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Chapter 504: Imparting Knowledge

    Chapter 504: Imparting Knowledge

    "This Pharmacist sounds like something," Jue Di said appreciably.

    "That's everything. I went back to the Avenue for a few days, then came here. You must be right about Qianlin, there's something going on. When she rejected me on Luo her expression was strange, but I was too hurt to understand. That must mean, this really is..."

    Jue Di looked at Lan Jue, saw his downtrodden expression. Then he slapped him forcefully upside the head.

    "Hey! Why are you hitting people?!" Luo Xianni glared at Jue Di, her voice sharp and threatening. She was taking her new role as mother seriously.

    Jue Di dragged his eyes to her and gave her a flat stare. In a domineering voice, he said, "when I'm teaching my child, try not to interrupt."

    Much to Lan Jue's surprise, Luo Xianni obliged and remained silent.

    Jue Di turned his callous gaze back to Lan Jue. "What, you'll die without a woman? We're facing a powerful enemy, you need to stop putting so much focus on things that aren't important. We can at least assume he has no intent to cause you harm. That gypsy bastard - always so self-righteous, bemoaning the state of the universe - his little games aren't to hurt you, either. Right now, your first priority must be to become stronger. I'm certainly not pleased he's put his fingers in your destiny, but it's better than you laying about on the Avenue."

    Lan Jue didn't utter a word. Right! This last year he'd been active, even lively. Father was right again, improvement had to be first.

    Jue Di rose to his feet and turned to leave. "Come with me."

    Lan Jue knew who he meant, and quickly followed. Luo Xianni also stood, but she didn't go far. She just walked to the door and watched them go from the threshold.

    Jue Di raised his hands, and dropped in to a stance. Lan Jue got the hint, and moved in front of his teacher to copy the pose.

    The Paragon's hands began to move. The motions were slow and fluid, but each wave and twist sent crests of energy rippling around them.

    Push Hands. A common training method in Taiji. Lan Jue could still remember back in the day, he could never last more than ten seconds against his father. Now, after so many years, it was time to test himself again. He focused his concentration, accumulating and swirling the energies within himself as he followed Jue Di's movements, hand to hand.

    Visible vortices of energy whorled between them. To Lan Jue, he felt like his father was an infinitely deep chasm that could swallow everything up. He didn't fight it, instead going along with that sensation and simultaneously released his own stored power. He followed to the limits of where he could maintain stability.

    The familiar haze of black and white sprang up around Lan Jue. He felt himself slip in to that state, the same one he felt during the tournament.

    Natureally, he was much stronger now than he was the last time they did this.  However, his strength only highlighted how unfathomably vast his master's skill was. His father wasn't applying any force, simply keeping to the repetitive movement of the dance like the whole world was in that singular motion.

    Jue Di's feet began to move, slowly but as fluid was a gentle river. The two of them played off of one another, moving through the field as mirrors of one another. Their dance created arcs pleasing to the eye.

    Lan Jue stumbled, and the haze of Taiji power around him thickened and the image of yin and yang shimmered in to existence behind him. He settled in to a rooted position immediately, retracting his injection of force and keeping himself in sync with the Paragon.

    As Luo Xianni watched, a flicker of surprise flit across her face. She nodded, ever so slightly. This was a sign of real comprehension of Taiji essence. For a man this young to have reached this level of mystical understanding was no easy feat.

    After a minute, Jue Di suddenly stopped and planted his feet. His arms jerked at the perfect moment, and the sudden change caused Lan Jue to spin like a top. He made ten circles before regaining his footing. All throughout, his arms where reacting, keeping him from going out of control. When he stopped, his face was as placid as a spring sky. The halo of Taiji power around him receded back inside of himself.

    Jue Di dropped his hands and nodded. "Not bad. You've got your foot in the door. Your foundation is much stronger. Keep training, and you'll get far."

    "Yes, sir." Lan Jue said with deep respect. He didn't give voice to it, but there was some surprise in his eyes.

    In that short period Jue Di had used the practice of Push Hands to excite and galvanize his Taiji abilities, and the inherent energies of his body. The whole process looked passive on the outside, but in fact Lan Jue fought to maintain stability. His comprehension deepened, feeling the truth of the opposition of yin and yang. When yin was an excess, Yang strengthened. When Yang was overbearing, Yin undermined. They supplemented and restrained one another, and that experience improved his awareness.

