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So What If You've Been Reborn? Chapter 13

So What If You've Been Reborn? - LightNovelOnl.com

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Here's another survival prep course - for recurring terms in SWIYBR:

-Some information about the SWIYBR universe:

In this universe, the lowest stage of cultivation is 养气yangqi, which I translated as Qi Fostering. The 养 can mean to grow, cultivate, raise, or foster, and gave me a different feeling than 凝气ningqi (Qi Condensation), 炼气lianqi (Qi Refining), or 聚气juqi (Qi Gathering) - all three aforementioned terms can be found on Immortal Mountain's glossary of wuxia, xianxia, and xuanhuan terms. Also, there are only 6 cultivation stages, 7 if you count the Ascension stage (the one where cultivators have to survive heavenly tribulations). Bless this author :'D

­-About terms:

Mustard seed storage treasures (芥子法宝, sometimes 须弥芥子法宝) are used for, well, storing items. There are already magic pouches/bags used for storing items, but I'm assuming mustard seed storage treasures are able to hold more items than regular magic pouches and bags, and are able to contain much larger objects. In SWIYBR, the terms 'heavens' and 'divine order' will be used interchangeably to refer to 天道. Although the more accurate translation is 'divine order', there are some situations where 'heavens' would sound more appropriate. I believe it may help if you think of this 'divine order' as something like a 'will of the heavens', or something, or a set of somethings that has been ordained by the heavens. (SWIYBR is all about the divine order; might as well clear it up once and for all). I found a resource for acupoints, so from now on, any acupoints mentioned will mostly be translated into English, instead of being left in Pinyin.

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C13. Going Far Away

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Amid the sounds of flowing water, a wild hare raised its ears, glancing about cautiously, and hopped onto a rock by the creek to drink some water.

Just then, it saw a red-and-white ball reflected on the surface of the water, behind itself. Startled, the hare kicked up its legs and dashed away, disappearing even before the water it splashed up could touch the plump fireball.

"Fzzzzt!" The fireball happily drifted up to the branches, cleverly ensuring that it did not set fire to any leaf, and continued to wait in ambush here, waiting for the next unlucky creature.

Across the shore, Shi Feng saw this sight and frowned, thinking that he might have been wrong. It was tough to change one's nature; perhaps the Stone-borne Flame's nature was to bully others while taking advantage of the situation. Just look at this, it was already able to make good use of its strengths to bully critters in the wild!

"Chh!"

The fireball stopped next to the creek, trying hard to imitate the calls of a lark, but it still sounded like air leaking from something. Even when it occasionally raised its voice, it could only sound like a broken wind-box[1].

Strictly speaking, the Stone-borne Flame was not exactly shaped like a ball right now. It had fattened into an oval shape, but the bottom was flat and smooth instead of curved. If not for the heat it was radiating, it could have passed off as a red agate[2] pebble if it just lay on the ground.

This place was surrounded by dense forest, situated deep within the mountains; it was desolate, with not a sign of human inhabitation.

They were already at least a hundred li away from Yunzhou City, having gone in the completely opposite direction of Sky-High Cliff.

Shi Feng fetched some water from the creek, soaked a cloth in it, and carefully used it to wipe Chen He's dry, cracked lips.

The things he had packed before leaving Sky-High Cliff now came into use. He helped Chen He change out of the clothes that had been mostly burned away. In Yunzhou City, he had bought a few more pairs of shoes, which were easy to change into. However, he had stopped buying cloaks ever since Chen He had become unaffected by the heat or cold after age fourteen, so now he could only drape his own coat around his junior brother.[3]

Shi Feng checked Chen He's pulse, then touched his forehead. The latter had been lying unconscious on a slab of limestone for a while, without making a sound.

This time, Chen He's meridians had been severely damaged, and his dantian, which was the source of spiritual energy, had been shaken as well. If he did not recuperate properly, not only would he be unable to increase his cultivation level in future, his completion of the Foundation Establishment stage might even be reversed as well.

In the cultivation world, there were six main stages: Qi Fostering, Foundation Establishment, Core Formation, Nascent Soul, Demigod, and Immortalisation, and the last and most special stage was the Ascension stage. Only cultivators who had successfully formed their Golden Cores would be considered true cultivators; those in the first two stages still had not broken out of the worldly cycles of reincarnation.

Even if one had completed the Foundation Establishment stage, they would only have a lifespan of a hundred and twenty years, which would be gone in a flash. Would they, then, be able to spare the effort to strive for immortality and gain insight into the Dao?

Before the Nascent Soul stage, what one gained from painstaking years of cultivation was known as spiritual energy. After the Nascent Soul was formed, it would be known as true essence.

Every time Shi Feng instructed Chen He and helped him regulate his breaths, he had to break down his own true essence and convert it into spiritual energy, otherwise his true essence would cause Chen He's meridians to burst. This process was like diluting sour plum paste with water; it was not complicated, but it was a little troublesome.

—therefore, the masters in major sects did not directly instruct their disciples at first, instead letting their eldest disciple do the teaching.

