Zhao Ge Chapter 101-110

Chapter 101

Happy Lunar New Year!! It’s the year of the Ox(niu), so here’s hoping that everyone is able to turn(niu) things in their favour!

Chapter One Hundred and One, Senior Brothers and Sisters, Second-to- none in the World. (师兄师姐, 天下⽆双)
“Fuck you, last-named Zhou!” Liao Qian dug at the black rocks, and spouted out more profanities.

The rugged strange rocks were a pure-black colour, so black it seemed like it could engulf everything. Liao Qian dug and dug, then dejectedly sat on the ground. He absentmindedly looked to the ground, and could not understand how there could be such a stubborn person in this world.

Do you understand what is called “a noble man takes revenge, even if it takes ten years”!

Do you understand!!

There was just an accident with the Qing Ming tower, your seniors just all died, do you not think about how to take revenge? If you yourself die too, then what kind of man were you! You’re a fucking coward!

“Coward!” Liao Qian cursed out loud, but after cursing and cursing, he lifted up his hand and genuinely slapped himself. He staggered trying to climb up, when the ground started shaking all of a sudden, and strong winds blowing through the forest of crude beast skeletons suddenly turned shrill, hurried, and fierce. Wind swept over from the ground, and carried the fragmented bones and rocks high up towards the sky.

The stone layer beneath the feet transmitted an uneasy vibration from a very deep place.

Liao Qian raised his head up, and saw the fierce winds. Those crude beast skeletons that laid across like mountains suddenly broke apart and shattered bone by bone. The ghastly-white bones seemed like they lost their majesty in an instant, without their original lustre, and lifelessly broke apart one after another in the violent winds.

Falling down like heavy snow, and covering over the skies and the
earth.

Liao Qian stood up, and stumbled while retreating a step, then
watched all the changes in front of him in astonishment.

The blade-like fierce winds scraped by, and blood flowed down from his forehead, then fell into his eyes. His vision was instantly covered in a layer of blood colour.

The dead sun by the sky seemed like it genuinely bled out. Over the vast and large earth, the crude beast skeletons that slept here for several tens of thousands of years broke apart one after another- those skulls as big as city gates, those ice mountain ridge-like spines, those scimitar-like wing bones facing towards the skies and sun…… all broke apart, and turned into fragments that covered over the entire world, and fell down onto the sunken-black vast lands like white snow.

Just like time that had quietly stopped for several thousands of years suddenly restarting itself, these skeletons were once again admitted into the gears of time, and the milling and decay of several tens of thousands of years instantly erupted out.
tears. The world was boundless and indistinct, like the era was crying

Liao Qian opened his mouth, wanting to let out a sound.

But just as he opened his mouth, a bunch of shattered bones swept by the fierce winds poured into his mouth. He lowered his head, and spat out these lustreless and soft bone scraps.

But once he lowered his head, he instead found out that the ground also changed.

The vibrations from the stone layer turned more and more intense, and by the end, it already transmitted with echoes like rumbling muffled thunder. The ragged deep-black rocks on the ground started to crack open, and the rocks underneath were shaken out to the top—— as well as the things buried underneath it.

The black rocks shook apart, and the things below once again appeared on the surface.

Liao Qian only felt goosebumps rising up from head to toe.

Beneath the black rocks, were layers upon layers of skeletons, pressed down layer by layer, with each and every single one a pale-white colour. Within the overlapping, countless people’s skulls revealed black, barren and empty eye sockets, vacantly facing towards the dusky red sky. Underneath the entire circular clearing, buried several thousands of human bones.

Turns out, those residents who disappeared within Bing Province City, were buried here.

Bing Province’s, one hundred seventy thousand residents.

Standing above the layers of human bone, Liao Qian only felt like his entire body go ice-cold. That kind of cold feeling was like ice flakes seeping into one’s blood vessels.

Recalling back to the Tower of Qiu Huang and those red-coloured formation lines that traversed throughout the entire space, Liao Qian seemed to have understood something. The Qiu Huang tower grew intelligence, and the one hundred seventy thousand people of Bing Province, became the offering to wake it up.

But exactly why, why did it need one hundred seventy thousand people’s lives?

Liao Qian only felt like his brain was in a complete mess. His face turned pale-white, and he walked staggeringly over the continuously shaken out white bone pile. In front of his eyes, one moment was the scenery of the ghost realm spreading over Bing Province, and in the next, was beneath the Qiu Huang tower, how the pale-faced Zhou Wen An let out an eased smile towards him.

From time to time, he stepped onto the round skulls—— he already had no way of caring if this was virtuous or kind.

Layers upon layers, were all people’s bones. Ribs pressed onto leg bones, spines buried underneath shins, and bones covered over top of other bones- no matter if they were good or bad when they were alive, at this time, everyone intimately crowded with each other, and corpses crossed over one another, unable to discern one from the next. Liao Qian’s head went numb as he walked, wanting to climb out of this place stacked with human bones.

Liao Qian thought he was walking within the pile of bones, but in reality, he was climbing, and rolling.

As he climbed and climbed, he suddenly got a glimpse- on top of a few overlapping skeletons, was something that wasn’t the same.

Thus, he half-rolled, half-climbed from the pile of bones, and reached out to take down the thing from the skeleton. That was a night iron-cast waist plate. On the front side, engraved “Jiu Xuan Sect” these three big words, while the back was engraved with “Qian Range, Chen Yan” in small characters—— this was a Jiu Xuan Sect disciple’s waist plate.

Liao Qian grabbed this waist plate, and the expression on his face seemed like it was crying and smiling.

“Last-named Zhou——” He tore at his throat, and hysterically called out.      “Your senior brothers and sisters, they are over here!! They are over here!!”

He tore at his throat, and wailed loudly towards the bottom.

The strong winds scraped over the vast lands like a tyrant, and swept up many bones, bringing it towards the skies. Liao Qian’s features twisted, as though crying yet smiling at the same time. He gathered up those skeletons that wore a waist plate, and dug within the pile of skeletons like he was crazy.

The wind carried his hysterical cries, and blew it far, far away.

Over the vast and boundless earth, the fragmented skeletons were as voluminous as heavy snow. The deep-black lands shook, and the rugged strange rocks clashed with each other. Within the changing world, a person’s voice was stretched out very long:

—— Your senior brothers—— sisters—— they are over here——
—— are—— over—— here——

◈◈◈
“They call you Senior.”    Jun Wan Bai lifted her head up, and lightly said this.

She recalled within Qing Ming tower, the young man who had everyone pushed behind the wall of ice, while that person turned around himself to face the sweeping spacial vortex. She recalled atop the Black- plumed Light Vessel, standing within the wind, the figure that pulled open the Golden Crow longbow……

That was worth calling “Senior”! Senior brother, senior sister.
Normally, fights within the same sect were simply just that. No matter how much someone felt other people were an eyesore, no matter how much the mouth cursed around, it was all fine. However, since they were called “Senior Brother” or called “Senior Sister” by others with so much faith, then they must fulfill the responsibilities as the senior brother or sister. The young brothers and sisters put their trust in you, and so in front of harm, you should be the one standing out. Even if you were also afraid yourself, you should also draw your swords out and cut it down.

Only this can be a senior sister! A senior brother!

And as a core disciple, one should even more so be the first person to face the dangers at the front.

A special identity carried honour, and moreover, carried responsibility.

As Jiu Xuan Sect’s eldest disciple brother, this was what Bai Li Shu did, and that was why the core disciples would be willing to listen to his commands in front of the fog raptor. As a core disciple, no matter if it was her, He Zhou, or Li Xin, all would definitely be people who stood in front of the ordinary disciples.

It was always like this.

Senior brother, senior sister. Four plain and simple words.
What it conferred, was trust, was sincerity. “They call you Senior……”
Jun Wan Bai painfully closed her eyes. Her eyes emerged with the Jiu Xuan Sect disciples who were attacked through their weaknesses and died, while their corpses’ expression all carried an astonished look like they didn’t dare to believe it.

No matter how Jun Wan Bai felt Shen Chang Ge was an eyesore, she never felt that Shen Chang Ge was unsuited to be Qian Range’s representative disciple.

Up until today.

The smile on Shen Chang Ge’s face disappeared. He expressionlessly stood across from Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin, while his hand held a black and white blade. Blood slowly flowed down from the body of the blade and dropped down, and emitted a clear “drip drop” once it fell to the ground, particularly glaring.

It was like he retracted all his thoughts, all his emotions, and turned into something that could not be seen through.

At this time and moment, everyone standing at the Tower of Qiu Huang’s bottom-most floor all carried injuries. Just before, everyone used force to exchange blows once already. Shen Chang Ge certainly had a concealed strength, however, it was not so strong that it was enough to go up against Jun Wan Bai, Li Xin, Qiu Qian He, the swordsman, and Clear- hearted Monk working together.

But what let his strength instantly soar, was the Qiu Huang tower.

Countless blood vessel-like formation lines gathered at this lowest floor, and endlessly poured powerful strength into the blade within Shen Chang Ge’s hands. By relying on this outside power, Shen Chang Ge could then use the power of one, and block off the combined attack of the five people.

However, it was also precisely because the power came from the outside, that Shen Chang Ge was unable to completely control it, and thus, was also unable to completely win against Jun Wan Bai and others. The water cloud-patterned robe of Shen Chang Ge’s was torn, his body also was injured, and did not possess that graceful and amorous appearance he had normally.

He reached out and took off the plate from his waist, then paused, and the knuckles of the hand holding the waist plate slightly turned white.

Shen Chang Ge lowered his eyes, turned over the waist plate, and saw the back engraved with the few words “Qian Range, Representative Disciple, Shen Chang Ge”. It was unknown what he was thinking, but when he saw these three words “Shen Chang Ge”, his face passed through a sliver of faint mockery. He raised his hand, then flicked his wrist, and tossed the waist plate towards Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin.

“There was never a person called Shen Chang Ge.”         The voice of the young man dressed in water cloud patterns was a bit hoarse, and bore a slight hard-to-detect dryness in it.

Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin understood the meaning outside his words:
—— This name, Shen Chang Ge, from the very beginning, was a fake.

Li Xin started coldly laughing, and the sabre in his hand swung without hesitation, then cut down with the fierce sound of wind.

With a ka cha, the waist plate was split in two, and “Qian Range Representative Disciple” and “Shen Chang Ge” were completely separated.

There was already no need to say anything more.

Who cares what Shen Chang Ge was called, who cares what kind of person Shen Chang Ge was, who cares just what kind of secrets he carried…… He didn’t care anymore. After all, the person standing before them would no longer be Jiu Xuan Sect’s Qian Range representative disciple anymore, nor was he fit to be called by Jiu Xuan Sect’s disciples by that “Senior Shen” either.

The instant the waist plate was cut apart, everyone’s ears suddenly resonated with a rumbling sound, and blood rain fell down from the sky all of a sudden.

Everyone’s expressions changed, and only saw the black-iron door on the ground abruptly open up, and a frantic and violent spacial force burst out from the jail underneath.

Chapter 102

Chapter One Hundred and Two, Mutating into a Demon, Ice-sealed Cell Door. (异化成妖, 冰封囚门)
“What’s going on?”      Jun Wan Bai lifted her pair of swords up, and her figure quickly flew back, avoiding the violent spatial force.

She raised her head, and saw Shen Chang Ge standing behind the black-iron door. The red formation lines of the Qiu Huang tower gathered onto his body, and the blade held in his hands turned into a bright-red colour like magma.

The frantic and fierce spatial power did not have Shen Chang Ge torn apart, but instead revolved around him, gathered, and whirled, forming into a vortex—— very similar to the spacial vortex that the Qiu dragon was drawn into at the Qing Ming tower before.

Maybe it was because Sheng Chang Ge’s strength was not enough, but the speed in which the spacial vortex formed was not as fast as the one drawn by the Qiu dragon in the Qing Ming tower.

Shen Chang Ge stood right in the middle of the frantic spacial vortex, separated from the warped space, so Jun Wan Bai could not see his expression.

Standing right in the middle of the spacial vortex, Shen Chang Ge raised his head. He no longer looked at Jun Wan Bai and the others, but looked up, and his pupils reflected with the dark-red world and the black ancient formation tower. Shen Chang Ge lightly said: “It’s begun.”

The instant the spacial vortex erupted, starting from the topmost floor within the ninety-nine floors of the Tower of Qiu Huang, those traversing red formation lines burst out all of a sudden, and had each of the revived beasts killed off- the blood rain that Jun Wan Bai and the others saw before came from this. As one after another odd beast was killed, the body of the Qiu Huang tower started to grow with hideous scales one by one.

The Qiu Huang tower, was mutating into a demon.

Although the Qiu Huang tower gained intelligence and had a large possibility of it transforming into a demon as time went by, it needed a set amount of time before it could happen. And yet, at present, Shen Chang Ge was pushing the mutation of the Qiu Huang tower to this process.

The first floor, second floor…… As the floors went down, the living beings within the Qiu Huang tower, regardless if it was human or odd beast, were stolen of its life.

The blood rain fell down in a shower, and swept into the spacial vortex. And as the blood rain poured in, the spacial vortex gradually got bigger.

“Amitabha, you are committing a sin!”

Clear-hearted Monk lowly recited something, and the beads between his fingers suddenly erupted with a bright and dazzling light. The young monk who normally always looked benevolent and kind, at this moment, had a cold and stern look on his face, and went from an adversity- experiencing monk saving the troubled and distressed to a Wushu monk that expelled oddities and got rid of demons.

He recited a scripture that suppressed the world, and attempted to stop the Tower of Qiu Huang from transforming.

The cassock on Clear-hearted Monk embellished with countless precious stones instantly turned bright and dazzling. A vast and divine golden light burst out, like a god descending down, and the gold light instantly congested the entire the bottom floor of the Qiu Huang tower. The praises of Buddha burst out wave after wave, continuously resonating. As expected of Clear-hearted Monk being the number one out of the monks- they only used their own strength to recite the scriptures, yet it was like thousands of Buddhists reciting together in a loud voice.

The praises of Buddha crossed through the realm, transforming that boundless high wisdom(prajna).

For the Fan Yin Pavilion.

