1677 I Regret I
"Fate…" Duke Long sighed with a deep and complex expression. He walked towards a rock and patted beside him, indicating Hong Ting to have a seat.
Hong Ting followed Duke Long and sat cross-legged.
"Look." Duke Long pointed at the rock he was sitting on.
Hong Ting quickly looked, he saw a small group of ants moving beside the rock. They were moving in an orderly fashion, returning to their nest with food.
"This is fate." Duke Long continued.
"Look again." Duke Long pointed at the sky.
Hong Ting gazed at the sky, clouds of all kinds of shapes were moving in the sky.
"This also is fate." Duke Long said.
Hong Ting's mind jolted as if he had comprehended something: "Master, you mean to say…"
He did not continue, he had gained some comprehension but was unable to express them in words at this time.
"Ants transporting food, bees collecting honey, wind blowing, clouds floating, everything in this world have their own paths to walk on. To us, they might look like they don't follow any rules, but they are actually moving according to the rules of the Great Dao."
"Look at the moon and sun, every day, the sun rises and the moon falls, the moon rises and the sun falls. Look at a human's life and death, no matter who they are, be they an Immortal Venerable or a Demon Venerable, they will die in the end."
"Everything is fate."
"Every person, every living being, even every rock, every drop of water, every lump of fire, since they exist in this world, they will have value and meaning in their existence. Good and evil is also the same, without good, how would there be evil? Without evil, why talk about good?"
"You were in a hurry to kill Xue Tu Dao and did not see his value. Since heaven and earth let him exist, there is definitely a reason for his life. This is fate. Fate already has arrangements for everything in the world, it is just that we can only slightly feel this kind of arrangement and cannot see it clearly."
"Not being able to see clearly is normal. The laws of heaven and earth, the Great Dao of the universe, even if an immortal uses all their life, they would not be able to understand them thoroughly. We are too weak, too small, while heaven and earth is too vast. We should revere heaven and earth, follow the arrangements of the heavenly fate, and bring fortune to the world."
"Your parents' marriage was fate's arrangement, their greatest value was to bring you into this world."
"You will become an Immortal Venerable in the future, this is also fate's arrangement. You need to accept it, climb to the peak step by step, lead Heavenly Court and contribute your life to the righteous path."
"And my greatest value in life is to teach and guide you towards the proper path. I am your… Dao Guardian."
"Believe in fate, acknowledge fate, all its arrangements have their own reasons. If we forcibly interfere, it will lead to tragedy and regret. Just like how you tried to take Xue Tu Dao's life early, but were you able to kill him?"
Duke Long shook his head: "No. Although your strength surpassed his, you encountered all kinds of unexpected situations. In the end, not only did you fail to kill him, you even implicated innocent lives."
"Think back on it, if you had listened to fate's arrangements and attacked Xue Tu Dao at his weakest moments, would you still have encountered those accidents?"
"I will tell you, the value of Xue Tu Dao's existence was to activate this Gu Immortal inheritance, to open the way and hand this inheritance to you."
Hong Ting was dazed, he was motionless like a statue.
Two clear rows of tears fell from his eyes as he choked: "Master, I was wrong."
"It is good to know your mistakes and change them. Actually, your wrong choice was also fate's arrangement." Duke Long said.
"Master, what do you mean?"
"We are all under fate's arrangements, you thought you could defy fate, but your thought was also fate's arrangement. You don't need to feel guilty, you should comprehend fate's intention. You think your wrong choice was of no value? Wrong."
"Every mistake has an inestimable value to a youth's growth. If you can absorb the lesson from this mistake, acknowledge fate's existence and accept it, then this mistake would have shown its value. That village's destruction also has its value!"
Duke Long then took a deep look at Hong Ting: "My disciple, you are a talented and intelligent child, a good child, but I worry because you emphasize on feelings too much. You already have rank five cultivation now, among the paths to ascend to an immortal, you will probably choose wisdom path, right?"
"Master, your vision is unparalleled, I indeed have such thoughts, I feel like wisdom path is extremely suitable for me." Hong Ting said truthfully.
Duke Long shook his head: "Wisdom path focuses on thought, will, and emotion. You emphasize on feelings too much so studying emotions has more demerits than benefits to you. Listen to master, choose time path. When you can view the past and present, observe the rise and decline of history, all sorts of honor and disgrace, you will understand that all feelings and romance will be cleansed by time. I have received revelation from fate Gu, time path suits you the most."
Hong Ting opened his mouth slightly, wanting to say something, but he nodded in the end: "Disciple shall abide by master's teachings and choose time path."
Duke Long nodded in satisfaction: "That's good, master is your Dao Guardian, pointing you towards the correct path is the meaning behind my existence."
Time slowly moved forward.
Hong Ting chose time path, and under Duke Long's protection, successfully passed his immortal ascension tribulation, becoming a time path Gu Immortal.
