“I really want to tell you that you look nicer than a sword! I want to tell you that in this world, you look the nicest! You look the nicest!”
“Tan Tan, my good Brother! I won’t let you die this time!”
“And Mo Tian Ji, you’d better watch your back!”
“The peak in the Way of the Heavens will be ascended by me, Chu Yang…I! Will! Ascend! It!”
“Well, of course, I’m handsome, but just how are the sky, earth, and purple bamboos… just how are they nice to look at? … I think you’ve really gone mad,” Tan Tan muttered in confusion, blinking twice. One of his eyebrows was raised towards the sky, and the other was pointed towards the ground.
“Chu Yang, Tan Tan! The both of you are here, huh?” Following a brief, refreshing laughter, a young man in cyan clothes emerged from inside the Purple Bamboo Forest, dodging the bamboo branches.
The person had a slim build and thin face. He was tanned and had a pair of small, but expressive eyes.
Shi Qian Shan!
Chu Yang immediately turned towards Shi Qian Shan, and calmly looked at his gentle, smiling face. He noticed a flash of disappointment and irritation masked deep within Shi Qian Shan’s gaze.
It must have been from seeing that Chu Yang was still alive! Damn it, why did he not die?
However, Shi Qian Shan’s face contorted in anger, and he shouted, “What are the both of you doing! Chu Yang, what happened to your head! Haven’t I always told the two of you that during sparring practice between Martial Brothers, you should only lightly attack your sparring partner? Tan Tan, are you trying to kill Chu Yang, using that much force?”
Tan Tan looked at Shi Qian Shan with fear, and shame was written across his entire face. He stuttered, “Eldest Martial Brother, it’s… it’s my fault… my, my handsome looks had stunned Chu Yang, and he… he fell into a daze…”
Chu Yang was dumbstruck.
“Ahh, the two of you, ahhh… you guys really don’t let me have a peace of mind,” Shi Qian Shan let out a sigh, as if he was greatly disappointed, “Ahh, when will the two of you let Teacher and me rest assured? Both of you are already so old, and yet you guys still behave like children…”
While saying that, he quickly walked over to Chu Yang with a concerned face. As he was walking, in one quick movement, he tore off a piece of his inner clothes. Kneeling before Chu Yang, Shi Qian Shan had a sympathetic look. “Does it hurt? Don’t move, I’ll bandage it up for you. Don’t move suddenly, ok… For the next few days, don’t run about; otherwise, the wind will enter your wounds…”
Shi Qian Shan carefully used the tip of his robe to wipe away the blood on Chu Yang, before bandaging Chu Yang’s wounds gently. Finally, feeling assured that the wound was sufficiently bandaged, he looked at Chu Yang once more and sighed, saying, “Haa, if Teacher saw this, he would definitely blame me for not looking after my two Younger Martial Brothers. Ahhh, you guys…” He sighed again and shook his head.
“Eldest Martial Brother… we’re really sorry …” Feeling miserable, Tan Tan added, “Sorry… When I spar with Chu Yang again, I’ll wear a mask…”
“Why did you apologise to me? Haaa, wouldn’t you be in extreme pain if you suffered such a large wound?” Shi Qian Shan said angrily. “You should apologise to Younger Martial Brother Chu Yang instead!”
Secretly, Shi Qian Shan despised Tan Tan’s narcissism. “He’s so ugly, but still manages to be such a narcissist? That really is something.”
Shi Qian Shan had a manner of speech which made others feel as if his every single sentence was completely heartfelt. Moreover, his gaze was always unflinching, looking others straight in the eyes. It was a gaze which looked magnanimous, and people always had the impression that he was a righteous, sincere guy who did everything from the bottom of his heart!
“Yes, I understand” Tan Tan nodded his head repeatedly in guilt. Being on the receiving end of Eldest Martial Brother’s tender scolding, he could not help but feel ashamed of his actions. While mindlessly touching his face, Tan Tan sighed heavily, for he felt sorry that his suave looks had actually caused a disaster and were unforgivable…
Chu Yang silently sighed. That Shi Qian Shan, his expressions, actions, and even tone all seemed that so genuine, and his acting was absolutely flawless. If Chu Yang had not been reborn, he would definitely have gotten deceived by him…
No wonder in his previous life, Shi Qian Shan had been able to consistently stand out from the rest of the External Disciples and rise quickly through the ranks to compete for the position of Eldest Martial Brother!
If the Beyond The Heavens Storey had not been destroyed, Chu Yang was certain that the position of Inner Quarters Disciples’ Eldest Martial Brother would have gone to Shi Qian Shan!
His two-faced nature and ability to look like he was doing one thing, but was actually doing another surpassed everyone else! His acting was simply flawless! No one would never know what he was plotting.
