Ch.71: God of Heaven Interferes in Mortal Matters
Mount Taicang, the Crown Prince Summit.
It was at the time of the day when visitors could no longer linger, and were asked to
leave the Royal Holy Pavilion in droves. Sounds of chanting sutras came in waves from
within the Xianle Pavilion, and some thousands of cultivators were conducting their
evening rituals with the four Guoshis leading the service beneath the feet of that five
meters high golden divine statue.
Within the Temple of the Crown Prince, on either sides of the walls were innumerous
everlasting lamps in rows that hung from the ground to the ceiling. Xie Lian descended
from the sky, lightly landing on the altar, and seated himself in position right before his
He waved a hand. A light breeze blew from nowhere, and the countless lamps spun
gently. With the swaying light, many of the cultivators looked up, voicing their awe,
whispering among themselves. The Guoshi who was composedly seated with his eyes
closed suddenly blinked them open and said, “That’ll be it for today. You are all
The cultivators rose to their feet and left. The other three Deputy Guoshis couldn’t see
Xie Lian’s form but could also guess that something had descended, so they also
departed the hall, closing the doors behind them. Once those tall doors were shut, Xie
Lian immediately spoke, unable to wait another second, “Guoshi, did you know about
the drought in Yong’an? There’s been no word from father, did something happen at
court? Or is it that he’s unaware of what’s happening?”
Heavenly officials were not allowed to secretly show themselves before mortals but
there were exceptional cases, such as Guoshis, religious ministers or such high level
cultivators. Those who had cultivated to certain levels were representatives of heavenly
officials in the mortal realm, thus, Xie Lian could speak directly to the Guoshi. The “no
prostrating within the Temple of the Crown Prince” rule was thus dictated through the
mouth of the Guoshi from Xie Lian.
He had originally thought there were some exceptional circumstances that made the
king unable to free himself to handle the disaster at Yong’an, or, the king had no idea
that the situation had worsened to the point of massive deaths. Unexpectedly, however,
the Guoshi replied, “His majesty the king is doing well, nothing major has happened,
and knows very well of what’s happening in Yong’an.”
Xie Lian was taken aback, “Then how come every time when Father visited the Royal
Holy Pavilion I’ve never heard him pray for Yong’an once? Not even a word?”
Even if he didn’t get along well with his father, he also knew that the king was not a
fatuous leader. He may have seen himself high above others as the son of god, and
highly regarded hierarchy, but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t care for refugees. The
Guoshi replied, “This has nothing to do with his majesty. It was I who advised him to not
have him or the queen mention Yong’an in their prayers.”
“Why?” Xie Lian demanded.
“Because it’s pointless.” The Guoshi replied.
Xie Lian was shocked, “What do you mean by ‘pointless’?”
A moment later his mind worked it out, “Are you saying that because I’m a martial god
with no control over droughts, telling me would be pointless? Did you forget that I may
be a martial god, but I’m also the Crown Prince of Xianle? My people are in trouble, how
can I sit back and do nothing?” After a pause he continued, “The most important thing
right now is to save the disaster victims and take care of them. Please speak to my
father on my behalf to stop constructing any more temples; there’s already too many
Temple of the Crown Prince in this kingdom, I don’t need them. And those golden
statues – they could be melted down to help fundraise for the disaster. Yong’an sits in
the west, and they need water. We can dig a canal, irrigate the waters from the east,
water the crops and nourish the land…”
As he spoke, the Guoshi only shook his head, muttering, “Too early. Too early.”
Xie Lian didn’t understand, “What’s too early?”
“Do you understand now why I said you shouldn’t ascend too early?” The Guoshi said,
“It’s because your people haven’t died out completely yet.”
“…” Xie Lian’s eyes widened, and shouted in outrage, “Guoshi! WHAT… WHAT ARE
YOU SAYING? WHAT DO YOU… WHAT DO YOU MEAN MY PEOPLE HAVEN’T DIED
OUT COMPLETELY YET??!”
“You’ve already become a god, but you couldn’t forget who you were as a mortal,
unable to let go and differentiate between the two realms.” The Guoshi replied, “You’re
involving yourself but you are also powerless, and in the end it will only result in an utter
Xie Lian was seated upon the altar and the Guoshi stood below; even though it was
obvious Xie Lian’s the one looking down, but when the Guoshi spoke, it was like he was
the one above.
“How can I be powerless? As long as I act, there will be results. Every small bit counts,
even if I could save but one, it’s still better than none. If you won’t speak for me to my
father then I will go seek him out myself.” Xie Lian said.
Xie Lian jumped to his feet but the Guoshi grabbed at the corner of his sleeve, yelling,
“COME BACK! Do you know why heavenly officials can’t show themselves before
mortals at will? There’s a reason behind that thousand-year rule, don’t do anything
Xie Lian whipped his head around, “THEN WHAT CAN I DO? I CAN’T DO THIS, I
CAN’T DO THAT; Guoshi, THERE ARE PEOPLE DYING RIGHT NOW IN MY LAND!
AREN’T GODS CALLED GODS BECAUSE THEY CAN SAVE THE PEOPLE? IF I
DON’T APPEAR NOW THEN WHEN CAN I APPEAR?? WHAT WOULD BE THE
MEANING OF MY ASCENSION THEN??!!”
The Guoshi held him down, sighing, “Your Highness, sigh, Your Highness. Do you know
what I’ve seen?”
Xie Lian huffed and forced himself to calm down before sitting again, “Please enlighten
The Guoshi stared at him, “I’ve seen your future, and it’s pitch black.”
Xie Lian looked him straight in the eyes and said, “You must’ve seen wrong. I only like
to wear white.”
“I worry that not only would you be unable to save your people, they will turn around and
drag you down from the divine altar.” The Guoshi said.
“My people aren’t like that, they can clearly recognize what’s right and wrong. If I can’t
save them, then there’d be no meaning to me being on this altar anyway.” Xie Lian
A moment later, the Guoshi sighed, “What your father has done can’t be said to be right,
but it can’t be said to be wrong either. You said to fundraise, but it’s not like your father
hadn’t tried, and you can go see how that ended. You said to dig a canal to irrigate the
waters, then go see that river for yourself whether if it could be done.”
Xie Lian inclined his head, “I understand. Thank you, Guoshi.”
Upon leaving Mount Taicang, he headed westward and arrived at the city of Yong’an of
the Kingdom of Xianle.
In the twenty years of his life, Xie Lian had never thought the sun to be so scorchingly
deadly. The first step he made upon that earth, he could already feel how wretchedly
hot and dry it was, like everything in the air had been contorted. With the blazing sun
above, the land had already cracked into broken chunks of earth, horrifyingly aged.
There was a deep gutter that seemed to have been a river once, but it was already
dried up to the bottom, and the blackened riverbed was emitting a strange stench. He
walked for a long time and didn’t see a single field. Maybe there were fields once, but
they must be unrecognizable at this point.
Xie Lian looked around as he walked, that dry and hot breeze blowing his long hair into
a mess, but he was too occupied to mind it. Just then, someone suddenly called for him
from behind, “Your Highness!”
Xie Lian turned his head and saw two silhouettes in black approaching in a rush. It was
Feng Xin and Mu Qing. Xie Lian cut straight to the heart of the subject, “Any news?”
Feng Xin flapped his shirt to fan himself, “Yes. In the past two years the entire western
territory experienced a water shortage, and it finally erupted this year. Yong’an is the
worst affected: the river’s dried, the rain doesn’t come, so the crops won’t grow. The
wealthier families are still faring alright; as long as there’s money then food and water
can be bought from elsewhere. However, most of the wealthy have already moved to
the eastern territories. Those who are left are either poor or handicapped.”
Xie Lian knitted his brows, “The Guoshi said my father didn’t just sit back and also
fundraised, so why is it still so serious?”
Mu Qing said coldly, “When funds go through government checkpoints, each checkpoint
will strip an amount until finally there’s nothing left. Of course it’s still this serious. If it
were up to me, it’d be better not to have sent anything rather than feed those parasites.”
Xie Lian held his breath, forcing his anger down, “I will tell those parasites to throw
every single cent they’ve eaten back up.”
However, Mu Qing reminded him, “Your Highness, did you forget? This is not within your
control. Heavenly officials can’t interfere in mortal matters. Three meters of ice weren’t
formed by one day of cold; his majesty the king is the one responsible for the mortal
realm, this is his duty, and he still couldn’t deal with it. You’ve got your hands full of
countless prayers from your devotees, so how can you handle that too? Mind this, mind
that, in the end you’ll only bring trouble unto yourself. Besides, that only cures the
symptoms, not the root cause.”
Feng Xin blocked out the sun with his hand, “To cure the root cause there still needs to
be water. How about, Your Highness ask the Guoshi to tell his majesty to irrigate the
waters from the east to the west for now?”
Xie Lian shook his head, “I suggested that to the Guoshi already.”
“What did the Guoshi say?” Feng Xin asked.
“…” Xie Lian swallowed, “More or less that it’s not feasible. But now I’ve realized it really
can’t be done. To irrigate we’ll need to bore the river. However, something like boring for
a canal requires mass conscription; who knows how many years that’d take, and it’d
only exhaust the people and the treasury. It won’t do.”
Feng Xin nodded, “True enough. Distant waters can’t put out nearby fires.”
Xie Lian hummed, “But, if this can’t be solved by mortal means, maybe we can try divine
methods. I heard the Rain Master has changed in recent years. The new ascended
Rain Master seemed to be a reclusive person, but I’ll see if I can pay a visit and request
for moving waters in the east westward in the form of rain.”
Ever since Xie Lian ascended, other than greeting Jun Wu, he had never personally
paid any visits to any other heavenly officials, and never tried to purposely befriend
anyone, treating all as equals within the spiritual communication array. Him taking the
initiative to pay visits was thus a rare occasion. Mu Qing, however, objected, “No.”
Xie Lian turned his head, “Why not?”
“Your Highness, I’ve investigated thoroughly. In truth, these past two years, it’s not just
Yong’an or the western territories that were experiencing a shortage of water, but the
entire Kingdom of Xianle. Only, the eastern territories are close to the sea, have
surrounding lakes and ravines, so it’s not as obvious, and hasn’t become an issue yet.
But overall, the amount of water and rain have significantly decreased compared to
Xie Lian’s eyes widened as Mu Qing continued, “If we really dug a canal or used rain to
move waters from the east to the west, then it may temporarily relieve Yong’an but it
won’t save it completely. It would only be helping them hang on to a thread. At the same
time, the eastern territories can very well fall into disaster.”
Xie Lian’s heart squeezed, “And most of the population of Xianle along with the busiest
places are all in the east, more than three times the size of the west, especially the royal
capital. If drought was to happen there…”
Feng Xin immediately understood too, “The consequences would be way more serious
than Yong’an. A greater number would die!”
Mu Qing nodded, his expression solemn, “There’d be a much bigger riot born from it.”
Xie Lian took a deep breath, “So, is that what Guoshi meant when he said what father
did wasn’t right but wasn’t wrong either? Only that he made a choice.”
“So, Your Highness, that no one went to your temple to pray was a good thing.” Mu Qing
said. “Leave it to his majesty to decide what to do.”
Xie Lian didn’t respond and turned around.
The entire time they walked, everyone he saw were skin and bones, men and children
had their upper bodies bare, rows of ribs visible and clear on their torsos, and the
women bore dead eyes, their faces bereft of life. No one wanted to move; they didn’t
have the energy to move, and everything emitted the disgusting stench of death,
making one want to scream and escape this decaying earth and return to the glory of
the bustling royal capital.
It was a long time before he finally said, “You two stay here and assist me, deliver as
much water as you can. Let me think on this.”
“Fine. Go and think carefully.” Feng Xin said, “Just let me know what to do once you’ve
Xie Lian patted his shoulder, then turned to leave. Behind him, Mu Qing said quietly,
“Your Highness, do think about this carefully. We can help ten days, maybe twenty, but
not one or two years. We can save one hundred lives but not a hundred thousand.
You’re a martial god after all, not the god of water. Even if you were the god of water
you can’t create water from nothing. If we can’t fix the root of this problem, we can’t
keep going like this. We are not strong enough.”
Ch.72: To Meet You in the Mortal Realm; To Find Flowers Beneath the Rain
After hearing what Mu Qing said, Xie Lian paused briefly in his step, but he didn’t turn
back. He waved his hand and continued forward by himself.
When he returned to the Xianle capital, Xie Lian first headed straight for the royal
He didn’t know why he needed to go there since it’s not exactly to see his parents. It
wasn’t only because of the fact that as a heavenly official he was forbidden to reveal
himself to his closest family members, but more so because, in the time he had left
home and in the years that had passed, he didn’t really know how to initiate
conversation with his parents anymore. This was probably the same for every child in
the world. Thus, he concealed himself and haphazardly ran about the palace he was so
familiar with, but his majesty the king was nowhere to be seen until finally, when he
came to the QiFeng Manor his father and mother were found.
The two had just dismissed the palace servants and were chatting between themselves.
The queen sat on the side of the bed. The mask that she was fiddling around with in her
hands was the very one that Xie Lian wore three years ago at the Heavenly Ceremonial
Procession. The shape of the golden mask was carefully molded in Xie Lian’s features,
which was why it had fit him perfectly and comfortably when he had worn it. When it’s
seen by others, the degree of replication was almost frightening. The king chided from
the side, “Stop playing around with that and come give me a head massage.”
Even though the king and the queen put up a front in front of the people, ever since Xie
Lian was little, he had seen clearly that behind the scenes, his parents would bicker like
any other normal married couple. The queen put down the mask as expected and sat
down by the king’s side to help massage his temples. As she was combing through his
hair, she suddenly said, “You’ve more white in your hair again.”
Xie Lian took a closer look. True to his mother’s words, the sides of his father’s hair
were greying and it aged him a few years. He wondered to himself, ‘Didn’t father visit
the Holy Royal Pavilion to pray just a while back? At the time, his hair was still black,
how did it grey so suddenly?’
The queen handed a copper mirror to the king, but he pushed it away, “No need to see.
Just dye it black again next time we go visit Mount Taicang.”
It was then that Xie Lian had realized, ‘His hair didn’t grey only recently! It greyed a long
time ago, it’s just that he dyed it black every time before coming to see me. Yet because
I’ve been too occupied listening to the prayers of my devotee and running about, I rarely
made time to come back and visit which was why I didn’t suspect anything.’
Coming to this conclusion, Xie Lian was filled with guilt. For once he was glad his
parents weren’t able to see him. As the queen massaged the king’s head, she
murmured, “I told you to rest early everyday, yet you never listen to me and even said
that I nag you day and night. Now look at how unseemly you’ve become. If our son sees
you, he definitely wouldn’t want anything to do with you.”
The king huffed, “Ever since your son grew up and his wings had toughened, he
stopped caring about me anyway.” Though he said it in such a manner, he still couldn’t
help but take a peek at the copper mirror by the bedside and muttered, “It’s not that bad,
isn’t it still the same face?”
Xie Lian was speechless. He never realized that his father had this side to him, talking
bad about him behind his back with such a petulant bitterness, he couldn’t help but
smile. The queen laughed, “Okay, okay, it’s not bad. Your health is more important than
the heavens, you should rest early today.”
The King shook his head, “I can’t rest right now. Recently, there’s a number of people
from Yong’an that arrived at the capital. If they want to come that’s fine, but they’ve also
stirred up trouble, making people feel uneasy. It’s a tricky situation.”
