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Chapter 26

In this world, there are many sects, both large and small, but the most famous ones are the Five Sects and the Three Paths.

Apart from the Three Paths of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, the other five sects each have their own specialties.

The Kunwu Sect practices swordsmanship; Baiyu specializes in talismans; Xiya excels in alchemy; Suying is known for refining artifacts; and Xihu Tianzhu focuses on musical cultivation.

The foremost alchemist resides in the Xiya Tower; the top talisman master is in the Baiyu Pavillion; the best artifacts are found in the Suying Pavilion; and if the reclusive head of Xihu Tianzhu plays music, no one in the world would dare claim superiority in playing the qin.

Following this logic, the greatest sword master should naturally be found in the Sword Sect, Kunwu.

And indeed, this is true for the Kunwu sect.

However, it is not the head of the Kunwu sect, Master Huaiyun, who holds this title.

To clarify, although Kunwu is the leading sect of immortals, this has nothing to do with the current head of the Kunwu sect. It is entirely due to the thousand years of heritage, the extraordinary talents of the predecessors, the blood they shed, the swords they wielded, and the legacy they left behind in the Kunwu Mountains.

If not for the devastating Battle of the Sun Eclipse, where the former head of Kunwu and all the grandmasters of the sect perished and the senior disciple who was supposed to inherit the sword went missing, how could it be that Master Huaiyun, who has not even reached the level of a grandmaster, would inherit the sword of Kunwu?

And what about his narrow-minded, extreme, and boring Taoist partner? How could such a person be the Sect Master’s wife?

The other four sects and three paths secretly ridicule this situation, but the fact that Kunwu still maintains its unshakable status among the immortal sects under Huaiyun’s leadership is simply because, despite the shortcomings of this leadership couple, Kunwu still possesses its sword.

The saying goes that a single person can guard a peak, and a single person can guard a tomb; this is due to the unparalleled sword in the world. Otherwise, who could suppress the immense sword energy and killing intent pervading the mountains and tombs? Or rather, who could possibly suppress such malice?

The greatest sword master in the world is in Kunwu, on Qianya Peak, by the Sword Tomb.

It is the little uncle of Kunwu who is feared by the Five Sects and Three Paths.

The world imagines this legendary little uncle of Kunwu to be a white-haired elder or a middle-aged man with a sickly complexion. How else could he have such a temperament, be able to wield such a sword, and guard such a peak?

Only those who have seen him in person know that this little uncle is astonishingly young, still a true teenager.

And now, this teenager stands here, casually asking if his sword is worthy of being called the Kunwu Sword.

Those who know his identity all simultaneously ponder a question.

If his sword is not the Kunwu Sword, does Kunwu still have a sword?

Master Huaiwei never imagined he would come and question her like this in public. Upon hearing this, she too pondered the same question, causing her expression to change and her face to turn slightly pale.

In terms of age, Xie Junzhi should certainly be considered a junior. However, his seniority is extremely high, making him a peer to Huaiyun. By convention, he should address her as “senior sister” or “senior brother’s wife.”

But Master Huaiwei had never heard these terms from his mouth. She dared not express dissatisfaction, make demands, or even show any different expression.

He guards the Sword Tomb, wields the world’s greatest sword, and truly supports Kunwu.

Even if he were to call her an “idiot” instead of “Huaiwei,” she would have to respond.

And that would be the end of it.

But to think that Yu Xizhi’s sword was taught by him?!

When had they ever crossed paths?

When had he, who was supposed to be guarding the tomb on Qianya Peak, become so willing to help and eager to teach others?

Huaiwei was both embarrassed and angry, unsure of what to say for a moment.

There was a brief silence, broken by a soft voice.

“Xie Junzhi?” Yu Xizhi looked at the young man in white, quite surprised.

She wasn’t surprised by his words; after all, on the contrary, she had experienced many times how arrogant this ancestor of the surname Xie was when he spoke. What surprised her was his presence here.

She had thought he didn’t want anyone to know about their relationship or even that they knew each other or had met. Given their questionable interactions, such as drinking blood to detoxify or making bold claims to become a grandmaster and prove everyone wrong, their relationship wasn’t something that could be exposed to the light.

Yet here he was, openly stating that he had taught her swordsmanship.

Was he here…. to support her?

“How dare you address the little master uncle by name!” a voice scolded. Teacher Xu was both shocked that the elusive little master uncle was here and curious about the meaning behind his words. Instinctively, he reprimanded Yu Xizhi.

Her thoughts were interrupted, and Yu Xizhi was momentarily stunned.

Little master uncle?

