Book 2 Chapter 7: Yearly Ceremony
Teng Yongfan said, full of admiration, “Six thousand Black Armored Soldiers. According to the legend, the founder of the Gui Yuan Sect made the rule that the members of Black Armored Army will always be kept at six thousand. Whenever new powerful members join, then the weaker, older members will be expelled from the Black Armored Army. Even after being expelled, they would still be a member of the Gui Yuan Sect and will be assigned a position as a captain in the different cities of Jiangning.”
“Therefore, even though it is said that one can join the Black Armored Army after being able to lift something weighing 500 Jin, since the membership number is fixed, one would be stuck at the entrance barrier and waiting to advance. With the ability to only lift 500 Jin, one would only be a peripheral member of Gui Yuan Sect and nothing more,” Teng Yongfan said.
Teng Qingshan was filled with astonishment.
As the number of troops was permanently fixed, the Black Armored Army could only continue to grow stronger, a pure elite force.
“An army made purely of warriors,” Teng Qingshan was taken by surprised.
He finally understood what kind of world this was!
In his previous life, Teng Qingshan thought about what would happen if ten thousand powerful Internal Martial Arts masters would form an organization. This kind of organization would surpass any country. Just imagine thousands of strong Internal Martial Arts masters sneaking into an enemy country and carrying out assassinations, the whole country would be in chaos overnight.
However, that kind of things would never happen in his previous world.
The reason being, there were too few people who practiced inner strength. Even the Godly Thief Sect didn’t have any practitioners with inner strength. Even though there were some SS-level powerhouses, their numbers were incredibly few, and they could only support their motherland.
“In the world of Nine Prefectures, even Yangzhou’s second strongest Gui Yuan Sect already has such a strong force! This world is too marvelous,” Teng Qingshan could feel his blood beginning to boil.
It looked like that SS-level or Grandmaster Realm in his previous world would only be regarded as a normal master in this one.
It was said that the ones who reached the pinnacle of power were lonely!
Teng Qingshan had already reached the pinnacle of modern society’s strength in his previous life and had indeed been rather lonely. After arriving in this world, he had not, until today, known what kind of world it was.
“This is the world of my dreams. The people are strong, and there are many powerhouses!”
After finding out what kind of world he found himself in, Teng Qingshan became filled with energy, spending most of his time every day training. As the world was filled with the Spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth, his inner strength became even more vigorous. Teng Qingshan began to use his inner strength abundantly and indiscriminately to stimulate his internal organs, muscles, and bones to let them absorb it while also physically strengthening his body.
In Internal Martial Arts, the most important thing was to improve personal health. Killing people was secondary.
By improving his health, his internal organs became much stronger and his vitality increased at an astonishing pace.
The art of killing was in fact improving his muscle and bones until they reached an extremely high level.
When he was still in the modern society of his previous life, he was always worried about his insufficient inner strength and didn’t dare to waste it. Even when he was in a critical moment during a fight, he only used a tiny amount of inner strength. Now, however, he didn’t have to worry about his inner strength at all and let his bones, muscles, and inner organs slowly absorb it.
With an adequate supply of inner strength, Teng Qingshan’s body used the practices of the Internal Martial Arts to increase its strength at maximum speed.
Last night it snowed heavily, and the whole Teng Jia Village was covered in a layer of white.
In the morning, the villagers of Teng Jia Village used their brooms to sweep the snow aside and clear a walking path. After the snow, the temperature dropped and all the inhabitants started to wear thin cotton-padded jackets.
In the main room of Teng Qingshan’s home, the family of four gathered together to eat breakfast.
“Fragrant pastries!” A little girl with braids stood on the chair shouted in surprise, “Mother, where did you get them from?”
Mother Lan Yuan said with a smile, ”Where do you think I got it? Your father asked someone to buy it from Yi City in the shop ‘Baifu Hall.’ Today is New Year’s Eve, how could we not buy something nice for you?”
