Chapter One Hundred Sixty-one, Mole Crickets and Ants on Water, Chang Ge, Chang Ge. (蝼蚁浮⽣, ⻓歌⻓歌)
“Hasn’t one of your people, that Mr. Yan, already reached Gua Province?” Lord Tao asked with a steady tone. His figure carried a kind of imposition that normal people did not have.
“Lord Tao has typically been reasonable and competent, naturally, you should know the logic of how anything done cannot have complete assurance.” The very lean man saw him as usual, and thus, spuriously smiled and took back his gaze- he seemed to have a natural faint hostility towards Lord Tao as well.
That hostility was subtle and hard to understand, a bit like the hostility between civil and military officials, yet also a bit more stronger than that.
Carrying a bit of mockery and contempt.
“Leader Yan failed?” Lord Tao knitted his eyebrows, and
“Our predictions were right. The Boyikh tribespeople were long
watched by other people already.” The very lean man did not directly answer, and opened his mouth in a roundabout way, “Don’t know which of the Eight Sects long watched the Boyikh tribe. White Emperor’s imperial city was certainly in Gua Province, but our people sent the news, saying, the imperial city was already destroyed.” “The imperial city was destroyed.” Lord Tao’s eyebrows were unable to smooth out, and on the contrary, knitted even more tighter.
This news was definitely not some good news. The things Jin Tang prepared at Gua Province for so long has gone to waste like this.
However, it was not considered to be too incidental. The so-called bug of a hundred legs can even die and not stay still, let alone for the Eight Sects that are still like the sun in the skies. The Eight Immortal Sects’ power was originally so strong it made people not dare to directly contend against it, so if two or three things planned in secret were able to succeed, then it is already not that bad.
However, they did not have the time to gently conspire at all.
The Eight Immortal Sects were definitely not some feeble and useless people. Precisely the opposite, these three words, Eight Immortal Sects, represented a power so tyrannical it was terrifying.
As his mind very quickly considered what kind of effects Gua Province’s White Emperor’s city being destroyed would create for these hidden things, Lord Tao firmly remembered this matter, then, it would be up to him to personally convey it to the “higher-ups”.
“Is there anything else?” Lord Tao asked in a deep voice, “For a mere matter such as this, it is not worth you entering Li An.”
“Heaven’s Net has already been woven for long enough, it is time to pull in this net.” Within Lord Tao’s sudden change in expression, the very lean man paused with every word, and spoke slowly.
His tone was still like that, carrying a jackal-like bloodiness, where that type of bloody air was one that walked in the darkness and could not see the day of light. However, the instant these words were said from his mouth, Lord Tao only felt like he heard a war of tens of thousands soldiers, tens of thousands of howls of grief, and blood flowing thousands of miles long. As though there was a clear-sounding thick bronze bell being heavily hit.
Like a prelude to troubled times.
While sitting in the sunlight, Lord Tao, for no reason at all, felt like his whole body went cold.
He suddenly felt like the one sitting in front of him, was not a human, but…… but a mad, ruthless beast slowly opening up its hideous teeth, carrying wild ambitions no one knew about.
In any case, wasn’t something human.
Underneath the skin of the very lean man who was just like all of Qi Qin’s medicine merchants, hid a terrifying soul born out of darkness and bloodiness. The very lean man in front of him was one of the leaders of Jin Tang’s secret guards, and also the head of the killers that Lord Tao often disdained.
Even if he did not say it directly, someone like Lord Tao would typically have a kind of contempt towards killers that concealed themselves in darkness and would do anything, with no bottom line, and whose existences were purely just like a tool. This was also related with the Confucian culture that was thriving in the Central Plains.
However, along the line, Lord Tao suddenly felt he seemed to not have seen through this killer that could be crafty and petty like a medicine merchant, yet also prowl for tens of thousands of miles to kill a person at all.
This person…… was far more scarier than he imagined.
When he said that Heaven’s Net should be pulled up, he was absolutely clear on what kind of terrifying meaning these words represented, and yet, the emotions in his tone, underneath that cordiality, faintly hid an excitement that made people’s heads go numb. Just like a smiling wolf, slowly licking its ghastly-white teeth.
Was a wolf like this really able to merely be a single blade hidden in Jin Tang?
But very quickly, the very lean man sitting in front of Lord Tao hunched his body, and the expression on their his returned to that of a medicine merchant’s craftiness, complete with a sordid merchant’s air.
“For Lord Tao to be willing to purchase this small one’s goods, I cannot be any more appreciative.”
When the very lean man opened his mouth once again, their voice was of that skilled and slick tone again. He stood up from his bow, and between speaking, left a ring on the tea table in front of Lord Tao. After giving courtesies and bidding farewell with close semblances, he exited the compartment.
After the very lean man left the compartment, the atmosphere seemed like it invisibly loosened up, and this small little teahouse that did not draw in attention seemed to revive from the solidification, with incoming guests also entering from time to time.
Lord Tao sat in front of the table without any expression, and did not take that ring.
He slightly turned his head, and not long after, saw that hunched, very lean man no different from all the Qi Qin merchants mingle into the crowd and disappear from his sights.
Once the very lean man’s back figure completely disappeared, Lord Tao slowly withdrew his gaze.
He looked at the ring on the table, and lifted up the hand hidden beneath the tea table- at some time ago, his hand was tightly gripped, so tight the knuckles were white, and blood dripped down drop by drop between his fingers. “Gua Province……” Lord Tao repeated these two words in a low voice, and the expression on his face was stiff like a mask.
Jin Tang dynasty’s imperial palace.
Due to moving the capital several times, on the reason that the previous emperor could not bear to have the commoners overwork, the architecture in Jin Tang’s imperial palace’s was considered to be simple and ordinary. Other than needing to abide by the old system of three palaces and five gates, here, what can be omitted, was all omitted.
The morning courts had already finished, so the current Jin Tang Emperor went to the highly-favoured Consort Chen in the back palace.
Inside this back palace, many people were envious and hateful of Consort Chen’s high favours, but in truth, Jin Tang’s emperor going over to Consort Chen’s place was not as they thought, in embraces and unison.
After retiring the attendants, Consort Chen pressed her hand on a delicate engraving at the head of the bed, and with a circulation of primordial energy, after a very light click, a hidden passage slowly appeared.
The upright middle-aged emperor slightly nodded his head to the “gentle and needlework-adept” Consort Chen, then took a lantern, and walked into the hidden passage.
The passage was long and narrow, and to the sides, many characters were densely engraved, as though recording down something.
The emperor held up the lantern and illuminated over each and every one of those characters. He did not walk slow, but the passage winding down was so shockingly long, and after spending a long while, could one then reach the end of the secret passage. The end of the passage abruptly widened up, and a bright dim-gold light flooded the interior.
Underneath this covertly-built secret passage, connected to a hidden place that was almost as big as half a forbidden palace. This place seemed like it was rebuilt from a natural cave, while the walls all around glimmered with a soul-stirring dim gold light.
This was a spiritual opening.
A spiritual opening was a cavity of a ley(spirit) line, the place where spiritual aura circulated and recovered. Ley lines, spirit stones, were all needed resources of immortal cultivation, but these were typically occupied by immortal sects. The Eight Immortal Sects’ branches spread over the vast land of the twelve dynasties, thus, though the place the ley lines spread around was on the territories of the dynasties, all the authority still belonged to the Eight Immortal Sects.
Even among the Eight Immortal Sects, the locations the spiritual openings were at were very important secrets. When He Zhou inherited the Han Blade his mother Guan Zhi Yu left, it was at Xuan Li Peak’s spiritual opening.
And at present, underneath this mortal realm’s dynasty, Jin Tang’s imperial palace, actually concealed this peculiar, strange, and very uncommon spiritual opening.
One of the real reasons why Jin Tang dynasty’s capital moved south, was for this spiritual opening.
Before Jin Tang dynasty’s first migration, they should have already discovered this spiritual opening, and to not draw in Jiu Xuan Sect’s attention, they did not directly move the capital here, but did it through the hands of several generations of many emperors, gradually, bit by bit, spending a long time to steadily finish it.
Comparing normal people with immortal cultivators, was like ants and elephants. But, though the power of ants may be minute, it never lacked patience.
If this generation did not finish, it did not matter, do a bit this generation, finish a bit in that generation, and it would eventually be finished. A thousand-mile causeway, was finished bit by bit just like this.
Jin Tang’s emperor placed down the lantern at the end of the hidden passage, and walked into the spacious underground spiritual opening empty-handed.
The light of the dim-gold spiritual energy circulating all over let this place bear a kind of peculiar brilliance and magnificence. And yet, the emperor did not pay heed to these, but directly walked over to the very center of the space.
The very middle was placed with many strange stone seats, a bit like the rush cushions immortal cultivators used when they were meditating. These stone seats were spread out in a strange order, and in the very middle, was a sacrificial altar.
There was someone standing in front of the altar.
That person was dressed in long blue robes, with their head raised while looking at the sacrificial altar in a trance.
The emperor walked behind that person, and very humbly paid his respects.
“Uncle.” He called out.
The person dressed in long blue robes turned around, and within the dim-gold light of spiritual energy, what was illuminated, was a very young face, much more younger than the upright middle-aged Jin Tang Emperor.
However, the emperor called him Uncle.
The emperor stood back up, and looked at the young man standing before him. Within the twelve dynasties, there were immortal cultivators that did not belong to the Eight Immortal Sects, and the numbers were not considered small either- within aristocratic families, the imperial clans, many had some immortal cultivators about. However, anyone had the possibility of being an immortal cultivator, only the twelve dynasties’ emperors could not.
All the ascended emperors could not cultivate in immortality.
Jin Tang’s emperor was an ordinary person, his father was also an ordinary person, and his father already died, so he had ascended to the throne for quite a few years.
Nevertheless, this person he called “Uncle”, looked young.
His father was an ordinary person just like an ant. Compared to immortal cultivators, he would quickly grow old and die. He was ordinary as well, so he was already in his middle ages, with a forehead full of wrinkles, yet, his uncle remained like a young man.
Standing within the spiritual opening underneath Jin Tang’s imperial palace, the person called “Uncle” by the emperor, had a face that the people of Jiu Xuan Sect were not unfamiliar with.
He was Shen Chang Ge.
 From the expression, 百⾜之⾍, 死⽽不僵 which refers to how even if the centipede is cut apart, it is still able to crawl around, and not stay dying. Though they may be on a decline, they did not completely die out.
 强横- also encompasses arrogance, unyielding/tough, and being rude and unreasonable.
 市 侩 - the longer definition is, merchants who only seek profit, without following the rules of the market.  三朝五门- from the Rites of Zhou 《周礼》, as a sign of respect and courtesy.
 颠鸾倒凤, 巫⼭云⾬- two separate expressions which translates to, phoenixes falling and toppling (originally meant to describe how odd
someone was acting), and how Wu Mountain has clouds and rain (originally referred to the matter of the goddess of Wu Mountain bringing in the rain but modern times typically refer clouds and rain as having intercourse)
 禁宫 Refers to the aspect of the imperial palace being forbidden to commoners. Readers may be familiar with the imperial palace in Beijing being referred as the Forbidden City.
Chapter One Hundred Sixty-two, Jin Tang’s Ji Clan, Identities and Facades. (⾦唐姬⽒, ⾝份假⾯)
Shen Chang Ge was still dressed in a light-blue long robe, with water cloud patterns by the sleeves.
He looked to be no different from when he was still at Jiu Xuan Sect, with the elegant face just as always. However, it was most certainly completely different.
His figure no longer bore the sharpness and indulgence he had when he was “Jiu Xuan Qian Range’s representative” fighting with Jun Wan Bai and Half-crazed Li, and the romantic Yin Yang Fan’s aura disappeared cleanly and thoroughly.
The Shen Chang Ge standing within the boundless dim-gold light looked to only be a normal young man.
That type of young Confucian scholar that could be seen anywhere in Jin Tang, who read a few batches of books, carrying thoughts of supporting the family through a plain and ordinary day, without any big aspirations- not like a strong-willed person thinking of the country, but not considered to be that bad of a person either.
However, in front of this kind of person, Jin Tang’s emperor lowered his head, and respectfully gave him a bow.
The current emperor of Jin Tang was Ji Bing. The previous emperor Jing Yuan Emperor, when the empress gave birth to the princesses, already lost feelings for them, with affections no more. However, in truth, in Jing Yuan Emperor’s entire life, the only one he deeply loved was the empress alone. The previous emperor was a person like a frosty blade- that person’s heart bore the resolution and grudges Jin Tang’s imperial family handed down generation after generation, even Song Over Clouds’ Liu family could be all abandoned, even his own blood- related sons could be used as pawns, but only the empress, he could not.
