Volume 1, Chapter 8 – (See at the end)
Ai Zhongwen was greatly shocked. He had thought about this possibility before, but he would never have thought that Zhang Yan was unexpectedly Zhou Zishang’s brother-in-law.
The Zhou Family was very famous in the Great Eastern Continent. According to his knowledge, for the past century, the cultivators who were in the Primordial Nascent Soul realm and above only number no more than 10 people . If Zhang Yan married the Zhou Family’s princess, then his background was absolutely not simple!
However, since Zhang Yan didn’t talk much about his origin, he naturally must act tactfully and not continue asking about this matter again.
Ai Zhongwen was now looking at Zhang Yan in a whole different view. His attitude changed greatly as he became extremely polite, compared to the first time he met Zhang Yan. As his view toward Zhang Yan changed, he acted more prudently, because he thought that Zhang Yan was on the same level as those juniors from those powerful ancient families, and perhaps even more.
Zhang Yan secretly sighed as he observed Ai Zhongwen’s reactions. It seemed that even if cultivators saw others based on personal strength and cultivation level, they also paid great importance to one’s family background origin. Powerful ancient families were now scattered into various great sects as they were firmly set on their domination and monopolization of many advanced Dao manuals. The disciples without a noteworthy background, even though they had outstanding talent, would find it hard to climb into prominence. Unless, they encountered some heaven-defying opportunity to rise.
When he thought about this, Zhang Yan secretly vowed that if one day he had risen to the peak of cultivation world, he absolutely must change this world’s status quo.
Because the two understood each other’s disposition, they were quickly engaged in a friendly discussion. Ai Zhongwen then changed the topic, “Does Senior Brother know about the Profound Mnemonics Discussion assembly?”
Zhang Yan’s looked calm as he put down his tea cup. He nodded and replied, “How could I not know? This grand event is only held every three years, and I also wanted to attend this event to broaden my knowledge. However, for the last three years here, I was only immersed in practice. Having no friends among the disciples, I didn’t attend the event.”
There were 16 great sects and countless small sects in the Great Eastern Continent. Every three years, various sects and schools would attend the Profound Mnemonic Discussion and send their disciples. Many would come regardless of their status as unknown novice disciples, outer, or inner disciple, and would then discuss their attainments on the profound Dao laws.
And this year, Cangwu Mountain became the host of this assembly.
But the reason that this assembly was named Profound Mnemonic was because of the Eclipse codes.
Since the heaven and earth had split, the mountains and the rivers on the earth’s surface had changed and evolved over millions of years. After having been changed and shaped by the sun and eroded by the wind, the earth’s surface was then filled with a myriad of things. Of which, contained profound natural laws within. Wise men throughout the ages had always been contemplating about these abstruse natural laws in nature, and wrote their insights into mnemonics throughout various ancient scriptures.
According to ancient legend, by solely contemplating the Eclipse codes in these scriptures and immersing oneself into meditation; one could enter the path of the Great Dao, and would someday ascend to the heavens.
Although it was just a saying or perhaps a rumor, it was very obvious that the Eclipse codes were the foundation of the Great Dao. If someone were to completely comprehend the meanings hidden within the mnemonics, then the heaven’s door would be in sight and open.
All the cultivators from ancient times must study the Eclipse codes first, to then contemplate the meaning behind the text, which became the guidance in their cultivation.
However, one must know that a cultivator’s cultivation advancement when using this approach was extremely slow; because one’s achievement was solely dependent on one’s own natural talent in perceiving the meanings within the Eclipse codes written in the manual.
This was the main reason behind the rising of ancient clans. Most cultivators from these ancient families didn’t use the conventional approach and began their cultivation path while being guided by the elder generations in the family. Not only would they advance quickly in their cultivation path, they would also be able to read the manuscripts left behind by their ancestors. This way, they didn’t need to waste time on interpreting the Eclipse codes in the Dao manuals, because they had their family’s masters to guide them step by step. Thus, their foundations were very solid and they wouldn’t encounter many mistakes in their cultivation path. With this approach, they could solely focus on their practice and accumulate their strength, as well as learn their family’s advanced interpretation method along the way. These were the most advantageous points which made cultivators from the ancient families rise quickly when compared to others.
This was Ai Zhongwen’s reasoning as he thought that Zhang Yan must have such a strong origin. If Zhang Yan was a disciple who came from an unknown and trivial family, coupled with his short time in practicing the cultivation path; how would Zhang Yan learn such a sophisticated interpretation method to decipher the heavenly Dao laws from the Eclipse codes?
