Transcending the Nine Heavens - Chapter 5 The Heavens And Earth Will Not Move; The Stone In The River Will Not Turn!
Beyond The Heavens Storey, were The Nine Peaks and The Single Garden. There were ten great Disciples in the seventh generation of the Beyond The Heavens Storey, and each was assigned a different location: the Forthcoming Clouds Peak, the Misty Clouds Peak, the Distant Clouds Peak, the Separating Clouds Peak, the Gathering Clouds Peak, the Locking Clouds Peak, the Dream Clouds Peak, the Hatred Clouds Peak, the Stepping On The Clouds Peak, and the Purple Bamboo Garden.
These ten locations were known as The Nine Peaks and The Single Garden. The Gathering Clouds Peak was where the Sect Master Wu Yun Liang had been assigned to, and it was the main Peak amongst The Nine Peaks. Meanwhile, the Single Garden referred to the Purple Bamboo Garden where Chu Yang lived. Amongst The Nine Peaks and The Single Garden, the Purple Bamboo Garden was ranked last in terms of resources, although it had the most fantastic view.
The Master of the Purple Bamboo Garden, Meng Chao Ran, was the Youngest Martial Brother amongst the ten great Disciples, and he had a cold disposition, detached from worldly affairs and power struggles. He had never competed with the other nine Martial Brothers for anything, and in his entire life, he had had only three Disciples.
He had taken Shi Qian Shan as his disciples to return a favour he owed to someone else but had taken in Chu Yang and Tan Tan as they had been orphaned.
For every generation of Disciples, ten great Disciples would be selected from the Inner Quarters Disciples to become the leaders of The Nine Peaks and The Single Garden. The Eldest Martial Brother of the ten great Disciples would become the candidate for the future Beyond the Heavens Storey’s Sect Master, ruling over the Gathering Clouds Peak.
Whether it was in Spiritual Medicinal resources or Spiritual Energy secret manuals, the Gathering Clouds Peak had the best resources and most materials among The Nine Peaks.
For several hundreds of years, the Disciples of The Nine Peaks and The Single Garden had been competing amongst themselves to attain the status of one the ten great Disciples. Everyone desperately trained just so they could obtain one of those ten positions. In this fiercely competitive environment, the Disciples belonging to the Beyond The Heavens Storey improved their cultivation by leaps and bounds.
In the Continent of the Nine Heavens. The Beyond The Heavens Storey was located in the Three Lower Heavens, also known as the ‘Continent of the Lower Heavens’. There were a few strange locations on the Continent of the Lower Heavens that were perpetually blanketed in thick fog and misty clouds. For most people and living objects, getting close to those locations were close to impossible.
Only a few martial experts with a powerful cultivation would know these were actually the entrances to the Three Middle Heavens, allowing those from the Three Lower Heavens to transcend their home.
Similarly, there were also mysterious locations in the Three Middle Heavens, which were actually the entrances to the Three Higher Heavens!
To even think of entering, one would have to possess martial powers that had transcended the entire world!
As its name had suggested, The Continent of the Nine Heavens was extremely large. Since time immemorial, no one knew how far it stretched, from the East to the West, or from the South to the North. There had never been any records of its boundless size!
There were many legends and myths on the vast continent, passed down from one generation to another. Since prehistoric times, there had already been an endless amount of emperors, kings, generals, ministers, and heroes, each of them a water droplet in the vast river of the continent’s history.
On top of that, it was a mysterious continent, where anything could happen!
On a particular day, one might be drinking wine and making merry with their friends, but on the next, he might be locked up and put on the death row. One might be a king one day, but a defeated general the next. On a particular day, one might be a mere petty thief, but nobody could say with certainty that he would not put on the royal robes and become an emperor the next day.
Like all continental landmasses, there were also boundaries on the continent beyond the imperial court. And outside those boundaries, there were also vagabond swordsmen, as well as others associated with a martial society. Because a martial society existed, there was bound to be opposing sides – one which was righteous and another which was evil.
Those from opposing sides would never be united, and there were endless conflicts between them. Amidst the prolonged conflicts, there were also others who had formed their own system of martial etiquette codes. There were places where conflicts had caused society to descend into utter chaos but also places where several hundreds of peace had taken root.
Worldly matters were indeed such uniquely fantastic affairs.
Whether it was the Ways of the Righteous, the Devil or Evil, the commoners addressed those practitioners as Martial Artists in the Way of the Martial Arts!
No matter where they did it, swordsmen violating the restrictions of Martial Arts always did it for the same reason. The term ‘Martial Arts’ had many interpretations, the most memorable of which was violence!
To some, Martial Arts meant using violence to resolve disagreements. It meant that slashing through enemies and fighting valiantly were meritorious acts services and brought great honour. It meant being using unscrupulous methods to rise in martial society, regardless of whether it was homicide or plunder…
Martial Arts. Not only were they vibrant, they were also the cause of many disputes and conflicts.
