Commander Qin nods with a smile, “You’re right. I have met the crazy cultivator.”
Almost every student in the State of Huaxia is familiar with the phase of history Commander Qin tells. The state was established in 1949, and then the war to resist the U.S. and aid Korea broke out.
Commander Qin was only a teenager when he was ordered by his father to join the army. He went to Korea with the army, and back then, he was a soldier of the lowest rank who had to fight in the front row.
“One time, the regiment I was in was besieged by the U.S. army. In order to strike back, we split up into several groups and laid in ambush in the mountains… It was a hot summer, and I remembered feeling dehydrated. The U.S. army attacked, and I just shot back randomly. All of a sudden, I passed out because of severe heartache. And I woke up one night…”
Commander Qin woke up one night. He found himself lying in the wild under the stars. There was no wound on his chest and the U.S. army was nowhere near him. A gust of wind blew. He assumed that he was on the peak of a mountain, or else he wouldn’t be so close to the sky.
There was a time when Commander Qin doubted that he was dead. Otherwise, his limbs wouldn’t be so numb while his chest was intact. Then he smelled the fragrance of medicine. Fortunately, he could move his neck and he looked to his right— A man in blue frock was stewing something.
Commander Qin immediately realized that this man might be the crazy cultivator that his father told him about. The man seemed to notice that he was awake and turned around. Under the moonlight, the man looked to be in his fifties. He was slovenly and discursive.
Commander Qin was sure that the crazy cultivator had saved him. He said, “Thank you for saving my life.” All of his family members knew that the crazy cultivator was somehow related to Jiang Mingyue, but nothing was ever confirmed. As a result, Commander Qin wasn’t sure of how to address the man.
“I didn’t mean to save you! I came here to collect ginseng and happened to see a strange one. I used you to test its toxicity. You’re just lucky to be alive now!” The crazy cultivator sneered and refused to admit that he specially came to save the Qin’s boy.
Commander Qin didn’t believe in the man’s words. However, the crazy cultivator seemed impatient in making conversations. He poured a bowl of medical soup from the pot and poured it into Commander Qin’s mouth. Warmth rose instantly in his body. Commander Qin guessed that the medical soup was made of the “strange ginseng” the man just talked about and he was grateful. An hour later, his numb limbs could move thanks to the warmth.
The crazy cultivator wanted to leave since he knew the boy was alright.
Commander Qin was aware that the man could go really fast. He rolled over and started to kowtow, “Master, can you take me as your prentice? I am able to bear all the hardship.” Commander Qin had no way to stop the cultivator from leaving so he came up with this excuse.
The crazy cultivator turned around and jeered, “You’re just a trash who doesn’t have the Taoist root. How dare you try to learn spells of the mortals! You are ridiculous!”
Commander Qin kept kowtowing, “You keep talking about the Taoist root. You said to my father once that he was also a trash without the Taoist root. However, my grandmother had it, but you blamed her for marrying my grandfather. Now I don’t have the Taoist root… Master, these two words have confused my family for three generations. Can you please enlighten me about it?”
The crazy cultivator was moved by Commander Qin’s sincerity, or he decided to change his mind because Commander Qin mentioned his grandmother, Jiang Mingyue. The cultivator actually stopped after hesitating for a while.
“The cultivator told me that my grandmother was gifted to cultivate and she reached the level of Laying Foundation before she was fifty years old… You must know about the levels of cultivation. Training Qi, Laying Foundation, Bearing Essence and Gathering Vitality… He said that since most cultivators in the level of Gathering Vitality and above suddenly disappeared a thousand years ago, Reiki between heaven and earth started to become agitated. Cultivators in the level of Bearing Essence couldn’t use the restless Reiki to advance themselves, and they died one after another as time passes by. After the industrial revolution, there were only a dozen of cultivators in the level of Laying Foundation left in the State of Huaxia, and cultivators in the level of Bearing Essence had long since existed only in mysteries… You may now understand why my grandmother was a gifted cultivator.”
Lin Luoran pretends to be listening quietly. In fact, her emotions are stirred. At first, she only asks Commander Qin about the “Taoist root”, and she isn’t expecting the secrets of the cultivational world.
A thousand years ago, cultivators in the level of Gathering Vitality and above disappeared. Where did they go?
Why Reiki on earth became so agitated and useless for cultivation?
How many cultivators are there who still struggle to cultivate in such a bad environment?
And herself. Has she entered the first level of cultivation—Training Qi?
Seeing that Lin Luoran is listening carefully, Commander Qin assumes that though she is a cultivator, she is also a young woman who is interested in secret stories. He goes on, “Then I pursued further about the Taoist root, and the crazy cultivator signed and told me…”
The cultivator saw the tears in the eyes of the Qin’s boy. After all, the boy was the offspring of Jiang Mingyue. His heart was softened. The cultivator said slowly, “There are five kinds of Reiki in the world since the beginning which are metal, wood, water, fire and earth. The five of them mutually restrain and promote each other so that the world is harmonized and balanced. When the world first came into being, ancient beasts were gifted to absorb Reiki instinctively, and they thrived as years passed by. There was barely space for ancient humans to live in. Later, methods of training Qi were passed on and our ancestors began to cultivate. The smartest cultivators could even beat the ancient beasts, so that humans finally got to survive on the planet… After generations, methods of training Qi were improved. The cultivational world was divided into hundreds and thousands of schools, but no matter how powerful their spells were, the precondition to cultivate was to have the Taoist root.”
“Master, what on earth is the Taoist root? How can I have it?” Commander Qin asked. He was just a teenager back then, and he longed for those abilities of flying in the sky and burrowing into the ground.
The crazy cultivator looked at the boy in front of him with pity, “People with Taoist root will interact with one or more of the five kinds of Reiki so that they can absorb these Reiki into their body. The more unitary the nature of Reiki is, the purer the Taoist root can be. Your grandmother can naturally interact with both water and wood Reiki, and that makes her Taoist root distinguished… As for you, you can’t interact with any of the five kinds of Reiki. Even you’ve taken the strange ginseng which can easily prolong your life, there is no chance that you can be a cultivator!”
Thinking about this, Commander Qin sighs, “Luoran, please don’t blame me for saying this to Liu Zheng. Also, I am not trying to sabotage your relationship with him because he is Baojia’s fiancé. According to the crazy man, even the offspring of two cultivators may not have the Taoist root, let alone that of a cultivator and a mortal… As the children of a cultivator, three generations of my family have experienced the depression of being ordinary humans when our ancestor was immortal. I don’t want you to follow the hard route like my grandmother did.”
Lin Luoran’s eyes are filled with tears. She finally realizes that Commander Qin tells Liu Zheng about the “Taoist root” to protect her.
Thinking about Baojia who is still in a coma and the weak but real stream of Reiki inside of her body, Lin Luoran says,
“What’s past is past. Grandpa Qin, you should just let it go. If I’m not wrong…Baojia may have the Taoist root!”
Commander Qin looks at Lin Luoran in surprise and the muscles at the corner of his eyes are shaking. Things happen so fast, and he has a hard time believing this— This is the long-cherished wish of the Qin family for three generations. Will it come true on his one and only granddaughter?