There were many cultivators in Dali Academy, but at that moment, they were all quiet, and most of them were looking at the Imperial Adviser and Di Hao. No one had expected this to happen. The disciples of Dali Academy were all in extremely low spirits. After all, they had lost terribly as Daoli Mountain came to seek the Path.
Although they had won the first battle of lower level Sages, after the Seven Sins had come forward, it had seemed that that battle had only happened for the purpose of educating Kuang Xiao. He had used the Sword of Kasyapa to defeat Zuo Zong. Next, Di Hao had defeated Dong Chen and had asked to be taken as the disciple of the headmaster of Dali Academy, the Imperial Adviser of the Dali Dynasty.
This was naturally hard to bear for the disciples of Dali Academy. However, Di Hao had wanted to be taken as a disciple and had let everybody know it. Even though Dali Academy, which he founded, had been defeated, he was still second only to Emperor Li. Why else would King Tiandao have sent his adopted son to be trained by him? No matter what their goal was, this was a recognition of the Imperial Adviser’s power and position.
The Imperial Adviser looked up at Di Hao and asked him, “If you want to become my disciple, you must tell me, why do you seek the Path?”
Di Hao stared at him. His adopted father, King Tiandao, had once told him that he looked at the Imperial Adviser as an opponent, but at the same time, he still respected him greatly. That was because people of talent appreciated each other. Thus, he had sent him to become the Imperial Adviser’s disciple, learning from him and seeking the Path with him. That was why he had come here for today’s battle.
“I seek the Path to be able to sweep over the battlefield and plan victory from a thousand miles away. To be able to protect the Dali Dynasty from within, and sweep away all external threats, and make the Dali Dynasty prosperous,” said Di Hao. All the people of Daoli Mountain had trained in the army, and so his thoughts were naturally those of a soldier. He wanted to conquer the world, sweep away all threats, and seize resources of the Great Path.
“Oh.” The Imperial Adviser nodded slightly, then looked away. Di Hao felt himself relax quite a bit. Before, when the Imperial Adviser had been looking at him, he had felt like he was under a lot of pressure. Under that pressure, if he had spoken insincerely, the Imperial Adviser would have perceived it. As for whether or not the Imperial Adviser was satisfied with what he had said, he did not know. The Imperial Adviser had cultivated himself so highly that he could see right through him, but he could not see through to the Imperial Adviser’s thoughts.
“Dong Chen,” called the Imperial Adviser. Dong Chen suddenly stepped forward.
“Headmaster,” he said. The Imperial Adviser was also the headmaster of Dali Academy, and so there was nothing improper about calling him headmaster there.
“Lift your head,” said the Imperial Adviser. Dong Chen lifted his head, and in that instant, felt the same thing that Di Hao had—an invisible pressure. Those deep and wise eyes seemed to pierce right through him, looking into his very soul. Even if he was not purposely putting pressure on him, the force that Dong Chen felt was still great. When one had cultivated to the peak of the Saint level, if he willed it, his every move would be like the authority of heaven.
“And you? Why do you seek the Path?” asked the Imperial Adviser. When they heard what the Imperial Adviser said, the disciples of Dali Academy had hope once again. When choosing a disciple, he would not just rely on talent and power. Perhaps Dong Chen still had hope.
“I seek the Path to seek knowledge. I want to see great things, and be like you, teaching the Path to the people of the Dali Dynasty, to increase their levels of cultivation,” said Dong Chen with a bow. The Imperial Adviser was an idol to the students of Dali Academy, and they worshiped him. Even Dong Chen, the number one junior at the academy, was the same. His respect and worship for the Imperial Adviser were no less than anyone else’s.
Thus, Dong Chen’s goal was everything that the Imperial Adviser had now. He wanted to become like the Imperial Adviser, and so he took him as a model.
“Oh.” The Imperial Adviser nodded again, just like with Di Hao. No one could see if he was pleased or displeased, or which one of them he favored.
Everyone felt a bit uneasy as they saw the Imperial Adviser turn his gaze and look into the crowd. Finally, his eyes fell upon Ye Futian. He said, “Seventh Swordsman, Lu Chuan has praised you highly, and Sword Mountain has come for you. Why is it that you seek the Path of swordsmanship?”
A shocked look came over everyone’s faces as they heard this. The Imperial Adviser was questioning Seventh Swordsman. Could it be that he was considering him as well?
Ye Futian looked up at the Imperial Adviser and then stepped forward. The Imperial Adviser looked at him, and suddenly he had the same feeling that Dong Chen and Di Hao had had.
“I seek the Path of swordsmanship to reach the highest level of swordsmanship, Master,” answered Ye Futian. He avoided the Imperial Adviser’s gaze, keeping his head down.
The Imperial Adviser kept looking at him, then said calmly, “Look up at me. You seek the Path only to improve your swordsmanship?” It seemed that he knew Ye Futian had not spoken the truth.
Ye Futian could only look up into the Imperial Adviser’s eyes. He had a feeling that if he spoke falsely, the Imperial Adviser would see through him. At that moment, Ye Futian thought of his cultivation, not just his swordsmanship. Why did he seek the Path? The incident at Donghai, the unstable situation at Nandou, the chaos at East Barren College, the disaster of the Barren State.
As he thought of this, Ye Futian’s heart was like still water. He looked at the Imperial Adviser and said, “When I was young I was often bullied, and thus I put my whole heart towards cultivating. You asked me why I seek the Path. I do so so that one day I can be carefree and happy. And on that day, even if I don’t cultivate, I will still have the right to choose freely.”
Everyone looked at Ye Futian. It seemed that Seventh Swordsman also had this side to him. Of course, this also appeared to be the wish of the vast majority of common cultivators.
