“The two spirit-beasts should wait here for now,” the Dao novitiate instructed.
Ning nodded. Little Qing and Uncle White both obediently stood to one side, waiting silently. Both of them knew quite well that the person within this Daoist monastery was an awe-inspiringly famous supreme power of the Three Realms, Patriarch Subhuti.
“Let’s go.” The white-robed Lord Jiang led Ning directly into the monastery.
“Uncle White, Master is going to go meet a Daofather. I feel like I’m dreaming.” Little Qing’s eyes were filled with excitement.
The Whitewater Hound nodded gently as well. He, too, was still in a state of shock. That little child who had trained in the sword and in archery by his side…he was actually about to become an apprentice to a major power, Patriarch Subhuti. “A person’s fate truly is unfathomable.”
Within the monastery.
There was an empty region filled with many prayer mats. In front of this empty region, there was an elevated platform, atop which there was another prayer mat. On this elevated prayer mat, there was a skinny, white-bearded elder. This skinny elder was dressed in loose robes. He was seated in the lotus position, and he emanated an aura that caused others to feel at peace in their heart.
“He is Patriarch Subhuti?” Upon seeing this white-bearded elder, Ning couldn’t help but secretly feel nervous. This was a truly major power, a power that had even killed other Fiendgod Daofathers, a power that was acclaimed as the most mysterious Daofather of the Three Realms!
How could Ning not feel nervous in front of such a person?
“Master, I’ve brought Ji Ning over,” Lord Jiang said with great respect.
“I bow in respect to you, Daofather,” Ning said with great respect as well.
Patriarch Subhuti opened his eyes, looking at Ning. A hint of a smile appeared on his face as he nodded gently. He then instructed Lord Jiang, “You can leave for now. Ji Ning can stay by himself.”
“Yes.” The white-robed Lord Jiang respectfully departed, leaving behind only Ning and Patriarch Subhuti.
Patriarch Subhuti said with a calm smile, “No need to be nervous. Pick any prayer mat and sit down first.”
“Yes.” Ning chose a prayer mat, then sat down in the lotus position.
“I watched the Conclave of Immortal Destiny of the world of the Grand Xia. Of the participants, you, Woodpass, and the Sloppy Daoist were the most outstanding,” Patriarch Subhuti evaluated. “Crimsonbright ended up choosing Woodpass…and this was as I expected. In choosing disciples, Crimsonbright cares about mindset and temperament the most. The temperament of that Woodpass truly is most suited to him.”
Ning couldn’t help but sigh in secret. The spirit of the underwater estate had said that Patriarch Subhuti was very good at teaching students. Comparatively speaking, Daofather Crimsonbright and Grand Emperor Xuanwu’s teaching abilities were significantly lower. For even Patriarch Subhuti to praise both Woodpass and Sloppy as excellent meant that they truly did have potential.
“But in my eyes, you have even more potential than the other two,” Patriarch Subhuti said.
Ning felt a surge of joy in his heart. This was the very first time someone had said that he had more potential than Sloppy and Woodpass…and the speaker was Patriarch Subhuti!
“The path of Immortal cultivation is filled with many dangers and obstacles. Thus, with each step, you need to leave a firm footprint as you walk forward in a stable manner. Your heart must be stable as well. This is indeed true,” Patriarch Subhuti said. “From this perspective, Woodpass and Sloppy are both excellent disciples. Their foundations were the most stable amongst the contestants in the Conclave, and their hearts were also the most stable and calm as well.”
“However…everything in this world is divided into yin and yang,” Patriarch Subhuti said. “Although it is important to be stable and solid, it is also important to be sharp.”
“You need to be stable, but you also need sharpness.”
“Stability is yin, while sharpness is yang! When yin and yang support each other, one can walk farther on one’s path.” Patriarch Subhuti laughed. “Ji Ning, you are far ‘sharper’ than the other two, and your foundation is quite solid as well. Only…a disciple like you is harder to guide and teach. It is very easy to teach disciples like Sloppy and Woodpass. So long as you let them slowly train and slowly adventure, they will slowly rise in power.”
“As for you…your rate of improvement will be faster, but things will also be more risky. Your future potential might be higher than theirs, but you might also perish midway.” Patriarch Subhuti looked at Ning. “Today, I shall impart a few words to you. You need to memorize them.”
