Book 20, Chapter 9 - Wall Carvings

Empyrean God Roughpeak said hurriedly, “I really am ashamed. Just now, I actually took you to be Snowfiend and immediately attacked you! Fortunately, you are very powerful, which is why I didn’t injure you. If I was to have slain you…by the time I felt regret, it would be too late. Alas…I never would have thought that I, Roughpeak, would end up in a state where I would launch killing blows without even trying to ascertain the situation clearly.” A hint of grief flickered in his eyes.

“You cannot be blamed, senior apprentice-brother.” Ning smiled.

“But it truly is my fault. Forget it, enough of that for now.” Roughpeak frowned as he looked at Ning. “Junior apprentice-brother Darknorth, you should know how dangerous Undermoon Lake is. Many Empyrean Gods have entered since the Primordial Era, but the only one to actually leave was Buddha Jueming. Why were you so foolish as to enter this place? Back then, I personally watched as Reverend Jueming ascended to become a Buddha. I was so incredibly bored that I ended up deciding to enter Undermoon Lake to try my luck. Countless years have passed since then. At first, other Empyrean Gods would enter this place, but it has been a long, long time since any have made the attempt. Why have you…”

“I am indeed the only one to enter in ten million years. As for the reason why I entered…that’s a long and complicated story.” Ning sighed. “I came because I was forced to by circumstances outside my control. I had to come here to procure a certain treasure.”

Roughpeak nodded, then hurriedly asked, “Right, what’s the situation in the Three Realms? Did you say that my master took on new disciples?”

“The Three Realms…” Ning hesitated for a moment. “…Has already been swept into a new storm!” Ning’s voice was heavy, but he still forced the words out.

“Storm?” Roughpeak was surprised.

“One which might be even more brutal than the war which ended the Primordial Era.” Ning nodded.

“How can that be possible? So many people died in the war that ended the Primordial Era…” Roughpeak was shocked and stunned.

“That time, Mother Nuwa broke through to the Pangu level, which is why we managed to avoid disaster. This time…well, listen to me explain in detail.” Ning didn’t hold anything back from this disciple of Exalted Celestial Carefree. If they all managed to survive, they would be on the same side, and so Ning told him almost everything about the storm that had embroiled the Three Realms.

The telling of this tale took a full hour.

Roughpeak stood there in a daze. He muttered to himself, “How could this have happened? After the Seamless Gate re-entered the Three Realms, everything was peaceful. Why is it that all of a sudden…” He paused. “This time, Mother Nuwa isn’t around to keep the peace. Nobody in our Nuwa Alliance is capable of countering the abilities of the Lord of All Fiends. However, the Seamless Gate will find it difficult to counter our leaders as well. The only result would be heavy losses on both sides. In the end, how many of us will possibly survive?”

When he had been in the Three Realms, the Three Realms had been in a state of peace. But now, the storm had descended upon it.

“Either the Seamless Gate dies or we die,” Ning said calmly. “There are no other choices. Although I am weak, I can still sense my subconscious whispering to me that one of our two sides has to be wiped out.”

“Even you can sense it?” Roughpeak was surprised.

“Yes.” Ning nodded.

“Why…why is destiny forcing a tribulation like this?” Roughpeak simply didn’t understand.

Tribulations and storms didn’t descend without a reason. The war that ended the Primordial Era, for example, was caused by two chaosworlds moving towards each other and colliding together. The Lord of the Demonheart wished to take over both worlds, but the Pangu Chaosworld resisted him. Thus, a great war erupted. In addition to that, the Lord of All Things was manipulating things in secret.

The secret workings of fate would only reveal the results. The results in this case were that one side would definitely be wiped out. Only if one side was wiped out would the other side survive.

As for the reason for the storm? That was all left up to conjecture.

The Nuwa Alliance’s guess was that it was very possible that this was all caused by the ‘king’ of the Seamless Gate. That ‘king’ had been very close to the Pangu level. He had merged himself into the Heavenly Daos, but since then he had slowly begun to awaken. Part of his consciousness was already awake. Through its partial control over the Heavenly Daos, it was providing intelligence reports to the Seamless Gate, giving them the power to fight back against the Nuwa Alliance.

This inevitably caused the Three Sovereigns and the leaders of Daoism and Buddhism to question if the Lord of the Demonheart had managed to escape the restrictions of the Heavenly Daos. Was he seeking to cause yet another storm?

Or was there perhaps yet another alien Outsider causing trouble from the shadows?

Or was there another, even more inscrutable reason?

It was hard to say.

The Lord of the Demonheart, who had merged himself into the Heavenly Daos, most likely knew the most…and his order had been to have the Seamless Gate assault the Nuwa Alliance!

