TN: Unedited. Also, I found myself confused over whether they’re sitting in a tower or on platforms in this chapter. The word tai (台) is used a lot and it’s hard to tell. @[email protected]
Also, had to check up on a lot of terminology used, etc. (this is #1 reason why I’ve released this chapter a bit late). I think I got it right, but please correct me if I’m wrong. ^^
Jue Di Gorge.
Jue Di Gorge covered the span of seven mountains in a chain, rising and falling and all covered with verdant growth. Among them were secret undercurrents, waterfalls and strange rocks, quiet and deep secluded valleys with tall peaks in disorderly confusion. As its name suggested, the terrain brought a feeling of being ‘pressed to an impasse,’ but in the next moment letting someone see a road that showed that the heavens wouldn’t seal off all exits.
In Shen Qingqiu’s view, even if it wasn’t being used as the Immortal Alliance Conference’s opening venue, everyone would deem that it was a dangerous place to live.
The main force was the big four cultivation sects. Cang Qiong Mountain sect was in the lead, followed by Zhao Hua Temple, Tian Yi Overlook, and lastly Huan Hua Palace. 
Among the four sects, Cang Qiong Mountain sect was the most comprehensive. Each of its twelve peaks had their specialties, a multi-pronged approach forming a hodge-podge. The Temple and Overlook naturally were monastic and Daoist sects respectively; Huan Hua Palace was more complex, the sect’s guidance leaning more towards the militaristic school of thought and good at Qimendunjia divination . They were also the ones who had the most contact with the world, the strength of their techniques unclear. However, they were without a doubt the richest. Huan Hua Palace took out the most money for the Immortal Alliance Conference every time.
Additionally, there were uncountable and numerous other small to middle-sized sects. Therefore, the total number of people who registered and gathered at Jue Di Gorge in the end would definitely be above ten thousand.
The formerly silent and cold entrance to the gorge was suddenly filled with an influx of thousands of people. The mountain animals who had never seen people were surprised out. On all sides, there was a sense of liveliness and activity.
The rookie cultivators of the Alliance were preparing to stand neatly in an array. Surrounding the mountain gorge was an immense natural stone platform.
There had long since been a high tower put up at the gorge’s entrance for the cultivators who weren’t participating in the Conference to observe everything, the colorful flags representing each sect high up on the roof, open and fluttering. The first-class spot reserved for sect leaders was on the highest floor; since Yue Qingyuan was the sect head of Cang Qiong Mountain sect, he led the group to sit at the highest floor.
Shen Qingqiu sat behind. Close to his left sat a poised and magnanimous old man with a hefa hairstyle  who’d given care towards everyone from Cang Qiong Mountain sect in the past. He also greeted him: “Immortal Master Chen.” 
The old head of Huan Hua Palace was also the shifu of Luo Binghe’s birth mother. Shen Qingqiu viewed him as something like a member of royalty as he paid his respects.
Soon, a member of Huan Hua Palace stepped onto the stone platform. Since they spent the most money, letting the major stockholder monopolize control of the ceremonies wasn’t a big deal. The people below down in front of him gradually became quiet and attentive as they listened to him read the Conference’s rules and arrangements.
This person’s basic skills foundation was deep, his breath full and lasting a long time. From the gorge entrance to the highest level of the tower, all were able to hear his voice very clearly.
“The Conference will be held for seven days. After everyone enters the gorge, a large enchantment will cover the entire Jue Di Gorge. Within seven days, all participants who have entered into Jue Di Gorge will have cut off all communication to the outside world. They will be unaware of the situation outside, but onlookers can freely soar through the skies of the gorge on spirit eagles to see the situation inside the field.
“Hundreds of kinds of monsters have already been placed inside the gorge. There are nearly five thousand in total. With every monster taken down, a bead can be obtained from the body . With the different levels of monsters, there will be a corresponding level of difference in the spiritual energy contained in the bead. Is everyone wearing a gold wire on their wrist?”
Everyone below the platform immediately revealed their wrists, showing the gold wires on them. It looked quite spectacular.
The master of ceremonies continued to speak: “After getting a bead and stringing it onto the gold wire, your grade will automatically be sorted on the ranking boards here.
The ranking boards hung opposite the high tower. Although there were eight boards, people were not interested in first or second place; rather, everyone’s interest naturally focused on the first 100 names on the first ranking board. In particular, they focused on the first ten names. This was the reason for not caring about first or second place.
Finally, that Huan Hua sect person stressed severely: “It is strictly forbidden for there to be fights between sects for beads! If a secret fight is found and despicable means used to snatch other people’s beads discovered, you will be immediately be stripped of your rights to participate in this Conference and will be banned from participating for three periods!”
Three periods meant twelve years.
