Chapter 155: Join Us

Before Yang Qi could give the life force springwater to his brothers, people from the Gentlemen’s Society came for a visit. Therefore, he and his four friends flew up to the top of his temple.

There, three people were waiting for him.

Two were women and one was a man, and from the auras they emanated, they weren’t elite students. They were conclave students!

Furthermore, their garments were embroidered with platinum characters that read: Demi-Immortal.

That was further proof that they were conclave students. Being in the Conclave was a holy position that countless students in the Demi-Immortal Institute could only dream of. It was a position of true power.

Li He and the others were visibly shocked, and quickly bowed their head respectfully. “Our respects, Elder Brother, Elder Sisters.”

Conclave students were treated with utmost importance by the institute, and were given plenty of resources in the hopes that they would become Legendaries. Legendaries were the true powers within the institute, and students who were in that level were called holy neophytes.

Most other students in the institute would feel incredibly pressured when facing conclave students. But Yang Qi wasn’t very impressed at all. Back home, he had killed Senary and Septenary devil-ghosts, and had even faced the invincible Ghost Emperor Yama. He also had numerous sworn siblings, with whom he had faced fiend-devil viscounts. Afterward, he had subdued the Ice-Soul God-Sword, captured the Nonary Lifeseizer Patriarch Frost-Drake, and then turned him into a pawn in the Shroud-Heaven Alliance.

Considering he had done all that, he wouldn’t be intimidated by anyone less than a Legendary.

Looking at the three conclave students calmly, he said, “What matter does the Gentlemen’s Society have to discuss with me?”

“How dare you speak so disrespectfully to us!” one of the female students said coldly. She had almond-shaped eyes set in a very attractive face. She also carried a long green sword in her hand, the sheath of which was clearly made from the pelt of some unknown devilling, and was inset with numerous gems. From the true energy fluctuations emanating from that sword, it was obviously incredibly sharp, and if its sword energy were released, it would be shocking to the core. “You lot just reached the Lifeseizing level and became elite students. Who do you think you are? You can act tough in front of freshman students, or students from the Outer or Inner Campus, but what gives you the gall to talk like that to us?” [1]

Apparently, this young woman had already decided that Yang Qi deserved some punishment, as a stream of sword energy suddenly shot out from the hilt of her sword, moving like a snake to wrap around Yang Qi. Apparently, her plan was to cut off Yang Qi’s hair as a warning. [2]

The rules for conclave students within the College of Elite Students were strict; they were not to resort to violence. However, as long as they didn’t kill or severely injure one of the elite students, they could usually do as they wished.

Without even taking time to think, Yang Qi reached out and clamped two fingers down onto the snake-like stream of sword light. In response, the light twisted and distorted, and yet, could not free itself.

Then, flames burst out of his fingers, igniting the sword energy and transforming it into dust.

“Elder Sister from the Gentlemen’s Society, I'm afraid you still need to work on your sword energy. It’s not quite strong enough to hurt me. Look, I'm a bit busy with my cultivation at the moment. If you have something you want to say, spit it out. Otherwise, I’ll head back in and you can see yourselves out.” [3]

The young woman’s eyes flashed in shock. Apparently, she couldn’t quite believe that Yang Qi had actually dispelled her sword energy. Although she had only sent out a tiny bit of it, she was at the peak of Quinary Lifeseizing, whereas Yang Qi had only just become a Lifeseizer.

The Gentlemen’s Society had done their research into Yang Qi. They knew that he had only broken through a few months ago, so clearly, it should have been impossible for him to stand up to a Quinary Lifeseizer.

Throughout the hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of years that the institute had existed, there had occasionally been geniuses who could do such things. For instance, the Crown Prince. And there were certain members of the senior generation who had been like that when they were young. However, according to the information that the Gentlemen’s Society had gathered, Yang Qi hadn't shown any signs of being like that.

The elders in the Academy of Sage Studies had only given him ordinary marks.

But now, things seemed different.

“You think I underestimated you? That bit of sword energy was just to check your cultivation base. Now I’ll use my full strength. Let’s see how you do this time!” The young woman reached down to draw her sword, but before she could, the male student reached over to stop her.

“Slow down, Junior Sister Tao. This is the College of Elite Students. We can’t start a fight here. Furthermore, the Crown Prince Society has eyes on us everywhere. Don’t give them an excuse to make a move against us. If word spread of us behaving poorly, it could damage the reputation of the Gentlemen’s Society as a whole.”

Turning his attention to Yang Qi, the man continued, “I'm Yuan Kun. We've come here today to invite you to join the Gentleman’s Society, that’s all. There’s no need for the hostility.” [4] 

“Yuan Kun the Flying War-King?” Li He blurted, a shiver passing through him. Eyes shining with disbelief, he said, “You’re the genius who, sixty years ago, traveled to the northeast with nothing but his halberd to execute the seven evil cultivators known as the Seven Scourges of the Sea of Trees?”

Yuan Kun nodded. “Yes, that was me.”

“Brother Yang,” Li He said, “the Seven Scourges of the Sea of Trees were evil villains who took over the northeastern jungle sixty years ago. They practiced a wicked energy art in which they killed people to collect their souls. They committed every crime imaginable. Eventually, they reached Quinary Lifeseizing, and formed evil true energy vestiges. Even worse, they acquired the remnants of some sort of ancient, villainous encyclopedia called the Sutra of Myriad Evils.

“In the end, they were all cut down in a single fight by this very man standing in front of you. He became an overnight sensation! And that was when he was an elite student, not a conclave student like he is right now.”

