Chapter 41 – If Everyone Consents, Why Shouldn’t I?

The Old Guard surrounded Wen Changqing, their gazes boring into him.

Wen Changqing clearly sensed that this didn’t bode well for him, and he was a bit frantic.

“Commander Nie, given your connections with the Wen Family, you ought to know that I, Wen Changqing, am not that debase or despicable!” He took a deep breath, then said solemnly, “I only just received the grievous news of my son’s passing, so I lost control of my emotions and said some things I shouldn’t have.
I humbly request your understanding.”

Nie Beihu fell silent, then said, “Brother Changqing, if you want to prove your innocence, there’s just one thing you need to do.”

“What is it?” asked Wen Changqing.

“Use the power of the Wen Family to assist the City Lord’s Manor in rooting out any clues regarding Wu Ruoqiu.
We cannot allow evildoers like him to bring disaster to the populace.
I trust City Lord Fu would appreciate your assistance.”

Nie Beihu’s words were sonorant and eloquent. 

“That’s only natural!” Wen Changqing didn’t even need to stop to think.
His expression filled with dense hatred, and he gnashed his teeth.
“Wu Ruoqiu killed my son! I’d love nothing more than to rip him to shreds and eat him alive! Commander Nie, please rest assured.
The Wen Family is duty-bound to investigate and pursue that fiend!”

Nie Beihu’s expression softened, and he waved his guards away.
“Brother Changqing, there’s something I’m not sure I ought to say or not.” 

“Commander Nie, please enlighten me.”

“You were obviously well aware that this residence was haunted, yet you didn’t warn Young Lord Su.
If word of this spreads, I’m afraid it will bring you much criticism,” said Nie Beihu.
“The uninformed might well assume that the Wen Family intended to use the haunted house to get rid of him.”

Wen Changqing’s expression changed dramatically, and he immediately denied it.
“How could I? I, Wen Changqing, would never do something so shameless and despicable!”

“I’ll inform City Lord Fu Shan of this,” said Nie Beihu gravely.
“Furthermore, allow me to be blunt: if anything else goes wrong during Young Lord Su’s stay here, the Wen Family won’t be able to escape responsibility.”

Wen Changqing’s lips twitched, and he forced a rigid smile.
“Commander Nie, please rest assured.”

Finally, Nie Beihu nodded.
He glanced inscrutably at Su Yi, then waved.
“Then we’ll be on our way.”

With that, he left, taking the Old Guard with him.

Wen Changqing stood in place, silent for a long time.

Suddenly, he whipped around and stared intently at Su Yi, his gaze terrifyingly dark as he pressed for answers.
“What happened just now?”

Su Yi said calmly, “Your son arrived two hours before I did.
How could I possibly know what happened before I got here?”

He paused, then furrowed his brow.
“I wanted to ask you something too.
I’ve already taken over management of the Apricot Clinic, so why was your son here?”

Wen Changqing flitted back and forth.

Su Yi’s questions were perfectly reasonable, leaving him unable to interrogate him any further.

A little while later, he stretched out a finger and pointed at Su Yi, his expression dark and imposing.
When he spoke, he paused for emphasis between each word.
“I’ll get to the bottom of this! Don’t let me find out you had something to do with this!”

With that, he turned and led his attendants away.

Huang Qianjun watched them disappear.
Only when they faded from view did Huang Qianjun sigh with admiration.
“Commander Nie, your methods sure are something!”

Su Yi glanced at him.
“The machinations of power and authority are ultimately just petty tricks.
Some truly powerful cultivators could have called upon their unique secret arts to recreate the murder scene.”

He paused, as if worried that Huang Qianjun didn’t understand, then added, “If you want to become strong, you can’t put too much energy into mental games.” 

Huang Qianjun froze, then said solemnly, “Brother Su, you’re right!”

Inwardly, he was mad with delight. Brother Su gave me pointers again! This is a wonderful sign!

