There was dew on the plants and fog covering the morning sun, which was rising in the east.
The Spiritual Cultivators of the Tiansang Spirit Palace had long been awake and were taking in spiritual energy in various places. Some of them were on trees, some in pavilions, some in their friends' yards…
Leaves rustled. Spirit magpies chirped. Everything was serene and wonderful.
However, two sneaky figures were shifting along on a quiet, meandering path. One of them was tall and burly, while the other was short and stout.
The tall figure was a muscular man. He had a burlap sack in his hands, and his back was hunched as he looked from side to side. It was obvious that he was going to do something bad.
By his side was a shorter teenager who only reached the tall man's neck. He had a longsword sheathed at his waist, and there was an excited expression on his face.
"Senior Liu, why were we chosen for the mission of corpse collecting? Don't the elders of the outer yard usually deal with this?" the shorter teenager, Zhou Zuo, asked.
"Naturally, it was orchestrated. Do you think this opportunity fell into your lap by chance?" The muscular man, Liu Zhen, looked around him. When he realized that no one was paying any attention to them, he heaved a sigh of relief. "I heard that Boss Wen gave them a large number of Spirit Crystals."
"So that's the case…" Zhou Zuo squinted, then rubbed his hands together and lowered his voice. "Then whose corpse are we collecting?"
"Xu Xiaoshou's!" Liu Zhen walked as he said, "I heard that he engaged in death seclusion in an attempt to break through Level Three for this Windcloud Competition. If we count the time, today should be his last day. He hasn't come out for a long time, which means that he must've died."
"Level Three?" Zhou Zuo looked at him in shock. Xu Xiaoshou's cultivation level wasn't much higher than his. "What kind of treasures could a Level Three have? We might as well let him die on his own!"
"What do you know!?" Liu Zhen scolded him. "That Xu Xiaoshou was in the spirit palace for nearly three years. If nothing else, his yard alone is worth thousands of Spirit Crystals."
"Wow, he's that rich?"
"That's right! I also heard that he has a ninth-grade spirit spiritual sword."
Zhou Zuo's eyes nearly fell out of his sockets when he heard this. "Ninth grade spiritual sword?"
"Lower your volume!" Liu Zhen said, afraid that someone might've heard his shocked exclamation. He looked around at the dissatisfied gazes of the people around them, then scolded the top of his partner's head again. Was this lad not afraid that the people around them would hear him shouting so loudly?
The two of them chatted as they walked along the meandering path before finally coming to a quiet yard. The yard was enveloped in a large array.
Liu Zhen, who had been leading the way, suddenly stopped in his tracks.
"It's quite far away… Oh my!"
Zhou Zuo, who was walking behind him, slammed into Liu Zhen's back. He rubbed his forehead in pain and grumbled, "Senior Liu, why did you suddenly stop…"
He couldn't see what was ahead of them because he was shorter. He walked around him and suddenly understood why Liu Zhen had suddenly stopped in his tracks.
A dozen people were sitting cross-legged in front of the yard.
They weren't speaking. They were all sitting there silently and cultivating. The scene looked incredibly harmonious.
"Why are there so many people?"
Zhou Zuo was confused. He raised his head and looked at Liu Zhen. "Didn't you say that Boss Wen obtained this opportunity by spending a great deal of Spirit Crystals?" he asked doubtfully.
He slammed his palm onto the top of Zhou Zuo's head when he said this. Liu Zhen was so angry he couldn't speak.
"Can't you tell? All of these people got smart!"
"Darn it. They could've picked somewhere else to train, but instead they chose to come here. The information must've been leaked!"
Zhou Zuo rubbed his head, a bitter expression on his face. "You shouldn't vent your anger on me," he thought.
The dozen people who were sitting cross-legged in front of the yard noticed that somebody else had come. They couldn't help but be happy. All of them started chattering.
"Yo, someone else has come. They're a little late. The sun's already rising from the east."
"That must be Liu Zhen. Who's the person beside him? He must be new. Did he come to witness the action?"
"Hey, Liu Zhen, you're too negligent. I came before the sun rose, and there were already people here…"
"Tch, I came last night."
"I came the day before!"
"I came three days ago!"
A commotion broke out in front of the yard. Liu Zhen didn't know if they were boasting or not. In the end, someone claimed that they'd been here for a month, and everyone instantly turned to look at that person in awe.
Liu Zhen felt dizzy and said furiously, "What are you guys here for?!"
"Hey, Liu Zhen. We can't say."
"But if you must know, we're here for the ninth grade spiritual sword."
Zhou Zuo nearly burst out laughing. Did everyone know the information? Hehe. And Liu Zhen had told him to keep quiet.
He glanced at Liu Zhen and swallowed the words he'd been about to say. Liu Zhen's expression was dark, as if he'd just eaten a string of firecrackers and was going to explode the next second.
