Moonlight bathed the ground, enveloping the entirety of this rustic little village in a silvery veil.
A chorus of frogs croaked within the pond. Just then, a dense cloud passed before the moon. Instantly, the moonlit night turned pitch-black.
The youth and the middle-aged man looked at each other.
The man frowned as he looked at the youth, his eyes filled with unshed tears, his smile slightly unhinged.
“What’s wrong? Can’t you do it?” A long time had passed, but he’d yet to receive a response. The youth sneered, then turned and walked away.
The middle-aged man caught up to him and, finally breaking his silence, said, “is this really what you want?”
“Of course it is.”
The youth feigned cold indifference, but the older man saw through it easily. His son’s excitement and longing for the future were clearly written in his eyes. The older man hesitated for a moment.
Finally, he spoke, his tone low. “Fine, if this is the path you want to walk, I’ll let you do just that. Let’s go back together.”
They soon arrived at a dilapidated, brick-walled residence.
The inside was a disaster. It wasn’t especially large - over half the space was filled with metalworking tools. There were also numerous farming implements: hoes and scythes, with a few weapons mixed in.
The youth hated it here. When he visited in the past, he’d stand outside, refusing to take even a single step inside
This time, though, he went in. His reasons were simple: he was about to become an immortal.
Although he was unsociable, when the villagers told tales of immortals, he’d secretly listen in.
They feared nothing and were capable of anything.
Whenever adults told these stories, his usual bullies’ eyes filled with curiosity and longing.
If he could master immortal magic, they might become his friends.
That’s right, he wanted to be friends.
The youth’s nature wasn’t bad. Although those children had always bullied him, he still only wanted to learn magic for the sake of winning himself a few friends. He had no desire to bully them in return.
The man walked inside, then gestured at the ground. “Find a place and sit down.”
He didn’t immediately start teaching him to cultivate. Instead, he got the hoes he’d prepared for the villagers in order.
The youth obediently sat to the side, his current demeanor in stark contrast with his earlier attitude.
That’s just how children were; it had always been that way, and always would be.
A long time passed as the man organized the farming implements. Finally, he walked up to the youth.
The boy had been eagerly anticipating this moment. He hurriedly asked, “can we start now?”
“Before we start, I must warn you,” said the man, his expression serious. “If you choose to cultivate, that means in the future you will leave the mortal world behind. Your future will be far more turbulent than your current, peaceful life - living as a cultivator is like walking on a knife’s edge. One small mistake can cost you your life. Knowing all this, do you still want to walk down this path?”
“Mmhm.” The youth nodded, seemingly unconcerned. Leaving the mortal world behind? Walking on a knife’s edge….
None of that meant anything to him. All he wanted now was to hurry up and start learning magic so he could show it off in front of the other kids.
The youth’s behavior didn’t surprise the man at all. Back then, hadn’t he been the same way?
He’d gone into seclusion and become a farmer in this remote mountain village because he wanted his son to live a peaceful and ordinary life. Even so, he failed to stop his son from choosing the same path he once had.
His heart sunk. He sighed once more, despite himself.
“Have you truly made up your mind?”
“Of course,” the youth nodded decisively.
“Fine then. If you’re still determined to do this, I won’t try and convince you otherwise.”
With that, he tossed his son a mysterious tome.
The youth caught it carefully. He didn’t ask what it was; based on the stories the villagers told, this ought to be a secret manual, the kind immortals used in legends.
His gaze brimmed over with curiosity as he opened to the first page. On it, he saw an extremely low-level technique for absorbing energy.
Although it was basic, for him, this was an entirely new world. In an instant, he was completely immersed. His hands flipped through page after page…...
“Black roses? Hey, dad, does our technique use black roses?”
“That’s right,” nodded the man.
“That’s awesome!” the youth clenched his fists in excitement. Black rose-based attacks? If he showed that to the other kids, their jaws would drop in shock!
Several hours passed.
“Dad,” said the youth suddenly. The older man had been sitting by the fireside. Now, he glanced at his son.
“What is it?”
“Why are the techniques…..” the youth frowned as if trying to figure out what exactly he wanted to say. “Wither, wilt…. Why are they all these sorts of skills?”
As he spoke, he flipped to the last page.
“Ah, here we go! Bloom! Dad, this move has got to be extra cool! All that ‘wilting’ and ‘withering’ sounds totally lame, I want to learn this move instead! Dad, teach me! Teach me ‘bloom!”
The youth pointed excitedly at the book’s last technique, but the man simply glanced at him coolly. “I can teach you any of other techniques, but not that one. Furthermore, I hope you’ll live your whole life and never use it.”
“Why?” the youth frowned. “Why won’t you teach it to me?”
Right now, his understanding of the various techniques was based purely on their names. “Wilting” and “withering” didn’t sound very strong.
If he showed the other kids techniques like that, they might not bully him anymore, but they’d probably fear and avoid him.
He wanted to cultivate so he could make friends- he didn’t want to learn those sorts of techniques.
“Because anyone who uses this technique, dies!”
“Ah?” The youth was uncertain if he’d heard correctly. “Dad, did you just say they ‘die?’”
“That’s right. They die,” said the middle-aged man, wasting no words. Judging from his expression, the youth trusted he was telling the truth.
“You die if you use it! What a shock.”
Death, for a child his age, was far too distant a concept. Even so, he didn’t want to use a technique he knew would kill him.
“Then why is it even included? If you use it, you die. Who would use a move like that?” He bitterly tossed the book aside and muttered grumpily. Yes, he longed to be an immortal, but he wanted to use his magic to make friends. He didn’t want to die immediately afterward…..
“Some people will inevitably choose to use it.”
“Those people must be real morons!” snorted the youth.
Despite the boy’s reaction, the middle-aged man simply picked the book back up, then gently patted his son’s head.
“You’re still young,” he said. “You don’t understand. Of course, I don’t want you to use that technique. However, if you ever find a worthwhile reason to use it… well, in that case, the Black Rose shall bloom once more!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter