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Chapter 1 : Old Devil (1)
“Baa baa… baa baa… baa baa.”
A young shepherd’s sheeps made noises that echoed across the normally tranquil mountain range.
Li Qiye crawled on top of the cliff whilst the cold night breeze blew heavily; however, at this moment, perspiration drowned his body. At thirteen years of age, a little boy like Li Qiye was using all of his might to climb the mountain range; this scene in the night sky exuded a macabre sensation for any spectators that were around to witness it.
Although the night was quiet, his mind was tormented by a fire of uncertainty.
Heralding from a poor family, his parents were both peasants. At the age of seven, he started his life as a shepherd. He took the family name Li; his name was Li Qiye because he cried for seven days and seven nights after birth. 1
Today, he was performing his daily task; however, during the evening dawn’s approach, he noticed that he was missing his leading sheep. Filled with worries, he rushed back to the mountain range to search for it. After what was seemingly comparable to scouring the entire mountain range, he still could not find even a shadow of the sheep.
Thinking about the missing sheep and its evil owner, Zhang Dahu, Li Qiye feared for the worst in his heart.
Suddenly, Li Qiye thought of one place. There was only one place that he didn’t search, the Immortal Demon Grotto!
As he looked toward the Immortal Demon Grotto in front of him, the mountain range in the dark night resembled a fierce beast from a prehistoric era with its mouth gaping, hungering for human flesh. Hearing the wolves’ howls reverberating from side to side, he couldn’t help but shiver in fear.
The Immortal Demon Grotto was considered a cursed place in the surrounding area. Legend has it that an evil demon exists there, who instantly consumed any trespasser. No one had ever made it out of the cave alive.
At this moment, the sounds of Zhang Dahu’s whips reverberated in Li Qiye’s ears. If he truly lost the sheep, then Zhang Dahu would definitely whip his flesh into tatters.
Having reached this point, Li Qiye grinded his teeth and approached the cave as his body disappeared in the night.
The night screeched sadly along with the young boy’s scream.
Li Qiye’s horrified voice once again rang:
“You, you, what is your intention? … Ahh…”
Suddenly, the terrible screams came to an end.
An unknown amount of time later, at the depths of the Immortal Demon Grotto, the silence was broken with a menacing voice:
“Good, good, good, my immortal Dark Crow has finally been completed. Only a soul was missing; today I will coincidentally borrow your soul for a little bit!”
-Phwoosh… phwoosh… phwoosh!
A moment later, As each flap rung loudly, a strange, dark crow flew away from the Immortal Demon Grotto.
“Fly, fly, I will use your soul to find all the Forbidden Burials; fly across all the land. As long as the Nine Worlds exist, I will find you again!”
From the depths of the Immortal Demon Grotto, the heavy voice once again lingered in the air.
From then on, between this Heaven and Earth, a Dark Crow flew across the planes. From heavenly cities to the most dangerous edges and secret places, it flew without free will, straight through the Nine Worlds for eras without end.
As time passed, millions of years had come and gone; a new peerless master rose up as another fell. Slowly, the crow would appear again. It wanted to escape its master; it wanted to find a purpose to its life.
From the Alchemy God to the Immortal Emperor Fei Yang, Immortal Emperor Xue Xi, Immortal Emperor Min Ren to Immortal Emperor Tun Ri and Immortal Emperor Bing Yu…all the way up until the Black Dragon King.
Behind each of these paragons lied the shadow of a crow; one that struggled to find freedom.
As these strongest beings came and went, the crow still mysteriously appeared in the river of time.
The crow was not willing to have his fate controlled, it wanted to oppose the most frightening character in this world.
Millions of years till now, and the changing of era from era…
Li Qiye who was floating in the river was suddenly dragged up by a person.
As he was being dragged out, Li Qiye suddenly woke up. His first reaction was jumping up as he was unfamiliar with his own body. He was unstable and almost fell down to the ground again.
“Ah, my body!”
Looking down and seeing that his body had stayed the same, Li Qiye was both ecstatic and scared. Even after the thousands of struggles while fighting against the unending waves and winds, the Dark Crow, Li Qiye, still couldn’t contain his emotions after regaining his own body.
Taking a deep breath, he lifted his head and saw an old man in front of him.
“Hehehe, it is this old man that has saved you from your impending doom.”
The old man laughed loudly in an inglorious manner, revealing his three remaining yellow teeth. This made others to feel that his smile was very lowly.
