unsheathed – Chapter 116: There's an Old Scholar In the World (2)

Chapter 116: There's an Old Scholar In the World (2)

Chapter 116: There's an Old Scholar In the World (2)

Luan Juzi glanced at Mr. Lu who was sitting on the other side of the emperor. The old man immediately stood up and started to channel the mystical yin and yang power of the Lu Clan to conceal the area they were in. This made it even harder for others to use the power of their mind or distance observation mystical abilities to detect what was happening here.

Only then did Luan Juzi speculate, "It's extremely likely that this calamity was caused by the schemes of the other schools of thought. At the very least, they played a part in helping it along. Perhaps even A'Liang's coincidental arrival was the result of someone secretly delivering a message to him.

After all, to coincidentally charge into the Great Li Empire not long after Qi Jingchun passed away? There are definitely people in the Hundred Schools of Thought who don't want to see my branch of Mohists and the School of Naturalists represented by the Lu Clan to help the Great Li Empire smoothly conquer the entire Eastern Treasured Vial Continent!"

The emperor unclenched his fists and rubbed his cheeks. His expression was ice-cold as he chuckled coldly and said, "Heh, an atmosphere of war and a state of impending chaos that hasn't been seen for a thousand years!"

"Since things have already come to this, it's even more important that we don't lose heart," Luan Juzi warned quietly.

The emperor smiled and shook his head, replying, "No, I definitely won't! So be it if it's 10 years, and so be it if it's 15 years. This is enough time to do many things! Thinking back to the previous emperors of the Great Li Empire, just how much humiliation and disdain have we suffered? My internal wounds are nothing compared to this."

His speech was calm and casual, yet the man forcefully swallowed a mouthful of blood that had rushed to his throat. He lowered his head and used his fingers to massage his neck. There was ferocity and remorse on his face, though the expression of remorse quickly vanished to leave only ferocity. In the end, all that remained was an expression of resignation.

As it turned out, that man had unleashed a supreme secret technique to secretly sever the emperor's heart meridian before ascending above the sky. This had comprehensively obliterated the emperor's path to immortality. Once a hidden 10th Tier cultivator brimming with vitality, the emperor's life force was now so fragile that it was shocking.

Not only this, the six flying swords of the White Jade Capital that hadn't been destroyed had all vanished into thin air as well.

To put it simply, all that was left of the boundlessly powerful White Jade Capital was an empty shell. It was nothing more than an imposing tower used to frighten others. To kill a cultivator at the Upper Five Tiers? This was nothing but a foolish dream.

In contrast to his panic and rage just then, Song Jixin had already regained his composure as he walked up to the emperor and the two old men. However, he still insisted on getting to the bottom of things as he asked, "Luan Juzi, Mr. Lu, can you tell me what in the world is going on? Why can't I sense any of the flying swords?"

The White Jade Capital had 12 floors, and corresponding to this, 12 flying swords.

Incense Offering, Pillar Rock, Mountain Suppressing, Mountain and Sea, Peach Twig, Thundering Sky, Purple Lightning, Scripture, Sanskrit Chant, Majestic Aura, Elaborate Makeup, Cloud Pattern.

The Great Li Empire had expended half of the nation's wealth to forge these 12 flying swords. Thus, they could all be regarded as genuine treasures of the empire.

Including Incense Offering, six of the flying swords had already been shattered along with the godly bodies of the six formal gods.

However, the remaining six formal gods had stepped aside and not challenged A'Liang at all. Thus, even if the flying swords didn't return to the White Jade Capital, Song Jixin should have at least been able to sense their presence. Yet, like kites that had been cut free, the young prince had completely lost his connection to these flying swords.

Luan Juzi glanced back at the empty White Jade Capital. He then retracted his gaze and sighed heavily, revealing, "The six remaining flying swords have already been snatched away by that person. Even though he didn't take them beyond the sky with him, he's most likely tossed them in some place that no one knows about. In any case, it will be impossible for us to find them any time soon. Even if we do manage to find them, it's hard to say whether we'll be able to get them back and use them."

