The Warm Wooden Inn
The years passed quickly, and the Halley’s Comet passing by the Nine Regions had become an old story. Only a few people knew that their lives had almost ended on that day.
The people of the Blue River Region were only concerned with one thing- the Celestial Gathering at the beginning of the next month. Many heroes and geniuses would be attending the Gathering.
The so-called Celestial Gathering was really just different Xiuxian sects recruiting new disciples. Upon entering the sect, the disciples would begin practicing and cultivating under the instructions and guidance of the sect, until they finally ascended as an Immortal. [TLN: I will be using Celestial and Immortal interchangeably]. However, the Xiuxian world only had five peak-level Sects that had the right to call it a “Celestial Gathering”:
The largest sect in the entire Xiuxian world, residing in the Central Region, the Sheng Jing Sect; based in what was called the origins of the Xiuxian world, the Kun Lun Sect; the Sect with the largest number of Celestial books and scrolls, and referred to as the ‘Xiuxian Museum’, the Ten Thousand Arts Sect; the Sect with the strongest forces in the Nine Regions, the Royal Soldier Sect; and the disciple-less, money-less, inheritance-less, God-knows-why-they’re-in-the-five-peak-level-Sects, the Spirit Blade Sect!
The Spirit Blade Sect had very few disciples, and kept a low profile. Even if it were to be compared to other normal first-rate Sects, let alone the other four great Sects, it would still be hard for it to match up. However, the names of the five great Sects were like golden recruitment boards, shining in every eye, and the Xiuxian world had not had a Celestial Gathering in quite a while.
The Spirit Blade Mountain’s Celestial Gathering had spread to all of the Nine Regions since three years ago. The only prerequisite was that the applicant had to be twelve years of age or under, with no other conditions. Compared to other Sects which sometimes investigated the ancestors of applicants up to the eighteenth generation, this was simply unbelievable. As such, many youngsters started heading for the Celestial Gathering. Some were villagers in remote villages, some were sons and daughters of nobility and royalty… the allure of the path of the Immortal was simply too great; nothing in the mortal realm could compare.
At the present time, there was still one week until the Celestial Gathering. Below the Spirit Blade Mountain, the Spirit River Town had been completely packed. The Spirit River Town was the border between the Spirit Blade Mountain and the mortal world. Normally, the number of people living there averaged around one hundred. However, because of the Celestial Gathering, there were now over ten thousand people! The numerous inns had all been fully booked, and there were even people setting up tents next to public toilets for convenience.
There were many people, but not enough space. It was inevitable that some conflicts would arise. This was especially so at the prestigious Ru Family Inn- everyone wanted to be able to lodge there.
Three men flew out from the entrance of an inn, and rolled along the ground. Two of the men, with large bodies and faces smeared with blood started cursing loudly, “Oi little lady, our boss is the Prime Minister of Azure Wave Kingdom, and yet you dare to be so rude to us!?”
The two big men helped the other person up. He had short, brown, curly hair, and was evidently a young lord. His nose bleeding, he stared at the coldly laughing proprietress with a look of disbelief.
He, Wen Bao, had never even been hit by his father before, and yet this proprietess had dared to give him such a big slap.
The proprietress was not old at all, looking only around fourteen or fifteen. She wore a robe made of rough cloth, and an oil-stained apron. However, her demeanour was that of an arrogant princess.
“You think a Prime Minister is so mighty? Even if your Emperor came, he’d still get slapped. I told you this inn is full, so it’s full. Can’t you understand human speech!? Even the Prince of the Great Ming Kingdom is in the woodshed, and yet you little peasants from your little Kingdom want to live in the inn!? And you don’t think you deserved those slaps? I never thought the people from the Azure Wave Kingdom would be so unmannered.”
Wen Bao was an extremely patriotic person, and instantly became enraged. He shouted, “You dare to insult our mighty Azure Wave Kingdom?! Don’t think that just because you’re living in Spirit River Town I’m afraid of you! You…”
“Shut up and piss off!”
