Before the Spring and Autumn Period, cultivators were categorized into the Perfected, the Supreme, the Deity, and the Saint.
After the Spring and Autumn period, the concept of immortal world became popular and the belief of following the laws of the human world waned. The cultivation method was partially lost and partially passed down anonymously among the common folk, then picked up by the Taoist community. With some mix-and-match, series of Taoist cultivating methods were created, such as the Immortals Swordsman method, the Nether Immortals method, the method of refining Qi through a focused mind, etc.
The Sword Immortal Sect had grown out of none other than the Immortals Swordsman method itself.
Back then, they did not yet have an established system and their scale was limited. It wasn't until the ancient immortals period when individual Taoist sects began to form the Taoist religion and the Taoist community took shape. The essence-consuming method became the mainstream one and Immortal Swordsman gradually came to have their own sect and an inheritance system.
Same as the essence-consuming method, they inherited the quintessence of the ancient teachings, believing in cultivating in both the mind and the physical form, and in rising as immortals in their physical body.
People of later generations categorized them in different ways, such as the Southern and Northern Sects (of Quanzhen), or into various sects, including Wudang, Jingai Mountain, Huashan Mountain, Qingcheng, Nangong, etc. All sects had their individual cultivation method, but the core was essentially the same.
The essence-consuming method worked on enhancing Qi, whereas the Sword Immortal Sect worked on the sword energy, which meant to integrate the energy of the sword with one's own vital essence.
Usually, their swords were categorized into three levels.
Technical Sword: the swords used were tangible and physical objects. One was to have a strong sense of justice and readiness to help the weak with their swords. Sword skills of this level still belonged to the field of martial arts.
Methodical Sword (Qi Sword to some sects): the swords were halfway between tangible and intangible. When the energy of the swords was generated, they became an integral part of their wielders, who could soar in the sky with their swords and kill people a thousand miles away in a flash.
Taoist Sword (Divine Sword to some sects): the swords were intangible objects that did not have a physical form. The energy of the swords had become an integral part of Nature itself. The wielders were to walk a virtuous path and go where fate led them to.
As for the Youxian Sect, they had a unique way of passing down their inheritance: through Sword Seeds.
What exactly were Sword Seeds?
In plain terms, by fusing the seed into one's body, they were equipped with the combination of a flash memory disk, an engine, a pacemaker, and a sword vault. Swords could then be stored away in the Sword Seed and nourished whenever one wanted so that the swords could be refined.
How did it come into existence? They were transformed from the sword energy of the great masters of the sect who were at least men of the Immortal state. The four lumps of light flying out of the second pool were none other than four Sword Seeds.
If the explanation above still sounded too complicated, let's put it this way: with one such seed inside, even a dog could rule over Azeroth! Of course, the binding criteria were very strict. Most would end up like You Le—thanks to the flag Xiaozhai triggered earlier.
"Tsk! This is awesome!"
Holding the iridescent, glowing globe, Gu Yu read the information above off of it and sighed with admiration. "The Youxian Sect has come up with this method probably because the cultivation of the sword immortals was extremely difficult. People of later generations greatly benefited as a result, but every coin has two sides. If no one in the sect could reach the level of producing a Sword Seed, or none of the descendants fit the criteria, their inheritance would be discontinued."
"So, do you fit?" Xiaozhai teased.
"Of course. I will make it fit even if I don't!"
"Tsk. How about that fellow?" She pointed at the still unconscious Bai Yunsheng with her chin.
"Priest Bai is such an outstanding swordsman that the Sword Seed offered itself willingly. There can be only one answer to your question." Gu Yu stuffed the glowing globe into his big gourd and strolled toward Bai Yunsheng. "Is he all right?"
"The impact was a little too strong for his current cultivation level. I have regulated his flow of vital energy, leading it back to the natural state. When the treasure calms down and adjusts to his body, he will probably wake up," replied Lu Yuanqing.
Gu Yu explained the function of Sword Seeds without holding anything back and chuckled. "I guess I should congratulate Priest Bai for the windfall."
Hearing this, Lu Yuanqing also smiled sincerely despite being empty-handed himself. "So, the saying is true: good fortune lies within bad; bad fortune lurks within good."
"Haha, now that I've emptied two pools, there's only one left. Any plans on your side?" asked Gu Yu.
