Joy of Life - Chapter 341[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:48:28]
Chapter 341: Coincidental Classmates In Youth
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
At night, Peng manor was silent. Not far away, the waters of West Lake gently sloshed about and the garden lights flickered. Due to the separation of the many by high walls, and because the back of the mountain was part of the estate, they did not worry that anyone would notice something.
The people who had traveled thousands of miles to Jiangnan were tired. They had eaten well in Hangzhou, so they felt full and sleepy. The lights were soon extinguished and most of the people fell into darkness and sweet dreams. In the back garden there were two rooms with their lights still on. One was a bedroom, and the other was the study.
In the bedroom, Sisi was nodding off while forcing herself to finish repairing a tear that Fan Xian had made in his sleeve while they were in Shazhou. She was also waiting for him.
In the study, Fan Xian sat at the table with his brows slightly furrowed reading a little book. Haitang sat in the opposite corner and also held a book to read with a serious expression. The brush marks on that book were new. It was clear that someone had just written them out.
After a long silence, the two, seemingly deeply connected, raised their heads at the same time and met each other’s gaze with pained smiles.
It was Fan Xian who opened his mouth first. “Duoduo, it seems very contradictory.”
Haitang shook her head. “Not seems, and not some. These two techniques are completely contradictory. It is impossible to practice them.”
The two small books they held in their hands were both valuable treasures in this world. Fan Xian was reading the supreme “Heart of Northern Qi’s Tianyi Dao,” while Haitang was reading the first scroll of “Unnamed Martial Secrets” that Fan Xian had written out from memory.
Rumors said that the Heart of Tianyi Dao was given to Ku He after he knelt on the stone steps before the Temple for months to request it. Although Fan Xian knew this was absurd after his conversation with Xiao En that night in the cave, this class of martial technique remained one of the most sought after secrets among those who cultivated martial arts. Although Fan Xian’s “Unnamed Martial Secrets” was not very well-known, it could help a young man without an internal qi teacher become one of today’s ninth-level aces, powerful and unrivaled. Haitang knew its value.
In terms of sharing knowledge, Fan Xian was not stingy. Since Haitang had so generously brought the Heart of Tianyi Dao, then he would naturally have to offer up one of his treasures.
However, this young pair of people had been studying these books by candlelight for a while and finally reached a rather depressing conclusion.
The two martial methods were completely counterproductive and unrelated. They were also very contradictory. Fan Xian’s tyrannical martial secrets were of the direct and straightforward nature, focusing mainly on the internal spirit, and had as its foundation the solidifying of Meridians. The most difficult portion was the first step in where the powerful zhenqi had to burst out vigorously from the lower back without reason and would greatly shake up the cultivator’s Meridians. This was the so-called molding.
Haitang had already practiced Tianyi Dao for over 10 years. Her Meridians had long been shaped. It was impossible for her to release all her training and begin anew, furthermore, she could not be like Fan Xian and return to infanthood and use that wisp of not yet fully dissipated innate qi to get through it by sheer force of will. She also didn’t have the precious spiritual experience of being gravely ill and powerless in a previous life. It was impossible for her to step over this first threshold.
For Fan Xian, the Tianyi Dao martial method was also an icy beauty that he could only see but not touch. This series of spells were natural, following the call of the yuanqi outside and inside the body, and it was truly extraordinary. Particularly as to the movement route and method of the zhenqi within the body, it followed a belief of gradual accumulation and was very soft and gentle. Using the power of water to build spirit, accumulated water droplets formed rivers. Fan Xian’s cultivation of a tyrannical martial method for over 10 years had expanded the Meridians in his body to a point that was difficult for normal people to imagine. Even if he were able to use his martial methods to converge his spirit into dew, who knew how many years it would take to use these dew drops to fill his Meridians to just a trickle.
The two met each other’s eyes and sighed helplessly.
“Read some more. To comprehend new things by analogy is always beneficial.”
