Chapter 596: The Oil was Exhausted and the Lamp was Dry
On the Second Peak, Song Jia leaned up against a pine tree, staring blankly in the direction of the Fourth Peak. At some point, perplexity had filled her eyes, and tears had begun to stream down her face.
The song of the medicinal pills echoed within her ears, giving rise to layer after layer of ripples within her heart. One scene after another rose up from her memories.
She saw images of her father, and images of herself….
Some people call a daughter a ‘pearl in the palm.’ From what Song Jia remembered, she… was the pearl in her father’s palm.
The song of the medicinal pills echoed out, rising and falling, floating throughout the First Heaven. A million people heard it and were affected, even Fang Yu. She sat there silently, complex emotions filling her. She felt both agitated and reminiscent. She reminisced of her father, scholarly, seemingly gentle but also very strict. She also reminisced about her childhood, along with all the soft and sweet things that had happened.
What made her most agitated was that within the song coming from the Fourth Peak, she could clearly sense a family love coming from Meng Hao toward someone that wasn’t actually his father.
“Dad,” she murmured, “did you really make the right choice back then?” At some point, her eyes had filled with tears. She thought back to when she was small, how she would often see her mother weeping, while her father stood at the window, looking off into the distance, a profound, complex look in his eyes.
Within that look was a type of love that Fang Yu didn’t understand back then. After growing up, when she thought back to it, she realized that it was love. It was not love for her, but love for someone far, far away, someone who existed in some unknown place.
The love of a father and the love of a mother are completely different. The love of a father is more reserved, more silent, like a mountain. When you are a child, your father is your guardian angel. When you are a teenager, things change. He becomes an obstacle. After that, you come to view yourself as the superior, with him beneath you.
Once you reach middle age, though, you look at that mountain and you suddenly realize that he has been there all along, watching you proudly. However arrogant you were, however selfish and narrow-minded, he would forgive you. Forgive you without even saying a word.
You will feel forlorn, and will suddenly come to a realization. That… is the love of a father.
When you have it, you might not feel it deeply. However, once you lose it, you lose the Heaven of your heart!
When a child wishes to care for a parent, only to find that the parent is no longer there, well… that is a sorrow that gives rise to the most profound of weeping.
As Meng Hao concocted, the song of the medicinal pills echoed throughout the First Heaven. Throughout the seven great mountain peaks, a million disciples were immersed in silence. Even the Paragons were lost in thought.
They listened to the song and recalled images of the past….
In the past, I viewed myself as incredible. Sir, you said many things back then. You tried to involve yourself in my affairs, but at that time, I felt that you had changed from before. I felt that I was capable of flying on my own.
But then, my wings were broken, and I became very exhausted. After flying for a long time, I suddenly looked back and thought of you, sir, and about all the things you told me. By the time I looked back, however, all I could see was your tomb. I stood in front of your tomb and wept. I wanted to say: “Father… I was wrong.”
In the past, I looked down at you, then turned away, leaving you to prove myself. Years later, after I conquered the world, I came back to you in all my glory to look at your shocked face. Instead, what I saw was how proud you were of me, sir. Pain filled my heart. By that time, your hair had long since become white. I embraced my aged father, and whispered:
“Father, I’m back.”
Tears rolled down Ji Xiaoxiao’s face as she immersed herself in her memories. She thought of many things….
Within Li Shiqi’s mind floated the image of her Master. She didn’t know who her father really was. When she had opened her eyes for the first time, the first person she saw wasn’t her Master, but someone else.
However, at some point in her life, she had come to view her Master like a father.
She called him Master, but in her heart, she called him father.
She was adopted, having lost her parents when she was still wearing swaddling clothes. As she grew up, she became beautiful. However, from a young age, she had been cursed with a strange deformity. It was only because of her Master’s efforts over the years that she was able to live a normal life.
Without her Master, there would be no Li Shiqi.
Once, long ago, he had taken her to look for clues about her hometown. After much searching, Li Shiqi finally spoke up, her voice soft. “Master, there’s no need to search any more. In this life, you are my Master. I hope that in the next life, you can be my father.”
The song of the pills being concocted continued to echo out. Every single person was moved emotionally; everyone was affected, influenced….
Meng Hao’s expression was blank. These medicinal pills, this batch, this pill furnace and its song, were all filled with reluctance to part from Ke Yunhai, as well as Meng Hao’s desire for that love of a father.
He was completely unaware that at some point, a white-robed figure had appeared behind him. The figure had long hair, and was emaciated. His entire person emanated an aura of time, and archaic ancientness.
It was none other than Ke Jiusi.
He stood behind Meng Hao, staring at the pill furnace as if he could see into eternity.
The medicinal pills were being concocted by Meng Hao. The song of the pills, though, contained the voices of both Meng Hao and Ke Jiusi.
Then, the death knell began to toll. The sound rang out again, and again, and again….
A death knell was not rung upon the passing away of every disciple. Even Conclave disciples did not qualify for something like that, nor Elite Apprentices.
Only people who had rendered incredible services to the Sect would qualify to receive the death knell of the Demon Immortal Sect, as a means of protection on the way to the underworld.
Other than such people… only when a Paragon perished would the ringing of the death knell be heard in the Sect….
