Jing Yue’s spirits lifted. Amazing! Which warrior would even dare to insult the heartthrob, Qin Yanzhi?
He turned his head and saw a young man in blue robes, holding a fan adorned with jewels, smiling gleefully. Looking at his cultivation, he was already at Foundation Establishment stage mid-level.
What was even more surprising was that most of the people around him agreed with him, and no one refuted?
Oh no, there were some too.
Ran Yu said angrily, “What are you talking about?!”
To insult the Mountain Leader was intolerable!
The blue-robed youth turned his eyes to Ran Yu, his eyes lit up, but then it darkened again, wondering, “What’s it to you if I talk about the Qin fellow? Could it be that you are also from the Nine Insects Academy?”
“Of course I am—a disciple of Wu Cang Clan.”
Jing Yue clearly saw Ran Ping nudge Ran Yu secretly, and then the latter changed her words abruptly.
What was wrong? Could it be that there was a grudge against Nine Heaven Academy here?
Blue phoenix, “Of course there is a grudge! Back then, in Luo-zhenjun’s harem, there was a woman named Lil Chili. She was a very jealous woman and dared to love and hate. She was the principal culprit who murdered Luo-zhenjun and also the only one who committed suicide for him. Before Lil Chili died, she said that Luo-zhenjun finally belonged to her.”
“Sigh…” blue phoenix lamented. “Lil Chili was the most beloved daughter of the lord of the beast fortress. She had nine older brothers above her who were quite protective of her, so a group of them went to the academy to make trouble. But the academy had too many supporters. They couldn't afford to offend them, so they had no choice but to return to the beast fortress. Since then, they vowed that the Beast Fort and Nine Heaven Academy would forever be at odds with each other!”
“Because Serenity Town is close to the beast fortress and under their protection, of course they must share the same enemy! But after thousands of years, the current disciples of the Beast Fort are not as radical as before. As long as you don't say that you are a student of Nine Heaven Academy, the beast fortress won’t make things difficult for you. But if you admit it, the beast fortress will definitely not sell you a single spirit beast.”
Blue phoenix’s eyeballs turned around and said, “It’s like Frostcloud Sect and Mauve Aurora Sect fighting each other. You can silently watch among the Mauve Aurora faction, but if you dare to cheer for Frostcloud Sect loudly, you’d be beaten up!”
Jing Yue, “They wouldn’t dare.”
Blue phoenix, “Anyway, that’s what I meant!”
Jing Yue, “I thought you didn’t even know Luo-zhenjun the last time? Why are you so familiar with such gossips now?”
Ji-ji vigorously said, “Ji-ji has grown up a little! I’ve gained more knowledge…”
Of course it wouldn’t say that it was hungry and thirsty after listening to Luo-zhenjun’s story, and went to find all the relevant gossips and indulged in it.
Jing Yue flicked a glanced at it and chuckled inwardly. Only a fool couldn’t guess the truth.
On the other side, the young man and Ran Yu were still arguing. The former said, “What the heck is Wu Cang Clan? Have you ever heard of it? Hahaha…”
“Which puny little faction dares to challenge us?”
“Is it a low-rated sect that only has one Golden Core zhenren even if you add up everyone?”
… Bull’s eye.
This time, the Ran siblings were angry. When it came to their own sect, how could they remain calm and gentle?
Ku Sheng felt Ran Yu's anger and its sword aura burst out instantly. Many low-level cultivators screamed abruptly. Although they were not physically injured, under the erosion of the sword energy, they still felt as if they were cut by thousands of swords. They felt as if they were tightly bound by vines and they couldn’t breathe.
The blue-robed youth was unaffected, but his eyes condensed, staring at the sword in Ran Yu's hand, and greed suddenly appeared in his eyes.
How difficult was it to find a sword with sword consciousness? How could it fall into the hands of a Foundation Establishment cultivator from a lowly sect?
The blue-robed youth suddenly became malicious. Even if the sword was not close to him, the sword consciousness was not as strong as a sword spirit. As long as he snatched it away, no matter how reluctant the sword consciousness was, it could only be wielded by the swordsman!
The next moment, the blue-robed youth suddenly made his move!
An ambitious man must be decisive!
“Hey, Qin-zhenjun has made it into the Heavenly Grotto top-100 ranking.”
