There was more than one volume of “Secret Method of Spiritual Cultivation,” and the contents include more than just information about cultivation furnaces. Besides the part about “How to Dual Cultivate with a Furnace,” there is also “The Secrets of Dual Cultivation” section, and “How to Find a Suitable Dual Cultivation Partner.”
Mo Qi probably saw a keyword and gave the entire set of books to Qi Shu.
The one that Gu Hanjiang had picked up was the book titled “108 Dual Cultivation Positions.”
“Shi, Shi, Shi—Shizun!” said Qi Shu. Qi Shu tried to grab the book from the Heavenly Venerable Immortal’s hand, but his Shizun was too skillful. Qi Shu couldn’t even touch his Shizun’s sleeve and nearly fell at his feet even as Gu Hanjiang got hold of the book.
Gu Hanjiang casually turned a page.
It was as though time stood still.
Qi Shu, who was crouched on the floor, not even daring to look up at his Shizun, said in a whisper, “Shizun, please listen to my explanation…”
The expression on the Heavenly Venerable Immortal’s face was solemn1. “Hmm.”
“This book…” said Qi Shu. In fact, he hadn’t read it much. The “Secret Method of Spiritual Cultivation” book was the same as other ancient books, discussing romantic affairs in clear detail with every action and technique described as though it was a martial arts technique. The elaborate descriptions used obscure words which made Qi Shu lose interest and become sleepy.
He should have hidden this book.
Who knew Shizun would come looking for him?!
Qi Shu was wondering how to make up an excuse, or, ahem, how to explain, when the door of the room was suddenly pushed open.
“Venerable Immortal, I was the one who put that book in there!” Mo Qi stood outside the door, his face red.
Gu Hanjiang: “…”
Qi Shu: “?”
Mo Qi quickly walked in and knelt in front of Gu Hanjiang, saying, “I know my mistake. Today, when Shixiong came to the library to study, I helped him find some secret books. This one was accidentally…. added to the pile. Shixiong definitely wasn’t trying to learn about the furnace physique, much less how to raise a furnace. I hope that the Venerable Immortal will judge it fairly!”
Qi Shu: “…”
What was this person talking about??? How could he dare to mention this delicate matter in front of Shizun? Wasn’t he afraid of touching Shizun’s sore spot?
Qi Shu was worried, but, unexpectedly, there was no abnormal reaction when Gu Hanjiang heard Mo Qi’s words.
Gu Hanjiang said calmly, “I see.”
Mo Qi, who was so frightened that his knees were weak, relaxed when he heard Gu Hanjiang’s reply. He took half a step forward and said, “Then about this book…”
Gu Hanjiang looked down at the book’s cover and seemed to meditate for a moment before closing it.
“This book is confiscated, and you are not allowed to read it again. Go to the Discipline Pavilion to receive punishment, and meditate on your misdeeds behind closed doors2 for three days.” Gu Hanjiang nodded his head at Qi Shu and said, “…Let’s return to Bai Zhang Peak.”
Qi Shu thought that the Heavenly Venerable Immortal would definitely say something to him on the way back. After all, Qi Shu had just witnessed Shizun almost have a Qi Deviation because of his special physique not long ago, and now he immediately went to read ancient texts regarding the same matter. His Shizun must have noticed it, but Qi Shu waited in vain all throughout the trip back. The Heavenly Venerable Immortal didn’t say a word about it.
With a heavy heart, Qi Shu followed his Shizun back to the Water Pavilion and said, “This disciple bids Shizun farewell.”
He moved to return to his room, but Gu Hanjiang stopped him, saying, “Come with me first.”
Qi Shu stopped dead in his tracks.
Was it finally the time to talk about it?
He had thought about it a lot along the way. If Shizun really brought it up, then Qi Shu would tell him what Qi Shu had decided to do.
If the ancient texts he had read today were correct, it was indeed difficult for someone with a furnace physique to cultivate on their own. The higher the cultivation level, the greater the danger. For Shizun to have reached such a high level of cultivation and reach a bottleneck only now could already be considered a blessing. As he progressed further, with every step he took to a higher realm had the possibility of destroying his cultivation.
