Volume 2, Chapter 31 – Elder Chen and Elder Xun’s Distress, The Mermaid’s Merit
The flying sword fight between Radiant Qi Realm cultivators was just like commanding 2 armies into battle, whereas cultivators’ spiritual qi was the army. Feng Ming thought that the amount of his spiritual qi exceeded Zhang Yan, but he had fallen into a disadvantageous position due to Zhang Yan’s cunning method, causing him to be unable to even gather his soldiers. If Zhang Yan was unable to release any soldiers again, it would be his turn to crush him over. He only needed to stall on and pass through the storm, because he firmly believed that the one who would lose would be Zhang Yan!
In his calculation, Zhang Yan’s spiritual qi was at least around 36 to 42 strands, so he only needed to persevere for a little while again.
With this thought in mind, Zhang Yan’s advance naturally would be pressed down and barely able to support it. He looked forward until that time came to reverse the situation.
After the 2 Sword Bullets had rotated for 36 times, he saw that Zhang Yan was at ease and skillful as before. He was slightly confused, but finally returned back to his calm after calculating it. However, he felt that something was not good, while a restless feeling sprouted out of nowhere and gradually became more intense over time.
By the time 42 maneuverings had been passed, an inconceivable thought suddenly flashed through Feng Ming’s mind, causing his body gradually tremble. His Sword Bullet’s control and movements became sluggish and could only stiffly follow Zhang Yan’s Sword Bullet’s maneuvers, and simply didn’t try to face the attack.
Up until the 48th time, he couldn’t support it again, and didn’t release his last stand of qi left, causing his Sword Bullet to stagnate.
But Zhang Yan’s Sword Bullet unexpectedly turned around again easily as it flashed straight at Feng Ming. He could only look at it helplessly and was unable to stop with his already spent strength.
A “Puff” sound was heard as Zhang Yan’s Sword Bullet hit Feng Ming’s chest. Along with a “thump” sound, he backed down for 2 steps with a disbelieving expression projected from his eyes. His face changed for a few times as an unwilling expression then appeared; it then turned vacant, until it was finally replaced with shame and anger.
Zhang Yan faintly smiled as he cupped over his hands to Feng Ming, “Senior Brother, you let me win.”
Feng Ming stood motionless without saying anything. Nobody knew his thoughts, but his hands kept trembling.
Elder Chen, on the stone platform, was frowning. He wielded his duster and whispered something. The child servant at his side stood and shouted, “Master Ancestor commands Senior Brother to come to speak!”
Zhang Yan calmly strode onto the stone platform and sent a casual greeting to Elder Chen. But it was not the salute from Junior to Senior, but was the greeting from a cultivator of the same generation.
Upon seeing this, a displeased expression sprouted from Elder Chen’s face as he then coldly asked, “Have you ever learned this Flying Sword Art before?”
Zhang Yan shook his head and said, “Never.”
Elder Chen pointed his duster at him and shouted in a cold tone, “Don’t lie! You dare to deceive me! I’ve been observing you all the time. You’ve already mastered this Sword Art! Your movements and transitions have already matured, and those clearly had been tempered for several years to achieve that state! Spit out the truth, who teached you?”
Under the swift and fierce glare from him, Zhang Yan didn’t bat an eyelid and confidently replied, “Disciple entered the Upper Court less than a year ago, broke through into the Second Stage of the Radiant Qi Realm a month ago while I was leaving in a diplomatic mission to the Water State, and only today have I returned to the Upper Court. Just when and how could I temper myself for several years?”
In fact, the amount of time Elder Chen had said about a few years’ time that it would take to hone his ability to this extent was extremely accurate. Despite fully focusing in practicing the Flying Sword Art, it was simply impossible to fully master it in one year. Had it not been for Zhang Yan wholeheartedly tempering himself for 200 days in the Broken Jade, he couldn’t have achieved years of practice results like this.
“What? You just started less than a year ago?”
Elder Chen’s brows became tighter. He had long been closed up for years, and only in recent days had he been entrusted by Elder Xun to come and give a Sword Art’s lecture, while he also wanted to see Feng Ming’s talent today. Naturally, nothing did he know about Zhang Yan, while also there were none who mentioned about such small matter to him.
He asked, “What’s your name? Whose disciple are you? And what’s your duty?”
Zhang Yan’s expression looked austere as he straightened his body and replied, “Myself is Zhang Yan, the supervisor at Alchemy Pavilion and under the Alchemy Pavilion’s Master’s tutelage.”
Elder Chen stunned, “You’re actually Martial Uncle Zhou’s disciple?”
He secretly thought, “No wonder he acts in an uninhabited manner, it turns out that he and I are of the same generation, so his conduct naturally isn’t wrong.”
And then he looked Feng Ming at the side, feeling embarrassed.