Golden light scattered in the area, and the red formations dimmed for a bit. The blood rain that came down from the sky also gradually turned small. However, happy times did not last long- Shen Chang Ge let go of his hand, and the blade directly fell down. When it pierced onto the ground, those dimmed formation lines very quickly lit up once again, and the gold light was going to be forced to retreat from the looks of it.

Clear-hearted Monk’s fair face turned completely red, and his bald head was full of cold sweat.

Jun Wan Bai and the others could not care to think about the problem with Shen Chang Ge any more. They brandished their weapons, and flew out, facing against the spacial vortex in an attack towards Shen Chang Ge.

Shen Chang Ge only stood without moving, and the black stone underneath his feet suddenly sprung out with several rays of red light, hovering by his side. The red light flickered, and at the time, had him guarded so heavily even water could not seep through.

Without a care for Jun Wan Bai and co., Shen Chang Ge looked towards Clear-hearted Monk. His face already started to quickly emerge with some red lines some time ago, looking strange and mysterious. When Shen Chang Ge looked at Clear-hearted Monk, the whirling spacial vortex suddenly spun out several rays, and flew towards the reciting Clear-hearted Monk whose eyes were closed.

The Clear-hearted Monk tightly shut his eyes, and completely focused on reciting the scripture for suppressing all beings and evils.

“Baldy, not dead yet?”

Just when the strikes were about to hit Clear-hearted Monk, a presumptuous voice resounded, and a swift and fierce strike cut down from midair.

top. The bright and beautiful-faced Liu Wu Yan jumped down from the

When she was making greetings and teasing, the sabre in her hand already let out a strike. The strike flew over and blocked Shen Chang Ge’s attack against Clear-hearted Monk. Liu Wu Yan’s body similarly carried wounds, as though she went through several fierce battles to reach here.

The instant Liu Wu Yan appeared, the iron-masked swordsman suddenly froze, and he turned to look at Liu Wu Yan.

Liu Wu Yan felt a gaze sweep over, so she raised her head to look, but did not see just who was looking at her.

Jun Wan Bai and others rushed into the spacial vortex, approaching close to Shen Chang Ge, while Clear-hearted Monk was constantly shutting his eyes, and Liu Wu Yan just arrived…… Within this chaos, no one actually discovered that the swordsman who fought along with Jun Wan Bai and co. did not rush towards Shen Chang Ge too.

The swordsman flew towards the stone staircase, and when Liu Wu Yan appeared, he turned to look once. However, when Liu Wu Yan turned around, his figure already seemed like a dimmed ink painting, and disappeared. So when Liu Wu Yan looked, she did not discover anything.

She lifted her sabre up and walked to the front of Clear-hearted Monk. With a wave of her long sabre, she started putting down a barrier for Clear-hearted Monk.

Although Fan Yin Pavilion and He Huan Sect could not make peace for a long time[1], the situation at present was obviously clear- Shen Chang Ge did something, and was pushing the Qiu Huang tower to transform into a demon.

Once the Qiu Huang tower truly turned into a demon, a second Mausoleum of Ten Million would probably appear.

Although the Qiu Huang tower was located within the space of the Battle of Di Fen, the disappearance of Bing Province’s one hundred seventy thousand people already demonstrated that this space had an intimate relationship with the current world- all that happened here, would create terrifying effects.

Grudges were only grudges. When important matters were placed in front of them, even He Huan Sect, Fan Yin Pavilion, Jiu Xuan Sect, as well as Yu Shou Sect would temporarily work together.

But the situation did not change due to Liu Wu Yan’s addition.

After Jun Wan Bai and others entered the forming spacial vortex, like mortals getting caught in a swamp, they could only slowly approach Shen Chang Ge, but the surrounding red light around Shen Chang Ge was not benevolent. Compared to the arduousness of Jun Wan Bai and others, when Shen Chang Ge’s blade was pierced into the ground, the speed of the mutation of the Qiu Huang tower once again turned faster.

From the looks of it, the gold light was about to retreat, and Jun Wan Bai and others were still trapped by the spacial vortex.

Just at this time, Liu Wu Yan heard the sound of a sword. Clear, and cold.

The instant she heard this sound, Liu Wu Yan abruptly raised her head to look.

A strike flew through the skies.

She once saw this kind of strike- crystal clear as snow, just like an arc, as though light that reflected and fell into the deep valleys from the peak of a snowy mountain, yet, carrying an indescribable sharpness to it. The strike flew over, and the spacial vortex was cut open, just like when it cut apart the heavy curtain of rain many years ago.

“Bai Li Shu.” Liu Wu Yan slipped out these words.

The strike cut apart that madly sweeping vortex, and cut apart the red lights surrounding Shen Chang Ge, then passed by Shen Chang Ge’s astonished gaze, and cut towards another place.

The bottom-most floor of the Qiu Huang Tower with strong gales wilfully sweeping about, resounded with a clear and crisp sound.

The strike of light directly cut towards the top of the open black-iron door, and in the next moment, a layer of thin ice that Jun Wan Bai, Li Xin, and Sheng Chang Ge had seen before spread open, and sealed that opened black-iron cell door.

Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin saw this layer of ice before- it sealed that bronze prison’s shaft underneath Yan Men Prefecture, and sealed that giant white bone claw of the thing that they didn’t know what it was even to this day.

Shen Chang Ge also once saw this kind of ice layer- it laid across the road of Bing Province, and separated the ghost realm and human realm.

And at this time and moment, the ice spread over, and had the opened cell door sealed once again. The ice layer emitted a faint blue light. Even though there was only a single thin layer, it blocked that close-to-terrifying spacial power, just like that ice wall within the Qing Ming tower that separated the spacial vortex and Jiu Xuan’s disciples .

The ice layer that emitted faint-blue light seemed to have a stronger deterrent against the Qiu Huang tower than Clear-hearted Monk’s scripture reciting. The ice layer sealed the surroundings, and those red formation lines dimmed down all at once—— like the Qiu Huang tower’s intellect had perceived something, and instinctively feared something.

With the cell door sealed, the spacial vortex lost its source of power, and its confining strength was largely reduced.

Jun Wan Bai and others rushed out from the spacial vortex in the next moment, and approached close to Shen Chang Ge.

A silver light on Jun Wan Bai’s pair of swords flashed, and strikes of light turned fleeting and mobile, constantly changing, like flowing clouds flying through the skies, directly going towards Shen Chang Ge’s head—— she no longer held back.

Qiu Qian He’s red long robes spread open, and the scar on his gentle-looking pale-white face twitched. At some time ago, his left hand was covered with a layer of gold-coloured fair-looking feathers. He bent his fingers into a claw shape, and grabbed towards Shen Chang Ge. As Qiu Qian He moved, the gold-coloured fair feathers on his hands flashed, and a golden crow’s cry resonated. Gold light flashed within the void, and gathered into a golden crow’s giant claw.

Just like in the legends, how the bird that was born within the scorching sun probed its claws out from the void.

Li Xin was dressed in black, with a facial colour so pale-white he didn’t seem human. The grey colour on his sabre already could be said to be solidified, and the evil aura rolled around his body, while the long sabre half-concealed underneath his sleeves, and quickly came out at the time he got close to Shen Chang Ge, cutting open that mysterious red light. —— He, too, no longer held back.

The instant the cell door was sealed and the formation of the spacial vortex was interrupted, Shen Chang Ge immediately coughed out a mouthful of blood.

Faced with Jun Wan Bai and others’ attack, the red lines on Shen Chang Ge’s face suddenly turned incomparably bright. The red formation lines that was found all over this bottom floor of the Qiu Huang tower, at this instant, gathered all its light around Shen Chang Ge, and forcefully, in the most critical moment, formed into a red-coloured cover.

However, since it was a response out of haste, once the cover blocked Jun Wan Bai’s pair of swords, it turned unstable, and when the golden crow’s claw fell down, the cover completely shattered apart.

And at this time, Li Xin’s strike also arrived.

Within the area twinkling with red light all around, the contours of Li Xin’s face were so ice-cold it was like it was sculpted out.

When the strike flew over, Shen Chang Ge coughed, and retreated quite a fair distance away.

—— Li Xin did not hold back. That attack just now was certainly
lethal.

But as for why Shen Chang Ge would only be injured and not lose
his life, was because in that instant, he activated a spiritual tool on his body. “Bai Li Shu!”
After the pair of swords hit, Jun Wan Bai abruptly turned to look towards the direction where that snow-like strike flew from.

[1] eight lifetimes, figuratively speaking is the same as a long time.

Chapter 103

Chapter One Hundred and Three, Dong Ling Tower Sealed, Overlapping Layers of Mysteries. (东陵塔封, 迷局重重)
Not just Jun Wan Bai, pretty much everyone raised their head to look in the direction the strike flew from.

Including Shen Chang Ge.

That instant the strike flew over, not only did Shen Chang Ge not feel surprised, on the contrary, he had a feeling like things were already finished[1] “just as expected”. Perhaps it was that expression of Bai Li Shu’s that could never be seen to change, or those eyes that could never be seen through, making people constantly faintly have a kind of feeling, just like…… no matter what happens, that person would have long already predicted it.

However, unexpectedly, the person who came was not Bai Li Shu.

In a complete mess, He Zhou coughed and knelt down on the ground, and his hand held a broken jade tablet.

Qin Jiu and Chu Zhi Yan respectively on the left and right stood by He Zhou’s side, and from the looks of it, the three probably came here together. Jun Wan Bai recognized the jade tablet in He Zhou’s hands.

Immortal cultivators whose cultivation was high enough were able to go through certain methods, and have their own attacks sealed within special jade tablets. Those who typically did this would be the sects’ elders and older generations- they stored their strong techniques within the jade tablets, and gifted it to their disciples to protect them.

Bai Li Shu did not appear here- that strike just now was the sword technique he sealed within a jade tablet in advance.

Shen Chang Ge’s gaze fell onto the jade tablet in He Zhou’s hands, and his face slowly revealed a complicate smiled, then he raised his head up, “So it was like that…… He already knew long ago?”

Another black-iron door emerged in front of Shen Chang Ge’s
vision.

—— Yan Men Prefecture, underneath the Spirit Star temple. On the
surface of the giant black-iron door drawn with the fog raptor in the skies, were formation lines to the Universal Constellation map, and behind the door, was the dark burial grounds of the fog raptors.

He stood outside the door, and listened to the winds sweeping up behind the door, mingling with the fighting sounds with blades being unsheathed, and finally, the 《 Tai Yi Record 》 obscurely being slowly
recited interweaving within the wind…… Seizing the moments of the
scripture used to suppress all demons, he extended his hand out to destroy the Universal Constellation map on the black-iron door.

Thus, the black-iron door shut with a crashing sound from the
outside.

The late night was suited for secretly moving about.        That night in Yan Men Prefecture, there were many people who moved with the sunken night- that Ye Qiu Sheng from Tai Shang Sect, Jun Wan Bai, Li Xin, Bai Li Shu…… as well as himself. Shen Change Ge followed behind them the entire way. After Bai Li Shu, Ye Qiu Sheng, Jun Wan Bai, and Li Xin went underneath the Spirit Star temple, he too stepped into the right secret passageway, and followed behind all the way to the outside of the thick black-iron door.

Shen Chang Ge had complete confidence in his own concealment technique.

However, he didn’t know why, but Bai Li Shu’s presence would always make him faintly feel a sliver of unease.

And this unease, when Ancient Emperor’s will revived within the bronze prison, when the bronze prison sunk into the black waters, and when Jun Wan Bai and others rushed out while it had not yet collapsed, reached its peak.

During that time, Shen Chang Ge stood within the darkness in the secret passageway’s deepest parts. He watched the back figures of Jun Wan Bai and others leaving, and followed along like a ghost. Bai Li Shu stood at the very back, and suddenly, he saw Bai Li Shu turn back to look in the darkness.

It was very hard to use words to describe Bai Li Shu’s expression at that time.

On the face he was never able to discern emotions out of, that pair of eyes seemed like a deep lake sealed in ice, eternally clearly reflecting everything in this world, but as for what was buried underneath the ice in the lake, one was unable to see clearly. However, at that time, Shen Chang Ge very distinctly saw Bai Li Shu’s face reveal a considerably desolate expression.

At that instant, Shen Chang Ge almost thought he discovered
himself.

But very quickly, Bai Li Shu turned back and went off, and his
figure was completely swallowed up by the darkness. Shen Chang Ge watched the light from the Golden Crow longbow go farther and farther away, and when he could not see it at all, he then finally let out a cold breath. It was then that he astonishingly found that his back was already drenched in cold sweat.

Up until today, Shen Chang Ge did not understand, just why Bai Li Shu would reveal that kind of dreary expression at that time.

Bai Li Shu…… This person did not seem like someone who would feel sad over something.

The immortal ascends above the clouds, overlooking the sea of
mortals.

Shen Chang Ge always felt that Bai Li Shu was precisely this kind of person—— or perhaps, rather than saying he was like a person, he was more like an immortal beyond the world that stood independent from everything. Immortal Beyond Heaven, these three words could not suit Bai Li Shu any more.

Lowering their eyes to observe the blue seas and mulberry fields, and turning over the world and human realm with a flip of a hand.

And reality had proved, his unease was certainly not mistaken.

In He Zhou’s hands, the sword technique sealed early on had clearly proved this point—— that person most certainly knew many, many things, and also certainly already had their guard up towards him long ago!

Shen Chang Ge laughed, “Jiu Xuan’s Immortal Beyond Heaven…… As expected of Jiu Xuan Sect’s eldest disciple brother!”

“He Zhou?”       Jun Wan Bai did not know what Shen Chang Ge was thinking. She dumbfoundedly looked at He Zhou, Qin Jiu, and Chu Zhi Yuan who all came out at the same time, and obviously could not understand what happened. “Careful!” He Zhou did not explain. He raised his head, and shouted loudly at Jun Wan Bai and co.

Just now, He Zhou broke apart the jade tablet Bai Li Shu gave him, and released the sword technique to temporarily seal the black-iron door that Shen Chang Ge opened. And after Shen Chang Ge was seriously injured by Jun Wan Bai and co.’s joint attack, he was forcefully cut off from the connection with the Qiu Huang tower. Having lost Shen Chang Ge’s guidance, the spacial power gathered here lost control, and completely erupted out.

The out-of-control spacial power swept around the bottom of the
tower.

