Chapter 887: Congratulations From Every Corner Of The World
Translator: Sparrow Translations Editor: Sparrow Translations
After Lin Feng departed from Mount Shu, over on the borders of the Great Zhou Empire and the Great Qin Empire, Shi Yu, Liang Pan, and Zhu Hongwu entered states of deep contemplation.
The group of cultivators under the command of their respective empires were also silent as they started to withdraw consensually.
The Immortal Dragon City, the Imperial Palace of Emperor Tai, and the Great Heavenly Wheels shimmered and gradually vanished into the void as the deadlock between the two parties officially came to an end.
Zhu Hongwu descended into the Imperial Palace of Emperor Tai and came before Liang Pan, who was sitting atop the dragon throne. After a moment of thought, Liang Pan glanced at Zhu Hongwu and said, “Hongwu, time is working against us. You have to reach the third-level immortal soul stage as soon as possible.”
“Yes, your majesty.” Zhu Hongwu’s head bobbed up and down as his expression remained unchanged. “I am also beginning to think that we are losing our grasp on the situation. The power displayed by the leader of the Celestial Sect of Wonders has far exceeded our expectations – the Great Zhou Empire has to plan much further ahead now and prepare for the future with greater care.”
“Even my treacherous son has also managed to complete the cultivation of a destiny-level magic treasure. I no longer have confidence in taking him down for good. I’ll probably still be able to win, but I don’t think I can kill him or capture him – unless I sacrifice the Great Heavenly Wheels to maim the Higan Golden Bridge of his and trap him with something so he’s unable to escape. Only then will I have the chance to actually kill him.”
Liang Pan continued, “You’re right. You have to give everything to reach the Way of the Virtual Entity from now on. I will prepare the caves that speed up time and the necessary resources for your breakthrough, and you can delegate them yourself.”
Zhu Hongwu placed his fists together and said, “Thank you for your favors, your majesty.”
Liang Pan stood up from his dragon throne as light shadows flickered before him and two images appeared. The first was that of the Azure Pulse Swordmaster and the Tidal Sword Elder of the Vast Sea Sword Sect amongst the rest, while the other was that of Shao Qingcheng of the East Heaven’s Gate. During Shao Dongtian’s venture into Mount Kunlun, Shao Qingcheng stayed behind in Tianjing city and did not return to her sect’s Zhu Heaven Pagoda, which was also the reason why she managed to dodge a bullet.
Liang Pan said slowly, “Shao Dongtian and the Vast Sea Swordmaster are imprisoned because of their loyalty towards the Great Zhou Empire. I will not leave them behind. I will send someone down to Mount Yujing shortly to negotiate with the Celestial Sect of Wonders for their release. The lot of you can tag along, and you can withdraw the expenses from the treasury once you’ve returned.”
The Azure Pulse Swordmaster and the others bowed and said, “Yes, your majesty.”
Shao Qingcheng heaved a defeated sigh and said, “Your majesty, I think I will sit this one out. I’m afraid my presence may have a negative effect on the negotiations with the Celestial Sect of Wonders.”
Lin Feng and Zhu Yi would not go out of their way to shame and humiliate her. However, her presence in Mount Yujing could be misunderstood as insincerity.
Liang Pan nodded his head in acknowledgment but said nothing more as the light illusions dissipated. He turned his gaze towards the far end of the horizon as he muttered under his breath, “Time is really working against us.”
The individual appointed to head the expedition to Mount Yujing was Prince Yanliang, Liang Fu, who was in the second-level immortal soul stage.
Of all the powerful immortal soul stage cultivators of the Great Zhou Empire, the most well-tempered one was tasked to negotiate the release of the prisoners in the end.
Upon receiving news regarding the arrival of guests at his mountain gate, Lin Feng’s mouth curved into a smile as he let all the negotiators up into the mountain.
There was an awkward atmosphere in the air as everybody met each other on Mount Yujing.
The Thunderclouds Holy Man and the Blue Pavilion Holy Man glanced at a white-clothed young man and asked together, “You’re also here, Shen Qifeng?”
The youthful cultivator was known as the Heavenly Cloud Holy Man and was also the direct disciple of Shi Tianfang, the leader of the Samsara Sect. He flashed a faint grin and answered, “I have been imprisoned in your Heaven’s Canyon to serve my sentence, and only when Lin Feng flattened the mountain gate of my Path of the Heaven-Born did I get out of my incarceration.”
“I have never agreed with the opinions of my master and the others. However, my words don’t mean much and I have been sentenced into the Heaven’s Canyon as well. There was nothing I could have done.”
“Still, they’re the seniors of my sect in the end. This is the reason why I’ve shown up brazenly in the hope that Master Lin will show them mercy.”
He placed his fists together and paid his respects to the Thundercloud Holy Man and the Blue Pavilion Holy Man before he continued, “The Path of the Beast’s Wu Xusen and Ming Zun of the Path of Hell have offended the two of you in the past, and I shall apologize on their behalf and I do hope you will find it in yourselves to forgive.”
