Chapter Fourteen Tread the Waves and Sing, Draw On Walls In Night
The thick-browed young person was also very contented. His eyes were full of satisfaction. The opponent had been strong. This kind of battle was a rare experience for him.
“A member of the Yan Dynasty, a cultivator of True Fire Palace.”
He grabbed the umbrella that was floating down and put the large black sword back into the umbrella handle. Then he held the umbrella once more above the head of the handsome youth who walked out of the pavilion. He looked with anticipation at the legendary Fourth Mister Zhao.
No wonder his umbrella was so large. The umbrella handle not look exceptionally thick only with an umbrella of this size.
The handsome youth, who was Fourth Mister Zhao and the present leader of the Sword Furnace, walked past the corpse of the thin and tall cultivator towards the Wei River in the distance.
“He should be Yan Dongfu. After seeing him fight, I know it likely was him. His Mountain Demon True Fire Art appears acceptable, he should have received some of the true teachings of Cao Yangming of True Fire Palace.”
Fourth Mister Zhao glanced at him and said, “Changling is a fat piece of meat, everyone wants a share.”
The thick-browed young person, Zhao Zhi, looked back. Behind him, Changling was only a shadow in the wind and rain. He could not even see those enormous towers clearly. However, he worried that countless chariots would charge out of the thick rain, and some powerful cultivators would suddenly appear and strike at him with swords.
“This is a fat piece of meat? It doesn’t seem like it at all.” He, who only saw danger, could not help but mutter. He still felt the little alley of the past and the little blacksmith shop was the best. If he had a choice, he felt that he would have no need in his lifetime to enter this organized and large city filled with danger.
Forth Mister Zhao did not pay attention to his mutterings and said softly, “Chu, Yan, Qi, every one of them are eyeing Changling. But even in Changping, I already saw that these people are the same. They all want to steal meat from other people. If they do not get an equal share, they will fight. People like us who are weaker, if we work with others, we will be eaten.”
The thick-browed young person turned and looked strangely at Fourth Mister Zhao. “You do not seem right today. You just saw the Eldest Miss of the Shang Family once, why are you talking softly and gently like her?”
Fourth Mister Zhao stilled slightly and then thought back. His tone of speech was slower than usual and without the usual fierceness.
“I most likely learned some things from her.”
After a slight pause, Fourth Mister Zhao sighed and said seriously, “You now understand why Master did not let you stay at Sword Furnace in the past, and had you follow me to travel and see more.”
Zhao Zhi shook his head seriously. “I am stupid. You will learn upon seeing, I see and may not learn.”
“Cultivation is like crossing a river at night by touching the stones. For one to live longer and advance further, it is important to comprehend and have more knowledge.” Fourth Mister Zhao asked peacefully, “You just said that Yan Dongfu. He just managed to reach realm five, why did he die here?”
Zhao Zhi said without thinking, “Because he encountered us, and we do not have a habit of mercy.”
“Because of a lack of insight and knowledge.”
Fourth Mister Zhao sneered and said, “He has no knowledge, he followed us, he died. The dynasties, the sects, unless it truly come to a time the dynasty is about to die, they do not usually converse with each other. Us, and the cultivators of the Qin Dynasty are much better on this than the Yan, Chu, and Qi Dynasty cultivators. What have we not seen a bit of after fighting so long, and three countries destroyed,?”
Zhao Zhi nodded thoughtfully.
“You most likely do not understand why Master only taught you one move,” Fourth Mister Zhao glanced at him and said directly.
Zhao Zhi shook his head.
Fourth Mister Zhao looked forward, took a deep breath and said, “Master is an expert at teaching students in accordance with their aptitude. He knows you are stupid, he only had you practice one move, he wanted you to have less barriers you cannot understand. Having you follow me is because you only know that one move, you only have the one move. You see more people, you see more tactics, you remember them. When you encounter similar tactics in the future, you can deal with them better.”
Zhao Zhi was not angry hearing someone say he was stupid. His eyes were filled with feeling and yearning.
There was a large river in front of them. The waves rose up high, foaming and slapping against the shores/
They reached the Wei River.
