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Chapter 40 - Misfortune

Moments ago, as Ruan Lang and Wu Longbin's battle reached a critical juncture, teetering on the edge of disaster, Peng Gengkun deftly defused the looming crisis.

From a distance, Lin Huaqiao and his companions witnessed Peng Gengkun's intervention and made their way toward him.

Peng Gengkun, however, appeared nonchalant, even stifling a yawn and squinting his eyes as if downplaying his recent feat, suggesting the dissipation of the duo's offensive was hardly his handiwork.

Wu Longbin, fists clenched, demanded, “Just who are you, exactly?”

“My surname is Yu,” Peng Gengkun replied.

“Yu…” Wu Longbin echoed, the realization dawning on him. “You're the one who bested the Inner Sect disciple? Your talents are truly remarkable! But this year, come what may, I am determined to join the ranks of the Inner Sect!”

With those words, Wu Longbin swept away, not without ensuring his followers were in tow.

Peng Gengkun made no move to stop him, simply watching as he departed.

Ruan Lang, visibly moved, remarked, “Our clash was perilously close to catastrophe. Without your timely aid, we surely would have sustained injuries. It's no wonder you've conquered an Inner Sect disciple; your ability to neutralize our Astral Energy is nothing short of enigmatic!”

Peng Gengkun merely nodded, choosing to remain silent.

His intervention was not solely an act of assistance; it was a strategic measure of their capabilities.

Leveraging the might of Leviathan-roc Astral Energy, Peng Gengkun had gauged that Ruan Lang and Wu Longbin were evenly matched in strength. Yet, as a prodigious talent, Wu Longbin likely held a slight edge over Ruan Lang.

Nevertheless, Peng Gengkun mused, “Neither of them poses a challenge to me. It seems my ascension to the Inner Sect is all but assured.”

With that thought, Peng Gengkun offered Ruan Lang a respectful gesture, “I must confess, my success was serendipitous. Had you not been engaged in combat, neutralizing your Astral Energy would have been beyond my reach.”

By then, Lin Huaqiao and the rest had arrived. Ruan Lang greeted each with a bow, “Senior Brother Lin! Senior Brother Zeng…”

Lin Huaqiao and the others couldn't help but feel a touch of embarrassment. Ruan Lang's strength surpassed theirs, and now, he was humbly referring to them as senior brothers, which they found somewhat overwhelming.

Peng Gengkun, however, had gleaned insights into the personalities of both Ruan Lang and Wu Longbin.

“Wu Longbin is a prodigious talent, and his early fame has bred a certain arrogance. He recognizes that my strength exceeds his, yet he remains convinced he can best me. It's not a matter of disrespect; it's sheer overconfidence,” Peng Gengkun observed.

Ruan Lang, on the other hand, appeared plain and unassuming, a stark contrast to the typical young prodigy. He addressed everyone he met with the respectful title of senior brother.

Peng Gengkun was aware that Ruan Lang likely had the edge in popularity over Wu Longbin, but when it came to achievements, Wu Longbin might just have the upper hand. Regardless, such matters were of no consequence to Peng Gengkun. Having assessed their capabilities, he felt no need to forge further alliances within the Outer Sect before his transition to the Inner Sect.

After a brief exchange, Peng Gengkun took his leave from Ruan Lang and, alongside Lin Huaqiao and the rest, departed from the Martial Training Field.

In the quarters of the elite disciples, Wu Longbin furiously shattered a vase, cursing aloud.

“He had the audacity to thwart me! Unforgivable!”

His anger not fully assuaged, Wu Longbin smashed another vase, which brought him a semblance of relief.

As he was about to destroy a third vase, a knock sounded at the door. Wu Longbin, begrudgingly, decided to answer it.

“You clearly harbor resentment,” the visitor remarked, clenching his fist. “I'm aware of your deep-seated hatred for him. But you're not on his level yet. I can offer you a solution…”

Wu Longbin scoffed at the offer.

“An Inner Sect disciple? Hardly impressive. It's only a matter of time before I join those ranks.”

“Indeed,” the man replied. “But you've been bested by someone unexpected. I'm sure you can't accept that. You may not be his equal now, but with my assistance, you can turn defeat into victory…”

Wu Longbin paused for a moment before he finally spoke, “Those are some favorable terms. What is it that you want?”

“I want nothing! All I need from you is to take care of this wretch. I refuse to let him set foot in the Inner Sect of the Flying Cloud Sect!”

Mid-sentence, the man seemed to catch himself, abruptly stopping as if he'd said too much.

This man was Xi Ming.

Wu Longbin might not have been acquainted with Xi Ming, but he couldn't help but let out a cold laugh.

“Do you take me for a fool, or do you think I'm a mere weapon at your disposal? That's absurd! I concede that I'm not his equal, and yes, this is a bitter pill for me to swallow! But…”

Wu Longbin spoke deliberately, emphasizing each word, “I will be victorious. I will use my own abilities to gain entry to the Inner Sect and then I will defeat him with my own hands. I don't need the help of anyone. Nor do I need to be used as someone's pawn! If you're so intent on dealing with him, why don't you do it yourself? You are, after all, a disciple of the Inner Sect.”

With a dismissive flick of his sleeve, Wu Longbin added, “Stop seeking me out. You'd be better off approaching Ruan Lang than wasting your time with me.”

With that, Wu Longbin shut the door firmly behind him and retreated to his room, leaving Xi Ming standing alone outside.

Wu Longbin's decisive action infuriated Xi Ming to the point where he was practically seething.

“To think an Outer Sect disciple could be so insolent! Were it not for your noble family background, I would have…”

Xi Ming took several deep breaths, slowly regaining his composure.

“It's no use. If he won't agree, I'll have to find another way. At all costs, I cannot allow him to enter the Inner Sect. I cannot let him anywhere near my cousin! The exalted bloodline of our family will not be sullied by just anyone!”

With a determined clench of his teeth, Xi Ming turned on his heel, resolved to seek out another elite disciple.

With a multitude of Outer Sect disciples and nearly ten thousand elite ones, Xi Ming was confident there would be someone among them with the strength and the willingness to be swayed by his influence.

Peng Gengkun, of course, remained oblivious to all these machinations: and it was unlikely he would ever find out.

But even if Peng Gengkun were to become aware of Xi Ming's scheming, he wouldn't give it much thought. Xi Ming was worrying needlessly. Peng Gengkun could swear that while the original owner of this body might have harbored feelings for Xi Yingzhu, he himself felt nothing for her whatsoever.

If Peng Gengkun were to find out that Xi Ming targeted him for such a reason, he would undoubtedly deliver two resounding slaps to Xi Ming's face without a moment's hesitation.

For Peng Gengkun, this was an utterly unwarranted calamity!

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