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Transcending The Jiang Hu (Generic Xianxia Cultivation)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by bandicoot879, Jul 11, 2022.

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  1. Threadmarks: Forepost
    bandicoot879

    bandicoot879 Getting sticky.

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    [​IMG]


    Born without spiritual roots, can Xing Yi still tread the path of immortality?

    Wu Xing Yi, an ordinary boy from a small farming village is granted the chance to become an immortal of legend. However, he quickly discovers he is a cripple.

    Desperately finding a way, he begins practicing the long lost and un-treaded path of external cultivation. Surprisingly, he ends up fighting celestials, ancient primordial beasts, and entire realms throughout his journey.

    Join Xing Yi in his journey to become a true immortal!


    Inspired by works such as Renegade Immortal, A Record of a Mortal’s Journey to Immortality, and Martial World.

    Release Schedule:
    Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.

    Whenever I can.

    Chapter Size: ~1500 words.

    FAQ:

    Q1: Where can I find the table of contents?

    A1: At the top right of this post, underneath the "reader mode" button, there is a small tab named 'index'. If you click on it, you will be shown a table of contents for TTJH.

    Note:

    If you ever take time to read this story, I am forever grateful :D
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2022
    Epro, Gabriel510, GooseElite and 13 others like this.
  2. Threadmarks: Chapter 1 - Sudden Departure
    bandicoot879

    bandicoot879 Getting sticky.

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    Chapter 1 – Sudden Departure
    “I’m leaving tomorrow,” Hou Li casually mentioned after a long silence had formed.

    Xing Yi’s wandering gaze suddenly locked into place as he tried to process what he had just heard.

    Blinking his eyes after a short moment of staring, he asked, “Really?”

    With his arms laid behind his head and his short, ruffled black hair blowing in the breeze Hou Li replied, “Yeah.”

    “Where?” Xing Yi asked, even more confused.

    “You probably haven’t heard of it. It’s called Qizhou City.”

    “Yeah, I haven’t.”

    “It’s really far down south and is pretty new.”

    A brief silence formed.

    “Why are you leaving?” Xing Yi sat up and turned to Hou Li with a worried face.

    “My uncle moved there several years ago, and he promised my parents that he would let one of their children to become his apprentice. And that’s me,” Hou Li revealed, a smile forming on his face.

    “What! Are you going to be making swords and stuff for the army?” Xing Yi raised his eyebrows.

    “Yeah, I think so. So, I don’t think I’m going to run out of work. Which is good and bad at the same time. But regardless, its good,” Hou Li nodded his head.

    But Xing Yi still had one more question.

    “Why didn’t you tell me until now?” Xing Yi’s eyes turned soft as a sinking feeling set in his stomach.

    Playing with a strand of hair in between his fingers, he stopped and explained with a sad voice, “Because I didn’t want you to be sad. You tend to get emotional easily. I just wanted to enjoy us. Just us being happy.”

    Xing Yi turned to the grass in front of him, trying to control himself. To stop himself from crying.

    Hou Li sighed before standing up and walking over to Xing Yi and bringing him into a warm embrace.

    Hou Li’s voice began to shake as he spoke, “There’s always a truth out there that can hurt you. And I wanted to shield you from it. I know it may have been temporary, but these past several days are something I will treasure forever.”

    “Yeah,” Xing Yi replied, his eyes starting to water, though he quickly rubbed his eyes to get rid of the oncoming tears.

    Xing Yi and Hou Li continued to embrace for several moments until a particularly annoying voice interrupted them.

    “Hey, what are you guys doing? Why are you two hugging?” Xing Yue giggled.

    It was Xing Yi’s little sister.

    Xing Yi quickly rubbed the single tear off of his cheek and exited the embrace. He and Hou Li stood up.

    “Nothing,” Hou Li answered with his hands behind his back, his voice and face having turned back to his ever tranquil and calm façade.

    Xing Yue squinted her eyes in suspicion, “You’re lying.”

    Both Hou Li and Xing Yi left her question unanswered and walked past her.

    “Hey! Where are you guys going?” Xing Yue caught up to them in a sprint and asked.

    She squinted her eyes at Xing Yi and noted the slight redness in his cheeks.

    Xing Yi shrugged his shoulders to this question while simultaneously leaning his face away from Xing Yue’s observant gaze.

    Hou Li, seemingly undecided, let his mind wander for a bit as they trudged down the hill.

    After a few moments he said, “Fishing.”

    Xing Yi seemed to perk up at hearing this. However, Xing Yue frowned.

    “But fishing is so boring!” Xing Yue commented.

    Hou Li raised his eyebrow and smirked, “It’s not as if you have to come with us.”

    Xing Yue sighed, “An Li won’t stop kissing her boyfriend and it’s so gross. So, I came over because I have no one else to play or talk to.”

    “If you don’t like fishing, you could always go over to Old Man Jin, he’s always looking for someone to play Go with him,” Hou Li suggested.

    Xing Yue replied, “I don’t want to. Those kinds of games are for old people.”

    “You know the Go champion makes the same amount of money as some nobles do? If you get good enough, you wouldn’t have to live in this small village for the rest of your life. And he too was just a common peasant like us. He even lived on a farm just like this one,” Hou Li replied.

    Xing Yi’s jaw ever so slightly dropped. His mind blanked as the cogs in his mind, thinking on that statement. Whereas Xing Yue seemed to just get more annoyed.

    “That’s impossible for me to do. How could…”

    As Hou Li and Xing Yue chatted back and forth, he walked slightly behind them and just thought.

    A profound feeling had emerged within him. But within that, lied a great fear. One moment he was hopeful and courageous. But in the next, he was terrified and felt like an ice-cold abyss had emerged in his stomach and was ready to swallow him whole.

    That being the notion of leaving his village.

    To even think of such a notion, his family would be shocked.

    Currently, he lived with his grandfather, mother, father, two eldest brothers and his little sister. Along with them, were his five cousins, two uncles and two step-aunties. It was a large and chaotic generational home, headed by his grandfather.

    Fortunately, he was a lax man and didn’t set many rules, the only ones being that they had to be home by dark, respect their elders and to not marry a woman with too many financial problems no matter how pretty she was.

    The last one was a bit strange, but it made some sense.

    The work force for the farm consisted of his father, two older brothers, his two uncles and one of his cousins. All in all, there were six people on the family’s farm, toiling away every day. They were a strong work force, and it was a very, very rare occasion if there still something to be done at the end of the workday.

    As for his step-aunties and mother, they weaved silk and cared for the silkworms, making a tidy profit off of the merchants that passed by every few months. It had been over twenty years since the end of the war and the taxes were very generous into comparison to those times.

    His family could be considered well-off in their moderately-sized village. They were able to save up a considerable amount of money, eat meat on a regular basis and didn’t have any problems during the winter.

    It was a good life in retrospective.

    And where did that place him?

    Just as he began asking himself this question, he heard Hou Li say his name.

    “Xing Yi, here,” Hou Li handed him a rod.

    They were currently located in front of a small creek. Beforehand, they had travelled to Hou Li’s house to retrieve three rods and they were now here. Yes, Xing Yue had continued to

    The distance to the left were some rushing rapids. But here, the water had calmed down and formed a tranquil and level flow.

    A breeze washed over the left side of his face. The water levels were quite high today. There were certain to be a few fish floating around.

    Standing next to each other on the rich green grass, him and Hou Li cast their fishing rods out into the middle of the creek. It wasn’t too difficult to get it out into the right spot as the creek was only about 15 meters wide.

    Xing Yue however had a bit of trouble and couldn’t get herself to cast any further than a couple of meters. Xing Yi laughed and quickly helped her and with one single swing, it was in the middle of the river.

    Xing Yue blushed awkwardly, “Thank you.”

    Xing Yi nodded with a smile on his face and turned to the creek, taking in the beautiful sight. He had seen it before many times but each time he would be shocked at how timeless a view it was. So simple but so breathtaking.

    He glanced to his left and saw how focused Hou Li and couldn’t help but chuckle to himself. He always had that face whenever they were fishing.

    Memories of all the times they went to fish together flashed through his mind. The teamwork between them to catch the fish, long and honest one-on-one talks that went late into the afternoon, and the genuine and deep connection that formed between them in those times.

    At that moment, to both his and Hou Li’s surprise, Xing Yue’s rod suddenly jerked and bent downwards.

    Xing Yue gasped and hastily pulled against the fish that was tugging against her hook, her feet digging into the ground. Xing Yi dropped his rod and went over and gave her an extra pair of hands. Simultaneously stabilising while helping her pull, the fish was slowly pulled in. She huffed and puffed, working her little arms to death.

    Soon, it was pulled onto land, it’s silver body flapping up and down.
    It was decently sized. Being about a foot and a half long.

    Xing Yue fell onto the ground, completely exhausted.

    “That was awesome,” Xing Yue said with an incredulous expression on her face.

    Hou Li smiled, “See?”

    Xing Yue nodded her head up and down, “Yeah.”

    Xing Yi chuckled and savoured this moment with his entire heart, gazing upon this scene with wide eyes, as if he was hoping to burn it into his eyes.

    Author's Note: I'll post the other five chapters tomorrow afternoon. I got to go to sleep.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2022
    Ayashi, GooseElite, Merior and 19 others like this.
  3. CmirDarthanna

    CmirDarthanna Well worn.

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    Is this a Body Cultivation fic? If so, fuck yeah! Show those glass canons what for.

    Without any spiritual energy they are no different from weak mortals and instantly drop like fruit flies.

    At least as a Body Cultivator your body can be made indestructible and possessing endless vitality without the need for outside energy sources to prop you up.

    Or the possibility of some power-hungry bastard with greater "mastery of dao" to just turn all your hard work meaningless.

    Or need to "comprehend" some bullshit mumbo jumbo from random fuckwads just train your body and mind till the universe itself bends over backwards for you.

    Show em what "Absolute Strength" really means.
     
  4. Threadmarks: Chapter 2 - Old Man Jin
    bandicoot879

    bandicoot879 Getting sticky.

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    Chapter 2 – Old Man Jin
    The next day, a carriage arrived in front of Hou Li’s house. ​

    After receiving many stern warnings and advice from his father and a long and tearful embrace from his mother, Hou Li climbed into the carriage and closed the door behind him. Looking through the window, he spotted Xing Yi and waved him goodbye.

    Xing Yi smiled and waved back.

    Soon, the horses at the front started moving with their hooves clipping and clopping against the dirt road. Hou Li and his carriage moved further and further away until it eventually went beyond the hills and into the world.

    Xing Yi stood there for a while in a daze. What was he going to do now?

    His only friend had just left and here he was. Still in the village. Noticing Xing Yi’s worried look, Hou Li’s father walked over and gave him a bitter smile and a pat on the shoulder before he moved over to his wife and consoled her as she wouldn’t stop crying. Her sobs caused Xing Yi to become even more saddened than he already was.

    Turning around on the spot, he went to the only place he felt like going to at that moment. Moving past long stretches of rice fields and up the terraced hills, he found himself underneath a wide, shady tree with many leaves.
    Lying against the base of the tree, he looked upon the valley with a depressed expression.

    He saw small black dots working upon the hills within terraced rice fields. It was a powerful, lush green that seemed to just soothe his eyes. He had seen this sight with Hou Li many, many times before. The colour was just so rich.

    He sighed.

    For he would never see that damn smirk of his anymore. And that eternally calm attitude of his had always gotten them out of trouble. He was always a good listener too. He was grateful for that too.
    He would never see him again.

    As he uttered this within the chambers of his mind, tears began to swell within his eyes. As he laid there in silence, tears fell down his cheeks and onto his clothes.
    Never again.

    The memories they cherished. That they had shared. All of them flashed through his mind very vividly. A soul crushing, heavy feeling took over his body as tears ran down his eyes. An hour later, Xing Yi had calmed down.
    With a clogged nose and red cheeks, he sat up and looked down upon the village.

    He closed his eyes valiantly and stared into the darkness within.

    Am I really going to stay in the village my whole life? To toil away endlessly at the mercy of my local lord? To live under cruel taxes and be subject to the societal hierarchy?

    Xing Yi breathed heavily as he thought upon this topic.

    Hope filled him as he began thinking upon what would happen if he left the village.

    He fantasised of riches, beautiful women and fame.

    But as his mind drifted as to how he was going to do that, fear and despair overtook that hope.

    I’m just a peasant. How could I do that?

    A flame was snuffed out at that very moment.

    Xing Yi stood up and walked down the hill. His mind completely forgot about what thoughts had transpired upon that hill. For better or worse.

    As Xing Yi walked past a certain house, he saw an old man with thinning hair and a studious gaze towards a board with many white and black pieces. Stroking his long beard up and down, he seemed to be in a state of distress. This was Old Man Jin.

    For some reason, Xing Yi walked up the terrace and approached Old Man Jin.

    Xing Yi studied the board for a few seconds until Old Man Jin glanced up and noticed his presence.

    “Hm?” Old Man Jin seemed surprised he had come over.

    “Hi. What are you doing?” Xing Yi smiled.

    With a hoarse voice, Old Man Jin replied, “Studying game three of the State of Xia go championship. This game was played just three weeks ago.”

    Xing Yi furrowed his eyebrows and asked, “How are you doing that?”

    Old Man Jin picked up a scroll at this side and waved it around.

    “I bought this record of the go championship games off of the merchant last week. It took me a whole week just to truly contemplate upon both of the first two games fully,” Old Man Jin clicked his tongue as if it was a truly difficult and stressful matter.

    Xing Yi stood closer and looked at the board which was filled with white and black pieces.
    Just then, Old Man Jin looked up and gestured to the opposite seat, “Please, take a seat if you must.”

    Heading Old Man Jin, he sat down and sat opposite of him in a small wooden chair.

    Although Xing Yi hadn’t played go that many times, he still knew how it worked and could get a basic grasp of the situation of the board. He had played quite a few games against both Hou Li and Old Man Jin and he had always lost. It wasn’t that he was terrible, they were just far better. Against Hou Li, he could put up a far fight. But against Old Man Jin, he could only dream. Even for Hou Li it was the exact same.

    “This looks pretty complicated,” Xing Yi commented with a dry laugh.

    “Indeed, it is!” Old Man Jin strongly agreed.

    A few moments later, Old Man Jin shook his head and suggested, “Do you want to play a game?”

    Xing Yi thought about it for a few seconds before accepting his challenge.

    Scrapping the current game, Old Man Jin and Xing Yi piled the black and white pieces back into their wooden boxes on the side of the table until it was completely empty.

    Smacking his lips against the inside of his mouth like an old tortoise, Old Man Jin said, “You can go first.”

    Xing Yi nodded and placed his first piece.

    One by one, Xing Yi and Old Man Jin placed their pieces onto the board.

    While Old Man Jin placed his pieces with a steady hand and confidence, Xing Yi had a pensive expression and had much difficulty making up his mind. He would often retract his hand as he was about to place a piece, unsure of his decision and would do so many more times until he finally placed it.

    Old Man Jin wasn’t impatient. He remained patient throughout the whole match and merely stroked his beard while gazing upon the board with an intrigued expression.
    As the matched progressed, Xing Yi leaned forward in his chair and attentively gazed upon the board, his mind thinking of all the possible moves he could make. Soon, at a critical moment, it was Old Man Jin’s turn. At the same time, Xing Yi gazed at the board with a sunken face.

    Not making a single sound, Old Man Jin placed down a single piece, which in tandem with other his pieces, allowed him to capture a few dozen of Xing Yi’s pieces at once. Xing Yi stared on as Old Man Jin took his pieces off the board one by one until they were all gone.

    “I lost,” Xing Yi sighed.

    He scanned the board with a pained expression.

    “Xiao Wu, how old are you?” Old Man Jin asked.

    “Eleven, I’ll be turning twelve in about a month,” Xing Yi replied.

    Old Man Jin nodded his head before asking, “What did you think of our game?”

    Xing Yi delegated his answer as he studied the board until a few moments later he answered.

    “I think…”, he paused, “That I was playing too safe. It didn’t feel like the right thing to do. But I still did it because I haven’t always been an aggressive player. I’ve always liked to play safe and not take too many risks anyway.”

    “A strikingly accurate analysis I must say,” Old Man Jin approved, “Indeed, you did play incredibly safe, making sure not to pose any sort of aggression to my pieces on the board. That in itself does have some charm. While not very common, there are some players who are very well suited for such a playstyle.”

    Old Man Jin’s face turned serious as he gave Xing Yi a long hard look.

    “However,” Old Man Jin started, “I can sense that such a playstyle is not meant for you. You are limiting yourself severely by playing like this. Maybe if you played a bit more aggressive, took some more risks and thought outside the box, you might achieve success and capture the heart of the game.”

    Hearing this, Xing Yi could only stare at the board in a daze.

    Seeing this, Old Man Jin smiled and suggested, “How about some tea?”

    Snapped out of his daze, Xing Yi accepted, “Sure.”
     
  5. Threadmarks: Chapter 3 - Heaven Chosen Medallion
    bandicoot879

    bandicoot879 Getting sticky.

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    Chapter 3 – Heaven Chosen Medallion

    It was the next day and Old Man Jin was pleasantly surprised to see a young boy with tanned skin wearing brown robes climbing up the steps towards his house.

    “Come back again to play with this old man?” Old Man Jin smiled.

    “Yeah,” Xing Yi replied. He walked over to the small table Old Man Jin sat at and took a seat opposite of him.

    Without waiting, Old Man Jin took out the board and they began playing. Dozens upon dozens of pieces were placed onto the board by both opposing sides. It was a beautiful battle of entanglement, negotiation and sacrifice.

    An hour later, Old Man Jin studied the board and commented, “You got better.”

    At this, Xing Yi seemed to light up.

    “Better at playing safe it seems like. Tsk, tsk. You really are dragging this game out on purpose, aren’t you? You should really look at the position you have put yourself in. Although at first it may look like you are thriving and managing to stand on equal footing with me, you are in actuality at my mercy,” Old Man Jin lectured him.

    Over the next several moves, Old Man Jin’s words were proven to be true and Xing Yi realised how lost the game was for him and he resigned.

    “I thought…”, Xing Yi muttered underneath his breath as he studied the board, trying to figure out how he could’ve possibly lost.

    The game of go was so confusing that he didn’t even know how he lost!

    “It is not unusual for you to lose to me, Xiao Wu. Do not feel too heartbroken. We all fail at first. I was once like you. I had the same eyes and thoughts as you. I would always wonder, ‘how did I just lose’? But in your case, what you need most is a simple change of perspective,” Old Man Jin said.

    “What do you mean?” Xing Yi inquired, paying great attention to him.

    “How about another game?” Old Man Jin suggested with a mischievous smile, completely ignoring his question.

    Xing Yi blinked his eyes in surprise before accepting the cold truth.




    In the blink of an eye, an entire month had passed. During this time, Xing Yi had played several games of Go with Old Man Jin every day. He rapidly improved in this time span and with his “safe” playstyle, he managed to drag his games with Old Man Jin out longer and longer.

    He hadn’t won a single time but just dragging out the game length was a victory in his eyes. However, he could see Old Man Jin was progressively becoming more and more displeased with him as time passed. And just today as he departed home, he could see that he had a particularly pained and disappointed expression on his face.

    Xing Yi couldn’t understand. Every time he asked, he would instead receive a blank look in return.

    He felt greatly saddened because of this.

    But as he arrived home, a pleasant smell greeted his nose and he forgot all about this.

    Sat at the dinner table were his entire family. His mother, father, grandfather and his three siblings were all there.

    Sitting at the table next to his older brother, the latter commented, “Did you play go with Old Man Jin again?”

    Xing Yi silently nodded as he began to dig into the food his mother had prepared. Just as he was about to dig in, his mother cried, “Wu Xing Yi! It’s your birthday today.”

    Xing Yi’s mother walked over with a large piece of duck meat and dipped it into Xing Yi’s bowl. This brought him much delight and he gave a big smile. He and his mother hugged before she sat back down again at the dinner table.

    “How old are you turning today, Xing Yi?” Xing Yi’s grandfather asked with a raised eyebrow. He had saggy cheeks and a mysterious gaze in his eyes.
    After thinking for a moment, Xing Yi answered, “Twelve.”

    “Well, I am surprised. You’re already twelve! Time sure does fly by,” Xing Yi’s grandfather seemed to reminisce as he looked upwards.

    “In addition, not only have you received an extra piece of meat from your mother, you will receive a gift from me,” Xing Yi’s grandfather then revealed.

    Everyone was stunned.

    “What do you mean? What kind of gift are you giving him?” Xing Yi’s mother asked with slight shock, a strand of her raven black hair falling down with her chopsticks still holding onto a piece of food.

    “Not just any ordinary gift! A great gift that is so precious that even gold or silk is nothing compared to it,” Xing Yi’s grandfather revealed.

    Xing Yi’s father grew suspicious and asked, “Really?”

    “Yes! But unfortunately, I cannot show anyone here as the gift is so precious that it would be risky for anyone other than me or Xing Yi to know about it,” Xing Yi’s grandfather said with regret.

