Zhao Ge Chapter 1-10

Chapter 1

Let’s not go with a novel that has a vice-grip on your heart this time.

This particular author has a tendency to be very precise with her wording and word count (especially in the later chapters where the word count will end with x000, and any more would be in increments of 1000), perhaps one of the biggest offenders I’ve seen. Word count per chapter ranges from 1000 to a gross 9500 words, but I will otherwise be aiming to have a chapter released every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, at 4 PM PST.

Now, onward! With this masochistic tendency of mine to translate novels with high levels of poetic literacy. εεεε(っ*´Д`)っ
Volume One, No One Understands Heaven’s Will.
Chapter One, Of the Eight Immortal Sects, Jiu Xuan at Number One (仙门⼋宗, 九⽞第⼀)
They saw the edge of the blade that was similar to snow, yet also fittingly illuminated like the glows of a fire.

———— First Volume, Opening statement.

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最近,あつ森めちゃはまってるのです 。)#)))≦
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Chapter 2

Due to the nature of names in this novel containing multiple meanings, I will be retaining the pinyin spellings for the most part. Conversions to an English name will only be used when appropriate.

Chapter Two, High Intelligence Will Inevitably Lead to Getting Hurt, as Heaven Wills Those to Die Young. (慧极必伤, 天定早夭)
Cloud and mist shroud over the tops of each and every mountain peak, with high and low iron chains running between each of the peaks. The young boys and girls donned in robes stepped on the iron chains, with the body as light as swallows, and walked within the clouds. Their sleeves lifted up with the current of air, turning over and sweeping about just like flying birds. At the top of the outermost mountain peak, a long spiral of stone steps wound up like a coiled snake, and at the end of those stair steps, was a massive basalt sculpted into a towering gate.

On the surface of a jet-black plaque, three big words were inscribed with swift and forceful handwriting:

Jiu Xuan[1] Sect.

Of the immortal sects under the sky, there were eight of which had a high reputation, with Jiu Xuan at number one.

It was here in the land of twelve dynasties, that the number one immortal-cultivating clan, Jiu Xuan Sect, was located at. In other people’s eyes, Jiu Xuan Sect was a very prestigious, very mysterious place. However, in the eyes of the Jiu Xuan Sect’s disciples…… The sect had a separate visage to it.

“Senior Brother[2] Jiang, do you think Eldest Brother[3] will come out today?”

A very lean, slightly nimble[4] disciple stood on top of the iron chains, looked out into the clouds and mist towards a mountain peak of extraordinary scenery, and asked the person beside him.

“I’ll bet ten spirit stones. Impossible.” The one called “Senior Brother Jiang” was a disciple with a solemn expression. He held in a sword in his arms, leaned against the rocks, and did not even lift his head.

“Come come come, it’s time to once again take a gamble on the daily bet.”   A flock of disciples were laughing merrily, descending down from the shoulder of the stone steps. In the hands of the one that was the leader held an abacus, moving it about with a hua hua sound. “Come ‘ere, come all. Takes your bets, take your bets. Let’s bet on whether Eldest Brother will be coming out today or not.”

Following the cries from the disciple with the abacus, disciples of the same division gathered around from all four directions.

“I’ll wager he would.”     “Senior Brother Lu, what time does this make for wagering that he would? Are you not afraid you would actually become bankrupt?” “I wager he won’t!” “I’ll also wager he won’t!”

……

The disciple with the abacus was surrounded by a group of people, buzzing all about.

The “Eldest Brother” they spoke of was this Jiu Xuan Sect’s eldest apprentice brother, Bai Li Shu[5]. For the disciples all over this Jiu Xuan Sect, this eldest apprentice brother was practically a legend. Senior Bai Li was, a ten few years ago, someone that the sect leader brought back to the sect. Once he was brought back, the sect leader and all the elders immediately declared that Jiu Xuan Sect’s eldest disciple brother would hence be him.

An eldest brother that just appeared out the blue.

As the Eight Immortal Sect’s number one, Jiu Xuan Sect was one with the most geniuses. All the representative eldest disciples from each peak and range contended for tens of years all for the position of the sect’s eldest disciple, yet in the end, could not compare to this person who came down from the heavens.

However, a large part of the disciples of Jiu Xuan Sect had accepted this quite favourably.

Because first of all, Senior Bai Li Shu was very good looking!

It was on the level of the twelve dynasties’ number one type of good- looking. Every year, the officious folks of the Nine Provinces Private Bank[6] would compile the Twelve Volume Beauty Records, specifically to take account of the very few[7] beauties within the country. Each year, to determine who should be the first of the Twelve Volume beauties, an intense war of words (spit) would most definitely be incited, the type where they would spit and pour dog blood over one another[8], and after spitting back and forth, eight, nine of ten times they would just draw out sabres and swing their swords.

But ever since the first time Senior Bai Li appeared in front of every one, this problem disappeared in an instant, and the disciples of the Nine Provinces Private Bank responsible for the Beauty Records’ ranking never again had to receive threats publicly or in secret. Once one saw Senior Bai Li, there would be none in distress as to who the first of the Beauty Records should belong to.

The kind of good looks that Senior Bai Li had, was a type of good- looking that surpassed the gender of men and women. Five years ago, when Senior Bai Li, donned in a robe of white and a look of indifference, brought the disciples of the Jiu Xuan sect into the secret territory, a span of silence stretched all around, and all the people felt was that that was a celestial being from beyond Heaven coming by slowly from a place beyond the Ninth Heaven.

The Immortal [From] Beyond Heaven, Young Lord Bai Li. Was this kind of good-looking.
However, under normal circumstances, the disciples of Jiu Xuan Sect would not admit to this reasoning. They would only speak sternly with the force of justice, it was because Senior Bai Li was incredible.

This was the second reason.

The Senior Bai Li who appeared out of the blue was the publicly recognized number one genius of the immortal sects. The boundary of a Half-God[9] that other people would take a few hundred years to reach, only took him a few years to achieve, so talented that it would make people doubt life. Other than that, he also had good swordsmanship. Five years ago when the immortal sect’s elite disciples gathered at the secret territory, Senior Bai Li alone with a single blade, met head-on with all of Yu Shou[10] Sect’s disciples by himself.

He wore a full suit of white, let out only a single strike, and made all of Yu Shou Sect’s disciples retreat with severe wounds.

A single sword froze over the Fourteen Provinces, from beyond Heaven comes a sword from the Immortal Beyond Heaven.

After the matter, was how Ye Qiu Sheng[11] of the Tai Shang[12] sect described it.

However, despite being an outstanding man of the hour, Senior Bai Li actually appeared very little in front of everybody.

Isolation, isolation, isolation. In Jiu Xuan sect, it was as if only the word “isolation” remained within Senior Bai Li’s daily routine. If the disciples wanted to see the sect leader, it would be comparatively more easier than seeing Eldest Brother—— Sect Leader Yi He Ping[13] would even take a stroll around each peak and range once in a while, and go on an inspection. Senior just altogether disappeared in front of everyone, that not even a outline could be seen.

Once days turned long, Senior Bai Li had practically become a person that only existed in the legends inside the sect.

And within the young disciples, they would wager for a bit whether Senior would come out today or not, hence becoming a kind of a daily activity.

“Slow down, slow down. Hey, let me record down names here.” The Xuan Ce[14] Peak disciple serving as dealer loudly yelled into the crowd.

All of a sudden, the other disciples around him quieted down.

The Xuan Ce disciple ignorantly raised his head, unsure what happened with these guys, was it perhaps that an elder had come by—— ah, but he didn’t ever see them actually terrified of elders before though?

Nevertheless, in the next moment, this disciple too had become speechless.

He was like the brothers beside him, blankly looked towards the direction of Qing Hua Peak, with his expression slightly stupefied.

A youth in white robes walked along the stone steps, and slowly stepped out from the clouds and mist between the mountain peaks. The youth’s outline was a bit emaciated. The wind between the mountain creeks blew his robe’s sleeves, making them dance lightly like cranes wanting to fly. The sky’s light fell onto his body, and his entire being seemed to melt within the light, unrealistic as though an illusion. Seeming to have heard the noises from their side, the youth slightly raised his eyes, and looked towards their side. The light flare that was dyed in the vapour touched upon his features.

The youth’s features were a kind of perfection that would make people completely unable to find a blemish in them, akin to something that all sorts of spirits between the Heavens and Earth gathered together to carve out. But his beauty was, however, not effeminate, and could not be tied to any kind of charm or tenderness. That was a type that was as though a piece of ancient[1] ice of a thousand years on top of a snowy mountain, ever so slightly bringing about a cold and translucently clear disposition to it.

Lofty like an immortal from beyond Heaven.

“Eldest…… Eldest Brother……” Someone first opened their mouth with a stutter, and called out.

As though being abruptly woken with a start, the others all stood straight with a sweeping sound in the next moment, and opened their mouths with a bit of excitement and agitation, “Greetings to Senior!”

