Chapter 24 - A Leap in Strength, a Small Step Towards the End
The Golden Dragon Sect's Annual Ranking Tournament was due to start in just a week from now, which sent countless disciples into a frenzy. Countless shouts and grunts filled the Training Hall's outer yard as outer sect disciples of every rank trained to their limits, some even going as far as training to the point of sustaining injuries.
The reason for this overzealous behavior, however, was not just because the ranking tournament's near commencement, but was actually a result of something else entirely.
A single announcement from the elders just this morning tipped the scales regarding the stakes of the competition, which caused both great motivation and crippling anxiety to those disciples that had heard of it.
This announcement, however, went unnoticed by very few disciples. This included Zheng Jin, who was currently staring at the results that he got from the strength measuring apparatus. The machine was now marred by countless dents and showed signs of falling apart, much to his dismay.
"It seems that it cannot handle much more. I just hope they don't make me pay for this clunky piece of crap."
With a slight grin on his face, Zheng Jin remarked that the machine could no longer quantify the strength of his full-powered strikes as it does not show any numbers on it anymore or any symbols for that matter.
He had finally surpassed the machine's limit after training for five weeks straight. This included short breaks for eating, bathing, getting his weekly supply of cultivation pills, and of course, his favorite pastime; reading books.
If one looked at Zheng Jin, they could see a change in his image, especially in his physique. Forged by countless of hours of training, he transformed from having a scrawny and twig-like body from his first day in this world to an observably trained and muscular one. His arms were supple, yet bulky, which surprisingly, almost rivaled those of Du Zhen's.
"Hmm, this rate of physical development is practically inconceivable. Compared to my old world, this one...really is amazing."
As he looked at his body, Zheng Jin could not help but hang his mouth in awe. While he did find out that this world did not have the same system of power as his previous one, he also knew that even without instantly learnable skills, status windows, attributes, and mana, this world made up for it by having a completely different human physiology; that which gave this world's natives the ability to endlessly improve their bodies by what they called 'Spirit Energy', or in some other older books, they called it 'Qi'.
This difference was made clear to Zheng Jin after witnessing the effects of having trained for a mere five weeks. And while the pills may have helped him quite a bit, this development could not even be compared to what he had back in Estellia.
As Zheng Jin's thoughts came to a conclusion, he thought that the gods of this world designed humans quite differently than what the God of Life, Calisto, did in his.
But even as he considered all of this, Zheng Jin had one question on his mind that had been bothering him since he finished his training.
"If my body is like this after a bit of physical training, why don't the women in this world look the same?"
Zheng Jin's eyes narrowed as he thought of the million-spirit-crystal question in his head. Based on what he had seen so far, Both Ying Yue and Bai Shuanyang, had very...feminine bodies, to say the least.
After wallowing in dangerous thoughts such as both of the girls having beefy arms and a robust body just like Du Zhen, Zheng Jin immediately shook his head and promised to never think of such things again. Ever again...
"Ugh, I think I need to wash my eyes." Zheng Jin muttered as he finally packed all of his things within his interspatial ring, which signified the end of his training.
But then again, Zheng Jin remembered that washing his eyes wouldn't help at all, as the image of what he just foolishly thought of had already wormed itself deep inside his brain.
Clutching a single book on his left hand, he tried to drown the image by reading the words on pages, only to fail miserably. It was then that he whispered to himself as he sighed:
"Where do I even get such ideas from? Being an imaginative man isn't bad, but..." Zheng Jin paused as the image appeared again just as he closed his eyes, then he continued: "...this is just too unnecessary. And disturbing..."
He then turned towards the wooden door as he rubbed his head. Of all the things he ever feared...it was his own imagination that scared him the most. The worst thing in having high intelligence stat is that the brain's capability of storing information improves with it.
And that means that he very, very rarely forgets.
Gritting his teeth as he realized that he just wasted time on nonsense, Zheng Jin held his pass in front of the wooden door, which then slid by itself and allowed him to finally exit the room he had been in for a mind-numbingly long time.
As soon as he stepped outside, Zheng Jin took his attention away from the book and breathed in a mouthful of fresh air. After nearly breaking every training equipment in his training room during his long stay, he was glad to finally get out and get a change of scenery.
And while he may have a lot of training left to do in the future, at least he wouldn't be bored for quite a while. That is, of course, if the tournament is half as entertaining as he imagined.
He actually never participated in a fighting tournament before, and considering that he was born on a less chaotic time back in Estellia, such tournaments were rare anyway.
