Nonetheless, she waited patiently for him.
After a while, he withdrew his gaze and she teased: “What do you think about Duality Master?”
Li Qiye chuckled without responding while wearing a natural expression. He seemed to have understood something.
“Duality Master has a big secret, do you want to know?” Yang Ling changed the topic.
“He’s a mortal.” Li Qiye smiled.
Yang Ling was surprised at this response: “How do you know?!”
“It’s clearly written right there. Just a mortal I am, just one thought to become cloud and mud.” Li Qiye pointed at the phrase beneath the statue. 
“Ah, the first time I read it, I thought there was a deeper meaning behind it.” Yang Ling said.
“Just kidding, I already knew without seeing this line.” Li Qiye chuckled.
“Really?” She became surprised again.
“Read more and know more. I knew it from reading a book.” Li Qiye replied.
Yang Ling didn’t expect this since Li Qiye was a woodchopper living in a remote area. A child who grew up here shouldn’t know much about the outside world. She thought that he hadn't heard of powerful dao lords, mighty sects, and the legends.
Now, it seemed that he might be more than that - a woodchopper with a penchant for reading.
Of course, she never saw him touch a book during her time at the temple.
“Isn’t it magical?” Yang Ling elaborated on the topic: “I didn’t believe that Duality Master was a mortal. After coming here, I asked the teachers about this and they confirmed it.”
Just think about it, how could a mortal reach that height? A mortal dared to look down on Buddhism and the gods? That’s nothing short of blind arrogance.
However, no one had questioned the authenticity of this line. It really came from him.
To take it further, this mortal managed to crush thousands of temples and statues with one hand wave. The Buddhist affinity within a ten-thousand-miles radius dispersed.
Only a dao lord should be able to do something like this, not a mortal. What came next were powerful cultivators coming to celebrate the founding of his academy. The entire world participated in this event. The same couldn’t be said for a dao lord’s coronation.
Even Apricot Dao Lord came to listen to a lecture. Nothing could be stranger than this.
Nonetheless, these extraordinary and unbelievable events felt so logical and natural when Duality Master was involved. Miracles weren’t miracles anymore in his presence, reduced to just common occurrences.
In history, Duality Master was the only mortal to achieve all of this. Yang Ling was astounded after confirming this part of history.
“How did he do it?” She said: “I heard he even entered the Life Forbidden Zone and moved around freely. That’s a place even dao lords avoided.”
“Don’t you see the second line?” Li Qiye smiled and pointed at the bottom of the statue: “Just one thought to become cloud and mud.”
“What do you mean?” She asked.
“You haven’t reached the right level.” Li Qiye elaborated: “It’s literal and simple, he’s capable of changing into the clouds above or the mud below with a single thought.”
“Changing to the cloud and mud?” She mused, still feeling lost.
Li Qiye was in a great mood; this was extremely rare for him. He felt patient enough to go on: “So what do they symbolize here?”
“Mmm…” She couldn’t come up with an answer right away.
“The clouds are the gods above the nine firmaments, looking down on the world. The mud below are mortals, only capable of looking up.” Li Qiye said.
“So Young Master, you’re saying that Duality Master might only be a mortal, but with a single thought, he can become a god?” She became excited after understanding the phrase.
“It’s not its true meaning but close enough.” Li Qiye chuckled. 
She had previously heard this line numerous times, maybe more than a thousand. She didn’t feel much previously because it might just be his favorite line.
Now, with Li Qiye’s help, she found the line to be majestic and domineering. Duality Master might have thought of himself as being invincible.
A mortal capable of turning into a god with just one thought? Maybe at that point, he no longer considered anyone in Eight Desolaces to be a real opponent. None was qualified to challenge him.
Then she even thought about the first line again - Just a mortal I am. Duality Master was dominant enough even in his mortal form. There was no need to change to “cloud” or “mud”.
Just a mortal I am, just one thought to become cloud and mud - She appreciated the line even more after repeating it. Her blood was boiling since she could feel his untouchable aura.
She looked back at the statue and found it to be larger than before. People should bow and worship, she thought.
“How, how can he do it? Transforming at a whim.” She calmed down and took a deep breath before asking Li Qiye with curiosity.
“Because he has an uncompromising dao heart. The more invincible it is, the more invincible he is.” Li Qiye responded.
“The dao heart?” She had heard of this logic before and thought that it was just a joke not based on logic.
A few seniors kept on harping about the dao heart but juniors like her would rather cultivate a powerful merit law or obtain a strong weapon.
This dao heart thing was too ethereal and unreachable. It seemed to be theoretical instead of practical.
“This is actually a thing?” She thought that if one could be invincible with a strong dao heart, there would be no need for cultivation.
“You’ll understand more once you reach the right level. The dao heart doesn’t just manifest out of your imagination, it requires polishing and accumulation.” Li Qiye shook his head.
“Polishing and accumulation.” She nodded despite still being lost.
She couldn’t imagine how the dao heart helped Duality Master. Nonetheless, she still memorized Li Qiye’s guidance along with the famous line. Both left a deep impression on her.
“Just a mortal. Right, I want to be a mortal too, so free and comfortable.” Li Qiye looked back at the statue and said emotionally before leaving.
1. So with this, the humble interpretation seems correct rather than the arrogant one. As for the weird conversation with Yang Ling, the characters for “mortal”, Fan Ren, can also mean an ordinary person/mortal/earthling. This is another case where it’s hard to translate. Yang Ling and others could have interpreted Fan Ren as ordinary or just an average person instead of mortal versus cultivator/immortal. In English, it seems so clear because I translated it as mortal since mortal is the better choice and it fits the narrative above. If we were to use the other meaning of Fan Ren, the line would be I’m just ordinary, just one thought to become cloud and mud. Then it would make more sense why she was surprised at Li Qiye’s rather obvious response.
2. Now, with this context, it seems that the line is an arrogant one. I’m lucky that I chose the literal approach with translation notes. Otherwise, I would have to change that line completely if I had picked the humble approach