Ju Feng spent the following month cultivating his soul, and vigorously practicing his martial arts with his mind on how he was going to learn the arts and techniques he needed. How was he going be a true martial artist? How would he ever find his own way? His mother and grandparents are all fire affiliated, but he wasn't.
He had no full knowledge of the reasons why his own mother, supported by his own grandparents, wouldn't allow him to join a sect. Other than knowing it had something to do with the agonising past. He was hoping he would learn swords arts and techniques relating to his elements in a sect. But he had no way of doing that now.
Still, he had resolved to train harder. Not to disappoint his mother and grandparents, but to make them proud in all things. Everyday, he practiced martial arts from morning till the afternoon, mystical arts from the afternoon till the evening, and cultivation technique till late in the night. These extensive trainings were having a massive effect on his development.
In martial arts, Ju Feng concentrated on practicing the Shifting Heavens hand technique. Although he was still at the initial stages of swordsmanship, he had learned the basics with no requirements for a swords technique. His focus was on the hand combat technique which was not element affiliated, but a technique which relied on the Chi inside the body.
Ju Feng's mystical arts' training was progressing quite well with him using the Serene-World technique. His soul gained more awareness and became more connected to his affiliated elements.
Finally, he had reached the peak stage of Chi gathering in cultivation. But using the Timeless-Soul technique had increased the amount and quality of Chi in his body to a high extent.
As the festival date got nearer, there was great happiness in the air as all the nine villages were gripped in the celebration mood. They were preparing the lunar food and drinks to be shared with others. Lunar dumplings made of rice, lunar cakes of millet, lunar grubs of moon-bugs and lunar milk from the mountain yaks were some of the treaties arranged for the festival.
Ju Feng was particularly anxious to see what a major festival would look like as the following day would be the beginning of the lunar festival. The villages chieftains, salient village elders and the designated cultivators would all be there. And since it was an open festival, any villager who could also make the trip would be welcomed.
A major festival involving all the neighbouring nine villages? Way more than he had ever seen before. Hence, he had been preparing well for the day in advance. Folded in one corner of his room was the new robe given to him by his grandparents. The anticipation of the festival was creating anxiety in him which he tried to alleviate through meditation before he finally slept off late into the night.
Early the following morning, Ju Feng was already up and ready, wearing his new Dragon-Shield robe. As a special day, there would be no form of training on the day. He arrived at the living chamber as his mother and grandmother were rounding up their preparation of the morning food, and the ones for the festival.
"Good morning ma, grandma."
"Good morning, son."
"Good morning, Ju Feng."
Zhang Wang Jing smiled before pointing to her grandson's robe.
"I see, you have your new robe on."
Ju Feng gleamed while patting his robe. His conversation with his grandma was cut short by Zhang Xiu Ying who set the prepared food on the table before reaching for the basket.
"That's the last one, Ma."
The lunar plain was at the centre of the nine villages which was over seventy miles from their village. As a special occasion's day, they decided to ride their swords which quickly turned to streaks of lights as they sped towards the plain. And moments later, they arrived at the lunar plain. To the left side of the plain was the lunar mountain where the lunaries and other villagers gathered, while to the right side was the far-stretched valley where most of the designated cultivators already gathered.
Alighting from their swords, they quickly located chieftain Huan Yu. Standing beside him was the other silver core cultivator in Sky-Spring village, Chu Shang Wu — the terra bane — a powerful terra elemental cultivator. He cordially greeted Zhang Xiu Ying due to their non-competitive relationship as silver core cultivators before extending greetings to the other family members.
"Let me introduce the two of you to the others according to our tradition. Please follow me."
Huan Yu voiced before moving ahead of the two silver core cultivators —Zhang Xiu Ying and Chu Shang Wu— who easily followed and kept up with him, as he continued to address them.
"Lady Zhang. I know this is your first time witnessing this festival, but I believe you've already heard about it before. Nevertheless, I will reiterate it to you. This festival is a way of promoting unity and harmony among the nine villages, and at the same time, making them work harder in preparing the future generations.
The nine villages were formed by nine siblings of the same ancestral lineage. Sky-Spring, Red-Eagle, Rain-Water, Wind-Fall, Fountain-Fox, Yellow-Bay, Solar-Peak, Wall-Mount and Mountain-Crust. Being siblings, they looked for ways to stay united."
He stopped for a second and glanced at Zhang Xiu Ying before smoothing the sleeves of his robe.
"So, they created the lunar festival. The siblings discovered that every thousand years, when the nine orbital stars aligned with the moon, it causes a reaction at top of the lunar mountain. This creates the floating lunar stones —radiant stones that shone for a thousand years.
Although they were only simple light stones, they determine the lunar ranking of the nine villages. The first lunary to come back will make his or her village to be the number one ranked lunar village, and it goes on like that. Just to let you know, we ranked fourth the last time."
Huan Yu looked sideways with an easy smile as he revered in the significance of his own words.
"The first day of the festival, like today, is for friendly competitions among the nine villages. The second competition for the lunar stones was the main one. Before this day, each village had already determined its own representative known as the lunary, who must be at the Zhuji stage. Each of these lunaries will gather here at the lunar plain. And at the sound of the gong, they will race to the top of the mountain to collect one lunar stone each, and return here.
The main test for them is at the top of the mountain where there's a mild mist affecting the mind of low-level cultivators. However, the Zhuji cultivators can withstand it, but they'll be greatly slowed down. This could affect the position of the lunaries. That's why we prepare our lunaries properly for the honour of our respective villages."
The Sky-Spring's chieftain halted for a few seconds when he saw some recognizable faces before speaking rapidly.
"The first competition is for the designated cultivators which now includes you. It's friendly but highly competitive. It determines the combative ranking of our villages and of the cultivators too."
"I think I can manage, lord Huan."
Zhang Xiu Ying voiced with a nod of her head as she glanced at Chu Shang Wu who was following the conversation without any words. His gaze was keenly set on the nascent soul cultivators ahead.
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