Yan Li Mountain, Celestial Beast Gardens.
A total of 10 Celestial Cranes were raised and kept there.
Celestial Cranes were very noble and grand creatures, but quite picky eaters, refusing to eat undelicious food, and had the ability to eat and digest some Celestial Plants and Celestial Treasures, which were normally only eaten by Cultivators. They were a type of Spiritual Beast, and Spiritual Beast’s were living things that have the blood of Celestial Beast’s pumping in their veins.
According to legends and rumours, Celestial Beast’s were stronger than Daemons or Demons, could fly in the sky, tunnel through the Earth, and move seas and rivers with their incredible strength! Dragons, Phoenixes and Qilin’s* were examples of Celestial Beasts.
“Sun Wudao, who is this?” After noticing their arrival, a group of burly and towering servants instantly surrounded them, seemingly with bad intentions. They were all young and strong, and had been cultivating in the Sect for many years, so they looked full of energy and power as well as healthy as oxes.
“If this was the Mortal Realm, these servants could all be Generals!” Wu Yu was shocked! Just a lowly servant in a Celestial Sect could be one of the most powerful men of a Mortal Kingdom!
“His name is Wu Yu, and is reportedly brought here by the Sect Leader from outside.” Sun Wudao was the oldest here, but he did not seem to be respected.
“Sect Leader? Hahahaha! Don’t joke around!” The congregation of servants burst out into laughter. A man, who seemed to be the leader of the rabble, stepped out from the crowd. “Since he was brought here by the Sect Leader, then he must be a genius amongst geniuses; let me test him to see if it is so.”
The man’s name was Zhao Chuan, and was one of the leaders of the 100 servants on Yan Li Mountain. He was 30 years old this year, in his prime, and was also, reportedly, a 4th Heavenly Stage “Mortal Body Forging Phase” “Neizhuang*” Martial Artist expert.
“Out of the question!” Sun Wudao moved his fragile body in front Wu Yu to block the thugs from him, “He was poisoned in the Mortal Realm, and has lost all his Martial Ability! Please, don’t harrass him!”
Wu Yu did not expect that Sun Wudao would protect and shield him to this extent, risking making enemies out of several burly servants, even though it was their first time meeting. He remembered this favour of kindness, and will return it a thousand times over! If not for Sun, he would not’ve been able to avoid a round of beatings as he’s a newbie.
“Ah, a cripple! But I don’t care whether he’s a cripple or not; If he does one less piece of work, then he’ll have to exchange it with his life, because I, Zhao Chuan, do not sympathise with cripples. After all, Su Shangxian* gave me the task of taking care of the Celestial Beast Gardens, showing her trust in me!” Zhao Chuan said bluntly.
“Boss Zhao rest assured, if he does one less piece of work, I’ll do one more!”
“You sure you can do that, with that old bony body of yours?”, Zhao Chuan smiled coldly, then turned around to shout, “Brothers, today several Shangxians will come to visit Su Shangxian, so we’ll have to take good care of their Celestial Cranes. If anything disastrous happens, then you’ll have to exchange with your pathetic life!”
“Yes, Commander Zhao!”
Wu Yu reckoned that with such an important task at hand, Zhao Chuan and his lackeys would be too busy to give trouble to an old man and a cripple.
Sure enough, not long after Zhao Chuan exhorted his cronies the sound of wings flapping came from the sky. A few humongous Celestial Cranes descended onto the Celestial Beast Garden, and from them jumped off several young men and women.
The Celestials were quite young, around the same age as Wu Yu, and wore grand and extravagant clothing that were even more luxurious than court apparel. The men all emanated heroism, full of energy and spirit, and the women were graceful and elegant, skin smooth and as white as snow. They were chatting joyfully without a care in the world, making people envious of the carefree lives they lead.
“If I hadn’t taken Soul Severing Powder, I could have been one of them.”,
Wu Yu stood respectfully to one side, bowing his head down low so that he would not look directly at them. If he did so, the Shangxians would definitely punish him!
“Big Sister Su, we’ve come today to learn more about Dao and Cultivation!”
Smiles plastered the faces of the few Shangxians as they proceeded towards “Yan Li Palace”, disregarding the presence of the servants around them.
After waiting for them to leave, Zhao Chuan shouted, “Service the Cranes well, service the Cranes well!”
Sun Wudao did not teach Wu Yu how to service the Cranes through speaking, but rather through direct action, showing him how to feed the Cranes properly through slow and articulate movements. As of now, Wu Yu understood most of the rules here, so he studied hard and worked diligently and quickly, so as not to give trouble to Uncle Sun.