"Lord immortal Hong Ting, that demon has proclaimed he is going to slaughter the whole city unless I give my daughter to him as a concubine. He is a great Gu Immortal, we are only mortals. We truly are unable to do anything, considering the friendship between me and your father, I implore you to eliminate this demon!" An old city lord paid a visit, kneeling to the ground as he made his request to Hong Ting.
Hong Ting recognized him, this city lord's city was close to Maple Leaf City. They had frequent dealings with each other, this city lord and his father indeed had a close friendship.
He had even seen this city lord's daughter and had played with her when they were young.
"Old senior, please get up. I will definitely help, it is just that…" Hong Ting paused for a moment: "The opportunity has not arrived."
The old city lord was exulted: "Since lord immortal has replied, this old man shall be rest assured. I believe lord immortal will not go back on his words!"
Hong Ting waited till it was the correct time to kill this demonic Gu Immortal.
He attacked resolutely and killed this demon easily.
However, the old city lord was kneeling on the ground, gazing at the city filled with ruins and corpses as he cried in sadness: "This accursed demon is finally dead! My good daughter, the inhabitants of my city, you can rest in peace now, your hatred has been avenged!!"
"Disciple pays respect to master. I wonder what matter master has called me for?" Hong Ting went up to Duke Long.
"Disciple, master has sensed fate. Floating flower river is about to flood, the river channel has diverged. I want you to go save people. Remember, don't make a move early, you can only do so after three days and three nights." Duke Long instructed carefully.
Hong Ting came to the floating flower riverbank and looked at the flooding river water, countless living beings were forced to be homeless, while many drowned corpses were floating on the surface.
He forcibly restrained his emotions and waited for three days and three nights. But at that time, he found that he did not even need to make a move, the river water retreated by itself, swamps appearing in many areas.
A wild Immortal Gu's aura emerged and was actually not far away from Hong Ting.
Hong Ting easily subdued this wild Immortal Gu: "Great Gu, it is actually a rank seven time path Gu which is perfect for me."
The wild Immortal Gu's aura attracted two ancient desolate beasts.
Hong Ting's expression turned solemn as he concealed himself. He waited for these two ancient desolate beasts to kill each other. After one died and another was injured, he made his move, getting these two ancient desolate beast corpses easily.
"Wonderful, wonderful." Gazing at the traces of the battlefield, Hong Ting suddenly came to a realization.
"So it turns out this was fate's arrangement. With the battle of the two ancient desolate beasts, floating flower river has expanded by several times its width while its river channel has been dyed by the ancient desolate beasts' blood, becoming much thicker. From now on, floating flower river will probably not flood again."
"There are also these plots of land beside floating flower river which will become extremely fertile as they are soaked in the essence blood and corpses of countless beings. In the future, the mortals who live here will truly be fortunate."
"Bull-headed Demon Brute, let go of my parents now, otherwise, I will make you suffer a fate worse than death!" Hong Ting furiously glared at the bull-headed demonic immortal.
The bull-headed demonic immortal held Hong Ting's parents in each of his hands, laughing loudly: "Kid, you are very arrogant, you want to get rid of me? When I became a Gu Immortal, you were still suckling milk as a baby! Are you scared now?"
Hong Ting had to restrain himself and could only shout in anger.
Bull-headed Demon Brute quickly shouted: "Don't come over, don't be impulsive! Don't you want your parents' lives? If you come over, I will directly crush your parents' heads!"
"What do you want?!" Hong Ting shouted.
Bull-headed Demon Brute gave a malevolent smile: "Now we are talking. As long as you hand over my lifespan Gu, I will return your parents to you. If not, I only have a few days to live anyway, I will just die with your parents."
Hong Ting was immediately dazed.
According to fate's arrangements, those two wild lifespan Gu should indeed go to Bull-headed Demon Brute. But Hong Ting saw his parents getting old and reaching their life's limit, so he seized those two lifespan Gu without telling Duke Long. Who could have thought that Bull-headed Demon Brute would come and bring disaster to his parents!
In an instant, Hong Ting's face became deathly pale and his forehead was filled with cold sweat: "I have already used those two lifespan Gu."
"I know, you used them on your parents!" Bull Demon was not surprised: "But, you are Duke Long's disciple, a future Immortal Venerable who will lead Heavenly Court. I don't believe Heavenly Court's treasury does not have any lifespan Gu. Bring three hundred years, no, three thousand years lifespan Gu and I will release your parents!"
"This…" Hong Ting was now caught in a dilemma.
In the end, through twists and turns, he finally forced Bull-headed Demon Brute to retreat. But his parents were irrecoverably injured, even immortal methods could not heal them.
"Father, mother, I harmed you! If I had not taken lifespan Gu for you, you would still have several years left!" Hong Ting knelt down and cried.
