When they arrived at the foot of the Heavenly Bamboo, many cultivators crowded around, pointing at the ranking list.
Someone said, “This year’s competitors are no good. So far, the one in the first place has been wrong three times. Back then during Jing-laozu’s time, countless talented people were gathered here. Now, Luo Binnan, Wei Zhentu, and the others have reached golden core already.”
Another person agreed. “Yeah, and Jing-laozu is the only one who has never made a mistake since the bamboo-picking event… Jing-laozu?”
Seeing the person talking to him suddenly froze, the one who spoke earlier followed the other person's line of sight, and his eyes widened.
Not far away, a cultivator looked exactly like the picture scroll of Jing Yue they had seen before.
Many years after his rebirth, Jing Yue gradually got used to this kind of shameful flattery. He smiled at those people before he turned and asked Wu Dao-zhenren, “When will the bamboo-picking event end?”
Wu Dao-zhenren, “It should be soon, half a day at most.”
Jing Yue nodded and turned his attention to the ranking list.
Seeing him like this, Wu Dao-zhenren tentatively said, “Laozu, is the disciple you mentioned on this Heavenly Bamboo?”
Jing Yue, “Exactly.”
Wu Dao-zhenren, “May I ask which rogue cultivator?”
Just as Jing Yue was about to speak, he saw a green bamboo leaf appear behind the first name on the list. He smiled and said, “It’s not a rogue cultivator but him.”
Him? The new bamboo picker? That’s not right. This bamboo picker already belonged to a sect.
Wu Dao-zhenren was puzzled when he saw Jing Yue take out a bamboo knife from his pocket and slashed at the Heavenly Bamboo!
Wu Dao-zhenren turned pale with shock but saw a ball of green light floating from the Heavenly Bamboo. After landing, it transformed into a four or five-year-old boy, dressed in a green robe and with long green hair.
At that moment, he felt an inexplicable closeness and endless vitality from the boy, and an incredulous guess popped up in his mind.
The little boy walked forward on his short legs and saluted Jing Yue. “Thank you, Jing-laozu. Sure enough, I found the right person back then.”
Jing Yue laughed and said, “Why did you become a child?” He handed the bamboo knife to the boy. “I got this from the Boundary Bamboo, so I'll give it to you.”
The little boy was overjoyed and saluted again. “Thank you!”
“Jing-laozu, this is…” Wu Dao-zhenren asked tremblingly.
“This is the disciple I’m sending to Green Bamboo Sanctuary.” Jing Yue said to the little boy. “You can tell the story.”
Boy, “I’m the incarnation of the Heavenly Bamboo, Old Man Tianzhu.”
The place suddenly fell silent, especially the cultivators of Green Bamboo Sanctuary. They had been with the Heavenly Bamboo for many years but no one knew of Old Man Tianzhu born from the Heavenly Bamboo.
This incident must have alarmed the Sect Leader of Green Bamboo Sanctuary. Under everyone’s searing eyes, Old Man Tianzhu told them the whole story. Everyone in Green Bamboo Sanctuary was surprised and delighted. They were about to thank Jing Yue but found that Jing Yue had already left.
At this time, Jing Yue had entered the Haotian Realm.
He planned to enter closed-door seclusion when he returned to the sect. He had a premonition that after his seclusion, he would become a Heavenly Grotto, and he would no longer be able to enter and leave the Haotian Realm at will. Thus, he had to make some arrangements.
Since it was likely to be the last time he came to Haotian Realm, Jing Yue was in no rush. He planned to walk around and see if there were any hidden dangers that he didn't know about.
For three months, Jing Yue almost traveled all over the world with his sword. Now, Mini Frostcloud Sect was extremely powerful in Haotian Realm, and its position was unshakable. He hadn't heard of any wrongdoings about Mini Frostcloud Sect either.
Jing Yue gradually relaxed and finally set foot on the Western Continent.
On this day, he came to a small village on the border of Chen Kingdom and was about to go slowly to Flying Blossoms Mountain when he heard a burst of crying.
He frowned and hurried over.
An old man hugging an eight or nine-year-old girl knelt in front of a Daoist, wiping his tears and saying, “We only have Xiaoduo left in our family now. Her two older brothers have been taken away by Mini Frostcloud Sect with no news of them for ten years. Please have mercy and let Xiaoduo stay at home.”
