returnCH 150.2(1 / 1)  Estrangedhome

typeface:big middle small

PREV Chapter No more

Proofread by SH & Snake

Like a deafening clap of thunder, Jiang Li’s voice swept through the sandstorm, and rang loudly in everyone’s ears.

Burning candles wept till no more tears they could shed. He was speaking with what little spiritual power he had left.

[Spring silkworms span till death, running out of yearning thread;] burning candles wept till no more tears they could shed: a poem “Untitled”, Li Shangyin (813—858)?

Jiang Li had accepted his death, but after seeing Yao Wangnian pour all his strength into a final struggle only for them to die together, he shut his eyes for a moment before he concentrated. He gathered all the cultivation he had obtained during his life. However, he was not burning with the same fire of a person who was ready to die fighting, and instead simply spoke, not concealing his exhaustion.

Immortal Luomei’s expression changed. He could roughly guess what Jiang Li was about to say, but he was occupied by his battle against Jiufang Changming and was too preoccupied to split up his attention and silence this witness.

“My teacher, Immortal Luomei, is the master of the Wanjian Immortal Clan. He is a rare talent, and few can compete against his profound cultivation. He has been pursuing the Heavenly Dao for all his life, yet he has failed to obtain it. After trying out all kinds of methods, he eventually noticed an ancient abyss on the Sacred Mountain Wan, and acquired its demonic qi…”

After saying those few words, Jiang Li gasped sharply and couldn’t continue anymore.

Yao Wangnian continued talking in his stead—

“The same year I descended the mountain to develop my cultivation, I accidentally discovered a? village that was being destroyed by monsters. After I had thoroughly investigated this matter, I found out that this had been done by someone from the Wanjian Immortal Clan, and even more shocking was the fact that my shizun, Immortal Luomei, was among the perpetrators. I wanted to gather more information, but in the end, I died in a fire. I couldn’t bear the unjust accusations against my person, so my soul did not depart and I became a ghost cultivator. I suffered each day and night just to get a chance to ask my shizun why he did what he did in person.”

Yao Wangnian was speaking hastily without any resentment or wrath. Every word was uttered clearly and shocked the crowd.

Liu Zhengling said angrily: “Why are you even listening to the heresy of this ghost cultivator?! Kill these two!”

He saw that the other disciples had frozen in place and so ordered his sword to move forward, slashing towards Yao Wangnian.

Both Yao Wangnian and Jiang Li had depleted all their energy. Meanwhile, their fellow disciples were standing together just like a pair of unmoving statues.

When compared to Jiang Li who was akin to a bright light beaming its final rays before going dark, Yao Wangnian’s condition did not look as bad. But he had been receiving injuries ever since Hongluo, so he could not escape together with Jiang Li, let alone fight against so many enemies. He had already decided to throw away his life, so now he could only uncover Luomei’s old schemes in front of everyone.

While he spoke, he was also protecting them from the spiritual power of the sandstorm around them, so he had little strength left to repel Liu Zhengling’s attack. He could only push Jiang Li behind him and prepare to take on the blow with his own body.

However, a gust of spiritual power appeared suddenly from the side and easily diverted the sword.

It had seemed light, almost gentle, but Liu Zhengling could not withstand it and had to step aside. The sword also followed a curved path and penetrated the thick wall of the black sandstorm near its owner, creating a turbulent flow of wind.

“Master Ouyang?!” exclaimed Liu Zhengling, who was both surprised and angry. “Since these two have been possessed by demons, anything that comes out from their mouths is nonsense! How can you trust their lies!”

“He hasn’t finished talking, so what’s the hurry? They can’t even resist. Are you so petty as to not let him say what he needs to say?”

Both Ouyang’s intonation and his expression were bleak. Liu Zhengling could not even tell whether he actually wanted to interfere or if this was only a moment of pity.

“Right, let him finish! I still remember the incident with that village. It is also related to the Celestial Abode Shenxiao, so master Ouyang has every right to inquire!” How could Ren Yousu stay quiet after Ouyang spoke? He joined the discussion quickly and turned towards Yao Wangnian: “Keep going. What happened afterwards?”

