Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Chapter 31 - Good Faction

Da Huang lay on the ground, its eyes shut close, its tail wagging non-stopped, Xiao Hui lay sideways on his bed, a pair of bright eyes staring at Zhang Xiaofan who looked rather haggard. Zhang Xiaofan glared at it, rudely said, "What are you looking at?"

Xiao Hui naturally would not speak human words to him, [zhi zhi] twice, looking at its monkey's face, its master was injured but it not only looked unconcerned but instead seemed to be gloating.

Zhang Xiaofan felt irritated, snapped, "Go, go, go, go aside!"

Footsteps were heard suddenly, before the person entered, Zhang Xiaofan laughed and said, "Sixth senior brother, today why are you here so early to deliver the meal..."

His voice suddenly stopped, and saw Tian Buyi's short and plump body strolling in from the door. Zhang Xiaofan was shocked, for the past few days, Suru wanted him to meditate quietly, the other senior brothers including Tian Linger, only came to see him once, the rest of the time only Du Bishu came to deliver his meals over, didn't expect Tian Buyi would suddenly appear.

He lay stunned on the bed for a moment then jumped up and wanted to do a big bow, Tian Buyi looked solemn, his mood unclear, he waved his hand and said, "Forget it."

Zhang Xiaofan acknowledged, stood up and stepped aside, Tian Buyi walked over and sat beside the table, not daring to breathe aloud.

Tian Buyi looked at this disciple, from the reaction just now, this little disciple no matter how did not look at a rare talent with bright prospects, instead he seemed slightly worse than an average person, yet...

Tian Buyi shook his head, sighed and said, "Lao qi, come over here and sit."

Zhang Xiaofan was surprised again, Tian Buyi had never hidden his moods with him, today he seemed rather amiable, he couldn't really believe his own ears.

Tian Buyi waited for a while, saw Zhang Xiaofan looking hesitatingly at him and in his own thoughts, feeling another wave of irritation, with slight anger he said, "Must I invite you to sit down?"

With the reprimand, Zhang Xiaofan immediately felt a sense of familiarity, and hurriedly came over and sat down.

Tian Buyi looked at him, seemed to cool down a little, glanced at him again and with a wry laugh, shook his head and said, "How are you feeling?"

Zhang Xiaofan respectfully replied, "Replying teacher, ever since coming back from Tongtian Valley, due to teacher, teacher's wife treatments, and various senior brothers' care, I am feeling almost good."

Tian Buyi glanced at him, indifferently said, "'Seven branches contest' completed more than a month, seems like you have also almost recovered, I have a few questions, I will ask you now."

Zhang Xiaofan's heart sank, indistinctly felt that his worst fears were finally happening, but he could only say, "Yes, teacher please speak."

Tian Buyi unhurriedly spoke, "That black stick of yours, where did you get it?"

Zhang Xiaofan's heart jumped, couldn't help glance at Tian Buyi, saw him staring at him back, although looking calm but his eyes were bright and piercing.

That moment he had a thousand thoughts in his head, unable to speak, Tian Buyi's face turned dark, his expression extremely ugly, again spoke deeply, "Speak!"

Zhang Xiaofan being pressured, sweat beads appeared on his forehead. Although he was not much knowledgeable but that Sinister Orb and that black stick battle in the Secluded Valley many years ago and the incidental merger, were really too weird, and among it there were ominous and cruel energies with blood-sucking ability. All of these he knew from the conversations he had with the various senior brothers were definitely not tolerated by Good Faction, if Tian Buyi knew the truth, he could not imagine the consequences.

Other than that, deep inside his heart, there was still the other matter, had always been a hidden taboo, especially ever since he knew Puzhi Monk was one of Tianyin Temple Four Holy Monks, and realizing that formula he had passed on to him...

In that instant, he had made up his mind, no matter what he could never talk about Puzhi's matter, not even a single hint.

Tian Buyi stared at him.

Zhang Xiaofan under that piercing stare, stood up, knelt.


