Chapter 13: The Crude, Simple Explanation
Translator: Nyoi_Bo_Studio Editor: Nyoi_Bo_Studio
With a dark expression, Fei Jie spoke coldly. “I know I am not qualified to question the training method that you passed on to Fan Xian. However, I am very curious. Why did you not teach him personally? Knowing that he was only five, even if he was truly talented, for something so dangerous you should have been there for him as his mother’s servant.”
This was something understandably reasonable to say. After all, it was Wu Zhu who left the obscure zhenqi training method next to Fan Xian’s swaddle; this meant he had an obligation to ensure that no problems arose during his training.
Fan Xian glanced awkwardly at Wu Zhu, his eyes pausing on the black cloth wrapped below his brow.
“I did not leave this for the young master. The Lady left it,” Wu Zhu said deliberately.
Fie Jie had no intention of offending the blind man, but he was growing agitated. “Cunning. For someone with such profound training, even just a simple tip or two could have saved Fan Xian from training in such a perilous manner.”
After a pause, Wu Zhu suddenly spoke. “I have never practiced zhenqi.”
With this, he simply turned and left, leaving behind the dumbstruck master and apprentice pair.
“What did he just say?”
“He said he never practiced any… zhenqi. And his voice faltered when he said that.”
Fei Jie watched Fan Xian’s feigned sophistication and felt rage boil up inside him. Just where did a five year old boy learn to speak with such cynical wit?
“It’s hard to imagine a man without any neigong coming to a draw in a sanshou fight with Liuyun, one of the Four Great Grandmasters.”
“At that time, Ye Liuyun was still using his sword, as he had not yet completed his sanshou training.”
“Master, can someone without neigong zhenqi become as powerful as Wu Zhu?” Fan Xian questioned sincerely.
Fei Jie’s brows furrowed in thought as he spoke. “Only if he carried out every single movement with strict precision would he be able to fatally injure someone with his iron rod before they could react.”
Fan Xian naturally remembered the night he had arrived in this world in the arms of the blind young man and how the iron rod he held dripped with a steady stream of fresh blood.
“However, this kind of speed and power are beyond what humans are capable of.”
Fei Jie shook his head, then suddenly cleared his throat. He quickly sat next to the desk and peered at Fei Xian. “Little one, if you can’t grasp this art, then it is best that you stop. I guarantee that with my method you will never have to worry about anyone bothering you.”
“I will consider it,” Fan Xian answered maturely.
After some thought, Fei Jie retrieved a sachet of medicine and placed it in Fan Xian’s tiny hands. “Take this. It’s a kind of expensive medicine. If your training ever goes awry, consume one pill with plenty of water.”
Fan Xian nodded his head in response. “Thank you, master.” He knew that the medicine was extremely valuable.
Fie Jie smiled faintly as he looked at this child who was like an adult, then spoke suddenly. “Isn’t it strange that I’m treating you so nicely despite the fact that your father forced me to come all the way to Danzhou just to teach you?”
Fan Xian didn’t say anything, but merely stared at him with an expression of thanks.
Fei Jie laughed and shook his head, patting Fan Xian’s head. “Perhaps, at my age, having a student as clever as you is something worth being happy about.”
“For now, don’t think about the Count’s estate in the capital,” Fei Jie said seriously. “Even though you’re still young, I hope you remember what I’m about to tell you.”
Hearing the seriousness in his teacher’s tone, Fan Xian sat up straight and listened carefully.
“Your family is far more complicated than you could ever imagine. This matter involves not only your own survival, but the lives of many others, so you must remain vigilant at all times. In the years that you grow to be an adult, you must learn how to protect yourself so that in the future you can protect others.”
“In the future… protect whom?” Fan Xian was puzzled.
Fei Jie laughed as he pointed at his own nose. “Someone inseparable from you, like myself for instance.”
Fan Xian nodded hazily. He thought that the situation was indeed complicated. Even having lived in two different worlds, he still could not understand what his teacher was getting at.
“Alright, go to your room now and get some rest. As for that corrupt Badao kung fu, it’s probably best not to practice it anymore.”
Fan Xian prudently returned to his room. When he opened the door, he saw Wu Zhu sitting silently in the corner. With the lights off, the room was just an inky patch of gloom, yet despite this, the piece of black cloth that covered Wu Zhu’s eyes seemed even murkier and opaque than the night itself.
“Wu Zhu.” Fan Xian bowed his head in respect.
A faint, monotone voice travelled from the corner where Wu Zhu sat. “The tome is divided into two parts. The first is called Badao, and the second one has no title. The tome was given to you by The Lady, so I left it beside you when you were young. I have never learned these spiritual methods, so I cannot teach you. I believe, however, that since it is called Badao, one can assume that the way it uses qi is more aggressive… If you encounter any issues during training, then it’s your own problem.”
With this, the piece of black cloth disappeared.
“What a crude, simple explanation, and what an odd, apathetic man.” Fan Xian sighed and climbed into bed, then retrieved the nameless book from a secret compartment. He thought about his training process and realized that when zhenqi filled his dantian, it did not follow the flow of the meridians as it should have. Instead, parts of the zhenqi split into the xufu channel, which leads directly to the xushan, located above the back of the kidney.
The xushan passes through the spine. Fan Xian had learned both in his past life and in his lessons with Fei Jie the vital importance of the spine. As the spine is directly connected to the brain, a single careless move could leave one trapped in a vegetative state.
However, as Fan Xian meditated during his daily lunchtime naps, the Badao zhenqi in his body would travel through his xushan and become relaxed and calm. The agitation would subside and a feeling of serenity would wash over him, like eating ice cream on a hot summer day.
This was how he had trained since he was one year old. Could it be that he had been doing it wrong? Fan Xian did not think that, immersed in the martial arts world, he would end up taking the path of corruption. Yet, like a man desperate for relief, he found himself addicted to the pleasures of the Badao path. If he stopped training, the remnants of the Badao zhenqi within him would one day burst through his mortal body.
Blind Wu Zhu told him that the consequences of his training were all up to Fan Xian himself.
To train, or not to train? That was the question plaguing Fan Xian at that moment.