Upstream, Li Qiye could still see the dimming structure of the Immortal Demon Grotto. His eyes became increasingly cold; his aura exceeds anything that a thirteen year old child could produce.
Li Qiye took a deep breath, and then stared at the old man. After a while, he finally asked:
“How should I address you, old man?”
“Cleansing Incense Ancient Sect, San Gui Ye.”
The old man answered with his mouth agape revealing his three gold teeth, smiling and spitting everywhere.
“Cleansing Incense Ancient Sect…”
Li Qiye whispered under his breath. This name reminded him of the sealed memories in his head; the time when he was still imprisoned in the body of the Dark Crow.
“Right now, who has the Heaven’s Will?”
Li Qiye regained his composure and asked the man.
“Heaven’s Will eh? Right now, in this era, no one has been able to carry the Heaven’s Will.”
The old man was still smiling as he answered.
“Where is Immortal Emperor Ta Kong?”
After hearing his answer, Li Qiye’s complexion darkened. How long has he been asleep for? Over one hundred thousand years?
“Immortal Emperor Ta Kong has been missing for thirty thousand years.”
“What about Black Dragon King of the Heaven Protector City?”
Li Qiye inquired about the Old Man once again.
“No one knows, the Black Dragon King went missing at the same time as well.”
San Gui Ye shook his head.
Hearing this, Li Qiye crazily changed his expression. He looked back at the Immortal Demon Grotto again and finally knew why he had regained his body.
“Let us go.”
Wearing a sad expression, Li Qiye turned around and started to walk away, and didn’t care whether San Gui Ye was following him or not. After experiencing near immortality, he knew exactly what he had to do.
The Heaven Protector City has the strongest lineage of a peerless master in the current times. That era, when the Black Dragon King was still alive, no one could match him across the Nine Worlds. For three generations he was still respected!
Even though he has been missing for thirty thousand years, the Heaven Protector City was still residing arrogantly in this heaven.
At this moment, a young boy around the age of thirteen and a lowly old man with three gold teeth was standing outside of the Heaven Protector City.
Standing outside the palace’s outer city, Li Qiye was burning ceremonial money while whispering.
“Little Black Dragon, you don’t have to worry. This life, you have helped me by obtaining my body again; one day, I will stomp the evil land to get revenge for you.”
After the burning was complete, Li Qiye stared at the Heaven Protector City ahead. The scenes were still the same, but the people were no longer there; everything had become foreign. He reminisced about the old days; Little Black Dragon and the memory of them building this city from the ground up through their sheer effort.
Unfortunately, after thirty thousand years, not many still remembered the Dark Crow hiding behind the curtain.
“Heh, let us go back to the Cleansing Incense Ancient Sect now.”
At this time, the old man glanced at Li Qiye and told his purpose while revealing his three shiny golden teeth.
“Let us go.”
Li Qiye calmly nodded his head. No matter how illustrious or mysterious this old man may be, his origin could not surprise Li Qiye. He had experienced countless difficulties, and his soul was trapped inside the Dark Crow for millions of years. Era after era, he walked together shoulder to shoulder with Immortal Emperors, and made friends with Alchemy God. What things could still actually surprise him?
As they were leaving, an extremely elegant and beautiful girl stepped out of the palace. She resembled an angel from heaven; a goddess out of this world. The moment she stepped out, she inadvertently saw the fire left over by the ceremonial burning, as well as some mysterious symbols left behind.
After seeing those symbols, her expression greatly changed.
“Who was having a ceremony here just now?”
An old servant nearby immediately went around to look for information and came back with results.
“The city guards said that there was an old man and a young boy around the age of thirteen here just now. They were burning the money.”
“Chase and find them immediately.”
The girl declared her command.
“Your Highness is supposed to go to God’s Mountain right now.”
The old servant hesitantly whimpered.
The goddess yelled softly; her body disappearing across space to find the two.
In the end, she was unable to find them and had to return dejectedly to the palace. The symbols rotated in her head. They had disappeared for a long time, why was it that they appeared again in the outskirt after ten thousands of years? Are they friends or foes?
“Your Highness, we couldn’t find the people who were burning the gold ceremonial items.”
An old loyal servant reported.
“Order everyone to keep in mind that if there was any news about the two people, immediately report back to me.”
The goddess gravely commanded.
Hearing this, the servant was extremely surprised. With the current power of the Heaven Protector City and the reputation of their goddess, it was rare that she would carry such a serious expression.
