# 73. Horror 【THREE: What's the matter with the Heaven and Earth Society?"】 【NINE: The Heaven and Earth Society is an evil cult that has been coveting the magic artefact of our Earth Sect for a long time. Hehe, This magical treasure is also called the Earth Book. It can be used to transmit messages from thousands of miles away.】 【Some time ago, I received a distress message from Senior Brother Jinlian, saying that he had gone to the capital of the Great Feng, because only by entering the capital could he avoid their pursuit.】 【When I was making my way to the capital, I lost contact with Senior Brother Jinlian. So, I sent him a message through the Earth Book, only for the message to get to you. He should have given you his "Earth Book". Presumably, the senior brother's situation is critical enough for him to abandon the book to protect himself.】 *What the hell... Who placed this pot on me?*[^1] Xu Qi'an was dumbfounded. 【NINE: I don't know who this excellency is, for Senior Brother Jinlian to give you his Earth Book with such confidence.】 *I'm just a petty bailiff, No, I'm just a small Nightwatcher...* Xu Qi'an felt a chill in his heart. 【THREE: How could he protect himself by abandoning the Earth Book? Can the people from the Heaven Earth Society track the location of the Earth Book? 】 Xu Qi'an, a master in reasoning, keenly grasped the key point. 【NINE: This matter involves a secret of our Earth Sect, so this poor Daoist can't tell it to you. The Earth Book is the most important treasure of our sect. I hope that you can return it to this poor Daoist.】 【THREE: Okay, How can I return this to you?】 Xu Qi'an was a little reluctant, after all, this was a treasure that could act as a storage ring. However, upon considering the risks associated with the book, he chose to go against his greed and return it. 【NINE: This Daoist is in the capital, and can come to find you at any time. If you don't trust me, you can choose an address for exchange. Well, What do you want, sir?】 *Boobs, I want warm boobs...* Xu Qi'an almost blurted this out. 【THREE: Daozhang is too polite. It's my duty to return the property to its original owner. But Daoist Jinlian had told me that this is a precious treasure and sold it to me at the price of 500 taels of gold. 【I'm not asking for money. It's just that if the treasure is returned to its original owner, I should also be refunded for an equivalent exchange, right?】 【NINE: Yes, It should be so.】 ... Xu Qi'an put away the mirror, dreamed of five hundred taels of gold, and fell into a deep sleep. The next day, he changed into the Nightwatcher uniform, put his badge in his pocket, sabre on his belt, and tied the new gong on his chest. He then vaulted the wall to his second uncle's house for breakfast. After leaving the Xu mansion, Xu Qi'an took the reins from the gatekeeper Old Zhang and rode his horse to the inner city, where the Nightwatchers office was located. The horse was his second uncle's mount previously, but it belonged to Xu Qi'an now. Of course, to shut up his aunt, Xu Qi'an gave his second uncle fifty taels of silver. There wasn't any other way to do so; the Nightwatcher office was in the inner city, and was too far from the Xu mansion. If Xu Qi'an walked to the office, it would be lunchtime when he would arrive. He hurried to the Nightwatcher office and stepped into Spring Breeze Hall, where Li Yuchun was drinking tea with a silver gong. "A rookie in your command?" The silver gong saw that he was not a familiar face, and asked casually. "Yeah." Li Yuchun nodded. "What's his rating?" The silver Gong asked. Li Yuchun didn't wait for Xu Qi'an to speak and hurriedly replied, "Lower Yi". The silver gong was quite surprised, and praised, "Not bad, not bad. The office needs young people with similar potential. In the future, you will become part of the mainstay of the Nightwatchers. The second half of the sentence was for Xu Qi'an. Xu Qi'an saluted respectfully, and only after that did he explain the purpose of his visit, "Boss, I want to go to the Archive." He didn't know where the Archive was, nor did he know the authority required to access it. "If you have any other such questions, you can look for the petty officers near you." Li Yuchun said. "I understand." Xu Qi'an withdrew from the Spring Breeze Hall. When the leaders were gossiping idly, as a subordinate, he shouldn't disturb them for small matters. This level of observation of details was required. After finding a clerk and asking where the Archive was, Xu Qi'an came to a huge courtyard. He handed his badge to a black-clothed petty officer, who took it, and handed it back to Xu Qi'an after confirming it was correct, saying, “The Archive is divided into four areas, Jia, Yi, Bing, and Ding. Bronze Gongs can only go to the Ding area for checking documents.” Xu Qi'an thought for some time and asked, "How would I know where the information I want to check is located?" The petty official in black smiled respectfully, and said, "Go to the Archive with the *Ding* sign." "Jia, Yi, Bing, and Ding" were four different Archives, and Ding was the lowest level and the largest. This conformed to the pyramid rule. The more confidential a document, the lower its number would be. Xu Qi'an entered the "Ding" Archive, came to the reception desk, and said, "I want to find information related to the Daoist sects." The petty officer behind the reception desk took out a thick booklet, looked it up for a while, then raised his head and said, "Sir, please wait a moment." He went into the Archive. Suddenly, the official in black came out holding a volume of books, and he handed over the books to Xu Qi'an after reaching over to take Xu Qi'an's badge. Xu Qi'an said, "Bring me a cup of hot tea." Turning around, he went to the side hall where desks were placed, and started reading the documents he got." The Daoist sects originated with the Daozun, the venerable Daoist. His era was so far in the past, that it could not be determined. According to legend, the Daozun was a miraculous person in ancient times, that could form three purities from one qi, being: *Yuanshi Tianzun, Daode Tianzun, Lingbao Tianzun.