    Xing Yi’s parents were sceptical, but his father quickly shrugged his shoulders.

    So did his siblings, except for one little pest that was jealous of him.

    “Lucky,” Xing Yue muttered underneath her breath, oblivious to the fact that Xing Yi heard her.

    Xing Yi looked at Xing Yue for a moment but decided to not say anything.

    After devouring his large portion of meat and the rest of his rice, his grandfather lead him into his room. Even as he shut the door, he swore he could still hear Xing Yue muttering underneath her breath.

    As Xing Yi closed the door behind him, his grandfather was standing in front of a painting, admiring it.

    “Come Xing Yi, what do you think of this painting?” Xing Yi’s grandfather headed.

    Walking over, he got a look of the painting and saw it was a depiction of a beautiful landscape filled with verdant green forests, imposing and earthen mountains, and a rich blue sky. This was his grandfather’s most prized
    possession and didn’t even let his own son touch it. He had seen it before

    His own father had also said, while his grandfather wasn’t around of course, that the painting while very well made, isn’t worth much at all since no one knows who painted it. Only paintings made by renowned painters can be sold at a high price.

    Xing Yi answered, “I think it is well painted. Why? Who made it?”

    Xing Yi’s grandfather nodded with satisfaction and said, “I know not of his name, but of his status. The man who painted this wasn’t well known. Nor was he rich. He didn’t even have a name. He was just a measly low-ranking scholar. He may be insignificant, but this piece of art here is simply breathtaking. It is called, ‘Mortal World’.”

    A moment of silence passed.

    “I was going to give this gift to your brothers, but they didn’t have that special gift. But you are different,” Xing Yi’s grandfather spoke as he brought the painting off of the wall and sat down with it on his lap.

    He turned it over and opened the back cover as he continued, “Xing Yi, I can sense the yearning for the outside world in your eyes. You want to adventure and see what’s out there for you. This safe little village isn’t enough for you.”

    Xing Yi’s jaw dropped.

    “And that is why I’m giving this to you.” Xing Yi’s grandfather popped open the back of the painting and reached in. As he pulled out his hand, there was now a grey medallion in it.

    Xing Yi walked forward and received the medallion. It was ice cold. Depicted on it was a beautiful woman with long black hair. Surrounding her was a formation of flying swords.

    “What is this?” Xing Yi asked with curiosity.

    Xing Yi’s grandfather answered, “It is called the ‘Heaven Chosen Medallion. If you present this medallion to the Bloody Path Sect, a sect of immortals that reside within the Long Tang Mountain Range north of here, you can join them and become an immortal. I received this from the very scholar that made the painting.”

    Xing Yi couldn’t believe what he heard and reinspected the medallion, gazing very intently at the woman for no particular reason.

    He delegated his words as his face turned into a pained expression.

    “I can’t become an immortal,” Xing Yi replied, giving the medallion back to his grandfather.

    He couldn’t possibly become an immortal. He was just the son of a farmer after all.

    Xing Yi’s grandfather blocked the medallion with his hands and placed it back into his possession.

    “No, I cannot take it back now that I have given it to you. This is your destiny. Do not deny it. No one else can do it except you. And despite what you may think, you are capable of anything beyond even your own imagination. Becoming an immortal is no small matter, but if its you, I think you can do it,” Xing Yi’s grandfather had a gentle but stern look in his eyes as he denied him.

    Xing Yo was at a loss for words.

    He still felt like he couldn’t fulfil his grandfather’s expectations, but the old man thought otherwise. Although he couldn’t deny that he greatly yearned for the outside world, he couldn’t have imagined he would’ve gained a chance to venture into it like this.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2022
  6. Threadmarks: Chapter 4 - One Final Game
    bandicoot879

    bandicoot879 Getting sticky.

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    Chapter 4 – One Final Game
    Xing Yi was excited to venture into the outside world. But also had a feeling of dread.

    He was simply uncertain.

    Would he fail? Or would he succeed?

    These mixed emotions churned through his mind and body as he walked up the dirt path to Old Man Jin’s path. With the medallion still in his possession, snuggly tucked away inside his brown robes, he finally arrived.
    However, what he saw wasn’t what he expected. Standing outside his were many several middle-aged men and women with pained expressions. Walking up the steps, he was noticed by a particular burly man with large muscles and a large beard.

    “Xiao Wu, what are you doing here?” He inquired.

    “What happened?” Xing Yi asked confusedly, trying to peer past the man and into the house.

    “Jin Yong died.”
    Those words caused Xing Yi’s heart to skip a beat.

    “Really?” Xing Yi asked, his face filled with terror.

    “Yes,” the burly man sighed.

    Xing Yi immediately turned around and walked back with wide eyes. He walked off path and through the rice paddies and into the forest. Walking in, he soon found a spot underneath a random oak tree and sat with his back to it.

    “This can’t be happening,” Xing Yi muttered underneath his breath.

    Xing Yi had only truly known the man for what- a month?

    Yet his death had hit him so hard.

    He remembered when Hou Li first introduced him to the man and how fun the game of go was. That he should play too. Initially, he gave it a try too, but he didn’t have much success and was content watching Hou Li and Old
    Man Jin play.


    For several dozen long minutes he sat underneath the tree. He just stared into air as he thought. He didn’t sob dramatically, merely a single tear dropped down his left eye.

    And he didn’t even leave on a good note with Old Man Jin. The last time he saw him, he had a disappointed expression on his face.

    If he could talk to him one more time, he would say how sorry he was for not listening to him.

    That playstyle.

    That damn playstyle.

    Just what was he thinking? Playing safe.

    Xing Yi began to laugh manically as he brought his hand to his face, laughing at how stupid he was.

    “I was playing safe the whole time. Not one time did I listen to him,” Xing Yi said.

    He had been playing safe the whole time when he played go. He didn’t take risks. Old Man Jin was saying this all. It was all right in front of his face and he didn’t listen.

    Xing Yi stood up and began to walk forward with resolution. Walking back to Old Man Jin’s place, he saw that the group of people were now walking somewhere on the dirt road. Running forward, he caught up to the burly men.

    “Mister, where are you guys going?” Xing Yi asked.

    Raising an eyebrow, the burly man replied with a question of his own, “Where did you go?”

    “Nowhere,” Xing Yi replied, acting as mysteriously as he could.

    After a few seconds of failing to see past his façade, he answered honestly, “To the plains west of here so we can bury him. It will only be a short funeral.”

    It was currently late into the afternoon and the sun was ready to set. Obviously, Old Man Jin had been dead for some time already now. The reason for Xing Yi being so late on this particular day is because he was talking to his grandfather about the medallion and thinking about it.

    In just a few days, he was going to hitch a ride with a travelling merchant that regularly passed through here so he can go to Rising Dragon City. Before then, he wanted to talk to Old Man Jin about some things and really get some things off his shoulders. But now that he was dead that would never happen.

    Walking in tandem with Liu Ming, the burly men, they walked through the village and then down an untrodden and unkempt path to the village’s tiny cemetery. There were only about a couple dozen graves or so. The group found a clear space and two men who had previously been carrying onto a brown bag, placed it onto the ground. Four men who had also been carrying shovels, started digging and shovelling the dirt into a pile nearby.

    There were about thirty or so people present, and each looked on with saddened expressions. Old Man Jin wasn’t someone incredibly popular. He was just a lone old man who found joy in playing go and usually chatted with his neighbours while in return giving food from his vegetable garden.

    He lived a quiet life. But it also deeply impacted many. A few elderly men were also present who were obviously good friends of his. In fact Xing Yi had met many of them while he played against Jin Yong.

    Soon, a hole had been dug and his body was placed inside. Xing Yi watched on with sadness and saw how pale his body had turned. After asking Liu Ming, he had learnt that he had died from what they thought to be a heart attack.

    None of them could’ve seen it coming.

    They shovelled all the dirt back in, evened the ground out and then placed a large stone at the head of his burial.
    After they were done, the men who had done all the work digging his hole and reburying the dirt, stood back.

    Without saying any words, many long moments of silence descended upon the crowd.

    Xing Yi could only hear his breath as he gazed at Jin Yong’s grave.

    He knew the man for very little. Yet the latter had seen through him and offered advice when it mattered to him the most. He didn’t cry. He didn’t even shed a single tear.

    As the group began dispersing one by one, a resolute expression returned to his face. Discreetly returning to Jin Yong’s house, he found a still in play go board with pieces on it. He smiled at this and walked inside.
    Looking through a small cupboard in the house, he found a large scroll. Tucking it inside his robes, he cleaned up the go game, placed the pieces back inside their holders and proceeded to walk to the cemetery with all this in hand.

    He received a few weird looks from people, but no one went over and stopped him. When he arrived at the cemetery, he walked over to Jin Yong’s grave and placed down the go board in front of his gravestone.

    He knelt down and unrolled the scroll.

    “Let’s play a game of go, one final time,” Xing Yi sighed and began placing pieces onto the board according to the record in the scroll. This scroll was in fact a record of one of their games a week ago. Jin Yong had suggested it. He was glad he accepted as of this moment.

    As Jin Yong made his first move, he bursted out into excitement, “Excellent move! As expected from someone of your skill!”

    Although he hadn’t acknowledged it, Jin Yong was a master to him. So, he called him as such.

    With each of his master’s move, Xing Yi would clap and cheer. But towards the latter end of the match, his tone turned sad.

    And with his master’s final move, he turned silent and kowtowed towards his headstone.

    He whispered, “Excuse me but allow me to call you master as you are one to me. I am forever regretful that I didn’t listen to your wisdom earlier. I had simply been a stubborn fool he didn’t listen to the older generation. Forgive me.”

    Many moments passed as he delegated his next words, his head still against the ground.

    “I am leaving this small village to become an immortal. I know, it sounds crazy. I think so too. But it’s true. I was going to tell you about some of my fears and uncertainties. But I know the answer now. You may have not told me directly but thankfully I am not a complete fool. I was afraid of taking risks and venturing out into the world. I knew I wanted to yet I denied it and buried underneath the dread I felt. But I’m not like that anymore.

    I’ve changed,” Xing Yi said confidently, strength rejuvenating his voice and making him louder.

    With this, he packed everything and brought it back to Jin Yong’s house and put it back as it had been earlier. He left the house and looked towards the sunset that laid upon the horizon, it’s orange rays soaking his face with a warmth.

    The world awaited him.
     
  7. Threadmarks: Chapter 5 - Leaving Home
    bandicoot879

    bandicoot879 Getting sticky.

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    Chapter 5 – Leaving Home

    Three days later, early in the morning, a carriage arrived in front of Xing Yi’s house.

    Sitting on the front of the carriage was a tall, beardless man with pointed black leather shoes. After stretching his neck and cracking his fingers with an outward motion, he stepped off of the carriage and made his way over to the house with strong and confident strides.

    He knocked on the door and the first one to answer was a lanky young man with ruffled black hair and strong, veiny arms.

    “What brings you here today Mr Wang?” The lanky young man asked casually.

    “Is your grandfather home? He requested to have me bring his son to Rising Dragon City,” Mr Wang replied.

    The lanky youth replied, “Yes. Let me get him.”

    He walked inside and retrieved an old man who walked over with a hunched back. This was Xing Yi’s grandfather. Wu Xing Da.

    “You’ve arrived,” Xing Da said.

    “Yes, I have. Anyways, you seem in great health! Not even a trace of paleness on your complexion and you look like you’re bound to not be going anywhere, anytime soon,” Mr Wang praised with a flattering voice.

    Xing Da laughed, “I am less than optimistic but thank you.”

    “That is fine,” Mr Wang replied.

    However, inside the house, Xing Yuwan was desperately hugging onto Xing Yi and won’t let go.

    “Don’t go!” Xing Yuwan screamed with snot coming out her nose and tears running down her face.

    “I won’t be gone forever. I will make sure to visit!” Xing Yi replied with a reassuring smile.

    Just then, his mother arrived at his side and finally ripped him off his leg.

    Xing Yuwan continued to cry and Xing Yi could only look on with sadness.

    Did he really have to go? He didn’t want to see his little sister so sad!


    But that was only a momentary thought. He knew what he had to do. He had a purpose and he had to fulfil it. He had already talked to his two older brothers last night and they had hugged it out for a while. They were both supportive of him and didn’t mind him leaving the farm at all. In fact they were both delighted, as if he was successful he was sure to elevate their family’s status.

    He was sure that with them and his father at the helm of the farm, he would sure that they would produce a many fine numbers of crops that would sell for quite the coin. He would miss them dearly, but it was time to move on into the outside world. Only just a little earlier than he and his family had expected. Still, they didn’t know what it was he was doing and only after wrangling his grandfather about it for multiple days did, he finally give in and say that he would tell him what Xing Yi was doing in a year’s time.

    After all, what is he to say if Xing Yi suddenly shows up wearing silk white robes and wielding a golden sword? There would be no way to continue acting clueless at that point.


    Regardless, Xing Yi painfully left her side and walk out to the front of the house where the merchant and his grandfather were currently chatting away, the topic of conversation being Mr Wang’s travels and the many sights he has seen. They seemed to have a good relationship and had smiles on their faces the whole time.

    The rest of his family trailed behind him, ready to wave him goodbye for the final time. With a backpack filled with everything he needed for his travels, from a considerable amount of the family’s savings, extra clothes, and even a knife just in case the need arises.

    Hugging each of his family members one by one.

    As his mother embraced him, she emphasised with a shaky, “Make sure to take care of yourself and don’t get into too many fights. Eat healthy and get enough sleep. Lastly, if someone is ever in need, make sure to help them. Ok?”

    Xing Yi firmly responded, “I will mother.”

    Then, he walked over to his father.

    His father had a serious face as he slapped his hand onto his shoulder, “Make sure to live honestly. Don’t ever, ever give up no matter how hard things may get and most importantly, be strong. Don’t ever show weakness.”

    Suddenly he leaned in and whispered, “Especially in the world of immortals you are sure to make enemies. If and when that happens, don’t be afraid to fight back.”

    Xing Yi was stunned. His father knew?

    He thought about it for a brief moment and it quickly made sense. Why wouldn’t he?

    Xing Yi took both of their advice to heart and hugged his remaining brothers. They both said they would miss him. They were serious and honest people. Much like his father. Not many too words were exchanged.

    Finally, his little sister. She wouldn’t stop crying.

    “Make sure to visit, ok?” Xing Yuwan sobbed.

    Xing Yi smiled and gave her a kiss on the forehead, “I will. Don’t you worry. I’ll even bring friends too if that’s what you want.”

    Xing Yuwan replied, “Yeah.”

    With a heavy heart and a bittersweet feeling, he turned away from his family and walked towards the pair of men talking in front of the carriage.

    “The young man is finally here! Well then, I am going to have to get going. The life of a merchant is one that is always on the move, and I can’t afford to accommodate you guys for too long. Excuse me!” Mr Wang exclaimed.

    Walking forward with Mr Wang, Xing Yi gave his grandfather a long hug and said to him as he left the embrace, “Thank you.”

    Xing Da laughed, “There is no need to thank me. Thank yourself for taking on this opportunity to venture into the unknown!”

    Xing Yi replied, “I will.”

    He turned around and jumped inside the carriage. He noticed a young man was also sitting inside but he didn’t take him to mind as he was still thinking about his family. As the horses began trotting away, Xing Yi opened the curtains and sadly waved his family goodbye through the window. As their figures turned to silhouettes in the distance, he finally looked away.

    How long until would it be until he saw them again? Would he still be the same?

    Hopeful thoughts of his journey emerged.

    He was going to become an immortal! When he thought of this, he tightly gripped a medallion underneath his robes.

    That’s when he finally appraised the young man, directly opposite him in the other corner of the carriage. His eyes were sharp like a fox, his hair delicately combed and his facial features strong and masculine. He sat with his legs crossed and a thin book in hand, his eyes intensely studying its contents.

    Xing Yi couldn’t read yet, so he didn’t know what the book’s title was. At that moment, the young man noticed his gaze and looked at him, causing his hairs to stand up.

    “What is your name boy?” The young man asked with a trace of arrogance.

    “Xing Yi,” Xing Yi replied as he gave a tiny bow in his seat.

    The young man readjusted by crossing his legs the other way and put his hand on his chin.

    “Xing Yi, thank you for telling me your name. Regretfully, I cannot tell you my name in my return. However, I do have one thing to say. As long as you do not cause any major disturbances during our trip, you and I will not have any problems. Do you understand?” The young man stared intently at him, waiting for a response.

    Xing Yi hastily replied and nodded his head again, “Yes! There will be no problems. I will make sure to be quiet. But forgive me being rude but why can’t you tell me your name?”

    “It’s simple. Because you don’t need to know,” The young man replied with a harsh tone.

    Xing Yi silently nodded his head, slightly embarrassed.

    Although his tone was slightly arrogant, he was still respectful and didn’t go looking down him for being just a mere ‘peasant’. From the look of him, he was someone of high status and was quite rich. He wondered what he would possibly be doing here of all places.

    With introductions out of the way, he thought about what he was going to do for the rest of the trip.

    Of which he had nothing that he could do.

    He eyed the young man and window before he sighed and began rummaging through his backpack. He pulled out a medium-sized go board, the largest that would fit in his bag. It was thirteen by thirteen squares long and wide.

    As Xing Yi pulled out the go board, the young master gave him a weird look and it seemed to pique his interest.

    “You have a go board,” the young master asked with interest.

    Surprised that the young master was initiating a conversation with him, he replied, “Yeah.”

    “Do you have pieces?” He asked, eyeing his backpack.

    “Yeah,” Xing Yi said as he reached inside his bag and pulled out two black pots that were the size of fists.

    “Would you like to play a game with me? I haven’t played a game of go since say- I think when I was seven years old,” the young master said.

    Xing Yi replied, “Sure.”

    He didn’t mind at all. He needed really needed something to do. There was no way he was going to be awkwardly staring out the window the whole trip.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2022
  8. Threadmarks: Chapter 6 - Journey
    bandicoot879

    bandicoot879 Getting sticky.

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    Chapter 6 – Journey
    Xing Yi stared at the board for a while until he finally sighed.

    “Ok, I give up,” Xing Yi laughed, completely admitting defeat.

    The board was without question, the young master’s win. There was no need to count the squares. Fortunately, the road was tame and allowed for them to play without interruption.

    The young master remarked, “I’m surprised. You play very well.”

    “Thank you,” Xing Yi replied. He was flattered.

    “No, really. You are frighteningly good,” the young master squinted his eyes, studying Xing Yi’s facial features in fine detail. The youth had average but well-defined features. Tanned skin upon a noble, straight nose and short, un-styled black hair. His eyes were like a dark abyss, and he had cheeks as smooth as a baby.

    The young master leaned back, the thin layer of armour underneath his shirt jingled.

    “Although I am intrigued, I have better things to be doing. Either way, the road up ahead will begin to get quite bumpy as we leave the vicinity of this village. We wouldn’t want the pieces flying everywhere. I enjoyed the game. Now, if you will,” the young master said as he proceeded to pull out his book again and resumed reading.

    Xing Yi cleaned up and put everything away and was now left staring out the window, an expanse of forest that just seemed to be endlessly repeating itself.

    Time passed and Xing Yi discovered that the trip to Rising Dragon City was going to take at least two months. Which was a long time. It was located at the furthest north part of the State of Xia, whereas he lived in the southernmost part of the state.

    During that time, he had to think of something to do.

    Something came to mind immediately.

    Meditation.

    It was rumoured that immortals wouldn’t sleep or eat. They were all youthful, beautiful and tall and that they often went into seclusion for many several decades at a time to meditate to grow stronger and contemplate the dao.

    Even if it was all hearsay, he felt that the meditation part had some truth to it.

    That’s why he decided to begin meditating, even if he didn’t know what he was doing at all.

    He crossed his legs and just closed his eyes. He focused on the world around him.

    The strain of the wheels as they churned against the dirt. The bumping of the carriage, the trotting of the horses, and just then, the young master flipping through his book.

    It was difficult at first. He wasn’t a hyperactive kid, but he couldn’t help but bounce his left leg and up and down. His mind was just begging to move. As what seemed like an hour had passed, he couldn’t help but feel him meditating was useless and didn’t want to do it anymore.

    But he didn’t give up.

    Xing Yi was already extremely tired and exhausted from having meditated for just a whole hour. Just then, he moved his leg, and it was completely numb. It felt like his leg didn’t exist. As if it was just bone.

    He moved it around and tried standing up, he almost collapsed but saved himself and sat back down. The young master looked at him strangely when he saw this but quickly resumed reading, not taking Xing Yi’s antics to mind.

    Xing Yi gave a mental sigh of relief and resumed meditating.

    Like that, a week passed, and they arrived at their first major destination.

    Mildew Valley CIty.


    Xing Yi had been here once before, but it still amazed him.

    There were just so many people here. It was loud too. Nothing was tangible as all the voices were talking over each other.

