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Renegade Immortal

Renegade Immortal

Chapter 1 – Leaving Home

Tie Zhu sat on the side of a little road in the village, looking at the blue sky in a daze. Tie Zhu was not his real name, but a nickname. Due to his poor health as a child his father was afraid he might not live so he was given this nickname as a tradition.

His real name was Wang Lin. The Wang family was considered a big family name in the area, a family of carpenters. The Wang family was well known in the area, and they owned a number of shops that sold wood products.

Tie Zhu’s father was the second son of the family. He was born from a concubine; therefore, he couldn’t take over the family business, so he left the house after he got married and settled in this village.

However, due to his father being a skilled carpenter, Tie Zhu’s family was pretty well off, not having to worry about food or clothes. They were well respected within the village.

Tie Zhu had been very intelligent ever since he was little. He loved to read books and thought deeply about matters. Almost everyone in the village agreed that he was a prodigy. Every time his father heard someone praise Tie Zhu, the wrinkles on his face would fade and he would reveal a happy smile.

His mother cared for him a lot. One could say that he had grown up in his parents’ love. He knew that his parents had high expectations of him. Other children his age were all working in the fields, while he sat at home reading.

The more he read, the more he thought about. He yearned for the world outside of the village. Tie Zhu raised his head and looked at the end of the road. After letting out a sigh, he closed his book, got up, and walked home.

His father was sitting in the courtyard. Holding a pipe, he took a deep breath and asked, “Tie Zhu, how goes your studies?” as Tie Zhu walked through the door.

Tie Zhu muttered a few words as he passed by. His father shook the ashes out of his pipe, rose up, and said, “Tie Zhu, you have to study properly. Next year is the district exam. Whether you have a future or not will all depend on this exam. Don’t end up like me, who will spend my entire life in a village.”

“Enough, you complain about this every day. If you ask me, our Tie Zhu will definitely pass the exam!” Tie Zhu’s mother carried over some food and set it on the table. She gestured at the two to come and eat.

Tie Zhu responded with a sound, then he sat down and casually ate a few mouthfuls. His mother affectionately looked at him and passed him the few pieces of meat there were.

“Dad, is Fourth Uncle almost here?” Tie Zhu asked as he raised his head.

“Calculating the time, it should be within these next few days. Your fourth uncle is more successful than your father. Hey, Tie Zhu’s mom, have the special dishes prepared for Fourth Uncle all been packed?” The moment Tie Zhu’s father mentioned Fourth Uncle, there was a hint of sadness on his face.

His mom nodded and emotionally said, “Tie Zhu, your fourth uncle is a very good person. In these past few years, it was all thanks to him that your father’s wood carvings have stayed at a good price. If you are able to achieve success, don’t forget to repay your fourth uncle.”

As Tie Zhu’s mom was talking, the sound of a horse was heard outside the door. Following the sound of the horse drawn carriage, a hearty laugh could be heard.

“Second Brother, open the door!”

Tie Zhu was surprised. He immediately rushed to open the main gate. He saw a strong middle-aged man with bright eyes standing outside. When he saw Tie Zhu, he laughed and rubbed Tie Zhu’s head. Smiling, he said, “Tie Zhu, I only haven’t seen you in half a year and you have grown taller again.”

Tie Zhu’s parents immediately stood up. His father, smiling, said, “Fourth Brother, I figured it was about time you arrived. Hurry inside. Tie Zhu, why haven’t you gotten a chair for your fourth uncle yet?”

Tie Zhu happily agreed. He hurried back into the house, took out a chair, and placed it next to the dining table. He carefully wiped it with his sleeves while looking hopefully at the middle-aged man.

The middle-aged man winked in his direction and jokingly said, “Tie Zhu, since when were you so diligent? I remember the last time I was here, you were not like this.”

Tie Zhu’s father glanced at Tie Zhu and said, “This little rascal was just inquiring about when you would arrive.”

The middle-aged man saw Tie Zhu blushing and laughingly said, “Tie Zhu, your fourth uncle hasn’t forgotten his promise to you.” After he finished speaking, he took out two books and placed them on the table.

Tie Zhu excitedly cheered, then flipped through the books. He could barely contain his excitement.

Tie Zhu’s mom kindly glanced at her son and said to the middle-aged man, “Fourth Brother, your older brother is always thinking of you. You should stay for a few more days this time.”

The middle-aged man shook his head and said, “Second Sister-in-Law, there are many matters to attend to in the family these days. I must head home early tomorrow morning. After this busy time, I’ll come back and see you guys.” He gave his second brother a regretful look.

Tie Zhu’s father sighed, saying, “Don’t listen to my wife. Properly pack the goods tomorrow. The family’s matters are more important. We can meet next time.”

The middle-aged man looked at Tie Zhu’s father and asked, “Second Brother, Tie Zhu is 15 years old, yes?”

Tie Zhu’s father nodded and said, “After this year, this little rascal is going to be 16. In a flash, more than 10 years have quickly passed by.” He look at his son dotingly.

The middle-aged man pondered for a while and said, in a serious tone, “Second Brother, Second Sister-in-Law, I have something to tell you: the Heng Yue Sect is taking in disciples. This year, the family has three recommendation slots, and I received one of them.”

Tie Zhu’s father was stunned and said, with a pale face, “Heng Yue Sect? The Heng Yue Sect that is full of immortals?”

