Xiaobao didn't know what lengths Chengfeng went to rescue him and what kind of experiences he went through, just as Chengfeng would never ask why Xiaobao would save him.
They have known each other since they were kids. They grew up together, played together, travelled the world together, fought enemies together. They had even saved each other countless times.
After her laughing fit, she quietly observed the pair, who were now fast asleep. She sighed inwardly. Prior to this, she had detested all men, as she assumed they were all emotionally fickle and irresponsible.
However, when Chengfeng was willing to sacrifice himself for one of his servants, and practically walk through fire and hell for him, it had greatly challenged her perception and prejudice towards men.
It confused her as she couldn't understand why the two of them would never talk about rescuing each other, as if this was just an unspoken, understood agreement between them.
She couldn’t seem to wrap her head around the concept of friendships. True friendship wasn’t about remembering the small, minute matters at home, nor is it about weeping at each other’s departure.
Real brotherly camaraderie was like the westerly winds of the old tales, like the winds and grass; like the blood on a knife, like a fluid nobleman; like the guzzling of wine, and the taste of fragrant teas; like the peak of mountains and lakes, like the roaring laughters and furies; like the unmoving leafy mountains, like the crimson sunsets of evenings; it was everything and nothing!
Yuehan’s emotions were complicated. As she looked over towards Chengfeng’s back, her once unwavering belief was now shaken: could it be him?
No, it can’t be!
He wouldn't be so good to me!
I’m just a thousand-faced demon whom everyone wants dead.
He is good to me only because I’m a beautiful woman. If I were an ugly demon or a detestable monster, would he still treat me the same?
Su Yuehan, don't be stupid, you’ve lived for so many years, don't you know a man’s true intentions by now?
Once he discovers your true identity, he might abandon you, or he might even take your life!
Surely you’ve been through this?
In Yuehan’s lifetime, she had indeed met men whom she loved, but after learning her real identity, they all became afraid of her. They fled, or called for officers to arrest her, or worse, tried to kill her themselves, attempting to steal her internal alchemy.
It was precisely because of these numerous incidents that scarred Yuehan. She no longer dared to believe humans and their words, and no longer dared to trust anyone else in the world.
The initial warmth in her heart gradually dissipated in the cold air of the winter night, and it was replaced by a deeply harboured loneliness and sorrow.
In the early morning of the next day, when the sun was just barely rising, an unexpected guest was outside Chengfeng's house. He wasn’t just any ordinary person, he was the Grand Senior Brother of the Spiritual Mountain Sect.
He saw the branches and leaves that tightly wrapped the ruined house, and the few withered trees around him. He was surprised: this caster’s spells are so strange! Wait… is there even such a spell?
However, the thought went as quick as it came. The Grand Senior Brother stood outside the house and yelled, “Li Chengfeng! Why did you miss the morning class?”
After a while, the branch at the gate squirmed, and Chengfeng emerged while getting dressed. He said in astonishment, "Grand Senior BRother? There was morning class today? I didn’t know!"
The Grand Senior Brother glared at him, and said, “You know now! You’re late by more than an hour…” Before he could finish his sentence he saw Xiaobao sleepily emerge while rubbing his eyes, but otherwise unscathed. The Grand Senior Brother’ eyes widened and he exclaimed, “You’re not dead?”
Chengfeng didn’t appreciate that comment and he shot back, “I didn’t know you wanted him dead.
“But his wounds… they were…” The Grand Senior Brother’s expression became increasingly shocked, and he continued, “Did Grand Senior Sister save him?”
“That’s correct!” Chengfeng replied with a nod.
“But she’s known to be ruthless, she wouldn’t save anyone, even those who are on the verge of death! How is that possible…”
Chengfeng glared at the Grand Senior Brother, and nervously yelled, “Grand Senior Sister!”
Grand Senior Brother froze for a second, unsure of what to expect. He suddenly disappeared from the spot where he stood. Five humanoid figures resembling Grand Senior Brother emerged in a flash, but each of those figures had a ripple-like texture to them, thus making it difficult to distinguish the actual Grand Senior Brother.
