Chapter 112: Reason
Translator: Translation Nation Editor: Translation Nation
Facing the Morning Sun
The blade of the sword reflected the bright morning sun, as sword techniques were being executed. The river was clear and serene. Pei Zi Yun finished his final step as he lowered his blade and exhaled deeply. He then retrieved his flute and started playing a melody.
The flute was in perfect condition and emitted a sharp and melodious tune. The surrounding mountains and rivers remained still and quiet. It was extremely strange that the sound of the flute was contained within a small area, and didn't spread all around. As he was practicing the flute, his killing aura gradually subsided.
'Soldiers are weapons of assassination.'
Pei Zi Yun threaded along the narrow valley. He wore a black cap and long white robes. The sleeves of his robes flapped under the wind. His footsteps were audible as he walked across. It was currently mid spring, and the examination in the capital probably had just begun. It rained heavily yesterday, and thus the rocks were glistening under the sunlight. The sight before him was marvelous. Lush leaves and blossoming flowers surrounded him. It was perfect picture.
He then thought to himself, 'No wonder there are so few excellent swordsmen with profound skillsets. The art of killing someone is extremely damaging to a person's physical body and mental health. A person would need to recover from the damage by recuperating in various ways. The Evergreen Daoist was thirty years old when he used painting and playing the flute as a means of recovery, an outlet for recuperation. Gradually, he regained his proficiency after balancing these two hobbies with his sword techniques. Only then could he improve gradually over the years.'
'The Evergreen Daoist had started out by killing to improve his sword techniques. Over time, he developed skills like the flute and painting. He had used his sword skills to enter the Dao. Painting and playing the flute could not be separated from the killing, if not, irreversible damage could be done to a person. Hence, I acquired these skills as well.'
At this point, he looked up.
"Flute Skills : Advanced"
"Painting Skills : Advanced"
"Free Cloud Sect Techniques: Master, 6.5"
"I've already acquired and assimilated all of the Evergreen Daoists skills, and yet my sword proficiency level is only at this stage." Pei Zi Yun sighed, before returning to the room. He then prepared his ink and quill. From studying, he learnt the virtues of patience and a mild temperament. Preparing the ink from inkstone required a great deal of concentration as well. He then retrieved a blank piece of paper before dipping his quill in ink. He then started thinking.
After some time, an idea came to him. When he was in the capital city, he had stood above ground level and looked down at the vast and busy city. Bearing these images in his mind, he started painting.
Atop the wall, there was a flag. A group of people riding ox-carts as they were passing through the gate. Several donkeys were braying in distress. Further away, people were walking along the streets purposefully. An old man chasing a chicken along the streets and a merchant holding onto a long stick. He started drawing everything from memory.
His thoughts were clear and precise in his mind and his drawing depicted all that he could recall. The shape of the city started to take place gradually. With every dot and line, he made the capital city come alive.
Pei Zi Yun was immersed in his own drawing, almost as if he was back in the capital city himself, walking along the streets, observing as the number of people on the streets increased exponentially.
The five meter piece of paper included everything, from the white walls, to the river, the pier, the palace and even the small merchants plying their trade. The flags hoisted outside several shops were even depicted as accurately as he could recall. Just by looking at his drawings made him feel as if he were back there.
"Zi Yun!" He could hear someone calling him. The door had not been closed and Yu Yun Jun was calling out to him loudly. He did not answer the calls. She then strode in and saw a young man deep in concentration. It looked like he was writing an essay, or was he drawing?
Yu Yun Jun's curiosity was piped as she pushed past the door and entered the neat and tidy room. Behind Pei Zi Yun was a bookshelf, which housed several Dao manuals. At this point, Yu Yun Jun was not paying attention to her surroundings as she walked toward the table to get a closer look.
On the table rested a painting of the capital city, as it inched closer and closer to perfection with every stroke of the quill. It's depth, detail and size were magnificently drawn out. There was so much detail to the drawing that looking at it all would make someone see stars. Looking at the painting was almost as good as being in the painting, right at the capital city. Yu Yun Jun held her breath, as if she was afraid to distract him and ruin this glorious piece of work.
