ways?”
Ji Wuduan recalled the eerie and ghastly mask, grinding his teeth. “…She’s nothing but a worthless beauty.”
Yu Qinglian didn’t expect this turn of events and was slightly shocked. “Your father actually thought of finding a partner for you?”
Ji Wuduan glared at her in an irritable manner. “Is there something wrong with that?”
Yu Qinglian still remembered their views on love from back then, either too feminine or too direct. She smiled, her eyes curved, “Of course, there’s nothing wrong. Let me tell you, why don’t you learn from Pei Yuzhi? The world of cultivation has far more male cultivators than female ones. Relax your requirements on gender and you might just find a suitable match.”
In fact, both of them understood her underlying meaning.
“Since you can’t find a girl, why not settle for a guy?”
Ji Wuduan laughed. “With so many male cultivators in the world of cultivation, I haven’t seen you marrying yourself off either.”
Yu Qinglian’s smile disappeared. “Hmph, it’s none of your business.”
Delighted in watching them bicker, Pei Jingmischievously added, “I have a suggestion. When I went to the Ghost Realm, I overheard two little ghosts at the city gate discussing your marriage. They think you and Yu Qinglian are a perfect match, a match made in heaven with both talent and beauty. Maybe you should consider it.”
He turned his head towards Yu Qinglian and said, “I think they’re right. One of you thinks ‘only I am beautiful among all beings,’ while the other thinks ‘living or dead, they’re all idiots.’ Your temperaments match each other.”
Yu Qinglian: “……”
Ji Wuduan: “……”
Pei Jing shamelessly continued, “Now, billions of young girls in the world of cultivation are still heartbroken over me. They can’t accept any other man in their eyes. I’ve destroyed too many relationships. Let me slowly atone for my sins. If I can manage to bring together a couple, let’s make do with that for now.”
Yu Qinglian was initially furious, about to whip him, but unexpectedly, when she looked up and met his gaze, her expression froze, and then she quickly changed her face, smiling gently.
Ji Wuduan, too, turned his ghost butterfly into ashes, adopting a humble posture.
Both of them spoke in unison behind him, “Senior Xuhan.”
Pei Jing: “……”
Behind him, the long-lost sound of the Grandmaster’s cheerful laughter came, “Billions of heartbroken young girls? Do tell me, where are these billions of young girls?”
The dream lover f billions of young girls turned into stone statue.
Pei Jing was frustrated. After hundreds of years, why couldn’t they openly have a fight and had to involve their Elders? They were both rubbish.
Xuhan Daoren, dressed in a black robe woven with dust, had a youthful appearance. His eyes were shining with a hint of amusement as he said, “This is extraordinary. Both my disciple and your master practice the Heartless Path, devoid of emotions and love. But it seems I have raised a disciple who is charming and amorous. First, he attracted countless female cultivators, and then the world knew about his broken sleeve. Impressive, Yuzhi.”
Pei Jing braced himself and said, “Master, I can explain.”
Yu Qinglian and Ji Wuduan watched the scene with great satisfaction from behind, barely holding back their laughter.
In this world, perhaps only his master and ancestor could manage Pei Yuzhi.
“Go ahead, explain.”
Xuhan sat down on the bed.
The scent of pine and bamboo trees outside the Institute of Celestial Ascension was carried by the wind. His robes fluttered, leaving traces of starlight.
Pei Jing was actually quite embarrassed, but he realized he had to say it sooner or later. “The nonsense about attracting countless female cultivators was just a joke, but when it comes to Chu Junyu, I’m serious. I truly want him to be my partner.”
Xuhan never expected that one day he would worry about the marriage of his descendants. He asked, “Do you know Chu Junyu well?”
Pei Jing paused and said, “I don’t know him very well, but he’s a good person. He has saved me many times and helped me a lot.”
Xuhan’s emotions were complicated for a moment. He had distanced himself from worldly affairs for thousands of years and couldn’t understand the sorrow of marrying off a daughter. Having lived to his age, he saw through many things. After struggling for a while, he could only give a warning that didn’t sound like a warning, “That person’s cultivation is far beyond yours. If you’re ever mistreated in the future, don’t come crying to me.”
Pei Jing smiled and said, “No, I won’t.”
Xuhan asked again, “Are you really determined to go to Tianyan City?”
“To find your Madam?”
Pei Jing coughed and said, “Um, Master.” Could he please be a bit less direct?
Xuhan said, “Coincidentally, I originally planned for you to marry and then come to the Institute of Celestial Ascension. I intended for you to visit Tianyan City. But now I don’t have to force you to go.”
Pei Jing was slightly surprised and asked, “Why does Master want me to go to Tianyan City?”
Xuhan glanced at him and said, “I want you to investigate something.”
Xuhan jumped off the bed and extended his hand. “Give me Lingchen.”
Pei Jing presented it to him.
There was a visible purple light surrounding the Cloud Slayer Sword.
Xuhan’s expression became solemn as he said, “It seems that the Sword Sovereign has already awakened him. Even if you encounter a Celestial Demon, you will have the power to fight.”
