After leaving the General's Manor, Ye Que walked aimlessly on the streets of Luoyang City.
It wasn't that he didn't want to teach Ye Yunhai a lesson earlier. However, he had returned to his youth. Though he didn't lose his memories, all of his magic powers, supernatural abilities, precious treasures, and weapons had disappeared without a trace. His body was now the body of his teenage self, so weak that he didn't have the strength to truss a chicken. Never mind Ye Yunhai's soldiers behind him, even the two sedan chair bearers could suppress him.
Even though he had lost the divine power he had accumulated over a hundred years, Ye Que wasn't dejected. He could slowly cultivate all things as long as he maintained his state of mind. Moreover, he had risen from the lowest level when he was in Qingqiu Sword Sect using the most rudimentary cultivation techniques. His foundation wasn't solid back then. Were it not for his talent and constant fortuitous encounters, he might not be able to obtain his subsequent achievements.
Well, he would have to start from scratch now and take one step at a time.
Ye Que was confident he would experience a different kind of journey on his second road to immortality.
Whether one was cultivating to be a Perfected Immortal, Immortal, Demon, or Devil across the three worlds, the realms were strictly divided into seven realms and forty-nine stars.
The first was Psychic Realm, the second level was Glorious Star Realm, the third level was Non-materialization Realm, the fourth level was Dawn of Heaven Realm, the fifth level was Void Metamorphosis Realm, the sixth level was Immortality Realm, the seventh level was Supreme Sage Realm. Each level was further divided into seven stars.
Those in the Psychic Realm were called martial artists. They were further divided into nine ranks.
Those above the Supreme Sage Realm were called deities. The realm of deities was unspeakable.
In the current Human World, 99% of the cultivators were cultivating the Truth. Only a select few who had experienced fortuitous encounters were able to cultivate to be an Immortal. Those who cultivate the Truth were cultivating True Energy while those who cultivate Immortality were cultivating Divine Energy. Under the True Energy was the Internal Force, the foundation of cultivating martial arts. Above the Divine Energy was the Celestial Force. This force seemed to exist only in the legends.
Truth cultivation was divided into the Pre-heaven Realm and Post-heaven Realm. Once one broke through the peak of the Post-heaven Realm, he could enter the Psychic Realm. Meanwhile, the cultivation of martial artists was even slower. In terms of realms alone, a first-rate martial artist at the peak of his level had barely reached the doorstep of Pre-heaven Realm.
By the time Ye Que dominated the Celestial World a hundred years later, his cultivation had reached the peak of the Void Metamorphosis Realm and he was about to enter the Immortality Realm. He could be considered one of the top cultivators in the three worlds. Otherwise, he wouldn't have been praised as the future of the Celestial World and the genius with the most potential to enter the Supreme Sage Realm.
General Ye's Manor was located on Yong'an Street. If one walked west along the street, one would cross the Bridge of Long Life over Luo River. The Bridge of Long Life was like a boundary, separating the east bank where high officials and noble persons mostly inhabited. Meanwhile, civilians, merchants, peddlers, carriers, as well as a large number of brothels, casinos, and wine shops occupied the west bank.
Hundreds of sky lanterns rose from the west of the Bridge of Long Life, forming a long yellow river in the air. In the night market, dancing lions and dragons became a string of unextinguishable flames. The crowd frolicked and revelled. Luoyang City had become a sea of joy.
Ye Que walked across the Bridge of Long Life and stopped in front of a tavern called Peony Pavilion. "Waiter, a pot of apricot blossom wine and two taels of spiced beef."
"One pot of apricot blossom wine and two taels of spiced beef."
"Please be seated."
Before Ye Que entered the tavern, he heard the waiter's answer coming from the inside. The food and drink were ready within minutes. The Peony Pavilion had three floors. The lobby on the ground floor accommodated eating and drinking guests, while the hotel on the first and second floors accommodated overnight guests. From their decorations, he assumed the rooms would be rather pricey.
Of course, Ye Que didn't care about these worldly things now. Money wasn't essential for cultivation and they couldn't pay for real treasures. However, his body was still the body of a child. Eating and sleeping were unavoidable. If he became hungry or drowsy, he would still be dizzy.
