Ever since Teng Qingshan returned home to the Xing Ying Sect while carrying the two Heaven Class Secret Codices, he began going into seclusion frequently.
Every time he went into seclusion, it would always require about a month’s worth of time. Even after emerging for three to five days, he would resolve some sect matters, accompany his wife and children, and then go back into seclusion again… This frequency shocked even his wife, Li Jun, greatly. After all, if there were no gains from going into seclusion, continuing to stay in seclusion forcefully wouldn’t benefit him and instead would negatively affect his mental state.
Inside the East Flower Garden, Xing Yi Sect:
Li Jun was currently standing by the side of the pond, sprinkling some feed for the fish in the pond. A group of fish were all striving hard to eat. From time to time, there were fish jumping out from the water’s surface.
“Madam, the Sovereign still hasn’t emerged from seclusion.” Beside Li Jun was her personal maid, whose name was Qiu Ju.
“Mm, there’s probably still another half a month to go.” Li Jun shook her head.
Qiu Ju stayed at the side, accompanying and chatting with Li Jun.
The two fan doors of the nearby practice room slowly pulled open. This made Li Jun suddenly turn to look, and she saw a person walk out through the doors of the practice room.
“Qingshan.” Li Jun ran over in pleasant surprise.
“Little Jun.” A wide smile filled Teng Qingshan’s face.
“You were much faster this time than in the past, and Qingshan, you’ve got on such a wide smile. I’m guessing you must have gained a lot? Why? Did you make a breakthrough to the Insightful Emptiness Realm?” Li Jun didn’t a have Domain, so she had no way of sensing the changes in Teng Qingshan’s aura.
“Is it so easy to achieve a breakthrough?”
Teng Qingshan smiled as his left hand drew a line in the air softly, like scattering a multitude of drops of sweet nectar. The surrounding space filled with the aura of life. “This time, I gained an understanding of the Dao of Life. Now I completely understand the Two Daos of Life and Death. Being able to comprehend these Two Daos of Life and Death also means that my comprehension of the Five Elements is a level higher.”
When the gold element, fire element, and part of the water element are mixed together, they become the Dao of Death, or in other words, the Dao of Destruction.
When the wood element, earth element, and part of the water element mix together, they become the Dao of Life.
It had already been a full year since Teng Qingshan had fought hand-to-hand with Emperor Yu’s Hall’s Huang Tianqin. During this one year, Teng Qingshan had felt himself improve almost every time he went into seclusion. It went on right until today… when he finally comprehended the Dao of Life. However, comprehending the Dao of Life and Death did not actually increase his strength.
“As for the five elements, I’m very close to attaining a ’round’ state. Actually, I can now sense that I’m only a bit short of reaching the Insightful Emptiness Realm.
“So much so that after comprehending the Dao of Life and Death, I wanted to continue cultivating in seclusion, to do it in one go and step into the Insightful Emptiness Realm. However… after just comprehending the Dao of Life and Death, my frame of mind wasn’t right. I couldn’t push on.” Teng Qingshan shook his head. “I’d be better off resting for a few days and then contemplating it thoroughly. Then I’ll work hard to break through to the Insightful Emptiness Realm in one go.”
To want something in haste but being unable to get there…
This sort of realm upgrade—it wasn’t something that was attainable just out of desire.
“Where are Hongwu and Linlin?” Teng Qingshan asked with knitted brows. “Are they not here again?”
“They’re in Yong’an County,” Li Jun answered.
Ever since he became aware of the incident where his Internal Martial Arts disciples had gotten robbed and killed, and thus revealing the existence of a conspiracy, Teng Qingshan had been cautious and solemn. He’d ordered that it’d be best for his children to stay at the Great Yan Mountain or go to Yong’an County! Aside from these two places, they were absolutely not allowed to go anywhere until this crisis was resolved.
The Great Yan Mountain was Teng Qingshan’s base camp.
As for Yong’an County, it was the Gui Yuan Sect’s core, and the Dreamy Cloud Martial Immortal, Mu Tao, was keeping watch over there. So Teng Qingshan would naturally be at ease.
