Chapter 164: A Newfound Master and Disciple

Demoness's Art of Vengeance

This white-haired old man did not consciously suppress his own cultivation level. As a result, Ye Xiuwen could feel an incredible suppressive force arising out of the difference between their respective cultivation levels. This feeling was extremely uncomfortable and suffocating. It felt as though every single cell within his body was forcibly being compressed into a smaller space.

Despite that, Ye Xiuwen remained stoic and revealed none of his discomfort on his face, and he continued to gaze calmly at the old man staring at him.

This was because he did not detect any killing intent emanating from the old man’s body. Thus, he knew that he could calmly face the old man’s suppressive force without any concerns.

However, now that the old man said he was going to accept Ye Xiuwen as a disciple, his calm disposition was instantly shattered, and it turned into anxiety and shock.

“What’s the matter? Can’t believe yer gettin’ such a nice piece o’ pie?” The old man stroked his beard as he nonchalantly added, “I know, I know…with my strength, acceptin’ such a young sprout that has just entered the Foundation Establishment stage like ye is truly yer fortune. But don’t let it get to yer head! I have my conditions! I’ve checked yer cultivation and yer bone structure while you were sleepy headed earlier, and I realized yer pretty suited for my self-created techniques. And besides, I saw from yer memory that yer personality ain’t too shabby either. So, I decided to accept ye as my disciple… How’s that? So happy that yer stunned?”

The old man noticed that Ye Xiuwen had grown taciturn, so he intentionally added that last line in order to elicit a response from Ye Xiuwen.

Ye Xiuwen was truly flabbergasted. When he finally managed to compose himself again, he stammered, “That…that’s not the case.”

If anyone else had received favour from this powerful old man in his shoes, they might have accepted the old man as their master without any hesitation. However, Ye Xiuwen was much more meticulous, and he had several considerations in his mind right now.

He bowed sincerely to the old man and apologetically responded, “Senior, this junior sincerely appreciates your kindness and consideration for him, but this junior already has a master, so…”

“Hmph! Pedantic! So what if yer got a master? Is yer master stronger than me? Also, who says ye can’t have two masters at the same time?” The old man responded in a huff as he glared at Ye Xiuwen again.

“But…its conventional wisdom that the first master has to be present when I pay my respects to a second master. Or I should at least inform my master of this matter…”

This was to avoid a situation where both masters turned out to be long-time nemeses who were at loggerheads with each other, and the disciple ends up getting caught between a rock and a hard place.

“Rules are made by people. Who says we can’t change ‘em?” The old man suddenly realized that this seemingly brilliant young man was rather inflexible and rigid.

Sigh, am I goin’ to get an aneurysm one day if I accept him as disciple? The old man thought to himself in exasperation.

“This…Then, could senior kindly indulge in junior and allow junior to ask his master before deciding?”

“Ask? How ye gonna ask?” The old man looked at him in bewilderment, “Messenger Paper Cranes can’t fly outta here, and Escape Scrolls and Teleportation Scrolls have no effect here either. How are ye gonna ask?”

“This…could it be that we’re still trapped within the Death’s Gorge?!” Ye Xiuwen was dumbfounded.

“Death’s Gorge? Hahaha…good name! I can’t believe that I’ve only been here two thousand years and this place is already so famous…” The old man stroked his beard and smiled radiantly as he exclaimed.

“This…this place truly doesn’t look like it…” Ye Xiuwen murmured softly. He glanced around at his surroundings again. When he looked out of the light brown coloured window frames, he could see the bright and radiant sunlight illuminating an entire garden filled with spirit herbs.

If they were still within the Death’s Gorge, then where did all of these things come from? Weren’t the depths of the Death’s Gorge a completely dark place?

