Zhao Ge Chapter 201-210

Chapter 201

What is an immortal cultivator?

Lofty immortals, people who held a remarkable power mortals could not touch.

Immortal cultivators and mortals naturally had a clear gap between each other, because in front of immortal cultivators, all throughout time, the mortals’ power was obviously that minute. As the Eight Immortal Sects stood on the vast lands for that long of a time, mortals could only bow their heads to the pitch-black lofty towers.

That was until today, when mortals controlled the immortals’ life and death for the first time.

The execution grounds were not far from the Qing Ming tower, with the clearing put up with a high stone platform. Soldiers donned in heavy armour guarded this place, and their faces were icy and stern, while an ancient yet prestigious aura on their bodies invisibly mutually echoed off of the Qing Ming tower not far from them. Commoners were banned from getting close—— this was an execution with another goal, thus, observation was forbidden.

Other than this, there was a person wearing a golden mask and a cloak sitting on the high platform, with their waist carrying a narrow and long sword. There were also some people that Liu Wu Yan did not recognize dress in Qi Qin’s clothes sitting there as well.

Liu Wu Yan was wearing a deep-black spacious robe, while her arms and legs were attached to shackles made from black iron. The other people on the scene were all the Bank’s disciples. Liu Wu Yan thought, did they know Qi Qin dynasty put out this big of a play, just to draw in the remaining people from the Bank to save them?

But after thinking about it, Liu Wu Yan also felt like it was a bit laughable she was thinking about these.

Among the captured Bank disciples, there were some who knew each other, some who didn’t, however, each time their gazes met, Liu Wu Yan could see their gazes were mutually consoling and encouraging each other. They knew they were going to die, but they did not look to have a bit of hope that someone would come save them.

—— They knew.

Strangely, Liu Wu Yan was a bit envious.

Though they were all people who were going to die, the Bank’s people were together with each other. When their gazes met with one another, it was like there was a kind of warm strength being transmitted around. Not one of them was alone. Only she was by herself- even if she died, there wouldn’t be any little brothers or sisters on the road to the underworld fighting and bickering with her.

Liu Wu Yan was not like other sect’s disciples- she entered He Huan Sect for revenge, and went there carrying hatred and despair. After a very long period time, Liu Wu Yan felt like she and other He Huan Sect disciples were not the same, the life she lived many years ago as the Cloud’s Liu family was seared into her bones. Liu Wu Yan felt like she was not like other people in the sect who had an indescribable obsession towards the sect, that she even thought she actually couldn’t be considered a proper disciple of He Huan Sect.

And yet at this moment, she still could not help but recall that sect in a place with miasma permeating throughout the year.

That sect only separated by a mountain range with Fan Yin Sect. Tall mountains and high ranges, eternally azure-green stretches of forests, with big and small, tall and low bamboo buildings hidden in the ancient forest. The little brothers and sisters would step on the bamboo stairs laughing merrily while coming and going. He Huan Sect advocated for the natural instinct, so when He Huan Sect’s disciples laughed or cursed, they had no qualms over it- clearly, they were in a region filled with fog that was always wet and cold, yet, they were as radiant as the rising sun.

Eldest Sister.
Eldest Sister.

……

Call after call, many splendid and fresh flower-like charming little sisters would follow behind her, calling out “Eldest Sister”.

Liu Wu Yan hung her eyes down and looked at the rock on the floor, and she felt a bit lonely.

Hey, Liu Wu Yan, you’re going to die.
She said to herself inside.

Dying that pettily- they were immortal cultivators, yet were going to die like a mortal convict being beheaded. And then, there were that many thing she had not finished yet. She did not tell that white-robed young boy who he was yet; she did not say thank you to that eyesore of a stupid baldy from Fan Yin Pavilion yet—— after coming out of the Qiu Huang tower, he had protected her spiritual insight, Liu Wu Yan knew; she did not rebuild the Song Over Clouds’ ancestral temple yet; she did not even go to Brother’s grave even once……

There were still that many things she did not do.

—— Are you scared?

Liu Wu Yan quietly asked herself inside, just like finally asking that girl after a long time in that raging fire in the rainy night who blankly watched Brother turn and draw his blade.

Sorry, Big Brother, she was still useless, she wasn’t able to live on according to the Liu family’s hopes. She exhausted all her strength, and now, she’s going to find you.

At that time, if you want to, then scold again.

The time of execution was about to come, and the stifling colours of the sky since time the day broke turned even more gloomier. However, it was quiet all around, only the frosty airs of the blades and swords and the sounds of wind blowing by the sharp edges were present. No one came- Liu Wu Yan heard the Bank disciples beside her let out a breath of relief, and their faces revealed a faint smile—— they all knew they were going to die, no one came to save them, but they instead let out a breath and smiled.

Liu Wu Yan no longer looked at them, and felt a bit empty inside.

No one came to attend this event that one knew was a trap with one look, however, the soldiers all around did not let go their vigilance, and still tightly gripped their blades. The person on the high chair wearing a gold mask and cloak, unknown if it was out of regret or not, sighed, and reached out to take a tablet of decree, “Ready——”

The voice stretched and passed through the entire clearing.

Liu Wu Yan shivered, and knew the final moments were soon here.

The Bank disciples beside her had someone lowly say something to each other at this final moment—— they were probably good friends, probably brothers, probably a couple. Even if they were not acquainted with each other at all, at this time, they were mutually saying to see each other in the next life. Liu Wu Yan thought, the Nine Provinces Private Bank was actually not like how everyone normally teased, all a bunch of cowards.

Liu Wu Yan also wanted to say something, but she did not know who to say it to.

Thus, she let a long sigh, and tried to lift her head up to look at the sky.

Something suddenly dropped on her face.

—— It was rain.

Raindrops started coming down in big droplets, and the world suddenly had an extra heavy curtain of rain—— much like that night in the ruined shrine many years ago, where torrential rains covered over the heavens and earth, pounding down, like it was to wash away everything cleanly. Liu Wu Yan suddenly laughed, and rain dropped into her eyes, and then slid down from the corners of it.

“Go.”
Distantly, the voice of that person wearing the gold mask transmitted over, so distant like it came from another world.

Iron-masked and black-dressed men spread around in the rain like crows, with their waists hung with curved blades, and passed through the sudden heavy rain current, then walked to these immortal sect disciples pressed to the ground.

As rain dripped from their sides, the frosty air was just about to seep into their bones. Liu Wu Yan heard the sound of blades being brandished from the sheath- the ones in charge of execution were not ordinary executioners, but Jin Tang’s secret guards. Their bodies carried the scent of blood, and Liu Wu Yan was quite familiar with the bloodiness on their bodies—— it was that kind of bloody scent of starved wolves chasing their prey.

Liu Wu Yan closed her eyes, and waited for the moment the blade tore through the air.

Chapter 202

“Liu Wu Yan——”

That sharp, that distinctive, that piercing of a voice exploded in the heavy rainstorm, just like a pale-white lightning tearing apart the world within the the dark skies, like a goshawk suddenly breaking free iron chains, rushing into the blue canopy of who-knows-how-many tens of thousands of miles.

Liu Wu Yan suddenly opened her eyes.

The skies did not have any lightning, nor did it have a goshawk- the rain still connected the heavens and earth, and the black-armoured secret guards carrying a bloody scent still stood there as well.

But in the darkness, a scarlet-gold stream of light spread out from the high platform like magma- that radiance was that bright, so bright it was like a warmth that made people cry. The gold light was carrying a noble integrity and a sternness that suppressed all evil- it seemed like fires springing up, like burning flame dragons roaring about.

Fan Yin Secret Art· Ancestral Dragon.

It was those flame dragons that blocked the curved blade the Jin Tang guard was about to cut down with.

The rain coming down from the skies hit atop the flame dragons, transforming into white obscure vapour. The hazy world turned black and white, and the flames that Jin Tang’s capital was ignited with back then burned to the front of her eyes. Separated by fire and vapour, LIu Wu Yan practically could not believe her own eyes- she saw a young monk standing at an open street.

She never saw this side of Clear-hearted Monk.

He was somewhat unlike a monk now.

He did not wear a cassock, and instead wore a regular commoner’s clothes, and even wore a wig from who-knows-where, standing there in the dark rain, hazily looking like a normal, handsome young person.

Liu Wu Yan’s throat moved.

“Idiot! Beat it! Go away! Go away!”
She abruptly started struggling- a strength from somewhere burst out, and she forcefully stood up from the ground with the heavy black-iron chains.
“I don’t need you to interfere! Beat it!”

The black-armoured warriors stopped by Fan Yin’s secret art were currently even matched against the flame dragons, and painstakingly held onto their blades in midair. However, it was no use- those people sitting at the high platform did not move yet. This was a net placed down at a time long ago, and they were waiting for the prey to bring themselves in.

“Beat it——”
As she yelled, her vision turned blurry.

Clear-hearted Monk stood in the heavily falling curtain of rain, and he lifted his head up, looking at the woman kneeling in the rain struggling to get up, looking at those cold-faced people sitting at the high platform, looking at the man in a black cloak with a gold mask—— the rain falling from the sky seemed to be unable to bother him, and silently separated at his side, forming a rain-less domain.

He took a deep breath in.

Clear-hearted Monk stood at the barren streets by himself.

This was a trap, he knew. He came to save Liu Wu Yan because of his selfishness, so he didn’t tell anyone.

Rain. Boundless, endless rain. In the heavy rain, that dishevelled young woman was still of that fire-like bright and beautiful appearance.

Clear-hearted Monk closed his eyes, and opened up his arms, making an embracing pose.

“Ancestral Dragon!”

In the next moment, he shouted, completely unlike the appearance a monk should have, and a warrior-like fury rose up from his face- that refined and handsome of his turned ferocious right at this time, as though all the feelings he could not say out loud this entire time completely burst out.

It was just like the stone Buddhist statues in the big desert of Khlajöwwma, suddenly opening their eyes.

Those flame dragons in a stalemate with the black-armoured guards turned furious due to his fury, their figures quickly enlarged, with each and every one letting out a clear yet mighty dragon roar in the rain, and an extremely high temperature instantly shot up. Jin Tang’s secret guards instantly felt like they were standing above a surging purgatory, facing a raging inferno of burning souls.

In this instant, the rain suddenly stopped.

Rain was still falling down, but on the execution platform, suddenly, there was no rain. Several tens of flame dragons hovered in the air, and after the rain above the skies fell, it would be vaporized into a white hazy steam. When the flame dragons swallowed towards the black-armoured guards, Clear-hearted Monk also moved- he was like a lightning within the rain, passing through the armoured soldiers surrounding the area of the execution grounds

He was extremely fast, his figure was faint like light smoke, and before those soldiers could react, he already rushed to the high platform.

“Shitty baldy.”
Liu Wu Yan hoarsely cursed, and saw within the hazy fog, a very thin figure brushing past- that face was reflected by the flames and fog into the look of a stranger, yet was incomparably familiar.

A gloomy black dagger slid out from his sleeves, then Clear-hearted Monk gripped the handle, and did not say anything.

The people on the high platform did not move, as though these black-armoured guards’ deaths and the giant and mighty flame dragons were not considered to be that much. Clear-hearted Monk could feel that kind of heavy and sinking pressure- they were looking, letting Jin Tang’s guards and him kill each other, yet did not move. However, there was another pressure enveloping over, Clear-hearted Monk could feel it, behind the golden mask, that person’s gaze was looking at them.

However, who the fuck would care about these?!

Who!

That night, when his Buddhist beads were already destroyed, he was no longer a bead-holding Buddhist. What his hands held was a blade, a disciplinary blade[1] used to disciple oneself. Now, he was using this blade to save the woman he liked.

As the black dagger cut down, the black-iron shackles wrapped over Liu Wu Yan snapped and disintegrated.

After the heavy pressure was lifted off, Liu Wu Yan lifted her hand up to hit Clear-hearted Monk down the execution area, “Beat it!”

It was no use- the people sitting at the top still did not move, they were only observing, like watching a play, because Clear-hearted Monk could not be considered the goal in their eyes. From how those people saw it, the Clear-hearted Monk who was all by himself was like a mole cricket, no use whatsoever, no threat whatsoever.

Clear-hearted Monk did not dodge it.

Liu Wu Yan’s strength was still being suppressed, so when that punch fell, he did not move at all.

“Get up!”
He also yelled. His voice more louder, more hoarse, and more furious than Liu Wu Yan’s.
“Stand up! Are you willing to die like this!”

Stand up! How could [you] die like this! Dying within the mortals’ kingdom, in layers of shackles, dying off without any dignity, and any pride! How could you just die like this! Even if you have to die, you have to hold a blade, a sword and die in battle! Being beheaded and executed, how would that look!

“Fight!”
Clear-hearted Monk threw a bronze talisman as well a secret guard’s curved blade to Liu Wu Yan.

He came killing all this way.

Without those bronze talismans Qi Qin dynasty gave the immortal cultivators who joined them, in the merchant city where spiritual energy was disordered and reversed, they were powerless nobodies. After deciding to come here, Clear-hearted Monk knew just what he had to do. He used the forbidden arts of Fan Yin Sect to forcefully recover his own strength, and sneaked in the merchant city’s streets, hunting down those weak-powered immortal cultivators who sided with Qi Qin.

Fan Yin Pavilion forbade indiscriminately killing the innocent, but he already could not care for that much anymore.

He even used forbidden arts, what was it to let the disciplinary knife be dyed in blood?!

Clear-hearted Monk turned around and rushed to other blankly-kneeling Bank disciples, and cut off the shackles on them one by one. The disciplinary knife Fan Yin Pavilion used to disciple oneself was brandished by him again and again, getting stained with layers and layers of blood. Those people on the platform did not move, however, the secret guards who were forced back due to the flame dragons already rushed over- they were sacrificial warrior-like killers, and underneath the flame dragons’ pressure, still brandished their blades without changing expressions.

Distinct sounds of shouting echoed.

Liu Wu Yan pounced up from the ground, holding the curved blade Clear-hearted Monk threw to her.

The edge of the blade cut to the side, tearing apart these blood-seeking starved wolves’ throats chasing her. The colour of blood and the shine of the blade mingled within the dim light. Liu Wu Yan understood, Clear-hearted Monk actually came to die! They could not escape at all, but what matter was it!

Even if they could not escape, even if they have to die here, what was it!