The voices were unexpectedly extremely orderly, that it shocked the trumpet[15] birds nearby into flapping their wings one after another up to the skies.

The white-robed youth stopped in their steps, lightly nodded their head towards them, then once again stepped into the clouds and mist, and headed towards the Jiu Xuan sect’s main peak.

After a very long time……

“Ha ha ha ha! I’m rich!”     Senior Brother Lu erupted into a big burst of maniacal[16] laughter.

[1] 九⽞ – the ⽞ character has various meanings- of which can mean the colour, black/dark, being distant/far in time (⽞古), or profound, or abstruse (⽞妙). It can also mean unreliable or mysterious (⽞虚). The word can also be used in ⽞教 or ⽞学, in reference to the teachings of taoism, or
metaphysics. It can be said that since the name of the sect is Nine( 九) ‘Xuan’, all of the above should apply plus many more. It is also important to note that nine is the largest single-digit number, thus, implies the meaning of being the biggest, best, and the one that is the top of all the others. With this interpretation, this sect is the most mysterious of all, the longest standing, most ancient etc etc. Also can be said that since ⽞ is
representative of the sky’s colour, it is also used to in reference to the sky.
Following this line of thought, it would mean that the sect is calling themselves the highest point in the sky/the ninth heaven.
[2] Like in the previous novel, any instances of 师 X(兄,妹,姐, 弟,叔)etc. will be simply translated as brothers and sisters and uncles etc etc (senior would be more fitting if only there weren’t distinctions between
the guys and girls). But the true relationship between the characters is that of one where they share the same master/teacher/sect, or their teachers are apprentice siblings (thereby calling the older generation their uncle/aunt) etc. To conserve keystrokes and words, once a person is established as an older apprentice brother/sister, I will be simply referring to them as senior in the future, but just keep in mind that the original wording does make distinctions that cannot be translated into something as flowing and smooth as the original. Assume that any instances of just brother/sister means the person is younger/has less seniority over the other person.
[3] ⼤师兄 (eldest apprentice brother) here is more in reference to the disciple with the highest standing, not necessarily the eldest in age or the
one with the longest apprenticeship as we will find slightly later. Often the one to inherit the position as the sect leader once the previous one retires.
[4] 跳脱- Aside from being nimble or agile, there are several other definitions of this word with both more old and modern uses of the term. It can refer to the object, a bracelet (because it jumps (跳) and can escape/be
taken off (脱)), or refer to the act of escaping (逃脱). In more modern use case, it is used in reference to speech patterns- such as suddenly stopping in the middle, having one’s words cut off suddenly, suddenly coming back in a conversation with a previous/different topic , or having thoughts jumping around from one to another . [5] 百⾥疏- last name 百⾥ (hundred miles), first name 疏, which of all the meanings it can have, I believe this in particular fits best- distant (in
social relations). Also to note, the ‘miles’ portion is not the imperial mile, but the Chinese mile.
[6] 九州- Nine Provinces, a rather old way of referring to China because it was made of nine provinces at the time. The Nine Provinces can also be called the Twelve Provinces (due to one specific one being too big and thus splitting off into three more) or, as the setting of the novel indicates, Fourteen Provinces. Also, it is important to note this is the name of the cultivation sect. Yes, they’re calling themselves a bank. One of the only sects I will be using a translated name, because this is the only one with
such a straight forward meaning. Fun fact: 九州 is also the name of and the kanji spelling for Kyushu, Japan.
[7] 屈指可数- few enough that it can be counted with one’s fingers.
[8] 狗⾎淋头- expression for, letting loose hurls of abuse.
[9] 化神境- The exact rank name can vary between burning god [down], melting god [down], or shifting/turning [into] god depending on how you
define 化, but it should more be in line with the third one. But since it’s not at the rank of a ‘true immortal/god’, I think Half God is an appropriate name for now, but keep in mind it’s not a real Half God ( 半 神 ) in
translation. A rank called ‘almost god’ or ‘about-to-be god’ or ‘near-god’
and other similar names that would describe the rank more accurately is not very smooth on the tongue. Consulting English guides on cultivation ranks don’t exactly help and baidu ( looks like there was changes while I
translated this) is only slightly more helpful in that I can see where the rank
typically falls but the sheer amount of variation from novel to novel is not helping. However, this is not exactly all that important as the novel does not focus on cultivating/training. You just need to know it’s a high rank.
[10] 御兽宗- can be translated as, controlling/dominating (驾御) beasts, driving/riding the beast, or if one wants to be even more ridiculous- Emperor(‘s)/imperial beast sect since the 御 character can also be used to refer to the Emperor himself (from the subject’s speech).
[11] 叶 秋 ⽣ - the name essentially means born in/grows in autumn/harvest time.
[12] 太上宗- the highest/ the topmost, sect. Or, the most ancient. Can also be considered to be a reference to 太 上 ⽼ 君 , the forefather of Taoism/cultivation (more commonly known today as Laozi/⽼⼦). The term 太上 can also be used to refer to the Emperor himself (people may be more familiar with the term 太上皇, or the father (previous Emp.) of the current Emperor-in-throne).
[13] 易 鹤 平 - the name is a combination between ‘crane’ and ‘peaceful/smooth/fair’. The surname, 易, means ‘easy’. The name bears some resemblance to the term 平易, which means amiable.
[14] ⽞策- the 策 of Xuan Ce means, policy. The particular word is also used to refer to bamboo/wooden slips for writing, and can also be used to refer to documents. Fairly easy to figure out what they are responsible for.
[15] 凌霄- to reach the clouds, or soar to the skies. It is also the name of a flower whose name in English is the Chinese trumpet creeper/vine, and just like its name, tends to grow very tall.
[16] 丧⼼病狂 The term, to be more precise, means to be sick with madness, out of his mind, or even better- perverse.

Chapter 3

Chapter Three, Life Hung on a Single Thread, a Fine Idea. (命悬⼀线, 玲珑⼼思)
From the back, faint sounds of noise and merriment spread over. The white-robed youth raised their head to look at the lofty tall tower that rose from the top of the main peak, with a span of calmness within their eyes.

This was a place that was a comparatively much more bigger, much more bustling and livelier world than he imagined.

This world had dynasties numbering twelve, and immortal sects of eight. Cultivators would go around flying on swords, while mortals would submit and farm. However…… this was not his original world.

Bai Li Shu passed through the clouds and mist, and walked neither fast nor slow.

He too was called “Bai Li Shu” the same, but he was not Senior Bai Li of Jiu Xuan Sect. Before this, he was a part of another world, the capital’s prominent family, Bai Li clan’s family head.

In that world, the people of the capital would call the Bai Li clan’s family head “Young Lord(Sir) Bai Li”.

Among the capital’s distinguished family heads, Bai Li Shu was the youngest, yet was also the one that people feared the most. Young Lord Bai Li was made famous for having calculated out all there was to Heaven’s will. At first when the Bai Li clan declined, just when the other prominent families thought they could take advantage of the timing and take a split of the spoils, this Lord Bai Li that had been found from who-knows-where by someone had used a short three months time, and made all the people that had bore evil intent taught a lesson[1].

With the power of one, they brought back up the clan that was on the brink of defeat. Even within the capital that was overflowing with talented people, it was considered a legend.

Young Lord Bai Li was so clever they could be considered to be close to a demon, but it seemed that because they were aware there were too many enemies, they would appear very little in front of people. Thus, although many people hated him to the point of grinding their teeth, in the end, they did not even know what he looked like.

But in truth, it was not that Young Lord Bai Li did not wish to appear in front of people, but that he had no way of appearing in front of them.

As one so outstanding even the Heavens would envy him, for many years, Lord Bai Li was burdened with serious diseases, a downright, proper invalid[2].

And this year when he turned twenty five, assisted by the sickness demon[3], Young Lord Bai Li’s soul returned to the Western Paradise[4].

Just before he died, Bai Li Shu looked out the window, watched the followers’ young faces in the clan, and felt bad. He did not know what they should do after this.

Soon after, his vision gradually grew more and more dim.

When he opened his eyes once again, he came to this vast land of twelve dynasties, and became the eldest disciple brother of Jiu Xuan Sect. The one thing that made him slightly doubt inside was, not only did this Senior of Jiu Xuan sect have the exact same name as him, but even his appearance was not even an iota different from his. Even this Senior of Jiu Xuan Sect in the same manner was riddled with a serious disease.

In these years, the reason why Senior Bai Li did not appear much in front of the sect’s disciples was not because he was unsociable and arrogant, but was because he needed to continuously train and thereby restrain the dormant poison within his own body.

Although Jiu Xuan Sect’s Senior had quite a high cultivation, for most of the time, it was used to keep down the body’s serious illness. The disease that Senior Bai Li was suffering from was extremely strange. His master, Sect Leader Yi He Ping, previously made inquiries to many famous doctors in private for him, but everyone was at a complete loss about it.

