Time stealthily flowed as the final month gradually reached its end.
There was only a single day left before the peak selection ceremony.
The atmosphere in the outer mountains was tense to the limit, numerous disciples everywhere wearing grim expressions, while nervousness hid within the depths of their eyes. Every single one of them understood the importance of tomorrow's peak selection ceremony.
A single step to become a dragon, or a single step to become a worm.
In these short three months after arriving at the Cangxuan Sect, they had deeply experienced how immense of an entity it was, possessing various cultivation resources that their empires or clans could never hope to have.
Just the outer mountains alone was already such an eye-opener. What kind of world would they see if they became inner mountain disciples?
It was clear as day to them. Only here could they truly step onto the great path of cultivation.
The imminent peak selection ceremony was the first trial they had to face in the Cangxuan Sect. Only by passing it would they finally ascend the dragon’s gate.
By a certain mountain creek.
After the daily session was over, Zhou Yuan's gaze swept across the crowd as he said, "Everyone, tomorrow is the day of the peak selection ceremony. Our futures will be decided there and then."
Below, Song Wanxi, Qiao Xiu, Zhao Kun and the rest wore solemn expressions. A sliver of respect could be seen in their gazes when they looked towards Zhou Yuan.
For the past month, Zhou Yuan had indeed fulfilled his promise to them. He had guided them in their Genesis techniques, allowing them to grow substantially stronger.
Song Wanxi gazed at Zhou Yuan and earnestly said, "Junior brother Zhou Yuan, we will not let ourselves forget this debt. If there's anything you need in the future, just say the word, and we will do all we can to help."
Even the domineering Zhao Kun earnestly nodded his head. "I, Zhao Kun, rarely acknowledge anyone. Young brother Yuan, you're the first. After we enter the inner mountains, I will not give even half an excuse if you ever need my help."
The other disciples also said their piece one after another. One could tell that they were indeed grateful towards Zhou Yuan. After all, if he had not stepped up, they would not have the courage to challenge the Shengzhou disciples led by Lu Feng.
What's more, Zhou Yuan had even taken the time to tutor them. He had indeed shown them his sincerity.
Qiao Xiu smiled when he heard this and said, "Young brother Yuan's future prospects after entering the inner mountains will surely be limitless, and will soon become one of the pillars that supports the sect. When that happens, you may even find yourself ranked in the Chosens List. What help can we possibly offer when that happens."
His provocative words immediately drew a series of laughs and curses from the crowd, making the atmosphere much livelier.
Zhou Yuan chuckled as he waved his hand and said, "I helped you guys for the sake of fighting Lu Feng and the rest during the peak selection ceremony. I can only say that each of us merely fulfilled each others needs.”
Although he was not afraid of Lu Feng, he did have the numbers on his side. It would be very troublesome for Zhou Yuan if Lu Feng made use of this advantage. Hence why Zhou Yuan had recruited Song Wanxi, Zhao Kun and the rest of the gang. At the end of the day, Zhou Yuan had not done it out of kindness, but to further his own agenda.
However, Song Wanxi and gang merely chuckled. Regardless of Zhou Yuan's initial goal, at the very least, they had benefited from him, and this was already enough in their eyes.
"The peak selection ceremony is tomorrow. After training for long so long, it’s time to relax a little. Let’s go, it’ll be my treat at the Hundred Fragrances House today.” Zhou Yuan stood up and grinned widely.
His words immediately drew a series of cheers, joy filling the faces of the many disciples present. The Hundred Fragrances Pavilion was not cheap, and disciples like them were not as rich as the Shengzhou disciples. Therefore, most of them could only drool outside the Hundred Fragrances Pavilion, not daring to enter even if it was empty. They never imagined that Zhou Yuan would fulfil one of the wishes in their hearts today.
Hence, the group rowdily left the mountain creek, heading straight for the Hundred Fragrances Pavilion in an excited manner.
When they entered, however, the joy on their faces froze for a brief moment. They had seen numerous figures already gathered inside, and at closer inspection, Lu Feng and numerous elite Shengzhou disciples were identified amongst the crowd.
At the same time, Lu Feng, Yang Xiu, Qin Zhen and the rest had also caught sight of the newcomers. Qin Zhen was the first to react, and mockingly said, “Oh! You guys are also rich enough to come here?”
Zhao Kun and the rest were immediately angered by his mocking tone.
“You guys can come, so why can’t we?” Zhou Yuan walked forward, his expression indifferent as he glanced at Qin Zhen.
This glance made Qin Zhen tremble slightly as he recalled the scene where he had been suppressed by Zhou Yuan. The former’s expression immediately turned somewhat ugly, but he did not dare to speak again.
Zhou Yuan paid him no attention, merely looking towards Song Wanxi and the rest as he said, “Come on, let’s go in.”
Although the presence of these guys made them rather uncomfortable, retreating at this point would only make the other party more overbearing and arrogant.
