Chapter 21: Feeling Mystic Force for the First Time
"This is Martial Granduncle Zhuo, from the line of Willow Woods."
Lu Mingshu bowed and cleverly greeted him.
Grand Elder Zhuo Jiangui was the current head of the line of Willow Woods and was also the best martial artist in the Nine Jade Palace, as he was currently in the Assimilation Realm.
Lu Mingshu knew that there were a total of six realms for martial practitioners: Body Tempering, Inner Breath, Harmonization, Spirit, Assimilation, and Void.
They were ranked as such: Beginner Body Tempering, third-tire Inner Breath, second-tire Harmonization, first-tire Spirit, Peak Assimilation, and Transcendent Void.
The first two realms focused on tempering a martial practitioner's body and internals, which an average martial practitioner would be able to achieve. Once the martial practitioner reached the Harmonization realm, talent became a must; this was normally the realm that the Nine Jade Palace's disciples who'd completed their apprenticeship would be in. For the Spirit Realm, they are considered as first-tire experts and there are no more than twelve people from the Nine Jade Palace who managed to break through the spirit realm. Lastly, the Assimilation realm. Where the martial practitioners would then be known as experts. The only Nine Jade Palace martial practitioners who are in the Assimilation realm are the three Great Grand Elders.
What about the Grandmasters that had reached the Void Realm? Throughout Ancient China, the number of martial practitioners became a grandmaster is scared.
1Throughout the Nine Jade Palace's history, there are only two persons that managed to break through the Void realm. They are Founder Song and Grandmaster Xiang from the line of Shengyang.
Founder Song had lived for two hundred years, yet had passed away, sitting crossed-legged in the Heavenly Ascension Pavilion. As such, his lifespan was considered to be very short among Grandmasters. No matter how high of a realm one has reached, one's lifespan would always depend on maintenance. The reason that his lifespan had shortened so much was due to the fact that he'd kept himself locked up in the Heavenly Ascension Pavilion throughout his later years as if he'd been possessed ...
As for Grandmaster Xiang, Liu Jizhen's Martial Great Grandmother, she'd disappeared more than thirty years ago once she reached the Void Realm; nobody knew where she has gone. Afterwards, the line of Shengyang was termed as a line of Grandmasters.
Not only was talent required in order for one to breakthrough the Void Realm, but luck too. On average, throughout Ancient China, a Void Realm Grandmaster would only appear every sixty years.
Experts in the Assimilation Realm were already the best of the best and were definitely not to be underestimated.
It had already been three months since Lu Mingshu had entered the Nine Jade Palace, and even though she rarely left Green Jade Valley, she still knew the sort of status that Zhuo Jiangui held in the sect, due to what Ah Sheng and Hui Niang told her when they visit her every now and then. He was somebody that even the sect leader had to personally receive, but even then, there was no guarantee that he would want to see the sect leader. Why would such a person suddenly decide to visit Green Jade Valley?
The instant that Zhuo Jiangui's gaze fell on her, Lu Mingshu's whole body suddenly felt as if it had been enveloped in an icy mist, which filled her with an unspeakably cold sensation.
Fortunately, Zhuo Jiangui only gave her a glance before he shifted his gaze away.
Zhuo Jiangui nodded, then looked back towards Lu Mingshu. "Come and play with Xiang'er when you're free."
Lu Mingshu was startled, but Liu Jizhen patted her on the head. "Quickly thank Martial Granduncle."
Even though she didn't quite understand, she still obediently thanked him, "Thank you, Martial Granduncle."
Gao Xiang revealed a beaming smile, then asked, "Lu Mingshu, do you still remember me?"
Lu Mingshu nodded.
"Why didn't you come to find me? Come on, let's go play."
Lu Mingshu glanced towards Liu Jizhen. Only when she saw her master nod did she turn to leave with Gao Xiang.
As he watched the two children leave, Zhuo Jiangui asked, "You intend to let this continue?"
Liu Jizhen lowered his head but remained silent.
"You're only thirty-five right now. Even if you only live to be a hundred years old, that means that you still have sixty-five years of your life left to live. Do you truly intend to let the remaining decades of your life pass just like this?"
Liu Jizhen replied in a low voice, "What does Senior Uncle think I can still do? A cripple like me …"
If you truly regard yourself as a cripple, then you really are a cripple." Zhuo Jiangui gazed at him. "As your master's friend, I really can't bear to see the disciple, whom she taught with the utmost care, die silently in Green Jade Valley."
