Chapter 410: Each One Knows What They Need
Translator: SophiaX Editor: Kurisu
The white-bearded grandpa often came bearing gifts at the beginning of a story, and almost never did he decide to pop up a million words into a novel.
Of course, Wu Shan wasn’t planning to play the secret (not) santa, either. He only cultivated as far as the upper limit of the Human Immortal state, and was an unspectacular disciple of his sect with an ordinary natural endowment when he was alive, or he wouldn’t have risked his life to break into the Immortal state.
Therefore, he was essentially not one of those otherworldly sages.
Wu Shan was a descendant of Xu Xun, and Xu Xun himself was a leading figure of the Taoist community of his time. Born into the Eastern Jin Dynasty, Xu Xun was also a practitioner of the essence-consuming method. All essence-consuming methods shared a common property, which was to train one’s physical body and mind simultaneously. The practitioners aimed for gaining immortality in their physical form instead of the path the Neidan practitioners followed, which was to abandon the flesh and keep the Yang spirit only.
Hence, hearing Gu Yu’s question, Wu Shan was greatly disturbed. The green flame swayed violently, and the flickering light gave a haunted look to the room.
“I don’t have a suggestion. I only thought that if senior knew a way to recover your physical body, you could share it with us so that we could help you with it,” said Gu Yu.
“Humph, we’ve only met for the first time; why would you be so kind to me? Are you trying to swindle me of all my knowledge?” Wu Shan was by no means dumb.
“The world now is running out of Taoist skills, and we’re seeing great gaps in the inheritance of knowledge. With the great change that is taking place, both the country and the people are living a difficult life as if treading on eggs. We will feel blessed to have a senior ancient immortal like you to teach us,” Lu Yuanqing replied immediately with ready flattery.
Although they did not know much about this Wu Shan, and releasing him to the outside world could incur potential threats, a cultivator of the Ming Dynasty like him held a great amount of cultivation knowledge, which alone was already worth taking the risk for.
Wu Shan fell into another moment of silence at this before saying, “I do know a thing or two about rebuilding a physical body, but your cultivation level is too low to work any of the methods. There is no point telling you about it. My soul is fostered by this Soul-nourishing Lamp, which is a part of Lüshan and cannot be moved. Therefore, all we can do now is to find a suitable implement body to house my soul.”
“Wouldn’t that be ignoring the life of others by taking possession of their body?” Bai Yunsheng, who had been silent this entire time, spoke suddenly.
“You ignorant youngster!” Wu Shan sounded a little angry at that remark, and reprimanded, “I said an implement body, not a human body! What do you mean by taking possession of other people’s bodies? Is that what is written in your scriptures nowadays?”
“It is a method mentioned in the ‘Dan Manual of Baoyi Zi’. ‘When Yin Spirit is formed, the person could see others without being seen. Such an immortal is neither the member of the three divine islands of Penglai, nor a wandering ghost—they belong to nowhere. They are then able to reincarnate into a new body by taking one from the others. It is a spiritual ghost’,” said Lu Yuanqing.
“That’s preposterous!” Wu Shan was even more enraged. “That’s taken verbatim from ‘Taoist Teachings of Zhong and Lü’! ‘Ghost Immortal is the lowest grade of all five Immortal states, who achieves immortality via Yin. They are not part of either the true immortals nor the ghosts, and are not recognized by any world. Although they could escape death, they could never return to the immortal world, and would keep wandering as long as they live. They usually end up reincarnating by fitting into a new body.’
“For as long as our Taoist community exists, there is only the fitting into a new body, which was to reincarnate via a mother’s womb and integrate with a new physical body. Where did that talk of taking a body come from?”
Bai Yunsheng hardly reacted to his speech at all, but Gu Yu was very excited, asking, “Senior, is there really a way to find a mother’s womb for a soul and bring the person back to this world in another life?”
“Of course! We Taoist believers do focus on the current life only, and do not talk about the future life. However, the cultivation path is ridden with peril, and most of our fellow Taoists have perished in this current life before they could reach the next state. Hence, the method of fitting into a new body was created, which is to keep one’s soul intact after their death, then find a newly pregnant woman and insert the soul into her womb before the baby’s soul is formed. In that way, no innocent life is harmed, and the law of nature is not violated.
