Right in front of him was a giant ravine that seemed to have been carved out of the land itself by the giant slash of a sword. Stretched right across his path, it prevented his thoroughfare eastward.
Ning Chen got off his carriage and slowly wheeled himself towards the ravine. Yet as he did so, he felt an overwhelming will rush at him, causing his Qi and blood to run amok in his body.
His eyes opened wide in shock as he registered this fact. To think that there was an expert in this world who was so terrifying strong that he could carve his will into the earth and sustain it.
He had already seen a number of experts at the peak of Ninth grade. Qing Ning, Xia Miaoyu and even the Divine Child, these were the strongest few he knew of. Yet, he knew that of these three, none of them could accomplish this astonishing feat.
Only the Xiantian could possess such earth shattering power.
Judging by the hardened, black exterior of the soil, this sword scar had already been carved for a while now. In this entire world, the only person he knew of that could rend the earth asunder like this was that revered sword in Sword City.
The stress in his heart grew heavier as he took in this fact. Everyone knew that that sword in Sword City hadn’t reached the realm of Xiantian yet. Judging by what he saw today, it wasn’t that his talents were lacking but rather that he didn’t care.
(TL: Sword refers to a person here, in case some people were confused by this.)
This slash was the greatest proof ever that that sword in Sword City had already left the boundaries of mortal men. Even his mortal husk couldn’t restrain the power of his indomitable Sword Will.
Originating from a different world than this, Ning Chen simply couldn’t fathom how a person could reach such a shocking level.
It was no longer the level of a person but rather that of a sword, an actual sword that could battle with the heavens itself.
No wonder the swordsmen of this world only saw a sword when they looked at Sword City.
As he sat there on his wheelchair, the Ink Sword trembled in his lap, slowly creeping its way towards the peerless Sword Will. With a swift grab, he restrained the Ink Sword and injected a trace of his True Qi into it and suppressed its trembling.
“Ink Sword, since you’ve decided to follow me, you mustn’t worship another man or sword.”
With a sonoros clang, it stopped its trembling as if responding to its master’s orders.
Stepping back onto his carriage, he proceeded along the ravine, choosing to take the long route around it. He still didn’t possess the qualifications to cross over this Sword Scar. However, the day would come when he did and that day wouldn’t be far. This, he swore!
Ten days later, his carriage had already made significant headway towards Sword City. At the same time, a shocking news had spread throughout the empire of Grand Xia.
The Eighth prince had passed away!
Amongst the 19 princes and princesses of Grand Xia, the ones who truly had a chance at the throne were actually just four people. The Eldest Prince was naturally one of them, the remaining three were the Third Prince, the Eighth Prince and the Tenth Prince.
These four princes had already been crowned kings with the Eighth Prince even receiving the nickname of the King of Virtues. Other than the Eldest Prince, he was the person most suited for governing the land.
Yet who would’ve thought that such an esteemed person would end up getting assassinated. During his trip back to the palace, he received a fatal palm strike which shattered his heart meridian, causing him to die shortly from his injuries after being sent back to the palace.
To those in the shadow, this incident reeked of a plot. The battle for the crown was fought between the four kings with the Eldest Prince having the best shot at the throne. Yet, the upright and honorable prince wasn’t too interested in the throne.
Thus, the true contenders for the throne were merely three. The three princes were equally wary of each other and kept each other in check, at least up till now.
Any overt move by the other might incur the wrath of the other two thus this fear of the other two ended up creating a stable three-way relationship between them.
Now that the Eighth Prince had died, this relationship ceased to exist in an instant. It wouldn’t be long before the battle for the crown intensifies.
The two princes had already abandoned any attempts at cooperation and were engaged in an adversarial relationship. Whoever was stronger would suppress the other to the best of his ability, whether it was the west suppressing the east or the east suppressing the west.
As for the fighting against the Eldest Prince, that was a matter for another day.
At the same time of this momentous event, in the distant west, the Divine Child was making his way through the First Shrine. His journey took him through its hallowed halls to a different dimension made of a vast sea of nothingness and a sky comprised of silvery flashes.
“The Codex of the Eternal Night.”
As he said that, he raised his hands, calling forth a codex shimmering with black light as it descended slowly from the sky. As the inky black light danced around it, it seemed to form a black hole that sucked in any surrounding light.