He brought his knife, brought bronze talismans, brought a body of blood here, all to not let them die without any honour.

Immortal sects, immortal sects.

They were the immortal sects’ disciples! The prideful immortal cultivators!

How could immortal cultivators die like nobodies under the mortals’ blade!

Liu Wu Yan took one step forward, swung the blade, then turned around, and cut down. She laughed loudly, shouting meaningless words even she did not know what they meant.

One after another Bank disciple stood up, and held onto blades. As time was pressed, Clear-hearted Monk used all his ability to steal as much bronze talismans as he could, then came with a body of blood and rushed in the rain to come save Liu Wu Yan, but the bronze talismans he brought weren’t enough at all.

The Bank disciples released of shackles had some who reached out and took off the talismans from the dead Jin Tang guards’ waists, while some faced the guards who arrived with their blades, too late to do anything, so they opened up their arms without avoiding anything, and hugged their own enemies, shouting loudly to their brothers holding blades to buy time for them.

The execution grounds became a bloody battlefield, when the prefectural executive on the tall platform lifted his hand.

Fan Yin’s secret art had already ended, the flame dragons disappeared in the rain, while the white vapour was covered over by the big rainstorm washing down. The platform was only left with blood-stained people from the sect, they gasped for breath as they held blades, dishevelled and yet pridefully standing there.

The sound of iron armour rubbing together.

The sound of the crossbow[2] starting up.

The soldiers donned in heavy armour surrounding beneath the execution grounds lifted their hands up, holding a mechanical crossbow flowing with obscure light. They surrounded the entire execution grounds, and aimed right at the immortal sect disciples on the high platform that gathered into a ring.

Liu Wu Yan and Clear-hearted Monk had their backs to each other, standing at the very front of the group with rain washing at their young faces. Each person was stained with blood. On the ground, there were corpses, some of Jin Tang’s guards, and also some of the Bank’s disciples.

They all gripped blades, taking in crude breaths, standing there.

Rain. Boundless, heavy rain.

Blood, washed away, then falling again blood.

Liu Wu Yan rotated her wrist, and the blade she held slightly bent. A kind of ruthless expression emerged on her face, as though there was a scarlet flame jumping in her eyes.

“Come!”
She started laughing loudly.

She and Clear-hearted Monk stood together, she and the Bank’s disciples stood together, she was no longer all alone, they all stood together, so they had nothing to fear!

“Come!”
They shouted, carrying a pride from the ancient times.

—— Even if they died, they had to pridefully die in battle!

[1] 戒刀- a Buddhist monk’s knife, which the Buddhist cannot use to kill others with, only cut cloth.
[2] 机括- or rather, the part of the crossbow that shoots the arrows.

Chapter 203

Arrows, rain.

All around was rain- falling from above the skies was rain, the refined iron arrows coming from all around were also rain.

The world turned into a giant hunting ground, and they, were the prey that were trapped in the cage. Those sharp arrows were attached with a strange power- a single arrow was not that lethal to an immortal cultivator, but when it was like rain coming from all sides, it was enough to turn any person on the grounds into a sieve.

One Bank disciple called out “formation”, and the Bank disciples very quickly formed into a defence formation.

The Bank’s disciples were typically the weakest in terms of individual strength among the Eight Immortal Sects, hence, they typically cultivated large-scale group formations, using it to protect themselves. Liu Wu Yan and Clear-hearted Monk may not have learned these kinds of formations, but one of them was Fan Yin Pavilion’s Buddhist and one was He Huan Sect’s eldest disciple sister, the two’s experience in critical points were incomparably adequate, and their ability to discern was even more outstanding- when the Bank’s disciples were creating the formation, they quickly found the places they should be standing at and filled in.

When the formation completed, the rain of arrows all over the sky already arrived.

A bright ray of light burst within the dark skies- the formation the immortal sect disciples formed over the execution grounds erupted with a dazzling light, while the shower of arrows whistled in, and a giant power lashed at that layer of light.

Each person was biting down, desperately holding on.

No one knew how long they could persist, no one knew how much power they were left with either, however, everyone knew they could not let go. If one person fell, then everyone would die together.

The barrier of light gathered from everyone’s power to form intensely shook, and when the arrows hit, it let out a ear-piercing sound, then clattered to the ground, with the sound stretched like a great extensive performance. Each person’s face was as pale as snow, but their gazes were as sharp as knives.

The first wave of arrows.
Second wave of arrows.

……

By the end of the third wave of arrows, the formation could no longer be maintained, and suddenly shattered.

The air still had ten few arrows flying over. Liu Wu Yan sternly shouted then soared up, and the sword technique of the Song over Cloud’s Liu family was used from the curved blade in her hands, vast like flowing clouds overturning. The sharp arrows made from refined iron were all cut in half by her, falling down from midair with a twinkling sound.

However, the sound of the crossbow still transmitted in the rain.

The well-practised soldiers once again loaded the strings, and once again aimed at everyone at the execution grounds.

As Liu Wu Yan fell down from midair, Clear-hearted Monk reached out to grab her. With a sudden clattering sound, the curved blade in her hands submerged into the ground, and she propped on the blade, half-kneeling on the blood-stained, rain-filled icy floor.

The final shower of arrows was about to come, but they already had no power to take it on. When the formation was broken, each of them received serious injuries. They stood there all pale-faced- there were a few Bank disciples whose cultivation was comparatively weak who, at the time the formation broke, already fell and died. They stood there on the floor of arrows, rain, blood, and corpses.

In this final moment, they reached out, and mutually pulled each other to stand up.

Staggering, these seriously-injured young immortal sect disciples, lifted up the blades in their hands.

The rain of arrows fell.

◈◈◈

“Something like surrounding people and beating them up, even a blind person can’t look on.”

The anticipated death did not come.

Time seemed like it suddenly stopped. The speed in which the rain from the skies fell down with also slowed down, while arrow after arrow created from refined iron stalled in the air, as though they suddenly sunk into a swamp, and their speed turned from fast to slow, then suspended in the air in the end with a fair distance from everyone.

An aged, and somewhat improper voice resounded.

Sitting above the high platform, the man wearing the gold mask finally lifted his head up.

tap, tap.

The sound of a cane knocking on the ground resonated, and the curtain of rain was like it was lifted open by a pair of formless hands. An elderly man with closed eyes slowly walked over. From his appearance and clothing, he was like a plain and ordinary fortuneteller often found at the streets.

“Su Shi[1].”
The man on the platform wearing the gold mask lightly spoke up, his tone carried a sliver of complication, faint reminiscence.
“Someone from the Su family.”

The old bat waved his hand, and the arrows suspended in the air clattered to the ground. He walked over to the execution grounds step by step, and as he approached, the soldiers donned in heavy armour went on guard. The prefectural executive on the platform slightly narrowed his eyes, then waved his hands, and the soldiers in front of the old bat separated to the side, opening a path for him.

“Old mister……”

Clear-hearted Monk pulled Liu Wu Yan up, and slightly froze looking at the old bat making his way up the platform.

At the time he and Liao Qian was saved by the old bat, Clear-hearted Monk knew this fortuneteller was actually not simple. However, normally, the old bat was truthfully improper- no matter how one looked, they did not seem like some very amazing person. So when he really saw the old bat coming out from the rain and making a move, he could not help but have an unrealistic feeling.

“Who is he?”
Liu Wu Yan heard Clear-hearted Monk’s voice, and asked.

Clear-hearted Monk slightly shook his head, the old bat’s origins were mysterious, nor could he see [his origins]. That move of the old bat’s just now stopping the tens of thousands of arrows was similarly not any of the styles among the Eight Immortal Sects.

“In these years, the young brats are more and more disobedient than the next.”
The old bat shook his head, and lamented.
“You brat sure ran fast enough. Before this bat even reacted, you already ran, and in the end, I could only block off that other stinky brat.”

Clear-hearted Monk paused. He realized something from the old bat’s words- he came to save Liu Wu Yan out of selfish motives, he did not want Liu Wu Yan to die like this. He did not do it for the sects, nor did he do it for the bigger picture, he only came here for the woman he liked, so he did not want to burden anyone else, and left by himself without telling Liao Qian. However, from the old bat’s words, Liao Qian also wanted to come save Liu Wu Yan, except, he had been block off by the old bat.

He opened his mouth, and wanted to say something, yet did not know what to say.

But the old bat no longer looked at him.

The old bat lifted his head up and looked at the man sitting at the platform with a gold mask and a black cloak, “I have gouged my eyes, and returned it to the Su family. I already have no face to say I am someone from the Su family. I haven’t fought with anyone for a very long time already, but today, no matter how it is said, I cannot let these little brats die like this, so while your Lordship is a senior, I cannot help but offend you.”

His tone was very casual.

Clear-hearted Monk slightly moved.

Su family, Su family.

The Valley Master of Tian Ji Valley was typically of the surname Su. The old bat said he gouged his eyes and returned it to the Su family, then could it be that he was once someone from Tian Ji Valley?

The one called senior by a former Eighteen Clans’ descendant…… as for what identity the golden-masked man bore, Clear-hearted Monk faintly had a guess.

One of the Eighteen Clans sealed in the era of Chaos, a person who lost control and became a “demon”.

The old bat said things quite politely, but when he moved, it was not as appropriate and courteous as his mouth. Long when he spoke, the rain falling from the skies silently quickened, and the space appeared with layers of ripple-like warping fluctuations. The silents attacks, at the time he opened his mouth, already spread open.

And at the same time, on the execution grounds, the speed of the rain falling around Liu Wu Yan and them instead returned to its original state.

“Su Jin. You are Su Jin.”

When the surrounding rain slowed, the prefectural executive on the platform suddenly opened his mouth. His voice carried surprise, like he could not understand why this person would appear here.

Su Jin.

When this name was said out loud, the old bat’s body slightly paused for a moment.

“After this long of a time, I didn’t think that there would actually still be someone who remembered this bat’s name. But I am no longer of the surname Su.”
He started laughing, and the cane in his hands, within a crisp sound, was drawn out by him.

That was not an ordinary cane- it was a disguised sword, a very rarely seen sword. The sword’s body was specially narrow and fine, and seeping with a very uncomfortable flowing light. The feeling it gave was like it was not a sword, but some venomous snake’s fang.

When he drew the sword out, the feeling he gave people changed in an instant.

He turned extremely dangerous in an instant.

When the old bat drew the sword from the cane, the person wearing the gold mask on the platform also moved. His figure was just like a ghost. The old bat’s “Su Shi” influenced the time and space in his surroundings, so when he moved, it was like he was crossing through a stretch of stagnant water, but that invisible strength was not able to stop his movements.

And yet, he did not make a move first towards the old bat, but instead reached out and bent his fingers into a claw, and distantly grabbed in the air towards the place Liu Wu Yan and others were standing at.

“So we’ve been discovered.”
The old bat laughed without a care, and struck out the sword.

His power flooded the entire execution grounds, so the strike of light also warped in this kind of twisted space, and swam like a snake, blocking that claw from the gold-masked man.

“But it’s too late.”

When both parties’ strength collided in the air, the surrounding space seemed to break apart like a mirror.

Just like the mirror that had shattered, the image of Liu Wu Yan and the others on the execution grounds shattered apart, and the place where everyone originally stood was left with a barren earth.

—— Turns out the attack the old bat made at the platform was only a feint. his true goal was to take away Liu Wu Yan and the others from the heavy encirclement of the execution grounds.

However, his little trick looked to not have deceived someone from the era of Chaos’ Eighteen Clans. Though it was not known which surname the other person was from, but they were apparently very familiar with the Su family’s strength.

After the mirrored image shattered, Liu Wu Yan and others’ figures appeared at the open streets the old bat originally stood at. The old bat may have blocked off the gold-masked person’s attack, but it was due to this, that he was unable to sent them too far out.

The other person stood still in the execution grounds, and did not continue attacking Liu Wu Yan and the others.

Liu Wu Yan and others’ purpose was originally to be fish bait- right now, the fish bait’s purpose was already fulfilled, so the fish bait itself, in their eyes, was no longer important anymore.
[1] 溯时- to go upstream time.

Chapter 204

The old bat lightly tapped with the sword, and the space in the execution grounds once again turned into the warping and chaos of the surface of a lake. When rain fell down, there were mercury-like ripples spreading out layer by layer. At some time ago, the gold mask’s hand also held a pitch-black long blade.

His arm shook, and the black blade flatly struck out.

Just like dense ink dripping onto the surface of water, the thick, dense black aura quietly spread out around the execution grounds, infiltrating the entire stretch of space originally controlled by the old bat’s power.

When his blade slid out, the places it went through seemed like it shattered piece by piece, and the world returned to reality.

The old bat humphed, and when the inky blade drew close, the sword in his hands once again tapped the ground, and in the next moment, his figure turned like a leaf, weightlessly flying towards the back, and avoided the inky blade at the most critical moment.

He stood at the edge of the execution grounds like he was nothing, and at this time, the eaves all around suddenly appeared with ten or so figures. At some time unknown, other similarly mask-wearing people wearing black cloaks silently appeared in the surroundings, and faintly formed an encirclement.

The aura on these people who appeared was obviously unlike those soldiers donned in armour- they were much more like the gold-masked man.

On the surface, the old bat did not change expressions, and was still of a sloven and improper appearance, but inside, his heart slightly froze: The “demons” released and in cooperation with the dynasties were more than he imagined.

Liu Wu Yan and the others who were sent away by the old bat from the execution grounds and were standing at the streets at this time, turned cold inside.

Their strength could not be compared with the old bat and the gold mask, but after all, as immortal cultivators, they were still able to see an approximate difference in strength. Though the old bat was incredible, in front of that gold mask who was one of the very first Eighteen Clans from the era of Chaos, he was still at a disadvantage. One gold mask, the old bat could still go against, but now that there were these other people, the old bat would probably……

“Hey, since you guys have already been discovered, don’t hide any longer, it’s no use hiding anyways. Aren’t you guys going to hurry up and help me?”
The old bat being surrounded was composed and unhurried. The tip of the sword in his hands pointed to the ground, then he cleared his throat, and called out.

The gold mask no longer chased him, and the narrow pitch-black blade hung down, and the tip directly pointed to the ground.

The people around the eaves wearing masks did not move either. Only a faint, black fog suffused from their sides, forming into a enveloping round net.

