Chapter 32: Who Is the Genius?
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
It was just as Liu An had put it. He was practically invisible to his father and the ministers.
He had no foundation to speak of.
Regardless of how much of a genius he was, he would never get to step foot in court.
Anyway, he was not interested in getting into squabbles with anyone, participating in power struggles, or currying favors from those at court.
What the emperor had asked was destined to amount to nothing.
Old Demon Han was uninterested in the crown prince. He was, at the moment, teaching a boy from a minor clan in the capital city.
That boy was none other than the one who had fed him water a while ago.
Old Demon Han had been going about for many years.
He had always been reluctant to owe anyone favors.
He was unable to do anything for Li Mu, as it was just too difficult for him to repay him.
Yet, he would see himself as a good-for-nothing if he was unable to repay the favor that he owed this boy.
The boy’s request was that he wanted to train.
Old Demon Han saw his younger self in that boy.
Someone who would seize any chance to become stronger.
“Seems like I’ll be staying in the capital city for a while still. Hopefully, I won’t be bringing any trouble to the city.”
When they had been fighting in that Perfected Person lair, he’d killed scores of people from various clans and sects.
If the keener of the sects and clans were to look into it, it would only be a matter of time before they discovered what had happened.
Better hide for the time being.
I’ll head to Zhongzhou in about two years, and I’ll be off and running from then on out.
I’ve handed over the stuff to the man after all.
I wonder if he’ll be able to make sense of that thing before two years have passed.
If something were to happen to me in Zhongzhou, I can only hope that my disciple will avenge me.
“No, this can’t do. I need more disciples.”
Back in the underground palace…
Li Mu had repeated his training with the Zaohua Sutra once.
Three days passed, and there were still no signs of Old Demon Han returning.
“That old fart actually dared to go outside when his injuries hadn’t yet healed.”
Li Mu finally saw that Old Demon Han had returned. He’d wanted to ask Li Mu about ways of seeking geniuses, trying to see if he himself could set up his own Xuan Sect-like organization in the royal palace.
Yet, the man was nowhere to be found all the time.
Li Mu didn’t want anyone to inquire about anything.
“I guess I’ll have to go out and look.”
Li Mu took the message that the emperor had left behind and exited the underground palace.
The message had asked if any of the princes was suitable to become the crown prince.
Of course it has to be Liu An.
It’s a pity that Liu An has no foundation to speak of, and he’s still too young.
He would definitely be attacked if he were to be made into the crown prince all of a sudden.
Li Mu also wanted to take Liu An as his disciple.
The way he saw it, making Liu An the crown prince would be a huge waste.
Li Mu finally found Old Demon Han after searching outside the royal palace for a while.
A place about 50 miles away from the capital city.
The merchants heading to the capital city would basically make that place their last stop before arriving there.
Old Demon Han was lying on the ground at that moment dressed up like a beggar.
He kept yelling at the young people who happened to pass by.
“Have mercy please, miss. I haven’t eaten anything for three days.”
Old Demon Han lunged at a little girl who happened to pass by.
The girl was about five or six years old. Other than her exceptionally perceptive-looking eyes, everything about her looked average.
She was dumbfounded at first seeing Old Demon Han get in her way.
She came to her senses and intended to walk around him.
“Miss, I haven’t been eating anything for days. Please help me!”
“I…I only have a candy on me.”
The little girl wore a sympathetic and sorry look on her face as she fished a candy out of her pocket.
The look on her face was reluctant.
When she handed the candy to Old Demon Han, there was a tinge of regret in her eyes.
“You can’t get full eating candies.”
“I have nothing else on me. The candy was actually for my brother.”
“I don’t want it then. Serves me right if I starve to death, I guess.”
Old Demon Han handed the candy back to the little girl.
“Would your family cry if you starve to death?”
Old Demon Han was stunned for a bit before he answered.
A word I haven’t heard for a long time.
I no longer have one since I began wandering.
“Thanks, but you can have the candy back.”
The little girl had a sympathetic look in her eyes, and she extended her hand in the end.
