The handwritten article was written in ancient writing, and although it was not thick, it still took Mo Wen about half an hour to finish reading it.
To his shocking discovery, the secret chamber's master was the Ming Cult's last leader, Chang Qingfeng, the strongest late stage Golden Elixir realm ancient martial arts practitioner.
The Ming Cult originated from Persia, and was also known as Manichaeism, or the cult of Ming Zun. It entered the central plains of China during the Tang Dynasty. The Tang emperor built Dayun Xingming temples all around it as monasteries for the Ming Cult. The Ming Cult teachings taught doing good and foregoing wrongdoing, and that all life was equal. If wealth was obtained, it should be used to help the poor. They abstained from eating meat and drinking alcohol, and worshipped Ming Zun.
However, the Ming Cult that had expanded for thousands of years had long branched off into its own sect. Although it had originated from Persian Manichaeism, they essentially had no relation now.
Speaking of the Ming Cult, it was known far and wide. Its followers worshipped Ming Zun, who was the God of Fire and the God of Goodness. Therefore, the Ming Cult always made sure to do good and rid of evil. They hated evil with a vengeance.
For dynasties and generations, if the emperor was fatuous and the ministers corrupt, oppressing the people and resulting in the people unable to make a living, the Ming Cult would always rise up to challenge the government and overthrow the emperor.
As such, the Ming Cult constantly faced crackdown from the government and ended up being labelled as an evil cult. The government strictly prohibited them, and called other righteous sects to prosecute them.
But the Ming Cult had been around for thousands of years. Whether it was its underlying foundation or its influence, both should not be underestimated. Although historically, the government had always set mandates to eradicate the Ming Cult, they had never once succeeded in doing so.
The Golden Age of the Ming Cult was when they overthrew the once glorious Yuan Dynasty, taking over the lands and establishing the Ming Dynasty, which would prosper for hundreds of years. The Ming Cult was then established as the national religion, achieving the pinnacle in its thousand years of existence.
Chang Qingfeng was the cult leader when the Ming Cult was most prosperous, but he was also the last cult leader of the Ming Cult.
According to him, around three to four hundred years ago, the martial arts circles in the central plains of China faced an unprecedented catastrophe. The balance of the world changed, and many martial arts sects were eradicated. Even though it had remained steadfast for thousands of years, the Ming Cult was not spared even as a national religion.
After the catastrophe, the once prosperous Ming Cult fell apart, fragmented. Cult leader Chang Qingfeng was severely wounded until he was on the brink of death. In order to preserve the legacy of the Ming Cult, he desperately fought and escaped entrapment, hiding himself in the mountains.
Due to the fall of the Ming Cult, the Ming Dynasty suffered a heavy blow and was overthrown; the Manchurians seized the opportunity and conquered the central plains of China.
Although the handwritten article did not clearly state what the catastrophe was, to be able to topple dynasties, thousand year old cults, and kill off a later stage Golden Elixir realm ancient martial arts practitioner, it was no trifle matter.
Mo Wen was intrigued as to what world-changing catastrophe happened three hundred years ago; what secrets did it hide for the cult leader, Chang Qingfeng, to be so secretive and avoid talking about it in his handwritten article.
Luckily, before the catastrophe befell, Chang Qingfeng had already prepared for the worst, providing the Ming Cult with an escape route. Although the Ming Cult was fragmented, it was not entirely eradicated, and there still existed many hidden forms of the Ming Cult's influence in the world. However, after hundreds of years, whether or not these remnants of the Ming Cult survived was hard to say.
This cave abode was one of the last cards in Chang Qingfeng's hand. Almost all of the Ming Cult's most complete archive and the most prized treasures were stored here in this cave abode.
However, to keep it a secret, and to avoid incident, Chang Qingfeng did not inform the others of the Ming Cult at the time, wanting to wait till they had truly been backed into a corner and were at the end of their rope before confiding in his close aides.
But the ferocity of the catastrophe was far beyond his expectations. Before he knew it, the Ming Cult was fragmented; there were those who died, those who were wounded, and those who fled. His series of arrangements all turned to ash. Finally, he, himself, was gravely wounded and escaped into the secret cave abode, passing on not long after.
From the handwritten article, Chang Qingfeng's resentment and regret could clearly be seen; with his death, the position of cult leader was not passed on, implying that the Ming Cult would be forever fragmented, each division being their own master. Without its complete heritage, the Ming Cult was no longer the Ming Cult of Old.
