Qin Mu felt a deep sense of veneration.
The Dao Sect of the celestial heavens didn't have many real Daoists. It had become a place for descendants and disciples of powerful and influential families to enhance their social status. On the contrary, the Dao Sect of Eternal Peace had plenty of real Daoists. They dedicated themselves to the study of Dao and algebra, developing the paths, skills and, divine arts of Eternal Peace.
The middle-aged Daoist, Su Maiqing, a relinquished disciple of the celestial heavens' Dao Sect, created a Dao Sect in the Primordial Realm. He was worthy of respect and admiration.
Also, Qin Mu had heard some rumors about this particular relinquished disciple. He was originally from the celestial heavens' Dao Sect and had descended to the lower bound during the later years of the High Emperor Era.
He was partially responsible for the advancement of the paths, skills, and divine arts during the Founding Emperor Era.
Forging techniques had reached high attainments during the Founding Emperor Era. However, the forging of divine weapons, battleships, god cities, and the reform of formation spells, all required algebra.
During that time, the algebra of the Dao Sect was a major driving force of the Founding Emperor Era.
Even going as far as saying that he had a part to play in Sakra Li Youran's creation of Carefree Village.
The appearance of this middle-aged Daoist was unremarkable and not as prominent as the four great heavenly kings and the four great heavenly teachers of the Founding Emperor Era. However, his contribution and impact were significant.
People who were good at battles often produced predictable successful battles rather than sensational ones that were eye-catching. Daoist Su Maiqing was one such person.
"It's my good fortune to meet Dao Master Su here."
Qin Mu smiled and said, "When I was in Eternal Peace, my relationship with the two generations of the Dao Sect's Dao Masters wasn't bad. I didn't expect to actually meet Dao Master Su here. Dao Master Su, the Dao Sect you left behind in the lower bound, it is now a pillar of Eternal Peace's reform."
Su Maiqing hurriedly said, "Celestial Venerable, please don't say it like this. I'm not a Dao Master anymore, I have long since given up that position. I'm now a wandering Daoist, teaching here to pass the time. Whatever achievements belong to Eternal Peace's Dao Sect, not me."
Qin Mu had good feelings towards him. Su Maiqing was a founder of Eternal Peace's Dao Sect. However, he didn't claim credit for himself, unlike some people who always tried to attribute all sorts of achievements to themselves.
"Did Celestial Venerable Mu come here to prepare for his battle with His Majesty that is going to take place two months from now?"
The middle-aged Daoist blinked his eyes and smiled. "You can consider it a mistake to have come here to seek Founding Emperor's paths, skills, and divine arts. You should get yourself to high ground and monitor the geographical trends of Supreme Emperor Heaven."
Qin Mu was stunned as he cried out, "Daoist, how could you divulge Founding Emperor's sword path to me? By doing this, you are betraying Founding Emperor!"
"In that case, Celestial Venerable Mu has comprehended Founding Emperor's 33 heavens of the sword path?"
Su Maiqing smiled. "I have revealed too much and have underestimated the wisdom of Celestial Venerable Mu. I have betrayed the celestial heavens before, so it's no big deal betraying Founding Emperor. When Carefree Village was being set up, I stood on the side of Wen Tiange and believed we shouldn't establish Carefree Village. The difference is that I wasn't as resolute as Wen Tiange."
He sighed, frowning until vertical lines appeared on his forehead. He then said, "That year, when the Founding Emperor Calamity erupted, I followed Founding Emperor and left. In the end, I came and stayed here for 20,000 years, feeling depressed since I couldn't fulfill my ambitions. Ultimately, I was unable to pull myself together, so I stayed in the bottommost level of Carefree Village to teach. Wen Tiange was more resolute than me and refused to enter Carefree Village. He remained outside, leading remnant armies to fight on, never setting foot here. I often thought, had I been as resolute as him and fought until the end, maybe His Majesty wouldn't have come to Carefree Village."
He fell into a daze and seemed a little inarticulate.
Qin Mu's eyes flickered, and he said, "You want to enlist my help in forcing Founding Emperor out of Carefree Village?"
