Chapter 57 Loneliness
“As expected, this is the star cold fiendish energy.”
When that thin black crystal disk took form and embedded into that meridian point, there was a slight feeling of pain. Ding Ning’s thoughts shifted and he left behind his internal perception, opening his eyes and waking up.
There were countless kinds of energies in the world, flora, thriving, withering, wood, fire, wind, lightning, rain, thunder … there were an unknown number of energies moving. But these energies could not break free of the fundamental combinations and variations of the primal energies of the universe.
Yet in this world, there was still the energy that came from the sun, moon and stars. The star energy that came from distant stars would pass through innumerable cold and desolate spaces void of light. The coldness and size of those spaces were ones that cultivators could not imagine.
The star energy that passed through countless spaces to land on this place were usually infected with extremely yin and fiendish energy that could not be tolerated by the body of cultivators. Yet those with great abilities were able to use and comprehend means to absorb and channel the cold and fiendish star energy.
The most crucial corner of the Painting Remnant Scroll recorded this method.
The absorbed cold energy had turned into a sword. Ding Ning could sense it. With a thought, that newly formed crystal sword would fly out like a flying sword.
While it could not change with a thought like a true flying sword, because this item made from the star energy which was cold and fiendish, it was extremely powerful. Enemies would have a difficult time defending against it when it was suddenly used against them.
These twelve meridians could hold twenty four of these fiendish little swords in twenty four meridian points.
Based on the waxing and waning meaning of the cold moon, the correct method was to create these twenty four swords, and then expel these twenty four swords according to a unique seal line. When the twenty four meridian points were empty, the cultivator would absorb large amounts of beneficial primal energies of the universe to the body.
This was a method known in cultivation books, of absorbing water into empty ponds, and of gain and loss. Yet this Forefather Zhou’s knowledge and understanding was limited. He learned how to fight enemies, but not the true meaning of cultivation.
“No wonder you are the genius that set the newest cultivation record in Changling. You understood the method I told you so quickly, and you managed to condense fiendish energy so quickly.”
The moment Ding Ning opened his eyes, a spot of Forefather Zhou’s vital energy went into Ding Ning’s body. He sighed immediately when he felt the cold small sword in that meridian point.
“You are able to form this one. You will not have any problems with the other twenty three. You already have the trick. You should be able to feel the many disadvantages that this cold small sword creates to you, but there should be no problem in keeping it in your body for half a year. This is enough for you to face the Min Mountain Sword Trials.” He looked warmly at Ding Ning and said.
No problem for half a year?
Feeling the icy crystal disk seemingly inlaid into his meridian point, Ding Ning was certain it would be perfectly half a year.
Based on the wrong tactics of Forefather Zhou, in just half a year, the jade palace in his energy sea would solidify under the influence of the energies from these fiendish swords. He feared that if he fought an enemy at that time, his jade palace and celestial aperture would not flow smoothly. He would not be able to even use one percent of his vital energy.
That would come exactly at the start of the Min Mountain Sword Trials. His terrible state could be imagined if he could only rely on these twenty four fiendish swords and one percent of his cultivation.
While he thought this inside, Ding Ning had a sincere expression of gratitude on his face. He bowed deeply and said, “Thank you, Forefather, for your teaching. If you need me in the future, I will do my best.”
Each person had their own sinister designs. Forefather Zhou was in a dark mood but he had a bright and friendly smile. He said, “Young Friend, you are too polite. With your talents, in the future, the Zhou Family Ink Garden will be proud of you.”
The former privileged nobility had been extremely luxurious in their food and drink. While the Zhou Family had declined, the care they took with their ordinary ingredients was unimaginable by ordinary people.
Xie Changsheng saw that each dish in taste and color was as beautiful as a painting. Even he, who was used to the dishes made by chefs of large restaurants, couldn’t help but think that many of the present prestigious families lacked that refinement and elegance in terms of their living standard compared to these past prestigious families.