Under Zhou Yuan’s lead, the group also surged into the building, finding a table across from the Shengzhou disciples, before seating themselves.
The two groups sat opposite each other, making the atmosphere in the Hundred Fragrances House turn rather strange.
Lu Feng’s eyes turned a little colder as his gaze clashed with Zhou Yuan’s, sparks flying.
While stuck in the strange atmosphere, the sound of a cup slamming into the table was suddenly heard. Zhao Kun and the rest immediately looked over, only for their expression to change slightly.
They had seen a girl in black seated beside Lu Feng. She was quite the gorgeous specimen, but her eyes were filled with an icy haughtiness.
The most eye-catching thing, however, was the exquisite golden sash around her slender waist.
Lu Xuanyin, an inner mountain gold sash disciple.
Lu Xuanyin was expressionless, staring at her cup as her cold voice sounded in the Hundred Fragrances House, “Since when does the Hundred Fragrances House allow just anyone to come in? This is really affecting my appetite.”
Zhao Kun, Qiao Xiu and the rest turned red with embarrassment and anger after hearing the words that were clearly directed at them. Rage filled their eyes, but none of them dared to retort due to Lu Xuanyin’s status as an inner mountain gold sash disciple.
Zhou Yuan’s eyes were calm as he offhandedly asked, “Since when does a gold sash disciple manage the rules of the Hundred Fragrances House?”
Upon hearing that Zhou Yuan actually dared to retort, Lu Xuanyin’s eyes hardened as she frostily said, “As expected of an outer mountain disciple, doesn’t even know proper behaviour.”
She looked towards the manager of the place and said, “Manager Liu, I’ll be booking the entire place today. Get these eyesores to leave so they won’t keep ruining my mood.”
The middle-aged man called manager Liu bitterly complained in his heart. He knew that Lu Xuanyin was well liked in the Sword Cometh Peak, and was not someone a manager of the Hundred Fragrances House like himself could afford to offend.
Hence, he could only turn his gaze towards Zhou Yuan’s group.
Zhou Yuan frowned, staring at manager Liu as he said, “I’ve never heard that the Hundred Fragrances House can chase other disciples out.”
Manager Liu could only let out a bitter laugh.
Liu Xuanyin suddenly stood up, crossing her arms before her chest as she looked towards Zhou Yuan and the rest with ridicule and toyingly said, “Don’t say that your senior sister is too overbearing, you may be able to stay if you want. As long as one of you can receive a single strike from my sword, I will happily pay all of your expenses here today.”
“But if you don’t have the courage, you’d better leave soon so as not to spoil my appetite.” By this point, her words were filled with iciness.
Zhao Kun and the rest had ugly expressions. Lu Xuanyin was an inner mountain gold sash disciple, someone whose strength far surpassed outer mountain disciples like themselves. Even a fourth layer Alpha-Origin would be hard pressed to receive a single attack from her sword.
Lu Feng smiled faintly as he watched, secretly praising Lu Xuanyin inside. If the other party dared to accept, he or she would surely be crippled. If they did not, it would be a devastating blow to their morale, making it very difficult for them to bring out their full power during the peak selection ceremony tomorrow.
Zhou Yuan’s expression darkened somewhat. Lu Xuanyin’s plan was truly disgusting. The peak selection ceremony was literally tomorrow, and she could still come up with such a tactic to demoralise them.
He may perhaps be able to receive Lu Xuanyin’s attack, but did not plan to take such a risk, because he knew that she was certainly waiting for him to take the bait.
However, Zhou Yuan’s expression remained calm.
Qiao Xiu secretly inquired, “Young brother Yuan, what do we do?”
Zhou Yuan’s expression was cool and collected. “We wait.”
Qiao Xiu was taken aback, completely confused.
“Oh? You guys looked so proud earlier, why have you now become akin to ostriches who have stuck their heads in the sand?” Lu Xuanyin sneered as she gazed upon the crowd.
The Shengzhou disciples immediately laughed loudly in accompaniment.
Zhao Kun and the rest sat uncomfortably in their seats, anger and restraining fear interchanging on their faces as they looked towards Zhou Yuan.
While they were waiting for Zhou Yuan’s decision, a cold, lazy sounding voice sounded from the entrance of the Hundred Fragrances Pavilion.
"Are you the one who wants to play?"
The place fell silent, every gaze gathering at the entrance a split second later.
An amazingly pretty figure gracefully stood at the door, a little creature in her arms. Her fine black hair hung down from her head, while a pair of clear eyes seemed to contain an indifference towards all things.
The moonlight fell upon her, making her seem akin to a fairy from the moon palace. Even someone as beautiful as Lu Xuanyin seemed to lose all color before this goddess.
Her clear eyes gazed towards the slightly rigid Lu Xuanyin as a nonchalant voice sounded once again,
"What are we playing? Let me accompany you."