Reading his book as he walked on, Zheng Jin smiled as he saw its contents. The book was said to be a classic piece of literature, which showed a tyrant cultivator who managed to cultivate up to the Earthly Sovereign Realm. Such an existence reminded him of what Estellia would call a "Demon King".
Unfortunately...and at the same time, fortunately for Zheng Jin, a Demon King hadn't been born in Estellia, and the Demon King of his era had been busy terrorizing a kingdom far away from his, so he had never seen one before.
"Tenacious bastards. They always find a way to come back, do they? Well, at least every kingdom always finds a way..."
That way, is, of course, finding a Hero to stop the Demon King. If they found someone either loved by the gods, had an equally traumatic and tragic past and most of all, a good heart, then the kingdom is saved.
This actually baffled him a bit before, as he noticed that none of the previous Demon Kings had ever succeeded in what they planned to do, whether it was to rule the world or kill everyone in it or whatever bullshit they spouted on and on.
At times, Zheng Jin wondered why the kingdoms just wouldn't band together to eliminate an eventual common enemy such as a Demon King, but it seemed that either finding or summoning heroes had been some kind of a strange tradition back in his old world, much like a Demon King being eventually beaten by one.
Actually, if he did not know any better, he would've thought that the gods in his old world may have had a hand in this one-sided wins throughout history. For all he knew, they could have, since they were the ones that gave heroes their absurd "blessings" in the first place.
After pushing the thoughts aside and flipping the book's pages towards the end, Zheng Jin smiled as he read the ending. In this story, the tyrant cultivator won against a whole kingdom and was even crowned as the new king.
As Zheng Jin looked at the book, he cannot help but think the strangeness of dedicating a book to such a villainous person, as it even painted the tyrant in an entirely different light than he first imagined.
After having thought for a bit, however, he eventually reminded himself that he was in a different world now. One that puts strength and power before all else; even more so than his old world.
"Hmm, seems like a good read. Maybe later."
Zheng Jin thought as he kept the book inside his interspatial ring, which he sneakily wore on his foot rather than on his hand in order to avoid the trouble that came with owning one. He then approached an old, wooden desk where the equally old Elder Li stayed in. With the five weeks that he had been here, Zheng Jin had already befriended the old man, to the point where the elder gave pointers in training to a lowly outer sect disciple like him.
Zheng Jin also found the old man to be a bit impressionable, but still a good person nonetheless. Certainly not the type to be scheming behind the scenes.
"Ah, disciple Zheng. Are you finally done with your training?" A clear and elderly voice sounded out as the elder spoke, all while running his hand through his white beard.
"I am, Elder Li. Have you trimmed your beard? Hehe, it's a great new look, if I do say so myself." Zheng Jin smiled as he praised the elder, then continued on with a sigh: "I wish I had a beard..."
"Hohoho, you do not need to rush, young one. You have plenty of time to grow a magnificent beard like mine. No worries, no worries!" The elder laughed loudly as he stroked his beard even more.
This exchange caught the attention of every disciple nearby. After all, what kind of outer sect disciple could chat with an elder in such a casual manner?
After listening for a while, they could only swallow back their envy and disappointment. After all, they thought that not one of them could even come close to Zheng Jin who had already mastered the art of ass kissing...
"Hahaha, well said Elder Li." Zheng Jin laughed along, then took out the pass from his sleeve and handed it out to the elder as he continued: "Well, I shall return after the ranking tournament, Elder Li. But I would like to get a training room that is suitable for an Awakened Mortal in the future."
"Hmm, I sense that you are still a Mortal as of now. Are you saying that you are about to break through?" The elder narrowed his eyes as he looked at Zheng Jin curiously.
In response to this, Zheng Jin nodded, then said: "I will soon, Elder Li. After I take care of some things."
"Oh? You seem very confident, young one." The elder smiled as he continued: "Go on then. I will be waiting for your return, right after you do well on the tournament, of course."
"Do well?" Zheng Jin then cocked his head on the side as he continued: "No, Elder Li. I plan to win the tournament."
"Hohoho just go on your way, young one. Your jokes make me want to puke." The elder laughed at Zheng Jin once again, seemingly amazed at the young boy's blind confidence.
The elder was right to doubt Zheng Jin's words, however, as considering just how much disciples are participating in the tournament, not to mention winning, the elder actually doubted if Zheng Jin would even make it to rank 100 or above, even if he had high hopes for him.