It could be said that Zhang Yan must have learned a unique interpretation method to decipher the Eclipse codes from his family’s Masters, and perhaps had read the Dao laws detailed researches written in the manuscripts left behind by his seniors.
This grand event called the Profound Mnemonic Discussion Assembly which was being held right now was merely a competition among ancient families or sects to compare and probe their sophisticated method as well as their heritages with others. In this assembly, those sects and families could judge another’s power and resources as well as learn new methods for their cultivation path that differed from former times.
Ai Zhongwen secretly observed Zhang Yan’s complexion. Zhang Yan might have said that it was unfortunate for him to not attend the event, but his expression was too casual and seemed uninterested in this grand event. Ai Zhongwen really couldn’t read his thoughts as he finally probed, “To tell you the truth, my visit here was to originally invite Senior Brother to attend this assembly. And by Senior Brother’s proficiency in the Eclipse codes, how could you miss this opportunity to test your skill?”
Zhang Yan turned to look at Ai Zhongwen. Smiling, he replied: “Since Senior Brother Ai has invited me to go, what reason do I have to not go?”
Ai Zhongwen was relieved. He took out a bronze token and politely handed it to Zhang Yan with both his hands, “This is an invitation token, take this to the assembly meeting place.” He hesitated for a moment and put out a bottle of pills. He gripped the bottle and cupped both of his hands across the chest, “The pills in this bottle are ‘Main Spring Pills’. It is used to guide the flow of Qi along the meridians. This bottle of pills is an apology and compensation from Senior Brother Bian, I hope you also accept this.”
After he finished speaking, he didn’t wait for Zhang Yan to respond as he sent another courtesy, and spoke again, “Senior Brother Bian is also my friend. He also apologized for his rude and rash manner toward Senior Brother Zhang Yan some time ago. And I, on his behalf, ask for your forgiveness again.”
Zhang Yan mused secretly. How could he not know about Ai Zhongwen’s intention? However, previously, he had received the Dao manuals from him, and he should also act more prudent between friends with the same courtesy.
Zhang Yan was silent for a moment. He then intentionally sighed, “Such a minor matter, I already forgot about that. I also realized that I should return that manual to Bian Qiao to avoid the pressure from Senior Brother Hu.”
Ai Zhongwen lightly laughed, “By Senior Brother’s status, why lower yourself to the level of a servant?”
Zhang Yan took the ancient poem parchment out and handed it to Ai Zhongwen.
Because their true purpose was achieved, and since the time was late, Zhang Yan intended to tell Ai Zhongwen to leave. Ai Zhongwen himself felt that it was inconvenient to stay and said a few courtesy words before saying goodbye and leaving.
After Ai Zhongwen left, Zhang Yan returned back into his cave mansion. He took out the bronze token and looked at it. Even with his cultivation level right now, he couldn’t help but expose a delighted expression on his face.
Ai Zhongwen would have never realized his plan. Entering the Profound Mnemonics Discussion Assembly was exactly Zhang Yan’s true purpose. The scheming and efforts he had given these several days, was his plan to obtain the rights to enter this assembly.
However, this cultivator’s assembly was not open to the public. Even if he wanted to go, he needed a recommendation from others.
He was only a novice disciple and had no connection, plus his cultivation level was low. This was the true reason why he must show off his ability through an outstanding performance of deciphering the Eclipse codes. The fame he built from this performance was only a stepping stone to obtain the invitation and rights to enter this assembly.
Once he became famous in this grand event, his true worth would be on a whole different level.
Plainly speaking, with his present status, even if he had a good reputation and was well known amongst the novice disciples; some particular disciples such as Ai Zhongwen would perhaps come to visit him and appreciate his skills. But, those inner disciples would never pay attention to him. However, it would be completely different if he showed off his ability in a grand event like this cultivator’s assembly. Many experts from the 16 big sects would gather at this event and would witness his performances. And perhaps some of those elite disciples would become the future elders in their sects. The influence he would gain from this action would be very big and advantageous for him in the future.
Finally, when he became famous in this grand event, once the Masters in his school planned to receive another inner disciple, they would consider him first, as the main candidate.
Since his true goal had been achieved, Zhang Yan was in an excellent mood. He took out the ‘Truth Seeker Illumination Law’ manual, which was covertly given to him by Ai Zhongwen out of his goodwill, and read it.
The manual’s contents made him greatly surprised.
This ‘Truth Seeker Illumination Law’ contained tens of descriptions compiled into one bundle, which related to a method to break through to the last step and enter the Primordial Qi Establishment Realm. It could be said that this book was an extremely precious pearl.
