Chapter 34: Nine dragons without a Head

The three of them held their breath at once.

The first copper coin fell to the table with a clink.

“Face of the Goddess.” The attendant clenched his fists.

The second copper coin fell -it was the same face.

“Face of the Goddess.: The attendant’s breathing grew tighter.

The third copper fell on the table then, but it was still spinning around furiously, as if it itself wasn’t in a hurry to reveal its sure-to-be unusual divination. It was only after a good long while that it began to slow down. Suddenly, a hand covered it up, blocking out the face that it was about to reveal in the process.

The attendant raised his head; it was drenched in sweat. “Why?”

In contrast, Xiao Se was still as unconcerned as ever as he smiled. “As of right now, there can only be a couple outcomes. I ask this of the little mister, what can be divined from a Yin face, And what if it’s Yang, what can be divined then?”

The book attendant settled down for a second, not at all in a hurry to look at the divination outcome as he answered, “If it’s Yin, then it’s Six Extreme Yins. If all six States are Action States, then this divination would be a ‘Nine dragons without a head’.”

“Oh?” Xiao Se smiled thinly, “would that be a fortuitous one or a calamitous one?”

“Great fortune.” The attendant slowly continued, “The heavens are ready to be ruled, the dragons have no head, once the opportunity arises, a single meeting could turn one into a dragon that soars up into the nine heavens.”

“And if it’s the Face of the Naga?” Xiao Se continued.

Hearing that, the attendant sighed, “The battle between the dragons will spread to the wilds, and blood will run red in the rivers.”

Xiao Se ceased his questioning, merely replying with an “oh”.

“Eh, why did the skies turn dark all of a sudden?” Exclaimed a waiter who just walked out of the tea stall. His eyes were glued to skies, yet he just couldn’t figure out when exactly the change happened. By the time he noticed it, the skies had already turned dark and cloudy, with even a few flashes of lightning.

The scholar clenched his fists. The peachwood sword on his sword started trembling, as if it wanted nothing more than to pierce the heavens right now.

“A calamitous divination.” The attendant continued explaining, “The Seven Star Mansions of Hydra will descend, the battle between Yin and Yang will stir up a bloody war. Dragons will die in the wilderness, blood will stain the soil for 30,000 li.”

*Boom!* A deafening thunder echoed throughout the heavens.

“Very well.” Xiao Se called out, hands waving aside in a violent motion as he tossed that last copper coin as far away as possible.

Great fortune or great calamity – no one would ever know.

The clouds instantly dispersed as if that clap of thunder was nothing but a passing dream. The warming rays of the sun graced the earth once more, leaving nothing more than a dumbstruck waiter standing on the roadside saying, “This weather…can it change any faster?”

“Why?” Asked the scholar.

Xiao Se stowed the remaining two copper coins into the bamboo tube and said, “I was never one to believe in the heavens, only in myself. It’s just that last night a thought suddenly occurred to me, a question of sorts. I wondered to myself, perhaps it was time for me to make a decision as well. However, I didn’t have the courage in me to make that decision so I decided to take a chance with the heavens. Yet it all became clear to me just now, and that’s why this divination, whether it’s completed or not, doesn’t matter anymore.”

The attendant quietly kept the bamboo tube, face ashen as he did so. A short while later, he suddenly fell to his knees and shouted, “Many thanks!”

“It’s wasn’t just because of you.” Xiao Se smiled, “if I were to really cause eighty percent of Mount Qingcheng’s heavenly dao to be squandered like this, I’m afraid Zhao Yuzhen would come after my head with his peachwood sword.”

The attendant sighed, “I, Fei Xuan, was too arrogant.” He knew in his heart that had it not been for Xiao Se ending that divination, then those streaks of lightning would undoubtedly be aiming right for him.

It was then that someone shouted out in the streets, “Lady Sikong is back!” The moment those words were uttered, the street roared to life. Vendor after vendor scrambled to keep their stalls as the sound of horses galloping grew steadily closer.

“Lady Sikong is back!” Another yell rang out in the city, followed closely by another. Soon, the entire city was alive with the same shout.

The tea stall waiter’s face immediately blackened as his thoughts drifted towards chasing away their last few customers -Xiao Se and his new acquaintances.

Xiao Se glared back at the waiter, “My friend has just left to climb the tower, he should be back shortly. Are you sure you wish to close your stall right now?”

The waiter’s eyes darted then, hesitation clear in every movement. There was just news about how that red clothed teen had just broken through the thirteenth floor towards the higher floors. Without a doubt, that youngster was going to be a prominent figure in the coming days, was he really someone a waiter like him could offend? Clearly not. Yet what about Lady Sikong…

Seeing how torn the waiter was, Xiao Se lowered his tea cup and rose from his seat.

“Young master plans to…” The scholar gazed outwards.

“That fellow up there owes eight hundred silver taels, I think it’s time I aided him in his climb to the sixteenth floor as well.” Xiao Se walked out of the tea stall, stopped dead center in the middle of the road and turned around to face the galloping black horse heading his way. Atop that horse was a black clothed girl, one hand gripping a metallic black spear in the most gallant fashion possible. Her figure was the very image of someone Xiao Se met just not too long ago –Spear Immortal Sikong Changfeng.

“I was gone for just half a day and there’s already someone trying to break through the thirteenth floor, bunch of incompetent fools!” The girl scolded no one in particular.

Behind her, the attendants rode up to her side and said, “I heard that the challenger has already broken past the thirteenth floor and is on his way to the fourteenth.”