When the ninth bell tolled, Meng Hao suddenly trembled. He slowly lifted up his head, as did Ke Jiusi.
“Bells….” he murmured. Fear filled his heart, and suddenly he didn’t care about anything. He didn’t care about the pill concocting, or the illusion, or the ancient times. He didn’t even care if this batch of pills really were Celestial Pills, nor whether or not he succeeded in concocting them.
His body shook, and a realization as dark as night swept over him. Trembling, he rose to his feet.
In that instant a roaring sound could be heard from the pill furnace. The medicinal pills and the furnace itself suddenly exploded; their connection to Meng Hao was broken, and blood sprayed out of his mouth. The blood spattered down onto the exploded remnants of the medicinal pills; this was blood filled with his indescribable thoughts, thoughts that carried his unceasing love for a father.
“Dad….” Without hesitation, Meng Hao rushed outside.
He left the pill concocting workshop, completely unaware that within the shattered remnants of the pill furnace were nine destroyed pills. However, the batch had been a batch of ten. All of the medicinal strength of the nine destroyed pills had merged into the tenth pill.
That tenth medicinal pill appeared, glittering brightly as it began to transform from something illusory into something real!
The pill also absorbed Meng Hao’s blood, which contained his true feelings and emotions. Because of that, the pill… began to thoroughly transmogrify. This was creating something from nothing!
However, it didn’t matter that the medicinal pill was something from nothing, nor that it met all the qualifications that Meng Hao had dreamed of. Within his mind, there was no medicinal pill. There was only his anxiety, an anxiety so intense that he forgot who he was….
He rushed out of the pill concocting workshop, out of the Immortal’s cave, out of the entire area he was in. He transformed into a beam of light that shot with incredible speed toward Ke Yunhai’s Immortal’s cave.
The death knell sounded out throughout the seven great mountain peaks of the First Heaven…. DONG…. DONG…. When the thirteenth toll was reached, Meng Hao arrived at Ke Yunhai’s Immortal’s cave.
Seeing that the door was sealed shut tightly, tears began to pour down Meng Hao’s face. He kneeled in front of the door.
“Father!” His voice wasn’t very loud, but it filled the entire Fourth Mountain. His eyes were wet. He wasn’t sure when, but at some point, he had thoroughly immersed himself into this ancient, illusory world. Ke Yunhai had appeared to fill a void of fatherly love that had existed in his heart since he was young.
That void was something that Meng Hao usually kept carefully hidden away. He did not want anyone to touch it, not even himself.
But then, Ke Yunhai had appeared in this ancient illusion, and that void… had been filled.
Meng Hao’s heart was being ripped into pieces. To him, Heaven and Earth had lost all color. An indescribable feeling surged over him; he felt like his body had been turned into a black hole that was consuming his soul and his life. His everything.
“Father….” Tears streamed down his face as he looked at the door of the Immortal’s cave. The death knell continued to echo about. It had now tolled nineteen times. Every bell toll caused a green beam of light to surround the Fourth Peak. Currently, nineteen glowing rings of light surrounded the mountain.
As the tears rolled down Meng Hao’s face to drop to the ground, the door to the Immortal’s cave began to open silently. Ke Yunhai’s exhausted voice could suddenly be heard from within.
Meng Hao’s head shot up immediately, and his body began to tremble. Without any hesitation, he rushed inside. The Immortal’s cave was dark, but he could still see Ke Yunhai sitting there cross-legged on his stone bed.
Ke Yunhai was even more ancient than before. He seemed to emanate an aura of complete decay. White nodes of light pulsated out from him; it seemed his body was currently in the processes of passing away into meditation.
As for the lamp next to him… the oil was exhausted and the lamp was dry. Its light was weak, as if the slightest wind could blow it out.
An enormous coffin rested off to the side, its surface carved with auspicious beasts. It seemed ordinary, but if you looked closely, you would be able to see how incredible it was.
“Jiusi, don’t cry….” he said hoarsely, looked at Meng Hao with a tender expression. “You’ve grown up. Daddy can’t stay with you forever. From now on, you’ll need to rely on yourself…. However, there is one last thing I can do for you. Before I pass away into meditation, I will give you the precious treasure of a lifetime, forged personally by me!”
The death knell outside had reached the fifty-seventh toll. When it reached ninety-nine, the soul would disperse. Along with the ninety-nine rings of light created by the bell tolls, it would return to Heaven and Earth, and enter the underworld….
Note from Er Gen: The love of a father is like a mountain. For many years, I didn’t understand this. I truly came to understand what it means to be a father eight years ago, when I became a father. Then I understood how the love of a father and mother are different. When I was young, I read an essay by Zhu Ziqing, called Retreating Figure. I didn’t understand it then, but many years later it came to mind. Every time I read it, I understand it more, and the meaning becomes more profound. Every time I read it, I understand more about what it means to be a father.
Today, I won’t ask for any monthly vote tickets. Instead, I wish a safe journey through life to all fathers. (Brothers and Sisters, please spend more time with your father. Take more opportunities to wish him well. It wasn’t until I had my own child that I realized how difficult it is for a father and mother to raise a child.)
This chapter was sponsored by Jusaz