Zhang Yi, who had been wondering what opportunities Ding Ning was having, was slightly inattentive. He picked up a piece of eggplant with his chopsticks and tasted the chicken and shrimp stock as he ate. However, when he couldn’t taste the eggplant, he couldn’t help but think, eggplant was eggplant, if one wanted to taste chicken and shrimp, then they should just eat chicken and shrimp. Why waste so much effort? This shallow dish and eggplant would not be enough for an ordinary farmer in Changling to eat two bowls of rice. In the process of making it, how much food would be wasted?
One of the important reasons the former prestigious families were unable to stop the reformation was due to their wastefulness.
The most famed story was one of a prestigious family that would pour the white rice they could not finish that day into the ditch. The monks in a neighboring temple would wash the rice, dry and store it each day. When this prestigious family went into decline, the white rice stored in the temper was enough for a household to eat for multiple years.
Did true nobility and loftiness need to be exhibited through this kind of refinement?
In a flash, a truly noble presence spread from his body, containing the seal lines he had comprehend from the Painting Remnant Scroll today. The sky above Ink Garden suddenly grew slightly wet.
“Senior Sect Brother, you want to soak me with rain again? You are Eldest Sect Brother, not Eldest Soak Brother,” a teasing voice spoke from the doorway.
Zhang Yi shook and he woke up. He discovered he had accidentally touched those lines that existed in the world. He instinctively pulled back his presence. As the wetness in the sky disappeared, he looked at the person in the doorway and shouted in joy, “Junior Sect Brother Ding Ning, you’ve returned?”
Seeing Ding Ning appear in the doorway, Xie Changsheng and the others immediately grew excited.
“Senior Sect Brother Ding Ning, you comprehended?” Shen Yi was the first to speak.
Ding Ning nodded his head.
Zhang Yi was stunned in surprise.
“That is great!” He said sincerely in the next moment.
During this night, a youth of similar age to Ding and the other sat in a study deep in Changling’s imperial palace. His features were handsome, gentle and gave off the feeling of honesty and kindness. His natural gentleness and calmness were all the more valuable for the youth of the imperial family sitting like this while alone.
Of all of Emperor Yuanwu’s imperial sons, only one son had this kind of personality. He was Fu Su.
At this time, a thin booklet was open in front of him. This thin book was the Book of Talents that the Hongyang Academy had created for the Min Mountain Sword Trials. But the book of talents in front of him had changed compared to the past. Chen Liufeng, who had won against Fang Wuque, was now ranked thirty fifth, and Ding Ning, who had won against Zhou Xieyi, had risen to sixty first.
In the span of a day, many people’s positions had changed on the book of talents. But these changes and even the upcoming Min Mountain Sword Trials had nothing to do with Fu Su. The secret cultivation manuals of the Cultivator imperial palace would not be any less than the records of Min Mountain Sword Trials. Also, his mother was the empress of the Qin Dynasty, and his father Emperor Yuanwu. They were the strongest cultivators in the world. They had arranged a path of cultivation for him.
Even if he really had an interest in going to visit the Min Mountain Sword Sect, with his status, he would not need to attend any test.
Everything he had was the envy of any young person in Changling. But he was very lonely.
Just like Ding Ning and the others, many of the young geniuses were surrounded by friends, but he was alone. He was alone from start to end.
Especially after that banquet at the start of the year. That palace attendant that usually served him disappeared into thin air as though she had never existed. Nothing seemed to have changed, but he smartly felt everyone deliberately distancing themselves from him.
This kind of distance did not originate from their dislike and conjectures of him, but reverence and wariness towards his parents.
No one wanted to get caught in trouble and turn to dust.
When most of the people that had to appear in front of him held such reverence and wariness, he felt even more lonely.
While the thin book in front of him had no connection to him, he felt the changes on it were lively and spectacular. He wanted to have friends like ordinary youths, and also be lively and spectacular like them.
