For the past three days, Lin Shouxi and Xiao He had been practicing martial arts together, exchanging ideas and chatting intermittently.
Despite the seriousness of their training, Lin Shouxi seemed carefree and relaxed, while Xiao He maintained a calm and steady composure, showing no sense of urgency.

Wang Erguan was the most diligent and hardworking member of the group.
He worked hard throughout the day, patting his stomach and sighing during meals, expressing his determination to lose weight.
His hard work paid off as he visibly improved his control over his true energy, making him appear the strongest among the four.

Ji Luoyang, on the other hand, was the most consistent and steady in his training.
Lin Shouxi was impressed by his boxing skills and could not identify any flaws, despite his sharp eyesight.
Ji Luoyang was friendly towards Lin Shouxi and offered to treat his injuries, which made Wang Erguan uneasy as he believed that Lin Shouxi’s disability was a form of protection.

However, Lin Shouxi politely declined the offer.

“Are you disappointed because you can’t cultivate?” Xiao He sat beside him, hugging her knees, her legs covered in a white cotton skirt that gleamed brightly.

“Of course, I am,” Lin Shouxi replied.

Over the past few days, he appeared carefree, but in reality, he had not stopped for a moment in his efforts to heal himself.
The speed of his recovery was faster than he had expected, but it was still not enough.

“Where exactly are you injured? I can help you bandage it up,” Xiao He offered.

“My injuries are internal,” Lin Shouxi replied.

“Oh… who hurt you so badly?” Xiao He asked.

“A girl my age,” Lin Shouxi replied.

“Is she your enemy?”

“Sort of,” Lin Shouxi said.

“Sort of?” Xiao He furrowed her brows, her eyes searching for answers.
“Could it be a case of love turning to hate?”

“What are you thinking?” Lin Shouxi smiled bitterly and shook his head.

Xiao He couldn’t help but chuckle at his reaction, but then her expression turned serious as she remembered something important.

“Oh, I almost forgot to ask,” she said hastily.
“When I woke you up the other day, did you call me something?”

“Huh?” Lin Shouxi was taken aback, his mind racing to recall the details of that morning.
And then it hit him – he had been feeling a bit dizzy at the time and had mistaken Xiao He for an old lady because of the white hair that had been floating in front of his eyes.

“Did you call me…lǎopó?” Xiao He asked, recalling after a moment of reflection.

Lin Shouxi was momentarily at a loss for words.
“I…,” he began to explain.

“Is that the same thing as lǎopópo?” Xiao He, who had lived in the mountains for a long time and was unfamiliar with some words, touched her cheek and asked, “Do I look old?”

Lin Shouxi was about to clarify his misunderstanding, but Ji Luoyang opened his eyes at an inappropriate time, a faint smile on his lips.
“That’s not what lǎopó means.
Although this word has one less character, that absence makes the meaning of the two words vastly different.”

“Oh? What does it mean then?” Xiao He asked innocently.

“It means xífù,” Ji Luoyang stated bluntly.

Xiao He’s mouth fell open and her youthful cheeks turned red.
She straightened her skirt and said “frivolous” before running back to her room, quickly closing the door behind her.

Lin Shouxi sighed, realizing that this was one misunderstanding he would never be able to clear up.

Ji Luoyang laughed at his misfortune.

Later that afternoon, Ji Luoyang invited Lin Shouxi to spar with him, and to his surprise, Lin Shouxi agreed.

They traded some simple punches and kicks, being careful not to exert any true energy or too much force to avoid aggravating Lin Shouxi’s injuries.

Wang Erguan was surprised to find that Lin Shouxi’s moves were quite beautiful, but without true energy, what was the use of them?

“Fancy but impractical,” he remarked with disdain.

When Xiao He came back out of the room, Wang Erguan leaned over to taunt her, “Miss Xiao He, you were only gone for one morning, but your husband has already run off with someone else.”

As Xiao He watched Lin Shouxi and Ji Luoyang spar, she bit her pink lips and murmured, “Who said I’m his wife?”

Despite her earlier comment, they still sat together to eat when dinner time came.

“Please don’t call me that again in the future,” Xiao He said seriously.

“Alright,” Lin Shouxi agreed readily.

The atmosphere suddenly became quiet.
Lin Shouxi turned around and saw Xiao He looking at him, lips pursed and face cold.

“Did I say something wrong again?” Lin Shouxi had never considered himself foolish, but lately he had started to doubt himself.

“You didn’t,” Xiao He huffed, then got up and went back to her room.

After pondering for a moment, Lin Shouxi turned to Wang Erguan and Ji Luoyang, and humbly asked, “She said I didn’t do anything wrong, but did I really not do anything wrong?”

Wang Erguan burst out laughing, while Ji Luoyang jokingly asked, “Didn’t your elders teach you these things?”

“They did,” Lin Shouxi replied.

“How did they teach you?” Ji Luoyang asked curiously.

