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 Season 2

Episode 42

(First hearing the gold sect(1)

Murray also did share the feeling of surprise to see Austin.     

"Austin, you've also come to the area surrounding Grand Desolation Mountain to practice."    

"Yes, Steward Zhu. I know I'm too weak. Hence, I've been racing against the clock to practice, never daring to slack off."    

Murray gave a satisfied nod, gratified that Austin had become the go-getter he once was. He had known for several years that Austin had only one thing in his mind—absolute determination to become stronger. That was the main reason why Austin became the number one among the outer disciples three years ago, and the primary reason due to which Murray appreciated him profusely.     
"Is this young man a disciple of our Sun Sect?" asked a sonorous, strong voice.   

The speaker was a lean, short old man with unusually sharp eyes. He was Richard Cao, an Elder of the Sun Sect who commanded great respect amongst his peers.    

 Austin hurried to them, made a humble bow and said in a respectful tone, "Elder Cao, Elder Li, I'm Austin Lin, an outer disciple of Sun Sect.     

And this is my friend I met in the area around the Grand Desolation Mountain."    
Austin pointed to Fanny and introduced her.     

Richard Cao was mildly pleased with Austin's polite and deferential manner. He gave Austin a slight nod in response.     
Ordinarily, it was a great honor for the Sun Sect's outer disciples to see him.    

 As for Elder Li, who dressed up as a Taoist nun, looked as cold as the frost in late autumn, coming across as distant and unapproachable.   

She ignored Austin's salute. Apparently, she had no interest in even looking at an outer disciple.     

There was also a white-bearded old man in a purple robe, and a middle-aged man with a reddish complexion. They stood beside the other three and chose to remain silent.     

Nobody enquired about Fanny. Austin, now 16 or 17 years old, was in his late teens and it was not unusual for him to have a relationship with a girl. After all, adolescent boys and girls always yearned for love.     

Murray shot a few quick glances at Fanny without attracting much attention.     

Fanny seemed to know that the five people in front of them were not ordinary people. Hence, she behaved appropriately. Murray discreetly nodded appreciatively, honestly believing that she was well-behaved and pretty. He assumed that Austin indeed had a good eye.     

"Austin, this is steward Xiao from the Flaming Sun Valley," Murray stated, pointing to the middle-aged man with a red face.   

Then he pointed to the white-bearded old man in purple and added, "And this is Elder Tan from the Joy Gang," Austin realized how low his position was, so he immediately put on a surprised look. He took a step toward the two men, bowed as low as he could and said in a very deferential voice, "It's an honor to meet you, Elder Tan, steward Xiao."   

 Out of politeness, steward Xiao and Elder Tan both gave him a nod in acknowledgment.     

"Austin, why were you in such a hurry just now?" Murray asked curiously. "We followed you to figure out what was the matter when we saw you looking flustered."   

 "It's... because... "    

Austin hesitated.     

He wondered why Murray asked such a question. Elders and stewards were not supposed to come to the area surrounding the Grand Desolation Mountain when they were occupied with the business of the sect. However, now these Elders and stewards of the three big sects had all appeared simultaneously.   

Besides, they came after him to see what the matter was which he had been hurrying along.     

These superior Elders and stewards would not, in general, have been so bored and unoccupied as to chase after and question a cultivator just because he seemed a little anxious.     

'Something important must have happened.'    

Austin's mind raced to think for an apparently legitimate answer.     

"Humph, how dare you hesitate to answer an elder's question? You actually have no regard for superiors! You are such a disgrace to our Sun Sect!"    

Hearing Austin stutter rather than readily answer Murray's question, Elder Li of the Sun Sect immediately expressed her disapproval to Austin soundly.    

 Murray, worried that her words would embarrass Austin, rushed to mediate.    

 "Don't be angry, Elder Li. He may have acted differently because he is in awe of you two Elders and may have suffered a sudden lack of confidence. I'm sure he meant no disrespect."  

Elder Li turned away with a snort.     "Don't panic, Austin. Just say it. We come to the surrounding area of the Grand Desolation Mountain mainly to track down a special group of people.  

   In the past two or three years, many disciples of the five major sects in our Violet Orchid Empire were attacked and mysteriously disappeared. Our Sun Sect alone has lost more than a thousand disciples in the past two years, and amongst them were many of our elite disciples who are far better than the inner disciples. The other four sects are facing a similar situation. Therefore, the five major sects in our Violet Orchid Empire are now working together to investigate this matter." Murray kindly briefed Austin on why they were there.   

  "Each sect has lost more than a thousand disciples?!" Austin cried out of disappointment.     

He was deeply shocked by what he had just heard.     

For the past three years he had been out of his mind because of severe brain damage which he had recovered just recently from.   

Unfortunately, such a tragic set of events happened in the past few years, resulting in the Sun Sect losing over a thousand loyal disciples.     

Amazed, Austin thought of those mysterious men in black, who set the Soul Collection Array in the valley where the celestial energy ginseng was.     

Their purpose was to hunt down all the cultivators in that valley and collect their souls ruthlessly.     

Coincidentally, most of those cultivators in the valley were disciples of the five major sects in the Violet Orchid Empire.     
"Recently, we've found that those who often attack the disciples of our five major sects may have sneaked into the surrounding area of the Grand Desolation Mountain and tried to attack the disciples practicing here," Murray stated with a dignified look. "That's why we came here."    

Austin then realized that these Elders and stewards had appeared together in order to investigate this matter.   

He was fifty percent sure that the mysterious black-clad men in that valley were the ones who hurt the disciples of the five major sects. That thought was making him increasingly uneasy.    

 "Steward Zhu, many unfortunate things have indeed happened in the surrounding area of the Grand Desolation Mountain recently."    

Hearing his words, Murray and the other four suddenly rendered their undivided attention to the speaker.    

 "What do you know, Austin? Tell us honestly," Murray said.    

 "And take your time."    

After a while, Austin revealed the five people about what had happened over the past two days.


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