There was one other problem.
If Li Linghai was a regular noble of the Imperium of True Human Beings, perhaps Li Yao could still have tried to look for her when he went to the homeland of the Imperium one day in the future.
But she was the Crown Princess of the Imperium of True Human Beings!
Li Yao did not know how long it would take before he went to the homeland of the Imperium, but when he did, she would probably be the queen of the Imperium!
So, how exactly was Li Yao going to barge into the royal palace in the capital of the Imperium and have a nice chat with His Majesty’s wife?
The picture was so beautiful that Li Yao shuddered in coldness.
While he was upset, the old tortoise Gui Suishou appeared out of nowhere again and said with a smile, “My young friend Li Yao, you seem worried. What’s troubling you?”
Li Yao frowned and snapped, “A lot of things are troubling me, but nothing that you can take care of, Master Gui.”
Gui Suishou blinked his bean-sized eyes and said, “Why? I may be not intelligent enough, but I am a few years older than my young friend after all. I can certainly share some of my life experience with my young friend. It can perhaps solve the puzzles in my young friend’s heart!”
“Isn’t it obvious?” Li Yao said. “Master Gui, you are an ‘absolute pessimist’ who believes in the unavoidable doom of our civilization! If so, in your eyes, all our struggles and endeavors right now should be futile. What can I gain by telling you things that are upsetting me?”
“It seems that you have somewhat misunderstood ‘absolute pessimism’!” Gui Suishou was good-tempered enough to not react when Li Yao was lambasting him so straightforwardly. “Let me ask you something, my young friend Li Yao. Do you believe that everybody is destined to die?”
What kind of question is that? Li Yao was dazed. He blurted out, “Of course. It is the law of nature to age and die. I am not that kind of guy who blindly pursues an eternal life!”
Gui Suishou sighed. “No matter how brilliant and glorious one’s life is, they will end up as a pile of dry bones eventually. In hundreds of years, even those bones will be entirely gone. Right?”
Li Yao nodded and did not think that it was a big deal. “It is enough as long as their life shined brilliantly once. What’s the big deal even if there’s nothing left in the end?”
“Therefore, I can call you a person who believes in the unavoidable doom of life,” Gui Suishou said unhurriedly. “You believe that you cannot escape from your death no matter how hard you try, right?”
Li Yao was rendered speechless for a moment.
“If you believe that a living creature is destined to die one day and that you are not an exception, why are you striving and struggling so hard right now?” Gui Suishou said carefully. “For you, does the short life before death mean anything?”
“Of course!” Li Yao felt that a pot of boiling oil was poured into his messy head. “Isn’t it nonsense? We are not living our lives just because we are going to die sooner or later?”
Gui Suishou smiled casually. “Right now, my young friend Li Yao, you should understand the essence of the ‘absolute pessimism’ better now, right?
“You believe that everybody is destined to die, but you won’t deny the value of their hard work when they are alive, will you?
“On the contrary, it is exactly because death awaits everybody that ‘life’ is full of precious significance.
“If an eternal life does exist, everything that the undying person does will be truly meaningless!
“This is just like a race. Only if there is a finish line will a race be meaningful. If everybody has to run incessantly without a finish line, who will be ever persistent enough to run on?
“By the same logic, I believe in the inevitable doom of the human civilization, but I do not deny the value of human civilization just because of that, nor am I disapproving of the efforts that everybody, including you, is making while trying to save the civilization!
“It is exactly because I believe that our civilization will eventually perish that I have been given the privilege to observe our civilization from a more transcendental perspective and record every shining point of our civilization on the great monument of civilization!
“This is the essence of the Monument Scholars. Have you got it, my young friend Li Yao?”
Li Yao’s eyes were blinking faster than the flapping wings of a butterfly. “… More or less.”
“Then, would you like to tell me what is bothering you?” Gui Suishou asked very kindly.
Li Yao scratched his hair for a long time. He suddenly felt that all the cr*ppy old men were sophisticated enough to muddle his head with only a few words.
Thinking for a moment, Li Yao said, “Master Gui, there is indeed a question that has confused me for quite a few days. In fact, it is not exactly one question but a whole bunch of questions!”
Gui Suishou pointed at the uneven ground and said, “I’d like to know the details.”
Not caring about whether the ground was clean or not, Li Yao sat down and started discussing his questions with Gui Suishou.
