Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Xiaoshen’s heart was surging. It was not surprising that Xie Kurong and Daomi, who followed them to the palace, were staring at the two curiously, their eyes fixed on the tea Xiaoshen was drinking.
Daomi had a hundred words to say, but dared not speak. He could only look at the youth in silence, and then he shrank in the corner. One eye turned to the side, while the other shifted to the corner, as he peeked at Brother Xiaoshen.
Xiaoshen was acutely aware of the eye on him. He turned to look, but removed his sight just as quickly. This bird’s eyes were really weird.
Xie Kurong was also surprised and asked the young man in white, “Why did Junior Martial Uncle come? Is there something wrong?”
Shang Jiyu was two hundred years younger than Xie Kurong, and was actually his martial uncle. Because of his age, he was the only one in his generation, who had any achievements. Cultivators lived for a long time, but they had to be old enough to take in a junior disciple. Shang Jiyu was taken in when he was only eight years old, so Xie Kurong had to call him Martial Uncle.
What’s more, this young man grew up in Xie Kurong’s generation, but he had his own strength.
There were so many people in the Sect, that it needed a division of labor. His junior martial uncle was always best at guarding… Or fighting, to be exact.
Little Martial Uncle had been quite closed off recently. Xie Kurong didn’t know why he came out today and served tea to Xiaoshen himself. But he wouldn’t mention it. He remembered that the tea was the same one his martial uncle had often served for his master.
“Nothing.” The young man stood in the hall calmly, his stature tall and straight, very beautiful.
What do you mean ‘nothing’?? Okay then… What was he here for anyway? To serve tea to Xiaoshen? Or to just stand there acting like a pillar? Xie Kurong was very dejected. Even if he was the patriarch, this man would not call him by that title. He would not dare to force this fierce junior martial uncle to call him that either.
“This is Xiaoshen, who just joined the sect today.” Xie Kurong introduced the water race boy. “Xiaoshen, you just entered the Mountain Gate… This is my Uncle. You can call him Master.”
Xiaoshen was not a formal disciple, nor was he like Daomi, who grew up here and would call him grandfather’s younger brother. If he saw any of those in the older generation, he must politely call them by their martial status, like Yuan-jun or Dao-jun.
“My name is Shang Jiyu.” The young man answered, and his eyelashes drooped. His eyes were pure and cold, without any emotions.
Xiaoshen engraved the name into his memory, while subtly moving his hands. In the broad robe his fingertips were barely exposed from beneath the wide sleeves.
Xie Kurong felt that something was wrong. He looked at the strange little martial uncle suspiciously and simply turned to Xiaoshen. He grabbed his ankle and looked at it carefully, while turning the spiritual bracelets with his fingers. “You really don’t know the origin of that person?”
Xiaoshen stiffly said, “I only saw him once, and I didn’t recognize him at all.”
“This man’s cultivation is not simple, and he intentionally hid his origin. He seemed to be hesitant before escaping. The bracelet he made is also very ingenious. It will take some time to unlock it without damage. But don’t worry, there are disciples who are good at cultivating weapons. I’ll let them study the design, and then I’ll take another look, so that you can resume your cultivation as soon as possible.” Xie Kurong was concerned about Xiaoshen, and was even planning to get a group to remove the shackles as soon as they could.
Xiaoshen also hated this restriction. It was not only a mark of emotional shame, but the bracelet also prevented him from taking his water back and recovering his power.
What Xie Kurong said made Xiaoshen feel much better. He smiled, “Thank you, Patriarch.”
From the moment Xie Kurong saw Xiaoshen, he felt the other side was very lonely. It was rare for him to show a smile, which made him seem despondent.
Right then, his deadly little martial uncle said, “I’ll solve it.”
Xie Kurong, “Ah?”
Shang Jiyu repeated it, this time adding two more words, “I’ll solve it even faster.”
Of course, Xie Kurong heard him clearly, and had no doubt that Shang Jiyu would be faster to figure out a solution. What took him by surprise was how Shang Jiyu took the initiative to offer his help.
Shang Jiyu had never been a warm-hearted person. He was always on his own. One couldn’t mention a name with his in the same sentence unless it was about beating them. He was using two swords as his weapon.
Xiaoshen didn’t know anything about that. Seeing that Shang Jiyu offered to lift the restriction for him without being asked, his heart felt even better. He replied happily at once, “Okay!”
Xie Kurong suddenly had the feeling that the little rescued tortoise had run away with another…
However, since Shang Jiyu has already promised, Xiaoshen was pleased, and he could only say, “Well, it’ll be hard for you, Martial Uncle. It’s not good to disturb your cultivation.”