On the afternoon of the day that Teng Qingshan emerged from seclusion:
“Teacher, Teacher.” Yang Dong, Teng Qingshan’s second disciple, rushed over hurriedly.
Teng Qingshan was currently sitting by the pond, drinking tea while watching the fish in the pond.
“Ah Dong, what’s got you in such a hurry?” Teng Qingshan asked with knitted brows. Every time Teng Qingshan emerged from seclusion, Yang Dong had picked a time to report almost one months’ matters to Teng Qingshan. It had rarely been in such a haste.
“Teacher,” Yang Dong said, “I heard that Teacher emerged from seclusion, so I immediately came over… Currently, there is indeed an important matter.”
“Tell me.” Teng Qingshan’s brows knitted slightly.
“Two days ago, someone finally found out that Gong Yu, whom our Xing Yi Sect has spent a whole year searching for throughout the Nine Prefectures, has been concealing his identity and hiding in a small town in northeast Youzhou,” Yang Dong said.
“Gong Yu?” Teng Qingshan’s eyes lit up.
This traitorous disciple was indeed a thorn in Teng Qingshan’s heart! This was the first time they had a traitorous disciple, and yet they couldn’t catch him. It negatively affected the reputation of their sect.
“Has he been caught?” Teng Qingshan asked.
“I’ve already ordered some people to begin going all-out to capture him,” Yang Dong answered. “Teacher, please don’t worry. A great number of the Xing Yi Sect’s troops have rushed over to the surroundings of that small town… Additionally, for this matter of capturing Gong Yu, we’ve also gained the Heavenly God Palace’s help in Youzhou. I believe that this Gong Yu definitely won’t be able to escape.”
By setting up a bounty in the Nine Prefectures, the Xing Yi Sect naturally wanted to organize everything properly with each of the major sects.
“Good. This Gong Yu must be captured,” Teng Qingshan said solemnly.
“This disciple understands.” Yang Dong had long since gotten so angry that his teeth ached.
That traitorous disciple had actually managed to hide for a year without getting caught. If he managed to escape again this time, then Yang Dong, the Substitute Sovereign, would be embarrassed.
Three days later…
Teng Qingshan’s family of four gathered together in the East Flower Garden.
“The two of you could bear to come back?” Teng Qingshan smiled as he looked at his son and daughter.
“Dad, we didn’t go to have fun. We were busy with matters,” Honglin said.
“Oh, you’re the craftiest.” Teng Qingshan grinned, and then his gaze fell onto his son, Hongwu. “Hongwu, this time in Yong’an County… Are you getting along with the Lei Family’s young miss? If you both have feelings for each other, then I’ll send people over to propose a marriage and I’ll discuss with the Lei Family when you should get married.”
“Dad… Little Ru’s mourning period isn’t over yet,” Hongwu said.
“Oh, look at this brain of mine. I totally forgot about this.” Teng Qingshan smiled slightly while nodding.
His son and daughter were both grown now.
Teng Qingshan automatically paid very close attention to his children’s major turning points in life. After all, one could not be careless when it came to major events like getting married. So, now, regarding the young lady that his son, Hongwu, liked… Teng Qingshan had already secretly ordered someone to investigate her background and matters thoroughly a long time ago.
This Lei Family wasn’t some influential family, but they had a few properties. However, in Teng Qingshan’s eyes, wealth simply didn’t account for much.
If her family’s background was clean and the girl had decent morals and conduct, then that would be enough.
“It’s still Hongwu who doesn’t make me worry,” Teng Qingshan said inwardly. “He just went looking for a girl and found one who meets the standards.” At present, the Teng Family was definitely an influential family at the highest peak of the Land of the Nine Prefectures. Many people were trying in vain to enter the Teng Family Village. There were even more people who wanted to have their daughter marry Teng Qingshan’s son.
As such, Teng Qingshan didn’t dare be careless.
“But Linlin, this child. Seriously…” Teng Qingshan sighed inwardly.
Back then, they had met a youth named Wei Jiang. He had now become an elite of the Xing Yi Sect, and the sect had been focusing on raising his cultivation level. Unfortunately, back then, Linlin only had feelings of curiosity toward Wei Jiang. Furthermore, after Wei Jiang joined the Xing Yi Sect, he cultivated Internal Martial Arts like a mad fool. He had not taken any initiative at all to get close to Linlin.
