77 Supreme Elder

After that, we didn’t have any troubles. We did the registration, and we needed to wait a couple of days before the competitions began. That was fine by me, because it gave me more time to train. At least that was what I wanted, but reality was different. Apparently it was custom to reunite all the disciples of all the sects to do a social gathering. The same was for the Sect Masters.

I didn’t know what would happen with us, but I was surely that their meeting would be much more entertaining that ours.

“Do you want to know what will happen there? It will very easy for me to know.” Who said that was Tenth Turtle, according to him, he had a connection with the Founder that allowed him to know what he was hearing and seeing, obviously this connection only worked if the Founder allowed it. I asked if he could ask him for permission and the Founder accepted.

As I thought our site was boring, after that demonstration of strength who would wanted to mock us? All the site was almost silent and only some mumbling could be heard.

Tenth turtle said that the other place was similarly quiet. But the difference is that some Sect Masters began to talk about calling the City Lord. The Founder was drinking and eating as if any of that was his doing. Meanwhile our Sect Master was sweating oceans.

Finally one of the Sect Master went to him, he didn’t show prepotency, he was calm and polite. “Your Excellency, may I have the pleasure to know your name?” “Oh finally someone wants this King name! —said the Founder while sopping eating—. I’m the Metal Turtle Sect’s Supreme Elder Gui.”

“Supreme Elder Gui? I have never heard your name, do you are new in that Sect? Don’t you know what kind of sect it is?” the polite man asked in a not so polite way.

“What kind of sect it is? Obviously I know what kind of sect, it is! Is my sect! Do you really think that mere rumors may stop this King to be their Supreme Elder?”

“Excellency, we have felt your power and we now that we are not your opponents, but we can’t comprehend why you would accept a mere mortal as a sect master. It would beneath your stature.”

Why he was talking like that? Did he thought than bad mouthing the Sect Master would accomplish something to the Founder of the Sect? I knew that they didn’t know that but still blatant attempt to make him quit the sect.

“Didn’t I tell you that all you live your lives around mere rumors? Could you answer me what kind of mortal is my Sect Master?”

Apparently until know nobody had sense the power of the Sect Master. Now everyone sense was on him, and he was now not only sweating but dying of shame. “A semi-mortal?” one of the voices in the multitude asked as if something impossible had happen. Last year he was definitively a mere mortal, but now he was a proper cultivator.

“Your Excellency —the man still trying his plan—, even if he is now a cultivator, he is only a lowly semi mortal, how you could be only an elder while he is a Sect Master? It’s improper for you to be beneath him.”

He ended saying that, and then… he was dead. He felt down like a puppet without strings. Most were terrifying of the act, but some were smiling. “You have killed in cold blood in this place were camaraderie is the norm. And even you have broken the law imposed but the City Lord. Are you not afraid of him?!” A fat man was shouting all that. We was really eager to hear the response.

“Broken the rules? —said the founder nonchalantly—, perhaps. But what I see is a person who want me to disobey a direct order of the City Lord himself. It is not true that he had ordered that only my Sect Master could be the only one who would direct us? What he was trying to do? Wasn’t he trying to speak ill of the command the City Lord imposed so many years ago? When the City Lord comes, we will ask him, and he will be the one who would impart justice.”

What he said was right. All could hear that he was trying to make a schism in the Sect by saying that the Supreme Elder had to be the Sect Master, but that was against the rules. Going against the City Lord was a sure way to obtain the death penalty. What he did only made quickly the execution, nothing more.

“Even so —try to retort, the fat man—, killing here is atrocious and it is prohibited to spill blood in this place. The City Lord will be angry.”

Why angry? Do you see any blood? You can inspect him if you want, you will not see a speck of blood here. I have not broken that rule, but I can see that you are very angry, I don’t know why. Maybe you want to follow his steps. I wouldn’t be any problem.”

The fat man didn’t say a word. He knew that he could be killed in any moment, and nobody here would or could help him. Since when the feeble Metal turtle Sect had that powerful man there? It was inconceivable.    