Originally, he had promised Elder Xun to bestow the Stars Sword Bullet to Feng Ming. Never did he expect that Zhang Yan would come out and even beat him with highly skilled Sword Bullet techniques in front of tens of thousands of disciples. He also couldn’t act shamelessly. The reason he called Zhang Yan up was to use words to suppress him, so as to make him withdraw on his own initiative. But after knowing that he was Zhou Chongju’s disciple, he discarded this idea.
Zhou Chongju’s status in the Sect was extremely special. His rank was very high, and apart from the Sect Master, he usually didn’t give anyone face. He was also an extremely famous Alchemy Grandmaster in the Great Eastern Continent. Elder Chen’s words could perhaps slightly suppress and deter other disciples, but it wasn’t the same with Zhang Yan, because his capital was even lower than his.
Although he was also an Elder, but it was because of his age and seniority, nothing more. Compared to those Elders at the True Crossing Halls, he was worlds apart and couldn’t be compared with them.
While he was being in a dilemma, he felt that his feet gently vibrated. He couldn’t help but reveal a slight happiness as he looked up to the sky. He smiled and spoke, “Senior Brother Xun has come?”
Shortly after, a tiny scarlet spark appeared in the sky, and then a mass of glowing blazing flames descended from the sky as the flame then bursted out in the next moment, revealing a sturdy and tall figure, with a beard that covered all over his face. Along with his steps, he exuded a powerful imposing manner, as if it shook the earth, causing everyone to palpitate and be thrilled.
Zhang Yan was secretly startled and thought, “The wind-borne fire constitution, each move is as heavy as a mountain, with breaths that soared like clouds. This man is clearly at the Second Stage of Dan Transformation Realm —the ‘Dan Consolidation Form’.”
This cultivator had yet to come near when he laughed loudly with in a straightforward manner, “It’s actually Martial Uncle Zhou’s disciple. Really a young hero. If so, then this elder must not be stingy.”
He strode towards Zhang Yan. Although he was not close yet, Zhang Yan felt a heat wave blowing at him.
He came and stood before Zhang Yan. His was taller than Zhang by half a head as he stared at him and spoke, “Junior Brother Zhang, when I was still airborne playing with the fire wind, I’ve seen your spiritual energy circulation. You used 48 strands in succession to defeat Feng Ming. Although it’s the same with him, but he also has 49 strands of spiritual qi, and could also be considered that he has superior aptitude. But if you faced the enemy that was a little bit more powerful than you, how will you do?”
He didn’t wait for Zhang Yan to answer as he then pointed to his chest, saying, “I have a mnemonic chant called “Void Fabrication”. This is a secretly taught technique in the Sword Crossing Origin. You can still transmit 3 more times with your last strand spiritual qi. Since you certainly obtained this Sword Bullet, you can’t separate this Sword Bullet from this secret technique. But I must test your nature with a trial first. But this doesn’t mean that I want to bind you. If you can find 1,000 Blueback Herrings before tomorrow, I’ll pass onto you this mnemonic chant with the Stars Sword Bullet. If you fail, that means that you are not destined with this Sword Art, and naturally I cannot give you this Sword Bullet, what say you?”
The Blueback Herring was not only the regional special product of the Wild Dragon Great Lake, but its eggs could also enter a cultivators’ Dan. Moreover, it was also a superior-grade dish after being cooked carefully, which even cultivators were barely able to resist the temptation to eat it. There have been long aged Black Herrings around Zhou Chongju’s fishing boat with age more than 3,000 years old.
But this fish had membranes under its stomach that would give birth to wings after they were cultivating, which made their speed in the water unparalleled. Moreover, this fish’s flesh was hard with thick scales. Its nature was also cunning and usually found in deep waters, which made it more difficult to catch.
Although there still half a day’s time, but even if there were 1,000 days, it would still be extremely difficult, let alone catching 1,000 pieces of those fishes. Even if there 10 people with good luck, it was almost impossible to catch them.
Zhang Yan sneered in his heart. This was very obvious that they didn’t want him to get this Stars Sword Bullet, and he came out with this ridiculous reason to obstruct him as he didn’t want to smear their face at the same time. They had long been planning to give this Sword Bullet to Feng Ming and made a pretext in the name of this test, but in reality, they were wanting to make him withdraw.
However, even if you think so, why would I back out from this difficult situation?
Without hesitation he immediately replied, “If so, the 2 elders please wait here. This Junior Brother will go and come back fast.”
Upon seeing the he complied this quickly, the two elders couldn’t help but look astonished. They were unable to restrain the urge to glance at each other as Elder Xun then squinted his eyes and smiled. He waved his hand and spoke, “You can go. Your fellow apprentices will wait here. Whether you are to fail or not, we’ll see your luck.”
