Chapter 14: Moving Forward
Ultimately, Yin BiYue hadn’t been able to maintain his serious and heavy mood for his entire meeting with sister Liu QiShuang.
“Junior-apprentice brother, bring this Dragon Scale Protective Treasure Robe with you!”
“This South Sea’s Submerged Dagger must be taken along as well!”
“And the Black Bamboo Bone Green Jade Fan, the Nine Dragon’s Fiery Cover, the Four-sided Mountains and River Cauldron, you must bring them all……”
Liu QiShuang was still wondering what else she had missed.
Yin BiYue stared speechlessly at the spiritual artefacts piled into a small mountain.
He knew that Liu QiShuang practiced hand-to-hand combat and normally didn’t care about material objects. Thus, it could be assumed that most of these were her spoils of war from ‘the battle at Xi Ling Mountain’.
If that was the case, then it was even more vital that Yin BiYue didn’t take any of it.
He lightly coughed once, “Senior-apprentice sister, I am aware of your kind intentions. However, I cultivate the sword path. If I bring so many spiritual artefacts when I go out to travel, won’t it be the same as neglecting my fundamentals and concentrating on superficial details?”
Li QiShuang pondered for a moment before realizing that this made a lot of sense. Normally, she didn’t use any of these spiritual artefacts herself.
However, she still wasn’t reassured, “Junior-apprentice brother, bringing an artefact that can protect you is also good!”
Hence, both sides compromised and in the end, Yin BiYue still brought along a single dagger.
After Liu QiShuang calmed down, she realized that she had just walked into a mental pitfall.
The crises one faces when they leave the Peak to travel vary widely and were impossible to anticipate. How could something like thorough preparation exist? How could there be a surefire backup? If she truly thought through everything extremely carefully and acted too cautious, it would actually end up harming her junior-apprentice brother instead.
The road going forward was boundless and could not be planned. In the end, junior-apprentice brother had to walk his own path by himself.
After thinking these things through, Liu QiShuang felt a lot more relieved. At ease, she said some encouraging words and then quickly allowed Yin BiYue to leave.
Meanwhile, a teenager sat behind a table as he read a book.
His posture was very straight, and there wasn’t even a hint of him leaning to one side. His gaze was calm and gentle, like an abyss or a vast ocean. What he was currently reading wasn’t a jade bamboo book, but rather an ancient scroll. The corners and edges of the scroll were already beginning to turn yellow. Even though this wasn’t some kind of a precious ancient book, he made no signs of being undisciplined as he handled it.
Luo MingChuan’s self-discipline and sense of responsibility had long taken root within his personality itself, penetrating deeply into his bones.
Even when he had time alone, his attitude and behaviour were still meticulously upright.
In fact, even his Master Zheng YangZi sometimes thought his self-discipline had evolved to a degree that was too extreme.
However, despite a personality like his, he never made other people feel a sense of oppression around him.
On the contrary, every single person who had come in contact with him would feel a carefree sensation, as if they were being cleansed by the spring breeze.
His smile was neither too bright nor too weak, and had the perfect amount of amiability. Regardless of who he was talking to or what they were talking about, he would always stand at a respectable distance from start to finish. He wouldn’t stay too close to someone but he also wouldn’t stand too far away.
The room he was currently in was similar to its owner. It wasn’t too grand and imposing, nor was it too simple and crude. In addition, all the furnishings were arranged in a manner that conformed to current social standards.
A Spirit Purifying Fragrance was lit within the green jade incense burner covered in lotus patterns. For cultivators, this scent had the ability to cleanse one’s spirit and calm their thoughts. The sweet, cool yet refreshing scent lingered within the room as the faint smoke shrouded the teenager’s brow.
He sat behind the table, his straight and upright figure reminiscent of the pine trees on a precipice.
Yet, only Luo MingChuan himself knew.
