“Were you kicked out last time because of this?” Long Chen looked at Xia Youluo curiously.
“What do you think? All I did was grumble and complain a bit, and they kicked me out! Don’t you think they’re petty!?” Xia Youluo whispered like she was in the midst of a heist.
“You just don’t understand them. Just entering this place is a rare opportunity that you couldn’t buy no matter how much gold you have. The Wine God Palace kindly let you enter, and then you spit on their kindness. Naturally they’d get angry. Think about this: what if you were to give a pastry to a starving person, but that person had never seen a pastry before and thought you were offering them a pile of dung, so they got angry at you for insulting them. Would you get mad then?” asked Long Chen.
“It’s a nice argument, but did you have to make it sound so disgusting? Could you not make a more elegant comparison?” Xia Youluo glared at Long Chen.
“I’m not an elegant person by nature, so why bother acting?” Long Chen shook his head.
“But I’m a woman! Can’t you reserve yourself a bit?” raged Xia Youluo.
“You’re a woman? I think of you as just a little girl. Come, this way.” Long Chen continued onward.
“Hey, wait a moment! You have to hold my hand, or I’ll fall!” cried Xia Youluo upon seeing Long Chen go on without her.
“It’s not convenient for me, a man, to hold the hand of a woman. You should just walk slowly on your own,” declined Long Chen.
“You’re a man? Hmph, I just treat you as a grand-uncle. What’s wrong with you holding my hand?” Xia Youluo used Long Chen’s own words to strike back at him.
Long Chen laughed. This little girl actually did have some skill.
He took her hand. He clearly felt her quiver and blush a bit. Long Chen was the first outsider Xia Youluo had touched like this. But to express her courage, she put on an indifferent expression.
Long Chen pulled her forward a few steps. “In truth, this path is a kind of cultivation.”
“Cultivation?” Xia Youluo was flabbergasted.
“Yes, a kind of heart cultivation. Once you lose everything you depend on, you can return to your original state. This is a way to temper your heart. You’re still too young, and you’ve experienced too little. In your eyes, mud is dirty, so you don’t want to touch it. But you’ve forgotten, everything on the ground was born from the mud and earth. Everything you eat, everything you use, it has come from the mud. Do you think the spirit fruits you eat are clean? Your shoes touch the ground every day, and yet you think it’s filthy?
“Everything high-class is built on top of the low-class as a foundation. When a person has nothing to eat, when a person has no guarantee of being able to live to tomorrow, the only thing they’ll think about is survival. Only when people have guaranteed their own survival do they seek higher things. But many people end up chasing those things until they’ve forgotten the essence of life. The formation here allows us to return to our original state, allowing us to see the essence of life clearly. Cultivation isn’t just dependent on cultivation base or talent. The majority of it is dependent on comprehension. If you can’t even understand your life, you will only be a frog at the bottom of a well, isolated from the truth of the greater world. In the end, you’ll never be able to reach the peak of the martial path,” said Long Chen as he pulled her forward. After all, she was Xia Yunchong’s little sister, and so he gave her a kind reminder.
Clapping rang out. Xia Youluo was still lost in the clouds, and the two of them had arrived in front of a little pavilion without even noticing it. They saw a white-robed man who appeared to be in his thirties standing in front of the pavilion, clapping lightly. “Esteemed guest’s comprehension is admirable. I hope you can do me the honor of tasting this lowly one’s wine.”
“You… you’re inviting us to taste your wine? Is this real? Aiya!” Xia Youluo ended up too excited and almost slipped again. If it weren’t for Long Chen steadying her, she would have embarrassed herself.
The man smiled slightly and elegantly said, “As long as you do not say any words of blasphemy toward the Wine God, I would not dare to expel an honored guest again.”
Hearing this, Long Chen realized that Xia Youluo had been kicked out last time by this man. By following the small path, the first place which visitors arrived at would be this pavilion. In other words, last time Xia Youluo hadn’t even drunk a single drop of wine before being kicked out. And once she had returned to the palace, she had been scolded. That had been extremely miserable for her, which was why she was so excited now.
“I definitely won’t! Definitely not! Okay, I just won’t say anything at all!” declared Xia Youluo.
“Please, come inside.” The man smiled and gestured for them to come in. Long Chen cupped his fists toward him and they entered the small pavilion.
There was merely a ten-meter space and a table inside. A wine jug and a few cups were arranged simply on the table.
“Have a seat. This is the wine I made. Please, have a taste.” The middle-aged man took out a spotlessly white handkerchief and cleaned his hands carefully. He then took out two refined jade bowls. These bowls were amber-colored and extremely small, only a bit wider than an inch. He picked up a small wine jug only the size of a fist and lightly poured a very limited amount of liquid into the bowls.