A voice came from the crowd and the blue-robed youth was shocked. With a cracking sound, he accidentally twisted his waist.
“Oh, it’s true! Exactly on the 100th place. Did he just breakthrough? I haven't heard of it!”
“If he breaks through to Heavenly Grotto stage, he’d directly rank the first on the list, right?”
“Let me see. Hey, old man Tianxiang is missing.”
Ran Yu, who was originally angry, didn’t have time to bother about the blue-robed youth. She squeezed into the crowd and laughed.
“That’s right, Qin-zhenjun killed old man Tianxiang who was originally ranked in the 100th place, so of course he’d enter the Heavenly Grotto ranking! An Amethyst Abode who crushes a Heavenly Grotto, hahaha…”
Her unbridled laughter echoed in the awkward atmosphere, and the faces of the others changed again and again.
Some people were surprised. When did old man Tianxiang die? Some people had heard some rumors before but didn’t take it seriously, and someone said defiantly, “Old man Tianxing is just a low-level Heavenly Grotto. It was only because of his special technique and strong deterrence that he was able to enter the rankings. In terms of strength, he’s not as good as other Heavenly Grotto Zhenjun. That Qin fellow is just lucky!”
This remark inevitably attracted many people to agree. Only Jing Yue knew what exactly happened that day. As he recalled the sword light crisscrossing the sky, he felt that this ranking was very fair.
The ranking of the Flying Immortal List was the result of a comprehensive evaluation. As an Amethyst Abode cultivator, Qin Yanzhi was able to surpass one realm and kill someone, so it was well-deserved for him to be included in the top 100.
Jing Yue looked through the Mountain River list again. The Golden Core zhenren had not changed much, but the rankings of Frostcloud Sect’s disciples rose steadily. However, the rankings of the Foundation Establishment cultivators were almost turned upside down. Just the newcomers alone, Frostcloud Sect had produced six!
In regards to this, of course the Laozu was very satisfied.
Ran Ping was very attentive. He noticed Jing Yue’s line of sight and said, “Based on Jing-shidi’s skills, you’d definitely make a name for yourself during the Bamboo Picking Tournament and garner a spot in the Mountain River List.”
Someone nearby sneered and was just about to be sarcastic when Jing Yue silently took out the token of Frostcloud Sect and looked at it under the sun very graciously. People who saw that immediately shut their mouths, their faces turning blue from suffocation.
As for the young man in blue robe, who had been ill-intentioned and wanted to take the opportunity to make a move, unfortunately twisted his waist again when he saw the giant clock on the token.
An hour later, Jing Yue and the Ran siblings arrived at the beast fortress.
To call it a fortress, it was actually more like a city. The city was divided into many areas, separated by enchantments. Each area had different ecological landscapes suitable for the survival of different species of spirit beasts. There were also many small pavilions in the area with a single species in captivity.
As soon as they entered the reception area of the beast fortress, the steward came forward and asked respectfully, “Hello everyone. Are you looking for some spirit beasts?”
Ran Yu, “We are looking for a Wood Sparrow.”
The man froze for a moment before saying, “Please follow me. According to the rules, a deposit of fifty spirit stones is required to enter the fortress. Once the spirit beast recognizes the master, we will then negotiate the price. If the spirit beast fails to recognize the master, the deposit will not be refunded.”
Ran Yu nodded and said with a smile, “I understand. Thank you.”
She handed over the spirit stones. The steward brought in an attendant and ordered him to take the customers to the area where the wood sparrows inhabit.
When the people left, the steward shook his head, wondering how difficult it was to tame a wood sparrow. Since he had been in charge, countless people tried to get one but few succeeded, unless they had prepared enough beast-suppression talismans and was lucky enough.
Alas, he estimated that this commission was out of reach.
The attendant led them into the forest area. “I’ll leave you here. The wood sparrow is in the middle of the forest area. Please go ahead.”
Entering the barrier, they felt a cool wind blowing across their faces.
A view of sprawling mountains and forests, with old vines entwined and old trees covering the sky, entered their eyes. The air was moist but not humid, only refreshing. Sounds of birds singing entered their ears and the scent of fresh grass in their noses. Along the way, they occasionally saw the spirit deer, the spirit rabbit, and the spirit bird on the treetops, mostly spirit beasts with mild temperaments.
