Volume 2, Chapter 38 — Four Dao Masters Decided to Bestow the Cloud Sand
Two days later, at the Azure Ocean Sect’s Borderless Palace.
Thousands of hazy clouds full of pure spiritual qi swirled inside the palace. There were four people sitting on jade chairs. These 4 were the masters of the Four Great Fairylands of the Apprenticeship Branches, respectively —Dao Master Meng, Yan, Zhu, and Sun.
However, these 4 people’s appearances were fuzzy, as though lights and shadows were moving fast, resembling illusions. Each one of them was unexpectedly only an avatar.
The one who was sitting at the center, Dao Master Meng, then looked downward at a disciple as he then spoke in a deep tone, “Zhuang Bufan, have all of our Sect’s disciples returned safely?”
Zhuang Bufan then bowed and spoke, “Reporting to Dao Master, they all have been brought back.”
“Are there any casualties?”
Dao Master Meng then spoke, “I heard that a disciple named Zhang Yan lured the evildoer, avoiding the disciples from getting massacred. Is this matter true?”
Zhuang Bufan replied, “Disciple has verified about it, and this news also true.”
At this time, the one who was sitting at the end, Dao Master Sun, suddenly interrupted and spoke, “Ah, this Zhang Yan, what’s his cultivation base at present?”
This sentence had a very profound meaning. This clearly referred that he had known Zhang Yan for a long time. Dao Master Yan and Zhu couldn’t help looking at each other as sneering expressions could be seen from their eyes.
Zhuang Bufan thought for a while and replied, “He should be at the Radiant Qi Realm Third Stage. However, he has yet to condense his Profound Light Seed.”
Dao Master Meng nodded and spoke, “Bufan, you take care of this matter. Go now.”
“Yes.” Zhuang Bufan bowed and saluted before he left.
After he left, Dao Master Meng then spoke, “This time the Sect’s disciples were ambushed. Although Fang Zhen has an excellent aptitude, but his mind is unstable. Due to personal gain he actually disregarded his fellow apprentices’ safety. Junior Brother Yan, he’s your disciple. As for how to deal with him, you handle it.”
Sitting at his left side, Dao Master Yan then replied in an indifferent tone, “First Senior Brother, I have taken back the Five Flame Ring Divine Weapon from him. I also have punished him to face the wall and reflect his mistake in seclusion.”
Dao Master Meng nodded and no longer mentioned it. He then spoke, “It seems like the Three Anchor Lakes’ demons are recently in upheaval. Everyone must inform all their junior disciples to guard against them.”
Dao Master Zhu, who was sitting on his right side, grunted, “As long as the Three Anchor Lakes are still not cleaned up yet, I think our Azure Ocean Sect would still be uneasy and nervous.”
Dao Master Meng nodded and replied, “Previously, the Sect Master, our teacher, has said that the only variable that would obstruct us is the Rainbow Stonefield Water State, that would support the Three Lakes from behind. So, he didn’t ruthlessly act against them. However, since our Sect has gotten the Golden Letter from the Water State, even though the Water State’s situation is not quite calm, we now have a just excuse in our hands. We still have a lot of time, and now is the best time since they can’t get support. The meaning of teacher’s words is that we must succeed in exterminating the Three Anchor Lakes within 6 months.”
Dao Master Zhu was surprised and said, “Within six months? Isn’t that too hasty?”
Dao Master Meng sighed and said, “Daoist cultivators have occupied the 10 Spirit Holes in the Great Eastern Continent and have been taking advantages of them. But the 6 big Demon Clans have occupied the 6 Demon Holes. Although these recent years have been quite peaceful; however, it is hiding a huge danger. 2 days ago, the Sect Master had secretly calculated a divination, and he said that the Evil Spirit Plundering millennium cycle would soon arrive in the Great Eastern Continent. This will add more strength to 6 Great Demon Clans. So our sect must quickly seize Three Anchor Lakes to expand and strengthen our power to prepare ourselves for this tribulation.”
Upon hearing this information, the other three Dao Master’s heart chilled, “If it has already been this way, I have no objection.”
At this time, Dao Master Sun spoke, “Speaking of this Water State’s Golden Letter. Wasn’t Zhang Yan the one who went abroad on the diplomatic mission? In my opinion, he must be awarded for this big merit.”
With an unhappy expression, Dao Master Zhu Zhen replied, “Junior Brother, this is different. Ji Jiushang sending this Agreement Document has always been planned by our Master, the Sect Master. How could it turn out to be Zhang Yan’s credit?”
