Chapter 14 Cut Candle*
* cutting off the extra candle wick to maintain bright lighting
“There are nine realms to cultivation. Six as mortal and three when you transcend into an immortal.”
“The six realms as a mortal consists of qi refining, foundation establishment, golden core, nascent soul, demi-god, and ascension.”
“The three realms as immortal are transcendence, void tracing, and immortal ascension.”
Taking into account Shen Shu’s situation, Ye Yunlan decided to start with the most basic knowledge in the cultivation world.
He had a lot of patience towards his only apprentice in his past and present life.
What Shen Shu had missed out on and never been taught, he would fill in for the other party.
The boy’s eyes brightened when he heard this, and he asked curiously: “Is there really a real immortal in this world?”
Ye Yunlan was startled.
This question, there’s probably no one in the world who could give an accurate answer.
In the tens of thousands of years recorded in human history books, there were only a handful who reached the void tracing realm, each a brilliant existence in their era.
…But nearly all fell under the tribulation of Immortality.
The reason for saying ‘nearly all’ is because there was once a phoenix monster lord that went missing in their Immortal Tribulation, they did not leave bones like the rest.
Many people have speculated that it had become a celestial being and have left. However, at that time no one saw the gate of the celestial world open.
In the past three thousand years, in the world, there hasn’t appeared a person exceeding the void tracing realm.
So, are there really immortals in this world?
More than one person has asked this question.
Never aging and ascending to immortality was a dream pursued by countless practitioners.
Ye Yunlan may be the only person in the world who knew the answer.
However, he was silent for a while: “Shen Shu, what do you think is an immortal?”
Shen Shu: “Exceptionally talented, in control of the universe, that’s an… immortal?”
Ye Yunlan: “That’s wrong. Only mortals would want to be exceptional and control the universe. But immortals won’t.”
There was a slight indifferent look in his eyes, “…because immortals and humans are two completely different things. “
Shen Shu blinked, a little puzzled.
Ye Yunlan did not continue to explain.
Suddenly, “Shen Shu, tell me, why do you want to cultivate?”
Shen Shu thought for a while, and said straightforwardly: “I want to gain power.”
Ye Yunlan did not express an opinion.
“If it’s just for power – you already have power that can be easily controlled,” he said, “Why continue to practice?”
Shen Shu wanted to speak, but Ye Yunlan stopped him, “Think clearly before answering, this is very important to you.”
Shen Shu is a semi-finished product of a demon puppet.
Even though it was only a semi-finished product, a demon puppet’s ability to become stronger as long as it absorbs the world’s filthy energy still remains in him. Relying on this method to become stronger, when more filthy energy is absorbed, the deeper the transformation will be into becoming a demon puppet… until it is irreversible.
Ye Yunlan didn’t want Shen Shu to do that.
Yuan Yongzhi had already activated the Qi Gathering Secret Method once, so Shen Shu had the power of a demon puppet in his body. If he wanted to return to the right way to cultivate, Ye Yunlan must first guide Shen Shu to give up this power.
However, Shen Shu has suffered too much, it is inevitable that he would be obsessed with power. The guidance process may be very difficult, so he could not help frowning.
After thinking about it, Shen Shu answered.
“I want power because…I want to use my power to protect Master.”
“That kind of power… can’t protect Master, I don’t want it.”
Ye Yunlan froze for a while, then whispered: “You can’t even protect yourself, why would your Master need your protection…”
Even so, his frowning brows slowly loosened.
It is a good thing that Shen Shu was not nostalgic for the power of the demon puppet.
However, how he could get rid of the filthy energy in Shen Shu’s body was still a difficult problem.
When he was thinking deeply, his hand stroked the back of Shen Shu’s head unconsciously. His hand was on top of the puppet mark on the back of the other party’s neck, rubbing it again and again.
Shen Shu didn’t say a word, but leaned into his arms with his face pressed against his chest.
Ye Yunlan liked to read papers and he would never forget them once read. There were a shocking number of secret methods in his mind.
It was a little troublesome to sort them out to search for them.
Most of this knowledge came from his previous life in the demon palace.
After the Demon Lord allowed him to walk freely in the Demon Palace, the place he went to the most often was the library.
In the library, there were magic techniques and original ancient books collected by the Demon Lord from various sects. He was fascinated by it and often forgot the time.
Until he was hugged from behind.
“Senior Immortal, do you really like reading books that much?” The Demon Lord’s chest was pressed against his back and his tone was deep, “You are actually even ignoring the call of this Lord?”
He was already familiar with this person’s temperament. Knowing that outsiders were not there and this person still claimed to be his “Lord” showed that he was a little angry.
“Lord.” He whispered.
The Demon Lord snorted softly. He bit his earlobe and asked, “Tell this Lord, does reading books please you more, or does this Lord please you more?”
Him: “…reading is different.”
The Demon Lord did not intend to stop there. He continued to ask: “How is it different?”
He pursed his lips and his long eyelashes drooped. He said nothing.
