"The second Immortal is about to be awakened."
The words floated across the air and lit up Ling Xian's face.
The second Immortal!
The second Immortal was known to be capable of refining the Sun, Moon, and Stars of the Universe, skills second only to Liao Cang Qiong. What a glorious past this Immortal must possess? How will he bedazzle us?
Liao Cang Qiong, the most accomplished of all Immortals, had given him so much guidance. This second Immortal, what will he bring for Ling Xian?
Seeing his excitement, Liao Cang Qiong fiddled with his beard and let out a soft sigh. "I had made immense sacrifices these past few days to wake him up prematurely. Waking him ahead of schedule was not my intention, but I encountered a minor accident."
"Almighty Master, who is the Immortal, can you tell me something about him? I can get ready for his awakening," Ling Xian inquired eagerly.
"If I tell you now you'll miss out on the surprise." Liao Cang Qiong chuckled. He continued, "This is an extraordinary individual. I can only tell you that she's a woman who inked her name into history. Singling her out, she's amongst the most exceptional of us nine Immortals, so guess for yourself."
"A woman who wrote her own history, a mistress of alchemy, an extraordinary feat!" Ling Xian exclaimed. He paused, pondered for a moment then pulled out a frail, dust-covered book out of his traveler's sack.
As the title suggests, the book detailed the lives of the most extraordinary cultivators who ever lived throughout the millennia-long history of the Taoism Community. Each individual whose name was inked inside the pages of this book had achieved what would be unimaginable for the ordinary.
There lies a dream of achieving greatness within every individual, including Ling Xian. He had purchased this book from a humble street vendor years ago and carried it around with him ever since. His dream was to one day become a cultivator of this elite group and leave his mark in this history book.
"Hmm… even though only a handful of women made it into this book, most of them fit the criteria and description of the Immortal," Ling Xian mumbled, flipping from page to page. After examining quite a few awe-inspiring biographies of remarkable female figures of history, he gave up and shifted his gaze back to Liao Cang Qiong, "Almighty Master, this is too difficult to guess, can you advise some more?
"This is cheating! You carry the Encyclopedia of Famous People of the Nine Provinces with you? Now, let me see how it describes me." Liao Cang Qiong swung his massive sleeve and summoned the book from within Ling Xian's grasp. The book halted obediently in front of him and slowly opened its pages.
Page 1, page 10, page 100… finally, on page 250, the name Liao Cang Qiong jumped off the page.
Two Hundred and Fifty…
Liao Cang Qiong was stunned, fuming at the mouth and lecturing angrily, "Damn, who assembled this list? Who wrote this goddamn book? Putting me on page 250, what an insult!"
Ling Xian grinned. He had misunderstood Liao Cang Xiong's displeasure, thinking that he had been angered by his placement near the end of the book. Ling Xian thus tried comforting his Master, "The list was not compiled based on the level of achievement, but organized in chronological order. You have been around for over 300 years, but many had lived long before you. Hence you are on page 250."
"Of course I'm aware the names are listed chronologically. I was upset about the number 250, this is a pure insult. This book must have been published by the Clandestine Clan. When I'm recovered, I shall go and burn it down!" Liao Cang Xiong was furious.
Ling Xian didn't know whether to laugh or cry. He tried his best to comfort his Master, "Almighty Master, do not trouble yourself with minor details. Why don't you read how they've described you first, then decide whether you still wish to burn it down."
Liao Cang Xiong felt a hint of embarrassment and tried covering this awkward burst of emotions with a couple of fake coughs. He proceeded to read a few lines, then a wide smile appeared on his face.
The book described him this way.
Liao Cang Xiong, a name that echoes through the ages, a name that stretched from both sides of the universe.
He was born to an ordinary family of mortals. Entering the world of Alchemy at the tender age of 13, he immediately displayed an extraordinary gift that propelled him to the top of the Cultivator realm in a mere hundred years. A Master cultivator of the first realm, he spent the next hundred years perfecting and spreading the art of alchemy, brewing and refining Dans from the most ordinary of objects, enriching the earth and future generations alike. His status can be compared to that of the Founder of Alchemy, Founder of the Taoism Community.
Upon ascending into the Heavens as an Immortal, he became known as the Immortal Dan.
Just as the poem praised: If the Heavens hadn't sent Liao Cang Xiong, the world of Alchemy would loom in darkness.
The poetic praises finally conquered Liao Cang Xiong, who became drunk on delight. He could not contain his pleasure, "I can't believe they had given me such worthy praises! Ha ha, those old bones at the Clandestine Clan, they have a good eye for talent!"