Before Wen Bao even finished his sentence, the proprietress, swift as the wind, flew towards the young lord. Even though the two bodyguards were martial arts experts, they could not react in time, and could only watch as he was kicked away like a sandbag, and rolled along the street.
The proprietress was a businessperson. As a businessperson, she was required to exercise restraint, and thus did not use any killing moves. The kick seemed powerful yet gentle, and Wen Bao did not feel any pain. However, his whole body was paralysed, and he could only roll, roll, roll…
With the support of his bodyguards, Wen Bao returned to the inn, his face bruised and battered from rolling. He hated the proprietress so much that if he had the chance, he would torture her to death. However, he stayed silent, wordlessly showing his submission.
It was impossible not to respect this proprietress.
As Spirit River Town was the boundary between the Spirit Blade Mountain and the mortal world, it was protected by the Spirit Blade Sect. Even damaging a blade of grass or a tree would not go unpunished, let alone hurting the proprietress of an inn. There was a bodyguard of the Prince of the Yan Kingdom who had become drunk and unruly. A passing Spirit Blade Cultivator beheaded him, and sent the head as well as the Prince back to their own country. Compared to the Yan Kingdom which occupied half of the ‘You’ Region, the Azure Wave Kingdom was indeed quite small. Moreover, the son of a Prime Minister could never compare to the Prince of a Kingdom. [TLN: 幽州 = You Region; to avoid confusion I put it as ‘You’ for the first time].
Wen Bao’s heart was full of both hatred and regret. He had known the rules of the Spirit River Town before he had arrived: if anyone arrived before the Gathering, the family of any applicants would not be allowed to roam freely, and could at most take two body guards… and they must obey all of the laws of the Town.
If it hadn’t been for the long and arduous journey they had just completed, which stopped them from thinking straight, coupled with the proprietress’ appearance of an uncultured country girl, they would not have dared to cause such a ruckus in the inn. They had no idea if the Spirit Blade Sect knew of this incident, but they knew that their futures already had a shadow cast over them.
The bodyguards appeared to want to say something, but hesitated. Seeing this, Wen Bao sighed in his mind. They wanted him to go and apologise to the proprietress. However, he was the dignified son of a Prime Minister, and his status in the Azure Wave Kingdom could even be said to be higher than the Prince’s. If he was forced to lower his head to this country girl, it would be very hard for him to swallow!
Standing at the entrance of the inn, Wen Bao took a few deep breaths. His emotions gradually calmed down, and he tried to cast the humiliation from the incident just then from his mind. He also looked away from the glares of the people around him- these youths who also came from noble and royal backgrounds usually displayed courteous and friendly dispositions while at home. However, without their elders around, as well as being surrounded by people who were all hostile towards each other, they did their best to intimidate each other.
Wen Bao walked into the inn, his face full of smiles. However, that smile only lasted for a few moments.
This was because inside, the proprietress was also smiling. However, her smile was much more sincere, but it was directed towards a young boy of eleven or twelve years of age, who was dressed in very plain clothes.
“No worries, one premium room. Please wait, I’ll arrange someone to prepare it for you.”
Wen Bao instantly felt enraged and betrayed. A premium room!? The proprietress had just said that the inn was completely full, and even the Great Ming Kingdom’s Prince was in the woodshed. So what was this about the premium room?
However, this time it wasn’t Wen Bao who voiced out his displeasure. Many other people in the reception hall became furious, “Proprietress! What’s the meaning of this?! Didn’t you say the inn was full!?”
“Yeah, didn’t you say there weren’t any more premium rooms? Young master I offered a thousand liang of silver, and that wasn’t even enough to get the woodshed. What right does he have to get a premium room!?” [TLN: One liang is an ancient Chinese measurement of weight. One liang = 50 grams, so a thousand liang = 50 kilograms].
“Even if it’s the Spirit Blade Sect, there should be fairness right?”
“Proprietress, give us an explanation!”
Hearing the reception hall erupt into chaos, the proprietress’s businesslike smile instantly became cold, “What are you all yelling for? If you don’t want to lodge here, then piss off! You think I want to wait on you pieces of trash?”
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[Prologue][Chapter 1 Part 2]