Epilogue 2 – The Ant Exalt (Part 2/4)

As it was said, experience is a process of discovery.

In the past, the little ant was simply like a blank piece of paper, and it was fearless and ignorant while it searched for the meaning of its existence.

But after it experienced all sorts of events, the little ant had learned to think, and it understood that it had to get a master if it wanted to cultivate.

If it wanted to get a master, then it first had to find a master who was willing to accept it as his disciple and pass down his inheritance to it.

So, the little ant started its path to look for a master.

However, it never considered whether any of the experts in the world would even take an ordinary ant as their disciple!

It went to look for a master.

It braved the hardships of travel, and it traveled both through day and night through the boundless and desolate ages. A single little ant persisted forward without taking a step back.

One day, the little ant crawled past a rocky area while wading a gale, and there were many times that it was almost blown away.

In the end, when it lay prone beneath the leaf of a violet hyacinth to avoid the gale, the exhaustion it felt instantly overcame it, and it fell unconscious right away.

The little ant had a dream.

In its dream, it heard a voice constantly calling out to it — “How can you fall when you haven’t reached that far place? Get up quickly! You can’t sleep anymore! Otherwise, you’ll never be able to be as dazzling as a shooting star!”

A shooting star?

While its consciousness was completely blurry, the little ant seemed to have somehow mustered up the strength to suddenly jolt itself awake from its sleeve. It glanced at the surroundings in a dazed state, took a deep breath, and then started moving its extremely exhausted feet to crawl slowly towards the distance.

The violet hyacinth behind it swayed with the end as it gazed silently at the little ant going further with every step it took. At the same time, it seemed to mutter as if it was giving its blessing. “Persist forward little one. Even if you die, you’d have died in your pursuit, and that’s a miracle in and of itself.”

Mount Blossom.

It was a lofty, imposing, and towering mountain.

A green peach tree stood at the peak of Mount Blossom. It absorbed the essence of both sun and moon all year round while consuming the energy of the rosy clouds around it. It survived the trails of wind, fire, lightning, and water to finally attain a moment of instant comprehension, and it ascended into an immortal being that was called Qing Xiao’zi.

After Qing Xiao’zi attained the Dao, he followed the examples of the sages, and he started to pass down guidance and teaching to all the living beings in an area of 5,000km around Mount Blossom.

After a thousand years of such actions, Qing Xiao’zi’s name had spread throughout the areas that neighbored Mount Blossom, and he was respected by numerous living beings as their teacher.

One day, the evening glow descended down from high above, and it painted the ocean of clouds in a gorgeous hue.

Qing Xiao’zi wore a jade green robe as he sat upright atop the platform. He glanced at all the living beings who were seated cross-legged in a respectful manner all around the platform, and he immediately started teaching.

“The Dao is something that all living beings can attain. However, the Dao is flawed, so those without a foundation of the Dao, intelligence, and wisdom, and unable to comprehend its profundities.” Qing Xiao’zi’s voice was loud and clear as it resounded through the surroundings. “Just like this bug of the summer. It’s born in the sweltering heat of the summer and dies beneath that exact same heat. It will never know what snow is. As they say, a bug of the summer will never know what ice is, and cultivation is exactly the same. If one is without a foundation of the Dao, wisdom, and intelligence, then one would be just like a bug of the summer.”

Many living beings seemed to be lost in thought when they heard this, and only a single little ant’s feelers swayed and seemed to be very puzzled by this.

Qing Xiao’zi was an extraordinary figure. So he was able to instantly notice everything clearly, even if it was a tiny little ant.

He smiled as he stretched out his hand and instantly grabbed the little ant between his fingers, and he said to all the living beings, “Look, this ant is the most lowly being throughout the world, yet it has come to listen to my teaching today. Even though its intent is commendable, unfortunately, it has no foundation of the Dao, no wisdom, and even its intelligence is extremely low. It’s just like a bug of the summer that’s bound to be unable to attain the Dao in its lifetime.”

As he spoke, he flicked lightly with the tip of his finger, and the little ant instantly flew off far away into the clouds and was blown away by the strong winds there.

At this instant, the little ant felt indescribably furious, dazed, and disappointed.

It had thought that Qing Xiao’zi of Mount Blossom was an expert who’d attained the Dao, so it had gone through all sorts of hardships and strode step by step for many days and nights before it finally arrived at the peak of Mountain Blossom.

However, it hadn’t been able to find a teacher who would become his master. On the contrary, it was mercilessly humiliated by Qing Xiao’zi in front of all the other living beings, and it was even to the extent that it wasn’t even given the chance to refute before it had been flicked away from Mount Blossom!

Perhaps Qing Xiao’zi didn’t think that it was wrong to harm an ant at all. Perhaps he’d never even taken the ant seriously since the very beginning.

However, such actions and words were definitely a merciless blow and a form of trampling upon the little ant!

As the mountain winds whistled around it, the little ant could faintly hear a wave of roaring laughter coming from above Mount Blossom.

Are they… laughing at me for overestimating my ability as well?

The little ant’s entire body felt cold, and it felt extremely lonely and angry from inside out.

It gritted its teeth as it said to itself, One day, I’ll definitely tell all of those fellows who disregarded and humiliated me exactly who is that bug of the summer!

After it left Mount Blossom, the little ant continued on its journey.

Since it left its nest, it had endured endless ridicule and doubt. So, even though Qing Xiao’zi’s actions and words were detestable, the little ant wasn’t disheartened. After all, it was an existence that intended to be as dazzling as a shooting star, so how could it fall from just a little pain?

“A tiny little ant like you dares to daydream about seeking a path of cultivation? If it weren’t out of consideration for the difficulties of your journey, I would instantly crush you right now. Leave immediately! Don’t disrespect my sect!”

“You may leave. Even though all living beings possess intelligence, your natural endowment is too inferior and isn’t suitable for cultivating the Dao.”

“Hahaha! A tiny little ant wants to cultivate and seek the Dao like others? How laughable.”

“Hmph! If I were to take you as my disciple, then I would definitely be the laughingstock of all Fellow Daoists in the world. Hurry up and leave. You’re not fated for this path.”

Never had the little ant ever imagined that while it had tried to find a master and seek the Dao throughout the period after it left Mount Blossom, it had actually been refused mercilessly every single time. Moreover, it suffered ridicule and contempt incessantly, and it was disappointed and filled with pain on countless occasions.

Perhaps a single blow wouldn’t be sufficient to instill despair in the little ant, but when it grew in number, even the little ant started to doubt itself.

Could it be that… I’m really unable to cultivate?

Why exactly is that?

These doubts were like sharp blades which mercilessly stabbed and tortured the little ant, and its hopes were almost dashed to pieces.

The world is so huge, could it actually have no path for me to seek the Dao?

Frustration, helplessness, disappointment, and pain filled the little ant. It seemed like it had lost its soul, and it just strode through the boundless world in a muddled state.

It received no consolation or encouragement, and no one noticed the pain and frustrations in the heart of an ant.

This was the state that the lowly were in. Would anyone even care about the feelings of just a tiny little ant?

Later on, the little ant even started to give itself to despair. It wasn’t able to find its objective nor was it able to see that moment it would become dazzling like a shooting star. It suddenly felt like just dying. At the very least, it wouldn’t have to endure the pain and sadness in its heart.

There was no greater pain than despair itself.

Right at the moment that the little ant was on the verge of collapse, it encountered someone….

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