“Before the Imperium of True Human Beings and the Alliance of the Holy Covenant revealed their true faces, I was an avid believer of the ideology I used to believe in,” Li Yao said honestly. “However, after I engaged with the Immortal Cultivators and someone from the Covenant Alliance on Kunlun and learned part of their ideologies from different perspectives, and especially after I got a clear understanding about the origins of the Immortal Cultivators, I grew confused again.
“My belief is very firm. Of course, it is not the core principle that ordinary people must be protected that is wavering.
“However, the history of the decline of the Cultivators’ civilizations that the Immortal Cultivators showed me seemed rather plausible. There are indeed certain internal contradictions within the Cultivators’ civilizations that are barely resolvable!
“The Curly Dragon civilization, the Medicine Fork civilization, the Martial Meritocrats civilization… and dozens more civilizations of Cultivators have declined for various reasons. The ‘diseases’ that caused them to decline are not entirely unseen in the Star Glory Federation!
“The so-called ‘true path of immortality’ is certainly not a treatment to cure the diseases; it is just a dose of violent drugs that can stimulate the potential of the body for a short time, making them appear energetic, but will in fact hide the real causes of the diseases. When the effect of the drugs is over, the diseases will get worse and kill the patient!
“However, it appears to me that the path of the Cultivators cannot address the problems completely, either. It can’t create a perfect world!”
“Perfect world?” Gui Suishou was amused. “My young friend Li Yao, you’ve been too obstinate. Is there really such a thing as ‘perfect world’?
“Civilization is too large and complicated a concept. We can’t make everything clear for the time being. So, let’s take human beings as an example.
“For every person in the world, even if they are born in a rich family, always pay attention to their health, and work hard to maintain it, it is always possible that they may be ill every once in a while, right?
“Which mortal in the mundane world can guarantee that they will be free of illnesses and worries forever? Only those in the tombs, I’m afraid!”
Deep in thought, Li Yao asked, “What should they do if they have worries?”
“Anything that suits them!” Gui Suishou said casually. “When you are ill, you go to a physician. When you are anxious, you go to a therapist. If the problems can’t be solved, you drink or cry your troubles away… Don’t all nobles and smallfolk spend their entire lives battling through such troubles and obstacles in such ways?”
Li Yao frowned. “But some illness and worries are untreatable!”
“Then, they may die.” Looking at the bright purple clouds not far away, Gui Suishou said slowly, “Now that you also know that doctors are not deities and that some diseases are beyond treatment, the doctors may not be to blame even if the patients pass away in the end.
“By the same logic, Cultivators are not deities. What makes you think that the destruction of the Curly Dragon Sector, the Medicine Fork Sector, the Martial Meritocrats Sector, and all the other civilizations is the fault of the path of the Cultivators?
“As you said yourself, it is the law of nature to age and die. Every material declines. Even the burning sun will fade away one day. Why do you think that a civilization will never be sick or die?
“When a civilization is sick, we must find a way to treat it. If this prescription doesn’t work, we will switch to the next one. After all the prescriptions have been tried and none of them prove useful, we will try to leave our message and die with dignity. This is the worldview of us Monument Scholars.”
Li Yao’s face seemed to be mired in a deep valley.
One moment, he was confused, enlightened the next, and then, hollow. There was no telling where his mind had floated to.
After pondering for a moment, Li Yao finally mumbled, “Master Gui, your words do make a lot of sense. I seem to be asking for trouble before trouble troubles me!”
“Precisely.” Gui Suishou nodded with a smile, “If you believe that the most important thing for a living person is not how healthy and how long their life is, but what dazzling brilliance they unleash while they are alive, is it otherwise for a civilization?
“As long as the civilization of mankind leaves a heavy, ineffaceable stroke on the canvas that is the sea of stars, will we be regretful even if our civilization walks to its doom one day in the future?
“At the very least, the Monument Scholars will try our best to record the brilliant stroke as perfectly as possible and spray it to infinite lightyears away and eons later as our ‘offspring’ and ‘legacy’!”
Narrowing his eyes, Li Yao looked at the clouds in the sky that were rolling like surging tides.
Yet, his eyes seemed to be piercing through the clouds and darting into the depths of the universe.
His heart was pounding, his breath was hasty, and his eyes were glittering. The worries that had plagued him for days were gone.
He could not wait to leave his own ineffaceable trace on the enormous ‘canvas’!