71 Chapter 71: The Yun Family PART I

'Which fucking protagonist's beginner's village is this?!' Xiao Hong raged inwardly. 

'Bloody hell! Normal protagonists are sent higher up in the hierarchy, but I was punted down instead, ugh!' 

She gritted her teeth. 

'That bitch Goddess of Luck! Is she blind?!' A hailstorm of abuse was hurled at the innocent Gods and Goddesses of Luck, enough to start half a dozen Divine Wars. 

But Xiao Hong knew her place. While she unleashed a torrential rain of abuse on the luck deities, she steered clear of mentioning the big boss - Heavenly Daddy. She had no desire to endure another tribulation aimed at her already beleaguered backside - she was miserable enough already! The last time she cursed the Heavens, she was beaten until the number of bones in her body had tripled and an entire Realm collapsed on her head.

So, she decided to leave the 'Heaven Defying' to the local protagonist. 

After a deep breath and a few more choice words that wouldn't win her any etiquette awards, Xiao Hong calmed down. 

She closed her eyes and carefully operated the Celestial God's Essence Cultivation Method, careful not to absorb too much Spiritual Energy at once. After a few moments, she sighed in relief.

'Thankfully, the Spiritual Energy of Heaven and Earth is still the same as that of the Main World - just rather sparse and thin.' She sighed in relief after realising that the feeling of Spiritual Energy was exactly the same as that of the Great Mystic Realm. 'At least, I wasn't chucked into a lower Realm or something.'

She shuddered at the thought. She was already struggling with Cultivation as it was. It would be a true nightmare if she were dropped in some weaker Realm with fewer resources on top of that. At that point, she might as well trade her Cultivation Mat for a rocking chair - there was a high chance that she would really die of old age!

Xiao Hong continued to assess the Spiritual Energy for a bit more before opening her eyes.

'Actually, it is not impossible for a cultivator to reach the Nirvana Stage here.' She mused, stroking her jaw thoughtfully, before quietly shaking her head. 'But it's definitely not enough if one wants to reach it before 30 - or even 50. Moreover, for me, reaching Nirvana is simply not possible.' 

Owing to her relatively shitty talent, the progress she made for the same amount of Spiritual Energy and the same Cultivation Method was vastly inferior to someone with more talent. Add on to that the mini-black holes she called Cultivation Methods? Yeah, she did not have high hopes.

The amount of Spiritual Energy of Heaven and Earth she could sense was barely enough to reach the 8th Disaster - in about a few centuries. 

'Mhm. That's not long at all!' She thought sarcastically, violently suppressing the urge to flip the bed and unleash another torrent of abuse at the Goddess of Luck!

She took another deep breath and slowly exhaled it.

'Ugh, I really hope I'm not too far away from the Sect…' She pinched the bridge of her nose, sensing a behemoth of a headache coming her way, insistent on making a nest out of her head. 'As long as I am on the Eastern Mystic Continent, I should be able to make it back if I spend some money. But if I am on other continents, things might take a turn for the worst.'

The other major continents were in a similar situation as the Eastern Mystic Continent - with their resources almost completely monopolised by their respective Super Factions and their subordinate factions. Whether it was the northwestern Grand Mystic Continent or the northern Sky Martial Continent, they all had near-perfect control over their continent's resources.

That made gathering resources much harder. The best and the most reliable way to solve this was to simply join a Sect. However, since she was already associated with the Purple Spirit Sect, that ship had already sailed and sunk miserably. 

Then, there was the colossal Brilliant Heavenly Light Sea which sprawled across the southern expanse and a hefty chunk of the west and was brimming with resources, was something like a Haven for Loose Cultivators - even if there were very few that could go past the Transformation Stage because they lacked inheritances beyond that level.

At the same time, it was also extremely dangerous since the sheer immensity of the place made it impossible for local Super Factions to effectively manage and enforce order. So, it was quite a violent place.

'For a weakling like me, that place might as well be a death sentence.' Xiao Hong thought. She could only hope she wasn't dumped there.

Finally, there was the central Sea of Myriad Tribulation. There was basically no information available to Xiao Hong besides the fact that it was perpetually inundated by terrifying storms that even Transformation Stage beings were helpless against. Further in, there were terrifying island-sized sea monsters that could rival Core Formation experts. 

'Yeah, nah. That continent's worth of distance is just perfect.' She shivered. She did not know about others, but personally, dying of old age was vastly preferable to being bitch-slapped out of existence by some omega dolphin.

'Ugh.' She shivered again. 'There's no point in thinking about this.

'It is now more imperative to figure out where I am and how I can get back to the Sect,' she thought.