“No wonder, in my previous life, after Shi Qian Shan entered the Inner Quarters, he had successfully wooed the Sect Master Wu Yun Liang’s daughter, Wu Qing Qing in such a short amount of time…”
Wu Qing Qing was known as the most beautiful woman in the Beyond The Heavens Storey and was not lacking in potential suitors. However, although Shi Qian Shan’s physical appearance was not extraordinary, he had been able to slowly capture the affections of the popular Wu Qing Qing! When news of their relationship had spread around, the entire Beyond the Heavens Storey was utterly astonished!
However, only now did Chu Yang know that nothing had been coincidental! Shi Qian Shan had planned for it to happen!
“In this lifetime, however, if Shi Qian Shan thinks that he’ll be able to accomplish his goals so easily… well, we’ll see about that. Before him, there is now me, Chu Yang! With me, he might as well remove his mask of sincerity, for I already know of his cunningness and conspiracies!”
“Let’s go, follow me. Let’s return back so that you can rest.” Shi Qian Shan helped Chu Yang stand up.
Chu Yang smiled, but as he put one leg in front of the other, he was suddenly startled by an extreme hunger coming from within his own Dantian. It was an extremely pressing, urgent feeling.
Chu Yang was greatly astonished!
“What’s happening? This feeling of hunger… should be coming from my stomach, right? If that’s so, maybe I might have felt an unbearable pain in my stomach, but why is there such a strange feeling in my Dantian as well?”
The feeling of hunger surged out of his Dantian like a great wave, ready to crash onto Chu Yang. Within his Dantian, it was as if a bottomless pot had been opened.
Although Chu Yang was mentally strong, he found the feeling of hunger absolutely unbearable! To ease his pain, Chu Yang immersed himself into his mental consciousness and activated his martial powers to observe the internal situation in his body. A single look, nearly caused Chu Yang to exclaim in shock!
At the center of his Dantian, the shadow of an empty, small, sword had actually emerged! It was dark and murky and was just one-third the size of a finger. Eight cracks could be clearly seen on the body of the sword!
The shape of that sword was a little strange, but from Chu Yang immediately recognised it!
Although dilapidated-looking and only an illusory shadow, without form, it gave off a slight overpowering presence!
“Isn’t, isn’t this the Nine Tribulations Sword?! Huh?! Why is it inside my own Dantian?”
Chu Yang was stupefied, and he staggered twice, almost falling from the shock! The wave of extreme hunger began to rise, and Chu Yang carefully waited in anticipation. Indeed, shortly after, the faint, dim Nine Tribulations Sword within his Dantian once again caused him to feel extremely hungry…
The feeling made Chu Yang feel like a baby who could no longer tolerate his hunger and was wildly flailing about and crying and screaming for some milk. It made Chu Yang break out in sweat. He really did not know where such a feeling of hunger came from.
When his thoughts came into contact with that feeling, the Nine Tribulations Sword gave off a weak resistance and curiosity, like a baby looking at itself with big, naive eyes. The baby’s gaze was filled with desire, ignorance, and expectations…
Out of nowhere, Chu Yang felt a brief wave of affection rise within him, and he gently directed his thoughts over to embrace it… In response, the silhouette of the sword slightly resisted, but then let down its guard completely.
Upon contact with his thoughts, Chu Yang also realised where the feeling of hunger came from!
That was not exactly the Nine Tribulations Sword. Technically speaking, that would be the Nine Tribulations Sword’s Soul, or Awareness!
When Chu Yang had performed the final technique, piercing the Nine Tribulations Sword into his own chest, blood from his heart had spurted out and stimulated the Sword’s Soul. That kick-started the first phase of the Nine Tribulations Sword’s greatest secret …
Meanwhile, it was the stimulated Sword’s Soul which somehow brought him back to when he was still a youth!
The final technique of the Nine Tribulations Sword was actually a forbidden technique. Not just to die together with the enemy – to actually first kill himself before killing the enemy! Only someone who was completely determined to exterminate his enemy would be able to do such a thing!
What Chu Yang did not know was that the final technique would reveal the mysteries of the Nine Tribulations Sword!
All the previous Masters of the Nine Tribulations Sword had simply followed the Path of Sword Cultivation during their practice. This would never help them gain the Nine Tribulations Sword’s approval! This was because they had lowered the sword to a mere practice tool … what could they gain from that?
A sword was, naturally, emotionless. As such, most of the previous Masters had simply chosen the Path of the Emotionless Sword! And that was also why all of them had been mere “Slaves to the Sword”! This included Chu Yang in his previous life – merely a Slave to the Sword; Slave to the Sword!
It was the sword that was utilising its master, and the other way around!
However, Chu Yang had actually performed the final technique “With the blood that runs through my heart, ten thousand tribulations will collapse!”