Yu Yun Jun was born in a rich and noble family which produced painters and poets. Looking at Pei Zi Yun's painting, she felt like he had been doing this for decades and was silently shocked, 'When did my disciple become so proficient in painting?'
As she got nearer, Pei Zi Yun could smell a sweet fragrance and yet he didn't react. Instead he kept drawing. Yu Yun Jun saw how focused and immersed he was and was shocked as well.
It was almost as if she was in the room upstairs, with a faint and warm yellow light in the room. There was a reed mat on the floor, and the youth was sitting on the mat. There was a wooden table in front of him, and he was writing furiously. And she was kneeling down, beside him, as she watched on while he continued writing. Just by watching him, she was filled with happiness and bliss. Her heart was stable and she was contented.
Yu Yun Jun almost let the words escape her lips. At this point Pei Zi Yun had just added his finishing touches and turned around. Only then did she snap back from her daze. Pei Zi Yun was no longer the man from all those years ago. Even if he had departed and was reincarnated, he no longer had the memory and character from before. A sudden sense of loss overwhelmed her heart as she tried to focus. Collecting her feelings, she then exclaimed, "What a wonderful piece of work. This must be a drawing of the capital city?"
Pei Zi Yun placed the quill down by the side and admired his work before bowing, "Yes master, this is indeed how I've viewed the capital city. I've had an inspiration to draw this."
Hearing him speak, Yu Yun Jun then smiled, "Zi Yun, I've always known that you were a genius, having always been successful in your exploits. I just didn't expect you to also have a hand in drawing. This particular work is fantastic."
Pei Zi Yun smiled, "Master, this is related to my cultivation of Dao. Practicing my sword techniques, playing the flute and painting pictures, I've finally understood how the three of them go hand in hand. Drawing helps with my attention to detail. The more details I include in my works, the better my sword skills will be."
Pei Zi Yun then scrutinized his work, "This drawing isn't particularly good. It's just enough to cross the threshold of the next level, but I'm not at the peak of my drawing skills yet."
Yu Yun Jun listened to Pei Zi Yun and clapped her hands together, "Zi Yun, you already have an excellent foundation of sword techniques and can use it to enter the Dao. Even if you do not cultivate Dao Arts, you can still enter the Dao. Do you know why there are so little people who used their sword techniques to enter the Dao?"
"It's because sword techniques are a form of killing arts. Excessive killing will harm a person, and reduce his lifespan. Even if a person could develop a strong foundation of sword skills, it will be extremely difficult for this person to live a long life. You should know, that based on what I know, very few swordsmen live past the age of seventy."
"That's the reason."
"I had initially wanted to remind you. Now that you're practicing the flute and painting, your future is limitless, and I've just realized that I didn't have to remind you."
Pei Zi Yun wanted to speak, but Yu Yun Jun continued, "The path towards a Yin Master is to cultivate the body. That is the proper way. Your Master is more inclined towards the Dao Arts. As for the sword techniques, I have nothing more to teach you. Do not neglect your Dao Arts, as opening the gates to heaven should be your main focus."
Pei Zi Yun considered her words for sometime before smiling, "Thank you Master for your guidance. I understand. Cultivation should be my main focus."
"Sword arts is only a way for you to defend the principles and foundations of the Dao. Dao arts are the way to longevity. However, both are important and should not be neglected. Together, they will give a person a long live, free of any troubles."
"Hence, the biggest lesson here is to cultivate both together. If a Daoists only pursued sword skills and neglected the cultivation of his inner strength and longevity, he wouldn't live long. If a person only cultivated Dao arts and neglected his sword skills, when he meets someone who used violence, he would be in trouble."
Pei Zi Yun understood what she was saying and agreed with her wholeheartedly. In his previous life, he had blindly chased after the stock markets. Using this as an analogy, the stock market was like the Dao. Purchasing blindly without protecting himself ended up with him becoming a trader for a huge organization, where he had to toil for the company. Comparing these examples made him sigh in regret.
After some time, he thought of Song Zhi. Based on the original owner's memories, no matter what happened, the Sect Leader would always support and be biased towards Song Zhi. Thinking of this, he hesitated.
When Yu Yun Jun saw him feeling vexed, she asked, "Do you have any problems weighing you down? Let me know what's going on."