For now, the elder only wished to see the results of Zheng Jin's training, as deep inside his gut, he could feel that the young one would surprise him and everyone else in the sect.
No matter how unlikely it may be.
"Hmm, so the book was right. This is as far as I go." Zheng Jin muttered as he looked at his status window.
Name: Zheng Jin
Class : Level 9 Mortal Realm Cultivator
Soul Ancestry : Thyriandel's Flameheart - 4.21%
Strength : E+
Agility : E+
Speed : E+
Vitality : E-
Intelligence : D
Endurance : E+
Perception : D
? : ?
°Puke Blood 1★
Level 10/10 •Max
Level 10/10 •Max
°Dragonfire Manipulation 0★
°Expert Trapmaster 3★
Level 10/10 •Max
Zheng Jin's strength, speed, and agility had stayed on rank E+ for about a week now, which was right before he ascended to a 9th Level Mortal. Breaking through to the Ascended Mortal Realm is the only way to improve those, he thought.
It seemed that the time had come for Zheng Jin to visit a certain princess, or rather...for a certain princess to visit him. Fortunately for Zheng Jin, it's not that hard to get ahold of that person. Actually, all he had to do was to show up at his shack, then she will come herself.
On another note, Zheng Jin felt that Bai Shuanyang finding him absolutely anywhere in the sect for the past few weeks had been strange, and all of that was just to give him several weird items or advice, which honestly, helped him on his cultivation a lot. What's even stranger is that the girl told him that all of her knowledge came from him...the old him.
This statement, however, will continue to haunt his head for a while, as the girl had no intentions to talk about this matter. She made it pretty clear by telling this to Zheng Jin for so many times now.
Zheng Jin sighed as he continued to make his way out of the Training Hall. But just before his thoughts completely occupied him, the unusual sight of the Training Hall's outer yard being full to the brim with disciples pulled in his curiosity. And while the outer yard may have been filled with disciples, it had never been this full.
For a second, Zheng Jin speculated, then just attributed the strange occurrence to the steadily approaching start of the ranking tournament.
"Hey, surname Zheng! Get over here!"
Zheng Jin was just about to go towards the exit when a group of five boys and two girls stood in his way. He had never seen the disciples before, but he immediately figured that they were up to no good, as is every disciple that ever approached him since his time here.
"I heard you enjoyed your time inside a training room. One with great quality, no less." The girl that stood on the front said as she sneered, then continued: "Surely you must be loaded with spirit crystals right now. You wouldn't mind sharing some with us, right?"
Zheng Jin's eyes narrowed as he spoke with a patronizing look on his face: "Do I know you?" Zheng Jin then grinned as he added: "It's common courtesy to introduce yourself before asking for something, you know."
Zheng Jin looked at the girl who is apparently the senior of the group. With a common short, brown hair and similarly brown eyes, her looks were just about above average at best.
What caught his attention, however, was something entirely different. To be more specific, it was her body that caught his interest. She had long, muscular arms that showed out of the ripped sleeves of her robe despite her relatively small stature, along with a small scar on the top of her upper lip, which further improves the very un-feminine look on her.
Though just now, Zheng Jin was lucky enough to gain closure for the images that were bothering him since earlier, and was relieved that those images were just exaggerations compared to this girl.
"Cheh. It seems that you have grown cocky after Du Zhen and the other two had finally croaked." The girl then mimicked Zheng Jin's expression and narrowed her eyes as she continued: "I am called Flower, and I will now be taking over as the new leader of The Hell's Trio."
"What did you just say?" Zheng Jin's showed a baffled expression as he asked incredulously.
"Have you gone deaf?" Flower shouted as she continued: "I said that Du Zhen and the other two are dead, and they have just been discovered two weeks ago. But then again, you were holed up inside your cozy training room, so I guess you wouldn't-."
"Wait, I'm not talking about that." Zheng Jin shook his hand as he interrupted, then continued: "What did you say your name was?"
"It's Flower you idiot! Haven't you been listening since-"
Just as Flower was about to express her displeasure, a light chuckle from Zheng Jin interrupted her, which angered her greatly.
"What the hell are you laughing at?!" Flower shouted as she clenched her fists involuntarily.
"Oh, don't mind me. I'm just contemplating how the pretty name suits you perfectly, Lady Flower." Zheng Jin smiled as he struggled to suppress the urge to laugh right then and there.
"Tch. Why you-"
As soon as Flower took a step towards Zheng Jin, the other disciples stopped her immediately, as they were currently at a wrong place for such a confrontation.
