Chapter 14: Arts Mustn't Be Easily Taught
It was easier than walking now. After spending the whole night going through the mountain, Miao Yi slumped down on the bamboo raft and let out a long sigh of relief. As he relaxed, he realized that sailing on this river actually had an enticing feeling.
The scholar removed the bamboo pole from the water, causing some water to splash. The scholar would only row with the bamboo pole to adjust the direction when the bamboo raft deviated slightly off-course. However, the raft seemed to move quite smoothly along with the wind and waters, and thus deviations rarely happened which made for a very relaxing ride.
Miao Yi did feel slightly tired. He admired the mountain scenery on both sides, too lazy to even move.
Holding the bamboo pole, the scholar stood against the wind. Without turning his head, he asked, “Did Little Brother happen to gather the two immortal herbs?”
“Yes,” Miao Yi replied. “I did.”
The scholar continued asking, “Since you have those immortal herbs, why haven’t you knocked open the doors of the School of Immortals, instead of strolling about in this place?”
“It’s hard to explain in a few words.” Miao Yi did not want to talk about it anymore. He changed the topic and recalling the weird incident from before, asked, “I just don’t understand one thing. The two immortal herbs were right before your eyes, so why didn’t you pick it? Do you really have no desire for that kind of thing?”
The scholar chuckled. “I have served a Great Immortal. I have seen the things that Immortals do, and I am already tired of their matters. Thus, I have no interest in becoming an Immortal.”
Miao Yi asked in shock, “You were the servant of an Immortal?”
The scholar asked back, “You don’t believe me?”
“No, I do.” Miao Yi shook his head, as he felt there was no need for the scholar to lie about these things. Also, it did explain why this fellow had no interest in immortal herbs. If the scholar had said it was because he didn’t want to dirty his clothes, Miao Yi wouldn’t have believed him.
As he scrutinized the scholar before his eyes once more, he realized why he always felt that this fellow had an extraordinary aura. It was because he had spent time with an Immortal and had already partaken the aura of the Immortals.
However, Miao Yi still felt slightly dubious. “Since you aren’t interested, why did you venture into the Boundless Secular World?”
With the wind blowing against him, the scholar replied, “Humans have a lifespan of less than a hundred years. I was already lucky enough to get this chance, which only happens once in a thousand years. And since I was given the chance, wouldn’t I feel regret if I didn’t at least go in and check the place out?
Miao Yi was speechless. Seeing the scholar’s outlook on life, it was no wonder that he would choose to sail alone on these mountain rivers, unworldly like a floating cloud or wild crane.
However, Miao Yi kept thinking how unusual it was to venture into that life-risking place just to check it out. He couldn’t help but ask, “You have no interest in the immortal herb… Could it be that you wanted to find some treasures left behind during the Great War of Immortals and Devil?”
“Great War of Immortals and Devil?” The scholar asked curiously, “What war is that?”
Miao Yi replied with astonishment, “Don’t tell me you don’t know that the Boundless Secular World is the result of that war? A hundred thousand years ago, a hundred thousand celestial troops and generals traveled far across the Heavens, giving chase to the Great Devil, with the sole intent to kill. In the midst of their pursuit, they eventually arrived at this location. Unfortunately, the Great Devil was too strong, leaving the celestial troops and generals no choice but to finally lay out the Ultimate Deathly Strike Formation. With this last move, they altogether perished, taking the Great Devil with them. You’ve never heard of it before?”
The white hair drooping down from the scholar’s temples fluttered along with the wind. “Oh.” The scholar still spoke with his back facing Miao Yi, “I have heard about it. It’s just something that happened a hundred thousand years ago. Who has seen it before? Maybe the truth was just the opposite. Maybe it was one hundred thousand Devils pursuing one good man, and the good man killed all the Devils in this Boundless Secular World in the end.”
Miao Yi laughed. “Anyway, the legend has always been like that and everyone has always said it as such.”
The scholar replied, “Humans are ignorant and often tell lies. How can one believe the rumors so easily? Little Brother, if someone were to one day say that I am a Great Devil, would you believe it?”
Miao Yi smiled and said, “Of course not. You’re someone that stands detached from worldly success. You’re not even interested in becoming an Immortal, so how could you be a Great Devil? In any case... you really don't want to be an Immortal? As an Immortal, wouldn’t it be easier for you to explore the hills and rivers?”
