Translated by Rikko of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
As soon as the declaration reached Zhong Yan’s ears, it was as clear as day to him that Li XunJi had been convinced to get rid of Gu XuanYan for the sake of the so-called century-old reputation of Green Summit.
Although a slight notion to laugh bubbled in him, he wasn’t able to laugh even when he tried curving his lips. Only heated fury was wedged in his throat.
Gu XuanYan, on the other hand, didn’t say a word, seemingly to expect such a result. He merely dropped his line of sight a little, thoughts unknown to anyone running through his head.
While eyeing the crowd in front, Zhong Yan felt like raising a few questions at them.
You hypocritical lot; always blabbering about the heavenly way and eliminating evil. What nonsense are you all cultivating exactly?
Nonetheless, the present circumstance prohibited Zhong Yan from saying so.
Since Gu XuanYan has just received three palm strikes from Liao Wu, with the first hitting right in the center of his heart, it wasn’t certain if he could fend off Li XunJi’s attacks.
In an abrupt instant, a long sword appeared in front of Gu XuanYan, who unsheathed his sword to block it! Both parties’ vital energy clashed as their blades crossed, the impact emitting an ear-piercing screech and even quaking the ground.
After retreating more than ten Zhang1 away, Gu XuanYan lifted his eyes. Upon detecting Li XunJi’s sword whizzing towards him with murderous intent, he leaned to a side to dodge the attack.
With the might of a surging flood, the sword energy whistled right past him and hacked three-inch slash on the icy plains.
In a moment of distraction to check up on Gu XuanYan, Zhong Yan got his chest slashed by Li Yue’s sword energy, inducing a river of blood to gush out immediately.
With the pain hauling him back to reality, he clenched his teeth while blocking a strike from Li Yue.
As if their hearts were interlinked, Gu XuanYan lifted his line of sight right then.
Once he noticed the blood on Zhong Yan, a deep crease formed between his brows.
Still, he had a Li XunJi in front of him.
Gu XuanYan leapt upwards, condensing his sword energy into a pool of ocean-like mass before lunging straight at Li XunJi!
Despite taking two steps back, the sword energy still injured Li XunJi, a massive stream of blood spewing out of his mouth upon impact.
A chaotic flurry of yells ran through the crowd of panicking Green Summit disciples, who were all looking on the battle at one side, “Sect Leader!”
Some of them got so anxious, they started drawing out their swords.
“Stand down! Don’t any of you come forward!” Li XunJi snapped before raising his eyes towards Gu XuanYan.
As the Sect leader of Green Summit for more than a century, Li XunJi valued the honour of the sect more than his life. As one grew old, nothing can triumph fame and reputation in their eyes, as if their entire life revolved around a mere word from someone else. They couldn’t even discern right from wrong.
Fatigue had already started to plague the present Zhong Yan due to his battle with Li Yue.
After all, one level of difference in cultivation stage was as massive as the height of thousands of mountains stacked together.
Zhong Yan’s will was the only thing enabling him to hold out for so long.
Gu XuanYan turned over to help Zhong Yan, forcing Li Yue to steadily lose ground with one strike.
However, at that moment, Li XunJi circulated his vital energy and launched yet another attack.
Due to the strike encompassing every bit of Li XunJi’s cultivation base, its sword intent2was as formidable as a flood of a tsunami, its sword aura possessing a force that could split the world into two.
He leaped forward, lunging his sword towards the back of Gu XuanYan.
The inclusion of the entire power of a hundred-year-old cultivator made the attack lethally frightening.
In the twinkling of an eye, the sword had reached Gu XuanYan!
As Gu XuanYan was busy cutting down Li Yue, he had no time to withdraw himself and turn to his back.
The sword was going to slice down in just a flash!
Although Zhong Yan’s brain was as blank as a new piece of paper, he leaped up subconsciously and threw himself towards Gu XuanYan’s back. At the same time, he hollered in his heart. [System!]
As the change of events came too rapidly, the crowd wasn’t able to catch how Zhong Yan managed to get behind Gu XuanYan at such lightning speed.
In the very next second, Li XunJi’s sword had already pierced through Zhong Yan’s heart meridian.
Amidst the cries of shock, the demonic aura surrounding Gu XuanYan had a sudden growth in mass. After slashing Li Yue’s throat, he swivelled over and slammed a palm strike at Li XunJi.
Waves of demonic aura burst forth.
As Li XunJi had expended his cultivation base on his previous attack, the palm strike instantly drove him dozens of Zhang3 away.
