The moment Li Yundong saw the three gauntlets in front of him, he was struck dumb. Then, he quietly took one and opened the first gauntlet. His face froze and he frowned, saying nothing.
To his surprise, there was no sign that this gauntlet was from a sect, and the signature on it was totally unfamiliar. The words were full of bitter sarcasm and cunning, which infinitely provoked Li Yundong in every way. He noted down the venue and time, and then, having glanced at the gauntlet, he grew contemptuous of it, and just threw it aside.
Then Li Yundong turned to the second gauntlet, only to find a few words written in ink on it clearly: The murderer was doomed to death. The signature on it was Zhang Huashui's.
Li Yundong was very surprised as if he had witnessed something incredible happening. He had no notion of why he would receive such a gauntlet without an address or time on it. Moreover, he had not offended Zhang Huashui at all!
Shaking his head, Li Yundong opened the third gauntlet, only to find that it was an exquisite invitation. It was a piece of paper sprinkled with gold dust and emitting a faint fragrance. The moment the invitation opened, a row of neat, small, regular script traditional Chinese came into sight. The handwriting was delicate and gave off an elegant aura, as if written by a woman.
Before Li Yundong read it, he wondered in bewilderment, "Have I offended some female cultivators in the Cultivation World? Why did a woman issue me a challenge?"
However, he looked down and saw that there were a few lines written on it: "Although I live in Okunoin of Mount Kōya, and have ignored the outside world for a long time, I still heard of the invincible reputation of Zhenren. Moreover, I was informed that Zhenren defeated my beloved disciple, Tachibana Wakako, and was shocked! Since ancient times, there have been strong interactions in the Cultivation World between Japan and China. Suddenly hearing that there was another redoubtable cultivator in our East Asia, I started looking forward to encountering Zhenren due to his prestige. I hoped Zhenren would give me a chance to meet him in Mount Kōya, and I would slaughter a fatted calf for you and we could enjoy the blossoms under the moonlight. Ah, what a wonderful life! At that time, if we had a competition under the cherry blossoms, it would be a great story told through the ages!"
Even though these words seemed to be polite, Li Yundong felt like there was hidden danger lurking between the lines. He immediately raised his eyebrows and sneered. Then raising his head, he looked at Zi Yuan et al and said, "Have you seen these invitations?"
Zi Yuan, Su Chan, and Zhou Qin all nodded simultaneously, Li Yundong pondered for a while before asking again, "Who on earth send them?"
Su Chan rushed to explain, "The first gauntlet was suddenly thrown into our living room. It seemed like it came through a crack in the door, tossed by an invisible man, and it slowly floated to the table in front of us."
Zhou Qin said with some disdain, "It is ridiculous to show off when sending this kind of thing. Humph, she is still wet behind the ears!"
Li Yundong nodded and questioned closely, "What about the second one? There's no bad blood between Zhang Huashui of the Qingcheng Sect and me. Is it because Zhang Cunyi was seriously injured by Shinsyu and died when he went back? But that's none of my business."
Zi Yuan was also confused, "The second gauntlet was sent by a Taoist priest from the Qingcheng Sect two days ago. I have no idea why he showed such great hostility to us at that time."
By this time, the little foxes were all shouting, each of them sharing a bitter hatred. "Leader, the people of the Qingcheng Sect are too heartless. You are returning good for evil, but they are returning evil for good instead. How can this be! You must teach them a good lesson!"
Meanwhile, Su Chan was blinking her eyes hesitantly. She gazed at Li Yundong and the excited little foxes, her heart full of struggle and hesitation.
The girl couldn't understand why her master wouldn't allow her to explain what had happened in Mount Qingcheng to Li Yundong. Just as she was struggling with her anxiety, Li Yundong asked again, "Is the third gauntlet from Japan Zhenyan Tantrism? When did it get here? And who send it?"
After he finished asking, Zi Yuan and Zhou Qin looked at each other. Zhou Qin was ashamed as she said, "Sorry, master, we were unaware that... This gauntlet suddenly appeared at the table and there was no time for us to react at all."
Li Yundong was astonished. "Zi Yuan, don't you know?"
Zi Yuan shook her head reluctantly and replied, "I am unaware. But it must be a trick by the Japanese Zhenyan Tantrists, done to show off."
Li Yundong trembled with fear as he knew that Zi Yuan was also a top master of the Yangshen phase. Although she could not win if they went head to head, their cultivation was almost at the same level. Furthermore, what she practiced was Qi refinement of Xuanmen Sect, so she could easily detect anyone whose cultivation quotient was lower than hers or slightly higher than hers as long as they were within ten meters of her.
However, the fact was that the opponent had been able to sneak into his home, put down the invitation, and leave safely. Even Zi Yuan had been unaware of it. It was a provocation!
His own home had been encroached upon freely by the opponent!
It could be inferred from this that the opposite was a jinshen master above the Yangshen phase. Moreover, Zhenyan Tantrism was one of the most important sects in Japan, and its status was equivalent to that of the Zhengyi School in China. As a witch descended from Zhenyan Tantrism, Tachibana Wakako's master was surely a person of consequence, and it would have been impossible for her to take the risk of sending the gauntlet in person. It had to have been her subordinate!
To think that a follower of Zhenyan Tantrism could reach the jinshen phase. How terrifying! One could not imagine how powerful the master of Tachibana Wakako was. Was she a master of the lightning retribution phase?
All of a sudden, Li Yundong was conscious that the forces he possessed were still a little weak. Compared with the sects prevailing in the cultivation world, there was still a long way for him to go!
Thinking of this, he muttered to himself for a while and frowned, as if he was contemplating something. After a little while, he asked Su Chan, "Where is your master?"
