Chapter 52 Give Advice
Ding Ning looked quietly at the mountains, the clouds, and the water. He quickly started to frown.
Metal was heavier than water, and would sink if it fell into the water. Ordinary dry wood would float on water. Steam would rise and float high in the sky. Foul air would sink and turn into dirt.
All things in the world had their traits and their rules. The different primal energies of the universe would form everything in the world. Even the smallest of things would leave a mark behind if they existed.
A careful hunter could find the tracks of deer in the grass. An ignorant but idle child could find the marks of snails moving across grass in the morning.
The foundation of cultivation was to explore the rules of everything in the world, to feel the faint tracks left by the primal energies of the universe, and comprehend ways to change or manipulate these tracks.
Words and diagrams were used to describe these tracks. A painting scroll like this abandoned words and diagrams to draw the tracks directly.
This was a different method of description.
Compared to verbal descriptions, the Painting Remnant Scroll was like a seal or a formation. Those ink lines were seal scripts that could cause changes in the primal energies of the universe.
Most cultivation methods were connected and many tracks had patterns. As a result, powerful cultivators could deduce many things from one example. They could comprehend unknown tracks through the patterns in many cultivation records and seal scripts.
These powerful cultivators who were at a stage they could deduce tracks, when they saw a scroll like this, the first thing they would do was to search for the start. They would search for the first stroke the creator had laid down.
An explanation would have a beginning and an end. If one followed the thought process of the cultivator who left this scroll, they could more easily understand the cultivation methods contained within.
But Ding Ning was different.
Ding Ning started with the “essence.”
From his knowledge of the cultivators who had cultivated with the Painting Remnant Scroll and the presence he felt from when he stepped into Ink Garden, this Painting Remnant Scroll’s vital energy cultivation was far different to the Nine Death Silkworm.
So he did not need to waste time studying the vital energy cultivation in the Painting Remnant Scroll. He only needed to obtain tactics to use against enemies — sword moves and seals!
He only had to decipher which of these ink strokes had sword essence and represented sword marks or contained seal essences that could twist the primal energies of the universe and used to attack the enemy.
This was a difficult and even impossible thing for other people but it was not difficult for Ding Ning. But he frowned at the fact the densest part of the sword essence stopped right on the border of the missing part of the scroll.
The numerous ink lines that were just starting disappeared at the missing place. In other words, the most valuable part of the scroll to him was in the missing upper right corner. So what that upper right corner was missing wasn’t a corner of a mountain or the tail of the river. There should be something else even more important next to the light mountain.
Ding Ning knew that it should be a star or maybe a cold moon. He knew that the Zhou Family once had someone who used a sword essence like this. So this Painting Remnant Scroll should not have been so incomplete. The Zhou Family must have purposefully removed a certain part in the corner.
This missing part was his true goal in this trip.
He took a deep breath and ignored the other ink lines in his sight. He only focused on the ink lines that were full of sword essence and related to the missing part.
Time slowly passed. He memorized all these ink lines and then pulled himself away from the painting. He slowly turned around.
More than an hour had passed. Xie Changsheng and the others still hadn’t seen anything. They still were feeling dizzy after looking at the painting for brief moments.
When Ding Ning moved, they immediately reacted.
“What are you doing?” Xie Changsheng looked with puzzlement at Ding Ning. “You finished? You didn’t see anything?”
Ding Ning glanced at him and said, “I have some doubts. I will go outside to think by myself.”
Zhou Xieyi had been paying attention to Ding Ning’s expression. When he had seen Ding Ning’s frown, he thought that Ding Ning was just unable to see anything, and needed to calm himself from his irritation.
So he said, slightly cold, “Do as you please.”
“Do not waste time. Look carefully. I will return later.” Ding Ning said and then walked out of this ancient hall.
He only took a few steps outside the hall when he lifted his head and sensed the tracks of the primal energies of the universe in this Ink Garden.
“As expected,” His lips curved upwards slightly and he showed a hint of disdain, “you did not die.”
