Fortieth step, Fiftieth step…Ninetieth step. Each of his previous enemies and his good friends emerged one after another. Moreover, his foster father who adopted him in Wu Country – Ning Daniu had also appeared among the illusions. He stood behind Ning Fan and kept shouting for him at the top of his voice. However, although Ning Daniu had shouted so much that his voice had turned hoarse, Ning Fan did not turn his head back even once. Even though he owed much to Ning Daniu, he also had a score to settle with his adoptive father, thus making the debt of gratitude and revenge between the two difficult to calculate. Even so, Ning Daniu was not important enough to cause him to stop in place.
At the ninety-ninth step, Ning Fan came to a stop.
Relying on the power of his incarnation, he was able to complete the Ten Steps Bridge without much difficulties. But just before he intended to make the one hundredth step, he paused for a moment.
Before bringing the last step forward, he suddenly felt a strong feeling of warmth and affection.
What will be the illusion for the last step of the Ten Steps Bridge?
From making the first step up until now, Ning Fan had never stopped, not to mention turning his head back.
Clearing up his doubts, he made another step forward, completing the one hundredth step.
A few seconds later, he faintly felt the purple mist behind him congeal into a female shadow. She reached out her arms which were covered with light-yellow sleeves, hugging his neck from behind. With a feeble tone she called, “Son…My son…Remember…your surname is Yun. Don’t hate your father. He just forgot about us… When he remembers you, he will come here and take you home as promised…”
At the moment when her voice resounded, he felt like there was a string that snapped within his heart.
“This voice sounds really familiar… It’s… mother’s…”
After making the one hundredth step, he could actually leave the Ten Steps Bridge and complete the First Step of Mortal Severance by just walking forward.
But Ning Fan did not leave. On the contrary, he gently turned around.
Outside the Ten Steps Bridge, Yi Qing’s countenance changed greatly. Be it the mortal beings or experts who had attained the Void Fragmentation Realm, one must never look back on the Ten Steps Bridge.
Once they turn back, they would be affected by the purple mist and be enchanted by the illusions, causing them to completely sink into the illusions and eventually be consumed by the purple mist.
“Fellow Daoist Ning, you must not turn around! No!”
Yi Qing’s voice echoed loudly throughout the space but still, it was too late.
However, after Ning Fan turned to his back, his eyes did not show even the slightest hint of confusion and his face did not seem to be in a trance-like state at all.
He had turned around but he was not influenced by the illusions!
How is this possible?!
“Since ancient times, no one could avoid being lost in the illusions after turning their heads to the Ten Steps Bridge… This man is the first one to do that! How did he do it?!”
On the Ten Steps Bridge, Ning Fan looked at the woman whose face looked pale and haggard and his heart became warm.
This yellow-robed girl who looked like she was in her late twenties gave Ning Fan a feeling that he had known her for a long time.
In the past, he once met a yellow-robed girl who shared a striking resemblance with her in Yun Ruowei’s dream realm but the only difference was that the current lady had already become a mother of a child.
“Son. My son…” That lady stroked Ning Fan’s head and her eyes flashed with relief.
As for Ning Fan, he gradually closed his eyes and gave her a faint smile.
“So this is my own mother…”
The absence of his own parents from birth had molded him into a strong man today. But there was still a trace of incompleteness deep inside his heart.
He might have been loved by his own brother, Ning Gu, his master, the Old Devil and his wife, Zhihe, but without experiencing the strictness from his own father and the benevolence of his own mother, the void within his heart would not be complete after all. If one lacks the most important element in his mortal life, how should one sever his mortal self?
“Mother, are you still alive… Good. Does that mean I am still able to meet you and father one day?”
Ning Fan lifted his hand and reached out to the lady without using any of his magic power. However, the yellow-robed lady vanished into purple mist, dispersing in all directions by itself.
This illusion was very much akin to the illusion of the Moksha Emperor which was fake. The reason is surely because my mother is still alive somewhere around the world…
“I once detested the path of cultivation. But if I don’t cultivate the Dao, I would have never been able to ascend to the Sea of Clouds and walk in the Ten Steps Bridge and discover the fact that my mother is still alive…”
“Therefore, choosing the path of cultivation was right. That’s why I should sever my mortal self… Mortal Severance… The meaning behind the two words is not about severing one’s mortal coil but eliminating the fragile inner self of a mortal being… Cultivation… It is not about attaining huge magic power but cultivating a great heart.”
