Feeling the sea breezes and listening to the waves were comforting and satisfying.
When one was strong enough, they would find something strange. Though the waves were clearly heading towards the shore, this wasn’t the case. The waves were actually heading towards the center area, the opposite of what the eyes saw.
At the progenitorial level, they would find that there was a power in this ocean attracting them in a mysterious manner.
Li Qiye stood on a boulder with his eyes closed, seemingly turning into a statue.
As time passed, his feet seemed to be taking roots underground. These “roots” penetrated and infiltrated the depths of the ocean.
Eventually, he slowly opened his eyes and said: “The calamity is really here! Someone has opened the way so others will ride the winds to get here. Alas, those returning won’t be the same…”
Those who could hear and understand this prophecy would be scared out of their mind.
He shook his head, not really giving a damn. Three Immortals didn’t need his protection; others were up to the task.
He withdrew his gaze and walked along the shore, letting the waves hit his ankles and erasing his previous footprints on the sand.
He made it to a gulf and saw a person sitting on the promontory nearby.
“Dao Brother, care for a drink?” The person immediately raised his cup as Li Qiye was passing by.
Few people came to this place. Even if they did, they would only take a quick look before leaving instead of staying here for a drink and enjoying the scenery like this person.
The person was young and had a jade table in front of him with a stove heating up wine. A boiling sound indicated that the wine was ready. He opened the lid and let out the steam and enchanting fragrance.
He was only twenty years of age or so, choosing to wear a hemp robe instead of an expensive one. Nevertheless, the needlework was quite well done, clearly made by a master. The buttons were decorated with ancient symbols.
He had long hair tied up with a black bamboo hairpin, very simple while looking quite scholarly and unrestrained. His natural demeanor would remain unchanging even if Mount Tai collapses before him.
Nothing oppressive came from him, only an air of literature. People would feel as if he had a thousand scrolls hidden in his chest.
Just one look at him gave the impression that he was a walking encyclopedia of knowledge.
Li Qiye looked up at the inviting youth.
“To meet you here is a great honor, a touch of fate. Will you bestow me the honor of having a drink together with you?” The latter instantly stood up and said enthusiastically.
Li Qiye smiled and walked over. The youth saw this and took out a jade stool and wiped away the leaves nearby. He prepared a full set of appetizers for Li Qiye while looking very humble.
Li Qiye took this as a matter of fact and sat down. The youth picked up the wine pot and poured a full cup for him.
When the wine streamed into the cup, golden energy emerged along with draconic roars and an earthly momentum.
This fine wine contained the power of the dragons and the essences of this earth. Drinking this for a regular cultivator had the same effect as training for several millenniums.
“I brewed it recently using the core of a star. The taste isn’t too bad, please try.” The youth smiled.
Li Qiye took a sip first before drinking the whole thing. He softly breathed out, letting out the strong fragrance with magnificent starry light.
“It’s good.” He praised: “The water from a lofty gold star fermented with old ancient-cliff grains and boiled using autumn-moon wood, to be poured on an era-looping cup. Not overly strong nor astringent, just perfect.”
To earn such praise from Li Qiye meant that this wine was indeed special. Few in this world had the privilege of tasting it.
“You know your wine.” The youth was happy to see a fellow connoisseur: “Just one taste and you know everything, very impressive. Your knowledge far surpasses mine.”
Li Qiye smiled and began trying the appetizers that go along with the wine.
The youth prepared different dishes - cold horned-dragon wings, white phoenix liver, wyvern's liver… Each dish had a frightening origin. Even True Emperors might not have tasted them.
Li Qiye looked around and only tried two of them. Remember, these were extremely nutritious meals. Anyone would salivate at this sight. Alas, he was still very picky and only picked the ones he fancied.
“The wings are tender, 3,000 years is the right age too for this dragon. The phoenix liver is too old, not enough sticky rice as garnish… Hmm, this kudzu is right, planted in violet mud and cooked in eonic wood charcoal. Not bad, not bad.” He assessed the various meals.
“You really know your food.” Though Li Qiye was very picky and pointed out the flaws, the youth still appreciated the occasional praises.
“Another cup, Dao Brother.” The youth kept on pouring more wine whenever Li Qiye finished.
Li Qiye kept on eating and drinking, not minding having the youth serve him.
This pleasurable feast went on for quite a bit, unbothered by anyone.
“It’s a shame you’re not a cook.” Li Qiye said with a smile.
A third person would be shocked to hear this. No one else in this world would dare to make this comment.
“I was a glutton during my youth and have thought about it.” The youth said: “Unfortunately, the seniors didn’t let me, threatening to have my head.”
He didn’t put on an act at all nor thought that he was superior to others.
“Everyone has their own problems. Life doesn’t go the way we want all the time.” Li Qiye shook his head.
“Right, only an immortal can claim to have all their wishes fulfilled.” The youth replied.
“I disagreed. Immortals might not be happier than mortals. Becoming an immortal is already hard enough but what comes after is just more suffering. The nobility in the mortal realm is the right way to live.” Li Qiye smiled.
“Then you’re saying that cultivators who seek immortality are all idiots?” The youth said.
“No, they’re very impressive and commendable. To know the difficulties yet still keep on going? That’s the first step. The pursuit of immortality shouldn’t be about fulfilling one’s wishes, it’s about searching for insights and more determination. The former results in falling into the wrong path. Why? Because the endless years of immortality will also instill boundless suffering. A greedy heart will give birth to resentment, eventually culminating in a heart devil. Therefore, immortals do not exist.” Li Qiye stared implicatively at the youth after finishing.
The youth became emotional and stood up to bow: “Dao Brother, your comment alone is more beneficial than ten thousand years of dao search.”
Li Qiye was one of the few who can accept the grand gesture from this youth.
When the youth sat down again, Li Qiye stared at the horizon and said: “Everyone seeks immortality, but no need for that.”
“Why do you say that?” The youth curiously asked.
“Immortality will only breed calamity.” Li Qiye explained: “If such a being were to exist, they are not one of us and do not belong to our world, definitely shouldn’t come to visit either.”
“Makes sense, so what if some immortals decide to visit us?” The youth said.
“Then they’re not immortals. Why would they come down again after having ascended? Do you want to dig a hole and lay in the mud all day?” Li Qiye shook his head.
“I don’t know.” The youth said.
The expanse was a boundless world of gray from the outside with no sun in sight. This wasn’t the case after entering. It became a realm full of possibilities and complexity.