Zhao Ge Chapter 81-90

Chapter 81

Chapter Eighty-One, Within the Darkness, Who Lives and Who Dies? (⿊暗之中, 谁死谁活)
As Jun Wan Bai’s pair of swords were slowly put back, black- coloured blood dripped onto the floor along the snow-white body of the swords.

She stood in the circular corridor, and had the thing that silently pounced towards her from the darkness cut into two.

Once Jun Wan Bai took care of the bronze odd beast statue in the room, she left the stone room, and after using the shortest amount of time to confirm this place’s circumstances, she then started to try and find other Jiu Xuan disciples. After confirming the points of similarity between this upside-down tower and the Qing Ming tower, Jun Wan Bai started to recall the three floors of the Qing Ming tower they previously checked, and what those bronze statues in the rooms were.

She didn’t know if it was a coincidence, but after she recalled the light marks the Jiu Xuan disciples received, she discovered that the odd beast statues where the light mark originated from were all gathered in the first three floors of the Qing Ming tower.

That is to also say, suppose this strange giant tower that was buried into the earth was the prototype of the Qing Ming tower, then the places the Jiu Xuan disciples were located in should correspond with the Qing Ming tower. Where the odd beasts the light marks originated from were located, is where the Jiu Xuan Sect disciples should be right now.

Jun Wan Bai remembered that a few of the odd beasts matching the light marks obtained by Jiu Xuan’s disciples should be on this floor.

However, when she walked along the circular corridor to search, half-way through, Jun Wan Bai met with a surprise attack.

With the pair of swords slightly hung by her side, Jun Wan Bai maintained a vigilant posture, and she then turned over to check the thing that attacked her in this strange place.

—— That was an unusual snake with a body full of purple and blue scales, with two heads. From the looks of it, it should be one of the mutations of the Hui snake’s descendant.

When Jun Wan Bai turned to check the strange snake’s corpse, in the shadows behind her back, thin and long figures silently swam across, and emerged with a half-arc shape, surrounding Jun Wan Bai. Jun Wan Bai seemed to have found out something, and bent down to check the snake corpse split in half.

The instant she bent over, the snake head that had been cut down suddenly sprung up from the floor, and the two heads opened up at the same time, with the fangs suffused with a dim and cold evil aura. And at the same time, those things in the dark to Jun Wan Bai’s back also moved from each direction- like spreading out a net, they covered over Jun Wan Bai.

Within the dark, one could only hear a piercingly cold wind noisily sweeping by.

Jun Wan Bai coldly laughed.

The pair of swords hung by her side slanted, and the edge of the blade passed through a frosty cold moonlight in the dark, and in the next moment, a myriad of strikes burst out in the darkness. The pair of swords seemed like a sea of clouds rolling over in an instant, with the imposition of wrapping around everything. Quiet like lofty mountains, moving like overturning seas—— this is what impermanence is!

The sea of clouds turned over, like the vault of the heavens bursting out in a rage.

If the skies overturned, just how many things were able to live on?

The sound of the sword was fierce and sharp, and Jun Wan Bai’s pair of swords half-collected near herself. She didn’t even go see what it was she killed just now, and the tips of her toes pointed, then her figure slightly sprung up within the pitch-black corridor, and spun in midair.

The deep-blue robes spread out like crow feathers, and the pair of swords quietly swung, completely different from the piercingly cold imposition just before. This time, the pair of swords seemed like its traces disappeared into the darkness, and directly merged as one with the dark space.

This strike of Jun Wan Bai’s cut towards a stone room in a direction to the side. That was the direction she came from, except, just before, that stone room’s door was shut properly, and there was no one there at all.

clang——

The extremely fast and silent pair of swords were blocked.

The empty stone room just before emerged with a big and tall, robust figure. That person seemed to have preparations early on- after blocking this strike of Jun Wan Bai’s, their figure burst apart, and turned into countless crows. The originally quiet corridor turned noisy in the next moment, and hundreds of crows flapped their wings, then headed towards Jun Wan Bai.

Their bodies were not big, but their claws were suffused with a dim, ominous purple light. That was poison that Huang Ling dynasty’s people used to expel odd beasts.

Of Jun Wan Bai’s pair of swords, one was used as a shield, and blocked in front of her. A thin light came out, and protected her entire body within it. The other blade acted as a spear, and it grandly struck out, then cleared out a path from the flock of crows. Between the mincing of the strikes, Jun Wan Bai crossed over from the dense mass of crows.

However, it was already too late.

A human figure straightly leap towards the black-coloured stone steps not far from them. In the next moment, a pale white flame “fwoom” sprung up from the stone staircase and enveloped that person within it, then swallowed them completely.

Jun Wan Bai arrived shortly, and stopped. Earlier, she felt that stone steps was a bit strange, but did not yet go check.

Except, with the looks of it, there was no need for her to waste time to confirm whether that staircase was strange or not- that bastard just now already tested the waters for her.

“Yu Shou Sect’s bastard?” Jun Wan Bai randomly killed off tens of crows in hot pursuit with one strike, while the remaining few only flapped their wings and flew out. It flew out of the corridor, and rushed towards the place emitting with light.

The dead sun’s dim red light fell down, while the crows symbolizing death flew up, with their figures particularly insignificant. However, before they flew up to the second floor, Jun Wan Bai saw a faint black fog float out from the second floor, and when the crows flew through the black fog, their figures jerked, then disappeared into thin air.

After the crows disappeared, the black fog also slowly dispersed along with it. When Jun Wan Bai saw this strange situation, she could only give up on the plans of originally wanting to use Jiu Xuan Sect’s method to gather Jiu Xuan’s disciples. Within this giant tower that was as big as a small city, who knows what else was within the sunken darkness.

“Yu Shou Sect’s people……” Jun Wan Bai knitted her eyebrows and walked over from the crow corpses.

Jiu Xuan Sect’s people were all spread out, so at this time, there was a possibility that Yu Shou Sect would make a move when they encountered Jiu Xuan Sect’s disciples. Just that, since when did Yu Shou’s disciples turn this good-for-nothing? Fighting head on, is that not the habit of that group of grassland boorish fellows? Could it be that they were influenced by that effeminate leader of their’s?

There was that possibility.

However, she didn’t know why, but Jun Wan Bai would always feel like there was something strange.

Jun Wan Bai walked further along the corridor. On the corpses of those killed-off crows and strange snakes, deep-black blood flowed onto the ground. The pitch-black, seemingly-smooth stone surface had many fine lines like the stone’s own grains. Blood seeped into the lines, and gradually didn’t spread out any more.

—— Just like, this tower itself was originally living, and at this time, it was greedily sucking in the intruder’s blood.

Jun Wan Bai stopped in front of a room. She slightly composed herself.
Jun Wan Bai remembered very clearly- within the matching room of the Qing Ming tower, what was placed here was a statue of a fog raptor. The stone room’s door was closed off, and it was quiet within the room, however, Jun Wan Bai suddenly didn’t dare to push that stone door. Throughout the entire way, she already confirmed that one could only use the light marks to directly be transmitted to these stone rooms.

And only after a person won against the bronze statue, could the stone room’s door then be opened.

Jun Wan Bai reached out her hand, and she faintly hoped that the stone door could not be pushed open.

Chapter 82

Chapter Eighty-Two, Who Rolls the Dice, Who Put Down the Pieces. (何
⼈掷⼦, 谁在下棋)
ka cha.

Along with the light sound, the stone door that looked heavy was pushed open by Jun Wan Bai.

She retracted her hand. The air within the stone door was much more colder than outside, and Jun Wan Bai could only feel a faint cold wind whisk out from the inside. She expressionlessly walked in step by step while holding her sword.

The stone room layered with deep-black stone did not have that kind of endless space feeling, and a fog raptor statue with spread out wings had fallen onto the floor. Jun Wan Bai walked over to check- the statue had already completely turned to bronze, evident that they were long defeated by the person transported here.

Fog raptor, fog raptor…… It really was a fog raptor.
The hands Jun Wan Bai held the pair of swords with suddenly turned strong, and her knuckles rose with a hint of pale-white. The question and answer that was always faintly hovering over her head seemed almost certain. “Bai Li Shu……”       Jun Wan Bai loosened the grip her swords, and extended her hand to touch the skull of the bronze fog raptor statue. She then took in a stifled breath- she would have rather not gone to this stone room. Why is it really the fog raptor?

She pretty much wanted to yell out and ask.

The fog raptor that disappeared since the era of Ten Thousand Immortals they encountered up in the skies, that person’s perfectly-arranged orders, with the mysterious longbow that disappeared several hundred years ago gripped in his hands; the underground area of Yan Men’s Spirit Star temple that Ye Qiu Sheng went to, the relieved sculpture of the Battle of Di Fen engraved on the bronze prison, and within the rainy night, when that person raised his head and lightly spoke of Yan Men’s Heaven’s tears; the pale-white skeletons buried in the deep-black vast lands, how they really stepped into the area where the Battle of Di Fen took place, and those giant scythe-like open wing bones that broke off within the wind……

Since they left Jiu Xuan Sect, this entire way, all that they encountered linked one to another. It was just like they were walking inside a completely interconnected script that was long already written by someone.

When they entered Bing Province, this kind of feeling turned even more strong.

And hiding underneath the layers and layers of surprises and coincidences, was a person’s pair of eyes that seemed like they were sealed in ice.

Entering the crude beasts’ place of burial requires obtaining a light mark from the crude beasts’ skeletons, and at the time Jun Wan Bai entered the forest of skeletons, she once saw the fog raptor skeleton turn into fragments—— someone came in before them and took away the light mark within the fog raptor skeleton, and the one who could possibly have a fog raptor’s soul essence, was that person who shot out the finalizing arrow towards the fog raptor. Bai Li Shu.

Jun Wan Bai recalled that person who stood on the deck of the Black-Plumed Light Vessel, that solitary back figure standing in the wind, as well as the fog raptor lurking within the layer of clouds at that time. Perhaps…… that person long already knew they would encounter a fog raptor?

Ye Qiu Sheng once said, the Qing Ming tower of Bing Province has met with an accident, and the Qing Ming tower lost its orientation. The Black-plumed Light Vessel that they thought was flying along a fixed path was actually being piloted by that person- it wasn’t that the fog raptor was blocking them, but rather, that person found an awakened fog raptor! The youth sitting by the window once lightly said, “for a meal that has already entered the mouth, has there ever been a reason to let it go?” within the sound of wind.

