This chapter is updated by Novels.pl
Translator: Larbre Studio Editor: Larbre Studio
The moon shone again and the wind ceased. Scary blood stains remained on the unmelted snow. It was deadly quiet again in the Divine Hall of Judgment except for the seldom sounds of stones falling from the walls.
The middle-aged priest walked to the terrace followed by Xiong Chumo and Zhao Nanhai. They pondered for a long while and stared at the bottomless abyss, the steep cliff and snow covered ancient trees.
Then they left without a word, or a glance at each other. Ning Que had jumped into the abyss, together with Haotian. Tonight Ye Hongyu did too. Ning Que and Haotian had survived, but she would not.
Since death was the only possibility, they did not need to worry further.
She was finished. But there were more things to be taken care of. She was the Great Divine Priest of Judgment. Her death would definitely bring about many troubles. Taoism had to face a lot right now. Xiong Chumo should be prepared to deal with her furious subordinates in the Divine Hall of Judgment. Zhao Nanhai had to support him to maintain the stability of Peach Mountain. The middle-aged priest needed to regain people’s faith for Taoism.
Most importantly, after their fight tonight and Ye Hongyu’s death, Taoism would officially start to extinguish the New Stream, as well as to launch their war against the Tang and the Academy.
The three left. The destroyed Divine Hall regained its loneliness. Of course there would be people going down the abyss to confirm Ye Hongyu’s death and locate her body. But by the time her body would be delivered to the Divine Hall of Judgment, the chilling Divine Hall could never welcome its lively master again.
The night was deep. And the moon was hiding behind thick clouds. Tangling rivers flowed across the fields. Darkness prevailed and enveloped the stone bridges and the cold-resistant wildflowers.
It was such a cold winter. The fields outside the Chaoyang city were frozen hard. Amidst the dark and silent night, someone fell off the city wall and pounded on the ground. The body cracked the frozen ground and the bones broke. But the person did not make any sound despite the pain.
Wang Jinglue furrowed his eyebrows further. Even the darkness could not hide his paleness. He was sweating profusely. He wiped off the blood at the corner of his lips and crawled with great difficulty into a bush. Upon making sure he was safe from the chase, he exhaled in relief.
Right then another body pounded on the ground. He peeped through the bush and saw a man lying dead on the ground, stained in blood.
Hurried footsteps were heard on top of the city wall. Dozens of torches were lit up instantly and dispelled the darkness, as bright as day.
The man lay motionless on the ground and his face was lit up by the torches. The face was covered with blood but he could still see it clearly. Wang Jinglue got stiff. His hands trembled while holding onto the branches and his face got paler because he knew that man. More precisely, he knew him very well.
In the past few years, Wang Jinglue had been gathering young people in Yangzhou City who cared about their homeland Tang. He had met with many, one of which was lying dead there.
It became chaotic on top of the city wall of Yangzhou. People were shouting and fighting with their weapons clashing. Wang Jinglue raised his head in difficulty. He knew that the young people who were loyal to Tang were being hunted up there by the powerful cultivators from the Divine Halls. He clutched his fists more firmly. But being able to do nothing made him desperate.
Another person fell hard on the frozen field. Mud and blood splashed. More bodies followed. More young people were killed.
There was nothing but despair and anguish on his face. He could not help but regret. He regretted that he failed to realize the Divine Halls had his plan in their hands. And he regretted more for not being able to predict their sudden attack.
He regretted that these young people had to die.
The people who died tonight were all his followers from the clans. They were the youth of Qinghe Prefecture. In Ning Que’s words, they were the real hope. However, despite their integrity, they were killed tonight.
Wang Jinglue’s eyes became red. He bit so hard and pierced his lips. Blood oozed. He stared at the cavalrymen of the Divine Halls on top of the city way of Yangzhou, and those figures trembling in pain under the torches. He felt like a homeless dog who dared not to bark.
