Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The library of Dali Academy was one of the wealthiest places in all of Dali Dynasty in terms of the variety of books available. One could even say that if there was something more precious other than the palace of Dali Imperial City, it was the books stored in the library of Dali Academy.
Dali Dynasty was a royal force, and many of the most powerful books and records regarding the most powerful cultivation methods available were all found within the palace. Dali Academy earned the support of Emperor Li back then when the place was established all those years ago. As such, many of the books found within the library were copied from the ones in Emperor Li’s Palace. As the place had gotten increasingly established, the library of the Dali Academy had become something like a holy land among holy lands. Powerful books on cultivation were available in untold numbers to the students of Dali Academy for furthering their training.
But then again, all students of Dali Academy couldn’t have access to all of the books found within the library. Every single cultivator found in Dali Academy had a different level of clearance, and the forum event held every year at Dali Academy held the key to such clearance. However, Ye Futian skipped all of that and gained the highest level of clearance due to being a personal student of the imperial advisor. This allowed him access to any cultivation method found within the library.
If the imperial advisor was to be said to be the supreme figure under Emperor Li in Emperor Li’s City, then the statuses of the imperial advisor’s personal students were about just below that of the princes and princesses. Even the descendants of the fourth prince dared not claim they had higher prestige than the students of the imperial advisor unless there were some exceptional figures on par with the students.
Li Xuan was a descendant of the prince regent, one of those from the third generation of the Prince Regent’s Residence. If he were to be compared with Lu Chuan or any of the imperial advisor’s students, no one would have taken Li Xuan’s status to be on par with that of Lu Chuan and the others. Many were descended from the princes, yet there were only six students who studied directly under the imperial advisor.
Due to the need for separating the level of clearance between the students, the library of the Dali Academy was divided into 18 floors, and the building looked magnificent. When Ye Futian came to the library, there were many students of the Dali Academy found there, who were either found browsing the books on the racks or flipping through them on the benches.
“Seventh Swordsman.” Someone quickly took notice of Ye Futian. More and more people lifted their heads to look at him with sparkling eyes. The Seventh Swordsman was then the number one below Saint Plane in Dali Imperial City.
“Seventh Swordsman, how powerful was Di Hao?” a beautiful female student asked with a smile. Ye Futian glanced at her and walked away without replying.
The place was in an uproar right there and then. Many whispered and mumbled among themselves, finding him to be just as flippant and arrogant as he was rumored to be. However, none of them felt that there was anything wrong with him. He was the number one below Saint Plane in Dali Dynasty after all, so it was only natural that he had the right to be arrogant. That was the Seventh Swordsman they knew.
“Aloof, indeed.” The woman who was ignored smiled and did not take his response to heart, thinking that he was extremely handsome and that his eyes seemed to be able to enchant people. He was indeed one of a kind among geniuses.
Ye Futian went directly to some of the upper floors in the library, browsing through a good number of books on swordsmanship and then some other methods of training as well. The very reason why he chose to come to the library first was so that he was able to train in more powers, which he would then incorporate within his way of the sword, developing sword arts that were uniquely his. Furthermore, even if he were to use some other powers in future battles, nobody would have found anything off with him. Other than that, he was indeed genuinely interested in furthering his training to improve his powers and to comprehend the great path better. He was already capable of moving towards sainthood at present, after all.
“God-slayer Sword. Sword Sutra of the Void.” Ye Futian found several books on swordsmanship and flipped through them. All of them were sword arts that allowed the user to attack spiritual will directly. Among the techniques found within the God-slayer Sword was the God-slayer Sword Matrix.
Ye Futian thought that might have been something that he had experienced quite a while ago. The nine mighty ones that Li Yao sent to participate in the Sacred War all those years ago used that sword techniques, which allowed them to kill gods.
He flipped through several other books on footwork, which he found useful for disguising the Footwork of Xuanyuan. Some of the methods found in the upper floors of the library were hardly any weaker than those found in the Golden Hall of the Lotus in Emperor Xia’s Palace. Due to having the highest level of clearance, he was able to browse the most powerful methods of training available in the library.
Ye Futian spent days training in the library. When he came to develop some realization, he went on to sit in a corner and develop them further. While it was impossible for him to unleash any powers in the library itself, he was nonetheless able to simulate them in his Life Palace.
Ye Futian walked out of the library after training for many days. Many of the students were astonished to find that the Seventh Swordsman was indeed a maniac of the sword, who was after nothing but furthering his path and his art in swordsmanship further. However, to Ye Futian, since he was already peerless below the saints at his current state, and he was also a student of the imperial advisor, there was indeed little that he sought after.
Ye Futian looked for information on Nan Zhai’s training ground as soon as he left the library, and came to the second brother. Yan Yuan once said that if he needed answers on furthering his path, he would look for Nan Zhai. Nan Zhai was painting and looking carefree and peaceful when Ye Futian came where he was.
“I heard that you are of supreme state of mind. You indeed look carefree and unbridled,” Ye Futian mumbled to himself deep down, getting ready to evaluate Nan Zhai’s artwork. However, when he did come look at the painting that Nan Zhai was working on, he felt as if he went to the wrong person. The strokes were unruly and in a total mess, without any rules or traditions that one was able to find in most artwork. He was unable to tell what Nan Zhai was painting.
“What do you think of my work, little brother?” Nan Zhai asked.
“Good,” Ye Futian said.
“How so?” Nan Zhai smiled and looked at Ye Futian.
“Good in the sense that I’m unable to see anything from it,” Ye Futian replied earnestly.
“…” Nan Zhai was dumbfounded but then smiled and nodded. “You speak truthfully.” He then put his brush down and looked at Ye Futian, asking, “I’ve heard that you’ve been spending days training in the library. What brings you here today?”
