Zhao Ge Chapter 211-220

Chapter 211

In a place not far from Bing Province City, at a small and narrow pass named “Meng”.

The heavens were like an overturned basin, where tens of thousands of arrays of stars were sprinkled above the deep-night’s skies, and starlight fell from the tops of the canopies tens of thousands of zhang above, illuminating every blade of grass and tree within the narrow pass. It was already not far from Bing Province’s Yan Men Prefecture- if a cavalry sped [from here with] a day’s time, they would get there. At the start of the year, this place was re-constructed into a toll gate, as the buffer for when Yan Men Prefecture was attacked.

Meng Pass was only an area outside the city gates temporarily made, and was actually constructed very simple and crudely. Furthermore, the ones who built this narrow pass were immortal cultivators with high and profound cultivation- the narrow pass was built extremely tall and firm, however, other minute and refined areas were not present at all. For example, after the narrow pass, there were no garrison towns built together along with it- this place really was a plain and simple tollgate.

Thus, the immortal sects’ disciples guarding the gates could only station themselves at the slightly flat area behind the narrow pass, and simply guard there.

Fortunately, everyone was a disciple of immortal cultivation- without mentioning anything else, though living conditions were bad, it was bearable with some accustoming. After all, when going out for experience, living in the wilderness[1] was actually something they were used to.

Since the start of war, Yan Men Prefecture was always an important area that both sides attacked and guarded over. On the soils outside Yan Men Prefecture, there was a time where blood and flesh intermingled, and spread layer over layer. One year later, on top of the soils outside Yan Men Prefecture, grass grew particularly exuberantly, and large stretches of red veins[2] went into full bloom in the cold of early spring. That was the splendour that bloomed on top of dead people’s flesh, blood and bones. With one look, it immediately made people strangely go cold.

There were several times Yan Men Prefecture almost fell into enemy hands, and during the closest time, the city gates were already broken down. It was Elder Xie Yi who activated the big defence formation in Jiu Xuan’s branch, and used the formation’s might to forcefully stall the black-armoured cavalry’s pace.

After that military campaign, three of Jiu Xuan Sect’s founding elders came here, and at a place not far from Bing Province’s Yan Men Prefecture, chose this place named “Meng” that the southern army would definitely pass by in attacking the north Bing Province, and joined hands to build this narrow pass used to barricade Yan Men Prefecture within several days.

This was the second year war sunk in a stalemate.

Jiang Chen held onto a sword, and sat on the ground, leaning against the bark of a rough tree.

He was an ordinary formal disciple of Jiu Xuan Sect’s Li Range. After war had erupted, the people from the immortal sects started fighting for themselves, and suffered a lot in the early stages. Later on, under Jiu Xuan Sect’s Sect Leader Bai Li Shu’s control, each sect’s disciples reformed together. Each sect’s disciples’ expertise was different from each other, and after intermingling and joining together, with a period of time in training, their strength could finally be sufficiently unleashed.

Those guarding this narrow pass “Meng”, was an army lead by an elder from He Huan Sect, but at the start of this year, the well-renowned Jun Wan Bai that even the dynasties’ famous generals had to admit “had a strong general’s style”, had taken over that elder from He Huan Sect, and became the new garrison general of the narrow pass.

People’s adaptability really was a kind of scarily strong thing.

Jiang Chen still remembered just when it just started, when he faced that fearless surging iron cavalry current, he could only bewilderingly and blindly attack, and then get trapped in an encirclement. Now, he was already able to work together with others quite well, and face the advancement on the battlefield together.

The battle within war and the battle when the sect’s disciples were fighting were two completely different concepts.

The dynasties’ armies were real armies. In an army, you were not just yourself, you were a gear in a machine. In battle, there was only advancing together, or withdrawing together. The massacre on the battlefield, was only for one goal- to kill other people, or be killed by others.

There was no need to consider if you recognize the other person or not, nor did you need to consider if the things the other person did were enough to make them go die.

Once you stepped onto the battlefield, you would turn into a killing machine.

To the sects’ disciples, this was a completely strange experience. Jiang Chen still remembered the first time he stepped into the battlefield. After he lived on, what he faced, was a ground of remnant and broken limbs, flesh and bone, and vomited into a mess. That kind of scene where the entire field was completely transformed, where blood dyed the lands, and the world seemed to sink into a purgatory, made it hard to people to forget it all their lives. And yet, the dynasties’ soldiers withdrew in an orderly fashion. In circumstances where they were alone, the sects’ disciples were able to easily kill any person among them.

However, it was these mortal soldiers that were much weaker than the sects’ disciples who, when they faced the battlefield, had gazes icy like lone wolves.

When the sect’s disciples were nauseated and vomiting due to the desolation of the battlefield, they even took advantage of the the opportunity of the sect’s disciples easing, and turned around to attack them again.

Later, Jiang Chen also changed.

He did not remember how many people his sword already killed. Many of them were people with lives he did not know of, nor their names, who died beneath his sword. Once one stepped onto the battlefield, the ones across were all enemies, no matter if they were good or bad people—— or sometimes, Jiang Chen would think, once he actually stepped onto the battlefield, he could not consider himself as innocent anymore.

He only knew, the brothers who he was familiar with that would merrily walked over Jiu Xuan Sect’s long stone stairs with himself, fell down in front of his eyes. He lost his own fellow sect mates, his friends, his brothers[3].

He had to take revenge for them.

When battle had not begun yet, Jiang Chen would think, before everything changed, would Jiu Xuan Sect still be that world’s number one Jiu Xuan Sect. Jiu Xuan Sect’s disciples’ daily life should be to practice the sword when it was time to practice the sword, or if indolence ever came up, everyone would take a see if the inner-sect seniors supervising them were noticing, then swiftly run away, stepping onto Xuan Li Peak’s traversing iron chains, and pass through several ten zhang.

Once the senior brothers and sisters realized, they would be so angry and loudly scold from the back how they were a bunch of good-for-nothings, fishing for three days then drying nets for two[4], serves them right for not being able to get through the inner sect’s exams for such a long time.

The senior brothers and sisters shouted with loud voices from the backs, yet did not actually step onto their swords and immediately drag them back.

They always felt in reality, the seniors themselves wanted to slack for a bit as well.

In the bordering area between Xuan Shuang Peak and Xuan Ce Peak, that narrow and long flat valley was the market within the sect. Pretty much any miscellaneous items could be purchased here. Some loose-brained, disciples in charge of random tasks with a bit of craft were aware their own cultivation was not enough, and immediately could not be bothered to take troubles to cultivate, and focused on opening up some small stalls and shops in the market selling some random and trivial toys.

Of which, the business in selling wine was the best.

What was most abominable, was that there was a disciple for random tasks who escaped from Cang Pu dynasty and got in Jiu Xuan Sect, and brewed a good wine, called “Li Yuan”. The eyes of that brat with the last name Mu did not look upon the friendship of the sect’s seniors, and instead was like those disciples from Nine Provinces Private Bank, wholeheartedly caring for nothing but money.

A jar of wine they sold had half the amount others sold, and the price was one half more expensive than others. Not only that, later on, he even inconsiderately only sold ten jars of wine per day, and once he sold out, he would leave.

But that “Li Yuan’s” taste really was good. Once the jar was opened, one ten miles out could smell it, and when it entered the mouth, it was pleasant and clear, completely different from the others’ wine.

Drawing in a bunch of Jiu Xuan Sect brothers that the glutton in their stomachs were itching, lying in wait everyday. Jiang Chen and them, to buy the wine, would skip the morning practice not only once, and step onto the iron chains within the seniors’ reprimanding voices, and quickly hurry off down the mountain to run off to the market. However, the people who wanted to buy the wine were too many, and most of the time, they wouldn’t be able to buy it.

The sole time they managed to buy Li Yuan, Jiang Chen was with the people who ran down the peak with him, and very carefully carried the jar up the mountain, afraid that if he was not careful, he would spill the small jar of wine they bought with difficulty. In the end, while walking half-way up, they heard a smiling voice,

“Brother Jiang?”

He lifted his head, and saw their senior brother and sister leaning on the mountain rocks, holding swords looking at them with smiles, smiling particularly wickedly.

Senior [brother] walked over all smiles, then hooked onto his shoulder saying, everyone’s all brothers, Senior here would not bother over the matter of you guys sneaking off, but……

Senior dragged out the sound, and Senior Sister smiled as she reached out to hook away the jar of wine.

The remaining people watched the backs of their seniors happily leaving completely speechless. It was at this time that they then understood the seniors’ wicked intentions. As inner-sect disciples, if their seniors secretly ran off to the market to buy wine during the morning practice, they would definitely receive a big scolding from their master, and so, when [Jiang Chen and the others] secretly ran off, they would also symbolically call out, then lie in wait on the road, waiting for them to buy the wine back.

Crafty, far too crafty.

Jiang Chen and the others regretted too late, and hung their head down in downcast, going back up to continue practising the sword. After going up, they saw the jar already empty, while their seniors were putting on serious faces teaching them sword techniques.

“Use some strength, don’t be so soft and floppy like little girls.”
Senior Brother would call out, swaying back and forth.

Jiang Chen would look at the empty wine jar with his teeth all itching, then imagined the opponent he was using his technique on was Senior while using all his strength to swing the sword.

Senior shouted, saying, good, just like little Chen’zi.

—— Just wait, there will be one day where I’m going scratch your face with this sword.
Jiang Chen bit down as he practised the sword, thinking of this.

Except, everything changed.

Before the disciples who stepped onto the chains to get down the mountain could get through the inner sect’s exams, the world changed, like the heavens and earth was turned upside down. As though in an instant, everything that they were familiar with changed beyond recognition, and war turned everything like they were of a different generation.

When the flames of war burned up in Qi Qin dynasty, he still felt everything seemed to be still distant, but very quickly, that fire burned from Qi Qin dynasty all the way to Jin Tang and then to South Chen, and in the end, burned everything he was familiar with all into nothing.

The first time he stepped onto the battlefield, he was still a bit dumbfounded, carrying seven-tenths of a loss, and three-tenths fear. As inner-sect disciples, Senior and them had stepped onto the field long before them. As though he saw through his nervousness, Senior came over and patted his shoulder, saying, “Don’t cry in a bit, okay? Why don’t you cry now, and let your Senior Sister wipe it for you first?”

He pushed Senior, and said in a sulking manner, “Fuck you.”

Senior laughed loudly as he left, carrying a sword.

After having not seen each other for a period of time, Senior’s aura actually had some changes to it, carrying a a bloody aura that he was completely unfamiliar with. It made him slightly feel like he did not dare to recognize it, and felt like they seemed like a stranger, rather than his senior brother. However, when Senior came over to pat his shoulder, he suddenly felt, Senior turned familiar again, and saw the bastard who would steal their wine half-way on the road within Jiu Xuan Sect.

Actually, he should have originally died in the first time he stepped onto the battlefield.

When he bent down vomiting everything out, he heard a sharp, penetrating sound.

And then, Senior’s yelling.

“Idiot!”

When he lifted his head up, he only managed to see Senior standing in front of him, thrusting a heavy sword into the ground, with primordial energy erupting out from him, turning into a white barrier, protecting him as well as the other people who had not yet reacted behind him.

The black-armoured cavalry that suddenly turned around to kill them in surprise coldly watched them from very far away, with a kind of gaze like watching prey. The distance between them was not short, but the other party’s bows and arrows were accompanied by a peculiar power, and their speed and strength was very strong. When it erupted, it killed a sect’s elder once. This cavalry that should be originally withdrawing did not have many in number, thus, the shower of arrows they shot out did not form that kind of overspreading gloom back when it killed the elder.

However, blocking this span of arrows was not a deep and profound elder.

Senior Sister cut down the remaining ten or so arrows that broke through the barrier, and called out Senior Brother’s name.

He held his sword, and vacantly stood on the ground.

All around was blood, corpses, and death.

He watched Senior’s body fall to the back, and on that face that always carried ridicule, the eyes would no longer open again.

At that time, Jiang Chen finally understood what war was.

War was neither right nor wrong, it was how no matter what kind of person was across from you, as long as you stood in two different directions, then he was your enemy. If you did not use all your strength to kill them, they would go kill your senior brother, your senior sister, all the people you loved, all the people who loved you.

It was only this, and just this.

“Brother Chen, Brother Chen.”

In these times, the dynasties and the immortal sects were in a stalemate, and the narrow Meng Pass finally got a slight hard-to-obtain breather. Before this, there was pretty much a small battle every three days, one big battle every seven, and the number of people who died outside the pass could no longer be counted. Borrowing this break, everyone meditated and rested by themselves, and used their time to breathe. Jiang Chen was not an exception either.

As he was leaning on the tree thinking to random things and closing his eyes for meditation, someone sneakily came over, and called out to him in a small voice.

Jiang Chen opened his eyes.

The one who called out to him was Li Shu, one of the people who stepped over the iron chains to sneak down the mountain with him back then- it was one of few remaining people he was familiar with. This fellow was quite thin, and yet used a heavy sword just like Senior.

Li Shu’s face carried a rarely seen smile, and looked around. After confirming nobody else paid attention, he used his elbow to poke at Jiang Chen, with an extremely lively voice, “Guess what I got?”

“If you have something to say, just say it.”

This brat Li Shu was normally a bit improper, and was also a bit of a natural airhead. After he hid an erotic picture book in his clothes and shared it with Jiang Chen after a battle, Jiang Chen couldn’t be bothered to talk with him.

Li Shu was not angry either, and lowered his voice, “Promise you won’t fight over it with me first.”

[1] 风餐露宿- literally to have winds as meals and living outside, though in context of immortal cultivation, the concept of hunger is pretty much non-existent. Expression for the hardships of travel.

[2] 金铃花 (Abutilon pictum)- other common names include the red vein Chinese lanterns, for their bell-shaped and red-veined appearance. The original name translates to a gold bell flower.

[3] 手足- literally, hands and feet. In the same vein of calling people your right-hand man. Of great importance.

[4] 三天打鱼两天晒网- expression for having no patience for studying and learning, unable to keep at it for a long period of time.

Chapter 212

“Do you think everyone’s like you?”
Jiang Chen pretty much wanted to roll his eyes at him.

Li Shu laughed, and stressed, “You promised yourself.”

As he spoke, he took out a small jar that Jiang Chen was very familiar with from his ring. As soon as the jar was taken out, Jiang Chen’s eyes froze, and suddenly sat straight up. Li Shu looked to be quite satisfied with his reaction, and swayed the jar of wine in front of Jiang Chen, smiling particularly despicably, “You said you wouldn’t fight for it.”

“How did you get it?”
Jiang Chen looked at the small jar in his hands in disbelief.

Li Shu pleasingly placed the wine jar back into his own arms, and protected it like a baby, “Wasn’t I sent back to our sect to escort goods a few days ago? I ran quite fast, and saw there was still some time left, so I circled around and ran to see that last-named Mu’s place. That fellow just so happened to be digging that Li Yuan he was hiding, and placed it on the floor jar by jar. Since I just so happened to be passing by, he gifted one to me.”

Li Shu said it vaguely, but did not mention that he actually stole this wine in the beginning- he stared at Brother Mu place jar after jar, itching his heart, and when he saw an opening, he went up and picked up a jar, then ran.

At that time, last-named Mu scolded loudly behind his back, while Li Shu carried the jar smiling while running faster.

Brother Mu had no way of dealing with him either. He scolded a bit, but did not really chase him, then shook his head and once again went back to digging his aged wine.

Li Shu had intentions of going back to steal another jar, and Brother Mu saw his intentions, he hurriedly shouted, “Don’t think about taking more! Or I’ll go complain to Elder.”

Complain to Elder?

When he heard this, he wanted to laugh a bit, and wanted to say, who are you, a calf, going to complain to. Brother Mu’s cultivation was not high, and was someone in charge of miscellaneous affairs. It was not like people did not have ideas on stealing his wine when he was not paying attention before, but when Brother Mu was robbed, he would not chase either, and would turn to go to Xuan Ce Peak’s peak master to have that person complained against.

Xuan Ce Peak’s master was an old alcoholic, and stared at his wine everyday, but with his identity at hand, he was not willing to let Brother Mu gift him wine. Once he heard someone actually dared to steal wine, he angrily went off to teach that person a lesson. After some time, everyone could only honestly put down these crooked thoughts.

But that was also of the past.

Xuan Ce Peak’s peak master died in battle three months ago.

For Brother Mu to want to complain to him again, was practically saying blind words.

Except, as Li Shu laughed and laughed, he could no longer laugh out loud. He turned around to look, and Brother Mu seemed to have discovered his slip of the tongue, and half-bent down standing there, looking dumbfounded. Li Shu held the wine and suddenly could not move. He stood in the barren market, and his nose ached, then cursed and turned back to put the wine down.

“Whatever, whatever, I’ll give it back, it’s just a jar of wine.”
As he said it, he turned and leave.

Two steps out, Brother Mu caught up from behind, and frowned as he pushed the jar of wine to him, “Get out of here, bunch of poor-ass sword cultivators.”

He walked back as he spoke and cursed in between.

Though there was a bit of a setback in the middle, but from the result, in the end, it was Brother Mu who gave him the wine.

Jiang Chen regretted a bit that he spoke too soon, and stared at the jar of Li Yuan itching, yet could not put down his face. In the end, he looked up and saw Li Shu’s pleased look, got a bit angry but unresigned. He calculated, then grinned and let out a fake smile, “Who knows if you picked up an empty jar to show off in front of me? Words alone cannot be trusted.”

There wasn’t much of a shortcoming with Li Shu, just that he liked to brag and was sensitive about reputation.

With Jiang Chen’s provoking, he turned a bit anxious.

“What do you mean, an empty jar.” He immediately patted off the mud lid from the wine jar, and held the jar towards Jiang Chen, “Is there any wine other than Li Yuan that can have this smell?”

Once the mud lid was opened, the scent of the wine instantly surged up- don’t mention how Li Shu even placed the jar in front of his eyes.

Jiang Chen unconsciously swallowed his saliva, and he reached out.

When Li Shu perceived something wrong, the jar of wine was already pulled into [Jiang Chen’s] hands, and he panicked at once, “Hey, you said you wouldn’t fight for it!”

