The golden sand rolled in waves, with dust flying upwards in chaos.
Amidst the wind-blown dust, a man forged his way out against the wind. He spat several times, ejecting several large mouthfuls of the yellow sand, “This Buddhist power is rather too excessive, to unexpectedly seem actually able to create a Celestial.”
The man was attractive in appearance. Naturally, he was Su Xing. Gazing around at this boundless loess, he felt even more helpless. This place was the fourth level of the Seven Floor Stupa Pagoda. As tranquil as the third level, this fourth celestial could be considered berserk. The yellow sand rolled irritatingly to the point a person simply could not open their eyes, and Star Energy had seemingly lost its use. Those fine sand particles made their way in from the small chinks in clothes. Sticking to skin, they were very uncomfortable, with Su Xing completely losing all sense of direction.
The environment was vile to the extreme.
However, compared to this, what made Su Xing even more gloomy was that he was completely unclear what the fable of the Seven Floor Stupa Pagoda’s Fourth Level was, nor did he know how long he had searched futilely for the exit before finding none. This made Su Xing have a very helpless feeling.
“Do you want to give up instead.” Shi Yuan felt very sorry. Compared to listening to Holy Monks propagate dharma to bloom the Meditative Flower, the Thief Star still felt there was a more convenient way, for example, going and stealing that Five Dragons Colored Glass Lamp.
“There must be sincerity for this sort of thing. To give up here certainly isn’t my style.” How could Su Xing not know her thoughts. He breathed deeply, unwilling to concede defeat.
All of the girls tacitly understood.
Although he was not clear on the significance of this yellow sand, Su Xing still did not give up, still swiftly flying in the boundlessly rolling yellow dust.
“The ferried are hard to come by, like the excellent Queen of the Night. The ferried are like the dirt in my fist; the unferried like the great earth…”1
Unknown how long after, Su Xing suddenly heard a spirit song faintly discernible in the yellow sand. That voice was like the sound of nature, graceful. Once it entered his ear, it immediately made Su Xing feel that the yellow sand filling the sky seemingly disappear.
Su Xing stopped for a moment and stared in front of him.
This voice was somewhat familiar.
A moment later, a woman dressed in simple and elegant blue and white walked out, her steps delicate as flowers, her posture lithe. The yellow sand rolled up to and away from her body, scattering then gathering, yet simply unable to approach her.
“Qingci,” Su Xing was stunned.
Qingci was similarly surprised, stopping her song. Looking at Su Xing, those eyes that were more limpid than jade flashed with a strange light.
“Truly, we have a connection.” Su Xing descended before her.
Qingci subconsciously took a half step back. Although her movement did not leave a trace, this nevertheless did not escape Su Xing’s attention. Su Xing did not change expression, but he concentrated on Qingci. Every time he saw her, he would have a feeling as if heaven and man were shocked, as if she could have appeared only in a portrait.
Beautifully graceful, not displeasing to the eye.
“Why has Young Lord Su Xing come to this Seven Floor Stupa Pagoda?” Qingci’s face wore a delighted smile.
“Looking at this Seven Floor Stupa Pagoda isn’t anything bad. Never expected you to also have a very meditative mind, Qingci. I truly couldn’t tell.” Su Xing showed a bit of surprise.
Qingci smiled: “The mind is namely that of the meditative mind. The logic is inherently the same. As Young Lord is a Star Master, are you not allowed to come to this pagoda?”
“Exactly.” Su Xing nodded: “However, seeing you is actually too good, Qingci. Do you know how to go about this fourth level of the Stupa Pagoda?”
“Does Young Lord also not know?” Qingci’s long eyelashes trembled.
Su Xing shook his head.
“The mysteries of Buddhism’s trials are too numerous. For the time being, I haven’t figured it out. One man walking alone just happens to feel monotonous, and since our goals are identical, would it not be better to journey forth together? Two people can comprehend the profundity even more quickly.
Qingci thought for a while, and then she slightly nodded her head: “Then Your Servant shall trouble Young Lord Su Xing.”
