The Celestial naturally noticed Wu Yu, and with the point of a finger, the prison wagon broke open.
Even though Wu Yu was injured severely and greatly fatigued, he staggered of the carriage, and crawled towards the Celestial. Yes, even if he had to crawl, he must get to the Celestial, because it meant the chance of a new life, of revenge, of a comeback! Bowing down so low his face touched the floor, Wu Yu mustered all his strength, and shouted “Celestial Shangxian! My name is Wu Yu, the Prince Heir of East Yue Wu; I’d been framed, the victim of a sinister plot, and have been reduced to this lowly state. Please, please, please Shangxian, accept me as your student!”
Wu Yu raised his head, to see the Shangxian gazing at him, his face void of any emotion.
“Please accept me as your student! I swear will dedicate my whole lifetime to repaying your kindness!”
After encountering such a calamity and uncovering so many horrible truths previously hidden from him, such as the murder of his father and the devouring of his citizens by Wan Qing, Wu Yu was in the lowest point of his life; if somebody was willing to help him out of this pit of despair, he would definitely die trying to repay the debt of gratitude.
He was always like that; if somebody was kind to him, he would be kind back. If somebody was bad to him, however, he would retaliate.
“Master! Student Wu Yu kowtows and bows to Master! I hereby swear to Master that your gratitude will never be forgotten, and that I will serve you as your faithful servant for the rest yo my life. “
Wu Yu knew that if he didn’t grasp hold of this opportunity, he’d have no hope of revenge, of vengeance, stuck a mere Mortal until his last breath. This was the final straw; only success could be tolerated!
“Your foundation for cultivation isn’t bad, good enough to be accepted into Celestial Sect’s, but because you’ve digested Soul Severing Powder, cultivation is just impossible for you now. Therefore, I can’t accept you as my apprentice. To become my, Feng Xue Ya’s pupil, you’d have to have at least talent found only in one out of a hundred thousand people.
Feng Xue Ya’s words came as a bolt out of the blue to Wu Yu.
He shouldn’t have been blinded by hope. He should’ve thought of this. Of course Feng Xue Ya was going to reject him; he can’t even cultivate now! But, he was not a person who gave up easily, because he believed persistence was key to success!
“Feng Xue Ya Celestial, as long as you let me stay by your side, I’d be willing to be your dog, your horse, your slave… I’d be willing to do anything!”
Soul Severing Powder…. Ah, it’s not figurative. It really does sever souls.
“You’ve been victim to Soul Severing Powder, but I do not want to intervene with the happenings of Mortals… Fine, fine, fine! I’ll let you in my Celestial Sect, to be my apprentice Yan Li’s servant.”
Under his drowsiness, Wu Yu instantly felt that he was flying above the clouds, as light and free as a bird. That was something that not even Hao Tian Shangxian could do!
“I have succeeded!” he cried in his head, before blacking out with a wide smile on his face.
The sound of sizzling charcoal and crackling fire came into being, getting louder and louder each passing second.
“Hao Tian Shangxian! Xi Fei, that bitch!”
Wu Yu woke with a start, eyes opened wide, face swamped with sweat. He looked around, to find himself in unfamiliar surroundings. Oh yeah, hadn’t Feng Xue Ya Celestial brought him back to his Celestial Sect?
“Ah, a dream.”
He was currently in a wooden house, simple but clean, furnished with a table, a set of chairs, a closet and a bed. Nothing fancy, but quite sufficient for Wu Yu’s needs. A fire blazed in a stove at the center of the room, bringing warmth and dispersing the cold.
He took a deep breath, and released a long sigh of relaxation. Even though his body was still weak and exhausted, he still felt incredibly comfortable and cosy; there was just something in the air here that nourished his tired heart.
“If I’m not wrong, this should be Spiritual Qi*. The Mortal Realm definitely does not have such rich Spiritual Qi. If I cultivated here since young, I would’ve been a 7th Heavenly Stage Martial Artist today, or even an 8th Heavenly Stage Martial Artist!”
Wu Yu cheered joyfully in his heart, because he was now 100% sure that he was in a Celestial Sect, safe from being hunted down by Hao Tian. But, he had matured a lot since then, so he knew that he would not be able enjoy the benefits being in a Celestial Sect could bring. After all, he had taken Soul Severing Powder, never to be able to cultivate again! And, if he remembered correctly, he was to be a servant to Yan Li, Snow Cliff’s pupil. The duties of a servant should include feeding animals, watering plants, chopping wood and doing normal housework chores.
