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66 Tenth Turtle

When we left, my Master told me that it would be a good idea if I familiarize with my new companion. I thought it was a good idea, so I went to my place, talked about that to Shang’er and entered my inner self.

I saw the turtle eating some of the grass near my soul tree. I panicked. “What are you doing?!” I yelled angry. “Well, eating, don’t you see?” He said nonchalantly while he kept eating. I tried to stop him, but he didn’t move, it was like trying to move a mountain. I was about to call for my Master when the turtle began to move. He went to my soul tree and began to defecate.

I was shocked and trembling with fury. What he had done was an insult that I would not tolerate. I was about to hit that damn turtle when I saw something strange. My soul tree began to absorb that. Nothing left. I wanted to puke, but here it was impossible. I felt contaminated, dirty, and most of all furious. The turtle had a smug face and began eating again.

“Don’t you know how lucky you are? People for centuries were looking for the First One to give them one of his soul clones because we are invaluable. We can improve the area of the soul tree, and even our excrements are an excellent manure for the tree. It’s one of the most effective ways to maintain the tree healthy, and the healthier it is, the easier will be for you to ascent next time. You have to be kowtowing me for allowing you to use me that way. Not many people have this chance.”

Chance? I wanted to kill that vile turtle. “Master!” I call her with all my strength. She showed up, and I told her what happened. She was surprised for a second but later she thanked the turtle for doing that.

“It is as he has said. His… thing will help to nourish your soul tree. I know that it can be very gross, but it’s actually a wonderful thing that you will have to endure. Soon you will notice the difference.”

The smug face of the turtle grew into a big grin. I wanted to kill that turtle, but my master approved that, and even if she didn’t, I had not the strength to do it.

“Try to talk to him —my Master advised me—, you will be partners for a long time, so it’s good if you know each other. I can see why you look at him that way, but he is not doing something bad. Remember, he is a helper, so treat him well.”

His grin now was as big as his size. How I hated him! “However, Tenth Turtle —she spoke talking to him—, you also have to remember that you are a guest here. It’s good that you want to help, but you have to explain what you will do before doing it to prevent this kind of problems, and also remember that your original body call her master, so do you really want to him to lost face? One word, and I think you will know what would happen, doesn’t it?”

The grin disappeared instantly. He was even a bit nervous. “I will do as the Lady said.” He apologized to me and promised that he will first ask for my consent before doing anything. I nodded, if he was to help me and couldn’t be to severe. “Young Mistress —the turtle spoke to me now—, this turtle eats this grass to condense and purify its energy, then the soul tree absorbs that purify energy so it can grow better. Also, I need to drink once a month from your qi river. I would not drink too much, but perhaps you will feel dizzy when I do it. I will tell you in advance when I do it so no more complications will arise.”

It felt weird that he had to drink my qi, but he explained that is was his method to survive in the inner self of another person. I could understand that, so I accepted. My master was silence in all the exchange, but I could see that she was happy.  

After that, I began to talk to him, and it seemed a nice turtle. Yes, he was very proud turtle, but it was not obnoxious when you know him better. He explained that the Founder, who he called the First, created clones to help many people. These clones were him and had his knowledge, but it was locked according to their level. The more he improved, the more he would know and the more he could help me.

“So, he knows what you are talking right now?” I asked intrigued.

“No, we are separated entities. You could say that I’m a branch of his soul tree that he cut and planted in another soil. This branch will grow and be a tree, but even if it was a merely branch of one tree, he will grow to be a different one.”

It was complicated, and I asked if I could do that someday. He wasn’t sure, but perhaps if I studied the turtle’s techniques, I would find the answer. That intrigued me and made me remember that I had all the techniques to study. “That’s not necessary —said my Master—, all cultivators can do it when they become an Earth God, I will teach you how to do it when the time comes. However, it would be a good idea to study these techniques, they will help you a lot”.

Earth God… this was the stage after semi-divinity. I was so far and so close at the same time. I realized that I didn’t have time to waste and began to cultivate. I let the turtle to do what he thought it was necessary.

I meditated for one week, and after I ended, Shang’er had make an important decision.

65 Master

What was he talking about? I didn’t understand anything, but my Master had the biggest grin I had seen her doing it. “I know that you had good intentions —she said—, but you have to remember that nothing it’s free in this world. So, I make a deal with him. If everything resulted as we hoped, he would serve you for one hundred years. I seem a lot for you, but for this turtle is a blink of an eye. But remember, he is not your slave, he will help you, but he won’t die for you. Even so, having him as a helper is a good deal.”

