Pursuing Immortality - LightNovelsOnl.com
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10 km south of Bonn, Siebengebirge.
A cloud of mist floated into the unbroken stretch of mountains and slowly turned into a man. Gu Yu was now standing on the damp and chilly mountain trail, eyeing the surroundings up and down. The mountain was only three to four hundred meters tall, but covered quite a large area consisting of dozens of hills of all sizes.
In this cold wintertime, many tall trees had turned a grayish white. Their twisted branches were jagged and their bark dry, the patterns of which reminded one of hideous evil faces.
Following that energy, he walked deep into the woods. Despite his slow steps, his movement raised a gale, which blew against him in gusts of frosty air.
The friction between the cold air and the spiritual essence turned the frost into icy water instantly, but before it could dribble down, the water was vaporized, leaving a long streak of white steam behind Gu Yu.
Through the steam, Gu Yu looked blurry and almost unreal. It seemed forever before he suddenly stopped on top of a hill.
Below was a small valley. There was open terrain on the right and an ice cascade a few meters wide on the left. Icicles hung from the cliff while the water kept rus.h.i.+ng down, carrying pieces of ice.
Standing on the bank of the waterfall was a woman in a white medieval gown, now taking water from that cold pond with two cups.
She was even taller than Xiaozhai. Perfectly proportioned, she had long burgundy hair and was barefoot. Bending over there, her body was a composition of perfect curves.
After filling the two cups, she slowly turned around, revealing a countenance that wasn't exactly beautiful, but was remarkably gentle.
"h.e.l.lo, nice to meet you."
The woman smiled at him, then stepped onto the wet gra.s.s.
Gu Yu watched as her bare feet landed on the meadow. As if nature had worked some magic, the ground dried and gra.s.s sprouted at an observable speed. Green filled the path she walked.
Right after that, the woman gave a wave. Two big trees bent down as if they were paying homage to her. One became a natural tree table, while the other turned into a bench.
She put the cups down. "Have a seat!"
A wonderful natural energy was coming off this woman, which greatly calmed Gu Yu. He went up to her and sat down on the tree bench, asking curiously, "Are you from Britannia?"
"No, I'm Celtic, or ancient Scottish, if you like."
Gu Yu was taken by surprise. That was a very famous people!
The Celtic history could be dated back to ancient Europe. Together with the Germanic and Slavic peoples, the three were considered the major "barbarian tribes" by the ancient Romans 1 . One of the most famous military exploits of the Celts was the sacking of Rome and Greece.
Yes, the Rome and Greece that shaped the European civilization!
However, the Celtic tribes gradually declined and Rome rose to power, then began to hunt the Celts. Only a handful of pure-blood Celtic descendants managed to survive until this day.
"I'm Fiona. I took the liberty to draw you here. Sorry about that."
The woman picked up a cup, gave it a little tap, and drank first.
Gu Yu looked into the cup and drained it after her. The liquid inside did not taste like cold pond water at all. Instead, it was clear and sweet like a mellow fruit wine.
"Very nice!" he praised, then said, "I see that you're the reason that those people were so unscrupulous."
"Well, I'm not affiliated to any country, but a member of my clan alone. Only that a duke of theirs helped my ancestors once and they came to me for help this time. I agreed to give them a hand just once."
"Yes. Winning, defeated, or fruitless, after today, I have no more connections with Britannia."
Gu Yu grinned, quite impressed by her words.
The woman might seem innocent and harmless, but the fluctuation she was giving off was a constant reminder that she was probably Gu Yu's mightiest opponent since he began his cultivation!
He could even go as far as to conclude that, like himself, she was also reaching a threshold of her own system. It made sense. The world was such a big place; he couldn't be the only one blessed with inheritance, talent, good fortune, and diligence.
"Good. With you as an opponent, I didn't come all the way here for nothing!"
Gu Yu had never been eager for a fight like he did right now. With a swift movement, he was ten meters away.
"That makes two of us."
Fiona chuckled and waved her hand. The tree table and bench came to life like two pythons. They slithered across the meadow and raised her into mid-air, the branches weaving together for her protection.
She was indeed a druid!
Gu Yu knew he had to be very careful with this woman, for druids were such a mysterious community! The world had thought they had gone extinct by now, yet there she was. There was scarcely any information on them and he only knew that they wors.h.i.+ped oak trees, controlled the force of nature, were rigidly stratified, held women at prestigious status, and supported same-s.e.x relations.h.i.+ps.
He made a trial run first by flipping out a few streaks of spiritual essence which were as hard and sharp as arrows and shot out forcefully at a great speed.
Fiona drew her hands across the air, producing a disc made of green light between her palms. The arrows dashed into it and disappeared without a trace like stones thrown into a deep lake.
