Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
"Brother, it's not that you don't know me. I have no great ambition. I just want to be a normal disciple in the Sect of Returning Hearts. However, I did practice the Rhymed Formula of Returning Hearts and the Sword Technique of One Word properly, and I face no problem when I descend the mountain with the juniors for their trial occasionally," Jiang Beiran answered.
"Alas! You are such a pity." Shaking his head, Lu Bogui, who understood his junior's temper very well, didn't continue asking questions. Instead, he took a little cloth bag from his sleeve and put it in front of Jiang Beiran.
"For you. It's a birthday present." After saying so, Lu Bogui smiled and added, "Although it's a bit late."
Jiang Beiran's hand, which was holding chopsticks, paused in motion. He rubbed his nose and felt like sniffing as he said, "Brother, you didn't even forget about my birthday even though you were away on an adventure. Actually, I've forgotten it myself."
"How could I forget? It's your 20th birthday this year. I initially wanted to rush back and celebrate with you, but I really couldn't get away," Lu Bogui replied.
Looking at Jiang Beiran's slightly red eyes, Lu Bogui put a piece of beef into his bowl and sighed softly. "Time flies. In the blink of an eye, you've belonged to the sect for five years. I still remember how it was when I first saw you, haha."
"Yeah... It's been five years." Jiang Beiran sighed emotionally as well.
Five years ago, he had suddenly space traveled to this incredibly chaotic mystical world with countless sects all over.
Furthermore, the almighty seemed as if He did not intend to provide him with too much time to be mentally prepared. A whole string of very cliched events targeted him, one after another.
Firstly, he was an orphan in this world, living in his uncle's house back then, and he had to put up with his aunt's supercilious looks and unrestrained mockery every day.
"What? Can't I even criticize you for a bit? You're staying here for free without contributing anything to the household," she would say.
"Even a dog can guard the door. What good are you for?"
"Heh, you can't even wipe the floor properly. You will definitely grow into a useless idiot and continue freeloading in my house."
How could Jiang Beiran tolerate this? Since he had space traveled, he was supposed to be the main character! How dare she make him put up with such bullsh*t!?
So, he violently smashed the rice bowl in his hand into pieces at dinner. He then pointed at his ugly and fat aunt and angrily scolded her, saying, "I must have failed to commit any good deeds in the past 18 reincarnations to meet such a mean-spirited, pig-like woman like you. Despite looking like a human, you act like a b*tch. I will no longer stay in your house from now on! You can go stuff yourself with sh*t!"
After letting his anger out, Jiang Beiran decisively turned and ran out of the incredibly shabby thatched cottage, saying goodbye to his life under another's roof forever.
But after only one night, Jiang Beiran became listless for no other reason than the fact that he was starving.
He ran away because of sheer willpower, but he didn't even bring along biscuits, let alone money.
So, he spent the night hungry and cold. At sunrise, he lingered in front of a stall selling steamed buns for a whole 20 minutes. He was finally chased off by the stall owner with three well-cadenced iterations of "shoo."
But it wasn't that bad, for there would always be a way out of trouble for space travelers. In the evening, Jiang Beiran had found a corner that could be considered warm to sit down in when a kind-looking Taoist approached him and handed him fragrant sesame biscuits. The man said amicably to him, "Eat, little boy."
Jiang Beiran was already extremely hungry and didn't even dare to pretentiously reject the offer, so he uttered his thanks, grabbed the biscuits, and munched away ferociously.
"There's no rush. Take your time. I have more here." The Taoist took out a gourd filled with water and handed it to Jiang Beiran as he said, "Alas, my poor boy."
"Tha... Thank you, Father." Taking the gourd and gulping down several mouthfuls of water, Jiang Beiran cried on the spot, not knowing whether it was because the biscuits were too tasty or because the water was too cold.
After eating two pieces of the biscuits in one go, Jiang Beiran, who finally felt alive, thanked the Taoist repeatedly.
"There's no need to thank me." The Taoist waved his hand, then smiled and asked, "Do you know why I offered only you biscuits despite there being so many starving kids on the streets?"
