The incantation went by like running water, which left no mark.
Shen Lian could not remember a single word, but he seemed to lose himself. He was trapped in a dream.
It was an odd space, there were wind, thunder, lightning, sun, moon, and star, which were interchanging.
The six phenomena were interchanging as if it was encrypting the message of Dao on heaven and earth.
Shen Lian was confused and unable to think. During the final dragon roar, everything disappeared and then he woke up.
It had been many years since he last had a dream, as he used the state of concentration as a substitute to sleep.
This dream, however, was grand and colorful and odd to an extreme. He could still feel the impact of the dream - it was an indescribable feeling. It was akin to happiness, despair, or perhaps, loneliness.
The sun rose from the east. Ruoxi woke up earlier than Shen Lian. He smelled pancakes and congee.
It seemed that sometimes a kid could just grow up all in a sudden.
Shen Lian did not give much thought to the dream last night, but he attempted to remember how it felt like waking up from the dream. The seed for the power of Taixu Strategy was about to germinate as if it was planted in the spring soil.
He was eating the congee and pancake earnestly. It was the first time Ruoxi tried cooking but they were edible. Ruoxi was a bright kid. She had become extremely perceptive under Shen Lian's nurturing.
If she were to learn swordcraft, it was likely that she would be better than ninety-nine percent of the swordmen out there. If she were to do something else, she would be the crème de la crème.
However, in cultivation, mere talent was not sufficient.
It required affinity, techniques, and most importantly, luck.
Ruoxi looked at Shen Lian earnestly as he ate the food she prepared. She looked more concentrated than when she was practicing writing. Shen Lian's expression had changed as he noticed the little girl's expression. While the food was just alright, he looked as if he was enjoying it fully.
Once he finished, he asked Ruoxi, "Do you want to go on a trip tomorrow?"
The little girl asked, "Where to?"
"A temple in the mountain. It is called Xiangji Temple," Shen Lian replied.
"Is it fun?"
"I've never been there, so I don't know."
"I want to go."
The daily conversations between this pair of adult and child had always been this plain and boring. The two were not aware of it. Ruoxi enjoyed the crowd, but she did not like to be a part of it.
The crowd and the hustle and bustles were just like fireworks during the festive season. She liked to be alone, or simply follow her brother at somewhere quiet. She would be satisfied to just be able to watch the fireworks from afar.
She was easily satisfied because she demanded little. With that, she had little problems in life. She did not know about the bad blood she inherited, and Shen Lian too would not tell her about it so she would not seek revenge. From this aspect, she was in a much better position than Bai Shaoliu.
It was the third time Shen Lian met Bai Shaoliu. He looked less cold than before as he attempted to squeeze out a smile.
Shen Lian laughed, "Have you ever smiled in front of a mirror?"
Bai Shaoliu did not understand why Shen Lian posed the question. He shook his head and answered, "No."
"I feel that if you smile at a mirror, it can help you with your guts."
"Because your smile looks scary."
It was obviously a joke, but it was not a funny one. Bai Shaoliu then stopped smiling.
It was perhaps because he had been expressionless for a while, and hence his facial muscles were rather stiff. The smile was not completely removed from his face and it looked even more awkward.
After a short silence, Shen Lian then asked, "So why are you here?"
Bai Shaoliu replied, "I am here to thank you for saving my life the other night."
He took out a fabric. There were pictures and words on top of it.
Shen Lian did not accept it. He merely said, "This is what they wanted from you."
Bai Shaoliu nodded.
"Is it more precious than your life?"
Bai Shaoliu then answered, "Yes." When he said that, his voice got louder.
"And hence you're giving it to me? You must have thought this through to decide to bring it over," Shen Lian replied softly.
Bai Shaoliu did not say anything.
For some people, life is precious because only when one is alive, he could do what was most important to him. Shen Lian allowed him to live, to him, it was not just about saving his life. Shen Lian gave him the hope to continue seeking revenge.
He also felt that the enemy would not be able to get hold of it if it was with Shen Lian.
Shen Lian continued, "Do you want to be a student of mine?"
Bai Shaoliu looked at Shen Lian's handsome face. He knew how powerful Shen Lian was, but he never even had the thought to learn anything from Shen Lian. He already owed him his life. If he were to ask to be his student, it would be too much.
He never expected that Shen Lian would take the initiative to ask him.
Shen Lian said, "It seems like you do not want to accept this offer."
"No, it is just because I don't know how I can repay you. I don't know what I can help you in."
Bai Shaoliu sprouted a series of words continuously.
"You can owe it to me first," Shen Lian laughed.
Bai Shaoliu thought he was dreaming. Shen Lian took over the fabric from his hand. The fabric carried the record of a type of sword art - Stream Sword.
The styles and the incantations were ordinary. They were a bit rough and had a lot of weaknesses.
Shen Lian took a look at it and returned it to Bai Shaoliu.
Bai Shaoliu was disappointed to see Shen Lian did not lose his composure. He was disappointed to think that maybe the sword art was worth nothing.
What Shen Lian said subsequently turned his thought around.
"This sword sect has some value. If you are successful in this, you will have little enemies in the mortal world. You will be able to taste the sweetness of revenge with this."
"I have been practicing this for over ten years, but I have yet to feel how powerful it is."
"Have you ever seen a stream? Do you know why water flows?"
Bai Shaoliu was stunned. He did not know the answer to this.
"You should pay a visit to Anping Canal to see why water flows. After you know the reason, then pay me a visit again."
After Bai Shaoliu heard what Shen Lian said, while he did not know the reason, he followed suit. In terms of martial arts, he believed Shen Lian was one of the most powerful in the world.
He, of course, knew that Shen Lian was not a martial artist, but a cultivator.
Learning martial art was to strengthen the body and to obtain power.
Cultivating was to understand the principles of the heaven and earth, and for longevity and eternity.
They shared some similarities, but there were more differences.
Shen Lian gave the Stream Sword technique a glance, and he knew the meaning behind this. It was not a sword art, but a piece that described the mysterious power on heaven and earth.
It was speaking about the principles of why water flows. If one were able to understand the principle of it, then he could learn this art and make it powerful.
It was a sword art in Daoism, not something in the mortal realm of martial art.
If one were to learn it with the thought of martial art and attempt to understand the power of the sword art, then one could learn nothing from it.