Aboard the spiritual flagship of the Starfall Mountain sect, Han De was feeling intense delight and intense worry at the same time. He was delighted because the steamed buns he was eating right now were the best things he had ever eaten, ever. And he was deeply worried, because the person who made these buns was the woman his mother brought him.
The immortal chef with white hair and pink eyes was named Meng Xue. Han De’s mother had put her aboard the flagship even before Han De and his disciples. Long Xiu was one step ahead of her son and didn’t give him a chance to respond.
‘I can’t believe it, this is just a normal steamed bun, how can it taste so good? Yesterday’s dishes can’t even come close to these simple-looking buns.’
‘Shit, this woman 100% has some siblings or love interests that will ask for revenge down the line.’
Han De was afraid to dig deeper into this woman’s background. It was an affair that involved his mother, which meant that the best-case scenario for his sanity was getting stonewalled by her.
[A Steamed Bun made with extremely low-quality spiritual ingredients.]
‘Yes, yes, you are the best, everything else is the worst. I get it you chuuni demon.’
The Systems description was exactly as Han De had expected. He couldn’t even roll his eyes at it anymore.
<Yes, Elder De.>
<Make sure everyone shows proper respect to… Meng something-whatever. The immortal chef. Don’t disturb her, don’t get in her way. Give her all the resources she needs except for anything poisonous. Her starter pay will be ten times higher than an exceptional immortal chef would get. Oh, if some unruly types bother her, handle it.>
<... Y-Yes, Elder De!>
‘This way, when someone comes for her, I can alleviate some of the problems by pointing towards the good treatment she received. Mother will also be ecstatic with me taking care of her, and will leave the issue alone for the time being. Two birds with one stone.’
Han De took another small bite out of his steamed bun. Not because he was minding his table manners, but because he genuinely wanted to savor them for as long as possible. Across the table, his disciples were also doing the same thing, but for a different reason. All three were eating the buns with exceptionally refined movements.
Yesterday, it was hard for Han De to enjoy the meal to the fullest. His three disciples seemed to have entered an unspoken contest of table manners. Ning Bi was the youngest, but it seems her parents had drilled court etiquette deep into her soul. Once she saw the effortless elegance of Jin Shu, she became incredibly graceful as if someone flipped a switch inside her.
At first, Han De thought Yao Qing would be beyond such matters, but he realized how foolish that thought was after a single glance. Next to her, Ning Bi and Jin Shu looked like children playing house. Thankfully, Han De was aiming to become a Hidden Expert, he could ignore these matters entirely. Despite that, he ended up eating yesterday’s red braised ‘meat’ incredibly slowly due to status checking every bite.
Right now, Yao Qing was barely paying attention to the steamed buns. Her movements were on autopilot while she was thinking about yesterday's events. She thought she was going insane back then, but after many hours the initial shock wore off. She was still a mess inside, but at least now she was a functioning mess.
‘How can anyone still have the Divine Phoenix bloodline?! Didn’t ‘they’ say the last Divine Phoenix died along with the primordial era?! Even a speck of its blood would be impossible to hide! And why is that horrifying bloodline called Lifebringer?!’
Upon hearing the description of her power, Jin Shu, with the permission of her master, immediately tried it on the spot. The blade of grass she touched suddenly bloomed a purple flower with 32 uneven petals and started secreting drops of pink fluid. According to their master, those drops of pink and viscous liquid were mostly made of sugar.
Another blade of grass Jin Shu touched started emitting a chiming sound along with a faint white glow. Their master immediately sealed the newly created spiritual herb into a box with a strange expression.
‘If the initial power is this potent, what would happen if she awakens it...’
Yao Qing didn’t want to think about it. She steered her thoughts to her own bloodline. The Indomitable Tyrant. Its ability allowed her to bend all lightning to her will. When she asked what type of lightning she could control, her master only repeated himself. “All Lightning.”
She tentatively asked her master again about the meaning of ‘All Lightning’, but her master looked her right in the eye, and slowly repeated himself. “All. Lightning.”
‘None of it makes any sense. Even the awakening requirements don't make any sense. Flames of the previous cycle? A seed of the previous cycle? What could they even be?!’
