Translated by Aphelios of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Xiaoshen gently picked Yu Yi back up, wiped the ink essence clean, and lovingly rubbed its face. Then he placed it on the pillow.
Shang Jiyu coldly said, “Don’t put it here.”
Xiaoshen always brought Yu Yi with him wherever he went; or you can say that Yu Yi followed him wherever he went, but he didn’t mind.
However, this Shang Jiyu had always loathed Yu Yi…
“It’s none of your business. The sun’s about to set.” Xiaoshen said, not giving in. As soon as the moon rose and the sun set, Xiaoshen would always coil around the other one. 1 Furthermore, the other Shang Jiyu would not make these senseless gestures.
“…Fine.” Shang Jiyu let out a sarcastic laughter and thought to himself, You always got to be the shining and benevolent one, right?
It was just that in the past, no one was able to or care to differentiate them. But now… ha ha.
“Are you talking to him? What did you say? Why are you always like this to Yu Yi?” Xiaoshen saw his expression and asked curiously. He discovered a long time ago that the two Shang Jiyus were able to communicate with one another.
“I didn’t say much.” Shang Jiyu answered calmly.
“Then tell me why did you flick Yu Yi? Is it because you’re illiterate too?” The Yuling disciples that Xiaoshen has met so far all, despite their frequent complaints about the ink essence’s arrogance, were, for the majority of their time, similar to Daomi and had great pride in their local speciality.
“That’s because it looks too ugly.” Shang Jiyu said nonchalantly. “How about this, you hug me tonight and I won’t flick it again. What do you say?”
Xiaoshen was quiet for a bit and held Yu Yi up in his hands. “Stand firm!”
Yu Yi, “……”
Shang Jiyu almost let out a laughter, however his face was still as cold as ever. “How about this, you only have to touch my finger. That’s not asking for too much right?”
Hmm, it’s probably okay if it was just his pointy claws…
Xiaoshen slowly extended his hand and stingingly let out one index finger, while the rest were curled tightly in a fist.
Shang Jiyu faintly sensed that person’s unease and the corner of his lips lifted into a smile and in a flash, used his finger to hook Xiaoshen’s. Immediately, his brows relaxed and he let out a satisfied sigh.
“The people coming to borrow books today seem less than usual.”
Xiaoshen took one look and remarked. His calculation skill was pretty good. If a school of fish swam by, he could probably count each one.
“It looks about the same as always to me… Maybe some people secretly went to check out the excitement that’s going on. Today is the day when the Imperial Palace Jin Que will choose their disciples.” Daomi said. He wasn’t as sensitive to the numbers as Xiaoshen.
“Brother Xiaoshen, don’t you want to check it out too?”
Usually the Yuling Sect would have trickles of new people coming in on a regular day, however, once every sixty years the sect would hold a grand ceremony to recruit new blood. The deacons were in charge of this affair and would choose promising new disciples with a firm base to add to the sect.
Lastly, an entrance exam, commonly referred to as the Jin Que Immortals Exam, would be held right outside the grand doors of the Yuling Sect’s Imperial Palace Jin Que.
If they passed, then from that day forward, they would be considered a disciple of the Yuling Sect. If they failed, then they wouldn’t even get the chance to take a peek of the Yuling Sect’s true appearances and their relationship with the Yuling Sect will merely end outside the doors of the Imperial Palace.
This year was precisely a year of recruitment of such disciples.
Xiaoshen was actually quite curious; amongst those in the human race, he was only familiar with cultivators. However, the Imperial Palace’s Recruitment of the Immortals would choose robust seedlings amongst the mortals. It was said that mortals and cultivators in the human race were slightly different.
Daomi transformed into his bird form while Xiaoshen, who had finally had some of his spiritual powers returned to him after much effort from Shang Jiyu, was able to use his own spiritual weapon. He no longer had to hold onto Daomi and instead was able to ride his cloud to travel around.
The two ran to the rear Jade Entrance of the Imperial Palace and looked on at the bustling from afar. They weren’t the only ones, everyone else too were secretly watching from the rear as well.
The first time that Xiaoshen came to the Imperial Palace’s Jade Entrance was when he first arrived at the Yuling Sect, however, since he neither dawdled nor entered the Jade Entrance, he only had a glimpse of the Imperial Palace.