Xie Kurong turned to Daomi and ordered him, “If Junior Martial Uncle and Xiaoshen have any requests, make sure to handle them straight away.”
Shang Jiyu didn’t care about worldly affairs, and he was alone most of the time. Xiaoshen had just arrived, and he was still restricted by the bracelets around his ankles. It was better to ask Daomi for help.
“Since Xiaoshen just joined, Daomi should make sure to teach him the rules and regulations of the sect.” Xie Kurong added.
“Yes! I have one with me!” Daomi immediately took out a thin bamboo tube and removed a piece of paper from it, on which he wrote the rules of Yuling Sect and the instructions for disciples. Anyone who joined the sect must memorize all of these.
He went and handed it to Brother Xiaoshen.
Xiaoshen took one look at it and said, “I don’t know how to read this!”
Ten thousand years ago, he tried learning the human language. He couldn’t speak it properly, and he was even more lazy to learn the characters.
Xie Kurong didn’t think of this. The older the people he met, the more scholarly they were. Especially if they wanted to learn other techniques, they must know how to read. Yuling was a place where thousands of cultivators asked for guidance. He had lived for hundreds of years and he really hadn’t seen anyone who couldn’t read!
He didn’t know what type of environment Xiaoshen grew up in… He said in a daze, “Then Daomi, read it to Xiaoshen.”
Daomi was in high spirits and wanted to say a few more words. Seeing Xiaoshen staring at him, he didn’t dare to say them. He immediately started reading it out loud, “Disciples must remember: the method for cultivating is to know that truth, nature, life, and the heart are the tools of a cultivator. To cultivate one’s mind and never be…”
He quickly recited a few hundred words in classical Chinese.
Xiaoshen’s eyes became blank as he listened. He felt just like a lost and confused crab. “Wait a minute, what did you say? I can’t understand.”
The first part he understood. He knew every word in the first sentence. But when they were combined, he had no idea what the demon was talking about. Moreover, as soon as Daomi talked faster, he couldn’t even distinguish the words. In the past ten thousand years, human grammar has also undergone changes. How could Xiaoshen understand these old written languages?
Daomi was shocked again. “You can’t understand it?”
Xie Kurong’s hand with the teacup paused in the air, as he reevaluated Xiaoshen’s academic level.
Daomi now knew why every time he spoke in idioms, Brother Xiaoshen was very accomodating, it was because he was completely illiterate!
He has never properly learned in a school, Xie Kurong thought.
But Yuling had not had anyone who couldn’t read or write for five thousand years. People came to Yuling to become cultivators, not to learn how to be literate. Xie Kurong was embarrassed, but since he was the one who brought the young man, what else could he do…?
Moreover, there was no rule that said, people who were illiterate were not allowed to join the sect.
He could only take a deep breath under Daomi’s questioning eyes, “In any case, Xiaoshen’s restriction has not been lifted, and he can’t do anything for now, so he’ll learn later. Daomi, you… slowly explain the rules to Xiaoshen.”
After he said that, he finished the tea in one breath and sat back pensively.
“Yes, Patriarch. Do I need to make arrangements for Brother Xiaoshen to live with Martial Uncle?” Daomi hesitated.
Xie Kurong hadn’t had time to deal with that yet. When he subconsciously looked at Shang Jiyu, he was especially surprised to see that his junior martial uncle had no objections to the suggestion.
“Let’s go,” Shang Jiyu said.
For thousands of years, the Yuling sect has been flourishing. In addition, there were many demon and human families belonging to it, and occasionally disciples from other sects come here for some guidance. It covered a massive area, as big as a smaller country. It was a very busy place.
Earlier, Xiaoshen saw a boat on the Ligou River. Since there was nothing important in the sky, there was no reason to fly around here, so the disciples were strictly prohibited to use their imperial weapons over this area.
The people living here were elders like Xie Kurong. The disciples and grandchildren, when bored, would just dash around above their heads, which was quite disrespectful. Therefore, all the disciples who came and went here could only use the boat, whether they could fly or not.
From Ligou River to the mountain peaks, there were ferries everywhere. Xiaoshen and Daomi got one of the ferryboats.
Daomi saw that Shang Jiyu was also already aboard. He didn’t dare to mention it. Based on Shang Jiyu’s rank, he was naturally unrestrained and could fly if he wanted to. However, if someone wanted to take a boat, Daomi would not say anything and step back in silence.
The boat took off without oaring.
