Chapter 23: Heavenly Beast, Human Heart
At seventeen years old, Ning Fan stood on the Heavenly Beast’s peak as the mountain wind blew, fluttering by his furrowed brows.
Jeweled jade palaces and painted pavilions were hidden away by the red clouds as the sun’s violet rays auspiciously shone downward. There were immortals riding the clouds forward, freed from the mundaneness of mortality. Immortal cranes were flying between the mountains while the young phoenixes sang in the river streams with singing old men hiking for firewood.
‘Is this place really the Heavenly Beast School?’ Ning Fan’s forehead wrinkled because the Yue Country’s number one Evil School was too different from his imagination.
“Isn’t it strange? It’s clearly an Evil School, yet its external appearance is just like a righteous immortal gate.” The old man sneered coldly.
“Yes, I am kind of curious.” Ning Fan nodded in agreement.
“The real evil cannot be seen from the outside. Cultivators have the eyesight to even see through the heaven and earth, but it is still difficult to see through the pretension of the human heart. True evil will not announce his heinous acts. Evil needs to be deceptive; otherwise, it will not be able to survive in this world… The human heart is treacherous — these words need to be personally experienced or else you will not be able to understand.”
The old monster and Ning Fan stood on top of the Heavenly Beast Mountain, and this could be the old monster’s first time speaking heart to heart with Ning Fan.
“The human heart is treacherous…?” Ning Fan appreciated the old monster’s words and quietly contemplated.
“Forty years ago, I was mistaken… But I came to the Rain World, returned to the Land of Yue, and was sheltered by that Sinister Sparrow kid… The human heart is hard to understand, but I did not read you wrong, you are very similar to me… However, there are chains in your heart.”
The Heavenly Beast School was hundreds of miles vast and above it was a floating Violet Jade Platform. On top of the platform were four different entrances with the central area divided into seventy-two different venues. The school tournament was taking place at this location and thus, it was bustling with cultivators and disciples as well as spectators.
There were all cultivators coming and going along the mountainous paths.
The old monster tapped his storage pouch and took out a jade scroll that he handed to Ning Fan before pointing at the jade platform in the air.
“Little Ning, do you know how to use this jade scroll with your divine will? You need to imprint your little brother’s appearance into this scroll… Later, your father will sneak into the Heavenly Beast School by myself to find your little brother. You will wait on that jade platform for me… The Heavenly Beast School’s sanctuary is guarded by many ‘Refined Corpses,’ you will only be a burden by coming along… If your father manages to save your little brother, I will immediately come back to the jade platform to join with you. If this is not feasible, then we will plan again in more detail.”
Harmonious Spirit cultivators could open the divine will — this was a spiritual power. Divine will had many great uses. One of them was to imprint a memory into a solid form for readers. And the jade scroll was the item to carry the memory.
Ning Fan accepted the jade scroll and placed it on his forehead. He then recalled the memories of Hai Ning’s Ning Clan. Recalling scenes of him spending time with his little brother, Ning Gu, in the past, he used his divine will to engrave Ning Gu’s appearance into the jade scroll.
A rare, warm smile appeared on his lips. Without a father or mother, his little brother was the only person he worried about.
That year, he was six and brought Ning Gu, who was only five years old, to work for others. Each day, he only earned a few coins, but he didn’t bear to spend it. Withstanding the cold and hunger, he bought tanghulu candy for Ning Gu, instead.
That year, he was ten and Ning Gu was nine. Ning Gu was beaten by a drunkard, and the enraged Ning Fan like a mad, fearless dog fought against this man.
Recalling the bumpy roads of his memories with countless amounts of bitterness, Ning Fan still felt warm. If he could save Ning Gu from this place, then as long as he existed, no one would ever be able to hurt Ning Gu!
“Little Ning, hurry up!” The old monster lost his patience and interrupted Ning Fan’s remembrance as he grabbed the half-imprinted jade scroll from his hand.
“Wait for me on the jade platform, don’t run around! You killed their Elder Wu; this matter is not over yet. Be careful and try your best not to reveal your identity. If you die in the Heavenly Beast School, your father will not take revenge…”
This reminder was clearly a show of concern, but from the old monster’s mouth, it sounded somewhat like a threat. Finished with his reminder, the old monster gestured his “Body Concealing Art” and disappeared; he most likely entered the Heavenly Beast School.