“Master! —-I yelled at her and then speak to the Founder— I can’t do that. Venerable Founder, please, forget about that. That was my Master request, but I am in no position to be called Master by the Founder. It would be shameless if I accept this deal. Please forget about all this!”

“Ha, ha, ha! I see that the disciple is not like the Master! I see a bright future for you! —said the Founder laughing out loud—. However, a deal is a deal. You don’t have to worry about that, when I give you the turtle techniques, as I told you, I watch your inner place. I saw that you have much more potential that your Master said to me. Yes, I believe that you will be a powerful cultivator sooner than most. It will be a good thing to follow you.

Obviously, I can’t leave the Sect for a while, but if you allow me, I will send one of my spirit clones to your inner self. It’s one of the younger ones that I have, it only is at the low semi-divine stage, but it will help you if you are in some kind of trouble. He even can give you some of his power, but for that you need to learn more of my turtle techniques. He will grow with you, and it could be say that you will be partners. He is me, but different at the same time. Don’t treat him as an overlord, but as a friend. If not, even him can help you, he will call me, and I will surely do it.

You don’t have to worry about all this. It was time for me to take another adventure, and this could be a good occasion without leaving the Sect. Please, open again your inner place and allow me to present my soul clone.”

I looked at my Master and she nodded smiling. I opened my inner place, and I felt a new being been there. It was a big turtle the size of a horse. I was shocked when I see it. “This fellow is Tenth Turtle, he will help you as much as he can, and you only need to feed him once a month.”

The turtle was polite when he saluted me, I reciprocate. His voice was much younger than the Founder, it seemed the voice of a teenager. I felt his power but also his happiness, I didn’t know why.

“Be good friends —said the founder—, and little girl you will always be welcome to my Sect. We will help you when you need us always.”

I saluted him and responded that even is my strength was in that moment not enough, if they also need my help, I will assist them always. He laughed. “Yes, yes, a good character indeed! Great potential! I’m most than happy, it’s almost a bargain!” He allowed me to go, and I could only blush after what he said. “Little girl —said my Master—, you have made that old turtle very happy. But now, you have to improve yourself much more if you really want to fulfill your promise. A lot.”

64 Rewards

We went back to the Sect. The celebration was long over before we came back. The Sect master was even worried about us, and when he saw us, the tears on his faces were multiple. “Thank you both of you, I never imagined that this time would come. We who were hopeless. Now we have hope.”

The elder was trying to contain their tears, but many kids began to cry, even the ones who Shang’er was training. We felt weird, we never did all that imaging that this scene will play out. And again, I felt shame, because of my thinking a while ago.

They prepared a lunch for us, it was simple but, we didn’t need any more than that. We really felt their happiness. We ate and enjoyed their company. When we finished, the Sect Master told us that the Venerable founder wanted to speak with us.

We were about to go when the Sect master stopped us for a bit. “Before you go, I want to break our deal.” When I heard that I began to get angry, but before said anything I waited, I wanted to know why. “You have done so much for the Sect than even if this year we are last again, we don’t care anymore. Next year we will do it without a doubt. So, you don’t have to participate anymore in the tournament. Because of that our agreement is done. But please, don’t misunderstand me —he said as he saw our faces—, I will tell you right now what you wanted to know.

I have only heard that name only once and it was when the City Lord came and almost destroyed the Sect. I could never forget everything that he said that time, and one of the things that were more strange is when he said that ‘if I was Xiang Feng, nothing of this could have happened’. That’s all I know.”

Now we had a clue, someone knew that name, but it was the City Lord. That would be very difficult to do. Not even Shang’er with his quasi-divine cultivation was enough to talk to him. We had to think carefully what we could do. However, in that moment we needed to do other things. We thanked the Sect Master and went to the Venerable Founder. “It’s time to receive our rewards —said my Master inside my inner self—, I hope that he maintains our deal, if not… we’ll see.”

Yes, I remembered that she talked with the founder in secret. Finally, I would know exactly what they talked about.

We entered the shrine, and my Master get out of my inner place.

“Turtle! It’s time to pay up!”

The Founder was in his natural form, but even with his turtle face I could see how annoying he was when for the lack of respect of my Master. He only sighed and ask Meng Shang and me to go near him.

