Volume 1, Chapter 18 – The Grandmaster Passes the Dao Manual; With the Hidden Messages Within the Cauldron.
Hearing the child servant’s words, all the disciples’ reacted differently, but no one actually moved.
Zhang Yan was unsure whether this servant’s words were true or false. He could not rashly believe it. Lin Yuan and his companions were skeptical, yet very anxious. They didn’t know if the Three Grandmasters, aside from sending this child servant, made any other arrangements? Suddenly, they just stood frozen in place, not daring to forcefully act.
The child servant seeing that no one was moving, immediately lifted the duster jade token in his hands, shouting, “I carry the Grandmasters’ token here, where is Zhang Yan? Why don’t you quickly step forward?”
Seeing the duster, all the onlookers’ complexion greatly changed.
Lin Yuan’s complexion turned ugly and grim. He could see that the duster was truly Grandmaster Shi Shoujing’s token – the ’Long Life Duster’. Defying an order from this token-holder was the same as defying the Grandmaster and was considered as a big crime.
The duster was also a sacred token representing the Lower Courts’ Grandmasters. Once it was used to attack, nobody could resist the duster’s power.
The child servant’s expression was also tense. Although Grandmaster Shi Shoujing had passed onto him the method to control this duster’s power… however, because his Qi was very limited, he didn’t know if he could control it or not. It was very fortunate that this duster was very famous and was enough to provide sufficient deterrent effect for these people.
Finally, Lin Yuan decided to draw back and left. He didn’t dare to challenge the Grandmasters’ command. He gave a signal to the other disciples to leave. Chen Lan also knew that today, they had no means to take Zhang Yan. Although they were unwilling, they had no other ways. He only bitterly waved his hands resentfully, letting everyone open the way out.
The stalemate was finally lifted.
Zhang Yan, seeing that the people were gradually dispersing, acted like nothing happened. Even if he was not afraid of what was about to happen, he secretly kept his alertness.
He quickly approached the child servant, “I’m Zhang Yan…”
“You are Zhang Yan?”
The child servant was relieved. The depressing atmosphere here almost made him suffocated, making it hard for him to breathe. He didn’t dare to stay here for long and quickly spoke, “Zhang Yan, quickly follow me to the Grandmasters’ Hall!”
Lin Yuan could only helplessly look at Zhang Yan following the child servant as they departed. Some regrets and resentments filled his heart.
Originally, he planned to use words to contain Zhang Yan. Had Zhang Yan obediently followed his words, they could do anything to him. But if Zhang Yan resisted, of which they previously had hoped, they could directly kill him on the spot and let the future matters be dealt with later.
He never thought that by only a slight delay, the child servant’s arrival had saved Zhang Yan. Had he known about it beforehand, he should have just directly killed Zhang Yan right away!
At this time, a ‘humph’ voice sounded behind their backs. Everyone looked back. The moment Zhang Yan was leaving, Hu Shengyu’s grip was loosened as Ai Zhongwen then took the opportunity to get away from his hand. Ai Zhongwen stepped back and let out a grim laugh, sneering, “Today Ai Zhongwen has experienced the kindness given by all the senior brothers here, I will take note of this!”
Lin Yuan and the other three disciples were looking at each other. As Chen Lan was about to say something, Lin Yuan waved his hands to stop him, “The situation is uncertain right now. We will discuss this matter again later and wait for the Grandmasters’ arrangements.”
Chen Lan tried to open his mouth several times, but in the end, he didn’t say anything.
And Hu Shengyu, who nobody could guess what he was thinking about on this matter, was standing on the side with his eternal gloomy and cold expression.
The Profound Virtue Temple’s Hall was located at Grand Consciousness Peak, one of the main peaks in Cangwu Mountain. Although Zhang Yan was a disciple under the Profound Virtue Temple, this was his first time visiting this place.
After entering the gate, he had no time to observe the landscape in the surroundings, as his heart speculated about this summons.
He had successfully forced the Vast Origin Sect to draw back. It could be said that he had done a meritorious deed for the sect. So, the Lower Court should accept him as an outer disciple as the reward.
But he also realized, various parties’ interests were involved here. Even with such a result, his future may not necessarily be smooth and free of problems.
He also realized, that treading on the path of the cultivation world; how could there be no twists and turns? Today, he fully realized that he successfully got here, fully indicating that the path to the Great Dao could only be opened if he were up to the challenge and struggled to move forward. He had no chance to be indecisive or even overcautious about many things.