Haitang spoke in a quiet voice. Fan Xian and her were both leading figures among the younger generation, particularly since she had already entered the top realm of the ninth-level. Yet she was still unable to touch the threshold of breaking through. That threshold appeared close but it was illusory and barely discernible. She had thought that with Fan Xian’s help she might be able to gain some insight, however, she hadn’t expected Fan Xian’s zhenqi martial method to have such an abnormal existence. It was difficult not to feel slightly disappointed.
Fan Xian agreed. “It seems you really won’t be able to use my methods. Not considering the pain, re-developing Meridians would be very dangerous. I would also not allow you to try it.”
Haitang’s eyebrow twitched. She said in a clear voice, “I am not a bold and crude woman.” Following this she furrowed her brows. “Your martial methods are indeed strange. How could there be this kind of strange Heart of cultivation where you harm yourself first then others later? Probably only strange people like you can practice it.”
Fan Xian remembered something Uncle Wu Zhu had said before and shook his head. “That might not be true. According to what I know, someone has successfully practiced it before.”
“Who gave you the heart of this class?” Haitang probed. She didn’t expect Fan Xian to actually answer her.
Unexpectedly, Fan Xian was forthcoming. “My mother left it to me.”
Haitang smiled a slightly brittle smile. “Most people hide their secrets away and dare not reveal them. The people who mess around like us are already rare. It is probably also a rare sight to have both of these wonderful books. It is a pity we didn’t get anything out of it.”
Fan Xian’s expression was slightly dark. From ancient times to now, Haitang and himself were probably the only pair of strange youths to be able to bravely exchange family treasures without needing to protect the secrets of each martial school. This should have been a wonderful historical scene of knowledge sharing, but…
He suddenly flipped open a page and a smile appeared in his eyes. “Don’t sigh yet. Doesn’t this say the method of dual-cultivation?”
Haitang frowned. “The cultivation of xing and ming. Why life?[JW1] What we call life is based on the natural law. What we call the nature of a person is master of the self. Mold your character by your soul and live your life by your heart. If the soul does not guard your depths, then your nature will be shaken by your heart. If your heart is not determined, then your life will be surrendered by your senses. Do not lose yourself in emotion. Do not fall into philosophy. To experience and return is to turn back. It is written very clearly here, but how will you practice it? You revolve around the court all day. Where will you find a place away from sounds and temptations?”
“A secluded heart makes for a secluded place.” Fan Xian used a line from Tao Yuanming’s poetry to respond to her question.
Haitang’s eyes lit up and her expression became calm. “There still remains the biggest question. Unless you rebuild your Meridians, otherwise, given the rough and wild zhenqi in your body, the new zhenqi will definitely not be able to survive. Will you be willing to shatter the Meridians of your powerful zhenqi and began again?”
Fan Xian did not answer this question, instead he changed the topic and asked her about some of the difficult to grasp areas of the Heart of Tianyi Dao. Haitang explained everything in great detail and did not hold anything back. She thought that even though she was unable to cultivate this tyrannical martial method, if she could remember this martial method then in the future she could pass it onto descendants of the Tianyi Dao; it would be a piece of good fortune for the people of her country. Thus, she read carefully and was not ashamed to ask if she saw something she didn’t understand. Like her, Fan Xian was frank and sincere, sharing all that he knew.
Red candles in the room and stars in the sky. The two studied together in joy and harmony.
Gradually, the two of them sank into the wondrous realm stored within these two martial methods. Although they did not try with their bodies, they remembered in their hearts. They stopped asking questions and instead each shifted sideways and sat back to back. They quickly memorized the contents of the book.
After an indeterminable amount of time, Fan Xian, who had his back to her the entire time, slowly said, “Actually…after the assassination at the Hanging Temple, my zhenqi exploded my Meridians and flowed into my body. Up until today I still haven’t been able to pull it back.”
Haitang continued to sit with her back to him, only her shoulders shook slightly. It was a moment later before she said gently, “You are finally willing to admit it.”
The affairs of life were always so mysterious. Originally, it would have been impossible for Fan Xian to destroy his Meridians and re-cultivate the Heart of Tianyi Dao, however, his Meridians were already damaged beyond repair; it was the perfect opportunity to cultivate. Yet, Haitang was still unable to derive any benefits from this. Comparing the two, Fan Xian always took the greatest advantage. He had originally planned to keep hiding it, but they had sat back to back for a long time and the uncomfortable feeling in his heart grew stronger and stronger. After some thought, he finally spoke the truth involuntarily.
