Chapter 161: Chicken soup is poisonous!
Li Muyang envied Teacher Xiahou’s soup-making skill, because even the breath he exhaled was intoxicating.
Perhaps it was because of drinking a big bowl of chicken soup, that even when Xiahou Qianbai spoke, a strong aroma of chicken broth lingered on his breath.
“Life passes quickly like a white colt’s shadow across a crevice; enjoy life while young or you’ll be sorry at old age. This is a phrase from ‘Leisurely Excursion’ by the great sage Zhuang Zi. But what is enjoying the present?”
“It’s—” Li Muyang hesitated. “Do what one wishes without restraint, do the things one wants to do.”
“Not bad.” Xiahou Qianbai nodded in agreement as he said: “Tea tasting and arranging flowers are joyful, wine-making and meditation are also joyful. Laying down drunk in a brothel and fighting on the battlefield are also joyful. Seek virtue and acquire it, that is is the greatest pleasure in the world.”
As though Li Muyang suddenly understood, he nodded vigorously, saying: “Teacher Xiahou’s words are right, I have become enlightened immediately. I will follow my true self, follow my heart’s desire.”
“You don’t understand.” Xiahou Qianbai mercilessly tore apart Li Muyang’s lie without giving him any face. “Indulgence is the simplest and easiest thing – it’s what makes people addicted. Whether it’s tea tasting, flower arrangement or lying drunk in a brothel, there’s no need to deliberately control or moderate yourself. Because it’s joyful, it’s enjoyable, it’s dictated by the character. The same with soup making. I’m willing to make soup every day but if I do that, I would become the top chef in the world and would not be a Starry Sky teacher——”
“Everyone has a fierce tiger living in their heart, which loves comfort and ease and detests toil. It will devour your hardworking nature, swallow your efforts and devour your future and everything you may have——For us cultivators who practice martial arts to break the realms, what is most important?”
“It’s hard work and effort.” Li Muyang immediately answered. He thought this answer seemed reasonable and can’t be wrong, right?
“No, it’s talent.” Xiahou Qianbai said.
If he wasn’t one hundred percent confident that he couldn’t win against him, Li Muyang would long have given Xiahou Qianbai a beating already. It this because I did not major in your Taoism, right? Do you have to torture me to death? You drank chicken soup while I ate chicken meat – although Mt Gong’s multi-coloured chicken did tast pretty good. But do you always have to find faults in my words. I’m also a person, okay? I also have dignity too, okay?
“I mean——” A forced smile tugged at the corners of Li Muyang’s mouth; he felt like he was far too amazing to be able to still smile at such time. In order to find a master to help him build his foundation, not only did he throw away his principles, he would also be willing to throw away his underwear. In a tone that made it seemed like he only wanted to discuss the topic: “Even a gifted person also needs hard work, right? I’ve heard the story ‘Wounded Zhongyong’. It’s about a child named Fang Zhongyong who can recite poems at the age of five and is known as a genius in his town. Later, because he was greedy of small gains, he went traveling and sold his poems. A few years later, his talent suddenly disappeared and he was no different to ordi
nary people. Does this story not tell us that talent is very important but the ability to learn and work hard is just as important?”
Sitting on a stone bench in his cottage, Xiahou Qianbai shot a very dismissive glance at Li Muyang. “A story is ultimately a story, it’s there to lecture the people who has no talent to work hard. Then again, that child called Fang Zhongyong cannot be called a true genius; real talents will make it clear what they want and stick to their dream no matter what. Moreover, Fang Zhongyong has an idiotic father, everything he did was controlled by his idiotic father. It’s not strange at all that a person like him would eventually disappear.”
Li Muyang nodded repeatedly. “Teacher Xiahou is right.”
“Real talent——is difficult to describe, only the truly talented will understand.” Xiahou Qianbai said.
“Until now you still have not built your foundation; you can be said to be a clueless layman in martial arts.”
“Some people are able to write a good words with three months of practice in calligraphy. You have painstakingly practiced for ten years, yet your handwriting is still unsightly. Some people can sing touching songs when they open their mouth, while you can cause a flood the moment you open your mouth. Some understand the true meaning of the Tao overnight while you still do not know the essence of the Tao despite holding onto three thousand Taoist scriptures all your life——Does hardwork matters? Is effort really that important?”
“Not important.” Li Muyang replied, shaking his head. You can say whatever you want, as long as you’re willing to help me build my foundation.
“No. It’s important.” Xiahou Qianbai said with absolute certainty. “For you untalented, ordinary people, besides hard work, what else can you rely on? You already do not have inherent talent, if you don’t work hard, what opportunities will there be in life?”
“Teacher Xiahou——” Li Muyang’s face grew dark, suppressing his urge to beat him up. “What are you trying to say?”
