"If he's the God of Music, he should have a very high cultivation base, right? I heard that cultivators who can live forever exist in the upper heavens." Yuan said.
"You mean true immortals? These people can be counted with one hand… And while he was recognized as the God of Music, that doesn't automatically make him a powerful cultivator. Perhaps if he was called the God of Cultivation, it would make more sense." Song Ling'er said.
"The God of Music, huh? I wonder what kind of person he was." Yuan mumbled to himself.
"Unfortunately, not much is known about the God of Music besides his name— Tian Kai."
Yuan raised his eyebrows after hearing the surname 'Tian', as it sounded familiar for some reason.
'Their surnames are also 'Tian'...' Yuan thought to himself.
After a moment of silence, Yuan asked Song Ling'er, "Do you mind if I play a song here?"
"Right now?" Song Ling'er raised her eyebrows.
"Yes, I want to pay my respects to both of them the same way the Zither Goddess paid respect to the God of Music."
Yuan then retrieved the Soul Ensnaring Zither before taking a seat right before the two statues.
After taking a deep breath, he began playing Zither Goddess's Ethereal Arts.
A ripple swept the Heavenly Melody Academy every time Yuan played a music note on the Soul Ensnaring Zither.
Song Ling'er's eyes widened with shock as she watched his performance, as compared to the time he played during the zither competition, he has improved by leaps and bounds.
The song didn't last long, only a little over a minute, but it was more than long enough to mesmerize those who heard it, and they would all look as though their soul was absorbed out of their body, resembling Yuan when he first witnessed the Zither Goddess' performance.
Yuan stood up and returned the zither back inside his storage ring after the song ended.
"Have you been practicing recently?" Song Ling'er asked him when she eventually snapped out of her daze.
"Hm? Not really," he said.
Although he did play for a few days with Azure, it couldn't really be counted as practice.
"I really cannot fathom why someone like you would focus on other things when you're already extremely talented with the zither." Song Ling'er shook her head in a regretful manner, as she truly believed that it was a loss for the world of music that Yuan chose a different path.
"Anyways, if you are done here, let's go to my place, where we can sit down and talk more."
"Yes, I am done here."
Thus, Yuan began following Song Ling'er to the Sect Master's headquarters.
"I have been wondering for a while now… With so many people playing different instruments out in the open, won't they just disturb each other?" Yuan asked as they walked.
"Yes, that's the point." Song Ling'er nodded.
"They are trying to disturb others while focusing on their own music, as this cultivates their mind and concentration."...
"I see… That makes sense."
"Of course, if a disciple wants to play privately, there are plenty of places they can go for that."
While Yuan and Song Ling'er approached the Sect Master's headquarters, the disciples that heard Yuan's performance began spreading rumors.
"Hey, did you hear that performance just now? Who was playing?"
"If you ask me, I think only the Sect Master can play the zither with such perfection."
"No, I have been to many of the Sect Master's performances, and I can say with certainty that it's not her. I dare say whoever played the zither just now is even better than the Sect Master!"
"Even better than the Sect Master? How is that possible? The Sect Master is the number one zither expert in the Lower Heavens!"
"I don't care who this person is— I just want to listen more to their performance!"
After arriving at the Sect Master's headquarters, Song Ling'er brought Yuan to her room, where they sat down with tea in their hands.
"You'll be challenging the Stairway to Heaven soon, right? What are you going to do once you ascend to the next realm?" Song Ling'er asked him once they were relaxed.
"I am going to continue climbing until I have answers to my questions," he said.
"Questions? What kind of questions?"
Yuan looked at her in silence for a moment before speaking, "Do you know of a place called Earth?"
"Earth? No," she immediately responded.
"What kind of place is this Earth?"
"It's my hometown," he said.
"What if I told you that I came from another world?" Yuan suddenly asked her.
"Another world? You mean you came from the upper heavens? I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case," she said.
"No… Not the upper heavens. I mean like a completely different world… Another planet."
Song Ling'er looked at him with a puzzled expression, seemingly unable to comprehend his words.
"Nevermind… Let me change the question. Can you tell me a little more about the Stairway to Heaven? I know there are challenges that await within the Stairway to Heaven, but what kind of challenges?"
"The challenge is different for each person challenging the Stairway to Heaven, so I cannot tell you what you might experience. However, I can tell you my experience with the Stairway to Heaven."
"Eh? You've challenged the Stairway to Heaven before?"
"Yes, I have… And before you think I failed the challenges, I will have you know that I'd intentionally failed the last challenge because I didn't want to ascend."
"You don't want to ascend? But I thought it was every cultivators' desire to climb higher."
"For most cultivators, yes, that is the case, but I am content with my current standing. I am the Sect Master of the Heavenly Melody Academy. If I leave the Lower Heavens, I will have to start climbing from the bottom again. Furthermore, I don't have anybody who can replace my position as Sect Master. If I leave now, the Heavenly Melody Academy will suffer." Song Ling'er explained.