Fan Xian also didn’t turn around. “I can never hide things from you for long. I guess that when the rumors of my past had traveled to the north you were already heading south with this martial method, you went behind Imperial Advisor Ku He’s back, right?”
Fan Xian felt moved, but also wary. “Why?”
Haitang’s floral coat appeared to bloom like the flowers in the painting under the faint yellow light. “It is very simple. I guessed you must have run into some problems, otherwise no matter how helpless you were you would not ask me for the Heart in the letter. Even an idiot would be able to guess. This kind of thing is the secret of a country. How could it be given to you? Since you had problems, of course I wanted to help you resolve them, after all, the agreement between us still has many years to complete.”
Fan Xian paused and then asked, “What do we do now? Originally, I was unable to cultivate the Heart you brought, but now that my Meridians have completely shattered it is perfect to use the Heart of Tianyi Dao to rebuild from the foundations. However, what I gave you is not very useful.”
Haitang replied peacefully, “It is of no use to me, but it will be of use to someone in the future. I trust you won’t object to me handing it to descendants.”
“Your descendants? Could they be connected to me in anyway?” Fan Xian’s knot in his heart faded and he laughed out loud, taking advantage of the girl with his words.
Haitang acted like she didn’t understand this base joke and coldly said, “Given your sufficient honesty with me, I won’t quibble.”
Fan Xian turned and waved the book in his hands. “The thing is already in my hand. Should I be afraid you’ll take it back?”
Haitang happened to turn around at this moment. She stood up and walked over to him. Fan Xian thought she was truly angry and quickly tried to tuck the book away in fright.
Haitang watched him and felt slightly conflicted in her heart. She thought the man was young but already held great power. He was talented both in martial arts and in literature, in front of others he always appeared warm with a hint of dark arrogance. How was that every time she saw him, he was like a helpless vagabond in a market? In a bad temper she said, “I need to change a few lines for you. Teacher has messed with it. If you end up as an idiot when practicing, it’s not my fault.”
Fan Xian paused and drew out the book in a daze. He hadn’t felt like there were any flaws while reading the Heart and couldn’t help feeling admiration for Ku He’s realm and to forge it so beautifully. Immediately following that, he felt a great anger. That old bald donkey really was very evil. If I hadn’t used the marvelous technique “to encapsulate in one word” to trap your female disciple, I really would have just died without even knowing the cause.
“Were you just going to let me turn into an idiot at first?” Fan Xian looked at Haitang in anger.
Haitang replied evenly, “This matter between us is absurd. If it got out, it will probably shock the world. How could I not be careful? The important thing is that we have to be honest with each other. If there is even a thread of concealment, I wouldn’t dare trust you.”
“If you hadn’t admitted to me earlier that you’ve lost all your zhenqi, then it’s your own fault for turning into an idiot.”
Fan Xian was stunned. He thought that indeed those who were good were rewarded.
After Haitang finished correcting a few words in those key phrases, Fan Xian picked it up to look at again. Immediately, he felt it was like a beautiful painting that had a few spiritually harmful areas wiped away by a master painter. The entire picture immediately lit up, and the people and scenery within it began to move.
Fan Xian knew this was the true appearance of the supreme Heart of Tianyi Dao. A shiver ran through his heart. He knew that with this cultivation, it would not be long before he could walk along the path of the unity of heaven and man, and naturally repair the perforated Meridians in his body. The realm that had left him for too long was finally about to return. Thinking of this, despite his perseverance, he couldn’t help feeling moved. Suddenly a thought flashed through his mind and he remembered something.
“I’ll give you some paintings later.” He looked at Haitang and said without shame, “The tyrannical martial methods I gave you should be used with the zhenqi routes on the picture. Otherwise, if you go in blind, your body may have a dozen extra bloody holes when you pass the threshold.”