True essence could nourish the meridians, but spiritual energy was far inferior in terms of this effect. This was also the reason why the cultivators of Black Depths Valley did not agree with letting Chen He claim the Stone-borne Flame. Once the meridians and dantian suffered damage, it would take very long to recover.

After confirming his condition by checking the pulse, Shi Feng brought out a spiritual recuperation pill, feeding it to the unconscious Chen He.

Very soon, he remembered that his junior brother would say every day that he was hungry. Searching in his mustard seed storage treasure, he brought out a pill for cessation of consuming mortal foods.

Curious, the fireball rolled over in mid-air. It was quite interested in the pill, which was also red and white in colour, with a similarly oval shape.

"Chhhhh!" The fireball stuck out a small arm fashioned from flames and roared with laughter as it pointed to the pill, as if it was scorning the pill for being ugly.

Shi Feng felt that it was being noisy. With a light flick of his sleeve, the fireball was pushed away in mid-air.

After feeding the second pill to Chen He, Shi Feng raised his head to look at the second problem he had to worry about.

—the fireball seemed to sense something. It drifted behind a rock and cowered there, shrinking itself.

There were unequal amounts of red and white in this fireball's colours.

The red was the Stone-borne Flame's original colour, and the cold white flames were Shi Feng's true essence.

The two types of energy circulated slowly within the ball, remaining separate. Shi Feng could choose to let them merge, which would leave the Stone-borne Flame unable to develop a spiritual sense forevermore. The white flames also served as a seal to rein in the Stone-borne Flame's tyrannical nature, to prevent it from burning all forms of life around it when it still knew nothing.

However, this method could not be used for long.

A mischievous child locked up at home for a long time would cause even more trouble outside after he was let out in future.

Although Shi Feng did not like the Stone-borne Flame, it had acknowledged Chen He as its master after all. If any trouble was caused, the harsh divine order would count this as Chen He's fault, and this was something Shi Feng did not want to see.

He had to let his junior brother take complete control of this trouble-causing fireball!

Shi Feng carried Chen He up on his back again, heading northwest of the forests by way of concealment travel[4].