“Brother, I’ve come to comprehend multiple wills of the great path in my training, enabling me to merge them to become my own and turn them into my attacks, but I’m still unable to get to Saint Plane. I even think that Saint Plane seems to be very far away from me, and I’m unable to find the way in.” Ye Futian continued, “I’m here to ask for your guidance. Sainthood is flawless. What does ‘flawless’ mean in this case?”
“My brother,” Nan Zhai then looked at Ye Futian and said with a solemn tone, “you have comprehended many wills of the great path, and you are peerless below the saints. Why do you need to be in a hurry to reach sainthood? Seeking the path is tiring, and there are countless in the Dali Academy that talk about you. I’m sure that there are many very, very beautiful girls among the students who have taken a liking to you. If you’re willing to talk to them about life, it would be wondrous. Don’t you think?”
“…” Ye Futian felt that he came to the wrong person. Was this really that Nan Zhai, that second student of the imperial advisor, who was said to have a transcendental state of mind?
“Guess I’ll just head to the library, then.” Ye Futian turned around and was about to leave.
“Gosh, what a waste of those good looks.” Nan Zhai shook his head sighing, then asked, “So what do you think ‘flawless’ means?”
“One has who has no regrets in their mind and who is devoted to seeking the path?” Ye Futian asked.
“Saints notwithstanding, not even the Renhuang, could claim that they have no regrets.” Nan Zhai said, “What ‘flawless’ illustrates is a state of mind. It doesn’t speak of being devoid of regrets, but rising above them.”
“Please enlighten me, brother.” Ye Futian came to seek guidance earnestly.
“There is no such thing as a truly perfect state of mind. Be it at doctrine, true self, or unblemished states. None could truly achieve absolute perfection.” Nan Zhai then elaborated, “I don’t agree to how such states of mind are said to be ‘flawless.’ I think that the state of mind of saints should be illustrated as ‘transcendental’ instead.”
“What do you mean?” Ye Futian asked.
“Have you heard of the expression of ‘the mind of a person is measured in square inches’?” Nan Zhai asked.
“I have.” Ye Futian nodded.
“That is the size of a person. There is only so much a place measured in square inches can hold. Although you have comprehended many wills of the great path and use your development for attacks in battle, you’re still trapped within that piece of space measured in square inches, and that is why you cannot become a saint.” Nan Zhai then continued, “That applies to everyone. The Saint Plane is a plane that requires all-around elevation.
“As for transcendence, there are two types to it. One being of deep-rooted persistence, breaking through that space measured in square inches through sheer brute force and meld with the great path. Even if these people could achieve transcendence and become saints, every step they would have taken in the future would be hampered by their states of mind, making it difficult for them to get far on their path of sainthood. An overwhelming majority of such saints would have hit a dead-end—their very limit—when they reach the state of true self, never able to move further forever. But then again, if some saints are indeed able to step even further, they would become terrifying beings indeed.”
Nan Zhai’s words caused Ye Futian to twitch. For some reason, that reminded him of one person—the Glass Saint. Her deep-rooted hatred and obsession allowed her to break through that space measured in square inches.
“Even if they were to get to the unblemished stage, such states would still actually be flawed. As such, I believe much more in the other kind of transcendence.” Nan Zhai continued, “It is a kind of transcendence that I find difficult to place with words.”
“For instance, you seek the way of the sword. If there shall be a day when you find that you could do with the way of the sword, you would still be practicing the way of the sword, even if you were never to use a sword again, and that would be transcendence.”
“Or for instance, there is someone who keeps pursuing one thing, but one day, they just found that that they became able to put that one thing down, let go, and move on to encompass all. That, too, is transcendence.
“Or, yet, another example. Someone who spent their life seeking the way, was then met with a life and death situation, but found that they became able to let go of everything and see their situation in a tranquil manner. Their state of mind transcended the state of life and death. That, yet again, would be transcendence.
“This is my take on the matter of transcendence. Everyone has their unique experience with it, but you are in a transcendental state of mind. You will then be able to break through that space measured in square inches, melding your mind with the great path, and achieved the towering, heavenly state of mind. The heavenly path shall then take notice and rain the catastrophe of the great path upon you,” Nan Zhai elaborated slowly.
Ye Futian felt insightful and enlightened. He was able to recall several people from Nan Zhai’s elaborations. The number one below saints in Lihen Heaven, the Edge of Pinnacle below Saint Plane—Wang Chuan. He lost to Ye Futian at the 33rd Layer of Heaven in Lihen Heaven on that day. He struggled against his loss in pain but then chose to let go. He then transcended and merged with the great path. He transcended his ego at that moment.
His teacher—Douzhan—fought a life-and-death battle in the Holy Zhi Palace in the Nine States all those years ago. Huang Xi borrowed the will of Renhuang in the imperial mausoleum to fight. Both of them put their lives aside and transcended everything, enabling them to achieve sainthood. As Nan Zhai put it, such transcendence was the true state of mind of saints. A space measured in square inches would not have been able to meld with the world.
“Thank you for your guidance, brother.” Ye Futian bowed. That conversation made him realize that the second student of the imperial advisor—Nan Zhai—was the real deal.
“Well, we’re a family, so no need to be polite about it. As such, don’t fuss yourself over too much with seeking the way. Put it aside for a change and to talk to a girl about life. You might be able to achieve that required opened state of mind and be on your way to sainthood,” Nan Zhai narrowed his eyes to a slit smiling and said.
“…” Ye Futian became utterly speechless, then said, “I’ll look for the third brother next then.” He left as soon as he finished.