Chen Mo sat in his bedroom. Propped up in front of him was a tablet that recorded the Five Finger Mountain ability. According to the Five Finger Mountain’s recorded postures, Qi-blood was circulated to the palms, the claw-like fingers, containing Heaven and Earth in his hands.
A wisp of True Qi circulated back and forth between his fingers, simple and thick, like the great earth as it turned to and fro. This True Qi flowing between his fingers gave Chen Mo a kind of feeling, one that his hand was heavy as ten thousand catties, firmly pinning himself, so much so that he was unable to budge.
He tried to take a step, but his legs were incomparably heavy, as if they were filled with lead.
“Five Finger Mountain” was an Ancient Ability. When practiced to profound levels, it was able to wield Heaven and Earth, but the cultivation procedure was very challenging. The first step, which used that Ancient Spirit Mountain Qi, was practically able to destroy a Saint of War’s Qi-blood corporeal body. Spiritual pressure as formidable as that required an extremely powerful constitution and thought in order to complete the first step.
Fortunately for Chen Mo, the Northern Dipper Great Overflow’s constitution was already inhuman, and the School Of Mind’s thoughts also had the level of “using a different method to obtain the same result.” If it had been any other cultivator, perhaps this spiritual power would have exploded the body from cultivating just the first step.
And his major achievements with the Bagua made Chen Mo’s cultivation even more smooth and easy compared to the average cultivator.
Training over and over for several hours, the sun finally rose.
Chen Mo left his bedroom to first go to the hall and greet mother. Although Chen Mo was the son of a concubine, according to custom, he was still required to honor the first wife as his mother. Chen Zhangtian’s first wife was Lady Xin.1 She was born impoverished, not from a prestigious family like other noble mothers were. However, it was said that she once studied in the same school as Chen Zhangtian. Even when she herself reached the Third Layer of Greater Thunder Tribulation, she conducted herself kindly and like a lady. In the mansion, she received deep adoration.
Although Chen Mo was the son of a concubine, she had never shown any prejudice against him. Back then, for the sake of making Chen Mo’s Qi-blood flow, Lady Xin even exhausted all of her own resources.
Lady Xin wore an elegant long skirt and a cap on her hand. It was completely impossible to discern that she was Third Layer Greater Thunder Tribulation cultivation. When she saw Chen Mo, she put down what she was carrying and excitedly walked over, grabbed Chen Mo’s arm and carefully looked him over. “Mo’er, it’s been so many years, and now you’ve already turned into a big man.”
“This Son has always kept Mother Highness’ instructions in mind.”
Lady Xin kindly smiled: “Mo’er, there’s no need to be so modest. The ‘Hanshan Asks Shide’ that you composed in the metropolitan examination has already spread throughout all of Chang’an. It is so well composed, you leave Mother feeling inferior.”
Lady Xin pulled Chen Mo down into a seat. She warmly asked about Chen Mo’s experiences over the past few years. In truth, Lady Xin had dispatched people to watch over Chen Mo, but they were like everyone else. They felt very confused by Chen Mo’s sudden changes over the past few months. Before this, all signs indicated that Chen Mo was unable to practice martial arts.
Auntie did not want to let to let anyone else learn of what occurred between the two of them. Chen Mo naturally could not easily divulge this, otherwise a triple Servant Star would be too universally shocking. He gave a few pre-fabricated excuses, and Lady Xin did not pursue the matter further.
After chatting a while, Lady Xin brought out a sparkling and pure jade amulet from her Astral Stone and handed it over to Chen Mo: “Mother heard that you defeated a Thunder Tribulation cultivator. Right now, Mother does not have anything good to gift you. Take this ‘Profound Star Barrier.’2 It will be of help to you in the court examination.”
“Many thanks to Mother Highness.”
“Lord Chang’an is at the border handling international diplomacy.3 Your father has ordered previously that once you return, you are to automatically go to the ‘Zhangtian Pavilion.’ See if there is something you like that can help your cultivation. Go with Uncle Chen for now.” Lady Xin said.
“This Son shall go.”
Chen Mo retreated from Lady Xin’s room. Outside the door, he spotted an old man wearing a black cotton gown quietly standing ten paces away from the door. This old man was amiable and friendly. He had a head full of white, apparently no different from the average elder, but Chen Mo knew that General Manager Chen4 in front of him had followed Father for several decades. He had the most profound qualifications to handle all of Chang’an Mansions general affairs.
“Your Highness, it is a pleasure to see you.” Upon seeing Chen Mo, General manager Chen slightly cupped his fist.
“Thank you for your troubles leading the way, Uncle Chen.” Chen Mo was very respectful to him.
