Zheng Shan Chuan remembered his encounter with Elder Fang Zheng long before the round 2 began.
As mortal gu masters with limited mobility, they generally arrived at the place of test hours or even days before the rounds started. The same was the case for Zheng Shan Chuan and his master Old Man Qi Shan.
They suddenly heard some commotion and saw that there was a young man surrounded by quite a few people.
"It's the newest elder of Immortal Crane Sect, Elder Fang Zheng. People are saying that he has a really good nature and is even giving out resources and advice to help those who really need it. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity to receive guidance from such a person.", someone shouted out excitedly.
"Master, shall I approach him to ask for your cure? Who knows we might recieve some unexpected benefits."
"I know you are trying to get the 1st place reward for the 2nd round which is the green shine gu for me. However, making connection with his young gu master who has infinite potential will really be good for the long term. Go ahead."
"Thanks master." Saying so, Zheng Shan Chuan headed towards Haru.
Haru was currently helping a rank 2 master with some refinement question. Obviously, he was taking help from Lord Sky Crane to answer those questions. When Lord Sky Crane inquired why he's doing this, he replied that he wanted to consolidate his position as an Elder as well as bring the good out of everyone. He also said he planned to recruit some good talents under him.
Suddenly, a young gu master came in front of him and said politely, "Elder, I need your help with a problem I am facing. I hope to receive your guidance."
"Okay.What's your name?"
"This humble one name is Zheng Shan Chuan."
Haru was delighted upon hearing this. 'I have been looking for this person for quite some time. Finally, when I felt that we would not be meeting, the fate brought us together. Haha, it's truly my lucky day.'
"Yes, what problem are you facing?"
"My master is facing heat toxins. I am looking for a cure.", Zheng Shan Chuan was not very hopeful but asked anyway.
"Please tell me the symptoms."
"The symptoms are..."
After pretending to consider for a while and asking Lord Sky Crane, Haru spoke out, "It seems to be a very specific type of heatstroke. I would suggest using the green shine gu. Fortunately for you, it is also the 1st prize in the upcoming round. Also, have this Clear Mind Gu, it will help you at a very crucial moment."
Gasps were heard in the surroundings as people started murmuring, "He easily hand out a Rank 3 gu worm! Rank 3! This is truly a difference between us and him. I would never hand out a rank 3 gu worm in my life to anyone."
Haru had a serene face. He had a clear objective : to get the favor of Zheng Shan Chuan.
Meanwhile, Zheng Shan Chuan was very shocked as he received the gu worm. He hurriedly bowed his head and thanked the elder.
"Thank you Elder Fang Zheng. You are as magnanimous and kind as the rumours say."
"However, I would suggest you to beware of the demonic path gu master who achieved the first position last time. It is only through your capabilities that you will be able to get green shine gu and cure your master. Otherwise, you don't know when you find another chance. I have had pretty bad experiences with the demonic path. Always be on the lookout. These demonic path gu masters always target the thing you want the most."
Lord Sky Crane was thinking how Fang Yuan killed Fang Zheng's whole family and village and felt pity for Fang Zheng once again. 'It seems that this kid will take a lot more time to recover from those experiences.'
"Elder Fang Zheng, your words holds lot of weight and your favor is like a mountain. I will not disappoint you and I will be careful of demonic ank 5 gu master too."
"Good. You can take your leave. Also, if anyone bullies you, remember that you have my backing in such a case. This is applicable to all of you. I say it on behalf of the righteous path. We will not let demonic path prevail."
By now, Fang Zheng popularity had soared to the skies. Too many people were waiting to have a chance to talk with him.
'This kid has such a great talent and it would be a waste for him to drop out of refinement path convention and to fall in the hands of Fang Yuan. However, I have helped him as much as I can. Grasping the opportunity is in his hands only.', Haru sighed as he moved on to the next person.
"It was all due to Elder Fang Zheng's help that I was able to get a favorable result in this duel. I wonder how would I be able to repay this favor."