    They stopped here for the next day, and he stayed inside a hotel with the young master and the merchant. He assumed that his grandfather had paid off the merchant with a big sum of money as he didn’t even pay but was presented with a room all to himself.

    It was the first time he slept in a room all by himself!

    Previously, he would have to sleep in the same room as his little sister. But now it was just him. Unfortunately, the previous week had been a bit less than pleasant as he was forced to sleep outside on the grass.

    It was a nice change of pace.

    But it was nothing compared to the pain of meditation.

    He felt like quitting every single second that passed. He was forcing himself to do it. He didn’t have to do it but he did. He had meditated twelve hours every day for the past seven days. To his previous self, that would be an inconceivable thing to do.

    But he really could!

    At the start, he was constantly moving around, and his mind would be wandering. But now he was like a statue and felt completely in tune with the environment and his breath, depending on what he was focusing on.

    His legs still got numb. Having to learn how to walk at the end of the day was quite hilarious. Then after that came the pins and needles. He wouldn’t be able to move around for at least a few minutes or a prickly sensation would instantly wash over his body, causing him to burst out in laughter.

    It was painful. But Xing Yi was grateful that he did it. There was never a time where he regretted not meditating that day.

    Time passed. He woke up from the bed of grass in the wild, went for a leak and washed up if there was a river nearby, jumped in the carriage, meditated, had lunch, meditated, had dinner and then finally went to sleep. This routine continued for the next seven weeks.

    And that’s when they finally arrived at Rising Dragon City.

    Before that, the first sign that they were nearly there was that they were now treading on a paved brick road. The road then became more populated, and people were now walking all around them.

    They went inside underneath a massive stone arch guarded by a few dozen guards, with more of them lining the walls and patrolling with crossbows in hand. They wore silver armour and helmets, leather straps and swords hanging at their sides. They gave intimidating gazes at anybody that walked inside, including him.

    As they travelled in, it was literally a sea of people. There were countless heads bobbing up and down. They didn’t go down the main street and eventually stopped at a large building made to accommodate carriages like Mr Wang’s.

    As Xing Yi got off along with the young master, Mr Wang walked up to him.

    “This is as far as I will take you boy. As according to my deal with your grandfather, I was to bring you to Rising Dragon City. So unfortunately, you are on your own now. Goodbye,” Mr Wang said before he walked to pay his toll to the owner of the building.

    Xing Yi watched him leave before he turned and left onto the street.

    The young master was also like him and quickly left but went in the opposite direction. Presumably to never be seen again.

    Xing Yi found his own rhythm and found himself walking with the crowd, enjoying the sheer magnificence and size of the city. He walked on for a long while until he found himself in an area less crowded and mainstream.

    That’s when he approached a random middle-aged man.

    “Excuse me, but do you perhaps know where Long Tang Mountain Range is,” Xing Yi kindly asked.

    The middle-aged man momentarily stopped and answered, “It’s simple. Go to the north exit and just follow the road. But don’t enter the fog. It’s dangerous.”

    Xing Yi bowed to the middle-aged man, allowing him to pass and continue on with his day.

    With that information in mind, he made his way through the city over the course of several hours and was neaby the north exit until it was late in the afternoon. At that point, the sun was setting, and he didn’t want to be travelling at night where he literally couldn’t see.

    So, he found the nearest inn and booked a night.

    The food was good and he had a night of sleep that left him completely refreshed.

    He left early in the morning at the break of dawn and began walking. It had rained last night so there was still dewdrops on the leaves and the ground was damp, some of it sticking to the bottom of his footwear.

    He travelled on foot, walking while swinging his arms around and singing to keep himself busy.

    When he finally reached the foot of the mountain range, the slope increased. He kept walking and walked deeper and deeper inside the mountain range. That’s when he encountered a wall of grey fog in front of him that continued on all the way to his left and right.

    “So this is the fog he was talking about,” Xing Yi muttered.

    He sized up the fog and felt quite intimidated. His heart started beating faster and faster as he thought about entering. He even took a couple steps back to ease his worries.

    I don’t have to walk inside. I can always turn back.

    This thought was left unanswered for a moment as that train of thought started taking off but he soon extinguished it.

    No! I must go through with it.

    He grabbed out a cloth-wrapped circular object and unwrapped it. He held onto it tightly and then lifted it straight up into the air and slowly walked in.

    The fog swallowed him.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2022
  9. Threadmarks: Chapter 7 - The Immortal
    bandicoot879

    bandicoot879 Getting sticky.

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    Chapter 7 – The Immortal
    Xing Yi waded through the fog with caution.

    He couldn’t even see his own hand when he held it right up against his face. What kind of fog was this!

    However, Xing Yi did know what kind of fog it was. It was a magical fog.

    His grandfather had explained that in order to enter the sect he had to walk through the fog while holding the medallion directly over his head. If he didn’t hold up the medallion then the immortals would kill him. He really hoped that they didn’t mistake him to be some kind of intruder and that he was trying to steal of their immortal elixirs and techniques.

    Prior, when he had been staying in the inn, he had learned that these mountains were a well-known folk tale. Anyone who attempted to walk inside, would find themselves wandering through the fog for multiple days on end until they reached the verge of dehydration and were magically released.

    If they dared to enter again, they wouldn’t come back out.
    That was why apart from the odd, fearless adventurer that wanted to discover the so called “secret” behind the fog, would enter it, only to come out on the verge of death and completely regretting their decision, no one went here.

    Xing Yi continued to walk on for several more minutes until the fog around him suddenly dispersed.
    What came next caused Xing Yi’s blood to turn cold.

    A young man wearing purple silk robes and long black hair, appeared from the fog. He was devoid of any emotion and looked at Xing Yi with a cold gaze. In this situation, Xing Yi was frightened like a baby rabbit, having come face to face with one of its natural predators.

    Without a word, Xing Yi saw the medallion fly out of his hand into the supposed immortal’s.

    Xing Yi’s stared at his hand and the youth he had now confirmed to be an immortal.

    He couldn’t process what was happening.

    They actually existed. It seemed that his grandfather had been right. There was a large difference between knowing and experiencing something. It really came to a shock to him. Everything aligned to this being the case and when it finally happened, he just couldn’t seem to think anymore.

    While Xing Yi was in utter shock, the immortal began inspecting the medallion.

    “Hmm?” The immortal showed a slight trace of surprise as he raised an eyebrow.

    Strangely, he pulled out a small talisman with profound golden writing on it and whispered into it for several seconds before raising his hand into the air. The golden talisman then shined golden and then flew off in a streak of golden light and disappeared.

    Xing Yi could only watch on with his mouth agape, not believing what he was seeing.

    With a confident, clear voice and words smooth as water, The Immortal spoke, “Boy, what is your name?”

    Still having not taken another breath, Xing Yi responded, “My name is Wu Xing Yi, Immortal.”

    “I see. Since you have presented this medallion you must come with me,” The Immortal replied.

    Xing Yi replied stiffly, “Ok.”

    Out of nowhere, a long golden sword the length of an entire person appeared and floated into the air a few feet off of the ground. The Immortal jumped onto it with the slightest tap of his feet.

    “Get on,” The Immortal ordered with an emotionless voice, neither impatient, angry or condescending.

    Xing Yi approached the sword and inspected it for a moment, doubting the safety and stability for it. However, his fear for accidentally inciting The Immortal’s ire was far greater. He stepped on and found that his feet seemed to stick onto it like mud.

    It was just like the ground and didn’t budge at all against his weight.

    What he didn’t expect was how fast it would move.

    Like an arrow released from a bow, it shot forward, through the mist and into the skies high above in an instant. Adrenaline pumped through his whole body, expecting to fall off as his weight tilted backwards, but he stayed on.

    With the sudden acceleration and steep incline, they were flying up at, he thought he was going to fall off the sword to his death. The cold wind smashed against his face as they flew, his robes flying everywhere and the whistling wind blowing into his ears. The Immortal was unaffected by all this and stood with his hands behind his back as he magically controlled the sword.

    Soon, Xing Yi’s heart slowed down and they stopped accelerating, reaching a constant speed that was still amazingly fast. Having finally calmed down, he saw the mountain range down below. It was very typical.

    Suddenly, the pair riding on the flying sword were intercepted by three other sword-flying immortals. They materialised from thin air and caused The Immortal to slowly come to a stop.

    They floated in the air for a few moments until all other flying-sword immortals had reached them.

    “Martial Brother Mo Zhi, I received your message. The mortal boy possessed the Heaven Chosen Medallion. Are you sure?” One of the flying-sword immortals questioned him. He eyed Xing Yi with a suspicious gaze.

    “Yes, the boy possessed the Heaven Chosen Medallion. Here, “Mo Zhi, The Immortal replied.

    He took out the medallion from beneath his robe and tossed it through the air, the other party catching it with ease. He inspected for a few moments and his expression revealed that he was slightly surprised.

    “It’s indeed the real thing. That is without a doubt, stained jade,” The flying-sword immortal nodded his head and gave the medallion back to him.

    “I’m surprised, hasn’t it been several hundred years since we have had to honour one? Boy, where did you find it?” The flying-sword immortal asked.

    Xing Yi’s voice shook in the presence of these four immortals, “M-My grandfather. He gave it to me.”

    “Oh, really? What is his name?” The flying-sword immortal further inquired, his strange green eyes glinting

    “Wu Xing Da,” Xing Yi answered.

    “Wu? I don’t know of any clan by the name of Wu. That is quite confusing,” The flying-sword furrowed his eyebrows as he put a hand to his chin. His skin was smooth, absolutely devoid of any blemishes or imperfections. He
    wasn’t particularly handsome, slightly betraying his expectations, but he was incredibly well kempt and groomed.

    “Maybe the medallion found itself in the hands of mortals?” A younger looking flying-sword immortal suggested. His sword flying technique was shown to be inferior as his sword was moving around in the air and bobbing up and down as compared to the others where their swords were completely motionless.

    “That could be the case. Regardless, we need to end this conversation and return to our positions. We have confirmed the reason of visit and who it is. Let’s leave,” The flying-sword immortal with green eyes ended the conversation and left to the right, prompting the other two to also return to their own positions.

    Shockingly, as the flying-sword immortals moved away just several meters, they suddenly disappeared in a rainbow-coloured light.

    They can turn invisible!

    That explained why he didn’t see them until they got up close.

    Xing Yi experienced shock after shock, not knowing what to believe anymore.

    Funny enough, he slapped himself and closed his eyes for a few moments, unable to believe that what he was seeing was reality. Surely it had to be a dream. Alas, it wasn’t, and he found that his slap had attracted the flying-sword immortal’s attention.

    He turned around on the sword, his long black hair blowing in the wind. He explained, “Wu Xing Yi, although you may have heard it already, my name is Mo Zhi. I will be taking you to the sect’s Guest Hall and you will remain there until the sect decides to do with you. It may take from several hours to an entire week depending on how long it takes the sect stewards to come to a final decision.”

    He turned back around and continued flying forward with his hands behind his back.

    Xing Yi now understood the situation. All he hoped was that everything would go well and he would be able to enter sect, and become an immortal. Just like Mo Zhi, the man in front of him.

    Now that the situation calmed down and he came to accept the reality of immortals, all he felt was sheer awe of this man’s ability. His plane of existence was far above his own. He was just superior in every way imaginable.

    He gazed at the immortal’s tall figure, envy filling his heart.

    At that moment, an immense desire to become an immortal was sowed within his heart.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2022
    Ayashi, GooseElite, Merior and 15 others like this.
  10. Threadmarks: Chapter 8 - Mortal
    bandicoot879

    bandicoot879 Getting sticky.

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    Chapter 8 – Mortal
    After flying for half an hour, the mortal and immortal pair landed on a tall mountain.

    In front of them was a large hall with pillars made out of green jade supporting it.

    Xing Yi’s landing was less than graceful and he almost fell over in the process. His jaw immediately dropped at how ridiculous lavish the hall was. Where did they get all this jade from?

    These immortals were without a doubt very rich. Well, why wouldn’t they be?

    With Mo Zhi leading in front and Xing Yi following from behind, they walked inside. As Mo Zhi approached the front desk and began talking to an old man who was sitting behind it, Xing Yi wouldn’t stop gaping at the mystic art and treasures laid throughout the hall.

    No. This was beyond stupid. This was ridiculous. Just how?

    After a bit of a back and forth between Mo Zhi and the old man sitting behind the desk, Mo Zhi bowed respectfully to the old man and left, walking past him and out of the hall.

    “Mortal, come with me,” The old man stood up from the desk and ordered impatiently.

    Hearing this, Xing Yi stood at attention and quickly followed him down a hall to the left. They walked down it, into a corridor to the left and until they stood in front of a door completely made out of jade. It wasn’t just this single door either, every single door was made out of jade.

    Inserting his palm into a palm-shaped indent on the door, it glowed blue and magically swung open. Inside was a quaint room with a few furnishings, a small bookshelf, a bed and a wooden table with a few chairs around it.

    “This will be your room until the stewards decide what to do with you. Now, take this bottle,” The old man said before handing over a white bottle.

    Xing Yi took the bottle with a bow and cupped hands and didn’t dare open it in front of him.

    “These are food pills. Eat them whenever you start to feel hungry. Don’t eat more than three at once as you might vomit and get severe cramping. Although this room is the worst one inside the entire hall, I am still the one who will have to clean it up. So be warned mortal. Until then.”

    The old man showed no interest in talking to him and gave him only the very basics before immediately leaving.

    Mortal?

    Xing Yi felt as if he was being looked down upon as if he was just an ant by the old man. He didn’t even properly look him in the eye and seemed to just gaze into the distance over his head. It was a weird feeling.

    But he forgot about the old man’s attitude and made himself comfortable. There wasn’t anything to do. However, there was a bookshelf at the side of the room but he couldn’t read at all. Regardless, he flipped through all of them, hoping to find pictures to look at but he ended up empty-handed.

    He started wandering around the place in circles.

    He was in a sect of immortals!

    He couldn’t stop thinking about this and looked at everything incredulously. He couldn’t stop the sheer awe he was feeling.

    However, at the same time, inside a tall rocky mountain covered in vegetation, with a gate-like structure jutting out the right side of it, was a meeting of the sect’s stewards. These stewards were like administrators and managers of the sect. They didn’t make the big decisions but merely handled small matters like Xing Yi’s case with his Heaven Chosen Medallion.

    The hall wasn’t grand nor luxurious like the Guest Hall, but traditional and had an ancient feeling. There was no decoration. The floors, walls, ceilings were all made out of a grey stone, square and rectangular pieces fitting together to form it.

    At a long wooden table in the centre of the room were thirty men of varying ages. They wore all wore purple robes, the official colour of the Bloody Path Sect. Standing at attention at the front of the meeting table was Mo Zhi.

    “This is the real thing. Without a shred of doubt,” The head steward, Li Guoji, nodded his head in confirmation as he held the medallion in hand.

    “Well, are we just going to let him in the sect?” Another Steward asked.

    “Yes. We will. Our sect still honours and upholds the Heaven Chosen Medallion even if someone hasn’t done so in the last several hundred years. Are there any objections?”

    Silence descended upon the group until one particularly fat man asked curiously, “Have we confirmed if the mortal boy has spiritual roots or not? Because didn’t he say that he wasn’t part of a clan? Wouldn’t his chances of having spiritual roots be extremely low?”

    Li Guoji realised how he had almost overlooked something and asked Mo Zhi, “Mo Zhi, can you bring over the mortal boy to see if he has any spiritual roots?”

    “Yes, head steward,” Mo Zhi respectfully bowed before immediately leaving in a ray of blue light into the distance.

    In the meantime, Li Guoji distracted himself and the others by talking about other matters.

    An hour later, Xing Yi arrived alongside Mo Zhi.

    The pair walked up to front end of the table. Xing Yi received many looks from the immortals at the table. He felt a suffocating pressure as their gazes simultaneously landed on him.

    “Xing Yi, come over,” Li Guoji goaded Xing Yi over with a friendly voice.

    Xing Yi who had just arrived here, quickly complied. He had just been meditating when Mo Zhi had walked inside and told him that they needed to go somewhere. They flew for half an hour and that’s how he ended inside this large hall that was placed at the top of a tall and rocky mountain.

    He had no clue how they managed to carve out such a place like this.

    Xing Yi walked over to Li Guoji.

    “Give me your hand,” He asked.

    Xing Yi extended his hand, and the middle-aged man retrieved his forearm with a tight grip. Li Guoji closed his eyes and focused inwards. Seconds passed and that’s when Xing Yi felt an ice-cold liquid seemingly pouring into his body. Xing Yi froze up.

    However, Li Guoji quickly left go and the feeling disappeared.

    Li Guoji shook his head and said, “He has no spiritual roots.”

    What?

    Xing Yi didn’t know what was going on but when he heard that he didn’t have what the man had called ‘spiritual roots’, it didn’t seem good for him.

    “Then kick him out. We don’t want a mortal in our sect,” A skinny old man with bony fingers immediately demanded.

    “No! Give me a moment,” Li Guoji snapped back.

    The skinny man exhaled out of his nose aggressively and crossed his arms.

    Li Guoji said, “He should still be able to cultivate externally, no?”

    However, the skinny old man interjected in opposition.

    “This is a sect of internal cultivation. True cultivators. Not fake ones!” The skinny oldman frowned.

    “Quiet! I will not have you speaking like this in my meeting!” Li Guoji shouted.

    The old man harrumphed.

    Silence briefly descended onto them, allowing Li Guoji to regain his calm. It gave him time to think.

    Li Guoji stroked his beard as he finally came to a decision after a few moments, “Ok, how about this? You can either live a life of comfort as a noble down in Rising Dragon City. One of my great nephews is the head of the house and will treat you quite well. Or you can join the sect only as an unofficial disciple. You will not receive any benefits from the sect, but you can still operate within it and can access it’s facilities. Choose wisely…”

    “Umm…” Xing Yi wondered as he stared up towards the ceiling.

    Temptation arose within his heart as he thought about living a life of comfort as a noble. But with where he was now, the temptation was not strong enough and it was very easy for him to choose.

    Still, even with how easy it was for him to choose, he had a feeling of uncertainty in his heart as it started beating faster and faster.

    Even as what he called an ‘unofficial disciple’, he felt that the benefit of being any sort of disciple would be far better than just being part of a noble family.

    “I want to join the sect. Even if I have to be an unofficial disciple,” Xing Yi decided.

    “Ok, we have come to a decision,” LI Guoji clasped his hands together.

    However, out the corner of his eye, Li Guoji could see the old man with a bitter expression on his face.

    He eyed Xing Yi with a deadly look in his eyes.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2022
  11. CmirDarthanna

    CmirDarthanna Well worn.

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    Ha! Like he's actually an immortal. Looks like the dipshits forgot where he came from and how the sects came to be in the first place.
     
  12. Threadmarks: Chapter 9 - Entering The Sect
    bandicoot879

    bandicoot879 Getting sticky.

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    Chapter 9 – Entering The Sect
    It was only after leaving the hall did it hit him.

    He was unable to cultivate.

    What was even external and internal cultivation? What was the difference between them? But he knew that whatever it turned out to be, he wouldn’t be able to become an immortal.

    As Xing Yi jumped back onto the flying sword with Mo Zhi, he experienced despair.

    He stared into the many valleys and mountains down below with a lost feeling.

    All anxiety had seemingly faded away against the sudden revelation and he casually asked Mo Zhi, “What does it mean if you don’t have spiritual roots?”

    Mo Zhi didn’t even turn around as he replied, “It means you are unable to absorb the world’s qi. All attempts in gathering it will end in its immediate dissipation.”

    There was a gap of silence, the only sound being the whistling wind that was blowing their clothes everywhere in a frenzy.

    “Didn’t the Head Steward back there say that I could cultivate externally. What’s that?” Xing Yi asked with a defeated voice. His eyes were dead, not even a single light shining within them.

    “External cultivation is that of not the world’s qi, but of one’s own life energy. Anyone can do it, even without spiritual roots. But it is several times more perilous and dangerous. One must risk their own life to become stronger and the amount of talent required to progress is absurd,” Mo Zhi explained with a sad tone, lamenting Xing Yi’s situation with empathy.

    External cultivation? Really?

    With the explanation that Mo Zhi gave, he felt it was just useless to even try.

    That’s when a depressing thought creeped into his mind.

    If only I had been born with spiritual roots.

    Xing Yi’s eyes started to tear. He was-

    He was never going to become an immortal. It was just useless. Everything.

    Xing Yi chuckled to himself.

    What use was his meditating going to be if he wasn’t going to become an immortal? All that dedication and pain for nothing. He almost got ahead of himself there. Who did he think he was trying to become an immortal?

    Tears fell down his cheeks.

    His hands quivered. He gripped them tightly, desperately trying to keep himself together.

    Mo Zhi stayed quiet, as if he was oblivious to Xing Yi.

    Their trip continued for about twenty minutes until they finally landed, and Xing Yi hastily swept all the tears off his face. He walked with his head down, looking at the ground the whole time as he walked alongside Mo Zhi.