And thus under normal circumstances, Senior Bai Li would not pick a fight with people.

On the one trip to the secret territory five years ago, Senior Bai Li had drawn out his sword to force Yu Shou Sect’s people to withdraw for Jiu Xuan Sect’s disciples. On the surface, he looked to be at ease, but in truth, the countering effects he suffered from were extremely serious. After returning to the sect, he went into isolation for a whole five years.

Only that……

Bai Li Shu lowered his eyes, and looked at his own pale white fingertips.

What made him most curious was this.

He appeared on this side, and became Jiu Xuan Sect’s Bai Li Shu. Then what of the original Bai Li Shu? For what reason was he able to so naturally receive all the other person’s memories like this? That it would even bring about a sort of weak feeling of familiarity.

A kind of strange familiarity. Bai Li Shu left Qing Hua Peak, with intentions to head towards the top of Jiu Xuan Sect’s main peak, to the Jade Harmony Pavilion[5].

[1] The more precise wording would be to eat a suffering/ go through hardship, or as I like to say, eat shit.
[2] 病秧⼦- someone constantly wrought with illness.
[3] 病魔- used to refer to serious illness.

[4] Also called sukhavati.

[5] 璧雍( 阁)- the ‘Jade Harmony’ was a place during Ancient China established as the Emperor’s lecture hall, so to speak, where the Emperor held lessons. Or, if one were to mean 明堂辟雍, it was an establishment for
the highest ranking of the Imperial family to use as a place of worship
(gods, ancestors etc.)

Chapter 4

Chapter Four, Jiu Xuan’s Jade Harmony, Easy to Turn Level for the Cranes. (九⽞璧雍, 易为鹤平)
The Jade Harmony Pavilion.

Situated on top of Jiu Xuan Sect’s main peak, it had water surrounding on all four of its sides. In the east, west, south and north each stood a bridge, respectively named: the River Bridge, the Ten Thousand Mile Bridge, the Chess Star Bridge, and the Narrow Bridge. The Jade Harmony Pavilion wound with water on all four sides was shaped like an octagon, with a total of nine stories, corresponding with the Jiu Xuan Sect’s nine peaks and eight ranges exactly. All of the sect’s rituals and offerings along with discussions of serious matters would be convened at this place.

Normally, ordinary elders and disciples would not come here. Only the sect leader alone would be here all year to handle affairs.

Today was no exception.

“…… Master.”         When he saw Yi He Ping, Bai Li Shu paused for a moment, and spoke in a low voice.

Contrary to being the immortal sects’ number one sect leader, Yi He Ping did not look to be stately. He wore a deep black long robe, and on that long robe, gold and silver threads were embroidered into intricate and peculiar characters, while those characters looked to be like mystical designs, giving people a feeling of mysticism. Yet Yi He Ping himself looked like a ordinary, refined, middle-aged man. His face looked to be lofty and handsome[1], with a gentle atmosphere.

For Bai Li Shu to suddenly come out of isolation and send his greetings, it made Yi He Ping seem a bit surprised.

He took a single look up and down at this taciturn disciple of his, and then let out a slightly mild smile, “I see these few years of isolation has had some benefit to it. The aura looks to be much more stable than before. How do you feel now?”

“…… This disciple is in good health.”          After a slight moment of silence, Bai Li Shu replied in a bit of an unaccustomed manner.

He was able to perceive Yi He Ping’s sincere concern for himself. The other person paid very close attention to this disciple, so if the other person were to know Jiu Xuan’s Bai Li was no longer, he would most certainly be extremely upset. The most important part was…… Bai Li Shu could not tell whether or not it was because he was under the influence of the memories he accepted, that he would appear to unconsciously take the other person as his own master.

Yi He Ping firmly looked at Bai Li Shu for a moment. Bai Li Shu did not even blink an eye.
“Never mind. It has already been so many years, it is not as though I don’t know that personality of yours that only reports the good and not report the bad.” Yi He Ping lightly let out a sigh, “Since there is already a sign of improving, then you should take a trip to the Medicine Valley once again. The master of the Medicine Valley should be able to come up with a way.”

“The Medicine Valley and our Jiu Xuan……” Bai Li Shu slightly knitted his brows.

The Medicine Valley was located in Tu Qi[2] dynasty’s northern region, and was not considered far from Huang Ling[3] dynasty. On the side was Yu Shou Sect that had an inclination towards Huang Ling dynasty for many years, and Yu Shou Sect had also been Jiu Xuan Sect’s sworn enemy for many years. On the surface, the Medicine Valley vaguely was suppose to be opposed with Jiu Xuan Sect.

“The Medicine Valley’s master and I can be considered to be old acquaintances for many years. I will compile a letter to him, and he will know what to do.” Yi He Ping looked to not want to say any more, and patted Bai Li Shu’s shoulder. “The most important thing is, since you’ve come out, you should go outside for a while. Always isolating is not considered all a good thing.”

When he said this, Yi He Ping’s tone sounded calm, yet seemed to sound a bit like a father who was not concerned with what achievements the child had obtained, but only cared whether they were happy or not.

Bai Li Shu lowered his eyes, and did not question any further.

He stood inside the main hall of the Jade Harmony Pavilion, and answered after a short moment, “This disciple understands.”

When Yi He Ping sent out the white-robed young person’s gradually distant figure with his eyes, he slightly shook his head, “This child, he has too much on his mind.”

“Why did you let him go to the Medicine Valley?”    After Bai Li Shu left, a black-robed old man turned out from the folding screen. He coldly looked at Yi He Ping.

Yi He Ping did not look at him, and instead laughed, “What? This was the point you cared about?”
[1] 清隽- can either be one (or some) of several meanings, 1) 清⾼超群, lofty and pure, exceeding everyone else, 2) 清新隽永, fresh and meaningful
(filled with deeper meaning), or 3) 清 秀 俊 美 , delicate and pretty/handsome. Take your pick. [2] 突契- abrupt[ly](突), (契, qi) getting along, or [entering a] contract, or sculpting. Or, if using the 契 (xie), that is based on 楔, wedge. There is also an ancient nationality along northern China by the name of Qi/Khi
Dan/Tan, where the 契 may be based off of as well. The one that would make most sense, would probably be ‘abruptly built/formed’.

[3] 荒灵. 荒 means desolate, barren, waste(land). Or, dissolute, crude, absurd. Or, to neglect, be out of practice. 灵, means to be quick, clever, or effective. Can also be used to refer to spirits, souls, intellect, or in more of a western fantasy setting- fairies, elves, and sprites. Combined, can either
mean crude or neglected spirits, or crude and clever.
Chapter 5
Chapter Five, Inside Jiu Xuan Sect, its Disciple Brothers. (九⽞门内, 师兄师弟)

“I hate [this]!” A Xuan Li[1] Peak disciple wailed after finishing morning sword practice, and sat with his bottom down on the floor, moping and groaning, very much in a manner where one could drop a few manly tears at any given moment now. “I only knew that the skies would have unforeseen storms, but I didn’t think that even the daily gamble could be variable too.”

“First, hate [being] poor, second, hate that the affairs of the world are variable, and third, hate that the banker has no eyes[2].”        On the other side, a similarly gloomy disciple carried his own sabre, and opened his mouth without lifting his eyelids to answer the rest for him.

“Hate [iiiiittttt]——” Finishing that, the few people in the vicinity dragged out the sound together, bitterly weeping it out loud.

On the martial grounds for morning practice, at a distance slightly farther from these disciples, a youth in a slightly different coloured robe than them knitted their brows. In fact, this youth looked not all that bad, but their body would always have a bit of a ruthless air[3] to it, as though displeased with whoever they saw, with a look of wanting to beat up whoever they saw. That person’s name was called He Zhou[4], the son of Xuan Li Peak’s master.

He Zhou was Xuan Li Peak’s representative eldest disciple. These days, he happened to have just finished carrying out the sect’s assignment and came back, and thus was together with the other inner-sect disciples, supervising Xuan Li Peak’s disciples practising the sword during the morning.

This was considered to be a tradition of Jiu Xuan Sect.

In Jiu Xuan Sect, at the time one becomes an inner-sect disciple or even before becoming a core disciple, other than having the elders personally instruct on mental cultivation, other things like blade technique, swordsmanship, were all left to elder apprentice brothers and sisters to teach. And every day in the early morning, official disciples would gather at every peak and range’s own martial grounds, and do morning practice together.

And at this time, the inner-sect’s apprentice brothers and sisters all carried swords on their backs or held sabres, patrolled within the crowd of people, and watched to see whose swordsmanship was not right, and drag them out to give them advice on the side.

However, under normal circumstances, core disciples and representatives for the most of the time, if not in isolation, were outside carrying out assignments for the sect. Only those that had spare time would then take a spin around the martial grounds.