Within the expansive and momentous thousand zhang-high skies, faced with an extraordinary bird of the era of Ten Thousand Immortals that could disturb the cloud layer, that person’s voice was light and slow, without a single ripple or wave.

That’s right, for a meal that has already entered the mouth, has there ever been a reason to let it go?

——The hunter, from the very start, was not the fog raptor, but was the person standing on the deck, with fluttering sleeves and features sealed in snow.

Did he know something in the first place? And made the preparations in the beginning just to enter this place of burial for crude beasts?

Jun Wan Bai sat onto the floor, with the longsword pierced in front of her, and her mind in a complete mess.

Bai Li Shu…… This bastard who, from the very start, was just like an abnormality, who was taken back to Jiu Xuan Sect by the sect leader, and directly made Jiu Xuan’s eldest disciple brother, whose origins and foundations were unknown, just what exactly does he want to do? Jun Wan Bai recollected all the countless mysteries that pretty much drowned her.

Jun Wan Bai slightly closed her eyes.

Within the Qing Ming tower, that person stood on the stone staircase, and had everyone sent inside the room, while he himself was swallowed by the erupting spacial vortex. An ice wall had the young man and everyone separated, just like they stood in two different worlds.

Jun Wan Bai already could not tell apart, of the things they encountered in this entire journey, just how much was an accident, and how much were things that were already arranged.

“The jerk is still a jerk in the end, a bastard who would make people get the urge to take their blades out and cut down at any time.”         Jun Wan Bai bit down and said in a low voice.

There were those one or two instances—— within the dim underground, how the youth walked in front while reciting 《 Tai Yi
Record》, and the places where he walked, was left with a bright light for her and Li Xin; before the Qing Ming tower, the youth in fluttering white robes sprung up like a crane, then extended their hand within the lights of stars like flowing clouds, and caught that broken pitch-black spiritual tablet……
With these two instances, Jun Wan Bai once thought, calling that person Senior Bai Li wasn’t some hard-to-accept matter.

But as reality proved, Bai Li Shu was forever that person who directly skipped over her in the main hall, and directly walked away.

Lofty and superior, making people anxious to draw their swords out to cut down his haughtiness.

—— Like the gods putting down a chess piece, arranging everything, not tolerating others to say no kind of arrogance. Jun Wan Bai detested this kind of feeling of having everything hidden behind mysteries, where one could only be pushed forward, walking forward beyond her own control- just like two armies fighting against each other, forever using all their efforts to guess the other person’s arrangements, yet the battlefield had many changes within a short period of time, and forever needed to continuously arranged. She was not that kind of analytical person, otherwise, she would not be like Li Xin, to only look over the most rudimentary formation principles just once.

With to her normal habits, who cares about what schemes and plots or arrangements after arrangement, it’ll be fine if she just drew out her pair of swords.

“Troublesome bastard……” The hands Jun Wan Bai held the swords with slowly let go, and she leaned against the fog raptor statue, then raised her head to look at the pitch-black stone.

—— To rain without a shape, is called Heaven’s tears.

Outside the Spirit Star temple, a torrential rainstorm washed away the human realm. Within the rain, the youth holding a Golden Crow longbow said this, and he raised his head, looking at the vault of heaven, with the inside of his eyes buried with many, many, many concerns.

This was Heaven’s tears.

“What do you want to do?” Jun Wan Bai lightly asked this, as though asking the youth who once came into this stone room.

“What do you mean, do what? Did you eat the wrong pill just like that Nine Provinces Private Bank’s fatty?” Just as Jun Wan Bai finished speaking, the person who also stepped into this room dumbfoundedly asked this.

Jun Wan Bai almost instinctively let out a strike over there, but that voice was extremely familiar, and thus, the pair of swords were forcefully stopped. Jun Wan Bai raised her head to look, and only saw Li Xin holding a long sabre with one hand and a torch with the other standing at the room’s door, with his pale-white face unlike a living person’s bearing a slightly dumbfounded expression.

It was obvious that he heard Jun Wan Bai’s words just now, and was thus confused.

—— What do you want to do? Did last-named Jun eat the wrong pill, to ask this kind of idiotic question?

“Having money to eat medicinal pills is better than you having no money to eat it.” When she saw Li Xin, Jun Wan Bai quickly withdrew the blank expression from her face, and raised her eyebrows, then mocked this Half-crazed Li who couldn’t even afford to request a formation master with her usual tone.

Li Xin let out a cold laugh, “But you can afford to eat it?”

—— The hint of mockery was completely there, and right to the point[1].

Jun Wan Bai suddenly turned speechless.

This was why the few core disciples of Jiu Xuan Sect would always not see eye to eye. The time everyone was at Jiu Xuan Sect, was how long they fought for- the other person’s bottom line was pretty much all clearly understood, so when mutually mocking each other, one was always able to precisely catch the other person’s weak point, and directly stab where it hurts.
[1] ⼀针⻅⾎- literally, to see blood with one prick.

Chapter 83

Chapter Eighty-Three, the Person Behind the Scenes, Half the Formation Principles. (幕后之⼈, 半部阵道)
“How did you get here?” Jun Wan Bai acted like nothing happened and stood up, then walked towards the door. Intended or not, she drew away Li Xin’s attention, and did not let him pay heed to the bronze statue on the floor.

Turns out, Li Xin was also transported to this floor, but was much further away from the room that Jun Wan Bai was in. After he received the inheritance, he also went along the circular corridor just like Jun Wan Bai, and prepared to find Jiu Xuan’s disciples room by room. As a result, Li Xin saw those few crows flying into his sight, and from the direction the crows flew from, he estimated where they approximately came out from, then made his way over.

On his way, he only saw that this room’s door was open, and hence would come over, and just when he stepped through the door, he heard Jun Wan Bai’s voice.

“You didn’t meet with Yu Shou Sect?” Jun Wan Bai subconsciously asked.

Li Xin shook his head.

At this time, Jun Wan Bai faintly felt something unusual with Li Xin’s account—— the corpses of those flocks of snakes and crows summoned by Yu Shou Sect were all over the floor, but Li Xin did not make mention of it at all.

She and Li Xin had fought for that long, so she knew that this half- deranged lunatic Half-crazed Li was definitely not some scatter-brained person, and definitely would not turn a blind eye to those snake and bird corpses.

“Something’s off!”       Jun Wan Bai abruptly stood up. While Li Xin and herself rushed towards the place she was met with surprise attacks, she hurriedly and simply spoke of the things that happened just before.

The room placed with the fog raptor statue was not too far from where Jun Wan Bai was met with a surprise attack, so the two very quickly got there. When Jun Wan Bai saw the floor, she suddenly stopped in her steps, and her face revealed a dumbfounded expression—— the floor was completely empty.

No strange snake corpses, nor crow corpses, not even a smear of blood.
The floor of the deep-black stone corridor was smooth and clean. Jun Wan Bai’s face turned grave. She walked over with big steps, and searched for the traces she left when she drew out her sword. But there still wasn’t any- it was just like this place didn’t have any battle whatsoever take place at all.

“A strange place……” Jun Wan Bai calmly observed all around, and her gaze carried a slight sharpness to it, “Half-crazed Li, we should immediately go find the others, there are…… other things here.”

Li Xin held the torch and followed. He then knitted his eyebrows, and looked at the smooth and sleek stone surface. Jun Wan Bai walked out a few steps, but he still stopped in his place and did not move. Jun Wan Bai turned her head to look at him in surprise, and only saw Li Xin kneel down, and put the torch close to the floor, carefully checking something. “Last-named Jun, your eyesight is getting worse.” Before Jun Wan Bai could press on, Li Xin first sneered at her. He extended his hand out to slowly stroke the floor, as though trying to find something. “Can’t even see a formation spell this big? Even a normal seventy,
eighty year-old person has better eyesight than you.” Formation spell?
Jun Wan Bai was slightly stunned, to think that there would be a day she would hear these two words come out from this bastard Half-crazed Li- it was comparable to the sun suddenly coming out from the west side.

Without raising his eyes, Li Xin already knew what Jun Wan Bai was thinking of. He let Jun Wan Bai come take a look at those inconspicuous stone grains, “During the era of Ten Thousand Immortals, when the Wan Zhen Sect’s foundation—— Zhen Sect, had not yet perished, they previously invented a kind of hidden formation that merged with the terrain and topography. The hidden formation is only a collective name, but the formation lines would use ingenious methods to combine itself with the environment…… What kind of crazy thing are you up to?!”

“You’re not Half-crazed Li, who are you?”       Jun Wan Bai’s pair of swords were held up to Li Xin’s neck, while her eyes turned ruthless.

Li Xin replied, “…… Last-named Jun, do you think all people are just like you, still not thinking about getting better even after making a Thunderstorm Azure Dragon Formation turn into that kind of thing? After we came back from the Spirit Star temple, I looked a bit into formations.”

Of Jun Wan Bai’s pair of swords, one was taken back, but there was still one hung over Li Xin’s neck.

“Because time was too tight, I only picked a few important points to look over, and directly skipped to the notes.” Li Xin added another sentence with a bit of unwillingness.

Jun Wan Bai suddenly understood. —— The rudiments of formation principles that Jiu Xuan Sect handed out had a tremendous amount to it and was tremendously long, and the lulling effects of it were extremely good. One time, Jun Wan Bai tried to look over it once, but midway through, she lost the patience and directly skipped to the notes portion that could barely be considered as being written with the human language, but this part was only filled with fantasies and strange stories. This bastard Half-crazed Li, after he came back from the Yan Men underground, he tried his best to redeem his formation principles for a bit, but as a result, once he saw a portion of it, he couldn’t help but be just like her, and jump to look through the notes.

Afterwards, he happened to see this part of the records, so he would recognize the formation lines on the ground.

Jun Wan Bai drew back her longsword, then reached out to touch the ground, and discovered there were indeed fine lines hidden within the grains of the stone- though the traces were very light, and was very hard to be discovered, “What is this?”

Without obtaining an answer, she saw Li Xin expressionlessly looked at her.

“What do you think the words, looking over the important points, means?”

—— The meaning outside the words was, being able to recognize it was already very lucky, could she hope for him to know even more?

Jun Wan Bai sneered, and could be considered to completely be at ease. It certainly was Half-crazed Li.