It turns out that the reason behind his father’s greying hair was because of the drought
at Yong’an. There was an unspeakable kind of misery in Xie Lian’s heart. The queen
nodded, “I heard from Rong-Er that he met someone from Yong’an today. He said that
the man tried to steal money from the temple, how frightening!”
The king had a wary look in his eyes, “Indeed, it’s shocking. If there were only tens or
hundreds of them, that’s fine, but if a couple hundred thousand of them came and go
rogue all over the capital, then who knows what’s going to happen.”
The queen debated for a while and finally said, “That might not happen. If they follow
the laws and keep to themselves, then let them come.”
The king became agitated, “As the king of a nation, how can I take risk in something
that ‘might not’ happen? Besides, they definitely can’t come over. Looking after a few
more people isn’t as simple as placing a couple more sets of chopsticks down at the
table. There are many complications involved that you don’t understand, so stop
The queen soothed, “Okay, let’s not talk about this anymore. I don’t understand the
things you spoke of to begin with anyway. If only our son was still here. Then he could
at least help take some burden off of you.”
The king scoffed, “Him? What can he do? As long as he doesn’t cause me any more
worries, then that’s already good enough.”
At the mention of Xie Lian, the king seemed to liven up again, “That son of yours, he’s
already ten-something years old, but he was raised like a princess. Even if he knew, it
won’t do any good, he’ll just add more problems to it. It’s best if he stays carefree in the
heavens without knowing anything. Let him do what he wants to do. He’s not the Crown
Prince anymore, there’s no need for him to care about matters in the mortal realm. Let
him fly to his heart’s content.”
Xie Lian listened silently as his father ranted with growing excitement. With a knowing
smile on her face, the queen nudged the king, “Now you call him a princess. Weren’t
you the one who spoiled our princess since he was young? And now you want to blame
it all on me?” She then sighed, “That child is good in everything except for missing
home. Before, when he was studying at the Royal Holy Pavilion, he’d only come back to
visit once every few months. Now that he ascended, it’s even more difficult. We haven’t
seen him once in three years. Who knows when we’ll see him again.”
Hearing her complain, the king stood back on Xie Lian’s side, “How would a woman
know anything? The Guoshi said those were the laws of Heaven, how can we treat him
like a common mortal? If you call your son back, you’d be weighing him down.”
The queen hurriedly explained herself, “I’m only just saying. I won’t make any such
demands when we’re in front of him.” Then she muttered to herself, “It’s not too bad
looking at the statues either; they look pretty much like him, and the statues are
Watching them for so long, Xie Lian felt an ache in his heart and a hard lump lodged in
his throat, making it painful for him to swallow. He couldn’t stay hidden any longer, yet
he couldn’t reveal himself either. It wasn’t because he was afraid of breaking Heaven’s
laws, but rather, even now, he still didn’t know what to say. As for the situation in
Yong’an, he didn’t have any solutions at the moment. If he were to suddenly appear, it
would only cause his parents more agitation and stress.
He dashed out of the royal palace. The moment he was outside, Xie Lian took in a
couple of deep breaths, and it was only then that he was finally able to calm down. He
steadied his heart and pulled himself together, thinking action was better than standing
around sighing, he casted a spell and transformed himself into a plainly dressed young
cultivator. He ran around the capital, digging for information and recorded his finds.
Traversing all over, after a full day of work, he finally got the answers he wanted.
Indeed the water level in all the lakes and rivers within the royal capital of Xianle was
lower than the previous years. Back when he was still at the Royal Holy Pavilion, there
were a few times when he’d snuck down the mountain to play. As he rowed his boat
happily along the largest river that crossed through the Kingdom of Xianle, the water
level at that time was only just a tad short of the levee, yet now, it had dropped several
meters. On top of that, the residents of the city said it’s been like that for a while; it
wasn’t something that happened overnight. Before this, Xie Lian really hadn’t paid
much attention, but now that he had, he was shocked to see all the warning signs. He
had originally hoped there’d be some mistake in Mu Qing’s report and thus decided to
come and see it for himself. But now he can’t deny the fact that Mu Qing had never let
him down before.
Once the situation was confirmed, Xie Lian stood solemnly by the riverside, deep in
contemplation. Pedestrians passed behind from time to time, some nodded and smiled,
others looked on curiously, but most went about happily minding their own business. An
unknown amount of time passed and quietly, clouds gathered from the edge of the
skies; sounds of pitter-patter filled the surroundings. It had started to rain.
Numerous pedestrians on the street looked up to the sky, “So unlucky! It’s raining, let’s
“Yea! How troublesome!”
Plip plop plip plop. Raindrops were beating down on Xie Lian’s face and clothes before
he finally became aware of his surroundings, “It’s raining?”
When the people in the capital saw rain, they would drop everything to find shelter. Little
do they know just how many were dying on the other side of Xianle for a rainstorm like
this to come. A group of people with umbrellas ran past, and when they saw Xie Lian,
alone, getting soaked by the rain, they pulled him along and beckoned, “Young
Cultivator, why aren’t you getting out of this rain? It’s coming down harder!”
Dazed, Xie Lian followed along and ran to seek shelter under a long roof. Not soon after
the group of people tucked away their umbrellas, they broke out in laughter, “Luckily, I
saw the clouds gather when I came out today and grabbed an umbrella, or else I
would’ve really become a drowned rat!”
“It’s been too long since it last rained. The storm is way overdue so it’s going to be a big
“Gosh, see! It really is coming down harder! At this rate, it’s going to turn into a deluge!”
The raindrops were beating down on the ground, splattering outwards. Those people
spoke in such a familiar accent that Xie Lian felt deeply that this was his home; this was
the place he was born and grew up, and those were the citizens he knew.
As the chitter chatter continued, the rain became a little lighter. A few people urged,
“While it’s still light, we should hurry and go!” Right after that, the men opened their
umbrellas and stepped out from under the roof one after another, but Xie Lian still stood
where he was. A couple of them glanced back and after a brief discussion among
themselves, one came over and handed him a worn down umbrella. He offered politely,
“Young Cultivator, are you not able to return home? This rain is quite heavy, why don’t
you take this umbrella.”
Xie Lian snapped out of his daydream, “Thank you very much, but what about you?”
A few people in the group under the rain called out, “We still have a couple of umbrellas
here that we can squeeze under together. Let’s go, let’s go!”
Urged by his companions, the man left the umbrella in Xie Lian’s hand and ran back.
The ‘pa pa’ sounds of their footsteps slowly faded away in the distance as Xie Lian
stood for a while longer, holding onto the umbrella. Suddenly, his eyes caught a glimpse
of an inconspicuous shrine not too far away. He opened his umbrella and walked
towards it in the rain. Upon a closer look, the two sides of the small shrine doors were
written with the verses, ‘Body in abyss; Heart in Paradise’. Turns out that this was a
Shrine of the Crown Prince.
Since eight thousand temples were built within only the span of three years, it was only
natural not every one of them would be as extravagant and breathtaking as the one on
Mount Taicang. Amongst the shrines, there were quite a few that were built by amateurs
to fill the number and generate the excitement. Not only did they lack a Donations Box,
but they also didn’t have any shrine priests. The only things that they had was a clay
statue, a couple of offering plates placed with assorted fruits and refreshments. Those
with kind hearts would come by once in a while to freshen the place a little so that it
could at least pass for a decent shrine.
Well hidden in an area like this was such an inconspicuous Shrine of the Crown Prince.
Without stepping in, Xie Lian could already make out what could be described as a
charmingly tacky Crown Prince statue. Exquisite clothing, a pale, round face with a
slightly pinkish undertone, and a silly smile. The statue looked like a big doll. If it wasn’t
with so much on his mind, he probably would’ve laughed out loud.
In the past three years, Xie Lian had seen three thousand, if not five thousand Crown
Prince statues. There were none that looked exactly like himself, even the most similar
one was still seven points off. As for the rest, they were either too ugly or too beautiful.
A majority of the divine statues of most other heavenly officials were too ugly, and yet,
Xie Lian was the exact opposite. There were some that were beautiful beyond
recognition and to the point where he, himself, was embarrassed. He didn’t really take a
good look at this clay statue to begin with, his eyes had glossed over it quickly, but
unexpectedly, a snow white blur caught his eye and grabbed his attention.
Grasped in the left hand of that crudely made clay Crown Prince statue was a flower,
white as snow.
The pearl white petals, with crystal dew clinging on to it, looked beyond delicate. One
could faintly catch a wisp of its fragrance floating in the air, lovely and endearing. The
signature pose of Crown Prince statue was ‘Sword in One Hand; flower in the Other’.
The said flower that was held in the left hand would, of course, be a finely crafted flower
of gold, flower of gems, flower of jade. However, this was the first time Xie Lian had
seen a real flower clasped within his statue’s hand, and he couldn’t help but lean
forward to get a better look.
After a close examination, he discovered that the Crown Prince statue had probably
held a clay flower once a upon a time. Whether if it fell due to the sculptor’s poor skills
or if someone had intentionally picked it off as some form of a prank, only a small hole
remained in the left fist. That little white flower just so happened to be placed in this
hole. If there was a person that had especially picked a flower to fill the empty space
within this statue, then that person is truly kind-hearted.
Xie Lian’s thoughts came to a halt when he heard a series of hurried footsteps. He
didn’t look back immediately, but instead hid his form. With the umbrella in hand, he
lightly leapt onto the altar, and then turned around to look down. Within the grey fog of
rain, a young boy barged in.
This boy was no older than twelve or thirteen. His dirt-stained, patched clothes were
soaked from head to toe, and his face was covered by filthy bandages. His right fist was
tightly clutching onto his left, as if protecting something important. It was only after he
had entered the shrine did he finally release his hands.
A tiny, single flower as white as snow was sitting in his palms.
Ch.73: To Meet You in the Mortal Realm; To Find Flowers Beneath the Rain 2
Xie Lian made a small sound as if he had just remembered something in the back of his
The face that was wrapped under the layers of bandages inevitably reminded him of the
child he had met three years ago. However, he wasn’t completely sure. Pessimistically
speaking, could that child still be alive three years after escaping from Mount Taicang?
Just then, the young boy came forward. He lifted himself up on tippy-toes and swapped
the flower on the clay statue with the one he had in his hands. From atop the altar, Xie
Lian could see it as clear as day. The petals on this new flower was fuller and even
more delicate. It contained twice as much dew drops and from the strong fragrance, one
could be certain that it was freshly picked. Could it be that the sole reason for this boy to
visit an inconspicuous shrine like this everyday was just to replace the flower with a
Moreover, after offering the flower, the young boy stood in front of the clay Prince
statue. Unlike the others who stubbornly wanted to kneel, he interlocked his fingers, and
silently made a prayer while standing. He had actually followed Xie Lian’s wishes.
It’s been three years. Among all of Xie Lian’s followers that had prayed, there were
officials, nobles, names that travelled across this land, and talents that would even
impress the heaven. Yet the one Xie Lian felt was the most sincere was actually this
child who looked barely over thirteen. Furthermore, it’s a child who had probably been
kicked out of those fancier golden temples simply because of his patched clothing, and
could only come to this kind of shabby, run-down shrine to offer his prayers.
Truly an indescribable sentiment.
Just then, more sounds of wet footsteps came from outside the shrine. A group of
children with umbrellas rowdily ran past. At first, Xie Lian thought that they were only
passing by, but unexpectedly, they circled back again. Acting like they discovered
something extraordinary, one child clapped his hands, “Wow, wow. The ugly monster
got kicked out again!”
Even though the group of kids and the boy in the temple were all around the same age,
every one of them was taller than him and looked as if their parents had fed them well.
There was probably a holiday coming up as all of them were dressed in new clothes
and new shoes. As they splashed around in the puddles playfully by the shrine
entrance, their innocent smiles were full of life and void of any ill intent. It was as if they
didn’t really understand that ‘ugly monster’ were awful words and didn’t think that their
own words would be hurtful. They had probably thought that it was funny. The boy
tightened his fist, but his fist was so small that it wasn’t threatening at all. The kids by
the door teased, “Hey ugly monster, you sleeping in the shrine again tonight? Better
watch out, that ‘mom’ of yours’ gonna beat the living hell outta you when you get home!”
Xie Lian frowned. Under the wrapped bandages, the boy’s one eye flashed with anger,
he raised his fists and yelled, “I don’t have a home!! I don’t have a mom! She’s not my
mom! Get out! Get out! Keep talking and I’m gonna beat the crap outta you!”
Yet the group of kids couldn’t care less. They stuck out their tongues and challenged,
“You dare? Careful we might just tell on your dad again and let him teach you a lesson.”
Some raised their brows and sneered, “Oh right, you don’t have a mom, because your
mom didn’t want you. You don’t have a home, because your family doesn’t want
anything to do with you. That’s why you can only sleep in this pitiful shrine…”
The young boy couldn’t endure it any longer. With a loud cry, he lunged at them.
For such a scrawny kid, he sure could pack a punch. The loud cry had almost sent a
couple of kids running in fear, but the kid that had originally started the fight held his
ground, “What’s there to be scared of?! We have more people!” Upon hearing that, the
ones who wanted to run away returned and joined the fight, pulling at the boy’s hands
and feet. Xie Lian finally couldn’t stand it anymore. With a wave of his hand, an invisible
force shot out of the blue and separated the boys. Immediately after, a powerful wave of
puddle water flew up from the ground and knocked the group of children off their feet.
In the end, they were still kids. After falling to the ground without knowing why and
getting a whole mouthful of muddy water, their new clothes were completely soaked.
Now that they became even filthier and uglier than the kid they made fun of, the happy
laughters from before were replaced with loud wailing. They crawled up from the ground
and ran away sniffling with umbrellas in their hands.
Xie Lian shook his head in disappointment. As a proper martial god whose job was to
ward off evil ghosts and bring protection and peace, this was the first time that he got
tangled in this kind of juvenile dispute. Even though he had chased away the
wrongdoers, he didn’t feel accomplished at all. His gaze returned to the young boy.
During that chaos, the bandages on the boy’s head was yanked off half way. The half
revealed face was swollen with blue and purple bruises. It was obvious that these
weren’t caused by the brawl just now. Before Xie Lian could get a better look, the boy
had already rewrapped his bandages without a word. He sat down by the clay statue’s
feet and hugged his knees close.
Xie Lian had originally wanted come to this Crown Prince shrine to think. He had
planned on summoning Feng Xing and Mu Qing to discuss an important matter, but the
child that he had unexpectedly bumped into had drawn his attention. He sent out a
summoning, then squatted down beside the boy and stared. Not long after, a rumbling
sound came from the boy’s stomach. The offering plate still had a couple of fruits and
sweets. Although they looked dried out and probably wouldn’t taste that good, but it was
better than nothing. Xie Lian picked one and lightly tossed it towards the boy’s body.
Having gotten hit by the fruit, the young boy immediately wrapped his arms around his
head and curled up defensively as if the thing that hit him was a rock and that it would
be followed by more. After a while, he finally looked around and realized it was only a
fruit and that there weren’t anyone nearby. Hesitantly, he picked up the fruit, dusted it off
twice against his clothes, and returned it to the offering plate. Turns out he would rather
endure the hunger than eat the offerings on the plate.
After that, he walked towards the door, looked at the heavy downpour outside of the
shrine as if debating whether to venture out to find food. However, the rain was coming
down too hard. Since he didn’t want to get soaked again, he walked back and curled up
on the ground by the clay statue’s feet.
