Zhao Ge Chapter 131-140

Chapter 131

Chapter One Hundred Thirty-one, Where They Come From, Who They Are. (来⾃何⽅, ⾝为何⼈)
“Eighteen Clans of Old……”

Standing at the very center of Namu’s city, in front of the big doors to a temple, was Bai Li Shu with his gold-coloured longbow. He lifted his head up, and looked towards this magnificent divine temple—— perhaps it should be called an imperial palace. The black stone let out an apparent kind heaviness and majesty, while the stone pillars on the temple were engraved, coiled with the Scarlet Flame in the form of snakes.

Bai Li Shu stood before the arched pillars, and did not immediately go inside.

After the northwest gates were opened, wind from the surroundings poured inside, and swam within the stone city’s big and small streets, with the slightly cool winds coming around.

The answer he was searching for was deep inside the temple, however, for a moment there, he sort of didn’t want to go inside.

The trail left by Bai Li is acquainted by none, but whether Heaven’s will has been calculated to its end is not yet known. Bai Li Shu actually knew what those people said of him. However, just like he said to Ye Qiu Sheng, many people felt like there was nothing he didn’t know, when he’d rather he be ignorant to everything. The more one knew, the more they would also bear. This kind of thing, responsibility, was never something that could be rejected with two or three words. At first, that person who came out from the snow and took him away, they told him who he was- Bai Li clan’s family head. And so, even though in the very end, he discovered that that person had another goal from the very beginning, when he saw those young members who worshipped him like a god, was he really able to let it all be?

No.

Hence, he is Dong Ling’s Bai Li, Bai Li’s family head.

Only, at present, he finally had to make clear of one question: Was he called Bai Li Shu, or…… was Bai Li Shu him?

Bai Li, Bai Li, Zhao Ge’s Bai Li, herd to Dong Ling.

Dong Ling’s Bai Li, Jiu Xuan’s Bai Li, the Old Clan’s Bai Li…… In all the confusion and mess, there were these many things. He woke up ignorant to his own past, and walked in the nights of fluttering snow, day after day after day. Then, someone told him, he is Dong Ling’s Bai Li family head, and so, he went back.

And then, when his sickness turned serious and he returned to the West, he opened his eyes, and became Jiu Xuan’s Bai Li.

The memories of Dong Ling’s Bai Li were incomparably clear, however, after he became Jiu Xuan’s Bai Li, he instead had other fragmented, yet familiar images continuously emerging inside. He read through all the ancient books within the library pavilion, and when he read those either true or false records of history, his eyes would emerge with clear and distant images along with it.

However, those images were that real, so real it did not seem like a hallucination, but more like he once personally witnessed it, and personally experienced these things.

So, is Jiu Xuan Sect’s Bai Li also him…… too? Bai Li Shu carried the longbow, and stood in front of the temple all alone. His figure was thin, and the face a pale white. When there was not a single person around, his features finally revealed a blankness and weariness that could no longer be concealed.

“Who am I?”      He asked in a low and quiet voice, with a vacant and grieving expression.

The winds that came from all around, were that vast, that cold. The young man’s wide robes slightly fluttered around.

In the end, he gripped the Golden Crow longbow, and entered the black ancient temple.

The sounds of wind turned distant, like a sigh.

◈◈◈
Jiu Xuan Sect, Jade Harmony Pavilion.

The elders silently sat to the left and right, while Jiu Xuan Sect’s sect leader, Yi He Ping, sat at the top seat, also in silence. The atmosphere in the main hall was oppressing.

Standing in the middle of the main hall, was a chubby person dressed in mourning clothes with Nine Provinces Private Bank’s symbols on them, Liao Qian.

His cultivation was weak, but when standing in front of all the elders of the number one of the immortal sects, he still stood straight. Although he was still a fatty, compared to when he was at Bing Province, he already thinned down quite a bit, and hurriedly rushed from a great distance to Jiu Xuan Sect’s main sect.

In front of Liao Qian, was placed with a row of caskets.

The caskets were created from first-grade sandalwood, nevertheless, in the end, they were only just some ordinary, powerless caskets. However, not a single one of these seated elders who had established names for so long, with deep and profound cultivation, who were part of the immortal sects’ number one Jiu Xuan Sect, were willing- not one person wanted to push those caskets open.

“Someone requested that I bring back his senior brothers and sisters.” Liao Qian said hoarsely.

Yi He Ping stood up, and walked to the front of the caskets. He extended his hand out, and slowly pushed open the lid of a casket. The inside of the casket was placed with a set of white bones dressed with a shroud[1], with a waist plate cast from night iron placed on top of the skeleton: Qian Range, Chen Yan.

A second, third, fourth……

The inside of the main hall was as silent as death. Inside the caskets, some skeletons were more intact, some only had a few bones to them, and there were also some intact corpses…… Yi He Ping slowly opened all the caskets personally. There was even one casket with half a spiritual tablet inside—— that was a Jiu Xuan tower-guarding disciple’s spiritual tablet that was originally placed at the peak of Bing Province’s Qing Ming tower.

After observing these caskets, the Eight Immortal Sects’ number one, Jiu Xuan Sect’s sect leader Yi He Ping gave a bow to this insignificant Nine Province Private Bank disciple, Liao Qian.

“Much thanks.” Yi He Ping softly said.

Of the elders silently observing those caskets, He Zhou’s father, He Qing Chuan gripped his fist—— all this time, he still could not understand Yi He Ping.

Not paying any heed to the honour as the sect leader to bow and give thanks to a Nine Provinces Private Bank disciple, yet also able to make the decision to sacrifice that many disciples without any hesitation…… Just what exactly is he thinking? He Qing Chuan could not understand him. “There is……” Liao Qian’s voice was so very dry. He tried hard to appear with a look of not caring at all, and yet his fingertips were shaking. “There is one more.”

Liao Qian lifted his hand up, and another sandalwood casket was placed on the floor. He bore a pale face, and personally pushed open the casket lid himself.

The casket did not have a corpse, no bones, nor waist place, only a set of clothes.

“He is called Zhou Wen An, Bing Province’s tower-guarding disciple. He did not leave, and was still guarding the tower to the very end.” Liao Qian’s voice cracked.       “He wanted to be with his senior brothers and sisters.”

Yi He Ping stood in front of this casket, and slightly froze.

—— Senior, this little brother will watch over here, Jiu Xuan Sect…… will be in your hands, Senior. —— Senior, I understand.

……

“Put them in the memorial temple.” Yi He Ping quickly returned to normal. He instructed with a low voice, then turned to leave.

After leaving Jade Harmony Pavilion, Yi He Ping lifted his head up, and painfully closed his eyes.

Jiu Xuan Sect, Jiu Xuan Sect.

The world’s matchless Jiu Xuan Sect, the immortal sects’ number one sect, Jiu Xuan Sect.

“Senior.” Someone from the back called to him. It was He Qing
Chuan.

He followed out. Yi He Ping stood still, but did not turn his head back. He asked what was it- his tone was calm, and was no different from usual.

“You……” He Qing Chuan paused, but in the end, still did not ask that question he wanted to ask, and instead mentioned another matter, “They have already returned.”

“It’s about time.” Yi He Ping knew he was talking about He Zhou and the others, “Let He Zhou about the things he should know about.”

“It’s about time.”

He repeated once again.
[1] 敛⾐/服- a set of clothes the dead wears inside the coffin/casket as a part of the process of the funeral (as opposed to 丧服 earlier which are the mourning clothes that the others wear, which in Chinese culture is all white).

Chapter 132

Chapter One Hundred Thirty-two, People of Bai Li, the Grave-senders. (百⾥之⼈, 葬墓之徒)
From the immortal cultivation realm’s perspective, a profound relationship existed between the heavens and earth, mountains and rivers, the deceased, and living- all the beings were closely interrelated to each other, while the five elemental auras circulated throughout the entire world[1]. In the road to cultivation, there was unique regard for mountain shape and terrain, and in places where the five elements gathered together, there would be the so-called spiritual openings.

When one cultivated above a spiritual opening, with spiritual energy abundant, one would be able to double the result with half the effort. Thus, there would then be a theory on cave-dwellings that the cave-dwellings of immortal cultivators would definitely be located above a spiritual opening.

But like how ley lines were divided into high and low classes, and how mountains also had the divisions of poor ranges and excellent peaks, there were also divisions of good and bad for spiritual openings. The nine peaks and eight ranges went through changes made by countless almighty beings of Jiu Xuan Sect, that in the end, combined the power of the heavens and earth, transformed Yin and Yang, moved spiritual energy, and incorporating those with the originally natural mountain terrain, created a batch of excellent spiritual openings.

And the main spiritual opening in the main peak, was typically the sect’s classified secret. Forget going inside, unimportant disciples did not even know where it was located. Xuan Li Peak.

As one of the branches of the sect in charge of rule enforcement, the terrain of Xuan Li Peak was mostly swift and fierce like mountains of knives, connected through rope bridges, with spirit ravines breaking through the skies. And at this time, in the deepest parts of the ley lines gathered in Xuan Li Peak’s main peak, within a cave laid with many types of formations, He Zhou was sitting down in a cross-legged position.

This was Xuan Li Peak’s main spiritual opening. Within the deep area underneath the ley lines, inside the cave that was considerable spacious, the stone walls all around emerged with a kind of lazuli-like translucent colour, while the interior of the cave drifted around with countless dream-like specks of light. The surface of the stone wall was engraved with many ancient characters that already got lost throughout the generations, like it was recording down something.

In front of He Zhou, laid open an old scroll.

As though in an instant, those days where He Zhou was the sect’s inner-sect disciple, bringing younger brothers and sisters to enforce the sect’s rules, fighting with Jun Wan Bai and others, suddenly turned into a very, very distant past, apparent that it was immature and naive. That one journey to Medicine Valley, participating in the Medicine Valley’s master’s birthday, became the prelude to the upheaval.

First, it was encountering the extinct fog raptor from the era of Ten Thousand Immortals, and then, it was the accident in Bing Province’s Qing Ming tower.

After the accident with Bing Province’s Qing Ming tower, all that he was familiar with completely changed.

In the ancient battlefield of Di Fen, within the deepest part of the Tower of Qiu Huang, the Qian Range representative disciple he recognized, Shen Chang Ge, betrayed the sect, and the sect disciples who were with them were either dead or gravely injured. In the end, those who successfully returned, only remained with him, Jun Wan Bai, Li Xin, Qin Jiu, and Chu Zhi Yuan, them five. The eldest disciple brother who they previously felt was the most annoying of them all, their whereabouts were unknown, and at present, had not yet returned to the sect.

After he recovered from the injuries suffered from within the chaotic space migration, he heard the news of the Medicine Valley Master’s death.

The news of Medicine Valley Master’s death seemed like a lead-in, opening into that uneasy prologue. Before He Zhou could make clear of the reason behind Bai Li Shu’s strange actions on that journey prior, he was taken by his father to the deep part of Xuan Li Peak, to that main spiritual opening that was the sect’s secret.

And then, for the first time, he knew of some things. Some secrets regarding the Eighteen Clans of Old.
In the era of Chaos, ancient emperors ruled over the vast lands of the twelve dynasties, and along with the increase of the emperors’ might every day, their ruling too gradually turned cruel with each passing day. Thus, emerged a group of rebels. In the age of the ancient emperors, names themselves carried a brand of being ruled over- within the territories ancient emperors ruled, people would take the region’s name as their surname, and at the same time they possessed a surname, they would sign a contract of being ruled over by the ancient emperor.

Thus, this group of rebels concealed their own names, and changed them to eighteen surnames, forming eighteen groups of rebels.

This was the so-called Eighteen Clans(surnames) of Old.

They sought from the world the most ancient, the most primitive surnames, and crowned it to their own, and from that, erased the contract with the ancient emperors. These eighteen branches of rebels stole the ancient emperors’ strength, and became the very first immortals and demons, while the immortal cultivation methods of present were handed down from the Eighteen Clans of that time. Within that era, the Eighteen Clans of Old did the most craziest thing, like hitting a rock with an egg: Killing emperors.

The ancient emperors suppressed and killed these rebels, and in the times they were in hiding and evading, they used a hard-to-imagine patience and courage to draft up an inconceivable plan of killing the ancient emperors, sprouting forth in the era of Chaos, passing through the era of Chaos and Ten Thousand Immortals, and finally made all the ancient emperors fall.

The ancient emperors were finally finished by their hands.

They called themselves the Grave-senders, sending all the ancient emperors into their graves.

However, in the later period of the era of Ten Thousand Immortals, a big incident occurred, making the immortals disappear, and the Eighteen Clans of Old were hence buried in the thick dust of history.

“Your mother, is a descendant of the Eighteen Clans of Old.”
For the first time, He Qing Chuan gave the answer to that question He Zhou asked for so many years.

Starting from the time He Zhou remembered things, he no longer saw his mother, when he asked other people in the sect, they would either be like himself, only knowing that she seemed to be a cultivator with low cultivation, and not long after she gave birth to him, died due to failing to break through. Or, they would avoid the question, and be unwilling to answer.

He Zhou also asked his father many times, however, his father never replied to it directly, and would not even tell him his mother’s name, only saying it was not the time.

—— So, the so-called “time”, was the time of the accident of Bing Province’s Qing Ming tower, when he saw the various things left behind from the Savage era and the era of Chaos? It was this kind of time just before the rain was about to come?
on. He Zhou did not make a noise, and waited for his father to continue

He Qing Chuan took down the sabre that he would carry on his back no matter the time and placed it on the ground. His palm pressed onto the body of the sabre, and a line of light flew through. He Zhou only heard a breaking sound, and the body of the sabre shattered. Within the fragments of the heavy sabre, emerged a comparatively thin and light, extremely fine Han Blade[2].

The entire body was translucent, just like a blade of ice.

“This is what your mother left for you.” He Qing Chuan handed the ice blade to He Zhou. When he looked at Han Blade, his expression turned a bit blank.