Although Chang’an Mansion was not as central to the city as the imperial palace, among all of Chang’an’s influential families, their mansion had the greatest stockpiles. Not only did the mansion have places like “tool refinement” and “martial arts training,” there was also more than a hundred guest rooms, more than a dozen gardens, and a hundred elaborate buildings.
Passing through the windings corridors and stairways, they reached several large gardens. After they passed by several martial arts drilling grounds, he could hear the voices of many training warriors.
After passing through a dozen gates, following behind Uncle Chen, Chen Mo finally came after several hours of walking to the deepest location in Chang’an mansion.
From faraway, a vast pavilion towered from behind its white walls. This building was constructed with grandeur and might. Spread over the ground were large clay and jade limestones, smooth and bright as a mirror, solid as iron.
Chen Mo tried to stomp hard. Even with his brute strength, he was hard-pressed to create a crack for the moment.
Several dozen sculpture-like warriors stood guard in the surroundings. Among them was no lack of the presence of Thunder Tribulation cultivators.
This place that was guarded so strictly was none other than Chang’an Mansion’s important place – Zhangtian Pavilion!
Stored in Zhangtian Pavilion were all kinds of Chang’an Mansion’s first-rate secret techniques, magic weapons, abilities, pills, and high-quality weapons. Normally, the rewards that Chang’an Mansion issued came from the Zhangtian Pavilion. Back when the Chen Mansion’s ancestor followed the Great Founder and fought the world, he gathered many of the world’s secret books and treasures, forming a network of contacts.
From back then to now, Chang’an Mansion’s information network was not the least bit inferior to the Four Great Sword Sects, as if they had formed their own sect. The other prince mansions fundamentally did not have inside information like this. Even Lord Jiangnan, the other of the Two Lords, did not have a force like this. It was not hard to comprehend why the current Tang Imperial Family was keeping the Chang’an Mansion suppressed.
“Your Highness Mo, This Elder shall wait outside for you. Please enter inside and take as you please, Your Highness. The master has already ordered that so long as Your Highness finds it to your liking, Your Highness can take anything in the Zhangtian Pavilion.
Entering it, Chen Mo saw shelf after shelf, crisscrossing in their arrangement. As far as the eye could see, there were volumes of secret books, weapons, pills, spirit items, and even magic weapons. There was a dazzling variety of color, their auras profound, sharp, simple, or mysterious.
With just the first glance, even Chen Mo, whose heart was still as water, could not help but grow excited.
As expected of the precious treasury that made even the imperial family afraid.
This was a place only the best disciples of Chang’an Mansion could enter.
Each and every single one of those secret books, weapons, pills, spirit items, and magic treasures on the table were all selected very carefully. They were the best of the best, one in ten thousand.
If it was any other disciple of Chang’an Mansion, there were strict limitations based on contributions and office. Only those at the corresponding office and position could exchange level by level for treasures from the Zhangtian Pavilion. This was also an enormous motivation for Chang’an Mansion’s people.
Chen Mo was esteemed as Chang’an Mansion’s Fourth Highness, so he naturally did not face these restrictions. He could freely circumvent back and forth through the levels of restrictions with that pass in his hand.
Chen Mo walked through the levels. Seeing the items on these shelves, he finally understood why the Tang Emperor was so afraid.
The treasures upon them were all-inclusive. Some were rare items that even the first-rate sects would be reluctant to take.
“Green Pine Lonely Cliff Sword Technique,” “Moon Seizing Heaven Embracing Chant,” “Dark Underworld Cold Sword,” “Dragon Qi Pill,” “Year-End Cold Sand,” “Mind-Soul,” “Black Fire,” etc. Each of these were priceless.
If it was before, Chen Mo perhaps would have itched to take all of these. However, not that he was already completely different from before, no longer the model student, these things that would have been extremely precious to even a Thunder Tribulation cultivator were actually not very helpful to Chen Mo.
If it was not for his current cultivation being unable to use them, these were cultivation methods were completely not worth sparing a glance compared to the super first-rate Bagua Chant.
Chen Mo comprehended the Bagua to such a high level, other than the martial learnings in the “Book Of Changes,” only Ancient Abilities or special martial learnings could pique his interest.
Thinking of this, Chen Mo’s heart stirred. He quickened his pace, making a beeline for the deepest level in the Zhangtian pavilion.
At the Zhangtian Pavilion’s deepest reaches.
There was a wooden pavilion constructed in the style of Five Ridges and Six Beasts. The wooden pavilion had a jade strip, but other than this, there was nothing else. Erected around the wooden pavilion were powerful forbiddances. After Chen Mo used his pass to enter, he came up to the jade strip.
This piece of jade was the best power in all of Chang’an Mansion.
