Chapter 185 Perceiving Passion
The appearance of a death from far away is completely different from when it is near. From afar, it was like a mountain, not ferocious but instead lofty, magnificent, and exciting. It easily inspired poetry with its picturesque view; close up it looked like a bottomless cliff, whose heartless mouth could make even the boldest go limp in their legs.
Gu Shenwei felt that he had seen through life and death and reached the state of ‘killing oneself’ after practising the Death Sutra, but going through Qi deviation two times in a row suddenly made Xue Niang’s sallow face become clear in his mind, and fear uncontrollably rose in his heart.
He didn’t want to die; he wanted revenge, but right now he could only kill the twins of the Shangguan family at best. The most direct enemy, Shangguan Nu, was a few days of travel away, and was surrounded by countless killers and bandits. The Unique King was always in the inner chamber, and he knew advanced martial art skills and was always secretly protected by the green-faced assassins.
He had even thought about living well after his successful revenge. Although it was only a vague prospect, it made him feel more at ease than the death that currently surrounded him.
He decided to go to City View Alley to find Immortal Peng. Even if the other side was a living devil, he was still willing to make this exchange of life for the Death Sutra.
To cure himself, he had to first stabilize the twins. So, he overstated Guan Houlin’s status and role in the face of Shangguan Ru by describing the stout young man as a shady and devious man with a suspicious role, and offered to go to Southern Jade City to dig up everything on this opponent. Specifically, the plan was “to crush Guan Houlin to defeat the ninth young lord.”
Then, he secretly went to see Shangguan Fei. After being reprimanded, he revealed that Tenth Gongzi was plotting drastic measures to deal with the situation, measures which he needed a little more time to find out.
By taking these actions, Gu Shenwei bought himself some time. He then had a discussion with Lotus and came up with a conservative solution: Servant Huan would go make a deal with Immortal Peng while Lotus hid in the dark just in case. Lotus would join later if it worked.
Once again, Gu Shenwei chose to go to the Essence Pavilion in the evening, exactly one month after his last visit.
As he stood on the wall, he picked up a stone and threw it at the window on the third floor.
The small window opened and the old man with a white robe and long beard stuck his head out. After looking at the teenager for a while, he threw out the long rope without saying anything. Gu Shenwei held the end of the rope and jumped into the room from the window with the help of the old man’s strength.
There were fewer people in the room tonight, only seven or eight of them.
“Have you thought it over?”
Gu Shenwei ignored the speaker and went directly towards the screen. He stopped a few steps from the screen, took off his sabre and sword, and dropped them. “Hmm, I want to talk to you directly. I won’t agree to anything unless I see your face.”
No one answered. Gu Shenwei impulsively wanted to take back what he had just said. Immortal Peng was a living immortal, so how could he talk to a mortal face to face? But he suppressed the impulse. He had already planned everything in advance and must not change them at the last minute.
The puppets went downstairs one by one, and the screen moved to one side, revealing Immortal Peng’s true appearance.
Gu Shenwei didn’t know what to say. The person sitting in front of him was a dwarf less than three feet tall with short hands and feet. His chin was smooth and white like a fat baby, but the loose hairs and dense wrinkles on his forehead revealed him as an old man. His eyes were like two precious stones flickering with strange light, which caused him to appear even more mysterious.
No wonder Immortal Peng didn’t want to meet with people. He was like a doll casually made by a poor craftsman.
Gu Shenwei bowed to show his respect but did not say anything. Beside Immortal Peng stood the kid who looked very similar to Chu Yangjun.
“You must let him stay if you want to talk to me.” The kid opened his mouth, but the words of Immortal Peng came out.
The real Immortal Peng held the walking stick that was three times as tall as his own, and his right hand pressing on his throat.
“You can cure my illness?”
“What are the terms?”
“I want your swordsmanship.”
Gu Shenwei was relieved at heart. Immortal Peng at least showed his sincerity by going straight to the point. “You know my swordsmanship?”
