Chapter 19: Evil Wolves in a Wasteland
When Su Chen knelt down, Shi Kaihuang became serious. At least, his expression had.
He gazed intently at Su Chen, as if he were closely sizing him up.
Finally, he said, “About half of what you said was right.”
Su Chen was slightly stunned.
Had he accidentally overlooked something?
Shi Kaihuang slowly said, “Part of the reason why I am unwilling to accept disciples has to do with differences in thinking, but that isn’t all.”
“What?” Su Chen was shocked. Even after that speech, he still refuses me? Just what do I have to do to tempt him?
As he was lost in bewilderment, Shi Kaihuang continued, “But this also doesn’t mean I don’t want to have a disciple at all.”
This unexpected turn of events left Su Chen confused.
After staring blankly for a moment, he recovered. “Does Senior mean I haven’t yet met his standards? Please, guide me.”
“Standards?” Shi Kaihuang stared blankly for a moment as he mulled on the phrase, then laughed gently. “Is that how you interpreted what I meant? Well, you can call it that, I suppose.”
His tone was warm and calm. Evidently, his attitude towards Su Chen was very different from before. Su Chen’s words had reached him.
He glanced at Su Chen and said, “I can understand you want to follow through on your oath and walk in the footsteps of your ancestors, and I respect that decision. But do you know what awaits you on this path?”
Su Chen thought for a moment, then replied, “Hardships! Extreme hardships. The human race has been pursuing this dream for so long without much success, so this path isn’t easily treaded on by anyone. If I choose to walk it, I must realize I can’t stop. I have to keep going, no matter how hard it gets, no matter how badly I want to give up. Even if that means I’ll spend my entire life without reaching the end.”
A mocking expression appeared in Shi Kaihuang’s eyes. “‘Even’? ‘May’? ‘Difficult’? You planned on walking down this path without a clue of what that entails?”
What does he mean? Su Chen was speechless.
He had pondered many nights on the difficulties he would face, but listening to Shi Kaihuang, he felt like he was missing something.
This…… What is happening? Su Chen did not understand at all.
Shi Kaihuang gently waved his hand.
The fish in the water dispersed as if by command.
“If you want to understand, I need to correct you about one of your concepts,” Shi Kaihuang said slowly. Su Chen diligently listened.
“Humankind’s pursuit of breaking through the restrictions of bloodlines has not actually taken tens of thousands of years. The human race’s control over Origin Energy has developed over time. Early on, the human race was ignorant. No one understood how to control Origin Energy. At that time, the human race was content with just having power. How could they afford to be picky? But as time went on, and the human race began to harness the powers of bloodlines to strengthen themselves, all kinds of methods for controlling Origin Energy began to appear. New cultivation realms were constantly being discovered, eventually resulting in the seven cultivation realms we know of today. After the discovery of these seven realms, the Origin Beasts went into hibernation, as well as the Primordial Beasts, and humankind finally established their own territory. This was where the desire to surpass the Beast Race originated, which was why there was a need to break through the restrictions of bloodlines. The dream of breaking through this restriction actually originated from the slow passage of time. It is not nearly as ancient as you think it is, and even more it is not nearly as difficult as you think it is.”
Shi Kaihuang’s last sentence sent a tremor through Su Chen. “It’s not nearly as difficult as I think it is?”
“Absolutely!” Shi Kaihuang nodded. “You might not understand, so let me rephrase it. What if I told you that someone successfully developed a method to reach the Blood Boiling Realm without the aid of a bloodline a long time ago?”
“That’s impossible!” Su Chen yelled instinctively.
As of now, the human race could only reach the Qi Drawing Realm without the aid of a bloodline. Although it was possible to reach the Blood Boiling Realm without a bloodline, the success rate was only around 20%.
If the first attempt was a failure, the next one would require the support of a bloodline.
Because of this, a foolproof method to reach the Blood Boiling Realm without a bloodline did not exist. Or so Su Chen thought.
But now, Shi Kaihuang said that hundreds of years ago, the human race already possessed a foolproof method of reaching the Blood Boiling Realm without a bloodline. What did this imply?
This implied the dependence of the human race on a bloodline had decreased, and that more mid-to-low layer Origin Qi Scholars would appear with less effort. This would also result in a much firmer foundation, leading to the appearance of more powerful Origin Qi Scholars.
But even after 100 years, this hadn’t happened. In fact, today was the first time Su Chen heard of the existence of this method.
“Why have these techniques never been passed down?” Su Chen asked.
“Why didn’t you pass on your Erupting Firebird or your method of surpassing the Soaring Snake bloodline restrictions for the Flying Flower Hands and Snaking Mist Steps? Did you publicly announce your findings?” Shi Kaihuang countered.
“This……” Su Chen paused.