He had no idea how to calculate the price to spend a night here. Believing he would be able to start cultivating after tonight, he had already considered how to start his own path of cultivating to be an Immortal. For an Immortal cultivator, money was basically something at his fingertips.
He had seen bankrupt merchants jumping off buildings but had never heard of Immortals starved to death for lack of money.
Besides, he estimated the Demon World should have begun invading the Human World.
Demon slayer would eventually be the most popular occupation.
To Ye Que, becoming a demon slayer was most suitable.
In his previous life, Ye Que chose to leave Luoyang City and walked all the way south after experiencing humiliation at the General's Manor. He met the disciples of Qingqiu Sword Sect who had come out for experience en route and barely left the sect in the next thirty years. The only thing he knew to do was cultivating behind closed doors. Even though his cultivation improved rapidly, he also lacked the experience of entering other worlds and his mental state was imperfect. This time, Ye Que wasn't prepared to take his previous path. What he could learn in Qingqiu was long engraved in his heart. He didn't need his Master to take him into the sect either. It suited him fine that he could get a good experience in the world of mortals.
"The east wind at night calls to bloom blossoms of a thousand trees; as if the drifting stars were like the drizzling rain. Precious horses and lavish carriages leave behind a scented trail. The tunes of phoenix flute resound as the timekeeper witnesses the turning of hours throughout the night; the fish and dragons dance all through the night..."
With a bard's crooning and zither tunes in the background, Ye Que drank two cups of apricot blossom wine and ate three pieces of spiced beef. Then he waved to the waiter. "I want a room."
When Ye Que disappeared up the staircase between the ground floor and first floor, a green-clothed page hidden in an inconspicuous shadow near the door of the Peony Pavilion moved. He returned to the east the Bridge of Long Life along the same path Ye Que had come in and finally entered the cold, detached General's Manor.
In the General's Manor.
Ye Yunhai sat on a gold-rimmed bench carved out of the Phoebe Zhennan tree in the reception room with his legs crossed. Standing opposite him was a woman in a silk gown. It was the Second Madam of the General's Manor and Ye Yunhai's biological mother, Xiao Huating. Not far from them was the green-clothed page kneeling on the floor.
"Reporting to Young Master: The youngster named Ye Que walked east along Yong'an Street after leaving the General's Manor. Just now, he had just stayed in the Peony Pavilion. During that time, he didn't enter other places or have close contact with anyone," the green-clothed page said. His train of thought was exceptionally clear.
"Looks like this person doesn't wish to leave Luoyang City easily." Ye Yunhai knocked on the arm of the bench.
"There must be something strange when things go wrong. His timing is suspect, only coming after the old man is about to die. Do you think this is possibly a coincidence?" Xiao Huating said placidly. "He took out a jade pendant wanting to return to his ancestral roots as soon as he met us. Who would dare to do something like that? Did he think it's that easy to enter the main doors of the General's Manor?"
"Xiaohai, you should consider the cause and effect when things happen. Don't let emotions affect your judgment," Xiao Huating continued. "If Mother is gone, you'll have to support the entire General's Manor. You must learn to grow up. You can't rely on others for everything or you'll suffer serious setbacks."
"I heard you, Mom!" Ye Yunhai raised his voice ever so slightly.
Ye Yunhai immediately put down his leg and asked anxiously, "Mother, do you think someone is backing up this Ye Que?"
"Whether or not someone's backing him up, everything must be settled. We can let it slide if Ye Que leaves Luoyang tonight but if he stays behind, he'll forever be a concealed danger to us," Xiao Huating replied coolly.
"Then should we strike first and gain the upper hand?" Ye Yunhai tried to sound out his mother's intentions.
"Spring rain has been frequent in the capital these days, turning Luo River fast-flowing. A person who walks by the bank will inevitably slip into the waters," Xiao Huating said neutrally and narrowed her eyes ever so slightly.
Ye Yunhai's mouth formed a vicious smile. There wasn't a need to make things plainly clear with words. The hint was all he needed.