    They walked inside a hall with stone-tiled flooring. Walking inside, he lifted up his head and saw several other immortals in this place. There were wooden benches lining the wall and on them were immortals in seated-lotus position.

    They were meditating.

    Just then, an elderly man walked out of a door at the back of a hall with a stack of paperwork and walked up to a female immortal. He handed the paperwork with a respectful bow and walked away. The lady gave a smile and cordially walked out of the hall.

    The elderly man noticed them and walked over. He was balding and had a large, crooked nose.

    “What brings you Martial Brother Mo Zhi?” The elderly balding man asked.

    “I just want to register this boy here Xing Yi as an unofficial disciple and get his things in order,” Mo Zhi replied.

    The elderly balding man looked at Xing Yi for a moment before replying eagerly, “Of course. Right Away!”

    He scurried ahead and brought out a few documents and jade scrolls.

    Mo Zhi brought him to the desk.

    “Ok, I need you to sign your name for me on a couple documents and you should ready,” The bald elderly man smiled, revealing all his teeth.

    Xing Yi pursed his lips as he hesitated whether to say it or not, “Sorry, but I don’t know how to write. Or read.”

    The bald elderly man turned his head slightly, surprised that he heard what he had heard.

    “Well then, I will write it for you,” The bald elderly replied with a smile but with an obviously irritated and annoyed voice.

    Xing flinched at this, the elderly man’s harsh tone seeming to stab into him.

    With dexterous movements of his hands and focus, he signed over the many documents in rapid succession until he was finished. Then, after scavenging inside a cupboard behind the desk, he found a grey ring.

    With a flash of blue light, three pairs of silk purple robes appeared. Along with it were several paper scrolls, a small blue ring, and a patterned jade seal with red jade in the middle of it.

    “Now here’s your official sect clothing, a basic storage ring, and your official sect seal. Make special care to never lose your jade seal and keep it on you at all times as it is what verifies your identity and allows you to access everything in the sect. If you do not have it on you, you will be unable to access the library, training grounds or any facility,” The bald elderly man explained.

    “Martial Brother Lan, you do not need to give him a storage ring,” Mo Zhi said.

    The bald elderly man surnamed Lan raised an eyebrow and asked, “Why?”

    “He has no spiritual roots and thus has no use for one,” Mo Zhi replied.

    The elderly man surnamed Lan was stupefied.

    “Is this a joke? Who is allowing someone without spiritual roots into the sect?” Senior Lan looked down on Xing Yi as if he was a disgusting insect.

    Without losing his cool or his serious façade he replied, “He presented a Heaven Chosen Medallion. That is why he is being allowed to enter the sect even without spiritual roots.”

    Senior Lan grew angry and rebuked, “Really! How stupid and senile have the stewards have become that they have actually allowed a mere mortal into the damn sect! Damnit!”

    Senior Lan threw the ring back into the cupboard before immediately shooing them away.

    “Sorry,” Xing Yi apologised with a sigh.

    “It’s not your fault. Stressing over things one can’t control only brings further consequences,” Mo Zhi replied, not disturbed at all.

    Xing Yi was surprised at how differently the two immortals had responded. It seemed that not all immortals were benevolent, kind and patient like Mo Zhi.

    Xing Yi nodded his head before asking, “Where are we going now?”

    “I’m going to figure that out right now,” Mo Zhi replied.

    With the wave of his hand, the pile of scrolls had reappeared in front of him, now floating in front of the air. For a moment, Xing Yi wondered where the scrolls had gone. Neither him nor the immortal had been carrying them.

    He wondered at the immortal’s magic as the latter inspected each scroll and it’s writing. Quickly, Mo Zhi found the one he was looking for and on it was a map with description. He put everything else away and the pair jumped onto his sword and flew into the sky.

    As they flew, Xing Yi didn’t look around and kept thinking about the fact he didn’t have spiritual roots. He touched his robes and stared at his torso with a sad face.

    After thirty minutes, they arrived on top a small verdant green mountain rich with vegetation.

    In front of them was a long wooden house covered in overgrown grass. It was well-built and structured and showed no sign of decay. However, due to a lack of maintenance it had become derelict.

    With droopy eyelids, Xing Yi looked to Mo Zhi for answers.

    “This is where you will be living from now on. As an unofficial disciple, you aren’t entitled to live in the sect’s outer court accommodation. This was once the servant’s hall of a sect elder. But he is long dead now and this place is now used as housing for all unofficial disciples. There are no other unofficial disciples at the moment, so you are all by yourself,” Mo Zhi explained as he recalled the information he read inside the scroll.

    Xing Yi walked inside the house along with Mo Zhi and took a look around.

    There was a long hallway corridor cutting straight through the building, with rooms and closets on each side at regular intervals. There were 12 bedrooms in total and one large, combined kitchen and living room at the end.

    It was very spacious.

    Xing Yi walked in on him looking around in one of the tidier rooms.

    He interrupted him, “Before I leave, I must give you these.”

    He plopped down his clothes, Xing Yi’s official sect seal and several small books of varying colour.

    “As Senior Lan said earlier, do not lose your seal and have it on you at all times. Keep great care of your clothes as any one of these robes would be worthy of being worn by a prince. Lastly, with regards to your lack of ability to read and write, I’d recommend you go to the sect’s Servant Hall. One of my Uncle Master’s great, great niece is a servant there and as long as you send word of me, I’m sure she would be glad to help you,” Mo Zhi explained, leaning against the back of the wall.

    Mo Zhi’s beautiful blue eyes twinkled as they looked upon Xing Yi.

    Hearing Mo Zhi’s words, Xing Yi felt very grateful towards the immortal.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2022
  13. Threadmarks: Chapter 10 - Beginnings
    bandicoot879

    bandicoot879 Getting sticky.

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    Chapter 10 – Beginnings

    In a lush green valley in between a group of mountains, on a dirt road, walked a tan boy with short black hair and wearing silk purple robes.

    This was Xing Yi.

    Walking along the dirt path, he arrived in front of a tall gate along a long and towering stone wall. The wooden gates were left wide open. What was remarkable about them was the incredible craftmanship and detail of the wood. A cursive pattern reminiscent of the ocean waves was inscribed upon it.

    Walking inside, he saw many several buildings within the facility.

    He walked upon the brick path and further within. That’s when he saw a figure walking on the path he was in the distance. It seemed to be a man. They walked in his direction until they finally met paths and the man stopped him.

    “Immortal, is there anything you require of this servant?” The brown-robed man, obviously several years older than him, bowed to him with his hands cupped.

    Xing Yi was very taken aback by this and swiftly lowered the man’s hands back down.

    “There is no need for you to bow down to me. I am much younger than you. Why did you bow to me in the first place?” Xing Yi replied.

    “You are an immortal, while I am a mere mortal with no spiritual roots. Such is the hierarchy of the Bloody Path Sect. Is senior immortal a new disciple of the sect?” The brown-robed man responded.

    “No, no. I am…”

    Xing Yi thought, ‘What if?’ as he delegated his next words.

    He internally sighed before continuing, “I am just an unofficial disciple. I do not even have any spiritual roots. I got into this sect through pure luck alone and do not deserve this kind of treatment from you or anyone.”

    It pained Xing Yi to say these words as he expected the servant to make a full one-eighty in how he treated him. He didn’t like how it made him feel. It only made him feel even worse for not having spiritual roots.

    Instead, the brown-robed man seemed to be intrigued.

    “No spiritual roots and you still managed to join the sect as a disciple? How did that happen? And may I ask what your name is” The brown robed man asked, his thick black eyebrows furrowing.

    Not wanting to elaborate, he replied, “No, it’s fine. It’s a long story. My name is Wu Xing Yi by the name. Anyways, I was sent by an Immortal by the names of Mo Zhi. Do you know him? He sent me here so I could learn to read and write from one of his Uncle Master’s great, great nieces. I don’t know of her name but if you could help me out, I would appreciate it.”

    The brown-robed man immediately recognised who he was talking about.

    “You must mean Li Yuwan! She is the great, great niece of a Sect Elder. He dotes on her very much and gives her many gifts that would be worth enough to bankrupt entire establishments if they lost the equivalent amount of money.Mo Zhi is the one who visits to give her all of these gifts so I have seen and even talked to him before,” the brown-robed man realised, “Li Yuwan is the teacher of all the children of the servants and actually teaches my son. As I am speaking, she is teaching them right now so you could start today if you really wanted.”

    “Really?” Xing Yi asked.

    “Yes, come along and I’ll show you where they are right now,” the brown-robed man replied.

    The pair walked together, passing by a few buildings until they came to a particular building.

    It looked like a school. It had long long windows wherein large spacious rooms with chairs and wooden desks could be seen. It was only until his journey to the Bloody Path Sect, did he actually see what a school building looked like.

    Only one room seemed to be in use, evident as Xing Yi could see the heads of a few children through a window.

    “Why is there only one class here? Where’s everyone else?” Xing Yi asked, his curiosity piqued.

    “At one point of time, each and every class would be full of children but times have changed as with all things. This sect used to be a hegemon of the world of cultivation. But we have fallen quite a bit and so the population of the entire sect has considerably reduced.

    They walked inside, down the long corridor and walked inside the classroom, where an incredibly beautiful woman had been teaching.

    With fair skin, ample cleavage, and a curvy, full hourglass figure that could be seen her skirt and robes, she was a true beauty. As she taught the class, her eyes and black hair seemed to just shine.

    Xing Yi could see why her great, great uncle, even as a sect elder, doted on her so much.

    This lady was the most beautiful woman he had seen in his life. The brown-robed man and opted to glance at the children before him. He was a married man after all.

    “Hello!” Li Yuwan greeted them when she noticed them.

    Momentarily pausing her lesson, she walked over to the pair and asked the brown-robed man, “Zhu Fang, who is this child?”

    Fang Zhu, the brown robed man, gestured to Xing Yi with his hand.

    “This here is Wu Xing Yi. He’s an unofficial disciple and is looking to learn to read and write from you,” Fang Zhu said.

    “Really? I would be very lucky to teach another adorable little face in my classroom!” Li Yuwan smiled eagerly.

    Her smile was so rich with beauty that it was equivalent to looking at the sun.

    “Yes, I do.” Xing Yi said.

    “That’s great!” She clapped her hands together, “We only just started, you can join right away.”

    Xing Yi walked inside the classroom and found a seat. Li Yuwan came back over with several scrolls and a book in hand.

    “These scrolls and this book cover all you need to learn and write. We have lessons five days a week for 2 hours at a time from 12’o clock. I’m confident within a year that you will be completely fluent in reading and writing, and in even less time if you do homework!” Li Yuwan said before returning to the front to teach the class.

    The brown-robed man left, and he was all by himself, in a classroom filled with children he didn’t know. They were all around his age, but it felt a bit strange since they had different paths in life.

    They were destined to be servants while he was destined to be…

    No, he was getting too far ahead of himself there.

    Class resumed and they began learning how to write and read the characters for many different concepts and verbs. Xing Yi didn’t know how to write, but he began learning the strokes as he wrote down the characters they learned in class.

    A few of the children in his class would give him looks every so often, obviously curious and interested in the new student. After about two hours, class finished up and Xing Yi, along with the rest of the students, received homework to complete.

    It was when Xing Yi left the building, he was intercepted by a young girl with her hair wrapped up in a pin at the top of her head. She was a little chubby, but she had a cute face and adorable eyes.

    “Hey, you’re the new kid, right?” She asked.

    “Yeah,” Xing Yi replied, not sure where this was going to go.

    “Let’s be friends! My name is Min Ya Jing. What’s yours?” She asked with a cheerful voice as she held her books and scrolls to her chest with both hands.

    “Uhh…” Xing Yi delegated for a moment before replying, “My name is Wu Xing Yi. We can be friends if you want.”

    “Yay!” She cheered before quickly scurrying away, much to Xing Yi’s dismay.

    Xing Yi continued on his way and left the facility and back where he came. It took him a whole hour to get back to his place as he had to traverse over multiple steep mountains and because of the sheer distance.

    When he arrived home, he walked into the incredibly spacious living room which he now had all to himself and laid all his homework on the table. It almost felt like a large family was supposed to be living here.

    He felt lonely.

    He thought that such a large space would’ve made him happier. Back home he barely had any space to himself and would often wake up in the middle of the night with one of his older brothers foot in his face. It was annoying but they were family and he loved them.

    He missed them. He really did.

    All this space did to him was remind him of how lonely he was. Xing Yi delayed doing his homework to really think about the position he was in.

    He was in a sect of immortals, as an unofficial disciple. Although he had no spiritual roots, he could apparently cultivate externally. Whatever that was, he would give it a try. But his hopes weren’t particularly high.

    Regardless, he had the opportunity worth the karma of a lifetime, and he wasn’t going to let it slip. Immortal or not, Xing Yi would give it a try.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2022
  14. Threadmarks: Chapter 11 - Cultivators
    bandicoot879

    bandicoot879 Getting sticky.

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    Chapter 11 – Cultivators
    It was early in the morning, the sun soaking the land in a warm orange hue. It had rained last night and fresh dewdrops formed on the top of the grass. High up in the sky, disciples of the Bloody Path Sect could be seen casually flying along on their swords.

    However, down on the ground, climbing up a steep mountain path was Xing Yi.

    It was after much arduous walking and sweating that he finally reached the top and come upon a stone-tiled path which led into a small stone pagoda. Depicted on the wall, was a dragon. It stretched around the entire building, with it’s tail on one side of the door and its head on the other.

    Xing Yi recalled the conversation he had with his teacher, Li Yuwan, about the Bloody Path Sect and had learned that there were wonders called transportation formations, scattered throughout the sect that allowed its sects disciples to move around freely. But that was only if you were at Vessel Cleansing. If you were foundation establishment and above, you had to pay a small fee to use it.

    It had been three days since he had officially become an unofficial disciple of the sect and he had gone to two of Li Yuwan’s lessons. But now it was the weekend so there were no lessons on. In the meantime, he had decided to just move in with the servants until he completely became confident in his reading and writing skills. It was only then that he would move back into his small hut at the far reaches of the sect. No one was watching him anyway, so it didn’t matter where he lived.

    Luckily, they were generous enough to give him a room and even offered to make his meals for him, so he didn’t have to go to the Mess Hall to get his food. He hadn’t been there as of yet but knew it would’ve been a hassle as the distance from his hut to the mess hall was a whole hour away, according to his teacher Li Yuwan. She was a really helpful person.

    As for the words, Vessel Cleansing and Foundation Establishment, these were terms he had learned were used to differentiate the cultivation level of a cultivator. In The Bloody Path Sect, and perhaps the entire world of cultivation, they referred to themselves as cultivators and not immortals.

    This caused quite a shock to Xing Yi. They weren’t immortal?

    But it quickly made sense. If there were entire sects of immortals just floating about, the heavens would’ve already been upheaved. They were people that cultivated the qi of the world, which they used to advance their own strength. Not all immortals- or cultivators he should say, were the same. Some were stronger than others.

    However, in his case, since he was just a mortal, it was customary to call them immortals. But the thing was that he was an unofficial disciple, and it was really confusing. But Xing Yi decided to stick with calling them immortals as he didn’t want to risk offending any of them. A single misstep could possibly end with his little life being extinguished.

    He walked inside the scantily lit room, the door left wide open and slightly jumped back in fright when he heard a voice.

    “Who are you?” A quiet, monotone voice asked from the other side of the room.

    He squinted his eyes as they adjusted to the darkness of the room and saw a purple-robed disciple sitting with his back against the wall in seated lotus position. Strangely, he had his long black hair draped over his shoulder and into his lap.

    “My name is Xing Yi,” Xing Yi replied.

    It was silent for a couple seconds before the immortal dryly responded, “Show me your jade seal and where you are heading.”

    “Umm…” Xing Yi awkwardly fumbled around the leather bag he had around his waist until he found a jade seal.

    He held it out in front of him and said, “Here.”

    “And where are you heading?” The cultivator replied with slight annoyance.

    “Oh, the arena,” Xing Yi replied, stumbling on his words yet again.

    For a moment, he was worried the cultivator would reject his request and he would be kicked out, but it was the opposite.

    “Ok, get in the circle,” The cultivator replied right before erupting into a large yawn.

    Xing Yi walked forward inside the dark blue circle that was outlined on the ground. But it wasn’t just a normal circle. The circle was made up of several dozen intertwining cryptic lines in geometric patterns. At the head of the circle was a small indent in the ground. In it was a small, luminescent blue stone.

    “Ok, now stand exactly right there and don’t move or you will hurt yourself,” The cultivator warned in his now familiar tired and sluggish voice.

    Xing Yi stood there as straight a stick diligently, not daring to make even a single movement. He even held his breath.

    After a few seconds, without a single movement from the cultivator, the circle and gem indented in the ground lit up in a blinding light that blinded his vision and hurt his eyes. He swiftly shielded his hands from the light.

    So suddenly, that Xing Yi couldn’t even comprehend the time interval through which it took place, Xing Yi had teleported. The light had completely disappeared and he found himself in the exact same building.

    However, the one key difference that allowed Xing Yi to know that he was in a different place was that the lazy-eyed cultivator had now been replaced with a generic looking young man with short black hair.

    The cultivator opened his eyes briefly and gazed upon Xing Yi.

    Along with the man’s gaze, a chill rushed over his body that caused his muscles to grow weak. He almost toppled over in that instance.

    The cultivator seemed to take note of this and apologised, “My apologies. I didn’t expect you to be a Junior with no cultivation base. I hope this senior’s spiritual sense didn’t harm you too much.”

    “Thank you,” Xing Yi bowed, grateful that the cultivator had apologised. This immortal’s spiritual sense was terrifying. But he couldn’t help but feel awe and jealousy for the immortal’s ability at the same time. He wanted spiritual roots too. If only he had them, he could use ‘spiritual sense’. Thinking about this, he became even more depressed about the topic and quickly forgot about it as he didn’t want to make himself feel any sadder than he already was.

    In addition, it seemed that the cultivator was oblivious to the fact he had no spiritual roots. He had no idea what spiritual sense was, but he guessed that they needed to touch him to know if he had spiritual roots or not as that was the case with the Head Steward.

    Exiting the stone pagoda, Xing Yi opened up to an incredibly large area that had been paved with stone tiles. Sitting and standing on the ground, and even flying in the air, cultivators watched people fight upon elevated stages.

    There were three arenas in total and at that moment only one fight was going on.

    It was between a red-armoured burly man and a young, curvy woman with vibrant blue hair and blue eyes. The woman formed multiple icicles from thin air, which would then propel forward to the burly man at eye-blinding speeds.

    The burly man fought off her attacks with a metal staff, swinging and breaking an icicle with each swing. He broke multiple every second, his swings forming blurs and whistling against the wind.

    As the burly man fought off her relentless attacks, he attempted to walk closer and closer to her. But it was to no avail. The woman was too nimble and as he reached her, she slipped around him and ran to the other side of the arena, forcing the burly man to close the distance again.

    It was hopeless for him, but it wasn’t as if he was losing. The latter was just too slippery.

    It was at that moment he jumped off stage. Everyone was surprised, including his opponent.

    “I can’t defeat you. Any attempts at victory would unfortunately reveal some of my hidden tricks which I do not want to reveal in front of this large crowd. I offer a draw. Is this acceptable to Martial Sister?” The burly man said.

    The woman looked at the burly man for a few seconds until she harrumphed and left the stage in anger. “Whatever!”

    As she left, a few other disciples happened to be in the way and they hastily made way for her as they didn’t wish to incite her ire themselves. Xing Yi watched all of this with a face of awe, in disbelief of the skills the immortals had used.

    They could move and attack like that? That woman could literally summon icicles. And that guy could easily block those icicles when he could barely see their afterimages. They were both monsters in his eyes.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2022
  15. Amaan123

    Amaan123 Getting sticky.

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    Very interesting so far, it says inspired from Renegade immortal which is one my favorite all fics.
     
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  16. Threadmarks: Chapter 12 - Librarians and Books
    bandicoot879

    bandicoot879 Getting sticky.

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    Chapter 12 – Librarians and Books
    “You’re that mortal kid, right? Xing Yi?” The librarian asked. His arms were behind his head, and he had a curious expression on his face.

    Xing Yi, slightly surprised, replied, “Yes I am, Senior Immortal.”

    The librarian’s expression turned dark, and he replied, “Do not call me Senior Immortal. I am not immortal you fool. Just ‘Senior Bai’ is fine.”

    His heart skipping a beat, Xing Yi bowed and said, “Yes, this junior will.”

    The librarian harrumphed. “It’s truly disappointing. There was no use in allowing you into the sect. But because of that medallion…”

    Senior Bai continued, “In any case, you’re here to stay. Now, what are you looking for?”

    Xing Yi felt extremely awkward when he heard Senior Bai’s displeasure. But he did make sense, why did the Head Steward even allow him into the sect? It didn’t make any sense.

    “I’m here to borrow books on external cultivation, Senior Bai,” Xing Yi answered.

