After entering Long Blood Stronghold, the blood mist faded by a great degree. There were cultivators and soldiers patrolling everywhere inside the fort. Countless secret gazes stared at any visitors, and Su Xing and Wu Siyou received attention the moment they entered. Su Xing’s Galaxy Early Stage cultivation could not count as astonishing, but in this place, it was considered top quality. Star Generals could disguise their Star Energy, so Wu Siyou appeared to be Galaxy Late Stage.
Because Long Blood Canyon brimmed with a murderous aura at every step, Su Xing was not in any rush at all to enter.
After passing by three layers of city walls, they arrived at the stronghold’s center area within, Blood Knife City. There was an aesthetically pleasing and crowded bazaar, and the majority of people had fluctuating presences and circulating Star Energies. Because Long Blood Canyon led directly to the Vermilion Bird Territory, it was for this reason that Long Blood Stronghold often had cultivators assemble. Unwittingly, it had developed into a base for cultivators.
“Let’s first ask around to gather intelligence, see how many sects are here. Afterwards, we go find a queue to enter Long Blood Canyon. What do you say?” Su Xing asked.
Wu Siyou grunted, a “do the work yourself” manner.
Su Xing strolled a circle inside the city before finally climbing to the Xunyang Restaurant’s1 third floor. When he and Wu Siyou appeared, there was bound to be many of those sorts of amazed expressions. However, these people could only swallow down their saliva when they saw the two’s cultivations, for they were very aware of the gazes they received.
Su Xing found a windowside seat, sat down and ordered several bottles of fine wine. From this position, he could see the towering city walls and the entrance to Long Blood Canyon. A little farther, and there was somewhat of a dense, blood-red color. As Su Xing drank wine, his vision was like an accurate electronic measuring device that sized up everything about Long Blood Canyon’s exterior. The arrangements of all the personnel, the numbers of cultivators, and their cultivations were all placed into his gaze one after the other.
Seeing him enter concentration, Wu Siyou did not disturb him. Without asking him for permission, she poured herself some wine, and drank until her lips and teeth permeated with the fragrance of alcohol.
A moment later, Su Xing put away his gaze and pensively nodded. “Interesting, this place is being monitored by the other sects, as expected.”
“Then are you preparing to give up this path?” Wu Siyou nonchalantly asked.
“Entering a bit later is fine.” Su Xing paused. He asked: “Wu Siyou, can I ask you a question?”
“En?” Wu Siyou’s brows slightly wrinkled.
“How do you view these Star Duels?”
“Your Servant heard Yingmei say that you do not intentionally erase other enemies at all?” Wu Siyou pensively said. “However, sooner or later, you will do so. There are some matters that you cannot avoid, regardless of what you believe.”
Su Xing laughed.
As the two chatted, the sound of cheers suddenly echoed inside the shop.
“Daoist Hou,2 what story should you tell us this time?”
“We have waited very long for you. Hurry, hurry, hurry.”
“Quickly give us a chat about the matter of the Blood Shadow Elder Devil.”3
Everyone that was originally carefreely drinking wine each shouted in excitement. The loudness of the noise made each of the guards face a powerful foe.
Su Xing and Wu Siyou could not help but curiously look over. They saw a pointy mouthed, monkey cheeked4 old man wearing a thin moustache5 slowly sway as he walked onto a platform. His popularity in Long Blood Stronghold was not bad, and let alone cultivators appearing on scene, a few soldiers and high-ranking officers also shouted. Only when Su Xing asked did he realize that this old Daoist was named Daoist Hou, who specialized in storytelling. His words were eloquent, his tongue a splitting water lily, a deluge of heavenly flowers.
Despite this Elder Daoist being only Stardust Late Stage, he was extremely good at inquiring through the grapevine. He somewhat heard of each major secret in the eight hundred li of the Long Blood Stronghold and the ten thousand li of Gun Province.6 Although the validity was unknown, he spoke clearly and logically, making the truth hard to distinguish from the rumors. With the Azure Dragon Territory so vast and communications so undeveloped, this Daoist Hou’s stories became an absolute in Long Blood Stronghold. On one hand, listening was pleasant, and on the other, the circumstances could more or less be understood.
