Chapter 1-1 – Going up the Mountains to Seek a Master
Translated by: Ryogawa, Ken
Edited by: Ulamog, Dedition
Two silhouettes, about a thousand meters apart, could be seen staring each other down as the sized each other up. One, emitted a gentle golden radiance and was standing on a Seven-colored Auspicious Cloud. He looked to be within his early twenties and wore an expression of solemnity, standing with a straight posture and emanating an immortal aura.
The other was truly the opposite. He stood on a dark cloud, clad in a black robe with a crimson red cape hanging from his neck, which was flapping in the wind. Upon inspection, he seemed to be in his mid thirties with a ferocious and unyielding look on his face.
The youth spoke lightly, “Since I have met you today, we should come to a settlement between the two of us.”
The middle-aged man replied, “Since you have a death wish, then let this mighty one grant it for you.”
Even though they were about 2000 meters apart, their voices each sounded clear and crisp to the other.
Golden and bloody crimson light beams flashed out as the Seven-colored Auspicious Cloud and the dark cloud approached at lightning speeds.
The golden light suddenly intensified and emitted millions of rays of radiance within the sky.
“NO! It’s impossible! How… How did you… Don’t tell me you have… – The Nine Celestial Tribulations…!” the middle-aged man’s voice was filled with fear and trepidation.
“That’s right, you are correct. Within the heavens and the earth….Only I shall be immortal!” The rays of brilliance all condensed into one and rushed towards him with unparalleled force. “Now, die.”
The sun hung up high within the sky, emitting searing rays of light. The sky of this summer day was incredibly hot and so unbelievably scorching that the ground had lost all of its moisture. A simple gust of wind would blow dust all over the place, making it quite difficult for even breathing to take place.
“Damn it, this cursed weather is really going to kill me. If it continues on like this, I think I’ll just go back,” a slightly childish voice rose.
Two young people could be seen beside the dusty road leaning on a big tree for shelter. The one who said the words before was the elder one, who looked to be around eight to nine years of age. He had a slender physique, small eyes and a high nose. His hair looked messy, like wilted weeds and traces of sweat could be seen on his forehead which was pale yellow in colour, like the rest of his skin. The child was currently wearing a really annoyed expression.
“Brother Long, stop complaining. It’s not like that would change the weather in any way. As the saying goes, ‘it will feel cool when your heart is cool’. However, I really do hope that it rains a little so that it will not be so toasty any more.” This time, it was the younger child who said that.
Compared to the one he called ‘Brother Long’, he was far better looking and had a shirt slung on his right shoulder. With fair skin, large double lidded eyes and short, black hair neatly combed on his head, this seven to eight year old child was slightly shorter than the other one.
‘Brother Long’ stared at the other child, humphed, and said, “Fine, beansprout. Don’t try to sound so cultured when speaking to me. Even though your family isn’t that well off, you have always been grumbling about studying since you were small. What’s the point of having any education in a place like this? Look at me! It’ll be better if you follow me to collect firewood. That way, you can at least help your family out a bit.”
These two children were from a nearby village. The elder child was named Hai Long and his parents had passed away long ago when he was a toddler. Their only legacy left to him was a derelict little cottage, which could not even keep him cold during the scorching hot summers nor warm during the freezing cold winters. He had only managed to survive to this day because of the other villagers’ kindness.
As of late, he was making a living for himself by collecting firewood and trading it with the other villagers for food and other necessities.
The one called ‘beansprout’ by him was named Zhang Hao, whom he had been childhood friends with since long ago. Zhang Hao’s family was much better off than Hai Long’s and his parents owned a small patch of land which they relied on to farm on a small scale and make a living. Like the rest of the poor children in the village, they matured quickly. Even though they were not even ten, they already considered themselves adults and even talked and acted like them.
Having heard what Hai Long had said, Zhang Hao’s previous serious expression reverted to his normal cheerful one.
With a light laugh, he said, “Brother Long, I did learn quite a bit from that old scholar for a few days you know. What’s wrong with letting me do what I want? That’s the only way I can show my unique qualities! I won’t do any stupid firewood collecting! You know me, I’m always the laziest. Aside from eating and sleeping, I will do nothing else.”