This was certainly a hunt. Now that the hunting parties finally all entered the scene, the true main character was not Liu Wu Yan, nor was it Clear-hearted Monk.

Following the old bat’s words, a cold laugh resounded, and Liu Wu Yan and the others turned to look- there were a few figures walking out from the rain. The one in front was a woman dressed in Jiu Xuan Sect’s Taoist robes, tied with a simple and experienced black ponytail. Her expression was cold and grave, carrying a longsword wrapped in fabric on her back.

Jiu Xuan Sect’s Xuan Shuang Peak Peak Master, Bai Yuan Xiu.

Bai Yuan Xiu had another four people behind her, moving in pairs.

As for the two people in front, the left one’s head was bald, draped in a cassock fully embellished with spiritual beads, with one hand twirling Buddhist beads and the other hand upright, a monk that looked to be very benevolent. The other was dressed in a fire-red and bright long dress, with their hand pressed on the hilt of a long sabre hung on their waist, the corners of their eyes a red colour, and their charming features carrying a fierce and swift manner. The woman frowned with a beautiful face, and looked a bit malicious.

“Uncle.”
“Master.”

Liu Wu Yan and Clear-hearted Monk pretty much opened their mouths at the same time.

The chubby monk was one of the eighteen elders of Fan Yin Pavilion, Grandmaster Pu Du[1], and also Clear-hearted Monk’s Uncle. The red-dressed and long sabre woman was Liu Wu Yan’s master, He Huan Sect’s head elder, Ye Gui[2].

“Amitabha, Amitabha, very well, very well.” Grandmaster Pu Du rotated the beads, then looked towards Clear-hearted Monk, shook his head, and extremely hurtfully opened his mouth, “If you are to break vows, then let it be so, it is not like no one from my Fan Yin Pavilion had ever broken their vows. However, of all the people, how could you have come to like He Huan Sect’s little lady, this makes Uncle me unable to plead for you even in front of the abbot.”

His regretful tone seemed to be so hurt that they could not help but thump their chest and stamp their feet[3].

Clear-hearted Monk’s face that was originally pale due to being seriously injured seeped with a faint blood colour, and he lowered his head speechlessly.

It was apparent that Grandmaster Pu Du had come more than a while ago- the appearance of him rushing up the execution grounds to save Liu Wu Yan was probably all witnessed by Uncle.

As a Buddhist, he should not have any secular desires, and should not like any woman- don’t even mention him staining the disciplinary knife for this, completely and thoroughly violating Fan Yin Pavilion’s taboos.

“Pei.” Just as Grandmaster Pu Du opened his mouth, Ye Gui who had a frown mercilessly spat out, and coldly laughed, “A shitty baldy dares to dislike someone from our He Huan Sect’? Wu Yan, don’t blame Master for not warning you, if you dare have anything with this shitty baldy from Fan Yin Pavilion, Master’s going to break your legs when we get back.”

“Master.”
Liu Wu Yan called out with a hoarse voice once again.

The corners of her eyes slightly reddened.

He Huan Sect was very far from Qi Qin dynasty, and there was also a Jin Tang obstructing in between them. Liu Wu Yan did not think that Master would appear here at all. She thought she was strong enough, and already was not that little girl back then who needed Big Brother to protect, however, when she saw Master frown with a familiar face walking out from the rain, a strange feeling of being wronged floated up.

The words Ye Gui originally wanted to say were swallowed back.

The always fierce and thunder-swift, resolute and strong disciple stood in the rain stained with blood all dishevelled, looking at her with pursed lips, and the rims of her eyes slightly red, hoarsely calling out Master. Other than this, nothing else was said.

Her heart softened in an instant.

“Silly girl.”
Ye Gui softly scolded. When she walked over to Liu Wu Yan’s side, she reached out and stroked her messy and blood-stained hair.

Silly girl, where in this world would there be a master who did not care for their disciple dearly?

Where in this world would there be a master who knew their disciple was going to die, yet would not go to save them?

This kind of master, what kind of master were they?

Ye Gui remembered the look of Liu Wu Yan back when she just arrived at He Huan Sect. The fatigued-looking girl stood in the big hall, and calmly said that she knew the secret of how Jin Tang was trying to oppose the immortal sects, and that she wanted to make a deal with He Huang Sect. She would give the list of names from the Heaven’s Net to He Huan Sect, and as the condition, she wanted to enter He Huan Sect- they had to make her strong.

“I can work for He Huan Sect.”

The girl who travelled long ways stood with her back straight, while the expression on her face was icy and fierce. When she was talking about herself, the tone was not like she was talking about herself, but more like she was talking about an unimportant thing.

At that time, Ye Gui was carrying her sabre leaning against a wall, and when she heard her voice, she turned to look at her.

The bottom of the eyes of the little girl who claimed herself to be detached and arrogant was that lost and hopeless, forcefully retaining that last bit of pride, like a child who had no home to return to thought she was abandoned by the world- they looked to be that strong, but in fact, was that frail.

Quite dumb.
Ye Gui thought.

He Huan Sect’s elders were still discussing through voice transmission- He Huan Sect was not far from Jin Tang dynasty, these years, they certainly also felt the abnormality in Jin Tang. However Cang Pu’s borders were not that peaceful either, thus, all this time, He Huan Sect did not interfere much with the things inside Jin Tang’s borders. In addition, the Eight Immortal Sects themselves also had their own tacitly recognized territories. Just like how the Nine Provinces Private Bank’s influence was mainly concentrated in Qi Qin dynasty, Jin Tang dynasty was considered Jiu Xuan Sect’s territory, so it was not good for them to meddle that much.

Hence, in truth, the news that Liu Wu Yan brought was a bit hard to handle for He Huan Sect.

The elders did not all agree for the sect’s disciples to join He Huan Sect for this kind of reasoning.

Just when elders were arguing over transmission, Ye Gui turned her head to look at the obstinate girl, then suddenly laughed out loud, stood up lazily, and walked over.

“Okay, then, you are my disciple from now on, let’s hear a Master?”
She pressed the handle of the sabre on her waist with one hand, and lifted her eyebrows while nonchalantly laughing.

The girl lifted her head up to look at her, with her gaze a bit at a loss, “…… Master.”

“Silly girl.”
Ye Gui laughed, and stroked her hair.

Silly girl, if I take you in as a disciple, then it is only that, it is not some deal to be made.

A fragmented list of names was not enough to make He Huan Sect’s head elder take in a newly-entered disciple. Though He Huan Sect was not like Jiu Xuan Sect, the number one of the Eight Immortal Sects, they were not reduced to the point they would bully a small lady.

“Silly girl.”
Ye Gui lightly scolded, then took back her hand and no longer looked at Liu Wu Yan. She pressed on her sabre’s hilt, and gracefully[4] walked towards that man wearing the gold mask.

Though her disciple was a bit dumb, and seemed to even have a bit of a relationship with one of Fan Yin Pavilion’s baldies, but no matter what, that was still her disciple. If one’s disciple was bullied, then as Master, one must always bring the fight back, no?

An elegant long sabre embellished with gold flowers came out its sheath, and directly pointed to the person apathetically standing at the execution grounds.

“Hey, the one hiding there, give a name?”
She casually laughed.

The final two people behind Bai Yuan Xiu who also walked out from the curtain of rain, were the two elders from the Nine Provinces Private Bank leading the Bank’s hiders by the merchant city, He Wu Yin and Xie Gui Ting.

When seeing the familiar Bank elders, the Bank’s disciples called out Elder in succession.

They certainly hoped that the elders would not come save them, but when the elders appeared, the bitterness and excitement could no longer be held back.

He Wu Yin and Xie Gui Ting nodded their heads to the disciples. They were not like Ye Gui, walking forward, but instead stood in front of everyone, and stopped there, obvious that they planned on protecting these seriously-injured disciples.

Several days before, when He Wu Yin and Xie Gui Ting were arguing whether or not to come rescue the disciples who were to be beheaded, the defence formation set over this hiding place was stirred.

“Who?”
He Wu Yin and Xie Gui Ting stopped arguing, and opened their mouths on alert, making preparations to fight at the same time.

Two figures walked out from the formation, and their bodies carried fluctuations from being spatially transported.

“Jiu Xuan Sect, Bai Yuan Xiu, here on the orders of Sect Leader Bai Li.”
“Jiu Xuan Sect, Qin Song, here on the orders of Sect Leader Bai Li.”

The people walking out the formation said.

He Wu Yin and Xie Gui Ting slightly froze- Sect Leader Bai Li? Wasn’t Jiu Xuan Sect’s sect leader Yi He Ping? However, they did recognize the people walking out from the formation.

[1] 普度- in Buddhist terms, to release souls from purgatory, and or save them from it.
[2] 叶癸- gui, for the last(10th) of the Heavenly stems.
[3] 捶胸顿足- to be in great (emotional) pain, or regret.
[4] 袅娜- to mean willowy. See Liu Wu Yan’s name for association between femininity and willows.

Chapter 205

There already a period of time in which Jiu Xuan Sect’s sect leader had been changed, but the elders and disciples who were left after the Bank was destroyed were in a state of hiding, and due to Jin Tang dynasty and South Chen dynasty’s blockade, the news was extremely delayed.

It was when Bai Yuan Xiu and Elder Qin came, that they then knew of this news.

An extremely young disciple succeeded the immortal sects’ number one sect’s sect leader- when they just heard this news, He Wu Yin and Xie Gui Ting froze for an instant. However, Bai Yuan Xiu and Elder Qin who spoke of this matter were extremely calm, as though from how they looked at it, this was a very logical matter.

He Wu Yin and Xie Gui Ting were of the same generation as Elder Qin, starting from when they knew each other, they clearly understood what kind of person Elder Qin was.

A bastard so arrogant it made people anxious to beat him up.

Even Elder Qin was calmly accepting this matter like so. He Yu Win and Xie Gui Ting, after a temporary loss, very quickly surmised the reason. That eldest disciple brother of Jiu Xuan Sect—— now the new sect leader—— his surname was Bai Li. The Bai Li clan of the Eighteen Clans that guarded over Heaven’s tomb.

Simply being a descendant of the Bai Li clan was not enough for him to succeed the position of sect leader at this kind of time, then the final answer, that answer that made people not dare to believe, was very apparent.

“It’s him.”
He Wu Yin suddenly realized.

The Nine Provinces Private Bank was not considered the forefront of power among the Eight Immortal Sects, but as the Bank was mainly in business, they were the most informed. As top-level elders of the Bank, He Wu Yin and Xie Gui Ting knew back then, Jiu Xuan Sect and Tian Ji Valley once secretly sought for some person, only, no matter if it was Tian Ji Valley or Jiu Xuan Sect, their movements were extremely concealed- the Bank had investigated before, but was never able to make it clear.

And later on, Jiu Xuan Sect suddenly had an extra extremely young eldest disciple brother.

Bai Li Shu.

Back then when they heard this name, Bai Li Shu, they only guessed that they were a descendant of the Bai Li clan.

Now that they were looking at it, the other party was not as simple as being a descendant of the Bai Li clan.

“Is it…… that person?” Xie Gui Ting similarly recalled that figure that repeatedly appeared in the era of Chaos and Ten Thousand Immortals’ ruins, paused, then lightly asked.

Bai Yuan Xiu nodded her head.

Xie Gui Ting and He Wu Yin lightly took in a breath, and their expressions turned serious.

A mission needing two peaks’ peak masters together to secretly sneak into the Nine Provinces Private Bank was definitely not a normal mission. Bai Yuan Xiu and Elder Qin brought a secret letter personally written by the new sect leader Bai Li Shu, and after He Wu Yin respectfully received and read it, their face let out an astonished expression, “Heavenly pillar…… how could it be?!”

“Whether it could or could not, isn’t it already clear for you people who stayed in Qi Qin dynasty?”
Bai Yuan Xiu calmly said.

He Wu Yin and Xie Gui Ting’s faces turned extremely unsightly.

Bai Yuan Xiu’s words pinpointed the matter they were most worried about, and all this time, they subconsciously avoided this possibility too. Yet, long when Qi Qin dynasty’s spiritual energy turned chaotic, they already realized something.

Merely relying on the Mountain Rivers Scroll could not create things to this extent.

Or perhaps it should be said- merely with the dynasties’ power, one could not rely on the Mountain Rivers Scroll to do this.

The thing called spiritual energy by immortal cultivators, was actually the remnants of the era of Chaos’ ancient emperors’ power- be it the Eighteen Clans or the immortal cultivators, they were all people who seized power. Their strength originated from the ancient existences of the era of Chaos, from those existences called ancient emperors. And after the ancient emperors perished, the existing spiritual energy in the heavens and the earth gradually decayed along with the flow of time. Hence, the sects needed to continuously grow ling zhi to maintain the presence of spiritual energy in the world.

This is why the Eighteen Clans of Old in the era of Chaos needed to use all their power to make the ancient emperors fall.

A mere remnant of power flooding the heavens and earth was able to support the current immortal cultivators’ world, then, how strong would the ancient emperors from tens of thousands of years ago be?

Those were the world’s rulers, true god-like existences- they were lofty and superior, and in their eyes, all the living things were only just mole crickets. Their one single thought would turn the whole world upside down and create barren fields extending thousands of miles, and people, in front of the ancient emperors’ might, could only grovel forward. Like how a person would carelessly step on an ant, one single order from an ancient emperor would destroy a tribe, and to existences like them, they did not need to pay heed to it at all.

People living in that kind of period, as long their hearts bore anger, they would definitely stand up and oppose the ancient emperors.

If, in this world, there was some existence able to change the spiritual energy in the heavens and earth.

It can only be related to the ancient emperors.

And able to change an entire dynasty’s territory’s spiritual energy, though this kind of change was slow, this kind of power was apparently not something mortals—— or even immortal cultivators, should have.

There was only one possibility.

Qi Qin dynasty borrowed that…… most archaic, most terrifying existence’s power.

An ancient emperor.

He Wu Yin and Xie Gui Ting were similarly descendants of the Eighteen Clans of Old, so they clearly knew that the ancient emperors all certainly fell in the era of Ten Thousand Immortals. However, in the destruction of a level of existence that was an ancient emperor, their deaths did not represent everything- the space of the remaining burial grounds, was convincing proof of it. Furthermore, the records regarding the era of Ten Thousand Immortals’ severance was always vague and obscure, and at the same time the final three emperors perished, the Eighteen Clans of Old also welcomed in decline.

