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0019 ———————————————-
The Journey of Lightning Dragon (雷龍出道)

I was suspicious of what he had said. Certainly, it's because Wangliang Immortal Teacher (魍魎仙師), who was an astronomy officer, could not interpret the strange language.

'How do I know whether he is still deceiving me?'

As if he read the suspicious look that came to my face, he impressed me.

“I know what you’re thinking … but what I’m saying is true.”



“I would love to believe that.”

“What’s the harm in believing? So far, I have no clue to interpret it.”

“Hmm …”

What he has said was true.
He didn’t say he could interpret the strange language, but he just said why he could not interpret it one word after another. So, I decided to ask what I was curious about.

"So why do you risk your life telling me all about it? You and I are on a roll today, we know very little about each other, and you don’t even know what I’m going to do with Heavenly Dark Secret Book (天暗秘書)."

“For me, this meeting is a fate.”

What?
It's a fate?

When I felt a little confused, he spoke with a shining look in his eyes.

"I am living off the fool now, but I used to live on pride as the greatest Astronomy Officer in the continent. But, I see the strange language today again. It is the nature of the scholar to want to know, even if he violates the duty of the imperial family to protect secrets."

"A scholar! Aren’t you the one who calls yourself a Daoist?”

“Ha! Ha! Ha! You don’t know what Extraordinary Gate Disguise (奇門遁甲) is. It is an ancient Chinese divination tradition."

He smiled bitterly and expanded the story.

“Extraordinary Gate Disguise is not a superstition. According to the principle set out, if we arrange the essence of 'the first', we can get the formula for 'the last'. It’s a realm of Arithmetic (算術) and physics. Net Cloud Formations (網雲陣) which I set up in this mountain is the same. I did not have any special power to set up Formations (陣法), but I only made it according to the established reasoning. Extraordinary Gate Disguise is the realm which a scholar can reach to the extreme. Formations is a form of self-defense.”

“Ho … I see.”

I felt as if I had heard a story of some value.

If so, we cannot train it by ourselves like our Neigong in order to get the mysterious power, but even an ordinary human being can do it by using his brains well.

I was curious because I couldn’t hear it at all during my previous life as a guard, and I couldn’t understand it. Now I decided to consider it a little more.

“Then, don’t Seal Demon Technique (符神術) and Retreat Demon Technique (退魔術) which use talisman need the supernatural powers?"

“They need some special powers, but they are more like from the power of High Dantian (上丹田).”

“High Dantian?”

“Haha. I’ll explain more to you."

Neigong (內功) is the internal energy being built up in the Low Dantian (下丹田). From the Low Dantian, the energy spreads the power to Eight Extraordinary Meridians (奇经八脉) and Four Limbs Hundreds Bones (四肢百骸), so the body can reach the supersonic state. And the higher the ability of the Low Dantian is, it reaches the region of Middle Dantian (中丹田), which doesn’t exist in the certain areas of the body, such Low Dantian.”

Eight Extraordinary Meridians act as pathways for the circulation of Qi. Of the Eight Extraordinary Meridians, the Governing Vessel runs from the Low Dantian up along the spine to the head and the Conception Vessel runs from the Low Dantian up along the front of the body to the head, where both connect to form a complete circuit.

“So where is Middle Dantian?”

“Middle Dantian is known as the heart, but it is not. When the ability of Low Dantian becomes significantly higher, it goes through the process of the combination, and at that moment all the energy is collected in the heart. So, the ultimate realm of a martial artist is actually Middle Dantian.”

I said in no small surprise.

“Then, is High Dantian a brain?”

“Yes.”

He explained so much that he started to drink water being thirsty. Then, he continued.

"But we should not confuse with the fact that Middle Dantian is evolved from Low Dantian, but High Dantian is irrelevant. The work of High Dantian is to develop the unique qualities inherent in the human brain and intervene in another dimension. Basically, if someone is not born with the ability of High Dantian, he cannot use it, but those with the natural ability has been active using the ability."

“Hmm … Being born with the natural ability, it doesn’t seem to be necessary to distinguish it from the supernatural power.”

“No. I don’t know about the details, but Technique Daoists of Left Dao Side Sect (左道方門) insist on a clear distinction between High Dantian and the supernatural power. There must be something definite about those people who use the ability of High Dantian.”

“Right …”

It is now possible to build up a good deal of knowledge: the understanding of the classification of low, middle, high parts of Dantian, and the divination of Extraordinary Gate Disguise. This kind of knowledge is hard to hear even if I give the countless money!

He said to me, “Will you drink a glass of water?”

“No.”

“Anyway, the story is a little off the side, but my request is just one.”

Taang

He smashed the wooden board, which was cut like a table, with the palm of his hand. His eyes showed an irresistible desire.

“I don’t care who you are, so let me interpret it this year.”

“…”

"That’s why I’ve been telling you all about it."

I put my arms across my body. Although I understood his purpose roughly, it felt fresh to hear that. I said, looking at his face.

“Wangliang Immortal Teacher, what are you going to do, if I try to hurt and torture you?”

“That’s why I told you everything before you behave like that.”

“There are some people out there who beat anyway.”

“You are not that kind of person. I just want to have a conversation because I feel you are the person I can talk to.”

His eloquence was very fluent and smooth. There seemed little doubt that he was a man of great learning.

I realized that I was at the critical crossroad.

Would it be better to give him Heavenly Dark Secret Book to interpret as he wants?

Or is it better to just check out the fact that he can’t interpret it, and leave?

"But … I think you have no ability to interpret the book.”

