Chapter One Hundred and Sixty Seven "The Places Are The Same, The People Are Not"
While walking along the path, he didn't see any people along the way. It wasn't until he had reached the mouth of the path that he saw four other disciples .
However ... ...
Zuo Mo didn't recognize any of them. What shocked him even more was all four of the disciples were in zhuji, and one of them had an even deeper in cultivation than hedid. Who were these people? Why had they come to the back of the mountain of his sect?
Zuo Mo was on his guard.
When the four disciples saw Zuo Mo, they first paused and then bowed simultaneously, calling out, "Greetings to Zuo Shixiong!"
Zuo Shixiong? Had the sect taken in new disciples recently? Zuo Mo was puzzled but asked without showing a hint of confusion, "Everyone looks unfamiliar. Why did you all enter Wu Kong Sword Sect?"
The person with the deepest cultivation among the four stepped forward and said respectfully, "We used to be Wei Sword Sect disciples. Two months ago, we formally entered the sect and have received orders from the sect leader to guard the back mountain."
Zuo Mo's puzzlement increased upon hearing this. He asked curiously, "If you were Wei Sword Sect disciples, then why would you consider entering our sect?"
The four exchanged looks and smiled. The leader explained. "Shixiong was in seclusion and may not know the dramatic changes within the sect. Not just Wei Sword Sect, but almost half of the sects around Dong Fu have merged into our sect."
Zuo Mo gaped.
The four saw Zuo Mo was blanking but didn't dare disturb him. They might all have nearly the same level of cultivation, but the difference in status was enormous. The sect leader wasn't known to be someone who was nepotistic, but it was unavoidable that the status of the original Wu Kong Sword Sect disciples would rise with their expansion. Even more, Zuo Mo wasn't just any Wu Kong Sword Sect disciple; he was one of the core disciples.
According to the other original Wu Kong Sword Sect disciples, Zuo Mo's position was even above Luo Li Shixiong. They didn't dare to offend him. At the Sword Test Conference, Zuo Mo had become very famous. Everyone remembered his trademark zombie face. The four of them had recognized him with nothing more than a glance.
Only now did they realize that the back of the mountain was Zuo Mo's place of seclusion. From when they had been ordered to guard this place, they had been curious what was so special about the back of the mountain that the sect leader would send four people to guard it. At regular intervals, Eldest Shijie Li Ying Feng would come, but still nothing was ever mentioned.
As they stopped speaking, countless sword energies flew in from all over. At the front was Sect Leader Pei Yuan Ran and Shi Feng Rong.
The light of Zuo Mo coming out of the formation had alarmed all of Wu Kong Mountain.
When Pei Yuan Ran saw Zuo Mo, his brows imperceptibly creased but resumed normal. At his side, Shi Feng Rong had a happy expression.
When the four people guarding the back mountain saw Pei Yuan Ran and Shi Feng Rong, they were shocked and hurriedly bowed. The four of them were once again reconsidering the importance of Zuo Mo to the elders.
"You finally came out of seclusion. Not bad." Pei Yuan Ran warmly said, "Your Master has been impatient."
"It's good that you came out!" Shi Feng Rong was extremely fond of this disciple that was full of talent but also a cause for headache. The rims of her eyes turned red.
Zuo Mo's nose instantly felt sore. He was very moved. He properly bowed, "Master!"
After talking for a while with Zuo Mo, the sect leader left. There were too many things he had to do. Shi Feng Rong accompanied Zuo Mo back to his Little West Wind Yard.
Just as they reached the mouth of the valley, a ball of white shadow slammed into Zuo Mo. Caught unaware, Zuo Mo was thrown to the ground. Silly Bird! Silly Bird nudged and snuggled with her head. Zuo Mo scolded, "You silly bird!" But inside, his heart was warmed.
The Little West Wind Yard did not seem different than before. There should have been people who came to clean.
Having perceived Zuo Mo's befuddlement, Shi Feng Rong said with a slight smile, "At the beginning, Xiao Guo came to clean every day. After, Xiao Guo was sent to Sky Sound City, so she sent a few outer sect disciples to clean."
