A study room of sorts in Spirit Rune Hall.
Zhou Yuan sat before a desk with a serious expression, the Heavenly Yuan Brush in his hand. A jade tablet had been placed in front of him. His brush fell, emitting a faint glow as almost magical strokes appeared one after another, while the surrounding Genesis Qi faintly began to gather over.
He was in a state of complete focus, the brush in his hand continuing to twirl for quite some time. With a final faint jerk of his wrist, he breathed a sigh of relief as if a heavy burden had been lifted from his shoulders as he gazed upon the rune that now adorned the jade tablet.
Zhou Yuan carefully placed the jade tablet on the table, where dozens upon dozens of other jade tablets could be found. On each tablet, one would find a complex Genesis Rune.
For the past month, he had been studying the Heavenly Lightning and Mystical Fire Boundary Yaoyao had selected for him.
This boundary was strong even amongst grade 4 boundaries, and successfully setting it up required one to coordinate several hundred Genesis Runes. For the sake of mastering these runes, Zhou Yuan spent an entire month tirelessly practicing.
The tremendous effort and energy invested pushed even Zhou Yuan to his limits, oftentimes finding himself so tired that he would fall asleep mid practice.
Fortunately, he had managed to endure this rigorous training, and was now quite confident in drawing the several hundred runes that composed the Heavenly Lightning and Mystical Fire Boundary.
However, being able to draw these runes did not mean much, because these runes were only akin to the components of a machine. To complete the boundary, he would still need to properly assemble them together.
This required even more practice.
The study room door was pushed open as Yaoyao walked in with a stack of ancient texts in her arms. She arrived in front of the table and dumped her load, before fluidly swiping up the Genesis Rune jade tablets in front of Zhou Yuan.
She quickly checked through them, only taking a minute to separate a dozen jade tablets from the pile. She then pointed towards the dozen separated tablets and said, “These do not meet the mark, redo them.”
A pained look immediately filled Zhou Yuan’s face.
Yaoyao’s bright eyes swept a glance at him as she said, “Although these runes of yours are barely passable, some of the strokes are not satisfactory. They may seem fine at first glance, but if you use them to assemble the boundary, these tiny imperfections will cause the entire boundary to fall apart.”
“If you don’t plan on your hard work culminating into a defective product that can be easily destroyed with a few attacks, you’d better obediently practice more.”
After being lectured by Yaoyao, Zhou Yuan could only nod with a bitter smile.
However, after knocking him down a peg, Yaoyao gave a faint nod and said, “But reaching this level in a month is already pretty good.”
Truthfully speaking, ‘pretty good’ was quite an understatement. If any of the Spirit Rune Peak disciples found out about this, their jaws would surely drop from shock. The Heavenly Lightning and Mystical Fire Boundary was a grade 4 boundary that boasted astonishing power. Most disciples would take at least half a year just to grasp the basics.
Zhou Yuan took out another jade tablet and placed it in front of him as he chuckled. “Don’t worry, I will fully master it before the purple sash selection.”
Yaoyao nodded in satisfaction, looking as if her efforts on a little child had paid off.
She gracefully seated herself beside him and said, “I’ve been hearing that you’ve become quite a hot topic with regards to the purple sash selection, even catching up to the first seat gold sash disciples from the master factions of their respective peaks.”
She seemed to ponder as she continued, “It seems that someone plans for you to have a rather bad fall.”
Compared to Xia Yu and the other master faction’s first seat gold sash, Zhou Yuan’s foundations were quite shallow. And yet, he had someone been hyped up. It was clear that someone was pulling the strings, intending to make a fool of him during the purple sash selection.
“It should be someone from Sword Cometh Peak…” Zhou Yuan was not surprised as he smiled and said, “I played a part in foiling Kong Sheng’s plans in Genesis reservoir, and since they don’t dare to go after you, they have naturally turned their sights to an easier target like myself.”
Yaoyao gently tapped the table, her bright eyes looking towards Zhou Yuan as she said in a low voice, “Patriarch Cang Xuan mentioned that he suspects his death has something to do with the Cangxuan Sect…”
“Could the Sword Cometh Peak master Ling Jun have…”
Zhou Yuan raised his head, and exchanged a look with Yaoyao as she fell silent.
“We cannot make wild guesses without any evidence.” Zhou Yuan muttered as he shook his head. “The implications of such matters are too great. Without any evidence, even sect master Qing Yang would not dare carelessly take action.”
Yaoyao gave a slight nod, not speaking any further on the topic. Such matters were still far beyond them. The most important thing now was to somehow make Zhou Yuan the chief disciple by the year end, before entering the sealed main peak, and obtaining the second Saint Rune.
She had the feeling that someone would certain begin to move in the sect when the Saint Genesis Peak’s main peak was opened once again.
The two decided not to dwell any longer on this topic, and began to busy themselves with other tasks.
Yaoyao flipped through the ancient texts she had brought in earlier. A long while later, a soft gasp of surprise suddenly sounded. Zhou Yuan raised his head, only to find that her a look of joy on Yaoyao’s usually cold and expressionless face.
She was currently holding an aged yellow piece of tattered paper, happiness clearly present on her face.
“What is it?” Zhou Yuan could not stop his curiosity. What could possibly cause Yaoyao to show such an expression?
Yaoyao’s pink tongue gently licked her red lips, before passing the tattered paper to Zhou Yuan with sparkling eyes.
