23

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Chapter 23

Yan Ling’Er said to Jiang Le, “We have reached the banquet hall. Please find a comfortable seat and mingle well. At this point here, it is hard to miss the banquet hall. Just follow these people and they are all heading in the same direction.”

Jiang Le smiled and said, “Ling’Er, you don’t have to wait for me. I don’t know how long will this take but I can surely find my well back.”

Yan Ling’Er smiled softly as she cast him a longing glance before she walked off hastily.

Jiang Le then began to follow the dozens of protégés as he explored the place on his own.

The hallways were chatty and many of the new protégés were even excited.

He was simply glad that it seemed that he was not the last to arrive.

He had an excellent memory and it seemed that he did not recognized most of the new protégés here.

It was not a bad thing because when he had left for the Divine Warrior Hall earlier in the day, the hostile looks were in many of the protégés’ faces.

“So this is Brother Jiang?”

Jiang Le turned around and saw that it was Yang Jian who he recognized as the outspoken young man from the Iron Pioneer Sect. He was also outstanding enough to be selected to the Gold Hall.

And behind Yang Jian, Jiang Le had also recognized several new protégés that were also picked to join the Gold Hall with Yang Jian.

Jiang Le smiled weakly as he returned a bow with his hands as he said, “Brother Yang.”

Yang Jian laughed aloud as he said, “Look what we have here? It is really Brother Jiang Le here. He is the only one among all the new protégés that has been accepted into the Divine Warrior Hall and is also the first ever in the entire history of the Righteous Heaven Clan.

When Yang Jian had said that, all the new protégés around them had turned around and stared at Jiang Le!

The atmosphere around Jiang Le was suddenly tense as he sensed the envy stares that were around him.

“So that is Jiang Le? That is how he looks like? Who is he?”

All of a sudden there was a dong and someone shouted, “Hasten up. The banquet is starting soon!”

Jiang Le took the opportunity to take leave as he said hurriedly, “We ought to hurry. We can always chat later.”

But he suddenly grinned and said slyly, “This is all thanks to Brother Yang that I have got into the Divine Warrior Hall. I will surely not forget about our secret agreement…”

Then he had sped off.

Just as Yang Jian was about to halt Jiang Le, he was stopped by his own group who questioned him. “Hey Yang Jian, so you know him? What does he mean by that? What secret agreement?”

Jiang Le quickly entered the crowded banquet hall and found a seat as he covered his mouth with his sleeves. He was thinking, “Yang Jian, Yang Jian. You have tried to set me up. Now I will let you have the same taste as me.”

He quickly took a look around; there were about five hundred or so protégés. The banquet was noisy as many of the new protégés were chatting excitedly and tossing wine cups to each other. A little while later, he had spotted Yang Jian who had entered into the large banquet hall with his group but they were arguing hotly.

Jiang Le had quickly gathered that his own batch was the fifth to arrive in the Righteous Heaven Clan in the past three month. This banquet feast was held for the first to the fifth batches. That was why there were many unrecognized faces here.

A petite maiden who was sitting next to Jiang Le who had been cold to the new protégés that were enquiring her namesake and protégé hall name, had noticed Jiang Le.

She turned to Jiang Le out of boredom and said sharply, “Hey you. I have thought that I am already quite an introvert but I have someone who is next to me who is an even more introvert.”

She had noticed that whenever someone approached him, he would cough and waved them away.

She whispered, “Are you shy? You are a man. Your acting is terribly fake and you only cough when someone tries to talk to you. Say, what is your name. Maiden I, wants to know your name.”

Jiang Le coughed softly, still using his sleeve to hide his face as he ignored her by turning to the other side.

But she whispered, “I am Tiemu Aixin, the daughter of the lord of the Mythical Iron Citadel.  I have just been recently initiated into the Gold Hall. You must be Jiang Le, the upstart that has been initiated into the Divine Warrior Hall. Everyone here is looking for you and curious who you are.”

Jiang Le had heard of the Tiemu Clan. To him, it was a small clan in the eastern fraternity and was a relative unknown. It was quite a shock to him that the Mythical Iron Citadel actually have potential celestial experts in their midst. No wonder a small clan like the Mythical Iron Citadel was able to thrive for centuries.

“Hmph! What that expression on your face? You are despising my clan? You think that I cannot tell from your silly expression?”

Jiang Le protested softly, “Not that. Lower your voice. Yes, I am Jiang Le…”

Tiemu Aixin chuckled softly as she raised her wine cup, “Then let me offer a toss to the number one new protégé among us.”

Upon seeing her non-malice look, Jiang Le too raised his wine cup in return while still hiding his mouth as he said. “Maiden Aixin, a toss to you.”

Tiemu Aixin chuckled, “Now that is better.”

They were interrupted by the rapid dongs and someone shouted beyond the gates of the banquet hall, “Close the gates. No one is to be allowed into the banquet anymore.”

At the same time, Reverend Priest Luo and a beautiful lady had walked to the upper aisle of the banquet hall. Immediately the dozens of priests at the upper aisle began to bow with their hands respectfully as they said, “Our utmost respects to clan leader!”

At the arrival of Reverend Priest Luo, all the five hundred odds new protégés had also immediately stood up to bow with their hands as they said at the same time, “Our utmost respects to clan leader!”

Jiang Le naturally was among them and he was merely their lead.

He noticed that the beautiful lady was always standing side by side to Reverend Priest Luo and thought, “Don’t tell me that she is his consort?

Reverend Priest Luo raised his voice to say as he offered a toss to everyone, “Drink everyone!”

And then he said aloud, “In the continuous cosmos, the righteous force reign supreme. All of you here is here to unravel the mysteries of the cosmos and to be a celestial practitioner. The whole lots of you are from the various clans and schools. What unites you is your desire for the universal truth and the path of divinity.”

He paused for a while before continuing, “Know the rules of the Righteous Heaven Clan. One, faithful to the leadership of the clan. Two, to uphold the sword of justice against the unrighteousness. Three, to attain the universal truth. Four, be benevolent and strive to be one with the Way. Five, be respectful to the protégé clan.”

Reverend Priest Luo poured more wine into his wine cup as he said, “Let’s us toast to all the new protégés and to your future attainment!”

With that, everyone began to toast chattily as they shouted, “Let’s us toast to all the new protégés and to our future attainment!”

Reverend Priest Luo laughed aloud and said, “I shall await your achievements in the months and years ahead. There is a hunter expedition in three month time; I hope that you will be able to shine in that performance. Now I shall leave the new protégés to mingle and to feast.”

As Jiang Le watched Reverend Priest Luo and the consort exited the banquet hall, he thought, “Hunter expedition? What is that?”

Tiemu Aixin had turned to smile at him, “I shall wait to see your skills and performance at the hunter expedition. I have heard that it is going to be a dangerous expedition and not everyone will be able to join. I hope that you do not chicken out for the hunter expedition or even dies in it.”

At which Jiang Le replied sarcastically, “I hope that you won’t be the one chickening up or I will be the one saving your life later.”

Tiemu Aixin laughed softly as her eyes lit up beautifully, “We shall see then.”

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22

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Chapter 22

Jiang Le did not want to attend the banquet that was held for the new protégés. Instead he decided to spend the night in one of the great halls of the Divine Warrior Hall. He was suddenly troubled and even lonely.

He was alone now.

He had never imagined that he could escape from the troublesome maidens of the Eternal Virtue Sect but now they had all left on their own accord, leaving him alone to pursue the path of divinity.

He was not exactly alone but now he was feeling that he was. He was beginning to miss their company and their openness to him. Unlike this new place, the people here seemed more guarded and more reserved as though they were guarding against him at the same time. Even Yan Ling’Er the attendant did not really said much to him.

And now that they had left, he began to think that they were the ones that were sincere to him and really regard him as their junior protégé brother.

He began to wonder how long he has to stay in this place; ten years, few dozen years or a hundred years or even more?

That fight with the monster hulk that had them fought together touched his heart and he was feeling a little remorse.

He was feeling like a smart aleck when he had first met them, even though he was in a dire situation. He suppressed his abilities and revealed only as he seemed fit. But they had already seen through his act and were deliberately pushing him to the limits to provoke him to reveal his true strength. He had thought he had fooled them and now he felt like he was the real fool.

Was he wrong to do so?

In the martial fraternity, if he was not cautious, he would be setup by the more treacherous and experienced experts or even be killed.

Was he wrong to try to preserve his own life?

Suddenly his thoughts were interrupted by his groaning stomach. He realized that he had not taken a bite for a few days!

“Weird I have not eaten and only now I am hungry?”

He looked around him and smiled weakly. It was because he realized that there was no food in the Divine Warrior Hall and he had not been introduced to any cook or kitchen.

“What am I supposed to eat? Don’t tell me that I am supposed to steal food from the other halls of the Righteous Heaven Clan?”

Now he was beginning to detest this place and missed the company of the maidens of the Eternal Virtual Sect. Even though they were constantly aloof and even poke fun at him but they had ensured that he had his most basic needs and even guide him. His internal strength had even improved considerably with them as they forced him to his limits.

He sighed softly as he took a gulp from his wine skin. At least he could quench his thirst with his precious wine. He guessed that he had no other choice but to attend the banquet tonight. He was really hungry.

He took out the two bamboo slips and the White Lofty Pristine Ring.

“The Celestial Oracle says that this ring is able to store items? How is it possible?”

He stared at the ring and imagined that he could put his bamboo slips into the ring. But nothing happened.

“I have to imagine a spatial space. What is a spatial space…”

He just anyhow imagined the ring had a black hole within it as he hit the bamboo slips on the ring. All of a sudden his bamboo slips had disappeared!

He was suddenly staring at the ring and he was panicky. He had just lost two of his most precious manuals and he was horrified!

“How do I get it back? How do I get it back?”

He felt like he had suddenly jumped from the peak of a mountain to a bottomless abyss!

But he quickly regained his composure and tried to convince himself, “If I can put them into the ring then I may just be able to get it back. Didn’t the Celestial Oracle says that this ring is able to store items? And if I can store my items then I can very well get it back…”

He put his hand next to the ring and imagined himself reaching into the ring and taking out two bamboo slips. True enough, the two bamboo slips appeared in his hands again!