    Senior Bai replied, “I expected that to be the case.”

    Around them was an entire library. There were many shelves, and the ceiling was very tall. Xing Yi had never set foot into a library until this day. The ceiling was also incredibly beautiful. Made out of marble, jade and gold, it created elaborate patterns of mythical creatures.

    They were directly in the middle of the library, the librarian’s desk being the centre point of it all. The four main paths of the library were in the four cardinal directions, and they all intercepted here.

    Suddenly, two books came flying through the air from the right. They flew as swiftly as arrows until they landed upon the librarian’s desk. The librarian flipped through both of them and then gave an approving nod of his head.

    Xing Yi wasn’t growing numb to the magical wonder of cultivators. Flying books? He didn’t feel that was anything out of the ordinary anymore. But was he still impressed?

    Very much so. His envy for spiritual roots only further grew as he laid his eyes on the librarian’s telekinetic powers.

    “In the library, we only have half a bookshelf dedicated to external cultivation. And these two books,” Senior Bai gestured to the two books he had in hand, “Are not to be taken light of.”

    One was vermillion, the other was a dark blue.

    “This one,” The librarian gestured to the vermillion book, “Is a comprehensive guide to external cultivation. The author is unknown, but the material is quality and doesn’t have any holes in it. You’ll be needing to refer to this
    constantly.”

    “And as for this one,” He gestured to the dark blue book, “It is actually the cultivation diary of a high-level external cultivator. He didn’t write it in anticipation of it being released to the public. Everything here is completely raw
    and honest. To an external cultivator such as yourself, this is priceless.”

    He tossed them onto the desk in front of him and stroked the small stubble on his chin.

    “Now, off with you. All words that have need to have be said, have been said. Your mortal existence is not a pleasant sight to see,” Senior Bai eyed Xing Yi with an annoyed voice.

    Xing Yi couldn’t help but smile and hastily grab the books, placing them inside the leather bag tied to his waist. He turned around and walked out of the library, past its many mighty, colossus bookshelves and distant ceilings.

    As he walked through the door and down the steps, he spotted another disciple walking towards the library in front of him. Right as Xing Yi’s gaze landed upon him, the latter perked up and stabbed daggers into him with just
    a look.

    Xing Yi’s entire body shook in fear as he immediately averted his gaze and scurried away from the building. When he looked back, he saw that the disciple was gone and had gone inside. Xing Yi sighed.

    Even the disciples with the weakest cultivation could spook him like a rabbit using their spiritual sense. Li Yuwan had told him to not look at anyone and to stay as far away from trouble, but he still ended up inciting
    someone’s attention.


    It was the day after Xing Yi had ventured out to the arena to witness cultivators sling their magical spells and spill their own blood, and he decided to travel to the library to learn how to cultivate externally. It was the only place
    he could go to as in the sect as one would either have to learn from a class teacher or their master.

    Most learned from a teacher that managed a small class of ten to fifteen, whereas a small minority learned one-on-one from their own master. And as for him, he didn’t even have the ability to learn from a class teacher. He
    was all on his own and thus had to get it from the library himself.

    It was the worst way to learn and a massive handicap.

    Although Xing Yi couldn’t read yet, the boy struck up a deal with Li Yuwan to read out and explain the books he borrowed. And in exchange all she wanted was his gratitude and favour.

    Xing Yi thought that to be an unfair trade but he didn’t think much about it and just went with it.

    If his gratitude and favour is what she wanted, he would give it to her.

    He travelled back to the teleportation pagoda, greeted the disciple there and showed them his jade seal. Within the next moment, he was displaced and inside a completely different one. The man in residence of this
    teleportation pagoda was a familiar face. It was the long-haired disciple that had bags under his eyes and a slumped position against the back of the wall.

    He elicited a slight grunt upon Xing Yi’s arrival and didn’t bother to say anything else, presumably to continue on with his cultivation.

    Xing Yi bowed to him to pay his respects and then travelled back to the Servant Hall.

    It was a short walk, traversed upon warm, compact dirt and grey pebbles.

    It continued to amaze him how beautiful the sect was. Everything was rich with life and wouldn’t stop shining with magnificence. It was like a completely different world compared to the one he had been living in his tiny
    village that was in the middle of nowhere.

    In his journey to the sect, he had been to so many places and met so many people that he knew how small of a place he had lived in.

    If history had went the way it was supposed to, he would’ve been a farmer, married a women, gave birth to children and then lived until disease took him. That possibility gave him a profound feeling that caused fear to
    whiplash around in his stomach, stopping him in his tracks for a short time.

    This was a large place. Much too big for a mortal boy like him. He didn’t fit in at all.

    He breathed in as he took in the green colours of nature and gazed at the two books in hand.

    This wasn’t going to be easy at all.

    It was something very obvious that if he were to point it out, they would call him stupid or idiotic. He was sure that if any other people were to know his situation, they would be jealous without no ends. But he felt that it was
    critical that he knew what he was taking on.

    It was at this time that he experienced that same battle of hope and dread. It stormed within the very tomb of his stomach, sending him up and down mentally as he stepped up the steep mountain side which lead to the
    Servant Hall.

    He focused.

    The outside world had been his calling.

    And cultivation was his challenge.

    Understandings of the universe locked into place as he realised the significance.

    It was going to be hard.

    From his conversation with Li Yuwan, external cultivation was akin to pushing a boulder up a mountain. It was more brutal and treacherous than internal cultivation by tenfold. It almost made it seem glorious to Xing Yi. He
    was going to embark on a path even more difficult than internal cultivation!

    He knew it wasn’t something to be smiling about but he couldn’t help feeling cheery and excited for what was in store for him. He was like a deer walking right into a bear’s cave.

    He made the final steps and walked inside the complex and met up with Li Yuwan.

    She began reading to him the vermillion book, which was the guide to external cultivation.

    It was titled, ‘Cleansing the Twelve Principal Meridians’.

    Li Yuwan’s words flowed smoothly against his ears as she explained to him and read the book out loud to him. He paid attention and took notes with her help.

    He learned much and absorbed its knowledge like a cloth being dropped into water.

    Author's Note: Have been sick with a superflu these past few days. Was having shivers, terrible headaches and couldn't get much sleep. Couldn't get much writing done during that time...
     
  17. Threadmarks: Chapter 13 - Life
    bandicoot879

    bandicoot879 Getting sticky.

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    Chapter 13 – Life

    Xing Yi found out that internal cultivation was very simple.

    Breathing in and out in a slow and steady rhythm, his chest heaved and fell. He imagined that as he breathed in, a wave of water rose up along the back of his spine until it reached and paused at the top of his skull.

    He would briefly pause before he let the water break and fall along the front of his spine. He intensely focused on himself, quietly ignoring the sound of the wind and birds in the distance. Soon, he felt as if the water inside
    him was real. As if he could feel it.

    It was utter silence in his tiny world. He could see or hear nothing. It was nothing but his breath and the imaginary water inside of him. With prior practice under his belt from his carriage journey, he didn’t find his thoughts
    wandering and he stayed at his centre.

    He repeated this process again and again, mirroring a constantly receding and approaching tide of the sea. After what felt like eternity, a voice came from nearby.

    “Time’s up!” A cute, young voice shouted.

    Xing Yi opened his eyes after his six-hour meditation session and stayed completely still as his eyes adjusted to the world. The influx of light and sensation brought beauty to all that came within sight. His mind had a difficult
    time identifying his environment as everything seemed to be just a mesh of beautiful colours. It was slightly blurry too.

    It took a minute for the colours to meld together and for his vision to return to normal.

    He stood up and noticed a cute girl swinging on the edge of a chair.

    This was Min Ya Jing. She was also twelve years old-the same age as Xing Yi.

    She had been the cute, but also strange girl he had met after his first class with Li Yuwan.

    After that, she began randomly striking up conversations and hanging out with him. When they were eating food, when he was in class, when he was reading, and-like now -when he was meditating.

    “How can you meditate for six hours? That’s so long,” Ya Jing commented, her hand holding up her head as she looked at Xing Yi.

    “It’s not really that impressive,” Xing Yi awkwardly laughed.

    “No. It is,” Ya Jing insisted.

    “No, it’s really not,” Xing Yi rebuked as he walked past where she sat and into the house.

    Xing Yi lived in the same house as Ya Jing’s family. Not because he chose to.

    The Servant Hall Master refused to let him live by himself as that would mean he would have to do chores for himself. And he said that was unacceptable as their role as the Servant Hall. So he had him live in with a servant
    family. However, Ya Jing then volunteered on behalf of her parents to take him in.

    With that, his lodgings were settled. As for his food, he ate with Ya Jing’s family.

    Xing Yi still couldn’t believe the amount of food at the family’s disposal.

    They looked like ordinary people, no different than ones you would find in a farming village. But they dined like kings day and night. It wasn’t just because the ingredients were rare and expensive, but because Ya Jing’s
    mother was on another level. It went to show how wealthy the Bloody Path Sect really was. Even their servants ate like this.

    Xing Yi ate much, which in the long run, hopefully add size to his small and stout frame.

    Retreating to his room and escaping Ya Jing, he sat on the floor and began reading a book that wasn’t of the two books he borrowed. It was in fact a book that belonged to Ya Jing’s family. It was a large almanac that
    recorded a long list of birds and their characteristics.

    He wasn’t reading it because he was particularly interested in them, he was only reading it so he could get better at reading. He couldn’t recognise over ninety-five percent of the characters, but of that five percent, he was
    able to fish out key words.

    He continued reading and as he went along, he noticed a few important characters that appeared throughout. He wrote down their appearance and the words they were combined with in a scroll beside him. His handwriting
    skills were crude and once he lifted his hand up from the paper, several messy and janky lines that represented the characters he had read now appeared.

    Xing Yi was disappointed in his own abilities and didn’t like seeing his own handwriting, but Li Yuwan had encouraged him to withstand it and keep writing. He would’ve still continued but this helped ease his displeasure with
    himself.

    He read for three entire hours before he switched from reading to writing. He pulled out another two scrolls from a pile that had formed at the edge of his desk and rolled them out onto the desk.

    With ink in hand, he looked at the characters on the other scroll before re-writing them out in the other. He continued this process for a whole hour, practicing different characters and basic stroke patterns before he heard a
    voice from outside.

    “Dinner!” Ya Jing cheered.

    He looked to the window at his right and noticed that the sun was beginning to set and long shadows were now being drawn across the land and himself.

    “I’m coming!” Xing Yi replied as he packed up his stuff.

    He exited his room, went down the hallways and sat at a large table in a very spacious dining room. Laid before him was an array of food that tickled his nose. Delicacies that would never have appeared in his village were
    now in front of him.

    He gave no apologies to Ya Jing’s parents as he proceeded to devour plate after plate, his body having never tasted such food in its entirety life up until a couple weeks ago.

    Soon, his belly was full and bulging out like a pregnant lady. With that he became lethargic and a desire to fall asleep. Before sitting up to leave, he laid his eyes on Ya Jing’s parents. They were incredibly kind and generous
    people who had given such food to eat.

    Her mother was a saint in his eyes.

    He was grateful as he enjoyed the atmosphere for just a little longer.

    Eventually, he sat up and left to his room.

    His room was very luxurious and adorned with a couple of paintings, had expensive incense lit at a table in the middle of the room and an open window with a beautiful view into the valley. It wasn’t too extravagant, but it was
    homely and quiet. He really liked it here.

    He jumped onto the small, slightly elevated bed and snuck under the blanket. He laid their motionlessly until he fell asleep.

    In the morning, he was awoken by the morning sun’s light shining down upon him.

    He ate breakfast with Ya Jing’s family. He attended Li Yuwan’s two-hour class.

    And when he finished with that, he killed some time by going for a walk outside and into the valley. He went through the transportation pagoda and watched a few fights between some of the other disciples. He went
    unnoticed as he observed from the edge, every other person completely disinterested in him as they already formed their own groups. Sometimes he would stay home and garner himself some extra reading time. It
    depended on his mood.

    He meditated for six hours. Practiced reading for three hours. He wrote for another hour. He had dinner with Ya Jing’s family. Then he fell asleep once more.

    Again and again, he repeated this daily routine.

    He meditated, read and wrote.

    He grew more and more focused in his meditation as he attempted to cleanse his first meridian. He was able to read more and more characters and words every single day. His writing improved, growing neater and uniform.
    Books were beginning to make sense. He could pick sentences and words out of even the complex books he was reading.

    Three months passed…

    In that time, he had now achieved a rudimentary level of fluency. He could now read basic books while knowing nearly all the words. And his writing had now become elegant and refined. Like that of an intelligent scholar.

    And with his newfound ability to read, he could now read both books he had received from the sect library. All by himself.

    He read the external cultivation guidebook and quickly followed it up by reading the blue book, The Insights and Thoughts of Master Lao Qiguang.

    However, upon reaching a certain section, his heart dropped.
     
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  18. Threadmarks: Chapter 14 - Talent
    bandicoot879

    bandicoot879 Getting sticky.

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    Chapter 14 – Talent

    In elegant black ink, Master Lao Qiguang said, ‘A disciple with any kind of future potential for external cultivation will take around two months to cleanse their first meridian. However, not all who pursue the external path can
    achieve success. If it takes one more than six months to cleanse the first meridian, one should stop altogether to save themselves from future grief.’

    Xing Yi paused as he stared at the last word.

    He sighed and he felt dread wash over him.

    It had been three months already. It should be around this time that he cleanses his first meridian, but it still hadn’t happened yet. According to his cultivation manual, opening the first meridian happens instantaneously and
    there are no signs leading up to it. As long as one continues to meditate while imagining that they are circulating their vital energy throughout their conception vessel, then they should be able to cleanse it eventually.

    But Xing Yi’s hopes were being extinguished. What if it took him longer? With every day that passed where he didn’t cleanse his first meridian, his talent would be shown to be increasingly inferior.

    What if he only cleansed his first meridian after six months? What would he do then? Would he just give up?

    Xing Yi didn’t know.

    In his current train of thought, Xing Yi felt greatly saddened at the prospects of having inferior talent, while also having no spiritual roots. It was the worst body to be stuck in.

    Xing Yi couldn’t bare staying still and walked out of the house. After teleporting, he arrived at the library.

    How the cultivators managed to dig out a library upon a cliff face was beyond him. The platform he stood on as he walked out of the teleportation pavilion was like a shelf jutting out the side of the cliff face. If he were to
    approach the edge of the platform, he would be just a few steps from falling to his death.

    Walking through the entrance and inside the library, he walked past several dozens of bookshelves with rows that held a similar number of bookshelves in length. Peeking into these rows, he could see small groups of desks
    with a few disciples looking through light piles of books.

    When he arrived at the centre of the library, the librarian was sitting there with an angry look on his face. When Xing Yi noticed this, he almost wanted to turn around and just leave. But he was worried and knew that the
    librarian would notice. He was only several steps away after all.

    “What do you want mortal?” The librarian asked.

    In the sect, one would call one another ‘Martial Brother’ alongside a title that represented their seniority to that person. Xing Yi on the other hand, wasn’t even included in that group and continued to be called mortal by the
    librarian.

    “Senior Bai, this one hopes to look at books pertaining to the talent required to cultivate externally,” Xing Yi bowed as he asked respectfully.

    After reading much and receiving a few lessons from Li Yuwan and especially Ya Jing’s mother, his etiquette had become impeccable. Now there was no chance of him offending a single person as long as he mad sure to
    remember what they taught him.

    The librarian seemed uninterested and replied, “Row thirteen, bookshelf four on the right and on the bottom shelf. And you can get them yourself.”

    Xing Yi replied again, “Thank you senior. Your words mean much to this one.”

    Senior Bai scoffed at this and waved him away, “If they truly mean that much to you, then go away and look at that book you were asking for. This senior isn’t in a great mood.”

    Xing Yi did so and scurried away. Walking to the right, he saw that each aisle had a sign on the nearest bookshelf. He walked until he reach the aisle that was numbered thirteen. Soon, he found the books he was looking for
    after a precursory look and after some consideration he ended up with four of them at a nearby group of desks. There was no one sitting here and that made Xing Yi relieved.

    Starting with one book, he read through them one by one. They were small books, not even a hundred pages each.

    Xing Yi read through all four of them in one sitting and couldn’t help but have a bleak expression.

    He couldn’t help but feel completely hopeless at what he read.

    In order to make any kind of progress in external cultivation, one must be born with either genius talent or have a special bloodline. Unlike internal cultivation, it was merciless and if one didn’t have talent, then they could be
    considered lucky if they were even able to even cleanse their third meridian in their entire lifetime. Without treasures to advance or speed up one’s cultivation speed, all hopes of advancing the beginning stages of meridian
    cleansing is bleak.

    To make matters worse, to have any hopes of advancing to inner fire, the stage beyond meridian cleansing, the person will still have to be in their early twenties to have any hopes at lighting it. Beyond that point, they will be
    stuck at meridian cleansing for the rest of their lives.

    If he pieced everything together correctly, he had about fifteen years to progress through all twelve layers in order to have any hope of igniting his inner fire. Any further and he would be stuck forever.

    Additionally, each layer was progressively harder to break through than the last and without a teacher, which he did not have, he would certainly encounter problems in his cultivation that would greatly hinder his progress and
    stagnation for extended periods of time.

    It was either you had a special bloodline or genius-level talent.

    If you didn’t have either you just had to give up.

    Had everything he had just done been useless? Was he destined to stay a mortal forever? Was nothing he was going to do work?

    Xing Yi felt like he didn’t deserve to be in the Bloody Path Sect. Like he was out of place and was just an impostor. That if his mortal status were to be publicly announced to the entire sect, he may just dig a hole and bury
    himself inside it.

    After some light reading and conversations with Li Yuwan, not possessing spiritual roots wasn’t uncommon. In fact, it was perfectly normal. People who possessed spiritual roots were a minority. Just not as small as those
    who had the ability and potential to tread the path of external cultivation.

    The only problem he had was that the heavens hadn’t even given him a chance to rebel against it.

    ‘Cultivation is a rebellion’. That was the first line of his cultivation manual and is a famous saying amongst all cultivators. But if one is to rebel then they must be armed with weapons so as to fight?

    And that made him question the heavens. Was cultivation truly a rebellion if they granted spiritual roots and luck to chosen people? Was it all planned by the heavens in the first place?

    If so, did that mean that cultivation was a natural occurrence and wasn’t truly a rebellion in the first place.

    These thoughts greatly confused Xing Yi.

    Putting away the books he borrowed, he exited the library and went back home.

    Time passed and he continued to repeat his daily routine. After another month, Xing Yi’s anxiety skyrocketed, and he couldn’t help but further increase the amount of time he was meditating each day. Instead of meditating six
    hours a day, he was now meditating twelve hours a day. The remaining four hours were left to eating and light reading so that he could reference his cultivation manual for guidance.

    Another month passed by in the blink of an eye and Xing Yi’s worrying became endless. Day and night, it became the only thing he though about it. The brutal truth hung over his head threateningly, waiting for him to accept
    it.

    That he didn’t have the talent.

    Come on, just break through already.

    He begged the universe, the gods, the heavens, fate, luck, destiny, whatever that was out there that his talent wouldn’t be revealed to be any more inferior than it already was.

    In fact, at this point in time, he was technically already at the six-month mark as he had doubled his meditation time in the last month after four months.

    However, Xing Yi refused to accept it and continued forward with his cultivation.

    One more month.

    Another month.

    Finally, after another month of this gruelling routine where each day seemed to span into eternity, something happened.

    A breakthrough.
     
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  19. Threadmarks: Chapter 15 - Breakthrough
    bandicoot879

    bandicoot879 Getting sticky.

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    Chapter 15 – Breakthrough
    It was midday when, as Xing Yi was meditating, he felt an abrupt change in his body.

    All at once, warmth surged throughout the front and back of his spine. Every pore on his body simultaneously opened, releasing liquid that elicited a nose-wrenching smell. It was disgusting.

    Xing Yi panicked as he questioned what was happening. However, all his past preparation for this moment quickly brought him back to the task he had at hand.

    He focused inward and realised that this warmth was his vital energy. He couldn’t see it, but he could feel it. And it was very warm. It circulated throughout his meridian like a rushing tide due to the breakthrough he had just
    made. Remembering all the information from the cultivation manual, he grabbed onto the newfound vital energy and consciously circulated it throughout his newly opened meridian.

    His vital energy was like a strange, formless muscle made out of water. He couldn’t feel it but he could sense it’s shape and movement as it continued to rage through his conception meridian. He expected it to take a long time to learn to control, but he found that it wasn’t very difficult.

    Listening to the advice of his cultivation manual, he rode along the tide that had formed in his meridian and goaded it further forward. The impurities that still remained from the initial breakage continued to scatter.

    Yes!

    Xing Yi inwardly celebrated in his head as he circulated his vital energy. Excitement broiled from every cell in his body at his long-awaited breakthrough. It had finally come!