The two slowly wandered the yellow sand, thinking of a way to deal with this. During that time, each of Su Xing’s conjectures he proposed to Qingci were very promising, but she was like Su Xing. Qingci completely did not know where the mystery of this yellow sand was.
There was no sense of time in the void, and gradually, the pair no longer asked.
“Qingci, that song earlier, what did you mean when you said ‘the ferried are hard to come by?’” Su Xing was very curious.
“That is from the ‘Nirvana Sutra.’ When Mara asks Buddha that with the number of living things he has ferried,2 he should have entered Nirvana by now, Buddha grasps a handful of dirt and says, ‘The ferried are like the dirt in my fist, and the unferried are like the great earth…’”
“The great earth? Would that have some connection with this level?” Su Xing wrinkled his brow, and he grasped a clump of yellow dirt from the ground.
Seeing Su Xing sink into contemplation. Qingci slightly smiled to the side, not disturbing him. “Your Servant also feels making contact with such a scene produces this feeling. Your Servant wonders if Young Lord Su Xing can discern anything.”
Yellow earth, the ferried living, nirvana, the great earth?
Su Xing played with the yellow sand and dust in his palm, sprinkling then gathering, gathering then sprinkling, repeatedly and reversed. He concentrated completely and forgot the surrounding environment.
Qingci watched Su Xing, feeling that this man’s earnest pondering appearance was rather fascinating.
“Now is a good time to kill him.”
In her sea of consciousness, a murderous and inflamed voice resounded.
Qingci’s heart stirred. That white finger subconsciously gripped tightly.
“Su Xing is so powerful. Even Lu Junyi has conceded defeat. Normally, killing him indeed is as difficult as ascending to Heaven. Now is the perfect opportunity.” Wang Jingzhi also analyzed.
This moment truly was bestowed by Heaven. The Seven Floor Stupa Pagoda had sealed the Star Nest, and Su Xing could not call forth Star Generals for assistance. His advantage had completely disappeared, and even more important was that at this moment, he seemed completely unaware, the adorable appearance of something craning its neck as it awaited slaughter, but to plan this against a cute and fascinating person pondering earnestly made Wang Jingzhi feel it was a pity.
Qingci showed a hesitant expression.
By Qingci’s Dragon Has Nine Sons magic weapon, the Yazi Saber appeared. To separate Su Xing’s head from the rest of his body was not necessarily too probable.
“If it was not for being unable to emerge, Your Servant would have immediately taken his head.” Little Marquis of Wen Lü Fang was unreconciled.
“Sister Qingci, what misgivings do you still have?” The Living Goddess of Lightning Wang Jingzhi smiled. “Even Buddha is helping Elder Sister.”
Qingci’s hesitation still did not dispel. Killer Star Li Longkui gloomily growled, “Elder Sister Qingci, there absolutely cannot be any mercy in Elder Sister’s heart in the Star Duels. Could it be that Elder Sister has forgotten she shall lead us up Maiden Mountain?”
The Black Whirlwind’s words were like thunder in her ears, shaking Qingci into staring blankly on the spot.
Qingci really was not unclear about this logic, “But by doing so, the Sisters inside Su Xing’s Star Nest will die…”3
“Oh, Elder Sister is concerned about this…”
Her words made Wang Jingzhi and the others surprised.
“This is the path they themselves chose. Big Sister, kill him. Spare the trouble later.” Li Longkui absolutely was not the least bit merciful. The Killer Star’s eyes always had only two kinds of people – the Sisters that followed Elder Sister and the Sisters that died under her axe.
It seemed this apparently iron truth was one even a sluggish person would find profound.
Neither did Qingci know why she did not wish to deal a killing blow. Could it be because the several times they met before, she felt Su Xing was not a foe? However, looking now, Su Xing coming to this Seven Floor Stupa Pagoda very clearly illustrated he had come for the Heavenly Solitary Star, as Lu Xiao had said. For this man to be able to reach this stage, perhaps he honestly could possibly create a miracle.
Seize this chance to kill him?
An idea flashed by.
“Two things fill the mind with ever-increasing wonder and awe, the more often and the more intensely the mind of thought is drawn to them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.”