—— There will always be things that one has no say over. All of us have no way of being wilful. You are Jiu Xuan’s Xuan Li Peak peak master, while I am the Guan family’s sole descendant. Neither of us have the right to be wilful. —— If that day comes, then give the blade to Zhou’er.

He Qing Chuan’s ears seemed to resound with a familiar voice, and he sighed.

He Zhou took the Han Blade, and just when the blade entered his hands, he felt a sort of intimacy that originated from his blood.

…… This is, the item that Mother left for him.

“Your mother, Guan Zhi Yu[3].” He Qing Chuan paused, “She is Guan Ling’s daughter.”

He Zhou abruptly raised his head up, and dumbfoundedly looked at He Qing Chuan.

He Qing Chuan said just now, his mother was a descendent of the Eighteen Clans of Old, and then said, she is Guan Ling’s daughter—— Guan Ling was actually a descendent of the Eighteen Clans of Old?! But according to the commoners, Guan Ling was clearly only an ordinary person.

Guan Ling was his grandfather, a person of the Eighteen Clans of Old……

In an instant, He Zhou felt like he caught onto something. The interlinking theory around Qing Ming tower was something Guan Ling proposed, so Guan Ling would have definitely participated in a lot the process in connecting the Qing Ming tower. Furthermore, he was also a descendant of the Eighteen Clans of Old that rebelled against the ancient emperors in the era of Chaos- then, for Bing Province’s Qing Ming tower to connect with the ancient battlefield of Di Fen and the Qiu Huang tower, would have a reason.

“It is as you guessed.” A father knew their son the best[4]. When He Qing Chuan looked at He Zhou’s expression, he knew that he managed to think of something.

“The Qing Ming towers connecting to solve its instability, was only a camouflage on the surface.” He Qing Chuan calmly spoke of a shocking secret, “The real goal was to borrow the aid of the combined world’s images in the Qing Ming towers, and survey and seal those things related with the era of Chaos and era of Ten Thousand Immortals.”

“Like the ancient battleground connected to Bing Province’s Qing Ming tower, and that Qiu Huang tower.” He Zhou gripped his fist, and lowly said.

“Right.”

“Is each Qing Ming tower like this?” He Zhou said lightly. He recalled those one hundred seventy thousand skeletons, recalled Zhou Wen An, and recalled those caskets Liao Qian sent over.

“Fact intertwines with fiction[5].” He Qing Chuan shook his head, “Furthermore, to open the sealed pathway in a Qing Ming tower is not a simple task. Bing Province……” When He Qing Chuan mentioned Bing Province, his face passed through a complicated expression.

“Bing Province’s Qing Ming tower is an exception.”      In the end, he lightly spoke, and He Zhou did not hear out his abnormality.

“The Qing Ming towers are one of the entrances to those unstable spaces. Those spaces, were called “graves” by the people of the Eighteen Clans. In the era of Chaos, ancient emperors commanded the world, so their falls would create a huge impact. Those people of the Eighteen Clans separated the land where ancient emperors fell and trapped them in a different space. Those spaces were the places of the ancient emperors’ burial, and also the ancient emperors’ graves.”

When He Zhou heard this from He Qing Chuan, he finally understood the reason why there was no one who ever discovered the grave of an ancient emperor on the lands of the twelve dynasties.

“The people of the Eighteen Clans, from a certain point of view, are the immortals from the era of Ten Thousand Immortals. They are the people who were in contact with the ancient emperors’ strength the earliest.”

“But the era of Ten Thousand Immortals was discontinued.”
The secrets of the ancient eras were being spread open in front of He Zhou, he barely maintained his calm and reasoning.

There was a kind of feeling, like how a person constantly lived within heavy, dense fog, when suddenly one day, that dense fog all dissipated, and he saw what was behind the dense fog, that cruel truth and reality.

“The ancient emperors were not that easy to kill either.” He Qing Chuan calmly stated, “The ancient emperors were even able to command the world. Each ancient emperor’s fall required a big price to pay. As for what exactly happened in the era of Ten Thousand Immortals, there were only obscure guesses, and there was a high possibility that the remaining ancient emperors joined together to do something in the end, that lead to the era of Ten Thousand Immortals’ severance in the end. From that time on, the Eighteen Clans disappeared from the world’s eyes, and what was left, were their very few descendants.”

“Like my mother.”

“Like her.” He Qing Chuan went silent for a while, then nodded his head. He seemed to not be that willing to mention He Zhou’s mother, his wife, even at this time.

“Just which [surnames] are the Eighteen Clans of Old?” He Zhou stroked the Han Blade, and softly asked.

“You cannot know all of it right now.” He Qing Chuan did not answer He Zhou’s question, “But there is something that should also be told to you now. I know you were opposed with Sect Leader and the elders making Bai Li Shu as the eldest disciple all this time.”

He Zhou opened his mouth. Perhaps he was opposed before, but now, he did not mind calling that person Eldest Brother.

“There is no need to be unsatisfied.” He Qing Chuan waved his hand, “His surname is Bai Li. Bai Li is the most mysterious branch of the Eighteen Clans, because…… they are……”

“Gravekeepers.”

[1] The specific term is 六宇, literally six universes. Refers to the entire world/universe.

[2] Han, for cold/frosty/icy.

[3] 关之⽻- Zhi Yu, of feathers, or plume. The Guan character is the same as the Guan Ling.
[4] 知⼦莫若⽗- or nobody understands the son more than their father.
[5] 虚虚实实- sometimes true, sometimes false, at the same time. Hella fancy way for saying yes and no. 

Chapter 133

Chapter One Hundred Thirty-three, People Who Should Die, Matters of the Old Past. (该死之⼈, 陈年往事)
The questions that he always had received an explanation at this very moment.

For that long, they as Jiu Xuan Sect’s core disciples were all constantly bothered by the fact that Bai Li Shu who appeared out of thin air became the eldest disciple brother, and yet today, He Zhou finally knew the answer.

Back then, Yi He Ping brought Bai Li Shu to the sect, the isolated elders all came out, and three days later, Bai Li Shu became Jiu Xuan Sect’s eldest disciple brother. That was not an abnormality, but a destined matter. Because…… Bai Li Shu, of the surname Bai Li, was part of the most mysterious branch of the Eighteen Clans.

The Eighteen Clans of Old overturned the ancient emperors’ rule, and the clan of Bai Li that guarded over the burial grounds of the ancient emperors, were the observers of the era’s most biggest secret.

And so, when Bai Li Shu was taken back to Jiu Xuan Sect, everything became predestined.

He would be Jiu Xuan Sect’s eldest disciple brother.

These were things that he and other core disciples had no qualifications of getting in contact with. He Zhou recalled something.

When he first saw Bai Li Shu, it was the first day that Sect Leader brought Bai Li Shu back to the sect. He was outside the Jade Harmony Pavilion, and saw a young boy following behind Sect Leader, standing straight up like a blade of snow. At that time, that person already had that emotionless appearance, with their features all cold and indifferent.

At that time, he felt this bastard truly was revolting, with a lofty look, as though soaring up to a certain place one was unable to reach, and observing with cold eyes.

But the truth was, that person certainly ascended up to an even higher place.

That person was a part of the Eighteen Clans’ Bai Li, the guards to the era’s greatest secret, and originally not the same species as the immature bastards who would get into fights of personal feelings over trivial matters.

He Zhou suddenly felt it was hilarious.

Those many years of resentment, in the very end, was merely just the conceit of vigorous youths.

Bai Li Shu…… he should have known about many things from the very beginning.

After He Qing Chuan left a jade box, he left, and He Zhou leaned against the wall, reminiscing about many things of the past.

Long before his provocation, Bai Li Shu was heading to Xuan Li Peak to receive that assignment of finding the 《Three Ancient Emperors’ Drawing 》 , and the place where the 《 Three Ancient Emperors’
Drawing》 was left in, was located in the first Qing Ming tower that one of the descendants of the Eighteen Clans, Guan Ling, constructed—— now that he thought about it, he now understood the reason behind incident of Guang Han Prefecture’s Mausoleum of Ten Million. The reason why the Mausoleum of Ten Million would turn into the forbidden territory that people were banned from entering later on, there being a cultivator turning into a demon was clearly only a saying for the outside- but with some thought, the real reason should be not that different from Bing Province. It was that, as an entrance to the sealed and connected burial grounds of an ancient emperor, it appeared with a mishap.

Thinking about it now, when Bai Li Shu took on that assignment back then, it was clearly not because he got provoked by him that time, and was misunderstood under the ignorance—— he originally went because of that assignment.

“Hah, what is this? Self-delusion?” He Zhou lifted his head up, leaned against the stone wall, and let out a brief laugh.

As expected, he still found Bai Li Shu an eyesore, no matter how he looked him.

That bastard who would plan and calculate everything, no matter the time, would make people feel a depression like one’s energy could not come out.

That bastard originally wanted to go to the Mausoleum of Ten Million, so much for him for feeling ashamed for such a long time, then braving the risk of being discovered by Xuan Li Peak’s guardian elder discovering him, and using all his efforts to sneak into Xuan Li Peak’s secret library, stealing Guan Ling’s book out of there. The person most likely already made the appropriate preparations- that tangling of over half a month of his was practically just like a joke.

A self-delusional, ignorant person.

Before entering Bing Province City, Bai Li Shu called out to him, and asked him if he looked over Guan Ling’s book—— hah, out of the entire world, he was the only idiot to think that Bai Li Shu, that kind of person who knew anything, needed to see some shitty Guan Ling’s book. In the end, the one who actually needed it was himself. He Zhou lowered his head, unfolded his left hand, and looked at the shattered jade in his palm.

That was the spiritual jade sealed with the sword technique that Bai Li Shu gave him. Once the sword technique had been released, this piece of spirit jade would be considered scrap. However, it was not known why, but He Zhou kept the scrapped, shattered spirit jade.

While He Zhou looked at the shattered jade, he turned expressionless.

After a long time, he put the shattered jade away, and took up the Han Blade his mother left for him, cut open his hand, with the blood dropping onto Han Blade, slowly seeping inside.

He started refining this Han Blade.

When the blood dropped onto the Han Blade, the body emerged with a few small characters: Seventh of the Old Clan, Guan.

“Gave it to him already?”

After He Qing Chuan left the main spiritual opening, he went to Jiu Xuan’s main peak, and saw Yi He Ping playing chess within the stone pagoda.

Very few people knew, the friendship between Yi He Ping and the Medicine Valley Master was actually not bad. ly, whenever the Medicine Valley Master came to Jiu Xuan Sect for something, these two sect leaders would always play chess within the stone pagoda. Yi He Ping would always use white, while the Medicine Valley Master would always use black. The two people’s statuses were different, their ages even further apart, yet were very good close friends[1].

However……

Not long ago, the funeral for the Medicine Valley Master was held. He Qing Chuan did not answer Yi He Ping’s question, and instead looked at the intermingling black and white pieces on the chessboard, and suddenly opened his mouth, “I thought you would never play chess again.”

The chessboard remained to alternate with black and white pieces- Yi He Ping alone played both black and white, playing all by himself. Once He Qing Chuan’s words came out, the hand he held a white piece with slightly froze, and suddenly fell down steadily.

“Why can’t I play again?”       Yi He Ping said. He picked up a black piece in his hand, did not raise his head, and looked at the chessboard while pondering.

Why can’t he play again?

—— Didn’t you already kill the Medicine Valley Master? Are you and him not good friends? Did you guys not have a deep friendship?

A string of questions flew past He Qing Chuan’s mind, just like a bunch of cannonballs, but in the end, not one of them were said out loud. He Qing Chuan understood these questions were of no use to this person. The reason why he would find Yi He Ping an eyesore for so many years, was because all this time, he was unable to understand- just what kind of person could be very clearly upset over Jiu Xuan’s disciples’ deaths, yet would arrange for their sacrifices without any hesitation whatsoever, who was, after just killing a chess friend of many years, able to play chess like it was nothing?

Just like back then, with the accident in the Mausoleum of Ten Million, how was this person able to let Guan Zhi Yu and the others bring the rear, while he himself turned to leave?

He Qing Chuan actually had many things he did not tell He Zhou. Those were some matters of the past, of old scores.
In the beginning, Guan Ling and Jiu Xuan Sect’s sect leader joined hands, and tried to alter the formation of the Qing Ming tower at Guang Han Prefecture, connecting the world, the terrain and the constellations together, and thoroughly sealing the entrance to an ancient emperor’s burial ground that gradually surfaced with fluctuations. That attempt that time did not fail as the future sayings put down.

Because what failed, was only the part of connecting the Qing Ming towers- this goal, the real goal of sealing, was instead successful.

But later on, Jiu Xuan Sect gradually sensed that there was a group of people trying to reopen the grave of the ancient emperor.

This was something within expectations- not one of the ancient emperors of the era of Chaos were not enviable and shocking geniuses, with unpredictable and remarkable ability. When the rebellion army rose up, and the Eighteen Clans wandered around, the ancient emperors did not just helplessly wait for death. They also arranged for various plans, especially in the late period of the era of Chaos when the ancient emperors continued to fall, and the remaining ancient emperors perceived something wong, they all had some preparations made.

For these many years, the Eight Immortal Sects always killed off the remaining subjects of all the ancient emperors in secret, and locked up and sealed all the remaining items from the era of Chaos- this was also why in this era, the history of the era of Chaos and Ten Thousand Immortals were little known by the commoners.

The spaces of the ancient emperors’ burial grounds started appearing with fluctuations, with the Mausoleum of Ten Million’s being the biggest.

At first, the people from Jiu Xuan who were going to the Mausoleum of Ten Million to check were to be lead by Yi He Ping. Guan Zhi Yu, as Guan Ling’s daughter, and one of the descendants of the Eighteen Clans, had the greatest understanding of the Mausoleum, and thus would be among the group.

In reality, if one went by the actual seniority, Guan Zhi Yu was the actual eldest disciple sister. But because her identity was special, as to not expose the relationship between her and Guan Ling, Guan Zhi Yu concealed her name, and would often be outside the sect carrying out assignments. Therefore, no matter if it was within Jiu Xuan Sect or in the outside world, there were very few who knew of the existence of this eldest disciple sister, and people only knew that Jiu Xuan Sect’s eldest disciple brother, Yi He Ping, was extremely talented.

