Despite her attempts to lift it, the jade ink container did not budge. She let go and thought to herself.
"Something is strange about this. If I cannot lift it then maybe there is something else I should do."
She fiddled with it, pushing it in different directions, twisting it both ways. Then, she began to exert even more strength on the jade ink container but nothing she had done worked. However, all of this proved that this was no ordinary object.
If she could not move it, then there must be something she had to do with that container.
Ming Yue decided to look closer at what had grabbed her attention in the first place. On the rim of the jade, she saw something inscribed, some words that she could not make out. It wasn't until she was an inch from it that she was able to read the words.
"The ink is my mind, the brush is my sword, and paper my body."
She repeated those words in her mind before moving towards the cabinet. Taking out a bottle of ink, a simple brush and a piece of paper, she placed it all on the desk.
With that bottle of ink, she poured some of it into the jade container. With the brush and paper at hand, she dipped into the ink and was about to place it onto the paper but she paused.
What would she do now?
"Is this right?" she thought, "Was there something she missed?"
She had all of the items: the pen, ink, and paper. So, what was left?
They had to be used, but what should be written?
With the first paper, she casually wrote characters but nothing seemed to happen.
"Should it be something connect with the garden?" Ming Yue thought.
She brought out another piece of paper and began to ponder on what had to be written. At the same time, she began to doubt herself. Could she have interpreted this incorrectly? Was here something she had overlooked?
She went through all that she had seen in the garden: the puppets, the words on their backs, the voids in their chests. Then something crossed her mind and she grabbed the brush, dipping it in ink. With some simple but confident brushstrokes, she wrote a few words on the paper and watched the ink glow with power.
The fireplace suddenly burst aflame and the paper flew into the raging fires, turning to ash. Suddenly, the fireplace rumbled before moving backwards and revealing a hidden passageway!
"Yes!" Ming Yue rejoiced and looked at the floating ashes of the paper
That was what she had written on that paper. When the mind and body is ready, one needed innovation! Ideas, changes, revolutions! Such a thing applied to warriors, scholars, everyone! Changing one's techniques, combining and separating strategies, it needed innovation, inspiration, that stroke of brilliance that allowed one to evolve!
She was an example of this, creating and studying cultivation and medicine, finding ways to improve her skills.
Ming Yue stood up and walked towards the fireplace, still blazing away. At the entrance, she felt a cold rush of air come forth and she entered.
As she descended down, the passageway lit up through torches and showed what seemed like an endless set of stairs spiraling down. The further she descended the colder the air became and she felt energy coming from the deeper regions of the spiral staircase. Reaching the bottom took several minutes but at the end of the it, she found herself in pathway that splintered off into many others. Each one seemed to have multiple rooms.
Everything was well made, built upon stone bricks and steel frames. It was all lit up with torches that seemed to burn on command. Strangely enough, it was clean, devoid of dust or cobwebs. There were no signs of age, not even rust on the steel. Despite all of this, the air was cold and musty. Even though it looked clean, it smelled as if it hasn't been entered in ages.
She entered the nearest path by her and found signs at the front of each room.
"Ironroot Grass Flower, Third Eye Vineleaf... Were these, the creations that this person considered failures?" she thought.
If these herbs were not failures, then why would they be caged away here?
She wasn't sure. Furthermore, she did not know the names of these herbs though she found parts of them similar to other herbs. It was possible that these were created through what the researcher called, "crossbreeding". Even then, she found little to no information to these locked away herbs. There was maybe a note or two, a little scribble but that was too little to go on.
That was the only thing she found at every room she entered. A strange creation and the word "wrong" written beneath it. At first, Ming Yue didn't know why this researcher would consider these things as failures but as she ventured further in, she found her reason.
Every one of the rooms had names like this, amalgamations of words from all sorts of herbs. The first few pathways had only two plants mixed in but the further she went the crazier the names got. At some point, she lost count of how many pathways there were and by that point she could only guess that this room contained a creation that had six herbs in one or that room which might have had eight. She had only the name and the word "wrong" to go on.
Ming Yue dared not to enter some these rooms for the energy of these plants were incredibly chaotic. Just being near them made her somewhat nauseous and her own internal energy had become restless. If she were touch it or even enter its aura, she could risk losing control of her energy and exploding.
With them being in a state like this, she could see why they were locked up. These things were practically unusable, who knows what sort of effect they could bring to the user. Death is almost certain but if someone did succeed in absorbing one of these herbs, what would happen to them?
Would they become some monstrous being? An ungodly abomination? Or a god?
Ming Yue knew that releasing them into the world could lead to some devastating outcomes and so she continued onward.
Somewhere along the way, the chaotic energy within these halls thickened and Ming Yue found it difficult to walk down this path. It had come to a point where she had to coat herself with Quintessence Energy to continue on. Even with that extra protection, she could feel the ferocious pressure that these things brought on.
It pummeled her violently but she pushed forward. Soon enough, Ming Yue saw a magnificent emerald light coming from the end. Then the sound of a heartbeat echoed her ears, beating in her own heart.
"Is this it? The source of the puppet's power, possibly the source that powers this place?"
Thoughts raced through her mind as she walked forward with renewed power, excitement filled her as she reached the entrance. The green light grew brighter and the beating of the heart was even stronger.
Ming Yue could not begin to imagine what was inside that last room.
She crept inside and looked in both awe and shock.
The room was much larger than any of the previous ones, It was a heart, a beating heart that took root to the floor and from it, a great tree sprouted. It seemed to have transcended anything that she had ever seen before, an object that defied any sense.
She walked back and looked for a name for this creation. There her eyes locked onto a tattered sign where even the ink seemed to fade away.
"The Evergreen Heart"
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