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.

55 My inner self

Until that moment I had never explored all my inner self, I always stayed near my soul tree. Only near there I felt more comfortable, when I walked away from the tree, I felt something strange, not exactly creepy, but something that gave me goose bumps. But with my Master here, I believed that everything would be alright.

We began to walk, it was nice to be only with her. I like Meng Shang as a brother, but be with my Master alone was still the best. Her tiny form illuminated the way we were walking, she seemed to me like a goddess of fire with her red bright.

“What do you know about your body?” she asked me, breaking the moment I was enjoying.

I said that not much, that was true. Even as a kid, I never learned much about the body, and the tome we were training at the cave, she teach me more about meditation and techniques than about the body.

“I see —she respond—, well, as you know all thing have qi. But only living thing can manipulate qi. Do you know why? Because we had spirit. Every spirit is different, some are more complex than other like your spirit and the spirit of a tree. Even so, had all the beings with spirit have, not matter, how complex it is, is a spirit seed. As I told you before, what cultivators do, it’s to cultivate that seed, making it grow. That seed is also called dantian, and when you let it grow to a soul tree, you began to manipulate qi better, isn’t it? It because when is only a seed, the qi you could accumulate is almost negligible, that’s why mortals can’t do what we can. But when we let it grow, the qi the we can accumulate is better and better, and with techniques we can use it in different ways. But most of this information, you already know it, or at least had intuited already. But all the qi you have accumulated, where it goes?”

It were everywhere in my body, it was a strange question, it was so obvious. I responded that, and she nodded. “Yes, everywhere! But how?”

That I didn’t know. I supposed that the river I always heard was the way the qi flowed, but I really wasn’t sure. “When you were teaching to that kids, you were telling them to know themselves thought meditation, but you have not done so. Why?”

I don’t know how to respond to that, but then I realized that she saw already awake when I was teaching them. “Master, how long were you awake?” I asked her. “Enough to see you grow a little bit —she respond—, but that is not important. How could you cultivate if you don’t know yourself? This space is called inner self for a reason. All this is you, your body, your soul, your qi, all here is interweaved in one place. You need to know it well.”

After that scolding, I went silent. We keep walking and that creepy sensation was increasing until it was almost paralyzing. “Master, I can’t keep going —I said almost trembling—, I can’t do it anymore.”

She caressed my hair. “Little girl, trying to know yourself could be frightening. Today we will stop this tour, but remember, to be a cultivator is going against the Heavens, if you can fight the Heavens, you can fight yourself. I will not lie to you, fighting yourself is sometimes more difficult, you will encounter many things in your life that will make you doubt yourself, that’s why you have to know you well. It’s necessary. For now, let’s return, but before that we will only do a little walk, for you to see something marvelous.   

I wanted to return, but I followed her. We went to a place that was still dark, but I could see a light, and the sound of a familiar sound: the river. “Come here and look at this”, said my Master.

I went where my master indicated, and I could finally see the river that for so many years I had heard.  It was a beautiful river, with a shining pale blue hue. The current was not strong, but it wasn’t also weak. “Master, is this…”

“Yes, it is indeed your qi flowing through the meridians in your body. It’s the first time you see it, doesn’t it? And you would not have seeing if you don’t have walked a little more. Today even if you were afraid, you had discovered something you about yourself.”

She was right, I was still afraid of the darkness beyond, but this sight was calming. It was my own power flowing. That was me, and it was beautiful.

“Now try to convert it to elemental qi —ordered my Master suddenly—, see the changes in your qi.”

I did it, and I saw how a little part of the entire river changed to thunder qi. It was only a line, not more broad than my arm. It that was all what I was converting? I thought that it was much more, but seeing that make me realize that it was nothing.

“Now you see what the truth is —said my Master with a tender voice—, and not what you thought. You can come here every time to practice and try to make it better. Improve yourself, be better.”

I nodded. I realized that I needed a lot to learn before becoming a cultivator that was worthy of calling her Master. From that day I trained and meditated more than before.

And before I realized, 24 hours had already passed in the real world.

53 Master and converge II

My Master kept watching me. I was trying to understand about the impurities she talked about, but I couldn’t sense anything. Perhaps if I trained more I would sense it. I began not only use fire and ice, but also thunder. Thunder is was easier because I remembered how it felt. Very element was strange, their flux was different and the combinations of yin and yang were very precise, but it was amazing to do something like that. Never in my younger years had I thought that I would be doing this. It felt fantastic.

“If you show your thunder to Meng Shang, he will be surprised” said my Master smiling. She told me that his physique could also convert body qi to elemental qi, but he could only do one element. It was obvious which was. He is still training in it, and when this training period ended, we will see the fruits of our effort. Motivated by that, I kept training.

Each day it was easier to use elemental qi, but if I couldn’t use the technique that my Master gave me, what was the elemental qi good for? I could use it in my body, but without a technique that could proper used it, it was meaningless. I was thinking about that, when an idea began to grow inside me. The turtle’s techniques use body qi, but perhaps I could use elemental qi instead.

The first time I tried it went wrong. The headbutt technique needed a lot of qi and fast, more than what I could transform. I thought it would be the easier to do, but it was not. Then I tried Shell defends, that went better. I could transform the part I wanted to defend and use ice qi, but it was much thing that if I used body qi, and when I tried to change positions, all disintegrated. I didn’t even try to use the beak technique, if was already difficult to use with body qi, I could even imagine what would be the outcome if I tried.

