Volume 1, Chapter 7 – Using the Name of a Powerful Family
“Senior Brother Ai, if Young Master Hu knows about this matter, he will absolutely not spare this Bian’s life. This Bian can only ask Senior Brother Ai to save me.” Said Bian Qiao as he kowtowed to a young man.
The incident at Thousand Rock Pavilion became shocking news. Almost all the disciples from the Three Great Schools knew about this incident. However, for Bian Qiao, losing his face was only a small problem. The true problem was that Zhang Yan took the ancient parchment poem which belonged to Hu Shengyu that day. He never thought that it would be taken away by Zhang Yan, this meant that his own life was at stake.
He was determined to get the parchment back at any cost. But the people around him were ordinary disciples who had always been bullied by him, and they persuaded him not to do so. Zhang Yan was a Primordial Qi Condensation cultivator, and to continue pestering him would only court more trouble and self-disgrace.
Fortunately, Hu Shengyu was still in closed-door meditation. He was very arrogant and aloof, because of this he had very few friends. Therefore, nobody had mentioned this matter in front of him until now. Thus, Bian Qiao visited and treated Ai Zhongwen, a well-known disciple within the Three Great School, today. He wanted Ai Zhongwen to mediate and reclaim the ancient poem parchment. This was his intention – to quickly solve the problem, he asked for Ai Zhongwen’s help.
Although Ai Zhongwen was only a novice disciple, he came from a mysterious and powerful ancient family, the Anfeng Ai Clan. This was Bian Qiao’s first reason for inviting him. The second reason was that Ai Zhongwen had a vast network. The third was that he was also a disciple from the Profound Virtue Temple, as was Zhang Yan. It was heard that the Masters in the Profound Virtue Temple intended to receive him as an inner disciple. Sooner or later, he would become an inner disciple, which would make most people within the Three Great Schools willing to give some face to him.
Ai Zhongwen smiled, “Senior Brother Bian is anxious and too hasty. First, I need to know about this Zhang Yan’s origin.”
He waved his hand to the attendant at his side and pointed to the bookshelf behind his back. The attendant took a register book from the shelf, read it and turned to report, “Zhang Yan, male, a native of Donghua Continent, and came to the mountain at the age of 17 years old.”
Ai Zhongwen was surprised, “No other information?”
The attendant nodded.
Ai Zhongwen pondered. Although there were many young geniuses who can decipher the Eclipse codes, they were mostly from prominent families, direct descendants, or disciples. It was because they had a master in their family to explain the Dao laws. Since Zhang Yan was very proficient in the Eclipse codes, it was natural that he should have come from one of those prominent families. But why hadn’t he heard about him before?
A voice full of contempt and disdain suddenly came from his side, “Originally he was only a trivial unknown teenager, I thought he was some kind of supreme being. I don’t know why he has such an excellent deciphering method and he even dared to insult brother Bian. Brother Bian, please rest assured, your problem is my problem. I will help you solve this problem and teach him our customs!”
Bian Qiao couldn’t help but rejoice. He immediately bowed down, “Senior Brother Lin is willing to help with this problem. This Bian is naturally very grateful. After this problem is solved, Bian promises to present you with generous gifts.”
This ‘Senior Brother Lin’ was called Lin Tong. His elder brother was one of the inner disciples in the Profound Virtue Temple, and he had a good relationship with Ai Zhongwen. He was originally looking for Ai Zhongwen to drink and happened to overhear this matter.
Ai Zhongwen quickly looked at Lin Tong and reminded him: “I heard Zhang Yan is at the Primordial Qi Condensation realm. Senior Brother Lin should not underestimate this person.”
Lin Tong laughed loudly, “I have been here for 9 years and have my big brother Lin Yuan to direct me. I had also entered Primordial Qi Condensation realm two years ago. How long has this Zhang Yan entered the Temple? I suspected that the news about him is mostly wrong and absolutely exaggerated!”