“Heh.” The Demon Lord snorted, “Everyone has their own hobbies, this Lord is not unreasonable. It just so happens that you like to read books and this Lord likes to listen to books.”
“Bring the book Yin Yang Scripture from the bookshelf over there and read it to me.”
The bookshelf that the Demon Lord pointed to was the only one he hadn’t touched in the library. Just because the bookshelf is full of…dual cultivation techniques.
He took down the scripture that the Demon Lord mentioned. After only one glance, he felt hot on his face.
……There were actually pictures.
“Don’t try to slack off.” The Demon Lord seemed to have guessed his thoughts, “All the contents in the book must be read carefully as a punishment for ignoring the call of this Lord today.”
He had no choice but to read. His voice was low and trembling.
The body temperature of the person behind him was hot. Some dark things spread to his heels.
He was holding the book, his pale fingertips trembling, then suddenly he couldn’t help but yell: “Don’t…”
The Demon Lord let out an “Oh”, then let go of him. He sat on the sandalwood armchair next to him: “Keep reading. I know that Senior Immortal has a good memory. Once you read it once, you can remember it all.”
The lights in the library were dim. The Demon Lord was sitting there with his head on one hand wearing his sinister ghost mask, as he watched Ye Yunlan holding the bookshelf while finishing reading the book.
“Senior Immortal, have you learned the new technique?” He suddenly spoke, then patted his legs, “…Come and sit down, let’s try.”
The library was dimly lit, and the candlelight was shaking. He sat on the Demon Lord’s lap, holding the Demon Lord’s shoulders. Sweat condensed on his temples. He leaned his head and saw the shadows on the wall.
After decades in the Demon palace, he had read all the books in the library.
Including the books on the shelf that he usually would never touch.
There were many ways to get rid of the filthy energy. Ye Yunlan selected several suitable ones for Shen Shu from his memory.
Before teaching the other party, he remembered one more thing.
“The road to practice is arduous and long,” Ye Yunlan said, “If you can really control your mind and use your own efforts to cultivate to the Nascent Soul Stage, then I will return the Soul Refining Bead to you.”
Referring to the Soul Refining Bead, there was a dark color in Shen Shu’s eyes. He was silent for a while, then said: “It doesn’t… actually it doesn’t matter.”
“As long as you hold the Soul Refining Bead, I will never defy any of your orders. I will never… hurt you.”
He raised his head, a little smile on his pale and gloomy face. His voice was a little unspeakable. “Master, I am yours, my everything… is at your disposal.”
“Shen Shu,” Ye Yunlan said seriously, staring at the young man, “You have to understand, we are now Master and disciple. Between Master and disciple, there is never a relationship of being controlled and controlling.”
“You can learn to rely on me without any cost.” He paused and added, “Occasionally, it doesn’t even matter if you are a bit headstrong and throw a tantrum.”
Shen Shu fixedly looked at him, then lowered his eyes, “Master treats me…so well.”
Ye Yunlan didn’t know whether he understood or not.
He sighed lightly in his heart, after all, Shen Shu was too deeply affected by his past experience.
It is necessary to help Shen Shu get rid of the shackles of the demon puppet as soon as possible, and free Shen Shu from the part of him trapped in the Soul Refining Bead.
In his memory, there was actually a way to lift the restriction on refining soul beads, but he lacked precious medicinal materials.
That medicinal material was only found in the ancient ruins, but now it was still seven years away from the opening of the ancient secret realm.
He had no way to tell Shen Shu in advance to give him vain hope.
Ye Yunlan’s eyes were dark.
The top priority now was to help Shen Shu get rid of the filthy energy in his body and lead him to the right path.
“Shen Shu,” he said, “I will teach you a breathing technique. Long-term practice can get rid of the filthy energy in your body.”
He walked to the bookcase, took out a piece of paper, and wrote the method from his memory. Then, he handed it to Shen Shu.
“Read it first, then ask me if you don’t understand.”
Shen Shu didn’t take it.
“What?” Ye Yunlan asked, raising his eyes.
Shen Shu was silent for a while before he whispered, “Can Master read it to me first?”
Ye Yunlan pondered for a moment.
He was negligent.
Shen Shu growing up in such an environment, how could he be literate?
“Come here.” He whispered.
Shen Shu obediently walked to him.
“Sit on my lap,” he said.
Shen Shu was taken aback. A little red appeared on the tips of his ears, but Ye Yunlan didn’t notice it. He only said, “Every morning from now on, follow me to learn to write letters for four hours.”
Shen Shu sat on Ye Yunlan’s lap. The breath of the other party encircled him and their chest was pressed against his back, making him restless.
The cold voice of the other party rang in his ears.
“Do you know how to write your own name?”
Shen Shu: “My name, is…Is it like this?”
He held the pen and wrote a “Shu” on the paper.
It looked a bit decent, but he was holding the pen in the wrong position, and the order of the strokes were completely wrong. It was not like writing, on the contrary, it seemed like he was…drawing in a casual manner.