“One sect, two brothers, aren’t we’re close?” Jiang Chen said all properly, but the hand that caught the jar of wine did not let go one bit, “How could drinking a brother’s wine be considered stealing?”

Just as Li Shu wanted to say something, a voice resounded from the side, “Chen’zi is right, how could drinking a brother’s wine be considered stealing!”

When this voice transmitted over, Jiang Chen and Li Shu both froze, and lifted their heads up. They only saw, at some time, all the people from their small group already opened their eyes and found their way over here, with each and every one of them rubbing their palms staring at the jar of wine held in Jiang Chen’s hands.

After the immortal sects’ people had been readjusted and regrouped by Bai Li Shu, Jun Wan Bai imitated the dynasty’s army’s formation, and divided the sect’s disciples into centurions[1], and underneath centurions, ten people would be form one group. Each small group would have people from every sect, mutually looking out for each other. At this time, the other people from this small group that Jiang Chen and Li Shu was at had woken up from meditation, and gathered here at this moment.

The one who spoke was the one from Wan Zhen Sect. He stared at the wine in Jiang Chen’s hands, and spoke justly, “Brother Jiang, Brother Li, this is not right of you guys, Senior Jun said that one group was one body, there cannot be discrimination of sects, you guys cannot create special exceptions just because you two are from Jiu Xuan Sect either!”

“That’s right, that’s right.”
The other people agreed in succession.

“Furthermore, privately enjoying it yourself in hiding, is even more wrong.”

“Very wrong!”
The other people agreed again.

“This wine…… truly is fragrant, little brother, you do understand what we mean, right?” The Wan Zhen Sect disciple’s face revealed a good-natured expression, but he pressed on the blade on his waist, while other people smiled kindly, yet their knuckles crackled from the pressing.

“……”

Fine, Jiang Chen understood.

Fuck, what disciples of the immortal sects, all of them are just a bunch of bandits.
◈◈◈

Meng Pass was only a simple narrow pass.

But in any case, there was still a commander for it.

The one currently guarding this place was changed to Jun Wan Bai, but it was not only her guarding this place either- Half-crazed Li and Chu Zhi Yuan were also here, and by name, were her vice generals.

Jun Wan Bai was in thought while facing the sand table pierced with dense flags. Jin Tang, Qi Qin, and South Chen’s army now joined together, with an centralized formation, centralized armour, so one could only use the army’s style of battle to distinguish which dynasty they belonged to. In the very beginning, the immortal sects were completely unfamiliar with military affairs, and could not distinguish which side’s army the dynasties moved, and which army would make an attack from the garrison area at all.

In the initial stage of war, the immortal sects pretty much completely relied on the elders’ strong powers to barely hold on.

The most dangerous time was that battle at Tong Men Pass.

Jin Tang dynasty’s black-armoured iron cavalry that received power from the Heavenly pillar had changed out with South Chen dynasty’s army, and caught them off guard. That was the first time Jun Wan Bai commanded a large-scale campaign, and completely lost on all sides. Faced with the similar black-armoured riders as the ones back when they were trapped in Jin Tang dynasty’s Teng snake formation, Jun Wan Bai could only tear at her throat and order everyone to withdraw.

A miserable defeat.

She watched her brothers and sisters, watched familiar and unfamiliar sect mates fall down- it was at that point, that she then understood those words that her “father” once sighed over in her dreams- as a commander, in reality, you were never allowed failure.

With a single mistake in judgment and order, those who died would be countless people, and as a commanding general, one had to bear that many people’s lives.

As the black-armoured cavalry pressed over like an ancient Teng snake, they could only fail.

At the time they were about to despair, about to be crushed by regret and shame, someone lightly said, “Retreat.”

The voice was familiar.

Within the defeated group, Jun Wan Bai saw a figure walking forward against the flow of the crowd. It was Bai Li Shu who arrived at Tong Men Pass at some time ago. This was the second time Jun Wan Bai saw Bai Li Shu since returning to the sect.

The last time she saw him, was during the council of the Eight Immortal Sects.

From far away, she saw the young man dressed in black robes within the cluster of the sect’s elders, walking into the towering Jade Harmony Pavilion. He no longer wore the white robes Jun Wan Bai was familiar with, on him, was black robes symbolizing Jiu Xuan Sect’s sect leader, embroidered with fine and complex symbols. Jun Wan Bai watched him from afar, and felt like he seemed to have gone very far away from them already, and was no longer that immature-looking young boy back then standing in the hall.

Although at many times, Jun Wan Bai did not understand Bai Li Shu.

Before, he was always of an indifferent expression, like his features were sealed with flying snow of thousands of mountains, and the bottom of eyes hidden with many concerns he did not let other know of.

But compared to before, Bai Li Shu turned even more…… even more distant.

The former eldest disciple brother already turned into Jiu Xuan Sect’s sect leader, and became the family head of the Bai Li clan from the Eighteen Clans. He apathetically stood in front of all the sect’s leaders, while they showed him respect of the highest standing. He became the person in the legends.

And then at Tong Men Pass, he came.

Passing through all the people withdrawing, the young man draped in black robes moved forward, and walked towards that black current-like large army by himself, carrying that gold longbow of his.

The gold longbow burned with a gold flame, and then, were those world-shocking two arrows.

Jun Wan Bai remembered all this time, when shooting that final arrow, Bai Li Shu stood above the fields, while winds carrying blood, carrying the flames of war, and anxiety scraped by from a very far place, sweeping away at his long robes. He just stood there, with the world big and vast, but only he alone, that thin figure of his seemed like a silhouette of the era, allowing the times to mottle it down.

After that one battle, Bai Li Shu personally took command of the operation in connecting the Qing Ming towers later on, with flying vessels passing through the skies, forming the immortal sects’ wings. He guarded at the core of the net, and controlled the entire war, and the immortal sects’ decline then turned around bit by bit.

After Tong Men Pass, Jun Wan Bai originally wanted to resign from the position of general, and yet, Yi He Ping came bearing Bai Li Shu’s intentions.

Bai Li Shu did not agree.

With battle after battle, Jun Wan Bai rapidly matured. The south’s generals praised her talents were growing with shocking speed, but only Jun Wan Bai herself knew what it was.

She just could no longer accept countless people carrying trust towards herself, then dying on the battlefield, with the result still being a failure.

She could not accept this.

So she forced herself to quickly mature.

Jun Wan Bai fell into a trance while facing the sand table. During this times, she would always feel some unease, just like something was about to happen. The southern army outside Meng Pass had already changed once some time ago, but other than this, everything was as normal. Other than shooting a wave of arrows mutually at each other everyday, or a small battle daily, there were no big movements. However, considering how it was was a stalemate at this point, having no big movements was also normal.

But that kind of unease could not be shaken away.

Jun Wan Bai wanted to find just what made her have that kind of unease while facing the sand table, and thought to the point her brain started to faintly hurt, yet could not understand, and helplessly lifted her head with the plan of first relaxing her mentality.

As a result, once she lifted her head up, she saw Half-crazed Li and Chu Zhi Yuan with one holding a blade, one holding a sword, one leaning on the left of the sand table, one leaning on the right of the sand table, sleeping particularly comfortably.

These two were Jun Wan Bai’s vice generals by name, but truthfully, because they jointly controlled the fragment of the imperial map, they needed to be together in order to utilize the greatest power from the imperial map, and thus were then given the titles of vice generals, and moved together with Jun Wan Bai. In reality, in regards to warfare, these two bastards had no use at all.

Normally, Jun Wan Bai was also accustomed to her getting so anxious she pretty much wanted to draw out her swords to fight with someone from analyzing the situation of war, while they would be together either meditating or bickering with each other about how undependable the other was.

At most, she would pretend not to see- out of sight, out of mind.

But today, she was still annoyed, and once she saw these two bastards sleeping this nicely, she almost could not breathe[2].

Jun Wan Bai kicked Half-crazed Li, and he suddenly opened his eyes, and subconsciously hit the ground and jumped up, “What? Battle’s starting?”

Once he yelled out, Chu Zhi Yuan to the side also immediately woke up, and similarly instantly jumped up, “Right now?”

“Battle my ass.” Jun Wan Bai angrily rolled her eyes, and knocked on the sand table, “I’d rather that bunch of bastards from the other side hurry up and fight one simply and directly, save on wasting brain power even though it’s clear there isn’t anything good.”

“What are you going on about if there isn’t a fight?”
The corners of Half-crazed Li’s mouth twitched, and he slowly sat back down.

They were immortal cultivators no doubt, but they weren’t actually gods, neither eating, drinking, nor needing sleep. After being continuously rushed off by Jun Wan Bai to go to the city walls to go on guard for days on end, being alert at every moment, with this long of a time, even immortal cultivators would be so tired it’d get unbearable.

Half-crazed Li was not courteous at all with Jun Wan Bai, and sat down about to continue sleeping, while Chu Zhi Yuan, at any rate, still had a bit of conscience, and felt a bit sorry about how he and Half-crazed Li were sleeping comfortably over here, while Jun Wan Bai was using her brain over there, thus, symbolically asked if she needed help..

“What can you help with? Help with being a hindrance?” Half-crazed Li half-closed his eyes, and sneered.

It was not like they never tried leading troops to fight before. In the end, it proved that this talent in military affairs and commanding really wasn’t held by everyone- if they did not rely on the imperial map, they wouldn’t even be able to protect the people they brought. Afterwards, they just simply did whatever Jun Wan Bai told them to do, wherever Jun Wan Bai let them take people to fight, they would go fight, and couldn’t even be bothered to think, and directly gave up on it.

Chu Zhi Yuan sort of wanted to draw his sword out and fight with this bastard again.

“If you guys are going to fight, fight it outside, the half-crazy one there, you shut up.”
Jun Wan Bai’s gaze swept by like a knife.

Chu Zhi Yuan put his sword back in its sheathe, while Li Xin twitched his mouth, and that pale-white face like someone owed him three million spirit stones revealed a definitely-not-considered happy smile.

After having thought for a whole day, each kind of possibility was already thought over, yet she had no way of confirming anything. Jun Wan Bai no longer stood in front of the sand table, and since the general’s tent was simple and crude, she also sat down on the ground, leaned against the table, and started resting for a bit.

“Bai Li……” Li Xin held onto his blade, and paused, then changed his wording, “Has there been no news from Sect Leader?”

In truth, during many critical times, they would always receive Bai Li Shu’s secret orders, following Bai Li Shu’s ideas to enter a large-range united battle or exchanging battles, re-arranging the military situation. At many times, when Jun Wan Bai heard others praising herself as the seldom-seen famous general of the sect, she would want to say, it was actually Bai Li Shu who was that real, shocking commander.

However, Bai Li Shu’s orders were only ever seen by those he designated it to.

Thus, though Li Xin and them knew that most of the matters were directed by Bai Li Shu, but as for what kind of orders Bai Li Shu put down specifically every time, and when he made those orders, they did not know either.

Jun Wan Bai went silent for a bit.

“I haven’t received his orders in a good period of time.” She quietly said.

After entering the stalemate, the times Jun Wan Bai received Bai Li Shu’s secret orders got further and further apart, and by the end, it was left to Yi He Ping to send the orders, and final order that Bai Li Shu made, was to assign her to guard Meng Pass.

Yet after arriving at Meng pass, she no longer received news from Bai Li Shu.

This was also the reason why Jun Wan Bai would always faintly feel some unease, like something was about to happen.

Li Xin also went silent for a moment too. Chu Zhi Yuan came over to sit to the right of the sand table, and the three leaned against the long table each thinking to their own things.

“Whatever, whatever, in any case, we’ll know eventually.” Jun Wan Bai touched her sword hilts, ended this topic, then turned to speak about the matters regarding the transport of goods with Li Xin and Chu Zhi Yuan, and also spoke about the situation of Meng Pass’s casualties in passing- what made people slightly happy was that under the circumstances of the stalemate, the number of disciples who got injured were less than before.

When they got to the matter of how the disciples from Wan Zhen Sect came to ask her for materials for creating formations, Jun Wan Bai grabbed at her hair like she had a headache.

On the battlefield, the lethal force displayed by the disciples from Wan Zhen Sect was certainly high, but this group of bastards, each and every one of them fought battles with money- the materials consumed in placing one formation was able to make an impoverished Jiu Xuan Sect disciple’s face turn green.

The one mainly in charge of goods was a disciple from the Nine Provinces Private Bank who escaped from Qi Qin dynasty before. Even the bastard from the Bank who normally had mountains of gold and silver to spend lavishly, who was of enormous wealth, when he saw inventory listing, turned green too, and came to her time and time again to go on and on with a frown. Jun Wan Bai saw the account books the Bank disciple sorted out once, just one look made her head turn numb, so she hurriedly threw it back, and found an excuse to send the person away.

“Do you still remember the Thunderstorm Azure Dragon Formation you put down?”
When Li Xin heard Jun Wan Bai speak on this matter, he suddenly recalled something.

Jun Wan Bai slightly froze, “What Thunderstorm Azure Dragon Formation?”

Li Xin reminded her, “Underneath Yan Men Prefecture. Putting out that kind of might using the materials for a Thunderstorm Azure Dragon, you’ve improved that formation of yours quite nicely, it can be of use now.”

“Improving a formation?” Chu Zhi Yuan spoke out in surprise, “Why do I not know you can even improve formations?”

Back then, they who were representative disciples pretty much grew up at Jiu Xuan Sect together. Everybody had fought that much for that many years, they all knew all there was to each other, so if Jun Wan Bai was so incredible she could improve formations, how could Chu Zhi Yuan not know of it.

Once Li Xin mentioned underneath Yan Men Prefecture, Jun Wan Bai recalled it.

At that time, they followed that bastard Ye Qiu Sheng in the middle of the night all the way outside Yan Men Prefecture City’s underground, and walked into the secret passageway, but in the end, met with a cerberus being sealed on that side. At that time, to take care of that thing, Jun Wan Bai put down a Thunderstorm Azure Dragon, and was unsure whether the last stroke was at the eastern three stars or the western seven constellations, and randomly connected one, then in the end, the formation’s might got multiplied several times.

Almost burying her and Half-crazed Li together in the earth.

Chu Zhi Yuan curiously asked about the details, and Half-crazed Li ignored Jun Wan Bai’s murder-filled gaze, and spoke of the things back then.

“Incredible, truly incredible, what a genius.”
Chu Zhi Yuan started clapping.

Jun Wan Bai touched the sword hilts on her own waist, and turned expressionless, “…… say it, when’s the duel?”

After laughing for a while, the slightly repressed feelings these three had all these days finally relaxed a bit, and Jun Wan Bai threatened Li Xin that after everything ended, they would fight, and her head leaned back, then spoke as though lost in thought, “Actually, it really could be done…… I’ll go find that bunch of brats from Wan Zhen Sect and talk about it in a bit.”

Ever since the big battle, the three very rarely laughed care-freely, so when the atmosphere was no longer that oppressing, they did not speak of those bothersome things, and three started chatting here and there.

Once they mentioned Yan Men Prefecture, Chu Zhi Yuan suddenly said, “After coming to Meng Pass, I’ve always wanted to go see Uncle Xie.”

Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin responded with a tone, signalling that they were listening.

The Uncle Xie mentioned by Chu Zhi Yuan was Jiu Xuan Sect’s main elder-in-charge at Yan Men Prefecture’s branch, Xie Yi.

Back then, after they met with a fog raptor, the Black-plumed Light Vessel stopped at Yan Men Prefecture, and was repaired in Jiu Xuan Sect’s branch for a period of time. But no matter of it was Jun Wan Bai or Li Xin, they were not that familiar with that elder, they only normally saw them a few times, greeted a few times, yet at that time, Chu Zhi Yuan did not seem to be out of the ordinary.

However, if it was only an unfamiliar elder, who would think to see them when facing the narrow pass?

Chu Zhi Yuan stroked his own sword, and lowly spoke, “Actually, I should call him Master.”

Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin opened their eyes.

They heard a clear overcast in Chu Zhi Yuan’s voice, but even if there were doubts inside, they did not inquire about it, and only quietly listened.

When Sword in Snow’s Elder Xie Yi was young, he was also a famous person among the immortal sects. Back then, Chu Zhi Yuan was actually a little pickpocket, and at that time, he saw that Elder Ye was dressed in elegant clothing, and thought they were a rich young man. Back then, he had heard of immortal cultivators, the immortals in the mouths of normal people, but he did not think that the person who looked like a handsome, talented young noble lord was actually an extraordinary immortal.

He went to steal Elder Xie Yi’s coin pouch.

Once he stole it, he ran off, and when he ran into a small alley with nobody in it, Chu Zhi Yuan wanted to see what the coin pouch had inside.

“Little brat, taking other people’s things is not a good habit.”

A clear voice resounded. At some time ago, Elder Xie Yi appeared in the small alley.

Elder Xie Yi took back his own pouch, looked at his old and shabby clothes, then sighed, and brought him into a restaurant.

After that, in a very long period of time, Chu Zhi Yuan followed by his side, and gradually knew that Elder Xie Yi was an incredible immortal, Jiu Xuan Sect’s elder. Chu Zhi Yuan would encounter him, because he was actually finding something.

Chu Zhi Yuan did not know what he was finding even to this day, because Xie Yi looked to be a bit nonchalant, and brought him around like a wealthy lord travelling for pleasure.

At that time, Elder Xie Yi would teach him some blade techniques, and taught him some of the most basic immortal-cultivating skills.

Elder Xie Yi never mentioned letting him become his apprentice, but at that time, Chu Zhi Yuan thought they were already considered master and disciple. It was when all of a sudden, one day, Elder Xie Yi brought him nearby Jiu Xuan Sect, and said to him, it’ll be enough to climb up the Connecting Heaven Staircase, once you go up, there will be someone who will take you in as an apprentice.

“And then…… I became a disciple of Jiu Xuan Sect.”
Chu Zhi Yuan said, and lifted his head up.

When they heard Chu Zhi Yuan speak of these things, Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin slightly turned silent. They could be considered to have grown up together, but in truth, normally, everyone…… fought more than they spoke, and mutually cursed more than they confided to each other, and was actually not that clear on each other’s origins.

