Book 3, Chapter 132 - Relaxing by the stream

Lei Province, a certain suburb.

A young man was standing barefoot inside a clear stream. He was crouching, staring intensely at the water. On his waist hung a black jade that was swaying gently. Zhao Jiuge knew that this jade he had received from the old man was a bit mysterious, but he still couldn’t figure out what it was after so many years, so he had decided to forget about it.

On the shore sat the yellow-robed San Wu, watching Zhao Jiuge trying to catch fish. He was even more focused than Zhao Jiuge, and the knot in his throat trembled while his mouth watered.

Two meters away from San Wu was a fire that gave off the unique fragrance of burning branches.

Pei Su Su had a beautiful smile on her face while she watched Zhao Jiuge catch fish. The sun was rising in the east, and its light was shining on Pei Su Su. Her skin almost gave off a faint shine.

At this moment, she no longer looked like a goddess. Her hair was scattered across her shoulders and to the side, and her sleeves were rolled up.

“Blockhead, hurry up. How can a Spirit Core Realm cultivator be so slow at catching fish? How are you so dumb?”

Pei Su excitedly shouted while stepping inside the stream and rushing Zhao Jiuge. Perhap she was so used to a noble lifestyle that anything that a commoner would do could bring her some excitement.

When the three of them had decided to stay here to rest, Zhao Jiuge was excited by the creek and quickly caught a few fish. He had been roasting fish since he was young, and they were so good that it looked like San Wu and Pei Su Su were ready to swallow their tongues.

In particular, San Wu couldn’t resist the delicious food and always wolfed it down. Pei Su Su couldn’t help but shout about how a monk was eating meat, and San Wu replied with, “Wine and meat can pass through my body, but my Buddha remains in my heart.”

Hearing this, Pei Su Su felt helpless.

When the sun was fully in the sky, the two of them shouted for Zhao Jiuge to catch fish for them to eat so they could head out early. Zhao Jiuge couldn’t help but smile bitterly, but since Pei Su Su had asked, he had to do it. Not only did he have to do it, he had to act like it was his honor to do it.

After taking a while, Zhao Jiuge caught some fish and roasted them for the two of them. They wolfed them down and then stared at Zhao Jiuge with full bellies.

Zhao Jiuge smiled and gently wiped the corner of Pei Su Su’s mouth. The steam was flowing and the warm sunlight was shining down. He had good friends around him, and the breeze brought the fragrance from Pei Su Su to him. For some reason, Zhao Jiuge felt a burst of happiness.

Three days ago, he had escaped from the mouth of the tiger and fled all the way through the Huang Province to the Lei Province, where the three of them were leisurely walking. During this time, Zhao Jiuge’s injuries had completely healed. He hadn’t sustained serious damage, and with the help of San Wu’s powerful pill, he had healed even faster.

After they ate enough, they still had to continue east. No matter how powerful the Bai family was, they wouldn't be able to reach into the Lei province. The three of them decided to walk. If they remained in the flying boat, they would miss out on many experiences.

It had been several months since Zhao Jiuge left the sect, and he had traveled through several provinces already. This couldn’t be helped since he kept getting into fights with people. The spirit core inside his body slowly rotated, showing no signs of a breakthrough. Zhao Jiuge had already come to terms with it and stopped worrying about it. No matter how anxious he felt, thinking about it constantly wouldn’t speed it up. There had to be a reason why he couldn’t reach the Nascent Soul Realm yet.

The three of them rested for a while and then continued along the official road toward the east. They hadn’t spent much time in the Huang Province and hadn't been able to find any information about the Chilling Fire Flower. Zhao Jiuge was confident that they would find information about it here in the Lei Province.

As they traveled eastward, the area got more lively. The Yan Province was surrounded by deserted mountains, while the Lei Province had houses and villages around the foot of each mountain.

It was now spring, and everything was coming back to life. The smell of the earthy fragrance could make one's mood better. The bulls tilting the farmland along with the smoke coming out from the houses looked like a scene out of a painting.

“Blockhead, I want to ask you something. A few days ago, when you fought Bai Zimo, you were able to defeat his spirit core with just your spirit force. A grade-5 spirit core isn’t bad, and even though you have a grade-8 spirit core, it shouldn’t have been so easy for you to break his attack.”

Pei Su Su and Zhao Jiuge walked in front, while San Wu followed behind them, turning the beads in his hand. Pei Su Su’s words caught his attention, and he immediately looked toward Zhao Jiuge.

