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Chapter 29: Vomiting Blood, Viewing the Sword
Gu Xichun’s fragile complexion grew paler, and his eyes were as deep as wells.
He was recognized as the fastest cultivating student of Shadow Mountain Sword Cave in the last few dozen years. He had reached Profound Understanding in a month, Energy Refinement in three, and now had Vital Energy Realm first-class cultivation.
Because of this kind of speed that was unimaginable to ordinary cultivators, he was famed in Changling, and was like a crane among chickens in comparison to the students who had watched the sword trial festival. Since several months ago, he had been specially permitted to comprehend and cultivate at this shadow sword wall.
However, other than An Baoshi of Spirit Void Sword Sect and Jin Liuli of Min Mountain Sword Sect, he knew that there were many others among the young geniuses of Changling that he could not rival
Dugu Bai was one of those.
Dugu Bai’s father, Dugu Liangshen was the youngest of the thirteen marquises of the Qin Dynasty. The Dugu Family bloodline was special. Dugu Liansheng’s situation was like the last few generations’. He was sickly in childhood, and still needed medicine in his early teens. But when his body started to mature at fourteen, the illnesses faded, and his cultivation talent quickly surfaced.
The Dugu Family members were known to have a fast breakthrough rate, unexpected grasp and mastery of simple sword forms that others would not consider.
So much so, that some seemingly ordinary sword moves would often wield great power in their hands.
When Dugu Liangshen was ennobled as a marquis, the Dugu Family reached a peak. Dugu Bai’s opportunities were naturally different than all the past members of the Dugu Family.
If this was someone else, they may have gone in search of spirit medicines and famed doctors so that Dugu Bai would not be sickly in childhood or expedite his growth.
However, Dugu Liangshen had his own ideas. He did not try any tactics of trying to hasten growth. He sent his most trusted private soldiers and servants to travel with Dugu Bai in his childhood. They went to see the mountains and rivers, to the desolate and cold lands, and the lands of war.
In Dugu Liangsheng’s words, this was using the primal energies of the universe and battle energy as medicine, and using the heavens to raise this person.
Disregarding whether his words were supported by cultivation reasoning, his actions received good effects.
Dugu Bai’s environment was clearly worse than any past Dugu family members, but his sickly body grew healthy even faster. The great knowledge he gleaned in his childhood seemed to have provided him with better sword intuition.
Even more importantly … while his body started to mature at around fourteen, the same as other Dugu family members, and he was just as tall as an ordinary twelve year old, he had managed to gain a healthy body without using much medicine and his mental power was extraordinary.
The rumors said that the movements of people before Dugu Bai eyes were slower compared to others.
Just this delay would create a great disparity in battles between cultivators of similar cultivation.
Gu Xichun knew he could not win against Dugu Bai because he had seen Dugu Bai fight before.
In the battle then, Dugu Bai had used a simple” Long River Slash” to defeat a cultivator who was slightly stronger than him.
Even now, when Gu Xichun recalled that scene, he still could not understand how Dugu Bai was able to use one sword move to defeat the other’s exquisite sword presence.
If he could not understand, this was a great disparity.
Gu Xichun knew this sect uncle, Li Muyan, was thinking on his behalf. This sect uncle who held a high status in the sect advised him frequently. However, he shook his head.
Seeing Gu Xichun shake his head, Li Muyan immediately frowned. He said, “I admire your determination and persistence, but the rule of Shadow Mountain Sword Cave that one has to reach realm four second class cultivation before coming to this shadow sword wall to comprehend is because the sword essences on this shadow sword wall are too sharp. They are like the direct mental power of previous elders and seniors. Also, many of these sword marks contain the patterns of how primal energies of the universe move. For example, the seal scripts would naturally gather primal energies of the universe. For students like you who do not have enough cultivation, if you stay too long here, your mind and body will be wounded by this shadow sword wall.”
“I know of your good intentions.” Gu Xichun looked up and said respectfully, “But my interest in cultivation comes from my pride.”
Li Muyan said in puzzlement, “How so?”
Gu Xichun spoke softly, with sincerity. “I do not know how you feel as a powerful cultivator, but to me, I like the look on people when they see me- their admiring, envious and even reverent gazes. I like this feeling … at least in the many years before this, the motivation that supported my diligence through the dull cultivation came from this.”
Li Muyan unconsciously frowned and said, “This kind of feeling is malformed. You should have longer-term ideas because we are extraordinary cultivators and not those girls in Changling’s brothels. Our strength and cultivation should not be used to just garner looks of admiration like their beauty and clothing.”