Seeing Pei Jing still confused, Xuhan continued, “This time, I called all of you here not because of trouble in the Heavenly Ladder, but because of trouble in Tianyan City. However, there isn’t much difference between Tianyan City and the Heavenly Ladder.”
Pei Jing furrowed his brow and withdrew the Cloud Slayet Sword. “Is the trouble in Tianyan City caused by the rebels inside?”
Xuhan smiled slightly, his eyes displaying a coldness in shades of blue, black, and white. “If it were only rebels, it wouldn’t be worth my attention. This time, I’m afraid it’s the emergence of a Celestial Demon,” he said slowly, “the birth of the Celestial Demon Clan.”
The Celestial Demon Clan.
Pei Jing involuntarily thought of Ji Wuyou.
Xuhan understood his expression and said, “You don’t need to concern yourself with that child you took as a disciple. After all, even if you want to control him, you can’t.”
“Master, are you suggesting that I enter Tianyan City to eradicate the entire Celestial Demon Clan?”
Xuhan laughed at his remark, “During ancient times, it took the combined efforts of the Divine Race, Human Race, and Mythic Race to barely seal them. Your confidence is not lacking, young one.”
Pei Jing scratched his head.
Xuhan said, “Go there and investigate everything inside Tianyan City. Just inform me when you return, without creating too much commotion.”
Pei Jing replied, “Yes.”
Xuhan had a thought and narrowed his eyes. “Now the whole world knows that my Yunxiao Sect has a Sect Master’s Madam. If you go to Tianyan City and can’t bring someone back, then don’t bother coming back yourself.”
Pei Jing hesitated, “Uh… Uh uh uh? What?”
What did Master say?
Xuhan continued, “Acting foolish won’t work. You made your own mess, so clean it up yourself. Don’t embarrass me at my age.”
Pei Jing had no response. Discussing this topic with his master was too embarrassing, so he decided to change the subject subtly, “Master, what should I pay attention to when going to Tianyan City?”
Xuhan smiled kindly, but his tone was sinister. “Don’t cause trouble. If you stir up trouble, I’ll skin you alive.”
“Alright then. It seems I shouldn’t attract attention.”
Most of the seniors in the Institute of Celestial Ascension had already briefed their juniors about the matters concerning Tianyan City.
Chen Xu was called over by Xuhan halfway through and gave Pei Jing a fierce glare before departing.
Pei Jing felt unfairly accused. He hadn’t even gone yet, why was he already being blamed?
There was a small pavilion in the courtyard.
Outside, green bamboos was covered in accumulated snow, creating a vast expanse of white.
Yu Qinglian rested her cheek on her hand, furrowing her beautiful brows with a somewhat serious expression. “What kind of information have you all gathered?”
Ji Wuduan replied, “Th Elders of Ghost Realm told me that there seems to be a sign of the emergence of the Demon Clan within Tianyan City.”
Feng Jin, teasing Crimson Iris, added, “Back when the demons caused trouble, the Heavenly Ladder collapsed and countless lives were devastated. If they truly emerge again… the consequences would be unimaginable.”
Wu Sheng let out a sigh filled with sorrow.
Yu Qinglian said, “Well, I might know a bit more than all of you. When the demonic cultivators stirred up chaos in Yingzhou, I followed the clues and found a clue in the Elder’s chamber. I continued to trace the thread. Three years ago, when I ascended to the position of Island Master, I finally uncovered the truth.” She paused and then smiled, but her eyes and brows remained cold without a hint of warmth. “I thought she colluded with Tianyan City, coveting the position of Island Master, but… she truly surprised me.
“The Three Mountains beyond the sea, Penglai and the Abbot Chamber were originally governed by divine beings. My ancestor, who transformed into a Transient Jade Lotus bound in the mortal realm, were also part of the Divine Race. However, after the war of the gods, she chose not to enter the cycle of reincarnation with the rest of the Divine Race. Instead, she chose to disperse her divine soul and protect the safety of the people on Yingzhou Island.
“I came across a paper hidden in a secret chamber by Elder Fufeng before her death. It turns out she had been searching for and trying to awaken the Transient Jade Lotus. My ancestral soul has not completely dissipated, and the true form of the Transient Jade Lotus is dormant within Tianyan City.”
The other four individuals were all stunned.
Yu Qinglian’s expression revealed no anger or joy. “The Demon Clan’s wickedness must be eradicated. I mentioned to Aunt Miaoling that I wanted to go to Tianyan City, but she stopped me, saying it was still too early.”
Feng Jin calmly added, “Funny enough, Elder Feng also advised me the same.”
Ji Wuduan said, “Currently, entering Tianyan City is prohibited. Our clan elders have warned against acting rashly.”
Pei Jing scanned the expressions of everyone and raised his hand. “So, only my Grandmaster ordered me to go to Tianyan City?”
The four of them simultaneously focused their gaze on him.
Feng Jin smirked and taunted, “Aren’t you going to Tianyan City to search for your husband?”
Pei Jing corrected, “To search for my wife. Please fix your sentence, thank you.”
Ji Wuduan raised an eyebrow and asked, “Are you really going to Tianyan City?”
Pei Jing lazily smiled and replied, “Of course. Master wants me to go to Tianyan City to find out the truth.”