Suddenly, the sound of footsteps could be heard, and with a squeak, the door of the wooden house was lightly pushed open. Wu Yu raised his head to see a skinny, hunchbacked old man enter through the entrance. He was short, shorter than Wu Yu by a head, had messy silver hair and wrinkles all over his face. His eyes were a little bit turbid and muddy, as if struck by the “curse” of old age, but had a strict facial expression, seemingly conveying his dislike of Wu Yu.
“Ah, you’re awake. Hurry up and get dressed, we’ve got work to do.” The old man said sternly, a pair of muddy eyes staring at Wu Yu, making him feel a tad bit scared and uncomfortable.
Wu Yu sized up the old man, and noticed that he wore a necklace of red thread, with something hanging off it. It was a two inch long metal staff, with gold coloured ends, seemingly made out of real gold, and a black center, seemingly made out of Crow Metal*.
“This place is a Celestial Sect, and since you’ve come, you’ll spend your whole life here. If you want to stay alive in here, you have to know the Celestial Sect’s rules; The upper brass have stationed you under my wing, so don’t talk too much, be diligent, follow the rules, and don’t give me trouble.” The old man tossed a dark blue tunic to Wu Yu, then went into the neighbouring room, leaving him behind to sort things out.
After hearing that, Wu Yu know understood that Feng Xue Ya had posted him here at Yan Li’s to be a servant, and Yan Li had stationed him under the old man’s wing, to help out the old man.
“That old man doesn’t seem to like me?” he pondered, whilst swiftly changing into the tunic. By now, the aftereffects of taking the Soul Severing Powder had wore off, so he’d sobered up quite a bit, but his damaged body was still like a withered old tree, riddled with cuts and holes.
A moment later, the old man came back into the room, carrying a steaming bowl of soup, which he handed over to Wu Yu. “Drink.”
Wu Yu was born in the Royal Palace, so with just a glance he knew that the soup contained old ginseng, which requires a powerful flame to brew well. This kind of soup was very precious, and because there was only the two of them in the room, he believed that the old man brewed the soup for him. Evidently, the old man was just a person with a cold exterior, but a warm and kind interior; he didn’t dislike Wu Yu.
“Thanks old uncle, my name’s Wu Yu; what do I call you?” Since he had came to this place, where he was safe from any threats that may come from Hao Tian and Co., Wu Yu was filled with the desire to explore the Celestial Sect, a place that he had heard only in myths and legends.
“You can call me Sun Wudao.” The old man replied, urging him to hurry up.
“Uncle Sun!” Wu Yu rapidly drained the bowl of soup, feeling incredibly refreshened after. The soup had replenished some of his energy cells, severely depleted after yesterday’s events, so it must be the one of the Celestial Sect’s spiritual medicine to have such a great effect.
At that time, Uncle Sun had already pushed open the door of the wooden house, walking out with a brisk face. Wu Yu raced after him hurriedly, determined not to be left behind; after all, Uncle Sun had been very kind to him, so naturally Wu Yu must listen to what he said!
Wu Yu stepped out of the wooden house, looked around, and was instantly shocked. Winter was currently in high season, so the thousand mountains in view should be buried in heavy snow, but that was not the case here! No signs of snow and sheet were in sight; the mountains were displayed in their majestic green splendour, peaks spiralling into the heavens. What added to the sight was the Celestial Mist that pervaded the mountain range, mystical and magical. Amongst the Celestial Mist, countless contours and outlines of grand, vast and intricate palaces and pavilions could be seen; the Royal Palace of the of East Yue Wu was nothing compared to these magnificent structures.
They were so beautiful that Wu Yu thought he really was in Heaven!
Wu Yu was currently standing on the mountainside of a lush green mountain, surrounded by a myriad of green rock paths that stretched to the peak, to the bottom, and many other places. Sun Wudao was already on one of the green rock paths that snaked to the bottom of the mountain, walking briskly, so Wu Yu hastily followed after, stepping stride after stride on the moss covered green stone. He didn’t forget to breathe in the surrounding Spiritual Qi, which instantly made him feel as if he was in heaven, surpassing the Mortal Realm.
“Paradise!” Blood started to pulse in his veins, and excitement washed over him like a tidal wave.