"Why, it can actually offset my energy."
Gu Yu winced a little. That green light would be the purest force of nature that could withstand everything. The aggressiveness of his spiritual essence was cancelled out in it and turned back to simple spiritual essence.
No wonder Britannia acted the way they did; this one skill alone was enough to take care of everything.
"Haha, that's what a real fight should look like!"
He was not intimidated by it. Instead, he grinned with satisfaction. In the right hand he stretched out, the golden flame of a sword began to take shape.
He gave the blade a flick and the roaring of a dragon seemed to ring out from nine heavens above, resonating in the cold valley and lingering in the air. At the sound, the Sword Seed activated and Red Sun Sword seemed to become alive, integrating itself into Gu Yu's body, spiritual essence, and mind.
Surprise flickered in Fiona's tranquil eyes. With such tremendous power, it was no accident that he single-handedly wiped out the entire AA force.
"This is called Red Sun Sword Manual. Pleasure to fight you!"
Gu Yu gave this opponent his full respect. Instead of smas.h.i.+ng down outright with a streak of sword energy, for the very first time, he was using the actual sword skill.
The blade reflected the sunlight s.h.i.+ning through the dense branches and the golden flame danced in the air. Snow and tiny icy bits were blown off the the ground and vaporized into steam 50 m away from him.
Then, his sword moved.
The tip of the blade drew an arc in the air, the golden flame around it splas.h.i.+ng out as resplendent as the blazing sun, weaving into a giant web and diving at his opponent head on.
Fiona waved her hands again, producing an enormous glowing green disc in front of her.
The golden light scattered at the impact with the green glow. Gu Yu did not fall back, but continued to advance, his Red Sun Sword now a stream of flowing light, creating a shower of flames. He kept pressing on with his attack.
The cold air in the small valley was stirred by the sword energy and mist rolled up in clouds. Even the ice cascade steamed up and the icicles began to melt.
There were several moments of stalemate and both backed off a little all of a sudden.
Fiona paused briefly, then waved her hand. With a rumbling sound, several towering trees stood up straight, ripped off their fibrous roots, and turned into giant tree men using their main roots as their feet.
Vines and gra.s.s also sprouted out frantically at the same time, turning into thick ropes and wrapping onto Gu Yu.
Fiona only had limited means of attack, or rather, she knew they would not work on Gu Yu. Therefore, her strategy was clear from the beginning: offset the sword energy with her green glow while let the plants attack. She herself would remain in mid-air, where it would be the safest for her.
"I've been waiting for this!"
Gu Yu's eyes were bright with excitement. As he fought on, he was able to give vent to that feeling inside and felt better now, but it was still not enough! Nowhere near enough!
With the mountainous tree men and billowy vines coming at him nonstop, Gu Yu used no fancy moves, but struck out with a simple stabbing motion only.
Red Sun Sword ripped through the air and reduced the distance between them to nothing with that single move. It tore everything in its way to pieces and the blade arrived in front of Fiona's chest with an unparallelled mightiness.
She made a few flas.h.i.+ng moves and the blade landed on empty air. What had been on the spot was only a shadow now.
"Very impressive!" Her burgundy hair was slightly dishevelled as Fiona reappeared on a branch behind Gu Yu. "On this mountain, my force of nature is inexhaustible. It won't be that easy to defeat me!"
With that, there was another rumbling sound and some more tree men rose to their feet. She indeed showed no sign of running out of energy.
"I was worried that they couldn't stand much of a fight. You're a perfect opponent!" Gu Yu had never been eager for a fight like he felt right now. "Inexhaustible? Then I'll fight till you drop!"
"How long has it been?"
"Half a day."
"It's still not finished yet?"
"No, the rival is surprisingly tough. No wonder Britannia has been so swaggering."
"Don't worry. I have faith in Mr. Gu."
"Me too! When was the last time you heard him being defeated?"
In the conference room in Bonn's city center, the entourage of the Chinese delegation was whispering among themselves. It was rather impolite for such an occasion, but no one reprimanded them.
Despite the ongoing meeting, dignitaries of all countries had their minds on Siebengebirge 10 km away only.
The sky-splitting fighting sounds and the corpse-covered Vic Street were all telling them the same thing: this fight would decide the outcome of this conference.
If Gu Yu won, most countries would be able to work together for future development; if Britannia won, Europe would walk into a future with chaos that might never end.
The old man sat in the front row, turning his pen constantly in his hand. Every now and then, he would exchange a look with the head of Britannia. Both knew what was going on in the other's head.
With a clattering sound, the two exchanged dozens of blows in a split second.
Gu Yu held Red Sun Sword and Fiona her glowing green disc. They had been fighting forever when Gu Yu was finally able to make his way to her side; he would make very good use of this opportunity.
