Chapter 1933 – How Can I Defy the Heavens?
Sword Mountain was extremely high. The skies above Sword Mountain were awash with light blue and clouds were scattered across; it resembled a beautiful watercolor painting.
Sword Mountain was also extremely cold. On the summit, snow fell year round. But strangely, there was a clear unfrozen spring that flowed out from Sword Mountain. Because of how steep Sword Mountain was, the spring eventually became a waterfall, falling down the skies like a dazzling white dragon that left one sighing in praise.
Lin Ming had ascended Sword Mountain. With his cultivation he could absolutely cross over without alarming anyone. However, he chose to stop here.
Stepping through the pure white snow, he could feel a lonely and cold sword intent. An inexplicable feeling crossed through his body.
After more than 100 years, when old friends met once more, although things may have remained the same, people will always have changed.
On Lin Ming’s road of martial arts, Jiang Baoyun couldn’t be considered an amazing rival. Compared to those favored children of heaven like the Good Fortune Saint Son and Sheng Mei, he was not worthy of mention at all.
But Lin Ming had a very deep impression of Jiang Baoyun. This was because of his daring pride and his ambition that seemed to reach into the clouds.
But what a pity, the limit of his birth had become Jiang Baoyun’s shackles! No matter how high his heart was, he would never be able to break free!
Thinking of this, Lin Ming felt pity for Jiang Baoyun. If he came from some respected great family from the Divine Realm then the result would have been utterly different. However, fate was unfair like this.
Lin Ming paced back and forth across the summit. Over the next several days, more and more people gathered on Sword Mountain.
Those that came were all outstanding elites from across the South Horizon Region.
They came on jade spirit boats, rode on rainbow-hued birds, or even flew themselves.
Lin Ming quietly watched as this all happen. After being accustomed to seeing top God Beasts of the Divine Realm, after being accustomed to seeing Empyrean spirit treasure level spirit ships, he knew that these spirit boats and spirit birds may seem beautiful, but the truth was that they weren’t much at all…
Martial artists of the mortal world also had the joys of a mortal.
Recalling the past, during the Seven Profound Valleys’ Total Faction Martial Meeting when Mu Qinghong had arrived on a vermillion bird, she had shocked and awed innumerable people.
At the summit of Sword Mountain, there was a pool. A thin layer of hazy mist floated above this pool. The spring that flowed down the mountain originated from it, and this pool was unfrozen all year round.
Atop this pool, ice lotuses were in full bloom. There were also dozens of waterside pavilions spread out.
The festive party of swordsmen was being held on these pavilions.
As for Lin Ming, as an uninvited guest, he stood in one of the largest pavilions but also a pavilion that was located on the edge. He stood together with the disciples of these great figures of the South Horizon Region.
“Mm? It’s you?”
Not too far away from Lin Ming, a 18-19 year old-looking girl was stunned. She was the girl from the young duo that Lin Ming had seen just several days ago.
Her senior-apprentice brother was on this pavilion and he was also surprised at seeing Lin Ming.
Sword Mountain didn’t have any guards. This was because it was covered in sword intent, and the average person wouldn’t be able to climb up.
“This friend, how did you get up here?”
The young man looked at Lin Ming’s icy cold mask and was left a bit dumbfounded.
When he saw Lin Ming at the foot of the mountain, he had thought Lin Ming was some sort of weird person or even a fool. But he never thought that this fool would arrive at the summit before they did.
However, Lin Ming didn’t seem to hear this question at all. He looked towards the center of the cold pond, waiting for the tea party of sword arts to begin.
The young man and woman felt as if they had stepped onto a nail, as if they were somehow inviting contempt on themselves.
“This person must be deaf…”
The young woman huffed in anger, her small chest heaving up and down. In truth, she knew that Lin Ming wasn’t deaf, because when she had called out to him at the mountain he had turned his head to look at her.
She had purely been trying to help him, but she hadn’t expected that he would turn such a deaf ear to everything they said.
