61 Failed!

I felt more powerful than ever, and my soul tree was overflowing vitality. I was fantastic to ascend to quasi-divine level. I was something different. “Congratulations little girl —said my Master— you are a cultivator for a few years and you are already at the peak of the semi-mortal level. A little more and you will ascend!”

Her words froze me. Peak of the semi-mortal level? I was not a quasi-divine cultivator? How? How that happened? The pills the Founder gave me were enough to ascend! And all the qi I received from the purple lighting! How I not ascended? It had to be a mistake of my Master. I was sure of it.

“I can’t believe it, he is a quasi-divine cultivator at this young age! This is something you can’t always see!”, said the founder astonished of what he had seen. Everyone began to congratulate Meng Shang and he was between ecstatic and shy.

“Master —I speak almost trying to not do it—, did you misspoke? You said I’m only at the peak of the semi-mortal level, that’s not true isn’t it?”

She saw me and saw that I only wanted to hear one kind of answer. She caressed my hair, and tell me that we would talk later. I was almost about to cry, but if I did it, it would be seen by everybody as weak. That I would not do it, but I was angry. I left without congratulating Meng Shang, I didn’t want to do it. Why him and not me?

I left in a hurry, and I sensed that Meng Shang wanted to say something but I didn’t hear it. I didn’t care. When I was far enough I questioned my Master. “He have a wondrous physique, it was expected to ascend, not many cultivators could match someone with his physique. You had to be happy because your sworn brother have ascended, but I can only see a crybaby that made a tantrum because things didn’t go as expected to her.”

“Master! But the pills the turtle give me it could help me to ascend! Why they didn’t work?”

“He absorbed most of the energy of the pills —se explained—. If you have done it separately, perhaps both of you would have become semi-divines.”

“That’s not fair!” I shouted.

“Fair? What are you talking about? There is no fairness in this world. What is fair is what you can obtain with your power, only that. Also, you are the one who wanted to do this; you are the one who asked him many times to do it even if he didn’t want it. This was your choice. Do you think that the world revolves around you? That’s why you are still only a little girl.

I want you to reflect about all this here. All day you will meditate, and I will seal your meridians, so no qi will flow. For a day you will almost like a simple mortal. Use this time to think. Don’t waste this opportunity.”

And for an entire day I was freezing in a mountain powerless, meditating about me and all what happened.

60 Ascensions II

I could sense that all the kids, even the Sect Master and the Elder were afraid when they began to see the lighting. “Both of you, calm yourselves! —angrily shouted the Supreme Elder—. You are the leaders of this Sect, you are the example that the rest have to follow! A turtle is string but without a head, it will die! Steel your hearts!”

“Yes, Venerable Founder!, the shock of his words made slip that secret, but in that moment it didn’t matter. They knew that this was an important moment, not only for themselves but for all the Sect. They would not fail. They began to calm down and began to encourage the disciples. “This lighting is our opportunity —said the Sect Master—, we would take it, and we will advance! From now on, we will not be weak anymore! We are the Metal Turtle Sect! We will reborn!”

The disciples heard it all. Not only they discovered that the mysterious Supreme Elder was actually the founder of the Sect, but this was there opportunity to change. To lift up their faces and said proudly that they were Metal Turtle Sect’s disciples. “We are the Metal Turtle Sect!” all shouted at unison.

The lighting began to fall, and Meng Shang was absorbing it. Like that time he began also to absorb my qi, but this time we were prepared. The Venerable founder began to give him his qi to minimize the absorption of mine, and my master supplemented mine. This process was painful, but not as much as last time.

Soon Meng Shang began to absorb any qi around him, he couldn’t control it. My Master had used one part of the array to prevent that the rest was affected. If not for that, the mortals would have already died. I felt how he was gaining more qi and was soon to become a quasi-divine. More lighting began to appear, but this time it was purple. Even the Founder was shocked by that. “Is this kid have….” He wanted to say something but stopped, it was not the time and he needed to concentrate.

“Are you ready Yue Liang?”, my master asked me. It was one of the few times he called me by name, so I knew that she was worried. Meng Shang couldn’t hold any more and he released the excess of qi in his body. I began to absorb it. “You are not him —my Master said—, don’t absorb it like a sponge, be careful. Use only what you need and expulse the rest.” I don’t want to do it, I knew that Meng Shang was now a quasi-divine and I wanted the same. I wanted that my Master could be proud of my advance. I was about to let all that energy flow to me, but I remembered Master words: “pride is the poison of cultivators” and I stopped. I continued the flow as she taught me and I saw how my soul tree was getting bigger and stronger.

