Chapter 7: We Don't Want This Kind of Disciple
Translator: Subudai11 Editor: Chrissy
"Congratulations to the two of you..."
"What the f*ck!? Are you some kind of demon!?"
The voice that suddenly appeared from behind them scared Wang Lu out of his wits. He jumped and turned around, only to find two young people dressed in blue and white robes respectively. They were about twenty-five or twenty-six years old. Although they were wearing robes with different colors, the style was similar to the robes of the Senior and Junior Martial Brothers at the start of their journey. Evidently, they were also Spirit Sword Sect disciples.
The two disciples had the looks of indifference on their faces. The slightly older one slightly bowed and cupped his hands towards Wang Lu and his errand boy. "I'm Zhang Ying, and this is Lu Ming. We're disciples of the Carefree Peak of the Spirit Sword Mountain."
Wang Lu gave an "oh".
"Congratulations to the two of you on walking all the way across the Golden Bridge to this point. According to the rules, you can come with us to the Spirit Sword Mountain and join the disciples of Carefree Peak."
"..." Wang Lu knitted his brows, but did not say anything.
Zhang Ying quietly waited for Wang Lu's response and did not press on.
A moment later, Wang Lu was still thinking, but the little errand boy gently spoke up, "Honored Immortal, you mean... do you mean, we have already been accepted by the sect?"
Zhang Ying nodded his head. "Yes, that is correct."
Lu Ming added, "The Golden Bridge was personally made by the Sect Leader to judge the quality of a cultivator. The better one's quality is, the further one can walk across the bridge. So, by being able to walk this far, you two are qualified to enter the sect."
The errand boy was stunned for a moment, then estatically asked, "Is, is this true?"
"It is absolutely true."
"Young Master! Did you hear that? We did it! We've already been accepted by the Spirit Sword Sect!"
Wang Lu shook his head. "Excuse me, who were the other two present when the Golden Bridge descended?"
Zhang Ying's complexion slightly became unnatural. "Them? They are our martial brothers from the Misty Peak."
"Misty Peak? Carefree Peak? What's the difference?"
Zhang Ying's face fell. "Why do you have so many questions?"
Lu Ming said with a wry smile, "Martial Brother, it's not like this is something we're embarrassed to admit... From the outside, the Spirit Sword Mountain looks like one big mountain. However, it actually has many peaks, one of them is the so-called Carefree Peak, which is a part of the Outer Court of the Spirit Sword Sect, and the Misty Peak is part of the Inner Court. The two of us cannot be compared to those two Senior Martial Brothers."
Wang Lu smiled, "I knew it. Those two wearing black and white from earlier looked much more impressive than you guys." He then became suspicious, "But is the test for newcomers really just walking across the Golden Bridge? Is there any way to enter the Inner Court? Can we directly walk from here?"
Lu Ming said, "Of course not. The Spirit Sword Sect's criteria for choosing Inner Court Disciples is extremely strict. Your aptitude, temperament and affinity with the Immortal Path have to be above a certain level. Even if one has a Heavenly Spirit Root, he would probably still be rejected by the Misty Peak if all the other criterias had not been fulfilled."
Wang Lu unconsciously said, "Heh."
Wang Lu smiled, "It's nothing. Then, for us newcomers, how are we supposed to enter the Inner Court?"
Zhang Ying coldly snorted, "Enter the Misty Peak? That's simple. From here, you can go straight ahead along this path to reach the Misty Peak. If you can make it there, the Head of the Peak will naturally accept you."
Wang Lu looked at the direction where Zhang Ying's finger was pointing. It was a long narrow path covered by clouds.
"How far is it?"
Lu Ming said with a smile, "That depends on your affinity with the Immortal Path. It may be far away, or it may just be around the corner. The path to becoming an Immortal is different to each person."
Zhang Ying asked, "What are you going to do? Will you come with us to Carefree Peak? Or are you going to continue this path? Let me warn you that if you continue this path, there will be no other offers like this unless you reach your destination."