Su Maiqing chuckled. "How can a Daoist have such treasonous thoughts? The first form of Founding Emperor's sword path, Supreme Emperor Heaven Quelling Sword, is hidden in the vein lines of Supreme Emperor Heaven's geography. This sword is Founding Emperor's first sword, his first heaven, and it is truly powerful."
He broke off a tree branch and used it as a sword to display the Supreme Emperor Heaven Quelling Sword.
As the tree branch moved in the air, its strokes were made up of basic sword techniques with an impressive air. The strokes then transformed into the sun, moon, mountains, and rivers. As the strokes became more unrestrained, they formed majestic mountains and rivers, giving off an aura that was capable of leveling the chaos in heaven and earth.
After Su Maiqing had displayed the move, he held the branch in his hands and carefully planted it into the soil. He said, "This little shoot will one day become a towering tree."
Qin Mu closed his eyes and recollected the Supreme Emperor Heaven Quelling Sword that Su Maiqing just displayed. After some time, he opened his eyes and bowed to express his thanks. "Thank you, Dao Master, for your guidance. Dao Master, I have something I don't understand. Why did the reform of the Founding Emperor Era stop after Founding Emperor came to Carefree Village?"
After Su Maiqing was done planting the tree, he got up and straightened himself. He grinned and asked, "Celestial Venerable, what do you think of my spirits today?"
Qin Mu frankly said, "Gloomy, pale, and without fighting spirit."
Su Maiqing laughed. "That is the spirit of the entire Carefree Village."
Qin Mu was stunned.
"Founding Emperor's reform followed the will of the heavens and wishes of the people. The theme of the reform was determined by Wen Tiange. It was mainly to guard and protect."
Su Maiqing visualized some water and used it to water the tree branch as he said, "The gods guard and protect the people, serving them and making their lives better. The people groomed divine arts practitioners who would go on to become gods, creating a virtuous cycle. The more divine arts that were created by divine arts practitioners and gods, the stronger and more prosperous the Founding Emperor Era would be. However, when the Founding Emperor Calamity erupted, the gods stopped protecting the people."
He looked at that little tree sprout, seemingly in a daze. After some time, he sighed. "The gods abandoned the people and left. Therefore, the entire spirit of the era instantly evaporated, and the reform was halted. There are people in the imperial court praising Carefree Village for absorbing the masters of creation's visualization concepts, so the reform is still ongoing. They praised until the heavens shook loudly, to the point that they actually believed it. I, on the contrary, refused to believe!"
He gave a snort, turning to leave as he said, "I don't believe it! The base for reform is gone, and its theme is now useless. They spent all their time praising and bragging, but where is the reform? Loads of rubbish, flattery, and fawning. I won't associate myself with them. I hope you can beat up Founding Emperor until he becomes sober!"
Qin Mu was stunned, watching him as he left.
Shu Jun came over and followed his gaze. He saw Su Maiqing's back view and asked puzzledly, "What is holy infant looking at?"
Qin Mu composed himself and laughed. "It's just that I suddenly experienced some thoughts and emotions. Divine King, are you done?"
Shu Jun nodded and said, "I have familiarized myself with the paths, skills, and divine arts of the past million years. Although I'm not entirely clear about the path I am going to take in the future, this has given me some form of a plan. Shall we rise up into the air to see Supreme Emperor Heaven's geography?"
"There's no need."
Qin Mu smiled and said, "I have already grasped Founding Emperor's Supreme Emperor Heaven Quelling Sword. Let's go to Carefree Village's Supreme Brightness Heaven."
Shu Jun was puzzled. Nevertheless, he followed him and flew towards Supreme Brightness Heaven.
Supreme Brightness Heaven was connected to Supreme Emperor Heaven by a divine mountain, along with two heavens. The two reached the foot of the divine mountain and flew to its peak, entering Supreme Brightness Heaven.
They then did the same thing again, finding the biggest academy in Supreme Brightness Heaven and indulging themselves in the academy's entire book collection.
Qin Mu was still faster than Shu Jun by a step. He finished viewing the book collection before him and had memorized them to heart.
