He smelled various scents along the way - roasted meat, makeup powders, and blooming jasmine flowers.
The mortal world had its fair share of suffering but this was a part of life. All living beings struggled for various reasons. Nonetheless, they kept on producing and allowed the world to brim with life.
Li Qiye took a deep breath. These lingering smells were unforgettable even for a top existence like him.
He had tasted all kinds of delicacies before from the rarest creatures and plants. However, the smells here still invoked more emotion than anything else.
“Everything will end soon without scenes like these.” He continued onward.
Eventually, he stopped after seeing an old daoist holding a cloth sign and shouting: “Everlasting Courtyard is recruiting disciples right now, we are the number one sect in Holy City, come and sign up!”
He looked just like a merchant while waving the sign. However, everyone seemed to know him so no one stopped.
Some occasionally smiled and made some remarks. This didn’t diminish his enthusiasm in the slightest.
He appeared around fifty to sixty years of age and wore a large daoist robe. It had several holes that were horribly patched. One would think that his master could no longer tolerate the old robe and decided to pass it down to him.
His hair was white but he still looked rather youthful - a pink complexion and freed from wrinkles. His body seemed to be in good shape, able to leap and frisk about.
The cloth sign had the characters “ Everlasting Courtyard”. Alas, the calligraphy skill left much to be desired.
Li Qiye chuckled after seeing the old man’s show.
“Young man, what do you think? We only recruit once a year so our meeting must be a touch of fate.” The old man stopped Li Qiye who was walking away.
He noticed Li Qiye because the latter actually stopped for a bit while everyone else kept on walking.
“You’ve been doing this for years now, it’s not going to work. I'm sure you just woke up and decided to recruit.” One familiar passerby teased him.
“No, we only care about fate, that’s right, fate. Don’t think about joining our sect if it isn’t meant to be.” The old daoist’s face turned red.
“Fine, fine, keep on doing your thing, Daoist peng.” The passerby smiled and shook his head.
The old daoist saw a chance because Li Qiye still didn’t leave. He grabbed his sleeve in order to stop him from escaping and hurriedly spoke: “Remember, joining our academy is an honor decided by fate, others beg and beg and still can’t join us…”
“What are the benefits of joining your sect?” Li Qiye asked.
The old daoist thought that Li Qiye was tempted and bragged: “Hmm, let me take a closer look at you. Wow, if you join, you’ll definitely become our First Disciple, you’ll inherit my legacy and will become the sect master. Everyone in the world will know of you. Plus, we’ll take care of your living situation and food too. Our sect has an ocean view mansion, there aren’t that many in Holy City…”
The old man let out a barrage of good things about the sect.
“Just come take a look, we’re very easygoing. You can change your mind if you don’t like it then…” The old daoist started sounding like he was begging.
“Fine, I’ll go take a look.” Li Qiye smiled.
“Good! Off we go!” The old daoist rolled up the cloth sign.
“You’re not recruiting more people?” Li Qiye teased.
“Ahem.” The old daoist looked a bit awkward for a second before coming up with a good answer: “It’s all about fate and karma, no need to force it. We are connected so I only need you, no more.”
“Let’s go then.” Li Qiye didn’t bother exposing the guy.
As the old daoist moved ahead, he kept looking back every three steps or so as if he was afraid of Li Qiye running away.
After all, recruiting wasn’t easy for his sect. He would never miss a potential new recruit. In his mind, letting the sect disband under his watch would make him into a sinner.
“You don’t have to be so nervous, I won’t leave.” Li Qiye shook his head.
The old daoist became embarrassed but was still quite happy with this development.
Everlasting Courtyard was located in Holy City. They traveled through several winding streets and made it there.
Unfortunately, it was literally a courtyard, not a sect. There were no other buildings nearby. Moreover, it seemed abandoned due to the weed infestation at the front.
The front wooden gate hasn’t been fixed in a while and issued creaking noises due to the winds.
After entering, there was a small pond. It might have had something in there before but it was empty now.
“This is your ocean-view mansion?” Li Qiye glanced at the pond and said flatly.
“Well, the island is surrounded by water so yeah, this is an ocean-view mansion. You can see the ocean by just taking a few steps. It’s large too, at least seven or eight rooms. You can pick any of them.” The old daoist scratched his head before pointing at the rooms.
“Got it. So there are only two of us, no wonder why I’m the First Disciple. Looks like inheriting this sect will be a tough job.” Li Qiye nodded.
It turned out that Everlasting Courtyard only had one disciple in the old daoist. Its only property was the courtyard as well.
No one would want to join this sect outside of wanderers with no home left. However, the island was isolated and rarely had outsiders coming in.
“Don’t say that.” The old daoist replied: “We do have some capital left. Join me and I will give you our sect’s heirloom.” He then tapped on the sword hanging by his waist.
The sword was wrapped several times around by a dirty bundle of gray cloth. This made the sword seem rather shabby.
“This sword?” Li Qiye was slightly moved to see this but didn’t show it.
“Don’t look down on this sword, it might appear unremarkable but it is our sect’s heirloom.” The old daoist said: “We’re in a bad situation right now but keep in mind that our history is rich and glorious. Our sect was built during an ancient era, too old to be found in any record. The ancestor said that we were unstoppable and had more than just Everlasting Courtyard. There’s also hmm, Emperor Era Hall, I think, and some other peerless halls…”Previous Chapter Next Chapter