“Xiaochun,” Zhao Tianjiao said, his tone serious, “as you know, everyone participating in this ten-year-long trial has to go out on at least three missions beyond the wall. You can choose when to do that, but there is no way to get out of the responsibility. In other words... you have to go out of the Great Wall at some point!”
Zhao Tianjiao clasped his shoulder. “When the time comes, you’ll have to go, even if you don’t want to.... Otherwise, you’ll fail the final test, and won’t be able to go back to the sect.”
Bai Xiaochun’s heart trembled. The thought of going out three times on missions made the world seem like a much darker place. Although he had heard of that arrangement, he hadn’t give it much thought before, and had assumed it wouldn’t be anything worth worrying about. But after seeing the dangers on the journey so far, he realized that the slightest misstep could lead to him losing his poor little life. Then he contemplated going outside of the Great Wall on three different occasions, and couldn’t help but think that it was nothing less than a deadly trap....
However, he didn't let any of his fear show on his face. In fact, he even stuck his chin up, as if he didn’t care at all about the subject. “It’s only three times, right? Not a big deal at all. You don't need to remind me, Elder Brother Zhao, when the time comes, of course I’ll do what needs to be done.”
Zhao Tianjiao laughed loudly and smacked Bai Xiaochun’s shoulder. “Good! That's how Zhao Tianjiao’s Junior Brother Bai should act!
“Very well, I won’t go on and on about it. Based on our current speed, we should catch sight of the Great Wall itself within about half a month. That’s where we will part ways.... I hope that by the time we meet again, whether its inside the Great Wall or out, that both of us will have made names for ourselves!” With that, he took out a flagon of alcohol, took a long drink, and then handed it to Bai Xiaochun. As of this moment, Zhao Tianjiao seemed tall and mighty, and absolutely impressive. Behind him, Chen Yueshan looked on with sparkling eyes.
Bai Xiaochun slapped his chest, took the flagon, and drank a big mouthful. Despite how grand he was trying to look, it was to his disappointment that he realized that Chen Yueshan and the others in the group all had eyes fixed on Zhao Tianjiao.
“Ahem,” he thought to himself. “Low profile. I’m the type who keeps a low profile....”
Half a month flew by. One morning, when the first rays of dawn were peeking out from the east, Bai Xiaochun opened his eyes and looked over at the horizon to see... something that looked almost like a mountain range. It was... the Great Wall!
The sight left Bai Xiaochun completely shaken, and was almost impossible to describe with words. The Great Wall was like a hulking dragon lying on the horizon, snaking back and forth for as far as the eye could see.
It was fully 6,000 meters tall, a barrier that completely separated the lands on either side, and completely prevented anything on the outside from getting in.
In addition to the physical structure of the wall, there was a black, shimmering shield of light that rose from the top of the wall into the heavens. With that shield in place, everything on the other side was completely sealed out!
The wall and the shield together created what seemed like an impassable barrier!
As for the wall itself, it wasn’t black, but violet.... Bai Xiaochun was even able to detect the reek of blood coming from it.... It was possible to imagine that, years in the past, the wall had actually been black, but over time, had been stained by the endless flow of blood which ran down it!
The lands leading up to the wall were completely barren and devoid of life. There was a bleakness to the area that even seemed to affect the clouds above, staining them violent and spinning them into a wild vortex that emitted occasional rumbling sounds.
Red lightning danced in that vortex, almost like red dragons flitting about and roaring.
The wall was violet, and the shield was black. Each tile and brick that formed the wall emanated incredible pressure, and all of that together... created the ultimate division between the lands of Heavenspan and the Wildlands!
Currently visible atop the wall itself were over a hundred magical cannons, ferocious weapons that seemed mighty enough to destroy the heavens and extinguish the earth.
Right in the middle of the Great Wall was a city that was fully ten times larger than either East Sea City or World City. That city formed the gate which led into and out of the Great Wall!
Countless auras could be detected within that city, each and every one of which seemed to pulse with the blood of countless battles, and were suffused with complete and utter determination. Based on what Bai Xiaochun could sense, there were millions upon millions of such auras.