He had heard about the origin of the Jade Entrance from Shang Jiyu. Back in the days, Yu Zhao split the mountain in half with a flick of his sword, thus the entrance became known as the ‘Immortal Cuts the Jade Entrance’. Now that he was here, he discovered that there was actually a stone statue as well. “What’s that?”
“Ah. It’s a statue that an admirer created in the image of Yu Zhao. Back in the days, he practiced his swordsmanship alone at this precipitous cliff and sliced the Jade Entrance in half with a swing of his sword, thus creating the Path of the Swords. After his passing, his successors put up a statue here to commemorate him.” Daomi explained. He grew up in Yuling Sect and seemed to really know everything that went on here, with the exception of the water left from Lanyu Lake. That, he didn’t know at all.
Since the Imperial Palace’s Recruitment of the Immortals have not officially started yet, Xiaoshen went closer to take a look and thought that the Yuling Sect really was filled with talented individuals. That stone statue was as vivid and lifelike as an actual living being. The stone statue was originally a young man carrying his sword on his back. His facial features were very handsome, his eyebrows arched towards his temple, and his eyes slightly closed, as if he was in the process of enlightenment. His hair and clothes moved elegantly with the wind and his back straight, which made his lofty and unyielding character even more apparent.
Xiaoshen immediately exclaimed, “Aye! This is……”
He brought Yu Yi, who was sitting on his head, down and made a comparison. It was without a doubt that the statue and Yu Yi looked almost the same, down to the very sword that both carried. It was just that Yu Yi was a lot smaller and it and its sword were both pitch black.
“They look so similar!”
“That’s not a shocker. These ink essences after all encompass the literary spirit of their creator in their bodies and often times share characteristics with the writers. Yu Yi furthermore inherited some swordsmanship, so they look even more similar.”
Xiaoshen thought it was quite interesting and compared the larger and smaller figures. “Then if I were to write a piece of work, will a Mini Xiaoshen come out?”
Daomi let out a smile of ridicule and looked as if he wanted to say something but was too afraid to speak.
The probability of that happening is quite low.
Did Brother Xiaoshen forget? This thing must come from someone of peerless talent who has received the legacy of ancestor Chang’en in order to take the form of an ink essence. The stuff that you write will merely be a waste of paper…
At this moment, under the directives of the inner sect deacons, the disciples, who came from all over the world to Yuling, began their trial.
It was quite a coincidence, but the creature that the deacon summoned was part of the clam race. The clam demon opened its mouth and blew a breath of chi.
These humans who have not yet begun their cultivation were no match for the clam demon’s attack and were immediately surrounded by a gas of chi. Their expression all became absent-minded and fell into the illusion created by the clam demon.
“What do they see?” Asked Xiaoshen.
Illusions too could be separated into different categories. There were ones like Xiaoshen’s, where he created a fake Shang Jiyu, and there were ones like the clam demon, where it was on a much larger scale, to a point where they cannot even see what those disciples each saw.
“Each person will see something different. Regardless, it’s all about testing their temperament.” Daomi explained.
The path of a cultivator was filled with challenges and obstacles. If they could not even pass this test, then there was no point in admitting them into the sect. They would not even be able to enter the Yingning boundary.
The first stage of the twelve levels of cultivation was the Yingning boundary, which called for cultivators to calm their hearts and put an end to external disturbances. Even though it was the first level, many cultivators must continue to practice endlessly to strengthen this area for they might encounter problems at any time and must be able to keep a calm heart and not be disturbed by external influences.
The road to longevity must be accompanied by long term ambitions!
Not long after, a human escaped from the illusion and regained his consciousness. This proved that he had passed the test and even became the first to do so.
What followed were more people who regained their senses as well as those who failed. In the end, the deacons had those who failed stand in a corner and ordered servants to send them out.
Those who succeeded were then able to officially enter the Yuling Sect.
Yet, it was at that moment, when the first person to succeed the test, opened his mouth and said, “……Elder Immortal, I want to leave as well.”
The deacon didn’t change his expression upon hearing this and only asked indifferently, “Are you sure?”
“Then join them in that corner. There will be someone to bring you home.”
“That first place guy… why did he leave?” Xiaoshen was not able to understand. “Didn’t he pass the test? His resolve must be very resolute.”
Daomi scratched his head. “I’m not sure why either. I think something like this has happened in the past as well. Some humans are quite weird and would rather choose to give up the path to immortality and live out the rest of their lives in the mortal world.”