All of a sudden, both his hair and beard paled to white.
Unable to even wield his sword, Li XunJi only managed to stick it onto the icy ground to stabilize himself.
Instead of firing another blow, Gu XuanYan embraced Zhong Yan, unexpected helplessness written all over his face.
While gazing at the person in his arms, he called out softly, “Senior Brother?”
Despite almost going unconscious from the pain, the two words from Gu XuanYan pulled Zhong Yan’s divine sense back. Zhong Yan whispered, “Let’s leave.”
As soon as he opened his mouth, blood spilled out of his lips yet again.
With Zhong Yan in his arms, Gu XuanYan whizzed towards the north, the evil intent ruminating in his eyes still intact.
Dark Mountain’s disciples immediately ran to check on Li Yue, whose eyes was cracked open, his last breath long gone.
Seeing red, several of them unsheathed their swords as they planned on chasing down Gu XuanYan.
Li XunJi advised, his voice slow, “The three palm strikes from Sage Wu and two sword slashes from me had destabilized Gu XuanYan’s vital energy and injured his heart meridian. Now is indeed the best time to tear him down by his roots. But the level of all of your cultivation base might make the battle not be in your favour.”
His hoarse voice didn’t sound like it came from a cultivation elder but closer to that of an ordinary elderly in his twilight years.
Hesitation began to show on the faces of Dark Mountain’s disciples, all of which ended up not having the courage to step forward.
Li XunJi heaved two violent coughs before turning to look at the Ji ChangYun in front of the crowd.
“Right now, only you have the highest chances of winning among all. Since you have always regarded the elimination of evil as your responsibility, would you be willing to exterminate the fiend that is Gu XuanYan?”
Ji ChangYun raised his line of sight to Li XunJi, his eyes void of expression. After a moment, he nodded lightly.
The northernmost part of Northern Wilderness rose a cliff reaching hundreds of meters of height, where beneath it flowed a turbulent river.
The stream of blood gushing out from Zhong Yan’s chest wound had grown heavy by the minute.
Gu XuanYan stopped at the edge of the cliff before pressing down on Zhong Yan’s wound in an attempt to stop the bleeding. Still, the blood flowed all over his hands and drenched his sleeves.
To Zhong Yan’s surprise, he could still feel Gu XuanYan’s hand shaking despite being under excruciating pain.
He forced himself to lift his gaze, an unexpected mixture of a laugh and sigh escaping him once he had a clear view of his current location. “You are seriously…”
My fleeing ended us up right at the place where Gu XuanYan got killed. Who should I even complain about this to?
Luckily, it looks like the one who is going to die at the moment is not Gu XuanYan but me.
A positive thought arose within Zhong Yan in spite of his adversity. I guess this can be considered a change in fate too.
Due to his severe injuries, Zhong Yan’s cultivation base started dispersing bit by bit into the air.
Gu XuanYan no longer continued plugging the cascading flow of blood but instead, began to transmit vital essence into Zhong Yan’s body.
The infusion of the life-prolonging vital essence dampened the pain on Zhong Yan.
He raised his line of sight to Gu XuanYan, “You just killed a person.”
Gu XuanYan’s voice was low, “Senior Brother, I’m sorry.”
Zhong Yan let out a chuckle, “You did nothing wrong. Why apologize?” After coughing twice, he added, “But don’t do that again.”
“All right. But then, Senior Brother has to stay by me.”
Not only was Gu XuanYan’s hands quivering but also his voice too.
“Senior Brother, don’t leave me behind. You said you’ll stick close to me. Don’t lie to me.
Gu XuanYan was completely veiled in demonic aura, his pupils crimson red- a clear sign that he had wholly entered Qi Deviation. 4
Strands of hair were scattered all over his forehead, his clothes filled with blood stains. It wasn’t certain whose blood it was, his or Zhong Yan’s.
Never had he been in such sorry state before, nor had he been so unhinged .
He was as though trekking in a snowy night alone, any glimmer of star vanquished, his life utterly cut off from any path.
Vital energy helped cultivators to prologue life span, but once it’s lost, it’s gone forever.
Not only was Gu XuanYan’s vital energy unstable, but also, his cultivation base had been exhausted.
Desire being barely about to support himself, he still dare not to withdraw his hands from Zhong Yan.
Upon noticing Gu XuanYan’s deadly pale face, Zhong Yan frowned and held down Gu’s hand, his voice low as he hollered, “Let go.”
Following which, he chuckled as his tone eased up.