Xiaoshen’s spiritual power might be gone, but his eyesight was still there. He had noticed that Shang Jiyu was controlling the water. It turned out he practiced the Water Method, too. No wonder he felt close to Shang Jiyu.
Xiaoshen found two lines of small unfamiliar characters on the side of the boat, and asked, “What’s this about?”
Daomi wanted to answer, but then he heard his martial uncle, who had never liked to talk much, reply, “‘The world ships carry people all over the world, and wine rewards people all over the world.’ It was carved there by a master. “
Xiaoshen half understood, and half not, so he questioned further, “Is wine good to drink? I have never tried it.”
Seeing his deep blue eyes full of curiosity and innocence, Shang Jiyu unconsciously took a step forward.
The boat was not big. The distance between Shang Jiyu and Xiaoshen became small. Shang Jiyu’s eyes were dark, deep, cold and restrained like the night.
Xiaoshen almost thought Shang Jiyu would touch him, but in the end, he just stopped and said, “I have several bottles of good wine…” He paused, and changed his wording to a simpler one, so that Xiaoshen could understand him, “I’ll give you some good wine some day.”
“Good.” Xiaoshen was satisfied with Shang Jiyu more and more, he was so thoughtful and wise. By the way, what was up with Daomi, standing at the end of the boat, looking afraid of Shang Jiyu?
If it wasn’t for only having the bottom of a dirty river and wearing bracelets on his ankles, he would love to pick up and bring Shang Jiyu home to his waters.
Around the huge mountain, on a lone-standing peak stood a flying pavilion, a majestic, but ominous looking building. Here, the Ligou River circled upward, and made the pavilion only accessible for people by boat.
There was only one person living on the whole peak. Powerful cultivators could bring child servants, disciples, mounts, pets with them, if they wished, making their place lively. But this dwelling was as cold and lonesome as its owner.
Daomi was here to do chores. He accompanied Xiaoshen to select a room to his liking. When that was done, Daomi cleaned the room thoroughly and changed all the commonly used items to brand new ones.
Shang Jiyu didn’t follow them. Xiaoshen walked around unrestricted. He thought it was a good place apart from having no water.
“Tell me about Shang Jiyu.” Xiaoshen didn’t really want to start a conversation with Daomi, but there were only three people on this mountain now.
“Martial Uncle…” Daomi hesitated, but he still did not dare to gossip about Shang Jiyu behind his back. He picked his words carefully and continued, “…he’s amazing. Cultivators in Yuling are divided into three, six or nine grades, just like rosewood and red sandalwood 1 . Martial Uncle’s grade is the highest and he is at the top. All the practitioners believe that Martial Uncle’s power is only second to Yu Zhao!”
“Oh…” Xiaoshen nodded.
Daomi was unsatisfied with his response. “Brother Xiaoshen, did you get what I just said? Second to Yu Zhao after a thousand years!”
“Yes!” Xiaoshen responded, “Yu Zhao’s the one who was listening to the dragon sounds.”
He remembered that the old man was practicing how to tell a dragon’s color by their roar and then ascended to the world of immortals.
I forgot that Brother Xiaoshen had never heard of Yu Zhao before today.
Daomi tried rephrasing it: “Martial Uncle is only over five hundred years old, and he is already at the Don’t Submit (ninth) Stage! People who are the same age can’t even compare to him!”
So that’s how it is, thought Xiaoshen.
Ah, wait, that’s not good… That means I can’t just simply pick him up and bring him back home with me…
Daomi was finally satisfied with Xiaoshen’s reaction, so he continued, “You see, there’s only Martial Uncle living on Biqiao Peak. He doesn’t accept any disciples and doesn’t want to answer to anyone. A hundred years ago, there was a small Jiao 2 who was promoting himself and was willing to be Martial Uncle’s subordinate, but he was also mercilessly rejected.”
“That little Jiao was of the water race, and had the closest blood relationship with the dragon race. So it was believed that he would cause big waves no matter where he went, and he would have a limitless future after growing up.”
“At that time, Martial Uncle only sneered and said ‘if there are no more dragons in heaven, that means I should take a lizard on earth?'”
Xiaoshen said, “I can’t understand human words very well. Does this mean that he wants to ride through the clouds of heaven on nothing, but true dragons?”
Daomi, “Well, you can put it that way.”
Truth be told, Daomi thinks that his martial uncle was competing with Yu Zhao. They were constantly being compared to each other. Who would like that? Did Yu Zhao hear water race or dragon sounds? How could Martial Uncle just accept water species like that?
But it was true what Xiaoshen had said.
The second emotional blow came so soon??
No, it’s unbelievable! Did Shang Jiyu really say that?
