Chapter 1: Back For Bathing
Jiang village, one hidden in forest-clad mountains, was a small village with only a population of one hundred people.
At present, the commanding full moon, high in the night sky, overlooked the world. The world was in total silence, as if it was falling into deep sleep. While in Jiang village, there were a dozen children in different ages sitting cross-legged with their Five Hearts towards the sky. They faced to the moon and did breathing exercises. Looming fog, thick or thin, surrounded their bodies.
In front of these children was a strong and muscular man covering himself in a hide. He was speaking in a low but strong voice.
“Moonlight is extremely precious for our cultivation. Especially as it is the Fifteenth of this month, the moonlight during the period from 11 pm to 1 am would be the best. Hence, do not waste any time but absorb as much moonlight as you can to open your meridians in the body and promote your strength.”
No one responded to the man’s words as all the children were absorbing the moonlight intently.
However, there was a youth whose age was around fifteen to sixteen, sitting thirty meters away by himself. Lying in front of him were at least hundreds of medicinal herbs and beast bones of various kinds.
This youth’s handsome face could be seen under the moonlight. His black long hair was braided into several pigtails, and his body was well-developed. He wore a coat made of animal fur, like what the strong and muscular man worn, with scars of varying lengths exposed on his naked skin.
Though most of the time the youth stared at those herbs, he would sometimes look up toward those children that were sitting cross-legged. At this moment, there was always a look of envy on his little immature face.
The youth’s name was Jiang Yun. He has already gotten used to such a scene. He knew that his playmates were absorbing the moonlight for cultivation.
Everyone who did cultivation was to cultivate their body, heart, spirituality, and soul, and finally gain insights into the Tao.
Although Jiang Yun was eager to join their cultivation, his grandfather told him that his body was different from his playmates, which had determined that he couldn’t cultivate Tao with them.
Jiang Yun didn’t believe it until he asked several friends quietly and tried the cultivation way he was told and found his body couldn’t absorb the moonlight. As a result, he had to give up.
“Whatever, to be an alchemist and refine medicinal elixirs that fit my playmates to enhance their strength is not bad.”
Jiang Yun comforted himself inside and continued to pay attention to those medicinal herbs and beast bones.
“Yun, is this the last group of herbs and bones to study? How many do you remember now?”
That strong and muscular man went beside Jiang Yun, with his hands clasped behind his back, and asked with interest.
Jiang Yun looked up at him and smiled, “Yeah, Uncle Mu. I’ve kept them in mind.”
“Good!” Jiang Mu nodded without doubting Jiang Yun’s words. A look of admiration crossed his rugged face.
Jiang Yun may not realize how amazing he was that he could remember the characters of those herbs and bones. But Jiang Mu as an adult knew clearly.
Refining Dan medicine needed materials. While the most primary materials were flora and fauna. Hence, to be a qualified pharmacist, one should know and master their characters as many as possible.
These forest-clad mountains, where Jiang village was located in, were called One Hundred Thousand Mang Mountains. Mang Mountains were almost cut off from the rest of the world. And inside of it, over ten thousand of flora and fauna were bred. Therefore, it was pretty difficult to know and remember the characters of every kind of plants and animals very well. Meantime, the process was extremely boring.
While Jiang Yun, a boy of sixteen, made it within only a dozen years! This needed not only talent but also tenacity and perseverance.
“Well done!” Jiang Mu couldn’t help praising once more, “Yun, you must become an amazing alchemist someday!”
Jiang Yun showed no excitement for Jiang Mu’s praise. He just smiled, looking like a mature guy not a youth in his age.
Jiang Mu knew Jiang Yun’s mind that he would rather be a Tao cultivator than an alchemist.
Reaching out his hand which was as big as a cattail leaf fan, Jiang Mu rubbed Jiang Yun’s head hard. He wanted to say something but swallowed the words that came to his lips.
Turning around, Jiang Mu sighed inside and said, “Yun, it is not that we don’t teach you the way to cultivate. It is because that you, actually, are not the one of our Jiang Clan. You are not a Jiang people.”
The fact was just as Jiang Mu said. Jiang Yun was not the one belonging to Jiang village. He was adopted by the Old Village Head Jiang WanLi who then became his grandfather.
This was not a secret. Even Jiang Yun knew it.
Though Jiang Yun was not a Jiang people, nobody in Jiang village took him as an outsider. Living together for sixteen years, everyone in Jiang village treated Jiang Yun as a real Jiang people.
A moment later, Jiang Mu looked up at the full moon and shouted, “Alright, whelps! Time is up! Cultivation ends now!”
Instantaneously, all of those children in Lotus Position jumped up. They knew cultivation was important. But it was really a great torment for them to sit still for several hours. After all, they were children.
A figure rushed at Jiang Yun in a flash, as fast as a wildcat.
“Brother Yun, are you going outside tomorrow? Could you catch a tricolored finch for me when you get back?”
It was a little girl, around eight or nine years old. Three little colored marks were in a triangle arrangement between her eyebrows. Her exquisite little face was full of expectation.
Her name was Jiang Yuerou, Jiang WanLi’s biological granddaughter. Her parents died by accident when hunting in the mountains. This happened shortly after her birth. Therefore, she was raised by her grandfather. And because Jiang Yun grew up with Jiang WanLi as well, it could also be said that Jiang Yun brought her up. As a result, Jiang Yun was the closest one to her.
There were a lot of dangers in Mang Mountains, and no one under eighteen was allowed to go outside of Jiang village. However, Jiang Yun was an exception.
For a better understanding of characters of flora and fauna, he would follow grandfather and go into deep Mang Mountains the day after the full moon and stay for over half a month. Every time when he came back, he would bring something like little toys or small animals. So if children in Jiang village wanted something, they would tell Jiang Yun.
“No problem!” Jiang Yun reached out his hand and pinched Jiang Yuerou’s face fondly, “I will catch a tricolored finch for you by the time I return.”
“Yun! Back for bathing!”
Suddenly, an elderly voice came from afar. Following that, Jiang Mu glared and yelled at those children, “Alright, whelps! Go to sleep right now! Yun, I will look after Yuerou. You can go back for bathing now.”
All of the children broke up in a hubbub then. Jiang Yun stood up, pinched Yuerou’s face, saluted Jiang Mu, and then turned around towards a cottage deep in the village.
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Translator: Xi Editor: Nin-nin