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Plundering The Heavens - Chapter 70

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Chapter 70: Qing-Yun's Five Signature Techniques

Translator: Myriea Editor: Nou

As Fang Xing recited after the elder, he could sense that the Three Rules and Twelve Admonitions were like an oath of some sort. With every word he spoke, something within his body was being taken away, and the copper lantern beneath the portrait of Yun Youzi began to grow gradually brighter. This was also the moment when he realized that in order to join the Qing-Yun Sect, a simple fabrication alone would not be enough, as one had to also leave behind their Soul Lantern.

The Soul Lantern functioned as its name implied. If one day Fang Xing were to be dispatched elsewhere for a mission or decide on his own will to go on a journey and somehow met the end of his fate, this lantern would then extinguish on its own. It was also possible for the sect to find traces of the cause of death by examining the lantern.

Fang Xing could also subtly feel that within this lantern there might be seals and restrictions that bound him to the Three Rules and Twelve Admonitions. It was fortunate that these rules and admonitions were such basic things as to never betray the sect, to never slaughter those within the same sect, to not consort with those from the dark sects, and to not kill without a good purpose. All of these things were basic principles for joining any righteous sect, to the point that no one knew if anyone actually followed it strictly to the letter.

Fang Xing felt that if everyone of the Qing-Yun Sect truly followed the teachings of the Three Rules and Twelve Admonitions so strictly, Xiao Jianmin would not have wiped out the entire Guiyan Valley without at least questioning the rights and wrongs of his actions. Although there had been plenty of villains within the bandit nest, there were still those who were innocent and hadn't deserved death as their punishment.

Once the recitation was finished, the elder in the center took out a green jade slab seven inches long and four fingers wide. He nipped a small flame from the Soul Lantern before making a hand seal that sent the flame into the jade, and a wave-like pattern immediately formed atop the surface with numerous cloud shapes surrounding the symbol ’’Xing’’. Once the process was complete, the elder passed it over to Fang Xing. ’’From today onwards, this jade tablet will represent you. It is a symbol of who you are;do not misplace it.’’

Fang Xing accepted the jade tablet while reflexively checking it with the [Book of Revelation]. It was actually a basic spirit tool that not only allowed for personal identification, but also contained the entire map of the Qing-Yun Sect and had a voice storage ability similar to that of the Recollection Talisman. Furthermore, the jade tablet was linked to Fang Xing's Soul Lantern, allowing him to use it to request the sect's help in times of danger.

Fang Xing nodded his head with satisfaction. This treatment compared to before was indeed very different;even the wooden block had been exchanged for a tablet made of jade.

The leftmost elder the one with the beard was the one that had been guarding the Grand Hall ever since the beginning, and he signaled for Fang Xing to come over to him. In front of the copper table and situated beneath the grand portrait sat five manuals. The bearded elder looked to Fang Xing and asked, ’’Now that you've become an inner court disciple of our proud Qing-Yun Sect, you can choose one of the five branches of mastery. Each branch has their own signature techniques that will help you reach your ultimate goal. Once you have chosen a particular branch, these techniques will become the foundation for your path of survival within the realm of cultivators. Consider it well and let me know which branch and technique you would like to learn.’’

’’The Five Techniques of Qing-Yun?’’ Fang Xing's spirit soared, for he had been anticipating this moment. Without any delay, he focused on the manuals atop the copper table, and the [Book of Revelation] automatically activated itself to fill his mind with an abundance of information.

'Manual of Prosperous Twin Trees. Mid-tier Principle technique. For the sake of longevity, to accumulate falling rain into a pool...

'Manual of Million Talisman Genesis. Mid-tier Principle technique. For the creation of uncountable talismans, to comprehend the golden talisman...

'Manual of Earthen Sovereignty. Mid-tier Principle technique. To communicate with mountains and streams, to understand the theories of formations...

'Manual of Qing-Yun Nine Swords. High-tier Principle technique. To transform into a blue cloud[1], to interact with divinity through the sword...

'Manual of Blue-Flame Grand Smithing. Mid-tier Principle technique. To cultivate blue fire, to refine true gold...'

The manuals' main alignments and individual uses had flown across Fang Xing's mind within moments, causing him to grow even more excited. Although he had known long ago how great the [Book of Revelation] was, it was his first time seeing manuals of such caliber, as well as the first time using the [Book of Revelation] to appraise such wondrous ancient manuals he would have never had the chance to even get close to in the past.

Additionally, Fang Xing was also notified of something else after seeing the manuals. Each and every skill and technique was categorized as being in the upper or lower strata. The upper stratum included the ’’Dao’’[2], ’’Heaven’’, and ’’Immortal’’ ranks, while the lower stratum included the ’’divine’’, ’’Ancient’’, ’’Principle’’, and ’’Base’’ ranks. There was an uncountable number of techniques spread throughout these ranks, and the difference between the ranks even those within the same stratum was like heaven and earth.

The techniques in these five manuals all belonged to the Principle rank, but they didn't all share the same tier. Who would have imagined that the mysterious and powerful Qing-Yun Sect and its so-called ’’signature techniques’’ were only at the Principle rank, considered as the second worst overall? Just how much more powerful would the higher-ranked techniques have to be for them to have such a reputation, then?

