Chapter 283 – Contention of the Hundred Schools of Thought
Testing elemental affinity was just a secondary function of the formation, but to cultivators of the present day, this was the only function that they knew about. Many formation scrolls even simplified the formation’s original core, only leaving behind the function of testing elemental affinity.
However, the formation engraved into the rock on Contention island had several thousand years of history. It was a complete formation passed down since ancient times. Its size and complexity was nothing like the formation Li Qingshan originally believed it was, only able to test elements simultaneously.
Today, Xiao An unleashed its long-forgotten function.
Everyone was dumbfounded. Originally, they thought they had already seen a supreme prodigy, and they would not become shocked again.
But now, just what was a prodigy? Watching this sight that completely exceeded their imaginations and understanding unfold, they could not even develop any jealousy anymore.
Liu Zhangqing asked again, “Then what is her talent for yin, yang, and the five elements?”
Ma Buyi glanced at him. He could not be bothered with answering him. He continued to stare at the Watermirror disc as his gaze made him seem rather crazed.
Right from the very beginning, the child had not been using the formation’s low level function of testing elemental affinity. Instead, she had been conjuring the transition between yin, yang, and the five elements, which was why she needed to start with their weakest forms, which were the droplet of water and tiny grass shoot in other words. As for her talent, it would depend on how far she could go with this process.
Her talent would never be lower than the level she had conjured. As a matter of fact, it should have been much higher than that, which was why she could accomplish it so skillfully and easily. What she demonstrated right now was no longer talent, but capability, unmatched capability.
Ma Buyi took off his long hat and lowered his head to the ground. “Everyone. Today, I, Ma Buyi, have only a single request, which is for this child to join my school of Yin-yang. If you have any requests in the future, I will oblige to all of them.”
The various leaders were shocked. Among them, Ma Buyi was not as unruly as the slovenly daoist priest, but he was still known for how proud he was. He was like an ancient reclusive cultivator, standing proud and aloof from the world.
However, no one would offend him because of this, as he was skilled in the art of divination. Everyone had a moment when they required his abilities, but when did he ever request others with such humility?
Everyone in the world knew that the school of Yin-yang was proficient in divination, but Ma Buyi did not take pride in that. In the ancient times, even third-rate cultivators could divine the good and the bad. The school of Yin-yang was the remnants of ancient cultivators. Ancient cultivators focused on omnipotence and being capable at everything, so divination was only one of the aspects they had to be proficient in.
However, when compared to the other schools that focused on a single aspect, they no longer seemed very proficient in those aspects anymore. In the end, only divination alone became the special art of the school of Yin-yang, which they became renowned for, and it was exactly because it required the powers of yin, yang, and the five elements as a foundation.
Whether it be Yu Zijian’s Pure Yang constitution or Chu Tian’s Five Elements constitution, neither of them were unable to interest him, as the school of Yin-yang required balance. From a certain perspective, the designation of genius in the ancient times differed tremendously from the present day.
However, if it was this child instead, then she would definitely be able to unleash the true glory of the ancient cultivation methods of the school of Yin-yang.
The various school leaders were silent. None of them could give up on this child so easily.
As the tree turned into a forest, and the stream turned into a river…
“They’re all jia! Mid jia! High jia!” The instructor constantly changed his evaluation.
When he uttered the words high jia, there was a boom, and the scene on the formation exploded loudly, turning into seven different colours and returning back to the original yin, yang, and five elements.
Only Xiao An was left standing in the formation. Her expression was slightly lost. Everything that unfolded earlier felt like a dream.
Whether it was to her, or to the others.
The process she conjured had already reached the limits that the formation could endure, like how a rubik’s cube would lose its function as a challenge or a game to a professional speedcuber.
Li Qingshan rushed over in a hurry. “Are you alright?”
The various leaders all looked at one another. Their gazes were not as simple as mere hostility anymore. Instead, there was utmost determination to win her over without any room for compromise.
“Namo Amitābha,” the One Thought master, who had remained silent the entire time, suddenly chanted the buddha’s name. His voice was like the morning bell, the thunderous roar of a lion. It was forcefully and resonant. “This child has a destiny with the buddha. Please do not compete with this lowly monk, everyone.”
“I knew you’d say that, you damned bald ass,” said the slovenly daoist priest.
The One Thought Master said urgently, “There really is destiny this time!” Just as everyone had been disappointed by Xiao An’s talent for yin, yang, and the five elements earlier, only he had secretly celebrated. Finally, there was no need for him to contend with anybody.
He could see a clear, buddha’s light from Xiao An that even the transitions and processes unfolding in the formation could not hide. Never had he seen such a clear root of wisdom and buddhist nature in the eyes of a child.
But this time, the arrangements of the buddha seemed to be quite unexpected.
Han Anjun said coldly, “So they were just the falsehoods of a buddhist monk earlier? I could see earlier that her kick to the little fatty was accurate, precise, and vicious, very much like the demeanour of my school of the Military’s wind, forest, fire, and mountain1.”