*[^2] They coincided with the three Treasures: Heaven, Earth, and Man. This was the source of the three sects of "Heaven, Earth, and Man" in Daoism. Among them, the two sects of Heaven and Man were like fire and water, as both claimed to be the orthodoxy of Daoism, and wished to beat each other's brains out. The Earth Sect was the most insignificant, and the style of their disciples was very low-key, as they didn't strive for fame and profit. Those who did not know much about the Daoists may have thought that there were only two sects. The salted fish sect looked quite pitiful."[^3] "Over so many years, the dispute for orthodoxy is probably the biggest conflict between the dao sects." Xu Qi'an silently added in his mind, *Yujie[^4] are unparalleled under the heaven.* Continuing to read, he found that the salted fish mentality of the "Earth Sect" made some sense. The Earth Sect worshipped the Daode Tianzun, and they cultivated Immeasurable Meritorious Virtue. They travelled around the world, behaved in a low-key manner, and did good things without revealing their name, leaving once they acquired Meritorious Virtue. "Meritorious Virtue..." Xu Qi'an frowned and thought about it. In a sense, Meritorious Virtue and Fortune have the same source. The world's people have a saying, *Doing good accumulates virtue, Good people will surely be rewarded.* Meritorious Virtue meant blessings. Blessings and good luck were the same things. *So, The old Daoist from the Earth Sect could find my specialness, can't he? Upon knowing that I was a lucky person, a European Emperor, he gave me the hot potato with a peaceful mind... Hell, don't you cultivate Meritorious Virtue? How could you do this act devoid of virtue...* Xu Qi'an mentally cursed. From this, he thought, maybe his strange luck was also a type of meritorious virtue. However, the eighteen generations of ancestors of the Xu family were ordinary people. Even the little fame and status that uncle and his generation gained, were with a sword in hand hacking and slashing through the fires of battle. He wasn't sure if they had done good deeds, but they had indeed killed many on the battlefield. At the time, the manager brought over the freshly made hot tea, and said, "Are you looking for information about the Sect of Man?" *No, The Earth Sect...* Xu Qi'an asked back "Sect of Man?" "Our national teacher is the current Master Priest of the Human Sect." The petty official said, "Master Wei doesn't like that female Dao Master very much." *The Female Dao Master... Ah, that legendary Daoist Nun?* Xu Qi'an suddenly realized that he only knew that the current emperor was obsessed with cultivating Daoism and longed for immortality. So, he canonized a Daoist Nun that looked like an immortal as the National Teacher. He didn't expect her to be from the Sect of Man. *The Arcanists from Sitianjian, the Human Sect of Daoism, The Nightwatchers, the Cloud Deer Academy of Confucianism, the Great Feng military, The civil officials in the Imperial Court... The capital city was a small pool, but it was filled to the brim with dragons.* *No wonder NINE said that the people from Heaven and Earth Society didn't dare to enter the capital.* *Jinlian Daoist: Come here and try.* *Heaven and Earth Society killers: We'll die if we try.* *Hahaha...* Xu Qi'an twitched his lips, and said, "Find me some information about the ‘Heaven and Earth Society’. Um, are there any books about the Earth Book? You know, Earth Book, the heavenly treasure... uh, if I wanted to go to the Jia, Yi, or Bing archives, where should I apply? Upon hearing him, the official said with a smile, "The Yi and Bing Archives correspond to Gold Gongs and Silver Gongs respectively. As for the Jia Archives, you need to have Duke Wei's signature to enter. But the information about Heaven and Earth Society and Earth Book you're looking for is in the Ding Archive. Upon seeing the shocked look Xu Qi'an, he explained, "The Heaven and Earth Society sounds like a Jianghu organization, and the Earth Book is a legendary heavenly treasure. Neither of them is confidential. I'll check the catalogue to see where they are." After speaking, he went to the reception desk. Xu Qi'an looked at his back and was again stunned for some time before he understood. He had fallen into a misunderstanding, thinking that ancient things were more confidential and secret, but it was not. *The more ancient things were, the less valuable they were... Well, It didn't mean they were worthless. Antiques were still valuable, but the rank of ancient secrets was low.