The plans of Shen Chang Ge attempting to advance the Qiu Huang
tower into transforming into a demon could be considered a failure, however, with the spacial power exploded out, they would be swept in as well, and be transported out of this battlefield of Di Fen that already started to turn mysterious and chaotic.

—— As for where the erupted spacial power would send them, that would all depend on luck.

Just as He Zhou said to be careful, everyone, including the Clear- hearted Monk who just stopped reciting scriptures, and Liu Wu Yan who protected Clear-hearted Monk…… all were swept into the erupted spacial power.

In the instant the feeling of weightlessness came in, He Zhou still tightly held that jade tablet that Bai Li Shu gave him.

Bai Li Shu…… Just what exactly was he thinking? The moment before he was transported, only this thought remained in He Zhou’s head.

The jade tablet was certainly given by Bai Li Shu.

It was given to him before they entered Bing Province City. At the time the Black-plumed Light Vessel left Yan Men Prefecture, He Zhou’s injuries were pretty much recovered, and thus he walked out of his room. Without noticing it, he once again walked to the top floor of the Black-plumed Light Vessel where Bai Li Shu was.

As a result, he didn’t think that he would meet with Bai Li Shu who came out from the room.

When faced with Bai Li Shu, He Zhou felt a bit uncomfortable the entire time, and so he was going to turn and leave as though it was nothing, but didn’t think that Bai Li Shu would call out to stop him, and use a kind of ambiguous calm tone to ask him whether he had Guan Ling’s book all looked over once.

Guan Ling’s book was related to the Mausoleum of Ten Million. When He Zhou got it at first, he didn’t know what kind of intentions he held himself either- clearly, he didn’t have any interest towards this kind of thing, but he still had it flipped through once.

And then, Bai Li Shu gave a jade tablet to him.

He Zhou’s spiritual insight casually swept over it, and when he recognized the inside was sealed with Bai Li Shu’s sword technique, his entire being turned stunned, and did not know what Bai Li Shu meant with this.

Before he could ask the question, Bai Li Shu already directly passed by his side, with his back figure straight, and only left a few words, “When the time comes, shatter it.”

Other than this, he completely had no intentions of explaining whatsoever.

He Zhou stood in place holding the jade tablet, full of suspicions. Following after, the Black-plumed Light Vessel descended, and they entered Bing Province City. When they entered the Qing Ming tower, He Zhou was still thinking just what it meant when Bai Li Shu asked him if he had read through all of Guan Ling’s book. He tried to find the location of terrain’s image in the Qing Ming tower, but in the end, before he could find it, the incident afterwards happened.

The spacial vortex spread open, and Bai Li Shu disappeared.

They stepped into the battlefield of Di Fen, and after they passed through the forest of crude beast skeletons and went through the barrier, He Zhou finally understood the meaning behind Bai Li Shu’s question.

Before this, He Zhou always thought, as a failed Qing Ming tower, the structure of Guang Han Prefecture’s Mausoleum of Ten Million would be similar to the Qing Ming tower, thus the reason why Bai Li Shu asked him that question, would probably be because of Bing Province’s Qing Ming tower. However, when he saw this black Qiu Huang tower buried in the earth, He Zhou then discovered something——

The Mausoleum of Ten Million Guan Ling’s book drew, rather than saying it was similar with Bing Province’s Qing Ming tower, would be better to say that it was similar with the Tower of Qiu Huang.

Guang Han Prefecture’s Mausoleum of Ten Million was practically a tower that attempted to re-build the Qiu Huang tower.

At this time, He Zhou then understood Bai Li Shu’s question.

—— Bai Li Shu knew that they would step into the Qiu Huang tower, and also knew he would be separated from Jiu Xuan Sect’s disciples.

The method that Guan Ling proposed of combining the image of the heavens and the earth to connect with the Qing Ming tower, was similar with Qiu Huang tower’s formation lines, and should be born from the Qiu Huang tower.

He Zhou went according to Guan Ling’s book’s records, and went to find the core of the Qiu Huang tower. In between, the Qiu Huang tower revived, and the odd beast bronze statues all revived, and it was at this time that He Zhou met with Qin Jiu and Chu Zhi Yuan. The three combined their strength, and in the end, rushed to the bottom of the Qiu Huang tower.

Just when they arrived, they saw the stalemate between Jun Wan Bai and others and Shen Chang Ge.

—— When the time comes, shatter it. The words that Bai Li Shu calmly said when he passed by him resounded by his ears.

He Zhou crumbled the jade tablet, and saw that familiar, snow-like
strike.

Ice sealed the cell door, space erupted out, and they were all
transmitted out of the Qiu Huang tower, and transported out of the ancient battlefield of Di Fen.

When He Zhou and co. were swallowed up by the out-of-control spacial force, the layer of ice sealed over the black-iron cell door did not break apart. Wind swept up within the Qiu Huang tower, and a sealing strip fleetingly fell down from somewhere within the fierce winds in the tower.

It was a sealing strip that didn’t look to have anything special to it. On the thin and light rice paper, was ink-coloured writing that did not change throughout the several tens of thousands of years. The words on the surface were powerful and mighty.

—— When the times die and wither, Dong Ling closes the tower.

Within the light of the red formation lines within the Qiu Huang tower, those eleven words were extremely clear and distinct.

That sealing strip was light and thin, however, as it lightly fell down from midair, the sweeping fierce winds wreaking havoc seemed like it could not influence it at all. Furthermore, when that sealing strip appeared, the vibrations within the Qiu Huang tower suddenly turned small, just like the tower itself was fearing something. The sealing strip fell on top of the ice layer sealing the cell door.

In the next moment, all the lit up formation lines within the Qiu Huang tower instantly returned to the darkness, and the entire tower once again returned to black. The ice layer within the darkness finally broke apart, and emitted a clear and crisp breaking sound.

The sealing strip was suspended over top of the open cell door, not moving at all.

[1] 尘埃落定- literally, all the dust falling to the floor. Everything has been finished.

Chapter 104

Chapter One Hundred and Four, Dong Ling’s Sealed Tower, Ice-buried Era. (东陵封塔, 冰葬纪元)
Within the space of the Battle of Di Fen.

The crude beasts’ skeletons were already all broken apart. The deep- black vast land was only left with a black and white, with one hundred seventy thousand peoples’ bones piled on top of the giant circular clearing, while the colour of the dead sun that hung over the sky grew more and more deeper.

Liao Qian cried and laughed as he staggered within the pile of corpse bones, breaking this rib, kicking off that spine- he didn’t know when the wind started to slow down, and was no longer that piercingly cold as knives.

After he found those corpses of Bing Province Qing Ming tower’s disciples, Liao Qian once again went searching around, but did not discover more bodies that belonged to Jiu Xuan Sect. Unresigned, he climbed up a comparatively bigger pile of bones, and stood on top and looked far and wide.

White bone was everywhere. Within the bones of the one hundred seventy thousand, he didn’t know which area buried another one of that stubborn bastard Zhou Wen An’s seniors’ bones.

Furthermore…… He was able to bring Zhou Wen An’s seniors back, but who would bring Zhou Wen An back?
fire. Liao Qian dumbfoundedly stood there, and his throat burned like

Suddenly, the pile of skeletons underneath Liao Qian’s feet started to violently shake. Liao Qian was not careful, and fell down from the top of the pile of bones. He cursed out loud, but before he could climb up, he felt that even the atmosphere started to vibrate- the Qiu Huang tower buried underneath the white bones seemed to have some intense changes occurring.

“Fuck!”         Liao Qian flipped over, then stood up, and took out that thing Liu Wu Yan gave them.

—— The fame regarding Nine Provinces Private Bank’s wealth is spread wide throughout the country, so I will leave them to you.

His vision once again emerged with that young man dressed in Jiu Xuan Sect’s robes in the dark. In the red light that the formation emitted, he smiled with relief and ease.

“Last-named Zhou little pretty face! I’m gonna remember you!” As Liao Qian cursed, he crumbled the transporting spirit stone that Liu
Wu Yan gave them.

In the moment before he was transported, Liao Qian turned his head back to see the place where the Qiu Huang tower was buried by the white bones again.

Underneath the white bones, a faint cold light emitted weakly, carrying slivers of an ice-blue colour.

When Liao Qian was transported out, it was precisely when that sealing strip fleetingly fell down, and finally suspended over top of the black-iron door. The instant the sealing strip stopped, boundless cold ice, with the sealing strip as the center, spread out, and instantly spread from the bottom-most floor of the Qiu Huang tower to the top-most floor.

Those scales that grew from the tower’s walls were sealed by ice. In a brief moment’s time, this Qiu Huang tower was covered with thin ice.

This ancient battleground that was still for tens of thousands of years once again returned to silence.

Only remaining with winds sweeping up those white, snow-like bone flakes.

And then, as the time flowed, those white bones piled on the clearing where the top of the Qiu Huang tower was would sink down bit by bit, as though it was being continuously swallowed by something. If someone looked down from high up, they would then discover, those bones over the giant circular clearing seemed to accumulate without order, yet secretly implied some sort of mysterious and abstruse rule.

Looking down from above, those human bones would pile up either short or tall, forming into a relieved sculpture of an ancient formation circle.

The dark-red dead sun overlaid on top of the white bones.

After some time, a part of the sky of the Battle of Di Fen suddenly appeared with a obscure spacial fluctuation, and soon afterwards, a thin spacial crevice appeared over top of the dark-red vault of Heaven.

A figure dropped down from the crevice.

That was a “person” completely enveloped in a grey robe—— perhaps it shouldn’t be called a person. His figure was hazy and obscure, carrying a kind of illusory feeling, as though merely just a concept.

“The times die and wither, Dong Ling closes the tower, while ice entombs the era.”   The grey-robed person walked over the lands spread with white snow-like bone crumbs, and walked forward in a seemingly slow yet actually quick pace. —— What was strange was, even though the crude beasts’ skeletons were already all broken up, the battlefield of Di Fen still forbade traversing through the skies.

The grey-robed person’s pace was very fast, and not a moment later, he arrived before the giant circular space overlaid with white bone.

“The times die and wither, and Dong Ling closes the tower.”
The grey-robed person observed that flickering ice-blue light seeping out from underneath the white bones, and lightly said this.      “Long time no see, person of Bai Li.”

The grey-robed person’s voice was blown away by the wind. He raised his hand, and shook off the pile of skeletons, revealing the clearing underneath. When the grey-robed person cleared out this space, it merely left a hideous iron mask. The grey-robed person picked up the mask, and only saw that the mask was attached with a roll of silk behind it.

◈◈◈
Winds of the northern frontier[1] mixed with sands swept around the solitary land of the Gobi[2], sad and shrill. The skies were dark, and the air was arid and dry. Other than yellow sands, were yellow sands, and looking far off, was a withered yellow colour.

Beneath a strangely-shaped giant rock, the space suddenly warped all of a sudden.

Following, two figures appeared beneath the giant rock out of thin
air.

“Ke, ke……” Just as Ye Qiu Sheng reached the ground, he
received a mouthful of sand blown by the winds. He coughed out the sand, and used his hand to cover over his face, then lifted his head to see just where they had been transported to.

There were big and small strangely-shaped rocks- these rocks were eroded by the wind, and gradually emerged with an uncannily[3] unique shape. Some from far away looked like a magnificent castle, while some were instead like warped human faces. Within the pale-yellow setting sun, the rocks were like crude beasts…… All that touched the eyes were yellow sands, while winds scraped by from the dunes, and mingled with fine and loose sands.

This was clearly scenery from beyond the outer frontier. They were transported to north of the Gobi.
Bai Li Shu leaned against a rock, and lowly coughed.

The white robes on him seemed to have another peculiarity to it- it emitted a faint and thin light, and had those sands blocked off. Bai Li Shu raised his eyes, and looked at the continuous sand dunes and strangely- shaped rocks in front of his eyes, and the giant rocks formed through wind erosion that were like castles.

“Ghost City stretches far, with winds blown like crying, and yellow sands that secretly rise to stop the walking.”     Bai Li Shu raised his head up, and slowly recited these few lines.

The setting gold light scattered around, layering over the vast lands, and fell on the youth’s face, and had the clear outline of their face drawn with a layer of something approaching divine light. The bottom of his eyes also fell in with light, clear like the layers of dim light on the surface of a lake.

“This is Gua Province[4].” Bai Li Shu lightly said.

Ye Qiu Sheng knitted his eyebrows- Gua Province, Bing Province, these two places were quite far away from each other. Bing Province was located in the northwest region of Chen dynasty, while Gua Province was located on Fu Yi dynasty[5] and Jin Tang dynasty’s borders, but was mostly part of Jin Tang dynasty. However, for many years, it suffered from Fu Yi’s invasions. From Bing Province to Gua Province, even if one sat on a Black- plumed Light Vessel, one needed to fly for several months. He didn’t think that after coming out from the ancient battlegrounds of Di Fen, they would actually be transported to such a far place.

Those few lines that Bai Li Shu recited was the description that the
《 Customary Stratagems 》 wrote down regarding Gua Province. This ancient city in the upper frontier of Jin Tang, Gua Province, was located within the big desert, with very few people around. In the past years, Jin Tang’s Guang Wu Emperor previously made the southern refugees move north, and of which, there was a portion that stayed right here. The refugees at the time Guang Wu Emperor was in position, migrated here along with the army, and constructed forts guarding against Fu Yi dynasty by the oases.

From that time on, Gua Province then gradually had signs of human habitation.

But within Gua Province, the desert region was vast and expansive, where the rocks were strangely formed, with many like natural forts, hence, Gua Province also had another name as “Ghost City”- every time late night came, the long winds would swim within the rock city, where the sounds of wind would turn eccentric, and sound just like ghosts crying in the ears of the far-travelling merchants.

Although this place was within Jin Tang’s territory, there was no branch of Jiu Xuan Sect around here.

Tian Ji Valley was towards the south of Gua Province, and stood within Fu Yi dynasty’s ancient mountain ranges, and so, immortal cultivators here mostly belonged under Tian Ji Valley.

Bai Li Shu lowered his eyes.

The old imperial talisman was gripped tightly in his hands. The ancient talisman that concealed the ancient emperors’ secrets in the legends looked nothing out of the ordinary at this time, and seemed like a normal black plate without anything special to it in Bai Li Shu’s hands.