“What happened here?” A new voice broke the silence. It was the City Lord himself.

The fat man was relieved, and a big grin could be seen in his face. Now it would be the turn of this unknown to know the fury of the strongest person in the whole city. He was anxious to seen him killed.

“Oh! So you are the City Lord! A toast for you!” said the Supreme Elder and the place froze.

What would happen? Nobody knew.

76 Registration

After a while it was again my Master turn to teach me. I explained what Tenth Turtle wanted me to do, and she said that it would be difficult for me because I had a lot to learn. I asked her if I did again self-meditation could help me with that. She laughed. “Do you think that every time you do that something miraculous will happen? This time something did happen because it was your first time, it was like discovering yourself. Next time perhaps something could happen, perhaps not. The important thing is never to gain power, but to know yourself.

I would want you to self-meditate again, but we don’t have much time. So right now we will concentrate in your two things: physique techniques and elemental conversion techniques. The first one more than the other. You need a better body. I don’t look at me with horror, I don’t want you to look like a man, but at least you need to have your muscles better trained. Remember, your body is also you, the better it is, he better you are.”

After that we trained the techniques until it was time to the tournament. I improved a lot my physique, but my elemental techniques were still very basic. I needed to train that technique more, and try again to merge it with the turtle’s techniques. If I could do that, I perhaps could beat Meng’er.

Before the tournament we needed to register the fighters. The Sect Master told us that it was always shameful to do that, because all the people looked at them with disdain, and they couldn’t say anything because they were weak. For years they had to tolerate their looks and their bullying, but now was different. He said the finally they would be able to fight against all of them and not me ashamed anymore.

The Sect gave to Meng Shang and me formal dresses and we went with Chen and some of the other kids. Even the Founder wanted to go with us. The Sect Master was excited when he knew that. He almost cry when he saw all the team reunited.

We opened the doors of the Sect, and there was nobody looking us, it was like we were invisible. We walked with leisure, more than the Sect Master and the disciples, we looked like a group of kids strolling the street with their parents. We went to the registration site, and we could see all the sects to whom we will compete. When they saw us, I felt their disdain, and if I was not mentally prepared for that, perhaps I would have shaken my resolve. I turn around to see Chen and the rest, and they were about to look at the ground, defeated. “Who we are?!” a thunderous and familiar voiced sounded. All the kids and even the Sect Master responded as one: “We are the Metal Turtle Sect!” And as simple as that the Founder restored the morale of the group. Not only that, but it made only powerful people felt some of the power by his voice. Some looked perplexed, but it was not enough strength to make many of the Sect Masters of the other sects to raise a brow.

“So the always looser have come finally.” Who said that was a young cultivator standing near us. He felt that it was a good choice to ridicule us. “Sect Master —said the Founder— why this youngling is saying things like that. Have the other Sect Master doesn’t know how to control their disciples?” Our Sect Master was red, he said that this always happened and he couldn’t do anything about it. “I understand —the Founder said—, well, I can do anything about it also. He is one of the younger generations. It would be shameless for me to intervene. Chen, give him a lesson.”

Chen was surprised, but follow orders. He approached the cultivator and ask him to stop. That made things worse, now not only him but other of different sects began to mock us. “Chen, word are nice, actions are nicer” the Founder speak with a clearly intention. Chen closed his fist, and hit him in the face so hard that the young cultivator was send flying. The people who was mocking us was speechless. Nobody expected that. “Who was the one who has hit my son?!” another powerful voice sounded, this one with killing intent. I didn’t see how, but before he could kill Chen, the Founder grip his hand and stopped the hit.  “I really don’t understand the new rules of cultivation. Since when the older generation kills the younger for a kids’ fight? I think that’s a little shameless or I’m wrong?”

“Who are you and why you are defending this dead sect?” asked angrily the man who was trying to liberate his hand from the grip. “Since when this King has to present first? Say your name and then if he is in the mood, this King will tell you who he is.”