I was not the only one improving my soul tree. The Sect Master, the Elder and Chen began to do it as well. They could feel the powerful energy around them and they knew that this was the opportunity the venerable Founder was talking about. They began to start also lighting as their first tribulation began. If anyone could see all the thunder, they would believe it was the end of the world.

The kids who had their soul seed about to germinate, also use that energy. They knew it was their chance and began to meditate. The way of the turtle were somewhat different of what Meng Shang and I were doing, but not for that it was inefficient. On the contrary, most of the kids began to grow their soul tree. “Careful—ordered the Venerable Founder—, remember the way of the turtle, patience is the key. Don’t try to absorb more than what you can, if not, the only thing you will left will be your minced body for the dogs.” Most of the kids who wanted to get more, stopped. Perhaps if the Sect Master said that, they would not have cared, but this one was the Founder of the Sect. If he didn’t knew how t guide them, who would?

The last kids also began to meditate. They tried to accomplish the same as the kids who had more time meditating, but they also heard the words. They will still try it, but they would be careful.

The array was incredible, it send energy almost proportional to the needs of every group. It was incredible seeing something like that, even other array masters would be fascinated of the complexity and detail of it.

Al the process lasted for all night, but when we finished, the result was extraordinary. The Sect Master and the Elder both were now semi-mortals, Chen was a high quasi-mortal; all the first kids were now low quasi mortals, and the last group two of them also ascended and the rest only need some weeks or months of cultivation to do it. It was a great success for the sect. Nobody died, and almost all were most powerful than before.

Only the one who didn’t want to do it remained as before, and now regretted his decision. But they was not medicine for regret. He probably would never be a cultivator in this life, and he knew it.

It was a shame, but it was the path he chose. That was life.

59 Ascensions I

Many months have passed, and now all were meditating. Seen Cheng become a quasi-mortal was incredible for them, even eye opening. Now they knew that they actually had a chance. And the ones who already cultivated were even more enthusiast, because they were following the same path, and they could see how their soul seeds were now full of energy, more, much more than before.

When we thought that they were ready, we began our plan. All the Sect went out of the city. If it was another Sect, perhaps that would cause weird looks, but not this one. Nobody cared about the Metal turtle Sect, so nobody saw us.

We needed to go outside because if we achieved our goal, the results would quite eye catching, and that was something that we couldn’t do. The more nobody cared about us, the safer we were. Before this trip we looked for a good place to do it, the Sect Master knew better than us the outsides of the city, so with his advice, we decided to go to the Thunder Mountains. It was a place were almost every week you could hear thunder there, so even if we make noise, no one would be alert. It was a perfect place.

The trip last for ten days. It would have been a lot faster if not for the mortal kids. They didn’t knew what we were going to do, actually no of the students knew. For them it was a special trip prepared by the Sect Master. We had a lot of food and water, and even some candies for the kids. They were quite happy all the trip until we arrived to the place, then most of their faces changed.

“Today is an special day —the Supreme Elder said—, today all of you will have the chance to become a cultivator. What we will do is something similar of what you have already seen, but more dangerous and more rewarding. All of you have a chance today, but I will not impose my will. You have to want to become a cultivator or to be more powerful than what you are now, to risk your live. Most of you are very young and perhaps will have another opportunity that I can’t say. I only can say that if you risk your life, and don’t die in the process, you will enter to a new era for everyone. You have time to choose before we commence”.

All the kids were silent, but kept moving. I was almost sure that all would accept. Who didn’t want to become a cultivator having the option? And even if the Supreme Elder said it will be dangerous, what we would do, would be mostly safe for them. However, they had to choose their path.

When we arrived to the place, the Sect Master, the Supreme Elder and the Elder began to create an array according to the instructions of my Master. That array was very complicated, and only the Supreme Elder and my Master could comprehend how it worked and what it did. It was a work that they work in secret so I didn’t know anything about it.

While the adults were working with the array, the kids looked at them. Some of them were already resolve to do it, but a few ones were still thinking about it. Chen asked me about the safety, and I only told him that it would be very dangerous for all of us, in that moment he understood that I would also would be risking my life. He didn’t asked nothing more.

The kids that Meng Shang was teaching were already convinced, I don’t know exactly how he taught them but I could see that it was very effective. I couldn’t believe that they were the rebels of the groups some time ago, now they were sheep adoring the shepherd.

All the process took several hours, and when it was completed, it was time for the kids to choose.