Just then, Feng Xing and Mu Qing arrived after receiving the call. The two stepped out
from behind the shrine. Feng Xing gloomily said, “Your Highness, how did you find such
a small Crown Prince shrine? Why did you send out a call from here?” When he looked
down he suddenly noticed a curled up figure on the ground that he could’ve almost
stepped on unknowingly, and blurted out, “What the hell is this kid doing here!?”
Mu Qing also looked down, took a good look and immediately asked, “Your Highness, is
this the child that ran from Mount Taicang three years ago?”
Xie Lian shook his head, “I’m not sure. I didn’t know what his name was nor what he
As the three surrounded the unsuspecting child and chatted, the boy on the ground
shifted. As he wiped his face he realize there was blood running down his nose and the
corner of his mouth. Seeing this, Xie Lian felt he couldn’t just do nothing and said, “Let
this child leave first. It’s getting dark. This shrine isn’t a good place to pass the night.”
“Could it be that he has nowhere to go? If that’s the case, then I’m afraid this is the only
place that he could spend the night in.” Feng Xin said.
“He has a home, though the situation at home might not be great.” Xie Lian said, “Even
so, this shrine isn’t any better. If he leaves, then we can find something for him to eat.
This child is also injured.”
Mu Qing spoke up, “Your Highness, please excuse my frankness, but we don’t have
time to bother with these minor things. Did you call us here because you’ve come a
Of all the heavenly officials who resided in the Upper Court, there had never been one
that would accept every prayer from all of their devotees. With countless amount of
followers, if one was to care for every single one of them, it would be exhausting. Which
was why sometimes, they would turn a blind eye to those minor and less impactful
wishes and pretend that they didn’t hear to lessen the workload. Maybe it was due to
Xie Lian’s young age, with a body bursting with energy and passion, that he has yet to
learn about how to properly prioritize and work those things out. After some thought, he
walked towards the entrance of the tiny shrine while carrying the umbrella that was
gifted him earlier by those pedestrians on the street.
Xie Lian slowly opened the umbrella. The falling raindrops beat down on it, creating a
pitter-patter sound. On the ground, the young boy heard the noise and thought that
someone had entered and shifted slightly. But after thinking no one would really bother
with him, he laid back down again. Xie Lian placed the opened umbrella by the
entrance. The young boy had waited for the sound to disappear, but when it didn’t, he
sat up in suspicion to take a look. When he saw a red umbrella leaning against the
ground under the rain like a lonely crimson flower that had bloomed by itself, he froze in
Watching the boy rushing forward to grab the umbrella, Mu Qing lectured, “Your
Highness, you’ve done more than enough here. If you’re too obvious and he finds out, it
would be troublesome.”
Before Xie Lian could reply, the young boy ran back and shouted from behind them,
The three gods almost jumped in surprise and turned around. That boy, cradling the
umbrella in his arms, had an eye red and filled with emotion. He lifted his head and
shouted to the clay statue, “Your Highness! Is that you?!”
Feng Xin didn’t know Xie Lian helped the boy to chase away the other group of kids and
had even chucked a fruit at him prior to this. He mused, “This kid is quite clever, he
actually figured it out.” Mu Qing on the other hand, suspected that something must have
happened before and eyed Xie Lian.
The boy begged, “If you’re here, please, answer my one question!”
From his place high atop the altar, Xie Lian would hear countless pleas of “please
appear before me” every day. When a sound becomes repetitive, it would numb the ear
and eventually fade into the background. Even so, whenever he hears a voice like this,
he couldn’t help but drop matters at hand and perk up his ears. From his side, Mu Qing
cautioned, “Your Highness, just leave it be.”
Xie Lian didn’t speak. The young boy clutched onto the umbrella tightly with both hands,
gritting his teeth, “I’m suffering! Everyday, I wish I’d die. Everyday, I want to kill off
everyone in this world, and then kill myself! I’m living in agony!”
From a boy that couldn’t be older than thirteen, shouting words like “suffering” and “kill
off everyone” sounded almost ridiculous and laughable. However, hidden inside this tiny
body was something explosive; something that nurtured his rage and roar.
Feng Xing scoffed, “What’s wrong with him? ‘Kill everyone in this world’, is that
something a kid could say?”
Mu Qing said flatly, “He’s still young. When he gets older, he’ll know that what he
experiences now is really nothing much.” After a pause he looked at Xie Lian, “There
are too many suffering in this world. Take Yong’an’s drought for example, name one
Yong’an citizen that has it better than him. There’s no need to bother with this, Your
Highness. Let’s focus on our priorities.”
Xie Lian said softly, “Perhaps.”
To another, the suffering of one probably only looked like trivial problems.
The boy was still looking up at the statue. His eye was becoming even redder, yet there
were no tears. With the umbrella in one hand, he reached out with the other and tugged
on the clay statue’s robes, he persisted, “For what should I live for in this world? What
does it mean to live?”
However, his questions were met by silence, not a soul to give him answers. It seemed
that the young boy had expected as much and, slowly, dropped his head.
To his surprise, suddenly, a voice from above broke through the dead silence, “If you
don’t know how to live on anymore, then live for me.”
Next to Xie Lian, both Feng Xin and Mu Qing had not expected him to actually answer,
and such an answer too! Their eyes widened, “… Your Highness?!”
The young boy’s head shot up but there was no one there. Only a soft and gentle voice
came from that clay statue: “I have no answer to the question you asked. However, if
you don’t know the meaning to your life, then make me that meaning, and use me as
the reason to live.“
Feng Xing and Mu Qing’s faces looked as if they were about explode, and both reached
out their hands to smother Xie Lian’s mouth, sputtering, “No more, Your Highness!
You’re violating the rules! The rules!!”
But before they could fully cover up his mouth, Xie Lian managed to shout out, “Thank
you for your flower! It’s beautiful, I like it very much!”
Ch.74: Praying for Rain; The Rain Master Lends the Rain Hat
That young boy was completely and utterly stunned.
Meanwhile Feng Xin and Mu Qing both wished they could grow several more arms and
legs to smother Xie Lian, and with great difficulty, finally pulled him down. Yet, Xie Lian
effortlessly pushed them away and said, “Alright! I’m done! I know I violated the rules,
but you just pretend you’ve heard nothing and all will be well. As long you guys don’t
say anything, no one would know. Just this once. Don’t say anything, you hear me?”
Mu Qing looked like he was forced to eat a sock and shook his head, muttering, “I can’t
believe you… saying something like “live on for me” with such confidence, you’re
Xie Lian didn’t think what he said was much anything, but hearing Mu Qing, now it
sounded like it was quite the something indeed, and he flushed a bright red colour. Feng
Xin immediately frowned, “Enough. His Highness already said not to speak of it, so why
are you still talking about it?” Yet the corners of his lips were twisted. Xie Lian couldn’t
stand it anymore and defended himself, “What, what. What I said clearly worked! Look!”
That young boy sat dazedly for a long while but when no more of Xie Lian’s voices
came, he rubbed hard at his face, reached for the offering plates on the altar, held it in
his arms, and started munching at the dried out fruits and refreshments. He chewed and
chewed vigorously, looking like a small animal both vicious and pitiful. Xie Lian bent
down to watch him, a smile appearing on his face and said to the other two, “You see? It
worked. He refused to eat before, but now he’s eating.”
“Alright, fine. It works. Because you’re a god.” Mu Qing said.
“Right, right. It works. Because you’re a god.” Feng Xin said too.
Xie Lian straightened and became serious once more, “That’s right, I am a god. I called
you both over because I’ve indeed come to a decision.”
In an instant, the relaxed atmosphere turned heavy again. “What do you want us to do?”
Feng Xin asked, while Mu Qing questioned, “Are we still minding this matter?”
“We are. It’s simple.” Xie Lian said, “There’s not enough water in the Kingdom of Xianle,
so we’ll go to the kingdoms outside Xianle.”
“Go to the other kingdoms?” Mu Qing asked, hesitant, “Wouldn’t that be too far? We’d
need to borrow water-creating spiritual devices from some water god, and impose
ourselves in the territories of other heavenly officials. They might not be willing.”
Of course Xie Lian had considered this, “I’m going to give it a shot. It’s still better than
doing nothing. You two stay and continue to watch over Yong’an. Assist the worst
affected areas and I will return to the Heavenly Court. Any problems?”
“No problems. I’ve got your back.” Feng Xin said.
Mu Qing gave it a thought and questioned, “Then what about all the prayers from the
devotees at the Temple of the Crown Prince, Your Highness?”
“I was going to get to that.” Xie Lian replied, “Pick out the important ones and take care
of them for me. The not so dire ones can wait.”
Mu Qing didn’t look too optimistic but still acknowledged, “You’re the Crown Prince, we’ll
listen to you. But, I’d advise not to let them wait too long.”
Xie Lian patted their shoulders. Feng Xin and Mu Qing bowed then departed, leaving
only Xie Lian and that child in that small shrine. Xie Lian exited the shrine, took a glance
back but didn’t stay another moment longer, rushing straight for the Heavenly Court.
Initially, he was going to pay a visit to the few heavenly officials that controlled water, but
strangely, a number of them were all away from the Heavenly Court, and only the Rain
Master, who didn’t reside in the heavens, was around. Xie Lian was hurrying about
down the streets of the court and bumped into a black clad woman official with a
number of scrolls in her arms. She smiled, “Your Highness, you’re finally back.”
Xie Lian immediately asked, “Nangong, you’ve come in the nick of time. Do you know
where the Rain Master’s residence is located?”
This black clad woman was named Nangong Jie, a low-ranking civil official from the
Middle Court. After Xie Lian had ascended, much of the grunt work and errands were
taken care of by her. This individual was well-informed of news and handled affairs well,
so Xie Lian thought well of her.
“The Lord Rain Master’s new palace hasn’t finished construction yet, so the current
residence is temporarily situated at the Kingdom of Yushi in the South.” Nan Gong Jie
said. She gave him the address to the Rain Master residence then added, “Why are you
looking for the Lord Rain Master?”
“For an urgent business. Thanks for your help.” Xie Lian said and was about to leave,
but turned back and cleared his throat, sounding embarrassed, “Nangong, you’re more
familiar with the heavenly officials of the Upper Court. Can you tell me if the Lord Rain
Master… likes anything?”
Usually, when a newly appointed heavenly official ascended, the clever ones would pay
a visit to all the palaces of every official and greet them with gifts as a form of social
salutation. This was pretty much an unspoken rule, but Xie Lian ascended too suddenly,
and when he first arrived no one taught him. It was only afterwards that Guoshi
reminded him, but by then it was already too late, and things would become awkward.
Also, something like this felt too much like backhanded bribery, and as a Crown Prince,
Xie Lian didn’t appreciate the practice, so in the end he decided to just go about things
naturally, hoping for a chance to build relationships with the other officials through more
It was an admirable act, but now he’d turned back on it and proactively asked after what
a heavenly official would like, sounding quite obvious like he was about to bribe
someone. However, he had no other choice. The other gods who resided at the
Heavenly Court at least communicated through the spiritual communication array, and
that would make negotiation much easier. The Rain Master was involved in none of
such interactions, so for a first visit, Xie Lian didn’t want people to misunderstand he’d
be borrowing spiritual devices for nothing.
Nangong Jie immediately understood. “Regrettably, I’m afraid I can’t help Your Highness
in this. The Lord Rain Master is quite low-key, and not just me, but there’s probably no
one in the entire heavenly realm who knows this lord’s personal interests. Sorry.”
Xie Lian reddened, “No worries, don’t take it to heart. Thanks.”
Nangong Jie added, “But, if my lord has anything the matter, it won’t hurt to pay a visit
directly. By the Lord Rain Master’s temper, you might still very well be received.”
Xie Lian thanked her again, and followed her direction going southward, arriving at the
temporary residence of the Rain Master.
It was a small village, the mountains green and the waters clear, a land of picturesque
scenery, but Xie Lian had no mind to appreciate it. He crossed through the ridges of
fields and finally saw a stone slate with the word ‘Rain’ engraved on it. This means, after
passing the stone slate, it’d be the temporary domain of the Rain Master, and those
working within should all be the Rain Master’s subordinates. But as Xie Lian walked, it
was only lush green fields all around. In the fields were oxen mooing, mills turning,
assiduous farmers planting rice, and next to the fields was a small, crooked thatched
cottage. There was no trace nor signs of divinity, and Xie Lian wondered if he’d gone in
the wrong direction. Wasn’t this only an impoverished, small farming village?
While he was doubting himself, a black ox from a field further away suddenly moo-ed
twice, stood back on its hind legs, the fore legs stretched, and it helped itself remove the
plow from its back. That strong and solid body narrowed, that long oxen snout shrank,
and within a blink of an eye, it had transformed into a barebacked farmer from a buff
That farmer was tall and strong, his muscles well defined, his expression stubborn, and
his nose had a steel nose ring hooked through like that of an ox, a long weed hanging
from his lips. The other farmers witnessed this extraordinary transformation but
continued to work like it was nothing. Thus, Xie Lian concluded that no one there was
mortal and approached, raising his hands and folding them into a polite fist, “Fellow
cultivator, may I inquire if this is the temporary residence of the Lord Rain Master?”
That black ox farmer pointed to the field bank across and replied, “Yea. The Lord Rain
Master lives there.”
Xie Lian looked around several times before confirming that in the pointed direction,
there was indeed only that thatched cottage that looked like it would topple by a mere
breeze and for sure leaked on a rainy day.
Even his most shabby, decrepit shrines looked more solid than that little cottage. Xie
Lian was full of wonder. They said the Lord Rain Master was of a royal descendant like
himself from the Kingdom of Yushi, and it was for this very reason that he didn’t bring
any precious gems or rare treasures as a greeting gift, thinking perhaps the Rain Master
felt the same way he did in regards to those things, which was disdain. Why such
destitution after ascension? Maybe it was another form of cultivation?
Without forgetting his manners, Xie Lian thanked the farmer and approached the little
cottage, calling with a loud and clear voice, “Lord Rain Master, please forgive this Prince
of Xianle for making this abrupt visit without prior notice.”
There was no response from within the cottage, and that farmer came forward, hauling
the plow, “Oh? You’re that Crown Prince who ascended at the age of seventeen?”
“Regrettably.” Xie Lian said.
“It’s nothing regrettable. It’s the truth.” That farmer said, “But, the Lord Rain Master
doesn’t like meeting people and was even injured recently, so I’m afraid you won’t be
Hearing this, Xie Lian felt disappointed but still wanted to keep trying, “Then may I ask
you to pass on a message for me? I have an urgent request. However, if the Lord Rain
Master should feel inconvenienced by it I won’t push.”
That farmer chuckled, “No need to pass on word, we all know why you’re here. Feels
bad, right? Having no water in Xianle.”
Xie Lian was taken aback, “You know about the affairs of Xianle?”
“Of course I know.” That farmer said, “It’s not just us here in this shoddy mountain
ravine, at present, who doesn’t know that catastrophe is about to befall your Kingdom of
Xianle? You don’t know anything about your own affairs, but everyone else watching
closely understands what’s going on better than you yourself, and they’re probably all
enjoying the show, haha. You’re here to borrow the Rain Master’s spiritual device for
disaster aids, right?”
Those were enlightening words. It was only then did Xie Lian realize, it wasn’t that those
heavenly officials in the Upper Court were all gone at the same time, they all had known
what his intentions were, and purposely shut their doors or left a long time ago to avoid
him, not wanting to get pulled into his mess. He sighed, thinking, ’Should I maybe really
have paid everyone’s palaces a visit at the beginning so it’d be easier to find
cooperation amongst my peers going forward?’
It was a depressing thought. He responded in a small voice, “That’s right. If it’s
inconvenient for the Rain Master, I won’t be bothersome.”
