This is just a short extract from Heaven’s Shadow
He Changsheng’s name was rather interesting. It sounded dull and boring, but it reflected a grand dream. Of the billions of life beneath the heavens, what that all dreamt of was immortality. As such, this name had been used over and over again. In the path of a cultivator, immortality and deityhood was the ultimate goal. But since ancient times, no one had ever succeeded, not even the transcendent zhenjuns.
He Changsheng was an interesting person as well. He was diligent and humble, he worked hard in everything he engaged in, and he had a good temper on top of that. To use conventional words, he was an honest man. But for some reason, his luck was lacking, and this made it seem as though He Changsheng had lived an unfortunate life.
A hundred years ago, the He Clan was an influential power in Kunwu City, but from thirty years ago, almost no one could remember anything about it anymore. He Changsheng’s ancestor was an incredible figure. He was a true yuanying zhenren in Kunlun Sect, and during his time, he lived a spectacular life. However, he didn’t end up well. In one of the huge fights in the Confounding Lands, he died in the hands of the miscreants of the demonic cult.
The He Clan’s decline came swiftly. No one knew the reason for it, and even until now, no one could understand how such a powerful clan then could fall that quickly. By He Changsheng’s generation, the clan had lost all their connections.
He Changsheng liked cultivating, and his dream from young was to restore the former glory his ancestor had brought to the He Clan. For his ambitions, he prepared more than two decades, even selling all of the fortunes his ancestors left behind just for a chance at the Immortal Discernment Mirror.
But fate was always filled with ill-will toward honest men. The encounter with the Five Elemental Divine Compass gave him a huge blow on his head. His talents were so mediocre that he was nearly stuck at the starting point of his cultivation. It was after a round of desperate pleading did he manage to attain a slot as one of the seemingly futureless menial disciple. Furthermore, for this slot, he had depleted the final bit of his fortune.
“Is it worth it?”
That afternoon, as the warm glow of the brilliant sun illuminated the spirit field of the Aromatic Herb Garden, as well as the two idle men who were sitting by the side of the spirit field, Lu Chen asked He Changsheng.
With an extremely serious expression, Lu Chen used his hands to lightly gesture as he said, “If you gave up on cultivating, with the two residences your ancestor left you in Kunwu City, you should be able to live your entire life peacefully. Why would you choose to suffer here?”
“It’s not much of a suffering here.” He Changsheng had an honest and ordinary face that was neither dashing nor ugly. He seemed to be fond of Lu Chen as well, or perhaps, their similar circumstances had closened their distance, and thus, he replied, “Besides, if I were to simply idle my life away in Kunwu City, won’t I be left without a hope?”
“Hope?” Lu Chen shook his head. Turning to He Changsheng, he said, “But I don’t think that there’s much of a hope serving here as a menial disciple. From ancient times, there had never been a single pillar disciple who was able to become a yuanying zhenren.”
He Changsheng nodded, and he didn’t seem to think that there was anything wrong with Lu Chen’s words. “Indeed, it’ll be difficult. However, there’s a high-tier spirit medicine in Kunlun Sect known as ‘Immortal Bestowment Pill’. It’s said that it has the mystical effects of boosting a person’s talents in cultivation. Furthermore, the more lacking the cultivation of that person is, the greater its effects.”
Unable to hold back his chuckle, Lu Chen shook his head, “I’ve heard of the Immortal Bestowment Pill you spoke of. However, that thing is a priceless treasure, and the spirit herbs required for its production are all spirit treasures. It’s said that only the most prestigious clans would occasionally succeed in pleading for one to be forged, and on top of that, above fifty percent of the times, it was completely ineffective.” Sighing, Lu Chen continued, “It’s not practical for you to deposit all of your hopes on it.”
He Changsheng was silent for a moment before nodding his head, “You’re right.”
Lu Chen glanced at him and said, “Why, do you have some other intentions?”
“Un.” He Changsheng muttered, “That’s right.”
Interested, Lu Cheng smiled, “Tell me about it.”
He Changsheng smiled as well. He looked at his surroundings, and from time to time in the distance, he could see fellow menial disciples working hard in the spirit fields. After staring at those figures for a moment, he said, “Our He Clan hasn’t achieved anything for three generations already. If I don’t start bucking up now, when the time comes to hand over the family to my own child, won’t they have to live an ordinary life as well?”
“If I am destined to remain at the bottommost tier in Kunlun City, struggling in this spirit field, working until my death arrives, then should my child suffer the same bitterness as me?”
He Changsheng gazed at Lu Chen, and a rare twinkle shone in his clear eyes. It was the light representing his endless expectations toward the future. Softly, he said, “I might be suffering a little bit of pain on the Kunlun Mountain, but I will accumulate a fortune for my child, and my child’s starting point will be higher than mine. Even if he were to be unable to make it too, as long as he continues my legacy, my grandson will be in an even better state. Going on in such a way, there will surely come a day which my He Clan will rise once more. Don’t you agree so?”