The middle-aged man smiled, nodded, and said, “Second Brother, it is that very immortal sect! Our family is still a prominent one in the area and has the qualifications to recommend potential disciples. You know my boy, he can’t really study, but he is good with swords and knives. I doubt the immortal sect will take my son. This spot is really precious. I know Tie Zhu has been very smart since he was little and has always loved to study. He might have a chance.”

Tie Zhu’s mother felt delighted and said, “Fourth Brother, this … this …”

The middle-aged man rubbed Tie Zhu’s head and said, “Second Brother, Second Sister-in-Law, let this matter be settled. Let Tie Zhu try; if he really gets accepted, it is his fortune.”

Tie Zhu confusedly looked at his parents and his fourth uncle. He wasn’t able to understand what was going on. “Immortals? What are immortals?” Tie Zhu softly and hesitantly asked.

The middle-aged man’s face turned serious. Looking at Tie Zhu, he said, “Tie Zhu, immortals are those who can fly in the sky. They are simply not something we mortals can understand.”

Tie Zhu was confused but grew curious of immortals.

Tie Zhu’s father excitedly got up, pulled Tie Zhu’s mom, and was about to bow to the middle-aged man. The middle-aged man quickly pulled them up and sincerely said, “Second Brother, what are you doing? My mother died early. If it wasn’t for Second Brother’s mother taking care of me, I wouldn’t be here today. Tie Zhu is my nephew and this is the least I can do.”

Tie Zhu’s father started crying. He heavily patted the middle-aged man’s back, nodded his head, and sternly said to Tie Zhu, “Remember, Wang Lin, never forget what your fourth uncle has done for us, or else I will not consider you my son!”

Tie Zhu’s heart trembled. Although he was ignorant towards immortals, he could tell from his parents’ expressions that they viewed this matter with great importance. He knelt in front of his fourth uncle and kowtowed a few times.

The middle-aged man pulled up Tie Zhu and praised him. “Good child. You get ready and I’ll pick you up at the end of the month.”

That night, Tie Zhu went to bed early. He could still hear sounds from his father and fourth uncle. Father was very happy. Even though he rarely drank, he had to drink a few cups with Fourth Uncle today.

“Immortals, what were they?” Tie Zhu’s heart was very excited. He knew in his heart that this was an opportunity, an opportunity to see the outside world!

Fourth Uncle left early the next morning. Tie Zhu and his parents saw him off at the village entrance. On the way back, he clearly noticed that his father looked a lot younger. His eyes were filled with hope.

The expectations in his eyes were much greater than the time he wanted Tie Zhu to pass the district exam.

There were no secrets in the village, even if it was how many pups a dog gave birth to. Everyone in the village would hear the news. Soon, everyone in the village heard the news from Tie Zhu’s mother and all the neighbors came in to visit. Everyone’s gazes toward Tie Zhu was different from before. Some were filled envy and others with jealousy.

“The Wang family gave birth a good son. He has been accepted as a disciple of the Heng Yue Sect.”

“I have watched this child, Tie Zhu, as he grew up! He was very smart ever since he was little. Now he is a Heng Yue Sect disciple. He has a very promising future.”

“Tie Zhu, you have great talent! When you are successful in the future, don’t forget to come back and visit.”

These talks filled Tie Zhu’s ears, acting like Tie Zhu was already a Heng Yue Sect disciple. Every time his parents heard it, they couldn’t stop smiling. The wrinkles on their faces had lessened greatly.

Whenever Tie Zhu walked alone in the village, all of the villagers would passionately ask him about this and that. There were even people who told their kids to follow Tie Zhu as an example.

Half a month passed by quickly. The news of Tie Zhu becoming a Heng Yue Sect disciple had spread quickly. All of the nearby villagers had come to see Tie Zhu.

Everyone who came by brought gifts. Tie Zhu’s parents couldn’t reject them, but as they left, Tie’s Zhu’s parents planned return gifts. According to Tie Zhu’s father, “Our son will be an immortal in the future, so he can’t owe any favors. We will prepare return gifts for all the visitors.”

Soon, the Wang family learned that Tie Zhu’s fourth uncle gave his son’s spot to Tie Zhu. One after another, they came to congratulate him.

Tie Zhu’s father attached great importance to the visiting relatives because many of them used to look down on him in the past and drove him out of the family all those years ago. Now that they were all coming to visit him, he felt like his years of sorrow were instantly swept away.

He and Tie Zhu’s mother discussed a bit and decided to properly entertain everyone. They spent a fortune to hire the village teacher to write invitations to send to their relatives.

The village teacher didn’t want money, he wanted Tie Zhu to acknowledge that he grew up studying in his care. Tie Zhu had no objections as this was the truth.

After the invitations were sent to most of the Wang family members, there were so many people that Tie Zhu’s dad had to move the party’s location to the village square and set up a feast.

The villagers helped entertain the guests. As they spoke to each other, they would praise Tie Zhu endlessly.

Tie Zhu’s dad had brought his wife and son to the village entrance to personally greet the guests and introduce each relative to Tie Zhu.

“This is your third grandfather. When Father left the family, your third grandfather secretly helped a lot. Tie Zhu, you have to remember to repay his kindness,” Tie Zhu’s father said as he helped a white-haired old man.

Tie Zhu quickly nodded. The old man looked at Tie Zhu and said, “Second Brother, time passes by so fast. Your son is already this big! His future is already brighter than yours.”