“The image of the thick soils, this is the terrain’s image.” Suddenly, the stone door of a room closest to the two opened, and a person came out carrying a sword, with an expression like everyone owed him money.

It was He Zhou. ◈◈◈
“The universe inscribed up top, the terrain’s image engraved on the bottom.”        Ye Qiu Sheng recited this brief sentence, then observed the two sides of the stone staircase, and the changes of the tower’s walls.

He stepped onto the residual golden crow flames on the stone stairs, and walked down step by step. This tower buried in the earth was much more grand than the Qing Ming tower in Bing Province, and by walking through it floor by floor, it gave people a kind of stifling feeling like they were gradually entering deep into the darkness, all the way towards the deepest parts of hell.

The torch in Ye Qiu Sheng’s hand illuminated the pitch-black tower wall, and as he continuously headed down, the colour of the wall gradually changed, and faintly spread with a dark-red colour. When one carefully looked, they would discover that on the surface of those black stones, many fine and little stone patterns already turned into a red colour at some time ago.

As the stairs coiled downward, the red colour turned ever more deep, and ever more present- the viscous dark-red and black colour mixed together, and turned more ghastly cold and strange, like a tower of the netherworld.

This kind of feeling was just like the entire tower was actually giant funnel, where the bloodiness that came from somewhere within the tower gathered down along the formation lines, like water collecting along the funnel’s walls.

Ye Qiu Sheng felt like that this blood was a type of sacrificial offering.

A sacrificial offering to the tower itself.

When he stood at the lowest floor, the surroundings already completely turned into a dark-blood-red colour just like that dead sun outside. “Truly is hard to imagine.” Ye Qiu Sheng said lightly, “So an immortal from beyond Heaven would also appear in this kind of place that is practically like Yan Luo’s[1] underworld?”

“Tai Shang Sect’s eyes have come and gone through the vast land of the twelve dynasties, you should have frequented places like this quite often- Jiu Xuan Sect is no exception.” The young man who already waited for a long while stood at the very lowest floor of this black tower.

However, just as Ye Qiu Sheng said, it was obviously extremely strange for this person to appear in this place- he was very out-of-place with all of his surroundings, holding a Golden Crow longbow, with a white long robe not dyed in even the slightest speck of dust, and the aura on his body was just like the snowy peak of the highlands, cold and distant.

He slightly hung down his eyes, and observed the locked door of the lowest floor’s jail cell.

It was a black-iron door, with nothing on top of it.

[1] King Yan’s name. Should be mentioned at this point that he is only one of several kings in the netherworld, but also, King Yan himself presides over the cycle of life and death.

Chapter 84

Chapter Eighty-Four, Battle of the Underworld, North Star, the Emperor. (⻩泉之战, 北⾠太上)
The lowest floor of the black tower took up the smallest space, and was not considered to be that big. The bottom-most floor was bare and empty, without any statues, and had a black-iron-cast jail cell door located at the very center of it.

This jail door and the one underneath the Spirit Star temple had places of similarity, or perhaps, it should be said that that black-iron door underneath the Spirit Star temple was modelled slightly after it. On the black-iron prison door, an extremely meticulous hand technique engraved a scenery of the Battle of Di Fen that was pretty much the exact same as the one in the bronze prison.

“Looks like it was engraved in the era of Ten Thousand Immortals.” Ye Qiu Sheng walked close to the prison door while holding a torch,
and the flame fell onto the black-iron door.

The contents of the two Battle of Di Fen were exactly the same, but the style of the Spirit Star temple’s Battle of Di Fen was extremely apparent, and brought a primitive, simple and vigorous feeling of the era of Chaos- the lines on this prison door, however, was much more refined, and the technique was intricate and gorgeous, characteristic of the era of Ten Thousand Immortals.

The two different styles of Battle of Di Fen gave people a completely different feeling. The first impression the one underneath the Spirit Star temple gave people was one of a majestic, era-interweaving, battle of destiny’s horror and vastness that hit right in one’s face, but as for the one on the cell door of the black tower buried deep in the earth, the engraving method was far too refined and intricate, and instead gave those giant, mad crude breasts a type of strange, ghastly feeling- added with the surrounding dark-red colour, the entire picture of Battle of Di Fen instantly turned as though this was another battle that unfolded within the underworld.

Just like, the previous grudges had not ended along with the termination of their lives. The ancient crude beasts and the human clan that died in battle were underneath the Yellow Spring, still fighting.

“The era of Ten Thousand Immortals…… Which one of the Three Emperors do you think it is?” Ye Qiu Sheng carefully observed the old picture of the Battle of Di fen engraved on the cell door, and asked Bai Li Shu.

The bronze prison underneath the Spirit Star temple and this black tower itself were structures from the era of Chaos, however, the soul-sealing altar as well as the Ancient Emperor’s personal sword inside the bronze prison, were obviously the work of the era of Ten Thousand Immortals, and combined with the underground’s ceiling of fog raptor skeletons, one could pretty much confirm that it should be the Ancient Emperor’s doing.

The black tower within the deep part of the old battlegrounds of Di Fen being revised into a formation tower, should also be a matter from the era of Ten Thousand Immortals.

Now that they saw the relieved engraving of the Battle of Di Fen on the black-iron door in a completely different style from the one in the bronze prison, Ye Qiu Sheng felt like there was a strong possibility the archaic emperor who came here in the era of Ten Thousand Immortals was also Ancient Emperor who cut down a million fog raptors.

Bai Li Shu did not answer his question, but instead asked a seemingly-completely unrelated question, “As the eyes of Tai Shang Sect, did they not let you know about the North Star Emperor(tai shang)?” North Star Emperor.

Ye Qiu Sheng’s movements suddenly paused. There was a time or two when he heard the shitty old man get drunk, and mention this phrase, saying how “the North Star has one, with the name of Tai Shang”, or “one such as the North Star, has all the stars pays respects to it”. When the shitty old man was drunk, they would always say some confusing things, with not one of them believable.

On the contrary, when he asked what the so-called “North Star Tai Shang” meant, the shitty old man just casually answered with an “oh, that’s the name your forefathers wracked brains over thinking that year, to let the name Tai Shang Sect seem more presentable.”

—— According to what the shitty old man said, on the surface, Tai Shang Sect’s forefathers looked to be just and noble characters, but in truth, they were also simply drunkards who liked to leave the troublesome things behind and were unreliable in carrying things out.

If this treacherous evaluation were to come out of another person’s mouth and the sect leader heard it, drawing out swords and chasing after them would be an unavoidable matter. However, the shitty old man commented on the forefathers in front of the sect leader not just once, yet when the sect leader heard it, they pretended like they didn’t hear it, and had everyone else chased away. Hence, Ye Qiu Sheng was very curious in regards to what kind of identity the shitty old man held within the Tai Shang Sect.

At that time, Ye Qiu Sheng took the shitty old man’s words as true, and did not ask about it any more.

Except, at present, in the old battlefield of Di Fen, within the Tower of Qiu Huang deeply buried in the earth, these four words “North Star Tai Shang” were actually said out of Bai Li Shu’s mouth.

—— To hell with his forefathers wanting to let Tai Shang Sect sound like an impressive name. The veins on Ye Qiu Sheng’s forehead involuntarily jumped twice- those words that came out of the shitty old man’s mouth, just exactly how much of it was true and how much was false?

“Lord Bai Li must be joking.” Various thoughts flashed by Ye Qiu Sheng’s mind, but he once again revealed a habitually frivolous smile, and he suggestively looked at Bai Li Shu, “The Eye and the Player’s statuses are not the same. To say it frankly, the “Eye” is a manual labourer, to be called upon by people all day and run tired until their feet are broken.”

As he said this, he pointed to himself.

“Someone like me, is someone who does the odds and ends, go on errands, and gathers intelligence with all my strength, and cannot compare to Lord Bai Li who is well-read and well-informed.”

“The Player……”    Bai Li Shu lightly repeated these two words, and seldom laughed lowly.

Ye Qiu Sheng raised his head to look at him.

Now that it was mentioned, he didn’t know why, but sometimes, when Ye Qiu Sheng thought about why he was bustling about going all around the twelve dynasties, he would always strangely think to Bai Li Shu. He would recall how Bai Li Shu seemed like they would walk in front of everyone from Jiu Xuan Sect no matter at what time, and recalled that dark underground area, when Bai Li Shu slightly lowered his eyes while using tea to substitute wine.

Perhaps it was because one of them was Tai Shang’s eyes, and one of them was Jiu Xuan Sect’s player.

All were people who were chosen.

However, Ye Qiu Sheng never saw Bai Li Shu smile, but he also thought about what the person would look like when they smiled. This person’s features were always sealed with layers of cold ice, and the bottom of their eyes would hide very deep concerns, giving people a feeling that within the overspreading winds and snow, this person would always straightly walk forward, neither joyful nor grieving, not knowing what sorrow was. Ye Qiu Sheng felt like a person like Bai Li Shu, was really far too hard to fathom.

But Ye Qiu Sheng always felt that even if they smiled, the hint of coldness in Bai Li Shu’s features would not go down even one bit.

And the truth had proved it as such.

When Bai Li Shu repeated the word “Player”, Ye Qiu Sheng saw him smile for the first time.

It was a very faint, weak smile- the sides of their mouth emerged with what was pretty much a “bending” curve, so slight it could pretty much be ignored, but that pair of bottomless eyes did not carry a hint of smiling, and continued to be within a span of apathy, hiding many concerns, and the hint of frostiness in their features could not be seen to subside for even a single bit.

Perhaps it should be said it turned even more colder.

In that brief instant, for the first time, Ye Qiu Sheng truly caught a kind of closely sharp and fierce feeling from this eternally calm and collected fellow’s figure. It was not that kind of ice-like piercing feeling that Bai Li Shu habitually had, but it was a different kind…… a kind close to ridiculing sharpness.

Ridiculing?

So this fellow also had this kind of emotion that normal people would have?

While this thought flew through his mind, Ye Qiu Sheng’s face maintained a smile. He did not mention anything more about the “Player”, and then casually joked, “So Lord Bai Li can smile for a bit. How extremely lucky I am, and thankfully, everyone from Jiu Xuan Sect isn’t here, otherwise, with a thousand jin of spirit stones to see Jiu Xuan’s eldest disciple brother once, I don’t know how much money is needed for this smile. This lowly one is just a poor scholar, and would not able to afford it.”

