Chapter 617: The Transformation and Realization
In the northeastern Youzhou, at night:
Spring had just arrived. However, Youzhou, which was located in the north, was still extremely cold. Both sides of the official road were lined with high mounds of snow.
A bloody massacre was happening on the official road.
“Brothers! Kill! Kill them all! For the wine, meat, and ladies!”
The group of bandits looked menacing as they attacked the small group of merchants in a frenzied manner. The group of merchants fought back as well. Instantly, blood splashed and stained the ground. Teng Qingshan, wearing his typical white cloak, stood upon a barren hillock and watched everything happening down below.
It was the second Spring he had experienced since he left the Great Yan Mountain.
“Looting and killing?” Teng Qingshan watched the bandits kill the men and women part of the caravan. As he watched, he didn’t feel a single thing.
“Why have I become like this? What happened to me?” Teng Qingshan frowned. For the past year, he had seen joy, anger, grief, and many other kinds of things in the secular world. During this period, he kept telling himself that he had to remain an observer. After a long time, Teng Qingshan felt that he had become numb. Even when he witnessed things that were infuriating, he felt nothing.
“Why have I become numb to everything?”
“Everything in the world now looks the same as bones of the dead.”
Initially, Teng Qingshan thought that observing the Land of the Nine Prefectures from an outsider’s perspective would help him understand the Dao of the Omnipotent Realm. However, to remain as an observer, he had to suppress his feelings and be emotionally numb. Because of this constant state of withdrawal, he felt that he could no longer feel anything.
He couldn’t feel anger!
He couldn’t feel joy and surprise!
Naturally, he became numb to this world. After witnessing so many things in this world, he felt that everything became ephemeral.
It became silent again. On the official road, bodies could be seen everywhere. The survivors had fled. Yet, Teng Qingshan still stood on the barren hillock. He kept questioning himself, “No matter what I see, I don’t feel anything. I have been traveling for a year. What did I learn? Nothing!”
For the past year, Teng Qingshan felt that he had learned nothing.
He just became numb to everything! He became inhuman. This was the only change!
He stood on the barren hillock for six days and six nights. While he was standing there, it snowed heavily.
On the seventh day morning…
When the sun rose in the sky, Teng Qingshan, who had been standing like a statue, suddenly had a moment of realization.
“What…what have I been doing?”
“Ordinary people, Innate Experts, Insightful Emptiness Realm Experts, Omnipotent Experts are all humans! Humans are meant to have emotions.”
“Without emotions, we wouldn’t be touched emotionally and wouldn’t experience a moment of enlightenment. Without a moment of enlightenment, how can one understand the Dao of the Omnipotent Realm?” Teng Qingshan’s eyes, which looked indifferent, suddenly lit up. It was as though Teng Qingshan had regained life. “To understand this world and know the operation of this world, I must look at the world with my heart!”
After this moment of realization, his state of mind completely changed.
He laughed and withdrew the power of his world. Immediately, he felt the cold wind blowing through his body and the icy snow beneath his feet.
“See with your heart!”
Teng Qingshan stretched his hand and grabbed a handful of snow. Immediately, the snow started melting.
Teng Qingshan raised his head up and burst into gales of laughter. Immediately, he strode forward.
Teng Qingshan reclined on an embankment between paddy fields. His face was covered in dust and dirt. He stared at a tiny stalk of grass and took a deep breath. “This is the taste of dirt and the taste of life!”
Teng Qingshan then dived into a river with a very strong current. A moment later, he was seen by the shore, eating a grilled fish.
The scene changed.
“Take these pieces of silver and bring your mother to see a doctor.”
Teng Qingshan appeared in a poor family’s house in Liangzhou and handed a dozen or more silver taels to a teenager. The bedridden mother was trying to get off her bed to express her appreciation and her son was about to kowtow when Teng Qingshan suddenly disappeared into thin air.
“God?” The mother and son both froze.
Then, the scene changed again.
With messy untired hair, Teng Qingshan could be seen somewhere several Li away from the poor family’s house. He looked like an ascetic cultivator. However, there was a bright smile on his face. He muttered to himself, “It feels good to help someone.”
Teng Qingshan set foot in every city, lake, mountain, and hill on the Land of the Nine Prefectures.
He did things that he felt like doing…
He crouched in the mountains and watched a litter of wolf pups drink their mother’s milk.
He sneaked into the headquarters of a gang of bandits and watched their hidden and ruthless lives.
He stayed in a brothel and witnessed the effort and sacrifices made by the escorts who always had to smile and pleasure others.
He signed up as a guard of a caravan and tried to experience other people’s hardship.
If he met boys who desired to learn martial arts from an exceptional teacher, he would give them advice and instructions.
Occasionally, Teng Qingshan felt very happy. Sometimes, he felt furious. Sometimes, he could sigh disappointingly. Other times, he would just smile for no reason… Teng Qingshan tried to immerse himself in these experiences. His goal was to experience other people’s lives and be familiar with the feelings between animals as well as the nature of plants.
Soon, spring left and fall came. The duel between Teng Qingshan and Pei San was happening in three months. Teng Qingshan had only three months left.
“My shoes are ruined… My hat is ruined… My vestment is ruined? Wait, I don’t have a vestment.” While Teng Qingshan, whose clothes were worn out, was walking alone, he kept humming this tune he had heard in his previous life. Currently, it was obvious that Teng Qingshan’s Spirit became different from the time when he had been in the Great Yan Mountain. It felt as though the dust on his ice-cold heart had been washed away and the ice within the heart had been melted.