Tie Zhu’s father’s face was full of radiance. He smiled and said, “Third Grandfather, Tie Zhu has been smart ever since he was a kid. He was bound to be better than me. Take your time. Wife, help support Third Grandfather.”

Tie Zhu’s mother quickly helped the old man walk toward the feast.

Seeing the old man leaving, Tie Zhu’s father let out a snort and said to Tie Zhu, “That old guy looked down on your dad and forced me away. Now that you have a good future, he comes to congratulate me. He is just that kind of relative.”

Tie Zhu cluelessly nodded and asked, “Is Fourth Uncle coming?”

Tie Zhu’s father shook his head. “Your fourth uncle sent a letter. He won’t be able to come back until the end of the month.”

At that moment, another carriage arrived at the village entrance. A 50-plus-year-old man came out. He looked at Tie Zhu’s father and said, “Second Brother, congratulations!”

Tie Zhu’s father’s face turned complicated and he said, “Big Brother!”

The old man’s eyes swept across and looked at Tie Zhu. He smiled. “Second Brother, so this is your son? Not bad! Maybe he will really be selected.”

Tie Zhu’s father frowned, stretched, and said, “Tie Zhu might not have much merit, but he is smart and loves to read books. He is bound to be selected.”

“That is not necessarily true. When immortal sects look for disciples, there are very strict requirements. I see that this kid is very dumb. Going will be a waste of time for him,” said a haughty voice from the carriage, then a 16 or 17-year-old boy stepped out.

The young boy looked very pretty. He had eyebrows like scimitars, a face like Guan Yu, and eyes full of disdain.

Tie Zhu’s father glared at him, and Wang Lin gave him a deep look but didn’t say anything.

The old man’s face changed colors and he shouted, “Wang Zhuo, how can you be so rude?! This is your second uncle and your little brother Wang Lin. Why haven’t you greeted them?!” He turned to Tie Zhu’s father and said, “My son’s words are ugly. Second Brother, don’t mind him, but…” As he was talking, he suddenly turned and said, “But Second Brother, it is not a simple matter for these immortals to accept a disciple–it is a matter of fate. This time, it’s because the Heng Yue Sect was very interested in my son that our Wang family was given three spots, including his.”

Tie Zhu’s father snorted and said, “If your son can do it, then my son will definitely be selected!”

The youth laughed, not caring about the old man’s words. With disdain, he said, “So, you are Second Uncle. I suggest you don’t be so optimistic. The way of cultivation is very complex, and only one in ten thousand people can even learn it. How can he compete with me, who, while not being an official disciple yet, was personally selected by an immortal teacher?”

The old man’s face flashed with a color of pride, then he “scolded” the youth and brought him toward the feast.

“Tie Zhu, don’t worry. Even if you are not selected, it doesn’t matter. There is always the district exam next year,” Tie Zhu’s father earnestly said after suppressing his anger.

Wang Lin confidently whispered, “Dad, don’t worry. I’ll be selected!”

Tie Zhu’s dad gently patted his son’s shoulder. His eyes were filled with rays of hope.

One after another, they greeted a lot of relatives. Tie Zhu’s father took him back to the feast. In front of them was a bustling scene of people celebrating.

Tie Zhu’s father cried out, “My dear relatives, my fellow villagers, I, Wang Tianshui, am not a very cultured man and don’t have much to say, but today, I’m very happy because my son has a chance to become a Heng Yue Sect disciple. This is the happiest moment of my life. I won’t say more, but thank you all for coming.” He raised his cup and drained it of the wine within.

“Second Brother, your son has been very smart ever since he was little. He will definitely be selected, like Wang Zhu’s son, and become an immortal.”

“Second Brother, having a son like Tie Zhu means you have not lived your life in vain. In the future, all you have to do is wait to enjoy the good fortune.”

“Tie Zhu, you must make your father proud! You must enter the Heng Yue Sect no matter what!”

There were numerous bright scenes everywhere. The sounds of celebration came from all sides. However, there were many people like Wang Zhuo’s father, who on the surface were giving their congratulations but in their hearts had always looked down upon Tie Zhu’s father and Tie Zhu himself. Wang Zhuo’s father looked at his son, and then at Tie Zhu. He felt very dissatisfied. Fourth Brother’s actions were outside of his expectations, but as the immortals weren’t blind, there was no way Tie Zhu would be selected.

People passed by, one by one. Tie Zhu’s father pulled Tie Zhu around from table to table to give a toast and introduce various unknown relatives to him.

Today, Tie Zhu’s father had consumed a lot of wine. He had never been this well regarded before. The feast lasted until it was very late and everyone started to head home. Before leaving, and still with a look of contempt, Wang Zhuo, while no one noticed, whispered to Tie Zhu, “Little fool, you won’t be selected. You’re not good enough.”

He left with his father as he displayed a smile full of contempt.

After returning home, Tie Zhu lied on his bed. He secretly decided in his heart that he had to be selected no matter what!

Half a month passed by quickly. Today, Tie Zhu’s fourth uncle arrived in a carriage.

Tie Zhu’s parents quickly welcomed him inside. The middle-aged man washed his face and hurriedly said, “Second Brother, Second Sister-in-Law, I can’t stay long this time. I’m taking Tie Zhu and leaving. The Heng Yue Sect will arrive to pick up the potential disciples tomorrow morning.”

