Mu Xiyun settled in Tianji Peak and was warmly welcomed by all the disciples.
They enthusiastically came to greet him one after another.
He followed Elder Mo’s advice and made a random story about himself.
Fortunately, the disciples of Tianji Peak were used to seeing new disciples coming and going, so they were not that surprised.
Although the disciples thought their new junior disciple looked a little weak, he had soft brows and eyes, and a gentle demeanor which made him very likable.
Mu Xiyun would attend classes with the other disciples to learn medicine in the morning and then practice swordsmanship alone in the afternoon. He was naturally familiar with the basic skills taught in Moyun Mountain and after a few more days of sword practice, he had regained proficiency in various sword strokes.
Despite the fact that the meridians had still been throbbing for a few days, he would take time to meditate every day, albeit with little progress.
Today, he meditated under the plum tree in the back mountain.
There seemed to be a strange movement in his sea of consciousness.
A very inconspicuous Qi was also wandering through his meridians which he slowly guided to his sea of consciousness.
The winter sun was already sinking into the horizon, and its rays shone on his face through the gaps of the plum tree’s branches.
When suddenly a surge of powerful Qi abruptly overwhelmed his soul.
In an instant, Xiyun’s divine consciousness floated out of his body and rose above.
He instantly saw mountains in the distance surrounded by mists; the sinking winter sun in the west that shone with warm and golden light on the plum trees; the flowers on its branches, its red petals and the golden flower hearts swaying in the wind that looked very vivid to him, as if seeing every details of it at a close distance.
However, that moment shortly ended and his consciousness was immediately pulled back into his body.
Strong winds whipped around, and the spiritual energy in the mountains rushed to his body like a turbulent wave.
It rushed through his meridians, and to his sea of consciousness.
Like a vortex, it sucked all the Qi around him.
It spins rapidly, getting faster and faster and the overwhelming energy in his meridians and his sea of consciousness made him feel like his body was about to burst.
Petals fluttered and swayed around due to the strong wind–
With an abrupt pull of his sword out from its sheath, he stabbed a flower petal in a quick move.
Again with another petal, yet before his sword arrived, the flower petal swayed as if deliberately avoiding his strike.
His sword rises again, chasing it, but always separated by a certain distance.
Mu Xiyun changed his style and with a decisive and heavy horizontal strike, his sword qi surged, destroying the surrounding floating petals.
The plum tree’s branches shook due to the force, its many flowers floated and rained down on the person under.
“Concentrate! Guide the spiritual Qi in your body!”
Mu Xiyun immediately sat down in lotus position and meditated again and only when the sky was completely dark and the stars were shining brightly did he open his eyes again.
“I didn’t expect you to make a breakthrough so quickly! In just half a month, you have already broken through the Qi condensation stage and directly established a foundation.” Mo Zhiqi sighed.
“As expected of Moyun Mountain’s top disciple fifty years ago.”
Mo Zhiqi grabbed his wrist and felt his pulse.
“Not bad, your soul and body are more integrated now.
Your body should feel more comfortable compared to before.”
“Yes, I thank the elder for the guidance today.”
“Don’t mention it.
Today is the Lunar New Year.
I looked for you all over the place to invite you to have the New Year’s Eve banquet together with us, but I didn’t expect to witness your breakthrough.”
“New Year’s Eve banquet” Xiyun was embarrassed, “I’m so sorry for delaying your reunion with your disciples.
“What’s the matter,” Mo Zhiqi laughed, “I’m even happier that you have made progress.
Let’s go, let’s go to the dining hall together.
Today, everyone should stay up until dawn and have fun.
“Okay.” Mu Xiyun followed behind with a smile.
The dining hall was very lively.
The disciples set two long tables with a lot of appetizing and still steaming hot foods.
When everyone saw the master coming, they quickly offered him their seats.
The cook added two more dishes that Mo Zhiqi liked and served them hot.
When they noticed a rise in Mu Xiyun’s cultivation and his bright countenance, they immediately congratulated him one by one.
The dining hall was full of laughter and clunking noise from the tableware and chopsticks, making Xiyun rather nostalgic.
After a while, the banquet was over, and because tonight was a special occasion, there was no need for the disciples to abide by the peak rules of sleeping early.