* The real secrets were things that were close to the present, like military intelligence, border defence layouts, the formula of gunpowder, siege equipment, ship blueprints, etc. He believed that there will be another confidential file in the Jia Archive in the future: *A Study on Human Beast Hybridization* Authors: Song Qing, Xu Qi'an Soon enough, the official looked and found information related to the Earth Book and the Heaven and Earth Society. Xu Qi'an couldn't wait to look through them. The Heaven and Earth Society was linked to his safety, so he chose to read into it first. ... There were tens of thousands of organizations in the Jianghu, and there were also many sects, all of which weren't objects of great concern. They operated on grey income sources, but they were still willing to obey the command of the court. A few organizations with deep foundations and powerful existences may not follow the court. But, their existence also played some role in maintaining peace in some places, and they occasionally suppressed bandits in their region. The Heaven and Earth Society was one of these humble Jianghu organizations. Records about it first appeared about 60 years ago. In that year, there was a severe drought in Yunzhou[^5], and the refugees turned to bandits and plundered all over the place. Both Natural and Artificial Disasters were raging. The local Jianghu united with the court to suppress bandits, and the Heaven and Earth Society were among the helpers. *It seems to be quite a chivalrous organization... Sometimes, those who do good deeds may not be good people. Just like how those who do charity may not necessarily be doing charity out of the goodness of their heart.* *It may also be to improve their reputation...* Xu Qi'an took a sip of tea and continued to read. Heaven and Earth Society wasn't an active organization. It was a semi-secret organization, and there were few related records related to it. Xu Qi'an didn't gain much after finishing the record. *It's normal for me to gain nothing. By being able to force the masters of the Earth Sect to flee to the capital, it shows that it is a very large and powerful organization.* *It's reasonable for an organization like this to be able to hide from the intelligence network of the Nightwatchers. Should I report this intel to Brother Chun to enrich the Nightwatcher's documents?* *Um... Let's leave it aside for now.* He didn't intend to report this matter to the Office. *Although I might net him some credit, It couldn't be compared with 500 taels of gold.* *Anyone would be red-eyed at a treasure like the Earth Book. What if a Golden Gong takes a fancy to it and makes me hand it over to the treasury...* Xu Qi'an closed the booklet and started looking at the documents related to the "Earth Book". The Earth book was an ancient treasure, whose origin couldn't be verified. It's only known that it was left by the Daozun whose birth era couldn't be verified. The records didn't even mention the functions of the Earth Book. However, there was a note that said that such ancient heavenly treasures were mostly created by heaven and earth by themselves, and couldn't have been refined by human skill. They had a common characteristic, they recognized a master by the blood dripping into them. *Recognizing a master by dripping a drop of blood...* Xu Qi'an could say with confidence that he understood this trope. The magical weapons given by Song Qing and the Bronze Gong of the Nightwatchers could only be used by instilling energy into them, and they didn't have any concept of recognizing the master. They were tools that could be used by anyone. Xu Qi'an felt that weapons that recognized masters by dripping a drop of blood didn't exist in this world. He took out the small jade mirror from his robes and put it on the table, drew his sabre two inches out of its sheath, and pressed lightly on the blade using his finger. Bright red blood oozed out immediately, and Xu Qi'an put it on the surface of the small jade mirror. The blood stayed on the mirror for a few seconds before slowly disappearing, being absorbed into the mirror’s surface. The next moment, The scene in front of Xu Qi'an's eyes began to blur, and the booklets, tables, and teacups started to fade, being replaced by chaos. In the hazy chaos, he saw eight light spots hanging. *These eight light spots should symbolize the other mirrors. Adding me, there are exactly nine mirrors...* Xu Qi'an glanced over, trying to find Nine. But he didn't know which point of light belonged to Nine. *Hmm... I'll just touch one at random to make a friend.* Xu Qi'an raised his hand and tried to touch the light spot closest to him. The light spot began rippling, and the ripples, like waves in water, spread throughout the chaos. Xu Qi'an seemed to have returned from a dream, the scene in front of him was restored, and he was still in the reception hall of the archives, with documents, a teacup, and the plain jade mirror in front of him. But he knew that it wasn't a dream, because he had a miraculous connection with the jade mirror, after it had recognized him as a master by absorbing his blood. Quite a mysterious and profound Sense of Belonging. At the same time, a line of words slowly appeared in the mirror: 【SIX: Don't believe NINE, do not respond, do not respond, do not respond!】 --- Another long chapter, author says 3700 characters. [^1]: The pot: the blame or the responsibility. See: throw the pot (at someone), carry the pot.
[^2]: The Heavenly Venerable of Primordial Beginning; the Heavenly Venerable of Dao and its Virtue; and the Heavenly Venerable of Spiritual Treasures.

Primordial beginning: the beginning of the world. Dao and its virtue: the virtue of the Dao, of water, of action through inaction. The Spiritual Treasures: Body, Qi, Spirit, or the virtues Compassion, Frugality, Modesty. Also see [Three treasures (TCM)](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Treasures_(traditional_Chinese_medicine))
[^3]: Originally Cantonese slang. Represents people who are dead, or don’t want to move → people who have no aspirations.
[^4]: Slang for a strong willed mature woman.
[^5]: 云州