Translated by ethidda of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Beneath the roaring true phoenix fire, Xiaoshen’s dragon scales glittered brightly. He left the area of the flames with a roll. Even with his hardened dragon scales, it was so painful, one could tell that the fire was strong.
“I didn’t expect that Your Highness would love humans so. Is it because they are part of your territory? Or did you stay too long at Yuling sect?” Bai Cangnian’s body was blurry in the flames. “First you defeated the Jiao and stayed away from water. Now you are pushing me so far away. Are you scared they would get hurt?”
He seemed to really dislike Xiaoshen acting like this.
“Humans? You’ve been a fake phoenix for too long, you don’t even know what you are anymore. You’re not a human either,” Xiaoshen said coldly.
Bai Cangnian didn’t answer. From within the fire, his red eyes stared directly at Xiaoshen. “Your Highness, I really want a live dragon. Even though you were a bit ruined by that starling’s mentoring, but… Alive is still better than dead, right?”
Too bad, Xiaoshen just had to get entangled with the Yuling Sect.
The flames became darker and darker, clawing like beasts, making everything surrounding them turn and twist. It clearly flared so grand and excessive, yet the sky and ground were both dark, as if they absorbed all color and light, causing people to shudder.
And it was in this moment, that countless rays of light lit from the edge of the sky, like a meteor shower during the day. Then in these faint rays of light came lights of every color, like rainbows. The sky shone, like the ultimate fireworks show, blooming around the phoenix’s body!
When the brilliance had fallen, human silhouettes appeared. All the Yuling Sect disciples were present!
Xie KuRong led them, bold and mighty. The numerous cultivation techniques that were world renowned, even including Shang Jiyu’s sword intent, all fell on the phoenix’s body.
No doubt the Yuling disciple’s love for studying cultivation techniques were on display at this moment. That arrogant and tyrannical flame from Bai Cangnian was squeezed into a tiny ball—
And it suddenly expanded again. The crimson flames splattered even more wildly.
Everybody dodged the true phoenix fire, and regrouped into formations to face it.
Xie Kurong’s expression was serious, signaling to wait, and not take action. He said to Xiaoshen, “Greetings, debt-holder. I brought the disciples to support you. I didn’t expect that there was still a phoenix in this world?
——Even the Jiao were arranged by Xiaoshen to be ambushed, never mind these guys who owed him a debt. This time, almost the entire sect came to fight for their most revered debt-holder.
In order to prevent discovery, they had stayed far behind, and now worked hard to catch up.
It was only now that they caught up that they discovered Bai Cangnian was actually in the form of a phoenix. They weren’t surprised. They even sighed silently. It was just different after following a dragon; they even dared to fight a phoenix.
From the humans’ perspective, this was an even bigger commotion than before. An additional group of gods showed up.
Only just now did the smartest people rouse themselves from the wildly excited atmosphere, feeling that something was off. It looked like the gods were fighting. When gods fight, humans suffer.
Xiaoshen glanced at the Yuling disciples. He also raised his chin at Bai Cangnian. “What phoenix? He’s a fake. He just has the form. Also, we pretty much guessed everything correctly.”
Xie Kurong, “That means the real sea turtle historian might have…”
Xiaoshen nodded firmly, “Already met trouble.”
With that, the disciples all became indignant. He was even willing to kill a white sea turtle?
Bai Cangnian looked at them indifferently. “I expected you to arrive around now.”
Xie Kurong said seriously, “You were the one who was at the Wang… Cough, the one at Lanyu Lake that was mentioned. What is your purpose? Using ‘reverse’ as the central tenet of your techniques, are you Master Yanfen Luo Pin’s personal disciple?”
Bai Cangnian just smiled, without saying anything.
Shang Jiyu suddenly said, “Why don’t you ask him when he killed the white sea turtle?”
Everybody was confused. “Why?”
Shang Jiyu glanced at Bai Cangnian as well and said slowly, “Maybe, a thousand years ago, the white sea turtle had already met with his misfortune.”
Xie Kurong’s expression froze, as if he had thought of something. He said in surprise, “Junior Martial Uncle, what do you mean by that?”
At this time, nobody was paying attention, but Xiaoshen thought that Shang Jiyu’s behavior was a bit strange, as if the two different personalities were continuously switching over. But he thought this was probably because they were too excited, facing an enemy.