Seeing this less than humble display of childish passion, Ling Xian let out a cough and reminded him, "Ehem, Master, you're an Immortal, beware of your image."
"Oh beware my behind!" Liao Cang Qiong threw Ling Xian a harsh glare and proudly went on, "The one great weakness that has plagued me all my life is vanity. My timeless existence has never managed to diminish my desire for adoration; neither do I want it to. What matters will continue to matter, what's the shame in that?"
"Well…" Ling Xian was taken aback by this honest display of emotion. Liao Cang Qiong was a passionate individual who did not live a life of pretense. This was an honorable quality. Indeed, why pretend otherwise? How exhausting would that life be?"
"Ha ha, 'a name that echoes through the ages, a name that stretched from both sides of the universe', what a great stanza. That poem, it describes me to the core. Just for that description alone, I guess I shan't burn you to the ground." Liao Cang Xiong could not take his eyes off of the page, beaming with pleasure. He continued to mumble softly to himself, "This is indeed comforting, my cherished life and my great deeds will never be forgotten!"
"Ehem, Master, you're getting carried away, let's turn the subject back to the second Immortal." Ling Xian still did not know whether to laugh or cry.
"Since I am in a great mood, I'll give you another hint. She lived some 200,000 years before me, during one of the darkest and most volatile ages of our history." Liao Cang Qiong fell into deep contemplation. In addition to the obvious admiration for this individual, Ling Xian had detected a curious hint of fear.
The renowned Almighty Master of Alchemy, the Immortal capable of refining the Sun, Moon, and Stars of the Universe, how can he show fear towards anyone? Ling Xian was immediately overwhelmed with curiosity. He dug deeper into his memory, narrowed the list down to that time period and searched for a clue.
Suddenly, a name jumped off the page and flew across his mind.
It was a name that sends shivers down the spines of heaven and earth, a name that spreads darkness across the land as the sun hides in fear. A mighty warrior, a fierce rebel.
She was a woman of legendary wisdom, ferocious determination, unstoppable strength, and remarkable passion. She was the most intriguing, desired woman history has ever known.
Her story began in a dark, warring period that nearly spelled the end of humanity. In an epic fight for dominance, armed with a lone sword, she paved a path to hell with the blood spatter and mutilated bodies of her enemies, defeating hundreds of beastly species of Heaven and Earth and saved humanity from the brink of extinction.
Ultimately, she united all of humanity under her banner, led them out of the dark ages and emerged as the dominant and most fearsome power that ruled Heaven and Earth.
Had she not lived, neither would humanity today. Had she failed, history would have long forgotten us.
Her name will always stand the test of time. Her name will never be forgotten.
Her achievements could be compared to those of the Founding Fathers of all humanity. She was known throughout history as the Keeper of Land and Sea.
Her life had been immortalized through poetry:
Her wisdom celebrated as the history's keeper;
And courage that made the mountains and valley weep;
Her beauty lit up the Cosmos as the hours and years stopped;
The life of a hero was lonely at the top.
The first verse honors her character, the second applauses her skills, the third externalizes her beauty and the last acclaims her deeds. Time has eroded neither humanity's faith nor their adoration for her.
For over 200,000 years, she had been the embodiment of perfection in the eyes and minds of men.
Legend has it, her unique skills and techniques had caused her to develop shifting characters that were defined by the desires of men.
Coldness, tenderness, charm, naivety… Today she showers you with the kindness of an affectionate wife, tomorrow she transforms into an object of your naughtiest desire, and the day after, she morphs into the naïve mistress of your fantasy. Her shifting appearance, temperament, knowledge, and character could fulfill the darkest desires of every man.
Since her existence on earth, no woman in history had ever come close to challenging her status as the Goddess of Feminine Virtues and Perfection.
"It appears that you have succeeded in correctly guessing who she is. During the dark periods of her life, her aura overshadowed that of every being that breathed," Liao Cang Qiong reminisced fondly. Suddenly, he let out a soft sigh, "It was both an honor and a tragedy to be born during her time - an honor to witness the makings of history, a tragedy that no one will ever remember you next to her."
"How incredible…" Ling Xian exclaimed, at a loss for words.
He had grown up reading about the lives and tales of the heroes and heroines of humanity. Had he been asked to choose his favorite, she would have been the unequivocal choice.
The heroine of his youth will wake right in front of him! What an exhilarating feeling!