Chapter 85

Chapter Eighty-Five, Emperor’s Throne Covered in Dust, Tai Shang, Tai Yi. (帝座蒙尘, 太上太⼄)
The ridicule on Bai Li Shu’s face only flashed by, and very quickly returned to that expressionless look. As for Ye Qiu Sheng’s teasing, he only casually swept a gaze over him.

“This lowly one’s teachings are superficial, dare I ask Lord Bai Li, what does the North Star Tai Shang mean?”    Ye Qiu Sheng turned the topic of conversation and asked this of Bai Li Shu.

The cell door was located on the center of the floor, fit together perfectly and was without a lock, however, Ye Qiu Sheng used several methods, yet could not have this black-iron door opened. Bai Li Shu walked over, half-crouched down, and the empty left hand was put over top of the cell door.

When he heard Ye Qiu Sheng’s question, he casually answered as he slowly poured primordial energy within the black-iron prison door.

Bai Li Shu’s response was only one sentence, but after Ye Qiu Sheng heard what he said, his pupils suddenly contracted.

—— “In the times of Chaos, people referred to the ancient emperors as Tai Shang.”

Tai Shang, Tai Shang! Tai Shang was the paramount- before this, Ye Qiu Sheng connected this term with the origins of Taoism, and only took it as the source of all organisms in the legends, however, just as Bai Li Shu said, the meaning of being the highest embedded in Tai Shang could certainly be used to refer to archaic emperors*.

Aren’t the ancient emperors of the era of Chaos the “Tai Shang” that were placed above everything!?

“The North Star has one, with the name of Tai Shang”, “one such as the North Star, all the stars pays respects to it”…… The words that the shitty old man said after being drunk flashed past Ye Qiu Sheng’s brain, but at this time and moment, these already carried a deeper meaning to it. However, Ye Qiu Sheng didn’t have the time to ponder over it, because along with Bai Li Shu’s movements, the black-iron cell door beneath their feet already had some movements.

When Bai Li Shu poured primordial energy into the cell door, the relieved sculptures of refined technique on top started to let out a faint light. Scaly dragon, Hui snake, golden crow, fog raptor…… Ancient crude beasts woke up one by one, and once again opened their eyes.

Ye Qiu Sheng who was standing by Bai Li Shu’s side was forced by the pressure of the continuously-reviving relieved sculptures of crude beasts back several steps.

With the cell door on the ground as the epicentre, the surrounding were suddenly swept with gusts of swift and fierce strong winds, and the sounds of wind were just like hundreds of ghosts lamenting under the netherworld.

Bai Li Shu still half-knelt on top of the black-iron prison door, with one hand placed on top of the dark-red black-iron, and the gold-coloured longbow placed over the ground. The sudden mad winds blew at his white robes into fluttering strongly.

Pictures of the crude beasts drawn on the prison door continuously revived one after another. When the final Qiu dragon was also awakened, Ye Qiu Sheng heard a “ka cha”.

He and Bai Li Shu were standing on top of the dungeon’s door on the floor. Along with this sound, in the next moment, the originally closed door turned down and instantly opened. The moment before the door opened, Bai Li Shu withdrew his hand, the longbow was put sideways, and he said in a low voice to “go”.

The instant the cell door was opened, Ye Qiu Sheng faintly heard a light sigh.

He and Bai Li Shu carefully fell down. That sound of a breath was just like it jumped through several eras coming here- the sound was very light, however, it carried a kind of unspeakable dreariness to it.

The jail cell sealed by the black door engraved with the Battle of Di Fen was not big.

Compared with the entire tower, it could be said that this jail cell was extremely narrow and small. However, in contrast with the room’s own length, its height was a bit peculiar- it was taller by at least three times as much.

This made this jail cell look to be like, rather than a room, a well would be a better fit.

At the time the strong winds swept up, the torch was already put out, and so after Ye Qiu Sheng once again lit up the torch, he looked at the surrounding circumstances. The jail cell was placed with a bronze long table and a chair inside- to the left and right, a stone altar one inch tall stood to each side, unknown what its purposes were for. Ye Qiu Sheng walked through the land of the twelve dynasties, so it wasn’t like he never entered a prison’s cells, however, it was the first time he saw a jail cell like this.

If not for the black-iron cell door on the ceiling, if one said this jail cell was a place of isolation for cultivating, no one would doubt it. There was also a pile of jade books covered all over with dust, and looked to be a bit similar to the memorials that the mortal realm’s emperors would read through.

When Ye Qiu Sheng turned back to look, he found Bai Li Shu holding his longbow while observing that empty chair.

“Lofty and towering throne, how elegant a fragrance[1]……”
Bai Li Shu walked forward with each step. He went around from the front of the bronze table, and extended his hand to lightly touch the inconspicuous chair covered all over with dust. When his helpless-looking hand touched the chair, that unremarkable chair had a change to it.

The dust fell, and within Ye Qiu Sheng’s gaze, the illusion covering over the chair suddenly shattered.

—— Lofty and towering throne, how elegant a fragrance, that odd beasts bow down, and the Qiu dragon coils around.

This was an imperial throne.

Ye Qiu Sheng suddenly understood why this Qiu Huang tower of the era of Chaos had been turned into a formation tower in the era of Ten Thousand Immortals. The era of Ten Thousand Immortals, was the period of time where the archaic emperors started to wither and fall down- and this tower was used to imprison and kill those archaic emperors that ruled the world in the era of Chaos!

And it was precisely due to this, that the Qing Ming tower in Bing Province that paralleled it would be the symbol of the ancient emperors’ fall.

—— Only, just exactly which of the archaic emperors from the era of Chaos was imprisoned and killed here?

The imperial throne with a Qiu dragon coiling around it silently stood within the darkness. Once its true face had been revealed, everything in the surroundings had also gone through a change. Ye Qiu Sheng’s ancient blade silently slid out of his sleeves- he only saw a lot of engraved characters slowly start to emerge underneath his feet and the surrounding walls, with a kind of veiled and terrifying aura starting to envelop them from all around.

A muffled sound suddenly transmitted from the top of their heads, and then, that black-iron door engraved with the Battle of Di Fen suddenly closed shut.

And at the same time, within the light of Ye Qiu Sheng’s torch that could not be considered bright, they only saw the emerged characters on the wall start to protrude with something else—— layers and layers of black figures.

A ghastly noble air instantly enveloped this place.

The originally narrow and small jail cell’s air transformed all of a sudden, and just like the tower rooms placed with bronze statues, it turned endlessly big. The only thing that did not change was the imperial throne placed at the very center, as well as the bronze long table.

The imperial throne inscribed with myriads of beasts and coiled with a Qiu dragon looked to not change, yet, in Ye Qiu Sheng’s perception, it turned incomparably majestic and untouchable.

“To be capable of this shitty thing even after they died.” Ye Qiu Sheng muttered to himself in a low voice. He did not rush over to Bai Li Shu’s side, instead, the torch in his hand was casually tossed away, and the ancient blade was placed sideways to the front of his chest. He did not summon out the Hui snake’s spirit again, but used his primordial energy, and in the next moment, a line sprung with flames extended from his feet, and spread out on the ground, then finally formed into a circle, and surrounded Bai Li Shu, the throne, bronze table, and the stone altars within it.

—— Drawing a prison on the ground. This was a formation spell use to confine an opponent, but at present, Ye Qiu Sheng used it in reverse, and used it to draw out a protective boundary.

Ye Qiu Sheng wielded his ancient blade, and stood on the line of the “circle”.

And to his back, Bai Li Shu withdrew the hand that touched the imperial throne, and waved his sleeve to shake the dust off from on the bronze table.

After all the dust fell off, the restricting barrier’s light on the neatly- piled jade books faintly revolved.

*refer to chp 2 and chp 38 footnotes on the name and Tai Yi

[1] 峩峩宝座, 郁郁名⾹- a line from a work by Emperor Jian Wen of the Nan dynasty. Extra note: the exact term for lofty and towering here is 峩峩(alt way to writing 峨). Instead of a human or ghost like the one mentioned in the footnotes chp 48, the character to accompany the mountain (⼭) is me
(我).

Chapter 86

Chapter Eighty-Six, Opposing Karmas, Battle of the Underworld. (因果相对, ⻩泉之战)
The light of the sealing barrier on the jade books was not that strong, but instead could be said that it was weak and looked just like the end of a candle within the wind, not threatening at all, tempting people to extend their hands and take it.

And at this time, the jail cell’s walls were already completely and thoroughly swallowed by the darkness. The layers and layers of black figures broke loose from the surrounding viscous dark colours, and circled around Bai Li Shu and Ye Qiu Sheng. As those black figures gradually broke free of the darkness, their figures also continuously turned giant along with it.

The three-headed ancient python, curve-horned Cang cow, winged Tai tiger, the strange fish who could live long by eating meat…… these black figures, were actually crude beasts!

The space of the jail cell turned endlessly big, and the figures that broke out from the darkness continuously grew taller. When they approached close to Ye Qiu Sheng’s imprisoning circle, though their bodies did not restore itself to that terror that they possessed when they were still alive, they were already big to the point it made people’s hairs stand.

Ye Qiu Sheng pretty much subconsciously recalled that relieved sculpture of the ghastly “Battle of Di Fen” inscribed on top of the cell door. Could it be that the meaning behind that relived engraving was, behind the prison door, sealed the underworld’s deceased souls of the wild?

“This isn’t good……” Ye Qiu Sheng lightly said. As the crude beasts’ figures continuously grew bigger, that ancient ruler’s terrifying pressure on the ground that they already felt before also turned more and more dense, that in the end, Ye Qiu Sheng only felt like he fell deep into a thousand zhang-deep sea, that his spiritual insight was pretty much trembling.

At the start of the primordial world, crude beasts lived on the vast lands- they were the definition of power and strength, so even if one was separated by a distance of several tens of thousands of years, humans were still as insignificant as ants in front of them.

Ye Qiu Sheng was a person of desperation, and never understood what it meant to be in fear.

However, faced with this terrifying existence that lived several tens of thousands of years ago in the beginning of time, directly facing their pressure, he still unconsciously slightly trembled—— that was a reaction that the human clans left in the deepest parts of their memories, and the reverence that the ancestors who saw the crude beasts’ power with their own eyes left for the descendants, inherited with every generation, deeply buried in their memories’ deepest parts.