“I’m the Sect Master of the Thunder Warrriors.” said the man now sweating. “Oh! A Sect master! A very one at that —said mockingly the Founder—. Now even powerful sect masters try to kill the younger generation for petty reasons? No, no, that can be. It have to be a mistake. Let’s do that, slap yourself the times you think it would be enough to calm my annoyance and double that to your son. If you not do that, well…”

“What a powerful killing intent —said my Master inside my inner self—, and very precise, he is only focusing it on the powerhouses of every sect. See how they went pale, everyone of then. This frog is really showing his teeth.”

The Sect Master of the Thunder Warriors knew in that moment that had mounted a tiger. He lost all the blood of his face and went limp. The younger generation was mumbling but the rest who felt the power was silent. “So, when both of you will start?” The tone of the Founder was now terrifying for the Thunder Warriors’ Sect Master. He called his son who was still bleeding and order him to slap himself until he ordered. The young was stupefied, but when he saw how his father was trembling, he began to do it.

The scene was bizarre, who would had thought that this would happen. Since when offending the Metal Turtle Sect had this result? After one hundred slaps, the founder said that it was enough for the Sect Master. And he ordered us to start moving to register. We left the young cultivator still slapping himself.

The rest of the Sect Masters ordered that nobody had to do something against our Sect. They even gave us space to register

This definitively was the reborn of the Sect.  

75 The next steps

“I will defend with semi divine strength —said the turtle—, you will use Turtle bites without combining the qi. I want to know who much you have improved with the technique first.”

Before my Master’s teaching this technique would be bothersome to me. I need to flow vital qi on all my finger at the same time, at that was almost impossible. But now, I knew that the vital qi was not an entity separated from me, but me myself. It was like moving an arm, so it was easier now. And move my vital qi and make it flow faster. Then I use the technique.

Until that moment, I didn’t realize how powerful that technique was. The turtle said it was very powerful but I didn’t see how could it be more powerful that the other technique than was easier to learnt. But, as seeing how his Shell defends began to crackle, I understood. “Close the beak!” the turtle shouted, and I finished the technique. His barrier shattered.

“Good! Your technique are now in the correct direction —spoke the turtle with amazed eyes—, now it’s time for you to understand the second stage of the tree techniques. If you were another cultivator, I would tell you that you need a semi divine strength in order to comprehend the second stage, but you are indeed a genius with you qi flow. You can do things that many cultivators could only dream of. But remember that this second stage will be more difficult, and perhaps we will not have time until the competition starts. So you will have to do what you can to learn them.”

I cupped my fist. It was the first time than I saw that turtle not as an annoying being, but someone that actually wanted to help me. “I will follow your instructions, Tenth Turtle” I said while smiling.

“The second stage is transforming the shape of your techniques—he said with a teacher tone and I could see that he really liked how I was talking to him now—. All your turtle techniques will have more attack power, and even Shell defends will be similar to what you do when combine qi. If you could do this before the competition, nobody would be your match, even your brother.”

I was more enthusiastic than ever. I loved my brother, but if I could win a match against him, it would be not bad.

Tenth Turtle teach me how to form a shape of my vital. qi outside myself. If I could do it, I could form weapons of qi that perhaps would not be as powerful as a real weapon, but in a moment of life and death would be like water in the dessert.

This was more difficult that what I expected. I could form a block of qi using Shell defends, but it didn’t have any form whatsoever, but this time I need to shape it, without losing the density. It felt like trying to build something from sand using air as the base. The first technique that what to apply this transformation stage was the headbutt technique. According to him it was easier, but I didn’t think so. I tried for many days, but I could do something that it was worthless even to my eyes.

“Shame —said Tenth Turtle—, there is no more time. The competence is in a couple of days. Perhaps your Master could teach you something as miraculous as the other time, but I doubted it. 

We’ll see.”