Tie Zhu’s father was stunned. A trace of sadness appeared on his face. He firmly said, “Fine. Tie Zhu, follow your fourth uncle. If you are selected, study dutifully at the Heng Yue Sect. However, if you aren’t selected, don’t worry and come back home.”

Tie Zhu, not wanting to leave his parents, nodded heavily. His mother took out a parcel from the room and lovingly said, “Tie Zhu, listen to your fourth uncle and don’t cause any trouble. The outside is not the same as home; you must have patience. Mother has prepared you some new clothes. Also, there are some of your favorite baked sweet potatoes. Mother will miss you. If you are not selected, just come back.” As Tie Zhu’s mom was talking, tears began appearing in her eyes.

Tie Zhu had never left the village in his entire life. This was his first time leaving.

Fourth Uncle emotionally said, “Tie Zhu, you must be selected so you make your parents proud. Second Brother, Second Sister-in-Law, the family will have a big celebration in a few days, so I am too busy today. Tomorrow, I’ll pick you guys up. The results for the three candidates should be out by then.”

He quickly pulled Tie Zhu onto the carriage, whipped the horse, and set off.

With tears in their eyes, Tie Zhu’s parents stared at the carriage as it quickly disappeared into the distance.

“Tie Zhu has never left home before. Will he be bullied?” Tie Zhu’s mom said while biting her lip. Her eyes were filled with sadness.

“He has grown up and has to deal with his own fortune.” Tie Zhu’s father picked up his pipe and inhaled deeply. More wrinkles appeared on his face.

Chapter 2 – Immortals

As the carriage quickly rolled along the road, Wang Lin’s body bounced with the uneven ground. In his arms was the package that contained all of his parents’ hopes. He was leaving the village he had lived in for 15 years.

The trip wouldn’t be an short one. Wang Lin lied down and fell asleep in the carriage. Not knowing how much time had passed, he was gently nudged. He opened his eyes to looked up to see Fourth Uncle, who looked at him smiling and asked, “Tie Zhu, how do you feel about leaving home for the first time?”

Wang Lin noticed that the carriage had stopped, and smiled. “Not much to say, just a little anxious since I don’t know if I will be selected by the immortals or not.”

Fourth Uncle let out a laugh and patted Tie Zhu’s shoulder, saying, “Okay, don’t overthink it. This is uncle’s house. You go rest first, then I’ll take you to the family tomorrow morning.”

When he climbed off the carriage, Wang Lin was in front of a tile-roofed house. He then followed Fourth Uncle to a room. Wang Lin sat on the bed, unable to sleep. The things his parents, village, and relatives said flashed through his mind. He signed in his heart. The thought of becoming the disciple of an immortal became heavier in his mind.

Time passed by, bit by bit. A moment later, the sun gradually rose. Wang Lin didn’t get much rest the whole night, but he was still full of energy. With a trace of fear, he followed Fourth Uncle to the main house of the Wang family.

This was the first time Wang Lin had seen a house this big, leaving him in a daze. Fourth Uncle said while walking, “Tie Zhu, you have to make your father proud. Don’t let the relatives ridicule you.”

Wang Lin’s mind became more tense. He bit his lips and nodded.

Soon, Fourth Uncle brought him to the middle of the courtyard. Tie Zhu’s father’s eldest brother was standing there. When he saw Tie Zhu, he nodded and said, “Tie Zhu, when the immortal arrives, don’t freak out, just follow your older brother Wang Zhuo. Do everything he does.”

The old man’s tone was very harsh on those last few words.

Wang Lin stayed silent. He looked around and noticed that beside Wang Zhuo there was another youth. The youth’s skin was a bit dark, his build was very large, and his eyes showed hint of intelligence. There was a bulge in his shirt, like he was hiding something.

He looked at Tie Zhu and made a face, then ran over and said, “So you’re Second Uncle’s son? My name is Wang Hao.”

Wang Lin chuckled and nodded.

When the old man saw Wang Lin ignoring him, he became very annoyed and was about to scold him.

Right at this moment, the clouds in the sky suddenly split open. Then a sword of light suddenly descended like lightning. After the light disappeared, there stood a youth in white whose eyes were bright and piercing, emitting an elegant spirit. His cold eyes swept across the three youths, especially at the youth with the bulge in his shirt. He asked coldly, “Are these three the ones recommended by the Wang family?”

“This is an immortal?” Under his gaze, Wang Lin started to feel cold. His heart pounded and his face paled while staring at the immortal.

The dark-skinned youth, upon seeing immortal, placed his hands near the pockets of his pants, showing a respectful demeanour. His eyes held a fanatical expression.

Only Wang Zhuo casually look at the others and snorted.

Wang Zhuo’s father quickly stepped forward and respectfully said, “Immortal, these three are the Wang family’s recommendations.”

The youth nodded and then impatiently said, “Who is Wang Zhuo?”

The old man’s face showed a flash of happiness, then he quickly pulled Wang Zhuo. “Immortal, this is my son, Wang Zhuo.”

The immortal youth gave Wang Zhou a deep look. Then his face brightened and he nodded. “Wang Zhou is indeed talented; no wonder Martial Uncle took a liking to him.”

Wang Zhou proudly looked at Wang Lin and the smart-looking youth and proudly said, “This is natural. In order to become an immortal, one must have a strong spirit.”

The youth made a frown, but it quickly disappeared. He faintly smiled at Wang Zhuo’s direction, waved his sleeves, and took the three youths on the rainbow and disappeared.