The old man roughly guessed Ye Xiuwen’s contemplations as he snorted disdainfully, “Ye think this place is so easy to get out of? This light is only an illusion. An illusion! I used a formation array to make it like this. And the things below the herbs look like soil, but they’re congealed spiritual energy. When ye fell down here, you must’ve felt the thick spiritual energy, didn’t ye?”

“Yes, sir.” Ye Xiuwen nodded his head.

In fact, Ye Xiuwen had already detected the thick spiritual energy emanating from the crevice on the surface of the Death’s Gorge.

“The Death’s Gorge’s opening looks small, but it’s actually reaaaaally big. It’s got tons of things of all kinds of spiritual energies here. Naturally, there are also all kinds of strange mutated spirit beasts. That’s why people who fall down here simply disappear. Most of them get…eaten up!”

The old man chuckled as he spoke. Evidently, he hardly took pity or sympathized with the plight of these other cultivators who had fallen in here to their death.

But this perspective was quite understandable. After all, a person who had lived for so long might well have seen so much death and decay that he would no longer have any pity or compassion on others. Death had already become part and parcel of life.

On the other hand, Ye Xiuwen found himself extremely concerned when the old man mentioned that people disappear once they fall down here.

“Does this mean that…practically no one has escaped this place before? Is that why it’s come to be known as Death’s Gorge?”

Ye Xiuwen had only learnt that this place was called the Death’s Gorge from the mouths of the Du Clan disciples. He hardly understood why this place had earned itself that name.

“From what I know, nobody has got out before.”

Ye Xiuwen’s heart grew cold and grim, “Then does that mean we’ve got no way of leaving this place? Since even senior has no way of getting out…”

“Who says I’ve got no way of goin’ out? Ye li’l brat are such a spoilsport!” The old man blew his top.

Ye Xiuwen couldn’t understand how he had stepped on the old man’s toes. But having heard that there was still a way out, he was naturally extremely pleased.

He looked solemnly and sincerely at the old man as he bowed once again and asked, “Then could senior kindly enlighten junior on the way to get out of this place?”

The old man glanced at him, replying, “Haven’t I already told ye the method?”

“Um…” Ye Xiuwen thought for a moment, but he simply could not think of when the old man had mentioned a way of getting out of the Death’s Gorge.

“Idiot! Didn’t I say to pay yer respects to yer master? What is it? Do ye think that with ye abilities right now, ye will be able to leave the Death’s Gorge? Don’t kid, li’l brat. Every single one of the spirit beasts here have been fattened by the thick spiritual energies here. Take one step out and yer gone. Kaput! Food for ‘em! Do ye believe me?”

Ye Xiuwen grew taciturn. He truly hadn’t considered these details.

“Hmph! You younglin’s these days are too agitated.” The old man chided, “Don’t ye dare think ye can leap to the skies with one step.”

Ye Xiuwen clasped his hands respectfully as he responded, “Senior’s teachings are wise.”

The old man had evidently not spoken to anyone for a long time. Thus, when his gift of the gab began to flow, it seemed to flow incessantly, without pausing or stopping.

“And also, ye paying respects to me as master is good fer that young lady too, mm?” Creases formed on the old man’s face as he revealed a wry, mischievous and meaningful smile at Ye Xiuwen.

Unfortunately, Ye Xiuwen was too daft to recognize the meaning of this wry and mischievous smile.

“This…what has it got to do with my martial sister?” Ye Xiuwen hesitated before clarifying. He was concerned that there might be issues with Jun Xiaomo’s body that the old man had discovered from his memories.

The old man resented Ye Xiuwen’s daftness, and he decried in exasperation, “Ye truly have a wooden brain, ye li’l brat. That young lady has many suitors, don’t she? There’s old fogey Chi’s li’l, li’l brat, and there’s also old fogey Chi’s new disciple, that Inferno Kingdom’s first prince. Don’t ye look down on that Rong Ruihan fella, his talent is even higher than yours or old man Chi’s li’l, li’l brat. With old fogey Chi’s guidance, his prowess is sure to take to the skies. Then when his cultivation level is far stronger than yers, then ye will just see that young lady get snatched by that li’l brat then!”