All the records regarding the final three ancient emperors’ falls, were all obscure and vague.

Throughout this entire time, the descendants of the Eighteen Clans stayed alert in regards to this.

The things happening in Qi Qin dynasty’s borders, was a testimony to that worst hypothesis.

Though the last three ancient emperors may have fallen, there was a strong possibility, they still left means to come back.

Furthermore, on the bodies of the dynasty’s soldiers, and inside the already transformed Qing Ming tower, they felt that aura that made people uneasy, that invisible pressure.

“Just us?” Xie Gui Ting quickly calmed down, then asked.

“No.” Bai Yuan Xiu simply replied, “He Huan Sect and Fan Yin Pavilion have also come.”

“It is already the time to put [our] differences down and join together.”
Bai Yuan Xiu said, with a span of iciness within her pupils.

◈◈◈

The inky blade in the gold mask’s hands disintegrated and transformed into countless black butterflies. The rain between the heavens and earth stopped at some time, but the skies were already a gloomy colour, and this area was long shrouded by a dense black fog.

Bai Yuan Xiu held her sword and stood at the southeast corner, with tens of thousands of icy shadows of swords coiled at her side. The long sabre in Ye Gui’s hands hovered with doubles of scarlet-red fire, while her face emerged with either dense or faint bright-red patterns- when one looked, it did not seem pretty or charming, but rather, it was filled with an unspeakable fierceness and malevolence. That string of Buddhist beads held in Grandmaster Pu Du’s hands before suspended by his side at this time, and each bead was emitting a glorious and upright glow.

The three each took up one spot, and the person wearing the gold mask was surrounded in the middle by them.

The sword in the old bat’s hands was once again put back in the cane, and he hunched his back standing in a place farther out than the three, while his old shabby clothes were blown into loudly fluttering by the strong currents.

On the other side, those people wearing masks and black cloaks spread outside the formation Bai Yuan Xiu and the other two created- this level of battle was long already something normal soldiers could not participate in, hence, long when the battle started, the soldiers originally stationed around the execution grounds dispersed. Bai Yuan Xiu and others did not stop this either.

—— Their opponents were these demons that stepped out from their seals, not those soldiers.

Not long after both sides started moving, the houses in this space already turned into dust beneath the collision of strength.

After truly exchanging blows, no matter if it was Bai Yuan Xiu and them, or the people wearing masks, they were all slightly surprised inside- the other party’s strength was far much more stronger than they imagined.

And after the both sides started fighting, two elders of the Private Bank, He Wu Yin sacrificed a scroll of a river map, while Xie Gui Ting opened up the transportation scroll Bai Yuan Xiu gave to them, and forcefully transported Liu Wu Yan and the others away.

Someone wanted to stop this transmission, but Ye Gui shouldered the one strike from the gold mask, and stopped them.

At this time, the shambles only remained with everyone at a stalemate.

“Not right……”
Numerous black butterflies gathered by the gold mask’s side, congealing into an inky blade’s appearance. He gripped the handle, and his gaze slowly swept by the three elders who were already injured.
“Your goal is not only this——”

When the final word was said, the gold mask’s figure quickly disappeared from the encirclement the three people formed, and appeared in the skies- he turned around, then struck towards the direction of the Qing Ming tower in the center of the city without any hesitation.

“Not that stupid, huh……”
Ye Gui started laughing.
“But it’s too late already——”

She shouted loudly, and the fire-red long dress unfolded with a rainbow-like colour in the air, then, she rushed straight up, and went from single-handedly holding the sabre to wielding it with both hands.

Liu Wu Yan’s sabre technique was learned from Ye Gui, however, compared to Ye Gui’s, her technique was obviously immature. They were similarly fire, but if one said Liu Wu Yan’s sabre was a city-blazing fire, then Ye Gui’s was a fire that made the heavens and earth burn up.

The sound of wind and the air was pretty much dragged in and burned up

White fog swept up, and rainwater in this area completely steamed clean within this instant, while the floor turned boiling hot, as though it never rained at all. That extreme temperature made this place turn into a furnace. As the long sabre in Ye Gui’s hands turned brighter and brighter, that extreme flame gathered in her hands, that by the end, her figure was like a highly rising sun.

The gloomy and dim skies suddenly brightened up.

This entire space had ignited because of her.

The instant she soared up, the masked people at the outer circle immediately moved together.

They wanted to stop her.

Ye Gui did not turn her head back, as though she completely did not know of their movements.

Bai Yuan Xiu, Grandmaster Pu Du, and the old bat also moved at the same time- their goal was clearly to block those people and guarantee that Ye Gui’s strike would successfully land.

Sunset · Scarlet Strike.

This was a strike that made Ye Gui famous.

When the gold mask made that hit, her strike also landed.

Chapter 206

That strike was like the sun falling down- her strike was slower than the gold mask’s, but the light caught up to the inky blade in the end. The sky several hundred zhang out instantly turned into a resplendent gold-red colour, like the air space was melted by the scorching sun after being burned. The trajectory of the falling sun was so magnanimous it made people tremble.

The black and heavy ink-like blade aura melted in the sun’s brilliance, and from the execution grounds to the Qing Ming tower, this gap that stretched for almost one-fourth of the city, a scorching fire burned up.

At the same time that one strike of Ye Gui’s shattered the gold mask’s strike of light, the places it passed through burned with a blazing and big fire.

That intense of a fire, like it was to sweep all the frosty airs brought by this big rain clean.

Ye Gui’s figure fell down, and the sabre in her hands shattered inch by inch. She half-knelt in the shambles, and lifted her head up to reveal a ridiculing smile.

Bai Yuan Xiu, Grandmaster Pu Du and the old bat closely followed to the side of Ye Gui whose long sabre was shattered, and protected her in the middle.

“Too late.”
Blood slid out from the corners of Ye Gui’s lips, and she let out a big laugh.

That one strike just now used up all her power- at the same time of she wounded the gold mask, she also hurt herself. At this time, her muscles and vessels pretty much dried up. She acted like she did not feel it at all, and staggered while standing up, brushing away the hands Grandmaster Pu Du reached out with to pull her up.

The black butterflies by the gold mask’s side gathered once again, but this time, their speed was obviously much slower than before. His figure staggered for a bit in midair- that one strike of Ye Gui’s just now made him receive quite big injuries. His figure dropped down, and fell atop a comparatively tall ruins of a house. He did not say anything, and looked in the direction of the Qing Ming tower with his aura slightly sunken.

The other masked people no longer moved.

Including Bai Yuan Xiu and them, everyone looked in the direction of the Qing Ming tower.

The ninety-nine-floored towering Qing Ming tower was collapsing and falling story by story right now, and the pitch-black stone fell down in big pieces from the air. The lofty Qing Ming tower that stood from one era to the next, as though it would never perish, was currently collapsing. After each giant stone crumbled, it would heavily smash onto the ground from the high skies several hundred zhang up, and rumbled and echoed, like a series of muffled thunder.

This was a scene that made people speechless.

No matter if the kind of feelings people had towards this Qing Ming tower that symbolized many things was of reverence or complete hate in the past, when they personally witnessed this lofty tall tower crashing down in front of them, that shock still made each person could not help but hold in their breath, and fall into silence.

boom, boom, boom.

The stone of the Qing Ming tower itself was extremely peculiar, and extremely hard- a giant rock this hard plus the strength of falling from a high altitude, when it made contact with the ground, pretty much made it shake. That molten gold-like colour originally shrouded over the Qing Ming tower’s body also peeled off, like the revived object once again had its lustre stripped away by time.

The Qing Ming tower collapsed floor by floor, but the starlight originally accumulated in the middle of the tower did not disperse. As each floor of the black tower crashed down, the light pillar formed from the coiling light of the stars gradually appeared in everyone’s eyes. The pillar of stars that managed to form after who-knows-how-many days and months was enveloped with an almost unrealistic dreamy light, like tens of thousands of galaxies were gathered within, and at this time and moment, those galaxies were rotating.

The gold mask blankly stood in the ruins, watching all of this.

Of those on the scene, no one’s feelings were more complicated than his.

He once personally watched this tall tower getting constructed, once walked on top of this tall tower, once heard that person say this represented people’s new authority, and that the era of the ancient emperor will no longer return. That person stood at the highest floor, and lightly said, we will succeed, this land belongs to us. And in the very, very long period of time after that, he walked out from the tower along with people in the family shoulder to shoulder, off to go carry out various missions.

In the very long time of being sealed, he would wake up countless times from the muddiness, and he would always be thinking.

Didn’t this land, belong to them?
Didn’t it belong to all the people who shed blood for it?

After walking out from the seal, and seeing that pitch-black tower erected on the vast lands once again, complicated feelings boiled inside. He would stand beneath the tower all alone from dawn to dusk, yet not know what he was thinking about.

In his eyes, pieces and pieces of the giant rock crumbled and fell. He vacantly stood there, and in an instant, did not know if everything was real or false.

At the same time the Qing Ming tower collapsed, a very thin figure dressed in black robes flew up from the falling rocks.

In front of those enormous rocks, that figure was very minute.

When that figure appeared, Bai Yuan Xiu suddenly yelled sternly, “Old bat!”

The old bat did not respond, instead, the cane in his hands pointed the ground, and the entire being lightly flew up, then disappeared in his original spot- he seemed to directly cross through space, and the places he passed by rose with layers of ripples. In an instant, his figure already flew out very far, and got close to the collapsing Qing Ming tower. In a flurry, the gold mask suddenly woke up, and just when he was about to block the old bat, Bai Yuan Xiu’s sword cut out like a long rainbow.

At the same time, Grandmaster Pu Du hurriedly recited a verbose and archaic scripture from his mouth, while the Buddhist beads whose light already retreated and hovered by his side erupted with an even more intense radiance. A vast light spread out, and various praises of Buddha overlapped in resonance. Grandmaster Pu Du’s hands’ beads were not mere ordinary spiritual tools- those were Buddhist beads that underwent many years of extols and praises within Fan Yin’s main pavilion, passing through countless Buddhists’ hands and pretty much gathering all the Buddhas’ efforts and praising since Fan Yin Pavilion was established.

When it completely activated, Fan Yin Pavilion’s power finally revealed itself.

In the air, big spotless lotuses opened up, with its petals not even stained in the slightest, slowly spinning, while drops of dew fell from the petals, like nectar in troubled times rinsing away this filthy world.

One by one, pagodas rose up, and an auspicious glow shot out from the glazed pagodas. In an instant, the entire space seemed to turn into the legendary Pure Land[1] with no misery or sorrow. Various praises of Buddha echoed about, affixing the other people who were about to turn to stop the old bat.

Grandmaster Pu Du’s chubby face turned pale-white. His eyes were tightly closed, hands put together, and the reciting turned more and more quicker.

On the other side, Bai Yuan Xiu firmly restrained the gold mask, gritting her teeth while fighting to the death.

The old bat’s cane pointed a total of seven times in the air, and his figure separately appeared seven times in the air.

After seven times, he already reached the front of the crumbling Qing Ming tower. That figure draped in black robes flying out from the giant rocks was Jiu Xuan Sect’s Elder Qin. Elder Qin’s facial colour was similarly extremely unsightly, his aura was not that stable, and when he saw the old bat rush to him, his wrist shook, and tossed an object over to him.

The old bat soared high into the air and grabbed it, and caught the item Elder Qin flung over.

That was a heavy bronze tablet- even with the old bat’s cultivation, the instant he grasped it, his figure slightly sunk down.

The surface of the bronze tablet was a relieved engraving of a pair of eyes.

That was an extremely strange pair of eyes. It seemed like it was alive, but it did not seem like eyes a human was able to possess. That pair of eyes did not have a lustre of a human’s, and in its stead, was a type of extremely cold, extremely indifferent colour, as though…… as though it was a pair of Heaven’s eyes, indifferently observing the prostrating and struggling life on the vast lands.

When the old bat caught the bronze tablet, he genuinely shivered.

“If you can’t, I’ll do it.”
Elder Qin held up that dim blade of his and avoided a giant rock heavily falling down, and opened up with a very stiff tone.

The old bat spat out, and scolded bluntly, “Do it my ass! Get out of here!”

When he finished, he held the engraving inscribed with the eyes in one hand, while the other held the cane. The cane pointed to the front, right on top of a falling giant rock, and his figure was suddenly pulled up. The giant rock falling down brought up a strong current of air, blowing his white hair into a mess, the old and worn clothes fluttered loudly.

In the air, the sword in the cane was drawn out, and a frosty light flashed by.

The old bat took in one deep breath, and in the next moment, he roared, and the bronze tablet in his hands was tossed up. At the same time it was tossed up, the sword in the cane was also lifted as well, and slashed through his already blinded eyes without any hesitation.

Blood spurted out from a fine line, and precisely fell onto the bronze tablet that was tossed to his front.

Neither inclining to either side, falling onto that pair of relieved eyes.

When this fine line of blood flew out, the old bat’s entire vigour instantly withered, like his life was completely taken away in one moment.

And in the instant the blood seeped into the bronze tablet, the bronze tablet suddenly turned into powder, and that pair of eyes broke away from the bronze tablet, and used a manner that made people’s hairs stand to “grow” onto the old bat’s face. In the moment that pair of “eyes” grew out, the old bat let out a shrill sound, as though he experienced a kind of tremendous pain even he almost could not bear in that moment.

Elder Qin originally withdrew a certain distance, but at this time, his figure paused and was about to turn back.

“Go away—— I said go away——”

The old bat seemed to have seen Elder Qin’s movements. He hysterically roared, with dripping blood sliding out from his eye sockets- that old face of his twisted and knotted at this time, and congested with a horrifying red colour.

And at this time, above the skies, a part of the heavy layer of clouds suddenly dispersed.

Not, it was not that the layer of clouds dispersed.

But that the overlaying clouds were pushed apart, and the sky’s light, an indescribable light, cast down from that opening—— perhaps it should be called a gaze. A scene that made all the people get goosebumps all over their body emerged——

Above the skies, appeared with a pair of eyes.

A pair of cold, apathetic eyes appeared in the clouds.

Heaven had eyes, for Heaven had eyes- at this moment, the heavens really opened its eyes in the skies. In this pair of eyes, all and everything seemed to be that minute, that worthless. Everything was like mole crickets.