And in Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin’s knowledge, back then, Chu Zhi Yuan walked to the bottom of the mountain by himself when Jiu Xuan Sect was taking in disciples, and climbed up the Connecting Heaven Staircase with them. All that time, he did not say that he actually knew a Jiu Xuan Sect elder before.

Chu Zhi Yuan was actually thinking of other things inside.

He spoke on it lightly, but only he himself knew how much he cared for these things.

“After teaching you that many things, you should at least be able to climb up, no?”
At that time, was what Elder Xie Yi said.

Chu Zhi Yuan pretty much wanted to ask him, what do you mean, taking in an apprentice, was he not his disciple?

However, he did not ask about it.

He stuffed the words inside, and got angry with Elder Xie Yi, thinking, if you don’t want to take me in as an apprentice, it’s not like I have to seek you as my master anyway.

This sulking lasted this long. He entered Xuan Xiao Peak, became the head representative of Xuan Xiao Peak, but he no longer learned the blade, and instead learned sword techniques. He never mentioned how he recognized Elder Xie Yi with others before. Since then, Elder Xie Yi never returned to Jiu Xuan Sect, but Chu Zhi Yuan still could not help but ask around privately, and knew he went to Yan Men Prefecture’s branch, and was stationed there.

Actually, though he was angry with Elder Xie Yi, he still thought, at some time, if Elder Xie Yi came to see him, he would no longer be angry.

He was an orphan, and wandered in the streets since young, being a beggar.

He knew he wasn’t anything.

In the past, he always felt at some time, when he was stealing things, he would die at other people’s hands, but what could be done? Others had a place they could return to, he didn’t, there was nobody in this world who would care for his life or death.

And then, he met Elder Xie Yi. That person taught him the blade, and brought him out from his former world. He thought that person was his master, people would say, master for a day, father for life[3]– at the bottom of his heart, he took Elder Xie Yi as someone like his own father.

And then, that person didn’t say anything, and suddenly left him all by himself.

That feeling was like a small child who had a very precious item, that was something the small child found extreme happiness with, but the person who gave him that item took it back again, and no longer gave it.

The small child was very very stubborn, and also liked having face.

He felt very upset inside, but on the surface, he still had to have the appearance of an adult, and indifferently cut off ties with that person. He made an expression like he completely did not care at all, as though if he stayed like this, he would really not care, and would win. Actually, it was only just a child throwing a temper tantrum with an adult. Their face would have an “I don’t need you to care” expression, but they would be anxiously waiting for the adult to come back to coax them on the inside.

But he waited for that long, that long of a time, but did not wait for it.

Thus, in the end, he really got angry.

During the time at Yan Men Prefecture, Chu Zhi Yuan pretended he already forgot who Xie Yi was, and when they saw each other, he calmly greeted just like other people.

But……

“After it ends, I’ll go see him for a bit.” Chu Zhi Yuan said, like talking to Jun Wan bai and Li Xin, yet also like talking to himself.

The child would eventually grow up, and would eventually reconcile with the adult.

War had stared, and when Chu Zhi Yuan heard there was an elder who fell in battle, he started getting scared. Only when truly facing war, people would then understand how worthless their former stubbornness and persistence was. Stifled with that breath of air, not going to see each other when they could still properly see each other, once they waited until they truly could not see each other again, they would regret to the point they didn’t know what to do.

The stubbornness from before was just simply always feeling, there was still time, that person would still be there.

But war was quite an unreasonable thing.

It would have you, or a person you cared about, taken away at any time. Without any foreshadowing, without any precautions.

“Wait until it ends, then I’ll go see him.”
Chu Zhi Yuan repeated again.

He made the decision.

“Wait my ass.” Jun Wan Bai suddenly scolded coldly, “Are you going to wait until cucumbers go cold[4]? Go, go, go, go on your flying sword right now and get away from me. Just how far is Yan Men Prefecture from here, is half a day enough for one round trip? I’ll give you a night plus half the morning, if you don’t appear at the front of the city’s guarding pass by tomorrow noon, prepare to die.”

“Ah?”
Chu Zhi Yuan dumbfoundedly lifted his head up, and did not think that Jun Wan Bai would suddenly lose her temper.

Jun Wan Bai already stood up, and looked down at Chu Zhi Yuan, “I am the main general, you are the vice general, I’m ordering you to get out of here right now, go where you should go, what kind of person do take yourself as, if this pass didn’t have you, it won’t go on, is that it?”

As she said this, she angrily kicked Li Xin who was slightly closing his eyes.

“Half-crazed Li, get out, we’re settling things outside.”

“Do you want to kill me or something?” Li Xin sucked in cold air, and rubbed his shoulder that was kicked, and slowly got up, “What are you losing your mind for in the middle of the night, you’re the one who’s the lunatic, aren’t you?”

Jun Wan Bai pressed on her pair of swords and stepped out, while Li Xin carried his blade, and put on a dead-pan face while following behind her.

Before going outside, he stopped.

“Hurry up and beat it.”

After finishing, he walked out within Jun Wan Bai’s angry urging.

Chu Zhi Yuan lifted his head up, and looked at their back figures, and after a while, he could not help but move his mouth, then let out a subconscious smile.

[1] general of a hundred men.
[2] 气不打一处来- similar to the expression of how the last straw broke. To be angry, not because of one matter, but due to the discontent that had gathered for a long time, and finally erupted on one matter.
[3] 一日为师, 终身为父- teachers should be just as respected as one does for a father, even if they were your teacher for a day.
[4] 等到黄花菜都凉了- cucumbers itself are cold, so in the expression, if it “goes cold”, it means to that too much time has passed. Too late.

Chapter 213

When Chu Zhi Yuan left, Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin’s swords and blade were exchanged several tens of times.

It was said to be a duel, but the two did not use primordial energy, and only simply exchanged sword and blade technique.

After perceiving Chu Zhi Yuan left, the two stopped at the same time without any prior arrangement. Jun Wan Bai put the swords back in its sheaths, and turned her head to look towards Li Xin who was still dressed in black with his face pale-white no matter at what time.

Li Xin also put away his blade.

There were quite few times when they would not mutually ridicule each other and not fight while being together. At this time, the two people each put away their weapons out of some reason, and when they stood across from each other, the atmosphere strangely turned a bit uncomfortable.

Jun Wan Bai actually sort of wanted to speak with Li Xin about the matter of the “seed”, though she already spoke about it with Master after she returned to Jiu Xuan Sect, and also knew that Sect Leader and them actually always knew about it. However, Half-crazed Li also did not report on her either, and instead concealed it for her at that time.

Jun Wan Bai felt that no matter what, she still owed this bastard a favour.

But this topic was hard to bring up.

They fought more than they were on good relations, and out of ten conversations, nine and a half were mutually taunting each other, so to suddenly want to say some other things was particularly difficult.

“Is there movement outside Meng Pass?”
Just when Jun Wan Bai was hesitating, Li Xin put back the blade and walked over, and opened his mouth first.

Jun Wan Bai raised her eyebrows, and looked at him slightly surprised, “Even you can see it? Has the sun risen up from the west?”

“…… The one whose brain has water in it is you, not me.” Li Xin looked at her with a straight face, “Anyone not blind could see that you’ve been out of the ordinary these few days like you’ve eaten the wrong spiritual medicine.”

“A half-crazy bastard has no qualifications to say this, no?” Jun Wan Bai sneered. A half-crazy person saying that another person was out of the ordinary, don’t know where the courage is coming from. However, she did not refute Li Xin’s words.

After a moment of silence, Jun Wan Bai sighed and lifted her head up, and looked at the stars spread over the skies, and faintly opened her mouth.

“I constantly feel like…… something’s about to happen.”

Furthermore, she was not sure, if they were able to live on next. It was precisely because of this, she would then straightforwardly push Chi Zhu Yuan to hurry and see his Elder Xie Yi who he was sulking over for that many years.

The matters of the world were impermanent, like white clouds and grey dogs[1].

In the times set back with chaos, who could know what would happen next? Perhaps once they let it slip, it would form a lifetime of regret and remorse.

The things Jun Wan Bai regretted over were plenty enough, she did not want to see others regret like that again.

“If war ends, what do you plan on doing?” Li Xin suddenly asked Jun Wan Bai.

“Me?” Jun Wan Bai thought for a bit. She had never really thought about this problem before. She always felt like she was a person who lived by carrying another person’s destiny, and was fated to die on the battlefield one day, or perhaps die to some person’s sword or blade.

But when Li Xin asked this, she could not help but think, if everything really ended, then what did she want to do.

Generally speaking, this would be the deepest desire in each person.

To hope that everything would finish, that everything would end.

“Put up a small little stall in the sect’s market, and then advise the little brats from the back when I have time, probably.” Jun Wan Bai thought about it, and spoke.

“Misguide people’s disciples when you’re free?”

Jun Wan Bai coldly stared at him.

“And what do you want to do?”

“If someone wants to misguide people’s disciples, then I’ll set up a place by the side, and when I see some small junior ignorant to the world’s perils about to be down on their luck, I’ll go there to help out.” Li Xin said.

Jun Wan Bai pressed on the handles of her swords, and felt like pulling them out. In the end, she thought, at any rate, she owed this bastard a favour, and then endured it.

“I’ll go see what those brats are doing.”

Jun Wan Bai patted her clothes, then turned to head towards the barracks, preparing to go patrol for a bit, just staying here was no use anyways.

Not two steps out, Jun Wan Bai heard Li Xin call her from the back.

“Last-named Jun.”

“What?” Jun Wan Bai turned to look at him.

Li Xin stood there with his blade, the starlight was a bit dim, he was dressed in black, standing there, so Jun Wan Bai could not see his expression clearly, and only felt like he seemed to have something to say.

“Nothing, I’ll say it later.”

After a moment of silence, Li Xin shook his head.

“Crazy.” Jun Wan Bai lightly scolded, then turned to leave, and her footsteps were slightly lighter than before.

Li Xin stood there watching her back figure, and the face that was always dead-like slightly revealed a bit of a smile.

◈◈◈

Yan Men Prefecture.

Lou Shi Dao went up the stone stairs step by step, neither hurriedly nor slowly going up.

It was not the first time he came to Jiu Xuan Sect’s branch, but this was the first time he bore such complicated feelings while stepping up this stone staircase, without Jiu Xuan Sect’s disciples in the front leading the way. And to his back, people wearing gold masks and black cloaks silently followed without a sound.

When walking up step by step, Lou Shi Dao thought to many things.

Back when he first became the only fourth rank official with a commoner background among all the government officials, the new emperor decreed he guard over Yan Men. Before leaving, Lou Shi Dao received that secret letter, on the rice paper with Chen dynasty’s imperial clan’s pattern, wrote, “Yan Men is an important place. Rein in the fame of the bell and cauldron.”

Not knowing why, Lou Shi Dao slightly wanted to laugh.

Back when Chen Yan Yu just ascended the throne, and was still only a new emperor contained by the aristocratic families, the people who relied on the immortal sects’ power to disdain the imperial law was of a countless number.

At that time, Chen Yan Yu remembered that seemingly-laughable promise they had back when they were at the imperial college.

—— Who knows what will happen in the future…… So, what if you can be an important official?
—— Exhaust all my strength, and become a famed bell and cauldron.

Back then, was how they asked and responded.

To realize those words he asked, at the time when his power was still weak, Chen Yan Yu entrusted an important post to him, then now, he will make that response of “exhausting all strength, and become a famed bell and cauldron” for Chen Yan Yu.

Back then at the imperial college, they arrogantly wanted to let make skies above be dispersed of the sun-covering clouds, and now, they were doing this.

The stone stairs below his feet felt very long, yet also felt very short.

He walked to a place not far from the arch cast from Black Warrior stone of Yan Men Prefecture’s Jiu Xuan Sect’s branch, and stopped in his steps.

Someone already waited over there.

That person quietly stood beneath the Black Warrior stone arch, while their figure was tall and straight like a lone bamboo, yet also like a green mountain. That person was draped with a black big overcoat, and on the edges of the big overcoat, streamed with gold-threaded embroidery. Tonight’s weather was very good, above the skies, there were no clouds ten thousand miles out, and all the stars’ light scattered down from the canopies of Heaven, falling on that person’s black overcoat that was swept by the winds.

Above his head, the plaque engraved with the two words, “Jiu Xuan”, was the same as ever in the black night, swift and fierce.

“Elder Xie.”
Lou Shi Dao slightly lifted his head, and his tone was as usual when greeting that person standing at the end of the stone staircase.

“Executive Lou.”

Both of Xie Yi’s hands were gathered int the spacious big sleeves, similarly greeting Lou Shi Dao no different from usual. He looked to already have waited here for some period of time.

“Elder Xie doesn’t look to be surprised.” Lou Shi Dao said with a slight sigh. The winds blowing from the corners of the northeast passed by the mountain ranges outside Yan Men Prefecture, carrying the frosty air atop the mountain peaks, passing by the two’s clothes.

When war had just started, each of the provinces within South Chen, Jin Tang, and Qi Qin dynasties, clearly drew out the faction they stood at, with the line from Shuang waters to Guan Mountain, most of the provinces north broke away from the dynasties’ control, and under the support of the aristocratic families, sided with the immortal sects, while south of the line from Shuang waters to Guan mountain, most of the aristocratic families were purged by the dynasties, [with the provinces] controlled by the dynasties.

And then, the provinces on this line swung to and fro according to the circumstances of the dynasties and the immortal sects’ warring situation.

However, Yan Men Prefecture was very far from the Shuang waters and Guan Mountain line- it was a city located in the northern region.

It should not be a swinging province.

But certainly, it was not swinging, it was just that from the start, this was the core of South Chen dynasty.

Yan Men is an important place. Rein in the fame of the bell and cauldron.

When the previous emperor did not die yet, the constructed “Ying Gong” passed by here, winding on top of the soils at Bing Province, like a divine dragon placing its tail on the vast lands. Except, at that time, before Ying Gong had completely finished, it could not realize its ability in changing the world’s spiritual veins, and the incident happened. People draped in black robes walked into South Chen dynasty’s city in a snowy night, and the previous emperor died in the imperial palace.

But Ying Gong did not died off due to this.

It only lurked, waiting for the command.

Right now, the time had already come.

“Nothing to be surprised over, it is just that the younger generation are quite fearsome.” Xie Yi faintly sighed, “You people have worked hard for a very long time, no?”

Since Lou Shi Dao had become Yan Men Prefecture’s executive, in public and in private, he had fought with the aristocratic families, but on the surface, he put on an appearance of an official of humble background who was being suppressed by the might of the aristocratic families.

No one would think that this young commoner official actually carried an important secret of South Chen here, and long before war started, he used an unimaginable patience and perseverance to erase Yan Men Prefecture’s prominent and influential families related to Jiu Xuan Sect bit by bit.

Except at that time, the immortal sects were already lofty, nobody knew what was hidden within.

Immortal cultivators were only immortal cultivators, they were not proficient in politics.

Before the incident at Bing Province’s Qing Ming tower, Xie Yi faintly perceived that there was something wrong. He previously probed into it, but most of his time was used to suppress the Heavenly pillar underneath Yan Men Prefecture, had no way of getting too diverted. After coming up with nothing from several probes, he could only drop it.

Afterwards when war erupted, there was not much other movement in Yan Men Prefecture.

Even if they were Jiu Xuan Sect, they could not purge an entire city’s government officials without any reason whatsoever.

“It’s been a very long time indeed.”
Lou Shi Dao lightly said.

Very long, very long, from Old Chen to South Chen, from the last emperor of Old Chen’s blood, to the previous emperor’s blood, and now to the blood that already flowed from even more people.

They prepared for a very long time, so long that the fires of wrath could no longer be suppressed.

“Come, then.”
Xie Yi went silent for a moment, and said.
[1] 白云苍狗- expression for the previous sentiment. Like how the clouds up the sky can look like white clothes in one moment, then turn into grey dogs the next. Unpredictability.

Chapter 214

As the starlight in the skies scattered from the canopies, Xie Yi’s black overcoat’s magnificent embroidery shined brilliantly, just like a fire, like the stars, like all the splendid and pretty things went in blossomed on top of his clothes.

Lou Shi Dao stepped back, and distantly looked at this battle in the dark night.

Wine in the mouth of the new pavilion, a killing blade in the snow.

He lightly sighed over that elegance that was suddenly unsheathed in the dark night. He was a mortal, mortals chased after long lives, after reaching the clouds- he was filled with a deeply-ingrained hatred towards immortal cultivators, but even if it was like this, even if they were enemies, at this time and moment, he still would be startled by and be shaken from everything in front of his eyes.

Just like during the ancient times, when people witnessed the golden crow dragging its tail by the lands, even if they knew they would be burned into ashes by the golden crow’s flames, when the scarlet fires rose up, they still could not avoid being moved by that bird of the sun’s beauty.

Walking in luxurious clothes in the night, while drawing swords in the snow.

What he saw, was the already gradually aging Xie Yi, but when he looked at the other person with their blade of light like snow in the radiance of the stars, with the world without a speck of dust(bright?), it made people think to what kind of elegance the Sword in Snow of that year had exactly.

A sword in snow, a flower within the night.

The strikes of light flooded the heavens and earth profusely, like a river of stars flowing long, like the vast sea toppling over, like a raging inferno being extinguished. Beneath the plaque of Jiu Xuan’s branch, the elder draped in the black overcoat danced up. Lou Shi Dao watched him, as though he saw that young person at the height of their prime a time long ago, treading over through song, going off with the flap of their sleeves.

That kind of peerless grace, through the crevices of time, allowed the people of the future peer into a small speck of it.

What a pity.

Lou Shi Dao thought, then slightly turned his head, and looked in the direction outside Yan Men Prefecture.

◈◈◈

Outside Yan Men Prefecture, Spirit Star Temple.

The ghastly cold starlight trickled down in this small little place in front of the Spirit Star Temple. At this time, in front of the temple, stood a figure from some time ago. That was a figure draped in a blood-red mantle.

It was a very strange thing- in the surroundings of this figure, after the starlight from the skies fell down, it seemed to be twisted due to something, and gathered, then solidified on his blood-red mantle, just like all the heavens’ stars became the ornaments on his mantle. And in his surroundings, the space emerged with a faint sort of warping that made people uncomfortable.