Fourth Uncle looked into the sky and muttered, “Tie Zhu, you must be selected!”

Wang Lin felt his body lighten, and the wind hitting his face caused him pain. On closer inspection, he noticed that he was under the arm of the youth, and they were flying quickly through the sky. The village turned into little black dots as they quickly flew forward.

After just a little, the wind caused his eyes to tear up and turn red.

“Unless you three want to become blind, close your eyes,” the youth said coldly. Wang Lin’s heart tensed, and he quickly closed his eyes, afraid to keep looking.

After a short period of time, Wang Lin could feel that the youth was short of breath and his speed started decreasing. Then, in a flash, the youth quickly descended. The moment before landing, the youth loosened his arm and the three youths fell to the ground.

Thankfully, the fall wasn’t hard, so the three got up quickly. In front of Wang Lin was a paradise-like scene, with mountains, flowers, and a river. It was a truly idyllic scene.

Straight ahead stood a towering mountain, its peak covered in clouds that hid its true appearance. Echoes of beasts’ cries could be heard. There was a path of twisted steps that snaked its way down the mountain, like a painting, evoking a feeling of a different world.

Far off in the in the distance, there was a hall at the top of the mountain. Even though it was covered by the clouds, the shining bright light made people to want to worship it.

Next to the hall, there was a silver-colored bridge with the shape of the crescent moon connecting that peak with another mountain peak.

With these natural beauties, this was truly worthy of being the location of the Heng Yue Sect. The Heng Yue Sect was one of the few cultivation sect in the country of Zhao. 500 years ago, it was the leading force of cultivation sects in the country of Zhao and had several Nascent Soul old monsters. However, with the passage of time, it had shrunken to its current size and was only able to barely have a foothold in the cultivation world.

However, for the mortals near the Heng Yue Sect, it was still an elusive figure.

“Little Brother Zhang, are these the three candidates recommended by the Wang family?” A middle-aged man dressed in black with an immortal demeanor floated down from the mountain peak.

The youth showed a face full of respect and said, “Third Brother, these are the Wang family’s three recommended youths.”

The middle-aged man’s gaze swept across them, focusing on Wang Zhou a few times. Smiling, he said, “I know you are about to have a breakthrough. I’ll handle the test, you go cultivate.”

The youth agreed, then his body moved toward the mountain, and disappeared without a trace in the blink of an eye.

Wang Lin stared at the scene before him full of excitement. Suddenly, he noticed someone tugging his clothes and turned around. It was Wang Hao. Eyes filled with excitement, he said “This is where immortals live, damn it. No matter what, I, Wang Hao, must be selected.” After saying so, he touched the bulging object concealed in his shirt.

Chapter 3 – Test

Wang Zhou was dazed by the scene before him. It took a long time for him to recover his senses, and the amount of arrogance in his heart shrank.

At this moment, several rainbow-colored swords[1] flew towards them. For each sword that dissipated, there was a Heng Yue Sect disciple, each followed by several 15-year-olds.

There were both male and female youths. As they landed, they too had similar expressions to Wang Lin’s group as they stared at the scene in front of them.

All the Heng Yue Sect disciples that brought the youths gathered at the side and started talking about the youths. After waiting a while, all the other youths who had been recommended arrived at the sect. A black-clad middle-aged man scanned the area. Then he emotionlessly said, “Among the lot of you, only a few will be selected to be Heng Yue Sect disciples.”

All of the youths cried out in shock. Wang Lin’s heart shuddered. He counted a total of 48 people taking the test.

“Cultivation, the path to becoming an immortal, depends on your natural talent. The first test is to see whether or not your spirit is strong enough. Now, whoever I point to will come up and take the test.” The middle-aged man emotionlessly pointed at a youth.

The youth walked over carefully, his legs trembling. The middle-aged man put his hand on his head and said, “Not qualified. Stand to the left.”

The youth suddenly lost all strength. Face looking bleak and eyes blank, he moved to the left in silence.

Then another youth was selected. He moved forward with a fearful expression.

“Not qualified.”

“Not qualified.”

“Not qualified.”

Ten people in a row all failed the test. Up until now there was still no one to the right of the middle-aged man.

It was Wang Zhuo’s turn. All of his previous  pride disappeared from his face. Looking pale, he stepped forward.

After the middle-aged man put his hand on Wang Zhuo’s head, his face suddenly lit up and he asked, “What is your name?”

Wang Zhuo quickly replied respectfully, “Immortal, my name is Wang Zhuo.”

The middle-aged man nodded. He then smiled and said, “So you are the one Martial Teacher mentioned. Good. Wang Zhuo, stand to the right.”

Wang Zhuo felt exaltation and walked toward the right under everyone’s admiration. His eyes were filled with arrogance and contempt as he looked at the crowd. He felt untouchable.

“Motherfucker, he is one lucky dog,” Wang Hao murmured to Wang Lin while curling his lip.

Wang Lin’s heart became more tense. In front of his eyes rose his parents’ eyes filled with expectations. He tightened his fists.

“Not bad, you also stand to the right,” said the middle-aged man, surprised, to the young girl in front of him.

After a short period of time, almost all the youths had been tested and only two stood to the right of the middle-aged man. Wang Hao was up next.