The Purifying Spirit Fragrance had been gifted to him by an old friend from Qing Lu Jian1 Sect when the other party came to Cang Ya Mountain for a spiritual lecture. In the past, he had never used this incense before because there had been no need to.
And currently, though his heart wasn’t calm, how could a single stick of incense help him control it?
As a result, when someone triggered the protective wards surrounding his courtyard, he simply set aside his scroll before he pushed open the door to go out.
The person who came was He YanYun. In contrast to her usual smiling self and liveliness, currently, her forehead seemed to have gained a few hints of worry.
Luo MingChuan invited her into his courtyard, but did not take her into his room.
Although cultivators did not attach importance to intimacy between men and women, he had always maintained the proper etiquette.
He YanYun sat onto the stone bench underneath the tree. The moment she sat down, she immediately asked, “Senior-apprentice brother, are you truly not accompanying us for the journey?”
Luo MingChuan calmly replied, “I will be travelling with Xi Hua Peak’s junior-apprentice brothers Yin BiYue and Duan ChongXuan. The route they decided on is different and requires some detours, so we must set off a month earlier.”
Then, he once again warned, “Xi Ping Peak’s Martial Uncle Cheng is the team leader of the group going to this year’s Flower Picking Festival. You guys must obey all his arrangements.”
One could sign up for the ‘Flower Picking Festival’ voluntarily, and there wasn’t a restriction to the number of disciples who could attend per Sect. However, there was a requirement regarding cultivation realms. In addition, not everyone was fond of leaving their Peak. The people with unstable cultivation realms or the ones who believed they had no chance of winning the right to pick the lotus simply continued on with their closed-door cultivation.
This time, there were thirty people going from Cang Ya Mountain.
However, some Sects without prominent reputations might not even have twenty cultivators at the Revelation stage. The connotations behind that information about the Cang Ya team was frightening.
He YanYun wasn’t surprised by Luo MingChuan’s answer. Before she came, she had already heard about Luo MingChuan’s decision.
But she wrung her sleeves together, unable to find the words she wanted to say, until she finally summoned all her courage to ask, “Senior-apprentice brother, have you truly done something that wronged senior-apprentice brother Yin?”
With her past understanding of her senior-apprentice brother, she had never felt that senior-apprentice brother Luo would ever make a mistake. If there was a mistake made, then it had to be because of the fault of others.
This was a type of blind, devoted belief, something that was even similar to worshipping a deity.
So, even though she knew senior-apprentice Luo never spoke lies, and even though she had also felt sad for senior-apprentice brother Yin at the Qing He Hall……
He YanYun was still brimming with hope, and had wanted to personally ask him this question.
Luo MingChuan fell silent.
The spring breeze blew past his spacious and empty sleeves, making them rustle in the wind. After a long time, he replied, “It is I who disappointed him.”
He YanYun bit her lip and couldn’t say anything. The rims of her eyes had reddened slightly.
In a flurry, she suddenly stood up. And then, forgetting even to salute him, she rushed out of his courtyard.
She ran the whole way until she reached the Cheng Guang2 Lake of Xi Qian Peak. He YanYun felt so sad, she even had difficulties breathing.
She caught sight of her own inverted reflection on the surface of the lake. Currently, she cut a sorry figure, looking as if she was just about to cry. But unexpectedly, seeing this made her slowly calm down.
Because she recalled that, when she had still been a young child, her Master had told her a principle as he watched his reflection in the Lake at this very spot.
“A villain has no flaws, noblemen have countless.”
——Villains would never believe they made a mistake, and people of noble character would always reflect upon themselves, correcting an error the moment they became aware of it.
She remembered how, at the time, she had begun bickering with her Master, “Perhaps people are just too demanding when it comes to noblemen. That’s why they grab even the tiniest errors and refuse to let go, making it seem like the small error was a huge mistake. But since villains are already villains, when they make mistakes, people don’t blame them as much. This truly isn’t fair! Being a nobleman is so miserable, ah! Fortunately, I’m a girl.”
