Chapter 29: Stronger, Straighter, Harder
Translator: Subudai11 Editor: Chrissy
Regardless of that, Wang Lu could also see that, as a Jindan Stage cultivator, she could still be qualified as an elder in Gentle Cloud Mountain, White Dragon Monastery, those kinds of sects in little Hai's Grand Cloud Empire. Moreover, compared to Wang Zhong and Zhu Qin, who nominally had elder Liu Xian as their Master, Wang Lu actually got the better deal because with 37 disciples in the Misty Peak, it was highly likely that the two, Wang Zhong and Zhu Qin would only be taught by Liu Xian's senior disciples and not by Liu Xian himself. Unlike Wang Lu who fully had a Jindan Stage Master by himself.
After both sides introduced each other, his Master said.
"According to the rules, now you should take the super-troublesome taking a master ceremony like kowtowing, pledging and so on...Are you interested in that?"
Wang Lu straightforwardly said, "No."
"Mm, so am I. Let's just skip this part then and move to the next step."
Wang Lu was curious. "Next step?"
His Master earnestly nodded. "Yes, it's time for dinner. Let's get us some food."
"...Isn't it too abrupt to change topic like that!?"
"Rest assured, at least, for today, it's my treat."
"You mean, I have to pay for my own meal starting tomorrow?"
"Haha, our Non-Phase Peak has abundant produce; pheasant, duck, hare, wild boar. In short, it's impossible for you to starve to death."
"You're too savage!?"
Amidst this raucous banter, Wang Lu stepped on his Master's flying sword and left the Non-Phase Peak and flew toward the Carefree Peak with her.
Why would they go to the Carefree Peak to eat? It was simple; his Master claimed that, since there was a requirement in her Jindan Stage cultivation to fast for many years, there was no kitchen in the Non-Phase and she has no cooking skill whatsoever. Thus, unless Wang Lu would be willing to eat raw meat from the wild animals that she would hunt, he would have to eat together with the other disciples at the Carefree Peak.
Wang Lu didn't know whether this grand Jindan Stage Elder would feel ashamed to dine with the other outer court disciples. But when they landed from the Flying Sword, amidst the numerous finger pointing and stares from the others, his face did turn red a little bit.
"Look, I think he's the newcomer from the Immortal Gathering!"
"Hey, why didn't he come together with the Ninth Elder like the other newcomers? Is he the Inner Court disciple?"
"Oh, I know this. I heard that in this Immortal Gathering, there was a peerless rare talent who directly rose to be a Successor Disciple! The female who come with him is probably his Master, an Elder from our sect."
"You're shitting me!? An Elder and her Successor Disciple!? What do aloof characters like them come here for?"
"Who knows, perhaps they want to experience the people's livelihood, or maybe do some kind of strange cultivation?...Hey, they seem to be going to the rear of the practice field."
"Rear of the practice field? Isn't that the cafeteria?"
"Look, look, they really go to the cafeteria!"
"Whoa, they're ordering food!"
"A plate of shredded pork in garlic sauce, a plate of stir-fried julienned potato, a plate of package meat and two bowls of rice...Is there a deep meaning in this?"
"Look, they're starting to eat! They use the chopsticks!"
"He picked that shredded pork in garlic sauce! Hey! He removes all the carrots! What a unique way of eating that! Let's jot this down!"
"Oh, the Elder also move her chopsticks. She eats the packaged meat! What's the profound meaning behind this!?"
"They've finished eating! Their plates are clean! Except for those carrots!"
"They fly away! Oh, that is so cool!"
The atmosphere at the cafeteria was like that, full of joy and pleasant surprise. But, Wang Lu, who was the main focus of their attention... actually quite enjoyed this experience!?
Seeing the look of calm and unruffled in the midst of chaos from his Master, Wang Lu finally began to recognize the importance of being shameless. The two indeed were fated to be master and disciple.
When they arrived at their hut at the Non-Phase Peak, it was already quite late in the evening. Wang Lu, who came from a mountain village, had never experienced this kind of rich nightlife, and soon became sleepy.
