Li Chengfeng’s realised his vision went black. Once he took off the blindfold that was still on his face and opened his eyes, he realised he was standing in the middle of a gigantic circular stone house.
At this moment, while they stared at Li Chengfeng in astonishment, both Sun Boyi and Senior Sister Ouyang looked as if they had seen a ghost. They just could not understand how this kid managed to be the first to arrive!
Did he not succumb to his heart’s fear and fall into the depths of the clouds a moment ago?
Senior Sister Ouyang glared at Sun Boyi as she gritted her teeth, “Sun Boyi, I would like to see how you’ll fix this.”
In a cold sweat, Sun Boyi unconsciously muttered to himself, “This... This can’t be! It’s impossible….impossible….”
Ouyang Xiu coldly replied, “I was ready to let go of the previous matters between us, but now that this rascal has won first place in BOTH challenges… if he were to do the same during the third test... Sun Boyi, you’ll be dead meat!”
Although the selection ceremony would be done by the Martial Uncles, yet the one in charge of maintaining and managing the third challenge was Sun Boyi. This was Sun Boyi’s first time to ever take up such an important job, which meant that his superiors from the previous generations were expecting a lot from him. If he were to mess this up, the repercussions of this failure would surely destroy his life!
Sun Boyi started to sweat profusely, his gaze in his eyes pleaded as he looked at Ouyang Xiu. Ouyang Xiu couldn’t be bothered to settle their old accounts, she just smirked at him. And with a kick of her foot, she propelled into the skylight of the stone house and vanished.
Her leaving caused a big ruckus in the stone house. It made Li Chengfeng’s hands slip as he lost grip of the ding furnace and fell to the ground. A giant dent appeared on the stone floor where she once stood.
Ouyang Xiu intentionally made a large scene before she left to show her rage and dissatisfaction. Yet at the moment, Sun Boyi could care less about her anger, he was more worried about the chances of Li Chengfeng receiving first place in the third challenge once again because that would ultimately lead to his death!
What to do?!
What in the world must he do now?!
Sun Boyi brainstormed for a solution to solve this problem, his mind racing.
Li Chengfeng went up to the man and bowed, asking, “Senior brother, where is this place? Has the second challenge ended already? About the third challenge…”
“That won’t do!” shouted Sun Boyi suddenly.
A stunned Chengfeng looked at the man. Sun Boyi snapped back to reality as he forced a smile, “You have already ranked first in the first two challenges. Therefore you do not need to go through the third one.”
As the saying goes, two wrongs make a right. Instead of risking Chengfeng winning first place in the third challenge, he could just tell the boy that he did not need to enter the third challenge. Since being able to win first place in both challenges would guarantee a spot in the Spiritual Mountain Sect anyway.
“Huh!” replied Chengfeng, surprised and happy. “Can I join the Hidden Brocade Court then?”
For the sake of entering the Spiritual Mountain Sect to train as a cultivator, he had naturally done his homework. The Spiritual Mountain Sect was divided into four prominent Courts, this included the Hidden Brocade, Hidden Beauty, Hidden Modesty and the Hidden Sword Court.
Among the four, Hidden Brocade Court was the best of them all. Only those who obtained the golden invite had the qualifications to enter. Cultivators who belonged in that court were extremely wealthy, although many of these cultivators were sons from rich men and good-for-nothing children of previous legacies. But, many of them were also powerful cultivators born with golden spoons in their mouth.
These people were bestowed with the best education one could be provided with since they were born, no matter what they did, they had the best resources to tutor and support them. Most of them were the winners in the most cut-throat competitive fields in the world, namely in the field of warriors, religious scholars and cultivators. At worst they were still sons of wealthy families, as their fathers had made a name for themselves naturally their wits and talents would be much stronger than the average person. Not to mention, the strong would only marry a partner of the same worth.
These strong ties had produced promising children for future generations.
Once one had made a name for themselves, they would earn much authority and respect. And the Hidden Brocade Court was such a place for the wealthy sons and second-generation legacies to make use of their connections in the future.
The Hidden Beauty Court was where all the female cultivators gathered, it was the strictest amongst the other courts when it came to choosing their cultivators. One would be denied to join if they were under the age of sixteen, or if the one’s physical body had any significant problems from birth. Not to mention, if one was too old and barren or if one came from poverty and had no power to provide for their family, they would be denied entry. If one was prone to be hot-headed, or if one had a bad character, they too would be denied entry. If one was weak-willed and soft or if one was too ugly, these people would be denied from entering the Hidden Beauty Court as well.
To Chengfeng, if one were to apply these rules modern times, it would only seem very discriminatory. However, the Spiritual Mountain Sect was one who could afford to be as arrogant, they did not care what others think. If you want to join, join; If you don’t, then scram!