Bai Li Shu slightly loosened his hands, and turned over the old imperial talisman. On the back, was a relieved sculpting of a city above the clouds.

The ancient emperor killed within the battlefield of Di fen, was Cloud Emperor? Bai Li Shu slightly knitted his eyebrows. The fingertips slowly stroked over the lines of the relieved sculpture, with a lukewarm and cold sensation to it. The hands he held the old imperial talisman with slightly shook, while his fingertips were colourless.

Bai Li Shu flipped his hands and put away the old imperial talisman, then slightly sighed, and leaned against the stiff stone wall while watching the unstably fluctuating sand dune lines far away. There were no cities within his vision, and did not seem like a place with people staying in Gua Province.

From a certain perspective, it was already a place beyond Jiu Xuan Sect’s control.

The bunch of rocks’ outlines seemed to gradually turn hazy and obscure, and Ye Qiu Sheng’s figure also started to overlap. Bai Li Shu lowered his eyes, and looked at his own pale-white fingertips.

Ye Qiu Sheng stood straight, and heard his back transmit with Bai Li Shu’s indifferent voice, “It would be best for you to circulate the primordial energy in your body.”

Best to circulate the primordial energy in the body? Ye Qiu Sheng rose with a bad premonition inside.
Very quickly, he understood what Bai Li Shu’s meant. Once he circulated his primordial energy, he discovered that the primordial energy that was originally freely moving about in his body was in a span of silence at this time. Although it would still slowly move around according to his arts, it seemed like it was being sealed by some power, and was unable to be used.

Ye Qiu Sheng’s expression slightly changed. Carefully checking with spiritual insight, he discovered that there was an obscure and very pure spacial power present within his body, carrying slivers of chaotic energy- it was precisely this chaotic aura intermingling with the spacial power that had his primordial energy temporarily sealed.

“Looks like trouble.”   After he discovered the reason, Ye Qiu Sheng shrugged his shoulders, and lightly laughed. It seemed like he suddenly thought of something, and asked Bai Li Shu.    “As Jiu Xuan Sect’s eldest disciple brother, are you not bothering with those little brothers and sisters of yours?”

“Arrangements have been made.”   Bai Li Shu replied in a soft voice. His voice gradually weakened, and by the end, it was so light it almost could not be heard within the wind.

His eyelashes that gradually hung down completely covered over his
eyes.

No sound came from behind, so Ye Qiu Sheng turned over with a bit
of uncertainty.

The thin youth leaned against the rocks, and lowered his eyes. The long eyelashes were overlaid with a faint gold light of the setting sunlight, and cast a distinct shadow on his face. The white robe he wore reflected within the setting sun, carrying a faint thin light. Like this, Bai Li Shu being revered as the number one of the Twelve Volume Beauties by a certain busybody of the Nine Provinces Private Bank would definitely be doubted by no one.

However, all this time, the feeling that Bai Li Shu gave off was much like a piercingly-cold blade of ice, so good-looking it was sharp.

But beyond one’s expectations, after this person closed their eyes, their face did not have that wave of sharpness and lonely coldness, and on the contrary, their lines were so soft it pretty much approached being frail.
by bit. The young man leaning against the rocks slid down into sitting bit

“Bai Li Shu?” Ye Qiu Sheng dumbfoundedly called out the young man’s name, and stepped through the loose sands and walked towards Bai Li Shu.

[1] 塞 ( 北 / 外 )- these terms specifically indicates the region north (outside) of the Great Wall. Also implies the plateaus of Mongolia. Do I have confidence this wall still exists in the novel’s world enough to specifically indicate it’s the north of the Wall? Nope.

[2] Aside from the English name of an actual desert in the northern parts of China, in the Mongolian language, gobi (or gebi, if you go by the pinyin) just means a desert region. Assume it’s just a desert north of China.

[3] ⿁斧神⼯- of ‘divine’ or ghastly craftsmanship, as though made by spirits themselves.
[4] ⽠- melon, or by extension a melon/gourd-shaped object.
[5] 伏矣- fu, for either lying down/prostrating, hiding, or by extension, surrender, or admitting to defeat. Or the part of the hot summer period. Yi, equivalent to any of the words/sounds that one puts at the end of a sentence, similar to a period in English. Indicates the end.

Chapter 105

Chapter One Hundred and Five, Birthday Celebration and Burial, Unseen Fates. (寿⾠葬礼, 冥冥定数)
When the Qiu Huang tower was sealed, Jun Wan Bai and others were swept into the chaotic space, and Bai Li Shu and Ye Qiu Sheng appeared in the northern frontier’s Gua Province far away from Jiu Xuan Sect, the Qing Ming tower in Bing Province collapsed bit by bit.

“Bing Province’s Qing Ming tower has been destroyed.”         On the top floor of Jiu Xuan Sect’s Jade Harmony Pavilion, Sect Leader Yi He Ping sat by the window, playing chess[1] with someone.

If an outsider saw the person playing chess with Yi He Ping, they would definitely be very startled. That person was clearly the upright, old- aged Medicine Valley valley master that should be staying in the Medicine Valley right now.

Before this, Bai Li Shu and co. left Jiu Xuan Sect to represent the sect, and went to Medicine Valley to congratulate the valley master on their birthday. It was precisely due to this, that they would meet with Bing Province’s Qing Ming tower’s mishap halfway through. And yet at present, this valley master that the outside was preparing to celebrate his birthday for was instead in Jiu Xuan Sect playing chess with Yi He Ping.

The Medicine Valley’s valley master’s surname was Tao, and as for his real name, the outer realm had very few people who knew. Master Tao had white hair, with an appearance of being benevolent and kind, and looked to be very polite and amiable. However, when one observed him playing chess with Yi He Ping, one could see that their chess style was eccentric, and faintly bore an aggressive and overbearing approach to it. But when one looked at Yi He Ping, he instead looked fair and just, generous and undisturbed.

“The Qing Ming tower falling, is this not what you people have prepared for a long time now?”      Yi He Ping put down another piece on the chessboard, and indifferently said this.

Master Tao shook his head, “As expected, Sect Leader Yi knows much about it. I long should have known it could not be hidden from your eyes.”

“Master Tao is too modest.” Yi He Ping raised his eyes to look towards the northeast, and his eyes turned profound, “However, Master Tao actually daring to come up has gone beyond my expectations. This courage, is seen in very few.”

Valley Master Tao shook his head, and did not answer Yi He Ping.

How could he be considered to be that courageous, he only understood Yi He Ping fairly well.

This person, Yi He Ping, looked to be polite and amiable on the surface, with an aura of a scholar, however, if one were to discuss which of the Eight Immortal Sects’ sect leaders was the most merciless, Yi He Ping could not be excluded from it. Don’t look at how this Jiu Xuan sect leader eternally had a polite and gentle look, in reality, his “invitation” never had the leeway of rejection.

Rather than having to be forced to come in the very end, why not naturally and calmly pay a visit from the start.

“I hear that Leader Yi had his own disciple sent to participate in this old man’s birthday as well?” Right after Yi He Ping, Master Tao’s black pieces turned aggressive, “Bai Li Shu…… His surname is Bai Li. Does he have any relation with the Eighteen Surnames of Old?”

Master Tao’s birthday celebration was just the day after, yet at this time, the person was at Jiu Xuan Sect. No matter if it was him or Yi He Ping, nobody made mention of this.

Just like tomorrow’s big celebration did not exist at all.
“This is not something you should ask.”         Yi He Ping said. “Truth be told, this old man has not understood this question for
many years.” Master Tao sighed, “That year, when this old man’s senior left the sect, they only said one sentence, that Bai Li had already appeared. Since then, they never returned, with no sound or letter after so many years. I have arduously speculated what “Bai Li” meant, and it was up until Leader Yi suddenly took in an apprentice, that I then finally had some ideas.”

Yi He Ping glanced up, and looked at Master Tao without any change in his expression.

Master Tao recalled those arduous searches of many years.

Since Senior left the sect up until he became Medicine Valley’s valley master, for these many years, these two words, “Bai Li”, were a constant riddle inside him. It was precisely because he looked into the meaning behind the words Senior left in the beginning, that he gradually approached those things that the Eight Immortal Sects concealed.

“They told me…… Bai Li is the person who watches over the grave.”     Master Tao firmly stared at Yi He Ping, not letting go of any sliver of change on the other person’s face.     “Don’t know if Sect Leader Yi is able to tell this old man, for the supposed gravekeeper, just exactly what grave are they keeping over?”

Yi He Ping went silent for a moment, and did not ask who the “they” mentioned by Master Tao exactly pointed to, and did not answer Master Tao’s question either. In the end, he shook his head, and repeated, “This is not something you should ask.”

“Can’t even tell a person who is about to die?”      Master Tao did not find Yi He Ping’s answer unexpected, and he too looked towards the direction of Bing Province. “If I use the medicinal pill to relieve the dormant poison in exchange for the answer to this question? I’ve gotten old, there are already many things I do not care for, but only this question, I have thought about for a very long time. If I cannot understand, I’m afraid I cannot rest in peace even if I die.”

When Master Tao mentioned the pill for relieving the dormant poison, he looked like he had it all planned out.

Yi He Ping’s gaze suddenly turned sharp.

The Medicine Valley’s valley master’s forehead seeped out with cold sweat. The instant Yi He Ping’s gaze turned sharp, a pressure that was hard to contend against instantly fell down. The difference between a sect leader of the number one of the Eight Immortal Sects and a normal sect’s sect leader was instantly made evident- merely pressure made Medicine Valley’s master need to use his full strength to go against it.

Master Tao did not say anything.

After a long time, Yi He Ping slowly retracted the pressure, and once again turned into a completely scholarly and refined book reader.

“Bai Li Shu is destiny. Even if there wasn’t a medicinal pill, there would be no changes.” Yi He Ping indifferently replied, then paused. He turned his head, and looked at the sky outside, and still slowly replied to Master Tao’s question in the end.

“Heaven. What they guard, is Heaven’s grave.”

“Heaven’s grave?” A dumbfounded expression passed through Master Tao’s face, obvious that he understood what the so-called Heaven exactly referred to. “How is that possible?” “There isn’t anything that isn’t possible. Heaven’s grave, in the end, still needs a person to keep guard over.”        Yi He Ping lightly said this, and recalled those lines, “Zhao Ge’s Bai Li, herd to Dong Ling”.

Dong Ling’s Bai Li- that was a clan that had been purposefully hidden behind the era.

Master Tao opened his mouth, wanting to say something, but in the end, didn’t say anything, and only let out a sigh.

Yi He Ping diverted from this topic, and talked about another matter, “For the Medicine Valley to be so close with Yu Shou Sect, is Valley Master not afraid of Tai Shang Sect denouncing those crimes publicly?”

“This cannot be helped.” Master Tao put down a piece and blocked the white pieces’ path, “Beneath the Eight Immortal Sects, for a small sect such as ours, if one wanted to live on, having nothing to rely on is just not possible.”

While saying Medicine Valley relied on Yu Shou Sect in front of Jiu Xuan’s sect leader within Jiu Xuan Sect that was sworn enemies with Yu Shou Sect, Master Tao’s face did not change in the slightest, and did not think anything of it.

Yi He Ping who was Jiu Xuan Sect’s leader was not angry either.

Between the conversation, on the chessboard, the black and white pieces already gradually filled up, and a game almost reached its end already.

“There must be quite a lot of Jiu Xuan disciples guarding Bing Province’s Qing Ming tower, no? Sect Leader Yi seems to be willing to part with them.” Master Tao seemed like he was casually asking, “Bing Province’s Qing Ming tower, Guang Han Prefecture’s Mausoleum of Ten
Million, 《Three Ancient Emperors’ Drawing》…… As expected of the number one of the immortal sects, Jiu Xuan Sect. This kind of boldness is not something we can compare with.” When mentioning Bing Province’s tower-guarding disciples, Yi He Ping’s hand slightly paused.

“There will always be some things that cannot be helped. Master Tao similarly manages a sect, so you should also have the same feelings.”
Yi He Ping looked at the chessboard, and slowly said this.

“That’s right. Just like how even this one knows it’s an appointment of death, this old man can only sit here.” Master Tao’s face also let out a sliver of lament, and he sighed.

Be it those disciples that Jiu Xuan Sect sent to participate in the Medicine Valley’s master’s birthday celebration, or those people that had a relationship with the Medicine Valley similarly preparing to join this celebration, they all did not know.

From the very beginning, it was destined that there would be no Medicine Valley’s master’s celebration.
For a person about to die, how could there be a birthday celebration? “It’s unfortunate with this kind of extravagance.” Master Tao lightly
said, “To be able to have the person of Heaven’s grave come participate, this kind of occasion is truly hard to come by.”

“A birthday celebration and mourning, still needs the same kind of extravagance, no?” Yi He Ping said.

tap.

The white piece in Yi He Ping’s hands heavily hit down.

Once the piece was put down, the game suddenly changed, and the outcome flipped. The black pieces that were originally aggressive and had the upper hand completely recessed- turns out, at some time long ago, the white pieces put down a trap that covered over the skies and earth.

“This move doesn’t seem like an immortal sect’s in the slightest.” Master Tao put down a black piece, and shook his head. “Be it the immortal sects, or the dynasties, which one is truly completely honourable?” Yi He Ping lightly said. He stood up, and put his hands behind his back.

“True, true.” Master Tao laughed out loud, and put a small jade bottle containing medicinal pills on the table, as well as a small square wooden box, “In the end, I owe you a favour.”

Yi He Ping looked at Valley Master Tao, and lightly sighed, “Must Master Tao go to this kind of extent today? It’s fine to depend on Yu Shou Sect, but must you participate in these kinds of things? Dealing with tigers, in the end, won’t have good end to it.”

“Leader Yi’s joking. How can there be unbroken eggs underneath an upset nest[2]? With this world’s big changes, even us small characters feel uneasy.”    Master Tao bitterly laughed.    “Look upon the friendship between my senior and Jiu Xuan, and give this old man some dignity in these last moments.”

Yi He Ping nodded his head, and left the room. Outside the room, was He Qing Chuan.
He Qing Chuan was still as usual, and didn’t put much of a good expression with Yi He Ping. Yi He Ping did not mind it, and asked if he confirmed it yet.