When the Zhou Family had built the Ink Garden, they put their understanding of the Painting Remnant Scroll into the building. However, they had not understood the scroll completely or had deviated slightly so the Ink Garden was unable to transform into a powerful formation.
But after many years with the natural and gradual influence of the Painting Remnant Scrolls, some of the scenery in Ink Garden had changed slightly. The Zhou Family members that understood enough about the Painting Remnant Scroll sensed and corrected their mistakes while simultaneously comprehending more truths.
This was an effective but crude and long means of understanding.
But when one was at their limit, this was the only way to advance.
Right now, feeling the essence of the entire Ink Garden, Ding Ning sensed that most parts were still filled with mistakes. The many generations of the Zhou Family only had such limited understanding of the Painting Remnant Scroll.
Yet in a corner of this Ink Garden, there was a lonely courtyard with the strongest energy.
Even though the Zhou Family could not understand or misunderstood many parts of the Painting Remnant Scroll, the Zhou Family had perfectly understood the part of the scroll with the densest sword essence.
That courtyard, located at the place with the densest sword essence on the scroll, gave off a more powerful presence than the scroll.
So the person who had comprehended that part of the remnant scroll was still alive. He had dug away the extra missing part of the remnant scroll.
At this time, that person was living in the courtyard.
“So many people have died, and didn’t even leave any traces. But you are still alive …” Ding Ning’s disdain grew even stronger inside, but his expression gradually faded to calm.
He even looked directly at the courtyard for a moment before he slowly turned and started to walk back to the ancient hall.
Xie Changsheng could feel the wind move slightly behind him. He hadn’t even had time to turn his head when Ding Ning walked to his side.
“Have you seen something and understood it?” he could not help but softly ask Ding Ning.
Ding Ning looked calmly at him and did not answer. He asked instead, “What do you see?”
“I cannot even look.” Xie Changsheng said with slight frustration, “After so long, I barely see two balls of ink which appear to be two mountains.
“If you only see two mountains, then just look at the two mountains.” Ding Ning looked coldly at him and said softly in a voice only the two of them could hear. “If you cannot even see the two mountains clearly, why be so greedy to see anything else?”
Xie Changsheng immediately stilled.
Ding Ning continued, “The two mountains are even too much. Whatever part of the two mountains you see more clearly, just look at that part.”
“This was a grandmaster who surpassed most grandmasters of the present. Even if you are a grandmaster now … you think you can see the entire situation?” Ding Ning said. Then he reached out with his right hand, placed it in front of Xie Changsheng’s face and slowly moved it across.
His right hand covered Xie Changsheng’s eyes, but there was a small opening between his index and middle finger.
As his hand moved, small sections of the ink lines landed in Xie Changsheng’s eyes through this opening.
Xie Changsheng could not detect the exquisite and minuscule energy changes among Ding Ning’s fingers, but he could use them to see multiple strokes of ink that had “feeling.”
He stopped breathing. When Ding Ning’s hand disappeared from his sight, he instinctively narrowed his eyes, put his hand in front of him and slowly moved it.
Ding Ning walked to Zhang Yi who was next to him. Zhang Yi was frowning the deepest.
“Sect Senior Brother, what troubles you?” Ding Ning asked softly.
Zhang Yi was startled and then found it was Ding Ning. He said, greatly worried, in a soft voice, “I look at the simplest section which is the top of the scroll. The lines are sparse and looked like white clouds. But the faint lines of these clouds are hard to understand. I can feel the essence but not enough … a day’s time is not enough. I may understand something in numerous months.”
Ding Ning looked forward calmly. He also looked at the clouds and said seriously, “Senior Sect Brother, you are extraordinary talented as expected and has already understood something … however, I feel that these white clouds only look like clouds. The bottom parts seem to be water that feels like it wants to go down as though the cloud will turn to rain.”
Zhang Yi’s body shuddered and his gaze did not dare to leave the clouds.
As Ding Ning spoke, his mind was focused. Those white clouds seemed to flow and turn into rain in his eyes!