Zhao Jiuge was startled. He didn’t think Pei Su Su had noticed, and he thought that this matter had passed. This was perhaps his biggest secret after this grade-8 spirit core, which was the phenomenon that he triggered during the formation of his spirit core. Most cultivators that had successfully ascended to being an immortal had triggered phenomenons as well. If other sects learned of this, they would certainly spare no effort in killing him in the cradle before he had a chance to grow.

Zhao Jiuge knew that when the golden lotus and the Sanskrit chant appeared in the battle, the more keen spectators had noted it down. Zhao Jiuge didn’t know how to respond as he looked at Pei Su Su. He knew that if he made something up, he wouldn't be able to fool her.

It wasn’t that he couldn’t tell Pei Su Su this secret. After all, they were very close, and he trusted her. However, San Wu was here, and while their friendship had deepened greatly, Zhao Jiuge was still very cautious.

Pei Su Su looked at Zhao Jiuge with a smile that wasn’t a smile. When she saw Zhao Jiuge struggling, she couldn’t help but laugh in her heart. She suspected that it was a phenomenon, but she wasn’t sure. After all, not even she had been able to trigger one during her spirit core formation. She really just wanted to see what kind of strange excuse Zhao Jiuge would come up with.

While Zhao Jiuge was still struggling to make up an excuse, San Wu asked with some worry and hesitation, “Jiuge, the Sanskrit chant that echoed in the sky and the golden lotuses rotating around you was the phenomenon triggered when you condensed your spirit core, right?”

Zhao Jiuge was startled, then his expression became a bit dull, followed by the shock of someone piercing the secret in his heart.

“Yes. I was still found out by you guys.”

Zhao Jiuge revealed a bitter smile, but he still decisively admitted it. Since the others had already recognized it, he might as well admit it. At least he knew San Wu was not an evil person.

Hearing Zhao Jiuge admit it so easily like this, Pei Su Su and San Wu were the ones who were shocked. The two of them looked at each other.

The matter of triggering a phenomenon when forming one’s spirit core was no small matter, and an unspoken rule among sects was to keep a close eye on disciples depending on the spirit cores they had condensed. Not only did they want to know the grades of the spirit cores, what was truly important was to see if any disciple triggered a phenomenon. 

Even now, people still didn’t understand where the phenomenons were from. However, most people guessed that they were related to cultivation methods and not the grades of spirit cores. Even people with grade-9 spirit cores didn’t trigger phenomena, while someone with a grade-3 spirit core could trigger one. With a few exceptions, most cultivators who triggered a phenomenon would go far. Naturally, those with high-grade spirit cores would be able to reach high cultivation levels, but they would have to put in more time and effort than others. Sometimes, it also depended on luck.

From Pei Su Su and San Wu’s point of view, Zhao Jiuge’s talent was very average, but even a stupid bird could get a head start. Yet they couldn’t figure out why someone so ordinary had been able to form a grade-8 spirit core and trigger a mysterious phenomenon. However, Pei Su Su was happy for Zhao Jiuge from the bottom of her heart.

“I can see that your phenomenon is either the golden lotus or the Sanskrit chant, which should be related to the Buddhist Sanskrit. Could this be your cultivation method? However, I also cultivate the Sanskrit Divine Body, but I only produced a grade-7 spirit core and no phenomenon. It's really strange.”

After being shocked for a while, San Wu recovered and muttered to himself. The shock on his face remained.

“Don’t talk about it anymore. The walls have ears. It’s fine that we know, but don’t spread it, or else it will cause even more trouble.”

After recovering from the shock, she remembered how sensitive this information was, so she was naturally worried about Zhao Jiuge’s safety. It was fine that she knew the truth, she just didn’t want other people finding out.

She naturally wouldn’t tell others, but there was still San Wu. While triggering a phenomenon was rare, it wasn't that rare, yet almost no one had heard about one. That was because it was kept a secret so the person could have a chance to grow without any trouble.

While Pei Su Su spoke, she looked at San Wu profoundly. The clever San Wu naturally knew her intention and solemnly nodded.

He naturally wouldn’t reveal Zhao Jiuge’s information to others, nor did he intend to cut the grass at its roots like an evil person. At most, he would report this back to his teacher. His sect had people who had triggered a phenomenon as well, and his junior brother was one of them.

“You guys are going too far!”

Just while the three of them were thinking of something, a shocking voice came from a few hundred meters away. Accompanying this voice were several dozen spirit force fluctuations spreading out.

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