Chapter 9: An Intellectually Physically and Spiritually Balanced Excellent Disciple...
Translator: Subudai11 Editor: Chrissy
"Young Master, there's a village ahead of us!"
As they walked away from the fog, the suddenly appearing village shocked the errand boy who subconsciously took a few steps backwards.
Wang Lu patted him on the shoulder. "What's wrong? Weren't you complaining about being hungry and thirsty for so long? Here's a readily available supply point for you."
The errand boy frowned; his face had a frightened look. "Young Master, don't you think there's something weird? Why would there be a village here?"
"After walking for a full four hours, anyone would be tired and hungry. So, of course, there would be a village here. Or do you think we deserve to starve to death?"
"But... it still seems so weird. Look! There are people in the village!"
The errand boy pointed. On the village road, an old lady carrying firewood was slowly walking towards them.
"Young, Young Master, I think that the old lady is looking at us us!?"
"So what? Is your heart beating wildly when she looked at you?"
"I, I meant that it's a living person!"
"Nonsense. If not a person, is she a 'ghost'?"
"I always thought that in this kind of place, running into a ghost is more normal than running into a person..."
"Then you should just go and say hello to that old ghost," Wang Lu sighed, "If you're scared, just follow me. There's probably going to be lots of stories in this village. Let's not rush things."
The village hidden behind the fog was not as mysterious or as terrifying as the errand boy had imagined. After talking with a few of the villagers, the two had discovered that the name of the village was "Peach Blossom Village". The villagers had been living in seclusion for over a thousand years, not concerning themselves with the matters of the outside world. The resources in the mountain were abundant, and they had lived a prosperous, easy and comfortable life for the past thousand years.
The villagers of the Peach Blossom Village were all very hospitable. When Wang Lu and Wang Zhong had arrived at noon, the Village Head had even held a banquet at his residence to entertain the master and his servant, and half of the village came. The scene was loud and noisy. Wang Lu and the little pageboy ate to their heart's content, and gleefully drank the sweet wine made from the mountain spring water and wild fruits. Their fatigue from the Cloud Wave Map had been completely swept away.
At the banquet, apart from eating and drinking, there was also plenty of talking and laughter. Like Wang Lu had expected, it was a golden opportunity for information gathering. But the strange thing was that the Peach Blossom Village was extremely disconnected from the outside world. Let alone the "Nine Regions", they did not even know that they were residing inside the Spirit Sword Mountain. To these villagers, the mountains and waters around them were the entire world.
Even more bizarre was that the villagers did not appear to be curious by the sudden appearance of the two outsiders. Although they were very hospitable, they showed no interest with the outside world at all.
"What? There are Immortals outside? Riding on flying swords would be so cool! Here, this is the Yellow Fish; it's our village's specialty. Have a taste..."
"Emperor? What's an Emperor? Is he bigger than the Village Head? What, if we see him, we have to kneel down in front of him? And if we're not careful, we can lose our heads? What a barbaric village! Here, try some of my wife's steam buns..."
That pretty much summed up Wang Lu's experiences in trying to talk to the villager's about the outside world. He had no way of changing the topic while talking with them. The villagers mindsets were incorrigibly obstinate.
At night, the two of them stayed at the home of the Village Head. The Village Head graciously let them stay in a guest room in the backyard. The quality of the room was even better than the best room at the Ru Family Inn. However, this was ignored by the pair of master and servant as their minds were somewhat distracted.
The errand boy was restless, thinking, "Why would there be such a banquet on the Immortal Path?" In the stories he had heard, people had to experience untold hardships before they could succeed. If they had such a merry time on the way to the Misty Peak, weren't those two Brothers from the Carefree Peak a bit too pitiful?
As for Wang Lu, he was quite puzzled with the villagers' responses during the day.
From an adventurer's perspective, if the Immortal Path was an adventure, then the Spirit Creek Town would undoubtedly be the "Beginner's Village". The Golden Bridge and the fog would be the first adventure, and then the Peach Blossom Village would be the important turning point. After which, it would be the beginning of the main plot, similar to the main city of those adventuring stories. However, the villager's lack of interest in the outside world clearly put an end to any quest possibilities.
At the dinner banquet, Wang Lu had a conversation with most of the people in the village, but there was no sign of that quest appearing.