There were a total of five true disciples of the previous sect leader: Guan Zhi Yu, Yi He Ping, him, Qin Song, and Xie Yi.

They all grew up together, so He Qing Chuan always thought, they were as close as family.

Up until the incident with Mausoleum of Ten Million, and Yi He Ping and Guan Zhi Yu went forward to take care of it.

Of the people who went that time, only Yi He Ping alone came back. The other Jiu Xuan Sect elders and disciples all died, and Guan Zhi Yu…… was unable to come back as well. That one time was just like a scheme specifically targeting Jiu Xuan Sect. The mishap with the ancient emperor’s grave was much more larger than they had predicted, as someone used a secret technique to awaken the ancient emperors’ will.

In the end, the elders who went abandoned everything, and sent Jiu Xuan Sect’s disciples out of the burial grounds by force.

However, the accident already happened. Not only that, but the elders seemed to be unable to completely suppress it, and with the Mausoleum of Ten Million as the medium, there was a veiled ancient imperial fluctuation spreading out as well.

As Guan Ling’s daughter and the Eighteen Clans’ descendant, Guan Zhi Yu and other disciples, together, joined hands and used a secret technique, and forcefully reversed the images of the heavens and earth of Mausoleum of Ten Million, barely managing to suppress it.

But they all died. Only Yi He Ping, completely intact, returned.

Furthermore, He Qing Chuan knew, the one who first suggested Guan Zhi Yu to go together, was Yi He Ping.

What a hilarious being as close as family, how hilarious.

So close one was able to watch as the senior sister who grew up with you sacrifice herself, while you turn to leave? He Qing Chuan did not want to hear about what righteous causes, what something to no avail- he knew, of the disciples who went that time, Yi He Ping who had the highest cultivation, lived on by relying on the other people’s deaths.

Was this kind of person…… suited to be the sect leader as well?

“I once thought…… if the person to die back then was you, how great it would be.”   Watching Yi He Ping calmly play chess, He Qing Chuan lowly said this.

After saying this, he turned and directly left.

The black piece Yi He Ping was about to put down stopped in midair for a long time.

Actually, he knew why for so many years, He Qing Chuan would bear such large hostility towards him. Perhaps…… in He Qing Chuan’s eyes, he was a hypocritical coward able to sacrifice everything, who lived on for the sake of remaining alive, and feared death?

Yi He Ping bitterly laughed, and could not place the final piece for a long time.

The one who should have died back then…… certainly should have been him.

However, he could not die yet. [1] 忘年之交- either, a friendship that exceeds/continues through the generations, or good friends despite the differences in age.

Chapter 134

Back when I first translated this, I remembered Jun Wan Bai’s master as someone with the last name Bai, but which Bai? I forgot, and honestly, it’s very easy to misunderstand things once you assume one part (and tbh it wasn’t that far off). So, Bai Zhang Tan is now Bai Zhang Lake. Corrections have been made to previous chapters.

Chapter One Hundred Thirty-four, in the Mausoleum of Ten Million, to be Discussed. (京陵台中, 何时⽽论)
Xuan Shuang Peak, Bai Zhang Lake.

A waterfall like white chains was enveloped in a swift and fierce momentum, flagrantly rushing down from the skies of one hundred zhang high, unable to be obstructed at all. Jun Wan Bai held a pair of swords, while they travelled along with the swords, fusing with the raging current of the waterfall coming down from high in the air.

——Zhu Liu!

Back when they encountered the fog raptor, she used this one technique. However, compared with that time, the conception contained within “Zhu Liu” that Jun Wan Bai used this time was already largely different from before.

The Zhu Liu of that time, was indomitable, and was far too fierce and swift. The “Zhu Liu” at present contained a sliver of ever-changing feeling of impermanence within the momentum of the unstoppable. The landscape all moves, the landscape all quiets down. The flow of water of a waterfall under different weather had different types of changes to it, thus, a sword technique born out of it, should possess this kind of change that went according to the heavens and earth.

Zhu Liu, Zhu Liu, to divert the momentum of an unstoppable waterfall into one’s own body, so all beneath the strike would be within the scope of Bai Zhang Lake, with the aura of the sword unhindered.

Complete with one sword.

Jun Wan Ban put away the swords, and steadily stood on top of a rectangular rock in the Bai Zhang Lake, letting the sweeping flow of water wash her away. She held her swords, and slightly lifted her head up.

Ever since she came back from the Tower of Qiu Huang, she broke through.

She finally conceived a domain of “impermanence” that belonged to herself.
So what was impermanence?

“All is born from condition, thus is regarded as such[1]. All the matters of the world, in all manners are all impermanent.” Fan Yin Pavilion’s explanation states it like this. And in truth, it was just about the same.

The so-called impermanence, is how the familiar world suddenly changed; is how the Shen Chang Ge who they knew for that long, from the very beginning, was not one of Jiu Xuan Sect’s people; is how the Bai Li Shu who she could never see through, would suddenly be unheard from, with their whereabouts unknown.

Jun Wan Bai never thought Bai Li Shu would disappear.

For longest time, the feeling Bai Li Shu gave her was, this person would eternally have all the things that would happen calculated out, and would be the person at that matter’s end, finalizing everything. Inside the Tower of Qiu Huang, she discovered that everything, without exception, flooded with traces of that person’s calculations.

So how could a person like that possibly disappear?       Jun Wan Bai thought about it, and suddenly felt like her blindly worrying was practically laughable.

Here she was, wracking her entire brain thinking why Bai Li Shu would disappear, but how would she know if the so-called “disappearance” was originally a part of that bastard’s plan?

Just as she was thinking, Xuan Shuang Peak’s peak master, Jun Wan Bai’s master, arrived.

Xuan Shuang Peak’s peak master was a female sword cultivator, wearing Taoist robes given to all in Jiu Xuan Sect, with Xuan Shuang Peak’s symbolizing deep-blue colour. The long robe cleanly used strips of fabric to stand it high up. Long brows swept over, and her features carried a fierceness and sternness in itself.

Xuan Shuang Peak Master’s surname was Bai, given name, Yuan
Xiu[2].

From Bai Yuan Xiu’s figure, one could see all the textbook
characteristics of sword cultivators- one, poor, two, not good to provoke. They were an elder of Jiu Xuan Sect, yet there was not a single worthy accessory on them from head to toe, that a piece of jade could not even be found. The robes were even the ones distributed to everybody.

This too was also the normal state of a sword cultivator.

All the assets of a sword cultivator were typically thrown onto their own precious sword like someone who didn’t want their lives. They themselves lived so poorly, but on their one treasured sword, the refined metals and precious irons put in when hammering it was worth several cities altogether. There was a saying within the immortal cultivation realm that goes, if one wanted to form a relationship of hate with a sword cultivator the fastest way possible, then go steal their treasured sword. Guaranteed that the other person would go seek you out even if they had to go up the heavens or down the earths[3], and crush your bones into ashes[4].

And a sword cultivator’s temper was just like their wealth, similarly famous- if someone counted the number of fights held within the twelve dynasties, the one in first place would definitely belong to a sword cultivator. It was precisely because sword cultivators were typically keen on using their hands and not their mouths, obsessed with fighting, that their treasured sword being damaged from the course of fighting had also become a normal thing.

Complementary to each other, the fame of sword cultivators being “poor and fierce”, hence spread out.

“Master.” Jun Wan Bai came out from Bai Zhang Lake.

Bai Yuan Xiu handed a new pair of bone swords to her. This pair of bone swords were pretty much the same as the ones Jun Wan Bai used before- the bone swords were light and thin, and the body of them emitted a faint jade-like lustre.

Jun Wan Bai took the swords. The swords looked to be light and thin, but once it entered the hands, it was instead very heavy.

“Go now.” Bai Yuan Xiu looked at her own disciple that she personally brought up, who chose the path of “impermanence” all by herself, and opened her mouth. She spoke with simple words, her tone was a customarily strict one, so one could not hear a single bit of the loving care she had towards her own disciple.

Jun Wan Bai nodded her head.

The disciples who safely came back from Bing Province were only her, Half-crazed Li, Chu Zhi Yuan, Qin Jiu, and He Zhou. Shen Chang Ge betrayed the sect and so his whereabouts were unknown, and Bai Li Shu, after the spacial vortex burst out, was not seen at all.

In truth, not only He Zhou, but Jun Wan Bai and the other people who safely returned to the sect, all knew of some things on their own.

At present, why Bai Yuan Xiu would give Jun Wan Bai a pair of new swords, was because she would soon leave the sect, and go to a place with an elder of the sect.

Guang Han Prefecture, Mausoleum of Ten Million.

After knowing about some things, Jun Wan Bai did not ask why the sect would send them disciples to go to the Mausoleum of Ten Million that had currently become a forbidden area either.

She also faintly understood why Bai Li Shu was the eldest disciple brother as well.

“Wan Bai.”        When Jun Wan Bai took the pair of swords, and was preparing to leave Xuan Shuang Peak, Bai Yuan Xiu who was at the back opened her mouth.          “Impermanence, is seeing things as they are, is regarding all as unimportant.”

Bai Yuan Xiu’s voice was still like that, chilling, and stern.

“I know, Master.”      Jun Wan Bai froze, and left without turning her head back. She gripped the pair of swords in her hands, and used a bit of strength.

—— To hell with seeing things as they are, to hell with regarding all as unimportant.

Shen Chang Ge who grew up together with them, who risked his life to have the disciples’ corpses carried out was the sect’s traitor, and would kill those of the same sect without any hesitation—— Whoever the fuck was able to “regard things as is”, then whoever can go regard things as is by themselves! Frosty winds blew on Jun Wan Bai’s face as she left coldly.

If…… she encountered Shen Chang Ge once again, if…… that bastard certainly stood across from Jiu Xuan Sect, then…… she will definitely personally cut his head off.

If angry, then pull out a sword to cut it down, and if happy, then be drunk on a thousand cups.

This was the world of immortal cultivators, there was never anyone who was willing to live like a good-for-nothing.

When Jun Wan Bai arrived at the Retaining Immortal Platform, Half-crazed Li stood there with his sabre, still dressed in a whole suit of black robes, with a white face like a dead person’s, three-parts human, seven-parts ghost.

Jun Wan Bai’s expression slightly changed, and understood Half- crazed Li should be one of the people going to Mausoleum of Ten Million this time.

“How unfortunate, you’re actually fine.” Jun Wan Bai descended to the Retaining Immortal Platform, raised her eyebrows, and said this with a bit of regret.

The few people who were transported out of the Qiu Huang tower, mostly carried some injuries. At present, Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin’s cultivation was pretty much the same, and with a look, they would know that the other party’s injuries were all recovered, and their cultivation could be seen to have grown.

“Elder Bai seems to have been willing to pour out her blood for you.” Li Xin lifted his eyes up, and looked at Jun Wan Bai’s new bone swords, and recognized that they were famous swords separately named “Autumn Waters[5]” and “Eternal Sky”. “Even the swords left as the last resort were given to you, last-named Jun, if you lose these swords, the day you get split open by Elder Bai won’t be that far off.” Jun Wan Bai coldly snorted, “Elder Qin left things for you too.”

She could also recognize that Li Xin’s sabre was changed out with a single glance- it was pitch-black, and dense with evil aura, even more than that pair of demonic sabres he had before, not any less.

“Elder Qin’s pill-making technique is outstanding, having resources [you hold] truly is quite great.” Just when Jun Wan Bai seemed to be praising him, the topic of the conversation turned, “But how unfortunate, his personal disciple is a dirt-poor bastard who took up the path of the sabre.”

While habitually mocking each other back and forth, Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin waited at the Retaining Immortal Platform together.

“Is that miser Qin Jiu also coming?” When she received the assignment, only the time and meeting place was mentioned, but as for who the disciples coming along were, even who the elder leading the group was, nobody knew. Jun Wan Bai could only guess too.

“Qin Jiu……” Li Xin knitted his eyebrows, and pondered, “He should be in isolation, same with He Zhou.”

While speaking, Chu Zhi Yuan dressed in a blue-based water cloud- patterned robe arrived carrying his longsword.

—— He was also one of the members participating in this assignment.

Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin looked at each other. Up until now, the disciples heading towards the Mausoleum of Ten Million only were them three, and…… they were all people who came back alive from the Tower of Qiu Huang.

When Chu Zhi Yuan came, his sleeves were stuck with white paper money[6]. When they noticed the paper money on Chu Zhi Yuan’s sleeves, Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin no longer spoke up, and the three silently stood on the Retaining Immortal Platform.

Today…… was the day of burial for those Jiu Xuan disciples that Liao Qian sent back. Why Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin were mutually mocking each other as though nothing happened just before, was partially due to this.

While standing on the Retaining Immortal Platform, strong winds passed by Jiu Xuan’s mountain gates, with the sounds of wind vaguely carrying the sad and shrill sounds of mourning songs.

They were making fun of the other person, pretending to be no different from before- nobody wanted to think that the familiar little brothers and sisters…… were lying within caskets right now. Jun Wan Bai stroked the bone swords similar to that pair from before, and leaned against the railings.

The strong winds were cold and shrill. When she turned her head to look towards the long staircase of several tens of thousands of steps below the gates, she faintly felt like the familiar brothers and sisters were still standing by her side, waiting for her orders.

But in reality……

Winds passed through each and every mountain of Jiu Xuan Sect, mingling with white circular-shaped paper money, pale just like snow.

When the three were silent, two elders came to the Retaining Immortal Platform.

One was someone they recognized, He Zhou’s father and Xuan Li Peak’s peak master, He Qing Chuan. The other was instead draped in a cloak, and the hood underneath only revealed a small half of the face. Their aura was completely unfamiliar, unlike any of the elders they recognized.

