Chapter 304: Calligraphy and Hemorrhaging (4)

Become alerted to the presence of the scarlet dragon allowed An Fei to realize a few certain matters at hand.

First things first, the scarlet dragon was an excellent protector.

While the abhorrent conditions of the mortal world had squashed her capabilities to a midget Body Tempering Realm cultivator’s potential at her current “achievement” at the Spirit Building Realm, the scarlet dragon in the form of a practice sword had successfully fended off dozens of Spirit Building Realm and Core Formation Realm cultivators with ease.

Naturally, the adverse side effects of mortal spiritual essence brushing against her body was hardly pleasant, but An Fei found it clearly within her range of tolerance. If she were to forgo the taijijian perpetually enclosed within a pillar of heavenly fire, then the number of violent welts on her skin were bound to multiply without limit.

…but the first disappointment was that though it had protected her since the baptism of the practice sword, it had been fully conscious of her behavior ever since. Not to mention…

…it never said a word about it!

“You’ve been peeping on me the entire time!?”

The young girl sternly stabbed her finger towards the exposed taijijian’s blade, her countenance dyed in an embarrassed mixture of scarlet and white. An Fei hurled the handkerchief onto the covers of the bed in a fit, and her eyes refused to cease their twitching.

“My dear Young Lady, ah, how many times must I explain that I wasn’t present in the sword the entire time?” the heavenly dragon shed tears of bittersweet innocence.

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“Not to mention, this respectable Sacred Dragon has always had the tact to remove itself from the sword whenever you decided to declothe or bathe… this accusation hurts!”

An Fei’s heart brimmed with anger and uncertainty as she glared towards the taijijian.

Receiving nothing but a steel blade’s faithful attempt at a “sincere” smile, the young girl begrudgingly picked up the handkerchief from the bed and resumed her task of cleaning the sword.

“You’ve never seen me bathe before?”

An Fei couldn’t help but make sure.

“For heaven’s sake, how many times do I have to say that I didn’t – did you want me to!?”

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Compendium, you better wake up now! Otherwise this Heavenly Dragon will lose its mind!

This An Fei isn’t the An Fei I wanted!

“Just making sure, just making sure…”

An Fei soothed the trembling blade while polishing the blade. She finished the tedious but somewhat calming task of cleaning the taijijian and threw it onto the bed, just as the heavenly dragon wished.

To silence its indignant protest, the young girl also flung the handkerchief towards the shuddering blade.

When both she and the jittering taijijian had sufficiently calmed down, An Fei parted her lips whilst staring through the opened window of the inn.

“You… are part of the Sanctum, are you not?”

The heavenly dragon briefly paused at the young girl’s question. When it ultimately spoke, the gentle and soothing voice had returned to its regular pitch and intensity.

“This Heav… I am indeed an envoy of the Sanctum,” the scarlet dragon stumbled over its words.

“Particularly, I oversee the Gate of Death.”

The Gate of Death?

An Fei distinctly remembered the ironclad words embossed onto the gate of the first corridor. Quickly catching onto the fact that the scarlet dragon’s words also included the phrase, the young girl forgot about her previous agitation, her heart fluttering with curiosity.

“An envoy of the Sanctum?” she repeated with an incredulous gaze.

“What does it mean to be an envoy? What do you know about the Gate of Death? Is there anything special about the ten gates?”

She even forgot about the Ten Disciplinary Channels?

The scarlet dragon’s eyes trembled with another wave of sorrow and disbelief, but quickly quenched them with an elderly wave of its whiskers.

Glancing towards the youthful countenance brimming with a faint shadow of innocence as though cheerfully asking a teacher for guidance, the heavenly creature’s jaws snapped shut.

“The Gates… that you speak of, are the Ten Disciplinary Channels of the Sanctuary,” Xilong began with an invisible, wan smile.

“Death, Life, Pain, Peace, Harmony, Discord, Suffering, Insanity, Origin, and Liberation – these ten concepts are the foundational aspects of the Ten Disciplinary Channels. Each Channel have an overseer, and all overseers are attendants of the Sanctuary.”