“Women should be well-versed in the themes of romance, accompanied by poems and books. How can you let her become a nun and tend to statues of buddhas? Or a new recruit in the military, bleeding and sweating in the army? I think there is no school apart from my school of Confucianism that can handle someone with such great talent.” Liu Zhangqing gave up on maintaining his gentle, modest, and courteous demeanour as he specifically targeted them.
With a bang, the slovenly daoist priest kicked over the long table before him. The alcohol jugs and cups scattered over the floor, making quite the ruckus.
“Whoever dares to contend for Xiao An against me better be ready to try what this great daoist is capable of first.”
The One Thought master pulled his robes apart, revealing sturdy pectoral muscles that completely contrasted against his original appearance. He roared, “Hey! You ox nose, I’ve endured you for long enough now! Do you really think my school of Buddhism is actually incapable of dealing with you?”
“Heh, you bald ass2. I’ve grown tired of you a long time ago. Let’s settle this today!”
The two of them pulled away from one another. The leaders of the minor schools could not help but stand up and chime in with their own thoughts at the same time, even though they knew it should have been impossible for them to contend against the major schools.
“With the mechanisms and puppets of the school of Mohism, she can rival millions alone…”
“Practising medicine to save people is the duty of the school of Medicine…”
“If she doesn’t learn music theory, it’s basically a pity that she’s born as a woman in the first place…”
Their original solemnity and respectfulness immediately descended into a noisy mess, no different from a vegetable market. The instructors awaiting orders outside were all stunned. If they began fighting inside, they would all end up as unwitting sacrifices.
“Writing novels is pretty good too!” From a corner, a middle-aged man said timidly. He sat in the corner the entire time, without emitting a peep of sound. Now, he finally could not help himself anymore.
The room suddenly fell silent. All of their gazes gathered on him. They were as stern as knives as murderous aura gathered like dark clouds.
The middle-aged man immediately broke out in a cold sweat. “I- I’m just saying…”
The arguments continued. The middle-aged man exhaled deeply. He was utterly dejected.
The One Thought master had already revealed the shredded upper half of his body, maintaining a fierce glare.
The slovenly daoist provoked loudly, “Bald ass, come at me! This great daoist will give you a handicap of three moves!”
“Hell of Ice!” Wang Pushi erupted.
The leaders all felt a frosty wind sweep over. It was grim and bleak, as mighty as hell itself.
The room immediately went from warm spring to the middle of winter. Even a layer of ice appeared. Everyone could not help but stop arguing and look at Wang Pushi.
“Everyone, please calm down. Do not lose your composure as the leaders of schools. Have you all forgotten what old brother Huang said earlier?”
From the beginning till the end, only the calm, old man remained silent, sitting there peacefully. It made them all slightly embarrassed.
“Old brother Huang, what do you think-” Wang Pushi paused. Unexpectedly, the earth elder Huang that sat there smoking his pipe was just an earthen figure. If he had not used the Hell of Ice, even he would have failed to notice that.
They all suddenly turned their heads and looked into the Watermirror disc.
Earth elder Huang currently stood before Xiao An with an amiable smile. He seemed to be chattering endlessly to her. He even fished out a handful of peanuts for her.
“That fucker! It’s the Earthen Substitute and Ground Contraction!” The slovenly daoist priest cursed aloud.
In the hands of earth elder Huang, these two earth elemented techniques could create wonders. None of the Foundation Establishment cultivators actually managed to sense anything. Sure enough, people grew craftier3 with age!
1. You may be somewhat familiar with the Japanese name of wind, forest, fire, and mountain—fūrinkazan. It’s derived from Sun Tzu’s Art of War, popularised by Takeda Shingen. It basically means “as swift as wind, as gentle as forest, as fierce as fire, as unshakable as mountain,” which are concepts that should be applied to warfare.
2. Bald ass and ox nose go hand in hand as insults to buddhist monks and daoist priests respectively. I’d say this is something to keep in mind.
Bald ass originates from the fact that buddhist monks often lead a donkey around when travelling for alms and for developing good karma, and there are a lot of these monks that dirty the name of buddhists by stealing, tricking, or just forcefully begging for alms. As a result, when local people spotted these monks, they would call out, “Run! The bald-headed person leading an ass is coming!” Gradually, it turned into bald ass.
The origin of ox nose is a little more complicated. A major deity in Daoism, Laozi, was said to have left China after riding through Hanggu pass on a black ox. After he became a deity, the black ox became an immortal ox too, which later people joked that it was being led around by the nose by “Laozi”. Laozi’s mount in Daoism also happens to be the black ox he rode on. The reason why it’s an insult is because although the ox became an immortal ox, it was still a mere animal, a beast.
3. The last sentence is a pun, with reference to “people would only grow firmer with age” in chapter 281. Crafty and firm sound the same in Chinese.