Not a Genius
“There are two ways to cultivate, one is to stimulate your own celestial spirit inside your own body and two, by absorbing the spiritual power of the heaven and earth. The spiritual air one possesses is in small quantity so Qing Yuan Mountain puts more importance in absorbing spiritual energy from the heaven and earth.”
Hu Sha gives him a lost smile, “Eldest Senior Brother…. What is the spiritual energy of the heaven and earth?”
Feng Di nods at her, “In order to do a spell, you must thoroughly understand it. You must continue to be this diligent. The spiritual energy of heaven and earth is obtained through the energy between the fundamental nature of yin and yang. Yin is for…..”
“Wait. Wait. Can you describe it in a simpler manner?” Hu Sha continues laughing in defeat.
Feng Di ponders for a while, “Never mind, you can learn all these from the books in Chen Xing Building. Qing Yuan is a celestial mountain, it is full of spiritual energy. To put it in a human language, it is like a cup full of nectar. What you are about to do is akin to borrowing one or two drops of nectar from this cup. To say easy, it can be easy. To say hard, it can be hard.”
Hu Sha is surprised, “There are so many people in Qing Yuan Mountain; you are borrowing one drop and I am also borrowing one drop, will the cup dries out?”
Feng Di gives her a glance, “How much spiritual energy can a person’s body accommodates? Yin and yang complements each other. It is a never-ending cycle; the energy will multiply so how can we run out of it?”
Hu Sha is very embarrassed after receiving that look from him. Even though everything still feels hazy to her, she doesn’t dare to ask anymore.
“Now, I will give you an incantation. Whether or not you can successfully draws in the spiritual energy to perform the Art of Teng Yun depends on yourself.”
After saying that, Feng Di reads a long and complicated-sounding incantation. “How? Have you memorized them?” He clearly takes her for a genius.
Hu Sha is dumbfounded as she shakes her head. “…… Can you read it one more time?”
Feng Di frowns, expecting her to get it in one go before repeating the incantation. “Have you memorized them?”
She continues shaking her head; she can’t even understand a single word, much less memorize them.
“Why can’t you memorize them?” He is angry now. “As lazy as Feng Yi is, shifu only needed to read it to him twice. Why can’t you be like him?”
Hu Sha laughs bitterly, “I naturally cannot measure up to Second Senior Brother…..”
“Nonsense!” Feng Di looks furious at first, but seem to realize he is being too harsh. He tones down his expression little before patting Hu Sha on the shoulder, “Do not belittle yourself. I have seen all kinds of disciple over the years, the diligent ones like you are very rare. You are not afraid of hardship. You are a genius, you may achieve even better than me and Feng Yi in the future. This little setback is nothing.”
Even though she is getting praised, why is the pressure on her shoulders getting heavier? Besides, aren’t her being diligent and not afraid of hardship are forced out by him? Who dares to object to anything when faced with this thousands years old iceberg?
Black lines appears on Hu Sha’s head as she answers him.
“You stay here and practice. I need to go somewhere. If you are successful today, fly back to Zhi Yan House using the Art of Teng Yun.” Feng Di pats her shoulders in confidence, “You can do it, Hu Sha.”
To tell the truth, she does not believe she can do it.
She cannot remember even a word from that incantation. Ride what cloud? She is more likely to fall to her death.
Hu Sha gives a soft sigh as she watches his back profile before she crouches on the ground, utterly depressed.
Sheng Long Platform is built on a mountain peak, surrounded by clouds and ice. Hu Sha paces around idly as she pulls the eyes of a dragon statue, not daring to return to her room.
Remembering how her Eldest Senior Brother called her a genius, she feels a chill running through her bones. And then, upon remembering the confidence in which he looked at her, she shivers even harder.
What should she do? She can already see the look of disappointment he will give her. This is the first time someone is trusting her this much; she refuse to believe it will end in this manner.
She stomps on the ground as she continues toying with the ice-cold eyes of the dragon statue. It falls to the ground.
Hu Sha jump in shock before cautiously looking around her to make sure nobody has seen her misconduct. This cannot do; she should just scram before she gets punished for breaking the mountain’s facility.
