Chu Li saw Su Ru out, and when he returned, Xue Ling had taken away the dishes to warm them up again and only left two to go with the wine.
Chu Li smiled and shook his head. Xue Ling may come across as cold and proud, but she is truly meticulous and good in her work and he could only adapt to it.
Shortly, Xue Ling served the dishes once more, they were piping hot and smelled good.
Chu Li put down his wine cup and started eating, thinking about the Sentient Menace while he was doing so.
Xue Ling washed up the plates and returned to his side. Chu Li suddenly asked her," Xue Ling, do you know any Buddhist Austerities?"
She shook her head, "no, I don't."
"Can you read, then?"
"Yes, of course!"
"Can you read Buddhist Scriptures?"
Xue Ling nodded, "maybe? But Master, I do not believe in Buddhism!"
Ever since her father was killed, she stopped believing in Buddha. Her mother was a religious Buddhist, even praying to Buddha at home and burnt incense and recited Buddhist scriptures on a daily basis.
Xue Ling never batted an eye and did not bother at all. If Buddha was really so great with magical powers, He would not have let someone as good-willed as her father to meet a violent death.
Karma is supposed to be where kindness always begets kindness, and there will be retribution for your comeuppance, but these are all nonsense to her!
Chu Li said, "get me a copy of Scripture of Titanium."
"... alright." Xue Ling was puzzled, but she did not pry further.
In today's world, the art of martial skills was flourishing. Those who practice Buddhism is said to be thriving as well, and is fast catching up and overtaking the Taoists. The Deer Cliff's martial art skills were mysterious and difficult to comprehend, while The Temple of Tempest was better famed for not knowing bounds!
Because of that, there were many Buddhists out there hence it should be easy to get a copy of the Scripture of Titanium. She just had to round the island once and would surely find a copy.
She did just that and returned to the gazebo, and handed the scripture in both hands to Chu Li.
Accepting it, Chu Li glanced at it. He nodded. This is very common scripture which can be found easily. He gave it back to Xue Ling, "read it to me."
Xue Ling looked at him, took the scripture and started to read from it.
"Just like what I have heard"
Chu Li listed to her quietly. She read fluently and was steady in her speed, her voice clear and melodious. She was enjoyable to hear.
She finished reading. Chu Li smiled, "not bad!"
Xue Ling gave him a puzzled look, not understanding what he is trying to say.
"Xue Ling, when I cultivate later, please stand on the side and read out the scripture for me."
"Wouldn't that disturb you?"
"Don't worry, just read it!"
Xue Ling nodded her head lightly in acknowledgment.
Chu Li smiled and continued, "You better prepare some spirit herbs and make tea to soothe your throat for later."
"Will do," Xue Ling got up and left to prepare.
She returned half an hour later with a small bag of spirit herbs, and proceeded to boil water to make tea. "Shall we start, Master?"
"Yes!" said Chu Li.
He stood up, walked out of the gazebo, and started to cultivate the Sentient Menace. With Xue Ling reading the scripture on the side, he practiced the 72 forms again and again. Her voice was calm, peaceful and she read at a steady pace.
Xue Ling has never read a Buddhist scripture before, but she had heard her mother chanted it and she sounded just like her mother now.
She was not in a hurry. It was not about how many times she read it. Once Chu Li started cultivating, he will take at least up to half a day for it. It would be better if she reads it slowly and not rush it.
She tried to memorize the scripture as she read it. It was tiring for her eyes to always have to look hard at it, to ease her fatigue, it may be better to memorize it.
With the chanting of the scripture accompanying him, Chu Li's frame of mind started to change. It was as if he's in a rite and out-of-body, his heart calm and being one with the Scripture of Titanium, forsaking all conceptions of form and resolved to develop the enlightened mind.
He was free from the concept of time and burden of space, letting go of this mortal world and six senses; only his sub-conscious remained cultivating the Sentient Menace.
When he finally awoke from his thoughts, Xue Ling was looking at him quietly. She had long stopped chanting the scripture.
"What is it?" Chu Li noted her weird expression.
She pointed at the sky, "Master, look at the sky."
Chu Li looked up and realized that dusk was setting in, and lanterns around were being lit. A day passed by with his absentmindedness.
Xue Ling explained, "Master, you were cultivating so intensely, I dare not interrupt you!"
Chu Ling nodded, "You did right!"
He felt energized without a trace of fatigue. In fact, he felt more vigorous, as if he could punch a hole in the sky with one shot. Today's cultivation has improved tremendously compared to the past few days as such this must be the correct way to practice.
Buddhist Austerities and martial arts combined for the spirit to be separate from the body; while the spirit is in harmony with Buddhist Austerity, the physical body cultivates the Sentient Menace. Do the disciples of The Temple of Tempest also cultivate as such? Above and beyond profound meditation skills, a very determined frame of mind and spirit is required to do so to comprehend the true essence of Buddhism. This is not a feat that can be easily achieved by anybody.