Haitang stared at him in shock. A moment later she slowly spoke. “When will the talents in this world stop their mutual deception…at least, between us.”
Fan Xian became silent and then said, “I’ll do my best to learn in the future. Of course, you should as well.”
After a long time, the two finally shook off the awkward silence. Perhaps to help relax the atmosphere, Haitang said gently, “Let me look at your injury.”
Fan Xian nodded silently. Although his practice of Vipassanā was detailed, a third party would be able to see more clearly. Particularly someone at Haitang’s realm would more easily find where the problem was, and he would be able to provide a suitable solution with his high education and intelligence.
Haitang walked around him and stood at his back. He didn’t see her warm up before her right hand naturally flattened against the middle of his back[JW2].
A sudden breeze picked up in the room, and the light on the table flickered. A sudden gentle ripple of power appeared in the air.
Haitang closed her eyes and carefully sent the zhenqi in her body into Fan Xian’s body to investigate his injury.
Suddenly the environment around them became quiet. There wasn’t a hint of wind, and the flame in the light stood straight. The air seemed to be frozen, but it was not thick. On the contrary, it carried a sense of lightness.
The zhenqi of a superior ninth-level ace flowed out of their body and immediately fell into harmony with the environment around it. A secret of the Way of Tianyi Dao, indeed it was marvelous.
After a long time, Haitang, with her eyes closed, furrowed her brows, as if she had run into some strange situation.
Fan Xian did not feel anything except warmth and comfortableness. After a trickle of fresh zhenqi dissipated from his back, it quickly flowed around his body. It was like having a hot bath as well as sunbathing in Hawaii. His entire person felt relaxed and about to fall asleep.
He heard the girl behind him make a soft sound. Without thinking or opening his eyes, Fan Xian yawned and asked, “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing.” Haitang furrowed her brows. “Don’t fall asleep.”
“Ah, the Tianyi Dao is indeed incredible. You can even talk while you heal.” Fan Xian laughed. “Although, if this counts as healing, I am willing to be injured every day. It’s even more comfortable than a massage.”
“Can you shut up?” Haitang said. “Otherwise I can’t promise my mind won’t become confused and suddenly increase the power.”
Fan Xian heard the girl’s threat, but he wasn’t afraid. “Do you perhaps want to murder your husband?”
Two huffs came out of the two people’s mouths at once, and the air in the study suddenly exploded. Countless streams of air spiraled out of their bodies but stopped in an instant, however, it picked up the books that the former Prime Minister Lin Ruofu collected and sent them dancing through the air. Paper flew everywhere. It was a pitiful sight.
Fan Xian and Haitang were both unhurt, but Fan Xian sat on the pile of papers on the floor. His heart palpitated as he looked at the girl who was gently smoothing back her hair. He said in a shaky voice, “Do you really want to kill me?”
Haitang stared into his eyes. Forcefully suppressing her anger she replied, “I said, don’t mess with my state of mind at this time.”
Fan Xian was momentarily speechless. He cursed in his heart: Why didn’t you say so clearly earlier? I thought you liked to work and flirt at the same time.
Haitang calmed her slight puffing and the gaze with which she looked at Fan Xian became strange. “Although your zhenqi has dissipated among your organs, there is a store of zhenqi in your lower back…and it remains very vigorous. The level of violence seems scarier than when we last fought. Since there are no Meridians circulating, it is becoming more and more substantial.”
She shook her head. “Fortunately I came in time. Otherwise in half year, once your lower back explodes, then it would really be all over.”
Fan Xian had two teachers in his life. One was Uncle Wu Zhu, and the other was Fei Jie. One taught him how to slice carrots; the other taught him how to use poison. In the subject of zhenqi cultivation, he was self-taught. Thus, his knowledge of the details of zhenqi was not comparable to those of the proper school. This was why he never realized the biggest danger he faced. Hearing Haitang talk, he realized he had been living in danger this last while and couldn’t help feeling some fear after the event.
“After the Hanging Temple incidence, I stopped my cultivation. Why would there continue to be an accumulation?”