“Maha Bodhi, the Grand Enlightenment Sword Sutra, I’ve known about it for a long time.”
Immortal Peng’s answer was very positive. Gu Shenwei believed what he said, but he still called the book ‘Death Sutra’ in his heart. “Heal me first and I’ll give you the sutra later.”
Immortal Peng lifted his crutch and reached out to the teenage killer’s shoulder. Gu Shenwei took two steps forward to actively meet the crutch’s touch. Then he was shaken to the core, not knowing why he was so trusting.
“Learn my secret technique, and the devil in your body will disappear by itself.” Immortal Peng withdrew his cane, closed his eyes, and stopped speaking.
Gu Shenwei felt lost for a bit and didn’t understand whether the other side had accepted his conditions or not.
The kid beside Immortal Peng extended his arm and said, “Let’s go downstairs to have a talk. The immortal has to take a rest now.”
This was the first time he had said his own words in front of the killer, so Gu Shenwei wasn’t able to immediately react. He stared at Immortal Peng for a while before he picked up the sword and sabre from the ground and walked downstairs.
The kid pushed the screen back into place and followed him downstairs.
As usual, there were only chairs and no people on the second floor.
The kid walked to the window and opened it, letting the moonlight stream inside to brighten the room. Then he turned around and said, “You killed my elder brother.”
“What’s your name?”
“Chu Nanping, if you want to avenge your elder brother …”
“Why would I want revenge?”
There was a slight trace of surprise in Chu Nanping’s voice, which didn’t sound like sarcasm. Gu Shenwei was stunned and asked, “You do not want revenge?”
“He didn’t learn the swordsmanship well enough. He would die at someone’s hand sooner or later, it doesn’t matter who.”
What a cruel kid. Gu Shenwei was sure that Golden Roc Castle would like this kind of people. “Well, are you going to negotiate with me on behalf of Immortal Peng?”
Chu Nanping nodded, “The immortal means that he will pass the Essence of Perceiving Passion to you and you will hand out the Grand Enlightenment Sword Sutra.”
“Wait, I’m here to get rid of the Desolate Finger Energy, not to learn some so-called Essence or something.
“The immortal has made it very clear. ‘Learn my secret technique, and the devil in your body will disappear by itself.’ Once you master the Essence of Perceiving Passion, the finger energy will naturally dissipate.”
“The Essence of Perceiving Passion… What is it?” Gu Shenwei became anxious. The Essence of Perceiving Passion sounded like a kind of sorcery. He had noticed that except for the white-robed old man and some others, the rest of the people in the Essence Pavilion were just like Immortal Peng, whose chin was bare with no beard no matter how ugly they were. There was a reason why the City View Alley was also known as the Eunuch Alley.
“An extensive and profound set of martial arts skills.”
Gu Shenwei let out a breath inwardly.
Chu Nanping spent a bit time to explain the Essence of Perceiving Passion: The ‘passion’ didn’t exclusively refer to the love between men and women, or relationships between families or friends, but generally referred to all the emotions in the world. The Dharma called ‘all living creatures’ as ‘sentient beings’, which was to say, everything had feelings, and human beings were only a part of them. Perceiving passion meant ‘Seeing through all sentient beings’.
Gu Shenwei was not interested in the Dharma, but the practice method of this set of martial arts aroused his interest. According to the understanding of the practitioners, there were in total sixty-four methods of practising the Essence of Perceiving Passion and they could all reach the highest level. The only difference was the process.
Gu Shenwei immediately thought of the Death Sutra. Although Lotus and his methods of practising it were different, their swordsmanship advanced almost side by side. So far, no one could prove that he or she was the one who was right.
Gu Shenwei now had a small understanding of why Immortal Peng was interested in the Death Sutra.
However, apart from the variety of the training methods, there was no similarity between the two sutras. The Death Sutra focused entirely on the swordsmanship, while the Essence of Perceiving Passion was more complicated. Amongst the sixty-four training method, they were extremely diverse, encompassing swordsmanship, sabresmanship, fist techniques, internal energy, lightness skills, and even some unique skills like hidden weapons.
