Chapter 71 - The Way of Martial Arts

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“You may leave,” said Gu Suihan to the eunuch, as if he called the shots around here.

The eunuch was too overwhelmed by the pressure in the room and felt that his head was spinning. Hearing those words from Gu Suihan felt like a float in the ocean that could save him from this terrible predicament. There was no time to think. The eunuch bowed several times in a row, then scrambled out with his trembling legs.

Bam! Gu Suihan waved his sleeve and the thick red door of the palace hall slammed shut behind him, keeping the burning sunshine out. The hall suddenly darkened and seemed strangely cool.

“Trying to look imposing? You’re no match for me.” Gu Suihan’s lips curled into a frosty smile after his spiritual sense filled the whole place and confirmed that the two of them were the only ones in the entire hall.

Before the middle-aged man could lose his temper, Gu Suihan took a step forward. The frostiness that burst forth from his body instantly killed whatever pressure the king had unleashed earlier. The king looked shocked and at that moment, the young man before him looked like a sharp sword that had already killed thousands and could kill thousands more.

The sword Qi from Gu Suihan soared upwards, slicing the clouds and reaching the sky. The king looked around him in horror and felt as though he was now on a battlefield where Gu Suihan was the last man standing. Bodies and random limbs were strewn everywhere. The stench of blood hit his nostrils and went right into his lungs, making him feel like he was undergoing a cruel punishment.

“You’re only at Foundation Establishment, yet you’re already able to turn your aura into reality.” The middle-aged man’s confident squarish jaw and authoritative stance suddenly faltered and he looked at Gu Suihan fearfully.

How many people must this young man have killed in order to accumulate so much violent and murderous Qi?

“Exactly who are you?” The king gave up trying to resist Gu Suihan and sat down weakly. He leaned back in his wide throne and clung to it so that he didn’t collapse onto the floor. His eyes were glazed over as he stared straight at Gu Suihan.

“I am an external disciple of the Seven Kill Sect, Gu Suihan, and I am at Beginner Foundation Establishment. I’ve taken on a mission from the sect to guard the Spiritual Stone mine here for the next ten years,” said Gu Suihan calmly and confidently, as though he were an unsheathed sword that was ready to slit a throat anytime.

“Tell me the truth,” said the middle-aged man lazily after he sat up again. He was a king who ruled over millions of people after all. Even though Gu Suihan’s capabilities had alarmed him at first, he was able to quickly calm himself back down and revert to the authoritative ruler he was.

“The truth? I’m here to escape from imminent danger.” Gu Suihan touched his nose lightly and did not look the least embarrassed about it.

“Escaping from danger?” The king was surprised and asked curiously, “What sort of danger? Why does someone like you need to run from it?”

“The Ethereal Court, the Youthful Clarity Sect, the Wonderful Sound Sect, and the Vast Sky Sect have formed an alliance. I’m sure you know about that,” said Gu Suihan in a suspicious voice as he narrowed his eyes.

To his surprise, the king frowned and did actually look shocked. It seemed like he really had no idea that this was happening.

Gu Suihan clicked his tongue and said pointedly, “So much for being a king. You don’t even know…”

“Why did they form an alliance? Is it to fight the Seven Kill Sect? But what does that have to do with an external disciple like yourself?” The king snapped out of his shock and started shooting questions at Gu Suihan. Despite these questions, he didn’t look worried at all.

Gu Suihan shrugged and sat casually on the large desk that the king used to read documents. “I wouldn’t know why they’re doing this. But if they’ve decided to form an alliance, it means that they’re up against a faction with that sort of power as well. It just so happens that they didn’t include the Seven Kill Sect or the War Demon Sect, or perhaps it’s because the alliance doesn’t trust these two sects the most. There’s definitely going to be a bloody battle between the two sides. As for the last question you had, I can only say that I just had a bad feeling about the whole thing, so I quickly seized the first chance I had to run for it.”

The king did not ask any further questions and bent his head as he fell into deep thought. After some time, he opened his eyes again and said in a grim voice, “This doesn’t actually have anything to do with why you’ve come here to meet with me. I believe you’re here for something else.”

Gu Suihan froze for a second before turning to look at the king with some admiration in his eyes. He tapped his finger against the table gently and said in a slow voice, “I’ve killed some people. Besides two managers, I’ve killed off all the other supervisor-level workers.”

“Why, you…” The king felt his eye twitch and he glared at Gu Suihan as he said, “You have so much violence inside you and such a tumultuous heart, so you’ve already broken your karmic cycle. Yet, you still engage in massacres! Aren’t you afraid of retribution?”

“My karmic cycle?” Gu Suihan raised an eyebrow to reveal an expression that was mocking and disdainful of everything. The despise in his voice as he repeated a few words of what the king said struck terror in the king’s heart.

“The karmic cycle is not as formidable as the legends describe it to be. Besides, this is only a problem if you’re related or indebted to the other parties. As for everyone else, well…it’s too bad.” Gu Suihan chuckled and patted the king’s shoulder. He wasn’t bothered by any of this.

After a brief pause, Gu Suihan continued, “I’ve come to let you know that I’m going to get all the remaining relatives of those that I’ve killed to do the mining work, so we can save on time and money to hire miners.”