Suddenly, Su Xing’s gentle laugh ended Qingci’s struggle. Su Xing had already woken from his contemplation, and a slight feeling of relief, like that of unloading a burden, flashed through Qingci’s heart.
“No wonder Lin Chong and Wu Song would be willing to follow Young Lord Su Xing. These words are very wise and knowledgeable.” Qingci returned to her senses. She carefully listened to the words Su Xing said and was startled to the extreme. These words were simply more philosophical than those of great monks that had attained the Dao. Even the Star Generals that itched to kill him as soon as possible were left tongue-tied, with a whole new level of respect for him.”
“These aren’t my words.” Su Xing smiled. He did not want such a vain halo. “They were words uttered by a philosopher named Kant.4 I am very fond of this saying.”
Su Xing’s generous admission took Qingci by surprise. This was more shocking than hearing the previous phrase.
“The starry heavens above me, the moral law within me.” QIngci pondered.
“Just now, you thought of killing me.” Su Xing seemingly smiled. Although he had been continuously contemplating just now, the Yan Yizhen and others inside the Star Nest nevertheless did not forget Qingci’s existence. Qingci’s hesitation and endlessly complex expression were entirely in Su Xing’s eyes.
Qingci faintly smiled: “Young Lord Su Xing, could it be you have not thought of killing Your Servant?” There had never been a need to hide the calculations Star Masters had for each other in the Star Duels, instead, they would have felt artificial.
“I actually do not have interest in ruining a flower of my own accord.” Su Xing said.
When Qingci heard Su Xing’s phrase of “of my own accord,” was the hidden meaning of his words “I will not hesitate at all to act?”
“Should Your Servant rejoice?” Qingci’s smile this time was full of mystique.
“I feel we actually are the same type of person.” Su Xing looked at her.
“In a certain aspect, Your Servant is indeed very surprised at the similarities between Young Lord Su Xing and Your Servant.” Qingci hinted.
Su Xing laughed: “It seem we indeed have a connection. You’re actually quite like my Big Sister. If we do not make a move here, it would be better for you to be my Little Sister.”
Qingci’s lips parted, not understanding what the logical connection between “quite like your Big Sister” and “be your Little Sister” was. “Young Lord Su Xing, are you making fun of Your Servant??”
“I truly am thinking of this.” Su Xing was resolute, absolutely not making fun of her in the slightest.
Qingci fell into deep thought.
“This man is deceiving Elder Sister, do not believe him.” Li Longkui’s tone was fierce.
Qingci burst with a graceful and subdued smile: “To make Your Servant be your Little Sister, Young Lord Su Xing honestly will take the dominant position.”
“Then are you willing to inform me your age?”
“Your Servant wishes to ask another question: Is Young Lord Su Xing truly resolved to become sworn siblings with Your Servant, a Star Master?”
Su Xing nodded. “So long as it’s someone I’m fond of, I don’t want to be enemies.”
“How can Your Servant decline such an absolutely beneficial thing. However, to be Your Servant’s Big Brother, perhaps is not so easy.” Qingci slightly smiled. It seemed he was not at all opposed to something like sworn siblings.
“Qingci, then what do you want to do?” Su Xing asked her.
“This sort of thing naturally will be known after comparison.”
“Huh? You wouldn’t think of fighting me here, right?” Su Xing was speechless.
“Young Lord Su Xing, do not look down on Your Servant. Your Servant once had the fortune of learning a bit of sword technique from a Supervoid Sword Saint.” Qingci lightly spun, directly walking over.
Supervoid Sword Saint?
Was that not a Sword Cultivator that had reached Supervoid Stage Cultivation? Although Liangshan Continent’s Sword Cultivators were many, those that cultivated to Supervoid Stage were exceedingly rare. Just what was the background of this Qingci, to unexpectedly receive instruction from a Supervoid Sword Saint.
Su Xing was very skeptical, and the Star Maidens in the Star Nest did not believe her.
Any way they looked, the Qingci in front of them appeared like that legendary “willow too weak to stand in the wind.” Her delicate hands could write beautiful characters, Su Xing believed, but to speak of sword technique, he was very skeptical.
