Chapter 21: Two-thirds of the Painted Peach Blossoms
Translator: Transn Editor: Transn
The concluding statement made Ning Que keep silent for a long time before he raised his head and stared at the elder. He lifted his right arm as he pointed his index finger towards his temple, looking as if he was preparing to commit suicide with a crossbow. He then asked the elder in a serious tone, "Doesn't Psyche Power, or should I say, things like consciousness, come from the mind?"
The elder, Lyu Qingchen, looked at him gently and slowly replied, "What you've said is not exactly wrong. However, if Psyche Power comes from the mind, how is it able to interconnect with the external breath of nature?"
"Cultivation is about gathering your psyche at your chest like the snow in the mountain, and at your back like the Ocean of Qi. Surrounding the Snow Mountain and the Ocean of Qi are 17 Qi orifices, which act like the thousands of holes found beneath the mountain. As the wind and water pass through the holes, the sound that each hole creates gathers to form a unique melody played by a duet. As such, this allows both of them to interweave and interconnect with each another."
"As for the opening and blockage of the Qi orifices within one's body, they're inborn and determined the moment one is born. No matter how one tries to pursue and change the situation, they can't be modified. That's why there's a saying, 'cultivation... is just about retrieving what Haotian has given us as a gift'."
"I have observed the 17 Qi orifices surrounding the Snow Mountain and Ocean of Qi within your body. 11 of them are blocked. Thus, no matter how hard you practice your Psyche Power to whichever state, you'll never be able to connect with nature."
"Nevertheless, you need not be disappointed about it. Though there are many people in this world, it's rare to have someone who has 13 opened Qi orifices out of the 17 ones. In fact, it's perfectly normal for you to have such body quality..."
The elder slowly consoled him as Ning Que lowered his head with a slightly embarrassed smile.
He had indeed consoled himself numerous times in City of Wei, telling himself that only a truly abnormal genius would be able to pursue cultivation. Now it seemed that he was right. According to the standard way of saying, where the elder had mentioned about geniuses who had 15 to 16 opened Qi orifices were actually having gifts from Heaven, it would be like biscuits suddenly falling from the sky while you were casually taking a walk outside.
"Then why am I not the lucky chosen one?"
He felt regretful as he sighed in his heart before he sincerely expressed his gratitude and alighted from the horse carriage with Sangsang.
The light from the oil lamp in the carriage was dim and after god-knows-how-long, the curtain in the carriage was pulled open once again. The Fourth Princess from Tang Dynasty, Lee Yu, sat in front of the elder and leaned her body slightly forward as she consulted the elder. "No possibility at all?"
Lyu Qingchen admired Ning Que a lot. However, for a Psyche Master who had entered Dongxuan State to lower his own status by using Psyche Power to investigate Ning Que's body quality, there would definitely be other reason, such as an order from Her Highness.
"A person with strong determination and a great temperament is often able to meditate and achieve a powerful Psyche Power. It's no doubt that Ning Que is such a person. Hence, I was actually hopeful about him. I thought that if only 10 of his 17 Qi orifices were opened, then perhaps he was about to be awakened, but was unable to arouse his mind to enter the initial stage of cultivation due to a lack of proper skills. Unfortunately, 11 Qi orifices within his body are blocked. This means that he hasn't obtained the gift from Haotian. No matter how great his potential is, it'll be useless."
The elder's face was filled with regrets. To him, if Ning Que could really step onto the path of cultivation, even if only 10 Qi orifices were opened, his future would be bright with his great temperament and beautiful handwriting. It was such a pity that the lad was fated not to have a good life.
"If that's the case, then you need not bother anymore." Lee Yu's eyes showed a slight sense of weariness after being on the go for days. She lowered her head and kept herself in deep thoughts for a while before she said calmly. "I should not have troubled you for such matter."
Lyu Qingchen gradually raised his snowy white eyebrows and quietly looked at Her Highness' face. He knew what he'd said previously would decide Ning Que's future. After knowing that Ning Que could never step onto the path of cultivation, she had instantly given up on that thought.
The elder kept quiet for a moment before he advised. "Chang'an is a city full of experts. Perhaps a lad like Ning Que is not extraordinary among them, but I believe that after a few years, he'll grow into an outstanding soldier in Tang Empire."