He was excited as he quickly checked the contents of the manuals to ensure that he had not lost the two precious manuals. After ensuring himself of that, he practiced a few times as he put the precious manuals in and out of the ring until he was proficient.

He stared at the ring, “How is it possible for such a thing to exist in the world?”

He became convinced that he wanted to know about the mysteries of the world and beyond. Reaching the apex of the swordplay was no longer his goal now. He had to go beyond that and go to stranger lands and challenge the Celestials.

“My scope of the fraternity is so narrow in the past. What good is there for me to stand at the peak of the mortals when I can stand at the peak of the celestial practitioners? And maybe one day I can even be a Celestial when I transmigrate to the mythical Celestial Realm? I wonder what it is like to be a Celestial one day…”

With these exciting notions in his thoughts, he began to open the bamboo slip of the Perfect Swordplay as he studied through it.

Time passed, probably a few hours had already passed according to his estimate as he took a breather.

There were altogether nine levels to the Perfect Swordplay. The first three levels were the initial level of the Perfect Swordplay, fourth to sixth level was the Intermediate level of the Perfect Swordplay and the last three levels were the advance level of the Perfect Swordplay.

At the initial level, the movements of the Perfect Swordplay required the practitioner to blend in any two combinations of Attack, Defense, Speed and Movement. The intermediate level required any three combinations of Attack, Defense, Speed and Movement while the advance level required a full combination.

Because Jiang Le was already an accomplished swordsman, he quickly found himself at the fourth level of the Perfect Swordplay as he practiced through the first three levels of the Perfect Swordplay.

Now the forth level of the Perfect Swordplay was not as easy as he initial thought and he was even perplexed. Even the most basic attack stance of the forth level of the Perfect Swordplay, he was struggling to get it right.

He flipped his sword as he displayed a forward sword stance as he muttered, “Attack as one with the sword energy, attack as one with your martial power…”

How could anyone muster his martial power and internal vital energies at the same time?

Sword energies required a startling foundation in internal strength and in order for internal strength to reach the level that a practitioner could use sword energies, this required superior vital energies and intense focus.

Was this not an impossible swordplay?

If he could muster his martial power and vital energies to power his sword energies, then would not he be the number one swordsman in the entire martial fraternity already?

He had spent years pursuing the apex of swordplay and had challenged countless number of sword experts using his fraternity name of Huangfu Chuiyuan. And now the secret of the ultimate swordplay was in his hands!

All of a sudden he had a thought, “If the Celestial Oracle can give me the Perfect Swordplay so casually, does it mean that she has already learnt the contents? If she has then what is her level in the Perfect Swordplay? If she is able to guide me or two then it will be good. After all, she is the one that wants to accept me as her disciple and not the other way round. Surely my new protégé mistress is not a scholar and simply accepts me as a disciple only to ask me to self-study…”

He began to smile bitterly at that thought for he knew that his new protégé mistress had explicitly said that he was not to disturb her meditation for the next three months.

As he sheathed his sword and was about to read the Absolute Heart Intricate Verses, he chanced upon his reflection in the mirror and was stunned; he could not recognize himself!

The pupils of his eyes were a little red but he had been informed of it so that was not really a surprise to him. But he had appeared to be several years younger and this reminded him of the time when he was sixteen. He pinched his skin and he now noticed that his skin was elastic and smooth like an infant. But his features were even more refined. There was even certain handsomeness in him and the fats in his cheekbones were gone.

He stared at himself, “What is going on? I have suddenly become a super handsome guy even though I have always thought that I am handsome enough. And my looks are so young now? Oh man, I want my mature look back. I am not going to shame myself in front of the ladies as a baby face guy…”

Just as he was staring at the mirror, he noticed a hovering light outside the huge entrance of the hall. The hovering light was swinging left and right beyond the premises of the Divine Warrior Hall. His curiosity was aroused as he thought, “Who is outside at this time of the night?”

Since he was bored and hungry, he decided to check the source of the light.

It took him no time for him to find the source of the light as he appeared in front of Yan Ling’Er who was carrying a lamp.

He asked, “It is you?”

Yan Ling’Er nodded with her head respectfully as she said softly, “I dare not enter the Divine Warrior Hall so I stay near the bridge here and can only resort to this method to get your attention.”

Jiang Le was surprised as he asked, “You are looking for me?”

Yan Ling’Er nodded and showed him a small basket of buns as she replied, “I am here to bring you some food should you need it. At the same time, I am here to bring you to the banquet.”

Jiang Le seized one of the buns like a hungry wolf and popped it into his mouth. He was already famished and even more hungry after his sword practice, as he gobbled thankfully. “You are my lifesaver. Oh that banquet, I have almost forgotten about it. Maybe I may attend the banquet after all. I am so hungry…”

Yan Ling’Er gave a faint smile as she said, “It is better for the new protégés to attend the banquet and to get to know your fellow protégés at the same time. Moreover, it is disrespectful to our clan leader Reverend Priest Luo if you don’t go.”

Jiang Le nodded, “True…”

But all of a sudden he said, “Weird. After one bun, I don’t feel hungry anymore…”

Yan Ling’Er replied coolly, “Naturally, you won’t. That is the difference between us. You are a celestial practitioner while I am just a mortal. You don’t need to eat or drink as much as we do. It is not uncommon for celestial practitioners to go without food and water for months and even years.”

Jiang Le was feeling a little awkward. It was because he knew that Yan Ling’Er was emphasizing to him that they were different and it was impossible for them to even become friends.

So he said firmly, “We are friends, alright? One day, we will all be dust. So what is the difference between us? It is just a matter of time, whether it is sooner or later.”

Yan Ling’Er had turned around and said, “It is getting late. We ought to hurry. It won’t be too good if we are the last. Others may think that you are insolent if you’re late. There are already plenty of gossips about you ever since you are accepted into the Divine Warrior Hall for this has never happened before.”

Jiang Le laughed and said, “So we are friends now? If you hear any interesting gossips about me then can you share with me?”

Yan Ling’Er giggled and smiled, “You’re so thick skin. Most of the gossips about you are negative and you won’t be happy to hear about it.”

Jiang Le laughed out, “You have got that precisely right. I am truly thick skin. So we are friends?”

Yan Ling’Er looked at him for a stunned moment before she nodded lightly, “If you don’t really mind…”

Jiang Le interrupted with a laugh, “Friends don’t mind anything. Friends fight and argue. Friends are opened to each other. We are friends, alright?”

Yan Ling’Er nodded and said, “Friends then.”

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21

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Chapter 21

Once Jiang Le was out of the Divine Warrior Hall, he had chanced upon Yan Ling’Er again. He quickly said to her, “Maiden Ling’Er, I am not familiar with this place. Can you lead me to my friends?”

Yan Ling’Er nodded and simply said, “As you wish.”

Jiang Le followed Ling’Er to another grand building where he could see her making quick enquiries to the other attendants before she said quietly, “They are still in the guest hall.”

Very soon, they had reached another building on another peak. Along the way, Jiang Le was impressed by what he had seen; there were hundreds of protégés practicing their swordplay and fists all over. Moreover it was unreal as the scenery of the mountains and dozens of palace buildings were equally captivating.

Ling’Er said softly, “They should be in there. I will wait here for you. Just in case, you are lost.”

Jiang Le bowed with his hands respectfully, “Thank you Maiden Ling’Er…”

Yan Ling’Er lowered her head and said firmly, “You need not address me as such. I am merely an ordinary attendant. Just Ling’Er will do.”

Jiang Le patted her softly on her shoulder and said, “In my eyes, you are not merely a servant. You are probably my first friend in this place. You don’t mind having me as your friend?”

Yan Ling’Er simply said, “Friend? To an esteem noble such as you? I am just an easily forgettable person.”

Jiang Le said firmly, “Never! You are my friend and I will never forget about you. That is a promise. I swear by the heavens!”

Yan Ling’Er looked at the ground as she said slowly, “As you wish then.”

Jiang Le smiled awkwardly for he could not tell if she was delighted or unhappy. So he said gently to her, “I will be back very soon. Please wait for me. I am sure that we are going to be the best of friends.”

Yan Ling’Er nodded but said nothing.

Jiang Le heaved a soft sigh as he entered the guest hall.

It took him no time to find Qingshuang, Xia Ji and Xue Ji. Even Priest Qu Daoqing was also present.

As soon as Priest Qu Daoqing saw Jiang Le, he immediately greeted excitedly, “Brother Jiang!”

Jiang Le returned the greeting, “Brother Qu!”

Qu Daoqing said, “Brother Jiang is so lucky to have entered the Divine Warrior Hall. I am only in the Gold Hall. Have you met the Celestial Oracle?”

He lowered his voice and whispered, “What does she look like?”

Xue Ji chipped in mischievously, “She must be a beautiful lady!”

Qingshuang growled softly and Xue Ji immediately kept quiet.

Jiang Le smiled bitterly and said, “Not really. She spoke behind a curtain.”

He did not mention that the next time that the Celestial Oracle would see him was going to be in three month time.

Priest Qu Daoqing smiled and said, “It is just a sooner or later thing. You’re her direct protégé disciple and you have plenty of chances.”

Jiang Le smiled weakly, “True, true…”

Qingshuang suddenly said gently, “Jiang Le, we are leaving now.”

Jiang Le was startled, “You’re leaving?”

Qingshuang nodded and said gently, “We’re going to the Sacred Sword Manor to borrow your clan heavenly relic.”

All of a sudden Jiang Le was awkward but he soon regained his composure and said, “I don’t know if my father will allow you but let me write a letter to him. Also, please tell him not to worry about me. Please tell my mother that I am not a filial son at all. And tell my second brother to take care of my parents…alas…”

He was suddenly at a loss on what to say.

It was because he had already known the situation that he was now at. He was now embarking on the path of cultivation and there was no stopping him. He had to practice the Dragon Force, the Perfect Swordplay and the Absolute Heart Intricate Verses. There were celestial opponents that were powerful beyond his imagination and there were martial skills that were out of this world. All these, he was eager to explore and to know.