Xiaoshen pushed away his suspicions and analyzed the situation as if to himself. “A white sea turtle is indubitably hard, but now it is so thin. This did not necessarily happen because he killed the white sea turtle… There are other ways to kill a white sea turtle. He’s so sly, he can probably come up with other ways.”
Xiaoshen raised his head, “I think he’s probably not the true disciple of Luo Pin either. Maybe he’s Luo Pin himself? A thousand years ago, Yu Zhao wanted to die with you, but you had already cultivated a white sea turtle form for self protection…?”
For those with such cultivation like “Bai Cangnian” even if he was just a wandering cultivator, it was impossible that he had left no traces in the cultivation world, unless he had been living a hidden life the entire time. Or if he had been hiding himself on purpose.
Bai Cangnian — or maybe he should be called Luo Pin — bowed slightly. “Your Highness really hid your skills well, your ability to hide is profound.”
Xiaoshen made a rude noise. “You think I can’t tell that you’re trying to insult me?”
Xie Kurong took a sharp breath in, a bit confused. “You… you are Luo Pin?”
The disciples all looked shocked and worried. They started murmuring amongst themselves.
Before now, Luo Pin was just a character in a story to them, like dragons were.
Before they had heard about Yu Zhao’s experiences, they always had to smooth the way after the carnage Luo Pin had caused in the cultivation world. This cultivator didn’t come from a demonic sect or practice an irregular Way, but was a disciple of a wandering cultivator. But he killed in order to pave his Way, which was crueler than any irregular Way.
Yu Zhao, who had had a cultivation future full of potential, had been willing to sacrifice himself and die with Luo Pin, in order to save the world from any further misery. His soul had splintered to pieces, and yet Luo Pin hadn’t actually died?
This not only shocked everyone, but also pained them.
Luo Pin tilted his head. The flames spread on his face, like red tattoos, making it even more eerie. “We seem to meet everywhere. My destiny seems to be wrapped up with Yuling Sect’s. But, that’s fine, too…”
It had been a thousand years, but it seemed that the nature of Yuling Sect’s disciples hadn’t changed. It was still so detestable.
Xie Kurong’s expression darkened. “What are you planning?”
He had thought he was coming here to support Xiaoshen, but this was Luo Pin! That made it completely different. Whether it was old debt or new hatred, everybody was here.
Luo Pin said uncaringly, “Back then Yu Zhao sacrificed his life. Even though I had taken the cultivated form of a white sea turtle, my mind and soul had been greatly damaged. I had to heal for so many years. But, after this tumultuous event, I was also enlightened. The Way of murdering wasn’t so simple. I deserved to lose back then.”
He was extremely pleased. What could be a happier thing than finding his own Way? He said with a smile, “When the heavens kill, it passes like a bleak autumn wind. When people kill, it turns the world upside down.”
Back then, he only understood normal murder. Even though he had caused blood to flow ten thousand li, he still hadn’t understood the true Way.
Real murder was to be above all earthly creations. It could cause everything to turn upside down. This was the ultimate lesson his master passed to him about the “reverse” techniques.
Xie Kurong muttered, “You’re insane… You’ve gone crazy…”
Turn the world upside down… No wonder he tried to destroy the East Pole… or rather all Eight Poles. No wonder he was gathering the powers of the dragon and the phoenix.
The Eight Poles were connected to heaven and earth. No matter how strong his cultivation, he would still die from the backlash. His mortal form was not strong enough. But the dragon and phoenix bodies were, or rather, only dragons and phoenixes could withstand the initial backlash.
And if heaven and earth really did collapse, and the Eight Poles fell, Luo Pin’s Way would have succeeded. He would’ve instantly become a god — The price was the human world would perish for this, just to help him complete his one person’s Way. This was Luo Pin’s murderous Way!
To turn the world upside down, this was the final act of “reversing”!
Xie Kurong could even imagine that maybe after Luo Pin found he couldn’t catch Xiaoshen, he decided to try the East Pole again. But he found he wasn’t enough to reverse the Eight Poles. After that, he decided to pick the Jiao Pearl and approach Xiaoshen.
