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Chapter 13

Night fell with stars hanging low. The wind was calm, and the clouds were still. Inside a noodle shop, some disciples were speechless with shock, others were visibly upset, and some stared at the beef meatball, unable to discern anything special about it.

They only felt that if they kept looking, all their years of effort in fasting might go to waste.

But everyone understood one thing:.

The owner believed that the young girl, who had just eaten the noodles with him, could inherit his legacy. He even wanted to immediately head to the Kunwu Mountain Sect to recruit her.

But on what basis?

Because she made good meatballs?

Just because she could make good meatballs, does that mean she could also make good pills?!

How could there be such logic in the world?

Once they reached the Kunwu Mountain Sect, they were determined to see what was so extraordinary about this noodle-eating girl!

Yu Xizhi had already changed out of her outer disciple clothes and was now standing solemnly in front of her bed.

During this outing, Yu Xizhi spent three high-grade spirit stones, two mid-grade spirit stones, and two low-grade spirit stones. When she collected her vegetables from the fruits and vegetables shop, the shopkeeper respectfully gave her two high-grade spirit stones and ninety-eight mid-grade spirit stones in change, which Yu Xizhi tossed into her qiankun bag without looking.

But after returning to the mountain and feeding the cat, she still had to count them.

Living in Kunwu was no easy task.

However, this sentiment didn’t apply to the personal disciples. Each personal disciple received a stipend, and the sect never hesitated to provide for those most likely to uphold the sect’s future. As the leading sect among the immortal sects, Kunwu Mountain Sect had deep resources and never shortchanged its personal disciples’ cultivation needs.

…But that was just for cultivation needs.

For a cultivation fanatic like Yu Si, the famed Kunwu senior disciple, his daily needs were just cultivation needs, but Yu Xizhi was different.

Yu Xizhi—or rather, the original host—didn’t cultivate, which was why she had barely reached the Qi refining stage at the beginning.

Logically, a lazy personal disciple like her should have been expelled from the mountain long ago. But she had a good brother, and for Yu Si’s sake, everyone’s attitude towards her was merely peculiar, not hostile enough to drive her out.

Moreover, she was very self-aware. Since she didn’t cultivate, she didn’t claim her regular stipend. Over time, the disciples at Liuguang Peak who distributed spirit stones and pills almost forgot that there was a second senior sister at Taiqing Peak.

But a person needs expenses to live.

The original host’s spirit stones all came from the Yu family. The Yu family was prestigious, and as the eldest daughter, with a brother who brought glory to the family for generations, they naturally sent large amounts of spirit stones to her.

However, no matter how prestigious, the Yu family was still a mortal household. Mortal currency wasn’t spirit stones, and mortals needed to trade great wealth for spirit stones.

The original host could accept the Yu family’s offerings without guilt, but Yu Xizhi couldn’t.

From any perspective, earning spirit stones herself was simpler for Yu Xizhi, or rather, her cost-benefit ratio would be higher. A cultivator should not let mortals bear such responsibility and cost.

She wouldn’t return the spirit stones she had already received, but she would no longer accept further offerings from the Yu family.

This was something Yu Xizhi had planned beforehand. She wrote the letter explaining the matter, waiting for the monthly courier to deliver it down the mountain. Then, she counted all the spirit stones she had.

According to the common exchange rules here, one high-grade spirit stone could be exchanged for a hundred mid-grade spirit stones, and one mid-grade spirit stone for a hundred low-grade spirit stones. Spirit stones could serve as currency in the cultivation world and be crushed for an emergency supply of spiritual energy. For instance, one high-grade spirit stone could fully replenish the spiritual energy of someone at the peak of the Qi refining stage.

According to Kunwu Mountain Sect’s allocation, outer sect disciples received three low-grade spirit stones monthly, inner sect disciples received three mid-grade stones, and personal disciples received three high-grade stones. To obtain more, disciples needed to take on tasks from the Ziyuan Peak task hall, which was a part of their regular trials.

Yu Xizhi rubbed her hands together and finally took a step forward, lifting the bedboard.

Under the bed were five neatly arranged Qiankun bags.

Using her divine sense to probe, she found that each pouch contained exactly one hundred high-grade spirit stones.

Yu Xizhi: …

From any perspective, she was undoubtedly the rich lady of Taiqing Peak.

Now she understood why the original host spent her days lying around in a daze, showing no ambition or desire to improve!

She carefully replaced the bedboard and lay down, her posture more reverent and solemn than usual.

She wasn’t just lying on an ordinary wooden bed, but on the bed of a wealthy lady laden with riches.

She had spent four mid-grade spirit stones and two low-grade spirit stones today. She wanted to take on tasks to make up for it and ensure her sixth Qiankun bag also contained exactly one hundred high-grade spirit stones.

A family should be neat and orderly.