“The people of this world all face a difficult choice. Having the right to choose freely is not easy at all, and if you don’t cultivate, then even if you don’t try to get involved in the affairs of the world, you might still be affected,” said the Imperial Adviser. “Your requirements are a bit high.”
Ye Futian nodded. “That is indeed the way it is, and that is why the only option is to seek the Path.” He did not speak of the Path of swordsmanship; he just talked about the Path, openly and honestly.
“Di Hao and Dong Chen both care about the cultivation of all the people in the world, but when you seek the Path, you do it only for yourself,” said the Imperial Adviser.
“Man first loves himself, then may he love others. He first establishes himself, then he may talk about doing good for humanity,” answered Ye Futian.
“Is this the boundary that you are cultivating towards?” The Imperial Adviser seemed a bit interested as he continued to ask Ye Futian questions.
Ye Futian thought of Mr. Du’s wishes and thought of his path of cultivation so far. He looked at the Imperial Adviser and said, “The Great Path knows no boundaries.”
The Imperial Adviser nodded and said nothing.
Li Xun looked at Ye Futian with a smile, and said, “What you have said is quite interesting, Seventh Swordsman. The poor think only of themselves, while the distinguished work for the good of the whole world, no? And as for the Great Path having no boundaries, the whole world is bounded. How can there be no boundaries?”
“What you have said is so, Your Majesty. I was speaking foolishly.” Ye Futian would naturally not contradict him. He was an Imperial Prince. They were on entirely different levels.
“To each their own! What you said was not foolish. In fact, I think it was very interesting,” said Li Xun with a smile. “Who will you choose as your disciple, Imperial Adviser?”
Today, the Imperial Adviser of Dali Dynasty would choose a disciple to teach personally. He was very curious, would it be Di Hao, or would he still select chen dong.
Dong Chen was the one that most people had expected him to choose. And his ideals were well suited to everything that the Imperial Adviser had done up till now. Of course, Di Hao had defeated Dong Chen and had actively asked to be accepted as a disciple. His goals for cultivation took different roads to the same place with Dong Chen’s. There was not a huge difference in their characters.
As for Ye Futian, people generally thought that he was best suited for Sword Mountain. Pursuing the Path of swordsmanship comfortably and naturally was their way.
“I will announce my choice in three days,” said the Imperial Adviser. Everyone looked surprised. He had originally intended to choose his disciple today, and yet he had pushed the time back three days. Could it be that he was hesitating?
But no one dared to question the Imperial Adviser’s decision.
“Excellent. Your disciple will one day be at the top of the Dali Dynasty. You should indeed take your time to choose,” said Li Xun with a nod.
“Thank you for coming here today, everyone. If you wish to stay here at Dali Academy as a guest, you may do so as you please,” said the Imperial Adviser with a bow. Then he walked over to Li Xun and the others and said, “Your Highness.”
“Let’s leave it here for today,” said Li Xun with a bow. They said their farewells and dispersed. The people from Daoli Mountain also gradually left, and the Shadow Bearing Sword Saint walked over to Ye Futian.
“Elder,” said Ye Futian, bowing.
“You won’t go with me to Sword Mountain?” asked the Shadow Bearing Sword Saint.
“You said that if I won, I wouldn’t have to go,” said Ye Futian. If he was cultivating at Sword Mountain, how could he kill Li Yao? It would be difficult to find a chance. He had to stay in Dali Imperial City. And given his performance today, someone would undoubtedly come to find him.
“Fine,” said the Shadow Bearing Sword Saint with a nod. “It will be good for you to stay in the city and cultivate. You will certainly have a good future. Until we meet again.”
“Until we meet again,” said Ye Futian with a bow. The cultivators from Sword Mountain left. Jian Wu gave him a final look.
“You’re going to refuse him?” Li You asked Ye Futian.
Ye Futian smiled and said, “Let’s go.” And on saying so, they left.
The people who had attended the sparring session at Dali Academy quickly scattered throughout the city. Di Hao’s fame was like the sun at noon. He had defeated Dong Chen and had earned the reputation of being the best cultivator under the Saint level. And he had asked to be the Imperial Adviser’s disciple.
At the same time, Seventh Swordsman’s name was also resonating throughout the city. He had defeated Jian Wu of Sword Mountain. If it hadn’t been for Di Hao, Seventh Swordsman probably would have become the most shocking figure of the day.
Many people were speculating about who the Imperial Adviser would choose as a disciple. Di Hao or Dong Chen?
The three days passed in the blink of an eye, as many people kept speculating.
On that day, Ye Futian was cultivating as usual. It was just like he had said—all that was left before him was the Divine Path.
“Is Master Seventh Swordsman here?” came a voice from outside his residence. Ye Futian opened his eyes and said, “Who is it?”
“The household of Marquis Qingyi has come to pay a visit,” came the voice. It seemed to be someone whom the Dali Dynasty had made a Marquis.
“Please come in,” said Ye Futian. A group of people walked in. They walked up towards him, and an old man at the front smiled and bowed to him. “I am always hearing the name Seventh Swordsman. Your swordsmanship is unmatched. You are truly a dragon among men.” He was extremely familiar and friendly. A maid came up behind him, holding a brocade box. It seemed that they had brought a gift.
“You are too kind, but to what do I owe the pleasure?” said Ye Futian with a bow. There was another extremely beautiful woman beside the old man. She was slim and graceful, fair, and lovely.
“My daugher loves swordsmanship, and when she heard of you, she wanted to come see you. I’m sorry that we had to bother you, so we brought some gifts to congratulate you on your victory,” said the old man with a smile. Ye Futian looked at the woman beside him and saw that the shy look in her eyes made her even more delicate and charming.
Ye Futian was stunned. This was…
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