In response to this, Flower took a breath to calm herself down, then abruptly put on a smirk as she said: "If you're this confident, then surely you don't have any problem with going against me, Zheng Jin. What do you say, tiger? Do you dare?"
After hearing what the girl had to say, Zheng Jin smiled ominously as he replied: "Sure. Why not? I've been rather pent up these past few weeks, and exchanging pointers with Lady Flower should warm my body up...I guess."
"You guess?! I'll make you eat your words, you-"
"Save it for later, Lady Flower. Why don't you lead the way?"
Zheng Jin's smug attitude confused the whole group. They originally came here to scare Zheng Jin off to get some spirit crystals after hearing of his latest expenditures, but who knew that Zheng Jin, who was the main target of their former senior brothers got so cocky just because all three of them died?
"Good. Very good! Come follow us then, Zheng Jin!" Flower shouted as she immediately stormed off with her followers, leaving Zheng Jin on his own to follow.
"What a lucky day. Forget going straight to Sister Ying. It seems that I just got myself a free sparring match..."
Zheng Jin thought as he followed the group with long, yet leisurely strides. He was truly excited, as he could finally see just how much his strength had grown after his training.
"Hmm, quite the place you have taken me to, Lady Flower. Very scenic, if I do say so myself." Zheng Jin said as he looked around the lush plantation around him. They were now, of course, in a hidden spot of the sect's herb garden.
"Flap your mouth while you still can, Zheng Jin. You actually insulted the name that my mother gave me. I swear on my ancestors that I'll make you pay for this!" Flower shouted as she clenched her fists once again.
After letting her anger take control, Flower instructed the others to back off, then took a fighting stance with her fists as she beckoned Zheng Jin to do the same.
"Oh? I'm terribly sorry to hear about your mother. I did say that the name was pretty nice though." Zheng Jin said nonchalantly without even taking a battle stance.
"She's not dead yet you half-wit!" Flower furiously retorted as she immediately ran towards Zheng Jin, intending to teach him a lesson or two.
The punch that was thrown by Flower towards Zheng Jin's face, however, was immediately dodged with a mere tilt of the head, much to the surprise of the whole group.
Still with his head tilted to the side, Zheng Jin said: "Please calm down. I never said that your name is bad, it's just that-"
Flower then recovered her composure and continued her attacks. While she may have held back a bit on that last punch, something told her that she shouldn't do so at all.
A few minutes had passed as Flower attacked non-stop, thrusting out her fists and legs madly like there's no tomorrow.
Her guess from earlier turned out to be true, however, as try as she might, she could never land a clean hit on Zheng Jin.
To make things worse, Zheng Jin hadn't even thrown a single punch or kick since the start of the battle, but Flower's anxiety had already started growing since the first minute or two had passed.
This display shocked all of the disciples that were watching, needless to say, Flower, who had been fighting Zheng Jin for quite some time.
Just before the game of cat and mouse got too long, Zheng Jin who had stayed passive all this time suddenly caught a kick that was aimed at his chest, then sighed as he asked: "I have a question, Lady Flower." Zheng Jin grasped Flower's leg tightly as he continued: "Are you the strongest in this group?"
Zheng Jin's question rubbed Flower the wrong way, as she responded: "You...How dare you question my strength! Next to the original Hell's Trio, I'm considered to be number one in the group!"
"Is that so?" With a disappointed look on his face, Zheng Jin suddenly let go of Flower's leg and turned away from the group to leave. He then continued as he waved his hand: "This battle no longer serves any purpose to me. I'll see you later."
"Stop right there, Zheng Jin!" The disciples who had just been watching since earlier suddenly sprung to life and shouted in near-unison as they pulled out their weapons.
"Oh? Are all of you finally ready to play?" Zheng Jin muttered as he finally raised his fists for the first time.
"Stop! He's mine!" Flower's voice sounded out just before a fight broke out.
"But Senior Sister Flower-"
"Put away your weapons now!" Flower commanded adamantly, which prompted the others to do as she says.
"I'm yours? Can I take that as a confession on your part, Lady Flower?" Zheng Jin said with a chuckle, which really annoyed the already furious Flower.
"You talk a lot of crap Zheng Jin." Flower said as she pulled the beautiful, ornate staff on her back, which she then wielded with haste. After staring intently at Zheng Jin for a while, she continued: "Pull out your weapon, Zheng Jin. We'll finish this fight right now."
