Volume 1, Chapter 6 – Settle the Karma of the Family’s Past
The last of the 64 Dao laws had finally been fully deciphered at 5PM to 7PM by Zhang Yan. The interpretation manuscripts were presented before Bian Qiao.
Cold sweat began to pour down from Bian Qiao’s forehead like streaming water. He actually doesn’t understand this Dao manual even one bit, but Hu Shengyu had said personally that this manual contained 64 Dao laws. Yet, Zhang Yan’s results exactly fit Hu Shengyu’s words. This was absolute proof that Zhang Yan fully comprehended the true meaning hidden the manual.
Bian Qiao’s hands slightly trembled inside his sleeves. It was obvious that he had truly lost. However, he braved himself to speak, “This ‘Unrestrained Water Flow Classic Verse’ is very abstruse and profound. Junior Brother has really deciphered this manual very fast, but this Bian doesn’t know whether the interpretation is wrong or not, so I must wait until I meet Senior Brother Hu to distinguish the authenticity.”
Bian Qiao had obviously lost, but he acted shamelessly, not recognizing it. Seeing his actions made the crowd look at him with a complexion full of contempt and disdain. Some even shouted out a few ridicules.
Bian Qiao’s fury was like a flame burning in his chest, but he pretended not to hear it on the surface. He actually bore a grudge as he secretly mused, “I’ll let you feel proud for several days first. Just you wait for the time when I turn it back to all of you!”
Zhang Yan sneered, “So, this Dao manual will stay at my Zhang’s place, I’ll wait for Manager Bian to find out the authenticity of this manual and when you do, you can look for this Zhang later.” He quickly took the ancient parchment along with his interpretation manuscript and the pills and put it into his sleeve without hesitation. Then stood up and left..
Bian Qiao absolutely never thought that Zhang Yan would straightly leave. He got up and chased for several steps and opened his mouth to speak several times, but swallowed it down again. He thought that Hu Shengyu would have taken the Dao manuals personally. As for him, he was powerless to do so…
His complexion turned pale and gloomy. He didn’t pay attention to his footing on the pavilion stairs, staggered and almost fell down. Although there were two servants beside him to hold him up, he knew that he already lost his face. He no longer dared to stay this time as he hurriedly left, ashamed.
Even though Zhang Yan had made Bian Qiao admit defeat, he got no joy from it.
Bian Qiao was only a lowly servant, although this person had followed Hu Shengyu for many years, his eyes were cloudy and his breathing was heavy. Anyone could see in a glance that he was not a cultivator. Bian Qiao may have black teeth and a healthy body, but Zhang Yan suspected that the reason for this was because he had taken concocted pills for a long time.
One’s life was but only under a hundred years. To rush and fall over mere worldly things, wasn’t that just wasting energy over worthless matters? Obviously, even if one knew about a treasure’s profoundness, but if one neglected the fundamentals and concentrated on trivial details to only covet the trivial riches and fame at present; that certain someone was nothing but a worthless scoundrel.
Zhang Yan also heard that Hu Shengyu was a shortsighted and narrow-minded person, but he had just offended his steward. What kind of reaction would this person have?
Zhang Yan only lightly smiled. He had taken these kinds of consequences into account before, and also had planned the coping strategies beforehand.
He shook his head and threw these thoughts from his mind. He thought about today and how he obtained such a huge harvest. He now had to plan how to reorganize it. The Dao manual’s content brought by Bian Qiao was not something an average person could see, but it was not that important to him. After all, improving and promoting his cultivation was far more important.
He didn’t expect that his actions brought bigger consequences than he originally thought. His reputation had spread over the entire Cangwu Mountain within several days. Many of the three schools’ disciples came to visit him; albeit there were no noteworthy disciples among his guests.
At first, Zhang Yan patiently received everyone, but later he felt tired and found it to be extremely bothersome. He then said that he must retire and meditate to comprehend the Dao law and could not decipher other manuals. Only after he did so, did the guests stop visiting.
Zhang Yan was fiddling with the remnant jade in his hand. He faintly felt that this piece of jade had many secrets of which he was not aware of. His cultivation before was too low, therefore he could not verify his conjectures. While he wanted to try out his idea, someone knocked on his door.
Zhang Yan couldn’t help but wonder. Since he said that he was retiring to meditate, only a few people came to visit.
“Which Senior Brother is outside?”
The person outside the door shouted in a soft voice, “Young master, I’m Zhang Xi.”
Zhang Yan felt a burst of joy, “Oh, it’s you, Uncle Xi? Quickly come in.”
He quickly stood and opened the door. He saw a 40 years old man who had his head lifted up, showing his honest face.
After Zhang Yan climbed the mountain, Zhang Xi had continued to live under the mountain. 2 days ago when he received many grains, he sent a messenger to deliver some of it to him.