Tian Buyi frowned, snorted, and coldly said, "Speak."

Zhang Xiaofan hung his head, slowly spoke, "That black stick, was found by accident when I went with senior sister to that secluded valley many years ago."

Tian Buyi was slightly surprised and recalled, there was indeed such a thing two years ago. Tian Linger had fainted for no reason in that secluded valley, Suru had once gone to investigate but found nothing unusual, and he himself had gone to take a look, it was indeed so. This matter had been a small mystery but as time passed, he himself also forgot about it, looking at it now, most likely it was due to this black stick.

But a black stick without any manipulation by anyone would make Tian Linger blacked out, such a ferocious object, how could Zhang Xiaofan wield it? Tian Buyi thought of this, he became more doubtful, in a deep voice said, "How did you obtain this?"

Zhang Xiaofan did not dare to look up, afraid Tian Buyi would see his expression, he was not a quick-witted person by nature and became more anxious, no matter how he tried he was unable to find a good excuse.

Tian Buyi saw him hesitated, him being an experienced and worldly person, immediately shouted, "Speak."

Zhang Xiaofan was startled by the shout, cold sweat dripping, his mind in a panic, did not dare to hide the facts anymore and finally spoke about what had happened. In his speech, in the end he still did not reveal about the Sinister Orb, only spoke about how he saw the black stick and out of curiosity picked it up and the stick had sucked out his blood (actually that was the Sinister Orb), he felt nauseous and terrible and fainted. Before he fainted, he indistinctly witnessed his blood being absorbed into the stick itself. 

After he finished, he did not dare to lift up his head, did not dare to look at Tian Buyi, Tian Buyi was instead frowning and deep in thoughts: this little disciple didn't seem to be lying, the weapon's ability would not be something he could conjured out. But such a strange weapon, it was the first time he had heard of, to compare it to something similar, it would only be that ominous object, Sinister Orb, which belonged to Evil Sect thousand years ago.

But clearly, this black stick and that Sinister Orb was completely different.

Tian Buyi stood up, paced in the room, after a long while, he turned and looked at Zhang Xiaofan, said, "Get up first."

Zhang Xiaofan acknowledged and stood up but was still looking down, stood aside.

"But even if it was so, that weapon is connected to you by your blood, an object smelted by blood..."

Zhang Xiaofan was taken aback, "Teacher, what is a blood-smelted object?"

Tian Buyi was surprised then impatiently replied, "If you don't know of it then forget it, you will just reply to what I am going to ask."

Zhang Xiaofan immediately lowered his head, quietly said, "Yes."

Tian Buyi looked at him, "Even if that black stick is an unknown treasure but regardless you would have to train to minimally Taiji Xuan Qing Jade Realm Fourth level before you could wield it..."

Zhang Xiaofan's countenance changed.

Tian Buyi asked unhurriedly, "That day at Tongtian Peak, I have asked you, today I am going to ask you again, who is it that taught you the formula secretly?"

Zhang Xiaofan's body shook, he knew he was in deep trouble for this unknown black stick, if he were to add in he was secretly learning skills, he could not imagine his punishment.

Before his eyes, Tian Linger's image flashed past: bringing him up the mountain to chop bamboos during their youth; the gentle face beside the lonely lamp during a stormy night; and the bickering and running during the usual days in Big Bamboo Valley; even that faint fragrance in his memory, right now was so vivid.

Every drop, every spot, surfaced from his heart!

He once again knelt down, unmoving, his body which had thinned down after recovering, yet increased in determination, he looked desolate.

Tian Buyi looked deeply at him, after a long time, he suddenly let out a breath and said, "You can get up, follow me to Tongtian Peak, as to whether you can come back alive, it will depend on your luck."

Deep inside the white clouds, celestial air swirled around, everything was peaceful and tranquil like the paradise people imagined.

Qing Yun Hill, Tongtian Peak, Crystal Hall.

All of the seven branch leaders were gathered here, looking at that youth kneeling down in the hall.