And as the countless crude beasts’ apparitions came out from the darkness, this memory was being gradually awakened.

In front of the crude beasts that broke free from the darkness, Ye Qiu Sheng was as minute as a speck of dust- he wasn’t even as tall as a Cang cow’s toe! As Ye Qiu Sheng’s pupils were cast with the savage and scary images, his mind suddenly emerged with a fragmented image:

—— People who held long spears shrunk into the shadows, and peered from the gaps of the leaves, witnessing a scaly dragon sweeping up giant waves from a hundred-mile round lake. Giant trees erected on the ground that were a hundred zhang tall were twisted into pieces by a three- headed ancient python, and the places where the golden crow whose feathers were like rolling fire spread its wings sprung with giant burning fires. The four legs of the Cang cow whose horns were just like crescent moons were intertwined with lightning, and the sound they made when they ran through the vast lands was just like thunder……

In that kind of time, the human race could only prostrate and huddle in the gaps and shadows.

Age-old memories surfaced along with the terror that hid for several tens of thousands of years, and Ye Qiu Sheng’s forehead filled with cold sweat, while that circle he drew out was just as small as a speck of sand in front of the bunch of crude beasts.

—— These thing were already not something sect disciples like them could face against.

As the flock of crude beasts continuously drew closer and closer, Ye Qiu Sheng only felt a pressure much more frightening than the one underneath the Spirit Star temple violently sweep up from all around.

“Lord Bai Li.” In this kind of situation, Ye Qiu Sheng could actually still make out a smile- his face still had that frivolous and undisciplined smile, but cold sweat rolled down from his forehead. “This lowly one is just one scholar, I’m afraid it will be difficult to go
up against this powerful army.”

To tell the truth, these damned things in front of them were already not some existence that if one risked their lives, they would able to get into a life-or-death struggle with- the power difference between both sides was far, far, far too big. As expected, when working with Jiu Xuan’s eldest disciple brother, the things one faced would never some simple and easy thing.

“This lowly one feels as of right now, we should employ the thirty- six policies, with running for the best?” He said words of running away, yet the hand holding the sword was so tight his knuckles turned white. —— Just like, even if he would very easily be ripped into pieces by the crude beasts, he too would use up all his strength before he turned into pieces to bite off a piece of flesh off these things that long should have turned to dust.

Before Ye Qiu Sheng was really going to go ahead, the back resounded with Bai Li Shu’s voice that was no different from normal,

——“If you must go up head-on with this karma[1], no one’s stopping you.”

Ye Qiu Sheng’s blade that was about to come out suddenly drew back. At the time he put his blade back, a Cang cow who was at the very front of the slowly-approaching crude beasts already stomped down towards this small little circle. A giant shadow came down, and without another word, Ye Qiu Sheng’s figure flashed like a ghost and appeared within the circle, then stood by Bai Li Shu’s side.

Bai Li Shu held up a jade book, and a ice-blue-coloured light covered over him and Ye Qiu Sheng.

The throne that was originally turning incomparably grand at the back in Ye Qiu Sheng’s perception, emerged with an imperial throne apparition that was expanded countless times. That imperial pressure that he once felt underneath the Spirit Star temple as something so extremely terrifying it made people want to bow down had completely erupted out, but only, this time, the revived ancient emperor’s pressure had its own opponent
—— those crude beasts.

Injustices had its roots, while debts had its debtors.

The old emperors lead by Kong Jia ended the era where the crude beasts ruled the vast lands, then, underneath the Spring, should the crude beasts’ souls not perish, they would also then take revenge against the ancient emperors who stole their throne away.

Hence, at the time Ye Qiu Sheng was about trade blows with the crude beasts, would Bai Li Shu say to “go up head-on with this karma”. Ye Qiu Sheng’s gaze fell upon the jade book in Bai Li Shu’s hand.

The barrier on the jade book was already no longer, as though broken by Bai Li Shu. Bai Li Shu opened up the jade book- the surface of it was engraved with lines of fine and dense words, while each character seemed like it carried an indescribable force, and it was precisely the power contained in those characters that formed the barrier that protected them.

The barrier was not big, but underneath the pressure of the flock of crude beasts and the ancient emperor, it actually had them protected safely, and blocked off the pressure that could roll them over.

This was the plan they made in the beginning.

Ye Qiu Sheng was responsible for restraining the things inside the jail cell, while Bai Li Shu was responsible for finding what they needed.

But after entering the Qiu Huang tower, Ye Qiu Sheng gradually discovered that things already faintly exceeded their expectations. To think the things they faced were actually a flock of crude beasts after entering inside—— this was already not inside the scope of the things he could restrain.

Except……

Ye Qiu Sheng looked at the jade book opened by Bai Li Shu, and suddenly laughed.

——He was afraid the one who felt like things went out of their control, was only himself.

At least, this fellow Bai Li Shu was probably clear on what would happen here from beginning to end, and knew what to do. That kind of feeling he felt underneath the Spirit Star temple rose up once again—— That kind of feeling where everything was within someone else’s control.

As though he didn’t feel Ye Qiu Sheng’s gaze, Bai Li Shu opened the jade book, and slightly raised his head, then quietly watched all that was in front of him. The crude beasts’ apparitions cast into his pupils, just like those fragmented alternating past events hidden inside his eyes.

[1] Should also be known that it can also be read literally as cause and effect, or preordained fate.

Chapter 87

Chapter Eighty-Seven, Battle of Fate, the Person Who Guards the Tomb. (命中之战, 守墓之⼈)
In the space of the Battle of Di Fen, the bottom floor of the Qiu Huang tower.

The ancient emperors’ imposition that had been awakened faced off in a battle against the flock of crude beasts that came out from the netherworld, and the prophetic relieved sculpture engraved on top of the black-iron door turned into reality within the darkness where no one could see anything—— in a certain meaning, the Battle of Di Fen once again unfolded in the underground, while the previous resentment did not end along with end of lives.

Underneath the netherworld, the crude beasts and the ancient emperors started to kill each other once again.

Over the surface where Ye Qiu Sheng, Bai Li Shu, Jun Wan Bai and co. could not see, strong winds coldly blew through the rocks erected on the deep-black lands in this stretch of space forgotten by history for several tens of thousands of years. The winds already turned even more violent, while the sounds of it were sad and shrill, like a bugle sounding off from the distant ancient times. The crude beast skeletons buried here emitted a faint light, like it finally entered the last radiance of the sun[1] after several eras passed, and the primitive era’s overlords’ majesty once again descended upon the vast lands. The dead sun hung over the west side emitted dark-red sunlight, and covered over everything, like a fated bloody battle.

Laid over the vast land, a crude beast’s spine that was like a snowy peak’s ridges coiled in a ring shape overseeing from a high place, while the center of that ring was that clearing that concealed the Qiu Huang tower. At this time and moment, the barrier on the ground violently shook, like it could shatter at any time. The black flipped tower buried into the earth was just like it was struggling, trying to awaken from its dream.

At this time, Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin who walked around the tower of Qiu Huang were at a stalemate with Qiu Qian He who defeated the golden crow bronze statue. Flashes of the blade illuminated these young people’s faces, and just at the moment they were going to move, the Qiu Huang tower beneath their feet suddenly violently shook.

Qin Jiu who had his wine raised up stopped drinking. He looked all around, and saw that in his surroundings, the black stones’ fine grains gradually lit up line by line. Chu Zhi Yuan, with his longsword, lowered his head to look towards the bottom of the tower- within the darkness that seemed like it could engulf everything, faintly brewed with some horrifying power.

Liao Qian who did not get killed by the Wei ghost bronze statue shivered at the sudden shaking, and when he turned his head to look towards the sunken darkness, his face turned pale-white.

Zhou Wen An who didn’t know what was happening stepped onto the railing and jumped high up, extending his hand to catch a spiritual tablet slowly falling from the sky. On the spiritual tablet, wrote Jiu Xuan Li range Zhao Zhi He- the pale-white characters represented a sacrificed Jiu Xuan disciple.

While reciting Buddha’s name, Clear-hearted Monk stepped onto the highly dangerous stone steps- his body was draped with a cassock[2], and his mouth recited scriptures on overcoming sufferings, while walking down through story after story of the Qiu Huang tower gradually rising with the sounds of myriads of ghosts. Darkness rose up bit by bit from the lowest floor, and swallowed this ancient formation tower born from the era of Chaos floor by floor. On the corridor of the thirty-third floor, several figures quickly passed through, and put down a strange formation in front of each of the rooms, however, their steps suddenly stopped——

In the dark, a tall woman carrying a long sabre over her shoulder stood in front of them, while the sabre was emitting a cold, frosty light.

“Long time no see.” When Liu Wu Yan smelled that familiar bloody scent from the deep part of her memories that could not be waved off in the air, she slowly and expressionlessly raised her head up, with her icy-cold voice not even concealing her killing intent.

Those figures that were blocked by her slowly spread out, and formed into a half-arched encirclement. In front of Liu Wu Yan’s pressure, they removed the camouflage from their bodies, and the eyes behind those masks were like starving wolves, dripping with killing intent, while the curved blades in their hands were just like the moon.

“Long time no see, dogs of Jin Tang.” Liu Wu Yan’s long legs stepped out, and at the time the Qiu Huang tower was continuously shaking, the long sabre in her hands openly drew out and directly cut down.

At the moment Liu Wu Yan drew her sabre and Jin Tang’s secret guards rushed forward, Shen Chang Ge who was holding his fan avoided floor after floor of mechanisms and traps, and finally reached the lowest floor of the Qiu Huang tower.

When Shen Chang Ge stepped onto the floor that had turned completely dark red, he saw the tightly shut black-iron cell door—— within the darkness, the strange light of the relieved sculptures emitting from the cell door was particularly eye-catching.

He opened up his fan, and walked over towards the cell door. Suddenly, he stopped in his steps. “Which friend hides in this place, why do you not come out for a meeting?”         Shen Chang Ge looked all around, and said this in a clear and loud voice, neither hurried nor impatient, as though only very ordinarily and simply greeting someone. However, his left hand was already clasping several things at some time ago, and in the next moment, several luminous pearls were flicked out by Shen Chang Ge, and separately fell towards several directions on this floor.

The luminous pearls fell onto the ground, and illuminated those several places.