"Argh, why is it that this adventure's progression seemed to have slowed down?!"
Wang Lu lied awake for the entire night. Early the next morning, when Wang Lu was brushing his teeth at the stream, things have finally turned for the better.
"As they say, it's a small world after all, eh?"
Seeing the person that came out of the woods, Wang Lu nearly swallowed the water he was rinsing his mouth with.
Hai Yunfan's smile immediately became somewhat awkward. "Little Hai... alright, Little Hai it is. Brother Wang Lu, I would have never thought that I would run into you again here."
Wang Lu dropped his toothbrush with a face filled with confusion. "I never thought that I would meet you here either. I thought that this is just a mini 'instance', but you actually appeared here. Does this mean we have unknowingly formed a party?"
Meanwhile, the Elders on the Misty Peak were going crazy.
"Where, where did this Peach Blossom Village come from!?"
"... Master, even if you ask me, I wouldn't be able to answer you."
The disciple wearing black and white, after being scolded by the furious and red-eyed Misty Peak Elder, was under enormous pressure. He almost had to pull out his Spirit Sword and offer it as a sacrifice to prevent himself from being crushed by his master's might.
Before, when the Sect Leader Martial Uncle's anger leaked out, he had obliterated the Cloud Array. Now, Liu Xian's anger, which caused his Primordial Spirit Energy to leak out, made the Misty Peak's entire Seeking Sword hall continuously tremble, and it also made the sea of clouds around it to roll around as if there were invisible hands tearing them apart... Within a hundred of meters of Liu Xian, anyone who was not yet at the Xudan Stage was not even able to stand.
"Senior Martial Brother, calm down."
Elder Zhou Ming shook his head and patted Liu Xian's shoulder. A wave of cold and clear sword aura flowed into Liu Xian who was instantly awoken from his rage. "Sorry, I lost myself for a bit there."
Zhou Ming bitterly smiled, "It's no wonder that Senior Martial Brother is so angry, this Peach Blossom Village... really makes one want to laugh and cry at the same time."
In the beginning, Liu Xian believed that this village was a certain person's mischief. However, when the second wave of people walked out of the Cloud Wave Map were sent into the Peach Blossom Village as well, Liu Xian realized that something was up.
A certain person had completely changed the Immortal Path, and had unreasonably added a random village between the Cloud Wave Map and the Netherworld Path, becoming an insurmountable obstacle. Anyone, no matter what choice they made in the Cloud Wave Map, would inevitably be sent to the Peach Blossom Village.
Although... he had to admit that this certain person must have had impressive skills and talent to be able to change the Immortal Path without anyone knowing, but using this talent to screw with other sect members was simply too damnable.
Zhou Ming sighed, "... This time, I wonder if Sect Leader will punish her."
Liu Xian gave a cold humph, "Punish my ass. After all these years, he's never really punished her before!"
"... Alas, I have no idea what Fifth Martial Sister is thinking this time. This Peach Blossom Village is simply too strange."
Liu Xian was somewhat impatient. "It's probably one of those pranks that nobody can understand..."
"Tsk tsk. You call my genius design a prank? Senior Martial Brother, you're wasting-valuable-resource bad taste hasn't changed at all these hundred years."
"Ah, ah, ah! It's you!!"
Hearing the familiar voice that had appeared in his nightmares countless of times, the world famous Misty Peak Elder Liu Xian's calm disposition flew out the window. The sword in his hand flashed like a ray of light, sending a huge sword energy that could move the mountain and fill the sea flying towards the origin of the voice.
Zhou Ming's eyes lit up. "What a furious strike. This sword energy from the Seventh Golden Sword has far surpassed the peak of the Yuanying Stage... Looks like Senior Brother will be able to enter the next stage within fifty years."
Unfortunately, that overwhelming sword energy had found the wrong opponent.
The bright and dazzling incomparably sharp sword energy from the Seventh Golden Sword dissolved and melted like snow as it met the white silhouette, eventually dissipating. The barefooted woman in white had flicked her wrist, "Senior Martial Brother, what are you doing? Do you want to demolish the building?"
After lashing out with his sword, Liu Xian had also calmed down, but his anger still burnt fiercely in his heart. "Look at what you've done! You've completely messed up the Immortal Gathering!"
