Inside the large hall, a group that consisted of three girls and two boys walked in and saluted a man with black hair sitting on a throne.
The man, wearing a robe of black and white, looked middle-aged. His rosy cheeks and healthy complexion did not match his age but it did contrast the streaks of grey just above his temples.
Seeing his beloved disciple, the girl standing at the forefront, along with the other four youngsters, immediately put a smile on his face.
“The five of you are finally back after so long, how did the mission go?” He asked.
The girl leading the group that looks to be around sixteen years old lifted her head high and said cheekily, “What can go wrong when the Five Phases of the Aether Sect take action!”
“Yan Lian, How many times do I need to tell you to work on your attitude?” The Sect Master frowned and reprimanded his disciple upon seeing her overconfidence.
“It’s been four years since you left and nothing changed.”
The girl named Yan Lian pouted and felt wronged, she lowered her head while at the same time side-eyeing the group behind her and winked.
One of the boys who look to be around the same age as Yan Lian understood the signal and stepped up, “Sect Master, Junior Sister Yan Lian is just excited to have completed the mission for Senior Brother.”
The others stepped up one by one and also said some things to defend her.
“Sigh, the five of you… “ The Sect Master shook his head.
“Master, we’ll go and see Senior Brother first.” Yan Lian said interrupted.
“You! Gone for four years and instead of asking how your Master is doing, you asked to see your Senior Brother instead.” The Sect Master angrily huffed.
“Go! Find your senior brother then! The materials that you have collected will allow him to make the Five Element Pill for each of you.”
Their faces lit up as their eyes flickered with anticipation. Of course, it’s unknown if it was for the pills or being able to see their Senior Brother again.
“Master, what are the Five Element Pill? No one we've asked during our journey seems to know what it is.” Yan Lian asked curiously.
“I don’t know. I’ve asked Elder Li before and he also doesn't know.”
The five jumped. Elder Li is a renowned alchemist and Head Alchemist of the Aether Sect. No one in the Southern Continent hasn’t heard of his name but even he doesn't know.
They hurriedly bid their goodbye and left together.
With another sigh, the Sect Master shook his head but his expression was filled with pride and gratitude as he watch the youngsters leave.
The group walked to the north of the sect as it snowed heavily. Blankets of snow covered the land. Disciples can be seen coming and going but the further north they go, the fewer people they see, until finally, not a figure was in sight.
It was strangely quiet, a calming silence.
The snow piled higher and higher as they walked. The boy wearing a yellow robe with black lining on the sleeves with his hair tied into a bun couldn’t take it anymore and said “Junior Sister Yan Lian, can you melt the snow with your fire? It snows all year round why doesn’t the Sect make it so the formation blocks the snow?”
Yan Lian shakes her head and said seriously“No, Tu Wei, Senior Brother likes the snow.”
“Ah! I forgot..”
With a look of realization, Tu Wei scratched his head and says nothing more.
After walking for an hour, a small wooden house can be seen in the distance near the edge of the cliff, and next to it, was a figure with long black hair sitting on an ordinary-looking chair, lazily rocking back and forth with his back towards the five youngsters.
With the heavy snowfall, this scene before them looked like it was ripped straight out of a painting causing the youths to stop for a second to admire the view.
Finally, the five rushed ahead!
“Senior brother Ji Xian!” Their heart raced, the excitement clearly shown on their faces.
In front of the figure was a tremendous view of an ocean that seemed to stretch to infinity. Strangely, the waves crashing at the cliff stopped and the raging ocean calmed the moment they arrived.
The group paid no attention to this. Their eyes focused only on a single person.
The chair stopped rocking as the figure stood up before turning around to look at the group.
Their heart stopped for a split second, and the eyes of the three girls sparkled while the boys have looks of admiration.
It was already night and with the moon behind him, other than his eyes that shined like stars, his face was stained by the shadows, making it hard to see his features. He stood tall and straight while his slender frame gave off a mysterious otherworldly feeling.