“I’m really grateful for the thing you have do it to my Sect. Not only for them, but for me also, you made me remember what was important. For that I will reward you.”

Two boxes appeared near us, he asked us to open them. “That purple lighting was really uncommon —he said to Meng Shang—, but it’s not something that I had not seen before. I don’t’ know exactly what kind of physique you have, but It’s related to lighting. For that, I will give you this twin daggers, they have special affinity with lighting and even high semi-divine cultivators could die on your hands if they are not careful and beyond when you are stronger.” Shang’er was very exciting while looking them. They were beautiful and they had a soft blue glow that made them more mysterious.”

“And for you —he said while looking at me—, I will give you these bracers made from my shell. They will help you to block attacks and they can store any kind of qi, from you as a backup or from absorbing the power of the enemy’s techniques. They could serve you while fighting to cultivators of higher realms.

These are the rewards for helping the sect, but I had also to give you your payment. Both of you open your inner places.”

We did it, we were not afraid of any bad thing he could do to us. We trust him. “I will give you all the techniques of my Sect. What you have learnt is only a drop of water of an immense ocean. You can do with them, whatever you want, even teach them to strangers, but with the only condition that they have to be of noble heart. Everyone had the possibility of being part of the turtle family, but not everyone could be.

Now I will ask the young one to leave, I have thing to talk with the little girl.”

Meng Shang was puzzle, but he left. “Now little girl, it’s time to pay your Master fee. I have seen your inner place and I am impressed. I will serve you for one hundred years, and I also will give you some of my power. When you need my power, use it, if you need more than my power, call me. That is the fee, but it is an honor to serve you… Master.”

63 Family

I talk to him and spoke of what I was feeling. He was surprised. He didn’t think that I felt that way. He even tried to apologize, but I stopped it. “This is all my fault, these are my feelings, not yours, and I know that they are bad ones. I now understand why my Master was angry at me. She was angry because I was weak. If I can’t even congratulate you because the same thing didn’t happen to me, how I could be mentally prepared to be a good cultivator. I’m a selfish person and I need to change if I want to be better, a too be also a better sister for you.

I always said that you are my brother, but when the time came, I didn’t act as a sister. I want to be a sister capable to cheer you up and congratulate you from the bottom of my heart. I really do.”

What I told him was my real feelings, even if I hurt him a little, I wanted him to know how despicable I was, and perhaps he could forgive me.

“You know —said Meng Shang calmly—, sibling always fight, and they get jealous sometimes, that’s normal. I have seen my cousins and friends doing it, many times. But they always reconcile, and then they play as if nothing happened. I always wanted to have someone who could that with me. I know that you told me that, I felt kind of relieved. As you, I always said that you are my sister, but sometimes I felt that you were too distant with me. This is the first time that we really talk like siblings. I will not said that I was not angry when you don’t congratulate me, know I understand why you did that, and even if it’s weird I fell happy about it. Because is the first time that we actually acted as siblings.”

I almost cried. He was there with me, and we were sharing like real siblings. That day we talk about our past. He talked how he loved their parents, how his nanny was almost like his grandmother and how he loved to eat lotus cakes. He even tried to imitate the voice of his father when he was angry.

I told him how severe my parents were, and how I always was pushed away for everything. I also told him about my best friend, I shared with her everything and she was the one that help me to escape. I was worried that something could happen to her if she was discovered, but his father had a high position in the city so it was mostly impossible. I also talked how I didn’t like to eat tofu, but I could tolerated with honey.

He laughed a lot; she showed our feelings. It felt good. This was the first time that we were so open to each other.

While the time was passing, I could feel that my meridians were slowly open so my qi could flow again. I didn’t care for that in that moment. We keep chatting all day and even at night, with the moon illuminating the mountains. We saw the stars, and it felt wonderful. “Meng’er —I told him— thank you for everything.” He smiled. “You are my sister, don’t forget it.”

And when I felt I could control all my qi again, we went to the sect. I thanked my Master for this punishment. It made me realize many things and made me have a beautiful memory with my brother.

62 Thinking

I was freezing, as my Master told me, she had closed my meridians, so my qi wasn’t flowing. I didn’t feel like that since I become a cultivator. She even closed my inner place. I was alone, cold and angry.

My Master didn’t try to understand my complaint. She only said that I was still a little girl. How I was a “little girl” anymore? Was I not a victim of my family? They try to force marriage, and I was almost raped and killed. Remembering these scenes and become angrier. They ripped my clothes, I could see then in my mind, their faces. Their eyes had lust and madness. I goose bumped.