“This… does senior know old man Chi?”

Ye Xiuwen found the prospects of this slightly peculiar because this old man before him was a spiritual cultivator, while old man Chi…

Xiaomo had earlier secretly informed him that old man Chi was a demonic cultivator.

“Of course I know ‘im! Me and that old fogey have never seen eye to eye. Every time I see ‘im, I fight ‘im!” The old man retorted in a huff.

Ye Xiuwen raised his eyebrow. His guts told him that the relationship between this old man and old man Chi was in fact pretty decent.

Regardless, he turned his attention towards the words of ridicule that the old man had mentioned about him and Jun Xiaomo.

Ye Xiuwen’s feelings for Jun Xiaomo had always been buried in the depths of his subconsciousness. Now that the old man had brought it out, he couldn’t help but feel slightly awkward and embarrassed about it. Thus, he lowered his head and explained the misunderstanding, “Senior loves to joke. The relationship between little martial sister and I are nothing more than that of martial siblings.”

“Hmph! Ye can continue maintaining yer martial siblings relationship then! Don’t regret it when yer lady leaps into the bosom of some other man~ Sigh. I don’t know what ye younglin’s think these days. Even love has to be so secretive. Back in the days, I…” The old man looked as though he had thought about something. But he immediately caught himself and adjusted his thoughts as he turned back to the topic at hand, “Eh, eh…forget it, forget it. What am I doing telling ye damn li’l brat these things. Good thing I haven’t accepted ye as a disciple. Otherwise, I might get so exasperated that I’ll die!”

Ye Xiuwen grew sullen. If there was hope, of course he wanted to go back.

The atmosphere grew tense and silent for a moment. Then, when Ye Xiuwen finally raised his head again, a trace of resolve could be seen in the depths of his eyes –

“Senior, please accept junior as your disciple.” Ye Xiuwen half-knelt to the floor and bowed politely to the old man.

“Eh, have ye finally thought things through?” The old man glanced at Ye Xiuwen.

“I’ve thought things through. Senior, please accept junior as your disciple.” Ye Xiuwen made a fist and palm salute to the old man.

“Hmph! I don’t wanna accept you as a disciple no more.” The old man dismissed Ye Xiuwen in a huff.

“This…” A sense of remorse swelled up from the depths of his heart.

“Fine. If ye want me to accept ye as disciple, it’s simple – let me see yer resolve.” The old man raised his hands and gestured for Ye Xiuwen to get back to his feet. Then, he pointed towards the rest of the room and the herb garden outside and instructed, “First, clean up this place. Be careful! This place has countless treasures and precious things. Pick ‘em up gently, clean ‘em carefully, put ‘em down gently. Same for the herb garden. Those pile of books tell yer all about ‘em herbs. Take a gander for yerself.”

After he finished speaking, the old man waved his sleeves and took his leave.

Ye Xiuwen examined the pile of books haphazardly strewn all over the floor as well as the dusty and disorderly room. He sighed in exasperation and shook his head. Then, he began to clean up carefully.

Cleaning up a room sounded easy, but it was an extremely difficult and arduous process. That pile of books had been left there for years on end. Being strewn all over the floor was the least of his concerns right now. Some books had missing corners. Some books had rotting pages. Then, there were loose sheets of papers strewn all over the place that had evidently fallen out from some books and had their contents all jumbled up.

Thus, Ye Xiuwen decided to begin with the books.

He first straightened and picked up each of the books. He replaced each missing corner on the pages of these books with blank paper. For the pages that were rotting and blurring, he would copy the contents on a good sheet of paper and replace the rotting sheets with the good sheets of paper. Then, he sorted out the loose sheets of paper and returned them to the rightful place within each respective book.