He turned away and crawled like a dog toward the heart of darkness. He was bleeding while he crawled. But he had to get out of Qinghe Prefecture and reported it to the Tang army on the other side of the Verdant Canyon. He had to tell Ning Que that the Academy’s plan had failed, and inform Chang’an that the war had been launched.
Ning Que was not expecting it. He did not expect the Divine Halls would launch sudden attacks under such circumstances. Their plan, and the young people they gathered in the Qinghe Prefecture were lost.
However, I will be back. The day I come back, our iron heels will smash the frozen fields. Torches will be lit up throughout the manors along the Fuchun River. The heroic souls of those sacrificed young people will be celebrated with magnificent memorial ceremonies. Wang Jinglue crawled toward the darkness, leaving behind the torches in Yangzhou City.
Unexpected snow fell on the dead young. It also fell on him, the homeless dog.
The straightest street in Yangzhou City was lit up as day by the torches.
A sacred sedan was moving slowly while a dozen of maids were throwing petals into the sky. The petals mingled with the falling snow and fell onto the ground, pure, and sacred.
The snow danced in the wind and lifted the gauze hanging on the sedan. The innocent Hengmu Liren was sitting inside.
Along the street tens of thousands of people from the Chaoyang City were on their knees. The leaders of the clans in Qinghe Prefecture were also kneeling. No one dared to look into his face.
Tonight in the Chaoyang City, hunting and killing were performed everywhere. Blood flowed into the cracks on the stones and the Fuchun River. It was the most bloody night ever since the uprising many years ago.
Many young people loyal to Chang’an were killed tonight. Those yet to be found would definitely become quieter after witnessing the bloody scenes.
Hengmu Liren only made one strike tonight and killed over ten powerful figures from the Tianshu Institute of Tang. His hands were covered with blood. And he was determined to shed blood everywhere in the Qinghe Prefecture. However, he still seemed to be calm and innocent. He was not a Great Divine Priest of the West-Hill, but he was of no less authority and respect.
He was a gift from Haotian to the human world. As the representative of Haotian, he traveled in the sacred sedan through the dancing petals and snowflakes, indulging himself in awe and love of the ordinary. He really enjoyed it.
The war with Tang had finally been launchd. Could that person called Ning Que still be able to stay calm in Chang’an?
Ning Que, when are you coming? When are you coming to me? Do come to fight with me, and be killed by me.
In the light of the torches the snow was shining like some white powder or flying willow blossoms in springtime.
Hengmu Liren looked through the roaring storm, over the Verdant Canyon and toward Chang’an. He smiled while he thought so.
The Central Plains were covered by snow. From Peach Mountain to Chaoyang City, snow accumulated thinner or thicker. Later on there would be a snow in the Song, a snow that would make history. But before that, the storm that had roared for days in the grassland suddenly stopped. Clouds were gone. And a bright moon was shining.
To the north of Wei City, thousands of yurts were disassembled and herds were driven. Warriors of the Golden Tribe Royal Court were settling their saddles, and tens of thousands of elite cavalrymen were about to set off. It was massive but quiet, making an imposing scene except for randomly restless neighs.
Being the most powerful force in the north, the Golden Tribe Royal Court had won a series of battles with Tang over the past years. They had gained enough pride and content. But this time it was different.
Tonight, the Golden Tribe Royal Court would be migrating to the south. To migrate meant to invade. It also meant the launch of the decisive battle. They would be fighting a vital battle against the Tang Empire that had reigned the world for a thousand years. It even made the proudest warrior in the Golden Tribe Royal Court feel nervous.
The first troop that left Wei for the south was a very ordinary group of carriages. There were a dozen of carriages with few people and supplies. They seemed to be pretty relaxed. But for the Golden Tribe Royal Court, it was the most important troop.
Thirteen great priests from the grassland were sitting inside their carriages, with necklaces of skeletons hanging on their chests. The skeletons seemed like pure white jade shining in the moonlight.
The national master was wearing a simple wooden rosary, as simple as his clothes and his appearance. He smiled at the bright moon outside. No one knew what he was thinking about.
