STATE OF HAN
Both mountain and water face sun, hence the name of Xianyang. The scenery is beautiful like paintings, it possess many abundant products from the state of Wei.
It is also a key position in central are to the northwest of Aeropa.
It is a city steeped in history of ancient dynasties. One can even say it is the natural museum of Aeropa civilization.
Xianyang is the birth place of Eresian history and culture after their banishment from Midgard, and starting place of Han dynasty and culture.
Emperor Luo Xiu chose Xianyang as its capital, and made Xianyang the first ancient capital of Aeropa after Han falls in Midgard.
18 Tombs of the Han Emperor is in the city of Xianyang and was preserved even after Song Taizu becomes Emperor of the Song dynasty.
Charles marvels at the history, his teacher ponder longingly into the sky. Charles, in this couple of month has changed.
In mind and body.
With the training he has subjected himself to, his body is sturdy and his mind becomes even clearer.
Now, that he knows he needs to master the Heartless Sutra to maintain his longevity, Charles felt both relived and pressured.
Relieved because he was spared of a fate not knowing what kills him, not knowing why he died, Charles could not accept that.
Pressured because he knows if he could not master the Heartless Sutra, his life will be cut short.
One day, a thousand autumns, his mentality and his disposition also changed. Looking at the back of his teacher, the Purple Fairy Ziyan walk through the mountain trails without any showing of tiredness, her movements was graceful and elegant.
Energy was contained in her lithe little body; her long black hair flowed over her shoulders, straight and glossy.
Her lips were pink and vibrant showing the charm of a young woman. She was fifteen when she battles Charles uncle, now she is twenty five but her face doesn’t seem to age.
Charles wondered what is the entanglement between his teacher and his uncle that for a decade she was not able to forget?
Shaking his head, he tries to forget his thought and keep following his teacher while at the same time practicing the First Move of Twelve Steps of Heaven.
Since it is only the first move, if one sees from afar one could see that Charles is walking in a weird way, such that it could elicit laughter from the surrounding.
Charles is only thankful that people rarely frequent this Mountain to the top and rarely that comes to this mountain at dawn.
Ziyan sometimes chuckle looking at Charles but she did not mock him. She just let him train and sometimes even offer pointers.
‘Inject energy to your feet. Feel the cold air.’
For a normal practitioner the heat has to travel down to the feet area and then to cover the feet and enable a person to do the actions of the Twelve Step of Heaven.
But for Charles who has a different body constitution, his training is a little bit different. It was this way they travel the mountain, Charles practicing his moves, The Fairy instruct him.
Sometime as they travel to the top, they would see pagodas around the pond in the mountain rail.
The people inside the pagodas are all Jianghu people, and they all seem to training on the Mountain.
They also all seems to respect the Purple Fairy and even her suitors are waiting for her.
It was then that Charles knows why these pagodas are built in this mountain and why there are so many Jianghu people is here.
Since his teacher always comes here in the openings of spring every year, these people must have thought to court her during these moments.
From what Charles has seen his teacher is a pretty private person, a woman that is hard to meet.
‘HEHEHE’ Charles chuckles and laughed looking at his flustered teacher expression every time someone offers her a present or gifts.
‘What are you laughing at?’ Ziyan said glaring at Charles and Charles found it wise to shut his mouth.
Through all his experiences, they are moving closer to the Divine Immortal Peak.
As they come closer to the top the air becomes a bit colder and refreshing.
Charles takes a deep breath and smiles joyfully, unrestrained and carefree, like he has no burdens in the world, detached from the worldly ways and wiser than his age.
Reminded of the Earth he left behind he sighed and smiles, and his smile was him letting go of the past.
The maple tree was beautiful and lively, the two figures move quickly to the Peak while enjoying the scenery.
Reaching the top Charles quickly spotted a Pavilion. Etched on top of the Pavilion entrance it wrote Pavilion of Immortals.
And there was an old man with white hair and white long beard on his chin sitting in front of a weiqi board inside the Pavilion.
His white hair is long and blown by the wind, his demeanor is nobly and carefree.