Wu Sheng voiced his concern, “Isn’t it too dangerous?”
Feng Jin was quite displeased. “Why send him and not me? What if he gets caught up in personal matters and forgets the main objective?”
Pei Jing didn’t like hearing those words. He pointed at the table, sat up straight, and smiled. “Please show some respect. I am currently the Institute of Celestial Ascension’s only hope.”
Ji Wuduan laughed.
Yu Qinglian couldn’t stop laughing, her interest piqued. She raised her hand and a bell rang. “So, Only Hope, how do you plan to go? Just you, alone with a sword?”
Feng Jin was resentful about not being able to go to Tianyan City and said, “Don’t hold any hope. He’s going to see a man. You can’t rely on him.”
Ji Wuduan: “Don’t get too caught up and forget to come back.”
Pei Jing responded with a slight smile to both of them and said, “The jealousy of the weak is truly terrifying. Do you know why the Seniors didn’t let you go? It’s because you’re weak and talk too much.”
Feng Jin and Ji Wuduan: “………”
Just as they were about to start fighting, Wu Sheng, the kind-hearted person, intervened to defuse the situation. “Why don’t we first ask about Yuzhi’s plan?”
Yu Qinglian twirled her hair and tilted her head with a teasing smile. “I just asked that, and they were interrupted.”
She looked at Pei Jing and said, “Only Hope, speak up.”
Pei Jing, the Only Hope, accepted politely and said, “What plan do I need? Confidence is all that’s necessary.”
The three of them scoffed in unison.
Wu Sheng shook his head helplessly.
Pei Jing didn’t pay attention to them. “However, my master told me not to cause too much commotion. So I can’t just take my sword and storm into the city. I might need your help to obtain an entry permit.”
When the entry permit was mentioned, Yu Qinglian’s eyes lit up.
The young girl smiled brightly and leaned forward. “You’ve asked the right person. Ever since I uncovered the truth three years ago, I’ve been wanting to go to Tianyan City, but my aunt stopped me. However, I had my female attendants gather a lot of information. In the past decade, the number of entry permits for Tianyan City has been decreasing rapidly, almost on the verge of extinction.
“To obtain one, you either have to kill someone and seize their entry permit, or you have to search for it in an auction. And these auctions are held in unregulated black markets. There’s a city called ‘Duanmai City’ on the edge of the Qiantian Mountain Range. It’s a place where all sorts of people gather. It seems there’s an underground auction house there.”
She blinked and looked charmingly. “It’s called ‘Three Thousand Intoxicating Blossoms’.”
Chen Xu guessed right. When his master called him over, it was indeed about Pei Yuzhi’s matter.
Chen Xu almost immediately thought about selling Pei Jing.
He heavily criticized Pei Yuzhi, the temporary Sect Master, for his reckless behavior, mingling with men from Outer Peaks and the wilderness!
He even hide a lover in a gilded chamber of Tianqian Peak, calling him “Big Brother” and behaving inappropriately.
He had already achieved the state of Nascent Divinity, so why did he still have to listen to such things?
Weary, he waved his hand to let the impatient Chen Xu go ahead.
Tianya Daoren returned from the Heavenly Ladder and learned about the Grandmaster meeting Pei Jing. He looked around but didn’t see Pei Jing. Growing angry, he couldn’t maintain his dignified demeanor any longer and said, “Where is he? I’m going to give him a good scolding!”
Xuhan glanced lightly at him. “Is this how a teacher should behave?”
Tianya Daoren couldn’t help but feel furious.
The Yunxiao Sect Master had been emotionless through generations, and now this little brat was causing him embarrassment.
It would have been fine if it was just a liking, but he had to like another man.
It would have been fine if it was just a man, but he had to make it known to the whole world.
It had been too long since he last disciplined someone.
Xuhan: “From childhood to now, have you been punished or disciplined very little?”
Tianya Daoren: “…”
Xuhan: “I gave him a task. I asked him to venture into Tianyan City alone.”
Tianya Daoren was taken aback upon hearing this, and his anger subsided a bit. “Master, won’t this be too dangerous?”
Xuhan: “It’s time for him to take on some responsibility. In Tianyan City, only someone like Yuzhi, who is below the Nascent Divinity stage, can enter, uncover the truth, and come back unharmed.”
Tianya Daoren felt a pang in his heart. “He’s not capable yet. He has only just reached the Nascent Soul stage.”
Xuhan calmly stated, “What’s there to fear? Inside Tianyan City, don’t you have a daughter-in-law who is anything but ordinary?”
Tianya Daoren: “……”
He coughed up a mouthful of blood.
Xuhan: “I have instructed the others to explain to the younger generation about the ancient battle and the collapse of the Heavenly Ladder. I hope they can fulfill the ambitions of our ancestors and accomplish what our ancestors could not.”
Tianya Daoren furrowed his brow. “Master, I guarded the Heavenly Ladder for seven days, and there were no abnormalities. Could it be that things aren’t as dire as we imagine?”
Xuhan smiled faintly, his gaze piercing through the multitude of worldly matters. “The Demonic Clan is about to awaken, and she… she might awaken as well.”
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