“Back then…”

Yao Wangnian gradually recalled every detail, realizing that he had never forgotten what happened. After all, starting with the day he firmly decided to figure out how the innocent villagers were killed, his fate changed completely.

“I encountered Jiang Li in Hongluo. Originally, I thought that he had aided and abetted the crime, but soon we both realized that Luomei’s schemes were just too intricate for us to see through them. When he learned that I had not died, Luomei decided to blame all those deaths on me and then put an end to this inconvenience by using Jiang Li to get rid of me. He didn’t expect us to survive, let alone come here to denounce him.”

“I’ve been stewing in my resentment for countless days after my death and refused to leave peacefully. I used to respect him as he was like a paragon of virtue. I even treated him like my own father, so how could he be so cruel to me? But then, I understood it. Cultivators give their lives in the pursuit of the greatest mysteries of the world, so they are willing to discard anything. There will always be those who are even willing to kill their wives and children. How much does he actually care about such insignificant pests as his disciples, his Wanjian Immortal Clan, or his world?”

“The Heavenly Dao is heartless, but heartlessness is not the Heavenly Dao!”

Jiufang Changming said clearly, his voice breaking through the dense clouds with force.

No one could see him—all they could see was the dust and pebbles carried by the winds.

“Luomei, even if you collude with demons and spend all your days trying to unveil the mysteries of the Heavenly Dao, you’ll never get close to the answers!”

These words were addressed both to the Luomei of the future and to the Luomei in front of him.

“Never in my life have I betrayed the Heavens or disgraced the Earth! You’re spouting nonsense, but if you wanted to turn the truth upside down to sow confusion in the world, you’ve miscalculated!” Immortal Luomei’s voice was calm and collected as he refused to let anyone interfere. “What I regret the most, Wangnian, is not killing you ruthlessly back then when I learned that you’ve fallen into a wrong path. I left you with a chance to survive, and you cultivated your spiritual soul into a ghost, which has led to today’s disastrous consequences. For the first time in history, someone has managed to use demonic qi in ghost cultivation. It’s no wonder then that you’ve made astonishing progress compared to your past self. You even dare enlist these cultivators of unknown origin to participate in your rebellion!”

He spent so much time talking despite his ongoing battle against Jiufang Changming.

In truth, he was provided with an inexhaustible supply of spiritual power by the formation, so he was not afraid of any pressure his opponent tried to exert on him. Even if Jiufang Changming’s sword split into thousands of rays of light, nothing could break the defensive formation around Luomei.

On the contrary, the whirlpool of spiritual power around Jiufang Changming kept shrinking, and his sword could hardly stop the pressure, and its light was gradually dimming.

He could feel his spiritual power flowing away from him.

It was not because he was expending it—instead, it was being drawn out of him by the formation.

This Pre-heaven Trigram Formation was built on eighth pillars that were located in the Qian, Kun, Zhen, Xun, Kan, Li, Gen and Dui Buildings, and the Supreme Ultimate of Yin and Yang in the center was the eye of the formation. Shouldering the yin and embracing the yang, it overflowed with an endless amount of energy, but this eye was not a weak spot of the formation. Even if he crushed the platform under his feet, the formation would still support itself with the sky, the earth, the mountains and the rivers, even if Jiufang Changming was suffocated to death.

Jiufang Changming was somewhat familiar with the art of formations, but his understanding was superficial, and he was by no way proficient in it. It was obvious that this Pre-heaven Trigram Formation had not been set in a matter of a few days. It had instead been built with careful consideration for every detail over a long span of time. Even finding the pillars supporting the formation was not a feasible task for a common person.

At this moment, he could not comprehend Luomei’s original intention, because he realized that he could not break through this formation.

The only person who could was Chi Bijiang.

However, he could not tell whether or not she was alive, and did not even have an idea where Yun Weisi, who had left to find her, was currently located.

It seemed that he only had one option left.

Jiufang Changming sighed deeply and summoned his sword, letting light ignite above his palm.

