In the evening.
Under the sunset, the bamboo forest spread out like the sea.
“We, from Dream-like Hall, wear green, Phoenix Villa wears red, and the few sky-blue clothes over there are from the Southern Sword Sect.” Yue Ruohe took Lin Shu along the road, and his sister Yue Ruoyun followed — the two of them wore green robes, as if attempting to blend in with the bamboo forest.
Jade Heaven wasn’t too bad. There weren’t a lot of people walking around, and when they reached Misty Heaven, the color gradually increased.
The Confucian Institution valued the pedigree of Shimen, and did not have the same school of thought as the Immortal Daoist Institution. Thus, their robes were the same as Lin Shu’s, except that the pattern and embroidery turned from light blue to grey, and Shu Institution’s was red.
In the canteen, on first glance, most of them were sitting with the rest of their Institution, but there were some disciples of the Confucian Institution and Immortal Daoist Institution sitting together. It reminded Lin Shu of a passage in “Bai Xiaosheng Explaining Shangling Academy”.
Essentially, it meant that there were many factions within the Confucian Institution. Each of them wanted to say a word, and every three to five days, a huge debate was held, to the point where even fowls and dogs weren’t left in peace. At least everyone present were men of literature, and no one drew a knife.
The only scary thing was if they argued to the point where they couldn’t argue any further, where they stared at each other with dry eyes, then they would individually go to find their friends from the Immortal Daoist Institution to help them fight, turning it into a battle involving both sides, and then everyone would be punished by the High Officer to go to the cave under the Heavenly Star Waterfall and self reflect. And as they reflected, they would suddenly feel aggrieved and start fighting again — it was seriously like a bunch of chickens flying and dogs jumping around.
Just as Lin Shu was thinking, he spotted a table, where a disciple of the Confucian Institution put his chopsticks down to say, “it is necessary to give a name to things to establish the truth, but if the name is wrong, how can the words be right?”
The one opposite him: “What you see and what you hear, find the truth and give a name — otherwise, how can you understand ‘white horses aren’t horses’?”
Yue Ruohe: “Let me go and argue with them.”
Yue Ruoyun made a conflicted noise. “Have you forgotten what Grandfather said? No one argues with the Confucian Institution! If you can’t argue, you’ll lose our Dream-like Hall’s face!”
Yue Ruohe said, “I use my martial arts to prove myself in Dream-like Hall, even if I can’t argue past them, what’s the issue?”
“A defeat in arguing is also a defeat!”
“How is a loss in arguing be counted a defeat? Things that come from the mouth, what sort of defeat is that?”
“If you lose in fighting, you’re depressed. If you lose in arguing, you’re also depressed. How is a defeat in arguing not a defeat?”
“I’ve broadened my mind. Even ten years is not too long for a gentleman to exact revenge, and when have I ever been depressed?”
“Tch, just last year Chen shidi was just a little bit better than you at “Boundless Silk Rain”, and you glared at them for half a year like a black-eyed chicken; which part of you is broad-minded, again?”
“I care about Chen shidi’s progress, what’s wrong with that? Miss Ling’s technique that she showed today, where she single handedly breaks a leaf to kill a man, is far better than mine, which eye of yours did you use to see me turn into a black-eyed chicken?”
“You clearly know that Miss Ling’s strength is real and powerful, breaking through ten levels with one try, and without any of our Dream-like Hall’s profound martial arts technique, that’s why you can be k2018;broad-minded’!”
“Well said! That year when Miss Ling came to our hall to visit, who was red-eyed and jumped behind her back, saying k2018;she’s obviously of a normal age, but why is she so much stronger than me’? If I don’t have a broad mind, then I’m afraid your mind is the size of a pin-eye!”
“I said you weren’t broad-minded, I didn’t say I’m more broad-minded — anyways, I later became sincerely convinced by Miss Ling, and we even live together now, I’ll consult her every single day, and once my martial arts has progress, I’ll teach you a lesson!”
Lin Shu: “…”
He watched with his eyes wide as the pair of siblings argued more insistently, argued more wilfully, from Confucianism to Ling Fengxiao’s person, as if they wouldn’t stop for a long while, and so he decided to go find food first.
Find food, and let his mind wander.
Yue Ruohe and Yue Ruoyun were both well-known orthodox disciples. Looking at how much they revered Ling Fengxiao’s martial arts, and even Mr Meng said that “the Phoenix of the Ling family is famous throughout Jianghu”; it appeared that this person really was the talented one in her entire age group.
He wondered, with regards to his cultivation at this age in his last life, how he fared against Ling Fengxiao.
Even though he had never seen Ling Fengxiao use a knife, considering how this person destroyed a bamboo forest today, picked leaves to hurt people, showed that her martial arts were swift and fierce, if he brought it to when he was fifteen…
— No, he couldn’t bring it over. He was a quiet salted fish in his last life, and wasn’t in the same genealogical family as the pufferfish. He followed the rules, never destroyed vegetation, and could not compare.
When he finished getting food and returned, the two siblings were still arguing. Lin Shu silently began to eat, and ate about half his meal before Yue Ruoyun finally pulled the topic back to Confucianism. “If you really want to mix with them, you also have to change your clothes, else they’ll find Dream-like Hall’s head.”