Within the lowest tower floor, in the positions of the Eight Diagrams with the cell door as the epicentre, slowly rose with eight old and strange bronze statues—— the top half of these bronze statues were all human, while the lower half of the bodies were of odd beasts. The half-human half- beast bronze statues each held different weapons in their hands, and all the bronze statues’ heads were turned over, looking towards where Shen Chang Ge was.

Shen Chang Ge glanced at the bronze statues, then lifted his foot up and took one step towards the black-iron door.

When he just took out step out, those eight bronze statues silently slid forward a fair distance.

“Ah…… So you guys are the jail guards.” Shen Chang Ge swayed his fan, while his face had an apologetic smile, “Looks like if I want to break into a jail, then……”

“I’ll have to kill you guys first!”     Shen Chang Ge’s voice was filled with smiles, however, in the next moment, he already sprung up, while the fan in his hands swayed, and the Yin Yang Tai Ji seal erupted out in the darkness.

Of the most poisonous, one must not overlook the Yin Yang Fan, with its distinguished demeanour concealing its killing looks. Shen Chang Ge’s folding fan spreading open, Liu Wu Yan’s long sabre striking out, Qiu Qian He’s bronze bell swaying, Jun Wan Bai’s pair of swords’ emitting a crisp sound, Li Xin’s figure transforming…… In this moment where everything mingled at the same time, Bai Li Shu who opened up the jade book and initiated all of this stood to the side of the imperial throne.

Ye Qiu Sheng was observing this “Battle of Di Fen” taking place several years later in the underworld, but Bai Li Shu was observing the empty throne and bronze long table.

His mind flashed through some fragmented images——

The dying ancient emperor sat on the throne that turned into an ordinary bronze chair, and looked towards the person slowly walking out from the darkness. The black-iron door had not yet been shut, so light fell down into the narrow and small jail cell. That person walked over with the light to their back, while their hands held up a longsword.

“Really hard to imagine.” The dying ancient emperor maintained their own dignity, and the sound of their sigh still carried an inerasable loftiness to it.

“The ancient emperors’ prestige covers over the four seas, while the imperial pressure is opposed by none, however, the scorching sun has burned the vast lands for far too long. People, in the end, thirsts for the the sky’s rain.” The voice of the person holding the sword was very calm, without any grievance or anger, “Our people’s lives, from the very beginning, to you ancient emperors, are just like ones of bees and moths. However, though bees and moths’ lives might be small, their strength similarly cannot be looked down upon.”

“Long when the strange things started happening, I should have had you guys killed, and prevented today’s troubles.”   The ancient emperor said.

“If an Eighteen Clans died, there would still be a new Eighteen Clans. Even if I am not here, there would still be others.” The sword in the young man’s hands slowly turned to the side.

“Which person of the Eighteen Clans are you?” The veiled pressure on the ancient emperor’s body slowly gathered together.

“The observer[3].”    —— Bai Li Shu listened to that thin young man who stood with their back to the light in the fantasy-like image say this.

“The observer?” The ancient emperor burst out into a hoarse laughter. He slapped the imperial throne, and leapt up, “You are the person they sent to see me off into the tomb?”

When the ancient emperor made his move, the youth’s strike also cut through the darkness.

The instant the light from the sword cut open the darkness, it also illuminated that youth’s features.

[1] from the expression 回光返照, which can also mean the last moment of consciousness before death, or the last sudden spurt before collapsing/death.

[2] Or specifically, Buddhist robes/kasaya.

[3] 守墓⼈- specifically, the one who observes the mourning (to fulfill filial piety). Can alternatively be translated as one who keeps guards over the tomb.

Chapter 88

Chapter Eighty-Eight, the Winds and Clouds Already Moved, Without Being Detected. (⻛云已动,⼀⽆所觉)
At the same time, Yan Men Prefecture.

Jiu Xuan branch’s elder-in-charge, Xie Yi, quietly stood beneath the Black Warrior-stoned archway, draped in a black-coloured overcoat, with the borders of the overcoat sewn with gold-threaded embroidery, while his pair of hands were gathered within the overcoat. The wind blowing from the northeast corner flew through the mountain ridges outside Yan Men, and the scenery of mountains seemed like it was surging forward.

Above Xie Yi’s head, the two characters “Jiu Xuan” engraved on the plaque remained swift and fierce.

Xie Yi dressed in the black overcoat stood within the wind, standing tall and straight like a blade.

The Jiu Xuan disciples who normally quietly guarded the gates were already transferred away from this place, and at this time, the disciples of the Jiu Xuan branch were just as usual, meditating, cultivating or resting- they did not know that at this time, all the elders within the branch woke up from their meditation, and were gathered in a place that the Jiu Xuan disciples had never gone to.

That was underneath the Jiu Xuan branch’s inner mountain. Jiu Xuan’s branch was located in the highest area of the south within Yan Men Prefecture, and to its back were big tall mountains. The inner peak was located on the steep mountain named the “Wu[1] Peak”. At this time, other than Xie Yi, Jiu Xuan branch’s elders already went through the secret passageway and gathered underneath Wu Peak. What made people hard to imagine was that, underneath Wu Peak, this seemingly normal branch inner peak, was actually a spacious underground cavern.

If Ye Qiu Sheng and others were here, they would then surprisingly find, the black-watered secret river underneath the Spirit Star temple actually connected beneath Wu Peak.

The secret river was turbulent and swirling, but the thing clustered around by the secret river was not some suspended lone island, but a mysterious stone pillar.

The stone pillar seemed like it grew from the deep part of the rocks, and continuously extended all the way to the cavern’s ceiling. The stone pillar was very magnificent, and seemed like it was the only thing within the big underground space. The stone pillar had a hazy light covering over top of it, and seemed just like the spine of the entire Wu Peak that propped up this towering mountain.

The wind carrying the coldness of the secret river hovered within the underground cavern, and revolved around the stone pillar in a circle, while the water of the secret river whirled and swept around the bottom of the stone pillar.

The strong winds were fierce, the black waters turbulent, and yet, the stone pillar was unmoved since the ancient times.

The stone pillar was engraved with all things ranging from the skies to the earth, and human realm to the underworld, while it was enveloped with a hazy faint light, like it was submerged in a deep sleep. The feeling it gave people was like—— when the stone pillar awakened, all the things inscribed on the pillar’s body would come out from its pictures, and once again descend onto the land. The elders of the Jiu Xuan branch quietly sat within stone caves chiselled in the cliff wall.

“Where does the pivot of the sky connect to, and to where does the celestial pole extend so far? Where do the eight pillars stand[2]?”    The elder who stepped into this place for the first time sighed. Wind swept up from underneath the cliff, and scraped the top of the cliff wall like edges of swords.

The so-called “Where does the pivot of the sky connect to? To where does the celestial pole extend so far? Where do the eight pillars stand?” referred to the ancient story that circulated since the primordial world.

Legends say, during the Savage era, the four Mansions were unstable, so the crude beasts who ruled the lands urged the hundred of clans to cast eight sky pillars to support the world. The model of the sky pillars started in the Savage era, yet was completed in the era of Chaos.

The sky pillars were lofty and towering, bearing the weight of the canopy of heaven.

In the era when the ancient emperors had not yet fallen, the eight sky pillars connected the heavens and earth, and at the peak of the sky pillar of the far north, the Cloud Emperor even established a “Unfalling Country” on top of it. However, along with the continuous fall of the ancient emperors, the sky pillars also were lost in the river of history.

Too many records of the ancient times were all lost along with the severance of the era of Ten Thousand Immortals.

There were people who said, in the era where tens of thousands of immortals filled the lands, the sky pillars had been turned into the immortals’ magical weapons. There were also people who said, the sky pillars had been sunken into the ground, and turned into the foundations of the vast lands of the twelve dynasties. Opinions were widely varied, yet there weren’t any clues one could follow through. However, at present, underneath Yan Men’s Wu Peak, the elders of Jiu Xuan branch surrounded a stone pillar that was like the mountain’s spinal column and sat spread out.

This stone pillar was so impressive, it was a bit similar to the sky pillars of the ancient legends.

Just like a miniature version of the sky pillars that bore the weight of the canopy of heaven several tens of thousands of years ago.

When Bai Li Shu opened up the jade book, the light veiled over the stone pillar suddenly erupted out, and the sombre and dark underground was lit up like the daytime.

The birds and beasts’ images washed over by the black water on the stone pillar gradually turned life-like, like it would come out from the picture at any time, and once again descend upon the world.

Within the biggest stone cave on top of the cliff wall, the elder who temporarily sat in place of Xie Yi opened his eyes.

“Restrain!” He shouted.

His voice passed through the violent strong winds, suppressed over the noisy black waters, and echoed within the vast underground world, carrying an irrefutable imposition, carrying the resolution to use up their entire life.

Regardless if it were the elders who already came here long ago, or the elder who stepped in here for the first time, they didn’t say anything anymore. They sacrificed their life-tied magic weapons one by one, and a bright and dazzling light erupted out from each and every stone cavern, and turned into lines of meteors falling towards the slightly trembling stone pillar.

The stone pillar was shaking! It was the spine of Wu Peak, so when it trembled, the entire mountain would slightly shake due to it. Stifled rumbling sounds started to emit from the stone, from the underground, and from all over. The ceiling of the karst cave the stone pillar was connected to started emerging with lines of cracking.

The stone started to fall down piece by piece.

“Barrier!”     The elder doing the ordering stood up, and took one step out. The wind in the underground world suddenly turned particularly rampant, and his clothes were swept up and scraped by the wind, fluttering like cranes.

A longsword suddenly came out its sheath from the elder’s back, with the sound of the sword swift and fierce.

In the next moment, the longsword flew out, and turned into a giant light suspended in front of the stone pillar. The life-tied magic weapons the other elders offered out earlier circled around the longsword, and formed into a giant formation, surrounding the stone pillar within it.

The instant the formation was completed, the light erupted from the stone pillar no longer turned stronger, but the stone pillar continued to slightly shake, just like it wanted to break out from the restraints, and resurrect into the majestic appearance of holding up the world.

The elder who sacrificed his longsword waved his sleeve, and a myriad of spirit stones flew out from a long-prepared ring, then streamed onto the barrier like a long river. An arc-shaped light cover enveloped the entire mountain cave within it, and firmly locked in the slightest slivers of the terrifying pressure.

The mountain cavern was lit like the daytime, so the elders’ faces were illuminated distinctly and clearly.