Liu Zhen felt like his lungs were about to explode. Boss Wen had spent a great deal of Spirit Crystals to obtain this information. Why was it so cheap?
The people in their camp wouldn't have leaked this information, so had all of these people bribed the elder?
The person just now had said he couldn't say...
Darn it. Which elder would be so immoral as to sell a piece of information to so many people!?
He couldn't voice what he'd wanted to say. It felt like there was something stuck in his throat. The two of them stood still in front of the path. Awkwardness seemed to hang in the air like a crying crow.
The people in front of the yard seemed to have experienced this many times. They expertly patted the ground.
"Liu Zhen, come over and have a seat."
"Don't stand on ceremony. Just treat this as your own yard."
"Haha!" Zhou Zuo couldn't help but erupt into laughter.
Liu Zhen pushed him onto the ground with a slap, then walked over, looking dejected. He stopped halfway in shock when he looked at the yard again.
He saw the formless barrier that enveloped the yard start to ripple. The next moment, the barrier split open and revealed the door of the yard.
The crowd that was sitting cross-legged in front of the yard also noticed this transformation. They all turned to look. Some of them looked at the color of the sky and noticed that something was off.
"What time is it? Didn't they say that the array would only be dispelled at noon?"
"Who dispelled the array? No one here knows how to dispel arrays. Was it you, Liu Zhen?"
Liu Zhen nearly ran forward to slam the person onto the ground. He was so far away from the yard. How could he have dispelled the array?
Also, who are you to call my name like a friend? We're not close! I don't know you.
Liu Zhen was speechless at this group of people, who were acting friendly with him. However, now was not the time to get caught up in this. He focused his attention on the door of the yard in front of him.
The door was pushed open. A tall, slender figure carrying a black sword was leaning by the door, his eyes sleepy.
"Why are you so noisy this early in the morning? Are you trying to prevent me from sleeping?"
Xu Xiaoshou was irritated. He'd wanted to train last night but had suddenly had a thought: he breathed when he slept, and breathing meant training…
Thus, he'd lain down to go to bed!
He hadn't expected another mosquito to appear after he'd just killed one. And then three more had appeared after that!
Tormented by the mosquitoes, he hadn't been able to sleep. He'd toiled the entire night before finally falling asleep, only to be jolted awake by the noise early in the morning!
Even though there was a soundproof array around the yard, it wasn't a high-level array.
This group of people had gotten louder and louder, and their voices had drifted into his room like a buzzing mosquito.
Unable to tolerate it any longer, he had grabbed his sword and gotten out of bed.
Xu Xiaoshou had been in the outer yard for three years and understood what this group of people was thinking. Thinking that he'd died, they wanted to seize the opportunity to collect his corpse and profit off of it!
Unfortunately for them, while he had died, another him had risen and taken his place.
He leaned by the door and looked around him, then said in a mocking tone, "People, why are you crowding around my door so early in the morning? I don't want to buy breakfast!"
All of the people looked toward the swordsman leaning by the door. They were all shocked.
He'd achieved a breakthrough and come out of his seclusion?
It's well understood that you can't get far without natural talent. Xu Xiaoshou had spent the last three years telling everyone that he was born to be stuck at Level Three. How could he have achieved a breakthrough just by engaging in death seclusion?
What kind of luck did he have!?
"You didn't die?"
"What happened? You… You broke through to Level Four?"
Xu Xiaoshou had wanted to speak, but he suddenly saw the notification panel in his mind update.
"Got doubted. Passive Points +12."
Xu Xiaoshou was elated. He had spent the last night being frustrated over how he had to attract mosquitoes with the fragrant smell of his flesh to increase his Passive Points. Now, it looked like…
It wasn't just being attacked that gained him Passive Points. Being doubted did it too.
Could it be that any passive words or actions would increase his Passive Points?
With the points he'd just earned, and the one's he'd gained from being assaulted six times by mosquitoes last night, he now had 18 Passive Points.
But, he had been bitten many times last night, yet each time had only given him +1 Passive Point, so why was it "+12" for being doubted?
Xu Xiaoshou was confused. He looked at people present and counted. There were seventeen people.
Could it be that twelve people within the group doubted that he'd broken through to Level Four?
Zhou Zuo finally got to Liu Zhen's side and asked softly, "This is Xu Xiaoshou?"
"Got doubted. Passive Points +1."
Xu Xiaoshou was elated. His hearing was great. Out of all these corpse collectors, there was a person who didn't even know whose corpse they'd come to collect?
He walked out of the yard with his black sword in hand. The group of people moved back.
Xu Xiaoshou had spent all of his Spirit Crystals to purchase the ninth grade spiritual sword to show how determined he was to undergo death seclusion.
The name of the sword was "Hiding Pain," meaning that he hid his pain and suffering. He'd been determined to die along with the sword if he was unable to achieve a breakthrough.