Where he stood, that stretch of space would sink into a terrifying stillness.

Just like, even the world was in fear of him.

The person draped in the bloody red mantle slightly observed the entire Spirit Star Temple. It didn’t seem like he moved, but the white and grey shedding wall’s ancient characters surfaced, and slowly flowed like molten gold on the wall. Afterwards, the entire space here slightly shook.

This tremor seemed like it transmitted from underground.

Immediately, the entire Spirit Star Temple silently turned into ashes- even those characters that seemed to be moulded into the wall itself disappeared together, like there was never a Spirit Star Temple here before.

And on the ground, was a entrance to a passageway.

If Jun Wan Bai, Half-crazed Li and the others were here, they would definitely feel surprised, because back when they escaped, the entire passageway was clearly already collapsed. And yet, at this time, this passageway reappeared once again.

The person draped in the blood-red mantle walked into the reappeared secret passageway like taking a stroll in a quiet courtyard.

The long natural stone passage was engraved with the lengthy 《Tai Yi Record》 on the two sides. The bloody mantle reached their hand out and lightly brushed by the characters engraved on the wall. When his unrealistically pale-white fingertips brushed over, the entire span of the long scripture instantly lit up.

The entire long stone passage was illuminated in an instant, turning brightly lit and magnificent.

The power those scriptures erupted with in an instant was enough to kill an elder as strong as Xie Yi, but the person draped in the blood-red mantle only stood there, only looked, just like that wasn’t a formation carrying dense murderous intentions, but was the brilliance welcoming his arrival, the world, due to his will, had been lightened up.

“It’s a bit familiar, like Tai Yi’s power.”

He took his hand back, and under the activated 《Tai Yi Record》, he stepped over the floor of brilliance, and walked neither hurriedly nor slowly.

His footsteps carried an unspeakable prestige to it. He was walking in this underground passage, yet was like a god, like a monarch, walking in his own kingdom. Or perhaps it should be said, in the places he was at, everything was his domain.

“I didn’t think….. after a long deep slumber, Tai Yi’s power would be used in this kind of place. Tai Yi, you are the most prideful of us all, if you were to wake up and see these misappropriated powers, you would definitely feel like you’ve been offended.”

He said, his tone carried a sliver of teasing, a sliver of liveliness.

But very quickly, his voice turned low and deep again.

“It was I who got muddled again. How strange, we promised to slumber together, wake up together, and together, retake our world, but why is that when I woke up, you guys are not here?”

He faintly sighed, and the entire passageway’s light dimmed down instantly.

His voice seemed to not have that strong of a emotion, like a mere lament, yet, the surrounding space’s tremors instead exposed some of his real feelings. That kind of oppressing, veiled wrath made the space instantly turn imposing.

As he walked by, the entire passageway slowly collapsed to his back.

—— This passageway was originally already collapsed, but only because of his will, the time here would turn back.

At the end of the passageway, the heavy black-iron door automatically slid open to two sides in front of the person draped in the blood-red mantle. After the very heavy iron door opened, a humid frosty air rushed inside, and the sounds of wind whistled by.

He walked inside.

The inside of this place was already a bit different from when Ye Qiu Sheng and others first entered.

In the mouth of the perpendicular tear of the earthly vein, the deep-black stone layer was still there, while black waters were wrapped with a momentum of washing everything, surging away, while tens of thousands of splashes broke and collided, the sound of water rumbled, like a very great music being played. The lone island erected with the bronze prison still was sunk at the torrential black waters by the iron chains.

And yet, there was a sword’s apparition suspended on top of the black waters. That sword seemed like a long anchor nailing the entire world, nailing that bronze prison into the waters.

The bloody red long robes swept around, and the mysterious person stood at the edge of the overhanging cliff, looking down at that sword from a high place, .

And before he came, the sword that was always silently suspended started shaking, and intense winds instantly swept around this giant underground space. From the top, a sound like it was made from countless bones colliding with each other, that made people’s hair stand also transmitted over.

“How laughable.”

On the blood-red robes the mysterious person was wearing, all the light from the stars moved around like flowing water.

The sounds of a sword, sounds of wind, sounds of water, the sound of tens of thousands of bones colliding overhead…… all these sounds were suppressed by the mysterious person’s light laugh. His voice carried that kind of ancient yet also incomparably grand might and power, so when it resonated, everything in the space became an accompaniment to it.

“Usurping our power, then using it to fight with us, these…… shameless thieves!”
His voice was calm, but in those final few words, it suddenly raised up.

The rage within his voice could no longer be suppressed and poured right out. In that instant, the entire space turned frantic, the black waters bubbled and surged, sweeping up giant waves hundreds of zhang high, while the iron chains traversing through the space all collided with each other, and the rigid stone all around vibrated, streaming down with big pieces of giant rocks, and the white bones above no longer collided.

Be it time or space, at this moment, it all shivered.

Anything and everything, because of its king’s, because of its ruler’s anger, had shivered.

“Noisy.”
The mysterious person said, their voice indifferent.

The sound of wind instantly ceased, the iron chains quietly traversed through the space, while the black-coloured water stopped flowing, and the stone no longer shook. Everything returned to a death-like silence.

This was true majesty.

If the emperor orders a west course, the rivers would not dare go east.

Even if the one who was furious was him, complaining it was noisy was him, time and time again, the one who was constantly changing moods was all him, his will was this space’s one and only law. The black waters were like a black giant dragon, and yet, this huge dragon, in front of the person draped with blood-red robes, prostrated like an ant.

“It’s too dark.”
Without wind, nor sound, after everything was deathly still to his liking, he lightly spoke again.

After his voice fell, the light of the stars ignored the obstruction of the stone and layer of earth, and obeyed his will and fell from the canopy of the heavens, penetrating through everything, and illuminating this deathly-still space. The sea of stars above the skies projected into this dark region, kindling this dark area into a dream-like state.

Everything turned clear and distinct within the light.

The ceiling was hung with slumbering fog raptors.

This kind of flesh-less being formed from white bones hung upside down, while the long necks hung down like ancient giant snakes, and on the comically humongous skull, were a pair of hollow eyes. They were the rulers within the clouds, but once the blood-red-mantled man came here, it hung on the ceiling, and became the ornaments to this space.

Their purpose was only for this too.

Those Chi chameleons guarding the bronze prison already no longer climbed on top of the iron chains. They prostrated in the black waters without moving a single inch, and submitted themselves to the paramount existence that came here.

The person draped in blood-red robes observed the entire space, then he took one step.

Ignoring space, ignoring distance.

After one step, he arrived to the side of the sword floating above the lone island.

The longsword let out a distinct cry—— for this rejoicing re-encounter after several tens of thousands of long years.

“Long time no see, my old partner.”
He affectionately said, and reached out to grab the sword hilt, bringing his cheek to the ice-cold sword body. The lustre on the longsword flowed, as though responding to his words.

And then, he gripped the keen sword hilt.

“Such a long time has passed, you have also been tainted by time like us. That heaven-cutting sharpness of yours back then has already been worn away by those shameless thieves, you are also angry, right?” His tone was peculiar, like he was lamenting, yet also reprimanding, “But no need to be in a hurry, I will soon return, and you will soon regain that kind of brilliant radiance.”

When he muttered, the atmosphere slightly shook, echoing along with his words.

He gripped the sharp edge of the sword tight, and the ice-cold edge cut open his hand. Blood flowed out from the place he cut, then seeped into the body of the sword.

The blood flowing out from his wound seemed like boiling magma, scorching and carrying a reddening light. As the surging blood seeped into the body of the sword, the longsword lit up inch by inch, and just like he said, it was washed of the accumulated dust from the long period of time, and once again regained the radiance of that year.

After that last bit of the tip also revived into a snow-like lustre, the entire space was illuminated by the pale-white glow of the sword- the radiance it regained after it woke up made mortals not dare to look at it directly.

“We will soon punish those sinners once again, just like we did before.”

The voice of the person draped in the blood-red mantle was light, but the hint of cruelty and ruthlessness swiftly and fiercely leaked out from that soft voice, carrying an aura full of bloodiness.

The wrath of a king, [creates] blood extending tens of thousands of miles.

He let go of the handle, and the longsword then suspended in the air. The imperial sword named “Jue” was as clear as water, the body of the sword was a kind of strange pale-white colour, icy and majestic.

The mysterious person opened up his arms, and made a embracing pose, while the imperial sword slowly melted into his body. After the imperial sword entered his body, the mysterious person’s figure emerged with an abnormal, obscure, warping feeling—— what came here, was only a substance-like apparition.

“Very soon, we will all return.”
He opened his arms, and started laughing.

The air shook, and tens of thousands of chains collided, making an ancient bell-like sound. The Wei ghost skeletons collided with each other inside the bronze prison beneath, playing an archaic song, as though also happy that this ancient existence finally returned to the world after a long time!

Within the grand and majestic music, the bronze prison that lost the suppression of the imperial sword slowly started shaking.

“One who carries my old friend’s blood, you may have betrayed us before, but today, I will pardon all your faults!”
The mysterious person stood in the air, slightly hung his head down, and looked down at the bronze prison on the ground with the lone island as the jail, and spoke with dignity.

He bestowed judgment.

Along with his voice, the countless chains throughout the space engraved with the 《Tai Yi Record》lit up one by one, and turned completely red and boiling hot chain by chain, melting in the air one after the other. After melting, the iron liquid fell down from the skies, like a fire-red iron shower of rain.

As the chains melted, the lone island fixed by the chains started slowly rotating. Piece after piece of giant stone fell off from the lone island, and that enormous bronze prison also gradually turned completely red, just like the space here already became a giant furnace, where everything, including the chains, were melting in this furnace.

“I will grant you power, grant you a new life, grant you all that you’ve once lost, you will soon belong to us, and fight for your previous sins!”

The mysterious person’s voice slightly raised up. He was standing in the air, yet was like sitting on a throne suspended in the heavens, with his hand holding the handle to the entire world, descending a favour coming from a superior ruler.

Pardon!

Grant!

Black waters surged up, and the withstanding bronze prison not subdued by the times, within his voice, turned into bronze liquid, and the blazing bronze liquid flowed into black waters along the collapsing lone island, burning those Chi chameleons prostrating in the black waters into ashes.

And yet, in the next moment, a flame even scorching than the bronze liquid sprung up.

A pale-white fire soared up to the skies from the melted bronze, and the entire space was flooded with that fire’s glows. In the fire, was a living being that could only be born in the primordial world rose up, a phoenix was reviving right inside the pale-white flames!

On a pale-white skeleton, flesh and blood laid over once again, then, were an incomparably magnificent and brilliant pair of wings. A distinct cry echoed throughout the entire giant underground space, and the phoenix that disappeared from the land of the twelve dynasties for a very long time appeared in this world once again.

“You will soon belong to us, and fight for your previous sins.”

The pale-white flames filled the entire space, but it separated around the person draped in blood-red robes. He looked down from high up at the phoenix reviving in the fire, and his voice was lofty and indifferent.

After the fires bloomed, it gathered and disappeared.

Also disappearing, was the phoenix’s figure, and it transformed into a tall young woman’s figure. The woman was dressed in a silver-coloured robe, while snow-white hair wound down. Her facial features were very deeply-cut, and her eyes were a kind of very indifferent, very light silver colour. The young woman stood on the shambles of the lone island on top of the black water, and lifted her head up to look at the figure draped in blood-red robes in the air.

She opened her mouth, but her voice was not clear and melodic, but instead, carried a kind hard-to-describe mute sound.

“I thought you would kill me.”
She said.

——Since she was previously a traitor.

Abandoning the power her father bestowed her, abandoning the glory that belonged to her, walking down from black imperial city suspended in the skies with the Zang Mu, giving herself another surname, once a traitor of the ancient emperors who ruled the lands.

“I wanted to kill you before.”
The person draped in the blood-red mantle calmly spoke, and did not deny their former killing intent.
“However, you are the sole person who flows with his blood in this world.”

His voice seeped out with a sort of grief and solitude.

The young woman looked up at him, and saw this existence who was once on the bronze throne of the imperial city, apathetically observing the vast lands, and felt that genuine solitude and sorrow on him. A long time had passed by, the ancient emperors’ cities were destroyed from the skies, their former grand palaces became wastelands, and the former prestige became a thing of the past.

He was in a deep slumber for a long period of time, and when he woke up, everything had all changed, then, would old friends also no longer be present?

No old friends by their side anymore.

The young woman did not understand just what kind of deep feelings existed between the Three Emperors, but within the several tens of thousands of years, they were the sole existences that were able to stand side by side. It could be assumed that between the Three Emperors, there was also some feelings there that they did not understand.

Would existences that were like gods be sad too?
She thought, then, under the other person’s gaze, lowered her head, “I am willing to return, and am willing to atone for the sins of back then.”

The other person was that kind of level of existence, to release her, was already a type of grace, a grace that looked upon how it flowed with White Emperor’s bloodline. But a king did not allow for disobedience, if she rejected, even if she was the descent of an old friend, she could only be killed just the same.

Let alone when……

She was the descendant of the White Emperor, she abandoned her own bloodline, abandoned a king’s glory, and became one of the members of the Eighteen Clans of Old.

And then, was forever sealed in the dark underground.

For how much devotion there was before, now, there was that much abhorrence, lament and hatred, intermingled and propagated in the endless sealing darkness, like a venomous snake biting at the soul.

Chapter 215

Once the person draped in the blood-red mantle disappeared in the air, the complete red iron and bronze liquid gathered within the black-watered river with white hazy vapour sweeping up and spreading out. The young woman dressed in silver robes stood on top of the shambles of the lone island surrounded by the black water and scarlet iron and bronze liquid, and watched that existence disappear.

“How long.”

She lowered her head, and observed the bronze prison destroyed beneath her feet—— this cage cast for her, and her face revealed an hateful expression.

“I can feel you, you are here.”
She said, her voice soft like talking in her sleep with a lover, and the muted voice suddenly turned sweet.

She extended her hand out.

A pale-white fire silently burned up from her, and the flickering flames were like countless spirits dancing around, where the ragged rocks within the cave cast out peculiar shadows within the glows, like countless dead souls gracefully dancing along with it.

The flames fell to the surface of the black lake, and spread out like snakes.

Big stretches of water vapour filled the air, and the surging underground river instantly evaporated. The river water transformed into extremely hot temperature vapour and filled the entire cave, as though the skies’ clouds descended to the underground world. The waters dried up, revealing the bed of the river- those red melted iron and bronze liquid laid over the riverbed, looking like blood vessels of the land.

The silver-robed woman lightly fell down from the lone island.

The long robes on her were more like an ancient ceremonial robe- there were archaic and complicated patterns, like the traces of the heavens’ constellations. She stepped on that flowing iron and bronze liquid that had not yet cooled down with her bare feet, and slowly walked over towards a part of the dried riverbed not far from the bronze prison step by step.

“So you are here.”
She said, her voice soft.

In the places the silver-robed woman walked over, white hazy vapour silently disappeared, and everything turned clear.

A skeleton quietly sat cross-legged at the bottom of the dried up riverbed- that was a adult male’s skeleton, within the long period of time, it endured through the surging lake water’s erosion, but still retained the completeness of the skeleton. On the pale-white skeleton, was a jade-like, yet not jade lustre to it. The silver-robed woman stood before the skeleton, and reached out to touch that skull whose former appearance could no longer be seen.

“So you are here, my husband.”
She lightly repeated again.

She slowly knelt down, and sat like a docile spouse in front of the pale-white skeleton, then extended her hand out to hold the skeleton’s pale finger bones, clasping hands with it.

“We see each other again. Aren’t you going to call out to me? The name you gave me, Bai Li Qing Ge[1], I still remember it, are you not going to call me that again? I won’t be called this name anymore. They will call me the Princess later on, so if you don’t say it, you won’t have the chance anymore.”

Bai Li Qing Ge gently said, filled with sentiment.

She still remembered that day they first met. Within the overspreading yellow sands, the daughter of White Emperor who grew up in solitude in the imperial city walked out of the pitch-black city for the first time. In her eyes, she saw a golden yellow desert, saw meandering sand dunes, and on the boundless land, camel trains that looked like ants back then, travelling within the distant sounds of camel bells.

While standing in the winds, she felt like everything was completely different.

The camel train came without stopping, and the people looked at the young girl wearing a veil while standing within the desert with surprise- she saw the gazes of mortals for the first time, with many novel things within their gazes.

“Whose family’s little lady got lost?” Someone rode a camel and left the train, then looked down at her, “A black wind’s[2] about to come, where’s your group?”

She did not say anything.

That was a kind very novel experience. You walked into the world of those you saw as ants, but before, you felt that the ants were just ants, where those ants did not have their own thoughts. But once you went inside, you would then discover that in this world you saw as that insignificant, was this intricate and beautiful.

But that was a completely unfamiliar world. The ones who were once ants in your eyes genuinely smiled at you like treating an equal, and their expressions were not like those silent black-armoured soldiers in the pitch-black imperial city- it was fresh and alive.

The young man scanned around for a bit, and did not discover the figures of other camel trains, thus, he sighed, and came down from the camel, and gave the camel to her.

“Then come with us first, the black winds are about to rise.”

The black winds won’t rise, as long as she wills it.

But she did not know why she did not say anything, and slightly clumsily climbed up the camel, and followed the ant in her eyes.

Bai Li Qing Ge slightly smiled. She brought her face close to the pale-white skull, and revealed a gentle expression. Her facial features were deeply cut and her eyes were a faint silver colour, making her appear icy and not easy to approach, making it hard to imagine that her face could actually reveal this kind of gentle expression.

“You like me, right?”

She was only a girl that did not want to think too much, she did not want to care about some grand and spectacular era and generation’s revolution. When she was young, she saw that weary young man on the vast lands find her in the boundless yellow sands, thus, slightly smiled at her and extended his hand out. His expression was that fatigued, yet his gaze was that clean.

Thus, she came to like that young man, and went along with him.

Abandoning the glory as White Emperor’s blood, following that person’s surname, his surname was Bai Li, thus, she also followed the surname Bai Li.