Zheng Shan Chuan was feeling deeply grateful to Fang Zheng. If not for his advice, he would have definitely lost this duel becoming Fang Yuan's slave forever. Fang Zheng had indirectly given him too big a favor.
Meanwhile, Haru was having a conversation with Lord Sky Crane.
"Brat, I was doubtful at your decision to give away a rare rank 3 gu worm to that kid. However, your decision came out to be correct. That kid is a refinement path master and now owes you a big favor. it seems like you have a knack for identifying talents.", Lord Sky Crane praised Haru.
"Master, it is all just a coincidence. We met Zheng Shan Chuan by coincidence. I started talking with him due to his master's problems. I thought I would help out so that he can come first and get green shine gu award. However, unexpectedly that demonic gu master won the 1st place. Since Zheng Shan Chuan didn't know when he would find another opportunity, he asked to duel with Fang Yuan. Who knew that my gu worm would help at such a crucial moment.", Haru explained his stance. Although what he spoke wasn't the truth, it wasn't a total lie either. He had intentionally asked Lord Sky Crane to help him solve the gu master's problems so that he would not be suspicious when he helped out Zheng Shan Chuan.
For Haru, Lord Sky Crane was still a threat since he could still use the possession technique of the Immortal Crane Sect if his true identity was revealed any time soon. The biggest threat would be ones who are the closest to him now. He had never relaxed his vigilance till now. One wrong step and he would forever fall into an abyss.
Meanwhile, Lord Sky Crane was unable to refute the same and had to accept this explanation. Even though the sudden attitude of Fang Zheng urked him, he couldn't find anything wrong with it. Also, he wished the best for his disciple so he wouldn't mind anything good happening for this foolish disciple of his.
After the commotion died out and people started seperating, Zheng Shan Chuan secretly approached Haru.
"Elder Fang Zheng, I am grateful for your advice. I own you a huge favor which I might not be able to repay for life. If not for your advice and help, I probably would have lost the green shine gu and also would have become a slave to that demonic path gu master. Please advice me how can I repay you."
"I am impressed by your sincere attitude. I actually didn't expect you to have a master level attainment in refinement path. What would you think about joining under me? I can provide you resources and nurture you. I can even help out with curing your master as well as provide resources for your cultivation. In return, I want you to help me in refining gu worms which suit my needs."
Zheng Shan Chuan considered the offer for the moment and then consulted his master Old Man Qi Shan. When his master understood the whole scenario, he immediately accepted Harris offer without any hesitation. His main purpose was for his disciple to have a stable future and advance in his path. He was really afraid and moved when Zheng Shan Chuan was even ready to become a slave to a demonic path gu master so that he can get the green shine gu worm to cure him. When Fang Zheng gave the offer, he was delighted. He knew that with Elder's help, his disciple can avoid the revenge of the demonic path gu master as well as receive many opportunities to cultivate further.
Even Haru felt comfortable to stay around such a person and knowing this person's luck, he wanted to keep him by his side. He was going to need as much luck as possible for his future endeavors.
"Disciple, it's your great fortune to work under Elder Fang Zheng with such great terms. I thank Elder Fang Zheng for such a generous offer. What are you doing? Bow to him immediately.", Old Man Qi Shan said as he cup his fist and bowed to Fang Zheng.
Zheng Shan Chuan also bowed immediately without hesitation.
"Great. Since there's some time for 3rd round to start, come along with me to Immortal Crane Sect. I will make arrangements for your stay."
Suddenly, three flying cranes landed in front of them. Haru, Zheng Shan Chuan and Old Man Qi Shan sat on each one of them as they headed towards Immortal Crane sect.
'My objective for coming here has been achieved. I needed to gain strength and allies as soon as possible. Due to me being able to counter Fang Yuan, I would definitely be made used by Heavenly Court in the future and would gain immense resources, but that is only if I am not caught by Fang Yuan earlier. If Fang Yuan catches me and searches my memories, everything is doomed.'
