The Daoist Seal - Chapter 4
It was early in the morning just when the sun had begun to rise. Golden rays illuminated the mountain peaks, reflecting their magnificence. A group of disciples gathered together to listen to Elder Chuanfa’s teachings, two of whom were Jiang Xiaofan and Ye Yuanxue. They were to cultivate accordingly within three months.
This place was known as the Cliff of Dao. In front was a precipice that was as smooth as jade. Carved on it was the giant character “Dao”, faintly blanketed by qi. It was supposedly the work of an ancient saint.
A light flashed above the distant sky, forming a rainbow which descended on the cliff. Sitting in lotus position with his back to the “Dao” character was an old man with white hair. He swept a glance below, nodded his head, and began his lecture.
As an enormous entity of power, the Emperor’s Heaven Sect was very strict in selecting its disciples. Of the tens of thousands, only a couple hundred people could pass. Right now, the disciples were sitting in lotus position as well. Their hearts should be overwhelmed with pride and excitement, but the environment around them was surprisingly tranquil. Many of them felt at ease.
The old man’s voice was crisp and firm. Despite speaking with a flat tone, he was very detailed with his explanations. To Jiang Xiaofan, his words were precious.
“In order to cultivate to immortality, your body must be one with the Dao. Then, you can influence Heaven and Earth and use your willpower to control objects. If you have reached the apex, you can even soar across the skies, tunnel through the ground, move mountains, and fill the seas.”
“The level of a cultivator can be categorized into five realms: Micro Realm, Realm of Dust, Phantom Saint, Human Emperor, and Mystic Immortal. Each realm has nine levels, also known as the Nine Heavens. As for the grades of cultivation pills and weapons, you can search it up for yourself at the Pavilion of Stored Scriptures later on."
The old man didn’t speak much, but everyone felt enlightened. From Jiang Xiaofan’s perspective, everything that old man had said golden verses. He finally understood the concepts of spiritual awareness and spiritual energy.
Spiritual awareness, in layman’s terms, referred to willpower. The difference was that a cultivator could increase his or her willpower without limits and perform many mystical acts. As such, in the world of cultivation, willpower was now called spiritual awareness, and this spiritual awareness lay in the mind called the sea of awareness.
As for spiritual energy, it referred to a special power derived from cultivation and was present in every part of the body. In contrast to the cultivation method, spiritual energy varied accordingly and exhibited different colors.
Following the method of the old man, he peered inside with his spiritual awareness. Stunned, he saw strands of his spiritual energy, gold in color. He was now a first heaven Micro Realm cultivator, just a step shy from advancing to the second.
He wondered, “Is it the mysticism of the Buddhist Sutra or the effect of the Immortal Spirit Root?”
Six hours later, the old man finished his lecture. With a flick of his hands, numerous rays of light radiated from behind, streaked towards each disciple, and stopped in front of them.
“The green jade scroll contains the Jade Purity Cultivation Method, our sect’s foundational method of cultivation. The blue jade scroll contains Inedia Pills, enough for you to not feel hungry. You shall be meditating here for three months’ time. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.”
Meditation simply meant closing one’s eyes, sitting in a lotus position, and using spiritual awareness to channel the cultivation method throughout the body. This wasn’t the first time that Jiang Xiaofan had done something like this. Although he thought that this was very boring, he nevertheless compelled himself to quietly cultivate and focus on activating the Jade Purity Cultivation Method within his spiritual sea.
The Jade Purity Cultivation Method was divided into nine levels, each one corresponding to one of the Nine Heavens of Micro Realm. Each level was more difficult than the preceding one, but even so, Jiang Xiaofan felt quite comfortable. It was if this method was tailored for him. At the same time, he also secretly practiced the Buddhist Sutra.
This was the second time that he had cultivated this sutra. Even he was surprised. Adrenaline coursed through his blood vessels. His inners sparkled with golden light like glitter. Tremendous power surged inside him.
He ceased his meditation and carefully looked around. To his relief, nobody seemed to have discovered anything. He relaxed and then once again focused all his attention on his cultivation.
Time quickly flew by.
When he returned to consciousness again, he peered inside his body. All of a sudden, he became thrilled beyond words and wanted to scream out loud. This Buddhist Sutra was just too mystical. Even though it contained many sacred texts, there was no systemic method of cultivation.
He didn’t know to what extent he could cultivate to with the sutra, but what he did know was that he had already cultivated to the fifth level of the Jade Purity Cultivation Method. In other words, he had reached the fifth heaven of Micro Realm.
Most importantly, he discovered that his body was much lighter and full of immeasurable strength as if he could easily lift up a five-hundred-kilogram stone.
Exhilarated, Jiang Xiaofan turned around, wanting to share his progress with Ye Yuanxue. However, what he saw had left him speechless. The girl had her eyes partially closed, her cheek propped up with her right hand, and her head slightly drooping. She was asleep.
Although this look of hers made his heart skip a beat, he nevertheless gently nudged her delicate shoulders and whispered, “Xiao Xue, wake up. Waaake up…”
“Jeez! You’re interrupting my sleep!”
Woken from her slumber, she softly rubbed her eyes. Disgruntled, she pouted and glowered at him. “Idiot Xiaofan, what do you want?”
Before he could finish, he was interrupted. The old man on the cliff opened his eyes, glanced below, paused several times, and finally nodded his head.