Hong Zhu, however, smiled: "Son, life and death is up to fate, fortune is up to heaven. Humans have to die sooner or later, this world has long life but is there anyone who can live forever? No! We are fated to die, you don't need to feel sad for us. On the contrary, you should be happy for us. The two of us could have a son like you, a future Immortal Venerable, how great of an honor is this, we will definitely be noted down in history because of you."
Madam Hong also said: "My son, listen to your father, be a good person, you must be righteous."
The old couple grasped each other's hands and died at the same time.
"Father, mother—!" Hong Ting howled towards the sky.
Bright light accumulated in Hong Ting's eyes. Through the passing of time, experience and maturity made him full of manly charisma.
The setting sun illuminated the lush green hill.
Under the setting sun, he saw Liu Shu Xian for the first time.
Two pairs of eyes met each other, both felt their hearts pulsing, an indescribable atmosphere rapidly spread.
Love at first sight.
Liu Shu Xian revealed a strange expression, asking softly: "Who are you?"
Hong Ting, however, felt no surprise, he replied with a smile: "I am your fated husband, my name is Hong Ting."
Liu Shu Xian was astonished: "You are the future Immortal Venerable?"
"Don't be surprised, our encounter here was determined by fate."
Love gave Hong Ting a feeling of satisfaction and bliss that he had never experienced before!
He and Liu Shu Xian always kept each other's company and had a lot in common. It was like they were born for each other, like a key to a lock, they were a natural couple.
They roamed the world together, they conversed and dined under the moon. They had great chemistry, an eye signal to the other could express their inner heart and even convey all their intention to the other's mind. They were a true immortal couple, living together for hundreds of years. They supported each other in the path of cultivation, there was not even one fight or a moment where they were vexed at each other.
Liu Shu Xian accompanied Hong Ting all the way to rank eight, rank eight peak, and finally to rank nine venerable realm!
The tribulation was unimaginable, but Hong Ting still succeeded in the end.
Duke Long was heavily injured due to this, several Heavenly Court Gu Immortals perished, while Hong Ting held Liu Shu Xian's gradually freezing body with tears all over his face.
He tightly held Liu Shu Xian, repeatedly saying: "Don't leave me, don't leave me, I beg you, please live!"
"It's no use, I have been struck by the tribulation. Having a trace of my soul left to take a final look at you is already an enormous fortune. How could I possibly ask for more?" Liu Shu Xian smiled.
"I am useless, I am useless! I underwent tribulation but implicated you!" Hong Ting's head was lowered with tears rolling down his eyes.
"No, Hong Ting. That tribulation could only have been blocked by my special physique. Even if you all sacrificed your lives, you would only have failed. I was born with one of the ten extreme physiques and encountered you, it was all fate's arrangement. In your fatal moment, I suddenly understood the greatest meaning of my life, it was to protect you, to block the tribulation for you and help you ascend to the position of an Immortal Venerable! Now… I have accomplished it."
"No, No! Xian Er, I would rather not be an Immortal Venerable, I only want you to live, I only want you to live!" Hong Ting roared helplessly, his body was shaking and his tears were falling.
"Everything and everyone in this world has its own respective fate, it is fixed. Hong Ting, you cannot have such thoughts, you need to live on properly, your fate is to become an Immortal Venerable, lead Heavenly Court and spread the glory of the righteous path throughout the five regions… Do you know? I had always been wanting to see that scene, standing by your side and accompanying you as you bring fortune to the world with invincible might. Unfortunately, I won't be able to see it…"
Liu Shu Xian's life force gradually fell, until she died.
Hong Ting's head was lowered and his back was bent deeply like an old man, a heavy shadow shrouded his face.
At this moment, he seemed to have lost all signs of life.
He was motionless like a statue.
In his immortal aperture, the remaining heaven and earth qi gathered and merged, refining a rank eight Immortal Gu according to his current mental state.
This Gu had the form of a centipede, its whole body was pale white like paper. Unlike centipedes, its legs were replaced by one hundred feelers. Every feeler was translucent, gently floating in the air, agitating hearts and continuously raising the deepest regretful feelings.
Rank eight regret Gu!
"Cough, cough, cough." Duke Long coughed out several mouthfuls of blood, he forcibly stood up and walked to Hong Ting's side.
"Liu Shu Xian's death was not without meaning, it was worthy and valuable, there is no need for sadness, my dear disciple. This was all fate's arrangement. Now, you are already an Immortal Venerable, rank nine venerables are extremely rare even in the long history of humanity. You still have a long life ahead, your mission has just started. I will abdicate my position, Heavenly Court as well as the five regions and two heavens need you. Hong Ting, Hong Ting?" Duke Long softly called.
Hong Ting slowly raised his head, he did not look at Duke Long, his gaze was still on Liu Shu Xian's icy corpse.
He replied lightly: "I regret it."
 Dao is also read as road or path.