This man is Ji Xian.
He nodded at them and with just a look, a fire was lit in front of him and the wall of snow melted away in seconds. He turned his chair around, facing toward the group, and proceeded to sit on it again
Seeing their Senior Brother sitting there in his loosely worn black robe with his bare chest in view, the three girls blushed.
Yan Lian, the most eager of the group, stepped up and intensely stared at Ji Xian’s face, which was now visible thanks to the fire.
“Is it just me or did he become even more handsome now.” She thought.
“Senior Brother, we have completed the mission you gave us four years ago. Here are the materials.” She grabbed the pouch hanging by her waist and stretched out her arm.
Ji Xian accepted the spatial pouch casually and looked at the group.
“Yan Lian, Tu Wei, Jin Xue, Shui Que, Mu Zhen, tell me what you have experienced in the past four years.”
Four years ago, Ji Xian assigned a task to the five of them. He wanted them to leave this domain and to wander the other four domains in the Southern Continent to gain experience, also, at the same time to look for the ingredients to make the Five Element Pills.
“Senior Brother we have been through a lot! After leaving the Aether Sect we..."
Ji Xian smiled upon hearing the details of their journey. Their journey was full of twists and turns and they met danger numerous times but somehow they always manage to solve their problems.
What they didn’t know was Ji Xian had sent his clone to accompany and secretly protect them the entire time. He already knew everything that happened.
He maintained a smile on his face as they talked one by one but his thoughts were elsewhere.
“…So thanks to Senior Sister Shui Que and Senior Brother Mu Zhen’s plan we were able to annihilate the Fierce Tiger Bandit and we discovered the Clear Coat Flower, the last of the ingredient we needed, in their camp. It took four years… but we were able to finish the task you gave us Senior Brother Ji Xian.
Yan Lian’s mouth dried from talking nonstop for hours.
Ji Xian nodded and said, “You have all done well, especially Shui Que and Mu Zhen, the both of you.”
“Before you take action, you must always plan. You should at least plan a hundred steps before taking action..cough.. at your level a hundred is probably too much. Fifty! At least fifty steps ahead. “
“Though you all could’ve done better. For example, when you defeated Li Hai, the Tortoise Scholar, you only took his spatial pouch but Li Hai is well known for his cautious behavior. You should’ve searched him, better yet, you should’ve stripped him naked to make sure he wasn’t hiding anything and taken his clothes too so you can check them later. That is not all, the five of you engage in a needless fight against the Buddhist brothers Xiao Da and Xiao Er. Stupid! If you tried to make friends with them and let them lower their guard and then feed them meat or better yet, Yan Lian, Shui Que, Jin Xue, the three of you can try to seduce the two brothers with your looks and break their Buddhist hearts, it would’ve been a lot easier for you to take the lava ore. Also…”
Hearing Ji Xian's endless chirping, the five looked at each other and smiled bitterly. The cool image of their Senior Brother when they met earlier has been destroyed in an instant. Of course, they don’t hate it. This is the Senior Brother they know.
“Yang Tong from the Solar Heaven Sect is rumored to be into men, Mu Zhen, if you or Tu Wei had put out a little then…”
Hearing Ji Xian and his weird ideas made them laugh. Yan Lian, Jin Xue, and Shui Que stared at Ji Xian’s face the entire time with gentle smiles on their face. Tu Wei looked dazed while Mu Zhen had a serious expression on his face, occasionally nodding his head.
Ji Xian talked for an entire day. He glanced at his five juniors and saw their tired looks. Finally, he waved his sleeve.
“Go back and rest. Come back in a week to collect the pills.”
He turned back and sat on his chair facing the ocean.
The five got up and said farewell to Ji Xian. As they walk away, Jin Xue stopped and looked back at Ji Xian. With the snow continuing to fall with no sign of stopping, the figure sitting there looked lonely. The other four also stopped and looked back. They sighed internally as their fist clenched tightly, silently making a promise.