Saturday, 16 January 2016

Chapter 88 - Big Wang Village (Big Wang could also mean King)


White hairs growing on the temples, years flowed like water!

Ghost King turned his attention away from the mirror-like water surface, sighed slightly and turned his head around, smiled and said, “I have not look at a mirror for a long time, today I take a look and saw that my white hair has grown out quite a few.”

Standing behind him, Ghost Li, without expression, indifferently said, “You worry too much.”

At this moment, at a small lakeside in Majestic Fox Mountain, a stone pavilion was built in the heart of the lake and only an ancient wooden bridge connected it to the lake shore. Right now Ghost King and Ghost Li stood in the middle of this stone pavilion.

Ghost King clasped his hands behind his back and with a composed expression, said, “I heard about your recent trip to KongSang Mountain, although Blood Forger Hall was subdued but the remaining last person that refused to surrender, Wild Dog Taoist, you took him in instead, is there such thing?”

Ghost Li looked at Ghost King but saw that his face expression was calm and did not know what he was thinking in his heart, he immediately nodded slightly and said, “That’s right.”

Ghost King smiled, turned around to look at the lake surface that was as dark-green as jade, indifferently said, “In the past when you led men to attack, you have always leave almost no man standing, why did you instead grant mercy towards this person?”

Ghost Li was silent for a while and said, “The Blood Forger Hall today although is on the decline but eight hundred years ago it was the de facto ruling group for a period of time, far more than a small branch.”

Ghost King stood there and did not seem to have any reaction, and also did not show if he was satisfied or not satisfied with this explanation. After a long while, he suddenly spoke, “Speaking of which, the magical weapon in your hand, the Blood-Sucking Orb, it was originally Elder Blackheart’s relic, seems like there are some lineage relations between Blood Forger Hall and you.”

Ghost Li slowly raised his eyes and looked at Ghost King, Ghost King at this time, happened to turn around and also looked at him.

Both of their eyes, met in mid-air, Ghost Li’s eyes were sombre and Ghost King’s eyes, instead was calm and deep.

Ghost King suddenly laughed and said, “Recently it was heard that a rare treasure was born in the West death marsh, do you know?”

Ghost Li nodded and said, “Yes, heard of it.”

Ghost King leisurely said, “Heard that not only the Good Faction people are swarming over, even Wan Du Clan, HeHuan Sect highly skilled men are also intending to get into the action. As for Chang Shen Hall, as their headquarter is located near the death marsh, they definitely will not give it up.” He paused for a while, facing Ghost Li he asked, “What do you think?”

Ghost Li did not speak immediately and was silent for a long while, Ghost King seemed to be extremely patient with him and did not show any sign of frustration. After a long while, Ghost Li unhurriedly said, “Since we have subdued Blood Forger Hall, other than the four great branches in the sect, the last branch with some promising potential has also been dismembered.”

A smile emerged from the corner of Ghost King’s mouth, he nodded and said, “That’s right.”

Ghost Li said, “In the Evil Faction, it has always been a tripartite confrontation at the top, the four great branches have always wanted to take over each other. In the past because of the external threat from Good Faction, they then worked together to fight off the external enemy.  Of course now is the not same as before, and presently the power alignment in the sect is slowly lining up, the next step will be the fierce battle between the four great sects, just that we don’t know who will the one to take the first step?”

Ghost King smiled and clapped his hands, saying, “Good, good! Well said.”

Ghost Li took a look at him and indifferently said, “Over these ten years, you have not only passed on to me the second volume of Tian Shu, you have even imparted your life’s knowledge, strategies, decision-making, one after another, if I still cannot infer on this then wouldn’t I be unworthy of your painstaking efforts?”

Ghost King smiled and looked at this young man in front of him, like looking at a treasured perfect object that he had personally crafted, in his joy there was an indistinct pride, he was heard saying, “That is not entirely so, the things that I have imparted to you will also depends on your ability to comprehend. These few years you have progressed fast and really far exceeded my expectation, initially I thought that with your aptitude, you would need to practise at least thirty years and more, unexpectedly you have used only ten years and attained such a big achievement, rare indeed, rare indeed!”

Upon receiving such praise from Ghost King, Ghost Li’s face instead did not have any smile, as if to him, this was nothing to be happy about.

But Ghost King also did not mind, these few years the person in front of him, from the initial Zhang Xiao Fan until the present Ghost Li, his past characteristics had all totally turned upside-down, other than his appearance which remained the same, almost the rest of him did not carry any resemblance of his past. He paused for a while and said, “So what do you think, in our holy sect, the war between the four great branches is inevitable, do you think that we should attack first! or quietly wait?”