However, Zhang Xi’s complexion now was full of anxiety and restlessness as if he had worries in his mind.
Zhang Yan looked at his face, concerned, “Uncle Xi, the night in the mountain is very cold and tiring, why did you climb the mountain at this time?”
Zhang Xi bowed, “I haven’t seen the Young Master since March, and the wind is chilly in spring right now. I’m very worried about Young Master because you used to be weak. So I came up to see you.”
Zhang Yan gave a slight smile, “I’m a Daoist cultivator, and I’m used to the hardships in nature. Heat and cold will not have much effect on me. Uncle Xi doesn’t need to worry about me.”
Zhang Xi was looking at Zhang Yan’s eyes as he wanted to speak about something but hesitated.
“Uncle Xi, you just came. Tonight just stay here and tell me some interesting news from down the mountain. Cangwu Mountain has some beautiful scenic places. In a few days, I will also send people to bring some more grains down the mountain.” Zhang Yan could naturally see that Zhang Xi would not climb the mountain without reason. But he didn’t want Zhang Xi to be more anxious, as he then just greeted and comforted him.
Seeing that Zhang Yan was about to go inside, Zhang Xi suddenly pulled his sleeve, “Oh, Young Master, this old servant has to tell you about something…”
Zhang Yan turned his head, gently replied, “Uncle Xi, I was raised by you, you may tell me anything without reserve.”
Zhang Xi sighed repeatedly, “Master, you’ve been here for three springs and autumns in this Cangwu Mountain , and if we were to look back at the records, we can see how many people successfully entered the path to immortality. The previous old master was once a government Minister Superintendent at the Grand Cloud Prefecture. The old master had great hopes for you to bring honor to the family. You should have just read a book and taken the imperial test. That would have been the easy way for you to get rich, and maybe you could also become the Grand Cloud’s governor in this empire. It was the old master’s hopes before he passed away. How come you’re spending your precious time here?”
Zhang Yan laughed. He walked two steps as he firmly stood, stretched his fingers and pointed to the top of the wall, “Uncle Xi, do you see the poem above? It has accompanied me for three years. I may always see it, but I actually did not understand it. The scene today has been deeply imprinted in my heart.”
Zhang Xi was puzzled as to why Zhang Yan suddenly talked about poems, but since this young master has always been interested in poetry, he was happy to see that he also learned about poetry and literature. Zhang Xi looked up and read the poem inscriptions. He found that this poem was written in the early years of the Yongping era, it has been 133 years. But, since the poem was carved deep into the stone walls, it was still easy to read.
He slowly read: “The Golden Palace bleached with the bone and yellow mud from the mound, a half cup of wine offered by the people to worship the princes, at present one would feel the dream of illusions of wealth and glory, only ask the fairy if you have nothing to worry…” 
Zhang Yan sighed with emotion, “The moment I read about this fool’s paradise about the dream of illusions of wealth and glory; to only ask the immortal and don’t ask if you have nothing to worry. They really are good words, good words! Uncle Xi, you take a look at that, that is exactly the intention of my portraiture.”
The Heavens would not fail and wrong a man. He had been reborn here, and suddenly found the Great Dao of life in front of him. How could he waste the opportunity that had been given to him by the Heavens, and focus on seeking worldly riches and honor again?
Zhang Xi shook his head, slumped. His young master seems to have encountered some supernatural event as he was deeply intoxicated with this illusion of becoming an immortal. How would he listen to him? He sighed, “Young Master, your aptitude is not high, even if you insist in immersing yourself in the cultivation path to become immortal, you are hopeless, why bother…?”
“My aptitude is not high?”
Zhang Yan’s complexion slightly changed as his brows twitched and frowned, “Uncle Xi, from where have you heard this from?”
Zhang Xi was frightened, he felt that he had spoke something wrong, and was suddenly speechless.
Zhang Yan’s eyes flashed as he sighed, “Before you came here, what did the Zhou family say to you?”
Zhang Xi unconsciously replied without thinking, “The Zhou family said…”
He had not yet finished, but his complexion instantly turned white. He knew that he had spouted something that he didn’t want to convey. His lips shivered, and ‘plop’. He suddenly knelt and grabbed Zhang Yan’s robe, sobbing he said, “Young Master, the Zhou family found me. They said they know that you are here in this school and that you’re learning the cultivation path. They told me to advise you to descend from the mountain. Otherwise, you will learn about the wrath of the Zhou family. Young master, the Zhou family is very powerful, we are powerless against them.”
It was really the Zhou family who came to find him…
Zhang Yan’s eyes glinted again as he shook his head, “Uncle Xi, you were deceived. If the Zhou family really does know that I’m here, would they really have to ask you? They would directly come here, wouldn’t they?”
