Immortal Ascension Tower
Book 1: Reborn
First Arc: The Child And The Dragon
Chapter 6 – The Child With Emerald Eyes
Old Lao seemed to have suddenly recalled something. “As for the Elders… They are disciples that stayed for more than fifteen years in a certain rank. For example, a Vacant Disciple that stays for fifteen years in the Vacant Sect and fails to join the Outer Sect will become a Vacant Elder.”
“This changes in the Core Sect, as disciples only need ten or more years as a Core Disciple to become Core Elders, as the only disciples that are ranked higher are Twin Stars. For this reason, unless one somehow becomes a Twin Star in these ten years, he’ll become a Core Elder.”
“An Elder won’t be able to increase his rank after those fifteen years, unless he or she become a Protector or the Sect Head. Although the status of Elders is normally higher than that of Disciples, a Disciple that is even just one or two ranks higher than an Elder would usually be both stronger and considered of higher rank in the Sect. This is due to the vast disparity in overall strength between the Vacant, Outer, Inner and Core Sects. What’s more, the status of Elder only takes into account those fifteen years spent into the Sect and not one’s strength. For that reason, an outstanding Outer Disciple might not definitely beat an average Inner Elder, but a powerful Core Disciple would very rarely lose to an Inner Elder. In short, watch out for both sides!”
At that, Lao Jianghu paused a bit to think. “As for me, I am not an Elder, just a self-proclaimed gatekeeper… Following that logic, who knows? I might be just a cultivation-less mortal, but I could actually even be a mighty Reverend stage cultivator!” At that the old man couldn’t help but chuckle for a bit. Cheng Hao also smiled in his mind.
“Ahem,” the old man regained his cool. “Here are your sect robes! Your copy of ‘Basics to Martial Cultivation’, which I highly recommend taking a look at before you start cultivating, should be on the table inside your room. I wish you luck.” The self-proclaimed gatekeeper finally finished his explanation and gave the child the sect’s Vacant Disciple robes (a long black robe with a single white stripe running from the right shoulder to the left ankle). “The key should be in the hut. The keys hanging from the carriage are just for the looks. The hut is the numbered #5742, meaning it’s the 5th hut in the 742nd ward. The 742nd ward is right down this road, a few minutes’ worth of walking. Just between the two of us, that area has very few people. After all, I wouldn’t want such a cute little Junior to be bullied, right? Well, I wish you good luck!”
“Thanks for your hard work, Elder Lao!” Cheng Hao cupped his hands and bowed to the old man before turning around and leaving, walking slowly while observing his surroundings, all the while drawing a mental map of the place. The old man looked at him, a weird smile on his face. It was neither happy nor sad, it was a smile that came from his heart that wished the boy good luck… as well as carrying a tinge of hope for the future.
When the old man couldn’t see the small back anymore, sighed and began speaking to himself. “If he could get into the sect with his current status as an eight years old boy, his only way would be to pass the exam. To be able to do that at such a young age, it should be fairly obvious that he either had some ‘outside’ help… Or has some tricks up his sleeve. If it was the former it will become clear as time goes on, and that should probably be as far as that child goes. On the other hand…” The old man’s eyes gleamed “If it is actually the latter, it seems like my Mysterious Light-Shadow Sect got quite the genius this time! And maybe… Just maybe a Star has appeared. But a single Star isn’t enough for the Sect to shine. A single Star is incomplete, as its ambition would surely tone down, having no competition or goals. That is why there must be two. And since that Zhao Bu is older and much more experienced, the poor child would just become a fake Star, a mere stepping stone for the Zhao Clan’s child! I do not want to ruin his future because of some senile old fools’ thirst for power! I won’t let him become a lone Star! I… will protect him!”
The old man lifted his head and, seeing the sky had already turned dark and the first few stars had appeared, he decided to close his stall and head back to sleep. After all, it was late. The yearly entrance exam should also have ended a while ago and there shouldn’t be any more people coming either way. With that thought in mind, he turned around and was about to head back…
“Elder, elder! Could Elder please wait a little bit more before closing?!”