As if he was indifferent to all that surrounded him.
“It’s fine, Junior-apprentice Sister, you can do with saying a few words less. You seem to have forgotten Master’s teachings...” The young man whispered in rebuke. The young woman pursed her lips and no longer spoke.
At this time, the tea party of sword arts finally began.
This sword arts tea part was not some martial arts tournament to see who was stronger, but was for the various sword masters of the South Horizon Region to come together to compare skills and learn from each other’s strengths and weaknesses. All of this was to become more aware of what the sword arts truly meant.
Thus, when people attacked, it wasn’t to decide victory or defeat, but was to display their extraordinary techniques and heartily and happily demonstrate their sword art cultivations.
In Lin Ming’s eyes, the swordsmanship of these people wasn’t worth much.
That was until… Jiang Baoyun took the stage.
On this day, Jiang Baoyun wore blue clothes. His eyebrows were like two swords flying at an angle towards his temples. His eyes were deep and profound, like glittering gems.
And behind Jiang Baoyun was a sword case. The sword case was forged from metal, and seemed simple and plain.
Two sword handles stuck out from the top of this sword case; one sword was blue, the other was black.
Everything was the same as that time at the Seven Profound Valleys’ Total Faction Martial Meeting.
Jiang Baoyun wielded dual swords. It wasn’t that both swords were used at the same time, but that the two different swords corresponded to different moves.
Now, he was still the same as before.
And Jiang Baoyun’s match was Lin Ming’s old friend – Jiang Lanjian!
At the Seven Profound Valleys’ Total Faction Martial Meeting, Jiang Lanjian had left an incredibly deep impression on Lin Ming. In fact, there was a period of time where Lin Ming needed to hide his true name and had called himself Lin Lanjian instead.
So, after so many years, Jiang Baoyun and Jiang Lanjian considered each other rivals. With brothers and rivals that understood each other on the most basic level it was natural they would progress quickly.
The Jiang Lanjian that appeared after over 100 years shared a greater likeliness to Jiang Baoyun than he did in the past. Jiang Lanjian looked around 30 years of age, and he also wore blue clothes. Although his face wasn’t as sharp and swift as the face of Jiang Baoyun, the important point here was that the sharpness lurked in his heart instead. Just by looking at him, one would think he was some treasure sword hidden in a box.
Jiang Lanjian had a bright smile on his face as he said to Jiang Baoyun, “Brother Baoyun, it’s been over three years since we last fought! How many moves did we exchange last time?”
“83 moves!” Jiang Baoyun replied.
“Good! Then today, my goal is to break past a hundred!”
Jiang Lanjian was weaker than Jiang Baoyun. But, in the South Horizon Region it could already be considered a miracle for anyone to withstand a hundred moves against Jiang Baoyun.
“Master, you can do it!”
Beside Lin Ming, the 18 year old girl that had come into conflict with him before began to excitedly clap, a beautiful light blooming in her eyes. She was clearly enthusiastic to see her master fight. Apparently, the young duo that Lin Ming encountered were Jiang Lanjian’s disciples.
Lin Ming didn’t care much about this. Instead, he calmly looked at Jiang Baoyun and Jiang Lanjian’s match.
Jiang Baoyun and Jiang Lanjian had both cultivated their own sword intents. For a time, sword beams crossed through space, incomparably brilliant.
Their sword intents even caused the swords of some weaker martial artists to ring out loud. As these rings gathered together, it was like the cry of a dragon, shocking to the mind.
These low level disciples had never seen such a grand scene before!
All of them began bubbling over with excitement.
“Fierce! They are truly worthy of being called the Cloudsword Immortal and Bluesword Immortal! Just now I thought my sword was going to go flying out of its scabbard!”
“They are the two greatest and most extraordinary sword immortals of the South Horizon Region. Generally speaking, there is no swordsman that can contend with them. Before the battle begins, their enemies’ swords are already drawn to them! Moreover, I heard that… Cloudsword Immortal and Bluesword Immortal were once fellow disciples of the same sect!”