Maybe these things had different names in the current era, but she couldn’t go to the Grand Path Library and do some in-depth research with her current cultivation. She suspected that even if she had her previous cultivation, the librarians would just laugh at her face. She couldn’t alert ‘them’ either.
Her own requirement also had her stumped. She had to absorb a Heavenly Tribulation lightning strike that was beyond her wildest imaginations. She had seen a lot and lived through a lot, her imagination was rather strong compared to others, but her master reiterated before she could even ask for clarification. “Far, far beyond your wildest imaginations or dreams. Far beyond anything in written history. Far beyond the pitiful confines of the ‘immortal’ minds.” When she stared blankly, her master chuckled. “When you are ready, I will help you.”
Yao Qing returned to reality. She looked at her oblivious sisters, she looked at her master who was leisurely eating the simple steamed bun with great delight. This was her life now. This was the new normal. Her pride in her previous ‘life’ was meaningless. It was only holding her back in this one. Yao Qing felt her mind instantly became lighter. She knew that this was the beginning of her new path.
Han De finished the last bite. He wished he could just order a few thousand of these steamed buns and store them. Some Hidden Experts would excessively drink and become Drunk Experts. Their alcoholic behavior would become an integral part of their image. Perhaps Han De could become a Steamed Bun Expert. He could take out a steamed bun at random and eat it.
Han De decided not to become a Fat Expert. He didn’t have any childhood MC friends, so his survival rate would be way too low if he suddenly became fat.
A spiritual sense interrupted his thoughts. He accepted the conversation request.
<Elder De, I apologize for the interruption. There is someone named Xin Qiang asking for an audience. She even preemptively sealed her cultivation, it involved news about Xiao Lan and some other information that is for your ears only, or so she claims. The head cleared her and she is brin->
“Little De! Look what I found while walking around!”
Han De cut off the conversation with Old Peng after hearing his mother’s voice. He had a deep impression of Xiao Lan, the lady that kept talking and talking and talking once she was stressed. She had caused him a lot of trouble, but the cultivation idiot had hurt her previously, so he decided that they were fair and square. Hearing and remembering her name was an annoyance to Han De.
‘Who the hell is Xin Qiang?’
While he was thinking that, a stupidly gorgeous woman that was previously behind his mother, took a step to the side and revealed herself. It was impossible to forget this woman that once eyed his disciple. A frown immediately appeared on Han De’s face. He had once specifically threatened her to not get close to Ning Bi.
‘Damn, did you think those Transcendent freaks were just for show? F#$%! What the hell is wrong with this Blazing Sun family?!’
The frown in Han De’s face was getting deeper. Xin Qiang averted her gaze by looking down. Long Xiu interrupted before anyone could say anything.
“I see you remember her well. That’s good! It seems she had an interesting time. You should take the time and listen to her! I arranged some nearby quarters for her to stay. Little ladies, come, let’s leave your master and his guests alone!”
Long Xiu gestured to Ning Bi and others to follow her with a smile. Han De immediately interrupted her in panic.
“Wait! They will not go anywhere, especially Ning Bi!”
<Mother, for reasons I can’t explain, Ning Bi has to stay close to me at all times. This is vital!>
His mother looked at Han De and his disciples in confusion. Han De interrupted her once he realized gears had started turning in her head. It wasn’t good to let her get carried away in a situation like this.
<Besides, it is better if you can stay here too.>
Seeing Han De look at Xin Qiang with a corner of his eye, his mother thought about it for a while. Then she nodded. Han De suppressed his sigh of relief.
Xin Qiang watched the mother and son come into an agreement. She decided this was the best time for her and deeply bowed.
“Elder Han De, please allow me to apologize for my previous behavior. I was foolish, and deserve punishment. Please accept my humble gifts. I hope the Xin family and the Starfall Mountain sect can continue their partnership.”
Upon hearing Xin Qiang’s words, Long Xiu stared at her son. Didn’t her son once adamantly denied making a deal with the Blazing Sun family? She had asked him over and over again but he refused to admit it! Back then, she had questioned Ning Bi and determined she wasn’t a member of the Blazing Sun family. Was there someone else? Did her son really lie to her?!
Han De could feel the gaze of his mother at his back. Xin Qiang claiming that they had a previous partnership was beyond his expectations. This damn Blazing Sun family was way too troublesome. What kind of person would lie about something like that?!
