In the blink of an eye, another month had passed and the 4th ranking competition came and went. The main highlight this time was that half of the 2nd grade talents had finally broken through to level 2. Yu Tao had also become the only talent below 4th grade at the 3rd level of body strengthening, he was faster than the 3rd grade talents! Of course, that was only possible due to the special attention he had received. Still, he didn't dare to challenge Wei Muchen yet.

Liao Shao had challenged Han Lingyun and he didn't contest. He could probably win but there was 0 point in doing so, with no additional reward between ranks 5 and 6. If that made Liao Shao happier, so be it. Most of the top tier disciples were content with their positions and challenging each other all the time was futile. In general, the strong were getting stronger.


The days had reached their longest and the temperature had increased substantially. A mortal would have found the sun heavy and stifling. Cultivators had a much greater adaptability to temperature changes. However even for the young cultivators, the training sessions at the middle of the day became the abnormality.


Shen Lin and Yang Haoyu had taken an escort mission a couple days ago and wouldn't come back for another week or two. Han Lingyun had decided to remain at the sect because he didn't need the Ps and this sort of missions didn't interest him.

As a result, he mostly passed his days alone and suddenly felt a bit bored. He didn't dislike this though. Cultivating was in itself a boring process in a sense. Sitting alone for hours. Frequent introspection was a beneficial habit to keep between sessions.

Still, Han Lingyun and his fellow disciples remained new to all this. And humans are social creatures after all. Han Lingyun felt that he needed some interactions with other disciples and used an evening training lesson to do so.


As if some superior entity had listened to his thoughts, on that night, as Han Lingyun arrived back to his new Number 6 house, a familiar face was waiting for him.

Han Lingyun immediately lit up. "Major Lan Ruoxi? How have you been?"

Lan Ruoxi hopped to her minor. "I've been great my little minor! What about you minor Lingyun? I've heard there was quite a commotion among the 1st years this time! But your rank is very impressive too!"

Han Lingyun laughed because of his excitement of seeing his major again. Then he remembered the events and calmed down fast. "Yea, it's been a real mess…"

"So I've heard! It wasn't that bad during my year." She thought back to the similar events that had taken place when she was a 1st year as well.


Han Lingyun interrupted her recollection. "Anyway, what brings you here miss Ruoxi?"

Lan Ruoxi clapped her hands. "O right! The shu family is having its annual meeting in 3 days. Will you be coming?"

Han Lingyun eyes sparkled. "That's great, it would be fun meeting my seniors! Do you know who will be here from our line?"

Lan Ruoxi beamed. "This year many will attend! First there is Zhang Fang my major in year 3, you'll see he is a very funny guy but because of his clownish antics, no one takes him seriously when he isn't to be trifled with.

The 4th year is named Xu Wei and he is super strong. I heard he has always been ranked in the top 2 of his promotion, and he is always very serious. That pairing with Zhang Fang must have been something hahaha!

The 5th year is another girl named Xia Shan, I bonded quite a lot with her at our last meet and we met a couple of other times hihi. Sadly, we are the only two girls in the shu family for the last decade.

Hum, back to the topic, the 6th year is a pill alchemist called Gao Fengge. Apparently, he really follows the classic pill alchemist stereotypes. Nothing perks his ears except pills, medicinal plants and flames. He also has this thing that every time a fragrance waft by, he has to verbally dissect all the ingredients that compose it.

O and as a little surprise, two inner disciples will be coming as well!"


Han Lingyun was excited to meet everyone. "No way! I've never seen an inner disciple before!"

"Well, me neither! How lucky you are to meet them on your first year? Remember, only the very best out of those that stay after 16 years of age can become inner disciples. And they remain at their own dedicated cultivation peak to cultivate for weeks or months on end. When they are not cultivating, they are hunting super strong magic beasts or evil cultivators as training!"

Han Ling pointed a problem. "Then why don't we see a lot more older disciples? I mean, disciples can live up to 150 years at least so where do all the others go? The market road is still dominated by younger ones not older than 30."

Ran Luoxi toyed with her hair. "I-I'm not sure. Perhaps the inner disciples will know."

Han Lingyun rejoiced again at the realization. "Do you know anything about the two inner disciples coming?"

Ran Luoxi nodded excitedly. "Yes! The youngest one is Gao Fengge's great major, so he should be 18 years old. The others should know him from before he became an inner disciple. Apparently, he was a cultivation genius and had the opportunity to leave the sect but still preferred to stay. I haven't asked for his name though, and that was all my major told me.

As for the older one, maybe only Gao Fengge has seen him before. Even my major didn't know anything about him so I guess he should be at least 20 years old. Perhaps they came to reminisce of their times as young disciples. O if he is old enough, maybe he could be a she!" Ran Luoxi began to have some hope.

"I'm truly curious. I wonder what cultivation they are at." Han Lingyun also began to daydream.


"All right, don't run out of the sect. I'll pick you up at 9 PM in 3 days. Be all ready for one of the most luxurious restaurants of the sect!"


The prospect revitalized Han Lingyun and the 3 days passed in a flash.

