Just before the sun rose, Gu Suihan taught the Extreme Ra-Asu Breach to the rather excited weapon spirit. After he had left it with some additional instructions, he disguised himself as an elegant-looking young man who exuded an extraordinary charm. He wore a white robe that matched his aura and made him look arrogant.
Once he was all ready to go, he went to the marketplace he went the last time. His exceptional style of dressing and arrogant demeanor made everyone stay away from him fearfully.
The external disciples watched from a distance as he sat down in a quiet corner and put a few dozen magic weapons on the ground for sale. They flickered brightly and had an iridescent gleam from time to time. He didn't have high-grade items, but he had a lot of items, so everyone glancing over secretly was really surprised.
"If you spot a suitable kid, just do something a little out of the ordinary. But don't do anything too obvious," Gu Suihan instructed the broken knife by telepathy as it lay among the piles of stuff that he had for sale.
"I know what to do," replied the weapon spirit. It didn't care about what Gu Suihan was trying to do. It just wanted some freedom and to be treated with a little more respect.
Time slowly went by. The sales never stopped. The internal disciple selection was coming up soon, so everyone wanted to find a way to improve their chances in hope of a brighter future ahead. Gu Suihan marked up his prices because of that.
He had made some calculations. He would earn about 4,000 to 5,000 Spiritual Stones from the sale of all these useless things, so adding that to what he had now, he would have about 30,000 low-grade Spiritual Stones. If he scrimped and saved a little, he would definitely have enough to custom make a better sword to become his personal spiritual weapon.
"Excuse me, how much are you selling this for?"
While Gu Suihan was deep in thought, a meek voice suddenly spoke to him. Gu Suihan looked up and saw a skinny young man looking at him nervously. He was dressed in the clothing of an errand-runner.
"Which one do you want? This pile here is ten Spiritual Stones each, pick anything you like," said Gu Suihan flippantly with a glint in his eye. The weapon spirit had given him a signal to tell him that this young man would be quite suitable.
Gu Suihan looked nonchalantly at the young man squatting at the pile he pointed to earlier as he started looking through each item, and nodded to himself. This young fellow had very ordinary features, but there was a resilience in his eyes. He was an errand runner, but he looked like the determined sort.
Everything about this young man told Gu Suihan that he was someone who had unfulfilled dreams. Wasn't that the standard template for the protagonist who started off as the useless downtrodden fellow whom nobody cared about?
Liu Ming nervously rubbed his palms together and gave Gu Suihan the ten Spiritual Stones he had been holding for so long that they were covered in his perspiration. Then, he went back to looking through the small pile again, hoping to find something that was worth his money.
All of a sudden, his fingers happened to brush past a broken knife that was covered in rust. His fingers actually trembled slightly when he touched the blade. When he held the handle, he even felt a warmth coming from it. His instincts told him that this was no ordinary knife.
This is good stuff! Liu Ming's eyebrow twitched slightly as he tried to suppress his excitement and pretended that he wasn't particularly interested in the knife. He proceeded to pick a few more items out and looked like he couldn't decide. Finally, he calmly picked out the broken knife and said flatly to Gu Suihan, "I'll take this one."
"Sure." Gu Suihan pretended not to notice the slight trembling in the young man's voice as he packed up his things and left as quietly as he came.
Before walking away, Gu Suihan glanced back and saw the young man who really looked like he had picked up a treasure. Gu Suihan had a mocking look in his eyes, and his lips were curled back into a smirk.
He thought to himself, "The weak to strong protagonist starts as the good-for-nothing who eventually defies heaven by excelling in everything. He will rise above the rest and nothing in the universe can defeat him."
"HA! You really believe that? You really believe those stupid novels? You really think it's so easy to become one of those MCs in those novels?"
A novel was mere fiction after all. The stories with protagonists who started with zero talent and then went on to easily defeat geniuses was simply wish fulfillment by the authors.
In reality, someone with real talent could just use one day to reach the level of cultivation that someone less gifted took three months to reach. If one lacked aptitude, they could make up for it with resources or have influential backers. If you had neither of these three things, did you really think you could rely on MC aura and plot armor to get you through life?
That was ridiculous. That was an insult to those who were truly gifted. Now it looked like those who were gifted were definitely all idiots waiting to get thrashed.
Gu Suihan seemed to be very arrogant and kept challenging the three major factions as if he was being naive and stupid. But things were quite the contrary. Gu Suihan did that knowing how far he could go. He always made sure he went just far enough.