Among these new cultivators, there were many young people who hadn’t experienced the world but the number of experienced old fritters  wasn’t lacking either. They were afraid that some people would be shameless and things become a mess of unscrupulous bullying, crooked fishes and honest dragons mixed together. If there was no ban, he was afraid that this entire Conference would become extremely chaotic to the point that even human lives would be lost. Therefore, this stipulation was very necessary.
At this time, near the front there were a few female sect heads who were speaking as though they were secretively discussing their private desires.
“Which sect is that disciple from? He’s exceedingly handsome.”
“That one in the white clothes, when compared, doesn’t lose out to Senior Martial Brother Gongyi.”
“The spiritual power of Senior Martial Brother Gongyi is very strong, how can you compare them?”
At once glance, Shen Qingqiu saw clearly that the white-clothed figure in the crowd that they were talking about was the clearly outstanding and out-of-this-world Luo Binghe.
In fact, it wasn’t only them who were secretly looking and discussing. Even among the disciples participating in the Conference situated below the platform, there was no lack of young girls who were secretly paying attention to Luo Binghe, their two cheeks flaming crimson.
Though sounds were suppressed very low, all of those who were sitting were all capable cultivators and their five senses were extremely clear. How could they not hear? These young women were too young to take care and their words were heard by others. Fortunately, everyone was very polite and pretended that they didn’t hear anything, their gazes not straying.
Some people, in order to break away from the embarrassment, coughed twice and smiled: “Everyone has come from all different directions; let’s calculate whether there are any new outstanding cultivators for this time’s Immortal Alliance Conference?”
Shen Qingqiu’s spirits were immediately lifted by this topic!
The ‘calculate’ mentioned wasn’t really talking about any old calculations, but – gambling!
To say it bluntly, it was laying a bet on the young cultivator you looked favorably on.
Cultivators also needed a little entertainment. Moreover, they didn’t stop at betting with tacky things like gold and silver. They bet with things like treasured cultivation techniques, spirit stones, and sending a disciple to the other person’s sect for training and boosting their reputation. They also wouldn’t bet in earnest with important items, but it was still a traditional and fun event of the Immortal Alliance Conference.
Slightly older sect leaders like those of Yue Qingyuan’s generation wouldn’t play with things like this, but naturally there would be people willing to join the fun. Not even a moment had passed when the viewing platform was bustling with activity. There was no lack of people laying down bets for their own sect or division’s promising disciples. For example, Qi Qingqi laid a bet down for Liu Mingyan.
Shen Qingqiu didn’t need to consider anything at all and straightforwardly laid a bet of 1000 spirit stones on Luo Binghe!
This overly large move shocked everyone around.
Fellow sect members were all in their hearts muttering how they hadn’t heard of this name Luo Binghe before. Actually, they couldn’t be blamed. Luo Binghe’s temperament right now was rather modest and low-key. He wasn’t willing to claim credit for himself and always did some good deed and silently left. His reputation just wouldn’t grow, so that was why he didn’t shine. The bystanders were unclear what kind of reason would let Shen Qingqiu be like a colorful painting and so inspired about his disciple.
And below the highest level, the master of ceremonies with great energy and breath concluded the details of the Conference, after letting all the new cultivators be sworn in and officially starting admissions.
Because there were so many people, they went in through twelve different exits in groups regardless of which sect they were from. The participating rookie cultivators all nervously stepped into the bounds of Jue Di Gorge. The event begun, the already famous and successful elders on the highest floor remained calm and unruffled in the chaos while idly chatting or eating melon seeds.
How did the people outside know the circumstances inside Jue Di Gorge then?
There were many hundreds of spirit eagles inside the enchantment. The spirit eagles were controlled by special staff to watch. On their claws were silver rings inlaid with a special crystal. When soaring, the entire panorama below was within their view and uploaded to the many crystal screens set in front of the high platform. There wasn’t much difference compared to modern surveillance equipment.
Some people beamed radiantly: “Sure enough, the opening ceremony is number one!”
On the red announcement, the names of the top ten were all in brilliant gold. At this moment, the name in first place had already become the characters for “Gong Yixiao.” It was followed afterward by the number “Twelve.”
That is to say, within the short span of half a shichen [1 hour], he had already gotten rid of twelve monsters and gotten twelve beads!
Following close behind in second place was Liu Mingyan, who had gotten rid of monsters and attained six beads, a distance between them of twice the number.
The crystal screen reflected a handsome and light-spirited young teenager, his natural and unrestrained demeanor like drifting clouds and flowing water. When he made a move, it was like lightning. In a moment, the extremely sad spirits who came in front of him were chopped, vanishing like smoke and dispersing like clouds.
Why are you like this!
Shen Qingqiu smiled but didn’t speak.
This Gong Yixiao looked like he was positively leaking with a domineering aura, but hehe, he was actually cannon fodder on par with himself.