The so-called estrangement, was protection.
The former emperor took the remaining kindness that people should have to protect the woman he loved.
Ji Bing was actually not the former emperor’s son, but his nephew. Jin Tang’s imperial clan was a family that lived on grudge and ambition, and engraved in this family’s blood, was callousness and resolution. For that final desire approaching a madman’s tales of fantasy, the people of the family each lived like lone wolves.
But sometimes, even wolves wanted someone to be with them too.
Just that the world did not permit it.
So the former emperor’s obscure protection he was afraid of people finding out, had no use whatsoever. One night, the empress died silently. Ji Bing saw that man with a heart made from knives dejectedly falling to the ground, and silently wailing. And then, once he walked out of the empress’ sleeping chambers, the expression on his face was extremely cold and indifferent.
At that time, Ji Bing suddenly felt the blood flowing in his veins, was that woeful.
After the previous emperor died, Ji Bing became the new emperor.
However, this new emperor was only a pretense. Before, Ji Bing was actually only a direct member from the Ji clan that lead Jin Tang’s secret guards. The imperial clan let him be this so-called emperor, only to prepare an identity for one person.
This Jin Tang emperor that he became, was only to prepare a cover for the true new emperor.
Ji Bing went to court each and every day just like a real emperor, managed all kinds of various things in secret, and once the true emperor returned, he would hand over Jin Tang’s Ji Bing, this identity, all to that person to use.
—— How pitiful it must sound.
The life he lived for that many years, was only used to create an identity others could not find a fault in to give to another person. His name would soon belong to another person, and all the things he had in this world was created just for that person. Ji Bing clearly knew everything, and felt it was pitiable, but never did anything to oppose it.
This was the Ji clan.
A family that was like a snake, a wolf, created from the maddest delusions and coldest of methods.
The one to use this name, “Ji Bing”, would be the eldest son sent out of Jin Tang as a pawn by the previous emperor, Ji Yi Yan.
In the winter of Jing Yuan’s fourth year, the just-born princes were secretly sent out of Jin Tang’s capital Li An. One was sent towards Jiu Xuan Sect, and when they approached Jiu Xuan Sect’s main sect, a local merchant who waited for long received the crying infant in the night. Thus, the imperial palace did not see any princes, and far off in a distant province, a seemingly-normal merchant’s family had a new son.
And the other prince was taken and set off in the direction towards Huang Ling dynasty. However, the imperial elder carrying the second prince was killed halfway, and the whereabouts of Jing Yuan Emperor’s second son, with the imperial elder’s death, became unknown.
Even princes were sent out as pawns- this was one of the extremely crucial parts to Jin Tang’s delusional plan in opening Heaven’s Net. And it was precisely because half of this plan failed, that there would then be the big secret purge within Jin Tang.
Within the purge that time, there were many people who were silently taken of their lives by curved blades in secret.
One of Jin Tang’s big four aristocratic families, Song Over Clouds’ Liu family was hence destroyed, and even their ancestral temple became debris in the big fires. Since then, the Resonating Song Over Clouds became a thing of the past.
For all the pawns sent out, Jin Tang would use a secret method to make them undergo influences of an unconscious change.
They were the seeds that Jin Tang planted down, and in the end, they would take root in the deepest part of the sects.
Now that Shen Chang Ge returned, all the opening curtains would be completely drawn open.
And “Ji Bing’s” life, would have no ties with him anymore.
Dim-gold light flickered inside the spiritual opening. Ji Bing half- knelt on the ground, with cold sweat falling from his forehead drop after drop, falling onto the floor with a dripping sound. Shen Chang Ge’s hand was placed on his forehead, and the dim-gold light surrounded the two of them. A kind of hazy and obscure faint lustre consolidated out from Ji Bing’s crown along Shen Chang Ge’s hands, and merged into Shen Chang Ge’s spiritual sea.
This was soul-ferrying. Taking all of Ji Bing’s memories as well as his pre-ordained fate, and ferrying it to Shen Chang Ge.
From then on, Shen Chang Ge would have all of Ji Bing’s memories, and would bear the fate that originally belonged to Ji Bing.
Only through this, could Shen Chang Ge completely, without a single trace, use this identity of Jin Tang’s Emperor Ji Bing, and not be found out(calculated out) that he was originally Jiu Xuan Sect’s Qian Range Representative Shen Chang Ge.
After the soul-ferrying was finished, the bones all over Shen Chang Ge’s body let out a slight sound, his figure underwent some changes, and his facial features also transformed along with it as well.
He turned into Ji Bing’s appearance.
And Ji Bing already fell to the floor—— in this short span of time, his hair completely whitened.
He was a pawn Jin Tang’s imperial family used to bring up an identity of “Emperor Ji Bing” with. This identity was only a tool, not a person.
This identity was prepared just for Shen Chang Ge.
Ji Bing lived for these many years, only for this one moment. “Sorry.” Shen Chang Ge spoke hoarsely.
An immortal cultivator’s life was much longer than a normal person’s. Shen Chang Ge was still a young man, while Ji Bing was already middle-aged. Yet in truth, Ji Bing’s age was younger than Shen Chang Ge’s.
Ji Bing smiled, and did not show any hatred.
 姬炳- bing, for bright, brilliant and all that is associated with light.  靖远- jing for peace, tranquility. Yuan, for distance.
 潜移默化- to have changed without any awareness of the influence
Chapter One Hundred Sixty-three, Immortals Do Not Know, the Hardships of Common Life. (仙⼈不知, 苍⽣之苦)
The name did not belong to oneself, the past, the future, too, did not belong to oneself.
For what reason would one live like this?
Shen Chang Ge looked at Ji Bing who closed their eyes and died, and was at a bit of a loss. He lowered his head to look at the hands hung by his side, and discovered at a time that even he himself did not perceive, his hands were slightly shaking.
He only felt like his hands carried an unshakable bloody air.
He opened his hands, then used strength to grip down, and used so much strength the veins on the back of his hand all bulged up. In front of him was the slight smile Ji Bing had right before dying—— why was he able to smile, and what did that smile mean?
Shen Chang Ge did not go think of it.
Shen Chang Ge had always been aware he was a coward. A person who saw everything, who understood everything, would go insane. So, he could only choose to let himself see some things, know some things, and be a blind person, a deaf person- this way, the hand holding the blade would not shake. But in reality, of the people in this world, who was not blind, and who was not deaf?
The Boyikh wandering within Khlajöwwma’s big deserts only remembered the countless years of boundless yellow sand, but did not remember the countless white bones from the sun-like tyranny back when White Emperor ruled Khlajöwwma. The generals who were ordered to kill the Boyikh tribe only knew to be loyal to the country, yet did not go see just how many of those Boyikh people were innocent.
As long as a person had a background, a past, it would be destined that they would be tightly related with something.
Any person would have a belonging.
And since there was a place to belong, then, one could only become a partially-hearing, partially-seeing blind person and deaf person.
Shen Chang Ge lifted his head up, and observed this spiritual opening enveloped in dim-gold light underneath Jin Tang.
Due to the immortal sects’ restriction, the twelve dynasties’ emperors could only be a regular person, dying in a mere hundred years. This was also one of the immortal sect’s methods.
The alternation and handover of the head of administration was able to make the plans that needed many years to complete be impossible to continue on. And with the deaths of each generation of emperors, it would make lots of information go missing. This way, in the years of planning against the immortal sects, even if there was occasionally an emperor full of ambition, it was not enough to be feared.
And yet, Jin Tang’s Ji clan, was a family built using the most maddest of ambitions and delusions.
After each generation of emperors died off, their memories would use a very cruel and painful method to be poured into the next ascending emperor. The aged emperor would be destined to die at the new emperor’s hands, inheriting memories from the previous emperor through death as well as his own, to give to the next generation.
Before Shen Chang Ge’s father, the Jing Yuan Emperor died, it was Ji Bing who used a sword to pierce through his chest.
The long chains of memories eternally continued on, and hence, those mad plans, in the time of several hundreds of years, continued to be realized generation after generation. Each and every Jin Tang emperor grew up with grudge and guilt.
This was Jin Tang’s Ji clan.
It was originally flooded with blood, madness, and despair.
The entire clan carried a raging fire, and this fire, in the past long years, burned through this family’s countless young men with extreme talent. And now, this raging fire would erupt out from this family, onto the land of the twelve dynasties, and set ablaze to the prairie fires to burn the era.
After burning themselves for that long, it would finally set other people to fire.
Shen Chang Ge was Ji clan’s one to bear the torch. His birth was originally a destiny.
On a winter day of Jing Yuan’s fourth year, in the empress’ palace laid a labouring woman who had been disguised, while Jing Yuan Emperor’s actual lover laid beneath the palace, on the high altar within the secret spiritual opening. The gentle and graceful woman alone laid on top of the altar, and displayed a soul-shaking willpower.
Her hands firmly grasped at the icy-cold stone beneath her, with her nails torn, and blood flowing over.
The man she deeply loved and all the elders within the Ji clan carrying secrets sat on top of the stone seats that were like rush cushions, and had the entire altar surrounded. All the people recited an ancient and long incantation together, and dim-gold spiritual energy within the opening madly collected into the air, and gathered into a river-like liquid, hovering around the high altar.
Just like there was an ancient dragon slowly awakening within the dark, guarding over the soon-to-be-born child of hope.
Within the overlaying reciting, the engravings on the high altar all turned bright like the sun.
The woman on top of the high altar twisted her face, and firmly bit down on the white silk in her mouth, while blue-purple veins spread like a spider web on the graceful face. The dim gold-coloured liquid-like light slowly entered her body, and gathered towards the lifted abdomen.
That was an inhuman pain.
And yet, she firmly bit on the white silk, let both her hands be covered in blood, and did not let a whine come out from her mouth.
The dim-gold light finally gathered into the apparition of an ancient dragon. However, in the final moments, the dragon’s head was unable to completely form. The woman on top of the high altar was already close to going into spasm, while the Jing Yuan Emperor who was beneath was about to get up, and pretty much rush up there.
The few white-haired elders sitting closest to the high altar suddenly stood up.
They spread open their hands, and made a pose like welcoming something coming down, and a brilliant dim-gold light erupted out from their bodies, gathering into the long dragon hovering over the high altar.
The transient dragon head was finally slowly forming.
The faces of the Ji clanspeople sitting down let out a close-to- numbed grieving expression—— within this destiny intermingling with madness and delusion, they witnessed far too many people’s deaths. And thus, the reciting sounds suddenly turned a bit louder.
As the dragon head slowly formed, a few elders’ figures shook greater and greater, and the dim-gold light that erupted from their bodies turned weaker and weaker.
At the time when the dragon’s eyes were about to form, the leading elder lowly shouted, and his facial colour suddenly turned flushed.
The final, dazzling light burst from his body, and madly poured into the ancient dragon’s apparition. Not only him, but all the standing elders did this as well.
Within the brilliance, their bodies turned into indistinct flesh and
The sound from the high altar could no longer be suppressed, and
within the painful screams that seemed as though it came from the deepest parts of the soul, an infant’s cry resounded like a shooting star passing by the dark night.
When Jing Yuan Emperor’s body was splattered with blood, he absentmindedly looked at the blood, and looked towards the high altar.
He abruptly stood up like he turned mad, and shouted loudly, “Immortals know not of the hardships of commoners, nor do
commoners…… need to seek eternal life!!”
—— As if it was a cry erupted from the entire family of the Ji clan in an instant.
Painstaking, yet mad like demons.
Immortals know not of the hardships of commoners, nor do commoners need…… to seek eternal life!! A sorrowful voice carrying a hysterical despair echoed within the underground spiritual opening. That was the very first sound that Shen Chang Ge heard after he was born, that penetrated into his soul.
When he was slowly inheriting the entire memories from the Ji family with the secret technique, that sound from the beginning of life, all throughout the entire time, continuously, eternally, sorrowfully and despairingly echoed about.
Chapter One Hundred Sixty-four, Wearing White For Whom, the Mountain of Pale Snow. (为谁缟素, 苍雪之⼭)
The immortals know not of the hardships of commoners, nor do commoners need to seek eternal life.
Shen Chang Ge repeated this line inside as he slowly walked up along the long secret passage inscribed with densely-packed words. The twoc sides of the secret passageway were engraved with name after name- those were names of all the people who died since the very beginning of Jin Tang’s Ji clan, with a few plain and simple lines to summarize each person’s life.
Shen Chang Ge engraved “Ji Bing” at the very end.
The very long hidden passage seemed to be paved with Jin Tang Ji clan’s blood, and by walking inside it, Shen Chang Ge only smelled grieving.