She frowned, but Xie Junzhi, unhurriedly approaching, spoke with a calm tone that seemed more like a serious question than a rebuke: “What does it matter to you how she addresses me? And who are you to question it?”

When someone yells, “Who do you think you are?” it sounds like an outburst. But when this question is asked calmly, it becomes truly humiliating, as if the person being asked really is insignificant in the eyes of the speaker.

Teacher Xu’s face turned red with anger, and just as he was about to respond, Xie Junzhi stopped, greeted the red-robed elder and Master Tan with a slight bow, and then looked at the girl peeking from behind and said, “Yu Xizhi, come out and pin the flowers.”

His tone was so ordinary that it implied familiarity.

But being familiar with the little master uncle of Kunwu was anything but ordinary.

Only then did people begin to recover from their initial shock. The Kunwu disciples, still in a daze, bowed in respect, their voices rising and falling.

“Greetings, little master uncle.”

“Greetings, little master uncle.”

Yu Xizhi was slightly shaken. She repeated the words “little master uncle” in her mind, feeling that something was off. Her face gradually showed surprise, and she subconsciously said, “Little… master uncle?”

“Yes.” Xie Junzhi nodded, indicating he heard her.

He then took a red flower, two orange flowers, and six yellow flowers from Shen Ye and seemed to remember something: “Isn’t there a yellow flower missing? And what about the captured demon?”

Shen Ye gasped, quickly retrieved a yellow flower from his Qiankun bag with trembling hands, and handed it to Xie Junzhi.

Satisfied, Xie Junzhi lifted his gaze to the still-stunned Yu Xizhi: “Are you going to come here, or should I go over there?”

Pinning the flowers was not really a grand ceremony.

Kunwu disciples assess merit through flowers, and these flowers can also be exchanged for resources. They symbolize not only strength but also serve as a form of hard currency. One demon corresponds to one flower, ensuring fairness and justice.

Whenever someone completes a mission and has a record of slaying demons, the Task Hall verifies it. The senior brother on duty that day will then publicly add the newly earned flower to the hem of the disciple’s Kunwu robe.

Thus, “Diligently capture demons and earn more flowers” has become a common saying among Kunwu disciples. Pinning flowers is a daily event that everyone enjoys watching and being watched.

Yu Xizhi had seen fellow disciples get flowers pinned to their robes. She would stretch her neck to join the excitement and then look at the pitifully few small yellow flowers on her own hem, feeling envious.

Now that it was her turn, she felt a bit embarrassed. Perhaps it was the large crowd, the significant attention, or the many recent events.

Despite her thoughts, her feet moved on their own.

Everyone expected Senior Brother Shen Ye to pin the flowers, but Xie Junzhi took the flowers and showed no intention of giving them back. He squatted down, his pale hand holding the red, orange, and yellow flowers. The boy lowered his crow-feather-like eyelashes and began to pin the flowers on the girl’s robe with focused seriousness. His movements were not particularly skilled but were patient enough to transform the once barren hem into a colorful display.

This ordinary flower-pinning ceremony was elevated by Xie Junzhi’s involvement, turning it into an event observed by the three heads of Baiyu, Xiya, and Kunwu, as well as the world’s foremost alchemist and talisman master, and executed by the world’s greatest swordsman.

Even the grand birthday celebration for the senior sister at Xiya Tower the previous year didn’t have such grandeur.

Even if the most daring person has the most daring dream, thinking that he can become the head of Kunwu one day, no one would think that there is still someone in the world who can make the little master uncle take the initiative to bend down and squat on the ground, grab the robe, and carefully pin the flower.

Could this really be happening?

Was he truly the little master uncle?

Disciples from Xiya Tower who had never seen Xie Junzhi were left speechless.

The world’s greatest swordsman from Kunwu Mountain Sect was unexpectedly of similar age to themselves. Was this appearance deliberately maintained, or was it his actual age? If it was the latter…

The Xiya Tower disciples did not dare to think about it, for fear that people would be angry to death, their path would be blocked, and their sword intent would be unstable.

Yu Xizhi looked down at the now vibrant hem of her robe and felt compelled to say something.

She turned to Teacher Xu, spreading her hands: “Now there’s more than just one small yellow flower.”

—She had flowers now, so there was blood on her sword, and the demon was slain by her.

Is there a problem?

In the ensuing silence, Xie Junzhi finally pinned the last flower neatly, standing up with satisfaction: “Now there’s indeed more than just one small yellow flower.”

Yu Xizhi’s remark was merely to retort against Teacher Xu.

But Xie Junzhi’s repetition of the same phrase seemed to imply that Yu Xizhi was not the only one here now.