Teng Qingshan’s heart became as clear as a sparkling jadestone.
He felt the innocence of a newborn!
He had the experience of his previous life and current life. In addition, he had become emotionally numb after he had seen so many things that happened in the Land of the Nine Prefectures. He was able to break free from the state of withdrawal and be connected with his feelings again… Because of the experience of withdrawing from the world and rejoining the world, Teng Qingshan felt the innocence of a newborn! This was something he had never felt before.
“Do I really have three months left?”
Teng Qingshan smiled and said to himself, “What a pity… It has been over a year but I made no breakthroughs. It seems like I will have to admit defeat in three months.” Teng Qingshan did not feel discontented or bitter when he thought about admitting defeat. After experiencing so many things in the world, he felt that admitting defeat would not affect anything.
“However, this journey of learning was truly worth it.
“For the past years, I have immersed myself in cultivation. Because I have been so obsessed with cultivation, I forgot why a human being cultivates.”
“I cultivate because I wanted to protect my family, to gain a foothold in this world, and to promote the branch of Internal Martial Art.”
“And now, I am strong enough to protect my family. I successfully promoted the branch of Internal Martial Art. Since I have achieved my goals, I should just enjoy this life and enjoy time with my wife and children.” After a year of traveling, Teng Qingshan finally realized the true meaning of life.
One of his goals was to become an Omnipotent Expert.
Human beings have always been driven by endless ambitions. Yet, time is limited. If Teng Qingshan had spent all his time on achieving his ambitions, he would have a lot of regrets by the time he reached the end of his lifespan.
One should be satisfied with what one has… Since he had already reached great heights, he should stop toiling for his ambitions and causing his wife and children to be worried for him.
“I have reached the border of Chu County. Let me follow this path and walk back to the Great Yan Mountain.” Teng Qingshan said with a smile.
In Teng Qingshan’s opinion, the journey had changed his mindset. Compared to gaining enlightenment in the Heavenly Dao, he felt happier to have this change of mindset.
Teng Qingshan could hear fighting and killing sounds on the road ahead.
“Bandits!” Teng Qingshan shook his head as he thought to himself, “Sometimes, bandits don’t have any choice. They were forced to become bandits. However, the merchants, who had toiled for money, are innocent.” During the past year, Teng Qingshan had sneaked into the homes of bandits and found out that a lot of bandits had no choice but to loot and kill.
Teng Qingshan didn’t care if a massacre was happening ahead. Instead of slowing down, he moved forward even quicker.
“Spare our lives please!”
“Good fellows, spare my life! I will give you all the gold and silver! Please just spare our lives!” At this moment, the massacre had halted. One of the merchants, who looked terrified, was begging crazily.
Teng Qingshan’s eyes lit up. “Eh? Isn’t that merchant Old Master Zhou?
Back then, Old Master Zhou tried to rape Li’s Wife but Li family’s son stopped him. Teng Qingshan saw what had happened with his own eyes. He said to himself, “Back then, Old Master Zhou secretly ordered someone to kill that boy. I was not in the right mind during that time and did not help them.”
At this moment, the chubby Old Master Zhou was sweating profusely as he begged desperately.
“Old Thief Zhou, look at me! Who am I?” Someone shouted.
Old Master Zhou lifted his head and looked over with a puzzled expression. Immediately, his expression changed and he muttered to himself…”It’s you.. Li Liang? No…”
“The heavens helped me that day. I survived. Today, I will send you off to hell.” The muscular young man, named Li Liang, grabbed his knife and jabbed it into Old Master Zhou’s tummy. Old Master Zhou could not believe his eyes. He could not believe that he was killed by Li’s son, the boy he had despised and humiliated.
Puchi! The young man drew the knife.
Immediately, blood splashed.
“My brothers! Thank you! You all helped me kill my enemy!”
Teng Qingshan’s body swayed and he instantly moved beyond the fighting scene. Still, he could distinctly remember Li Liang’s face and Old Master Zhou’s unyielding expression when he died.
“In the end, Old Master Zhou was killed by Li Liang.” Teng Qingshan said with a grin. Suddenly, he had a moment of realization. “This is the cycle of the Heavenly Dao. You reap what you sow.”
“The cycle of the Heavenly Dao?”
Teng Qingshan immediately rocketed into the sky and flew upward for over a thousand Zhang. He then stopped in mid-air. While he was hovering at a high altitude, he looked down at the vast earth and ruminate on all the heart-moving moments he had experienced and the things he had seen when he was in a state of withdrawal.
Teng Qingshan instantly felt something peculiar sprouting inside him.
He felt detached from this world. He thought about the flowers, grass, trees, birds, beasts, humans, and many other things. At the same time, more and more feelings arose and stirred within him. He felt like an invisible string had connected together everything he had seen and presented to him a perfect circle.
“The cycle of the Heavenly Dao.”
Teng Qingshan descended slowly on a spacious area beside a tall and ancient cassia tree in the forest. He sat cross-legged silently and started ruminating on the peculiar feelings.
“Growing up and growing old…”
“All life forms in the world have its zenith and nadir. All life forms have an origin and end. When an old man dies, a baby is born.”
With his eyes closed, Teng Qingshan sat quietly under the tree.
So many thoughts crossed his mind…
At this moment, the things within the Niwan Palace started changing. Both the black deadly liquid, which had the density of liquid mercury, as well as the white lively liquid, which appeared like morning dew, started producing streams of air. The black streams of air and the white streams of air started twisting around each other. Soon, a greyish color could be seen within the Niwan Palace…