That young man believed in their family head like one would have faith in a god, and saw that person with a gaze deep and quiet like it was sealed with ice as someone irrefutable, and thus, she also followed him, and believed that person draped in white robes and holding the Golden Crow longbow.

“You do like me, right?”

She bent down, placed her head on the skeleton’s pale-white knees, and put her ears close to the icy cold skeleton, as though she would be able to hear an answer like this.

They became husband and wife, she followed his surname, and became one of the members of the Eighteen Clans of Old, standing across from the archaic rulers. Back then when that weary-faced young man became her husband, she would rest her head on his knees. He would lightly stroke her hair, and lightly sing a gentle song for her.

When she called him husband, he would subconsciously protect her at his back on the battlefield.

—— I don’t need you to protect me.
—— Ah, sorry, I always forget.

In his eyes, she was not some princess, she was just his wife. He would always forget how she was stronger than him, and always subconsciously want to protect her.

Oh, how she liked him.

When she recalled those things in the past, she could not help but smile.

How great, those times.

“Later on, I felt like you did not like me.”
As she lightly laughed, blood-red tears slowly slid down along her cheeks.

Once White Emperor fell, the North Star’s Tai Yi cursed the people who seized the ancient emperors’ power on the entire land, and those people who did not perfectly obtain power from the start—— those demons—— started losing control. And once White Emperor fell, as his bloodline, her power started turning unstable.

Sometimes, she would turn very strong, and sometimes, she would turn very weak.

This was the punishment that traitors should face, and she also started gradually losing control.

Day after day, her consciousness started turning muddled.

There were very few times when she would wake up from the muddiness, and when she woke up, she would discover that she was held in his arms. She reached her hand out to touch his weary cheeks, and promised once everything was finished, they would travel around the entire land of the twelve dynasties, and they would see the most beautiful landscapes, and go through the most remote corners of the lands.

They made such a wonderful promise.

But in the end, she only waited for a bronze prison inscribed with various symbols—— the person who was very familiar with her weak points had constructed this extensive cage, and that person, was also the person she trusted most and loved the most.

He sealed her within the heavy bronze prison, and when the big doors closed, the altar rose up bit by bit, and she saw him standing outside the doors, quietly watching her, his expression weary and yet also hurt.

Why?
She asked.

Clearly, not long ago, they even promised to travel around the land of the twelve dynasties, and in a blink of an eye, he instead sealed her in this deathly-still cage, and sealed [her] in the eternally-still darkness.

Much of the warm past turned into pain and rage in the endless darkness.

“At that time, I really felt you no longer liked me.”
Bai Li Qing Ge said, with the tears on her face still falling down.

She lifted her head up, and stared at the skeleton with empty eyes, then suddenly laughed again. She sat up straight, and reached out to embrace this skeleton that faced the front doors of the bronze prison and sat for who-knows-how-long.

“But now, I feel like you do like me.”

She stuck her cheek with his, just like before.

She imagined when the bronze prison closed, he sat in the black waters, and sat there without moving at all, and died off in the icy cold waters bit by bit in the long period of time, and then finally, turned into a bunch of dried bones without anything else, with their gaze always staring at herself.

“I know what happened now, my husband.”
She spoke with a gentle tone.

“He was the one who made the decision, wasn’t it? He ordered to purge all the people who lost control. That’s the kind of person he is. In his eyes, there is nothing that can be compared to the entire lands’ order. From how he saw it, I already lost control, and was unstable, and should be taken care of, isn’t that right?”

Her voice was no longer sweet, and was no longer soft.

A kind of coldness already seeped into her voice.

The stains from the bloody tears on her face already silently disappeared, and the deep parts of her pupils were already dyed with a boundless graveness and enmity—— that pain and hatred born from being trapped in the darkness in those long days and nights.

“You would not disobey his wishes, so you suppressed me.”

White hazy vapour swept on the ceiling of the underground space, boiled over, and the scarlet-red iron and bronze liquid gathered and flowed in her surroundings, while her voice no longer carried any hint of gentleness.

“But you also liked me, so you watched over me, and died together with me.”

She slowly stood up.

“It’s all…… his fault!”

A shrill voice echoed within the entire space. The hatred and rage that was restrained for that long finally could no longer be suppressed and erupted out. Her pupils suddenly shrunk, and became an inhuman thin and long, sharp line, with that deep of a coldness gathering in the bottom of her eyes.

Leading them to end the ancient emperors’ rule.
Using their blood to open up a new era.

Yet, in the end, depriving them of the right to walk on this earth they exchanged for with their blood! Making people who loved each other draw their swords and point them at each other, making people who loved each other betray each other, and be eternally apart!

The one who was callous, who was heartless, was that person!

“Sometimes…… I would think, is he really human(/person)?” The silver hair wound and meandered to the ground, and the young woman lifted her head up, spread open her arms, and stared at the wing bones of the fog raptors slowly opening up in the white fog.

The bones collided, making a clear sound.

Her eyes emerged with that eternally solitary figure, emerged with that pair of eyes that seemed to be eternally sealed with ice.

No selfishness, no feelings, no joy nor anger.

This kind of existence, should they really be called human?

“He has deprived us of everything, then, let us make him pay the price he should pay!”

The cold, ruthless voice echoed throughout the entire space, and the red iron and bronze liquid accumulated in front of her, then congealed into an ancient lance shape. She reached out and gripped the lance, and lifted it up high.

“Awaken, you guys have already slept for too long.”

Her eyes no longer had any warmth whatsoever.

She was no longer Bai Li Qing Ge.

She was White Emperor’s bloodline, the Princess.

When the ice-cold order resounded, the bones hung in the air like birds and snakes intermingling slowly lifted up. Those closed-up ghastly wing bones slowly spread open, and the giant sickle-like bones sprawled open like a fan, while white hazy vapour gathered within the white bones, becoming their new flesh.

The faint spirit fire burned up in their barren eye sockets.

After slumbering for almost an entire era, these monsters of the clouds that slept underground, finally reawakened.

“Let us…… battle once again!”
She said, her voice carrying a completely different majesty to it.

The fog raptors opened up their pair of wings, and left the interweaving iron chains, coiling around, with the wings between them colliding with each other, making a sound that made people go cold. In the Princess’ voice, the stone on the ceiling of the underground started falling down in big pieces, and the lands shook. The beings sealed for a long time were breaking away from their cage.

The ground completely collapsed, and hazy light from the skies fell down, illuminating the Princess standing on the underground riverbed .

She lifted her head up, and her back opened with a pair of wings burning with pale-white fire.

The clouds and mist swept around, and the fog raptors flew out from the underground darkness, then let out a incomparably sharp cry—— all for this regained freedom and revival!

◈◈◈

Jin Tang dynasty.

The Heavenly pillar loftily erected within Jin Tang dynasty’s capital. It was that humongous, that magnificent, that any person standing before it could not help but shiver for this miracle-like existence.

People had complete faith that it conveyed Heaven’s will.

Only Heaven was able to create this kind of majestic existence, this wasn’t something that human strength could achieve.

The day the Heavenly pillar rose up, countless people bowed to the ground, prostrated and kowtowed, almost not knowing what they were muttering from their mouths, and could only obey their instinct, and give sublime respect and worship to this creation of the gods.

As golden light shrouded over this place, the people thought they were subjects favoured by the heavens.

The cavalry draped with heavy armour surrounded the Heavenly pillar- Shen Chang Ge was looking up at this Heavenly pillar that stood on Jin Tang’s lands. Actually, this wasn’t considered the whole Heavenly pillar. In the era of Chaos, the Heavenly pillar was an existence that truly connected the heavens and the earths. Only, after the era’s severance, the Heavenly pillar’s power had been worn dead within the times.

They could only manage to recover a portion of it.

And much more important was, in the last year of the era of Ten Thousand Immortals, the Three Emperors felt the irreversible current of the history coming, and made the final reaction. They borrowed the Heavenly pillars to seal a portion of their own consciousness, and then later on, they would be able to borrow the Heavenly pillars to reawaken themselves. A very large portion of the power in the Heavenly pillar was used on that existence’s revival.

Shen Chang Ge looked at the Heavenly pillar for a bit, and then saw Bai Yi Qing come out from the protection of several soldiers.

No one would think that Qi Qin dynasty’s emperor, Bai Yi Qing, was not at Qi Qin dynasty, but instead only brought a few guards, and came to the borders of Jin Tang dynasty all alone.

When he saw Shen Chang Ge, Bai Yi Qing slightly smiled, and walked over to him, and greeted as usual.

“How is it?”
Shen Chang Ge asked. He felt the fluctuations of power in the direction of the Heavenly pillar last night.

“That person is already reviving.”
Bai Yi Qing smiled.

His face always had a faint smile, and his aura was gentle, but similarly, it also made people unable to judge his true feelings [from it].

“South Chen is already prepared. This battle of war has been in a stalemate for too long, it is time to break this stalemate.” Bai Yi Qing said, and lifted his head to look at the lofty Heavenly Pillar like Shen Chang Ge, “It really is an astonishing power.”

Shen Chang Ge refused to respond.

“All throughout this time, I do not know what your assurance is.”
Shen Chang Ge went silent for a moment, and lowly said.

Bai Yi Qing had suddenly come to Jin Tang dynasty, and in the dark night, carried a faint smile over to convince him. It was also in that night, that Shen Chang Ge finally knew this person was thinking of a dangerous and also insane plan. It was also from then on, that he discovered he actually completely could not see through this young man who was far much young than himself, and only felt that underneath the other person’s frail and quiet outer appearance, hid with a mad soul.

That was something that only a madman would think to do.

Yet, it carried a bizarre charm.

Bai Yi Qing smiled, but did not respond.

Shen Chang Ge left, whereas he stood there, watching the lofty Heavenly pillar.

Defeating the immortal sects actually was not enough to stop everything. As long as the Heavenly pillars were still in this world for another day, as long as those powers that transcended mortals were still on this world for another day, all the order would be as weak as paper.

As long as the people wanted to not to get caught up and die in a random battle between immortal cultivators, as long as people did not want to die without any way of fighting back, as long as people wanted to plow in spring for autumn harvests and soundly and safely live on, then they could only go forward, and not retreat back.

The era of Ten Thousand Immortals should be ended, and people should enter a generation of mortals.

Within the early morning, a trumpet bird flew over from the north donned in the morning light, and fell onto Bai Yi Qing’s shoulder. Bai Yi Qing reached out and took down a paper scroll tied to the trumpet bird, opened it up, and quickly skimmed over it.

“If you really are that existence from the legends, then please perish along with all of this.”
He softly said, watching the Heavenly pillar. His voice was gentle, yet, it seeped with another kind of hint of madness.

Within a chaotic space inside the Heavenly pillar, a figure draped in blood-red robes slowly solidified, and a pale-white sword appeared within, slowly rotating, while a frosty light jumped around on the edge of the sword.

Everything had already begun.

[1] 百里清歌- qing ge, itself, means a capella (non-accompanied singing), crystal-clear singing, orrr an elegy, for expressing sorrow or lament for the dead. “Princess”, not from 公主, but 帝女 (Imperial/emperor’s daughter)
[2] Term for a particularly strong sandstorm.

Chapter 216

Daylight lit up slightly, and the world was flooded with a faint fog.

Xie Yi shook off the blood on his blade, and slightly gasped for breath. That elegant Xue Li blade reflected with the daylight, clear and bright, like a cold spring on a winter day, with the curves graceful as before.

Different from the blade, was the black overcoat he was wearing- at this time, it was already tattered in many places, and the blood gathered beneath his feet was indiscernible whether it was the enemy’s blood, or his own blood. His tattered sleeves were blown by the wind, and the handsome face like that of a young man’s carried a bit of a weary expression.

On this road to Jiu Xuan’s branch’s plaque, there were already many corpses.

Many of those people wearing masks already fell down, while the remaining people were also carrying wounds.

“As expected of the Sword in Snow.”
Lou Shi Dao lightly clapped his hands, and praised.

“The blade is still the Xue Li bladeSword in Snow, but the person [named that] has already aged.” Xie Yi calmly said, and did not reveal a delighted expression. When the daylight fell onto him, his hair emerged with some white hairs.

His vitality long already approached exhaustion long ago, and after an entire night of fighting, he finally could not hold himself anymore, and the traces of aging appeared on his body.

“Whatever preparations you guys made, isn’t it about time to use it?”
Xie Yi lifted his eyes, and did not look at those enemies who were also injured, but looked to the mere scholar standing at a comparatively distant place, Lou Shi Dao.

Lou Shi Dao was about to say something.

Everyone standing on the stone stairs then felt a tremor from the stone, and Xie Yi’s gaze suddenly turned sharp, and he looked in the direction outside of Yan Men Prefecture.

“It has come.”
Lou Shi Dao said.

The skies suddenly dimmed down, and thick clouds shrouded over. In the skies several tens of thousands of zhang up, big stretches of clouds quickly gathered, and people heard a bird’s cry that they had never heard before, with that sharpness was like a warning. A kind of heavy and sunken pressure pressed down from the skies layer by layer.

Silently, the space outside Yan Men Prefecture’s Jiu Xuan branch started faintly warping.

The slight cold from the hours of the early morning withdrew cleanly, and a pale-white flame silently spread out along the ground.

Xie Yi’s expression slightly changed.

Both his hands gripped his blade, and with a clang, deeply thrust Xue Li into the ground.

A powerful force erupted out from him, and when those pale-white flames close to the ground silently spreading around got close to Jiu Xuan Sect’s branch, it was blocked off by a shapeless strength. But along with that, Xie Yi’s facial colour instantly turned pale, and his hair pretty much turned snow-white in a blink of an eye.

Not only that, but wrinkles also rapidly climbed up his face.

Time rapidly passed by on his body, and he rapidly aged in the faint daylight.

A clear, melodic small bell echoed.

A graceful figure stepped on those wavering pale-white flames, and slowly walked over. She was wearing a peculiar silver-coloured ceremonial robe, her hair was a white akin to snow, winding to the ground. She walked up barefoot over the stone stairs step by step.

For very step she took forward, the sweat on Xie Yi’s forehead increased by one drop.

Lou Shi Dao and the other remaining mask-wearing people stepped out of the way for her, while their waists all hung with a peculiar bronze tablet.

Lou Shi Dao slightly bent over towards the silver-robed woman, “You’ve arrived.”

The Princess did not look at him, walked past by his side, and neither hurriedly nor slowly walked up. On the stone steps she walked over, the blood disappeared cleanly. The colour of her eyes was a very light silver colour, appearing with a kind of icy indifference.

“The Heavenly pillar is behind you.”

She stopped in her steps, looked at the Xie Yi doing his best to resist, and calmly stated.

“The things in the skies are fog raptors, are you White Emperor’s descendant?”

Xie Yi did not answer. He felt that peculiar pressure from the top of his head, and slowly stood straight up, while the tattered black overcoat on him swept around.

He did not make way.

The Princess lifted up her hand, and bent her fingers into a claw towards Xie Yi.

A feeling of danger like being seen as prey by an incomparably strong being came, and Xie Yi understood his own conjecture was right.

“How unfortunate.” Xie Yi said with a sigh, “In the end, there was no way to return even once.”

The land of Jiu Xuan’s branch at Yan Men Prefecture shook, and an ancient power continuously transmitted from the lands, gathering on Xie Yi. He knew the identity and goal of the person who came, but he did not make way.

He was an elder of Jiu Xuan Sect.

Before he fell down, even if it was an ancient emperors’ descendant, they could not step into Jiu Xuan Sect’s gates.

Only……

He sort of missed Jiu Xuan Sect’s main sect with its stretching continuous ranges, he had grown up there. When he was young, he would practice his sword there, and bicker with the senior brothers and sisters. In the end, in his very last moments, he wasn’t able to go back to see it even once. This kind of regret was even more saddening than being about to die.

“If you do not mind, we will send you back.”
Lou Shi Dao went silent for a while, and looked at Xie Yi whose face started turning old, placing the last of his life into the Xue Li blade in his hands, then lowly spoke up.

On this world, there were many enemies.

With some enemies, when they died, it was just that, there was nothing worth caring about. With some enemies, if they weren’t standing in completely different positions, it actually might be possible they would become friends. And there were some enemies, who [you] would want to kill him with every means possible, but when you saw him really die, you could not help but sigh.

Xie Yi was an enemy worth respecting.

His elegant demeanour, even if he was on the opposite side, was to be praised highly.

“Thanks.”
Xie Yi said.

He drew his blade out, and sprung up, advancing forward, and faced off the frost and snow-coloured Princess.

◈◈◈

Just how much must one experience, that they would then understand that sometimes, getting angry was actually a very unworthy matter?

Chu Zhi Yuan who rode his sword in the winds rushing the entire night dropped down from the skies, and he vacantly stood at a place not far from Yan Men Prefecture’s city, and blankly looked at Yan Men Prefecture.

The person he was quarrelling with for that long was right in this city, but at this time, in his eyes, he saw a Heavenly pillar slowly rising up from Yan Men Prefecture’s city. That grand of a Heavenly pillar, lofty and towering up into the canopy of Heaven, that in front of it, mortals were as insignificant as mole crickets and ants.

The spiritual energy within the world started boiling up, faintly containing changes that made people uneasy.

As the ancient might slowly spread out, the lands shook without a stop.

The skies gathered with dense clouds, and the clouds pressed from above Yan Men Prefecture’s city. He saw those thick and dense clouds with countless giant shadows turning over, dancing, with a momentum as grand as an apocalypse. Those giant shadows clustered around the rising Heavenly pillar, as though carrying out a very late ancient ritual, rejoicing for this return after a long silence.

Dark[ness].

The skies had turned dark.

Clearly, it was early morning, but here, the skies suddenly turned dark. A strike of lightning like a black dragon passed within the thick and heavy layer of clouds, and a oppressive feeling that made people unable to breathe shrouded over from the skies. At this time, the canopies of Heaven became a domain that banned flying.

Hideous, mysterious, enormous skeleton birds turned over and flew around within the lightning- because they were in the high skies, one could only faintly see an obscure outline, but Chu Zhi Yuan was not a stranger to that kind of primitive dance. Back when the Black-plumed Light Vessel flew towards Bing Province, they once encountered a clearly already extinct fog raptor within the clouds in the sky.

