Elder Li’s face was gloomy.
It was too late for regrets in his heart. Had he known earlier that it was like this, he wouldn’t have given any assessment points for each of the gates. Now, the results were that, not only had he offended someone, but that matter still hadn’t been done yet. What was he supposed to do…if he was blamed for it? Yet, he remembered that even if he didn’t give any points, this Gongyi Tianheng had twenty two assessment points on hand. He could smoothly be promoted into the inner sec — Unless if this Elder Hu standing on the side was kept in check.
Reaching this point, Elder Li’s scrunched-up brows relaxed again.
Gongyi Tianheng didn’t know how lucky he was, obtaining so many assessment points from West Mountain Ghost Hunting. It was clearly Old Man Xie’s fault for coming to him and exaggerating. This Li wasn’t the one to blame. Moreover, Old Man Hu wasn’t willing to help him during this time’s test. Naturally, it was Old Man Hu’s fault, too.
…With this sort of self-consoling in his heart, Elder Li felt much calmer.
In short, it was the mistakes of Old Man Xie and Old Man Hu. Similarly, he wasn’t the one responsible.
Only, matters had already reached this point. Elder Li glanced at Liu Wuyan and the others. He didn’t think that he could suppress Tianheng by himself, and he could only begrudgingly say: “Enough! Just ask Elder Hu to give you an inner sect disciple token.”
Elder Hu broke out in a fit of candid laughter: “Right, right, right! Gongyi Tianheng, your performance was top-notch. With a bit more time, you’ll become a cornerstone of my inner sect. Naturally, you can get a token immediately!”
Elder Li snorted, and flicked his sleeves with his departure.
He couldn’t stay here for too long, or he’d be made a mockery!
Off to the side, Xun Suying and Liu Wuyan were both delighted.
Liu Wuyan was always of few words, but at this moment, he couldn’t help praising: “It seems that Junior Sect Brother Gongyi had long made preparations. He’s really insightful! Unexpectedly, this Liu didn’t need to do anything.”
Xun Suying also complimented: “Junior Sect Brother Gongyi planned far ahead so that he wouldn’t be taken advantage of by others. In the future, he’ll certainly become a very capable person.”
Tianheng heard what was said and smiled: “If this one hadn’t met Senior Sect Brother Liu and Senior Sect Sister Xun earlier, this one wouldn’t have had such confidence.”
He turned his head to look at Elder Hu: “I must give my thanks to this elder for being firm and impartial. If you hadn’t called on this disciple…”
In response, Elder Hu waved his hand back and forth: “This wasn’t your fault. I made a mistake first; you had no choice but to go through with this mess. You are my Qingyun Sect disciple, and as an elder, I should treat you justly by rights. What happened now is a matter of course and is unworthy of your gratitude.”
Speaking up to here, he gave another sigh: “There really are many people in the sect like Old Man Li. They’re all malignant tumors of the sect! It’s just that the sect is enormous and there’s a mix of good and bad people inside it. Even if they were contained, it won’t stop them from burrowing through the gaps. I hope you aren’t disappointed in the sect because of this.”
In addition to the complicated and engrained powers, let alone a trifling elder, some authority figures in the sect who’d long discovered these problems were unable to resolve them.
Gongyi Tianheng hurriedly said: “Nonsense. Elder Hu is exaggerating. The sect is educational for me. Even when one is inconvenienced, in all likelihood…” He pointed upwards, “One would still have a plan.”
He continued: “And disciples who wholeheartedly practice martial arts and cultivate have hearts that strive along the martial path. They definitely wouldn’t fear some untold dangers and difficulties.”
Elder Hu’s eyes carried a smiling expression: “You’re very good. If there were more disciples like you, certainly…” He left this unfinished thought up to this point.
The group of people walked out.
Generally speaking, this Elder Hu really appreciated Gongyi Tianheng. While they walked, he mentioned some matters: “I looked at the pharmacist beside you. A youngster who’s already broken through to the Xiantian Realm is a rare seedling. You must carefully plan out his future prospects. Although the standards for pharmacists entering the inner sect don’t lie in the true qi realms — While pharmacists are different from martial artists, after advancing to Xiantian, it’s the equivalent of him stepping into the ranks of mid grade pharmacists. It could even be said that he has boundless prospects, and the inner sect certainly won’t refuse his admission.