“Tomorrow morning, wait for me ten miles outside the city, in the mulberry grove lining the Great Azure.” Su Yi casually commanded him, then turned and entered his room.

In his eyes, what just happened was a minor interlude, unworthy of any further concern. 

Ten miles outside the city? A grove on the banks of the Great Azure? What’s he bringing me there for? Huang Qianjun was a bit confused, but he shook his head, cast those thoughts aside, and ran off.

He’d just killed Wen Jieyuan with his own two hands.
He needed to inform his father, Huang Yunchong, right away.

The courtyard regained its usual tranquility.

The sunlight passed through the locust tree’s lush umbrella of leaves, casting mottled flecks of light on the ground. 

Shortly after Huang Qianjun left, Hu Quan, Wu Guangbin, and the rest of the clinic’s staff paid Su Yi a visit.
When they saw that he was alive and well, they finally relaxed, and before long, they were on their way.

Su Yi sat before his desk, holding Mortal Edge in front of him and examining it in silence.

The sword had just killed eight people.
There was no trace of blood on the solid, inky darkness of the blade, but its edges carried a faint baleful aura. 

“This is ultimately just a mortal weapon, with little space to grow.
Still, at least in the short run, it’ll do just fine.” Finally, Su Yi resheathed Mortal Edge, then glanced at the yellow Soul-Nurturing Gourd hanging from the desk.

As if sensing his gaze, Qing Wan’s timid voice rang out.
“Mystic Master, you… Do you have orders for me?”

Her voice was soft and sticky, pure and sweet.

“Come on out.
I have something to discuss with you.” Su Yi gently drummed his fingers against the desk.
He already had a plan for what he’d do with Qing Wan.

A wisp of white smoke emerged silently from the gourd, and Qing Wan’s petite figure drifted into view, stunning in her redding dress.

She had youthful features and big eyes, and she hovered there, quivering, head held low, looking a bit silly.

Su Yi muttered, “I’ll give you two choices.
First, after I step into the Origin Dao, I’ll redeem your soul and release you from this world.”

Qing Wan fidgeted with the hems of her dress and asked weakly, “And the second choice, Mystic Master?”

“The second choice is simple.
We’ll make a deal.” He rubbed his lower jaw and gazed at her, as if from a distance.
“I’ll grant you a cultivation technique and help you become a true ghost cultivator.
In exchange, you’ll need to agree to my request.”

“What is it you need from me?” She looked up, an expectant look on her youthful, slightly chubby face.

“Use your body as my furnace,” he said offhandedly.
“Accompany me once in dual cultivation as I step from the Origin Dao and into the Spirit Dao.”

There were four great stages of cultivation: the Martial Dao, Origin Dao, Spirit Dao, and Profound Dao.
Each was subdivided into different realms.

The Martial Dao included the Blood Circulation, Qi Accumulation, Inner Furnace, and Anāsrava Realms.

The Origin Dao included Grain Avoidance, Origin Palace, and Gathering Stars Realms. 

Above that were the Three Realms of the Spirit Dao.

Of them, the first was called “the Spiritual Manifestation Realm”.

Upon reaching this stage, it was necessary to convert one’s origin power into a “Spiritual Origin”, in which Yin and Yang intermingled. 

Based on the experience of his past life, he knew that if he wanted to exceed his past self as he stepped into the Spiritual Manifestation Realm, dual cultivation was an excellent way to go about it. 

Of course, even without dual cultivation, he had other ways of taking that step.
It would just take more effort, and he’d have to search for an opportunity.

But if he started nurturing Qing Wan as his future “furnace” now, when the time came to enter the Spiritual Manifestation Realm, he wouldn’t need to go to all that trouble. 

Dual cultivation?” Qing Wanstammered in obvious shock.
Then, her fair features flushed crimson.
Her rosy cheeks were now so red, they looked like they were burning.