Wang Hao quickly ran up to the middle-aged man. Before he could even start the test, he knelt to the ground and kowtowed a few times. He said, “Immortal, may you enjoy a long life! My name is Wang Hao. You have already tested so many people, so you must be tired! Why don’t you rest for a while? I’m in no rush, it’s no problem.”

The middle-aged man laughed out loud. He had tested so many people whose faces were filled with fear, yet this clever youth here, without the slightest bit of fear, was trying to win favor with him. He pressed his hand on Wang Hao’s head and said, “Talent is lacking. Not…”

The moment Wang Hao heard that his spirit was lacking, his heart plummeted. Without waiting for the middle-aged man to finish, he quickly took out a jade box and presented it front of him. Wang Hao wisely said, “Immortal, my father found this by accident in the mountain but was unable to open it. I specially brought it to give to Immortal.”

The middle-aged man chuckled and shook his head. He was about to refuse Wang Hao, but as he scanned the box, his pupils suddenly contracted and his face suddenly lit up. “Not bad! This is at least a 300-year-old mushroom. Looking at the jade box, it was sealed by a cultivator. No wonder your father couldn’t open it.” He paused, then said with a slightly faltering voice, “I’m in need of a helper for my alchemy. Are you willing to be my helper?”

Wang Hao, surprised, got up quickly. The difference in treatment was like heaven and earth, causing him to be very excited. He exclaimed, “Yes, Immortal, I am willing!”

The middle-aged man said, while chuckling, “Since you’ll be my helper, I won’t mistreat you. You can cultivate just like the other disciples. Go stand to the right.”

Wang Hao was very excited inside. He ran to the right side and gave Wang Zhuo a triumphant stare.

The faces of all the youths that failed turned pale. All of them felt very depressed. A few even started crying.

The middle-aged man frowned. He shouted, “Send away all those who started crying.”

A few of the Heng Yue Sect disciples stepped out. They quickly took the ones that started crying and casually disappeared in swords of light.

The middle-aged man pointed at Wang Lin.

Wang Lin took a deep breath. He nervously walked toward the side of the middle-aged man, his mind completely blank. Praying silently in his heart, he couldn’t help but remember the expectation in his parents’ eyes.

“I will definitely be selected!” Wang Lin thought with determination.

The middle-aged man’s hand pressed on his head. With a deadpan face, he said the two words Wang Lin dreaded the most.

“Not qualified!”

Wang Lin didn’t remember how he made it to the left side, he only heard the spring thunder roaring in his ears and the echoing of the two words the middle-aged man said.

After a moment, everyone had been tested, and only three people stood to the right. In the eyes of everyone else, the three were insurmountable and immensely tall.

Wang Zhuo looked at Wang Lin with a face full of contempt, fully expressing his disdain for him.

“While a strong spirit is needed to be cultivator, perseverance is even more important. Even ordinary students like you, can become sect disciples if you have enough perseverance! The second test is perseverance!” The middle-aged man paused, then said with a deadpan face, “Follow the steps up. If you reach the top, you are qualified. If you’re not finished within three days, you fail. Those who fail will be returned to their families. If you cannot endure any longer or meet danger, just yell out loud and someone will come and save you.”

The middle-aged man smiled to the three on his right and said, “You two, follow me to meet the patriarch. We will also find you masters. Wang Hao, you don’t need to go, come with me to the alchemy house to get used to the place.”

After the middle-aged man finished giving instructions, he took the three selected youths and disappeared into the mountains.

Wang Lin took a deep breath, eyes full of determination. He walked up the stone steps with no hesitation and started the test of perseverance.

Minus the three selected youths and the six crying youths who were taken away, 39 remained.

Among these 39 youths, the ones that were very depressed, the ones very determined, and those who were scared all walked towards their own futures.

Chapter 4 – Heartless

The uneven stone steps were very dangerous on both sides. The slightest mistake would cause one to slip and fall.

After less than half a day, Wang Lin’s legs felt like they were made of lead. He was sweaty and out of breath, it was difficult to even move. Looking up from the bottom of the mountain, the trail didn’t seem long, but now, this trail felt like it had no end. Wang Lin’s heart sank. He could not help but generate thoughts of despair.

In front of him there were a dozen physically strong boys, slowly climbing. They were all also out of breath. Until now, no one had given up.

Wang Lin gritted his teeth. He knew this was his last chance. His parents’ expectations filled his mind. At that very moment, the foot of a boy behind him slipped. The boy fell off the side of the mountain with a scream.

“I give up! HELP!”

Everybody stopped to looked down at the same time and saw a dark light flashing by. A Heng Yue Sect disciple appeared out of nowhere and grabbed the boy. Their bodies could be seen gently falling to the foot of the mountain.

Wang Lin was pale and silent. He carefully continued climbing upwards. Time seemed to be passing much more slowly. Two days later, he could see the shadows of the dozen of youths in front of him

Wang Lin didn’t know how many of these companions would give up, he only knew that he must not give up. His feet were were bleeding and swelling. He felt a terrible tingling every step he took. He still persisted and used his hands to climb.

A middle aged man with a sickly complexion floated down the stairs from the top of the mountain. “Little children, keep your hearts strong, for this path is ruthless. It won’t be in vain, nothing is in vain….” He let out a lengthy sigh as he floated down past the climbing youths.

The middle aged man passed Wang Lin. This was the sixth youth he passed by, and he was the most pathetic of the bunch. With clothes soaked with blood, he seemed to be bleeding everywhere. His knees and toes were mangled. Wang Lin was climbing using his hands at this point. The middle aged man sighed loudly and asked, “My child, what is your name?”

