Daoist Master Of Qing Xuan Chapter 56
All four of the doors were identical.
They were all open, and one could see what was behind those doors.
A pavilion from before could be seen.
The first door from the left was shut closed.
The second door was open. After a moment of hesitation, Shen Lian walked in.
The view brightened up, and he saw the pavilion from before.
A person who looked strangely familiar was sitting in the pavilion. He sat with his legs crossed, and his stubble covered his face.
After realizing who the person was, Shen Lian was shocked! The person was he himself; he was no longer a teenager, but a man.
The man opened his eyes and noticed Shen Lian. "I have not spoken to anyone in the past ten years, and I certainly did not expect myself to be the first person that I'm speaking with," the man slowly replied without showing any sign of surprise.
Shen Lian observed the moon in the sky, and he felt the movement of the wind and the grass. "So it seems that I did not manage to get out of this arbor after all," Shen Lian replied with a smile.
"Indeed, we did not manage to escape."
"If you were truly me, why would you lie to yourself?" Shen Lian replied calmly.
"Are you thinking about why isn't the moon moving? And, every spot that it moves to, the direction of the wind will be different. The direction of the wind and the position of the moon right now do not correspond to the conjecture that you made back when you saw the four doors?" The man stared closely at Shen Lian. His eyes were filled with complicated emotions and sorrow.
"How am I still alive after ten years?"
"This is because one will not be killed by thirst and hunger that is felt by one here," the man replied.
"The plants around here are edible, and there is a water source. Why would you be bothered by thirst and hunger?" Shen Lian queried.
The man picked up and stone and aimed it at the garden. It flew across the sky and the bush of flowers. However, not even a single petal fell.
Shen Lian saw the stone crossing through flower petals, branches, and eventually landing into the water without a splash.
It was as though he was looking at a three-dimensional image that was not tangible.
"These are all not real?"
"I'm real. Do you know what I'm going to do next?" the man spoke.
"Since you are hungry, it is only natural that you want to eat."
"But everything here is fake," the man spoke to Shen Lian in a serious tone.
"I'm real. You can just eat me, all sorted." Shen Lian laughed. He thought if the man was indeed him ten years from now, he would soon be eaten by himself.
That would be a paradox.
Cannibalism has always been cruel, what more for one to eat oneself?
The man shifted from sitting cross-legged to flying in mid-air, the transition was natural.
His hands mimicked that of a claw and his palms were hollow. It was as though an invisible current of air was being formed.
Shen Lian felt the wind dragging his clothes, pulling him towards the man's claws.
It would seem that he was shocked by the airborne claws and did not react.
The air was charged, and a hint of red could be seen. That would be the sparks produced by the friction between the body and the air in the high-speed movement.
Amidst the commotion, the claw landed right on Shen Lian's chest.
His chest was ripped open, and a beating heart was fished out from the bloody hole.
The man stared at the heart as though it was the tastiest food in the world, while Shen Lian stared closely with his eyes wide open, as though it was not his own heart that he was staring at.
The man held the heart, and it looked like a fresh peach. He took a bite and the juice oozed out.
"Yummy," he said.
"It must be tough trying to pretend that it tasted good," Shen Lian smiled and replied in a sarcastic tone.
The man slowly faded and melted into a puddle of water.
A white flash zoomed past, and everything remained the same. Shen Lian was still in the arbor.
However, the floor was clean, and there was no sign of the puddle.
Shen Lian looked up. The position of the moon was still the same as earlier, back when he decided to leave.
Even the direction of the wind was exactly the same.
It was as though he never left.
Maybe it was a hallucination that he just experienced.
The master of Su's Fort appeared next to Shen Lian. "You didn't think it was real?" He smiled.
"I'm guessing that the first door was a test of courage. Because I have proved my courage, and that explains why it was closed. The second door was a test of wisdom." Shen Lian did not elaborate further, the ability to differentiate between what was real and what was not, was in itself, wisdom.
"I see you have a different view now." The master was intrigued by Shen Lian's intellect; in fact, he was surprised by it.
"I realized how silly I was. Why do I have to believe everything that you said? You told me that I have to get out of this arbor as part of the second test, but why do I have to get out if 'there is actually nothing but void'? Since I know that it was not real, I do not have to move at all," Shen Lian explained in a calm manner, his tone was not forceful, but his conviction was convincing.
The master clapped and the arbor disappeared with a casual wave of his arm. There was no river but the water in the drain, and besides the moon, there was nothing else.
"You are equipped with courage, and you are able to differentiate between what is real and what is not. Hence, you are qualified to learn my swordcraft. Of course, that in itself is a blessing." The Master laughed.
"Thank you for teaching," Shen Lian replied flatly. He did not feel that the master was proud or arrogant. Despite being able to tell the difference between what was real and what was not, he knew that the ability to create something like that would take years of practice.
Experts were the teachers; Shen Lian was grateful for the opportunity and felt blessed to be able to learn from an expert.
"You know that my surname is Su, you can call me Mister. Su," Mister Su spoke in a cheerful tone, but he still did not reveal his full name.
"Have you gone through any formal cultivation training before?" Unlike the cheerful tone from before, Mister Su queried in a serious tone.
"I have learned about the methods of entering into a state of spiritual calmness and some Qigong practices." He did not mention the book - The Mastery of Senses - but merely illustrated it as being 'the methods of entering into a state of spiritual calmness'.
"I noticed that your spirit is a lot stronger than that of a normal person, and you are indeed meant for cultivation of Daoism. Your entry level Qigong and foundation construction practice are not the best, but you do have a good foundation. The practices are similar to the work of Qing Xuan, and Qing Xuan has the most authentic Qigong practices in the world. You are quite lucky I would say."
"The Qigong practices that I have gone through are actually related to Qing Xuan," Shen Lian replied honestly.
"Heh, Qing Xuan used to be good. But that was very long ago. Putting that aside, every living creature can undergo cultivation, which is why I think that swordcraft triumphs over all," Mister Su spoke with a hint of pride, and it was as though he looked down on everything else in the world.
"Do you think that I'm exaggerating?" Mister Su questioned after seeing how unconvinced Shen Lian was.
"I wouldn't dare to."
"You are an intelligent person. Everything can enter the path of Daoism, and they are all equal and not ranked. Even the villagers know that 'scholars are the most esteemed members of the society', thus the talk about swordcraft triumphing all is not an exaggeration," Mister Su spoke with a neutral expression, the moonlight shone on his face and highlighted his features.
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