Dao Master Sun smiled and said, “If it were not for Zhang Yan who made a prompt decision and went back earlier to the sect with the Golden Letter, would we even be able to attack Three Anchor Lakes?”
Dao Master Zhen refuted, “Even if it must be recorded as a merit, it should only be a small-rank merit.”
Upon seeing the 2 of them in dispute, Dao Master Yan first looked at Dao Master Meng and then spoke, “The 2 of you don’t need to fight over it. Attacking Three Anchor Lakes is still but a secret plan for now. We don’t need to think about a reward at the moment. It’s improper. In my opinion, even after we have fully seized Three Anchor Lakes, it wouldn’t be too late to discuss about it then.”
Dao Master Sun faintly sneered, “Fine then. I will no longer raise this issue. However, Zhang Yan took the initiative to lure out and take action against the evildoer and prevented hundreds of our disciples from getting massacred due to an evil scheme. Such courage and action in itself is a big merit.”
Dao Master Zhu coldly refuted, “This Zhang Yan kid is but only Pavilion Master Zhou’s disciple, why would Junior Brother meticulously care so much about him?”
After having been in silence for a long time, Dao Master Meng suddenly spoke, “Although this child is Pavilion Master Zhou’s disciple; however, his cultivation practice is but Junior Brother Sun’s “Billows Cloud Secret Manual”. He could be regarded as a disciple from his branch.”
Dao Master Zhu grunted and spoke no longer.
Dao Master Yan looked around and then took the initiative, “This time, due to the mistake of my disciple, I will take responsibility. This Zhang Yan is a Radiant Qi Realm Third Stage, and has yet to condense his Profound Light Seed. How about I grant him a superior grade Cloud Sand and help him?”
Dao Master Sun nodded and said, “Alright.”
Dao Mater Meng looked at Dao Master Zhu. Seeing that he was not against it, he then nodded and replied, “If so, you then go and arrange it.”
Dao Master Yan stood up as he bowed to be excused. His avatar illusion flashed as he disappeared from the lotus throne.
After he left, Dao Master Zhu also left silently without even speaking.
At the moment, there were only Dao Master Meng and Sun inside the hall.
Dao Master Meng glanced at Dao Master Sun and slowly spoke, “Junior Brother Sun, I know you originally intended to cultivate Zhang Yan, so why did you back off and seem to have no interest afterward? Zhou Chongju then took him as his disciple. If you were come to me, he wouldn’t have necessarily been able to take him.”
Dao Master Sun spoke in a respectful tone, “First Senior Brother, my Apprenticeship Branch has long not have any true disciples as an apprentice for a century. Zhang Yan himself entered the Upper Court in a sensational manner, so I intentionally gave him the cold shoulder. On one hand, I wanted to see his true nature, and secondly, I wanted him to avoid from being excessively focused and targeted by the Ancient Families. This would’ve been detrimental for him. Thanks to him becoming Pavilion Master Zhou’s disciple, I can take the advantage and chance to support him in secret.”
The disciples who could become the True Crossing Hall’s elder as well as Sect Master, were but only true disciples. If the Apprenticeship Branches were to pay excessive attention toward Zhang Yan, the Ancient Families would inevitably raise their vigilance and plan to suppress Zhang Yan with all of their might and resources. And now, since he had become Zhou Chongju’s disciple, the Ancient Families would not feel threatened and be at ease.
Dao Master Meng nodded as he sighed and spoke, “Junior Brother, your moves truly could be considered as thoroughly thought of.”
Dao Master Sun replied with a smile, “But now it seems that we cannot hide the sharp sword from being covered in its sheath again, can we?”
Dao Master Meng chuckled and replied, “Since we cannot hide him anymore, then let him come out. However, I wonder whether he would be able to handle the pressure?”
Dao Master Sun lightly replied, “If Zhang Yan can pass this, should we support him?”
At the same time, at one of the Big Fairylands, the Twilight Fairyland’s Immortal Cave—
With a restless expression, Fang Zhen was standing below as he looked at Dao Master Yan, who sat above with closed eyes. Then, a light flashed as his avatar returned to his body. His eyes then slowly opened.
Upon seeing it, Fang Zhen quickly stepped forward and asked, “Father, how is it?”
Dao Master Yan frowned at him and spoke in a displeased tone, “Have I told you not to call me father in this place?”
Fang Zhen quickly bowed and spoke, “Yes, Respected Master.”
“Hmmm.” Dao Master Yan nodded, “Your matter, if Zhang Yan had not shouted about it, it could have been only a trivial issue. However, since Senior Brother Meng showed his interest and got involved with this issue, I cannot act based on favoritism again. For the next few months, I forbid you to go out, and you must practice calmly in this cave. Just cultivate your ‘Yin Jade Dust Cultivation Technique’ here.”