Although the immortal sects’ disciples were immortal cultivators, they were also young people. After morning exercises were finished, it would be normal to loosen up a bit. However, to be like today, where everyone was moping and groaning, pulling long faces, was the first time for He Zhou. He listened to those few people’s conversation, and the doubts in his heart grew more and more deeper.

“You.” He Zhou pointed at the disciple that just prattled on about his suffering.

The disciple that had been chosen trembled with a start, and stood up with a whoosh, “Senior He! Morning practice has already ended, I cannot be considered to be goofing off!” That disciple practically yelled in a big voice on a conditioned reflex, and seemed especially well-practised with one look.

He Zhou: ……

The people in the vicinity immediately howled together. The disciple who was called out by He Zhou was called Li Shu, a well-known slippery trickster. Every day, among those who stepped over the iron chains to sneak off the mountain, he would definitely be one of them. Xuan Li Peak’s elder brothers and sisters giving him a lecture every single day practically became Xuan Li Peak’s daily activity following the “daily gamble”.

“Li Shu, I have not said anything yet.” He Zhou pretty much was biting down with his teeth, squeezing out words through the cracks.

——This was the reason why He Zhou would always go out of the sect, and be willing to carry out missions throughout the entire year.

He Zhou, Xuan Li Peak’s representative disciple.

The sect’s enforcement squad leader, who uses the sect’s rules as their own principle on conduct, both strict and extremely meticulous.

And yet his younger apprentice brothers and sisters all…… were a bunch of block-headed mental idiots. Every time He Zhou saw his own brothers and sisters, the first reaction was to draw his sabre to make these bastards a bit more decent. After so many years, He Zhou acquired a face of being displeased with whoever he saw, wanting to hit whoever he saw.

“……Eh…… Senior brother, go ahead.” Li Shu realized he had made a fool of himself again, embarrassingly coughed once, and earnestly stood properly.

“What is going on with you guys today?” He Zhou’s gaze swept through each of the wailing disciples. The other disciples instantly restrained their own expressions, as to avoid themselves treading onto Li Shu’s footsteps of being singled out and questioned by He Zhou. Li Shu peeked at He Zhou’s expression, and explained everyone’s daily morning wager, and the result that Senior had unexpectedly actually finished isolation today and came out from start to finish.

Li Shu only watched He Zhou’s expression, and did not discover the other disciples madly winking and casting glances at him.

When he finished speaking, the other people already had a face of
despair.

Xuan Li Peak…… Forbids gambling, imbecile……

The rules were set as such, but under normal circumstances, the elders and senior brothers would open an eye and close the other, and act as though it didn’t happen. However! In front of them was a famous, meticulous-in-carrying-out-the-sect-rules, Senior Brother He! Was this not the mouse rushing to find the cat, seeking out death?

But to one’s surprise, He Zhou unexpectedly overlooked this point.

He coldly laughed, “Senior? That bastard finally came out? He still remembers he is the sect’s eldest apprentice brother?”

His tone was filled with vexation and disdain.

Li Shu realized he seemed to have said something that should have not been said, and turned his head to look at other apprentice brothers. The other people all moved their gazes one by one, and pretended as though nothing was wrong, with a look of knowing nothing. Jiang Chen who was carrying his sword behind his back threw him a “I will sing a song of calling back the dead for you. Have a nice trip, I’m not seeing you out” gaze.

Bunch of cowards. When He Zhou opened his mouth, everyone finally recalled something. That year when Bai Li Shu was suddenly brought back to Jiu Xuan Sect and became the eldest apprentice brother, it made He Zhou and other representative disciples’ conflict of tens of years become a joke. Because of this, all the representative disciples looked at Senior Bai Li with extreme dislike……

Only, Senior Bai Li went into isolation throughout the year, making it so their tempers had nowhere to be let off, making it so that whoever mentioned Senior Bai Li would instantly exploded on by these representative disciples.

It had become routine already.

Everyone’s eyes looked to their own nose, noses looked to their mouths, and the mouths looked to the heart, with a span of complete silence.

“Senior brother……” Li Shu squeezed out a smile. He Zhou coldly snorted once.
“Brother He, how is it that your reaction upon hearing about Senior Bai Li so big? How unfortunate, even if Senior Bai Li did not come out of isolation, this position of eldest apprentice brother would not be yours.”

Just at the time Li Shu had thought he was dead for sure, a voice harboured in smiles resounded. When this voice was heard, He Zhou’s expression became even more unsightly. His face sunk, and looked towards the direction where the voice was coming from.

A young person dressed in a light-green robe swayed a folding fan, with a Yin and Yang diagram drawn on the surface of the fan. On his face, a faint smile was seen, with the look of a distinguished and admirable[5] young lord.

“Shen Chang Ge[6], what a rare visitor.” The corners of He Zhou’s mouth twitched. The skin smiled, but the flesh did not[7], “Were you not nestled in your Qian[8] Range? What are you doing coming to my Xuan Li Peak?”

“This is such a foul air. I had nothing to do and so I wanted to go to the Assignment Hall to take on a mission, but who knew the day wasn’t picked right, to think I’d actually run into you.” Shen Chang Ge’s face bore a smile, yet the words he spoke of were completely opposite to the expression, not even one bit polite, “This time when I go back, I must have this foul air cleansed off.”

Between speaking, the clanging sound of a sabre could be heard.

A pallid light flashed, and He Zhou’s long sabre had already unsheathed.

Without a single change to Shen Chang Ge’s expression, the folding fan in his hand closed up. He raised his hand, and the fan collided with the sabre that came right up to his face. One only heard a single crisp sound, and the seemingly frivolous folding fan fended off He Zhou’s long sabre. It was Shen Chang Ge’s nicknamed “Yin Yang Fan”—— Of the most poisonous, one must not overlook the Yin Yang Fan, with its distinguished demeanour concealing its killing looks.
[1] ⽞厉峰- The Li in Xuan Li means strict, rigorous, or severe.
[2] In a similar vein to the expression of the sword having no eyes, there is no partiality- there is no one to blame but yourself.

[3] 戾⽓- not simply just ‘ruthless’ in killing, but the idea in Chinese medicine that the person needs to be relentless in everything. It extends into
cursing out without much provocation, or making the biggest reactions to the smallest of things when it doesn’t go the way you want. Think, violent temper.

[4] 贺州- last name He (congratulat(e)/ory), first name Zhou, the zhou of province, or state. [5] ⻛流- in ancient times it means to be distinguished and admirable. Modern day uses this to describe a passionate and fickle (in love) person.

[6] 沈⻓歌- last name Shen (sharing the same meaning as 沉: to sink, or deep, profound, or is otherwise just more or less without any other
meaning) first name Chang Ge (a song or poem that is particularly abstruse, profound, or a song with contents particularly long that details out one’s heroic deeds), by no means related to the Chang Ge of the same name in the previous novel, nor his master whose last name is also Shen.
[7] ⽪笑⾁不笑- in other words, a forced or unnatural smile.
[8] 乾- meaning, northwest (direction), or, more likely, the Qian, one part of the Eight Diagrams in Taoism cosmology. Symbolizes Heaven.

Chapter 6

Chapter Six, His Identity in the Sect, the Leader’s Disciple. (宗门⾝份,
掌门弟⼦)
A third word had not yet been exchanged, and the two started fighting each other.

However, the Jiu Xuan Sect disciples to the side had long already been accustomed to the unusual. Jiu Xuan Sect had nine peaks and eight ranges. Each peak and range’s representatives all were prideful people, and these representatives, for the most part, all fought with each other since they were young. At what time they would be able to politely talk with each other, would then be the day the Heavens collapsed.

However, it was publicly known to everyone that sword and sabre cultivation was famous for making one poor. Most of the representatives cultivated with sabres and swords too, so when they fought, it would not do without the place being destroyed in one or two places. After the fight ended, the Xuan Ce Peak’s disciples that were in charge of finance for the sect would carry an abacus with them and find the two parties that fought with smiles on their faces.

“It’s over.” When they saw Senior He and Shen Chang Ge about to get into a fight, Xuan Li Peak’s disciples looked at one another, and felt that they could already see the outlines of the band of people from Xuan Ce Peak coming over and knocking on their doors.

Every time He Zhou finished fighting, he would go out and carry out assignments again. Xuan Ce peak’s group would then put it in pretty words, “The representative represents your peak or range. The money that the representative owes, naturally, should be up to you younger brothers and sisters to pay back.”

In other words, it was all a tragedy[1].

Just when Xuan Li Peak’s disciples were each pondering over how many spirit stones they had remaining, the two people who were engaged in fighting suddenly stopped altogether, and each retreated to two sides.

He Zhou turned over his hand. Just a moment ago, a strong wind came out in surprise, and hit his blade, making the edge of the blade go slant. As for the other side, just as Shen Chang Ge was about to open up his folding fan and set off the poison within the framework, a train of strong wind in the same manner closed up his folding fan.

“Senior Bai Li.” Shen Chang Ge put away his folding fan, slightly bowed his body, and greeted with what would be considered suitable courtesy.