But this time Ghost Li did not have any slightest hesitation, immediately he said, “Pre-emptive strike!”

Ghost King fixed his eyes on him and said, “Good! Then which branch do you think we should deal with first?”

Ghost Li said, “Chang Shen Hall!”

Ghost King frowned but there was already admiration in his eyes, he said, “Why is that so?”

Ghost Li said, “Currently Ghost King Sect and Wan Du Clan’s strengths are the greatest, HeHuan Sect and Chang Shen Hall are second. HeHuan Sect has always been low-key but Chang Shen Hall Hall leader, YuYang Zi, although his skills is high but he is proud and conceited and has always considered himself the main leader of that Qing Yun Hill Good and Evil battle and thinks himself as the ultimate supremacy of the Evil Sect. Such a fool, if not to choose him then who?’

Ghost King smiled and said, “That’s right, well said. If you were to lead, how will you move?”

Ghost Li muttered slightly to himself and said, “Now is the good opportunity. With the birth of the rare treasure in the death marsh, YuYang Zi will definitely see it as easy as reaching for it from a bag and will not allow outsiders to dip their fingers in. But since the Good Faction is coming in forces, we can wait for Chang Shen Hall to clash with the Good Faction and after both parties sustain heavy injuries, we will join hands with Wan Du Clan, HeHuan Sect on the sly to make our moves, this kind of throwing-stones-in-after-a-man-has-fallen-into-a-well move, they will definitely not reject. As such this battle will surely succeed!”

Ghost King looked at him and did not speak.

Ghost Li slowly raised his head, looked at Ghost King and lightly said, “What is it?”

Ghost King seemed to stare vacantly at him, after a while he regained his senses and slowly withdrew his stare, as if he had sighed deeply inside his heart, he indifferently said, “Nothing, what you have just said and what I have thought, are almost similar.”

Ghost Li did not speak anymore.

Ghost King smiled lightly and said, “You shall rest for another two days and then proceed to death marsh!” After speaking, he took out a sealed letter from his bosom and passed it to Ghost Li and said, “I have already wrote the details in this letter. After reaching the death marsh, all matters and people under Ghost King Sect will follow your orders.”

Ghost Li slowly took the letter and kept it in his bosom, he remained quiet for a while and then nodded his head towards Ghost King, turned and left after that. But just when he had only took a few steps, he suddenly heard Ghost King said, “There is still one more thing……”

Ghost Li stopped.

Ghost King’s voice was heard saying, “Between us, why do you still address our holy sect as ‘Evil Sect’?”

Ghost Li remained silent for a long while and coldly replied, “I have joined the sect for ten years, in here everyday is a blood fight, everyone is trying to outwit one another, scheming and manipulation are even more common, how can it deserve a holy word?”

Ghost King laughed loudly and then said, “O! Then the Good Faction which you came from, how is it?”

Ghost Li’s body seemed to tremble slightly, after a while, he was heard saying, “The wicked things that the Good Faction did, are no better than the Evil Faction people!”

Ghost King looked at him with interest and said, “This is not, that is also not, then in your heart what is it that you have define as ‘Good’?”

Ghost Li did not answer, remained silent for a long while and raised his head to look at the sky.

Blue sky, white clouds.

“I don’t know!” he quietly said, as if talking to himself.

After that figure whose back appeared to be somewhat lonely and melancholy gradually went further away, the smile on Ghost King’s face also slowly disappeared. In his obscure eyes, it seemed to blink with a mysterious light, twinkling ceaselessly, wondered what was he thinking in his heart?

At this moment, a voice was heard from the other side saying, “Sect head, I ……”

Ghost King cut off his words and said, “Qing Long, come on up!”

“Yes.” Qing Long walked over from the wooden bridge, his eyes followed the direction where Ghost King was looking at somewhere far away and said, “Deputy head was also here just now?”

Ghost King nodded and said, “What is the matter?”

Qing Long said, “Wan Du Clan that old freak secretly sent his men over again, asking when will Sect Head be sending men into the death marsh and for everybody to work together?”

Ghost King sneered and said, “Go and reply them, after three days, Ghost King Sect and Wan Du Clan, HeHuan Sect will be entering the marsh together.”

Qing Long nodded and replied, “Alright.”

Ghost King muttered to himself for a while and then as if suddenly thought of something, turned his head facing Qing Long and asked, “Qing Long, what do you think about Ghost Li?”

Qing Long was surprised, raised his eyes to look at Ghost King but saw that Ghost King looked calm however his eyes were deep and bottomless, in his heart an unknown cold shudder passed through and for a moment he forgot to answer the question.