What was unexpected was, this unfamiliar elder seemed to hold an extremely high position. When the two came to the Retaining Immortal Platform, He Qing Chuan looked at the other person, and after the unfamiliar elder nodded their head, he then waved his hand and released the spiritual vessel.

“Go.”

The flying vessel He Qing Chuan took out was the same flying vessel as the one Bai Li Shu took out before, the Black-plumed Light Vessel.

The same Black-plumed Light Vessel, the same Retaining Immortal Platform.

As pieces of snowflake-like paper money flew past Jun Wan Bai’s face, she held her swords, then stepped onto the Black-plumed Light Vessel.

The Black-plumed Light Vessel flew up high in the skies, heading northwest.

In Jade Harmony Pavilion, Yi He Ping stood at the top-most floor, standing with hands behind his back, watching the Black-plumed Light Vessel disappear within the clouds. On the chessboard behind him, white and black pieces were spread out.

“Heaven’s net, just whose net is it?” Yi He Ping lightly said.

He was certainly Jiu Xuan Sect’s sect leader- at this time, when he lightly said this, it made people distinctly feel that kind of ……resolution and courage in determining [the outcome of] the world.

[1] ⼀切有为法… 当作如是观 -from what the English title calls the Diamond Sutra (a very shortened title from the original). Everything is born
out of cause(karma), like dreams, illusions, bubbles, and shadows, like dew and like lightning, and so should be seen as such[, like dreams, illusions, etc]. The longer explanation is, at least, out of the rabbit hole I dig myself into, everything relies on the rules of being born from a reason(what another translation refers to as a conditioned existence), like dreams and fantasies, like shadows, bubbles, unable to be refined like vapour, changing about impermanently, yet, at the same time, changing just as fast as lightning. One must see/accept the world as such, not be bothered by and hence be bound by it, and distract them from the end-goal of what is Buddhism, overcoming suffering.

[2] ⽩ 远 岫 - Bai, as in white. Yuan, for far/distant, Xiu, for cave/mountain peak.

[3] 上天⼊地- AKA, every means possible. But if you take it literally, even in death (entering heavens, or down to the underworld). To the ends of the world.

[4] 挫⾻扬灰- to hate someone so much, you’d take their bones after death and crush them into ash, and disperse them.

[5] 秋⽔- also term for a woman’s clear, limpid eyes, akin to waters in the autumn weather.

[6] As a part of the funeral rite, people will burn papers imitating money for the dead, as a way to ‘send’ them money for a better afterlife.

Chapter 135

Chapter One Hundred Thirty-five, the Decayed City, Peng Lai of Yore. (腐朽之城, 旧⽇蓬莱)
Guang Han Prefecture was located in the south region of Jin Tang dynasty.

This was the place where Jin Tang was closest to Cang Pu dynasty, with tens of thousands of mountain ranges laid across the earth. With these several thousands of mountains as the border, to the north was Jin Tang dynasty, while the south was Cang Pu dynasty. The ranges separated the watersheds, so the south and north all had water veins intersecting and scattering about. And the Xiang Tan River, was a large river originating from these thousands of mountains.

The mountains of the ranges were high, with clouds and mist hovering about, and a lot of precipitation. The Xiang Tan River that originated from the deep ridges and giant valleys surges downward, and after exiting the ridges and flowing to Guang Han Prefecture’s plains, the current slows down, with sediments deposited into the rich and fertile plains. Before becoming a forbidden area, Guang Han Prefecture was Jin Tang’s famous granary. At that time, Guang Han Prefecture’s south region leaned against the tens of thousands of mountains, blocking the winds from the southwest, and also relied on the Xiang Tan River’s constant surging waters for irrigation. Agriculture here was bountiful, and was enough to make up the majority of Jin Tang’s wealth with one single prefecture.

“Guang Han’s good years enough for the world”. What it referred to, was the state of prosperity of Guang Han Prefecture at that time. The Mausoleum of Ten Million was constructed right here.

The Xiang Tan River gathered at a low-lying basin within Guang Han Prefecture, forming the expansive bright-watered Xiang Tan Lake- the Mausoleum of Ten Million was constructed on top of the protruding pier at Xiang Tan Lake’s southwest corner, with three sides surrounded with water. After some time, there would be white fog circling around, like an immortal’s platform on the clouds.

Rumours say that year, Jin Tang’s “Song Over Clouds’” Liu family’s forefather, conceived that set of sword techniques, the star-moving Resonating Song Over Clouds, by Xiang Tan Lake.

With several legends and stories, Mausoleum of Ten Million was draped with the colours of remote immortal airs.

But that was all in the past.

Ever since the ancient emperor’s burial ground linked with the Mausoleum of Ten Million appeared with a mishap, and Yi He Ping’s group fell into a trap, the Mausoleum of Ten Million was no longer the secular realm’s sacred land of the “river of enchanting cranes, with a wave of vapour and haze, the common realm’s Peng Lai, Mausoleum of Ten Million”. It turned into the soul-sealing platform that would turn people’s colours at the mention of it.

After leaving Jiu Xuan Sect, Jun Wan Bai and others rode the Black- plumed Light Province day and night, and arrived at this place.

Regarding the assignment this time, Jun Wan Bai, Li Xin, and Chu Zhi Yuan actually did not know much, and the main part was left up to He Qing Chuan and that unfamiliar and mysterious elder to be in charge of.

That elder draped in a cloak and bamboo hat did not say a single word the entire way, nor did they appear in everyone’s eyes, giving people an extremely odd feeling, and only when the Black-plumed Light Vessel stopped at Guang Han Prefecture’s main city, he then walked out from the room—— still with that unfathomable and mysterious look. Jun Wan Bai suddenly recalled Bai Li Shu.

Very suddenly, she recalled that day when Bai Li Shu was standing on the deck, with the look of observing those below the Black-plumed Light Vessel. At that time, she thought Bai Li Shu was looking at the fog raptor in the clouds and the frightened trumpet birds, however…… after she knew Bai Li Shu was one of the Eighteen Clans, Jun Wan Bai could not help but think:

Could it be that on that day, Bai Li Shu was actually looking at those mortal cities too?

Separated by the overlapping clouds and mist, he looked at those big and small achievements, looked at the ant-like mortals living numerously. He was a member of the grave-keeping Bai Li Clan of the Eighteen Clans, he silently guarded Heaven’s grave, and also silently guarded all the living beings.

Then, when he saw the commoners that he protected, just what kind of feelings did he bear?

Jun Wan Bai could not imagine it.

But when she was following behind He Qing Chuan and the mysterious elder, going into Guang Han Prefecture, she was still thinking about the past when Bai Li Shu was dressed in white robes, with that thin figure walking in front of everyone.

As for the abnormality with the ancient emperor’s burial ground, though the Mausoleum of Ten Million was sealed by Guan Zhi Yu and the others at the price of their own lives, before this, the old imperial fluctuations that suffused out already created an irredeemable impact.

This was also why at the beginning in the era of Chaos, the rebels of the Eighteen Clans would not spare any cost, and persevere for as long as several thousands of years to have the ancient emperors all killed. The ancient emperors of that time were true monarchs, genuine emperors of those expressions like “emperors were like the day, unable to be opposed”, “the laws follows as the words come, ordering the heavens and earth.”, unlike the current secular emperors who were being restricted in every way. The ancient emperors of the era of Chaos were the existence of power themselves, and their will was able to order the world.

Once the emperors were angered, the colours of the heavens and earth would change, and the mountains and rivers both burst.

In front of this kind of power that pretty much controlled nature and overrode the world, mortals really were only some ants- life and death was not up to themselves, and even if they vigilantly and fearfully submitted to the throne of the ancient emperors, they would not know when their entire clan would all die due to an ancient emperor’s whim.

Outside Guang Han Prefecture, before entering the city gates, they could feel that the entire city was enveloped in a sort of extremely sombre, extremely oppressing force field. The skies were dark, and the city was like it was frozen in the moment just before a rainstorm came, while the atmosphere was filled with an air that made people uneasy. The city gates already turned from its original scarlet colour to a dark and sunken greyish- black, with the dark coloration seen all around.

After entering the city, that feeling of unease grew more and more
heavier.

What was a bit similar with Bing Province was, within Guang Han Prefecture’s main city, the Yin and Yang and the five elements were also unbearably chaotic, the ghost realm emerged everywhere, and with a single look, one could see there were places being swallowed by the viscous darkness.

Somewhat like this city decayed within the long-time deliberate forgetting and avoidance.

The ghost realm here had much more Yin aura compared to the ones in Bing Province, the evil aura even more heavier, apparent that it was not one of the same level. It was also at this time that the elder draped in a cloak and wearing a bamboo hat finally moved for the first time. He raised his hand up, and a pretty flame sprung up from his palm. Scarlet-red flames spread out, enveloping everyone within it.

Scarlet-red flames? Ye fire?
When they saw that flame, Jun Wan Bai, Li Xin, and Chu Zhi Yuan looked to each other, and saw an astonished expression from each other’s faces—— just who of Jiu Xuan Sect was this elder, to actually be able to control something like the Ye fire so freely? They’ve never heard there was this kind of person within the sect though?

The control the mysterious elder had of the Ye fire reached a very high level[1]. The scarlet-red flames spread out around everyone, but Jun Wan Bai and the others did not feel a sliver of the flame’s heat.

Yet, the damp mould-like ghost realm that was present everywhere seemed like it encountered some thing that suppressed them- where they walked over, the ghost realm thoroughly retreated slowly, and once again revealed the dismal streets and decayed houses.

After the ghost realm could not obstruct them, the group’s speed turned extremely quick, and rapidly headed towards the Mausoleum of Ten Million by the southwest side of Xiang Tan Lake.

As they gradually crossed through the larger half of the city, everyone’s ears started resonating with a sluggish and obscure sound of water—— upon hearing it, it was like smelly, viscous dead water slowly flowing around.

After they continued for an incenses’ time, they already gradually approached the Mausoleum of Ten Million, and after turning around a shabby inn, He Qing Chuan’s steps suddenly stopped. —— In a place not far from them, on the humus-like[2] surface of the ground, the ghost realm slowly retreated, revealing a half-buried corpse.

[1] 登峰造极- or, to reach to the peak of perfection, to describe one’s skills/abilities or achievement.

[2] Not to be confused with hummus. Humus is formed through decomposition/decay. The Chinese term 腐殖质 is literally translated as, substance grown from decay/rotting. Humic substance.

Chapter 136

Chapter One Hundred Thirty-six, Collecting Bones from Xiang Tan, Burying my Jiu Xuan. (收⾻湘潭, 葬我九⽞)
They already arrived in a place not far from Xiang Tan Lake, since the black humus-like soils were a part of Xiang Tan Lake’s shores.

The corpse was half-buried within the black decayed soils, and from the faintly recognizable pattern, one could see it should be Jiu Xuan Sect’s, but due to too much time having passed, it was already hard to determine just which peak or range’s clothes it belonged to.

When He Qing Chuan saw the corpse, he abruptly halted. He stood in place just like a statue, and blankly looked at that body, while his face emerged with both a fearful and nervous expression.

Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin looked to each other, and saw an uncertainty in each other’s eyes.

He Qing Chuan was He Zhou’s father, Xuan Li Peak’s peak master, so Jun Wan Bai and the others were not unfamiliar with him. However, just like how He Zhou always bore an expression like everyone owed him a lot of money, this elder of Xuan Li Peak was not some person that was easy to get along with. He Qing Chuan’s personality was just like the weapon he used, like that heavy sabre.

Bold and unconstrained, violent, and not good to offend. This was the first time they saw the face of this elder that was like their own heavy sabre let out this kind of expression that could almost be described as “timid”.

The mysterious elder draped in the cloak stopped.

He Qing Chuan walked forward step by step, knelt down on the ground, then, like he forgot he was an immortal cultivator in possession of supernatural powers, started digging out the decayed earth by the corpse just like an ordinary person. Jun Wan Bai and the other two looked to each other, thinking of going to help, but the elder slightly shook their head and stopped them.

One handful of dirt, two handfuls of dirt……

The corpse was personally dug out by He Qing Chuan. Here, the Yin and Yang were reversed, the five elements in disorder, so though the clothes on the corpse were rotten, the corpse itself did not completely decay. He Qing Chuan half-knelt in front of the corpse, and recognized the identity of the corpse.

“Jiang Ge.”        The heart he suddenly raised was put back down, yet had no way of taking a breath of relief.

Jiang Ge, a disciple of Gen Range[1], and one of the people who participated in that mission that time. Back then, his relationship with He Qing Chuan was not considered to be good in the sect, fighting with each other every two or three days, but right now, he sat cross-legged with a longsword placed on his lap, and died here. The bastard who he hated that much back then, right now, had their body half-buried by the rotten and smelly black soils.

“Didn’t you always fucking make an uproar about wanting to press down on Xuan Li Peak’s head?” He Qing Chuan seemed like he was smiling, but his smile was very ugly.    “What kind of good man are you right now now that you’re meditating like a piece of shit! Get up, you trash!” He broke out in profanities, just like when Xie Yi was still at Jiu Xuan Sect, when they were still youths.

Making provocations, fighting each other, anxious to hack the other person with a single strike.

But Jiang Ge could no longer quarrel with him.

Jiang Ge quietly sat here as the formation lines beneath his body flickered. With his body as the formation node, his end would not be any better than Zhou Wen An who primed his spiritual insight and burned his spiritual sea within the Qiu Huang tower.

He Qing Chuan scolded and scolded, then dejectedly half-knelt in front of Jiang Ge’s corpse.

He Qing Chuan had no way of acting like Liao Qian, and bringing away Jiang Ge’s corpse. That was because the formation lines underneath Jiang Ge’s body already made it clear- he made himself a formation node, and merged into one with the formation Guan Zhi Yu and them placed. Once the body was moved, the formation would be destroyed.

That is to also say, Jiang Ge could not even obtain a meagre casket.

Jun Wan Bai and the other two stood behind He Qing Chuan, and watched this normally stern and hot-tempered elder kneel in front of that corpse they did not recognize, all dejected and pale. They faintly understood something, and thus, slowly, solemnly, and humbly paid great respects to the corpse.

