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Chapter 4

The news that junior sister Xia Yiyao stirred up the Sword Tomb with her actions and obtained the famous sword, which was named Xiao Yu, quickly spread throughout the entire Kunwu sect.

This news suppressed the rumors of the senior sister Yu Xizhi harming her fellow disciples with no one to defend her, and yet, there weren’t many people who cared about the matter anymore.

Occasionally, someone would mention, “Tsk, if a sword from the Sword Tomb were to be taken out, I’d like to be pushed too,” or similar remarks, followed naturally by the oft-repeated question, “Why does Yu Xizhi have such good luck? I also wish I had an older brother like hers. Alas, my mother isn’t capable enough; she dashed my hopes. Sigh.”

Jealousy ran high among the disciples, but unfortunately for Yu Xizhi, she couldn’t refute these words.

Indeed, she did have a good older brother.

——In the beginning, when Master Huaiyun took note of the aptitude of Yu Si and was prepared to bring him up on the Flying Sword, the original owner stubbornly held onto Yu Si sleeves, forcing Master Huaiyun to take both siblings as disciples, thus becoming the second senior sister of Kunwu Mountain.

In theory, if Master Huaiyun eventually agreed, her aptitude might not be outstanding, but it certainly wasn’t ordinary. However, in reality, according to the original book’s storyline, she should have been in a state like this:

While others were laying their foundations, she was refining Qi. While others were forming their cores, she was still refining qi. While others reached the Nascent Soul stage, her qi wasn’t fully refined yet.

Quite distressing.

She didn’t know where exactly the problem lay.

If it was about her aptitude, even if she forcefully held onto Yu Si sleeve back then, Master Huaiyun wouldn’t have taken her to Kunwu if there was truly no hope.

If it was about the improper initiation of the marrow cleansing process, she had tried to circulate her spiritual energy last night. Though not very skilled, she didn’t feel anything wrong either.

Lost in thought.

Yu Xizhi sighed inwardly. If only the original owner had a bit more backbone, her posture might have been a little straighter when she spoke.

She weaved through the crowd discussing the matter, politely saying to the person blocking her way, “Excuse me.”

The young disciples, who were describing with a hint of mockery the scene in the main hall of Taiqing Peak when Yu Xizhi confronted the instructors, paused for a moment, feeling a bit embarrassed, then turned around to smile at Yu Xizhi and quietly made way for her.

Yu Xizhi walked among the various expressions of the people and entered the academy, finding her seat and calmly taking out a small notebook from the side of her sword sheath. She added a few more names to it with a brush, then blew the paper dry and put it back in place.

There were many places for learning in the world; among them, the Jiugong Academy and the Kunwu Academy stood out.

The Jiugong Academy, as the leader among the five schools and three paths of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism, forms its own sect, located far away in the Maoyue Sea.

On the other hand, Kunwu Academy of Kunwu Mountain Sect is situated halfway up the main peak of Taiqing, visible from afar amidst lush greenery, with continuous flying eaves and winding corridors, almost occupying the entire half of the mountain to its base, which is already extremely majestic and vast.

Kunwu Academy is divided into the Upper Three Layers and the Lower Three Layers. Only the direct disciples of the peak masters and those specifically named by the peak masters and sect leaders can enter the Upper Three Layers, while ordinary disciples can only study in the Lower Three Layers throughout their lives.

Therefore, “entering the Upper Three Layers” is also the goal that all Kunwu disciples strive for.

Among the topics of discussion, Yu Xizhi, one of the centers, is currently seated in a classroom on the upper level, her eyes lowered as she gazes at the textbook in front of her.

Becoming stronger is not something that can be accomplished just by talking about it.

There are many paths to strength in the cultivation world, with plenty of crooked paths as well. But regardless, as a disciple under the sect master of the Kunwu Mountain Sect, Yu Xizhi has naturally abundant resources for cultivation, especially considering her mediocre early-stage Qi refining cultivation…

The crooked paths don’t regard her, and she’s not even worthy of taking those paths. Sigh.

Yu Xizhi pondered all night on how to become stronger and carefully recalled the plot. She realized that although the book only briefly mentioned it, it would still be several decades before her character, as a cannon fodder female, died.

——The lifespan of cultivators is extremely long; several decades pass like the blink of an eye, and the big shots often spend hundreds of years in seclusion. But for Yu Xizhi now, this time is already very precious.

Xia Yiyao and she are just in their teens, while Long Aotian is still wasting time in the outer sect of Kunwu. According to the plot, Long Aotian should have just gotten the grandpa’s golden finger, Yao Yu, which is the other half of the Xiaoyu Sword,and there is still a long way to go before the two of them meet.

In other words, she still has time to start over and let the light of righteousness shine on her!

Of course, this excludes the matter that she is stained with the blood of the white-clothed young man… oh no, ancestor—and the monthly trip to collect the medicine.