“Last time, I told that the Blood Shadow Elder Devil unified Hundred Devil Mountain’s Ten Great Demon Kings and led millions of different clans of demonic soldiers. They assaulted Long Blood Stronghold, and at that time, the rivers truly ran with blood and corpses littered the fields. The entire Long Blood Fortress’ blood qi rushed into the skies, able to be smelled from a thousand li away. The Great Liang Dynasty’s millions of elite troops and countless hundreds of thousands of cultivators were no match. Only the all-out assault of the Emperor Liang’s Chief Royal Cultivator, the “Nine Dragons Heavenly Master”7 stationed at the fort, finally delayed them long enough for the alliance of each of the Great Sects to arrive, dissolving the crisis. This bloody war could be said to be seen once every hundred years. The Supervoid Stage Nine Dragons Heavenly Master not only fell, but that Purple Star Grade Astral Treasure, the “Nine Dragons Cauldron,”8 also went missing, causing worried sighs and gasps. Furthermore, the Hundred Devils Mountain’s losses were also disastrous. The Blood Shadow Elder Devil even more had been struck into a heavily wounded state, relying on the “Blood Fiend Specter Escape”9 to flee a calamity of his own. Threatening to pay back his blood enemy in ten years.
The Daoist Hou’s speech was excited, “Now, the ten year deadline has already come and gone. It seems that whence the Blood Shadow Elder Devil died is unknown. Although sometimes the Hundred Devils Mountain still has some demonkin continuously attack Long Blood, they no longer have the bravery and ferocity of those days.”
“The location of that ‘Nine Dragons Cauldron’ is unknown?” A big man curiously asked.
“Right, that is but a Purple Star Grade Astral Treasure.” Another female cultivator also nodded in agreement. From any perspective, a Purple Star Grade Astral Treasure was even more likely than a Prehistoric Spirit Treasure was to make people yearn for it. Although the two types of magic weapons could be used by cultivators, the former was much more easily used than the Spirit Treasure. Prehistoric Spirit Treasures often shook the skies and moved the earth when they appeared, but without shocking magic energy to support it, it was simply hard to display an effect.
“Legend has it that it has fallen into the Vermilion Bird Territory. Each of the Great Sects have searched, but they always are unable to locate its whereabouts.” The Daoist Hou evilly smiled: “If a Star General obtained this Astral Treasure, even an Earthly Star could defeat a Heavenly Star.”
“Speaking of the Fiend Stars, Daoist Hou, I wonder if you know about the Purple Thunder Monster?”
Su Xing had been slowly listening and suddenly heard someone say this.
Su Xing curiously glanced over. It was a white-clothed youth with a fair appearance. At first glance, he was somewhat more beautiful than a woman. On his person, Su Xing sensed a sort of indescribable Star Energy.
“The Purple Thunder Monster, huh. Ha, ha, that truly is a Star Master seen once in a millennium.” Daoist Hou made a display of mystery.
Everyone impatiently urged him on.
The Daoist Hou rapped the table to silence them. Su Xing snickered when this man put on airs, and then he heard Daoist Hou say: “They say that the one who has contracted the Majestic Star Panther Head is an ill omen everywhere and very mighty. In the Purple Star Birth Outline, he alone stayed behind to confront the Ten Great Sects as well as more than ten Star Masters. Not only did he obtain this Birth Treasure Outline, he escaped unscathed…reportedly, each of the Great Sects’ top-notch secluded cultivators have already issued a chase to kill.”
“Just what is the background of this Purple Thunder Monster. He has practically offended all of the powers in the Azure Dragon Territory.”
“His background must be very great. It cannot be said for certain that he is that terrifying Star Master of the Devil Star Palace.”
“That Holy Lord of Draconic Demon that defeated Xie Zhenyuan?”
“Although the Holy Lord of Draconic Demon is powerful, he is the Heavenly Underworld Sect’s Star Master. The Devil Star Palace is but the Black Turtle Territory’s number one Great Devil Palace. This Heavenly Underworld Sect receives reverence and respect, but how can it compare. Legend says that Devil Star Palace’s master is known as the ‘Great Saint Starkiller,’10 quite outstanding!”
“This generation of Star Duels truly is a suddenly changing and unstable situation, and the Black Turtle Territory surprisingly has such a frightening monster. Tsk, tsk. Our Azure Dragon Territory’s Xie Zhenyuan indeed is rubbish. I hear his Star General is very incompetent as well.”
“I see that the Azure Dragon Territory still has a chance with Princess Ling Yan and Yan Wudao. The Vermilion Bird Territory’s Lady Snake Scorpion11 is reportedly also a formidable character. Though her cultivation is not high, she has captured two Great Supercluster Stage Demon Kings!”
“I think that will not do. It is said that what the Great Saint Starkiller practices is a ‘Transforming Star of Annihilation’ grade Supreme Grade Devil Force. Tsk, tsk, this is a genuine monster.”