He could only see a youth dressed in a suit of white ascending along Xuan Li Peak’s stone steps. As the morning light fell onto his body, the fringes of the robes let out a weak colour of snow. The one who just stopped He Zhou and Shen Chang Ge, was in fact Bai Li Shu who had just come from the main peak. Other disciples hurriedly stood up, and respectfully greeted Senior.

“What kind of great day is this. How is that each and every one, have all come to Xuan Li Peak.” He Zhou put the long sabre back in its sheath, with no intentions of using polite speech.

Bai Li Shu indifferently looked at him once, then moved away his gaze. He slightly nodded towards the other people, and was considered to have sent his greetings.

What He Zhou hated most was this appearance of not caring for anything at all of Bai Li Shu’s . Bai Li Shu’s origins were shrouded in mystery. People only knew that he was the apprentice that the sect leader took in when he went out once, but as for what kind of background he had, no one knew. And at the time Bai Li Shu joined Jiu Xuan Sect, he was no more than ten or so, so when he stood in the great hall of the Northwest Cloud Pavilion, the outline of his body was very thin, and his facial features were not yet mature.

However, the bastard that was clearly much younger compared to him, from that time on, had a look like nothing entered his eyes, where the cold look of superiority made people burn with anger.

But what made people nurse their grievance was, in the time that Bai Li Shu was in Jiu Xuan Sect, for the most part, he was in a state of isolation and training, and did not even give people a chance to complain. In the present day, the young boy that once stood in the big hall with a cold look had grown into a tall and straight youth, yet his face still had not much of an expression to it. The gaze that swept by and the tone of his words would carry that kind of superiority that made people hard to endure.

When Bai Li Shu’s gaze passed by, he already recognized the identities of the two who were just fighting. He did not reply to He Zhou’s thorny words, and instead walked straight ahead.

When the white-robed youth brushed past the shoulder, He Zhou’s hand gripped the top of the blade’s hilt, and used a mocking kind of tone to open his mouth, “As Senior Bai Li is the immortal sects’ number one genius, your talent far exceeds us, so it’s not out of the ordinary to be in isolation for a large part of the year. However, as the sect’s disciple, to a certain degree, one must make a few contributions for the sect. Naturally, the sect’s eldest apprentice brother will set himself as an example. However……”

“As I recall, ever since Senior Bai Li has entered the sect, it seems that not one of the sect’s assignments has ever been done before, correct?”
He Zhou turned his head to look at Bai Li Shu who had took a pause in his steps, and his face carried a slight impropriety.     “But—— Senior’s own cultivation is of utmost priority, the sect cannot compare to isolation. We can naturally understand that.”
That last line was said quite cynically, and the scent of gunpowder that was within it was so dense, those eight hundred miles out could smell it too.

It became very quiet all around. He Zhou looked at Bai Li Shu with a ridiculing smile, while the youth’s thin figure stopped in his steps, and did not continue moving forward.

Shen Chang Ge looked at He Zhou, and also took a look at Bai Li Shu. He lightly let out a cough, and moved one step forward. Just as he was about to say something, another person already opened their mouth.

“I understand.”       Bai Li Shu raised his eyes to look toward Xuan Li Peak’s main peak. His expression was indifferent, as though he was not influenced by He Zhou’s words at all. He slightly turned his head, and took a look at He Zhou. “Xuan Li Peak is in charge of the sect’s enforcement. For one to simultaneously take on assignments, is it in the wrong?”

It was like the youth was very ordinarily inquiring about a question, with an indifferent tone.

When he met with his gaze, He Zhou was slightly stunned.

In the eyes of the youth, it was like there was nothing, like one could vividly see their own reflection, but that sort of feeling was very strange. When one looked at the youth’s pair of eyes, it would give people a kind of feeling that one was walking on top of a boundless lake sealed by a layer of ice. When one lowered their head, they can only see their own reflection mirrored on top of the cold ice, but as for what exactly was beneath the waters, one would never be able to clearly tell.

In the time He Zhou was stunned, Bai Li Shu had already moved away his gaze, and directly headed towards the top of Xuan Li Peak’s main peak where the Assignment Hall was.

After coming to, He Zhou’s face alternated between a red and white
colour. From how the others saw it, it was like he was frightened still by Bai Li Shu just now. When he thought about this, He Zhou turned from shame to anger just a little bit, especially when the corners of his eyes swept by, and noticed the younger apprentice brothers and sisters winked and cast glances at each other, using gestures to talk. He Zhou did not want to imagine what it was those small movements of theirs meant at all.

“What are you guys doing stopping!?”        He Zhou roared at the top of his voice towards the Xuan Li disciples. “Already familiar with swordsmanship are we? Blade techniques are good enough already huh? Each and every one of you, brandish swords and fool around with sabres just like doing embroidery. Is the sect not disgraced when you guys pull them out? All of you, get up and continue practising!”

“Understooooood——” Everyone wailed, dragged out the sound, and very slowly got up.

No one dared to dispute with the angry and embarrassed He Zhou. Each one of them played out an extremely serious face, afraid to be called out by He Zhou who was in a fit of anger for individual practice.

When He Zhou looked at these people, it made him even more angrier. He gripped the handle of his sabre, coldly snorted, then turned and headed in the direction of the Assignment Hall. Shen Chang Ge who was watching the drama from the sidelines opened up his folding fan, and followed along with a big smile.

“I’ll wager one spirit stone, Senior He is completely not like what he looks to be on the surface, that hateful of Eldest Brother.” Li Shu lowered his voice and said to Jiang Chen.

Jiang Chen only seriously practised his sword, and did not pay attention to him.

“Hey, Senior He already left, no need to pretend any more.” Li Shu was unsatisfied.

Jiang Chen did not say anything. It was then that a rock came out of nowhere, and hit Li Shu’s forehead. Just as Li Shu was about to swear who was it that hit him, he heard He Zhou’s voice transmit from far far away,

“Li Shu, tomorrow and the day after, find me for individual practice.”

Li Shu pressed on his forehead, with his face breaking down in the next instant.

Jiang Chen then put away his sword, and unhurriedly looked at him,
“Idiot.”
[1] ⾟酸泪- literally, a bunch of miserable tears.

Chapter 7

Chapter Seven, the Sect’s Assignment, a Combination of Strange Circumstances. (宗门任务, 阴差阳错)
Xuan Li Peak was actually formed by a single main peak combined with several side peaks. The buildings on top of the main peak were constructed by relying on the mountain, formed according to the shape of the mountain and the terrain of the ground. In the middle, there was also a spirit ravine that came out from a cliff, with rope bridges linked together from time to time. As the sect’s enforcement department, the construction on Xuan Li Peak for the most part was concise and fierce, with statues of the one-horned divine beast Zhi[1] crouched on top of the ridges of the roof.

Bai Li Shu walked through all of these on the way.

He paid attention to these buildings that looked to be built subjected to the mountain terrain, but were actually aligned with the sky’s stars in every place, presenting a wave of sensibility in obeying the Heavens. Those rope bridges that on the surface looked to be built to cross over the spirit ravine were actually used to neutralize Jiu Xuan Sect’s enforcement department’s overly violent aura that they brought back.

Or perhaps it also had a connection to the spiritual air’s circulation within Jiu Xuan Sect as well.

Bai Li Shu also heard those voices from the back as well. He subtly smiled. A vibrant, young-spirited, lively and bustling world. He went inside the Assignment Hall.
In the Assignment Hall, there were rows of frame-like sandalwood racks. On the top hung jade tablets the size of the palm, with one jade tablet representing one assignment. On the jade tablets, the assignment’s details and reward were written concisely with small script. From large door going in, as the path went inward, the jade tablet’s colour had different variations to them. The looks and colours of the jade tablets that were more toward the interior would be deeper, and the assignments’ level would be more higher.

Bai Li Shu was originally a quick reader[2], and a person with extremely good memory[3]. After the revival, he used his spiritual insight to sweep through it, and had all the assignments on the jade tablets within the big hall put into his mind. Through the tasks on the jade tablets, Bai Li Shu’s understanding of Jiu Xuan Sect’s influence could finally be considered to have a number as a first step.

The scent left by Bai Li is acquainted by none, [whether he] calculated Heaven’s will to its end is not yet known.

This was the evaluation that the people of the capital had of Bai Li Shu in the previous life.

The alleged difficulty in predicting Heaven’s will for a very few number of people was nonexistent, but there was an absolute prerequisite if one wanted to surmise Heaven’s will, and that was you had to have enough clues. As for Bai Li Shu, he was definitely the type of person that would be able to see the whole picture through small clues. In the past life, there were previously people who said this of Bai Li Shu, “When casting few stones into a lake, others will only see intricate ripples, while only Bai Li is able to tell each and every one apart.”

