8 The First Lesson
Master Lü walked over and knocked on the table a few times.
The man in the gray robe woke up rubbing his strained eyes and looked up at Master Lü, feeling very happy, but surprised to see the wet mud on his front lapel and shoes.
"Big Brother Lü, what the heck happened?"
"When someone such as a child has learned how to walk, he would without question never think of crawling again, and when a practitioner has learned how to ride on a flying sword, who in his right mind would want to walk?" He thought.
"Just be cautious," Master Lü said, " otherwise the masters from the other peaks might hear the news and come over to grab these kids, and then what would we do?"
"We are all in the same sect, so that shouldn’t be a problem," The man in gray robe said lightly.
"Then what if the people from other sects come to grab them?" Master Lü protested.
The man in gray robe laughed. "I think you’re exaggerating matters quite a bit, big brother. I want to have a good look at what talent you’ve found us, that’s that you so nervous."
Master Lü signaled to Jing Jiu and Liu Shisui to come forward and gave introductions. "This is the South Gate Immortal Master of our sect, Ming Guoxing. You have to call him Master until becoming a member of the sect yourselves."
"Master Ming!" Liu Shisui shouted immediately.
It took the startled Ming Guoxing awhile to return to his senses after he saw Jing Jiu. "Such a beautiful boy, like an icy doll carved from jade; Big Brother Lü, you have truly found someone extraordinary this time around," he praised.
"I’m debating whether he’s just an empty shell; I have picked the younger kid."
Master Lü sighed, making the comments right in front of Jing Jiu without any effort made to avoid him.
Just after three days on the road, his perception of Jing Jiu was getting worse, and he even felt somewhat regretful about bringing him.
He had never seen such a lazy person.
As a matter of fact, what had really ticked him off was that Liu Shisui, the genius in his eyes, was exploited by someone as a slave.
Hearing these comments, Master Uncle Ming looked at Liu Shisui and found that, along with the boy’s airy quality, he held steady eye contact. He could not help but nod in approval.
As he checked him over with the Piercing Discernment, he was extremely shocked, and his voice began to tremble with excitement.
"Such natural Taoist quality!"
"Indeed." Master Lü smiled happily.
"Then, what are we waiting for?" Ming Guoxing shouted excitedly. "Come on in!"
Master Lü walked through the stone gate along with Jing Jiu and Liu Shisui.
Ming Guoxing, slightly touching his chest, smiled at Lü when their eyes met, eventually feeling assured.
Upon entering the mountain gate, they instantly become the disciples of our Green Mountain Sect, and nobody can take them away.
None of those other sects of practitioners, not even those from Zhaoge, or those from the Forest of Longevity, or the Curtain Rollers who would dare step foot here.
None have dared to cause trouble in the sect of the Green Mountain
Ming Guoxing picked up a brush pen, dipped it in the ink stone, and turned a few pages of the notebook, looking at Liu Shisui, "Name?" he asked.
"Liu Shisui," he replied nervously.
Ming Guoxing was somewhat startled, asking again, "Your name, not your age."
Liu Shisui answered with his eyes wide open, "My name is Liu Shisui; is that not okay?"
Liu wasn't so happy with the name at first, but he had already gotten used to it, and actually started liking it.
"You can call yourself "Ten-Year-Old," or "One-Thousand-Year-Old" for that matter.
Ming Guoxing said that with widened eyebrows and smiling eyes.
"And you?" he gazed upon Jing Jiu and asked, after having registered Liu Shisui’s information.
Although he had been mentally prepared, he couldn't help but squint his eyes and utter "tsk, tsk" a few times upon seeing that unbelievably beautiful face.
"Jing Jiu, from Zhaoge."
The youth replied casually, setting his sight on a solitary peak in the distance.
Ming Guoxing did not pay much attention to his rudeness in the midst of all the excitement; he even encouraged him with some warm words. Then he turned around toward Liu Shisui, ready to communicate with this boy of such natural Dao quality.
Unexpectedly, Liu Shisui walked toward the mountain gate without even glancing at him, as Jing Jiu had already started going that way.
On the mountain path, the youth in white walked ahead, followed by the younger boy carrying all their luggage.
Watching such a scene, Ming Guoxing was perplexed, "What is going on here?" he asked.
"They are a master and his servant."
Master Lü frowned as he recalled what Liu's father had said to him at that night.
"How could a natural talent be somebody's servant?" Ming Guoxing was once again shocked and turned to face Master Lü, "No matter what relationship they had, as long as they have stepped over the mountain gate, the affairs in the mortal world become meaningless. Didn’t you mention this to them?" he inquired.
There was nothing he could do about it; Master Lü told them about these rules clearly the very first day, but Liu Shisui refused to listen at all and Jing Jiu didn't say anything.
The fog was scattering away, though the wind still had a wet feeling to it, and the mountain path was smooth. It was actually quite pleasant to walk on.
Looking around the surrounding cliffs and mountain peaks, Liu Shisui was full of curiosity, excitement and nervousness, all these moods showing on his small face.
Perhaps because he was affected by Liu's emotions, or maybe because he recalled some of his own distant memories, Jing Jiu dwelled over the surrounding scenes and objects for awhile longer.
They walked more than ten miles along the mountain path in this mood and arrived at a hillside amid the cliffs.
Towering trees were everywhere, among which there were a dozen straw cottages scattered around.
The foggy clouds rose up again, with the straw cottages moving in and out of sight now and then, and one could see each cottage being partitioned by a fence when looking carefully.
One path forked into many on the hillside. Liu Shisui didn't know where to go, and glanced at Jing Jiu.
The sound of water behind the cliff was crisp and delightful to the ears’ it should be spring water, and a resounding sound of music accompanied the sound of water, producing an even more misty feel.