 I could transform the qi, but it not in an effective way. I began to understand what Master said. It was one thing to know, another to put it in practice. I had two goals, first to make enough elemental qi to use it in Shell defends, and then do it fast enough to move the shield to another part of my body without breaking.

I noticed that it was easier when I tried using thunder qi, perhaps because of what happened. But I also noticed that when I sued it, the stopping power was less, but it had an electrifying effect. I could paralyzed and opponent quickly if he or she didn’t noticed.

If I could converge the elemental qi with the turtle’s techniques, the thing I could do would increase a lot. But, I didn’t know exactly how to achieve my goals. When I asked that to my Master she told me that it was time to do a true tour to my inner self.

I didn’t understand it in that moment, but it would be a life changing experience.

53 Master and converge I

Supreme Elder Gui created the bubble, it had a light shade of blue. Meng Shang and I entered it. “You will train your techniques in your inner self —said my Master—, first, train the basics of the turtle’s ones so you can teach them, then practice the ones I gave you. You have only 24 days to do it all.”

I entered my innerself, and began to study the techniques. This were easier than the one my Master gave me. The Shell defends technique was a really interesting one. Normally you flow your qi over all your body, but this technique was made to concentrate into a specific point most of your qi, making that part difficult to hit. The defensive capabilities were incredible, we have seen them; but it have a huge flaw. You had to pin point the exact place where the attack will come from, if you make a mistake, the part of your body attacked will suffer more damage than if you have not used this technique. You have to be quick, and know how to flow you qi fast. It could serve very well if you know where you will be attacked, but if not, or if there are multiple attacks, this technique would be probably useless. But well, it was a basic technique, so the flaws surely are improved later.

Turtle bites was more interesting. It had two paths, the beak and the headbutt. The beak was a technique where you use your finger like claws to destroy everything it touches, and the headbutt it’s a punch that could pass through a plate of steel like if it was butter. Both techniques were good, but the beak needed more qi control than the headbutt. Every finger had to have a good amount of qi to break things, while the headbuttt need that your qi was around your punch.

Why the technique my Master gave me was not as easy as these ones? With these, I only had to concentrate my qi in specific points, it was easy. But what my Master gave me was totally different. I had to transform my qi in an elemental one. Not even that, but I had do transform it into two types of elements. And worst of all, they were opposites: fire and ice. I had tried many time to do it, but always happened the same, it exploded, and it was really painful, and many times I had to change clothes because the one I had was destroyed by the explosion. Why she don’t give me a simpler technique?

At that moment, it didn’t matter, I had to learn the turtle techniques. I spent a week doing it. They were good techniques for a basic level, they could help me a lot in different situations.

When I was sure that I had mastered the basics of the turtle techniques, I began to train again with the one my Master gave me. At least in my innerself I didn’t have to change to new clothes and I could reabsorb the energy of the explosion so it was safer. Even so, it was difficult. My Master was not with me, she was with Meng Shang. I was a little jealous of that, but he was my brother, so I also wanted for him the best, but I really needed her to teach me.

Why every time I trid to merge both element, it exploded? It was obvious that it was because they were opposites, but there had to be a way for them to work together. But how? I tried everything, but nothing worked, I tried to do it slowly, faster, with more ice, with more fire, just in the middle. Nothing, absolutely nothing. I was lost.

“I can see that you have a problem —said a voice that make me happy—, tell me. What’s the problem with my technique?”

“Master! —I yelled of surprise and cheerful—, You came to help me!”

She smiled and asked me what the problem was. When I told her that I didn’t’ know how to combine both elements, she looked at me surprised. “So you discover yourself how to transform the qi of your body in elemental? How?”

“When you passed me the energy of Meng Shang, I could notice that it was a pure form of yin and yang combined. In that moment, I didn’t notice, but later I realized that all elements are similar, all have yin and yang in different levels, so I tried to merge this properties into my qi to give then an elemental property. It was bad what I did?”

Her eyes were as big as plates, she was speechless. She looked at me for a moment like if I was a kind of monster. “What you said it’s not all correct, but enough to give you this ability. I had to say, I didn’t believed that you were beyond that step. That first step is the most difficult one, but because of your shallow understanding you can combine both elements.”

I was excited thinking that my master was surprised by me. That meant that I was doing really well and I was half a step to achieving the understanding of that technique.

“Do you want me to tell you how to do it? —she asked as if was not obvious—. Shame, I will not do it.”

I asked why, almost angry. She looked at me severely, and I understood my mistake. “Pardon me for my improper manners, Master” —I said without looking to her eyes, I knew that what I did was something that I couldn’t be done.

She accepted the apology and asked me to show her what I achieved. I did it with all my enthusiasm, I wanted that she could see how much I progressed.

“As I told you the most difficult part was to use the elements —she said after showing my ability—, you almost jumped that step, but you need to keep training your qi transformation. It’s good, more than I could imagine that you could do in this stage, but it’s not perfect. I noticed some impurities in the elements. You have to think about it. That’s the only clue I will give you. So try using the elements, try suing not only fire or ice, but others. Do it until you realize what you need to do for the need step. I know that soon you will realize what you need.”

I was crestfallen for what she said, but I at least could try other elements, and not think about combining fire and ice. At least that was a good thing.