Now that he had succeeded in breaking through to Level Four, he had the ninth grade spiritual sword combined with the White Cloud Sword Technique that he had spent three years cultivating… Even though he had only learned one stroke, he might stand a chance against this group of people in front of him.
The person with the highest cultivation level out of the people that had come here was Liu Zhen, who was Spiritual Cultivation Level Five. The high-level bosses woudn't come out in person to collect his corpse. They had too high of status.
The group of people instinctively retreated when they saw Xu Xiaoshou come out of his seclusion.
One person holding a sword had shocked the entire group.
"To think that you would try to collect my corpse. Mine. Xu Xiaoshou's. Why did your bosses not come personally?!"
In both cultivation and experience, Xu Xiaoshou, who had been in the outer yard for three years, was considered an elder. He'd been here long enough to be called a senior.
How else would he have the assets to own a small yard and a spiritual sword.
The people who were more powerful than him had reached the Innate Stage and headed into the inner yard. Some of the so-called bosses who had remained in the outer yard had followed behind him some years ago.
Thus, no one dared to talk back when he spoke. Even Liu Zhen, who was one level higher than him, remained silent when he saw the spiritual glow circulating the black sword on Xu Xiaoshou's shoulder.
"Scram, go back to where you came from!" Xu Xiaoshou waved his arms like he was chasing ducks away.
The group hadn't expected Xu Xiaoshou to immediately take the initiative the moment he came out to crush their spirits. They resentfully turned to leave, none of them daring to mutter another word.
"Senior Liu, are we going to leave just like that?" Zhou Zuo asked cautiously.
Liu Zhen looked at Xu Xiaoshou. Even though he was indignant, it wasn't like he could charge forward and kill him before dragging his corpse away, right?
Personal battles were forbidden in the spirit palace, and even if they weren't, he doubted whether or not he'd be able to defeat Xu Xiaoshou.
"Let's go," he sighed, then left with the group.
Xu Xiaoshou suddenly called out from behind them, as if he'd just remembered something.
Everyone in the group turned around, confused. They saw Xu Xiaoshou pierce his sword into the ground and shout, "You guys come and go as you please. Do you really think that I don't have a temper?"
Everyone got angry. They had wasted hours of their time waiting here and hadn't managed to get anything. They had already turned around to leave. What else did Xu Xiaoshou want?
"What can you do about it?" Liu Zhen knitted his brows and asked. Xu Xiaoshou wouldn't be able to defend himself if this group of people surrounded and attacked him. Had he become insane after his death seclusion and wanted to fight all seventeen of them by himself?
He saw Xu Xiaoshou snicker. "Nothing. Don't get too agitated. I was just asking a question."
The group was silent. Xu Xiaoshou said with a jovial expression, "I said that I've broken through to Level Four. Do you believe me?"
Everyone froze when they heard his question. He'd stopped everyone to ask such a stupid question? However, in order to leave this place, all of them played along.
"We do, we do!"
"You've reached Level Four. You sure are impressive, Senior Xu. So can we leave now?"
Xu Xiaoshou froze. Why were they reacting this way?
"Don't do that. Doubt me. Please doubt me as you please!" he screamed internally. He had effortfully come up with an idea to gain Passive Points, yet no one was playing along with him.
He glanced at the group of people who were growing impatient and wanted to leave, then suddenly had a burst of inspiration. He picked up his sword and stood up straight, then said casually, "I won't hide it from all of you. Actually, I've already broken through to Level Five…"
"How could that be?"
"Hehe, Senior Xu, you must be joking…"
Everyone voiced their thoughts. They weren't blind. It was as clear as day that he had the aura of a Level Four, yet he was trying to say that he was a Level Five?
He was lying through his teeth. He sure was impressive.
"Got doubted. Passive Points +15."
Xu Xiaoshou was elated. So that was what he had to do?
He saw that there were only 15 points, which meant that there were two people who believed him? Were they dumb?
"Hehe, actually, I've already broken through to Level Six…"
"Got doubted. Passive Points +17."
Great. This was a group of people that would be useful for collecting Passive Points.
Xu Xiaoshou spread his hands. "I'll stop pretending and tell you the truth. Actually, I'm already Level Seven…"
The group felt the veins in their foreheads bulge. Was this Xu Xiaoshou using them for his amusement or was he doing this for another reason?
"Got doubted. Passive Points +13."
Hey, why did his points go down?
Xu Xiaoshou was only paying attention to the notification panel in his mind and didn't notice the expressions on their faces. He immediately added, "All right, all right, I'll stop joking. I've already reached Level Eigh…"
"Xu Xiaoshou, you've gone too far!"
"You can kill us, but don't humiliate us!"
Xu Xiaoshou was shocked. He came to his senses and saw the seventeen furious faces in front of him. He immediately moved back into the yard and closed the door, then instantly activated the array.
My obedient friends, I only asked a few questions. Why did you have to blow up as if you'd just eaten a string of explosives!?