It was named the “Zhangtian Seal.”5
This was an original ability that Lord Chang’an Chen Zhangtian created. It was rumored that this Zhangtian Seal could cover the skies with one hand, its might terrifying. Chen Mo held the jade strip, imbuing it with his Divine Intent.
Inside the jade strip were only some simple cultivation procedures and their introduction. The most core principles required Chen Zhangtian to personally impart them.
Chen Mo looked the technique over for awhile, noticing that this “Seal of Zhangtian” and the Five Finger Mountain surprisingly had some similarities in their principles despite their different approaches. However, Five Finger Mountain used the power of one’s palm to push Heaven and Earth, using power that could shake the world, so it appeared extremely profound, as deeply rooted as the Earth itself. On the other hand, this Seal of Zhangtian, as the name implied, covered the Heavens with one hand, yet it just so happened to be the opposite, using the power of Earth to control the Heavens.
Each of these techniques appeared to be self-defeating, but Chen Mo sensed that they also strangely complemented one another.
“I wonder if cultivating this Zhangtian Seal can be compatible with Five Finger Mountain.” Chen Mo inwardly pondered. If indeed the Zhangtian Seal and Five Finger Mountain could be combined into a single martial art, each of them completely complementing the other, this perhaps would be considered a universally shocking pioneering work.
The corner of Chen Mo’s mouth slightly curled, having not expected that the Zhangtian Pavilion could have such a boon.
He memorized the Zhangtian Seal’s cultivation method. Later, he would go inquire with his father when they were alone, to see if perhaps it was as he thought. Chen Mo then looked around the Zhangtian Pavilion again, finding a few apparently excellent spirit sands and spirit stones, to see whether or not he could give Northern Dipper a Casted Star.
Afterwards, Chen Mo finally exited the Zhangtian Pavilion.
Second Brother Chen Lin was in the middle of pacing back and forth outside the Zhangtian Pavilion when he saw Chen Mo come out. He asked in surprise: “Fourth Brother, you’re leaving so quickly? Uncle Chen just told me you went in not too long ago.”
“I’m done looking.” Chen Mo answered.
Chen Lin moved closer and chuckled: “How about it, did Fourth Brother find anything he liked?”
“I’m very curious about Father’s Zhangtian Seal. I’m ready to discuss further with Father once he returns.” Chen Mo said.
“The Zhangtian Seal?” Chen Lin was taken aback. Impressed, he said: “Then you are definitely going to suffer, Fourth Brother.”
Chen Mo casted a confused glance.
In truth, Chen Mo’s Eldest Brother, Second Brother, and Third Sister had all been taught the Seal of Zhangtian by Chen Zhangtian, so Chen Lin was keenly aware of this cultivation method. “This Zhangtian Seal is too difficult to train. One would need power that could take the world, sigh.”
“Since it’s called Zhangtian,6 having this level of power is very normal.” Chen Mo said matter-of-factly.
Chen Lin chuckled: “In short, I couldn’t do it, and your Third Sister didn’t have the temper. Actually, Eldest Brother had some insight, but having trained it for so many years, he hasn’t reached even one tenth of Father’s level.”
“Then I’ll try.” Chen Mo nodded. With the absolute Bagua’s martial intent, he still had some confidence.
Chen Lin wasted no more breath. As a son of Chang’an Mansion, cultivating the Zhangtian Seal was inevitable. Chen Mo’s speed of cultivation was actually very surprising.
“Right, now that you’ve finally come back, there’s someone you need to see. Big Brother shall take you there.”
“No need to waste time on a dinner party.” Chen Mo made a face.
Chen Lin said: “This isn’t a normal dinner party. She’s currently the most popular courtesan in Chang’an right now.”7
Chen Mo mouthed, “Second Brother, why have you gone to a brothel to engage in debauchery, aren’t you afraid of Mother beating you to death?“
Chen Lin did not care that much. As he put it, even if His Imperial Majesty had taken notice of Youwei8 in the current Chang’an, it was very rare to see someone able to outshine all the other courtesans and even captivate all noble sons.
“Youwei?” Chen Mo wrinkled his brow.
He seemed to have heard this name before somewhere.
- 辛夫人 ↩
- 沉星壁, shares the same name as the one from 108 MOD ↩
- In truth, the phrasing here precisely indicates that this is Chinese-Korean international politics. However, since I don’t know if a counterpart to Korea exists in Star World, I’ve chosen to omit the reference. ↩
- 陳總管, ambiguous if this is a name or just a title. ↩
- 掌天印, named after Chen Mo’s father, Chen Zhangtian. ↩
- 掌天, implied to mean “hold the heavens in one’s palm.” ↩
- Oh, my. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) ↩
- 幼薇 ↩