74 Changes II

I practiced the body techniques that my Master gave me outside my inner self. They were not difficult as she said, and I could master very quickly. I saw that Shang’er also was practicing some techniques, we talked only for some minutes, but both were very tired of all that practice, but we knew that we were now much stronger than before, so we would continue. It lifted my spirit, talking to him. We were in the same boat, and we were better ourselves up.

Days passed and it was again the turn of the turtle to teach me. On one hand I didn’t want him to be near my soul tree, but on the other hand, I wanted to see his face when he saw how much I had progressed. He would be amazed.

I entered my inner self and said goodbye to my Master. She told me that I didn’t have to be severe with the turtle, that he was here to help, but I really didn’t like him. She giggled. “Anyway —she said—, perhaps in a few minutes you will see something that will make you happy.” I wished it was true. Then she disappeared to go to Shang’er.

I was thinking that the damn turtle would be appearing any time soon, but he didn’t do it. That was weird, perhaps he was talking with my Master? I waited him for several minutes and after all that time, I decided that it would be better to start to meditate while waiting for him.

I was about to start when I felt like a clash. “Damn girl! What did you do?!” The voice was very angry, and I didn’t understand what was happening. I ran to the site of the clash, and saw the turtle back-sided on the ground cursing me. I tried not to laugh and helped the turtle. “Damn girl, since when you are so good blocking the way to your inner self? I had to use a lot of my strength to pass it. Why didn’t you didn’t let me enter?”

I didn’t know what he was talking about. I had never study something about how to block entering my inner place. In fact, until now it seemed like everyone could enter if they wanted, but now it was more difficult to do so. Why? The turtle also wanted to know what happened, and I told him everything I did with my Master. “I see —he said more calmed—. Girl, you have a good Master. Not many will try to improve the inner self of their disciples so soon. Most wait until the semi-divine stage, because they don’t think that their weak apprentices could manage to self-reflect. She thinks highly of you, and I can see that I had render many good things. But she also is a little wicked, she didn’t tell you that it would be more difficult for me to enter, and didn’t teach you how to allow me to pass.”

She said that I would see something that would make me happy, I didn’t understand it in that moment, but now… yes, I was really happy when I saw the turtle backside, and also happier knowing that it because of me that he was like that. My master was really wicked by not telling me anything, but I really like that, perhaps I was also a little wicked.

 We began to practice the turtle’s techniques. First, I had to defend. I used Shell defends and we could see how much I improved. I didn’t move after his hit. “That’s interesting, girl —said the turtle—, now you can defend better, but it would be enough? Now, I will use more strength and will see.”

This time he would use the string of a high quasi-divine. I knew that even if we had the same level, I had to take it seriously. He hit me, and I used the same technique. This time I moved back some steps. I was shocked of the results, before even an attack of a semi-mortal level could damage me, but now at the same level I could defend properly. I saw in his face that he was also shocked. “How have you improved in so little time? This doesn’t make sense! Now, we will see if you are really a genius or not, prepare yourself!” I felt more power from his attack, he would use a semi-divine strength.

I channeled my qi to the point of impact, and also make it denser than before. I tried to use also elemental qi, but he didn’t give me much time to do that. My Shell defends broke and I fall off, but I didn’t suffer any injury. “I see —he said slowly—, this time I will hit you as a high demi-divine, but I will give you time to use that strange technique. I want to know how powerful you really are.”

He didn’t say for spite, he was really astonished. So hits time I used Shell defends with a dense vital qi surrounded by elemental lighting qi. I condensed both energy the most I could. It even felt like they were merging, the turtle could also sense that. “What you are doing?” he asked. When I explained, he couldn’t believe it. “Both types of qi are different, they are like oil and water. What you are trying to do, it’s unheard of.” It didn’t matter if it was unheard or not, but I was doing it. The process took a lot of time, and I could sense that it had a lot of flaws, but both were combined as one. The turtle was intrigued by that, and he hit me to see how well it would resist.