“By being unchanging in the face of a thousand changes,” Lin Shouxi said, then continued to eat his meal calmly, following the teachings of his master.

Ji Luoyang was stunned.

Lin Shouxi’s strategy was effective.
The next day, Xiao He continued to practice and eat with him as if nothing had happened.

Ji Luoyang joked that it was a case of ‘no resentment lasting overnight between a husband and wife’.
Xiao He glared at him fiercely in response.

On a day when the weather was not good and the clouds were dense, Xiao He sat on the edge of the cliff and watched as a black bird circled below the clouds, her gaze following its path over the dry lake.

“I wonder what the God of Protection looks like,” she said.
“My aunt once told me that any god who has survived until now must have been a powerful figure in their time.
Even though it only had one breath left, to be able to slay a god, I can’t even imagine how terrifying that being must be….
Do you think they’re still here, secretly watching us?”

She leaned closer to Lin Shouxi.

“I don’t know.
Perhaps it’s just a fearsome monster,” Lin Shouxi suggested casually.

“No, monsters aren’t scary at all,” Xiao He corrected him.
“It is the evil gods in the deep sea and the dragon corpses buried in the earth that you must worry about.”

“Dragon corpses?” Lin Shouxi asked.

“Yes, especially dragon corpses,” Xia He replied, shuddering.
“Even though the dragon race has been extinct for so many years, their bones refuse to rest in peace and occasionally crawl out of the ground.
My aunt told me that the city walls outside the sacred mountain have been broken through several times by dragon corpses, and the strongest one almost forced our ancestor’s dharma body to appear.”

“Our ancestor’s dharma body?” Lin Shouxi was curious.

“Yes, the dharma body of our human ancestor,” Xiao He said.

“Our human ancestor… has he really survived until now?” Lin Shouxi asked, thinking of Pengzu in the writings of Zhuangzi.

“How could you not know about that?” Xiao He was surprised.

“There are many things I can’t remember.
My brain is damaged, you… should be able to tell,” Lin Shouxi said, feeling a bit embarrassed.

Xiao He nodded gravely.
“Yes, I can tell,” she said, thinking about the past few days they’ve spent together.

Lin Shouxi sighed, but didn’t inquire further about the ancestor.
Since he was such a well-known figure, there would be plenty of opportunities to learn about him in the future.

“Thank you,” Lin Shouxi suddenly said afterward.

“What are you thanking me for?” Xiao He asked.

“Thank you for helping me remember so much,” Lin Shouxi said.

“Show me how thankful,” Xiao He replied in a coy voice.

“What do you want?” Lin Shouxi asked.

“Well…”Xiao He grinned, “…how about letting me eat you?”

“Let’s change the request.
I still want to live,” Lin Shouxi said seriously.

Xiao He sighed.
“You are no fun.”

“Yes, and that’s why I’m not delicious,” Lin Shouxi said.
“I’m just looking out for you.”

Xiao He laughed.
“You don’t seem so boring now.”

They sat on the cliff, gazing into the distance, until the black bird and the lake were swallowed up by the darkness of night.

The next morning, Perfected Yun appeared in the courtyard as usual, carrying a wooden sword on his back and a copper wire birdcage in his hand.
Inside the cage was a beautiful white sparrow with pure white wings.

He was there to test them.

Perfected Yun briefly explained the test, which consisted of two parts: first, they would use their true energy to pierce the wood with iron needles and see how deep they could go; second, they would stand in front of the birdcage and touch the copper wire.
The level of their root bone would be judged by the loudness of the sparrow’s cry.

“This little sparrow is so clever?” Wang Erguan said, marveling at the beautiful white bird in the cage.

“This is the most precious bird of the Wu family.
It carries the blood of the ancient white phoenix that has long been extinct,” Perfected Yun said calmly, his words brimming with pride.
“If it weren’t in the cage, it would have torn open your belly and pecked out your eyes, and devoured your flesh and blood, just based on what you said.”

Ancient white phoenix…

Wang Erguan was shocked.
He knew what that meant.
Legend had it that in ancient times, dragons and phoenixes dwelled between the thunder and clouds, overlooking the mortal world from the sky.
Their gaze covered the land, and wherever their shadow passed, all evil spirits and gods would be silenced!

If most gods were just legends, then white phoenixes were even more so.
They belonged to the end of the legends, when chaos first opened and few black shadows shrouded the world!

This small bird was its descendant, although it was separated by thousands of generations.
Nevertheless, it was still noble.

Wang Erguan quickly clasped his hands together and called out “Great Immortal, Great Immortal” to the bird, hoping to calm it down.

Perfected Yun didn’t waste any words.
He carried the birdcage and led them to an ancient tree.

The ancient tree had twisted branches and withered leaves, as if it had long been dead.

Perfected Yun took out a slender iron needle and handed it to them, telling them to use their true energy to pierce the old tree in front of them.

