Chapter 385: The Gold-Banded Staff (10)
No one spoke.
The impact of Bladevessel’s words were too strong. No one had expected that the legendary Gold-Banded Staff was here, in the seabed graveyard that possibly led to Bermuda! Furthermore, neither Xu Yangyi nor Zhao Ziqi had foreseen… that Bladevessel was the stone statue carved by the legendary third disciple of Tang Sanzang, Sha Wujing, tossed here to serve as watchman.
Xu Yangyi took a deep breath and studied Bladevessel. He said after ages, “Then I’ll take the liberty to ask a question.”
Bladevessel chuckled coldly, “Although you know my identity, you still don’t call yourself ‘junior’?”
“And why should I?” Xu Yangyi scoffed, “A stubborn stone come into essence, Senior Sha’s little speck of an incarnation. Fellow Daoist calls himself ‘This Throne’, so you’re probably Foundation Establishment as well. Why do I have to call you ‘senior’?”
The duo icily stared each other down. Eventually, Bladevessel laughed instead, “You have the gall… I will give you an opportunity to ask a question.”
Xu Yangyi looked straight into the other’s eyes and enunciated each of his words, clearly and concisely, “In this world, are there immortals?”
This question had indeed vexed him for too long!
If there were no immortals, then a cultivator suffered bitterly for a lifetime to finally end up as a handful of yellow earth a century later. It was inferior to a hundred years of splendor in exchange. Past magnificence was far more worthy of remembrance than eternal silence.
Cultivation was free and unshackled. If it was still in the scope of heaven and earth, what could the defiance of the heavens be considered? To transcend nature?
The self-belief of freedom and leisure was nothing more than Sun Wukong’s posturing within Buddha’s palm.
Of all the things Xu Yangyi could’ve asked, Bladevessel hadn’t expected this question. He deeply eyed the demon slayer. After a long period of time, he finally opened his mouth.
Xu Yangyi and Zhao Ziqi were stricken dumb.
In this second, their minds seemed to lose the ability to think. All that remained was blackness. In the next second, ecstasy suddenly rushed to their hearts!
This wasn’t due to simple joy, but rather because an answer had been found to a question at last! The excitement of laying eyes on a new world and breaking through one’s framework of thought!
Swoosh. A soundless noise crisply echoed. It destroyed all past framework!
The first direct truth!
This was their true objective!
Great freedom and great liberation! A true transcendence of heaven and earth! To travel the world’s plane! A single word uttered to bring forth infinite magiks!
“The scope of the eye boundless and the world broad… The endless mansions in between at peace…” Zhao Ziqi’s trembling voice rang out. He was unable to speak.
An abnormal red tinged the color of Xu Yangyi’s face. Despite how he tried to control himself, it was to no avail. At this moment, his emotions couldn’t help but rage.
“Is what Fellow Daoist said…” Xu Yangyi said, but discovered his voice was somewhat hoarse. He lightly coughed and continued, “True?
Bladevessel glanced at him in contempt. “Do you know of so-called high-level cultivators?”
“A true high-level cultivator can clutch the stars and seize the moon… Between heaven and earth, their figure does not exist, only their legend. They use the vision of sky-filling gods and buddhas to gaze at the each and every developing plane… so long as they will it, a plane is annihilated into flying ash. So long as they wish it, they can turn the clan or dynasty of any plane into an overlord…”
“In a square inch of their palm, they can receive the sun and moon. Their breathing is the wind and clouds, and their sweat is rain and dew. Even a strand of their plucked hair can chop stars…”
“With a gentle blow of air from their mouths, the lower realms rise with storms. A thrust of their shining sword cuts a long rainbow through the sky. They dwell in the space between planes, their imperial residences on the backs of terrible beasts from times past. Or perhaps their palace halls grows on top of the essence stone of primordial chaos. This is a high-level cultivator. No… this is a god! This is an immortal!”
Although he was speaking, Bladevessel himself was looking at one of millions of avatars of the Gold-Banded Staff, lost in thought. He seemed to mumble to himself. He himself… also held incomparable longing for this realm.
It was quiet. After an extended period of time, Xu Yangyi said with what seemed to be indifference, “This realm… what is it called?”
Bladevessel stowed his gaze and rocked his head with great sorrow. “I cannot say.”
“I can only tell you that the Great Sage Sun was approaching the realm of gods, but he was in no way the top figure below this realm. Merely in the Star Realms affiliated with Earth, there are 800 Greater Thousand Worlds. There are not many immortals, but there are at least a thousand. Those capable of being like Great Sage Sun, those who held thirteen Greater Thousand Realms alone, are only three.”