“Shen Chang Ge.”        He Qing Chuan said out a name that was long already within the anticipations.

“Looks like Jin Tang cannot hold it down anymore.” Yi He Ping slightly narrowed his eyes, “Have Shen Chang Ge’s name erased, and just say he died within the Qiu Huang tower. After Wan Bai and the others come back, let them know too.”

He Qing Chuan silently nodded his head.

The life force within the room to the back disappeared. “Send Master Tao back to the Medicine Valley, and have the celebration directly changed into a mourning banquet, save on the efforts.” Yi He Ping whisked his sleeves, then left towards the bottom of the
Jade Harmony Pavilion.

He Qing Chuan suddenly asked, “The matter with the Qing Ming tower, just what exactly are you thinking?”

—— Having that many tower-guarding disciples die, was there really not a single bit of hesitation there?

“Send Master Tao back.” Yi He Ping did not answer.

The Jade Harmony Pavilion was located on Jiu Xuan Sect’s highest main peak, so the winds were strong above the pavilion. Yi He Ping was just like an ordinary person, going down step by step along the staircase. The wind blew up his sleeves, and fluttered in the wind.

When He Qing Chuan asked him, Yi He Ping faintly seemed like he saw that time when Brother Qin broke off relations with him once again- it was also this look, also asking him just exactly what he was thinking. Then, Brother Qin no longer wanted to call him Senior Brother.

However, some things, no matter good or bad, had to have people do it.
Infamy, in the end, needed to have someone carry it. These were all things that were destined to be.
Just like…… how Jiu Xuan Sect’s Qian Range’s master, from the very start, was destined not to be Shen Chang Ge, but He Zhou. [End of Volume One, No One Understands Heaven’s Will.]
[1] It says 棋, which is the ever-encompassing word for chess, but from how the game is described it should be 围棋, AKA what English refer to as ‘go’ (in Japanese as well) and not the western version of chess or another type of Chinese chess (which goes by this name in English).

[2] 覆巢之下,焉有完卵- expression for, if one met with disaster, their entire family, be it young or old, will not be spared.

Chapter 106

Volume Two, Returning to the Place of Origin. Chapter One Hundred and Six, Gua Province’s Ghost City, Waking up From a Dream. (⽠州⿁城, ⼀梦⽅醒)
At the time one awakens from the dream knowing the past and present, all around the absurd and fantastical will be old homelands.
———————— Opening line.

Gua Province, Gobi sands. Winds blew from the west, sweeping up yellow sands, and passing through strangely-shaped rock piles. Within the dark night, those rocks looked much more like a vast old city than in the daytime. Winds passed through the big and small cavities of the rocks, and dragged out a sad and shrill tone by the sharp edges of those rocks.

Ghost City stretches far, with winds blown like crying, and yellow sands that secretly rise to stop the walking.

After entering the night, the wilderness and the desert region of Gua Province was much like a ghost city of Yan Luo’s that appeared in the human realm.

Ye Qiu Sheng heard of some stories regarding Gua Province’s Ghost City. If it were under normal circumstances, even if he had to go into Gua Province’s Ghost City all by himself within the night, there wasn’t much to hesitate about.
before. But the circumstances at present were much too different from

After coming out of the Qiu Huang tower, his cultivation was sealed by that strange spacial power, and was not much different from a normal person right now. Under these kind of circumstances, Ye Qiu Sheng couldn’t help but use a different gaze to look at those legends surrounding Ghost City that he heard before.

But what was more important, was another thing. Bai Li Shu.
In the evening.     Dusk fell, and within the evening glow that had not completely dispersed yet, the young man dressed in white robes who did not seem out of the ordinary at all the entire time leaned against the rocks, and fainted. Ye Qiu Sheng walked over, and held his hand.

Just when Ye Qiu Sheng touched Bai Li Shu’s hand, he discovered something unusual.

Bai Li Shu’s hands were abnormally cold.

An immortal cultivator’s energy and blood was far more vigorous compared to a normal person’s, however, Bai Li Shu’s body temperature was so low it was in a poor shape. This was perhaps related to his method of cultivation as well as his swordsmanship—— every time Bai Li Shu made a move, it was always of a look of having ice sealed for thousands of miles. However, Bai Li Shu’s pulse was so small and weak it was abominable.

“Bai Li Shu? Bai Li Shu?”     Ye Qiu Sheng called out two times, but the young man who had everything gathered into his eyes had no reaction whatsoever.

The young man leaned against the dark-coloured rocks, and within the dim sunlight, his face was abnormally pale, without a bit of colour of blood to it. The youth’s skin was originally as white as ice jade, hence, even if his facial colour wasn’t right, it was hard to perceive it. Ye Qiu Sheng extended his hand to touch Bai Li Shu’s forehead.

Ice cold as expected.

Due to his cultivation being sealed, with no way of using primordial energy, Ye Qiu Sheng could only be just like a normal doctor, and help Bai Li Shu take his pulse. He had no way of using primordial energy to carefully check just what kind of situation Bai Li Shu was in. However, even if it was this, he could feel that Bai Li Shu’s circumstances were extremely terrible.

Just from looking at Bai Li Shu’s energy channels, if one were to say this was a severely-ill person bedridden on death’s doors, no one would doubt it. However, Bai Li Shu was just like he was completely fine- in Yan Men’s underground, Tower of Qiu Huang, going off circling around the lines of life and death, breaking through Zhe Jiu Ji, suppressing the bronze prison, and even taking the old imperial talisman into his hands beneath the crude beast and ancient emperor apparitions.

Who knew just how Bai Li Shu did it?

Ye Qiu Sheng looked at the close-eyed, sleeping youth’s sharpness being subsided, and felt like he could not understand this person Bai Li Shu even more.

Should it be said that Jiu Xuan Sect, truly, consisted of nothing but a bunch of lunatics?

Unable to check the Bai Li Shu’s inner circumstances, as well as him also having his cultivation sealed, Ye Qiu Sheng could only first find some normal, ordinary replenishing pills from his ring for Bai Li Shu to swallow down first.

When Ye Qiu Sheng helped the fainted Bai Li Shu swallow the pills down, he discovered that Bai Li Shu already put away the old imperial talisman. This guy……

Ye Qiu Sheng did not know if he should lament how Bai Li Shu certainly calculated out each step, not letting even a single drop of water leak when doing anything, or if he should lament how he lived so prudently, practically unlike a person.

Once the sun set, the night of the desert came quickly. And the skies turned black with a blink of the eye.
The nights and days of Gua Province were of two completely different temperatures.

The temperature dropped very quickly with a turn, and due to the primordial energy being sealed, even Ye Qiu Sheng felt cold. He turned his head to look at the fainted Bai Li Shu- the youth’s lips were also turning white.

Even if Bai Li Shu sealed over a thousand miles with a single strike, and his features were always sealed in snow, in the end, he was still just a person.

An immortal cultivator, when all was said and done, was only just a strong person.

And so, even the Bai Li Shu who normally looked to be just like an ice blade would also feel cold.

Ye Qiu Sheng recognized that for the first time, the one called “fate” by the shitty old man, Bai Li Shu, who buried many, many concerns in his eyes and could predict anything, would also feel cold.

Ye Qiu Sheng took off his own outer robe, and wrapped it over the quietly sleeping young man, then reached out and carried him on his back. The young man was not heavy—— actually, it should be said that they were very light. When one looked at this person, they would feel like they were thin, but in reality, they were even more thin. Except, he always wore wide robes, and so looked to be not that thin, and with that constant look of “even if the skies collapsed, they could always bear it”, it made people always unconsciously ignore this point.

When Ye Qiu Sheng carried Bai Li Shu and walked towards that rock mountain that was shaped like an old city, he turned his head to look at the Bai Li Shu on his back.

The young man’s head leaned over top of his shoulders, and their face was very close.

So close that every eyelash could be seen clearly.

The young man’s eyes were closed- long eyelashes quietly fell on the pale-white skin, and could be counted one by one, eyelash by eyelash, incomparably distinct. Within the features that were always seemingly sealed in snow, the hint of coldness largely retracted, and looked to have a bit of tenderness to it. At this time, Bai Li Shu looked much more like an affluent[1] family’s scholar full of a bookish aura who had no qualms with the world.

A thousand jin to request for a meeting, that even life and death would be worth heading for.

Ye Qiu Sheng recalled when he was going around Cang Pu dynasty, how he coincidentally heard a storyteller speak about an anecdote regarding the Eight Immortal Sects in a teahouse. What he was talking about was Jiu Xuan Sect’s seldom-seen eldest disciple brother, and was saying how this Jiu Xuan Sect eldest disciple brother was very good-looking.

How good-looking?

So good-looking that He Huan Sect’s eldest disciple sister—— who was also a famous beauty, was willing to use a thousand jin of high-class spirit stones in exchange for seeing Jiu Xuan’s Bai Li Shu once, just that good-looking.

Was what the storyteller said. And then, this good-looking fellow whose one meeting was worth a thousand jin, did things that if casually mentioned, could shock out a floor of eyes. Ye Qiu Sheng recalled in the sunken-black Yan Men underground, the figure that stepped over the iron chains and faced against the black Chi
chameleons while reciting 《 Tai Yi Record 》, recalled underneath the Tower of Qiu Huang, the figure of the young man piercing the blade into the bronze long table……

“What’s the point of living so tiresomely?” Ye Qiu Sheng lightly said this, as though asking Bai Li Shu, and also asking himself.

In the deep parts of the large desert with very few human inhabitants, the ghastly-sounding winds were endless, like it was answering his question.

Ye Qiu Sheng no longer said anything, and carried Bai Li Shu towards Ghost City.

The place they originally stayed at was the borders of Ghost City’s rock mountains, underneath a solitary rock. Going out would be the stretch of rising and dipping sand dunes, with winds blowing over from those dunes.

And at present, Ye Qiu Sheng must carry Bai Li Shu and enter the Ghost City’s pile of rocks.

This also could not be helped.

Compared to those unreliable legends surrounding Ghost City, the reality placed in front of them was much more pressing.

Gua Province was located in the deep part of the deserts, with lands flat for tens of thousands of miles, and western winds being piercingly cold. In the autumn and winter’s nights, just as the 《Customary Stratagems 》
wrote, how “Ghost City stretches far, with winds blown like crying, and
yellow sands that secretly rise to stop the walking”, the cold winds would bring sands over and cover the skies and earth, and with a blink of an eye, pile up a new sand dune on the originally flat ground. The sandy dunes here were just like tidal waves, not quietly stopping, and constantly moving around.

The sands mixed with the winds in the evening already foreshadowed that there would be a terrifying sandstorm after entering the night.

And the place they were at before would probably be submerged by the sands in the night. If his cultivation was not sealed, it would not be hard to go up against it. However, at this time, Bai Li Shu and his cultivation was completely sealed, plus, Bai Li Shu was still unconscious, and so he did not have any way of going against it.

The arrogance immortal cultivators bore against regular people, generally speaking, rose up due to this.

In front of the power of the world, mortals were just like ants.

But at present, in face of natural disasters, Ye Qiu Sheng too could only choose to enter Ghost City of varying and confusing legends, and retreat back to avoid conflict.

The winds gradually turned stronger, and the sounds of ghosts crying turned particularly sad and shrill. The loose rocks mingling in the wind also increased, scraping on the rocks, emitting a sound that made people’s hairs stand.

Fortunately, they were originally on the borders of the Ghost City, and were not too far from it.

Stepping over the rocks that fell onto the ground from disintegrated stone, Ye Qiu Sheng walked into what the shepherds called a “city” filled with strangely-coloured rocks of the northern frontier. Ye Qiu Sheng did not go in that deep, and when he felt that the winds were already mostly blocked off by the strangely-shaped giant rocks, and that it was enough to block the sandstorm, he stopped. After going inside Ghost City, he felt that this stone city naturally made up of countless giant rocks certainly had bizarre sides to it.

Inside Ghost City, the sound of winds from outside turned small, but that faint feeling like sad and shrill ghosts crying turned more intense. Walking between rocks that stood ten to a hundred zhang tall, the giant shadows of the rocks that entered his eyes overlapped over each other, and gave off an extremely strange feeling.

Ye Qiu Sheng felt like even the sound of his own footsteps turned mysterious.

When Ye Qiu Sheng found a place underneath an old mountain-like rock that could allow for a person lie down, he cleaned out the loose rocks from the ground, and after thinking, he found a few clothes from his ring to first cushion it, then placed Bai Li Shu down.

Only the heavens knew that in the past, when he was in the wilderness, even if he was seriously injured, it would be fine as long as he was able to get a place to completely lie down on- who cared if there was some small rock or pebble under his body, and don’t even mention if he needed to put down some things over it, being so pampered.

But there was no helping it. No matter who looked at the noble- looking Bai Li Shu, they would feel like letting this person sleep down on it was practically a sin.

From beyond the heavens comes a sword from the Immortal Beyond Heaven. Should the secular world have this guest, they must see to them. Those lines he wrote in the beginning truly were not written wrong-
even in this kind of environment, this person was still like an immortal from beyond the world.

However, which immortal from beyond the world would be like Bai Li Shu, bearing so many concerns?

Ye Qiu Sheng thought about it, then took out some torches from his ring, and gathered them together to light up a bonfire, while he himself sat outside the cavern, and started the night watch.

[1] 钟鸣⿍⾷- or, of an extravagant life. Or literally, bell tolls and eating out of cauldrons.

Chapter 107

Chapter One Hundred and Seven, Fire of the Cavern, Solitary People. (岩洞之⽕, 孤独之⼈)
On the Gobi sands of Gua Province, flowing sands moved about, and sand dunes rose and fell. That place with the rock where Ye Qiu Sheng and Bai Li Shu were at in the evening had sand pile up bit by bit, forming into a new dune in the black night.

Yellow sands covered over the skies and earth in the winds.

Ye Qiu Sheng sat by the bonfire, and looked towards the wind- formed mountains of strangely-shaped rocks through the dim flame. The giant rocks within Gua Province’s Ghost City were blown by the wind over the years, so the surface was bumpy and rough, however, the borders of many of the rocks emerged with incomprehensible simple and plain lines.

The entire Gua Province’s Ghost City was just like a giant stone labyrinth.