The red-robed elder rubbed the talisman in his hand, thinking that the “trap” on it would be useless. No matter how much the heavens and earth might try to trap him, they couldn’t contain the sickly-looking youth and his sword. A smile appeared on his face: “It’s been a long time, Little Master Uncle Xie. How is your health these days? I never expected that little immortal Yu’s swordsmanship would be taught by you. How wonderful, how wonderful.”

Almost simultaneously, before his words had even settled, Master Tan cupped his hands in a salute: “Little Master Uncle Xie, it’s been a while. I wonder if the pills I gave you last time were of any help? I brought new ones this time, though I haven’t had a chance to deliver them yet. Perhaps you could try these and see if they are better.”

“Thank you both for your concern. I’m still the same as before, and Master Tan’s pills have been very helpful, though my body is still not quite up to par.”

Xie Junzhi said this while raising his hand to lightly cough twice. He meticulously addressed each concern but did not mention teaching swordsmanship: “I heard that both of you are looking to take on new disciples?”

The red-robed elder’s eyes lit up: “Indeed.”

Master Tan nodded: “That’s correct.”

Master Huaiyun looked at Xie Junzhi with hope, thinking that, as a fellow Kunwu member, he would surely politely refuse these two’s kind offers.

However, Xie Junzhi slightly nodded, his voice still warm and smiling: “Before competing for a disciple, why not hear her own opinion?”

Yu Xizhi looked at Xie Junzhi.

Everyone had been arguing; the Kunwu people bullying and insulting her was nothing new. Although Yu Si, Yi Zui, and Huang Li were on her side and voiced their anger, they couldn’t silence the murmuring crowd. The red-robed elder and Master Tan’s presence were merely for contention.

Only he stood in front of her, calmly silencing everyone, thinking she should decide for herself.

The red-robed elder and Master Tan were momentarily stunned, realizing they had been too hasty.

They turned to Yu Xizhi and said, “Girl, what do you think?”

“I am Xu Huaiwang, the master of Baiyu Pavillion, and I am at the complete stage of soul accumulation. I was fortunate to survive the Solar Eclipse Battle years ago and gain the title of the world’s foremost talisman and array master.” The dignified master of Baiyu Pavillion lowered himself and sincerely recommended himself.

Known for his flamboyant and unruly red-robed appearance, he now wore a serious expression, hands behind his back, looking earnestly at Yu Xizhi: “If you study talismans with me, you will be my only direct disciple. You will learn to use the world as your canvas and the universe as your array. For every word, there is a corresponding talisman. I will take you around the world, and no one will dare look down on you ever again.”

His voice carried a hint of killing intent at the end: “Should anyone dare treat you like today, they will first face the myriad talismans in my hands.”

“I lack the lofty ambition of Sect Master Xu.”

Master Tan smiled gracefully: “One day in a noodle shop, I saw Little Immortal making dumplings well. Coincidentally, I am in need of a direct disciple and hope to have a second senior sister in the Xiya Tower. As an alchemist, you’ll spend your days around a furnace, traveling the world in search of herbs. It can be both dull and interesting. For instance, sometimes the furnace might explode, or you might refine poison pills, do good deeds, or follow your whims. The world principle is encapsulated in a single pill.”

“By the way, I am Tan Xingjing, in the late stage of soul accumulation, and the current head of Xiya Tower. I have no other skills, but I can make good meatballs.”

As their voices fell, everyone felt numb and speechless from the shock, all eyes turning to Yu Xizhi, waiting for her decision. Master Huaiyun wanted to protest against his direct disciple being taken, thinking, How could such a thing happen!

But then he met Xie Junzhi’s leisurely gaze, and somehow, he swallowed back his words.

Master Huaiwei was stifled, wanting to speak but hesitating, thinking that even if Yu Xizhi had earned a few more flowers, how could talisman and alchemy masters be so blind?

Yet Master Huaiyun’s glance silenced her biting words.

Yu Xizhi looked at the red-robed elder and Master Tan, who were gazing at her with gentle expectation, then at the frustrated Master Huaiwei, the incredulous junior sister Xia Yiyao, and Teacher Xu. Finally, she looked at Yu Si and Yi Zui, who were smiling with joy and encouragement.

She felt a twinge of bitterness and joy, knowing she should be modest. But with Xie Junzhi here, she suddenly wanted to be a little more willful, to push her luck a bit.

So she shyly smiled: “I haven’t refined pills, drawn talismans, or mastered swordsmanship yet.”

Her words, though seemingly timid, were bold to the extreme.

“So… can I learn all three?”

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