The chirping and twittering of birds drifted about in the mountainous forests.
Beautiful flowers abounded, like brightly brocaded cloth. It all looked like a profoundly beautiful painting.
The colorful birds flitted about, and butterflies fluttered here and there. Some of the butterflies were enormous, and Yang Qi even spotted one that was the size of a human. As it flew through the air, pollen swirled off its wings, making it look almost unreal.
“That butterfly is a demon-spirit, a type of devilling with a Master of Energy cultivation base!”
The butterfly noticed Yang Qi, and flapped its wings, sending a stream of true energy toward him. However, as soon as it sensed his Lifeseizer aura, it retracted the energy, turned, and drifted away in the opposite direction.
Yang Qi smiled faintly. After all, these mountains were part of the Demi-Immortal Institute, and the devillings here wouldn’t randomly go around hurting people. Most of them were raised as pets by the experts who lived here.
Eventually, he found himself following the energy crane up a path lined with countless flowers.
Considering how complex the twists and turns were, Yang Qi got the feeling it was a spell formation, and that if he wasn’t following the crane, he would have been snared by it.
They were making their way toward the top of one particular mountain in the Heaven Lode Mountains, one that was completely covered with bright flowers.
From the look of it, those flowers would remain in bloom all year, no matter the weather. After all, this mountain was covered by a warm flow of energy from top to bottom. With it in place, the mountain would remain as warm as spring throughout the year.
As for the dirt, it was made up of millions of years’ worth of fallen flower petals, and thus, was both fragrant and inherently medicinal in quality.
Yang Qi took in the sights as he proceeded along, marveling at how impressive it was. Whoever had made this mountain clearly had energy arts that surpassed his in every way.
‘Don’t tell me this is really where Aunt Susu has been practicing cultivation. Did her master make this mountain? That energy crane definitely had Aunt Susu’s aura on it.’
He followed the crane for more than two hours as it led him higher and higher up the mountain, until the mists were so thick that sometimes it was difficult to see anything beyond ten paces.
Yang Qi actually had no idea where he was, and didn’t dare to fly up into the air to try to find out; he knew that he had to stick close to the crane.
All of a sudden, his eyes lit up as they emerged from the mists into bright sunshine. At this point, Yang Qi could tell that he was about halfway up the mountain, at an enormous stone platform.
It was almost like a public square, large enough to fit hundreds of thousands of people. At the far end was a mansion grotto, almost like a palace. However, it wasn't constructed on the surface of the mountain, but rather, carved directly into it.
The ground of the platform was sparkling and translucent, like porcelain, its surface filled with innumerable complex floral designs. With a single glance, it was obvious that it had been crafted with powerful energy arts.
Yang Qi couldn’t help but wonder what level of power it would take to create a palace like this out of a mountain.
There were quite a few people present, although they weren’t students from the Demi-Immortal Institute. The first thing that jumped out to Yang Qi was that their garments were embroidered with shining moons and blazing suns, as well as writing in an ancient script. Surprisingly, these were students from another of the ancient institutes in the Rich-Lush Continent, the Sun Moon Institute.
Furthermore, all of them were male.
Apparently, they had come to pay a formal visit. Even more noteworthy, they were all dignified and imposing, without a single one of them being a weakling. These were all elite students.
There were four institutes of learning in the Rich-Lush Continent: the Demi-Immortal Institute, True Dragon Institute, Sun Moon Institute and Sea God Institute.
Yan Gufeng’s daughter, Yan Feixia, was a student at the True Dragon Institute. Gu Che, who Yang Qi had killed, was from the Sea God Institute. But he had never met anyone from the Sun Moon Institute.
Some of the students caught sight of him walking up the path, and one of them shouted, “Stop right there!”
Two of them burst into motion, flying over to block Yang Qi’s path.
“Who are you?” one of them said coldly. “This is Manyflowers Peak! Our Elder Brother is here on business, so don’t take a single step forward. Trespassing is not permitted!”
Yang Qi was not amused at all. This was Demi-Immortal Institute territory, and yet students from the Sun Moon Institute were trying to order him around? After looking the two students over, he frowned and said, “This is the Demi-Immortal Institute, and you're from another institute. You’ve got a lot of guts to go around blocking my path.”
“How impudent!” the second student growled. “What’s your name, criminal!? Tell me immediately so I can report you to the Demi-Immortal Institute elders. They’ll definitely punish you. Our Elder Brother is here to propose to Holy Daughter Manyflowers’ apprentice, Yang Susu! This could affect relations between our institutes at the highest level! How dare an insignificant runt like you cause a commotion at a time like this?”