Her eyelashes quivered, and she buried her head in her chest, looking bashful as could be.

Su Yi continued, sounding so calm, it was as if none of this had anything to do with him.
“That’s right.
If you agree, when the time comes, I can teach you a unique dual cultivation technique.
It won’t drain you, nor will it harm your origin.
On the contrary, your cultivation will go up a notch too.”

He paused, then said, “Of course, if you’re unwilling, that’s fine too.
I’m not so desperate as to take advantage of a little yin spirit like you.” 

In his past life, had he announced that he wanted a dual dultivation partner, immortal beauties and goddesses would have swarmed to his door like moths to a flame. 

After all, dual cultivating with Su Xuanjun was an enormous stroke of good fortune to any woman intent on reaching greater heights in their pursuit of the Dao.
It was an opportunity that could be found but not sought!

Could Qing Wan understand that? Maybe not, but Su Yi didn’t care.

In any event, the Spiritual Manifestation Realm was still far away.

“Think it over.
There’s no rush to answer me,” said Su Yi.
With that, he got up and turned to leave.

But before he got far, Qing Wan called him back.
She sounded flustered.
“Mystic Master, I….
I’ve decided.”

“Oh?” Su Yi’s eyebrows shot up, and he asked with great interest.
“What did you choose?”

“The… the second option.” Her voice was as soft as a gnat, only barely audible, and her beautiful face was bright red.
She didn’t even dare meet Su Yi’s gaze.

Su Yi really didn’t understand it. She’s just a yin spirit.
Why is she so bashful?

He thought about it, then said, “Once you decide, you can’t go back on your word.
Do you understand?”

Qing Wan’s chest heaved; it was obvious she was nervous.
She took several deep breaths before stammering, “I understand.”

Su Yi continued, “Although I’m going to teach you a cultivation method, and although I’ll give you pointers, I’m not taking you as my apprentice, and you aren’t allowed to refer to yourself as such.

“I understand.” Qing Wan nodded obediently.

Su Yi pondered for a moment, then added, “Even if you become my dual cultivation partner, you won’t be my wife or concubine, and I won’t take responsibility for you.
Do you understand?”

Qing Wan was stunned.
Then, she stammered, “Mystic Master, there’s no need to worry.
I… I don’t dare covet such things……”

Hearing this, Su Yi finally nodded in satisfaction.
“I’ll give you another day to think it over.
If you haven’t changed your mind by then, I’ll teach you a cultivation technique.”

With that, he rose, pushed open the door, and left.
It was noon, and his stomach was rumbling.
He needed to satisfy his hunger before he did anything else.

As for what Qing Wan thought? He couldn’t even be bothered to guess.

It wasn’t that he had a heart of stone.
He wasn’t emotionless, but he had the mental state and experience of his past life’s hundred and eight thousand years.
He’d long detached himself from matters of love.

If he was fated to encounter a woman who stole his heart, he’d naturally treasure her and dote on her.

If not, he wouldn’t push the matter.

As for dual cultivation, casual romances, one-night stands….

If everyone consented, why shouldn’t he enjoy himself? 

When Su Xuanjun conducted his affairs, he never let love or pleasure trouble him.

Seth's Thoughts

“辟谷”, “Bigu”, or  “Grain Avoidance” is a Daoist concept.

“Grain Avoidance” is a literal translation, but it doesn’t fully convey the meaning of the term.

“辟谷” basically means “to abstain from grain (ie the thing that constitutes the bulk of a normal mortal’s diet) to achieve immortality”.
It’s similar to Breatharianism, but Breatharianism is loosely associated with Hinduism, while “Grain Avoidance” has a more Daoist connotation. 

Apparently, in a more modern context, it’s also used to describe keto-esque, low carb diets and intermittent fasting? 

I played with some alternative translations, but this is a standard term, not something the author made up or like… a generic fantasy word, y’know? So let’s just stick with “Grain Avoidance.”

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