When the eyes in the skies appeared, the old bat’s body intensely shook, and almost instantly, he turned into a blood human(?).

Right now, even if Elder Qin wanted to go help him, he had no way of going over there. The instant that pair of eyes appeared in the skies, the merchant city sunk into a death-like tranquility. Humans and beasts, all things with life, all the living things all shivered, unable to move even one bit. Mortals knelt to the ground, groveling and shaking. And even the gold-masked man and Elder Qin, Bai Yuan Xiu and them, at this time, were pressed down due to a terrifying pressure, and could only try to support themselves to not kneel down.

Unable to move at all.

The only one able to move, was the old bat who already turned into a bloodied person.

He turned his hand, and pierced the cane’s sword into his own chest, and that bit of hot blood in his heart flowed out along the sword’s body’s narrow blood reservoir, and the icy-cold body made him awake up a bit.

He tried to fly towards the Qing Ming tower that was collapsing faster and faster.

Using the most effort in his entire life, using the fastest speed he could in his entire life.

The fastest speed he had ever felt.

Elder Qin, at the time that pair of eyes appeared, already fell from midair. At this time, he was propped against his blade, standing on a giant rock that fell into the ground and had one half revealed, with a pale face. Grandmaster Pu Du’s beads scattered on the floor beside him, and Ye Gui who was originally seriously injured, already fainted over at this time.

Bai Yuan Xiu’s sword, just when she was blocking the gold mask, was already destroyed- the body of the sword was dim, and the remnant of the sword was pierced into the ground. Bai Yuan Xiu kept a firm gaze at the old bat’s figure slowly moving to the Qing Ming tower.

—— He must, he must reach it!

They used this much effort, put up this many people’s lives, all just for this thing that could not fail.

[1] one of many names referring to the land where none of the ‘five impurities/trials’ exist.

Chapter 207

The last of the winter snow already fell.

The mountain gates to Jiu Xuan Sect stood on top of the ranges that existed since the ancient times, with flying birds and clouds passing by here. Ever since Jiu Xuan Sect’s tower-guarding disciples retreated in droves from various areas of Jin Tang dynasty, everyone was able to feel that kind of nervous atmosphere of the arrow being triggered at any moment.

Along with the passage of time, the Jiu Xuan Sect disciples who managed to retreat turned less and less, their expressions turned more and more stern, and gradually, they started bringing back traces of blood. And not long ago, in the group led by Jun Wan Bai, Half-crazed Li, and Chu Zhi Yuan, everyone’s expressions were fatigued, bodies full of blood, carried that kind of ill and taut feeling unique after a long time of fighting.

Everyone knew, something was about to happen.

Jun Wan Bai’s group could already be called extremely dishevelled, but even more dishevelled than them, was the group that reached the gates led by two elders the Jiu Xuan Sect disciples did not recognize. Within this group, there were a few that Jiu Xuan Sect’s disciples recognized- that fatty not long ago that brought Zhou Wen An and the others’ caskets over to Jiu Xuan Sect, He Huan Sect’s eldest disciple sister, and Fan Yin Pavilion’s Clear-hearted Monk.

When they saw these seriously-injured disciples wearing the Nine Provinces Private Bank’s long robes, Jiu Xuan Sect’s disciples faintly understood just what happened to this group of people.

Soon after, there was an elder who came out and took this group inside. All the elders were in a hurry, all stern, so even though there were countless questions the disciples wanted to ask, they did not dare to open their mouths.

Xuan Shuang Peak.

“Eldest Sister.”

Bai Li slightly timidly greeted Jun Wan Bai who walked up the main peak with her swords. She was slightly jittery inside, like after a child who just completed an amazing task, and wanted to tell an adult to receive a praise. She wanted to tell Eldest Sister about the things she encountered not long ago when she followed Elder Qin to Qi Qin dynasty’s borders.

She was no longer that little girl who could only follow behind Senior, right now, she was able to help Senior.

“Sister Bai.” Jun Wan Bai stopped, and nodded her head towards Bai Li.

Bai Li saw that her expression was a bit weary, like she had some concerns inside.

The words Bai Li originally wanted to say made a turn in her mouth, then she asked, “Is there something, Senior?”

“Master…… is she here?”
Jun Wan Bai lifted her head up, looked at the familiar Xuan Shuang Peak, with her expression a bit absentminded, then asked in the end.

“Master went into isolation a few days ago.”

Bai Li knitted her eyebrows, she also had a few doubts, there was already a period of time where Bai Yuan Xiu did not appear in front of them. The explanation to the outside was that Bai Yuan Xiu was in isolation, but at this kind of time, how could Bai Yuan Xiu suddenly go into isolation. In the journey a few days ago to Qi Qin dynasty, the one leading the group was Elder Qin whom Jiu Xuan Sect said was isolating to the disciples all this time.

Bai Li faintly understood, there was a high possibility Bai Yuan Xiu just like Elder Qin, carrying out some very important secret mission.

“Is that so……”
Jun Wan Bai was about to say something.

“Wan Bai.”

Just when Jun Wan Bai was hesitating, a cold and stern voice resounded. Jun Wan Bai and Bai Li looked over to where the voice came from, and saw a Bai Yuan Xiu who was dressed no different from usual walking over to them.

Bai Yuan Xiu looked to be no different from usual, but Jun Wan Bai perceptively discovered Master’s complexion faintly had a sliver of haggardness within it. She seemed to use a lot of strength to suppress it, but that sliver of fatigue and haggardness still could not be hidden. Jun Wan Bai’s expression instantly turned stern.

Master got injured, and was injured quite badly.

With Bai Yuan Xiu’s cultivation, to use all her strength to suppress and yet still be found out by her, proved that her injuries were definitely not light.

Before Jun Wan Bai could ask anything, Bai Yuan Xiu already turned to look at Bai Li, “I have something to say with your senior sister, go practice your sword first.”

Her tone was calm, no different from usual.

Bai Li glanced at Eldest Sister, then again at Bai Yuan Xiu, and did not dare to go against Master’s wishes, and after responding, she left. The Luo Mei Courtyard in Xuan Shuan Peak was only left with Jun Wan Bai and Bai Yuan Xiu at once.

“Master, you’re hurt?”
Jun Wan Bai asked.

It was obvious that Bai Yuan Xiu did not want to say too much about it, and after saying it was just a small injury, she turned to asked Jun Wan Bai, “What is it?”

“I……” Jun Wan Bai bit down, and she reached out to slowly take off the pair of swords Bai Yuan Xiu initially gave to her from her waist, and held it to Bai Yuan Xiu with both hands, “Please…… take these back.”

The instant the swords were taken off, Jun Wan Bai felt empty inside. She lowered her eyes, and did not see what kind of expression Master was making.

Did Master know she was a seed? Did Master know the truth of the matter back then? What kind of decision would Master make?…… A string of questions pressed on Jun Wan Bai’s heart. Taking the initiative to speak with Master and saying everything out, was the thing she pondered over for a very, very, very long time, and finally decided to do. Except, all this time, the words just couldn’t come out.

She was actually an avoiding coward.

She was scared.

Scared that the Master who may be strict but actually cared for them, would no longer reprimand her for being overly impatient in practising sword techniques; scared that Bai Li and them would no longer use a trusting gaze to look at her; scared that after this, no one would call her “Senior” anymore; scared that she could no longer stay within Jiu Xuan Sect’s range of mountains.

“Reason.”
Bai Yuan Xiu’s voice was still that calm, but Jun Wan Bai hung her eyes down, and did not see what expression she had.

She went silent for a moment, and finally opened her mouth with a low voice. Once she opened her mouth, she discovered her voice was a bit dry.

“I am a seed.”

Once the most terrifying words came out, all that remained did not seem that hard anymore. Jun Wan Bai slowly blinked, and the astringency pressed on her heart strangely surged up, dragging everything out. Starting from those dreams from the very beginning, that “father-like” figure, to the nightmare she had in that journey to the secret territory, then in the end, awakening the ancient formation, to Senior turning around to face those ferocious black snakes, then her being sent out of the secret territory……

When she first started, the words were a bit difficult, but to the end, it was obviously not that difficult anymore.

She maintained her own tone, and did not let her voice tremble, and as these things that were hidden in the heart for a very, very long time were said out loud, Jun Wan Bai strangely felt a sliver of ease that had not come for a long time.

A person bearing crimes, even if the crimes weren’t known by others, as long as they themselves remembered it, they would never live happily.

When Jun Wan Bai finished speaking, she silently waited for the final judgment.

——A very, very late judgment that she had avoided for very long time now.

An endless silence.

The surroundings turned very quiet, so quiet there was no wind, no sound at all, only her own heavy heartbeat. For the very first time, Jun Wan Bai discovered the swords in her hands were that heavy, so heavy she had to use up all her strength to let her own hands not shake.

Finally.

Her hands turned light.

The pair of swords were taken up by someone.

When the weight on the hands disappeared, the heart emptied out along with it, and Jun Wan Bai hung her hands down.

She watched a rock on the ground, and lowly said, “I ask…… Ma……”

She paused, and swallowed back the “Master” she habitually wanted to say.

“I ask that Elder will punish [me].”

An endless silence.

“Elder…… you haven’t even surpassed Master, and yet you’re in such a hurry to change?” Suddenly, a cold laugh fell into Jun Wan Bai’s ears. Bai Yuan Xiu drew out the sword, looked at the condensed bloody aura on the body of the sword, then returned the sword in the sheath, “Did you think that bit of glossing of yours could deceive the sect leader’s eyes?”

As though something exploded in her head, Jun Wan Bai dumbfoundedly lifted her head up, and blankly looked at Bai Yuan Xiu.

Yet, Bai Yuan Xiu had no intention of explaining more.

“I don’t go as far as wanting things given out back.”
She coldly spoke, and her wrists shook, then, the pair of swords as well their sheaths pierced into the ground with a clanging sound. Bai Yuan Xiu turned around and walked in the direction of the Jade Harmony Pavilion.

“…… Master?”

The back transmitted with Jun Wan Bai’s already slightly choking voice.

Bai Yuan Xiu did not even turn her head, “Go practice.”

◈◈◈

The young man dressed in black robes quietly sat in a deserted secret room.

This was a confidential area deep underneath Jiu Xuan Sect’s main peak. Ancient bronze was cast to form four sides of the thick and sturdy walls, while characters from the era of Chaos were engraved on the bronze walls. Those characters seemed to carry a very peculiar strength itself, and their presence engraved on the walls made this space faintly appear with warping.

Bai Li Shu leaned on the bronze wall sitting down.

His face was pale-white, like ice, without a sliver of blood.

Without a sliver of expression either.

If one carefully looked, they would have a kind of misconception, as though his tranquil eyes below were imprinted with the apparition of a white phoenix.

After a very long time.

Within this deathly-still secret room, be it time or space, all seemed to turn dead and slow, like a winding frozen river.

Bai Li Shu hung down his eyes, and looked at his own hands.

The gold longbow quietly laid by his hands, the Bow of Setting Sun was still like before, emitting warmth. And yet, Bai Li Shu only felt an unshakable coldness.

He recalled the matter at Yan Men Prefecture.

In the open hall, Elder Xie Yi looked at him, and said, I only want to ask you one question.

—— What are you going to protect? Justice, or perhaps something else?

At that time, he did not answer.

Where in this world was there something like justice, he was never some good person either—— was someone who would abandon former comrades, and put down the order to seal them, a good person?

He, with his hands full of blood, only did things he should be doing.

Because…… what he was to protect was….. order.

All of a sudden, Bai Li Shu softly laughed.

In this place where no one could see, he lowly laughed all by himself, and after laughing and laughing, he lifted his head up, then stretched his hand out to cover over his own eyes.

What kind of family head was he, and what kind of good person was he?

He wasn’t any of them.

Outside the secret room, Yi He Ping had both hands gathered within his sleeves. He stood there all alone with his back to the secret room’s heavy big doors engraved with an ancient formation. Torches made from the mermaid oil pierced by the sides of the door, slowly burning, as though it was to burn until that day the world ended.

Yi He Ping silently stood there, and the glows of the fire made his face flicker in the light and dark.

Chapter 208

The top floor of Jade Harmony Pavilion.

With the carved wooden windows in each direction open, Jade Harmony Pavilion was on top of Jiu Xuan Sect’s highest peak, the highest place able to oversee all the ranges and peaks of Jiu Xuan Sect. This was a place that was very close to the skies. Outside the window, there were streaming clouds slowly drifting by, and at the night, standing before the window, you would feel like you were already above the skies, that close to the stars, so close that with a stretch of the hand, you could pick a star down.

Calm[ing] sandalwood incense silently burned, and a milk-white vapour flowed down along the purple carved wooden supports, vaguely looking like a winding, miniature river.

This room was very quiet.

The people sitting here at this time were not many, just Elder Qin and few aged, founding elders similarly draped in black robes. The only young face here was the young man sitting at the very top. His appearance was like a carving of a god, yet like a longsword in the dark slowly rotating, with frosty light slightly flashing around, so beautiful it brought about a feeling of indifference like that of a piece of ancient ice. The black robes the young man was wearing was unlike the others as well- the black robes wound to the ground, and the surface had fine and complicated gold and silver threads of embroidery.

Bai Li Shu did not bring that longbow of his that never left his side.

Without his longbow nor his sword, Bai Li Shu looked just like a mere slightly-indifferent and self-important young lord. When he hung his eyes down to look at the low table in front of him, the light outside the window would fall onto his face, his profile pretty much transparent, where his eyelashes were cast with a faint glow, creating a light shadow.

Yi He Ping’s Uncle, Jiang Xi Cheng, sat at the first spot to Bai Li Shu’s right. He knitted his eyebrows and looked in the direction of the door, then asked Elder Qin in a slightly strict voice, why hasn’t Yi He Ping come yet.

Not only was Jiang Xi Cheng Yi He Ping’s Uncle, he was also Elder Qin’s Uncle as well. When Yi He Ping and Elder Qin were young, they received quite a bit of advice from this Uncle.

When Jiang Xi Cheng opened his mouth, Elder Qin acted just like he did when he was a disciple of that year, and slightly bowed when he answered, “I have not yet seen Se…… Senior Yi today.”