“What!” Zhang Xi was shocked, “Young master said that the Zhou’s really don’t know you’re here?”
Zhang Yan sneered, “They probably knew that I was at Cangwu Mountain. But this is not their family’s backyard. It is easy for them to expend the manpower and resources to find me through many means like tricking. But, since you had come here, they can naturally easily find me now.”
“Haha, brother-in-law has been on the mountain for several years, you really progressed this much.”
A long laugh sounded as a youth wearing a white martial artist robe stood in the doorway. His eyes were long and narrow, with a straight nose, a lined mouth, with an arrogant and conceited look on his face.
He gazed as Zhang Yan several times then suddenly smiled, “Brother-in-law, treading on the path to immortality is full of all kinds of bad luck, checkpoints and barriers. And you, with this sort of low aptitude, will only have a limited achievement in this path. My sister is waiting for you. Naturally you can protect and sustain your life, and even gain riches and honor. Why do you want to spend the rest of your life being accompanied by the cold dew weeds in this mountain? Just go home, and look after your parents carefully from now on. Live a peaceful mortal life for the rest of your life, a free and unfettered life, wouldn’t that be the best?”
He didn’t wait for a reply from Zhang Yan, he laughed and said, “Although you climbed the mountain secretly, our parents and all the family members know that you were misled by other people. They will not blame you. Just quickly come back with me.” His words sounded like he was persuading and admonishing Zhang Yan, but the tone, gesture, and his complexion voiced otherwise.
Zhang Yan faintly smiled and calmly replied, “Parents and family? Whose parents? Whose family members?”
The previous Zhang Yan’s experiences were really bizarre. Three years ago, when he was 16 years old, he married the Zhou Family’s daughter, Zhou Youchu as his wife. After the wedding ceremony in the hall, they entered the bridal chamber. Zhou Youchu’s whole body unexpectedly shone and was enveloped by a brilliant light. She said that she was the reincarnation of a goddess and was about to undergo a heavenly tribulation and would soon ascend to the heavens as an immortal. She also asked him to take care of her parents in this mortal world, and that she would come back after a hundred years and take him to the heavens to share a blissful life.
The teenager Zhang Yan absolutely believed her words. Although his wife was arrogant and often treated him like a servant, he still wholeheartedly served the Goddess’ parents. Hoping that someday, he would also enjoy the heaven’s bliss.
But one day, a supreme Daoist priest came to his door and sneered at him. The supreme Daoist intentionally gave him pointers and gave him directions. This made him suddenly realize that the Immortal Goddess he married was only a cultivator. Although, before the eyes of ordinary people, the two were very hard to distinguish. However, as one would say: ‘only knowing a breathing practice technique and cultivating Qi, how would she suddenly ascend and claim to be an immortal?’ How ridiculous would that be?
Zhou Youchu was originally a reincarnation of a Heavenly Jade Sect’s disciple. She was Master Lingya’s disciple. In order to have a breakthrough on her Great Dao cultivation, she had to successfully overcome a tribulation with an advanced reincarnation law. However, her current parents had bad moral conducts and she felt discontented with them. If their moral conducts weren’t redeemed with good deeds, it would obstruct her karma line. Thus, she sought to find Zhang Yan, a teenager without parents, to inherit thousands of hectares of farmland. Then, he could be deceived to foolishly spend the money and use it to support her parents. As she would then repay him with a heavenly law.
If it was not for the old Daoist exposing this mysterious scheme to him, Zhang Yan would not only have married a fake wife, he would also have been forced to desperately live and support this fake wife. Not only would he be made a scapegoat, he would also end up losing all his hopes and efforts. To have nothing in this life.
At that time, the 16-years-old Zhang Yan finally learned the truth and angrily headed straight to the Cangwu Mountain. He then took an oath to tread on the Dao of cultivation to become enlightened and to become an immortal, as he vowed that he must ask for justice.
Although Zhou Youchu’s parents in this world were direct descendants of the Lingya family from the higher plane, in the end, they were still ordinary mortals here. They weren’t aware about the profound obstacle for her and instead coveted Zhang Yan’s inheritance. And since Zhang Yan was not around for a long time, they happened to annex all of Zhang Yan’s property. Therefore, even though Zhang Yan had left for three years, Zhou Youchu didn’t even know what happened.
It wasn’t until some time ago that Zhou Youchu became aware about this matter. She was in deep meditation and used her ‘Soul Transfer Technique’ on Zhang Yan when she suddenly sensed that Zhang Yan disappeared. She felt that there was something wrong, and asked the Zhou family why Zhang Yan had been gone for three years.
