After receiving such bad news, Li Yundong could only force a smile. He said to the stunned Zi Yuan, "Well, now both of us are poor! Let me disband the Fox Zen School while you tear down the Linggong Sect. We can go off and build a Beggar Gang together!"
After that, he laughed joyfully.
Ruan Hongling glared at him. "Don't take pleasure in our misfortune!"
Li Yundong spread his hands and said helplessly, "Would it help you if I squeezed out a few tears? We are in the same boat now!"
Zi Yuan finally came to her senses. With an ugly expression marring her features, she turned to Ruan Hongling and said, "Are you sure about this? Don't lie to me!"
Ruan Hongling jumped up agitatedly and said, "Sister Zi Yuan, when have I ever lied to you! When have I ever disobeyed your words!"
At this point, Zi Yuan began to truly believe her. Wearing a solemn expression, she muttered to herself, "They're taking action so soon? Is the Zhengyi School so eager to annex Linggong Sect?"
Although her voice was low, Li Yundong heard her clearly. He asked, "What's wrong? Don't your sect and Zhengyi School belong to the same school? Why do they want to annex yours?"
Zi Yuan was flustered and her nerves were frayed, as demonstrated by the worried look on her face. For a moment, she could not answer Li Yundong's question. Instead, Ruan Hongling said loudly, "In theory, we are followers of the Zhengyi School, but in fact, the Linggong Sect is only a branch of the Zhengyi School, just like the Quanzhen Dragon Sect is. It has the Dragon Gate Blue Cave Sect and Dragon Gate Western Heart Sect as its affiliates, but it is a branch of the Quanzhen Sect. People think we are their subordinates, but in fact, we are all independent. Humph, the Zhengyi School has coveted the three magic treasures of our sect for a long time. It has long wanted to annex our sect and take the treasures!"
"They have truly gone too far this time. To think that they would actually freeze our assets! What right do they have to do this!?" The more Ruan Hongling spoke, the angrier she became. "No, I have to reason with them."
Ruan Hongling stomped her foot and was about to leave when Zi Yuan stopped her. "Stop right there! Come back here!"
Ruan Hongling said furiously, "Sister Zi Yuan, they are bullying us. This time, they are trying to back us into a corner. How long are you going to just sit by and let them do what they want to us?"
Zi Yuan sighed and said, "What are you going to say if you go to reason with them? You must know that the money was actually donated by the pilgrims. On the surface, it belongs to our Linggong Sect. However, the truth is, the Zhengyi School also has the right to use it, because those pilgrims came in the name of the Zhengyi School. There are very few people who would be willing to actually donate to Linggong Sect."
Li Yundong understood her now. He suddenly interjected, "Do you mean that the money you originally wanted to lend me was actually from the believers? This money belongs to both the Linggong Sect and the Zhengyi School, but they have frozen your assets?"
Zi Yuan nodded. In a voice dripping with irony and contempt, she said, "Many corrupt officials donate in the temples, just looking for some peace of mind. Some want to seek prescriptions to cure diseases or have a good sleep at night, while others are trying to find Tao. These people will not hesitate to donate money. We have built so many Taoist temples and their money is the lifeblood of the people. We take it for granted! If there is an opportunity in the future, we can use it to help people."
Having said this, Zi Yuan sighed. "It's a pity that it's now frozen. I won't be able to help you either."
Ruan Hongling said, "Sister Zi Yuan, wasn't there some official who was always pestering you in the past? She wanted you to teach her how to cultivate. Why don't you go and ask her to unblock the account as a favor?"
Before Zi Yuan could speak, Li Yundong said resolutely, "No, when you ask for something, you have to give up something in exchange. As the saying goes, he who receives a gift, sells his liberty. If Zi Yuan goes to ask this favor of her, she will definitely make various demands in return. I absolutely don't want that to happen! Even if I, Li Yundong, have to take the Fox Zen School to beg in the streets, I will absolutely not take a single penny from you!"