Haitang thought about it for a bit then said, “It’s probably because you’ve been cultivating since a young age and it’s become a habit, so even when you’re sleeping…”
Fan Xian raised his right arm and didn’t let her continue on. He shook his head. “It’s because of this.”
For Fan Xian, ever since a young age, meditating and sleeping had combined into one recreational task. Any other cultivator would certainly admire him, but now it had become a source of danger.
Something occurred to him and his expression became dark and serious. In a cold voice he said, “I don’t understand, and Sir Fei Jie does not understand either, but couldn’t Eunuch Hong tell?”
“Hm?” Haitang didn’t know he already began to suspect someone and didn’t understand.
Fan Xian shook his head. “Nothing. Thanks for your hard work.”
The room was in a mess. Paper was flying everywhere. Fan Xian didn’t dare let the servants come into the clean, so he and Haitang tidied up a little. The two precious books of the Hearts were tucked away into their clothes by each of them respectively. As for the mess of papers underneath the table, they didn’t bother with them.
“I’ll start practicing tomorrow,” Fan Xian said. “I took a great advantage in this matter, however, I’ll still have to trouble you to protect me this month.”
Haitang did not object to temporarily being his bodyguard and nodded gently. She suddenly turned and asked, “An Zhi, tell me the truth. The black-clothed man my brother disciple saw on the precipice on the Shangjing Xi Mountain, was it you?”
Fan Xian was silent. He knew that Haitang had finally confirmed that the nature of his violent zhenqi was very similar to what Lang Tiao had met. Only, that matter involved Xiao En and the Temple, and it was too big. After a moment he replied, “That morning when you came to find me in the consulate, you had probably already guessed something. However, as you also know, I will never admit to anything.”
“Teacher probably also guessed these things.” Haitang smiled slightly. “But you don’t have to be too nervous. He said he once owed your mother a favor.”
Fan Xian smiled coldly. “Is giving me a fake Heart repaying that debt?”
“Although that Heart earlier was fake, it would not have harmed you. Besides, this was what the teacher had to unwillingly do after hearing that you were the Qing Emperor’s son. This Heart is the supreme secret of our school. Please keep it safe, Sir Fan.”
Fan Xian pointed to his own head. “You can take it back in a bit and destroy it if you want; I’ve remembered it.”
Haitang furrowed her brows in surprise at his abnormal memory, wondering who taught this strange creature as a child? From this she thought of another matter. Her heart thudded with sincerity. “I heard teacher say you have a blind master beside you. I don’t know whether I’ll have the opportunity to meet him in person.”
As the pride of a martial school, what she was most interested in was naturally the man who was able to injure the Great Grandmaster Ku He, the blind man whose reputation was completely true. She asked this now purely because she wanted to greet Wu Zhu as a junior and ask for some instruction.
Fan Xian shook his head and gave Haitang a bitter smile. “I’ve discovered that it is very difficult to keep secrets from Imperial Advisor Ku He. However, it is a pity but you won’t be able to meet my uncle any time soon. In recent years he has taken a leaf from Ye Liuyun’s book for some reason and enjoys traveling on his own.”
Haitang was a bit disappointed. “An Zhi, although teacher did not tell me explicitly, but his words revealed that your mother should have some connection with the Temple.” That day in her conversation with Ku He, they did not discuss this explicitly, but Ku He mentioned Xiao En and mentioned some clues. Being as clever as she was, she naturally guessed some of it.
Fan Xian shook his head and said resolutely and decisively, “The Temple is too far away. It would be best if we first discussed the affairs of life.”
Haitang was slightly angry, and suddenly hated Fan Xian’s particularly hateful personality. “What affairs of life?”
Fan Xian laughed out loud. “For example, Duoduo, how old are you this year? We’ve known each other for quite a while and have written plenty of letters, yet I don’t even know the answer to this most important question.”
[JW1]性命双修 = xing ming shuan xiu = double cultivation of xing and ming = dual cultivation
性命 = xing ming = life
Hence, when Haitang asks about dual cultivation and says, why life? She is referring to the first part of the phrase.
[JW2]”俞门穴”– There is no actual translation of this term so the location is described instead.