Chapter 2: Inhibition and Apprenticeship
Translator: /Tatienne Editor: Tennesh/Rundi
Within the community of Taoism cultivation, there was a type of person whose blood flows with ancient supernaturalism.
This type of person has always possessed great talent and has always been distinguishable from the common crowd. Therefore, heaven casted seals on them the moment they were born, inhibiting them from practicing Taoism for the rest of their lives.
Ling Xian was this type of person. Inside his body, there were four different inhibition spells casted by superior beings; known to seal the sky, lock the earth, trap the Immortals, and restrict the Gods. The four types of spells infused together and have made his dream of being an apprentice of Taoism a wild illusion.
“This explains it. This explains everything,” Ling Xian seemed to have lost his soul. He snickered, “how can I defy the Gods if they were the ones deciding my fate?”
He has just received this information from the elderly who claimed to be an Immortal. He finally learned the reason why he could not gather spirits since a young age, and he found out that the place he is now in is the world inside the painting that swaddled him, Painting of the Nine Immortals.
This place was borderless with a thick atmosphere of spiritual energy. There were peculiar looking flowers, plants and a waterfall that reeked with vitality. It was paradise.
If today was like any other day, he would’ve sat down and trained under such a spiritual environment. However, right now, his dream of practicing Taoism has been shattered; all the leftover hope he had has turned into despair.
“Who said you can’t?”
The elderly froze in mid-air, his hair was grey, his had youth-like complexion, and his white robe was flowing in the wind. He stood as if he has just been rebirthed.
Ling Xian looked up sharply, his gaze securely locked onto the mysterious elder. He asked eagerly, “you know a way?”
“If I didn’t have a way, why did I drag you into the Painting of the Nine Immortals?” the elderly stroke his beard and beamed, “the four seals are for sure powerful, but they are not without answers which can unlock them. Don’t forget, I am an Immortal after all.”
“Then I request grandmaster, you, to help me,” Ling Xian showed a sign of optimism. Practicing Taoism was the beginning of fulfilling all of his dreams. Even if the elderly was lying, he did not want to forego any opportunity that might change his fate.
Ling Xian did not believe that the elderly is an Immortal. Even though he appeared very sage-like and profound, and there was the fact that the Painting of the Nine Immortals was a rare instrument from an old legends. However, within the entire Taoism community, there hasn’t been anyone who has had the ability to fly like the Immortals in the past 30,000 years. Plus, the Immortals would not appear in places where mortals wandered, therefore an Immortal would definitely not be at the pavilion.
“I can help you, but if you want something, you need to give me something in return,” the elderly said gingerly.
Ling Xian froze, a horrifying fable he heard before crossed his mind. He spoke without thinking, “are you going to forcefully get rid of my soul and possess my body?”
What he said shocked the elderly, and the elderly angrily yelled, “I cannot believe you would even think that! I am, after all, a legend from the Qing era. Would I do something so disrespectful?”
“I… I have been blunt,” Ling Xian thought about it carefully and chose to believe the elderly. After all, he was on someone else’s territory and was standing before an elder who was well trained. If the elderly wanted to possess his physical body, he would’ve done that awhile ago instead of waiting until now.
The elderly grunted coldly and unhappily, he stared towards the horizon, his gaze was unreadable and unexplainable.
After a long while, he sighed deeply, “I am Liao Cang Qiong, have you heard of this name?”
Ling Xian searched his memory and suddenly remembered a name he saw once in ancient literature. His pupils dilated, his entire expression screamed disbelief.
“You… you are the legendary Alchemist Liao Cang Qiong!”
Elderly sighed softly, his gaze becoming complexed, “time flies, things change greatly. I cannot believe there is still someone on this continent who remembers my name.”
Throughout the entire history within the Taoism community, the name Alchemist Liao Cang Qiong is a legend that nobody can ignore. He lived his entire life obsessing with alchemy, entered the Ninth Realm at the age of 13, and became a member of the First Realm when he turned 102. He has made infinite number of recipes for different types of Dan, and in the end, he successfully became an Immortal after creating the Dan of Immortality on top of the Tian Shan mountain.
The later generations described him in one sentence: if the heavens did not grant us Liao Cang Qiong, Alchemy would have experienced an eternity of darkness.
It was easy to see that Liao Cang Qiong has made tremendous contribution to the alchemy community.
Ling Xian’s face was full of shock. He could not believe that an Immortal alchemist was appearing in front of him. He then thought about the idea that maybe an Immortal is able to break the seals inside him. He asked, “then, what would I have to give you in return if I ask you to reverse the spells?”
“Inherit my mantle. I do not want all my past work to evaporate the moment my soul vanishes,” Liao Cang Qiong said with a hint of sorrow.
“You soul? Vanishing?” Ling Xian stiffened as he realized how pale and weak Liao Cang Qiong looked. He seemed to be only a shell without blood or skin.
“Yes. What you are seeing is only my soul. Inside this Painting of the Nine Immortals, eight other souls of Immortals are still deeply asleep,” Liao Cang Qiong whispered.
How could an Immortal, who could not die, be left with only a soul? How could nine Immortals be in the same situation all together?
Ling Xian suddenly did not feel like he had enough energy to think this through. Everything that has happened today has been obscure.
“The things I’m saying are a bit out of reach for you. But I have to ask, are you willing to become an apprentice of mine?” Liao Cang Qiong’s expression was stern and serious.