This was the delusional struggle that the ant-like mortals braced, in attempts to overturn the grand immortal cultivation realm.
So insignificant, and yet so desolate.
The end of the passage appeared with light, and when Shen Chang Ge walked out the hidden passage, he saw a woman dressed in the clothes of a consort kneeling by the side of the hidden passageway’s exit.
Chen. Shen Chang Ge knew that was Chen family’s daughter, Consort
Ji Bing knew that he was destined to die, and so never got close to any woman. Consort Chen was one of Chen family’s, and rather than saying she was Ji Bing’s consort, it would be better to say she was Ji Bing’s subordinate. Within Ji Bing’s memories, they were a capable and skilled woman, able to take care of many things.
A woman that was just like the edge of a blade.
There were no personal feelings between them, and underneath the high favours to cover over people’s eyes and ears, were two ice-cold souls carrying facades. Sometimes, Ji Bing felt looking at Consort Chen was like looking at his own shadow.
And yet, this was what only Ji Bing felt.
When he walked out of the hidden passage, Consort Chen looked at the man with a face no different from Ji Bing’s walking out without blinking an eye, and then, Shen Chang Ge saw a sliver of light perish at the very bottom of her eyes. Thus, the woman dressed in magnificent clothes was as she was in Ji Bing’s memories, calm and indifferent.
“Has he died?” Consort Chen asked, her voice calm and collected.
She still knelt down in the direction of the secret passage, but was not facing Shen Chang Ge. Once Shen Chang Ge came out, she had no intention of getting up either.
Consort Chen was a woman that was grew looking very graceful, and yet, when she was expressionless, her features carried a bit of resolution and valiance rarely seen in women. She lowered her gaze and looked towards the deep hidden passageway, thinking about something.
When Shen Chang Ge was at Jiu Xuan Sect, he had a fame of being romantic and loose, but he never actually had contact with any women. Even his own future was uncertain, when did people who carried a family’s madness and delusion have the time and feelings to think of some romance? So, all this time, Shen Chang Ge could not understand women.
Couldn’t grasp, couldn’t understand.
Just like right now, he did not understand why Consort Chen would silently interact with Ji Bing for several tens of years like a single day, yet, when Ji Bing died, instead vacantly kneel in the direction he died in like she was dead.
But by looking at the woman with her head down as she was kneeling, Shen Chang Ge suddenly felt that it was not as though Ji Bing’s life didn’t leave any traces behind.
At least, there was one person able to recognize with one look, he was not Ji Bing.
Shen Chang Ge lowly responded with a tone.
Consort Chen nodded her head, and slowly reached out to close the hidden passage.
“I understand. Du Ya is already waiting for you.” She said, capable as usual, but the person still knelt down, without any intent of getting up.
After Shen Chang Ge left Consort Chen’s sleeping chambers, the woman kneeling on the floor finally slowly lifted her head up.
She reached her hand out and touched her own face- it was dry, no
When Ji Bing stepped into the secret passage, Consort Chen knew
he was going to die. Though the person who came out from the secret passage had a face the exact same as Ji Bing’s, Consort Chen very clearly knew, it was no longer that person. It was no longer that silent man who would fall into a trance while looking at the falling leaves.
When the Chen family chose her to be a hidden pawn to enter the imperial palace, she saw the young emperor on the high throne for the first time- an emperor with a majestic imposition, making all the officials not dare to look at him directly.
And yet, she looked directly at him. Hence, she saw the young monarch’s eyes.
The eyes laid with that deep of a melancholy, while the deepest parts of his eyes hid a deceased fire, buried in pale-white mountains of snow. That solitary and laden with grief—— how could one not be laden with grief? He was an existence destined to die, even his name would belong to another person.
She became the royal consort with sole favours, yet in truth, was his subordinate.
Year after year, she watched the young emperor gradually no longer be young, but only that dead fire concealed beneath his eyes and the pale- white snowy mountains were as always.
Jin Tang’s commoners all felt Ji Bing was a good emperor.
Consort Chen watched as he took care of government affairs late into the night, and watched him standing by the windowsill, silently looking at the hazy skies in his times of depression.
That person would not say anything, just like a mountain, like a river, like all the silent yet eternal things.
The high favours on the surface had to be maintained for others to see, so Ji Bing would often stay in her chambers, however, that person would only sit within the chambers, or take care of reports, and hear her give debriefings. There was one time where an assassin intruded the sleeping chambers, and within the light and shadow of the sword, that person touched her for the first time.
The man who would always be silent used his wavering hand to cover over her eyes, and said in a low voice, “Don’t be scared”.
—— Don’t be afraid.
But the one who should be afraid was not her.
As Jin Tang’s emperor, Ji Bing was not allowed to cultivate in immortality, but she was born from the Chen family, and had cultivation.
An ordinary person covered her eyes, and said in a low voice to not be afraid.
The assassin was killed by the hidden guards. Her hand was placed on the hilt of the dagger hidden in her waist, but she did not understand why she did not take it out the entire time, just like a truly powerless girl, having her eyes covered by the always silent man. She did not like the dark, but in that instant, felt like the darkness made people at ease.
At that time, Ji Bing was still very young.
That was a small matter from long ago, and as time progressed, Ji Bing turned more and more silent and depressed with every year, and his forehead gradually had more and more wrinkles, but this entire time, Consort Chen remembered when he covered her own eyes, the palm was slightly warm.
Nevertheless, that man with his eyes containing a dead flame and white mountains already died.
She personally watched him walk towards death.
But the entirety of Jin Tang, those people who praised Ji Bing as a wise monarch, would not know their emperor was already dead—— Jin Tang’s commoners would not know that the emperor who corrected imperial memorials late into the night had already died. That silent man was clearly Jin Tang’s emperor, yet when he died, even the most ordinary of commoners did not know about it.
All the people would think he was still alive, so no one would grieve for him. He could not even receive an inch of a white mourning dress.
Consort Chen placed her hand down- underneath the magnificent clothes, revealed a plain white robe.
No one wore white for him. So she wore white for him- beneath the cover of elegant clothing, she wore clothes as white as snow for him.
Within the empty and quiet palace, Consort Chen recited the scripture of beckoning souls in a low voice, and just as she recited a line, she thoroughly understood one thing—— never again would there be a person hesitantly covering her eyes.
Spirit, oh spirit…… will thy spirit return?
Consort Chen prostrated her body, her forehead propped onto the ice-cold floor, and painfully gasped in for breath.
Spirit! Oh spirit!
Du Ya. Du Ya could be said to be one person, yet could also be said to be a group.
It was one of the branches of Jin Tang’s secret guards.
Jin Tang’s secret guards actually were not limited to those iron mask-wearing killers that Liu Wu Yan and the others saw. The secret guards were generally formed from three groups, “Gold Sparrow”, “White Crow”, and “Grey Plume”. The Gold Sparrows were in charge of the capital’s affairs, with guarding the imperial palace as the most vital one. White Crows were in charge of the country’s intelligence gathering, whereas Grey Plume was in charge of assassination.
And the Ferrying Crows(Du Ya) was a comparatively peculiar division independent of these.
It was not the direct subordinate division of any of these three branches, yet had the authority to mobilize the other three’s resources. The information that the Ferrying Crows held was even more than White Crow’s. And compared to Gold Sparrow, White Crow, and Grey Plume, its methods were much more nefarious and flexible, as a majority of the schemes and arrangements were completed by the Ferrying Crows.
This branch was just like crows, hidden in the darkness, accompanied with plots and death.
And the members of the “Ferrying Crows”, were not those sacrificial warriors belonging to Grey Plume. The black-cloaked person that He Qing Chuan dealt with at the Mausoleum of Ten Million was actually a part of the Ferrying Crows.
The shadows of the Ferrying Crows spread across the mainland of the twelve dynasties, and within a long period of time, went and released those “demons” long sealed for many years—— those people of the Eighteen Clans that bore resentment. This was an army of darkness composed of demons, of oddities, of all the madmen that the people of the upright would disdain.
The Ferrying Crows’ leader would also be called Du Ya.
Nevertheless, inconsistent with this kind of gloomy and conspiring identity that was the Ferrying Crows’ leader, from looking at the surface, the leader of the Ferrying Crows was a plain and ordinary Qi Qin merchant, always hunching their back, very thin, with their face carrying the crafty aura of a grubby merchant. If one pointed to this person and said, he is Du Ya, no one would believe it.
However, very certainly, Du Ya was this kind of person. After leaving Jin Tang, Du Ya carried money obtained from selling Cang Pu’s medicinal ingredients, and hired a bunch of carriages to go to Qi Qin. Qi Qin was close to the sea, and had many rare and strange treasures. On the surface, Du Ya was a merchant with the last name Qian, and this time, he was going to Qi Qin to purchase rare items.
The coachman of the carriage fleet looked at this stingy, wealthy merchant that wouldn’t even give an extra tael for transportation with disdain.
They were that rich, yet that stingy, keeping eyes on their trunk like they were keeping eyes on their wife, truly making people look down upon them.
Merchant Qian was unmoved, and continued to hold and touch the trunk that was loaded with his things like a stingy ghost, and hunched his body, as grubby as a grubby merchant gets.
When they reached Qi Qin, the carriage fleet directly headed towards one of Nine Provinces Private Bank’s biggest branches.
The carriages loaded with the heavy trunk stopped in front of the bank, with Liao Qian who returned from Jiu Xuan Sect behind the counter lazily settling accounts—— ever since returning from Jiu Xuan Sect, he had this look of being apathetic with life.
Shit, he lost big.
At that time, his brain shorted, and took out all his assets and even borrowed a bunch from his senior brothers, and created that many sandalwood caskets in one go. When he was at Jiu Xuan Sect, he didn’t know which nerve in that brain of his was joined wrong, but he didn’t even open his mouth to ask for money from Jiu Xuan Sect’s people.
Thus, the assets he saved for these many years were all gone, and not only that, he even carried a body of debt. He wasn’t very talented, and kept his little life by relying on wealth and precious treasures. Now that he became a poor bastard in a single night, he could only be a clerk, not knowing at what time he would be able to come out.
Just as Liao Qian was pondering, he heard the sounds of carriages.
 ⻛花雪⽉- literally, winds, flowers, snow, and the moonlight, themes of romance upon the seasons. May also refer to the progression of time (and
the experiences that come upon someone), the idea of romance, or in a more negative connotation, to fluff up writings with fancy, empty words, or, a relationship without the romance, indulging in a more promiscuous life.
 渡鸦- ferrying crows. For our purposes here, Du Ya will refer to the singular entity while the ferrying crows will refer to the larger group.
 (钱) Literally money.
Chapter One Hundred Sixty-five, Unpredictable, the Sword Dyed in Blood. (⽆法预测,剑尖染⾎)
Nine Provinces Private Bank, Nine Provinces Private Bank.
Honest and uprightly, openly putting the word “Bank(money)” in the sect’s name, this sect’s nature was also made very clear. With the saying how having money could make ghosts turn the millstone, the Nine Provinces Private Bank was considered a particularly independent sect of the Eight Immortal Sects. The disciples of the Nine Provinces Private Bank were not that much different from others, but the natural gift in the ways of commerce were unique to their own.
Compared with other sects, rather than saying the Nine Provinces Private Bank was a sect, it would be better to say it was a commerce guild of passing immortal cultivators and normal people. The main establishment was located at a big commerce hub close to the sea in Qi Qin, while the remaining branches were spread in various areas. Within the sect, the value held towards immortal cultivation was said to be a bit less compared to other sects, and they much more valued the branch establishments’ development.
This was an immortal sect that was a half-guild, half-sect.
Based on this unique method of operation of the Private Bank, many of the world’s merchants would come and go here often, so Qi Qin’s commerce would then be particularly prosperous. There was a saying that goes, “Of the world’s wealth, three-tenths lie at the Nine Provinces.”
Not even one bit exaggerated.
When other sects’ disciples go to the Private Bank to buy spiritual weapons, they would always hatefully bite down and curse as they walk out: Pei, each and every single one of them only has money in their eyes.
The Nine Provinces Private Bank’s disciples did not feel ashamed from this, quite the opposite, they felt these words could not be any more correct. If you were such callous, ruthless and exceedingly-talented sword cultivators, swordsmen, and formation masters, if you didn’t have money, could you afford to buy spiritual tools? Could you afford to buy medicinal pills? If you can’t afford it, what were you?
Liao Qian, as a disciple of the Nine Provinces Private Bank, would naturally not be an exception. His name, “Liao Qian”, was of the same tone as “goods and money”, directly revealing his own true nature—— to earn money and get rich.