I was blown away. My technique shattered on impact and as I felt before, I could have some broken limbs if it was in the real world. I tried to stand up, I thought I would see the turtle with his stupid grin, but what I saw was unexpected. He was also blown away, and he was again with his shell on the ground. I help him, and we couldn’t believe what happened. “Girl, that techniques is really interesting! You could defend against a high semi-divine and even injured mortally. Shame that you need a lot of time to do it and the recoil it’s terrible for you, but perhaps… no, no, not right now. First I want to see you using the Turtle bites, and want to know is you are ready for the next step.

Girl, you really could be someone in the future.”

73 Changes I

I walked with her and saw that the place was not as dark as before. I still couldn’t see anything without the red light of my Master, but it didn’t feel too frightening. We went to the place where my Master enter the qi river. I expected to be more profound this time, but it had the same deep, nothing had changed. “Master —I said—, did I did something wrong? Why there is no change?”

“Would you believe me if I told you that what I made you do had nothing to do with this? —she said while giggling—. To make your qi river you need to cultivate some body techniques, they are not difficult for you so you will master them in no time. So don’t worry about that.”

“Then why…” “Why I lied to you? —she didn’t let me finish the sentence—. Because what you need was to confront yourself. Self-knowledge is power in the cultivator world, even if many cultivators don’t think so. You have realized something important about yourself, and I will show you the changes that had occurred, and nothing had to do with the deep of your river. Come and see what you have obtained.”

We kept walking but other than the difference I had already noted, there were not so much to see. All was basically the same. My Master saw my face of disappointment. “You can’t see right now all what you have begun to move, but at least you will notice the first clues soon.”

We walked a little more and we finally enter the place that I was familiar. The landscape was more beautiful than before, it was greener, and I could sense a peaceful environment. However, that was not all the changes. Before the green and light par was very near the center of my soul tree, but in that moment the tree was much far away. Did the tree moved? No, that didn’t make any sense. I saw around me and understood. The light place grew. I moved near the tree and I saw that now it looked like a proper tree, and it fruits were a little bigger. “Master, what happened?”

“Do you really not understand what happened, little girl? This is the result of your answer. That why it was more important than the shallowness of your qi river. They are many changes, but most of them you can’t see. You need to keep meditating about yourself, to understand more. Remember what your answer was, and keep meditating. What you have achieved is only a single step, but an important one.

But for now, take this body techniques and master them. They will help you with what you wanted. Train well and you will surely surprise that turtle. He would never expect something like this to happen.”

When she said that I began to laugh. Finally, that damn turtle would know what I was capable of. And I would have the last laugh.

72 The question

She left me alone. I couldn’t see anything and I was afraid. My Master said that I had to meditate, but meditate what? I couldn’t think in this place. It was terrible. Hours passed and I tried to do something, but it was meaningless, I didn’t know what to do.

If I didn’t know what I had to meditate, I tried to remember what my Master said. She put me in this place for a reason, and I was sure, that her words during this day were more meaningful now than ever. I remembered all our conversation and the only thing that I could think was one question: how much do you know about yourself? When I answer her, she said it was a good answer, but perhaps there was more than that.

I didn’t know too much of myself. I knew who I was but nothing more. I felt like if I was Chen when I asked that. It was a question that it was difficult to answer. It was worth it t meditate about that and trying to forget all the darkness around me.

What I knew about me? I was Sun Yueling, second child and daughter of civil servant of the Duke’s court and her concubine. Youngest sister of a man who was the child of the first wife and never cared about me. I remembered all the hits and kicks I received from him, and nobody did anything about it, not even my mother. I’m also the older sister of a girl who shared mother with me, but she treated me as an enemy, always trying to be noticed and trying to downgrading me in front of the family. I was not loved nor cared, I was simply something that existed for convenience.

I was Sun Yueling who was betrothal to someone who gave my parents promises of gold and power. They didn’t care if that man was good or bad, it was a simple transaction. All my family was happy, all except me. I escaped that fate, I was almost raped and killed. I thought that my life would end as miserable as my life was.