This was a favourite trick of his: the Phantom Avatar.
This technique allows the caster to create five, identical avatars that resemble the caster, while the avatars are indistinguishable, thus enemies are unable to spot the actual caster among their avatars. By the time the enemy had seen through the illusion, the caster would’ve fled to somewhere safe.
When Grand Senior Brother had fled the area and reappeared at a safe distance from the house, he noticed that Grand Senior Sister had not emerged at all. Where was she?
The brat had fooled me!
He was enraged, but he can’t let his temper get the better of him. He mustn't retaliate either, that would be admitting that Chengfeng had fooled him.
Grand Senior Brother gritted his teeth and said from a distance, “Come for class quickly, you have about half an hour. Don’t be late!” Upon finishing his sentence, he disappeared. He didn’t want to stick around to prod for more details.
But the question still lingered in his mind: why would Grand Senior Sister save him?
It didn’t make sense!
Chengfeng couldn’t help but laugh as he saw Grand Senior Brother flee. Xiaobao wasn’t fully awake to comprehend the situation. With a blank look on his face, he asked, “Was that Grand Senior Brother?”
Chengfeng sighed, “Yes. I should probably head to class now…”
Xiaobao quickly said, “Master, I’ll go with you.”
Chengfeng gave Xiaobao a stern look and warned, “It’s dangerous, you know!”
Xiaobao returned the look and said, “Master, you are the pillar of the Li family. If anything happens to you, how will the Li name be passed down?”
Chengfeng stared at Xiaobao. After a while, he laughed and gave Xiaobao a kick to his butt. “When did you become such a smartass?”
Xiaobao scratched his head and laughed meekly. Although he just barely recovered from a near-death injury, this pretty, emotional boy had the Li family grit in his slender frame.
After a simple wash, the duo went to the precept hall of Jiufeng Mountain.
Before entering the mountain gate of the Spiritual Mountain Sect, they saw Qu Tongqiu and Zhao Yibai of the swindler duo kneeling on the ground, kowtowing to a disciple of the Hidden Modesty Court.
“Brother Zhou, please spare us! We didn’t know!” Tongqiu pleaded bitterly, visibly bruised on his forehead from the kowtowing.
This disciple stepped on Yibai’s head and said with a sneer, "Where is that guy named Li Chengfeng?"
Yibai laid on the ground, still struggling with a forced smile on his face. He pleaded, "Senior Brother Zhou! We really don’t know. He doesn’t live with us. If he did, we will tie him up and present him to you. You can steam, braise, boil, and mince him! It’s up to your taste!”
Brother Zhou laughed icily, “You Spiritual Mountain Sect people are only the same few familiar faces, and you don’t know his whereabouts? Who are you fooling?” He suddenly pointed to Tongqiu and snapped, “Hey, who told you to stop!”
Tongqiu quickly continued to kowtow, his head banging loudly against the pavement.
Yibai continued to coax, "Senior Brother Zhou, even on the first day of class he already lived somewhere else! He didn't come to morning class today, maybe you can come again tomorrow? Maybe he’ll be here tomorrow!"
Chengfeng saw this man named Senior Brother Zhou wearing a Hidden Modesty Court cultivator’s uniform with a green stripe, and he knew: red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, blue, purple, black and white, which corresponds to the nine realms of Body Building, Qi Wielding, Spirit Concentration, Foundation Solidification, Magical Unblocking, Yang Spirit, Golden Body, Thunder Tribulation and Flying Immortal. Green indicates Foundation Solidification, and therefore meant that this was a cultivator who had just passed the threshold of foundation building.
Foundation Solidification is a distinct level that separates the warrior from the cultivator. If one fails to cultivate the Inner Alchemy (neidan), one cannot use spells, seals, and magic weapons, let alone arrays.
Chengfeng had just broken through the second heavenly stage of immortality, and felt that his strength had skyrocketed. He looked at this arrogant guy who came to trouble him and absolutely despised him. But he was eager to try something: could he beat this guy who had just attained Foundation Solidification?