After He Zhou and Shen Chang Ge came walking in, they saw Bai Li Shu come out from a row of wooden racks. Out of habit, He Zhou himself looked over it once to see whether there were any tasks that were assigned to Xuan Li Peak, that if carried out by other disciples would be dangerous. But as he was about to extend his hand to take one, he recalled that the goal of him coming in here was to see exactly what kind of assignment Bai Li Shu wanted to take. He Zhou put away the jade tablet that he took down, raised his legs, and followed Bai Li Shu.

“Senior Bai Li, why don’t you take on one of our Qian Range’s assignments?” Shen Chang Ge swayed his fan to the side, and proposed.

As Jiu Xuan Sect’s eldest disciple brother, Bai Li Shu was the leader of every peak and range’s disciples, and was not considered to be under any peak or range. For this reason, he would be able to receive any peak or range’s tasks.

“This little brother was also thinking of going out the sect to carry out one or two tasks, so Senior why don’t we, go together?”

He Zhou looked at Shen Chang Ge with cold eyes. Ever since this bastard also went to the secret territory that time five years ago, he acted just like he defected, and then to one’s surprise, eerily never opposed squarely with Bai Li Shu anymore. But when he saw Bai Li Shu’s indifference towards Shen Chang Ge’s hospitality the same as ever, He Zhou actually felt a little bit secretly exhilarated.

At this time, Bai Li Shu’s face that was just like being layered in ice, appeared to be very pleasing.

“Since he is the sect’s eldest apprentice brother, he naturally cannot casually go carrying out these ordinary assignments.” It was at this time that a slightly aged, definitely-not-gentle voice resounded.

Bai Li Shu raised his eyes.

[1] 廌- as described above, it is a beast of ancient legends said to have a single horn. In ancient courts of law, it would be used to discern criminals and would attack the irrational and make them leave.
[2] ⼀⽬⼗⾏- one glance, ten lines.
[3] 过⽬不忘- to never forget after the first glance.

Chapter 8

Chapter Eight, Jin Tang’s Mausoleum of Ten Million, the Mortal Realm’s Peng Lai. (⾦唐京陵, 俗世蓬莱)
When they turned around, at a time unknown and a place not far from them, an elder appeared out of nowhere. A deep-black robe draped over that elder, with no decorative patterns whatsoever on the robe. The elder’s hair and beard was completely white, he bore a grim face, while his expression did not any relation with intimacy. Chilling, stern.

As though a bit of ill-will seeped through too.

When they saw him, Shen Chang Ge and He Zhou restrained the expressions on their faces, and bent over in respect to him, “Greetings, Elder Qin.”

Elder Qin indifferently nodded his head towards them, and then looked towards Bai Li Shu, “Follow me.”

Bai Li Shu retracted the hand that was about to take down a jade tablet. He took a look at these jade tablets engraved with its assignments, and then dropped his hand back down into the sleeves of the robe. From his memories, he found out the identity of the “Elder Qin” that He Zhou and company mentioned. Yi He Ping and him were both pupils of the same master, the disciples of Jiu Xuan Sect’s predecessor.

According to seniority, Bai Li Shu should call him “Uncle”. But within Bai Li Shu’s memories, the relationship between Elder Qin and Yi He Ping was not very good. At the time He Yi Ping first brought back Bai Li Shu, Elder Qin even held a very strong attitude of opposition towards Bai Li Shu taking on the position of the sect’s eldest disciple.

As the train of thought kept moving forward, Bai Li Shu’s face did not look any apparent, and followed Elder Qin’s pace.

He Zhou and Shen Chang Ge looked at each other in the eye, saw the same blankness from the faces of their sworn enemy, then also followed along. As for this action of theirs, Elder Qin did not seem to care at all, and did not say anything about it either.

Elder Qin took Bai Li Shu and crossed through the larger half of the Assignment Hall, and entered the innermost area.

The complexion on He Zhou and Shen Chang Ge already had some slight change to it. This should be the place where the sect’s elders would take on missions.

However, it seemed that Elder Qin and Bai Li Shu who were up in the front did not have any intent on saying anything.

Elder Qin opened up a wooden box, and from within, took out a purple-coloured jade tablet, and tossed it to Bai Li Shu. After Bai Li Shu caught it, he flipped over the jade tablet to take a look, and only saw a few lines of small words written on the back of the tablet,

“《The Three Ancient Emperors’ Drawing[1]》. Left behind in the Mausoleum of Ten Million[2]. Retrieval.” To note: Mausoleum of Ten Million, ill omens present, do not proceed carelessly. The following assignment does not have a time limit, act according to strength.

Bai Li Shu took a look at the words on the jade tablet’s back, then let his own spiritual power seep into it. A line of faint, red light discharged from within the jade tablet, and merged into the palm of his hand. In an instant, an intricate mark of the contract emerged on the back of his hand, and in a short moment, disappeared once again. Once the mark of contract appeared, it would represent that a simple contract was already formed, thus Bai Li Shu had succeeded in taking on this assignment.

Since He Zhou and Shen Chang Ge stood behind Bai Li Shu, they did not see the contents of the jade tablet, but just by looking at the tablet’s colour, their expressions did not seem all that good.

Seeing how Bai Li Shu did not question much and accepted this task, Elder Qin waved his sleeve, and let him leave.

As the youth dressed in white gradually walked farther, Elder Qin only stood in the same place, with a complex expression.

“Why did you let him retrieve the Imperial Drawing?” A person came out from behind the wooden stand on the side. If He Zhou was still here and saw this person, he would definitely be surprised. The figure of this person who came out was tall and big, carried a heavy sword, and gave people a stalwart, firm feeling. This person was Xuan Li Peak’s master, He Zhou’s father, He Qing Chuan[3].

Elder Qin took a look at him, “You’re still avoiding He Zhou?” He Qing Chuan did not say anything.
“It has already been so many years, yet you are still like this.” Elder Qin coldly snorted, “If Senior Sister were still here, she would definitely give you a beating again.”

“Don’t mention her.”       He Qing Chuan angrily shouted.
[1] 三⽞皇图- Again, the ⽞ has many ways of interpretation, but within context, there can only be so many ways to describe emperors. 图 can either refer to a drawing, diagram, chart, map or a graph. However, I completely
forgot what it actually referred to so for now it’s just a drawing. In its short form, ‘皇图’ will be called the imperial drawing. [2] 京陵台- the 京(Jing) is a numerical unit in ancient times for ten million. By no means should it be interpreted as the capital (京城) in this setting. The ‘mausoleum’ can also be separately translated as a ‘hill’, and platform, or stage.

[3] 贺擎川- the Qing (擎) character means to lift up, to prop, or support. Chuan ( 川), can either refer to rivers, glaciers or a plain/level area. When used as a verb, can mean to quickly boil something, however, from how the name suggests, it’s more likely it refers to the nouns.

Chapter 9

Chapter Nine, It Did Not Withdraw Yet, the Ying Yang Folding Fan. (并未退缩, 阴阳折扇)

“Senior Bai Li, what kind of task did Elder Qin delegate to you?” After leaving the Assignment Hall, Shen Chang Ge hurriedly took two steps, and caught up with Bai Li Shu in the front. He hesitated for a
moment, and asked.

On the other side, He Zhou coldly looked at him, and felt extremely disdained inside. With this tone of speaking, those who did not know would even think that this bastard was quite familiar with Bai Li Shu.

He Zhou passed by Shen Chang Ge and Bai Li Shu, moved straight ahead, but then his steps quietly slowed down a bit.

“Go to the Mausoleum of Ten Million, and retrieve 《The Three Ancient Emperors’ Drawing》”
In reality, Shen Chang Ge was quite unsure and did not know if Bai Li Shu would answer him, but the purple jade tablet’s assignment was clearly not something a disciple should take on. Just when Shen Chang Ge thought Bai Li Shu would not respond, the youth turned to the side and indifferently looked at him, then calmly said it.

“The Mausoleum of Ten Million?” Shen Chang Ge’s expression changed in an instant. He Zhou who was in front also abruptly stopped in his steps too.

“On the river of enchanting cranes, with a wave of vapour and haze, the common realm’s Peng Lai[1], Mausoleum of Ten Million.” Bai Li Shu slowly recited this poem. When he raised his eyes, he looked towards the two who bore intense reactions, “Has there been a mishap with the Mausoleum of Ten Million?”

“How could Elder Qin let Senior you carry out this assignment?” Shen Chang Ge wrinkled his eyebrows, and did not give a direct response.

On the contrary, it was He Zhou who put up a foul expression and came back, “I’m afraid only you would still feel that the Mausoleum is some common realm’s Peng Lai. Unfortunately, this Peng Lai has ghosts crossing through it and not immortals.”

When he met with the youth’s calm gaze, He Zhou once again felt a bit angry.

“This assignment is not one you should accept, I’ll go find…… find Peak Master to have the contract removed.” He Zhou paused, appeared a bit aggravated, and irritatingly went off to explain his own behaviour, “An assignment that exceeds the disciple’s range of capability does not conform with the sect’s laws. For Elder Qin to let you take on this assignment, does not correspond with the sect’s rules.”