“No!” The scholar shook his head and said, “If I wanted to be an Immortal, there would be no need to venture into the Boundless Secular World. The Great Immortal I served passed on a Celestial Art for me to cultivate should I ever decide to ascend to immortality.”
Hearing this, Miao Yi could no longer smile. His expression froze for a while and he asked weakly, “An Immortal entrusted you with a Celestial Art?”
The scholar said disapprovingly, “You are interested? If you want, I can just pass it on to you.”
Miao Yi immediately jumped up, asking with immense joy, “Really?”
The scholar looked back at Miao Yi and said with a smile, “Really.”
Miao Yi was so excited that he didn't know what to say. If he could receive something so fortunate, then he might be able to continue caring for his younger siblings after becoming an Immortal.
Rubbing his hands in excitement, Miao Yi said shyly, “I’ve never seen what an Immortal’s Celestial Art is like. Can I see it?”
Miao Yi was afraid that the scholar was kidding and wanted to confirm his offer.
The scholar shook his head and said, “I do not have that Celestial Art with me now. The Great Immortal I served lived at the Celestial Mountain overseas. After the Great Immortal ascended the heavens, I had no interest in the Celestial Art that was given to me. Therefore, I left it at the abode of Immortals, the place where the Great Immortal used to cultivate. Since then, I’ve never taken it out. If you want, I can take you there to retrieve it.”
Miao Yi was shocked as he asked hesitantly, “That Great Immortal died? Aren't Immortals supposed to live forever?”
The scholar smiled and said, “Live forever? That’s just false information spread around by the people of this world. Not all Immortals can live forever. It's just that the higher your cultivation level, the longer the lifespan.”
As they moved rapidly along the flow of the river, the two kept on talking. The scholar always spoke in a calm and casual manner, while Miao Yi asked many questions.
After chatting, Miao Yi realized that the scholar was certainly someone that had spent a long time in the company of an Immortal, he knew a great many things about them. It made Miao Yi feel extremely excited, to realize the enormity of what had fallen into his lap. Because the scholar had no interest in becoming an Immortal, he agreed to give Miao Yi the Celestial Art. If it had been anyone else, the outcome wouldn’t have been as favorable…..
From sunrise to sunset, Miao Yi’s excitement was eventually replaced with tiredness. Finally, he could endure it no longer.
Since venturing into the Boundless Secular World, he hadn't the time to really rest, especially after traveling through the mountains the whole of last night. Enduring until sunset, Miao Yi finally collapsed and slept soundly.
The bamboo pole was left stuck on the bow of the raft. The bamboo raft moved along with the flow, without any need to adjust the direction.
“Arts mustn't be easily taught. If you were a heartless person, you would have no right to my Supreme Great Arts! I would rather wait a hundred thousand more years! If you were heartless, how then could I trust that you’d kill the Nine Heavens, rebuke the stars, and grant me justice one day!” With his hands clasped behind his back, the scholar gazed at the stars. He slowly turned around to look at Miao Yi, who was sleeping soundly. He then said calmly, “Good! You are not a heartless person that can forsake kindness for riches. I hope you won't fail me!”
In actuality, the scholar had been watching him since destroying the three immortal herbs, leaving two for Miao Yi.
Without hesitation, Miao Yi gave his two chances away to his brother and sister. The scholar had seen everything.
If Miao Yi had not passed this test, the scholar wouldn't have crossed paths with him at the riverside on his bamboo raft. Miao Yi would never have seen the scholar again for the rest of his life.
“Unfortunately, your innate endowment is too weak. It's just not suitable for cultivation. There's still a need to shed your mortal body, refine your bones, and remold you thoroughly!”
The scholar muttered and stretched out his hand. He opened his palm and the dark green beads on Miao Yi’s neck flashed a faint light. A Glorious Star immortal herb, one chi in length, shot out of the beads and descended atop the scholar’s palm.
The floating starlights affixed themselves around the nine red stone branches and nine gem leaves.
This immortal herb looked different from the two that Miao Yi had picked. Not only was the root two-fold in size, there were also ruby-like fruits that hung on the nine branches. The nine red crystal fruits gave off a hidden fragrance.