Hai Long knocked on Zhang Hao’s head and scolded him laughingly, “Sheesh! Of course I understand what kind of person you are. All that talk about studying is just an excuse for you to slack off, right? I don’t think the amount of words you can recognize will surpass that of mine by much either. I think that both our knowledge of words combined won’t even number more than a few dozen.”
Zhang Hao glared angrily, “Knock my head again and you will learn of the consequence. I have dreams you know. Though, you are not wrong about me wanting to slack off most of the time.”
Hearing that, Hai Long laughed mischievously at Zhang Hao’s side, and under his vigilant gaze, he knocked his head again, using more strength than his previous strike. Zhang Hao cried out in surprise and ferociously pounced onto Hai Long, both people mutually attacked each other and slung vulgarities as they wrestled together. Hai Long’s strength was obviously greater than Zhang Hao, therefore after showing some skills he pressed him onto the floor and mischievously laughed, “Just give up”.
Although Zhang Hao was subdued, he refused to surrender and unwillingly groaned, “The weather is too hot! I was afraid that you could not take it and let you win, can’t you tell?”
“Tch”, Hai Long snorted as he cast Zhang Hao aside, cleaned off some perspiration from his head and sat down under a tree. Hai Long said “Little brat, you always have such a glib tongue. It’s too hot, I can’t be bothered with you. Right, you mentioned earlier that you had great ambitions, what are they? Why don’t you tell me about them? Let me see how great they are.”
Zhang Hao proudly spoke “Of course my ambitions are great”. He mysteriously scooted to Hai Long’s side and spoke in a low voice “Boss, do you remember our village’s Grandpa Sun mentioning the story about the immortal? I may have some reliable information about it.”
Hai Long was alarmed and sat upright, the Grandpa Sun that Zhang Hao mentioned was the village’s master of storytelling, he would often tell strange stories to tease the kids, amongst them there was a story about an immortal that had attracted their attention. Hai Long gave Zhang Hao a strange look and said “Little brat, you couldn’t have gone crazy right? There’s no way that story is true! How could there be a person that possesses the ability to fly!?”
Zhang Hao spoke “Why not? There definitely has to be. My ambition is to be just like that immortal, to learn the abilities of flight. When that time comes, where in the world could we not roam? Roughly a year ago, two gorgeously dressed individuals came to our village, mounted atop horses. It looked like they came from far away lands, and coincidentally stopped at my house for a drink of water.
As you know, my dad is very hospitable, therefore he politely received those two individuals. I was sleeping that day, but awoke to take a look at the bustling scene. I coincidentally heard the conversation between the two individuals. I didn’t used to believe in immortals, but after listening to their conversation, I realised that it was actually true! They said that somewhere, about a 100 li from here, there is a sect within the Cloudlink mountains, and that there were immortals living there!
The reason they travelled here was to become disciples of those immortals, and there were many immortals within the sect that could fly! Hearing the yearning tone in their conversation, the information should be authentic.”
Hearing Zhang Hao speak up till now, Hai Long suddenly became energetic and his eyes grew wider, “Is that true? Are there really immortals!?”
Zhang Hao proudly mentioned “Of course it’s true. Those two foreigners even said that the sect would accept disciples once every 5 years, there aren’t many requirements, as long as you are literate, even age is no restriction. Won’t it be nice to be immortal!? Whatever you want to eat or drink, you can have it all with the wave of a hand. Hehe that sort of life is the most suitable for a slacker like me. Little worm, now you know why I went to that old scholar to learn how to write.”
Hai Long was already stupefied by Zhang Hao’s words, he didn’t even notice when Zhang Hao called him his most detested nickname. Never would he have thought that Zhang Hao’s ambitions would actually be this great.
Zhang Hao looked at Hai Long’s dumbfounded expression and felt even more delighted. He patted Hai Long’s shoulders and said “Little worm, this can be counted as my secret, if you were not my best brother, I would not have told you. How about it? Join me in learning how to read starting tomorrow, in another 4 years, you will be 13 and I will be 12, we can then go and visit that sect to become disciples.
Who knows, maybe after studying for a few years, we will be able to attain glory and return to our village. By then, I can create a mountain of gold for dad and mum, letting them live in comfort.” Thinking about this, Zhang Hao started to laugh gleefully.
Hai Long blinked his eyes and murmured “If we go there to seek discipleship, will they provide for our meals? As long as my belly is fed, I will come along with you.” Regarding legends such as immortals, how could he not look forward to it?