The Daoist said indifferently, “Your child is born with spiritual roots. It’s your honor and blessing to be favored by an immortal sect. If they ascend to the upper realm one day, it can be seen as bringing glory to your ancestors.”
Old man, “I don't expect them to bring glory to our family. I just hope to see them again. The children's mother kept thinking about them before she died and asked me to take good care of Xiaoduo. I’d promised her.”
Daoist, “Dao is meant to sever all feelings and emotions. Do you want to stop their great path?”
The old man said anxiously, “I don’t…”
The Daoist flicked his sleeves and said impatiently, “You should know what’s good for you.”
After saying that, he grabbed the girl. Ignoring the cries of the girl and the old man, he turned around and wanted to leave.
“Wait a minute.”
The Daoist who grabbed the girl paused. An unfamiliar Daoist came forward and asked him, “Are you a disciple of Mini Frostcloud Sect?”
The Daoist's eyes flickered and he put on a haughty look. “Exactly. Fellow Daoist, where do you come from?”
Jing Yue raised his eyebrows. “You are a disciple of Mini Frostcloud Sect, but you don't know me?”
Daoist, “Who are you?”
“Hehe.” With a wave of Jing Yue's sleeve robe, the Daoist flipped a somersault. The girl who was caught by the Daoist fell to the ground. The girl screamed but felt a soft force supporting her so she didn't feel any pain.
The girl was relieved. She saw the Daoist who grabbed her earlier being captured by the beautiful Daoist later, and the two disappeared in a few steps.
Jing Yue took the Daoist to Flying Blossoms Mountain. Along the way, the Daoist kept yelling, threatening that he was the direct disciple of the Sect Leader of Mini Frostcloud Sect, and if he dared to offend him, he would be beaten to death by Sect Leader Jing.
Jing Yue remained silent and watched as the Daoist bragged, but the blue phoenix kept talking back in his mind, making Jing Yue want to throw it into the Sumeru Ring. If not for consideration of the dragon skeleton in the ring, Lan Ji-ji would probably be imprisoned for several days again.
The Daoist finally shut up when he arrived at Flying Blossoms Mountain, his eyes full of fear.
When the Daoist saw a group of Mini Frostcloud Sect disciples coming out of the barrier and greeting their Sect Leader, he burst into tears and confessed, “Sect Leader Jing, please forgive me for not recognizing you!”
Jing Yue threw him to the ground. “When did I accept you as my disciple? Why don’t I know this?”
The Daoist's face turned red, and he hesitated and said, “Of course, Sect Leader Jing wouldn’t take a fancy to my poor aptitude. I'm talking nonsense. Please don’t take it to heart.”
Some Mini Frostcloud Sect disciples were puzzled. “Sect Leader, who is this person?”
Jing Yue briefly explained the incident just now, and everyone was angry. They had been taught by Sect Leader Jing, and they had always been cautious in their words and deeds. Who would have thought that some bold people dared to pretend to be sect disciples and tarnish the reputation of Mini Frostcloud Sect!
“Where did you come from, and what is your purpose?”
Faced with the disciples’ interrogation, the Daoist had no choice but to tell the truth.
It turned out that he was a disciple of a small Daoist sect in Qi Kingdom. It was Luoshan Sect, and the sect leader was only at Foundation Establishment stage.
In the early years, Qi Kingdom, Xiang Kingdom, and Chen Kingdom were located in a valley, making it inconvenient to go out. Luoshan Sect could still receive some talented disciples every few years. But since Mini Frostcloud Sect developed aggressively, they had not received any new disciples for several decades.
Seeing that the sect was declining day by day, the Sect Leader decided to take the initiative after much consideration. He ordered his disciples to search the towns and villages on the borders of the Three Kingdoms, and they found some potential talents with four or five spiritual roots. But when they heard that it was Luoshan Sect, they all refused. When asked why, they wanted to try Mini Frostcloud Sect after learning they had spiritual roots.
The disciples of Luoshan Sect were very angry and simply pretended to be Mini Frostcloud Sect.
Over the past ten years, Luoshan Sect also managed to lure a few disciples up the mountain but dared not let them down, lest outsiders found out the truth and affect their ‘recruitment’ plan.