Ghost King smiled and said, “What is it?”

Qing Long returned to his senses but after which he pondered to himself and his expression showed some hesitation. Ghost King saw it, smiled and said, “Qing Long, we have known each other for many years, you can just speak your mind.”

Qing Long shook his head and laughed bitterly, he said, “I shall say it like this! When I was at his age, my skills were not as high, shrewdness not as deep……”

Speaking until here, he suddenly stopped, Ghost King frowned and said, “What is it, is there more, just say it!”

Qing Long hesitated for a while, looked at Ghost King and said, “methods not as cruel!”

Ghost King looked at him but did not say anything, he unhurriedly turned around and looked at that mirror-like lake surface. Qing Long, behind him, slowly said, “These few years, especially the recent two years, Ghost Li’s methods are becoming more and more fierce and vicious, killing people at the slightest provocation and is even more ruthless in the power struggle. And among our Ghost King Sect’s younger generation, the more outstanding ones like kill-the-living monk, swallow-returns etc, majority of them are all under him.”

Ghost King indifferently asked, “You think that this is not good?”

Qing Long slowly shook his head and said, “Not that, just that in those days he…... how exactly did he turn out to be this way?”

Ghost King was silent for a while and suddenly said, “Actually I too made a wrong judgement in the beginning.”

Qing Long was surprised and said, “Sect Head, what did you say?”

Ghost King said, “When I passed him the second volume of Tian Shu, I thought that with his aptitude, he would need at least twenty years to have achievement but in these ten years, especially the last five years, Ghost Li’s skills suddenly improved tremendously, it can be said moving a thousand miles in a day, just that he hides all his emotions, even I have never see through them!”

When he spoke until here, in the eyes which had been back-facing Qing Long all these while, a hidden cold gleam seemed to flash past but his voice did not have even a slightest change, “His character is persistent and steadfast, firm and indomitable, to use it on his training is really beneficial but I still have suspicions that maybe there might be other reasons.”

Qing Long frowned, said, “Don’t tell me he still has other secrets?”

Ghost king shook his head and said, “You should know he has Qing Yun Sect’s Taoism true way and Tian Yin Temple’s Great Brahman Wisdom?”

Qing Long nodded and said, “That’s right.”

Ghost King slowly said, “Based on my covert observations, he has not only achieve great progress on our holy sect’s Tian Shu True way, even in Qing Yun Sect’s Tai Chi Xuan Qing Way and Buddhism’s Great Brahman True Way, he has improved by leaps and bounds at the same time. These three sects’ true ways, don’t tell me subconsciously they complement one another and produce an extraordinary effect?”

He turned around, faced Qing Long, smiled and said, “With his current skills and in addition that rare magical weapon ‘Soul-Absorbing’ in his hand, even if you have the Ring of Universe Clear Light, I’m afraid you only have fifty percent of success.”

Qing Long smiled and said, “I’m old already, no longer able to compete against the young people.”

Ghost King suddenly laughed loudly, stretched out his hand to pat his shoulder and said, There is no such thing”. He smiled while speaking unhurriedly, “During that time I foresaw that this youth would definitely not be a sedentary animal in the pool and today his achievement has even far exceeded my expectation. If Ghost King Sect was to be handed over to him, in the days to come the future will definitely be full of boundless prospects, just that ……”

Ghost King clasped his hands behind his back and suddenly stopped speaking, walked to the side of the pavilion and gazed out.

Qing Long quietly stood beside and looked at Ghost King, on that figure of great authority, suddenly an indistinct melancholy was revealed, silently conveying that unspoken words.
BiYao……

After three days, Ghost Li left Majestic Fox Mountain and headed for southwest, at the same time with him there was the monkey Xiao Hui and other than that, Wild Dog Taoist also came along. Initially Wild Dog Taoist did not wish to go to that dangerous death marsh place but Ghost Li only carelessly said, “After I leave, I guarantee that Majestic Fox Mountain will be a hundred times even more dangerous than that death marsh, do you believe?”

After he spoke these words, Wild Dog Taoist immediately turned pale, although his mouth was still stubbornly unyielding but his legs already followed behind.

The Divine land vast lands, boundless in length and breath and naturally the richest and most populous was the Central Plains and outside the Central Plains, the north was the original bitter icy cold north pole, uninhabited by humans; the east side was the boundless great sea; as for the south, outside the Central Plains there were the great mountains, towering at the frontier, the mountains ranges seemed to stretch forever, over there, barren hills and treacherous rapids with foul air and poisonous substances were uncountable, legends also said there were even strange and peculiar wild barbarian men, who devoured birds and beasts’ raw meats, extremely savage and cruel.   