They had passed through the three halls as the child servant then led him to the Grand Hall, “Brother, please wait here, I’m going in to report first.”
Zhang Yan nodded. The child servant quickly entered the hall and then came out after a short while, “Brother, the three Grandmasters summon you!”
Zhang Yan tidied up his robe and hair. He then walked and entered straight to the Grand Hall.
This Grand Hall was called the True Crossing Hall and was built on the highest ground on Grand Consciousness Peak. Four big copper pillars supported the building and the red-crowned cranes engraved on the pillars pressed a huge mysterious tortoise that was carved on the stone floor.
A copper incense burner was placed in the middle of this Grand Hall, as interlocking brackets were hanging above. The wall was painted with a mysterious door, with various figures depicting Gods and Immortals. If one were to carefully examine the interior here, he would discover that there were also faint and vague clouds and mist shrouding the Hall, giving off a mysterious and profound phenomenon.
Three old Daoists were sitting on the meditation mat on a three-story platform. A white-haired Daoist in the middle was exactly the Profound Virtue Temple’s Grandmaster – Shi Shoujing. As for the Daoist on the left and right, they were respectively the Ethics Academic Temple’s Grandmaster – He Shouxuan, and the Great Tranquility Temple’s Grandmaster – Zhen Shouzhong.
When Zhang Yan entered the Grand Hall, Shi Shoujing’s deep and vast sea-like aura immediately aroused his intention. Zhang Yan had once felt this sensation from Zhou Zishang. At that time, it was very faint and he couldn’t clearly sense it. But after he had interpreted the Star Steles’ engraved texts, it was as if his spiritual sense became sharper and was in a constantly alert state.
He stepped forward several steps and saluted, “Novice disciple Zhang Yan has seen the three Grandmasters.”
Shi Shoujing slowly said, “Zhang Yan, you have been on this mountain for three years, right?”
Zhang Yan replied, “Yes.”
Shi Shoujing only let out a word, “Well…” paused a second and continued, “You have a profound insight into the Eclipse text, I want to ask you, where have you learned your interpretation method?”
Zhang Yan truthfully replied, “Half is a gift from the heavens and half is artificial.”
Shi Shoujing was startled. He smiled and spoke, “Good answer, ‘half is a gift, half is artificial and manmade’…. your answer could also mean that the heavens come first then the human comes after the heavens exist. However, without the blessing from the heavens, what could a human do? Your comprehension is really deep.”
Zhen Shouzhong, the Ethics Academic’s Grandmaster who was sitting on the right side, who was motionless since Zhang Yan’s arrival, suddenly opened his eyes and spoke, “Zhang Yan, you can go out now!”
This action was quite unexpected. What made it even stranger was that Shi Shoujing was also silent.
Zhang Yan respectfully saluted and slowly went out. His complexion didn’t change and was tranquil as usual.
Other people would perhaps become confused and even feel disturbed after blatantly being ordered to withdraw like this, but Zhang Yan’s expression from the beginning to end was calm as he usually had it.
Shi Shoujing secretly nodded.
“Brother Shi, your decision to promote Zhang Yan into the Lower Court’s outer disciple, is it really appropriate?” Zhen Shouzhong prompted his doubts. It seemed that he was questioning Shi Shoujing’s intention about Zhang Yan’s matter.
Shi Shoujing smiled lightly, “Brother Zhen, you also have seen his talent in deciphering the Eclipse codes before. He alone dared to fight back the Vast Origin Sect at Clear Sky Peak. His perception and his courage have raised his reputation sharply. If we don’t promote him, many people will criticize and denounce my Profound Virtue Temple and say that this school hinders the advancement of its own disciple’s cultivation path. And because I am the one who is responsible in this Lower Court, my actions would shame our sect. Our sect could also be rumored to not appreciate and cultivate our talents properly.”
Zhen Shouzhong replied, “From my observation, Zhang Yan has a good character. However, he only has an average aptitude. His future achievements will be limited. For this reason, we actually have to offend various disciples from many prominent families. I’m afraid that the gains wouldn’t equal to the losses!”
“Anyways,” Shi Shoujing calmly smiled and shook his head, “Brother Zhen, I will send and test Zhang Yan with the ‘Impurity Purification Cauldron’. What do you think?”