The Azure Ocean Sect had 5 cultivation techniques, 3 classics, and 12 secret magical arts. However, these were only to be bestowed to promising disciples who had enough merits, and were by no means to be given out of favoritism.
The Sect’s Merit and Achievement Pavilion had rules that 15 small-rank merits were equal to 1 big-rank merit. As for 6 big-rank merits, they were equal to 1 supreme-rank merit. The “Yin Jade Dust Cultivation Technique” could only be taught to disciples with 3 supreme-rank merits. However, Dao Master Yan unexpectedly had long been teaching this cultivation technique to Fang Zhen in secret.
Recalling the scolding and cursing Zhang Yan had done toward him, Fang Zhen couldn’t help but shout with hate, “This Zhang Yan really must die a damned death!”
Dao Master Yan spoke in an extremely solemn tone, “Zhang Yan is very unusual and different. Senior Brother Meng and Junior Brother Sun are likely to cultivate him. You must not by any means make trouble for him.”
Fang Zhen anxiously replied, “Respected Master, what’s the matter? Could I even be unable to act against him?”
Dao Master Yan waved his duster as a spiritual light flashed over his eyes before he spoke, “You don’t need to worry, you’re my disciple, how could you be foul mouthed by him? I will vent your anger later. Besides, by his true disciple’s status, once he successfully succeeds in breaking through his cultivation base, when he finds himself in trouble, he would look for me.”
Amongst the Apprenticeship Branches, the received disciples also had an upper and lower status. To disciples with an outstanding aptitude and perception, they would receive full attention as well as would be fully cultivated by the branch. They have the first priority to be bestowed with cultivation laws, concocted pills, and magical treasures. However, the Apprenticeship Branches had had no special and particularly outstanding talents in the younger generation right now. Dao Master Yan originally wanted to fully promote and cultivate Fang Zhen. However, he didn’t expect that because of his son’s carelessness, his plan was tumbled. Even if Fang Zhen wanted to rise in the future, only by suppressing Zhang Yan down would he be able to lift his head up.
Fang Zhen was overjoyed and spoke, “Respected Master, how would you deal with him?”
Dao Master Yan faintly smiled and spoke, “I will give him Cloud Sand so he could soon condense his Profound Light Seed.”
Having heard it, Fang Zhen could not help shouting, “Father, why do you want to help him?”
Dao Master Yan angrily snapped, “What do you know about it, hah? He is a true disciple. No matter what, he will be sent out for campaigns and battles, or he must do meritorious services. Disciples under the Profound Light Realm are able to refuse to carry out the tasks. How could I let him to cultivate calmly and steadily without danger in the sect?”
Fang Zhen froze for a moment before he suddenly realized, “What father means is that you are willing to help him breakthrough into the Profound Light Realm and then order him to do some tasks for the Sect. And then he will fall into your palm?”
Dao Master Yan glanced at him and then spoke, “You finally understand a little.”
Good swimmers have always drowned in friendly waters. This was just like the martial artists in the mortal world. When an ordinary person hadn’t learned and was bad in martial arts, they would have a calm and peaceful life. However, once he knew and learned about martial arts, he would jump into a more dangerous life. And once he had the opportunity, he would usually be careless, and could easily fall into disaster and die a violent and tragic death.
Dao Master Yan coldly smiled and spoke, “About this, Senior Brother Meng and Junior Brother Sun know about my intention, but they will neither stop nor prevent me.”
His method was but an open scheme intrigue. He didn’t need to worry that Zhang Yan would rebel and refuse. He would also be able arrange him to hunt and kill one or two powerful demons or evildoers. Zhang Yan’s life could still be preserved, but with such numbers of failures, he wouldn’t be able to raise his strength and worth.
One must know that amongst Profound Light cultivators, even though their cultivation base might be the same; however, without a superior cultivation law or guidance from Masters, the gap and differences between them were just like heaven and earth.
Fang Zhen thought for a moment and then spoke, “But if Dao Master Sun passes onto him a cultivation law in secret…”
Dao Master Yan sneered, “Che, even though his talent defies the heaven, which cultivation law in the Sect needs to not be painstakingly cultivated for at least 20 years? You’ve been cultivating the Yin Jade Dust Cultivation Technique I have taught you for 14 years, and even though you’ve been supported with various concoctions with wondrous efficacy, but you still could only have small achievements. This Zhang Yan only has a low-grade Mist phase meridian type; of which, only extremely few cultivation laws would suit him for practice. How much could he succeed at later?”