Archivo de la etiqueta: novel

100 The next step

I left my inner place, I was sweating, and blood was all over me. Oddly enough, I didn’t felt pain, only a refreshing sensation in all my body. “Congratulations! Now you finally will be capable to use my technique much better. How do you feel?” I talked about what I was feeling an she nodded, she was really happy. “That process is unique to my technique —said my Master—, but is the most important step and it was something that only you could, do it?”

“Why?” I asked intrigued.

“Well, when I said that only you could do it, I mean that it’s because you have already meditated about yourself. Without that step, in would be impossible to go to the next phase. What you had do was meditate, not the kind of meditation most cultivators do. That kind analyzed a technique, and artifact or a power to absorb. That’s not the kind of cultivation you need…”

“But Master… —I interrupted her—, I absorbed a power…”

She laughed. “Yes, indeed, you did it —she retorted—, but it’s different. You also have to do this type of meditation, but with my technique you have to meditate about yourself, gain insight of yourself, not about the power. The more you know about you, the more powerful you would become, but doing that it’s difficult. Knowing about yourself sometimes is more difficult that ascend to godhood. But for now, what you have achieved will help you in ways that you would never have imagined. Enter your inner self again.”

I did it, and I saw that all the destruction was repairing itself, but all felt stronger. The tree itself had changed an now it looked like a century old tree and some fruit were ready to be taken. “Don’t touch the fruit right now, it’s not time —my Master instructed me—, I will tell you later how to use them.

For now, it’s time for you to grow. Absorbe freely the energy of the room, don’t be shy about it.”

I began to do it, and I noticed the change. Before, I had to flow in equal manner the yin and yang energy, but now it was not necessary. The energy could be taken without trouble and the taiji that was formed glowed. The quantity I was flowing to my soul tree was larger than ever before, but I didn’t feel any disturbance nor pain, in fact I felt that I was already in the quasi-divine stage, however there was not lighting attacking me. For now it didn’t matter, I kept absorbing energy. From low rank to middle rank, from middle rank to high rank. It was incredible, and I felt that I could go beyond that.

“Stop —advice my Master—, surely you know that there will be a lighting retribution. The reason you have not being hit by it is because this room, but when you get out, you will be attacked by the heavens. Right now you will easily fight it, but if you went to the semi-divine stage, it will be very difficult to you. Also, it would be better for you to keep meditating and training the techniques with your current power.” I thought about it, and I really wanted to keep going but I followed my Master instructions. So now, I was a quasi-divine and it felt great.

99 Taiji II

My soul tree was shining intensely, and my qi river was almost dry. I felt the effects of that on my body, my skin was paler and dryer, my hair was graying, and my vitality was almost at its end. It all that was happening why my soul tree was shining? What was I not noticing?

The only thing that I could think it’s to go to the tree and try to examine it, perhaps I could find an answer there. I touched it I felt a motion. I couldn’t describe it, but it felt familiar yet alien to me. “Fell it —said my Master—, what it is?” I tried to understand what was happening to the tree, but it was difficult. The motion felt like it was alive, but how could it be? That tree was part of me, but it had more life than my own body. How?

I thought about t and then I remembered something important. The life tree was not part of me, it was me. The qi was also me, all my inner self was me. How could I forget about that? So, this motion that I was feeling it was me, now I understood that it was my life force. This life force was a mix of my body, qi and soul. What it was destroying me was not the yin and yang, but the tree. But the tree was me. This life force had to be the way to control both yin and yang, and I would try to use it.

It was difficult but I did release my life force to the powers struggling. At first, I tried to separated them, but it was it was not useful. It was like if they didn’t care about my life force, they didn’t try to absorb it. That was different of what happened with my qi, so I had a crazy idea. Perhaps they could absorb it, so if I try to absorb them? I tested a little and it worked! What I had to do was absorbe it with my life force. It was a difficult task, I had to do it little by little. I tried to do a great quantity, but I was painful, and both powers rejected me. Why I could do it that way, but not the other way? I didn’t know but at least I was doing something.