“That’s right! They did come from the same sect. It was only a small and common sect called the Seven Profound Valleys, but it actually produced so many extraordinary individuals. It’s simply unbelievable.”
The Seven Profound Valleys was only a single third grade sect. Even if placed in a tiny land like the South Horizon Region, it wasn’t enough to be glanced at twice. It had to be known that the South Horizon Region’s South Sea Demon Region had been a fifth grade sect.
Even Divine Phoenix Island had been countless times stronger than the Seven Profound Valleys. For Jiang Lanjian and Jiang Baoyun to arrive at this step hadn’t been easy for either of them.
“Hey! Don’t try and look down on the Seven Profound Valleys. You might not know this but the Seven Profound Valleys once produced a legendary character. He is someone that comes from the same sect as Cloudsword Immortal and Bluesword Immortal. In the past, during the Seven Profound Valleys’ Total Faction Martial Meeting, this person ranked even above Cloudsword Immortal and Bluesword Immortal and he became the champion of the Total Faction Martial Meeting. After that, he entered the four Divine Kingdoms and stirred up a giant storm. Then his martial arts shattered the void and he ascended to the stars. It's said that his achievements surpass even those of Emperor Shakya from 3000 years ago!”
“You are speaking of Lin Ming, Sage Lin! How can anyone of the South Horizon Region not know of his legend? But he is far too strong, and many people consider him far too remote an existence. His is too mythical an existence so it's hard for people to believe that such a person came from the South Horizon Region.”
“The Seven Profound Valleys must have a raging fire when they pray at their ancestral tablets. But then again, during a period when an extreme talent appears, they can often drive the overall strength of a sect to new, never-before-seen heights. When such a person appears, all other geniuses chase after them together and only then can there be an era where heroes are pouring forth from the ranks. All things considered, perhaps it could be said that Cloudsword Immortal and Bluesword Immortal’s current achievements are due to Lin Ming’s influence!”
Lin Ming, whether it was the South Horizon Region or the central four Divine Kingdoms, was a myth-like name.
However, as these discussions fell into Lin Ming’s ears, he appeared indifferent throughout.
Beneath his icy mask, his pupils were like fathomless wells, as if he didn’t hear anything at all.
“Hey! Speaking of Sage Lin, I am most clear about him! My master once personally told me of Sage Lin’s matters!”
As everyone began speaking of Lin Ming, the 18 year old girl who encountered Lin Ming at the base of the mountain also impatiently joined the talks.
Her master was her pride. Her master’s experiences were also her pride.
With such an excellent time to show off, how could she possibly miss out?
“That’s right, Fairy Jiang, aren’t you Bluesword Immortal’s direct disciple? Hurry and tell us what you know!”
Someone impatiently said.
And this question caused ‘Fairy Jiang’ to be increasingly playful and exaggerated in her movements. At her side, her senior-apprentice brother shook his head, thinking all of this a little funny and a little embarrassing. He thought to himself, “You’re 18 years old already and yet still have the disposition of a child…”
The young girl beamed with joy. She had successfully caught the gazes of all the young disciples. For most of the people here, when Lin Ming was wildly wandering the South Horizon Region their grandfathers hadn’t yet been born.
The stories they heard afterwards all came in different versions so they were unable to come to a consensus. Now with someone closely related to someone who was directly present and involved in the past, they certainly listened with relish.
Towards this, Lin Ming had no interest. His heart was a still and dead pond. He felt that in this world, there might not be anything that was able to move him.
But, as Lin Ming’s heart was dead, the girl’s unintentional words caused his heart that had remained silent for so many years to feel a faint hint of movement…
“…You might not know, but in the past, my master admired Sage Lin the most! And what he admired was not his talent, but his fighting spirit!