“Su Xing, you’re so unfaithful. You must have seen that she was a beauty to want to become sworn siblings with her.” Shi Yuan sourly said.
“She couldn’t compare to any of you, even if she was any prettier.” Su Xing shook his head. Although Qingci’s dainty beauty was graceful as a portrait, eliciting amazement, it was unlikely to make Su Xing so willing to become sworn siblings.
The reason why was that besides indeed not wishing to voluntarily ruin a flower, there was also another reason, which was to trap her. Su Xing had a sort of premonition. The Qingci in front of him would someday be a pivotal point in the Star Duels, so right now, Su Xing wanted for both sides to not reach a state of mutual hostility for as long as possible, to maintain good relations before a state of you die, I live. This sort of thing was nothing, anyways…Let alone that what Su Xing said was slightly true. Qingci’s quiet personality, like the unmarried daughter of a noble family, was indeed very much like one of his elder female cousins from before.
The feeling of having her call out Big Brother was not bad, either.
“She indeed gives Suwen a very familiar feeling.” An Suwen did not oppose Su Xing’s thoughts.
“So long as she does not harm Master.” Yan Yizhen had always kept her private and public interests distinct.
Gongsun Huang and Tang Lianxin naturally did not have any dissent.
“Oh, boy, This Young Lady has to play the role of strict parent again.” Shi Yuan groaned.
The others could not help laughing.
While Su Xing currently discussed with the girls inside the Star Nest, Qingci was also putting on a similar show, however, compared to the harmony of Su Xing’s side, Qingci’s Star Generals were far more intense.
Other than Comparable to Rengui Guo Xue who was not fond of chatting, they more or less expressed confusion. Li Longkui was particularly very belligerent.
“At the current Phase, becoming sworn siblings with him does not have any disadvantages at all, and we perhaps will need his aid in the Fourth Phase.” Qingci explained.
“Is he worthy of belief?”
“Worthy of belief or not, this poses no disadvantage to Your Servant, is that not so?” Qingci lightly smiled.
“Wu, it seems so, but…For Elder Sister to lose and recognize him as Big Brother…”
“Excessively haggling over gains and losses will only lead to gains that do not make up for losses, remember this sentence.” Qingci calmly said. She turned around, her blue clothes fluttering along with her hair. Those eyes clearer than gems stared at Su Xing, showing a mysterious luster: “Your Servant currently hesitates over the matter of his Star Generals. Now it seems, this sworn siblings matter is Your Servant’s opportunity.”
“What does Elder Sister mean?” Li Longkui’s anger had dissipated. The woman could hear the meaning of Qingci’s words.
“We will see at that time. Longkui, Elder Sister shall not be deceived by a few words from a man.” Qingci stared at Su Xing: “It is perfect to borrow this opportunity to see the Innate Skill he inherited from the Majestic Star, to see what ability he possesses.”
“Qingci, have you finished preparing?” Su Xing hollered from his side.
“Young Lord Su Xing, if you will.” Qingci flipped out a longsword in passing. This sword was completely translucent, especially the swortip that seemed to be like water. A clear light flowed over the sword’s body.
With a look, he could tell it was an item out of the ordinary.
“This sword’s name is ‘Sublime Water,’5
“Qingci, you always self-address as ‘Your Servant,’6 which actually makes you appear miserly. I feel it would be great if you addressed yourself as Qingci. If I become your Big Brother, I definitely will have you change that.” Su Xing feigned seriousness.
Qingci slightly smiled, but he did not know if she listened.
Su Xing also took out one of the Langya, and after both sides made their salutations.
The next instant, Su Xing beautifully brandished a horizontal slash.
Qingci flung the Sublime Water sword.
The sword edge was like an unfolding ribbon. The sword’s trajectory immediately became unfathomable, and a cold light skimmed past Su Xing’s eyes. Even if Qingci was graceful, her attack method nevertheless far exceeded Su Xing’s expectations.
The Sublime Water Sword transformed into a fairy. Su Xing retreated for the time being, blocking the sword light.
A light at the end of the tunnel.
Qingci’s wrist shook.
