In a small room, around a round wooden table, sat four men.
The tip of Xiao Qixius sword rested on the floor.
Xiao Qixiu frowned at Elder Sang as his fingers stroked his swords hilt.
“Are you really going to take Xu Xiaoshou as your disciple”
“Thats right,” said Elder Sang after taking a sip of wine.
“The fates willed it so.
It was decided when he ate the first Infernal Fire Seed and lived.
You knew then, didnt you”
Elder Sang was talking about the Windcloud Competitions preliminaries, when Xu Xiaoshou had barged into the arena and begged Xiao Qixiu to save him.
Xiao Qixiu fell silent.
Hed been tempted to take Xu Xiaoshou as his disciple when the latter had revealed his Innate Stage Sword Will.
But, when he recalled the young mans eccentric and bizarre antics, as well as the way he spoke, which was absolutely infuriating…
Hed concluded that there was every chance that Xu Xiaoshou might turn out to be an absolute disaster and danger to the rest of humankind.
He couldnt give in to impulse and risk that.
He hadnt expected Elder Sang to take the young man as his disciple!
“Xu Xiaoshou…” he trailed off, deliberating for a long moment before settling on a particular description.
“…is quite the character.”
“Are you worried” Elder Sang scratched his head.
When he remembered his huge bathtub, his lips twitched.
“Its good to have character.
Anyway, hes not going to cause any trouble on my watch.”
“Hes not going to be a problem.”
Qiao Qianzhi burst into laughter, and he smacked Xiao Qixiu on the shoulder.
“Didnt I tell you to make your move before it was too late Look, someone got ahead of you!”
Xiao Qixiu snorted.
“I have no intention of taking him as my disciple.
Ive got my hands full with Su Qianqian.”
“Honestly, Xu Xiaoshous not that bad.
Why dont you like him”
Qiao Qianzhi tried to recall what he knew of the young man.
The memories that came to mind were of a young man, always alone, training with his sword by Goose Lake.
Two or three years ago, every time hed gone to Goose Lake to pick up his fat geese to prepare a good meal, he would see the young lad training diligently.
That was how theyd gotten to know each other.
He had treated the young man to cooked goose!
Qiao Qianzhi gave everyone in the Spiritual Affairs Division a taste of his caustic wit—everyone but Xu Xiaoshou.
That was because he knew how hard the young man worked.
His diligence and hard work had paid off.
After three years of training that had led to little progress in his swordsmanship, Xu Xiaoshou had acquired an Innate Stage Sword Will and clinched the championship in the Windcloud Competition.
There was no question that his achievements had everything to do with the hard work that hed poured into his training!
But, if he were being honest,
Qiao Qianzhi had watched two of Xu Xiaoshous matches.
His fighting style had become flashier…
He was unpredictable and excitable.
But one could attribute those qualities of his to his adorable, lively personality!
At this thought, Qiao Qianzhi burst into laughter again.
What he wouldnt give to be young again!
“Come on, lets drink!” Qiao Qianzhi raised his cup, but Elder Sang was the only one to return his toast.
He eyed Ye Xiaotian.
Why did the latter look so worried
“Why arent you drinking”
He understood why Xiao Qixiu didnt drink.
The man was a swordsman.
But why was Ye Xiaotian pretending that he couldnt drink
Ye Xiaotian glanced at him unhappily.
A man of few words, he didnt say anything as he patted his arm.
Elder Sang laughed.
“He just got that reattached.
He has to stay away from alcohol.”
“Hahahaha!” Qiao Qianzhi gave Ye Xiaotians arm a hard pinch.
“Thats karma for you!”
Ye Xiaotian jumped in pain and yanked his arm back.
He watched the two men drink.
He could still hear the deafening thunder of the two explosions that had gone off in his head.
“Are you really sure that everything is alright”
Elder Sang grabbed a slice of roasted goose, shoved it into his mouth, and began to chew loudly.
“Dont worry about that.
Its just Xu Xiaoshou cultivating the Infernal Fire Seed.
He should be in the middle of refining it.”
Ive done this before.
I know how this goes!”
“Come on, cheers!”
Qiao Qianzhi was the only one who raised his cup…
Ye Xiaotian stared at the liquid in his own cup, swallowed hard, and resisted the temptation to drink it.
Xiao Qixiu was unmoved.
Watching them drink was akin to an exercise in strengthening his own willpower.
As the rims of two cups collided lightly with each other…
In the small room, whose walls even telepathic communication could not pass, the sound of an explosion rumbled deafeningly like thunder.