The Hidden Modesty Court, on the other hand, was where all the disciples from poor families gathered. All the disciples from Hidden Modesty Court were among the most gifted and talented cultivators. Even though they were without money, they had used their mere talent for cultivation to prove themselves worthy. Each cultivation clan possessed a perfect system to support their cultivation path, yet in Chengfeng’s eyes, these people were more like bugs bred by their own court. Every day they leave them with a bit of fodder, letting these ‘bugs’ compete and fight each other in such a harsh environment while they grow up to see who would finally be the alpha of all ‘bugs’ when they’d grown. Only then they’d allocate the most resources to said champion. From this cut-throat competitive environment, a powerful cultivator would be born.
Therefore, Chengfeng concluded that the Hidden Modesty Court was an extremely sinister existence. In such an environment, people would be forced to be selfish and cunning. Everyone had to fight for themselves to receive the most resources and benefits to succeed.
Yet in all honesty, this was not far from reality.
Last but not least was Hidden Sword Court. Although Chengfeng had heard of the saying, ‘Among Spiritual Moutain’s four courts— there is only one true sword*.’ But it was a saying that had not been used in decades. Hidden Sword Court was now ranked last among the four courts, it had declined to the point where no one in recent generations wanted to join them. This was because this court had not produced any legendary cultivators in the past few decades.
[T/L note: In Hidden Sword (Cangjian 藏剑), the jian means ‘sword’ in chinese]
To find out why the once-powerful ‘Unique Sword’ had fallen from grace in the past several decades, Chengfeng tried to inquire about the reason while he was at the foot of the Spiritual Mountain but to no avail. No one really knew why they had started to decline years ago.
Hence from what he could conclude, although the Spiritual Mountain Sect had four courts, Hidden Beauty Court was for women, Hidden Modesty Court was too vicious, and Hidden Sword Court had no future. Which left him with only one option left — Hidden Brocade Court.
But was it really that easy to enter Hidden Brocade Court? At least that was what Sun Boyi mockingly thought. Yet, he smiled politely at Chengfeng, “Junior Brother, Hidden Brocade Court is not a place where one could simply enter just by ranking first place in all three challenges. To enter Hidden Brocade court, you would need... A golden invitation.”
In Sun Boyi’s eyes, he had already considered this gifted genius Li Chengfeng, who ranked first in both challenges, as his junior brother. Who knew? Maybe they would end up in the same court as well. As he brought up the golden invite, Boyi’s eyes were full of yearning.
B*llshit, who doesn’t wish that their cultivation path would include an unlimited sum of money?
Money may not be almighty, but not having money during one’s cultivation path would be impossible.
To craft any sort of magical weapon would need mountains of cash. There was an old saying in the world of cultivation that goes, ‘The rich play with magical weapons, the poor play with fulu seals.’
If it wasn’t for the lack of wealth, who the hell would use a fulu seal that not only looked really lame but was also weak? Who wouldn’t want to take out an overpowering magical weapon that would shine so brightly it would blind others? Those like Sun Boyi who grew up from poverty would speak this sentence in a self-deprecating way, their hearts yearning for magical weapons that those with wealth had the chance to wield.
As for the golden invitation, it meant an opportunity to obtain immense wealth… as well as a better quality environment for cultivation training and magical weapons.
Chengfeng couldn’t understand what Sun Boyi was saying, “Didn’t they say that this time around, the golden invitation was obsolete?” he asked confused.
Sun Boyi guffawed, “We always say that it would be obsolete during the major challenge!”
Chengfeng immediately reacted as he asked, “So it was a lie?!”
Sun Boyi looked at Chengfeng in delight, his expression the epitome of schadenfreude as he thought to himself, ‘If I can’t get in, you can’t get in as well!’ He then mockingly replied, “Of course, the goal was to make sure those who held the golden invitation would also do their best. If not, how were we going to find out everyone’s potential?”
Chengfeng suddenly understood, “Oh, so that’s the reason why! Then why haven’t I heard anyone else say anything about this?”
Sun Boyi smiled, “Why would those who were chosen choose to tell others about this?”
Chengfeng nodded, “Makes sense.”
“So stop daydreaming, Hidden Brocade Court is not for those…”
Before Boyi could finish his sentence, he suddenly stared at Chengfeng. His eyes locked onto the shimmering golden invitation that Chengfeng took out from the front of his robe. Sun Boyi felt as if his throat was being choked, all he could was make a grunting sound. He did not know what to say.
Chengfeng held his golden invitation and smiled as brightly as the sun as he asked, “Senior Brother, may I join the Hidden Brocade Court?”