Book 16 Chapter 6 - Sword Study in Winter

After continuous years of battle, Yunqin’s commoners needed a period of peace to rebuild their homeland. Meanwhile, many cultivators on Lin Xi’s side also suffered considerable injuries in Thousand Leaf Pass, needing time to nurse their wounds.

That was why this entire autumn seemed extremely peaceful.

Autumn passed, winter came. All of Yunqin Empire welcomed another new year.

Flourishing Heights’ Sheep Head Feast still hadn’t been decided, yet a fat sheep specially picked among Mountain Yin Province’s local villagers had already been sent over together with a board with the four characters ‘Thousand Year Noble Spirit’.

Everything Flourishing Heights did during the last winter not only won the admiration of all of Yunqin’s people, it also made everyone in Mountain Yin Province feel glory.

When Mountain Yin Province’s board was delivered to Flourishing Heights’ Cheng Family, within a South Tomb Province town, a tottering older woman, under the support of a young granddaughter, arrived in front of an Auspicious Virtue rice shop. She produced a cloth parcel from within her pocket, and then began to unwrap it layer by layer.

Inside the cloth parcel, apart from the silver pieces this older woman used to purchase rice, there were also some copper coins for interest.

This Auspicious Virtue rice shop’s employee was alarmed, firmly refusing to collect any interest. This drew the attention of the shopkeeper of this Auspicious Virtue rice store, but this older woman still stubbornly placed these coppers into this shopkeeper’s hands, saying, “I know that your Auspicious Virtue needs to pay interest when borrowing from other merchant companies or banks. Also, for the sake of raising money and provisions in our place, you all have suffered so much during the past year. We owe so much debt, this amount of interest is something that should be paid. Moreover, these silvers look like silvers now, but last winter, they instead represented our lives.”

After saying these things, this older woman and her young granddaughter showed this Auspicious Virtue shopkeeper a bow, and then they left.

This type of scene was happening in many places all over Yunqin.

When many Yunqin people were able to stabilize, no longer needed to borrow money in order to live day to day, they began to use all types of their own methods to express their respect for Auspicious Virtue. Auspicious Virtue saved the lives of many Yunqin people, moreover gave many Yunqin people courage and dignity, which was why Auspicious Virtue naturally became the most successful merchant company, as well as the merchant company with the greatest stories.

Wherever Auspicious Virtue’s fleet passed, they would always receive the highest courtesy. When Auspicious Virtue’s employees faced the sincere admiration of the common people along the way, they also felt glory, moreover inwardly felt like they should do more for these kind and venerable people.

This was also true glory.

“Seize these thieves! Hurry, don’t let them get away!”

“All young and vigorous fellas, yet they aren’t properly working, instead actually becoming thieves!”

Outside a certain Great Mang southern border mountain town, over a thousand Great Mang common people held torches as they chased after some frantically running figures under the cold night.

These figures who were running were just like chased mice, only when they made their way deep into the mountains did they break free from the pursuit of those Great Mang common people.

Deep in the mountain valley were some bonfires.

Some people dressed in golden armor were waiting for these pursued people to return.

Their armors were covered in many profound decorative designs unique to Tangcang, having lotus flower like tattoos on the back of their heads. Not far from the fires, by a windstop under the cliffs, crowded giant figures one after another… These people next to the bonfires were surprisingly the Divine Elephant Army’s soldiers.

Those people who were chased like rats and carried many heavy parcels, gasping for breath as they fled into this valley, were also Divine Elephant Army soldiers.

After unloading the foodstuffs they carried, when they sat down next to the bonfires, every single Divine Elephant Army soldier’s complexion was extremely pale, all of them feeling extreme shame.

This glorious, most powerful army of Tangcang, an existence that previously looked down on the entire world, actually fell to this type of state.

All Divine Elephant Army soldiers were cultivators who received some of Tangcang ascetic buddhist monks’ inheritance. Even if they didn’t rely on those divine elephants, they could still easily kill those thousand pursuing Great Mang common people, to the extent where they could unleash a great massacre on this entire town.

However, they didn’t dare kill even a single person. They could only steal in the darkness like rats.

It was because they didn’t dare.

They didn’t dare let anyone notice that they were the Divine Elephant Army, let anyone notice their traces.

The current leader of the Divine Elephant Army, Fan Mingning, was also one of the ones chased by Great Mang’s people. He received a cup of hot water handed over by a subordinate, adjusted his breathing, and wiped away his sweat. However, when he saw those giant figures huddled together under the cliff, his hands instead began to tremble unconsciously.

Towards enemies, Green Luan Academy had always adopted a near zero tolerance for even small injustices. Even though Lin Xi didn’t wish for too many members of the Black Flag Army to die in Thousand Leaf Pass, letting them go, he understood extremely clearly that the intention of Lin Xi’s final sentence was that if there was any further news regarding the Divine Elephant Army that was even slightly uncomfortable reached his ears, he could no longer let the Divine Elephant Army go.

After Purgatory Mountain Patriarch and Ni Henian’s collapse, a great patron like Yunqin Emperor no longer being a patron, the Divine Elephant Army was also no longer powerful. Fan Mingning understood clearly that even if Green Luan Academy’s Windstaker Tong Wei didn’t make a move, just the assassinations of Bian Linghan and that Fiend Race archer who followed at Lin Xi’s side were already enough to decide the Divine Elephant Army’s fate.