Even Xie Kurong was so shocked, never mind the ordinary disciples. Their expressions were full of shock and awe. They hadn’t known that there was such a Way in the world. This was really… really insane!
Luo Pin hated most people like those from the Yuling Sect, as if it was their personal responsibility to keep the world and its people safe. Even a great dragon had been influenced by them to be like this.
At where the Lanyu Lake had been, it had been like this too. He was about to succeed. He had thought nobody would know. Unexpectedly, Xiaoshen suddenly woke up and Xie Kurong randomly joined the fight too. He had been at a crucial point in integrating the true teachings of the phoenix. It was a moment of distraction, and the dragon had been taken from him.
The good thing was he still had a chance.
Luo Pin flicked his finger. A small phoenix-shaped flame unfurled from him, flying directly to the Rong Empire capital dozens of li away. In front of the city wall, it opened its wings, and grew larger and larger, becoming a blazing sea of fire.
The people in the city screamed and sobbed in fear. Now they finally understood that the appearance of both the dragon and the phoenix was not an auspicious omen. It was an ominous sign!
At that moment, Xie Kurong moved. The Yuling disciples all moved. But nobody was as fast as that flash of sword—!
Just like at the Peak of QianRen, it blocked all the flames. The fire blamed wantonly, as if trying to greedily swallow everything in sight, but the sword light did not retreat or dodge. For every foot that the flames rose, the sword light also rose a foot.
The firebird that was engulfing this area was chopped down by the sword light that stood like a lonely mountain.
In the flickering tongues of the flames, a black shadow appeared.
It was shaped like an ink, with an ink sword, with white hair, black skin, and silver eyes.
Yu Yi stood tall. Its expression was solemn and still, as it held its sword to force a city of fire to retreat.
This Yu Yi seemed stronger than any time he had revealed itself before…
Its actions didn’t seem like those of an ink essence either. Actually, it even made those from Yuling want to suspect…
Xiaoshen said with surprise, “Why is Yu Yi here?”
And it seemed a little different.
Xie Kurong also said helplessly, “I didn’t bring it along.”
He looked back. Xuan Wuzi said weakly, “It insisted on coming… So I just… secretly brought it. I don’t know when it flew out either.”
The scene just then had really been too tense. He couldn’t have possibly paid attention to everything.
But right now, nobody was blaming Xuan Wuzi.
Luo Pin’s pupils shrank. He spat out two syllables like cold ice, “Yu Zhao?”
With two syllables uttered, it was as if a heavy weight hammered the hearts of the Yuling disciples.
Xiaoshen finally understood that feeling that seemed familiar, like Yu Yi but wasn’t Yu Yi — was it actually Yu Zhao?
The Yuling Disciples were almost driven crazy. Luo Pin hadn’t died. Grandmaster Yu Zhao who was supposed to have completely perished and his soul torn asunder hadn’t died either?! And now his soul had taken over Yu Yi’s body? It had been so many years… had he been at Yuling this whole time?
Xie Kurong became excited too. He induced what had really happened back then, and said almost without pausing for breath, “This bastard left a trick up his sleeve. Grandmaster Yu Zhao had probably detected it, too. Even though it was already too late, he could also leave behind a portion of his soul. Everybody, we all ‘knew’ back then that Grandmaster Yu Zhao’s soul was completely gone, but because we admired him, we called for his soul everywhere. Grandmaster Yu Zhao’s tattered soul must have answered the call and then lived on in Yu Yi’s body.”
After all, Yu Yi was formed from Yu Zhao’s writings back then, which also included his sword intent, so it was the closest to him. That was why Yu Yi was different from the others.
Then wasn’t Grandmaster Yu Zhao’s tattered soul alone for a thousand years? The Yuling disciples thought of this and cried with teary eyes, “Grandmaster Yu Zhao—”
But that silhouette stood holding the sword and did not respond at all. He only stood on the wall, hanging his head.
Shang Jiyu’s indifferent voice was tinged with grief, and his expression seemed to constantly change. “…Grandmaster only left a shred of his soul. It has no memory and no senses. That he would appear now is because of the strong conviction he had left behind. Do you remember that when the ‘white sea turtle’ first came to Yuling? Yu Yi already fought him then. It seems like Xiaoshen wasn’t the only one who felt something was wrong back then.”