Elder Qin habitually wanted to act as usual, and distantly call Yi He Ping Sect Leader. But before the words came out, he realized the current sect leader of Jiu Xuan Sect was no longer Yi He Ping. And in front of Uncle Jiang Xi Cheng, he did not dare to be rude, and after pausing, he extremely uncomfortably added the word “Senior”.

Yi He Ping and Elder Qin’s master was the sect leader back then, but since they had much work to do, it could be said that for a majority of the time, it was Jiang Xi Cheng who watched over the young Yi He Ping and others. Not long after ending isolation and coming out, Jiang Xi Cheng saw the strange atmosphere between these disciple brothers with one look. Now when he saw Elder Qin call Yi He Ping “Senior” with a rigid expression, he coldly humphed, and looked slightly discontent.

“He Ping is typically dependable in carrying out matters, why is it that he invited us over today, yet has not even come himself after such a long time?”
Another founding elder slightly knitted their eyebrows, and opened their mouth with a bit of doubt.

“It was I who had him ask everyone to come.”
The young man who was constantly silently sitting at the front thinking of something, suddenly opened their mouth.

Bai Li Shu lifted his eyes. That window closest to his seat was open, and the light from the beginning of spring just after winter came in from outside the window, and fell on him, making his entire being get enveloped within a kind of almost unrealistic and yet distant colour.

His voice was not loud, and his tone was like speaking of an ordinary small matter.

And yet, everyone’s expressions turned serious in an instant. Since Bai Li Shu succeeded Yi He Ping and took on the position of the sect leader, the time that everyone saw him was actually very short- he did not often appear in everyone’s eyes, and most of the things were still taken care of by Yi He Ping.

This was considered the first time Bai Li Shu took initiative to gather everybody.

There was an important matter, that was much more important than they imagined.
Pretty much instantly, everyone realized this point.

Bai Li Shu did not immediately explain, he only slightly turned his head, and his gaze watched the slowly streaming and transforming layer of clouds outside the window, “He has arrived.”

Elder Qin perceptively noticed one small detail- all this time, when Bai Li Shu spoke, he would avoid making direct contact with everyone’s gazes.

All the things that happened within the merchant city passed by Elder Qin’s mind one by one, and he pretty much subconsciously recalled that pair of eyes that appeared above the blue canopies of the merchant city. That cold, yet that apathetic of a pair of eyes, just like it really was Heaven’s eyes, and inside that pair of eyes, all the living beings were like nobodies.

Unsure why, a faint hint of coldness passed through Elder Qin inside, and the hand he hid within his sleeves suddenly tightened.

Just as his voice fell, the door opened, and Yi He Ping walked in. He wore a black robe that was the same as all the elders at the scene, while both his hands held up a strange box.

“Apologies.”
Yi He Ping sat at his own seat, and he slightly bowed, then apologized for his tardiness.

“Let’s start.” Bai Li Shu finally took back his gaze that went outside the window, then lowered his eyes, and calmly spoke up.

Still avoiding directly making eye contact with anyone.

Elder Qin’s hands tightened even more. He put on a frown, and looked towards Yi He Ping who was no different from normal. Yet, Yi He Ping was like he did not notice his gaze at all, and directly went into the topic. The people participating in this meeting knew quite a bit, and of which, two of the founding elders were the elders who went with Elder Qin to Jin Tang and Qi Qin dynasty.

“Ancient emperors are already awakening.”
Yi He Ping looked towards everyone, and the first sentence he said, was a piece of news this important.

Even if they faintly had a few guesses already, when this matter was actually said out loud by someone with a tone of certainty, everyone’s faces still changed.

People whose cultivation was more higher like them, would more clearly understand just what an existence like an “ancient emperor” exactly represented. That was the very first source of the immortal cultivators’ strength- even the Eighteen Clans of Old who directly seized the ancient emperors’ strength, in front of the ancient emperors, had it extremely difficult, let alone for the immortal cultivators of today’s circumstances where spiritual energy was gradually thinning out.

That was a hard-to-exceed wide gap.

Jiang Xi Cheng and the others just about understood why the people who participated in this meeting were only these few.

The impact of this information was too big, even if one was an elder, they might not be able to accept it. This was a matter that was truly able to decide the world’s fate.

The dynasties’ trump card turned out to be this…… they were resurrecting ancient emperors.

Within the imposing silence, Yi He Ping slowly opened up the box he brought in. The instant the box was opened, the flowing clouds outside the Jade Harmony Pavilion suddenly hastened, the sandalwood incense in the room suddenly no longer moved, and intense strong winds whistled by, gathering within these high skies. The world suddenly dimmed down, and the disciples at each range and peak practising their sword all subconsciously stopped, with some vacantly looking at this weather that seemed like it was before a big rainstorm came.

Everyone within the high pavilion suddenly looked unsightly.

After the box was opened, what appeared in front of everyone was a small part of a white bone with a texture like jade. It was not a bone from any part of a human, bearing a peculiar shape to it. It was apparent that the white bone had already been applied with layers of seals, but even like this, that grand, terrifying pressure like that of the deep sea already faintly seeped out from it.

This was an imperial bone.

When it was exposed to the air, the heavens and the earth abruptly transformed. Outside the Jade Harmony Pavilion right now, overlapping black clouds already shrouded down, and the skies were as pitch-black as ink. Like that space above was collapsing, the inside of the layer of clouds faintly transmitted with sounds of muffled thunder.

A flickering silver light started to flash within the clouds.

Just when the abrupt changes to the heavens and earth were about to turn even more violent, Bai Li Shu who quietly sat at the top extended his hand out, and flatly pressed it on top of the imperial bone.

A faint, ice-cold light fell from his palm, and in an instant, that white bone was already sealed by a seemingly extremely thin ice emitting a faint-blue glow. When the imperial bone was once again completely sealed, the muffled thunder sounds outside stopped, and the overlapping black clouds finally gradually dispersed.

“This was brought back from Jin Tang dynasty.”

Yi He Ping once again closed the strangely-styled box, and this time, both his hands were finally able to leave the box. Before this, he seemed to be constantly be in a state of pouring in primordial energy into the box.

He lightly touched upon the process of obtaining this imperial bone, but did not make mention of what kind of price had to be paid for it.

But those seated all knew, not long ago, at the same time Elder Qin left the sect, two elders from Tai Shang Sect secretly came to Jiu Xuan Sect. And not long after, those two founding elders they were familiar with left Jiu Xuan Sect along with those two Tai Shang Sect elders.

And then, they no longer came back.

Otherwise, there should have been another two seats today.

“He Huan Sect, Fan Yin Pavilion, and Tian Ji Valley’s people are already on the way. Tai Shang Sect and Yu Shou Sect’s people will arrive tomorrow, and there are already two elders from the Nine Provinces Private Bank who are already at Jiu Xuan Sect. Wan Zhen Sect’s people will come the day after tomorrow. The Eight Immortal Sects, after the era of Ten Thousand Immortals, will once again become an alliance. However, we all understand what the ancient emperors’ revival implies. Thus……” Yi He Ping looked up, and his expression turned into an imposing one on a rare instance, “Today, right here, I want to ask everyone to decide on one matter.”

“I, am requesting to secretly open the Doors of Jiu Xuan.”
When Yi He Ping finished, the atmosphere seemed to go quiet for a while.

Elder Qin’s body froze for an instant. He stared at Yi He Ping’s calm face, like he wanted to see just what exactly he was thinking from that familiar face.

Yi He Ping did not look at him.

“Insolence.” Jiang Xi Cheng got angry all of a sudden, and shouted out in a stern voice, “At any rate, you have also been a sect leader for that many years, do you not know what the Doors of Jiu Xuan represents?”

“I know.” Yi He Ping did not retreat in face of Jiang Xi Cheng’s sudden anger, and his gaze turned fierce, then observed all around, “Everyone seated here are all people who hold the keys, according to seniority, you are all my seniors, I should be calling you guys Uncles. However, there are some things, even if all the Uncles were unwilling to accept, that I must mention today…… the Doors of Jiu Xuan are the foundations of Jiu Xuan Sect, Jiu Xuan Sect was created because of it.”

“However!”
His voice suddenly turned incomparably ice cold.

That was a kind of ice-cold [gaze] that did not show any mercy.

“How much longer are we going to deceive ourselves? After the ancient emperors fell, the spiritual energy within the world would die away sooner or later, and even if we constantly expand the growing range of ling zhi, how much longer can we maintain it? Let alone……” He bitterly laughed, “It is precisely because we have continuously expanded the range of the spiritual fields, that we would have the present upheaval. Isn’t this something that everyone seated knows very clearly?”

“The forefathers founded the sect, our predecessors researched the ling zhi, doing their utmost to preserve the world’s spiritual energy to not die out, however, the initial goal to them doing all this was not only to maintain the immortal cultivators’ lofty position.”

“The dynasties already knows the weak point we have always did our best to conceal, they have already destroyed the spiritual fields. Everyone already knows inside, even if this matter passed by, how much longer can the world’s spiritual energy be maintained? When we get to that time, even if the Doors of Jiu Xuan were not opened, what else can we do? Just relying on the power within the Doors of Jiu Xuan, are we able to maintain an entire world’s spiritual energy?”

No one responded.

Everyone knew the answer inside.

“Let alone if the ancient emperors truly awakened, and we firmly protected the Gates of Jiu Xuan, once the ancient emperors’ rage destroyed everything, even if we did retain Jiu Xuan Sect’s foundation, what use is it? At that time, even Jiu Xuan Sect would no longer exist, who are we leaving these foundations for?”

Yi He Ping asked.

“And so, I am requesting we open the Doors of Jiu Xuan.”

A span of silence.

The expressions on the founding elders’ faces were all complicated, only the young man at the top was still like an outsider, silently sitting there.

Jiu Xuan Sect(Doors).

Bai Li Shu observed the patterns on the low table.

Underneath Jiu Xuan Sect, buried with nine doors of black-iron that originated from the final years of the Savage era. That was created by the very first ancient emperor, Kong Jia, and due to some reasons, it was buried into the earth at the era of Chaos. Back then, the Eighteen Clans of Old had obtained the most crucial clues and power from the Doors of Jiu Xuan, and in the end, completed a more perfect seizure of the ancient emperors’ power. And after the era of Ten Thousand Immortals’ severance, among the remaining Eighteen Clans on the land of the twelve dynasties, the Yi clan, on the foundation of the Doors of Jiu Xuan, constructed a sect of immortal cultivators.

All for Jiu Xuan Sect.

Nine turns around life and death and the Xuan gates open, traces of immortals fleeting and indiscernible, distant from the unrestrained[1].

This was Jiu Xuan Sect’s actual origins.

Precisely due to the existence of those nine black-iron gates underground, Jiu Xuan Set could then maintain each mountains’ plentiful spiritual energy in an era where spiritual energy was gradually being exhausted.

And the existence of those iron doors was far too important to Jiu Xuan Sect- after realizing spiritual energy was decreasing, Jiu Xuan Sect locked it up, and put down layers of seals. It was up to the sect’s very few elders to hold the keys to unlock the seal, and it would only be after everyone agreed, that they would open the iron doors.

After the wearing of the era of Chaos and the Ten Thousand Immortals’ several tens of thousands of years of time, as well as its utilization back when going against the ancient emperors, the black-iron doors could no longer be opened a second time.

The remaining chance, would be the last time.

This was Jiu Xuan Sect’s true foundation.

“Is this your idea, He Ping?”
After a long time, Jiang Xi Cheng finally broke the silence. Those were the words he said, but his gaze instead looked to Bai Li Shu who did not say much since the beginning.

Yi He Ping did not answer.

Within the silence, the young man in black robes with gold and silver-threaded embroidery indifferently opened his mouth, “No.”

“This is my idea.”
His voice was very light, but everyone could hear it clearly.

“Since it is your idea,” Jiang Xi Cheng sighed, and he took off a deep-black plate from his waist, then placed it on the table, and slowly pushed it forward, “Then I will agree.”

If it was said, who in this world had the qualifications to make this kind of decision, then Bai Li Shu who walked over from the era of Chaos to the Ten Thousand Immortals, would definitely be that person. The black-iron gates’ discovery was originally made by the Bai Li clan, and if Bai Li Shu who was the family head of the Bai Li clan had no right to make the decision to open the black-iron gates, then who in this world still had that right?

When the plate was taken off and touched the surface of the table, it let out a slight echo.

After taking off the plate, Jiang Xi Cheng simply sighed, and closed his eyes, no longer looking any more. After him, the second founding elder removed the plate from his waist, then a third, fourth…… one by one, the plates were taken off, of which, there was a founding elder who, when placing the plate on the table, was slightly shaking their hand, and when the plate fell on the table, it let out a distinct sound.

In the end, only Elder Qin alone remained.

Yi He Ping looked at him, and his gaze was calm like a deep and quiet lake.

No one urged Elder Qin.

Everyone was silently waiting.

The plates taken off and placed on the table were not the same as the plates that the disciples and elders had symbolizing their own identities. The plates were not engraved with names, and were not engraved with mountains either. The entire body was pitch-black, style archaic, and the front side of the plate were all ancient characters like the ones embroidered on the black robes on Bai Li Shu, that represented Jiu Xuan.

And on the back side of the plate, separately inscribed with different numbers.

It all used a very archaic set of characters, the characters of the era of Chaos.

Elder Qin moved his gaze away, and he looked towards the young man sitting all alone. He could still remember how he looked back then when Yi He Ping just brought him back. The immature-faced young boy stood within the hall, neither seeming scared or happy, and the inside his pupils was calm and collected, only a span of loneliness.

Yet, that lonely child already slowly turned back to that initial family head of the Bai Li clan.

Not one person could surmise his thoughts, he was walking towards this era’s biggest decisive battle, this era’s life and death, were added to the shoulders of this one young person.

He was no longer Jiu Xuan Sect’s disciple Bai Li Shu.

He was the Eighteen Clans’ Bai Li Family Head.

And also Jiu Xuan Sect’s sect leader.

Elder Qin took his gaze back, and slowly placed the plate onto the table, and pushed it forward.

Yi He Ping then took out another two plates from his ring—— everyone all agreed. The iron doors would be secretly opened.

Bai Li Shu was observing his own pale hands, and stayed silent. His fingers were a pale-white—— a familiar power was continuously returning right now.