If it was not for my Master, my end would have been terrible. She showed me another path, one that I didn’t even think it existed for me. Since that day I had tried my best to become someone who didn’t need to be so defenseless again. I cultivated and learn the techniques my Master gave me. They were difficult, but most of them I have already mastered them. I knew that she was proud of my advancement, I had seen her face. I wanted her to keep being pride of me. But now she was clearly angry at me.

Was it bad that I would angry because I didn’t achieve to breakthrough? I really wanted to do it! I wanted to be more powerful! What’s bad about that?! And why Meng Shang could do it but not me? When I saved his life he was only a little more powerful than me, and I closed the gap quickly. I had to train hard to do it, but I finally achieve that and now… now! He is stronger! Not a little beat, but to a whole new level! I felt the enormous power that I had as a peak semi-mortal, how would it feel if I achieved what he did? It has to be wonderful! Why I didn’t could do it?

I felt I was robbed of my opportunity, in was not fair. If not for him I would have ascended. I remembered when I help him, I could have do nothing and we would never see us again. He would what trained with me, and he would not risk my life the first time we tried to breakthrough to the semi-mortal level. That day I thought I would die, and only because of my Master I could survive. I didn’t was angry by him, because I knew that all was something unexpected, nobody could think that that would happen, and also we were happy that we achieved what he wanted.

We trained in the words, we kill a lot, and even fought on a life or death situation. He could have abandoned me, but he didn’t’, and from that moment we were sworn brothers. We had tried to help each other, and I was happy. But now… I felt depressed. This was not me.

Do I was selfish? He what go to a lot of things, and we were siblings. I hated him to do something that I couldn’t, but it was not his fault. How could I be angry to my brother? No, I was not angry at him, I was angry at me. I had taken for granted that I would ascend, but I didn’t do it and he did. I had to felt happy for him, but I was jealous. Deep down, I knew it.

 I was a failure, not only in my eyes, but also in the eyes of my master. She was angry at me. She told me that this was all my idea, and she was right. If I didn’t want to help then, perhaps I would be at the same level as Meng Shang, but I did help them. I wanted to do it. I was angry to choose that path.

No, I was not. They needed help, and I had to give them help. I dint’ want them to suffer. They didn’t have any fault. Meng Shang…. He was not at fault neither. She didn’t wanted to do it, he said that to me many times. She was worried that I could be harmed. But I didn’t listen to him. I only cared to help the sect. What happened —I realized— it was not anyone fault but mine. I was the one who choose that path, and that was the consequences of my acts. I felt that way because I was ashamed of myself to not do better.

Now I was freezing, realizing how feeble were mortal beings, and I was one of them in that moment. Many things happened but I always had the help of my Master and Meng Shang. I felt embarrass by the way I acted. Know I knew it was childish. Perhaps I even hurt him. I didn’t’ want that, he was my brother, but I was so jealous that I could prevent that. I began to cry.

The problem was me, and I didn’t know what to do. Everyone sure hated me, and I didn’t want to felt alone. It that was the path that I would take from now on? Without master or brother? Power was important, but true family was even more.

Ice began to form near my eyes. I kept meditating and think all the things I did wrong. I need to remedy that. I didn’t want to be alone.

From far away I heard someone was calling me, I responded and it as Meng Shang. He began to search for me when I didn’t return to the sect. He was worried about e, because he felt I was not in a good mood. He ask me how I was. I embrace him. He was shocked, but didn’t do anything. I began to apologize to him, I told him everything I felt. He listened and not said anything after I finished my talk. “You know —he said— when I was in my family, many of my cousins were better than me, they grew stronger and faster than me, so I could understand what you feel. But we are brother and sister, we are true brother and sister forged by the circumstances. I know that this doesn’t make to feel better, but I want you to understand that I don’t care who is more powerful, now I’m, perhaps in the future, you are; but we can’t have jealousy between us. I want you to know that”.

I felt more ashamed. He was my minor, but act as the adult here, but he was right. I had to be happy for him, he was my true brother.

“What do you say if we left this place? —he asked—, we are celebrating that the sect.”

“Thank you —I responded—but I was punished by my master to be here one entire day, I can’t go. He nodded and stay with me meditating, so of his aura present me to freeze.

He stayed with my all day. I was really ashamed and happy.

That what true brothers do.

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.