All chose to do it except one. It was a boy of 10 years, he was quite talkative and always said the he wanted to be the most powerful cultivator on the world. But he was frightened, and didn’t want to do it. Other kids tried to convince him, even the Elder but was in vain. We couldn’t do anything about it.

After that, everyone took they positions. Meng Shang and I were at the center, the quasi-mortals around us, the kids who had their souls seed more developed next, and lastly the one who started late.

This time My Master would only look for me, she would not have time to do it for Meng Shang, so the Supreme Elder would be the one taking care of him. I could see even now some unwillingness from Meng Shang, but he knew that if my Master was the one who decided it, it was nothing he could do. “Please, be careful”, he said before we started. I nodded.

All would start with me. I took the pills the Supreme Elder gave me and swallowed one, then I enter my inner self. I saw the rush of energy going to my soul tree. “Channel that, and absorb it slowly”, indicated my Master. The flux of energy was very powerful, but I could contain it. “This time this energy is better for you than the thunder you absorbed. It’s easier to control, but you have to be careful, don’t forget.”

I really was easier. When my soul tree absorbed almost all of the pill, I took the second one. Now the tree began to glow, and thunderstorms began to form.

It was time. All or nothing.

58 The plan

I saw how the other cultivators and even the mortals could gain something for the breakthrough, it was something similar of what happened to Meng Shang and now we had pills that could help us to be at the quasi-divine level, so perhaps…

I told Meng Shang what I was thinking. “Are you crazy? Last time it was a mistake what we did! I could cost your life! I will not make something that could kill you, and you will not tell me otherwise.” I hoped that he would be on board, but I understood, he was worry about me, but I was sure that it could work if master help us. Last time she did it, it was an emergency so if now she is prepared, it would be easy for her. I was sure of that.

My Master, who listened all, came up from my inner place and told me almost the same. I tried to convince her that she could find a way to do it. “Perhaps I could do it, but why? Why do you want to risk your life for this sect? Is this sect that’s not yours so important? Why do you want to do that?”

“Master —I said—, I want to give them a chance. This sect have been good with us, and I want to reciprocate. I think that many of them have more talent than me and I don’t want that they waste their years, especially when they come from this sect that nobody cares. I want to care about them.”

“Naïve little girl” was the only thing that she said and I thought that it was all over. Meng Shang looked relieved, he really didn’t want to do it. “if Goddess doesn’t want to —he said—, there’s nothing that you can do.” He was right, but I felt that we could really help them if we tried it, and it won’t be difficult.

A day and a night had passed, and I believed that my plan would never be realized, when my Master asked me to go to the Supreme Elder. When I was there I saw that the elder and the Sect master were training diligently. “Little girl —the Supreme elder asked when he saw me— why have you come now?” I told him that I want to talk to him in private. He immediately realized who was the one who really wanted to talk to him, and asked the two men to go outside and relax a little bit. They were perplexed, exactly what was so important that they have to go? Nevertheless, then went outside.

“Turtle, I come to bargain —said my Master almost laughing when she come out—, I going to make you an offer you can’t refuse.” She explained her plan. “Could you really do that?—asked the Supreme Elder amazed— Do you need my help?” Indeed, my Master wanted his help, her plan was bolder than mine, if it worked, it could revitalize tenfold the sect.

“All that sounds fantastic —said the Supreme Elder now more calmed and with a colder voice—, but nothing is free on this world. What do you want?”

Before answer the question she asked me to leave. I was stunned for a moment, it was the first time that my Master had asked something like that. I left a little down for that. What were they talking about? The sun had risen when I was called again. He agreed with the plan, but I could see that he was not as happy as before. My Master was smiling. “Now little girl, let’s do this.” 

57 Quasi-mortal

Two months had passed and by now only two more joined with the ones who wanted to be cultivators. It was a shame, but some of them were still too young to understand well how to meditate, or perhaps it was not their destiny to become one.

The turtle’s technique to become a cultivator was actually quite easy. It was similar that my technique, the vital difference was that while I observed the essence of yin and yang of the environment, they absorbed the qi of all around. They didn’t had to transform anything, only make nature qi, theirs. It was pretty easy, especially because the room where they were meditating, was the room that the original elders used. It had an array that allowed to absorb more natural qi than normal. If that elders saw their precious room been used by lowly mortals, perhaps they would die again of shame.   

Every day I entered to each of their inner places so they could see how their seed was changing. So where slower than other, but everyone noticed the change, especially Chen. His seed was glowing, and it was near to become a soul tree. He was pretty excited, but I teach him to be patient. That was the way of the turtle, and also, a way to live during the transformation. I told him a resumed tale of what happened to me, so he could understand the dangers of being too impetuous.