“What are you searching for?”
It was then that a towering figure entered the silent world, his domineering aura twisting the fabric of the dimension itself.
The Divine Child greeted the man with a salute before answering, “I’m searching for information about the Heavenly Bible.”
“Oh, looks like you made some headway during your trip.”
A mildly surprised look flashed across his face as he said that gently. Of all the young warrior commanders under him, it was this youth who pleased him the most. The way Jun Shaoqing carried himself reminded him of the boy’s father, neither arrogant nor rushed and most of all, determined.
“I sensed the presence of the Scroll of Life.”
“Hmm? So it’s that scroll.”
Hearing that, the Martial Monarch was no longer able to maintain his calmness. Of the pages within the Heavenly Bible, the Scroll of Life was probably the most unique of the scrolls even if it wasn’t the strongest.
Of the ten scrolls of the Heavenly Bible, Life represented the start, Divine represented veneration, Chaos represented change, Void represented the end. The remaining six scrolls each represented their namesake and together made up the various laws and essences of this world.
As he opened the codex with a clack, the ancient tome which recorded the history of this world since the time of genesis exploded in a frightening burst of black light that seemed to absorb the heavens and destroy the earth.
The Codex of the Eternal Night was one of the ten scrolls of the Heavenly Bible, Scroll of Prescience, within it was the future and all its all phenomenons.
Within the light were ten words lined up in a row. Of the ten, Life, Prescience, Moon, Movement, Earth and Change were all lit up. As for the other four, they were all shrouded in darkness.
As the Martial Monarch stared at the six lit up words, his eyes narrowed. “To think that six of the ten scrolls have already revealed themselves.” He remarked in an amazed tone.
With a nod, the Divine Child said, “Of the six, Prescience and the Moon are in the possession of the Cult, Movement is kept by Sword City, Change by that girl in the Mongol Horde. As for the other two, their whereabouts are still unknown. However, I managed to pick up on Life’s aura in Grand Xia’s marriage entourage. Even though it was only for a short while, there was no mistaking it.”
“Did you sense the Scroll of Earth as well?”
“No.” He shook his head as he said that. The Earth Scrolls appeared in a distant location, far away from the Cult. Furthermore, it was deep within the territory of Grand Xia, making it difficult for the Divine Child to rush there in time.
The lack of information regarding these two scrolls wasn’t a good thing for the Cult. Ever since the Eternal Night created this world, the ten scrolls of the Heavenly Bible had been scattered around the world. The Cult used to possess five of them and dominated the world for a while. Yet as time wore on, four of their five scrolls were lost. It wasn’t until 100 years ago that they managed to recover the Moon Scroll.
The decline of the Cult within these thousand years had an inextricable relationship to the lost of these scrolls. To the Cult, recovering the remaining pages of the Heavenly Bible was of utmost importance.
“Did you manage to find the location of the Earth Scroll from the Codex?” Asked the Martial Monarch.
The Divine Child waved his hand, sending forth a burst of True Qi into the Eternal Night Codex. After a long while, he shook head and said, “I saw nothing.”
The Martial Monarch furrowed his eyebrows at those words. Ever since the Scroll of Change appeared, the divinations of the Codex had increasingly weakened. Unfortunately, that girl was still useful to them so betraying the Mongols still wasn’t an option.
It was then that the Divine Child’s narrowed his eyes slightly as if he had thought of something. “It almost slipped my mind but, I’ve received word that the Nether Child has awakened.”
“Oh? That reputed variable of the Underworld.”
A coldness swept across his face as he heard that. Looks like it was really the Scroll of Change acting up, to think that even that madman was awake now.
The Nether Child and the Demon Girl were both variables of the Underworld. They possessed an impressive level of strength that could stand up to a Xiantian expert when combined. However, this generation’s Nether Child was an oddity. Whether it was his absurdness or his talents, they were both far superior to any previous Nether Child.
In this world, the only person who could suppress the Nether Child was the Demon Girl. Other than that, even the Xiantian would find it hard to kill a Nether Child.
There were always such exceptions in the world: people who couldn’t be judged simply based on their strength.
Being of the Underworld, the pair countered each other and at the same time, complemented each other. Other than their strength, the most troublesome ability of theirs was their nigh unkillable constitution, the Stygian Body.