After half an hour of walking, they came to the middle of the forest area.
In front of them, a Skyspirit tree towered into the clouds, with a thick stem, vigorous and ancient, and looked as if it had experienced thousands of years of wind and frost. Many wood sparrows lived on the umbrella-shaped dense branches, chubby and small in appearance, with verdant feathers, a little hard to distinguish when hidden among the lush leaves.
Jing Yue watched around the trees for a while and gave blue phoenix an important task. “Ji-ji, go up and pick a branch for me.”
Blue phoenix flew up to the tree with great enthusiasm. Knowing that wood sparrow is sensitive and timid and it shouldn't take the initiative to hurt it, Ji-ji plucked up the courage to stop at the top of the tree, holding a thin branch in its beak, and twisting it hard.
After a while, it found out that… it couldn’t break it.
Blue phoenix sighed anxiously and spit out the branches.
Suddenly, its beady eyes flashed and its gaze focused on the nest of the wood sparrow. Those nests were all made of branches from the Skyspirit tree. If it took one away secretly, it shouldn’t matter, right?
Blue phoenix cautiously moved towards the nest. When a wood sparrow noticed it, it immediately pretended to turn its head to look away, and chirped twice. When the wood sparrow stopped paying attention to it, blue phoenix took another two steps furtively, approaching the target very slowly...
Under the tree, Jing Yue had already taken out the materials and started to make the special cinnabar required for the beast-suppression talisman.
He prepared all the materials and mixed a little bit of the wood sparrow’s favorite food, Gastrodia seed, and a bit of Celestial Sandstone. Using the flotation method, he put all the raw materials together in the elutriation tray and rotated it left and right. Due to the different proportions of the materials, the impurities would gradually sink to the bottom while the essence floated to the top.
Jing Yue carefully transferred the essence into his pill furnace. Now, he was only waiting for the Skyspirit wood.
Strange. Why wasn’t Ji-ji back yet?
He subconsciously looked up and saw blue phoenix swooping down with a branch in his mouth. Its eyes were frightened, its flight movements were almost frenzied, and behind it was a flight of menacing wood sparrows…
Something felt… off.
When blue phoenix pounced into his arms, the rest of the Wood Sparrows dared not approach, only yelled threateningly, before dispersing.
Blue phoenix spat out the branches, panting, “I'm scared to death! Liar! Who said those fat birds are timid! They are so fierce! They actually racially discriminate against me!”
Jing Yue, “… So, what did you do?”
Ji-ji kicked the pebble on the ground dejectedly. “Jing-jing better don’t ask. Anyway, Ji-ji has completed the task.”
Jing Yue was silent for a while, rubbing blue phoenix's head.
He spread his palms out, using his spiritual energy to ground a small piece of the skyspirit wood into powder, put it into the pill furnace, and then burn it with a slow fire. After about an hour, the cinnabar was successfully refined.
As soon as Jing Yue took out the cinnabar, he smelled the faint fragrance of the Skyspirit wood. This scent made the wood sparrow feel attached, and several of them flew in at once, circling several feet away from Jing Yue.
The Ran siblings, who had been waiting on the side and dared not disturb, immediately smiled when they saw this scene.
Before this, when Jing Yue said that he would produce a new type of beast-suppression talisman, they didn't take it seriously, because asking Jing Yue for help was just an excuse that everyone was aware of, so naturally they didn't care about the result.
But the scene before them made them admire Jing Yue even more. The two didn't understand anything about talisman-making, only felt that the patriarch of Frostcloud Sect was not very old, but seemed to know everything, as if he was omnipotent.
Jing Yue also grew more confident. He recalled the structural pattern of the ordinary beast-suppressing talisman, took out the pen and dipped it with cinnabar, and began to draw the talisman.
The Ran siblings waited with bated breath, feeling extremely nervous.
After several breaths, a blue light flashed on the talisman paper and disappeared promptly.
The talisman was done.
The wood sparrows not far away came closer. It seemed that they wanted to approach but remained vigilant. After a while, a young bird in the flock couldn't bear the smell of the talisman, fell to the ground foolishly, jumped in front of Jing Yue, tilted its head, and looked at him curiously.
Jing Yue immediately stuffed the talisman at Ran Yu, “Quick!”