Reverend Daoxuan looked at Zhang Xiaofan, in his mind an image of a child being rescued up here five years ago surfaced, time events flowed past, as if it was all in a blink, they had already turned into adults.

He quietly sighed, his gaze left Zhang Xiaofan, and spoke to the others, "Everyone, what Zhang Xiaofan has said, what do you all think?"

Everyone was silent, after a long while, Cangsong Taoist was heard speaking resolutely, "His words, cannot be trusted."

Zhang Xiaofan's body shook, but he did not look up.

Reverend Daoxuan frowned, "Why is Cangsong junior brother so sure?"

Cangsong Taoist glanced at Zhang Xiaofan, "Blood-smelting skill, evil and sinister, if not for Evil sect evildoers guiding him, how would he have such knowledge to make such a weapon, therefore he must be a spy from the Evil Sect, we must not spare his life."

Cangsong had always been in control of Qing Yun sect punishments, his position was revered, his voice was determined and firm, Zhang Xiaofan heard it, his face turned pale, almost unable to breathe.

The rest did not speak, Tian Buyi's face was dark, said slowly, "So if he is really what you have claimed to be so meticulously infiltrated into our sect, why would he display his weapon so blatantly in front of everyone?"

Cangsong Taoist snorted, said, "Evil sect evildoer, who could guess their ways with hidden intent, it is not surprising there are odd methods."

Tian Buyi angrily spoke, "Are you drawing a forced analogy, making lame excuses?"

Cangsong Taoist coldly replied, "I make lame excuses? Then pray Tian senior brother, this blood-smelting skill, does any of our Good Faction have it?"

Tian Buyi was speechless, his face turned red, right now everyone could tell, he was still siding with his disciple. At this awkward moment, suddenly a cold voice was heard, anyone could tell it was Shuiyue Master:

"Will like to ask Cangsong senior brother, you claim that blood-smelting skill is evil and sinister, I will like to ask, how is it evil, how is it sinister?"

Cangsong Taoist opened his mouth to speak but stopped and then said, "Evil sect demonic skills, do we need to say more?"

Shuiyue Master coldly said, "So it seems Cangsong senior brother also has zero knowledge on Blood-smelting skill, why then pressume this is evil and sinister and to murder this young boy?"

Cangsong Taoist glanced at Shuiyue Master, his eyes bright and piercing, his bearing overwhelming, "Oh, Shuiyue junior sister, so what are you trying to say?"

Shuiyue Master indifferently replied, "Various senior brothers, regarding this matter, firstly we do not know much about this Blood-smelting skill, although we heard of it but mostly are guessworks, what if this skill really has this coincidence, aren't we killing a good person by mistake? Secondly, this youth is only sixteen, we also know his origins, to insist that he is one of Evil Sect members, I'm afraid isn't logical."

Cangsong Taoist shrank his eyes, through the slits sharp gaze penetrated through, said, "Shuiyue junior sister why are you behaving differently from usual, going all out to stand up for this youth, it's really puzzling?"

Shuiyue's elegant face flashed past a hint of anger, said, "I am stating the facts, definitely not like someone, can't take it that his own fellow sect branch has a talent, afraid it will threaten his own position, and so held on these trivial matters and ruthless to the end, no humanity at all!"

If to compare being sharp tongue, among the seven leaders, there were six men and yet none could go against Shuiyue Master, Cangsong Taoist turned pale, abruptly stood up.

Reverend Daoxuan quickly cut in, said, "Alright alright, why are we fighting again, sit down sit down."

Cangsong Taoist did not dare to disregard the sect head's words, could only sit back down begrudgingly, Shuiyue instead looked nonchalant, and sat up properly in her own chair.

Reverend Daoxuan shook his head, turned to the others, and said, "Everyone, what are your views?"

The others were silent for a while, Return of the Wind Valley Zeng Shuchang was the first to speak, "Sect head, I feel Shuiyue junior sister's words are reasonable. This youth's origins are clear, he has also never left the mountain after he came here, I think it is really a coincidence he has obtained this weapon, and instead it is our Qing Yun's fortune."