His gaze moved away from the book and he looked up. The majestic building outside his window looked like icy chains.
His body did not move but his mind had flown away.
“Maybe I should make some changes. Otherwise, if I am stuck here in my low spirits, this will naturally affect my cultivation progress,” he spoke as though he was convincing himself.
A warm and sunny smile appeared on the corners of his lips.
2 thoughts on “Sword Dynasty Volume Two Chapter 57 “Loneliness””
I suddenly feel like asking questions so here we go.
MC is now cultivating like 3 methods or something right?(Silkworm + the thing he found at goat cave + painting). I’m not really understanding his cultivation level. He cultivated to level 2 or 3 with silkworm, then hid it and recultivated with the 2nd method(part of why he cultivated so fast) but it doesn’t look like this third method needs to recultivate. Am I getting things really mixed up?
Did MC actually have excessive yang body(or was it a side effect of silkworm stuff) and would this yin cultivation be able to offset that or is that thinking too simply?
It says the forefather used a wrong method and if MC uses the wrong method he would only be able to use 1% of his power – does this mean the forefather is also only able to use a small percentage of his power(yet still be strong)?
Anyways thanks for the chapter!
Please allow me to explain my understanding and interpretation of the cultivation systems in this novel. A caveat – it may not be complete or is the right explanation.
Almost all current Xian-xia novels seem to have a roughly “universal” and well-defined classifications of cultivation levels (realms) with qi forming at the dantian meridian point (located ~2 inches or 4+cm below the navel). Geniuses are able to “skip” levels to fight opponents with higher realms and progression is linear and uniform. This cultivation feature of Xian-xia novels is easy to understand and compare, and is probably carried over from the gaming world. Qi-cultivators normally adhere to a single cultivation method (with possibly 1 or 2 other auxiliary and complementary methods).
However, if you read old wuxia novels or watch sufficient old 1970s-1980s movies, you will find that the cultivation classifications in the old wuxia world are not so neatly defined and are often confusing or arbitrary. The realms do not just refer to the storage of qi within one’s body but are more closely associated with the ways “primal energy” are harnessed and employed, and are very closely linked to techniques and martial arts used. A cultivator may have several cultivation methods depending on the techniques that he employs. Progression may not be linear; sometimes a cultivator may be very advanced in most areas but weak in a few others.
V1 Chp 9 explains the wuxia cultivation world as such:
“There were countless methods for cultivation in the world, and each cultivator’s physical body was different. No one knew how many sects were started, how many methods were created, and how many ways of using the primal energies of the universe were conceived.”
The chapter goes on to briefly explain how sword cultivators or refiners utilized the primal energies in their own ways.
V1 Chp 15 explains Ding Ning’s silkworm cultivation art and his progression from realm 2 class-3 to realm 2 class-1. I view this as a martial art in which the cultivator is able to generate powerful silkworm-like threads where “..Each thread seemed to be made from the vital energy realm of a cultivator realm three or above…” It seems that this cultivation art also enables the cultivator to adsorb an opponent’s vital energy as described in the chapter after Ding Ning killed his opponent on the boat.
The new sword-cultivation art that Ding Ning gleans from the painting reflects another way to channel primal energies through its own unique meridian path. Different sword-cultivation arts would have different meridian paths to harness and convert the primal energies to qi, and the quality of the sword-cultivation arts depend on the amount, quality and special characteristics of the “sword-qi” generated.
[Current widely-accepted acupuncture theories have 100+ identified acupuncture points and several well-defined channels/ paths linking groups of these points together].
I assume that the cultivation method that Ding Ning acquired at the White Goat Sect is a more general and explicit one.
An analogy is that the cultivation method from the White Goat Sect is like the cultivation of the fitness level of a sportsman. However, different sports (martial arts/techniques) require different skills/abilities and the cultivation/coordination of specialized muscles e.g. sprinting vs rowing.
Hope this makes some sense.