Wang Lu said, "You mean, if we choose to continue on this path, our only choice is to go all the way to the Misty Peak or fail?"
Zhang Ying sneered, "That's right. You either go all the way and become a disciple of the Inner Court, or your Immortal Path ends here and you return to your little mortal lives. Since you look down on our Carefree Peak, don't expect us to take you if you fail. Even though we're from the Outer Court, we won't be taking any leftovers."
"Don't take it too seriously. I never thought that you're some sort of third rate disciple, can't-reach-the-high-or-accept-the-low loser."
"What did you say!?"
Wang Lu shrugged. "Anyway, since I know that this Immortal Path isn't the end, of course, I am going to go all the way to the end."
"Humph, just don't regret it... don't think that our Carefree Peak is inferior to others just because we're Outer Court Disciples. Our Carefree Peak's Eldest Martial Brother is comparable to those Successor Disciples. From the thousands of people who set out on this journey, only one in ten people managed to arrive here. You should cherish this opportunity."
At this point, the errand boy was also nodding as he said, "Young Master, how about... we just go to Carefree Peak?"
"If you want to go, then go. You don't need to ask for my permission."
"Ah..." The errand boy's face suddenly became bitter. "Young Master, the Master specifically sent me here to look after you, how can I leave you by yourself here?"
Wang Lu smiled as he glanced at the errand boy's face that seemed to be in perpetual wrinkle. He opened his mouth, but finally shook his head and said, "In short, I'm determined to keep going. So if you want to come with me, then come."
Zhang Ying glanced at the two.
"Just make sure that the two of you won't regret your decision. I should warn you that the second half of this Immortal Path is a few notches harder than what you might think. No one has succeeded in the past three hundred years. In the previous Immortal Gatherings, everyone chose to enter the Carefree Peak. It was actually the Inner Court Elders who went out in search of disciples for the Inner Court. Perhaps it took them ten years, or perhaps one hundred years to find one good seedling; that is to say that this next part of the Immortal Path is almost impassable."
"Doesn't matter. I have been a professional adventurer for tens of years. My nickname is Immortal Path's Opener. I can handle all of these untold dangers."
Zhang Ying shook his head. "... I have given you enough warning, so it's all up to you now."
Wang Lu laughed and waved goodbye towards Lu Ming and said, "In that case, Senior Martial Brother Lu Ming, I look forward to meet you in the future."
Lu Ming also laughed, "We have met several newcomers before you, but unlike you, no one acted as if they were familiar with us. Very well, I'll just give you a piece of advice: the Immortal Path you are going to take is in an ever-changing form, every blade of grass, and every tree that appears has a reason."
"... Is this meant to satirize someone who has romantic affairs wherever he goes?"
"Hah! Whatever it means, you can think about it yourself. If I reveal anymore to you, Master will punish me. Good luck!"
Zhang Ying pulled his Junior Martial Brother. "That's enough. I won't be able to explain this already... The next group of people are coming soon, we need to go."
As the two people spoke, they pulled apart the clouds in front of them, then they flew out of the valley. Their figures gradually disappeared.
In the valley, Wang Lu and Wang Zhong, the young master and errand boy duo, looked at each other.
"Young Master, are we going to just give up like this?"
"Of course not. Who said I was going to give up!? In the past three hundred years, the challenges beyond this Carefree Peak have caused many of the world's talented people to give up. Are you willing to give up the opportunity to witness and experience those challenges."
The errand boy shamelessly nodded his head. "Yes, I am willing! Young Master, being able to reach here, I would not even dare to dream of it! When you said you wanted to participate in the Immortal Gathering of the Spirit Sword Sect, everyone in the village thought you were out of your mind. When I left, the Master told me that if you were rejected, you can go with him to the large cities nearby to relax so that you will be able to get rid of your frustration. Who would have thought that Young Master actually... actually reached this point?"
"... Which point? The Immortal Path has just begun."
Upon seeing the errand boy's confused look, Wang Lu made an exception and began to explain to him his strategy.
