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10 June 2017 @ 01:29 pm
living up to you - chapter 13 - Nan Zhi  



CHAPTER 13 - NAN ZHI

Translation Notes: 同门(tong-men) is the collective term for all of your shixiongs, shijies, shidis, shimeis. Literally, it means 'same door'. During the story, each of the elders in Cang Jia Shan have their own set of disciples, their own 'door' or classroom/house I guess you can say. Tong-men are kind of like classmates, but more like siblings/kin/family since they most likely grew up together and since a shifu role in a disciple's life is like a parent as well as a teacher, so all his other students naturally become siblings. Sometimes though, the term tong-men is inclusive of all the disciples under the entire sect regardless of 'door' so it's up to you to figure out by context. A similar term 关门 (guan-men) disciples, literally 'closed-door' diciples, are a few selected students under a shifu's door that are specially trained and may have a chance of succeeding their shifu as head of the door or house, or even the position of zhangmen if they are one of his guanmen disciples. In the Xian realm, there are 4 major 门派(men-pai) or sects/factions. There are more smaller, scattered ones and probably a bunch of rogues, but there are only 4 prominent ones. Literally, men-pai means 'door alliance' since each sect is basically a bunch of doors banded together. Although Cang Jia Shan has grown very big, it grew from a small group of tong-men under one shifu/founder so all of the elders were likely shidis and shifmeis to each other at one point. Even those disciples under different doors, as long as they are under the same sect, will call each other shixiong, shijie, shimei, shidi. The term 上仙(shang-xian) literally 'high-xian' is also a vague one, at least in this story. We can assume there are many tiers of cultivation, but we don't know when a normal xian starts being labeled a 'shang-xian'. In order to become a xian in the first place, one has to reach a point in cultivation where food and water are unnecessary to sustain the physical body, therefore achieving a state where one would also stop aging. So if you're still eating food, you are not a xian yet. In many xianxia novels, there are xian with appearances of various ages. That could be one of two reasons: they either achieved a xian body at an young or old age, or they decide to use 仙术(xian-shu) to change their appearance as desired. I've been using 'incantations' for xian-shu in this chapter as well as previous chapters, but I guess I'll start using xian-shu in the next since 'incantations' simply doesn't embody enough of the term which is more like 'Xian arts' but I don't want to use the word spells because it makes me think of hocus-pocus haha. Back to methods of staying young and beautiful though, the first method depends on the cultivator's potential for Xian cultivation, affecting the speed of which they reach this first tier and achieve their xian body. That's why it's shocking if someone achieves their xian body in a short amount of time. The second method isn't actually mentioned in this story since certain characters have gone to great lengths for 'beauty' and pursuit of beauty could end badly if self-restraint isn't used. I don't think Cang Yu and Cang Hai look older because they reached the first tier that late, so they might've used spells to make themselves appear more representing of their positions. However a 上仙(shang-xian) or 'high-xian' is different, which I'm assuming from this chapter that this is the last tier before a xian is no longer considered a xian. The word 飞升(fei-sheng) or ascension is used to describe the moment a shang-xian becomes a god and enters into the Shen realm. The term literally means 'fly up' so you can imagine our ascending character actually flying up into the Shen realm and saying goodbye to the Xian and mortal realms for good,  so ascension is not just a state of mind or a transformation of the body and everything else stays the same. Like I mentioned some chapters ago in the notes, it is possible to belong to more than one realm, also possible to go from one into the another. We also know that gods have certain characteristics and they live in another realm that's been sealed for some time now. So then we can assume that there are a bunch of shang-xian right now waiting to get promoted to gods and they've been trying to find the gate of the Shen realm so they can finally get a raise, but so far they've been unsuccessful in defeating the glass ceiling! We know that Cang Yu's been trying to find the gates, so he's definitely one of those shang-xian waiting for ascension. Let's not assume though, that all shang-xian will eventually become gods though, because then that would be too easy: just wait and it will be given. I'm sure it's more complicated than that, but gives these xian something to hope for eh? Lastly, xian do die and they do have 3 lifetimes, the only way to escape reincarnation is to become a god. I know I haven't used a lot of these romanizations in the actual chapters, but now that I think back, maybe I should've because it's kind of relevant. Some things just get lost in translation so easily. That's it! So sorry for the exhaustingly long trivia, I hope it helps you guys answer some questions you might get while you read along, because I promise you guys will be scratching your heads at some point. Just blame it on this chapter, it had too much Cang Jia Shan history in it!!
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The whip wounds on Ling Xi's body took three entire months to heal completely. Herbs wouldn't work on them, neither did Xian incantations have any effect on them. As Ling Xi laid on her bed, looking up at the night sky which did not let in a single ray of daylight, she would always think of Feng Shu.