Why hadn’t he passed on these findings to others? Why hadn’t he announced how he had broken through the bloodline restrictions for the Flying Flower Hands and the Snaking Mist Steps?
If he couldn’t reveal the Flying Flower Hands because of where it came from, what about the Clear Wind Net? That technique had nothing to do with the Gu Clan. Why did he keep it to himself?
Of course, it was because he had spent a lot of time and effort to create it. There was no way he would just give it out for free.
He slowly began to understand what Shi Kaihuang was getting at.
“They…… didn’t want to release it?”
Shi Kaihuang nodded. “Many people searched for answers, but most of them did it for their own benefit, not the entire human race.”
Su Chen was reminded of Mainbrooke. He also pursued a method to surpass the bloodline restrictions, creating an unparalleled cultivation path. But for who was he doing it? For himself.
Most likely, there were many with the talent and passion. They had created many impressive techniques, and achieved their dreams. Evidently, however, they had no intention of sharing it with the world.
They cherished it because it was their own to the point that they didn’t want others to find out about it.
Su Chen felt a wave of unsettlement wash over him.
He asked, “So there have actually been quite a few people who were able to achieve this?”
Shi Kaihuang nodded.
“Out of all of them, no one did it to help the human race?”
“Maybe some did, but they were perhaps too scared to share it,” Shi Kaihuang replied.
“Yes, too scared!” Shi Kaihuang gazed at Su Chen as he nodded. “You don’t understand because you haven’t realized yet what is blocking you. Right now, all you can see is darkness, like you’ve lost all senses of directions in the wasteland. But what you don’t know is that there are countless ‘evil wolves’ out in the wasteland waiting to swallow you up.”
“Evil wolves……” Su Chen muttered.
“Yes, evil wolves!” Shi Kaihuang was very serious.
“Who are the evil wolves?”
“Think about what you’ve said, and what your goal is.”
“The rise to prominence of the human race?”
“Not that far back.”
Su Chen paused for a moment in thought before saying, “Breaking through the bloodline restrictions?”
Shi Kaihuang laughed. “Yes, that’s it. Do you think the Bloodline Nobility Clans will just sit and watch you destroy their elevated position in society?”
Su Chen’s heart trembled.
He understood what Shi Kaihuang was trying to say. In fact, it wasn’t that he couldn’t think of this himself. Rather, he was unwilling to think in that direction.
In his mind, this dream was already hard enough to achieve. Thinking about what would happen after achieving it was just too far away for the current him.
But today, Shi Kaihuang had opened his eyes. The old man told him that breaking through the bloodline shackles wasn’t all that hard, and that the real hard part only came afterwards.
A wave of pain Su Chen wasn’t prepared for washed over him.
Shi Kaihuang’s eyes revealed an expression of sorrow. “If you chased after the dream of humankind’s rise to prominence, constantly pursuing the most profound secrets of this world, but you discovered that what really hindered you was the human race itself, how would you feel?”
Su Chen was silent.
How else could he feel? Pain, sorrow, disappointment, and even hopelessness washed over him.
Shi Kaihuang stood up.
He walked up to Su Chen and slowly said, “Do you understand the kind of difficulty you will face on this path now? Firstly, you might spend your entire life with nothing to show for it, and – just like you said – your life will have been wasted. When you fail, you will only be mocked, ridiculed, and slandered. Secondly, even if you succeed, your heart will be tested. If you truly want the human race to rise to prominence, you will need to take out what you have spent your whole life studying and give it to everyone to learn. That implies that there will be no reward for you. Can you accept that? I can tell you are a smart young man that is good at scheming. Would you be willing to make such a move when you stand to profit nothing? Thirdly, if you are able to achieve both of those, you will discover that what awaits you is not flowers and applause but the anger and hatred from countless Bloodline Nobility Clans. If one day the human race no longer needs to rely on their bloodlines, their status as nobility will disappear. They will hate you, and will do their best to delay or even kill you! You will pay everything you have, but all you will receive is betrayal and attempts for your life. Can you accept that?”
Su Chen felt sweat dripping from his brow as he listened.
Shi Kaihuang continued. “Of course, there will be those who are grateful to you, but trust me, that kind of gratefulness isn’t worth mentioning. Who told you to publicly distribute this technique to everyone? Since you publicly distributed it, it won’t be worth anything. Since it’s not worth anything, most people will only feel they have obtained a negligible benefit. Naturally, there is no need for them to kowtow to you until their head bleeds, right? The fourth point is that you will have given your all, yet you will still be alone in the end. If everything is fated to proceed in this way, will you still be willing to step on this path without regrets?”
Su Chen watched Shi Kaihuang wordlessly.
Shi Kaihuang said, “You asked me what my standards for accepting a disciple are. I’ve answered your question now; this is my standard. Go back and think on it. Now that you know it, if you still want to be my disciple…… then I agree.”