“The path of Immortal cultivation… your goals should be distant and grand, with Pangu and Nuwa as your models.”
“The path of Immortal cultivation…it requires you to lower your head and watch the road, for you to remember to maintain a solid foundation. Do not merely think about soaring into the skies; when a bird soars too far, its eggs might be stolen and destroyed. It will perish, its Dao gone.”
“The path of Immortal cultivation…it requires caution. It is a boat that will sail for ten thousand years that you must control with care.”
“The path of Immortal cultivation…it requires sharpness. Only with a heart that is filled with a desire to charge into the heavens can you walk even farther on this path.”
Patriarch Subhuti’s words were simple, but they struck at the very foundation of an Immortal cultivator’s heart and mind.
Everyone summoned before Patriarch Subhuti as a student had superb talent and comprehensive abilities. What determined one’s accomplishments after that…was the heart!
“Ji Ning shall firmly memorize these words,” Ning said seriously.
“How to make your goals grand but not too high…how to be cautious and yet have the desire to charge into the heavens…you will need to handle this yourself. The world is divided into yin and yang, and between yin and yang lies the heart,” Patriarch Subhuti said.
As soon as the Patriarch had met him, he had imparted these words. Ning understood how important these words were, and also the principles which the Patriarch spoke of. However…some things were easy to ‘understand’ but hard to ‘carry out’. On the path of Immortal cultivation, one would need to constantly remind one’s self, so as to prevent one’s self from embarking on a wrong path. These four things the Pariarch had advised him regarding was like four signposts on the Immortal path that would constantly remind him.
Patriarch Subhuti continued to speak. “I watched the Conclave of Immortal Destiny. You should have learned the divine ability, [Starseizing Hand].”
“Yes.” Ning admitted it. Since the Patriarch himself had said the words [Starseizing Hand], how could he even think about hiding it?
“My fellow Daoist Threelives…he finally has a true successor. His divine ability has once more reappeared in the Three Realms!” Patriarch Subhuti let out an emotional sigh. “Little bear, why haven’t you come out yet?”
Whoosh. A figure suddenly appeared out of nowhere next to Ning. It was the giant yellow bear.
“Eh?!” Ning realized to his astonishment that the giant yellow bear next to him was quite solid and seemingly real, as though he were a living creature. He didn’t seem as illusory and dreamlike as he did when he was the spirit within the underwater estate.
“This little bear pays his respects to the Daofather.” The giant yellow bear fell to his knees, pressing his forehead against the ground.
“So indeed, Ji Ning, you managed to enter the Starseizing Manor and learned the divine ability within it.” Patriarch Subhuti nodded.
Ning revealed a surprised look. “Patriarch, the Starseizing Manor…?”
The nearby giant yellow bear explained, “The ‘Starseizing Manor’ is the true, original name of this underwater estate. Although the estate was left behind by Master for his successors, it was also the estate which Master lived in. In the past, Master would often receive his guests within the Starseizing Manor, and even invite some Fiendgods to listen to him expound upon the Dao.”
Ning instantly thought back to the many giant prayer mats in the middle of the underwater estate. Indeed, many people must have come to listen to lectures on the Dao.
Patriarch Subhuti said, “The relationship between Threelives and the Starseizing Manor was similar to the relationship between myself and the Tristar Crescent Abode. In the past, when Threelives knew that the upcoming tribulation would be a hard one to overcome, he made careful preparations, adding a vast quantity of treasures into his estate. He even melted down and extracted the essence of multiple Protocosmic spirit-treasures and invited multiple major powers over in order to forge it. Afterwards, he gave it up and had this little bear search for a successor for him.”
“I ask for your guidance, Daofather.” The giant yellow bear pressed his head repeatedly against the ground, his eyes brimming with tears. “Tell this little bear…where is Master? Is he alive or is he dead?”
The sound of his kowtowing rang out as he pressed his head against the ground repeatedly. Clearly, he desperately wanted to know this answer. He had waited countless ages for this day.
Thud. Thud. Thud.