Xue Ling said, "Master, let me warm up the food again!"
She dashed off and started to warm up the food. She could not stop thinking about how Chu Li was cultivating just now it was very bizarre, as if his spirit was out-of-body leaving an empty shell behind.
Chu Li was starving, finishing all 10 dishes very quickly and finished one full jar of wine. When he was done, he sighed contently.
Putting down the wine jar, Xue Ling asked, "Master, are we continuing this tomorrow?"
"We will continue at night. How's your throat?"
The spirit herb tea she made was helpful to soothe and nourish her throat. She did not feel tired at all as she also intentionally preserved her energy.
Chu Li looked at her. She seemed to have a mouthful of things to complain, yet she agreed to his saying without hesitation. She definitely has agood aptitude.
He tried to sense the Glory's Will Tree. It is still weak, and he could not channel its spiritual energy just yet. Perhaps in a few days' time, he should be able to do so to help him cultivate the Sentient Menace and see how it goes.
After dinner, Chu Li chilled for a while before continuing his cultivation.
Xue Ling started to chant again. She had already memorized the scripture. Her voice remained clear, audible and melodious just like before.
Chu Li entered into a new frame of mind again, being one with the Scripture of Titanium, leaving only his sub-conscious cultivating the Sentient Menace.
Xue Ling observed that his eyes started to turn blank, knowing that his mind seemed to be wandering out-of-body again. It was marvelous that he was still able to cultivate the Sentient Menace in such a phase.
She suddenly found an interest in the Scripture of Titanium. Chu Li was not like this without the scripture before, only when it was being chanted that he was like this. Is it true that there could be an indescribable power within the Scripture of Titanium?
She thought of her mother and shook her head. Her mother had been chanting it for over half of her life, yet she never realized any magical powers. Her character remained unchanged and still nagged Xue Ling a lot.
At this point, Xue Ling believed that it did not matter whether she continued reciting the scripture or not, since Chu Li wouldn't be able to hear her anyway. But she refused to be lazy and continued her recital.
The moon came up -- large, round, shining brightly with its light, gentle and soft.
The lanterns in the gazebo were not lit. It was clear enough to see with the moonlight.
Under the moonlight, Chu Li's body seemed to emit a golden glow, making him strange yet interesting. His pair of hands also glowed, though they were shinier as if it's carved out of actual gold.
He cultivated till midnight before finally awakened. Xue Ling prepared supper for him. The long day of cultivation was truly draining. The Sentient Menace not only demanded inner energy, but also his Five Grains Energy.
Xue Ling declined Chu Li's invitation to sit down and dine with him. He stopped being polite and finished the food quickly.
Xue Ling looked up at the sky, stood up and walked out of the gazebo to cultivate her Eight Forms of Crescent Cryptic.
Chu Li observed for a while and shook his head, telling her, "Xue Ling, you are not gentle enough."
Xue Ling stopped and looked at him helplessly.
She believed she was already very gentle, as soft as a baby. She did not even use an ounce of energy, but she was getting good results. She cultivated her eight forms, before proceeding with the Crescent Cryptic. Her inner energy swirled around in her body, advancing her cultivation progress.
Chu Li said, "read some scriptures, it will help you."
"Will do," Xue Ling nodded.
Chu Li pondered for a while, stood up and said to her, "Actuallylet me help you a bit."
He took out a long sword which was hanging on a red pole in the gazebo. Taking out the sword and placing it away, he held the scabbard and moved towards Xue Ling.
"Let's start practicing, shall we?"
Xue Ling looked at the scabbard and started again.
'Wham!' Chu Li hit her on her waist with the scabbard suddenly.
"Ergh!" She grunted in surprise at the sudden strike. A sudden hot sensation passed through her body from her waist, she felt as if she was in a hot tub. She relaxed and her movements changed.
Chu Li said, "remember that feeling!"
Xue Ling blushed. She was embarrassed with her grunt. She concentrated and tried to remember that feeling.
Chu Li shook his head, advising her, "You try too hard. Learn how to let things flow naturally. The more you try too hard, the more you will get nervous and you will never succeed."
He raised the scabbard again and struck her on the shoulder. Xue Ling's movements softened and once again, she could feel the warm sensation flowing through her body.
She could finally feel something. She moved lazily, without using much energy.
Chu Li struck her again on her back at her tailbone.
She blushed immediately, and tried her best to not fart. Because of the warm flow in her body, she had this urge to pass wind but it was indecent and rude hence she held onto it with her best. Her face turned beet red. Nothing was as cute as a pretty lady being bashful and shy.
Chu Li chuckled and did not say a word. He went back to the gazebo and kept away the scabbard before leaving for his house, telling Xue Ling, "take your time, I'm going to sleep first!"