He knew with a sad heart that he had forever departed from the martial fraternity. From now on, Huangfu Chuiyuan would disappear from the martial fraternity and Jiang Le the celestial practitioner would appear in the celestial fraternity!

Xia Ji looked at Priest Qu Daoqing and said softly, “Farewell, Brother Qu!”

Priest Qu Daoqing was startled and he said quickly, “Maiden Xia, you are also leaving? But you have not recovered. Why don’t you rest here for the time being and I will promise you that I will escort you back…”

Xia Ji interrupted with a soft smile, “My protégé aunt will protect me. My injuries are not too terrible and I can still cope against most of the martial experts. Please don’t worry for me, alright?”

Priest Qu Daoqing was stammering as he said, “I…I think…” but he could find no words to make her stay…

Jiang Le, Qingshuang and Xue Ji were all looking at each other. They could all tell that Priest Qu Daoqing had eyes only for Xia Ji and was particularly attentive to her.

Xia Ji punched Priest Qu Daoqing gently on his chest as she smiled affectionately, “Maybe it is just a short farewell. You are a highly attained celestial practitioner while I am still a lowly attained celestial practitioner. It may be a long time before I can catch up with you. Who knows I may need your help as my guardian to help me to ward off my divine calamities. Will you still help me?”

Priest Qu Daoqing replied solemnly, “No matter how many times, no matter how treacherous it is, I will be there for you.”

Xia Ji and Priest Qu Daoqing looked at each other silently, not saying a word. It seemed that all the others did not exist.

Qingshuang began to walk quietly away and her heart was sorrowful. She thought, “They have just crossed a dangerous line. Don’t they want to ascend as Celestials? Will I be like Xia Ji one of these days?”

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20

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Chapter 20

Jiang Le was led to a lofty peak and the golden roofs of a palace could be seen.

A young maiden who was the attendant merely said to him, “This is the Divine Warrior Hall. The Celestial Oracle is inside.”

Jiang Le asked with an amused smile, “Why didn’t the Celestial Oracle see me earlier when we are in the testing hall? And now we have to walk all the way here to see her?”

The young maiden who was walking with her head lowered all this while began to lift her eyes to look at Jiang Le, “You are merely trying to provoke a reaction from me. Am I right?”

Jiang Le laughed softly, “Maiden, you are indeed intelligent. What is your name? I am…”

The young maiden interrupted softly, “Jiang Le. Even though you are a newcomer, everyone knows your name. You are infamous now. I am merely a lowly servant in the clan and not a protégé. Even though I am merely sixteen but eventually I will grow old unlike you. The Celestial Oracle as far as I have known have never ventured outside the Divine Warrior Hall and no one has ever seen her. Maybe for you, you are the exception. When you have heard her earlier, is merely her divine whisper that she has cast from the Divine Warrior Hall. There will be many strange and wondrous things in the future that you will be witnessing and this will be one of the things that you will soon grow accustomed to it.”

Jiang Le was slightly taken by this young maiden as she gave him a soft admonishment. He found himself more amused than anger by her as he smiled to her, “What is your name?”

The young maiden turned around and lowered her head once again. As she walked away, she whispered, “Yan Ling’Er.”

Jiang Le repeated her name as he climbed the steps to the lofty peak, “Yan Ling’Er. What an interesting maiden. Jiang Le, Jiang Le, you are not a man now. You should not have any romantic notions anymore.”

Soon he had reached the gates of the Divine Warrior Hall and was awed by the towering pillars and the airy atmosphere. From here, he could see hundreds of peaks and other buildings of the Righteous Heaven Clan. No doubt, he was at the highest peak.

Soon he was asking himself a question, “If the Revered Priest Luo is the clan leader then what the hierarchy rank of the Celestial Oracle is? Why is that even the Reverend Priest Luo seems to be deferent to her?”

As he walked the empty hall of the Divine Warrior Hall, he could hear his steps. This place was so huge and there were many corridors. He soon became confuse where he should go…

Just as he was pondering where to go, a musical voice echoed enchantingly. “Walk to the right. This is the Pondering Courtyard. I am there.”

Jiang Le did as he was told and he soon found himself in a beautiful garden with many streams flowing through it. There were flowers and trees of many kinds, mostly red, pink and scarlet. It seemed that the person tendering to this garden had paid a great deal of attention to it.

In the middle of the garden was a pavilion with many brightly hued curtains and Jiang Le could see a shadowy figure beyond.

He thought, “So this is the Celestial Oracle?”

He quickly bowed with his hands respectfully as he said, “Jiang Le pays my respects to the Celestial Oracle…”

“…protégé mistress,” he quickly corrected himself.

The shadowy figure seemed to nod as she said enchantingly, “You have a fine divine sword with you. What’s more at such a young celestial age, you have actually divine harmonized with it. Divine swords are highly coveted in the Celestial Fraternity. Be sure that you do not lose it.”

Jiang Le smiled weakly as he replied, “I will remember this.”

The Celestial Oracle added, “It seems that someone has imparted the Dragon Force to you.”

Jiang Le was startled as he asked, “You know?”

The Celestial Oracle replied, “I have merely sense the desolate force that is within you. It will take plenty of discipline to control the desolate force of the Dragon Force or else it will be easy for you to fall into the entropy side. It may be too dangerous for you to display at your present level.”

She continued, “Now tell me, why do you want to be a celestial practitioner? What make you think you deserve to be in the Divine Warrior Hall?”

Jiang Le gritted his teeth and said, “I don’t know!”

That was the truth. He really did not know!

He lifted his sorrowful eyes and said, “However I do know that I want to be stronger. I have to defeat him and avenge myself!”

The Celestial Oracle asked, “Who is he?”

Jiang Le clenched his fists as he replied, “He calls himself the Desolate Old Man!”

The Celestial Oracle probed further, “Why do you hate him so much?”

Jiang Le began to tremble as he lost his composure, “He…he has made me into an impotent man!”

The Celestial Oracle said gently, “Therefore you want to be celestial practitioner so that you can avenge yourself?”

Jiang Le nodded and his eyes were upset as he recalled his defeat, “Indeed! If I can find him again, I will fight him to the death!”

The Celestial Oracle said gently and her enchanting voice was mesmerizing, “What if I were to ask you to forget your vendetta and to aspire fully onto the celestial path?”

Jiang Le replied bluntly, “Then I will leave because it is impossible for me to do so.”

The Celestial Oracle seemed to lower her head for a while to ponder before she said gently, “You are honest. More honest than most of the righteous celestial practitioners that are here. If you wish to do so, then shall it be. But never forget that you are a celestial practitioner. Do not stray to the dark side.”

Jiang Le nodded awkwardly for he was expecting a reproach but he got none from her.

The Celestial Oracle asked gently as she seemed to look into the heavens, “So what do you know of the Righteous Heaven Clan?”

Jiang Le smiled weakly, “Actually, not very much except that it is the leading celestial clan in the celestial fraternity. It seems like a dream that I am here today.”

The Celestial Oracle said gently, “The Righteous Heaven Clan has been around for around eight hundred years. Not the oldest but a relatively newcomer to the celestial fraternity. The founder of the Righteous Heaven Clan is the Heaveness and your silver token is from her. Did she say anything to you?”

Jiang Le was perplexed as he listened to the Celestial Oracle awkwardly before he answered, “Actually I did not see her personally. I was actually unconscious at that time. I was told that she had saved me from the Desolate Old Man and that she had left a silver tablet behind for me.”

The Celestial Oracle nodded lightly before she said, “I am the direct protégé disciple of the Heaveness. And now you are my direct protégé disciple. Next time when you have seen the Heaveness, you must address her respectfully as your grand protégé mistress. Since my protégé mistress has directed you to me then I am obligated to guide you.”

Jiang Le was listening as she worded it matter of fact.

The Celestial Oracle seemed to take out two bamboo slips as she casted it out of the curtain. The two bamboo slips began to spin slowly in front of Jiang Le who caught the two bamboo slips in his hands as the she said gently, “Study these two martial arts on your own. I will check on your progress in three month time. On no account must you step into this garden and bother me. Your protégé mistress does not like to be disturbed and will like to be quiet. You are free to explore the other halls and chambers as you seem fit. But you must not allow anyone to trespass into the Divine Warrior Hall. Once a week, you shall check the Messenger Hall for my messages to the clan and delivered it to Yan Ling’Er. Is that understood?”

Jiang Le smiled awkwardly as he thought, “What a lousy protégé mistress that I have just got? I have not even seen her face and now she is dismissing me already to self-study?”
But he quickly bowed respectfully, “I have acknowledged protégé mistress’ will.”

The Celestial Oracle suddenly threw a small object out of the curtain and as Jiang Le caught it, he saw that it was a white jade ring.

She said enchantingly, “This is the White Lofty Pristine Ring. It is capable of storing a thousand small objects. All you need is to wear the ring and envisioned the spatial space that is within. You will be able to put and take your things at will inside. Last and not all, there will be a clan celebration for everyone initiation tonight. Go and bide your clan and friends goodbye for after today, you won’t be able to see any of them for quite some time.”

Jiang Le examined the ring and he was in awe of the ring capabilities as he thought, “Really? A ring that can store a thousand objects? Is this a joke or what? I have never heard of such a thing at all.”

Just as he was about to examine the ring further, he had caught the name of one of the bamboo slip that read the Perfect Swordplay. Immediately his curiosity was invoked and he quickly opened the bamboo slip to read the first line, “The Perfect Swordplay; the epitome of perfectly attack, defense, speed and movement…”

His eyes began to glow as he examined the bamboo and he was suddenly excited, “This sword manual is just the impossible! In the martial fraternity, it is the secret epitome level in swordplay and it can cause the entire martial fraternity to be in bloody turmoil.”