That year when she had been sentenced to fifty rounds of whipping, Feng Shu had taken double the whip sentence in place of her before he brought her out of the water prison. A total of one hundred whips, not only had he never shown any discomposure in front of her, after that he had never once brought it up again.

All she had taken was one whip, and just that one whip was already enough to get her bed-ridden for three months. Those one hundred whips that were on his body, exactly how long must it have taken before they had completely healed?

Qing Kui shixiong even said that he had been lockup up here at the Xu Wang Cliff for five hundred years before. Here, there was only an hour everyday which one could see sunlight. All sounds from the outside world had been barred out. If she didn't have the company of a Xian spirit, she probably would've caved in just staying here for five days. Those five hundred years, what did those days Feng Shu spent here look like?

Every time these thoughts passed Ling Xi's mind, she would feel suffocated, as if her heart was being grinded by pieces of crushed stone, leaving her with a fragmented, resonating pain. That pain ultimately became a breath of air that she held inside her chest. It was by this breath of air that she would continue her cultivation, as Feng Shu would've wanted, to stay on Cang Jia Shan and become Cang Yu's disciple.

Ling Xi had this feeling all along, that from the moment she had arrived on Cang Jia Shan, the amount of things she could carry inside of her head became more and more. Also it was no longer that difficult to remember certain things. The only exceptions giving her a hard time were certain Xian incantations and how to use them. She would be met with countless difficulties.

For this, her black Xian spirit would usually give her that cold expression of his, mixed in with a tinge of helplessness and disdain, before he demonstrated it for her to see. As time passed, Ling Xi finally realized there was something off.

“Shouldn't I be the one teaching you? How could you take my books?”

Ling Xi sat there on the bed, brows creased together. Back then, Feng Shu had her memorize many incantation books. At that time she was just deliberately memorizing the words but couldn't grasp the meaning yet, but at least she had managed to memorize some of them. Now that she is determined to actually learn them and also to be a good mentor to Xiao Hei, so that he isn't wasting away all that spiritual energy inside of him, she had written down everything she could remember and bound them into journals in case she forgot them in the future.

Hei Gongzi's gaze shifted slightly, and that journal flew out the window on its own just like that, very quickly it disappeared beyond Ling Xi's line of sight.

“You... you...” Ling Xi was mad, “You threw my book out the window again! You already learned them all?”

Hei Gongzi leaned against the door leisurely, his eyes closed.

“Shape Shift, Shadow Swap!”

As soon as the words came out of Ling Xi's mouth, Hei Gongzi had already 'shifted' to her side.

“Pear Blossoms Scatter!” Ling Xi shouted challengingly.

Hei Gongzi uttered an incantation, still with his eyes closed. Outside the window, a gust of pear blossoms rained down from the sky like snowflakes.

“Shrouded Sky, Shielded Sun!”

This time, Hei Gongzi opened his eyes, forming a sign with his hands, his lips moving slightly. The sun outside the window disappeared before her eyes, dark clouds rolled across the sky, which darkened by the second. Ling Xi who hated nighttime the most, hastily shouted out, “Clouds Disperse, Sun Emerge!”

A ripple of amusement surfaced inside Hei Gongzi's eyes. As soon as he put down his hands, the dark clouds dispersed and the sun came out again.

Ling Xi had known since a long time ago that this little black turtle's potential was very high. He also learned things quickly, but unlike those last few books which he pretty much learned all in one day, this particular book that she already felt was very very hard, he still managed to...

“Even if you already learned it, you still shouldn't throw books away!” Ling Xi was very upset. Sure, he had already learned it, but she still hadn't...

Hei Gongzi suddenly turned his head, his gaze locking onto her. As if knowing exactly what she was thinking inside her heart, he said “What you don't know, I can teach you.”

Ling Xi shot him a sulking glare, “I'm the master here!”

Hei Gongzi secretly swept a glance over her. In a blink of an eye though, he had already returned to his spot by the doorway. With his arms crossed and back leaning against the doorway, his eyes were closed as if basking in the sunlight. A rare smile was even sitting on that icy cold face of his.

Ling Xi silently stuck her tongue out at him. Every time he finished learning a book, he would pretend it wasn't anything spectacular. Sometimes she would even find him with that arrogant grin on his face, soundlessly taunting her. To have a master like her who can't surpass him any way; appearance, intelligence, or abilities; how inflated his ego must be!

