Saturday, 9 June 2018

Chapter 236 - Perplexed

Looking down at the city as night fell, although it couldn’t be described as thousands but the numerous tiny dots of lights still gave one a warm feeling.

But to Ghost Li, maybe it was the most unfamiliar place to him?

He watched the scene silently and then turned away. Nobody else stood on these not-very-tall and not-very-strong city walls. The soughing night breeze blew over from the wide wildlands outside HeYang City. It brushed up the city walls, which were battered from the demon beast catastrophe, and then onto Zhou Yixian and him.

For some reason, Xiao Huan and Wild Dog Taoist were not there. Only Zhou Yixian and Ghost Li stood on the city wall at this time of night. Zhou Yixian looked perfectly composed, his hand still holding that bamboo pole and banner, the other hand held a bottle of wine, from which he took a big swig and made a satisfying sigh.

“What a good wine,” he said with mirth and then to Ghost Li, “The wine is still warm, do you want some?”

Ghost Li silently shook his head and said, “Senior, you can have it for yourself.”

Zhou Yixian laughed and again took a swig. However after this mouthful, he shook the bottle and flung it down casually. It seemed like there had only been a mouthful left and, feeling bad about it, had tried asking Ghost Li.

On this night the moon was bright and the stars sparse. The moonlight was like water, brightly illuminating the secluded city walls. After drinking, Zhou Yixian looked up at the sky and seemed to be lost in thoughts. For a moment he did not speak. Ghost Li walked up to the wall and his eyes landed on a certain spot on the wall bricks. There was a familiar deep claw gash, and beside the gash even more gashes thickly decorating the bricks.

It was a terrifying sight!

“These are left behind by the innumerable demon beasts from the calamity.” Not knowing since when, Zhou Yixian had walked over, and faintly spoke.

As they walked along the city wall, this old man who had roamed the world was not cracking jokes as he usually did. Instead, from Ghost Li’s point of view, he looked very compassionate.

Ghost Li stretched out his hand and gently brushed over the deep gashes. It felt sharp against his fingertips; rough and hard. Who knew how many innocent souls had cried out under the claws that made these marks?

He was silent for a long while, before asking, “In HeYang City, were there many innocent commoners killed?”

Zhou Yixian sighed, walked to the side of the wall and looked down. His eyes reflected the lights in the city as he spoke, “Many, although many of them also got an early start and escaped to the north. But at least fifty percent of the commoners lost their lives and died by those beasts.”

Ghost Li looked at Zhou Yixian, and suddenly asked, “Senior., those innocent commoners that you speak of, every one of them were human just like us, every one of them were living well, and, perhaps not all but at least ninety percent of them were all harmless to other humans and animals, so then why is it that they have to endure this unexpected disaster? And with the kind of normal life they lived, what caused it?”

Zhou Yixian looked at Ghost Li, his hand on the city wall, and said, “Today you are able to stand here, and those commoners lost their innocent lives. I ask you, what do you think is the reason?”

Ghost Li was silent for a long time before replying, “I am different from them. I practise Taoism. Even if the demon beasts come, I can avoid it.”

Zhou Yixian nodded, and said, “It is so. You see that everyone’s the same. All have the view of the great realm and great foresight in mind [Translator note: I don’t understand the meaning of the words [乃是从大眼光,大境界着眼], please let me know if you do], like Tianyin Buddhist Temple saying that everyone is equal, it is this meaning. Actually according to Buddhist sayings, not only humans, even ants and ferocious beasts are no different from us.” He paused, smiled and continued, “However, in this world, how can it be one can just look past emotions? [Translator note: I don’t understand the meaning of the words [又芑能是区区一种可以看清的], please let me know if you do] You have great abilities and powers, and so are able to escape from desperate situations. You have surpassed the common people. Although it is said that everyone is equal, but when you look at the details, we are never equal.”

Ghost Li’s face revealed a perplexed look. He shook his head slowly and said, “I do not wish to surpass the commoners and also do not have the mercy to save the people. Even though I practise the Tao but I don’t have the slightest interest in immortality.”