But before he fell asleep, his Master pulled him to the living room.
"Wait a moment. Before bedtime, let's do a little quiz."
"What the! Does Spirit Sword Sect also have a self-study at night?"
"Rest assured, it's going to be quick. I just want to have a more understanding of you so I can tailor a more suitable practice plan for you. Relying on the information from your performance in the Immortal Gathering is not enough."
Wang Lu thought that this made sense. "Please, be my guess."
"Okay." His Master then conjured up a thick stack of paper densely filled with words and graphics.
"These are my carefully designed test questions. It has two parts. One is the comprehensive ability test, and another is a standardized test. This can accurately estimate your Immortal Cultivation potential...Please answer the questions within two hours; it starts now."
But before Wang Lu even began to write his answers, a single glance on the test paper sent him into a scare. "What the hell! What is this thing for!?"
The first question in the Comprehensive ability test was: "The avenue of truth is ineffable and our pursuit of the ethereal Immortality is even more hard to describe." The past Immortal Cultivators, including many Daoist Masters, Patriarchs and many others, explained that there was seventy percent of ___ and thirty percent of __ in the tone of that saying. However, having said that, if cultivation cannot be accurately described verbally, how could the Immortal Cultivation methods be passed to the future generation? How could they be developed further?"
Please choose the most appropriate words to fill the blank parts on the above sentences.
A. Proud, Regret.
B. Helplessness, Sorrow.
C. Sentimental, Blame.
D. Arrogance, Ashamed.
Wang Lu was stunned, thinking "...Are you fucking kidding me!? Why is this a multiple choice question! There must be a spirit who cause mischief here! When I came across that comet, I'd been tossed side to side like a broken toy for a long time that I wished I'd be dead. I never thought I still couldn't get away with this kind of question even after I arrived at the Nine Regions Continent!"
"Speaking of which, had this world been seized by certain seniors by relying on making the first move?"
"Master, how did you come up...with this question?"
"Huh? What's wrong? Is there a problem? That's pretty much it; it's what I observed in the current Immortal Cultivation World. I was just slightly being creative about it."
"That's pretty much it? In the classical literature that I read in the past, there's no such thing like this repertoire."
"Alas, you've already walked in the Immortal Path and become a disciple of the Immortal Cultivation Sect, don't bother with those thousands of years ancient knowledge from the mortal world anymore. The customs and rules of the Immortal Cultivation World are entirely different than the customs and rules of the Mortal World. The template for these two parts of questions formed as the result of thousands of years of explorations. Just answer the questions there."
Hearing the words 'thousands of years of exploration,' Wang Lu felt slightly at ease. It seemed like this strange Immortal Cultivation World was not created by a certain a certain outstanding person, but should be attributed to...systemic issue?
After that, Wang Lu put his attention back to the test. This familiar question that aroused his long-slumbering instinct was soon forgotten by him. Then, his pen moved as fast as the wind as he easily answered those tricky and quirky questions. His Master, who had been observing from the side, was amazed.
Not long after, Wang Lu had almost finished answering the questions from the comprehensive ability test, and the face of the woman in white truly lost its color; she was in awe.
Wang Lu's speed in answering the questions and the accuracy of his answer were too high. Especially on the part of graphic inference questions, as well as the number-crunching problems. He finished those with flying colors, which was far beyond the limit of a normal person. Even if he had been taught by teachers in his mountain village in classical literature and poetry, those kinds of knowledge couldn't possibly help him in this comprehensive test. Moreover, he was not a cultivator, so his mind was still weak; he didn't have the thinking power of an Immortal Cultivation Expert nor an eidetic memory.
"Oh, so he was born with this gift? No wonder he is the chosen one. We didn't misread it at all." She mused.
The woman in white was delighted. Initially, Wang Lu's Void Spirit Root was indeed a big problem, but because he had such a great talent, it would be much easier for her.
"Okay, that's enough."