He took a quick look again and recited in his heart, “The perfect attack is a multitude of readings that incorporates both defense and speed. The withdrawal stroke is a triple blend of speed, defense and movement…the flying stance, the weakening feint, the fairy defense…”

He cursed softly in his heart, “If I have known these stances earlier, maybe I would not be best by that insolent Desolate Old Man…”

He took a look at the second bamboo slip and the title was the ‘The Absolute Heart Intricate Verses’. With trembling fingers, he opened the bamboo slip and read it silently, “The Absolute Heart Intricate; Absolute Attack, Absolute Defense, Absolute Spirit, Absolute Speed, Absolute Reflex. The masterful essence of the conditioning the spirits to do the impossible…”

His new protégé mistress had just handed him two of the most secret epitome arts that the martial fraternity would all be coveting and just one of the bamboo slip could easily propel anyone to be a super exponent in a short while!

Just as he was about to thank his protégé mistress, he saw that she was no longer behind the curtains.

He sighed softly as he began to walk away; his hands were trembling as he held onto the two bamboo slips. Finally he could see a glimmer of hope in defeating the Desolate Old Man!

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19

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Chapter 19:

It was a full three days before they had reached the Heaven Gate of the Righteous Heaven Clan.

The Heaven Gate was a flight of steps leading to the top of the mountains.

Jiang Le could count thousands of steps and he could not see anything beyond it. He was a little awe by the towering white marble pillars of the Heaven Gate.

No sooner had they caught sight of the Heaven Gate, a group of priests with swords had immediately appeared into their view in an alarming manner. But when they saw Qu Daoqing, they immediately lowered their guard and bowed respectfully with their hands to say, “Priest Qu, welcome back!”

All the priests were looking at the stirring beauty of Qingshuang, Xue Ji and Xia Ji and were stammering, “They are…”

Jiang Le thought, “Even priests can be moved by secular emotions. Then they must be equivalent or below the rank of the Emotion Level then.”

Qu Daoqing returned a hand bow to them and said politely, “They are guests. I will escort them personally to the great hall.”

Immediately, they lined out neatly in two columns to welcome Jiang Le and his group!
Jiang Le said to Qu Daoqing, “These priests, their swiftness movement skills are not weak and are ranked among the top tier of the martial fraternity. I can never imagine such a large group of such exponents in the martial fraternity. This small group here is enough to contend with a major martial clan in the martial fraternity. This place is full of crouching tigers and hidden dragons.”

Qu Daoqing smiled weakly, “Brother Jiang, you heap too much praises on us. Come, let’s us hurry to the grand hall first.”

Soon, they had reached the entrance of the grand hall.

The grand hall had a golden roof and the platform steps were made of white stones.

Their group had invited a number of awestruck stares that were directed at the beautiful Qingshuang the Verdant Scarlet Fairy before they had stepped into the grand hall.

When they had stepped into the grand hall, their presence had immediately stirred up plenty of attention from the crowd inside.

Jiang Le noticed that the grand hall was more crowded than he had anticipated.

Qu Daoqing was immediately greeted by a priest in similar attire as him, “Brother Priest Qu, they must be the external protégés that you have brought?”

Qu Daoqing bowed with his hands in return, “Indeed Brother Priest Wuji. You have found yours?”

Priest Wuji nodded and pointed at the three young men that were standing nearby, “Indeed. However they are mortals that I have found in a nearby village. Whether they have the celestial potential still remains to be seen. What about yours? I can see that you have found some really good candidates.”

Qu Daoqing smiled weakly, “Actually there is just one and is accompanying him on this trip. Moreover I am lucky to be directed by the Celestial Oracle.”

Priest Wuji looked in the direction of Jiang Le and said, “The Celestial Oracle? That means that they have the Silver Token and is the predestined one. This is going to be interesting.”

He bowed politely in the direction of Jiang Le and smiled to Qu Daoqing, “You are just in time. The acceptance ceremony is about to start soon. If you are late then you have to wait for another month.”

Jiang Le approached them and said, “What all this blabbering? I am Jiang Le. Is there anything that you can’t say in front of us? Or are the protégés of the Righteous Heaven Clan are all so haughty and regard themselves too highly?”

Priest Wuji smiled weakly and said, “Not at all.”

Qingshuang smiled politely and said, “Jiang Le, don’t be rude and be respectful to your seniors.”

Jiang Le shrugged his shoulders and replied, “I apologize.”

Priest Wuji immediately said, “Not at all.”

He bowed respectfully to Qingshuang and said, “Priest Wuji pays my respects to respected senior, we are glad that an eminent celestial practitioner such as you is here to visit us. May I have the honor to know your celestial name and clan of origin?”

Qingshuang replied coolly, “You may address me as the Verdant Scarlet Fairy, from the Eternal Virtue Sect.”

Priest Wuji bowed in acknowledgement and replied, “The Eternal Virtue Sect has a long history and is a reputable celestial clan.”

Xue Ji hummed coldly, “It sounds like fanciful words. We know that our celestial clan is a relative unknown nowadays and that the Righteous Heaven Clan is currently the leading celestial clan. Like all the other celestial clans, we are here to witness the glory of the Righteous Heaven Clan and to pay homage.”

Even though she was soft spoken, she had immediately attracted a number of amused looks. It was because there were also a number of other celestial clans that were presented in the grand hall. While it was true that many were here to pay their homage to the Righteous Heaven Clan as the leading celestial clan, many were also here due to grudging respect and were not entirely convinced.

Xue Ji turned to look at Priest Qu Daoqing and smiled, “Priest Qu, am I right?”

Priest Qu Daoqing was aware that there were quite a number of people that were looking at him for his reply and he knew that he had to be careful with his words. So he replied, “There is no small or big celestial clan. All of us belong to the celestial fraternity and should work toward the greater good. We should seek cultivation as our only goal and aspire to a greater state of divinity.”

When he had said that, there were a sense of shame and plenty of downcast eyes.

A man said aloud, “That’s right. We are all training to be celestial practitioners and striving to be celestials. The reason why we are here is because the Righteous Heaven Clan is willing to forgo sectarian divides and to forge a celestial future with everyone.”

“Well said. What is your name?” An old priest asked as he walked into the grand hall as he was accompanied by a group of ten priests.

Priest Qu Daoqing, Priest Wuji and the protégés of the Righteous Heaven Clan who were in the grand hall immediately bowed with their hands and greeted aloud, “Our respects to Grandmaster Reverend Priest Luo!”

The man who had just spoken began to stammer, “He is Reverend Priest Luo, the Grandmaster of the Righteous Heaven Clan?”

He quickly regained his composure and bowed with his hands, “I am Yang Jian, protégé of the Iron Pioneer Sect.”

Reverend Priest Luo stroked his long white beard as he smiled, “What a promising young man!”

Reverend Priest Luo smiled as he looked at Jiang Le. Obviously he had heard him even though it was a whisper. He smiled and said, “It seem that this batch of candidates are slightly different from the previous batches.”

Jiang Le could not tell if Reverend Priest Luo was mocking him or otherwise. Therefore he could only smile awkwardly.

Reverend Priest Luo began to scan the grand hall and said aloud, “I am Reverend Priest Luo, grandmaster of the Righteous Heaven Clan. Today we have the ten elders of the Righteous Heaven Clan here to select celestial protégés according to their calibers. The elders of the Metallic Halls, Halls of the Gold, Silver and Bronze Halls will only take in the candidates that have the silver tokens. The elders of the Chromium Halls, Halls of the Yellow, Red, Purple, Blue, White, Green and Black will take in the candidates that have the bronze tokens. Let the candidates with the silver and bronze tokens to come forward, those carrying the silver tokens to stand on the left and the bronze to stand on the right.”

Jiang Le walked to the left and soon found himself in the company of about thirty men and women and saw that there were about two hundred others that were standing on the right.

Reverend Priest Luo stroked his long beard and laughed aloud, “It seems that this time round we have quite a number of silver tokens candidates. Let the silver token candidates come forward and put your hand into the holy water of the urn. The holy water will then determine your latent celestial potential by its intensity and you will join the Gold, Silver and Bronze Halls accordingly.”

A man that was nearest to the urn mustered his courage and walked cautiously to the urn before saying aloud, “I will be the first then.”

Slowly in front of the others, he began to put his hand into the water of the urn. Almost immediately, a faint blue light began glow to from the holy water as the others watched in awe.

Reverend Priest Luo nodded and said, “You can proceed to join the Bronze Hall.”

The man looked disappointed and cursed softly, “This isn’t fair.”

The man behind him smiled and walked to the urn to put his hand into the urn. No sooner had he put his hand into the urn, it began to glow brightly.

Reverend Priest Luo said, “Proceed to the Gold Hall.”

Jiang Le saw that he was third in line so he took a step forward. He took a peek the water in the urn and saw that it was crystal clear. Just as he was about to put his hand into the water, a feminine voice that came from behind the curtains of the grand hall said musically. “Let him join the Divine Warrior Hall.”

Immediately there was a great commotion in the hall and even the Reverend Priest Luo was surprised as he looked at the curtains behind him!

Priest Qu Daoqing muttered, “The Divine Warrior Hall has never been known to accept any protégés. Not even a protégé of the Righteous Heaven Clan has ever been initiated into it and moreover it is hall of the Mistress of the Celestial Oracle…”

Xue Ji asked Priest Qu, “Oh really?”

Priest Qu Daoqing replied solemnly, “Not for the past five hundred years as far as I have known. Moreover the Celestial Oracle has rarely interfered in the affairs of the clan. This is the first time that I have seen her spoke directly as a matter of fact.”

Xue Ji replied, “This is strange indeed.”

Reverend Priest Luo regained his composure and bowed respectfully with his hands, “Since the Celestial Oracle has spoken, naturally we will oblige but may I know why?”
Quite a number of candidates began to mutter incessantly, “This is unfair. We deserve to know why. Why is he given a special treatment? Who is he?”

Jiang Le was beginning to feel a little awkward by the attention and he said loudly, “I don’t really bother by which halls that I am going.”

The voice of the Celestial Oracle said slowly, “Do you mind showing your silver token?”

Jiang Le was puzzled as he took out his silver token as he lifted it up, “You mean this thing?”

Immediately Reverend Priest Luo turned pale as he asked solemnly, “How did you get this silver token?”

Jiang Le growled unhappily because he did not want to recall his unhappy experiences.