If he and Disciplinarian Zhang were outside of the sect now and Disciplinarian Zhang forced him at knifepoint to hand over that statue filled with Vow Power, he would throw the statue at Disciplinarian Zhang and run for his life without hesitation. Or if Xiexin zhenren tried to take over his body, he would just leave the physical body behind and run to find another one instead.
Also, Gu Suihan could behave like this only because among the external disciples, there weren't many stronger than him, and even then it was manageable. If he was among only internal disciples, then only being at Beginner Foundation Establishment was definitely a major disadvantage to him in a fight. He wouldn't do anything that would endanger himself. Proceeding with caution and keeping a low profile would definitely be the way to go.
The real difference between being at the Beginner stage and being at the Mid stage was not a matter of cultivation level, but how much experience you had accumulated. Nobody knew if the person they had offended was capable of some mysterious skill they had never heard of before or had some trump card they never thought was possible. You couldn't possibly be the only cultivator in the world who chanced upon something useful for your cultivation journey.
Besides, when it came to challenging someone of a higher cultivation level, one still needed to rely on having resources. Right now, Gu Suihan didn't have a spiritual weapon, so there was no way he could fight someone at Mid Foundation Establishment. In fact, he might not even win against those at Beginner Foundation Establishment like Mo Yuluo, because she definitely had way more resources than he did.
After he had finished thinking through all these things, he started to concentrate on cultivation again. But first, he quietly landed in the backyard where Taohua was cultivating and left her some Spiritual Stones and pills. Then he went to quietly wait for the internal disciple selection that was happening the next day.
While waiting, he started to look through his memories for every cultivation technique he knew and used them as a reference to slowly piece together what he believed would help him to complete the last part of the Geng Gold Sword Mantra.
As for why he allowed Taohua to cultivate, there were several reasons. Firstly, Taohua was the only person in the entire sect whom Gu Suihan trusted, so he did not have to guard against her. Secondly, if he was going to become an internal disciple, he would get a new maid at his new residence. With a trusted senior like Taohua around, he could leave any new maids in her care, which would save him time and energy to teach or discipline. Lastly, she had been a very loyal servant all this time, so he thought he'd give her a chance. Whether she made good use of this chance or not wasn't his concern.
As for how well she could cultivate or if she managed to somehow reach Origin Core or the Nascent Change stage in the future, Gu Suihan didn't care. If she wanted to leave, she could. He didn't care as long as she was not of any threat to him.
"Without a personal spiritual weapon, there are many things I can't do," murmured Gu Suihan to himself as he calmed the agitated sword Qi within his body. He paused the Qi circulation for a while, then focused on cultivating his technique instead of allowing his thoughts to be distracted by other things.
Some time passed before he suddenly got up and look out of the window to see a beam of light flying his way. He caught the item flying towards him and took a look. Li Rong had sent information about the internal disciple selection process.
According to the information, all the disciples who had registered would have to gather in the same place where they registered their names. They were to just start fighting until there were only 200 disciples left. Every disciple had been given a token, so if they wanted to back out, they just had to smash the token and they would be taken out of the competition.
"So, the first round really turned out to be a mass fight that disregards cultivation level, and it eliminates three-fifths of the competition. The next round must be a one-on-one duel decided by drawing lots," thought Gu Suihan before continuing to read the rest.
The remaining 200 would draw lots and proceed with a one-on-one duel. First to sixth place would automatically become an internal disciple. Seventh to 36th place would get a chance to challenge an internal disciple to a duel.
Also, there were many prizes to be won, including pills, spiritual weapons, Contribution Points, and Spiritual Stones.
Gu Suihan was rather surprised by the list of items. Not only had the sect increased the number of vacancies, but the prizes were much better than in previous years.
Had the higher-ups in the sect gone bonkers? It was as though they deliberately wanted to give all this away to the disciples.
One of the precious items that Gu Suihan noticed was actually a Soul Building Lycoris Radiata Fruit. That sounded completely insane. This was a fruit that could repair one's soul, so logically, it was way too valuable to be given away to greenhorns who had barely reached Foundation Establishment.
"They're really being very generous. But since they dare to offer it, I'd gladly take it. With this, my soul will stop breaking down further and it can finally actually recover." Gu Suihan closed his eyes slightly to hide the twinkle in them. "I wonder if this is another trap set by the Sect Leader, or if it's a prize that's secretly laced with poison…"
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