Nightfall - Chapter 103

Published at 9th of April 2018 09:21:26 AM

Chapter 103

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"Have you finished copying out the three alternative lesson plans for today's calligraphy course?"

"Not yet. We are just getting to it."

"Well, you've to hurry then. I heard that generally, the Lecturer gives scores throughout the class, which'll count for a high proportion of this semester's exam. If we can't pass this semester's exam, there'll be no hope for us."

"Is daily performance actually counted?"

"Yes it is, according to my uncle. If Dr. Wu does a spot check on the recitation of the official denunciation of 3,748 words, I will certainly fail. Please remind me of each sentence's initial."

"Sure. My problem is that I still can't recite it even if you remind me of the letters."

In the morning, students got off the horse carriages in front of the Academy and saluted each other.

The sun was shining and birds were singing in the forest behind the yard. As spring gradually passed and summer approached, the temperature rose higher and higher. The younger students already wore the Academy's common summer uniform which was light and breathable, and whose sleeves flew in the morning breeze. It helped add a little sense of freedom and freshness. They usually begun their day this way. They were anxious and complained, but they all had a unique inner confidence.

Ning Que was standing among his classmates and talking with a gentle smile. He looked at all their innocent faces from which the excitement had been erased. He helplessly laughed in his heart and thought about how things never changed with the passage of the time.

- The semester exam was taken three times each year and was one of the Academy's most important teaching ceremonies, which came next in importance to the Academy's final test and the Tang Empire student's internship exam. It would be impossible for young and emulative students to be apathetic. It was likely the students that complained about enough time for the review and little sleep, were now able to recite the words backwards fluently. They, however, deliberately appeared eased and even lazy on the surface.

On an ordinary morning, learning began with the Doctor of literature, Wu Chentian, reading in a strong Jiaozhou accent. The old Doctor was too impassioned to fluently read the great talent Wang Chongren's official denunciation in the year of Chenghua, so students could not really understand his accent. The atmosphere in the class was unavoidably boring. Even when the old Doctor got his three handkerchiefs and half of his green sleeves wet, the students still yawned silently.

Fortunately, the old gentleman didn't promptly call the students to stand up and recite this official denunciation. He likely knew that though he was capable of reciting the oracle fluently after 40 years, he could not hold them to the same standards.

When the bell finally rang for the third time, Ning Que felt relieved. He hastily put away his stationery, rushed passed the other students, and out of Classroom Three. He walked along the stone path and the edge of the wetland to cross Qing Lane and headed towards the old library. He now read books and forgot the meaning by Eight Strokes Calligraphy, and no longer fainted while reading, as he used to. Therefore, he need not be so harsh on diet and rest as before. Most importantly, he was anxiously curious to know how the mysterious commenter would answer the question he asked yesterday.

Thump thump thump thump , Ning Que went upstairs trailing his garment and wiping his face with his sleeves. He respectfully saluted to the gentle female professor by the east window and then quickly walked to the front of the bookshelf to pick out the thin Primary exploration of the Ocean of Qi and Snow Mountain . He speedily opened it and drew out the densely written on paper. He contained his excitement, read it, and fell into a long silence.

"Our body is like a musical instrument, just as breath comes and goes through a vertical bamboo flute, so does psyche power through the body. A piece of wonderful music may not be played out only with a flute and aura, because the sound always comes out from the holes of the vertical bamboo flute."

"If there're no holes on your flute, then how can you blow? If the heaven and earth can't hear your music, then how can you interact? If most of the acupoints in your Snow Mountain and Ocean of Qi were blocked, what would you do?"

Ning Que looked at the person's messages, then he raised his head after a while. He shook his head and smilingly gazed at the thick forest and listened to the sound of cicadas outside the window. With a very slight sign, he said, "So, that's what the truth is. So... I am a vertical bamboo flute that can't be played."

He then bowed his head to look at his chest and abdomen, and then his eyes fell on his green Academy uniform. He imagined the unknown specific appearance of the Ocean of Qi and Snow Mountain within the flesh and blood under the cover of his clothing. It was as if he saw a lot of holeless, flat trails and the clumsy stone mountain which could not make any sound, no matter how the water patted and how the lake breeze blew.

"Ah, a person who can write words like these really is a genius!" He could not help it and looked at the writing on the paper again, his heart fluttered, "To represent the theory of reading and forgetting the meaning with the example of pushing down a woman, and even after that, to come up with the wonderful metaphor as a vertical bamboo flute, the guy must be, if he is a Lecturer, the top Lecturer in the Academy."

Out of admiration, Ning Que unavoidably fell into sadness, while he was thinking of the lakeside stone and soundless mountain that had no acupoints, and thinking of the dumb wood that couldn't be played out without any holes within his body. He then sighed and put the Primary exploration on the Ocean of Qi and Snow Mountain back on the bookshelf, and kept walking around among the bookshelves.

Having known the relationship among the orifice grottos, the Psyche Power and the Breath of nature, and having realized the limitation of the congenital constitution, Ning Que understood that, though he could take a glance at that world and fulfill his wish in some stupid way, he could not actually step into that world. Thus he felt it meaningless to continue reading by means of watching the character and forgetting the meaning, because for him, entering that world was far more important than taking a fascinating glimpse into that world.

