Plundering The Heavens - Chapter 71
Chapter 71: Bai Qianzhang
Translator: Myriea Editor: Nou
’’I can't learn it?’’
Fang Xing was left dumbstruck. He hadn't expected that the bearded elder would reject him with such a firm response.
The bearded elder nodded his head lightly and said, ’’Young man, you should always remember to never bite off more than you can chew. The branch you choose now will not only determine what skills and techniques you acquire, but also how you will earn extra cultivation resources in the future. For any cultivator, resource generation is the most important thing. After being in the outer court for almost a year, you should know this by now.’’
After a slight pause, he continued, ’’The mortal realm has often misunderstood what cultivators are. They believe that cultivation simply means breaking free from the barriers of the laws of our land, to fly above the heavens and swim through the earth. They think it means to live an unfettered life. What they don't know is that we cultivators have to go through so much hardship for enough resources to move even a single inch at a time. We are destined to work hard for the rest of our lives, and even a large sect supporting you will not give you endless supplies. Most of the resources will still have to be earned by yourself.
’’All the manuals I spoke about earlier have their own specializations, and they will make it easier for you to obtain resources in the future;however, the Manual of Qing-Yun Nine Swords is different. It is the sword technique that has been passed down from Qing-Yun's founding elder and the path that specializes in the art of sword-fighting, making it naturally the most powerful out of them all. It is also the most difficult to master, and the amount of resources required is three times greater than all of the other techniques.
’’Besides, after the other four techniques have been mastered to a certain level, you'll be able to benefit from their specialization to gain more resources for yourself, but there is no way of earning any resources through this one. It cannot be used to craft pills and pellets, nor can it be used to refine weapons or make talismans. Before you master its sword techniques completely, you will only be using up your resources without a single opportunity to earn anything with it. Thus, all of those who are recommended for this particular manual must be from wealthy families, or at least clans that have an abundance of resources.’’
Towards the end, the elder sighed. ’’Even from the very beginning, there has only been a handful within the entire Qing-Yun Sect to ever choose this technique to study. All of them came from affluent backgrounds, and the reason is precisely that nobody else would be able to afford learning it. As for your background, you are the sole survivor of your lineage;without any support from anyone, you will only be able to gain cultivation resources on your own and through the sect. Although you will receive ten Spirit Stones per month as an inner court disciple, that is far from enough to study this particular manual.’’
'At the end of the day, it's still about the resources...' Fang Xing thought to himself while squinting his eyes. He didn't know about all of these differences before the elder had explained it all to him. However, even though the elder said this manual was only suitable for fighting, Fang Xing wasn't going to change his mind. What technique could be more suited for him? The more powerful he was, the easier it would be for him to rob others of their resources, after all!
Fang Xing's voice was firm. ’’I will choose this. Without resources, I will just have to rob do Duty Talisman missions!’’
The bearded elder was left speechless once again. He looked at Fang Xing and marveled at how stubborn such a child was. In fact, situations like this had happened before;youngsters all have some sort of pride and arrogance, so naturally they would want to choose the most powerful and battle-oriented technique without sparing a second thought for how they would obtain the resources to support it. They all believed that after studying the most powerful manual, the money would roll in like the unceasing waves from the ocean. This was in fact a sign of immaturity born from not fully understanding the hardships involved in even surviving as a cultivator. Of these people, nine out of ten ended in regret.
The Qing-Yun Sect rule was that if a disciple managed to break through into Spirit Stage tier seven by age twenty-one, they would become a core disciple. If they didn't break through, however, or only managed to do so after the cut-off age, they would then become a sect elder. The bearded elder had only wanted to guide Fang Xing patiently along the path he believed was right because he saw Fang Xing was still so young and had potential to become a core disciple. However, if Fang Xing so obstinately persisted on choosing the wrong path with the [Manual of Qing-Yun Nine Swords], so much precious time would be wasted and he would later need to choose a new technique to study.
As the bearded elder contemplated on how to persuade the boy, the white-haired youth from beneath the ancient pine tree at the Peak of divine Epoch had been observing the entire conversation. When he saw Fang Xing unwilling to learn anything other than the Qing-Yun Nine Swords, he smiled, as if he had taken an interest in the boy. He casually picked up a needle-like pine leaf from his side and aimed it towards the Grand Hall of Promotions.