    Soon, all his impurities had been completely dispelled and his robes were completely drenched in black ooze. He smelt absolutely horrible, and he could tell. But he continued on with his cultivation and circulated his vital
    energy to expel the remaining specks of impurities that still remained within his first meridian.

    According to his cultivation manual, impurities were expelled with each cleansing of a meridian. These impurities exist within all mortal creatures and through the process of cultivation, one was able to expel these impurities and become closer to a perfect existence.

    These impurities clogged the meridians, preventing humans and other creatures alike from being too strong as it would cause turmoil and chaos in the world.

    The extraordinary vessels of external cultivators and internal cultivators were very much alike. The only difference being that they carry different energies. In fact, Xing Yi had extraordinary vessels just like immortal cultivators. The only difference being that they had spiritual roots to absorb and control qi.

    Time passed and Xing Yi now found that he could circulate his vital energy with no obstruction, and it flowed smoothly, a sign that he had finally expelled the last of his impurities. Opening his eyes from his meditation, he was greeted by the sight of Ya Jing lying on the courtyard porch with her hands pinching her nose.

    “You smell!” Ya Jing exclaimed.

    Xing Yi sighed as he stood up.

    “I’m going to go wash up,” Xing Yi said as he walked out of the courtyard and inside, making sure to not drip any of the black ooze onto the pristine wooden flooring of the house. Xing Yi walked out of the house and out of the Servant Hall area and down the mountain.

    As Xing Yi washed himself down in a river at the bottom of the valley, he reflected on what happened.

    It had taken him seven months to cleanse his first meridian.

    Now that may be important to the future of his cultivation and is a determining factor of his talent, he wanted to appreciate how far he had come. As he washed himself, dipping up and down again and again in the water, he felt like a changed person.

    He breathed in the air, squinting at the sun rays of the setting sun that gleaned through the thick expanse of trees.

    His mind had been forged through thousands of hours meditation. He did not move. He did not think. He merely breathed in and out, again and again, imagining the circulation of his qi throughout his first meridian.

    And finally, all his efforts had borne fruit.

    A wave of immense gratitude washed over him as a few tears of joy dropped down his cheeks.

    He stayed like this for many moments until he climbed out of the river and redressed himself in his now very damp clothes. They still smelt absolutely horrid, but he would throw these ones out and get a new pair.

    Xing Yi couldn’t help but laugh at the fact that he wasn’t blinking an eye when throwing out robes that cost such a fortune. If his family were to know what he was doing, his mother would keel over in shock and tell him to not be so wasteful.

    But now that he was in a sect of immortals, his perception of value had changed. He lived in essentially a mansion, dined on cuisine every night and read and learned from books that were created and written by immortal masters of legend.

    If he lived like this, he could afford to be a bit wasteful.

    It was at this moment in his hike up the moment is when Xing Yi noticed that he wasn’t breaking a sweat and his rhythm of breathing hadn’t changed at all. His legs brought him up the mountain path with ease, not taking the slightest effort.

    Xing Yi blinked his eyes in surprise as he stopped in his tracks as he inspected his arms and legs. They hadn’t changed at all but now suddenly contained significantly greater power. That was the wonder of cultivation.

    Excited to see how far he could push himself, he sprinted up the mountain for several minutes, not slowing down the slightest. It was only when Xing Yi sprinted that he picked up a slight sweat and that his legs felt the burn. When he finished his hike and arrived at the Servant Hall, he sat down to catch his breath.

    That felt awesome. He sprinted up the mountain at his fastest pace for several minutes and he felt like he could’ve went for at least a few more.

    Was he this fit before?

    Xing Yi had learned from his cultivation manual that with each cleansing of a meridian that his physical prowess would exponentially increase but he didn’t expect it to be this drastic.

    Xing Yi smiled at this.

    He had grown stronger. Much stronger.

    In the world of cultivation, in order to procure resources for one’s cultivation you had to have the necessary power. As one’s power increased, so did their access to resources. This was represented by a person’s cultivation level.

    As of current, he only knew of two internal cultivation levels. That being meridian cleansing and Inner Fire. The former consisted of twelve layers while the latter was divided into the intensity and colour of the flame.

    Beyond that, he had no clue.

    Xing Yi changed into a new pair of robes in his room and sat down to plan his next course of action.

    Now that he had cleansed his first meridian, he had so many more opportunities.

    He was no longer a mere mortal but an internal cultivator. If he so wished, he could venture back down into the mortal world and become a soldier with guaranteed success that he would become distinguished in the battlefield with his strength.

    He could become a bodyguard for a rich noble, paid a fine salary and many benefits. He could become so many things and even more if he continued on with his cultivation, but his heart was set. He was apart of a sect of immortals, and he refused to be content with such meagre achievements in cultivation.

    He refused to be mediocre.

    Something small had alit within him when he embarked on this journey to so-called “immortality.”

    After his breakthrough, fuel had been dropped into the fire and it had now blown up into magnificent proportions. He had proved to himself that he could make progress.

    He pushed through even when he felt that it was hopeless to continue any further.

    He hadn’t told Ya Jing or anyone else but sometimes he would stay up late at night sobbing, thinking about whether or not if he should even continue. That he should just run away from it all and stop the pain.

    Meditating was hard. It had been so difficult. All he did was meditate all day and it was achingly boring sometimes that he just wanted to quit.

    Yes, there had been days where he didn’t get all twelve hours. But overall, he pushed through.

    He pushed through all of it.

    Him of seven months ago would’ve played safe, would’ve gone easy on himself.

    But now, he was strong. He endured the pain and had reaped the gains.

    But there was still one thing at the back of his mind that still hadn’t been properly addressed.

    That being his lack of spiritual roots.

    AN: I got school exams coming up this Monday and Tuesday.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2022
  20. Threadmarks: Chapter 16 - Stagnation
    bandicoot879

    bandicoot879 Getting sticky.

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    Chapter 16 – Stagnation
    Xing Yi felt lost.

    With his breakthrough, he had now become determined to learn external techniques and martial arts. But without any teacher, he didn’t see how he could realistically make any progress.

    Take the sect disciples of the Bloody Path Sect for example. Xing Yi hadn’t been out very often during his past several months of intense meditation, but he wasn’t necessarily living under a rock.

    In the Bloody Path sect, there were three types of disciples. Core, inner and outer. Disciples were affiliated with one of the seven disciplines in the sect. That being the sword, talisman refining, pill refining, treasure refining, the elements, illusion arts, and blood arts.

    Each discipline was assigned an entire mountain to operate under and each had a designated leader called the Hall Master. They were all masters of their discipline at the coveted stage of core formation.

    However, the discipline of the blood arts and sword actually had two core formation masters. This was because these were the largest disciplines in the sect, with the school of the sword having slightly more disciples than the blood arts.

    Now, being an outer court disciple meant one had to stick to a gruelling daily schedule that was set by the sect. If one didn’t do the work set by the sect, they would be immediately kicked out. They all lived in close vicinity to a massive training hall, mess hall, and courtyard at the bottom of their mountain.

    Everyday, they would learn underneath a foundation establishment teacher, spar with each other, undergo intense physical training where they would be pushed to their absolute limits every day.

    Then, they would retreat to their designated housing to meditate for the rest of the afternoon before finally sleeping and repeating it all over again. There was no mercy for disciples who couldn’t keep up with the workload.

    Outer disciples were ranked on a monthly basis to encourage competition and force everyone to give their all or lest they end up near the bottom of the list. It was cruel but it worked.

    One was an outer court disciple if they were vessel cleansing. However, if one managed to bridge the gap between themselves and foundation establishment and make a breakthrough to the next stage, they would become an inner court disciple.

    The only exception being is when a genius appears in the sect. That would cause a storm to stir up in the sect and a competition to ensue between the Hall Masters as everyone would be vying to take them under their wing.

    As an inner court disciple, one learned directly from the core formation master. There was a slight difference in the inner court disciples. One wasn’t truly considered an inner court disciple until they earned their Hall Master’s favour and became their official disciple.

    The disciple usually needed to do something to impress the Hall Master before they were accepted as a disciple.

    Fortunately, inner court disciples were given much more freedom in regard to how they trained and could gain access to secret techniques and vastly more resources to fuel their cultivation. And since they were now foundation establishment, they now had added responsibilities and regularly went on missions for the sect.

    Lastly, there were core disciples. They weren’t really “disciple’s” as they were all core formation masters that were hundreds of years old but to the nascent soul ancestor, they were.

    It was only up until yesterday that he learned the stages of cultivation after reading few a couple books in the library.

    There were five known levels of cultivation. That being: Vessel Cleansing, Foundation Establishment, Core Formation, Nascent Soul, and Celestial Transformation. Each was exponentially stronger than the next and was similarly difficult to reach.

    Core disciples had complete freedom to do what they wanted and learned from the nascent soul ancestor on an irregular basis. This was because his sect’s ancestor was constantly in closed door cultivation. In fact, he had been for the past fifteen years.

    No one, not even the core formation masters, had even heard a single word from him during that time. But they knew better than to disturb him.

    If he was in closed door cultivation for so long, it must’ve been very important.

    Xing Yi found it interesting that the ancestor had been in closed door cultivation for fifteen years as that was longer than he had been alive.

    In essence, disciples of the sect had teachers and access to resources he didn’t. Without them, he wouldn’t be able to progress. He couldn’t just turn up to the training of the outer court disciples one day and ask to join in. He was still an unofficial disciple after all.

    Xing Yi was also pretty sure that not even a single disciple of the sect knew that he was in the sect apart from the librarian and a few other people. He guessed that the Stewards had kept his entrance into the sect a well-kept secret.

    Whenever he walked anywhere no one said a thing to him as they assumed that he still hadn’t cleansed his first vessel. They probably thought he was some talentless member of one of the three big clans of the sect with inferior spiritual roots.

    To be frank, Xing Yi couldn’t stop thinking about spiritual roots and that he didn’t have them. Everything would’ve been so much easier if he just had spiritual roots. He could do the intense training. He could endure the pain.

    What made him so different form the disciples who had spiritual roots?

    What made them so worthy to have spiritual roots? What gods deigned them to have spiritual roots? For what reason?

    It had become so annoying that he kept telling himself to shut up about it and to focus on his own cultivation. There was a voice of resistance that was opposed to this train of thought.

    But he felt that this voice was right.

    If things played out the way he expected them to, by the time he dies he would at most, at the very most reach the 5th layer of meridian cleansing.

    That’s why as Xing Yi sat outside and contemplated this and saw an immortal fly by high up in the sky on their flying sword, he couldn’t help but feel immense and jealousy and desire.

    Without spiritual roots, all is hopeless and can never truly become an immortal.

    Because of this, Xing Yi didn’t meditate for the first time since he began. He saw no point to it after all. In the time that he didn’t spend meditating, he was in the library perusing over stacks of books he had borrowed

    . All were on the topic of spiritual roots.

    He searched to find answers that could give him hope.

    But he found none.

    He continued reading and reading but to no avail.

    Weeks passed…



    Xing Yi stared at the page of a particular book with an incredulous expression. He huffed and puffed like he was running and a few drops of sweat had coalesced on his forehead. His hands shaking, he re-read a certain paragraph in the book.

    “Through an unknown method, Li Xiulan acquired spiritual roots. Using his already profound strength that equalled that of a celestial transformation cultivator, he advanced his internal cultivation at incomprehensible speeds.

    Within a mere one-hundred years, he became a dual-cultivated celestial-transformation existence that shocked and conquered the entire world of cultivation. During this time, he was the sole unrivalled existence.

    Nothing could stop him. However he quickly ascended thereafter due to heavenly laws but speculation about how he acquired spiritual roots is still widely discussed amongst many cultivators alike.

    There are many theories but the most likely and plausible way he did so was by gathering primal elemental qi and forging it within his lower dantian. Forging spiritual roots with the inner fire to become an internal cultivator is a common myth amongst the rare and sparse population of internal cultivators but it is quite plausible for this to be possible as…”

    Xing Yi took in a couple deep breathes.

    This was the only lead he had found after three weeks of constant reading day and night, completely ignoring everything else.

    If he interpreted this text correctly, he would have to already be a celestial transformation level internal cultivator to actually acquire spiritual roots. Primal elemental energy was a type of heavenly qi that could not be handled by any mere cultivator.

    They had to be at the level of celestial transformation. But in the first place, internal cultivators could not manipulate heavenly qi. Then how did he acquire spiritual roots if he couldn’t manipulate heavenly qi or any sort of qi at all?

    Was there a third party involved that help him?

    In the end, Xing Yi felt that all of this had been for naught. He had come up completely empty-handed.

    If he couldn’t acquire spiritual roots, then what else could he do?
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2022
  21. readsalot

    readsalot Your first time is always over so quickly, isn't it?

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    Great story mate, love the body cultivaton focus.
    I've read both renegade immortal and martial world, such great novels. I recommend Er Gens other ones as well if you have not read it, as well as True martial world.

    You've also reminded me to pick up reading a record of a mortals journey to immortality , last I remember reading it was when the mc got to mid nacent soul lvl I think.
    will enjoy reading it again
    looking forward to the next chapter
     
    bandicoot879, Radtank and SpadeofPain like this.
  22. Threadmarks: Chapter 17 - A Lonely Scholar
    bandicoot879

    bandicoot879 Getting sticky.

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    Chapter 17 – A Lonely Scholar
    Xing Yi refused to believe that there wasn’t a way he could find around his lack of spiritual roots, lack of teacher and mediocre talent for even external cultivation. With free access to a library that is apparently four thousand years at his fingertips, Xing Yi decided to take advantage of this.

    Xing Yi did his best to stay optimistic even with these depressing musings wandering around inside his head. But sometimes it was demotivating, and he found it hard to get himself to keep pushing and to not give up just yet. The most important thing being that he didn’t give up.

    Xing Yi searched the library from top to bottom-well within the areas that he had access to. He had to be an inner disciple or core disciple to gain access to the next layers of the library that laid deeper within. These areas were marked by a large, intimidating archway that an invisible blue barrier that stopped all who didn’t have the jade seal of an inner court or core disciple.

    Xing Yi didn’t walk up to the archway because he knew that the machinations of immortal inventions and formations were not something to be messed with. Still, even several steps away from the barrier where he could see the qi barrier flickering in the air, he felt a slight push against his body.

    Xing Yi couldn’t possibly read every single book in the library. That would take him the rest of his life to do so and likely even more. It took him almost five minutes to walk from one end to the other. That’s how big the place was. One thing he was very envious of was the librarian’s ability to instantly recall the location of any book and in which book you could find certain information.

    Whenever a disciple of the sect came to the library to ask for where they could find a book on a certain topic or information, Senior Bai would seemingly be able to know exactly what they were talking about and a few seconds later, a book with just what they were looking for would come flying around the corner.

    It was simply magical.

    However, Xing Yi couldn’t ask the librarian for anything at all since he was a mortal and simply didn’t like him at all. A week after he stopped meditating and had been searching for a way to acquire spiritual roots, he had somehow managed to muster up the courage to ask Senior Bai to help him locate the location of the book.

    In response, the librarian told him to scram and that he was trying to read. Xing Yi didn’t see him reading anything but didn’t ask him because that would only make things worse. When he was walking away, Senior Bai aggressively flicked him with his spiritual sense, causing Xing Yi to shudder horrifically and get the message that he was trying to convey. He wasn’t going to get his help and should leave him alone.

    Xing Yi began to read through a variety of books on many topics, from history, medicine, combat, cultivation wisdom and common techniques, legendary figures from a long gone past, talismans, pills, elemental techniques, demon beasts, spirit beasts. He perused over anything that could give him any sort of insight into what he could capably do with his current strength and cultivation.

    Something else other than mindlessly training and cultivating, simply hoping for the best. That would not do and would only lead to him dying with having accomplished nothing.

    From shelf to shelf, his figure graced each and every one of them.

    The only time he returned home was to eat. He brought with him a leather bottle to drink out of in his small breaks.

    Xing Yi’s focus had become incredible. Nothing shook him out of focus and his will to find what he was looking for was adamant. His eyes were focused on the objective. This was not a time to satisfy his curiosity, but a time to learn. In this way, he had matured. Unknowingly, Xing Yi’s reading and writing abilities had already reached that of a common scholar. As he read, he took many notes, taking what scrolls and notebooks Ya Jing’s parents had to offer.

    Xing Yi read and greedily absorbed the knowledge contained within the ancient library of an immortal sect. Any mortal scholar that learned of this opportunity would die of envy. Books created by immortal masters that were hundreds of years of age had profound calligraphy skills and even more mystical and tongue-twisting writing.

    Xing Yi gazed upon the black ink that was written by these masters for many hours, contemplating the meaning of their words and the many philosophies and truths hidden within. Yin and yang, chaos, life, death, love, tragedy, the curse that is the chase of immortality, and all the pain and suffering that occurred all throughout life.

    The writing of these immortal masters elicited deep emotions from him. Their writing wasn’t something to be read easily. It was achingly slow to process through his brain as their use of characters and grammar confused him to no end.

    Each author had a different style that challenged him in different ways. He was at first, akin to someone who had been thrown into cold water without their knowing. But as days turned into weeks, the cycle of the sun and moon progressed, and Xing Yi’s attainment of knowledge and experience increased, he grew used to reading these complex pieces of literature.

    Xing Yi treated each and every book with the utmost respect, as even the slightest rip or tear of a page would incite the ire of a million slaps upon his poor body by the librarian. A week ago, immediately upon ripping a book he had been reading, the librarian furiously slapped him with his spiritual sense, causing him to fall to the ground in immeasurable pain. Like his body was being stabbed with countless needles.

    It only lasted for a few seconds, but it felt like he had been tortured for several long minutes. A moment later he had heard Senior Bai’s voice float over him saying, “Don’t do that again or the price to pay will be several times greater and you will never step foot in the library ever again."

    Xing Yi heeded these words with much caution and constantly stayed aware of how he was treating the book, especially when he was turning the page. He did that slowly and mastered the technique to turn the page without any risk whatsoever of ripping it.

    And so, five months passed in this manner.

    He lived and breathed literature, his sight consumed by words and his thoughts by that of the meaning and wisdom of immortal masters from long ago.

    And just a few weeks ago, Xing Yi had turned thirteen, to which he had been surprised by Ya Jing’s family with an entire feast consisting of all his favourite foods and one entire low-grade spirit stone. Spirit stones were essentially the currency of internal cultivators, blue, glowing rocks that were mined within deposits that existed far beneath the earth in random location. It had been pooled together by the entirety of Ya Jing’s family, with the gift being the father’s idea.

    They had been the only people he talked to in the sect other than Li Yuwan his teacher. They took care of him, fed him and let him sleep under their roof all free of charge. For that, he was grateful and showed deep care and consideration for the family in return.

    It was after this block of time that after much careful consideration, perusing of his notes and weighing of the advantages and disadvantages, Xing Yi decided to pursue the path of pill refinement.

    When he finally came to this conclusion, even he himself was shocked and a bit frightened of the reality of what he would have to do to break out of the hole he had found himself in.

    Pill refining was so immensely difficult that it would only be after a deep and long conversation that someone new to the craft would understand what they might be getting themselves into. It was not the faint of hearted and was merciless to all it’s practitioners. The number of resources that would have to be poured into the average cultivator in order to become a master pill refiner was so ludicrous that it would be enough to bankrupt an entire
    sect.

    Pill refining was a rich man’s game. But it was also only for geniuses. Well not geniuses per say, it would be better to describe it as something only reserved for the utmost prodigies that appeared once in a century.

    It was on the same level of external cultivation in terms of difficulty.

    To find someone who had spiritual roots was difficult but not impossible. But to find someone who had enough talent to succeed in pill refinement without bankrupting the person who was funding them was next to impossible.

    But the thing was that you didn’t need to be an internal cultivator to refine pills. Usually, an internal cultivator would refine pills by manipulating the flow of energy and the heat of the fire with their qi. The fire, unless it was to refine a first-grade pill, was spiritual and if even the slightest drifting spark touched his skin, Xing Yi would burn to death.

    But Xing Yi didn’t have to refine anything above first grade pills. And he could refine pills through physical means. He didn’t have to refine them using tangible strings and waves of spiritual qi. He could do so with just a simple wooden spatula and a bellow to control the intensity of the fire.

    But where was he going to get all the money to fuel his practice?

    Well, he had a plan in mind. A very good one at that.

    One that the sect wouldn’t be very pleased with if they happened to find out.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2022
  23. Threadmarks: Chapter 18 - A Short Guest
    bandicoot879

    bandicoot879 Getting sticky.

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    Chapter 18 – A Short Guest
    It was amongst the many long and bustling streets of Rising Dragon City that a certain, tiny shop ran its business. Named Li’s Antiques, it sold a variety of antiques and owned by an old man named Li, as very obviously indicated by its name.

    Sitting behind the shop’s wooden desk top counter with grey hair and a bored expression sat the owner of the shop. Smoking out of a pipe, the store owner watched people walk by through the store’s front glass window.

    Most days were quiet for the old store owner.