“Whose turn is it to guard the fourteenth?” The girl asked with slight surprise.

“I think it might milady.” The attendant answered.

The girl immediately whipped her horse. “If that fellow sees that the floor is empty, wouldn’t he think that I am afraid of him then? Charge!” Yet it was at this moment that the girl lifted up head to find that were was still a single tea stall standing along an otherwise empty street. There stood a blue robed youth, hands kept in his sleeves as he yawned right at her. 

She hurriedly stopped her horse. While she was known for being a little impertinent, she was no fiend – she had no love of trampling others. “Who’s there? Do you not wish to live?” She scolded.

Xiao Se lifted up his head and looked right at the black clothed girl with a faint smile on his lips.

The girl was taken aback for a second. In her mind, she couldn’t help but gasp, how could be such a handsome man in this world. In fact, she seemed a little out of sorts till her attendant quietly whispered in her ears, “Milady, if we don’t hurry to the tower now, that fellow might just climb up to the fifteenth floor.”

The girl snapped back to her senses and raised her long spear at Xiao Se, “Who are you and why are you standing in this lady’s way?”

Xiao Se, however, chose not to answer her, merely looking at her spear and asking, “The Spear Immortal’s daughter?”

“What do you mean Spear Immortal’s daughter, this lady’s name is Sikong Qianluo. I ask you once more, who are you and why are you blocking my way?” The black clothed girl was irate right now, seemingly irked by the use of the words Spear Immortal’s daughter.

Xiao Se turned around and pointed at the distant tower. “That person climbing up the tower is my friend.”

“So you wish to stall me?” Sikong Qianluo leaped off her horse and spun her long spear around briefly.

“That’s right.” Suddenly, a voice spoke into her ears, followed by a gentle blow into one of them. Her eyebrows jumped but her long spear was quick to react with a swift sweep of its deadly tip, forcing the blue robed youth back a few meters.

“Junior martial uncle, didn’t you say that he didn’t know martial arts?” The attendant’s eyes went wide at the scene he had just witnessed.

The scholar, on the other hand, sheepishly smiled, “How is that martial arts, that’s clearly a movement art.”

“What kind?” The attendant asked.

“The number one movement skill under the heavens, Cloudsteps!” The scholar swallowed.

On the thirteenth floor of the Tower of Ascension, Lei Wujie was in the midst of recuperating his qi. While the guardian of this floor suffered no small injuries as well, he wasn’t in a rush to recuperate. Instead, he quietly picked up his dice and asked, “What’s your name?”

“Lei Wujie, I said so three times when I stepped onto this floor.” Lei Wujie answered with eyes closed and lips curled into a smile.

“Hmph, I know you beat me, but those silvers you owe me must still be paid back.” The teen ruthlessly stated. “Looks like that old hag is going to laugh at me again for losing this bet.”

“Your mother?” Having finished his recuperation, Lei Wujie opened his eyes.

“My teacher, Yin Luoxia. A troublesome woman. In her words, it doesn’t matter who I lose to in a fight, but no matter what I mustn’t lose a bet. Sigh, what a handful she is.” The teen scratched his head and sighed.

“Yin Luoxia? The Immortal Maiden Luoxia? The same one who split the river Canglan with a single palm strike?” Lei Wujie’s eyes lit up. That very maiden was known for having stayed on the ranking board of beauties for over a decade, a ranking board concocted by some of the nosiest people of the martial world.

“Maiden my foot, she’s already in her thirties. And what’s that about splitting some river? It’s not like she cut the Yellow River in half so stop with that worshipping look. Let me tell you, that old hag…” The teen guarding the floor prattered on like a machine gun till a soft feminine voice suddenly interrupted him, “Mingxuan.”

Lei Wujie lifted his head up but found no one else in sight.

“Mingxuan, come to the Sunset Pavilion now.” The feminine voice spoke up once more. It was then that Lei Wujie realised that while the voice might have sounded nearby, it was sent from miles away.

The guardian teen instantly grimaced, then sighed. In his heart, he really wanted to cry right now. With a twist of his body, he left the tower, not forgetting to address Lei Wujie one last time, “My name is Luo Mingxuan. I’m sure we will see each other soon, next time I won’t lose in a bet.”

“What an interesting fellow.” Lei Wujie picked his sack and continued upwards. However, he arrived on the floor to find that was no one on it at all. He frowned slightly, eyes warily surveying his surroundings. There could only be one explanation for the floor being empty: the guardian had hid himself. Someone of such caliber could easily take his life at any time with a single strike.

“Break!” Lei Wujie yelled, his qi bursting forth in all four directions from his body. However, all that delivered was a bunch of flying dust and nothing else. A long while later, he finally came to the conclusion that there was no expert hiding the shadows waiting to assassinate him. This fourteenth floor was just a dud. Should he just ascend to the next then? Lei Wujie pondered on that for a while then sat down.

A minute later.

There was still no one in sight. It was then that Lei Wujie finally stood up, patted the dust off himself before leaving for the fifteenth. Yet just as he did so, he found someone standing before him.

Clad in black robes that made him seem broader, the newcomer looked at him with a teasing smile on his face. It was a person Lei Wujie was most familiar with, someone whom he had been through life and death with.

“Eldest martial brother.” Lei Wujie teared up a little as he said that.

Tang Lian nodded his head, “You’ve finally arrived. I never expected that our next meeting would be in such a manner.”

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