That matter with Jiu Xuan Sect was completely not his personality. Every time Liao Qian thought about it, he felt like he must have lost his mind at the time. However, even if he really lose his mind, it was to no effect- the money was already spent, debts already borrowed, what else could be done? Let’s just obediently work and reassemble his worth once again.
As Liao Qian calculated the money he borrowed from his senior brother plus the interest and how much it would take to return it all, he welcomed that carriage fleet that arrived at the bank.
As the carriages’ wheels rolled over the ground, the sound it let out was deep- looks like there were quite a few things loaded on it.
This was a Qi Qin merchant group that came from Jin Tang- Liao Qian swept a gaze over, and simply determined it. As a sect with the name of a “bank”, the Nine Provinces Private Bank compared to other sects, was much more grounded– not only did they receive immortal cultivators that wanted to buy or sell spiritual tools, they much more regularly received ordinary people who sold goods.
Clothing, expenditures, vulneraries……
Even if one was an immortal cultivator, one could not live completely barren, right?
The goods on the carriages were unloaded and taken into the bank, and just when Liao Qian planned on checking it once over according to rules, Senior Wang walked out from the back room to stop him.
“These are the goods that Elder Lin personally ordered. Brother Liao was always at Bing Province, so you would not have known. Just directly send it into the warehouse.”
Senior Wang’s full name was Wang Jing Zhi, and Liao Qian typically borrowed money from him. Wang Jing Zhi was tall and lean, dressed in embroidered robes, all in accordance to the Nine Provinces Private Bank’s ideal of how “amiability generates wealth”. No matter the time, when dealing with people, they would have the look of being gentle and modest, and had a reputation of being a very good person within the bank.
Between speaking, the merchant group’s leader, that Qi Qin merchant named Qian walked in with a face full of smiles.
Merchant Qian was thin with a hunched body. Liao Qian had dealt with many of this type of merchant before, and with one look, knew this was the type that gave people headaches the most—— shrewd to death, and also stingy to death. Even the smallest of gains needed to be haggled for half a day.
Wang Jing Zhi nodded his head to Liao Qian, and had him move the things Merchant Qian transported into the warehouse, while he himself lead Merchant Qian to the second floor’s tearoom for negotiation. Liao Qian couldn’t wait to not deal with this kind of fellow like Merchant Qian, and immediately did as Wang Jing Zhi said.
The goods that Merchant Qian had come a long ways to transport were loaded in twelve heavy and giant iron boxes, and each were as wide as the width of a grown man’s arms spread out, and as tall as two people. What it used was not ordinary iron, but Merak iron that contained spiritual energy
—— any goods that contained spiritual energy like spiritual medicine would need to be held in a container created from this kind of iron.
The surface of the iron boxes also had some ornamental patterns, and from the style of it, looked to be created by the craftsmen over at Cang Pu.
It’s probably the spiritual medicinal plants that Elder Lin ordered himself. Liao Qian guessed.
Elder Lin was the elder with the highest position in this branch, and also good at creating pills. The spiritual medicinal plants in Cang Pu dynasty were the most abundant with the best medicinal properties, so Elder Lin specially employing people to go back and forth from Cang Pu to harvest medicinal ingredients was not strange.
As Liao Qian thought of this, he brought people to have those twelve heavy iron boxes moved to the warehouse’s entrance.
The storehouses for where the bank accepts treasures were separated into “Zang, Chu, and Cang”, these three types. Of which, the warehouse was of the highest level, only used to store high-quality and important spiritual items, and was typically constructed underneath the establishment with layers of formations protecting it, so when entering the warehouse, one needed a particular secret talisman and method of unsealing the formation.
Hence, once the other Nine Provinces Private Bank disciples moved the things to the entrance, they withdrew, and the following matters could only be left to Liao Qian himself to do. After taking out the secret talisman and putting into the groove by the warehouse’s big doors, Liao Qian placed his hand on the door, and poured primordial energy in, and activated the warehouse’s formation according to the particular method.
As the thick big doors of the warehouse slowly slid open to the two sides silently, Liao Qian withdrew his hands, and started to push box after box inside.
Once Liao Qian started pushing, he could not help but curse in a low
He originally did not have talent in cultivating, and did not properly
train his body and temper himself either, so he usually depended various tools for enhancement- at present, he was so poor, he didn’t have any spiritual tools left. Making him move these deathly heavy boxes inside by himself at this time practically was going to tire him to death.
After Liao Qian used all his strength, he then managed to have the twelve iron boxes all pushed into the warehouse. When he pushed the final one in, he used too much strength, and crashed it into another iron box, making a big sound.
Liao Qian cursed out, and wiped the sweat from his forehead.
The interior of the warehouse was placed with a spacial formation, so in reality, it was much bigger than the space the branch took up on the surface. Balls of various coloured lights lit up within the storage—— all those were spiritual items added with formations for protection.
Just as Liao Qian was about to push the boxes into the section belonging to Elder Lin, when his hand was placed on top of the iron box pushed in the furthest, he suddenly felt a sliver of abnormality.
Other than himself, there was no other person in the warehouse, but at this time, he suddenly heard slightly heavy and subtle breathing.
Liao Qian’s eyebrows knitted, and thought he was hallucinating. Yet, when he pulled his hand back, and concentrated on listening, he discovered that there was actually a faintly discernible breathing sound nearby him.
It was coming from the last two iron boxes that crashed into each
Liao Qian’s expression slightly changed, and flipped his hand,
taking out a seemingly-normal-looking short blade from his waist, then held it in his hand at an angle, and half-bent down, slowly putting his ear close to those two heavy iron boxes—— at this time, he despised how his cultivation was far too terrible. If he had a cultivation like Bai Li Shu, Jun Wan Bai’s or the others, he could directly use his spiritual insight to penetrate the Merak iron’s interference and check the things inside the iron box.
When Liao Qian’s ears got close to the iron box, his expression turned even worse.
The inside of the box certainly had a low and slow, slight breathing sound. Furthermore, this breathing did not seem like one a human had at all.
It was much more like…… like some terrifying beasts.
Fuck, why would Elder Lin order these kinds of things? Liao Qian’s expression changed, and instantly got suspicious.
Or maybe it should be said…… he turned suspicious since the time at the Qiu Huang tower.
Liao Qian only had bad cultivation, had no talent, but it did not mean he was a fool. Long when Bing Province’s Qing Ming tower got in an accident, Liao Qian felt that invisible oppressive aura from the winds filling the building before the rain came. Bing Province’s Qing Ming tower was met with an accident, the Qing Ming tower was connected with the past space of the Battle of Di Fen, and within the ancient Qiu Huang tower, Jiu Xuan Sect’s disciples died to assassination—— died to the betrayal of someone within Jiu Xuan Sect.
Even the world’s number one sect, Jiu Xuan Sect, emerged with a traitor, this was a hard-set thing already, then, what of the Nine Provinces Private Bank, with the characteristic of being a half-guild, whose composition was much more unfavourable to investigation compared to other sects, and much more easier to infiltrate?
Liao Qian did not dare to think of these. With a single thought, he would feel like those he were familiar with all wore masks, making people in fear.
These things piled one after another, and not one did not show that there was a giant scheme slowly spreading out and swallowing everything in secret.
However, Liao Qian did not think to these.
He was only a Private Bank disciple with not much cultivation, only a badly-gifted immortal cultivator- in front of some messy secrets of the era, he was only an ant, and even if he felt something was not right, what use was it?
What was he able to change by himself? He could not do anything at all.
So after returning to the Nine Provinces Private Bank, Liao Qian was just as always, counting money while laughing, calculating what time was he able to give back all the money he still owed. Pretending to be deaf and blind, neither asking nor caring—— after all, no matter how much the world was in an unstable situation, how many people were scheming things, it was not related to a small character such as himself.
But Liao Qian did not think that today, he stood right beside this secret turbulence. As the hand holding the blade slightly trembled, Liao Qian stared at the heavy iron box in front of him, while his brain turned into a whole pile of mush inside.
Should he check?
If the things inside weren’t abnormal, then even if he was punished for once, it was no matter, but if……
As the short blade slightly trembled, Liao Qian recalled at the bottom of the Qiu Huang tower in the darkness, the pale-faced Zhou Wen An jumped up with a blade, laughing out loud, yelling out how Jiu Xuan was the world’s matchless one.
“Fuck.” He cursed, then closed his eyes, bit down, and thrust the short blade into the narrow seam of the iron box.
The ordinary-looking short blade directly submerged into the iron box like cutting through tofu.
Liao Qian slowly took a deep breath in, and was about to put in strength.
Yet, at this time, his movements suddenly paused.
Liao Qian slowly lowered his head, and looked at his own chest in disbelief—— a part of a gleaming blade’s tip was exposed with red blood.
“Elder’s items should not be fiddled with, Little Brother.” A voice like a good person admonishing someone resonated, sounding extremely familiar.
Liao Qian stiffly turned his head around.
 别树⼀帜- literally, under a banner of their own.
 接 地 ⽓ - a trait in which refers to one having much superior circumstances than others (in our case, lofty, being immortal cultivators), and yet are seemingly approachable and friendly to those of much lesser standing. Literally read as an aura approaching the ground.
 王敬之- jing, for respect, zhi, for thee. ‘Respect them’.
 藏 (zang), 储 (chu), 仓 (cang) all mean storage. For purposes of distinction, 藏库 will be warehouse, 储库 will be depository, and 仓库 will be storehouse.
Chapter One Hundred Sixty-six, Rise from the Coffin, Land of Burial Mounds. (揭棺⽽起, 乱葬之地)
At the front counter of the Nine Provinces Private Bank’s branch establishment, a disciple that just entered the inner sect idly laid on the counter-top as he watched the outside. In the time where winter was about to pass, it did not completely return to warmth yet, so while the chilly winds were cold and dry, the weather already gradually turned cool and bright.
After watching for a while, the disciple realized that Senior Liao seemed to have gone for quite a long while this time.
However, the things that that Qi Qin merchant brought was that heavy- look like one really had to spend some strength on it.
Just as he thought to this, the disciple heard sounds of heavy footsteps, and with a turn of the head, he saw Senior Liao treading with heavy steps while out of breath, coming out with a Qi Qin merchant at the same time.
The disciple politely called out, and Liao Qian waved his hand, then sent the Qi Qin merchant out the doors of the branch, while he himself turned back, and leaned against the counter, with a look of being extremely tired. This Senior Liao was reassigned to this branch when he returned to Qi Qin dynasty after Bing Province’s Qing Ming tower was met with mishap. This disciple was not that familiar with him, and in this period of time of contact, only felt this senior was very casual, but the person was still quite nice, just a bit oddly poor—— principally speaking, having money should be the norm of the Nine Provinces Private Bank.
They were not considered to be all that familiar, so after making greetings, this disciple stood straight up, and earnestly stood there idly.
After a while, he saw Senior Liao grumble a bit, tired and sweating, then ask him to help him look out for a while.
Before this disciple could say anything, he saw Senior Liao walk out the branch.
Fine, he’ll help watch, who let the other person be the senior?
The disciple helplessly shrugged his shoulders, and stood behind the counter where Liao Qian stood before.
Not long after Senior Liao Qian left, Wang Jing Zhi sent Merchant Qian down. Once they saw Senior Wang, the disciple watching the counter instantly got nervous, afraid that Senior Wang would notice Senior Liao secretly slipped away.
Thankfully, Senior Wang seemed to not have been that satisfactory in the discussions with Merchant Qian this time, and exited with Merchant Qian together without a smile, seeming to also have a matter to attend to, and thus did not discover Senior Liao was not here.
“Thank the heavens and the earth.” The disciple secretly wiped away his illusory sweat.
At the burial mounds of the city outskirts.
A small shabby carriage came out from the city’s small southeast outer gates, and arrived here. This kind of ragged and tattered carriage was something often seen- poor families did not have money, and could not buy some decent casket or some good land, so they would often wrap the corpse with hemp mats. Those who were slightly better off would have a thin casket, then use a shabby carriage to pull it to the city’s distant outskirts southeast to a burial mound to throw off to, saving effort and saving money.
This patch of burial mound was not originally a burial mound.
Tens of years ago, a majority of Qi Qin dynasty’s regions were met with a big drought. During the seed-filling season, the sun was so scorching hot, one could not even see a single thing, and the lands were almost singed burnt, with a large half of the millets withered up. Thus, that year, Qi Qin was met with a big famine, with many people having died in the city. Once too many people died, there was no place for proper burial nor a way for it, so they could only drag them to the wilderness in the southeast for collective disposing.
Later on, this place became a burial mound.