Jing Jiu strode towards there, with Liu Shisui following close behind.
The two of them followed the sound of water around a green tree, and discovered a building barely visible in the of fog.
The sunshine suddenly came down and dispersed the fog, revealing the building, a manor with a black roof and green walls that left a chilling impression.
That was the training hall of the Green Mountain Sect, at the South Pine Pavilion, where the newly registered disciples had to live and study here for a long time.
Dozens of young girls were standing on the ground in front of the hall, wearing blue dresses with the same style.
"We're just waiting for you two; come join us quickly," Master Lü demanded, while standing on the stone steps.
Liu Shisui was quite surprised, "Young Master, how did Immortal Master get here?" he asked Jing Jiu. "I didn't see him pass us on the road at all!"
Inside the mountain gate, Master Lü no longer had to worry about losing his new disciples to other sects due to the exposure of their existence to outsiders; now he simply needed to ride on the flying sword and arrive in no time.
Jing Jiu knew about this fact, but Liu Shisui was completely in the dark.
Upon hearing what Master Lü had just said, the disciples, numbering in the dozens, turned their attention to Jing and Liu, full of curiosity.
The atmosphere in front of the hall was like "Oh, they are finally here".
These disciples came from all over the land and had stayed here at South Pine Pavilion for awhile, but none of them had been taught magic powers or sword techniques; they were waiting anxiously for the opportunity.
They heard rumors that that the master trainer was waiting for a special disciple.
Wasting so much time for so many people just to wait for one disciple, then you could guess just how important this person was in the eyes of the master trainer.
All the disciples here were selected personally by the immortal masters of the Green Mountain Sect, confident that they would find the way that led to heaven. Under the circumstances, it was natural that they be very curious about the new disciple while also feeling a trace of resentment.
However, they were all newly registered external disciples, so they could not recognize Liu's talent by means of Piercing Discernment, and therefore their sights focused on Jing Jiu.
A burst of uncontrollable whispering among the crowd turned into excited discussion and arguments, buzzing like bees.
"How come he is so handsome?"
"How could anybody be born with such a face?"
"The way he carries himself is so extraordinary that he must have come from an aristocratic family in Zhaoge."
The faces of the female disciples in particular became warm, and they had to turn away, fanning their cheeks with their hands after looking at his beautiful appearance.
"Don't you guys think his ears are kind of weird?" a male disciple asked suddenly.
Hearing this remark, everyone discovered that the youth in white actually had a pair of so-called stuck-out ears that looked…...
A girl exclaimed infatuatedly while gazing at Jing Jiu.
Master Lü coughed twice deliberately.
Those youngsters, who were willing to practice Dao wholeheartedly among the mountains while maintaining Daoist conscience, stopped checking out and discussing Jing Jiu when reminded by their teacher.
The training hall became very quiet now.
Signaled by t of Master Lü’s moving eyes, Jing Jiu and Liu Shisui walked over to the end of the line.
"These are the instructions for the entry level; learn them well."
Master Lü waved his sleeves lightly, and dozens of books came flying out of the training hall, falling down like spread-out leaves and landing with precision in the hands of each disciple.
The scene was rather amazing, and all these young disciples were flabbergasted, including Liu Shisui.
"There are many practitioners in the world, with different self-cultivation methods among the various sects. Though the states are diverse, there exists no difference in their intrinsic essence. What you are going to study is beginning-level magic."
Master Lü told the disciples to open their books. "The main method of our Green Mountain Sect is pretty simple: there are two beginning stages, and one of them is the Possession of Virtue."
Finally, they were able to learn actual magic of the practitioners; the young disciples became extremely serious, fixing their eyes on the textbook and making sure not to miss a single world that their master said.
"What is the ‘Possession of Virtue’ then?" The Dao collection of Nanhua shows that the body has its specific attributes and principles, and this is its so-called Nature."
"What you need to do is learn entry-level cultivation methods with great practice, strengthening your body and training your willpower, thereby carrying out correct action; in so doing, you will be able to combine both to their completion."
"Only by succeeding in the stage of the Possession of Virtue completely can the Daoist quality in your body stabilize and survive the chaos of the mind to transcend to the second realm, the stage of Spiritual Stability.
Hearing these words, some disciples raised their heads, with the expression of hope and longing appearing on their faces.
"What is Spiritual Stability?" "It states in Huaiji: When the spirit is stable, so to will the body be in balance.
"This stage is the extension of the Possession of Virtue, and it can also be described as the first leap taken by practitioners ,since when reaching this stage, the will of the practitioner is unwavering, and they can naturally sense the Aura of the world, gradually improving their Dao quality and developing their meridian, absorbing the energy from both heaven and earth and transforming it into actual power, that is, the spirit of the world and the essence of humanity, filling their spiritual fountain and introducing one to a new realm, though to achieve success depends on one’s warrior courage...."
Though Master Lü's voice was not loud, the words were clearly heard by the ears of each disciple.
The sun had risen to its zenith, and the fog and clouds had dispersed completely. The sun rays were rather hot.
Not even a single disciple complained about the heat, paying close attention to the teachings of their immortal master, as if forgetting all other thoughts.
A young disciple from Lelang County, fascinated by the stages described by the immortal master, suddenly heard murmuring around him.
He turned around and saw a scene, and could not help but be stunned.
Liu Shisui was filling up a teacup for Jing Jiu.
The tea in the teapot became cold even before being poured out, so no steam could be seen coming out of the teacup.
But the sound of tea falling into the teacup was so clear and crisp that it sounded like the spring water.
Jing Jiu took the teacup, drank it all up, and handed it back to Liu.
Liu Shisui put back the teapot and teacup where they belonged, took out a round fan, and started fanning Jing Jiu.
The windy sound of the waving round fan could be heard plainly in front of the quiet training hall.