“The new person will remain ordinary without an extraordinary opportunity. Therefore, the cultivators using this method usually entrust the task to close friends of their sects to take care of this new person. The friends would use their skills to point out the correct path to the youngsters so that they could start their cultivation all over again.
“The ‘taking possession’ in your theory is complete nonsense. Even if such a method exists, it is impossible to find a suitable body. A powerful soul requires an equally strong body as a container—a human soul needs a human body, and it’s the same with Immortals. How could one possibly obtain a body they require?”
Ancient immortals were indeed as knowledgeable as expected. Wu Shan had taught them a useful lesson in that brief conversation.
Gu Yu agreed with it completely, especially the last bit. Why was is called a training of the physical body and the mind both? Because the body and the soul had to be of equal strength. A master as advanced as the Yuanying state would be idiotic to go all the way there just to steal some Qi-refining-level body.
Hence, the four bowed in unison. “Thank you for enlightening us.”
“Hm.” The green flame flickered slightly as Wu Shan was satisfied in his pride and vanity. He then said, “The Perfected Men of my sect have taken most of the treasures away when they ascended, and only a tenth was left here. The Great Hall of Skill is much bigger than what you can see now, but with my limited power, only a few secret areas can be opened.
“The Lüshan exists to spread knowledge and educate others. Since you’re already here, I cannot disobey the rules set by my forefathers. What you can take from here is determined by fate only.”
At those words, Shi Yunlai was the first to light up—what else were they here for if not to search for treasures? Lu Yuanqing, on the other hand, remained calm and undisturbed. Bai Yunsheng also looked as indifferent as ever.
Gu Yu, on the other hand, was hesitating, apparently still worrying about Xiaozhai.
Wu Shan was well aware of that, and remarked, “If your Taoist companion really could not see through her own heart and is lost in her past, then she is not qualified to continue her cultivation. Now, go. When you come back, I will tell you how to refine an implement body.”
With that, the green flame flickered.
The surroundings around them changed again. All the palaces and stone rooms were gone, and so were Lu Yuanqing and the other two. Gu Yu saw the light going dimmer, and his body turned weightless. Everything then cleared up again.
A golden plate hovered abovehead, lighting up the area with its splendor like a bright sun. Everywhere he turned, he saw tall peaks, deep ravines, meandering paths, and could hear sporadic chirpings of birds, but not a single person was around. The place alone was very exquisite and elegant.
“The stone halls just then had tables and chairs in them, so obviously someone used to live there once. This place looks very real as well. True Lord Xu was indeed the great Celestial Master of his time—he could create a Lüshan, which contains layers upon layers of secret spaces, like this at ease.” Gu Yu looked around, and sighed. “Wu Shan certainly knows how to look after his own interests. This is an advance payment for us, then.”
He stood there for a moment before walking deep into the area following a path.
The landscape on both sides was quiet and beautiful, with green trees and red flowers. About a quarter of an hour later, he reached a small hill. Climbing onto it and looking down, he saw a cottage, which had a simple but elegant style, at the foot of the hill. A lake was on the other side of the cottage.
The water of the lake glistened under the golden light, reminding one of a giant golden mirror.
He walked down to the cottage and pushed the door open. The room inside suggested someone lived there once as well. Daily objects such as table, chairs, bed, teapot, and curtains were found at the right spots; there was even an open book on the table.
Gu Yu went up to the book, and took a look. Despite having been lying there for centuries, the book showed no signs of wearing or tearing. The cover read: “The Wave of A Whisk”.
“What’s this?” Intrigued, Gu Yu flipped through the book, which turned out to be a famous note written by Wang Mingqing of the Song Dynasty, talking mostly about political, military, social, and cultural affairs of his time. “That’s kinda boring. I don’t suppose the important scriptures are kept here.”
