On Mushroom Rock, Gu Yu kept on absorbing the Red Sun energy, his entire body reminding one of a giant leather bag gradually filled by the liquid. Watching him almost made one fear that if he shook too hard, some egg yolk inside would break up.
He had been cultivating here for days with no breaks; it was only today that he felt replete.
Before he knew it, the scorching sun was setting and the evening glow in the dim western sky tainted the tips of the mountains. Despite the cooler air higher up, he felt burning up. The liquid inside him was filling up almost to the point of spilling.
The sword energy was created once the Red Sun energy was saturated. Gu Yu was more careful than at any other time as he activated the sword manual. A strange bubbling sound was coming out of him and the inside of his body seethed like a large pot of boiling water.
The Sword Seed also turned slowly in his Qihai, absorbing a streak of flaming fluid with each round. The fluid was then refined and sublimated in the seed, turning into thin threads of golden red sword energy.
Turning his mental force inside, Gu Yu was able to see every detail of the entire process. He couldn't help but wonder at the spectacular manual. As the seed absorbed more fluid, the sword energy transformed grew denser and more distinct from the surrounding Qihai—as distinct as heaven and earth.
Gu Yu seemed to have become a giant furnace as heat surged out of him, covering the area a meter or so from him; even the air seemed to be contorted by the scorching heat.
All of a sudden, broken stones tumbled off the slope and the top of the mountain shook. The Mushroom Rock he had been sitting on crackled, apparently no longer able to withstand the pressure.
He sat there for three days without moving.
Midday of the fourth day.
The sun shone fiercely in the sky. The Sword Seed finally stopped turning after absorbing the last streak of the flaming fluid.
Gu Yu felt a loud bang inside him and his body shook violently. The golden-red sword energy scattered in all directions inside his body, towards all meridians and orifices. As tough as his energy channels were, he still felt a dull pain rushing through his body.
Fortunately, it only took a few seconds for the Sword Seed to move into action. As if a switch had been turned on, the seed began to spin at a frantic speed, drawing in the ferocious sword energy again.
The Sword Seed now was no longer the glowing globe it had been, but was glittering, translucent, and of a golden-red color. It was now a perfectly round ball, suspended over Qihai.
Gu Yu settled his mind and slowly opened his eyes. He looked delighted—the past few days were not spent in vain!
He shifted and was about to jump off the big rock. However, his bottom had just left the rock when, with a rumbling sound, Mushroom Rock crumbled down like a piece of broken plaster.
He hastily leapt forward, just in time to keep himself from being crushed. Looking back at the remains, he felt a little guity. 'Such a nice scenic spot and I've just ruined it.'
Shaking his head, he waved his right hand. The next second, the ancient sword he stuck into the rock earlier was in his hand. He then activated the Sword Seed and inserted a streak of sword energy into the sword.
The sound the sword made reminded one of a roaring dragon; it resonated in the mountains. This divine weapon was finally showing its true self after lying in the dust for a thousand years. Holding the sword, Gu Yu could feel the connection. He then casually swept it horizontally across the air.
A golden-red flame surged out along the path of the blade, which was forty to fifty meters long and over two meters wide. The air within that long and narrow space seemed to be drawn away in an instant and time froze strangely for a second. Only after the golden flame ceased did there come a "Boom!"
As if mountains were falling and the earth splitting, dust filled the air. A giant sword cut was carved horizontally into the mountain top.
Gu Yu opened his eyes widely and was over the moon. 'It's thick! It's long! I finally have something to fight my dear girlfriend with!'
He simply made another swipe—this time vertical. Boom! There was another sword cut, which made a perfect cross with the first one.
The so-called Methodical Sword was achieved by understanding thoroughly the true meaning of the sun so as to create the sword energy, which led to the golden sword flame. He was only a beginner at this level and still required an actual sword to carry out the moves. From this point on, he would nourish the ancient sword with the sword energy and store it in the Sword Seed, which would significantly enhance its power.
After that came the integration with the sword. He himself could turn into a flashing sword that could fly ten thousand miles in the blink of an eye. Only then would he reach perfection in the Methodical Sword—dispel evil energy, incinerate monsters, bring light to all corners, and no demon could pass its threshold!