After saying that, He Zhou turned his head, and ran off in a huff. His back figure looked to be a bit panicked.
Shen Chang Ge waved the fan twice, twitched the corners of his mouth, and expressed a kindness in a rare moment and did not blow off He Zhou’s cover.

“What’s the matter?” Bai Li Shu asked. Shen Chang Ge let out a sigh, and explained. The Mausoleum of Ten Million. It originally was Jin Tang[2] dynasty’s southern region, Guang Han[3] Prefecture’s tall star observatory that the previous dynasty had built. Totalling ninety-nine stories, at the top of each floor, there would be complicated and simple, unique heavenly bodies and constellations formed from inlaid luminous pearls. It was said that when the Mausoleum of Ten Million’s highest story’s last luminous pearl was set, it lead to an abnormality in the skies.

The Mausoleum’s three sides were looped with water, and azure waves extending a hundred miles, with the lake named Xiang Tan[4]. When the construction of the mausoleum was complete, there would often be white fog soaring up from the surface of the lake, thus, the Mausoleum of Ten Million was just like an immortal’s altar floating about within the clouds and mist.

The reputation of the “river of enchanting cranes, with a wave of vapour and haze, the common realm’s Peng Lai, Mausoleum of Ten Million” also came from this.

“But unfortunately…… Later on, there was someone in the Mausoleum who descended into a demon, and slaughtered all the common folk of Guang Han Prefecture. And afterwards, that place became a ghost town.”

After listening to Shen Chang Ge’s words, Bai Li Shu lightly stroked the notches on the top of the jade tablet.

How could one mere person turning into a demon let an entire prefecture turn into a ghost town? The areas of ambiguity in Shen Chang Ge’s words were quite numerous, and it was apparent that there were quite a lot of taboos regarding this matter. Or perhaps……

Or perhaps towards this matter, the things that Shen Chang Ge knew about should be obtained from his teacher. Then, the person who felt a deep taboo towards the subject matter, should also be Shen Chang Ge’s teacher.

This assignment appears to have another secret to it. “Senior Bai Li, He Zhou’s father is Xuan Li Peak’s master. Why don’t you speak with the sect leader, and have Master He erase the contract. This assignment should at least be taken on by an elder.” Shen Chang Ge thought, and said in persuasion.

“Much thanks.” Bai Li Shu softly said, but from how he looked, it appeared that he did not plan to find Yi He Ping.

Shen Chang Ge stood in the same place, and watched the youth’s back figure go into the distance. In the next moment, he once again caught up to him, “Senior Bai Li…… In a couple of days is the day of Jiu Xuan Sect’s open market, does Senior have free time to go take a look together? Perhaps you might encounter some rare toy.”

Shen Chang Ge pretended to be composed while inviting him, but his hand unconsciously gripped tightly within his sleeve. He nervously awaited Bai Li Shu’s response.

Though it was said to be an open market, it was in fact just Jiu Xuan’s disciples gathering together to trade items.

Bai Li Shu gathered his thoughts, recalling that the market was originally a place where information was most accessible, he thus agreed to it.

[1] 蓬莱- A mountain in which immortals would reside in a fable. See this wikiarticle for more information.

[2] ⾦唐- Jin, the character for gold. Tang, on the other hand, can be in reference the famous Tang dynasty, or according to the dictionary, mean
empty/unrealistic, or in vain. Can also mean exaggerated, or boastful ( 荒唐).
[3] ⼴汉郡- in short terms, the prefecture’s name is called ‘numerous men’, or if one were to take the 汉 character as referring to the Han people (which makes up a rather large part of China), by interpolation = Chinese people. [4] 湘潭- not much to explain here as the characters don’t actually bear much definition, other than there is a river in real life of the name Xiang Jiang ( 湘 江 ) located in Hunan province, and any bodies of water
originating from the province are named as a ‘Xiang’ body, as the name is a
shorthand for the province. The ‘Tan’ simply means lake, or deep pool.

Chapter 10

I realize readers may have a hard time recalling past footnotes with relevant info at times (especially with frequent references and puns based on names and especially more so later on), so I’ve decided to create a separate page with all the footnotes thus far. These will be updated after each chapter upload, and can be accessed via the main header under translations Zhao Ge and not created so I can personally keep track of what I’ve explained so far and not have to reconsider doing this at a later time and increase my load

Chapter Ten, the Mortal Realm Has No Attachment, thus Freedom Belongs to the Immortal. (红尘不恋, ⾃在为仙)
Not knowing that Shen Chang Ge blocked off He Zhou half way for a fight after he left, Bai Li Shu did not directly return to his cave-dwelling, and instead went to the library pavilion located to the right of the main peak.

Although it was called a pavilion, in reality, the space it occupied was quite vast, and stretched quite long, where all sorts of ancient books on cultivation, knowledge, including irrelevant[1] books were organized and arranged uniformly. In the center-most area was a multi-storied pavilion slightly similar in construction to the Jade Harmony Pavilion.

Each peak and range of Jiu Xuan Sect actually had their own libraries, but this library pavilion that was located on top of the main peak was the main one. The books preserved here were all the true copies, where not one of them was not excellent. The center-most tall pavilion was the one place where only the sect leader and the peak masters could enter. It was said that in this place, there were even ancient sword tricks personally written by True Immortals sealed within.

Bai Li Shu also used his own special rights as Jiu Xuan Sect’s eldest apprentice brother to be able to enter the tall pavilion’s first three stories.

“Three thousand paths all lead to a whole life’s end, without attachment for the mortal realm, the unrestrained immortal.” Bai Li Shu stood in front of the third story’s bookshelf carved from inky-morning wood[2], slightly knitted his eyebrows and observed the prompt written above.

“Without attachment for the mortal realm…… the unrestrained immortal……” He lightly recited it a few times, and only felt that these few words were not as simple as they appeared on the surface. On top of the deep-black and heavy wooden material, these few words engraved with a sword were written with firm strokes, with a wave of illusory, passing conception flooding within them.

Only……

Within the wave of leisurely air seeping out from the five words, “without attachment for the mortal realm”, there was a faint, slight feeling of obscurity. The tips of the stroke were somewhat light, as though the owner who wrote these few words felt a little bit helpless at the time. And in the last three words, “the unrestrained immortal”, the brush stroke once again turned fierce, as though the person writing these words had come to an acceptance of something.

“They all feel that by having no attachment to the mortal realm, the freedom then becomes the immortal’s. Do you also think it is as such?”
A soft and gentle sound suddenly rang, and a man wearing long robe with a white base and faint-blue water cloud patterns quietly[3] appeared behind Bai Li Shu.

Bai Li Shu’s long eyelashes slightly shook. Although the original host bore a serious illness, the body of peak Half-God cultivation and spiritual insight was genuinely solid. Yet, for this person to be capable of completely avoiding his insight and directly appearing behind him, their cultivation must be unfathomably deep.

—— Generally speaking, should be the elder that guards this library pavilion.

The man’s face was young. Between his eyebrows, a bunched up, pretty and coquettish flame burned slowly and steadily. This made his originally handsome and gentle face bring on a few slivers of a ruthless aura that made people frightened.

Although this person looked to be young, it was not that difficult of a task for people who cultivated immortality to make their facial features not change for a few hundred years.

With the other person’s sudden appearance, Bai Li Shu did not let out too much of a shocked expression. When he heard him inquire about his opinion on the prompt, Bai Li Shu focused on the last few words, and after a long time, then slowly said, “Perhaps it is the reverse[4].”

“The reverse?” A sliver of light swept by the man’s eyes slightly, and the colour of the flame in between the brows abruptly turned deeper. “The mortal realm has no lingerings for the immortal, thus the immortal could only freely leave……Ah, the first time, the first time……”

The mysterious man who suddenly appeared raised his head and let out a long sigh. He looked to be unexpectedly in an unstable state, and the flame between his eyebrows abruptly moved up and around.

Bai Li Shu knitted his eyebrows, and felt that the atmosphere’s temperature around him flared up, with an imposing pressure like tidal waters heavily piling down.

Not good! This was the foreshadowing to getting possessed[5]. Bai Li Shu did not know what exact level of cultivation the other person had, but solely based on the aura the other person was giving off under a trance that was able to make him who had reached the peak of Half- God have difficulties breathing, one could imagine how high and deep the other person’s cultivation was.

He must be stopped.

As for what kind of situation he was in right now, Bai Li Shu could not be more clearer. His body of peak Half-God cultivation was all used to suppress the disease that could relapse at any moment. Don’t mention raising a hand, he couldn’t even do something like escaping.

If this person were to truly enter possession, the first to suffer would definitely be him.

He also did not know what exact identity this person held, to actually let only him guard the three floors of an entire library pavilion. At present, there were still no other elders who came to stop it.

