Risless was in seclusion, and nothing from the outside world could go into that room. Elder Liu knew better than to disturb a cultivator in deep meditation, but the fact that Dong Chen got more powerful might also mean there was a need for Risless to do so as well.
With everything that happened, the Sect also became quieter as Risless did not go out and meet her disciples to give pointers. Elder Liu monitored and kept the key as there were still two weeks before the full moon. She intended to give the Key to Dong Chen all the same so the evil spirit wouldn’t be able to find it and open the door when the full moon came.
As this was happening, Hou Jian, a young elf disciple who was twenty years old was practicing with Qin Zheng who was a dwarf. They would often cultivate together and exchange pointers. In the Inner Sect they were the disciples of the Third Elder who controlled the military and were part of the new recruits from the outer into the inner when their talents had shown.
“Have you heard about the only male in the Sect?” Qin Zheng asked Hou Jian. “I heard he is the Sect Master’s son.”
“The Sect Master has a son?” Hou Jian was a bit surprised
Hou Jian was still getting oriented to the Inner Sect. While they promoted her at the same time as Qin Zheng who was the same age as she was, her friend did not have difficulties adjusting. Qin Zheng was always the most outstanding in the batch of disciples she was part of, though not the most beautiful: she was the most formidable whether in cultivation theory or battle.
“It was confirmed by the other disciples of the Inner Sect,” Qin Zheng said. “You mustn’t ever approach him if you see him, otherwise the Sect Master herself will kill you. One of her personally trained disciples approached him when he first arrived here, and her arms and head were severed in front of everyone else. It is in appropriate to even be caught talking about him.”
“Is that so?” Hou Jian became frightened. “Then what are we going to do? We can’t talk about so why did you bring it up?”
“I was just bringing it up because I was curious.” Qin Zheng always had a calmness about her. “Can you imagine being the child of a Sect Master and being protected your entire life? Such a thing would make anyone feel suffocated. Can’t even choose the way he wants to live because he is a mortal and anyone could be his enemy in the Sect. One reason most cultivators don’t have children is due to this fear, that their own children will be used as a weakness and so many experts would take disciples and threat them as their children and successor instead.”
“Wow… I did not think of those things,” Hou Jian said.
“Of course you didn’t think of those things, you’ve been too busy trying to keep up with everyone else and your cultivation is always lagging behind. You don’t have time to think about such things!”
Hou Jian was a bit upset at Qin Zheng’s words, but she also knew those words to be the truth and thus did not argue with her. Hou Jian was never that talented, but her instructors here at the Sect said she had a pure heart and followed it. That was a Dao that was worth pursuing for her as her feelings would not be clouded, but those feelings could compromise her judgement.
“Don’t think too much of it, come let’s exchange pointers,” Qin Zheng said.
The two girls in their flowing robes practiced. Qin Zheng was superior, despite being much smaller than Hou Jian. The Dwarf was a genius amongst the new recruits under the third elder.
While they practiced, the Third Elder called all of them together. They lined up in straight uniform lines from tallest to shortest, and every disciple knew the exact spot they belonged.
“There is an announcement I need to give to each of you today,” the Third Elder said. “Normally when there are promotions from the outer sect to the inner and new disciples who are joining our military, the Sect Master herself would greet you, but as of last night the Sect Master has gone into seclusion. Seclusion at her level lasts longer than the level you are used too, and so I do not know when she will come out.”
The Third Elder had no look of apology in her eyes.
“You must not let this deter you from your path in cultivation,” she said. “Cultivation requires a firm heart, and unshakable resolve. Even if you are not acknowledged, you must continue onward. Those have always been the teachings of the Blossoming Flowers, and so I remind you of that.”
The Third Elder departed and among the female disciples they talked amongst each other. The Sect Master going into seclusion was something that had never been heard of before. Upon entry to the Blossoming Flowers they are taught that the Sect Master is at the pinnacle of cultivation, and thus she does not need to practice but merely give pointers to others. The special cultivation allows the one with the Fate of Extreme Beauty to be sensitive to all the flows of spiritual energy, Yin or Yang, Elemental and natural.
Many young girls sought to join to one day be given the advice by the Sect Master herself, but for her to go into cultivation.
“I remember when I joined they said the Sect Master was always at the pinnacle of cultivation,” Hou Jian said to Qin Zheng. “Can the Sect Master really break through her level despite being at the height of this world’s cultivation?”
“Impossible,” Qin Zheng said.
The quick denial made Hou Jian startled. She didn’t expect that her closest friend within the Sect would be so quick to disregard everything.
“I don’t want to say this in the open, so meet me tonight in my room,” Qin Zheng said. “There are things that must be discussed with you.”
They continued their practice and cultivation for the rest of the afternoon before dusk. When the sun sets Hou Jian went over to Qin Zheng’s room. There Qin Zheng poured her some tea and they sat on the floor near the table.
“I wanted to tell you about some oddities, I noticed,” Qin Zheng said. “First the Inner Court where the Sect Master lives is no longer a place where Inner Disciples can go into. Not to mention in recent days the Sect Master has been seen with her son. On a full moon night, everyone in the Inner Sect is forced to stay away from the palace.”
“Is there something to be concerned about?”
“It isn’t something to be concerned about, but I believe that the Sect Master is holding her son prisoner and keeping him inside like a caged bird. I don’t believe he is happy in there.”
“Why do you think that?”
“It’s quite obvious,” Qin Zheng said. “When he went with Sect Master to the Red Wood Sect he was throwing a fit in front of the other disciples. I got the story from some of them who road the flying lizard with Sect Master and Elder Liu. Dong Chen was his name, and he was acting like a brat.”
“Like a brat?”
“Well, maybe not a brat, but he was clearly saying that he didn’t want to go, and he was being forced too,” Qin Zheng said. “Then while he was at the Red Wood Sect, there was a technique used on him to control the way he behaved. If anything, he wishes to leave and is here in a cage, but that’s the doing of the Sect Master and you can’t defy her orders.”
Hou Jian sat there in thought for a moment. Was the Blossoming Flowers such a sect that they would imprison someone like that at the whims of the Sect Master? Even if he were her son, he was still a mortal. Mortals are not usually bothered by cultivators, since mortals gave birth to most cultivators.
“Why would they do that to him?”
“He’s the Sect Master’s son, he is also her weakness,” Qin Zheng said. “When a cultivator has a child, they try to keep it a secret from others to prevent them from becoming a weakness. There is no guarantee that the child could cultivate as they may not be born with a fate.”
Hou Jian was unhappy hearing about this and wanted to examine more of it herself. Her pure heart wouldn’t let her stop thinking about the injustice of being imprisoned. Couldn’t they have let him live privately somewhere? To be trapped their whole life.
“Are you feeling upset because his life is now similar to how yours was before you were discovered as a cultivator?” Qin Zheng asked.
“I… maybe…” Hou Jian said. “I had been trapped by my parents and forcefully kept in by my father who would beat and molest me… but… I can’t imagine the Sect Master might do such a thing to her son.”
“He might be molested by her, it’s a possibility considering how private everything is.”
Hearing this, Hou Jian’s heart became troubled.
“Don’t think too much of it,” Qin Zheng said. “Just get some rest, it’s been a long day and there will be more training tomorrow. I’ll give you more pointers.”
Witnessing Qin Zheng’s nonchalant attitude after telling her all that, Hou Jian didn’t know what to do with the rest of her emotions. She left the room and retired for the night.