Her obsessive-compulsive disorder made it hard to sleep comfortably, and she even dreamed of balancing her spirit stones. She woke up early the next day, ate a breakfast of meat-filled wontons under the envious eyes of her fellow disciples, made a dozen meat pies, packed them in oil paper, and put them in her Qiankun. She steamed two full baskets of cat food meatballs, placed three in each of the cat bowls, lined them up in the corner, and locked her door before heading towards Ziyuan Peak.

Taking on tasks wasn’t just about converting her loose spirit stones into whole ones.

Even without this, Yu Xizhi had planned to take this trip. It wasn’t just to better understand this world but also to quickly enhance her strength.

As a sword cultivator, she should grow through battle.

In the morning, Teacher Xu’s Qi Refining class was held as usual at the academy. The academy had a rule that disciples on tasks could skip class. Teacher Xu glanced at Yu Xizhi’s empty seat and frowned slightly, assuming she was slacking off. He never imagined she would actually go to the Ziyuan Peak task hall.

It wasn’t just Teacher Xu who couldn’t imagine it, but also the task hall at Ziyuan Peak.

On duty today at the task hall was Senior Brother Shen Ye, who had already reached the Foundation Establishment stage.

Everyone at Kunwu knew this senior brother was habitually lazy, either dozing off or napping with his legs up, wasting his handsome face that rivaled Yu Si’s, who was the dream of millions of girls.

But today, Shen Ye was sitting upright, his back as straight as a pine tree, and his voice resonant. When he saw Yu Xizhi step in, he even offered a professional smile: “Junior Sister Yu, you’re here.”

Yu Xizhi paused, looking at Shen Ye with some suspicion.

Shen Ye was good friends with Yu Si, so she understood very well what this senior brother was usually like. The way he greeted her today was indeed quite strange.

It was almost as if Shen Ye knew she was coming and was waiting for her.

However, she quickly brushed aside this fleeting thought. One of the most avoidable pitfalls in life is self-deception. Yu Xizhi never considered herself that important.

Since Shen Ye had greeted her seriously, she returned the courtesy equally seriously and then asked, “Senior Brother Shen, are there any tasks suitable for someone at the early stage of Qi refining?”

Due to various considerations, Yu Xizhi did not plan to let others know her true cultivation level. Of course, at this moment, she was unaware that what she thought was her true level was actually different from her actual cultivation level.

Maintaining that smile that seemed out of place with his usual demeanor, Shen Ye quickly selected three wooden plaques: “Isn’t this a coincidence? Here are three tasks just right for you, Junior Sister Yu. One is to go to Qingwu Prefecture, another to Qingwu Prefecture… hmm, and the third is also to Qingwu Prefecture? It seems you have a connection with Qingwu Prefecture. If you want to take on these tasks, this trip is inevitable.”

Qingwu Prefecture was north of Kunwu Mountain Sect. While it bordered Xianyun County, Qingwu Prefecture had a narrow and elongated geography. Riding north from the mountain for three days could reach it, but at its farthest, Qingwu Prefecture bordered the Maoyue Sea, which took half a day to reach by sword flight from Kunwu Mountain Sect.

By carriage, the journey could take several months.

The task hall’s inner sect tasks were generally divided into two categories: internal and external.

Internal tasks didn’t require leaving the mountain and involved running errands for the elders of various peaks, picking herbs, and other easy jobs. These tasks were time-consuming and not very profitable, but they had two advantages: they were not dangerous and provided opportunities to interact with elders and teachers who were usually hard to meet. If one was lucky enough to receive some guidance, it was worthwhile.

External tasks required leaving the mountain, with task locations spread across the continent, from snow-capped peaks to vast grasslands and bustling cities. The tasks were diverse, ranging from capturing demons to escorting goods, seeking treasures, or finding people. Although the sect provided danger assessments on the wooden plaques, inaccuracies could occur.

Yu Xizhi had a stash of six hundred spirit stones and wasn’t lacking in money. Moreover, although she wasn’t highly regarded, she still held the title of a personal disciple at Taiqing Peak. No elder or teacher from other peaks dared to cross the Taiqing peak and give her guidance.

Kunwu disciples at the mid-Qi refining stage could already handle themselves well outside the mountain. She had planned to descend the mountain anyway, but drawing three tasks for the same location made her feel a subtle sense of, “This is too much of a coincidence.”

Yu Xizhi paused before asking, “What are the tasks specifically?”

Shen Ye quietly swallowed, his back straightening even more: “The tasks are capturing demons, capturing demons… and capturing demons.”

“Qingwu Prefecture really has a lot of demons. Is the Gao family not effective?” Yu Xizhi was speechless for a moment before she couldn’t help but say, “In that case, just give me one.”

Shen Ye visibly relaxed and eagerly handed her a wooden plaque, his movements slightly stiff and almost imperceptibly respectful.

Yu Xizhi took the wooden plaque and was about to leave when she suddenly turned back after a few steps, asking quickly, “Are Senior Brother Shen’s three plaques all for the same task?”

