This chapter has been brought to you by me, and larkspur.Chapter Nine: Direct
A troop was silently waiting in the plains. Because the snowflakes were very large, they were heavy when they landed on their cloth armor. There were even drumming sounds like arrows landing on drums.
The leading commander held two gold chains in his hands. At the other ends were two large snow apes. When the snow apes smelled familiar presences in the wind and snow, they bellowed at the same time.
“General Yelu, the snow is too heavy. How about we stop travelling, and you come to my tent to drink some hot wine.”
The commander leading the way had pure gold armor which appeared out of place at this time. Because the surroundings were quite white and cold, his pure gold armor seemed even more dazzling, the rays of light like a burning sun. He looked like he was shrouded in orange flames. He wore a gold mask, the unique seal scripts like tear marks with lights glistening among them. When his voice passed through the wind and snow, the flying snow ahead boiled over like hot porridge.
“No need to be so polite.”
A cold voice containing unimaginable dignity came through the wind and snow.
The boiling snow suddenly calmed, and fell to the ground like heavy lead. Only one person was walking in, but the sound of the snow landing on the ground sounded like thousands of troops following him.
“I am not polite. My Donghu’s’s deposed crown prince, the great general of the Wuzhi, is not leading the army in Wuzhi while the war between Wuzhi and Qin has not stopped, but came strolling in the snow of Donghu. How can I not entertain you as a host?”
The Donghu general saw the man slowly walk close in a large white fox fur coat. He said, “General Yelu Canglang, please have consideration for us, leave and rest early, do not make me keep you company while you stroll.”
The man in the white fur robe was one of the top figures of the Wuzhi military, Yelu Canglang. He had a calm expression as he looked at the enormous army and the vast land faintly in view behind the snow and wind. His eyes had an unspeakable sigh, but his tone was still cold. “The Donghu emperor has no other use, but he is great at creating crown princes. He successively set up five crown princes, but was satisfied with none of them, and deposed them all. The other dynasties only have the eldest imperial son, the second imperial son, the third… Donghu has the eldest crown prince, the second crown prince, the third.”
The Donghu general’s tone suddenly turned harsh. “General Yelu, you fled to Wuzhi and became a general of Wuzhi. My emperor did not pursue you, and still became allies with Wuzhi because of the blood relation. What, you have come today to settle old accounts?”
“Do not be nervous, I just came to send a letter.” Yelu Canglang looked at the Donghu general and smiled faintly.
The Donghu general shook his head and said coldly, “Regardless of who you want to send your letter to, I will not let you pass today.”
Yelu Canglang looked up and laughed. “I know you will follow me, so the true person to deliver the letter has already given the letter to that person.”
The Donghu general suddenly shook, the golden light coming off him dancing in the air. He suddenly turned and looked behind him.
In the endless snowstorm, at what seemed to be the end of the world, there was the shadow of a vast mountain.
This was a mountain. In the legends passed down by the Donghu people, they thought that this was Kailash Divine Mountain where gods lived.
“What do you want to do?”
The Donghu general turned around slowly and stiffly. He looked at Yelu Canglang and slowly said, “Who did you want to send a letter to?”
Yelu Canglang looked at him and did not speak. Not because he did not like this general, but because there was no meaning in responding. Even he was not familiar with that person.
The enormous mountain had natural cross-shaped giant stairs. Each stone stair, many feet high, was covered in unmelting snow. The channels, like blue-black gems, had an aged and strange power. Even the primal energies of the universe were thin at such an elevation, much less the air.
At the base of the mountain, near the pastures that were used by ordinary herders, there were some stone caves where many true ascetic monks lived. These monks did their best to reduce their bodily needs, such as their food intake, and tried to pursue the peace and joy of their mental world. In the winter with its snowstorms, even they left the caves. However, in a cave at the middle of the mountain, one still was in residence.
The cave was not deep. During summer, sunlight could reach the end of the cave. There were many carved statues of venerables carved into the walls, their features blurred. Their faces had originally been ferocious, but because they had been carved so long ago, they appeared benevolent and aged in the dim environment.
