"It is quite simple," Lan said with a chuckle. "Above the Warrior ranks are the Knight ranks. Ordinary Knight, Earth Knight, Sky Knight, and Heavenly Knight."
"After Knights come Saints. Ordinary Saint, Earth Saint, Sky Saint, and Heavenly Saint."
"And after Saints?" Xue Wei held his breath as he asked, but Lan just laughed. "After Saints? Who knows. Heavenly Saints are as rare as ice in the desert, and to reach even above the Heavenly Saint rank is simply not something that people have been able to achieve in millennia. It is all legends about what is above."
"What is your rank then?" Xue Wei asked another question that had confused him for some time. To think that not even his attacks could cause dust to appear on his clothes; he had to be magnificent.
"What rank do you think I am at?" Lan answered the question with yet another question and smiled slightly.
Looking at Lan, Xue Wei could guess that he was not going to answer the question in a straightforward way, so he took a moment to contemplate.
"I do not know about the strength levels of the various ranks," Xue Wei said tentatively, "but I have a feeling that you are very highly ranked."
"I have an impression that you are way stronger than any other creature I have ever met before."
"Creature, you say?" Lan could not help but laugh at that, and Xue Wei embarrassedly rubbed his nose, "I mean, I once saw someone I believe to be a Primordial Beast, and she was very strong. Yet you seem way stronger than her; I would guess that you are a Saint of some sort?"
Instead of answering the question, Lan laughed again. "Someone you believe to be a Primordial Beast? Why so?"
Xue Wei did not hide anything and told Lan the entire story, after which Lan frowned. "So that's their game," he shook his head and looked at Xue Wei, who seemed very confused and looked at the prophet while unsure of what the man was thinking.
"Never mind, you are fortunate to have encountered a Primordial Beast and lived to tell the tale," he laughed again, and Xue Wei nodded his head, paying no more attention to the prophet’s comment.
"Well, it is too late now to go train, so go get some rest, consolidate your foundations a bit more, and then we will go out tomorrow. I have something very peculiar to teach you. It has to do with your Azure Dragon Scripture."
Xue Wei gave Lan a long glance, but he did not say anything to him and instead he just nodded his head and sat down on the ground once more, focusing on absorbing more energy from the surrounding air and converting it into Qi within his body.
The night quickly passed, and as the morning broke, birds sang in the sky and the sun was rising in the sky.
Lan and Xue Wei left the tent together, completely ignoring the many strange glances that the two of them were getting, both having their own thoughts and completely ignorant of what others might think about them.
"It is time for us to get some food. Although I gave you something very nutritious last night, it cannot replace real food, and you haven't eaten for days as you were consolidating your newfound realm."
As soon as Lan spoke, everyone perked their ears up to hear his words, yet they were so suggestive that some of the girls blushed and others almost vomited.
Xue Wei sighed. "Enough of that chatter, they are already thinking the worst. No need to keep making them believe that I am into men,"
"You know, I might even think the worst – your reaction is so dull, at least everyone else is reacting amusingly."
"So you are doing this to be amused?" Xue Wei asked with a sigh, and Lan just shrugged his shoulders. "If I didn't do it for fun, then what other reason could I possibly have?"
"Whatever," Xue Wei sighed. "Just stop it now. I do have a sweetheart; it would be a shame if she heard about me cheating on her with some lame prophet."
"Oh, you have a sweetheart?" Lan suddenly got interested. "Tell me about her, what is she like?"
A bright light shone in Xue Wei's eyes as he thought back to Wang Xiaoyun and the very short time they had spent together, and about the promises they had made to each other.
"Her name is Wang Xiaoyun. She is a Wayfarer, and although it is difficult for us to be together I swore that I would become a strong enough partner for her family to approve of me!"
Lan suddenly started laughing, and he was laughing so much that he clutched his stomach with his arms and almost doubled over.
Xue Wei had gotten used to his strange behavior so he said nothing, but he just stood there staring at him with a dull, distant gaze.
"Sorry," Lan said as he wiped a tear from his eye, " it's just, you want to make the Wayfarers accept you. That is rather hilarious."
Xue Wei felt anger rise in his chest as he heard this. He glared at Lan. "Why is that amusing?" he asked, but Lan just continued giggling uncontrollably.
"Well, you know that Wayfarers are against marrying out of the family because they will lose their bloodline." Lan laughed. "But you have a special physique, so it should be fine if you ever manage to produce some offsprings."
Xue Wei was confused, annoyed, and slightly angry as he went to get a tray of food and moved to a vacant bench.
Contrary to his expectations, Lan sat down with him on the bench, but the prophet was still not entirely done giggling.
Xue Wei ate his food with his head down, and everyone else had decided to stay away from the prophet. Although they knew he could teach them many things, they could not help but be scared about what he might ask in return.