Zhen Shouzhong’s eyes flashed when he heard it, and quickly replied, “If so, it’s a good idea.”
The previous child servant approached Zhang Yan who just went out from the hall and spoke to him, “Brother, please come with me.”
Zhang Yan’s heart moved. He quickly followed the child servant to the building next to the Grand Hall.
After the child servant left, he observed the surroundings. Although the place was very clean, it was desolately silent. It seemed that this place had long been uninhabited.
However, he didn’t care about it as he then calmly sat down on the meditation mat and quickly meditated.
He didn’t know for how long he had been meditating. Shi Shoujing had been sitting in front of him on the meditation mat when he opened his eyes. Zhang Yan was surprised, he immediately stood up and saluted Shi Shoujing respectfully, “I didn’t see Grandmaster Shi arrive, disciple is disrespectful and rude…”
Shi Shoujing only let out a warm smile. His attitude was absolutely different from just now, “You don’t need to be so tight, sit!”
Waiting for Zhang Yan to sit back down, Shi Shoujing waved his duster and finally said, “Zhang Yan, do you know why I called you to come here?”
“Disciple thought about that all night and day, it should be related to my enrollment into the Lower Court to become an outer disciple.”
Shi Shoujing chuckled, “You are actually very confident.”
Zhang Yan felt that Shi Shoujing’s intention was very obvious. Such being the case, why conceal it? So he didn’t mince his words.
Shi Shoujing said, “Sit closer.”
Zhang Yan went forward several steps. After he was three feet away from Shi Shoujing, he sat down.
Shi Shoujing carefully scrutinized his eyes, “Your aptitude is only average. Even if you insist on continuing to tread on the Great Dao, your achievements will be limited. However, your talent in comprehending the Eclipse codes is outstanding. With only this aspect, you may perhaps find your way out through this obstacle.”
He took out the manual from his sleeve and handed it to Zhang Yan, “Take this.”
Zhang Yan didn’t ask what the manual was, he got up and respectfully received it.
Shi Shoujing spoke in a serious manner, “This Dao Manual has superior laws and methods to open the acupoints’ gates and meridians. However, there are many subtle and meticulous branches containing within. If you are careless, practicing it could destroy your cultivations’ foundation. But, I have taken a view and analyzed this manual’s content… it’s really a first class and authentic ancient manual. So I cannot bear to discard this manual. I’m now handing this manual over to you. Whether you want to practice the laws described within it or not, it will be your decision to make.”
After he finished what he wanted to say, he waved his duster, closed his eyes and said, “I have told you what needed to be said, you can go now.”
Zhang Yan quickly got up and asked to be excused, he slowly walked toward the door. Just when he was stepping out from the door, the child servant bowed to him, “Congratulation to Senior brother.”
Zhang Yan was startled, “Eh, why do you say that?”
The child servant replied, grinning, “Senior brother perhaps doesn’t know about it yet. Grandmaster Shi had just decreed. You are the 13th Outer disciple of the Profound Virtue Temple.
Zhang Yan took a deep long breath. He basically had put all efforts and wholeheartedly strove for this. But in the instance he really heard the news, his heart was stormed with mighty waves.
He cupped his hand toward the child servant, “Thank you, Junior brother.” He also quickly took a Mainspring Pill and handed it to this child servant.
The child servant’s eyes shone in an instant. He knew about this rare pill, he looked around and carefully received it.
He also approached again, whispering, “Grandmaster Shi had also said some ‘worthless goods’ would be sent to your cave mansion. I have sent many brothers to send these goods to your place. You don’t need to worry about that.”
Zhang Yan secretly smiled. Listening to this child servant’s tone and observing his expression… these ‘worthless goods’ should not be so easy to move and carry away. Had he not given a MainSpring Pill to this child servant, he perhaps would have to carry those goods himself.
“Ah, I’m really sorry to trouble Junior brother like this.”
The child servant replied happily, “No problem, no problem… for you Senior brother, it’s really alright.”
Zhang Yan didn’t directly return back to his cave mansion from this Profound Virtue Temple’s Main Hall. He turned around twice in a circle until night came. He was confirming that nobody was tracking and stalking him. After he was convinced that nobody was snooping around, he then quickly went back to his cave mansion.
When he pushed his cave’s door open, he quickly looked around and saw that a big bronze tripod cauldron was standing there!