They carried wine and tea, chatted in groups to wait for dawn, and some even went and lit a big bonfire at the center of the training ground platform.
The crowd was talking and laughing, and some were running around amongst the crowd.
It was rare for the peak to be this lively.
Mo Zhiqi took out a pot of wine and two wine cups from his room, and handed one to Xiyun.
“It’s cold outside.
Come and have a drink with me.
I heard that you can down a thousand cups without getting drunk.” “Ah, Elder Mo, it was all a mischievous act of a youngster.” Mu Xiyun answered modestly.
Before, when he was still studying at Tianliang Peak, the elder of Tianliang Peak Li Yao who was adept in martial arts and a very chivalrous man, was an alcoholic.
The disciples often had to give in and get used to drinking due to his persistence, to the point where Tianliang Peak disciples became incomparable when it comes to drinking.
Every Lunar New Year, disciples would compete among themselves for who was the best drinker.
They would drink to their hearts content until some eventually fainted on the spot and got up with a huge hangover the day after.
However, his so-called title of “thousand cups without getting drunk” was actually gained at a restaurant near the foot of the mountain.
That time, he was dragged by his senior martial brother and had no choice but to join a drinking game.
He emptied five jars of fine “Chufeng Zui” without saying a word, and became famous since then.
The two sat on the stone chairs outside the dining hall, holding wine cups in their hands, looking at the Tianji Peak disciples laughing in the distance, chatting without a care.
“You were brought up to the mountain by Li Yao, right”
Back then, my family was very poor.
Although I have an older brother who learned martial arts and helped support the family, it was not enough.
My parents still have me to support and to be taken care of,” Xiyun’s voice was soft yet with a hint of self-deprecation, “I was a boy over ten years old at that time when the family eventually had no more money and food to eat.
They were thinking of finding someone to take me to the capital to be an errand boy or an apprentice.
“I was so scared and I didn’t want to leave.
They got fed up and eventually slapped me in the face until I got knocked to the ground.
Master just happened to be passing by at that time and saw the situation.
He gave my father some silver and took me away.
In the next six months, I followed him to many places, and only went up the mountain at the age of eleven.”
“For me,” His face lit up with a warm smile, “Moyun Mountain is my home.” The evening breeze suddenly blew and it carried the laughter and chatter of the disciples of Tianji Peak, further erasing the gloomy atmosphere around Mu Xiyun.
“Master, master!” Ge Liang, the youngest disciple in Tianji Peak, suddenly ran over, followed by five other disciples, “Senior Brother Gu just told me about the battle that took place at Linmo Abyss fifty years ago.
Was it true that martial uncle Mu really didn’t make it But he was Moyun Mountain’s top disciple!”
Mo Zhiqi touched his nose in embarrassment and glanced secretly at Mo Xiyun on the side.
“There was no other way.
A cultivator’s spiritual energy is akin to a mortal body’s bones and muscles.
It completes and supports the body becoming its main foundation.
In a life and death battle, when a cultivator exhausts his spiritual energy, eventually shattering his core and damaging his meridians, it would be the end.”
Ge Liang looked disappointed.
“That traitor in the Southwest Medical Valley is really abominable!!! If it weren’t for him, we wouldn’t have lost two great cultivators!” His little face was red with anger, “What eventually happened to him, Master”
“Go, go away.
Don’t be nosy.
Don’t disturb your master!” Elder Mo impatiently shooed the couple of disciples away and secretly glanced again at the person sitting to his side.
Gu Weijie, the storyteller, guiltily pulled the junior brother while explaining to him in a hushed tone, “Of course, pull out the core and burn the body into ashes.
The soul would certainly be scattered, leaving no trace behind!”
Xiyun, holding a cup of wine, paused.
In the dead of night these days, he had repeatedly searched for his last memory fifty years ago.
He only remembered that person’s red-blood eyes turning black and a voice calling him eagerly until he lost consciousness.
He should have gotten back to normal that time.
But, what happened after
People were so reluctant to face reality.
Without definitive information, he could only leave it to his imagination.
Fifty years was a long time, but it was not enough to consume a cultivator’s life.
Maybe he was saved by someone and fled, maybe they’ll cross paths again if given the chance, or maybe he had already died and entered reincarnation.