However, that farmer said, “Why not be bothersome? Because it’s shameful? This
relates to the survival of your kingdom, shouldn’t you cause trouble and annoy us to
death? Is it so hard to lower yourself a little? Young people shouldn’t be so easily
unnerved. Let me say something unpleasant: should the Lord Rain Master help it’s an
account of kindness, if not, it’s on the account of duty. Lending the device to you would
be based on mood, if not, you can’t complain after either.”
Xie Lian knew what he said made sense, but with such a dire situation at hand plus his
unfriendly tone, a wave of anger rolled up and he held his head higher, sounding grave,
“I understand everything you’re saying, and I would never complain behind anyone’s
back, so why must you predetermine how I am? I said I won’t be bothersome simply
because I don’t want to do anything pointless and cause trouble for Lord Rain Master at
the same time. But if the Lord Rain Master doesn’t feel inconvenienced and I can
borrow the spiritual device so long as I am bothersome, then it’d be nothing for me to
offer up all eight thousand of my temples and kowtow one hundred times.”
That farmer laughed out loud, “Angry? Temper of a child. Here!”
He made a throw; Xie Lian raised his hand and caught a verdant bamboo hat, the very
one that farmer had on his back.
“What’s this?” Xie Lian asked.
“That thing you wanted to borrow.” That farmer said, “The Lord Rain Master already
asked me to pass this to you before you came. Use it carefully. If you break it we won’t
Xie Lian’s eyes widened, “Why?”
“Didn’t I already tell you why?” That farmer said, “Lending it to you was based on mood.
Other heavenly officials won’t help you, so the Lord Rain Master just had to help you.
Whatever the Lord Rain Master wants to do it shall be done.”
“THANK YOU SO MUCH! THANK YOU!!” Xie Lian cried.
That farmer added, “Don’t be too happy so soon, Your Highness. The Lord Rain Master
may have ascended before you, but there aren’t as many devotees, therefore not as
powerful as you, and plus there are recent injuries. Other than lending you that thing,
the rest is all up to you. Distant waters cannot quench nearby thirst; that Rain Master
Hat can only move rain but not create water. There’s not enough water in your Xianle,
so you must borrow from other kingdoms, and they may not be willing. Only the
Kingdom of Yushi has an abundant collection over the years, and rather wealthy in that
Xie Lian was more than clear just how difficult it was to lend your own spiritual device to
a stranger. He bowed deeply to that thatched cottage, “That the Lord Rain Master would
lend a helping hand, I am profoundly grateful. I will not forget this kindness; should there
be anything I can do to help in the future, pray the Lord Rain Master not hesitate to ask
for me. Farewell!”
With the spiritual device in hand, Xie Lian immediately found a lake in the south, ladled
a large quantity of lake water with the Rain Master Hat, crossed thousands of miles and
returned to Yong’an in Xianle. He found that worst affected village, the Bay of Lang Er,
and flipped that bamboo hat from the clouds.
Soon after, a small bout of rain fell from the sky. Xie Lian jumped off the clouds, landing
both feet on the ground. Those half-dead villagers could not believe their eyes; some
rushed out of their doors to cheer under the rain, and some hurriedly brought out
buckets of all different sizes to collect the water.
Seeing this, Xie Lian sighed a breath of relief, and finally revealed a smile. Just then, he
heard a voice call out from afar, “Your Highness!”
He turned his head and saw Mu Qing appear from behind a tree, his face dark. Seeing
his gloomy expression, Xie Lian knew something was wrong. “What is it? Did something
Ch.75: Closing the Capital Gates; Survival of Yong’an Barred
“Your Highness, what took you so many days?” Mu Qing asked.
Xie Lian was taken aback, “Did I leave for very long?”
Traveling all over, through the heavens and the earth, scooping lake water, mounting
clouds and making rain, all without care for day or night, Xie Lian hadn’t realized just
how much time had passed.
“It’s been several days!” Mu Qing said, “The prayers from all the devotees at the Temple
of the Crown Prince have piled up into a mountain.”
Just then, Xie Lian felt the rain fading and extended a hand, “Didn’t I tell you both to
take care of the important ones first?”
“The ones we can take care of have all been sorted.” Mu Qing replied, “But… But there
are too many prayers that we haven’t the right to take over. That’s why I asked Your
Highness not to let them wait too long, and hurry back.”
When he finished, the rain stopped at the same time. This bout of rain lasted much
shorter than Xie Lian had expected, and he felt his heart sinking. As the clouds
dispersed, a verdant bamboo hat fluttered down, and Xie Lian caught it with both his
hands. “But do you see this situation? I can’t get away either.”
Mu Qing frowned, “Your Highness, you were able to borrow the Rain Master’s spiritual
device? Where did the water come from?”
“The Kingdom of Yushi from the south.” Xie Lian replied.
“That far?” Mu Qing said, “How much power does that sap from you for moving water
just the once? And if every bout of rain is this small in size and quantity, if you keep this
up, how will you manage to answer your followers’ prayers?”
Even without him saying it out loud Xie Lian knew. He’s a martial god, and the devotees
to the Temple of the Crown Prince were his foundation, the source of his spiritual
powers. What he was doing was no different than abandoning his base, and if he wasn’t
careful, both sides would suffer. But what else could be done other than what he was
“I know.” Xie Lian said, “But if things go on like this and a riot breaks out in Yong’an, the
Temple of the Crown Prince would also be affected sooner or later.”
“It’s already breaking out!” Mu Qing said.
Xie Lian was shocked, “What?!”
After hearing Mu Qing’s report, Xie Lian rushed back to the royal capital of Xianle. Just
as he’d come to the Heavenly Martial Avenue, there just so happened to be a band of
royal guards, decked in full armour, sharp weapons in hand, walking over with a group
of detained, unkempt men with shackles on both their hands and around their necks.
Citizens crowded on both sides of the road, each face full of rage. Feng Xin gripped his
black bow, tense and ready, as if prepared for any sudden riots. Xie Lian cried, “Feng
Xin! Who’re the detainees? What crime did they commit? Where are they taking them?”
Hearing his voice, Feng Xin stomped over, “Your Highness! They’re all people of
There were over ten of those men, all tall and gaunt, their skins slightly dark. Behind the
soldiers trailed a few old men and a number of anxious women and children. “The ones
following behind are too?” Xie Lian questioned.
“They all are.” Mu Qing replied.
Turns out, in the past several months at the height of the drought in Yong’an, many of
the residents uprooted and escaped to the east in waves. When it was only some ten
people it wasn’t obvious, but the flow was endless, and by now there were more than
five hundred people. When five hundred people gather, it became quite the sight.
Those people of Yong’an were strangers to the land, had nothing to their names, and
the moment they opened their mouths their dialects would give them away, so when
they arrived at a strange bustling city, naturally they all stuck together for warmth. Thus,
they looked all over the royal capital and finally found an uninhabited green field.
Overjoyed, they thus built sheds and huts as temporary shelters.
Unfortunately, although that green field was uninhabited, to those of the royal capital, it
was a field of leisure. The people of Xianle had an indulgent culture, and those of the
royal capital lead in that lifestyle. When free, many would take walks, dance, practice
the art of the sword, sing poetry, paint, and gather at that green field. As for Yong’an,
sitting at the west of Xianle, suffered an impoverished land and had always been poor,
so the temper and culture of those citizens were completely opposite compared to that
of the royal capital. Thus, those of the royal capital often believed themselves the purer
of Xianle blood. And now, with their land of elegance overtaken by a large number of
refugees, cooking herbs, crying, doing laundry, starting fires, and the stench of leftovers
and sweat filling the air, it made many nearby residents recoil with disgust, their
Some of the Yong’an elderly leaders understood the situation in their hearts too, and
had wanted to move elsewhere. Yet, the royal capital was already heavily populated; no
matter where they go it was full of people, and there weren’t anywhere else that could
settle so many, nevermind all the wounded, sick, old, and children. It wasn’t easy to
move, so they boldly and carefully clung on to that field. As much as the people of the
royal capital were displeased, they were still all citizens of the same country, for the
sake that it was a disaster, they tolerated the strangers’ presence.
Xie Lian listened to the report to this point when that band of soldiers brought those
Yong’an men to the mouth of the marketplace, shouting, “KNEEL!”
Each of those men looked angrily incredulous, but sabres at their throats, they had no
choice but to kneel. After the onlooking crowd of the royal capital saw the men kneeled
in unison, some sighed, some relieved. “According to your report, both sides have
tolerated each other, so what’s going on today?” Xie Lian asked.
Before Feng Xin and Mu Qing could answer, a woman started screeching from the
crowd, “YOU BARBARIC THIEVES! NEVERMIND YOUR STICKY FINGERS! BEATING
MY HUSBAND LIKE THIS, HE CAN’T EVEN GET UP ANYMORE! IF ANYTHING
HAPPENS TO HIM I’LL HAVE YOU PAY!”
Next to her a number of people were trying to comfort her, and some pointed their
fingers in reproach, “Don’t you know to mind yourselves when you’re in other people’s
“Yea, you’re a guest in our homes, and yet you crudely steal!”
One of the young men in shackles finally couldn’t take it anymore and argued back, “We
already said it wasn’t us who stole! We didn’t throw the first punch either! Besides,
we’ve got wounded on our side too…” An elder shouted, “Stop talking!”
That young man shut his mouth angrily. Feng Xin explained, “A dog went missing in the
royal capital, and because there was a case where a child of Yong’an stole and ate
someone’s duck from hunger, so there were a lot of assumption that the dog was stolen
and eaten by those of Yong’an too. A mob went to interrogate, and soon started a
Xie Lian was incredulous, “A riot over just a dog? And they detained that many people?”
“Yes, over a dog.” Feng Xin said, “It’s gotten this big because both sides had been
putting up with each other for too long, and anything small becomes big. Both sides
swore the other started it first, that it’s the other’s fault, and this mess of a fight
somehow grew bigger and bigger.”
One of the leading soldiers proclaimed, “Violent aggregates shall be severely punished!
You are all shackled for a public demonstration, any further crimes are forbidden!” He
stood down after, and the next second, many started chucking and throwing lettuce
leaves and rotten eggs at those men of Yong’an. The old men that trailed behind started
bowing to the crowd all over, crying “We apologize, everyone, we apologize.” “Please
have mercy, have mercy!”
Xie Lian thought this whole thing was making a mountain out of a molehill, utterly
ridiculous, but he could also somewhat understand. “So in the end did they steal? Did
they find that dog?”
Feng Xin shook his head, “Who knows. Who can find anything if the bones were
cleaned out and thrown away? But judging by their faces, I don’t think they stole it.”
However, verdicts from the soldiers of the royal capital would naturally be partial to the
royal capital citizens. Stolen or not, there was a brawl, and so the fault must lie with
those from Yong’an. Especially since the men of the royal capital loved to play around
but weren’t as tough as the men of Yong’an, so this brawl must’ve ended in shame,
creating more awkwardness between the two peoples. Xie Lian shook his head, gave
the crowd a sweeping look, and suddenly noticed that in that row of Yong’an men, there
was a young man in the middle with his head drooped, whose face looked familiar. It
was that young man from the woods, Lang Ying.
Xie Lian was stunned. Just then, someone nearby complained, “How come I feel there’s
been more and more from Yong’an in the royal capital in the recent months? And now
they dare pick fights.”
“No way, are they all coming over?”
Another merchant gestured his hands wildly, “His majesty the king won’t allow it! My
house was robbed by Yong’an thieves just the other day. If they all came over, there’d
Hearing this, Lang Ying, who had kept his head low letting all the groceries be freely
thrown at him, suddenly looked up, “Did you see it?”
That merchant hadn’t expected to actually be spoken to and responded without thinking,
“Yong’an thieves robbing your house. Did you see them with your own eyes?”
“…I didn’t see with my own eyes, but it’s always been peaceful before, and only after
you all have arrived was I robbed, so how does it have nothing to do with you?” That
Lang Ying nodded, “I see. I understand. Before we came, you guys were the ones
stealing, and after we arrived, we became the thieves…”
Before he finished, a rotten persimmon came flying at him and smashed against the
side of his lips, making him look as if he vomited a large bloody blossom. That merchant
burst out laughing, and Lang Ying’s eyes dimmed. He closed his mouth and stopped
Xie Lian softened the sharp rocks being thrown at the young men, ensuring that they
wouldn’t be severely injured. This public humiliation continued until evening, and only
when the onlooking citizens gradually dispersed did the soldiers felt it was enough, and
unlocked the shackles, warning them never to cause any more troubles, otherwise
they’d be severely punished, etc., etc. The elders bowed deeply repeatedly with
apologetic smiles, promising to never violate any more rules, however, Lang Ying,
lifeless, walked away by himself. Xie Lian watched his lone figure, caught the right
moment, and appeared in a flash from behind a tree, blocking his path.
The minute he appeared, that young man’s eyes sharpened, and in that instant, it was
as if he was going to choke Xie Lian dead. A flash of a second later, after having seen
clearly who it was before him, he tucked away the hand that was ready to attack. “It’s
Xie Lian had transformed back into the form of that young cultivator. He was startled by
Lang Ying, whose hand almost attacked him. He thought to himself, ‘This man is
strong.’ He spoke up, “I gave you that pearl, so why didn’t you take it back to Yong’an?”
Lang Ying gazed at him, “My son is here. I’m here too.” After a pause, he took out that
coral pearl from his belt, “Did you want this back? Here.”
The extended hand that held the pearl still had marks of those shackles. After some
silence, Xie Lian didn’t take it. “Go back. The Bay of Lang Er rained today.” He pointed
to the sky, “Tomorrow! There will be rain again, I promise. It’s for certain.”
But Lang Ying shook his head, “It doesn’t matter if it rains or not. There’s no going
Watching his back as he walked away, Xie Lian was left dumbfounded, and only felt
Before he ascended, it was like he had not a cloud of worry. Whatever he wanted to do,
it would be done. Who knew after ascension, all of a sudden he was surrounded by
incessant worries. Both worries of others and his own. Had it always been this hard to
get something done? He had never felt so lacking, so powerless. Xie Lian sighed and
turned to leave too. There were a mountain of prayers waiting to be answered by him at
the Temple of the Crown Prince.
Yet, he wasn’t the one with the most frustration. It was the king.
The worry of the King of Xianle had become reality. Those five hundred some refugees
of Yong’an were only the beginning.
With the borrowed Rain Master Hat in hand, Xie Lian ran back and forth between the
north and the south unceasingly, and created rain by his own power. Yet every bout of
rain would use up an immense amount of spiritual power and five to six days worth of
time. If it wasn’t him, there might not be another who could keep this up. Of course, with
the exception of Jun Wu. However, the Heavenly Martial Emperor ruled over a far
greater land than he, and the number of devotees and domains to care for were
significantly more than that of Xianle, so how could Xie Lian possibly ask Jun Wu for
help and distract him? On top of that, each bout of rain could only wet a small area of
Yong’an, lasting but a short while, so even if there was some relief, it couldn’t fix the root
of the problem.
Thus, after a month, the people of Yong’an officially started to migrate to the east in
droves. At first it was only bands of ten something people. Now, it was hundreds,
thousands, massive hordes that flocked together, streaming like the river.
After another month, the King of Xianle promulgated a new decree: Due to endless
disputes and incessant conflicts of recent months, for the sake of peace within the royal
capital, as of that day, all Yong’an refugees must leave the city. Everyone will be given a
set amount of travel expenses to help settle elsewhere.