From the top one could see the glorious view of the city of Xianyang, the wind is blowing calmly and gently, the air is cold and refreshing.
Yet the old man pays the view and the matters of his surrounding no mind and was looking intently at the weiqi board.
He then looks at Ziyan before laughing and tap the weiqi board with one of his fingers.
Gust of wind was formed and the weiqi stones flew to the air before landing respectively to their bowls
Charles was shocked. This kind of display of internal energy control shows that this old person is a very powerful martial expert.
‘Master’ Ziyan remarked and bow respectfully before glaring at Charles.
‘Greet your grandmaster’
Charles stands upright and bowed in respect. This man is Ziyan master. It means that this man is also the current Patriarch of the Jade Palace Gate
‘Charles greets Grandmaster.’ The old man smiles and nodded but he pays Charles no mind, more like ignoring him.
‘Ziyan, still waiting? After all of this years? Even abducting his nephew.’ The Old man was shaking his head, clearly disappointed.
Charles was shocked.
How does this old man knows about his relation with Uncle Lancel?
But Ziyan was not.
The State of Han belongs to the Luo family but it also partly belongs to the Jade Palace Gate Sect in as certain sense.
Many of the generals that guard the borders of Han are the honorary disciple of Jade Palace Gate and the royal family of Han state owes many debt of gratitude towards the people of the Jade Palace Gate.
There is nothing that happens in the state of Han without his Teacher not knowing about it.
‘You accept a boy of such origin as your disciple, this is intriguing’ and the old man still sitting inside the Pavilion, open up his palm
The harmless looking old man suddenly seems to possess an imposing disposition and intimidating authority.
It was like a dragon being awoken, and energy roiled out from him as the clouds in the Peak of the Mountain even show slight movement like it was being repelled by this force coming out of the Old Man.
Old Immortal Ziyan shouted in anger and dash forward with her sword coming out of her sheath and resplendent light filled the mountain peak.
But the Old Man did not even panic as he uses his other hand to tap the floor of the Pavilion.
It was a gentle tap but energy ripples from the Pavilion and the bowls of weiqi stones was stirred as one of the stones float to the air.
And then the Old Man blows his breath to the floating weiqi stones and the weiqi stones were like a bullet as it darted through the wind and deflect the powerful momentum of Ziyan attack, forcing her to somersault backward and looking at her teacher with a hint of worry.
All of this happens in a matter of second and by the time of that clash ended, Charles found his head under the palm of that old man.
‘Grandmaster, what are you doing?’ Charles hated this, the feeling of powerlessness. Knowing that his life is under the Old man whims.
But he managed to control his anger and shows no fear instead calmly asking the Old Man what he intend to do with him.
The Old man did not reply his question but instead choses to inject internal energy inside Charles body and then a hot energy poured from the Old Man Palms and the heat travels from head and suddenly was stopped in his dantian and the Old Man looked at Charles with a n incredulous expression and smiles meaningfully.
Ziyan knows that smile. It means this is a complicated matter.
‘A Poisonous Extreme Yin body. So, that’s why. Hmm…this is troublesome’ then he immediately releases Charles as Charles was flung back through the air but Ziyan jumped and quickly receive Charles in midair
Charles was dumbfounded but he spoke nothing.
‘Hmm’ the Old Man contemplated before sighed.
‘Life is long’ he said before heaving a long sigh and his disposition becomes carefree again.
‘I am called Old Immortal Li.’ The Old Man said.
‘From now on, you are one of our own. And we Jade Palace Gate Sect protect our own.’ Then Old Immortal Li look up to the scenery on his left and said
‘This time you could let it go, Ziyan. He is coming. I hope this battle will end your desire. Come home’
Ziyan did not say anything. She did not object but neither did she refuse.
‘Now, as we wait for him to arrive, can you accompany this old Man playing Weiqi?’ He asks and Ziyan smoothed her robe and nodded.
She enters the pavilion and sits on the stone table and look at the golden plated weiqi board.
‘Which one do you want?’