The just-relaxed Shen Ye was caught off guard and blurted out in shock, “How did you know?”

Yu Xizhi: …

Shen Ye: …

The professional smile on Shen Ye’s face fell, replaced by an expression of wishing he could slap himself. He stubbornly maintained his last bit of composure: “Perhaps it’s because the weather is cold and the disciples are lazy. This task has gone unclaimed for a long time, but the other side has been urging us, so I had no choice but to use this strategy.”

Yu Xizhi held the wooden plaque and looked at him. If she had been expressionless or aggressive, Shen Ye would have had a way to handle it. But she had naturally smiling eyes, and looking at him like this, it seemed a bit mischievous but without malice, making him feel at a loss. She glanced at the bright sun outside and paused. “What a cold day.”

Fortunately, Yu Xizhi didn’t seem to care much about the details. Although she sensed something odd, she had no intention of investigating further. She gave Shen Ye a glance and walked towards the door.

A shadow suddenly enveloped almost half the mountain, then slowly moved forward. Yu Xizhi paused and looked up outside.

It was noon, and the sunlight poured down through Kunwu Mountain Sect’s protective array, slightly dimmed. Suddenly, a sword ship appeared from the sky, blocking out the remaining light.

The sword ship, an item that required tens of thousands of spirit stones to operate, was something only the truly powerful sects, like the Three Paths and Five Sects, had the resources to use. Typically, such a ship would only be deployed for grand events like sect tournaments or other significant occasions.

Moreover, this was an exceptionally large sword ship.

Several imposing sword shadows swept out from various peaks and hovered in front of the sword ship.

Shen Ye also stepped out of the task hall upon hearing the commotion. Once outside, he quickly reverted to his usual relaxed demeanor. The two of them stared at the scene for a while before Shen Ye broke the silence. “Tsk, the Xiya Tower sure likes to make a grand entrance.”

His tone was casual, but if you listened closely, it was filled with disdain.

Especially knowing that the visitor was the top alchemist from the Xiya Tower, Master Tang.

“Our master’s wife invited them to treat our junior sister.” Yu Xizhi raised an eyebrow, half-smiling, neither confirming nor denying.

“It’s rare for Kunwu Mountain Sect to ask for help. If it were one of the Three Paths and Five Sects, would they really come and go quietly?”

Her words were harsh, but true.

Over the years, Kunwu Mountain Sect, priding itself as the leader of the Three Paths and Five Sects and being sword cultivators, often looked down on other sects in minor matters.

Given a chance to turn the tables, even the monks and taoists from Duyuan Dao and Taixu Dao wouldn’t let it pass without making a statement.

Shen Ye maintained his tone, snorting, “Your junior sister from Taiqing Peak… is really precious. When are you heading down the mountain?”

“I’m about to leave now.” Yu Xizhi looked away and patted the wooden plaque in her hand. “If I delay any longer and my brother finds out, this task might not be mine anymore.”

After a pause, she suddenly asked, “Are demons… hard to kill?”

Shen Ye raised an eyebrow.

“Demons and humans, what difference do they have from other beings in the world? As long as one’s sword is swift enough, the sword’s momentum strong enough, and the cultivation high enough, even a great demon wouldn’t withstand a single strike.

But if it were truly that simple, so many inner disciples wouldn’t have died at the hands of demons over the years.

…And back then, the entire cultivation world wouldn’t have lost all its grandmasters defending against the demon race.

He snapped back from his reverie, remembering that the girl embarking on her first task wasn’t alone, so there was no need for his unnecessary worry.

“Maybe it’s difficult, maybe it’s not,” Shen Ye said, looking at her. “But with a steadfast sword heart, one will naturally overcome all obstacles. I wish you a smooth journey, Junior Sister.”

“But I only know the most basic Qingfeng Liuyun Sword,” Yu Xizhi replied.

Shen Ye’s eyelid twitched, thinking it might be a bit late to be asking that when you already have the task plaque in hand. However, Yu Xizhi immediately laughed at herself.

She turned, cupped her fists in a salute, and without another glance at the massive sword ship hovering in the air, she infused her consciousness into the task plaque. She retrieved a teleportation talisman from the small storage space within the plaque, waved to Shen Ye with her back turned, and departed.

The sword ship moved inward toward the mountain, while she headed outward.

Shen Ye watched her sword-bearing figure disappear from sight before finally relaxing. As he turned around, he noticed the person who had been sitting behind the curtain was now standing at the door.

The man held another task plaque in his cold, white hand. He didn’t glance at the hovering sword ship even once; instead, his warm eyes were fixed on Shen Ye. Despite the sunny weather, he seemed like the embodiment of extreme cold, yet his smile remained gentle. “The story wasn’t well-crafted, but fortunately, she’s easy to deceive.”

Shen Ye turned respectfully and bowed deeply, “Little Martial Uncle.”

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