Mo Wen sighed. A cult that lasted for thousands of years being overturned and disappearing from the face of the earth was somewhat lamentable. Nothing lasts forever; to boom, then bust that was probably the best portrayal of the Ming Cult.
But the following words in the handwritten article caused Mo Wen to frown.
Chang Qingfeng hoped that whoever was fated to enter the cave abode would be able to pass on the Ming Cult's teachings, become the Ming Cult's 49th cult leader, then rally the Ming Cult's followers to rebuild the Ming Cult and restore it to its former glory.
Mo Wen felt somewhat conflicted towards this condition. The heritage of the Ming Cult in the cave abode may not necessarily be of use to him, as his martial arts teachings were of its own strain and system. Although Chang Qingfeng made the Ming Cult's magnum opuses, the Nine Yang Scripture, and The Heaven and Earth Great Shift sound divine, without having actually practiced them, who knew if they were true?
Not to mention that even if it was truly as incredible as described, Mo Wen would not necessarily learn it, as the Mo clan was also a distinguished family of martial arts practitioners with a thousand year heritage. Their clan's most treasured martial arts teaching, the Celestial Scripture: Sun and Moon, was also a revered tome in the martial arts circle, and was not necessarily weaker than the Nine Yang Scripture.
He had practiced the Celestial Scripture: Sun and Moon for decades; he already had his own personal understanding and insights. On the other hand, he had never practiced the Nine Yang Scripture. To forsake practicing the Celestial Scripture: Sun and Moon and then to practice the Nine Yang Scripture felt like putting the cart before the horse.
To help Chang Qingfeng rebuild the Ming Cult for the magnum opuses of the Ming Cult that he could not use didn't seem worth it.
Although having the title of Ming Cult cult leader had a nice ring to it, being the cult leader was not an easy job; to put it plainly, he was but a commander with no army. There may still be remnants of the Ming Cult's influence, but after three to four hundred years,whether anyone even remembered the Ming Cult was another thing entirely.
Even if their hearts were still with the Ming Cult, whether they would accept him as cult leader and obey his commands was a whole other matter. Without some serious capability, his position of cult leader would most probably be short lived.
So even though Chang Qingfeng's promised benefits seemed attractive, the reality of the situation was far from so.
Although, he could just claim the Ming Cult's possessions as his own. Who cares about the Ming Cult? Who cares about the request of Chang Qingfeng?
However, such an act was clearly something that Mo Wen would not do. He had always followed his heart, stressing on having a clear conscience.He would feel guilty if he gratuitously received benefits without doing anything.
Although he was conflicted, Mo Wen was still very curious about the Ming Cult's magnum opuses, the Nine Yang Scripture, and The Heaven and Earth Great Shift. For these martial arts magnum opuses to able to cause thousands of years of conflict in the martial arts circles of the central plains of China, surely, there was some merit to them.
He took up a sandalwood box from the stone table, and inside, there were three ancient manuscripts. As he scanned them, he realized they were the Nine Yang Scripture, the Nine Yin Scripture, and The Heaven and Earth Great Shift, respectively.
According to Chang Qingfeng, the Nine Yang Scripture and the Nine Yin Scripture were the magnum opuses of the martial arts circles of the central plains of China for thousands of years, renowned as the top martial arts teachings. On more than one occasion, the martial arts circles were riled up in conflict and bloodshed, each sect displaying their influence and power to obtain them.
In the heyday of the Ming Cult, they completed their collection of the Nine Yang Scripture and the Nine Yin Scripture, honoring the scriptures as the cult's most treasured magnum opuses. Only the cult leaders were allowed to practice them.
The world's martial arts teachings were enormous, profound, endless, and had no strongest one. The Nine Yin and Nine Yang were the top martial arts teachings. Though somewhat exaggerated, this showed that these manuscripts were remarkable.
Since the Ming Cult's 34th cult leader, the Ming cult began to prosper. That generation's cult leader was astonishing. His luck, his talent, and his martial arts were all a one of a kind. He was worthy of the title of The World's Top Martial Arts Practitioner.
It was precisely because of him did the Nine Yang Scripture and the Nine Yin Scripture get compiled together. He managed to assimilate the essences from both books, completing the mutual metamorphoses of the Yin and Yang, and achieving the Golden Elixir path. His cultivation achieved new height in martial arts teachings; it was said that he entered the secret realm beyond the Golden Elixir realm. His achievement was greatly admired and feared by numerous warriors.