Chapter 4 - Disciple Selection

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“Food’s here!” the waiter called out. Several pretty waitresses approached the table one after another with trays and trays of delicious looking food.

“In that case, why don’t they do it like the schools for ordinary people? They could take in students as young children, split them according to their talent along the way and teach them at that level,” said Gu Suihan as he thought about the school system he knew from Earth.

“And you think these sects didn’t think of that?” Li Rong snorted in disdain. “Someone from the Vast Sky Sect was the first one to come up with that suggestion, but a large majority disagreed with it. As for the reason why,” said Li Rong before pausing to pick up a piece of meat and placing it in his mouth, “It’s because if you do that, the resources will have to be split evenly among each disciple, but not every disciple will yield the same return. Nobody would agree to a loss-making deal.”

“I see. I have learned something new.” Gu Suihan downed a cup of wine.

Back on Earth, the Way of Heaven had pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes and led humankind to walk down the path of advancing external forces in order to advance their own individual power. This was unlike how people from the past chose to only make themselves more powerful. Furthermore, a large part of what truly happened in history had also been covered up by these messy layers of rules and norms. As a result, humankind slowly began to think that the immortals, gods, creatures and demons of the past were merely legends and not reality.

Using schools, academies and examinations to teach and groom talents was a method only suitable for ordinary people who were stuck in the cycle of birth, aging, illness and death.

But in the world of cultivators, every person was born with a different gift and a different personality. Some could attain longevity; some could even change the world and ignore all the rules that held this universe together. And because of that, schools and academies weren't meaningful to anybody here.

Gu Suihan had asked such a question earlier because he had lost way too many things he learned from Earth. He could only try to guess his way around and take one step at a time. There were just too many things he wasn’t used to after suddenly plonking himself in the midst of so many fellow cultivators.

While the two of them were deep in thought…

A slightly displeased voice suddenly filled the air, “I was just wondering who would be so bold as to mess with me, Hu Xu from the Vast Sky Sect. So, it’s Senior Brother Li Rong from the Seven Kill Sect.”

The two of them snapped out of their thoughts upon hearing that voice. Li Rong looked up at Gu Suihan, only to see that the latter was calmly eating and drinking, as if that person didn’t even exist and Li Rong’s face lit up. He thought, looks like this fellow is testing how good a disciple from the Seven Kill Sect is. If I appear too weak, then this fellow is going to end up joining another sect.

Li Rong had never thought of Gu Suihan as an average person at all. As far as Li Rong could tell, Gu Suihan definitely knew a lot about the world of cultivation. Plus, everything he did followed good logic, and he knew when to be offensive and when to back down, so he wasn’t someone easily swayed by his emotions. Anyone who could display such high levels of self-control even before becoming a cultivator was definitely going to go far in the future.

But what sort of credentials did Gu Suihan actually have?

As a cultivator who used to have a power that could almost match an immortal’s, even though he had lost almost 90% of everything he learned from Earth, he could still remember a few thousand different moves from various sects. He could think of a few dozen ways to test one’s Spiritual Root1 alone.

The easiest way to do that was by using his own Spiritual Sense2 to check the other person. Even though it wasn’t accurate to the finest details, it was enough to have a good understanding of the person’s situation.

He had barely managed to escape tribulation and arrived at this world with only 1% of his Spiritual Sense at its peak. Once his Spiritual Sense came into this world, it started roaming the area to look for the best body to take possession of. A good Spiritual Root had nine holes, long enough to be divided into eight sections and sparkle like gold or white jade.

According to the way this world rated Spiritual Roots, one that sparkled like gold or white jade was of the Geng Gold3 type. If it was long enough to be divided into eight, it was a grade 8 Spiritual Root. Having nine holes meant that the soul it belonged to held promise. All in all, these properties made it a good Spiritual Root.

But that was why Gu Suihan had never been worried about whether he was able to cultivate the Way or not. Joining a sect was meaningless to him. What he wanted to know was whether anything in this world had anything to do with that strange and mysterious Way of Heaven that existed on Earth.

Meanwhile, Li Rong had already gotten up from his chair to face the one who had interrupted his meal. He smiled mirthlessly and said, “You’re from the Vast Sky Sect? Who are you even?”

When the other man saw the disdain on Li Rong’s face, the kindly smile on his face instantly disappeared. He retorted indignantly, “Someone like you wouldn’t know who I am. You’re just one of those relying on their father’s fame, so I don’t think you have the right to be so proud of it.”