The enormous stone labyrinth was formed from various rectangular, curved, pointy, or smooth-surfaced giant rocks, and underneath the colours of the night, they looked evidently ice-cold.

After entering the night, the frostiness within the big desert made those rocks shroud with a layer of stiff and emotionless colour.

Ye Qiu Sheng fell into a trance looking at the rocks across from him. It was rare for him to have this kind of quiet time where he was able to empty his mind out. In reality, because of the shitty old man’s various arrangements, in an entire year, Ye Qiu Sheng would mostly be running about in the vast lands of the twelve dynasties, and most of the time, he had to be in disguise in order to not draw in other people’s attentions.

Even though he was Tai Shang Sect’s eldest disciple brother, he lived just like an assassin with his head tied to his waist[1].

When Ye Qiu Sheng reached this point, he could not help but turn his head to look at Bai Li Shu.

Bai Li Shu was also Jiu Xuan Sect’s eldest disciple brother. As for how he lived before, he did not know, but ever since he saw Bai Li Shu, this person would do life-risking things all day, and right now, he even pushed himself to the point he was unconscious.

Putting it this way, the position of the eldest disciple brother in the Eight Immortal Sects really wasn’t something people can live through, as expected.

The fire was not big- the flame was a bit dim, and could only have the small cavern barely lit. Even in the flame’s light, Bai Li Shu’s facial colour did not look to be any better. Ye Qiu Sheng reached out and held Bai Li Shu’s hand, and discovered that his pulse was still weak, and did not have any indication of getting better.

“This is getting bad……” Ye Qiu Sheng leaned against the rock wall, and muttered to himself.

Bai Li Shu’s hand was still abnormally cold.

Ye Qiu Sheng turned his head to the side, and looked at the unconscious young man.

The young man laid down on the rock that was padded with several layers of clothes. Even if he was seriously injured and unconscious, the expression on his face continued to not reveal a bit of uncertainty, still being cold and indifferent. The white thin lips seemed pursed like always, not leaving traces of anything. Just like even if they were in a dream, this person would still subconsciously restrain himself.

Ye Qiu Sheng was far too familiar with this kind of response.

Only a person who was always alone would unconsciously let out this kind of expression. Even though they were seriously injured that they were about to die, they would have that expression like it was nothing, with an “I’m okay, I can take it” kind of appearance.

Because he was also like this.

Of those things he did for the shitty old man, not one was relaxing, and each of them were not things that could see the light, thus, there were never some little brothers or sisters with him. Even he himself was uncertain if he could live on, why drag in his own disciple brothers and sisters too?

Think about it- underneath Yan Men Prefecture’s Spirit Star temple, even this fellow Bai Li Shu let his little disciple brother and sister walk into the left’s living route, while he stepped into the right side’s path of death.

Ye Qiu Sheng never felt like him chasing after those obscure clues these years by himself was something to sympathize over. However, tonight, when he saw the unconscious youth lying in the cavern still keeping a face of “nothing wrong, nothing to be concerned about”, he suddenly felt strangely upset.

An unspeakable sort of upset.

Perhaps he felt Bai Li Shu was pitiful.

This kind of feeling was truly far too terrible, because if he felt Bai Li Shu was pitiful, did that mean he felt he himself was pitiful as well?

“Shit.” Ye Qiu Sheng angrily cursed in a small voice, then turned his head and no longer looked at Bai Li Shu anymore. But when he turned his head, he still subconsciously recalled Bai Li Shu’s abnormally cold hand.

At what time would a person’s hands be that cold?

When one was suffering serious wounds, lying down in a cave without anyone around, while stalactite over the top of the head let down cold and icy water with a drip drop drip drop. With the consciousness all hazy, using all the body’s strength to shift towards a comparatively safe place, then being completely unable to move. Faintly, the blood would slowly seep through the crumbs of ice, and then, would the limbs also slowly go cold along with it.

“The hell……” Ye Qiu Sheng looked up, and heavily leaned against the rocks behind him. He felt like the him today was practically possessed, turning all fussy and sentimental, and effeminate beyond recognition.

After cursing once, Ye Qiu Sheng arched his back and entered the cavern, then reached out to touch Bai Li Shu’s forehead- it was just as cold as it was during the evening, and the temperature was so low they didn’t seem like a living person.

The light of the bonfire cast over Bai Li Shu’s face, but the look of the young man closing his eyes was quiet yet cold. In the warm flame, it was still an expression of walking outside the world, and being all alone. And yet, the lines of his face were clearly gentle.

Ye Qiu Sheng reached his hand out, and touched the young man.

He closed his eyes, then slowly held the young man inside his arms. Even though it was clearly just a very simple action, it seemed incomparably heavy, with a kind of indescribable sadness to it.

Beside the small fire, Ye Qiu Sheng had the unconscious Bai Li Shu whose body temperature was so low held in his arms. He held the young man, and for the first time, parted his own warmth to another person. When Ye Qiu Sheng held Bai Li Shu, his hands were shaking.

The instant he held Bai Li Shu, Ye Qiu Sheng’s eyes emerged with another image:

—— Within a dim, humid underground karst cave, a seriously injured young man walked in a stagger, and fell to the ground when he stepped over a rock. The moment before he lost consciousness, he tried to roll again and again towards the inside of the cave, then, the stalactite’s water fell onto his face, so cold it seeped into his bones.

That was a bone-seeping coldness.

And so, the young man slowly curled up, and laid in the humid, cold, karst cave with cold-blooded animals coming and going about.

Ye Qiu Sheng extended his hand out and slowly held the unconscious and still-expressionless young man, like he held the him who curled his body up inside the cave from many years ago through the distant space and time.

His arms were slightly shivering.

He was holding Bai Li Shu, yet felt like he was holding the him who felt his body gradually go cold in the darkness back then.

The unconscious young man leaned inside his arms, with their long eyelashes hanging down. After being a bit more closer to the bonfire, the yellow flames cast a layer of faint warmth over his face.

Ye Qiu Sheng lifted his head up, leaned it against the wall, and had that instant where he felt like these years he went through was just like a joke.

A ridiculous, pitiful joke.

In Gua Province’s Ghost City, the sound of winds were hazy and obscure, just like ghosts within the deep valleys of the underworld were crying, while the shadows of those castle-like rocks were tall and cold. And within this Ghost City that was like a three-parts human realm and seven- parts hell, inside a small cavern burned a warm fire, and by the fire, one young man embraced the other.

Inside the cavern. Ye Qiu Sheng grinned, and then silently laughed, just like a madman.

[1] Or, always doing dangerous things, able to lose one’s head at any time.

Chapter 108

Chapter One Hundred and Eight, Winds of the Night City, the Tiger Falls to Flat Lands. (夜城之⻛, 虎落平阳)
Compared to Jiang Nan’s[1] water villages, the deserts looked not to be that bustling, as barren lands stretched for thousands of miles, and the living beings seemed to not be that many. However, the merchants that went to the outer frontiers and Fu Yi dynasty for trading all knew- within the large desert, the dangers did not merely come from the overspreading sandstorms and flowing sand dunes.

There were plenty of living organisms here, and even extremely ferocious ones at that.

Trying to stay alive in this human hell was never a simple matter.

The caravans that walked through the deserts were typically not willing to encounter packs of wolves. The wolf packs in the desert were of a bloodline descent from an odd beast named “Huang”, and were much harder to face compared to other areas’ wolf packs. If the incoming merchant groups were wealthy, they would typically need to request for two immortal-cultivated guards, and as for the small merchant groups who could not afford to request for immortal cultivators, if they met with the wolf pack, they could only admit that they were unlucky.

Desert wolf- this kind of wolf that had an odd beast’s blood had a nature of being cunning and sombre, and bore grudges. Once, there was a merchant group who hurt a desert wolf in Gua Province, and ten years later when they went to Gua Province again, they were surrounded by a wolf pack led by that very wolf from that year.

Ye Qiu Sheng discovered the tracks of a wolf pack after the wind changed directions.

The interior of Gua Province’s Ghost City seemed peaceful, but in reality, there were also other beasts coming in to evade the sandstorm. The wolf pack should have entered Ghost City for evasion as well as hunting for food. This flock of bastards with the name of “crafty”, searched over here at some time ago, and headed in the downwind direction the entire way.

After having cultivation sealed, Ye Qiu Sheng’s perception took a large hit. Not only that, but these wolf packs with the blood of a “Huang” seemed to naturally have a very strong hiding ability, so if the winds did not change directions, Ye Qiu Sheng probably would have discovered them at a much later time.

“It really is a case of the tiger falling to flat lands then being bullied by the dog. How is it that all sorts of shitty things want to come stamp their feet now?” Ye Qiu Sheng sighed, and looked outside the cavern.

Pairs and pairs of dim-green eyes appeared within the shadows of the giant rocks, like ghost fire falling down within the darkness. Indistinct and faint, making people unable to see clearly how many wolves there were.

Ye Qiu Sheng placed Bai Li Shu down, then arched his back as he exited the cave. He drew out his blade, and held it in his hand.

Seeing how Ye Qiu Sheng came out of the cave, the wolf pack seemed to know that their tracks were exposed, and then came out one by one from their hiding place. The figures of these wolf packs that lived within the big desert were not big, and was quite thin and emaciated. Each and every one of them looked just like starved ghosts, and their fangs seemed particularly ghastly-white as well. Ye Qiu Sheng whirled his blade.

Even if the tiger fell to flat lands and was being bullied by the dog, one still needs to see what kind of tiger, and what kind of dog it was.

Furthermore, Ye Qiu Sheng was originally a person accustomed with playing with his life.

What he minded was not the wolf pack, but the legends that he connected in his mind after seeing the wolf pack, some legends surrounding Gua Province’s Ghost City.

The very lean desert wolves lowly bent down their bodies, revealing sharp teeth, while each and every one of their gazes all gathered on Ye Qiu Sheng’s body. In the next moment, a wolf standing to the side that was much bigger than the other desert wolves raised its neck, and let out a deep and low howl from its throat.

The instant the pack leader gave out the orders to attack, the wolf pack surrounding in an arc attacked one after another.

This was a pack of well-coordinated wolves of the desert. When they attacked, they were separated into divisions. Some sprung up high and directly pounced to Ye Qiu Sheng’s front, but there were also ones who stuck to the ground in a dash, tying down Ye Qiu Sheng’s movements, while there were also ones who made sneak attacks from the side in an outflank…… just like a well-practised army.

Ye Qiu Sheng moved his hands.

When his blade did not have blood essence activating the Hui snake apparition inside it, it was only just a short blade, and was not that long.

The ancient blade with saw-teeth on the edge created a half-circular arc in midair, and Ye Qiu Sheng let the desert wolf pouncing to his front come without any obstruction, then his figure slightly lowered down, and rushed forward. In the momentum, the blade in his hands then cut open the desert wolf’s neck that came close to the ground. Once he went down, the sand wolf that sprung up ended up going over his head, and the fangs pretty much passed by close to Ye Qiu Sheng’s head.

To Ye Qiu Sheng’s back, the bonfire was lit in front of the cave. When he came out, he kicked it a few times, and had the fire split up and spread throughout the entire cave entrance.

As the desert wolf passed through his head, due to the natural fear of fire, it did not dare to directly pounce into the cavern to attack Bai Li Shu, and thus, turned its head midair in attempts to bite into Ye Qiu Sheng’s back neck.

However, Ye Qiu Sheng’s blade was even faster than it.

When the desert wolf passed through, Ye Qiu Sheng struck from bottom to top, passing through the darkness, and directly cut open the desert wolf’s fragile throat from the ground.

When blood spurted out, Ye Qiu Sheng already turned around, and his strike made an arc, then directly cut into the wolf to the side, avoiding that lukewarm, thick-smelling blood.

It was clearly just a short blade, but when it waved around in Ye Qiu Sheng’s hands, it was a span of continuous strikes, with no place where it wasn’t present, and the entire entrance was enveloped in a light just like snow.

The strikes of light scattered around, like an ink drawing on a piece of paper.

But each strike was extremely ruthless, carrying a fierce killing intent with it. Each strike would definitely take a desert wolf’s life away.

With the primordial energy sealed, Ye Qiu Sheng could only rely on his own body’s strength, as well as the sharpness and ruthlessness of the ancient blade in his hands. When he wielded the blade, he purposefully left his own weak point unguarded to act as bait, and draw those desert wolves to come close, then cut them down. To Ye Qiu Sheng’s back was the unconscious Bai Li Shu. He must guard the cavern’s entrance, and not take even a single step away. He could only use this kind of method of not guarding his weakness to lure the wolf pack into drawing close.

This was not something a normal person would do.

Only those of desperation would have this kind of courage of planning to die in order to live later.

The cold winds in Gua Province’s Ghost City, the sounds of ghost cries mingled with the wolves’ grieving and low howls, and the shadow of the blade and the blood splattering within the wavering flame, all immediately turned the originally tranquil front of the cave into a span of bloodiness and disorder.

The alpha wolf was controlling the situation and issuing commands, and so did not participate with the opening battle.

However, as the wolf pack died off one by one, the alpha wolf could not stand still.

It jumped down from the rocks, and quickly moved within the shadows of the darkness. It did not directly attack Ye Qiu Sheng, but instead silently borrowed the wolf pack’s cover, and gradually moved in closer.

When Ye Qiu Sheng turned to kill an one-eyed wolf, he heard the sound of wind to the back of his head.

Before the blade that pierced into the one-eyed wolf’s throat was pulled out, Ye Qiu Sheng suddenly made a dodge[2], and the top half of his body leaned to the back. The alpha wolf then sprung past his head.

The reason why the desert wolves’ notoriety would spread so far was not merely due to their cruelty, but more so due to their craftiness.

The alpha wolf looked to attack Ye Qiu Sheng from the back, but in reality, it wanted to force him to make way. Their real goal was to get Ye Qiu Sheng to step aside from the entrance, then pass through the bonfire, and rush into the cavern to kill the bastard who Ye Qiu Sheng was protecting to the back.

Although this wolf’s intellect was higher than other wolves, it seemed to see through that there was something distracting Ye Qiu Sheng in the cavern behind him, yet, had no way of fighting back against.

When the alpha wolf pounced towards the cavern, a blade was thrown up from the back.

