Volume 2, Chapter 11 – Keeping Chongxuan’s Divine Shuttle, Zhou Chongju Bestows Dao Manuals
“The pureness of the Pure Qi is superior, checked!!”
This old and white-haired Daoist wrote the inspection results on the Jade Slip. He neither said anything to Zhang Yan nor had any expression on his complexion and directly departed.
Every 3 months, the Upper Court would dispatch a Master to check on the true disciples’ cultivation progress. If their cultivation was stagnant or had slow progress, under the threshold of being inspected for 3 consecutive times, the resources bestowed to them would be reduced by half. Should their results be under the passing grade for six times, all bestowments would be stripped. Lastly, if they failed nine times, their true disciple’s status would be revoked.
Zhang Yan naturally didn’t emit out his Pure Yang spiritual qi, but emitted out the Billows Cloud pure qi for the inspector to check. Although the purity of his Pure Qi could only be called as ordinary, however, this step was the most difficult to begin. H only began to practice in a short 3 months of time and has already been able to condensate Pure Qi. That meant that his progress was very significant, so he should be able to pass the test.
Having watched the Taoist deacon leaving by riding on the light, he then turned around and returned to his Immortal Cave. He looked up and was surprised to see a person in front of himself as he quickly saluted him, “This one has seen Senior Brother Ning Chongxuan.”
“Your spiritual qi is very pure, its condensation state also leaves no point of dispersing. You obviously have comprehended it by heart.” Ning Chongxuan, as always, was clad in his white robe. However, there was a slight bit of disappointment and frustration in his voice.
He was aware that the qi refinements method in the “Billows Cloud Secret Manual” was not excellent. Also, this Blessed Land’s Evil Qi was truly fierce and powerful, which rendered one only able to seize a short time to practice at night. Zhang Yan’s aptitude was not high, and he had nobody to protect and support him. But looking at his achievement to this degree, in a mere 3 months he stayed true to his Dao heart. Judging from this only, it could be seen that his will was firm and tenacious, and far surpassed his previous expectations.
But such a good character and good seedling of a disciple could not actually be pulled to his apprenticeship branch, was truly regretful.
He gazed at Zhang Yan before speaking in a deep tone, “I came here to inform you that you have been set up for the Alchemy Pavilion’s Master—Zhou Chongju—as your master. This person’s status is unique, he even took the initiative to visit my Master and said that he wanted to accept you as his apprentice. Master has given his words, and I’m also unable to stop it. However, you can rest assured that this person is not from any ancient family branch.”
Having spoken these words, he slightly sighed and said, “A human’s affairs truly are unpredictable, it seems like you and Senior Brother Qi don’t have the fate to be master and disciple.”
A trace of light flashed in Zhang Yan’s eyes before he spoke, “Listening to Senior Brother’s words, it seems that there are some hidden secrets behind this matter. I do not know why this Senior Zhou wants to accept me as his disciple?”
Ning Chongxuan only shook his head and replied, “Even if you knew more about this, it’s also useless.” He extended his hand and said, “Give me back the Divine Shuttle.”
Zhang Yan’s complexion didn’t change and took out the Divine Shuttle without hesitation. Ning Chongxuan took it and put the Divine Shuttle into his sleeve as he then looked at Zhang Yan and said, “I will personally send you to see this person. Do bear in mind that no matter how wonderful the treasures are, those are only objects that must not be relied on. So long as you firmly and wholeheartedly tread on your path, you’re not necessarily unable to reach enlightenment. Do remember this at all costs!”
He walked forward and grabbed Zhang Yan’s shoulder, causing him to suddenly feel a burst of fuzziness in front him, making him dizzy. As he tried hard to stand firm. He then looked up and found that he was already in front of a certain building’s hall with a plaque written with “The Alchemy Pavilion”, Ning Chongxuan had vanished without a trace.
When he was about to move forward, his complexion changed as he stretched out and opened his palm. It turned out that the Divine Shuttle was grasped in his palm!
Zhang Yan put away this Divine Shuttle and thought deeply for a moment as he couldn’t help but want to understand Ning Chongxuan’s intention clearly.
“Today, Senior Brother Ning took back his Divine Shuttle and gave it back to me for fear that my heart would be swayed because of success and failures. And judging from his last reminder, he wanted to tell me that all foreign objects, regardless how wonderful those objects could be, were just things which could be bestowed by others. He did this before sending me to this Alchemy Pavilion to remind me that alchemy was also a foreign matter. Staying firm in cultivating the profound cultivation law is the only correct path. His conducts were to remind me to never forget the most fundamental truth.”