Lost in thought for a moment, Xiao Hong's head snapped up, focusing her gaze on the door - having sensed the two people she heard talking arrive just beyond it.

A fist thumped against the door several times.

"May I come in?" A rich baritone sounded from the other side of the door, somehow reminding Xiao Hong of the Viking game she used to play.

"Please do," she replied while wondering how she could get the man to narrate a few documentaries for her. 

With a minor creak, the door opened, revealing a figure that filled the doorway.

The figure was an unusually tall and sturdy man. The man looked to be in his fifties. He had a square jaw covered in a thick, well-trimmed beard under his rather large nose. His piercing yellow eyes held the glint of a predator honed by experience. They reminded her of the Jade Zephyr Great Eagle she had battled in the Demon Beast Haven Realm.

An aura of quiet confidence rolled off of him as if he was assured in everything he did - it was a sort of aura one had after holding power for a long time with few rivals without letting their ability get to their heads. 

The sparse white strands in his hair and beard and the crinkles at the corner of his eyes lent the man a sense of age and maturity, making him seem more dependable. Loose robes concealed a powerful build and his slightly exposed chest was not very dissimilar to the Steel-backed Great Apes that she had encountered, giving him a strong masculine aura. 

Just behind him was a young woman. Seemingly, taking after the man beside her, the woman who seemed to be in her mid-twenties was also quite tall - more than a head taller than Xiao Hong. 

She wasn't exactly the most beautiful person Xiao Hong had laid her eyes on, but she had an oddly magnetic aura around her, subconsciously drawing one's gaze to herself. Clad in leather armour that fit her lithe leopard-like figure like a glove, she gave off the feeling of contained power. The graceful contours of muscles of her exposed arms, the short swords at her hips, along with her bright yellow eyes that glinted with a steely resolve gave her the heroic appearance of a female knight. 

As a fan of a particular anime series about summoning heroic spirits, Xiao Hong wholeheartedly gave her the seal of approval!

While Xiao Hong was sizing up the two of them, they were also carefully analysing their guest. Well, Yun Meng was. 

Yun Hua looked at the woman opposite her in awe. 'She really is like a Fairy from the Heavens…' She stared at their guest in wonderment, barely concealing her awe. She had truly never imagined that someone so beautiful could exist only in those fantastical tales yet obviously false fairytales. 

Especially those eyes that seemed to be of the purest red, somehow outshining her perfect features. 'Compared to her, those girls in big cities look like imps.'

On the other hand, Yun Meng remained grounded, his keen eyes quickly assessing the stranger. A flash of wariness crossed his weathered face. Apart from his initial daze brought about by the guest's appearance - which Yun Meng felt was rather unseemly as a sexagenarian - he saw the way she reacted. 

That complete nonchalance, the utter lack of fear or wariness, despite being in an unfamiliar place, despite facing unfamiliar people, despite facing an unknown fate, deeply unsettled him. It was almost as if she had already determined there was absolutely no danger to her. Instead, Yun Meng saw a sense of casual curiosity reflected in those eyes like a cat wondering what would happen if she pushed over this porcelain cup.

Under her current circumstances, there were only two possibilities where such a thing could happen - one, this girl was an oblivious idiot who was much too pampered and sheltered and completely ignorant of the dangers lurking beyond the walls of her privileged life. Second, she had already determined that they could not pose the slightest threat to her. 

'Given the circumstances that Hua'er found this girl in, it is unlikely that she is the former kind. And that probably means she is completely assured in her ability to defeat me - a peak Blood Qi Awakening expert.' One might think Yun Meng was jumping to conclusions, but Yun Meng knew it was better to be safe than sorry.

And the very next moment, his guess was verified.

Yun Meng's body stiffened for a moment as an electrifying feeling swept over his skin as he drew closer to his guest. A chilling shiver surged down his spine, like a thousand invisible spiders. His eyes widened in recognition. 'This feeling! It's just like back then!'

He recalled a memory from decades ago - a memory etched with fear, awe and longing.

It was when he was in his late twenties. 

He had accidentally encountered two extremely powerful beings battling it out, hurling human-sized balls of fire, controlling dragons made of ice, blades fashioned from wind, controlling swords to dance around gracefully, slicing through the wind.

He had barely escaped with his life back then. And it was only because they were too preoccupied with each other to care about some random ant that stumbled into their battle. 

Later, through his connections, he'd come to know that these extraordinary beings were Immortal Cultivators - extremely powerful, god-like beings that bent the very World to their whims, fashioning it as they pleased! 

'This woman is an Immortal Cultivator and a powerful one at that!' 

