This chapter has been brought to you by me, and larkspur.
Chapter Sixty Three: Spirit Mountain
“What is the Tianliang Mountain of Ancestors really?”
The present scene was already suffused with a holy and mysterious feeling. At Li Xixing’s expression and tone, Hu Jingjing shuddered.
Li Xixing frowned deeply. This youth, who had been abandoned by his entire family and Changling due to power struggles to join the army, showed hesitation for the first time. When Hu Jingjing started to grow anxious on his back, he finally took a deep breath and said, “Long before the Wuzhi, Donghu, and Yuezhi, there once was an empire in the grasslands and desert called Tianliang.”
Any enormous empire, just like the Great You dynasty, would be shocking. If Wuzhi, Donghu and Yuzhi were together included, the lands would be greater than multiple dynasties combined. So, at the words alone, Hu Jingjing sank into greater shock.
“In the legends, Tianliang was destroyed during an unprecedented plague. In the end, those lucky enough to not have been infected locked all the infected into the ancestral lands to stop the plague from spreading to more tribes.”
Li Xixing had an indescribable expression and he slowly said, “The legends say the ancestral lands of Tianliang were located under the sky, with all seasons like spring, and the land naturally produced spiritual energy. Spirit fruits and herbs were all over the place, even a wood staff thrown away would sprout the next year. But those lucky Tianliang people paid an unknown price for imprisoning millions of infected people in this ancestral land. Some tribes from far away, learning of the choice and deeds of Tianliang, came to participate in the battle. In the legends, this place ended up being worse than hell. All the buildings and even the mountains were flattened, leaving behind only the Mountain of Ancestors. Most of the surviving Tianliang people stayed here to stop the people infected with the terrifying plague from escaping this place. But these people, who had to kill their own people with their own hands, chose to commit suicide at the Mountain of Ancestors. So that Mountain of Ancestors is also called the Mountain of Salvation.”
Hu Jingjing could not imagine this cruel legend, and the phrasing of millions caused her mind to blank.
“Those Tianliang people who committed suicide in the end thought that their hands were covered in sin. They committed suicide for salvation. Back then, all the surviving tribes in the map of the empire did not treat these Tianliang people with respect at the start, but like they were gods.Those lucky surviving tribes worshipped this place as their ancestral land, as the place that sheltered their gods. No one can enter.” Li Xixing paused and his body also trembled slightly as though afraid of the cold. “I have heard of this legend, but never thought this place existed.”
“If we are being driven here to lure your friend Ding Ning here, then what is inside here?” Hu Jingjing murmured.
Her words were not a question. She just wanted to ease her excited feelings. Li Xixing could not know what existed in this legendary Tianliang ancestral.
Then she asked an actual question. “What should we do?”
They had only understood the enemy’s true intentions after arriving here, she and Li Xixing could choose whether or not to enter.
Li Xixing glanced at the sky behind them. The clouds were pale and the sky high. The eagles that had been tailing them could be faintly made out as black dots in the sky.
His hesitant expression quickly faded, and he said simply, “We will enter.” With that, he started to walk downwards.
“Why?” Hu Jingjing could not understand Li Xixing’s present feelings.
“I do not trust myself.” Li Xixing answered. “I trust him … If he really came for me, I think he will have a solution.”
“No wonder even Jing Liuli was with him.” Hu Jingjing said after a moment of astonishment. “Even you speak so of him, he must be stronger than I imagine.”
Li Xixing did not answer.
The yellowed long grass on the slope was thicker and taller than on the plains. The slopes were also very steep and it was difficult to descend. Even more importantly, the ground underneath the yellow grass was grey-white. When one stepped down, amidst the fine crackling sounds the white dust would explode.
“These are –” Hu Jingjing instantly recognized these white fragments and trembled involuntarily.
Li Xixing looked silently at the grey-white pieces covering every inch of the ground. His palms started to sweat. He started to believe the legend was true.
The grey-white fragments were pure bone fragments after being weathered in the sun and rain for many years. These fragments were piled thickly on the ground. Even though his feet were submerged, they could not reach the soil below. The closer to the top, the thicker the bones, and they undulated in waves. Clearly, the nearer the top, the closer it was to the front of the line, and the more people had been killed here.
The border of such a large valley basin was covered in bones. How many millions of Tianliang’s people had died in this ancestral land?
She thought of how such a prosperous and enormous empire’s innumerable experts were helpless against this plague. Most of the bones here were of the infected Tianliang people. The powder underneath her steps was enough to make her heart palpitate. Yet this slaughter contained some kind of light that caused these shattered bones to give off a sacred shine.
At least, the pair of them could sense the primal energies of the universe here was purer than the outside. Some of the spirit energies, beneficial to cultivators, were carried up in the gusts of wind and passed through the yellowed grasses like holy souls.
The slope gradually flattened. The yellow grass faded away. The white bones covering the ground were finally no longer as dense. The scene in front of them became one of a spring grassland.
Li Xixing stopped. He rubbed his legs, and narrowed his eyes towards the sky behind him. The black eagles in the sky were flying faster just like he had expected. He still could see them, and they had grown larger from the black spots into the sky so he could see their shapes clearly.
His legs were extremely swollen and sore. In his senses, the muscles in his legs were stabbing his bones like small daggers. Yet he still did not stop to rest. He tried to walk as fast as he could towards the lonely Mountain of Ancestors. The enemy would arrive soon, but there was still a time difference.
All of the breeze seemed to flow down from the Mountain of Ancestors. Even the water in the rivers flowing along this plain seemed to originate from the lonely stone mountain. To their shock, the closer they got to the Mountain of Ancestors, the color of the river grew milky white. The surface of the river gave off threads of energy, no longer watery mist, but pure spiritual energy!
Translator Ramblings: I think this is the most Li Xixing has ever spoke in this story.