The abusive banter between Fang Xing and the feeble disciple grabbed the attention of those around them; everyone in the hall soon bursted into laughter.
Unable to defend himself from Fang Xing's words, the feeble disciple broke into tears. A friend of his -- a tall, beefy man -- could finally hold his anger no longer, pointing his finger towards Fang Xing as he exclaimed. "Watch it, you brat! You need some soap to wash out that mouth of yours!"
"What has this got to do with you, you hairy cow! Are you defending him because you're his lover or something?" Fang Xing cursed at the other man without holding back, his hands moving to rest on his hips.
The feeble disciple took out his handkerchief to wipe away his tears, "See…" With this, the two men looked even more like a loving couple.
"Hahahaha! Thought so!" Fang Xing pointed at the two men, laughing hysterically.
Hearing this, the beefy man walked out of his queue towards Fang Xing, his eyebrows knitted together and his face beet red.
Showing no signs of fear, Fang Xing simply turned to the rest of the onlookers. "My brothers, these two lovebirds are looking down on us D-Ranked disciples! I heard them muttering something about how giving us Spirit Stones was a waste of resources and that we should hand them all to the C-Ranks instead! How could I possibly stay quiet about this?"
Whether or not the feeble man had actually said such words Fang Xing didn't know, but the looks of ridicule and disdain on the faces of the C-Ranked disciples towards the D-Ranked disciples were as clear as day. The sight of the beefy man walking towards their queue without good intentions -- coupled with Fang Xing's provocation -- began to trigger the D-Ranked disciples' rage.
"Why didn't you get into B-Rank, huh? What's so good about your C-Rank, anyway?"
"Us D-Ranked disciples belong to the sect as well! Why would we fake anything?"
"It's not like you C-Ranks are any better when it comes to the number of people who qualify for the inner court every ten years!"
In that moment, several D-Ranked disciples began to noisily argue.
With so many hostile reactions of the opposing queue, the beefy man stopped in his path, pale as though drained of blood.
Seeing everyone's reactions, Fang Xing wasted no time in throwing out even more provocations, "Hey, you hairy cow! Do you really think we're easy targets? Beat him!"
Just as Fang Xing was about to start a group brawl, Yu -- who had been trying to stop Fang Xing the entire time -- finally managed to grab him by the arms to stop him from doing something stupid.
Yu was astonished throughout the entire event and couldn't understand how simply lining up could almost lead to a large brawl. Did Fang Xing just want to cause chaos wherever he went?
For the new D-Ranked disciples in particular, this was effectively a fight for pride and honor. Without having a solid grasp of the sect rules, they did not have any second thoughts about picking a fight with these C-Ranked disciples and the number of people in the D-Rank was much higher than any other ranks, anyway; they would be the ones with an advantage if a genuine brawl was to break out.
As for the C-Ranked disciples, a deep sense of disgust and disdain formed towards those of the D-Rank. They believed that one day they would be far ahead in the world of cultivation.
This was all a matter of the future, though, and the differences in cultivation levels between the two ranks were minimal right now. If a large brawl was to truly break out, the difference in numbers would make the outcome hard to predict.
The beefy C-Ranked man had returned to his queue -- frightened and covered in cold sweat -- well before things had escalated too far.
As the conflict between the two parties began to reach its climax, an elder at the front of the lines made a cold exclamation, "Silence, all of you! Do you not want your Spirit Stones anymore?"
His voice was coated with a dense Qi that sent cold shivers down the legs of the hot-headed disciples. In the same moment, Fang Xing hastily straightened his back and immediately pretended he was nothing more than an innocent bystander.
It was fortunate that the elder had no intention of finding out who the main culprit was; instead, as soon as the pavilion returned to its originally tranquil state, he simply continued his job of handing out Spirit Stones.
In fact, the elders had all seen arguments and fights of the same topic numerous times in the past. There had even been far worse cases where the disciples had gotten quite physical with each other.
The sect would always strive to sit and watch, remaining indifferent unless actual violence broke out. Any elder could easily stop such a low-level brawl, after all, and to be competitive and hot-blooded in youth was not always a bad thing.