His sword was hovering behind his back, ready to strike.

No matter whether it was called the Sifei Sword or the Changming Sword, it had never left the side of its master.

“The origins of the world is a vast wasteland, as are all the things within.”

He chanted leisurely, neither too fast nor too slow, as if he was making small talk rather than being in a life and death battle.

When his voice faded, eight puppets appeared around Jiufang Changming, and they rushed towards Luomei at once.

Naturally, Luomei did not take this childish trick seriously. However, after he waved his sleeve to shatter the puppets with his spiritual power, they split into snowflakes and flew towards Luomei, quickly covering the raging flames beneath him and turning into ridges of ice that shot upwards towards Luomei.

Luomei did not evade the attack and only waved his hand to shatter the ice before rushing towards Jiufang Changming.

“The Dao travels with the wind, and the heart comes from the seas and the mountains…”

“I remain puzzled over the engraving on the barren rocks of the Sacred Mountain Wan despite much pondering. It must be formidable since you can use it to kill so many people or to control and transform everything. At some other place and at some other time, I’d have sought advice from you. It’s a pity that today…”

Before his opponent could finish his incantation, Luomei seized the initiative by interrupting him.

He gathered spiritual power in his hands and sent it towards the Guyue Sword.

The sword abruptly ignited with hundreds, thousands and then millions of rays of light. These were no longer rays gathered by the sword qi, but rather the sword itself was the light!

Except for the light gathered by the Pre-heaven Trigram Formation, everything else was plunged into the darkness of the night. If everyone stayed quiet, they would not have heard a single sound.

It did not matter whichever trick Jiufang Changming resorted to now, he could not survive such an attack.

Luomei put aside his thoughts about Jiang Li and Yao Wangnian for the time being. He would pay any price to take down the strong opponent he was facing.

As the light flashed, the incantations in front of Jiufang Changming shattered into pieces!

Luomei closed his eyes. He could feel an enormous amount of energy circling around him. This was the essence of Heaven and the Earth, as well as the spiritual powers of everyone here, which had been absorbed by the formation to supply him with an endless flow of energy.

No one could stop him. Not Yao Wangnian, not Jiang Li, not Jiufang Changming or the spirits of the Sacred Mountain Wan!

He would definitely obtain the Dao he had sought.

Even if he had to build mountains of bones and spill rivers of blood, he would never regret it.

“There is death in life, while the dead seek life. Reverse Yin and Yang, and invert Qian and Kun.”

Fine rain trickled down, and the wind bells under the eaves rang. A new voice of a young woman reached their ears, and everyone subconsciously looked in her direction.

Only Luomei’s face changed.

“This Pre-heaven Trigram Formation was originally created by the first master of the Wanxian Palace, Liang Meng’ou. But at that time, the formation was still unrefined and had many weaknesses. On top of that, it requires very rare and precious materials that have not been smelted for many years. I never expected to see a copy of this formation in a place like this. Immortal Luomei is truly talented, you even corrected so many mistakes in the original, helping the formation reach its full potential.”

From the southwestern corner of the formation, someone was blazing a trail through the violent sands and mists, coming closer with each step. A young woman, shrouded in a dim light, made her way through the raging flames as easily as if she was walking on a level ground, her robes fluttering in the wind.

Liu Zhengling gnashed his teeth and ordered his sword to attack!

But midway, the sword suddenly turned around and flew at Liu Zhengling himself!

Liu Zhengling paled and swiftly retreated, but something pressured him from behind as well. Trapped between these two forces, he was caught off guard, and the sword pierced his chest, which sent him flying.

He looked back and saw a person descend to the ground, his expression as cold as ice. He casually waved his hand, and the icicle under his feet split into two parts that floated in the air and quickly reached Liu Zhengling’s head, ready to penetrate it.

“Don’t kill me! It was Immortal Luomei! He ordered me to set this formation!”

“Offense is the best defense, and the best offense is defense; day and night support each other, and lies and the truth intersect.”