“People on our level can’t possibly learn the real reasons why this storm descended,” Ning said. “In short…the Seamless Gate has already infiltrated the Three Realms and has begun to attack us. We can’t let ourselves just be defeated without fighting back!”

“Right.” Roughpeak nodded as well, a murderous look flashing through his eyes. “The Seamless Gate…only after Mother Nuwa left the Three Realms did the Lord of All Fiends sneak back. The only reason we let them join our Three Realms was because we didn’t want to cause unnecessary death. Who would’ve thought that…ugh. It’s been so many years, but you just can’t teach a dog not to eat shit.”

Upon learning that both sides had begun a war of annihilation, Roughpeak naturally was going to stand on the side of the Nuwa Alliance.

“However, we’re all trapped here at Undermoon Lake. There’s no point in talking endlessly about these things.” Roughpeak shook his head. He then turned his head towards the corridor and began to walk towards it. “Junior apprentice-brother Darknorth, follow me.”

The two advanced through the corridor. A short while later, they arrived at the innermost courtyard to this palace. It was extremely quiet, as no sounds could be heard at all. Light reflected off the accumulated snow, making every inch of it easily visible.

“All these years, I’ve been living here.” Roughpeak stepped into the courtyard.

Ning followed behind him. This courtyard was very plain and simple…but almost immediately, Ning’s gaze was drawn to the walls of the courtyard.

“What’s this?” Ning walked over, astonished. He couldn’t help but stare at the diagrams and characters engraved onto the walls.

The diagrams were of close-combat techniques, while the characters were detailed descriptions and in the language of the Three Realms.

“These have been left behind since the Primordial Era by bored, trapped, and despairing Empyrean Gods.” Roughpeak sat down on the ground, leaning against a tree trunk. “Junior apprentice-brother Darknorth, do you have any wine?”

“I do.” Ning waved his hand, producing a gourd of wine and tossing it over.

“Excellent.” Roughpeak’s eyes lit up. He caught the gourd of wine, pulled open the stopper, then raised his head and began to guzzle it down. Only after finishing a barrel’s worth all did he let out a long sigh of contentment. He then laughed loudly, “Wonderful. What a wonderful feeling. It’s been forever since I’ve had wine. I’ve been trapped here for so long without seeing even the shadow of another person, and I always have to be vigilant of that Snowfiend’s attacks. Life really has been worse than death here.”

“Junior apprentice-brother Darknorth, don’t waste your time looking at that. There’s no point.” Roughpeak called out to Ning upon seeing Ning stare unblinkingly at the wall carvings. “They were all left behind by the Empyrean Gods that came to this place. In terms of quality, they naturally can’t compare to that of the techniques which True Gods and Daofathers pass down. These were all left behind by Empyrean Gods who knew that they were going to die here, and so they left behind a few techniques so that future arrivals would see them and know that they had once lived here.”

“Ugh, you just won’t listen.” Roughpeak, seeing that Ning continued to stare at the wall, no longer said anything. He just raised his head and continued to drink.

To be able to drink wine was already a tremendous blessing.

As for Ning, he just stared quietly at the many carvings on the wall.

“Snowleaf, subordinate of Buddha Maitreya, leaves behind his last words.”

“Swordback, subordinate of the Lord of the Everwood, leaves behind his last words.”

“Windbrother, subordinate of Wargod Xingtian, leaves behind his last words.”

Some of these Empyrean Gods were quite famous, while others were low-key recluses. They had all come here, to the world of Undermoon Lake. Although they had managed to survive the yaksha, they were no unable to advance a single step past this place. They knew that their chances of surviving this palace were very low, and so they had left behind some words on this wall, telling future arrivals that they had once been here!

The techniques they had left behind naturally weren’t that impressive, and of course Ning found them useless.

At the Empyrean God level, one would mainly rely on self-developed techniques. Ning, for example, had developed the [Brightmoon] sword-art, and they were quite formidable in his hands. But if he was to leave the [Brightmoon] sword-art on the wall carving, other Empyrean Gods wouldn’t really care to learn it, as it was a technique developed by Ning for Ning; it wouldn’t be very useful for others.

Even techniques created by True Gods and Daofathers wouldn’t be that useful to them, unless the techniques were truly monstrous, unearthly techniques like the [Five Treasures] sword-art.

The reason why Ning was staring at the wall carvings was because he had the feeling that every single stroke and dotted line, every single character, represented a type of entrustment! These were all left behind by powerful Empyrean Gods prior to their deaths. This sort of faith and spiritual entrustment caused Ning’s soul to quiver. He could sense that none of these Empyrean Gods wished to die. All of them wished to live! But alas…they didn’t have the power to do so.

“I do not wish to leave behind any carvings.” At some point in time, Roughpeak had walked to Ning’s side, wine gourd in hand. He said calmly, “If I die, I die. I’ve had enough of this life.”

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