“Thinking of pressing on Xuan Li Peak with these shallow[2] skills of yours, train for another hundred years or so in your next life, then we’ll talk. You broke my nose before, so don’t think about getting a casket, a dirt grave is more like it.”      He Qing Chuan put on a cold face, and looked to be very grim.

Jiang Ge’s corpse could not be moved, so He Qing Chuan piled a dirt grave for him on the spot, then brushed his sleeves and took out top- class gold zhennan[3] wood. His primordial energy cut through it, and whittled it into a tablet, then engraved it with this line of words:

Grave of Jiu Xuan Sect, Gen Range’s disciple, Jiang Ge.

The zhennan tablet stood in front of the simple and crude pile of earth. He Qing Chuan acted like that person who was dejected and in low spirits just now was not him, and directly walked straight forward.

Jun Wan Bai, Li Xin and Chu Zhi Yuan were disciples, and He Qing Chuan was also famed for having a bad temper, thus, nobody dared to say anything.

Only, when they walked past the dirt mound, they slowed down, like they were afraid of disturbing them.

[One is brought] peace through entering the earth.

Jiang Ge died here, and even used his own body as a formation node- that made it clear that they already entered the place where the Jiu Xuan disciples sacrificed themselves before, and were not far from the Mausoleum of Ten Million. And in truth, it was as such- not far from the place Jiang Ge died, was Xiang Tan Lake. As everyone got closer, the black ghost realm retreated like it got expelled, and exposed the black surface of the lake.

Xiang Tan Lake’s waters had already turned into a viscous-feeling black colour.

The bottom of the lake faintly seemed to have some kind of thing. Some black algae-like things were floating on the surface of the waters nearby, however, as they drew close, and the Ye fire approached the surface of the water, that black algae-like thing suddenly moved and sunk down. This then let people see clearly that that black thing turned out not to be some algae at all, but were instead locks and locks of hair floating on the surface of the water.

Jun Wan Bai and the others’ faces slightly changed. They saw within the black viscous lakewaters, just underneath the surface, were bodies and bodies of upright corpses, just like fishes that emerged to the surface of the waters for air when it was about to rain. The large patches and patches of black algae on the surface of the lake were these corpses’ hair. As the Ye fire approached, the corpses sunk down like it got afraid, and the corpses’ pale skin in the black water particularly made people’s skin crawl.

At this time, everyone faintly understood where the residents of Guang Han Prefecture’s main city all went.

Bing Province’s one hundred seventy thousand were buried in the crude beast skeleton forest, and so, Guang Han Prefecture’s residents should have filled this very spacious and wide Xiang Tan Lake.

The ancient emperor’s will that merely transmitted through the Mausoleum of Ten Million, would create this human hell-like tragic situation.

No wonder the Eighteen Clans of Old of that time persevered for several tens of thousands of year to have the ancient emperors all killed.

The black fog-like ghost realm was shrouded above Xiang Tan Lake, so they could not see what was across from the lake. The lake was full of strange drowned corpses, with substance-like resentment, disturbing the space, making them unable to determine the direction of the Mausoleum of Ten Million.

But with He Qing Chuan and that mysterious elder guiding them, it was not up to Jun Wan Bai and the other two disciples to worry at this kind of time.

The mysterious elder walked to the shores of the lake, and directly extended his hand into the black waters filled with corpses, and with his hand as the center, the Ye fire suddenly spread out on the surface of the waters. Within Jun Wan Bai and others’ visions, the scarlet-red flames extended straight out, and covered over Xiang Tan Lake’s surface like a long dragon. Forcefully opening up a long bridge formed from flames within the black fog.

The black fog around the long bridge automatically dispersed a certain distance away. One could hazily see that at the end of the long bridge, was a tall tower.

The Ye fire opened up a “pontoon bridge” on the surface of the lake, but the mysterious elder did not directly stand up yet. His hand was still placed within the lake water, seeming to be searching for something.

A black-iron chain was pulled up to the surface of the water by him. Speaking of which, it was quite strange- after the iron chain was hauled out, it automatically floated on the water surface, right in the middle of the long Ye fire bridge, like an axis of symmetry.

“Elder Jiu, this is the formation that Zhi Yu and them put down before?” He Qing Chuan opened his mouth, and looked at some of the patterns on the iron chain.

Elder Jiu nodded his head, then stood up, and first stepped on the iron chain, “Walk on the chain.”

He Qing Chuan and the mysterious Elder Jiu did not have any intentions of explaining anything, and though Jun Wan Bai and the others had some doubts inside, they could only follow along. The group of people stepped on top of the iron chain and walked to the other side of the lake.

When they stepped onto the iron chain and walked on top of Xiang Tan Lake, Jun Wan Bai and the other two felt something strange.

That kind of veiled, uneasy aura became more and more heavier, and the black fog by the side and the black water beneath their feet, was filled with a shocking resentment and malice. After walking into Xiang Tan Lake, they heard a vague and discernible sound of quiet whispering, like fleeting spirits grieving, yet also like wronged dead people sneering…… In any case, the sounds were filled with an unconcealed malice. Making people feel uncomfortable.

But maybe it was because the frightening power this Ye fire bridge that Elder Jiu opened out was very strong, that when they crossed over, up to when they stepped onto the opposite bank of the lake and stood in front of the Mausoleum, the countless floating corpses in the water did not have much movement.

On the river of enchanting cranes, with a wave of vapour and haze, the common realm’s Peng Lai, Mausoleum of Ten Million.

The former beautiful scenery in the world was no longer, and spread before their eyes, was a tall tower fully intertwined with a black and ominous air, already spoken of as a soul-burying platform.

But after all that was said, the Mausoleum of Ten Million was certainly built as a Qing Ming tower way back then. The structure was the same as a Qing Ming tower, and from how Jun Wan Bai and others saw it, it was particularly familiar.

However, when they stood in front of the Mausoleum, no one walked one step further.

Because right on the clearing in front of the Mausoleum of Ten Million, were a few figures.

The clearing in front of the Mausoleum of Ten Million was paved with stone tiles, thus, those few figures were not like Jiang Ge, half-buried in soil. Those were still several corpses, dressed in Jiu Xuan Sect’s uniform, with one person as the core, creating a circular formation. This should be the core of the sealing spell Guan Zhi Yu put down back then.

Just like Jiang Ge who they saw before, these people also turned themselves into formation nodes.

And in the very center of the formation, was a young emaciated
woman. The space surrounding the Mausoleum of Ten Million was a bit strange. There were no signs of decay on the corpses’ clothing, and the corpses also seemed no different from the living. However, they were all immortal cultivators- with a single perception, one would know these people long already died.

He Qing Chuan crossed through the formation, and slowly sat down at the core area of the formation.

Jun Wan Bai turned to look towards Half-crazed Li, and Half-crazed Li opened his mouth at her, and lightly said, “Master Guan.”

In front of Mausoleum of Ten Million, the Jiu Xuan disciples from back then all sat in a cross-legged position. They all died, but the expression on each person’s face was extremely tranquil.

He Qing Chuan looked at the familiar young woman’s face.

“You haven’t changed.”     When He Qing Chuan spoke up, his voice was very shockingly hoarse. He pretty much could not breathe.

No tears, no crying, he spoke with Guan Zhi Yu as if nothing happened, just like he did before.

[1] ⾉- as the word itself, means straightforward, blunt, and simple. As a part of the Eight Diagrams, represents the mountains/earth.

[2] 三脚猫- jack of all trades, master of none. With crude or superficial proficiency.

[3] ⾦楠⽊ (or what I’m assuming is derived from ⾦丝楠) Phoebe zhennan. In Chinese, the name refers to its appearance of having slivers of
gold from any angle it is observed (and the novel’s type, I’m assuming no longer has slivers and is just full gold). A rare type of wooden material specifically found in China. Resistant to decay, a natural bug repellent, with other unique properties that make this material priceless and very hard to acquire.

Chapter 137

Chapter One Hundred Thirty-seven, Jiu Xuan’s Lunatics, Drinking Hard Liquor Like How One Sings. (九⽞疯⼦, 烈酒如歌)
Guan Zhi Yu and the other dead Jiu Xuan Sect disciples who turned themselves into formation nodes all sat cross-legged in front of the Mausoleum of Ten Million, faced towards Xiang Tan Lake filled with floating corpses, and faced towards the ghost realm’s fog-like black world. There was not much big of a change to their appearances. He Qing Chuan was already the appearance of a middle-aged man, yet they were still of their young and vigorous looks of youths that year.

Immortal cultivators pursued eternal life, because it was not like they wouldn’t die nor age, they were only able to grow older at a much more slower pace than regular people.

Yet, Guan Zhi Yu and the others would certainly no longer grow older anymore.

Their time eternally stopped at that vigorous and energetic look of the youthful generation of the immortal cultivation realm when they stepped into Guang Han Prefecture.

He Qing Chuan took off the sabre hung on his waist, then also sat down in front of Guan Zhi Yu. Right now, he was already taller than Guan Zhi Yu, and after cultivating in the art of the heavy sabre for many years, his physique was robust and healthy. He sat by Guan Zhi Yu, and was bigger than her by a whole lot. Whether it was He Zhou, or Jun Wan Bai and the others, they only heard their elders very simply explain with two or three lines- in Yi He Ping’s generation, the sect leader also took in a disciple whose identity was special, who was the genuine eldest disciple sister, so they were unable to imagine just what kind of person the former Guan Zhi Yu was at all.

But He Qing Chuan knew.

Guan Zhi Yu was their eldest disciple sister. When He Qing Chuan joined the sect, she already carried a blade and travelled within society for the sect, and came and went in a hurry throughout the year. It was three months after He Qing Chuan was taken in by the sect leader as an apprentice, that he then saw this non-famous, proper and genuine eldest disciple sister.

At that time, he was at Qian Range’s main mountain practising the sword, and at the time he was resting, he discovered a young woman carrying a blade, with a fabric strip tying her long hair and slightly fierce features, leaning on a big tree to the side, and looking from there for who- knows-how-long.

At that time, the young woman did not wear Jiu Xuan Sect’s robes, but was instead dressed in a grey and dusty robe. No matter how it was looked at, they did not seem like a proper disciple.

“This isn’t a place that can be casually entered, if you don’t have permission, then get out.”

He Qing Chuan was a disciple that the sect leader just took in at that time, and was very much complacent. Using Yi He Ping’s words, it “made people anxious to put him in order, and teach him just what are called manners”.

“You’re the new disciple Sect Leader took in?”    The woman did not pay heed to him trying to drive her out, leaned against the tree, then looked at him full of interest with her eyebrows slightly raised up. Her tone was a bit casual, and He Qing Chuan had a kind of feeling of not being taken seriously.

“Why aren’t you getting out, don’t make me make a move.” He Qing Chuan angrily opened his mouth, and with a brandish of the longsword, he drew out a pretty spark.

“Soft and weak, oh so effeminate.” The woman sneered, and lazily stood up, “How can the shitty old man’s eyes be this shitty. A polite little scholar is boring enough, they even took in a small little explosive with not much ability, yet the temper ain’t that small either.”

As she said this, the woman broke off a branch from the tree, and lazily held it in her hands.

“Come, come, come, let’s fight, let’s fight, let me see just how much you weigh.” The woman’s face carried an undisciplined smile.

In this period of time, He Qing Chuan just learned a set of sword techniques, and felt like his strength greatly improved, even feeling quite proud[1] of himself. Who knew his sword technique turned “soft and weak” and “oh so effeminate” in this person’s mouth. He turned so angry he could not care for what conduct of a gentleman—— although he actually did not have this kind of thing—— and moved immediately.

bam.        The first time he was stepped on, his back was pressed into the ground, and made a dull thud.

“That’s all? Get up.”

He Qing Chuan’s climbed up with his face completely red, and picked up his sword.

bam. Another thud.

“You look this fair and clean, even your sword technique is this gentle, you sure you’re not a girl?” No need for her to say it again, He Qing Chuan picked up his sword once again.

bam.  “What kind of thing blinded the shitty old man’s eyes?” bam. “You eat yet?”

……

In a short half a dual-hour’s[2] time, He Qing Chuan’s definition of a “woman” had been completely and thoroughly overturned. What gentleness, what grace, what reserve…… There was this kind of woman in the world, whose words that came out were even more sharper than a knife, and a mouth even more poisonous than White-Blue, and when they got into a fight, they did not care for the unwritten tradition of “not hitting the face when hitting people” at all.

This poisonous mouth, this fierceness in their actions, was most definitely rarely seen.

In a short half a dual-hour’s time, that little bit of haughtiness He Qing Chuan had as the sect leader’s disciple, at each and every time he made contact with the thick earth, was very quickly ground away into nothing. After the agitation and vigorous rage passed away, He Qing Chuan clearly recognized this bastard who used a tree branch to get himself to grovel onto the ground, was much more stronger than himself by a lot, that it was exactly like a cat playing with a rat.

“Why aren’t you getting up?”      The young woman half-crouched by his side, raised her eyebrows, and used the tree branch to poke at his cheek.

“I’m not a fool.” He Qing Chuan replied feebly[3].

He was only prideful, it wasn’t like he had no brain. Why get up? Get up to continue getting played by her? Furthermore, it was not like He Qing Chuan did not discover that when the other person fought, they purposefully held back. Though their identity was unknown, they didn’t seem like some bad person of dubious origins. “What a good-for-nothing.” The young woman tossed the tree branch away, laughed, then stood up and took out the blade hung on her waist. “Look carefully, this is how it’s used.”

One sound of clear reprimand, one sound of the blade, and afterwards, boundless strikes of light.

That set of sword techniques was displayed by her using a thin blade. The blade was thin and light, beautiful and elegant, but when drawn in the young woman’s hands, it did not carry a bit of air of being delicate and tactful at all. The long hair she tied up lifted with the winds, while the strikes were abundant and clear, vast, and expansive.

Like thunder billowing about, turning the heavens and the seas, like mountains collapsing, with the winds shaking the heavenly pillars.