Thinking about the timid apple-face, Zuo Mo felt a slight sense of loss. He asked, "How is Xiao Guo's situation?"
Shi Feng Rong was clearly very satisfied with her other disciple. "Xiao Guo's talents might not be as high as you guys, but she is extremely hard-working. Adding on that the sect has expanded quickly this half year and has many more resources, she has leveled up quickly. She's not far from ningmai. The sect leader felt she needed to gain experience so she was sent to manage Sky Moon City."
"Eldest Shixiong? Luo Li Shixiong?" Zuo Mo couldn't help but ask.
Shi Feng Rong said, "Your Eldest Shixiong and Luo Li Shixiong originally started out with your Second Shibo. Afterwards, to increase speed, they all led some of the other disciples and split up. It's a pity that we didn't know when you would come out of the formation, otherwise Li Ying Feng definitely would have waited a few more days before leaving. Your Yan Le Shibo needs people so he also called your Li Ying Feng Shijie over."
Zuo Mo's heart felt even more hollow. Who could have thought that everything had changed after staying in the formation for half a year.
"We've expanded this much?" Zuo Mo couldn't help but ask, "The other sects have not interfered?"
"It's not just us that is expanding. This half year, everyone has been expanding." Worry came onto Shi Feng Rong's face. "The situation in Bloody Sky Metropolis Jie is becoming worse. Everyone is worried. In these troubling times, everyone that has the power to expand will expand. Only by consolidating our strength can there be some hope for survival. Sky Moon Jie is not far away from Bloody Sky Metropolis Jie. Everyone is panicking. During such dangerous times, naturally it requires that special measures be used. We cannot be kind and generous. The sect leader is hoping that we can finish organizing before the bad news comes."
"The situation is this bad?" Zuo Mo was very shocked.
"En." The worry on Shi Feng Rong's face became even heavier. She hesitated but still spoke. "Originally, since you came out of the formation, you should rest a while. But the situation is serious so there are some things that I have to say to you. Do not slack off now. The sect is not like it was in the past. We have seven jindan, about thirty ningmai, and more than two hundred zhuji disciples right now."
Zuo Mo seemed to know what Master wanted to say, but for some unknown reason, he was very calm.
"Our sect has expanded too quickly. Even though it is out of helplessness, but there are many weaknesses. The sect is not as harmonious as it was before." Speaking of that, she couldn't help but sigh. "You have to work hard, and enter ningmai as early as possible!"
"This disciple understands." Zuo Mo knew that Master was looking out for him.
Shi Feng Rong said a few more things before leaving.
The sky was dark. Zuo Mo sat on the rooftop, a sound tablet by his side. The noise of the sound tablet was the same. Silly Bird was at the side. She seemed to feel Zuo Mo's mood and didn't make noise.
After entering meditation from before, Pu Yao still hadn't moved.
Luckily, there was no change in the sea of flames, no change in the gravestone, and no change in Pu Yao sitting on the gravestone.
Pu Yao was meditating, Eldest Shixiong, Luo Li Shixiong, Xiao Guo, and the others were not here.
Sitting on the rooftop, he looked at the sky. The light of flying swords were multiple times more frequent than before, extremely busy. Yet all this prosperity made Zuo Mo feel this place was now very unfamiliar and very cold.
Suddenly, something pulled the corner of his clothing. Turning around, he found it was Silly Bird.
"What? Silly Bird!"
Silly Bird flapped down the roof. Hm, Zuo Mo's eyes landed where Silly Bird was standing.
Wasn't that the entrance to the rock room?
Zuo Mo had always carefully concealed the entrance to the rock room. He had especially set up illusory formations around it. No one had found it. Zuo Mo suddenly felt interested and burrowed into the room.
Entering, a damp and cold air rushed out.
Sweeping the stone room, Zuo Mo suddenly had a joyful expression.
Black gold worm!