Bian Qiao’s eyes twinkled. He had personally seen Zhang Yan, so he was absolutely sure about Zhang Yan’s strength. However, he didn’t say a word in front of Lin Tong, since it was not a wise thing to do. Instead, he felt secretly happy. If Lin Tong was to involve himself in this matter, regardless of the final outcome, that little thief Zhang Yan would end up troubled. If the latter provoked Lin Yuan, this would be even more wonderful.
Ai Zhongwen frowned but didn’t say anything.
He knew Lin Tong perfectly well. He, on many occasions, had always been arrogant. However, the Lin family had truly been a powerful family for many generations, and Lin Tong got here because of his family’s influence. Besides, he did have a powerful elder brother as his backer on Cangwu Mountain, which made him develop the habit of thinking that nobody existed but himself. With this mindset, how would he place Zhang Yan in his eyes? This time, affected by the strong liquor he had drunk before, he quickly pulled Ai Zhongwen to leave as he then arrogantly left the words: “Senior Brother Bian, just wait here calmly to hear some good news from me, hahaha…”
Ai Zhongwen was not as optimistic as Lin Tong. He initially heard about Zhang Yan, that this particular disciple was able to decipher three authentic Dao manuals in only one day. He didn’t even need a bamboo token to deduct the manuals, which made him greatly startled.
One must know that even an ordinary Dao manual usually consisted of profound and difficult mnemonics, which caused deciphering the texts to be very time consuming. For example, a Dao manual which only consisted of several thousand words would be very difficult for some people with low intellect. Even if they desperately put all their efforts into studying for 7 or 8 years, that would not even be enough to comprehend the manual. Ai Zhongwen had also secretly calculated. The bamboo slips he was holding in his hand contained 3,612 words, and it took 5 geniuses to decipher the entire words. This achievement itself could even make these genius disciples to justifiably feel proud amongst other disciples. But their achievement paled in comparison to Zhang Yan.
He also heard that there were really some godly talents in this world. However, he had never seen someone who solely relied on the talent of perception alone to decipher the Eclipse code. Was Zhang Yan one of those particular godly talents?
Thus, in his mind, there would only be two possibilities. First, Zhang Yan was recently taken in and taught by a certain supreme Daoist. Second, Zhang Yan intentionally concealed his family’s background.
He felt that his suspicion was quite justified. As long as one’s interpretation method was excellent, even if one’s perception was not too high, deciphering ordinary Dao manuals would not be that difficult. But these interpreting methods were not methods that any average person could ever obtain. Only people who came from an ancient, powerful family could get their hands on these methods. Each ancient family had their own unique method in deciphering the Eclipse codes. The more profound the legacy, the more powerful the ancient family was, and the more excellent the interpreting method that ancient family had.
He didn’t know that Zhang Yan actually had no profound method. Zhang Yan initially only had great potential in deciphering the Eclipse codes. And coupled with his advantage of having ten more the amount of time than other people to interpret the texts, even the most profound method could not surpass this advantage.
In Ai Zhongwen’s view, Zhang Yan absolutely came from a mysterious ancient family. So, it wouldn’t be strange that Zhang Yan would have this ability, even if his family was in decline.
But if he assumed that his previous inference was true, then…?
“In the view of certain Daoist Masters, this…”
Ai Zhongwen’s heart rippled. He suddenly thought that it was also very possible that the School’s master was involved in this matter, and this certain Master might be taking Zhang Yan as a direct disciple.
Zhang Yan came to the mountain about three years ago and had always been living in obscurity, but now he suddenly rose and amazed the world overnight. The more Ai Zhongwen thought about this, the more that he suspected that these two possibilities were higher.
When he thought to this point, his footsteps slowed. He was gradually left behind by the impatient Lin Tong.
Lin Tong was waiting for him to walk on the plank passageway, along the cliff leading to Zhang Yan’s cave mansion. At this moment, Lin Tong looked up and was surprised to see that someone was walking in the opposite direction before him. He impatiently shouted, “Who is blocking the passageway? A good dog never obstructs the way! This is Big Brother Lin, why don’t you step aside?”
The opposite man in front snorted and ignored him.