Fallen leaves swept up, and the fragile leaves fiercely whirled around, turning keen like the edge of a blade. Each strike seemed like they fell from the skies, declaring Heaven’s wrath, coming down with a loud crash.

That set of sword techniques, was called “Qian[4]”.

Like how the heavens and earth rise and fall, the weather moving in all four directions, and thunder shaking in rage, banishing[5] the world’s people.

He Qing Chuan then understood why she said his skills were “soft and weak” and “oh so effeminate”.

For the final form, the thin blade flew out from the woman’s hand, like meteors pouring over, and the scorching sun falling down, coming towards He Qing Chuan with a crash. He Qing Chuan’s pupils abruptly contracted, and the hairs on his whole body all stood up. The instant the blade fell down, he only felt like he saw a scorching and blazing sun falling down on himself.

Incomparably terrifying, incomparably dreadful. He Qing Chuan suddenly rolled off, and even used up his final bit of strength, and rolled off to one side.

clang——

The thin blade pierced into the ground with the ever slightest distance from He Qing Chuan’s head, all the way to the hilt.

—— You motherfucker. A curse word got stuck in He Qing Chuan’s throat, and almost directly came out.

That kind of feeling like the scorching sun was coming down crashing as one was enveloped by the aura of the strike, was so horrifying it made people feel like they circled around the line of life and death just now. He Qing Chuan felt like he should take back the judgment that this woman didn’t seem like a bad guy. That strike of hers just now, practically wanted to kill him!

“You see now?”       The woman herself seemed completely fine, and her face even carried an inadvertent smile, walking over while pulling out the blade.

“I see that you are a lunatic……” The corners of He Qing Chuan’s mouth twitched, and his back was completely filled with cold sweat.

The woman slightly froze, and then suddenly laughed out loud, “Lunatic? Idiot, just what kind of sect did you think you entered?”

He Qing Chuan was entranced by her laughter.

What sect? Jiu Xuan Sect, the Eight Immortal Sects’ number one, Jiu Xuan Sect, no?

“Hey, don’t laugh.” The woman laughed so much she couldn’t breathe. He Qing Chuan turned confused with her laugh, and called out to her as he went from shame to rage. “Go out and ask around, of all the lunatics in the immortal cultivation realm, just where nine-tenths of them are.” The woman laughed loudly, and put her blade back in its sheath. She then turned and walked towards Jade Harmony Pavilion, “Jiu Xuan Sect, the Jiu Xuan Sect that is nothing but lunatics!”

“Who are you?” He Qing Chuan shouted towards her back
figure.

“Guan Zhi Yu, also……” The woman turned back, and raised
up her fierce long eyebrows. “Remember to call me Senior, don’t be that disrespectful.”

And on that night, the sect leader brought Guan Zhi Yu to introduce this genuine eldest disciple sister to him.

At this time, Guan Zhi Yu changed into Jiu Xuan Sect’s robes, and once Master left, she held out a jar of hard liquor from her ring, and looked at He Qing Chuan to the side, “Little Sister, come join me for wine.”

“…… Guan, Zhi, Yu!” The reluctant sound of “Senior” got stuck in He Qing Chuan’s throat, and he vowed it was impossible to coexist with Guan Zhi Yu.

The He Qing Chuan of that time was just like how Guan Zhi Yu described him- fair and clean, and other than being overly prideful, he looked to actually have a bit of the aura of a young lord.

“I’ve said it before, don’t be so disrespectful, you have to call me Senior.”    Guan Zhi Yu lifted her head up to pour in a mouthful of wine, and also tossed a jar of wine to He Qing Chuan.

Can’t even fight back, can’t even help it if he was angry.

He Qing Chuan angrily patted open the wine jar, and opened his mouth and just poured it in. Just as it entered the mouth, he choked so much he spurted it all out—— this wine was practically a heated knife, why is this bastard’s liquor this strong? And the result of spurting out the wine was being laughed at by Guan Zhi Yu for a while, with another Little Sister out of the mouth.

Peeved by these terms of “Little Sister” and “oh so effeminate”, He Qing Chuan switched to cultivate in the heavy sabre altogether, and started to walk on the path of the bold and unconstrained.

After switching to heavy sabre cultivation, though he was still being mocked by Guan Zhi Yu all day, it wasn’t like there wasn’t any use to it. At least, when Guan Zhi Yu saw that physique of his, she still felt like she could not put shame to the term “little pretty face”, and no longer called him Little Sister—— she instead called him blockhead.

Blockhead it is then, no matter how it was said, it was better than little sister.

In the first half of He Qing Chuan’s memories, was Guan Zhi Yu who always came and left in a hurry. She carried a blade, and when she returned to the sect, she would sometimes be dressed in dark and dusty clothes, and sometimes, she would be draped in a black cloak.

This person, Guan Zhi Yu, could not be linked to the words gentle or refined.

She was a blade-wielding lunatic. She would drink wine in the middle of the night on the eaves, jar after jar, so strong it couldn’t be any stronger, and after finishing it, she would toss the wine jar off from the eaves- not one of it fell down, instead, all of them dropped into He Qing Chuan’s courtyard. He Qing Chuan would be in the courtyard practising the sabre, and habitually quickly fend off jar after jar of wine.

“Blockhead, the right’s gotten light.” “Now the left.”

……

Guan Zhi Yu was this type of person, a lunatic filled with the airs of society, drinking wine like a person of desperation, speaking like a ruffian on the street. Brandishing swords when drunk, drinking their fill when sober.

How could that arrogant, that strong of a person…… so quietly sit in one single place like this?

[1] 春⻛得意- extremely proud of one’s success. Like the spring winds getting what it wants.

[2] 时 ⾠ - a traditional division of time, with each division named accordingly to the twelve Earthly branches, hence why each is worth two
hours in the modern division of time. I’m surprised this hasn’t shown up in earlier chapters, though I have mentioned the branches in passing before.
[3] 有⽓⽆⼒- they have the breath, but not the energy.
[4] 遣- meaning, to dismiss, exile/relegate(demote), or dispel, or expel.
[5] 遣罪- a type of punishment in which one expels convicts to a faraway place.

Chapter 138

There is a medicine that goes by the name of ⾦疮药 (medicine for incised wounds) that also goes by ‘blade tip’, albeit not as common. Does the title refer to the medicine, or is it a metaphor?

Chapter One Hundred Thirty-eight, Blade Tips to Stop Blood, That Year, Like Wine. (⼑尖⽌⾎,当年如酒)
He Qing Chuan wanted to curse out loud, wanted to be like before, and draw his sabre against this arrogant and hateful woman.

Just like the day before Guan Zhi Yu left.

“Blockhead.” He Qing Chuan was inside his room resting, when a jar of wine was tossed inside from the window, and he proficiently caught the wine jar. Guan Zhi Yu who was dressed in Jiu Xuan Sect’s Taoist robes sat on the windowsill.

Her hand also held up another jar of wine.

“I’m saying this first, I’m not drinking wine with you.” He Qing Chuan placed the jar of wine straight on the table, and did not wait for Guan Zhi Yu to say anything before directly rejecting her.

The last time he drank wine with this crazy woman Guan Zhi Yu, when they got drunk, Guan Zhi Yu dragged him over and randomly gnawed at him for a good while. The eyes after drinking started displaying the effects of drunkenness, with affections in a jumble and mess, a good time to forget unimportant matters and become unrestrained. In the end, just when Guan Zhi Yu almost dragged him onto the bed, the morning fowl cried out, and daytime was about to come.

And then, this crazy woman instantly threw him to a side, picked her blade up, then tossed aside the complete mess of a floor and just left, left the sect, far off to Cang Pu to carry out an assignment.

He Qing Chuan, with his clothes half-dishevelled, faced a floor of wine jars to mope, and after moping, he had to still obediently clean it up.

Whether it was He Qing Chuan, or Guan Zhi Yu, both actually didn’t know just how they got together. Hazy and obscure, neither clear nor distinct. It was when He Qing Chuan went down the mountain to carry out an assignment for the first time together with Guan Zhi Yu. In the end, halfway through the assignment, Guan Zhi Yu discovered a place with old traces of the era of Ten Thousand Immortals.

When the two went inside to explore, there was an item from an ancient emperor of the era of Ten Thousand Immortals that He Qing Chuan accidentally activated. To seal it, Guan Zhi Yu ended up seriously injured, and He Qing Chuan was also wounded quite seriously. When the two prepared to leave, they encountered odd beasts hunting for prey.

Guan Zhi Yu let him go first, while she cut off the rear, and would follow soon after.

“I said I’m not a fool!”       He Qing Chuan fled in a panic with Guan Zhi Yu on his back, and scolded loudly while running.

Guan Zhi Yu was on his back, and when she heard his words, she stifled in her laughter, and laughed so much she pulled at her own wounds, then sucked in two breaths of cold air.

In the end, they got lucky, and managed to duck into a cave. When He Qing Chuan worriedly looked towards the outside to see if the odd beasts had caught up, Guan Zhi Yu pulled him in without a care.

And then, and then they got together. This woman, Guan Zhi Yu, was certainly a complete and thorough lunatic. She was a person of desperation- if she had liquor that day, she would be drunk that very same day, unrestrained and unreserved even towards life and death. Her body carried wounds, outside were odd beasts that they didn’t know if they left or not, and yet got it on together just like that. He Qing Chuan felt like he wasn’t considered to be a lunatic, but at that time, also went crazy with her for once.

A embrace carrying blood, a kiss carrying that air of cynicism, and in the end, a disorderly and vague recollection.

And then, she fainted over. While He Qing Chuan carried a body full of wounds and a stomach full of words he wanted to ask, he wrapped the wounds for her, changed her clothes, and then wrapped his own injuries.

After waking up, He Qing Chuan awkwardly wanted to ask her, but as a result, Guan Zhi Yu threw a jade tablet at him, and let him beat it back to Jiu Xuan Sect, as she had other things to do.

Not! One! Explanation! At! All!

He Qing Chuan put on a face of disgust, and sat in the cave without moving. Guan Zhi Yu gave him a kick, and let him beat it, and completely changed with a turn of the head.

And then, they constantly mingled together this confusingly.

When He Zhou asked He Qing Chuan about his mother many times, He Qing Chuan did not answer, because he himself said Guan Zhi Yu was his wife, but in reality, there was no time their relationship was ever clear.

The attitude Guan Zhi Yu held towards him was like before. Not only that, the times she returned to Jiu Xuan Sect in a single year were not much, and every time, she was always in a hurry. She would mock him as always, and when she fought, she would press him onto the floor to beat up like always, and continue to sit on the eaves and throw jars of alcohol towards his courtyard. The one thing that was different was, there would be times Guan Zhi Yu would hold up alcohol, drag him to drink together, and after drinking, they would be together.

Even if they were like that, Guan Zhi Yu was still like a knife.

Sharp, swift and fierce, and bearing an attitude of cynicism towards the world.

Drinking their fill together, and once drunk, embrace each other, then when she woke up, she would leave. Clear and straight to the point, whatever entangling, fluttering, all only ever belonged to He Qing Chuan himself. He Qing Chuan always had a kind of strange feeling, like he had become some maiden of a brothel, and Guan Zhi Yu was a customer who came at uncertain times.

He Qing Chuan was angry, yet did not know what was up with himself. When Guan Zhi Yu went to find him to drink, he would accompany her and pour it down jar after jar.

Sometimes, He Qing Chuan felt, this confusing relationship mixed with blood and uncertainty was just like the wine they drank. Every time, the one that who truly drank until they were drunk, was only ever him, and Guan Zhi Yu who poured down even more than him, would sober up in a blink of an eye—— He Qing Chuan always suspected if she had ever been drunk before.

The one who was drunk, was only ever him and him alone.

He Qing Chuan felt like this part of him was practically discomposed enough, just like the very beginning when he was beat down by Guan Zhi Yu time after time until he just laid on the floor by the very end. So, he forcefully held in this fit- since Guan Zhi Yu did not mention it, he also held it in and did not ask her just what kind of relationship did they have.

Up until the final day, when Guan Zhi Yu went to find him, he did not ask either. Rejecting to accompany Guan Zhi Yu to drink wine, He Qing Chuan, with a cold face, felt like he should let her know he was very angry. In the end, Guan Zhi Yu only smiled, sat on the windowsill, and starting drinking by herself, with a look like it was alright even if there was no one to drink with.

He Qing Chuan turned even more angrier when he looked. This kind of attitude like he was nothing special, what the hell!
The bastard who was first to drag him over was her, the bastard who didn’t anything was also her, the bastard who went about unrestrained was also her. Just what the hell!

He Qing Chuan finally could not hold the urge in, and took out his sabre, and slammed it on the table with a “bam”, “Guan Zhi Yu! You……”

“So loud, did you want to fight?” Guan Zhi Yu sat on the windowsill, and swayed the jar of wine.

Fight then, let’s fight.

Weren’t the immortal cultivators’ rules like this? Why spare the words if you can just beat the other person into submission.

And so, the last time He Qing Chuan saw Guan Zhi Yu, he brandished his sabre, and directly fought with her. He still lost in the end, but it was not like the past either, being beat into grovelling every minute. He got hit so much his face was all dirty, and Guan Zhi Yu also was a bit short of breath. He laid on the ground, just like the first time, and couldn’t be bothered to climb up.

Guan Zhi Yu put the blade back in the sheath, and crouched down by his side, “Can’t take this much?”

He Qing Chuan turned his face to the other side, and did not want to
see her. Guan Zhi Yu reached out and dragged his lapel, pulled him up, then just like in that cave, without any explanation, without any words, kissed him.

“Blockhead.”        Guan Zhi Yu laughed loudly, let go her hands, and let the vacant He Qing Chuan heavily hit the back of his head on the ground while he was off guard, then immediately got up and walked in the direction down the mountain.

“Hey!” The instant Guan Zhi Yu kissed him, He Qing Chuan blankly, without reason, got excited again. He could not help but call out to Guan Zhi Yu’s leaving back figure.