“You might have heard rumors that Sage Lin was a Prince of the Nine Furnace Divine Kingdom who entered the South Horizon Region to gain experience and go adventuring. But, that is actually nonsense! My master knows that Sage Lin was actually the child of a mortal family, an extremely common and humble mortal family at that. During his youth, Sage Lin simply wasn’t able to practice martial arts, and he even experienced a massive setback. The road of martial arts is bumpy and filled with holes, but Sage Lin continued walking, one step at a time.
“What my master most admired of Sage Lin was his undying spirit and perseverance. Sage Lin’s goal in life was to chase after the peak of martial arts, and my master said that perhaps Sage Lin is the person closest to the peak of martial arts!”
The girl’s words caused the young disciples to cry out in praise.
“To chase after the peak of martial arts? That’s so amazing!”
“I wonder what the peak of martial arts is like? I also want to immediately chase after it!”
Everyone enthusiastically discussed. And as these words fell into Lin Ming’s ears, his heart began to fill with emotion!
The peak of martial arts?
Such words were easily spoken. But, only those who stepped onto this road themselves knew how ephemeral a goal it was, just how many terrifying ordeals and trials one had to experience in order to run towards it!
There were so many peerless individuals in this world. How many things had they betrayed, how great of a price had they paid?
A newborn calf didn’t fear the tiger. However, the more experiences one gained, the less they had the blazing fighting spirit of their youth, that unfearing and unwavering heart that dared to defy the heavens.
Really… was he old?
Lin Ming recalled the time when he had tried to break into Life Destruction in the past. He had told himself –
‘If the heavens wish to destroy me then I will destroy the heavens. If the death god wants to take me then I will cut down the death god!’
The him of that time, just how heroic and daring had he been? But now…
He deeply sighed. An endless sorrow mixed together with the vicissitudes of time in his eyes.
On the cold pond, Jiang Lanjian and Jiang Baoyun’s fight was reaching its most brilliant zenith. They danced through the air, their feet leaving only light ripples as they touched upon the lotuses of the pond, not even causing a single splash of water.
Sword energy pierced through the air yet not a single ice lotus was damaged…
They weren’t strong, but from their sword intent, Lin Ming could profoundly feel something he once chased – an unyielding fighting spirit…
An inexplicable unwillingness suddenly stirred in his heart. He grit his teeth and tried to stimulate the weak fires of his soul once again. He wanted to use the energy from his own inner world, he wanted to impact the limits of his cultivation, he wanted to open the Magic Cube…
However, the fires of his soul and the fires of his life were far too weak.
Such a massive amount of energy needed soul force to manipulate. His inner world remained quiet like before.
And, the Magic Cube didn’t respond at all…
When Lin Ming was at the Divine Lord realm, only then was he able to slowly grasp the ability to use the Magic Cube. Moreover, he hadn’t been able to do so whenever he pleased.
But now, compared to when he was a Divine Lord, his soul force was nothing at all.
It was like an ant trying to shake a tree: completely meaningless.
Moreover, what caused Lin Ming to feel the most despair was that even if he could stimulate the Magic Cube, he wouldn’t be able to rely on it to restore his source soul force.
Although the Magic Cube was a divine tool of the soul, its abilities lay more in extinguishing a soul and erasing spirit marks. But to restore a soul, that was unlikely to be possible.
Losing his source soul force, losing the fires of his life, that was the same as losing the source of his life.
For instance, no matter how heaven-defying a divine tool, it still couldn’t restore the aged and declining Three Lives Old Man to the peak of his youth.
That would violate the most fundamental rules of the world.
Disappointment once again crashed into Lin Ming.
To struggle, to overcome loss with but a single thought. Although this was a simple thought, how many people could cross this bridge? Often in this world, there were many matters that could not be done. This wasn’t because one did not want to, but because one simply could not…
He heaved a deep sigh. “I… don’t want to lose my fighting spirit. But if I have fighting spirit… so what? I have lost everything. Just how can I… defy the heavens?”