Now, this organism that had already disappeared from the land of the twelve dynasties for a very long time, the fog raptor, had returned.

Chu Zhi Yuan dumbfoundedly stood outside the city, with his mind in a complete mess.

That rising Heavenly pillar reaching the skies, had shattered the picture he imagined on his way.

If he saw Elder Xie Yi, what should he say? He should say thank you, should say he’s sorry, should say many things…… but all those words he thought of was already useless.

Heavenly pillar! Heavenly pillar!

How could Jiu Xuan Sect allow for there to be a Heavenly pillar rising up inside a city they controlled! To immortal sects, a Heavenly pillar was an extremely dangerous presence- it was something to be suppressed and sealed. If the Jiu Xuan Sect branch within Yan Men Prefecture was intact, then this Heavenly pillar could not have risen up at all.

Furthermore, Chu Zhi Yuan understood what kind of person Elder Xie Yi was.

As long as Elder Xie Yi was still living, then no one would be able to step into Jiu Xuan Sect’s gates.

But right now, within Yan Men Prefecture, a Heavenly pillar was rising up.

Not only that, but there were countless fog raptors flying in the skies.

As the terrifying pressure pressed down from the skies, Chu Zhi Yuan already felt that feeling of his strength being restrained, and he already perceived one matter—— the matter that happened with the Nine Provinces Private Bank back in Qi Qin dynasty’s merchant city from before, at this time, was being staged at Yan Men Prefecture.

Remorse.

An unspeakable remorse.

Just like how Jun Wan Bai said, to hell with waiting, this world had that much change, that much impermanence, he thought time was still long, and that chances were still plenty, but in reality, there was none! A child getting angry with an adult, not getting along for that many years, that in the very end, the adult aged, and was no longer on this world.

Just what point was there to living that long?

In the very end, he finally understood, but instead, no longer had the chance.

It was only a blink of an eye, yet everything turned upside down.

He no longer had a way of saying the things he wanted to say.

Cold winds seeped into the bones, and in the end, Chu Zhi Yuan took one glance at the rising Heavenly pillar in Yan Men Prefecture, then turned to rush back in the direction of Meng Pass with all his strength.

—— He couldn’t make it in time to see Xie Yi, then, he can’t not make it in time for another thing again.

With Yan Men Prefecture’s Heavenly pillar rising this big of a movement, the dynasty’s army outside Meng pass could not possibly stay still.

Jun Wan Bai’s anxiety from before was correct. Certainly, there was something brewing all this time beneath the calm hidden current. Right now, it finally revealed its hideous fangs. Chu Zhi Yuan realized, the situation that had been in a stalemate for that long was already about to break. He let himself no longer think about Yan Men Prefecture’s matter, and used the quickest speed in his lifetime to rush towards Meng Pass.

The storm already arrived.

No matter what, he had to bring back this news of Yan Men Prefecture’s mishap at the first opportunity, and also must reach Meng Pass in the shortest time.

He must make it.

Chapter 217

Airs of death hung down.

In the deathly-still world, thick and heavy black-iron doors stood loftily. Nine black-iron doors erected in the light-less underground, while the doors themselves were like they formed into a independent space, where Jiu Xuan Sect’s main peak was the only entrance to it. This space it stood in was a bit similar with the Battlefield of Di Fen connected to Bing Province’s Qing Ming tower.

The ground was a solid darkness, while rugged deep-black rocks spread over the lands, and severe winds scraped by from a very far place.

Nine black doors tens of thousands zhang high towered on the vast lands, all mighty and majestic, while the heavy iron doors themselves were engraved with countless symbols hard to distinguish for future generations. The ancient civilization before the era circulated within those archaic and mysterious lines, where each stroke and curve carried a world-tearing power, shaking people’s hearts and souls.

Above each black door, hung a blood-coloured sun.

Those were deadened suns.

As they were suspended above the black doors, the blood light cast a layer of stifling and ominous colour for the black doors, just like these nine giant doors were absorbing these suns’ power to live.

The black-iron doors numbered a total of nine, of which, seven of the giant doors were already opened. Behind the thick and heavy giant doors, was a span of heavy darkness, that kind of darkness that had no light, no life, a deathly stillness that made all immortal cultivators tremble, just like what was behind the doors only remained with a wasteland.

tap, tap.

Light sounds of footsteps resounded. Yi He Ping walked on top of the towering stone, and slowly walked over to the front of a black-iron door that was opened. His black robes were blown by the winds, making a slight sound. In this space other than the winds, black rocks, and blood suns, there was nothing else, that even the sounds of their own clothes seemed a bit strange.

Harsh strong winds blew by.

Yi He Ping imagined the scene of these winds scraping at these thick black doors day after day, beginning from the day in the first year of the era of Chaos when Kong Jia cast them, these giant doors suffered from the erosion of the era’s alternation and the time of several tens of thousands of years.

That was a desolation that made people feel minute for no reason at all.

He slightly sighed, and walked to the front of the eighth black door. When the harsh winds blew on his black robes, he gathered his hands within the sleeves.

Yi He Ping silently calculated the time, waited for a while, and the ground started slightly shaking.

The thousand zhang-high heavy black door slowly opened up, and the strokes and curves of the patterns above the door flowed with a brilliant light, like a door turned dazzling in an instant, and briefly dispersed that kind of depressing stillness around the space. The ground shook without a stop, and the door opened with a gap enough to allow for a cavalry to go through.

In that instant the black door just opened, the space behind the door appeared.

Countless stars slowly spun behind the door, as there was a sea of stars behind the black door. The wandering(?) starlight illuminated that space as beautiful as a dream, that was a kind of beauty that, for humans, was far too shocking and distant, a domain belonging to the gods.

Within the radiance of the stars, a thin figure slowly walked out.

As he slowly walked out, that incomparably beautiful sea of stars to his back perished bunch after bunch, as though along with his departure, the sea of stars behind the door that was retained for tens of thousands of years died off bit by bit. When he walked out from the black doors, the final star also completely died out.

The space behind the black doors, completely turned into a death-like darkness.

Completely different from that stirring and brilliant scenery just now, the sea of stars just died like that in a few breaths time, and the brightness forever disappeared.

Yi He Ping looked at the young man slowly walking out from the doors.

With the sea of stars to his back dead, his black robes were covered with a layer of faint, wandering radiance. At the first glance, Yi He Ping felt like that young boy who sat on the tall platform and was lightly muttering to himself back then was already far away. After entering through the black doors time and time again, and then going out again, the young man also rapidly turned very distant.

That, was a feeling of distance.

From the surface, Bai Li Shu seemed to not have any changes yet, and still had not much expression the entire time, with their face just like before. But Yi He Ping understood that there was something that genuinely changed.

The other person seemed to be walking through a very, very, very long road alone time and time again, time, space…… all of those huge and unnamed things had separated him from everyone else. [Bai Li Shu] was clearly standing in front of his eyes, yet gave people a kind of feeling like they were very far from them. This sort of feeling was the most intense every time he just came out from the black doors.

And after walking out for a while, Bai Li Shu himself would cover up this kind of feeling.

But Yi He Ping was already accustomed to coming to the front of the black doors on time, waiting for Bai Li Shu to come out from the door.

At this kind of time, he would more clearly realize, in reality, he was very unsuitable as a master.

“A Heavenly pillar rose up?”
Bai Li Shu asked. Though he questioned it, but from his expression and tone, he actually already certain this matter.

The bottom of his eyes faintly seemed as though it was sunk with a span of slowly rotating, vast starry sky, with a pale-white phoenix apparition spreading its wings and soaring within the starry sky. However, this was also like it was only an illusion, and quickly, his eyes was just like normal again, like a stretch of deep sea sealed with a layer of ice. When one peered into it, they could only see their reflection on the ice layered on the surface of the sea.

“In Yan Men Prefecture, South Chen dynasty has already moved.”
Yi He Ping said, recalling the once spirited, clothes-loving little disciple brother who would be able to fight with the disciples from He Huan Sect for a single youth-preservation pill.

“Yan Men Prefecture……”
Bai Li Shu slightly lifted his eyes, and watched the dead sun hung above the skies, and also recalled something.

Underneath Yan Men Prefecture, those countless fog raptors hung within the ceiling of the underground space, the shadows of giant birds and snakes, the countless iron chains travelling throughout the space, the lone island being sealed by the iron chains, the towering bronze prison on the lone island, as well as the sword used by the Sky Emperor called “Jue” sealing the presence within the bronze prison.

Now, he already understood why, when the passageway was collapsing, he would turn his head back and look in the direction of the bronze prison, and would feel a strange kind of sorrow.

Over there, were two former Bai Li clan members.

One abandoned her blood, and crowned the Bai Li surname for herself. One followed after her the entire time, and in the end, slowly died in the turbulent black waters.

“The daughter of White Emperor.”
Bai Li Shu said.

From his calm voice, Yi He Ping heard a faint grievance.

Yi He Ping looked at him, and felt like he saw a silhouette within the long river of time.

The alternation of the eras, the transitions of the world, countless long and age-old legends, Bai Li Shu had personally experienced all of it. Time would pass by bit by bit, even the immortal sun would die off, only he alone quietly stood, eroded by time, fatigued, yet eternally unable to rest.

In reality, not remembering would be better.

“The one who revived is Sky Emperor.”

Yi He Ping actually already some guesses, and now, got confirmation from Bai Li Shu.

Bai Li Shu slightly hung his eyes down.

The things he knew of were more than all the people.

In reality, the one with the highest possibility of reviving should have been White Emperor. White Emperor was born in the undying flames, he was an ancient emperor who was most suited with the characteristics of “undying” and “rebirth”, and should have been the hardest to kill among the Three Emperors.

But in truth, White Emperor was the earliest, and the one who had most thoroughly fallen.

Bai Li Shu had confirmed this when destroying Namu’s imperial city. Inside the big desert of Khlajöwwma, they entered the city belonging to the White Emperor, so if White Emperor did not completely fall, since that divine phoenix tree should actually be the place his will was slumbering in, it could not possibly be that easily destroyed.

Borrowing the gestation of the divine tree, [to] obtain a new life from death, the White Emperor should have been the one with the highest possibility in reviving.

And yet, the White Emperor’s consciousness slept within Qi Qin dynasty’s broken Heavenly pillar.

Even if Qi Qin dynasty succeeded in releasing the merchant city’s Heavenly pillar, the White Emperor could not revive, and that was because the divine phoenix tree that acted as the place of Nirvana was already destroyed- what was left within the Heavenly pillar, rather than calling it White Emperor’s consciousness, it was better to call it just purely White Emperor’s power.

Within the era of Ten Thousand Immortals, White Emperor, Sky Emperor, and North Star’s Tai Yi wanted to create an 《imperial map》 that included the entire twelve dynasties, and re-alter the definition of power, thereby depriving the Eighteen Clans of Olds’ power that they stole from the ancient emperors. And back then, to stop the imperial map from being completed, Bai Li Shu once headed to Khlajöwwma’s country of Namu alone.

He convinced the White Emperor to migrate the imperial city into the void.

And then, he took away the Scarlet Flame from Namu’s imperial city.

With the Scarlet Flame taken away, the imperial map lost a significant power. Even if they could draw it out, it wouldn’t be considered whole.

Or perhaps, at that time, White Emperor thought he made a giant mistake, making the plans that the Three Emperors joined hands to complete finally fail, thus, at the later era’s severance, chose to use his own power to protect Sky Emperor and Tai Yi.

Bai Li Shu slowly thought of these things.

Just like how he had told Ye Qiu Sheng back then.

In reality, he was not considered some good person. No matter what the original intent was, all the things he did, all the methods he employed, were actually not considered moral and just at all.

“Next up……”

Bai Li Shu lifted his eyes up, and observed the dead suns in the skies.

Yi He Ping slightly bowed, just like he did after war started, and prepared to convey his orders.

“Let them go to Jin Tang, I will go to Tai Shang Sect.”

◈◈◈

Meng Pass.

“As expected of Li Yuan.” Wan Zhen Sect’s disciple smacked his lips, and lazily leaned on the tree, his hand still holding a small cup. As he spoke, he preciously put [the cup] in front of his nose to sniff once, with his face like a hungry and thirsty big man roaming a brothel, without the demeanour of an immortal sect disciple at all.

Li Shu sat to the side, so hurt he shook , and said in a sulky manner, “Isn’t that nonsense.”

That jar of Li Yuan he originally planned on sneakily sharing with Jiang Chen, after it was opened, was eyed by this bunch of bandits. In the end, the small jar of wine had to be evenly shared among ten people.

The jar of Li Yuan was originally just that much. With two people drinking, it was the amount of two cups, but with ten people sharing, that would just be the amount of two sips one person. By luck, this group of gluttons just had to fight for these two sips of wine.

The wine was little and people a many, it was even a rare good wine- these days while guarding Meng Pass, they ate diet-suppressing pills everyday to the point they were about to get nauseous, so everyone whose mouths were about to go dry[1] held up this bit of good wine, and were like old ladies protecting their own dowries. Two or three of them were a bit more sightly, and after finishing the one to two sips, they were done.

The rest were just utterly shameless. They held up the small little cup of wine, then, they would bring it to the nose to get a deep whiff of the fragrance, then loudly praise “good wine”, revel in it for a while, then preciously lick that once, their expressions and actions as wretched as can be.

It was just that bit of wine, yet made them drink all the way to when the skies almost turned bright.

If they were just shameless, then let it be so, at most, if one closed their eyes, they wouldn’t be able to see it.

But the problem was this Li Yuan was truly fragrant. When their own two sips of wine were done, to the side, there were still people holding up the cup of wine, praising it from time to time, and then, that fragrance would drift to and fro in front of your nose for an entire night……

The corners of Jiang Chen’s mouth twitched, and suppressed the bulging veins coming out from his forehead.

He felt like beating someone up for a bit.

“You guys done? Will you guys cut it out already?”

A He Huan disciple to the side finally could not hold it in. She opened her eyes, and her arched eyebrows raised up, while her gaze flew over there like a knife, and angrily stared at these two bastards, the Wan Zhen disciple and Li Shu, who showed off most excessively, and her hand pressed on the handle of the blade on her waist, with the threat as apparent as can be.

However, everyone had been together with each other for a period of time, and knew each other through and through. Gradually, as they gotten along, they’ve gotten more shameless.

The Wan Zhen disciple laughed merrily, and reached around Li Shu’s neck, “I am just conversing with Brother Li on the opinions and studies of the art of liquor, Sister Yang, the weather today is so nice, how can you be this short-tempered?”

“I can see that this weather is certainly not bad, it’s perfect for a duel.”
He Huan Sect’s Sister Yang lifted her head up to look at the skies, and nodded her head.

Wan Zhen’s disciple’s expression turned grave, “Sister, this is not right of you, the skies are clear, the airs are crisp, not a cloud in the sky…… sky…… fuck!”

Just when the Wan Zhen disciple got to not a cloud in the sky, the skies suddenly transformed. It was only the span of a few breaths, yet, the skies turned overcast all of a sudden, with black clouds heavily shrouding from above the skies. The skies in the hours of the early morning that were originally not considered bright suddenly were so gloomy it was like the black night at this time, and the bit of sun that just rose up, before it revealed its entirety, was covered over closely.

The world turned dark, and strong winds suddenly scraped by on the ground.

This wind came quite suddenly, and was also extremely powerful, even the immortal sect disciples that were cultivators felt that when this wind scraped onto the face, it was like knives.

“What’s going on?”
Jiang Chen abruptly stood up, and used primordial energy to protect himself, and his longsword instantly came out of its sheath.

“Shit! My wine! My wine!”
“Fuck!”

Pretty much at the same time, there were people loudly shouting around.

This weather transformed abruptly, and when everyone raised their heads up to look at the clouds in the sky suddenly spreading over, the winds suddenly came, and the Wan Zhen Sect disciple and Li Shu were taken by surprise- one’s cup of wine spilled down to the ground, while the other’s wine jar had been poured in with half a jar of sand.

Seeing how their extremely precious wine was gone, they were in so much agony they started howling at once.

Jiang Chen who was holding his sword on guard: ……

Fuck, these people’s brains have some holes in them.

[1] 嘴里快淡出鸟来- tasteless, dry.

Chapter 218

The Wan Zhen disciple was considered a bit more reliable, and with the wine spilled, he immediately cursed out while taking out materials and spirit stones from his ring to set up a formation. During these few years, war was in a critical state- it was not the first time Jiang Chen heard Wan Zhen Sect’s disciple curse to and back that the materials these cheating paupers gave to prepare formations were not enough at all.

Last time, the Wan Zhen Sect disciple took a small portion of his own personal collection, and after the battle, went to the Nine Provinces Private Bank disciple in charge of supplies to get a reimbursement.

At that time, they made a bet among themselves on whether the Wan Zhen Sect disciple could successfully be reimbursed.

Four bet they could, four bet he couldn’t.

At that time, Jiang Chen thought for a bit, and bet on it not being possible.

After half a day, the Wan Zhen disciple came back while throwing profanities around, and once Li Shu who bet he couldn’t get it back saw his face, he joyously extended his hand out towards the He Huan disciple at once, and last-named Yang unwilling took out spirit stones while asking the Wan Zhen Sect disciple just what happened.

The Wan Zhen Sect frowned, and said, don’t mention it.

Turns out, just when he went to see the Bank disciple, before he could say a few words, the other person first pulled at his hand and started sobbing with snot and tears, and first opened with a “brother”. After saying that, he started pointing at the supplies and cried over and over again about being poor, cried about how the Eight Immortal Sects were all brothers, that he was anxious that these things were not enough to support the brothers everyday.

Once he started crying, it made people felt like opening their mouths at this time was very inappropriate.

He could only barely comfort the allegedly “balding from anxiety” Bank disciple with a few words, but not two words into it, the other party then climbed up along the pole[1], and exaggerated the friendship of the immortals sects to the heavens[2], spoke of the short supply of good like fires burning lashes, and in the end, said so much it made the Wan Zhen Sect disciple foolishly contribute a bit from his personal collection’s material, that [the Bank disciple] then satisfactorily let go.

