Translator: TransN Editor: TransN
His Majesty decided that Ning Que would be the leader of the Academy students in the Wilderness practice this time. As Master Yan Se heard the news from his Younger Brother, an anger suddenly appeared on his 'lewd' face and his white eyebrows kept tilting up and down, as if they were to become a ball of fire. He severely scolded, "What happened again?"
Master of Nation Li Qingshan slightly laughed and said, "Back then I also felt strange, but later I guess I understand his Majesty's thought on my way here. Due to that thing about her Majesty that year, there is a health risk of his Majesty's body. Nobody knows when it will break out, so he has to think more about affairs of state in the future."
Master Yan Se sneeringly said, "Tang is founded on the basis of military and is governed by laws. Is there something about state affairs that his Majesty needs to worry about? He wants to imitate that hellhole South Jin Kingdom to appoint a useless assisting minister?"
Li Qingshan shook his head and said, "Our South School of Haotian Taoism looks powerful, but actually, the number of mighty cultivators in noontide is few and weak. If Tang wants to compete with the Divine Hall and maintain its strict law, it will unavoidably rely on the Academy at last. However, among those freak talents of the Second floor of the Academy right now, most of them are just interested in some personal hobbies and have no ability to govern the state. Besides, the most two powerful students of the Academy have totally become someone in another world and showed little interest in state affairs."
"It is fortunately that the Academy has a student named Ning Que."
"Ning Que... what's wrong again?"
"His Majesty knows this lad very well. He is from the earthly world, so he has some ambitions and desires. Of course this isn't a negative comment, because it means he is ambitious. Once he involves in the worldly affairs, the Academy will naturally keep an eye on it. In this way, the future state affair will be steady."
After a short silence, Master Yan Se said with a sigh, "Actually, every thought that is related to a too far future is too rigid."
"I know what you mean. At present, Ning Que is indeed a small potato, but everything needs to be ready from the beginning. Since his Majesty appreciates him and would like to foster him, you don't have to be angry."
"He has to involve in these worldly affairs when he just enters Talisman Taoism... In my view, it is absolutely a barrier, rather than a kind of training. If you want him to be a Divine Talisman Master within ten years, it is inadvisable and unwise to overly train him and give him heavy responsibility in advance."
"How could Left-Tent palace on the grassland dare to antagonize with Tang Empire? Besides, the order made by the Divine Hall is more due to the vigilance to those Desolate Men and remaining followers of the Devil's Doctrine. There will be no real danger for Ning Que and other students of the Academy in this practice. No important thing will happen there, so you don't have to worry about the nonexistent heavy responsibility."
Looking at his Senior Brother, Li Qingshan gently persuaded, "The cultivation of Talisman Taoism requires both inner comprehension and external observation. Since it is so, the practice may be good for his cultivation, even if he will encounter some trouble. How could a piece of steel become a piece of Stainless-steel without being hammered and tempered; and how could a piece of white paper become a real Fu if it fails to bear the force of a finger?"
The Academy hadn't received the written letter from his Majesty in Daming Palace. The students, who would go to south for practice in this fall, were talking about the not-so-cold weather in excitement. They had no idea that they would go to that slightly-cold and strange Wilderness soon. Ning Que also didn't know that he had been regarded as a key training target by the empire and that he would lead his ex-classmates to the Wilderness. Right now, he was paying all his attention to memorizing Fu characters and developing Talisman Arrow.
The wooden shaft had been changed to the material made from silver, stainless-steel and two other rare metals. Senior Brother Sixth carefully finished some extremely-light stainless-steel arrows with silver and hollow pipes. Ning Que used all heavy compound bows, which were used in the examination of the Military Ministry, to displace the boxwood bow. With the assistance of Sangsang, who had fallen from the bed and then stood for countless time, Ning Que finally managed to complete the Fu character suitable for flying arrows. However, failure was still the ending in the next several experiments.
Though this metal arrow was relatively much lighter than others, yet it was still much heavier than wooden arrows. The metal arrows, once leaving bowstring, would fly around irregularly and smashed the ground in a big area. The pot and shield in the hands of Seventh Sister and Chen Pipi made "Peng Peng Peng" sounds from time to time. At last, the flying arrows would suddenly fall in the lake and then hit several lazy fat fish.
After several tests, he found the root of failure–something wrong in the coordination between the shooting of arrows from the bow and the stimulation of the Fu character. If the Fu character had been stimulated when he drew the bow, the Qi of Heaven and Earth would cause turbulence of wind around. In such case, the original direction of the arrow would be severely influenced. In the worst case, the arrow couldn't be shot at all.
However, if the Fu character, which was engraved on the shaft, was stimulated by Psyche Power after the arrow had been shot, another problem would occur. The old Lyu Qingchen had mentioned it that year and Fourth Brother also talked about it this year. Arrow was a type of long-ranged weapon, so it must rely on fast speed, but the kind of speed could easily end the Psyche Power connection between the cultivator and his arrow...
"Actually I don't think this trouble should occur. As I shoot the arrow, meanwhile, the Fu character on the arrow should be stimulated. In such case, there is no need to maintain Psyche Power connection. With the assistance of Qi of Heaven and Earth gathered by the Fu character, the arrow is able to directively and steadily fly, but why does it fail now?"
Ning Que, a little pale, was sitting on the threshold of the small warehouse by the forge-iron room and saying to himself in anger. These days he, out of depression, had scratched his head for so many times, so his hair looked like a messy bird nest.
Seventh Sister, Sixth Brother and Chen Pipi, standing or sitting, looked at him in sympathy. These days, the experiment of flying arrow brought more happiness and jollification to the Back Mountain of the Academy, and it even had attracted that two Chess Addicts in the mountain to watch twice. However, as they looked at painful Ning Que, they couldn't help worrying about him. Unfortunately, no one could give a hand because the Talisman Arrow field hadn't been successfully developed up to now.
"You also know the root of failure. The two things, the shooting of arrow from bowstring and the stimulation of Fu character on the shaft, must simultaneously happen. If you failed to figure it out, a greater thought would be useless, either."
Fourth Brother stood at the doorway of the forge-iron room and looked at them without any facial expression. Seventh Sister and Chen Pipi looked at each other and felt confused. These days, Fourth Brother, who was sharp at the practice of Talisman Taoism, never showed little interest in Ning Que's experiment and didn't have a glance at it, not to mention making comments. They even thought it seemed that Fourth Brother was sneeringly waiting for their failure.
After standing from the threshold and politely greeting to Fourth Brother, Ning Que explained, "Indeed, it is the root, but I have noticed it the day before yesterday and then improved it. At every test, I have paid much attention to keep the two steps synchronous, but why does it still fail?"
"It is impossible to achieve absolute synchronization if your stimulation depends on Psyche Power, no matter you stimulate the Fu character before or after shooting the arrow. That's because the speed of human movement is definitely slower than that of Psyche Power. When you intend to stimulate the Fu character, you just need to do it in your mind. In comparison, the movement of your finger will always lag behind it."
Ning Que carefully said, "I know this point, so I shoot the arrow in advance."
"How much time in advance? How do you count it? By feeling? How do you know your own psyche doesn't influence your finger movement? How do you know your consciousness can be precisely divided into two parts?"
Fourth Brother looked at Ning Que and rebuked him in a deep voice, "Maybe you have a great aptitude in Talisman Taoism, but unfortunately you forget the most important part. If Talisman Taoism is used for practice, it can't be achieved only by feeling and imagination. Instead, it requires the most accurate and intuitive method, and the method depends on nothing but skill."
Ning Que explained, "But I really have kept it precisely synchronous enough."
Fourth Brother sneeringly looked at him and said, "What's precise? What's synchronous? Synchronous means the same! Differences of one minute, one second, or one moment are all different from synchronization! There were so many Talisman Taoism Masters in the past and none of them were more stupid than you, but why did they still fail to develop Talisman Arrow? That's because they couldn't make it totally synchronous."
After listening to the severe reprimand, Ning Que suddenly became calm. Since he was praised as the successor of Divine Talisman Master by Master Yan Se and then gradually found his gift in Talisman Taoism, Ning Que naturally felt proud in his deep heart, though his facial expression still looked peaceful. Thus, he always thought that the problem of Talisman Arrow should be solved soon because he had spent enough wisdom and effort on it. He didn't realize his wrong attitude and superficial thought until Fourth Brother pointed the most crucial part out.
Looking at Ning Que's earnest state, Fourth Brother became a little more peaceful and said gently, "Little Younger Brother, in fact, your idea about the design of Talisman Arrow is very excellent. In my view, you could make it, but you should be more careful and think more deeply about the most crucial part–synchronization. If you can do it, I think perhaps we can witness a historic key breakthrough in the practice of Talisman Taoism. For the breakthrough, I hope you can keep trying."
Ning Que sincerely said, "Thanks for your reminding, Fourth Brother."
Early morning of the next day, Back Mountain of the Academy.
Ning Que, obviously being awake all night, showed up in front of the iron-forge room again. For unknown reasons, he looked cheerful with high spirit, who should have been paler. His hair had turned into a messier henhouse from the previous bird nest, a proof that he had scratched his head and hair for so many times.
His voice was slightly trembling, excited but lack of confidence, "Senior Brother, you are right. It is impossible to maintain synchronization between human's psyche and body movement, so the idea of stimulating Fu character after shooting arrow must be abandoned. But later I think that is it possible to synchronously stimulate Fu character by the action of shooting arrow? That is, right at that moment when the archer shoots the arrow, the Fu character on the shaft is exactly stimulated by the action of shooting arrow. In such case, it totally relies on the objective coordination between body actions, irrelevant with the psyche of the archer."
Fourth Brother goggled and asked, "The action of shooting automatically stimulates Fu character? This idea... is indeed interesting, but how could it be completed? The Fu character will be stimulated once you finish the writing, but how can you write it when you are to shoot arrow? If you write it in battlefield, how to make sure that it will synchronize with the movement of shooting arrow?"
"It can't work by writing on myself, so it has to be done by the arrow. The Fu character on the shaft isn't finished in the beginning, but it just needs the last stroke. Thus, we can try to figure out a way to make the shaft to finish the last stroke by itself in the process of shooting the arrow."
Ning Que, like a heresy who was about to receive a trial, nervously looked at Fourth Brother and asked, "What do you think of this idea, Senior Brother?"
"The arrow finishes the last stroke of Fu character by itself as it leaves the bowstring?"
Fourth Brother stared at Ning Que's eyes for a long time. Then he couldn't suppress his shock and excitement in his heart and said in a slightly-raucous voice, "Little Younger Brother, you... are a damn genius."
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