“Sect Uncle, I understand what you say.” Gu Xichun said sincerely and respectfully, “Cultivator should have higher pursuits and should not be greedy for outshining others. However, I read from many cultivation manuals that the best tactic of cultivation is to start from the heart. The feeling that can best motivate one to cultivate is the best tactic.”
Li Muyan looked silently at Gu Xichun and felt that this was somewhat reasonable.
“I know I cannot compare to An Baoshi, Jin Liuli, Dugu Bai and others, but I must be ahead of other people,” Gu Xichun said, calmly. “Also, when I went to watch Green Vine Sword School, I felt threatened by that wine shop youth called Ding Ning from White Goat Cave. His performance caused me great humiliation in front of others. The threat of the wine shop youth and those humiliations are the strongest motivators for me. If I still cannot comprehend something even with this motivating me, I will not be able to obtain anything from here before I reach realm four second class. My pride will not allow me to lose to a youth who just started cultivation. No matter how talented he is, he started later than I… even if I do not lose to him, if I cannot make him look up at me while I evaluate him as I please, I will not feel good. The greatest motivation supporting my cultivation will disappear.”
“So, Sect Uncle, do not stop me.” Gu Xichun prostrated himself on the ground before Li Muyan and asked, “If I can obtain any benefit from here, the pain and hardship I endure would not matter.”
Li Muyan thought of Ding Ning and Xue Wangxu’s recent events. He looked at Gu Xichun before him. He sighed but said nothing more.
When the footsteps of his sect uncle gradually disappeared, Gu Xichun slowly stood up from the ground. He once again faced the shadow sword wall and sat straight.
The shadow sword wall was not left behind by the past members of Shadow Mountain Sword Cave. They originated from the ruins of an unknown ancient cultivation place. The first group of Shadow Mountain Sword Cave cultivators had found this shadow sword wall and with great effort moved it to the Shadow Mountain Sword Cave. This was because everyone was sure the cultivators who had left behind these sword marks were much more powerful than them.
The Shadow Mountain Sword Cave was not a first class sect in Changling, but the sect that the shadow sword wall had been in was definitely one of the top.
Ever since Shadow Mountain Sword Cave obtained this shadow sword wall, the direct disciples of each generation would spend large amounts of time here to comprehend. However, over the centuries, only three people had comprehended the true meaning from here.
One of them was Qu Li. He comprehended the strongest sword manual of Shadow Mountain Sword Cave, the Flowing Shadow Sword Manual, from here.
The other two had all successfully reached realm seven.
One of them, Song Hanshan, comprehended Cold Mountain Sword Seal from here. The other person, Xiao Yanyu, comprehended many important things about the primal energies of the universe here, and only took a few nights to surpass realm five and six.
Gu Xichun knew that his talent was at least as good as those three, and he did not desire an eruption like those three. If he could obtain several exquisite sword moves, even if it was just some variations that could make his vital energy flow faster and his sword gather stronger primal energies of the universe, he would be satisfied.
However, he had already sat here for more than thirty days, supported only by his resolve. In his eyes, these sword marks were still extremely chaotic. No matter what tactic he used, looking at one sword mark, looking at a group, or searching for sword marks of different depths to determine their relationship … he failed to comprehend anything.
Li Muyan was correct. The shadow sword wall greatly harmed the mind and the body. After kneeling and standing up, his head felt heavy when he looked at the numerous sword marks, and his hands started to tremble uncontrollably. He felt something was wrong. He wanted to pull his gaze away from the shadow sword wall. But when he blinked, he felt his sight darken. He felt a sweet tang in his throat and then he uncontrollably vomited blood.
You are really the first person in history to vomit blood just looking at a sword wall.
Gu Xichun’s mind did not immediately focus on his body after he spat up blood. Xie Changsheng and Ding Ning’s faces appeared in his mind. He imagined Ding Ning and Xie Changsheng’s mocking expressions.
His breathing grew more irregular, and he sprayed out another mouthful of bloody mist. The warm blood fell on the shadow sword wall in front of him. Small droplets of blood slowly flowed down. Several beads of blood landed in those deep and broad sword marks, dying them with their color.
Gu Xichun’s eyes suddenly lit up as stars.
On the shadow sword wall, some extremely thin but bright red lines appeared.
Translator Ramblings: Gu Xichun’s motivations are quite refreshing compared to the typical “I want power for … revenge/becoming immortal/saving the world.”