"Chh? Fzzz!" The fireball came out of hiding, floating over to chase Chen He.

~~~

About a thousand li northwest of Yunzhou County, there was a vast desert which was one of the remote areas of the land. It was called the Redwinds Desert.

—removing the seal on the Stone-borne Flame in the desert would be most suitable, for no matter how much it burned, there would be no problem!

Regular people would not even last three months on the journey from Yunzhou to the Redwinds Desert. The first half of this journey was full of mountains and miasma[5], and there was not a single plank road among those sharp peaks and steep cliffs; there were only rope-ways[6]. The second half of this journey was mostly shingle beaches and desolate plains that lacked water; often there would be packs of starving wolves.

Chen He woke up on the third day. Sprawled on Shi Feng's back, he looked down at the uninhabited shingle beach, dazed.

The jade orbs were not on his wrist.

Confused, he thought of the Chen family…no, he seemed to be much older than three, and he was not supposed to be by the pond in the backyard of the Chen family. Where was this?

Shi Feng halted his concealment travel and turned around to check on his junior brother's injuries. He noticed that his junior brother looked rather dull, just like when he was younger, during those times when he would look around wide-eyed, not knowing anything. He could not help but smile, reaching out to pinch Chen He's cheek gently.

The pinch woke Chen He up fully. He looked up, his head following the movement of Shi Feng's arm.

Chen He's subconscious caused him to hug Shi Feng without a second thought and lean against the places he was familiar with.

"Senior Brother," he said abruptly.

The hand that he was about to use to check his junior brother's pulse froze at once. Shi Feng's eyes were full of surprise; he had been with Chen He for many years, and he could not be any more familiar with his junior brother's confoundment. Without any memories to remind him, Chen He should not have recognised him.

Could Junior Brother's illness have improved?

Shi Feng bent down, attempting to glean more from Chen He's gaze.

"Senior Brother…are you my Senior Brother?" Chen He repeated, his gaze full of confusion.

No anxious touching of the face, no complaining about looks, no looking at him and saying things in a teasing, joking manner—for some reason, when Shi Feng looked at the Chen He who was behaving this way, he felt a strange sense of loss.

Shi Feng touched Chen He's forehead, silently checking his pulse.

The plump little fireball had caught up as well. Because it did not dare to approach Shi Feng, it could only hover about behind, chirping and twittering.

With the Liquor-Wisdom Technique, Chen He quickly realised what Shi Feng was doing. He channelled his spiritual energy to cooperate, and said honestly, "My head aches, I can't examine my dantian, the spiritual energy in my meridians has run dry and I can't find any, the meridian near the Wind Pool[7] and Wind Mansion[8] acupoints are blocked…"

Chen He had reported every single area of discomfort in his body at one go. Patients like this would definitely save others from a great deal of worrying.

Shi Feng silently used spiritual energy to clear Chen He's meridians. After a while, he raised his brows, puzzled; what about that line, "I'm hungry", which would always appear? Why had he not heard it after so long?

Chen He stared back at him, confused.

They exchanged stares for at least five minutes before Shi Feng shifted his gaze away, looking thoughtful.

—so each time Junior Brother said he was hungry, he was not always truly hungry.

Shi Feng gauged Chen He's injuries, then brought out a jade bottle and gave Chen He a Qi-replenishing pill.

Chen He opened his mouth obediently. Only after consuming it did he ask, "Senior Brother, what is this? Will I get better after I eat this?"

Shi Feng nodded.

Mm, just that he would not get better with only one pill. However, it did not matter, since Chen He would not remember that he had already consumed one after he woke up again.

"I can remember Senior Brother and all the things," Chen He said lightly, joy brimming from the tips of his brows and the corners of his eyes, with an expression that suggested he was only an injured patient who would recover very quickly.

Shi Feng stopped, then nodded in spite of his feelings.

When he continued again with Chen He on his back, the sun hung low in the west. Gazing out on the shingle beach, one could see a crimson-red evening glow at the end of the sky. That was the view of the setting sun, and also the edge of the Redwinds Desert, a land symbolic of death.

"Senior Brother, are we living there? It looks pretty nice," Chen He said excitedly.

As expected, he had no memory of Black Depths Valley at all.

Without meaning to, images surfaced in Shi Feng's mind: the Valley Master, Elder Long-Brows, Master Lingguo and the others, and that box of jade orbs.

Was it a good thing or a bad thing that his junior brother had completely forgotten them? Shi Feng found it interesting to think about. He could not help but follow this line of thought and imagine the furious expressions of disbelief on the faces of the Valley Master and the others.

"Rubbish, he remembers you, so how could he not remember Black Depths Valley!"

"That's right, you must have done something!"

Sounds of wolves' howls rang out in the twilight. Coming back to his senses, Shi Feng could not help but feel a little abashed for having thought of such strange things.

Turning back, he saw that Chen He was already fast asleep.

His injuries were serious; thus, Shi Feng did not bring out the jade orbs, which would give him more to worry about. After consuming the pills and allowing spiritual energy to circulate, it would allow cultivators to enter a focused trance. Since his younger days, Chen He had been trained by Shi Feng such that he naturally regulated his breaths as he ran and practised martial arts, and entered focused trances when he slept, without any hindrances. If it were another cultivator, he would have to sit upright in a proper position in order to recuperate.

In the twilight, a flash of red skimmed swiftly over the shingle beach .

Behind it was the afterimage of a fireball flying past.

The wolf packs who had been squatting on the rocks and howling at the moon were shocked into fleeing. They did not understand why there was suddenly a ball of light in the deserted plains, flying so close to the ground. They scattered, and the long howls used to gather the packs faded; all that remained were the gleeful laughs of the plump little fireball.

"Fzz, fzzzzt!"

The fierce, one-eyed wolf king became furious, kicking its cowardly companions several times. It chased speedily after the fireball, which left a long afterimage behind.

The Stone-borne Flame, which was a type of True Samadhi Fire, was naturally able to use fire concealment travel.

Shi Feng's speed was not considered fast, since he had to look out for his junior brother whom he carried on his back. He was using wind travel, and the Stone-borne Flame would not fall behind when it relied on the force generated.

"Fzz!"

As the distance closed, the flames singed the fur on the wolf king's forehead. The fireball laughed raucously as it flew away. Having lost all its dignity, the wolf king roared, enraged, but it could no longer catch up again.

In the distance, the boundary of the Redwinds Desert became even clearer.

The wind began to turn dry and torrid, and the fireball also seemed to sense something that could increase its power. Excited, it bounced boldly up to Chen He's side, but was flicked away by an invisible force before it could even rub against him.

It looked as if a pebble had been tossed away.

"Chh!" The fireball looked at Shi Feng angrily.

Notes:

[1]: A wooden box used to generate wind through pumping action. In the past, it was used to help fires burn more strongly; it could be used for fires in blacksmiths' forges, or for cooking fires in rural households. Has mostly fallen out of use in modern times.

[2]: The original text only said 玛瑙色, literally 'agate-coloured'; however, agate comes in many colours. Given the previous descriptions of the Stone-borne Flame, I would say the colour here is red.

[3]: A note for this paragraph: The cloak being described here is something that would be worn on top of everything else, usually in autumn or winter, when it is colder. The coat, on the other hand, forms part of the regular clothing.

[4]: Original term here was 遁光, and later on 遁法dunfa was used; this is basically a means of escape (遁 means to escape or flee). It is also a method of hiding oneself. Overall, this term seems to refer to a method of travel that allows the user to travel long distances in a short time, as a means of escape. Meanwhile, actually using the word 'escape' sounds bad, so this was the best I could do.

[5]: Original term 瘴气; here it refers to gases released from decaying organic matter in a forest, i.e. dead animals/plants; they are toxic and can cause illness in humans. More likely to be in tropical forests (hot and humid + decaying organic matter = eugh)

[6]: If this were a modern setting, I would have translated this as 'ziplines'.

[7]: 风池穴, fengchi, located on the back of the head, closer to the nape of the neck; judging from the diagram, it seems to be on the left side.

[8]: 风府穴, fengfu, located on the back of the head, right in the centre. Seems to be barely level with the bottoms of the earlobes…? (OTL I'm not good at explaining this)

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