Zhao Zhi first jumped onto a bamboo raft tied to the long grasses on the shore before shouting at Fourth Mister Zhao, who was looking back at Changling. But he did not immediately start rowing on the raft. He took out two jars of wine. He first drained one of the jars of alcohol and then poured the other into the flowing water.
“Sect Junior Brother Zhao Zhan, I toast you!”
At this time, his tears finally streamed down.
Bang bang bang … …
The bamboo raft flowed down with the rapids.
Zhao Zhi put the umbrella down. One hand on the bamboo pole, the other tapping on it, he sang out loud.
The song was rough and in the dialect of a local place. One could not hear the meaning, but the rhythm was strong and determined like metal being forged.
The night grew deeper. Someone opened the door underneath the blue banner in Falling Parasol and leaked a dim candlelight.
Ding Ning put away the umbrella and then closed the door by putting the wooden latch on.
Zhangsun Qianxue sat next to a table and looked expressionlessly at him. An oil lamp was lit on the table, reflecting on a bowl of cold fried noodles. Another plate held two boiled eggs.
Ding Ning’s face was unusually flushed. After he closed the door, his breathing grew heavier. However, when he saw Zhangsun Qianxue waiting for him with the lamp on, the corners of his lips curved up slightly and he smiled.
He did not say anything, sitting down opposite Zhangsun Qianxue. He pulled that bowl of cold fried noodles and put the two boiled eggs on top. Then he started to eat ferociously.
“Is it really so delicious?”
Seeing Ding Ning’s slightly protruding stomach when he saw down, Zhangsun Qianxue’s eyes grew slightly colder. “You clearly have eaten already, and you are eating so much. All cultivators pay attention to what they consume, they would rather drink dew than water, they would eat grass and fruits containing the energies of the universe rather than food, you do not take any care and overeat after being wounded, is this alright?”
“That is a waste of effort, one will naturally have their body cleansed after realm eight … …”
Ding Ning chewed on the boiled egg and said, muffled and with smugness, “And who in the world is able to eat the boiled eggs and noodles you make?”
Zhangsun Qianxue glanced coldly at him. “I bought the eggs and noodles from another shop.”
“… …” Ding Ning’s face immediately grimaced and he could not speak.
Zhangsun Qianxue’s expression turned serious and she looked at him. “When one reaches realm eight, the body will be automatically cleansed, all of the care taken of the body, the attention paid to food, they are really a waste of energy … … that person said this?”
Ding Ning stubbornly ate the remaining noodles and then nodded with his mouth full. “Realm eight, Heaven Opening. The realm not to refine and store, it is to manipulate the primal energies of the universe directly. The cultivator is a key to opening the world, and their bodies must be pure.”
Zhangsun Qianxue was shocked and frowned. “But doesn’t the records all say one has to eat cleanly so their bodies are clean in order to reach realm eight Heaven Opening, and realm nine Immortality?”
Ding Ning looked at her and shook his head seriously. “People rarely reach realm eight, so most records are just speculating. Those that truly reach that realm will only tell some things to their disciples. Why would they waste energy to make people believe those records are mistaken?”
“Or rather, to the sects, they want the cultivators of other sects to take detours and make more mistakes,” Ding Ning rubbed his stomach, and added.
Zhangsun Qianxue thought about the meaning of the words and remained silent.
Ding Ning stood up. Just like how he usually prepared to cultivate, he went into the inner courtyard, washed with hot water, and put on clean clothing.
But, today, he did not return to the bedroom immediately. He lit an oil lamp and walked into a room on the side for making wine.
The weak light illuminated a wall near the window.
Many flower-like patterns were on this wall like scrawls of the drawings of a bored person. This person seemed to have drawn for many years as the flowers to cover the entire wall.
However, Ding Ning knew this was not an ordinary wall.
He used a piece of charcoal to rub off one of the flowers, and then gravely drew on two flowers. Because he had too many people and matters to remember, he feared he would forget one, so this wall came into existence.
He looked silently at this wall, and especially at the two new flowers he drew. He knew he could not do anything right now except to wait.
Translator Ramblings: The zhi character in Zhao Zhi’s name can mean straightfoward, unbent and honest. Not sure if Zhao Zhi’s master renamed him due to his personality or if this is a case of the author trying to put personality traits into the name.