Eastern Sword Sea belonged to Sea Emperor Sword Kingdom.
There was an island named Ancient Crimson in this sea, not too large and not too small. It had numerous villages scattered about.
Li Qiye got out of the water and climbed up this island. He had left Black Tides and crossed through a forbidden barrier to reach this territory.
He strolled through an alley with no goal in mind. Other passersby didn’t pay attention to someone as average as him.
He eventually reached a winding creek with a calm current. He stopped and followed the shore.
There were people living here. Smoke from kitchen stoves could be seen. A woman was also doing laundry.
Li Qiye stopped to watch her. She was above thirty and wore a white dress commonly seen in poorer villages. It had patches but was still very clean - clearly an indicator of her humble status.
Of course, this should be obvious from the start. No wealthy lady would be caught washing their clothes here.
She wasn’t gorgeous by any means but there was a dignified elegance to her - healthy complexion and soft features.
A wooden pin kept her hair together. They were slightly messy due to her being busy at work but this didn’t diminish her noble aura. Her clothes weren’t a perfect fit, being slightly too hard. Nonetheless, they still couldn’t hide her curvy figure with valleys and hills where needed.
She was in deep focus. Her reflection on the water and herself seemed to be one. In this particular moment, she was in tune with heaven and earth - a truly captivating spectacle.
Li Qiye was the spectator in this case. She noticed the stranger but wasn’t afraid of him while continuing to wash her laundry.
He sat down by the water with both hands around his knees. It was as if she was a supreme beauty in his eyes.
Eventually, she finished and got back to her courtyard in order to hang the clothes up.
He followed her and watched the process again, not thinking that he was being out of line.
Just think about it, a woman all alone being followed by a man. This was awfully inappropriate but Li Qiye turned a blind eye to this.
After she finished with her task, she looked at him and asked: “Do you have business here, Young Noble?”
Her voice was pleasant and gentle, sounding as natural as stream water splashing against rocks.
“What is your name?” Li Qiye impolitely asked instead of answering her inquiry.
“Xi Yue.” She didn’t seem to mind.
“Xi Yue.” Li Qiye repeated once then left without saying anything else.
She simply watched his departure with her brows slightly raised. She then returned to her room.
As Li Qiye followed the next path, he eventually reached a city and saw more people along the way.
There were more mortals than cultivators, always busy trying to make a living.
Once he got closer, he half-reclined on a streetside boulder to look at the city. He looked a bit dispirited, seemingly needing to rest before continuing.
The city ahead wasn’t a metropolis or anything like that. It was built a long time ago; the walls have fallen into piles of broken bricks.
Nonetheless, given the style of the remnant bricks, one could see how majestic it used to be.
On the gate was a stone plaque with ancient words. They were beaten by time despite being engraved on the plaque. Only a few faint outlines could be seen.
Li Qiye had a blade of grass in his mouth, looking to be contemplating.
The characters on the plaque couldn’t be read by the present generation. However, they still knew the name of this place - Holy City.
It seemed strange for this small city to have such a grand name. Nonetheless, its name has been known and passed down for eras.
“Holy.” He sighed, looking a bit disappointed and sentimental.
Holy no longer had its old appearance and inhabitants. This was akin to the sun during dusk. It seemed to be the twilight of this city. Soon, nothing would be left of it but broken bricks and tiles.
In fact, when given ample time, weed would cover them too.
He stared at the city, wondering if he should enter or not. Other passersby didn’t pay attention to Li Qiye. After all, everyone needed to rest for a bit after a long journey.
A young passenger stopped near him and stared at the city.
The sun began to set and painted a sad yet beautiful scene. Nonetheless, some solo travelers could appreciate the somber mood. This youth became immersed in looking at the sad city.
He seemed to have traveled a long way. He wasn’t overly tall and sturdy but one could still see his muscles beneath his tight robe. He looked vigorous like a fierce tiger ready to pounce.
His robe was simple and clean. Judging by his expression and pose, it seemed that he came from a famous clan.
Instead of a traveler, he resembled a soldier returning home. There was a hint of emotion building within him.
He regained his wits and thought about entering before seeing Li Qiye relaxing on the boulder.
“You’re not coming in, Brother?” He could tell that Li Qiye was a cultivator so he cupped his fist.
Li Qiye glanced at the city and said softly: “The city is as old as I am tired, just resting right now.”
“Oh?” The youth seemed amused by the comment: “True, it is almost the end of a long day.”
He appeared to be affected by the scenery so he spoke: “I’ve heard about this city’s history, too old to be traced. I wonder why it is here on this small island.”
“Indeed, the city is still here but people have come and gone.” Li Qiye nodded and murmured.
The youth didn’t know why Li Qiye was being so sentimental. The only thing special about this island was some big events in the past. Otherwise, no one would think twice about it.
It was nothing more than a speck of dust compared to the massive continent.
“Brother, it’s alright, this city is old but you should still lodge for the night. There aren’t many places to stay the night on the island.” The youth smiled.
“Right.” Li Qiye nodded in response.
“My name is Chen Cangsheng, nice to meet you. I’ll be going now.” The youth cupped his fist and left.
Li Qiye chuckled and continued laying on the boulder. Once the sun disappeared, he finally stood up and said: “Old but still okay for a stay. Let’s go.”
Li Qiye entered the city and walked on the paved road.
It might only have eight to ten thousand citizens. This wouldn’t be considered a small town in Sword Continent.
Nonetheless, the streets were paved with ancient stones. Most were broken but one could still imagine the city’s glorious days.
The lamps were lit and merchants were still shouting. People were what gave the city life.
“Old city, new people. Life never stops.” He thought to himself.
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