Before the massive, teeming horde of migrating Yong’an refugees, the grand gates to
the royal capital of Xianle closed.
●MXTX Author Notes: Please note this is a civil war between a provincial capital
and the royal capital of one country, with many impoverished towns in between
Ch.76: Closing the Capital Gates; Survival of Yong’an Barred 2
“OPEN THE GATES!”
“LET US IN!”
The soldiers backed into the fortress city and pushed shut the thousand tonned gate.
The people that were expelled by the soldiers outside came rushing back towards it like
black water tide, slapping on the doors. On top of the towers the soldiers roared, “BACK
AWAY! LEAVE! TAKE YOUR TRAVEL EXPENSES AND GO, EASTWARD, DON’T
However, the Yong’an refugees had turned their backs to their hometowns, fled their
lands, and arrived already to the one capital that was closest in distance. The gates to
the royal capital closed on them, but if they wanted to survive, they must go around the
fortress city and walk a even farther distance, to the cities further east.
Yet the journey to the royal capital was already arduous and rough, crossing through
thousands of obstacles, many were already wounded or dead, so how could they have
any more energy to continue on? Even if they were all given travel expenses, rations
and water, how many more days could they hang on on the road?
Each of their faces were ashen, some dragging their household goods, some carried
babies on their backs, some holding stretchers. They held each other up, some lying on
the ground, unable to move anymore, and others simply sat. Fields and fields of them
remained before the fortress walls. Some younger men still had the energy to be
enraged, banging on the doors yelling, “YOU CAN’T DO THIS! YOU’RE GONNA KILL
“WE’RE ALL CITIZENS OF XIANLE, YOU CAN’T JUST KILL US OFF LIKE THIS!”
One of the men yelled until his voice was hoarse, “You can kick us out, it doesn’t matter
I won’t stay, but can you at least take my wife and my children? Please?!!”
They were like ants crawling on a tree; the fortress city gates remained unmoved.
Xie Lian stood on top of the tower. His white robes fluttering in the wind, and he crossed
the parapet to watch below. Outside the royal capital, there were endless heads, black
and squirming, dense and tightly knit, very much like swarms of ants he used to see
when he played in the royal gardens in his younger years.
Back then, out of curiosity, he looked closer and extended a finger wanting to poke at
them secretly, but there was immediately an attendant who cried out, “Your Highness!
Those things are dirty, you can’t touch! Don’t touch!” and with her dress lifted, she ran
over hurriedly and squished all the ants under her foot.
When those ants were alive, other than a dense swarm there wasn’t much to look at,
and after having been squished into something less than mudpiles, there wasn’t
anything left to look at.
Yet within the royal capital walls, lights filled millions of homes, sounds of music wafting
in the air. This one fortress wall separated two completely different worlds.
Nevermind that the Yong’an refugees who arrived after were kept out, even the ones
that were already settled within were expelled. Although harsh, Xie Lian could
somewhat understand this was because there were more and more friction between the
Yong’an refugees and the royal capital residents in the recent months. To keep such
men inside the city walls, there could very well be collusion inside and out, causing
However, just one thing he felt still had room for negotiation, and he spoke out loud
absentmindedly, “Why must the women and the vulnerable be expelled too? There are
some who couldn’t walk much further.”
Feng Xin and Mu Qing were waiting on him just behind. Mu Qing replied, “If they must
be expelled, then they must all be expelled. Everyone must be treated equally; there
mustn’t be any favouritism, lest people be provoked: How come they could stay and not
“You think so much.” Feng Xin commented.
Mu Qing said flatly, “There are very well people who would think like this. Besides, if the
wives and children remain, then the men wouldn’t want to go too far either. They would
return sooner or later. Keeping people in the city is keeping future problems.”
Those Yong’an refugees refused to leave, so the soldiers on the towers couldn’t leave
either. “Humph! Suit yourselves!”
Since the king made the command, did they think just sitting there loitering would do
anything? They could loiter for one or two days, but hardly a month or two, or a year or
The soldiers and residents of the royal capital all believed in this. Some of the Yong’an
refugees hopelessly accepted their fate, and decided to gamble traveling eastward. But
such numbers were few. Most still sat stubbornly by the fortress gates, hoping the royal
capital would open their doors to them, at the very least give them somewhere to rest
before journeying onwards. When new refugees arrived, although disappointed in
seeing the closed city gates, when they saw so many still keeping watch, they joined the
Thus, after several days, there were more and more gathered outside the city gates,
almost a million people had settled and built temporary shelters, forming a impressive
and curious sight. They used the rations and water given by the king to hold on, but they
were almost at their limits too.
This limit was crossed on the fifth day.
Those past five days, Xie Lian had divided each day into three: one third devoted to the
followers at the Temple of the Crown Prince, one third for moving water and creating
rain, and one third for caring for the Yong’an citizens outside the city walls. Even with
Feng Xin and Mu Qing helping, sometimes Xie Lian felt the weight of those
responsibilities. The spirit was willing but the flesh was weak. That day, it just so
happened to be a time when he wasn’t guarding outside the city walls, under the
scorching sun, there was suddenly a wail outside the gates.
The wailing came from a couple holding their child in their arms. Many came forward to
see, “What’s wrong with the child?” “Hungry or thirsty?” And soon, a shout, “Everyone
come share some water here! This child’s not looking too good!”
That woman sobbed as she fed water to her red faced child, but all the water was
thrown back up. The father said, “I don’t know what’s going on, He’s sick. A doctor! We
need a doctor!”
Carrying his son, he ran to the gates and started slapping the doors, “OPEN UP! HELP!
SOMEONE’S DYING! MY SON’S DYING!”
Naturally the soldiers within didn’t dare to open the gates. Whether if someone was
actually dying, there were hundreds of thousands outside. If they opened up there’d be
no closing the gates, so instead they reported to the officers higher up. The weather
was hot, and the heat was making the soldiers standing watch the past days cranky.
They said apathetically, “Give him some water and food.” Thus, they used a rope, hung
some water and food and lowered it down.
“Thank you, thank you my lords and brothers, but we don’t want water and food. Can
you help us find a doctor?” That man said.
This made things difficult. They couldn’t let him in to find a doctor and they certainly
couldn’t lower a doctor down the city walls. Who knows what those starving refugees
would do once the doctor got outside. Thus, those high ranking officers replied,
“Nevermind. Ignore them, they can’t die. If they ask again then tell them the message
has been sent through to request a response from the king.”
The king had been deeply troubled by the Yong’an matters and easily angered the past
many days, and naturally no one really dared bother him with such a small thing. The
soldiers responded accordingly and that man, feeling relieved, thanked them profusely,
thanked his majesty, and knelt to kowtow multiple times. Yet, hours upon hours passed,
shadows under the scorching sun moved from one end to the other, but the asked-for
doctor still hadn’t appeared, and the temperature of that child in their arms was growing
The arms of that couple holding their child were trembling, and that man was covered in
cold sweat, mumbling, “Will anyone come? Will anyone open the gates?”
Finally, they couldn’t wait any longer, and yelled to the towers, “Officers! My apologies,
but I want to ask… Where’s the doctor?”
A soldier responded, “We’re waiting for a formal response from the king. Wait for a while
Some citizens couldn’t sit still anymore: “They said that four hours ago, so why hasn’t
anyone come yet?”
The soldiers heeded their superiors’ command and ignored them after responding. The
crowd under the fortress walls was furious, forlorn, and distressed. They surrounded the
child and started wondering in doubt, “Did they actually pass on the message to his
majesty? They’re not lying to us, are they?”
The father of that child couldn’t wait any longer, and hardened his heart, tied the child to
his back and turned to his wife to say a few last words. That woman removed a
protection charm from around her neck and put it around her husband’s neck. That man
ran towards the city wall, and started to try and scale it.
The city wall was smooth, built to make climbing difficult, and after grabbing at it a few
times, he still couldn’t climb up.The rest of the men called out, “Let me help you!” And
they pushed him up. A crowd of ten something men, stacked themselves into a human
pyramid, and helped deliver him higher upon the wall. There, that man managed to grab
on to the rope that was used to lower water and food, and he continued to climb. At the
bottom, hundreds of thousands watched anxiously, not daring to cheer for him, scared
they might be discovered.
The soldiers on top of the towers had been standing watch for many days and the
Yong’an refugees hadn’t start anything, so they were fairly lax in their watch. It wasn’t
until that man had reached halfway did they notice with a start someone pressing close
onto the wall. They shouted, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! NO CLIMBING! CLIMBERS
WILL BE KILLED WITHOUT MERCY! DO YOU HEAR ME? CLIMBERS WILL BE
KILLED WITHOUT MERCY!”
Under their threat, that man also shouted back, “I DON’T HAVE ANY ILL INTENTIONS!
I JUST WANT TO BRING MY CHILD TO THE DOCTORS, I WON’T DO ANYTHING
ELSE!” He continued scaling the wall as he shouted. One of the superior officers was
just having his meal, and hearing of this he became outraged. If that man was to scale
the wall safely and set an example, wouldn’t many more Yong’an refugees attempt the
same? He must be stopped! Thus, he strode out, and shouted down the parapet,
“DON’T YOU VALUE YOUR LIFE? GO BACK DOWN THIS INSTANT! IF YOU DON’T
YOU’LL BE SORRY!”
Yet that man had already reached high on the wall, past half way, and just one more
push he’d be able to reach the top, so naturally he didn’t stop. That superior officer
never had anyone disobey him like this, his words were law. Whoever disobeyed was
easy enough to take care of though. He approached the parapet, pulled his sword and
struck, and that rope snapped into two.
With the snapped rope in hand, that man fell from mid air. In the midst of thousands
screaming, he landed heavily on the hard ground before the city gates.
That was the moment Xie Lian arrived.
That man had fallen with his backside down, and on his back was his child. WHUMP
and the child was crushed into a clump of ground meat, spraying blossoms of blood.
That man’s neck was broken, his eyes bulging, and around his twisted neck rolled a
protection charm with the words ‘Xianle’ written on it, embroidered with golden threads
– it was the protection charm from the Temple of the Crown Prince.
The moment before he started to climb, that man and his wife both held that protection
charm in their hands and silently prayed for the blessings of His Highness the Crown
Prince, which was how Xie Lian heard their voices and rushed over.
Nevertheless, he was not a hero from any of those legends written in books, and could
in no way appear right before the executioner dropped their axes, and save lives from
under knives. That woman didn’t even have the courage to flip her husband’s dead
body to check on the condition of her son; she covered her face and screamed, and
without looking, dashed forward madly, and bashed her head against the wall. CRACK,
and she dropped, her body limp.
Right before Xie Lian’s eyes, in the flash of a second, three dead bodies piled before
the city gates of the royal capital!
He hadn’t had time to react before the crowd outside the city gates were riled up, unable
to hold back any longer.
Someone yelled, ‘DEAD! A FAMILY OF THREE, ALL DEAD! LOOK, THAT’S THE
GOOD OL’ OFFICER WORKING FOR HIS MAJESTY! HE WON’T SAVE US, BUT
INSTEAD IS FORCING OUR DEATHS!”
“YOU WON’T LET US IN BUT YOU WON’T LET ANYONE OUT EITHER, WHAT
SHOULD WE HAVE DONE? THREE BLOODY LIVES ARE NOW ON YOUR HANDS!”
“YOU SAID TO EXPEL ALL YONG’AN REFUGEES FROM THE ROYAL CAPITAL BUT
HOW COME I DON’T SEE ANY OF THE RICH ONES EXPELLED? SO US THE POOR
AND POWERLESS DESERVE TO DIE? I’VE SEEN THROUGH YOU!”
“I CAN’T STAND IT ANYMORE… I REALLY CAN’T. YEAR AFTER YEAR WE PAID
OUR TAXES BUT NOW THERE’S A DISASTER WHERE DID ALL THAT MONEY
“RATHER THAN AIDING DISASTER VICTIMS DID ALL THE MONEY GO TO
PARASITES AND BUILDING YOUR SON’S TEMPLES? JUST THIS BIT OF FOOD
AND RATIONS TO SHUT US UP? WHAT DO YOU TAKE US FOR? USELESS KING!
The soldiers on top of the towers were yelling down at the crowd for them to stop, but
that officer had seen much in his lifetime, and didn’t take any of it seriously. Yet, the
situation was slowly losing control. Thousands and hundreds of thousands pushed
furiously against the gates, some even using their own heads or bodies to slam, and
this time, it wasn’t some mere ants on trees.
The gates moved; in fact, even the entire fortress wall and towers were slightly shaking!
Ever since Xie Lian was born, he had never witnessed a situation such as this. The
people he met had all been kind, peaceful, happy, satisfied, and endearing. Those
twisted faces, crying and screaming, forced him to enter a completely foreign world, and
he couldn’t help but feel cold in his bones. Even against the most horrifying ghosts and
demons he had never felt this way. Just then, there was an angry roar from above.
He whipped his head around, and saw a tall and gaunt silhouette, choking that officer
who had cut off the rope and caused the three deaths below the city walls. There was a
loud and clear CRACK, and the neck was broken.
That band of soldiers had no idea how that man suddenly appeared; all were shocked
and bewildered, and they rushed forward with their swords in hand to surround him,
“WHO ARE YOU?!!” “HOW DID YOU GET UP HERE?!”
Xie Lian immediately noticed that man’s hands: they were smeared with blood and
ripped flesh. That man had scaled that crevice-less wall using his bare hands! When
that figure turned around, it was indeed Lang Ying!
Lang Ying was calm and collected even when surrounded by soldiers. He crossed over
the parapet, threw the corpse of that officer down, and he himself jumped off, stepping
onto the corpse and using it as a stepping stone to break his fall.
That moment when he jumped, he looked straight at Xie Lian, but what he was looking
at wasn’t Xie Lian. Instead, he looked through him to gaze at the royal palace sitting
right in the centre of the royal capital.
From that day onwards, the entire Kingdom of Xianle was thrown into chaos.
Ch.77: Xianle in Chaos; Crown Prince Returns to the Mortal Realm
For displaced disaster victims like those from Yong’an, to fight against the imperial army
was a losing battle, a gross overestimation of their own strength.
Yet, those who were cornered often possessed the courage to court one’s ruin and bite
off more than they could chew. After that one riot, the hundreds of thousands of Yong’an
refugees finally left the city gates, backing off to some distance away, and changed
where they built temporary camps.
However, they just wouldn’t leave. They might die on the road if they keep going, and
hanging around was also death, so what’s the difference? Using the rations and water
the king distributed from before, plus munching on bark skins, wild herbs, plant roots,
critters and insects, and a build up of resentment and loathing on top of all that, those
people possessed an unimaginably persistent will to live, and stubbornly persevered.
After a few days, they managed to assemble some thousands of men, all carrying hoes,
rakes, rocks, branches, and returned for a bout of fight.
Although this clash was a mess, an utter defeat with over half of that some thousands
dead, but it wasn’t fruitless. Lang Ying invaded the castle tower and returned hauling a
few large bags of grain and weapons. There might have been serious casualties, but it
provoked a will to fight to the death amongst the people.
Their nature was akin to that of bandits. They attacked once, twice, thrice. The soldiers
of Xianle soon discovered that those ‘bandits’ were rapidly improving.
The initial inexperienced rioters had gradually gotten a hang of things, and every time
they attacked they were more difficult to deal with than the last, and those who could
return to camp alive increased with every attempt. There were also endless waves of
new refugees joining, significantly growing the size of the group. How to best deal with
those ‘bandits’ became the hottest topic for debate within the Kingdom of Xianle, and
after five to six such ridiculous guerilla attacks, Xie Lian could no longer sit still on the
parapet and simply watch.