Master’s beard began puffing up in anger as he glared at her and huffed, “Brat, you’re hopeless! Your senior-apprentice brother is much better than you in this aspect!”
It was natural senior-apprentice brother was better than her. In He YanYun’s heart, senior-apprentice brother was more powerful than anybody else.
She cupped her hands in the river and used the water to wash her face. Then, she gave her own reflection a smile.
Because she suddenly felt that, when one compared a senior-apprentice brother who admitted his own mistakes to a senior-apprentice brother who never made mistakes, the former was even more powerful and worthy of admiration.
The evening breeze made one’s heart feel more serene. The young girl dressed in pink clothes sat by the lakeside as she thought over all the things that had happened since the public trial. She couldn’t bear seeing her senior-apprentice brother look so thin and haggard. Thus, she made a decision, and with it, her own mood improved as well.
On the fifth day of the fourth month3, an auspicious eclipse would occur.
Setting out on a long journey, performing funeral rites, being wed, and establishing something new4—this day was the most appropriate for all matters.
Duan ChongXuan had checked the Huang Calendar5 before deciding the date to embark on their journey.
Liu QiShuang and Jun Yu walked with them until they were outside Xi Hua Peak. On the day they parted, they unexpectedly didn’t have much to say.
Yin BiYue noticed that Jun Yu’s imposing aura could no longer be restrained and was thus released in a free manner. If one stood a bit closer to him, they would feel pressured, as if they were facing a high mountain that had suddenly appeared before them.
This was good news. Perhaps, by the time he returned, senior-apprentice brother would already be in the Immortalization realm.
After he and Duan ChongXuan saluted their senior-apprentice brother and sister, they turned around and descended down the mountain.
And then, they saw Luo MingChuan, who was standing in the middle of the mountain path.
It had only been a few days since they last met, but it appeared as if his complexion had improved by a great deal.
Luo MingChuan nodded slightly as his greeting, “Junior-apprentice brother Yin, junior-apprentice brother Duan.”
Duan ChongXuan said with a smile, “Senior-apprentice brother Luo, our destination is quite far away, so please treat us kindly.”
Yin BiYue relaxed. It seemed like the chatterbox didn’t hold a lot of hostility toward Luo MingChuan. He also nodded before saying, “Senior-apprentice brother Luo.”
And thus, they descended the mountain together.
At dawn, when the pale waning moon could be seen in the western part of the sky——
The melodious ‘Daybreak Waking Bells’ from the main peak began reverberating between the gaps of the mountain. The chiming sounds continued ceaselessly, startling countless birds into leaving the forest.
Although they were still on the mountain, the terrain had long became less steep. In addition, the main road they were walking on had been constructed so that it was even more wide and flat. On it, there was ample space to allow two carts to pass each other.
By the time they almost reached the self-study hall, they could already hear some vague voices.
Many of the disciples had already woken up, and some were gathered together as they talked about something. When they saw the three of them walking down the mountain, side-by-side, many faint gazes began shifting over to them.
This morning was serene, auspicious and peaceful, similar to the millions of mornings at Cang Ya Mountain in the past. One wouldn’t be able to spot a difference between them.
However, Yin BiYue intuitively thought that there was something wrong. Because, all of these disciples were actually holding swords.
Normally, when there wasn’t any affairs regarding their swords, cultivators who used light swords would just hang them by their waist. Heavy swords were carried on one’s back, and those fond of using space spiritual techniques or spiritual artefacts would simply put their swords away. Very few people would actually hold their swords.
Unless they wished to immediately use it.
- 青 (qīng) — green/blue, 麓 (lù) — the foot of the hill, 剑 (jiàn) — sword.
- 澄光 (chéng guāng) — limpid light.
- This refers to lunar calendar. Converted to our time, it should be around end of May/early June depending on the year.
- i.e: a relationship, a business, etc.
- 黄历 (huáng lì) — a traditional chinese calendar with auspicious and bad-fortune days already calculated and recorded on it.