Reverend Daoxuan stroke his beard and nodded slightly, turned and looked at Sunset Valley Tianyun Taoist, Tianyun glanced at Cangsong, said, "I agree with Cangsong senior brother on this."

Cangsong Taoist had gotten an ally, he nodded towards Tianyun Taoist.

Finally leaving Morning Sun Valley Shang Zhengliang, he glanced at the rest, and again at Cangsong Taoist and Tianyun Taoist, finally the corner of his eyes carefully glanced at Reverend Daoxuan, a slight pause, said, "I think that Shuiyue junior sister's words are logical."

Tian Buyi's face showed relief, Cangsong Taoist instead snorted. Reverend Daoxuan nodded and said, "Everyone has spoken, then I will not stand at ceremony." He faced Zhang Xiaofan who was still kneeling, "Xiaofan, you stand up first."

Zhang Xiaofan's body shook, looked up at the leaders, and slowly stood up.

Reverend Daoxuan glanced at him a few times, as if trying to figure him out, and then said to the others, "Everyone, actually I too think Zhang Xiaofan is not a member of the Evil Sect. This black stick although has sinister aura but is implicit and not like those Evil sect ominous weapons I have seen before, murderous aura emitting, look thoroughly ferocious..."

Cangsong Taoist after hearing felt something amiss, couldn't help but exclaimed, "Sect head senior brother, Evil sect evildoers are dangerous and vicious, rather kill wrongly than let one go!" 

Reverend Daoxuan's countenance changed, glanced at him, shouted, "Cangsong junior brother, do you know what you have just said?"

Cangsong knew he had said the wrong words, lowered his head and kept quiet.

Reverend Daoxuan's face was stern but his tone turned low, spoke slowly, "Cangsong junior brother, you have held our sect disciplinary matter for two hundred over years, impartial and strict, as your brother I admire extremely. But I have seen you for the last ten over years, vicious tendencies gradually increased, murderous nature getting stronger, your brother me I am extremely concerned, do you know?"

Cangsong Taoist quietly said, "Yes, senior brother."

Reverend Daoxuan spoke piercingly cold, "Rather kill wrongly than let one go, this is what Evil sect would do, our Qing Yun sect belongs to the Good Faction, has been just and honourable all along, if we also do this then what difference is it between us and Evil sect? Cangsong junior brother, your cultivation is deep but still need to study and comprehend Taoism's meaning and ways."

Cangsong Taoist held out a palm up, said, "Thank you senior brother for guiding, Cangsong understands."

Reverend Daoxuan's face relaxed, said, "It's good you know." He then turned to the rest, the rest spoke, "We will let sect head senior brother decide."

Reverend Daoxuan nodded, said to Zhang Xiaofan, "You heard it all?"

Zhang Xiaofan's heart was touched, hurriedly said, "Yes, many thanks, many thanks to various teacher uncles." Speaking he again turned to Tian Buyi, his voice slightly choked, said, "Many thanks to teacher."

Tian Buyi waved his hand, but did not speak.

Reverend Daoxuan took up the black stick, flung it to Zhang Xiaofan, smiled and said, "This thing can only be used by you, you can take it back."

Zhang Xiaofan caught it, felt the familiar and cold energy instantly leaping up, running through his entire body, as if the stick spiritually was also extremely delighted. He bowed deeply to Reverend Daoxuan, said, "Many thanks to sect head teacher uncle."

Reverend Daoxuan smiled, clapped thrice, a young disciple immediately walked out. Reverend Daoxuan instructed a few words, the disciple nodded and walked out, not long after he led three people in. Zhang Xiaofan looked over, recognized those people: Qihao and Zeng Shushu walked ahead, Zeng Shushu while his father was not paying attention, made a funny face at Zhang Xiaofan. As for the one at the rear, it was that beautiful cold lady, Small Bamboo Valley Lu Xueqi.

These three people, including Zhang Xiaofan, happened to be the top four of the Qing Yun sect 'Seven branches martial arts contest".