His words sounded sonorous and forceful. Su Chan nodded hard, gripping Li Yundong's arm tightly as she said, "Yes, at worst, I'll go to the streets with you!"
Li Yundong pretended to be angry and said, "Nonsense, when have I ever had you roaming the streets?"
Su Chan giggled. "I'm only kidding!"
Li Yundong glared at her and said, "I should hold an auction to sell you if I run out of money. Whoever offers me the highest price can have you for all I care!"
Su Chan was instantly in a panic and blurted hurriedly, "No, no, you can't do that!"
Li Yundong laughed out loud and caressed the little girl's hair. "I'm kidding, too!"
Su Chan pouted childishly and covered her head with her hands before saying unhappily, "Don't imitate me!"
Li Yundong and Su Chan's laughter dissipated a lot of the tension in the room.
Zi Yuan looked at Li Yundong with both admiration and helplessness. "I'm very impressed by Zhenren Li's noble character and integrity. However, I can't help you now. How are you going to get through this crisis in front of you? Don't tell me that you are really going to become street beggars together with the people from the Fox Zen School?"
Li Yundong sighed, his face full of sadness. Half a year ago, he had just been an ignorant indoorsman. He was a student of the worst major and had raised a fox spirit named Su Chan in his family, causing him to go bankrupt. Now, he had to raise a whole group of fox spirits. It all seemed like a headache to him.
Li Yundong thought for a while. Suddenly, he slapped the table and said loudly, "I have an idea!"
His revelation startled Ruan Hongling and Su Chan, but Zhou Qin and Zi Yuan's eyes lit up at the same time. They questioned closely, "What is it?"
Li Yundong waved his hand and said, "I can organize a dance troupe with the Fox Zen School and perform around the country..." He pointed to Zhou Qin and said, "You can be the guest-in-charge!" Then he turned to Su Chan and said, "You can be the host!"
He then pointed at Ruan Hongling. "Since you're out of money, why don't you come with me? You're pretty, so you can be responsible for collecting money as a receptionist!" He then pointed at Zi Yuan and added, "You're mature, perfect for being the gaffer!"
As Li Yundong spoke, Su Chan and Ruan Hongling all began to laugh. Even Zhou Qin couldn't help showing a smile as her cheeks twitched. Zi Yuan also smiled helplessly. She knew that Li Yundong was joking, so she asked, "What about you? Do you intend to be a rich capitalist?"
Li Yundong patted his chest and said loudly, "I will perform the act of crushing a stone on my chest! This is what I am good at!"
Before he could finish his words, everyone else in the room fell about laughing. Thinking of Li Yundong's performance last semester, Zhou Qin couldn't help giggling, covering her mouth with one hand. She turned around, and her shoulders kept trembling.
Su Chan produced the loudest laugh of all and threw herself into Li Yundong's arms, unable to straighten her back. Her eyes curved like crescent moons as she smiled and sighed with emotion and admiration filling her heart. "My man not only has great cultivation but also great talent. What's more, he is so optimistic, open-minded, and humorous even when facing such a difficult situation. How could I not love him?"
After this group of down-on-their-luck people had enjoyed themselves for a while, Zhou Qin finally stopped laughing and said, "Let's get down to business. Since we can't solve this matter at the moment, we'd better make some preparations."
Li Yundong looked at her. Although her face was expressionless, there were still traces of a smile showing in the corners of her eyes, like a red stamen of wintersweet, looking charming and attractive. His heart skipped a beat. He quickly restrained himself and asked, "Why must we make preparations?"
Zhou Qin said, "Since we can't collect so much money at the moment, let's put the matter of renting a place for the Fox Zen School to one side for the time being. Anyway, we still have a month. But we cannot just wait since we can't afford the rent."
Li Yundong was inspired. "I understand what you're saying. You mean, we can run a shop so that we can make some money at least. At the same time, we should try to find more money, right?"
