Chapter 77: Treasure of Ancient China
Supervisor Liu and his cronies had been beaten breathless and laid like dead dogs along the street. They had been too obnoxious and gained the ire of all the towns folk. If it were not for some earnest elders who aided them, they would have been beaten to death. Finally, the group were dragged like dead dogs and thrown before their respective houses, this event was actually to the satisfaction of everyone.
In the afternoon, the sounds of laughter could be heard within the small store as a broad grin could be seen on Ting Ting’s face, no longer worried or afraid. Old uncle Jiang’s suppressed emotions had been relieved and the wrinkles on his face seemed to have lightened considerably. To celebrate, he cooked several good dishes of roast rabbit meat, rabbit meatballs in broth, sweet and sour rabbit ribs, leaf wrapped fragrant chicken, chilli diced chicken meat and a vegetable dish comprising of green vegetables and wild fruits.
This meal lasted for a long time and laughter could be heard from time to time, this harmonious atmosphere gave Ye Fan the impression that he had returned home.
After lunch, Ye Fan proceeded deep into the mountains. He began to experiment controlling the ‘divine symbols’ as this would play an important part in the later stages of cultivating.
Each ‘divine symbol’ was like a divine iron chain as it swirled above the golden sea of bitterness, this was its original form that was formed from the qi essence of life.
Cultivators could make the ‘divine symbols’ transform into various shapes and sizes, like flying knives, daggers and etc. It could be released from the body and made to kill enemies, this was much more effective than the original form of the divine symbol. There were several people who spent a lot of their time and effort to shape their divine symbols into flying swords, small shields, divine halberds and etc. This made it easier to control and when facing an enemy, it’s power would be much stronger.
Then there were some who were unafraid of complicatedness or profundity, repeatedly molding their divine symbol and forming it into cauldrons,bells or even pagodas, displaying various mysterious capabilities.
In legend, extremely concise cultivators could mold their divine symbols into ‘artifacts’. If they reached the later stages of cultivation without any mishaps, the ‘artifacts’ within them would form ‘markings of Dao’ that would contain unfathomable strength.
Needless to say, the chance of this happening was extremely low and only those with exceptional talent and strength would be able to encounter such serendipitous events.
From previous experiences, the more complicated and profound the ‘artifacts’ that were formed from the divine symbols, the greater the strength. For example, forms of cauldrons, bells and pagodas would have a greater chance of interweaving ‘traces of Dao’ within them.
The more complicated the ‘artifact’, the harder it was to form and spending endless amounts of time one might not even be able to form the silhouette of the ‘artifact’, wasting precious time.
Also, even if one were to be lucky and be successful, once they cultivated to the later stages they may not even be rewarded for their efforts. After all, the chance of the ‘Pathways of Dao’ appearing was low and to most cultivators it could only be considered a myth, suitable for only those exceptional and superb talents.
Molding a divine symbol into an ‘artifact’ was extremely important to a cultivator and each person had to earnestly pursue it because this would be the foundation for their ‘Defensive Artifact ’.
Like Han Fei Yu who controlled a azure wooden artifact, Elder Han who controlled twelve green wooden swords or the unscrupulous cultivator who had so many different spiritual weapons, the prerequisite for this was having formed their divine symbols into ‘artifacts’ and using the ‘artifacts’ to control and use these weapons.
After molding their divine symbols into ‘artifacts’, a large majority of people would select a spiritual treasure of a similar form and only when the two were identical could the most power be utilised.
This did not mean that they would be unable to use the weapon if the form was different however there would be some reduction in the power.
Then there were a portion of cultivators who repeatedly molded their divine symbols, continually molding their ‘artifacts’ and did not require to use other weapons but rather used the ‘artifact’ they had molded as their spiritual weapon.
Based on the ‘Wheel and Sea Volume’ within the Dao Scripture, the ‘Sea of Bitterness’, ‘Spring of Life’, ‘Spiritual Bridge’ and ‘Other Shore’ were four great stages and at each stage one could mold an ‘artifact’.
Ye Fan was already a cultivator at the ‘Sea of Bitterness’ level and could mold his first ‘artifact’. He earnestly contemplated on how to go about doing so, as this matter was of great importance and once the ‘artifact’ was completed it would be difficult to change it.
Also, the first ‘artifact’ would be the foundation for everything in the future and would certainly be much more important than the ‘artifacts’ that were molded at the later stages of cultivation.
Since he had chosen the path of cultivation, everything would have to be done with the distant future in consideration. Ye Fan removed the ideas of the flying sword, shield, spear and other ordinary weapons.
Although he knew that the chances were slim, he still hoped that his ‘artifact’ could form the ‘Pathways of Dao’, because of this, he decided to choose a more complicated and profound ‘artifact’.
“What should I choose……” Ye Fan contemplated seriously and carefully for a long time before a light seemed to shine from his eyes.
Finally, he had a clear decision and he decided to mold his divine symbol into a cauldron.
