In a remote area of Blue Bamboo Province, a youth could be seen in the forest. It was a girl of around 13 to 14 years old. She had a basket with her and was looking around for herbs and other medicinal plants.
"Ming Yue! It's time to go," She turned around and saw her father, Rou Meng, He was a kind-looking man in his 40s who walked with a basket on his back and a simple walking stick in his hand.
Ming Yue moved towards him and said "Look father! I got so many plants for the village, I want to stay for a bit longer and get more!"
"Silly girl, We've gathered enough, let's go back home. Besides, don't you feel tired at all? I'm barely able to keep myself standing."
"Aww, fine, but we can come back tomorrow right?"
"Haahh, what will I do with you? Alright we will come back tomorrow, ok?"
"Yay! Let's get home!"
They slowly walked through the forest until a small village came into sight. This was Green Orchid Village, a simple home surrounded by nature. Everywhere, all manner of plants and wildlife could be seen, It was a sight to behold! Ming Yue and her father lived here, working as the village doctor.
As the two entered into the village, some boys saw them and their eyes soon shifted to Ming Yue.
"Look! its Rou Ming Yue, she's back from foraging with Mr.Rou."
Of course, they all liked her. She was slim. Her skin was clear and white like the moon. Her face was without flaw but the biggest part of it was her bearing. She was a kind girl who cared for all those around her. There have even been several occasions where she would bring back an injured animal and nurse back to health. Although she would eventually release them back into the forest, they would often come back to play with her. All of these things had made up a beautiful maiden, incomparable to a field of white peonies.
Ming Yue saw them and waved away while the boys waved back. One of them was Chen Xiao, a robust youth who wanted to take her as his bride. He was easily the strongest out of the bunch as well as the best looking. He fantasized along with the others until a fist smacked them all on the head.
"What are you guys looking at? Get back to training!" The voice came from Da Fan, a stern-looking man, who was a former soldier that had retired several years back, now he lives here teaching students and goes by Teacher Fan.
They were unhappy but followed him to a field where they soon began sparring with each other. As they left, Ming Yue had went back home and set the basket full of plants down. She then helped her father organize the plants into separate piles where one was for external injuries like cuts and bruises and the other was for internal injuries such as a disease or poison. Afterwards she went out to where Da Fan and the students were to watch.
When she left, her father had muttered to himself, promising that no one will be able to be her husband as long as he breathed. He would not allow his precious daughter to fall under the hands of anyone. This was the mindset of a father, he would protect his daughter from anything at any cost.
Meanwhile, she arrived to where class was and listened in on the lecture.
"Remember children, cultivation is a long and arduous path. You are all at the first stage of the Human Realm, there are still three more realms: Earth, Sky, and Heaven. Of these realms, the Human Realm has 9 levels each numbered from first to ninth. The Earth realm has 7, Sky has 5 and lastly Heaven, which has 3. While Earth, Sky and Heaven's levels have names, you are still too weak to know yet. However, just because there are less stages does that mean it is easier, In fact, in the entire Province, the amount of cultivators at the earth realm number in the tens compared to the hundreds of thousands living here. Even in the entire Red Lotus Country, the number of people at the Heaven Realm can be counted on one hand."
One of the students raised his hands and asked, "What level are you, Teacher Fan?"
He replied, "Heh, I am at the 4th level of the Human Realm, a couple more steps and I will be at Earth."
Then, Chen Xiao suddenly raised his hand and called out, "I'm already at the second level! I bet I'm going to reach the third level in a couple of months."
The class was surprised and asked him if he really did, to prove it, he went to a tree and punched it once, leaving a imprint of his fist on it. Teacher Fan looked in surprise and congratulated him, saying that to breakthrough at such a young age was quite good. Chen Xiao was proud and looked at Ming Yue, only to find her lost in her own thoughts. He felt a little dismayed but dismissed the thought.
Then, Ming Yue looked at Teacher Fan and asked,"Is there a level beyond Heaven?" She was curious about it and this question soon sparked more looks of curiosity.
"Hmmm, Although it is only a legend, there is a realm beyond Heaven, but no one has ever reached it. I believe that it is called the Immortal Stage, where you can go beyond this world and throughout the stars. If that were possible, who knows what we will find."
Teacher Fan paused, looking at his students while they were all lost in the thought of traveling through the stars and said,"Alright, the day is ending, go home and rest. But I expect you back here tomorrow in the morning!"
Everyone had dispersed and went back. Ming Yue was no different but as she was walking back home, she thought about the Immortal Stage and wondered how incredible it would be to explore the stars. How beautiful it would be to see the sky at its fullest. Just the very idea of it made her feel determined to reach such a level.
She arrived and saw her father collecting all of the dried plants outside of the home. These plants would be stored and ground tomorrow morning into medicinal powder. She walked towards him and helped out while talking about what Teacher Fan said.
"Don't you think about how marvelous it would be to be among the stars?" She said.
He replied,"Heh, what do you think your name means? Rou is our family name and it symbolized kindness. When your mother gave birth to you she wanted to call you Ming Yue, a bright moon, because she believed that you will reach the moon and be among the stars."
At this point, Ming Yue's father stopped working, his face had a slight sadness to it.
"If only we were not attacked by beasts, she would not have died."
"It is not your fault, I know you tried your best to save her," said Ming Yue as she tried to comfort her father.
Then Rou Meng's face went to a smile and said,"Let's go back inside and have dinner shall we?"
"Let's go back inside, Its my turn to cook this time!"
"My daughter's cooking is always delicious, hehe, I'm in luck."
Yet on this very night, hidden within the forest were a group of men, staring at the village. One of them, the leader spoke.
"This village is ripe for the taking, plunder it and raze it to the ground!"
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