Chapter 30.1: Strict Teacher
After Su Tingyun obtained Su Lijiang’s promise, she settled down in Heaven Firmament Peak. The place she lived in now wasn’t very far away from the place Su Lijiang gave lectures. It was only separated by a little pond from the jadestone public square.
There wasn’t anything planted in the pond. Beneath, there was a layer of silt while above were some disheveled growing leaves. In this Heaven Firmament Peak which had beautiful paradise-like landscape, this pond was clearly a little out of place.
Su Tingyun’s aptitude was poor so she couldn’t absorb a lot of spiritual energy when she meditated. She didn’t need to be arranged in a cave that had a ley line running below so her house was at the big tree next to the pond. There were three rooms in the house. It was bright and spacious with glazed green roof tiles. Both its color and position were very striking.
The disciples of Spiritual Master Lingwu would often pass by that place. Other times, some disciples would gather nearby to investigate and share tips on cultivation. In addition, Spiritual Master Lingwu seemed to make an appearance every half a month so she was currently very safe. There was no one who was senseless enough to try and cause her trouble.
Even if Gu Hao wanted to make a move, he had to consider whether he had enough strength to do so.
Su Tingyun used the high-grade spirit stone Liu Feizhou gave her to buy a pill furnace. Then, following the information in the jade scroll he gave her, she purchased some low-rank medicinal grass to refine pills. Although Spiritual Master Lingwu had told her that she could just inform him if she needed anything, Su Tingyun still didn’t feel comfortable making requests. However, she still had worries in her heart. Thus, she could only toughen her skin and ask Spiritual Master Lingwu to speak to Ning Xuzi once again for the sake of making Xiao Mei’s days a little easier.
Liu Feizhou’s jade scroll detailed the refinement process very meticulously. Su Tingyun followed the information given in the jade scroll and practiced. After several furnace explosions, she successfully refined some medicinal pills that were of the lowest rank. Her pill refinement success rate gradually increased the more she practiced. However, due to the limit of her cultivation, she couldn’t refine any medicinal pills higher than second rank. The spiritual energy within her body simply had no way of supporting the medicinal ingredients’ solidification into pills.
On this clear morning, Su Tingyun had headed to the pond to gather medicinal ingredients when she saw that a weed had grown in the pond. That weed looked a little familiar but for a moment she couldn’t recall what it was. When she reached out to pull it, she saw its leaves open and close a couple times as it emitted a young and immature child’s voice. “Don’t, don’t don’t! Hurts, hurts, hurts!”
However, she soon recalled and reached out with her finger to stroke that leaf. This time, it was still that child-like sound. “Tickles, tickles, tickles.”
She had seen it before at the foot of Wuliang Mountain. This is a grass that has spiritual nature and knows how to talk. They were very hardy and the entire cultivation world was filled with their marks. It was just a pity that this type of grass had no medicinal value. Its only unique feature was that it could talk.
It was a weed that had no value. Su Tingyun didn’t know how it managed to get to Heaven Firmament Peak. Heaven Firmament Peak had never allowed for this weed’s existence because its chattering was too noisy. Every time one was discovered, it would be immediately pulled up by the roots. Hence, Su Tingyun pulled up her sleeves and got ready to uproot the Orchid Tongue Grass. In the end, it started crying miserably before she even made her move. The sound was extremely heart-tugging like a real child’s voice.
She stretched out her finger and lightly flicked the grass leaf. Then she gathered all the matured medicinal grass in the pond before planting some more. This time, when she planted, she left the Orchid Tongue Grass about a square meter of space and even used rocks to build a circle, encircling the Orchid Tongue Grass within.
“Don’t grow outwards, ok? If you grow outside, I’ll uproot you, got it?” After Su Tingyun said this with a stern expression, she started utilizing Spring Wind Transform Rain. She included the Orchid Tongue Grass in the rain and the two leaves on the little plant opened and closed as it sucked in the water. Its appearance was extremely cute.
