It was around midnight on the mountain. The cool night wind brushed against the tall grass. Snarling angrily, the iron corpse spat out a mouthful of thick black smoke, the stench of which was almost unbearable. It began with a thin streak, which rapidly expanded and came at a black shadow head on like a devouring mouth.
The shadow did not evade in time and was caught inside the smoke, which instantly restrained it. Immediately after that, the iron corpse inhaled deeply, raising a gust of sinister wind. The shadow was sucked in wrapped inside the smoke.
Swallowing the thing, a satisfactory expression that looked almost human appeared on the face of the iron corpse, who then growled with delight.
"Obey at once and rush it as an imperative law! Go!"
Meanwhile, on an clearing not far, Chao Kongtu produced a talisman, which turned into an golden arrow at a shake of his hand and dashed forward like a stream of light.
A lump of dark shadow twice the size of the first one was pierced through right away, giving off a sound of a deflating ball, and dissipated instantly. There was then a clack, which turned out to be a black bead the size of a soybean falling down from midair and rolling around on the ground.
"Hm? Lucky me!"
Raising an eyebrow, Chao Kongtu went over and picked up the bead, then tossed it over his shoulder without turning his head. "There! Your cat food!"
Li Suchun caught it and said coldly, "This is not cat food, nor is the iron corpse a pet!"
"They're the same thing! You've got to feed them and clean after the sh*t and all that!"
Chao Kongtu found a stone and casually sat down, then took off a gourd liquor pot from his waist and took a sip. "The ghostly beings are regenerated at shorter and shorter intervals. I'm afraid one shift a day would no longer be enough. Luckily for us, with you around, we can still hold them off for now."
"I'm leaving after the summer." Feeding the bead to the iron corpse, Li Suchun also sat down.
"Leave? I think you should stay, even just for the sake of this rare resource."
"I'll have work to do if I stay. Those people annoy me." Youngster Li kept his poker face when he added, "Well, you and Zhang Shouyang are ok, so is that Zhong fellow."
"Ha, I like the way you put it!"
Laughing, Chao Kongtu gulped down another mouthful of the liquor.
Ever since Lu Yuanqing discovered the underground White Crane Palace and the Taoist skills, the priests had carried out some studies together and the skills were widely learned among the thirty-six members. The beast-controlling method and the making of talisman water could be learned by cultivators of the acquired state, whereas the method of refining with mental power could only be used by the four men of the innate state.
Let's talk about the beast-controlling method first. A spiritual animal was to be chosen for the method, preferably a cub. Raising it following the instruction of the method would allow the minds of the animals to be connected to those of their masters. There was also the possibility that the animals would evolve and upgrade, awakening some inborn talents.
The more spiritual the animal and the more resources spent, the more powerful the spiritual beast would become.
Take birds like hawks and falcons as an example. The monkey-eating eagle of southeast Asia was the largest of the extant eagles in terms of length, with a height of nearly a meter and a wingspan between 200 to 250 cm. If raised with the beast-controlling method, it would grow to at least twice that size, carrying several people at a time.
Yes, it was a completely different story from the pig farm of Phoenix Mountain.
Then there was the talisman water, which could be adopted for an even wider range of purposes: melt the burnt talisman in the water to prevent and cure diseases, gaining popularity among the common people during the process...
These two could be considered the founding skills of Qiyun. At the end of the day, they had to have their own feature to develop, grow, and spread their fame.
With the help of the authorities, the four innate state men had obtained the necessary materials and began to refine their equipment. The others were also in the process of searching for spiritual animals… all in all, the entire monastery was enthusiastically devoted themselves to the cause of the revolution 1 (actually, the cause of rebellion).
As for Lu Yuanqing, while he was getting prepared for a second exploration of the underground palace, he also arranged men to guard the well in case the ghostly beings should break out. Those less capable were arranged in pairs and the more capable would take the shift alone.
The bead earlier was a Yin bead sometimes left behind when a ghostly being dissipated. For now, they found no use of it, so all beads had been fed to the iron corpse.
"Your zombie is reaching the limit, isn't it? Aren't you afraid of losing control of it?"
Drinking his liquor, Chao Kongtu eyed the iron corpse enwrapped in Yin energy and found it necessary to give the young man a heads-up.
"The limit of the acquired state is the iron level. The corpse and the master are mutually dependent. It will never reach the innate state without me reaching it first. Killing me means the end for it. It's not that stupid!" explained Li Suchun.
"In that case, why didn't you join the monastery, but played the lone ranger instead? With what you can do, if you agree to join, that Lu fellow will welcome you with open arms and offer you the Neidan method on open palms."
"I told you, those people annoy me…" Youngster Li darted him a look and asked, "Then why don't you take it?"