One grew up amongst dragons, while another grew up in the Yuling Sect, thus, when faced with this type of human, neither were able to figure him out.
The Imperial Palace’s Recruitment of the Immortals was over in a flash. They needed to head back and enter the Imperial Palace. The newly admitted disciples also entered and looked on in full admiration at this wonderland.
The mountains were breathtaking, the waters surrounded the immortal grounds, the boats floated lightly on their watery surface, and hidden amidst all this was a subtle sound of singing.
“They’ll get used to this soon enough. Let’s go.” Daomi smiled and left with Xiaoshen, politely nodding at the deacons as they passed.
The deacons too politely smiled back. There were no traces of the disdain they once felt towards Xiaoshen becoming the Library Master.
One of the newbies looked demented as he said to his peers, “Everyone listen closely! That man on the river was reciting: ‘Once proclaimed itself as king and ruler, yet once cooked it looked like its mother’. If this place was truly the ‘Dao came from nature, its techniques from Yuling’s Yuling Sect’, who the heck would recite something like this!”
Everyone listened closely too and their expressions all changed for the worse. He’s right!
Who knew that the world of cultivators was this complex? There were actually those who dared to recite something like this and sects who would take advantage of mortals’ ignorance of the immortals’ world and trick them under the guise of the Yuling Sect’s name.
Simultaneously, shouts of You fraudsters!, Let me out! could be heard throughout Yuling.
He thought frantically to himself, How am I going to explain this?
Tell them that the person reciting these phrases was a disciple who lost to the Library Master in a battle and is now taking his punishment? Then how can you explain the Library Master’s hobbies? Even he himself thought that they seemed like fraudsters.
“I heard that the new disciples were causing a ruckus…”
“We don’t know why. The word around the block was the newbies were all shouting that the deacons were fraudsters and to let them out.”
“Huh? How could this happen? The Imperial Palace’s Recruitment of the Immortals had never had something as bizarre as this occur before.”
“It’s really strange. If these people had any abnormalities, why weren’t they rejected outside the Imperial Palace?”
Xiaoshen heard everyone’s discussions in the library and thought it was weird too. “When they were watching the bustle and ruckus before, everything was fine. Obviously, those deacons’ abilities were lacking! It was no wonder they were opposed to me being the Library Master before!”
Xiaoshen’s one phrase interrupted Daomi’s train of thoughts once again. “A lot of people are borrowing this book written by Chen Miaoxiang. What’s it about?”
“Ah, Miaoxiang Yuanjun, well she’s Martial Uncle’s teacher and has long ascended up to the heavens.” Daomi said yearningly. “My utmost regret is not having been born a few years earlier to see her once. Did you know, everyone in the cultivation world all call her Effortless Yuanjun because everything she did seemed to be done effortlessly. It was said that when Effortless Yuanjun participated in the Imperial Palace’s Recruitment of the Immortals, all the sect’s elders wanted to take her in as their disciple. She first studied the Fire Method, and reached the Listening to the Thunder Stage (fourth), then suddenly decided to change to the Water Method, and she was able to make the transition immediately.
“It was as if she wasn’t affected by the sudden change at all. She wanted to study the refinement process and she was able to make great progress in that too, and those in the sect gave her plenty of materials to practice as well. Yuanjun’s cultivation path was too smooth. She never took a disciple, and was already at the Don’t Conceal Stage (eleventh), when she suddenly wanted to take in a disciple, and thus, she picked Martial Uncle…
“Afterwards, well you know the rest – how strong Martial Uncle is. The cultivation method that Martial Uncle practices seemed to be an original method that Yuanjun created for her disciple. Aye, anyway, this wasn’t something she wrote intentionally, but rather a collection of her notes that the Patriarch had people put together. Regardless, Yuanjun had many fantastic insights in her notes on cultivation and many continued to borrow it still.”
“No wonder that many people borrow this book.” Xiaoshen said in admiration and nodded his head.
Daomi still felt that he was too indifferent. “Brother Xiaoshen, how can you remain so calm!”
Xiaoshen, “Hehe, I still think that Master Fang Cun is the strongest; being able to move that much water like that.”
Even though there was nothing wrong with this explanation, Daomi still felt that something was off with his words. Maybe it was a misperception, but he felt like he heard mockery in those words.
It was already considered a very good thing that he was able to express his admiration. In ancient times, great power was akin to a carp crossing the river; there were some past achievements and stories lost in time that humans merely did not know about, yet, for the long-lived dragon race, it was something that they remembered.