Just look at the pitiful Xue Wei. Although he had gotten great benefits which everyone credited to Lan, they also all were of the impression that he was now the plaything of a prophet.
As they finished the food, the two walked towards the fields surrounding the tent camp again, and here they found a place where there were not many other cultivators.
"Your cultivation technique is quite different from normal techniques," Lan started to introduce. "It originates from the Azure Dragons, and dragons are the kings amongst beasts. This specific scripture is increasingly rare, and as far as I know only two copies exist in the entire continent, so for you to be able to cultivate it is truly marvelous."
"When you cultivate the Azure Dragon Scripture, you will be able to transform yourself into a dragon forcefully."
"I can transform into a dragon?" Xue Wei's eyes widened in surprise. "But does that not make people think that I am a Primordial Beast?"
"Don't worry, it is like the Wayfarers and their abilities. If anything, they will think you are a Wayfarer."
"I see," Xue Wei had never seen the Wayfarers fight, as he only knew that their bloodline would be activated when it came into contact with the blood of a Primordial Beast, but as to what changes that happened, none of his books had ever specified it.
Xue Wei nodded his head. "In that case; I would love to learn it," he said excitedly. He had read about dragons before; they were indeed the king of beasts.
To gain the strength of a dragon, even if it were just a part, would make his body stronger than any other cultivator. To be able to transform into a dragon – would he even be able to soar in the sky then?
"Well, I say that you can become a dragon, but the truth is that you will at most be able to shapeshift a part of your body for some time."
"Like at the beginning, I will teach you how to make your arms transform. I think that is the limit for you for now."
"But don't you worry, as the time goes by you will become more familiar with it, and then your ability to transform will also increase. Who knows, one day you might become a real dragon!"
Xue Wei's eyes shone with excitement. "Please teach me," he said breathlessly. Although he hated Primordial Beasts more than anything, he could imagine his strength raising to heavenly proportions if he managed to become a real dragon.
In that case, he would be able to face the other Primordial Beasts at equal footing in terms of natural gifts. He would be able to face them equally, and even overpower them as everyone knew that dragons reigned supreme.
"Okay, use your cultivation technique," Lan ordered, and Xue Wei did exactly what he had been told. Although his uncle had told him to never show this technique to anyone else, Xue Wei understood that since Lan had already realized which technique he was using, it was useless to try and hide it.
Instead, he should take all the assistance he could get to increase his strength, which was why he rotated the technique freely, making Qi roam his meridians.
"Well done, now visualize the arm of a dragon while you are doing this."
"A dragon arm?" Xue Wei frowned. He had never before seen a real dragon, but suddenly a picture spawned in his mind, a picture of a dragon arm that had impaled the chest of some man.
When the picture appeared in Xue Wei's mind, he was incapable of seeing who the arm belonged to, and the face of the man who was impaled was also completely blurred in his memory.
Suddenly, a sharp spike of pain appeared in his mind, a pain so intense that he could not help but cry out and double over on the grass.
His hands were cradling his head as he rocked back and forth, trying to make the pain less unbearable, but it was impossible and moments after the entire world turned black as Lan's hand had descended and caused him to lose consciousness.
"So he has taken your memories too?" Lan muttered, his face suddenly turning soft. He then bent over and lifted up Xue Wei and started to make his way back to the tent city.
Others had noticed that something strange was going on, some had even heard the scream Xue Wei had released, but no one dared near him, apart from the higher ranked members in the recruitment camp.
"Esteemed Prophet, allow us to carry this lowly one to his tent," one of the captains said as he went towards Xue Wei and Lan, but Lan just glared at him and the captain instantly retreated. It was clear that he was not going to let anyone else take over the task of tending to this young man.
When they were back in the tent, Xue Wei was being placed gently on the bed, and Lan sat by his side.
"You remind me of myself," Lan sighed. "Perhaps that is why I want to help you. Your past is not much better than my own, but hopefully your future can be brighter."
"Now, should I break the spell that holds his memories hostage, or should I let him experience them little by little?" Lan contemplated for some time. "I think I will leave them for now," he decided. Then he waited for Xue Wei to awaken so that he could be told what exactly he had experienced.
Lan picked up a single blue pill and dropped it into Xue Wei's mouth. "Well then, now you should wake up soon," he said and leaned against the bed as he relaxed.
Two moments later, Xue Wei rightfully awoke. His face was pale and his body trembled, but he was no longer in pain.
"What happened?" he asked, a perplexed look on his face when he realized that he was in his tent once more and no longer out on the grassy fields where they had been training before.
"Well, I was hoping you could tell me that," Lan gave a slight smile.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
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Betareader: Soultorrent & Norwegian Viking