It took a lot of time to do it, and I felt like it was fruitless. I had to think of another way to do it., but why my life force could take some part of their power, but not a lot? What had it lacked? The life force was a combination of my soul, qi and body, did I need something more? I returned to the question my Master posed me, what I was. Was I something more that these three things? What could it be?  Now I felt blood through all my orifices, I knew that I was on borrow time. What I was? The fact the my life force could absorb yin and yang, men that I was something more than that. I would be impossible otherwise, I thought. I was in desperation and then… I understood. It was not that I was lacking something, it was not that I could only absorb little by little. I could absorb all if I wanted, but I shackled myself in my thought. I was, as all things were, a combination of yin and yang. This two were what created everything, and I was part of it. And now I understood that these energies were also part of me. All was a cycle. And endless cycle of yin and yang, creation and destruction, life and death. All was the same, but different.

In that moment of realization all the energies began to be absorbed at a fast pace. I was one with the yin and yang, and the ying and yang was me. My life force began to move itself, forming a shape and my soul tree was at the center. The yin and yang were moving and entered also not only in the tree but in the drawing. When all was finished, in the middle of my inner self was inscribed a taiji, and that was something that I would never forget.

98 Taiji I

Meng Shang was being training with the City Lord himself, and I entered his meditation room. I also asked if he could buy many cheap artifacts with the money I received, I didn’t care about how cheap they were, but the nature of their energy. One half had to be yang attributes and the other one yin one. He was surprised by the request but he did it, he even gave me some not so cheap artifacts from his own vault.

When he send me the artifacts, they were like a little mountain, not even in my house we had so much trinkets like this; some were so beautiful that it was a shame what their purpose was.

“First it’s time for you to ascend to the quasi-divine realm, then I will help you to complete the second stage of Using demons and gods alike. When we complete that step, you will be different of most of cultivators. Some changes you will notice right away, but other you will have to wait. But for now, it’s time for you to rise up.”

First I had to absorb all the yin and yang of the artifacts. That took me some days, but when I finally did it, my body felt like a mess. Both were trying to fight each other in my body and were destroying most of my inner self. Only the soul tree was save. “Master is this really necessary?” She saw me but didn’t say anything about that, only that it was time to me to stop that fight.

“Me? —I asked shocked— Master I don’t know how to do it. It too much for me to handle it.”

“Then you will die” was the only answer that she said.

I knew that she was telling the truth. So I entered my inner self and saw the disaster that that was me. How could I let them stop fighting? It seemed impossible. “Sit down and contemplate the beauty of the destruction —my Master said—, feel it, and think about it.”

I sat down and saw. The spectacle was indeed amazing. Those two forces were struggling to win, but neither could do it. It was like a dance of fires. But why did they had to fight? Especially in me? I have already absorb both types in my body, but that time it was with the help of my Master, it was difficult, but it had an order. This time it was like fighting nature, it was impossible. Why do they have to fight?

Both had equal strength and both were destroying my body. Why they had to do this? Why they couldn’t be channeled as before. It’s true that my Master helped me before, but I also had experience with them, but it seemed pointless to try it.. “Master, I…”

“Don’t say it. Don’t dare to say it —she said quite angry—. Analyze the destruction, think. It’s not the first time you do this, but this time your life is in jeopardy. I will not help you. This is only something that only you could do it. Think!”

It was not my first time doing it? What she was talking about? I vomited blood. The fighting was now affecting also my life. I was scared and I knew that she wouldn’t help me. I was afraid to die, and tried to analyze what I was seeing, but I didn’t understand anything. I only knew that I was frightened and in that moment I understood what she was talking about. This sensation of fear, it’s something that I had felt before, the first time I meditated in the dark place of my inner self. That’s what I had to do, but I didn’t know how.

I kept seeing the destruction, now I began to feel the pain of my body. What I had to do? At that time when I realized who I was, I could change the flow of my vital qi, but that was easy because it was part of me. These forces were not, they were strangers in my body.

I tried to use my river qi to guide them to the tree, but the river began to been absorbed by the forces. They began to suck all the river and in a few minutes it would be dry and I would be death. What could I do? I thought on a stupid solution. If they were absorbing my qi, why I couldn’t try to absorve them.