When the Wan Zhen Sect disciple took a few steps out, he felt something was not right.

After mulling it over.

Fuck, didn’t he come here for reimbursement? How could he even pay even more?

Once the Wan Zhen Sect disciple explained everything, everyone laughed, and laughed so much that they bent forward and backwards. Jiang Chen reached out and patted the Wan Zhen Sect disciple’s shoulder, and said with meaning, “To dare seek reimbursement from someone from the Bank, I salute you for being a man.”

The fellows from the Nine Provinces Private Bank, [all had] a mouth that could run a horse race. With a move of the lips, they could turn lies into truths, while truths can be exaggerated to lies- back then, there were many people who carried thoughts of only looking while walking into the Bank, but then when they came out, they were already deceived to the point that they almost lost their family assets.

Discussing reimbursement with the Bank?

Wake up, the day’s bright already, go get to work. (Dream on.)

After that day, the Wan Zhen Sect disciple looked at his own personal collection nervously, and would mutter “you bastards be sure to work harder, if at some time, you make me use my wealth for a wife to save you guys, you guys will have to think of a way to find me a wife” everyday as well as other similar things.

One time, the He Huan disciple got annoyed by it, and flipped her hair, and seldom smiled at the Wan Zhen Sect disciple, smiling all flirtatiously.

“Isn’t that simple enough, obediently hand over your personal stores, and I’ll be your companion.”

He Huan Sect’s disciples were famous for their force and unreasonableness, and when they fought, they were all insane unlike ladies, but He Huan Sect’s disciples were most certainly some beauties. With last-named Yang not putting up a fierce look, smiling this charmingly, the Wan Zhen Sect disciple turned a bit dumbfounded from looking, and his face flushed completely red.

The other people to the side made a fuss, and told him to hurry up and hand over the materials, and these brothers can congratulate them for becoming partners right then and there.

“I, I, I…… fuck, to cheat me out of my bit of assets, aren’t you guys a bit too unscrupulous?”

The Wan Zhen Sect disciple was like a cat whose tail had been stepped on, and jumped up with a blow, then ran off in the blink of an eye.

The He Huan Sect disciple held her hair with one hand, and sneered, “Useless.”

The rest of the people looked to each other, and privately felt like, in reality, He Huan Sect’s last-named Yang might have some feelings for that Wan Zhen Sect brat.

The young ladies over at Cang Pu dynasty dared to love and hate. Jiang Chen felt that, if, at that time, the Wan Zhen Sect disciple really said yes, the He Huan Sect disciple would dare to vow to be partners with him right there and then.

But unfortunately, that fellow could only put up a bold front, and once last-named Yang smiled at him, he ran.

What a good-for-nothing.

After that, when the Wan Zhen Sect disciple took out his personal collection again, he did not dare to say much, at most, he would mutter over and over again. At present, it was also like this, and while muttering in a small voice—— Jiang Chen reckoned he was cursing at them——he quickly put a formation on the ground.

After the formation was put down, the surrounding winds instantly turned small.

“What’s going on?”
He Huan Sect’s disciple knitted her eyebrows and looked at the skies, and asked.

Jiang Chen shook his head.

Just when he wanted to say something, Jun Wan Bai’s voice already resounded within the entire narrow pass.

“Enemy attack—— Battle——”

A her voice transmitted from far away, the entire encampment instantly calmed down from the uproar, and everyone instantly drew out their own swords and blades.

Actually, even without Jun Wan Bai’s orders that transmitted using primordial throughout the entire encampment, everyone knew that the enemies came attacking.

bam, bam, bam.

Heavy sounds of the war drums resonated from outside the pass. The sound was heavy, and transmitted very far, that everyone’s eardrums were shaken with a buzz with that heavy war drumming—— what kind of war drum would be able to make this kind of sound? When Jiang Chen rushed up the walls, this question passed by his mind.

And then, he saw that war drum with that sound akin to muffled thunder.

The giant war drum was several zhang high, clustered around a black-armoured current. People wearing black masks stood on top of the wooden frame, and heavily beat on that giant war drum. The drumming was like heavy rocks falling down from the sky, thus, the ground also shook up along with it.

No…… the ground was certainly shaking, that was not their misconception.

The soldiers donned in black heavy armour surged over like tidal waters, at some time ago, the enemies stationed outside Meng Pass increased several times, and behind the infantry, were the cavalry riding big and tall steeds, both donned in heavy armour. The force in which they advanced the attack at Meng Pass with shook the heavens and the earth, and the lands shook when the tens of thousands of horses were galloping.

The infantry attacked the city, while the cavalry opened bows towards the immortal sect disciple guarding on the walls from a farther place.

A sky full of showers of arrows.

That was a terrifying scene. One did not know how many arrows were flying in the air at all, as it was thickly dotted like a rainstorm.

In this period of time they were guarding the city, it was not like they did not face the enemy’s arrows, but compared to today, those showers of arrows were practically child’s play, completely not worth a mention.

Jun Wan Bai’s voice transmitted throughout the city, and ordered everyone to be on guard.

“Half-crazed Li.”
Jun Wan Bai who long already reached the top of the walls called out. She already could not care to think why the dynasties’ black-armoured cavalry would appear outside Meng Pass’s battlefield without any warning.

Li Xin took back his blade. Just now, he cut apart a scaling ladder held up by the infantry already close to the wall. Once the scaling ladder fell, the soldiers that just climbed up the ladder fell down from the air, and submerged into the current of soldiers surging up from behind.

When the overspreading shower of arrows came attacking, the disciples on the walls could not block this shower of arrows that killed the sects’ elders back then at all.

At the same time, Jun Wan Bai and Li XIn held up the imperial map.

A grand golden light spread open and enveloped the entire city of Meng Pass. Within the gold light, ancient beasts that only existed within the era of Chaos and Ten Thousand Immortals roared and emerged- the golden crow bird swaying its wings, the hundred zhang-long ancient python winding around hissing, the galloping and roaring Four Beasts…… they reappeared in the world within the gold light, carrying a wrath from being forgotten by the time to welcome in that overspreading and enveloping shower of arrows.

The black arrows and gold odd beasts collided with each other, and opened up a massacre above their heads.

Jiang Chen was slightly relieved- inside, he was rejoicing that the ones guarding Meng Pass were Jun Wan Bai and them.

At this time, the infantry already rushed to the bottom of the walls, putting up scaling ladders that used Cang Pu dynasty’s hundred year old yew. Jiang Chen cursed inside how Cang Pu dynasty was a wavering yet secretly-participating bastard, and his longsword cut down, cutting down each and every fearless soldier rushing up the walls.

He slightly let out a breath of relief.

With Senior Jun Wan Bai and them blocking the shower of arrows, as long as they protected the walls firmly, and did not let the infantry attack successfully, then they could still hold on.

Though that black-armoured cavalry that suddenly appeared outside Meng Pass was incredible, still, they were only a cavalry- as long as they were not directly battling on the plains, their power could not be fully realized. And their mission, was to only guard the city!

And yet at this time, the sound of the war drums that was originally monotonous and dull suddenly transformed.

It turned hurried, and resounded with a beat that disturbed everyone’s minds.

As the beating transmitted over distantly, the immortal sect disciples guarding the walls felt like someone was heavily hitting their own spiritual insight, and their hand’s movements came to a slow at once. Jiang Chen turned surprised, and understood that giant war drum had another effect to it.

He forced himself to not get affected by that pressing beat, but the effects already appeared. The defence that was originally considered firm had indications of being overturned.

“No good!”
Li Shu tore at his throat by his side, and he reached out and wiped away the mixture of blood and pieces of flesh on his face, yelling out.
“You guys guard for me, I’ll shoot down that drum!”

Li Shu did not cultivate in the sword or blade, but rather, a longbow. Everyday, he would proclaim that he could take down a head from a thousand miles, fated to be graceful and talented. Ever since Sect Leader Bai Li’s two arrows settled the perilous situation at Tong Men Pass, he further tooted his own horn, and exaggerated his own archery skills into that of Sect Leader Bai Li who he hoped to be like one day, able to draw the bow like a full moon, and shoot down Sirius to the northwest[3].

At the beginning, the others really were deceived by him, and really thought this brat had this kind of great and lofty ambition, and slightly changed their opinions on him.

Up until one time, Jiang Chen could not listen on, and revealed the truth of his.

Back then, this bastard chose the longbow because of his courage. He felt like using a longbow to take heads from far away, not needing to directly make contact, would be the best, but if he did not hit it, then it was convenient to escape with. To say it directly, it was fright.

But certainly, though this fellow’s archery skills could not be compared to Sect Leader Bai Li’s, it was still considered alright.

Once Li Shu finished yelling, he did not care how others answered, and first jumped onto the walls, stood higher, and chose a position that would not hinder the movement of pulling the bow, and took out the winter-wood arrow he hid at the bottom of his collection for a long time, and put it on the divine ox bowstring, and started taking aim at that giant drum far away.

Before Jiang Chen could say anything, he nimbly jumped up there like a monkey.

“Shit.”

Jiang Chen cursed, and rapidly climbed up with his sword, then lifted his sword up to try and kill the soldier Li Shu cut down. He reckoned in the other party’s eyes, this fellow Li Shu who suddenly leapt up the walls was practically a psychopath that offered up his own head.

He Huan Sect’s last-named Yang called out, telling Li Shu to hurry up and get down, but Li Shu could not hear it anymore.

This always improper fellow pulled the bowstring and firmly aimed at the other side’s huge war drum. As a coward using bows and arrows, ever since the beginning of war, to guarantee that his own arrows were able to shoot through the target, he used quite a bit of effort to look into the dynasties’ side’s war armour.

He even studied the random materials quite a bit too.

Even if they were very far, Li Shu still could recognize the materials used in that giant drum, that was a type of very rare spirit rhinoceros’ leather(skin) from Qi Qin dynasty’s southern sea. That kind of leather armour made from the spirit rhinoceros’ skin was soft yet very tough. One time, when Jiang Chen fought his way out the formation, Li Shu wanted to shoot down a soldier that was only wearing leather armour for him, but in the end, though the arrow hit the target, it could not pass through that person’s leather armour.

Thankfully, Jiang Chen himself reacted fast enough, and killed that person with the side strike of the sword.

Later on, when that battle was finished, Li Shu ran off to dig out that leather armour from the corpse, and specifically took it to ask the well-informed Nine Province Private Bank’s misers, and knew of quite a bit of information regarding the spirit rhinoceros’ skin from there in passing too.

When a drum made from a spirit rhinoceros’ skin was hit, the sound carried a certain effect of shaking the mind. Over at Qi Qin dynasty, there were cultivators able to use this property, and borrow a secret method to refine spiritual tools able to unleash different effects on other people’s minds.

However, to affect that many people on that big of a battlefield, the spiritual rhinoceros leather used to create that giant drum was definitely no less than a hundred years old, as the degree of toughness was obvious.

Li Shu’s own winter-wood arrow was a hard-to-obtain sharp arrow- it was something that Master gifted to him when he had not died yet, a treasure that he had given to this good-for-nothing little disciple of his. [Li Shu] could not bring himself to use it all this time, and in the past, even wanted to leave it for his own son or grandson or something.

But now, he had to use it.

Furthermore, even with the winter-wood arrow, he had to concentrate all his power too. He could only hit that bit of surface of the drum after the other party hit it- by borrowing the other side’s power, could he then have absolute certainty in shooting through that giant drum. The timing and angle did not allow for any slight miss.

And it was precisely because of this, that he had to jump to the top of the wall, and not let his vision or movement be disturbed by anything.

Li Shu’s pupils rapidly contracted, and his entire being, already merged with that one arrow of his.

Jiang Chen heard the Wan Zhen Sect disciple by his side curse out loud, taking out all his things without any hesitation to quickly put down a formation. The He Huan Sect disciple also no longer yelled out, and bit down while fiercely killing off all the enemies who approached the wall. The people nearby, including other small groups, also gathered over here.

The soldiers that were climbing up seemed to have also seen through Li Shu’s intentions, and attacked even faster. For the time being, this place became the most dangerous battlefield within the entire city walls.

Jiang Chen spit out the blood from his mouth, and the longsword in his hands erupted with a light it never had before.

[1] 顺着杆子往上爬- take advantage, specifically, of a person.
[2] 天花乱坠- as though the sky was raining with flowers.
[3] 会挽弯弓如满月, 西北望, 射天狼- a line from the poem 《江城子·密州出猎》. Sirius, as in the star Alpha Canis Majoris. The Chinese name more roughly translates to the Heavenly wolf.

Chapter 219

There was not a sound by the ears.

Li Shu could not hear anything at all. There were no sounds of war drums, no sounds of blades colliding with each other, no sounds of killing nor yelling. The world only remained with that giant drum, the hand of the person beating the drum, and his own heartbeat.

His heartbeat turned calm.

In this moment in time, the longbow merged with his flesh and blood, becoming the extension of his arms, while the bowstring under his finger was his own pulse. The winter-wood arrow put on the string had its own heartbeat, the heartbeat of the winter-wood arrow and his own heartbeat gradually merged together, and they became one body.

Everything in the distance in his eyes turned more and more clearer.

That person hitting the drum turned slower and slower, slower and slower.

Li Shu waited, whereas his pupils were only left with the surface of the drum.

Finally——
Here!

Without any hesitation whatsoever, Li Shu let go of his hand, and the one arrow carrying all his primordial energy broke through the air, with the winter-wood drew out the most graceful arc he had shot with his own hands in his entire lifetime. That, was a meteor, and all that it passed by, be it time or space, were penetrated and torn through.

As the pestle landed heavily, the surface of the giant drum appeared with a small, slightly depressed dot compared to other places, and in the instant the pestle was lifted up, the person beating the drum heard the sound of wind coming from behind his ears.

He subconsciously turned his head over.

In his line of sight, a blue silhouette flew by his eyes, and pretty much passed by close to the tip of his nose, and in the next moment, submerged into that drum he was hitting just now.

In the next moment, a blue light erupted out in front of his eyes, he instinctively extended his hand out and blocked it in front of his eyes. When he came to and realized something bad happened, it was already too late. A blue-coloured long arrow completely submerged into the surface, and the spirit rhinoceros leather that was close to a thousand years was penetrated by this blue long arrow just like that.

Not only that, but a faint-blue flame burned up from the body of the arrow, and covered over the entire giant drum’s surface in the blink of an eye.

The person beating the drum reached out to press on the surface of the drum, and distinctly realized, this drum was already destroyed.

He turned to look at the direction where the long arrow came from, and only saw that there was a thin, small silhouette on top of Meng Pass’s walls. That person’s hand was holding a longbow.

Above Meng Pass.

Everyone who was using their full power to resist that drumming that seemed to resound directly in the minds felt the pressure suddenly alleviate. The hurried and rhythmic beating sound that sounded like muffled thunder had stopped.

“It worked! It worked!”
Li Shu pretty much forgot he was still stepping on the walls, he jumped up, and danced with joy while calling out in a loud voice.

That heart of Jiang Chen’s that was raised up the entire time finally relaxed. He could not care to wipe of that scorching blood splattered over his face, and gripped the sword with both his hands and did all he could to kill all the bastards who planned on giving Li Shu a strike from behind.

Everybody’s faces all revealed a joyous smile, and the other disciples who gathered over here let out a thunderous cheer.

“I did it!”

After receiving this kind of cheer for the first time in his life, Li Shu’s eyebrows were pretty much about to fly off to the skies, and he proudly waved the longbow at Jiang Chen and the others.

“Yes, yes, now get off of there quick.”
Jiang Chen laughed as he scolded.

The other people in the small group half-laughed and half-scolded. Everyone was a bit proud, but when they saw Li Shu’s “I’m number one” look, they still could not help but spill a basin of cold water at him. But, they didn’t actually really act on it and pull Li Shu down from the walls.

For one, they had Jun Wan Bai and [Li Xin]’s imperial map blocking the shower of arrows coming down, and other people climbing the walls naturally was blocked by [their group]. Without the effect of the war drum, it was not considered dangerous for the time being.

Secondly, in reality, everyone was quite excited inside. They were merciless in their words, but their actions instead indulged this brat Li Shu showing off. Having someone who want to act funny was actually a quite an invigorating matter.

“I’ll take it that you guys are worshipping.” Li Shu proudly said, and walked on the walls with quite the disposition of setting right to the world, “I——”

What came after was not completed.

“Li Shu!”
Jiang Chen’s pupils suddenly contracted.

He reached out to pull Li Shu.

And then, before he could pull him, Li Shu already fell down from the wall.

A shapeless blade of wind came with breakneck speeds, and fell to the top of the walls. The blade of wind reached several ten zhang long, so when it hit the walls, the entire top of the wall crumbled in layers and collapsed, and Li Shu who was stepping on top of the wall was swept off by the tail of the blade of wind. Jiang Chen watched red blood fly up from his back, with his face still carrying the pride from a second ago. He fell down with the expression mixed with surprise and vacancy from the wall, and tumbled down.

This blade of wind came all of a sudden, so everyone was caught off guard- some got seriously injured, some died.

Jiang Chen’s arm was full of blood, he fell onto the floor, then climbed towards Li Shu.

“Li Shu!”
“Li Shu!”

His mind was a span of white. He called out hoarsely, and reached out grab Li Shu who fell to the floor.

The thin and small Li Shu moved for a bit, and turned over. He laid on the floor, with half of his face full of blood, and bloody foam continuously gushed out from his mouth. Jiang Chen reached out to grab him, but he did not turn his head. His gaze was fixed on the skies, and his face carried a terrified and blank expression.

“Wha-…… wha-…… what is that……?”

Intermittent speech came out from his mouth, and Jiang Chen lifted his head up to look to where his gaze was at.

At the same time, the entire wall was filled with this same panicked voice.

What is that above the skies?

At some time unknown, the faint-gold barrier the imperial map spread out and formed had already been broken with a big hole, with that opening getting bigger and bigger. The layer of clouds in the skies came descending down, that dense, that many clouds gathered outside the barrier, and descended above Meng Pass’ walls, like a corner of the skies suddenly hung down.

The sea of clouds surged around, and inside the sea of clouds, appeared with giant beings that they had never seen before.