And on the west side of the Divine vast lands, there were two terrible lands. In the Northwest direction, there was a desolated desert which stretched as far as the eye could see, the common people called it ‘The Wildlands’, in which there was no rain for more than a hundred years, the climate was extremely dry and occasionally there were a few oasis but mostly occupied by wild and ferocious beasts, naturally it would be death for those common people who went in. And in the legends, in the deep of the Wildlands, there was one grand temple from where the Evil Faction originated from.

As for the Southwest, it was the enormous death marsh that the common people was talking about.  The climate of this place was completely different from the northwest wildlands, within a year, every ten days there would be rain for seven, eight days, the different unusual floras were as many as the hairs on an ox, lush and flourishing. This type of gloomy and damp place had always been the habitat of the world’s huge and poisonous evil beasts and venomous worms and the highly toxic methane gas that was the specialty of this place, would rise from the marsh’s rotting mud everytime it rained, if humans were to breathe it in and if there was no appropriate medication, within a quarter of an hour, they would die from the poison to their hearts. Other than this, the rotting animals’ bodies, trees and plants that were soaked from the rain for thousand and hundreds of years, turned this into a perilous place, a slightest misstep and you would be suck into the bottomless marsh, forever unable to see the sun and die a miserable death.      

Such perilous place, naturally usually no one would come. But not long ago, the rumours started to spread in the world, in the west death marsh, a sudden enormous huge golden beam of light shone out into the sky for a day and night. Even in the deep of the night, the sky was as bright as daytime. After three days, the golden light then gradually dispersed. From then on, in the death marsh there seemed to be always loud strange crying sounds indistinctly heard, causing those living at the death marsh borders to be constantly fearful.     

Once this news spread it immediately shook the world. From the cultivators point of view, spiritual beast magical weapons had always have their own spiritual nature, looking at this volume of huge golden light, naturally it was the premonition of a rare treasure’s birth calling its predestined person over. And from the looks of this golden beam, this extraordinary treasure’s magic would definitely not be trivial, for a moment it shook the world and the Good and Evil highly skilled pugilists started to gather.

And on the surface that flurry of activities, there was an unknown undercurrent, flowing turbulently.

About half a day journey from death marsh in the west, there was a desolated withering small village called ‘Big Wang Village’, the name was given because the villagers in the village believed in a certain mysterious deity called ‘Big Wang’. Just that this deity had always been ineffective, not only did it not bless the villagers to be promoted and gained wealth, it did not bless them with abundant harvest or with enough food or clothes.

Actually to think about it, to live at the border of this kind of death marsh, time and time again a strange beast would suddenly scuttle out from somewhere or a venomous worm would slither out, it was a small matter if they kill the domestic animal but the yearly number of people that died from this were also not insignificant. Those with some capabilities had already left this damned place for the Central Plains, those that were left here were most likely indolent people.     

But for these few days, the Big Wang Village was suddenly bustling with excitement again, those people that were coming to and fro were all highly skilled cultivators. Although Big Wang Village was not the only entrance to the death marsh but it was one of the dwellings that was closest to the death marsh. Before going into the death marsh, majority of the people would come here to buy some water and food, in the following few days, these actually made the villagers of this Big Wang Village gained a small fortune and increased some vitality.

And at the same time because this was the nearest place to the death marsh, the golden beam and the strange cries from the death marsh were also first discovered by the villagers and the news spread from here, therefore quite a number of people also came here to find out more information.

Just that after the number of people increased, naturally there would be good and evil people too, in the days that followed, in this little small place of Big Wang village, fights had occurred countless times and some unlucky ones who had not even stepped into the death marsh and yet without rhyme or reason died here, it was really injustice.

Enough of this digression. This day, Ghost Li and Wild Dog Taoist also came to Big Wang village, they stood at the village entrance and saw people coming and going in the village and it was actually quite lively, completely different from the usual lifeless scene.

Walking into the village, Wild Dog Taoist glanced all around, frowning and muttering something.

The monkey, Xiao Hui, for the first time saw so many people after so many days, and was feeling excited, it leaned on Ghost Li’s shoulder and [Zi Zi] called out, Ghost Li patted Xiao Hui and looked at Wild Dog Taoist, he said, “What are you doing?”

Wild Dog Taoist rudely replied, “I am finding an inn, after walking for so long shouldn’t we find a good place to rest for a while? It is really a god-forsaken damned place, even an inn is also so hard to find!”