I did it, but only a little and it was not enough, but I least now I knew that It was possible. When the soul tree began absorb the bits of energy it began to bright. It didn’t do anything more, and both forces keep struggling each other while killing me.

I knew that the techniques my Master had teach me, had the power to control it, and I knew that I couldn’t do it because of myself. What was stopping me? Why I couldn’t absorb enough of both energies? My eyes began to have tears of blood, and the pain began to be higher each minute.

“You know who you are, but know you have to discover what you are.” said my Master with a worried face. She had given me clues the whole process but I couldn’t understand it. Last time I discovered part of who I was, but what I was? No, that never occurred to me.

I was a human, a cultivator, but that was who I was. What I was had to be different. I didn’t understood the question, I was what? An animal? I saw again my soul tree, and began to think about it. What was exactly the soul tree? It was part of me, but what exactly it was? And why it needed to grow? It absorbed yin and yang, and made possible to my vital qi run as mighty as it was now.

The tree was the last piece of the clue, but it was difficult to deciphering. Yin, yang, qi and the soul tree, what was there connection?

I was really lost.

96 How’s your father?

The City Lord told us how this man made him a cultivator, how they shared very dangerous moments and sworn to be brothers forever. He even helped him to build the first restaurant here, and that was, in that time, around nowhere. The restaurant was the first pillar of what it would become Chao Fan City.

“You know? I have always have a good regards about the Metal Turtle Sect, they are so carefree, that I was kind of envious of him; but if I had to say it, the Sect have a very big problem, it treats everyone as family, and family is the most important to a member of the sect. I know that this is a traditional value, and I really would not have any complains about it, it’s the thing that make us strong, but if you are not careful, it’s the thing that can make you weak.

He constantly went to his family so his cultivation always was paused for whatever reason his family wanted. It was so much, that in some years my cultivation was better than his. I tried to remind him that cultivation was also important, but he didn’t care so much about that.

So I saw him less every time and our meetings were also shorter. He was happy with his decision so who I was to said something about it? Years passed and one day he write me telling me that he was going to get married and invite me to the ceremony. I was pretty happy for him, I was not the path that I wanted for him, but the path he had chosen. In that moment I really understood my father and I laugh at the irony.

I went to the wedding giving plenty of gifts to my sworn brother. I thought that I would see a grand ceremony, but no; it was a very little ceremony with only a few people, most of them were family members. The family treated me with respect, but they were very cold. I think that if not for my cultivation, I probably would have been treated like a dog. In that time, Chao Fan City didn’t exist, it was a mere restaurant that was well known around the cities. For them I was merely a cook who have cultivation. I didn’t care for them, I only went to see my sworn brother’s wedding.

After the ceremony, we were invited for a banquet, and there I could see her face. I had to admit that he had very good taste. She was beautiful, a heavenly deifying beauty. I could talk to them, and she seemed perfect for him, and him perfect for her. It’s not a shame to say that I was a little jealous of him. We talked until is was time for the couple to went their chambers. And it was almost the last time I saw them.

While I was occupied with the restaurant and the city, they had their obligation within the sect, she was also from the Metal Turtle Sect, and the family. So we couldn’t meet as many time as we wished, but every time I was with them, it really felt like it was a family. But no all was happiness to them, they had tried many time to conceive a child, but it was difficult to them. His family was even thinking of make him divorce her, and that was the only thing that he would not accept. He loved her very much and he told me that if the heavens didn’t give them a child, then he would be happy with nly her for the rest of his life.

A very long time passed, perhaps one hundred years, when I received a letter. They finally would have a baby! He wanted me to see him, but at that moment the City was almost like it was now, so I didn’t have time to do it. He understood and he always send me letters about her pregnancy. I send his medicine for her. I wanted that their child was healthy and strong. Until finally, he wrote me that he had a boy! He was in ecstasy. I send him many gifts to my nephew and I really wanted to see him, but the responsibilities of a City Lord are many. So we always kept writing for years… until it stopped.