He hadn’t reported in to the Heavens in a long time, but this time when he arrived at the
Heavenly Court, he dashed straight for the Great Martial Hall without a word. When he
broke in, Jun Wu was seated in his throne, and a number of heavenly officials were
bowing to receive a command, seeming to be discussing an important matter. In the
past, Xie Lian would’ve chosen a different day to pay his visit, but now, he couldn’t wait,
and went in bluntly, opening his mouth to speak without pause, “My lord, I’m returning to
the mortal realm.”
The heavenly officials were all startled, and immediately covered their mouths, keeping
silent, not wanting to show any kind of reaction. Jun Wu looked at him knowingly for a
moment, then rose from his throne, speaking in a gentle tone, “Xian Le. I know
somewhat of what’s happening, but, you must remain calm.”
“My lord, I didn’t come here to request for permission. I came here to inform.” Xie Lian
said, “My people are currently sunken in the depths of hell, so please forgive me if I
cannot remain calm.”
“The universe has its own rhythm.” Jun Wu said, “Do you not realize that if you descend
to appear before mortals, it will be a violation of heavenly laws?”
“IF IT’S A VIOLATION THEN SO BE IT!” Xie Lian cried.
Hearing this, all the faces of the officials present dropped. There had never been any
heavenly officials who dared to speak such words with such gusto and confidence. No
matter how highly Jun Wu regarded this young, early ascended Prince of Xianle, it was
still an act of daring arrogance.
Soon after, Xie Lian bent to bow, “Pray my lord let me go this once; just give me a little
time. Since the fighting has started, casualties are unavoidable, but if I could stop this
and reduce the number of dead, minimize the conflict, then after the fighting ends I will
for sure return willingly to repent, and have my lord sentence me as see fit. Whether if I
shall be sealed under a mountain for a hundred years, a thousand years, a hundred
thousand years! – I WILL NOT REGRET!”
After having had his say, he remained in the bowing posture and stood down, leaving
the great hall.
“Xian Le!” Jun Wu called.
Xie Lian’s feet paused in his step. Jun Wu watched him then sighed, “You can’t save
Xie Lian slowly straightened up, “Whether if I can I won’t know until I’ve tried. Even if the
heavens say I must die, if that sword doesn’t pierce my heart and nail me dead on the
ground, then I am still alive, and til my last breath I will struggle to the end!”
Returning to the mortal realm for the first time in solid form was unlike all the previous
times he descended. Xie Lian felt like something had been thrown away. He was both
somewhat light and at the same time, somewhat heavy. His first step was to return to
the palace immediately.
The king and the queen were in the chamber behind the royal bureau, whispering
between themselves, their expressions solemn and exhausted. Xie Lian came to the
door and was anxious at first, but then he calmed his nerves, raised the beaded curtain,
and walked in. “Father.”
The king and the queen both looked back at the same time and was stunned. A moment
later, it was the queen who stood up first, crying joyously, “My son!”
She extended both her hands and came forward to welcome him. Xie Lian caught her
arms, accepting the gesture. But before the smiles went away, he suddenly saw the
king’s growing dark expression, demanding, “Why have you descended?”
Xie Lian’s smile froze.
Before when he heard his parents talk behind his back, Xie Lian had felt maybe his
father did still miss him, and wasn’t as opinionated against him as he made it seem. He
had thought that the king would at least show some degree of pleasure in seeing his
return, and if that was the case, then surely he would return the affection. But who knew
the king would react this way, so full of scorn, and so Xie Lian’s own temper flared up.
He replied sharply, “Why have I descended? Isn’t it all because of you?! That the
situation with Yong’an had come to this, shouldn’t you ask yourselves whether if you’re
The king’s expression completely changed, and he countered harshly, “My
responsibility? Is that something you can say to me?!”
His fury had made him forget to refer to his own title, and the queen teared up, “The
situation has already come to this, so why are you two still arguing?”
“We’re not arguing,” Xie Lian said, “We’re talking about sense. Even if you are the king,
my father, if you are the responsible, why can I not say anything? Why didn’t you work
harder to fundraise? If the funds were all swallowed by government checkpoints, why
didn’t you punish the corrupt officials? If you were tough like thunder and fast like
lightning, catch one jail one, then would there still be so many corrupt parasites who’d
dare steal? Wouldn’t the situation be better than it is now?”
Veins popped on the king’s forehead, and he banged on his bureau desk, “QUIET! Do
you take the royal treasury for a bottomless well that can fix any hole that leaks?! Catch
one jail one, if it was that easy, if by just one order from this king and it’d work fast like
lightning, tough as thunder, then why has history never had a dynasty untouched by
corruption? WHAT DO YOU UNDERSTAND? YOU IGNORANT CHILD DARE SPEAK
POLITICS WITH ME!”
“Fine.” Xie Lian acquiesced, “I don’t understand. Then even if the royal capital had no
room for the victims to settle and expulsion was inevitable, why not provide more
expenses for them? Why not provide more comfort and security and have an army
escort their journey eastward?”
The king’s eyes bulged with rage and pointed to the sky, “SCRAM. GET OUT OF
HERE! GET BACK TO THE HEAVENS! JUST LOOKING AT YOU ANNOYS ME!
DON’T EVER APPEAR AGAIN!”
Xie Lian had descended with a heart full of fervor, yet the first encounter with his
parents was his father yelling for him to scram back to the heavens. Without a word, Xie
Lian bowed to him, and stood down to leave. The queen chased after him out of the
bureau and pulled him to a stop. “My son!”
Xie Lian said gently, “Mother, don’t worry. I’m just going to go make a round around the
royal capital and check on the situation.”
The queen shook her head, “My son, I don’t understand those political matters, but I
understand your father. Throughout the years, I’ve seen how he is as a king. You can
think from the bottom of your heart that he isn’t competent, and sometimes I think so
too, I just don’t say it out loud. But you can’t say that to his face. He’s your father after
all. If you tell him straight on that he’s no good, it really kills the heart.”
Xie Lian opened and closed his mouth. The queen added, “You might have been the
Crown Prince, but you had never been king. Politics isn’t like cultivation. When you first
entered the Royal Holy Pavilion, the Guoshi had said cultivation only concerns the
heart, isn’t that right?”
Xie Lian nodded slowly, and the queen clutched his hands, “But, there are many other
things in this world that by just having the heart isn’t enough. You must be capable too;
and not just you, but your subordinates must be capable as well; and not just ability,
they must share the same heart as you.”
Xie Lian remained silent. A while later he asked, “Is the royal treasury suffering? I don’t
need temples; tell him to stop building so many temples for me. Those golden statues
The queen replied miserably, “My child… Of course there’s some of your father’s
partialness in building temples, he wanted to give you the best, and have you look
impressive in the heavens. But, do you know just how many of those eight thousand
temples were actually built by your father? You don’t know, do you?”
Xie Lian really didn’t know, and he gave it a thought, “…half?”
“If your father really used funds from the royal treasury to build four thousand temples,
we needn’t wait for the Yong’an refugees to start anything, the royal capital would revolt
first.” The queen said. “So if the royal treasury is empty, where did all that money come
from? Your father built maybe twenty some temples, and others followed suit, masses of
them wanting to build too to get on his good side, to get on your good side, so is that
counted on your father’s head too?”
“I…” Xie Lian was stumped.
The queen said softly, “Your father isn’t the greatest king, but… he’s done his best. Only,
in this world, just doing your best isn’t good enough.”
After a pause she added, “Right now you feel sympathy for those Yong’an refugees so
you blame your father. But they’re all his people, do you think we’re the ones bullying
them? In truth…”
Halfway through her words, the enraged voice of the king rang from within the bureau,
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING SAYING SO MUCH USELESS THINGS TO HIM? MAKE
HIM LEAVE AND GO BACK TO THE HEAVENS!”
The queen turned her head back and sighed, “My son, don’t… don’t descend for this.
After leaving the palace, Xie Lian followed down an alleyway by the Martial Deity
Avenue, and as he walked, Feng Xin and Mu Qing appeared in a hurry. The moment Mu
Qing approached he questioned in disbelief, “Your Highness! You requested to descend
into the mortal realm? You went and spoke to the Heavenly Emperor??”
“Yes.” Xie Lian answered.
“Why didn’t you tell me first?” Mu Qing demanded.
Feng Xin was puzzled, “What do you mean? Does His Highness have to report to
anyone what he wants to do?”
However, Mu Qing appeared to be losing it, “Why not? We’re his subordinates, and right
now we’re all tied together. His every action affects us so is there something wrong in
me wanting to know what he plans on doing?”
“We’d have to follow His Highness no matter what he does anyway? Heaven or earth he
has his plans, what are you afraid of?” Feng Xin said.
“You!” Mu Qing shouted, “I’m not afraid! I’m only…”
Xie Lian raised his hand, “Enough. Stop arguing!”
Feng Xin and Mu Qing quieted immediately. Just then, a long line of demonstrating
crowd paraded down the main street, and thousands of citizens were hollering: “THERE
WILL BE NO PEACE IN THE KINGDOM UNTIL YONG’AN IS EXTERMINATED!”
“THEY’VE GONE TOO FAR IN CREATING DISORDER! THEY’RE CANCEROUS!”
The people of Xianle had never been so aggressive towards anything, and such a
roaring protest demonstration too. Xie Lian couldn’t help but think something amiss.
Feng Xin on the other hand frowned, “How come there’s a woman in there?”
Sure enough, in that parading crowd, a young woman was leading the forefront. That
young woman was slender, her skin snow white, her eyes bright and black, her cheeks
flushed not from shyness but from rage; a catching sight. By then Mu Qing had calmed
himself down and said coldly, “His Highness doesn’t recognize her?”
“No.” Xie Lian replied.
Feng Xin knitted his brows, “Looks familiar?”
“She’s one of the catalysts.” Mu Qing said.
“What catalyst?” Xie Lian asked.
“The catalyst for the standoff.” Mu Qing replied, “Before, because there were more and
more Yong’an refugees in the royal capital and some would even go around causing
issues, not quietly minding their own business, so the parliament was discussing the
matter of expulsion, and words of it were spreading. There was a Yong’an refugee who
wanted to stay and not be expelled, so he decided to take a risk. One night, he snuck
into the house of a wealthy family, and kidnapped their daughter.”
Hearing this, Xie Lian couldn’t wrap his head around it, “Why would he kidnap a rich
family’s daughter if he didn’t want to leave?”
Mu Qing gave him a look, “To marry her. It’s just that if it wasn’t through forcible means,
no daughter of a good standing family in the royal capital would marry a person of
He didn’t say it plainly but Xie Lian understood.
He had never thought that it was something that could be done – that there were
actually people in this world like that. That something like this actually happened, a
sudden desire to get sick rolled up from his chest. Feng Xin angrily cursed on the spot,
Just then, a group of aunties rushed over, grabbing and pulling at that young woman. By
the looks of it, she had come out when her family wasn’t paying attention. That young
woman wouldn’t yield, yelling: “I’m not afraid! I’ve nothing to be embarrassed about, I
wasn’t in the wrong!”
Feng Xin was amazed, “That chick’s pretty spunky.”
“Yes.” Mu Qing said, “Because she didn’t come from a commoner background. Her
father is a high ranking official, and her mother came from a family of wealthy
merchants in the royal capital. They refused to suffer this shame quietly, and definitely
wouldn’t marry off their daughter like that for the sake of shame, so they beat that
Yong’an man to death. Soon after, all the wealthy merchants and gentleman of renown
in the capital signed a petition, listing all the crimes the Yong’an refugees had committed
since entering the capital, and bade the king to jail all of them to be punished severely.
There’s no need to speak on where the government officials all stand on this.”
After a pause, he said with a casual air, “I hear that girl’s father had once wanted her to
enter the harem and fight for the position of the Prince’s Consort. Your Highness
must’ve seen her face a few times a long time ago, yet you don’t recognize her.”
Xie Lian finally realized that everything was much more complicated than he had
Two sides of a tumultuous standoff had long been formed within and outside the city. All
the peoples were enraged, wishing to kill off the other. If the king’s decree was partial to
Yong’an, wouldn’t that be slapping his own people’s faces? When at last the decision
was made to distribute some travel expenses to the Yong’an refugees from the royal
treasury, there were probably also a large number of residents who were displeased.
What’s even more frightening than a displeased enemy was the dissatisfaction of a
kingdom’s own people. Although technically everyone was of Xianle, but now, there
were probably very few who’d think so.
Xie Lian had been standing from high up and had long not known the matters of the
mortal realm, but his father was still in the mortal realm. As a king, he needed money,
he needed people, and in his position, the stress, the pressure, the compromise he
needed to make between people and issues were not of the same caliber as he. Just
like how when the Yong’an refugees arrived they took over land, created noise, stole
and robbed, etc., to a martial god sitting in a temple, they were all small matters.
However, to the residents of the royal capital, they were all very real, unchasable,
intolerable tortures; a crisis waiting to erupt. To think this a simple, trivial matter was
only because he wasn’t the one situated within.
Xie Lian couldn’t help but recall that the king’s two moustaches were even whiter than
the last time he had seen him. Last time the king said he was going to dye it, but he
probably didn’t have the energy to care anymore.
When Xie Lian was younger, he firmly believed his father was the world’s greatest king.
But the older he got, the more he realized that wasn’t the case. His father, although
king, couldn’t be said to be wise and competent, and was even a little corrupt, making
mistakes often. Taking away his prestigious status, he was no more than a common
The more he realized this the more disappointed he became, and the king had also
noticed his disappointment. Thus, the more the king couldn’t accept every disagreeing
look, every disagreeing word from Xie Lian. What he couldn’t accept the most however,
was have Xie Lian see his failure.
No father in the world wished to have their son see their failures. Every father wished
that before their sons, they would always be the greatest. Yet Xie Lian appeared before
him at such a time to berate his own father: You’re making a mess of things! So much
so that I had to descend to help you out – as both a king and a father, how could he
have withstood it hearing that?
That young woman was finally taken away by her servant ladies, and the remaining
hundreds of demonstrating residents continued their protest, waving signs and hollering.
They were only crying for one thing: “KILL THEM! START THE BATTLE! SHOW
THOSE YONG’AN REFUGEES OUTSIDE THE CITY WALLS!”
A moment later, Mu Qing spoke up, “Your Highness, it’s best if you go back and
apologize to the Heavenly Emperor. At this point, fortune, time, and place, are all lost.
There is no helping.”
Just as Jun Wu had told him at the Great Martial Hall: The universe has its own rhythm.
It was like telling him: The Kingdom of Xianle’s time has come, let it go.
Even the queen, his mother, who wished day and night if only to have a glimpse of him,
who when she finally saw him, asked him to leave with tears in her eyes. How could Xie
Lian not know that they simply didn’t want him to go through this difficult trial, and would
rather he watch from afar, taking a good care of himself instead?
But, how could he possibly?
Xie Lian said gravely, “No!”
And he strode out.
Ch.78: Quell Yong’an; Crown Prince Enters the Battlefield
Behind him, both Feng Xin and Mu Qing were in shock, and they cried, “Your Highness!”
And immediately rushed out too to guard next to him.
However, all the citizens in the entire Martial Deity Avenue had already seen the young
man in white who appeared right in the centre of the main street. The demonstrating
protesters were broken up but soon reorganized themselves, and crowds of thousands
soon surrounded Xie Lian. The first person spoke, unsure, “My lord… my lord is His
The second one was doubtful, “Didn’t His Highness the Crown Prince ascend? He’s no
longer mortal so why would he appear here?”