Gu Yu put the book down. He looked around again, and found nothing else. He then walked out of the room, and stood there thinking outside the cottage; this place was probably one of the small worlds in this entire secret realm, for the horizon was covered by a layer of mist that looked to be some kind of barrier.
“I could break out of it and try other parts of this realm, but that would be missing the point. I guess I’m the unlucky one, then. The good stuff has all been taken. I hope Lu Yuanqing and the others could find something.”
Gu Yu did not think much of it, and was going to activate his mental force to make Wu Shan release him from here.
He paused suddenly, for a bubble just rose out of the lake, and the water began to ripple as if something was being naughty down there.
Blinking, Gu Yu strolled to the lake, and grabbed casually at the air.
The water surged at this, and waves began to rise. Whatever was down there had warded off the Small Moving Technique, and stayed where it was after a little jolt.
“Interesting!” He chuckled, and pressed down with his right palm. “Open!”
The water parted, revealing the thing below it, making Gu Yu jump.
A giant head waved into his sight, and a 50-meter-long body leapt ot.
It had the head of a camel, the horns of a deer, the eyes of a rabbit, the ears of a cow, the neck of a snake, the belly of a giant clam, the scales of a carp, the claws of an eagle, and the palms of a tiger. Eighty-one scales covered its back, which number was the product of nine multiplied by nine, giving it a Yang property. Whiskers grew from the corners of its mouth; there was a bright pearl under its chin, and the scales on its throat were growing backwards…
It was a golden dragon!
“A dragon? No, that’s not a real dragon!” Gu Yu was shocked at first, and only calmed down after he scanned it with his spiritual essence. If this Lüshan that had been dormant for five hundred years and watched over by a janitor only could keep a real dragon here, that would be truly unbelievable.
The fake dragon let out another angry snarl, looking all threatening. However, it did not initiate an attack, trying to scare Gu Yu off only.
Shaking his head, Gu Yu waved his long sleeves, and all 72 Flame Cloud needles popped into existence. They then arranged themselves into a flaming dragon, charging at the thing circling in mid-air.
The golden dragon opened its wide mouth, spurting out a thick jet of water. Sizzle! The water clashed with the flaming dragon, and steam rose in clouds. It was a draw.
Gu Yu shifted himself a little, and reappeared straddling over the neck of the dragon the next second. With a man riding on it, the golden dragon felt humiliated, and was immediately infuriated. It roared and danced frantically in the air, trying to throw Gu Yu off.
“Shut up!” Gu Yu grew impatient and stomped forcibly.
The giant body took a sudden dive, and fell down from mid-air. It only steadied itself moments before hitting the ground. Right after that, the golden dragon waved its claws, and tried to climb back up over the clouds.
Gu Yu drew out his Red Sun Sword this time and held the tip of the black blade at the neck covered by scales, saying, “I’m not in the mood for playing with you. Show your true form!”
Roar.. roar.. roar… meow…
That was sort of how the change took place. The golden dragon hissed and whined, but before it realized, it was giving in. The giant body then shrank slowly, and with a dazzling flicker, it turned into a pale golden rope about three meters long.
Gu Yu landed on the ground, and let the rope fall into his palm. It was slightly thicker than his finger, and looked as if it was woven with countless talismans, which were braided tightly together. With the brilliant light flowing through them, they had blended into one harmonious whole.
“So, it’s a refined instrument!” Gu Yu was a little surprised by this. “However, the spirituality of the refined instrument alone is this powerful, I’m still… huh?”
He suddenly swerved around, and saw the lake water that had closed up began to stir again as if something was dashing around beneath.
Gu Yu grabbed again, which was successful. It was a paste-like muddy lump the size of an adult’s fist. The thing was of an earthy color, squashy, and a little sticky.
“If I were the protagonist of those reclaiming-wasteland-in-primitive-ages novel, I must be holding the Swelling Earth 1 now. However, I’m a man of the end-of-Taoist-skills era, so I’m at a loss.”
He carefully put away the two objects, then activated his mental force, and randomly poked at the empty air.
The surroundings changed instantly, and he was back in that stone room.
The air in the room rippled suddenly, revealing three figures.