I tried to find what happened to them, but it was impossible. I sent many spies to the family, but the family had closed its doors, so they couldn’t find him. I tried to communicate with the Sect, and they too it like an invitation to join the city. I didn’t care because I thought that perhaps they could have something, but nobody knew him. In that moment I understood that something had happened to the Sect, but that was not my problem until you know what.

The only clue I had was the name of the boy, it was Meng Shang. And now you know of whom I was talking about, who is the one who help me for a meal, who was the one who made me a cultivator, who was the one who helped me achieve my dreams, who is the one who is my dearly sworn brother. So I have a question for you Meng Shang… how’s your father?”

95 Savior

When I open my eyes, I felt the pain. I tried to move but I couldn’t. “Don’t move, I just cured your injuries so don’t undo what I did.” I wanted to turn to knew who was talking, but I couldn’t. At least he would not kill me, that was the only relieve that I had in that moment. “Thank you for saving my life” I said to the stranger. “It was nothing —he said— but I would want something of you.”

It was logical that he would want something, nothing is free on this world. I didn’t had money nor anything of value, so probably when he knew that he would left me to die. “What do you want?” I asked, afraid of his answer. “Can I eat that?”

He was talking about the meal that I was preparing before the attack. I would have laughed if the pain would allowed me. “Serve yourself —I told him—, eat everything if you want.” I was relieved that he only wanted that. “No —he said— you have to eat too. You are very weak and need food.”

After that he served me a little of the soup and even help me to eat it. I really was surprised of this man. He was almost a saint to my eyes, and he renew my hopes of a new life.

The next day, he took me on his back and carry me to the next city. There he looked for a doctor who could tend my wound better than him. I thanked him a lot and said that I would pay it when I could. He laughed and he said that I was already paying for it and he show me the bag that the “guards” took from me. I wanted to ask how he had it, but the answer was obvious. I also wanted to return it to me, but if he wanted this to be his pay to all that he did to me, I wouldn’t say no. Why helping me to survive if he only have to take the money and leave? He earned that money.

“Don’t worry about this bag. I will use some of it, I also need a place to live while in the city —he said when he saw my desperation face when he took the bag—, the rest is still yours. I didn’t save you for the money, but for the food.”

That was interesting to hear. He was a man much different than any other man I have known. He went daily to see me so he talk about his sect. He was from the Metal Turtle Sect and they would never steal food, they always or invite or are invited to join a meal. That was a strange concept, but something that I could understand. A meal was the perfect moment to forge friendships. I told him about my dream of being a chef, and he was one of the few people who didn’t laugh. “That’s a good goal, but right now it will be difficult for you, don’t you think?” He was right, I was beginning my journey and almost died. “I think that a good alternative is for you to become a cultivator, so you can defend against people who want to harm you and harm your goal.” He said that seriously, without any kind of mockery in his words.

I knew what a cultivator was, I have seen a lot in my city and even I have made deals with them. Some ones were good like this man, some were very arrogant, but all were very powerful. “I don’t think that I can become a cultivator —I said—, I’m not made to be one.”

He in that moment said something that I would always remember in my life:  “Everyone can be a cultivator, but need to have guts to become one.”

After saying that he left, but it let me think about my life and what I wanted to do.

I spent all the night thinking about that. If I become a cultivator, I could overcome my weakness and achieve my goal easier, but it would make me postpone that same goal a lot. What I really wanted to be? Only a chef? Or something else?

There were many questions that I made that night and one thing that I was sure it’s that it was not fair to me to choose. I want to be a chef, I wanted to be free to become one, but there was not a place to do that. And if there was not a place, I had to create one for myself. That was my goal.

When he came I explained what I wanted to do. He was surprised that I thought that far. ”I will help you. I like your dream and I think that it would become a great place to be. I will teach you how to become a cultivator, and help you in what I can, but you are the master of your own destiny, it’s you who will make your dream, not I; so if you quit, I will not say anything, I will not try to convince you of otherwise. Do you understand?”

And that’s how my journey began.

