Chapter 3 - Meet Again

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Attaining immortality or nirvana was merely one point in the journey to pursue the Way. This was something that Gu Suihan slowly understood after he had reached that stage in his previous life. More importantly, the few symbols he had understood from that piece of animal hide were enough for him to remain on highest alert when it came to these beings called “Immortals”.

But no matter how different the journey could be, the starting point was always the same. Cultivating the Way, or Cultivating the Truth, was basically nothing but the rules to gaining enlightenment. One had to have a good grasp of the rules and eventually break away from those rules amidst the often-confusing journey through the Way.

Eventually making it beyond the Way and not getting stuck within the Way was the common goal that all cultivators of the Truth had1.

But this process was terribly long and arduous. One wrong step and you would die and lose all the cultivation you had achieved up until then. There was no possibility of reincarnation at all. 80% would be absorbed by the laws of the universe to become part of the Way.

The first step in Cultivating the Truth would be to do nothing but continually beat and put your body through suffering in order to open up your spirituality and transform your meridian channels.

So, even though Gu Suihan didn’t know much about this world, he wasn’t going to let that ever get in his way. Besides, it wasn’t as if any of these things were a great secret among people. The vast majority of cultivators were the exact opposite - many of them were more than happy to tell others about these fundamental concepts. This helped the cultivators save on spending resources to train new disciples on their foundation and it also helped to filter out those with big dreams but no talent.

Of course, Gu Suihan was able to understand this mentality as well. It wasn’t much, but the little he knew about cultivation in this world helped him to make an educated guess about the rest2.

The result made Gu Suihan breathe a big sigh of relief. The rules of this world were nowhere as complete as Earth’s. And given Gu Suihan’s experiences and knowledge, he could even spot loopholes.

“It looks like even though my conclusion seems almost unbelievable, that’s the only way to explain it.” Gu Suihan narrowed his eyes.

The sudden revenge of the Way of Heaven on Earth, that undefeatable power, those extremely detailed rules of the Way of Heaven – all of these were signs that Earth was where the consciousness of the Way of Heaven existed. Or rather, it was a heavily wounded Way of Heaven. This was a power that could make Gu Suihan invincible, but when compared to distant history, the Way of Heaven was nowhere near good enough3.

Gu Suihan smirked. Anything that had its mysterious veil removed would lose its sense of mystery, regardless of what it was. No matter how powerful something was, once the mystery around it was unraveled, it wouldn’t drive one into despair anymore.

“Hello, young man. We meet again,” a rather flippant voice resounded next to Gu Suihan.

Gu Suihan turned to see that it was that Seven Kill Sect disciple who appeared the night before.

“What’s going on?” The man looked quizzically at the little bag that Gu Suihan carried and scratched his head. “Did you get chased out of the house?”

Gu Suihan’s lips twitched and was about to walk away when he thought of something. He raised an eyebrow and said in a resigned tone of voice, “Not just that. I’ve been thrown out of the family and my name has even been erased from the family genealogy.”

“Oh my, Oh my. What on Earth did you do?” The man clicked his tongue, then looked at Gu Suihan from the corner of his eye with a cheeky look on his face, “Was it some family drama like those we read about in history? You argued with your father? Fell out with your brothers? Or…”

He was clearly getting carried away, so Gu Suihan quickly changed the topic. “What are you doing out here? The Seven Kill Sect is taking in new disciples, so I’m sure you’ve got plenty to do, right? Aren’t you afraid that your seniors in the sect will punish you for gallivanting?”

“Uh…” The man really wanted to tease Gu Suihan some more, but he answered Gu Suihan’s question anyway, “I came out to eat something nice for once. The sect only eats things like Spirit Rice and the flesh of Magical Beasts, and those things are ridiculously expensive. Since I’ve finally gotten the chance to get out of there, I’m going to treat myself.”

Talking about the food within the sect clearly upset the young man. He looked like he had really suffered greatly.

Gu Suihan merely smiled faintly at him but didn’t respond otherwise. He turned and started walking towards an inn.

The young man instinctively followed behind Gu Suihan and continued talking, “You’re fairly young and it is noon time now. I don’t think you’ve eaten yet. Why don’t we get some food together?”

“It’s because you don’t have any money, right?” Gu Suihan stopped in his footsteps and turned to look a little exasperatedly at the other man.

Judging from the way this fellow was just wandering the street, constantly looking around and how earnestly he had stared at Gu Suihan, Gu Suihan figured that this fellow didn’t have any money on him. Then again, this fellow was supposed to have joined a sect and had already started his journey of cultivation, so he was on his way to join the world of immortals. An immortal wouldn’t be carrying loose change around.

“Eh…how did you know that?” The young man was both surprised and embarrassed at the same time as he scratched his head awkwardly.

Gu Suihan’s eyelids twitched. They had just happened to meet once in the middle of the night. How was that enough to safely assume that Gu Suihan would be willing to treat him to a meal?

Then again, Gu Suihan had some questions for the young man. After thinking about it for a while, he said, “Let me find a place to stay, then we’ll eat.” He ignored the gleeful look on the young man’s face and continued walking towards the nearest inn.

The young man ran after him and said cheerfully, “My name’s Li Rong. What’s yours?”

“Gu Suihan,” Gu Suihan responded emotionlessly.

“Let’s go back to the first topic. Why did you get chased out? Did you get into a huge fight with your brothers? Or…”

“If you keep up this nonsense, I’m not paying for your share of the food.”

“Fine, I’ll change the topic. Did someone spot you teasing a nice girl or something?”

“I’m changing the braised carp to green vegetables and tofu.”

