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 Chapter 145: Competition

Translator: Translation Nation Editor: Translation Nation

It was late at night and the sky was dark. A soft rumble of thunder could be heard some distance away. A Daoist man was walking along the mountainous roads, and he could hear some wild beasts roaring around. Birds scattered off in fear following the sounds of nature.

The Daoist man was extremely familiar with the roads here and walked carefully. The deeper he entered the forest, the darker it became. Birds were perched atop the trees, chirping endlessly.

The Daoist man then stood beside a huge boulder and looked around to see if he had been followed. When he realized that it was all clear, he wormed his way into the cave marked by the huge boulder. He then fished out the Enchanted Talisman and touched the center carefully with the tip of his finger, his shadow then became visible to the other person with the talisman.

"Your excellency, why have you called me?"

"I only called you because of something important." Shi Mu Zhong showed up on the Enchanted Talisman, "I have something for you to do."

"Please continue, your excellency." The Daoist man looked up at Shi Mu Zhong's shadow.

"There are two sides to this matter. Firstly, I need you to secretly spread the word that Pei Zi Yun has achieved the ninth level of cultivation, and has mastered the art of combining gentleness with strength. Start spreading the rumor that Pei Zi Yun is close to breaking through the gates of heaven. He will soon become the number one member of Free Cloud Sect within the younger generation."

"Your excellency, why would you want to do that?" The Daoist man hesitated.

"When two tigers fight, at least one will get hurt. Get it done, and do not get discovered while spreading the rumors." Shi Mu Zhong replied.

"Yes, your excellency." The Daoist man acknowledged, "As for the second matter, what would that be?"

"As for the second matter, I wish for you to spread another rumor that the Free Cloud Sect Leader is biased towards Song Zhi. The evidence for that would be how the Sect Leader intentionally prevented Pei Zi Yun from becoming a Core Disciple even after achieving so many great works. The rumor should include the fact that once Song Zhi breaks through the gates of heaven, he will immediately become the Honorary Disciple, and Pei Zi Yun would no longer stand a chance." Shi Mu Zhong spoke coldly.

Hearing these words, the Daoist man understood everything at once. Spreading such gossip would cause Pei Zi Yun to feel animosity towards Free Cloud Sect, and might even drive a wedge between the disciples within the sect. The main purpose was to sow dissent and cause chaos. The Daoist then replied, "Yes, I shall complete this mission."

When they had finished, the Daoist glanced around and made sure nobody was nearby. His shadow then disappeared into the forest.

It had been raining these past consecutive days, causing most of the Daoists to remain huddled up in their room. Occasionally there would be people walking along the corridors to get things done. At this point there were a pair of Daoists walking along the corridor. The fat Daoist said, "Fellow Brother, have you heard, Pei Zi Yun had cultivated up to the ninth level, and had mastered the technique of combining gentleness with strength. He might even break through the gates of heaven soon and become a Yin Master."

"Hm, your news is outdated. I knew it a long time ago. It's even been said that Pei Zi Yun started telling people that he wanted to compete for the Honorary Disciple position." The skinny Daoist replied. He then continued, "This Pei Zi Yun has only been in the sect for a short time and already wishes to contend for the Honorary Disciple spot, he is really overestimating his abilities. Senior Brother Song is close to breaking through the gates of heaven. Once he manages to break through, he will immediately become the Honorary Disciple. There will not be any competition."

"That's very possible. All this is only possible because Song Zhi's Master is the Sect Leader." The fat Daoist replied with a strange accusatory tone in his voice.

"Fellow Brother, it can't be that you're rooting for Pei Zi Yun right? Hm, if Senior Brother Song was to find out about this, you might be in big trouble. Senior Brother Song could be just a few days away from breaking through the gates of heaven. What if he breaks through tomorrow?" The skinny Daoist contemplated before speaking.

"That's hard to say. Senior Brother Song is even using the Exponential Powers Cave. He's been in there for a few months and has yet to make any real progress. Do you really think it's so easy to break through?" The fat Daoist asked before continuing, "To cultivate up to the eighth level, there will be more than ten or even twenty disciples. However, to cultivate up to the full circle foundation or even to break through the gates of heaven, there might not even be three disciples to achieve this."

"Ai, these words, do not speak of them like this again." The skinny Daoist looked around nervously before speaking, "Be careful of the words you speak!"

"Brother Pei, let's go." At this point Hao Yong was leading Pei Zi Yun through the corridors and startled the two Daoist who had been deep in conversation. When the pair of Daoists noticed that they were walking by, they looked extremely flustered and panicky before walking off hurriedly without even exchanging greetings.