“I will not agree to that! Among them are…”

“Among them are your relatives? Or relatives of court officials?” Gu Suihan’s expression suddenly turned frosty and his bright eyes sparkled in a way that terrified the king. “I’ve come here to notify you, that’s all. You don’t get to make any decisions.”

“Hoho!” The king had a sad expression on his face as he sighed and looked back down at the floor again.

It was clear that he had to give in. Doing this would ensure the survival of more people, so he had to consider the bigger picture. Even though he was angry and indignant, he knew it didn’t mean anything. This seemingly youthful and innocent fellow in front of him was a nutcase. And was a very powerful nutcase at that too.

Gu Suihan looked at the king, who seemed to have aged another decade, and smiled faintly. The frosty feeling in the air seemed to warm up suddenly and it didn’t feel so cold anymore.

“I won’t make you suffer a loss either. You can have this. I believe you know what’s inside. With this, I’ll get rid of some unnecessary leeches and you gain my friendship. It’s a very good deal for you.”

Gu Suihan then threw an old, palm-sized statue that was very rough on the edges and still had splinters sticking out at the puzzled king.

“This is…?” The king caught it. After looking at it, his quizzical expression became one of excitement and his hands couldn’t stop shaking. He cautiously held up the statue, then looked up with a start to stare intensely at the young man in front of him. He opened his mouth to speak but couldn’t get a single word out.

“In order to seal this deal, I need you to answer a few more questions of mine.”

Gu Suihan smirked when he saw the king’s expression fall immediately upon hearing that Gu Suihan wasn’t giving this thing to him just yet.

“What other questions do you have? I will answer to the best of my abilities.” The king clutched the statue tightly and shut his eyes to hide his inappropriate display of excitement and calmed himself down again.

“What exactly is the Way of Martial Arts? Why are cultivators so wary of it? Why do practitioners of this require Vow Power? Also, who was the first one to pass it down? Or rather, who started it?”

“Why are you asking these questions?” The king was a little surprised, but he was also relieved that Gu Suihan wasn’t asking for some exorbitant amount of money.

“The Way of Martial Arts can apparently be traced all the way back to ancient times. At that time, natural treasures could be found anywhere and rare herbs were actually as common as weeds and grass. This so-called Way of Martial Arts was actually based on the way the Demonic Race practiced physical cultivation. However, humans and demons have vastly different bodies, and humans didn’t even have the right genes. That was why even though practitioners of this method were able to make a hole in the sky with their bare fists and make a crack in the mountains and rivers with one kick, they were still no match for the demons who were born with such abilities.”

“Later on, it was discovered that demons could continue to train and hone their bodies and wills, learn and inherit traits from their ancestors, and evolve their bloodlines to eventually cultivate and become Great Demons. Humans, on the other hand, hit a bottleneck. Humans realized that no matter how hard they trained their bodies and no matter how much Qi they accumulated in their blood, they simply could not match what the demons could do. It didn’t help that because humans are intelligent beings, we often have too many distractions and it affects the mind and spirit.”

“The initial stage was fine, but when they reached the stage that’s equivalent to Nascent Change for you cultivators of the Truth, they realized to their horror that the resilient and virtually indestructible willpower that they had become so proud of could not fight against a powerful physical body. The Way of Martial Arts emphasizes swallowing the world to make it part of one’s body, so there’s only input and no output. The soul gets locked inside the body, so there’s no way to gather the Three Huas and Five Qi. Having resilient willpower is useless if it doesn’t have a soul that’s strong enough to carry it.”

“So, someone came up with a wise idea to use the cultivation method of Buddhism, which was to use the power of other people to empower themselves. The ones who could achieve this most easily were obviously, the ruler of a country in the mundane world, or longstanding families with great influence.”

“I believe you know the rest of the story. Most people who cultivate the Way of Martial Arts end up getting stuck at a stage where their willpower and physical body are at their strongest while still remaining in perfect balance, which is equivalent to Origin Core for you. This is because they don’t have sufficient Vow Power to keep going, so they don’t dare to break through to the next level. Otherwise, their soul and body will explode and they would destroy themselves instead.”

“As for the whole thing about how cultivators of the Truth are wary of cultivators of the Way of Martial Arts, that’s nonsense.” The king downed his cup of tea that had grown cold a long time ago. He smacked his lips and went on, “Never mind the cultivators in the Way of Martial Arts. Even the Buddhists and the Demonic Race that was facing extinction a long time back in this world, as well as the Barbaric Race of historical legends, and many, many others – cultivators of the Truth have been wary of all of them.”

“But there is a good reason behind why they are especially wary of those who cultivate in the Way of Martial Arts. That’s because there was someone, a very long time ago, who used his cultivation level in the Way of Martial Arts to conquer lands so that everyone would become one of his and they would serve to feed his cultivation needs.”

“Eventually, he had an even crazier idea. He wanted to turn the entire world into his so that he could make himself even stronger. But that incurred the wrath of the cultivators of the Truth and they launched a powerful attack on him. He was caught by surprise and died, and even his flesh and spirit were changed back into Qi after the cultivators fought back so hard.”

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