When the shabby and tattered carriage came out of the outer gates, the commoners who saw the carriage knew this was some family that did not have money, that had someone die. The people who saw it sighed, shook their heads, with the expression on their faces a bit numb.
In Qi Qin, people who dealt in business must put their names up in the Nine Provinces Private Bank, or have some sort of relationship with the Private Bank, otherwise, if everyone went to commerce, who would go farming? Those with no way of entering had to earnestly farm, and get so tired throughout the entire year that they could not even straighten their waists, all just to be able to barter for some fuel, rice, oil and salt.
What those business-conducting people ate, was not it not what these old commoners grew?
No matter how much more flourishing the commerce hub was, the old commoners’ days carried on just like this, leading simple lives, living through it day after day. Under this kind of circumstance, at some time ago, the people would be gone just like that, as ordinary as it could be.
Thus, when they saw a carriage obviously carrying a corpse going by, no one would be surprised.
An old man by the road carried some charcoal, looked up, and the wrinkles on his forehead turned deep. There were no clouds in the sky, all clean and tidy, and the sunlight was quite nice too—— Old Man Heaven would not know how ant-like people had lived on.
“I heard that these years in Jin Tang, there would often be famine……” The old man sighed, and shook his head. “These days, aye…… aye……”
The old man who luckily lived through the famine tens of years ago, thought to the matter of Jin Tang’s Qing Province and Yong Province he heard about, and appreciatively shook his head. He then continued to lower his head and carry his charcoal, walking forward step by step.
The carriage drove past the old man’s side, and went far off into the daylight.
Inside the tattered and shabby carriage, certainly held a casket.
A plain and ordinary thin wood casket, thrashing about all the way to the burial mound. The one driving the carriage was a person wearing a bamboo hat. The carriage stopped at a corner of the burial mound, but the bamboo-hatted person did not immediately come down.
He sat on the crosspiece in front of the coach for a while.
“These days…… ” The bamboo-hatted person imitated that old man’s tone and repeated this.
He twirled the horsewhip in his hands- out of line with his peasant get-up, were his hands- the fair and slender webs had some thick calluses. This was not a pair of hands that ploughed through fields, but hands that held a sword. The hand holding the horsewhip suddenly tightened, and the ropes turned into powder in his hands.
Afterwards, he jumped off from the carriage, and turned behind the coach, then pushed open the thin wooden casket’s lid.
If the young disciple watching the counter in the branch was here, he would definitely gasp in surprise.
Inside the casket, laid with Liao Qian.
The Liao Qian who still said a few words after coming out the warehouse laid in the casket at this time, while his face emitted a greyish- blue colour, evident that he had died for some period of time already. The bamboo-hatted person extended their hand out, and the pale-white slender hands moved with a strange gesture. Along with his finger’s movements, several thin, silver, almost-transparent strings were continuously pulled out from Liao Qian’s corpse.
This strange scene carried a peculiar terror.
As though the deceased Liao Qian became a human puppet dragged upon strings.
After drawing out the strings from the corpse, the person wearing the bamboo hat quickly dug a hole, buried the casket, and returned to the city in the sinking twilight.
When the carriage left, it startled the crows in the graveyard, and the black birds of death hovered around, emitting a hoarse harsh-sounding tone.
But what was a bit strange was, these crows did not dare to get close to that place where Liao Qian was buried at.
After the carriage had left for a while, within this burial mound congested with the air of death, two people slowly came out from somewhere.
A man and a woman. The woman was dressed skilfully, her hair tied up high, with her long brows slightly swept up, and her features were a type of swift and fierce beauty- it was He Huan Sect’s eldest disciple sister, Liu Wu Yan. The top of the man’s head was barren, and they were dressed in ashy-grey monk robes, while the outside the robes were draped with an extraordinary cassock- it was Fan Yin Pavilion’s Clear-hearted Monk.
These two young leaders of the sects that were mutual arch- nemeses, who mutually found each other as eyesores appeared at this time, but the expression on their faces were not that good to look at.
“Cang Pu’s puppet corpse-controlling technique.” Clear- hearted Monk looked towards the place where the casket was buried at, rotated his Buddhist beads, with his expression all imposing. “When the corpse is being controlled by the technique, they would be no different from when they lived. This kind of secret scroll should have been extinct, didn’t your He Huan Sect long destroy the relevant techniques already?”
Liu Wu Yan coldly laughed, “Hasn’t Fan Yin Pavilion also chased down the people passing down the puppetry all this time?”
While stabbing at each other one after another, Liu Wu Yan and Clear-hearted Monk’s tone could not be heard to be any different, however, from the imposing look in their features, one could know the severity of this matter.
Though they may see each other as eyesores, Liu Wu Yan and Clear- hearted Monk did not come to Qi Qin dynasty from such a long way just to simply curse at each other. Clear-hearted Monk took out a fragmented map, and spread it out.
It was a yellowed fragmented map, the surface was drawn with some simple lines, but the seemingly-simple lines, as long as one concentrated and looked for a while, would be like it swam around, and had many strange changes to it.
Clear-hearted Monk opened the fragmented map, and lowly recited a verbose scripture. Faint light then surfaced from the map, and intermingled in the air, forming into an extremely detailed map of the country. At the time Clear-hearted Monk was reciting the scripture, Liu Wu Yan put on a scowl, and brandished her blade and guarded to the side—— from the look on her face, this blade seemed more like it was going to cut at Clear-hearted Monk’s bald head.
The rivers and mountains that seemed like it was drawn with watery ink fluctuated in midair, and in the end, a mountain range slowly rotated and pointed to the inside of the city.
Once the mountains pointed the direction out, Clear-hearted Monk’s facial colour already turned pale, and he hurriedly put away the fragmented map, “It’s not wrong, the missing part of the Mountain Rivers Scroll is here.”
Liu Wu Yan’s long sabre pitifully hung on her shoulders.
“Looks like it wasn’t a waste tolerating going around with the shitty baldy.” She sneered.
“Amitabha, looks like it wasn’t a waste tolerating going around with the witch.” Clear-hearted put his hands together.
After a round of cold-shouldering, the two walked towards the direction of the city.
Just as they were about to move, the crows in the burial mound suddenly turned noisy, and all of them flew up like they got startled, and the pitch-black flock of birds turned like black clouds in the sunken night.
Liu Wu Yan’s sabre was suddenly put up, and the long sabre pointed sideways, whereas the Buddhist beads in Clear-hearted Monk’s hands no longer moved.
When they looked towards where the flock of birds abnormally moved from, they saw at the ground where the casket was just buried in, the earthen layer was moving up with a “thump thump thump”, shaking all around. Liu Wu Yan and Clear-hearted Monk’s cultivation was outstanding, yet did not discover the changes to the place buried with the corpse before the flock of bird’s abnormal movements. Liu Wu Yan and Clear-hearted Monk looked to each other, and saw the same sliver of astonishment from each other.
The Buddhist beads in Clear-hearted Monk’s hands emerged with a faint golden light, while the long sabre in Liu Wu Yan’s hands surfaced with a faint cold light.
The two people walked towards the area buried with the casket.
The soil on the ground was continuously pushed up from the thing underneath, while the lid of the casket revealed itself in the slowly trickling soil, and the crows’ sounds turned more ear-piercing.
In the next moment, dirt splattered all around, and the lid of the casket flew up, falling down towards Liu Wu Yan right in the face.
A strike passed through, and the lid of the casket slowed in midair for a bit before turning into dust, falling all over floor.
A shriek like pigs being killed resounded.
 灌浆期 – In a plant’s process of creating seeds, there exists a period where it will store nutrients in the seeds. Droughts and heat during this period in time will effect the seed’s capacity in later crop growth and hence, losses in yield.
 柴⽶油盐( 酱醋茶)- added with soy, vinegar, and tea, these seven items are regarded as the daily necessities of life.
 粗茶淡饭- The expression is literally, weak tea and plain food. Simple diets, simple lives.
Chapter One Hundred Sixty-seven, the Night of the Crows, Those Who Follow the Heart. (群鸦之夜, 从⼼之⼈)
Liao Qian, with a head of dirt, sat within the casket not yet recovered from the shock, and looked at the tip of the sabre that pretty much stuck to his own nose bridge with a pale face. The hint of coldness from the tip of the sabre forced a full body of cold sweat out of him in this weather between the end of winter and spring.
A bit of red blood slowly flowed down from the tip of his nose.
Liao Qian uncontrollably shook his lips, and the “shit” was stuck in his throat, unable to come out for even half a day.
“Shit.” Liu Wu Yan cursed out loud.
After shattering the casket board, and feeling that there was someone behind the casket, her one strike that looked incomparably swift and fierce was actually well-controlled. It was this shitty fatty’s one sudden shriek like pigs being killed, that surprised her into almost not controlling it, and almost had the sabre’s aura directly cut down- thankfully, the final step was still taken back.
Otherwise, how could this shitty fatty get away with something as simple as losing some oily skin.
“Grand-auntie……” Liao Qian was pretty much about to cry out, speaking in a tearful voice. “Do a merciful deed, put the sabre back first, please? If you don’t take it back, this fatty’s going to hang up.”
They saw the blood flowing from the fatty’s nose rapidly becoming black, and that white and chubby round face of his also began surfacing with some dense black veins, and looked to faintly seep with a bit of nefariousness.
The body of that sabre of Liu Wu Yan’s was narrow, but it was much more longer than regular sabres, and the surface of it flowed with a flickering cold light. The entire body of the sabre was extremely simple, with no gaudy ornaments whatsoever, while the hilt was also a pure deep- black. A sabre like this was very unremarkable, and did not seem like something a woman liked to use either.
However, faced against this sabre, the fatty trembled and did not dare move.
As a disciple of the Nine Provinces Private Bank, Liao Qian had neither cultivation nor gift, but only had a pair of self-proclaimed “discerning eyes” that were very sharp, and was able to recognize most of the world’s treasures.
This sabre held in Liu Wu Yan’s hands had a nice-sounding name that did not go together with the extremely simple sabre’s body, called “Liu Shang”.
It was one of the famous works of a master weapon-smith back then, Ou Yang.
When Master Ou Yang created this sabre, his goal was only one- to create a sabre capable of suppressing all evil.
—— And at present, Liao Qian had strangely come up from his
Though they were still not clear on just what exactly happened, at
any rate, this shitty fatty was someone they recognized from the Qiu Huang tower- after knowing some roots, Liu Wu Yan coldly snorted, but still removed the sabre.
Once “Liu Shang” was withdrawn, Liao Qian distinctly let out a big breath.
Liu Wu Yan looked down towards the Liao Qian who was still sitting in the casket with the black veins on his face still not completely concealed away.
“What happened?” Once the sabre was moved away, Liao Qian earnestly crawled out of the casket, and he casually patted off the soil from his body, and wailed, “I also want to fucking ask, just what happened.”
Clear-hearted Monk knitted his eyebrows as he looked at Liao Qian. He had some impressions of this Nine Provinces Private Bank disciple, Liao Qian, who he saw within the space of the battlefield of Di Fen one time. But back then, the feeling that Liao Qian gave him, was a very ordinary Nine Provinces Private Bank disciple, plain and ordinary, with not that high of a cultivation either.
And yet, at this time, the Liao Qian who climbed up from the casket instead faintly gave him a sliver of unease.
Clear-hearted Monk was a Buddhist of Fan Yin Sect, and cultivated within Buddhist incenses and songs since young, with his saintly heart opened up(?), and his spiritual insight extremely pure and perceptive. Towards certain things, he had a very incredible intuition. And right now, the current Liao Qian gave him a kind of strange and dangerous feeling.
Without any reason at all, Clear-hearted Monk felt like if Liu Wu Yan’s one strike just now actually cut down, this chubby Nine Provinces Private Bank disciple might not really be as he was now, without any power to fight back. Without any change in expression, Clear-hearted Monk lightly rotated the Buddhist beads for a bit, as though unintentionally holding a bead slightly bigger than the others.
Liao Qian who climbed up from the casket lowered his head and patted off the dirt, then lifted his head up, and pulled at the clothes at his front chest.
“This is what happened, let’s go find a place to sit, no?”
On the surface of where Liao Qian pulled his clothes, there was a small hole, and looking from the size, it was like it was left after being pierced through the chest by a sword. Behind the clothes’ opening, they saw what was on Liao Qian’s chest, was a gloomy black wound as long as a sword’s body.
Liu Wu Yan and Clear-hearted Monk looked to each other, and did not say anything.
Liao Qian opened his mouth a bit, and that big casual smile he always had on his face finally couldn’t be held on any longer. He opened up his mouth this time, and the smile he let out was thousands of times more uglier than crying.
“We can’t just talk in this shady place now, can we?”