Yuo Ruohe was filled with dissatisfaction, and tried to continue to argue with her, but Yue Ruoyun said, “I’m hungry! I’m not arguing anymore!”
Then the two of them went to get food.
Lin Shu ended up eating faster then them, so after he was done, he stayed to think for a while, before saying “I’ll go to the library first.”
Yue Ruohe made an affirmative noise. “See you later.”
Lin Shu: “See you later.”
He walked out of the dining hall, heading eastward for a while, before exhaling lightly.
He was still unused to spending time with other people.
The two siblings were addicted to opening their mouths at first, but once they started eating, they were very obedient in following the rules of not talking while eating and resting. From the start to end, they never communicated with him at all.
Lin Shu began to think, Yue Ruohe might have originally invited him to eat dinner with them out of courtesy, and actually didn’t really care about him.
But, regardless of what Yue Ruohe actually thought, the ultimate problem laid with Lin Shu in the end.
He didn’t know how to open his mouth to enter a conversation, and he didn’t know what to do when interacting with other people. Even if in this life, there were suddenly a lot of people who weren’t bad to him, he also didn’t know how to mix with them.
Lin Shu felt a little confused, and wasn’t sure what to do in the future.
Or perhaps… he could just be like how he was in his previous life?
He continued to walk forward. He had passed by the library when they were on their way to the dining hall earlier, and the location wasn’t that difficult to find anyways.
The library was a 14-storey pavilion. According to Bao Xiaosheng, the Confucian Institution had books on the first six floors, the Shu Institution had the seventh to ninth floors, and the remaining five floors were the Immortal Daoist Institution’s.
He walked up the stairs, up until he reached the tenth floor, panting and gasping and feeling like he’d lost half his life.
The number Daoist Instrument books were as great as an entire misty sea, and there were even more books on basic exercises. Fortunately, each bookcase had an index, but Lin Shu still spent a great deal of effort in finding what he wanted to find.
The first thing to do was sift through the exercises that trained the body. He found a book that looked like the most basic “Meridian Forging Method”. In any case, only by improving the physical fitness of this body, would he be able to pick up his sword again.
Then there was the problem of his meridians.
The first threshold that he had to pass to enter the Immortal Road was to have built a foundation. The purpose of the foundation was to open his meridians and lay the foundation for future cultivation.
For those who were suitable for immortal cultivation, their natural meridians were like a slight flaw in white jade, a minor blemish in a thing of beauty. All they had to do was follow “Yin Channels” for a while, and after a long period of time, when the body was full of qi, the original blemish with meridian stagnation would naturally be washed open. Called the “100 Day Foundation”, it was simply the best natural gift.
If your natural talent was slightly worse, it would take more time, about ten to twenty years to open up your meridians.
Any worser, and it would take so long the end point wouldn’t be in sight. There were a lot of normal people in the world, and most people were like this.
Lin Shu’s body right now, was exactly that normal.
He looked at the bookcase relating to building foundations for a long time, and finally found a book called “Cleansing Black Meridians for Cultivation”.
Flipping through, it had many methods of nourishing the meridians. They were originally for the cultivators who believed that their meridians weren’t wide enough and their qi wasn’t running smoothly, but it seemed feasible to use it on himself.
The entire book was split into five parts, namely Panacea Elixirs, Spring Elixirs, Jade Elixirs, Elixir Alchemy, and Miscellaneous.
The Miscellaneous section recorded a few food and breathing methods that could be tried. According to Bai Xiaosheng, the disciples in the Palace of Learning didn’t lack the opportunity to obtain the different elixirs, and it wasn’t like the panacea couldn’t be used, but the Spring Elixirs and Jade Elixirs were temporarily unavailable.
As for Elixir Alchemy — it wasn’t worth considering, even if it seemed to be the fastest way to improve his meridians.
In the end, coming to Shangling Academy this sort of place, he really didn’t make a mistake. Even though his formation was still a goal far into his future, there was still a slim chance that he’d be able to form one.
He found two more books relating to foundation building, and after registering them in the booklet on the first floor, took the four books and left the library.
When he came out, it was already night, and the sky was full of stars.
He suddenly froze.
Misty Heaven was built on a peak, and along with Jade Heaven and Crystal Heaven, they surrounded the central Hexu Heaven
At this time, looking down from Misty Heaven, one could see all the scenery of Hexu Heaven.
Among the marble towers and jade houses, a lake reflected the starry sky. It was likely that the water had some special quality to it, and soft stars shone on the lake.
Bai Xiaosheng’s book said that this lake was called “Xingluo Lake”, and its source was the Heavenly Star Waterfall in the west, which was one of the school’s biggest and most beautiful piece of scenery.
In his musing silence, Lin Shu felt that it was beautiful, as beautiful as the stars in the sky.
He hadn’t seen the stars in a long time — this was what he loved to do as a child, because as he stared at the endless sky, he gradually became more invigorated, deluding himself into believing that he was just one of many sentient beings, and not a lonely wild ghost wandering outside a crowd of people.
After looking at the lake for a long time, Lin Shu finally returned to Jade Heaven.
As he slowly approached his little bamboo house, he saw a candlelight inside.
Moving closer, the door was open as well.
Continuing to move forward, there was a bean-like lamp on the table in the main room, and a person sitting on a chair, facing the direction of the door.
“You still know how to come back?” Ling Fengxiao’s voice was extremely displeased.