What was a Star Realm? Xu Yangyi didn’t know, and he moreover didn’t wish to ask. Right now, there was an even more pressing question.
“How… does one cultivate to immortal?”
Bladevessel muttered under his breath for ages and slowly replied, “1,400 years.”
“What?” Zhao Ziqi said in astonishment.
“You don’t know?” Bladevessel lifted his head to look at the duo. “Has Earth already fallen to this? It still actually hasn’t been overtaken by the other Greater Thousand Realms? Or overthrown by a Lesser Thousand Realm? Hehe… it appears the gods and buddhas all around still take good care of Earth.”
“You’re too inexperienced…” he said in a deep tone, “You simply cannot know… that the world of cultivators is always in turmoil. Wars of Lesser Thousand Realm versus Lesser Thousand Realm. Wars of Greater Thousand Realm versus Greater Thousand Realm… A Greater Thousand Realm that hasn’t fallen, so long as it is discovered, will be overcome by another sooner or later. If you are fortunate to see a true plane developed in cultivation, you will understand what is called ‘one person to exterminate one nation’. Even if the might of high-level cultivators merely approaches the status of immortals, it is still something you absolutely cannot imagine.”
“Ask the surviving old monsters on Earth… They are sure to know… about the legendary road to the heavens… It opens once every 1,400 years. Only upon walking this road can one possibly seek the Dao and slay immortals.”
Xu Yangyi’s gaze smoldered. Others might not have had a good understanding, but he could confirm that Xiaoqing definitely knew!
The never-before-seen Butterflymother Southflower surely knew as well!
Perhaps Fahai was aware to some extent!
“Earth’s already entered the End of Days,” Xu Yangyi murmured after a long time.
Bladevessel seemed stunned, only speaking several seconds later, “Then it is impossible… Even if the road to the heavens opened, you certainly cannot be chosen by those above.”
“Above?” Zhao Ziqi asked tentatively.
Bladevessel was silent for quite a while. “This isn’t something you should know of… Look at you two, initial-stage Foundation Establishment and late-stage Qi Condensation? Hehehe, even in the Ancient Cultivation age you wouldn’t have the qualifications to go into battle. At most, you would be escorting provisions at the rear. Or serving as stablehands and so on… Since Earth has already entered the End of Days, demotion is inevitable. I once heard master say that there are rules among immortals. To be able to hide for 1,400 years is already a favor beyond law. Maybe… in the next 1,400 years, the ‘greetings’ of the other Greater Thousand Realms will be in approach?”
“Not to speak of the Greater Thousand Realms, I dare confirm that the number of Lesser Thousand Realms that infinitely approach Earth in power can be counted on one’s fingers. Once they clearly reckon Earth’s Realm Anchor and Star Position… hehehe… Let us see… perhaps in a hundred years or two hundred years? Three hundred years? Earth will truly witness a planar war.”
When star-annihilating cannons are aimed at Earth, high-level cultivators defending with swords in flight, and billions of magik treasures, or even spirit treasures, targeting Earth… will you still care about the so-called ‘above’? Before it is too late, leaving Earth before that day’s arrival is proper business. The End of Days? Hehehe…”
Xu Yangyi was solemn-faced.
As to what would happen to Earth, he currently had no right or ability to interfere. But if Bladevessel was telling the truth… then when the time came, how he would survive would become of the utmost importance!
Nonetheless, this was too distant.
“Do you seek to gain an even clearer understanding?” Bladevessel’s complexion changed, and he firmly stomped his foot. “Then go down and realize this evil fate!”
“Underneath… an entity that even Great Sage Sun felt trepidation towards is being sealed! It cannot awaken… It has always been in slumber! This avatar of the Gold-Banded Staff is Great Sage Sun’s one and only method to suppress it! Every year, the qi of the Yuenü Tribe is needed to supply! And only the Yuenü Tribe’s qi offering can ensure that this entity does not awaken for eternity! But you!”
“You absorbed a portion… You are a Foundation Establishment cultivator! You absorbed several hundred thousand at the very least! Several hundred thousand people! This caused a crack to appear on the seal!” Bladevessel stared right at the open crack on the Taiji. “Go down… and close the door! Go to the very bottom! Otherwise…”
“Otherwise what?” Xu Yangyi restrained his state of mind and said apathetically, “The Clearcloud Realm will be destroyed? What does that have to do with me?”
“Hehe…” Bladevessel barked dryly in laughter, “The Clearcloud Realm is sure to perish, but you… will never be able to return to Earth!”
“And that is because… the path leading to Earth is down below!”
Xu Yangyi’s gaze suddenly flashed, and he looked at Bladevessel, distrustfully.