Wing Lin’s vision was blurry. The only thought in his head was to reach the top or die. He didn’t even hear the middle aged man’s question. In his eyes this little trail was the only thing that mattered.

The middle aged man looked at Wang Lin’s eyes. Deep down, he was rather moved. He put his hand on Wang Lin’s head. “This boy has amazing perseverance. It’s too bad he lacks talent. What a waste, what a waste….” He gave Wang Lin a deep look, then continued to descend the steps.

The next night, Wang Lin’s hands were bloody. He left a trail of blood as he climbed the stairs. He did not know how he kept going, but something kept fueling his body to go on. He felt like he could die at any time.

The sun rose on the third day. In the distance, Wang Lin could just barely make out the end of the stone steps. Unfortunately, with the end in sight, he heard a thunderous voice that shook his heart.

“Time is up. Only three have qualified. The rest….FAILED!”

Wang Lin let out a small, bitter laugh. He looked down while his body was slanting down on the stairs. His consciousness completely faded.

The black-clad middle aged man from three days ago stood on top of the mountain. He was looking at Wang Lin from less than 50 meters away with a ruthless look in his eyes.

A few Heng Yue Sect disciples went down from the top of the mountain. They each stopped next to one of the youths on the way down and fed them medicine.

A female Heng Yue Sect disciple said in a cold voice, “Seniors, out of 39 testers, 25 gave up. Only three passed the test, and 11 remain.” She had also experienced this brutal test. She relied on the martial arts she had practiced since she was a child to pass. She barely had enough perseverance. Even now, after ten years of effort, she still hadn’t become a true disciple.

The black-clad middle aged man had an icy look in his eyes. He slightly nodded while his eyes swept past the 11 unconscious teenagers.”Take the three that qualified and find work for them to do in the future. Send the 25 that gave up back to their families. As for the last 11 people, wait for them to wake up. Send them together to the house of the sword spirit to see if any of them have spiritual affinity with the sword spirit. If they don’t, send them home”

After the middle aged man was finished here, he walked away without another glance and the youths below.

Three days later, at the house of the sword spirit, stood 11 teenagers with pale faces. The injuries all over Wang Lin’s body were already healed, but the wound in his heart was still gaping open. The pain of his failure kept eating away at his mind and body.

This test of the spirit of the sword was conducted not by the black-clad middle aged man, but by a man wearing white, someone they hadn’t seen before. He had the same cold, ruthless look in his eyes. He looked at the youths as if they were ants.

The man said, with an impatient look, “This is the last test. If you can walk into this room, you are qualified.”

All Wang Lin saw was an extremely common building. The front door of the building was open. When he looked inside, he could see swords of different lengths.

Each of the youths, one by one, walked towards the house. The first one that approached got within 5 meters of the house. His face went red as he struggled to get closer, but was expelled by an invisible force.

“Unqualified! Next!” said the man in white.

Wang Lin was the seventh in line. The six before him all met the same fate, expelled by an invisible force when they got within 5 meters of the house. He smiled bitterly, and with the last bit of hope in his heart, stepped forward.

As he approached the five meter mark, Wang Lin was able to keep going with ease. His heart was beating rapidly with anticipation. He stepped closer, 1 meter more. He wasn’t feeling any discomfort yet.

The white clothed man let out a surprised “Hey!”. His eyes were bright, and his face showed slight interest. He gently said, “Don’t hesitate to continue. Keep walking towards the house of the spirit of the sword. If you are recognized by the spirit of the sword, you will be accepted as a true disciple, even if you failed the two previous tests.”

The ten other teenagers standing there had the color of envy in their faces. They were deeply jealous of Wang Lin.

Wang Lin was very tense on the inside. The looks his parents gave him flashed through his mind again as he stepped one meter closer to the door. There were only 3 meters remaining to reach the door. Wang Lin took another step.

He suddenly felt a huge force rush in his direction. Wang Lin lost control of his body and was sent flying more than ten meters away.

The rest of the youths all looked at Wang Lin with mocking expressions in their eyes. They thought that Wang Lin was just like them after all, with no chance.

With a bitter laugh, Wang Lin could feel the gaping wounds in his heart grow bigger. His parents’ expectant eyes gradually dissipated from his mind.

The man in white’s eyes turned cold again and he said, “Failed. Next.”

Chapter 5 – The Return

In the end, none of the 11 youths passed the test. There was one young girl who made it as far as Wang Lin.

On that day, all of the youths that failed the test were sent back to the bottom of the mountain. The Heng Yue Sect disciples took them home one by one. The one that came to take Wang Lin home was the same youth that had picked him up. Behind him was Wang Zhuo and Wang Hao.

The youth clasped his hands and said, “Brother Wang Zhuo, congratulations on becoming Uncle-Master’s disciple. You have a bright future ahead of you.”

Wang Zhuo’s face showed an arrogant expression. He proudly said, “It is only natural. Master said that after I have finished taking care of the mundane affairs at home, he will teach me cultivator techniques after I return.”

Wang Hao raised his head and added on the side, “I have always looked down on your arrogant demeanor. So what if you have a master? I will be able to learn how to produce immortal pills.”