“Then what about the God’s Mountain…”
The servant asked.
The goddess exclaimed.
“I have to read the ancient books that the ancestors have left behind; something strange is happening.”
She immediately went to the deepest part of the forbidden grounds in the Heaven Protector City.
The Cleansing Incense Ancient Sect resided in the nation of the Heavenly Jewel Kingdom. It used to be of Immortal Emperor lineage with a long history. In the beginning of the Emperor Era, Immortal Emperor Min Ren imperiously stood at the peak and created a sect and named it Cleansing Incense.
Unfortunately, after millions of years, it could not withstand the test of time and its unforgiving nature. The sect was no longer of the Immortal Emperor ranking that could rules the land like in the old age. No matter how hard it tries, it could not rekindle the ancient glory nor stop its unrelentingly slow demise.
“Elder, not good, a mortal said he wants us to accept him as the prime disciple.
A disciple hurriedly reported to the first elder of the Cleansing Incense Ancient Sect as he was stepping outside.
“Kick him off the mountain!”
Without giving a glance, the first elder proclaimed.
“Why would you even report such a little thing?”
A mortal wanting to be the prime disciple of our sect? What a joke. A prime disciple is the same as the sect master’s protégé; one with the highest chance of becoming the future sect master. Of course, when the sect master wasn’t present, then the first elder could still personally take care of these matters.
“But he was recommended by San Gui Ye.”
The disciple stuttered.
“San Gui Ye?”
Raising his eyebrows, the first elder unhappily said.
“Was he bribed by liquor? Was that why he is recommending this mortal?”
San Gui Ye used to belong to the sect, but the sect did not want to recognize this member.
Although the name sounded very heroic, this name had caused the sect to lose all dignity.
San Gui Ye had three “good” qualities to him. He was very good at spending money, lying, and fooling around in the brothels. That was why they called him San Gui Ye. 2
He had not cultivated any methods to its end, but he did have a very big background within the sect. Rumor has it that he was the bastard child of the last Sect Master. That was why, when the last Sect Master died, he asked for the current one to take care of San Gui Ye.
There was also another rumor that San Gui Ye was a bastard, but a bastard from the sect master two generations ago. But because the previous sect master owed this person a great favor, he had no choice but to accept this blur, and unwillingly take care of San Gui Ye. Before the previous sect master passed away, he also asked the current sect master to take care of San Gui Ye.
No matter who his father was, the whole sect and its upper echelon had no love for the old man and the unflattering words regarding San Gui Ye’s character or care about the rumours in the world.
The entire sect, from elders to the lowest disciples did not welcome this old man without any cultivation.
“So what if it was San Gui Ye’s recommendation, kick him off!”
The first elder yelled out of annoyance; his morning and good mood was ruined by this event.
“Bu-but he said he has the Cleansing Incense Ancient Order from San Gui Ye.”
The disciple stuttered once again out of fear.
“The Cleansing Incense Ancient Order!”
After hearing these words, the first elder’s expression darkened. After a quiet contemplation, he quickly ordered:
“Gather all of the elders and tell the mortal to wait outside of the grand chamber.”
The Cleansing Incense Ancient Sect has a total of six elders. After hearing the four words “Cleansing Incense Ancient Order”, the other five quickly came to the meeting.
The original patriarch of the sect was Immortal Emperor Min Ren, who left behind three Orders. Two have been recalled to the sect but the third one had fallen into the hands of San Gui Ye.
Outside of the request from the last sect master to take care of San Gui Ye, the second reason why the elders were helpless against San Gui Ye was because he possessed the last Order.
The Order represented Immortal Emperor Min Ren. The holder could request anything from the Cleansing Incense Ancient Sect.
Sitting in the grand chamber of the Cleansing Incense Ancient Sect while staring at the elusive statue covered by a golden smoke, Li Qiye couldn’t help but recall many stories from the past.
The statue of Immortal Emperor Min Ren stood strong at the tallest point. Although many years had passed, the statue still carried an ancient aura, seemingly capable of piercing the nine skies. Spectators couldn’t help but worship the mere sight; it was as if the Emperor was still in front of them.
Li Qiye didn’t know how to describe his feelings as he was staring at this statue. The Emperor was dead, but Li Qiye was still alive; he forever will be. Although he had obtained his goal and regained his body, all of his old acquaintances have slowly disappear into the mist of time.
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