Chapter 3: The Equal Exchange
Ye Chengxi nodded quietly as she averted her eyes, “In that case…”
“In that case, I’m going out now.” Yuan Ji said and he was already walking to the exit.
Ye Chengxi was startled as she gasped, “Didn’t we just agree on the term…”
Yuan Ji interrupted softly, “Rest assures that I won’t tell anyone. There is no need for any equal exchange.”
Ye Chengxi: …
Just as Yuan Ji was about to leave the room, he had turned back to ask curiously. “You’re serious just now?”
Ye Chengxi had averted her eyes as she said quietly, “You are lucky to have won your life back. I am just testing your integrity.”
When Yuan Ji had heard her, he inhaled a soft sign of relief. He was really almost on fire earlier when she had made the proposal. But he had quickly calmed down and thought that she could not be serious.
Ye Chengxi looked at his departing figure and her lips were trembling almost incoherent. “I’m serious…”
After Yuan Ji was outside the palace gate, he began to clench his fists tightly as he cursed softly. “If I have my profound strength now, I will surely slaughter this Li Qiang.”
Then he put his hand on the wall as he wept silently, “Chengxi, why have you fallen so low? Just because you want to protect the Orthodox Sword Sect? You’re such a fool…”
“What has happened while I was in seclusion?”
The next day when he was practicing swordplay with his two older protégé brothers, he asked them. “Our sect condition doesn’t look so good?”
Zhao Gang laughed, “Our sect used to have a more glorious day. But things aren’t that bad since we have our master to lead us. Do you know that she is one of the four renowned beauties of the Desolate Celestial Fraternity? Her fame and renown is known throughout the celestial fraternity!”
Li Ming chuckled, “That’s right. Our master Fairy Ye Chengxi is also a golden celestial of the fifth realm cultivation level. I am not so talented and have no hope of becoming a golden celestial in the future.”
Yuan Ji said, “I saw our master talking to Li Qiang yesterday. It seems that he doesn’t have a high opinion of our sect.”
Zhao Gang shook his head as he said solemnly, “Junior brother, you must be mistaken. Elder Li Qiang has been really helpful to our sect and he is really a friendly person. Even though he is an elder of a prominent celestial clan but he is always respectful and humble toward us.”
“Senior protégé brother is right.” Li Ming added with a smile.
Yuan Ji: …
He thought, “Don’t tell me that my two senior brothers are two simpletons? Do they know that this Li Qiang is actually up to no good?”
A common protégé had suddenly come into the practice courtyard to say, “The senior core protégés of the Emperor Hall Sect are here to see protégé mistress and they await in the hall now.”
Zhao Gang was startled, “Quick, attend to them with great politeness.”
Then he turned to say to Yuan Ji with a smile, “Junior brother, come with me to the hall. You ought to know who they are. These senior core protégés are all so friendly to our sect.”
Yuan Ji nodded before he followed Zhao Gang and Li Ming to the waiting hall.
In the waiting hall, there were two men who were laughing jovially.
Zhao Gang promptly introduced them to Yuan Ji, “This is Yuan Ji, our third protégé brother. He had just been initiated yesterday. They are Brother Hai Guotian and Brother Deng Chao. Please look after my junior brother in the future.”
Li Ming said respectfully, “Brother Hai is a fourth realm cultivation expert while Brother Deng Chao is a third realm cultivation expert. They are the senior core protégés of the Emperor Hall Sect.”
Hai Guotian laughed as he patted his pot belly, “Not at all. We are all fellow cultivators and we should take care of one another.”
Deng Chao was also laughing jovially, “That’s right. Who knows if we need one another’s help in the future?”
Yuan Ji simply said, “My greeting to Brother Hai, Brother Deng. I’m only a lowly cultivator. I will need your careful nurturing in the future.”
Hai Guotian laughed, “We will, we will.”
At this moment, Ye Chengxi had appeared at the entrance of the hall as she said quietly. “Follow me inside.”
With that she had turned away before Yuan Ji, Li Ming and Zhao Gang could even greet her.
Hai Guotian and Deng Chao had immediately hastened their steps after her.
When they had left the hall, Yuan Ji asked. “Do they come often?”
Li Ming replied, “That’s right.”
Yuan Ji frowned, “Do you think that it is a little strange that they are often here to visit?”
Li Ming grinned, “Junior brother, you are overthinking things. Our sect has a poor upkeep. If it isn’t for them, our master will have a big headache in the upkeep of our sect. After all, we have slightly more than a hundred protégés altogether and we have no other means of income.”
“If it isn’t for the renown of our master and the grace of the Emperor Hall Sect, our sect may not even exist now.” Zhao Gang added.
Yuan Ji: …
“Please excuse me for a while. I’m not feeling too well.” Yuan Ji said.
Ye Chengxi quietly asked Hai Guotian and Deng Chao, “What is it that you want?”
Hai Guotian was smiling at the heavenly figure of Ye Chengxi and he was looking lecherously at her. “The Goddess Fairy Ye Chengxi is really such an astonishing beauty in person. Every time that I am here, I cannot help but to praise you.”
Ye Chengxi said icily, “You are out of your place. I’m your senior and…”
Deng Chao laughed as he interrupted, “Have you forgotten that you still owe the two of us some ten thousand spirit stones?”
Ye Chengxi looked away, “I will repay you as soon as possible…”
“Repay with what?” Hai Guotian suddenly had a lecherous smile. “Isn’t it time for you to repay us with some interests first?”