Lee Yu did not expect the elder to have such a high remark on Ning Que. She frowned slightly as she gradually explained. "That lad's martial arts skills and temperament are considered the best among all candidates. If he remains in City of Wei or within the army, I'd have to do whatever it takes to make him stay by my side to serve me. However, he chose to go onto the path of Academy today. If we were to take our time to recruit and train him till he was strong enough to influence the situation at the empire, he and I would be too old. What's the purpose then?"
The elder kept quiet for a long time, and then suddenly he spoke, "Though only six of his 17 Qi orifices are opened and normally it'd be difficult for such a person to step onto the path of cultivation, but... Haotian always changes, nothing is fixed."
"My state is still too low, and yet he's someone able to step into the Academy, a high holy place and being in a different place from me. In the future, he might... I'm saying he might be able to enter the second floor of the Academy. By then, who knows if miracles would happen on him and perhaps he might be able to step onto the path of cultivation by then?"
"The second floor?" Lee Yu shook her head and said, "How many people can enter the second floor of the Academy in this world? Though Ning Que, this lad, is a pretty good, don't you feel that you're being too confident in him?"
Lyu Qingchen glanced at her and smiled gently as he replied. "Your Highness, when you previously mentioned that he chose to step onto the path of Academy, you didn't seem to expect that it's impossible for this lad to enter the Academy though you knew the toughness in passing the academy entry exam(s). This means that you're confident in him as well. If that's the case, who is certain that in the future, this small soldier from this border town... is unable to enter the second floor?"
Lee Yu was taken aback and was unsure about how to reply the elder's question. She tried to recall, and it seemed to be true that she had never thought Ning Que was unable to enter the Academy, which was the hardest academy to enter in this world. Where did her confidence in him come from? Was it from the story-telling session by the fire, or was it from the calmness the lad had displayed when he leaped across the firewall ferociously like a tiger?
She subconsciously faced her body sideways and looked outside the window. She kept quiet while watching the silhouettes of the owner and the servant from their backs as they walked by the fire.
Ning Que knew that his temperament and determination were suitable for cultivation, but yet he was still unable to step onto the path of cultivation. In fact, he was already used to having such empty surprises. He had it once seven years ago at Min Mountain in the Yan territory when he met Blackie, and another time in City of Wei two years ago when the Military Ministry wanted to check on his potential after he successfully accomplished a military mission.
If he was able to step onto the path of cultivation, he would have already become the cultivation target for the military of Tang Empire based on his military accomplishments in City of Wei. Else why would he need to work so hard to kill the Horse Gangs and earn credits in the military before deciding to enter the Academy?
Since he was prepared, he was not so disappointed upon hearing the bad news. However, the elder, Lyu Qingchen was a master whom he had recently met and had close contacts with. Therefore, he still held onto some hopes when meeting him. Unfortunately, his hopes were like two-thirds of the peach blossoms drawn in the paintings, which were always hiding at a corner of the garden and always looking fabricated.
Just as he was about to brace himself to give up on his dream and concentrated on practicing his artistry of wielding his knife till he reached Chang'an, where he would start planning on how to enjoy his life, Lyu Qingchen had unexpectedly invited him onto his horse carriage in the second night after they camped in.
This time, Sangsang did not join him. Perhaps it was because that Her Highness missed the past feeling of speaking with the maidservant using an identity of the handmaiden, or perhaps that Little Prince from the Tribe of Savages missed Sangsang. Whatever it was, Sangsang was ordered to report to the princess' horse carriage.
"I believed you'd already memorized the Article on the Response of the Tao by heart, but for so many years, you had yet to perceive the existence of the Breath of nature. This means that my judgment is right." Lyu Qingchen grinned as he said.
Ning Que shook his head as he smiled bitterly and said, "Sir, you've asked me to come over today. I doubt your purpose is to just hit me with a second blow."
"You're preparing to enter the Academy the moment you reach Chang'an. As for me, I'm old. I'll most likely be staying by the princess's side for the rest of my life to recuperate quietly. It'd be tough for us to meet again, so I thought of spending more time to talk with you now." Lyu Qingchen looked at him kindly as he added, "I understand how most people are curious about the path towards cultivation and often imagine about it. Though you're unable to step onto such path, perhaps there are things that you deeply wish to know more about."
"Many." Ning Que replied him honestly.