Thinking about this, he solemnly cupped his hands over toward the direction where Ning Chongxuan had left. No matter what Ning Chongxuan’s intention may be, he at least had helped him several times and received his graciousness one after another. He even gave him back the Divine Shuttle. This was an extreme benevolence he had received, and a favor that he must remember in the future.
The corner of Zhang Yan’s mouth curled up as he let out a smile. ‘Whether it was Ning Chongxuan or someone behind this scheme, you were all wrong, you’re gravely mistaken for this judgment!’ He then shook his sleeves and strode into the hall.
The entrance’s main hall was supported by two Golden Woods, as big as two peoples hugging, with Lotus Flowers carved on its pedestal as it arched from the grand building to the roof. The hall had one big bronze furnace as high as a person’s height, with a light gauze muffled on top of it as a faint medicine fragrance floated from somewhere distant. Upon seeing him here, a deacon’s child immediately approached as he bowed and asked, “What does Senior Brother need in visiting this place? Do you need any concocted pills?”
Zhang Yan stood firm and spoke in the deep tone, “My name is Zhang Yan, I was ordered to come see Master Zhou.”
“You are Martial Uncle Zhang?”
The child servant was stunned for a moment and then busily exposed his smile and flattered, “Martial Uncle Zhang, please come here, please this way. This one will go inside and report to Master Ancestor.” Having said that, he hastily ran and went to the hall’s rear.
The other child servants previously did not care too much about him. They usually saw people with high statuses here, so how could they mind a disciple that visited to seek concocted pills? Even true disciples from various Immortal Caves were also polite to them. But the instant Zhang Yan revealed his identity, they were first only startled, but then were immediately aware that he was their Master Ancestor’s new apprentice. Causing them not dare to neglect him as they hurriedly approached to send respect. Some even offered fragrant tea, while others were regretting how they didn’t greet him early and missed the opportunity.
After half an hour, the previous child servant ran in a hurry, bowing and speaking respectfully, “Martial Uncle Zhang, Master Ancestor has summoned you.”
Zhang Yan replied, “Lead the way.”
The child servant stepped aside and said, “Martial Uncle, please follow me.”
Walking along with the child servant through the hall, he had crossed 3 other halls before he finally arrived at the foot of a mountain with a colorful lake. A small bridge extended out from the shore into the middle of the lake where a 3 storey building floated there. An old Daoist was standing at the edge of the attic. Looking up from underneath, some white colored medicinal pills’ powders were scattered from time to time.
Zhang Yan carefully scrutinized the surroundings and found that under that gigantic building platform, there was a strange fish with two wings, greedily swallowing those medicinal pills while issuing a mumbling and chirping voice.
The child servant pointed to the front and said, “Master Ancestor is upstairs in that fish house. Martial Uncle can continue to go there.”
Zhang Yan nodded and walked through the porch bridge and then stepped onto the stair to the fish house. As soon as he arrived, he felt the place was swaying and shaking. He then tidied up his robe and ascended the stairs to the third floor. As he quickly looked around, he found that a Daoist had been sitting in the main room.
He had black hair and a beard, with upright facial features. With a Pills Manuscript Scroll in his right hand. There was a half bottle of wine with several manuscripts on the table. He looked at it and drank it. Although he realized that Zhang Yan approached, he didn’t even spare a glance and only waved his sleeve with an expressionless complexion and spoke, “Who told you to come up, leave.”
Zhang Yan ignored him and instead looked at the Dao manuals on the bookshelves at both sides. He didn’t even ask for permission as he then walked forward to look and read one of it.
The Daoist grunted and put down the book in his hand and coldly spoke, “Do you think you can act like this just because I’ve accepted you as my apprentice? I only received you because I owed someone a favor. Whether it’s against your will or not, you’re the apprentice that has been accepted by this Zhou Chongju.”
Zhang Yan unexpectedly smiled and put down the book. He then turned around and said, “Second Granduncle, since I have become your apprentice, how could you even bear to lose me?”
“What did you call me? You… Are you from the Zhou Family…”
Zhou Chongju’s complexion greatly changed, and his facial expression turned extremely excited and agitated. First, there was anger, then puzzlement and astonishment, followed by excitement until he finally stood in a sudden movement and whispered, “You come with me.” He then pulled open a bookshelf to the side and entered a secret chamber.
Zhang Yan smiled and followed Zhou Chongju without hesitation.