She treated the medicinal grass and the Orchid Tongue Grass equally, so in around half a month, the two leaves of that Orchid Tongue Grass had grown as large as palm leaves that were about a finger’s size in thickness. Its leaves were a sparkling translucent green, but a hint of purple could be seen between the folds of its two leaves. The color and luster were somewhat similar to the high-grade spirit stone Su Tingyun obtained before.
The Orchid Tongue Grass would chatter like ‘jijigugu’ every day, most of the time it didn’t speak clearly. However, when Su Tingyun rubbed it, it would emit loud ‘hahaha’s. This helped to brighten up her days a little.
This night, Su Tingyun didn’t rest well after she finished refining the medicinal pills so she woke up a little late the next day. She freshened up a little before heading out of the house and making her way to the pond. Unexpectedly, she saw two little kids standing next to the pond.
She had stayed here several months already so naturally she knew who those two were. They were the disciples that Spiritual Master Lingwu took in. They had very outstanding aptitudes. Though they were very young, their cultivation level surpassed hers by far. Of the two, the slightly older one, who was about twelve years old, was Du Xizhi and fourth in seniority. The slightly smaller lolita looked only about eight. She was Yin Li and ninth in seniority.
Su Tingyun would often see them pass by this place but she had never seen them stop here before. She didn’t know what they were doing next to the pond today either. Right now, she kept a respectful distance away from these cultivators. Even if they were children, she didn’t want to get too close to them.
Su Tingyun was originally planning on heading back into the room. However, right when she twisted around, she heard Du Xizhi call out, “Grannie, is this an Orchid Tongue Grass?”
There was no disdain or discrimination in his voice. In addition, that youngster had called her ‘grannie’. There was no way Su Tingyun could pretend she didn’t hear it. She turned back and replied, “Yeah!”
She was clearly only twenty-five, how come she was actually pretty happy hearing other people call her grannie? Perhaps it’s because she had heard damned old woman, old fart, and things like this for too long. Now that she heard someone call her grannie, she felt rather gratified. This was too heartbreaking.
“Grannie, what are you growing this for? It’s useless and even looks unsightly.” Du Xizhi spoke with a little bit of an accent. It sounded a little like the Manchurian accent from her previous world. The young man had a stately appearance with red lips and white teeth. Standing there, he seemed like a little poplar tree. He made Su Tingyun smile the moment he spoke.
Before she even replied, the Orchid Tongue Grass suddenly started talking. “Looks unsightly, looks unsightly, hahahaha…”
And that accent was even identical. A laugh escaped Su Tingyun before she could restrain it.
The little lolita convulsed with tinkling laughter until she couldn’t even stand up straight. Du Xizhi’s face flushed red. “You… from the start… look unsightly…” He was so stirred up he was stuttering.
Su Tingyun was worried Du Xizhi would get angry and hastily changed the topic. “This guy knows how to talk. The moment I try it uproot it, it cries out in pain so I couldn’t bring myself to do it. As of now, since it’s already so big, it might as well be a companion for me.”
The little lolita had stopped laughing now. She rubbed her stomach as she stood up straight. Giving Su Tingyun a sweet smile, she said, “Grannie, you don’t have any companions? We’ll keep you company!”
Her smile was sweet and sincere. Sunshine filled her two little dimples and it seemed as if a thin layer of gold was all over her, causing her to seem to emit light.
As of now, the entire Heaven Firmament Peak knew that Su Tingyun was a grandee of Heaven Firmament Peak and Spiritual Master Lingwu’s benefactor. Spiritual Master had instructed them to treat her with due respect. However, since she was too low-key and didn’t like to speak with people, no one could find any pretext to become friends with her. If it weren’t for the fact that Spiritual Master Lingwu had also instructed them not to disturb her, her house’s doorstep would certainly have been ruined by the steps of visitors by now.