The strike drew out a warped shadow in midair, and in the next moment, it sunk through the throat, and directly pierced into the wolf’s brain.

The alpha wolf’s body heavily crashed into the bonfire with a muffled sound, and almost had the entire fire extinguished.

When the alpha wolf crashed down, the wolf pack’s movements instantly froze—— in reality, there weren’t many desert wolves left. They stood on the ground, and hurriedly and lowly let out a stifled sound from their throats, like they were unable to accept a sudden change such as the alpha wolf dying.

With a “pei”, Ye Qiu Sheng spit out blood from his mouth.

He tossed his blade out just before, and at this time, a desert wolf whose body was comparatively shorter and smaller pounced over from the right side. At that moment, Ye Qiu Sheng only had time to toss the blade to take care of the alpha wolf, and so could only dodge in a hurry, and could not completely get out of the way, and his right shoulder was bitten into by the desert wolf.

The desert wolf’s fangs sunk into his flesh.

Without a change in expression, Ye Qiu Sheng borrowed the momentum to have the desert wolf that did not let go yet heavily hit it against the rock wall, and had the desert wolf struck unconscious. It loosened its mouth and fell down, and he immediately caught the desert wolf’s neck, then twisted it.

As the desert wolf’s bones breaking let out a crackling sound, the alpha wolf fell into the bonfire.

There were only very few remaining desert wolves left standing across from Ye Qiu Sheng holding the wolf corpse, but they no longer attacked.

Blood poured out from Ye Qiu Sheng’s shoulders, and very quickly drenched a large area.

He held up the wolf with a straight face, and slightly narrowed his eyes while looking at the remaining hesitant desert wolves, then let out a scornful smile while his face looked completely ruthless within the dim light.

back. In the end, the remaining desert wolves started to slowly retreat

Ye Qiu Sheng watched the bright green eyes disappear within the darkness, still standing in front of the cavern, and did not turn back.

It was when a grieving cry of a wolf transmitting in the night, and following it, lowly uneven wolf cries resounding, floating off far away, that he then let out a sigh, and leaned back, and leaned against the wall while slowly sliding down.

What did it mean just when the house was leaking, it had to continuously rain all night[3]?

This was what they meant when the house was leaking, and it had to continuously rain all night.

Ye Qiu Sheng glanced at the badly mutilated area of his own shoulder, then bitterly laughed. Desert wolves had a “Huang’s” bloodline, so their teeth were unusually good. With this one bite, it almost bit his bones off.

While leaning against the icy-cold rocks, Ye Qiu Sheng gasped
roughly.

At this time, he heard low coughing sounds come out from the
cavern to his back.

“Bai Li Shu?”      For the time being, Ye Qiu Sheng also did not have much strength left, and still leaned against the stone wall. He slightly raised his voice to ask towards the interior of the cavern.

The coughing lasted for quite a while before it stopped.

Just when Ye Qiu Sheng thought he would not get a reply, Bai Li Shu’s apparently cold and indifferent voice finally transmitted out, “En.”

Oh, it was just a single sound.

So be it. Either way, the person woke up, and no matter how they were, it was better than being unconscious and being more dead than alive.

Ye Qiu Sheng leaned against the cold and hard rocks, and looked at the mysterious and strange Ghost City in the night while the winds brought a bit of the loose sands over. The bonfire to his back flickered dimly, and Ye Qiu Sheng narrowed his eyes, then felt a bit cold.

“What is it?”

Ye Qiu Sheng replied as though nothing happened, “Nothing, a few guests came to say hello, but discovered that the owner didn’t welcome them, so they left.”

“My sense of smell has no problem, nor am I blind.”         Bai Li Shu weakly replied.

Ye Qiu Sheng leaned against the wall outside the cave, and looked at the messy floor of corpses, then laughed dully, then like always, used a frivolous tone to speak up, “Fine, then should we put it in another way? Breakfast delivered themselves to us, and so I had them stay?”

[1] 江南, refers to the region south of the Chang Jiang river (aka longest river in Asia).

[2] 铁板桥- according to Baidu, this ‘iron-plank bridge’ thing is a martial arts move typically used to dodge assassination-specific weapons in which the person, in the case that they cannot dodge to the side, plants down their feet, then stiffens their body and literally planks themselves midair… For visual cue, imagine the iconic scene from the Matrix where Neo is dodging bullets by bending the top half of his body back. I really don’t know how to properly put this in better words suitable in the text itself, so it’s merely a dodging move.

[3] 屋漏偏逢连夜⾬- just when your house has a hole on its roof, there come a series of rains every night. Or, misfortunes never come in ones.

Chapter 109

Chapter One Hundred and Nine, Numerous Mountains in Nights of Snow, Not Knowing Names. (千⼭夜雪, 不知姓名)
Ye Qiu Sheng leaned against the rocks, and found some hard liquor from his ring. His left hand patted off the lid of the jar, and then lifted it up to pour in a mouthful.

Hard liquor rolled down his throat like knives, and burned up the inside of his body like a fire, dispersing the cold airs of Ghost City’s nightly winds. Ye Qiu Sheng swayed the wine jar, “Do you want a sip too, the winds here are a bit odd.”

Those strangely-shaped rocks blocked off the wreaking winds and sands, but Ghost City still had wind blowing by. Furthermore, though this wind was not strong, when it blew onto the body, it was just like an icy knife, with the cold air seeping all the way into the gaps of the bones.

The cavern in the back did not transmit with Bai Li Shu’s answer, but Ye Qiu Sheng instead heard a few muffled sounds of coughing.

“Never mind, I almost forgot you don’t drink wine.”

Although he did not know just what kind of circumstance Bai Li Shu was in, but with some thinking, the injured shouldn’t be drinking liquor. While thinking how the injured should not drink wine, Ye Qiu Sheng himself instead poured down another mouthful of hard liquor down his stomach. He shook the wine jar, emitting a sound of liquid.

The interior of the cavern returned to peace and quiet. Ye Qiu Sheng turned his head to the side, and looked inside- the bonfire was almost about to die out from the alpha wolf pressing onto it, while the inside of the cavern was obviously particularly dim, so he could not see the young man’s face clearly. Within the dark cave, Bai Li Shu still laid on top of the rock, and did not get up.

Looks like it isn’t some small matter.

Ye Qiu Sheng turned his head over, and the messy wound on his shoulders painfully burned. He poured a mouthful of liquor, and then his left hand lifted the wine jar over his right shoulder.

The hard liquor emptied out, and completely drenched over that hideous, large wound where flesh rolled out and the bone could be seen.

“There was wind in the evening, so I brought you inside Ghost City.” Ye Qiu Sheng spoke with Bai Li Shu, but his gaze fell onto those giant and enormous rocks, thinking of something.

The scent of alcohol was strong, and filled the air.

Hard liquor mixed with blood trickled down from the wound, and soaked a large part of Ye Qiu Sheng’s lapel. While Ye Qiu Sheng rambled on with Bai Li Shu, he tossed away the wine jar. The emptied jar of hard liquor rolled on the ground, and hit the rocks, letting out a clean sound.

“The forts that Guang Wu’s migrating refugees constructed are pretty much all close to the oases. The one closest from here, still needs us to cross through Ghost City.”

It wasn’t like there was no good reason why many people were annoyed with Ye Qiu Sheng.

Even if he was a fake scholar, he was still a “scholar” at any rate- information on folk traditions, random facts of the past, Ye Qiu Sheng seemed to know quite a bit, and once he started talking, it seemed like there would be no end to it.

As Ye Qiu Sheng sat on the ground outside the cavern, he talked about the past events of Guang Wu’s refugee migration while taking out a medicinal pill from his ring, crumbling and scattering it over his own wounds.

“There was one time when Fu Yi dynasty went north, and originally planned to set off to Ghost City, then take Gua Province by surprise. However, after the three thousand-strong light cavalry entered Ghost City, they weren’t seen to come out even after a month.”

For the time being, Ye Qiu Sheng could not understand just what that strange spacial power inside his body was, and could not tell just when he could recover. He still had medicinal pills, however, he did not dare to waste them.

After roughly scattering the medicinal pill over the wound once, Ye Qiu Sheng ripped down the Confucian robe’s wide sleeves, and wrapped it around his own wounds. His right shoulder was injured quite seriously, and so it hung to the side. Unable to put any strength over it for now, he could only use his left hand to wrap his wounds.

However, he seemed to have done this sort of thing quite a lot, seeing how his actions were particularly practised.

Bai Li Shu was inside the cavern. Although he did not answer, he didn’t cut off Ye Qiu Sheng.

The night winds blew the smell of hard liquor inside, and Bai Li Shu silently listened to Ye Qiu Sheng talk about the things he long already knew before.

After wrapping the wound, Ye Qiu Sheng propped against the ground, and stood up, then pulled away the wolf corpse that pressed on top of the bonfire. The fur on the alpha wolf’s stomach was burned by the fire, completely blackened, and let off a burnt odour. Ye Qiu Sheng dragged the wolf corpse towards a place with downward wind, then took out a torch from his ring, and once again burned it with the bonfire.

After the bonfire lit up again, Ye Qiu Sheng sat down at a place close to the fire inside the cave.

He took out another jar of hard liquor from his ring, and after taking off the jar’s lid, he poured some wine over the bonfire, and the fire burned bigger with a “fwoo” sound.

The fire burned noisily. Ye Qiu Sheng leaned against the cavern’s walls, and watched the bonfire in a trance.

“How are you feeling?”        Ye Qiu Sheng placed the wine jar by his side, then turned his head to look at Bai Li Shu.

The winds of the Ghost City blew away, and with the desert wolf pack’s attack from before, Ye Qiu Sheng may be sitting in the cavern resting, but he still maintained a high level of vigilance. Since Bai Li Shu woke up, then with his personality, if he was able to sit up, then he would definitely not remain lying down.

Since Bai Li Shu did not get up, Ye Qiu Sheng surmised that he would be unable to move for the time being.

After the bonfire burned once again and was poured over with some hard liquor, the flame was much bigger than before, and the not- considerably-big cavern was lit up clearly by the fire. Ye Qiu Sheng’s own shadow cast onto the walls, and slightly warped along with the swaying of the flame.

The thin youth laid on top of the rock cushioned with several layers of clothes, and slightly lowered his eyes.

Right now, he looked once again to be like an ice blade. His features were sealed with snow, and the lines that were apparently gentle when unconscious naturally carried slivers of sharpness to it again. From looking at his expression, it was just like it was nothing. “Fine.” Bai Li Shu lightly said. Fine?
Ye Qiu Sheng was not surprised when he heard this answer.

How could he not be fine? A fellow all by themselves, even if they weren’t fine, was still fine.

However, something within expectations was only something within expectations. When Ye Qiu Sheng really heard this answer, he was suddenly very annoyed to the point he couldn’t take it. His ears seemed to resound with the dripping and dropping sounds of water, and even if hard liquor was swallowed down inside his stomach, the coldness of the karst cave still could not be kept off, and the image of huddling inside the cave once again emerged in front of his eyes.

Even though he was within a dry and arid desert, he instead once again smelled the karst cave’s cold and humid air.

He took another gulp of liquor, and dispersed the coldness from his
bones.

“Lord Bai Li.” Ye Qiu Sheng looked at Bai Li Shu to the side. He
lifted up the wine jar in his hands towards the youth, “Right now, we are still considered to be in a partnership, right? Then in that case, shouldn’t I also know just what kind of circumstances my partner is in? Otherwise, how would I know if I still need to carry you when we’re running?”

As Ye Qiu Sheng said this, he paused, and his face revealed an apparently frivolous and improper smile as usual.

“That said, carrying the Eight Sects and twelve dynasty’s number one beauty is definitely not considered as some hard job.”

Bai Li Shu raised his eyes to look towards the young man swaying the wine jar. The young man said improper words, and his face carried that frivolous and loose smile, however, that sloppiness did not reach the bottom of their eyes. The flames of the bonfire that burned up after being poured over with hard liquor fell down to the bottom of Ye Qiu Sheng’s eyes, ragingly burning away.

The blaze reflected within Ye Qiu Sheng’s eyes.

Bai Li Shu once again recalled the time when he was still Bai Li’s family head, and saw that young assassin who came to kill him on that snowy day.

The young assassin was like a newborn calf unafraid of tigers, and accepted the certain-death mission, and until the blood dyed the white snowy floor red, their eyes still jumped with a frenzied fire.

And yet, Ye Qiu Sheng with a nickname of the “Smiling Scholar” seemed very much like that assassin- even though he clearly wore spacious Confucian robes, no matter the time, he could always draw out his blade, and move about magnificently, living just like a desperate person.

With life and death just a thought away, where in the new pavilion holds a cup of wine.

Bai Li Shu hung down his eyes, and went silent for a moment, “To move, a day needs to pass.”

“Your primordial energy’s also sealed?”

Bai Li Shu made it clear that he didn’t want to explain what the reason was, but nevertheless, he replied, so Ye Qiu Sheng no longer pressed on—— this person, Bai Li Shu, seemed to have an endless and boundless amount of concerns, and the amount of secrets on his body could not be counted.

“Pretty much.” “As expected, it is still very troubling.”       Ye Qiu Sheng swayed the wine jar, and took another gulp.

Ye Qiu Sheng looked at Bai Li Shu’s appearance that was so calm like there wasn’t anything. He took up a piece of wood, and fiddled with the fire, drinking wine while talking with Bai Li Shu every so often.

Before arriving at Gua Province, when he was in the battlefield of Di Fen, he was in a constant state of high tension, and after arriving in Gua Province, his primordial energy was even sealed. At this time, after going through a fierce battle and getting injured, drowsiness rose up as an instinctive reaction.

He needed to rest for a bit.

However, it was apparent that this was not the time to rest. Other than the desert wolf pack, who knows what other things were inside Ghost City at night?

His brain was a bit dizzy and heavy, and while drinking hard liquor, Ye Qiu Sheng randomly talked with Bai Li Shu—— in truth, it was just him talking to himself.

Bai Li Shu silently listened to him speak, and was pulled all over the country(rambled on), unable to tell east from west.