This was not a moment of recklessness but a decision that Ye Fan came to after much thought and consideration. Not only was he subjectively fond of the cauldron, more importantly was that the cauldron was the most mysterious artifact of ancient China.
The cauldron’s history was weaved into the entirety of ancient China’s history, rupturing the whole country as dynasties change. The monarchs combined and become Ancient China after being unified and all these events had ties with the cauldron. This was the mysterious artifact of ancient China, a nation’s sacred object.
Planning to seize the power of an entire country, the prime of one’s life……* An endless number of idioms were related to the cauldron and each was imposing and boundless, the cauldron had a long history within ancient China and was the most mysterious ‘national artifact’, it could even be said that the cauldron could represent ancient China.
[T/N* 鼎 refers to cauldron and the author uses chinese idioms which contain the word: 问鼎中原，春秋鼎盛]
Exactly how far the history of China stretched, it was difficult to estimate. Some things had been lost in the annals of history and had not been recorded or passed down, Ye Fan thought through it clearly before arriving to the decision of the cauldron.
During the pre-Qin period, many sacred emperors and ancient monarchs have conducted the Fengshan sacrifice on Mount Tai. Some notable ones were Fu Xi*, Shennong**, Yellow Emperor and 72 other monarchs of ancient times. As Ye Fan saw it, they were too mysterious and based on his experiences it was not difficult to discover that there were endless parts of ancient China’s history that were shrouded in endless mist.
[T/N*: Legendary Chinese Emperor, mythical creator of fishing, trapping and writing]
[T/N**: Farmer God, first of the legendary Flame emperors and creator of agriculture]
There seemed to be a mysterious period that existed within ancient China and although a majority of it had been wasted away in the boundless river of time, there were several traces that could be found which suggested that people in ancient China actually possessed formidable power.
The cauldron was the most mysterious artifact that had been passed down during that period and was naturally viewed highly by Ye Fan. It was the most important sacred artifact of ancient China and he naturally decided to choose it as his ‘precious artifact’.
With regards to this decision, Ye Fan was very confident. This was the crystallization of ancient China and the first ‘artifact’ which would form his foundation, definitely the most suitable choice.
The cauldron had many forms but the most popular ones were the three-footed circular cauldrons or four-footed square cauldrons. Ye Fan carefully contemplated the type he would mold his divine symbol into.
“Circular cauldrons with three foots and two ears appeared earlier…..” He gradually came to a decision within his heart.
Besides the reason of it appearing earlier, there were other reasons and based on his current status as a cultivator to think, he felt that the three-footed circular cauldron embodied some sort unfathomable substance to it.
The three-footed one was more stable than the four-footed one, it was the most stable form and the circular shape contained a more profound meaning of the Dao.
Three-footed, stable, firm, fixed, solid!
A circle represented the world, the universe and stars. In legends, when Pangu created heaven and earth, he smashed open a circle and shattered a spherical space. This was the starting point of the formless mass before creation and the process of evolution. The circle represented the origin.
“For sure, it’s definitely the three-footed circular cauldron!” After his careful thinking and serious contemplation, Ye Fan finally made this important decision.
Wanting to mold the initial form of the divine symbol into a ‘artifact’ was not easy and this would be a long and tiring process that may not bear fruit and was simply impossible to complete in one go.
First, one needed to confirm the form of the ‘artifact’ and firmly carve it into their mind. Thereafter, using it as a model to mold their divine symbol without even the slightest bit of imperfection.
Ye Fan held the Bodhi seed within his hand and delved into the empty state, he began to carve a picture within his mind and used his divine knowledge to simulate the nineteen divine symbols and began to mold them, finalizing the design within his mind first.
After much hard work, the nineteen divine symbols melted and finally formed into a bean-sized golden cauldron, dazzling and bright, seemingly extremely perfect.
However, Ye Fan was not satisfied as he felt that something was still off, even though the form was perfect it seemed to lack direction and charm.
“That’s right, it lacks the ears of a cauldron.”
Ye Fan began to mold again and slowly began to mold a pair of ears onto the bean-sized golden cauldron.
When this golden cauldron was completed within his mind, Ye Fan immediately felt a natural implicit charm and he felt relatively satisfied as he muttered to himself: “A cauldron, two ears and three feet. That’s right, the Dao gives birth to one, one gives birth to two, two gives birth to three, three give birth to endless living things, endless living things encompass bears Yin and embraces Yang, a powerful force of harmony……”
Ye Fan felt more and more satisfied as he looked at it, the bean-sized golden cauldron was becoming more profound within his eyes and finally occupied his entire mind, becoming simple and unadorned yet imposing and natural.
“That’s right, this is it!”
Ye Fan had completed his imaging process and the three-footed cauldron would forever be carved within his mind. Henceforth he would begin to mold the divine symbols within his sea of bitterness to become a real cauldron.
“Piercing through the entire history of China, the most mysterious artifact……” Ye Fan’s heart was filled with expectations for the future.
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