None of all the other Masters of the Nine Tribulations Sword had dared to use that technique! As such, after their death, whether natural or unnatural, the Nine Tribulations Sword would automatically shatter, returning to its broken state and scattering across the continents. It would silently await its true Master, and look forward to the very day when it would display the very peak of its brilliance, and unveil its true divine destiny…
That was why Chu Yang’s desperate performance of the final technique had completely activated the Sword’s Soul which now resided in his Dantian. And from that moment onwards, the godly sword, ranked first in the Continent of the Nine Heavens, had truly found its Master!
This was also why it had easily accepted Chu Yang.
It could be said that except for the Nine Tribulations Sword’s creator, Chu Yang was the first Master of the Nine Tribulations Sword!
The true Master of the Nine Tribulations Sword.
This was what was meant by surviving in the face of death!
From that moment, Chu Yang knew without a doubt that he would embark on a completely different path from in his previous life!
Now, the Sword’s Soul was like a baby hysterically wailing, just waiting to be put to bed. It was calling for the various fragments of the Nine Tribulations Sword, and longing for nourishment from the spiritual energies of the Heavens and Earth! By creating an extreme hunger in Chu Yang, it was pushing him to seek out the remaining fragments of the Nine Tribulations Sword! As for finding the necessary nourishment for the Nine Tribulations Sword…
Chu Yang direction all of his concentration into his Dantian. Then, using his deep concentration, he embraced the faint, dim Sword’s Soul, whole-heartedly focused on pacifying it…
After a while, as if it had sensed Chu Yang’s sincerity, the Sword’s Soul gradually began to calm down. Although it remained a little stubborn, it no longer gave off that intense feeling of hunger…
Like a child who could not get his or her favourite toy, but was old enough to not throw a tantrum, the Sword’s Soul just pouted and held back its tears, and looked at Chu Yang with slight grievance…
The Soul of the Nine Tribulations Sword was really rather like an adorable, little kid.
A brief sense of sympathy welled up from within Chu Yang, the feeling actually grew into a slight sense of shame, slowly growing within his heart…
Chu Yang controlled his excitement and exhaled deeply. He opened his eyes and saw Shi Qian Shan looking at him. He could spot a hint of excitement within Shi Qian Shan’s eyes. Shi Qian Shan probably thought that Chu Yang was acting strangely due to his injuries. And when he saw that Chu Yang was opening his eyes, he suppressed this excitement, and instead, with a concerned voice, said, “Younger Martial Brother Chu, what’s wrong?”
“Oh, nothing. It’s just that… just now, I suddenly felt like farting, but… however, since Senior Martial Brother, you were directly behind me, I was embarrassed, and it was rather exhausting restraining it…” Chu Yang said in a serious tone and gave Shi Qian Shan a vaguely meaningful look.
“Ahhhh…” Shi Qian Shan’s facial expression changed, and in a slightly embarrassed manner, he said, “That… that must have been uncomfortable right…” At that moment, he did not know whether to tell Chu Yang to just fart or… to tell him to just continue holding it in…
Ah, either way, both options would not help him keep up his act…
Meanwhile, listening on the sidelines, Tan Tan also began laughing. However, feeling that it was an inappropriate time for laughter, he did not dare to laugh out loud. His attempt at restraining his laughter, coupled with his unique voice, resulted in a sound which actually, really, sounded like a normal fart…
Shi Qian Shan felt nauseated and almost vomited.
Chu Yang smiled in his heart. He could feel his own attitude and mentality begin to change, and he was no longer the Chu Yang of his previous life…
He had been given the chance to make amends for all his regrets. Naturally, his personality mellowed, and he became someone who was driven but not easily provoked.
In his previous life, he had only obtained the Sword Point of the Nine Tribulations Sword four years after the current moment. Moreover, in his past life, he had not known that the Nine Tribulations Sword actually possessed a Soul!
Treading carefully towards the houses in the Purple Bamboo Forest, it seemed as if Chu Yang’s mindset was changing with every step that he took, transforming as he approached his destination. With each and every step that Chu Yang took, as he approached the house that had once only existed in his memories, he could feel his soul tremble. And then, it was replaced by a new feeling; his heart actually gradually began to fill with longing.
Inside that house was his own Teacher! The person whom he had admired and looked up to the most throughout his entire life!
Ever since he had returned to when he was sixteen, he was already no longer the Poisonous Sword Revered Martial Artist! At that moment, he was simply Chu Yang, a mere youth – a frail and delicate one!
On that continent, there were countless people who could kill him in his current powerless state! If he had still thought of himself as the Revered Martial Expert which he had previously been, he would probably quickly die due to an overestimation of his own capabilities, relative to his mindset …
Chu Yang knew that a Revered Martial Artist would enjoy great prestige in the Three Lower Heavens. However, in the Three Middle Heavens, there would still be instances when a Revered Martial Artist would have to proceed carefully. As for the Three Higher Heavens, if a Revered Martial Artist decided to go there…
He or she would be nothing!