“Xiao Hei...” Ling Xi climbed down from her bed, smiling mischievously as she came running over to him. Tiptoeing, she reached up to pet him on the head, “Since you're so smart, how come when I turned you into a little black turtle, you aren't able to change yourself back this whole time?”

Hei Gongzi had only managed to achieve an ethereal body, which one could see but couldn't touch. Ling Xi's hand was actually passing through his head as if passing through air, but that didn't affect her enthusiasm in petting his head.

Hei Gongzi's grin fell off his face. Ling Xi continued petting him on the head, the glee obvious in her words, “Hehe, could it be... you're actually very satisfied with your image as a little turtle?”

Hei Gongzi had reverted back to his usual cold, straight face. He sat himself down against the door frame, but not before sweeping a glance over her that was neither salty nor flavorless. Ling Xi followed suit, sitting down besides him, continuing, “Hehe,” She laughed, “Stop acting all bothered, in the future, I'll still call you Xiao Hei, or do you want to be called Little Turtle? Or keep it straightforward Little Black Turtle?”

Ling Xi knows that Hei Gongzi doesn't like it when she calls him “Xiao Hei” and hates it most when she reminds him of his turtle dilemma. As soon as she him gloating though, she can't help but pour cold water on him and smother out that arrogance of his.

As expected, Hei Gongzi's pale face darkened immediately. Ling Xi still wanted to continue, but before she could even open her mouth again, he had vanished as if a hole had opened up underneath him and swallowed him whole.

“So touchy!” Ling Xi didn't know whether she should be angry or laughing. Every time he gets mad, he would make himself disappear. In the past she would worry, afraid that he would be gone for good just like that. Afterwards she discovered that, no matter how fast or how thoroughly he disappears, when it comes time to eat, he would show up again with wild fruits, or when it's time to sleep, a big black bear would suddenly appear besides her.

Apparently he should be at least sixty years old, how come... he seems to like throwing tantrums even more than her?

Ling Xi got back on her feet, dusting her hands off. She decided that before the sky gets dark again, she would take a walk and look around.

Da Shixiong had once lived here for five hundred years. The little wooden house she was living in right now must've been built by him. The flowers and plants outside were probably also grown by him. Not too far away from the little wooden house, there was another house. That might've been Da Shixiong's library. Ling Xi had taken a quick glance inside before. There were indeed a lot of books and journals inside.

Those Xian incantations that she had memorized, her little black turtle had already learned them all. Perhaps in that house, she could find some more...

In that house filled with books, there were incantation books of all categories: metal, wood, water, fire, earth. There were also books pertaining to each major sect in the Xian realm, both their official and unofficial histories. Some she could recognize with one glance, were Da Shixiong's handwriting, others were possibly brought over from Cang Jia Shan.

Ling Xi had originally just wanted to choose an incantation book for her black Xian spirit, but consequently her eyes became entranced by the official and unofficial histories of the various sects. After reading a few pages, she realized that the Xian realm also had similarities with the mortal realm. For example, in the unofficial history books, it spoke of romances between Xian and Yao, unaccepted by the Xian realm. In the mortal realm, operas would sing of the highborn lady and the poor scholar's romance, frowned upon by the everyone alike. Or for example, in certain sects of the Xian realm, some cultivators would overlook morals and persecute their own tong-men kin, simply to elevate their own cultivation and standing within the sect. This was exactly like what Gege said to her before, that mortals would resort to foul methods in pursuit of riches and power too.

Whether it was the official histories or unofficial histories, they both stirred up Ling Xi's interest to an unexplainable height, especially if it were related to Cang Jia Shan. Loosely flipping through a couple books, Ling Xi finally realized, within the four major sects of the Xian realm, Cang Jia Shan is considered a young sect. From its beginning to present, not even fifty thousand years had passed. The only reason it was able to hold a prominent name in the Xian realm was because ten thousand years ago, from within Cang Jia Shan, rose a shang-Xian that had ascended into the heavens and became a god. However that shang-Xian...

Ling Xi had specially looked through a good many books related to Cang Jia Shan. Every one of them were coincidentally missing pages containing the records from ten thousand years ago. Information about that shang-Xian, it turns out, could only be glimpsed from between the lines of those unofficial histories, mentioned briefly as a short line of background. It was rumored that when he arrived at Cang Jia Shan, he was already twenty-some years of age, yet miraculously cultivated a Xian's body in a mere few years. In less than a hundred years, he had ascended from a Xian into a god. It was told that on the day of his ascension, the lingshu grasses of the Shen realm bloomed forth ten thousand snow lotuses....

