Under everyone's attention, Ye Shaoqing smiled at Tianming. Shaking his fan, he said, “Li Tianming, the position of junior sect master obviously means a lot to you. But what if I offer you the identity of Azure Dragon Sword Mountain’s senior disciple? Are you willing to accept it?"
Sure enough, everyone else had foreseen this—the new sect elder wanted to make Tianming his senior disciple! It all made sense.
After all, the talent of a pentabane, coupled with Tianming's performance today, was enough to impress the elder. The only thing that might stop Ye Shaoqing was the insoluble hatred between Li Wudi and the Yuwen family. Although Ye Shaoqing didn’t seem to have considered this point, Tianming was well aware the opposite was true.
And now that he had considered it, he was still willing to accept Tianming as his disciple. What boldness and vision he displayed!
Ye Shaoqing was very capable, having just been named the youngest elder; all in all, he was a man with a promising future. Even if he was just an elder, Tianming wouldn’t hesitate. What was there to contemplate, since Ye Shaoqing not only respected him, but was also willing to defend him?
Thus, without the slightest hesitation, he said, "Disciple greets master!"
Life was truly interesting. Back then, he hadn’t become Mu Yang’s disciple, and he had certainly never expected to come to the Grand-Orient Sect and meet a master like Ye Shaoqing.
"Young man, patience! There’s no point in worshipping now. Pack up your belongings tonight, then head to Azure Dragon Sword Mountain tomorrow for the formal ceremony,” replied Ye Shaoqing.
As the saying goes, once a teacher, always a father.  Tianming knew that he had good talent, but he was never impetuous, nor did he overestimate his own strength. Meeting Ye Shaoqing was a blessing.
He was now filled with respect for the man, especially since he had accepted him as a disciple despite Tianming’s special status. More importantly, Ye Shaoqing’s actions represented his thoughts and stance on the matter.
A master-disciple relationship was equivalent to sharing weal and woe, even life and death. With how generous and kind Ye Shaoqing was, could an appreciative man such as Tianming be any less grateful? Although he hadn’t said much, Tianming regarded the three Ye family members as benefactors.
Tianming could sense envy emanating from the Li Saint Clan disciples. Their gazes held no contempt or mockery, only envy and awe. In the Grand-Orient Sect, the position of junior sect master might be a joke, but being the senior disciple of Azure Dragon Sword Mountain was undoubtedly an honor!
“Tianming, you must thank your master. With a master, you’ll have someone looking out for you in the future,” said Li Jingyu, with tears in her eyes. In the beginning, if someone had dared accept Li Wudi as a disciple, the family wouldn’t have been reduced to this.
In fact, Ye Qing felt guilty about it. Back then, Li Wudi had seemed destined to be his disciple. But due to certain events, estrangement grew between them. Moreover, Li Wudi was easygoing and carefree by nature, making him unpopular with the elders, unlike the calm, stable Tianming.
With an elder’s support and Tianming’s official status as a disciple, his place in the Grand-Orient Sect was firmly cemented.
"We share the fate of master-disciple, so there’s no need for thanks. Your future achievements will depend on destiny,” said Elder Ye Qing.
Tianming nodded, though he was curious about who Ye Shaoqing would accept as his second disciple. Qingyu, perhaps? As far as he recalled, Qingyu had once mentioned the goal Ye Shaoqing had set for her—to reach sixth-level Unity before seventeen. With her present talent, it wouldn’t be a problem at all; she was only a level away.
"Qingyu, when you defeated Ye Ziyi the other day, I was watching," Ye Shaoqing smiled.
"Exalted Master," Qingyu lowered her head, failing to hide the excitement in her eyes.
"You’re calm and willing to suffer hardships. For more than ten years, you relied on yourself and moved step by step to your current achievements. And you’ve always been the most serious disciple in class. I watched you grow up, and with your character, I‘m certain you’ll do well in the future. As the saying goes, heaven rewards diligence. I didn't give Ye Ziyi a chance, because I firmly believe that her heart is impetuous and she lacks the will of the strong. Although her talent is no worse than yours, teaching her will be a challenge. On the other hand, you’re a dedicated, unpolished gem. Thus, I’m willing to make you my second disciple. Will you accept my offer?"
Ye Shaoqing was a straightforward man, unafraid of publicly listing the differences between Ye Ziyi and Qingyu. His words reflected his observation that spanned many years. Due to his decision, contradictions had arisen between the brothers, causing no lack of frustration. However, his standards and criteria remained unchanged.
He made himself clear; if anything, they could go to his father and make Ye Ziyi a direct disciple. Accepting one’s grandchildren as direct disciples, regardless of their talents, was something many elders within the sect practiced. However, the Ye family had always taken a different approach to such matters. Unable to stand firm against his eldest son and granddaughter’s pestering, Ye Qing had promised to make Ye Ziyi his direct disciple. If it weren’t for that, Ye Shaoqing’s offer to make Qingyu his disciple might have caused an uproar.
Privy to such details, Qingyu was far more excited than Tianming, because this was the greatest affirmation of her efforts. As soon as Ye Shaoqing finished speaking, she nodded fervently, too delighted to speak.
"Very well then. Continue to work hard in the future, so you don’t disappoint me or your parents," Ye Shaoqing patted her on the shoulder.
"Yes, master. I will!" Qingyu replied
Naturally, Tianming was happy for her. However, Ye Shaoqing had made a mistake; Ye Ziyi’s talent was certainly incomparable to Qingyu!
"Alright, come to Azure Dragon Sword Mountain tomorrow for the ceremony," Ye Shaoqing chuckled. He had to drop by the council of elders and make his official appearance.
"Goodbye master, Elder Ye and Chief Ye," bowed Qingyu.
"What a lovely young woman," praised Ye Yuxi. She couldn't help looking toward Kunpeng Sacred Hall, only to discover a drunk man standing at the entrance. With a flask in one hand, he stroked his round belly with the other, smiling wickedly at Ye Yuxi.
"Beautiful, make sure to wash up before you visit my room to serve me.”
Beads of cold sweat dotted Ye Yuxi’s forehead. "Get lost!" she roared.
"Hey, what a fierce beauty! Me likey," laughed the drunk man.
Ye Shaoqing looked up, his gaze falling upon the man. Smiling faintly, he nodded, then whizzed away with his father and sister.
The drunk man was none other than Li Wudi.
"Father!" shouted Qingyu as she ran toward him, arms open for an embrace.
"Get away from me. You stink! Don't you dare sully my clean, sweet-scented body!"
With that, Li Wudi hurried back to the Li Mausoleum, leaving a silly Qingyu behind. Had her father just rejected her for being too stinky?
"You’re the one smelling of alcohol and body odor. You’ve not taken a bath for hundreds of years, you stinky man!" Qingyu retorted.
Dealing with one such father was difficult enough. Fortunately, Tianming and Ye Shaoqing were different.
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