“That’s why only a selected few can last despite the abundance of geniuses.” The old man smiled.
“Only an immovable heart can become eternal.” Li Qiye smiled: “It has nothing to do with light and darkness, the orthodox or wrong paths.”
“If one’s dao foundation isn’t true, then how can they have an immovable heart?” The old man sincerely replied.
Li Qiye nodded in agreement: “Sounds correct, people only gaze at the horizon and forget what’s beneath their feet. Can’t even take half a step forward while still thinking about the destination.”
The old man nodded and said: “Why are you here, Fellow Daoist?”
“Only to take a look at what Desolate Saint left behind but after seeing you here, I guess it doesn’t matter anymore.” Li Qiye smiled.
“Might as well take a look since you’re here already to have peace of mind.” The old man was amicable like a kind senior.
“True, let’s go take a look then to see what the saint was like back then.” Li Qiye said.
“He came from the darkness so even though there is a spark of light in his heart, he is still darkness all the same and will return there.” The old man said: “That’s why I told him that he can’t represent the light. Unfortunately, my dao was shallow back then and couldn’t beat him.”
“Light and darkness can be created with a single thought of his.” Li Qiye shook his head: “He’s not like you who is devoted to the light and will end with the light.”
“I see.” The old man agreed: “I also told him that his search for the light is an attempt at self-consolation. Greed still loomed deep in his heart and the light was nothing more than just another technique to him. He couldn’t escape the shackles of greed.”
“To be exact, he couldn’t escape the shackles of fear.” Li Qiye elaborated: “He still remembered the fear during the moment of destruction and the defeat suffered. Thus, he wanted nothing more than to survive or have a move strong enough to fight back. That’s why he continued wanting to grow stronger. Eventually, after reaching a certain power level, greed overwhelmed him and influenced his plan. He stopped caring and wouldn't mind burying his own world and epoch to prepare the right strategy. Finally, when he wanted to return to the light and find his own time once more, he realized that he was only trying to make himself feel better while apologizing to the lost souls and those disappointed in him.” Li Qiye sighed after finishing.
“The only thing I seek is my own dao.” The old man pondered before replying.
“Simplicity is good.” Li Qiye smiled.
“And you? Are you trying to comfort the lost souls too?” The old man asked.
“No, I don’t need that for myself or for anyone else.” Li Qiye had a firm gaze: “From beginning to end, I have nothing to do with the light and darkness. I walk forward without caring about the prosperity of the world. It doesn’t need me to shoulder or to bury it. Same with the living beings. They shouldn’t place their hope in me.”
“Right, a savior doesn’t exist.” The old man said.
“Exactly! There is no savior in this world. If there seems to be one, then that person is actually a devil in disguise, more often than not. That’s why I will only be me.” Li Qiye chuckled.
“Well, your path won’t be easy then. There is still a long way to go.” The old man sighed: “This is all I’ve accomplished after so many years, only a dao comparable to a progenitor. If you can go further and escape the bounds of the myriad worlds, I won’t reach the level where I can actually witness your accomplishments.”
“Maybe that’s a good thing.” Li Qiye said: “If I succeed, then everything will change. If I fail, nothing will be left. People might not be ready to accept this and rather maintain the status quo.”
“A capsized nest won’t have an unbroken egg.” The old man said: “My dao is limited so I can’t see the full picture. However, Desolate Saint told me that it is inevitable. Not a single world will be able to escape. It’s only a matter of time.”
“Insects only live in the present. One summer and one fall and that is it for them. Thus, they don’t give a damn if a world-ending tsunami happens right after their death.” Li Qiye said: “Same with people. A million years later is so long after, they only live in the present while wanting to grow stronger.”
“True, regular people can’t understand the aspirations of a saint.” The old man commented.
“It’s a good thing that I’m not a saint since that loneliness is unbearable.” Li Qiye said.
“Is that so? Only the future will tell if you’re a saint or not. Or on the contrary, you may suffer eternal infamy.” The old man smiled.
“It won’t be the first time.” Li Qiye answered: “From the ancient past, plenty of people have cursed me for being evil as a dark hand behind the curtain. If one wants to have a good reputation, then don’t do anything. If one wants to be loved by all, then copy Desolate Saint.”
“But you don’t wish to be either type.” The old man smiled.
“I’ll just be me, who cares what the world thinks? That has nothing to do with me.” Li Qiye chuckled.
“That has nothing to do with me. Hmm, I didn’t have this mindset when I was younger, always worrying about gains and losses. Now, I realize that all of that was completely insignificant. How ridiculous.”
“Just be yourself, let them say whatever they want.” This was Li Qiye’s style.
“Unfortunately, I realized too late. If I was only one step faster, Desolate Saint might not have existed.” The old man nodded.
“No, it is not too late. One day, your light will shine in this world. No Desolate Saint in the future, but you will be there.” Li Qiye remarked.
“I hope so.” The old man gazed at the horizon.
“The black bull said that you have a particular idea…” Li Qiye looked at him.
“That little one is too shameless and stubborn.” The old man laughed and shook his head: “It embodied all the fortunes possible, good background and incredible bloodline. Boundless potential… It could have become an incredible sage.”
“That’s not who it is.” Li Qiye said: “It wouldn’t be able to sit still on a supreme throne and rather just run around in the wilds. Freedom is its aspiration, to be unshackled and not care about its reputation or anything else.”
“It needs sharpening and a few chains or it’ll flip the world over.” The old man said.
“That’s why you didn’t kill that nightking phoenix - an attempt at keeping the bull down a notch.” Li Qiye smiled.
“That little one would dare to do anything. It came asking me before but couldn’t hold back from eating, so I sent him flying.” The old man revealed.
Li Qiye could easily imagine what had happened. It wasn’t as simple as the bull put it, just sneaking in a few leaves.
It must have done something really bad to warrant the old man taking action. No wonder why it was afraid and didn’t dare to come here, clearly having a guilty conscience.
“Leave it up to fate, I’m sure something good will happen to it eventually.” Li Qiye said.
The old man chuckled in response. He didn’t look like a petty person. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have let the bull play around in Sacred Mountain and only taught it a little lesson.
“Alright, let’s go take a look now so you can understand, Fellow Daoist.” The man said.
“Okay.” Li Qiye nodded and got up. He looked forward and took the first step.
The old man continued sitting beneath the tree, seemingly asleep.
“Are you prepared for what’s coming?” Li Qiye stopped after a few steps and asked.
“Those stronger than me in the past still couldn’t escape so I can only do my best. The future is up to you.” The old man lamented.
“Taking the wrong path yet is the most loved by all. The common men, none of them would be willing to carve this rock. They believe they are smart and that the lofty grand dao is what they should seek, wasting time on this rock is foolish.” Li Qiye chuckled.