Hao Yong creased his eyebrows and looked up Pei Zi Yun, "Brother Pei, do not listen to these rumors. Brother Song and yourself are the talented individuals within our Free Cloud Sect. Should there be any conflicts between the both of you, the Sect Leader and the Sect Elders would definitely intervene to restore peace."

"For those who speak without thinking, they will be punished!"

Pei Zi Yun heard this and laughed, "Of course!"

Although he spoke this way, and his face still maintained an expressionless look, he thought to himself, 'Should Song Zhi break through the gates of heaven, the Sect Leader would immediately promote him to become an Honorary Disciple. Although this is just a rumor, that doesn't mean it isn't true!'

This happened in the original owner's life as well. Of course, there wasn't such stiff competition back then. The minute Song Zhi broke through the gates of heaven, the Sect Leader didn't think twice before promoting him to the Honorary Disciple position.

'Hm, even with the orders from the Sect Elders, the rumors are still circulating rapidly within the sect. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has heard this. When Song Zhi hears these rumors, he will do his best to break through the gates of heaven.'

Since this matter was of great importance to Pei Zi Yun, he decided to isolate himself and think of a good plan, 'It seems like I have to improve quickly and break through the gates myself. This is to prevent the Sect Leader from pushing Song Zhi up to the spot without consideration for me.'

"Brother Hao, I've suddenly thought of something urgent I need to do. I shall head back to do it." Pei Zi Yun said. Hao Yong did not react, "Junior Brother."

Seeing Pei Zi Yun walk away, Hao Yong's face didn't look too good. This Pei Zi Yun had only been in the sect for two years and treated his own Fellow Brothers this way. He thought Pei Zi Yun was extremely arrogant and egotistical.

When he returned to his room, Pei Zi Yun strolled back and forth until he saw a little Daoist walk past and announced, "Your water is here."

The water came in a silver flask, and could keep hot water. It was rather similar to the modern world's thermos flasks. Pei Zi Yun was deep in thought but still smiled politely before retrieving it. He then opened the flask and placed some tea leaves within it. He could hear the leaves bubbling within the water, as he gazed out of the window.

'Since I've obtained my senior grand uncle's Dao manual, with the addition of the original owner's experience, my comprehension and understanding level is more than sufficient. At this point, in order for me to break through the heavens, I would need to accumulate spiritual energy.'

'I am now at the ninth level of cultivation. By the time I've accumulated enough, it would take me at least another year or two. I do not have the luxury of such time and have to accumulate the energy as quickly as I can to break through. Our sect has the Exponential Powers Cave, and I've heard that it produces extremely vital and rare spiritual energy which would aid in cultivation.'

'Now, I should request for my Master to grant it to me, and she most likely would agree. Since Master had hinted to me that should I request any help from her, I should just ask and she would do her utmost to help me. I'm at the critical juncture in my cultivation where I would need as much resources as possible.'

'Losing by just a step would make a huge difference as I would lose the Honorary Disciple spot. Gaining another step could possibly see me seated upon that coveted seat.' Thinking this way, he walked out of his room.

Yu Yun Jun moved a piece on her chessboard and looked up at Chu Xia, who was deep in thought, pondering her next move. Yu Yun Jun then laughed. Towards the western domains resided a room which was surrounded by flowers. That's where they were, playing chess with each other. While waiting for Chu Xia to make her move, Yu Yun Jun walked over to the bookshelf and retrieved a book. Before she could even read a page, Pei Zi Yun started knocking at the door.

"Come in." Yu Yun Jun said.

Pei Zi Yun then pushed open the door and entered the room. He noticed that they were both seated next to a window, Yu Yun Jun coaching Chu Xia on chess techniques.

The minute Pei Zi Yun walked in, Chu Xia's face turned a deep shade of red as she looked at Pei Zi Yun, "Junior Brother, come and teach me how to play chess. Aunt would not give any chance to me. Come and teach me so that we can win against her."

Pei Zi Yun walked up and saw that the entire board was mainly filled with Yu Yun Jun's pieces. Chu Xia's pieces had long been killed off.

"Senior Sister, you should start keeping your pieces, you are no match for Master. Since you've reached such a stage, the best thing to do would be to surrender."

Chu Xia's face did not look too pleased after hearing this. Pei Zi Yun laughed, "When I am free in future, I shall play with you. The more you play, the better you will become."

He then turned around, "Master, I have something to report."

"Speak out." Yu Yun Jun twirled with the chess piece in her hand.

"I've already attained the ninth level of cultivation, and sincerely request for Master to obtain the permission for me to use the Exponential Powers Cave." Pei Zi Yun said.

"You've already reached the ninth level of cultivation and are able to fuse gentleness and strength?" Yu Yun Jun raised her head to look at him in surprise.