"There are three main points that those two in blue and white talked about just now: aptitude, temperament and affinity. Right now, we've only passed the test of aptitude. No, that's probably not even the real aptitude test. We just merely stepped over a necessary threshold, and yet you have the nerve to blab on about this like it's the end of the Immortal Path?"
"But the Carefree Peak has already opened their doors to us? Don't be silly. The second point. Remember they said that the abilities of the Carefree Peak's Eldest Martial Brother is not worse than those Successor Disciples? So he should have an excellent talent, but why is he still at the Carefree Peak? Why hasn't he advanced to the Misty Peak?"
"Like the other people who got here and thought they were so great, thinking that entering the Carefree Peak would be a glorious feat... It just means that they simply reached their upper limit here. If you choose the 'easy difficulty', you won't be able to unlock the hidden storyline."
"Forget it. Even if I explained it again and again, you wouldn't understand. As for the third point."
Wang Lu raised his head and looked towards the clouds. His eyes almost seemed to be burning.
"As a strategist, I must have the mindset to break those clouds to clear the sky, removing all obstacles and solving all the problems!"
"... In short, I must continue on this path. Whether you want to come or not is up to you. In any case, those two wearing blue and white have already left, so there's no option for you to turn back, haha!"
With that, Wang Lu picked up the bag and took a big step forward.
"In addition, Wang Zhong, this next part of the journey is probably going to be super long, so brace yourself."
The already tired Wang Zhong asked, "How long?"
"If I use a story book as a metaphor to describe the situation, it's probably around seventy or eighty thousand words."
"... That is indeed a very long journey."
"The path to the Misty Peak is definitely not as easy to walk on compared to the Golden Bridge."
Above the endless sea of clouds, a grizzled old man was stroking his beard as he mused.
"When the Sect Leader Senior Martial Brother set down the date of this Immortal Gathering twelve years ago, none of us expected so many talented youths to appear. Almost one hundred people were able to walk more than eighty percent of the Golden Bridge. Based on their spirit roots alone, all of them are qualified to enter the Carefree Peak."
Beside him, a younger cultivator dressed in a black and white robe laughed, "Is it possible that Master already has a favorite candidate?"
The old man dismissively said, "Hmph, walking across the Golden Bridge only means that that they have decent spirit roots. If they want to join my Misty Peak, it will not be that easy. Out of these hundred people, ultimately, perhaps only ten will be able to succeed."
While speaking, a voice came from behind them.
"Alas, there is no need to be so strict.."
Above the cloud, the two cultivators, one old and one young, were both suddenly shocked upon turning around.
"S-Sect Leader Senior Martial Brother!?"
The one who had suddenly appeared behind them was the number one expert in the Spirit Sword Sect, Daoist Master Feng Yin.
"Gee, no need to get so nervous." Feng Yin smiled as he waved his hands. "I just came to observe how things are going. After the Golden Bridge lies Junior Martial Brother Liu Xian's Misty Peak which is the backbone of our Sect."
Liu Xian looked very serious as he lowered his head and said, "Senior Martial Brother has entrusted me with this important task. Liu Xian will not disappoint you in the slightest."
"Thank you for your hard work all these years. Seeing how well the Misty Peak currently is, it's difficult to imagine the state it was in all those years ago... However, since we've put so much effort in organizing this Immortal Gathering, there's no need to be so harsh on the newcomers. If there's anyone decent, just take them in."
Liu Xian somewhat awkwardly said, "But Senior Martial Brother, that is against the rules."
"Ai, rules are dependent on the situation. The number of disciples in our Spirit Sword Sect has remained the same for too long, don't you want things around here to be a bit livelier?"
"To be honest, not at all. It's already lively enough with Fifth Martial Sister."
"... Let's not talk about her. I asked her to help with organizing this Immortal Gathering, but she gave me a lot of mess instead. My brain is about to explode these past few days... huh? This kid seems familiar, and his aptitude is also quite good. He's worth focusing on."
