Three days later, in Black Cloud City. Dusk...
Nie Tian was sitting in the carriage as An He drove through the city gate.
After entering the city, the front curtain of the carriage had already been lifted, as An He would occasionally glance at Nie Tian.
On their way to the Green Illusion dimension trial, the curtain of the carriage had never been lifted. During those three days, An He had practically ignored Nie Tian, and they had traveled in silence.
However, on their way back, An He took the initiative to pull up the curtain, and had friendly conversations with Nie Tian along the way, spelling out the conflicts between Black Cloud City’s three clans in detail.
Nie Tian also had a clear feeling that An He’s attitude towards him had undergone a fundamental change.
From An He, Nie Tian learned that there had been internal disputes within the Nie clan in recent months, with the focus being the Flamecloud gem mine.
Nie Beichuan had confirmed that they would no longer be able to mine Flamecloud gems from it.
He, who had just ascended to the position of clanmaster, panicked. He had interrogated every single one of the miners, and found out that Nie Qian had taken Nie Tian into the mine, then blamed Nie Qian for everything that occurred.
Since he couldn’t figure out a way to explain what had happened to the Cloudsoaring sect, he had deliberately made things difficult for Nie Qian, and had repeatedly urged Nie Donghai to take Nie Qian to the Cloudsoaring sect and admit to causing the mining accident.
In Nie Beichuan’s eyes, Nie Donghai didn’t have much time left anyways. He might as well sacrifice himself and shoulder the wrath of the Cloudsoaring sect together with Nie Qian, and thus bring peace and safety back to the Nie clan.
His decision won the assent of many clan elders, who later joined him in rebuking Nie Donghai and Nie Qian.
“Uncle An, did the Cloudsoaring sect do anything after learning that the mine could no longer produce Flamecloud gems?” Nie Tian asked.
Driving the carriage slowly towards the Nie clan, An He frowned and said, “Quite strangely, no. According to what I know, it seems the Cloudsoaring sect hasn’t made any statements or held your clan accountable.”
“Then why did they insist on making my grandfather and aunt admit the guilt?” Nie Tian asked, his voice cold.
After a moment of hesitation, An He explained, “Because they’re scared. The Cloudsoaring sect assigned that mine together with the job of mining it to your clan. The reason that your clan had been acknowledged and protected by the Cloudsoaring sect all these years was that your clan has been working for them.
“Some drastic change occurred, ensuring that a mine which should have been able to produce Flamecloud gems for another ten years went dry overnight. Before the Cloudsoaring sect raised any questions, your second grandfather already started to panic.
“Monumental changes struck the mine which the livelihood of the entire Nie clan relies on, all when he took power. How could he not be scared?”
Nie Tian snorted and said, “He doesn’t deserve to be my second grandfather!”
An He turned to look at Nie Tian. After a moment of pondering, he said, “When your grandfather was in his prime, he severely injured Nie Beichuan during their fight for the position of clanmaster. After that incident, the two brothers became estranged. Your grandfather controlled the Nie clan and overshadowed Nie Beichuan for many years after that. Now that your grandfather has finally lost his power, Nie Beichuan surely won’t bother to consider the brotherly love between them.”
“My grandfather will reassume the position of clanmaster one day!” Nie Tian said in a firm, low voice.
An He laughed. With a meaningful look in his eyes, he glanced at Nie Tian and said, “Perhaps so.”
If it were before, An He probably would ridicule him a bit, and tell him that he didn’t know the immensity of heaven and earth.
But now, An He felt that it might not be impossible for Nie Tian to help Nie Donghai regain his former position if he kept his upheaving momentum.
Pan Tao and Jiang Lingzhu were two extremely important third generation disciples of the Spiritual Treasure sect and Cloudsoaring sect. The powers backing those two would even put An He in awe.
As long as Pan Tao and Jiang Lingzhu continued to support Nie Tian, he would definitely gain benefits from the rise of Pan Tao and Jiang Lingzhu in their respective sects.
An He pulled on the reins and stopped the carriage.
Nie Tian jumped out and thanked An He respectfully. After that, he prompted, “Okay, I’ll head off now, alright Uncle An?”
An He nodded and smiled. “Go on, now. Don’t worry. If Nie Beichuan makes it too hard for you, you can come to our clan. Since the miss regards you so highly, you’re welcomed to visit anytime you want. Nie Beichuan’s power may be enough to turn the heavens in the Nie clan, but he’s just a commoner in the eyes of our clan.”
“Thank you, uncle An. I got it.”
