Translated by: wswin, Ea
Edited by: Butter
Lin Xuanzhi maintained an impassive expression, calm and collected, despite the great waves in his heart.
He nodded. “I’m indeed ignorant; I have never heard of such a sword technique.”
However, Lin Xuanzhi was almost unable to suppress his shock.
Not famous? If this could still be fricking called not famous, then there would be no sword cultivation technique more famous in this world!
“Eternal Sorrow!” An astonished voice rang out inside his sea of consciousness. At this moment, the Soul Bead that had been in slumber for a long time actually woke up.
Soul Bead did not conceal his surprise, “Eternal Sorrow is a sword technique passed down through the generations of the Nine Lands’ Wan family, one of the nine Divine Clans. How can it be cultivated by someone from this small dirt of a place? Could it be…this lad is a member of the Wan family?”
Lin Xuanzhi answered in his consciousness, “His name is Wan Yitong; it’s very likely that he’s a member of the Wan family.”
“Wan” wasn’t considered a rare surname in the Nine Lands, but the most famous family with the Wan surname was one of the Divine Clans, the Wan family.
Although the Wan family was not a family of sword cultivators, they were able to produce at least one or two genius sword cultivators every generation by relying on 《Eternal Sorrow》and were able to easily obtain a position within the sword cultivator rankings. But, how could Wan Yitong be a person from the Nine Lands’ Wan family?
If he was, then did Wan Yitong know about his identity?
But if he didn’t, then how did he obtain 《Eternal Sorrow》?
Esteemed Lan Yue obviously knew this set of sword techniques. Then, what kind of role did he play in this?
In an instant, several doubts had already flashed through Lin Xuanzhi’s mind. From the time he met Feng Jingyu, it seemed there were more and more people around him with connections to the Nine Lands.
Yan Tianhen, who was the heir to the Qianyuan Dynasty; Su Mo, who once traveled to the Nine Lands and brought Yan Tianhen to the Five Continents; Lin Zhan, who went missing; Feng Jingyu, who was reborn from the flames; and also Esteemed Lan Yue, whose origins were a mystery…
Now, there was one more — Wan Yitong, who was suspected to be a member of the Divine Clans’ Wan family.
Lin Xuanzhi was unable to explain all this. Mysteriously and inexorably, he could only deduce that there was some kind of inextricable relationship between himself and the Nine Lands, as though thousands of threads were binding them together. However, he didn’t know exactly what this relationship entailed.
Could it really be what the prophets referred to as “Star of Salvation”?
But even if he was the Star of Salvation, what was the connection between him and all those people from the Nine Lands who shouldn’t have appeared in the Five Continents?
Lin Xuanzhi couldn’t help but feel as though his head was about to explode.
“Do you have a way to determine their identities?”
“How could that be possible?” Soul Bead answered sourly, “I don’t even know them. If I don’t look like this, I might be able to probe their minds with a magic array to find out which family they’re from.”
“Then can you determine who originated from the Nine Lands and who originated from the Five Continents?” Li Xuanzhi settled for the second-best.
“This… is also very difficult. Unless those people use cultivation techniques that can only appear in the Nine Lands, or if I recognize the original forms of certain demonic beasts — in this world, there are a lot of demonic beasts that can only be found in the Nine Lands, like that phoenix.”
Lin Xuanzhi sighed secretly in his heart.
Basically, the trail of clues stopped again.
It’s just that when Lin Xuanzhi looked up at Esteemed Lan Yue, he always felt that this person was becoming more profound and inscrutable.
Today’s morning class ended much later than usual. Esteemed Lan Yue ordered Lin Xuanzhi to teach the basic sword strokes from the beginning, teaching only one technique per day. This time, the disciples of Sinking Sword Peak did not complain, and they were even eager to properly learn the sword technique that they usually looked down upon.
After the morning class had ended, Lin Xuanzhi asked, “Next, is there anything else to practice together?”
Zhan Fengting smiled, “The several of us have our own respective techniques to practice. Since you just came, I don’t know how Master will customize your cultivation practice. You should go ask Master.”
Lin Xuanzhi had yet to take the initiative to look for him when Esteemed Lan Yue had already walked over. “Follow me.”