Gu Yu stood there for a moment watching the two sword cuts. He then suddenly turned around to face the vast sea of clouds and countless beautiful peaks; he bowed low to this spiritual land. After that, he went down the mountain.
When our fellow was reading wuxia novels or watching wuxia films back then, he always thought swordsmen looked stunning. However, now that he was using sword himself, he realized it was not as stunning as he had pictured.
For example, how should one get around with a sword in hand? Before he could store it away in his Sword Seed, this would be a long-term problem.
Option one: hang it on his belt. Gu Yu actually tried it, but the sword was always in the way when he tried to walk. It was not a pleasant experience.
Option two: carry it in one hand. The problem was that he didn't have a sheath, nor could he find a suitable one on taobao 1 .
Option three: carry it on his back. The sword could not simply stick to his back, but still needed a belt across his back which the sword could be inserted into.
Aesthetic concerns aside, the style of the clothing became the major issue. Bai Yunsheng carried his on his back, which gave him a natural and unrestrained look, but he was wearing a Taoist robe, which was of the suitable style.
Our fellow, on the other hand, had been described rather vaguely in terms of his outfit and hairstyle ever since he'd started cultivating.
It couldn't be helped. Modern outfit did not fit the picture and ancient costume looked too over the board. Take Xiaozhai for an example. How would you feel if she was described as wearing a Prada one-piece, Christian Louboutin heels, and shouted "Thunder, come!" with her lips painted red by a Guerlain lipstick?
Good God, what sort of character would that be?
Hence, Gu Yu simply decided to make a sword box himself. It was a little over a meter long and made from an old tree deep in the mountain. The box looked crude, original, and had a natural quaintness to it. It also came with a handle.
Then, off he went!
Hunan, Yueyang Tower.
There was no need to describe how famous this tower was. Towering over the ancient city, it looked down at Dongting Lake, paralleled with Junshan Island in the distance, had Yangtze River rushing past on the north, and Xiangjiang River on the south. Climbing to the top level of the tower and looking into the distance, one would be dazzled by the shadows of clouds, the glistening waves, and all the magnificent view.
With the arrival of November, the temperature in the southern provinces had also been dropping and it was a little chilly standing high up on the tower. The crowd of tourists seemed particularly large today. Judging from their accents, they were from all over the country. However, these men and women of all ages were not here for sightseeing.
"It's the 7th today; the fight is in six days' time. I wonder if they'll allow audience at all… sigh, I hope I haven't come all the way for nothing." A middle-aged man sighed.
"It's only natural if they allow no outsiders. After all, it's a family business, and it won't affect us no matter who wins," said his companion.
"I'm actually more concerned over Dongting Lake. With the water rising so fast this year, I don't think we can hold it off much longer. This area is actually among the more peaceful ones. All hell has broken loose in other areas around the lake. Quite a few fish farmers have been killed, with the soft shell turtles, toads, and crayfish all crawling ashore. We won't get a chance to see this view in the future even if we want to," said another companion.
"Don't be so pessimistic. Maybe they'll find some treasure under the lake—like on Fish Mountain," interjected another tourist who had been eavesdropping.
"Why, you know about Fish Mountain as well?"
"Who doesn't? With that much noise, people on the other side of the earth probably know about it! I have a relative living in a nearby county, he saw several streaks of light flying away. Gosh! I wish I were that lucky bastard!"
"Haha, isn't there a saying on the internet that people are all over the straightforward face-slapping novels, but once they're living the novels themselves, they realize that they're not the one doing the face-slapping."
"I don't want to slap any faces. All I want is for my family to stay safe and happy… Hey, say that Dongting Lake really erupts one day, what treasure do you think will come out?"
"There's Junshan Island out there. Hoho, it'll be awesome to see Ehuang and Nüying 2 again!"
Everyone was gossiping at the same time, giving a full demonstration of just how ethusiastic and daring the innocent onlookers could be. Behind the crowd, however, stood a quiet, lone tourist. He looked rather odd with his plain clothes and a wooden box in his hand.
