Needless to say, Qiu Ling was thrilled to hear about the Gathering of Practitioners. An event where all the disciples of not only the Yun Zou Sect but of all the righteous sects would fight each other to win honor for their sect? Didn’t this mean that he would be able to fight a lot of people to show his beloved just how great he was?! This was the best thing that could have happened!
He jumped up from the edge of the roof where he had been lying and patted Xiao Dong’s shoulder. “Great! You did really good this time! As expected of somebody of my race. You’re not completely useless.”
Xiao Dong straightened up, his lips curving into a big smile until he heard the last sentence. Wait. Not … completely useless? What exactly did his king mean with that?
Unfortunately, he didn’t have time to ask. Before he could gather his thoughts, his king had already let go and rushed off to who knows where. Xiao Dong could only stare blankly at the spot where he had been standing just now and then return to the building where he lived.
Now … what was he supposed to do? Continue to try and keep Shao Hai away from Jing Yi? Inquire more about the Gathering of Practitioners? Find out if there was another event coming up in case something went wrong at the gathering? He didn’t know and his king didn’t bother to inform him so he just went about his days as usual.
Unfortunately, that also meant that he had to admit to Shao Hai that he hadn’t been able to find a senior that could teach sword arts to Jing Yi.
Shao Hai didn’t mind at all but seeing Xiao Dong’s gloomy expression, he happily patted his shoulder to console him. “Don’t worry about it! We’ll just teach him ourselves and let him figure things out on his own with the help of the manual. Oh! And we can take him to the Gathering of Practitioners! It’s only two weeks away but we should be able to teach him some things until then. Then he can use the opportunity to observe.”
Xiao Dong’s brows twitched. “You knew about the Gathering?”
Shao Hai tilted his head. “Sure! Doesn’t everybody know about it? It’s been the talk of the sect for the last few months.”
Xiao Dong groaned and went to lock himself up in his room for the following days. He only emerged when he heard Shao Hai walk out of his room on the day of the Gathering. He sighed and got up, smoothing out his robes and then latching onto Shao Hai again. Now that his king would soon meet with his beloved, he definitely couldn’t let Shao Hai interfere! No, he had to be prepared to keep him away at any given time!
Thus the two boys rushed over to the building where Jing Yi lived.
“Xiao Yi!” Shao Hai rushed up to the door and called out. “Come on, come on, the Gathering’s starting in a bit!”
Jing Yi put away the broom that he had used to sweep the floor and hurried over. “Is it already time? Wait. Let me wash my hands.” He ran over to the well and washed his hands and the three of them made their way over to a square just a bit behind the sect’s gate.
A formation had been set up for this year’s Gathering of Practitioners there. This wasn’t a formation like the one Jing Yi had encountered when he joined the sect but a teleportation array instead. It led to a special dimension just like the one leading to the dimension where Jinde lived.
A few disciples were already standing in front of it, Elder Suo heading them. When he saw Xiao Dong and the others approach, his expression fell. His lips tightened but he didn’t say anything. Naturally, he wasn’t happy with what Xiao Dong had done but what could he do? He could hardly force him to take part in the event and the disciples had a right to watch as part of the audience.
He sighed and then motioned at the disciples around him. “Alright then, let’s go.”
The group filed into the array, Jing Yi and the other two following behind. Elder Suo imbued his spiritual energy into the array and the faint lines on the ground lit up, flashing white. The bodies of the youths disappeared and finally, they found themselves in another realm.
Jing Yi curiously looked around. Shao Hai had told him about this place: It was a dimension that was only used for gatherings like this or in case of an emergency when the whole sect had to be evacuated but had nowhere to go.
He had expected a very special place but actually, there wasn’t much to see: 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 only been created to serve as a spot for fights.
“Ah, look at that, Xiao Yi!” Shao Hai didn’t care about the lack of vegetation. He excitedly pulled at Jing Yi’s sleeve and pointed up ahead where the ground was a little lower. The sect had set up some wooden and stony rings in the depression. “The seniors told me 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. We should go and get a good spot so we can watch and learn as much as we can!”
“Oh.” Jing Yi nodded.
Xiao Dong furrowed his brows seeing Shao Hai act like this. Those two were two close! He had to separate them somehow before His Majesty came. “We should hurry over.” He grabbed Shao Hai’s hand and pulled him along, not caring about his protests.
Jing Yi, on the other hand, didn’t mind at all. He continued to look around and spotted the practitioners from the outer sect of their Yun Zou Sect standing hustled together not far from the wooden rings. Elder Suo had walked over to them with a grim expression, probably giving some last-minute advice so they wouldn’t embarrass their sect.
Jing Yi didn’t dare to get too close despite what Shao Hai had said and waited further from the rings. He had only learned a bit about sword arts from Shao Hai in the last few days so he felt that he shouldn’t take up a spot that one of the practitioners could use better than him. He didn’t mind. There was certainly a lot he could learn from looking from here too. He wouldn’t understand too much anyway.
While the disciples waited, the Elders and disciples of the other first-tier sects arrived one after the other. Seeing all these different-colored robes, the pendants worn on their belts or the patterns embroidered on their robes to differentiate between their sects’ inner and outer sects Jing Yi’s heart beat faster.
He had only ever gotten the opportunity to see the outer sect disciples of the Yun Zou Sect but today he would not only be able to see the inner sect disciples, no, he would also have the chance to see other cultivators. He never would have thought there were so many sects! He couldn’t wait for the Gathering to start. This day … he felt that it would change his life forever.
Just at that moment, on the other side of the Yun Zou Sect, a certain dragon king finally appeared in front of his Master again after five years of silence. He didn’t bother to greet him and just rushed up to his desk with sparkling eyes. “Master, I want to take part in that competition thing going on today!”