“Elder Ning, which level does Lang Yilang go to every time he’s here?” asked Chu Yang, his eyes bright and shiny .
“The fourth level… Why are you asking that?” asked a weirded out Ning Tianya after answering .
“I see, the fourth level…” Chu Yang chuckled sneakily . “Which direction did he come from every time? And in which direction did he go into seclusion?”
Ning Tianya rolled his eyes . “How would I know that?”
Chu Yang was dumbfounded .
Ning Tianya said, “This is the fifth great secret of the Pagoda Mountain . For everyone that comes to the Pagoda Mountain, once they go beyond three to four levels, everyone’s path is basically different . This means that everyone would have their own unique fateful encounter . It is very difficult for other people to find the path which someone else has taken . Perhaps part of the path may coincide, but most of it will differ for sure!”
“Thus, this mountain is also termed by a small group of people as ‘the journey of life’! This is because everyone’s journey in life is different and the Pagoda Mountain is exactly so . ”
Chu Yang was astounded yet again .
The journey of life .
Every person’s journey of life was different . Perhaps a small part of it would be the same for a large number of people, but at the end of this little part, all would be different!
Since olden times, there had never been any two people in this world who experienced the exact same encounters in their journeys of life!
Could the Pagoda Mountain be declaring something to the world? Or hinting at something?
The more Chu Yang thought about it, the more he felt that this mountain was, in fact, life itself!
Many people walked about the mountain, each and every one of them going on a different path .
There was absolutely no repetition at all!
Some people lost their way; even if they were Supreme Martial Artists, they could only perish while being lost!
In the journey of life, just how many people had lost their way? How many people, in their entire lifetime, couldn’t find the path that they wanted to go and the path that they should have gone?
There were simply too many .
When he thought of that, Chu Yang sighed rather lamentably . “I am sure the ones who could enter the mountain must be experts, right?”
“Of course,” replied Ning Tianya .
“In that case, after they came in, I’m sure most of them perished here while not many were able to make their way out safely?” asked Chu Yang once more .
“Not necessarily . ” Ning Tianya said, “There are, of course, a good number of people who died here . But there are even more people who made their way out alive . ”
“Oh?” Chu Yang asked, “Were there that many who managed to find their own path?”
There was a wry smile on Ning Tianya’s face . “Since olden times, there has never been anyone who was able to move about freely and unhindered in this mountain . The reason why a lot of people got out is because the moment they entered, they became confused and then subsequently got lost . But as they continued to be confused and lost, they also got out of the mountain just like that while still in their confused state…”
“They didn’t know where they were going when they came in, but when going out, they also didn’t know how they got out . They went through everything in a daze, unable to control themselves… Such people make up the majority . ”
Ning Tianya explained with a wry smile .
Chu Yang could only laugh in resignation at this as well .
This was certainly interesting . However, there were certainly a lot of people like that in this world — Going about in a daze their entire lives, unable to find their own path . Exploring the east and adventuring into the west, and then becoming entirely confused after that and doing whatever they wanted, resigned to their fate… And reaching the end of their lives just like that…
“The ones who did die in here are all people with a firm outlook in life and possess a vicious drive where they did not stop until they achieved their aim . As such, they climbed upwards with great perseverance, advancing towards their goal . But they were too hung up on this, focusing only on advancing and ending up neglecting everything else . Therefore, when they discovered that they truly couldn’t go any further up and wanted to go back down, they were no longer able to do so . ”
“Because they didn’t leave a path of retreat for themselves!”
“From time immemorial, there haven’t been many who were able to consciously ascend this mountain and also consciously descend . All of these people are either incredibly intelligent or people who are very content with their own lot . ”
“Take Ye Chenchen for example . Every time he comes here to enter a three years-long seclusion, he would always do it at the same place . After suffering so much the first time he came, he doesn’t bother taking even a single step into other areas now . Three years later, he leaves by the same route . Those who are able to accomplish something on this mountain are all people like that . ”
Ning Tianya said .
“That’s not right . Ye Zui definitely isn’t someone who is easily content . Yet he remains able to go around as he pleases,” said Chu Yang .
Ning Tianya scoffed at his words . “Can going about the fourth level and below even count as ‘going around as one pleases’? His goal is always fixed on finding that sword on that level; that sword is his highest goal in life . With such a low goal, what’s there to be lost about?”
When Ning Tianya finished, Chu Yang suddenly turned rather contemplative . He said slowly, “Then that doesn’t really make sense . According to what you’ve said, for people such as Ye Chenchen and Lang Yilang, because they are not greedy, they always use the same route to get to where they want to go and the same route to get back . Such people are too easily content . ”
“Since they are easily content, or rather, they lack the drive to aim for the top, then wouldn’t that mean that such people will never be able to reach their peak in their journey of life?”
Nodding, Ning Tianya replied rather approvingly, “Yes, exactly so . ”
Chu Yang went on . “But you also mentioned earlier that those who possessed a clear goal and perseverance and determination instead got lost one by one and starved to death… Then wouldn’t that mean that those with ambition, perseverance, a clear goal and are persistent ultimately also do not end well?”
A sharp glint shot out of Ning Tianya’s eyes . He replied slowly, “You have misunderstood my words!”