    Even though it meant he didn’t make as much profit, he liked it just the way it was. It was more time of peace and quiet for him and he didn’t have to worry about getting targeted by other businesses because he was becoming too successful.

    He had bought this very store front just over forty years ago as a young man, hoping to make it big in the city. But once he realised how fierce and cut-throat the competition was, he backed out and became content with running a small business along the outskirts of the city.

    The days came and went, and he aged from a young man into an old man.

    During this time, he ran all types of business in this store. After cycling through several different types of businesses he finally found himself running an antique shop. It was a very long adventure that had brought through times of disaster and times of wonder.

    His last business of toy-making had experienced incredible success, bringing him humble riches. However, due to certain circumstances including a ruthless competitor, he was forced to go out of business. Even with the short-lived success, he had enough money to let him live comfortably in peace for the rest of his life.

    So, he opened up an antique shop and made barely enough to make back what he spent. Although it wasn’t a real portrayal of his true skills of an entrepreneur, old age had robbed him of his liveliness and optimism leaving him with constant aches and pains throughout his body.

    He was completely satisfied with his life.

    It was at this moment, the doorbell ringed and a short, hooded guest walked in. It seemed to be a young child.


    Walking past all the items of antiquity, they walked right up to the old man. Seeing this, the old man put down his crack pipe and greeted the customer.

    “Hello! What will we be looking for today perhaps?” The old man said in a kind, friendly voice.

    To this, the short guest turned around, looking to see if anyone was in the store behind, they turned back around.

    “Excuse me, I heard this store holds a legacy antique of Scholar Fan. Is this true?” The young guest asked, his face hidden underneath the hood of the cloak

    Hearing this, the store owner perked up and leaned forward in his chair, an intrigued expression on his face. He responded, “No, sorry. His legacy has been seldom gone for many decades and even the Heavenly Monks wouldn’t know where they have disappeared to.”

    “That’s a shame. I have long been interested in the tale of Scholar Fan and wished to see even a single piece from his time. But are you sure that is to be the case?”

    The store owner smirked at this, “I see that you are quite determined to find his artifacts. This is very intriguing. How about this? I don’t have any antiques from Scholar Fan, but I do have a broken flute from Maiden Wan. She was closely related to Scholar Fan and was even someone who was rumoured to be one of his many lovers. However, I will warn you that it is expensive. It is worth at least seven taels of silver!”

    “Maiden Wan! I wouldn’t have expected something from her to be held within this tiny shop. Acquiring an antique of Maiden Wan would still be satisfactory and this trip can be deemed as a victory for me. And store owner need not worry. I am not concerned with price. Now quick, show me this artifact!” The short guest exclaimed.

    The store owner rubbed his hands together and chuckled, “Naturally! Quickly however, let this one guide you to the backroom as it is located there and not in this room as it is too expensive to be seen by the public. In the first place, such an item should only land in the hands of someone who knows who it came from in in the first place!”

    The short guest and store owner walked past the wooden desk and inside the backroom where the store held the rest of it’s more obscure and expensive items.

    As soon as the store owner closed the door behind them, he bowed respectfully.

    “Greetings immortal. This one’s name is Li Zheng. I hope you can let go of any misgivings pertaining to this one’s previous acting,” Li Zheng bowed to the short guest with respect.

    The short guest quietly nodded, not saying a word.

    “Much thanks! Immortal has come at a good time indeed. The auction is just about to start. In addition, some good items have arrived at today’s auction and is in luck. Just this way,” The store owner led the guest through the backroom before they arrived at a stone brick wall.

    Li Zheng pressed on a certain stone brick that slightly jutted out of the wall. Suddenly, the brick wall flipped open to reveal a spiralling stair that led downwards.

    Li Zheng gestured to the stairwell as he stood to the side, “Unfortunately, this one cannot accompany immortal as other guests may still appear.”

    The guest nodded again, not saying a single word and proceeded to walk down the staircase. Then, Li Zheng closed the door behind the guest and went back to the store front to prepare to attend to more guests. Meanwhile, as the short guest descended down the dimly lit stone stairwell, they confined in their escalating nerves and anxiety.

    This short guest was in fact Xing Yi.

    A whole entire month had actually passed since his decision to pursue the path of pill refinement. During this time, he had made due preparations to fuel his pill refining and began studying it in earnest.

    His efforts to procure spirit stones to fuel his pill refining practice is what lead him here. To an underground auction house.

    After a few minutes, Xing Yi reached the bottom of the stairwell and walked through a tight corridor that led into a grand hall. Inside were many rows of seats that surrounded an elevated wooden stage in a semi-circle shape.

    Many cloaked and coloured robed figures sat amonsgst the many seats in front of the stage. As Xing Yi walked in, a few people glanced his way before going back to their own devices, obviously disinterested in the short, cloaked guest that had walked in.

    Seeing this, Xing Yi gave a sigh of relief over the fact that the auction house owners implemented a spiritual sense restricing array so he didn’t have to worry about accidentally making a showing of himself.

    Xing Yi walked a short distance before grabbing a seat near the back. He didn’t feel comfortable sitting in front of people, as many would be staring over or past his figure to look at the stage to see the items on display.

    And this wasn’t just any ordinary auctrion house. No, this was an auction house for cultivators. Every single guest that he saw here was one. In addition, it wasn’t unlikely that one of the people sitting amongst the crowd could be at the coveted Foundation Establishment stage.

    As Xing Yi sat, he went over his plan once again and repeatedly told himself to stay calm.

    Well, at least that’s what he told himself. This was a big risk he was taking as this auction house wasn’t under the Blood Path Sect’s influence and the only thing that could protect him was the fact that he was a disciple of the sect. Because if any disciple of a sect were to be murdered by another cultivator, the Bloody Path Sect would be forced to take action.

    The murder of a disciple was taken very seriously and if another sect were found to be the culprit, tensions would form between the two. However, if the culprit was found to be a vagrant cultivator without any backing, the sect would send out a squadron to hunt down and kill the murderer and regain the honor of it’s fallen disciple.

    So, Xing Yi waited for the auction to start and several minutes later, a man with long-green hair wearing plain white robes walked out from behind the stage.

    The man smiled and announced to the audience before him, “Greetings fellow cultivators, welcome to this month’s auction!”
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2022
  24. Threadmarks: Chapter 19 - Auction
    bandicoot879

    bandicoot879 Getting sticky.

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    Chapter 19 – Auction
    Two white lights shone from the ceiling and onto the stage, casting a long shadow behind the green-haired man and upon the wooden flooring. Many several dozen hooded figures sat within the rows of seats around the stage, watching the auction begin with mysterious gazes.

    “Hello fellow cultivators! My name is Cao Feng, and I will be the presenter for today’s auction! I must say, you have all done well to make it to today’s auction. We have some very good items here today that I am excited to show off. But beforehand, I am hoping everyone can make a joined effort to make today as easy as possible for everyone else.

    Any fights that occur will not be tolerated and will be swiftly dealt with by our two foundation establishment guards. Though you may not be able to see them, if such a situation happens, then you will all naturally meet them.

    In addition to that, this hall has a miniature soul locking formation which all of you may have already noticed.

    So, anything that you attempt to do here with your qi will be hindered and closely watched by someone behind stage. Now, with everyone knowing our auction hall’s true capabilities, I can rest assured that fights will be unlikely to happen,” The presenter explained, his luscious green hair shining in the light and his teeth sparkling a perfect white with every smile.

    The presenter was well-groomed, had unblemished, perfect white skin and their voice was pleasing to the ears. The crowd was charmed.

    “Today, there are a total of thirty-seven items. The auction will take approximately two hours to complete and until the end no one will be able to exit the venue. Once the auction has ended, our formation expert will be able to teleport anyone to a far away location out of the city if they so wish. Well, with the nitty gritty out of the way, we can now begin the auction. Ladies!”

    Heeding to the presenter’s call, two exceedingly beautiful and voluptuous women appeared from the red curtains at the back of the stage. Their white dresses curved around their hips and breasts, and with every step the cloth parted to reveal smooth white legs that inspired all kinds of thoughts within many certain onlookers. If the audience hadn’t been paying attention before, they definitely were now.

    Held within the hands of the woman on the right was a small wooden box. Walking up to the very front of the stage, she placed the box upon a small pedestal before taking a place by the presenter’s side. With a great smile on his face, Cao Feng opened the small box, releasing the fragrance of warm wood. Inside the box laid a green, leafy herb with a golden yellow core centre.

    Upon being revealed, a few gasps rang out throughout the hall. Underneath many hoods, the expressions of the cultivators froze, and they showed amazement.

    “We’re starting off today with a bang! This is a spiritual herb named Golden Thrall. It is one-hundred years of age and is not something to be overlooked. This herb was sowed and cultivated by the renowned Shen Clan, being sought after by many powers of the cultivation world due to its many benefits. Unlike other spiritual herbs, this does not need to be refined into a pill. All one needs to do is melt the golden core in boiling water, grind and add the leaves, and consume it like one would have a soup as a mortal.

    If consumed, one can expect to breakthrough any current bottlenecks with ease. On the other hand, using the gentle energy of this spiritual herb can help bring a cultivator’s closer to perfection if they cultivate a harsher or more aggressive qi. With a few meditation sessions to fully process the qi within the golden core, one can relieve and calm the meridians, allowing qi to circulate more easily throughout the eight meridians. This is perfect for anyone at vessel cleansing as that is when it has the highest effect.

    The bidding begins at forty spirit stones and increases in increments of at least four spirit stones!” Cao Feng announced before the hall went into a flurry of voices of cultivators desperate to acquire the Golden Thrall.

    “Fourty-four!!”

    “Fifty!”

    “Fifty-five!”

    “Sixty!”

    “Sixty-four!”

    The room exploded as bid after bid was placed upon the tiny spiritual herb. As this went on, the amount of people bidding decreased and Cao Feng watched this happen with a smile on his face. Eventually, it came to a standstill between two people until one won out with a bid of one hundred spirit stones.

    For a vessel cleansing cultivator, this was not meagre sum. The collective net worth of a vessel cleansing cultivator at the latter end of the spectrum would usually be somewhere around seventy to eighty spirit stones. While someone at the first few layers would only have a collective net worthy of around twenty spirit stones or even less. It was a quite difference. And this was for the average cultivator. Some cultivators were just far richer than they should be.

    “Sold for one hundred low-grade spirit stones to the guest sitting in chair 3G-17!” Cao Feng announced with a happy voice.

    With the flick of his wrist, Cao Feng had the box fly through the air and softly land within the buyer’s lap. Ecstatic, they opened it and feasted their eyes on the treasure that now belonged to them. After getting a good look, they summoned a flock of blue, glowing crystals to fly through the air and to arrive over the stage.

    The lady on the presenter’s left lifted her hand up in the air and grasped the spirit stones with an invisible hand, transferring control over the spirit stones from the guest, and over to her. Opening up a leather pouch at her side, the spirit stones dived down, all of it completely disappearing in a single moment.

    The beautiful lady gave the guest a seductive wink, to which the guest’s reaction could not be seen. After this transaction, the next item was brought out and the auction continued like normal, but less impressive and selling for far less than the Golden Thrall Herb. Most items usually sold for thirty to forty spirit stones and consisted of items such as flying swords, talismans, pills, and even a set of robes that were made out of the silk of a rare species of silkworm.

    Time passed and the final item was something that caused an uproar throughout the whole crowd. Something that even Xing Yi could recognise. A long metal sword with a thin red string hanging down from the pommel of the sword was brandished and held in hand by one of the beautiful women.

    “The final item of today’s auction is a flying sword. But not just any flying sword. It is the replica of Warrior Zheng Qin’s flying sword. Being a nascent soul with a fierce baleful aura, he swept through the world of cultivation with his flying sword, cutting down enemy after enemy with only one single sword. It was a powerful weapon and has left a long-lasting legacy that has inspired many to create replicas of the treasure. This is one of them and is completely unmarked by any previous cultivators and so whoever buys this will be it’s first owner.

    The price will begin at seventy low-grade spirit stones and increase in increments of five. Let the bidding begin!”

    Unexpectedly, a single voice immediately stopped every voice from voicing their price.

    “One-hundred and fifty spirit stones!” A giant, hooded cultivator named a price.

    Even Cao Feng was shocked at the sudden up mark of the price. The presenter waited for a few moments to see if anyone would give a higher price until he declared, “Sold!”

    At this cultivator’s abrupt acquisition of the item and the seemingly lack of care for the price of the item, Xing Yi felt that this giant of a cultivator was at foundation establishment. There was no other way. The cultivator then paid out the money and received the item, swiftly placing it inside their storage pouch.

    With the end of the auction, Cao Feng announced, “Now that the auction has ended, you may all now leave through the entrance to the left where it will lead directly upwards and into the city. Or, you may enter to the right to use our transportation formation to teleport to a random location outside the city. There is no fee for this.”

    Despite these words, only person left. That being the giant cultivator that bought the replica sword of Warrior Zheng.

    “Now, if anyone has any items that they want to sell off they can use this stage as a platform to do so. However, that will cost a fee of one spirit stone and if that person finds a dealer, they can use a backroom to seal the deal. I will now take my leave. The stage is yours,” Cao Feng revealed, before him and the two ladies retreated back stage.

    This was the moment Xing Yi had been waiting for.

    AN: Sorry, I didn't update for the last several days because I had school camp. Also, I changed past chapter title to 'A Short Guest' instead of 'Auction'.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2022
  25. Threadmarks: Chapter 20 - Selling Books
    bandicoot879

    bandicoot879 Getting sticky.

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    Chapter 20 – Selling Books

    Xing Yi was shaking. His heart was beating fast and sweat formed in his palms, which he wiped upon the chair arm rest. He proceeded to take a deep breath. Even with a pair of lungs full of air, he still felt like he was suffocating.

    Taking a look around the hall, he saw that no one had moved yet and now was the moment for him to move. He grabbed the leather bag at his side with a tight grip and stood up. As he walked through his aisle in the many rows of seating and out into the main walkway, he mentally went through what he was going to say.

    The white light of the stage dyed his figure as he walked up the steep steps that led upward to the stage. He momentarily squinted his eyes in pain in response to the bright light but moved onward, finding a place at the front of the stage. He looked side to side, trying to peer into the crowd but was unable to find anything but black darkness. Xing Yi let out one final deep breath before he pulled out a thick book from the leather bag.

    “Greetings, fellow cultivators!” Xing Yi’s voice slightly quivered as he greeted the crowd. The only response was silence. He licked his lips and stroked his hand over the book to relieve himself.

    “I am looking to sell this book right here.” Xing Yi gestured to the item as he held it up.

    “This book in my hand is written by a Core Formation master, detailing how to correctly prepare for a breakthrough to foundation establishment,” Xing Yi, after saying this, felt as if he was suddenly being paid more attention.

    “Foundation establishment is highly coveted by all who have not yet made that step. After all, who doesn’t want to live an extra fifty years? To be respected by all cultivators at vessel cleansing? To be able to instantly join a sect with a single breakthrough-“

    Xing Yi paused, forgetting his words. He awkwardly stood in place for a few seconds before he continued. His nerves were really getting to him. Having to stand up in front of a crowd of cultivators in which any one of them could kill him with ease was terrifying. And they were all looking at him.

    “-That’s why any cultivator that wishes to reach foundation establishment must have this book. I am willing to sell this book for two spiritual stones and no lower,” Xing Yi finished his speech and waited expectantly for a buyer to speak up.

    It was briefly silent for a moment until one person spoke up.

    “Two spiritual stones? That’s not a bad price for such valuable information. I’ll gladly take this book out of your hands for that price. However, I would like to briefly flip through the book before I pay as if one were in my position then they would also be uncertain of the facts and would want to confirm it themselves.” A hooded cultivator said.

    Xing Yi grinned before he walked off stage to hand him the book.

    “Where are you? I couldn’t see you from on the stage,” Xing Yi said as he walked down the stairs and his eyes readjusted to the darkness.

    “Here,” The hooded cultivator raised their hand. Though Xing Yi wasn’t purposely trying to, he could see that from under the hood they had the appearance of a middle-aged man with a black beard.

    Xing Yi walked over and handed them the book. They proceeded to open the book and flip through the pages. After a few moments, they nodded their head in satisfaction and summoned a few spirit stones into the air just like the other cultivator had done so earlier.

    How cultivators did this was through an item called a ‘storage pouch’. They were pouches that held far more space inside them than one would think. The most common pouch that even a vagrant cultivator would possess would be the size of a chest. Meanwhile, the storage pouch of a Core Formation Master would be the size of a large house. As for Nascent Soul Ancestors, they are the size of an entire great hall with sky-high ceilings.

    Xing Yi opened his leather pouch, allowing the spirit stones to fly through. He buckled it up with its metal strap. He was satisfied with how the trade went. And very happy that no one had questioned him. No one liked questions. If it wasn’t necessary, they wouldn’t ask. Everyone knew this very well. Despite obviously being a child and having no cultivation, he was able to participate in this auction with not trouble whatsoever.

    Xing Yi sat back down in his seat and after him went several other people. Once they were finished, the presenter came back on stage and smiled, “The auction has finished. You may now exit through the right to be teleported to a random location outside the city or to the left to directly exit out of the auction. Farewell!”

    With that, cultivators filed out of their seats and to the right entrance. Very few went to the door on the left. This was because some people, after seeing the item they acquired, would decide to steal it from them. In order to make sure this doesn’t happen, an auction hall would often create a teleportation formation to help the buyer escape and evade any attacks from people with ill intentions. It was quite clever.

    Unlike everyone else, exited to the left to the surface. This is for a few reasons. First and foremost, he would have no idea where he was if he teleported out. Cultivators can make use of a minor technique to know which direction is what just like a compass. But he didn’t have this. He could bring a compass too but he had not idea how to navigate and so teleporting out of the city would leave him completely lost.

    Additionally, it didn’t seem to the outsider that he had anything worthy to steal. He was merely a small child selling books. He thought that he was not a worthwhile target to steal from.

    So, walking through the wooden-archway and up a spiralling set of stairs, he found himself in a tight alleyway with a bustling street visible to his right. The other cultivators were nowhere to be seen and had already disappeared.

    Xing Yi walked out onto the street and after mixing into the crowd, he let out a big sigh, thrilled that he had finally made it out of the auction. He couldn’t help but give a big grin at this small victory.

    He recalled what he had been thinking a month earlier. He gave his past self a pat on the back for this. During this time, he had been theorising ways to make money and this was one of the only ways that he could make money from. All the other ones had major drawbacks or risks involved and he ended up deciding on one. It wouldn’t make him a great amount of money but he had to do with what he had.

    So, Xing Yi decided to copy books from the library and sell them to vagrant cultivators. Two things that Xing Yi discovered himself was that that one, vagrant cultivators existed and two, they didn’t have access to information.

    They were without masters and could only exchange information through their small social circles.

    The average sect member of a sect knew several dozens of times more about cultivation than the average vagrant cultivator. When a vagrant cultivator meets a sect cultivator, the latter usually views the former as some sort of country bumpkin from out in the sticks. This information disparage between the two leads to a great disadvantage for vagrant cultivators.

    With information comes progress, and without, one suffers.

    However, if the Bloody Path Sect were to find out that he was copying books and selling it to vagrant cultivators, he would be labelled as a traitor and have his cultivation immediately crippled. Xing Yi wondered how they would cripple his internal cultivation or if they would even try to but he didn’t want to find out. Being kicked out of the sect would be the end of his pathetic attempt at immortality.

    Finding his way out of the city, he began in a fast jog to make it back to the sect. After his breakthrough and some testing, he found out that he could sprint at his maximum speed for ten whole minutes before he gassed. And he didn’t just have a lot of stamina, he was incredibly fast. He could outrun any mortal man with ease. Even fit soldiers in the army couldn’t hold a torch to him. Xing Yi couldn’t wait to see what the next layers of external cultivation would have in surprise for him.

    Recently, he felt more optimistic about external cultivation. If he could procure enough money, refine enough pills and receive enough opportunities, he could refine all twelve Principal Meridians and breakthrough to Inner Fire and gain strength that rivals that of a Foundation Establishment. It would be like pushing a boulder up against a hill. As of current, his chances were still slim but if he had more time to plan and strategize, Xing Yi would eventually find a way.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2022
  26. Threadmarks: Chapter 21 - New Beginnings
    bandicoot879

    bandicoot879 Getting sticky.

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    Chapter 21 - New Beginnings

    One of Xing Yi’s favourite writers was Tang Zongsan. In one of his less-known books on the ever changing nature of existence, he writes, “Great change is beset by great action.”

    Unfortunately, Xing Yi was a foolish follower of Tang Zongsan and did as such. Saying goodbye to Ya Jing and her family, he left the Servant Hall for his officially designated place of residence that he had supposed to have been living at this entire time. He needed to move. He needed a new environment to focus. To truly dedicate himself to the pursuit of immortality.

    Focus was his goal.