Furthermore, in addition to the numerous Nascent Soul auras, there was something else, something… that could shake heaven and earth, something powerful that it seemed to be a part of creation itself.
It was... a deva!!
Deva were rare, but there was one here. Furthermore, it was a deva that neither Bai Xiaochun nor Zhao Tianjiao were unfamiliar with. It was Chen Yueshan’s father, three-eyed Chen Hetian, who had arrived in the city much earlier than them.
In the following years, he would be tasked with leading the defense against the Wildlands!
In the very middle of the city was a five-sided pagoda, a tower that stretched 30,000 meters into the sky. From the top of that tower, everything on either side of the Great Wall was clearly visible. The intense light which flickered inside of it was enough to shock anyone who laid eyes on it.
At the very top of the pagoda was a huge pearl fully 300 meters wide, inside of which was a mysterious, swirling mist that occasionally formed together into an eye with two pupils!
Anyone who that eye looked at would instantly begin to shake, as if the will of the heavens were focusing on them!
Even as Bai Xiaochun was looking at the tower in shock, Zhao Tianjiao whispered, “Starry Sky Pagoda!”
When Zhao Tianjiao looked at the pagoda, it was with utter fervor and deep respect.
“It's a holy object of our Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect. The Starry Sky Pagoda. I heard that sealed inside of that pearl... is a true spirit!”
“True spirit!?” Bai Xiaochun said, a look of shock appearing on his face.
“Even I don’t know what a true spirit really is. But my Master told me that with that true spirit in place, the Great Wall is no longer an inanimate object. Instead, it possesses a life force of its own.
“The pagoda not only possess all types of strange defensive powers, but also forms the heart of the Great Wall. All matters pertaining to battle credits and resource distribution are under the control of the pagoda.” Suddenly, Zhao Tianjiao took a deep breath and pointed his finger out.
“Xiaochun, look! Surrounding the Starry Sky Pagoda are the banners of the five legions!”
Sure enough, five banners could be seen flapping in the wind, a dazzling and eye-catching sight that made it possible to distinguish the five legions of the army, even from a distance!
The five banners were all a different color, and all had different sigils. All of them were very unique, but one of them seemed to stand out in particular to Bai Xiaochun. The sigil on that banner depicted a Wildlands savage that had been skinned alive!
The sigil was extremely lifelike, and it was even possible to see the skinned savage howling from the pain. Bai Xiaochun was almost sure that he could hear a bloodcurdling scream when he looked at the banner.
“Those banners represent the five legions that make up the Hall of Steel Veins, each one of which has accomplished incredible things during the wars throughout the years. The five legions are the Skin Flayers, the Black Demons, the Bane Stars, the Savage Butcherers, and the Soul Slaughterers!
“The Skin Flayers!” Bai Xiaochun said with a gasp. For some reason, that name really caused his mind to tremble.
“Each legion has their own banner, which not only represents what they’ve accomplished in battle, but also demonstrates how incredible they are. See the Skin Flayers’ banner? I’ve heard that their legion is incredibly bloodthirsty. Whenever they march to battle, they skin their enemies alive. Their name alone causes the savages outside the Great Wall to tremble in fear!” From the way Zhao Tianjiao’s eyes glowed with reverence, it was obvious that he very much wanted to join one of the five legions.
Bai Xiaochun swallowed hard. After seeing the five banners, he thought more than ever that he should keep his distance from them.
Zhao Tianjiao was almost breathless as he revealed everything he knew. “Xiaochun, did you know that beyond the Great Wall, the savages have something called the Execution List? Once your name gets on that list, everyone in the Wildlands will do everything they can to kill you!
“The generals of the five legions are all in the top 10 of that list, the highest among them being the general of the Skin Flayers, Bai Lin. He has the same surname as you, and is highest on the list at sixth place, surpassed by only the devas!”
The more Bai Xiaochun learned about the Great Wall, the more dangerous and unsafe it seemed.Previous Chapter Next Chapter