Ye Qiu Sheng was clearly Tai Shang Sect’s eldest disciple brother, yet was not seen to stay in the sect for a few days in the year, running all around the land of the twelve dynasties, but he really did see quite a few rare and strange things. The ships and merchant groups of Qi Qin dynasty’s southern region, the conservative formation masters of Dong Zhou dynasty, the tower temple with Buddhist beads in Bao Dan dynasty……

As Ye Qiu Sheng went on, his voice suddenly turned low.

He was talking about a Mu Zi temple[1] of Qi Qin dynasty overlooking the sea, and when he spoke halfway, he suddenly stopped. Qi Qin dynasty’s southeast region all overlooked the sea.

Within the prefectures and provinces in Qi Qin dynasty’s south region overlooking the sea, were big and small Mu Zi temples. A goddess holding a baby in her arms stood on the sea floor, and the area by the goddess’ legs were calm and peaceful, with the surface of the sea still like a mirror.

Other than fishermen who would go pray when they went out to sea, there would often be mothers carrying children of the fishermen to pray to the goddess.

Ye Qiu Sheng once saw a mother bring a child in to pray from afar.

Ye Qiu Sheng lifted up the wine jar with a little bit left, and stared at the flickering bonfire. The corners of his mouth were pulled back, and he laughed, then said all of a sudden, “This name, Qiu Sheng, was something the shitty old man came up for me. He said, when he picked me up, it was autumn, and thus gave this name to me.”

He had no father or mother- the shitty old man picked him up in an autumn day, and brought him back to Tai Shang Sect. Even the last name, Ye, was thought of when the shitty old man picked him up, and a leaf(ye) fell on his forehead.

Ye Qiu Sheng, Ye Qiu Sheng. A name made up casually, without any meaning whatsoever.

Ye Qiu Sheng suddenly lost the interest in speaking up again, and started drinking wine.

“I do not have a name.”   Bai Li Shu who did not say anything before suddenly spoke up.

Ye Qiu Sheng turned to look at him.

Bai Li Shu looked at the bonfire, and his vision once again emerged with that boundless heavy snow, and the man dressed in black robes coming out from the snow, kneeling down in front of him. And thus, he asked that person, who he was.

“I asked a person once, who I am, and he told me, your surname is Bai Li, first name Shu, and so, I am called Bai Li Shu.” He softly said.

[1] Mother and son/child/baby temple. This should be related with a certain place call the mother and son grave ( ⺟⼦坟), in which buries a mother and her child’s bodies (which apparently was preserved so well they
haven’t decayed to the present day?). Pavilions and temples built to this grave worship that mystical phenomenon of vitality in the mother and child.

Chapter 110

Chapter One Hundred and Ten, Deep in the Clouds, Where the Mandate of Heaven Hides. (云深之处, 天机潜藏)
Loose sands drifted down.

Ye Qiu Sheng and Bai Li Shu both did not say anything anymore. The bonfire burned, and let out small crackling sounds. The two eldest disciple brothers of the Eight Immortal Sects went silent, and each thought to their own things.

The winds blew.

This night no longer had any other accidents, unknown if it was because the desert wolves’ corpses were piled over the ground at the entrance, frightening other predators wandering inside the Ghost City.

When the skies gradually lit up, the sandstorm also gradually settled down, and the winds no longer came down with streams of sand. Gua Province’s daytime was arid and scorching. The predators within Ghost City mostly hid in the day and came out at night, and so, for the Bai Li Shu and Ye Qiu Sheng at this time, the daytime of Ghost City was much more safer than the nights.

After having poured down quite a bit of hard liquor last night, Ye Qiu Sheng felt like his throat was so dry it was terrible.

He massaged his temples, and slightly regretted it. He should have taken some wolf blood while the corpses were still warm yesterday, since finding water in the desert was not some easy task. He and Bai Li Shu were not people who would be so idle to prepare water in their rings.

If Bai Li Shu was alright, with a single strike binding ice, melting some into water might be fine.

But at present, Bai Li Shu’s circumstances were even worse than his
own.

While thinking about how to obtain some water, Ye Qiu Sheng
stripped that alpha wolf’s skin into eight pieces.

He used his clearly extraordinary ancient blade to do this kind of work of a butcher like slaying pigs and killing sheep[1], yet was not seen to have a single bit of unwillingness. His actions were particularly practised, as though he did these kinds of things often.

When Ye Qiu Sheng went outside of the cavern, he looked at Bai Li Shu. Ever since Bai Li Shu woke up, he no longer dozed off, and laid inside the cavern, slightly lowering down his eyes, thinking of something.

This fellow…… Really is the type that if they were able to hold on, they would definitely hold on.

While lamenting, Ye Qiu Sheng skilfully put up a small bonfire once again, and started to roast wolf meat. When roasting the wolf meat, he thought to other things.

The population in Gua Province was very small. The north- migrating refugees of Guang Wu’s years mostly settled near oases, and the most closest blockhouse[2] was on the other side of Ghost City. The sand dunes in Gua Province stretched on, so if one was not a local, if they wanted to find a way within the desert, they could only rely on the stars of the night. However, during the night, Gua Province had sandstorms wreaking havoc, and so wanting to steer clear of Ghost City while heading to a blockhouse was, without a doubt, not possible.

The most reliable method was to go through from within Ghost City.
place. However, Ghost City…… did not seem like some safe and sound

The place they were at in the present was only the outer ring of Ghost City, and as for what was inside Ghost City itself, was not easy to say.

The legends regarding Ghost City were many- some say that Ghost City was once a Xi Yu[3] Buddhist city, however, later on, they didn’t know what kind of wrongdoings the monks committed, but the heavens befell punishment, and the monks with highly profound cultivation all turned to rock. In Ghost City’s deepest areas, one could find eighteen big and tall rock mountains, and from afar, they would seem like monks lowering their heads.

As for whether Ghost City was a Buddhist city met with the wrath of Heaven, Ye Qiu Sheng did not know.

Gua Province was located between the borders of Jin Tang and Fu Yi, and was within the range of Jiu Xuan Sect and Tian Ji Valley, while Tai Shang Sect was fairly far away from here. However, Ye Qiu Sheng once heard the shitty old man mention, Gua Province is the place of the phoenix’s return. There were also Tai Shang Sect disciples gathering experience who disappeared here, but the sect’s elders never did say anything regarding this.

What was the place of the phoenix’s return?

Ye Qiu Sheng could not understand all throughout this time.

The shitty old man’s nature of saying one half and hiding the other always thoroughly annoyed him.

While roasting the wolf meat, Ye Qiu Sheng looked towards the deep part of the Ghost City- the big and tall giant rocks stood up like mountain peaks, gathering into forests, and did not have the mysteriousness of the night under the sun, and looked to just simply be a labyrinth. The other half of Ghost City’s dangers came from this word “labyrinth”- the giant rocks stood as great as forests, naturally according to a certain order, so when people walked within it, it was very easy to lose one’s direction. Ordinary people being trapped to death here was heard of time and time again.

“Do we need to go through Ghost City?” After being unable to understand what the “place of the phoenix’s return” from the shitty old man’s mouth meant after a long while, Ye Qiu Sheng asked Bai Li Shu while turning over the soon-to-be-cooked wolf meat.

“Tian Ji Valley.” Instead, Bai Li Shu did not answer Ye Qiu Sheng’s question. His facial colour was still very pale, but the tone of his words could not be heard whether his circumstances were good or bad at all, “Ever made contact with Tian Ji Valley’s people?”

“Tian Ji Valley?”       The hand Ye Qiu Sheng was using to rotate the roast meat froze, then he lifted his head up, and looked to Bai Li Shu while raising his eyebrows. “That bunch of con-men[4]?”

Of the Eight Immortal Sects, Tian Ji Valley could be said to be the most mysterious. They proclaimed that they “look at the black and white with cold eyes of an outsider, and if one wanted to find out where the pieces fall, then ask Heaven’s(Tian) will(Ji)”. The place where the main sect was located at was within the ancient mountains bordering between Fu Yi dynasty’s southern region and Bao Dan’s highlands, and unlike other immortal sects, they were hidden within layers of clouds and mist- there were even layers and layers of illusion spells put down, just like they were afraid other people would know.

Tian Ji Valley was typically content with calculating out Heaven’s will, proficient with both magic and divination, and good at deducting the heavens and earth.

Of course, these were things that Tian Ji Valley proclaimed themselves. The impression Ye Qiu Sheng had of Tian Ji Valley always stopped on those two words, “con-men”. The direct line of disciples from Tian Ji Valley were just like their sect, appearing very little in front of people. Ye Qiu Sheng had dealt with them a few times, and only felt like those people only said a third of what they meant, and their morals of sneaky and shady conduct could practically be a contender with the shitty old man’s.

Even within the Eight Immortal Sects, Tian Ji Valley could be considered rather mysterious.
And Tian Ji Valley was also a sect with the least amount of people. Those few times he met Tian Ji Valley’s direct line of disciples,
those direct disciples were all draped in cloaks, wearing a white-coloured bamboo hat, either appearing within the early morning’s dim-blue morning light, or going far off within the time of the late night, trailing off fleetingly.

However……

Ye Qiu Sheng suddenly recalled something, and looked at Bai Li
Shu.

Without mentioning anything else, just through this one point of
seeming to completely calculate out even the mandate of Heaven and holding secrets upon secrets, Bai Li Shu acted quite like those of Tian Ji Valley. When Ye Qiu Sheng reached this point, he could not help but knit his eyebrows. Bai Li Shu’s look of seeming to account for everything, truth be told, really didn’t seem like a lunatic of Jiu Xuan Sect, but rather like those people of Tian Ji Valley.

Bai Li Shu listened to Ye Qiu Sheng talk about the things about Tian Ji Valley, and did not say anything.

Some fragmented, hard-to-connect images continuously emerged inside his mind.

—— A group of people wearing bamboo hats silently walked on the plank road of a thousand ren[5]-high cliff. They were quiet, saying not a single word. Layers and layers of clouds and mist hovered within the extremely old, big and tall mountain ranges, and an ancient shrine flickered in view within the deep valley.

The surging deep ravine crossed within the canyon, with big waves sweeping to and fro. The white sprays of water splashed up and crashed down within the downward-leaning canyon, and flying birds flew by within the bottom part of the canyon like arrows, rushing into the layers of cloud and mist.

The people wearing white bamboo hats walked on top of the cliff wall, while the sky’s light hazily fell down from a very far place.

In the middle of that group of people, a person carrying a sword on their back held hands with a very young boy.

When passing through a turning corner, the young boy being held hands with turned to look.

In that instant, Bai Li Shu saw the young boy’s face.

—— It carried bits of immaturity, yet was very familiar. That was his face.
The images in his mind broke like water splashes crashing into cliffs in the canyons, chaotic and indiscernible, and yet, each and every image was that familiar, so familiar it was like he really walked over top that thousand ren-high cliff’s path before.

The image of walking on the plank road very quickly shattered, and Bai Li Shu saw that group of people who first walked on the road already reach the deep part of the giant valley. An age-old and magnificent temple was built in the deep area of the layers of clouds and mist, and on top of the eaves of the temple, was an old beast’s statue, with bronze bells hanging underneath those eaves. When the mountain’s winds blew by, the bronze bells swayed, emitting a clean and crisp sound, echoing within the mountain valley.

The people wearing the bamboo hats knelt down within the temple, and kowtowed towards a stone tablet without any words on it. Only the young boy that was originally lead along stood within the temple, and lifted their head up to look at that giant empty stone tablet, with their face carrying a faint grievance.

……

“Tian Ji Valley are masters at magic and divination. According to legends, within Tian Ji Valley is a legendary divine rock that came from the ancient times.”

These images continuously emerged, picture after picture, so realistic it was strange. Along with Ye Qiu Sheng’s voice, the old images broke apart, and new ones emerged.

Within the boundless snowy night, his own voice once again resounded by his ears: Who am I?

Bai Li Shu leaned his head against the wall, and lowered his eyes, concealing the weariness in his eyes. He lightly responded with a sound, signalling for Ye Qiu Sheng to continue on.

◈◈◈
When Ye Qiu Sheng was speaking about his understanding of Tian Ji Valley, and rotating the roast meat with his hands, on top of the dunes outside Ghost City.

After a night of sandstorms had passed, the rises and falls of the sand dunes already changed again, the crescent-shaped edges of the sandy hills were blown moving by the slight wind, and fell with loose sands in volumes.

Far in the distance, sounds of camel bells rang about. The sound of camel bells within the desert were distant, yet were filled with a penetrating strength.

A long caravan wandered along the horizon, heading towards the Ghost City formed from countless giant rocks within Gua Province. The amount of people in the caravan was not small- there was about one hundred people, and the camels’ backs hung with heavy luggage, including many folded tents. Of the people within the caravan, were young and old, but no camels carrying luggage were carrying the elderly.

The half-grown children walked along with the adults while leading the camels in the sandy dunes.

No matter if that person was young or old in the group, their heads wore a wide bamboo hat, donned in spacious outer robes, while the bamboo hat’s borders hung with veils, obscuring the sunlight.

This caravan looked to not be like a merchant group coming to Gua Province.

The caravan was led by a particularly big and tall white camel, and riding on this camel’s body, was an elderly person whose neck wore a heavy and long necklace. The old person’s hands held an old map made out of some animal’s skin.

“A’Sa, we’ve arrived.”

A big and tall stalwart man led the elderly person’s camel. His waist was tied with a broad belt inlaid with silver ornaments and gems, hanging a curved blade embedded with precious stones.

The caravan stopped outside Ghost City. Everyone looked towards the strangely-formed rocks, and underneath the sunlight, those giant rocks looked particularly big and tall.

The elderly person was supported by the man, and got off from the camel. He walked in front of a giant rock, observed the giant rock’s shape, then spread open the map tightly held in his hands. After looking at the map for a long time, the elderly person once again looked at the sun in the sky.

“We’ve arrived.” The elderly person said. His voice was very hoarse and old, however, it was particularly steady and powerful.

[1] 杀猪宰⽺- also an idiom for celebration, or where one prepares sacrifices/offerings for the gods and praying.

[2] or, small fort.

[3] western regions, specifically, a term that refers to the west of Yu Men Guan/pass(⽟门关)
[4] or, liars pretending/doing things under the names of ghosts and gods (神棍).

[5] 仞- another unit of measurement. Equal to seven or eight chi(尺).

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