Ai Zhongwen rushed forward and was suddenly startled as he saw the man in front of Lin Tong already stepping on the field side. He was greatly shocked as he shouted: “Fellow Daoist, please wait for a moment.”
The man only coldly glanced at Ai Zhongwen. This glance made Ai Zhongwen feel cold as if he was being poured a bucket of cold water. It was so cold that it even penetrated his heart, and made his foot stiff and paralyzed.
Fortunately, the man didn’t say anything and walked straight from the side.
Ai Zhongwen stared at that man’s back and was dazed for a while. He then walked toward Lin Tong and supported him up, “Brother Lin, are you alright?”
Lin Tong got up and sat, his mind half blank. He felt that his mind was very dizzy. When he recovered, he quickly lied down on the mountain passage, bewildered. He poked his head as his complexion showed amazement, “Brother, who was that man? He was very powerful!”
Although he was arrogant, but he also realized that he just ran into a powerful cultivator.
Ai Zhongwen’s complexion turned solemn. The man they just met before had a rosy cloud enveloping his body. That was a sign that the man was clearly a cultivator who had opened his immortal meridians. That was two realms higher than both of them. When he thought about this, he was thoroughly terrified. But that man seemed familiar, as he secretly mused, ‘Looking at that man’s face; could it be that he is the Zhou Family’s young master, Zhou Zishang?’
Last year, when he followed his grandfather to the grand meeting of all sects in the Donghua continent, he had seen this Zhou Zishang from far away. Zhou Zishang was a disciple from the Heavenly Jade Sect. This sect was as powerful as Blue Ocean sect. However, his status was far lower than Zhou Zishang, because Zhou Zishang was a direct disciple of the Heavenly Jade Sect’s elder. The Zhou Family was also a powerful ancient family. Although Ai Zhongwen also came from the Anfeng Ai Family, he was only from a branch family, as such, his status was far lower to even talk to him.
He looked at the front. How come Zhou Zishang would appear here? Was he just visiting Zhang Yan?
This thought made him startled. What kind of background did this Zhang Yan have? Even the young master from the Zhou Family had visited him?
Was it possible that his inference was wrong? Was Zhang Yan actually from a prominent family and concealed his status?
Ai Zhongwen took a deep breath as he carefully thought of the next step, he said: “Senior Brother Lin, although that Daoist cultivator didn’t seem to do anything to us, but we cannot be sure if you had no hidden injuries. You just go back and check your condition first. Let me deal with Senior Brother Bian’s matter, how about it?”
Lin Tong hesitated for a moment. Although he was boasting in front of Bian Qiao, his life was far more important. He reluctantly smiled, “If so, then I will have to trouble Junior Brother to do this alone.”
Ai Zhongwen raised his hands, cupped it across over his chest and watched Lin Tong leave until he was far away. He then walked along the cliff’s plank passageway to find Zhang Yan’s cave mansion.
Before long, he then heard a powerful, “Which Senior Brother is outside?”
Zhou Zishang had just left, so Zhang Yan was still alert and had paid attention to the movement sounds from outside his cave to anticipate if he was under surveillance by Zhou Zishang’s people. He then heard some footsteps approaching. The steps were firm and calm, and there was no sign that it was someone who concealed his presence. So, he took the initiative to ask.
Ai Zhongwen didn’t reply as he was repairing his robe. A shadow then flashed before him, and a person came out from the cave.
“Are you Senior Brother Zhang Yan?” Ai Zhongwen stepped back. He sized him up, looking Zhang Yan up and down. He couldn’t help but let out a praise, “Senior Brother is really like what the rumors said, you’re really handsome.”
Although Zhang Yan was only wearing an ordinary coarse gown, his body was well proportioned, and Ai Zhongwen was certain that he had never seen anyone who could be a match. He also perceived that there was some kind of charisma and pressure emitted from Zhang Yan when he was looking at Zhang Yan’s eyes. If he was not aware that he was standing on the cliff’s passageway, he was sure that he would step back because of his aura.
It must be said that when the Zhou family’s princess chose her husband candidate, she first calculated the fate sign carried by that person. After that, she looked at their appearance. Zhang Yan was finally chosen from a million candidates. Thus, it could be said that his physical appearance was quite attractive.