Ning Fan only smiled. This old monster had a sharp mouth, but his heart was made out of tofu.
He took out the Broad Wintry Cloth and covered his face. Above the veil was a female’s lip smear that caused him to momentarily be despondent.
With the Broad Wintry Cloth, no one in the Heavenly Beast School could see through his identity so he will surely be safe.
He jumped and void stepped upward with his defined white and black clothing along with his proud immortal demeanor. The Vein Opening cultivators who were standing in the shade nearby saw Ning Fan void stepping up, causing all of their focused their gazes to be centered on him.
“Who is that Harmonious Spirit senior? So handsome, so young… Since when did such a stunning character like this appear in our Land of Yue?” The passersby were marveled and enviously gazed at Ning Fan. Only one Harmonious Spirit would appear out of one thousand Vein Openings. This group wondered when they would become like Ning Fan, a Harmonious Spirit cultivator who could tread the sky and destroy the nether.
All mortals below Harmonious Spirit were just like ants below Void Fragmentation!
Ning Fan trod on an icy path and jumped several times before landing on the jade platform in the sky. There were four entrances with reception disciples waiting who specialized in greeting Harmonious Spirit experts.
Seeing the sky-treading Ning Fan approach, it was obvious that he was a Harmonious Spirit. A coy female disciple immediately greeted him with eagerness.
“Senior looks very new here, you must not be someone from our Heavenly School Beast… This girl is Qin Rong, I am willing to be Senior’s guide and explain the tournament rules… Even if Senior has ‘special requests’ with this little girl, it is not out of the question…”
A third level Vein Opening girl with a soft voice and a glint of seduction — with dewy and alluring eyes — looked at Ning Fan.
This gaze utilized a bewitching technique. Even a tenth level Vein Opening cultivator would still be charmed, but Ning Fan’s eyes were normal and did not ask for any “special requests.”
The special requests were most likely the pleasure of sex. This girl was not a virgin; plus, she was also an evil cultivator so Ning Fan did not think highly of her.
“Take me on a tour around the sect. No need for other services.” Ning Fan lowered his voice to a coarse sound, exuding an air of aged-experience.
The woman didn’t dare to snub, so she smiled and said: “Yes… Qin Rong will immediately take Senior to see the sect… This time on the jade platform, there are seventy-two venues. Each venue has two hundred disciples fighting… Today is the ninth day of the tournament…”
“Right.” Ning Fan was merely pretending while waiting for the old monster at this place. He didn’t care for the Heavenly Beast School’s tournament.
He casually looked around the venue with a bit of focus. Seventy-two venues had at least one hundred Harmonious Spirits along with a few thousand tenth level Vein Openings… The Heavenly Beast School was powerful like this…
The amount of experts greatly exceeded the Sinister Sparrow School. The Heavenly Beast School alone was enough to sweep through the State of Yue… Its waters were indeed very deep.
He shook his head and thought that even if its water was deeper, he still was not afraid of it. How could such a sect not have great power?
He had the Ancient Chaos inheritance, who is to say that there was not another Ning Fan in the Land of Yue who gained a different inheritance?
He walked past each venue with a perplexed expression before suddenly stopping at the fifteenth with horrified eyes.
This figure, he was not mistaken!
In the venue was a black-robed boy holding an ice ruler, he defeated ten tenth level Vein Opening cultivators in a row with an extraordinary aura.
Each time he defeated an enemy, the black-robed boy did not give them an opportunity to concede and often heartlessly slammed his ruler down to smash the enemy’s skull, resulting in overflowing brain matter.
What shocked Ning Fan was not the cruelty of the black-robed boy but his appearance. Why was it so familiar yet endlessly foreign….
‘Ning Gu… Why is he in this place?’
‘Wasn’t he imprisoned by the Heavenly Beast School…? Why is he a disciple now competing in this place?’
And this ice ruler gave Ning Fan a strange, evil sensation.
Something was wrong!