He merely said, “Someone just gives it to me and insist that I make the trip here.”

Reverend Priest Luo seemed dissatisfied with the answer but he said, “Proceed to the Divine Warrior Hall.”

Immediately quite a few of the candidates began to mutter unhappily with the decision and said, “We don’t even see his potential yet and he is allowed to join the Divine Warrior Hall?”

The voice of the Celestial Oracle said, “You may put your hand into the sacred urn.”

Jiang Le did as he was told as he rubbed his hand before putting his hand into the urn.

Immediately the water in the urn began to boil and there was a brilliant light that flared blindingly in the hall!

Priest Qu Daoqing was stunned as he said startlingly, “Brother Jiang must be a one in a million. In all my years I have never seen a light that shone as brilliant!”

Even Jiang Le was startled by it as he quickly took out his hand from the burbling water, “This is my celestial potential?”

The voice of the Celestial Oracle said musically, “Since he has the silver token of the Heaveness, he deserves to be in the Divine Warrior Hall and I will be his protégé mistress from now on.”

Reverend Priest Luo looked at Jiang Le and stammered, “Indeed…indeed this is the silver token of the Heaveness.”

He turned and looked intently at Jiang Le and asked, “What is your name?”

Jiang Le smiled weakly and said, “My name is Jiang Le.”

Somehow he was shifting uncomfortably as he noticed that hundreds of hostile eyes were looking at him as they muttered and remembered his name by heart.

He thought, “Am I jumping from one hot pan to the other?”

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18

 

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Chapter 18

Qu Daoqing said after they had passed through the gates of the Starlight Celestial Formation, “We are here.”

Jiang Le looked at the surroundings and saw that there were lofty mountains all around here.

Qingshuang asked gently, “We have reached the Prime Mountains? This is where the Righteous Heaven Clan is located?”

Qu Daoqing answered, “Indeed. There is still some way to the celestial gates of the Righteous Heaven Clan though. However in less than three days, we should be able to reach the Heaven Gates of the Righteous Heaven Clan.”

Jiang Le said weakly, “Brother Qu, I hope that you are not leading us into further danger.”

Qu Daoqing replied quickly, “Of course not. These mountains are the territorial sphere of influence of the Righteous Heaven Clan and there are many highly celestial practitioners in the vicinity. I can promise you that it is safe. Moreover, our arrival through the Starlight Celestial Formation will not go unnoticed by the elders of the Righteous Heaven Clan.”

Jiang Le replied, “I hope so.”

Qingshuang looked at the surroundings and said, “The scenery here is so beautiful. It seems like we are in the Celestial Realm.”

Xia Ji nodded as she muttered, “Yes, it is…”

Xue Ji who was supporting Xia Ji, “Sister, you are injured. Maybe we can even take the opportunity to stay here for a few months till you have recovered.”

Qu Daoqing bowed with his hands, “We have plenty of rooms for guests here. Moreover, it is because of me that Maiden Xia is injured.”

Xia Ji smiled weakly and said, “Thank you, Priest Daoqing!”

Jiang Le suddenly said, “Say, Brother Daoqing, earlier you have displayed a stance of the Flying Sword. May I know the origin of that swordplay and is it related to the Virtuous Palace of old?”

Qu Daoqing laughed, “Brother Jiang Le, you have sharp eyes indeed. We are taught this Heavens’ Flying Sword. I have heard that it has some familiarity to the Virtuous Palace of old but I don’t know for sure. After all, the Virtuous Palace is no longer around for five hundred years. Moreover my talent is limited and I can only reach the second level of the Heavens’ Flying Sword. However, since you are invited to the Righteous Heaven Clan as an external protégé, you may be imparted this skill.”

Jiang Le immediately was beaming with anticipation as he laughed awkwardly, “Oh really? If so, then I must really train hard!”

Xue Ji shrugged Jiang Le and chuckled, “You didn’t even practice our clan swordplay hard and now you are trying to learn swordplay from another clan? They probably won’t reveal to you the epitome levels of any skills as you are just an external protégé and not one of them.”

Jiang Le protested weakly, “That’s not the point. Moreover, I have little practice time.”

Qu Daoqing nodded and said, “Brother Jiang Le is pretty skillful with the sword and is one of the best that I have ever seen. Earlier, if not for Brother Jiang Le, I can’t bear to think of the consequences.”

Jiang Le laughed, “Thankfully for my divine sword.”

Qu Daoqing nodded and said, “Brother Jiang, I really envy that you have a divine sword. There are only seven divine swords in the Righteous Heaven Clan and I don’t know when it will be my turn to inherit one. It looks like I have to practice on my cultivation further in order to earn the right.”

Jiang Le patted him on his shoulder, “My divine sword didn’t do much. I guess that I am too weak. That goddess…I mean that maiden that looks like a goddess, she is able to defeat that monster without a weapon in her hands. Over reliance on a weapon isn’t a good thing.”

Xue Ji looked at them and smiled, “Why this brother this and that? Earlier, I have thought that Brother Jiang Le is so petty against you know who. And you know who is so cold towards Brother Jiang Le that I have thought that both of you would come to blows.”

Qu Daoqing and Jiang Le were both laughing at the same time as they said at the same time, “After a fight we are better acquainted…”

Then they looked at each other and laughed loud again.

Xue Ji hummed softly, “I don’t understand men at all.”

Xia Ji smiled weakly as she looked quietly at Qu Daoqing, “Either do I.”

While they were talking, Qingshuang was observing Xia Ji quietly as she thought melancholy, “Xia, have you fallen in love with Qu Daoqing? You have just barely overcome your Emotion Level. Do you know how dangerous is it for you? Don’t you want to ascend to the Celestial Realm?”

Qu Daoqing asked Jiang Le, “Brother Jiang, how are your injuries? You seem to be quite spirited and well.”

Jiang Le was curious as he looked at himself, “Oh?”

He began to sketch himself and inhaled a vital breathe before saying, “Weird. I am not painful anymore.”

Earlier, Qu Daoqing, Qingshuang and Jiang Le had all taken the blunt of the monster hulk’s attacks and they were unable to even stand afterward.

Because Qu Daoqing and Qingshuang were at a higher state of cultivation, they were able to suppress their pains. But Jiang Le was talking and moving about as though nothing had happened to him earlier!

Jiang Le thought, “That must be. When the Desolate Goddess Aurora had imparted to me the celestial skills, I can feel a course of energy in my veins. Don’t tell me she has also treated my internal injuries at the same time? Who is she? She is capable of such profound healing? She is my teacher and yet I know nothing about her.”

Qingshuang nodded, “This is indeed strange. Jiang Le, show me your pulse.”

Jiang Le lifted his wrist to her and Qingshuang put her fingers on it to examine before saying, “Your pulses are normal and healthy. There is no sight of any internal injuries. Why is that so?”

Jiang Le laughed, “That is because I am still young and my constitution is good.”

All of a sudden Qingshuang gasped softly and looked at Jiang Le, “Jiang Le, do you know that you have now reached the Enlighten Stage?”

Jiang Le was startled for he had been forewarned that it would require sixty to one hundred and eighty years from the Genesis Stage to the Enlighten Stage. There were altogether seven celestial stages and he had now attained the second celestial stage!

Xue Ji smiled, “Brother Le, you are such a genius. I have taken a hundred years in the past to reach the Enlighten Stage. What type of enlightenment did you achieve to cause your state of divinity to change?”

Jiang Le replied awkwardly, “It must be Brother Daoqing that has enlightened me or the fight earlier.”

Qingshuang nodded, “It is pointless to ponder over the outcome. It is a good thing that Jiang Le has overcome the calamity of death and is now a true celestial practitioner. I was a little afraid that he may not be able to overcome even the Genesis Stage and be a celestial practitioner. Now I can finally be at ease.”

Qu Daoqing bowed with his hands and said, “Brother Jiang, congratulations for achieving a new stage of divinity!”

Jiang Le smiled, “I was lucky.”

But he was thinking, “Am I going to be a celestial practitioner? Did I live my past life in vain, not knowing there is a celestial fraternity above the martial fraternity?”

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17

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Chapter 17

Qu Daoqing said to everyone as he eyed the surrounding woods as he took out a white feather, “We are almost here.”

Jiang Le asked, “What is this?”

Qingshuang, Xue Ji and Xia Ji were looking at each other curiously for an answer.

Qu Daoqing smiled and explained, “This is the Silvertip Feather. There is an invisible formation in front of us. Without this Silvertip Feather to guide us, we won’t be able the formation. Without entering the formation…”

Jiang Le laughed, “Without entering the formation then we won’t be able to see the celestial portal within and without entering the celestial portal then we won’t be able to reach the Righteous Heaven Clan. Look, you really talk like a long winded old priest.”

Qu Daoqing smiled weakly but he soon lifted his right fingers and said, “We are here.”

Immediately the Silvertip Feather glowed and levitated in front of him!

Qu Daoqing immediately seized back the Silvertip Feather and said, “After me.”

Qingshuang nodded and walked behind him, followed by Jiang Le, Xue Ji and Xia Ji.
To Jiang Le’s surprise, there was a warping sensation and the surrounding woods suddenly become extremely big and tall!

It was as though they had all shrink!

Xue Ji gasped and asked, “Where are we now?”

Qu Daoqing said politely, “We are now in the midst of the Starlight Celestial Formation. Now we have to travel through it and find the portal that will lead us to the Righteous Heaven Clan.”

Jiang Le grinned, “This sounds easy enough.”

Qu Daoqing shook his head, “Not so. It is actually quite treacherous in the Starlight Celestial Formation. There are actually hidden dangers here.”

Jiang Le yawned, “For example, like?”

No sooner had he said that, there was a thunderous roar in the vicinity that shook the very ground!

Jiang Le was startled for he had never heard anything like this before.

He had prided himself as being fearless but this thunderous roar seemed to shake him to his very core!

When he had composed himself and looked in the direction of Qu Daoqing, Qingshuang, Xue Ji and Xia Ji, he noticed that they were all looking very pale.
Curious, he asked. “What happens to everyone? I am not afraid so why should you be?”