"No need, Lady Flower. Just come over and let us finish this as you wish." With a serious look on his face, Zheng Jin made no effort to provoke Flower any longer, as he finally saw an opportunity to test his strength once and for all.
Unfortunately, Flower took Zheng Jin's words the wrong way once again, then she finally snapped and ran towards Zheng Jin as she swung her staff towards Zheng Jin's legs with a considerable amount of force.
Zheng Jin's feet were just too fast, however, as they were already off the ground and on the air even before the staff came whizzing by. Flower's wide range of motion left her open to a counterattack, which Zheng Jin immediately took advantage of.
While still in midair, Zheng Jin threw a punch directly at Flower, who then reacted by blocking the strike with the staff in a quick and skilled maneuver.
Much to Zheng Jin's and the other disciple's surprise, the staff actually broke into two pieces, not stopping the punch at all as it continued to sail towards Flower's stomach, the harsh impact ultimately sent her knees to the ground as she laid there motionless, presumably passed out.
"Senior Sister Flower!" One of the disciples cried out.
"Let's join forces and beat him up now!" Another one added as he lifted his sword.
Zheng Jin, who made his way towards Flower, ignored the other disciples as he checked the unconscious girl and her broken staff. It turned out that the staff was just made out of common wood, something that he did not expect at all.
Luckily, Zheng Jin avoided any vitals and killed some of his momentum with a slight twist of his body at the last second. If he failed to do so, Zheng Jin highly doubted if Flower would've gotten away with just four cracked ribs.
After Zheng Jin considered what just happened, he eventually decided that he still needed to train his control over his strength.
"What do you think you're doing to Senior Sister Flower?" The sole female disciple gasped as she watched Zheng Jin's hand trace throughout Flower's stomach, seemingly oblivious of the other's presence.
"She'll be fine. Just a damaged ribcage. Take her to the infirmary and-"
"Get your hands off me you sleaze!"
Suddenly, Flower who had been out cold suddenly jolted upwards and stood unsteadily, much to Zheng Jin's amusement. He then said: "You should stop moving for a second. Your injury-"
"The fight is still not done, Zheng Jin. I- Ah! Look at what you have done to my staff!" Flower's eyes widened in shock as she looked at the broken staff on the ground. It was as if she had just lost something valuable to her.
"You make it sound like it's my fault. Why did you use such a useless weapon anyway?" Zheng Jin shrugged as he replied.
"You...I'll get you for this!" Flower shouted as her eyes narrowed while she gritted her teeth. The staff was something of great importance to her, and she could not believe that an opponent that she even thought could never land a hit on her would actually break the staff in a single strike.
But just before Flower lunged at Zheng Jin, the latter moved first in a quick burst of speed, then subsequently hit Flower in the back of the neck.
With that, Flower's consciousness faded quickly as she collapsed straight to the ground. Zheng Jin decided to do this the second he saw the glint in her eyes. That look was something he was fond of seeing; the look of someone who is as stubborn as a hardened shit on a latrine.
With bit of thought, Zheng Jin faced the other disciples as he spoke: "As I was saying, take her to the infirmary. She'll be fine after a few days of recovery."
Without as much as sparing another glance to any of the disciples, Zheng Jin continued on his way out of the herb garden.
"Wait, Zheng Jin! I'm afraid you can't leave just yet!" A disciple shouted out as he continued: "We don't have enough spirit crystals to heal Senior Sister Flower. I'm afraid you'll have to fork some over for us!"
As Zheng Jin looked at the male disciple who had been staring at him menacingly, he smiled and replied: "Oh? What if I'm not willing?"
"Then we'll make you." The disciple replied as soon as he took out his weapon, followed by the others, save for one disciple.
"Wait, he defeated Senior Sister Flower! I have a bad feeling about him..." The sole female disciple argued as she stepped back a bit.
Unfortunately, her words fell on deaf ears, as the other disciples attacked Zheng Jin all together...
Like moths to a flame.
Groans of pain sounded out from the herb garden as five disciples could be seen lying on the ground, either unconscious or too weak to get up.
"Please...please d-don't hurt me!" The female disciple cried out as she shrunk on the ground, all while Zheng Jin stepped ever closer towards her.
She watched as Zheng Jin mowed down her fellow disciples with ease in under five minutes, and with a devilish smile on his face. What's scary about this is that all of the disciples that attacked him were at least a Level 5 Mortal, but with strange movements and attacks, Zheng Jin took them down as if they were children!
The female disciple's body shook as Zheng Jin remained silent and continued on walking. Suddenly, she felt a light pat on her shoulder, which elicited a small whimper from her.