Zhou Yuan received it and took a look. He was first struck by confusion, before black lines began to appear on his forehead. He realised that he was looking at an extremely old alcohol brewing method.
“Making a fuss about nothing.” Said Zhou Yuan in a grumpy voice.
Yaoyao softly snorted and said, “What do you know. This is obviously a long lost recipe, and it's a great fortune to have encountered it here.”
Her fingers lightly tapped the surface of the tablet, her other hand propping up her cheek as she looked at Zhou Yuan and said, “I want you to make it for me.”
Zhou Yuan’s eyes widened. The little miss was quite the character, to think that she could so righteously make such a request.
“How can I possibly know how to make it!”
Yaoyao stood up, her palms leaning on the table as her body stretched forward. Her beautiful face looked down at Zhou Yuan, a whiff of fragrance surging towards him as she expressionlessly said, “Are you going to do it?”
With her face at such close proximity, Zhou Yuan’s mouth immediately went dry, his eyes spinning in thought as he asked, “Is there any reward?”
“What kind of reward do you want?” Yaoyao seemed to smile.
Zhou Yuan wet his lips and blinked.
Before he could speak, however, Yaoyao’s cold hand reached out and gently rubbed Zhou Yuan’s face. Just as he was beginning to enjoy the sensation, she suddenly smiled icily as she pinched his ear.
“Zhou Yuan, it seems that you’ve become quite a bad boy. To think that you would even dare to take advantage of me. Do you believe that I will let Tuntun devour you?”
In a corner of the room, Tuntun snorted as it disdainfully glanced at Zhou Yuan, before turning around to to show him its round butt.
Zhou Yuan’s face twitched. In the end, he hastily begged for forgiveness. “Alright, alright, I’ll think of a way to help you!”
Only then did Yaoyao sit back down in satisfaction. “Good boy. Hmm, I’ve thought of a name for it… it shall be called Taoyao wine.”
With both hands propping up each cheek, a look of anticipation rose on her face.
Zhou Yuan rolled his eyes, but could not help but chuckle in his heart. He could feel that Yaoyao’s aloofness and indifference was slowly fading recently. Of course, this was only towards himself… in addition, he could sense that Yaoyao had grown much more comfortable with him.
This should be them growing closer, right?
He glanced at the unknown recipe before him, before turning to view the rare sliver of anticipation in Yaoyao’s bright eyes as he grinned a little.
Back then, master Cang Yuan had entrusted Yaoyao to him in hopes that he would take care of her, but for the past few years, it had been Yaoyao who was always helping him instead. Without her, Zhou Yuan did not know if he would have managed to make it all the way here.
I will do whatever you want, even if it's to reach out and pluck the stars from the sky.
Time quietly flowed in the Cangxuan Sect, as the purple sash selection rapidly neared...
As the event approached, the atmosphere around the Cangxuan Sect gradually began to bubble with excitement, once again drawing everyone’s eyes.
After all, for many disciples, the promotion to purple sash represented both glory and status, which was also their key concerns. As such, even the buzz over the boundary breaking trial in Spirit Rune Peak gradually began to be smothered by the hype for the upcoming purple sash selection...
With the purple sash selection just around the corner, the most widely discussed topic in the sect became who would become the champion, many disciples even betting amongst themselves.
The highly supported contenders consisted of Su Wan from Cangxuan Peak, Wu Yue of Hongya Peak, Mu Chunlei of Snow Lotus Peak, Le Tian of Sword Cometh Peak, Wang Chen of Lightning Prison Peak and Xia Yu of Spirit Rune Peak… these individual were the first seat gold sash disciples of their respective master factions, and most formidable amongst the participants. Thus, their popularity.
Many people predicted that the champion would be decided amongst them.
Right on their heels, was no one other than Zhou Yuan. Due to his surprising display on Spirit Rune Peak and certain hidden forces, Zhou Yuan became quite a popular contender, nearly even catching up to the top few.
This led to quite a number of disciples feeling rather confident in Zhou Yuan, even betting heavily on him.
However, several of the more informed disciples merely shook their heads and sneered at such behaviour. Zhou Yuan had indeed been quite dazzling in the boundary breaking trial, even managing to break through Xia Yu’s defense. However, everyone found out later on that he had merely managed to catch her off guard.
After all, though Zhou Yuan’s Spirit cultivation had ascended to the next level, he was still very new to the mid Corporeal stage. Xia Yu, on the other hand, was certainly more experienced, and her foundations could only be sturdier than Zhou Yuan’s.
Moreover, Zhou Yuan’s trump cards had already been revealed during the trial, enabling the other participants to take precautionary measures. Therefore, it would not be very likely for him to catch anyone off guard any more.
At the very least, the majority felt that a prepared Xia Yu should be able to triumph over Zhou Yuan.
Thus, many felt very skeptical about Zhou Yuan being a championship contender, and believed that his true face would be revealed when the purple sash selection began.
Hence, some of the more discerning disciples paid no heed to the recent hype surrounding Zhou Yuan, even lecturing the disciples that had placed bets on Zhou Yuan, shaking their heads and calling them fools if they still did not listen.
Nonetheless, Zhou Yuan now had a spot amongst the championship contenders.
One could not help but admit that certain people were quite talented at hyping him up.
Under this atmosphere, the highly anticipated purple sash selection slowly arrived.