Zhou Yixian indifferently asked, “Then what is it that you want?”

Ghost Li bitterly laughed, then quietly said, “This is the problem. What do I want? Even I myself do not know.”

His face expression changed. The clear moon gradually shifted to the middle of the sky, the moonlight even more brilliant as it shone down from the sky, making his shadow longer.

Zhou Yixian did not speak, only quietly watched Ghost Li. But his gaze was different from usual. Even though standing before him was Ghost Li, the only one in the world who had practised four volumes of [Tian Shu], his skills already reaching an unfathomable level, but right now Zhou Yixian appeared to be greater than him.

His scholarly bearing, his composure, the night breeze brushing past the grey hairs on the sides of his head. Even the bright moonlight seemed to gather quietly by his side.

But Ghost Li did not sense anything different about him. In fact as Zhou Yixian quietly stood before him, he himself was deep in his thoughts.

After a long time, Ghost Li smiled bitterly and said, “Seems like I am really good for nothing. I can’t even comprehend either the reason I am living or what I want.”

Zhou Yixian calmly looked at Ghost Li, a faint smile on his lips as he said, “You are wrong, young man.”

Ghost Li was stunned. This was the first time he had heard Zhou Yixian address him as young man, but that was not the important point. After a moment he asked, “Please senior, you said I am wrong, where am I wrong?”

Zhou Yixian indifferently replied, “You think that you are a good-for-nothing because you are unable to comprehend this question. To me, it is the contrary. For you to be able to think of this question, you have already surpassed the others in this world.”

Ghost Li was surprised, asked, “What?”

Zhou Yixian smiled, beckoning him and said, “Come and look.”

Ghost Li walked over to him, followed his finger which pointing to the city. He looked down at HeYang City. Under the moonlight, the spots of tranquil light twinkled unceasingly.

Zhou Yixian watched those lights, his gaze also containing mixed feelings. After a period he quietly asked, “What do you see?”

Ghost Li said, “These are all candlelights from numerous commoners houses.”

Zhou Yixian nodded and said, “That’s right, it is the household lights. Each spot of light is like a living person. They are all living in this world. They may be pleased or displeased with their lives but eventually they still have to live on. How many are only living just for the sake of it? Let me tell you, out of this multitude of living beings, there isn’t one in ten thousand who is like you, reflecting on the reason why we are living.”

Ghost Li was speechless, he had never thought like this but to hear it coming from Zhou Yixian, it seemed to be very logical, and he was unable to say anything in response.

Zhou Yixian watched him, his face suddenly revealing a sad look, but it vanished with a flash, and then he sighed, stretched out his hand and patted Ghost Li’s shoulder.

Although it could not be said that Ghost Li was taken back, but his mind indeed was in a turmoil. With his current skills and natural defensive reactions, he subconsciously avoided Zhou Yixian’s hand. However the strange thing is that the hand of that obscure and usually sloppy Zhou Yixian could not be avoided by Ghost Li, even with his current cultivation level. Just like that he was patted by Zhou Yixian.

Ghost Li’s mind was really in a shock, but before he could react to it, the words which next came from Zhou Yixian’s mouth made him even more shocked .

“Furthermore, you are the only one in this world who has practised the four volumes of [Tian Shu], how are you the same as others?”

Once the words were spoken, Ghost Li was nonplussed. This matter had always been his secret. In fact, even Lu Xueqi and those Tianyin Temple’s monks, did not know those mysterious inscriptions from the third volume in the Celestial Emperor Treasury and the fourth volume in the Tianyin Temple Wordless Jade Wall were from [Tian Shu]. Only he, from the beginning until now, had practised and so understood that those were [Tian Shu]’s fourth volume.

Now at this moment, Zhou Yixian clearly spoke about this secret. How could he not be shocked? For a moment his face was full of disbelief as he stared at Zhou Yixian.

Zhou Yixian smiled faintly and said, “Even though you are shocked, you don’t have to be like this.”