At the end of the cave were some deep purple cushions covered in frost. Sitting on top was an extremely thin and old monk. His skin seemed to be tanned leather, tightly attached to his bones. Yet when he opened his eyes, his eyes were crystal clear with five color lights.
A young person carrying a sword on his back appeared at the entrance to the cave. When the monk opened his eyes, the figure of the other reflected in them.
Sensing the unique sword essence to that city, the old monk felt this was a fated meeting. He spoke, his throat vibrating for the first time in many years in a gentle voice, “You are from Changling?”
The young man bowed and said, “This junior is Li Xixing, from Changling, a Qin native. Senior, one of your old friends asked me to bring you something.”
“Friend?” The old monk looked in puzzlement at the young man and asked without emotion, “What?”
Li Xixing stood up. A wooden piece flicked out from his hand and landed in front of the old monk.
As the wood piece flew through the eye, the old monk’s eyes grew bright. The statues on the walls gave off unique sounds, spirit energy forming in the thin air like they were a spring erupting out of the cave. An inexplicable ring of metal sounded in the air.
The old monk got to his feet. As he stood up, the wood piece stopped in front of him. As he breathed, it turned to dust, and the lines on the wooden piece remained imprinted in his eyes.
“So this is how it is.” The old monk smiled and bowed to Li Xixing, saying with a smile, “What else did he say to you?”
“He hopes that Donghu and Wuzhi will be on good terms,” Li Xixing said.
The old monk thought and then said with true joy, “All right.”
When he said the second “alright,” the old monk’s figure disappeared from the stone cave. A vast and empty presence moved past Li Xixing’s body and went far away.
Li Xixing had met countless experts, even those like Gu Huai, but this presence still made him catch his breath.
On a small mountain, there were buildings in yellow, white and dark red.
These vast buildings pressing down on the mountain were the Donghu Imperial Palace. In the ground floors of these buildings in the palace, countless serfs were screaming under the whips, and many female serfs were sobbing under the fat bodies of their masters.
Donghu was unlike the other dynasties of the time. Other than the powerful, the other were all slaves. Patrols with golden spears were all around the imperial palace.
A barefoot old monk appeared without warning on the main path of the imperial palace.
“Who are you?” Sensing the old monk’s powerful presence, a general blocking the path asked warily.
“I want to see Yelu Zhenying.”
Yelu Zhenying was the Donghu emperor.
The general wanted to ask more, but the monk did not stop. The general screamed and could not help but attack.
Gold immediately flowed on the mountain path, countless soldiers flooded in from the paths of the palace.
A wood staff appeared in the old monk’s hand. The wood staff was black like a burnt fire stick.
When the wood staff appeared, his steps slowed. His terrifying presence disappeared completely. He looked like an ordinary monk who had never cultivated before and did not know how, but the terrifying presence gathered on the staff in his hands. Without any flourish, he hit the people or weapons near him simply with the wood staff.
Not a hit missed, none could withstand his attack.
Lower ranked cultivators, and multiple realm seven generals were the same under his staff. With one staff blow, blood and flesh flew, and they died.
“Who are you?”
No one could stop the old man’s attack. The old monk passed through the imperial palace like this and appeared in front of the Donghu Emperor. As the emperor spoke in fear, the old man just simply reached with his wood staff and tapped the sovereign’s head.
With a bang, the Donghu emperor’s head exploded easily like a paper lantern.
The entire palace grew deathly silent.
The old monk turned around and walked back along the path he came.
The sword essence on the wood piece reminded him that what he lacked the most was “directness.” If one could cross the river barefoot, why step on the floating reeds?
Since no one in the Donghu palace could resist him, then he could use the most direct method to do what he did today. Killing the Donghu Emperor like this meant that the people in the palace would gradually learn his identity and know that he was the strongest cultivator of Donghu.
“Be on good terms with Wuzhi.”
He turned slightly and said to the people of the palace before leaving.