    This was something that he knew very well after becoming someone experienced in meditation. He may only be thirteen, but he had become a monk crazy for meditation just a couple months ago. Xing Yi found him giggling to himself like a monkey when he remembered how serious he was during those times and how impossible it would’ve been to start a conversation with him. Recalling those times now, Xing Yi couldn’t help but feel bad for Ya Jing. All she wanted was a playing partner but instead she got a mediation maniac!

    He needed a sanctuary. His very own palace of meditation where no one else could disturb him in his train of thought.

    This wasn’t something revolutionary but something very common amongst cultivators.

    They lived upon the peaks of cloudy, mystical mountains all by themselves. To prevent qi deviation during critical breakthroughs and to have time to ponder upon the dao without being disturbed. It allowed them to become one hundred percent focused. All Core Formation Masters in the Bloody Path Sect lived like this. So did the Nascent Soul
    Ancestor of the sect. Xing Yi was simply replicating an ancient strategy created by cultivators from primordial times. Just like everyone else already was.

    Xing Yi stumbled upon the long house after teleporting, followed by a brief hike through the wilderness. In the sect, nature was left unkempt and wild. This was done so young cultivators would quickly learn how to fly. Otherwise, every time they made the journey from their small huts to the Training Hall, they would show up with dirty robes with the scent of leaves still lingering on them.

    His place of residence was abandoned. It was a horizontally long wooden house with multiple three entrances on the front and back. There were twelve bedrooms and a large, combined kitchen and living room at the right-end of the house. It was much too big for a young child-now teenager- like him, but it would work. He would need time to properly clean this place and build this into his very own immortal cave. It wasn’t a cave upon a mighty mountain, but it would do the trick.

    And so he begun. In a few days, dusty floors were dusted and wet down, scrubbed and left squeaky clean. Cobwebs were swept away and new furniture was moved in with the help of Ya Jing’s father.

    In the end, one room was his mediation room, populated by only a single mat and an incense burner. In another was his dedicated sleeping room with a simple cloth bed along the floor. Another was his dedicated study room, with empty bookshelves on all sides and a wooden desk. This was where he was going to be copying books.

    As for where he would refine pills, he would simply do that in the stone-paved back courtyard. If he did it in the house, he would risk burning the whole house down. He may be invisible in the sect, but a burning house would attract attention and he didn’t like his odds that he wouldn’t be punished. Pill Refining wasn’t something to mess around while doing. If one wasn’t careful, they could easily kill themselves. Xing Yi didn’t plan to end up like one of these people.

    It was a couple days after his initial residence that Xing Yi decided he was adequately prepared to begin pill refining. He had a couple months of study under his belt. He knew the medicinal ingredients, how to add them into the cauldron, how the fire should look like, the timing, and loads of other things. All of this was wandering around in his head and he had to see if he was right. Actual practice is what he needed before he delved into creating pills.

    And what he needed most was a cauldron.

    Cauldrons were very common and easy to acquire. But a cauldron made for pill refining? Exceedingly rare and very expensive. With another problem like this involving money, everything seemed to be against him. Pill Cauldrons, as they were called, weren’t something that could be created by anyone.

    No, pill cauldrons were only created by certain individuals. They were-amongst many other spiritual treasures- created through secret methods and techniques that weren’t divulged to the public. In addition, pill cauldrons were of the rarest sort and seldom made by but a few clans, sects, and individuals. To get his hands on one would be almost impossible at his cultivation. Least to say, something as rare as a pill cauldron was not something he could easily afford by simply selling books.

    From what he has read, a cauldron suitable for refining grade one pills would cost him at least thirty low-grade spirit stones.

    To procure thirty spirit stones would take over a year to make at the rate he was copying books. To copy an entire, moderately-sized three-hundred page book with decent handwriting, he would be doing so for a few hours everyday for a month until it was completely finished.

    In hindsight, he could technically become a maniac like he had done with meditation to increase the rate at which he was copying books to drastically reduce the amount of time required to get on. The only drawback was that he had a limited audience and his sales heavily depended on who was there on the day of the auction. Even if he had three books with valuable information, there may not be anyone in the crowd that day that needed that sort of information.

    Xing Yi was stuck at a roadblock. He had to admit that he had highly underestimated the task of pill refining. It made sense though. He had no master, no internal cultivation, was as poor as a bum, and no ingredients or cauldron which to refine pills with.

    It was with these burdening thoughts that Xing Yi woke up one day and made his morning walk to a river that ran through the low valley of the Long Tang Mountain Range. It was during this time that Xing Yi’s mind was roused and he awoke to the world, of which he carefully observed the natural wildlife with keen interest and strong appreciation of its beauty.

    After a brief fifteen-minute walk, he found himself in front of a river, its sky blue water gracefully flowing past him. In the distance to the right, the river expanded into a lake that hugged the bottom of colossal mountains rich with greenery.

    It was a breathtaking view.

    Casually stretching his neck, Xing Yi took off his robes and laid them on a nearby rock and slowly waded into the water, its coldness briefly shocking his muscles. Quickly, he was submerged into the water, all for except his head.

    Right now, he intended for himself to complete a full cycle of his internal cultivation art. This would’ve taken him thirty minutes to complete. However, for some peculiar reason, Xing Yi decided to duck his head underwater. Which he did.

    Opening his eyes underwater wasn’t painful at all. When he was a kid, he could remember dipping down into a small river to the west of the village with his friend Hou Li. Every time he tried to open his eyes underwater, the water would fiercely infiltrate his eyes, causing him to immediately shut them close before he swiftly returned to the surface to dry the water out of them.

    But now he didn’t even feel a thing. Xing Yi guessed this to be a strange but relatively unknown benefit of cleansing your first meridian.

    Xing Yi danced around underwater, letting his limbs freely explore wherever they wished. His eyes took in the rich blue hue of the water, taking mind of the bubbling water around himself and green plants on each sides of the river edging down into the water. He glanced downwards and took hold of the many grey boulders and rocks that occupied the space down below.

    His mind was thoughtless up until he spotted a large, pitch-black object down below. It was something that looked strangely familiar. Something that he had been thinking a lot about recently.

    It was a cauldron. But what was one doing down here at the bottom of a river?

    Xing Yi just had to find out.
     
  27. Autist4Hugh

    Autist4Hugh Not too sore, are you?

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    ...hope that isnt key to the functioning of the lake/river. Also another reason why it might not hurt to open his eyes under this water is the general lack of irritants in the water to get in his eyes
     
    bandicoot879 likes this.
  28. Threadmarks: Chapter 22 - The Black Cauldron
    bandicoot879

    bandicoot879 Getting sticky.

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    Chapter 22 - The Black Cauldron
    Xing Yi stared intensely at the sight of what he thought to be a black cauldron underwater for a few moments until he travelled back up to the surface of the water to catch a breath.

    Another thing that came with his cleansing of the first meridian was that he could now hold his breath underwater for what he knew to be a long time. Though, he did have a rough sense of time and felt that he could reliably hold his breath underwater for about up to ten minutes at a time.

    Swimming underwater, he swam several metres down until he reached the black cauldron. He swam around it, inspecting it. It was large. The size of a bear, being big enough to fit even a full-grown adult inside. Upon its black exterior were unintelligible cryptic engravings of transforming patterns. Xing Yi could not read any meaning from this.

    Xing Yi had a quick retrospective of his current situation. Finding a pitch-black cauldron like this at the bottom of the river was not something to be quickly dismissed. Xing Yi had read the stories in passing. Of the unknowing cultivator accidentally awaking a power far beyond them, causing them and everyone else involved to simultaneously lose their lives.

    Or maybe he was overthinking? As these ominous thoughts rose forward, his heart had started beating faster, his nerves acting up again. He calmed himself down by circulating his inner qi, something that he should’ve done back at the auction house but he had forgotten to do at the time because he had been so nervous.

    Think rationally, he told himself.

    He inspected the outside of the cauldron for markers of it being spiritual in nature. It being a cauldron however, meant that ten times out of ten it was a pill cauldron. Fortunately and coincidentally, he had been studying on the hall markers of how to identify a pill cauldron along with other things. Before he could do this, Xing Yi would have to pull it out of the water.

    Holding onto one of its handles, Xing Yi kicked off of the ground and pulled it to the surface by kicking through the water with his legs. If it was on the surface, he may have not been able to lift it, but underwater it was far easier to move around. It took him about a minute of pulling and kicking until he managed to pull it to the edge of the riverbank, only one of its handles sticking out of the water.

    From there, Xing Yi found whatever footing he could find in the rocks and pulled it up onto land. As a small child, Xing Yi didn’t look to have enough strength to even move an inch. But with his first layer external cultivation, he had the strength of a burly man who performed strenuous labor all day. Even Xing Yi was frightened at his own strength.

    Soon, he brought it onto flat land and let out a big exhale of air when he was finished. The inside of it was still filled with water but he didn’t need to worry about that fact as of this moment.

    Xing Yi was still completely naked at this point. He dried himself with the towel he brought and put his robes back on.
    He didn’t want a stray cultivator that was flying over to sweep their spiritual sense over him, only to accidentally see his naked figure. That would be incredibly embarrassing.

    Proceeding to study the cauldron, Xing Yi’s expression quickly blinked his eyes in surprise. What was this thing?

    Asking this question, Xing Yi used his towel to covers the cauldron from view before running up the hill. Fifteen-minutes later, Xing Yi returned exhausted and a book in hand.

    Over the next few minutes, he flipped through the book while comparing colour hues that were imprinted on the page, paraphrasing certain phrases in the book while touching the cauldron. He continued to run through a few more tests until he came to a conclusion.

    Xing Yi had no idea what this thing was. He was in no way an expert but he closely followed the directions listed in the book. It was a simple yes or no checklist that would tell him what type of pill cauldron it was.

    But this cauldron? It didn’t fit into any of the categories and was a complete anomaly. It didn’t make sense.

    This all went down to what the cauldron was made out of. He had no idea what the metal that made the cauldron was. It was nothing like any of the metals described in the book. And this book went over a very long list. Over two hundred in fact.

    Xing Yi stood with an uneasy heart as he looked at the cauldron. He went over the possibilities. Some time passed and
    Xing Yi realised something. If this object just so happened to be a real pill cauldron, then he would be in great luck!

    But it was absolutely crazy to think of. Right as he was trying to acquire a cauldron, one shows up? That was not normal.

    But Xing Yi wasn’t someone to deny a boon from the heavens.

    But first, he had to take some precautions. If this pill cauldron just so happened to be incredibly valuable, he had to make sure no one knew about it or it would result in the loss of his life. In his time in the world of cultivation, he knew how ruthless it really was. He made sure to make great distance from the cultivators that inhabited this world.

    The only thing they truly cared about was advancing their cultivation.

    Xing Yi’s nerves grew out of control as he imagined the many scenarios but quickly regained his calm by circulating his inner qi. It created a warm feeling over his whole body, comforting him and calming his worries.

    Xing Yi’s first job was to haul the cauldron from the bottom of the valley, all the way up a steep hill and to his house. How much did this thing weigh? He tried lifting it and was quickly reminded of how heavy it was from when he was tugging it on land earlier.

    Making a start, he used a strategy to almost walk it up the hill. It was far less taxing on his body than directly lifting it up and carrying it or pushing it forward. It wasn’t very soon before Xing Yi could feel his arms burning and his grip starting to fail him.

    But Xing Yi was a persistent kid.

    He simply couldn’t risk someone seeing this cauldron in broad daylight. It was over the achingly long course of about five hours that Xing Yi finally brought the cauldron up the hill and to his house. Giving himself a rest, he brought the cauldron inside the house, which was a tight squeeze that involved him turning it sideways and rolling it through. It barely fitted.

    Snuggly placing it inside a large, hallway closet, Xing Yi finally let out a sigh of relief and closed the door behind himself.

    There were only two ways to identify if a cauldron was a pill cauldron other than based on appearance. By first, injecting your spiritual qi into the cauldron and seeing if there was a response. Unfortunately, Xing Yi couldn’t do this as he knew very well by this point. He had inner qi, not spiritual qi.

    The second way was to boil a specific spiritual herb, named Brown Calamus, into the very cauldron and after a few minutes, a metallic smell should start to be produced if the cauldron isn’t a pill cauldron. If it is, it won’t produce that smell.

    It is a very common herb and wasn’t priced highly. But, if he wanted to buy some he had to pay in full spirit stones, so he might be forced to buy several times the amount he needed to actually test the cauldron. It was a shame but it was a worthwhile trade.

    Putting on a pair of leather shoes, he made his way over to the nearest teleportation pagoda which was over an hour away. Regardless, he made the journey and arrived at the isolated pagoda.

    One thing he learned about these teleportation pagodas was that they were in fact defence mechanisms. In case of an attack, people had to be able to travel from one end of the sect to the other in quick succession. Although it may only take a short amount of time for cultivators to do so, time was crucial and so they would use these teleportation pagodas to gain extra time.

    Giving his name, Xing Yi presented his seal and told the cultivator on duty where he was heading. However, this one, unlike previous guards, was curious and somehow interested in Xing Yi’s affairs.

    “You’re heading to Martial Uncle Yang’s Herb Garden? Mortal Xing Yi must be attending to some special matters! Would you mind sharing what you are doing there with this senior? I am quite interested!”
     
  29. Threadmarks: Chapter 23 - Martial Uncle Yang
    bandicoot879

    bandicoot879 Getting sticky.

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    Chapter 23 - Martial Uncle Yang

    Xing Yi froze up temporarily, not sure how to respond to their question. Not only did they try to act too close to him, but why exactly did they call him Mortal Xing Yi? Somehow, the guard seemed to catch onto this and smiled in response.

    “You must be wondering why I called you Mortal Xing Yi?”

    Xing Yi gave a stiff, forced smile as he bowed respectfully, “Please, if senior could enlighten me.”

    “A couple of weeks ago, rumours began circulating about how a mortal had secretly entered the sect over a year ago. It became so fiercely discussed that the elders were forced to answer and they revealed that you basically cheated your way into the sect using a Heaven-Chosen Medallion!” The guard revealed with a cheeky smile, almost envying Xing Yi’s fortune.

    Dread washed over Xing Yi as heard this.

    “Because of this, you earned yourself the title, Mortal Xing Yi!”

    Xing Yi almost lost feeling in his legs.

    Xing Yi weakly replied, “That is very interesting to hear.”

    The guard smiled again, “It is. But again, Mortal Xing Yi must have places to go. Excuse me if I inconvenienced you.”

    Xing Yi hastily responded, “There is no need for senior to apologise! This one was merely going about his day. I have plenty of time to spare in the first place!”

    The guard nodded in response with that same smile still present on his face.

    Xing Yi wanted to get away from this man as quickly as possible.

    “If senior doesn’t have anything else to say, I will make my way. I bid you goodbye,” Xing Yi said.

    “Naturally,” The guard dropped his smile and continued, “Get inside the circle and I’ll teleport you over.”

    Stepping forward, Xing Yi stood inside the geometric teleportation formation. An instance later, a lightless gem in front of the formation suddenly glowed blue. As soon as the light began glowing, he had teleported into another pavilion.

    As his eyes adjusted to the dark environment, he briefly saw the guard on duty open their eyes to inspect him. As they looked, their spiritual sense also washed over him.

    Xing Yi expected this to happen and immediately circulated his inner qi and held his breath, bracing for impact. It came and made him shiver for a moment before it washed over him and he returned to normal.

    Success again!

    Successfully defending against a cultivator's spiritual sense had been something that he had been working on as a side project ever since he first experienced it. The solution had in fact been relatively simple and it was to circulate his inner qi while holding his breath. This was a primitive and crude technique to defend against attacks and was talked about briefly in his external cultivation manual.

    But the important thing was that it worked. Albeit only against Vessel Cleansing cultivators. Yet again, he was still feeling the effects of their spiritual sense so it couldn’t be considered perfect. But he was only at the first layer and he saw this to be a small achievement.

    Speaking of the teleportation pavilion guards, they were in fact failed foundation
    establishment cultivators. Any cultivator that performed menial tasks around the sect that weren’t of significance, and were at Vessel Cleansing.


    It was a sad fate for those who couldn’t manage to breakthrough to Foundation Establishment.
    It was very normal however. In the world of cultivation, only one out of ten cultivators could break through to foundation establishment. For the rest, they would be stuck at Vessel Cleansing for the rest of their lives.


    Respectfully bowing to the other guard on duty, Xing Yi walked out of the pavilion, made his way down the dirt path and when there was a fork in the road, he went to the right. Xing Yi walked down the road for the next twenty minutes until he was in front of a ten-metre tall wooden arch that was covered in green vines, and adorned in yellow flowers.

    Beyond it laid a mysterious grey fog. It was much like the great illusionary formation of the sect that existed to keep mortals from wandering inside the sect. This too held a similar purpose and was instead to prevent unwanted visitors from wandering inside.

    Xing Yi held his breath patiently as he waited outside the fog. Waiting for it to part, a would-be sign that he had been let inside.

    Xing Yi waited for a painfully long amount of time for the fog to part. He began questioning if he was in the right place. Maybe he had taken the wrong turn and he was supposed to take the turn on the left. All of these thoughts ended when he saw the grey fog finally parted, forming a path for him to walk through.

    Walking underneath the arch and through the newly forged path, Xing Yi soon exited the tunnel and came out on the other side. In front of him emerged a flourishing green valley. To his right was a waterfall, the far away sound of water smashing against the pond and its surrounding rocks reaching his ears.

    In the distance, at the end of the dirt path, was a longhouse built with wooden boards and a porch in front of it. Cradling it on both its left and right were towering mountains, suggesting that this place was in some kind of closed-off valley. Walking forward, trepidations coursed through his body as he slowly drew closer and closer to the house that loomed in front of him.

    Reaching the longhouse, he climbed up the steps and onto the porch. He knocked on the door and patiently waited for Martial Uncle Yang to knock on the door.

    Just as Xing Yi began waiting for the other person to answer the door, he noticed something out of the corner of his eye.

    Sitting upon a wooden chair while nibbling upon a red pear was a brown-haired monkey. As Xing Yi noticed them, so did they. The animal’s eyes darted up from the red pear and locked onto the small boy with an intense stare.

    Xing Yi took a step back, not knowing what this monkey was up to. Would it attack him? Regardless of why it was here, Xing Yi prepared himself for a fight. It wasn’t strange for the perimeter guards to overlook weak spiritual beasts, consequently allowing them to wander into the sect.

    But what he couldn’t figure out was how had one made its way into Martial Uncle Yang’s herb garden? It was supposed to be protected by multiple formations and was one of the safest places in the sects.

    That was when Xing Yi almost smacked himself in the face. It had to be a pet of Martial Uncle Yang. Why else would such a thing be out and about?

    Xing Yi dismissed the monkey’s presence. As he turned away, he half-heartedly muttered underneath his breath in relief, “You almost scared me. Phew.”

    Not even a second later, an aged, gruff voice responded, “I did?”

    Xing Yi received a sudden adrenaline rush as he jumped back in shock. He then looked over at the monkey. The voice had come from where it was! Xing Yi looked at the monkey again and it had already finished eating the red pear from earlier.

    Before Xing Yi could get a hold of the situation, he saw the monkey begin to speak.
    “What, you’ve never seen a monkey before?” The monkey said. It seemed as if their brows were furrowed as they said this.


    Xing Yi didn’t know how to respond but after a moment he replied, “A talking monkey?”

    The monkey blankly replied, “Indeed.”

    “Oh,” Xing Yi replied, seemingly understanding, his previous disbelief now gone.

    “Who are you?” Xing Yi asked very bluntly.

    The monkey chuckled, “I am the man you are currently looking for.”

    Xing Yi blinked his eyes a few times, the cogs in his mind silently chugging away. A few seconds passed, when the boy suddenly made a realisation and immediately fell to the ground in a deep kowtow, his head against the wood flooring.

    “I thought it would take you a bit to realise,” The other person replied.

    “This foolish disciple pays his respects to Martial Uncle Yang,” Xing Yi uttered.

    Xing Yi shook in fear beneath this monkey, fearing the absolute worst. He desperately circulated his inner qi in hopes to calm himself.

    “It's normal to not recognise me the first time. Many don’t. Only a few have managed to recognise it was me over the many long years I have been the owner of this herb garden. Now, stop kneeling to me like a starving peasant would to his lord and come inside,” The other person explained, whereafter Xing Yi heard the door swing open.

    Xing Yi had lived! Being a weak, phoney cultivator in this sect was a dangerous existence. If only he had nascent-soul cultivation! He would no longer have to live in fear of everyone he meets and can walk around with no fears or worries.

    He sighed in sadness over this wishful thinking before he made his way inside and found an
    old man sitting quietly at a small table. In front of him and on the other side of the table was a steaming cup of green tea.




    AN: Trying out new format. I feel like it makes my webnovel look PROFESSIONAL.

    And a bit easier to read!

    What do you guys think?
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2022
  30. Negation

    Negation Shameless Pervert

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    Why Alchemy instead of Blood arts? This is the Bloody Path Sect, why not research Blood Arts to obtain a special bloodline to improve external cultivation talent?
     
    bandicoot879 likes this.
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