Chao Kongtu chuckled and gave a partially genuine answer, "Haha, before I came here, my master gave me the task of bringing honor to the Maoshan Sect. He never mentioned polishing the name plate of Quanzhen."
At 24, he was one of the most unconstrained characters of the monastery. Despite all his DPS skills, his position in the monastery had remained an embarrassment. Apart from Zhang Shouyang and Zhong Lingyu, he had little association from any other priests in Qiyun—nor did he care, for that matter.
"Right, my master sent word for me that I'm needed back in Maoshan…"
Chao Kongtu finished the gourd of liquor and held it between his fingers. "Phoenix Mountain needs a favor and I am to go to Shengtian with them. I'm leaving tomorrow morning and would not be back for a while. I'm afraid you'll have to play on you own."
"Humph!" Youngster Li would not reply to that.
"Tsk, what's with that scorn! After all, we've been hanging out these days. I know that behind that poker face of yours is a warm heart. I've never seen you drinking—here, how about make an exception for me?"
With that, he toss Li Suchun the gourd.
The guy sounded earnest. Both men were disciples of Maoshan and with their compatible dispositions, the two had been getting along pretty well. It was very rare that Li Suchun should act so bold and unrestrained. Taking the gourd, he did not seem to mind that the other had been drinking straight from it and tilting his head backwards, he was going to pour the liquor into his mouth. He tried and tried some more...
'You bastard! It's empty!'
Seeing that he had successfully made fun of Li Suchun, Chao Kongtu bolted to his feet and was meters away in an instant. "Keep the gourd! I'll be drinking with you after I got back!"
Jiuxiao-Wanfu Palace, night.
After dinner, Zheng Kaixin told his mother where he was going and ran out of the dormitory. It was supposed to be the rooms for paying laymen and laywomen, but Wu Songbai took pity of the mother and son and let them live there for free.
He ran through the rows of dormitory and stopped in a corner of the temple. Seeing that no one was around, he straightened up his little face and began his exercise, waving his arms and legs around.
It was a set of movements taught by Jingyi, who told the kid that he was weak physically with a feeble energy. Practicing the movements would improve his health in the long term. It consisted of only four or five moves, but he thought that maybe he was too dumb, for he was not yet able to carry them out from the beginning to end.
It had been a week since Zheng Kaixin arrived at the mountain with his mother. Life up here was dull and uneventful, but he actually quite liked it, for he had been sleeping soundly for the past few days without ever detecting the "dead people" again.
Of course, he knew perfectly well that the ability was still there. Whenever he left the mountain and went to the town, the school, the supermarket, or his relatives', he would definitely sense it: that faint, uncomfortable feeling that made him feel cold and depressed, followed by some terrifying fragments flashing past his eyes…
To be honest, he was already very tough for his age. Ordinary children might have lost their minds by now.
After practicing the movements for a few times, Zheng Kaixin was panting with exhaustion and covered with sweat.
He wiped his face carelessly, looked around, and snuck out through a small door to the outside of the red wall, where a large opening was. It seemed to have been a sightseeing stand once for the tourists to savor the view in the distance, but after the temple was expanded, the stand was closed off to the outsiders.
It was a little secret of Zheng Kaixin. He would stay here alone for a while every day after his exercise. Children's taste was very straight forward. He could not find the word to describe it, but only knew he liked here very much.
The kid ran happily to the opening and gulped down the fresh air, enjoying the ease of mind. Looking up, he couldn't help but blink, for the view tonight was beautiful as always, yet something was different.
Behind him stood the brightly lit Jiuxiao-Wanfu Palace, which looked down to the same well-lit Maoshan Town. The two were set apart by a night forest filled with coiling mist and mountain trail several hundred stairs long separated the two worlds, with a heavenly one on one end and the mortal one on the other.
"Why, fog is rising?"
Emboldened, Zheng Kaixin only hesitated a little before running to the guardrail and naively reached out to touch the fog.
Before his stretched-out little hand could touch it, he felt a slight cooling sensation at the tip of his fingers as a breeze blew over. The fog floated around with the wind as if it was dancing in the air. It was surpassingly beautiful and quaintly attractive. With its unpredictable move, it almost seemed to have life of its own.
With the acute instinct of a kid, he instantly stepped back. The fog then rolled up like rushing waves, which then fell back down and gradually condensed into a human shape.
Zheng Kaixin sat heavily on the ground in fright, fear covering his face.
The man walked slowly towards him. He was very tall and looked down at the kid.
The kid gave a shudder and looked into those eyes as if his soul had been sucked away. He did not know the expression of "as resplendent as the Milky Way", for it he did, it would be how he describe what he saw this moment.ED/N: Revolution as in against the capitalism I guess