“Little Yu,” Wearing a cyan jacket, Teng Qingshan sat on a chair and looked at his sister. Today was New Year’s Eve and after today, he would be six years old and his sister three years old. Although his sister was quite young, she was very smart and a little bit naughty.
(TL: Ancient Chinese people count their ages according to the Chinese New Year)
“Your stomach is small, so you just can only eat one fragrant pastry. There are two pieces on the table,” Teng Qingshan points at the fragrant pastry in the plate, “This one is bigger, while the other one is small. You tell me, which one do you want?”
Teng Qingyu stared at the pastries with big, round eyes, before leaning forward to directly pick up the largest one with her hand, ”Brother, I want this!”
Kids were indeed greedy.
“Little Yu, you have to learn modesty,” Teng Qingshan continued, ”When you are with relatives or friends, you need to choose the small one.”
“Why?” Teng Qingyu looked at Teng Qingshan puzzled.
“Little Yu, you should learn from your big brother and be courteous,” Teng Yongfan said while laughing, “When there are delicious things presented in from of you, then you shouldn’t pick the biggest first. If I let your brother choose first, he would always choose the small one,” Teng Yongfan normally taught his kids during their everyday life.
“Brother, between these two, if you chose first, would you choose the smallest one?” Qingyu asked.
“Yes,” Teng Qingshan nodded.
“Then isn’t it okay? You choose the small one and I will take the big one. Where have I been wrong?” Puzzled, Teng Qingyu looked at Teng Qingshan.
Teng Qingshan was dumbfounded.
Both Teng Yongfan and Yuan Lan were also shocked and looked puzzled for a while. Seeing Teng Qingyu’s puzzled expression, they didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
“Haha…” Teng Yongfan laughed and said, ”Yes, Qingyu you can eat the biggest one.”
“Ah,” Teng Qingyu nodded and smiled at Teng Qingshan.
Teng Qingshan felt helpless. Against a child that was only three years old, there was no way to use logic to reason.
However, Teng Qingshan really enjoyed this happy atmosphere.
In his previous life, he had been an orphan and never knew a parent’s love, but in this life he not only had parents, but also had a cute little sister.
Wrapped in this warm atmosphere, the family finished their breakfast.
“Qingshan, take Qingyu with you to the training field to play. We will hold our Yearly Ceremony there, and everyone will gather there soon. We can have lunch together with the whole family,” Teng Yongfan entrusted Teng Qingshan with this task because he was sure that Qingshan could take care of Teng Qingyu.
Although Teng Qingshan was only six years old after today, he was very smart, just like a ten year-old.
The truth was, Teng Qingshan couldn’t pretend to be a goofy kid, but he didn’t dare to behave too mature either. Talking like a ten year old child was enough, this way his village would only think that he was a genius.
Whereas, if he would have started speaking the same way as an adult when he was two years old, he would probably have been treated like a monster.
“I understand, Father,” Teng Qingshan nodded and held his sister while walking towards the bustling training field.
Later that morning, there were two thousand people gathered at the training field. The whole population of Teng Jia Village was here.
They stood according to each family.
A giant cauldron was placed at the front of the training field, and all the two thousand people were standing in an orderly manner, while the village Chief Teng Yunlong stood at the very front of them.
“Mother, what is Grandfather doing?” Qingyu, who was carried by Lan Yuan, asked as they stood among the crowd.
“Be quiet for now,” Yuan Lan said softly.
Because of his father’s position, Teng Qingshan’s family stood at the front of the crowd, and Teng Qingshan could clearly see the Chief, Teng Yunlong, walk to the other side where they kept a copper basin. Teng Yunlong washed his hands first and after drying them with a white cloth, he put the cloth on the copper basin. Immediately afterwards, a villager handed three incense sticks to the Chief.
Teng Yunlong held the three incenses and shouted with a clear voice, ”Light the incense!”
A villager rushed over while holding a candle and proceeded to light up the three incense sticks.