In the burial mound, black crows hovered in the sky, still continuously cawing noisily. Once the sky darkened, the flock of crows’ figures melted into the night’s colours, turning hard to discern, just like the crows had taken hold of this place right now.
Just like, buried in this place, were countless deceased people’s souls, letting out a cry of lament at this moment in time where the world had dimmed down.
In a short and small farmer’s house by the foot of the city wall. A faint yellow lamp was dimly lit on the table, with the weak light barely lighting up the room. Liao Qian took off the clothing from the top half of his body, bared his arms, and uncomfortably sat in front of the table.
Whereas Liu Wu Yan and Clear-hearted Monk examined that penetrating wound on his body through the light.
The person who used the sword was extremely steady- the long sword directly sunk in from the back, penetrated the front chest, and perforated the entire heart. Not only that, but that person even rotated the sword around, and completely and thoroughly twisted the heart apart. Aside from that, the judgment they made before was not incorrect either- Liao Qian’s body was still left with the traces of the puppetry technique.
In that period of time they were following Wang Jing Zhi, Liao Qian had most definitely died to the point he could not die again.
Only, afterwards, beyond everyone’s anticipations, he actually came up from the casket, and lived again.
—— Well, perhaps it couldn’t be considered to have “lived”.
With the previous sword wound as the epicentre, dense black veins flickered along with Liao Qian’s breathing, and spread all over the top half of his body, extending up just below his neck.
With one look, it was obvious it wasn’t some good thing.
Liu Wu Yan drew her “Liu Shang” out, and directly thrust it in the middle of the low table in front of Liao Qian.
“Talk.” She said as she crossed her arms in front of her torso.
After glancing at the “Liu Shang” thrust into the table, Liao Qian wailed, then sighed, and reached out to his waist.
Just as he reached out, the beaded bracelet in Clear-hearted Monk’s hands slightly moved. “Wait, wait, that Buddhist Brother over there, don’t always have a look of being prepared to read scriptures and suppress me at any time.” Liao Qian astonishingly looked at Clear-hearted Monk moving the Buddhist beads, “Buddhist beads are precious, do handle with care, don’t carelessly misplace them.”
Liu Wu Yan looked at Clear-hearted Monk, and signalled for him to not move for now.
Liao Qian’s mouth twitched, then, with a numbed face, placed his hand on the table.
He actually wanted to angrily smash it down with a “bam”, but then the corner of his eyes caught a glimpse of “Liu Shang”.
—— A short blade was lightly placed on the table.
流觞- liu, for flowing, or movements related to water. Shang, for wine goblet, or as a verb, to toast with someone. Combined, read as flowing goblet of wine. There is an expression, or rather, an old folk tradition that goes by 曲⽔流觞, where people drink the water/wine out of the cup that
floats across from the winding canal, as a ritual of washing away the
Chapter One Hundred Sixty-eight, the Blade of Constellations, Tides of the Times. (宿神之刃, 时代之潮)
That was a broadsword. The edge of the blade was clearly curved, with the tail of the blade raised up like a crescent moon. The hilt and the body created opposing arcs, where the handle had a hand-guard that was in the shape of a new moon. The disk-shaped cross-guard had densely-packed hidden patterns, while the hand-guard had scale-shaped decorative engravings as well.
The entire shape of the sword did not seem like the style of Qi Qin dynasty, but rather, had a bit of the charms of Huang Ling dynasty.
The hilt was a dark-gold colour, and the body of the blade was completely pitch-black, looking to be heavy.
Without any sharpness to it.
Yet, when Liu Wu Yan cautiously reached out to take it, she was shaken off by a strange tremor from the handle.
“Xiu Shen.” When Liu Wu Yan’s hand was bounced off by the handle, Clear-hearted Monk’s facial colour changed suddenly, and let it slip from his mouth. His eyes firmly stared at the short blade placed on the table.
Xiu Shen? Liu Wu Yan’s face let out a dumbfounded look, however, Clear- hearted Monk seemed to have seen something that should not have appeared, and stared at the short blade on the table without blinking, where that sympathizing face typical of Fan Yin Pavilion revealed a stern appearance.
Liao Qian took in a deep breath, then extended his hand out with a bit of dread, and gripped the short blade.
The moment he held the short blade, those tightly-arranged scales on the new moon-shaped hand-guard suddenly fanned out and tightly clasped into the fatty’s hand within his shrill cry, and cut open his flesh.
In an instant, blood seeped into the new moon-shaped hand-guard, and went down along the handle and cross-guard.
—— The short blade that was deathly still just now revived, and greedily swallowed Liao Qian’s blood.
As the blood seeped in, the pitch-black gloomy blade’s body light
Bit by bit, a bright and fantastical, constellation-like light emerged
from the body’s black coloration.
Liu Wu Yan was constantly observing the changes to this short blade, and when the bits and specks of star-like lights emerged on the body of the blade, she attentively observed it.
At the instant Liu Wu Yan observed the blade’s body, she felt like there was an exploding sound by her ears, like the atmosphere suddenly sunk down.
Just as the gaze fell to the blade, the world suddenly left her.
As though her soul had been sucked away, Liu Wu Yan’s pupils suddenly dilated, and the world in her eyes was only left with a galaxy of stars so vast it made people tremble . The inside of the deep-black colour in the blade’s body, hid with the galaxy of the universe!
The universal galaxy was shrunk and sealed within the short blade, and when Liao Qian’s blood seeped into it, the river of stars would then be summoned out.
Before the fleetingness, Liu Wu Yan felt like her own spiritual insight uncontrollably started circulating. Her vision was only left with an eternal and boundless black canopy of Heaven, and above that canopy, were innumerable stars.
And yet, those stars gave people an extremely peculiar feeling.
After absentmindedly looking on for a few moments, Liu Wu Yan then found the reason for the feeling of unease—— this river of stars, was rotating backwards.
The universal galaxy was the world’s fate, where the rotation of the galaxy secretly contained the law of all living things. In contrast, the reversed galaxy ran counter to everything, and overthrew everything. The overthrown galaxy was no longer bright and vast, and no longer upright and faraway.
Unlike the familiar universe, the reversed universe manifested a type of extreme terror, with an extremely demented savagery to it.
As though the entire cosmos could be flooded with killing intent due to the vast uncontrollable madness.
By only looking for a few moments, Liu Wu Yan felt like her chest was stifled in and her breaths turned short, while her primordial energy pretty much went into disorder.
She secretly cursed, but already had no way of controlling herself- she understood this inside, but could only continue looking at the body of the blade without blinking an eye as her soul seeped into that vast and strange reversed galaxy. “Don’t look!” Clear-hearted Monk shouted loudly, and reached out to pull Liu Wu Yan to a side, while he long already closed his own eyes.
After being pulled by Clear-hearted Monk, Liu Wu Yan managed to struggle out from having her soul sucked away by the galaxy, and her gaze finally moved away from the short blade’s body.
Liu Wu Yan’s expression slightly changed, and also immediately closed her eyes. However, that image of the universal galaxies moving backwards was extremely sinister, as though it directly imprinted into her mind- after she closed her eyes, the spiritual insight continued to shake without stopping.
“Liu Shang.” Liu Wu Yan lowly shouted.
In the next moment, was a clear sound of clanging.
The body of the long sabre thrust into the middle of the low table by Liu Wu Yan erupted with a cold water-like light from the narrow space. The long sabre flew up by itself, and was suspended in front of Liu Wu Yan, with the edge of the sabre directly facing herself.
The frost-coloured light turned into a line, and submerged into Liu Wu Yan’s body.
After discovering that the image of the reversing universal galaxy was imprinted into her spiritual insight, she directly used “Liu Shang”, and used “Liu Shang’s” own evil-suppressing cold light to cut towards herself
—— this was a power that was directed towards the layer of the spiritual insight—— and used this to cut off the reversing galaxy imprinted inside her mind.
Just when Clear-hearted Monk was about to sacrifice a Buddhist bead to help Liu Wu Yan erase the imprinting of the backwards galaxy, Liu Wu Yan already used her sabre, so resolute it made people’s heads go numb. “Crazy woman……” Clear-hearted Monk froze for a bit.
Pointing a blade at others was easy, but pointing it at yourself was hard, let alone when it was towards one’s own spiritual insight- if “Liu Shang” was not controlled well enough, when it cut down on the image of the backwards galaxy, Liu Wu Yan herself would also receive injuries.
Liu Wu Yan opened up her hands and caught the falling “Liu Shang”, and could not care to bother over the matter of Clear-hearted Monk scolding her.
Liao Qian only held the blade for no more than a few minutes, and his facial colour turned a greyish-blue, flooded with the airs of death. He screamed out loud, and bit down, while the other hand used strength, and pulled the blade off, then tossed it back to the table.
From how he looked, he was much more afraid of this blade than Liu Wu Yan and Clear-hearted Monk.
After the short blade, Xiu Shen, was pulled down by him, the light instantly disappeared, and returned to its original grey, dusty and gloomy look, unremarkably lying on the low table.
Liu Wu Yan and Clear-hearted Monk then opened their eyes.
No longer holding the blade, that kind of blue-grey colour on Liao Qian’s face disappeared again, and returned to that white and chubby look once more.
“The galaxy reversed.” Liu Wu Yan looked at that blade
At this time, even if Clear-hearted Monk did not explain what “Xiu
Shen” was, the reason why even though Liao Qian was clearly killed by Wang Jing Zhi, he could still lift up the casket, Liu Wu Yan would still be able to guess as to why for the most part. The universal constellations contained destiny and the Yin and Yang- within the reversal of the galaxy, life and death would be overturned.
Hence, Liao Qian could then clearly die, yet still be “living”.
However, this kind of “living”, was just like this blade, giving people a very uncomfortable, very strange feeling.
A blade containing the miniature of the reversed galaxy……
How could such a terrifying thing be in the hands of Liao Qian, this kind of ordinary Nine Provinces Private Bank disciple?
Liu Wu Yan knitted her eyebrows.
Clear-hearted Monk to the side seemed to have confirmed something, and let out a long sigh, as though suppressing his own astonishment.
“Xiu Shen…… so that is what it is.” Clear-hearted Monk muttered to himself.
This was a blade that once killed an ancient emperor. It should have long been lost in the long rivers of history, and disappeared along with the ancient emperors’ falling, and the hiding of the Eighteen Clans of Old.
However, it appeared.
An object that should not appear, a matter of impermanence.
Clear-hearted Monk stood in place, and heard the whistling and madly sweeping sounds of wind in the era.
A vast, manic, tidal wave that made people unable to breathe…… had already arrived.
 腰⼑- singled-edged sword placed on the waist, with a narrow body (though slightly wider compared to swords and sabres). Not to be confused with western or fantasy’s image of broadswords.  镡 (xin)- the area between the handle and the sword body, that protrudes to two sides.
 宿神- the more common reading for the first character is su, for rest, house(v), or old, or long-standing, but if you choose to read it as xiu, it is an old term for the constellations (from 星宿). Shen, for god, or the divine. Or
mentality/spirit/mind. Would have been neat to ‘house the gods’, but given
its starry nature, it’s read to be the ‘stars and divine’.
Chapter One Hundred Sixty-nine, Matter of the Past, Pain in the Heart. (过往之事, ⼼中伤城)
“Xiu Shen?” Liao Qian muttered, and looked at the short blade he tossed onto the low table with a bit of panic. “What kind of shady- ass name is that?”
Clear-hearted Monk looked at him, “You don’t know what this blade
His tone carried slivers of uncertainty and doubt. Once Liao Qian
heard it, his face turned completely red, like he was so angry he was going to suffocate, then straightened his neck and retorted back, “If I fucking knew what this thing was, I would not have fallen to this kind of extent.”
“This blade, where did you get it.”
Clear-hearted Monk did not ease up because of Liao Qian’s words. He asked with a lowered voice, and from the looks of it, he had an attitude like if Fatty Liao did not say, he was going to use Fan Yin Sect’s heart incantation to forcibly ask.
Liu Wu Yan knitted her eyebrows, and understood something from Clear-hearted Monk’s abnormal stern attitude.
“Frankness is met with leniency, defiance is met with severity,
Fatty.” Liu Wu Yan made a ruthless move against her own spiritual insight just now, but from the surface, one could not see if she had any abnormalities at all. The long sabre was flipped and put over her own shoulder, with a spurious smiling appearance carrying a threatening fierceness.
“My mother gave it to me.” Within the faint frosty light of “Liu Shang”, Liao Qian explained it particularly agilely.
Liao Qian was not a Nine Provinces Private Bank disciple from the very start either.
