On mentioning western enchanters, names such as Merlin, Nicolas Flamel, or the boy who lived naturally came into one's mind. Actually, just like great men of Taoism, such as Ge Hong, Chen Tuan, and Ye Fashan, who had had great impact on the eastern cultivation system, some real people had also influenced the magic community of the West in a similar manner.
Aleister Crowley was one of them.
He was from Britannia and lived in a period not quite far from now. Born in 1875, he had picked up the hobby of travelling, travelling, and travelling some more since he was little. Well, that, and making love with women he met while travelling.
He was once a student of Cambridge University, but dropped out halfway through. Later, he was introduced to an organization called "Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn".
The order grew out of Rosicrucianism and was passed down from a time too ancient for any records to exist. The only thing known about it was that it was a place where knowledge such as magic, alchemy, Tarot, and astrology was taught.
In his time, the spiritual essence was going through its exhaustion period, hence the information Gu Yu received from the government deemed the Golden Dawn an organization solely devoted to preserve and pass on occultism, which did not pose any actual threat.
Of course, they did not rule out the possibility that other occult skills existed, which, like the talisman sects, could make the magic work without using spiritual essence/elemental power.
Crowley soon made his way to the top level of the order when, out of the blue, the order was disrupted. He therefore left Britannia and began to travel around again.
Later, he established the Thelema Magick Order, an organization of his own, which attracted numerous disciples. He also built the Abbey of Thelema in Sicily and set up A∴A∴ at a later stage as a branch.
Exactly what did this Thelema order teach?
Basically, two things.
First, the theory inherited from the Golden Dawn. They believed that everyone was born with a guardian angel, which was not the same thing as the creatures with wings in Christian beliefs. It could refer to a type of energy or an intangible form.
The Golden Dawn taught their disciples a unique meditation method, which could open up their consciousness. Once that was achieved, one was able to communicate with their guardian angel and learn to use magic.
The second one was Crowley's personal hobby.
As mentioned above, he was wild about sex. Hence, he created a sensual type of magic of his own and turned the abbey into his love house. Not a day went by without him humping some woman, which he believed would provide him with greater guidance and more power.
What was even more remarkable was that he determined whether or not a ritual was successful based on the quality of his sperm.
Well, what more could we say.
The above was all Gu Yu read from the information pack on the Thelema order.
It was just some general ideas; the more important things such as the origin, property, and energy composition of magic were not mentioned at all. There was one ambiguous line saying that magic had been around for thousands of years and was probably related to the three major western mythological systems and Kabbalah of Judaism.
Kabbalah was an esoteric school of thought of Judaism. Its most famous legend was that diagram of the tree of life, which no one had been able to give a precise explanation to.
Gu Yu understood the lack of detail in the info pack, though. After all, those were the fundamental knowledge of the western cultivation system, which could not be easily obtained.
He returned the two young priests to Zhengyi Temple and went down the mountain alone, going over a single idea in his head the entire time. Needless to say, the two foreigners were members of A∴A∴. Useless as they might seem, if he were to make an objective evaluation, they should be about the same level as Chao Kongtu and Zhong Lingyu, which was the highest level of the acquired state.
For some reason, he got the sense that the inheritance of magic in the western countries was preserved better than the Taoist skills here and the mechanisms of the two systems were completely different.
Take Tony's weakening ray as an example. As far as he knew, Zhengyi had similar talismans, but the requirement of activating one was much stricter—at least no acquired state cultivator could use them.
Yet Tony could use it easily with the help of a magical staff.
The East focused more on the cultivators' own state and the communication with Nature. It was not that the West ignored those aspects, but among the middle and low level members, the use of magical instruments and objects was universal.
For instance, the same type of weakening skills required the eastern cultivators to reach a certain level to activate, whereas in the field of western black magic, maybe a newbie could "open fire" easily with the help of a magical staff.
Of course, it was only his speculation at this stage. After all, he had only just seen the tip of the iceberg.
Celestial Master Temple, evening.
With all the tumult up on Longhu Mountain, anyone not deaf must have heard it. They went up to check and what did they see? The side of the mountain looked as if it had been ploughed over and over again by some tireless bull. They could not even begin to describe how wasted the woods were.
Of the entire wide wild country, anyone this wilful could only have come from Phoenix Mountain.
"Hello, Sir… hm, yes, everything is going as planned. There was a little trouble, but nothing to worry about.
"No problem. It's all under control. You have my word on that!"
In the bedroom of a guest house, Mu Kun had just finished a phone call with his superior. After hanging up, he paced back and forth clutching his phone, looking preoccupied.
A couple of minutes later, the phone rang again.
The look on his face was hard to describe as he picked it up. "Hello… I understand, yes… the thing is, there has been a great deal of publicity about this, it's not easy…"
The other side hung up on him. Mu Kun smiled wryly as he sat down by the bed. Staring at the tips of his shoes, he heaved a sigh.
Why did the government make sure that this contest had to take place?
It was simple: they were after the treasures of the the foreign sect. One had to realize that the ten years of Cultural Revolution had deprived the domestic Taoist community of pretty much all inheritance. The foreign branch, on the other hand, was lucky enough to escape from all the destruction. God knew how much inheritance they took with them back then, not to mention the Celestial Master Seal!
That was no knockoff, but the real deal passed down from Zhang Daoling himself. Who wouldn't want it?
Zhang Ziliang would never hand it out if the government simply asked for it. If the man was pushed too hard, he could easily pick a major power and take refuge again; the government would then come out empty-handed. Therefore, they had to tickle the right soft spot. Longhu Mountain was the foreign branch's sore point, hence, it became the stake of the game.
No matter who won at last, the orthodoxy would unite into one again and the country would end up with more capable hands.
However, it was common knowledge that internal strifes were neverending in the political world. Right now, two bosses were supporting the monastery and Zhang Ziliang, respectively. Whether or not the one supporting Qiyun had some secret agenda was hard to tell, but the one on Zhang Ziliang's side had to be involved in some backroom deal.
Caught in the middle, Mu Kuan was all for the greater good. The best he could do now was to keep the game fair and maintain the level of the impact.
Mu Kun sighed again. The thought of the duel tomorrow was keeping him awake. He turned in bed away from the wall and opened his eyes. What he saw gave him a start.
Without him knowing it, someone else had entered the room and was now drinking tea sitting on a chair.
He bolted up, gave the person a closer look, and calmed down. "Don't you ever make any sound?"
"I'm thirsty. Let me have a drink of water first."
The tea, which had long gone cold, turned warm again in the cup between Gu Yu's hands. He chuckled. "You knew I was here all along?"
"We knew since you bought your bus ticket in Yueyang. The monastery and Celestial Master Temple only just got the news, though."
Mu Kun wrapped his clothes around his shoulders and got out of the bed. "What were you up to on the mountain? Why such a big mess?"
"There was a dogfight—two Britannia scouts bumped into four Nippon scouts."
"Killed them all."
"Cough, cough… cough…"
Mu Kun choked on his breath and had a fit of coughing. 'What have I done to get this man in my life?!"
"After all, two foreign countries were involved and it could easily turn into a diplomatic row. You should have let us handle…"
"Enough on that. We'll come back to it later." Gu Yu interrupted him with a wave. "I arrived just in time to hear those two phone calls. Why, that superpower game crap again?"