Teng Yunlong held the three incenses and walked with big steps towards the giant cauldron. Teng Yonglei, Teng Yongfan and Teng Yongxiang, these three brawny men followed behind him. The three of them were the strongest men in the village and were holding big plates laden with a cooked pig, sheep, and cow’s head, respectively.
Teng Yunlong stately climbed the steps and inserted the three incense sticks into the giant cauldron.
Teng Yongfan and the two others placed the sacrifices in front of the giant cauldron.
“Play music to welcome the gods!”
Teng Yunlong turned around to face the villagers before announcing.
“Bang!” After the gong sounded, the noise was immediately followed by nine continuous drum beats.
“Kneel!” Teng Yunlong announced.
Suddenly, all of the two thousand people on the martial arts field kneeled down.
Teng Yunlong also kneeled and shouted while facing the giant cauldron ”Emperor Yu, his majesty…” he then started recite a series of encomiums. Hearing this, Teng Qingshan was dumbfounded, ”Grandfather is not reading from a paper and reciting it just like that. His memory is really good, if he can say all of it in one breath.”
Looking at the giant cauldron, Teng Qingshan couldn’t help but feel impressed.
After coming to this world, he found out that everyone held ‘cauldrons’ in great respect.
Just last year, he heard a story. In this world, for thousands of years, ever since the creation of this world, the most remarkable person was the ‘Emperor Yu’ who did an unprecedented thing – he united the world. Emperor Yu ruled over the world and divided it into nine prefectures. He gathered bronze in the nine prefectures and refined them into nine giant cauldrons. Since then, the cauldrons became the symbol of supreme imperial power and divine right. It was also the focus of people’s spiritual beliefs.
“However, in this world filled with strong people, there are as many masters as clouds in the sky. To unite the world was extremely difficult. After Emperor Yu’s death, the world fell apart again. For thousands of years, apart from Empress Yu, only Celestial Emperor Qin Ling managed to unite the world again. However, after Celestial Emperor Qin Ling’s death, chaos once again returned.”
Teng Qingshan had been in this world for six years, so he also know these two famous figures, Emperor Yu and Emperor Qin Ling.
Only Emperors Yu and Qin Ling managed to unite the world for over thousands of years. After they died, the world fell into chaos again.
After Teng Yunlong finished reciting the whole thing with one breath, he shouted out, “Pay your respect!” before taking the lead to pay his respect first.
Following him everyone bent their knees to pay respect.
“Bow again!’ Teng Yunlong said again.
Everyone bowed to pay their respect and touch their heads against the ground.
“Rise!” Teng Yunlong announced.
With a loud bang, everyone stood up.
“The ceremony is done!” Teng Yunlong announced loudly.
At that time, everyone sighed with relief. Some women rubbed their knees, since they were aching after kneeling for such a long time.
“Haha…”At that moment, Teng Yunlong finally laughed, “Today is New Year’s Eve, everyone come enjoy the meal! Come, let’s start the feast!”
Suddenly, many tables were placed throughout the training field, and a variety of different foods were served on plates on the tables.
“Qingshan!” Teng Yongfan walked over.
“Father,” Teng Qingshan knew what his father wanted to say.
“After today, you will be six years old. After lunch, during the afternoon celebrations, we will begin the examination with the children of your age group to determine your future. You need to try your best and make your father proud.,”Teng Yongfan said this in a relaxed manner; but there was obviously some tension.
Before the children reached their sixth birthday, they could play as much as they liked, and the family wouldn’t mind.
However, once they were six years old, they would be trained either in archery, spear wielding, farming, or some other sort of career.
“Your cousin Qinghu lifted a stone that weighed sixty Jin when he was six years old,” Teng Yongfan said, “Father’s objective for you is not that high, but you must at least reach above average.” Since Teng Yongfan was the next Chief and the strongest in this village, if his son was too weak, he would feel distressed in his heart.
”Above average?” Teng Qingshan nodded without saying anything.