All these vague and fleeting rumors, yet missing exact records, left Ling Xi even more curious.

Only one hour's time was too short. Inside the house, her surroundings quickly fell into darkness only leaving her with the faint purple glow of her bracelet. Ling Xi could only put down the books in her hands, but that mysterious shang-Xian continued to linger around in the back of her mind.

Blooming forth ten thousand snow lotuses, was he somewhat like her?

So many books here, why were they all missing the records from exactly ten thousand years ago?

If he happened to be such a amazing shang-Xian, then why is it that she couldn't even find a name?

Ling Xi was mulling over these contradictions, sitting here alone in front of the bookshelf frozen for a moment. When she finally came to, she sprung up in fright when she saw there was a person in front of her.

“Xiao Hei, you scared me to death!” Ling Xi patted her chest where her thumping heart was still hammering away, not forgetting to give Hei Gongzi a vengeful glare.

The sky was already black, but his robe just had to be black too. It also just happens that his complexion is pale, but his eyes were exceptionally bright. Suddenly seeing him like this, it would be strange to not be startled.

Hei Gongzi's face immediately sunk, not appreciating how she greeted him, “You know I don't like it when you call me that.”

Ling Xi pouted. He was originally a black rose, afterwards he became a little black turtle. He won't let her call him Xiao Hei, won't let her call him Little Turtle, was she supposed to call him Little Rose? Or should she call him Big Black Bear since he always changes into that? She pat herself on the chest, reassuring herself, there's no way he would like that!

“Then let's call you...”

Ling Xi's sentence dragged on as her eyes flitted over the wooden desk. There was a large inkstone on it, some things sitting inside of it caught her eyes. She reached a hand over. By the faint light around her wrist, she tried to see what it was inside.

It was ashes, probably burnt paper. There also seemed to be some remnants that weren't burnt completely.

Ling Xi's interest was piqued. What could've been here that needed to be burned?

She picked up that piece of paper that hadn't completely burned through. There were still two characters left on it... Nan Zhi.

Ling Xi's heart leapt as a sudden idea hit her. She turned around with a big grin, “How about I call you Nan Zhi?”



* * *


Nan Zhi Nan Zhi... This particular night, Ling Xi didn't know why, but just because she had given her Xian spirit such a name, she was having a hard time falling asleep. Counting since she was young, the majority of books she had ever read were those incantations that Feng Shu had made her memorize. The truth was, to come up with a decent name, is really too much of a challenge for her. Fortunately for her, when her hard-to-please Xian spirit heard the name, even though his face was still expressionless, she had the gut feeling he wasn't repulsed by it.

At least when she called him “Nan Zhi”, he wouldn't get mad and run away like he did when he hears “Xiao Hei” or “Little Turtle.”

“Nan Zhi, I don't want to eat wild fruits anymore. Go find something else for me to eat!”

“Nan Zhi, don't turn into a big black bear tonight. Can you turn into a little black bunny? I want to hug you to sleep.”

“Nan Zhi, you finished another book again? The books in Da Shixiong's library won't last you very long!”

“Nan Zhi! Nan Zhi! Today it was raining again, but we still can't hear the thunder or the rain. When do you think we can finally be able to see a true sunset?”

“Nan Zhi! Nan Zhi! Look, I got taller again! If I'm so unlucky to be locked up here for a hundred years, when I get old, die, turn into dust, what will happen to you?”

“Nan Zhi! Nan Zhi! You have to be a good Xian spirit, quickly cultivate a physical body so I can hug the real you...”

Time was like water, in between Ling Xi's countless utterances of “Nan Zhi”, it flowed on like a silent stream.

Ling Xi's everyday life was simple. It consisted of her and Nan Zhi thinking of various ways to utilize that one hour of daylight they had to find food for her to eat and to cultivate and practice incantations. Afterwards, she would 'instruct' Nan Zhi to cultivate diligently. When she thinks about the past, at least what she remembered of it, she would share it with Nan Zhi. She would squabble with him intentionally or unintentionally, try to get him mad, observing his expressionless face and trying to figure out when exactly an expression would appear.

After three years, Nan Zhi had already finished all the books in Feng Shu's library.