That evening, the sun was setting as Han Lingyun waited in front of his house, having taken a good bath prior and making sure his grey robe was spotless. Sadly, he didn't have the white robe with black stripes to wear yet.

Surprisingly, Lan Ruoxi didn't arrive alone. A tall young man was flying on a sword besides her.

He immediately jumped of and gave a passing disciple a big pat on the shoulder. "Haha little brother Lingyun I'm glad to meet you." He boomed.

The poor disciple stammered as he was caught completely off guard.

Lan Ruoxi broke into a laugh at the whole situation. "H-Han Li-Lin-ngyun isn't him." She managed to squeeze out between breaths and bursts of laughter.

Zhang Fang abruptly turned over to face Han Lingyun who hurriedly presented himself.

"Hello senior, I am junior Lingyun."

Zhang Fang was unfazed by his little error; he acted as if he just reunited with his trusted friend. "Aaah disciple Lingyun, it's great to meet you, brother Weimin has mentioned you a couple times to me! Apparently, he became your personal porter whenever you need to get to market road!"

"Haha do you know big brother Weimin? Of course! But he always has something to do over there as well." Han Lingyun remarked.

"He's one of my best buddies. Then you should call me big brother as well. How do you like the sound of that minor Ruoxi?" Zhang Fang patted Lan Ruoxi with his other hand.

"I feel super left out." She pouted.

"Haha you'll never change. Ah! Brother Weimin. Of course, he always has something to do at market road, but it's never for cultivation! He knows everyone here, so he goes to check out his friends that are selling the crap they found. Come on now, let's go, we shouldn't make the old ones wait for us."

Han Lingyun hopped on the sword, he still had a vivid memory of Ruoxi's flying skills, even if she had improved since then.


The trio arrived at the gate in front of market road. Some disciples were packing what remained of their stands. It was very clear that the activity had slowed down at that time of the day and there were less customers in the evening. Some would stay here all night though, as cultivators could come out at every hour they fancied. Still, more cultivators liked to keep mortal habits, it felt more natural.

The restaurants were far from empty though! This was the peak hour for them.

The three made their way to the highly rated palace named soberly Chiang's Restaurant.

Han Lingyun, Lan Ruoxi and Zhang Fang didn't even have to present themselves when several valets led them to the top floor. They had been briefed beforehand on the guests attending this private dinner!

All tables had been moved away except for the largest one. Two disciples were already seated and enjoying the view of some dancers of breathtaking beauty accompanied by a serene zither music.

Bouquets of flowers had been placed on the sides of the room, which enveloped the room in a sweet fragrance while giving it a rich air.

A couple attendants were standing on the side ready to respond at any demand. Han Lingyun wondered why the reception was this exaggerated. Turning to see Lan Ruoxi's puzzlement, he surmised that the previous shu family meet hadn't been that ostentatious.

The two disciples that had already arrived stood up to greet the newcomers. They were the 4th and 5th years, Xu Wei and Xia Shan.

Xu Wei formally presented himself and shook hands with the three. Meanwhile Xia Shan was already hugging Lan Ruoxi and patting her "little sister".

After everyone acquainted themselves, Zhang Fang raised the important question. "Major Xu Wei, why all the pump? It's not your style to reserve an entire floor with dancers and musicians hehe."

Xu Wei's perfect appearance was altered by a faint grimace. "That's… it was Xiong Hui, the oldest of our two inner disciples, that took care of everything." He continued in a whisper. "I heard, that he isn't exactly the discreet type…"

As Han Lingyun made small talk with his seniors and the others exchanged news, a disciple wearing glasses burst out of the door, nearly out of breath, and a thick aroma wafting from him. "I hope I am not late; I-I couldn't interrupt my latest concoction and waste so many ingredients."

Xu Wei took the role to introduce everyone. "Grand major Gao Fengge you are not late, here on my right is Lan Ruoxi my grand minor which you haven't met last year, and Han Lingyun here is my great grand minor."

It was also Lan Ruoxi's first-time seeing Gao Fengge, as he was occupied with a mission during the previous year's meet, but she had heard quite a lot from Xia Shan as Gao Fengge was her own major.


Han Lingyun wondered if those glasses had a use in pill making. Cultivators definitely didn't need glasses to see well! This was his opening to get closer with Gao Fengge and indeed, once he started on the alchemy topic, he was unstoppable!

About half an hour later, two huge white eagles, tens of meters long appeared in the sky above market road, letting out powerful cries.

Hundreds of cultivators rushed out of there restaurants to check out the spectacle. Those that were not forced to walk on market road had to be highly important people.

In front of Chiang's Restaurant, two rows of valets and maids kowtowed on the ground on each side of a red carpet adorned with petals.


The two white eagles gracefully landed in front of Chiang's Restaurant, creating large gusts of winds that blew the hair of the onlookers. Their size was even more terrifying from up close!

Two disciples in black robes with white stripes jumped down and gently hovered to the ground.


Meanwhile, at the top floor, the shu family members were looking at each other's faces. Wasn't this entrance, a little bit too grand?


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