He was that sort of representative for ‘looks handsome, good family, high talent, liked by sisters, high-spirited and vigorous, successful young man. But unfortunately, the protagonist is here. You must become cannon fodder for the protagonist.’ Despite being the person that the majority of those present thought would become first on the list, he sadly and unfortunately wouldn’t able to be in the lead for long before Luo Binghe kicked him down.
Luo Binghe’s name was now ranked in the middle, the second digit was only a ‘one.’
Shen Qingqiu wasn’t worried in the slightest.
He knew that when night arrived, there wouldn’t be anyone able to ward off Luo Binghe’s unstoppable force on the list.
At that moment, a profoundly affecting big □□ riot, a frightening plot, was about to have its curtains drawn open!
The Immortal Alliance Conference, the first day, only a few minutes away and drawing near the time of jin [11:00PM-1:00AM].
The sky was dark blue, a round full moon hanging high in the sky. The high platform was ablaze with lights.
Shen Qingqiu always had his mouth closed without a word, pretending to be meditating but actually conserving strength and storing up energy. Then he finally opened his eyes. Within the myriad crystal screens, he finally found a mirror that reflected out Luo Binghe’s situation at the moment.
Luo Binghe was slowly proceeding in the forest, carrying his sword across his back, his body spotless, looking completely unwearied. His eyes were like stars and seemed like they could pierce straight through the crystal screen.
However, he wasn’t alone.
A great number of people moved alone or partnered with someone they were familiar with. At most there were three disciples in a group. Of course, there were also very powerful female cultivators but speaking of the whole, their raw physical and psychological strength were not enough. Often, they needed to be helped by other people. In this group, they were all elder and younger martial sisters with good relations. All along the road, they seemed like a huge joke and didn’t fit the situation at all. Also, there were too many people and their individual strengths indeterminable; how would the bead be split between them? This was also a complicated question.
On Luo Binghe’s side, seven or eight people followed. If they weren’t weak women then they were very young disciples. This scene was very attention-grabbing. Immediately, some people even left off watching Gongyi Xiao’s figure and turned around to look at the sight of this strangely bloated team.
Among them, the one who walked closest to Luo Binghe was a figure in light yellow clothes, a Huan Hua Palace disciple holding up a Night Pearl .
—End Chapter 22—
 Cang Qiong Mountain sect… Zhao Hua Temple, Tian Yi Overlook, and Huan Hua Palace: I’ve mentioned what Cang Qiong Mountain’s name means in Chinese, so I’ll move onto the other three. Zhao Hua Temple (昭華寺) = ‘Clear Flower’ Temple (‘temple’ as in the monastery sense). Tian Yi Overlook (天一觀) = ‘One Heaven’ Overlook but literally ‘sky/heaven one look.’ Huan Hua Palace (幻花宮) = ‘Imaginary Flower’ Palace.’
 Qimendunshu divination (奇門遁術): I… have no idea what this is other than some kind of ancient Chinese divination tradition. I think. This is the closest thing I could find in my dictionary.
 Hefa hairstyle (鶴髮): Some kind of hairstyle. Literally translates to ‘crane hairstyle.’ I tried Google Images but all of them were… really weird. Just know it’s an ancient Chinese hairstyle.
 Immortal Master Chen (沈仙師): ‘Chen’ is the old man’s surname. ‘Immortal Master’ (xianshi) is something like Immortal Master/Master Immortal and a respectful way to call a high-ranking cultivator. I was tempted to use the pinyin ‘Chen xianshi‘ but went with ‘Immortal Master Chen.’ If you prefer the pinyin version, drop me a comment and let me know. I’ll change it if enough people vote for it, otherwise I’ll assume what I’ve done is fine.
 Monsters (魔物) and beads (念珠): I was very tempted to translate this as ‘demonic/magic creature’, but Google-sensei threw me ‘monster.’ And the character ‘wu’ (魔物) threw me for a loop because it means ‘matter,’ ‘thing,’ or ‘object’ and that’s not what you call something that can chew on you. I’ll be using ‘monster’ for now though. It seems to fit best. As for beads (念珠) or nianzhu, I’m assuming this is NOT a beast core; like the literal translation ‘prayer bead,’ it’s referring to something probably artificially made for the Conference and put on the monsters for the kiddy cultivators to collect.
 Experienced old fritters: Meaning experienced people, but I wanted to keep the funny common language used here at least in feeling. Actual term used is lao you tiao (老油條) which literally refers to these yummy fried dough stick things. They’re usually on the salty side and if you leave them out too long, they tend to get chewy (but still delicious). Here’s what they look like:
 Night Pearl (夜明珠): Some kind of pearl that’s supposed to glow in the dark. They’re using it as a flashlight here.
Also: Gongyi Xiao (公儀蕭) resulted in yet another edit lol. His name means ‘public ceremony’ and the last part ‘mournful/sad.’ What an ominous name…