Esteemed Lan Yue stood still on a natural outdoor platform next to a sheer cliff.
Lin Xuanzhi frowned slightly, if for no other reason than because of the fierce gales and mournful winds on this platform. From time to time, some trees growing on the cliffs would be cleaved through by the fierce gales, which were as sharp as knives, and the broken fragments frantically rushed toward this platform, strong enough to kill.
Lin Xuanzhi witnessed with his own eyes how a tree trunk as thick as his arm brushed against his cheek as it whizzed past. With a bang, it suddenly struck a passing bird in midair, cleaving it in two.
Lin Xuanzhi wanted to use spiritual Qi to protect his body. However, he found that there seemed to be certain restrictions on the usage of spiritual Qi here. The Qi circulated very slowly, and his body, which should have been light, also became slower. His agility became only a third of his usual speed.
What kind of magical place was this?
Esteemed Lan Yue spoke, “On the sword path, besides sword techniques and secret manuals, there’s nothing that I can teach you.”
Lin Xuanzhi was not modest either. He neither acknowledged nor denied it.
In reality, Esteemed Lan Yue was a prophet. Even if he had some attainments in swordsmanship, in the end, he probably still wasn’t as good as Lin Xuanzhi.
One should know that back then, when Profound Sky Sect’s Sect Master called Lin Xuanzhi the “Number One in the Five Continents for the past five hundred years and for the five hundred years to come”; it was because that Sect Master saw him complete a set of 108 basic sword strokes.
Talent was the most unfair existence in this world.
Lin Xuanzhi had already become one of the Four Swords of Profound Sky when he was ten years old and was even the leader of the Four Swords to boot, which clearly showed how terrifying his talent on the sword path was.
Thus, when Esteemed Lan Yue claimed that he had nothing to teach Lin Xuanzhi, he wasn’t intentionally speaking highly of Lin Xuanzhi, but was instead telling the truth.
Esteemed Lan Yue continued, “You can feel the piercing, mournful gales here; the Qi here is blocked, and your physical body’s abilities are also limited. Furthermore, there are also some things you don’t know, such as how the wintry snow and ice will freeze this place over for a long time every day, just like in the North Continent, as well as how there is a period of time each day where an extreme heat will arise and cause it to be unbearably, blisteringly hot like the raging inferno in hell. What I want you to do is cultivate here.”
Lin Xuanzhi raised his eyebrows, “What am I cultivating here?”
Esteemed Lan Yue glanced at him. “Cultivate whatever you can. Whether it’s the sword path or the crafting path, both need to be done here.”
Another fierce gale swept past his face.
Lin Xuanzhi couldn’t dodge in time; the vigorous wind actually scratched off the skin on his cheek.
He now felt that Esteemed Lan Yue was insane.
“The conditions here are rather harsh.” Lin Xuanzhi frowned slightly, “It’s all right to practice the sword here, but equipment refining can only be done in a quiet environment.”
Esteemed Lan Yue replied leisurely, “Then that means that your abilities are not up to par.”
Lin Xuanzhi, “….”
He’d never experienced refining equipment in this kind of environment before, even in the one thousand years in his last life.
The soul plate was a place naturally suitable for refining equipment. Not only were there forged stones inside, but there was also abundant spiritual energy. Most importantly, there was also a soul with a discerning eye to give guidance.
Even if Lin Xuanzhi spent years crafting a single piece of equipment, no one would disturb him.
Craftsmen all knew that the quieter and safer the environment, the easier it was to refine a peerless magic tool.
Esteemed Lan Yue would not be unaware of this.
Lin Xuanzhi explained, “There is no guarantee of safety here…”
“That’s precisely my intention.” Esteemed Lan Yue cut in flatly, “The most frightening and unshakable force in this world is the force of nature. Here, the spiritual Qi is jumbled and chaotic; the piercing gales almost never die down, the weather is ever-changing, and there are many unpredictable traps that can kill you. It could be said that this place is a small battlefield with no actual enemies, and yet with enemies everywhere. From today on, you will stay here for at least sixteen hours a day.”
Lin Xuanzhi, “….”
Did Esteemed Lan Yue regard him as a god?
Even if he was gifted with extraordinary talent, currently, he was only a Foundation Stage Third Layer cultivator.