Ling Xi was both happy and unhappy about this. She was happy because her Nan Zhi was practically the prodigy of all prodigies. If it had been a normal person cultivating all those books, even a hundred years might not be enough to finish them. Yet he was like someone who already knew everything beforehand, only needing one glance to master it. She was unhappy because while her Xian spirit was making such spectacular progress, she on the other hand was practicing hard every day, yet the only thing she managed to learn was sword gliding, if one could even call it that...

Of course, she would never find a sword here to practice with. What she was gliding with, were merely dried tree branches...

At this moment, facing this house full of books yet unable to find a single one for Nan Zhi to continue his cultivation with the next day, that little scale inside Ling Xi's heart which had been imbalanced all this time finally tipped over.

“Little Turtle! Little Turtle! Little Turtle! Before you cultivate a physical body, you're still a Little Turtle! Now you're called Nan Zhi, but before your name was Xiao Hei and Little Turtle! When you were stomped on by Second Shixiong, you were even a Little Turtle with wings!”

Hence, today Ling Xi yet again used “Little Turtle” and successfully got Nan Zhi to run off in anger.

These past three years, Nan Zhi's running away from home had never stopped, but he had added some new tricks up his sleeve. Sometimes when he came back, he would bring less food and water or he would return late so at least Ling Xi's stomach would feel some guilt. However, that was the extent of his tricks... As soon as it was time for Ling Xi to sleep, no matter how cold that face of his was when he ran off, he would surely come back.

Only today, it was actually different.

Ling Xi waited in the house for an entire hour, yet she never saw Nan Zhi come back. She was starting to panic.

Was he really upset? Should she go find him? How should she coax him? Promise to never use “Little Turtle” to taunt him again?

No no no, she had only discovered this one weakness of his. If she couldn't use “Little Turtle”, she wouldn't be able to control him anymore!

Ling Xi laid there on her bed thinking for what seemed like half a day. In the end, she decided to go out and find him first. Although it was pitch black out there, but she knew that Xu Wang Cliff wasn't that big. If she searched carefully, she should be able to find him.

Thinking this, Ling Xi quickly climbed down from the bed, lit a lantern with an incantation, and went out to find him.

Nobody had stepped foot on the Xu Wang Cliff for sixty years. When Ling Xi first arrived, weeds had overtaken much of the outside of the house. She had been bed-ridden for three months, when summer came, those weeds had already grown to the height of a person already. Afterwards when Nan Zhi and her had more time on their hands, they would tend to the neglected land all over the cliff. Unexpectedly, they found some hardy qilian lilies that hadn't died off. Ling Xi guessed that it must've been Feng Shu who planted them here before. Once all the the weeds were removed, they gathered all of the qilian lilies and replanted them together. The following year, those very flowers they had replanted had unexpectedly grown into a charming field of qilian lilies.

The night sky was thick and black. All her eyes could see was the faint light coming from the lantern in her hand.

It was currently the flowering period of the qilian lilies. As soon as she stepped foot outside, the relaxing scent of the flowers drifted over to her. The fragrant breeze also carried with it soft purple flower petals.

“Nan Zhi...”

Ling Xi's voice was very soft, however in the silence of Xu Wang Cliff, it sounded especially clear. Unfortunately even after calling out a few times, there was still no reply.

Maybe this time... he was very very angry?

Just as Ling Xi was speculating, brows creased together, a silver light flashed across the sky as if intending to crack open the night. For a brief moment, it lit up that field of purple flowers.

Ling Xi was so startled that she fell back a few steps. The strength of it, didn't seem like lightning...

“Nan Zhi!” Ling Xi grew a bit nervous, shouting at the top of her lungs.

Another silver light flashed across the sky, flickering continuously, but strangely there was no sound at all. Almost immediately, the dark sky dissipated, daylight reemerged. In a blink of an eye, Xu Wang Cliff was actually flooded with sunlight again!

Ling Xi was shocked to see the qilian lilies blooming unreserved under the sunlight, to be hearing the long-absent sound of birds chirping, feeling the soft breeze dancing across her fingertips and inhaling the scent of spring in the air.

This... this is...

Xu Wang Cliff's barrier, has actually been broken!
 
 
 
helen 7 on January 5th, 2018 01:01 am (UTC)
Hello! I'm in love with this story and I hope you're continuing to update! Thank you!
(Anonymous) on January 27th, 2018 06:06 am (UTC)

When will you be updating? I love this story so much!!!
(Anonymous) on July 22nd, 2019 08:01 am (UTC)
me too..please start translating agai or else a summary would also be fine atleast we should know what really happened..