He was about to leave the library when a voice suddenly said coldly behind him, "Celestial Venerable Mu, you lapped up information without digesting it. Based on your casual browsing, do you think you can solve His Majesty Founding Emperor's sword techniques and defeat him? That is wishful thinking!"
Qin Mu looked in the direction where the voice came from and saw a big burly man with thick eyebrows and big eyes. On his back, he carried a sword case, revealing several sword hilts.
He had already met an expert who wasn't mesmerized by his consciousness illusion, hence when this burly man appeared not to be affected by it, he wasn't very surprised.
After all, Carefree Village had plenty of experts from the Founding Emperor Era. After they migrated there, some fell into depression and became ambitionless, hiding there and living a secluded life.
Qin Mu asked, "May I ask who you are?"
"Founding Emperor's Sun Guardian, Yan Rinuan."
The burly man put down his sword case and grabbed a sword hilt. He tugged at it forcefully but failed to pull out the sword. He scratched his head and said, "Celestial Venerable Mu, please wait a moment. I haven't drawn my sword for 20,000 years. This treasure that I refined has become rusty."
He continued to tug at it with all his strength and finally managed to draw a sword out. It was littered with spots of heavy rust.
'The sword isn't rusty. What's rusty is the Sun Guardian's sword heart.'
Qin Mu examined his treasured sword and laughed. 'The rust on the Sun Guardian's sword heart is indeed very serious.'
"Wait for me to polish it!"
The burly man, Yan Rinuan, walked out of the library and came to a small stream beside the academy. He began to polish the rusty sword, the rust turning the stream red.
Yan Rinuan panted as he polished his sword. The more he polished, the rustier the sword became. He got a shock and fell into a daze by the river.
Qin Mu stood behind him, quietly waiting.
He then saw the shoulders of this burly man moving, not knowing when he had started crying. His tears were like fire, flying out from his eyes and transforming into flames that danced in the air.
"What do I want this sword for? What is it useful for? This f*cking sword can't even be polished."
He suddenly rose and jabbed the sword at Qin Mu!
Qin Mu stood there motionlessly. Around him was sword light, which was emitting "chi chi" noises.
Yan Rinuan waved his sword, and the rust spotted sword transformed into a rust world around Qin Mu. The world looked like a steel world invaded by time, and it was filled with a decadent and decaying aura.
"If the heart isn't clear, then the sword won't be clear. Even the Supreme Brightness Flood Sword has become rusty!"
Yan Rinuan gave off a loud roar while his sword danced at a quicker pace. He continued to roar angrily as he flew up and stabbed forward with his sword. He cried in rage, "What is this rusty sword good for? What use do I have for a rusty heart? In the past, my sword was only slightly inferior to Founding Emperor's quick sword. It was a scorching sword! Now, it isn't quick, and my sword and heart aren't hot anymore!"
He looked like he had descended into madness as he displayed the second form of Founding Emperor's sword path, Supreme Brightness Flood Sword.
The scene of the rust-filled Supreme Brightness Heaven floating around Qin Mu was one that would shock the hearts of the people.
After displaying his move, Yan Rinuan gave in to the rage in his heart and threw his sword away as far as he could.
However, he regretted it and ran over to pick up his sword. He then continued to polish his sword by the stream as he cried.
Shu Jun walked over and asked puzzledly, "What happened to him?"
"His Dao heart was hurt."
Qin Mu said, "Let's go to Pure Brightness Heaven to have a look."
Shu Jun hesitated before saying, "Initially, when I looked at the paths, skills, and divine arts of Carefree Village, I found them novel. After going through two book collections of two big academies, I discovered that most of them are repeated. Holy infant, there's no need to visit other heavens' academies."
Qin Mu laughed and said, "There's no harm in going to take a look."
Shu Jun had no choice but to follow along. The two arrived at Pure Brightness Heaven. Before they could find the academy, they saw an old man by the road, burning joss paper in front of a grave. He was on the ground, crying. "Qin Ye, you died young. Such a terrible death—"
Shu Jun laughed. "Old man, I had a friend as courageous as you. He dared to insult the Grand Emperor. When I visited him the next year, the grass on his grave was as tall as a man."
Qin Mu felt a deep sense of veneration.