“Go!” Ji Wujiong’s voice suddenly rang out. His right hand pressed against his chest, and a slender black saber appeared instantly in his hand. He then quickly stepped forward, blocking Meng Qi behind him as he sternly whispered, “Go first!”
Meng Qi hesitated for a moment, then rushed toward the window she had noted earlier.
“Heh—” Someone behind her chuckled lightly. Curiously, the voice sounded rather pleasant, carrying no hint of sarcasm.
With a soft ‘whoosh,’ a slender, almost transparent long sword suddenly appeared in front of Meng Qi, firmly blocking her way.
Meng Qi abruptly halted, her mermaid pearl almost slipping from her grasp. The silver knife instantly emerged from her storage pouch, and she clenched the profound-grade spirit stone in her other hand. She was just about to crush the mermaid pearl and grasp her knife when the longsword hovering before her lightly quivered and swiftly moved forward like lightning. With two light clangs, Meng Qi barely had time to process what had happened when an immense shock hit her chest. Her arm, gripping the medicinal knife, grew hot, nearly causing her to lose her grip on the weapon.
In that split second, Ling Ji had already controlled his almost transparent longsword to strike Meng Qi’s knife. It was evident that he had shown restraint. Meng Qi’s arm trembled several times, but she still held onto her weapon, which hadn’t been knocked away.
She was taken aback. Needless to say, her cultivation was nothing in front of this Duankong Sect Leader. If he made up his mind, he could have killed her in a split second, perhaps even without drawing his natal sword. Yet, not only was she still alive, but she was even unharmed. It seemed that, at least for now, he had no intention of taking her life.
“Brother Ling,” Yan Shunbei finally spoke. “These two are guests of my Jingyuetian.” He stood up slowly, taking a step forward. Shedding off the kind and gentle face he had had since Meng Qi and Ji Wujiong entered the hall, he unleashed for the first time the undisputed aura of authority belonged to the head of the number one spell sect in the Three Thousand World. This was, after all, Jingyuetian’s territory. Without doing anything, Yan Shunbei released a powerful aura that left the entire hall petrified.
Meng Qi glanced ahead. She still held the medicinal knife in her hand, but she couldn’t move a single finger. Even the mermaid pearl, a trump card to buy her time to escape, remained silent inside her unresponsive palm.
Meng Qi took a deep breath, realizing for real that the two individuals in front of her were indeed incredibly powerful, and this kind of gap in cultivation bases was not something that could be bridged. She then looked at Ji Wujiong. The young man in a black robe stood tall with his trusted saber already in hand. The amethyst eight trigram compass floated beside him. The compass, usually lively and active, now remained calm and obedient, hovering silently next to its master.
Similar to the two of them, the young man brought by the Duankong Sect Leader also stood in place, unmoved, not even calling out his natal sword.
In stark contrast, only Ling Ji bore a faint smile. With a casual sweep of his robe’s sleeve, he called his natal longsword back to his side. It was an elegant, transparent blade with a slender profile that trembled slightly at the tip, emitting a soft buzz. Though this was Meng Qi’s first encounter with the sword, she inexplicably sensed an excitement emanating from it.
Meng Qi’s gaze slowly drifted from the longsword to Ling Ji’s face. This recently appointed sect leader of the Duankong Sect appeared remarkably youthful, much to her surprise. His pitch-black hair was meticulously arranged and tied by a small, black crown on his head. Judging solely from his appearance, Ling Ji seemed to be no older than thirty, and he didn’t appear much older than the disciple he had brought with him.
But one look into Ling Ji’s eyes and you would notice that he wasn’t young at all. While his eyes were bright, they differed from those of a younger person. Ling Ji’s eyes bore the subtle traces of time, rendering them less radiant than the eyes of youth.
Nevertheless, this person was very handsome, with finely chiseled features. Even if he appeared a bit closer to middle age, his maturity seemed to add more charm to his look. Among cultivators where beautiful people were not in short supply, he undoubtedly qualified to be called a striking handsome.
Despite being a sword cultivator, Ling Ji emitted no palpable aura of a sharp-edged sword, and his demeanor even carried a hint of carefree laziness. However, when that transparent longsword hovered by his side, he appeared extremely dangerous.
The feeling… was as if this person was an unsheathed sword himself. Those who saw him knew that once the sword was drawn, it would surely be unparalleled, intimidating the world.
Meng Qi’s heart skipped a beat. A Perfection Comprehending cultivator with a dangerous sword in hand, and his sect actively searching for her… Her breath grew shallow in an instant.
Meng Qi used to have no fear of death. Of course, she would rather have a long and fulfilling life. She cherished life deeply and was committed to her calling as a medical cultivator, yet she also had always been fearless when confronted with dangers. But that was in the past. She now desired to live more than ever before. She had important things to do, things she must accomplish even if she had to give it her all!
Ling Ji quietly observed Meng Qi, eventually fixing his gaze on her youthful face and locking his eyes with her clear, bright ones. “Are you Meng Qi?” His tone was light, and with a gentle flick of his finger, the transparent longsword disappeared from sight.
“Brother Ling,” Yan Shunbei took another step forward.
“Brother Yan, you can rest assured. I have no ill intentions toward this young lady…,” Ling Ji turned his head, a lazy smile curling at the corner of his lips, “I mean, toward Young Daoist Meng.”
Meng Qi lightly bit her lips. At the moment it took the two men to converse, her fingers were regaining their mobility. Slowly, she raised her hand, adding force to her grip on the silver knife.
“The Ten Absolutes Mountains are about to reopen,” Yan Shunbei walked slowly toward Meng Qi. “This Young Daoist has come here at my invitation to take part in the Ten Absolutes Mountains trials.”
“Oh?” Ling Ji raised an eyebrow. “Brother Yan personally invited… a Nascent Soul cultivator?” He smiled playfully, “Is it for your son?”
Yan Shunbei nodded slightly and continued, “My son has suffered grave injuries. His condition is beyond the capabilities of the medical experts in the Three Thousand Worlds, but this Young Daoist Meng is the person who inherits the legacy of the late predecessor Lin Yan. Should she pass the Ten Absolutes Mountains trial, there may be hope for my son.”
“Hmm…” Ling Ji lazily chuckled, his robe sleeve swaying. “Brother Yan, are you saying that Jingyuetian will intervene to guarantee the safety of the person my Duankong Sect is seeking?”
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