Jiang Beiran shook his head. "I don't know."
"Because I've noticed that your bones are unique, making you talented in martial arts. In less than three years, you will definitely become one of the greatest among the youngsters in my sect, the Sect of Shying Fire!"
At the moment the Taoist said this, three options appeared in front of Jiang Beiran.
[Option One: Immediately say, "Please take me as your apprentice, Father." Reward for completion: Cultivation Technique of Mystical Fire (Yellow Grade High Tier)]
[Option Two: "I have never seen such a wise person like you, Father. Can I ask you about what kind of place the Sect of Shying Fire is?" Reward for completion: Knife of Raging Fire (Yellow Grade Middle Tier)]
[Option Three: Tactfully reject the kind offer of the Taoist. Reward for completion: Random basic attribute point +1]
'Aha! The system is here!' Jiang Beiran thought to himself.
Jiang Beiran was so pleased in his heart. The benefits of being a space traveler were indeed great! In an instant, two happy events had happened to him one after another! He had both a wise old man as his mentor and a system.
'Is this the legendary treatment that protagonists receive? It's really too enjoyable!'
Next, Jiang Beiran started pondering over whether he should choose Option One or Option Two. Choosing Option One might make him seem too eager, but its reward, namely the Cultivation Technique of Mystical Fire, sounded very suitable for a disciple of the Sect of Shying Fire, which the Taoist had mentioned. Clearly, the system must have specifically provided him with it as a matching set.
Choosing Option Two would allow him to suck up to the Taoist and make him seem very cautious. Furthermore, the Knife of Raging Fire sounded like it was a good fit for the Sect of Shying Fire as well, so it was also a very decent option.
As for Option Three? Only a fool would choose it! The reward was only one basic attribute point. Not to mention that choosing it would mean rejecting the freely-given benefits. What use would one point be? It couldn't even be considered a consolation prize.
After thinking for a long time, Jiang Beiran still chose Option One. After all, the cultivation method sounded more important, as it might be able to significantly increase the efficiency of his cultivation in the early period.
"Please take me as your apprentice, Father!" After making his choice, Jiang Beiran immediately knelt on the floor and shouted with his sincerest tone.
The Taoist smiled slightly, extended a hand to help Jiang Beiran up, then patted him on the shoulder and said, "It's fine if you wish to become my apprentice, but you must pass a trial first."
"Trial?" Jiang Beiran questioned it for a moment, but he immediately said in a serious tone, "I will definitely try my best to pass the trial!"
"Good!" The Taoist nodded with satisfaction, then waved his sleeve and turned. "Then follow me."
[Chosen Quest completed. The quest to seek out a mentor has begun. Rewards will be collected after the quest is completed.]
[Quest Target: Become the apprentice of the Taoist in black.]
'Eh? So, the reward is not immediately given?'
Jiang Beiran had initially thought that as long as he shouted, "Please take me as your apprentice, Father!" out loud, he would receive the reward of the Cultivation Technique of Mystical Fire. He didn't expect to just trigger a mission.
'Never mind. There's not much difference. It's good to have something to look forward to, anyway.' Having thought so, Jiang Beiran strode forward and followed the Taoist.
After two days of toilsome trekking with the Taoist leading him, Jiang Beiran finally reached the foot of a mountain.
"Beiran, this place is called Mount Lingmao, and it is the location of your trial," the man said.
Jiang Beiran, who was eating biscuits behind him, nodded a couple of times after hearing the man's words. "Please rest assured, I definitely won't disappoint you!"
In the two days they spent together, Jiang Beiran had already told the Taoist about how he left his home and had no more family. The Taoist was very sympathetic after listening to his stories and could be said to have taken good care of him along the way. When Jiang Beiran was hungry, the Taoist would warm biscuits with his Palm of Flame, and when Jiang Beiran was tired, the Taoist would set up a tent for him. This touched Jiang Beiran deeply, and he swore that he would be filial to his mentor after picking up skills!