Yin Li and Du Xizhi didn’t go back to practice after finishing this morning’s class. Instead, they came to wander around near the pond, hoping to run into some luck. Unexpectedly, the person they were waiting for actually came out. What they were doing didn’t count as disturbing her. Would Master punish them?
Yin Li was a little nervous but she still smiled sweetly. Her sparkling eyes were like washed grapes as she said, “Grannie, your skill at refining pills has increased again, hasn’t it? Lately, we haven’t heard as many furnace explosions.”
“It’s much better than before.” Su Tingyun laughed, then rolled up her sleeves and got into the pond. Following that, she started tending to those medicinal grasses. These cultivators were all proud and arrogant characters. These two little children had appeared suddenly and their tones were particularly friendly as well. Su Tingyun more or less knew what they were after. At this moment, she suddenly missed Xiao Mei, that sharp-mouthed tofu-hearted girl who would from time to time give a cold humph, a lot. She didn’t know how Xiao Mei was doing either.
Su Tingyun’s spiritual consciousness was still rather sharp. Although her back was to the two children, she was still aware of all their little movements. The little lolita reached out to tug the young boy’s sleeve. The young boy’s face was completely red as if he wanted to say something but was hesitating. The lolita glared at him, then said, “Grannie, you’re Master’s great benefactor. Won’t you help us talk to Master a little?”
Su Tingyun stopped moving her hands. She turned around and saw Du Xizhi lower his head uncomfortably. At the side, Yin Li was clutching her own sleeve as she said nervously, “Next month is the start of the sect field practice exam for newly accepted disciples. All the halls in each mountain will be participating. We’re no exception.”
After hearing this news, Su Tingyun’s heart tightened. Then Xiao Mei has to participate as well? She had been acting based on ‘fearing the well rope for ten years after being bitten by a snake’ so she was originally on guard against these two children. Now, though, she exposed a smile that she believed to be friendly in order to find out more about this. Unexpectedly, the moment she curved her eyes and smiled, Yin Li became so frightened she stumbled back a little.
Su Tingyun: “…”
“A sect field practice exam? That’s nice.” Su Tingyun tugged her lips awkwardly, then nodded.
“That’s right ah. We’ve already become disciples for half a year so it’s time for a test.” This time, the one who spoke was Du Xizhi. Perhaps he was not as uncomfortable now that the topic was on the competition because he gathered up his courage and asked directly, “Grannie, can you help us talk to Master and have him teach us some powerful spells?”
“Even though my cultivation is almost to the Foundation Establishment Stage, I don’t have any amazing moves. Day after day we just cultivate in neigong internal reflection, we don’t know a single external style martial arts attackT/N.” Du Xizhi’s expression was distressed. “My family comes from a clan that cultivates relying on the support of Wuliang Sect. Disciples like us with pretty good aptitude won’t study external style martial arts while we’re being nurtured by the clan. We all just wait until we become disciples and then learn Wuliang Sect’s high-level martial arts. Who would have expected that it’s already been half a year yet Master didn’t even teach a single one…”
“Of course, we’re not saying that Master is bad.” As Yin Li spoke, she sneakily looked around. Her appearance was the living embodiment of a little mouse that had stolen something. “Other masters just throw jade scrolls to the disciples and have them learn by themselves. They’re not like our Master who would give us lessons every month and inquire about our current cultivation progress.”
“Mmhm, and ask us to train our mentalities.”
“Lately, he would have us break through illusion domains every day and have us enter all sorts of environments to train and hone our mentality. He said this was the only way for us to strengthen and steady our determination to follow the way of the Dao.”
“In the illusion domain I entered last time, the entire Du family had been killed by someone. I almost went crazy.” When Du Xizhi recalled that memory, he felt lingering fears. “My reason to cultivate is to become stronger and protect my family and friends.” Yin Li also patted her chest. A string of silver bells was looped around her tender white wrist. With this movement, they rang out with a sweet sounding tinkle. It seemed to have the effect of calming one’s heart.
“It’s pretty much like the ordeals on the Heavens Ascending Stairs, except much scarier.”