An He nodded, signaling for Nie Tian to go in. With a lash of his horsewhip, he drove the carriage back in the direction of the An clan.
Nie Tian took a deep breath, and with a calm mind, he finally stepped towards the entrance of the Nie clan.
At the entrance, the guard Jin Jiang saw him, and was suddenly given a start. “Nie... Nie Tian?!”
Jin Jiang wasn’t a true member of the Nie clan, but rather a guest-member. However, people like him had a knack for gathering information.
It took three whole days for Nie Tian and An He to return to Black Cloud City from the marshland, yet it only took one day for the news of the horrible incident in the Green Illusion dimension to reach Black Cloud City.
Members of the three major clans in Black Cloud City had been all talking about it the whole day.
Among the many trial takers who participated in the Green Illusion dimension trial, Nie Tian was the most unremarkable one. Thus, none of the news that had come from the four sects regarded him.
The Yun clan, on the other hand, had already been filled with wailing and despair after hearing about the annihilation of the entire Grayvale sect group in the Green Illusion dimension.
Earlier this morning, when Jin Jiang walked past the Yun clan, he could just barely hear the shrill weeping sounds of Yuan Qiuying. It was at that moment that the Yun clan had received the news that Yun Song, whom they placed such high hopes upon, had died in the Green Illusion dimension.
Jin Jiang also heard that the Grayvale sect wasn’t the only one that had suffered great casualties. The other three sects had also lost many juniors.
In his opinion, Nie Tian, who was unluckily invited to the Green Illusion dimension trial by An Shiyi, was probably the weakest of all, and his status wasn’t even worth mentioning. He should’ve long since died in the Green Illusion dimension.
He had never expected him to return alive, especially after knowing that Yun Song had died in there.
“What’s wrong?” Nie Tian furrowed his brow.
Jin Jiang snapped out of his reverie and smiled embarrassedly, “We all thought you had died in the Green Illusion dimension just like Yun Song from the Yun clan... Nie Tian, your grandfather and aunt abandoned all hope after hearing about the enormous events that occurred. You’d better go see them right away.”
He was not a member of the Nie clan, so Nie Tian’s life or death didn’t exactly affect him.
Nie Tian was taken aback. “The news of the incidents in the Green Illusion dimension has already reached Black Cloud City?”
“Of course.” Jin Jiang nodded. “The news can be spread via many ways, so it beat you back. You’d better go. Your grandfather locked himself in his house and hasn’t come out since. Your aunt seems to have spent the day crying. You’d better go relieve them now.”
“Many thanks!” Nie Tian rushed through the clan gate.
On his way in, every clan member who caught sight of him was greatly surprised by his unbelievable return.
“No way! Nie Tian is still alive?!”
“Yuan Feng and Yun Song died, but he returns alive?”
“He’s really lucky!”
Under the astonished gazes of everyone, Nie Tian ran to the remote pavilion where his grandfather Nie Donghai lived.
Before even reaching the door, Nie Tian shouted at the top of his lungs. “Grandpa, I’m back!!”
Inside the room, Nie Donghai, who was drowning in desperation with all the windows shut, felt a strong shock and suddenly became enlivened.
He subconsciously wiped away the tears from the corners of his bloodshot eyes, and thrust the door open.
“Little Tian! Is that you? Did I just hear Little Tian’s voice?” Not far away, Nie Qian’s sobbing voice echoed out, as she dashed out from a small pavilion.
“Grandpa, auntie, I’m fine,” Nie Tian said loudly. “I’m back from the Green Illusion dimension!”
As soon as those words were uttered, he caught sight of Nie Donghai and Nie Qian, who were staring at him ecstatically.
In that moment, he suddenly realized that those two had placed all of their hopes and love on him.
He was their everything!
Happy Qixi Festival!
Today is Qixi Festival (Chinese Valentine’s Day), so I've decided to introduce you to this very important Chinese Festival.
Most of the stuff here is from wikipedia, check there if you want to get more info.
Also called: Qiqiao Festival
Observed by: Chinese
Date: 7th day of 7th month on the Chinese lunar calendar
2016 date 9 August
2017 date 28 August
2018 date 17 August
2019 date 7 August
Related to Tanabata (in Japan) Chilseok (in Korea)
The Qixi Festival (Chinese: 七夕節), also known as the Qiqiao Festival (乞巧節), is a Chinese festival that celebrates the annual meeting of the cowherd and weaver girl in Chinese mythology. It falls on the 7th day of the 7th month on the Chinese calendar. It is sometimes called the Double Seventh Festival, the Chinese Valentine's Day, the Night of Sevens, or the Magpie Festival.