She covers her face and runs down the platform only to overhear the gossip of two disciples on the steps. She faintly hears them talking about Senior Granduncle Fang Zhun. A burst of guilt appears in her heart. She mistakenly thinks they have seen her pulling the dragon’s eye out; her steps unknowingly come to a stop.
“Senior Sister Man Zi, they said that Senior Granduncle Fang Zhun is frequently sick until his head is rendered broken. He actually accepted a completely useless girl as disciple! I heard she is already 15 years old! She even slept at Senior Ancestor’s morning talk, angering him to death. Senior Granduncle Fang Zhun not only didn’t scold her, he even spoke on her behalf. When we first arrived here, we were only twelve or eleven, younger than her by a couple of years, yet our shifu was never that kind towards us.”
That person sighs as she talks; Hu Sha sighs along.
Another voice whispers, “Never mind all that. I heard a couple of rumors these past few days, about that new Senior Uncle with Senior Uncle Feng Yi. There is something going on between them. They were holed up in a room all day doing who knows what. They weren’t even fazed when others caught them. What kind of place is Qing Yuan Mountain? Should we accommodate such a dirty thing? What a disappointment!”
“What? There is such a thing?!” The other person sounds surprised; Hu Sha is just as surprised. Hu Sha racks her brain, trying to remember what the so-called dirty thing is.
“Of course! Think about it; Senior Uncle Feng Yi has been a frivolous person from day one! Don’t you think he looks unreliable? He utilizes his pretty look to take advantage of other people, he won’t let go of even his Junior Sister! I heard Senior Ancestor objected to him entering our mountain at first, but Senior Granduncle Feng Zhun was muddled by him and was adamant to take him as disciple…. He almost fought with Senior Ancestor. That person is really something. Don’t tell me, Senior Granduncle Fang Zhun too….”
“Nonsense!” Hu Sha bellows as she jumps towards them. The two people’s faces turn green from fear as they turn their heads towards her.
“Second Senior Brother is not as evil as you said! What do you know? I hate people like you two the most!” She yells at them until her face turns red; this is the first time she ever throws such a huge fit.
“You two make deduction of people you don’t even know based on rumors. Shifu and Second Senior Brother are such kind people; have any of you even talked to them? Why are you saying such nonsense behind their back?”
Seeing her, the two people’s faces are filled with embarrassment. They can only shrink their necks and greet her, “Greeting Senior Uncle….”
Hu Sha frowns at them, “The greeting you two has given me is fake! The truth is you two are the ones who pretends on the outside but harbors nasty thing on the inside!”
The two people turn even greener at her reproach. One of them forces herself to laugh, “Senior Uncle has a point. We are naturally not as smart and talented as Senior Uncle. We didn’t think Senior Uncle will be here to practice the Art of Teng Yun, we thought only juniors will learn such basic practice. We must not bother Senior Uncle’s practice, we will leave first.”
After saying that, the two people mutter the incantation before flying away using the Art of Teng Yun.
Hu Sha is immediately disheartened.
She is not a fast-learner. She is more mediocre than a genius. Her so-called diligence are only there because she didn’t want trouble. If there had been no Eldest Senior Brother supervising her from the sideline, she would’ve laze around.
Hu Sha wanders around for a while. The more she thinks about it, the more she finds herself useless. Without Eldest Senior Brother’s Chan Di or Teng Yun, she wouldn’t reach Zhi Yan House by nighttime even if she runs.
Imagining the disappointment in Eldest Senior Brother’s face, she feels even more restless.
The sky gradually turns darker. By the time she manages to climb down the mountain peak, her forehead is already covered in sweat. Zhi Yan House is still a long way to go.
If she didn’t manage to return to Zhi Yan House by night, Second Senior Brother will come looking for her. By then, she will lose face.
As she wipes her sweat, she suddenly hears someone calling her from behind, “Hu Sha, why are you here?”
She quickly turns around and finds her long-time no see shifu standing not far away. He is looking at her in concern.
