Volume 2, Chapter 10 – The Letter to Lead Alchemist Master to Receive Apprentice
A few days later, Zhang Yan was on Scarlet Cloud Island. Having looked around the island, he couldn’t help but sigh seeing the contrasting scenery. His Blessed Land was indeed far more barbaric—to the extreme.
This island’s earth veins were auspicious as well as harmonious, temperate and mild. This place was truly a rare Pure Manor grade with abundant spiritual qi; one only saw the island’s scenery in a glance with numerous small streams and waterfalls. There was also a gigantic scarlet-colored rock reclined on the island, reflecting the lights and shining upon all the water springs, resembling flowing lava.
Gazing from the distance at the mass of the red clouds that converged at the same place in the sky, it was as if the red clouds poured down waters from the sky in a single stretch along with a burning flame that descended from the heavens, making anyone who saw it gape in amazement.
The island was truly worthy to be the encampment of the Wang Family’s affairs for hundreds of years. The road in each place was built from pure white fine jade with palaces and mansions everywhere, while clusters of pavilions built on the water’s surface platforms could also be clearly seen everywhere. There was also the sight of a small floating island that turned anyone’s mind into astonishment with exotic flowers and plants above it—It’s unworldly beauty was simply beyond imagination.
The warrior who guided him on top of this island said that nobody was permitted to mount on top of that floating island without Wang Pan’s consent. He also said that before he dueled with Zhang Yan, Wang Pan had stayed there for one night.
Upon hearing this, Zhang Yan’s curiosity suddenly sparked. He was eager to visit the floating island.
Not only was a dwelling place built here, but there were also a lot of rare and exotic medicinal herbs planted on this island, taking the advantages of the island’s fire seed feature. It was truly understandable why the Wang Family must take this island back, as they were unable to give up these things. However, Zhang Yan was completely disinclined about it. Because, although these medicinal herbs were valuable, they had yet to mature. Even if he took it, it was useless to him, so he might as well exchange it for other practical things.
There was a 3 storey attic that was carefully built at the center of this floating island with a lot of bluish green colored plants, moistened by the dripping water from the green bamboos planted in the surroundings. It could be seen that some people often swept it since the jade’s stairs were very clean, without even a speck of dust on it.
After stepping into the attic, he freely flipped over the cover and saw some gold devices that were decorated with precious stones and jade ornaments. However, after he quickly looked around and sensed that there was no spiritual qi, he was not interested and headed straight to the second floor where a mysterious Celestial Chart was hanging there. A meditation mat was laid on the floor in the center, which should have been used occasionally for meditation.
After having glanced for several times, he didn’t find any valuable things here and entered the third floor, which was designed like a studying room. Only then did he find something that captured his interest.
Besides a lot of geographical miscellanies laid in this room, there were many books that he deemed very valuable, such as the treasured manuscript about the Eclipse Codes’ deduction method, ancient cultivators’ handwritten notes, and many others. However, the most valuable thing was a volume of cultivation laws that was used by Wang Pan, “Scarlet Fire Cloud Scroll.”
After Zhang Yan turned a few pages, he put it into his sleeve and secretly mused, “Others’ methods could always be used to polish oneself. Wang Pan’s cultivation law also had some strong points and was very suitable for studying the Golden Fire Blazing Inferno. It’s perhaps better to carefully research this one. I might not be able to completely unravel all its mysteries, but should I meet similar opponents in the future, I would also have some ways to contain them.”
Afterward, he carefully searched each spot throughout the island and ordered the warriors to carry all the concocted pills, Dao manuals, magical treasures, and Five Element Divine Sands to the flying boat, moving them to his Spirit Leaf Island.
However, in order to please Zhang Yan, those warriors also took ornamental furniture, calligraphies, and carving jade to ship them away. The nine flying ships that were usually used under Wang Pan’s orders, spent a whole day before they fully shipped away these things.
Scarlet Cloud Island was just only an empty shell after Zhang Yan finally gave it back to the Wang Family, even things that only had a little value had been removed entirely. However, the Wang Family couldn’t say anything because his conduct was in accordance to the customs. As long as this Scarlet Cloud Island was justifiably under his name, even if he demolished all the constructions there, the Wang Family couldn’t blame him even a bit.
After all the concocted pills, magical tools, and other things had been sent to Zhang Yan, Wang Mao hurriedly flew back to Scarlet Cloud Island. As soon as he saw that the medicinal herb field was still intact on the floating island with not the slightest damage, he couldn’t help but lift his sleeve and wipe away the cold sweat. He felt relieved while musing that Zhang Yan truly didn’t handle this matter excessively.
For Zhang Yan, this harvest could be said to have filled his bowl to the brims. Tang Yan had also been sent to Wang Mao, causing him to be in an excellent mood. He then arranged all the warriors to settle down at the previous place which originally had been settled by them, after which he activated the Restrictive Seal on the entire island and then shifted to his Immortal Cave to close up.
Hornless Dragon Island.
In a thatched house, a middle-aged cultivator was laying on a couch with his robe’s belt loose and disheveled, exposing his stomach, while he indifferently asked, “That Zhang Yan, what is his origin?”
This man’s name was Feng Shang, he was Feng Zhen’s granduncle, and nobody knew what his cultivation level was. He was an unrestrained person and didn’t care about anything; nobody wanted to even talk with him. However, Feng Zhen was perfectly aware that this elder was absolutely not simple. Moreover, he was also born from the branch family. Since he didn’t have anyone in the family to rely on, therefore, he had always looked for this man for advice when he encountered difficult problems.
For the past few days, Feng Zhen had inquired about Zhang Yan’s origin, and he quickly answered the question at this moment.
Feng Shang caressed his sparse beard and said, “In former days, we—from the ancient families branches—had a treaty with the apprenticeship branch. That all disciples who did not pass from the Lower Court’s disciple could not have a true disciples’ status straightaway. To have this position, everyone from ancient family’s background must spend 16 years cultivating in the Lower Court. However, Zhang Yan is a different case. His aptitude is but only mediocre and comes from a humble background. He was able to gain a foothold in the Lower Court, and then got promoted to a higher level. Such a figure is by no means simple.”
The proper way to enter the Upper Court was getting promoted from the Lower Court while the rest of the disciples usually had recommendations from credible parties to enter. However, the status and privileges were naturally worse than a true disciple’s. Even if one’s cultivation level were high, as long as they were not able to beat those true disciples, they were neither eligible nor had the rights to inherit the elders’ or Sect Master’s position. This was why Wang Pan was so obsessed to obtain a true disciple’s status.
Feng Zhen took a deep breath and sighed before he spoke, “This was precisely the main issue why I’m worried about the matter. The more extraordinary Zhang Yan is, the more restless I am.”
Feng Shang laughed even though he tried not to and said, “Why so? Zhen’er, you also have entered the Profound Light Realm. How could you even dread a cultivator who has yet to step into the Radiant Qi Realm? I don’t get it, I don’t get it!”
Feng Zhen’s expression was somewhat awkward before he finally said, “It’s not for me, but for my Second Younger Sister.”
Feng Shang was quite startled and asked, “What about Yao’er?”
“That day after we came back from the Spirit Leaf Island, I found that her expression was quite different. And then, after I repeatedly probed her, she then frankly spoke to me. It turned out that after she saw him that day, she was very interested in that Zhang Yan, and wanted to form a Dao Companionship with him.” Having spoken up to there, Feng Zhen sighed, “The troublesome thing is that father had once given his word, that she can choose her Dao Companion on her own volition. If she insisted, I really have no means to forbid her.”
In fact, this was not the only reason Feng Zhen was speaking of. There was also a concern about Feng Yao’s background. Although she was the Feng Family’s descendant, but she was also the disciple of the Dao Master Qin on Jadeite Fairyland. This Dao Master was a famous female Dao Master, and had a high status and position in the Sect. She not only had a deep and profound cultivation, but also had vast networks and acquaintances in the Great Eastern Continent. Neither apprenticeship branches nor ancient families’ would easily offend her. Originally, the Wang Family had spent quite the massive amount of resources to ask him to become a mediator, but he had never thought that Wang Pan would be killed by Zhang Yan. Thus, stirring up quite a disturbance.
Upon hearing his words, Feng Shang laughed loudly before he shook his head. Pondering for a short while, he said, “You said that Zhang Yan’s facial stature is handsome and rare to find. Also, he has an extraordinary bearing and wisdom, and now, the only difference is status. Yao’er’s vision is really not bad, not bad!”
Feng Zhen was dumbfounded and then said, “Granduncle, this grandnephew spoke some important matters with you, but why do you regard it as jokes?”
Feng Shang glanced at him and chuckled before he spoke, “You don’t know that your granduncle has lived for 300 years and is a total loser. However, I have one thing, that is my ‘magnanimousness’, and I can say that my proficiency in this aspect is worth praising.”
Feng Zhen felt really helpless, he knew that his granduncle was sometimes incomparably astute, and sometimes loved to speak nonsensical words. It often made the Sect’s elder find themselves in awkward and strange situations. He was a rascal and troublemaker during his youth. Otherwise, he couldn’t have been disliked and grounded by the family.