As the ‘Old Man Lao’ turned, he couldn’t help but be slightly startled: in front of him, a panting young boy, eight years old, had approached him. Except, this young man was not Cheng Hao! The poor old man was absolutely shocked: two young boys passing an exam that many people in their teens failed had appeared in rapid succession in the same evening! How could he not be startled?
This eight-year-old boy was dressed incredibly well, with expensive clothes adorning his whole body. He had shoulder-length, purple hair. Some of the strands were blue, and it gave the youth a somewhat ethereal appearance. His handsome face and long, purple eyelashes seemed to have been sculpted from the finest jade. Even his green eyes looked like two emeralds and they were really pleasing. He had an oval and symmetrical face and small, dark-colored lips. This young boy was handsome, but it was a beauty different from Cheng Hao’s girly looks. Instead, it was the fragile beauty of a jewel.
To illustrate it in a more comprehensible way… fujoshis would definitely have burly, masculine men ravage the girly, golden-eyed youth in their fantasies without a second thought. The purple-haired child on the other hand, would be treated like a fragile crystal sculpture by even the most evil of playboys! This Author hopes that he got the point across. Ahem, back to the story! A night breeze messed up the old man’s pristine white beard as he gaped in stupor…
“Young boy, could it be… you passed the new disciple entrance exam???” the old man couldn’t help but suck in a breath of cold air: had the sky fallen down? How could this be? Two heaven-shaking genius in the same day? That was simply not possible!
The young boy stopped gasping for air and then innocently nodded and replied with a crystalline voice. “I-I did. Can I now enter the sect? I am not too late am I?” The young boy seemed to be extremely worried. “I really do need to get in!”
The old man was a bit surprised but when he got over the shock he pointed his chin upwards and a loud laugh releasing both frustration and indecisiveness came out: what the heck was going on? “Ahem,” he coughed. “Well… It’s not like you’re too late, you just surprised me, that’s all. However… can you come here for a second and let this old gatekeeper check something?”
He grabbed the youth’s hand and felt his pulse. Immediately afterwards, incredible excitement and euphoria became visible on the old face full of wrinkles. He let out another round of laughter, this time around however it did not carry the slightest hint of hesitation, only excitement! The unfortunate young boy who had to experience such changes in the old man’s mood was so startled that he fell on his back.
When he got up the old man was jubilant and extremely happy. In fact, he was even excitedly smiling as he quickly handed the young child the robes. The old gatekeeper was about to tell the young child the number of his hut, when a thought flashed through his head. He cast his gaze upon the young boy and he grinned even more as he felt he had just had the greatest idea ever.
“You see,” he said. “You are really young… I think it would be better not to live alone at such an age… Coincidentally, another young man that has the same age as you has also passed the exam, so how about living together with him? You might get to be friends, and one day even become sworn brothers! Seeing that you both passed the exam, you must both be geniuses, so you could help each other out! What do you think?”
The purple-haired child’s eyes instantly brightened and he replied with enthusiasm. “Of course! Father has said numerous times that on the road of martial cultivation, the more friends one has the better!”
Old Lao subconsciously thought that the child had a good Father.
The old man chuckled and said with an anxious tone, “Hurry, then! That other child was here up until a few moments ago and was walking pretty slowly, so if you run, you might actually catch up to him! He’s in hut 5742, 5th hut in the 742nd ward. I’ll have someone deliver a spare key later! Now, go!” At the words of his senior, the child nodded resolutely and ran on the paved road in the direction the old man was pointing to: his family had sent him here with no explanation nor any words of guidance. He knew no one, so having an ally he could count on would work out perfectly for him! Slowly, the purple-haired child also disappeared in the distance.
Old Lao stared at the countless stars glinting up in the sky. “Kings between men… or kings of fools? Twin Stars or Twin Jokes? Only time will tell…” The old man closed the stall and placed it in his own Heaven&Earth pouch. He smiled and then, suddenly… Disappeared!
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It’s like one in the morning where I am right now, so I’ll take a nap, rest my eyes, and then post again in the morning! How’s the story so far? I’ve been editing like crazy, to the point I almost doubled the word count of these seven chapters (They were originally only four, lol). Hope it was not for nothing!