He stood there listening for a while. When the subject digressed towards the x-rated fantasies, he lost interest and walked to the other side.
He was standing in front of a wall with the history, culture, and introduction of the scenic spot of Yueyang Tower on it. Skipping through the text, he soon reached the last paragraph, which turned his face serious.
The last paragraph of the text read:
"Lying on the beach at the foot of Yueyang Tower are three iron objects the shape of shackles. They weigh as much as 5000 kg and no conclusion has been reached so far as to what their purpose was.
"According to 'On Customs of Yueyang', in the sand of the river bank are several smelt iron objects commonly known as 'iron shackles', which weigh 5000 kg. The objects were made by ancient people. They looked like a pair of swallow tails facing one another with a large hole 30 cm in diameter in between. Their purpose remains unknown. Some thought them anchors, but they were too heavy for any fisherman to lift; some speculated that wooden stick could be inserted into the hole and made into a fence to stop wind or waves. No one knew what the real reason was."
Other scenic spots such as Erfei Grave, Xiangfei Ancestral Hall, or Liu Yi Well all had a detailed description. This one with this short paragraph was the only exception.
He pondered for a moment and left promptly with his wooden box.
He was none other than our Old Gu. After leaving Fanjing Mountain, he entered Hunan Province and had been on the road ever since. He passed Huaihua, Loudi, and arrived at the city of Yueyang. Jiangxi Province was just past Yueyang and he could reach Longhu Mountain in a day.
Aquatic creatures had been giving men trouble in the Spring Festival time, and Gu Yu had been meaning to have a look around. This was a good time to do so.
Instinct told him that these three objects smelled fishy. He went down the tower and got to the Stage of Appointing Commanders, the one where Lu Su of the Kingdom of Wu appointed his commanders. Built with granite, the stage had stairs on both the northern and the southern side leading into the lake. The projecting tiles on the eave bent upwards; both ends were carved into a dragon's head. The roof was covered with glazed tiles.
30 m to the left of the tall stage, a giant iron shackle was displayed.
It was about five meters long and very thick, with both ends in the shape of swallowtails. The thing was of a bluish black color, had four round-tipped legs bending outwards, and two parallel ridges down the middle. It was covered by rust.
He read the caption. The iron shackle weighed 5000 kg and was at least a thousand years old. The Japs and Uncle Sam tried to drag it away during WWII, but it simply would not budge. They gave up in the end.
After that, in May 1985, because the lake dried up, the management team of Yueyang Tower discovered it again on the lake beach at the foot of the stage.
Three were found at the time. Three hoisters had to work together to move this one up to the platform. A scenic spot was added for the convenience of the tourists.
The other two somehow went missing after that; this was the only one left.
As for its function, the experts all had different theories. Some said it was the anchorage for boats to berth and fix their anchors to. Others suggested that it was used by armies of the Kingdom of Wu to seal off the river in order to stop the warships of the Kingdom of Jin…
Gu Yu jumped into the fence and examined it closely.
It resembled the shackles ancient people used to detain the criminals, but also reminded him of a long weapon, ji 3 . Seeing that no one was around, he reached out and wiped his hand across the surface of thing.
The rust showered down, revealing the thousand-year-old pig iron within. He then saw some unusual pattern on that new surface.
He followed the strokes with his finger and found that they formed a strange character.
The top part of the character was "rain" and the bottom consisted of two parts. The left was "water" with "bitter" and the right "bristle".
Gu Yu was stunned, for it was a forbidden character of Taoism, meaning "water official", or the deity taking charge of this water.
Oh my god!
He blinked, utterly amazed by how daring people were back then: they were not only bold enough to dig them out, but had also lost two of them!TL/N: Chinese online shopping website TL/N: legend had it that Ehuang and Nüying were daughters of Emperor Yao. Yao married them to his chosen successor, and eventually emperor, Shun, as a sort of test of his administrative abilities: then, later, they became goddesses of Xiangjiang River after the death of their husband. TL/N: a Chinese polearm that has been around for 3000 years. It looks a little like a hybrid between a spear and a dagger-axe