Xiaoshen couldn’t wrap his head around it.
Such a kind person!
Xiaoshen was considering whether it was only Daomi exaggerating. The little demon was pretty reliable about gossips like this.
So Shang Jiyu was sneering. Xiaoshen couldn’t imagine him doing that.
In short, Martial Uncle never accepted anyone who wanted to work for him. Him bringing Brother Xiaoshen was an exception. He also offered to help lift the restriction on Xiaoshen. Was it really that simple? They only met for the first time!
By the way, Brother Xiaoshen’s true form should also be an aquatic creature, but I have no idea what. Daomi secretly guessed that it might be an octopus.
As for his Martial Uncle’s actions, Daomi didn’t even try to figure them out, he can only keep his guesses deep inside his heart. If he ever said them out loud he would be in trouble.
“Brother Xiaoshen, it’s getting really late. You’re new here, so take a rest first. I’ll come back tomorrow to answer your questions. I’ll also start teaching you how to read. Let’s make a bow of cotton—”
Xiaoshen was annoyed by Daomi and couldn’t help asking, “What do you mean?”
Daomi replied cheerfully, “It means we’ll talk when you know words!”
……Well, I shouldn’t have asked.
Xiaoshen didn’t want to rest. He has been sleeping for ten thousand years and just wanted to recover his power as soon as possible.
He was the only one living with Shang Jiyu, but this pavilion was enormous, and looked really ancient. This room alone, its width was tens of feet, but he used only three or four of them.
Xiaoshen lived in the same palace, so he didn’t have to walk far to the door of Shang Jiyu’s room. The door was open and Xiaoshen thought this meant it was left open just for him. Of course, it could also mean that no one would disturb him anyway, since there was no one else around.
Shang Jiyu sat with his back to him, and he couldn’t see what he was doing.
Xiaoshen went to his side and kicked out his foot to reveal the silver bracelet on his ankle.
“When are you going to get this off of me?” he asked eagerly.
With his eyes lowered, he grabbed Xiaoshen’s ankle with his hands. His cold thumb rubbed twice on his white skin, but it was not enough. He released his ankle and stood up. His figure was much taller than Xiaoshen’s. At such a close distance, it felt especially oppressive.
No, it wasn’t because of his height and distance, it was because of his natural breath, which reminded Xiaoshen of the storm on the sea. At this time, he seemed like the moon on the sea covered by clouds, or a snow avalanche rolling down from the mountain top.
Shang Jiyu held Xiaoshen by the waist, he lifted him up and placed him down on a chest. He was still very close, and there was a dark color in his eyes.
It was still the same deep and beautiful facial features, but the temperament and expression have changed greatly. The cold look had become a somber and even fierce one.
Xiaoshen’s lips parted slightly, and he was surprised to see the sudden change in Shang Jiyu’s eyes.
Even in such a situation, Shang Jiyu didn’t say a word. Xiaoshen also understood why Daomi was afraid of Shang Jiyu. And why Shang Jiyu was described as arrogant in his stories.
One person, two sides, two completely different characters. It was really strange.
Shang Jiyu raised his hand and came closer to Xiaoshen. His fingertips touched the young man’s cheek, but his smile still didn’t reach his eyes. The reaction of the young man was not surprising at all, everyone looked at him the same way.
“Don’t be afraid.” he sighed softly.
How could Xiaoshen be afraid? He has seen many strange and ugly monsters in the sea, but he was the strongest hunter of them all!
He only thought it mysterious. Shang Jiyu’s soul didn’t seem to change, but he gave off the feeling of another person. It was inconceivable.
It’s too strange of a thing to happen to human beings. Is this like one of those ‘buy one, get one free’ type of deals?
So Xiaoshen said, “I’m not scared, I just haven’t seen you like this. Was your soul switched?”
He wanted to make sure that it was not a kind of new technology that was developed in the past ten thousand years.
“If my soul had been switched, do you think the people of Yuling wouldn’t notice?” Xiaoshen couldn’t find any signs of lying, even after looking at his face for half a day.
The young man looked delicate and brave.
However, it didn’t matter if he was faking being brave or not, as long as he stayed here.
“So you’ve been like this since you were little? Can it be cured?” Xiaoshen asked. He didn’t want to take advantage of this. After all, according to these reasons, it was this one who wanted to become a Dragon Knight, and it had nothing to do with the other ‘him’; ‘he’ was still pure.
Hearing his question, Shang Jiyu smiled and asked, “What do you think?”
This smile doesn’t look good.
Shang Jiyu curled his fingers then casually said, “It’s great that you’re not afraid, because I need you to do something. I don’t think it would be hard for you to do.”
