The first elder, while very discontent, still managed to grunt out a response: “Three days later, after honoring the ancestors, you will formally become the prime disciple of our sect.”
Li Qiye was still sitting there casually without a trace of surprise. He only chuckled out loud: “Me becoming the prime disciple should warrant a weapon or two for my personal safety, right?”
All the elders were surprised to see how comfortable he was under this heavy atmosphere. In the end, the boy was only thirteen years old, but his calm demeanor resembled that of a tyrant’s that dominated one sphere with everything under their control. How could a mortal like him have such a courageous spirit?
The first elder took a glance at Li Qiye and shook his head while telling him: “Although we accepted you as the prime disciple, we can only give you a normal weapon. If you desire a formidable treasure or an Immortal Emperor Merit Law, you will have to contribute to the sect.”
Li Qiye only smirked. His goal was certainly not an Immortal Emperor Merit Law or a peerless technique. His true aim was the black wooden stick lying on the pedestal. While averting his gaze to the stick, Li Qiye pressed on: “Fine, I want that wooden stick.”
“That wooden stick?” The six elders’ bodies shook in surprise.
The stick was only used for gathering the ashes after a ceremonial burning to honor the ancestors. It had always been there, and no one had any interest in it.
The elders thought that Li Qiye would ask for treasures using his new status, but he simply wanted a wooden stick. This request was outside of their expectations.
Li Qiye spoke in an unrestrained manner: “Since I am the prime disciple, my position is worthy of respect. The stick belongs to the grand chamber, and this is the Ancestral Grand Chamber of the entire sect. It represents the power of the Cleansing Incense Ancient Sect, so it is worthy of my current position as the prime disciple…”
After hearing Li Qiye’s logic, the six elders looked at each other with their eyes wide open. They thought to themselves: ‘This idiotic brat and that goddamned playboy Old Devil definitely belong together, just like how an ox seeks another ox while a horse would find another horse.’ [1. Stupid people come together would be the meaning here.]
“So be it, we shall bestow this stick upon you.” The first elder was happy to give this worthless stick to Li Qiye if it meant that he didn’t have to hear any more of Li Qiye’s incessant babbling. To him, this stick was only a regular wooden stick meant to move the ashes; they might as well give it to Li Qiye.
“Many thanks to Honorable Elders.” Li Qiye was eagerly waiting for those words. Before his words finished coming out of his mouth, his hands were already holding the stick. This action, in the eyes of the six elders, was seen as being very naive.
“Huairen, take him to his resting quarters.” An elder finally became impatient and told a nearby disciple to send Li Qiye away.
Today’s events had greatly stressed the six elders. A wastrel has become the prime disciple of the Cleansing Incense Ancient Sect... Even if the sect had long passed its glory days, it was not destitute enough to accept a waste of a human being as the prime disciple.
Led by the disciple, Li Qiye approached a solitary peak. It was not small; on top of it laid a small villa the size of 36,000 square meters.
It was apparent that the villa had been abandoned for a long time due to the weeds and wild plants that surrounded it. Although this peak was far from everything, it was still part of the Cleansing Incense Ancient Sect.
After opening the doors, the disciple immediately said: “Junior Brot—, no, First Brother, this place will be your home from now on.”
He only spoke two words before he quickly realized his mistake.
Based on the time Li Qiye joined the sect, Li Qiye would be his junior. However, because he was the prime disciple, anyone within the third generation – no matter how young or old – would have to call him First Brother.
Li Qiye gave this wily disciple a glance and looked around before nodding his head: “This peak that’s so distant from the rest of the sect is a suitable location.”
The disciple smilingly spoke: “It has a very fitting name, Lonely Peak.” He peeked at Li Qiye a few times before continuing: “You will be the master of this peak in the future.”
The truth was that according to the rules of the sect, the prime disciple had the right to live on the peak closest to the ancestral ground. The sect owned many peaks, and the prime disciple could choose any peak for himself.
However, most of the main peaks of the sect were occupied. Moreover, all six elders were unhappy with Li Qiye. Thus, Li Qiye was exiled to this faraway place, away from the main peaks.
The main peaks located near the ancestral ground contained a thicker worldly essence than the outside mountains and inferior peaks.
Li Qiye naturally stated: “This place will be just fine.” He was not a petty man that would place importance on such trivial matters.