And with the blink of an eye, it was nightfall; Su Yan Li’s lecture on Dao had finished, so Wu Yu reckoned the “Shangxian’s” were going to leave the mountain at a roundabout of now. He and Uncle Sun were currently lying on an enormous green rock, like father and son, discussing about details regarding Celestial Sects. Wu Yu now had a great understanding on Celestial Sects and Cultivation, and finally knew about what happened to Uncle Sun in the past. Suddenly an exclamation of surprise could be heard, so the two quickly turned their heads towards where the shout came from. A Celestial Crane was shitting maniacally, diarrhea splattering over the place
“That’s a guest’s Celestial Crane!”
The suddenness of the situation caught all the servants by surprise, leading to a flurry of panic. Even Zhao Chuan was flustered, so terrified that he was shuddering uncontrollably. And it just had to be at this moment the congregation of Shangxian’s descended the mountain from “Yan Li Palace”, to be met with this hectic scene.
“My little Ling Er!”
A handsome teen emerged from the group, dressed in black and white brocaded apparel with a jade pendant dangling off his waist, as well as a gem studded sword strapped to his back.
“Who serviced my Celestial Crane?!!!” the handsome teen shouted angrily, his voice so deafening that Sun Wudao nearly fell off the green rock he was lying on.
In reality, the servants fed the Cranes by random, and because the Cranes looked the same, who knew who fed which one? And also, the feeder was not at fault for this, but the food! Maybe the food had expired or become stale!
“It was Wu Yu!”, the pale Zhao Chuan shouted.
“Who’s Wu Yu?!”, the handsome teen Situ Jin asked coldly.
The servants gaze’s all fell upon Wu Yu.
Wu Yu was also shocked, unsure of what happened; After all, it was his first time here, being unsure of what just happened was normal.
“You damned bastard! Die!”
Situ Jin magicked a whip out of nowhere and without a second word, rushed forward to where Wu Yu currently was, lifted the whip high and swung it fiercely and quickly, so fast and so loud that nobody had the time to cover their ears. Wu Yu did not even know what had happened, because everything was just so fast, and just like that the fabric over his chest exploded, revealing a gruesome wound, blood leaking out of the blood red line the whip left on his body. The power behind the whip sent him off his feet and into the green rock he was previously lying on, smashing so hard into it that he was already near death.
“I fed the Crane!” Sun Wudao stood out, eyes blinking and shuddering nervously.
Wu Yu heard what Uncle Sun said by the edge of his fading consciousness, and was shocked that he would go to such for him. After all, this was only their first meeting! Today’s kindness he would engrave deeply within his heart, but he did not like to get people involved with his own problems. This time, Zhao Chuan, seeing as he was a cripple, pushed him out to act as a meatshield and cannon fodder, so the matter was only between him, Zhao Chuan and Situ Jin, not Sun Wudao.
“He was not part of this!”
With strength that came from somewhere he did not know about, Wu Yu managed to stand up, and pushed Sun Wudao out of the way. This was how he did things; he would not let people suffer because of him.
And Wu Yu did not really care about whether he lived or died. Even though he had entered a Celestial Sect, he had no hope of becoming a Celestial and was fated to be ordinary and service other people for the rest of his life, living as the lowest of the low in society. Who would hope for a life like that.
“You have courage! But guess what? I hate idiots who have courage, but no ability!”, Situ Jin laughed coldly, whip rising up again to strike at Wu Yu. The whip hit him like a snake, and instantly his skin was ripped open, revealing a mess of minced flesh and blood. With a snort, Wu Yu buckled onto the ground, his chest on fire, the pain agonising.
“Sigh… this Wu Yu is a cripple, so his death will not really have a big impact. The rest of us, however, cannot die because we’re in our prime, and still have the ability to service Su Shangxian!” the bunch of servants comforted themselves.
“So terrifying! Lucky that it was not my little Mei Er, or I would’ve die from sadness! Situ Jin has the right to be this angry, and these scum should die anyways. If we don’t kill him as a warning, how would the others learn to behave?”, a female Shangxian said softly.
Situ Jin just wanted to kill somebody, so he struck out one last time with the whip, hitting Wu Yu in the head, instantly splitting it open.
And that was it, because darkness had, at last, took over Wu Yu’s consciousness.
*Qilin – A divine beast in Chinese Mythology; read more about it here!
*Neizhaung – Neizuang is basically another name for the 4th Heavenly Stage of the Mortal Body Forging Phase; It means inner organs, but it wouldn’t sound cool if I wrote that, so I stuck with the Pinyin.
*Su Shangxian – Yan Li, Feng Xue Ya’s pupil (in case you forgot or something).