“Senior, senior[6].” Enduring the fright from the other person’s aura, Bai Li Shu opened his mouth with a bit difficulty, used spiritual insight to envelop his own voice, and attempted to call the man awake.

“The mortal realm…… The mortal realm does not linger……”
The other person instead recited and mumbled, stifled in a sorrow tone, with a wave of desolation covering the sky and earth that one could not carry seeping out.

Between Bai Li Shu’s racing thoughts, he no longer hesitated. He took one step out, raised his hand and held the man’s hand then started transferring his own primordial energy(qi) over.

To suppress his own condition, the arts that the original host cultivated in carried the attribute of extreme coldness. And from looking at the flame between this mysterious man’s brows and the aura that seeped out at this time, he should be cultivating arts of the extreme sun(Yang) or something similar. Now at the time while he had still not yet entered possession, by using the extremely cold primordial energy as a restraint, there was a one-in-ten chance he could have him awaken.

Just that once this was done, for Bai Li Shu who was originally burdened with a serious illness, even if he was successful in putting a stop to the man getting possessed, he himself would definitely relapse into the serious illness.

Another possibility was, the man’s cultivation was too deep, and the inner demon was too burdensome. Not only would Bai Li Shu be unable to stop him, on the contrary, he would put up his own life in advance.

It could be said that he was taking a gamble within the risk.

“The heart harbours timidness, nothing more than just a coward.” While restraining the other person’s arm, Bai Li Shu’s gaze turned strict. The expression on Bai Li Shu at this moment was vastly different
from the one Shen Chang Ge and He Zhou saw before.

Lofty, irrefutable, as though everything was within grasp.

That was ——    The Young Lord Bai Li who devised strategies with a body of serious disease, who made an entire family clan flourish with the power of one, who calculated out Heaven’s will to its fullest.

“The heart harbours timidness, nothing more than just a coward.” The ice-cold voice seemed to be sent from the distant edge of the sky, carrying with it the feeling of being looked down upon from a high place.
Wen Ren Jiu[7]‘s chaotic mind was reprimanded by this cold voice, and just barely recovered a bit.

Who?

It had already been a few hundred years. Ever since he had guarded the library, who would dare reprimand him so impolitely like this.

When his mind somewhat reverted back, Wen Ren Jiu could feel a wave of ice-cold primordial energy being sent over continually through his hand that was being held by someone.

This bit of primordial energy was, naturally, comparatively much different(worse) to his own, but due to it being exceedingly pure, for one whose primordial energy was currently in disorder within the body, it was like sending charcoal within the snowy weather[8], like a life-saving water.

Only, Wen Ren Jiu did not pay heed to that crucial primordial energy, but instead tried to compose himself and look toward the person who was speaking.

—— An extremely deep, extremely profound pair of eyes, with the bottom of those eyes like the polar north’s sea that was sealed in ice for ten thousand miles and beyond. And underneath that layer of ice, was a mystery so deep it was unfathomable.

The instant that pair of eyes entered his brain, the mind that was originally still a little bit hazy unexpectedly, miraculously completely woken up. Once he recovered, Wen Ren Jiu understood that this time, he almost had his inner demon break out and got into trouble.

Once his mind came to, with Wen Ren Jiu’s level of cultivation, in the time of a few short breaths, he was able to pacify the chaotic primordial energy within his body.

At the moment he gained consciousness, Bai Li Shu also reached his own limit.

Once he saw how the other person’s gaze had recovered its clarity, the sound of a smothered groan came from Bai Li Shu, a sweetness rose up to the throat, and blood flowed down slowly along the corners of his mouth. He barely raised his hand to try to wipe away the bloodstain by the lips, but instead felt his vision in front go black, and soon afterwards, directly sink into the darkness.

Wen Ren Jiu extended his hand and caught the fallen youth. Just as he caught him, he was slightly stupefied. The weight that fell onto his hand was extremely light. The youth looked to be slender, but when one truly held him, they would then discover this person was thin to the point of shocking. The hand that the youth was gripping him with loosened up, and fell down to the side. The wrist bone was furthermore particularly lonely and helpless, just like a rubbing[9] from the ridge of the green mountains.

“How is it…… possible……”   Wen Ren Jiu muttered, and in return, grasped the youth’s arm, and sent his own primordial energy over.

Once the primordial energy crossed through, and felt that the inside of the youth’s body could practically use “an oil lantern completely dried up” to describe its circumstances, Wen Ren Jiu’s face slightly changed.

With his knowledge, once the primordial energy looped once within Bai Li Shu’s body, he was able to ascertain Bai Li Shu’s true circumstances for the most part. And it was precisely because he ascertained Bai Li Shu’s illness thoroughly, that Wen Ren Jiu would then be this stunned.

Many types of serious illnesses burdened the body, while his life was hanging on a single thread. But even if it was like that, at the time when he was talking with him, he actually could not find any indication that the other person was suffering through pain and torment at any given time.

What terrifying willpower. Only that……
Wen Ren Jiu hung his head down, and the expression on his face fluctuated.

To have one’s own inner demons be known by someone was something all cultivators dreaded the most, no different from a snake turning over its seven inches[10] to a human.

Once his thoughts reached to this point, the ruthless aura on Wen Ren Jiu’s elegant face then became more and more apparent. Once he flipped his hand, he was going to send his palm towards the top of Bai Li Shu’s head and land a strike.

The wind on his palm was swift and fierce, and whisked up the hairs on the youth’s ears. Yet, the youth was in a deep sleep without knowing anything nor feeling anything, with bloodstains on the corners of his mouth a blackish-red colour.

When the distance between the palm containing endless killing intent and the youth’s head did not have much more left, he suddenly paused.

—— The heart harbours timidness, nothing more than just a coward. The youth’s icy voice came down as though from an icy peak, bringing with it a boundless hint of coldness, just like a god looking down, and thereafter scornfully bringing down the final verdict.

Wen Ren Jiu let out a smothered groan, and forcefully dispersed the primordial energy from his palm.

A coward? He was certainly a coward.       —— Due to the fear of his inner demon, he would hence want to take action and erase the person who had saved his life. Was that not a kind of cowardice?

A sliver of self-mockery passed through Wen Ren Jiu’s lips.

Those who show ingratitude for the favours received, are nothing more than just scoundrels.

[1] 杂书- In ancient times, these would refer to books like novels, operas, anything that did not have relation to imperial exams (or in this case, cultivation). Fun fact: 杂志 is used to refer to magazines. Gives you insight
to what the people think is filled in them when the term was made.

[2] 墨⾠⽊- the ‘morning’ portion, ⾠, refers to the one of the earthly branches (hence wood), used in ancient times to denote a certain hour. Naturally, this wood does not exist in real life. [3] 悄⽆声息- quietly, without a sound or breath.
[4] Here, they are debating on how the lines are to be interpreted. Observe: “三千⼤道平⽣尽,红尘不恋⾃在仙。” There are no ‘exact guides’ for how this is to be read, simply phrases linked together, so
interpreting these type of vague lines cost a few more brain cells and time for readers to decipher. And even then, it might not be right. In my initial translation of this line, I interpreted the second half as (对)红尘不恋(的)⾃
在仙, or as the elder words it, 不恋红尘(的),⾃(有)在仙, by having no
lingering attachments for/towards mortal desires/realm, the freedom then
becomes the immortal’s. Bai Li Shu instead interprets it as 红尘(对仙)不恋, where the mortal does not yearn for the immortal(ity).

[5] ⾛⽕⼊魔- ‘getting possessed by the devil’, a common concept in cultivation novels in which the person enters a berserk state by succumbing
to their inner demon, as a result of the incompatibility of their body and spiritual power, or due to the use of uncouth methods to obtain cultivation, where emotional instability will lead to the risk of possession, as seen in this case. Key to avoiding this is to generally avoid agitation altogether, so there are no fluctuations in mood.

[6] Here, is the use case of the actual ‘senior’, 前辈, and not ‘Senior’ that is Bai Li Shu. Used to address people older than you (in general).

[7] 闻⼈九- 闻⼈ is to mean, a well-known figure, where as Jiu(九) is the number nine. Refer to previous chapters regarding the symbolism around nine.
[8] 雪中送炭- expression for sending help in time of distress.
[9] 拓印- in ancient times, there would be inscriptions made, either on stone or wooden blocks, for the purposes of being able to reproduce the characters onto a piece of paper. The ‘rubbing’ refers to the action of the paper moistened and applied (by rubbing it) onto the stone slab, then carefully brushed with ink once the paper is dry so that the characters underneath the paper is reproduced onto the paper itself. An early model of ‘photocopying’, if you will.

[10] There is a saying that when you’re hitting a snake, hit it at the mark seven inches from its head, the area in where its heart is located. Of course, not every snake is the same size, and not every snake’s heart is seven inches from its head, but ‘seven inches’ for a snake still indicates its heart. Its most weakest point.

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