“On the Ten Steps Bridge, if one does not look back, there would then be lesser struggles. But if one looks back and fails to cut off their insignificant characters, they would then be trapped by the illusions and consumed by the mist… The reason why I can turn back without being influenced by the mist was because there was no confusions within my heart. At the moment I heard her voice, I’ve firmly resolved to turn back and take a good look at my mother’s face…”
“Mortal Severance…The meaning implied by the two words has been perceived wrongly by everyone!”
Ning Fan turned back and took a step forward, leaving the bridge.
In the Daoist child’s eyes, Ning Fan’s words and actions were like violent storms surging within his mind.
His theory about mortal severance literally surpasses all others of its kind in the beginning of time until now.
Everyone thinks that mortal severance is about severing one’s mortal coil. It’s difficult to realize that the “mortal” in those two words mean the weaker part of within them…
“Congratulations Brother Ning for passing the First Step of Mortal Severance smoothly! Now, I dare to say that if Brother Ning was born in the Four Heavens, I’m afraid among all the young talents in the Heavens, there are not more than 10 of them who have the capabilities to rival Brother Ning! Even if Brother Ning was born in the mortal world, with your unwavering Heart of Dao, ascending the Four Heavens is just something that will certainly happen sooner or later. I will wait for that day when you ascend to the Four Heavens Immortal Worlds. I believe it won’t take too long!”
“Thank you… Now, please take me to the Second Step of Mortal Severance!”
Before the two of them had made a move, a vague ray of purple sword light flew in their directions from a distance. It was swift and pure.
On top of the sword made of lapis lazuli stood a woman clad in a purple gown. Her gaze was fixed on Ning Fan while her eyes flashed with splendor.
“What a good theory about mortal severance… Bei Li has seen countless outstanding cultivators including the offsprings of the nobility. But it’s still my first time meeting a person like you who could turn back and face the Ten Steps Bridge…”
As the cloud of purple smoke got closer to them, the sword was kept, revealing a comely female cultivator.
Her delicate lips were slightly opened as she approached them with lotus steps, bringing with her a whiff of fragrance.
Her gaze was chilly. Just by the look of it, anyone would think that she was a being who remained aloof from the rest of the world.
Between her brows, there were two purple stars which were vaguely similar to Bei Xiaoman’s.
“I’m Bei Li from the Lost World Palace. Greetings to this Mister…”
The purple-robed female did not curtsy to him but cupped her fists towards him instead, displaying a valiant and heroic bearing.
Her Half-Step Void Refinement Realm cultivation level caused tiny strands of power of the Void Realm to coil up with every step she took.
This lady is not far from breaking through to the Void Refinement Realm…
Ning Fan returned her greeting by cupping his fists in return. Internally, he was stunned.
She mentioned that she is a member of the Lost World Palace… and her surname is Bei… Is it possible that she is Bei Xiaoman’s sister?
Bei Xiaoman is the Fourth Mistress of the Lost World Palace…Then, what mistress is this Bei Li?
Without being noticed, he privately kept the Yuan Yao Jade into his storage pouch.
If she is truly Bei Xiaoman’s sister, I will probably get myself into trouble by letting her see the Yuan Yao Jade.
Moreover, if this refined and courteous lady was really Bei Xiaoman’s sister, it would definitely be very surprising to Ning Fan. They were both sisters but why was one of them behaving so unruly while the other was highly cultured and steeped with propriety.
“The Second Step of Mortal Severance is known as ‘Strike the Bell to Question the Dao’. Sounding the Bell of Samsara would cleanse the worldly thoughts within your heart… Ordinary Divine Transformation Realm beings could at most strike the bell 3 times. In the past, when I was at your stage, I made it ring a total of eleven times… I wonder how many times can Mister strike it…”
Bei Li was beaming and in good spirits. She did not look down on Ning Fan at all due to his lowly identity as a cultivator from the mortal world.
From her perspective, the cultivator who came from an insignificant background was more fascinating and interesting…
Secretly, Ning Fan activated his Mind Reading Technique…
This lady truly is Bei Xiaoman’s sister. She is the Third Mistress of the Lost World Palace. She is Bei Li, nicknamed “Purple Azure Sword”!
At least, she is ten times more gentle than Bei Xiaoman!
Translated by Tommy, edited by Roel
“Grasping Evil” is being translated on Veratales (Click here) but Liberspark (Click here) is hosting the chapters as well. You are encouraged to read on veratales.com for project updates. :)
Some phrases or expressions of the original are changed for ease of reading.
If a mistake or mistakes were found in this chapter, feel free to comment below.
Some terms are subject to change when better suggestions are selected.
All the internal monologues will be in italic form.