Zhang Yan didn’t say anything more as he drove his flying ship and soared.
However, he didn’t go to find the Blueback Herring, but directly headed to Spirit Leaf Island and then de-activated the restrictive seal. Luo Xiao then greeted him and spoke, “It’s Master, he’s back!”
Zhang Yan looked around and saw groups of Demon Mermaids swimming and playing, spraying and spilling water. When the restrictive seal was closed, they could only play in a radius of 5 miles. And now, more than a hundred mermaids were just like “fishes in the water”.
But at the moment, Zhang Yan couldn’t let them to play. He shouted and gathered them. He said what he wanted and issued his order. More than 100 beautiful mermaids complied in one voice, and then swam to the depths of the lake in succession.
Those warriors who lived on the shore also knew what to do as they immediately took a dozen tall bamboo baskets that were taken from the Scarlet Cloud Island and took them to the shore.
Zhang Yan nodded and flung his sleeve, rewarding everyone with a lot of concocted pills. He was the Alchemy Pavilion’s supervisor, while Zhou Chongju also gave him freedom to as he pleased. Therefore, he naturally didn’t lack concocted pills, and conveniently took out a large numbers of high-grade concocted pills.
After these warriors had moved into this island, they hadn’t been seeing him for quite a long time. And now, they could see that he was even more generous than Wang Pan, causing them to secretly think that they were following the right master as they knelt down to salute him.
More than an hour later, the Demon Mermaids returned one after another while having to return to their side and wear a delicate and tiny waterproof sack, as they poured out 1 or 2 Blueback Herrings from their sack. But it was still far away from 1,000 of them. Zhang Yan spoke in solemn tone, “I heard that the Water State’s people claimed that Mermaids are extremely good at catching fish and are able to dive into the deep sea. Could it be that the rumor is wrong?”
The Mermaids were very sensitive to people’s mood, and they were afraid to say anything upon seeing Zhang Yan’s expression. They hastily dropped the Blueback Herrings and then dove into the water again. One of them was quite bold as she looked up and pointed out, “Master doesn’t need to worry, I’m just not familiar with this fish’s habitual nature. This time we could only catch a few. Please give me an hour, it wouldn’t be difficult to catch a lot of them.”
Zhang Yan smiled and replied, “It’s alright, although the numbers are not enough. But I won’t blame all of you, just try your best.” His heart was firm. External objects might be able to assist cultivators, having them also made him happy, but even if not, he also didn’t care. Even if he couldn’t obtain that Sword Bullet today, he absolutely couldn’t be disturbed with such reason.
However, the Mermaids were jumping in joy when they heard his words, as if the shackles in their hearts vanished. They wholeheartedly redoubled their efforts. They were the most sensitive living beings in the Water State, and often got injured and distressed because of sorrow, shortening their lifespans.
An hour later, when the Mermaids were back again, this time everyone poured out 7 or 8 Blueback Herring from their sacks. Some even had dropped more than a dozen. Added with previous catch, the numbers nearly reached 2,000, far beyond what Zhang Yan had expected from before. Zhang Yan couldn’t help but greatly feel satisfied and also generously rewarded, throwing large numbers of concocted pills from his sleeve at them.
He also asked the Mermaid who talked to him before, “What’s your name?”
The mermaid replied with a lovable expression, “This slave is called Shang Chang.”
Zhang Yan nodded and flicked his finger as a concocted pill then fell into her hands, “I give this Body Transfiguration Pill to you. This will help you to peel off your skin and scales and let you have a human body.”
Shang Chang was expressionless at first, and then stared at Zhang Yan as 2 lines of tears fell down. She thought that she would be a slave maid for a lifetime, and never would get out from this destiny. But now, she was suddenly bestowed what she had been wishing for. Not only would she be able to remove her half-fish body, but she could also change her shape and climb ashore, enabling her to tread on the Dao and be hopeful to reach enlightenment. She was unable to restrain her emotions as she then raised her head and loudly sang.
At first, she was the only one who sang, but sensing the joy and happiness in her song, more than 100 beautiful Mermaids then also sang together. For a moment, a touching and moving vocal sonata reverberated in the Spirit Leaf Island.
Luo Xiao sighed and spoke, “Master, this is the Mermaids Sonata. This song can make people’s stone heart melt and make them cry; people with heinous sins will remorse and regret; while people who are in desperation will be spirited up. But it’s very rare for anyone to hear it.”
Zhang Yan nodded and said, “The song is truly sweet and moving, and hard to find in the world.”
But Zhang Yan didn’t know that more than 1000 feet in the sky, a man was crossing over and suddenly frowned when he heard the Mermaid Sonata. He unconsciously snorted coldly and spoke, “What a lascivious depraved evil song! This will poison people’s soul! Which evildoers can enter my Azure Ocean Sect’s interior?”