What conviction? What Luo Pin found laughable was that he took personal responsibility for the safety of the world and its people.
Otherwise, how could one explain how a shred of soul who didn’t even have consciousness could reappear, wielding a sword?
Yu Zhao would reappear only because he had felt that many people needed him to protect them, just like when Yu Yi had first met Luo Pin pretending to be Bai Cangnian and just attacked him. He had realized the danger subconsciously.
They watched his color change and the possessed body became larger. Yet, it seemed like the Yu Yi who hadn’t changed in a thousand years, and that familiar sword light. Luo Pin’s eyes glowed red like blood, and waved forth an even larger fire phoenix.
Faced with the malevolence, Yu Zhao unsheathed his sword as expected. He smashed the fire phoenix that had been splashing with sparks. The flames filled the sky, lighting it up like the milky way. The millions of people behind him were completely unscathed.
Actually he only had a tattered soul now. Using the ink sword, he was no longer who he was at his pinnacle, the one whose sword howled like a dragon and who could protect everyone under heaven. But giving it his all, he could still defend a city.
But after this, Yu Zhao remained expressionless. He did not make any other movements. He could not and would not speak. Neither an old friend, nor his old enemy, nor the people behind him whom he had saved could call forth any response from him.
At that moment “it” became “him”, but there was only the conviction.
“……” Luo Pin’s originally laid back attitude had been completely destroyed by Yu Zhao, who knew nothing and felt nothing, and who was like a shadow of his former self. Luo Pin no longer maintained his playful attitude, and recalled the flames back into his body. But on his outer robe was a layer of red, incomparably bright.
“Without ‘reversing’, this is all you can do, to rely on your karma.” With every word Luo Pin uttered, the light from the flames seemed to flow forth, covering sky and earth. The plants on the ground withered, and the ground became scorched earth. Birds fell from the sky. Deep cracks opened in the earth, as if it would completely swallow up the light in the world.
Xie Kurong was about to speak, to tell all the disciples to follow Grandmaster Yu Zhao and protect the city, but he felt his body sway. “Oh no. He’s reversing the Poles.”
Even though Luo Pin had been unable to tie down Xiaoshen, he had already commanded the strength of a phoenix. Afterward, he had collected so many Jiao pearls and integrated with the white sea turtle’s body. No matter what, he was like half a dragon. Even though he couldn’t push over all of the Eight Poles, it was plenty to unsettle several of the Poles.
If they didn’t make Luo Pin stop immediately, it was pointless even if they saved the people in the city. The Poles of the eight directions affected the heaven and earth. Just like back then, even though he had only reversed the East Pole, the ocean water flowed backwards!
“You all… go now to protect them!” Xie Kurong was still decisive. He sent out the inner Sect disciples, and then he couldn’t stop himself from looking toward Xiaoshen. He could act like Grandmaster Yu Zhao, but in his heart, only an azure dragon could stand up against a phoenix.
Xiaoshen really did want to beat up Luo Pin, but a wave of discomfort befell him and he returned to his dragon form. He just felt that his dragon scales were so hot and dry, that a few thinner scales actually fell out, and howled in discomfort.
Luo Pin said with a sigh, “Even though I’m not a real phoenix… But Your Highness is a dragon without water.”
They were fire and water, neither could get the upper hand. Besides, Luo Pin cultivated the murderous Way. Now, there was scorched earth for a thousand li, which only helped his fiery qi.
This was also why Xiaoshen had wanted to go to the North Sea, where it was filled with water qi and would help his cultivation.
But Xiaoshen was really stubborn. He heard and then silently turned around, and bit off the dragon scales that made him itchy all the way to his heart.
Several drops of dragon blood dripped onto the earth. The ground there immediately came alive and Ling grass 1 grew.
The azure dragon’s fighting spirit actually strengthened, and he leapt at Luo Pin.
Xie Kurong held on tight to his cultivation artifact and was about to approach, but saw that Junior Martial Uncle didn’t make any moves. He looked closer and was shocked. At this time, Junior Martial Uncle was actually unmoving at a time like this.
Of course, Junior Martial Uncle couldn’t have chosen at a time like this to zone out.
“Junior Martial Uncle? What is it?” Xie Kurong asked carefully. Shang Jiyu was the strongest fighter at Yuling Sect other than their debt holder.