Ran Yu scrambled for a moment but managed to activate the charm smoothly. The wood sparrow immediately turned directions, half-flying up before stopping on Ran Yu’s shoulder.
It looked at its same species that hovered a few feet away, and then at Ran Yu. The little wood sparrow felt that the person beside it exuded a peaceful and warm nesting atmosphere, as well as the smell of food, so it couldn't help but nudge at her.
Ran Yu seized the opportunity to release her divine consciousness. She noticed that the soul-mind of the wood sparrow had been frozen, and had no resistance to the intrusion of her divine consciousness, and she was immediately exuberant!
Gradually, the divine consciousness of both human and beast merged, and Ran Yu quickly formed a hand-seal, forcing out a drop of her blood essence. The baby bird on her shoulder chirped happily and also released its blood essence. The two blended in mid-air and instantly penetrated between Ran Yu's eyebrows!
Ran Yu was surprised and happy, resisting the scream that was about to burst, and excitedly said, “The bond is complete!”
Jing Yue and Ran Ping looked at each other and smiled, their tightly-wounded bodies finally relaxed.
At this time, the little wood sparrow was even more affectionate towards Ran Yu, jumping on top of her head, pecking and rubbing, looking chubby and cute.
A group of other wood sparrows noticed the relationship between Ran Yu and the young bird and suddenly relaxed. They flew to the ground and started pecking around Jing Yue's bowls and pots full of cinnabar.
Jing Yue instantly broke into a cold sweat. Cinnabar could not be eaten! Did these foolish birds want to be poisoned?
Blue phoenix understood the situation, rushed over to drive them away, but was chased by a few wood sparrows and ran away.
The few remaining were very bold and lost their temper at Jing Yue, wanting to peck him. Jing Yue had no choice but to take out a handful of Gastrodia seeds to feed the birds.
At sunset, the afterglow shone on the stone, and the entire beast fortress was coated under a layer of gold.
The steward looked at the sky and remembered the group that entered the forest today to look for wood sparrows. They were not out yet at this time, so could they be lost? After all, the forest area was quite large, and it wasn’t that it had not happened before.
Just as he was about to send a search party, he saw the attendant he sent before leading the three people out with a dazed expression. The steward hurried forward, and his pupils constricted halfway—the woman had a wood sparrow on her shoulder, and it was very affectionate with her!
This wasn’t right! In the past, even if a cultivator managed to tame a wood sparrow, the spirit bird would always be stunned at first. After all, the wood sparrow didn’t like to approach people, so they were bound to be forced by beast-suppressing talismans to form a bond, so how could they be energetic right after that? It would take at least a few months, or even a year or two, before it would be intimate with the cultivator. Why did this one look as if it found its mother?
The steward was surprised and uncertain. He secretly inspected the juvenile wood sparrow, suspecting that its soul had been controlled, but the bird turned its fat body around, facing him with its butt, still so cold and aloof.
The steward choked and pretended to cough. “Congratulations.”
Ran Yu chuckled, “Thank you.”
He accompanied them back to the reception area, and there was no shortage of inquiries along the way, but he saw the man and woman who looked a bit similar looking at the best-looking teenager.
The steward came to a realization. With a smile on his face, he tentatively asked Jing Yue how he did it.
Jing Yue, “I refined a talisman.”
Oh, and then?
The steward blinked his eyes and looked at Jing Yue expectantly.
Jing Yue, “And then it succeeded.”
Author’s Note: Mini Theater
Divine beast Ji-ji who can’t even beat a bird: Jing-jing, where is Rouge?
Jing-jing: What’s up?
Unhappy Ji-ji: Everyone says between Ji-ji and Rouge, only one can exist. We must have a bad relationship. I want to prove that we’re actually on very good terms!
Jing-jing: Where did your illusion come from?
Ji-ji: One night, I gave him strips of cloth. He invited Ji-ji into the room, and even fed me fruits! Ji-ji was so full!
Jing-jing: How come I didn’t know about it?
Rouge: … Instead of letting it make a din outside, it’s better to stuff some fruits into its beak for some peace and quiet.
Jing-jing suddenly realized: That makes sense, I often do this too!
Jing-jing held the token of Frostcloud Sect and admired it under the sun.
Ji-ji: Jing-jing is getting better at being pretentious. I feel that the training over the years is quite effective.