OMF V2C10 Gathering for the Gathering

Somewhere in the outer sect of the Yun Zou sect, a youth sighed heavily while looking at the broom in his hands. Becoming a hero sure wasn’t easy.
Yes, indeed. This youth was none other than Zhong Jing Yi. Since the day he had entered the Yun Zou sect five years had already gone by. His progress, though …
In fact, there wasn’t any. It had happened just like the fate’s scribe had written it in Jing He’s scroll of fate: Without time nor guidance Jing Yi hadn’t been able to learn anything about cultivation. Well, at least he had picked up some basic sword skills. This had been quite the lucky coincidence: Two years after he joined the sect, Shao Hai and Xiao Dong finally arrived, too.
Yes, without any help Shao Hai had needed two years to find the Yun Zou sect. Of course, Xiao Dong hadn’t helped him. He had just accompanied him on the way and made sure he didn’t suffer too much. After all, making sure the other was alright seemed like a part of seducing him? Well, he still hadn’t managed to attain his final goal and Shao Hai was still intent on marrying Jing Yi one day but at least he wasn’t completely adverse to Xiao Dong anymore. One could even call those two friends.
Anyway, upon arriving, Shao Hai had been found out to have no spirit veins at all. Not reconciled to just give up after all the trouble he took to come there he became a practitioner instead and, of course, Xiao Dong followed suit. Thus, those two learned — or in Xiao Dong’s case: pretended to learn — the sword arts. Shao Hai very naturally passed some of that newly acquired knowledge on to Jing Yi.
Jing Yi looked up at the sun. It seemed like it was nearly time for the thing Shao Hai had told him about? He really didn’t want to miss it but … thinking about how he would meet these senior martial sisters of his again when he went out he couldn’t really convince himself to leave his room.
That was one thing that hadn’t changed in the last five years, though the reasons were others now: Jing Yi didn’t like girls. At first, he had still believed what his grandfather had told him but with each passing year, he realized a bit more what bogus that really was. Girls grew up just like boys! And how boys would become men someday a girl would become a woman like his mother. Well, maybe not like his mother.
That was the real problem now: Since he had tried to stay away from girls from a young age the only ones he got to know were those direct and forceful girls like that Fa Chao Fu from his village or his cousin Guanyu from the capital. And now, since being an outer sect disciple, the only girls he met were just like that: Loud, forceful and bossy. Just thinking of them made him shudder.
“Xiao Yi!” A cry traveled up the stairs, followed by equally loud footsteps and then someone hammered at his door. “Come on, come on, the gathering’s starting!”
Jing Yi put away the broom with a smile and opened the door. Shao Hai’s happy face greeted him, followed by Xiao Dong’s typical frown. “Why didn’t you go over already? It’s so important for you practitioners! You shouldn’t miss something like that.”
“Ah, don’t worry about me, Xiao Yi!” Shao Hai tried grabbing his sleeve but was evaded. He sighed but didn’t try again. Who knew when it happened but his Xiao Yi wouldn’t let others touch him when he just so much as guessed that their hands might not be clean. And unfortunately, his hands weren’t clean most of the time.
It was all that old geezer’s fault! That Elder Suo always had them do some hard and dirty work when they finished training their sword arts. In his words: In fact, you should be training your sword arts for the whole day! And at night, you should train a bit more! But since you youngsters would just slack off anyway, I’ll give you something else to do. When you’re finished with training, you’re going to chop wood and then help carry all the supplies to the storage and after that, you’ll go help building the new hut for Elder Kong. Sect master’s orders!
Grr! Just thinking about it made him angry! How would he get sparkly clean hands to touch his Xiao Yi like that?!
“Stop dreaming.” Xiao Dong tiptoed, gripped him by the ear and pulled him in the direction of the staircase to the lower floor.
Jing Yi had already left the house by that time and only waited for them to fend off those martial sisters. Xiao Dong really was good at that. Though all of them liked him none dared to approach. He just had that kind of evil aura.
The three boys finally made their way over to the formation the sect had set up for this year’s gathering of practitioners. This wasn’t a formation like the one Jing Yi encountered when he joined the sect but a teleportation array instead. It led to a special dimension just like the one Grandmaster Zhangsun had send Qiu Ling into. Just that while the one Qiu Ling entered was still tied to the Long mountain range, this one was completely separate from it. Whatever the practitioners did in there, it would have no influence on the Long mountain range or the Yun Zou sect.
Jing Yi curiously looked around. This dimension was only used for gatherings like this or in case of an emergency when the whole sect had to be evacuated. Naturally, he had never seen it before.
There wasn’t much to see anyway: They had arrived at a large expanse of land. There was neither grass nor could any other plant be seen. Just some rugged mountains dotted the horizon. It was as if this dimension had really only been created to serve as a spot for large fights.
“Ah, look at that, Xiao Yi!” Shao Hai excitedly pulled at his sleeve just to have it yanked away the next moment. He grinned and pointed up ahead where the ground was a little lower. The sect had set up some wooden and stony rings in the depression. “Elder Suo told us that the fights will be taking place on these rings. The bigger and sturdier the ring the higher the level of the disciples fighting there.”
“Oh.” Jing Yi nodded. No, he still hadn’t gotten over his habit of saying only a little.
“We should hurry over.” Xiao Dong took Shao Hai’s hand and pulled him along.
The practitioners from the outer sect of the Yun Zou sect were already standing hustled together not far from the wooden rings. Elder Suo was looking over them with a grim expression, giving some last-minute advice. Or well, it would probably be better to say that he urged them not to embarrass their sect.
The Yun Zou sect wasn’t one of the best and actually only relied on their Sect master Yuchi Bing Xia and Grandmaster Zhangsun Xun Yi to stay as part of the first tier sects. They had to get at least decent results to not lose that right.
Jing Yi waited further from the rings. Even though he had learned a little bit of the sword arts from Shao Hai he had no business mingling with the practitioners. He could only attend as part of the audience. He didn’t really mind. There was certainly a lot he could learn from looking at these senior martial brothers and sisters fighting, too.
One after another the Elders and disciples of the other first tier sects arrived. Seeing all these different colored robes and the patterns embroidered to differentiate between these sects and their inner and outer parts had his heart beating faster. He had only ever gotten the opportunity to see the outer sect disciples of the Yun Zou sect fight but today he would finally see the inner sect disciples, too. He really couldn’t wait.
Thankfully, just at that moment, on the other side of the Yun Zou sect, a certain formation lit up after staying silent for five years.
Grandmaster Zhangsun who was meditating in his palace opened his eyes and lifted his brows. “He was rather fast.” Then, he hurried over to get that disciple of his. Since he had gotten out in the nick of time it would be a shame to not let him compete in the gathering of practitioners.

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