Li Chengfeng did not know how to explain his joke to Su Yuehan. “Nevermind. The most important thing is that when they arrive, you must remember my instructions. Remember to be humble, respectful with a hint of arrogance.”
He grabbed her shoulder. “Here, let’s practise. Show me humble, respectful with a hint of arrogance.”
Su Yuehan thought for a moment, then stepped forward. She lowered her head, tucked her chin, yet her eyes stared directly at Li Chengfeng and never avoided eye contact. Although her body language was polite, the arrogance was in her eyes.
Chengfeng was very satisfied. “Ah, this is it! It’s all up to you now! I’ll go wash up and sleep, I’ll be waiting for your good news when I wake!”
He was used to trusting his servants to do their job so he was not worried at all. He went to the back hall, washed away the smell of alcohol and went to sleep.
Next morning, the sky gradually lightened and Li Chengfeng shot up from his bed when he heard the bright sound of bells. He squinted, staring into space for a while, then hopped off the bed and yelled, “Su Yuehan, are you up yet?”
“Eh, Young Master!” Su Yuehan had been up early. She entered the room carrying a tub of water.
Chengfeng grinned. “How was last night?”
She giggled. “You must be mistaken! No one came last night.”
“That’s impossible!” He scoffed. “I refuse to believe any of them was patient enough to sit through one night!”
Deflated, she made a face. “Fine, you win! You were right, they came! Oh, the tricks they had! They insisted on giving me money and magical items, I didn’t even have a chance to stop them. They dropped off their money and items, then left immediately.”
“Oh?” Li Chengfeng laughed heartily. “Indeed, I am now rich! This is my biggest sale! How much, how much?”
She showed him three fingers. “Guess?”
She shook her head and he furrowed his brows. “Is this bunch really that poor? Only three thousand? What can I do with three thousand?”
She laughed and shook her head while he raged, “Oh my god, three hundred? They’re playing me!”
She broke out in giggles. “Three hundred thousand silvers!”
“What? Three hundred thousand?!” Li Chengfeng’s face changed as he wiped his face vigorously and dropped the towel into the tub. He paced around uncomfortably. “Three hundred thousand is enough to destroy a family!”
Li Chengfeng looked solemn as he struggled with a dilemma between greed and reason.
Three hundred thousand was an amount large enough for Huangfu Song and the rest of them to be furious enough to kill his entire family.
“This won’t do!” After pacing around ten times, he made his decision. “We will only take thirty thousand, then leave everything else as it is. Do not take anything else!”
Su Yuehan gave a look of approval. “What about the magical items?”
He smiled bitterly. “I don’t even have the guts to swallow three hundred thousand, you think I’ll take the magical items? Aren’t you afraid they’ll get furious enough to kill my whole family if I embarrass them even more?”
“You have a lot of willpower, that’s impressive! I haven’t been able to sleep well because I was worried you’ll be greedy enough to accept everything. Then we’ll be in deep trouble.”
“We only eat what our stomachs can hold!”
“Everyone knows that in theory but few can put that to practice.”
Chengfeng flung the towel at her butt. “Right, that’s enough of sucking up to me. Go pack up, we’ve got to run.”
She dodged and stomped her foot. “Hey!” But she gasped, “Young Master, we’re really leaving the Spiritual Mountain Sect?”
“Are you insane? Where will we go if we leave? We already burned our ship after leaving Cheng’an. The only road ahead is to succeed in the sect. Leaving this place means failure and that Zhang Junheng will make a move on my family the first moment he gets!”
“Where will we go? Hidden Modesty Court? Didn’t you say Hidden Modesty Court doesn’t suit you?”
He sighed. “I can’t stay in Hidden Brocade Court any longer. I will only end up as Hidden Brocade Court’s enemy. To guarantee that I won’t be betrayed, we have to pick a court that is Hidden Brocade Court’s direct rival.”
“So isn’t Hidden Modesty Court the only option?” said Su Yuehan.
He shook his head. “I’ve learned what I need to know at the feast. Although Hidden Modesty and Hidden Brocade look down on each other, they often work together so they can’t be considered enemies, just competitors. The only court that hates Hidden Brocade is Hidden Sword Court.”
She gasped. “But Hidden Sword Court has been on the decline, they haven’t produced a major successful cultivator in decades! And didn’t you notice that Hidden Sword Court was the only court that was not present at the feast? That means they aren’t respected here at all. Young Master, wouldn’t this be a waste of your potential?
“I think it’s more like only weird people can survive there! It’s not a waste of potential at all! And even if they don’t welcome me, I’ll just be that one quiet, handsome guy sitting in a corner. That’s a good plan, no?”
“Alright, that’s enough! Go pack up. Don’t let them stop us at our door, that would be awkward.”
She rolled her eyes. “I’ve packed up already!”
He patted her head happily. “Not bad, not bad! You’re a good handmaiden.”
There was no time for breakfast. Both of them picked up their luggage, then thirty thousand silvers from the stash of three thousand that Huangfu Song and the rest had gifted him. Everything was left as it was in the front hall. Then, they left quietly.
Although they were quiet, morning classes had already begun at Hidden Brocade Court. The young cultivators all flooded to the classrooms for their first day on the path of cultivation.
Perhaps Li Chengfeng was not fated for this after all, though he was curious what they taught. This looked too similar to a school and not like what he imagined at all.
However, this was very reasonable. Such a large sect must be systemised in order to be successful!
Not just magical items and weapons had to be regulated, even education must be systemised. Sects that let their disciples do whatever they wanted would never be majorly successful.
Even sects that placed all their hopes and resources on a small portion of people would not be successful either. History had taught everyone this lesson.
Why was the Cleansing Moon Li family declining? Why was the Zhan family so powerful?
Cultivators researched these case studies and came up with a conclusion.
Although the founder of the Li family, Li Yue, was indomitable, it was useless. This sect rapidly declined the moment he passed away due to the lack of qualified heirs!
What about the Zhan family?
The Zhan family was the first organisation to militarise their training of cultivators. They sent every young person in the family to each major cultivation sect, at the same time recruiting commoners to be selected and trained for their troops. They utilised the same education syllabus and training, conducting strict selection and ruthless eliminations. Anyone who prevailed in the end would immediately be sponsored heavily for better training.
This was why the Zhan family prospered for several centuries. Any other ambitious cultivation sect naturally imitated their system.
Perhaps commoners might not see this but Chengfeng identified the key to their system: this was how education was institutionalised and mass-released in his previous world.
Without regulation, they could not guarantee the quality of students. Hidden Brocade Court upheld this system.
Chengfeng watched the Hidden Brocade Court disciples entering classrooms quietly, their servants excitedly following behind. This was the beginning of their path to glory.
On the other hand, Li Chengfeng and Su Yuehan carried their luggage and took a path in the other direction, not avoiding all the curious glances directed at them. They headed down the path to Hidden Sword Court.
No one knew what awaited them at the end of that path.