Qingshuang turned and looked at Jiang Le curiously, “You are not affected?”

Xue Ji added as she looked wondrously at Jiang Le, “It is like half of our strength is taken away by that roar…”

Xia Ji said with a tease, “Maybe Brother Jiang Le does not have much celestial strength to begin with.”

Qingshuang thought, “Is it because my Protégé Sister Yueling has given him the Sacred Dragon Blood Divine Pill? That is our clan most precious divine pill. Jiang Le, Jiang Le…do you know how fortunate you are? Protégé Sister Yueling, what have you done…”

Qu Daoqing said with trembling lips as he drawn out his sword, “This has nothing to do with celestial strength. Only those with the highest state of divinity won’t be affected. This is fear and rightly so. A supernatural bestial is approaching us. We must be on our guard immediately.”

Jiang Le drawn out his sword, “What did you just say? You have led us here and now you say we are being attacked?”

Qu Daoqing emotionless face finally had an awkward expression as he said quickly, “The guardian of the celestial formation has always kept this celestial formation safe for its travelers. I really don’t know what is happening…”

Just as he had said that, a monstrous hulk with a faint purple aura around it had burst out of the dense forest covering!

Jiang Le was shocked for he had never seen anything like this before!

He had barely dodged the towering hulk when he noticed that Xia Ji had been flung aside and that Qingshuang had intercepted the hulk’s further attacks.

Qu Daoqing had suddenly spun his sword and his sword had flown from him and had struck the hulk with a tremendous impact!

But the hulk did not even bulge and simply deflected the sword aside!

Jiang Le was startled as he thought, “Isn’t this the legendary flying sword technique of the Virtuous Palace? I have thought that it is only a myth. Interesting…”

But his thoughts soon returned to the fight as he displayed a dozen strokes against the hulk, slashing the hulk in several places!

Qingshuang cried out to everyone, “For some unknown reasons, we are unable to hurt this monster with our weapons, except for Jiang Le.”

It was because only Jiang Le had a divine sword, the Divine Gallantry in his hands.

Xue Ji flashed out of the hulk reach as she panted panicky, “Most of our attacks are futile and its eyes are too difficult to hit. What is this monster?”

Xia Ji limped aside and said, “No good! Maybe we should beat a hasty retreat while there is still time…”

She looked at the ongoing fight; it was only Jiang Le, Qingshuang and Qu Daoqing that were still fighting the maddening monstrous hulk but they were all so engrossed in their fight that none of them were paying any heed to them!

Qingshuang was extremely composed as she searched the monstrous hulk for vulnerable points while Qu Daoqing was displaying one stance after the other. As for Jiang Le, he had imbued his sword with his sword energies and causing agonizing pain to the monstrous hulk. This caused the monstrous hulk to bellow maddening and causing the monster to seek out Jiang Le. But Jiang Le swiftness movement skills were simply too astonishing.

This was the first time that Xue Ji and Xia Ji had seen Jiang Le displaying his swiftness movement skill to his utmost and they were surprised that Jiang Le was not boosting about his swiftness movement skill.

But Xue Ji was soon solemn, “No good. They have not found the monster’s weakness yet and they cannot maintain their strength for too long. If we join in the fight now, we will only be a hindrance to them. What shall we do sister? Is there any way for us to help?”

Indeed!

Jiang Le, Qu Daoqing and Qingshuang were perspiring heavily and even their steps were unsteady now. This monstrous hulk was so strong that they knew that one hit from it would be enough to kill them and they were trying very hard not to be hit by it while trying to overcome it.

Qingshuang could feel that their attacking group was weakening. As she flipped backward, she cried aloud. “Xue, Xia! Flee! We will catch up with you later!”

Xia Ji said weakly, “But protégé aunt…”

But Qingshuang did not hear her as she was back to the fight to support Qu Daoqing and Jiang Le!

Jiang Le had missed two opportunities to attack because he was still thinking whether he should use his secret technique, the Sacred Heaven Beyond Strike. It was because he had two doubts in his mind. Firstly, he was reluctant to display his secret technique in front of the others. Secondly, this monster was invulnerable to his attacks, even with his imbued sword energies that enhanced his physical strikes by several folds and he had doubts if he could even hurt this monster.

The fight with the Desolate Old Man had severely dented his self-confidence and all of a sudden, he was not even sure of his strongest secret technique anymore.
He composed and thought, “No, if I have used my secret technique in this circumstance, I would have perished in the next instant. Am I to perish here?”

He knew that if he were to run now, he would be able to escape but he refused to run. Instead he found himself shouting to Qu Daoqing and Qingshuang, “Flee now! I will be able to hold him a little while longer. This monster is targeting me. There is no time to lose anymore. I may not be able to hold this monster off any longer!”

Qu Daoqing gasped out as he tumbled clumsily after barely fending off the monstrous hulk’s claw attack, “Brother Jiang Le, let me fight with you…there is nothing more dishonorable than running away!”

Qingshuang raised her sword to defend herself as she used her swiftness skill to leap from tree to tree as she continued to attack the monstrous hulk from above, “Jiang Le, I want you to go now! This is a command.”

Jiang Le gasped as he displayed a forward strike against the monstrous hulk, “I refuse to!”

All of a sudden the monstrous hulk stooped down and banged its claws onto the ground, creating a ring of energy shockwaves that struck them all at the same time!

Jiang Le, Qingshuang and Qu Daoqing were all floored onto the ground and had coughed out blood!

Even Xue Ji and Xia Ji were flung further away!

Jiang Le smiled weakly as he struggled to stand up but there was no strength left in him. He turned and looked at Qingshuang, “Now we are all going to die.”

Qingshuang looked at him weakly, “It is alright. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. It is our destiny. I’m glad that we are…able to die in battle…together.”

Qu Daoqing coughed out another bout of blood as he looked into the starry heavens above, “I am so fortunate to have two comrades at arms at my death bed. Alas…”

Just as the monstrous hulk had finished creating the shockwave that had fatally injured everyone and was about to make to charge at the fallen group, the monstrous hulk seemed to be lifted by an invisible hand and was thrown with a thunderous impact aside!

When the debris had cleared, an alluring and scantily dressed maiden was seen. She had a tattoo of a red dragon on both her shoulders and appeared to be weaponless.

Jiang Le was startled as he thought, “She did that?”

Qu Daoqing immediately said, “She…is the guardian of the celestial formation!…”

Qingshuang appraised the alluring maiden and muttered, “She is the guardian?…”

Xue Ji and Xia Ji were immediately at their sides and were helping Jiang Le and Qingshuang to stand as they cried out, “Are everyone alright?…”

The alluring maiden stood defiantly in front of the monstrous hulk and said slowly, her melody voice was extremely enticing. “You didn’t know that you are dead the instant that you have seen me, am I right?”

The monstrous hulk obviously was not paying attention to her and had immediately attacked her.

But the alluring maiden simply raised her right palm and struck the bellow of the monstrous hulk as she coolly muttered the name of her palm strike, “Dragon Force.”

Immediately there was a tremendous thunderclap and the monstrous hulk was flung into the air, shocking everyone!

Jiang Le muttered, “With her frail body, she is capable of such unleashing such a tremendous martial force?”

The alluring maiden immediately vanished and appeared in mid-air, tip-toed on the monstrous hulk’s left shoulder as she was heard muttering, “Harker Crossing, Dragon Force.”

When she had muttered “Dragon Force”, she had raised her palm and had struck the head of the monstrous hulk while in mid-air. There was another tremendous crackling sound as the monstrous hulk was sent plummeting onto the ground thunderously!

When she had landed, the monstrous hulk behind her was glowing and it seemed to be disappearing into nothingness.

Jiang Le was astonished by what he had just seen and wondered, “Who is this maiden and what happens to the monster?”

Qu Daoqing bowed weakly with his hands, “Guardian, we thank you for your benevolent aid. Please allow us to offer you our most profound thankfulness.”

Qingshuang, Xue Ji and Xia Ji too, had also bowed with their hands out of politeness.

They were looking at each other. Qingshuang shook her head to them, indicating that she was unable to tell the stage of celestial divinity that this maiden was at. That could only mean she was on a much higher divinity than Qingshuang was.

Qingshuang was thinking, “If she is of a higher divinity, she should have gray or golden eyes. Why is that her eyes are scarlet?”

Jiang Le was about to bow with his hands as well to thank her when he noticed that the alluring maiden was suddenly next to him and she was staring at him with her scarlet eyes.

This caused Jiang Le to take a step back and the alluring maiden continued to stare at him as she lift her nose to sniff before saying, “Your scene. This can’t be wrong. You have the blood scent of the draconian in you. You are an interesting mortal. No wonder they want you.”

Jiang Le asked weakly, “Who want me? What do you mean…”

The alluring maiden sniffed gently and looked at Qingshuang, Xue Ji and Xia Ji as she said, “The three of you have the scent too but is not the exact scent as him.”

She smiled gently as she looked at Jiang Le again, “You don’t have to know who the one that want you. You only have to know that I am freed now and it is all thanks to you.”

Jiang Le replied weakly, “You must be joking with me. I don’t even have the strength to protect myself let alone freeing someone as powerful as you. Moreover, I should be the one offering my thanks to you instead for saving our lives.”

Qu Daoqing had never seen the Guardian before and he did not know that the Guardian would be an alluring maiden with such unearthly beauty. He immediately added, “Indeed, indeed! If not for maiden, we would have…”

But the alluring maiden interrupted enticingly, “I have purposely allow that monster to cross your path therefore you do not need to thank me.”

Everyone was startled by this revelation!

Qu Daoqing was the most startled for he had thought that the Guardian mission was to ensure the safety of the travelers through the Starlight Celestial Formation. He stammered and asked, “But why?…”

The alluring maiden smiled mysteriously as though she was reading his thoughts, “Do you think that I am a Guardian through my own free will? As long as I am here, the celestial formation will never end. As long as the celestial formation is here, I will never be freed. Maybe to you, I am the Guardian but I am just the servant of this celestial formation. Since this will be the last time that I will be in the celestial formation, I will like to see the strength of the travelers. But I must say, I am disappointed in what I have seen.”