Let’s not discuss something that far off, why did the dragon race soar off to the heavens in the first place?
It was because of the Dragon King at the time, Lord Zhenbao’s doing.
If they thought Chen Miaoxiang’s cultivation path was smooth, then Lord Zhenbao’s path could be considered to be ‘rising to the heavens with just a word’, laying bare the secrets of the heavens with one remark. There was no room for him in the mundane world. He not only left himself, but brought the entire dragon race with him to heaven…
Of course, with the exception of Xiaoshen.
Xuan Wuzi came out of nowhere and brought a basket of fruits with him. “The weather has been very dry recently. I personally went to the Deyi Fields to pick these fruits for you to enjoy.”
Deyi Fields was a farmland belonging to the Yuling Sect; it was different from the farmlands of the mortals in that the plants grew at extraordinary speed and were able to supply the various demands of the disciples.
Xiaoshen and Daomi both looked at Xuan Wuzi and turned away at the same time.
Xuan Wuzi no longer had any credibility.
Xuan Wuzi whined dejectedly, “Brother Xiaoshen, Library Master, I have truly repented this time. Please be magnanimous and forgive me this one time. I was recently researching a new cultivation method and was this close to succeeding and wanted to come and get some of your thoughts on this matter. Why don’t you give me some pointers? Your illusions were so powerful…”
“Humph!” Daomi still bore a grudge against him for conspiring with Dong Wei. It was luck that Brother Xiaoshen had forgiven him once. “You! It is clear that your head is made from granite – incorrigible!”
Xuan Wuzi, “……”
He has truly seen through it all now and accepted his fate. He wouldn’t yearn for anything more anymore.
Those ink essences too came out with a rustle and pointed at Xuan Wuzi in disdain; sharing the same hatred for the common enemy of the Library Master.
Xuan Wuzi was despised by all the ink essences, but still shamelessly pestered Xiaoshen, “Just try one. Come on, just one…”
Xiaoshen, “No! Go away!”
Xuan Wuzi intentionally half squatted so that he was shorter than Xiaoshen and from the looks of it, he no longer carried that air of superiority he had when he first faced Xiaoshen, “It’s very sweet. Just try one please. I know that Library Master is a soft-hearted person. I recently compiled a bunch of Yun Ziran’s new works…”
“The human race’s flowery and insincere speeches!” Xiaoshen said coldly. Yu Yi helped him cover his ears and eyes so that he did not have to look at Xuan Wuzi. “If you don’t leave now, I’m going to attack you!”
Those in the library were originally watching Xuan Wuzi’s bitter encounter with sympathy, but with each step he took, they felt more and more alarmed.
Suddenly, a bitter cold presence that could not be ignored appeared. They turned around and saw that it was Martial Uncle dressed in all white walking in and heading straight in the direction of the Library Master.
Why did Martial Uncle appear in the library?
Hmm, this was a familiar question. Last time they didn’t carefully consider this problem and, like Dong Wei, were tricked by Xiaoshen.
This was the illusion’s Achilles heel. A fake in the end, was a fake. If the illusion had a hole and was revealed, then that was all there was to it. This was a test of the Yingning (first) Stage and test on the foundation of one’s temperament.
If one calmed down and was not intimidated by the realistic and imposing presence of Martial Uncle, then one would be able to realize that there was no way that Martial Uncle would step foot into the library; this must be a fake.
Xuan Wuzi too realized this, but continued to smile at Xiaoshen, “Brother Xiaoshen, there’s no need for this. Please show mercy.”
Xuan Wuzi thought to himself, even if Xiaoshen decided to use the illusion again, at least use someone new, like the patriarch, instead of continuing with Martial Uncle. There was no way I’ll fall for this again.
Ah, he was coming closer! He took a closer look the second time around and… By the gods, the illusion truly looked like the real person. Xiaoshen was truly worthy of the clam race!
“Martial Uncle, please come back later. Let me apologize to Brother Xiaoshen first.” Xuan Wuzi said with a smile. At the same time, he mouthed to himself that this was a fake, a fake, a fake. It was an opportunity to break through his internal barrier. Xuan Wuzi summoned his courage and used his full strength to push against the illusion.
……Huh? Why wasn’t he able to push it away?
Instead, he felt himself flying back?
The author has something to say:
Don’t know what to say, la-la-la-la-la-la……