What did she mean by this, could it be……

Guan Zhi Yu naturally waved her hand, “We’ll talk about it again when I get back.”

Talk about it again when she is back. Talk about it when she is back.
He Qing Chuan waited at Jiu Xuan Sect, and waited for that answer she would say again when she was back, yet, in the end, ended up waiting for Guan Zhi Yu’s blade.

That blade that once drawn out would makes mountains collapse, let winds shake the pillars, with thunder moving in all four directions.

◈◈◈
He Qing Chuan sat cross-legged in front of that emaciated woman in the core of the formation, and did not have the intention of getting up.

Jun Wan Bai and others faintly realized something, yet did not dare to open their mouths, and could only move their gazes to the unfamiliar Elder Jiu. Elder Jiu lifted his head up to look towards the Mausoleum of Ten Million, and after a moment, he brushed his sleeves, “We’re going in.” “What about Elder He?”

“He will be on guard.”    Elder Jiu simply explained, and did not have the intent of saying more.

The three people no longer asked, and followed Elder Jiu around the place where everyone from Jiu Xuan passed away in sitting[1], and walked into the Mausoleum of Ten Million that was extremely similar to the Qing Ming tower.

After Jun Wan Bai and the others entered the Mausoleum of Ten Million, only He Qing Chuan was left in this clearing.

“Hey.”

He Qing Chuan laid the heavy sabre over his lap. That year, after Yi He Ping gave Guan Zhi Yu’s blade to him, he didn’t say a single thing, and hit Yi He Ping’s face with his fist.

Yi He Ping did not fend it off either, and the always refined and suave Yi He Ping got beaten blue-eyed that day. Yi He Ping said, if you’re going to hit, then be quick, I still need to see Master.

He Qing Chuan cursed out with a fuck you, then picked up the blade and left. Afterwards, none of them ever saw Guan Zhi Yu’s blade. Xie Yi once asked where the blade went, and He Qing Chuan expressionlessly said, it was lost.

Xie Yi did not dare to ask again.

From then on, He Qing Chuan would carry a heavy sabre on his back anywhere.

Guan Zhi Yu’s blade, was cast into his own sabre.

When he took it out to give to He Zhou that day, his sabre also shattered- right now, this heavy sabre was recast from the shattered fragments, so He Qing Chuan constantly felt like it was much lighter than before. But that blade of Guan Zhi Yu’s was extremely light and extremely thin, and pretty much had no weight to it.

He turned to look at Guan Zhi Yu’s closed-eyed face, it was still those familiar swift and fierce raised eyebrows.

“Yi He Ping made a grave for you at the back of the mountain, and I wrote, He Qing Chuan’s wife, Guan Zhi Yu on that gravestone.” “You bullied me for that many years, pressed down on my head for that many years, it’s about time I push you down for once.”       “I said you are He Qing Chuan’s wife, would you agree to it?”

Jun Wan Bai and the others already entered the Mausoleum of Ten Million, while He Qing Chuan alone sat by Guan Zhi Yu’s side, lowered his head, and looked at the heavy sabre placed on his lap, and asked in a small voice.

He felt like he was funny.

In the beginning, he wanted to hold up his reputation, and so was unable to ask it out loud, but later down the line, he no longer had the chance to ask it again.

There would be nobody to answer by asking now either.

He trained in the heavy sabre for that many years- in the eyes of all of Jiu Xuan Sect’s disciples and elders, he was a violent and bad-tempered man that was just like steel, but at this time when he spoke with Guan Zhi Yu, his expression clearly returned to that young man back then who was beaten down to the ground and did not want to get up.

“I know you want to scold how I’m dumb again.”   When he finished asking, he first started laughing himself.

He took out a jar of wine from his ring, patted off the lid, then lifted his head up to pour it down.

“Drink, drink. I’ll accompany you for a drink.” Glug, glug, jar after jar.

“I’ll drink with you.” He said, calmly.

[1] 坐化- the term also refers to the death of Buddhist monks, to pass away while sitting cross-legged.

Chapter 139

This isn’t the beginning of it all, but welcome to kahka’s corner where with each subsequent chapter release, kahka either a) finds a better wording for something or b) the mistakes or poor choices made in previous chapters comes full throttle in these later chapters that kahka has no choice but to confront it and make a bunch of changes at once.

I’ve decided…. This many chapters later, the xuan character no longer means ancient in the three ancient emperors’ drawing. It’s too confusing to tell apart from the ancient emperors of past, the Ancient Emperor who killed the fog raptors, and the three Ancient Emperors that fell in the Immortals era. We’re going with Three Wise Emperors. (by no means related to a certain trio of three wise kings, no matter how much I wanted to change it to that once I decided to use ‘xuan’ as wise.)

Other changes:

Imperial Drawing Imperial Map (now that there is finally clarification) Ancient Emperor (fog raptor killer) Sky Emperor
Chapter One Hundred Thirty-nine, the Three Wise Emperors’ Map, of the Severed Era. (三⽞皇图, 中断纪元)
Mausoleum of Ten Million. This was the first attempt that the Jiu Xuan Sect Leader and the Old Clans’ descendant Guan Ling joined hands to carry out to go against the abnormalities back then. As the first connected Qing Ming tower, the interior architecture was pretty much the same as Bing Province’s Qing Ming tower. Right after entering in from the main door, the inside of the tower also had a clearing with a cylindrical pillar connecting from the top and bottom right in the middle of it, with floor after floor of rooms all placed with odd beasts’ statues inside.

But just when they stepped into the Mausoleum, everyone felt something strange.

A kind of chaotic aura was shrouded over here. The inside of the Mausoleum was murky and dark, the pillar in the middle of the floor had grey and dusky aura like fog hovering around, and within the grey fog, the lines of the formation and light flickered about.

This scene made Jun Wan Bai, Li Xin, and Chu Zhi Yuan recall the things that happened in Bing Province’s Qing Ming tower.

At that time, Yu Shou Sect’s Qiu Qian He summoned a Qiu dragon’s apparition, resulting in creating a spacial vortex right in the middle of Bing Province’s Qing Ming tower. Due to this, they also stepped into the previous era’s battlefield of Di Fen through the Qing Ming tower, and saw the prototype of the Qing Ming tower, the Tower of Qiu Huang.

And today, the grey fog hovering in the middle of the Mausoleum of Ten Million, with a veiled aura that faintly carried a pressure that made people not dare to peer into it, seemed like the spacial entrance to the ancient emperor’s burial grounds that the Mausoleum was connected to.

Jun Wan Bai looked at that slowly rotating grey fog. The flickering formation and light in the grey fog should be the seal that the elders of Jiu Xuan Sect made in exchange for their lives.

The inside of the tower had wind pouring down from the very top of the tower in gusts, lonesomely and shrilly echoing in everyone’s ears.

Jun Wan Bai lifted her head up, and thought back to Zhou Wen An, thought back to the spirit tablet outside the Qing Ming tower, and thought back to Bai Li Shu who previously always walked in front of them. Tidal water-like images continuously surged forward- one moment, it was Zhou Wen An touching the fragmented spirit stones in the Qing Ming tower, the next moment, it was Bai Li Shu standing outside the ice, being swallowed by the spacial vortex…… Those images overlapped and layered over with the formation in the grey fog at the front, as though it was an eternally unresting cycle of reincarnation.

These things…… just when will they cease?

—— Look. —— To rain without clouds, is called Heaven’s
tears.

Bai Li Shu’s voice lightly resonated by her ears once again. That
night, when they came out from beneath Yan Men Prefecture, Bai Li Shu’s hands held a gold-coloured longbow, and rainwater that came down from the skies washed away the vast lands. He stood within the rain, and slightly raised his head up to look at that rain that carried the force of washing away the entire world. His figure was very thin, yet the entire being seemed like an eternally unbreakable sword.

At that time, Jun Wan Bai felt like the inside of that pair of eyes seemingly sealed with cold ice of Bai Li Shu’s, underneath, were endless, boundless concerns that others did not know of.

Back then, she could not guess just what kind of concerns would a person like Bai Li Shu have.

It was up until today, when she walked out from the shelter of those many elders of Jiu Xuan Sect, and started personally facing that truth beneath the dense thick fog, and started taking over some responsibilities from the elders’ shoulders, that she then faintly perceived some obscure things that Bai Li Shu carried on his back.

That was a grand destiny of several tens of thousands of years.

Simply from looking, one would feel like it was so heavy they could not breathe. Right now, she only faintly understood bits and pieces regarding the era of Chaos and the Eighteen Clans of Old, and already felt that portion of weightiness, that portion of hardship- then, as the most mysterious of the Eighteen Clans, the clan of Bai Li, just what did Bai Li Shu think all this time?

That young man standing on the deck, overlooking all the living beings, his sleeves swept up and flew around like cranes, with neither joy nor sadness seen in his features.

Solitary, distant, so distant one pretty much could not understand
them.

Bai Li Shu, of the clan of Bai Li that guarded Heaven’s grave, the
person who was suddenly brought back by the sect leader, and the current Jiu Xuan Sect’s eldest disciple brother. This person…… what was he thinking all this time?

“Your mission is to retrieve the 《Three Wise Emperors’ Map》.” After entering the Mausoleum of Ten Million, only Elder Jiu was left, so it was up to him to explain the assignment.

“The 《Three Wise Emperors’ Map》 that Elder Qin lost?” Chu Zhi Yuan asked.

But whether if it was Chu Zhi Yuan, or Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin, the three did not believe that they would so secretly come from such a long ways to enter Guang Han Prefecture’s Mausoleum of Ten Million just for
that portion of the 《Three Wise Emperors’ Map 》 that Elder Qin lost. After all, they also once heard of this spiritual tool of Elder Qin’s- incredible as it may be, but compared to this giant secret of several tens of thousands of years as an ancient emperor’s burial ground, it was still too insignificant to be mentioned.

Furthermore, after knowing some things, Jun Wan Bai and them also already understood, the many things of the sect, and of the vast lands of the twelve dynasties, were no longer that simple anymore. “Yes, and also no.” Elder Jiu answered.

Qin Song certainly had a portion of the 《Three Wise Emperors’ Map》 in his hands, but that was only a copied scroll from a portion of the
《 Three Wise Emperors’ Map 》, and was not the true 《 Three Wise Emperors’ Map 》. It was something Elder Qin drew according to the
《Three Wise Emperors’ Map》 he had personally seen before, but even just a copy of a mere portrayal was enough for it to become a strong spiritual tool.

The true 《Three Wise Emperors’ Map》 was a grand ancient scroll that the final remaining three ancient emperors in the era of Ten Thousand Immortals—— the Sky Emperor who killed one million fog raptors to cast “Jue”, the White Emperor, embodiment of the undying fire and the phoenix- returning parasol tree, as well as the North Star Emperor that all the stars submit to, all joined hands to draw- within it, contained a map with all the fowl and beasts and mountains and rivers of the land of the twelve dynasties.

In the era of Ten Thousand Immortals, these three ancient emperors once wrote the 《Three Emperors’ Handbook 》, recording down all the various things in the twelve dynasties, and today, all the people of the land
of the twelve dynasties pretty much used this handbook as a reference of
research. When the current era’s historians investigated into this handbook the Three Emperors joined hands to write, they were extremely puzzled.

The Three Emperors were ancient emperors, no matter how one looked at it, they did not seem like people who would do this kind of thing like compiling all the beings to memorialize into a book, right? Wasn’t this typically done by some old pedants who could not attain the post of a high- level official and did not have much fame?

In addition, within legends, the Three Emperors even drew an old map for this handbook, except, this old map had already been lost- some secret copies and remnants of the scroll were all in the hands of the sects, so even if the historian officials wanted it, there was no ability to research into it.

As for why the era of Ten Thousand Immortals’ remaining three ancient emperors would personally do this incomprehensible thing, only a few people of the Eight Immortal Sects knew one of the reasons, and moreover, no matter how the relationships between the eight sects were at any given time, the attitude on this matter was the same- all was strict blocking, absolutely not allowing for it to leak even a small bit.

Because, the 《Three Wise Emperors’ Map 》 might directly be involved with the reason why the era of Ten Thousand Immortals was broken off.

The ancient emperors would not be old pedants with no accomplishment of any kind, and naturally would not waste that much pain- staking efforts, only to give later generations a reference book to inquire about for the many things. They were the lofty ancient emperors- the things they did, what they schemed, was not something the people of the current times were able to imagine.

That was an insane plan that the last generation of ancient emperors who were faced with the fate of falling made to remedy the current situation.

They planned on scheming the world.

In the late period of the era of Chaos, ancient emperors fell one by one, and their strength was stolen and analyzed by the Eighteen Clans of Old. By the era of Ten Thousand Immortals, numerous formations were invented, and the era in which ancient emperors ruled the world was already completely heading to its end- in front of the mighty current of history, it played the last note to its inevitable ruination.

But, how could the Three Emperors be willing to let their reign reach the end of its road? Thus, in the era of Ten Thousand Immortals, these three extremely talented and enviable ancient emperors joined hands together. They drew out a scroll of prophecy[1] including all the world’s living beings and the terrain of mountains and rivers. In the logic of the current era’s painters, a drawing had life(soul) to it, and this point, to a certain degree, was not wrong. The goal of the Three Emperors drawing this huge prophecy scroll, was to assimilate the soul of all the things in the world, and once again envelop their might of dominion on the four seas.

This ancient map, was a miniature version of the vast land of the twelve dynasties.

If the Three Emperors really completed this scroll of prophecy, then according to how their terrifying strength was able to command a part of the world, there was no reason why this mad idea wouldn’t be successful.

The people of the Eight Sects were unable to find the exact information, proving that something indeed happened at the end of the era of Ten Thousand Immortals, but after deducing from some bits and pieces here and there, the severance of the era of Ten Thousand Immortals, the disappearance of the Old Clans who were the very first to steal the power of the ancient emperors, the fall of the final three emperors, should be related
to this 《Three Wise Emperors’ Map》.