Ye Yunlan glanced at the wooden sword on the side of the table, understanding something.
“You are really clever.” He said, holding Shen Shu’s wrist and adjusting his pen holding position, leading him to slowly write his name.
“This word is Shen. This word is Shu. Shen is your surname, and Shu is your name. This is your name.”
At the moment when he was held by that pale, slender, jade-like hand, Shen Shu froze.
Even the shadows under his feet were distorted for a moment.
Ye Yunlan didn’t notice that he was strange, and led him to finish writing, then asked him: “Do you know how to write it now?”
Shen Shu was silent for a while, then shook his head.
Ye Yunlan patiently taught him again.
This time, Shen Shu didn’t lose his focus. Soon he was able to write his name smoothly.
Seeing that he had learned it, Ye Yunlan wanted to teach him the chant on the paper, but he heard Shen Shu say: “I want to…learn the name of master.”
He was slightly taken aback, a little softness appeared in his eyes. He took Shen Shu’s hand to write the three words Ye Yunlan.
“Master’s name… it looks really nice.” Shen Shu said hoarsely.
Ye Yunlan laughed: “It’s just a name, there’s nothing good or bad about it.”
“It’s pretty.” Shen Shu stubbornly said, “Is Master’s name given by Master’s family?”
Ye Yunlan looked faded.
“…I have no family.”
When he said this a vague and long figure appeared in his mind.
That person was actually not similar to him. His appearance followed his mother’s, but that person’s appearance followed his father’s. He was extremely handsome and stern.
That man was born with dazzling brilliance and was regarded as the young master by the whole family. Yet, after he was born, he didn’t even have a name.
Later, he had all his blood and power taken away, given to that man as a sacrifice. This caused his eyes to go blind.
But the man only condescendingly looked down on him and ordered the people to exile him to the mountains and the forests.
Shen Shu: “Master?”
Ye Yunlan quickly returned to his senses and skipped this topic.
“It’s getting late, I’ll teach you the chant on the paper.” He held the young man’s hand, “study it carefully.”
At night, the lights rustled in the air.
Ye Yunlan sat reading under the lamp. The candlelight flickered, and the fire made a crackling sound.
He usually liked to read books about spiritual cultivation, but today was different.
Ye Yunlan looked down at the contents of the scroll.
“Teachers, to dispel doubts in giving moral and practical instructions.
Students who are young and active have uncertain dispositions and may not walk the right path. Teachers should not be lazy nor strict. Strict, but neither angry nor harsh, nor lazy. Not lazy and dedication, it will be fruitful…[Note 1]”
He pondered for a moment, lifted his pen, then left a note next to the page.
The burning candle made a crackling sound. The candlelight slowly became dim without him noticing.
Most of the pages were turned over, and every page on it was smeared with ink marks.
The handwriting in front of him suddenly became a little fuzzy. Ye Yunlan stretched out his hand and rubbed the center of his eyebrows. He heard soft footsteps from outside.
Shen Shu walked in, his hair was still moist. It was obvious that he had just finished taking a bath, “Master, I have already heated the hot water for you.”
Ye Yunlan: “En. I’ll finish reading this paragraph.”
Shen Shu stopped talking.
He looked at the dim light in the room, took the candlue cutter, walked to him, and leaned over to cut off the excess wick.
The two of them were staggered, and their shadows overlapped, forming a ball on the wall.
The light became bright again, reflecting Ye Yunlan’s calm profile.
Shen Shu took the paper with the chant written on it. He sat on the chair on the side to look.
Time passed quietly.
“Master, I just tried the technique you taught me to breathe and I can already do it smoothly!”
Shen Shu suddenly said.
He had a brisk tone, like a child sharing his joy.
Ye Yunlan looked away from the book.
It was rare for him to experience a bit of joy from it.
Perhaps this is what it feels like to be a teacher he thought.
“You did a good job.” His eyes were very soft under the light, “It’s late, go and rest.”
“Master told me to rest, but Master is still reading.” Shen Shu said, “The hot water is going to be cold.”
Ye Yunlan whispered: “You go back to the room first, don’t wait for me.”
Since Shen Shu was injured, he has been living in his house.
In the bamboo building, Ye Yunlan lived alone, there were no other people. He had to take care of Shen Shu’s injuries, so he simply let Shen Shu live with him.
Shen Shu: “If Master doesn’t come, I won’t sleep.”
Ye Yunlan said helplessly: “You…”
A little indulgence was slowly revealed between his brows.
He finally put down the scroll in his hand, got up and walked out of the study.
The opened book lay quietly on the table, stopping on one of the pages.
“To be a teacher, you need to uphold a heart of benevolence toward your disciple. The benevolent is also virtuous, the lover is also compassionate, the master is also the father, the disciple, the son. [Note 2]
A day as a teacher, a lifetime as a father for the master.
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The content marked in the article is extracted from Han Yu’s “Teacher Talk” and Xiuyang’s “Teacher Dao”.