‘White’ she said and his teacher take the black. Charles also enters but his entrance was not warmly welcomed by Old Immortal Li.
But Ziyan allowed him to enter. This is not because of purely emotional reason. This is because Ziyan want Charles to look at Old Immortal Li playing style.
Maybe he could learn something.
Old Immortal Li is not only a great expert of Jianghu he is also a great tactician and strategist of state of Han.
But he has rarely coming out to enter the worldly matters so his name was forgotten by time and people of his era are mostly dead or too old.
There is a reason why the people of Jianghu called him Old Immortal Li. It is because he is 200 years old already.
Many people of Jianghu believe that Old Immortal Li has ways of practicing immortality.
Once, a King of Han even offers many riches and titles as long as his teacher would be able to teach him the method of immortality.
His teacher responded, that if he could leave his riches and palaces, his beloved harems and concubines, to be a normal man and accompanied him in meditation then maybe that King would be also eligible to cultivate the path of Immortality.
But the King could not do that and gives up. But Ziyan knows this is not true immortality. No one lives forever.
It is only that the cultivation of his teacher has reached the Heavenly immortal level that living a few hundred years is no longer a problem.
But in the end, he will die and buried under the ground just like others.
If there exists immortals like in the story, what use are armies and kingdoms, Immortals in the stories, with one hand governing everything?
But it is true, that to killed his teacher, is easier than done. And looking at Charles, Ziyan smiles. This disciple of hers is not only a fast learner but also very talented in weiqi.
In her time in the Sword Tomb of Heartless she once challenged Charles in weiqi, and lost. And the thirty battles after that, not even once she has won over him which astounded Ziyan.
Smiling Old Immortal Li put down his black stone on the right corner.
Ziyan then put down her white stone and the match begins. Ziyan was a timid and cautions. This is Charles evaluation.
While Old Immortal Li even though he looks peaceful and refined, his moves were aggressive and he keeps capturing and netting the white stones, like an undefeatable general.
Charles also realizes that Old Immortal li did a strange move to test Ziyan strength in the opening.
The move was a mistake and Ziyan shows that she is also a very skillful player by an accurate and efficient move but Old Immortal Li was experienced.
He only smiles proudly.
Charles smiles and snicker behind Ziyan. Charles knows the way to deal with old fox like Old immortal Li.
The best way is to do an unexpected move.
Ziyan was having difficulty in intercepting her teacher move. Charles did not spoke but behind her, Ziyan could see that his disciple wanted to laugh.
‘This kind of move…hasn’t he seen it before?’ Charles thought to himself
The two of them are engaged in a skirmish on the left side of the board. Ziyan notices that her disciple is snickering and smiling and one crazy thought entered her mind.
‘How would you solve this, Charles?’ She asked. This startles her teacher. But he remains quiet.
‘Master. This is Master game. Master should be the one making the moves.’
‘Make a move’ Ziyan insisted. In her life she never managed to beat his teacher. His teacher was an undefeated martial artist but that pales in comparison of his weiqi skills.
‘If you win, I’ll teach you another skill’ Hearing this Charles finally becomes interested. Ziyan get up from her seat and let Charles sit.
Old Immortal Li frown and his face shows disapproval. He was about to scold Ziyan but then he thought he better humiliate this little kid.
Old Immortal Li has always hated those who possess the Extreme Poisonous Yin body.
Charles then sits and his eyes immediately turned sharp and cold, analyzing the entire weiqi board like a hawk.
‘Make your move, little kid’
Charles smiles before he suddenly attacked deep inside Old Immortal Li-controlled territory on the right side.
Ziyan was shocked and so does her teacher.
‘Charles!’ She shouted but Charles only waves away his hand, smiling calmly and waiting for Old Immortal Li to make a move.
‘What is the little kid is trying to do? This is totally in the black area.’ Old Immortal Li thought to himself.
But he was also shocked and flustered. Nobody would make such a rookie mistake.
‘Fine, if you are going to give me free meals why would I shy away?’
Old Immortal Li responded, quickly capturing three of Charles stones. Ziyan was frustrated but Charles was calm like and steady like a mountain.
