Volume 1, Chapter 5 – Explaining Dao Manuals at Thousand Rock Pavilion (Part 2)
Zhang Yan held the Dao manual and read it for 15 minutes, then shook his head and put it down.
Bian Qiao sneered as he spoke to Zhang Yan with a mocking expression, “What’s wrong? Could it be that Junior Brother found it too difficult?”
Zhang Yan sighed, “It’s only an introduction to a breathing technique, nothing more. This should be created by a certain senior to find some fun and is intentionally written in the Eclipse code as a game. If people were unaware of the truth about it, they would be extremely easy to fool. If Manager Bian is interested in practicing Dao cultivation, this one thinks that the Purifying Breath Classic would be more suitable for early exercise.”
Bian Qiao was startled. His face somewhat darkened. This manual’s content was indeed as Zhang Yan said, a fake Dao manual written in Eclipse code, of which could make anyone confused for a long time. He copied the manual and originally planned to sell it at a good price. Today, he just happened to deal with Zhang Yan and tested his interpretation on it. If Zhang Yan couldn’t see the truth inside this manual, he could ridicule Zhang Yan at once and make him lose face. He didn’t expect that Zhang Yan seized this opportunity instead. It was now difficult for him to intentionally make an explanation for this. He felt somewhat oppressed.
Some people in the crowd shouted in surprise, “This Zhang Yan didn’t even use a bamboo token to interpret the manual!”
At these words, the majority of people around also noted this particular detail, as it made them puzzled; why didn’t they see Zhang Yan use a bamboo token?
The reason why these people couldn’t understand was simply not their fault. Only a few filthy rich could ask some Gurus for advice. Even if they were able to obtain a copy of a Dao manual and were able to comprehend and interpret it, they have never seen someone interpret the text without the aid of a bamboo token. A few knowledgeable people who were aware of this matter were now looking at Zhang Yan in astonishment and had admiring looks on their faces.
Zhang Yan calmly smiled, said, “Manager Bian, do you need me to interpret it again?”
Bian Qiao snorted as he harshly swept the stone table and took back the fake manual. He put out another manual with a gloomy complexion. He slowly raised his hands and slammed the manual onto the stone table. He gave a fake smile, “Please, I’ll be troubling Junior Brother to explain this one now.”
Bian Qiao secretly sneered. He was also aware that the mnemonics in the Dao manual’s Eclipse code was divided into simple and detailed points. Even Hu Shengyu had to use a bamboo token when he first deducted this manual. Even if Zhang Yan was proficient in the Eclipse Canon, how could he surpass Hu Shengyu?
He had read Hu Shengyu’s original interpretation beforehand, even if Zhang Yan could interpret it, it would be certainly wrong. And comparing the two interpretations would reveal Zhang Yan’s true color!
Bian Qiao may perhaps only known Zhang Yan from a moment ago, but he also perceived that Zhang Yan’s rhetoric was incisive. Once he spoke, Zhang Yan would seize the loophole and send it back painfully. So he shall not be given the chance to talk. He just had to wait for Zhang Yan to make some mistakes and he would immediately act. He would not give any more time for Zhang Yan to speak again.
Looking at Bian Qiao’s manner, Zhang Yan knew that this manual was likely very complicated, but he did not have any fear, instead he felt greatly interested. He read it carefully and found that the manual was indeed quite difficult, but it was still within his current ability. However, he couldn’t help but feel a slight disappointment in his heart.
He recently realized that his cultivation improved after he interpreted the manual using the Eclipse’s code. Of which, made his state of mind as bright as the moonlight reflecting on the clear spring. It was so clear, that there was not even a speck of dust to be seen. His deduction speed was also faster than in the past. It seemed that he didn’t need to use his trump card right now.
After turning several pages more, he discovered that this was really a good Dao manual. He couldn’t help but suddenly think, ‘if I wanted to raise my fame, isn’t this a rare opportunity?’
As he firmly made this decision, his reading speed accelerated faster by several folds as he turned several pages more afterward and immediately closed the manual. He sat down and immediately shut his eyes.
Seeing such a scene, everyone was surprised and guessed, was the Dao manual too easy for Zhang Yan?
Bian Qiao’s eyelids slightly jumped. His judgment and knowledge was deeper and wider when compared to anyone else present, but he couldn’t help but faintly get an ominous feeling about it.