It was very obvious, seeing that he was only one step into the Primordial Qi Establishment Realm, Ai Zhongwen intentionally sent this Dao manual and showed his sincerity.
Zhang Yan smiled bitterly. An ancient family’s foundation was really deep. Zhang Yan never dreamt that he could obtain this precious manual so easily. Through a lucky series of events, he obtained this manual coincidentally. This manual was perhaps not that precious to cultivators from an ancient family, but to him, it was simply a real treasure.
Soon, this manual made him frown.
The Eclipse code within the manual didn’t trouble him. However, there were many ancient terminologies written in the manual. The terminology seemed unique, and although Zhang Yan knew a little about it, he originally was not from an ancient family. And these terms were somewhat very difficult for him. For example, the terms ‘Qi fusion, and precise guidance’; he knew that these terms were technical terms about the flow of Qi in the main meridians and that it was related to the three ways of Qi sources within Dantian. But the problem for him was, how did he know which way this phrase referred to?
He couldn’t attempt to practice it rashly. If he was not careful, accidents would happen. So, the manual in his hand was useless for the time being.
However, he had no alternative but to practice.
He couldn’t guarantee that Ai Zhongwen’s true intention was really this simple. If Ai Zhongwen’s hidden intention was probing his ability, as long as he didn’t comprehend and understand this manual, then anyone could see his bottom line, because his cultivation didn’t improve.
If he attended this cultivator’s assembly, then sooner or later he would meet Ai Zhongwen again.
Zhang Yan stood. He walked back and forth slowly for a few steps in a random manner. His eyes flashed as he then quickly sat down and took the piece of broken jade from his sleeve.
The avatar in the jade space and his true body was exactly alike. He had tried to practice through his avatar in this space before. But, even if his avatar was practicing, his true body’s strength did not improve. Afterward, he used the jade’s space to decipher the Eclipse codes but didn’t explore the jade’s other functions any further. But, after he regained his consciousness back then, an insight flashed in his mind as he recalled that he had sensed a trace of divine light from it.
He sank his consciousness into the broken jade and realized that he could fuse with his avatar. He tried to practice in accordance with the mnemonics in the ‘Truth Seeker Illumination Law’. The first two meridian’s paths were very smooth and his Qi would flow without any difficulties. But when his Qi flowed to the third meridian’s path and circulated through his Dantian, he felt that something was ferociously awoken and he could feel pain from his Dantian. His body was suddenly paralyzed and he couldn’t move even a bit. Zhang Yan was immediately aware that his Qi was straying from the meridian’s path.
But, instead of feeling discouraged, Zhang Yan was greatly excited. This was obvious proof that his previous conjectures were really feasible!
This was only his avatar and thus, could not affect his true body. Even if he encountered Qi deviation right now, would it really cause an accident? At worst, his avatar had to practice again from the scratch! Moreover, the time in the jade’s space flowed 10 times slower than the real world. He can experiment the cultivation law within this jade’s space and familiarize himself with the laws before he applied it with his true body.
Zhang Yan had decided that after he took back his Qi from branching out and prepared to try again.
He had a new discovery. He could do this very easily.
Since his Qi could be drawn back from branching out, and it did not cause a real Qi deviation. That meant that his avatar was solely controlled by his own thoughts.
With this idea in mind, he was very curious. He attempted to directly manipulate his avatar and control its practice.
It was really true! As he changed his mind and directly controlled his avatar, it was really devoid from any Qi. It was no different from ordinary people. However, when he tried to practice once more, the avatar’s cultivation was promoted in the blink of an eye and jumped over several cultivation realms, straight to the Primordial Qi Condensation realm, returning to his true body’s present cultivation realm.
He tried to continue practicing and enhancing his avatar’s cultivation level but couldn’t. This indicated that his avatar could only evolve in accordance to his true body’s cultivation level. However, this discovery for him was extremely valuable. This meant that, from now on, even if he didn’t have a teacher to guide him in the future, he could depend on self-teaching himself to find a way into the Great Dao cultivation path!
Chapter 8 – Submerging Consciousness into the Broken Jade and Find it’s Secret 
 The author didn’t write explicitly that Zhou Family has a Primordial Nascent Soul cultivator, but from the whole context in this paragraph, I believe that Zhou Family has at least one Primordial Nascent Soul cultivator.
 意通残玉天机暗藏; Yì tōng cán yù tiānjī àncáng: Consciousness submerged into the jade and find its secret; Unearthing part of the broken jade’s heavenly secret or learning part of the broken jade’s secret, In long sentence… it’s Zhang Yan’s effort to unearth the broken jade’s heavenly secret… tianji here means top secret, or mystery secret known to heaven (archaic).