He only looks as Old Immortal Li capturing his stones with as expected look.
‘It is a poor move little kid’ Old Immortal Li said smiling from ear to ear. He expected to see a frustrated expression from the little kid but he was disappointed.
The little kid was smiling.
‘Grandmaster, then it is now my turn right?’ It was then that something unthinkable happens.
The matches move in a direction that both Ziyan and Old Immortal Li did not expect.
With each move after that Charles moves were like a cavalry charge, thundering across the battlefield.
And twenty moves later Charles has taken three of Old Immortal Li stones in the upper right and occupied about half the area that most expert weiqi player will have written off as impregnable.
It’s like Charles was a commander that has broken down a wall everybody said could not be broken.
Sacrificing three stones to win the war, turning the battlefield into Charles favor.
‘This is unacceptable. Impossible. Even in black’s area, white got a result. It’s unacceptable for black’ Old Immortal Li said holding his head, trying to figure out how he lost.
Then he looks back at the little kid and he could not help but be astonished.
Weiqi is an offshoot of military and for a young boy to defeat him one could only calculate the future of this kid.
If he is to become a general of an army, how would he lead his soldiers? Old Immortal Li pondered this question.
There are huge variations in Weiqi; nobody can read all of them.
‘Everyone have a certain patterns in our minds when we play, so this is kind of move that Charles has employed, I would surely never think about it will brought victory’ He said to himself as he resigned from this first battle
‘You seem to found a good seed, Ziyan’
‘Yes, master Ziyan’ said smiling proudly.
Of course, Ziyan could not know how shocked her teacher is. He is a weiqi expert; an even tutors many generals in the arts of battle and strategy.
All of this is derived from his deep understanding of weiqi, of capturing and trapping
This boy moves are unpredictable and he seems to be able to sacrifice his clear advantage to gain a definite victory without hesitation.
This not only shows his playing move but also his personality. He could sacrifice those closest to him to gain his objective.
If he becomes a normal man, he could be called callous and cruel. But if he is a leader, this personality will help him climb the peak of power and positions.
Old Immortal Li while he rarely meddles in the politics of the world, it does not means he is ignorant of the worldly way.
Not to mention this boy possess the Poisonous Extreme Yin Body and is now practicing the Jade Palace Gate core technique.
Then there is still the fact that he is the Third Son of the Vassal Prince Arthur Martell.
With his mind, background and his martial arts it would be hard for him not to rise in the world even if he doesn’t want to.
This kind of seed must be cultivated properly. Especially his character, so Old Immortal Li then ask
‘What are your thoughts on war, little kid?’ Old Immortal Li suddenly asked as Charles get up from the chair.
The matters of morals and personality are the most important in nurturing such a talented seed which is why Old Immortal Li asked this question.
Westhold men are known to war against the Western Barbarians when they come down the Mountain and considering Lord Arthur Martell of Westhold which comes from a general family, this young kid will surely one day also ply his mind and body into the battlefield.
This question is the most reasonable and he also wanted to learn the frame of mind that this kid possesses.
Charles was startled but quickly regains his calm and then after some pondering he said
‘This is not a simple matter. I’m but a little kid. My thoughts might be childish and embarrasses me in front of grandmaster’
‘Either way, speaks of your thought.’
Old Immortal Li was expecting to hear pacifist thoughts.
Since the thoughts of the Northmen after the Bourbon rule was always in line with the Wise Master teachings to the Great Teacher literature has been consistently pacific and intensely opposed to militarism in any form Old Immortal Li was expecting this line of pacifistic thought
But then Charles shocked his teacher and grandmaster with his word
‘Then excuse me Grandmaster as I speak honestly.’
Old Immortal Li nodded and gesture him to continue.
‘Military weapons are the means used by the Sages to punish violence and cruelty, to give peace to troublous times, to remove difficulties and dangers, and to succor those who are in peril.’ He said as he stand straight and tall like a valiant hero.
