"What can you offer me?" Feng Qingyu asked.
The shadowy figure paused for a moment. "Before coming here, we made the ultimate compromise and agreed to give the entire territory of the Monorigin Sect to you."
"Does that include Taiji Peak Lake? The original agreement stipulated that we'd split the territory in half with the Yinyang Demon Sect, with Taiji Peak Lake going to them."
"That's right, it now includes Taiji Peak Lake as well."
"What does Li Caiwei think about that?"
"After this, she’ll no longer have the right to speak. Everything will be decided by us."
"I see. You’re too powerful, so you’re calling the shots. You could easily force me to leave, as you will the Yinyang Demon Sect after the war, and take all the territory for your Nonahall Ghost Sect too."
"You can't put it that way. We have a better relationship with you than with Biritual. Li Caiwei can't match up to you yet."
"There's no point in promising to give me something you don't even have yet. I want something tangible that I can get now."
"If you have anything in mind, feel free to say it."
"What I want is the Star Map of Kilostar Domain."
The figure thought in silence.
"Will you give it to me?" Feng Qingyu asked.
"It isn't something I have the right to decide. I'll go back for now, and if we come to some conclusion you can bring Jiang Wuxin directly to us."
"I’ll take my leave then."
"Wait." Feng Qingyu finally opened his eyes. "Don't tell me you can't even get the peak tribulation manna of Kilostar Domain."
The figure merely laughed softly, then disappeared beyond the sliding door. After she left, Feng Qingyu stood up, walked through a long corridor, and reached a snow-covered courtyard. Nothing but a few plum blossoms could be seen above the snow. The plum trees that grew at Taiji Peak Lake had heavenly patterns; some even had saintly heavenly patterns. There was another white pavilion there that was half covered in snow, within which a black-clad youth sat staring blankly into the distance.
"Wuxin," Feng Qingyu said sternly.
"Master." Jiang Wuxin snapped out of it and knelt with both knees on the snow.
"How does it feel?""I feel more dead than alive."
"Can you be an unfeeling person from now on?"
"I can, but there’s no longer a point."
"There is. I can give you a final chance at revenge."
"Master..." he looked up to Feng Qingyu with a heavy gaze, "I’m already a cripple. What else can I do?"
"As long as your heart survives, there’s hope. You have experienced so many lifetime partings and have become stronger than anyone else. This loss was so horrible that it made you lose everything, but that’s just the nature of life. One day, you’ll be thankful for what you have now."
"Master, please enlighten me," Jiang Wuxin said, taking a deep breath to control the agitation he felt.
"The Nonahall Ghost Sect noticed that the blood of the Nonahall Specter flows within you. They can turn you into a soulless, mindless killing machine, a powerful weapon they’ll control for their own ends. You’ll lose even more than you already have, but one thing is certain: you'll become far more powerful than before."
"Lose even more? Master, I have nothing left to lose."
"You mean to say you're willing to become their weapon?"
"I am. As long as I can grow stronger and have my revenge, I'm willing to do anything. It doesn't matter if I’m no longer myself. As long as everyone remembers my name, it’s enough for me." His eyes were red as tears dropped onto the ground.
"That day will eventually come."
"Master, will you leave the Hexapath Sword Sect if I agree? You’re my benefactor, and I worry that Nonahall will turn me against you."
"That depends on you."
"What do you mean?"
Feng Qingyu pursed his lips and said, "Child, Nonahall is hell. Even if it’s an opportunity for you, as your master, I’ll never allow you to lose yourself."
"Then what should I do?"
"They’ll be using the power of the Nonahall Specter’s blood to make you lose your soul and turn you into a puppet, but I can teach you a part of the Hexascript Sword Mantra left by the Hexapath Sword God. Just chant it daily and you’ll be able to stabilize your soul and maintain your sense of self. That's the only way you can stay your own person. Never give up, Wuxin. As long as you're alive, you should soldier on, even if you have to be someone else's dog."
"Thank you, Master!" He began fervently kowtowing nonstop.
"To be honest, I'm not sure it'll work. It's a bet, at the end of the day. Whether you succeed and rise again will depend on you alone. If you manage to rise back to prominence, I believe that nobody will ever be able to stop you again."
"Definitely!" he yelled hoarsely with all that was left of his energy. Though he was sobbing and crying, his gaze was filled with endless courage and a spirit to fight to the death.
Feng Qingyu patted him on the head and sighed. "Wuxin, no matter where you end up, remember that the Swordsoul Mountains will always be your home."
"Understood! You’re my master from now to eternity! If I let myself return to harm the Hexapath Sword Sect, may the heavens strike me down! I’m a native of the Hexapath Divine Realm in life and in death. I’ll never forget this debt that I can never pay back."
Feng Qingyu laughed and pinched Jiang Wuxin's ear. "Foolish child, don't speak in such absolutes. I’m making a bet using your life. If you do lose your mind and come to kill me, I’ll let it happen."
"No, no! My soul will persist for eternity!" Jiang Wuxin swore like a madman.
"Alright, fine!" Feng Qingyu helped him up. "Child, there are too many gods rising up in this world. If the heavens refuse us, I shall become a fiend with you."
The blizzard raged on, but Jiang Wuxin felt warmer than ever from the fire that burned in him whenever he thought of the white-haired youth.
"Die! Die! Die!" he cried soundlessly. Before he knew it, Feng Qingyu had left him lying on the ground to be swallowed up by the snow. "Yin’er, Yu’er, I’ll never forget the two of you."Previous Chapter Next Chapter