Xiaoshen’s eyes twinkled, and he hastily responded, “What do you need? Will you unlock the bracelet for me in exchange?”
He felt that he was the big debtor of Yuling, and every exchange seemed to take advantage of him.
“You can think of it that way.” When Shang Jiyu bullied him, he got so close, that Xiaoshen could feel his breath. He said, “Just stay close to me after the moon rises.”
Even Xia Kurong didn’t know that there were issues with his cultivation. But even if anyone knew, it was not something they could solve for him. The cultivation method was created by his master, and Shang Yuji was the only one who practiced it.
When the sun set and the moon rose in the sky, the meridians in his body would become chaotic. Despite suppressing and treating them for months, he still couldn’t get them under control. Now, the symptoms would reoccur even when the sun was out, making him irritable and moody.
From the time he was a child, this dual nature would appear more and more frequently and would persist for months.
But for some reason, they would calm down, as long as they were near Xiaoshen. The closer they were to him, the more peaceful and comfortable they would be, which has never happened before. He could even cultivate properly.
Meridians were akin to the river source, stirring raging waves, waiting for him to recuperate patiently.
The disciples of the sect practiced the Water Method. They also asked the water people to help them. The stronger connection those water people had with the blood of the dragons in them, the more benefit they could bring to their cultivation. But he has never heard of a situation like this before. No other disciples needed to have a person, like Xiaoshen around them constantly.
However, the Daoist method Shang Jiyu practiced couldn’t even be mentioned under the same breath as the techniques of others.
He was that kind of headstrong person. He could only touch the stone and cross the river. 3 Even if he didn’t understand the principle behind it, he only needed to know that Xiaoshen was his.
“How close?” Xiaoshen asked.
He didn’t care about the reason either. In the past, those aquatic creatures also liked to stay beside him.
No problem, he could do that.
“Naturally, the closer you get, the better.” Shang Jiyu explained.
“Got it!” Xiaoshen suddenly realized, “You mean I can… handle you?”
Shang Jiyu, “???”
Xiaoshen didn’t know enough words, so he couldn’t use ones like ‘hug’ or ‘pester’.
A beat later he continued, “But I only want to handle him, not you!”
Shang Jiyu understood that when Xiaoshen was talking about ‘him’ in that sentence, he meant his other self and asked, “Why?”
Because ‘he’ doesn’t have the kind of fierce temperament that makes people keep their distance.
Xiaoshen hummed, “Because you don’t look like him.”
Shang Jiyu was taken aback. Is there a difference between the same face and the same face?
He narrowed his eyes, which inexplicably made him feel more oppressive, “Did you forget that you need my help?”
Xiaoshen replied, “So what? There are other ways to solve it, even if those methods are slower. The patriarch couldn’t do anything about it. But he also mentioned that the Yuling Sect is full of capable and learned people, so someone’s bound to come around who can break it.”
“But none of those people can beat me,” Shang Jiyu reminded.
It was quite befitting to call him a proper descendant. He was arrogant enough.
Xiaoshen didn’t get discouraged and quickly added, “I believe that ‘he’ will definitely help me, even without you!”
Xiaoshen one-sidedly trusted the ‘other’ Shang Jiyu to a great extent, and it was clear at first sight that the attitude he treated ‘him’ with was different than that towards others.
Shang Jiyu didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
He couldn’t accept this.
“But I am him.” Shang Jiyu sighed in a soft voice.
Xiaoshen looked at Shang Jiyu’s face, but he still firmly believed that he and ‘him’ were clearly different.
Xiaoshen hissed, “No, he doesn’t have the ability to ride a dragon without you.”
Like I would let you sit on a dragon’s back, bah.
As Shang Jiyu sank into silence and recalled what Xiaoshen said before, suddenly, his eyes flashed with realization.
Was he a young Jiao?
The author has something to say:
Shang Jiyu: Jiao.
Xie Kurong: Wangba (turtle/son of a bitch), he must be Wangba. I won!
- When whole sandalwood trees, including the roots, are extracted from the ground, and de-barked, the wood is then divided into five separate commercial wood grades: butt, roots, 1st grade, 2nd grade and 3rd grade.
- A lower level dragon-like being. Not an actual dragon, but close. The tail of a Jiao is bare, akin to that of a snake’s tail and it only has one pair of claws while a dragon has two pairs. Jiao also often have one or no horns while a dragon has two. If the Jiao happens to have a horn, it’s very short.
- Meaning to move forward without really knowing the path. That you try to feel for the stones beneath the river to cross it.