The sword edge raged with rainwater. The yellow sands were swept aside, and her sword qi was like a water dragon, shaking a dazzling light inside the yellow wind. Then, it detoured past Su Xing’s defenses from the most absurd angles.
Suddenly, it wound its way back, rising and falling.
The sword qi was erratic, attacking from an angle impossible to appear from.
Su Xing leaned, and suddenly, he disappeared from Qingci’s eyes. Her brows creased, not showing the least bit of surprise. Even Su Xing had to endlessly praise this level of concentration.
“Little Sister, take this.” Su Xing closed in passing, Langya slashing immediately afterwards.
A crisp ring in the wind.
When the Sublime Water Sword touched Langya, it suddenly transformed into a flexible net, and the sword tip bent and spun before Su Xing’s eyes.
A thin wound then bloomed.
At the same time, Su Xing nevertheless already got close to Qingci’s chest.
Qingci did not change expressions. Her sword turned back, her beautiful eyes instantly bursting with a sort of rarely seen severity. The sword qi of the Sublime Water Sword rolled out like a tide. The yellow sand and earth was shredded to pieces, but it tried in vain to swallow Su XIng. The latter rushed to keep away, and then his figure immediately swayed.
Green light pierced through the sword qi directly at Qingci.
The spry long-skirted Qingci did not retreat but rather advanced, directly receiving the attack. The girl’s boldness and gentle appearance were completely inharmonious, however…in comparison to the Su Xing she faced, who had inherited Battle Doctrine, Qingci honestly did not have any possibility of victory.
A vacuum-like hurricane blew in the air.
The Sublime Water Sword’s soft sword edge was not able to reveal her gentleness this time. Langya beat the back of Qingci’s hand, paining the girl. Immediately afterwards, Su Xing slightly exerted force, which sent the Sublime Water Sword flying away.
Qingci lightly bit her lip, her left palm shoving out.
How could she have foreseen that Su Xing seemed to have already knew she would. One hand was already laying in wait along the path of her left palm. By the time the girl extended her palm, he immediately seized her wrist, and then he pulled.
Qingci immediately lost her sense of balance. Her body uncontrollably toppled forwards. Su Xing’s other hand nevertheless passed around the girl’s waist. With this pull and hold, they seemed to dance a waltz.7 Qingci’s attack stance not only was completely undone, she seemed like a meek lamb tumbling onto Su Xing’s chest.
“Any more fighting, and Buddha will be angry.” Su Xing towered above her.
This was even the first time the cool-headed Qingci had been embraced by a man. Her cheeks were pink, and though she wanted to break free, her hands had been forced behind her. Feeling this man’s strength, slight confusion suddenly appeared in Qingci’s heart. She softly whispered: “Your Servant concedes defeat.”
“Little Sister, do you still address yourself as Your Servant?” Su Xing smiled.
“Is it possible to first release Your Ser…Qingci…” Qingci raised red clouds.
Only then did Su Xing notice their current posture was a bit ambiguous. The girl nevertheless let her body hang horizontal. This pose outlined the girl’s perfect flowing curves. Her jade peaks seemed about to swell out her clothes, her jacket collar half-exposed, the slightest bit of her valley8 faintly visible. “I’m lacking in manners.” Su Xing promptly let go.
“I didn’t hurt you, did I?” Su Xing asked out of concern.
“Young Lord Su Xing is even gentler than Qingci imagined.” Qingci magnanimously smiled. Following a wave of her hand, the Sublime Water Sword again returned to her hand.
“However, Qingci is not accustomed to saying Big Brother. If Young Lord Su Xing is not offended…” Qingci showed a troubled expression.
“You’re kidding, Big Brother and Little Sister are addresses, there is no need to mind.” Su Xing waved his hand.
“…Does Young Lord Su Xing think Qingci will renege?” Qingci’s tone was gentle as water: “Qingci shall address Young Lord Su Xing as ‘Lord Su,’9 Qingci wonders if that is possible?”
Why did Su Xing feel this sounded very much like Lord Husband.
“This is good.” Su Xing chuckled.
“Su Xing, you treat her too well.” Shi Yuan pouted.