Shang Jiyu didn’t answer. He suddenly fell towards the ground!
The azure dragon and the fiery phoenix were entangled. Xiaoshen had ten thousand techniques but did not use them. He went directly to bite and tear with his mouth.
Luo Pin only found this laughable. Since he had met Xiaoshen, Xiaoshen had always been uncouth. He used his magic, and it was as if the air everywhere twisted. Xiaoshen also started bleeding from between his dragon scales.
The normally sensitive Xiaoshen didn’t make a sound. He didn’t care about the flames on Luo Pin’s outer robes either. He spiraled and coiled around him!
With a “sss, sss” sound, the dragon scales that touched Luo Pin’s outer robes lost their luster.
Luo Pin was hurt. The red light in his eyes flickered. He grabbed Xiaoshen’s dragon horns fiercely. “If I’m just a pheasant, then without water, Your Highness is nothing but a loach.”
The cracks in the ground seemed to widen. The flames raged violently, even eclipsing the sunlight in the sky. The spiritual energy burst out with the momentum to destroy everything, as if vowing to scorch all earth within ten thousand li.
But suddenly, all the scorching seemed to stop. The plants that were halfway dry and yellowed stopped withereing. The cracks no longer widened—
Shang Jiyu kneeled on the ground on one knee. His long sword hit the ground, blue light spread out from it, stopping the reverse.
Luo Pin glanced over and his gaze flickered.
Xie Kurong was overjoyed. He said, “The dragon and phoenix are the essence of the sky and the earth. But the mountains and waters are also divine artifacts of the gods. One is yin, one is yang. One flows, one stops. In this realm, nobody can commandeer everything!”
Just like a thousand years ago, there was Grandmaster Yu Zhao, and now there’s Junior Martial Uncle, who can use his Shanhe sword (Mountain and River Sword) to defend against Luo Pin’s reverse Way.
Junior Martial Uncle’s sword intent was not yet fully integrated. But wasn’t Luo Pin’s dragon and phoenix power also incomplete?
You may want to reverse fate, but this was destiny!
Luo Pin and Xiaoshen were still struggling with each other, but he still took the time and laughed quietly while panting. “Yuling Sect… Yuling Sect… You really haven’t changed in a thousand years. What? Today, you will also use lives to protect heaven and earth and all existence?”
His tone was full of mockery. Everybody looked into the distance, toward Yu Zhao who knew nothing and stood silently with his head bowed, guarding the city.
And several dozen li away, Shang Jiyu was on the ground. He also glanced at Yu Zhao and then laughed quietly.
He raised his head and looked into Xiaoshen’s eyes.
Xiaoshen also had a hard time reading everything in his expression, which seemed a little bit familiar. Shang Jiyu only said lightly, “I’m not Yu Zhao. I don’t do it for heaven and earth or for all existence.”
The blue light from his body spread further and further. The edge was no longer visible. It only gave way around the capital city. Then the azure light became deeper and deeper, reflecting the light from the sky, shaking and swaying—
It finally became a great lake.
There were ten thousand li of flowing flames, scorched earth and withered plants. And all of it was covered by a hazy lake and rolling waves.
The azure dragon felt the familiar scent, lowered his head to see Lanyu Lake that he had ruled throughout the ages. The dragon now had water, and his physical form also became several sizes larger. His scales instantly regained their luster and his dragon horns became even more radiant.
Xiaoshen stared at Shang Jiyu in disbelief.
It was him, after all. It had been him all along.
They had spent a million years together, inseparable from each other. His tides rising and falling with his breaths.
Shang Jiyu said lightly, “The heavens chose me for this destiny. I choose to entrust my life to you.” 2
- Spiritual grass that grows with cultivation.
- Apparently this is a Taoist thing and the full saying is: 天命付吾，吾命付汝。汝若负吾，天命不许。命抵，解伦常，吾自魂飞魄散，汝自天地同寿
Roughly meaning: The heavens chose me for this destiny. I choose to entrust my life to you. If you betray/abandon me, even the heavens would not allow it. If you are true to me, then we can change things that are unchangeable. I would willingly have my spirit and soul torn asunder, so that you may live as long as the sky and earth.