Song Jixin was only a young boy, after all. In just a night's time, he had suddenly transformed from an illegitimate son in an impoverished alley into a prince in one of Eastern Treasured Vial Continent's most powerful empires. After arriving in the capital with a muddled mind, he had then been mysteriously taken to this tower. After overcoming numerous challenges and facing many struggles, he had finally managed to win the recognition of the 12 flying swords. At that moment, he had felt like he could finally stand up straight and hold his head up high when he talked to that bastard man. In the end, however, had all of his efforts been for nothing?

After hearing Luan Juzi's reply, tears immediately started to trickle down Song Jixin's face. He bit his lips, and there were still streaks of blood on his face that he was yet to clean off.

Luan Juzi didn't know how to encourage or console the young boy.

In fact, even this old man who had experienced a bumpy life full of challenges was feeling shock and disbelief.

Along with wanderers, Mohists still abided by the ancestral teachings of their first sage. Among these teachings was the notion that one should support the weak and aid weak nations in resisting humiliation and bullying from more powerful nations.

However, Luan Changye had come to his own conclusion after reading the history books of several empires over several generations and traversing the lands of countless nations. What he saw and what he heard had led him to conclude this blindly supporting the weak and helping them patch things up here and there would only end in futility. Chaos would ensue for hundreds of years, and powerful generals would rise and fall one after another. In comparison to having a powerful empire uniting the land, attempting to fuel the resistance of weaker nations against a dominant empire would only lead to far more casualties.

Thus, Luan Changye needed to choose a suitable empire and a suitable ruler to achieve his ambition.

In the end, he had chosen Song Zhengchun, the emperor of the Great Li Empire. Moreover, he hadn't been disappointed. Even after being attacked by A'Liang and suffering a severe setback to the monumental rise of the empire, Luan Changye still didn't feel like his decision was incorrect. His only downfall was the fact that the plans of humans could never rival the plans of the heavens. Even Luan Changye had to admit inferiority when it came to clashing with those mighty beings behind the scenes. However, he had still chosen to gamble. He had chosen to gamble everything for a chance to win unstoppable momentum to conquer the lands!

The emperor smiled and said, "Can you two check on the White Jade Capital to see if there's any issue with it? If that person's left any hidden traps, then I genuinely might as well smash my head against a wall and kill myself. While you two are busy with that, I'll also have an opportunity to have a private chat with Song Mu. However, let me say this first. You two have to promise me that you won't eavesdrop. The two of us are going to discuss some private family matters, so please excuse us."

The two old men hurriedly stood up. One of them smiled and said he wouldn't eavesdrop, and one of them said he wouldn't dare to eavesdrop.

The emperor looked up at the stubborn expression of the young boy. He patted the spot next to him on the step, and he imperceptibly crushed the jade pendant that was hanging by his waist. His voice was solemn as he said, "Here, sit down. From now on, I'm your father, Song Zhengchun, and you're my son, Song Mu... It's probably better to call you Song Jixin. The passing down of flames, and the gathering of these flames[1]. This is a very good omen. Song Yuzhang chooses tacky names for people, but it has to be said that he puts quite some thought into them."

Song Jixin obediently sat next to the man.

"I have to say, the fortune of Great Sui Nation's Gao Clan is truly remarkable," the emperor said with emotion. "Also, your words truly did jinx the situation."

Song Jixin felt slightly uneasy as he sat alone with his father.

Even though he wasn't afraid of this man on the surface, through the attitudes of his uncle Song Changjing, his maidservant Zhi Gui, and the two old men, he had indeed sensed the powerful control this man had over the Great Li Empire. The emperor appeared magnanimous and relaxed, yet he was actually filled with a sense of near-arrogant confidence on the inside. This was similar to that saber-wielding man's attitude toward Eastern Treasured Vial Continent and the world that this continent existed in.

The emperor smiled and continued, "Since the six flying swords from the White Jade Capital have failed to return, it will suffice to say that they've been lost. Then so be it. The sky won't collapse because of this."

Song Jixin erupted in fury, shouting, "Then so be it?! How can you dismiss it so casually? Luan Juzi and Mr. Lu told me before... The existence of these 12 flying swords signifies the direction that the Great Li Empire can take the entire continent in. The importance of them..."