They sacrificed their own life-tied magic weapons, and went up against that slowly resurrecting stone pillar. Their entire body’s primordial energy poured into their magic weapons, and maintained the stability of the barrier’s nodes. The power contained in the stone pillar that seemed like it could sustain the world was faintly on the verge of waking up.

However, one absolutely could not allow for this kind of strength to awaken.

The strong winds swept about, and the stone pillar as well as all the elders’ oppositions made the underground world’s atmosphere seem like it violently surged up like turbulent waves.

The black waters rolled up, and rushed up midair like a scaly dragon, then once again fell down heavily.

The river water shot out like showers of arrows- with an intertwining of this level, the river waters that were also swept up had a terrifying deadliness to it.

The facial colour of an elder whose cultivation was the weakest turned pale-white, and his forehead filled with cold sweat.

He opened his mouth, and a mouthful of blood essence spurted out.
His figure swayed twice, and almost directly fell down from the cliff wall.

This elder’s life-tied magic weapon also dimmed down a bit along with this.

And the barrier instantly emerged with a corner of weakness.

The stone pillar seemed like it had intelligence- the light on that side instantly turned stronger, and the barrier emerged with a ripple at once. The elder who sent out his longsword did not have much of an expression on his face, and he waved his sleeves. Tens of thousands of spirit stones once again emptied out, and poured into that corner of the barrier that had dimmed down.

Once the spirit stones poured over, the surge of spiritual energy filled in, and the barrier once again stabilized, then firmly sealed the stone pillar. A portion of the spiritual energy poured into that elder’s life-tied magic weapon, and through the life-tied weapon and the elder’s connection, transmitted inside the elder’s body. The elder’s face emerged with an abnormal flush red that was the foreboding sign of entering possession, but his swaying figure instead gradually stabilized.

All the elders present used their own cultivation to maintain the life- tied magic weapon’s strength, however, not all elders’ primordial energy was vigorous enough- that elder whose cultivation was the lowest just now didn’t have enough primordial energy, and almost could not make it.

The spiritual energy contained within the spirit stone was originally one of the sources of energy that cultivators would absorb and refine, so when spiritual energy transmitted to the elder’s body through the life-tied magic weapon, it was forcefully turned into primordial energy, and allowed for him to continue on.

However, this type of method of instantly turning a large amount of spiritual energy into primordial energy forcefully, would instead form an irredeemable injury to the channels. After this time, this elder’s cultivation would be considered to be crippled.

However, there was no sliver of resentment on his face. The elder sat up, and firmly sustained himself.
—— This was an operation that only allowed for success, and not failure.        On top of Wu Peak, were those disciples of Jiu Xuan branch who didn’t know anything- they were still that young, who only needed to think about how to practice their swordsmanship, how to finish tasks, but this was enough! This kind of thing like suppressing the reduction of a sky pillar, these were the things that these old bones of the sect should be doing!

Even if the sky fell down, there would be a tall person holding it. These elders, were the Jiu Xuan Sect’s tall person. As long as they still had a single breath remaining, they would have those young Jiu Xuan disciples protected at their backs.

“Change!”        The elder who put out his longsword passed through a sliver of grievance, but he did not go see that elder who was destined to become a crippled person from now on, and continued to relay orders.

Where were the eight pillars?

Eight pillars, were at the immortal sects!

Eight Immortal Sects, were the Eight Immortal Sects who guarded those age-old objects!

Underneath Wu Peak, the elders of the Jiu Xuan branch used up all their strength to guard that stone pillar that seemed like the peak’s spinal column. And on top of Wu Peak, the Jiu Xuan branch’s disciples, either cultivated strenuously just like normal, while those who lazed around wrapped in their blankets and snored in their sleep.

They were completely ignorant.

And outside Jiu Xuan’s branch, Yan Men Prefecture was just like how it was normally- the farming families fell asleep, the night watchman walked upon the long streets, while the soldiers guarding the city were on the verge of falling asleep. The sole thing that was different, was the faint disturbances within the sunken night. Not far from Jiu Xuan’s branch, in the officials’ residences, Lou Shi Dao stood within the study that had not been lit up, with his face hidden in the darkness.

A few ghost-like black figures silently flew out from each direction of Yan Men Prefecture, and got close to the Jiu Xuan branch located in the southern part of Yan Men City.

[1] 乌- for either crow, or by association, black.

[2] 斡维焉系?天极焉加?⼋柱何当?From the Heavenly Questions by Qu Yuan. The first question is rather open to interpretation (with 3 main widely-circulated interpretations on what the question refers to-yes, there exists debates on how it is read), but from reading, the question itself typically revolves around asking whether there really exists a hub/pivot that restricts the heavenly bodies’ revolution sewn into the skies that circles between day and night, or just how it was possible for the sky (that was seen as being round) to be connected with the earth (that was considered square) to seamlessly fit together. One of the interpretations see the question as asking just where the rope of the handle fastened to (if you see the skies’ rotation as an umbrella), to which, the answer is in another work that mentions there being three stars behind the handle (the Big Dipper) named the Wei(linking) stars- thus, the celestial bodies revolve around the Big Dipper. The second question asks, where does the celestial pole (also referring to the north star) extend to, being so far? In the third question, the eight pillars (that prop up the sky) refer to eight mountains- just where do these mountains exist?

Chapter 89

Chapter Eighty-Nine, Drawing Swords in Snow, the Amount of Tolerance For Others. (雪⾥⾏⼑, 容⼈之量)
The night winds carrying hints of coldness blew over from the tollgates, while Yan Men Prefecture, as Chen dynasty’s important grounds of defence, sat within the mountain ranges. As the winds blew through the black overcoat on Xie Yi, he silently stood, with his figure just about submerged into the sunken colours of the night.

The frosty winds in the middle of the night flew through the gates, while several slightly warped black figures gathered outside Jiu Xuan’s branch’s gates, and concealed within the branch in several hidden locations. Their figures were just like ghosts, that the guarding disciples didn’t discover that someone passed through them.

When these black figures entered Jiu Xuan’s branch, Xie Yi who was standing underneath the archway raised his eyes.

“I’ve really gotten old.”     Elder Xie Yi observed the very long stone stairs modelled after the main sect’s Connecting Heaven staircase extending downward, and lightly sighed. His face looked to be just about the same as a young person, but the tone of his words carried a kind of experience unique to an aged person. “When I was young, when would there be pilfers[1] who dared to casually come offend Jiu Xuan?”

“I’ve gotten old.” He repeated again. However, when he said he turned old, those black figures evading Jiu Xuan branch disciples’ eyes and ears while quickly rushing towards Wu Peak seemed like they received a heavy blow- their figures stopped one after another, and all staggered, then spurt a mouthful of blood. Yet, at this time and moment, Xie Yi still clearly stood underneath Jiu Xuan branch’s archway without moving at all, with both his hands gathered within the overcoat.

“A just-born calf that is not afraid of tigers is worthy of praise, however, there are times one needs to learn to act accordingly to one’s capabilities.” Xie Yi slowly said this. He alone stood at the end of the endless stone steps, and stood underneath the archway where there were no guards, yet gave people a kind of feeling like “one person could act as an army of a million”.

Those who snuck into the sect didn’t even see his figure, yet their ears very clearly resounded with his slow voice. Their faces turned white, but continued to use everything in their power to rush in the direction of Wu Peak. However, in the next moment, they only felt their vision suddenly go black, and following, the distinct sound of a blade resounded by their ears.

Those ghost-like figures were originally half-blended into the darkness, thus, when they snuck in the night, they would not draw in people’s attentions. However, when the sound of the blade resonated, they only felt like an arc-shaped snow-white strike of light appeared in front of their eyes. That strike of light was that soft, that gentle and elegant, that it could even to be said to be beautiful.

However, only those people who saw this strike panicked, and they each used all their strength to stop that strike of light from coming down.

But to no avail.

Black figures staggered in midair one by one, then fell onto the ground one after another, and didn’t even have the chance to let out a scream. These people’s bodies did not have a single bloodstain, but their breathing stopped. There was no strike of light whatsoever in the night—— those strikes appeared in each of the intruder’s minds, and also directly perished their spiritual insight.

The black figures who intruded upon Jiu Xuan’s branch all fell down, yet Xie Yi who stood at the end of the stone staircase had his pair of hands still gathered within the overcoat, and did not move at all throughout the entire time.

He observed the empty and long stone steps.

“The scouting vanguard has already died, is the real commander still not coming out?” Xie Yi indifferently said.

As he said this, there finally appeared a figure on the steps that connected with the archway. That was a man who wore a bamboo hat- their figure was big and tall, yet seemed like a logger who could not bear heavy loads, slightly hunching his back, while his back carried a strange big box.

The man wearing a bamboo hat walked up the stone staircase step by step, like a performing artist wandering about the streets. The thing in the box he carried knocked around inside as he walked, and emitted a peculiar sound.

“As expected, the Sword in Snow lives up to his fame. If I didn’t come to Yan Men, who would have thought that the Sword in Snow who once stirred the winds and rain would choose to come to this place and be an unknown and unrecognized elder-in-charge in the end?”

He saw the bamboo hat man walk up step by step. The box he carried seemed to be particularly heavy, that made his steps seem particularly heavy as well. With every step he took, the stone steps would be left with a deep footprint.

Xie Yi who did not have much of a reaction until now finally had a bit of a change to him.

He knitted his eyebrows, and his face turned a bit grim, while his gaze fell to those deep footprints, “Black Warrior stone does not come cheap, how much does this sir have? Can you compensate for our Jiu Xuan’s stairs?”

“Not much, but I can still afford to repair these stone steps.” The bamboo hat man laughed, and when there was still a fair distance between him and Xie Yi, he stood still, “Furthermore, I have also prepared the casket money for Elder Xie’s burial along with it.”

“Even the casket money is prepared?”      Xie Yi’s face let out a faint smile. “That’s fine too, my Jiu Xuan may be big with lots of work, but it cannot always spare too much on wasted expenses.”

The two spoke of words, yet the night winds by their sides blew more and more violently, and the atmosphere faintly flowed with a sliver of coldness like a blade about to come out of its sheath. From the instant the man wearing the bamboo hat appeared, the two already started exchanging blows secretly.

The reason why the bamboo-hatted man would leave heavy footprints with each step, was because he was going up against Xie Yi’s pressure while walking up.