“We really didn't do it on purpose. There’s almost no one in the sect now,” the Daoist cried bitterly. “In the past 200 years, the disciples in the sect have been falling, and now there are only seven or eight disciples left. Even many trivial matters have to be done by the Sect Leader personally.”
After listening to the Daoist, the Mini Frostcloud Sect disciples were all silent. They didn't do anything, but why do they feel so guilty?
Jing Yue coughed dryly. Unexpectedly, Mini Frostcloud Sect had swallowed all the cake and didn’t even leave any crumbs for the surrounding small sects, so he felt a little embarrassed for a while.
“Um, is the Luoshan Sect interested in being a part of my Mini Frostcloud Sect?”
The Daoist raised his head abruptly, his eyes glowed with blazing light, and he said decisively, “Yes!”
Jing Yue, “…Can you make the decision?”
Daoist, “I’m the direct disciple of the leader of Luoshan Sect. I’m not lying this time. I know that Shizun has long yearned for Mini Frostcloud Sect, but he has been struggling to hang on because he was worried that Mini Frostcloud Sect will not accept him as a disciple.”
Jing Yue, “But the legacy of your sect…”
Daoist, “A small faction like us has no legacy to speak of. Once we pack everything, we can carry our bags to Flying Blossoms Mountain!”
Seeing his eagerness to join the sect immediately, Jing Yue was at a loss to react. He asked his disciples to bring the Daoist to settle down and told them to check out Luoshan Sect before he went to the main hall.
Now that Mini Frostcloud Sect had grown in scale, the main hall was also built in a very imposing manner, not as shabby as it used to be.
At this time, Daoist Tian Luo and a group of Frostcloud Sect’s rotating disciples got the news and waited excitedly outside the hall. Jing Yue chatted with them for a while before he held a private conversation with Daoist Tian Luo.
“I haven't seen you for a while. You have already reached the absolute level of golden core,” Jing Yue said in gratification.
Facing Jing Yue today, Daoist Tian Luo was no longer as arrogant as he used to be, and said gratefully, “The Zhenren who came from the main sect gave me a lot of help.”
Jing Yue nodded slightly. “I have something I hope you will consider now.”
Daoist Tian Luo, “Sect Leader, please speak your mind.”
Jing Yue, “In a few days, I’ll break through Amethyst Abode and step into Heavenly Grotto, and I won’t be able to enter Haotian Realm again. But the Mini Frostcloud Sect cannot be without a sect leader even for a day. Over the years, Zhenren has taken care of Mini Frostcloud Sect very well. I wonder if you have any intention to take over the position as leader of Mini Frostcloud Sect.”
Seeing the shock on Daoist Tian Luo's face, Jing Yue added, “It doesn't matter if you don't want to. Frostcloud Sect will welcome you anytime. When you enter Amethyst Abode, you can also take up the position as an elder in Frostcloud Sect.”
Daoist Tian Luo hesitated. He knew that the World of Seven Continents was much better than Haotian Realm in all aspects, and Frostcloud Sect was not comparable to Mini Frostcloud Sect. But when he looked at the hall where he was, and thought of the first time he came to Flying Blossoms Mountain many years ago, and thought of all these years, he finally said, “Thank you for your kindness, Sect Leader. I’d like to take the position of Sect Leader. I want to accompany Mini Frostcloud Sect for a longer time.”
Jing Yue was overjoyed. He stood up and bowed to Daoist Tian Luo. “I’ll leave this place in your good hands!”
After dealing with the trivial matters of Mini Frostcloud Sect, Jing Yue returned to the World of Seven Continents again. This time, he flew directly to Frostcloud Sect.
When he arrived at the mountain gates, he saw the receiving disciples beaming with joy. He smiled and said, “What's the matter? What's the happy occasion?”
Jing Yue’s spirits were lifted. Perhaps Liu Yun had reached the Tribulation Passage too?
Hearing what he said, the disciples all had weird expressions on their faces, and Jing Yue couldn’t figure out their complicated gazes.
“What's the matter?”
Jing Yue, “What’s the occasion?”
The disciples looked at each other, and one said timidly, “Laozu, aren’t you about to go through the Dao partner ceremony with Qin-zhenjun of Sword Inscription Sect?”
Jing Yue, “………………………………”