Shi Yunlai and Bai Yunsheng looked somewhat disheveled with their ragged clothes—apparently, both had engaged in some serious fight. Lu Yuanqing seemed all right, looking only slightly paler than before.
“You’re back. What did you all get?” asked Wu Shan, sounding very curious.
“Senior, here it is.” Lu Yuanqing took out his finding first—or rather, a set of three objects. They were three short rulers about 70 cm long, shining coldly. Apart from the usual evil-dispelling talismans, some strange-looking spells were also inscribed onto them.
“Very nice! These are the Devil-smashing Rulers made by one of my senior brothers. Apart from being a refined instrument, they can also be used for flying and escaping methods. They come with a manual, and are exceptionally powerful. You can work it out on your own,” explained Wu Shan.
After that, Shi Yunlai took out a small tent made from a material as thin as the wings of a cicada and as light as silk, which had a feminine look to it. There were also two long whips that were black, over three meters long, and covered by spikes.
“This is Empty Cloud Tent. It can transform into a cloud of mist and fly in midair. It has a camouflage property that can work as a defensive mechanism. It’s the work of one of my senior sisters’.
“These are the refined whips unique to my sect. The hilt is made from peach wood, the core the skin of a python, and the outer layer woven by silk. It will hurt ghosts, monsters, and evil beings only.”
Then, Bai Yunsheng took out his two objects.
“The Order of the Netherworld Talisman. It could subdue up to dozens of spirits and evil ghosts for you to use. The refinement method is also inside. However, I see that you’re focused on sword, so I would suggest you to give it to talisman masters.
“Oh? These are nice lotus seeds. Plant them after you go back to your place. Lotus flowers can expel energy, and lotus seeds can relieve evil toxins. Both are great materials to refine Dan and make medicine.”
After going through all objects, to Lu Yuanqing and the others, be it the short ruler or the refined whip, every piece was a formidable refined instrument. However, Wu Shan actually sounded a little patronizing and pitying when he made the introduction.
All those things were the works of his junior or senior brothers, so how formidable could they be?
“What did you get?” he asked Gu Yu as last.
“I also have two.” Gu Yu took out his and showed it to the lamp. The green flame flickered at the sight of them. “What? They didn’t take it with them?”
“What are they?”
“Sigh, I see you are a lucky one.” Wu Shan let out a sigh before answering Gu Yu’s question. “That rope is Dragon-biding Rope, and was the refined instrument my Senior Uncle Master used when he was in his Human Immortal state. He cherished that rope, so I’d never thought he would have left it behind… maybe he was hoping fate would lead it to the right person.
“That is Yellow Mud Seal, derived from the Seal of Yellow God and Yuezhang. It can only be used once. Its original form was a cubic seal about 3 cm tall. All six sides are carved with talisman patterns, and it represents deep ground, with which it could stop flood and sever evil energy. Activate it and throw it into the water, and it will expand. One mud seal can confine a water hundreds of meters in radius and coagulate into a solid wall in 45 minutes. Once solidified, nothing can break it.”
Wu Shan was overwhelmed with emotion after seeing so many objects that could trigger his memories of the old days. After rambling a bit, he said, “There is no Taoist skill left in Lüshan. Because of that, spreading knowledge and educating the people is no longer possible. I do have the orthodoxy knowledge of the Celestial Masters, but I cannot teach it unless you join my sect properly.
“I have let you take the treasures on your own today because, for one, I’d like to thank you for summoning the divine mountain, and for another, we all have our own interests to take care of. I will now tell you about how to build an implement body.”
He then told the four in detail about the materials needed for the implement body and how to refine it.
The four listened with embarrassment. Gu Yu said at last, “Senior, the world has changed so much since your times that most of the materials you mentioned are long lost. We can only look for things of similar properties and see if we could refine something from them.”
“Just try your best. I can’t ask for anything more than that.” Wu Shan was much more sensible after the five hundred long years here. “You can go now. The Great Hall can still hold on for some time, and I will take care of your young Taoist companion while you’re away. However, when my strength runs out and she still cannot come out, she will have to stay here with me forever at the bottom of this river.”