For the first time ever, he was able to fight someone in such a state. Meeting his match was greatly satisfying; at the same time, that feeling inside was being fulfilled as well, building up as he fought on.
He had a hunch. Very soon, very soon, he was going to break the bottleneck.
But now, it was still not enough!
Gu Yu stepped forward suddenly and his sword moved fluidly in the air in a series of unbroken stances.
Close quarter combat was never Fiona's forte and she was even more fl.u.s.tered by this. Right away, she wrapped the green glow around herself while gra.s.s flew off the ground towards Gu Yu in strings, trying to stall him.
Gu Yu laughed loudly. The golden flame split into three streaks, then nine, then countless threads, forming a sea of light which reached its true target before the green glow was able to close up.
Fiona jumped backwards in haste and the move was not quite in time. A section of her long burgundy hair was chopped off. Waving both hands, she instructed a row of tree men to block Gu Yu off while she returned to her safety zone back in mid-air.
She was panting slightly, greatly shaken. There was more than enough force she could draw from, but the pressure on her mind was too great. It was hard not to slip under such fierce attack.
What was more frightening was, the man's vital essence seemed inexhaustible. After all this time, he showed no sign of fatigue.
"You're insane! A lunatic!"
Staring at Gu Yu, she couldn't help but feel vexed and resigned.
Gu Yu would not think about anything else and charged at her again.
To be honest, at this stage, the two opponents had begun to appreciate one another a little. Friends were hard to find, and a good adversary even harder.
The two chased and dodged on Siebengebirge. Gu Yu's strikes fell down like a shower, giving her no time to rest. Fiona threaded nimbly through the giant trees, mainly making defensive moves and striking back every now and then.
For a while, the two figures were flying all over the mountain, turning the area upside down. The impact of their strikes shattered frozen rivers, waterfalls, small hills, big rocks, and the like; golden rays of light and glowing mist filled the air.
Gu Yu looked like a madman, but his head had never been this clear.
He could feel his body was like a giant container and the thing inside kept climbing up and acc.u.mulating. It was rising higher and higher, almost at the top. A little more push and it would brim over.
Just a little more! A little!
After much chasing around and not so much striking back from his opponent, he halted and shew! He disappeared on the spot.
The scorching heat of Red Sun Sword surrounded Fiona.
The golden flame surged, turning the frost into water, which then splashed out like ten thousand cold needles. From the countless droplets, a flint of golden light appeared out of the blue.
The sword came out of nowhere!
Fiona was astonished. Finally, she took out something resembling a twig and wiped her fingers across it, turning it into a golden sickle.
Both flew backwards, their feet drawing long furrows in the ground that was already severely scarred. They were only able to stand still after nearly a hundred meters.
Druids wors.h.i.+pped oak trees and believed mistletoes growing on them a panacea which had a sacred healing power.
The collection ritual was very solemn, usually carried out by the most senior priest using a golden sickle. The golden sickle itself took its form after a crescent moon—that was, the most sacred moon in the druid belief that held the species of all things.
"Nice weapon. Why did you not use it earlier?"
Gu Yu admired the sickle but did not stop moving. His sword thrusted out again, this time with all his effort; he had burnt the bridge.
That one thrust seemed to have frozen the air and water.
That one thrust seemed to have blown away all clouds and mist.
Shocked and irritated, Fiona had no choice but take out a mistletoe and slice the sickle through it. As the juice covered the blade, green light shone brightly. She then hacked down with a whoosh.
She wasn't holding back anymore, either.
The sword energy and the green light clashed while still dozens of meters away. Time seemed to freeze. The next second, an unimaginable amount of energy exploded; the blast wrecked the place, sending stones into the air as if they were smashed away by torrential waves.
Everything in the valley was contorted by the force which was devouring everything as if it was a black hole.
Fiona was shoved away and fell to the ground with a thump. She was badly hurt. After spitting out a mouthful of blood, she hurriedly gathered the force of nature and began to care for her wounds without considering anything else.
Gu Yu was slightly her superior in both his energy level and cultivation state, hence his injury was not as severe, but he was still covered by dust and in a half-sitting position.
Supported by Red Sun Sword, he was about to stand up when his arm gave up and he fell back down. Then he heard the sound.
He shuddered. A string seemed to have just snapped in his head and some confinement was shattered. That thing finally filled up the container, reached beyond its level, and brimmed over the bottleneck.
After that, he gave a jolt and his consciousness went dark.
Everything was foggy. He forgot who he was, where he was from, and where he was going. The next moment, his consciousness was stretched out infinitely and he was as blank as a newborn baby, then his memory was filled in again.