Ghost Li carefully assessed this old man in front of him. After a long time he suddenly smiled, took a step back, arranged his clothes properly and respectfully bowed, “Junior is disrespectful. In the past I slighted senior, but I am still perplexed, I hope senior is able to enlighten me?”
***
Zhou Yixian’s face was calm. Even though in front of him a figure whose name shook the world was being so respectful to him, he seemed not to have the slightest embarrassment about it and only said, “What are you feeling puzzled and confused about? If it is something others could tell you about, with your formless and enigmatic [Tian Shu], how could you not be able to figure it out?”

Ghost Li was silent, then slowly said, “Could it be senior is thinking that the matter junior is puzzling over can not actually be solved?”

Zhou Yixian smiled and shook his head.

“Yes. Comprehending it yourself, Buddha is in the heart and not outside the body, this is where [Tian Shu] is similar to Buddhism.”

“And so it is. What is the reason for living? It should be something that you realize for yourself. I can maybe show you the way but I might not say what you want to hear.”

After speaking, he smiled and clasped his hands behind, walked to the side.

Ghost Li was silent again. After a long while, the perplexed expression remaining on his face, he asked, “Life, death, separation, leaving. I have only seen these four words throughout my life. I would like to ask senior, is life inherently just suffering?“

Zhou Yixian smiled and said, “Wrong, wrong. All your life your path has been rough, and so you thought that everyone is suffering. Actually it is not so. [Translator note: I don’t understand the meaning of the words [其实不染], please let me know if you do]. Let me ask you, do you think your life is hard?”

Ghost Li was surprised. He wanted to speak but stopped. Zhou Yixian was already laughing as he said, “Why, it’s not easy to say it, right? Even if we consider the recent passing away of your teacher and shiniang. Do you think their lives were hard?”

Ghost Li stammered said, “Teacher and shiniang, they...”

Zhou Yixiang solemnly said, “Tian Buyi died a worthy death because he died without regrets and left the world with a smile; your shiniang Suru was deeply in love with your teacher and unwilling to live alone, you thought she committed suicide because she was grieved but you didn’t know that for her soul to be able to be with her husband is her greatest joy?”

Ghost Li was nonplussed, unable to speak.

Zhou Yixian indifferently said, “You are in anguish for Tian Buyi and his wife but you didn’t know that they perhaps understood the most and were the ones with the least regrets, and instead judged others by yourself, isn’t this ridiculous?”

Speaking till here, Zhou Yixian suddenly smiled, looked at Ghost Li, and asked, “Are you afraid of death?”

Ghost Li hesitated for a moment, then quietly sighed and said, “I’m afraid.”

Zhou Yixian said, “Oh. Then I must ask you. What are you afraid of? Is it death itself?”

Ghost Li silently shook his head, “Since I am not interested in immortality, naturally I do not care about death. What I am afraid is that after I am dead, I am unable to fulfill my wish.”

Zhou Yixian laughed and said, “Then this is it. Since you can look past life and death, yet in your heart there is something more important than life and death, rather than trying to ask me all manner of questions, why don’t you think what things which are most important to you?”

Ghost Li frowned, his eyes glinting. He seemed to have comprehended something but his face did not show relief. Instead he again sank into contemplation. Zhou Yixian did not disrupt him. He quietly walked to the side, looked up, and watched the clear moon, the moonlight like water spilling down in full.

In the vast wilderness, the night breeze soughing, stars shifting and time passing in the infinite firmament.

He gazed for a long while and suddenly let out a deep sigh.

Ghost Li’s voice was heard from behind, “Senior, do you have something in your heart that you are unable to look past?”

“Me?”

Zhou Yixian did not turn, still watching the full moon in the far horizon. After a long while, he faintly said, “Considering that I am still wandering in this world, I must still have thoughts that I can’t get past.”

“Oh, what is it?”

Zhou Yixian smiled and said, “What I can’t see through, is this: reincarnation!”

Qing Yun Hill, Small Bamboo Valley.

There had only ever been females in Small Bamboo Valley, therefore the atmosphere here, compared to the other branches on Qing Yun, had always been quiet and peaceful. Even during the day, there were long hours of tranquility. Only the birds’ cries and fragrances of flowers reverberated in this beautiful valley.