If these kids were unable to satisfy their thirst for winning with physical fights, they would likely turn towards their cultivation practice with more diligence in the hopes of one day overpowering the people who had looked down upon them.
Regardless of zi'zhi or rank, if their cultivation levels could rise above all others, they would still obtain instant success and admiration.
Realizing that the elder didn't want to chase the matter further, Fang Xing once again took the initiative, squinting his eyes provocatively towards the feeble man. The feeble man, on the other hand, was already intimidated by what Fang Xing could do; he only lowered his head, pretending not to notice what was happening.
It didn't take long for Yu to notice what Fang Xing was up to behind him, either. Without any other options, he dragged Fang Xing in front of him and started into a lecture: Fang Xing had to stop doing this nonsense; it was cultivation that he should be focusing on, not picking fights.
The moment after the feeble disciple had received his Spirit Stone and was just about to leave, he gave a fierce glance towards Fang Xing.
"Sissy!" Fang Xing muttered under his breath without a second thought.
The beefy man pulled at the feeble disciple, speaking in a low voice, "We'll show him who he's dealing with in a moment."
Once it was Fang Xing's turn to collect his Spirit Stone, the elder gave him a meaningful look just as he was about to receive it. "Young Man, instead of wasting your time arguing with others, wouldn't it be better to use all of that energy practicing Qi and cultivation? When you make it to the inner court, someone will be able to alter your zi'zhi for you."
These words startled Fang Xing; it turned out the elder knew what had happened all too well. Fang Xing nodded, putting on his most sincere smile before responding, "Yes, of course! I shall work extra hard and make the entire Qing-Yun Sect proud!"
"Such a smooth talker you are," the elder smiled back, checking Fang Xing's wooden token before passing a small Spirit Stone over.
"Shidi Fang Xing, now that we've got our stones we'll need to head back to our cottages as soon as possible. Do not look anyone in the eye, and even if someone tries to pick a fight with you, ignore it…" Since both of them had received their Spirit Stones, Yu once more cautioned Fang Xing about the usual procedures.
"What do you mean?" Fang Xing simply rolled his eyes at Yu's warnings.
"Just do as I say. I would never mislead you about such things." A hint of helplessness flashed across Yu's gaze as he placed his precious Spirit Stone surreptitiously into his robe, as though afraid of being robbed.
Fang Xing himself was not too worried; he still had over twenty stones remaining inside his storage ring, after all.
Disciples would return to their cottages in small groups. Some would chat and walk leisurely, others would appear to be in a rush, and a few more would arrogantly show off their flashy Spirit Weapons and Flying Swords to garner glances of admiration.
To Fang Xing -- who could see through them for what they truly were -- it was all just for show.
In theory, the lowest requirement to wield a sword as a flying tool was to have a Flying Sword; one simply needed to pour their own Qi into it.
Yet this method was extremely wasteful of Qi, especially for the level of an outer court disciple; the sword would not fly more than thirty feet before their Qi would be completely used up. It was important to note that even among the core disciples with cultivation levels like Xiao Jianmin and Shijie Linyun, the preferred method of transportation was -- respectively -- an iron falcon and the white crane.
Even Fang Xing had a Flying Sword of his own... though it wasn't exactly appropriate to be revealed just yet, of course.
To Fang Xing's disbelief, there were groups to either side of the path staring coldly at the passersby, appearing more like members of a gang than disciples from a respectable sect.
Yu lowered his head to avoid any eye contact with these people before grabbing Fang Xing's sleeves, urging him to go faster.
"What the hell are these bastards staring at?" Fang Xing could not help but mutter to Yu after seeing so many malicious glances on the way towards their cottages.
Yu lowered his voice, "My dear Shidi Fang Xing... I know you don't like it when someone offends you, but this is not the time to show off your temper. You have to know your place in this world, and with our cultivation level there is no way we would be able to get away unhurt. If you don't hold your temper, what if they come up to us and give us a beating before taking all of our Stones? Who are you going to cry to, then?"
"Does the sect not care?" Fang Xing questioned in a shaking voice.