“Before we go to the “Celestial Beast Garden” and start work, I’ll give you a brief description of our Celestial Sect. This Celestial Sect, is a Celestial Sect for Cultivators, but it’s quite different from normal ones, because many of the Daoist techniques we cultivate here are related with the usage of swords, which is known as Sword Cultivation. Our Celestial Sect is very domineering, and its name is : “Sword to Heaven Sect*”!”
To Heaven; opening up a pathway to Heaven! Indeed, the name was domineering, emitting an aura that caused Wu Yu to think of Feng Xue Ya Celestial’s golden sword. The Sword Qi radiated from it truly could open up a path to Heaven.
“The Sword to Heaven Sect is rooted in land with the richest Spiritual Qi of several Mortal Kingdoms, the mountain range “Blue Surge Mountain Range”! The mountain range is half the size of a Kingdom, and provides sanctuary to countless Cultivators who cultivate here, in hope of becoming a real Heavenly Celestial, a True Celestial!”
“Mortals are forbidden from stepping into the Blue Surge Mountain Range, and in their eyes, the Blue Surge Mountain Range is Heaven itself. And you, Wu Yu, are currently on a mountain named “Yan Li Mountain”, one of the mountains in the Blue Surge Mountain Range!”
Sun Wudao’s words made Wu Yu’s blood boil; Ah, so this is what a Celestial Sect looked like!
“You have to know, the Sword to Heaven Sect is enormous, and the Sect Leader was the one you who brought you here yesterday. He’s quite mysterious, always away and missing, off to who knows where, but he’s a Jindan Celestial out of the legends! Very close to becoming a Real Celestial! And then our sect also has countless Elders, and previous generation Cultivators.”
Feng Xue Ya Celestial was actually the Sect Leader?!
“After that, we have our numerous Disciples, and amongst them, the best and strongest Disciples are known as the “Core Disciples”. Apart from them, there are also the “Exterior Disciples”, who are a 100 times more numerous than “Core Disciples”.
“However, these Cultivators are not the people who make up the majority of the population in the Blue Surge Mountain Range. In fact, it’s us, the “Servant Disciples”! The Cultivators are always very busy cultivating, so it is our responsibility to attend to their food and drinks as well as housing, feed the Spiritual Beasts, take care of the Spiritual Plants, and sweep their palaces etc. The weakest “Core Disciple” would have at least 100 servants, and an “Exterior Disciple” would have a roundabout of 10.”
Wu Yu really appreciated what Uncle Sun was doing for him, because he not only took care of him, but also widened his horizons, showing him what the Celestial World, the World of Cultivators really looked like!
“Remember!” At this moment, Sun Wudao looked back at Wu Yu, stressing each word one by one “As a servant, we must know and understand that offending or displeasing a Celestial is the greatest taboo! Even if you’re an “Exterior Disciple”, you can’t, otherwise you’ll bring unto yourself death and unimaginable pain. Also, If you commit that taboo, I’ll have to suffer along with you too, because I’m your superior officer! Remember, engrave what I’ve said in your heart!”
He was born in the Royal Palace, where you had to be smart and tough to survive, so Wu Yu knew his current status; In the Sword to Heaven Sect, he was the lowest of the low, a shocking change in status and prestige compared to when he was Prince Heir in East Yue Wu.
“Don’t be disheartened, because Servant Disciples have hope too. Many of the servants here are usually infants found and brought here by Celestials, who have just enough enough talent for Cultivation; I was brought here by a Celestial when I was a kid too, just like them. Here, in the Sword to Heaven Sect, you can comprehend Dao* and cultivate, and have the chance to learn some Daoist techniques; If you’re quite talented at Cultivation, then you just have to reach the 6th Heavenly Stage of the “Mortal Body Forging Phase” before you’re 16 years old, as well as pass some tests and exams, to become a real Disciple of the Sword to Heaven Sect, giving you a shot at ascending and becoming a Celestial in the future!”
As he spoke, Sun Wudao’s face became serious and heavy, probably thinking of time’s gone past; he did not seem resigned to not becoming a real Disciple.
16! 16 years old!
Wu Yu was 15, and would be 16 in two months; he still had a chance of becoming a Disciple!
“It’s a pity that I’ve been crippled!”
He clenched his fist; If he could not ascend and become a Celestial, how was he going to kill Celestials?