Liu Jizhen remained silent.
"What about this child? What do you intend to do with her?"
Liu Jizhen's glupped and laughed bitterly. "Since she doesn't want to leave, the only thing I can do is let her stay. Moreover, her birth status is quite awkward. I'm afraid that she wouldn't fit in if she were to go to the lower house."
Zhuo Jiangui lightly replied, "Why do that, considering how her biological father has already washed his hands of her? This is also part of her destiny."
"..." Liu Jizhen became speechless. The line of willow wood had always stayed out of the other faction's affairs, thus he wasn't able to ask for anything more. Zhuo Jiangui had already given him face by allowing Lu Mingshu to play with Gao Xiang, which in turn meant that he'd take the opportunity to offer her a few lessons. It was only due to who his master was, that Zhuo Jiangui had been willing to personally come to Green Jade Valley to see her, despite her own awkward status.
On the other side of the Valley, Gao Xiang was chatting away.
"So Green Jade Valley was here. Nobody knew where it was when I asked them.
"I heard that there was some place called the ‘Heavenly Ascension Pavilion' here.
"Let's stroll around!"
Gao Xiang was a very chatty boy and he hadn't stopped speaking since she'd begun to play with him. This had left Lu Mingshu speechless.
"Let's stroll around then." Even if Gao Xiang hadn't helped her before and was a mere guest, as the host, she still would've shown him around.
She led Gao Xiang to visit the stone houses that she and her master lived, and answered any questions he had. Not long after, Zhuo Jiangui announced that it was time to leave.
Gao Xiang reluctantly left after reminding her several times to visit him in the Willow Woods.
Lu Mingshu agreed. Feeling that there was a hidden meaning behind them playing in the Willow Woods.
Once Zhuo Jiangui had left, the master and disciple pair ate their meal together, then returned to their respective houses. As per usual, one continued to shave wooden swords, while the other entered the Heavenly Wheel.
After a few days of rest, Lu Mingshu felt that she'd returned to her peak condition, and that she was now ready to start practising martial arts.
She started browsing through the new topics when one suddenly caught her eye.
[ Recruitment: Looking for partners for the Fire Lava Cave. The reward is a Soul Gathering Formation Diagram. ]
Someone immediately replied.
[ You messaged the wrong place. ]
[ Oh oh, sorry. This message is invalid. ]
However, many people began to ask questions when after they saw his message.
[ What does this mean? Can we go over to other worlds by recruiting partners here? ]
[ Don't tell me that the Heavenly Wheel can not only trade items but people too? ]
[ Is there any Senior around that can answer us? ]
After a few messages, someone replied.
[ Newbies shouldn't ask too many questions. You guys will learn about it in the future. ]
[ Eh? You can't tell us more? ]
[ It's not that I can't, but that it would be useless even if I did. You guys simply haven't reached that layer yet. You'll naturally know about it once you've reached that layer. ]
When the newbie questioned further, no one answered him.
Lu Mingshu began to speculate,
Temporarily putting the matter on hold, Lu Mingshu took the <Basic Swordsmanship> manual from before, then left the Heavenly Wheel to begin her training.
The moves in the sword manual didn't seem to be very complicated, as she was able to finish practising the first with only a few tries. She wasn't sure how to practice martial arts, but the book said to practice diligently, so that was what she did.
Energy suddenly flowed through her arm as she was practising. "Crack!" the tip of her sword broke.
Lu Mingshu immediately stopped in her tracks and looked up. She saw something on the wall and took a closer look. It was a shallow scratch.
She was surprised when she saw the scratch, but then she felt excitement.
Now that she'd finally seen an actual result, she began to practice even more diligently, to the point where she managed to familiarize herself with all of the sword moves in the manual in just three days.
Again, it was the 15th of the month. Lu Mingshu had practised until the middle of the night that night, then taken a shower and gone to bed.
The moonlight filtered into her room from the hole above and was reflected through her window.
Lu Mingshu vaguely sensed herself dreaming. This time, rather than sleepwalking to the Founder's tomb, she was standing in an illusory space. Suspended in front of her, was the true form of the Heavenly Wheel, which she hadn't seen in quite a while.
She reached out and grasped the Heavenly Wheel, which begin to rotate all of a sudden.