He looked at Lu Chen with a bright smile. Radiance filled with endless hopes reflected in his eyes.
Lu Chen stared at him silently, and after a moment, he replied, “That’s impossible. You’re dreaming.”
In the garden, Lu Chen and He Changsheng stood face to face, and He Changsheng’s complexion didn’t seem too well.
“Why?” He Changsheng questioned Lu Chen with a deep voice. His eyebrows were tightly knitted together, and he didn’t seem too happy.
Lu Chen stared at him for a moment before saying, “Do you wish to hear the truth?”
“You are just a menial disciple. On top of that, your clan has fallen and you have lost all your fortune. At this moment, you have nothing to fall back on. Even if you work your entire life, you won’t be able to save up much fortune for your child.” Lu Chen replied calmly to He Changsheng, disregarding the latter’s slightly paled face.
“You hope that one day your He Clan offsprings will manage to achieve great things, and putting aside the fact whether your offsprings will possess the same determination as you, have you ever considered the matter that given your identity, it is impossible for them to enter Kunlun Sect straight and they have to enter through the Immortal Discernment Mirror as well? As long as that matter happens, all that you have saved up for my child will turn into nothing easily.”
“What is that matter?” Unable to hold himself back, He Changsheng asked.
Lu Chen sighed, “What if dozens of years from now, Kunlun Sect suddenly increases the fee one has to pay to use the Immortal Discernment Mirror?”
He Changsheng body jolted. With widened eyes, he said, “Impossible! Kunlun Sect is a respectable sect. They can’t possibly…”
“But what if?” Interrupting him, Lu Chen refuted.
He Changsheng muttered, “What if…”
“You should surely be aware of how many of this year’s menial disciple entered through bribery. This matter can be determined by a single thought of those standing above us. If someone truly lacked money and is willing to abandon his dignity for it, who can you complain the matter to?”
He Changsheng was stumped. His complexion turned ashen gray.
Looking at him, Lu Chen stretched out an upturned palm and raised it, “You see, in this world, humans are different from birth. Some people are born at the top, and there are others, such as you… me…” Slowly, he twisted his palm downward and pressed it down toward the ground.
Looking at the motion of the palm with unblinking eyes, He Changsheng’s body trembled. The brilliance that was reflected in his gaze before was no longer as bright as before.
Lu Chen pressed his palm down to an extremely low spot. Then, he asked lightly, “Think about it, what rights do you have to make a comeback?”
Lifting his head, He Changsheng looked at Lu Chen and asked indignantly, “Then, will people like us be unable to progress a single step forward for our entire life? Are our offsprings destined to stand beneath others?”
“Immortality and deityhood, ascending to the heavens, all life beneath the heavens, fated they were with. Aren’t these words the adage passed down from our ancestors in the path of cultivation?” He looked agitated, perhaps even a little infuriated, as he said these words.
“We are fated with immortality. We have always been fated with immortality.” Lu Chen said. “However, just think about how small the possibility is. Of the hundred thousand people in Kunlun Mountain, what chances do you think that such an opportunity will lap into your lap?”
He Changsheng took in a deep breath. After hearing Lu Chen’s words, he seemed to have calmed down. “Since that’s the case, then why are you saying so much to me?”
Looking at him, Lu Chen said, “I only think that you shouldn’t entrust your hopes to your offspring. If you are fated, you will be able to make a comeback in this life. If you aren’t fated, even if you struggle to save up a fortune for your offspring, it would be all for naught.”
After a moment of silence, He Changsheng replied, “Makes sense.”
In the spirit field, the man turned around, picked up a hoe, and it seemed as though he was about to start working diligently once more. Standing by the side, Lu Chen looked at him in interest. “Why, are you disappointed?”
Without raising his head, He Changsheng replied, “Yes. But no matter how disappointed I am, I have to work.”
“You aren’t going to wait for fate?”
“Of course I am waiting for it, why shouldn’t I? What if it falls on me from the heavens?”
Lu Chen smiled, “With such luck, why don’t you try willing for a bolt of lightning in this clear skies?”
Lifting his head, He Changsheng looked into the skies. Lu Chen followed suit. However, the blue sky remained calm, and nothing happened at all.
A moment later, the both of them retracted their gazes and glanced at one another. Lu Chen shrugged.
He Changsheng shook his head, “This matter is too unreliable. How could fate possibly just fall… Aiya!”
He suddenly yelled and grabbed his head. Something had fallen from the skies, and it happened to land on his head.
Standing by the side, Lu Chen was shocked as well. After a moment of gaze, he subconsciously said, “It can’t be that coincidental…”
-Adapted and translated from Chapter 118 and Chapter 119 of Heaven’s Shadow (Tian Ying)
Yuanying is the second highest realm possible in the series, and there are only a handful of people at this realm.
Cultivators who have reached the level of yuanying are termed as zhenren.
Those who have went beyond the yuanying realm to become a transcendent are known as zhenjun, and there are only six zhenjuns in this series.