Qu Daoqing was about to reply angrily after he had realized that it was the Guardian that had nearly cost the group to lose his life when Jiang Le said angrily, “No one has the right to imprison anyone. Maybe if you can tell me who the one that has imprisoned you, even if I am incapable of taking vendetta for you at the moment, I may be able to do so in the future!”

The alluring maiden smiled and her eyes seemed to be glittered, causing the surrounding to glow seemingly. “He is the Heaven and the Heaven is him. Even if you have cultivated for all of eternity, you won’t be able to take vendetta for me. Moreover, according to the pact with him, I am freed today. So it doesn’t matter. Whether I will take vendetta with him is really my own business and not yours.”

Jiang Le patted his chest and said solemnly, “Even if he is the Heaven, I will go against the Heaven and fight him. Should you require my aid in the future, just say so, and I will do my utmost to aid you. This is my promise to you.”

The alluring maiden looked at Jiang Le with amusement, “You’re not upset that you almost got killed earlier and now you offer to aid me unconditionally?”

Jiang Le said, “These are two different matters…”

Xue Ji gasped softly, “What two different matters. If not for her, we would already be killed…”

But Jiang Le drowned out Xue Ji’s voice and said aloud, “We are standing here perfectly in one piece. Moreover, it is also maiden that have saved our lives. I am sure that maiden have your reasons to do so and you have already explained that you are just being curious. That is one matter. As for the one that has imprisoned you, that is another matter. I am just not happy that maiden’s youth is wasted in this celestial formation. If I were you, I would be most unhappy that I would be imprisoned in this accursed celestial formation and helping travelers to fight off monsters after monsters.”

The alluring maiden looked at Jiang Le curiously and asked gently, “What is your name?”

Jiang Le replied, “Jiang is my clan name and Le is my name.”

The alluring maiden smiled gently, “Good. I will try to remember your name.”

Jiang Le smiled weakly before he asked, “However, I still don’t have maiden’s name yet?”

The alluring maiden looked at Jiang Le with pondering eyes and all of a sudden Jiang Le heard a voice in his head, “I am the Desolate Goddess Aurora or Ao for short. My true name is irrelevant for it is too long and you may not even remember it.”

All of a sudden Jiang Le saw intricate energies and strokes of the Dragon Force and Harker Crossing in his mind!

The alluring maiden said enchantingly in his mind, “I have now imparted to you the Harker Crossing and the Dragon Force. If you want to go against the heaven, you will first need some strong skills. This Dragon Force is my secret celestial skill. Got it? You don’t know how fortunate you are.”

Jiang Le was astonished. Even without using the Harker Crossing and the Dragon Force, these two skills seemed to be imprint into him as his second nature and he was suddenly expert in it. He asked, “But how? This is too wondrous and unreal…”

The Desolate Goddess Aurora divine whispered to him, “Do you mean that a goddess like me have to manually tutor someone? I have only need to expend some of my attainment and that can be done.”

Jiang Le was startled, “You are a goddess? You have expended your attainment for me?”

The Desolate Goddess Aurora whispered enchanting, “It is not a great deal.”

Jiang Le asked silently, “Then I ought to pay homage to you as my teacher for imparting me the two martial skills. My respects to my Teacher Aurora!”

The Desolate Goddess Aurora whispered, “Teacher? Your customs are too alien to me. Do as you wish. Martial skills? These are my celestial skills! Do not tell anyone my name!”

Just as he was about to whisper back to her and inquire her for imparting to him the two celestial skills, she had suddenly vanished from sight from the group and reappeared on a hill further away.

Qu Daoqing was startled, “The Guardian has left just like this?”

Jiang Le said, “It is obviously that she doesn’t want to be the Guardian and decides to leave.”

Qu Daoqing looked at Jiang Le as he smiled bitterly before he said, “We should be on our way.”

As they departed, the Desolate Goddess Aurora was looking at them as she said to herself, “This Jiang Le is shrouded in mystery. Why did she take an interest in him? He is just a mortal. It seems that she wants him to reach his destination as soon as possible. And his scent, it is just so familiar and wondrous…”

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16

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Chapter 16

The handsome young man bowed with his hands respectfully and said, “Priest Qu Dao Qing from the Righteous Heaven Clan pays my respect to my fellow celestial practitioners. May I have the honor of knowing your name and clan of origin?”

Qingshuang had stepped in front of Xue Ji, Xia Ji and Jiang Le. With her right hand behind her back, she had flashed three of her fingers and followed by second fingers. This was an indication to the quick eyes of Xue Ji and Xia Ji that this man here was of the Intermediate Transverse Level.

Xue Ji and Xia Ji were both of the lower Transverse Level. They were almost on par with this young man here and they need not fear him since there were two of them. Moreover their protégé aunt Qingshuang was here.

Qingshuang asked gently, “You do not fear us?”

Qu Daoqing replied politely, “Why should I? The righteous have nothing to fear from evils. Moreover I have sensed the presence of my clan’s silver token with you. Please forgive me for intruding.”

Qingshuang nodded and replied gently, “I am the Verdant Scarlet Fairy of the Eternal Virtue Sect and these are my protégés.”

Qu Daoqing immediately bowed with his hands again, “My humble respect to my celestial elder. I hope that you are well.”

Qingshuang broke into a wry smile and said, “We’re doing well, naturally.”

Jiang Le could tell that even Qingshuang was amused by this pretty face man and almost choked when he had heard him. He thought, “He is not afraid of us? He is so straightforward. No wonder he is a priest.”

He flashed out the silver token and interrupted, “You mean this token?”

When the silver token was flashed in front of him, Qu Daoqing appeared to be startled and he was stammering, “This…this…”

Jiang Le asked, “What is wrong? Don’t tell me you don’t recognize it?”

A weird facial expression appeared on Qu Daoqing and he said, “Not that. It is just that this silver token is rarely seen and is considered one of the highest privilege silver tokens of the Righteous Heaven Clan. Will you be able to tell me how you come to possess of it?”

Jiang Le was perplexed but he replied casually, “Oh? I was unconscious. It seems that a lady claiming to be from the Righteous Heaven Clan hands it to my protégé aunt. And if you want to ask, we don’t know her name, not even her celestial name.”

Qu Daoqing nodded and said, “Why don’t I lead you to the Righteous Heaven Clan?”

Xue Ji and Xia Ji looked at each other, they are thinking. “We are just wondering how we get there and here is someone that offers to guide us.”

Jiang Le smiled weakly as he looked unhappily at Qu Daoqing, “Won’ it be inconvenient for a man to travel with the maidens for months.”

Qu Daoqing smiled and said, “Actually there is a secret celestial formation in the forest nearby. That will actually get us to the Righteous Heaven Clan in less than a day.”

Qingshuang was startled as she asked immediately, “instantaneous travel? Is it real? I have heard of it before but I think it is beyond a celestial practitioner to be able to create it.”

Qu Daoqing replied, “Indeed. Even our strongest clan elders are not able to create it. I only know that it is known to us since the founding of the Righteous Heaven Clan. It is said to be created by a real Celestial from the Celestial Realm.”

Xia Ji smiled, “Then we have to see this wondrous celestial formation.”

Jiang Le yawned and stared at Qu Daoqing, “Be careful that it is a trap. The fraternity can be such a treacherous place especially for the inexperienced, especially for the unwary ladies.”

Xue Ji shrugged Jiang Le and chuckled softly, “Hey! What are you trying to say? Are you jealous that we want to follow this gentleman or are you genuinely concern?”

Jiang Le replied solemnly, “Some people may appear to be a gentleman but they are actually wolves in sheep clothing. We may appear to be in control of our current situation now but it can change suddenly. We don’t know if he is luring us into a trap or there are powerful exponents that are waiting in place for us.”

He did not mince his words because he was trying to provoke him into giving his game away and he was watching him closely to catch his lies. He sighed silently to himself, “Am I a protector of these maidens now? Nothing in this world is free and appears to be coincident.”

But Qu Daoqing was as compose as ever, replying gently. “I have only the best of intentions. This will save you months of travel.”

Jiang interrupted and questioned sternly, “I don’t suppose that it is a coincident that you are here?”

He was expecting him to deny it.

Qu Daoqing shook his head, surprising Jiang Le. “My clan elders have divined the destined one to be here. That is here I am here.”

Jiang Le almost choked and said, “What? Now you are flattering me? Listen, I won’t fall for your tricks…”

Qingshuang interrupted softly, “This Priest Daoqing here, he has a righteous spirit. I trust him. Shall we have a look at that celestial formation?”

Jiang Le was startled and asked, “You really believe what he has said and that he has traveled a thousand miles through that celestial formation just to look for me?”

Qu Daoqing replied without battling an eyelid, “Indeed.”

Qingshuang nodded gently, “I believe in him.”

Jiang Le was speechless but he quickly regained his composure and said unhappily, “Never mind. Let’s see how it goes.”

He turned and looked at Daoqing, “I don’t believe in what you have said and I am watching you so don’t you try anything funny.”

Qu Daoqing bowed with his hands politely, “Please follow my lead.”

Xue Ji clapped her hands and said delightful, “Brother Daoqing, thank you! You are such a high level celestial practitioner. How many years did you cultivate to reach this stage…”

Xia Ji said happily as well, “Do you have any celestial secrets that you are willing to share with us? That will be so helpful…”

Jiang Le was stunned as he reluctantly dragged his foot after them. He thought, “Just because he is more refine and handsome than I? Just because he is a higher level celestial practitioner than I? Just because I don’t have my manhood and he has?”

He was feeling really miserable right now. Because this was the first time he was unable to expose someone. His guts feeling told him that this Priest Daoqing was too perfect and too goody good. It was because in this world, there was no one that was perfect.

He shouted from behind them, “Hey, watch your steps and don’t trip.”

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15

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Chapter 15

Jiang Le seemed to be in an enviable position as he walked with three of the most beautiful maidens in the realm. But he was actually despondent and was greatly depressed.

He used to hanker after the beauty of these three enchanting maidens but he could no longer experience anything now. It seemed like a part of his soul was gone now, changing him into another person.