Shaking her head, she replied, "I don't know. I haven't seen her over the past two days. I'm also looking for her."
Pursing his lips tightly, Li Yundong pondered for a while. Then, he looked around, only to see that Su Chan, Zi Yuan, Zhou Qin, Ruan Hongling, and all the foxes of Fox Zen School were staring at him eagerly, expecting him to make up his mind. He made a prompt decision and said flatly, "Although we become famous through the Taoist Assembly, in fact, we haven't taken advantage of it at all. We just stole the limelight, which has made us able to be threatened by other sects. As the saying goes, the outstanding usually bear the brunt of the attack. Now that we are in the spotlight, we'll have to watch out and become more powerful constantly!"
Zi Yuan abruptly cut in, "Li Yundong, are you going to meet Wan Zhenyuan?"
He replied with unwavering determination, "A master of Zhenyan Tantrism was able to enter our home. What does this indicate? It shows that the defense of our home is useless. Today, he brought a gauntlet, and tomorrow he can burn, kill, or pillage us with powerful magical weapons! I will never permit such a thing, so even if Wan Zhenyuan has laid a trap, I will meet with him!"
Zi Yuan nodded and whispered to him, "You don't need to worry about this. The refining process of the Diyuan Jindan is not as lengthy as you think. Provided that you select somewhere good, it will only take you two days at most. When you give him the thousand-year-old Snow Lotus, you can sit to the side and watch until the elixir of life is ready."
Li Yundong smiled faintly. "I know, but..." Just then, he was interrupted by a knock at the door, and a crisp female voice sounded from the door. "Is Zhenren Li at home?"
Astonished by this voice, everyone looked at the door. Su Chan walked over quickly and opened the door, where she caught a glimpse of a plain-looking girl with a graceful figure standing at the door with a haughty expression. It was Lin Xueqing, who had shown off her spectacular talent of "a phoenix nodding its head three times" at the art of tea competition in Dongwu City.
Su Chan was stunned and couldn't help asking, "It's you? What are you doing here?"
Lin Xueqing glanced at her as if she disdained to talk with her. "Do you own the place? Am I banned?" she said with a snort.
In response to her rudeness, Su Chan retorted, "Everyone is allowed in, including cats and dogs, but not you!"
Lin Xueqing raised her eyebrows, and there was a spark of rage in her eyes, but she restrained herself a moment later. Her eyes swept over Su Chan's shoulder and focused on Li Yundong, who was in the living room. She shouted with discontent, "Zhenren Li, is this how you treat your guests?"
At this time, Li Yundong recognized her voice. He walked over to the door and gazed at her in surprise. "Oh, It's you. What's the matter?"
When Su Chan saw Li Yundong coming over, she pulled a face at Lin Xueqing and then got out of the way.
Lin Xueqing was eager to challenge him when she saw Li Yundong coming over, especially as he was in the limelight now. There was no one like him in the whole world, and all cultivators had heard of his title of 'Invincible Li'.
"Even if I can't defeat him, as long as I have him suffer a loss, it will make me world-renowned in the future!"
While Lin Xueqing looked Li Yundong up and down, she realized that he had undergone a great change since she had last met him.
In the past, he had been high-spirited and vigorous. Although he shone brilliantly, after Lin Xueqing had been defeated in the art of tea, she had thought things through over and over and concluded that he was not invincible. Therefore, she had returned to cultivating hard, and her cultivation had increased greatly. When she was prepared to take revenge, she had suddenly found that his previous aggression had vanished without a trace.
It was like a vast sea. Even if it was not as turbulent as before, the sea, calm and smooth, was daunting. It was hard to figure out how powerful he really was!
Li Yundong's impressive appearance gave Lin Xueqing a shock for a moment. She blankly looked at him as if she couldn't believe that he had advanced by such leaps and bounds in just a short while!
"No wonder the cultivators in the cultivation world who participated in the Taoist assembly called him Invincible Li!" Lin Xueqing muttered to herself in amazement. "Such is the case."
Her eyes were full of hostility at first, but those feelings soon dissipated. Li Yundong asked curiously, "Zhenren Lin, what can I do for you?"
Although she was frightened by his cultivation quotient, she was still aggressive as she said, "Am I bothering you?"
A scornful smile emerged on Li Yundong's face. "As the saying goes, one doesn't go to a temple for no reason. I have been out of touch with your master, so you can get to the point, can't you?"
Previously, as soon as Lin Xueqing had irritated Li Yundong, he had immediately refuted her words, but now, he was calm, as if he felt no rage at all. She couldn't help but marvel in her heart.
It seemed that she was seeing a brand new Li Yundong. She looked him up and down and sighed, "Well, I'm here just to deliver a message."
"What's the message?" he asked.
Lin Xueqing took a doubtful glimpse at Su Chan, who was next to Li Yundong, and Zi Yuan and the others behind him. Then, she just pursed her mouth tightly, saying nothing.
Li Yundong knew what she was thinking, and said with a laugh, "We are on the same side here, you can speak freely."
As Lin Xueqing, still suspicious, glanced at Su Chan et al, she saw Li Yundong giving her a determined look. She snorted and said, "Master Wan is making me tell you that if you find the thousand-year-old Snow Lotus, you can look for him in the Pine Valley Cottage of Mount Huangshan."
Li Yundong was in a state of shock. "Master Wan? He sent you here? How would he know that I had the lotus?"
Lin Xueqing burst into laughter, then turned and walked away. She said over her shoulder, "Are you eager to know? You'll figure it out when you go to the Pine Valley Cottage of Mount Huangshan!"