Naturally, the pair hadn’t developed even a bit of affection for each other, so they could only have the relationship of martial brother and sister.
“Is it possible that my daughter wants to be like Pei San’s daughter, staying unmarried her whole life?” Teng Qingshan wondered inwardly. “However, I heard from Little Jun that her teacher, Pei Xuelian, seems to have been cheated on by a man in the past. That’s why she has been unwilling to marry for her whole lifetime. I don’t think Linlin’s like this.”
While Teng Qingshan was pondering this, Li Jun began chatting with her children at the side.
“Mom, let me tell you something,” Hongwu suddenly said.
“What is it?” Li Jun said in surprise.
“Actually, Sis already has someone she likes.” Hongwu laughed mischievously.
Both Teng Qingshan and Li Jun got a big shock and turned to look at their daughter, Honglin, in astonishment. Honglin’s cheeks were flushed red, but she still pretended to be fine. She shot her brother, Hongwu, a glare, sending him a warning gaze. Then she laughed and said, “Dad, Mom. There aren’t many who can make me like them. You can relax. Those who want to marry me will at least have to be able to defeat me. Otherwise, I’ll hold them in contempt.
“Now, with this one… We’ve only chatted for a while. Things have not even begun to take shape,” Honglin said confidently.
Teng Qingshan and Li Jun exchanged a glance and laughed.
“Mm, I’ll just wait to order someone to do a thorough investigation as to just who this man is… This man who has gotten close to Honglin,” Teng Qingshan said inwardly. Currently, he did not dare make even a small guess.
“Hm? Ah Dong?”
Teng Qingshan could sense Yang Dong’s aura clearly. Yang Dong was rushing over to the East Flower Garden rapidly.
“Ah Dong is here,” Teng Qingshan opened his mouth to say.
“Why has Second Senior Brother come here?” Hongwu and Honglin asked in surprise and immediately looked at the gate. Very soon, Yang Dong’s figure appeared outside the gate.
“Teacher, Teacher,” Yang Dong yelled from far away.
“What, has Gong Yu been captured?” Teng Qingshan asked. This was the matter he was most concerned about today.
“That Gong Yu who betrayed the sect?” Hongwu said in surprise.
“That scoundrel has been found?” Honglin’s eyes opened wide.
Yang Dong looked at Teng Qingshan for a moment with a pained expression. Then he passed over the secret letter in his hand. “Teacher, the intelligence report is here.”
When Teng Qingshan saw Yang Dong’s expression, he got an ominous feeling. With knitted eyebrows, Teng Qingshan took the intelligence report and read it attentively.
“Second Senior Brother, tell us quickly,” Honglin couldn’t help but urge.
At one side, Yang Dong said to Honglin, Hongwu, and Li Jun, “Yesterday night, our people found out where Gong Yu has been hiding. Inside and out, we had the three-floor building completely surrounded. This Gong Yu had nowhere at all he could escape to. However… he simply didn’t escape. When we charged in, wanting to capture him…
“Before we arrived, that Gong Yu had actually already doused his body in kerosene. So, when we charged in, he set himself aflame.
“He even roared loudly, saying…
“‘Teng Qingshan, you can forget about getting my corpse in a good condition.'” As he said this, Yang Dong couldn’t help but glance at Teng Qingshan.
The moment the two people beside him, Hongwu and Honglin, thought of a person using fire to burn themselves while loudly shouting out that line accompanied by that fierce expression filled with bitter resentment… they shuddered.
“This Gong Yu is only… how old? How could he have so much hatred toward Dad?”
Hongwu and Honglin blurted out.
Teng Qingshan looked at the row of words in the secret letter.
By self-immolating, Gong Yu wouldn’t be leaving a corpse in a good condition. This meant that Teng Qingshan would have no way of proving the corpse was Gong Yu.
“The real one who has animosity toward me is naturally not this youngster, but his father or his master! Or… a sect!” Teng Qingshan stated slowly.