After a long while, Zhang Yan’s eyes opened, “This manual is called ‘Purifying Acupoints Chart’, the cultivation law states, ‘Opening the acupoints will awake divine sense, Soul Purifying Pill’…”
Zhang Yan recited the manual solely from his memory as he slowly explained every word and phrase. His action made the people around immediately shout out in astonishment. It was very obvious that Zhang Yan made them greatly shocked. Along with every word he spoke, his bright voice spread, the people who whispered and shouted gradually quieted down. Their minds were gradually influenced and attracted by the manual’s content that was recited by Zhang Yan.
Bian Qiao was dumbfounded instantly. He quickly shook the cord that tied the manual and unconsciously read the manual’s section being recited by Zhang Yan and compared it. A cold sweat immediately poured out from his forehead – the more he read, the more cold sweat came out.
Although the phrases and terminology were slightly different from that of Zhang Yan’s, it was obvious that the only difference was the language habits and knowledge on cultivation. The meaning was very much the same. But because Zhang Yan intended to explain it in simpler words, his interpretation was much more fluent and easier to understand. This Dao manual was only recently read by Hu Shengyu and it could be said that it wasn’t possible to have spread out yet. Bian Qiao suspected that Zhang Yan might have read the manual before.
At this time, at Thousand Rock Pavilion there was not only Zhang Yan’s voice resounding in this place but also sounds of deep breaths.
This ‘Purifying Acupoints Chart’ was a Dao manual which focused on how and when cultivators must quench their own meridians. Such an advanced law was rarely obtained and comprehended by these many people gathered here on the pavilion. When they suddenly heard the rare and advanced law being explained, everyone’s minds immediately focused their attention to carefully listen. They held their breath and listened to the interpretation as if they were being intoxicated.
Bian Qiao’s complexion instantly became deathly pale, he never thought that Zhang Yan’s knowledge was unexpectedly so deep. Once this cultivation law was revealed to outsiders, Hu Shengyu will blame him for this crime. When he saw Zhang Yan’s stance, it was likely that he would explain the Dao manual from the beginning to the end, word by word without a slight mistake. Bian Qiao was so distressed that he couldn’t hear anymore, as the purple dyed teapot in his hand fell to the ground.
With the breaking sound of the teapot, Zhang Yan’s voice also stopped. He turned, lifted his head and looked at Bian Qiao.
Everyone finally regained consciousness as looks of regret were drawn on their faces. Most people now looked at Zhang Yan in amazement as their gaze at Bian Qiao was full of resentment. Nobody knew when a series of “thump, thump” sounded in the crowd, some people in the front row shouted “ouch, ouch” and fell to the ground. It turned out that when they were listening to Zhang Yan’s voice interpreting the Dao manual, their body unconsciously leaned forward, as their chest went backward. Then, as they went back to their normal self, it was natural that they wouldn’t be able to hold their weight’s pressure and fell.
Some people among them quickly sat down and meditated on the spot, trying to perceive the newly heard interpretation to gain enlightenment. Nobody disturbed them, as the others consciously encircled them.
Zhao Ying was also listening to Zhang Yan’s interpretation. Her Qi immediately circulated and washed her whole body. She felt that she was being immersed in a mysterious inner realm, as she caught a warm sensation and could not extricate herself. She had just woken up from the trance. She couldn’t help but secretly muse in astonishment. This thief really had a profound ability. But how did her Brother vomit blood? Was it really as her Brother said, that he was too hasty? Then she really had wronged this good guy unjustly? For a while, she gazed at Zhang Yan with a complexion full of complicated thoughts.
Bian Qiao pulled out a silk handkerchief, as he then wiped the cold sweat that was pouring from his temples. He then took a deep breath, relieved. He originally thought the Dao manual would at least make Zhang Yan baffled. He hadn’t thought that Zhang Yan was formidable to this extent.
He had prepared three Dao manuals before he came here, each one was more profound than the previous one. However, he didn’t want to take the last manual out, although it was his only way out right now. Moreover, Hu Shengyu also used this manual, and if words spread out that the manual had come to light… he must step back now, just in case Hu Shengyu investigated …
Under the gazes of hundreds of people, he was compelled into this predicament as he was unable to withdraw anymore. He would absolutely lose his face today. He could only see a grim future, that these people would step on his face from now on. It was like he bumped into the point of no return!
His cheek twitched, he clenched his teeth and firmly pulled out a yellowish ancient parchment, “This mnemonic only contains 16 Eclipse codes. Since the first two were easy to explain, I presume that this one would also be easy for you!”