The young boy didn't dare to continue.

Moreover, he quickly came to his senses and recalled the fact that the creator of the White Jade Capital and the flying swords wasn't him, but instead this "resigned" man beside him.

The emperor gazed at the roof ridge of a distant imperial hall where a row of mythical beasts sat[2]. His voice was soft as he said, "To the emperor of a nation, immense difficulties aren't something to be afraid of. As long as one can overcome these difficulties, this signifies the growth and strengthening of one's empire. If one can't overcome these challenges, however, this signifies one's lack of ability to rule over their nation.

"This unexpected obstacle that suddenly crashed down before us... Neither I nor the Great Li Empire were able to overcome it with just a small scare. This is very unfortunate. However, I don't feel any regret. Honestly, I'm not lying to you."

Song Jixin couldn't understand this no matter what, so he asked, "Why?"

The emperor's gaze became focused and intense, and there was no longer a shred of resignation or despondence to be found. He pointed at the roof ridge of the imperial hall and replied, "Because this increasingly proves the strategy that I laid out for the Great Li Empire to be correct!

"Cultivators, regardless of whether they're Qi refiners or Dao cultivators, and regardless of whether they're good or bad, should all be locked up in a cage! The Great Li Empire won't stop them from becoming gods and immortals and seeking immortality. In fact, the empire is even willing to help them achieve their ambition and glad to see them succeed. However, an empire must have a bottom line. At the very least, it needs to have a set of rules and regulations which these transcendent individuals must obey.

"They shouldn't be allowed to act as they please, wantonly moving mountains and rivers or picking fights with others simply because they want to. And in the end, the largest number of casualties is often suffered by those defenseless commoners of the empires. No, I want the citizens of my empire to respect and honor these transcendent beings not simply out of fear and trepidation.

"The future I desire is one where the Great Li Empire will have the confidence and power to seek justice for innocent commoners even those on the lowest rung of society and those viewed as ants by the transcendent beings if they're wantonly killed due to a battle between the transcendent beings!"

Song Jixin was absolutely stunned. His mouth hung open, yet he couldn't utter a single word.

The emperor raised two fingers, leaving only a tiny gap between them, and he chuckled, "The justice that the Great Li Empire is able to give its people now is extremely small, only this small. Compared to the other nations in Eastern Treasured Vial Continent that slave away for the cultivators and immortals, however, the gulf between us is truly like the gulf between heaven and earth."

He casually swung his wrist before clenching his hand into a fist and holding it up to the roof ridge in the distance as if making a show of force against someone. "I sincerely hope that the Great Li Empire will be able to give its people this much justice in the future. Or perhaps even more!"

Song Jixin had already become numb with astonishment. For the first time, he felt like the man beside him was truly someone with flesh and blood. The emperor was no longer as cold and rigid as the dragon throne that he sat on and the dragon robe that he wore.

The emperor turned around and asked, "Do you know which words from A'Liang angered me the most?"

Song Jixin mustered his courage and replied, "When he told you to kowtow and apologize?"

The emperor roared with laughter. He shook his head and explained, "As the ruler of this empire, I can die standing up, but I definitely can't live kneeling down. If I lack such resolve, how can the Great Li Empire march south to conquer the entire Eastern Treasured Vial Continent? If a person belittles themself, then the heavens will naturally belittle them as well. If a person strives for self-improvement, however, then even the heavens will bestow them with help. It's best that you remember this.

"And the disparaging comments from the immortals that Eastern Treasured Vial Continent is the smallest continent in the world... However, do you genuinely know just how large this continent is? You can pick any history book in the world to read. Who has ever become the ruler of an entire continent?"

Song Jixin had a look of determination as he nodded and repeated, "If a person strives for self-improvement, then even the heavens will bestow them with help. I'll remember this."

There was an expression of melancholy on the emperor's face as he continued, "What truly angered me was his claim that there are no capable fighters in the Great Li Empire. Not a single one. Step by step, I secretly advanced to the 10th Tier of Qi refinement. This can already be regarded as amazing in Eastern Treasured Vial Continent. As a 10th Tier martial artist, your uncle Song Changjing is even more powerful and impressive. Yet, what was the outcome? In his eyes, both of us were still regarded as 'not strong enough to fight with'. However, fortune often accompanies calamity. This is the true reason why I was able to survive... One of the reasons.