“No, no! Don’t do that! I’ll shut up!”

“Waiter, get me a good room upstairs and some food,” said Gu Suihan to a waiter as he stepped into the inn. He gave the waiter a few silver coins, then walked towards a table next to the window.

They were on the second story of the inn and the table that Gu Suihan was walking towards was the best seat in the house. A thin screen separated the table from the rest of the room, and one could see everything happening outside the inn from the window without any obstruction.

But choosing this table threw the waiter into a dilemma. The waiter was hesitant and awkward as he said, “Sir, I suppose you’ve never come to the Stargazing Inn before…this particular table is reserved for certain special guests, so…why don’t I find you another table instead? I guarantee it’s a good table too!”

Gu Suihan just kept walking anyway and said, “Li Rong, you have a token from the Seven Kill Sect, don’t you? Show it to him.”

Li Rong looked a little unhappy as he pulled out a white jade token with an intricately carved symbol of the Seven Kill Sect on it. He threw it nonchalantly at the waiter and made a face. “What’s this? Someone from the Seven Kill Sect isn’t good enough to sit here?”

“I…uh…” The waiter hurriedly caught the token, afraid that it would be damaged if it landed on the floor. When he saw that the token was genuine, he smiled awkwardly at his two guests and said, “I’m sorry, sirs, but that seat has been reserved by the disciple of a big shot. Apparently, he’s a disciple of a sect called the Vast Sky Sect.”

“The Vast Sky Sect?” Li Rong made a chewing action with his jaw, then said with a flippant look, “The Vast Sky Sect isn’t that great. If he gives you any trouble, tell him to look for me. You won’t be implicated, don’t worry.”

The waiter was relieved to hear these words and ran off happily. If anything happened, these cultivators were going to settle it among themselves, and it wouldn’t be his fault anymore.

After Li Rong sat down, Gu Suihan poured him a cup of tea and quietly said, “The Vast Sky Sect is one of the seven major sects in the Luo Continent and it’s on par with the Seven Kill Sect. They’re based in a place pretty far away from here and they usually take in disciples from there so that there’s no unnecessary conflict. Why are they here too?”

Li Rong accepted the cup of tea from Gu Suihan and didn’t look as annoyed anymore. He wasn’t stupid. Gu Suihan had obviously made use of him just now. He didn’t realize it at first, but once he did, he got pretty upset.

But Gu Suihan had immediately poured him a cup of tea as a way of an apology. That meant that Gu Suihan didn’t take him as an idiot who could be tricked into doing his bidding.

“Brother Gu, you might not know this, but there are countless Ways to follow and every one of them says they're THE Way. But each one’s philosophy is different and each one’s method is different too. Besides, living creatures who cultivate the Way are all trying to seek the truth and often plot against each other. The seven major sects have joined hands in fighting enemies before, but most of the time, they’re laying traps for one another.” Li Rong narrowed his eyes and took a sip of tea.

A mocking smile spread across Gu Suihan’s lips. He asked quietly, “Is that supposed to be how they draw the line between the righteous and the wicked?”

“The line between good and evil? There’s no such thing!” Li Rong clearly didn’t think this was worth any of his attention. He sneered and said, “What’s considered righteousness? What’s considered wickedness? How do you define good? Or bad? It all depends on what others think it is, isn’t it?”

“Everyone just wants to make sure that others don’t become too powerful, so they fight for their own benefit, then slander others and take the moral high ground.”

“Oh?” Gu Suihan looked at Li Rong with some surprise. “If that’s not righteousness against wickedness, what is? Everyone knows that it’s safer to take in disciples within your own territory. That way, you won’t get traitors or suffer any damages.”

Li Rong fell silent for a moment and looked like he was struggling to decide whether to explain things to Gu Suihan or not. After a long time, he downed the cup of tea, wiped his mouth, exhaled deeply, and then said, “Actually, it’s really because everyone’s personalities are different and they don’t share the same values, plus every sect teaches their disciples different things. In the past, every sect would get some talented disciples whose personality did not suit the values of the sect. Initially, none of the sects thought this was a problem, until they realized that such disciples were either overtaken by distractions in their mind or they simply didn’t achieve anything. It was a waste of their talent and a complete waste of time, so some left their sect and defected to a different one instead. That was when all those high cultivation level elders finally took notice.”

“So, they decided to conduct a joint disciple selection instead, putting each person into the right sect according to both his character and his talent,” Gu Suihan finished the explanation for Li Rong.

“Yes, and no.” After hearing Gu Suihan’s conclusion, Li Rong glanced at him and calmly shook his head before explaining, “If your gifting is merely average, you can join any sect, and nobody would really care. We’re talking about cultivation sects, not corporations. Sects don’t become powerful just because they’ve got a higher membership count. Sects will choose to groom talented ones based on their character. After all, spending a lot of resources on grooming a bunch of useless fellows is pointless.”

“Indeed. Looks like the person who came up with this must be very intelligent,” Gu Suihan sounded a little impressed.

Wasn’t that just like those high school examinations on Earth? There were some differences in the details, but the principle was basically the same.

“You don’t say,” Li Rong sounded fairly impressed too.

  1. I’m beginning to struggle with which terms to capitalize and which ones not to, please halp.<br/>ED: No. ↩️

  2. ED: I’m pretty sure this is in reference to a comment he made in the previous chapter, where he wasn’t sure if cultivation was similar in this world to his previous one. ↩️

  3. ED: A little confusing, but he’s basically saying that The Way of Heaven wasn’t as complete or maybe injured in this world. Earth’s Way of Heaven \> This place’s Way of Heaven ↩️

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