After closing the door to this secret chamber, Zhou Chongju looked at Zhang Yan with shining eyes and said, “Who are you?”
Zhang Yan first made a respectful gesture, told his origin, and finally spoke, “The same day that Senior pointed me to climb up the mountain, he said that the Zhou Family had an elder that was expelled and excommunicated 200 years ago and vowed to destroy the Zhou Family. That Senior also hinted me to come here to seek shelter. He said that if I can be promoted to the Upper Court, I wouldn’t have to worry. Once I entered the Upper Court, I would naturally have the opportunity to see you.”
Zhou Chongju followed and asked, “What other words did that Senior say?”
Zhang Yan said, “That Senior said, after seeing you personally, you might also remember these words once,was it the same day when you were beaten by the duster for 3 times behind your back?”
After hearing these words, Zhou Chongju stood motionless and speechless. Zhang Yan was quite puzzled but he quickly saw his face look upward and laugh, beating his chest and spoke, “It’s really good, really good, that Senior didn’t lie to me, he didn’t deceive me.”
“I was framed by the Zhou Family’s old bastard and driven out. I was originally determined to have my revenge, but that Senior said that my foundation was bad. Even if he passed onto me his spiritual force, I had no hope to walk on the Great Dao my entire life. At most, I could live for 1000 years. Hence, I asked that Senior what should I do. He said that he will roam through the mortal world, and seek someone with a big destiny and earthshaking talents. This person would be able to grant my wish. He told me to be patient and wait for 200 years. And it has been exactly 200 years that I have been waiting for that Senior’s words to come true!”
The sobbing came along with his voice, as he then sighed and gently smiled at Zhang Yan, “Little Friend Zhang, since you are under my name, you can feel relieved. No matter who wants to harm you, as long as you don’t violate the Sect’s regulation and stray from the correct path, I can completely protect you.”
Zhang Yan bowed and said, “Thank you, Second Granduncle.”
Zhou Chongju shook his head, waved and said, “I am now not one of the Zhou’s. The both of us had been helped by the Senior’s graciousness and he wanted us to cooperate in order to free ourselves. In front of outsiders, you can call me Master. When nobody is around you can directly call me Fellow Brother.” He looked and glanced at Zhang Yang, thinking for while, he then spoke, “Listening to what you said earlier, you’re an orphan, correct?”
Zhou Chongju walked aimlessly in the room for a few steps before he finally sat down and spoke in a deep tone, “The Zhou Family’s conducts would absolutely be not simple. I can assume that they have been planning against you even before you were born. Hence, your parents and family are all dead, leaving only you alone. Also to smooth the plan, the Zhou Family tied you up with marriage. This was surely not a coincidence. Could it be that you didn’t even have any trace of suspicion in your heart?”
Zhang Yan instantly frowned. He could say that in this aspect he really hadn’t thought about that Senior’s matter in his heart. Moreover, he was not a cultivator back then. Even if he knew it, what could he do? And now, since Zhou Chongju mentioned about this matter, he simply asked back to Zhou Chengju, “Yes, I did have a lot of suspicions about it, but since the Zhou Family is too powerful, what could I do?”
Zhou Chongju patted the table, “You have an enmity and irreconcilable hatred for your parents. You can rest assured that from now on, I will fully help you. One day, we will be able to overturn the Zhou Family!”
Zhang Yan then immediately replied, “Then, I will depend on Senior Brother’s arrangements to act.”
Zhou Chongju nodded with satisfaction. He then looked like he was reminded by something as he stood up and pointed to Zhang Yan, “There is one unexpected accident that you cannot avoid.”
Zhang Yan cupped his hands over and said, “Please say it, Senior Brother.”
“The reason you come here is because of a request from my old friend, to whom I owe a favor. I had no choice but agree to receive you. However, this person is a good schemer, and he could set link after link of rings on the chessboard. This will be absolutely quite troublesome, and I can’t clearly find out what his true intentions are for now. But the point is that it must be underlying these two words about pill concocting and learning alchemy.”
Zhou Chongju then went to the side and took several books off the rack. Handing them to Zhang Yan, he said, “These books are the compilation of my hundreds of years in alchemy, of which I have altered and perfected. I could say that it would be extremely difficult for anyone to find these. Even in the Great Eastern Continent, it would be difficult to find a selected few who could have it. You bring these back to study. I won’t ask you to directly practice it in any situation, but it would be for the best to have some knowledge about it and have good preparation to guard against many things.”