This Dao law was the ‘Unrestrained Water Flow Classic Verse’, although the whole mnemonic contained only 16 words, it actually implied 64 Dao laws, if one missed one of it, it could be said that he failed.
The essential point was that the laws’ secret implied in the mnemonic would consume one’s spiritual power, and was very time-consuming. It would take days to possibly deduce this manual.
Bian Qiao was staring at Zhang Yan tightly, he didn’t believe that he could get through this barrier this time!
Zhang Yan took the shabby looking piece of paper as his eyebrows twitched, which formed some wrinkles on it. He could tell that this mnemonic, despite it only containing a few words, was really profound and difficult. The Eclipse codes used in it were also exceptionally unusual, of which also hid a lot of changes that could lead to other meanings. It was absolutely not as simple as Bian Qiao had said.
He shook the thin parchment with the middle of his hand as he spoke in deep voice, “Manager Bian, this Dao law may look simple but it is very difficult, deducing this would take a lot of time. You may have to wait for a long time.”
Bian Qiao had absolute confidence in this Dao manual. He looked at the sky, now was past morning. He mused secretly, even if Zhang Yan were to deduce this manual until tomorrow, how would he do that? Wouldn’t the result still be the same? He pretended to be generous as he waved his hand, “You may do as you wish, but the limit is tonight. Or… Junior Brother Zhang, is it that you cannot interpret this trifling 16 Eclipse codes at the appointed time?”
Bian Qiao may sound generous with his words, but Zhang Yan had a rough estimation about this. Even if he said that he could understand it, and tirelessly interpret this manual, he would need at least three days time to fully interpret it.
Zhang Yan couldn’t help but secretly sneer, even if someone else came to interpret it, he would indeed be baffled, but if he used this…
He moved his hand and probed his sleeve. He gripped a piece of broken jade in his palm as he sank his consciousness into it.
In an instant, his consciousness entered a strange space.
The space was the biggest secret of this broken jade piece. In this space, his ‘avatar’ also existed. Not only was it identical to his physical appearance, even his sense and his mind were completely the same. It was like the image of his body being reflected on a mirror.
The instant his mind sank into the remnant jade, the originally motionless avatar suddenly moved and came alive as if it suddenly had a life of its own.
The avatar’s movements, such as sitting and walking, didn’t affect his physical body. They were not only independent but also shared a mind and conscious as one entity.
One of the wonderful magics that this space had was that: the time and space seemed different and was not synchronized with the outside world.
He once used this method to interpret the ancient Dao classics secretly, to purposefully measure and calculate time. He roughly came to a conclusion that, ‘one day in the jade’s space was equal to ten days in the outside world’.
With this piece of remnant jade, he had tenfold the time than other people to learn anything. It could be said that he was unparalleled when compared with anyone in deducing a Dao manual’s Eclipse code.
Zhang Yan silently looked at the time. Now was approximately 9AM to 11AM , and the marker hit 10 o’clock in the morning. If he started now until evening at 9PM to 11PM, it’d be almost 12 hours; and ten times that was 120 hours. He had 5 days’ time!
He let out a confident smile as he sat with his hand holding the bamboo token in this jade’s space. His fingers began to pinch the token as he started to deduce the Dao laws from these 16 words.
 Just in case you really want to know about bamboo token just read this
 As to why I translated the time mark like this, the author uses two-hour subdivisions used in former times in this novel, so he writes it in 6-8, 9-11 and so on. The remaining number is in between it.
T/N: These notes below are my tentative review,
The novel really contains many things about Daoism. The author must have done some research before he wrote this novel. So bear in mind that some terms/phrases will have very deep meanings, because it reflects the Daoist teaching of which needs to be deeply contemplated. Some Dao laws are unfolded in this novel. I could say that the author is perhaps very cultured or directly exposed to Daoist teaching. This made the novel quite difficult to translate.
Most of martial arts do have its own teaching, ranging from only teaching the physical refinements like movements, style etc. But most ancient martial arts teaches some kind of laws like religion’s laws of conducts, mostly it refers to inner self. And as for the manuals… some of you may have guessed… it’s really written in the form of poems, songs and ancient mnemonics. To comprehend it, not only your brain matters in this case, but also you inner perception.
We’ve made a glossary for this novel to keep the tracks of some terms/phrases. However, some translated terms might be changed in the future. FYI, the story becomes more interesting near the end of Volume 1. The story’s pace also slowly increases until Volume 1 ends.