At the beginning, he was a wealthy family’s eldest young master- he wasn’t considered to be some famous aristocratic family, but it was to the degree of a rich man. Liao Qian’s old father was a merchant, and often went back and forth between Qi Qin and Cang Pu dynasty, peddling his wares. Throughout the year, he saw him on very rare occasions.
The Liao Qian of that time, was actually a rich playboy. Fooling around, doing whatever was improper.
Idling about all day, dawdling around day after day. Since his family had money, it was enough for him to gorge himself. His mother was different from Father, and was considered to be a literary family’s little miss, all gentle and delicate, and could not control him. Thus, Liao Qian grew up to be this idling and lazing shitty fatty.
The Liao Qian of that time did not ever think about immortal cultivation or seeking apprenticeship in the sects.
How big could a rural rich man’s world be?
He had merely heard of some rural legends of immortals, and went about his life day after night.
And then one day, Liao Qian’s world suddenly suddenly got stretched bigger. The father who went to Cang Pu dynasty to transport medicinal ingredients came back twice as early as normal.
Father came back in the middle of the night, all drenched in blood, and appeared inside his room without stirring the servants, and shocked him terribly.
Father’s cold gaze swept by like a knife, and let him shut his mouth, and to go find his mother.
Liao Qian was so scared he stumbled as he went to find his own melancholic and completely delicate mother. Who knew that at this time, his mother seemed like someone he did not recognize, and was not scared at all, treating the wounds for his father with a expression like it was normal. Liao Qian heard his mother ask his father, if it was discovered.
What was discovered?
Wasn’t Father just a plain and ordinary merchant? Liao Qian was confused.
Father nodded his head, and then said, they had to move.
Liao Qian turned even more confused by them, and immediately questioned it, but Father instead sternly ordered him not to leak the matter that he came back, and hurry up to pack his things.
And then, before they could finish packing up, there was an accident on the following night.
Father who disguised himself when going out in the day stumbled back in the evening, and then brought him and his mother into a secret room that Liao Qian had never seen before, and then closed the door from the outside. Before closing the door, his father said to absolutely not come out. After the door closed, Father’s face disappeared outside the door, and the formation on the door lit up. The light of the formation illuminated the hidden room, and Liao Qian saw his mother sitting there straightly, looking at the light on the door- as for her expression, it was an indescribable calmness that made him turn cold.
—— That kind of calmness that was like death.
After some time sitting in the secret room, they felt like the ground was shaking, and a sound like muffled thunder echoed within the narrow and small space. Unease and fear made him tightly hold onto his head.
“Take this, don’t use it carelessly.” Mother took out a normal blade and put it in his hands, then stood up, reached out and placed her hands on the door, and a faint light emitted from her hands.
She opened the door to the secret room, and went out. Before going out, she said, wait here, don’t come out. The door closed up with a “clang”.
His world from then on had been cut into two.
When Mother’s figure was outside the door, Liao Qian finally seemed to have realized something, and he pounced to the door, and madly wanted to open it—— what use was it leaving him alone?
Knowing nothing, understanding nothing.
Kicking, hitting, shaking…… All was no use, he could not open the door of the secret room.
The door of the secret room was opened two days later. Liao Qian who did not eat or drink for two days sat on the floor, and saw a middle- aged person dressed with the Nine Provinces Private Bank’s clothing standing outside the secret room.
That person was a secret elder of the Nine Provinces Private Bank. “Where’s my father? Where’s my mother?” He asked.
The elder did not answer, and brought him outside—— the house was already burned down, whereas the servants’ corpses and some black- dressed people’s corpses fell all over the ground, and those black-dressed people all wore an iron mask.
He saw Father and Mother.
Father fell on the floor, with his body pierced with a blade. Mother held his hand, and also fell onto the ground.
—— At that moment, the rich playboy Liao Qian died as well.
Who lived on, was the coward Liao Qian that did not dare to go out of the secret room along with Mother, so since then, he lived shrewdly yet timidly, and ignorantly, not daring to ask anything, nor daring to think of anything.
However, matters would not end just because one did not ask or hear about it.
Just when Liao Qian thought he would be a money-counting Nine Provinces Private Bank disciple for an entire lifetime, ignorantly living on, Bing Province’s Qing Ming tower had an accident, and he saw the city turn into a city of death.
And then, it was Zhou Wen An, that young man whose world only had Jiu Xuan Sect and his seniors, he loudly yelled at him, and let him run.
Liao Qian previously trembled as he saw Father and Mother go out- he no longer wanted to become a coward.
So he carried Zhou Wen An out. But what use was that? In the end, Zhou Wen An still died. Clearly, he had the chance to hold the blade, and there was no need for Zhou Wen An to die that miserably.
After all that was said and done, he was a coward.
Kneeling in the pile of white bones outside the Qiu Huang tower, he gave himself a slap, and scolded himself hysterically.
In Liao Qian’s hands was the Xiu Shen Blade.
This matter broke the plans that Liu Wu Yan and Clear-hearted monk originally had.
This time, they came to Qi Qin dynasty to take the Mountain Rivers Scroll’s fragment before those people.
The current plan had to be changed once again.
Liao Qian’s parents had a high possibility of being people of the Eighteen Clans of Old, dying in the hands of Jin Tang’s secret guards. However, now, Liao Qian died in the hands of a Nine Provinces Private Bank’s disciple, Wang Jing Zhi- this made people uncontrollably draw a question mark on the reason for Liao Qian’s parents’ deaths.
The strangeness of this matter made people uneasy.
After some discussion, Clear-hearted Monk would give the Mountain Rivers Scroll to Liu Wu Yan, and let her go to find the remaining piece. On the other hand, Clear-hearted Monk would stay, and be together with Liao Qian, then follow the clue of Wang Jing Zhi, and search just what kind of secret was hiding in the goods that Elder Lin received every month, and from Elder Lin, once again search towards the source—— Elder Lin was that Nine Provinces Private Bank elder that took Liao Qian out of the secret room. Outside the house, Clear-hearted Monk gave the Mountain Rivers Scroll’s fragmented scroll to Liu Wu Yan.
After putting it away, Liu Wu Yan was about to leave.
“Liu Wu Yan.” Clear-hearted Monk suddenly called out Liu Wu Yan’s name properly for the first time.
Liu Wu Yan stopped, and turned to look at him.
The night was dark, yet the skies had some hazy moonlight. It was probably the middle of the month today.
The young monk dressed in grey and dusty robes stood within the hazy snow-like moonlight, looking at her. The young monk’s face no longer had that usual sharp opposition—— the Clear-hearted Monk at this time faintly made Liu Wu Yan recall her own big brother. Thinking about concerns, while their features carried many sympathies that others could not understand.
In the past, they would always not see eye-to-eye, Fan Yin Pavilion and He Huan Sect had argued for those many years, with it being passed down generation after generation. Thus, Liu Wu Yan did not pay heed to it all this time, but the Buddhist, Clear-hearted Monk, actually had a face that was quite handsome.
Liu Wu Yan recalled the faint and obscure sound of reciting scriptures that she heard before she woke up after she fainted from being sent out of the Qiu Huang tower.
When she opened her eyes, she only saw the young monk sitting far off, closing his eyes, with a look of not being concerned over anything.
“What is it, shitty baldy.”
Clear-hearted Monk’s Dharma name spun in her mouth two times, but Liu Wu Yan could not say it out loud. She carried the sabre over her shoulders, and slightly raised her eyebrows- from her tone, it seemed to be no different from usual.
Clear-hearted Monk looked towards the woman with a sabre hung over her shoulders. She had a ponytail tied up high, while her brows carried a spirit of sharpness. It was the kind of person mentioned within Buddhism that carried too much resentment in the heart, unable to be neutralized.
It was the type of person that Buddhists say could not be ferried. “Careful of Du Ya.” He stroked his Buddhist beads, and went
silent for a long while before speaking.
When the words came out, the night’s winds blew by, and Liu Wu Yan no longer stopped, turned around, then headed in a direction within the darkness.
Inside the house, Liao Qian sat under the dim lantern, and blankly looked at the Xiu Shen Blade underneath the lighting.
He extended his hand out to touch the blackened sword wound, and clearly remembered the icy feeling of the blade passing through the flesh, and the feeling of the sharp sword aura twisting apart his blood vessels.
It really fucking hurt, and it was also really fucking cold. So cold it got into the bones.
What did he think at that time?
He thought to the Zhou Wen An brandishing his blade within the Qiu Huang tower, thought to the wrinkle-filled hands when the old man gave the blade to him, and was only left with one thought in the end—— he could not die, he could not die.
Thus, he gripped the edge of the Xiu Shen Blade, and tightly gripped it. He let the edge cut apart his own blood vessels, and let the blood seep into the body of the blade. At the same time, turned his head around with some unwillingness.
And then, he saw Senior Wang Jing Zhi’s face still carry the slight smile of a good person, while his hands steadily gripped the sword.
“It really hurt, old man.” Liao Qian lifted his head up, and let out a big sigh.
He reached out to hold the Xiu Shen Blade again.
The scales on the hilt did not stand up, and his blood no longer seeped in again. The Xiu Shen Blade was quietly held in his hands, while the body of the blade circulated with the light of constellations.
Liao Qian’s face no longer had that usual carefree smile. He was expressionless.
 or in other words, fess up and you get a lighter sentence, and be met with more severe punishment for refusing to acknowledge their crimes. AKA what plea bargaining is.
 纨绔⼦弟- old term for sons of rich families who can play and eat all day and not have to work, equivalent to the modern-day 富⼆代 (second- gen rich people aka my parents have money).
 禅 (chan)- or rather, matters related with Buddhism, or, deep meditation (禅那/dhyāna). If read as shan, means worship (of ancient times’ emperors), or as a verb, to abdicate.
Chapter One Hundred Seventy, Mad Tides of the Era, the Curtains of the Night Open. (纪元狂潮, 夜幕拉开)
The skies were murky, the winds should be coming soon.
Qi Qin dynasty was a dynasty bordering the sea, and this place was a metropolis not far from the sea. No matter the season, the nights would always have wind coming.
Old Liu hunched his body, and held a lantern in the rustling cold winds, pulling at his hoarse throat as he walked by each and every small street and alley while beating a gong.
He was a night watchman.
After he walked through a street, Old Liu gasped like a broken wind chest, breathing away for a long time.
Once Old Liu lifted his head up, he almost fainted from shock. “Y-you……” Old Liu shivered as he looked to the front. At some unknown time, a person silently stood in front of him.
This person was dressed in black clothes that pretty much melted together with the night, and was very, very lean, yet very tall, wearing a bamboo hat. This person appeared without a sound, just like a ghost. The people that appeared within the darkness came in all shapes and forms. Old Liu had been a night watchman for these many years, and saw quite a few things, and knew, if one wanted to safely and steadily live past the night, then they should be a honest and obedient watchman, seeing neither anything, nor hearing anything, walking in the streets with one’s head down.
Those people coming and going in the black nights, had no relation whatsoever with these ant-like people that they were.
Old Liu had been a watchman for a lifetime, lowered his head for a lifetime, and hunched his back for a lifetime.
However, today, there was this person silently standing in front of
Old Liu had seen many of his own colleagues, the other night
watchmen, unknowingly die in the gloomy cold alleys, so when he lifted his head up and saw this person with a bamboo hat standing in front of him, he only felt like his hands instantly started shaking. His mind emerged with those watchmen’s corpses quietly lying in the gloomy and cold alleys, and recalled the government authorities that would not say anything and drag the bodies off to be buried.
“I don’t know anything.” Before the other party could say anything, Old Liu trembled, and knelt down immediately.
The person who appeared seemed to have froze up as well.
“Old mister, I’m only asking for directions.” After a pause, the bamboo-hatted person spoke up.
Old Liu kept burying his head in, and pretty much was about to lie down on the ground. His entire body shook, his words were also incomplete, and only persistently said he would act like he knew nothing at all. Before the winds and rain came, all would be calm and quiet, but the ants in the mountains would be able to feel that kind of abnormality.
That uneasy abnormality.
Day after day, the watchmen died off quietly, while the people that were hurriedly going about in the night increased.
Old Liu was only a normal watchman. He was old, but once a person turned old, they would see things much more clearer than the younger people. Just when the night turned deep, there silently appeared a person asking for directions, would they be some ordinary person? No matter what kind of person they were, to appear within the sunken night while wearing a bamboo hat, they would not hope for their own traces be exposed.
Even if he obediently answered this kind of person’s questions, in the end, it would not spare him from dying.
“I…… I cannot die……” Old Liu seemed to have heard the sound of a cold blade being blown by wind, and his hoarse tone pretty much carried a cry of despair.
The person wearing the bamboo hat did not say anything.
