Li Chengfeng turned and smiled apologetically at Qin Mieqin. “Senior Brother Qin, how many levels do I have to be promoted to be able to get two servants?”
“At least after you solidified your cultivation foundation. If you’re an idiot who can’t even do that, what’s the use of having two servants?”
He smiled bitterly. “How long does it take to solidify one’s cultivation foundation?”
Qin Mieqin looked at him. “One year minimum, but it could take… the rest of your life!”
Li Chengfeng drew in a sharp breath as Qin Mieqin continued walking. “As for the one pet you’re allowed, we do not restrict the species or size. As long as you can control it and it does not hurt anyone, no one will bother you about it.”
“I understand. Are there any other rules I should know about?”
He replied flatly, “Every cultivator sect has many rules. I’ll give you a handbook later. You must memorise it or I might have to kill you if you break any rules!”
Li Chengfeng’s chest tightened. “Alright, I understand.”
Qin Mieqin walked ahead and brought Li Chegnfeng by a steep cliff. Li Chengfeng saw two peculiar-looking trees on this cliff and a large bolder pointing outwards off the cliff at the edge. On the side of the boulder, between the two trees was a circular array, within it was a deeply carved image of a sword pointing upwards.
Qin Mieqin stepped into the array on top of the boulder and looked at him. “Come here.”
Li Chegnfeng looked at Su Yuehan, then went up with her. He felt wind blowing around him and then realised he seemed to be in centre because the air was calm only at this point. ONce Su Yuehan also stepped in, he felt the suffocating air pressure from so much wind around him.
Soon, a sword flew out of the boulder from the image carving, slashing the space in front of Li Cehgfeng.
Chengfeng shuddered. I can’t let down my guard even for a second in Hidden Sword Court! This is exhausting!
But the sword slashed past him. As if it had made a rip in space, a black hole appeared mid-air. Strong air currents gushed out of the hole, so strong he could not breathe nor open his eyes.
He closed his eyes. When he opened them, his surroundings had changed. The steep, barren cliff and peculiar trees had turned into pleasant crop fields.
Li Chengfeng found himself in the top floor of a five-storey building. It had shiny green roof tiles and beautifully carved pillars. Outside, he saw neat stair-like farms, every layer dotted with neat houses. The buildings grew more luxorious-looking up the mountain while buildings below were shorter and simpler. The houses at the lowest level were single-storey houses that looked like a commoner’s house in Cheng’an City.
Li Chengfeng was already drenched in cold sweat as he stood within the teleportation array, privately terrified but maintained an indifferent expression. He asked curiously, “Do the senior brothers of Hidden Sword Court live here?”
Qin Mieqin’s eyes darted at Li Chengfeng in mild surprise. He had delivered many juniors here all these years and all of them always arrived with trembling legs and many even burst into tears.
Qin Mieqin did not speak and continued to walk. Chengfeng followed him, admiring his surroundings.
They went downstairs to the fourth floor and met two Hidden Sword disciples with three orange stripes. When they met Qin Mieqin, they bowed. One of them stepped forward. “Senior Brother Qin…” He paused when he saw Li Chengfeng, then became more stunned when he saw the pretty Su Yuehan.
Qin Mieqin coughed drily to snap him awake. “Senior Brother Qin, who are these?”
“Su You, this is our new junior brother and his partner-servant. Bring him to his quarters.”
“We have a newcomer? I thought they…” gasped Su You.
Qin Mieqin cut him off sternly. “Just do as you’re told, don’t ask questions!” He glared at Su You, who quickly leaned closer.
Su You looked at Su Yuehan again and asked in a low voice. “Senior Qin, are… female servants allowed?”
Qin Mieqin squinted at him. “Hmm, do you think you’re more familiar with the sect’s rules than I am?”
Su You lowered his head. “Alright, alright, I apologise. But… isn’t this… inappropriate? The other disciples will not agree to this?”
Qin Mieqin replied coldly, “If it’s not against the sect rules, I can’t stop him.”
Qin Mieqin glared at him. “Enough! Just bring him to his quarters!”
Su You looked at Li Chegnfeng enviously and grunted in assent. Just as he turned, Qin Mieqin dug his palm into his shoulder and whispered ever so softly. “He might be a spy from Hidden Brocade Court, you’d better be careful… I don’t want them taking advantage of us.”
Su You’s expression did not change and said loudly. “Don’t worry, Senior Brother Qin! I will treat Junior Brother well!” He particularly emphasised his words as his eyes darted at Li Chegnfeng.
When Mieqin left, Chengfeng asked, “Senior Brother Su, where is Senior Qin going?”
Su You replied lazily. “He’s in charge of our court rules, he’s really busy and it’s none of your business!”
Li Chengfeng was not upset by the rude reply but started to study his surroundings. This was a foreign world to him and he greedily memorised all the information he could get.
When they went down all five floors, Li Chengfeng realised that Su You was bringing him in a direction opposite to the layered crop fields. As they travelled farther, he asked, “Senior Brother Su, are we going the wrong way?”
Su You rolled his eyes. “Who’s more familiar with this place? You or me?”
Chengfeng smiled apologetically. “You, of course.”
“That’s right. Just follow me.”
Chengfeng and Su Yuehan looked at each other, following behind. They had arrived in the area behind the layered fields, an obscure piece of land when Su You pointed at a short building. “You’ll be staying here.”
Li Chengfeng was shocked. “You really let people stay here?”
Su You held his nose in the air and snickered. “You’re right, we don’t! But you’re a newcomer, do you think you’re fit to live in a house for PEOPLE? If you’re going to whine about it, might as well go home!”
Li Chengfeng’s temper flared and did his best to not punch this Senior Brother Su. “Senior Brother Su, if you could arrange for a better house for me, I’ll definitely repay you.”
Su You was tempted but rolled his eyes when he remembered what Qin Mieqin said. “We don’t have any other spots. Take it or leave!”
Li Chegnfeng swallowed his anger, about to reply when Su You wrung his sleeve and left.
Chengfeng glared at his back but had no choice. He turned to look at his ‘house’.
The word ‘run-down’ was a compliment at this point.
Twenty to thirty metres from him was a fence but this fence resembled an old man’s crooked, missing teeth. Random pieces were missing while other pieces were stabbed crookedly into the ground. They looked more like weeds. It was ridiculous.
However, if it was just the fence, Chengfeng would have been fine. Fences could be mended.
The one Chinese acre of land within the fence was filled with weeds as tall as a human’s waist. How could he stand that? Was this a piece of land fit for planting spiritual medicine? He suspected no one had set foot here in the last century.
He might have been able to swallow his anger if this was it. He could grit his teeth and pull weeds with Su Yuehan.
But the house! The house had no door! Not even a doorframe! And no roof!
Looking at the little stream flowing behind the run-down house, then at the weed-filled field, Li Chengfeng was not sure what pathetic events awaited him in here.
Tears streamed down his face. At least he had a house, a stream and a field?