Wang Zhuo gave Wang Hao a hard stare, then he shifted his gaze to Wang Lin, who silently stood there. He smiled, and said, “Tie Zhu, how was it? I told you before that you didn’t have the ability, but both you and your father wouldn’t believe it. Now we know the result.”

Tie Zhu raised his head, glanced slightly at Wang Zhuo, and said “Sir, my parents are waiting for me at home. Please take me back as soon as possible.”

Wang Zhuo saw Wang Lin dare to ignore him and sneered. “Little bumpkin, you are better off becoming a carpenter in a little village for the rest of your life, like your father.”

The immortal youth let out a faint smile as he looked at the three youths in front of him, but didn’t say a single word. He waved his sleeves and brought the three along as they disappeared from the Heng Yue Sect mountain.

Comparing this flight to last one, Wang Lin’s mood was like heaven and earth. Before, he was full of hope, but now, he was full of despair.

A little while later, the Wang Clan’s house came into view. Wang Lin opened his eyes. He could see from afar the clan house that was lit up in celebration with a lively atmosphere. There were far more banquet tables than when his father had organized the feast at the village. They covered almost the whole yard.

All the Wang family members were there. Even those who were away buying lumber had come back. The celebration was in full swing, full of drinking and chatter.

The lead of the banquet was Wang Tianshui’s older brother, Wang Tianshui, and Wang Tianshui’s third brother. All the relatives surrounded the three of them to give them their congratulation. The scene was very festive.

Their eyes were filled with envy, but their mouths were full of flattery. Especially towards Wang Lin’s father, who couldn’t help but remember the sadness from his past.

Wang Lin’s sixth uncle exclaimed, “Second brother, this time your son will be selected for sure. After this you don’t have to be a carpenter any more. Anyone who sees you will have no choice but to call you elder.”

Wang Tianshui’s fifth uncle said, “Lao Er, back in the days I already knew your life wouldn’t be normal. You devoted your life to Tie Zhu. Now that he is going to be an immortal, you as his father must be extraordinary.”

“Second brother, this time both your kid Tie Zhu and my son will be selected. Us brothers haven’t met each other in 10 years. This time, we must have a drink together, no matter what!.” said Wang Hao’s father, as he brought over glasses of wine. He was also Wang Tianshui’s third brother.

Tie Zhu’s father looked at all the relatives that used to look down on him. All the sorrow from his past was swept away. However, he couldn’t help but feel a giant rock weighing down his heart.

“Tie Zhu, you must be selected!”

“Second sister in law, this time your marriage to second brother has brought you good fortune. Having Tie Zhu as your child, who in the neighboring area won’t know you?”

“Second sister in law, your kid Tie Zhu has more ability than my child. Ever since Tie Zhu was little, he has been very smart.”

“Tie Zhu’s mother, even though we are of the same family, there are many consanguine relatives who have married nowadays. My daughter is unmarried, and is about the same age as Tie Zhu. Tie Zhu is handsome and I like him. Why don’t we tie the knot between our families?” Like Tie Zhu’s father, his mother was surrounded by a group of female relatives who were enthusiastically chattering beside her.

Wang Zhao’s father held an indifferent look the whole time. He secretly desired for the Immortal to come and deliver the news that Tie Zhu had not been selected, so he could see his second brother’s reaction to it.

As he thought of this, he let out a laugh and toasted the relative next to him that was praising his child.

The scene was bustling and full of spirit. At that moment, a sword of light appeared and landed in the courtyard. Four people came with it.

The area immediately quieted down. No member of the Wang Family dared to say a word.

The Heng Yue Sect disciple swept across the area and secretly sighed. He remembered when he was selected as a Heng Yue Sect disciple. His hometown was celebrating like this as well. He suddenly give Wang Lin a look of pity. He knew that the thing that this youth was about to experience wasn’t something a youth could handle.

“He has a ruthless path ahead of him…” The disciple shook his head and left in a sword of light.

“Immortal practitioners can’t have any earthly desires, take care of what you need to, I’ll come pick you up in three days.” His voice echoed from the distance.

When Wang Zhuo’s father saw the immortal leave, he quickly rushed up to his son and asked, “Did Immortal Hui Bing take you as his disciple?”

Wang Zhuo said, with a face full of pride and arrogance, “Naturally. Master has said that in ten years I’ll be able to become the head of Heng Yue Sect Disciples.”

Wang Zhuo’s father was overjoyed. He patted his son heavily on the shoulders, and laughed. “Good, Wang Zhuo you will be an immortal in the future! Our Wang family will have an immortal!.”

Wang Hao’s father’s face also had an anxious expression while staring at Wang Hao. When he was about to ask, Wang Hao let out a sigh and said “Dad, you don’t have to ask. Your son is already a Heng Yue Sect Disciple.”

Wang Hao’s father was ecstatic. He picked up his cup and fiercely drank. Wang Zhuo had a disgusted look on his face. He said contemptuously: “Third Uncle, you gave birth to a good son. He has lost the Wang Family a lot of face. In front of everyone he flattered the immortal and then, only relying on a bribe was he able to become a helper.”

Wang Hao raised his brow and said “I’m happy, so what? In the future, let us see who has stronger cultivator techniques, then we will see who has lost the family face.”

Tie Zhu’s father saw the depressed expression his son wore, causing his body to shudder. He had an ominous feeling.

“Tie Zhu, what…what about you?” Tie Zhu’s mother asked, full of expectation.

Edited and proofread by audiowuxia.

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