While speaking, he pointed at a layer of clouds, and two little figures made of clouds became animated. They were the young master and errand boy duo from the Wang Family Village.
Liu Xian became extremely surprised. "Senior Martial Brother, do you really have a very good impression of them? Oh, these two peoples' results on the Golden Bridge are indeed good..."
"Uh, the Golden Bridge was just a little toy I casually made, no need to take it too seriously."
"Senior Martial Brother is being humble. The Golden Bridge can accurately control the amount of natural spiritual energy released. The higher the quality of one's spirit root, the easier they are able to replenish their natural spiritual energy, and thus making it easier for them to walk across the bridge. However, the longer they walk, the greater the resistance they face. They will stop when the rate of their energy replenishment is the same as the rate of energy depletion, allowing us to see the quality of their spirit root... Although they can exert their physical strength to push forward if they tried to be brave, there is no need to consume too much energy on the Golden Bridge. Although the principle is simple, the Golden Bridge's design is very ingenious. Nothing could be better for a preliminary test. So if the Senior Martial Brother decides that these two are worth the attention, I won't argue with him."
"Em, actually it's not me, but Little Ling'Er who is very optimistic about one of them... it's said that he actually completed that damn quest chain. As for his aptitude, it's similar to what I've seen in the past, probably between third-rate and fourth-rate. I guess that's not bad."
"Never mind, just do according to the rules of the Misty Peak. We'll see how far he can go according to his ability..."
As he spoke, a flaming sword symbol suddenly appeared and nearly set the Sect Leader's beard on fire.
"Ah! Hey! Who did this? Who's so bored that they would use a Spirit Sword Heaven Talisman to find me... so it's you! What is it? Is it the end of time?! Is the Demon Clan invading!? What? Overtime pay? You want overtime pay for organizing the Immortal Gathering? Why are you so shameless!? Forget it, let's talk about it when we meet again. Aiyo, you are going to anger me to death! I feel like my Primordial Spirit is going to burst..."
Daoist Master Feng Yin spent a long time to quell his anger. However, when he turned around, he stared into the clear blue sky. The clouds surrounding the mountain had been completely dispersed!
The young cultivator's face was aghast, and Liu Xian's face revealed a hint of admiration. "Sect Leader's cultivation is indeed peerless. Just releasing a bit of energy is enough to break the Misty Peak's Great Cloud Array... Junior Martial Brother is deeply in awe."
"I only broke the first layer. Not to mention that the Deity Stage isn't much in the Nine Regions continent. Heh, heh, ten years ago, at the meeting of the Union of Ten Thousand Immortals, there were a few members at the Unity Stage already."
"Hmph, did they do any demonstrations?"
"Demonstrations my ass. In any case, I slept through the whole meeting... Anyways, let's stop this idle chat, I'll be going now, otherwise, if Junior Martial Sister keeps burning those precious Heaven Talismans, we're going to go bankrupt... Junior Martial Brother, I'll leave the Immortal Gathering to you. You don't have to worry about everything I have just said, everything is according to the rules."
With that, the Sect Leader turned into a ray of light and flew off. Liu Xian sighed. He gazed through the Great Cloud Array under the Misty Peak, towards the young master and errand boy duo who were walking through the valley.
"They caught the attention of both the Sect Leader and Little Ling'Er...?" Although the Sect Leader told him to follow the rules, this attention was, in itself, a violation of the rules.
"Never mind, I'll just focus on those two. Hopefully, they won't let me down... We need to do our logistical work!"
Just as the cultivator wearing black and white nodded his head and was about to leave...
"Oh right, remember to tell your Junior Martial Brothers to bring spirit stones and sword manuals... Oh, and don't forget to bring mahjong. It looks like this Immortal Gathering is going to take some time, so let's not bore ourselves to death..."
"Oh, and remember to call your Martial Uncle Zhou Ming. Last time, the Brilliant Peak won more than ten treasures from us. This time, Master will help you guys win them back."
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