“And so, what if I rely on my father’s fame? You don’t even have that,” said Li Rong as he made a face. Then he turned to the young lady next to the man and said, “Are you from the Wonderful Sound Sect4 or the Yin Principle Sect?”

“Wonderful Sound Sect, disciple of Qingrou Zhenren5, Wanxin greets Senior Brother Li,” replied the young lady in a sweet and demure voice. She seemed as gentle as a fragile little flower.

“Qingrou zhenren?” Li Rong immediately put on a serious face and straightened himself up. “My father is Xiexin zhenren. Greetings, Junior Sister Wanxin.”

“And what impressive background does this gentleman over here hail from? Senior Brother Li, why don’t you introduce us?” The man saw that everyone seemed to be ignoring him, so he directed his attention to Gu Suihan, who was still munching away quietly.

But Li Rong merely shrugged and looked at the man from the corner of his eyes. “Why do you want to know? It’s none of your business.”

“Why, you…!” The man started getting angry. It hadn’t been easy for him to get close to someone influential like Wanxin and he had been hoping to use this chance to show off. Unfortunately, he had run into someone like Li Rong, who didn’t care about giving him face6 at all and embarrassed him instead.

“Are you done eating?” Gu Suihan was the one asking Li Rong.

Li Rong grabbed a chicken drumstick from the table, bit off a large piece and said while chewing, “Let’s go. I’ve lost my appetite after seeing someone from the Vast Sky Sect. What a shame.”

Gu Suihan randomly threw a gold leaf at the very tense and awkward waiter by the side and said, “Don’t bother finding me change. Any change can go towards footing the bill for this gentleman and this lady here.”

“Thank you so much, sir!” The waiter immediately brightened up and that constipated look on his face vanished. This gold leaf was only about as large as his fingertip, but this was more than enough for 20 meals, never mind two meals.

As they walked along the street, Li Rong couldn’t help but ask, “Why did you ignore that fellow like that? His background isn’t as influential as mine, but he’s still no ordinary disciple. Aren’t you afraid that he might make things difficult for you?”

“Afraid?” Gu Suihan raised an eyebrow and asked Li Rong calmly in return, “Why should I be afraid? Regardless of who he is, we are strangers after all. Besides, he doesn’t know anything about me. It’s only a few more days to the Disciple Selection. You think he’s got the time and energy to make things difficult for me at this juncture?”

“You’re right.” Li Rong suddenly seemed to have remembered what his father told him before leaving, so he said, “Good luck to you then. I need to go back first, otherwise my old man’s going to tell on me.” Li Rong raised his hand to pat Gu Suihan on the shoulder, but Gu Suihan dodged his hand almost unnoticeably.

But Li Rong noticed that dodge and realized that his hand was covered in oil, so he grinned awkwardly and wiped it on his pants. He turned to stop at a small roadside stall, grabbed a few candied hawthorns7, then called out to Gu Suihan as if they were best of friends, “Hey! Help me to pay for these! I don’t have any money!”

Gu Suihan pulled out a few silver coins and said quietly, “I still have other matters to attend to. Goodbye.”

……

The seven sects? Tsk. Gu Suihan closed the booklet in his hands. Li Rong had specially delivered this to him personally a couple of days ago and of course, got a free meal out of him at the same time.

This booklet didn’t contain any classified information. It was just a booklet to introduce the various sects. The booklet listed some of each sect’s famous techniques as well as a rough comparison of the strengths and weaknesses of each sect.

The most famous of the sects were the seven major sects: Seven Kill Sect, War Demon Sect, Falling Star Sect, Vast Sky Sect, Wonderful Sound Sect, Yin Principle Sect and Youthful Clarity Sect.

To put it simply, the first three sects were more powerful than the latter four, but not by that much. Otherwise, the first three would have dominated this place by now.

Seven Kill Sect and War Demon Sect were famous for their extraordinary fighting abilities. Falling Star Sect was an expert in divination and setting of formations. Legend had it that the Major Mountain Protection Formation was actually the inferior version of the ancient Major Stars Formation.

Among the latter four sects, Wonderful Sound and Yin Principle were sworn enemies. Wonderful Sound cultivated with the Way of Daoist Pitches to eliminate extreme emotion, while Yin Principle cultivated with the Way of Decadence8 to pursue fame and power.

The Vast Sky Sect focused on cultivating vast amounts of Righteous Qi, claiming that as long as you have Righteous Qi in your heart, you will be able to ward off all demons in the world. This made them sound like a very upright and virtuous group of people, but to put it simply, vast amounts of Righteous Qi was just a way of amassing the faith and hope of ordinary people to make one more powerful.