The pine leaf flew three miles before arriving at the Grand Hall of Promotions. Rays of spiritual light glimmered around the leaf until it turned into the shape and image of the white-haired youth, exactly as if he himself had arrived. There was a gentle smile on his face as he waved his sleeves and folded his arms behind him, right before he took large strides to walk inside the pass towards the three Foundation Stage elders and Fang Xing.
All three elders bowed politely to this man. ’’We are pleased to see you, the Spirit Body of our dear Shishu.’’
Fang Xing followed their gazes to the man and was startled when his [Book of Revelation] revealed something surprising. 'A single doppelganger, also known as a Spirit Body. Spirit Stage tier nine....'
'A tier nine Spirit Body?' Fang Xing's eyes were wide open as he considered that. 'Then how powerful would his real body be?'
The white-haired youth continued to smile. ’’I have found him rather interesting. Let him come with me.’’
All three elders were extremely polite. ’’It is the boy's utmost honor to receive any teachings from dear Shishu!’’
The youth then turned his back and walked towards the outside of the pass. Fang Xing was still left dumbstruck before the elders reminded him with hushed voices, ’’Hurry, it's your chance now! It is your luck that dear Shishu has taken a liking to you, so what are you waiting for?’’
Still confused, Fang Xing scratched his head before quickly following close behind.
All three elders straightened their backs only once Fang Xing and the white-haired youth had left the Grand Hall completely, right before they glanced at each other with surprise. The older elder was the first to speak with a deep tone, ’’With his status and the fact that he rarely shows himself within the sect, what does it mean that Shishu Bai wants to take the boy with him today? Did he really take a liking to the boy and want to pass all of his knowledge onto him?’’
The leftmost elder then replied, ’’It would be great news if this truly means Shishu Bai has taken a liking to him and wants to leave behind his studies and knowledge with someone within the Qing-Yun Sect. If that's the case, not only the Five Techniques of Qing-Yun, there might be an additional one....’’
The bearded elder was slow to respond, and he spoke quietly only after some time had passed, ’’Or, it may even be an Ancient technique.’’
Both elders looked at him in unison, startled.
He then continued, ’’Shishu Bai Qianzhang arrived at Qing-Yun five hundred years ago and became an idle elder an elder who doesn't actually have any responsibilities within the sect and not even the sect master knows why he chose our sect as his new resting spot. If he wished to leave, there are plenty of large clans and sects that would happily accept him with open arms and hail him as their greatest guest. Yet Shishu Bai has chosen to stay in our sect for a full five hundred years, without leaving us once. To us, he may be like a real elder of our sect, but his true identity is still that of a very important guest....’’
As the bearded elder spoke, he let out a heavy sigh. ’’Shishu Bai's background is extremely mysterious, and the level of his cultivation is even more so. Out of the entire Qing-Yun Sect, perhaps only the great grand-elder who has been in seclusion since five hundred years ago would be on par with him. Even the sect master and the four chief elders would not be comparable to him. I once heard by chance from the sect master that if Shishu Bai was willing to leave his knowledge and studies behind with our Qing-Yun Sect, we could probably suppress the other sects like Ice-Ying Palace and Ephemeral Butterfly to become the number one sect in the whole of the Chufung Kingdom!’’
The glances from the two other elders grew into that of excitement. Although the three did not have poor zi'zhi, the Qing-Yun Sect not only had a limited supply of resources but also lacked higher-ranked techniques, and so the three of them had been stuck in the mid stages of the Foundation Stage, unable to inch any further towards the late stage. If Bai Qianzhang Shishu Bai indeed passed all his knowledge to the sect through the boy, it might also bring great benefits to them as well, just through studying a portion of this knowledge. By then, let alone the late stages of the Foundation Stage, even the Golden Core Stage which would allow them to live up to a thousand years might also be a possibility.
’’But... the odds are very low....’’
Another long and deep sigh later, the bearded elder continued, ’’In the past, Shishu Bai has chosen disciples with great zi'zhi with the intention of leaving behind some of his knowledge, but they were all sent back to the sect after having their memories wiped. There were even two who simply died and never returned. We can only hope the best for this boy. Aii....’’
Shishu: Martial uncle, or the shixiong/shidi of one's martial teacher.