This chapter has been brought to you by me and larkspur.
Chapter Twenty: Fanatic
“In the past, gentlemen ruled the world with righteousness and benevolence, and their actions were governed by reasons. You Qin people stole the country, Zheng Xiu had two husbands, do you care about your reputations?”
“What are you saying!” Zhao Ce raised his eyebrows, and said coolly.
Furious curses rose from among the Qin army.
Zhao Ce’s lips curled slightly showing mockery, but he did not deign to look at the Qin soldiers.
“I say all this to you, not because of others, but because it concerns the Ba Mountain Sword Field, and the promise between Wang Jingmeng and your master.” The ghostly cultivator who looked like a strategist did not change. He said quietly, “Some things, no matter if you believe or not, exist.”
Zhao Ce looked at him and said, “Who are you?”
This cultivator nodded in greeting and said, “Shi Changluo, but many people are used to calling me the ghost teacher.”
Zhao Ce stilled and solemnly nodded in response. “So you are the Ghost Sword who betrayed the Ba Mountain Sword Field in the past. I never thought that after you left Ba Mountain Sword Field, you really learned the methods of ghosts and darkness.”
Their talk was very flat, but even during this battle, there were sharp inhales and gasps within and without the crowd.
The Ba Mountain Sword Field’s meaning to the Qin people did not have to be described. Even though many records regarding the Ba Mountain Sword Field had been burned after Yuanwu’s ascension, but for the army, especially for the cultivators, many things and people could not be erased.
During the most glorious decades of the Ba Mountain Sword Field, there had only been one traitor, that was Shi Changluo. Supposedly, his sword essence was unpredictable, so he was called the Ghost Sword. Supposedly, he became a traitor of the Ba Mountain Sword Field because he wanted to kill Wang Jingmeng. In the rumors, his talent was very close to Wang Jingmeng’s. Because he was so jealous of Wang Jingmeng’s talent, he feared that Wang Jingmeng would overtake him, so he wanted to assassinate him. After his failure, he threw himself off a cliff, and fortunately survived.
When someone of the legends appeared, they would frequently carry the presence of an era, and even the air seemed to turn heavy. But Shi Changluo had a cool expression as he said, “There is no method that is the strongest in the world, just use the one most useful.”
Such a cool attitude caused Zhao Ce to look very solemn. He felt like he was being stared at by a fierce beast. He looked at Shi Changluo and said seriously, “In the rumors, you were jealous of Wang Jingmeng, failed to assassinate him and so betrayed the Ba Mountain Sword Field. But you are not a narrow minded person.”
“Without life or death, how do you know who is stronger,.” Shi Changluo’s voice suddenly grew dark. “If I lost to him, I naturally have nothing to say. If I had killed him, it would prove that he was not as strong as me.”
Zhao Ce frowned and said, “So you are a fanatic of the sword.”
Shi Changluo looked at this grandmaster of the Zhao Sword Furnace, and suddenly had many complicated emotions. But after an instant, his mind grew unwavering, and undisturbed.
“Why not kill Yuanwu?” Zhao Ce could not help but ask.
Many Qin soldiers changed their expression.
“I did not die at the Ba Mountain Sword Field, but I was very seriously wounded, and my progression was slow. If we were both realm eight, maybe I would have tried,” Shi Changluo calmly responded.
Everybody could hear his meaning. He thought that he could not keep up with Yuanwu. Otherwise, if only he and Yuanwu were equal in the world, then he would go fight Yuanwu and see who was stronger.
Zhao Ce was silent for a while. He took a deep breath and looked into Shi Changluo’s eyes. He asked solemnly, “In the past, Wang Jingmeng and my master really promised a battle?”
Shi Changluo said coldly, “One sword to cut through the Mirror Lake Moon and burn the Sulfur Pool Water. You must know of these two things.”
The Mirror Lake was in the Wuzhou of the Zhao lands. Back then, the Qin had been invading the Zhao, and they were attacking Wuzhou. Wang Jingmeng saw the Mirror Lake, and used one slash. The water did not ripple, but the clear reflection of the moon in the water split in two and did not come back together.
In the Quan City of the Zhao, there was a hot spring called the Sulfur Pool. The water was yellow and hot, dozens of hectares in radius. That grandmaster of the Zhao Sword Furnace had used his sword that day on the Sulfur Pool, drying up the pool, and even causing the spring to stop flowing.
These two incidents had occurred so long ago, but represented the peak of the cultivation world in terms of swordsmanship and cultivation at this time. Just like Yuanwu using one blow to flatten a mountain at the Deer Mountain Conference, this was fated to pass down in the cultivation world.
Especially the Zhao grandmaster drying the Sulfur Pool with one blow. In the many stories that came after, this was said to be him being discontent with the emperor of the Zhao so he had done such a thing. Not long after, the Emperor of the Zhao set up a trap and killed him.
These were all past matters, and it was hard to explain the twists and turnings. But today, Shi Changluo and Zhao Ce met, and there was the chance of sorting this out. Especially to Zhao Ce, these things were more important than his own life and death.
“So you mean, my master burned up the Sulfur Pool in response to Wang Jingmeng’s sword?” he looked at Shi Changluo and slowly asked.
Shi Changluo sneered. “The time between the two incidents is about the time needed for the news to reach your Zhao Sword Furnace. You should understand your master better than me, but with his personality, would he have been so bored that he would use a sword like that to intimidate the Zhao emperor?”
Zhao Ce was silent for a breath and then bowed. He said, “I would like to hear more.”
“It is very simple.”
Shi Changluo said, “In the past, the city that your Zhao Sword Furnace was in was just an ordinary city for the Qin army to destroy along the way. But no one had expected that there was a Zhao Sword Furnace there, such a grand master, and many powerful cultivators like you. Your master killed a Qin troop the first time. For the Ba Mountain Sword Field at that time, even if they sent many cultivators and armies to destroy your city, even if they killed your master, if the experts like you escaped, you would be more trouble. So Wang Jingmeng wanted to use battle as a bet. If he won against your master, the Zhao Sword Furnace would retreat out of the city, and the Qin army would keep the city, but the people of the Zhao Sword Furnace would not be able to interfere in the war between the Qin and Zhao.
After a pause, Shi Changluo said with slight scorn, “That was the best way. If it were me, I would have done what he did.”
Zhao Ce asked, “What does that have to do with these two incidents?”
“Wang Jingmeng and I are different. He might have felt that a battle without life and death was better, so he used his sword first. Had your master learned of this and knew that he was not strong enough, there would have been no need for the battle. But your master used his sword to answer him.” Shi Changluo looked down.
A complicated look appeared in Zhao Ce’s eyes. He started to speak but he was very slow, “So my master felt that he and Wang Jingmeng were well matched. Otherwise, with his personality, if Wang Jingmeng’s sword was much weaker than his, he would not have answered. If Wang Jingmeng was much better than him, he naturally would not have answered.”
Shi Changluo coolly said, “You finally understand.”
Inside and outside the city, many soldiers and cultivators were in great shock.
So the strongest person of the Qin Dynasty and the grand master of the Zhao Dynasty had been well matched. They even agreed to a battle, but before they could fight, the Zhao grandmaster had died in the conspiracy of the Zhao Dynasty.
Translator Ramblings: I don’t see how splitting a reflection is a sign of power but that is still a cool visual.
Also, I mistranslated Zhao Ce as Zhao Cuo previously. Hopefully, they are all fixed now.