The white-clothed ancestor was right; she really feels like she has bad luck.

When the cannon-fodder female protagonist has the knife hanging over her head, she can still provoke others, which is quite remarkable.

In addition, the unresolved issues include the strange wound on her fingertips and the heart-wrenching pain she feels on her body.

She has already washed the handkerchief he used to bandage her yesterday and plans to return it the next time she sees the white-clothed ancestor.

And the wound on the back of her hand and fingertips, which has been unable to heal, miraculously showed signs of scarring today. She casually wrapped it with gauze, and the pain in her body eased a lot, presenting a state of getting used to the pain gradually.

But Yu Xizhi subconsciously felt that the relief of these symptoms seemed to be related to the white-clothed ancestor.

The other party seemed to be helping to clean her blood and bandage her wounds, but in fact, who knows what else he did.

Speaking of which… she doesn’t even know who the other party is.

The person who treated her wounds—perhaps they were an elder from Xuecan Peak? But strangely, the other party arranged to meet her at the foot of Qianya Peak.

Qianya Peak is the territory of Kunwu’s junior uncle, and although it’s not considered off-limits like a forbidden area, in the hearts of most Kunwu disciples, it’s not far from it.

Perhaps meeting at Qianya Peak is some kind of disguise for his identity?

But then, what identity would need to be disguised?

The more Yu Xizhi thought about it, the more confused she became.

Fortunately, the next new moon is not far away, and she will soon see that person again.

Yu Xizhi gathered her thoughts and looked back at the book in front of her.

The first step in following the righteous path is, of course, to attend classes at the academy, practice diligently, and strive for breakthroughs.

The book in front of her is very new, without even a crease, and there isn’t even a name written on it, indicating that the original owner never cared much about cultivation.

When she attended classes before, she listened attentively but didn’t really take it to heart because there wasn’t much pressure.

Yu Xizhi looked at the cover of the book, where the words “Refining Qi” were clearly visible through the paper. She adopted the same posture when she flipped through the third day of the fifth lunar month page, calmly raised her hand, and flipped open the first page.

Unfortunately, she only glanced at the table of contents—

“Oh, Second Senior Sister is surprisingly early today.”

A sarcastic voice came from the doorway of the classroom. Ten or so direct disciples from Xuecan Peak walked in together, bringing with them a faint herbal scent in the air. The leader strode over to Yu Xizhi’s side in three or two steps and exclaimed in an exaggerated manner, “Wow, is this a new book Second Senior Sister got from Instructor Chen? We’re already halfway through the course, and Second Senior Sister has just opened the first page!”

Someone else shrugged indifferently. “Gao Xiude, your sourness is about to break through the ceiling of the classroom and float up to the second floor. Second Senior Sister is different from us after all, especially since we don’t have a older brother like Senior Brother Yu to shelter us from the wind and rain.”

Gao Xiude raised an eyebrow and said, “True, Second Senior Sister is different from us. Speaking of which, I’ve already reached the mid-stage of Qi refining. I wonder how Second Senior Sister, who entered the sect three years before me…”

Before he could finish his sentence, he covered his mouth and chuckled twice: “My apologies, Second Senior Sister is the direct disciple of the Sect Master; how could a lowly disciple like me from Xuecan Peak dare to comment?”

This wasn’t the first time Gao Xiude had said such things. When Yu Xizhi first arrived, she always tried to endure, thinking the situation wasn’t familiar and she would tolerate it if she could, but since she now knew she was still inside a book, playing the role of cannon fodder, she didn’t bother to pretend anymore.

Gao Xiude waited to see the girl’s angry yet restrained expression, as in the past. This Second Senior Sister had a gentle and timid personality, but her appearance was truly outstanding in Kunwu. Seeing her biting her lower lip and her eyes reddening, it was just…

His reverie was abruptly interrupted by a voice.

“Since you know you’re overstepping and speaking out of turn, then you should self-punish according to Kunwu’s rules.”

Yu Xizhi sat upright.

Since she had decided not to endure anymore, she couldn’t even be bothered to lift her eyelids to look at him. She simply turned the pages of the book directly, and in the suddenly quiet air, the sound of paper rustling was heard. “Junior Brother Gao is knowledgeable and talented. Despite his young age, he has already reached the mid-stage of Qi refining. I don’t need to remind you of which rule of Kunwu’s you’ve violated, do I?”

Gao Xiude froze in place.

Who was this girl with such a stern tone and an icy demeanor?

The doors of the classroom were pushed open one after another, and the younger disciples from the other peaks who were still in the Qi refining stage walked in. Some of them arrived earlier and naturally heard Yu Xizhi’s words.