My master saved me, and in that moment I was Yue Liang, and my world changed. My master had asked me if I wanted revenge. And, yes, I wanted it, but I didn’t want blood. I don’t want to kill my family. I wanted to them know who I was now. I wanted them to say how sorry they were for all the years that they treated me like an object. Was it petty? Yes, it was, but I didn’t care, they didn’t deserve any more than that.

I was Yue Liang, sworn sister of Meng Shang with whom I had a life and death crisis and survived together. We had helped each other, and we have had fights with each other, at least I had one with him, because of jealously. But he had talked and now our bond is stronger than before.

I was Yue Liang a petty and jealous… but I was a bad person? No, I didn’t think so. Yes, I had bad traits, but it didn’t mean that I was defined but that traits. Perhaps I would be again jealous of Meng Shang, but now I know that feeling like that is worthless, he is my brother and his happiness is my happiness. Was I a petty person? Of course, but with what I had lived, it was not normal to be like that? I was not a saint or a Buddha. I was a human being even if I was a cultivator.

I think that family is not the one you have born to, but the one you have created. Meng Shang and my Master were my family, and I will protect them. I will help also the Turtle’s Sect. They had treat me with more respect and friendship that many people in my own city. I will protect them as much as I can. Was I a god person because of that? No. Was I a bad person? Also no. What I was? I was only Yue Liang, a cultivator.

But I felt that wasn’t enough. That answered what I was, but not who I was. I could respond almost identical, but I wouldn’t be true. I was more than that.

I sense a creepy feeling, like if I opened my eyes, something would happen. I become more afraid than before. I wanted that the darkness disappeared, I wanted to see the calm brightness of my qi river. Even if it was shallow, it was relaxing seeing it. I didn’t want to be afraid, who would? But I know that was impossible, because that darkness was in my inner self, it was part of me.

Why my inner self were so dark? The part with the soul tree was shining, and green, but it was only a small part and the rest was like this. Why was that? I trembled thinking that perhaps I was the darkness itself. This was not part of me, but me. This was my inner self, the place where my soul, qi and body took a spiritual form. I knew that she was not a bad person, but why she had so many dark places? I was afraid that this was my true self. I only want to see some light in all this black to show me that I was wrong. I wanted to know if that darkness was who I am.

I began to feel a sound, like water. I opened my eyes and I saw a little stream of qi coming to me. It was almost a lonely line of light in all the blackness, but it make me felt better. This was my qi, and answered to what I wanted. Could I move at will my qi outside of its current? I tries to expand the stream and I did it, but it was difficult, but now there was thin light in all that nothingness. Why I could do that? Vital qi was something that was part of me, but it was and energy, it didn’t have consciousness to move like this. I was the one moving it, but it felt more than it was the qi itself ding it. Why?

I remembered who the turtle was like biting my river qi, as if was very dense. I try to do it in that little stream. When I touched, it felt somewhat gelatinous. I did it. So when the turtle was drinking that way, was because of me? Why my vital qi obeyed my commands? I knew it was part of me, but it couldn’t be that easy. I tried to think about it for what it seemed an eternity, but I couldn’t feel an answer, perhaps my Master could answer me, but probably she wanted for me to find the answer.

What was exactly my vital qi? What was exactly the darkness in my inner self? What was exactly my inner self? I had taken it for granted as something normal for cultivators, but it was something more. If my inner self was the place were soul, body and qi were together, that didn’t mean that my inner self was me?  My soul tree was me, the qi was me, the darkness… was also me. All that was who I was. And when I realized that, I was shocked. I felt all my inner self trembling, like an earthquake. Why that was happening?

“Don’t worry about that, you will know soon what that is about.” The warm voice was accompanied by a red light and a beautiful woman with the size of a small girl. “Master!” I yelled happily.

“You have obtained the first true step to master Using Demons and Gods alike. Congratulations. Come with me and see what you have done.”