"Mother, what are you doing?" Tianyi asked with exhaustion tinting his voice.
"Watching you," Mengfei said as if it was the simplest question in the world.
"You've been watching me for the past week nonstop. Why!?" Tianyi couldn't help but raise his tone near the end.
"I'm spending time with you." Mengfei once again answered. For the past week, whenever she had time, Mengfei was always looking at Tianyi without blinking. Considering that Mengfei had no official duties, it was pretty much all the time.
"I'm pretty sure spending time requires more than just staring at me," Tianyi muttered under his breath. It wasn't just during the day, but at night as well. Because of this, Tianyi had slept all week.
On the bright side, his injuries healed with Mengfei's aid and Tianyi wanting to take his mind off of his mother's constant stare.
"What should I do then?" Mengfei asked, hearing Tianyi's mutter.
Tianyi paused, not expecting Mengfei to hear him. After a while, "It's usually people do together. Not I, but we."
"Then what should we do?" Mengfei asked.
Tianyi held his chin. What had he done with Mengfei?
Thinking back, most of their interactions was almost always related to cultivation, one way or another. Aside from their heartfelt talks months ago, the longest conversation the two had was when Mengfei was guiding Tianyi in his cultivation.
"Eating together?" Tianyi muttered.
"I haven't eaten in over a hundred years." Was Mengfei's reply.
"Taking a walk?" Tianyi asked. Mengfei thought about it and nodded.
So the two descended down Jade Peak. But aside from the Elders who greeted Mengfei before leaving, all the disciples watched from afar without daring to get any closer.
Tianyi had already grown accustomed to it, but Mengfei exuded a massive amount of pressure to those foreign to her and caused their hearts to palpitate, especially the disciples who heard of her legend.
The worst part was that Tianyi was unable to hold a proper conversation with Mengfei.
If Tianyi asked what her hobby was, Mengfei would answer "cultivation" if he asked what she liked, Mengfei would say "you."
The worst part was that it devolved back to Mengfei, staring at Tianyi while the two walked. Unable to withstand it anymore, Tianyi led them back to Jade Peak. On the way back, Tianyi noticed a cute and delicate looking girl staring at them nonstop. She wouldn't have stood out to Tianyi normally, but her gaze was too obvious and too heated, causing Tianyi to take note of her and having a deep impression.
As if without a bone in his body, Tianyi melded into his chair after that stressful experience. But Mengfei was still staring at him without blinking!
Finally, as if grasping at straws, Tianyi asked. "What did you do with your master?"
Tianyi didn't deliberately investigate Mengfei's past life. But he knew conversations with his mother and tidbits that Mengfei's master acted as a pseudo-parent towards her.
Mengfei looked away and grasped her chin in her hand, appearing to be deep in thought. Since her master perished, Mengfei had purposely tried not to think about her master. Every time she did, a suffocating feeling in her chest would appear.
But now, although the feeling still existed, it was not as painful. Recalling those memories, there was a sweet yet bitter feeling within her. "Master...she often calls me to taste the tea she made."
"Did you learn?" Tianyi asked.
Mengfei shook her head but continued thinking. "Sometimes, she would take me outside the sect and walk the streets and observe the mortals. Other times she would buy me dresses for no reason. Oh, one time, she took me fishing. But in the end, a Demon appeared, so we killed it instead."
Tianyi had no words. He was tempted to ask to go fishing just for the hell of it but thought better of it. He had just recovered and didn't want to push his luck.
"Oh, junior sister."
Tianyi and Mengfei called out. Daoyi was walking towards the two.
"Did I come at a bad time?" Daoyi asked, feeling the stiff air between the two. "Should I come another time?"
"No, it's not a bad time. Or rather, please stay!" Tianyi almost begged.
"I see?" Daoyi said before looking at Mengfei. "Master, I feel like I should be able to advance to the Spiritual Crucible stage soon."
"That's quite soon," Mengfei said. But thinking back, Daoyi had probably benefited from the maturity of the Sovereign Nine Yin Lotus.
The Sovereign Nine Yin Lotus's fragrance was enough for low-level cultivators to benefit immensely, if not apparent. Just catching a whiff of its fragrance should be enough to heal and reinvigorate the soul of Qi Gathering Pupils and Foundation Establishment Disciples. But those were only the surface effects.
The Fleeting Mist Sect had been forced to relocate because of the Sovereign Nine Yin Lotus, ignoring the having to leave because of the conflict between Immortal Monarchs and Emperors, they actually benefitted immensely aside from their new guardian formation. Those who breathed in the fragrance now had an increased chance of advancing their potential. Even Sect Master Yun had benefited.
Tianyi didn't feel anything different, though.
Daoyi was different. Her cultivation technique being superior, she had benefited even more than the Fleeting Mist Sect. The proof was that her cultivation had advanced to the peak Spiritual Altar stage.
Mengfei didn't say any words of delay and simply asked if she was confident. Daoyi nodded.
"Alright, I'll watch over you."
And so that short conversation ended, and an awkward silence descended.
"What were you two doing before I came?" Daoyi asked, wanting to leave but couldn't due to Tianyi's pleading eyes.
"Thinking of ways to spend time together." Tianyi quickly said.
"Why thinking?" Daoyi asked.
"Because we don't know what to do together," Tianyi said with a sigh.