"What are you talking about? In order to make this Immortal Gathering more efficient and comprehensive, I even used my own personal funds of high grade spirit stones to arrange this Peach Blossom Village. When I applied for overtime pay from Senior Brother, I was flatly rejected..."
Liu Xian angrily replied, "Who wants to pay you for your nonsense!? Get this clear in your head: although our Spirit Sword Sect hadn't held an Immortal Gathering for a hundred years, the stages and procedures of the Immortal Gathering have already been determined hundreds of years ago. Every step and stage has been through hundreds of refinement..."
Before he finished, she mercilessly interrupted, "If it was refined by a mediocre hundreds of times, it will still be a mediocre procedure. The Cloud Wave Map tests one's ability to stay in one direction, while the Red Ridge Mountain, Nether World Path, etc. etc. procedures are decent for sure and can test the different qualities of a person. However, you've all cultivated in the Immortal Cultivation World for hundreds of years, and are all at the Yuanying Stage at least. Don't you understand that the most important factor in Immortal Cultivation isn't the quality of one's spirit root, character or affinity?"
After receiving such a righteous rebuttal, Liu Xian's anger slightly weakened. "Then, what is it?"
"Of course It's EQ!"
"Right now, things are not like they were back in the great war between the Immortals and the Demons. The Nine Regions are in a current phase of peace and development. Being brave and fierce are already outdated. Right now, the most important thing in the Immortal Cultivation World is making friends! I purposely designed this Peach Blossom Village to test one's interpersonal skills. If they're unable to maintain friendly relations with these simple villagers, how are they meant to survive in the Immortal Cultivation World? Do you remember the "Peerless Martial God" from the Royal Soldier Sect one hundred years ago? Tsk, he was half a step away from the Mahayana Stage, but because he had many personal enemies, he was obliterated when his Divine Tribulation came... If a person does not have enough EQ, how can they prevent that kind of thing to happen to them?"
Liu Xian and Zhou Ming were completely speechless.
EQ? Making friends? You... you damn detested-by-all villain, you have the nerve to mention these things!?
"Moreover, my Peach Blossom Village isn't that simple. It's right after the Cloud Wave Map, so everyone will have different starting positions. And because everyone's character and affinity are different, they will trigger different chain of quests with different rewards at the end of each respective chain of quest. For example, if one raises their favorability with the Village Head to the maximum, then their reward when entering the Red Ridge Mountains will be the reduction of their physical exertion by half... Hey, did you guys listen carefully?"
In the Peach Blossom Village, it's-a-small-world Hai Yunfan found himself in deep admiration of Wang Lu's luck.
Although he was the second person to arrive at the Village after passing through the Cloud Wave Map, the villagers' treatment to him was far inferior to how they treated Wang Lu. Although the villagers' hospitality were still there, he did not have a banquet, and was only given a normal villager's house to live in.
The disparity in the treatment was especially obvious when he was walking with Wang Lu. All the villagers, without exception, would greet Wang Lu with big smiles, while Hai Yunfan was just like an invisible person to them.
"However, when I think about the kind treatment of those people who will come after me would get, that makes me feel a bit better."
Wang Lu's face had a look of contempt. "There are still other people?"
Hai Yunfan smiled, "There are probably around fifty or sixty people who are able to walk out of the Cloud Wave Map. However, it looks like the longer it took you to walk out of the Cloud Wave Map, the harder your stay in this village... Strange, what's going on with this village? I have never heard of it before."
Hearing this, Wang Lu wrinkled his brows - Hai Yunfan was too familiar with the Immortal Path. "Do you know much about this Immortal Path?"
"I know a bit about this whole Immortal Gathering... Brother Wang Lu, do you have any interest in listening to some of what I know?"
Hai Yunfan did not seem to be surprised by his refusal. "So, what are your thoughts about this village?"
"Before, I didn't have much, but now I have a bit of a clue... although I have to wait a bit to confirm it."
Hai Yunfan nodded. "Then I'll have to thank you in advance, because in this village, I don't really have the confidence to get good results."
"Wait, why are you thanking me in advance? I have no intention of keeping you."
"Haha, aren't we friends?"
"Haha, then we're friends for life."
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