When the bearded elder saw Fang Xing completely immersed in gazing at the five manuals, he believed it was due to indecisiveness. This was typical of the outer court disciples when they first joined the inner court, as these manuals were all extremely difficult and powerful;at first sight, most disciples would only feel a sense of timidity. These manuals looked obscure and marvelously profound, after all, and it was therefore only too common for the disciples to ponder for a time before the elders offered some words of advice.

’’Fang Xing, let me tell you that these five techniques not only affect how you will increase your cultivation level, but are also responsible for your well-being and how you will generate resources. See this Manual of Prosperous Twin Trees, for example;it will teach you how to be familiar with spirit herbs and their growth, as well as how to then use them for medicinal purposes. This is an extremely useful technique to master if you would like to one day craft your own pills and pellets, and would be akin to having an extra set of helping hands on your path of cultivation. Those at the Danxia Valley would usually choose this manual. Would you like to as well?’’

Fang Xing was brought back to the present by the elder's words. He looked at the [Manual of Qing-Yun Nine Swords] before quickly shaking his head. ’’You mean like farming? No way!’’

For Fang Xing to describe the [Manual of Prosperous Twin Trees] as ’’farming’’ had the elder shaking his head with bitterness.

Under normal circumstances, the elders were the ones who decided which technique a newly promoted disciple would study, and they would determine the most suitable for that particular disciple by taking into account their zi'zhi and demonstrated capability. Furthermore, rejection was not typically permitted. However, even though Fang Xing had ordinary zi'zhi, he was after all the first new outer court disciple to enter the inner court, and so he was given the privilege of choice.

The elder patiently pointed to the [Manual of Million Talisman Genesis] and continued, ’’This manual involves the study of forming talisman from all things, and by following the theories contained within, you could create endless possibilities. Later on, you would even be able to inscribe seals onto spirit tools and weapons, or you could focus on crafting specific talismans in exchange for cultivation resources. However, in order to study this branch, you will have to be highly proficient in calligraphy. Would you like to study this?’’

Fang Xing continued to shake his head. ’’I get a headache whenever I write anything, so no way!’’

The elder was speechless as he pointed to the [Manual of Earthen Sovereignty]. ’’This focuses on the flow of mountains and rivers. Using divination, it becomes possible to understand the causality of this world and all of its matters. You would eventually be able to create and form formations and trigrams, to the point that if you chance upon an abandoned cavern estate, you'd be able to use your knowledge to counter and break their protective formations in order to obtain great fortune. Would you like this one?’’

’’No way. I can't even use an abacus;how do you expect me to be good at divination and trigrams?’’ Fang Xing replied.

The elder was once again left speechless as he glared at Fang Xing. Emotionlessly, he pointed to the [Manual of Blue-Flame Grand Smithing]. ’’This manual focuses on cultivating spirit flames that are strong enough to melt even the toughest of metals. It involves forging weapons and tools and is also one of the best branches to join to make a profit within the realm of cultivators. Are you willing to learn this?’’

Fang Xing gave a cheeky grin. ’’A blacksmith? Not a chance!’’

The bearded elder clearly lost his patience and slapped his palm on top of Fang Xing's head. ’’So it's 'no' to this, 'no' to that, what do you want to learn, then?’’ he scolded. Although the slap was not at all forceful, it did show he was on the verge of losing his temper.

And yet Fang Xing was still grinning broadly despite this.

After being brought up in the ruthless bandit nest, Fang Xing had learned to make good use of his instincts, especially when it came to determining how dangerous somebody was. In a way, it could also be seen as a method of figuring out the level of hostility someone had towards him. It was far more advanced than merely observing someone's facial expression and body language;it was an accurate prediction that relied upon instinct. Through this, Fang Xing could figure out who was dangerous and who was not without solely relying on a measurement of their cultivation level.

When Fang Xing first saw Xu Linyun and exchanged a few words, he felt that even though she was cold and proud, she still listened, especially when it was reasonable. Someone who listened to reason presented a lesser risk, and even though Xu Linyun had a high level of cultivation, Fang Xing therefore wasn't particularly scared of her. It was the same thing for this bearded elder;Fang Xing could feel that this elder was someone who didn't bother with such trivial matters.

Since the bearded elder had finally asked, Fang Xing broadened his smile and pointed right to the middle, at the [Manual of Qing-Yun Nine Swords]. ’’I want to learn this one!’’

Fang Xing was not stupid. Judging from the [Book of Revelation]'s appraisal, only the [Manual of Qing-Yun Nine Swords] was a high-tier technique while the remaining four were all only mid-tier. It was only natural that he would want to learn the best of them all.

Unexpectedly, the bearded elder glanced at the [Manual of Qing-Yun Nine Swords] and shook his head with a light sigh. ’’That is something you cannot learn.’’

NOTES

[1] blue cloud: The ’’Qing’’ in ’’Qing-Yun’’ also means blue (or a slightly green-ish blue color in modern context), and the ’’Yun’’ in 'Qing-Yun' means cloud. Hence it could be said that the clan was perhaps named after its most powerful signature technique: [Qing-Yun Nine Swords].

[2] Dao: The underlying principles of the universe by which it operates. To achieve Dao is to effectively be in harmony with the natural order of the universe and what it represents.



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