"By the way, I'll decide on your marriage in these few days. The only daughter of the Heights Lord of the Extinction Sword Heights, Lin Mei'er, is said to have incredible beauty on tops of excellent martial arts. She's worthy of you, Xiao Hai. I'll arrange for you two to meet tomorrow," Xiao Huating added, speaking as if she had just recalled the matter.
"Marriage? Lin Mei'er!" Ye Yunhai jumped up from the bench in surprise. "You've decided on the marriage when I don't even know what this person looks like?"
"I disagree! I absolutely disagree! I want to decide on my own marriage!"
"Lin Mei'er's father has just broken through the Pre-heaven Realm a month ago," Xiao Huating abruptly said.
The next realm would be Post-heaven Realm, and then realm after would be the Psychic Realm.
Regardless of whether Lin Mei'er's father was in the Post-heaven Realm or Psychic Realm, Ye Que had reached the top floor of the Peony Pavilion. He was ready to start cultivating.
Ye Que's chosen path wasn't an ordinary cultivation path. Most people would need to find a place where the Spiritual Force was concentrated in order to get twice the result with half the effort but not him. He also wasn't setting out using the cultivation technique of the Qingqiu Sword Sect as it was nevertheless the cultivation technique of the Human World. Since his ultimate goal was Immortality, he must form a solid foundation. In his previous life, he found a secret land of death at the junction of the three worlds and accidentally acquired the Treasure of Living Beings. Recorded inside was half the contents of the Divine Book.
Based on the Divine Book, the cultivation method he was using was born at the same time as the three worlds. Cultivating using the Divine Book could lead him down any path. It enveloped all energies, including the Spiritual Force of the Human World, the Immortal Qi of the Celestial World, Demonic Qi of the Demon World, even the Devil Qi and the boundless Astral Force in the night sky. It was basically open to the absorption of all energies and forces for its own use.
When cultivating using the Divine Book, one would begin with the primary chapter and immediately begin with Divine Energy. This was the most domineering cultivation technique Ye Que had ever seen. Were it not because Ye Que was close to the Immortality Realm at that time and because one would have to abolish his previous cultivation to cultivate the Divine Book, he would surely fail to resist the temptation.
Now, Ye Que was back in his teens and he had to start from scratch. The Divine Book was just right.
Sitting on the top of the Peony Pavilion, Ye Que calmed down and recalled the information in the one-half segment of the Divine Book.
"The gate to the enlightenment of the three worlds begin in heaven."
The words on the first page of the primary chapter of the Divine Book abruptly appeared in Ye Que's mind.
Most cultivation techniques today emphasized the defiance of the natural order and practices that contradicted nature. The outcome was the method to oppose heaven and earth. However, the Divine Book did the exact opposite. Right from the get-go, the book helped the reader analyze the structure of the whole heaven and earth. It emphasized learning about heaven, understanding heaven, and finally, winning over heaven. Since the Divine Book was born at the same time as heaven and earth, it naturally understood heaven and earth best.
Moreover, the Divine Book wasn't merely about refining Qi but also strengthening one's physique. Without a strong body, how could one know heaven and earth, come close to heaven and earth, and finally prevail over heaven and earth?
The merriment continued in Luoyang while the air around the roof of the Peony Pavilion seemed to have frozen in an instant. A transparent ripple began to slowly form around Ye Que. First, the Spiritual Force in the air poured into his body from all directions. Then, the Luck of the Imperial City turned into an illusory dragon dancing atop his head. Soon after, the stars in the night sky abruptly brightened and the full moon even started emitting a silvery fluorescence.
It was as if the entire heaven and earth had begun assisting Ye Que from the moment he started cultivating using the Divine Book. The milky-white Spiritual Force, the pale yellow Luck of the imperial family, and the silver Astral Force hovered and fluttered in a circle around him. Incredibly, the stars in the night sky also began moving. The seven brightest stars converged with the full moon in a very short period of time. The string of stars illuminated the top of Ye Que's head.
It was such a strange phenomenon, yet the people seemed to have not detected it at all and continued their business.
Heaven and earth had opened a back door for Ye Que.