“Absolutely not!” Chu Yang continued . “If that’s the case, then what is the point of us fighting so hard our whole lives?”
Ning Tianya was silent for a moment before he replied, “You’re wrong . You still don’t understand what I’m saying . ”
This time around, he did not wait for Chu Yang to rebut him . He continued, “What I said earlier was…’They were too hung up on this, focusing only on advancing and ending up neglecting everything else . Therefore, when they discovered that they truly couldn’t go any further up and wanted to go back down, they were no longer able to do so’, right?”
Chu Yang thought about it for a brief moment and answered, “Yes, exactly so . That’s what you said . ”
Ning Tianya slowly got up . He said, “Follow me, let’s head up . ”
Chu Yang got to his feet and followed after Ning Tianya . He had only taken a step when suddenly, he felt like his entire body had been struck by lightning . A million-ton weight suddenly pressed down on him, rendering him unable to catch his breath at all . With a thud, he fell onto his bottom .
Ning Tianya couldn’t help but laugh . “I forgot; your current level of cultivation isn’t able to withstand the gravity of the eighth level of the Pagoda Mountain yet!” Reaching out, he took hold of Chu Yang’s hand . When he tightened his hold slightly, Chu Yang felt a warm current of energy flowing into his body at once . When he got to his feet after that, there was no longer that terrifying feeling anymore .
Pulling on his hand, Ning Tianya said dispassionately, “The Pagoda Mountain of nine levels, every step leads to Heaven . Just how difficult is the ascension to Heaven? If it were that simple, how would one ever become a god!”
There was a wry smile on Chu Yang’s face .
Following behind Ning Tianya, he walked forward . After going less than a hundred feet, at the area in front of him where fog drifted about, an intersection appeared .
Ning Tianya’s gait was relaxed as he pulled Chu Yang along and walked along a particular path . It was as though the other side roads didn’t exist in his eyes .
After stepping onto this path, Ning Tianya did not look back . He continued walking forward until he reached the second intersection . Again, he stepped onto a path without any hesitation and continued all the way until he reached the third intersection .
“Let me ask you, how many side roads were there at the first intersection we walked past?” asked Ning Tianya .
Chu Yang’s memories flashed lightning quick and he replied, “Seven . We chose the one in the middle . ”
Ning Tianya then asked, “What did those six other paths look like?”
Chu Yang was dumbfounded . “I don’t remember . ”
“How many paths were there at the second intersection?”
“Seven paths again . Uhh, no, there were eight . ”
“Were they the same as those at the first intersection?”
“No . ”
“How were they different? Which aspects were different?”
Chu Yang was taken aback once more .
“Turn back and take a look,” instructed Ning Tianya .
Upon his words, Chu Yang looked behind him . At his back was still an intersection . As he stood in the middle of these little paths, Chu Yang was actually unable to tell which path he had taken to reach where he currently was .
“Which path did you take when you came here?” asked Ning Tianya .
“This…” Chu Yang tried his best to determine the path he had taken, yet his memory was foggy and there was just no way he could remember at all .
“If you were alone and wanted to go back, which path would you take?” asked Ning Tianya again .
Beads of sweat formed on Chu Yang’s forehead, dripping down one by one .
“Why aren’t you answering? Could you have forgotten your own path back?” Ning Tianya went on . “Don’t you have a very clear goal? Isn’t your determination very strong? Don’t you have a lot of ambition to reach the peak? What, don’t you even know how you got here?”
Chu Yang was drenched in perspiration all over .
Ning Tianya’s countenance suddenly mellowed . “Do you understand now?”
Taking a deep breath, Chu Yang replied, “I’m still rather puzzled . ”
However, this time around, Ning Tianya instead gave an approving smile at his bewilderment . “Tell me about your concerns . ”
Chu Yang replied, “I can’t put my finger on it . In any case, it’s very bewildering and very despondent; I don’t know what kind of feeling it is . Neither do I know where I should go nor where I should stop…”
“This shows that you still do not possess a goal or determination!” Ning Tianya sighed .
“Come, let’s go back . ”
This time, as Ning Tianya held Chu Yang’s hand, as though he was taking a leisurely stroll, he seemingly stepped casually onto a random path . Then, he exited the intersection and reentered the second intersection .
When they reached the third intersection, Chu Yang suddenly realized that they had returned to the spot where the two of them had been speaking earlier .
“Take a seat at where you originally were . That’s where I cultivate when I go into seclusion; you won’t feel any gravity there . ” Ning Tianya smiled, his eyes forming little crescent moons .
Chu Yang followed his instructions and sat . He said, “I humbly request for Elder Ning’s teachings!”
Ning Tianya derided him somewhat . “That’s the first time I’m hearing you speak so respectfully to me!”
There was a wry smile on Chu Yang’s face .
Because he sensed very well that he had discovered a huge door standing in front of him and yet he didn’t know how to open it . On the other hand, Ning Tianya had already seen through all of it .
Just by this alone, Ning Tianya was very much worthy of his sincerest respect!
Ning Tianya also sat cross-legged in front of him . With a deep voice, he said, “What I’m about to tell you, even though it is mild and simple, I hope you’ll take it to heart and keep it in mind . Because this is the supreme gateway of the Great Tao! Only when you’ve gone through the door are you eligible to even talk about the Great Tao!”
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