“Yuan’er, you are jealous. Big Brother certainly must love Yuan’er dearly.” An Suwen stifled a laugh.
“This Young Lady merely feels this Qingci is very scheming…” Shi Yuan cried injustice.
“Yuan’er, it’s all the same.” Su Xing consoled.
“Why does This Young Lady feel each of you are harboring evil plans…” Shi Yuan did not understand.
For this sort of thing, not even clear explanations would work.
Qingci had organized her feelings. She said: “Lord Su…Qingci wonders whether or not you have found the mystery?” Hearing that “Lord Su,” Qingci still was somewhat unaccustomed.
“Let’s test the mystery.” Su Xing was not too certain.
Qingci opened her gem-like eyes wide.
At this time, she saw Su Xing grab a clump of yellow sand.
Qingci did not understand what Su Xing wanted to do and only saw Su Xing extend his hand. “Give me your hand.”
“Lord Su, what are you doing?” Qingci showed vigilance.
“Just believe in me.”
Hesitating a moment, Qingci still took hold of Su Xing’s extended hand. The moment they held hands, it immediately made Qingci’s Star Generals grit their teeth. Su Xing pulled Qingci into his embrace. Qingci’s expression appeared natural and unrestrained, but privately, she still took considerable guard against the opposite sex. Her left hand covered her plump chest, and she used her right arm to stick to Su Xing’s chest so as to avoid being taken advantage of.
If this was not indeed for being at wit’s end solving the Fourth Level of the Seven Floor Stupa Pagoda, how would Qingci followed along with this man’s whims.
“Then what do we do next?” Qingci asked.
Su Xing snapped his fingers. His Divine Intent controlled the surrounding yellow earth. Under conscious manipulation, the yellow earth roller like a hurricane, increasingly voluminous. In the end, it seemed to have become an airtight barrier.
“Don’t be afraid to get dirty.” Su Xing warned.10
Qingci was blank.
Just at this moment, those yellow sands and earth pounced towards the two with a boom. Countless sand grains and clumps of dirt endlessly drilled into their bodies. Even Qingci’s body could not help but shudder. Su Xing’s arms held her tight, making the girl bury her head into his chest. Using his hands to cover the opening at her collar, when she felt Su Xing’s good intentions, Qingci’s heart was moved.
The yellow sand very quickly wrapped the two into a fence. Then, those grains of earth seemed to combust into burning flames upon their skin.
The scorching pain made QIngci’s hands violently clench tightly.
The Qingci that had yet to understand what was happening only felt that her whole body seemed to be aflame, an unbearable pain.
The girl nevertheless clenched her teeth, not uttering a sound.
The pain gradually lessened, and Qingci’s burning consciousness slowly returned. At this time, her whole body already collapsed, half-powerless, dripping wet with perspiration, limp upon Su Xing’s chest, extremely castigated.
“What was that just now…” Qingci panted. Her body powerlessness was not able to care that her own sensitive chest was intimately touching the man.
“I surmise it was Nirvana.” Su Xing looked around at the surroundings.
Qingci rested for a moment. Recovering her body’s strength, she left Su Xing’s embrace, somewhat stunned to hear this word.
Su Xing hinted to her.
Qingci looked. At this moment, that yellow earth, wind and sand had already become a lush plain, gently swaying with blowing wind.
“The fifth level of the Seven Floor Stupa Pagoda.”
- 人身難得，如優曇花。得人身者，如爪上土；失人身者，如大地土, this is part of what Buddha said to Mara, a demon, when Mara attempts to trick Buddha into not helping “ferry” or save people anymore. ↩
- Meaning “saved.” ↩
- An excuse, really. She is already slowly becoming infatuated with Su Xing. ↩
- Referring to Immanuel Kant. ↩
- 善水, a reference to the Dao De Jing’s line, “The highest good is like that of water…, 上善若水 ↩
- 奴家, which is especially self-deprecating ↩
- OHHHH, THERE HE IS! LADYKILLER SU XING!!! ↩
- Her cleavage, not her crotch. ↩
- 蘇君 ↩
- ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) ↩