Only by erasing from his memory his past glories in his previous life and beginning anew, one step at a time, pressing onward towards the peak could he achieve his goals! For now, that would be to become the Eldest Martial Brother of all the Inner Quarters Disciples of Beyond The Heavens Sect as soon as possible, and then entering the Seven Shades Congregation Grounds and obtaining the first fragment of the Nine Tribulations Sword!
His new life was starting to look a lot more exciting than his previous life!
The three halted at the same time, for they had already arrived at the Purple Bamboo Garden. While looking at the few houses that had once only existed in his mind, Chu Yang was overwhelmed with intense emotion, which poured from his eyes. He unwittingly stopped moving and stood still. He found that he could only feel emotions within his heart surge forth like an unstoppable tide. For a moment, Chu Yang had actually been unable to contain his emotions! Beyond The Heavens Storey, were The Nine Peaks and The Single Garden. There were ten great Disciples in the seventh generation of the Beyond The Heavens Storey, and each was assigned a different location: the Forthcoming Clouds Peak, the Misty Clouds Peak, the Distant Clouds Peak, the Separating Clouds Peak, the Gathering Clouds Peak, the Locking Clouds Peak, the Dream Clouds Peak, the Hatred Clouds Peak, the Stepping On The Clouds Peak, and the Purple Bamboo Garden.
These ten locations were known as The Nine Peaks and The Single Garden. The Gathering Clouds Peak was where the Sect Master Wu Yun Liang had been assigned to, and it was the main Peak amongst The Nine Peaks. Meanwhile, the Single Garden referred to the Purple Bamboo Garden where Chu Yang lived. Amongst The Nine Peaks and The Single Garden, the Purple Bamboo Garden was ranked last in terms of resources, although it had the most fantastic view.
The Master of the Purple Bamboo Garden, Meng Chao Ran, was the Youngest Martial Brother amongst the ten great Disciples, and he had a cold disposition, detached from worldly affairs and power struggles. He had never competed with the other nine Martial Brothers for anything, and in his entire life, he had had only three Disciples.
He had taken Shi Qian Shan as his disciples to return a favour he owed to someone else but had taken in Chu Yang and Tan Tan as they had been orphaned.
For every generation of Disciples, ten great Disciples would be selected from the Inner Quarters Disciples to become the leaders of The Nine Peaks and The Single Garden. The Eldest Martial Brother of the ten great Disciples would become the candidate for the future Beyond the Heavens Storey’s Sect Master, ruling over the Gathering Clouds Peak.
Whether it was in Spiritual Medicinal resources or Spiritual Energy secret manuals, the Gathering Clouds Peak had the best resources and most materials among The Nine Peaks.
For several hundreds of years, the Disciples of The Nine Peaks and The Single Garden had been competing amongst themselves to attain the status of one the ten great Disciples. Everyone desperately trained just so they could obtain one of those ten positions. In this fiercely competitive environment, the Disciples belonging to the Beyond The Heavens Storey improved their cultivation by leaps and bounds.
In the Continent of the Nine Heavens. The Beyond The Heavens Storey was located in the Three Lower Heavens, also known as the ‘Continent of the Lower Heavens’. There were a few strange locations on the Continent of the Lower Heavens that were perpetually blanketed in thick fog and misty clouds. For most people and living objects, getting close to those locations were close to impossible.
Only a few martial experts with a powerful cultivation would know these were actually the entrances to the Three Middle Heavens, allowing those from the Three Lower Heavens to transcend their home.
Similarly, there were also mysterious locations in the Three Middle Heavens, which were actually the entrances to the Three Higher Heavens!
To even think of entering, one would have to possess martial powers that had transcended the entire world!
As its name had suggested, The Continent of the Nine Heavens was extremely large. Since time immemorial, no one knew how far it stretched, from the East to the West, or from the South to the North. There had never been any records of its boundless size!
There were many legends and myths on the vast continent, passed down from one generation to another. Since prehistoric times, there had already been an endless amount of emperors, kings, generals, ministers, and heroes, each of them a water droplet in the vast river of the continent’s history.
On top of that, it was a mysterious continent, where anything could happen!
On a particular day, one might be drinking wine and making merry with their friends, but on the next, he might be locked up and put on the death row. One might be a king one day, but a defeated general the next. On a particular day, one might be a mere petty thief, but nobody could say with certainty that he would not put on the royal robes and become an emperor the next day.
Like all continental landmasses, there were also boundaries on the continent beyond the imperial court. And outside those boundaries, there were also vagabond swordsmen, as well as others associated with a martial society. Because a martial society existed, there was bound to be opposing sides – one which was righteous and another which was evil.
“I really want to tell you that you look nicer than a sword! I want to tell you that in this world, you look the nicest! You look the nicest!”