He continued: “Presently, he’s attached to you. If you’re willing, you can transfer him to become an inner sect disciple. He can join the Pharmacist Hall and study under a master. But if he’s unwilling, he can only be your personal pharmacist. He could also go carry out an evaluation, receive a “pharmacist official post” token, and be affiliated with the Pharmacist Hall… Although a pharmacist official post isn’t an official sect disciple, as long as he can contribute to regular collaborations with the sect, he can get the status and pay equal to an inner sect pharmacist disciple… Youngster, think this over carefully!”
When Gu Zuo heard these words, his heart was a little moved.
Because this adorable old fellow appreciated his dear big brother, he would have considerations for even those around his big brother. He truly was a decent person.
Working for the inner sect Pharmacist Hall was definitely out of the question. He had so many secrets that, if he refined medicine every day with a bunch of people, what was he to do when a moment of carelessness blew his cover? A formal apprenticeship was even worse. This world’s master-disciple relationships were very serious ones. A teacher for a day, a father for a lifetime. After a formal apprenticeship, regardless of how the master treated him, he would be managed by someone else at the very least — While he was willing to be managed by his big brother right now, because he already believed in his big brother, who was to know if it was reliable to switch to another stranger? It would still be very easy to expose something. Thus, obediently being his big brother’s personal pharmacist was the best. On the other hand, that pharmacist official post position could also be considered.
Merely, this was the first time he heard of this pharmacist official post… Previously, Fu Manduo had given them a voucher, saying that it could let one directly become a disciple-in-reserve. After an evaluation, one could immediately become an inner sect Pharmacist Hall disciple. At that time, he only thought to treat this thing as a protective charm. He wasn’t really prepared to go get evaluated and promoted. Now? En, once he went back with his big brother to discuss it, then he’d make a decision.
While his heart was full of thoughts, Gu Zuo’s face still carried a grateful look as he peered at Elder Hu.
Elder Hu also noticed Gu Zuo’s micro-expression and laughed: “This should also be one with potential!”
Gu Zuo could only force a smile and didn’t dare reply.
Meanwhile, Gongyi Tianheng had a warm complexion: “Many thanks for your helpful advice, Elder Hu. This disciple will carefully consider it.”
As they talked up to this point, the group had already exited the Lesser Martial Pagoda and had reached the small building.
Elder Hu handled matters quickly and efficiently. He immediately provided a token, writing down Gongyi Tianheng’s name and making a record of it. Then, the token was infused with Elder Hu’s true qi.
After Tianheng entered the inner sect, he could take this token to the inner sect’s Task Hall and receive the payment he deserved, among other things.
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
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He continued: “Secretly have Senior Sect Brother Fu mobilize his networks to perform private investigations. If that Duanshui Hall doesn’t have anything fishy going on, then that’ll be it. If it does, they’ll need to exercise restraint under this kind of activity. Once the pressure is big enough, if it really was them who abducted Junior Sect Sister Yaomin, they may be forced to reveal Junior Sect Sister Yaomin’s hidden location, and find another scapegoat to push the blame onto. At that time, Junior Sect Sister Yaomin will naturally be safe.”
Gongyi Tianheng let out a sigh: “On the contrary, so long as Princess Yaomin is safe, everything else isn’t important.”
Xun Suying saw him like this and couldn’t help poking fun at him: “This junior brother cares so much about Junior Sect Sister Yaomin’s safety. Could it be that for her, you…”
Tianheng blanked. Then, he broke into laughter and shook his head: “Senior Sect Sister Xun must be joking. Princess Yaomin has her own place to return to, which has nothing to do with me. It’s just that we are only fellow countrymen and I have some friendly relations with Brother Cang Yu. Naturally, I can’t turn a blind eye to this.”