In order not to disturb the female professor who was tracing words quietly at the east window, he deliberately slowed and relaxed his steps while walking up and down among the bookshelves. His face looked really calm, or in other words, seemed calm. His tranquil countenance looked over the numerous cultivation books whose titles, though merely given a glance, were still really enigmatic and became a great temptation for him. However, it was also an annoying torture for him at this moment.

Suddenly a book in the corner of the second row from the bottom of the bookshelf was found. He seemed a little surprised with his eyebrow subconsciously rising. The book was definitely not the greatest one among those precious and enigmatic cultivation books kept on this floor, but its title reminded him of something from the past.

The title of this book was Wu Shanyang's Theory on Haoran Sword. It was Haoran Sword that reminded Ning Que of his first cultivator ever encountered on the battlefield - the Great Sword Master who was dressed in a turquoise robe and who intended to kill Princess Li Yu in Northern Mountain Road. The Great Sword Master had been abandoned by the Academy, and what he cultivated was the Haoran Sword.

He squatted to take the Haoran Sword book out, after a moment of hesitation, he walked back to sit on the piece of the wood that he sat on almost every day. He sat in the warm spring sun and opened the book shortly after having had a moment of tranquility.

Outside the window, the cicadas chirped louder while the forest seemed quieter. The rest of the students downstairs were quiet. Perhaps the chirping of the birds was soothing them to sleep or they were working hard to prepare for the next month's semester exam, licking their pen tips. Ning Que sat on the floor alone between the cicadas and the quietness.

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All of a sudden, his face turned pale. He clenched his right hand into a fist and pounded on his chest, trying to force himself out of meditation. He dared not catch a glimpse of a page in that book again.

He still read with the Deconstruction method of Yong's Eight Strokes Calligraphy. As he did, he could faintly feel a familiar breath from a few days ago within his body. The breath flew slowly along the strokes in a calligraphic style over his chest and abdomen, and then disappointingly met the wall of the lake. He never thought, however, that the words and calligraphic style in this Wu Shanyang's Theory on Haoran Sword were extremely sharp. Which, together with the breath in the body, would stab cruelly and ruthlessly through the wall of the lake instead of turning back.

It was the stab that made Ning Que feel as if the cold edge of a sword had abruptly pierced his heart. He had revolved through life and death and suffered from serious injuries many times, that painful feeling was still too horrible for him to bear, even with some preparation.

If he were an ordinary person, at this moment he might cry out miserably and fall on the ground with a pale face. Next, the Unreal State would mix with the real state, and then he would convulse into unconsciousness.

But Ning Que was not ordinary, he had many similar experiences like this moment, or even more miserable than this moment.

He didn't know how many times he took Sangsang to climb over the rough Min Mountain. Once, at the age of eleven, he fell off a cliff but did not get killed; he was fortunately stopped by a hard tree that was popping out of the cliff. Yet the stiff branch of the tree stretching toward the sky like a sword directly pierced his chest through the back, but he still survived such a severe injury. From that day on, there was nothing painful that could make him feel terrified or desperate.

If the Ning Que who hung on the branches of cliffs did not die, then the Ning Que who now was sitting on the floor in the sun would not have any problems. He did not even utter a single murmur, but gasped for breaths, and then recovered his composure, and looked at the closed book again, and murmured in a low voice,

"If one's meridians are blocked, he will feel pain; otherwise he won't feel pain. This really is an everlasting truth."

He shook his head and leaned back against the shelf. He tried twice to repress coughs with his sleeves covering his lips, and guessed that his lung lobe had likely been hurt by the Haoran Sword that had been hidden in the page. But what was very strange was that a sense of excitement rather than frustration appeared on his face.

If one felt pain, his meridians might be blocked; What if one bore the pain to get the meridians open, would he feel the pain any more?

At this moment, Ning Que recalled the waterfalls that were like the milky way falling from the sky, recalled the black oil spewing out of the wild plain, recalled the broken fire hydrant beside which an excited pretty, barefoot girl had her skirt rolled up and kept playing in excitement rather than in panic, and even recalled the countless saints and sages of martial arts.

There were guys whose meridians could be easily pushed open by sleep. There were guys who could recover marvelously by lying in unfinished silk in a grave for a few years even when their power was disabled. There were guys who could still become invincible even when their conception and Governor vessels had been cut off by a knife. There were guys who were able to turn themselves into "one meridian" inexplicable masters even when all their meridians were cut off.

Ning Que was lost in thought- since all these old fellows and little boys could comprehend, why not him? If those guys could finally succeed because of some stupid but resolute strength in their temperament, was he weaker than them?

Ning Que's clear eyes had a flash of toughness and pride. He supported himself on the bookshelf, straining to stand up. He then walked to the table at the west window to grind the ink and to wet the brush before leaving a passage for the guy. "I have understood the importance of opening acupoints. If I was destined to be blocked in all acupoints all of my life by Haotian, I've no choice... but to push them open by myself."


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