The bowls transformed, becoming a darker red color. A powerful fragrance filled the air, penetrating deep into their hearts. Xia Youluo swallowed her saliva.
The Wine God Palace’s disciples all had their own specific wines, and they were not distributed outside. Only people invited into the Wine God Palace could taste them.
Even the fine wine the Grand Xia imperial family drank, although it also came from the Wine God Palace, was different from these special wines that the individual disciples developed themselves. They were on completely different levels.
“Please.” The man gestured, and Xia Youluo, who had long since startled drooling, carefully raised the bowl with two hands and placed it on her lips. She took a slight sniff and sipped it lightly. She then swallowed it in three different proportions, completely finishing it.
Long Chen smiled and raised his bowl, draining it in one gulp. He felt like a clear spring had poured into his stomach and instantly spread throughout his four limbs. It was cleansing his body, making him feel indescribably comfortable. At the same time, some ineffable energy washed his heart and soul.
“What amazing wine! I’ve never tasted such good wine before!” exclaimed Xia Youluo with delight.
“Many thanks for your praise. May I ask what about it is good?” asked the man.
Xia Youluo was immediately at a loss of words. She had very foundational wine tasting skills, but that was just part of the essential etiquette imparted on the members of the imperial family. When it came to actually judging the wine, she had no ability.
She cursed herself for having a big mouth. Now she had no idea what to say. But she was very smart and she suddenly smiled. “My big brother is a grandmaster at appraising wine. He’ll give you a satisfactory reply, so I won’t embarrass myself.”
I’m not grand-uncle anymore? Why did it seem like the imperial family’s seniority changed with her mood?
“Big brother Long Chen, aren’t you going to say anything?” Xia Youluo nudged Long Chen upon seeing him just stare at her lifelessly.
Alright, count yourself as smart. So you know how to con others, not bad. Your advancement is very fast. As long as you follow me, your skills will definitely grow with each passing minute. I’ll have to get some tuition fees from Xia Yunchong.
Seeing the man looking at him, Long Chen said, “This wine’s good points are how you put your whole mind and soul into making it. You used your Spiritual Strength to extract the impurities, making this wine’s purity reach the pinnacle. Furthermore, during the fermenting process, you blended your comprehension of the Heavenly Daos into the wine with a special flame energy. It can be said that this wine has reached an almost flawless level. The wine’s energy spreads throughout the body evenly. Then in the same way as how the water soars into the air when the tide crashes against the cliffside, the comprehension energy within the wine pours into the drinker’s heart, giving them boundless benefits. So this truly is good wine.”
As Long Chen spoke frankly with assurance, Xia Youluo was filled with shock. She had already been prepared to be kicked out with Long Chen.
Who would have thought that Long Chen would really be able to make such a stunning evaluation? Each of his words was like a gem that could be pondered at length.
When she thought about it carefully, the evaluation was really on point. That made her admiration of him rise. She had always thought he was nothing more than a coarse-mouthed fellow.
Now, she was completely shocked by his comments. Most importantly, she saw that the man was also filled with shock.
“Sir truly is amazing. You were able to state all my wine’s characteristics,” he praised.
“No, it’s just that I’m an alchemist, so I know a bit about appraising things. It’s not much.” Long Chen smiled.
“You are proficient in the Pill Dao?” asked the middle-aged man.
“A bit.” Long Chen smiled slightly.
“Then could you give me some pointers about my wine?” he asked sincerely.
Xia Youluo looked wide-eyed at Long Chen. Now she was completely unable to understand him.
“I wouldn’t dare to say that I could give you pointers. However, this wine has one fatal weakness. It’s fated to never reach the level of a true Dao,” said Long Chen.
Long Chen’s words immediately caused Xia Youluo’s expression to change. She looked toward the middle-aged man and as expected, his expression had sunk.
“May I ask how so? What fatal weakness does my wine possess?” The middle-aged man took a deep breath and forced himself to be calm. But Xia Youluo could clearly hear a trace of anger in his voice.
The Wine God Palace’s disciples viewed their own wine as their most sacred possession. They definitely wouldn’t allow anyone to blaspheme it. But Long Chen said it possessed a fatal weakness, and even worse, he said it would never reach the level that all these disciples strived to reach. That wasn’t just an insult to the wine, it was an insult to the winemaker.
Xia Youluo nervously stood up, but Long Chen continued to sit there, a smile on his face.Previous Chapter Next Chapter