Sunlight spilled in from the window, and the girl sitting in the back row by the window had fair skin and black hair like clouds. She seemed to pay little attention to styling her long hair, simply tying it up with a wooden hairpin, allowing her black hair to cascade down loosely, bathed in a layer of iridescent light from the sunlight. Her face was calm, but her naturally smiling eyes carried a hint of amusement. Her fingers flipped steadily through the pages of the book. After a while of silence, she raised her eyes with a surprised expression and said, “Junior Brother Gao? You didn’t really forget, did you?”

Gao Xiude’s face flushed red, his rebuttal on the tip of his tongue, but Yu Xizhi waved her hand indifferently. “If you forgot, then go copy the rules ten times and self-punish accordingly. There’s no need to stand beside me, blocking the light as I read.”

The light for her reading clearly poured in from the window, so what did it have to do with where Gao Xiude was standing?

Gao Xiude naturally realized this, he took a deep breath, feeling the complex gazes and whispered conversations of his fellow disciples, and felt that he had endured to the extreme under such humiliation—

The next moment, he realized that this humiliation could be heightened even further.

“Do you want me to say it directly?” Yu Xizhi sighed, raised her head again, and looked sincerely at him. “Junior Brother Gao, the fragrance of the medicinal field soil on your body, I’m afraid I’m not fortunate enough to enjoy.”

“You—!” Gao Xiude gritted his teeth and shouted a word, reaching back to grab the hilt of his sword.

Despite his cultivation being higher than hers, and even though he was a disciple of the medicinal field at Xuecan Peak, he must have had more combat experience than Yu Xizhi. But she was sitting at the desk, seemingly oblivious, propping her chin on her hand, still staring at him without blinking.

Her gaze was focused and sincere, but it also carried a hint of mockery and provocation. From an angle that others couldn’t see, the corners of her lips even curled up slightly, clearly displaying a contemptuous expression!

Gao Xiude couldn’t bear such provocation anymore and was about to draw his sword!

Without blinking, Yu Xizhi watched him. Although she was a small realm lower than Gao Xiude, she didn’t feel suppressed at all. On the contrary, when she looked at him like this, Gao Xiude’s hand holding the sword actually trembled slightly!

Gao Xiude was shocked to his core. Before he could even think about why this was happening, a hand was already pressing on his shoulder, stopping all his movements.

A clear teenage voice sounded behind him: “Hey, Junior Brother Gao, do you want to draw your sword in the academy in front of your fellow disciples?”

Gao Xiude trembled all over.

The people who came and went to the academy were all youthful in nature. It was inevitable that there would be a lot of friction in their words, especially since Kunwu Mountain Sect was originally a sword sect. Among sword cultivators, disputes were common, and there were many instances of drawing swords without much talk.

Although the Kunwu Mountain Sect didn’t completely forbid disciples from fighting each other, it strictly defined the places where fights could occur. The academy was strictly prohibited from drawing swords. Unless one was a sword cultivator practicing swordsmanship, one had to be disarmed before entering, just like at the Jiugong Academy.

To enforce this prohibition, the academy selected several of the highest-cultivated individuals from various peaks as supervisors, with Yu Si, who is about to reach golden core, being one of them. And the young man, Shen Ye, from Ziyuan Peak in front of her, was also one of them.

“It seems so.”

Yu Xizhi stood up and respectfully bowed to the person who appeared behind Gao Xiude. “Thank you, Senior Brother Shen, for saving my life from Junior Brother Gao.”

As a disciple of Sect Master Huaiyun, she should be addressed as Second Senior Sister by everyone based on her status, but in terms of age and entry time, Yu Xizhi still had to call the clear and elegant young man in front of her Senior Brother.

She gracefully performed a series of gestures as smooth as flowing clouds, and by the time she lifted her head again, she had already blocked all the words Shen Ye might have wanted to use to admonish or reprimand: “Fortunately, Senior Brother Shen arrived in time; otherwise, I’m afraid I would have been injured on the spot.”

She seemed to glance at Gao Xiude with a touch of emotion. “Junior Brother Gao, offending a senior sister, drawing swords among fellow disciples, verbal insults, sowing discord—Junior Brother Gao, it seems like you are testing the bottom line of Kunwu’s rules; isn’t a visit to the Ziyuan Peak disciplinary hall appropriate?”

She paused, then tilted her head slightly. “Or perhaps, Junior Brother Gao, you want me to personally escort you there?”

Gao Xiude’s eyes brightened. With his cultivation, even if he wanted to break free from Yu Xizhi along the way, it wouldn’t be difficult. And Senior Brother Shen Ye wouldn’t check the records of the disciplinary hall afterwards.

He was about to grit his teeth and agree when he heard Yu Xizhi continue.

“In that case, it’s just missing one class. I’ll also trouble Senior Brother Shen to tie Junior Brother Gao’s hands with the disciplinary whip. I’ll lead him around the academy while holding the whip, making a complete circuit, so that the newly admitted disciples can see the consequences of breaking the rules as a warning to others.”

“Junior Brother Gao, what do you think?”

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