Each year, the number of people who went to seek apprenticeship were in the tens of thousands, but the number of people who would be accepted would not be more than ten. This was a pretty disheartening fact, but it did not affect the mortals’ desire to become immortal at all.
Hu Sha carried a bag that Auntie Lu prepared for her; and just like the other tens of thousands, she started off her journey rather confidently.
Her old home back then also had a small hill, you could reach the peak by just half an hour. Qing Yuan Mountain was obviously not the same. Qing Yuan Mountain was the dwelling of the celestials, it spans thousands of miles with no man-made trails. It really made people confused, not knowing where to start their first step.
Hu Sha walked around the rough mountain path for a long time; she hadn’t seen a single soul. It was so quiet, the only thing discernible by her ears was her own breathing.
A famous poet once wrote ‘蜀道难’ (‘Shu Dao Nan’, ‘The Difficulties of Shu Road’ by Poet Li Bai). Whenever her father got drunk, he would always read the poem out loud, ‘The journey of Shu road, even more difficult than ascending to the sky.” Hu Sha herself was ‘ascending to the sky’ at the moment, the sharp and dangerous rock formation really made her struggle. She had just gotten past one cliff only to found out there were hundreds more waiting for her.
This situation really made one feels helpless. Hu Sha heaved a long sigh, sitting on the ground helplessly before falling into a daze.
The mist in the mountain was thick as it rolled around. It dampened her cheek. The peak of the Qing Yuan Mountain appeared so distant from here, hidden in the clouds. The snow up above appeared to be glittering when hit by sunlight. That was where the immortals lived. For people who had no affinity to them, even if they put their lives at risk, they would not be able to reach that peak.
Hu Sha’s eyes watered. She held her head high to prevent the tears from falling and enthusiastically got up, “Alright! Hu Sha, you have to strive harder! You will definitely succeed!”
She pushed herself to climb two more cliffs before she heard a voice from behind her, “Weird, why is the mountain so quiet. It’s a little eerie.”
She turned around and saw a group of people, both men and women. They were all wearing blue robes with swords hanging at their waists. Their pace itself was pretty brisk. From their appearance and their manner of walking, they must be trained warriors.
Within them, a young girl smiled and said, “There is no people in the mountain, of course it’s going to be quiet. Eldest Senior Brother thinks too much.”
That Eldest Senior Brother glanced at her and said, ”Who says it’s normal for the mountain to be quiet? Only demon-infested mountains will be quiet. Qing Yuan Mountain is a celestial mountain, it is blessed with divine spirit. By rights, birds should be flying here and there; but ever since we stepped in here, have you seen half a bird?”
Hearing him made Hu Sha realized it too.
He was right, a mountain should not be as silent as this. Even that small hill behind her house back then was full of chirpings of birds. This place however… Did she went the wrong way?
That group of people continued talking and amongst them was an old man with white hair, presumably their shifu. The shifu stroke his beard and said, “What Li Yun said isn’t wrong. There is something strange with Qing Yun Mountain this time. People above us probably found our traces already, we must be careful when climbing.”
The young girl from before giggled, “Shifu, you underestimated yourself. We came here to challenge that old man Jin Ting, why must we fear this little trick? Be it Spider Demon or whatever, they all can’t win against you.”
The old man appeared to be quite happy hearing that. He was just about to speak when he spotted Hu Sha. He was quite startled.
“Hey, who are you!” that young girl jumped before taking out her sword while menacingly wielding it towards Hu Sha.
Hu Sha flailed her hand in shock. “I- I am just another mortal trying to seek apprenticeship…”
“Apprenticeship?” the girl suspiciously stared at her from top to bottom, “If you are really seeking apprenticeship, then why are you taking this route? Who are you trying to bluff? You must be a spy sent by Qing Yuan Mountain to trace after us!”
“Li Ying!” the Eldest Senior Brother scolded her, “This young lady appears to be a normal girl. You stop with your nonsense! We did not come here to start trouble!”
The young girl glared at him, “Why should I listen to you? Do you think I can’t differentiate between normal people and whatnot?” she withdrew her sword and suddenly flew straight to Hu Sha with her sword pointing towards her. “From one glance, I can tell that she is not a good person,” she laughed while positioning her sword right at Hu Sha’s throat.
Hu Sha was scared silly, petrified to the point that she couldn’t move. Seeing the blade of the sword heading her way, she shut her eyes, too scared to look.
Suddenly, a loud roar could be heard from the sky, the kind a beast will omit. The group of people in front of her screamed in panic while the young girl cried, “It’s a monster! Monster!”
Hu Sha opened her eyes and felt the winds getting fiercer. Stones and sands were flying to the point that it was hard for one to open their eyes. She covered her head and huddled on the ground . Her back was smashed by God knows how many stones, it hurts like hell!
‘Hu’ there seemed to be something that flew right above her just now. It came lightly in contact with her head, breaking the hairpin that she puts on earlier. The fierce wind made her scalp felt like it was going to split.
Hu Sha scrambled to grab her disheveled hair and took that chance to glance at what was happening before her. She could only see a black creature whose height was as tall as two people. There appeared to be wings at it’s back, flapping gently.
What was that? Hu Sha froze in her place.
The old shifu from before yelled loudly, “Don’t panic! Take out your swords! Get into formation!”
The people in that group took out their swords and surrounded the monster. The monster suddenly roared and expand it’s wings; each of it’s wings ended up hitting two people. It then stretched its paws and easily took the old shifu into captivity.
The remaining people in the group was thrown into chaos; some were calling their shifu, the others were trying to attack the monster, but from what Hu Sha could see, the old man had already fainted from shock. His limbs were limp. The monster sniffed at him for a while, hesitating whether to eat him or not. In the end, he succumbed to temptation and opened his mouth to taste.
The sky was suddenly thunderous. A flash of thunder strike the monster right in the head. The monster howled in pain and in the end abandoned the old man and snuggled on the ground, huddling. The thunder did not stop, it kept striking once, then twice. It even strike the monster’s wing but the monster did not dare to move.
Suddenly, a pleading voice that belonged to a woman said, “Senior Uncle, please stop striking Xiao Meng with lightning. He will die!”
A piece of talisman suddenly descended from the sky. The monster, as though it had just seen it’s saviour quickly jumped up. It’s huge body suddenly turned into a white light and in no time it was already inside the marked paper. An arrow was shot but was grabbed by a snow-white hand.
This turn of event was too amazing, Hu Sha had never seen something like this in her 15 years of life. She fixed her hair while looking up. In the middle of sky, two people could be seen riding clouds, their clothes fluttering with the wind. A very beautiful woman with long hair could be seen, her face guilty while looking at the man in black opposite her.
In her hand was the talisman that contains the monster.
The man opened his mouth, Hu Sha could hear his cold voice and inadvertently shuddered.
“You did not properly took care of your own spirit beast. You let him loose and allowed it to attack people. It should be killed.”
After speaking, he looked down. From within the cloud, his face could be seen. He had a pair of narrow, twinkling eyes; like stars. The wind blew his long raven hair off, while his dark robe make a fluttering sound. His face was cold like ice; lofty and proud and also gave off the air of being unapproachable.
serene: Chapter 2！