“Ten Disciplinary Channels? Why are they called disciplinary channels – just what do they do, really?”

Cough!

The scarlet dragon shuddered as it hastily stopped itself from readily replying to An Fei’s immediate question. Reciting the divine mandates of the Realm within its heart as though a consecrated mantra, Xilong began its task of diluting its words to the barest form possible.

“These channels allow you to influence the world in lieu of their aspects,” Xilong duly recited with a soft yet solemn tone.

“By invoking their Constructs, you can create and destroy as you wish – as long as they contain similar derivatives as the disciplinary channels – hence their name. As for why they are called the Ten Disciplinary Channels… simply put, your state of mind and self isn’t strong enough to withstand such information.”

Her state of mind and self wasn’t strong enough?

The beginning half of the scarlet dragon’s explanation flung wide above An Fei’s head, and instead only the latter portions remained. The young girl traced circles in the bedcovers with her finger as she pondered in silence.

“…why not say that I don’t have a soul?” the young girl whispered after a few minutes.

“And why is your tone so terrible when describing yourself?”

“Why are you even asking me whether you have a soul or not – isn’t that up for you to decide?”

Xilong burst into a series of sad peals of laughter, and ultimately resigned itself to its shameful fate. The scarlet dragon coiled around the hilt of the taijijian, its whiskers drooping in preparation.

“Of the Ten Disciplinary Channels, the Gate of Death and the Gate of Life are arguably the weakest of them all. The influence that we can exert is infinitesimal to that of the other channels – which has caused for several epochs of nonstop mockery, ah.”

“The Gates of Death and Life are the weakest?”

An Fei’s brain spun at the startling information. The young girl stumbled at the sheer contradiction at the words hurtling from the scarlet dragon’s teeth.

“If… if you mean that the Ten Disciplinary Channels have their own Constructs, and those Constructs truly possess such astounding effects as that Senior professed,” she frowned in thought.

“…doesn’t that mean that I can then call upon death and life itself? Just how would that be considered weak?”

“Xiao Fei, just which Immortal can be killed? What kind of Immortal would even require the blessings of life – when they can produce it on their own?” Xilong rolled its eyes in exasperation.

“Not to mention, the Gate of Death and Life don’t even work properly on mortals – since they readily reincarnate at the Underworld Bridge! It only holds significance when the mortals are stupid enough to sever their connection to the Underworld Bridge…”

“O-oh…”

The young girl immediately understood the scarlet dragon’s humiliation, and quickly shut her mouth in penance. Boring holes into the lazy clouds drifting in the vast blue skies with her eyes, An Fei leaned back into the bedcovers.

The young girl then threw her questions into the air, and the scarlet dragon shot them down one by one with unceasing patience.

“I saw that the corridors have metallic signs. Why can’t I read what’s engraved at the top?”

“Your state of mind and self isn’t strong enough to handle it. Those Constructs can inflict scary harm onto a mortal’s mind.”

“Which of the Ten Disciplinary Channels does the Archives of Time belong to? Who is the envoy for that?”

“Er… the Archives of Time would belong to the Gate of Origin. It is the entire record of knowledge of the entire Realm… and it’s envoy… would be the first that wakes up, really.”

“Wake up? Why do they need to wake up – what are the conditions needed?”

“Er… they’ll wake up when your state of mind and self is sufficiently strong enough…”

“Then how did you wake up? Rather, what happened to me that you woke up?”

“…you experienced death?”

“So you woke up a year ago and remained silent the entire time?”

Xilong wisely chose to remain silent, sweating bullets towards An Fei’s “sincere” question. The heavenly dragon declared itself oblivious to the current matters at hand, and retreated towards the Sanctum –

“I’ll pour a cup of lukewarm tea over this sword if you don’t speak –“

“I’ll speak! I’ll speak! Anything but lukewarm tea – that is simply the worst!”

The heavenly dragon responsible for actualizing the concept of death capitulated under the threat of lukewarm tea splattered over a taijijian’s blade.

- my thoughts:
Funnily enough, the Shattered Star Continent seems to be full with mortals that shouldn't be able to reincarnate...
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