“Originally, I was part of a cultivation family. It wasn’t a big one, mind you, but it was nonetheless one that had been cultivating its own practices for a couple of generations.
“Where we lived, this wasn’t strange because the Jian Chu Sect wasn’t far. Over time, some cultivators that weren’t part of any sect and had instead been traveling around and practicing on their own found a spot close by to settle down.
“For these people, finding a place in the vicinity of a big sect brings a few advantages. Mostly that their treatment from the common people is better since they are used to cultivators but also that they will get news sooner than if they were living on their own, far away from the rest of the cultivation world.
“Anyway, over time, people fell in love, practices were combined, and families formed that would pass those practices down to the next generation, further improving upon them as more time went by. In our town alone, there were five of such families.
“When you grow up in this kind of family, usually, you would learn their practices but you would also take part in the open gate ceremony of the nearby sect to see if you might be taken in. Even if you only stayed there for a few years, you could still benefit a lot and as such, the family could profit when you returned.
“For me, the time to do so wasn’t far off. But honestly, I wasn’t too keen on it. Cultivation … it seemed a bit … hard.” She smiled faintly, lost in her memories for a moment. Yes, cultivation wasn’t something that came easily to everyone. And she had been somebody who had trouble with it. If she could, she probably would’ve lived as a normal person but her parents wouldn’t let her, making her practice all day long.
“One of those days, I sneaked out in the evening. Actually, I often did and usually, I wouldn’t get in trouble. Often, my family wouldn’t even notice and if they did, I tended to have a good excuse ready.
“Anyway, that day, I went to visit a friend that wasn’t part of any of the cultivation families. She was a commoner of the secular world, the kind of person that my family didn’t necessarily want me to hang out with. After all, well, if I did, then I would probably be even more reluctant to join the Jian Chu Sect in the future or even cultivate my own family’s techniques. That wasn’t something they wanted to see after all the time they had invested in me.”
Blue butterfly sighed, shaking her head. “I think in the end, they might’ve changed the mind. That night, the city was attacked. The next morning, out of those five cultivation families, only a single person had survived.” She didn’t go into detail, just silently looking at Mei Chao Bing.
He understood. She had wanted to spare them the gruesome details, probably because Yun Bei Fen was there as well. But at the same time, she wanted to let him know: Yes, this was the other side, this was the work of the demonic sects. And the only reason she hadn’t been a victim as well was that she hadn’t been there. “Was that before the demonic sects were banished to the west?”
Blue butterfly nodded. “Yes, or at the very least, it was at the time when the righteous sects were currently trying to banish them there. They hadn’t completely won but usually, they were able to keep them in check pretty well. It was just that at that time, some parts of the demonic faction banded together in a desperate move, wanting to attack the righteous sects where it would hurt the most: their pride.
“It was clear as day that they couldn’t have won if they tried to sneak up on the Jian Chu Sect itself but they were capable of surprising the cultivation families living in the sphere of influence of the Jian Chu Sect. Killing these people would unwittingly make others question how strong the Jian Chu Sect really was. Needless to say, this caused a bunch of trouble for them.”
She fell silent for a while, reminiscing about the things she had seen by herself. There was much she had to say about the times back then but one night was only so long. She could only pick and choose.
“I guess it doesn’t need to be said that I had trouble adjusting. The ones who came to investigate were naturally the people of the Jian Chu Sect and seeing that I had survived because I wasn’t there at that time, they took me back to the sect.
“It was strange. This was the place my parents had always wanted me to go to. And now, I was there, but they weren’t even able to see it. I thought a lot about that. And while I learned earnestly to honor my parents’ memory, I would have nightmares every day, seeing that small town not far from the sect grounds, my family members either how they had been before or how I found them the next morning when I returned home. It was difficult to deal with. It was even more so because those dreams weren’t completely normal.
“Back then, I was too young to understand but my dreams had always been strange. While others might be like bystanders, who couldn’t make any decisions, that had always been different for me. I was in a dream, but sometimes I stopped to think, stopped to … make a decision, then followed through on that.
“Oftentimes, this was something that I wouldn’t even notice. Even after waking up, I couldn’t put it into words. And also, there was never a reason to. How often do you talk about your dreams with other people? After what happened with my family, nobody in the sect would have taken it seriously if I told them about it. They would’ve thought I was just a frightened child, making something up in my mind. So my talent started to grow quietly without anybody noticing.”
Mei Chao Bing slowly nodded. This was to say that she had already been born with this talent and while she hadn’t been aware at first, it had been there and it had developed further on its own. That should tell him something about the talents. “So I guess with time, it only got stronger.”
Blue butterfly nodded. “It did. And I started to realize that when I had already become a young woman. It was quite the embarrassing matter, to be honest.” Her expression changed, from the previously muted sadness to one of confusion and doubt. It really made one wonder just what she had experienced back then. Well, blue butterfly wasn’t about to let her audience wait to find out.