    "Pay close attention to this business with the Banishing Blades. They have the power to destroy everything we know. If you do find the Banishing Diagram, understand that there is no one today who can contend with that power. This means that you cannot come at this half-cocked. At the very least, you must have perfect mastery of the weapon you inherit. At the very least the weapon won't become your enemy. Now that you have chosen the sword, I will teach you the Taiji style for it. The Harmonious Swords is passable for attack, but there is no better defense than Taiji."

    "Yes, sir!"

    For the next several days, Lan Jue remain at the log cabin, training with his Father.

    Compared to the old days, Jue Di was much calmer. He was a guide now, leading Lan Jue through the problems he encountered in his own cultivation. He consulted on methods and concerns after his student's re-cultivation, solving them as they came. It was only a few days, but Lan Jue felt renewed and changed by it. He came away with the fundamentals of Taiji sword, and a deeper knowledge of Taiji in general.

    Three days solidified that knowledge.

    "Alright, you've got it - more or less. Let's go." Jue Di, today clad in his work uniform, waved for Lan Jue to follow.

    "Where are we going, dad?" Lan Jue asked, following dutifully.

    "We're going to the lab. You're trying to upgrade Thor, yes? We have the materials ready to go," he answered.

    Lan Jue blinked. "But I didn't bring enough power gems. It's mostly just an idea, but I need gems to finish it off."

    Jue Di nodded. "I have some here. If they aren't enough, you can construct the lattice and complete the installations when you get back."

    "Alright!" Lan Jue said without any further questions.

    The common man knew Jue Di the Paragon, but there were more than a few that knew him by another name - his true name - and another job. In the East, they knew him as Chi Bupang, the famed researcher and engineer. He was no less knowledgeable than the Bookworm or Keeper, only unknown because he wanted it that way.

    Luo Xianni lived there with them in the last few days. Aside from her very emotive arrival, she remained perfectly gentle since. The only indication of her temper was her presence, in that Jue Di never got a moment to himself.

    During that time, Lan Jue never spoke to Xianni about the Avenue. Jue Di also didn't bother with it, so they spent those days immersed in training.

    Luo Xianni followed along. However, as they reached the capsule, Jue Di looked regrettably to her. "Xianni, you stay. This isn't suitable for you. You like action and this you'll probably find boring."

    She started her response by giving him a sharp look. "You're still trying to get rid of me? I'm telling you, don't even dream about it. No matter what you say, I'm going - you're going to have to kill me. Aren't you that same cruel man? Just kill me and rid yourself of all this trouble."

    Jue Di sighed helplessly. "Didn't you hear A-Jue? The Clairvoyant is dying, the Avenue will need a leader. And this disciple has been bullied. Don't you want to head back? Relax, I'm not going to run anywhere. I'm used to life here, and if you're willing then we'll get used to living here together."

    "I'm not going!" She flatly rejected.

    He sighed. "I have no interest in women!"

    "Well I'm interested in you, and that's all I need," she shot back.

    "I'm old!"

    "I'm not young!"

    "... ..."

    Luo Xianni's voice suddenly became sweet as honey. "Isn't it really so bad to have company in your old age? Come, I've been looking or you for so long. I'll do whatever needs to be done for you. I know you don't like my temper and that's why you left. I can be gentle! If this doesn't please you, then tell me what you want me to be. I will do it. But no matter what, I'm not leaving. I'll be right with you."

    Another sigh from the Paragon preceded his reply. "I was clear with you back then. We just aren't suitable together. We're pursuing different goals. I am not a man who will remain smooth, or live steady. I want to experience all of the wonderful things this universe possesses. I will not settle, not for the rest of my life."

    Luo Xianni would not be deterred. "Then I'll accompany you! Where you go, I'll go."

    Jue Di's anger flared. "How do you not understand?! I want freedom, I refuse to tie myself to anyone! You're a good woman, it's me who isn't up to snuff. I am not a good man, period. Why do you insist on staying? I cannot stand having someone attached to me at the hip, can't you understand that?"

    Luo Xianni was quiet.

    Lan Jue was unfortunately stuck in the middle, trying to make himself as small as possible. Dad was right, he sure wasn't a good man!
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