I, Gu Yu, grew up in Shengtian and was orphaned young.
I, Gu Yu, liked making incense and my grandfather died of illness.
I, Gu Yu, met Xiaozhai and I wanted immortality.
I, Gu Yu, had been cultivating for four years…
These things appeared in his head in flashes before drowning into the darkness again… when the last bit of his past was gone, he suddenly felt a great burden had been lifted off his shoulders and his body and soul were so relaxed that he felt like flying away.
Somehow, he sat down in a meditation position and savored the wonder and profundity of the moment.
Human Immortal. Human Immortal.
From human to immortal was not just about saying goodbye to the mortal world. Apart from bidding farewell to the past, you also had to move forward and pursue immortality.
To leave the mortal world behind and see nature as it really was, that was the path a Human Immortal should follow!
What was nature?
"Dao begets One, One begets Two, Two begets Three, and Three begets all things." G.o.d created light, light created elements, elements created souls, and souls created living creatures.
"In the beginning was the Word"; G.o.d and Dao worked the say way!
" There arose the first existence that still did not have a bodily shape. From this things could then be produced, (receiving) what we call their virtue. The shapeless thing was divided, and then without intermission there was the so-called conferring. The previous two processes continued and things were produced. As things were completed, the distinguis.h.i.+ng lines of each were produced which we call the bodily shape. Preserved in that body was the spirit, and each had its peculiar manifestation, which we call its Nature. When the Nature has been cultivated, it returns to its proper character; and when that has been fully reached, there is the same condition as in the Beginning. That sameness is void, and the void is great. It is like a bird closing its beak and becoming silent, which is like the union of heaven and earth. The union might seem stupid or dark, but it is the 'mysterious quality'; it is the same as the Grand Submission 2 ."
That was heaven, earth, and the universe!
The epiphany came to him after hearing about the Kabbalah world view from Cohen: what he lacked to reach the Human Immortal state was to see nature as it was!
Heaven, earth, G.o.d, man, One, Two, Three, all things.
The Heavenly Immortals established themselves for eternity, witnessing the establishment and destruction of all universe. This state was not the Great Dao, but was infinitely close. The Earthly Immortals were as resplendent as the sun and the moon and not concerned with death. They achieved this by learning the use of Qi.
The Immortals possessed remarkable physical and spiritual form, would not meet their end for as long as thousands of years, and could obtain remarkable skills with their minds, for they had found the source of souls.
The Human Immortal state sought after by countless men was merely equal to all things of the mortal world. Then what about those below the Human Immortal state?
They were n.o.bodies...
At that moment, Gu Yu broke away from that vacant state, feeling an energy ever so powerful filling his body and still acc.u.mulating. His mind and Qihai were active and the Sword Seed was singing along. His vital essence was never as harmonious and full as he felt now.
He was overwhelmed by a feeling he could not describe. It was as if he was standing on a mountain tens of thousands meters tall and looking down at the mortal world below.
Every good and evil, truth and false, and all those lives were all beneath him—he was a different level of life form now.
The first Human Immortal in centuries!
Cold wind blew through the bleak woods. Among all the debris, Gu Yu rose to his feet, Red Sun Sword still in his hand. He was enjoying the incomparable power.
On the other side, Fiona had finished adjusting her breath and stood up as well, still swaying a little.
"Where is he? Is he dead?"
She was still looking around when golden light stung her eyes and she snapped them shut. Swiping her hand across her eyes in a hurry, she opened them again, which were now giving off a green glow. Her mild face went pale.
"Why is it so quiet? Have they finished?"
"Who won? Anyone wants to check it out?"
Countless people in downtown Bonn were paying close attention to the battlefield. They were still discussing when someone pointed at the sky and shouted, "What's that?"
Everyone looked into the distance. A blazing sun suddenly rose above Siebengebirge, scattering all mist.
It was both tangible and intangible, for it consisted of sword energy only, so powerful and entangled that it seemed to become a physical existence—a real red sun s.h.i.+ning down on the earth.
Ernese's beard s.h.i.+vered as he made his incoherence speech. "Sun, oak tree, it's really him, as expected… gos.h.!.+"
The old man let out a cry, for the blazing sun rising above all the tall trees had finally stopped rising, then after a little pause, it smashed back down like Apollo falling out of his chariot.ED/N: To be exact, Slavic people were considered barbarians by Byzantine Empire. They first appeared in Europe only about when the western part of the Roman empire fell, if not slightly later. And since fall of Rome = end of antiquity, it's more like medieval Romans in Greece lmao. Anyway, take the author's knowledge of the ancient history of Europe with a grain of salt. TL/N: this was a section of Zhuangzi, an ancient Chinese text and the most important Daoist writing.