All sorts of feelings welled up in Gu Yu's mind. He must have spent a million hours on his card-drawing games and never got an SSR (special super rare) one—lady luck simply did not like him. However, when it came to cultivation, he was on the other end of the spectrum.
My, my! He was indeed much happier as a cultivator than an Otaku.
Opening his eyes, he nodded at Xiaozhai first to assure her that everything was fine before moving onto the Red Sun Devil-smashing Sword Manual.
In Taoist mythology, there was a spectacular immortal by the title of True Warrior Devil-smashing Great Deity, or the Devil-smashing Celestial Venerable to the common folk. Legend had it that he was the god of the North. Over three meters tall, with his hair loose, and clad in black, he was seen in standing posture with his hand on the hilt of his sword. Waiting on him on either side were his Tortoise and Snake Generals, as well as a pair of immortal boy and girl to record all merits and demerits taking place in the three divisions of the universe.
Whether such a deity existed or not, the expression "devil-smashing" alone indicated its purpose, which was to eliminate monsters and demons, subdue evil spirits, end the suffering, and help those in distress.
In a word: freaking awesome!
The fact that this sword manual named itself "devil-smashing" was proof enough of its exceptional ability. After reading through it carefully, Gu Yu was able to have a better understanding of the history of the Youxian Sect.
The founder of the Youxian Sect was Perfected Man Yunya, 1 who was once an able disciple of the Sword Immortal Sect of Sichuan. He later established his own sect as a branch of the original one and created seven sword manuals based on his Alma Mater's teachings, which he developed into his own.
All seven sword manuals corresponded to the aura of celestial phenomena such as the sun and the moon. One would learn to enhance and refine their sword energy through the manuals to gain matchless power. The manuals would enable the practitioners to cultivate as high as the Earthly Immortal state. Disciples of later generations then made seven divine swords, each corresponding to one manual and passed down together.
The lineage of the devil-smashing manual had Dongyang Zi as its first patriarch, which was passed down through Zhiyou Zi, Priest Qiyun 2 , Juechen Zi, etc., all the way to the last disciple Liang Yuanyu, a priest of the Ming Dynasty who was the last one to be able to create a Sword Seed. It was also from his sword energy that Gu Yu's seed was made.
The Sword Seed contained a complete set of teachings from the Technical and Methodical to Taoist Swords.
Gu Yu skipped the first part and went right into the sections on the Methodical and Taoist Swords. The Methodical Sword was attained through absorbing the energy of the red sun and digesting its true meaning so that the sword energy could take shape. Golden glow would rise out of the blade like flames and the wielder would become one with the sword to dispel evil energy, incinerate monsters, bring light to all corners; no demon could pass its threshold.
Of all the seven manuals, the devil-smashing was second to none in its awe-inspiring integrity and magnificence!
The Taoist Sword section was much more abstract. Probably because only a handful of cultivators had ever achieved this level, most of the section was on personal understanding and thoughts.
"The Taoist Sword is to cultivate towards the Great Tao internally and towards the sword externally. One is to collect the essence of the Infinite and integrate with the energy of Nature. The sword is to be refined by heaven and earth and sharpened with spiritual spring water. The pommel is represented by Taichi, the hilt admancy, the blade merits, and the sheath peace and quiet. The refinement of the sword is a resplendent insubstantial scene and the blade is as pure as the toughest steel. It works the law of Nature, carries out the order of the highest supreme, and sets a record that has never been approached and will never be approached again!"
What a load of crap!
Gu Yu couldn't hold his sarcastic remarks back at this. 'Master Liang, no offense, but you just came up with that bullsh*t to confuse your pupils because you didn't understand it too, didn't you?'
He put that aside for the time being and went back to read the Technical Sword part, which surprised him unexpectedly. To be honest, that part actually had a bigger impact on him.
The Technical Sword was the tangible sword which one used to train their skills. The swords were made from metal, and one could think it as the sword skills described in wuxia novels.
As the prerequisite skill of the Sword Immortal Sect, it could lay a solid foundation for the practitioners, as well as help them to reach the innate state. You heard it right, those highly perceptive and very well-endowed disciples could achieve the innate state by reaching the perfection of this level alone!