For the cultivation world in the Central Plains, he was a barbarian. Even though the Golden Tribe Royal Court had been converted to Haotian Taoism, he and those priests were still outsiders of the traditional cultivation world. But this could never affect his power or his sentiments. He was longing for the bright moon and to experience people’s lives in the south. He wanted to visit Chang’an and the Academy. And of course he would rather not leave once he was there.
The young A Da was also looking at the moon. The sky looked exceptionally clean after days of storm. The night in the grassland was extremely quiet. And the moon seemed to be brighter and bigger than ever. Different from the national master, A Da did not think much. He found the moon light a bit dazzling therefore he squinted and could not hide the impatience on his innocent face.
The entire Golden Tribe Royal Court was about to leave for the south together with tens of thousands of cavalrymen. Chanyu was resolute and fast. But A Da wanted it faster. He wanted to kill the Tang general Hua Ying, to destroy the last cavalry of the Tang, and to claim his authority on every piece of grassland from Xiangwan Plain to Hebei Prefecture.
During that process, he would be waiting for the iron arrow together with the people in the carriages. He was expecting Yu Lian and that arrow. And he wanted to kill that person.
Why? Because he wanted to do so. He wanted to take revenge on Ning Que and to defeat the legendary Academy. He thought his will was the Tengri’s will.
It was yet to snow in the capital of Song.
There had been in a stalemate for a long while in the square. Thousands of followers of the New Stream stared anxiously at the same number of divine priests and cavalrymen. They were all exhausted.
A torch was lit up on the high stage and lightened the corner where Ye Su sat. He pondered quietly over the commentary placed on the table. Chen Pipi sat on his heels silently next to him.
Tang Xiaotang and a dozen of disciples from the Sword Garret stood silently in front of the high stage. They had no idea how long they could keep fighting. Nor could they leave. Therefore they could only wait.
Xiaoyu from the South Sea was not happy because although she represented Taoism, she could do nothing but wait as the bell sound rose in the temple at such a crucial moment.
To wait? For what? Would Haotian ever show mercy to these traitors? Or would Ning Que be able to convince the Abbey Dean to let off Ye Su and the followers of the New Stream?
No one knew what they were waiting for. An order to kill or to welcome peace? People who knew about the peace talk all felt that they had been waiting for too long. Only Long Qing knew what the West-Hill was waiting for. They were neither waiting for the Abbey Dean to be convinced or not convinced by Ning Que, nor a result of the peace talk, or even an order from Haotian. They were waiting for someone’s death. Or, the news of the death. The news of Ye Hongyu’s death, or her death, was the debut of the war.
Taoism would never be able to take Ye Su as long as the young Great Divine Priest of Judgment was alive.
Long Qing knew it but did not care. Because he knew it was definitely coming. Either tonight or tomorrow morning, the news of her death would come.
He was still chopping and piling up the firewood as he did in the day. He collected the bunches and pile them up in the center of the yard, so carefully as if he was working on an art piece.
On the other side of the wall, tens of thousands of people were fighting fiercely. While on this side he was making a pile of firewood. Because he was not in a hurry, he made a huge pile of firewood. He even had time to pick and place the thinnest, driest and finest firewood on the top, while leaving the wet bunches at the bottom. The massive pile of firewood covered several square meters as if it was a tomb of a king. Or it could also be a tomb for a sage. On top of the pile of firewood, there were twos stakes erected like a person, or a cross. On the stakes there were some ropes. Ropes and stakes were meant for tying, while firewood were for setting fire.
Time passed by slowly. The darkness gradually disappeared and the sky was turning bright. On the other side of the wall, followers of the New Stream were chanting unitedly as if it could dispel their frustration as well as fear.
Long Qing listened to the united chanting outside and followed them in a rhythmic tone, as if he was singing. He never stopped picking up firewood, seriously and calmly.
The silver mask was hanging on his waist. He did not wear it today. The scar on his face was not fading but no longer looked scary for some reason. His grey pupils seemed even more charming on his handsome face.