“No, it’s fine. I can ask for food from someone else. The candy is all you have, right?”
“No, you can have it. If you die, your family would definitely be sad.”
The girl dropped the candy eventually and left.
Old Demon Han watched as she walked away until he couldn’t see her any longer.
Li Mu then walked up to Old Demon Han.
“What are you doing here? Experiencing life as a beggar?”
“Sir, I’m looking for my heir.”
Old Demon Han was stunned when he turned around and saw Li Mu.
He scrambled up from the floor and stood with his back flat against the wall.
Li Mu definitely needed him, seeing as how the man was looking for him all the time.
“This is how you go about looking?”
Li Mu got curious all of a sudden.
So, Old Demon Han is trying to search for disciples, eh?
Well, I wonder how well it has worked for him.
“A disciple would only need to fulfill two criteria: good talents and good at heart. That girl has a smart look in her eyes, so she’s definitely intelligent. Being good at heart also means that I’d have someone to cry for me at my funeral in 100 years.”
“What happens if you misjudge?”
“I’d look at what her parents are like. If the parents are intelligent, the children usually won’t fare too bad. The very reason why those big clans get to rise is because they monopolize the talents of their offspring. For instance, Clan Zhao, the now-dead Clan Dugu, and Clan Liu, the royal family.”
Having wandered for so many years, Old Demon Han was as experienced and knowledgeable as one could be.
He had seen a great many people.
As such, he was able to tell more or less if someone was a genius.
Li Mu chatted with Old Demon Han for a bit.
He quickly realized that Old Demon Han had a great many ways of testing out if the candidates were worthy.
“Basically, any member of the noble clans would have martial art potentials greater than average people, unless said clan has fallen into decline.”
Old Demon Han continued summarizing the points where the highest chance of children of immense talents could be found.
He himself hailed from a fallen clan.
“Could you select a few disciples for me then?” Li Mu requested.
“Your wish is my command, sir.”
“Well, I have yet to make sense of that piece of whatever that you’ve given me, but I could still bestow you with something else.”
Li Mu then pointed at Old Demon Han’s forehead.
“Thank you, sir! If you wish to foster disciples of your own, I do hope that you’ve made the necessary preparations.”
“Cultivators rely on two things to grow: talents and resources. Both are equally important.”
“No problem. I have resources to spare.”
He had been checking in for decades.
That meant that his pocket dimension was already filled with all manner of pills and cultivation treasures.
None of those things would be of any use to people at the Perfected Person Realm, yet they would be treasures like no other to any common person who had just begun their journey as a warrior.
Old Demon Han agreed to think of something for him.
Geniuses were hard to come by, and there was no way one could find them in a short period of time.
Liu Rui, the eldest princess, was married to the seventh son of Clan Zhao two months later.
Six servant girls followed her when she was married.
The dowry was extravagant.
She was cradling a custom-made guqin when she got into her bridal sedan chair.
Noble Lady Zhen cried her eyes out on that day.
Concubine Jing was busy comforting the noble lady.
Six months later…
In the dungeon of the Ceremony Directorate…
All five of the members of the Xuan Sect were within an inch of their lives.
They had been stripped of all their powers and shackled.
They only got to eat once every three days.
The last bit of power in all five of them had been exhausted.
“Brother Zhai, it looks like none of us will be getting out of here. There’s no telling when the sect will be able to find us if we keep waiting like this. I’m about to die. They will definitely notice once I’m gone.”
One of them, who had gotten so old and frail that he was unable to move, spoke slowly.
He panted hard after every sentence.
“Brother, don’t give up just yet. We’ve been missing for such a long time, the sect will definitely be looking for us. We only need to hang on for two more years,” Zhai Tianfang replied anxiously.
“I can’t hang on any longer. When I’m dead, make sure all of you get to live and wait for our master.”
Before Brother Zhai was able to stop him, a thumping sound against the wall was heard as soon as the man finished talking.
The breathing not far away became increasingly rushed, while at the same time increasingly weakened.