It took Ye Xiuwen three full days before he finally sorted out the books. During this period of time, the old man had once asked him to cook for them as well. But when Ye Xiuwen's attempt nearly caused the old man to have an explosive diarrhea, the old man no longer asked Ye Xiuwen to prepare their food.

Ye Xiuwen was an extremely meticulous and patient person. After he had sorted out the books, he retrieved some materials from his Interspatial Ring and constructed a simple bookcase, before storing the books neatly on its shelves.

Once he was done with this, he began to examine the various ornaments within the room in order to determine how each one was to be maintained.

It had to be said that the old man could have easily told Ye Xiuwen how each ornament should be maintained. The fact that he wanted Ye Xiuwen to figure things out for himself clearly meant that he was trying to make things difficult for this prospective disciple of his.

But Ye Xiuwen did not utter a single word of complaint. He simply accepted the old man’s instructions and began examining each any every ornament.

In the process of his inspections, what stunned Ye Xiuwen was the fact that these seemingly normal ornaments on display were in fact incredible artefacts, each in their own rights. Even the simple flower vase on the table was a priceless ninth-grade spirit tool that could hardly be found or purchased from the marketplace.

Ye Xiuwen was completely flabbergasted when he realized how the old man had haphazardly left all of these priceless treasures wherever he pleased, without bothering to maintain them at all.

It took Ye Xiuwen another three weeks to return each and every piece of ornament to their original condition…

Just like that, time passed by slowly. By the time Ye Xiuwen had sorted out the old man’s herb garden, approximately three months of time had passed in total.

Ye Xiuwen hardly saw the old man during this period of time. The old man would even disappear for stretches of up to two weeks at a time without telling Ye Xiuwen where he had gone.

But Ye Xiuwen’s discretion told him that this was completely outside his scope of care. Thus, he continued to focus solely on the tasks set for him by the old man as he painstakingly worked towards their completion.

Today, the old man had finally returned to check on the fruit of his prospective disciple’s labour. After making his rounds, the old man stroked his beard as he remarked, “Not bad, not bad. Pretty good, pretty good. From now on, ye can regularly help me clean out the herb garden and tidy up this place from time to time. Feel free to look through the books too.”

“Yes, master.” Ye Xiuwen bowed to the old man.

The old man raised his eyebrows curiously, “I haven’t even said I’m acceptin’ ye as disciple. How come yer already callin’ me master, hmm?”

“The books here have all been written by master, haven’t they? I noticed that these were all the fruit of your painstaking labour. Since master was willing to let me browse through its contents freely, then this means that you’ve already recognized me as a disciple in your heart.” Ye Xiuwen calmly responded.

The old man was stunned for a moment, before he broke out into a hearty laughter and commented, “My judgment ain’t too bad after all. I’d thought that ye would always be a stone-headed li’l brat! All’s good, all’s good. Hahahaha…”

Ye Xiuwen bowed respectfully once more, “Thank you, master, for your lavish teachings.”

Seeing that his disciple always looked so calm, the old man snorted and added, as though hoping to provoke Ye Xiuwen once more, “Don’t get yer hopes up too high just yet. Yer master can teach, but yer cultivation is all up to ye. My teachings aren’t gonna be easy, and it’s gonna be even harder for yer to defeat those spirit beasts outside to return to the surface. If ye wanna go back to see yer li’l lover quickly, then ye best be prepared to work hard, li’l brat.”

Once he thought about Jun Xiaomo, Ye Xiuwen’s eyes were once again filled with sorrow.

“Yes, master!”

This time, Ye Xiuwen’s words were much more lighthearted than before.

The old man stroked his long white beard, waved his hands and took his leave. As he left, the old man chuckled in his heart – Younglin’s these days need to face some hardship. Ah, old fogey Chi’s disciple is my disciple’s love rival, eh? Let’s have ‘em fight each other once we get out. As the disciple of me, old man Le, ye better not be worse than old fogey Chi’s disciple!

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