On the other hand, if someone were to help him overcome the bottleneck using double cultivation, the improvement in his cultivation could prove to be immeasurable.
That’s why Mo Qi looked for a lot of books on dual cultivation techniques.
Because this is the only solution.
Qi Shu guessed that the Heavenly Venerable Immortal had hidden his secret because he couldn’t bear to subordinate himself to others. But now, there was no way out.
Qi Shu followed Gu Hanjiang into the bedroom, and the latter went straight to the table.
Heavenly Venerable Immortal likes to wear white, with his long hair like a waterfall reaching down to his narrow waist. He looked thinner than he used to be.
Qi Shu couldn’t imagine how difficult it must have been for his Shizun to hide his special physique all these years, cultivating under such unfavorable circumstances to achieve what he had today.
How could he let his years of hard work go up in flames?
Qi Shu felt more and more heartbroken the more he watched. He took a deep breath and said, “Shizun, this disciple is willing to help you-”
Gu Hanjiang picked up a medicine cup and turned around. The expression on his face seemed a bit suspicious. “What do you want to help with?”
Qi Shu: “?”
Hadn’t Shizun called him to talk about his furnace physique?
“Shizun called disciple to come… just for this?” Qi Shu pointed at the medicine cup in Gu Hanjiang’s hand and blinked.
That medicine cup was full of a decoction that was steaming with white smoke.
So, Shizun had made medicine for him today, but saw that he hadn’t returned for a long time, which is why he went to the library to look for him?
Gu Hanjiang nodded his head.
Qi Shu: “…”
Gu Hanjiang walked up to him. “What did you want to say you were going to help me with?”
“I…” Qi Shu hesitated. The courage that he had mustered had faltered because of the interruption. Qi Shu stammered, “It’s that Shizun’s cultivation has not been going well recently, disciple, disciple wants to help Shizun…”
Gu Hanjiang understood. “You went to the library to look for a method of cultivation?”
Qi Shu: “Yes.”
Gu Hanjiang lowered his eyes to look at him.
This time, Qi Shu did not avoid his eyes again.
He looked firmly back into those beautiful eyes as if to express his determination to sacrifice anything, even his life, to help.
——Of course, how much selfishness there was in this devotion, Qi Shu himself did not dare to think about it.
In the end, it was Gu Hanjiang who sighed softly and averted his gaze.
“Qi Shu, you can’t.” He sighed.
Qi Shu: “???”
He trained every day, and his cultivation level was not low now, so how come he couldn’t do it?
Qi Shu, of course, didn’t dare to ask such a question, but he said in a more serious tone, “This disciple is definitely not saying this on a whim, and I…”
Gu Hanjiang didn’t let him continue. He handed over the medicine cup and calmly said, “Take care of yourself first. Drink the medicine, then go back and sleep well. Don’t think nonsense.”
Qi Shu was in a trance when he left Gu Hanjiang’s room after drinking the medicine.
He thought Shizun wouldn’t say yes to him too soon, but he didn’t expect the man to refuse so quickly, leaving no room for consideration.
What was wrong with him?
Qi Shu walked quickly back to his room, snapped the door shut, and fell back into bed to sulk.
On the other side of the wall, Gu Hanjiang stood in front of the window, looking at the door that had been slammed shut by the other person, and sighed.
How absurd. The dignified Heavenly Venerable Immortal having an affair with the disciple that he had personally raised? If someone were to say this out loud, most people in the world wouldn’t be able to accept it.
Gu Hanjiang himself couldn’t accept it.
Therefore, when he discovered his thoughts were not pure, all he could do was to go into closed-door cultivation.
Don’t listen to him. Don’t look at him. Don’t go out to see him. The days are long, and the thoughts that he shouldn’t have will dissipate.
But this little disciple of his was really clingy.
Every day, he would go to the cave entrance to look for him, noisily rambling about this and that, so that even if he wanted to, he couldn’t help but listen.
Qi Shu thought that during the days of Gu Hanjiang’s closed-door cultivation, he never came out to see him.
But that was not the case.
Gu Hanjiang made an exception once.
