‘The Purple Sun Sect’ — this name was a legendary existence to the alliance of the sixteen kingdoms.
The hidden sects were exceedingly mysterious in the eyes of the common kingdoms, and were holy places that others greatly yearned for. If a common practitioner could attract the attention of a hidden sect, then he would surely become an immortal, and those near him could ride his coattails to success as well.
There was no shortage of hidden sects within the alliance of the sixteen kingdoms. But there were four that were considered the strongest — and the Purple Sun Sect was one of them.
On this day, sunlight had just struck the hallowed grounds of the Purple Sun Sect.
A surface of water that was as smooth as a mirror presented a boundless sight. It shimmered as ripples moved across it, giving others a feeling of stately holiness.
This body of water was named the Shuiyue Lake. There were interconnecting islands within the lake, scattered all over like stars in the sky, or pieces on a chessboard. This was the place where the line of Shuiyue of the Purple Sun Sect resided.
Gentle light wreathed the Shuiyue Lake as an auspicious air circled the islands.
At this moment, within a jeweled hall somewhere deep within the depths of an island, was the Master Shuiyue’s base of operations —
A plaque was hung over the great door, marking the entrance into the hall. The words “Shuiyue” were carved into it with a Chinese calligraphic style used for seals. It was majestic and grand, with an artistic feeling about it.
Within the hall, Chu Xinghan stood with his hands hanging by his side, while Yu Jie and Long Juxue both stood to the right of him. All of them had lowered their heads and were looking downwards. No one dared to make a sound.
A woman was sitting cross-legged on the lotus throne in front of them. She looked to be roughly thirty years old; her features were elegant, and an ethereal air could be found in her luxurious self bearing.
Except, when her eye of justice opened slightly, it was suffused with a power that both shocked and awed onlookers.
“Xinghan, go over the particulars of this matter from beginning to end once again, and leave nothing out. Yu Jie and Juxue, you two listen as well. You must fill in the gaps if senior brother Xinghan misses any parts.”
The lady on top of the lotus throne was obviously Master Shuiyue.
Chu Xinghan nodded, as he went over everything in his mind once again. He then took in a deep breath, and carefully explained in detail all that had happened at the Second Crossing.
Chu Xinghan particularly conveyed the words of the mysterious expert — he conveyed those without leaving a single word out. He portrayed those in their entirety and didn’t dare make the slightest mistake.
Once Chu Xinghan had finished, Master Shuiyue faintly raised her eyebrow, and looked at Yu Jie and Long Juxue, obviously looking for their affirmation.
“Honored master, senior brother Xinghan has been quite thorough. That was indeed how the mysterious expert spoke. That Jiang Chen was indeed wildly arrogant. He didn’t give the line of Master Shuiyue any respect to begin with.” Yu Jie grit his teeth with anger directed towards Jiang Chen when he recalled that battle.
“Nonsense such as this doesn’t need to be spoken.” Master Shuiyue snorted lightly. She was also quite dissatisfied with Yu Jie’s incompetency in getting things done.
If Yu Jie had been able to take care of this matter decisively and cleanly, Chu Xinghan may not have needed to make a move, and perhaps even the mysterious expert wouldn’t have been able to make it to the scene in time.
Of course, this was just a hypothesis.
When she considered the situation as a whole, Master Shuiyue was truly disappointed by Yu Jie’s incompetency.
At the heart of it all, Master Shuiyue was a very biased person who shielded shortcomings and faults. She already knew of the feud between Jiang Chen and Long Juxue. With her biased personality, she would definitely strike out on Long Juxue’s behalf.
Although Chu Xinghan had conveyed the mysterious expert’s tone with seeming seriousness, but Master Shuiyue had been proud and alone all her life. Who had she ever feared?
How could she possibly turn a blind eye to the matters of her disciple just because of a few threatening words?
“Xue’er, strange phenomenon of the heavens and earth were triggered when you were born. What does this mean? It means that you are a gifted genius of martial dao. At the end of it all, the martial dao practitioners of our generation must cleanly sever the ties that hold us down. Therefore, if you don’t gain vengeance for your family’s grievance, it will surely leave behind a shadow in your heart and affect your future training. Your master will keep this issue of your vengeance within my heart.”