Apart from humans, there were also a few enigmatic creatures in that world. For example, living amongst the people of the Heavens and Earth were the Three Stars Holy Clan. Legend had it that in the past they had been glorious and powerful, possessing exotic abilities that had been bestowed onto them by the Heavens, and reigning in a kingdom apart from but equal in power to the humans. However, their numbers had steadily declined for a prolonged period of time.
It was possible that there were still more special Clans, but those were even harder to track down than legends…
At least for Chu Yang, he could remember seeing only a handful in his past life. Moreover, all of those he did see belonged to Low-Class Holy Clans. He had never met anyone who belonged to a High-Class Clan. He did not know if they were extinct, or if they just in hiding…
Meanwhile, for human Martial Artists, regardless of whether they were Righteous or Evil, or proficient in Fingers, Palms, Legs, Feet, Punches, Sabres, or Swords… or any other proficiency, they all followed the following eleven ranks: Pupil, Warrior, Artist, Master, Great Master, Revered, King, Majesty or Emperor, Gentleman, Saint, and finally Supreme! Each rank contained Nine Grades, from the First Grade to the Ninth Grade.
Martial Skills which used the Fists and Palms were generally called Martial Arts. And as such, practitioners of these skills would be called Martial Arts Pupil, Martial Arts Warrior, Martial Artist, Martial Arts Master, Martial Arts Great Master, Revered Martial Artist, Martial Artist King, Martial Artist Majesty, Martial Artist Gentleman, or Martial Artist Saint.
If someone practised the Way of the Sabre, then they would be called Sabre Pupil, Sabre Warrior, Sabre Artist… or Sabre Saint!
It was only for the Way of the Sword, that those of the Majesty rank were instead called “Emperor”; that was a rule which the first master of the Nine Tribulations Sword had decreed, but no one knew the reason behind the rule.
Someone who had achieved the rank of Saint was basically already at the pinnacle of their art! This was because there had only been a few people capable of achieving the rank of Supreme since the beginning of time! They were almost myths! According to legends, someone who was ranked Supreme had the winds and rains at his beck and call and could travel to the ends of the vast sky. Shifting mountains and parting seas would be as easy for him as snapping his fingers, and he was also able to attain transcendence!
However, legends were just legends. No one had ever seen such a thing with their own eyes! Even those of the Saint rank kept their whereabouts a huge secret. Rarely ever did anyone meet them.
As such, those who were ranked Majesty and Emperor had been able to reign, unrivalled, under the Heavens! Each of them ruled over their own specific region!
The Beyond The Heavens Storey was situated at the Three Lower Heavens, the only place on the Continent of the Nine Heavens where the imperial family still held immense authority, reigning as they pleased.
“All of you, come in.” Wearing a purple gown, Meng Chao Ran stood near the entrance of the Purple Bamboo Garden with a tranquil expression, so ethereal it looked like it belonged in another world. When he saw Chu Yang’s wound, he raised his eyebrows slightly, but then resumed his nonchalant countenance.
“Teacher, the two of them made a mistake while sparring, and Younger Martial Brother Chu Yang lost quite some blood due to his wound. I think he might need some of Teacher’s Spiritual Medicine to relieve some his pain.” Shi Qian Shan said with some urgency. Both his eyes and his face were filled with a look of concern.
Shi Qian Shan’s words seemed like they were filled with concern for his Younger Martial Brother, and it looked like he did not have any other intention. Neither did he place any emphasis on any particular phrase. However, his words indirectly putting Tan Tan in a bad light before Meng Chao Ran!
“There will be no need for that.” It was unclear whether Meng Chao Ran was unaffected by Shi Qian Shan’s words, or if he was just merely unconcerned. With his usual indifferent tone, Meng Chao Ran said, “It’s good for young people to suffer some injury and endure a little pain. As long as the muscles and bones aren’t harmed, and the person’s life isn’t in any danger, there’s no need to be this nervous.”
Looking at the truly elegant face of his teacher, Chu Yang began to feel a warm fuzz well up from the bottom of his heart. He suddenly felt like rushing forward and embracing his Teacher!
His Teacher… was both his master and father. Since young, the orphaned Chu Yang had been brought up by Meng Chao Ran. To Chu Yang, his Teacher was the most important person in his life, and the person who he respected the most. Regardless of his later achievements, even his achievement of the rank of Revered Martial Expert, he would always look up to his Teacher and think kindly of him.
Meng Chao Ran never seemed to mean any harm towards other people and small animals and was largely indifferent to the matters of the world. However, he was paying close attention to all the tens of thousands of things happening in the world. No one could possibly imagine the secrets which Meng Chao Ran kept in the depths of his heart and mind.
All along, he had not sought fame nor openly displayed his capabilities, and that was why no one suspected that he possessed the strength which he did.
Chu Yang could still remember the moment when catastrophe struck the Beyond The Heavens Storey. Meng Chao Ran’s white clothes had fluttered as he fought with his sword, changing positions in the middle of the raging flames! Countless enemy fighters cried out as they were killed by him. It was clear that he could have easily broken through the enemy’s trap and leave the building, but instead, he had remained in the building, guarding it until it was no more than a pile of charred dirt.