He was a little kid but Old Immortal Li could see the valiant sprit beyond his childish nature. It reminded Old Immortal Li of the painting of Young Hero Lu Dingqiu in the tomb of Song Taizu.
Charles continues to say his thoughts without hesitation and honestly.
‘Every animal with blood in its veins and horns on its head will fight when it is attacked. How much more so will man, who carries in his breast the faculties of love and hatred, joy and anger! When he is pleased, a feeling of affection springs up within him; when angry, his poisoned sting is brought into play. That is the natural law which governs his being’
‘Then what about the teachings of the Great Teacher that the scholar espouses and has become a core tenet of administration of the world?’ Old Immortal Li asked.
‘They are all blind to all great issues, and without any appreciation of relative values, who can only bark out their stale formulas about “virtue” and “civilization,” condemning the use of military weapons? They speak words like “for the people’ yet they never mingle with the people. They will surely bring a country to impotence and dishonor and the loss of her rightful heritage; or, at the very least, they will bring about invasion and rebellion, sacrifice of territory and general enfeeblement.’
Charles take a deep breath as the scholars resembles the officials in Earth that always retard the war effort.
War is not a game.
War is the last measure. Yet, after it is declared, one would either win or lose. But in the end, Charles also realizes that in a war the people always loses.
Closing his eyes and calming his breathing he continued
‘Yet they obstinately refuse to modify the position they have taken up. The truth is that, just as in the family the teacher must not spare the rod, and punishments cannot be dispensed with in the State, so military chastisement can never be allowed to fall into abeyance in the Empire. All one can say is that this power will be exercised wisely by some, foolishly by others, and that among those who bear arms some will be loyal and others rebellious.’
Ziyan was shocked with her disciple words.
Ziyan is always an advocate of peace and so does their sect which maintains the harmony of Earth and Heaven, following the Boundless Path of inaction.
‘This kid is uncommon’ Old Immortal Li remarked and then he stares intently at Charles and was jolted for a bit.
For a moment he could see the scenery of bloodshed and war behind the boy.
The scene lasted even less than a second but it was there but Old Immortal Li shakes his mind off from that image.
After he reached Heavenly Immortal Cultivation level, he also possesses a keen intuition about a person.
He is not able to see peer the future like the Diviner Sage but he could sense other people feelings and see some form of destiny in a person.
‘This boy is dangerous. He possesses a great destiny. But it involves too many bloodshed’ he thought to himself.
‘That is my thoughts on war, Grandmaster’ Charles finished before bowing and stand behind his teacher. Old Immortal Li nodded but his face did not show whether he was satisfied with the answer or not and Charles didn’t really care.
He didn’t like being powerless.
Old Immortal Li was about to say something when an unnatural gust of wind suddenly formed on top of the Peak and both Ziyan and Old Immortal Li look towards the end trails of the Mountains and Charles also look towards that direction.
Ascending from the trail was a man with long flowing blond hair and eyes blue like the sky. His face was handsome and striking.
On his left hip is a red scabbard. Charles was overjoyed.
It was his uncle, Red Sword Lancel. Ziyan did not show any emotions but Old Immortal Li just flashed a wistful smile.
Lancel look at the people on the top of the Peak and then after making sure that Charles was okay he straight and cupped his hand towards Old Immortal Li.
‘Junior greets Senior Immortal.’
‘Kid, you have kept her waiting for a long time. Haish. Both of you are too stubborn. I hope that both of you could resolve both of your entanglements today. I will not stay here.’ Finished saying his word, he looks at Ziyan and Ziyan nodded.
Then he looks at Red Sword Lancel and sighed.
Then the Old Immortal Li got up and jumped and glides through the air and reach the edge of the mountain cliff before jumping down.
Charles was shocked and ran to the cliff only to see that the Old Immortal was like an eagle soaring down the mountain by using the jagged peak as his stabilizing force making him look like he was flying down.
Then he turns back only to see that his teacher and his uncle is locking eyes with each other, their eyes told a story and Charles smiles.
Today, Charles hopes that his teacher and his uncle could resolve their feelings and Charles felt peaceful.