The third one yelled, “IT’S HIM! THREE YEARS AGO AT THE HEAVENLY
CEREMONIAL PROCESSION I SAW HIM WITH MY OWN EYES, IT’S HIS HIGHNESS
THE CROWN PRINCE!”
More and more started to recognize the face of that martial god they worshipped day
and night, and Xie Lian spoke up slowly, “It is I. I have returned.”
The people went wild.
“A GOD HAS DESCENDED! A GOD HAS REALLY DESCENDED!”
“A DIVINE BEING HAS RETURNED TO THE MORTAL REALM!”
“–Your Highness must have returned because you could no longer tolerate seeing us
suffer the abuse of those thieves!”
Immediately there were those who pressed on, full of hope, “Your Highness, will my lord
lead us to defeat those Yong’an refugees? It’s for certain, right? It must be so!”
After some pause, Xie Lian answered peacefully, “I returned for the sake of protecting
the Kingdom of Xianle, to protect my people.”
Feng Xin and Mu Qing who were next to him listened intently, but they couldn’t be sure
what exactly those words meant, yet the citizens whose heads were rushed by hot
blood were all taking it in and understanding what they will. As for Xie Lian, he had his
own considerations; his heart was beating faster and faster, and he gritted his teeth,
“…Believe in me!”
He clenched his fists, and cried, “YOUR BELIEFS WILL GRANT ME GREATER
POWER. WITH THIS POWER I PROMISE I WILL SHIELD XIANLE, PROTECT THE
COMMON PEOPLE. PLEASE BELIEVE IN ME!”
The people had been waiting for that very moment; all they wanted was his pledge, and
immediately they erupted in fervent cheers, then circle by circle they kneeled to
prostrate, “WE’LL FOLLOW MY LORD TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH! WE’LL
FOLLOW YOUR HIGHNESS!”
“PROTECT XIAN LE!”
When all the residents of the royal capital heard a god had descended upon them, they
all poured out into the streets, if only just to witness this miracle that might not come
even in a thousand years. Even the informed royal guards who came in a hurry didn’t
dare to be impudent, and joined the prostrating crowd. The three of them were stuck in
the middle of the main street, unable to move, and Feng Xin and Mu Qing had to keep
maintaining order, shouting, “DON’T PUSH! STOP PUSHING!”
However, they weren’t very effective. Everyone wanted to push and get closer to His
Highness the Crown Prince, and touch even just a sleeve corner of this divine god from
heaven, so some of his holiness would rub off on them. Several generals and fully
armoured soldiers were dispatched before the wild crowd was broken up.
When all the people were gone, all that was left behind was a dust-filled air and messy
footprints littering the ground. Xie Lian noticed something and he walked up and bent
down to pick it up.
It was a single flower. After having been trampled by many, it was almost the colour of
dirt. Only a few ripped petals remain that still had its original tint of purity peeking
That faint fragrance didn’t last, and it soon dispersed.
After coming to an understanding of some things, this time when Xie Lian returned to
the palace, his temper was much softer towards the king. Thus, the king also became
more agreeable towards him. Having both taken that one step back, the father and son
established a tentative peace between them. As for the Guoshi, he seemed to have
already expected that Xie Lian would descend, so he didn’t say much on the subject.
In the past, Xie Lian always believed that a nation possessed one heart, and before a
grave matter, everyone would undoubtedly follow the direction of the king. Only when he
finally sat down to participate did he fully understand just how vexing the position of a
king really was. Within parliament, the officials were actually split into small parties, and
each party had their own plans. In regards to forming an agreement on any one matter
could take up to a week of endless debate. Every one, every party proclaimed they
were working for the people, but in reality, that might not truthfully be the case.
As for dealing with the revolting Yong’an refugees camping outside the city fortress, the
officials were sluggishly slow at coming to an agreement. Some advocated for a direct
extermination, and if there weren’t enough reasons to do so, then just make some up.
Some disagreed with that idea.
The Revolt of Yong’an began with a natural disaster but the situation was deteriorated
through human action. That family of three who fell to their deaths at the city gates was
the worst catalyst imaginable; if that army official who cut the rope didn’t get his neck
snapped by Lang Ying, he would’ve been severely punished upon his return. In other
words, no matter how convoluted the circumstances, no matter the reasons, on the
surface everything only looked like the common people rightfully rebelling against an
With things developed to this point, a complete pandemonium, making up more crimes
to sentence would only further provoke repulsion, and whatever reason they could come
up with would not be able to deceive the people. If they were to deploy an army to
exterminate, it’d be without cause and difficult to appease. Preventing the people from
talking was just as important as preventing floods; once a reputation of insensible
cruelty was established, not only would they no longer be able to rule over the people,
nearby kingdoms could very well use the chance and invade under the banner of
If they were to think about it from a different angle however, what’s there to be afraid of?
Those Yong’an refugees were stuck in wild forests without food and arms, so how long
could the revolt last? Thus, the most favoured proposal at the end was this: If the
Yong’an refugees dare attack, they shall be repelled and killed each time; if they didn’t,
then they shall be left to their own devices to survive or die, and Xianle wouldn’t need to
waste a single resource. There was no way Yong’an could keep up the fighting.
As a martial god, Xie Lian’s descent naturally meant he needed to be effective on the
battlefield. Thus, the army had boisterously campaigned: The side with His Highness
the Crown Prince was the side of Justice; the army with His Highness the Crown Prince
was the army of god!
It didn’t take long before a large number of young men in the kingdom excitedly enlisted.
It caused such a stir that even news of it seemed to reach the Yong’an camp. Initially
they were still rather active in their sieges, but suddenly everything stopped, as if they
were afraid and were instead silently building strength. This made the soldiers in Xianle
nervous, and they unceasingly described to Xie Lian just how terrifying that Lang Ying
who always charged at the forefront was. Hearing that name and recalling the dead
body of that infant of that day always made Xie Lian feel complicated.
Two months later, after waiting with bated breath for such a long time, the Yong’an
refugees finally attacked again.
In this battle, Xie Lian only brought a light sword and didn’t even wear any armours. It
didn’t take two hours before the battle ended.
Blood covered from the ground to the sky, and in that stench-filled air, the remaining
Yong’an warriors abandoned their gears and frantically ran away. Before the Xianle
soldiers could react, they were already surrounded by countless slain bodies, and not a
single enemy left standing. As for their Highness the Crown Prince, he was slowly
sheathing his sword, not a stain on his sleeve.
It was a moment before they realized their overwhelming victory and jumped, raising
their swords to the sky, screaming in joy.
That night, the Xianle soldiers held a victory feast atop the towers.
It had been a long time since the soldiers felt this relieved; the cheers were endless as
they raised their cups to praise His Highness the Crown Prince. However, Xie Lian
rejected all the wine, and left the party to go to the edge of a tower corner by himself to
feel the breeze and sober up.
Even though he didn’t drink a single cup of wine, he could still feel his heart burning, his
face hot and flushing, and his fingertips slightly trembling.
This was the first time in Xie Lian’s life that he had killed. The first time, and he had
Those two words appeared in his mind. Before his might mortals were nothing, and
there wasn’t anyone who could withstand his light taps. It was so easy to rob another’s
life, just like how that palace attendant had stomped on those ants, that in between
swinging his sword, he almost lost the heart of reverence.
Xie Lian leaned against the parapet and inhaled deeply, shaking his head to shake off
the noise, watching absentmindedly at the flicker of sparks in the mountains afar. Soon
after, sounds of two footfalls approached.
Even without turning his head he knew who they were. Xie Lian asked, “Aren’t you two
going to go drink and celebrate a little?”
Mu Qing humphed, “What’s there to celebrate? It’s not an optimistic situation.”
Hearing this, Xie Lian turned around, “You guys noticed too?”
It really wasn’t an optimistic situation. Although they won this round, but in reality, this
attack was stronger than any previous Yong’an attacks.
Not only did their numbers increase, their formation, weapons, management, had all
significantly improved. In fact, there were many who were geared up in armours.
Although still simple and pathetic, they already had the form of a formal army. It would
be hard to believe they were actually outcasted nobodies.
Mu Qing crossed his arms and frowned, “Extreme environments would certainly force
one improve rapidly, but no matter how difficult the situation, you can’t create something
out of nothing. Something’s not right.”
Feng Xin was even more blunt, and said plainly, “They must have gained
Xie Lian nodded. Mu Qing added, “I don’t believe none of those soldiers noticed either.
But they’re still celebrating only because they have you on their side and they believe
they will win for sure.”
Xie Lian didn’t think much of that and said, “It’s the first battle with me in it and we won.
It’s fine to let them rejoice a bit. Just think of it as encouragement.”
Feng Xin hesitated but still asked, “Your Highness, you don’t look so good. Are you, still
creating rain over at Yong’an?”
“Yea.” Xie Lian replied
Disapproval expectedly appeared on Mu Qing’s face. “Excuse my bluntness, but it’s
pointless to create rain now. That’s the real bottomless hole. Your Highness, even if the
drought in Yong’an can be thoroughly relieved, that crowd outside the city walls
probably still won’t back off.”
“I know.” Xie Lian said, “But my creating rain wasn’t intended to make those people
back off. It’s for those who remained in Yong’an not to die of thirst. This was my original
goal, and it won’t change for anything.”
Feng Xin was still worried, “Are you alright holding on?”
Xie Lian patted his shoulders, “Don’t worry. I have eight thousand temples! There are
enough devotees so of course I’m fine. But,”
His other hand circled around Mu Qing’s shoulders and Xie Lian sighed, “Thank
goodness you two helped today. Thank you for staying by my side.”
Today on the battlefield, his two attendants suffered much more than he did, their
persons covered in blood and grime from all the killing.
“There’s no need to say those things.” Feng Xin said. Mu Qing vaguely squeezed out an
Xie Lian squeezed, pulling the other two close, and said earnestly, “Not just for today,
but for always, thank you so much. I hope, the sight of the three of us standing together
fighting will become a tale of the ages.”
A moment later, Feng Xin burst out laughing, and Mu Qing said incredulously, “I found
that you always manage to say such…. with such shameless confidence. You’re
really…” He shook his head, “Nevermind.”
Xie Lian’s lips finally curled up. But the smile didn’t last long when he suddenly froze,
SCHWING, and Xie Lian’s sword was unsheathed. He flicked his sword and pulled out
a shadow from the corner of the parapet.
That person had been hiding in the corner for a long time, holding his breath, and hadn’t
been noticed. Initially, Xie Lian had only wanted to hang him off the tip of his sword to
scare him, but he had been killing too aggressively on the battlefield that day, his arms
were still shaking, and his hands lost control. The simple flick was overly powerful, and
he threw that person directly over the wall.
Under the moonlight, in midair, all three of them were able to see clearly that the
uniform and gear of that person belonged in their army, and looked to be a boy of
fifteen, sixteen years. A breath later he fell downwards, his form disappearing below.
Seeing that person was about to fall down the wall, Xie Lian cried “oh no!” mentally, and
His foot hooked onto the edge of the parapet, his body leaning downwards, and swiftly
he extended an arm to pull, and managed to grab onto the arm of the other. That young
soldier’s body hung in midair and swayed a few times before he looked up. Borrowing
that faint moonlight, Xie Lian saw his face, and his eyes slightly widened.
Ch.79: Upon Beizi Hill; Crown Prince Falls into the Devil’s Nest
Xie Lian’s sudden leap into the air was certainly alarming, but his two attendants were
more than clear just what he was capable of, and so Mu Qing didn’t move, but Feng Xin
still went over and helped pull him up. Xie Lian only used a little bit of strength to pull
and that young soldier was hauled up, the two of them landing feet flat back onto the
“Which troop did you come from? Why are you hiding here?” Xie Lian asked.
That young soldier’s arms and head were wrapped full of bandages, and there was
even spots of blood on them, appearing to be covered in wounds. It wasn’t anything
strange; after the battle today there were many wounded soldiers who were all wrapped
up like this. However, that he would hide in the shadows without making a sound was
“He might be a Yong’an spy, tie him up and interrogate him.” Mu Qing said.
Xie Lian suspected it too, but the royal capital was rigorously guarded and the chance of
enemies sneaking in was low, unless it was Lang Ying himself. However, this young
soldier was clearly only a child barely legal.
Feng Xin, however, was puzzled, “Your Highness, you don’t remember this brat? During
the day today he kept charging to fight in front of you, in that formation that was ahead.”
Xie Lian was slightly taken aback, “Oh, really?”
In the midst of killing during the day, he had no time to notice anything else, only that if
someone raised a sword to fight him, he’d swing to strike back. He didn’t even bother
with Feng Xin and Mu Qing, so how would he notice any other soldiers?
Feng Xin was sure, “It is. I remember this brat. His charge was quite aggressive, like he
doesn’t care for his life at all.”
Hearing him, Xie Lian looked over the young soldier carefully. For some reason that boy
stood taller, his shoulders squared and head raised, as if a little stiff, but also like he
was standing at attention. Mu Qing remarked, “Then he shouldn’t be sneaking around
hiding here, who knows if he’s here to spy or listen in?”
Even if that’s what he said, he still relaxed his guard. This was because due to the
campaign by the Xianle military promoting ‘Army of God, Holy Crusade’, there were
quite a number of young people who enlisted to follow after Xie Lian, many equally as
young, and most were loyal worshippers, having grown up worshipping his divine
statues, listening to his tales of valor, and they wanted to get close secretly if only to
steal a glimpse of the martial god. It wasn’t the first or second time this had happened,
so it wasn’t anything special.
“Alright, it was a false alarm.” Xie Lian said. Then he turned to that young soldier and
said warmly, “I must’ve scared you just now. Sorry.”
Yet that boy didn’t look frightened and only stood straighter. “Your Highness…”
However, he trailed off and suddenly moved to tackle Xie Lian!
Xie Lian thought he wanted to ambush him and sidestepped immediately to dodge, his
hand reaching for his sword to strike. With his might, just one strike and that boy would
undoubtedly die on the spot. But just then, he suddenly felt a rush of cold air behind
him. His hand changed track abruptly and flipped to catch, and caught a sniping arrow
that was aimed for his back.
Turns out that boy ran to tackle him because he saw a flicker of that arrow flying through
the air. Xie Lian’s back was leaned against the edge of the parapet, and having been
attacked from behind, he wasn’t scared in the slightest, and instead jumped onto the
wall to look downwards.
In the vast fields before the city gates he could see faintly the lone figure of a man
standing in the far distance, and because that man wore dark coloured clothing and
blended into one with the night, he was difficult to see. Feng Xin was instantly by Xie
Lian’s side, drew his bow and shot. However, it seemed that man had already
calculated the distance and stood just out of reach. That one arrow he shot got Xie
Lian’s attention, so he waved, then turned swiftly to leave without a word. When Feng
Xin’s arrow reached him it was already too late, and it only nailed behind that man’s
retreating feet by inches.
Furious, Feng Xin knocked at the wall, and rubble came tumbling down. “WHO WAS
Who else could it be? “Lang Ying!” Xie Lian shouted.
The Xianle soldiers also noticed something off, and started yelling, running around, but
for the sake of caution, they didn’t immediately open the gates to give chase, and
instead reported to the superiors for instructions. Lang Ying waved and left after
shooting that one arrow, as if he came especially to greet Xie Lian. Mu Qing furrowed
his brows, “Why did he come? Was that a declaration?”
Feng Xin said angrily, “On the battlefront today Yong’an was completely defeated, and
he himself barely escaped from His Highness’ hands, so what can he possibly declare?”