“Ah, I nearly forgot to mention, the Mortal Body Forging Phase I was talking about corresponds to the “10 Heavenly Stages of Martial Arts” you have in the Mortal World. The 6th Heavenly Stage, would be the 6th Heavenly Stage of Martial Arts.
If Wu Yu hadn’t fallen victim to Soul Severing Powder, he was certain he would’ve entered the 6th Heavenly Stage in a few days time!
What a pity, what a pity!
He was just like Sun Wudao, missing the chance to enter the Sect by just one step!
After they descended the mountain, Wu Yu and Sun Wudao walked through forests and crossed ridges, making it over to another mountain in no time.
“Above is your future working place, the Celestial Beast Garden. Follow me.”
“The Celestial Beast Garden… does it contain Celestial Beasts?” Wu Yu thought.
As they climbed higher and higher up the mountain, he found himself getting more tired and tired, but his mood remained jolly and excited. After all, the shocks and surprises the Celestial Sect had brought him was just too enormous and numerous!
They ascended over a thousand moss covered green rock steps, and there it was, the majestic Celestial Beast Garden! But just at that moment, they were interrupted by a piercing bird cry, and a giant thing appeared right before their very eyes, rushing into the clouds!
It was an enormous snow white bird, dancing in the breeze, wings stretched out at 20 feet, embellished with black and white feathers and adorned with red dots. The bird was full of Celestial Qi, evidently able to easily tear apart tigers and panthers, predators at the top of the chain; It could not be anything other than a Celestial Crane, no doubt about it.
On top of the Celestial Crane rode a white robed girl; Wu Yu could only see her back, her black hair swaying in the breeze, waist narrow and delicate, skin as white as snow, but even so, he knew she was going to be beautiful. She shared the sky with the Crane, dancing synchronously together, ethereal, otherworldly, just like what Wu Yu had dreamed Celestial girls looked like in Heaven.
“She gives me the feeling Hao Tian Shangxian gives me!”
She definitely was a Celestial; just any random Celestial in the Sword to Heaven Sect could give off the feeling Hao Tian gave off, showing evidence of their strength and power! And the number of Disciples in the sect that could rival this Celestial girl in view wouldn’t be small.
Now, Wu Yu finally understood that Hao Tian Shangxian wasn’t the ruler of the Heavens and the Earth; There were many people in this world who could crush him like a gnat!
Hao Tian, was not a true Celestial.
And at that moment, the white robed girl looked back.
She was a peerless beauty, otherworldly, without a doubt, but her expression was cold and indifferent, a pair of eyes like a pale white butterfly lost in the darkness, unable to breathe; The girl, she was like many other Cultivators, as apathetic and indifferent as the Heavens.
“Bow your head down! Quick!” Sun Wudao savagely knocked Wu Yu’s head down.
“This is the Mountain Master of our Yan Li Mountain, Su Yanli Shangxian! Not only is she a “Core Disciple”, she’s also the Sect Leader Sovereign’s pupil, meaning that she has the highest status amongst all the Disciples, somebody we cannot directly look at!”
“Wu Yu, in the Sword to Heaven Sect, remember to bow your head down when you encounter a Shangxian!” Sun Wudao said, looking at Wu Yu with searing eyes.
“If you don’t bow your head, you’ll die.”
These words reverberated in his head, like a never-ending echo, and he could see that Uncle Sun was really nervous, scared that Wu Yu would get in trouble, which in turn, would get him in trouble as well.
“Ah, so the world of Celestials, the world of Cultivation is even crueler!”
*Sword to Heaven Sect – 通天剑派 is the original text, and actually means “The Sword Sect that opens a pathway to Heaven”; of course, I can’t use that in the translation, because it’s too long, so I shortened it to “Sword to Heaven Sect”, at the expense of scrapping the meaning behind the original translation. My other option was to use Pinyin, but hey, screw that! It just doesn’t seem cool in this context!
*Spiritual Qi – Spiritual Qi roughly means Spiritual Energy, but I prefer leaving it in Pinyin, cause, PERSONAL PREFERENCE YOLO!
*Crow Metal – It actually means black metal, but that doesn’t sound too unique, so I left it as Crow Metal, the direct translation from the original text.
*Dao – It means Profound Truths, which you may be more familiar with; I chose to use this rather than that because it works in a lot more context’s, and is shorter!