"If I were at the 12th Tier, and if he had felt like I was a capable opponent, perhaps he would have ended my life with a single slash."

The emperor suddenly started to laugh heartily for some unknown reason. However, it felt like he was an aging hero who had already passed his prime.

"A single slash?" Song Jixin asked, giving the man a painful reminder again.

The emperor nodded and replied, "I can guarantee that a single slash would have been enough. He was a swordsman at the pinnacle of the 13th Tier, a swordsman. That's why he can act so unreasonably."

There was indecision on Song Jixin's face, and he opened his mouth to speak several times before eventually swallowing his words again. It was as if there were a nagging question on his mind that wasn't exactly easy to ask.

The man leaned back and placed his hands on the floor, with his posture appearing carefree as he gazed up at the sky. "Do you want to ask why he didn't kill us all before ascending to that place that no one knows about?"

Song Jixin roughly wiped his cheeks with the back of his hand before nodding in reply.

"Before telling you the answer, let me tell you this unfortunate news first. It's said that powerful individuals who have advanced to the 13th Tier are capable of returning to the world. They can return to our mortal realm again. Even though this hasn't happened many times, there have been precedents, after all. However, for one reason or another, the Hundred Schools of Thought and the powerful clans have all decided to keep this a secret."

Song Jixin was quick-witted, and a look of shock immediately spread across his face.

"The chosen path before the Great Li Empire is still very long," the man sighed. "This is a long road that we need to traverse with heavy responsibilities on our shoulders. But don't lose heart."

In the end, he pointed at some place in the palatial complex and chuckled, "There's a young boy almost completely raised by his mother here, and when he was young, he refused to go to Mountain Cliff Academy no matter what. I couldn't be bothered dealing with this and trying to change his mind. This child is very interesting, and if a dog on the streets shows any intention of wanting to bite him, he'll definitely kill it to make dog stew regardless of whether the dog truly wounded him or not. Perhaps he'll even find the family and relatives of the dog and kill them all as well. Only then will he feel satisfied. So, what about you, Song Jixin?"

"I'll do the same!" Song Jixin replied without hesitation.ll new stries at n0ve/lbi/(.)cm

The man nodded and said, "I was also like this when I was young. However, my temperament changed slightly after I ascended the throne. This was because I suddenly felt a little bored one day."

The man turned around and said with a smile, "However, it's good for one to have such temperament when they're young forging ahead with determination and displaying their talent and vigor to the fullest extent. If others show respect, then tenfold the respect will be returned. If others offer humiliation, then humiliation they shall be given for life! This is what a man should be like!"

"And I thought you would be very disappointed," Song Jixin said softly.

The man patted his shoulder and replied, "No, I'm not disappointed. If you didn't learn any true abilities at your young age, and instead learned how to read my expressions and use those techniques that the imperial officials use to speculate my thoughts the so-called dragon-slaying techniques[3] then I would have been truly disappointed."

Song Jixin leaned forward and placed his hands on his knees. Resting his chin on the backs of his hand, he said, "But I know someone who might choose to act differently."

The emperor sat up straight and placed his hand on the young boy's head. "Believe my observations. That child holds grudges better than anyone else. It's just that he's endured far too much hardship ever since a young age, so he's already learned how to endure these situations and restrain himself. Becoming enemies with someone like this truly spells serious trouble. That's why I turned a blind eye to Green Ripple Pavilion's attempt at his life.

"However, you can relax. He's never treated you as an enemy, and this is especially the case after you performed those two menial actions on a whim."

Song Jixin's face flushed beet-red.

"However, it's hard to say what will happen when you one day become the emperor of the Great Li Empire," the man added.

"Since that person's ascended and won't return to the mortal world anytime soon, let's seize the opportunity to eliminate that 'what if' in a single breath."