Only then did Chu Yang find out that his Teacher Meng Chao Ran had maintained a low profile, as lowest he could in the Beyond The Heavens Storey, but actually had one of the strongest cultivation in the Beyond The Heavens Storey! His cultivation was akin to that of a Martial Arts Great Master, and was even close to that of a Revered Martial Artist!
As he was about to die, Meng Chao Ran discovered Chu Yang’s mortally injured body. He struggled over, and with a single strike of the palm, he made Chu Yang slightly dizzy. Afterwards, Chu Yang could only feel the weight of countless corpses above him.
That was definitely his Teacher trying to preserving his life. However, Chu Yang never met Meng Chao Ran afterwards; neither did he hear any news about him…
In Chu Yang’s previous life, finding out what happened to his Teacher had been one of his ultimate missions! Finding his Teacher, and then protecting and repaying him… those were also Chu Yang’s wishes. However, Chu Yang never did find him… and that became a regret which he could never let go of.
But at that point, to be able to once again look upon that familiar face, Chu Yang was filled with uncontainable emotions.
“The Contest of the Peaks is in three months.” Meng Chao Ran’s voice interrupted Chu Yang’s thoughts, and he could hear his teacher say, “The three of you need to intensify your practice so that you might be able to enter the Inner Quarters and become an Inner Quarters’ Disciples. This is an important event for the Beyond The Heavens Storey, so I don’t want any of you to slacken.”
“Yes.” The three Disciples answered together.
“Our Beyond The Heavens Storey is different from the other sects. The Masters of The Nine Peaks and The Single Garden have always been selected from amongst the Inner Quarters’ Disciples. I hope that at least one of you will become one of the ten great Disciples and inherit the Purple Bamboo Garden.”
Meng Chao Ran gave a relaxed smile and said, “However, if you don’t have the aptitude, then don’t force yourself. I will personally find a place for you to live in seclusion, away from the Purple Bamboo Garden, so you don’t have to worry.”
Chu Yang felt a bittersweet twang in his heart. His Teacher was still so easygoing and kind-hearted. He never placed any undue burden on his Disciples; another Master would have put extreme pressure on his Disciples to prepare for that such a great event. However, to Meng Chao Ran, the event was not such a big deal.
“This Disciple will not disappoint Teacher!” Shi Qian Shan pledged loudly, giving off a fervent look as he.
“Mmm, ok. There’s something I have to tend to, so I’ll leave for a while,” Meng Chao Ran said calmly. “It’s possible that I’ll only be back the contest. I’ll leave you to practise harder on your own.”
The three of them were shocked. The contest was approaching, and all the other Peaks’ Masters were giving their all to ensuring their Disciples were ready for it. However, their Teacher was actually leaving at such a critical moment, seemingly unconcerned!
“Teacher, please be careful and have a safe journey. Teacher, it must be something important matter which can’t be delayed, seeing as how you have to leave at such a critical moment.” Chu Yang thought briefly, and said, “The Heavens and Earth will not move; neither will the stone turn in the flowing river. There is still a long journey ahead of us. It’s just as you have always said. There’s no need to force yourself to do anything. We just hope Teacher can return safely; that is our only request.”
If Chu Yang remembered correctly, Meng Chao Ran had only returned half a year after he had left. Moreover, he had returned with serious injuries which took over a year’s rest to fully heal.
Given his capabilities, equal to that of a Martial Arts Great Master, he was practically undefeatable in the Three Lower Heavens. There were only two other possibilities. Either he had been ambushed by an extremely large number of people, or… he had gone to the Three Middle Heavens!
The Heavens and Earth will not move; neither will the stone turn in the flowing river.
Meng Chao Ran suddenly shivered. It was like a clap of thunder from the Ninth Heaven had suddenly struck him, briefly startling him. After quite a while, Meng Chao Ran turned and looked at Chu Yang with a puzzled gaze.
Amongst the three Disciples, Shi Qian Shan craved only for power, desiring the position of the Inner Quarters Disciples’ Eldest Martial Brother, while Tan Tan had the mental age of a child and lived in blissful ignorance. Only Chu Yang was aware that his teacher’s journey was not only extremely important but also perilous. As such, some of his words were filled with a deeper, hidden meaning, the most crucial of which were the sentences “The Heavens and Earth will not move; neither will the stone turn in the flowing river.” The sentence seemed like it spoke to the many years of his teacher’s experiences…
Chu Yang secretly smiled. “Teacher, please don’t blame me for stopping you. I’m just trying to help you. When you left for this trip in my previous life, you only managed to escape with the skin of your teeth. Wasn’t it because you were not strong enough for the task you wished to undertake? I think it’s better for you to just concentrate on cultivating your skills for now…
The sentence “The Heavens and Earth will not move; neither will the stone turn in the flowing river” was what many Martial Arts Great Master found difficulty in overcoming. At the peak of Martial Arts Great Master, many encountered a bottleneck which they could not break through. Only after they had perceived and thoroughly understood the above sentence, would they be able to advance.
It was also a kind of domain level! Only a Martial Arts Great Master who had arrived at that stage, enlightened with a subtle understanding, would be able to appreciate the beauty in that sentence!
And Meng Chao Ran was not an exception!