If he had to compare, those Immortal Cultivators he had encountered when he was young were infinitely more powerful than his grandnephew - a Flesh Tempering Martial Artist! 

What was more terrifying was that these Immortal Cultivators were supposedly Earthen Origin Cultivators who were not all that powerful among Immortal Cultivators. The truly powerful Immortal Cultivators could directly fly with their own power! 

Sensing the faint tremor in the air, as if pulsing with the woman's breaths; taking in the sheer potency of her aura despite not being in a battle, Yun Meng came to a conclusion: this wasn't a mere Earthen Origin Cultivator. In fact… 

'She might really be one of those legendary Sky Spirit Cultivators!' Yun Meng grew warier as his thoughts spun, drawing numerous conclusions from the clues around him in just a few breaths. 

His back tensed, ready to strike at a moment's notice. He did not know what the Immortal Cultivator was up to but he had to at least ensure Yun Hua's safety.

'Ah, shit. I forgot about this Cultivator's aura thingy.' Xiao Hong thought sheepishly, noticing Yun Meng's behaviour. She quickly retracted as much of her Cultivator's aura as possible. 

The energy field - which was called 'Celestial Aura' by Cultivators with bloated heads - that a Cultivator constantly radiated was quite unbearable for weaker beings. This was especially so when the gap between their abilities was so large. Having been in an Immortal Sect all this time, she never had to consciously retract her aura, just letting it out as she pleased. 

Now, faced with a non-cultivator, she realised she'd been unintentionally blasting the poor man with the equivalent of a celestial sunburn. 

Thankfully, she was only at the Divine Sea Stage and her companions were not ordinary mortals, so it was not too bad - it was like being under the afternoon sun of mid-summer. 

As Xiao Hong dialled back her aura, a wave of relief washed over Yun Meng. His tense muscles loosened as the terrifying feeling of having his very life held in another's hands finally dissipated, leaving behind a tremor of lingering awe.

"Hello, benefactor." Xiao Hong greeted Yun Meng. Flashing a disarming smile, she cupped her fist and gracefully inclined her head towards Yun Meng and Yun Hua in a gesture of expressing her gratitude and also hinting that she did not mean harm. "You have Xiao Hong's sincerest thanks for your help." 

She tried to ease his tension by appearing as mellow and non-threatening as possible, feeling slightly guilty about putting the poor man through such a scare. She knew all too well the feeling of not being able to control your own fate. It was a feeling that she hated and would not wish upon others.

Yun Meng quickly suppressed his fearful thoughts and put on the biggest, most genuine smile he could muster.

"Haha, Young Lady Xiao, it is my greatest honour to be of help to you." He cupped his fist and inclined his head as well, head bowing far deeper than Xiao Hong's. As a cautious man, he first decided to show as much respect as possible - he was unlikely to upset this powerful Immortal Cultivator by doing that. "Besides, I am hardly the one worthy of your thanks. It was Hua'er who found and brought Young Lady Xiao back from the Xing Luo Forest."

Yun Hua, who was still dazed by their guest's beauty, was startled. She stared at her granduncle incredulously. 'What the heck? Why is granduncle being so abnormally polite? He is practically cleaning the room with his face! Even the local official and the City Lord did not elicit such respect from him!' 

However, as a smart person, she knew there was a rationale behind her granduncle's abnormal behaviour and quickly followed his lead.

She also cupped her fist and inclined her head, slightly deeper than Yun Meng. "It is a great-" Before she could even complete her sentence, however, she felt a pair of soft and delicate hands holding her own.

"Thank you so much for your help, Sister Hua! You have my sincerest gratitude for your help!" Stunned, Yun Hua glanced down at the young woman who barely reached her shoulder and was staring up at her with admiring eyes. 

"U-uh, I, um, you're welcome?" Yun Hua stuttered out, flustered by Xiao Hong suddenly approaching her. Unaccustomed to such proximity, she instinctively wanted to quickly jump back and run away, but could not because she feared that this young lady might perceive it as a slight and be offended. After all, even her granduncle was being extremely polite to her - she couldn't afford to throw a wrench into whatever scheme granduncle was cooking up! 

However, she quickly recomposed herself. "I-It's only right to help out someone in need, after all!"

'So cute!' Xiao Hong's eyes sparkled with glee as she watched Yun Hua's flustered reaction. 

"You're really kind, Sister Hua." She smiled faintly, letting go of Yun Hua. "Most people would have turned a blind eye. They might've even tried to take advantage of my helpless state." 