Xun Suying saw that he really wasn’t interested, and also smiled. She no longer teased him.
Off to the side, Gu Zuo paused.
Princess Yaomin with…big brother?
This was impossible.
He shook his head, dispelling the thought.
Eh, he felt that it was that Senior Sect Brother Kang Wenhong who was interested in Princess Yaomin… Right?
Afterwards, Xun Suying and Liu Wuyan accompanied Tianheng and Gu Zuo back to their courtyard.
Out of respect, the two only waited outside, sitting down to have tea and refreshments. Not once did they snoop around. Gongyi Tianheng also understood the situation, and waved his hand as he busied Dragon One, Dragon Two, and numerous slaves. He also gestured to Gu Zuo, having him go pack up that medicine refining room of his. Tianheng himself accompanied the two.
Gu Zuo had a system on hand, so it was only natural that everything in the medicine refining room was quickly put away into his storage space. After he came out, Dragon One and the others had already made the proper preparations.
In several other rooms, the three pharmacists had been continuously debating and researching medicinal pills and refining medicine ever since they were recruited. Zhang Mingyuan and the others all emerged from their rooms with unkempt appearances.
Liu Wuyan saw this and had a slightly subtle expression.
Xun Suying couldn’t help smiling: “No wonder this junior had those good things. The people under his employ are all diligent and dutiful, unafraid of hard work.”
Only some pharmacists who had their hearts set on studying the path of medicine refinement could be unbothered by trivial matters.
These two didn’t know about the hardships of formerly lone pharmacists like Zhang Mingyuan. When obtaining many advantages through great difficulty, one would naturally redouble their efforts in their dedication to pill refinement.
This brief period of time was too short for them as they eagerly tempered their skills. How could they slack off? The matter of those many so-called excellent quality pills appearing was actually all Gu Zuo’s doing.
In the short term, they didn’t have that ability.
However, the misunderstanding of the two was originally Gongyi Tianheng’s aim. He deliberately didn’t explain, and at this moment, he only smilingly said: “It’s just diligence.”
Xun Suying thought this was just modesty and didn’t know that the actual situation was just like that.
Once everything was packed up, everyone headed to the inner sect.
Although it’s said that accepted outer sect disciples were considered disciples of the Qingyun Sect, only the inner sect disciples were valued by the sect as official disciples. Thus, although the outer sect and inner sect resided within the same mountain range, the distance separating the two was like a natural moat.
Correct, it really was a “natural moat”.
After following for a time, Gu Zuo saw an abyss before him. Across was a broad mountainous region. It was a towering mountain range that connected together like a meandering dragon snake. However, if one looked down at this moment, they would feel dizzy.
He couldn’t help swallowing down a mouthful of saliva.
This place…was incredibly wide. From a glance, it was at least several hundred meters across. And this abyss didn’t have any chains that connected both sides. How were they supposed to cross?
Of course, Gu Zuo promptly responded. Everyone could ride a flying wild beast, but if there was someone who didn’t have a wild beast, what should they do? Also, what should they do if they had a fear of heights… Thinking up to here, he gave a helpless expression.
The next moment, Gu Zuo saw Xun Suying and Liu Wuyan move.
The two of them leaped out, and a breath of qi that was stored in their chests floated out in midair. Soon after, their figures slightly flashed and they flew across the abyss.
After reaching the other side, Xun Suying plainly said: “Junior Sect Brother Gongyi, come over quickly!”
Without waiting for Tianheng’s reply, Gu Zuo tugged on his sleeve next to him.
Gongyi Tianheng raised his brows: “Ah Zuo?”
Gu Zuo was a little embarrassed: “I can’t fly…”
Tianheng broke into laughter: “…Rest assured.”
Then, Gu Zuo felt like the world was spinning. He was being carried on his dear big brother’s shoulder once more. Immediately following that, his body lightened. It felt like his whole body was soaring high into the sky… Ah, ah! Why did his big brother have to use this kind of position?!
Gu Zuo: “…”
With his head faced down, what he saw was a bottomless abyss. Although his waist was looped by an arm, his legs and upper body were both suspended in the air. There wasn’t any sense of security flying high up like this, okay!