"The Youxian Sect has arranged some heavy guard around their treasure and our monastery is not capable enough to explore it at the moment. We'll wait. Or, maybe another extremely talented individual will come to take it some other day, which would be an interesting event as well," said Lu Yuanqing.
The two enjoyed their conversation, which looked rather baffling to any outsider.
As a matter of fact, even they themselves found this relationship a complicated one. Had it not been for the political factors involved, the two would make excellent companions for each other and appreciate each other's character. Unfortunately, with politics, they were facing conflict of interest in a jumble of aspects.
No matter what, neither was the parochial and improvident type. When something would benefit the cultivation environment as a whole, they would both gladly push it towards the right direction.
While the two guys chattered, Long Qiu was still chastizing herself.
"It was all my fault. If I knew Golden Silkworm could not take it, I would have handled it myself. Now a man was killed because of me."
Biting her lip, the girl kept darting looks towards a corner where You Yu sat with a blank face. You Le's body lay on the ground, covered by a plain white cloth. They were waiting for someone coming up to take care of it.
"Don't beat yourself up over this. He got greedy and got himself killed. Although looking at it from another angle, he did protect his younger brother as a result." Seeing that the girl was still sad, Xiaozhai squeezed Long Qiu's cheeks and forced her around, chuckling. "Well, let's forget about that for a minute… there, take it!"
With that, she took out the Sword Seed she caught and tossed it to Long Qiu.
Xiao Qiu jumped at this and stuffed it back to Xiaozhai's hands. "No, I can't take it! You were the one caught it and it's way too precious!"
"I don't need it. Just take it!"
"No, why don't you need it? Sword Immortals are so mighty and I'm so dumb. It'll go to waste in my hand!" Long Qiu would not accept it no matter what.
"Sword Immortals are so mighty? How do you know?" Xiaozhai chuckled.
"Um, isn't everyone saying that? One sweep of the sword and all skills are useless… something like that…" Xiao Qiu faltered a little.
"One sweep of the sword and all skills are useless… Hahaha, stop reading those crappy novels. Your little head is not so sharp to begin with, don't contaminate it further." Xiaozhai held her hand and explained patiently, "The skills of Sword Immortals lie in their attacking power and the imposing manner. In other words, a sword manual is ideal to be taken as a chief assault skill. Your brother, for example, is cultivating the essence-consuming method, but that method has no attacking power whatsoever. He might seem to know a lot—Shadow-switching, conjuring illusions, the Flame Cloud Needles, the Small Moving Technique… but none of those are aggressive enough, which is why a Sword Seed is perfect for him.
"Your cultivation method follows the same path as his—and a downgraded one, for that matter. Golden Silkworm is an undead-insect-depending witchcraft after all and will only pose more limitation in the future. Are you going to rely on that dumb bug for the rest of your life?"
Long Qiu was about to retort, but was interrupted right away.
"You talked about the sword rendering all skills useless. Well, to some extent, that is not wrong. But it's not that the Sword Immortals were the top cultivators because of the swords. They were that way because they believed in their swords and the sword manuals, which they deemed invincible.
"That was what an imposing manner all about. The Sword Immortals would never succeed in studying the manuals without that indomitable will.
"I am just like them. I believe my Thunder Technique is second to nothing in its killing will and it must be! Had I really begun to learn the sword manual, it means I don't have full confidence in Thunder Technique and I'm holding back.
"Because of that… I don't need this. It's yours!"
Smack! Xiaozhai tossed the globe back to Long Qiu.
Wow, you could see the twinkling stars in Xiao Qiu's eyes. She had always been fond of her sister, and now she was infatuated. She couldn't help it. She liked her brother and she liked her sister even more, as well as her younger sister. She loved the whole family.
Hence, she stopped nagging and put away the Sword Seed carefully.
Before long, it was noontime.
The authorized personnel came up to deal with the aftermath and You Le's body was carried down the mountain. You Yu still had that stunned look from both the sorrow and the bewilderment. Seeing this, Gu Yu and Lu Yuanqing went up to him and asked, "What's your plan now?"
"I want to take my brother home to see his mum and dad…" You Yu barely managed to look up and gave a reply, then shook his head, "I, I don't know…"
"You are very well endowed. If Taoism interests you, you can come find me… us, in the future," said Lu Yuanqing.
"Yes. Phoenix Mountain in the Northeast or Tianzhu Mountain in Qian Zhou. Either will do," Gu Yu gestured between himself and Lu Yuanqing.