Upon hearing this, a complicated look appeared on Patriarch Subhuti’s face. He was silent for a moment, then said, “Threelives was my very best friend…my lifelong bosom friend! We met each other in the primordial chaos and adventured together. I was a bit more reserved, whereas brother Threelives had a sharpness that couldn’t be hidden! I enjoyed comprehending the cosmos and the various mysteries of the Heavenly Daos; I didn’t involve myself in the various power struggles of the Primordial Era. Brother Threelives, however, desired to do battle against the heavens and the earth. He loved combat, and he had many Fiendgods who followed his command. He carved out an enormous territory within the Primordial World for himself, and was referred to within it as the Godking.”
“Because very early on in his training, his arm had been severed, he trained painstakingly until he finally developed the utterly astonishing divine ability, the [Starseizing Hand]!”
“True Gods of Primordial Chaos are innately predisposed to enjoy battle. Even many Ki Refining Daofathers are unwilling to engage in life-and-death battles against True Gods of Primordial Chaos. After brother Threelives developed his [Starseizing Hand] divine ability, especially the Sixth Cycle of it, he reached an unfathomable level of power. He was extremely famous for his power even in the Primordial Era, and was ranked as one of the top True Gods.”
Patriarch Subhuti’s gaze was rather dreamy as he slowly spoke. “However…he was unable to comprehend a Heavenly Dao, and so his danger sense was comparatively weaker. That great tribulation that came…it was the greatest tribulation which had occurred ever since Pangu had established the universe. Threelives insisted on participating in it. I tried to stop him, but he was filled with a desire to fight; he wasn’t willing to shrink back. He knew that it would be incredibly dangerous…but his hot-blooded nature made him decide on going. Before leaving, he wanted to ensure that his [Starseizing Hand] wouldn’t be lost with him, and so he asked many friends to help him out. With their help, with his original estate as a raw material, and with many melted down treasures, he managed to create this new Starseizing Manor, meant to pass down his legacy.”
“After he created the new Starseizing Manor, the tribulation came…and without any hesitation, he went to welcome the battle.”
“That battle…I shrank back from it.” Patriarch Subhuti’s gaze was misty.
Ning, hearing this, couldn’t help but feel his heart shake. Patriarch Subhuti had shrank back? The greatest tribulation to occur ever since Pangu had created the universe?
“That tribulation, the greatest tribulation since Pangu had created the universe…the very first parts of it caused the Primordial World to shatter. Countless experts and Fiendgods fell. Figures that were even more powerful than Threelives fell as well.” Patriarch Subhuti sighed and shook his head. “Miserable. It was miserable. Threelives loved battle, and so of course he took part. His divine ability, the [Starseizing Hand], truly was one of the most supreme of grand divine abilities; even Nuwa herself praised its power. Threelives fought like a man possessed, and multiple Fiendgod Daofathers perished by his hand. As for myself, I relied on the [Dream of the Three Realms] to watch the battle; I didn’t participate.”
“This divine ability was forged from Threelives’ innate love for battle, as well as some guidance from both Pangu and Nuwa. Only then was this divine ability developed. The creation of a divine ability requires talent. Although I have created far more divine abilities than Threelives, I’ve never been able to create one that was comparable to the [Starseizing Hand].” Patriarch Subhuti looked towards Ning. “For such a divine ability to have passed down to you…no matter what, you cannot let it sink into the dust and disappear.”
Ning nodded repeatedly.
So Daoist Threelives had relied on the [Starseizing Hand] to kill multiple Fiendgod Daofathers. From what Patriarch Subhuti was saying, this divine ability truly was incredibly terrifying.
The giant yellow bear, however, felt his heart shake upon hearing these words. “Daofather, my master, he…”
Ning looked towards Patriarch Subhuti as well. Was Daoist Threelives alive or dead? This was a question that he had wanted to know for a long time as well.
“Little bear…” Patriarch Subhuti looked at the giant yellow bear. He let out a soft sigh.
The giant yellow bear’s heart instantly trembled. His face changed, and he repeatedly pressed his head against the ground, kowtowing so hard that deep thudding sounds could be heard. “Please inform me, Daofather. Is Master dead or is he alive?”
“Little bear…actually, in your heart, you’ve known the answer all along. Why must you ask?” Patriarch Subhuti shook his head.