Up till now, there were only three ways to reach the innate state: Dan method of Quanzhen, the essence-consuming method, and Thunder Technique. He had just discovered the fourth one, which seemed much easier to spread.
Do recall that there were four Sword Seeds in total!
Phoenix Mountain had two and the monastery had one. With Bai Yunsheng's talent and belief in the sword, his future was very promising. With its government background, the monastery would definitely pass it down, which was a great help for its development.
And there was also that fleeing one, which would make no difference if it was not used. However, if someone out there indeed managed to fuse with it, it would take root among the commoners. Even if they couldn't achieve the innate state, they would become very capable swordsmen of the acquired state all the same… hmmmm, how exciting.
Gu Yu closed his eyes and focused his mind, slowing digesting the vast amount of information. He lost count of time and was about to finish when he woke up to a pleasant smell and some strange noises.
Opening his eyes, he watched the scene with a "Seriously???" face. Just a couple of meters in front of him, Xiaozhai made noodles for herself and Long Qiu. They now each held a bowl and were both slurping happily at the food.
"Oh, you're awake. There you go!"
Xiaozhai tossed him a bowl casually. He caught it and saw that the white and chewy noodles were covered by a layer of aromatic and soft paste made from wild herbs and egg, as well as chopped up green onion and pepper.
"Where did you find all these?"
"We searched the hotel. We've finished a pot already. This pot is Xiao Qiu's work. Do you like it?"
"Yeah… it's pretty good." Gu Yu was not quite used to the flavor of soupless noodles with pepper and put down his bowl after a few bites. "So, you two have been enjoying yourselves. Weren't you at least a little worried about me being carried away by the evil side?"
"You're a lucky man, face it. What evil way could you go to? So, what are we looking at?" asked Xiaozhai.
"The manual matches the attribute of the ancient sword and is very advanced. It can take me to as high as the Earthly Immortal state. There is a lot to go through and very systematic…" He gave a concise explanation and sighed with admiration. "The Technical Sword is amazing. With the size of the population of our country, there are bound to be more than a handful of innate state men in the future. And it's not like the Dan method. You can fight with it like an expert!"
"My sect has a sword skill as well. The movements are prettier, but not with as much a potential." Xiaozhai also admired the skill. She then turned to Long Qiu. "So, Xiao Qiu, do you want to do it now or wait until tomorrow?"
Looking at the dimming sky, Long Qiu could not wait that long. "I'll start now."
"Great. We'll watch out for you."
With that, the three removed the stoves and Long Qiu sat down properly with her legs crossed. She then took out the Sword Seed and smashed it into her chest.
She was not afraid at all—her brother and sister were here, so why would she? Hence, she made the bold move and copied her brother. She wrapped her spiritual essence around the seed right away, trying to suppress it directly.
Whop… whop… whop…
The Sword Seed struggled violently, so much that halos were spreading out from her in ripples. Xiao Qiu was not as rich in her spiritual essence as Gu Yu after all and quite a while passed before the glowing globe weakened a little, but it was still struggling.
Seeing this, Gu Yu was afraid that a prolonged stalemate would cause unnecessary trouble and decided to send in a streak of spiritual essence by landing an open palm on her back. With that external help, Long Qiu soon crushed the resistance and the Sword Seed stopped fighting. It then gradually sank into her Qihai in Dantian.
The couple waited in silence without any further intervention.
Gu Yu had sat in meditation from morning to evening, and Xiao Qiu took even longer. She only opened eyes slowly after the night passed and the day began to break.
What the hell?
She almost jumped to her feet. The two drama queens somehow managed to welcome her with exhausted and anxiety-ridden faces, finished with morning dew and broken grass stems all over their clothes.
Long Qiu was still that innocent and kind kid. She was overwhelmed with guilt at their appearance. "You've stayed up the whole night! You must be exhausted!"
"Don't worry about it. How did it go?" asked Gu Yu.
"Perfect. It's now inside me and it's called the 'Blue Sky Whirlwind Sword Manual'." Long Qiu rubbed her belly.