Yang Qi’s heart thumped, and a grim expression overtook his face. “Propose? As in marriage?” Although he wasn’t sure why, rage was already burning inside of him. “Some punk from the Sun Moon Institute wants to propose to my Aunt Susu? What surprises me most is that he thinks he's worthy to do so!”
His words were so biting that the students from the Sun Moon Institute initially couldn’t believe what they were hearing, and didn’t know how to respond.
“What? What did you just say?”
“What gall!” another of the students shouted in fury. “Prepare to die!” 
Suddenly, a fireball appeared in his hand, pulsing with destructive power that could put an end to anything and everything. And as the fireball rotated, it slowly began to morph into the shape of a saber.
However, Yang Qi didn't care what shape it took. Waving his finger, he sent a stream of sword energy out from the Cosmic Sunflare Sword, which he could now use openly.
However, this was no ordinary Cosmic Sunflare Sword. He had combined the technique with the Four Seasons Swordplay, and had added in elements based on his own enlightenment. The result, refined with his Hellfire Crucible, was a type of sword technique that no one could possibly recognize.
Essentially, it was a consummate discipline created by Yang Qi himself.
This sword technique contained the burning true energy of the Cosmic Sunflare Sword, as well as the numerous variations of spring, summer, autumn, and winter that came with the Four Seasons Swordplay. Life sprouted, lightning crashed, frost spread, and snow filled the sky.
The other student's energy arts were quickly vanquished, and he was sent flying more than a thousand paces backward. There, he landed hard onto his back, having lost all face.
“I can’t believe he used such a vicious move!”
“What sword technique was that? How could it be so profound?”
“He actually attacked us? Surround him and kill him! He's an elite student here! This is open provocation! How dare he insult the dignity of the Sun Moon Institute?”
Instantly, several of the Sun Moon Institute students flew over and surrounded Yang Qi. Others flew over to help up their comrade who had just been defeated, sending true energy into him to heal his wounds.
Of the seven students facing Yang Qi, all were Lifeseizers, elite students of the Sun Moon Institute. As they stood in formation around him, swords bared, they seemed on the verge of unleashing a deadly attack.
Yang Qi stood there looking coldly at them; considering that he was in the Demi-Immortal Institute, he wasn’t afraid at all. Even if deadly fighting did break out, he clearly occupied the moral high ground.
When the other students saw the killing intent flickering in his eyes, they suddenly got the sensation they were facing some primeval beast.
At this point, a melodious voice rang out from within the palace. “Stay your hand! What do you people think you’re doing?”
Then, Yang Susu herself appeared.
The power radiating off of her was clear; Yang Qi could tell that she had advanced significantly since their previous meeting. Her true energy seemed three or four times stronger, and her life force seemed to have transformed into something completely different than before.
Clearly, she had used the Sage Devil Painting to reach Secondary Lifeseizing.
When she saw Yang Qi, her eyes flickered with delight, and she said, “Qi’er? What’s going on? Why are you arguing with the Sun Moon Institute students? I heard that you reached the Lifeseizing level two months ago and became an elite student. Unfortunately, I couldn’t emerge from seclusion, and had no way to congratulate you. I just came out of meditation two days ago, and sent that energy crane to notify you.”
“Aunt Susu, what's going on with these Sun Moon Institute students? They said an Elder Brother of theirs came to propose to you? And then they dared to block my path? This is the Demi-Immortal Institute, not the Sun Moon Institute. For them to treat an elite student like myself this way is an insult to our institute! Besides, who is this Elder Brother they’re talking about? Mind if I say hello to him? Is he superhuman or something? How dare he look down on the Demi-Immortal Institute so blatantly!”
“Qi’er….” Yang Susu could never have guessed that Yang Qi would say things like this, and leave the Sun Moon Institute students with no room to back down. Looking at Yang Qi, she was about to speak when, all of a sudden, a voice thundered out from the palace.
“Susu, is this the genius nephew you talked about? If he keeps acting this domineering, he's going to get himself killed. I can’t believe he picked a fight with our institute! How dare a puny elite student cause friction between our two institutes. Well, since he wants to say hello, then I’ll just drag him inside!”
All of a sudden, a flow of energy erupted out, becoming a huge hand that began to drop toward Yang Qi.
1. At this point the author makes a play on word that comes across silly in English in my opinion, so I'm going to leave it out of the main text. He says, “His energy arts combined with his fury to create green smoke. It was ‘spouting smoke through the seven orifices’ (an idiom that means ‘to seethe with anger’). It was as burning hot as the sun.” The point is that he’s really, really angry.