Ghost Li indifferently said, “So, you think this place will have an inn?”

Wild Dog Taoist was shocked and said, “What?”

Ghost Li turned his eyes to look at the people walking up and down the street, saw that those people’s clothes were of vibrant colours, obviously they were not the hard-working people of Big Wang village and said, “Have you come here before?”

Wild Dog [Pei] a sound and said, “Who will have nothing better to do to come to this damn place!”

Ghost Li took a look at him and said, “That’s right, since this place does not have outsiders visiting and the villagers are all impoverished, what is the use of a inn?”

Wild Dog was speechless, his dog face turned a few more degrees of bitterness.

At this time, suddenly at the main street ahead of them a cry was heard, someone loudly shouted, “Foresee fifty years of future and be able to break three hundred years of horoscope, indisputable deity fortune-teller, brush pen to judge yin and yang, foretell the coming future, come and know your fortune!”

Both Ghost Li and Wild Dog were surprised and turned to look at the source of the voice. At the side of the main street, a worn-out table and chair were placed, a bamboo pole was stuck beside and a banner hung from it, with words written, ‘Immortal Guide’ four words. Beside the bamboo pole, an old man with uncommon bearing was shouting in a clear loud voice, the shout earlier on came from him and beside him, a sleepy young lady, her looks was rather pretty and right now leaning her body against the table, a helpless expression on her face.

Without saying, these two would be Zhou YiXian and Xiao Huan. Zhou YiXian brought Xiao Huan to roam the earth and although his ability was not high but he still persistently like to head towards places where it’s lively. Some time ago he heard about the death marsh rumours and immediately in spite of Xiao Huan’s objections, he dragged her to this Big Wang village.

Right now using Zhou YiXian’s words to say, travelling allowance had all ran out, the hero had came to a dead end, he had no choice but to tell fortune in the streets. However although he was crying his own wares but afterwards he changed little by little “......distinguished customers who are passing by, I, the immortal, who have receive the genuine skills from my forefathers, am able to control all of the world’s poisons. Today inside the death marsh, highly toxic and methane gas, as long as everyone carry this sachet which I am selling, you will definitely be immune to hundreds of poisons and have vajra body defending divine skill……”

Xiao Huan, sitting beside softly sighed, having sat there for a few hours and grandfather was enthusiastically shouting but in reality not even one sachet was sold. The local people believed it but could not afford it (Zhou YiXian asked for an exorbitant price), the outsiders unfortunately were all cultivators, everyone of them experienced and knowledgeable, the stares given by them were all saying “swindler” two words. Luckily the Good Faction chivalrous heroes were all busy competing for the treasure and did not dispute with this fortune-teller, if not usually whichever master’s disciple suddenly burned with righteous indignation and wanted to help the common people to get rid of vermin, perhaps he would get more than what he had bargained for.

Seeing that Zhou YiXian was still calling out with great energy, Xiao Huan, feeling impatient, stood up and was about to call out to stop her grandfather when suddenly a flash of blur, without knowing when, a person had stood in front of the table, it was a young man wearing a light blue robe, his features delicate and pretty but just that without knowing why his face looked to be slightly pale.

“Miss, I will like my fortune to be told.” That young man with a slight smile at the corner of his mouth, calmly said.

Xiao Huan frowned and appraised him, at this time Zhou YiXian also discovered this situation and quickly came over, smiling broadly he said, “Customer, what do you wish to see, fortune or marriage? How will you like to be read, by face, palm or glyphomancy?”

That young man pondered for a short moment and said, “I want to enter this death marsh too, why don’t you help me read this fortune!”

Zhou YiXian [Hehe] laughed and said, “No problem no problem, come, customer please take a seat. Mhm, I will first make myself clear, we have receive genuine skills from from our founders, our fortune-telling is incomparable therefore each telling requires ten taels of silver……”

That young man was shocked and said, “That expensive?”

Zhou YiXian smiled and did not answer.

That young man shifted his eyes around and looked at Xiao Huan again, smiled and said, “Alright! ten taels it shall be. Why not like this! you will first help me to read a word.”

Xiao Huan looked at him and took out a piece of white paper beside her, passed him a thin brush and said, “Then can customer please first write a word on ……”

Unexpectedly that young man took the brush but laughed instead, “Not necessary, I will write my name, you will help me to read and see how is my name’s fortune?”

Speaking, on this piece of white sheet, he wrote down three characters and passed to Xiao Huan.

Xiao Huan was stunned for a moment and took over the paper, looking at the piece of white sheet, she heard that young man smiled and said, “My name is Qin WuYan!”

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