"Master, if I may be so bold as to ask, what's the relationship between Song Zhi and our Sect Leader? Although it's clear that they're master and disciple, their relationship seems to transcend that." Pei Zi Yun asked suspiciously.
Yu Yun Jun took several paces as she sighed, "Even you can tell? Their relationship might just be a master and disciple one now. However to understand the full picture we'd have to go decades back."
"Our Sect Leader was a young orphan living in poverty. It was an Elder of our sect who took him in. This Elder became a Master to him, and was like a father as well. The Elder raised him up and provided for him. At last, he excelled within the sect and thus became the new Sect Leader."
"This Elder had attempted to force his way to become a Yin Master. However, he was not fated to become a Core Disciple. Hence, he decided to be reincarnated. Once that happened, Sect Leader searched for his reincarnation. The Elder's reincarnation was Song Zhi."
"The Sect Leader did not delegate this task to anyone. Instead, he searched for Song Zhi personally. After verifying that it was indeed the Elder, he then pulled him into the sect."
"The only issue was that although Song Zhi was confirmed to be the Elder reincarnation, he was unable to open the gates to heaven. He had not recovered his memories, and his personality was different from his past self. However, Sect Leader was extremely sentimental and thus decided to repay Song Zhi by showing him favor."
"In the previous life, the Elder was a father. In this life, the Sect Leader became his Master. There's plenty of such occurrences within an immortal sect, and it's not uncommon at all. If in future I decide to be reincarnated, I will need you to protect me as well." Yu Yun Jun said.
Pei Zi Yun then understood. In this pursuit of Dao, nobody can actually ensure their success. A relationship between a master and his disciple was extremely close and sacred. Pei Zi Yun then nodded his head, "If Master has any problems in future, this student will definitely protect you, and lead you into the sect."
Hearing Pei Zi Yun's words, Yu Yun Jun nodded her head. Who can ensure that they will forever be in control? With a disciple, they can ensure that they will be supported in their next life.
Pei ZI Yun stood up and understood everything that's been said. The Sect Leader and Song Zhi had such an intimate relationship. No wonder in the original owner's life, the Sect Leader had supported Song Zhi unconditionally.
This wasn't merely the love and concern a disciple and master shared with each other. It included the feelings a child would have for his father. With such a complicated relationship, the ties would never be broken. No wonder it became like this.
There was not much more to speak on this topic. Yu Yun Jun gave a cold harrumph, "Song Zhi could become a Core Disciple and yet you were refused. This Sect Leader has really gone overboard. Even if he were to be sentimental, he shouldn't have crossed the line. I have already brought this up to the Patriarch. Now, we can only increase the competition. You have to break past the gates of heaven as soon as you can. Then, even the Sect Leader cannot prevent you from becoming a Core Disciple."
"Hm, the Sect Leader was just but an ordinary Elder and was not a Core Disciple. If we were to take a leaf from his book, he would not have become a Sect Leader from the start." Yu Yun Jun spoke with resentment.
Pei Zi Yun laughed when he heard this, "So it seems that there's more beneath the surface. I will quickly break through the gates of heaven and become a Yin Master and not let master down. Then I can compete with this Song Zhi."
Before Pei Zi Yun could even finish his sentence, a Plum Blossom appeared before his eyes. It expanded rapidly and became a semi-transparent information interface. A red line of words appeared in the middle.
"Mission : Break through the gates of heaven, Become a Core Disciple"
When Yu Yun Jun heard this, she applauded, "With such a spirit, your Master is extremely pleased. I shall eagerly wait for the day you accomplish that. You are my only disciple, all my resources and efforts shall be yours alone."
"It's just that you should not be overly ambitious. According to to our sect's cultivation of Dao, improvement will come gradually. Most people would be able to cultivate successfully. However, breaking the gates of heavens should not be taken for granted. In fact, most disciples would be pacing outside the gates of heavens for decades, unable to break past. Many remain there their entire lives. Even your Master only recently managed to break through."
With the original owner's memories, and hearing Yu Yun Jun's advice, Pei Zi Yun pondered for sometime before smiling, "Master, I understand. I will not let you down."
"Believe me, with regards to this gates of heavens, it's not too hard for me."