Zhou Qin smiled and nodded. "That's right! Although my family's funds have been somewhat reduced, I still have some savings. If I sell my car, I will have five hundred thousand yuan, which should be enough for you to start a business. Moreover, once your store opens, you can use it as collateral it to borrow more money from the bank. Then we can discuss it with the landlord of the Taoist temple to see if we can pay it in installment. Maybe the problem can be solved easily."
Li Yundong couldn't help saying in admiration, "Wow, your family gave you a lot. A few good words from you is worth a thousand of the nonsense we usually chat about. Not bad. Let's do it! However, I can't take your money. I owe you too much. I can't use your money anymore."
Zhou Qin said seriously, "Since I've become your disciple, I'll take you as my master. Consider this money as my entrance fee and apprentice fee."
Li Yundong refused. He shook his head and said, "No, I absolutely can't do that! I'm not saying that I won't accept your kindness, but I haven't officially accepted you as my disciple yet, so I can't accept such a huge gift. It wouldn't be right. Moreover, I have heard that Fox Zen School has a property. I want to see what it is. If I can, I want to use it to make cash, and then maybe I can overcome this difficulty."
Li Yundong said to Zhou Qin kindly, "Don't use your money now. If I really can't find a way out, I'll ask you for help. Is that okay?"
Zhou Qin sighed internally, but nodded with a smile.
At this time, Ruan Hongling suddenly said, "I've listened to you all this time, but now there's something I'd like to ask."
Li Yundong asked, "What is it?"
Ruan Hongling asked in confusion, "Why is it that you must rent that land? The Fox Zen School is badly damaged now, and its location has been exposed to all of the cultivation sects in the world. Why don't you just move elsewhere?"
Li Yundong fell silent for a while. He raised his head and looked at Ruan Hongling, then turned to Zi Yuan and said, "I have to return to the Fox Zen School. Why don't you come with me? I'll tell you why I have to keep the mountain where the Fox Zen School is located. Since I started cultivating, I've received a lot of favors from you which I've never had a chance to repay. Now that I think about it, I don't believe I should hide it from you anymore."
After thinking for a while, Zi Yuan said, "We can go back to the Fox Zen School with you, but it must be at night. It wouldn't be good if some cultivators saw me entering the Fox Zen School during the day."
Ruan Hongling curled her lips and muttered in her heart, "Every time you went down from the mountain, you would go and see him. It‘s really unnecessary to do that!"
Li Yundong nodded and said with a smile, "Well, let's go together at night."
Su Chan clapped her hands and said with a smile, "Great, great."
They waited until late at night. Before leaving, Li Yundong thought for a while and said to Zi Yuan, Ruan Hongling, and Su Chan, "Zhou Qin can't fly. You go first and I'll slowly escort her. You needn't wait for us on the way."
Zi Yuan and Ruan Hongling nodded, then transformed into two green lights and left.
Su Chan knew that since Li Yundong had accepted Zhou Qin as his disciple, he had to teach her, so the little girl took Li Yundong's hand and whispered, "Then I'll wait for you in the sect!" After that, she reluctantly shot a glance at Li Yundong before turning into a beam of sapphire blue light and leaving.
Although it was not the first time Zhou Qin had seen them use their magical skills, she still couldn't stop her heart from thumping violently at this time, just like when Li Yundong had seen an unknown world opening its doors to him. She felt excited and nervous.
Although Li Yundong was gentle and approachable, he looked surprisingly serious and cold at this time. He stood on the balcony as the bright moonlight fell from the sky. It was like a beam of light on the stage cascading over him, making him seem to be illuminated by a faint white halo. His figure was straight and lofty, with an air of unassailability.
At this moment, Li Yundong was like a strict teacher looking at his student.
Li Yundong extended a hand to Zhou Qin and asked in a deep voice, "Do you want to see the real cultivation world? Give me your hand!"
Zhou Qin reached out her hand. She hesitated for only a moment before firmly placing her hand over Li Yundong's big and warm palm.