June in Qiyang City was hotter than in previous years. There had been no rain for many days, and the breeze carried the heat.
At that moment, a student rushed out of the No. 3 teaching building of Quedong College, located in the suburbs of Qiyang City. He was wearing a black and red color-blocked sweatshirt and jeans. He had handsome features and a fair complexion. The dark circles under his eyes made him look like he had dull eyes. But his smile could make people feel good easily.
As soon as he ran to the flower bed in front of the building, someone leaned out of the window on the second floor and shouted to the student: “Xie Lingya, why did you slip away? You have to treat everyone to dinner next time!”
The student known as Xie Lingya turned around and said: “There’s something going on at home, Teacher Fang. I’ll treat you all to spicy hotpot next time!”
Teacher Fang saw Xie Lingya running away and turned around with a smile.
Today was the day for the graduation thesis defense of students majoring in financial management at Quedong College. Xie Lingya was the first to leave in the entire major. It seemed that he had something to do at home and had already greeted the teacher.
Although Teacher Fang wasn’t the mentor for Xie Lingya’s thesis, he did teach him. He just saw Xie Lingya’s mentor coming from the next classroom. At this time, he asked casually with a little interest: “It seems that I haven’t heard where Xie Lingya is going to intern. How was the writing of his thesis?”
Their habit was to combine internship and graduation thesis, allowing students to choose content related to the internship unit as a topic during the internship. Although not mandatory, most students would do so.
Xie Lingya’s instructor had a strange expression when he heard this. He brought out the internship report, pushed it in front of Teacher Fang, and said, “The paper is well written. The internship unit…”
Teacher Fang curiously stretched his head to look at the top cover. Seeing the official seal of the unit, his thoughts suddenly became messy: “Baoyang Temple, Qiyang City, Queshan Province, China? What the hell, is it okay to go to a Taoist temple for internship??”
After a quick look, the topic of the thesis was indeed related to Baoyang Temple, unique among the various topics chosen by many students.
The instructor scratched his head and said: “I thought so at first. I also thought about whether the Taoist temple has an official seal, but it is indeed serious. It has everything you need and can even provide positions. The department next door has a student internship unit right which even allows them to intern in the supermarket at the gate, why can’t a Taoist temple work? And I asked, it seems that his uncle belongs to the Taoist temple.”
Teacher Fang couldn’t laugh or cry, “This Xie Lingya… must not want to work, so he just found a relative’s place to stay, he failed in the postgraduate entrance examination, is he ready to fight again?”
“I think so.” There were students waiting next to them, so the two of them ended the conversation without talking much.
Xie Lingya reached Qiyang Central Hospital and carefully opened the door of the ward, and what he saw was a little old man with gray hair and a haggard appearance, lying on the hospital bed. He took a breath of air and rushed to the bed in a few steps, “Uncle?”
This little old man was Xie Lingya’s uncle Wang Yuji. He became a Taoist priest at the age of fourteen and was now the leader and only member of Baoyang Temple. He had led it by himself for more than ten years.
A few months ago, Xie Lingya asked Wang Yuji for help to get an internship stamp. Unexpectedly, when they met again, Wang Yuji seemed to be decades older. Xie Lingya was shocked, “What’s wrong with you?”
When Wang Yuji saw Xie Lingya arrive, he showed a little bit of relief and struggled to bend down to touch something. Xie Lingya hurriedly helped him get it and found a wooden box under the bed. It looked familiar when he picked it up. If he remembered correctly, what was inside should be a wooden sword that Wang Yuji rarely let leave his body. It was an antique-level magic weapon passed down in their Taoist temple, the Three Treasure Swords.
“Xiao Ya, uncle’s time is coming.” The first words Wang Yuji spoke frightened Xie Lingya even more. He had no strength to speak and pressed Xie Lingya’s hand to signal him to listen to him.
“You hold the Three Treasure Swords. I had made a will a long time ago. When I go, Baoyang Temple will be transferred to your name. You are successful in your studies now. There is nothing to worry about. I only care about one thing. If you have time to accept a disciple and let him inherit the Taoist tradition, you can help me see if you can find a disciple in your free time in the future… but it may be difficult.” Wang Yuji laughed to himself, “In the first half of my life, I was arrogant, but in the second half of my life, I have to leave early. I have let down my master, and I don’t even have an apprentice. I hope I would still be able to die in peace.”
Xie Lingya’s mother passed away early. When he was a child, his father was busy, so he often followed his uncle to make a living. They had a very good relationship. Seeing his uncle’s appearance, tears fell down from his eyes: “Uncle, don’t scare me. Why are you leaving? It’s so miserable. If you need an apprentice, accept me. I’ll kowtow to you now. Don’t you think I’m destined to be a god?”
Wang Yuji felt funny again, but then he started feeling sad again, so he smiled and cursed: “You ba***rd, you still want to be a god. I’m afraid your bones have grown wrong. Even if I accepted you as my apprentice, it will not be able do anything for me. And your mother will probably come down to strangle me alive.”
Xie Lingya had known since elementary school that his uncle’s profession was different from the science taught by the teacher, and it belonged to the part that “Approaching Science” could not explain forcibly. But when his uncle, who had always known things well, mentioned the date of his death, he was frightened.
Xie Lingya forced a smile and asked: “Uncle, how are the results of the doctor’s examination? Let me call my dad over. Let’s transfer to another hospital. My dad seems to know the doctor from the first hospital.”
Wang Yuji shook his head, “I have exhausted all means. Let us seize the time and let me say a few more words.”
Xie Lingya said in disbelief: “But how could it suddenly happen… Last time I saw you, you were fine.”
“I had to go and deal with some things, but sometimes Taoism is not enough, that’s all.” Wang Yuji said softly, suddenly gaining some energy and still having the strength to pat Xie Lingya’s shoulder, “Keep the sword well, if an unknown apprentice is lucky enough to join you in the future, and is ready to be my disciple, you can pass it on to him. Those notebooks are all in the same place, you know.”
“Xiao Ya, do you still remember that when you were a freshman in high school, you jumped off the wall with your classmates in the middle of the night, and stole my Three Treasure Sword to exorcise evil spirits from his house. At that time, I actually regretted saying no to your parents to accept you as my disciple. I saw then that the Star Bone is really as talented as the legend. I have not taught you at all, not at all. But you could still use the Three Treasure Swords just by taking a few peeks.”
“But I don’t know why, then you suddenly changed your attitude, started to study hard, your grades improved suddenly, and you were admitted to college. Seeing that it was not bad, I remembered that your mother had said before that children should read more books, so I gave up the intention.”
“When I was a child, it also started from peeking at my master’s work, but we were not as good as you at that time…”
Wang Yuji became more energetic when talking about old things, and his face even showed a bit of ruddy color, which actually made Xie Lingya’s complexion turn whiter.
Flashbacks appeared in Xie Lingya’s mind. He stretched out his hand and rang the nurse’s bell. He stood up and said, “Uncle, I’m going to call the doctor. Don’t worry, I will go to work in your Taoist temple later. We will accept dozens of his apprentices and expand the temple if they can’t all be accommodated.”
Wang Yuji dragged Xie Lingya’s hand tightly. The burst of strength at this moment made it impossible for him to escape, “Xiao Ya, tell him that what the Three Treasure Sect cultivates is not the sword, but the heart.”
This “him”, it could only refer to Wang Yuji’s apprentice who he still didn’t know where he was.
Xie Lingya burst into tears and responded: “I will!”
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