“You can do your own things for the remaining few hours. If you have matters that require you to leave the mountain, just let Zhan Fengting know; there’s no need to ask me. You have just entered my door, so I naturally want to be more strict with you. You don’t have to compare yourself to your other senior martial brothers and sisters. They have also received similar training, but they have survived through that period and found their own cultivation methods.”
It was as though Esteemed Lan Yue knew everything like the back of his hand. Looking at Lin Xuanzhi, he continued, “As for you, you still need to temper yourself.”
While Esteemed Lan Yue was saying this, Lin Xuanzhi had managed to dodge three attacks from the nearby trees and rocks.
However, to his surprise, the broken stones and branches seemed like they had eyes of their own. Unexpectedly, they all bypassed Esteemed Lan Yue — none of them hit him, even though Esteemed Lan Yue did not move a single bit.
Lin Xuanzhi sensed his surroundings for a moment and asked in astonishment, “Master, there is actually a cyclone surrounding your entire body?”
Esteemed Lan Yue explained, “This is sword Qi.”
Lin Xuanzhi was stunned!
“You don’t think that one can only form sword Qi through one’s sword, do you? My sword is hidden in my sleeve, but I can use my whole body as a sword and make the sword Qi circle around me to kill or drive away those enemies who want to come near me. Although these trees haven’t had their spiritual intelligence awakened yet, they have been growing on Sinking Sword Peak’s cliff, which is rich in spiritual Qi, for many years. They can more or less weigh the pros and cons, so they dare not approach me because they know that I am not easy to provoke.”
His words had just fallen when a few leaves sped towards Lin Xuanzhi.
Lin Xuanzhi took out Lianlian and sliced the leaves apart in two or three strikes.
Damn, did they think that he was easy to bully?
With the fierce gale on this cliff, let alone a branch, even a soft leaf could become a sharp weapon and cut one’s throat.
Lin Xuanzhi felt a little bitter. It was still all right to practice the sword, but he was more concerned with equipment crafting.
He’d have to watch out for whether or not he would be killed by these unfathomable “enemies” when refining equipment, which was a pain. Moreover, it was inconceivable. This could no longer be regarded as dual-tasking; he’s afraid that this was multitasking. This was contradictory to and completely different from the usual Daoist teachings of concentrating on one matter at a time.
However, Esteemed Lan Yue left no room for negotiation. After clarifying some matters, he flew away.
Before leaving, Esteemed Lan Yue especially mentioned, “I don’t require you to cultivate here for sixteen hours every day, but you have to find ways to make up for the time you owe in the future. The day you can successfully refine a weapon here is the day your training at the Fierce Gale Cliff ends.”
This terrace was only a few inches wide. Lin Xuanzhi estimated that it could probably only allow him to practice the 108 basic sword styles.
He walked to the edge of the cliff, cast a glance down, then closed his eyes and came back.
Not only was it bottomless, but it was full of various trees and rocks. He could even see a tree trunk that was so thick it would take ten people to encircle, fingertip to fingertip.
This was really…really–
“Say, do you think he’s deliberately punishing me?”
“I think so.” Soul Bead took quite some joy in his misfortune, “You brat, usually, you’re always acting like ‘Laozi is best in the world’. You dumb fucks are usually full of attitude; have you kicked an iron plate now? In my opinion, you didn’t lose out when accepting him as your Teacher. He knows how to ground your reckless vigor.”
Lin Xuanzhi chopped up a branch that was rushing towards his face with some gloom. “I’m not that bad, am I?”
“What do you mean, not that bad?” Soul Bead countered coolly, “Whether on the crafting path or on the sword path, you rarely meet worthy rivals, and any matter you do goes exceedingly smoothly, as though it’s not at all difficult. I haven’t seen your sword path attainments — when I woke up, you were already crippled, but on the equipment crafting path, you basically have never received any setbacks or been frustrated, as if you were a craftsman who was naturally able to do anything as soon as you were born.”
Lin Xuanzhi listened to Soul Bead’s words while hacking at a pile of rocks that was crazily circling around him.
“But you have to know that you can only refine items in a relatively safe environment. However, in reality, not a single exceptional magic treasure was refined in that kind of environment.”
“What do you mean?” Lin Xuanzhi asked.