Green shine gu was used on Old Man Qi Shan but after his heat toxins were cured, another type of poison was revealed. When Zheng Shan Chuan was not sure how to go about finding cure for it, Haru suggested using Blue Shine gu and other series of shine gu's. With the help of Immortal Crane Sect, they were able to find a total of 5 types of these shine gu.
Each and every shine gu helped Old Man Qi Shan in recovery but did not provide complete recovery. As a compensation, Old Man Qi Shan offered his original inheritance to Haru which he hadn't even offered to Zheng Shan Chuan yet.
The third to seventh round were barely passed by Haru. He did not have any idea about the content of these rounds since nothing was mentioned in the novel. He was only able to pass it with the guidance he received from Lord Sky Crane as well as inheritance and help he received from Old Man Qi Shan and seeing Zheng Shan Chuan practice refining in person was very helpful as well.
In the sixth and seventh round, Fang Yuan also used refinement path killer move to take first place.
'Hmph. Fang Yuan has gained many benefits from Mo Yao's will. It's progressing as stated in the novel.'
Haru was not only focusing on refinement the whole time. He was also looking into methods to use wills and protect against wills. Immortal Crane Sect was one of ten great ancient sects directly under the Heavenly Court. Since the founder of Wisdom path and 2nd leader of the Heavenly Court was the same person, wide access of knowledge was provided to each and every member of Heavenly Court and Great ancient sect. However, to access the knowledge, contribution was required.
One of the ways to earn contribution was to clear the rounds in the Refinement path convention which is why Haru took it very seriously. He almost exchanged all his points to gain knowledge regarding wills and to purchase those wisdom path gu worms which can generate wills and protect against wills. He was an elder so he was qualified for more confidential information.
Haru was currently going through the information : Wisdom path had three main elements - thoughts, wills, and emotions. Thoughts were ever-changing, wills were intense, while emotions interrupted, wisdom path cultivation meant having control over these three aspects.
There are countless types of wills that each have a specific application or a field they excel in, some are useful to subtly manipulate their enemies into making mistakes or guiding them into a trap, while others can be used to actively communicate and convey the intention, of the one who created the will, to others. Wills are also able to store memories and can, therefore, be infused into a variety of 'containers' which are too dangerous to be directly explored with one's mind.
He currently had many wisdom path gu in his hands. Anger Will Gu, to produce anger will. Battle Intent Gu, which allows a Gu Master to produce battle intent. Careful Gu, which was best in assisting the refinement path Gu Master to settle Gu Refinement problems. Clear Mind Gu, to clear mind and help one focus on their tasks. Empty Thought Gu, to produce empty thoughts.
Haru was now even able to cut the connection between him and Lord Sky Crane too. Although he knew that Lord Sky Crane was trustworthy for now, but that wouldn't stay that way for long. Once Heavenly Court passes the order to dispose him off, it will guarantee his death without any chance to return. He cannot rely on Fang Yuan and Tai Bai Yun Sheng to save him too. He had to find a way out himself.
The world was huge, there were bound to be rare and strange places, persons, gu, killer moves and arrangements. Nobody could know them all, because humans had limited knowledge, even immortals were no exception.
Omnipotence and omniscience, even rank nine Gu Immortals or Ren Zu could not achieve that. To reach that stage, maybe only one grand existence could achieve it, that was the world!
While Haru's hope for survival was dwindling each moment, something in the grand River of time was watching the events in the Central continent with interest.
"The set path is being deviated. There are some unexpected elements."
It passed on the orders to a mysterious place where people had a red coloured lotus symbol on their heads.
"Yes, we will immediately take action.", one of the persons immediately spoke. It was a grand Rank 7 Gu immortal.
This was the mysterious Gu immortal who had once fought against Rank 8 Martial Duel Heavenly King Da Li, who was also a member of Shadow Sect. Da Li lost and then later became Immortal Zombie to help in refinement of Sovereign Immortal fetus gu.
This mysterious Rank 7 Gu immortal was a member of the Red Lotus Sect!