“Don’t look at me like that, I… will go down together with you.” Bladevessel took a deep breath. “Once this entity awakens… the consequences will be unimaginably horrific! If you don’t believe the passage to Earth is down there, then go ahead and try. Go look around the entire Clearcloud Realm, and see whether or not you can leave!”
Xu Yangyi murmured to himself for a long time and finally nodded. “I’ll go investigate myself.”
Was this a joke?
Something capable of forcing Sun Wukong to lock it down with the Gold-Banded Staff. Even if the staff in the Clearcloud Realm was a tiny avatar, the entity was bound to be dreadful, since it was able to draw a figure of such status to take heart. He, a lone Foundation Establishment cultivator, had no preparations whatsoever. In just saying to head below, perhaps going down would be his death!
“Are you sure we have hope?” Nevertheless, he finally asked.
“If there is no hope, am I accompanying you down there to throw my life away?!” Bladevessel sneered, “Awakened and in slumber, it is a creature of two kinds. As long as it doesn’t awaken, there is certainly an opportunity for Foundation Establishment. And… there might even be titanic fortune!”
What fortune? Zhao Ziqi immediately asked.
Bladevessel’s silhouette seemed to move. A long period of time passed, and only then did he say with extremely unwillingness, “That Which Cannot Be Said.”
“What?” Xu Yangyi furrowed his brows.
“Ignorant and inexperienced.” Bladevessel jeered, but said gravely, “I cannot say… Its name must not be said… Is this the level Earth has already fallen to? A great unspeakable name, none are actually aware? When Fellow Daoist entered his sect, could it be that there was no constitution test?”
“None. Modern Earth and the cultivation world in your imagination are two different categories.”
Bladevessel was reticent for a long time and asked solemnly, “Then… what about the Ten Grand Immortal Physiques? There is inevitably some hearsay, yes?”
Xu Yangyi’s heart stirred. Xiaoqing had helped him lay down the Foundation for the Voidspirit Immortal Physique, but he didn’t have a single clue how to cultivate it.
He slightly nodded.
“The Ten Grand Immortal Physiques…” Bladevessel’s gaze turn heated. “Ten constitutions that are known as the most suitable to cultivate and the strongest in the late stage. In the Ancient Cultivation age, there were no less than a hundred kinds of constitutions. In the end though, only these ten rose above all others. Thus, they are praised as the Ten Grand Immortal Physiques.”
“Any of them, cultivated to the apex, possess the unfathomability of gods and ghosts. Perhaps their foundation is not hard to gain, but it is hard… for the foundation to completely match the body! Such as the Voidspirit Immortal Physique, known as the most mysterious immortal physique among the ten. It is said that when perfected, the infinite arts are no match for it. It is very close to the limit of planar travel. It requires the most essential wood-spirit constitution and a pure wood-spirit root. It is said the utmost supreme pure wood-spirit root comes once every 500 years. They are few.”
“And the cultivation method of any immortal physique is an absolute secret! Perhaps these methods were still passed down on Earth before the End of days, but afterwards… hehe, I fear none may know. There is only one exception.”
Xu Yangyi said lowly, “That Which Cannot Be Said?”
“Of course.” Bladevessel said with longing. “That Which Cannot Be Said... If one has already formed an immortal physique, then… That Which Cannot Be Said is the way to instill a cultivator with cultivation! If an immortal physique hasn’t been formed, it’ll improve the cultivator’s constitution! Striding forward to an immortal physique!”
“The Foundation is easily gained, yet loading the body is hard sought. That Which Cannot Be Said in itself is a great secret stemming from one body of medicinal pills and the cultivation world. Even in the old days, master said he hadn’t seen many. I also heard master say that in his experience, he has only seen one Grand Completion among two of the Ten Grand Immortal Physiques. Still, that figure was not a cultivator at perfection. And they…”
He brushed an eye over Xu Yangyi. “Are the same as Great Sage Sun. Likewise, they alone can occupy ten-odd Greater Thousand Realms. None dare to comment on the other two!”
Xu Yangyi sucked in deeply.
He’d only heard Xiaoqing mention the Ten Grand Immortal Physiques. He’d never imagined that their origins would actually be so great!
Sun Wukong, who ranked among immortals, could surprisingly only rank the same as two of them! These words left him with supreme expectation towards the Voidspirit Immortal Physique!
1. In legend, Buddha makes a bet that Sun Wukong cannot escape his palm. Sun Wukong flies to the end of the world and sees five pillars and thinks himself to have won. In fact, these five pillars are Buddha’s fingers. This is the gist of the story.
2. These are two lines are from two separate poems. They are used to describe size/scope of something. The first phrase is by Tang poet Fang Gan (809-888 CE). The second phrase is by Tang poet Du Fu (712-770 CE).