However, Song Jixin felt a little annoyed with himself immediately after saying this. He rejected his own suggestion and muttered, "No, what if that person returns? Then the Great Li Empire will truly be destroyed."

The man was amused, and he asked with a pleased smile, "Do you feel like this is an unsolvable problem? Don't worry, that's because your position isn't high enough yet."

Song Jixin felt a little deflated, and he could only console himself by thinking, If a person strives for self-improvement, then even the heavens will bestow them with help.

"Everyone needs one or two frenemies in their life. Only then will things become interesting. I had one when I was young, just like you do too," the man chuckled.

There was a brief period of silence before Song Jixin reminded the man, "You still haven't answered the question yet."

"Take your time and think about it yourself. My temper isn't good enough that I'll rub salt into my own wounds after being beaten half dead. Oh, that's right. There are only benefits and no drawbacks to becoming the owner of the White Jade Capital. I lied to your mother regarding this matter. However, I'm sure you know that I'm not lying to you after you lost control of the flying swords. As for the significance behind this, you need to contemplate it yourself. It's always good to give things a bit more thought."

After revealing this secret, the man stood up slightly and was just about to leave. However, he suddenly sat back down and grabbed the young boy's palm, chuckling, "Let me read your palm for you. I have some elementary understanding of this art, but I've never had the opportunity to test it on anyone before. So, let me test it out on you today."

Song Jixin was slightly befuddled as he offered his palm to the man.

As he observed the ridges on the young boy's palm, the man said casually, "You can continue to maintain a close relationship with your uncle, Song Changjing, 10 or 15 years into the future. However, you definitely can't grow reliant on him. As for canvassing him and getting this martial arts prodigy to be sincerely convinced by you, a junior... You can forget about this. My younger brother can't be bothered to even conceal his wild ambitions. Even as his older brother who's always been slightly more capable than him, I've still never dared to show any signs of wanting to tame this ferocious beast.

"Before you truly mature and grow powerful, you can only think about seeking revenge against those you resent in your mind, regardless of who they are. However, you definitely shouldn't act on these thoughts recklessly.

"Of course, you shouldn't harbor any ill will towards your uncle simply because of the few words I've said today. He's a genuinely outstanding talent. Otherwise, he wouldn't have uttered the sincere words, 'It can't be the case that heroes only exist in my Great Li Empire'. So, perhaps he'll acknowledge you in the future as long as you become more capable than him in some area."

After a short moment, the emperor smiled and left.

Song Jixin clenched his fists and continued to rest his head on his knees.

The emperor had spoken some vaguely understandable words. During this time, however, he had also imperceptibly drawn four characters on the young boy's palm.

Lifespan. Three.

Be careful.

Song Jixin suddenly looked up at the figure who was striding away and shouted, "Father!"

The man turned around, smiling as he looked at Song Jixin. His expression appeared nothing like that of an emperor as he gazed at the young boy, just like that.

This was a man whose true ambition was to speak the rules of the mortal world to all the transcendent deities and immortals. At this moment, it seemed like all of his life's efforts had been washed away by a rushing stream, silently, and without any trace left.

Song Jixin stood up, with tears brimming in his eyes. He was biting his lips so hard that a wisp of blood was already flowing. He was just about to open his mouth to say something else.

However, the man had already turned back around, his voice sincere as he said, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Remember to eat your meals on time in the future."

An old and travel-worn scholar exited Go Table Mountain and finally arrived at the foot of the mountain. After adjusting the luggage on his back, he placed his hands on his waist and moaned, "Oh, my old waist and old bones. Such torture, such painful torture."

1. As mentioned before "Ji" () literally means collect, and "Xin" () literally means firewood, with "Xin Huo" () meaning the torch/flames to be passed down.