Listening to the repeated chanting outside, Long Qing kept adding thin firewood onto the pile under the brighter daylight. All of a sudden he stopped.
“We, ourselves, are the path, the truth and the fate.” He lifted his head and looked over the walls toward the east, toward somewhere the sun rose or some buildings. He kept saying those words while pondering.
It was the capital of Song. Although it was not as famous as Linkang, not to mention Chang’an, the city that meant a lot for Taosim.
There were the most ancient Taoism temples on earth. Many Great Divine Priests of the Divine Halls of West-Hill were born here. People from the Zhishou Abbey were closely related here.
The Abbey Dean, Mr. Chen was also from here.
The Song was one of the origins of Taoism, and a most conservative region. It was also why Ye Su had chosen to teach the New Stream and built his base here. He wanted to seek for light from the darkest.
While he pondered there came the bell sounds from some distance. It was from a Taoist temple in Song. Long Qing was solemn. When he saw the white smoke arising from the temple, he confirmed it. The solemn bell sounds and the soaring white smoke both confirmed one thing.
A Great Divine Priest had left the Divine Halls of West-Hill and returned to Haotian’s Divine Kingdom. Ye Hongyu was dead. The youngest Great Divine Priest of Judgment throughout the history of Taoism had passed away.
Long Qing stood by the wall and watched the white smoke disappeared into the sky. He recalled the dead woman with complicated sentiments and remained silent.
She and himself were both from the Revelation Institute. They both served in the Judicial Department and he only ranked after her. He was the holy son of the West-Hill while she was the peerless Tao Fanatic. He had always been inferior to her.
When he chose to trade Taoism for power and became a wandering ghost, she was already sitting on the Seat of Heavenly Black Jade, the seat he had always longed for.
He had always been a loser in front of Ye Hongyu, same as he was in front of Ning Que.
In his most glorious days he still felt inferior to Ye Hongyu in his subconsciousness, or even afraid of her. Therefore when they traveled through the illusion world in the Back Hill of Academy he stabbed Lu Chenjia in front of her. He saw her and Ye Su as the biggest barriers in his cultivation.
Today she was finally finished. But Long Qing felt upset rather than joyful. Perhaps it was because she was not finished by him.
There was no way he could offset the pity. It was indeed a pity.
But luckily Ye Su was still alive. He still had the chance to burn him.
The solemn bell sounds came to the square and into the ears of thousands of followers of the New Stream, as well as the divine priests and deacons. It took away their frustration and anxiety, and pulled their attention to the temple.
From there a while smoke arose, extremely pure.
It was deadly quiet. Being pious or used to be pious to Haotian, they all knew what it meant. Everyone from the followers of the New Stream to the deacons of the divine halls, even the Song cavalrymen were silenced by the white smoke. They were stunned.
If it was in a different situation, people would have kneeled to that white smoke and moan. But right not the white smoke meant something else, a signal for the launching of the war.
Xiaoyu raised her Taoist sword and pointed to the people on the stage afar.
Behind her, tens of powerful Taoist cultivators together with more divine priests and deacons swarmed to the square while more and more Song cavalrymen poured in from the surrounding streets.
Killing blades were swaying toward the helpless followers of the New Stream. They pressed closer and tried to retreat. The threat of death pulled them back to reality from the shock by the white smoke.
Ye Su sat behind the table with his right hand placed on the book. He turned to the side and stared at the lingering white smoke in a long silence. Neither the approaching enemies nor the people died around him could have attracted his attention.
His sister died, because of him.
He had been harsh or even ruthless to her for over ten years because of Chen Pipi and what happened many years ago. But she treated him the same since they were kids. She was the kindest to him in this world. That person, was gone. Ye Su was speechless.
“You should leave.” He spoke again after a long pause, “If the master wants me dead, I will be. It will be fine as long as you survive.”
Indeed, to be alive was better than being dead.
He felt upset upon the sight of the white smoke.
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