According to Zhuangzi, "When the bird Peng flies southwards, the water is smitten for a space of three thousand li around, while the bird itself mounts upon a whirlwind to a height of ninety thousand li!"
The two exchanged a look. The name itself had given them plenty of hints: hovering up, rising high into the air, fast, so very fast!
They guessed it right. Long Qiu then said, "Brother follows the will of the scorching sun, while I the strongest wind. It sweeps across all lands and cleans away all ten thousand miles of it. It is the fastest of all seven!"
Wow! The couple put on their most exaggerated look and made their faces dumbstruck, then showered Long Qiu with congratulations.
"That's awesome! Speed is the ultimate quality of all martial arts and you've got it!"
"The sun rises from the east and you're the invincible. Yours sounds much more tasteful than mine."
"Exactly. Why, I won't be your match for long."
"Stop it…" Long Qiu flushed at their praise and said shily, "You don't have to comfort me. I'm all right. We have all those materials, I'm sure we can make something ourselves equally nice."
That actually surprised the couple. They indeed had a smart girl here. Because Long Qiu had a manual without a matching sword, the two had gone out of their way to comfort her tactfully. As it turned out, she had seen through them right away.
Fatherly/motherly smiles crept up their faces instantly. 'My big girl, I'm so proud.'
After successfully fusing with the Sword Seeds, Xiaozhai and Long Qiu went back to Phoenix Mountain.
Gu Yu stayed behind on Fanjing Mountain to learn the skill. Fanjing was over a thousand kilometers away from Longhu Mountain, with a whole province in between, but he was in no rush. There were still more than twenty days to go until 13th, Nov.
We'll leave this storyline there for the time being. Late October had arrived in no time.
It was the fourth year since Gu Yu ate that red fruit. Based on the deduction he and Xiaozhai carried out, it was about the ninth year into the recovery of the spiritual essence.
Nine years were enough for any brewing problem to seep through.
After the intense heat of the summer, the North was having bitter cold days. The temperature plunged in the Northwest, Mobei, Monan, and Northeast and snow was coming very early. It was especially the case with Urumqi in the Northwest, Hohhot in Mobei, and Heishui Province in the Northeast, where the temperature had already dropped below freezing point with continuous snowing which started light but gradually grew heavier and went on for nearly a week.
It was not unbearably cold at home. Central heating service had started earlier, but with the low temperature, the snow would not melt, which brought much inconvenience to daily life.
Take Heishui Province at the northernmost corner of the country as an example. In the province were the vast forests with a total area of 100 000 km^2. Over 800 000 people lived in the forest zones, covering three counties, four districts, and fourteen forestry bureaus.
This entire region had become a snowland with the traffic cut off from the outside world. Moving further to the north to the other end of the forests, across the big river, were the two states of Tsar, which were even colder than over here.
The river was frozen. The whiteness stretched out for thousands of miles as if it was the edge of the world.
And there was Mobei, where the pastures had suffered from the droughts this summer, resulting in a reduction in the forage of 7 million tons. The area was now hit by the snow. In Hohhot alone, there was a shortage of forage of 670 000 tons.
In order to alleviate the pressure of getting through the winter, the herdsmen had no choice but to sell their cattle cheap. A sheep used to sell for 600 yuan, but was only worth 300 now. The government was doing all they could to provide disaster relief, allocate funds, transport forage grass, etc. It was a gruelling time.
The Southeast was also problematic. The urban agglomeration areas were unaffected, but remote fishing villages by the sea were constantly harassed by mutated aquatic creatures. The army could fight them off, but the mess left behind still rendered the places uninhabitable.
All in all, the four corners and certain areas in the north and south of the country were all disaster stricken.
They were all happening so fast that news of disasters were reported online every day, which greatly abated the general public's initial excitement and curiosity.
More people were becoming concerned over the changes and social issues brought by the recovery of the spiritual essence: the shrinkage of habitable lands, the corrosion of cultivated lands, the migration from the remote areas to cities… every single one too frightening to think over.
For example, food.TL/N: meaning "high cliff" TL/N: meaning "dwelling on clouds",