However ever since Master Shuiyue brought her disciples back from the funeral at Big Bamboo Valley, the atmosphere at Small Bamboo Valley contained solemness and suppression within the tranquility. Many of the younger disciples for the first time saw the grief and loneliness that Master Shuiyue was unable to hide, and with her current skills, she should have long ago become unaffected by emotions.

Wenmin had always been the one who understood Master Shuiyue Master the most. She had already told the girls that they should watch themselves, especially not to talk and laugh loudly in order not to provoke their teacher. Under such restrictions Small Bamboo Valley was naturally in a blanket of solemness.

Ever since returning from Big Bamboo Valley, Master Shuiyue locked herself in her bamboo hut. Wenmin gathered her courage and went ahead to greet her teacher but after she did not receive permission to enter, Wenmin somehow started to get worried.

On this day Wenmin had already not seen her teacher for a day and night. Worrying, she went to look for Lu Xueqi. Lu Xueqi did not look to be in a good mood. Initially she was unwilling to go but after Wenmin persisted for a few times, she also became worried and so went with Wenmin.

Both of them came to the bamboo forest. Standing before the hut, Wenmin signalled to Lu Xueqi. Lu Xueqi hesitated and walked up, gently knocked on the door and said, “Teacher, disciple Lu Xueqi and senior sister Wen have something to discuss with teacher.”

It was silent in the hut. Nobody answered.

Lu Xueqi and Wenmin looked at each other. Wenmin frowned, becoming even more worried. Actually Master Shuiyue’s character was slightly different from the others; in the past not only had she ignored her disciples, there were also incidents where she had disappeared for several days. But for some reason, after they came back from the funeral, and they knew to a certain degree the reason and cause, they had become more sensitive to her behaviour over these past few days.

Wenmin coughed and slightly raised her voice, “Teacher, this morning senior brother Xiao Yicai sent someone over with a letter. Disciple will bring it in now.”

Silence again came from the hut. Wenmin took a deep breath, walked forward and pushed opened the door. Lu Xueqi followed closely behind her.

Both of them entered the hut and looked around. Both of their brows frowned; the hut was not very big and the furniture in it was simple. At a single glance they could not see Master Shuiyue.

Wenmin sighed and said, “Teacher is actually not here. I wonder where she went?”

Lu Xueqi quietly shook her head and said, “Senior sister, we had better go back first, or maybe we will worry too much. Although teacher and Teacher-aunt Suru were very close but at the most she will only be grieved. I guess nothing will happen.”

Wenmin nodded and replied, “That’s all we can only, but I still feel uneasy.”

Lu Xueqi sighed softly. Shaking her head slightly, she turned and walked out. Wenmin looked around the hut again, then took out a letter and put it on the table and walked out too. She closed the hut door, making a light ‘pa’ sound as she did so.

In the hut, silence descended again.

Edited by metal.carratt

15 comments:

  1. Hey guys, wanna let you all know that I am having metal.carratt's help in editing my translations, he's working from chap 232 onwards, many thanks to him for helping :)

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    1. Thanks - thanks - thanks to both of you @_@

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    2. Thanks for all of your hard work. Will you guys be translating Heaven's Shadow after this?

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    3. I planned to translate the first few chapters of this novel first

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    4. The first few chapters *desperately* need better translation.

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  2. Mystery grow, how the fuck thta Zhou Yixian know Ghost Li practice Tian Shu and how he know Tian Shu in the first place. I only know he have many experience from his past talk with Ghost King.

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    1. Yes, Zhou Yixian is hiding is true abilities and past, but as far as I know, he was a very good friend of the Ghost King. Actually, I guess he even did hide the Tian Shu (heaven books) from the Ghost sect, so he could feel their presence in Ghost Li @_@

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  3. what an epic revelation, JD is closing :v but I finally knew at least even a little about Zhu Yixian xD

    Kinda like Tian shu is the dark side, One master one apprentice? hahahah

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  4. Keep up the good work!

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  5. Thanks for the chapter bro. How many chapters in total does the novel consist.

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  6. Thks all, I wondered too about this Zhou Yixian

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