Ye Chengxi took a step back before she asked, “What is it that you want?”
Hai Guotian said shamelessly, “We want you of course. I am always wondering what the bed of the Goddess Fairy Ye Chengxi is like.”
“Shameless!” Ye Chengxi had immediately rebuked him sharply but the two men had immediately surrounded her and were touching her.
“Fairy Ye Chengxi, we have desired you for a long time…” Hai Guotian was suddenly gasping halfway as a sword had run through to him out of the blue.
Deng Chao had turned ashen but before he could react, a sword that was so swift had flashed in front of him and had cut him down.
Their attacker was Yuan Ji who had suddenly appeared out of nowhere.
Although he had not regained his profound strength yet but he could still deal with these lowly cultivators with his eyes closed.
Ye Chengxi was gasping, “Do you know who they are? They are the senior protégés of the Emperor Hall Sect!”
“So what?” Yuan Ji said quietly.
Ye Chengxi was trembling and she seemed a little lost. “What shall we do now?”
Yuan Ji said, “You can chain me up and send me to the Emperor Hall Sect. After all, I am the one that has killed them. This matter has nothing to do with you.”
“You will be sliced to pieces if I were to send you there.” Ye Chengxi said quietly.
“Isn’t the survival of the Orthodox Sword Sect more important to you than anything else?” Yuan Ji said.
Ye Chengxi began to tremble. This was an undeniable fact. She had once promised her master that she would use her life to protect the Orthodox Sword Sect and to carry his torch for him.
But she averted her eyes before she said with trembling lips, “Go now. As far as you can. This matter does not concern you. Go while before I’ve decided to change my mind.”
“How are you going to handle the Emperor Hall Sect if I were to leave now?” Yuan Ji asked.
Ye Chengxi was rendered speechless by him. She had not thought of that yet.
Yuan Ji was sighing softly. Some things would never change. Despite her advancement in cultivation level, Ye Chengxi had always been soft-hearted and it was easy for the others to manipulate her.
Ye Chengxi returned a weak smile, “I know what to do. Don’t worry about me. You should worry about yourself first. I can buy you some time for your escape.”
Yuan Ji smiled coldly, “So that is your best plan?”
Ye Chengxi turned her head away, “So do you have a better plan?”
“You are a fifth realm golden celestial in your own right. Surely you are not thinking of allowing them to trample upon your pride?” Yuan Ji asked quietly.
Ye Chengxi began to stroke her beautiful long hair with trembling fingers, “Do you think that fighting will solve anything? Moreover, I’m only a puny fifth realm cultivator. The elders of the Emperor Hall Sect are all sixth realm cultivators. Do you think that Chengxi will be able to fight them? Will this solve the upkeep issues of my sect?”
Yuan Ji said quietly, “You can choose to run away. No one can stop you from running away.”
Ye Chengxi smiled weakly and her eyes had grown melancholy, “My master won’t be too pleased if he knows.”
“Your master is long dead. You don’t have to uphold any promise to a dead man.” Yuan Ji said.
Ye Chengxi lit a faint smile, “This is a matter of principle. If I lose my principles than I won’t be able to advance in my cultivation.”
“But you are also willing to bend all your other principles because of one principle? Drop it.” Yuan Ji said.
“This one principle is the anchor of my soul sea. I will never be able to drop it.” Ye Chengxi said quietly.
Yuan Ji: …
Yuan Ji said, “Give me a week time. In the meantime, don’t do anything foolish.”
Ye Chengxi gasped softly, “What are you planning to do?”
Yuan Ji laughed weakly, “Nothing. I have no better plan too. Therefore I am going to surrender myself to the Emperor Hall Sect. Good bye…”
All of a sudden Ye Chengxi had reached out to catch his wrist, “Don’t go…”
Yuan Ji was startled when she had suddenly caught hold of his wrist. There was an electrifying pulse in him when she had touched him.
Ye Chengxi quickly let off of his wrist with a flushed look, “This…isn’t a good plan. It is suicide.”
Yuan Ji smiled, “You can start by telling me all about the Emperor Hall Sect first.”
Ye Chengxi nodded and said, “The Emperor Hall Sect is led by the Palace Mistress and the four elders…”
While she was explaining the details of the Emperor Hall Sect to him, she was secretly flushing shyly and her ears were burning intensely.
It was because she had never expected to see her old master again. She had actually recognized him on the very first day that they had met. With or without his beard, she knew all his little mannerisms by heart. It was just that she had never expected that her old master was actually such a dashing young man behind his ugly long beard.
Ji Yuan was her old master’s name. And this young man had called himself Yuan Ji. She was actually not so gullible and knew that he had made up his name at the very last minute when he was being questioned.
But because she knew that her ‘old’ master liked his face more than anything, she did not want to expose him that she actually knew who he was.
She was actually thinking, “Isn’t it good this way? My master is now no longer my master and I am no longer his disciple. Whether he is a seventh realm saint or not, does it matter to me?”
When she saw that her old master had lost his golden eyes, she thought that he had probably failed in his breakthrough attempt and was too ashamed to tell anyone about it. Moreover, she had used her divine sense to examine his profound strength and felt that he was now weaker than her.
“Master, maybe this time round it is my turn to protect you?”
Yuan Ji was suddenly startled when he saw that Ye Chengxi was suddenly staring at him with soft eyes.
“Why is she looking at me in this manner? Is she thinking of silencing me on the sly?”