Qingshuang noticed his despondent look and shrugged him gently, “You are now at the Level of Genesis and after you have overcome it, you will reach the Enlighten Level. But until you can truly overcome the Genesis Level, your eyes will remain as crimson. So wear a straw hat and cover your eyes well. You don’t want too many people to spread the news that there is a red eye man around, lest it will attract unwanted attention.”

Xue Ji nodded and said humorously, “You know when I was in the Genesis Level, I was confined for almost a hundred years in the Tranquil Palace! A hundred years!”

Xia Ji wailed at the same time, “Same here as well! We’re so pitiful…”

Qingshuang hummed coldly, “Are you saying that I am at fault for confining you?”

Xue Ji smiled and pointed at Jiang Le, “Why isn’t Jiang Le in the confinement. Why is he an exceptional?”

Qingshuang smiled and raised her hand to slap Xue Ji but she tiptoed behind Jiang Le and cried softly, “Protégé Aunt, you are such a meanie!”

Jiang Le knew that they were trying to distract him from his unhappiness. His eyes were appreciatively and for the very first time, he knew what it was like to be part of a protégé clan. Now he wished that he had been kinder to them in the past.

He said quietly, “I am so ignorant. There is a mountain beyond a mountain and a sky beyond a sky. I have thought that with my martial level, I am truly unbeatable.”

Qingshuang knew what he was thinking and said gently, “I don’t know who this Desolate Old Man is but judging from what you have said, he has to be on the level of the Seventh Sense or above.”

Jiang Le asked, “Why is that so?”

Qingshuang said, “What do you feel when you have fought with Yueling and I?”

Jiang Le muttered, “It is like I am fighting against air…”

Qingshuang nodded, “That is because we are celestial practitioners and not your normal martial experts. We have already sense your attack forms even before you have acted. That is because I can see the energy vitals in your body.”

Jiang Le was startled, “You can see my energy vitals? How is it possible…”

Qingshuang said quietly, “You may think that is not possible but we can. In the martial fraternity, the martial experts are always relying on their unbeatable and hidden techniques to overcome their opponent. But such tactics are almost useless to the celestial practitioners of the Transverse Level and above.”

She sighed softly and added, “I can tell from your mocking eyes during our first encounter that you are simply restraining yourself. But even if you did not restrain yourself, there is still no way you can beat Yueling or I. Do you know? Just as you have restrained yourself, we have also restrained ourselves. You may even refer to exponents like us as the super exponents in the martial fraternity and that you think you can find renown by defeating us. But of course, we are virtually nameless in the martial fraternity so it is quite pointless for you to do so even if you have defeated us. Unlike you, we are always restraining ourselves and trying to maintain a low profile. Even though we have not met that Desolate Old Man and do not know why he did this to you but the lady from the Righteous Heaven Sect is equally mysterious and dangerous. In that encounter with her alone, our sect would have been totally wiped out!”

Jiang Le found himself listening intently. He heaved a soft sigh. Had he been too egotistic and insolent?

That was precisely why he had found his life now at rock bottom!

He thought miserably, “Does it mean that all my skills and techniques are useless?”

Qingshuang seemed to be able to read his mind and said gently, “The swordplay and techniques that you have mastered will be helpful to you in the future. It isn’t because we don’t trust you but we have recognized that you have your own martial style. That is why we did not impart to you the martial skills of the Tranquil Palace.”

Jiang Le muttered as he clenched his fists, “It’s not good enough. I need more superior swordplay.”

Qingshuang closed her eyes and said melancholy, “The sense of triumphant is too strong in your heart and will be detrimental to your future attainment. You should learn to let it go and seek the peace within yourself…”

Jiang Le shook his head and smiled weakly, “It is easier for you to say so but that Desolate Old Man has taken away my manhood. I cannot forgive him and I cannot forgive myself for being so weak.”

He found himself shaking uncontrollably. It was because today he had lost something that was invaluable to him. He swore to find this hateful Desolate Old Man and to make him pay for what he had done to him!

Qingshuang looked at him and said wordlessly, “Jiang Le…”

When Xia Ji saw that Jiang Le was still depressed, she heaved a soft sight and she said sharply. “We don’t even know her name and all she gives us is just a token to get into the Righteous Heaven Clan? The Kunlun Prime Mountains are so vast. How do you expect us to get there? It is more than a thousand miles from where we are!”

Xue Ji blurt out, “So we are leaving our protégé mistress behind?”

Qingshuang smiled gently, “With her cultivation, she is able to divine our whereabouts. As long as we are not in danger, she needn’t worry. Even if we take months or years, it doesn’t matter to her.”

Xue Ji smiled weakly, “I say it doesn’t really matter to the two of you. Sister Xia and my cultivation level aren’t as highly therefore we are really anxious.”

Xia Ji laughed softly, “That’s right! Moreover this is the first time we are traveling to a faraway place and we don’t know if those protégés of the Righteous Heaven Clan will bully us or not!”

Xue Ji nodded, “Hmph! Or it is just a low level trick to steal our clan secret celestial skills!”

All of a sudden Qingshuang’s phoenix eyes danced dangerously at the surroundings, “Someone is here. Why are you so rude? If you are already here, why don’t you make your appearance?”

Jiang Le was startled as he looked at his surroundings keenly but he could not see a soul!

He thought, “There is really someone here?”

Even Xue Ji and Xia Ji were alarmed as they drawn out their swords defensively. It was because they knew that their protégé aunt could not be wrong.

A handsome young man in a white priest robe and a sword on his back had emerged from the surroundings.

Xia Ji grasped almost immediately, “What a charming man…”

Even Xue Ji was blushing as she stared at this young man in priest robe.

Qingshuang was expressionless while Jiang Le was appraising the newcomer with his sword drawn out as he asked, “Who are you?”

 

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14

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Chapter 14

Jiang Le woke up with an agonizing scream and he was sweating profusely!

Qingshuang gentle voice could be heard, “You’re alright now. Calm down.”

He opened his eyes and saw that Qingshuang, Xue Ji and Xia Ji had gathered around him.
But instead of looking at them, he was reaching for his crotch area with his trembling fingers!

Xia Ji said quietly, “The pain must have hurt him very badly.”

When Jiang Le touched his crotch area, he was afraid and anxious but all of a sudden his spirits rose again, “It is still there?”

His eyes were wide with bewilderment!

He thought, “I didn’t lose it?…”

Qingshuang said quietly, “It is real. Even though it is not physical but a celestial expert had actually severed your manhood. You are really a eunuch now.”

Jiang Le stared in the blank air as he trembled, “I have really…no feeling below…”

Qingshuang turned to ask Xue Ji, “Xue’Er, just exactly what has happened earlier?”

Xue Ji stammered, “I…really don’t know…”

Qingshuang asked, “Jiang Le?”

Jiang Le murmured slowly, “He calls himself the Desolate Old Man of the Six Realm Sect.”

Then he was startled as he looked around him panicky, “Where is he now?”

Qingshuang sighed softly as she patted him gently, “It is alright now. You are safe. When we have found you, we saw only a lady though.”

She flashed the silver token and said, “She claims to be from the Righteous Heaven Clan and specially request for you to go to the Prime Mountains. If you are able to find the Righteous Heaven Clan then they will initiate you in the more powerful celestial arts.”

Xia Ji said, “If Jiang Le is able to find the location of the Righteous Heaven Clan then it is considered his good destiny to be able to cultivate to a higher level and he may even bring back the evaluated cultivation practice back to our clan. Except that I don’t think we can make it in time if we are to travel to the place that Jiang Le has mentioned. Both destinations are in the opposite direction.”

Jiang Le said firmly, “I am going to the Prime Mountains to seek cultivation.”

Then he got up and bowed on his knees respectfully at Qingshuang, Xue Ji and Xia Ji before saying, “Please forgive me. I have lied to everyone that I am an orphan. I am Jiang Le, the young master of the Sacred Sword Manor. Huangfu Chuiyuan is my fraternity name and Huangfu is the name of my martial clan.”

Qingshuang said quietly, “We know.”

Jiang Le was startled, “You know?”

Qingshuang smiled gently as she looked intently at him, “You may think that you are a masterful liar. While this may works in the martial fraternity but we are all celestial practitioners here. We can see and hear from your emotions. When you have attained to my level of divinity and have pondered the mysteries of the Seventh Sense Level, you would be able to understand.”

She lowered her glance, not looking into Jiang Le as she said wordlessly to herself, “The way that you have looked at me, how do I not know how you feel toward me? But is it fair to Yueling? We are celestial practitioners. We have no destiny until we have ascended. Any sexual act will cost us our attainment. The price is too heavy to be paid. It is better that we stay things as it is…”

All of a sudden Xue Ji gasped with a soft cry. “Look! Jiang Le’s eyes have turned crimson!”
Qingshuang was startled as she said excitedly, “It is real. Don’t tell me that he has overcome his Divine Calamity and have reached the Genesis level now?”

Xia Ji smiled and clapped her hands, “He is a celestial practitioner now, just like us!”

Jiang Le muttered, “I am a celestial practitioner now? When did I overcome the Divine Calamity?”

Qingshuang looked at Jiang Le keenly, “The Divine Calamity can take many forms and may not be malevolent. But your Divine Calamity doesn’t have any forthcoming omen. That is weird indeed.”

Xue Ji asked, “So we are going to the Prime Mountains instead?”

Jiang Le said solemnly, “The sword that I have mentioned is in the Sacred Sword Manor. However my father won’t allow me to take it out of the manor. Since it is in safe hands, shall we go to the Prime Mountains instead?”

Qingshuang nodded slowly, “As you wish.”

Jiang Le was slightly startled by her amicable reply. He was expecting her to disagree. The truth was, he was too humiliated to return home and till now, he found it impossible to believe that the white robe man could have broken his epitome sword technique with such ease?

Was he human? Or a celestial practitioner? If he wants to defeat the white robe man then he had to cultivate the advance celestial arts.

He found himself shaking uncontrollably. It was because today he had lost something that was invaluable to him. He swore to find and let the Desolate Old Man pay for this vendetta.

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