Each year, the number of people who went to seek apprenticeship are in the tens of thousands, but the number of people who will be accepted will not be more than ten. This is a pretty disheartening fact, but did not affect the mortals’ desire to be immortal at all.
Hu Sha carries a bag that Auntie Lu prepared for her, and just like the other tens of thousands, she starts off her journey rather confidently.
Her old home back then also have a small hill, you can reach the peak by just half an hour, but Qing Yuan Mountain is obviously not the same. Qing Yuan Mountain is the dwelling of the celestials, it spans thousands of miles with no man-made trails, really made people confuse, don’t even know where to start their first step.
Hu Sha walk around the rough mountain path for a long time, she hasn’t seen a single soul. It’s so quiet, the only thing discernible by her ears is her own breathing.
A famous poet once wrote ‘蜀道难’ (‘Shu Dao Nan’, ‘The Difficulties of Shu Road’ by Poet Li Bai), whenever her father got drunk, he would always read the poem out loud, ‘The journey of Shu road, even more difficult than ascending to the sky.” Hu Sha herself is ‘ascending to the sky’ now, the sharp and dangerous rock formation really made her struggle. She has just gotten pass one cliff only to find out there are hundreds more waiting for her.
This situation really made one feels helpless. Hu Sha heave a long sigh, sits on the ground helplessly and falls into a daze.
The mist in the mountain is thick. It’s rolling around and causes her cheeks to be damp. The peak of the Qing Yuan Mountain appears so distant from her, hidden in the clouds, the snow up above appears to be glittering when hit by sunlight. That is where the immortals live, for people who have no affinity to them, even if they put their lives at risk, they will still not be able to reach that peak.
Hu Sha’s eyes slowly gets watery. She hold her head high to prevent the tears from falling and enthusiastically gets up, “Alright! Hu Sha, you have to strive harder! You will definitely succeed!”
She pushed herself to climb two more cliffs before she heard a voice from behind her, “Weird, why is the mountain so quiet. It’s a little eerie.”
She turns around and sees a group of people, both men and women all wearing blue robes with swords hanging at their waists. Their pace itself is pretty brisk. From their appearance and their manner of walking, they must trained warriors.
Within them, a young girl smiles and says, “There is no people in the mountain, of course it’s going to be quiet. Eldest Senior Brother thinks too much.”
That eldest Senior Brother glance at her and says, ”Who says it’s normal for the mountain to be quiet? Only demon-infested mountains will be quiet. Qing Yuan Mountain is a celestial mountain, it is blessed with divine spirit. By rights, birds should be flying here and there, but ever since we stepped in here, have you seen half a bird?”
Hearing him made Hu Sha realize it too.
He’s right, a mountain should not be as silent as this. Even that small hill behind her house back then was full of chirpings of birds. This place however… Did she head the wrong way?
That group of people continue talking and amongst them is an old man with white hairs, presumably their shifu. The shifu stroke his beard and says, “What Li Yun said isn’t wrong. There’s something strange with Qing Yun Mountain this time. People above us probably found our traces already, we must be careful when climbing.”
The young girl from before giggles, “Shifu, you underestimate yourself. We came here to challenge that old man Jin Ting, why should we be afraid of a little trick? Be it Spider Demon whatsoever, they all can’t win against you.”
The old man appears to be quite happy hearing that. He was just about to speak when he spots Hu Sha. He was quite startled.
“Hey, who are you!” that young girl jump before taking out her sword while menacingly wielding it towards Hu Sha.
Hu Sha flails her hand in shock. “I- I am just another person who climb this mountain to seek apprenticeship…”
“Apprenticeship?” the girl suspiciously stares at her from top to bottom, “If you’re really seeking apprenticeship then why are you taking this route? Who are you trying to bluff? You must be a spy sent by Qing Yuan Mountain to trace after us!”
“Li Ying!” the Eldest Senior Brother scold her, “This young lady appears to be a normal girl. You stop with your nonsense! We did not come here to start trouble!”
The young girl glared at him, “Why should I listen to you? Do you think I can’t differentiate between normal people and whatnot?” she withdraw her sword and suddenly fly straight to Hu Sha with her sword pointing towards her. “From one glance, I can tell that she is not a good person,” she laughs while positioning her sword right at Hu Sha’s throat.
Hu Sha is scared silly, petrified to the point that she can’t move. Seeing the blade of the sword heading her way, she shut her eyes, too scared to look.
Suddenly, a loud roar can be heard from the sky, the kind a beast will omit. The group of people in front of her screams in panic, while the young girl cries, “It’s a monster! Monster!”
Hu Sha opens her eyes and feels the winds getting fiercer, stones and sands are flying to the point that it’s hard to open one’s eyes. She covers her head and huddles on the ground . Her back is being smash by God knows how many stones, it hurts like hell!
‘Hu’ there seems to be something that flew right above her just now, came lightly in contact with her head, breaking the hairpin that she puts on earlier. The fierce wind made her scalp feels like it’s going to split.
Hu Sha scrambles to grab her dishevelled hair and take that chance to glance at what is happening before her, she can only see a black thing whose height is as tall as two people, there appears to be wings at it’s back, flapping gently.
What is that? Hu Sha froze in her place.
The old shifu from before yells loudly, “Don’t panic! Take out your swords! Get into formation!”
The people in that group take out their swords and surrounds the monster. But the monster suddenly roars and expand it’s wings, each wings hitting two people. It then stretch its paws and easily takes the old shifu into captivity.
The remaining people in the group is thrown into chaos, some are calling their shifu, the others trying to attack the monster, but from what Hu Sha can see, the old man has already fainted from shock, his limbs are limp. The monster sniffed at him for a while, hesitating whether to eat him or not. In the end, he succumb to temptation and opens his mouth to taste.
The sky is suddenly thunderous, the thunder hit the monster right in the head, the monster howls in pain and in the end abandon the old man and snuggles on the ground, huddling. The thunder did not stop, it keeps striking once, then twice, it even strike the monster’s wing but the monster still did not dare to move.
Suddenly, a pleading voice that belongs to a woman says, “Senior Uncle, please stop striking Xiao Meng with lightning. He will die!”
A piece of talisman suddenly descends from the sky. The monster, as though it has just seen it’s saviour quickly jump up, it’s huge body suddenly turns into a white light and in no time is already inside the marked paper. An arrow was shot but was grabbed by a snow-white hand.
This turn of event is too amazing, Hu Sha has never seen something like this in her 15 years of life. She fix her hair while looking up. In the middle of sky, two people can be seen riding clouds, their clothes fluttering with the wind. A very beautiful woman with long hair can be seen, her face guilty while looking at the man in black opposite her.
In her hand is the talisman that contains the monster.
The man opens his mouth, Hu Sha can hear his cold voice and inadvertently shudders.
“Did not properly take care of her own spirit beast and lets him go around eating people. It should be killed.”
After speaking, he looks down. From within the cloud, his face can be seen. He has a pair of narrow, twinkling eyes, like stars. The wind blows his long raven hair off, while his dark robe makes a fluttering sound. His face is cold like ice, lofty and proud and also gives off the air of being unapproachable.
Translator’s Note: Chapter 2！