The Youthful Clarity Sect was famous for cultivating weapons. In other words, it was the same as the sword cultivation in those novels from Earth. Please don’t think that carrying a sword and calling it your ~*magic weapon of destiny*~ would be considered sword cultivation. And don’t harbor stupid ideas about using “one sword to rule them all”.

These were just preferences. Some people liked using sabres, so would you call that sabre cultivation? Some people liked using a three-legged cauldron, so that was cauldron cultivation9?

Seriously though, these people were known collectively as weapon cultivators because they were basically trying to merge their mind, bodies and weapon into one, which was a pretty extreme path. Those grandiose ideas about having one sword to rule them all was just something they made up.

Not all, but at least 80% of all weapon cultivators were dirt poor. Each one had nothing but one sword and that’s how they conquered the world. That makes them sound like really passionate and motivated individuals, but actually it’s just because they don’t have money to buy magic weapons, so they have no choice but to try to refine their weapons to a point where it becomes one with their body.

As for why there are more sword cultivators, there is only one reason: swords require less material to make.

When Gu Suihan thought about how the novels on Earth described sword cultivation as an invincible concept, he couldn’t help but let out a snort. For cultivators, there was no such thing as being invincible within the same realm. There were three thousand realms of existence in the Way, countless rules and regulations as well as millions of spells, talismans, magic weapons, formations and more invented and developed by incredible geniuses over time.


The Clacker’s Bonsai Garden

Today’s snack recommendation: Sapporo Potato Mix Vegetable/Vegetable Fries This is how people cheat themselves into thinking they’re eating vegetables through potato chips. MSG: ***** Perhaps I should offer some tea.

  1. Spiritual root is translated from 修真世界深度设定 十二/人文 灵根

    Spiritual Root refers to how connected a human body is to Qi. There are 4 main components:

    1) It differentiates one’s sensitivity to Qi

    2) It differentiates one’s speed of absorbing Qi

    3) It differentiates one’s total Qi capacity

    4) It differentiates how much the Qi within a person can change him.

    Those with sufficient connectedness will be considered a person with a Spiritual Root. Otherwise, you don’t have one.

    https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E7%81%B5%E6%A0%B9/7094790

    Spiritual Roots usually correspond to various elements including the big five gold, wood, water, fire, earth and others like ice, wind, thunder, yin, yang, space, time, speech etc.

    In short,

    1) You need Spiritual Root to start cultivating in Qi.

    2) Good Spiritual Root = Genius cultivator ↩️

  2. Spiritual Sense (灵识 língshí) – also known as Divine Sense (神识 shénshí). An ability possessed by cultivators to scan their surroundings (far beyond the limits of their ordinary 5 senses) with their spirit. The distance/total area they can scan corresponds to the strength of their spirit. Also used in some novels to remotely control magical items such as Flying Swords.

    Wuxiaworld - General Glossary of Terms.

    This is usually used to scan

    1) One’s own body to check their own health situation.

    2) Someone else to check their cultivation level and health.

    3) The physical surroundings for traps, other humans etc.] ↩️

  3. Geng Gold

    Where Geng is one of the ten Heavenly Stems and corresponds to a Yang gold element. ↩️

  4. Before you die laughing from the literal translations, note that Wonderful Sound is a reference to the Bodhisattva Gadgadasvara so don’t be rude. ↩️

  5. Zhenren TLDR, super Daoist grandmaster ↩️

  6. Face Just in case anybody does not know/fully understand the concept of ‘face’ in Chinese culture. ↩️

  7. Candied hawthorns, or Tanghulu ↩️

  8. Way of Decadence

    Is the name of Yin Principle Sect and its cultivation technique have been half censored in the text (I can’t find an uncensored raw anywhere), so I’m just making some guesses here. In any case, Wonderful Sound are the Buddhists trying to overcome human desires to gain enlightenment and Yin Principle are the direct opposite in terms of values, which is why they hate each other’s guts.

    There is a possibility that the author tried to write that this sect was involved in practices like these: Taoist Sexual Practices ↩️

  9. Three-legged cauldrons

    These are commonly translated as larger or leveled up pill furnaces for mass production in cultivation novels, where some alchemy genius MC heats up certain items to a point where it’s left with only the essence and somehow becomes a magic pill of sorts. But just in case anybody has grandiose ideas about what these large furnaces look like: 三足鼎 It’s actually a very general pot in ancient China that was useful in a number of ways, including peeing. ↩️

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