He felt like he was being bullied by his big brother…
He didn’t know how long it was, like it was both a long time and a blink of an eye, until Tianheng put him back down, planting his feet firmly on the ground. He still stared in a daze, his complexion deathly white.
Later, a hand waved in front of him.
Gu Zuo wiped away his sweat, and raised his head to meet Tianheng’s face.
He saw that in his dear big brothers eyes was clearly a hint of unobscured laughter.
Sure enough, he was being bullied!
What was with this type of behavior?!
Gongyi Tianheng’s eyes flashed with a trace of mischief, yet his mouth said with a deadpan tone: “Ah Zuo’s courage is too small. When there’s free time in the future, come with me here to toughen up some more.”
Gu Zuo’s face flushed red.
He suddenly didn’t know what to say.
What this big brother said made sense, but…why did it feel like there was something wrong?
Meanwhile, Xun Suying and Liu Wuyan were somewhat shocked.
They’d known that Gongyi Tianheng treated Gu Zuo very importantly, but they didn’t expect that the two could’ve been so close. From what they’d seen of Tianheng’s personality, it was basically impossible for him to joke like that with others.
However, since Tianheng displayed this in front of them, it should’ve been to point out that…
Gongyi Tianheng saw those two people’s reactions and the edge of his smile deepened.
Soon after, he rubbed the top of Gu Zuo’s head: “Ah Zuo really should work on his courage some more.”
Gu Zuo made some noise, but still obediently nodded: “…Oh.”
At this point, Xun Suying regretfully said: “Junior Sect Brother Gongyi isn’t to blame. The inner sect has an unwritten rule that every new disciple who wants to enter the inner sect must cross this abyss by themselves to be considered one. However, so long as they cross over, they usually just ride a flying wild beast to get there. It’s all very convenient.”
Just then, Tianheng was teasing Gu Zuo, so his mood was rather good. It was natural that he’d dismiss this with a smile: “I understand senior sect sister’s kind intentions.”
Gu Zuo heard something, and turned his head to look over.
He saw something high up cast a huge shadow. Unexpectedly, it was an absolutely enormous flying wild beast, which was descending from the sky. On top was a disciple who looked like its controller. He raised his voice, ordering Dragon One and the others to get on.
As it turned out, after a new disciple crossed the abyss, he would guide the nominal disciples and subordinates who still weren’t Xiantian, and would use a specialized flying wild beast to ferry them across.
Gu Zuo was a little sullen.
If he’d known earlier, he could’ve also gone with them…
After that, he gave a sigh and obediently went to keep pace.
The inner sect’s Task Hall was much bigger than the outer sect’s. The entire set of buildings were connected together, and managed all of the inner sect’s numerous affairs. Whether if it was dispatching monthly allowances or releasing missions, any and all matters had to pass through here.
As a result, one couldn’t look at this place’s name and think it was ordinary. In fact, it was the location of the highest priority for the inner sect. It contained the powers of all sides, and wasn’t comparable to the outer sect’s capabilities — Even the outer sect’s Task Hall relied on the inner sect’s existence. The elders within also had their own factions.
Just like Elder Xie, Elder Li, and Elder Hu who’d already appeared. The three of them all belonged to three different factions.
Under the accompaniment of two inner sect disciples, Gongyi Tianheng went to receive his own payment, and didn’t encounter any difficulties. His token was quickly approved and he received a Fangcun Cloth with an even bigger volume. The medicinal pills, rulebooks that introduced the inner sect, and so on were all virtually the same as the ones from the outer sect.
When it came to the differences, it was just that inner sect disciples only needed to focus on cultivation. They didn’t need to farm on their own. In addition, after entering the inner sect, one had ten more slots for nominal disciples, which could be assigned by inner sect disciples at will. It was just that they still needed to take responsibility for them by themselves. Moreover, there was something in the inner sect called contribution points that connected everything together. Many medicinal pills and resources that circulated within the sect could only be exchanged using contribution points. Furthermore, a fixed amount of contribution points could even be used in exchange for nominal disciple tokens. It could be said that its usefulness was extensive.