What made Zhou Youchu surprised and puzzled was that she was unable to calculate and predict Zhang Yan’s destination. It was as if there was a supreme expert protecting him. Since Master Lingya had retreated for many years, she had nowhere to begin searching. Because she had no other choice, she asked her third brother Zhou Zishang, when he was coming home to climb the mountain, to find some news about Zhang Yan in all the Daoist Schools.
Zhou Zishang didn’t dare to neglect, as Zhang Yan was very important. Whether or not his second elder sister’s practice would attain achievement in the Dao cultivation, was greatly related to Zhang Yan.
Although Zhang Yan could not be found, he knew that Zhang Yan brought Zhang Xi along when he ran away. After some effort, Zhou Zishang found Zhang Xi at the foot of Cangwu Mountain.
Because he feared that Zhang Xi would refuse to reveal Zhang Yan’s whereabouts, he assigned a servant to test Zhang Xi. The fearful Zhang Xi climbed the mountain that very same night. Zhou Zishang then followed him to finally find Zhang Yan’s residence.
Knowing that Zhang Yan was really treading on the path of cultivation really made Zhou Zishang greatly startled. Once Zhang Yan successfully entered his cultivation path, the heavenly laws would naturally fall back from his elder sister, Zhou Youchu’s head. As the matter stands, her previous efforts were likely to amount to nothing.
Zhou Zishang originally wanted to directly tie Zhang Yan down, but he could sense Zhang Yan’s aura, as he could also see a layer of translucent jade on his complexion. It was obvious that Zhang Yan had already entered the Primordial Qi Condensation Realm. Although his mouth said dismissive words, his heart was somewhat surprised. Did Zhang Yan get favored and was taken in by a Profound Virtue Temple’s certain master in this Cangwu Mountain?
If so, this would be very difficult to manage.
Zhang Yan was now only a novice disciple in the Blue Ocean Sect, he could capture him easily. However, he was afraid that it would cause a sect dispute. Not to mention, Zhang Yan had climbed the mountain with a strange situation. It as if an expert was covering for him, of which he still didn’t know who the instigator was.
But since he must take Zhang Yan, Zhou Zishang decided to use soft and gentle means to force Zhang Yang to leave the mountain.
However, listening to Zhang Yan’s replied, “Whose parents, whose family”, these words, this indifference carried faint ridicules, along with a mocking tone. Zhang Yan didn’t even show a trace of fear. Zhou Zishang couldn’t help but become surprised, which made him hesitant to act. He even suspected that there was someone supporting Zhang Yan from behind; or else, where would he have such courage?
He secretly speculated that the person was likely the enemy of Master Lingya, such a person was absolutely not someone he could provoke. But, this matter couldn’t be given up at this point as he rarely descended from the mountain. It seemed that he must consult with his master and seek advice to solve this matter.
Zhou Zishang’s brows slightly twitched. He didn’t lose his temper, but he no longer tried to persuade Zhang Yan. He didn’t say a word as he turned around and left.
Even after Zhou Zishang passed through the gate and left, Zhang Yan’s complexion didn’t change from the beginning to end. But, the nearby Zhang Xi looked extremely panicked.
Zhang Yan looked pensive, ‘this Zhou Zishang actually didn’t waste any more time to continue to force me to descend the mountain, and instead backed away?’
He didn’t believe that Zhou Zishang would give up this easily. It seemed that this cheap brother-in-law of his was not a simple character. There should be more problems waiting for him!
He was very clear on the fact that Zhou Youchu wanted to create a superior Dao law, which would make him unable to tread on the Dao of immortality. It seemed that the two sides would have no way of compromising.
Zhang Yan looked at the cloudy sky outside. After Zhou Zishang’s arrival today, the pressure from Zhou family will probably come like the roaring wind and thundering rainstorm. But fortunately, his plan had already started ahead of time. If Zhou Zishang came several days ago, it would’ve been very hard to deal with.
When he thought about this, he let out a confident smile. Some of Zhou Zishang’s words were true. Treading on the path of immortality was very difficult. It was hard because it would present countless of challenges and produce many adversities. This was not the only obstacle he would find on this path. Aside from cultivation hardships, battling and killing his enemies were also among those obstacles.
If he could not even break through the shackles and cage of the past, how could he talk about the Great Dao!
 The poem is pretty hard to translate to English, however it implies to the current situation of which Zhang Xi worried to tell something to Zhang Yan about the current situation in his household. And Zhang Yan subtly uses the analogy in the poem; the golden palace (family/clan), the cup of wine for the prince (Zhang Xi to Zhang Yan), the broken dream of wealth and riches (the fool’s paradise), and worry (Zhang Xi’s anxiety)… it’s all worldly affairs… the obstruction in the path to immortality…
 three springs and autumn: in short, more than 3 years