“You entered Starry Sky with the best results of West Wind Kingdom. You could have taken an easier and much simpler path. You could have gone to the most famous schools in West Wind Kingdom such as West Wind University, where you could have study economics and politics, and later became an outstanding official. Or you could have study literature and become a literature expert. You could have even study music or painting, or develop your writing. Calligrapher is a very respectable occupation——Unfortunately, you chose Starry Sky, chose Dragon Slayer and chose Taoism.”
“Entering the realm through martial arts and then painstakingly train to reach a higher level of cultivation is the most difficult path in the world. It’s very bitter and miserable. Perhaps, even with a whole life of hard work, one might remain at the High Mountain realm. Perhaps when you’re at old age, you might still be a—-a nobody who accomplished nothing. You can’t slash off a mountain, can’t slay dragons with your sword. Your name won’t appear in the history of Starry Sky and no one knows that you had ever existed.”
Xiahou Qianbai looked at Li Muyang with a penetrating stare, saying in a low voice: “These words are not to scare you, it’s the fate of most cultivators. Or it could be your fate. So, have you considered carefully? Work hard, painstakingly practice, cleanse your mind and be disciplined. Create no evil, cultivate all good, and purify the mind. Like an idiot, with all your heart and effort, day after day, doing the same thing, year after year.”
Li Muyang nodded firmly and exclaimed without the slightest hesitation: “Teacher Xiaohou, I’m already prepared.”
“Then let’s start.” Xiahou Qianbai gave a comforting nod as he replied.
“Teacher Xiahou, I still have a question——one last little question.”
“You just said create no evil, cultivate all good, and purify the mind. What if——you make me kill chickens in the future?”
Xiahou Qianbai flicked his sleeve, if it wasn’t because he owed Ziyang Shishu a big favour, he definitely would not teach such an ridiculous student.
In the end, against expectations, Xiahou Qianbai, did not fling his sleeve and leave. After all, he had already said: ‘When have I never kept to my words’.
“The so-called building the foundation is really using the essential qi within the body to establish a pool, which is what we call ‘Empty Valley’. First, build the valley and then the qi in the body will naturally converge towards the valley.”
“A larger Empty Valley indicates the more essential qi it can hold in the future and that one’s future is limitless. Of course, the premise is that you would have the ability to fill up this Empty Valley——and also fill it up at a rapid rate. If you’re eighty years old before you could fill up the Empty Valley, then how much time and energy do you have to carry on?”
Li Muyang nodded, he already understood the principle of the valley. Teacher Xiahou had explained to him before and he had also read some books on building a foundation lately.
“There is a variety of ways to build the foundation. Some people inherently establish their foundation from the moment they entered this world. They were born to store essence and receive qi, and their growth in each day is used to fill the Empty Valley. Such a person is extraordinary. Almost every person who inherently built their foundation became one of the strongest person in the history of Starry Sky. Of course, such people is rarely seen in this world. Don’t hold any false hopes.”
“The most common way is to painstakingly build the foundation. Through your own effort and a little strength, a channel of qi can be formed, and then together with a little bit of understanding, the channel of qi will develop into a valley. This also that one is successful in building the foundation. This is the way most people choose to build the foundation. This method is also the most secure because you’re progressing one step at a time, so every little detail becomes a vivid memory or feeling. Particularly when advancing to the Withering Glory stage from the higher stage of the Free Clouds, this will be especially important.”
“Withering Glory represents life after death, at that time, it is in fact time to reincarnate. Without a foundation, without progressing step by step, there is a high possibility of fault, and one might regretfully stop right before the Withering Glory realm——”
Li Muyang looked shocked, exclaiming: “Teacher Xiahou——”
He’s someone who wants to slay a dragon——no, someone who wants to prevent people slaying dragons.
If he stopped progressing right before the Withering Glory realm, it means his highest achievement is the Free Clouds? In that case, how would he have the face to go out to meet people?
“What are you afraid of?” Xiahou Qianbai cast a glance at Li Muyang: “As if you could step into the Withering Glory realm anytime soon.”
“There are other methods of building foundation that relies on external force or medication. External force means employing human assistance to help build the foundation but there must be a certain degree of accumulation of qi beforehand. As for using medication to build the foundation, it’s the most dangerous and the most unstable method. Only those rich sons of merchants who have no talent, no contacts and only money will use this method. Of course, if you can acquire a rare fruit, such as Snow soul of Tianshan, fire dragon’s heart or three life almond—and use them to help build your foundation, maybe you might progress to the High Mountain realm overnight.”
“Where can I find them?” Li Muyang asked in a delighted tone.
“Don’t think about those useless questions, I already said you can’t find them, and even if you can find them you can’t obtain them. Even if you can acquire them you would only get into more trouble and most likely lose your life as a result——”
Li Muyang felt as though his life was a living death, the words this chicken soup teacher said felt like the most dangerous poison in the world.