“Three months have already passed. You must now head for the base of one of the seven main peaks and reside there. You may go alone or be accompanied. One month later, a tournament shall be held, and the seven victors will ascend and become inner disciples, entering the seven main peaks.”
The old man calmly spoke. Without giving the disciples any time to consider what he just said, he rode his rainbow and disappeared into the horizon.
“As expected of such power from the Emperor’s Heaven Sect! The selection of disciples is so strict! So many hurdles!”
“Of course! I’ve heard that even after you become an inner disciple, there’ll be another competition, something like a battle for core disciples. Currently, the Emperor’s Heaven Sect only has seven core disciples. One for each peak!”
“I’ve also heard that the core disciples’ cultivation bases are beyond strong, and they’re absolutely loyal to the sect. Only core disciples have the qualifications to become an elder, a supreme elder, or even a saint, and then the sect leader, controlling the entire Emperor’s Heaven Sect.”
After Elder Chuanfa had left, the atmosphere grew more relaxed. Hearing their chatter, Jiang Xiaofan held his tongue. Out of a hundred, only seven would become inner disciples. Out of the entire sect, only seven were core disciplines. Jeez, this was tougher than the infamous gaokao!
“Let’s go, Xiaofan. We need to pick a nice place.”
As he was spacing out, the smell of light perfume from nearby filled his nostrils. Ye Yuanxue dragged him towards the bases of the nearby peaks. At that moment, naughty thoughts wandered through his mind. The others were stunned after they had noticed Ye Yuanxue’s unparalleled beauty. They looked at Jiang Xiaofan with admiration and envy.
Not long after, the two of them stopped at a place filled with cherry trees, its petals pink in color and faint fragrance permeating the air. Green grass and colorful blossoms painted the landscape.
Naturally, Ye Yuanxue was very fond of this place. Jiang Xiaofan mentally told himself that he must build a small hut, big enough so that he could live with the beauty under one roof. This was something that he could have never dreamed of. He had to put in his best effort and perhaps, something wonderful might even arise out of this.
“What a beautiful scenery!”
Around this time, a group of brightly dressed young disciples walked behind them. Among one of them was a bewitching female who sighed. Her name was Liu Ruyan, daughter of the Jade Moon Palace’s leader. Jade Moon Palace was a small sect, incomparable to the Emperor’s Heaven Sect. Three months ago, she had been sent here to secretly cultivate.
Taking notice of her expression, a youth beside her lightly chuckled, “Shimei, if you want to meditate here, I’ll make those two people hand it over to you.”
“But I can see that they like this place too. I don’t think they’d agree, right?”
“It’s simple. I’ll have a talk with them. I believe they will agree.” The young man was confident.
“That’s right, Shimei. Just rest easy. If it’s Zhu Gongzi up for the task, you’ll be bound to feel satisfied. There isn’t anyone beneath a core disciple who will dare to not give face to Zhu Gongzi.”
Besides the youth from before and the female, there were two other men in their twenties. They were outer disciples from the previous selection but haven’t ascended to inner disciple status yet. In addition, they also came from smaller sects to discreetly cultivate.
The Emperor’s Heaven Sect wasn’t concerned about these disciples learning their techniques because the most powerful cultivation techniques wouldn’t be passed onto them. In that way, there would be no harm done unto the sect and rather, the sect could benefit from these disciples.
The young man who had spoken those confident words strode up to them, revealing a surprised look when he saw Ye Yuanxue. He gazed at her for a long while until she grew flustered before finally turning his head away.
A mysterious gleam flashed in his eyes. He briefly glanced at Ye Yuanxue again and then gestured a fist salute at Jiang Xiaofan. “I am Zhu Youwei, the elder cousin of Zhu Xidao, one of the Emperor’s Heaven Sect’s core disciples. Would you be willing to give this piece of land to Ruyan Shimei and me?”
He loudly declared his background not just to Jiang Xiaofan but also to Ye Yuanxue. As long as Jiang Xiaofan wasn’t stupid, he should be able to understand the meaning behind his words. The best of both worlds would be to acquire this piece of land and have another beautiful girl in his other arm.
“Sorry but we like this place as well. Please kindly go somewhere else.” Without a moment’s hesitation, Jiang Xiaofan rejected him.
After hearing Jiang Xiaofan’s rejection, Zhu Youwei’s expression turned ugly. Within this sect, who didn’t know of Zhu Xidao? Except for the core disciplines, elders, and those ranked above, no one else dared to show disrespect towards him. As his cousin, few people within the sect gave him trouble. Not to mention, he was an inner disciple.
“But I really want this land here!”
His eyes narrowed, and he stepped forward, pressuring Jiang Xiaofan.
“Deepest apologies. We have already chosen this place, so we will not give it up.” Jiang Xiaofan shook his head.
Since Jiang Xiaofan didn’t budge, he grew sullen. His eyes were cold, and he icily replied, “I’m a very persistent person. Within the Emperor’s Heaven Sect, there is nothing that I can’t get.”
Jiang Xiaofan had never imagined that there could be such an imperious person would exist in a sect. Since Zhu Youwei was being domineering, Jiang Xiaofan no longer bothered to be courteous towards him. He shrugged his shoulders and halfheartedly responded, “Oh yeah? Let me see what tricks you have up your sleeve then.”
As the incident was unfolding, everyone around the commotion sensed that something was amiss, and they all turned to watch. When they discovered that someone in the sect had defied Zhu Youwei’s wish, they were stunned but revealed expressions of eagerness in anticipation of a good show.