One day, the Supreme Elder came and saw how they were advancing, he didn’t say anything, but that in fact was good. He noticed that most of them would become cultivators this year, a great difference from before, that was almost an impossible dream.

At night I received a summon from the Supreme Elder and I entered the shrine. There I saw the elder and the Sect Master cultivating. “I saw that one of your students is ready to become a cultivator —said the Supreme Elder—, the Sect Master had worked also a lot and he is also ready to become one. I want the two of them to make the step at the same time, and have the rest of the disciples see that. I think that it will be good for them.”

When the Sect Master heard that, he almost cry. He never believed that one day he could become one, he thought that his life would end first a the gardener of the sect, and then as the most powerless sect master in the entire city. In that moment, he was simply happy.

I thought that it was also a good idea, and began to plan how we would do it.

Next day I talked to Chen about what would happen, he could not believe it. His dream would soon become true, he accepted cheerfully. Now that all was settled, it was time to begin.

That night all the disciples entered the shrine, it was the first time that they saw all the magnificent and they were shocked. They saw that Chen and the Sect Master were already in a meditation position in the middle of the shrine. They also saw the Elder who seemed to be stronger than before and all their doubts dissipated.

“All who are already quasi-mortals take positions around the two of them —said the Supreme Elder while signaling Chen and the Sect Master—, you will meditate about what you sense and perhaps will gain some things. The mortals who are in the group of this boy, sit around the quasi-mortals and meditate. The rest are only spectators, don’t come here, it could be dangerous”.

Everyone took their positions. There was silence in all the shrine, only the breathing could be heard. Chen and the Sect Master began to meditate immediately. No body move for duration of a incense stick, then the Supreme Elder sat in the middle of them. “I will help you —he said softly—, let me guide you.” Then I saw how a sliver of his power entered both of them. They felt the surge of power and they had some discomfort, but it was minimum. “Concentrate, flow the qi I gave you to your soul seed, let it flower, slowly. Be patient, that’s the turtle way.”

A long time passed, and the first to ascend was the Sect Master. I could see a faint glow and also how his body was excreting the impurities of his body. The Supreme Elder did something that make disappeared all that. I sense how he was becoming a cultivator and also how the rest was meditating about it. Chen began also his ascension and his glow was more intense. From both we could sense the something emanating from them, it was the excess of power. The quasi-mortals began to absorb that excess. I could see that they were serious while meditating, this was an opportunity that they could not pass., but they were not the only ones. Even the mortals meditating could felt the power, and they also began to absorb it. I saw how the kids how until now didn’t want to mediate, began to ponder of what they were seeing. I knew that from now on, most of them would take this seriously.

“It’s over”, said finally the Supreme Elder. Chen and the Sect Master opened their eyes, and were amazed of what they were seeing. Yes, the first time you open your eyes as a cultivator, it’s something you would never forget. “Congratulations, from now on –the supreme elder talk with a thundering voice—, you have entered the world of cultivation, but more important than that, you are now officially part of the turtle family. A family guided by loyalty and honesty. Beware to not follow this two important rules of the turtle, the punishment will be severe, but if you follow it and grow with us, the turtle family will be unbreakable.”

Both kowtowed. It was not strange for Chen to do it, but the Sect Master had a a face to maintain, but in that moment he didn’t care. “I’m now part of the family and I will follow the laws of the turtle —he said—, loyalty and honesty will be my guides. I will make a soul bound pledge to that.”

A soul bound pledge were something that everyone could do, even mortals. It was a pledge where you put your soul as a under the chains of the pledge, and if you fail to that, your soul would be extinguished. It was something that nobody liked to use, and mostly criminals were the ones who were required to do so. For the Sect Master to do something like that, it was incredible.

Chen didn’t have any obligation to do it, but he made the same pledge. The Supreme Elder simply nodded to both of them. “So be it” he said, and then left.

Now there were two more cultivators, cultivators who gained some energy, mortals who also gained a little bit of energy and mortals that want to now be serious about meditation. This was something good, and we had a little celebration.

It was very little, because we didn’t have enough funds, but it didn’t matter. All were happy.

And I began to think about something somewhat crazy.

56 Teaching

Something strange happened to the disciples who were looking to us. All had incredulity writing in their faces, some even had the mouth open. They three people, but one of them was an unknown. He said to them than from now on he would be the Supreme Elder and the Sect Master and the Elder were in a mission so he would be the deputy Sect Master.

