# 80. One Blade From Heaven and Earth *In the future I want to be a person with this kind of aura…* Xu Qi’an thought in admiration, and cupped his fists, “Last night, Jinlian Daozhang from the Earth Sect came to visit me. He did not hurt me, nor take back the Earth Book, rather inviting me to join the Heaven and Earth Society.” “The Heaven and Earth Society…” Wei Yuan turned around, walking back into the room. “The Heaven and Earth Society was founded by that Daoist Jinlian of the Earth Sect, and the Earth Sect disciples under his banner.” Xu Qi’an, seeing Wei Yuan make an intently listening posture, knew that the report that he had given had value. “There are nine core members of the Heaven and Earth Society, which are simultaneously the nine holders of the fragments of the ‘Earth Book’. They take the number order of their fragments as their nicknames, and do not use real identities.” Xu Qi’an summarised everything about his conversation last night, “Currently I only know that ONE is in the capital, and is very influential and powerful; TWO is in Yunzhou rooting out bandits, and may be from the government.” The great eunuch with whitening hair thought for a long time, before asking “Not knowing each others’ identities… what else did Jinlian tell you?” Xu Qi’an replied truthfully, “He said that the Earth Sect has had a problem, and he must clear out his house. For this he founded this Society.” He looked at the great eunuch, as those deep time-worn eyes suddenly lit up, and looked back intently. That deep and full voice said with some seriousness, “Explain.” “The Sect Leader of the Earth Sect has fallen into demonic tendencies, and has pulled down with him nearly the entire sect. Only a minority kept clear minds, and escaped the sect hearth. This was because they had the protection of the Earth Book.” Xu Qi’an fully sold out Jinlian Daozhang, “So he created the Heaven and Earth Society, and bestowed the Earth Book fragments to heaven’s favoured prodigies all over the world, raising them, to one day help him clear out the sect.” *The Sect Leader has fallen to demonic tendencies, no wonder Zilian becaeme so dark and evil…* No expression could be seen on Wei Yuan’s refined and handsome face. With an examining tone, he asked “Why do you think Jinlian told you this?” Xu Qi’an was just about to say that he didn’t know, but seeing Wei Yuan’s deep gaze, hearing the examining tone in his voice, he swallowed those words back down. *With Wei Yuan’s scheming mind, he definitely wouldn’t be looking for answers from me… he’s testing my abilities.* *Um… if I had just said “I don’t know” those three words, would I be marked as not clever enough in this great eunuch’s heart, as a subordinate of average ability?* Xu Qi’an’s mind sprang to life, as he smiled with a rather relaxed expression on his face, “Every member of the Heaven and Earth Society knows about the problem in the Earth Sect. The reason why Jinlian Daozhang would tell us truthfully, is to show his sincere intents.” Wei Yuan ever so subtly nodded, “The movements of the Earth Sect are hidden; up until today, the Nightwatchers have not known about the sect falling from Meritorious Virtue into the demonic path.” Xu Qi’an opened his eyes wide, “Is Duke Wei saying, that Jinlian Daozhang is using me as an intermediary to form a secret alliance with you?” Wei Yuan finally nodded with satisfaction, but did not respond, rather saying kindly “From now on, you will be the Nightwatchers’ spy within the Heaven and Earth Society. You will be responsible for finding out their true identities. If necessary, the constabulary will give you a level of help.” Xu Qi’an clasped his fists together, “Yes Sir.” *If I had been a little slower earlier, would Wei Yuan have taken the Earth Book fragment, and picked a more clever person to replace me, and put them as a spy into the Heaven and Earth Society?* *Great People’s tests are really like a spring breeze flowing by, if you’re not paying attention for one second you would make a mistake…* Wei Yuan said, “You are Refining Qi now, you should pick a special martial art for yourself. Go pick one from the record hall. “Do you prefer Dao or Jian swords?” “Dao!” Xu Qi’an replied. When he was still a regular petty official, he always carried a dao. Even though he rarely had any opportunity to use it, but he had worn one for so many years that he had grown fond of this type of weapon — it was better than a Jian, anyway. Wei Yuan reminded him, “When you pick a special art, remember to pick something that is purely a dao art. Disregard anything that is too flamboyant or complicated. “The Martial path is different from the others, and doesn’t have much in the way of magical tricks, only power. Therefore, the purer a martial artist is the better. When you finally step into the high ranks, you’ll understand this principle.” A few simple words, was worth more than a ton of gold. Xu Qi’an felt very pleased, “Thank you for your tutelage, Duke Wei.” He had only started in a big organisation, and if he were to get Wei Yuan’s appreciation and agreement, then the potential of both his job prospects and martial cultivation were boundless. *The Sitianjian takes in children, not child chickens[^1]. The Confucianists don’t suit me. Furthermore, neither of them are marital artists. For the martial path, the only real choice is the Nightwatcher Constabulary.