“There are quite many impatient people.”      Xie Yi watched the man who stopped in his steps and lightly sighed, and the overcoat on his body fiercely fluttered about. “Those who want to challenge the immortal sects’ prestige already cannot wait to jump out?”

“This is already something that cannot be helped.” The bamboo hat man’s tone carried a few bits of helplessness, “In fact, from how I personally see it, there isn’t a thing such as challenging and not challenging. Just like how the ancient emperors of the era of Chaos had been superior for far too long, they would be overthrown by the Eighteen Clans- aren’t the present-day immortal sects just like how the ancient emperors once were?”

“And so you people plan on becoming this era’s Eighteen Clans?” Xie Yi laughed, and his face passed through a slight sneer. “So in your eyes, the immortal sects have already become a scorching sun one
wonders when it would die off, huh.” “Of the lands beneath the sky, seven-tenths belong to the immortal sects. The immortal sects sit upon tens of thousands of miles of fertile lands, yet could not see the frozen and starved bones beside the roads. We people do not dare to call ourselves chivalrous, and all that we’ve done, to the sects, to you, could probably only be called a mayfly trying to shake a tree[2]. However, from seeing famine rise up all around, it had to be like this.”

“It is as you say, how unfortunate.”     Xie Yi lightly laughed, and did not lose his temper.

“Elder Xie’s tolerance for people has also exceeded my expectations.” The bamboo-hatted man praised as such. He clearly already stopped in his steps, but the box on his back did not calm down along with it. On the contrary, it turned more and more noisier, as though some living thing was put inside it.

While Xie Yi’s overcoat was noisily swept by the wind.

The fight of pressure between the two did not take a lapse, while the current of air between them was already like a bunch of knives, madly swirling about.

“Tolerance?” The corners of Xie Yi’s lips slightly raised up. “Then it’s very regretful. In reality, I’ve never had a thing like this.”

[1] 偷鸡摸狗- literally, steal chickens and dogs, to mean to do things stealthily, orrrrr on the other hand, also refers to having illicit relations with women. What do dogs, chickens, and other animals also have in common? Remember ‘stealing fragrances’? This is a more… rougher way of referring to it.

[2] 蜉蝣撼树- expression for, fruitless, rash attempt.

Chapter 90

Chapter Ninety, Skeleton of Many People, Who Suffers Divine Punishment. (万⼈之骸, 何⼈天谴)
In the dark, that strike of light seemed like flimsy cherry blossoms fluttering down on a spring day, so elegant it was beyond logic and comprehension, and looked nothing like a sword technique use to kill people at all.

But it most certainly was a strike used to kill people. The Sword in Snow, Xie Yi.
In the period when Yi He Ping and them were still young, what these three words “Sword in Snow” represented, was an absolute celebrity. People would say Jiu Xuan Sect was teeming with lunatics, and Xie Yi, previously, was a lunatic among lunatics- he carried his sword while walking a thousand miles in the snowy night, and stepped through the twelve dynasties to chop people’s heads off.

The Xie Yi of that time was just like the disciples of He Huan Sect, and extremely valued his own face to the point he even once single- handedly challenged He Huan Sect’s entire young generation of aces for a single beauty treatment pill, and furthermore, had an eccentric and domineering conduct. However, he was also a famously handsome and graceful person, that just from appearance alone, looked just like an elegant good man. However, the people who exchanged blows with him all knew just what kind of character was underneath that nice skin[1].

The blade from Sword in Snow was so beautiful to the extent it was like a dream and a fantasy, but this blade was tempered with blood. He dressed in the most gorgeous clothes, and walked in the most darkest, most dangerous, dark regions, while exhibiting a lethal blade technique, reciting lines from ancient poems, and stepping through a ground full of corpses, accumulating blood as he went. Of the prestige of that generation within Jiu Xuan Sect, half of it originated from him.

However, just like that Kong An who was once Tai Shang Sect’s most youngest elder, this person also gradually faded away from people’s sights, and gradually lost his name in the society[2]. And as new geniuses and new people appeared, he was gradually forgotten by the people. By the end, not many people connected the tenaciously-defending branch elder-in- charge with the previously unrestrained swordsman together.

This was what the immortal cultivation realm was.

Geniuses eternally emerged unceasingly, so even with a more dazzling and bright person, they would still be covered in the dust in the end.

However, the bamboo-hatted man did not dare underestimate Xie Yi’s one strike that looked elegant and beautiful, yet was not piercingly cold. Although the fame of Sword in Snow was not mentioned by others anymore, this did not represent that this one strike, this one person, was not as dangerous as they were before.

The moment the dust-covered blade of the snow was drawn out, it was still that sharp and matchless.

Xue Li’s[3] strike was graceful and beautiful, and the bamboo hat man who came faced with the strike of light was like he was pressed by the box on his back into bending his waist, and lightly bent over. The strike of light did not incline to either side[4], and fell onto that completely-ordinary-looking bamboo box, yet let out a crisp sound like metal clashing together. The strike was blocked, and the bamboo hat man staggered into retreating back a step.

“As expected of the Sword in Snow.” The bamboo hat man bent over, and his posture turned a bit respectful, but the big box on his back did not have a single trace of taking damage, nor did the strange sound from within stop either.         “Wine in the mouth of the new pavilion, while a killing blade in the snow. This treasured blade of yours, even after so many years, is not seen to be old.”

“A blade would not turn old, but the person became old.” Xie Yi sighed. His hands held a thin blade with an extremely elegant outline.

It was an extremely good-looking blade that looked not to be something a man used, but rather, an ornamental blade much more suited for a girl. Nevertheless, when Xie Yi held this kind of elegant and frivolous blade, it was not seen to be inharmonious at all. The borders of his cloak were sewn with gold threads of embroidery, while that embroidery was extremely gorgeous, and remained with a bit of the elegant demeanour of him walking in the night in gorgeous clothing that year.

“You joke. This lowly one has once had the opportunity to see the scenery of you breaking waters with one strike, and at present, to have the fortune to ask for your instruction is this lowly one’s honour.” The bamboo- hatted man said this, and once again bowed. He extended his hand to take off the box from his back, “This lowly one’s assets have all been brought here, so Elder has no need to worry about having no coffin to be buried in afterwards.”

“You don’t seem like those remaining martial artists from the Chen dynasty.” Xie Yi did not stop the man from taking off the box. He slowly stroked the elegant “Xue Li” that was like an object of appreciation more than a killing blade, and the thin blade turned over in his hands, separated by a layer of white cloth, while the light of the blade glimmered like the snow. His actions had an unspeakable gracefulness to it, even if that pair of hands of his were already filled with wrinkles.

Xie Yi’s action was just like conducting a ritual for the blade before killing people and absorbing their blood- as he wiped it, the body of the blade turned more and more bright, and turned more and more frigid.

The bamboo-hatted man took the box down, and put it upright on top of a stone step. When he heard Xie Yi’s words, he laughed, “Old Chen’s martial artists are typically of widespread fame. We people are only some moles in the dark that cannot see the light, we do not dare be regarded as the same.”

“I heard that once it turns to night in Cang Pu dynasty, there would be demonic spirits emerging along with the miasma. These years, the demonic spirits turned more and more impressive, that even those people from He Huan Sect also gradually had more injuries. Don’t know if the things coming out along with the miasma, in the end, are demons or humans.” When Xie Yi’s blade had already been wiped halfway to completion, the light from the blade cast onto his face- that face that maintained its youth had not much expression to it.

“There isn’t much difference between a demon and a human, no?” The bamboo-hatted man bowed three times towards the box very respectfully, then he got up, and said this in a low voice. “After all,
when a human transforms, they are just about the same as a demon.”

“I suppose.” With a wave of the wrist, Xie Yi’s blade emitted a chilly tone. “Therefore, killing a person is merely no different from killing a demon.”

“That is the logic.”

The bamboo hat man opened the box. At the instant the bamboo hat man opened the box, the entire mountain area was suddenly enveloped in a shriek and shrill cry of ghosts, and a myriad of ghost fires suddenly rose up, while a faint, strange cold air rose up from all around, and a white skeleton climbed out from the box. That was a skeleton that looked like a human, however, when one carefully looked at it, they would feel like every piece of bone was overlapping with each other, as though that was not one single skeleton, but tens of thousands of skeletons superimposed into one.

When that white-boned skeleton climbed out from the box, the environment all around rose up with a strange phenomenon that made people turned terrified.

“Skeleton of a Myriad, to dare create such a thing, are you not afraid of meeting with the wrath of Heaven?” Xie Yi held up his blade, and slightly raised his eyebrows while looking at that skeleton that climbed out from the box, but in contrast, his voice was as always, gentle and smooth.

The bamboo-hatted man who slightly hunched his back the entire time finally straightened his body, and he raised his head up to look at Xie Yi who stood atop the end of the stone staircase.

Under the clustering of the dim-blue ghost fire all around, the man was just like a person who carried the souls of the underworld within the legends in the Customary Stratagems.

However, the soul carrier of the underworld could not possibly care about the secular realm.

“Elder Xie is an elder of Jiu Xuan Sect, while Jiu Xuan Sect is a lofty and superior immortal sect. Naturally, you would not see the ill and dead of the secular realm, and naturally would not care for how the harvest of the commoners who do not even have a place to stick an awl fares.” The bamboo hat man stood up, and in front of him, that skeleton turned ghastly- white, “As the soils that have been fertile for many years were all used to grow ling zhi, it has been hard for the common folk to harvest even a single grain. When famine dies down in one area, it appears in another place again. Three years ago, Qing Province met with a large famine, and those who died starving number more than seventy thousand. Two years ago, Yong province had a big famine, and the number of deaths reached one hundred thousand. This year, this lowly one came from the southern region, gathering the starved commoners’ skeletons, and managed to refine them into a Skeleton of a Myriad when this one reached Bing Province.”

The bamboo hat man paused, then he lightly laughed.
[1] ⽪囊- also a term for body, or leather bag.
[2] 江湖- to note, the term itself can encompass many meanings, for example, country, river/lake (as the characters themselves mean), a vast land (underneath the sky), but in particular, and especially in xianxia/wuxia novels, refers to a society in which separates themselves from control and restraint of the dynasty and realm’s rules and laws.

[3] 雪⾥- within snow. Literally. So his title, 雪⾥⼑ is an extension of his sword’s name.
[4] 不偏不倚 or, by extension, be impartial/ without bias or favour.
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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