They saw this bald and old man, dressing in gold and white and then they began to look at Meng Shang and me. They were suspicious, perhaps they even thought that we had took the sect by force, but even if that was the case, they were powerless to do something. “As the Elder already said to you —said the Supreme Elder—, these senior disciples will teach you how to cultivate, however, you will cultivate the true path of the Turtle metal, not that useless thing that mocked the values of the turtle family.”

When they heard that, there was an uproar. The type of technique they were cultivating some ones for years was called useless. If that was useless, what were they doing all that time? All the disciples had disgust in their faces. The Supreme Elder laughed and released only a fraction of his power and only for less than a blink. They felt his power, they were afraid. That power was beyond what the elder ha, it was beyond what they could understand. “You will not try, but follow the way of the turtle —he continued—. You will see the difference. With this you will really have a chance to become true cultivators and lift again the name of our Metal turtle Sect.” Saying that, he left, leaving Meng Shang and me with them.

We divided the group as last time. The group with him followed him like little sheep, and my group was voiceless. For mortals like then, sensing that power was terrifying. “That’s what you will become when you are a cultivator as powerful as Supreme Elder Gui —I said—. Now I want to know how many of you did what I told you.”  Most of them began to breathe after hearing my voice. If was like a spell was broken and they could live again.

Chen rose up. “I did it, teacher.” Other three also rose up, but no one else. “I see, so who you are?” I asked thinking that I will heard something childish. “I don’t know who I am —he said without joking—. I have think about it, but I can’t find and answer. I could be many thing, but all that are meaningless. I only could said that I’m Chen, and nothing more than that.” That was… unexpected, perhaps his true path was to be a scholar. Some of the kids laughed, I he blushed, but he saw that I was taking him seriously so he was not ashamed. The other three responded childish answers, but at least they were trying. I complimented each of them and ordered the one who didn’t did it to begin to meditate all day without break. I took the four of them to another place, leaving the kids that didn’t do anything perplexed. They thought that I would teach them, but now I was abandon them. Some began to meditate, some began to talk, other to play. For now, I didn’t care about them, only for the one who had tried.

We entered to a room, and they were somewhat afraid, they didn’t understand what they did or why I was leaving only with them. “As I told you, to cultivate is to know who you are. My Master recently make me realize how difficult is to do that if you don’t understand where you are going. I will show you something unique to each of you, and you will know you better. Then I will commence teaching you the Metal turtle techniques. They will help you to become what you want to be, but you need to be patient. I will teach you the basics, and you will know inside you if you truly have the potential or not”.

I ordered the four of them to seat down. And began to meditate, I will go to each of them and show their true self, so they have to keep meditating. They commenced. I picked Chen first, “I will enter to your inner self, and you will began to understand what you are.”

I entered and I could see a very dim Chen in all the darkness. I was much brighter that him and he was really afraid. “Where we are? —he asked almost trembling— What this place?”

“All this is you —I explained—. When you said that you didn’t know who you are, you were near the truth. All this darkness is what you have to discover for yourself, and I will teach you to do that, at least a little bit of that. Now come and look at this.” I showed him his soul seed.

I explained to him the same my Master told me. He was enchanted by it. “When I become a cultivator will it grow?” he asked with emotion. “Yes, it will. That’s why you have to continue meditating, but this time you will use the true turtle’s techniques. Now it’s time to exit, I have to show the other guys the same. He keep staring at his seed, he didn’t want to go, but after calling him again, he went with me.

He open his eyes, and the rest could see how exited he was. The rest wanted to know what he saw, and I comply. All now were motivated. I give him the true books, and ordered to read them and continued meditating. I had to go to the other group to see how they were doing. They began to read it passionately.  

When I return to the other disciples, I only saw to meditation, and the rest doing anything. When they saw me, they tried to act as if all were doing it. I asked the two who were really doing it, and their responds were not bad. I went with then to the room, I they saw how the first four where reading books, almost as maniacs. “Teacher —said Chen when he saw me—, when we commence to practice this?” “Read the first twenty pages —I answered—, they are right now the most important to you. Converse between you if you want about it. You have all day. Tomorrow we will began.”

When the last to saw how excited they were, they began to show the same feeling, they want to know what they were reading, but first I entered their inner self for them to see. One was amazed, the other one was frightened. Both received the books, and began to read it..

I returned to the other kids, but neither were meditating. I didn’t said anything. Everyone had an opportunity in life, if was their choice to try it or not.