* … Holding Wei Yuan’s note, Xu Qi’an came to the record hall. With him was Li Yuchun. Li Yuchun glanced at the clerk leading the way, and said with significance in his voice, “When did you start hugging Wei Yuan’s leg?” “Duke Wei asked for me himself.” Xu Qi’an made an innocent face. Li Yuchun nodded his head slightly, without any displeasure, not asking any further. The aptitude of Upper Jia was given by Duke Wei himself. He had intentions to raise Xu Qi’an, and so this was normal. For this, Li Yuchun already had expectations, and so was not dissatisfied or jealous at his subordinate going around him and reporting directly to his superiors. Firstly, because an Upper Jia must be trained well, and Duke Wei would definitely pay him extra mind. Secondly, Xu Qi’an was a bronze gong under his order. With this relation in place, he could not wait for Xu Qi’an to walk higher and higher. The clerk lead them to a bookshelf, saying: “There are 407 dao arts, they are all stored here.” After the two Nightwatchers nodded, he backed off. Li Yuchun glanced at Xu Qi’an, and before the latter could speak, he laughed “Are you going to ask me, which Dao art is the strongest?” Xu Qi’an laughed cheekily. Li Yuchun thought for a moment, saying tentatively “Special arts come in two types, one is in skill, the other in dao. Don’t even bother with the latter, and as for the former, there is no weaker or stronger; it all depends on the person.” The two of them slowly started picking Dao art manuals. Xu Qi’an remembered strongly Wei Yuan’s teaching, and did not look for the flamboyant arts. After two hours, Li Yuchun was somewhat impatient, “Don’t you like any of them?” *…Boss, I forgot to tell you, I have decidophobia!* Xu Qi’an nodded, laughing bitterly. Li Yuchun thought for a moment, “Wait a moment.” He summoned the clerk, and asked: “Recently, have any new special arts come in? I’m talking about dao ones.” The clerk thought deeply, “Yes. A few days ago a few manuals came from the Sitianjian, we paid a few thousand taels of silver for them.” *A few thousand taels…* Li Yuchun did a double take, and then smiled, “Xu Ningyan, your luck is not bad.” He then explained, “A special art worth a few thousand taels of silver, would be higher quality than any of the ones here. I gather there’s probably an incomplete version of some dao sword Dao art.[^2]” “Dao?” Xu Qi’an’s eyes gleamed. “A special art that has contains the rhythm of the Dao, normally created by a high ranked martial artists, containing their own life experiences and realisations about martial cultivation. If you want to become a high level martial artist, then you mustn’t touch these kind of special arts, because this is someone else’s Dao. However, fragments and incomplete versions can be learned from.” Li Yuchun ordered the clerk, “Bring them over.” After a short while, the clerk returned with a few manuals. One of them indeed was an incomplete piece of a dao Dao art. 《*One Blade from Heaven and Earth*》 *The person who picked this name either has Eighth-grader syndrome, or psychosis…* Xu Qi’an gathered his first impressions, and then picked up the thin book, starting to read its preface: *In the world, there is nothing that cannot be cut with one strike of the blade. If there are, then my suggestion is to run.* Xu Qi’an resisted the urge to drop this manual that instant, and continued reading patiently. After reading through the introductory core principles, his opinion of it was changed. *If I’m not wrong, then the master who wrote this book indeed is psychotic. He thinks, that anything in the world could be cut with one strike, including heaven and earth itself.* *Enemies, naturally, are no exception.* *Any excess exchange of blows, or combat, are all a disgrace to the martial path.* *I will only make one strike, that decides who lives or dies. Of course, psychosis doesn’t mean losing common sense; in the introduction he noted, that if I were to meet an enemy I cannot defeat, then I should run for it.* Xu Qi’an slowly finished reading, as his mind rerated this art anew: Focus everything on one point, and reach the peak of perfection! He closed the manual, eyes gleaming, “I want this one.” --- [^1]: Slang term for a virgin, someone who hasn’t matured, or someone with a small cock [^2]: Shame that 刀 (dao, sabre) and 道 (Dao, way) are near homonyms in Chinese, with only a tone change that can’t be well represented.