The Thunderclouds Holy Man watched him as he lowered his voice. “Who are you representing? The Samsara Sect as a whole, or just the Path of the Heaven-Born?”
Shen Qifeng answered, “The head of the Path of the Asura is our new sect. However, he’s injured at the moment and needs time to recover and recuperate – this is the reason why I am here instead.”
The head of the Path of the Asura was named Mo Xiuluo. He had been imprisoned by Shi Tianfang a while ago, and only managed to find his escape when Lin Feng swept across the mountain gate of the Path of the Heaven-Born. As the only third-level immortal soul stage cultivator left in the Samsara Sect and juxtaposed with the fact the Samsara Sect was entering a state of decadence, he took the mantle as the next sect leader.
After the death of Shi Tianfang, it was natural for Mo Xiuluo to form alliances with the others, and he was far more desperate than the Great Zhou Empire.
The Thunderclouds Holy Man said nothing more as he mulled over his words while the Blue Pavilion Holy Man engaged in idle chat with Shen Qifeng.
The Lightning Swordmaster, the Great Barrens Swordmaster, the Royal House Priest, the Eternal Heavenly Spear and Liang Fu were standing together.
It was not long before representatives from the Great Qin Empire arrived to congratulate Lin Feng as well. Prince Nanming Shi Zongtang, who was in the third-level immortal soul stage, and Prince Anliang Shi Zongyue were heading the party which included the Sun Radiance Swordmaster of the Sun Moon Sword Sect and the Starry Swordmaster of the Starry Sword Sect.
After everyone paid their respects to each other, the Lightning Swordmaster and the Great Barrens Swordmaster glanced at the Sun Radiance Swordmaster and the Starry Swordmaster and heaved a concurrent sigh. “You guys are here too.”
The Sun Radiance Swordmaster answered, “The destruction of the Saintly Celestial Sword by the leader of the Celestial Sect of Wonders returned all swordplay of the Divine Lands back onto the right track. How can such grace be paid back by a simple visit up the mountain?”
The Starry Swordmaster continued with a grimace. “Ever since the rise of our ancestors, our predecessors had always been perplexed about the fact that our sect became stuck after we reached a certain level. Why is it that it seems as if we are being held down by foot irons and our path ahead is completely blocked? Nobody knew the reason.”
“Even though we had our suspicions that it has something to do with Mont Shu and the Saintly Celestial Sword, such a thing is impossible to prove and neither could we explain the phenomenon. Only when the leader of the Celestial Sect of Wonders vanquished the Saintly Celestial Sword did the formless shackles lift shatter into pieces. Only when the true law of nature returned did we understand what had been happening.”
“I pity the predecessors that came before us. They never understood the reasons and could only watch as the paths in front of them remained blocked.”
The Lightning Swordmaster grunted and said, “It’s the same for everyone. The Mount Shu Sword Sect had malicious ambitions all along, and they would never have announced this phenomenon. They continued to trick unwitting cultivators to join them and tied up their loose ends at the same time. They managed to complete the number one sword in the Grand Celestial Sword in the process.”
The Supreme Radiance Swordmaster shifted next to him and said quietly, “While it is true that the Mount Shu Sword Sect harbored malicious ambitions and intentions, there’s another thing to consider. When our ancestors set up our respective sects, they consulted and drew inspiration from the swordplay of the Mount Shu Sword Sect in the end. It made the path of initial growth smoother than it would have been, but the price to pay in exchange for that benefit was far too great. It’s hard to say whether who is at fault here.”
The Lightning Swordmaster answered coldly, “Is that so? If we knew the truth, who would continue to draw inspiration from their swordplay? Who would continue to learn their ways of the sword?”
The sects that were established over the years generally had a positive impression of the Mount Shu Sword Sect. They thought that Mount Shu was magnanimous and generous. Over time, they started to realize that Mount Shu’s behavior was a little too overbearing and unreasonable and started to distance themselves from Mount Shu.
It was also this very fact that incurred such forthcoming public anger after the truth had been revealed.
The Great Barrens Swordmaster muttered cheerlessly, “If we hadn’t drawn from their swordplay and attempted to seek our own path instead all those years ago, I believe the swords of our ancestors would have been assimilated into the Immortal Heaven Universal Sword Formation.”
“Ignorance is bliss sometimes. We have managed to survive the darkest of days, and we are finally welcoming the light.”
The Lightning Swordmaster laughed with a despondent undertone and said, “If not for the existence of the Heaven-Destroying Sword, how much longer would we have to live in the dark? We wouldn’t even have known why we were living in such darkness.”