◈◈◈

Elder Qin was the last to exit the Jade Harmony Pavilion’s top floor, and before leaving, he turned to take one look. The pavilion was only left with Bai Li Shu himself- the young man had their head turned, quietly observing the flowing clouds outside the window. At the instant he turned his head, Elder Qin saw underneath his eyes, seemed to have a pale-white phoenix’s apparition coiling around.

He left the Jade Harmony Pavilion.

After walking out the Jade Harmony Pavilion, Elder Qin saw Yi He Ping standing at the pagoda not far off, hanging his head down looking at the chessboard in the pagoda. The chessboard was spread with black and white chess pieces.

“You’ve come?”

When Elder Qin walked over, Yi He Ping did not lift his head up, like he long knew that Elder Qin would come find him.

“You knew?”
Elder QIn stiffly asked, with his tone very cold.

“Your observation skills have improved quite a bit now.”
Yi He Ping faced Elder Qin with his back, so Elder Qin could not see his expression.

Elder Qin perceived something wrong for quite some time now.

At Ge City, the bronze talisman they brought back, and the bronze talisman that Bai Li Shu gave them when they went to the merchant city was different. The Heavenly pillar buried underneath the merchant city contained White Emperor’s will, and the talisman that Bai Li Shu gave them, instead allowed them to not get affected by the spiritual energy’s disorder in the merchant city.

The bronze talisman that Bai Li Shu gave them was similarly a “decree”.

Just what level of power was able to bestow them permission within an domain of an ancient emperor’s influence?

Bai Li Shu’s strength was approaching an ancient emperor’s right now, or perhaps it should be said, it was approaching that level of an ancient emperor’s.

And today, Yi He Ping and Bai Li Shu decided to open the black-iron gates beneath Jiu Xuan Sect. The iron gates were left by the very first ancient emperor, Kong Jia, and was one of the powers that was closest to the original source. Connecting with various things from before, Elder Qin faintly already had a terrifying conjecture.

“Senior, just what exactly are you guys doing?”
“Do you know what that implies?”

Elder Qin sternly questioned.

“This era, no longer has an Eighteen Clans.” Yi He Ping calmly said, “Or perhaps it should be said that there are, but they are standing at the side opposite from us.”

Yi He Ping’s words seemed to have no relation whatsoever to the question Elder Qin asked, and yet, Elder Qin already understood what he meant. At the time of the Ten Thousand Immortals’ severance, the people of the Eighteen Clans who did not lose control remained with very few. This very small portion of people established the current Eight Immortal Sects, but with the progression of time, they also already died, and now on the land of the twelve dynasties, were only the Eighteen Clan’s descendants.

The true Eighteen Clans were people who directly seized the ancient emperors’ power.

And they, were only some blessed people[2].

Even the real Eighteen Clans of Old all used up a very long time, from the era of Chaos to the era of Ten Thousand Immortals, a time of tens of thousands of years, to then make the ancient emperors fall one by one.

However, the present land of the twelve dynasties already did not have the Eighteen Clans of back then. Those remaining, the Eighteen Clans who inherited the original power already were called “demons”, and stood across from them this time.

“Then don’t let that kind of existence revive.”
Elder Qin said.

Yi He Ping laughed, did not say anything, then slowly walked out of the pagoda.

Elder Qin watched Yi He Ping’s slowly distant back figure, and had never so clearly understood…… everything, truly, could not go back to the past.

At the peak of the Jade Harmony Pavilion that connected to the skies, Bai Li Shu got up and stood by the window, and he looked towards the high place hovering with flowing clouds.

He recalled many things.

Recalled that at a time long, long ago, he stood deep underground with some people together, holding a torch looking up a towering black-iron giant door. The people following him piously bowed down, and happily shed tears for this last bit of hope.

He recalled a lot.

In a trance, he recalled the time back when he, Jun Wan Bai and others rode the Black-plumed Light Vessel. He stood at the deck, and saw beneath the clouds, cities as tiny as specks, with the cities walls an unknown number. All living beings numbered like mole crickets and ants.

Winds poured in from the window, blowing on the black robes on his body, with the ancient characters on his long robe like a silent narration.

Deep in his eyes, an apparition of a phoenix gathered from pale-white fire hovered and flew around.

[1] 九转生死玄门开, 仙踪飘渺疏自在. It’s been a while since there’s been a super obscure poetic line with vague meaning. Ignoring the first part first introduced in… Chapter 56, the second part is more open to interpretation. Traces of immortals… to either be faint, indiscernible (飘渺) in appearance, or, motion-wise, to go with the flow, with the wind, or with water, or back with the first interpretation, the idea of uncertainty, being superficial or impractical. The 疏(shu) character, aside from being distance as in Bai Li Shu’s name, is listed with another seven definitions- and of the possibly relevant ones, are being a) sparse, thin, or loose, b) scattered, c) not intimate or not familiar, d) careless/rough, superficial, or e) crude. Connecting that with freedom/leisure, either turns it into being sparse with freedom, distant from freedom, a stranger to freedom, orrrr the freedom being superficial (though unlikely if we treat it as a verb rather than an adjective in its context). Of course, I can be be over-analyzing things and rather than treating the last three characters as one unit (in a rhythm of 4 +3, then 4+3), it should be split, making it not only distant, but also free.

[2] 余荫- to receive the blessings from the older generation.

Chapter 209

When Liao Qian found Shi’zi, he was sitting on top of one of the mountains at Jiu Xuan Sect, looking in the southeast direction, vacantly thinking about something, silent just like his name, just like a rock.

He coughed, walked up, then sat down beside Shi’zi, and saw the wooden box He Wu Yin gave him back then held in Shi’zi’s hands. Liao Qian sighed inside, thinking, ah, it was another stubborn fellow just like Zhou Wen An.

Liao Qian thought about when he would go to Jiu Xuan Sect again, and sweep the grave for that brat Zhou Wen An, and burn some paper money or something. Though Jiu Xuan Sect was ranked number one among the Eight Immortal Sects, each and every one of them either cultivated in the sword or sabre- don’t look at how they were grand and majestic on the surface, in truth, these lunatics were some poor bastards, each and every one of them.

Though Liao Qian who used all his assets to buy sandalwood caskets for Zhou Wen An and his brothers and sisters, and had even taken on a whole bunch of debt, was actually quite poor as well.

“What are you still bothered about?”
Liao Qian patted Shi’zi’s shoulder.

Shi’zi turned his head to look at him, did not say anything, with his expression still like normal.

Liao Qian was far too familiar with this kind of expression. He thought, fuck, this brat actually was a natural-born Jiu Xuan Sect [person], right? That super deathly-stubborn type. Jiu Xuan Sect’s bastards were all of this nature, normally, all the brothers and sisters looked to disgusted with each other to the point they would die, but if you were to really dare to think like this, then the person to die would be you.

Normally, Shi’zi quite hated the old bat, always going on about how the old bat was idling his time away, occasionally telling fortunes for people to earn some money, yet did not know to properly calculate before spending, then buying wine without any restraint in a blink of an eye. From their tone inside and out, it was easy to imagine how much they were disgusted.

But the old bat already left- Liao Qian knew, the one most upset would definitely be this stinky brat.

“In truth, it’s only just that.” Liao Qian plucked a blade of grass and bit it in his mouth, “Either you go with the surname Su, or you go with another surname, and give this thing to Jiu Xuan Sect. Don’t look at how each and every one of these fellows from Jiu Xuan Sect have their noses up to the skies and are so prideful, to tell the truth, their hearts are quite soft. If you don’t go with Su, they would also keep one closed and raise you for the rest of your life.”

“Jiu Xuan Sect are all paupers who even need to haggle over one spirit stone. As for being poor, they are just a little bit poor, but they haven’t fallen to the point that they can’t even raise you.”

Liao Qian went on and on.

“It actually isn’t that embarrassing- any person would be afraid of death. Don’t look at how us immortal cultivators are that amazing and grand on the surface, right now, we’re actually in a heap of mess. The old bat let you properly think over it for this reason too. Do you know what’s called the Eighteen Clans of Old? The Eighteen Clans of Old are a very, very, very incredible set of eighteen families, from the era of Chaos to now, all the amazing elders and sect leaders of the Eight Immortal Sects are all people from the Eighteen Clans.”

“The old bat was actually also one of the Eighteen Clans before, only, later on, not sure what he was thinking, but he no longer admitted it, and became a fortuneteller.

“The surname of an Eighteen Clans is not that good of a surname. If you accept this surname, you will become one of the people of the Eighteen Clans. The item that the old bat left for you can only be obtained by those with the surname Su, because that is the item left by the Eighteen Clans. However, becoming the Eighteen Clans isn’t that simple, you might die.”

“Any person would be afraid of death, it isn’t that embarrassing.”

“……”

Liao Qian spoke in bits and pieces, he actually did not know what he was saying either, he was only suffocating so much inside it hurt.

After coming to Jiu Xuan Sect, he then realized, the Bank really was destroyed. Right now, the disciples of the Bank were actually under someone else’s roof. Though not one of this bunch of small lunatics from Jiu Xuan Sect looked down on them because of this—— from the very beginning, Jiu Xuan Sect’s lunatics did not look up to people from other sects, each maintaining their own pride——but that kind of feeling was not the same.

Just like, originally, you had a home, and now it’s gone.

But Liao Qian could not find another person to talk about these feelings, and could not say it out loud. Men saying these things, would appear unreasonable.

Privately, he felt like he, Clear-hearted Monk and Liu Wu Yan could be considered to have a bit of friendship, but those who had eyes could see with one glance- that baldy Clear-hearted Monk liked Liu Wu Yan, that fellow who did not seem like a girl once they turned ruthless. Liao Qian thought, he shouldn’t blindly go around in front of them, as to avoid feeling that he was all alone even more, standing in gloomy circumstances.

“I’m not afraid.”
Shi’zi cut Liao Qian off, and he gripped the box.

The instant he lifted his head up, Liao Qian discovered, this ordinary wandering young boy’s gaze changed, and turned much more like those lunatics of Jiu Xuan Sect.

Liao Qian quietly shut his mouth.

“I only felt that it’s a bit……” Shi’zi’s words did not go on, and he gripped the item the old bat left him. Now that he was within the world’s number one sect, that dream he always had of wanting to stand out among others, wanting to not settle with commonplace, was already that close, that one could touch it with a stretch of the hand, but he strangely started hating these things.

“Back then, I was thinking, if I had a child, I would let him follow the old bat’s surname.”
Shi’zi said lowly.

The old bat had no children, so he originally thought, he would let his own kid call the old bat grandpa, and have the old bat’s surname. He also once casually mentioned it with the old bat- an improper fellow like the old bat, no one would be his wife, and later on, no one would provide for him and send them to a proper burial, so his son will have go through troubles and change his surname.

The old bat only laughed at that time, and as he laughed, the tobacco rod in his hands tapped the floor, and he said, don’t follow my surname.

At that time, Shi’zi did not understand what the old bat meant, and was angered, because the old bat’s tone was actually was a bit serious for the first time.

At that time, out of spite, he thought, I haven’t even found you disgusting yet, and yet you find me disgusting.

Hence, for an entire day, he put on a frown and did not say anything to the old bat.

It was now, that Shi’zi then finally understood just what the old bat meant with his words. The old bat did not hope for him to have the surname Su, did not hope that there would be someone once again shouldering the Eighteen Clans’ fate. However, he understood too late. Once he understood, there was no more time, and the old bat was no longer.

The thing in his hands was the item the old bat left for him.

“I don’t know what I have to be called for that bastard to be satisfied.”

Shi’zi made his own tone seem to not mind at all as much as possible. His name was Shi’zi- normal impoverished families would all name their own children this casually. As the old bat knew how to write, he once let the old bat think of a more formal name/ The old bat pinched his fingers and thought for a long time, but could not think of one, but when he asked if the bat actually did not recognize one single character, he was taken aback.

He then knocked on the ground and said, stinky brat, you don’t know what’s good for you, how could a name be so randomly thought of, bad and good luck, fortune and misfortune, the course of life all is within this name, don’t you know that?

After finishing, he put on a long face and crouched to the side to go off thinking again.

Originally, the old bat said to give him three days time, that day Clear-hearted Monk went to save Liu Wu Yan was the last of the three days. With three days passed, the old bat should have came up with one, but he did not see the old bat for the last time, and also had no way of knowing just what kind of name the old bat thought of for him.

“Su Yi An[1]”

A voice suddenly resounded.

Liao Qian and Shi’zi abruptly lifted their heads up, and discovered, at some time ago, a group of people silently stood in front of them.

Jiu Xuan Sect’s mountains were very high, and there were many clouds and mist hovering around on top of the mountains. Within the hazy fog, a group of people dressed in white robes and bamboo hats silently appeared in front of them. Liao Qian and Shi’zi completely did not discover when they exactly arrived.

These people’s long robes were as white as pale snow, and the bamboo hats they wore covered over a large half of their faces. They appeared here without any sound, just like silently appearing within the fog.

The person in front was the sole person who did not wear a bamboo hat.

He lowered his head to look at the small box in Shi’zi’s hands, “He once thought before, if he had a son, he would give him the name, Su Yi An.”

Yi An, Yi An.
Living through life, only to hope to be free from worry.

After speaking, that person at the front no longer stopped, and lead all the bamboo-hatted white-robed people through Liao Qian and Shi’zi, and walked towards Jiu Xuan Sect’s main peak’s Jade Harmony Pavilion.

Once this group of mysterious people disappeared from their sights, Liao Qian slapped his thigh, and understood just who those people they met were.

These few days, the immortal sects’ sect leaders came to Jiu Xuan Sect with a bunch of people one by one, and the one with this kind of shady style of conduct, wearing white robes and bamboo hats, silently appearing within mist, was only one sect among the eight, and that was the Tian Ji Valley that claimed to “ask Heaven’s Will for where the pieces fall”.

That person who was in the front that spoke with them just now, should be the valley master of Tian Ji Valley, Su Chang Su.

Liao Qian watched that group of people disappear within the fog, and suddenly realized something.

Jiu Xuan Sect’s sect leader, Bai Li Shu, looked to be a bit similar with these people of Tian Ji Valley.

◈◈◈

Qi Qin dynasty’s imperial palace.

Bai Yi Qing was not staying in his own bed chambers.