The festival originated from the romantic legend of two lovers, Zhinü and Niulang, who were the weaver maid and the cowherd, respectively. The tale of The Weaver Girl and the Cowherd has been celebrated in the Qixi Festival since the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD). The earliest-known reference to this famous myth dates back to over 2600 years ago, which was told in a poem from the Classic of Poetry (Chinese: 诗经). The Qixi festival inspired the Tanabata festival in Japan and Chilseok festival in Korea.
The general tale of The Weaver Girl and the Cowherd is about a love story between Zhinü (the weaver girl, symbolizing Vega) and Niulang (the cowherd, symbolizing Altair). Their love was not allowed, thus they were banished to opposite sides of the Silver River (symbolizing the Milky Way). Once a year, on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month, a flock of magpies would form a bridge to reunite the lovers for one day. There are many variations of the story. A variation follows:
A young cowherd, hence Niulang (牛郎; "cowherd"), came across a beautiful girl—Zhinü (織女; "weavergirl"), the Goddess's seventh daughter, who had just escaped from boring heaven to look for fun. Zhinü soon fell in love with Niulang, and they got married without the knowledge of the Goddess. Zhinü proved to be a wonderful wife, and Niulang to be a good husband. They lived happily and had two children. But the Goddess of Heaven (or in some versions, Zhinü's mother) found out that Zhinü, a fairy girl, had married a mere mortal. The Goddess was furious and ordered Zhinü to return to heaven. (Alternatively, the Goddess forced the fairy back to her former duty of weaving colorful clouds, a task she neglected while living on earth with a mortal.) On Earth, Niulang was very upset that his wife had disappeared. Suddenly, his ox began to talk, telling him that if he killed it and put on its hide, he would be able to go up to Heaven to find his wife. Crying bitterly, he killed the ox, put on the skin, and carried his two beloved children off to Heaven to find Zhinü. The Goddess discovered this and was very angry. Taking out her hairpin, the Goddess scratched a wide river in the sky to separate the two lovers forever, thus forming the Milky Way between Altair and Vega. Zhinü must sit forever on one side of the river, sadly weaving on her loom, while Niulang watches her from afar while taking care of their two children (his flanking stars β and γ Aquilae or by their Chinese names Hè Gu 1 and Hè Gu 3). But once a year all the magpies in the world would take pity on them and fly up into heaven to form a bridge (鵲橋; "the bridge of magpies") over the star Deneb in the Cygnus constellation so the lovers may be together for a single night, which is the seventh night of the seventh moon. However, sometimes in the year, there is no stars regarding to the mythology appearing in the sky.
Girls take part in worshiping the celestials (拜仙) during rituals. They go to the local temple to pray to Zhinü for wisdom. Paper items are usually burned as offerings. Girls may recite traditional prayers for dexterity in needlework, which symbolize the traditional talents of a good spouse. Divination could take place to determine possible dexterity in needlework. They make wishes for marrying someone who would be a good and loving husband. During the festival, girls make a display of their domestic skills. Traditionally, there would be contests amongst those who attempted to be the best in threading needles under low-light conditions like the glow of an ember or a half moon. Today, girls sometimes gather toiletries in honor of the seven maidens. (Apparently, none of the girls I know do it, so this is possibly false.)
The festival also held an importance for newlywed couples. Traditionally, they would worship the celestial couple for the last time and bid farewell to them (辭仙). The celebration stood symbol for a happy marriage and showed that the married woman was treasured by her new family.
During this festival, a festoon is placed in the yard. Single and newlywed women make offerings to Niulang and Zhinü, which may include fruit, flowers, tea, and face powder. After finishing the offerings, half of the face powder is thrown on the roof and the other half divided among the young women. It is believed that, by doing this, the women are bound in beauty with Zhinü. Tales say that it will rain on this fateful day if there's crying in heaven. Other tales say that you can hear the lovers talking if you stand under grapevines on this night.
On this day, the ancient Chinese gaze to the sky to look for Vega and Altair shining in the Milky Way, while a third star forms a symbolic bridge between the two stars. It was said that if it rains on this day that it was caused by a river sweeping away the magpie bridge or that the rain is the tears of the separated couple. Based on the legend of a flock of magpies forming a bridge to reunite the couple, a pair of magpies came to symbolize conjugal happiness and faithfulness. (Actually, me and my wife got a pair of coushions made when we got married, and they had magpies sewed on them.)
Here's a video of the talePrevious Chapter Next Chapter