Seeing him, Hu Sha suddenly feels like she is seeing her biological grandfather. All the grievance rush to her head as tears rolls down her eyes.
“Shifu….” She cries.
Fang Zhun dumbfoundedly makes his way towards her and wipes her tears using his sleeves, “What is going on? What are you doing here all by yourself? Why aren’t you at Zhi Yan House? Where are your Senior Brothers?”
Hu Sha grabs his clothes as she rambles on, “I cannot do it…. Shifu, I am not a genius. I cannot do the Art of Teng Yun, I cannot remember the incantation….. Eldest Senior Brother will scold me….”
It takes a while before Fang Zhun understands the general gist of what happened. He laughs, “Feng Di is too much. You have only entered the mountain for a couple of days yet he already wants you to learn the Art of Teng Yun. Calm down, this is nothing serious.”
Hu Sha earnestly shakes her head, “But Eldest Senior Brother called me a genius!” She does not want to disappoint him.
Fang Zhun cannot stop himself from laughing, “Even a genius must learn to walk first before running.”
Seeing Hu Sha who looks like she wants to cry more but doesn’t have the guts to, he helplessly pats her head, gently saying, “Come with me.”
He holds Hu Sha’s hands and after walking for a moment, they reaches an empty patch of the forest. “Actually, no one will understand those incantations from the get go. Even a genius cannot master it in one go. You need to borrow some books from Chen Xing Building first. Study those books for a couple of days and familiarize yourself with everything. Once you understand the books, everything will be a lot easier.”
Fang Zhun mutters an incantation. Clouds suddenly appears from all directions; lifting him a couple of feet up in the air.
Hu Sha wipes her tears before speaking in a hoarse voice, “Shifu….. c-can you please repeat what you just read?”
Fang Zhun retracts his incantation and the clouds disperse. He slowly lands on the ground, gently smiling, “Even if I read it 20 times, will you remember it? That is not how it works.”
“Then how does it works?” Hu Sha looks at him pitifully.
“Celestial clans have countless incantations. There are easy ones like riding the cloud, then there are the hard ones, like summoning rain and thunder. But if you set those incantations apart, they only have a couple of hundreds of characters. Their application is different. In your case, you simple don’t remember what those characters mean. For example, the meaning of the first character of the Art of Teng Yun is……”
Fang Zhun explains the meaning to her in details, explaining what corresponds to which.
Hu Sha gradually understands everything. After hearing him reciting it a couple of times, she manages to remember a good portion of the formula. She is truly delighted,
“Shifu, at the end of the day you, you are the best!” She cannot stop from exclaiming in joy. “It would have been great if shifu personally teaches me!”
Fang Zhun laughs, “You should first familiarize yourself with the formula. I’m afraid, with your current ability, you can only fly for one foot. You will need to wait for two to three years to be able to travel through the ten continents within a cup of tea time. But still, this is enough. Just try it first. See if you can ride the cloud. It will put Feng Di’s mind in peace.”
Hu Sha quietly reads the formula. She can feel thin clouds floating from all over the place. Her feet feels light and before she knows it, she is already hovering around 15 cm above ground.
“Ah, I did it!” She cheers as she dance around. She tries to move forward, but the moment she does that, the cloud scatters. She falls to the ground, almost breaking her teeth in the process.
Fang Zhun quickly helps her up before speaking in a warm tone, “This is already considered a good progress. Since you have only started cultivating, the spiritual energy in your body is limited. But still, no wonder Feng Di called you a genius.” After saying that, he laughs again.
Hu Sha rubs her own head in embarrassment.
“Let’s go back for now. Tomorrow morning, come to my place and I will teach you the most commonly-used incantations.” Fang Zhun mischievously blinks at her, “Don’t let Feng Di know or he will blame me.”
Hu Sha is very touched, “Thank you, shifu.”
He smiles while shaking his head before grabbing her by the hand, “Let’s go.”
Hu Sha immediately replies him before raising her head to look at his frail, slender back. He is clearly smaller than her Senior Brothers, but he feels more reliable than everyone else. She feels as though she can trust him with anything; as though nothing can bring him down.