Long Juxue was accustomed to playing coy and knew that Master Shuiyue would coddle her. She sobbed slightly, lowly. “Xue’er has no family or patron now. I can now only look to my honored master to act on my behalf.”
Master Shuiyue had trained for more than half her life, and her reputation of being biased was renowned throughout the sects.
“Who is this Jiang Chen that he can compel a great Swordbird army to fight for him and be so fearless of death?”
Even someone as strong as Master Shuiyue could make neither heads nor tails of this matter. One had to know that it wasn’t a matter of having great strength to compel spirit beasts and fowl to battle.
There were those who were adept at mobilizing spirit animals to battle within the sects, but each sect had their own unique methods.
Some leveraged written talismans, and others used secret incantations or other mysterious arts of control. Of course, there were those who used their divine abilities to dominate the spirit animals into becoming their own fighting strength.
But no matter which sect it was, those were secrets that wouldn’t be passed on.
Even within the vast Purple Sun Sect there were almost none who possessed this power. The Purple Sun Sect was almost a completely blank piece of paper in the arena of compelling spirit animals to battle.
Therefore, Master Shuiyue was rather curious with regards to this Jiang Chen.
However, although she was curious, Master Shuiyue still placed a heavier emphasis on the genius who was Long Juxue. An innate constitution such as the azure phoenix constitution also numbered amongst the scant few when making a general observation of the history of the Purple Sun Sect.
What did it mean to be born with such a constitution?
This meant that one would be able to easily set foot into the spirit dao with almost no barriers. The path of training after entering the spirit dao would also be much smoother when compared with ordinary spirit dao practitioners, and their speed of improvement would also be much faster.
“Xinghan, your master is giving you a mission. Go investigate Jiang Chen’s origins, but remember, do not make a move against Jiang Chen.”
Master Shuiyue gave her orders to Chu Xinghan, but she was a biased person after all. She cared about both people. Although she favored Long Juxue even more, she couldn’t possibly send Chu Xinghan to his death.
After all, of her disciples, Chu Xinghan was still one of the top three geniuses. Since the mysterious elder had spoken, it would absolutely be inappropriate if she sent her disciples to make a move against Jiang Chen.
There would be fewer reservations as long as they only investigated and didn’t make a move.
“Xue’er.” Master Shuiyue looked towards Long Juxue again. “Although this Jiang Chen knows some unorthodox ways, at the end of the day, his potential is still inferior to yours. Even if he’s had a few fortuitous encounters, it’s still nothing compared to the constitution that you were born with. You will surely leave him behind in eight to ten years.”
The meaning of Master Shuiyue’s words were veiled; what she actually wanted to tell Long Juxue was that “your master will eventually help you get your vengeance.”
However, as a master, she couldn’t send her other strong disciples to kill Jiang Chen, as this might very well attract fatal disasters for the other disciples.
Long Juxue was a smart person and she nodded, “Honored master, the grudge between Jiang Chen and your disciple is utterly irreconcilable. Your disciple will be receiving tutelage from the honored master starting today and will learn the honored master’s divine abilities. It will then be as easy as killing a dog when I meet Jiang Chen in the future.”
Master Shuiyue nodded in satisfaction. “You possess an innate constitution alright. Your potential and comprehension is top class. Xue’er, if you kill Jiang Chen through using the efforts of others, you will unavoidably leave behind a slight stain on your training. This stain may affect you when you are scaling to even higher levels in your path of martial dao in the future. You possess an innate constitution, and your master is far beneath you in terms of potential. There may even come a day in the future in which you claim the highest rank of power within the entire Purple Sun Sect, not to mention being the head of the line of Shuiyue.”
Long Juxue thinned out her lips slightly and her beautiful head inclined a bit. “Xue’er will be certain to train diligently as to live up to honored master’s great kindness, and obtain face for the line of Shuiyue.”