Chi Bijiang was as immovable as a mountain. She closed her eyes and fully concentrated on comprehending the formation with her heart, continuing to explain the technique.

“This formation is large and profound, vast enough to use the sky and the earth and never stays the same. The only weakness of this formation is that it is ever-changing.”

“Immortal Luomei’s skills with formations are incredible. Given some time, you might become more proficient with them than anyone in the Wanxiang Palace. It’s a pity that you only use formations as a stepping stone to achieve your goals.”

Her tone was regretful, even though she had been imprisoned and tortured by Immortal Luomei. However, she did not feel any hatred towards him, and she still considered Luomei to be exceptionally gifted. Yet he never worked hard on cultivating his talent, and the world had lost someone who was so talented in setting up formations.

“Despite being opposites, yin and yang complement each other and merge into one another. Heaven and the earth, every mountain and in the depths of every sea—it all never stays the same. Instead, it all always returns to their origins. Daoyou Jiufang, do you understand what I mean?”

Immortal Luomei squinted. He wanted to give attention to Chi Bijiang and kill her, but Jiufang Changming had put all effort into firmly restricting his options, so Luomei could not spare a single moment to deal with her.

“Yes!” Jiufang Changming smiled. An enormous wave of spiritual power rushed at Luomei, but it was a maneuver that was meant to mislead—at the same time, Jiufang Changming sent a puppet towards the southwestern corner of the formation.

Luomei sent a wisp of spiritual power to tear apart the puppet, but after the pieces landed on the ground, they turned into birds and dashed forward.

Seeing that the eye of the formation was about to be destroyed, Luomei felt that his advantage had vanished and that the forces surrounding him had intensified drastically. Everything he had exerted on his opponent was now being returned to him a hundredfold, as an earth-shattering and irresistible force.

How could Luomei accept defeat at this point? Had Jiufang Changming not been here, he would have eliminated those he did not need and would have the situation under control. How could someone have rescued Chi Bijiang?

She had survived her imprisonment. If he had not tried to learn the secret arts of setting up formations of the Wanxiang Palace, her existence would not have posed a threat at this moment!

It’s too late!

Luomei had always regarded himself as a calm and level-headed person, but at this moment, he was finally shaken.

And once the process began, it could not be reversed.

He refused to admit defeat. His plan was perfect, what had gone wrong?!

He closed his eyes and opened them again. A dense mist grew even denser in his eyes and quickly spread until they darkened completely. The mist went further, circulating through his meridians, and scales, which turned black and shiny, appeared on the back of his hands. Even his nails seemed to have sharpened a great deal.

“What’s happening to his body?” Ren Yousu cried out involuntarily.

Ouyang frowned. The more he looked at Luomei, the more alarmed he became.

“Isn’t he deviating?”

The glowing white sword that was hovering near him had been imbued with jets of black qi. Even though they were thin, they halted Jiufang Changming’s attack and even seemed to overpower him. At this moment, there was no trace of pure spiritual power emanating from Luomei. Since there was no other way to get rid of Jiufang Changming, he was forced to unleash his hidden demonic qi.

In order to hide his demonic heart, he rarely cultivated it. On one hand, he was worried that the demonic qi would leak out, and on the other hand, because he had just reached a bottleneck in his cultivation, he did not dare depend on the demonic heart fully as it could devour him instead. Luomei had to wait for a better opportunity, such as finding a suitable body to take over, so that even if he failed his next attempt to ascend through the righteous way, there would still be a way out.

He did not expect Jiufang Changming to appear out of nowhere during the slaughter in Hongluo and force him to reveal his true face so early.

Jiufang Changming felt the demonic qi rush at him abruptly with a force so formidable that it broke through his defenses in a moment, striking him right in his chest. Blood gushed out from his nose and mouth, painting the front part of his robes red. He was forced to retreat backwards, and was barely able to stabilize his form, but Luomei had already reached him, leaving him no time to react appropriately.

However, Changming had been pushed aside, and someone else took this fatal blow for him.

That person embraced him and stumbled, falling to the side.

“Yun Weisi!”

PREV Chapter No more