“I have brought over all the daily necessities for First Brother earlier.” This junior brother thoroughly handled matters with ease and experience. After taking care of all the items necessary for Li Qiye’s daily needs, he politely said: “If you need anything else, just come to the outer court to find me.”
Before the disciple departed, Li Qiye casually asked: “What is your name?”
The disciple was surprised by the sudden question. He did not think highly of Li Qiye. His talents were lacking to the point that he would not even be accepted as a regular disciple.
Li Qiye’s actions earlier in the chamber caused others to feel that he was stupid. However, the current Li Qiye who was calm and natural made this disciple feel perplexed inside; he didn’t know whether Li Qiye was crazy or if he had thought through everything beforehand.
This disciple quickly regained his wits and answered Li Qiye: “First Brother, this junior brother’s name is Nan Huairen. I am a caretaker of the outer court.”
“My name is Li Qiye.” Li Qiye gently nodded.
In the last million years, the ones who knew his true origin and name could be counted one’s fingers.
After Nan Huairen’s departure, Li Qiye did not sit idle. He began to clean up the yard and tidied up the whole mountain. After completing the task to an acceptable standard, the deserted mountain resembled more of a home.
Li Qiye did everything in a systematic and neat manner, slow but steady. If any accidental passersby were to witness his cleaning actions, they wouldn’t believe that he was only thirteen years old.
The sky had darkened by the time the tedious task was completed. Li Qiye felt tired and hungry. He slowly sat down in front of the villa. Taking in a deep breath, he took out the wooden stick that was now placed by his waist. He carefully observed the stick that people used to move ashes. His memories slowly came back to him, causing him to show a bitter smile.
The world believed that if an Immortal Emperor succeeded in shouldering the Heaven’s Will, they would become immortal. However, if that was the case, then where were Immortal Emperor Min Ren, Immortal Emperor Tun Ri, and all the other peerless cultivators from each era? Where did they go?
Li Qiye slowly regained his composure and removed the dust and ash from the stick, eventually revealing its true form. This was a stick that measured one meter. Even after being doused in fire for thousands of years, it had retained its original form without faults. In the eyes of others, however, this was only an ordinary wooden stick without any magical properties.
Li Qiye whispered as he gently wiped the wooden stick: “Serpent Punishing Stick!”
With this wooden stick in his hand, his memories caused him to feel unexplainable emotions.
Back in those days when Min Ren was without the Heaven’s Will, Li Qiye, as the master of this future Immortal Emperor, had taught a group of children that would be the loyal generals of Min Ren. Since Li Qiye wanted to groom them well, he specifically took the Serpent Punishing Stick from the Demon Forest.
Those teenagers that would stomp the Nine Worlds under their feet were all victims of this stick. After concluding their training, he left the stick here in the Cleansing Incense Ancient Sect, and here it has remained until now.
Gripping the stick tightly, Li Qiye immersed himself even deeper within his memories. Escaping the Immortal Demon Grotto was a success, and he finally regained his body and soul from the control of the Dark Crow.
However, time was not merciful. Everyone who used to be his friends and families, such as the Alchemy God, Immortal Emperor Xue Xi, Immortal Emperor Min Ren… and even the illustrious Black Dragon King that survived three eras, have all left this world.
At the beginning of the Desolate Era, he was only a young shepherd. In order to find a lost sheep, he went into the grotto and became imprisoned by the Immortal Demon Grotto. He was forced to follow the path his master envisioned in his crow body from era to era.
At that moment, Li Qiye was very scared. He flew without rest across the Forbidden Burials, traveling across the nine lands, across the Nine Worlds… And in the end, he still had no choice but to return to the Immortal Demon Grotto.
However, because of this, he had experienced the countless dangers and mysteries of the worlds. He trod through lands that even an unbeatable Virtuous Paragon would stay away from. His willpower, basked in hardships throughout the eras, became unshakable.
From then on, he was unwilling to forever stay as a slave of the Immortal Demon Grotto. He formulated a grand plan to cut off all the immortal spirit seals and formations within his soul.
In order to escape the body of the Dark Crow, for his own freedom and to regain his body, he continuously led many geniuses on the road of cultivation. The greatest of these young ones were able to fight on the peerless road under the sky to obtain the Heaven’s Will.
But today, when Li Qiye returned to his old body to become human once again, all his friends had left him.
Taking his last, deep breath to set aside his pain, he once again strengthened his resolve to destroy all obstacles and shatter the souls of those in the Immortal Demon Grotto.