One had to say, Long Juxue was quite skilled at fathoming the human heart. She could tell from Master Shuiyue’s words that this honored master greatly valued the line of Shuiyue, and dearly wished to shine with pride and glory throughout the entire Purple Sun Sect.
Indeed, Master Shuiyue smiled with gratification when she heard those words. “That would be most excellent! I traveled hundreds of kilometers to be the first to arrive in the Eastern Kingdom to form the ties of master and disciple with you. This act is the one act that I am most proud of in my life. Xue’er, you will train with me from today onwards.”
Yu Jie, who was listening below, couldn’t help but feel a bit envious and jealous. One had to know that although he was one of the ten great disciples of the line of Shuiyue, there had been exceedingly few chances for him to receive the honored master’s personal guidance. It had basically been up to him to train once the master had brought him in.
On the few occasions that he had received a few pointers from the master, Yue Jie had been so excited that he’d been unable to sleep for a few days.
The extraordinary prodigy Long Juxue was indeed different from the rest. The honored master wanted to keep Long Juxue by the master’s side for personal tutelage. This was treatment that even senior brother Chu Xinghan hadn’t enjoyed.
Chu Xinghan was expressionless as he didn’t feel anything was inappropriate here.
A thousand things were waiting to be done within the Eastern Kingdom.
Unknowingly, a month had passed since the battle of the Second Crossing. The internal chaos had basically been settled thanks to Princess Gouyu’s connections and charisma, as well as assistance from the other dukes.
Eastern Lu had fallen in the Long family rebellion, and his only son Eastern Lin had been saved by Jiang Chen. Eastern Lin naturally ascended to the throne, becoming the Eastern Kingdom’s new king.
More clarity was also slowly imparted on the situation within the capital. Those vassals of the Duke of Soaring Dragon who deserved to be executed were executed, those who should be pruned were pruned, and those who should be marginalized were marginalized.
The Pill King Garden, for instance, a spirit medicine power that was a dependant of the duke, vanished utterly from the annals of the Eastern Kingdom. All of the members of the Pill King Garden were promptly executed and displayed publicly, with no exceptions granted.
As for the Hall of Healing, due to the fact that it had been at odds with the Duke of Soaring Dragon before, its position rose even higher with the incoming tide. They had been the foremost heavyweight of the kingdom in the market of spirit medicine to begin with. After this battle, their position once again rose even higher and further cemented their place as foremost heavyweight.
Morale was strong within the entire Hall of Healing and a sense of optimism permeated its halls.
However, the lord hallmaster Song Tianxing of the Hall of Healing couldn’t find it within himself to be happy.
This was because the senior executives of the Hall had almost unanimously turned against their own side in the mess created by the Duke of Soaring Dragon and pointed their ire at the third hallmaster, Qiao Baishi. The direct consequences of such an act was Qiao Baishi’s resignation letter.
There would be none of the three heaven-defying pills without Qiao Baishi. Without those three otherworldly pills, the orders that the Hall of Healing had accepted before would all be jokes in comparison.
Although they could cancel orders and return deposits, once a spirit medicine heavyweight like the Hall of Healing started returning deposits, this meant that they would face an unprecedented assault on their reputation and public perception.
Therefore, Song Tianxing couldn’t be happy at all.
It looked like the royal family depended greatly on the Hall of Healing right now, but that was because the royal family had just weathered tremendous chaos and endured great losses. They needed the Hall’s strength.
Speaking for themselves, if the Hall wanted to expand, they would still have to rely on spirit medicine and a variety of products.
Without Qiao Baishi’s three spirit medicines, it would be almost impossible for the Hall of Healing to obtain greater expansion.
Song Tianxing regretted his actions deeply and what had transpired that night. Apart from a few of Qiao Baishi’s diehard supporters, almost all the senior executives had condemned Qiao Baishi, and wanted to hand him over for the Duke of Soaring Dragon’s ministrations.
Song Tianxing had also shown hesitation in that moment and hadn’t firmly supported Qiao Baishi.
The act of placing one step wrong had resulted in all his steps being wrong.