The snow was becoming heavier as time passed. Due to the snow, as well as the fact that she had yet to recover, Lu Mingshu stayed in the valley during the winter.
These days, Gao Xiang couldn’t be seen anywhere either.
Lu Mingshu wrote a letter to Gao Xiang. He replied by saying that he had been grounded by his master, and An Tongchen had been keeping such a close eye on him that he had to write this letter in secret at night when his master was asleep.
Reading the letter, an image of Gao Xiang pouting appeared in her mind. Lu Mingshu chuckled and shook her head.
Days continued to pass. Life in Green Jade Valley remained unchanged – peaceful and fine. The only thing that changed were the red numbers in the Heavenly Wheel.
The new year came, and Lu Mingshu felt better as time passed. Her meridians and nerves felt refreshed bit by bit.
True energy ran through her body. All the lost mystic force came back to her at once.
She let out a deep breath. Lu Mingshu felt that she had been revived.
She entered the Heavenly Wheel immediately, and Xiao Sang’s voice rang in her head, “Congratulations. You’ve fully recovered.”
Looking at the Heavenly Wheel covered in mist, she asked Xiao Sang, “Xiao Sang, I’m still in debt, the portals to the other worlds are inactive… what can I do to gain points?”
“Given your current health, I suggest you stay here.”
“So, I’m able to gain points here? The points I gained during the Heavenly Door competition, were they because I improved or because I became famous?”
“I’m sorry, but you do not have enough points to know that.”
“Fine,” Lu Mingshu sighed. “Wait, one last question; by when should I pay my debt?”
Xiao Sang answered relatively quickly for that question, “The Heavenly Wheel will inform you the day before it bans you.”
“So… when is that?”
“I’m sorry, but I can’t answer that question.”
“…” Lu Mingshu smiled bitterly. “There’s really nothing you can answer, huh?”
Xiao Sang remained silent.
She shook her head and faded away slowly.
As soon as Lu Mingshu came out of the Heavenly Wheel, she started to plan what she could do. “…will inform you the day before it bans you,” but it seems like there isn’t a specific deadline to meet. Perhaps there’s something the Heavenly Wheel needs my help in fulfilling. Lu Mingshu dared not think of this within the Heavenly Wheel; Xiao Sang would’ve found out if she did.
“Mingshu! Lu Mingshu!” Someone shouted from outside.
Lu Mingshu looked out the window to see Gao Xiang riding his wolf toward her. He smiled at her widely and waved his hands at her.
She walked toward the courtyard garden just as Gao Xiang reached it. He dismounted from his wolf and held her hand tightly in excitement, “Have you heard?”
“The Qilin Festival! You know, the Qilin Festival?”
Yeah, I heard about it three months ago. But seeing how Gao Xiang was so excited, she didn’t want to kill his excitement, “Yeah, I know about the Qilin Festival. What about it?”
Gao Xiang, who was still out of breath, rushed into the house and gulped down a cup of tea before continuing, “I just went to the Great Dao Hall, and guess what? Zhongzhou Wang is hosting the Qilin Festival at the start of the year, and our clan is sending representatives there! All ten representatives will be disciples in the Harmonization Realm!”
“Of course!” Gao Xiang’s eyes shone with excitement as he ran around the house, “It’s the Qilin Festival, man! The festival where the best martial artists in China gather! It will be such an eye-opener! And- and what if we did well there? We would become ranked! How famous would we be?”
“Mingshu, let’s go, let’s go!” He grabbed her shoulders and started jumping up and down.
Even though Liu Jizhen had mentioned it, Lu Mingshu didn’t want to promise anything without confirmation from her master, “Let me ask my master.”
“Yeah! I will go back and ask my master too! I’m sure he would agree, man! Hahahaha.”
Gao Xiang smiled like the Cheshire Cat as he ran out of the house and mounted his wolf. In the blink of an eye, he was no longer within Lu Mingshu’s sight.
Lu Mingshu shook her head at that as she walked toward Liu Jizhen, “Master, regarding the Qilin Festival…”
“Ah, no worries. You need not register,” Liu Jizhen replied. “Your Senior Uncle An has already done it for you.”
After three days, the confirmed list of disciples who were participating was released. Lu Mingshu spotted her name on it, but not Gao Xiang’s.
Was Senior Uncle Zhuo opposed? But Senior Uncle An will be going too….
And indeed, that night, Gao Xiang came to her crying.
“My master didn’t allow it! I already registered, and yet he asked someone to remove my name!”
Lu Mingshu’s eyes widened in shock. This is such a rare occasion. The next festival will probably only be held after ten or twenty years. Even if he didn’t allow Gao Xiang to participate, it could at least serve to widen his horizons.
“What did he say?”
“He said my thoughts aren’t calm enough and that I sucked yet I want to play monkey!” Gao Xiang sobbed in resentment, “I replied saying that I’m already a genuine successor disciple, how am I not good enough? And guess what he replied?”
“He said that I was only given the title because the sect leader wanted to give him and my Martial Grandfather face, not because I deserved it!” Gao Xiang bawled. “How could he say such things? He has gone too far! I don’t deserve it? Come fight me then! Fight me!”
Lu Mingshu secretly agreed that An Tongchen’s words had gone overboard. Gao Xiang may not be a match for Kuai Xin or Jie Wenhan, but he was still way better than Shao Zhengyang, Ban Qin, and the rest. Looking at all the disciples of Nine Jade Palace, Gao Xiang was one of the better ones, and taking his age into consideration, he was one of the best.
However, that was Senior Uncle An’s decision for his disciple. She didn’t have any right to comment about it.
“What about your Martial Grandfather?”
“He doesn’t give a shit!”
Gao Xiang shouted at the top of his lungs. “God, why? What did I do wrong? Why do you treat me like this!? Everyone gets to go out and I get to rot at home!”
“There must be a reason why both of them would say such things, no?” Lu Mingshu tried to calm him down.
She failed, obviously. Gao Xiang then grabbed her shoulders and started shaking her vigorously, “You are standing on their side? You all are evil!”
Lu Mingshu felt very dizzy after his continuous shaking.
“Okay, okay, I’m on your side. They have gone too far. Stop shaking me now!”
Gao Xiang than let go of her and kneeled on the floor, “I don’t care, I don’t care! I want to go!” Suddenly, an idea came to his mind, “Perhaps I’ll do a makeover? I can wear a wig, put on some makeup, and secretly tag along! What do you think? It’s a good idea, right?” His eyes shone with hope.
With sympathy, Lu Mingshu asked softly, “Isn’t there a high chance that he would recognize you right away?”
Upon hearing that, Gao Xiang burst into tears again, “I don’t care, I don’t care, I want to go!”
No matter how pitiful Gao Xiang looked or how much he wanted to go, he dared not play any tricks under the eyes of his master and Martial Grandfather.
The other residents of Green Jade Valley came to send Lu Mingshu off.
Before she took off, Liu Jizhen gave her a book, “I wrote this from my experience. It’s good to refer to since you don’t have any of your own.”
Lu Mingshu took the book, and her eyes teared up when she realized that it wasn’t calligraphy that her master had been doing every day, it was this book for her.
Hui Niang and Ah Sheng sent her out of Green Jade Valley. Hui Niang wept as Lu Mingshu left, and Ah Sheng stood there silently, looking at her walking further away.