“What partnership? As I recall, my only dealing with your family was warning you not to get close to my disciple. A warning that you have spectacularly ignored…”
Long Xiu's gaze turned odd. Xin Qiang looked at Han De blankly. Wu Fu, the white-haired walking encyclopedia that everyone ignored, had an odd look. After a moment his eyes started shining brightly as he was thinking about the strange turn of events.
‘So that was the case. This isn’t a denial of the previous efforts, Long Xiu wouldn’t be surprised otherwise. His disciple’s reaction is also consistent. Their relationship wasn’t just damaged, but they had no relationship at all.’
Xin Qiang already knew her objective wouldn’t be achieved so easily. She grabbed the scroll case she hid under her robes before she sealed her cultivation.
“Elder Han De, these are the locations and the properties of the weak points, before and after the disturbance. The validity of these weak points can be confirmed by Elder Wu Fu, the chief advisor of the Sun Empire.”
She glanced at Wu Fu that was smiling at her and continued by taking out a jade-slip case.
“I also acquired a scripture that I’m sure you would be very interested in.”
Treebeard appeared out of nowhere and prevented Xin Qiang from getting close to Han De. He took the scroll case and the jade-slip case and brought them to his young master.
Han De could barely keep his face from reflecting the immense joy he was feeling. This was a moment that he has been looking forward to for a long time! A genuine face slapping opportunity! As soon as his hands touched the jade-slip case, he checked it with the system.
[Immortal Sentinel Scripture (incomplete)]
[Power: Very Weak]
[Accuracy: Very Low]
[Defense: Very Weak]
[Stage: Qi Condensation (71%), Nascent Soul (99%)]
[Roots: 67% Light]
[Notes: Divination scripture. Requires 39 Profound Point(s) to learn.]
‘Shit, 39? I was going to look for the standard divination scripture but kept forgetting about it. This is pretty good timing!’
The sect’s standard divination scripture was probably ‘Extremely Weak’ and probably cost around 1 or 2 points according to his estimates. This was the second most expensive method he had seen, the first one being the Cosmic Destruction Scripture of Ning Bi.
Han De learned it without hesitation. It wasn’t every day he would see a ‘Very Weak’ method. Aside from the Blazing Sun Scripture, he hadn’t seen a single one in the sect Archives. At this point, Han De would even learn a bottom cleansing scripture if the System deemed it ‘Very Weak’.
[Immortal Sentinel Scripture requires 12 Utility Method Fragments to fully complete it. Partial completion not possible]
[Immortal Sentinel Scripture (Mortal)]
[Power: Very Weak]
[Accuracy: Very Low]
[Defense: Very Weak]
[Mastery: Beginner (0/48)]
[Profound Points: 502 -> 451 ]
Now, it was face slapping time. In a moment, he was going to sneer and throw the jade-slip case away and claim that he already knew the method. Once she denied the possibility, he was going to demonstrate his knowledge by citing the most obscure parts of the scripture in an incredibly dry fashion. It was two birds with one stone!
Xin Qiang spoke with confidence while Han De was calculating the precise timing.
“I found this scripture in an ancient tomb. It is a very rare light element divination scripture.”
The jade-slip case in Han De’s hands cracked, then it turned to dust, then into nothingness. If he had blinked, he would’ve missed it.
Long Xiu’s aura started leaking. Han De looked up and saw the fury in his mother’s eyes. His mother’s mind moved in mysterious ways. Just from that one sentence alone, there could’ve been dozens of things that might’ve pissed her off. Han De went through his mental checklist to quickly figure out the reason.
There were several hits, but the most likely culprit was divination, which was why he thought his assessment was wrong. How could it be something simple like that?
The cultivation idiot never paid attention to divination, and considered it a parlor trick at best. His mother, father, and even grandfather never cared for it as well. In fact, there was not a single person that practiced divination in the entire Han family. There was even a memory of his father almost killing a master of another sect for trying to divine the cultivation idiot’s fate. That was the only memory of his father almost losing control. The cultivation idiot never saw or heard of that sect again.
‘Wait, hold up. This is a bit too much of a coincidence. Sh*t! Why didn’t I notice this before?!’