The intentions behind Lin Xi’s final words were naturally to have the Divine Elephant Army return, return to Tangcang and serve Tangcang’s Emperor Feng Xuan, to no longer appear in this world. However, Fang Mingning was full of reluctance… That was why he didn’t choose to return to Tangcang, but instead brought the Divine Elephant Army into Great Mang.

Only, unreconciliation was unreconciliation. This type of life that lacked all radiance, was there even hope for revenge?

Even though they could try to survive this winter, those White Divine Elephants would definitely become extremely weak if they couldn’t obtain enough food, even more so unable to stimulate propagation through some secret medicines.

The Divine Elephant Army wouldn’t become more and more powerful, it would instead become like those Xiyi bandits, turning weaker and weaker.

Moreover, what brought Fan Mingning even greater pain was that there didn’t seem to be a single source of backing the Divine Elephant Army could depend on in this entire world, not a single power that could help them kill Lin Xi.

The other places in Great Mang were also extremely peaceful.

After Thousand Leaf Pass’ peace meeting, even though the Great Mang Army carried out a complete withdrawal of troops, Yunqin’s army never crossed Thousand Sunset Mountain to enter Great Mang’s territory either.

In Great Mang’s royal court, a transformation that was completely without resistance, without bloodshed was quietly carried out.

Previously, under the support of Purgatory Mountain Patriarch, Great Mang’s Emperor who had some blood connection with Great Mang’s Late Emperor Zhantai Mang began to hand over the authority in his hands bit by bit.

Some of those who were loyal to the late emperor, thus locked up, were released, starting to hold some important positions in Great Mang’s royal court.

Even more people from Thousand Devil Nest who were on the late emperor’s side began to appear one after another. The entire Great Mang royal court began to slowly transform into the structure Great Mang’s late emperor and Zhantai Qiantang envisioned.

In many Great Mang and Yunqin areas, the people began to clear up the scorched lands for farming and planted seeds.

Many of the world’s young cultivators began to peacefully cultivate, no longer forced to follow the army or participate in life and death miserable battles.

This was a brand new world.

East Forest Province’s Aleurites Town was currently carrying out its annual great fish smoking.

Most of the rivers’ waters were stirring about. A lot of black carp was transported to Yunqin’s central region, while a portion of grass carp and common carp was used for smoked fish in Aleurites Town.

That was why all of Aleurites Town was permeated with a mixture of fishiness and smoked fish fragrance.

A green clothed middle-aged scholar was currently within a clean small brick courtyard, enjoying a plate of freshly made smoked fish while drinking strong liquor.

Suddenly, the alcohol cup in his hands fell.

The instant before it shattered on the stone slab table, it was grabbed by him and then placed on the table.

As he looked at the entrance, his face was pale.

The green cotton robed Lin Xi pushed open the wooden door, entering his courtyard at this time.

“Who would have thought that even if I hid here alone, I would still be found by you all.”

While watching the smiling Lin Xi leisurely size up this small courtyard, this green clothed middle-aged scholar said with a bit of distress.

This green clothed middle-aged scholar had a small sword that was as thin as a sheet of ice, fine like fish intestines.

He was named Jie Huanzhen. He entered Central Continent City twenty years ago, becoming Rong Family’s Great Consecrator precisely through this sword.

His sword had also appeared during Thousand Leaf Pass’ peace meeting.

When Thousand Leaf Pass’ distinguished gathering concluded, just like the Divine Elephant Army, he knew that Yunqin Emperor and Central Continent City had no chance of protecting him, which was why he concealed his flying sword, going into seclusion here alone. However, despite this being the case, Lin Xi still arrived before him this quickly.

While looking at his pale expression, the leisurely Lin Xi laughed and said, “My arrival here doesn’t necessarily have to equate your death. You aren’t Ni Henian either. Since you are able to enjoy a peaceful lifestyle like this, finding joy in smoked fish and small wine, then you can also choose not to wholeheartedly pursue death.”

Jie Huanzhen stared blankly for a moment.

“In the past, you might not necessarily be Central Continent City’s most formidable sword controlling Sacred Expert, but you are the Sacred Expert whose flying sword can fly the fastest.” Lin Xi sat down on the stone stool in front of him. He poured a cup of wine for himself, slowly drank it, and then said while looking at Jie Huanzhen’s eyes. “You are also Scholar Sword Hall’s sole direct disciple. Even though Scholar Sword Hall is a small sword cultivation sect that cannot even be considered outstanding in Qiantang Province, there was quite a bit of praise for Scholar Sword Hall even in some of Green Luan Academy’s records. Among your sect’s techniques, there is a Sunset Light Sword that our Green Luan Academy seniors believe to be ‘different tunes played with equal skill’ with Immortal Academy’s Celestial Sword, an exquisite sword dao that is comparable. However, after Yunqin was established, no one from Scholar Sword Hall had ever used this sword dao again. I wonder if it is because this sword dao has already been lost in inheritance, or if no one successfully cultivated it?”

Jie Huanzhen’s body began to relax a bit. He could hear Lin Xi’s intentions. Then, he took a deep breath of air, finished the alcohol in his cup in one gulp, and then poured a cup of wine for Lin Xi, slowly saying, “It isn’t that this sword dao has been lost, nor is it too difficult to cultivate, no one able to cultivate it, but rather that this sword dao’s use is too niche.”

Lin Xi stared blankly for a moment, open-mindedly asking in a consulting tone, “I wish to hear the details.”

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