94 I am

The next day we went to the City Lord’s manor. He was expecting us and the guards let us pass without a problem. A servant let us to a room, different from the one from before. It was smaller but more comfortable, it felt like a home. “Please sit down —said the City Lord—. First I want to congratulate this boy for obtaining the second place, I have seen the recording and it really was a wonderful fight. It really is good how much you have grown.

As you both accomplish our deal, it’s time for me to do the same. The man who you are looking for, it’s me.”

That was something that we didn’t expected to hear. He saw us astonished and began to tell us his history.

“I was the second son of a mortal merchant. He was very rich and loved his family as any good parent do. He was also a good man, even if sometimes did immoral business, he treated his people well and nobody could complain about him. He was respected and he was powerful in the city. He wanted that all his sibling have the knowledge of a merchant, even my sisters. He always said that someone that doesn’t know how to earn money is useless, not matter if it was man or woman. So all the family was in the business. I was really good at it, but I didn’t want to become a merchant. As you can see me right now, perhaps you think that I wanted to become a powerful cultivator, but that it’s far from the truth, I wanted to be a chef.

Could imagine? I had everything that I would ever want, but I wanted to be something else. My father didn’t see chef as more than mere cooks. I didn’t exactly why I wanted to be a chef, perhaps the exotic spices that my father imported were the reason, and perhaps it was the delicious smell of our food. I don’t know, but I wanted to be a chef. 

My father didn’t know that, and I would never tell that. So after my studies I escaped home and went to a restaurant near my house, an I asked if I could work there. He didn’t know who I was, if he knew he would have said no right away, but I changed my clothes and I seemed to be a nothing special kid, even an orphan. So he take care of me while I was working with him. He was very strict, and I could tell you how difficult to me was t master the art of the knife!  Received a lot of hits because of that. And after I finished my job, I returned quietly to my home. That went ofr many weeks, until my father found out.

Loved that man, but, when he yell, I could sense my ear blooding. I tried to explain him that I wanted to be a chef no matter what, and he exploded. He almost slapped me, and he had never hit me before, but stopped it. ‘Do you really want to be a simple cook?’ he asked almost resigned. ‘No, I want to be the best chef, to make a restaurant where people will make large queues to enter, and where all people could enjoy a good meal’.

He began to think, most of his fury disappeared. ‘How large the queue?’ he asked. ‘Two or three blocks perhaps’. ‘Would you not do reservations?’ ‘Depends of how large would be my restaurant”, I responded. After that he asked many things. And saw that I my merchant blood was there, but not in that business. ‘I will paid your studies, I will make you a good cook. For five years you will study how to do it besides studying the family business. If you can accomplish that, I will support your dream, if not you will stay with the family forever.’

When he said that I was happy, my father would help me, but at that moment I didn’t understood his last words.

Then he gave me the best culinary tutoring that money could buy. Great chef came to my home and teach me many things. It was very tough but it what I wanted. So I kept studying cooking and the merchant way for those four years. And when that years ended… my father threw me out of the house. “I have given you the best of the best, now you have to make your own path in life. As you will not be a merchant, you will be officially banned from this household. You will never return. But I will give you these two guards and money for your journey to begin, because you will no longer will live in this city. This is the path you wanted, this is how things will be from now on.”

Nobody of my family knew about that, it was a shock for all of us. My mother implored to him, but he was not someone who changed his mind. I still remember my mother crying while I left. In that moment I couldn’t understand what he was thinking, I tried to hate him, but he did a lot for me. He gave me the best education, guards to protect myself and money to use to open my own restaurant. The only thing that I could do was to follow my own path outside the city.

The first days were normal, my guards didn’t like to talk to much, but they kept me safe. They were hardened warriors, and if my father put his trust on them, I thought they were trustworthy. However, trust is an expensive commodity. The fourth night we were camping, I was preparing the meal when I felt a stab in my back. I didn’t felt pain, only surprise. “Did you father really give you this money to open a restaurant? —one of the guards said—. He is an imbecile, don’t you think? All that gold is better if we used to other things, don’t you think?”

And they stabbed me two more times and went their way. I was on the ground, my blood was running everywhere, but I only could think that my dreams were about to end before they began. I cry. And them, I closed my eyes.