Zhang Yan gave a faint smile, “Senior Brother is praising the wrong man. Myself is Zhang Yan. I don’t how what Senior brother is called?”
Ai Zhongwen let out a sincere smile as he cupped his hands across his chest and replied: “This one is Ai Zhongwen.”
“Oh?” Zhang Yan’s complexion slightly changed. He carefully looked at Ai Zhongwen eyes, and responded in the same courtesy as he greeted him, “I had heard about the honored Senior Brother’s name for a long time.”
He had heard about Ai Zhongwen for a long time. It was said that his person’s network was very vast. His reputation was very good and many disciples had come visiting him to ask for his help on many difficult matters. He and Bian Qiao were like two extreme poles being compared to each other. However, it seemed like the two had a little friendship.
Ai Zhongwen’s appearance was not that outstanding. He had an average build but looked quite strong and powerful with a rough but amiable face. He perhaps could be regarded as some kind of particular passersby who gave off a strong impression. However, his voice was low and deep, that had a magnetic feel in it. Which, made people have a favorable impression of him. His skin was faintly covered with a translucent jade color, and his eyes sometimes flashed with a glimmer of light from time to time. He was apparently also in the Primordial Qi Condensation realm.
Zhang Yan secretly guessed about Ai Zhongwen’s intention in visiting him, “Senior brother Ai, please sit down inside. However, my cave mansion is cold and damp, please forgive me.”
Ai Zhongwen replied with a light laugh and chuckled, waving his hand, he said: “We are cultivators from the same generation. Sleeping on the stone bed and bathing with the sunlight and moonlight are what we do. How can we have the capital to be arrogant?”
He bluntly strode forward and suddenly turned around midway into the cave, “I heard that Senior Brother has a very profound on the Eclipse codes. I recently received an invitation to attend the ‘Profound Mnemonics Discussion Assembly’ event, and I intended to invite Senior Brother to this event. If you already obtained the invitation, please direct me with one or two pointers.”
He took out a book and handed it to Zhang Yan, “I also know that Senior Brother is currently closing up, therefore, I didn’t dare to forcefully ask you for a favor. I will leave this book here for Senior Brother to consider. When you have the time, you can read and explain this book’s contents later to me.”
Zhang Yang glanced slightly over the book as he let out a faint smile. This Ai Zhongwen was very courteous because he talked about interpreting and comprehending the Eclipse text as a pretext to give this book to him. Ai Zhongwen’s true intention was to build a good relationship with him, and his easygoing and frank actions made Zhang Yan feel that he was really natural and poised. Which gave him a good impression.
It seems that this person was indeed worth being friends with.
Zhang Yang was not a hypocrite, he immediately receive the book in his hands. He also said several pleasantries as courtesy, as he then made the ‘invitation’ gestures to Ai Zhongwen.
They both sat down and chatted for a while. Ai Zhongwen suddenly asked, “Junior Brother, when I was about to come here, I saw a familiar man outside, who was the man that recently came to visit Junior Brother Zhang?”
Zhang Yan understood instantly. It was no wonder that this Ai Zhongwen was so polite to him, originally it was because of this.
However, a thought flashed in his mind. He may have to build a good relationship with this Ai Zhongwen, because in the future he would perhaps enter those elite disciples’ circle. And with his current status, his status within those elite disciples’ circle would be very low. And since the Zhou Family had been using him, why couldn’t he do the same and use the Zhou Family’s name? He was only collecting some interest from them.
“Is Senior Brother talking about Zhou Zishang?”
“Does Junior Brother know the Zhou Family’s third young master?” Although Ai Zhongwen had somehow already anticipated Zhang Yan’s answer, he still couldn’t help but feel surprised.
Zhang Yang only calmly replied, “How could I not know about him? His second elder sister is my wife.”
TL Note: Daoist cultivators call each other Shixiong (Senior Brother) in their first meeting, it would change to Junior or Senior Brother if they find out the true status/ability of the opposite person.