That was the day before Qi Shu was sent down from the mountain by the Acting Sect Master.
It was also Qi Shu’s eighteenth birthday.
He bought a bottle of wine from the bottom of the mountain, sat down in front of the Spiritual Void Cave, and started rambling again.
“Shizun, I practiced the Ling Yun Sword Technique you taught me twenty more times today, and I no longer make mistakes.”
“Two days ago, I ranked at the bottom of the scriptures class, but since you’re in closed-door cultivation, the elders who teach the scriptures couldn’t complain to anyone. Today, they went to see the Acting Sect Master, but he’s too weak to bother me.”
“But I would rather he complained to you and you came out to give me a lecture.”
Eighteen-year-old Qi Shu sat in front of the Spiritual Void Cave, tilted his head, and took a sip of wine until both his cheeks were tinged with thin red. “Shizun, you promised to spend your birthday with me every year, but you missed your appointment last year. You still won’t meet with me this year?”
“When exactly will you leave seclusion?” Qi Shu’s voice weakened and faded out, but his spiritual aura3 was still there.
Gu Hanjiang couldn’t help but use a mirror light technique to see the scene outside the Spiritual Void Cave.
Outside the cave, the wind and snow were getting stronger, and Qi Shu was leaning against the limestone, holding his arms, not moving, his body covered in snow. The wine jug had fallen to one side, and the unfinished wine in the jug had turned into ice.
Gu Hanjiang was so angry that he almost forgot his hundreds of years of self-restraint.
Despite knowing that he was not a good drinker, he still drank so much and fell asleep in such a chilly place.
Gu Hanjiang wanted to shout at someone and give them a scolding.
But when he came out of the cave and saw his young disciple curled up in a tiny ball in the snow, his cheeks red because he was drunk or cold, he couldn’t stay angry anymore. So the Heavenly Venerable Immortal just picked him up and used a technique4 to move quickly. In a moment, they were back at Bai Zhang Peak, where it was always spring all year round.
He put his young disciple back on the bed and got up to leave, but someone grabbed him by the sleeve.
The young disciple, who was drunk, didn’t restrain his actions and pinned Gu Hanjiang’s wide sleeve under him, tugging at it and muttering something under his breath.
Gu Hanjiang bent down and tried to break his young disciple’s grip, but he was grabbed by the wrist.
Normally, Qi Shu wouldn’t dare to risk offending his master, but now he was drunk and so out of it that his eyes could hardly focus. He squinted his eyes for a while before he recognized whose hand he was holding.
When he saw it clearly, he laughed again. “Shizun, you’re finally willing to see me. I knew you wouldn’t leave me alone.”
Gu Hanjiang: “… Let go.”
But the drunkard wouldn’t listen. Audacious in the extreme, he pulled Gu Hanjiang. Heavenly Venerable Immortal was unsettled since he was rarely taken advantage of. There was a warm touch on his cheek, then Qi Shu fell back to the bed, licking his lips, as if he had succeeded in his plot, smiling like a small fox.
It was only then that Gu Hanjiang heard what Qi Shu had been muttering just now.
What he said was, “Shizun, I love you.”
He was so drunk that he couldn’t speak clearly, but he mumbled it over and over again.
“Shizun, I love you.”
Dear readers, BC Novel’s website hosting bill was due in February. If you would like to help, please donate to my Ko-Fi. Thank you very much! I really appreciate it.
- This chapter is by Reika (me).
- There you go! So the little disciple already confessed his love to his master. He knows!😆
- In case you weren’t aware of it, disciple-master relationships were considered taboo back then.
- Please let me know if there are any errors. I don’t have a human editor but I did use a grammar checker.
- Thanks for reading!
- 面沉如水 – something about “sinking like water” or “heavy/sunken face” which I think is too weird to literally translate. Let me know if you have any suggestions.
- 闭门思过 – “shut one’s door and reflect on one’s misdeeds” or “reflect on one’s misdeeds in private.” I wonder if they are allowed food and drink?
- Literally just “breath” but this is what it means. Qi means breath or life-force energy.
- 心念即动 – not sure of the meaning