Translated by Rikko of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Of course, in the end, Zhong Yan had no idea how he should explain.
You got it all wrong. I was just fighting with Gu XuanYan. Hm? Why did we fight? Well, I just realized he’s the culprit for the death of both Li YunJi and Chun Qin. If that’s so, why bother demanding the demonic cultivators for an explanation? All of the Sect Elders can just join forces to straight-up kill Gu XuanYan. Job’s done; everyone can get back.
No matter if Gu XuanYan kills too many people, gets killed, or tries to kill me sometime later, the outcome is still the same; I’ll die. Life is just too hard for me.
A variety of expressions decorated the four’s faces as they headed back. Utterly silent the entire walk back, Liang Zheng only summed up his courage when they were reaching the camp, “Junior Qin, don’t worry! I will never spill this out!”
In contrast, Ji ChangYun merely gave Gu XuanYan an indifferent stare as he stated calmly, “Having a partner is fine, but you are about to elevate to the next level, so you should be putting your focus on your cultivation right now.”
Words failed Zhong Yan as, to his surprise, Gu XuanYan nodded, replying with a smile, “Well said, Brother. I’ll take note of that.”
Zhong Yan could only applaud Gu XuanYan, who had attained the pinnacle of acting, for keeping a straight face while responding to such advice.
According to the plan, everyone would rest during the icy night. Once they reached the deepest part of the Northern Wilderness the next day, their eyes would be greeted with the one and only palace in the entire snowy plains.
Legends had it that the palace was a few hundred Chinese foot 1 high, reaching up towards the stars. Its walls were made of white jade while its stairs were built from pure gold, paved with carpets woven from peacocks’ feathers.
Meticulous carvings were engraved on every pillar and fence. Inside such an extravagant palace lived the Demonic Lord of the Northern Wilderness.
However, at the moment, not a single one of them could see the path ahead, even let alone the luxurious palace.
The chilly night had passed; dawn was just around the corner. Although the sun should be rising then, the sky stayed pitch black, not even lightening up a bit.
Puzzled, the group was clueless as to what was going on. As Zhong Yan lifted his head towards the ink-black sky, he felt a sudden chill on the tip of his nose.
Gu XuanYan brushed off his robes, “It’s snowing.”
Shortly later, a sudden gust of wind whirled down heaps of snow, piling up into a thick, ankle-deep layer.
A crisscross of whirlwind and snow adorned the sky. However, it was just the beginning of July. Even in the harshly chilly Northern Wilderness, it shouldn’t be snowing during such a season. The blast of snow seemed to be both a display of force and scouting.
Clad in green, the white-bearded Sect Elder of Green Summit, Li XuanJi hollered, “This is nothing at all!” Drawing out his sword, he charged towards the horizon.
Accompanied by a sharp sword hum, the azure sword energy streaked across the sky.
Although the flurry of snow stopped, the sky remained dark.
All of a sudden, a sigh sounded out. “Why do people have such bad tempers nowadays?” The soft and weak voice was as light as a cough, seemingly from a frail, middle-aged person.
However, all Sect Elders had a change in expression. The Sect Leader of Herbal Cloud was the first to speak, “Cang Luan?”
Upon hearing that, a jolt of shock ran through every young disciple. Someone whispered out, “That’s…the Demonic Lord, Cang Luan?”
It was no wonder a wave of shock rippled through them. The only ones who could still recognize Cang Luan’s voice were the various white-haired sect leaders and elders.
Three hundred years ago, the baneful demonic cult went on a rampage, wreaking havoc everywhere. The elders of the five major Daoist Sects teamed up to combat Cang Luan in the icy plains of the Northern Wilderness. Although they heavily injured the Demonic Lord after the battle, their vital energy depleted significantly, inducing their deaths in just ten years. On the other hand, Cang Luan had never set foot outside the Northern Wilderness, utterly silent from the rest of the world.
The Sect Elders present at the moment were as young as the current group of disciples during the battle.
Cang Luan was said to be on the brink of death then, but hundreds of years had passed. Even though it wasn’t known how much of his cultivation base had recovered, judging by how he could summon up a storm of snow out of the blue, his powers probably were way stronger than theirs and should not be underestimated.
Herbal Cloud’s sect elder took a step forward, pronouncing, “It is not our intention to stir up trouble. We just wanted an explanation for the two Sect Elders’ death. May I ask if their sudden deaths are related to the demonic cult?”
The tone of the reply was still amicable, “So that’s the reason. Hmm, related? Maybe a little.” After coughing twice, Cang Luan continued, “Which is why I had sent my senior subjects over to offer condolences. Judging from the time, they should have arrived Green Summit and Herbal Cloud by now.”
A silence hung over everyone right away as the reply changed the various Sect Elders’ expressions.
Although most sects had their sect leaders stay behind to keep watch, almost all chief disciples and sect elders had attended the expedition just in case anything happened.
The disciples left in the sects might find it challenging to cope if the entire demonic cult went over. Most importantly, the various sects would not be able to stop the demonic cult from entering the Central Plain thereafter.
Once such a thought crept into the Sect Elders’ minds, they began exchanging glances before uttering, “Let’s just head back.”
A sudden gust of wind blasted over the icy plains at that very moment, twirling up the falling snow. Alarmingly, the snowflakes started to assemble in the whirlwind, shaping into long-limbed, humanoid monsters that charged stumblingly towards the cultivators!
All of them drew the swords and hacked onto the monsters. The sword-energy reduced the snowy beings into powdery snow, which was picked up by the wind yet again.
Amidst the battle, a crowd of skeleton-like demonic cultivators advanced on them from nowhere, their enraged howls hoarse.
Chaos descended upon them in a flash. The moment Zhong Yan sliced a monster in front of him, a red-eyed demonic cultivator plunged over to him from the scattered snow. He dodged sideways immediately.
Just as he was about to attack, a long sword pierced through that demonic cultivator.
When Zhong Yan turned around, his eyes met with the frowning Gu XuanYan, who held his hand while urging in a low voice, “Get going!”
Hand in hand with Zhong Yan, Gu XuanYan whizzed a few hundred meters to the north. Zhong Yan tugged onto him hastily in shock, asking, “What about the others?”
Gu XuanYan whispered, “It’s a state of emergency now; they will do fine without us. Senior Brother, just go with me.”
“This isn’t the way back… It’s over there.”
“Since the demonic cult has arrived at the sect, I’ll bring Senior Brother to somewhere safe.
Zhong Yan went silent and stopped in his tracks. Gu XuanYan swiveled around, a slight crease on his brows, “What’s wrong, Senior Brother?”
Zhong Yan feigned a displeased look on his face, “Why are you still calling me ‘Senior Brother’ when no one is around? Did you forget our relationship?”
After freezing briefly, Gu XuanYan replied gently, “Of course; Senior Brother is my Dao partner.”
Instantly, Zhong Yan lunged his sword towards the person in front of him, catching him off guard. Blood oozed out of the gash on Gu XuanYan’s chest. His green robes vanished right away, replaced by a black robe. His face swiftly morphed into an old man with a dull pale complexion.
The red-eyed man sneered as he gave Zhong Yan a death glare. “Taking the harder route, aren’t we?”
He drew out a long sword from his back and charged at Zhong Yan!
Having nowhere to dodge in the wilderness, Zhong Yan could only confront him head-on. The vibrations from the clashing swords numbed Zhong Yan’s palms for a bit. He swiftly turned his wrist, trying his utmost to counter another attack in passing. However, he detected a strange scent the very moment after his opponent greeted him with a weird laugh.
Shit, he drugged me.
That was the last thought in Zhong Yan’s mind as he passed out.