“It’s merely another round through the cycle of reincarnation; another round of centuries-long training.”
It was a quote from Gu XuanYan with his life neared the end in the original story.
Seeing the circumstances, him using the quote now was rather befitting.
Instead of giving a reply on whether he would give up on Zhong Yan, Gu XuanYan simply lowered his head and buried it onto Zhong Yan’s neck, his voice tender, “Senior Brother, won’t you take pity on me?”
Gu XuanYan’s murmur got Zhong Yan’s heart scrunching up into a ball, but he still advised him, “Don’t be silly, or we’ll end up dying here together.”
Gu XuanYan’s time was warm, “That sounds fine.”
Zhong Yan laughed in exasperation. Before he could reply, he found Ji ChangYun whizzing over to them upon lifting his gaze.
Although Gu XuanYan detected his arrival too, he still had his right hand grasping on Zhong Yan to infuse his cultivation base. He simply flipped over his left wrist and launched a palm strike on the oncoming opponent.
With his sword drawn out, Ji ChangYun sliced down the palm strike before lunging his sword towards Gu XuanYan’s back!
However, the tip of the blade did not land on Gu XuanYan. Instead, its azure sword energy, accompanied by a long roar, was the one piercing through Gu XuanYan’s body!
As sharp as could be, the sword energy was brimming with mighty cultivation base.
Upon impaling Gu XuanYan from behind, a collision between the sword energy and Gu XuanYan’s inner demonic aura ensued!
Cultivation base exploded within his body, barging through recklessly as though the elongated river coursing under the cliff.
Surprisingly, in spite of the pain being comparable to having all internal organs sawed off, not even a word escaped Gu XuanYan.
He simply submitted himself to his vital energy circulating within him, while his right hand still not even moving an inch.
In a shocking turn of events, the vital energy within him ended up merging together—no, ‘merging’ wasn’t quite right.
To be precise, the cultivation base imbued in Ji ChangYun’s strike got swallowed whole by Gu XuanYan’s inner vital energy in a counteraction.
Following the intake of nourishment, Gu XuanYan’s vital energy grew back to its domineering self, rampaging ferociously.
Despite his pain being as agonizing as the ripping away of bones and tendons, he did not suppress his vital energy.
Since he was about to break through.
Only by breaking through could he obtain higher cultivation base to lengthen the lifespan of the person in his arms.
Even though Ji ChangYun’s strike was as oppressive as could be, it was different from the blows received from Li Yue and Li Xunji just then.
Within the strike held both his cultivation base and sword energy, yet murderous intent was absent from it.
With the assistance of that strike, Gu XuanYan ended up breaking through.
Like the flowing of a long river stream into an ocean, his inner cultivation base burst through the prohibition of stage elevation with the strength of numerous earthquakes. Right at that instant, the entire ice plains began quivering slightly.
Even in crisis, a door to safety might emerge.
When Daoist cultivators ascended, red-crowned cranes would crow in the clouds.
Whereas for Demonic cultivators, long howls of hawks and falcons would ring out.
And at this very moment, two kinds of howls resounded all over.
The forcing of a breakthrough with cultivation base led to Gu XuanYan’s ascension.
Zhong Yan was completely stumped for words at the consecutive change of events.
Instead of Ji ChangYun, Gu XuanYan turns out to be the one ascending right before their battle?! What a crazy twist this is!
Concurrently, a robotic voice rang out within Zhong Yan’s mind. [Congratulations on the success in aiding Gu XuanYan to ascend. Mission complete.]
Zhong Yan felt not only an abrupt return of his strength but also his inner cultivation base starting to circulate. The pain hounding on him subsided in an instant too
Detecting the change as well, Gu XuanYan grasped Zhong Yan, a rare bewildered tone in his voice, “Senior Brother, you…”
Zhong Yan interrupted him in haste, “Yup, I’m fine now. I’ll explain it to you later.”
A brief pause later, Gu XuanYan dropped the matter and shifted his line of sight to Ji ChangYun.
The two exchanged glances before Ji ChangYun drew his sword and lunged over.
Shock buzzed within Zhong Yan but following after, he found an absence of aura in the strike, as if the sword was swung nonchalantly.
Once the blade got near Gu XuanYan, he took up his sword and swished it away.
Ji ChangYun sheathed his sword, his tone indifferent “You won.”
Zhong Yan was at a loss for words.
That’s so fake! You are the protagonist, you know?! Don’t just get all passive and slack off!!