“We have finally seen the light, but what about our predecessors and our ancestors? The fourth sect leader, and also my Great Senior Master, was an unprecedented talent and his mastery of the Way of the Lightning Sword was unmatched. He managed to emerge victorious against the Shaoshang Swordmaster of that generation, and at the second-level immortal soul stage, he could survive battles against third-level undying demonic soul stage great demons.” (Translator’s Note: Great Senior Master refers to someone three generations before.)
“But what happened in the end? He had already attained the second-level immortal soul stage after six hundred years, but he got stuck at the peak and was unable to advance after thousands of years. He grinded it out in caves that sped up time, ventured in and out of the Void Battleground, dived deep into the Ying Sea to challenge the layers of spatial illusions, quested into the Barren Expanses to slay multiple demons and even incurred the lightning strikes of the void onto his own body in the hope of being able to understand. He had gone through so much, and it was all for naught in the end. He perished in the war of the worlds at the hands of a Cardinal Tribulations Beginner stage demon.”
The Lightning Swordmaster shook his head. “I am reminiscing the spirit and ambitions of my Great Senior Master. He wanted to become the first in our sect to reach the third-level immortal soul stage. It’s quite a pity that he lost his life without knowing the truth and that his hard work would never have amounted to anything at all.”
He looked up at the Supreme Radiance Swordmaster. “The opening ancestor of the Sword of Radiance Sect, if memory serves, was also a powerful sword cultivator that managed to beat the Shaoze Swordmaster of his generation. If he knew the truth, would he still have taken the tiny favors and graces from the malicious Mount Shu Sword Sect?”
The Supreme Radiance Swordmaster turned a little doleful and sighed lightly but said nothing more.
The Sun Radiance Swordmaster said quietly, “Even though the intentions of the leader of the Celestial Sect of Wonders had been to simply resolve the feud between them and the Mount Shu Sword Sect, it’s unprecedented progress for the likes of us.”
The Supreme Radiance Swordmaster, the Lightning Swordmaster, the Great Barrens Swordmaster and the Starry Swordmaster nodded their heads in unison. “That is correct. Whether or not he intended for it to happen, we are beneficiaries of his grace.”
The powerful sword cultivators intentionally avoided Shi Zongtang and the others as they shared their thoughts with one another. On the other side, Shi Zongtang and company watched their gathering with shaking heads and heavy sighs.
The Great Qin Empire was up to speed about the recent happenings with the changes of natural law following the Saintly Celestial Cataclysm and the battle of Mount Shu, in addition to the explanation of the Starry Swordmaster and the Sun Radiance Swordmaster.
The Great Qin Empire had never been too friendly with the Mount Shu Sword Sect. Prince Anliang grunted once and said, “They lie and deceive and practice usury – and those not willing to take their high-interest services are chased away and eradicated. Those who have taken these high-interest products, after a certain degree of development, every bit of improvement and ‘income’ is used to sustain them, and there is no way of withdrawing as well. Unless the entire sect is laid to waste, of course. There is no wonder that even though Mount Shu had been through several devastating events, the Saintly Celestial Sword could return to its original splendor so quickly.”
“Without these calamities, I can’t imagine what the Saintly Celestial Sword will be like now.”
Shi Zongtang chimed in as well. “When I watched the Saintly Celestial Cataclysm, I observed Xin Longsheng and the others and I’m afraid they’ve been kept in the dark as well. This should be the ploy of the ancestors of the Mount Shu Sword Sect during the Antiquity Age and the Middle Ages passed down from Ren Changmei to a few generations below him.”
Shi Zongyue chuckled and said, “Yes, after the ‘Holy Ground of Sword Art’ had been formed, the successors just have to play along and follow the rules set before them by their predecessors. Does it matter whether they know the truth?”
Shi Zongtang avoided the eyes of the Lightning Swordmaster and the others but turned instead to the Azure Pulse Swordmaster and the other cultivators from the Vast Sea Sword Sect. The Azure Pulse Swordmaster was impassive, but he could tell that they perceived Mount Yujing with inscrutable eyes.
Under the direction of Xiao Yan, Lin Feng’s first disciple, the entire company entered the Grand Heavens Pavilion. Nobody from the group of powerful immortal soul stage cultivators dared to underestimate the Xiao Yan before them now, and this even included the third-level immortal soul stage Shi Zongtang.
Xiao Yan was no longer just Lin Feng’s First Disciple – he was a powerful cultivator at this point and was at pretty much the same level as everyone else.
“My master will be here shortly. Sorry for the inconvenience and the wait,” Xiao Yan was still polite as ever, and Shi Zongtang and the others shook their heads and replied, “It’s alright.”
The great battle had just ended, and it was understandable that Lin Feng had some family and sect matters to settle, and could not be counted as disrespectful.
Lin Feng was standing on top of the Black Heavenly Treasure Tree with his palms open. There was a grain of sand hovering over his palm.
Yang Qing was on his knees before him while Wang Lin, Yue Hongyan, and Kang Nanhua were heaving faint sighs at the side.