“Tomorrow, I want you to make a trip to the Sword City in the East. This Monarch has already accepted that man’s sword proving duel. Before that however, I want you to have a duel with that new Xiantian, it should prove helpful in understanding the realm of Xiantian.
As he said that, there was an apparent hint of excitement in his voice. This was a battle he looked forward to immensely. As his name suggested, the Martial Monarch was born to battle, having remained silent for so long, even his fearsome might would soon be forgotten by the world.
The Divine Child nodded his head at that order. He had been bottlenecked at this stage for too long now seeing as his initial forays into the Xiantian had never resulted in a proper breakthrough in the end. The one thing he needed the most now was a fierce battle to stimulate his cultivation.
Within the vast plains, the galloping carriage had begun slowing down. After another half a day’s worth of travelling, an ancient city could vaguely be seen in the distance. However, this wasn’t Sword City.
Instead, this was the last city of Grand Xia within the eastern regions, the Peerless City!
The Peerless City was situated along the road which one must take in order to cross between the western and eastern regions, making it an important hub within the region. The entire city was made of a strange material made of blended ancient wood and metals. On its walls were countless blade, sword and spear marks which served as a reminder of the gruesome battles this city experienced in the past.
Ever since the ancient times, this city had stood as a majestic pass into the Central Plains. Even after countless battles, it stood there steadfast with bones of steel as it performed its duties.
The first thing Ning Chen did upon entering the city was to find an inn, which he did quickly without much fuss.
By now, his taels had mostly been used up; this lack of money was something he had to deal with as soon as possible.
Chopping wood was simply too slow and robbing people wasn’t an option either. With that in mind, all that was left for him was to search around for opportunities. With his martial background, winning a couple of show matches wasn’t too much of an issue.
To think that such a trivial problem would now become an impediment to his progress, vexes him just thinking about it. Yet, martial practitioners were humans as well and humans needed to eat.
Regarding show matches, they were a time-worn tradition that was naturally present in Peerless City as well.
As Ning Chen spied the arena platform in the distance, a ravenous glint graced his eyes as if he was a wolf staring at his fat prey. He rushed towards the platform as fast as his wheels could take him
Fluttering in front of the platform was a giant banner with the words “Arena Matches!” written on. In his mind, they might as well have been “Taels!” or “Bread!”
Having made finally squeezed his way through the gathered throng, he jumped onto the platform without wasting another word.
Standing in front of him was a middle aged man dressed in a green tunic. The man sported a beard that contrasted with his jade-like features; this man was probably a handsome one back in the days. Yet even with a decade or two under his belt, his face could still attract a number of smitten teenage girls.
Ning Chen hated this kind of men the most, especially those that were better looking than him.
As the middle-aged man looked at the teen, his brows furrowed subconsciously. A cripple?
“Have you read the rules?” The middle-aged man asked, clearly not at ease with this arrangement.
“Rules?” Asked a bewildered Ning Chen. What kind of rules could there be? Wasn’t this just a show match, was there even a need for rules?
At that, he suddenly noticed that something was amiss. Looking around, his mind blanked out as he noticed the silhouette of slender girl seated behind a pair of curtains.
He messed up! He had forgotten that was another tradition in this world where one fought for the hand of a maiden.
His lips stretched into a silly smile before giving an embarrassed laugh as he apologized. “Haha, I went to the wrong place, my bad.”
Whether or not this was a marriage fight, he mustn’t stay any longer. Regarding this kind of matters, what was scary wasn’t the million to one but rather that one in a million chance.
As he said that, his wheelchair turned around and dejectedly rolled away.
Looks like there was no taels to be made here otherwise he might end up selling himself in the process.
It was then that the girl behind the curtain stood up, revealing a handsome face that unfortunately had an disagreeably arrogant look on it.
Ignoring that, he continued wheeling himself down the arena stage.
“This missus is calling for you, do you not hear her?”
The girl yelled and with a flick of her wrist, cracked the whip she held in her hands at the teen.
This unexpected reaction immediately provoked the ire of the teen. He merely made a wrong turn so why did he have to be whipped? He even apologized already!
Even Zhang Sun had never whipped him before so what made this girl think she could?!