Yang Qi nodded. “I see. In other words, when he was only a Quaternary Lifeseizer, he cut down seven Quinary Lifeseizer experts. He didn’t just beat one enemy of a higher level, but seven at once.” It was obvious that this was an impressive individual.

Of course, it went without saying that students of the Demi-Immortal Institute, regardless of who they were, were not ordinary.

Clearly pleased with how impressed everyone seemed, Yuan Kun said, “It seems to me that you’re hiding the truth about how strong you are, Yang Qi. Back when you became an elite student, you defeated Gu Fenxian. Given, he didn’t use his Painting of Immortal Immolation, but still, that was no small feat. Obviously, the five of you have come across some good fortune, otherwise you wouldn’t have gone from being freshman students to elite students in less than a year. Considering how strong you are, it would be a real shame if you didn't join a powerful organization. Besides, the Crown Prince Society clearly isn’t happy with you, and there’s no way that you can stand up to them. Why not join the Gentlemen’s Society? We can keep you safe.”

“Many thanks,” Yang Qi said, his voice cold. “We appreciate your good intentions. But I have a rule in life: I don’t take orders from anyone. If I joined the Gentlemen’s Society, I would definitely be saddled with a lot of annoying responsibilities. I’d rather practice cultivation in peace and quiet, with my freedom and independence intact. Thanks for the offer, but no. Now, will that be all?”

“What?” blurted the female student with the almond-shaped eyes. Never could she have guessed that Yang Qi would refuse their offer just like that, and not even give them any face. “Elder Brother Yuan personally came here to try to recruit you and you're just going to refuse? Do you know who Elder Brother Yuan is? And do you know who you people are?”

“None of that is important,” Yang Qi replied. “We’re all just students in the Demi-Immortal Institute. The rules of the institute don’t mandate that students join a society. Furthermore, the rules imply that we shouldn’t form cliques for personal interest.”

Yuan Kun was no ordinary individual. He was considered impressive even within the Gentlemen’s Society, in which he had a very high rank. The fact that he had been sent here to recruit these five students went to show how much the Gentlemen’s Society wanted their additional strength.

After all, five elite students were nothing to look down on.

Normally speaking, outer and inner campus students of promise were recruited into the societies when they were Masters of Energy.

For five Lifeseizers to have never joined a society was rare indeed, and made them prize prospects.

Even more puzzling was that this group of five had a problem with the Crown Prince Society. It made perfect sense for them to join the Gentlemen’s Society for their own safety. And yet, their ringleader Yang Qi refused the offer.

Yuan Kun felt like he had just been slapped hard in the face, and there was no way he would start begging after that. If word got out that he had, he would definitely become a laughing stock.

However, he still had to make one last effort. Livid, he said, “I know you five worked hard to reach the Lifeseizing level, so I'm going to give you a bit more time to think. Are you going to join the Gentlemen’s Society, or not?”

“We’re not joining the Gentlemen’s Society under any circumstances,” Yang Qi replied with decisiveness that could sever nails and chop iron. “Now, I’ll have to ask you to leave. We need to start cultivating in preparation for the Inter-Institutional Martial Arts Competition.”

“Fine!” Yuan Kun barked, his face green from rage. “So be it! You’ve got some real nerve, you people. I can’t believe you actually refused an important person like me. Tired of living? Is that what it is? You think you’re going to join the martial arts competition? You won't last until then! You’ll be dead before it ever comes around. Understand?”

By this point, Yuan Kun was resorting to outright threats.

Yang Qi looked back at him coldly. “What. We’ll die if we don't join the Gentlemen’s Society? Alright. Let’s wait and see how you people arrange for my death. I guess you’re even scarier than the Crown Prince Society.”

At this point, the young woman with the almond eyes said, “This is your last chance. Join the Gentlemen’s Society, and offer whatever good fortune you’ve come across as a gift to us. If you don’t, things won’t end well for you. Maybe you won’t get killed, but you’ll definitely regret being alive.”

“I look forward to seeing how you pull that off.” Eyes flashing, Yang Qi turned back into his temple, followed by his sworn brothers. As he did, an energy field sprang up, preventing the three from the Gentlemen’s Society from entering.

“Elder Brother,” the other young woman said, “let’s just break through this spell formation and drag them out. Then we’ll see if they dare to refuse again.”

“Hold on,” Yuan Kun said, smiling grimly. “We have plenty of time, and there will be other opportunities to get them to submit. It won’t be long before those five are crawling on their knees to us, begging to join us and handing over their good fortune. It's unusual for them to have reached the Lifeseizing level so quickly. The best outcome would be for them to join us so that we can get our hands on their secrets. And if they don't join us… they’ll be the ones to experience utter humiliation!”

1. Considering that they outrank him, Yang Qi should offer respectful greetings, address them formally, etc. Instead, he just directly asks them a question, the way a superior would to someone of lower rank.

2. Most cultivation novels emulate ancient Chinese culture, in which everyone wore their hair long. The only time someone would cut their hair would be if they went into mourning, or if they became a monk/nun. To have one’s hair forcibly cut off would be extremely insulting and also embarrassing.

3. In Chinese culture, the polite thing to do is to see your guest out, and perhaps even escort them part of the way home if they are higher than you in social status. Only someone of much higher social status would refrain from seeing a visitor out. For Yang Qi to say this to someone of a higher rank than himself would be taken to be rude at best, and more likely, insulting.

4. Yuan Kun: Yuan is a common surname. Kun has a variety of meanings, but in xianxia novels it often is associated with the Kunlun Mountains.

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