Wang Erguan volunteered to go first.
At first, the iron needle was unstable, but once he grasped the key, it quickly became stable.
However, although the tree was dead, its trunk was still hard.
After the iron needle pierced a few inches, it could no longer move forward.

Wang Erguan looked at Perfected Yun nervously.
It wasn’t until Perfected Yun nodded that he breathed a sigh of relief.

Ji Luoyang wielded the needle with the same mastery as Wang Erguan, and the outcome was nearly identical.

Then it was Xiao He’s turn.
Xiao He’s true energy was soft and steady, but because it was too gentle, she lacked strength when piercing the tree and her result was slightly behind the first two.

Finally, it was Lin Shouxi’s turn.

“If it doesn’t work, don’t force it, so as not to aggravate your injuries,” Wang Erguan said with a smile.

Ji Luoyang stared at him with a solemn expression.

Xiao He clenched her fists, as if cheering him on.

Wang Erguan’s smile froze on his face.

Because the needle actually flew up.

Wang Erguan looked at Xiao He.
“Are you helping him cheat?”

“Shh, don’t disturb him,” Xiao He said, glaring back.

“But I thought he was a waste,” he said, his voice tinged with disbelief.

“He’s not a waste, he’s merely injured,” Xiao He interjected, coming to Lin Shouxi’s defense.
“And mark my words, once he recovers, he’ll surpass you in every way.
Perhaps this experience will teach you not to take advantage of others in their time of need.”

Wang Erguan nervously watched the needle.
Fortunately, Lin Shouxi’s injury had a significant impact, and the needle could not penetrate the tree despite touching it.

Perfected Yun looked at the light needle, thought of Lin Shouxi’s injuries, and felt a sense of regret.

He believed that Lin Shouxi possessed exceptional talent that could be nurtured and refined.
But with the divine inheritance ceremony looming on the horizon, time was not on his side.

The feeling of regret that gnawed at him was faint and meaningless.

Perfected Yun dangled the copper wire birdcage in mid-air, and the small sparrow inside chirped twice, its white feathers and black eyes giving it an innocent appearance.

The three disciples touched the birdcage in turn.
And as expected Lord Protector’s chosen, whether it was Wang Erguan, Ji Luoyang, or the seemingly weak and delicate Xiao He, the small bird that carried the blood of the white phoenix made a loud chirp, giving each of them a high evaluation.

With the loudest chirp being for him, Wang Erguan’s earlier frustrations had been swept away, replaced with a sense of overwhelming pride.
He flashed a grin and provocatively glanced over at Lin Shouxi.

Lin Shouxi ignored the look because his thoughts were somewhere else.
When the sparrow had evaluated Wang Erguan, Ji Luoyang, and Xiao He, he had spotted a hint of contempt in its pupils.

It was the contempt of a superior bloodline.

Lin Shouxi didn’t know why, but he felt resistant and hesitant to step forward after seeing that look.

Xiao He noticed his strangeness.”What’s wrong?” she asked.

Lin Shouxi shook his head.
“It’s nothing.”

Wang Erguan didn’t forget to mock him, “Are you scared by this white-eyed… white-pupiled great immortal?”

Lin Shouxi didn’t answer.

He felt a tremor in his heart, as if some unseen force was leading him.
Without realizing it, he approached the cage and touched its cool surface.

The tremor became palpable.

As if the blood and flesh were a pool, this tremor sank into it, causing a sound like armor cracking as all the bones in his body trembled together.

Then, the moves of the White Pupil Black Phoenix Sword Scripture rose from the depths of his heart like a nameless mist, settling softly in his chest, as if a black sparrow had spread its wings and enveloped him.

Lin Shouxi felt himself standing alone on a vast white snowy field, surrounded by a silence that was only broken by the never-ending fall of snow.
In the depths of the snowfield, a copper palace was faintly visible, its presence shrouded in mystery.
At the center of the palace, a black shadow was impaled by a sword covered in green rust.

When he came to his senses, he found that it was quiet around him.

It was Wang Erguan’s laughter that broke the peace.

Perfected Yun looked at Lin Shouxi and shook his head, the regretful expression in his eyes vanished.
The white bird in the cage remained silent, as if it held the utmost contempt for the young man before it.
But only Lin Shouxi could see that the disdain in the bird’s pupils had already disappeared, replaced by a deep sense of fear! Like a criminal before a king, it dared not lift its head, let alone make a sound!

Lin Shouxi withdrew his hand from the cage as he turned and strode away.
Only when Perfected Yun approached to pick up the birdcage did the white bird issue a belated cry.
In the next instant, lightning flashed and thunder roared, and a bolt of lightning struck the ancient tree, reducing it to a smoldering ruin.
The bird’s cry was silenced by the thunder, rendering it inaudible to all.

点击屏幕以使用高级工具 提示:您可以使用左右键盘键在章节之间浏览。

You'll Also Like