When Su Xing heard this, he could not help but be shocked. Transforming Stars of Annihilation were legends in Liangshan. Cultivation methods of this grade had appeared only once before in the Crystal Dragon Palace’s Treasure Feast. News in this checkpoint adjacent to the border of two territories developed much faster than in-country, as expected. All the cultivators present traveled extensively, and they had often moved about in the Vermilion Bird Territory and Black Turtle Territory. Su Xing also heard a lot of useful information.
Su Xing had encountered the Holy Lord of Draconic Demon once before. Indeed, he was as tyrannical as the rumors said, but that Great Saint Starkiller and Lady Snake Scorpion were somewhat unfamiliar. However, it seemed these two were distinguished as the strongest Star Masters of the Black Turtle and Vermilion Bird Territories. In addition, they were strong to that sort of abnormal level. In the Azure Dragon Territory, Su Xing using Nebula Stage to kill a Galaxy Middle Stage Cultivator had always been amazing, but hearing that Lady Snake Scorpion had already killed Supervoid rank cultivators, if she did not possess some incredible magic weapon, then she was actually somewhat unfathomable.
However, the so-called Bagua mostly was categorized as something that became more exaggerated the more it was disseminated such that it was unknown how much its power was overstated.
Everyone erupted into discussion. When the Daoist Hou saw he had been somewhat neglected, he cleared his throat and shouted: “This Old Daoist has another story to give everyone a listen today.”
“Heh, heh.” Seeing that all eyes had been attracted to him, Daoist Hou chuckled. He brushed his thin moustache and said: “The Harm Star Wu Song has successfully obtained her Star Beast this time…”
“This was already known. It seems she even eliminated a sect, something called the Sun whatever.”
“The Nine Suns Sect?”
“Right, that one. The Harm Star is worthy of being the last generation’s hegemon, how awesome.”
“But what This Daoist reports is not this at all. They say that Wu Song took the White and Black Unicorn to go plunder the Purple Star Birth Outline this time, and had been locked onto by the Extreme Clarity Elder Immortal…” Daoist Hou looked around his surroundings. Pleased with himself, he said: “Wu Song and Lin Chong’s master joined hands to eliminate the Extreme Clarity Elder Immortal, stealing his Spirit Treasure.”
Everyone laughed, showing they had already known this.
“But you do not know what happened afterwards, do you?” Elder Daoist Hou rubbed his nose, flaunting the climax.
“What was there afterwards?” That handsome youth asked.
“Wu Song also signed a contract with this Purple Thunder Monster…”
Su Xing went “Pfff,” spraying out his drink, and Wu Siyou wrinkled her brow. Su Xing whispered his apologies. He stared in amazement at that Elder Daoist Hou, for the Elder Daoist Hou;s words stirred everyone into an uproar, turned them pale.
“Wu Song has also contracted?”
“Of course. Lin Chong and Wu Song have always had a very good relationship, and with the Purple Thunder Monster this overbearing, what is strange about them signing a contract.” Elder Daoist Hou said.
“I do not believe you, how could the previous generation’s overlord possibly sign a contract!”
“Lin Chong has signed, what is so odd about Wu Song signing one.”
Everyone again began debating, and each issued their own experience. The more they spoke, the more irregular they were.
Just as Su Xing was about to look at how Wu Siyou reacted, at this time, he found the girl had already left her seat and walked to the front of a slab of jade. Her whole body was rigid, as if she had been mesmerized by something.
When Su Xing saw Wu Siyou apparently was somewhat intrigued, he curiously walked over, “What is it?”
Following Wu Siyou’s cool and elegant pupils, Su Xing saw there was a qijue on the jade board. However, when he saw the content of that qijue, Su Xing could not help but be shaken.
He saw written upon it thus.
I ask myself, the Emperor of Spite
Often thinking of Sisters once so close
He someday visits the sky supporting mountain
Certain to destroy that thousand year joke12
- 潯陽酒樓 ↩
- 猴道人, literally, Daoist Monkey. ↩
- 血影老魔 ↩
- Like his name says, this old man has the face of a monkey. ↩
- 八 is in the raws, describing the shape of the moustache in this context. ↩
- 袞州 ↩
- 九龍天師 ↩
- 九龍鼎 ↩
- 血煞魔影遁 ↩
- 殺星大聖 ↩
- 蛇蠍娘子 ↩
- 我心自問蔑帝王, 常思姐妹曾相伴, 他日拜訪擎天山, 定滅那千年笑談 ↩
- The qijue, also known as a seven character quatrain, has a specific structure that I was not able to completely preserve. There are four lines, seven characters each, with a certain thematic element and rhyme to each. Unfortunately, I was unable to rhyme them. ↩