"Haha get up, I'm not going to hurt you since you're the only sensible one in this group and all." Zheng Jin said with a comforting smile on his face. He then continued: "But I'm afraid I will have to ask a few questions. Is that alright?"
"Y-yes!" The female disciple said as she bobbed her head up and down repeatedly.
"Are you guys The Hellhounds? Of the Hell's Trio, I mean." Zheng Jin asked, then continued: "Terrible name by the way."
While Zheng Jin was fighting the others, he remembered a few rumors that have been circulating about the Hell's Trio...that they had other disciples doing the small work for them, like collecting pills and beating up people that refused to do so and called them the Hellhounds.
"Y-yes we are...A small part of us, at least." The female disciple nodded as she confirmed Zheng Jin's suspicions. She then added: "Wu Tiao named our group, so that's out of our hands."
"Hmm. Now, what to do with these ones..."
Zheng Jin wracked his brain in order to come up with an answer. Leaving them be would be no problem to him at all, considering that they pose no real threat to him anyway. What's more is that Flower claimed to be the new leader of the Hell's Trio, but Zheng Jin thought that she doesn't have the same ruthlessness as the three had, so he doubted if she would go as far as wanting to kill him...
"What did Du Zhen and the others offer you?" Zheng Jin asked curiously.
"P-protection and..." The female disciple hesitated for a second, then finally relented and continued: "One...one spirit crystal a day."
"Wait, what?" Zheng Jin doubted what he just heard and made the female disciple clarify.
"They paid us just enough for a meal every day. W-we cannot refuse because we are not allowed to go out of the sect and earn some ourselves..." The female disciple said weakly as she stared on the ground.
"Why?" Zheng Jin asked.
"The Hellhounds...we are all blacklisted from leaving the sect grounds." The female disciple explained as she added: "Du Zhen and the others had an elder on their side that made this possible, and we don't even know who it is to this day. Reporting to the elders isn't an option too, as everyone that had tried are either still missing or found dead..."
With that, Zheng Jin had finally wrapped his head around the whole situation. He now knew why Flower and the other disciples had worn out weapons and clothes, despite having a relatively high cultivation level compared to others in the outer sect. And with that knowledge, what he saw...was an opportunity.
"Is that so? I'm terribly sorry to hear that..." With a look of sympathy, Zheng Jin bowed slightly towards the female disciple.
To Zheng Jin's surprise, the female disciple actually burst down into tears just a second after, as if telling someone about their situation just took a large burden off her chest.
Actually, Flower's group had already approached countless other disciples and even elders to explain their current predicament now that Du Zhen and the others are dead, but no disciple was willing to listen since their reputation within the outer sect were already tarnished by their own hands, and the elders either ignored them or reprimanded the group for wasting their time.
In the end, Flower decided that in order to avoid starving to death, she needed to take up the mantle as the leader of The Hell's Trio to inspire fear and steal from other disciples. Cruel, yes. But necessary.
That is why the female disciple was shocked by what Zheng Jin just said. Who knew that the first one that they tried to steal from and planned to beat up would actually show sympathy towards them, among other things?
With a smile on his face, Zheng Jin dug his left hand up to his right sleeve, pretending to get something from it as two gray spirit cards appeared in his hand from the interspatial ring hidden in his foot.
"Here, this should be enough for a recovery pill or two. The others don't need it, but Flower does. Don't bother with the leftovers. You guys can use them to eat in the sect's Dining Hall." Zheng Jin said as he handed out the spirit cards to the female disciple.
"Wha-...Th-thank you Brother Zheng! We will never forget this!" The female disciple wiped her tears as even more came out, then bowed towards Zheng Jin as she clutched the spirit cards tightly in her hands.
"Haha, it's alright. No need to thank me at all." Zheng Jin shook his head, then continued: "Just let your Senior Sister Flower know that it's payment for the sparring session. And tell her..." Zheng Jin paused, then finally added: "...do not hesitate to find me, if she would like to, that is."
With those strange, yet suggestive last words, Zheng Jin left the female disciple with a confused look on her face, who had finally snapped out of it after a while as she helped the others get back on their feet and carried the still-unconscious Flower to the infirmary.
"Quite a disappointing fight, but a nice distraction nonetheless."
Zheng Jin thought as he made his way to his shack. While he may have had an easy, yet boring time fighting the group because of their lack of style and technique, he still gained something from the encounter.
After all, Zheng Jin is only ever a saint when it's useful...