Actually, at a time long ago, Bai Yi Qing did not have any very grand ambitions. At that time, Bai Yi Qing really was only a frail prince infatuated with literature. When he was young, he was quite famous for it. The thing he liked to do most, was to dress up like an ordinary student and run off to the capital’s Liu River, then place papers written with poems into the water, and watch the lucid waves bring the poems slowly downstream.

At that time, Father was still here, Big Brother was also here.

Those were the most care-free, most happiest days Bai Yi Qing lived in his entire life. He lived inside the palace, Brother was wise and promising crown prince, he did not want to become some authoritative prince either, and furthermore did not want to fight with Brother for some throne.

At that time, he wanted to become a wandering poet, and be like how it was described in the writings, carrying a bag of poems, riding a donkey while going around the country, then recite poems to the opposition, and let the suns and moons pass by.

He didn’t know what was called hardship of the human world.

Father and Brother did not interfere much with him either, at most, when he secretly snuck out of the palace, they would sent a few warriors to protect him from afar. Later, Bai Yi Qing then understood, perhaps at that time, Father and Brother felt like they were able to support everything in his stead, and whatever messy schemes there were, they were not willing to let him know.

And the truth had proved, Father and Brother’s method was correct- after that unforeseen incident that time, Father died, Brother died, and he, the “ignorant” second son who had ardently loved literature lived on, and became the emperor.

What changed everything, was a coincidence.

The poem he just placed in the water flowed off not far, and was scooped by someone.

“Which corners do the skies hold? What marshes do the earths connect[2]?” The person who picked up the poem recited the characters that had not yet been blurred by the flowing water, and lifted his head to look at him, then smiled, “This little fellow’s aspirations must be very high?”

That was an old scholar carrying a heavy book-bag. His hair on top was all white, but when he spoke, his gaze was clear and bright, carrying a scholar’s unique wisdom.

The old scholar was of the last name Fang, and when Bai Yi Qing looked at him, he felt like he was extremely similar to the type of person he wanted to become. Carrying a bag filled with books on poems, walking to the most remote of corners, they would have went through many places, and read many poems.

Thus he asked Scholar Fang, was he willing to stay? He was Qi Qin dynasty’s prince, could he ask him to become his own royal tutor?

The old scholar smiled as he placed the poem back into the river, “Qi Qin dynasty’s prince, huh, this isn’t how you seek apprenticeship.”

As he said this, he left.

But later on, the old scholar still took him in as a student.

The old scholar was also a citizen of Qi Qin dynasty, and became the very best scholar in Bai Yi Qing’s grandfather’s time. During that time, the old scholar’s knowledge shook the entire Qi Qin dynasty’s Han Lin Academy[3]. However, the old scholar was only infatuated with Qi Qin dynasty’s imperial palace’s many libraries. Once he read all of the imperial palace’s collection of books, he retired and left. Since then, he wandered over the entire mainland of the twelve dynasties, and when he encountered a family with a library, he would definitely ask the other person to borrow books for him to read.

Once he was finished, he would leave.

The old scholar was also considered a strange person of Qi Qin dynasty.

His life’s desire was to compile a complete comprehensive history of the twelve dynasties.

To realize this wish, he did not hesitate to waste half a life’s time to walk through the land of the twelve dynasties, then, relying on his own outstanding memorization, he copied down all the books on history he was able to find. Once he turned old, he finally returned to Qi Qin dynasty once again, and prepared, to find a quiet place in this place he grew up in and compile this history book that was without precedent.

Bai Yi Qing’s Father used the condition of opening Qi Qin dynasty’s private imperial library to him, and invited this incredible teacher for his own young son who was so wrapped in poems.

Scholar Fang was infatuated with historiography, so when Bai Yi Qing was studying with him, he also gradually got influenced with his enthusiasm.

And it was also at the times Bai Yi Qing studied with Scholar Fang, that he gradually turned from the care-free prince who originally wanted to carry a bag of poems and walk around the country, to a melancholic and introverted prince.

Scholar Fang used a whole twenty years to compile the general history of the eras.

The compilation of history did not progress that smoothly. Within the succession of eras, too many things and too many truths were concealed by history, and the presence of the immortals sects also hid a large part of the history. Thus, the historians on the land of the twelve dynasties either vaguely wrote a pretty much unofficial general history according to legends, or straight up did not write it, and got devoted in each dynasty’s histories.

Scholar Fang wrote out an authentic general history of the eras according to all various slivers of clues possible in his lifetime.

And then, the day the book was finished, Scholar Fang turned crazy.

[1] 苏一安- an, for peace, calm, at ease etc etc.
[2] 天维何方?地维何泽?-
[3] 翰林院- an imperial college/academy of talented people of many fields.

Chapter 210

History’s truth was hidden within layers of dense fog.

However, if a person exhausted all painstaking efforts for a larger part of their life, and had incredible wisdom and patience, they might be able to restore that small little fragment of truth like reeling silk from cocoons[1] from the vast sea of fog-like traces of legends.

Scholar Fang did exactly this with his entire life.

He wrote out a general history on the eras, and in the process of writing, his mentality got worse and worse. He could not tell just what was justice, and what was right and wrong. The era of Chaos’ ancient emperors came out from the banks of white waters, and ended the rule of the crude beasts from the Savage era, and since then, cities began to appear on the spacious lands, while the fires of civilization started burning up bit by bit.

And then, after the crude beasts, the ancient emperors became the new, tyrannical day.

Thus, the Eighteen Clans of Old stood up from among the slaves grovelling beneath the throne, and the embarked on the bloody journey of overturning the ancient emperors, and were hence called the era’s heroes, the brave warriors of the era.

When the ancient emperors’ thrones fell from the skies, the Eighteen Clans of Old who once mutually trusted and cared for each other started fighting among each other. In the final year of the ancient emperors, new blood dyed the old lands red. Scholar Fang walked through the lands of the twelve dynasties, and repeatedly speculated upon the various slivers of clues, and finally came to a conclusion- the reason why the immortal sects would continuously plant ling zhi, was because this world’s spiritual energy appeared with problems.

Their strength originated from ancient emperors.

Could a seized power be called justice?

After the era of Chaos and Ten Thousand Immortals passed, all the people thought the battle they were struggling in, experiencing, would be the last battle. They shed blood, they sacrificed, they died, and after them, would be calm seas and quiet rivers[2], peace and security for generations to come. However, it was not like that. The day the new order was established, a new war was already brewing once again.

In today’s era, the immortal sects already became the new day, the rotation of gods(?), without any hesitation, slowly spun round and round day after night, and once it rolled over around the lands, an era would pass, and everything from the previous era would be mercilessly crushed into powder underneath the grinding of the gods’ rotation. All the people would say, history sets the rights and wrongs, history was the truth.

Then, was the so-called truth like this?

People would walk out from a bloody battle, and once one war ended, the next war would be brewing in the very long period of time. In the new war, the righteous from the old war would become the new unrighteous, circling and circling like this, never coming to a stop. People would establish order in chaos, and after a blink of an eye, these order would be destroyed again, the heroes would become oppressors in the next era.

War never ceased, the people of the world never got peace.

Then, just what were all those things they sang and praised about?

History had no rights, no wrongs, nor justice, that was because the world was completely unconcerned with any of these things. This world was a long flowing river, forever without pause- there would be new waves of water lifting up, and then falling down again, and that in which died in the waves, were the numerous ant-like insignificant beings.

Because they were too minute, they would then need right and wrong, justice and evil, to fix their own beliefs, and let themselves not go insane due to their own insignificance when facing the vast world.

He exhausted all his life, and in the end, only proved those things that they believed in and were devoted to…… that brightness, those justices, those rights and wrongs, were actually just an absurd joke.

History had no rights and wrongs, no justice, because be it civilization or people themselves, they were only tools for growing [history].

He pretty much painfully understood this point. All the rights and wrongs were only the evaluations of the later generations, and history was like white waters, coming in great amounts, while these people’s love and hate were of no effect at all, so insignificant it was not worth a mention. All was only change and alternation, all was only rise and decline, what cycled, would certainly be the destined cause and effect.

When writing down history, his hand shook more and more intense, that in the end, his handwriting was already illegible to the point of being unrecognizable.

In that final page, everything was abruptly broken off, and only left with a line of large words.

—— The era of Ten Thousand Immortals, had never been ceased!

“The era of Ten Thousand Immortals, had never been ceased.”

Bai Yi Qing flipped through the last page of that thick history book that Teacher left behind. This was a history book that was destined to not be seen by the commoners from the day it was finished. This was also a book that was closest to history’s truth in this world.

However, people did not need this kind of truth.

It was not the first time that Bai Yi Qing read through this book on the era’s history that Scholar Fang finished writing. When he was young, the first time he opened this history book that made Teacher go mad, his hand was shaking. In between the lines of words, the despair that seeped out carried a shocking strength. The first time he opened it, he did not have the courage to finish it, and quickly closed it again.

Why were very few people willing to face a thick, big history book?

It was because inside, people clearly understood their own insignificance, but in face of history books, this kind of insignificance and worthlessness was endlessly magnified, no one would like this kind of feeling.

He did not dare to flip through that book, and when Father and Brother asked about it, he only said Teacher had went crazy and did not finish it.

After that, he continuously studied the many resources Teacher left behind, and madly read book by book. He wanted to prove that Teacher was wrong. It was also from that time on, that Qi Qin dynasty’s little prince being a scholar infatuated with poems was confirmed even more.

Later on, it was the imperial capital of Qi Qin dynasty enveloped in heavy big rainstorms, where after Bai Jing Tian returned covered in dust, he sat in Qi Qin dynasty’s palace’s main hall alone in the rainy night, and died at the throne.

Not long after, Brother also died.

Those people dressed in black robes that came from somewhere, they stood within Qi Qin dynasty’s palace, and their gazes apathetically swept through everyone in fear, and did not explain anything.

He became the new emperor of Qi Qin dynasty, because in those people’s eyes, a powerless prince infatuated with literature, was a suitable puppet.

In the boundless big rain, he once again opened that thick history book, and read from the start to finish without any emotion at all.

“The era of Ten Thousand Immortals had never ended.”
Bai Yi Qing lightly stroked those few words on the final page of the book.

Placed by his side was news sent from the merchant city, reporting the general process and casualties after the incident in the merchant city. After receiving this information, Bai Yi Qing let the servants withdraw, while he quietly sat in the imperial study.

The cause of all that happened, from the root of it, were those powers that soared above order.

No matter if it was the ancient emperors, or the Eighteen Clans of Old, or the immortal sects, as long as they held a power that normal mortals were unable to oppose, then no matter what their original intent was, in the end, they would stand across from the more numbered people without this kind of extraordinary power.

Who could guarantee their own original intention would not change?

No one.

Military might could not soar above systems and laws, if something possessed a power enough to destroy order and law, then it would be destined to become the roots of disaster.

In front of order, no matter if it was the immortal sects or ancient emperors, or even the awakened demons, they were all destroyers [of order], they were all…… fated to be existences to be erased.

This was the era of Ten Thousand Immortals, all supernatural power, would soon meet its end in this era.

The era of Ten Thousand Immortals, had never been discontinued, they were living in this era!

After closing the thick history book, the skies already turned bright, and Bai Yi Qing walked out from the imperial study, “What’s the news?”

A man wearing a white-patterned mask silently flew out from the shadows of the roof, then half-knelt towards Bai Yi Qing, “The immortal sects have formally united together, and declared war.”

The immortals sects have united, and declared war.

Bai Yi Qing lifted his head up, and looked at the slowly rising sun from the east horizon, and slightly narrowed his eyes. The light fell down on the vast lands with a span of calm, “I understand. Go back and notify…… Qi Qin dynasty is already prepared.”

After the man disappeared, Bai Yi Qing did not leave.

Bei He walked over from the long hall, he also heard the news just now. He was still dressed in that ordinary grey robe, and the bright-red sheath-less blade was held in his hands. Unlike his blade, the aura on himself was very self-contained, heavy and gloomy, and if not for that blade in his hands, there wouldn’t be anything special to him at all.

Bei He stood at a place not far from his back, and his gaze similarly observed the place where Jin Tang’s Grey Plumes disappeared off to. When he heard that the immortal sects were uniting to declare war, Bei He discovered his own feelings were unexpectedly calm, and was not complicated as he predicted, just like a thing he waited for a very long time finally came. Because he long already knew, and also because he waited for very long, in the end, he only felt fatigue and the relief from dust falling down.

“You’ve come.”
Bai Yi Qing slightly turned to look at him.

In regards to the matter of how the sealed Heavenly pillar containing White Emperor’s will was destroyed before it was awakened, Bai Yi Qing did not seem to be a bit angry, Bei He even felt….. Bai Yi Qing actually wanted to let that Heavenly pillar contained with White Emperor’s will be completely destroyed in the first place.

He had some suspicions inside.

Because in the beginning, when Qi Qin dynasty collaborated with that existence, it was to revive the White Emperor who was slumbering deep underneath Qi Qin dynasty. However, in truth, Bai Yi Qing’s careful attention to the merchant city was only on the surface- he did not concentrate all the forces to go protect the merchant city’s Heavenly pillar. Bei He suspected inside, and also asked this question out loud.

“We do not need two ancient emperors.” Bai Yi Qing slightly smiled, “In the eyes of existences like ancient emperors, aren’t we the real mole crickets and ants here? The White Emperor who was born in undying fire is the hardest to completely kill off among the Three Emperors, if we really let him come back too, then this land will truly turn into the ancient emperors’ vassal state, like that…… what meaning is there to all that we are doing?”

His voice was light, as though it would disperse if the wind blew.

The sky’s light fell into the bottom of his eyes, and Bei He faintly felt like the bottom of those deep and quiet eyes burned with an unnamed world-burning fire.

—— That was a fire that would either burn themselves, or ignite the entire world.

“War has really started, have you made preparations to point blades with former comrades?”

“Since that day I gave up my surname, I have already been prepared.”
Bei He lowered his head, and looked at the blade in his hands.

“Then that’s fine.”

Bai Yi Qing slowly walked off along the axes of Qi Qin dynasty’s imperial palace. The morning winds were very light, carrying grains of dust, blood, gun smoke, and the air of death within it.

This was the era of Ten Thousand Immortals that had not ended yet, this was the era’s war, they would soon create a new order, and a new world.

“Let us declare war.”

[1] 抽丝剥茧- refers to the painstaking and hard task of reeling silk from cocoons.
[2] 海晏河清- expression for times of peace.

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