"Master, along my journey to the Southern Kingdom, I had a small breakthrough. Now I'm making a dash for the tenth level, the full circle foundation and attempt to break through the gates of heaven." Pei Zi Yun replied.

"At this point, you should be strengthening your foundations and ensure that there are no flaws in your cultivation thus far. Are you making a rush towards the full circle foundation because of the rumors you've been hearing, and thus wish to break through the gates of heaven as quickly as possible?" Yu Yun Jun frowned as she asked.

"Master, indeed there have been rumors circulating outside. However, that's not the main reason. As for the tenth level, I've managed to reach it a long time ago. However, because I have insufficient spiritual energy accumulated, I've only been able to get a glimpse of it as I was unable to break through the tenth level and have a full circle foundation." Pei Zi Yun said.

"Did you say you've already reached the tenth level? That means you must have a good grasp of it." Yu Yun Jun was truly surprised at this point, and had a certain tone of disbelief in her voice, "Come, let me test you. What's the crucial part of the tenth level of cultivation? If you have not fully grasped the concept of this, forcing your way through the tenth level is akin to asking for an early death."

"Master, reaching a stage where gentleness intersects with strength would mean having perfect control of one's body, and being able to exert a large amount of strength or a small amount of strength at will. Being gentle but also firm. The essence of reaching the tenth level mean that the person is able to fuse these two aspects of strength and gentleness. This force has to be of the right amount of gentleness and softness for it to enter the brain and make changes. If it was a little too tough and rigid, it would cause a person to encounter a Qi Deviation."

In actual fact, not having the right amount of gentleness in this regard would cause a person to suffer severe brain damage, since the brain was extremely fragile. If the force was a little too coarse or tough, it would even cause the person to go berserk or even to be completely retarded. However, he did not need to say all those awful facts. Pei Zi Yun then continued, "Once this step is completed, the person would then be able to retrieve a thread of energy each time from the secular world. If the force used was not strong or firm enough, he would be unable to form a a Wisdom Sea. Hence, the tenth level of cultivation, the full circle foundation is the hardest to attain."

"Not bad, indeed your reasoning and understanding is correct." Yu Yun Jun then said, "Not bad at all. As for such an encounter, a person would have to experience it for himself to truly understand the meaning of it all. If it was taught by someone else and not experienced, a person could take the wrong path."

"You've indeed grasped the concepts of the tenth level of cultivation. Breaking through the gates of heaven would only be a matter of time from hereon."

"Since that's the case, why should you make that request? According to your situation, you would take a year or two at most to finally succeed."

"Master, the rumors cannot be completely believed, and yet must not be completely disregarded as well."

"Even if I'm able to become a Yin Master within the next year or two, what if Song Zhi reaches there before me? Who would Sect Leader elect to the Honorary Disciple position? In that case, would all the Elders and Patriarchs in Paradise issue a counter decree for me?"

"Should that really happen, the Sect Leader would no longer be able to hold his position, seeing as everyone was against his decision, how could he continue staying in power? Then the sect would be thrown into a state of flux." Pei Zi Yun said, noticing that Yu Yun Jun was hesitating. He then knew he had a point. He then continued, "In such a situation, taking a step back would mean that I'm a subordinate, and taking a step forward would mean that I'm the Leader. Hence, I decided to make a move forward."

Yu Yun Jun then paced several steps, mumbling to herself for some time. All of a sudden, a loud roar of the thunder could be heard. Yu Yun Jun shivered before speaking, "You should go back first. This is a huge matter, and I would need to discuss this with several other Elders. Only with the consent of the other Elders will we be able to raise it up with the Sect Leader."

"Yes!" Pei Zi Yun knew that this matter was extremely urgent and thus hurriedly retreated. The minute he left the room, a flash of lightning lighted up the entire sky. The trees and flowers around were swaying violently under the wind. Pei Zi Yun looked up at the dark skies and thought deeply to himself.

In fact, the rumors were not the main reason for his actions. The main reason was because of the original owner's memories. The Sect Leader was not a bad person. It's just that his feelings towards Song Zhi ran too deep. Their relationship of father and son, master and disciple was too deeply entwined. Hence, Pei Zi Yun knew he could not rely on the Sect Leader to be completely impartial in this regard.

Hence, with the spread of these rumors, Pei Zi Yun capitalized on this and instantly made a move.

'Only by breaking through the gates of heaven faster than Song Zhi and becoming a Core Disciple first would there be an equal competition with Song Zhi for the Honorary Disciple spot. If Song Zhi were to break through before me, he would be the only candidate for the position. When that happens, the Sect Leader would not be breaking any rules by electing him for the Honorary Disciple position since he was the only person eligible.'

"I have to compete against him." Pei Zi Yun then sighed as he started running into the rain.

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