One could only imagine how loud the explosion wouldve been without the protection of these walls!
Ye Xiaotian turned and stared dumbly at Elder Sang.
“Is that Xu Xiaoshou cultivating the Infernal Fire Seed too”
Elder Sangs heart skipped a beat.
He had a bad feeling about this.
Then, he remembered the array protecting the Spiritual Law Division and concluded that everything should be fine.
He stubbornly replied to the other man.
Its nothing serious…I think.”
Xiao Qixiu couldnt sit still any longer.
He was the Chief Elder of the Spiritual Law Division.
That had sounded like a huge explosion.
His men were probably looking for him right now.
“Im going to take a look!”
Knock, knock, knock!
Someone was urgently pounding on the door.
The four men exchanged looks with one another and caught the look of alarm in one anothers eyes.
No one would come knocking on the door of this room unless some calamity had struck.
Xiao Qixiu rushed towards the door and pulled it open.
Standing at the doorway was Zhao Xidong, panting heavily.
His eyes fell on the four men in the room.
“Youre all here.
“Look at you, all flustered and in a panic!” Xiao Qixiu frowned.
“Of course Im in a panic…” Zhao Xidong blurted out frantically.
“Were under attack!”
The other three men in the room instantly rose to their feet.
An attack When the sun had just set and night had barely arrived
Ye Xiaotian and Qiao Qianzhi pulled a token out suddenly.
It vibrated incessantly in their hand as messages came flooding in.
They extended their spiritual senses and understood immediately what was going on.
Zhao Xidong pulled out his token, then.
Ye Xiaotian, Qiao Qianzhi, and Xiao Qixiu glanced at the token before reeling back in shock and blurting out in unison, “The Spiritual Law Divisions on fire”
Everyone stared at Elder Sang.
His face had gone white.
Just moments ago, he had reassured them that everything was fine and told them not to panic, and now…
Had Xu Xiaoshou really gone and landed himself in trouble
Elder Sangs heart skipped a beat.
He couldnt deny that that was a very real possibility.
Ye Xiaotians expression darkened.
“What about your tokens Why arent you receiving any messages after something so serious has happened”
Elder Sang froze.
“I usually leave mine in the Spiritual Law Division…”
Xiao Qixiu stared dumbly at Ye Xiaotian.
“I lent mine to someone…”
Qiao Qianzhi nearly stomped his foot in fury.
“Why are we still talking We need to get to the Spiritual Law Division immediately and find out whats going on!”
The four men vanished instantly.
Elder Qiao went back to the table, squatted on the stool, and grabbed a piece of roasted goose with his chopsticks.
He took a bite.
It was tasteless.
He threw his chopsticks down and dashed out of the room.
A moment later, he ran back and pulled the door shut.
Somewhere in the first level of the Spiritual Law Division, Xu Xiaoshou was unleashing his Breathing Technique without restraint.
With his every inhalation, he sucked in the Infernal Heavenly Flames that were burning all around him, extinguishing flames everywhere he passed.
He had killed the fire on the second floor.
But the fire on the first floor was causing him real grief.
He had stopped thinking about the pain.
All he prayed for was for the fire to stop and for the place to not burn down.
He couldnt afford to think about anything else.
He continued breathing in the flames as he silently and desperately uttered his apologies for the grave crime that he had committed.
He didnt do it on purpose!
How could he have known that the attack he unleashed in the illusory world would be mirrored in reality too Something wasnt right.
Everything should have been an illusion.
Fortunately, the techniques housed in the Spiritual Law Division were all protected by a defensive barrier.
His feeble attack had clearly failed to breach their defenses.
As for the shelves…
They looked a terrible sight!
“Surrounded, Passive Point 1.”
Heavens! They werent wasting any time at all, were they
Xu Xiaoshou was seized by panic.
He was still in the middle of putting out the fire on the first level…
His face twitched violently as he sucked in another deep breath.
Then, suddenly, he heard something behind him.
He turned around to the sight of four pairs of eyes staring right at him.
It was Elder Sang, Ye Xiaotian, Xiao Qixiu, and the judge from the first round of the Windcloud Competition…
Xu Xiaoshous legs turned to jelly.
A shadow fell over him.
Qiao Qianzhi had silently landed in front of him.
Loudly and with some difficulty, Xu Xiaoshou gulped.
Somebody, say something!
Why wouldnt anybody say something The silence was driving him mad with panic…
“Haha…” Xu Xiaoshou mustered a faint smile on his face and said earnestly, “This isnt what you think it is.
Dont worry, its really nothing serious…”