Those were archaic, avian-type beings completely formed from white bones. Their necks were long beyond reason, like snakes, yet like dragons, writhing and twisting joint by joint within the clouds and mist. The skull connected at the end of the cervical vertebrae was narrow and long. The first half of its head like a grey mask, and the long, keen beak connected to it formed a seemingly-smiling-yet-not nefarious expression.

Within the clouds and mist, their ribs cages flickered about like crescent moons, ghastly and pale-white, while the clouds and mist hovering above their skeletons were like their blood, like their flesh, flowing around as the sickle-like bones from their wings spread open.

What is that!

What are these skeletal birds that suddenly came down from the skies!

The world turned dark, and lightning passed through within the clouds, while muffled thunder billowed and surged from the top of their heads, like the ancient Kua Fu pulling a horse carriage rolling over the canopies of Heaven. The giant beings within the clouds opened up their beaks at the people on the wall, and revealed a smiling-like nefarious expression. They let out ear-piercing cries, where those cries were sneering [at]—— those humans guarding on the wall that were like ants compared to them!

They were in ecstasy, smiling hideously and grimly.

[Because] they would soon launch a hunt of blood.

“What…… what are……”

What are those?

Li Shu stared with his hollow eyes, and looked straight at the skies. The pride, fear, and blankness on his face intermingled and mixed together, and was fixed at a slightly strange, comical expression.

◈◈◈

“Fog raptors!”
“Fog raptors!”

Jun Wan Bai’s mind exploded, and she almost could not stand up- in that instant the imperial map was broken through, she and Li Xin received heavy blows at the same time, and spurt out a mouthful of blood together.

She caught onto Li Xin’s shoulder while her mind turned into a numb mess, then looked at those clouds pressing down from the skies blankly as those clouds revealed hideous skeleton birds. Almost instantly, she recalled outside Yan Men Prefecture, that underground space they, Bai Li Shu and Ye Qiu Sheng saw back then.

Those slumbering fog raptors hanging on the ceiling’s iron chains.

Right now, those fog raptors flew out from the underground, they appeared on the struggling Meng Pass battlefield!

But why at this time?

What happened at Yan Men Prefecture?

As a bunch of thoughts flew by her mind, Jun Wan Bai pretty much calmed down in an instant- no matter what happens, right now, what she had to do, was to block these fog raptors! The power of fog raptors was far too terrifying, at present, counting that they only broke the barrier formed by the imperial map, [they] had already raised pretty much a one-sided slaughter on the walls.

“Half-crazed Li! Retreat!”
Jun Wan Bai shouted, then drew out her own pair of swords. She planned on drawing out her own blood essence, then burning her primordial energy, and use this as an offering to forcefully activate the imperial map.

Without Chu Zhi Yuan here, the two of them could not use the imperial map’s true power at all.

Just as Jun Wan Bai’s swords were drawn out, someone gripped her wrists and forcefully put them back. Jun Wan Bai was about to get into a rage, yet suddenly froze up.

Li Xin gripped her wrist, and pushed her swords back. He was covered with blood from top to bottom, and those black clothes turned more dark at this time, while the originally pale-white hands was full of lukewarm blood, and faintly, there was a transparent flame burning on his body. That dead face that was like the entire world’s people all owed him a million spirit stones, was still of that ridiculing expression.

“Retreat.”
He simply said, and pushed Jun Wan Bai back, while he himself stepped onto the crushed walls and sprung up.

“Half-crazed Li!”
Jun Wan Bai’s voice resounded from the back.

By his ears was the sounds of wind, and within the wind, Jun Wan Bai’s voice appeared a bit hazy and surreal, where everything had gone far off. Last night in the light of the stars, Jun Wan Bai’s slender and tall figure, he watched her nimble and distant steps, and felt like his own feelings also turned light and lively…… but these already turned very far away.

——Nothing, I’ll say it later.

That many things in his life rapidly flew past his mind, and in the end, only these words were left.

Why did he not say it at that time? Even though he told Chu Zhi Yuan not to wait, he himself hesitated.

How regretful.
Li Xin thought.

Coming towards him were winds that were like wild blades, while his own blood seeped into the imperial map. The imperial map opened up in front of him, and archaic odd beasts once again appeared on top of the walls. His spiritual insight started boiling up, the spiritual sea broke, and primordial energy burned in to a raging inferno, passing by and breaking apart each inch of his muscles, emitting a scorching pain.

Flames burned on top of Meng Pass.

The already matured Jiu Xuan Sect disciple sprung up midair, and alone faced those revived ancient beings. An unsplendid light covered over his body, while the ancient scroll spread over and opened in the air, with a primitive might spreading all over, and the originally already defeated odd beasts once again gathered together.

The odd beasts’ figures that reappeared this time almost turned real.

A golden crow opened its wings in the high skies, and let out a distinctive cry, while gold flames turned and surged in the air, illuminating the dark world. A strong and robust black dragon passed by the skies, crying in nine tones, with its scales gathering with an ancient dragon’s might. An enormous giant elephant came by stepping through the canopies of Heaven, while the sounds beneath the feet rumbled on……

Those fog raptors that barged in were driven out, and a new barrier formed above the skies.

And then, a figure fell down from the air.

Another figure sprung up, and caught him.

◈◈◈

“Last-named Jun?”
Li Xin tried to look.

But he was not successful.. His vision was only a span of black, he could not see anything anymore.

“It’s me.”

It was Jun Wan Bai’s voice.

“Did I succeed?”
Li Xin asked.

Jun Wan Bai held him, and knelt on the tattered walls. The surroundings were all quiet, and the skies were left with a gold silhouette. The infantry already stopped attacking the city, while the black-armoured cavalry stood on the plains not far away, solemn and silent as a steel(unbreakable) torrent. At this time, the battlefield submerged into a span of silence, and the fog raptors no longer cried out.

There was only a quiet wind, carrying a scent of blood and gunpowder, passing by everyone’s faces.

Everything was quiet and calm.

But it was not because of that final ignition from Li Xin.

The imperial map certainly opened, and also briefly blocked the fog raptors in the skies, but the sea of clouds was boundless, there were still an uncounted number of fog raptors still concealed within the seas.

What made everything stop, was a person who suddenly appeared.

Above the skies, suspended with a throne made from bones, and a barefoot woman draped in silver robes quietly sat on the throne. Those sombre and ghastly fog raptors were hovering behind her, and slightly lowering their own skulls to express their submission. Jun Wan Bai felt a sliver of familiarity from her.

The existence sealed by Sky Emperor’s personal sword beneath the bronze prison, she came out.

Bringing thousands and thousands of fog raptors.

Jun Wan Bai lifted her head up to look at those fog raptors no longer calling out, as well as that silver-haired woman who did not immediately attack for some reason.

“En, you did it.”
She said, her voice without a sliver of abnormality.

That face of Li Xin full of bloodstains revealed a rare smile.

He used all his strength to lift his hand up, and wanted to touch Jun Wan Bai. Jun Wan Bai reached out and grabbed his completely-bloodied hand, and stuck his hand to her own face.

“…… Wan Bai.”
Li Xin lightly called out, with his voice gradually growing weak.

“…… En.”

Li Xin heard Jun Wan Bai’s voice slightly shake, with a choking sound that could not be repressed. All of a sudden, he no longer felt regret. Fortunately, last night, he did not say those words out loud.

“Don’t…… don’t cry.”
He feebly said, while his voice got smaller and smaller.

Don’t cry, if you cry, you won’t look good anymore.

I don’t want to see you cry.

“Okay.”
Jun Wan Bai said, and she hung her head down, bringing her and Li Xin’s face together. The boiling hot blood on Li Xin’s face also went cold slowly.

After feeling like a long time had passed, Jun Wan Bai lightly opened her mouth.

“Half-crazed?”
“Half-crazed Li?”
“Li Xin?”

She did not get an answer.

Chapter 220

Chu Zhi Yuan gasped for breath, and descended down to the top of the wall with a pale face.

When he saw fog raptors pressing on the city, he already knew everything ended- no matter if he made it or not, it ended, Meng Pass could not be kept.

But he still came.

Came like he was seeking death.

He stood still close to Jun Wan Bai, and expressionlessly gripped his sword, observing the white-boned throne suspended in the skies. He already realized who that silver-robed woman was—— the existence beneath Yan Men Prefecture that was sealed using the Sky Emperor’s personal sword.

The young woman hung her eyes down and observed Jun Wan Bai holding Li Xin from high up, with the air on her apathetic and cold.

Jun Wan Bai placed Li Xin’s already cold corpse flat on the ground, and she slowly stood up, drew out her pair of swords, with the expression on her face calm as death itself, “Ready——”

Jun Wan Bai’s voice echoed throughout the entire Meng Pass.

Though the young woman on the throne did not move, the situation was already clear- the other person was a strong enemy that was able to extinguish them with the flip of a hand.

Those who were lightly injured, heavily injured, crying, at a loss….. after Jun Wan Bai’s voice transmitted far off, the immortal sect disciples stood up one by one, followed her, and gripped the weapons in their hands. Rustling strong winds passed by from a distant land, and scraped by these disciples’ faces.

The light from the blades were like snow, and the world, silent.

Jun Wan Bai did not immediately put down the order to counterattack.

—— Even if her entire body was screaming from top to bottom, go rush up, go kill that person sitting on the throne, to either kill her, or go die.

She was a general.

She was responsible for the entire Meng Pass’ guarding disciples’ lives.

She was first a general, and then was she Jun Wan Bai!

As long as the other party did not show an intention of complete extermination, then she could not move carelessly.

The silver-robed young woman sat in the throne high up. Faced against the entire pass’ hostility and vigilance, she reached out and lightly waved, and all the gold light in the air completely scattered, and the imperial map closed up, then fell into her hands.

Jun Wan Bai clenched her teeth tight, even if she did this, the flesh on her cheeks still abruptly twitched.

That imperial map was stained with Li Xin’s blood.

The silver-robed woman held the imperial map, with her attitude just like she was holding an ordinary scroll. She slightly lowered her head and casually looked, then extended her hand out, with her fingertip lightly passing by the surface, “I can feel that person’s aura……”

She opened her mouth. Her voice was not loud, but it clearly fell into each person’s ears.

“Where is he?”
The silver-robed woman lifted her eyes to look at Jun Wan Bai.

In that instant, Jun Wan Bai’s breathing slightly stalled. The woman’s gaze was indifferent, but Jun Wan Bai could feel that…… the other person looked at her, like looking at a mole cricket or ant.

“Who?”
Jun Wan Bai used all her strength to make her voice calm, but her entire body instantly completely tightened up.

“Are you people not listening to his orders to guard here?” The silver-robed woman faintly said, her tone was odd, carrying a sort of fleetingness to it, “You recognize him.”

She said with certainty.

“…… Sect Leader Bai Li?”
Jun Wan Bai’s pupil slightly contracted.

When these few words, “Sect Leader Bai Li” were said out loud, the skies suddenly dimmed down, and Jun Wan Bai humphed, and took one step back. In that instance, she felt that this incomprehensible existence in front of her, passed through a sliver of genuine killing intent, but that killing intent was not directed towards her.

In that instant the other party’s killing intent flowed out, the skies abruptly darkened along with her feelings, the air seemed to solidify for an instant, and the fog raptors hovering behind her spread open their bony wings, and the clouds and fog started moving around.

Jun Wan Bai’s pupil slightly shrunk, and made preparations for battle.

But quickly, that silver-robed woman returned to that icy and lofty look, without any emotion, and she tossed the imperial map back to Jun Wan Bai, then overlooked the entire Meng Pass, “Go back to tell him——”

“We have already returned to the lands.”

A black-dragon-like strike of lighting passed through the skies, and illuminated the world into a white and hazy colour as bright as snow in that instance. It also illuminated the other person’s face, that gaze that was like looking down on ants.

Jun Wan Bai gripped the imperial map, and stared at the silver-robed woman.

Chu Zhi Yuan took one step forward.

No matter what decision Jun Wan Bai made, he would not oppose to it.

The other party had scornfully let them beat it, let them leave, not because of compassion, but because in the other person’s eyes, they were only existences that were like ants. Their life and death could not even compare to the importance of carrying her words to one single person. The immortal sects’ prestige was torn apart so easily like that by the other person.

The entire Meng Pass was in silence.

Everyone had heard the silver-robed woman’s voice. The people on Meng Pass did not make a sound, instead, they tightly gripped their swords, and waited for Jun Wan Bai’s orders, their sides fallen with their comrades, their bodies full of blood, the bottom of their eyes carrying the flames of hatred.

They were waiting for the orders to battle.

And yet.

“Retreat——”
Jun Wan Bai loudly shouted.

An uproar was raised in Meng Pass, but the immortal sects’ disciples did not move, no one fell back.

“I said—— retreat——”
Jun Wan Bai sternly shouted. Her voice was almost hoarse, and the sound spread through the entire Meng Pass like billowing thunder.

“Retreat——”
“Retreat——”

Again and again, the sound echoed within the narrow pass, bounced to and fro.

Retreat.

Jiang Chen held up his sword and numbly lowered his head to look at Li Shu’s corpse on the ground, and hoped that the other person would suddenly spring up, and wretchedly smile at him, then sneakily bring a jar of Li Yuan to him- hope the other person would suddenly laugh loudly while telling him, I didn’t die, ha ha, got scared, didn’t you.

But he didn’t.

Li Shu laid on the floor without moving at all, and blankly looked at the skies.

The Wan Zhen disciple went over to reach out and carry Li Shu, while Li Shu’s hands rigidly hung down, and He Huan Sect’s disciple reached out to pull at [Jiang Chen].

“Let’s go.”

Her voice was hazy and surreal.

Let’s go.

Go where?

Once he leaves, what about Li Shu?

The people on Meng Pass slowly retreated. This was the messiest time in all of the immortal sects’ history, withdrawing with heavy losses, and it was because the enemy arrogantly let them leave. Each person’s face was shrouded with an expression of sorrow, everyone had escaped from death, but nobody could smile.

Jiang Chen blankly turned around, followed behind everyone, and walked in a trance.

All of a sudden, he kicked something.

He looked down.

It was a small little jar of wine, extremely familiar-looking.

That was the jar that held Li Shu’s Li Yuan. [Li Shu] couldn’t bring himself to throw it away and carried it in his arms, so when the Wan Zhen Sect disciple held his corpse and withdrew down the pass, it fell from his arms, and fell to the ground, with a fine yellow sand mixed with blood flowing out from the jar.

—— Brother Chen, Brother Chen.
—— Guess what I got?
—— Promise you won’t fight over it with me first.
—— You promised yourself.

……

As the familiar voice echoed in Jiang Chen’s mind, he could no longer hold it in, and suddenly turned back, then roared like he went mad.

He drew out his sword, sprung up, and went towards that throne within the high skies.

◈◈◈

“We’re letting them go just like this?”

In the middle of the black-armoured cavalry formation, on a war chariot, a white-haired elder turned their head to ask the young man by their side.

Chen Yan Yu, South Chen dynasty’s emperor, actually personally came to this Meng Pass, and was right within this cavalry. He stood on the war chariot, propped against the railing, and looked at everyone from the immortal sects withdrawing from the tattered Meng Pass.

The teacher by his side asked.

“Since it is that person who let them leave, then let them leave.” Chen Yan Yu said. Though they captured Meng Pass, his face did not reveal an excited expression.

The teacher said, “Yan Men Prefecture’s Shi Dao has already laid an ambush, do you want them to move in?”

Chen Yan Yu muttered to himself, and did not immediately answer.

During this time, there was someone on Meng Pass who roared and rushed out from everyone withdrawing, and soaring up towards the white-boned throne in the skies. The woman on the throne did not move, but in the next moment, that person was burned into ashes by a pale-white flame in the air.

The people withdrawing paused, and then, that Jun Wan Bai from Jiu Xuan Sect with military talent sternly ordered everyone to retreat once again.

“It’s fine.” Chen Yan Yu said, “Think of it as my rare wilfulness.”

The teacher also saw that scene, and he slightly sighed, “Alright, after all, it is the Princess’ will.”

Chen Yan Yu did not say anything anymore, and ordered the army to slowly head towards Meng Pass.

When seeing the black-armoured cavalry slowly walking into Meng Pass, someone from the immortal sects who slowly withdrew to the plains behind first started loudly singing the song of beckoning souls.

“Oh spirit, come back! Soul of the gone, why do you wander? Abandoning one’s place of happiness, yet leaving us is inauspicious! Oh spirit, come back!”

The bleak singing echoed in the wilderness. First, it was one person singing.

And then, two, three, tens of people…… that by the very end, everyone who was slowly retreating were singing together.

“Oh, come back—— they cannot be entrusted [with you]—— oh spirit, come back—— you cannot stop in the South——”

Oh, spirit, come back!

This Meng Pass is not our sect, not our home! We are about to leave this place, you guys must not stay in this unfamiliar place!

“Oh spirit, come back—— you cannot stop in the North——”

We are about to leave, let your souls return with us together! We will bring you back together, we will return to the familiar sect! We will once again drink together, laugh together, we will be like before.

“Oh spirit, come back—— return to your home——”

Come! Our brothers and sisters! Come back together with us! We will sing the song of beckoning souls the entire way to guide the way for you. In the remote and distant sect, there are people waiting for our return.

……
……

Spirit, oh spirit, return together [with us], spirit!

On the boundless lands, winds blew by, and the desolate soul-beckoning echoed on the lands dyed with blood and fires for a very long time, where the sect’s disciples who had to retreat called to the dead’s souls to return together with them.

Within the desolate singing, South Chen dynasty’s iron cavalry slowly headed into the Meng Pass on South Chen dynasty’s land. Stepping over their and the sect’s blood and corpses.

Within the skies, the Princess sat on the white-boned throne.

She expressionlessly, and apathetically watched the people singing the soul-beckoning slowly withdraw. The singing turned more and more distant, and finally, was only left with a minute echo.

The fog raptors were in the clouds to her back, steadily dancing around.
Cayce hanya seorang mahasiswa yang kebetulan menyukai cerita silat, kesukaan cayce dengan cerita silat dimulai pada saat saya SMP. Banyak kesan tersendiri buat cayce mengenai cerita silat itu sendiri…

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