2. These are the small beasts on the roof ridges of ancient Chinese buildings, especially imperial ones.

3. This means profound techniques that are actually useless in real life

Chapter end

Chapter 31: Beating Around the Mountain
Chapter 32: Peach Leaf
Chapter 33: White Dragon Disguising as a Fish
Chapter 34: Gathered Together
Chapter 35: Licorice Root
Chapter 36: Ancient Book
Chapter 37: Fist Technique
Chapter 38: Ninth Tier
Chapter 39: Cursing the Locust Tree
Chapter 40: Returning the Courtesy
Chapter 42: Prodigy
Chapter 43: The Young Boy and the Old Dog
Chapter 44: Coming to Light
Chapter 45: Sunlight
Chapter 46: Skirt Dagger
Chapter 47: Going Alone
Chapter 48: The Hunter and the Hunted
Chapter 49: Porcelain Shard
Chapter 50 (1): One Who is Destined for Great Things
Chapter 50 (2): One Who is Destined for Great Things
Chapter 51: Confrontation
Chapter 52: Shudder
Chapter 53: Gift
Chapter 54: Facing the Enemy
Chapter 55: Feeling Proud in the Spring Breeze
Chapter 56: Nodding Bodhisattva
Chapter 57: Sword Nurturing Gourd
Chapter 58: Teacher
Chapter 59: Sleep
Chapter 60: There's a Ghost
Chapter 61: Helpless Pawn
Chapter 62: Falling Tree
Chapter 63 (1): So That's How It Is
Chapter 63 (2): So That's How It Is
Chapter 64: The Three Chens
Chapter 65: Jewel
Chapter 66: Looking Up
Chapter 67 (1): Long Journey
Chapter 67 (2): Long Journey
Chapter 68: Spring Under the Heavens
Chapter 69: Night
Chapter 70: Daylight
Chapter 71 (1): I’ll Like You for a While Longer
Chapter 71 (2): I’ll Like You for a While Longer
Chapter 72: Black Cloud
Chapter 73: Wooden Figure
Chapter 74: The Fire Dragon Roams the Water
Chapter 75: Mountain Selection
Chapter 76: Back to Back
Chapter 77: Entering the Mountains
Chapter 78: Another Dream
Chapter 79: Spring Welcome Seal
Chapter 80: Leaving the Mountains
Chapter 81: Imperial Preceptor
Chapter 82 (1): Master and Student, Senior Brother and Junio
Chapter 82 (2): Master and Student, Senior Brother and Junio
Chapter 83: Dreams
Chapter 84 (1): I Have a Sword
Chapter 84 (2): I Have a Sword
Chapter 85 (1): Conclusion of the Examination
Chapter 85 (2): Conclusion of the Examination
Chapter 86 (1): Walking the Same Path
Chapter 86 (2): Walking the Same Path
Chapter 87 (1): Little Teacher
Chapter 87 (2): Little Teacher
Chapter 88: Grand Entrance
Chapter 89: Two Heads
Chapter 90: Heavy Rain
Chapter 91: Jade Hairpin
Chapter 92 (1): Bamboo Bookcase
Chapter 92 (2): Bamboo Bookcase
Chapter 93 (1): There's a Character on the Wall
Chapter 93 (2): There's a Character on the Wall
Chapter 94: A Feast for the Eyes
Chapter 95: Too Small a Place
Chapter 96: Demons in the Mountains and Rivers
Chapter 97: Bowing to the Mountain
Chapter 98: The Meddlesome Mountain God
Chapter 99: The Mountain God and the Bamboo Saber
Chapter 100 (1): The World Beneath One's Feet
Chapter 100 (2): The World Beneath One's Feet
Chapter 101: Guard the Mountain
Chapter 102: Soaring White Ray
Chapter 103: Bamboo Building
Chapter 104: Sharing the Spoils
Chapter 105: Rootless Duckweed
Chapter 106: People from All Walks of Life
Chapter 107: Fishing Net
Chapter 108: Spring Hunting
Chapter 109: The Young Boy Has Some Words to Say
Chapter 110: All Good Things Must Come to an End
Chapter 111: Bamboo Hat
Chapter 112: Powerful Individual
Chapter 113: Unparalleled Might
Chapter 114: Seeing A'Liang Again
Chapter 115: There's an Old Scholar In the World (1)
Chapter 116: There's an Old Scholar In the World (2)
Chapter 117 (1): There's an Old Scholar In the World (3)
Chapter 117 (2): There's an Old Scholar In the World (3)
Chapter 118 (1): There's Righteousness In The World
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