'It's just that they wouldn't be very safe if they tried.' Xiao Hong added inwardly. Immortal Cultivators had numerous Protective Spell Arts and Artefacts to protect them when they were in a helpless state. Even Immortal Cultivators cannot completely avoid sleep and abstain from food - they can only survive longer without it. At least up to the late Transformation Stage, this was the case. 

Theoretically, Food Pills, Abstinence Pills and Fasting Pills can remove the need for food. But relying solely on pills to survive was a rather desperate measure. At the end of the day, Cultivators were still humans, they too had desires. What was the point in gaining the power to move mountains and boil seas if you could not indulge in something as basic as food? So unless it was really necessary, most cultivators chose to eat proper food when they needed to - which for Divine Sea Cultivators was once or twice a week.

Anyway, it was necessary to protect against thieves and other malicious people when they were defenceless. And Xiao Hong's Inner Armour - gifted by Qiao Guiying - was one such Artefact. 

It was also because of this Inner Armour that she had not been blasting her Cultivator's aura when she was unconscious in the forest - it had automatically suppressed it for her. Once she had awakened, the Inner Armour stopped suppressing it for her. 

'Ah, damn. I was really looking forward to seeing her again.' She felt a little depressed upon being reminded that she would not be able to Qiao Guiying for quite a while, but quickly pushed it aside - she had more important things to do than lament pointlessly. 

"Ahem. Anyway, would you be so kind as to inform me where I am?" Xiao Hong turned to Yun Meng, looking inquiringly at him, gesturing towards the room.

"Ah! Look at me, not realising something like this! I'm really getting on in years." He sighed, shaking his head in self-deprecation. 

"To answer your question, you are in the safe house of Yun Family's branch family." he glanced at the surroundings before turning to Xiao Hong and continuing somewhat apologetically, "Please forgive the rather modest accommodation. Hua'er wanted to urgently bring me some news, so she could only leave you here."

"I wasn't bothered by it in the least, Sir Yun Meng." Xiao Hong said politely, gesturing for him to continue.

"Ahem. The Yun Family itself is situated in Xing Luo City, which is situated in the south-eastern part of the Golden Star Province of the Radiant Star Kingdom." 

It was entirely possible that his guest was from another country - he knew very little about Immortal Cultivators, after all. Thus, he decided to offer the most comprehensive information he could, including the name of the kingdom, hoping that would be enough because beyond that even he knew nothing.

Unfortunately, Xiao Hong was utterly confused.

'Uh… Golden Star Province? Radiant Star Empire? Where in the Immortal Ancestor's infinite white beard is that?' She had never even heard of these places.

So she decided to try another approach.

"Hmm. Have you heard of any Holy Lands or Super Sects? Like the Purple Spirit Sect? Or the Adamantine Fist Sect? Or the…" She directly decided to enquire about the Eastern Mystic Continent's Super Sects. The Super Sects all put quite a bit of effort into publicity and maintaining their reputation. So much so that even some countryside bumpkins might know of them.

Xiao Hong did not know why exactly the Sects were so keen on maintaining their reputation, but that was a fact that she could use. 

Unfortunately for her, Yun Meng shook his head. "I'm sorry, I have not heard of any such Faction."

"I see…" Xiao Hong's heart sank to her stomach. She might not be on Eastern Mystic at all.

 'Let's see if they know of the Sects in the Grand Mystic Continent.' She quickly recalled the information she had gleaned from her few years at the Purple Spirit Sect. 

"How about the Profound Hammer Valley, the Nine Revolutions Heavenly Thunder Sect, the Savage Sabre Mountain, the Enlightened Sword Palace or the Lunar Jade Sect?" She rattled off the names of the Super Sects in the Grand Mystic Continent.

"Then what about the True Martial Sect?" Xiao Hong asked tentatively, thinking that she might have ended up in the northern Sky Martial Continent

Yun Meng still shook his head. "Never heard of it."

'Oh fucking hell. Please don't tell me…' A terrible headache descended upon Xiao Hong.

"W-What bout the Azure Sea Dragon Island, Flowing Cloud Sect, or the Black Lotus Valley?"

"Oh, I think I've heard of the Flowing Cloud Sect!" Yun Meng's eyes were slightly unfocused as though he were trying to remember something. "The ancestor of the Yun Family was a disciple of a powerful Martial Arts Sect. It seems that Sect had something to do with 'Flowing Cloud'. 

"Although, the term 'Sect' was never used when referring to it…" He frowned slightly. "I'm unsure, however, perhaps my memory is once again failing me…"

Xiao Hong had already stopped listening to Yun Meng. She looked up at the sky very seriously and mouthed a "Fuck you" to it.


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