"Why not play a game together or something?" Daoyi said.
"Game? What kind of games?" Tianyi instantly thought of playing cards, but at the same time, he couldn't imagine his mother playing any sort of games.
"Go?" Daoyi said.
Tianyi looked towards his mother. She nodded. As an imperial princess, she had been taught all the necessities to mingle in high society, including the Four Scholarly Arts.
Soon a Go board and stones were brought out.
Tianyi was slaughtered by both his mother and Daoyi.
I never played, but with my enhanced intelligence due to my cultivation, although I can't defeat my mother, but I also lost to my junior sister?
I'm beginning to feel very inadequate. I'm a Nascent Soul Grandmaster, and she's only a Foundation Establishment Disciple! I shouldn't have lost so badly!
First, it was painting, and now it's Go. Are my base stats just lower than Daoyi?
While Tianyi began to question his life and intelligence, Daoyi and Mengfei continued their war game.
A few days later, a disciple visited Jade Peak with an invitation.
Tianyi held an invitation in his warily. The last time he got invited to something, it ended with a former Head Elder almost crippling his cultivation.
Once bitten, twice shy. Tianyi couldn't help but question if something would go wrong again.
"Another invitation? To what?" Daoyi asked.
"Heavenly Connection Gathering," Tianyi said. Daoyi nodded and placed another black stone on the board.
"You aren't going to ask to go?" Tianyi said, half expecting Daoyi to ask to go.
Daoyi shook her head. "Right now, I'm at a critical juncture. I can't afford to leave the sect. Nevermind the fact that I have not reached the Core Formation Realm. I'd be a burden outside the sect."
Tianyi nodded. That was true.
"I'll go too."
The unexpected words caused Tianyi to freeze. A stiff smile appeared on his face as he looked at his mother. "Mother, could you say that again. I think I may have misheard."
"I'll go with you."
Tianyi's face petrified even more. "Mother, only the children or grandchildren of Elders are allowed to attend."
"I know, but I'm worried," Mengfei said. After thinking for a moment, she added. "You got injured in the sect, the outside is even more dangerous."
"I'll be fine. I got injured because I didn't expect Immortal Redseal to suddenly strike me without reason. I still have the talismans you gave me. Besides, junior sister needs you right now." Tianyi persuaded.
But it didn't work. Mengfai even said she could bring Daoyi with her and follow behind Tianyi. Only after a few backs and forth between the two was Mengfei finally convinced. But not before giving Tianyi even more talismans.
Tianyi could only dryly laugh.
When the day of departure arrived, Tianyi saw a group of around a hundred people. Only around twenty of them were actually descendants of Elders, while the other eighty were servants.
He glanced slightly behind him where Elder Meng stood protectively. Tianyi half expected his mother to assign guards to him with how worried she said she was. But thinking about Immortal Redseal's reaction to Elder Meng, Tianyi confirmed that the Elder behind him was unique.
"You've finally arrived, junior brother Xi. I was beginning to think that you wouldn't come."
Tianyi looked up to see the man who invited him in the first place, Su Bojing.
"Are you going alone?" Su Bojing asked, not seeing anyone around Tianyi.
Tianyi pointed his thumb at Elder Meng. "Elder Meng will be coming with me."
Su Bojing, having finally discovered Elder Meng's existence after Tianyi pointed her out, blinked in surprise. He laughed. "Greetings, Elder Meng."
Elder Meng nodded her head in greeting as well.
"Come, come, let me introduce you to our companions." Su Bojing said as he led Tianyi towards the group of twenty.
Most of them, Tianyi had seen during the celebration for him passing his Nascent Soul Heavenly Tribulation and the gathering hosted by Xia Yushan. There were only a few Tianyi didn't recognize.
But the one that stood out the most was no doubt Su Wanyu, the Senior Disciple before Xia Yushan. Su Bojing was a far off descendant with a promising future of the same clan. But he didn't have the qualification to participate in the Heavenly Connection Gathering. He was a tagalong that was considered half a servant among these genius descendants.
Su Wanyu wore a silk mask that only revealed her glittering black eyes. She was clothed in pure white, like unstained snow, and gave off an aura of etherealness.
Tianyi felt her aura familiar but couldn't recall where he had seen it.
Their eyes connected for a moment. Tianyi felt those cold eyes as if he was being evaluated as an object. But that connection only lasted for a mere moment.
"Lady Su, it's time."
Su Wanyu was already a Unity Realm Elder, but those under her still called her lady no doubt due to her young age. Reaching the Nascent Soul Realm under a hundred years of age was considered the mark of a genius, but reaching Unity under one hundred, even more so.
The method of transportation was a magnificent immortal boat, controlled by a True Immortal. It bore some resemblance to the ship used to ferry the Buzhou Immortal Sect to the Three Heavens Connection Meeting.
So many bright seeds of the sect made it impossible for the Buzhou Immortal Sect not to send an Immortal to guard them. Who knew how many True or False Immortals were secretly protecting them in the shadows.
Tianyi boarded the ship with Elder Meng and Su Bojing. Once everyone was aboard, the immortal boat flew off towards its destination.
Tianyi couldn't help but twitch his lips. Where was the rule of not flying inside the sect grounds, unless it was ignored because the control was a True Immortal?