The black gold wom also found Zuo Mo, turning into a streak of black light to land on Zuo Mo's shoulder. Seeing this little guy, Zuo Mo's mood lifted as though he was meeting an old friend. He finally remembered that the black gold worm liked to stay on the ling vein inside the stone room. He had long forgotten about it.
Putting the black gold worm on his palm and inspecting it, Zuo Mo felt even happier. Compared to before, the black gold worm was of a higher grade and more intelligent.
What had this guy eaten?
When his eyes landed on the pock-marked ling vein, he understood. It was as he had expected. When he approached the ling vein, he found he could not detect any ling energy. There was a small yet extremely deep hole in the ground. When Zuo Mo tested with his consciousness, he found it was at least several dozen zhang deep. It definitely was due to the black gold worm. The dan that had been nurturing by the ling spring probably also landed in this little guy's stomach.
"I really didn't see that you really have some skill!" Zuo Mo smiled at the black gold worm.
Taking the black gold worm out of the stone room, Zuo Mo's mood was much better.
Wu Kong Hall
Pei Yuan Ran and Shi Feng Rong were discussing matters.
Pei Yuan Ran smiled and said, "I just received a flying sword message from Third Shidi. Good news, Heart Lake Sword Sect has agreed to give the Desolate Wood Reef to us."
Shi Feng Rong also showed a sliver of joy. "If that's the case, that's great! The Desolate Wood Reef is right beside the jie river to Little Mountain Jie. We now have another escape route, but what did Heart Lake Sword Sect want in return?"
"They wanted Kui City. I agreed. Kui City isn't of much use to us. To exchange for Desolate Wood Reef, it's profitable." Pei Yuan Ran said decisively.
Shi Feng Rong nodded in agreement.
"I'm planning to let Zuo Mo go to the Desolate Wood Reef," Pei Yuan Ran suddenly said.
"Why?" Shi Feng Rong suddenly stood up, her face angry. "Zuo Mo just came out of the formation, and you are sending him to such wilderness. I understand clearly just how barren the Desolate Wood Reef is. We've been there before, and I know it. I don't agree!"
Pei Yuan Ran rubbed his brow in helplessness, his other hand motioning to Shi Feng Rong. "Don't be so impatient. Wait for me to finish."
Shi Feng Rong snorted coldly, not speaking.
Pei Yuan Ran really had no methods of dealing with his shimei. "Desolate Wood Reef might be very poor, but Shimei also knows how important it is to us. Otherwise, why would we have needed Third Shidi to personally go to Heart Lake Sword Sect? This kind of important location, I wouldn't feel safe if it wasn't on our people's hands. Wei Sheng and the others have their duties. Tell me, who can I send?"
Pei Yuan Ran spread his hands, and asked Shi Feng Rong.
Shi Feng Rong sneered. "Don't use these righteous excuses. Isn't it just that you saw that Zuo Mo isn't in ningmai and his sword essence hasn't reached Heart Turn Sword Essence? This matter, I definitely won't agree!"
Pei Yuan Ran grimaced. "Ah, what do you want me to say? Keeping Zuo Mo in the sect, would that be good for him? You also know what the situation is like inside the sect! Do we have the time to protect him? Do you have it? No! I don't either! Wei Sheng and the others are not here, no one can help him, is that really so good for him?"
Seeing Shi Feng Rong's face relax, he continued patiently, "Desolate Wood Reef might be out of the way and poor, but it is very safe. It is behind us, therefore it will be on our path for retreat. Zuo Mo going there, he might suffer, but his life will not be in danger. If the situation is really bad and we need to retreat, we will definitely go through Desolate Wood Reef. With our current circumstances, other than ensuring his survival, what more do you want?"
Shi Feng Rong didn't say anything. She knew that Sect Leader Shixiong was right.
After struggling for a while, she raised her head, and gritted her teeth, "On the matter of resources, we can't short-change him."
"Alright." Pei Yuan Ran answered easily.
Translator Ramblings: Some of you were very accurate in your predictions back during the Sword Test Conference arc. Zuo Mo is being temporarily relocated.
Also, we have a new editor. Everyone, say hello to Brian!