“Why… Why me?” Ling Xian questioned. To be an apprentice of an Immortal was a great pride and privilege. But he was dragged into the Painting of the Nine Immortals without an explanation and he met the legendary Liao Cang Qiong. Everything seemed like a dream, he felt as if he has lost touch with reality.
“To be my apprentice you cannot be common. Only those with seals can call me Master. Also, I have just woken up from a deep sleep, and I immediately met you. That is what I call destiny,” he grinned lightly, his white robe danced in the wind, his stance was dominant and persuasive.
“I cannot grasp onto the idea that me, a handicap, can receive praise from such an honorable alchemist,” Ling Xian whispered. He felt a wave of relief, as if all the pain he suffered in the past was worth it.
Because of his inability to practice Taoism, he’s been mocked and taunted all his life. Yet now, because of his incapability, Liao Cang Qiong saw him as special. Fate really was something.
“If you agree, then formally acknowledge me as Master. From now on, you are an apprentice of mine,” Liao Cang Qiong looked at Ling Xian affectionately, as he reminisced his own past.
Ling Xian’s expression became serious as he kneeled before him on the ground, “Master, please accept apprentice I as I kowtow three times.”
Ling Xian kowtowed three times, each time his forehead hit the ground there was a crisp thump.
“Alright, alright. Get up quickly, my apprentice,” Liao Cang Qiong smiled kindly. He waved his sleeves and a gush of wind helped straighten Ling Xian’s body.
“I have to request again for Master to help me break the seals, so I can begin my practice,” Ling Xian made a fist with one hand and cupped it with another as a sign of respect.
“Good thing I have restored some energy from the 30,000 years of sleep I had. Or else I really cannot break these seals,” Liao Cang Qiong pressed his index finger between Ling Xian’s brows. Immediately, the entire universe began to shake. The moon descended as the sun rose, waves of dust filled up the atmosphere; it was as if the sky and the earth were splitting into two.
It was a heart piercing, lungs shredding type of agony.
Ling Xian felt like his head was being split open. A surge of powerful force violently rushed inside his body. Though his body was fragile, his mind was completely conscious. The pain felt like it would last an eternity. He rather be dead than to endure it any longer.
A loud scream penetrated the universe. Blood spewed out of his mouth, dying his entire robe bright red. His eyes were bloodshot, his body felt like it was stabbed over thousands of time. Blood continued to sputter until he was covered with blood from head to toe.
“Hold on!” Liao Cang Qiong loudly yelled. He pressed Ling Xian’s chest with his finger and instantly, the world spun and the sky turned dark. All light was suddenly sucked out of the universe. It was as if the world inside the Painting of the Nine Immortals was going to be destroyed and fall into eternal darkness.
A series of crackling noises ripped out of Ling Xian’s body. A large array of dark shadows clouded above him. A tide of murderous aura veiled around him.
He was trapping the divine being from the seal!
Liao Cang Qiong frowned. He did not anticipate for the first seal to be this complex. He was not worried however, as he pointed his finger into the sky, the other hand twisted into a mysterious gesture. He howled, “sky seal, release!”
A giant palm appeared in the sky. Accompanied by a violent atmosphere that could make one tremble, the palm started to strike the divine being sitting on top of the dark cloud. With every strike, a ring of bright light appeared.
The body of dark cloud began to emit light. Strands of wind formed an invisible barrier, protecting the divine being from the large palm.
“You are simply a shadow of the real Trap God. How dare you be so arrogant? If I had my physical self, I would have destroyed you with one finger,” Liao Cang Qiong hissed. Fearlessly, he shot up through the cloud and summoned all the wind in the sky.
“Taoism, Slayer of the Immortal!”
A gigantic sword appeared. Its blade sharp enough to cut through the earth, the sky, and slice through rivers and mountains. It froze above the divine being, ready to strike.
The killing instinct of the sword dampened the being’s arrogance. The sword shone brightly, dissipating the dark clouds until it fully disappeared. Then suddenly, a ribbon of light reflected off the cloud and thrusted back to earth, piercing through Liao Cang Qiong’s chest.
Though the ribbon of light plunged through his body without any bloodstains, Liao Cang Qiong’s face turned as white as a piece of paper as his stance weakened. To have summoned the sword with his soul and used it as a weapon, his energy was greatly wounded.
“Such strong seals. I thought I could have broken all four, but I have already gotten so weak from unlocking one,” Liao Cang Qiong panted softly. Though he had rested and restored his soul with the help of the Painting of the Nine Immortals, after this battle, he was feeble.
Dong! A loud rumble broke across the sky.
Ling Xian, with his long hair untied and his robe drenched in blood, straightened his body little by little. As if a God has landed, his temperament became overpowering.
The wounds on his body were healing quickly. The majestic blood that had been asleep for 14 years has finally been awakened. Even though he was still inhibited by three other seals, he could feel his potential burning inside him like a volcano. It was flowing calmly, but once it erupts, everything around him will for sure perish!
Bushels of immortal energy pranced around him, entering his organs and strengthening his bones. In the end, it concentrated in his chest. The energy entered the first qi, then the second, and all the way to the third. Finally, the energy diffused.
“What a wonderful feeling,” Ling Xian felt the tides of energy inside him. The corners of his mouth lifted slowly, until finally he could no longer control himself and burst into a loud laughter.
The biggest achievement from this was not him igniting his third qi, rather, the biggest gain was his new pair of Inner Eyes.
His left eye was ink black and his right was snow white.
These were the fourth ranked Inner Eyes.
Eyes of Execution.