The woman in white put her palm on top of the paper and interrupted the high-spirited Wang Lu from answering the questions.
Wang Lu looked up and wrinkled his brows, seemingly dissatisfied with this interruption.
"No need to waste time anymore, I have fully assessed your talent. Your talent is pretty good; you deserve to inherit my mantle."
Wang Lu mused, "But I sincerely don't want to inherit your mantle, you're nothing but a Jindan Stage cultivator... But, I can't complain since I, myself, have this Void Spirit Root problem. So be it."
The face of the woman in white turned serious as she talked about the Immortal Cultivation. She sat cross-legged in front of Wang Lu and asked him with a sinking voice, "Wang Lu, in your opinion, what is the purpose of the Immortal Cultivation?"
Several answers immediately popped out in his mind, but Wang Lu didn't know which was better.
Finally, he made a decision to answer the question based on the rumors about his Master. "To bully other people and hurl insult at them?"
His Master slapped the table in delight. "Great minds think alike indeed!"
But then, she realized her gaffe and changed her statement, "Oh, wrong. Don't talk nonsense, how could it have a nasty purpose!? Think about it again!"
Wang Lu made another guess, "In order to soar into the World of Immortals?"
"Ah, but since the end of the Age of Chaos, no one has ever succeeded in doing that. There were so many amazingly brilliant people who failed at this. If that is your answer, then wouldn't it imply that the people with third or fourth rate Spirit Root are trash? If so, why would they need to cultivate for?"
"Then...It's for longevity?"
"Currently, the oldest person in the Immortal Cultivation world is a three thousand five hundred and nine years old Southern Immortal Weng from Kunlun Immortal Sect, nicknamed tortoise. Although he lives a long life, he spent his day being on display and studied by other people. Do you fancy that kind of life?"
"...Master, why don't you tell me directly the answer to that."
The woman in white actually spread out her hands. "Actually, I don't have the right answer either. There are thousands upon thousands of Immortal Cultivators, and the path to Immortality is also innumerable; even the main path has around three thousand different paths. Different people embark on a different road, so of course, each of them will have different purposes, how could I make a sweeping generalization?"
"Did you just make up those numbers?"
"No, what I am trying to say is, no matter what your purpose in Immortal Cultivation is, if you want to achieve it, there must be a basic condition."
"A handsome face?"
"..." The woman in hard inwardly laughed.
"Master, why don't you tell me. Stop beating around the bush."
"Ai, if you want to reach your goal on this long road of Immortal Cultivation, the most critical point is you have to be 'hard'  enough!"
"Whoa, Master, this is not a suitable topic to talk about in front of a twelve years old."
"...The word hard refer to determination. If you cultivate hard enough, you can bear layer upon layer of tribulations! Merely in the course of Immortal Cultivation alone, there are already several boundaries that have to be passed through the Heavenly Tribulation, which is enough to make a half baked cultivator vanish in a puff of smoke. Moreover, there are still the omnipresent, yet hard to detect, people's tribulation. Don't think that since there is this Union of Ten Thousand Immortals who dominate the Nine Regions people would play nice all the time; the crime rate in the Immortal Cultivation World is still relatively high! Let alone those in the devil sects, even among the righteous sects there were still quite a few cultivators who would secretly stab people behind their back!"
Seeing his Master's righteous indignation face, Wang Lu emphatically nodded, "Yes, I can see that too."
"In short, the number one priority in the Immortal Cultivation is, you have to be hard enough. A lot of people admire people with strong attack capability or peerless speed... But they're all wrong. If you can't even keep your life, then all of those strong and speed ability are just fleeting clouds."
"That make sense."
Wang Lu indeed agreed with his Master's view. Especially for a person with a reputation like her; the skill to save own's life was indeed very important.
"Well done, you really worthy to be my disciple; you understand this ultimate truth in the Immortal Cultivation World really quick. Today you can go to rest. Starting tomorrow, I will teach you the Immortal Cultivation."
 Can also mean resolute or determined.
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