Jiu Xuan Sect had always looked into the whereabouts of this
《Three Wise Emperors’ Map》, and in the end, found clues from some places that were related with the burial grounds of the ancient emperors, and finally locked the range of it in the ancient emperors’ burial ground connected to the Mausoleum of Ten Million.

This was also why they would choose Guang Han Prefecture’s Mausoleum of Ten Million as the first Qing Ming tower to undergo improvements, and borrow the force of the heavens and the earth to seal the
connected burial grounds. In truth, it was heavily related to the 《Three Wise Emperors’ Map》, and could not be taken lightly. Back then, the surface-level goal with the Mausoleum of Ten Million was not achieved, but the true goal was fulfilled.

After the formation on the Mausoleum of Ten Million was completed, Jiu Xuan Sect also constantly sent people to secretly go through another route to enter the connected burial ground, and find that legendary imperial map.

In the end, they confirmed what existed in the Mausoleum of Ten Million was certainly the imperial map, but it was not complete, and was only a fragment of it.

Even if it was an incomplete scroll, it was already terrifying enough.

Those of Jiu Xuan Sect who entered the burial ground of the ancient emperor and saw that imperial drawing were not many, just Guan Zhi Yu, and Jiang Ge back then all saw it before. But today, of those who saw the imperial map and lived on, were probably just Yi He Ping, Qin Song, and Xie Yi.

The 《Three Wise Emperors’ Map》 that Elder Qin, Qin Song, had in his hands was a book of rubbings that was drawn with the aid of the sect’s elders according to what he saw. After the book of rubbings was finished, Qin Song even came to Guang Han Prefecture several times. After Guan Zhi Yu got into the incident, he did not care for the ban from the sect leader of that time, and wanted to rely on the imperial map to forcefully barge into the Mausoleum of Ten Million and find the eldest disciple sister and other seniors who came to the Mausoleum of Ten Million.

That time, Qin Song almost died at Guang Han Prefecture, and managed to get out alive by depending on the 《Three Wise Emperors’ Map》, but that imperial map was since lost within the Mausoleum.
And because of the actions that time, Qin Song who was clearly of the same generation as Yi He Ping and He Qing Chuan, had full of white hair at present, and bore a doddering[2] look. And this time, the goal of He Qing Chuan and Elder Jiu bringing Jun Wan Bai and the other two to enter the Mausoleum of Ten Million was only one:

Taking the real 《Three Wise Emperors’ Map》.

[1] ⽞图- a ‘xuan’ drawing/map/chart/diagram……. which apparently refers to a book of prophecy.

[2] ⽼态⻰钟- expression for being old and clumsy, being weighed down with age. Senile.

Chapter 140

Chapter One Hundred Forty, People of the Old Seal, Person in the Black Fog. (古印之⼈, ⿊雾中⼈)
In truth, the person who would have originally come to take the
《Three Wise Emperors’ Map》 was Bai Li Shu.

However, in Bing Province’s Qiu Huang tower, Bai Li Shu lost contact with Jun Wan Bai and the others, and today, his whereabouts were still unknown. Nevertheless, there was not much time left, so the sect then
once again chose Jun Wan Bai and the other two to come take the 《Three Wise Emperors’ Map》.
Elder Jiu’s explanation made the three manage to understand some things, however, the suspicions regarding Bai Li Shu grew even more numerous.

The sect’s elders’ reaction regarding Bai Li Shu’s disappearance was very strange- there was not one elder who spoke up about this matter, and they who returned from the Qiu Huang tower were ordered not to speak up about the matter of Bai Li Shu’s disappearance to the outside, and Bai Li Shu’s master, Sect Leader Yi He Ping, announced to the outside that Bai Li Shu went into isolation once again.

Before this, Bai Li Shu would always be in a state of isolation all year round as well, and so the entire sect would be accustomed to this. Wait, accustomed? Jun Wan Bai was abruptly startled, and her facial colour changed all of a sudden.

They followed Bai Li Shu to the Qiu Huang tower, and thus would know that Bai Li Shu going into isolation on the surface was not really true. So…… when Bai Li Shu went in isolation for that long before, was he…… really in the sect?

The Observer of the Eighteen Clans of Old, the youth that the sect leader suddenly brought back.

Jun Wan Bai faintly perceived, there were many things that did not look as it did on the surface, there were much more bigger, more enshrouded things concealed beneath the secret turbulence- and that was the truth that would shock people. And they who were lead by Elder Jiu into the
Mausoleum of Ten Million, about to take the 《 Three Wise Emperors’ Map》, were slowly approaching that truth.
“Yi He Ping said there was no need to ask, but I feel like I should give you guys a chance.”

After simply explaining the general idea, Elder Jiu turned around to face them, and his voice suddenly turned more and more deep. Jun Wan Bai and the other two noticed that he directly used the sect leader’s name—— the position this Elder Jiu had in the sect seemed to be very high.

“The meaning behind retrieving the 《 Three Wise Emperors’ Map》 is not as simple as it is on the surface, are you guys certain you want to continue?”     When Elder Jiu’s words fell, the atmosphere seemed to have gone silent in an instant.
Jun Wan Bai turned to look at Half-crazed Li, then looked at Chu Zhi Yuan- the expression on their faces were very calm, no astonishment, nor nervousness.

“I am a disciple of Jiu Xuan Sect.”        Half-crazed Li opened up in a low voice. He stroked his own pair of sabres, and only said this, no more. He was a disciple of Jiu Xuan Sect, willing to brandish his blade for Jiu Xuan Sect, willing to barge into the burial grounds of the previous era for Jiu Xuan Sect, and was willing to die for Jiu Xuan Sect.

This is their Jiu Xuan.

“I am a disciple of Jiu Xuan Sect.”        Jun Wan Bai laughed, and for once, did not refute Half-crazed Li’s words.

After hearing the secret behind the 《Three Wise Emperors’ Map》, who didn’t know that retrieving the 《Three Wise Emperors’ Map》 would definitely carry many serious responsibilities. However…… there was no reason that if Bai Li Shu was able to carry it, that they weren’t able to as
well.

“I am a disciple of Jiu Xuan Sect.” Chu Zhi Yuan took out the sword that would never leave his side, and used the most solemn expression to open his mouth, his tone all low and deep.

He was born in Jiu Xuan, grew up in Jiu Xuan, lived because of Jiu Xuan Sect, and would die because of Jiu Xuan Sect.

Three “I am a disciple of Jiu Xuan Sect”, a plain and simple seven words, and Elder Jiu suddenly understood why Yi He Ping would say “there was no need to ask”.

—— “They are Jiu Xuan Sect’s disciples.”      Yi He Ping who stood in the Jade Harmony Pavilion said this, his voice was light and firm.

At that time, he thought, what Yi He Ping meant was, as Jiu Xuan Sect’s disciples, there was no need for a reason to die for Jiu Xuan Sect. But at present, after Jun Wan Bai, Li Xin, and Chu Zhi Yuan used a very calm, very natural, very ordinary tone to say it out loud, Elder Jiu finally understood what Yi He Ping truly meant.

Why was there no need to ask? Because Yi He Ping knew, these young disciples of Jiu Xuan Sect, they were willing to do everything for this sect. This was a matter where one would obtain a definite answer without even needing to ask.

Jiu Xuan, Jiu Xuan.

Elder Jiu finally understood why this sect would be the world’s number one.

It really was a bunch of lunatics- the old were mad, and the young were not normal either.

“I did something unnecessary.” Elder Jiu sighed. He waved his sleeves, and the scarlet-red Ye fire spread out like it covered over the entire world. With a blink of the eye, it coiled up the tower’s body like snakes and vines, and the originally pitch-black Mausoleum of Ten Million suddenly brightened up, “I will lure out the imperial map. After the imperial map is drawn out, you guys move.”

This time, in Jiu Xuan Sect’s plan in taking the imperial drawing, the core people were Elder Jiu and the three- He Qing Chuan would remain outside to be in charge of guarding, just in case there were any accidents.

The real 《Three Wise Emperors’ Map 》 was concealed in the burial grounds of an ancient emperor connected with the Mausoleum of Ten Million. They did not know what kind of origins or identity Elder Jiu held, to be able to enter an ancient emperor’s burial grounds, and temporarily borrow the Mausoleum to draw out the imperial drawing from the burial ground’s space, all the way to the very middle of the Mausoleum. However,
in the time the 《Three Wise Emperors’ Map》 was drawn out, Elder Jiu must stay in the passageway connecting between the two spaces, and use his own strength to keep off the ancient emperors’ might breaking out due to the movement of the imperial drawing.

During this time, even Elder Jiu was unable to maintain for too long, so Jun Wan Bai and the other two must use the quickest speed to collect the drawn out imperial map. Before leaving the sect, they separately obtained a very old bronze box with an unknown item inside from Yi He Ping.

Elder Jiu instructed the three people to take out the bronze box, and after opening it, they discovered that inside the bronze boxes quietly laid three old bronze talismans.

The surface of the bronze talismans had old beast patterns on them- the bestial patterns were extremely simple and primitive, and from the style, it seemed to bear similarities with the various bronze relics left from the era of Chaos. After the bronze boxes were opened, the three bronze talismans were exposed to the air, and Jun Wan Bai and the other two’s ears seemed to resound with an age-old, distant chanting along with it.

The intonation was a bit familiar.

If Yan Men Prefecture’s Elder Xie Yi heard this ancient recitation, he would find, this was the exact same thing that that warrior who came from Cang Pu recited. And why Jun Wan Bai and the other two would feel it was familiar, was because they also once heard of it, at that one time when Bai Li Shu broke Li Xin’s “domain”.

The difference was, Bai Li Shu used the current language used throughout the twelve dynasties that time.

The sound resonating by their ears resonated with an ancient ritual prostrating to the vast land- the sound was held in this bronze talisman, stepping from the era of Chaos, and right through the era of Ten Thousand Immortals to reach here.

“These are Old Seals.” When Elder Jiu saw those three bronze talismans, his eyes flashed through a sliver of reminiscence, and he lightly said this.

In the era of Chaos, that group of rebels concealed their own names, and changed them into eighteen surnames. And the people of the later Eighteen Clans, were of two types- one was the descendant of the very first group of Eighteen Clans, and another imitated them, changing into a surname of the Old Clans.

Erasing their own names, changing them into one of the old surnames.

However, this required a medium, and the medium was formed when an actual person from the Eighteen Clans of Old died, and sealed their own soul essence into a bronze talisman, called an Old Seal. The future people who made a contract with the Old Seal would then be able to inherit the sealed memories and surname, just like the very first Eighteen Clans of Old, changing one’s name, and becoming a part of the Old Clans.

And why Jun Wan Bai, Li Xin, and Chu Zhi Yuan were chosen, was because they were originally part of the offshoot branches of the Eighteen Clans of Old. After entering the Tower of Qiu Huang, a portion of their bloodline recovered due to the ancient emperor’s aura in the tower, and added with these three Old Seals, they would be able to propel them towards being true descendants of the Eighteen Clans.

And in the era of Chaos, Jun, Li, and Chu, these three branches of old surnames that stole the power of the ancient emperors, had quite a strong relationship with the Three Emperors.

Thus, there would be an opportunity to obtain the imperial map.

These were things that Jiu Xuan Sect gradually found and investigated by sending disciples and elders who risked their lives to enter the Mausoleum of Ten Million throughout these many years.

However, even with these sorts of preparations, wanting to retrieve the imperial map was definitely an extremely dangerous task.

Yet, no one said anything.

Jun Wan Bai thrust the pair of swords in front of her. In the time Elder Jiu used the Ye fire to temporarily temper the Mausoleum of Ten Million, she sat cross-legged on the floor, then cut open her own hand, with blood flowing to the Old Seal, and started absorbing it. Half-crazed Li sat to her left, look to her by the side, and also cut open his own hand.

Chu Zhi Yuan looked at Half-crazed Li, then looked at Jun Wan Bai. The corners of his mouth twitched, and he instead sat in a place further away from them and also started absorbing the Old Seal.

When the Ye fire enveloped the entire Mausoleum of Ten Million, and Elder Jiu and the three started to move.

Outside the Mausoleum of Ten Million, He Qing Chuan already threw out a messy floor of wine jars.

He sat on the ground, held his heavy sabre, swayed a jar of wine, then slightly narrowed his eyes, and very, very lightly hummed a tune from somewhere.

When the back lit up, and red flames surrounded the black tower’s body, He Qing Chuan did not turn back. He held wine with one hand, and the other pressed on the sabre’s hilt, and he sat on the ground, watching Xiang Tan Lake in front of him.

On the surface of Xiang Tan Lake, dense black fog was turning
about.

The original black fog seemed to emerge with another, dissimilar
black fog. The two black fogs mingled together, swept around, and was hard to discern with the naked eye. But in an immortal cultivator’s perception, the two black fogs were very distinct from each other[1].

The black fog springing up from the bottom of the lake carried a very nefarious aura, so dense it made people’s hairs stand, and carried a very strong malice.

That is……    Demonic aura. tap, tap. The demonic aura rolling about very quickly took over the original ghost realm, and enveloped the entire black-watered lake. And when the black aura completely shrouded over, distinct sounds of footsteps transmitted from Xiang Tan Lake. The sound was just like clogs knocking on top of a layer of ice.

Sounding strange.

He Qing Chuan did not move due to it, and continued to sit on the ground, swaying his wine.

tap, tap.

The sound of footsteps got closer and closer, and clearer and clearer, and by the end, a human figure slowly walked out from the black fog. The person that walked out from the black fog was extremely tall, and was covered over from head to toe with a black cloak. However, this person was strangely thin, and the black robe draped over his body was empty and barren.

As though underneath the robes, was not blood or flesh, but only a skeleton.

This person’s hand held a pure-black, narrow, and long blade.

After he walked out the black fog, he stopped at the clearing in front of the Mausoleum of Ten Million, and faced towards He Qing Chuan.

He Qing Chuan swayed the jar of wine, and nonchalantly opened his mouth, “Here now?”

[1] 泾渭分明- literally, as distinct as the Jing river is from the He river. For image reference.

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