Feng Shang laid his body down and spoke in a lazy manner, “You don’t need to be that impatient, the matter seems extremely easy to solve for me.”
“Oh?” Feng Zhen’s expression shone as hurriedly stood up and cupped his hands over, “Granduncle, please grant the instruction.”
Feng Shang replied, “Well, Zhang Yan hasn’t acknowledged anyone as a Master, yes?”
His hands patted his exposed knee and said, “Then, let’s find a Master for him.”
Feng Zhen was quite dumbfounded, what absurd idea was this? But he was perfectly aware that it was impossible that Feng Shang had no clear aims. So he carefully picked his words and asked, “Granduncle, by your thought, which would be the most appropriate?”
Feng Shang dipped his fingers into the water, wrote three words on the table and said, “It’s this person.”
As soon as Feng Zhen looked at it, his expression turned puzzled, “Zhou Chongju?”
Feng Shang squinted and focused his vision at him and spoke, “Zhen’er, you have long been practicing on the island and drowned yourself reading many books, thus you’re oblivious to the outside world’s events.”
Feng Zhen’s complexion turned scarlet and said, “Grandnephew is really ashamed.”
“It’s really no wonder though, and it’s not your fault either. You won’t be like the others in such a small family, worrying all day about schemes and intrigues. The Feng Family’s members should have cultivated wholeheartedly and focused themselves on cultivation, and it’s precisely this that you must have a firm heart, so as not to let your mind get swayed by other matters that will stray yourself from the main path.” Feng Shang then sat up and pointed at the written name on the table, “Zhou Chongju is the Alchemy Pavilion’s Master, and he owes me a favor from the past. For many years, I have never asked anything of him for payback. If I want him to accept Zhang Yan as his apprentice, I think he will certainly not refuse.”
Feng Zhen was still restless and said, “Even if he received Zhang Yan, it still can’t stop the Second Younger Sister’s thoughts.”
“Who says?” Feng Shang stared at him and said, “Once this person receives Zhang Yan as an apprentice, not only would anyone in the Sect make a fuss about it, but Yao’er would also be unable to form a Dao companionship with him.”
“Why?” Surprise instantly filled Feng Zhen’s eyes.
Feng Shang mysteriously smiled and said, “Well, since today we’ve spoken about this, then I’ll tell you to make your mind clear. This Zhou Chongju and the Jadeite Immortal Cave’s Qin Yu are originally husband and wife. But later, for unknown reasons, this couple quarreled. So, if he accepted Zhang Yan as his apprentice, even if Yao’er wants to become his Dao companion, Qin Yu would act and forbid her.”
Feng Zhen lowered his head and thought that this method was quite reasonable. He couldn’t help but subconsciously nod his head before he spoke in a puzzled tone, “According to what Granduncle said, Zhou Chongju also has some capital it seems, and that’s so cheap for Zhang Yan.”
Feng Shang chuckled again and said, “How can it be that your granduncle misses this point? I’ll tell you now, Zhou Chongju’s cultivation is not high, but he is indeed an extraordinary alchemist and he has always wanted to receive a successor apprentice. But he’s too picky and has strict requirements. Only a select few could enter his eyes. But this person is also quite paranoid and stubborn, once someone becomes his apprentice, he will not be allowed to change his path. Do you understand?”
Feng Zhen startled and then immediately understood, “Then Zhang Yan would be compelled to practice alchemist arts, so he would have stray from his cultivation practice, right?”
“Exactly!” Feng Shang let out a self-satisfactory smile and said, “Could an alchemist’s arts be easy to practice? First, it would take 10 years to practice one’s tongue opening technique. Another 10 years to hone the nose opening technique, followed by the last 10 years for the eyes opening technique. These are publicly known as the ‘Three Medicines’ Opening Arts’. With this, it would take 30 years of laborious and painstaking efforts. Regardless how extraordinary Zhang Yan’s talent could be, he’ll have no choice but to follow the prescribed order. And if he dares to rebel against his Master, everyone would punish him. Hahaha, imagine 30 years of stagnation in cultivation. Would Zhen’er still put him in mind later?”
Feng Zhen was really happy as he cupped his hands and said, “Wonderful, wonderful.”
Feng Shang ignored the praise as he raised his hands, causing his sleeves slide down to his elbows, “Someone bring me ink and pen! I will write a letter at once.”
After the servant brought the pen and ink, he wrote a letter and handed it to Feng Zhen, “Take this letter and give it to Zhou Chongju, you’ll also have some benefits later. Go!”