And there was one special part about the Essence of Perceiving Passion, which was that all the training methods could not be carried out alone, and had to be dual cultivated.
Although Chu Nanping didn’t mention it, Gu Shenwei understood that Ye Silang and Chu Yangjun were dual-cultivators and what they had practised was the ‘passionate swordsmanship’, which was one of the sixty-four training methods of the Essence of Perceiving Passion.
Gu Shenwei, therefore, became a bit nervous again. It would exceed what he could endure if he had to practise the ‘passionate swordsmanship’ with a man.
Fortunately, Immortal Peng hoped to test try out all the sixty-four kinds of training methods. Since the passionate swordsmanship had been practised by someone, there was no need to repeat it again.
What Immortal Peng valued most about the teenage killer was his callous temperament.
Most of the sixty-four training methods had been practised, but the emotionless swordsmanship had not yet been tried. It was not that no one was interested, but that no one was qualified.
“Who am I going to practise with?” Gu Shenwei had actually guessed the answer.
“How long will it take?”
“Not sure. Some people master it in a few months, while others can’t figure it out even when they die.”
Gu Shenwei stared at the kid in front of him and asked, “How long have you learnt swordsmanship for?”
As a teenager, Gu Shenwei himself had only mastered a few showy and impractical martial arts skills before he came to the castle, so he didn’t believe in Chu Nanping.
“Three years. But you have to learn the basics before you can practise it together with me.”
Gu Shenwei couldn’t help but snort. Although there were many experts in the Essence Pavilion, he wasn’t afraid of any of them if they fought one-on-one, even that white-robed old man who had snatched his sword. He was sure that he could kill him, not to mention this pretty little boy.
“You must study the internal energy and lightness skills first.” Chu Nanping added.
Gu Shenwei had nothing to say now. The internal energy could help remove the Desolate Finger Energy and the lightness skills had always been his weak point. He indeed needed to learn them.
As he finished introducing the Essence of Perceiving Passion, Chu Nanping made a condition for Immortal Peng, “You have to write out part of the Grand Enlightenment Sword Sutra everyday and hand over the whole book in thirty days.”
Gu Shenwei shook his head, “One year, how could I know how long it would take me to practise the emotionless swordsmanship?”
The two haggled with each other seriously, and finally settled at one hundred days. Even so, Gu Shenwei felt that the time was too short. Deep inside his heart, he didn’t want to hand over the Death Sutra. The longer he practised the swordsmanship, the more he wanted to keep the scriptures to himself, and sometimes he even regretted having let Lotus read the sutra.
But it was a matter of life and death, and he could only agree.
The deal was done. Gu Shenwei wrote hundreds of characters on that evening. Instead of writing it from the beginning, he first handed over the last part of abstract characters, of which he didn’t know the exact meaning and he estimated Immortal Peng probably also did not.
Immortal Peng had already left when Chu Nanping brought the killer back to the third floor. Gu Shenwei pushed the screen close to the lamp, the text on which was the whole content of the Essence of Perceiving Passion.
There were only one thousand or so characters in the Essence of Perceiving Passion, which looked to be more ancient and abstract than the Death Sutra. The explanatory notes below the passage were those sixty-four training methods. Gu Shenwei focused on the emotionless swordsmanship. He had a lot of questions, which were answered by Chu Nanping one by one.
Amongst all the training methods, the emotionless swordsmanship and the passionate swordsmanship were the most different. When the former was practised to the highest level, the two people would become like one and the power of the swordsmanship would be doubled, while the symbol of mastering the latter one was that one was as powerful as two. In simpler terms, the dual cultivators had to kill each other to master the emotionless swordsmanship, the survivor the winner.
This is probably the method Chu Nanping would seek to avenge his elder brother. Thinking of this, Gu Shenwei felt relieved instead. Immortal Peng was right. This was indeed a swordsmanship that suited him.