All of a sudden, he asked, “You are of such an old age, why are you still a watchman.”
The voice no longer had any politeness from before, and carried a kind of cold knife-like feeling that an ordinary person should not have.
Old Liu trembled, and did not know what the other person meant, and incoherently explained in a hurry, like he caught a thread of opportunity to life.
Old Liu walked past through streets day by day in the cold nights, all for a few coins for some food. He was already quite old, and with his old body, his worn and hoarse throat was long already not suited to be a watchman. But there was no way, Old Liu’s son died just last month.
How he died, Old Liu himself did not know.
Old Liu’s son was just about the same as him, working diligently and being honest for an entire life. A few years ago, he managed to get a wife with much difficulty, then got a big chubby kid. He and his son loved the kid so much, to save up some money to send the grandson to school in the future, Old Liu’s son resolved himself, and followed someone to be a carriage driver to Cang Pu.
Immortals’ flying vessels spread over the land of the twelve dynasties no doubt, but that was the immortals’ property. Normal merchants could not afford to ride it, thus, they could only hire drivers to ride the carriage from Qi Qin to Cang Pu and Jin Tang.
For this kind of carriage fleet that needed a lot of time for a round trip, the wages for the driver would be considered very high, because the journey was too long.
In addition, it was a very dangerous job.
For a distance as far as one from Qi Qin to Cang Pu, there would be many mountains and rivers on the journey. The poor mountains and evil waters were enough to take a bunch of people’s lives, don’t even mention those wild animals and demonic spirits. Going with this kind of carriage fleet was no different from hanging one’s head on the waist. If there really wasn’t any other way, what person who was able to barely live on would be willing to earn this kind of money?
A majority of carriage drivers would very carefully go a few times, and once they earned a bit of money, enough to rent a bit of land and live on, they would no longer go.
The roads from Qi Qin dynasty to Cang Pu dynasty and again to Jin Tang dynasty, buried with who-knows-how-many people’s bones. Many young men ran off with a hot-blooded temper like they feared nothing at all all in the journey to Cang Pu, thinking of being rich, then never came back.
When his son decided to be a driver going to Cang Pu, Old Liu squatted in front of their shabby door, and squatted for a long time with the sun burning his eyes. The grandson was inside the house, crying without understanding anything, while the child’s mother patted the son’s clothes and coaxed him in a small voice. His son stood in front of him without a noise.
Qi Qin’s merchants were found all around the twelve dynasties, while the Nine Provinces Private Bank was incomparably flourishing, but that was the Private Bank’s matter, and had no relations with them ordinary folk. In Qi Qin, if one had no relationship with the Nine Provinces Private Bank, don’t think about going into commerce- even the merchants had to give money to the Nine Provinces Private Bank according to their annual pay.
Merchants did not have it all that easy, and as for them commoners, it was much more difficult.
The people going into commerce were many, and once the merchant had some money, they would purchase fields. The number of fields got smaller and smaller day by day, and the merchants’ fields were jointly held by the Nine Provinces Private Bank, so the dynasty did not dare to take too much rent. Wouldn’t that remaining tax be spread down level by level to them poor commoners?
Old Liu and his son toiled for an entire lifetime, and did not want their own grandson to live on like this.
Then one must read, must recognize words.
If one could recognize words, one could then go to the Nine Provinces Private Bank’s establishments and be a student, could take imperial examinations, and could not use a lifetime again to barely live on. After crouching half a day, Old Liu stood up with a stagger, waved his hands, and said, fine, go then.
Once his son left, Old Liu’s heart started getting raised.
One single trip between Qi Qin and Cang Pu, needed at least a few months time. His son went twice more scared than hurt, and when he came back, the person was so thin they were left with bones, so dark they were practically unrecognizable. However, they also brought back some money. But a few months ago, his son went to Cang Pu again with a merchant named Chu.
Old Liu waited and waited, but in the end, did not manage to wait for his son to come back.
He asked someone, and they said, the family of the merchant named Chu was preparing a funeral.
Hence, Old Liu’s son just unknowingly died like this.
Once his son died, his son’s spouse cried and cried, and hung herself on the third day.
Of a family of four, Old Liu was old, his son was just that many years old, and the family did not have much land. Once the son died, these house beams were gone.
After rolling his son’s spouse with a mat and sending them to the city’s south burial mounds, Old Liu had to once again be a watchman. Wearing a worn cotton-padded jacket in the nights of whistling cold winds, he continued to tear at his pretty much hoarse throat.
And then tonight, he was blocked by a bamboo-hatted black-clothed
He knelt to the floor, and did not dare say he understood that the
black-clothed person would not be some good character, and only repeated again and again, he could not die, he could not die. His son already died, his son’s spouse hung herself, if he died too, what would happen to his grandson?
What would happen.
Old Liu clearly understood, this small character that he was, no matter if it was the immortals, or some big and important person from somewhere, in their eyes, they were just like ants, and not worth any money. Getting casually killed to shut mouths was an ordinary matter, he was already in despair, yet still repeated again and again, he could not die.
The person who appeared silently within the night no longer said anything, but Old Liu could feel, the other party still silently stood in front of him.
So long that when Old Liu was waiting for a strike, the man wearing the bamboo hat suddenly spoke up.
Asking, where a few very remote places that typical people would not know about were.
No one could compare to those who were watchmen in understanding all the streets of this city. They knew where the most flourishing families were, and also knew the most coldest uninhabited places were too.
Old Liu spoke all that he knew of while shaking.
He still knelt on the ground, trembling, not daring to even lift his head up.
And then, there was no sound in front of him.
The winds blew nosily, so cold it entered the gaps of bones, and Old Liu shook as he lifted his head up bit by bit, and saw it was empty and barren in front of him. The man wearing a bamboo hat was just like when he appeared, and silently disappeared.
Old Liu froze on the ground in an instant. He gasped for breath, and after a long time, climbed up with a stumble, and rushed back to his own home.
Standing above the eaves, the figure and darkness melted together. Du Ya was just like his name, hiding in the darkness like a crow.
He watched that old night watchman stagger as he hugged his own grandson, laughing and crying. He then shook his hand as he packed his belongings, but after packing up half-way, he suddenly tossed it all away, and sat on the floor wailing loudly without moving at all.
Du Ya watched.
A nobody had a nobody’s wisdom and way of living.
Du Ya recalled that the instant this old hunched watchman saw himself, he shook his hands.
This insignificant watchman could not have known what kind of existence the Ferrying Crows or the Golden Sparrows were for an entire life, and could not have known how many assassins crossed within the night, yet according to the nobody’s intuition, the instant they saw him, felt the aura of death.
He should have killed that old watchman.
Anything that had a slight chance of exposure, no matter human or object, should be taken care of.
But the blade drawn within the sleeves did not slide out.
Four months ago, Du Ya’s people took care of a bunch of carriage drivers without a trace, and their corpses were tossed into Cang Pu’s abyss. Of one, was a dark, thin, considerably young carriage driver. At that time, Du Ya was dressed as a merchant, and when he was sitting by the fire in the night, he heard that young driver talk about his wife and his son to his associates.
By the red bonfire, the driver that never had any education spoke of his own wife, and only persistently talked about how good the meals she made were, and how warm it was when the two were within blankets in the night.
And even said his own son could already call out to him.
At that time, Du Ya leaned against the carriage, with his hand drawn in the sleeves, holding a icy cold blade.
A killer was a role that was accompanied by an icy-cold blade.
Immortal cultivators could be killers, normal people could also be killers too, the descendants of the Eighteen Clans of Old too could be killers as well- no matter what identity one had before, as long as this word, “killer” was tacked on, all the warmth would leave you, and the life would only be left with an icy-cold blade.
A majority of killers lived like there was no difference from being dead. And the remaining small little portion, relied on the fury burning inside their hearts to live on.
That fury that did not know what was right or wrong made them barely live on like a person.
But before he became Du Ya, he felt like he was a person too.
When the carriage fleet went out of Cang Pu, the thing inside the box woke up once, and those drivers saw the thing they should not have seen. Du Ya then killed them all, and when he did it, the blade was very steady —— he had already killed who-knows-how-many people like this. When the blade submerged into that young driver, Du Yan even felt a sliver of delight. The things he once had and did not have later on, what kind of qualifications did others have to possess it?
That was a despicable delight.
Nevertheless, sometimes, fate really was an inexplicable thing- he killed that old man’s son, and then encountered the old man. But this time, he could not kill that aged, hunched old watchman.
Why was it?
Du Ya himself did not understand either.
Probably because, he suddenly recalled that face brimming with happiness when the young driver sat by the fire talking about his own wife
—— what kind of qualifications did he have to feel happiness? They were clearly just pitiful bugs that needed to use all their strength to live on.
But no matter the reason why, the blade could not be slid out.
He silently followed the old watchman, watched him return home and hug his own grandson, watched him pack his belongings in a fluster to leave this place, then suddenly toss the things down and wail out loud.
Du Ya understood why the old watchman would suddenly stop packing, and suddenly wail out loud.
Even if he ran, where could he run off to? The world was about to enter chaos, any place would have people dying. An aged, old watchman, and a small child of a few years, could not live on anywhere.
Running and not running, what difference was there? Du Ya no longer watched.
They were merely just two people that were about to die.
Du Ya pulled at his bamboo hat, and lifted his head up to look at the Qing Ming tower erected in the middle of the city.
noisily. His black clothes were fluttering with the winds, blowing around
While standing above the house eaves, with the crying old watchman not far off, Du Ya looked off to another direction not far from the Qing Ming tower.
Within this night, in this night with many people slumbering, many people dressed in black clothes with masks flew around in the night like crows, akin to a flock of crows flying from the burial mound.
This was a night that was destined to be recorded down.
In the Private Bank’s warehouse, the iron boxes accumulated over many years spread out in circles and circles, while Elder Lin slowly opened those boxes one after another. Within each of those boxes, was a kind of viscous and damp darkness- that darkness was squirming, like it had four limbs and a consciousness.
The interior of the warehouse mingled with low and deep breathing
When the boxes were being opened, Clear-hearted Monk who was
dressed in grey and dusty Buddhist robes stood in front of the large gates to the Nine Provinces Private Bank.
He gripped his Buddhist beads, with a stern expression on his face.
The inside of the bank was dark and gloomy, with a complete span of darkness, and a bloody air so dense it made people feel sick.
Light, slightly-viscous-feeling footsteps resounded, and within Clear-hearted Monk’s line of sight, the dark bank had all its lanterns lit up all of a sudden. In the lantern’s light, he saw the Nine Provinces Private Bank’s disciples’ corpses lay across the ground.
Wang Jing Zhi was stepping over a floor of thick blood and walking out from the deep part of the bank, whereas that sword that pierced through Liao Qian’s heart hung down, and the tip of the sword dripped with blood bit by bit.
His face bore a shallow, gentle smile. Clear-hearted Monk looked at his back.
To his back was a darkness that could not even be illuminated by the lanterns.
“You guys came too late.” Wang Jing Zhi lightly said.
“Fan Yin Sect’s Buddhist, huh, what a truly incredible person. Except……” Clear and cold light on Wang Jing Zhi’s sword flowed around, “I won’t let you go over there.”
Clear-hearted Monk pinched apart the string of the Buddhist beads, and the beads floated by his side.
Just when Clear-hearted Monk was confronting Wang Jing Zhi, a black-clothed person wearing a mask went up the Qing Ming tower story by story, where the tower-guarding disciples of the Private Bank within the Qing Ming tower were drugged—— Qi Qin was a dynasty famous for commerce, and Cang Pu’s medicinal herbs were flowed into Qi Qin year after year, so nobody would feel like it was strange.
Nobody would be vigilant over if those herbs were all sold out, or if they were in Qi Qin dynasty’s borders being created into another thing.
This [lack of] vigilance was exchanged with an ill consequence
The Qing Ming tower’s management was typically done by the
sect’s disciples, while the people of the dynasty were responsible for some accounts. However, at this time, the dynasty’s tower-guarding people and the black-clothed people stepped up the Qing Ming tower.
Liu Wu Yan who rushed within the night’s winds suddenly stopped. The fragmented Mountain Rivers Scroll suddenly flew up from her chest, and opened up in the air.
The light directly pointed to one direction—— this city’s Qing Ming
And yet, Liu Wu Yan did not look to that direction. Instead, she
gripped her sabre, and looked in another direction.
A person wearing a golden mask, draped in black robes quietly stood across from her, their aura all obscure—— that was a demon’s aura.
In the night where midwinter was about to pass, inside Qi Qin dynasty’s merchant city, within the gloomy and leaden night colours.
This era’s violent tides opened up its opening curtains.