“Master treats us really well.” The two children weren’t hiding timidly anymore and now spoke in turns. Their unspoken coordination was almost like a scripted crosstalk.
“But next month is the competition exam ah.” Du Xizhi itched to just pull his hair. “Grannie, you know that we’re high in seniority.”
Yin Li also nodded continuously. “Master and the Sect Leader are of the same seniority, so we’re of the same seniority as many of the Elders. Right now, of those newly accepted disciples, some of the ones with low seniority even have to call us little Grandmasters.”
“We’re going out together for the field practice exam. Other people expect us to be really amazing.”
“That’s right ah, but in the end we don’t even have a single strong technique. It couldn’t be that we have to go compete on who had more spiritual energy inside their bodies?”
“When encountering a strong monster, other people would pull out their sword with a ‘whoosh’ and chop the spirit beast into two halves with one sword technique…” Du Xizhi’s hands danced and his feet kicked when he got to here.
At the side, Yin Li said with a woeful face. “And we can only watch with our eyes wide at the side. The other Senior Brothers are still alright but Senior Brother Du and I really didn’t learn any attack techniques before joining the sect. We also don’t have any high-leveled artifacts suitable for our status. There’s no way we can throw rocks, can we!?”
“What about the secret art of Golden Thunder?” Even Su Tingyun knew this simple spell to attract thunder.
“We’re the Uncle Masters and Grandmasters of that younger generation!”
“Using the secret art of Golden Thunder is so embarrassing…”
The two sung and chanted together. After they finished speaking, they looked towards Su Tingyun with sad puppy eyes. “Grannie, help us talk to Master a little?”
Spiritual Master Lingwu came from the void sea so his method of teaching disciples was completely different from the other cultivators in Wuliang Sect. To put it more accurately, he took more responsibility. It was just that Spiritual Master Lingwu usually looked overly cold and distant. Even the disciples that had interacted with him for half a year didn’t dare to say anything superfluous. Not to mention, they didn’t really have any objections to Master saying to focus on training their mentality for the time being. It was just that the sect field practice exam was almost here. If they didn’t know anything, it would really be pretty embarrassing.
No matter how much spiritual energy they had, it’s useless if they don’t know spell techniques. With higher cultivation, their spiritual consciousness would also get slightly stronger. Everyone was still young so even if they were strong, they couldn’t get much stronger. The only way to showcase their profound mysterious aura and stand out from the masses was with a strong attack spell ah!
“Aren’t there a lot of martial arts type jade scrolls in the Book Repository?” asked Su Tingyun.
“Wouldn’t that be secretly learning behind Master’s back? Master already told us to refine our mentality first.”
They were also a little pressure with such an earnest and strict Master.
Su Tingyun really didn’t want to get into any more contact with Spiritual Master Lingwu. However, this sect field practice exam involved Xiao Mei so she decided to give it a try. If she could fulfill these two kids’ hopes, they’ll probably agree when she asked them to secretly look after Xiao Mei a little during the field practice.
Credits: Translated by Chiyomira, Proofread by Sigil
T/N – Taken from wiki: “Neigong practice is normally associated with the so-called “soft style”, “internal” or neijia 內家 Chinese martial arts, as opposed to the category known as waigong 外功 or “external skill” which is historically associated with shaolinquan or the so-called “hard style”, “external” or wàijiā 外家 Chinese martial arts.” For neigong I’ll be using neigong and things like internal style martial arts interchangeably. For waigong, I’ll probably be mostly using external style martial arts since waigong isn’t as common a term.
In regards to ‘lolita’, it’s common now in China to call little girls lolitas/lolis. Since it’s a loan word, it’s made from the word luo2 for radish and li4 for jasmine. Then, the word for radish is luo2bo. It’s also known as white radish/white carrot. In my family, we call carrots (both orange and white variants) luo2bo. So, whenever I see luo2li4, my first thought = “the little carrot…” lmao~
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