"Well, it’s …"

He was hesitant whether he was bothered.

'Certainly, there is no evidence that he would interpret the strange language he didn’t know, even when he was working as an astronomy officer.'

He hesitated for a moment before saying.

“Maybe I can translate.”

“How?”

“It’s possible if you have Anonymous Ceremonial Book (無名祭事書). No matter how mysterious the language is, it is possible to find out its meaning, if there are many samples of the language. A language has its own rule. I could not know the meanings of Anonymous Ceremonial Book, since at that time I had no other book to compare with. But if I compare it with Heavenly Dark Secret Book, I will be able to interpret the language."

“Indeed, …”

I was shaking my head, and I came to the point.

“Well, then, if I bring Anonymous Ceremonial Book, will you give me an interpretation?”

"Hmm … Yeah, but …"

He said in a quiet voice, whether he realized it would be rather absurd.

“Inside Imperial Court is right next to the Taeryong Hall, which is the home of the Emperor’s residence. Can you get the Anonymous Ceremonial Book from the court, which is in the most remote part of the inside palace?”

“It’s possible.”

“Huh …”

When I answered without hesitation, he seemed to be terrified. Well, what I said was that I would steal a book from the inside palace, the most critical place in the world; I would look like a madman.

But I have the potential to reverse the situation again, if I die using Heavenly Dark Secret Book.

If I had a good plan, I would be able to get it.

“Wait a minute…”

He thought about something for a moment and went inside the house. Then he came out with some scrolls and three books. He handed out the books to me.

“Get this.”

“What is this?”

“It’s a map of the inside palace. The palace consists of ninety-nine palaces, and a few of them have an additional building, so it has actually one hundred seventy-seven palaces. You’ll never get to the Inside Imperial Court without a map.”

“…”

I looked at him with a blank look.

“Did you bring a map of the imperial palace when you came out?”

“I made it.”

"What…?"

There would be nothing to say about this map itself, even though it would be called a treason. If the map of the imperial palace were leaked to foreign countries, it would be difficult for the emperor and the royal family to evacuate. When the map-holder were caught, he would be instantly beheaded and all the relatives would be destroyed.

Then he said confidently.

“I don’t care. I’ll continue to explain.”

“…”

This man lives of his own accord!

I guess that’s why he came out of the palace and started working as a pseudo-daoist.

"And these are three books you must read. In Taiji Extraordinary Book (太極奇書) is written a simple understanding of Formations and techniques, and if you read Yi Shu Original Book (易術眞本), you will easily understand Taiji Extraordinary Book. Since Yi Shu refers to the technique or method of making almanac by observing periodic phenomenon of celestial body, it will be difficult for you to understand. So, you have to meditate on the Brain Essence Sutra (雷精經) for more than one hour every day. It will bring vitality to your brain. In addition, Taiji (太極) refers to the main body considered as the origin of all things, universe."

“Why should I read all of them?”

“Hmm … I guess you don’t know that either.”

He said, pulling his tongue out.

“The outside of the palace is a common building, but the inside palaces, thirty-six palaces were built by the Extraordinary Gate Disguise, on the foundation of Six Harmonies Formations (六合陣法). When the foreign enemy invades or an intruder breaks into the palace, the Astronomy Officer or Embroidered Uniform Guard (錦衣衛: the imperial secret police that served the emperors of the Ming dynasty in China.) operates the Formations. Then, the security guards inside chase the intruder in a situation of overwhelming advantage. To avoid that, you must understand Formations and Extraordinary Gate Disguise on your own.”

“Is Formations so scary?”

He spoke in a rather flat tone.

“Though you are the one who broke through my Net Cloud Formations (網雲陣), you can’t overlook Formations of the imperial palace. The Formations were created by the best experts of Extraordinary Gate Disguise, so you will be hunted if you do not know about it.”

“Hmm …”

"You’ll know what it means if you go through it."

He gave me three books as a gift.

"After you understand a little bit about Taiji Extraordinary Book and Yi Shu Original Book, I will explain how to break the defense of the imperial palace based on it. You’ll come back then.”

I grimaced.

“Isn’t it … too complicated?”

“If you penetrated Inside Imperial Court, you should also penetrate Taeryong Hall, which is right next to it. Of course, it would be difficult to get into the point where you could kill the emperor.”

“If I were caught failing, what would I do?”

“Well, then, you are supposed to be dead anyway.”

I decided to revise the plan entirely.

“Then it would be better to learn Extraordinary Gate Disguise from you.”

This time, he made an absurd look.

“No, this is the basic of the basics, so you could read it easily, if you had finished the Four Books and Three Classics (四書三經: Chinese classics of Confucianism).

"I don’t know anything about them, but I have only knowledge as a guard."

“Huh …”

He was embarrassed. He must have thought I was a man of considerable knowledge. However, since he realized that he should teach all the studies, including basic knowledge to an ignorant man, he started to cough with his chin resting on his hand.

“Uh … but I’m not very good at teaching either …”

“Do you think someone is good at learning? We must work together to achieve each other’s goals.”

“How many Chinese characters do you know?”

After a while, he became desperate after testing my knowledge level briefly.

“Damn it … It will take at least three years for you to read Taiji Extraordinary Book correctly.”

“I know that.”

I spoke bluntly.

“Let’s start from tomorrow then.”

I canceled the plan to go to Luoyang (洛阳: an old capital from pre-Han times). Now that I had another plan, I should learn Extraordinary Gate Disguise while doing study to read and write.

What would be with the three years?

Since it’s time for me to stay, I just ran towards my goal steadily.

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Translator: Khan

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