Maybe he was born to a good family, living a safe and happy life right now.
like an ostrich burying its head in the sand, as long as there was such a thought, that the person would still be in this world, there would still be a chance for everything to recover.
However, when Xiyun heard the last sentence, his body went cold and he got up unconsciously.
His head was a little dizzy and everything around him seemed to be blurry.
Putting down the wine cup, he heard himself say to Mo Zhiqi in a calm voice, “This disciple is incapable of drinking.
Elder, please continue, I’ll go back first.” Before Mo Zhiqi could respond, he got up and walked away.
Mo Zhiqi looked at his fleeing thin back and sighed.
He doesn’t know what happened back then, and what kind of grievances and entanglements they had, however only the involved parties know.
Mu Xiyun was in a daze, and when he came back to his senses, he was surprised to only find out that he was at the back of the mountain, under the plum tree where he had made his breakthrough today.
It was said that part of his body came from this plum tree, but no one knew that fifty years ago, part of his life was also related to this plum tree.
In a trance, Xiyun seemed to see the young man again, facing the sunset, leaning against the plum tree, and showing him a smile.
Outside Fumo Town.
A yellow kitten with black round spots peered at the sparrows perched on a tree.
Its round, jade-like brown eyes didn’t blink even for a moment while its fluffy paws were lying on the window of the carriage and its tail swinging from side to side leisurely.
Only when the first rays of daybreak hit its face did its pupils turn into slits.
In the carriage, a young man in black was lying on a hemp of soft pile of cloth, looking fixedly at the roof.
This young man had a handsome face and deep eyebrows, with a bit of the characteristics from the Western Regions. Golden light flickered around his eyes as he took a glance at the sunrise outside the window.
A voice suddenly came from outside the carriage, “Cousin, come down for a meal.” The young man in black slowly got up, picked up the kitten from the window, and got out of the carriage lazily.
He finally got out and stood firmly on the ground under the light of the sun when sudden bouts of dizziness attacked him.
“Oh, be careful!” Sister Chen, the cook, hurried to help him.
The boy was very handsome, but his body was too skinny.
His face was so pale that it made his eyes look like black jade.
“Young Master Zhang, where are you going” Sister Chen asked the older young man as she was serving some dishes.
“Just call me Zhang Jinjin.
My cousin and I will go to Nanping.”
“Nanping!” Sister Chen sighed, “But it’s a thousand miles away!”
“Alas, there’s no other way!” Young Master Zhang sighed and added softly, “My cousin’s house was hit by a disaster.
His parents died in a landslide.
He is weak and has no way to earn a living.
I feel sorry for my sister’s early death.
That’s why I decided to take him with me, handle some business along the way, and go back to Nanping together.”
Uncle Zhao, sister Chen’s husband, filled a bowl with rice, piled it with lots of vegetables, and he handed it to Zhang Jinjin.
“Eat it quickly while it’s still hot.
Don’t eat it when it’s already cold or else it will upset your stomach.
Follow our carriage to Yiyun Town.
It’s better than going alone with only your cousin.
Nanping won’t be that far from there!”
“Okay, thank you uncle.”
After finishing his meal, the young man in black carried the kitten back to the carriage and leaned against its wall in a daze.
The horse neighed, the carriage shook gently, and it set off again.
Zhang Jinjin who sat on the other side of the carriage, suddenly heard the young man in black ask lazily.
“Where did you get that kind of story to deceive people I was even moved.
The aunty even gave us another serving of meal.
I could hardly finish my own let alone another one.”
“Alas, you’re still like this.” Zhang Jinjin sighed.
“Why are you complaining when I’m being nice to you If I had known earlier that it was you, I would have not dug you out of Fumo Mountain.
“Regretting it now” The young man glanced at him sideways.
“I’m afraid it’s too late for that, don’t you think.”
Zhang Jinjin sighed again, “It took me so many precious medicinal herbs and spells to finally turn you from a pile of nothing into a human being.
It wasn’t easy for me, Gu Qingqiao!”
The author has something to say:
Gu Qingqiao: Oh, it’s not easy, I, who only lived in memories, finally appeared.
Why so late
Author: I’m afraid you will steal Ah Yun’s role! How about I add a little more to you
Gu Qingqiao: Forget it, my family’s Ah Yun is more important!