As for the places where inner sect disciples lived, there were two choices.
One was still the courtyards where everyone assembled together. Only, these courtyards were much bigger than the ones in the outer sect. There were neighbors in all directions. The other one was a small valley. The valleys were naturally more hidden than courtyards. Unfortunately, these valleys didn’t have enough residences. The nominal disciples who followed could only live on Labor Street with the subordinates of other inner sect disciples who possessed valleys.
To put it plainly, the treatment of nominal disciples in the inner sect was equal to part-time workers.
Both places had their advantages and both placed had their inconveniences. It depended on what each inner sect disciple chose.
When it was time for Tianheng to decide, he selected the valley without the slightest hesitation.
He had too many secrets. Moreover, while there were few residences in the valley, the land was vast. It was just the right fit for him and Gu Zuo.
In the future, when there were many nominal disciples and not all of them could be put together, only a couple of the most trusted ones would be allowed to reside in that valley.
Xun Suying and Liu Wuyan were glad to see Tianheng’s choice.
They knew about the business deal between Tianheng and Fu Manduo. When concealed within this valley, the possibility of secrets being leaked was certainly small. This channel of theirs could persist for an even longer period of time.
After delivering Gongyi Tianheng and the others to the valley, the two said their goodbyes.
Liu Wuyan said: “Senior Sect Brother Zhao Yuheng has already started to act. If there’s any news, you’ll certainly be told immediately.”
Xun Suying also said: “Don’t worry, junior sect brother. When you get the news, those fellow countrymen of yours will also be informed.”
Gongyi Tianheng cupped his hands in thanks once more: “I’ll have to trouble my seniors.”
After they departed, Tianheng and the others entered the valley.
This valley was quite remote, but as far as Tianheng was concerned, it perfectly suited his intentions.
— He was willing to make friends and contacts, but if these contacts dropped by at all times, he wouldn’t be too happy about it.
Valleys also had another benefit compared to courtyards. There were natural prohibition talismans of the sect here. Even if it was an Immortal Realm martial artist, it would be impossible for them to spy on things inside. It would make one feel even more relieved when it came to the matter of guarding secrets.
Tianheng’s token flickered with rays of light, already bringing them into the valley. The ambient qi of the inner sect was richer than the outer sect’s. And the valley’s ambient qi was richer than the qi of the inner sect’s ordinary locations.
Gu Zuo sized up the valley.
Their stay at the outer sect didn’t reach two months, but if nothing unexpected happened, their stay in the inner sect would be a considerably long time.
This valley would also be a place where they’d living for a long time.
Within the valley was a field that had already been prepped. It had an area of about six mu. It seemed that the area of land they were supplied with was a little more than half of what the outer sect gave them. However, all the things they planted and grew here were theirs. They didn’t need to allocate anything to the sect. All told, they would still be making a profit.
About ten meters from the edge of the field, there was a stream that was two meters wide. It ultimately fed into a pool with a five meter radius.
This pool was very strange. One side received the stream’s water, but the other side had a hot spring. It was truly bizarre.
On the other side of the stream were several wooden houses. Similarly, there was one big house and several small houses. There was also open space surrounding them. This was probably to allow for expansion. At the border of the mountain walls were several caves that were close to the ground. They were completely empty inside.
To Gu Zuo, it seemed those caves were actually places that were suitable for practicing martial arts or refining medicine.
Merely, in the entire valley, what Gu Zuo was most satisfied with was still the several mu of land.
When they were previously in the outer sect, he didn’t dare wantonly use the Growth Hastening Medicinal Decoction, which he made to speed up the growth of vegetation. But in this valley, he didn’t need to worry.
He was convinced that, under the effects of the Growth Hastening Medicinal Decoction, not only could he provide his big brother with planted Scarlet Blood Rice, maybe he could hasten the growth of many other Human-Level Medicinal Herbs. He could save so much money…
T/N: Thanks for the corrections, Charysa!
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