Yet, the stoniness in Ji ChangYun’s still-water-like expression and the coolness in his tone prevented anyone from picking out any wrong in his action.
“You have ascended. I’m still in the late Lesser Vehicle stage, so I can’t defeat you.”
Ji ChangYun stated. “But I’m about to break through too. Perhaps I will be able to have a match with you in the near future.”
Such was the statement from Ji ChangYun during their previous trip in the icy plains.
While revealing a hint of a smile, Gu XuanYan repeated the reply he given that day, a similar graveness in his tone“If that is so, I will be waiting for Brother Ji’s invitation for the match.”
A swing of the sword could both eliminate evil and help gain a bosom friend.
Meanwhile, on the other side of Northern Wilderness stood the group of cultivators who, similarly, felt the quaking from the aura of the ascension process.
The eagle howls blasting in the sky were a clear indication that Ji ChangYun wasn’t the one who ascended.
The first to respond, Sage Liao Wu clasped his palms together and shut his eyes.
“The Buddha realm would emerge if all obstacles are wiped out. Since Patron Gu has entered the ascended realm, every single karmic hindrance is all gone. May all let him off.”
As this was the internal affairs of Daoist sects, Sage Liao Wu remained silent despite knitting his brows the moment Li XunJi drew his sword.
However, he had started to speak up, the message behind his statement as clear as day.
Being the head of Amoghavajra Buddhist hall, he was highly respected. Even if Buddhist cultivation and Daoist cultivation were not of the same origin, all cultivators present had to show due respect to him.
Thus, an immediate silence fell upon the group.
Only a Dark Mountain’s disciple, who guarded Li Yue’s corpse with reddened eyes, responded with a sneer, “Sage, Ji ChangYun has not returned yet. It is still not certain whether Gu XuanYan is dead or alive now.”
Just as the disciple’s retort ended, Ji ChangYun flew over from afar and landed in front of the party of cultivators. He looked at the crowd, his voice flat and calm. “I lost.”
Li Xunji coughed violently for a few times, his breathing in such a crawling slow speed, it was as if he was just a step away from his grave.
A jumble of bafflement and fury clouded over the Dark Mountain disciples, “Gu XuanYan is so heavily injured and yet you didn’t manage to kill him?! Are you even a Daoist cultivation prodigy who eliminates evil and defends the heavenly way? Or did you just collude with Gu XuanYan… “
Enraged, Liang Zheng cut in abruptly before Ji ChangYun could even reply, ” Nonsense! My Junior Brother never lies! Since Gu XuanYan ascended out of the blue, what’s so strange about my Junior Brother losing? “
In an instant, every shred of the disciple’s fury was vented onto Liang Zheng, “Who do you think you…”
Ji ChangYun had set his eyes on the disciples before the sentence ended, his stare filled with pressure.
The pressure of a cultivator in the Lesser Vehicle stage was as intense as raging waves.
Even though no word came out of Ji ChangYun, his pressure still weighed down on them hard, forcing their heads down and shoving the rest of the reply into their stomach.
Only then did Ji ChangYun shift his eyes to Liang Zheng, his voice low, “Come here.”
Liang Zheng initially planned on arguing with them, his face swelling with redness.
Upon hearing that, he kept silent while jogging over, stopping at his Junior Brother’s side.
Ji ChangYun withdrew his gaze, lifting it towards the sky instead of directing it to anyone else.
Clouds and mist had dispersed away, replaced by rays of light shining down.
Saw a clarification from the author when browsing through the comments of this chapter in the site the novel is hosted.
The cheat Zhong Yan applied from the system was to allow him to reach Gu XuanYan in the nick of time since he can’t do so on his own. The cheat can’t help Zhong Yan absorb the strike. Plus, after using this cheat, he has no points left.
Tabulation of points
*Twenty points = whenever Gu XuanYan kills someone
*Ten points = One cheat
-30 points on c5 for using a cheat on the white ape and killing of Chun Qin (points left = 70)
-20 points on c10 for killing of a female demonic cultivator(points left = 50)
-10 points on c11 for using a cheat when falling (points left = 40)
-10 points on c23 for using a cheat (points left = 30)
-30 points on c28 for killing of Li Yue and using a cheat (points left = 0)
- 10 x 3 1/3 meters
- the manifestation of the sword wielder’s intent/will
- 3 1/3 meters
- From https://immortalmountain.wordpress.com/glossary/wuxia-xianxia-xuanhuan-terms/: A state wherein the cultivation base becomes dangerously unstable, causing internal damage to the body and symptoms of psychosis.