Xie Lian, however, felt that the arrow in his hand had something else tied around it, and
when he brought it to the firelight to see, it was a ripped piece of fabric that seemed to
come from a verdant brocade robe. There was even traces of wet blood on the fabric,
and when he unfolded it, there was a scribble of the word ‘Qi’.
Xie Lian immediately clutched that fabric and said, “Where’s Qi Rong? Is Qi Rong not in
Feng Xin turned to the nearby soldiers, “Go quickly to the palace and confirm!”
The soldiers immediately left. That fabric was indeed a sleeve corner of Qi Rong’s
favourite robe, and Lang Ying was known for his stealth, so there was a high probability
of Qi Rong having been kidnapped. Things couldn’t be delayed, Xie Lian said, “I’m
going after him to see.” Seeing that Feng Xin came back, he added, “You two watch
over the city gates but don’t make any moves. This might be a feint.”
Feng Xin shrugged his bow on his back, “You’re not bringing anyone?”
If there wasn’t any major attacks from Yong’an’s side, Xie Lian didn’t want Xianle to
deploy soldiers first. If Qi Rong had fallen into enemy hands, then Xie Lian himself could
bring him back, but if he brought a troop with him, it would cause a stir, and it wouldn’t
just be only one or two dead. At the moment, Xie Lian wanted to minimize any issues.
“No. They can’t do anything to me.”
Then, he pushed off the wall lightly and leapt over, landing down on the ground softly,
and dashed rapidly in the direction where Lang Ying retreated. After running for a while,
he heard footsteps behind catching up to him, and when he turned his head to look, it
was that young soldier. Xie Lian shouted at him, “I don’t need help, go back!”
That boy shook his head. Xie Lian tried again, “Go back!” And he sped up, leaving that
boy far behind in an instant, no longer to be seen.
After running for five, six miles, he reached a mountaintop. This mountain wasn’t steep,
and was more like a hill, so it was called the Beizi* Hill. According to scouts, Beizi Hill
was covered in foliage, and in the deep night, there were strange noises all around
inside the dark forest, as if there were countless creatures lying low, watching. Xie Lian
went deeper into the mountain and searched with his breath held for a long while until
suddenly, he saw far ahead the shape of a long human form hung off a tree. He looked
closely and cried, “Qi Rong!”
It was indeed Qi Rong. He was hung upside down off a tree, looking like he was beaten
to a pulp and fainted, his nose bleeding downwards, and one of his eye was blackened.
Xie Lian unsheathed his sword and cut that rope, catching the fallen Qi Rong and
slapped at his face. Qi Rong slowly came to, and yelled the moment he recognized him,
“Cousin Crown Prince!”
Xie Lian was just loosening his bind when he felt cold behind his back and immediately
swung his sword back. He turned his head and it was Lang Ying, with a longsword in
hand, lunging at him.
The two of them parried a few times, and it didn’t take long before Xie Lian knocked
Lang Ying’s sword flying. Then Xie Lian kicked his legs, tripping him, and brought his
sword to his throat, ending the fight. “You know you’re not my equal, stop fighting.”
They faced off earlier that day on the battlefield, and whoever charged at Xie Lian were
all killed, except Lang Ying, who still survived after taking on Xie Lian’s sword face on,
and dragged himself away wounded. Anyone could see that Lang Ying was the leader
of those Yong’an refugees, and Xie Lian telling him to “stop fighting” naturally had a
“As long as you people don’t transgress, I promise the soldiers of the royal capital will
not attack you. Take the water and the rations. Leave.”
Lang Ying laid on the ground, and stared him straight in the eyes, that gaze making him
uncomfortable. He spoke up, “Your Highness, do you think what you’re doing is right?”
Xie Lian froze. Next to him, Qi Rong cussed, “Rubbish! Do you know who cousin Crown
Prince is? He’s a god of heaven! If he’s not right, what, you think you treacherous dogs
are in the right?!”
“Qi Rong, quiet!” Xie Lian shouted.
The question Lang Ying posed, he couldn’t answer. Deep down, he did feel there’s
something not right with what he’s done. But, this was the best course of action he
could think of. If he didn’t protect Xianle, defend against transgression, could he really
allow the Yong’an rebels to freely raid again and again, even invade the royal capital?
If only one or two swung their swords at him, he could touch lightly and knock them out
to end things. But on the battlefield, blades were merciless, and there was no way he
could have the energy to simply knock everyone out. He could only stop himself from
feeling and swing the sword. Lang Ying’s question had woken that voice deep within,
asking him: Do you think what you’re doing is right?
Qi Rong didn’t have this dilemma and kept talking, “What did I say wrong? Cousin,
since you’re here, hurry and kill all of them dogged thieves! A bunch of them beat me
up, and I was only one person!”
Qi Rong had been a figure of domineering arrogance within the royal capital, and
naturally there were many from Yong’an who hated him, so they certainly took this
chance to take revenge. Of course, more than many from Xianle also hated him. Xie
Lian had no time for him, and said to Lang Ying, “What do you want? If you want rain,
Yong’an will rain. If you want gold, I’ll push over the golden statues and give them to
you. If you want food, I’ll… think of a way. Just, don’t start a war. Can’t we solve this
together and find a third path?”
Xie Lian blurted those words in spite of himself, and Lang Ying might not understand
what the “third path” meant, but he answered without hesitation, “I don’t want anything,
and I don’t need anything. The only thing I want is for the Kingdom of Xianle to cease
existing in this world. I need it to disappear.”
His tone was flat, but his words were cold. A moment later, Xie Lian said gravely, “…if
you bring forth people to attack, I will not be able to sit back and watch. You don’t have
any chance of winning. Must you do this even if those of Yong’an who follow you will
“Yes.” Lang Ying said.
His answer was so calm, so firm, that while Xie Lian’s knuckles cracked, he couldn’t say
anything back. Lang Ying enunciated each word, “I know you’re a god. That’s ok. Even
if you’re a god you can’t make me stop.”
Xie Lian knew that what Lang Ying said is true. Simply because what was in his tone
was more than familiar to him – it was the determination of one steeped in justice and
righteousness. When he told Jun Wu “even if the heavens say I must die”, the
determination within was exactly the same as Lang Ying’s at this very moment!
Lang Ying’s words were no different than a proclamation that he would continue to call
forth endless people of Yong’an to continue to attack unceasingly. Then, Xie Lian knew
what he must do.
The sword in Xie Lian’s hand was held with one hand, but now he gripped it with both
his hands. Just as he was about to pierce Lang Ying’s throat with his trembling hands,
there was suddenly a weird scrunching sound behind him, and then a cackling laugh.
That someone could appear soundlessly and without notice, Xie Lian was startled, and
when he looked back, his eyes widened.
Usually those who appear at a time like this were most likely to be enemy soldiers, and
perhaps countless blades were already pointed at him, but he had not expect that
behind him would be such a strange figure.
That person wore a deadly white funeral garb, his face bore a deadly white mask, and
that mask was exceedingly bizarre, with half the face crying, the other half smiling. He
was sitting on a vine hung low between two trees, and that scrunching sound came from
him swinging that vine back and forth like a swing. When he saw Xie Lian look back, he
raised his hands and slowly “pa”, “pa” clapped, cackling coming from his lips, raising
hair on Xie Lian’s back.
“What are you?!” Xie Lian said sharply.
He used “what” because his instincts told him, that thing wasn’t human!
Just then, Xie Lian suddenly noticed the feeling of the sword in his hands were wrong,
and Qi Rong screamed at the same time, and when he turned back to look, the ground
in front of him was split wide open into a deep ditch, and Lang Ying who was lying on
the ground was being swallowed by that gap. The ground was rapidly closing the
mouth, and without thinking, Xie Lian stabbed into the heart of the earth. Only when
feeling that the tip of his sword only touched soil and didn’t pierce any flesh, did Xie Lian
realized he failed in killing Lang Ying, but he couldn’t tell whether if he felt regret or
relief. Just then, that white clothed being started cackling again, and Xie Lian raised his
sword and flung it at him.
That strike was fast as lightning, penetrating through that being, nailing him onto the
tree, and that being crumpled to the ground without uttering a single sound. Xie Lian
rushed over to check but only saw a pile of white robes on the ground. The one wearing
the robes had disappeared into mid air!
That being’s appearance and disappearance were both incredibly peculiar. Xie Lian was
in shock and didn’t dare to drop his guard. Picking Qi Rong off the ground with one
hand, he said, “Let’s go.”
Yet Qi Rong whined, “Let’s not go! Cousin, let’s set fire on this mountain, cousin!
There’s a bunch of those Yong’an peeps on this mountain, those boorish radicals who
wouldn’t leave the city gates are all hiding here, let’s set a fire and torch this place
Xie Lian dragged him with one hand for some distance, feeling the essence of evil
around them growing heavier, as if countless eyes were watching them. He said, “Did
you not see how strange that being was just now? We shouldn’t stick around.”
“So what?” Qi Rong said, “You’re a god! You’re not afraid of those little ghosts? If they
dare obstruct you then just kill them off!”
“Let’s go back first.” Xie Lian said.
Hearing that Xie Lian was paying him no mind and wouldn’t set the mountain ablaze, Qi
Rong’s eyes bulged, “WHY? THOSE PEOPLE BEAT ME TO A PULP AND WANT TO
ANTAGONIZE US. YOU HEARD HIM. HE SAID HE WANTS TO ANNIHILATE XIANLE!
HE WANTS TO ANNIHILATE OUR KINGDOM! WHY DON’T YOU KILL THEM ALL OFF
LIKE YOU DID TODAY ON THE BATTLEFIELD?”
“…” Xie Lian inhaled and shouted angrily, “Why do you only have kill! kill! kill! In your
head? Soldiers and civilians are different!”
Qi Rong countered, “What’s the difference? Aren’t they all people? Isn’t killing either the
It was like he stabbed Xie Lian where it hurt, and a burst of anger rolled up, “YOU–!”
Just then, he felt tightening around his ankle, and when he looked down, a swollen hand
had poked out of the bushes and seized his boot!
At the same time, there were innumerous tumbling noises coming from ahead of them,
and a number of human forms fell down from the trees like rain, paralyzed on the
ground unable to get up. Although they’re shaped like humans, they were limp like
countless giant flesh worms, slowly squirming towards them. Qi Rong cried out in fright,
“WHO ARE THEY?!”
Xie Lian chopped off that hand with his sword and said gravely, “They’re not people,
In the past, Xie Lian had never heard of their appearance in any of the mountains near
the royal capital, and even if there were any kinds of ghosts or demons, they were
usually quickly exterminated by the cultivators of the Royal Holy Pavilion. Which meant,
these binu’s were intentionally let loose by someone.
Xie Lian had never expected that this war would involve anything unhuman. Thinking
back on what transpired, he believed more and more that those things were allied with
Lang Ying, and that kidnapping Qi Rong was no more than to lure him out. Nonetheless,
he had no time to think at the moment. Every time he swung his sword, he could cleanly
slice seven to eight binu’s in half, but when binu’s appear, they usually come in flocks.
Sure enough, all around them the bushes and trees started to rustle, shaking harder
and harder, and more and more blurry fleshy forms crawled out, coming at Xie Lian
unceasingly. He could kill ten with one strike, but twenty would charge. Just as Xie Lian
was striking endlessly, a binu on a tree narrowed in on Xie Lian’s back, and leapt down
Unexpectedly, before it got close it was sliced up by a flash of a flare. Qi Rong didn’t
have any weapons on him so it couldn’t have been him. Xie Lian turned to look and saw
the one who swung a sword was that young soldier!
He was left in the dust by Xie Lian by the city gates, but he actually still followed along
and found them. That boy was carrying a worn sword and struck down a number of
binu’s, highly effective. Those things crawled and emitted a thick, glue-like body fluid,
and Qi Rong was crying at how disgusting they were. He stomped on the head of one
that looked weak and noticed that creature wasn’t exactly scary, and said dejectedly,
“So they’re not that impressive?”
Yet little did he know, binu’s usually appear alongside more violent, cruel evils. Xie Lian
bit his lips and broke skin, using two fingers of his right hand to dip at the blood, then
smeared it on his blade. Then he stuffed the sword in Qi Rong’s hands, “You two, take
this sword and go! Nothing will dare approach. Don’t turn back even if you hear
anything. Remember, don’t look back!”
Qi Rong protested, “Cousin! I…”
Xie Lian cut him off, “The powerful ones are right behind them. I won’t be able to take
care of you once they show up. It’s better if you go back and report!”
Qi Rong stopped talking, and frantically ran away holding the sword. The sacred sword
in his hands had the essence of Xie Lian’s divinity, and all along the road no binu’s or
other evils dare come close, his path was unbound, and he disappeared quickly. Yet,
that young soldier still didn’t leave, and Qi Rong himself was already long gone. Xie
Lian didn’t have another sacred protection sword to give him, and could only use his
palms to shoot out spiritual blows, blasting away. That boy was also vigorously
cooperative, and after an hour, all the binu’s were exterminated.
A ground full of sticky fluids and corpses, the stench was stifling. After making sure not
a single binu escaped, Xie Lian calmed his breath and turned around, speaking to that
boy, “You’re pretty good with the sword.”
That boy gripped his sword harder, and while he was huffing at first, he instantly stood
at attention again. “Ye-yes sir.”
“I’m not giving you orders, so why are you saying “yes sir”?” Xie Lian said, “When I
ordered you to go back earlier, why didn’t you say “yes sir” then?”
“Yes sir!” That boy answered, but then realized his response was strange, and stood
even stiffer. Xie Lian shook his head, mulled, and suddenly his lips curled up, “But,
you’re better suited for a sabre.”
●Beizi means small back
●MXTX Author Notes: Hua Hua is not yet fourteen right now, but because of
puberty, he sprouted rapidly in height, and no longer looks like a sad puppy,
which is why Xie Lian didn’t recognize him!
Ch.80: Land of the Tender; Body of Gold Hard-Pressed Against Desire
That boy was taken aback, “Why?”
Xie Lian thought back to that boy’s strikes and moves when he killed those binu’s, and
casually showed off a few maneuvers, “You’ve never used a sabre, right? You use a
sword, but the sword is tricky. Although it’s extremely fast and aggressive, it’s still rather
restrictive, difficult to extend out. If you’ve never used a sabre before, try it next time. I
think, you might be even stronger with it.”
If ever Xie Lian saw someone with a notable skill in martial arts, he couldn’t help but
want to approach and talk. It wasn’t criticism of any sort, he really was just very
interested and wanted to exchange ideas. Because he possessed a wealth of
experience in martial arts, oftentimes he needn’t to think; just one glance and he could
pick up on the particulars. Even if he couldn’t explain why what was, still he would feel it
must be so. Usually, out of respect for his status, people would listen but there were
very few who’d actually pay attention. However, that boy listened intently, gobbled up
his suggestions, and would look down at the sword in his hand from time to time.
Xie Lian rambled on for a few words before suddenly there were more rustling noises
from within the woods like something was crawling through rapidly, and Xie Lian
immediately remembered that they were still situated within danger, and it really wasn’t
the time and place to get excited. Right away he became serious again, “Who knows if
there might be more evil on this mountain. This place needs a thorough cleansing.”
That boy nodded vigorously, and presented that steel sword to Xie Lian with both
hands. Xie Lian shook his head, “Just defend yourself. You didn’t leave earlier, and now
there’s no way for you to go. I’ll do my best to protect you, but stay alert.”
Just then, the bushes rustled and something briskly jumped up. Xie Lian flicked his wrist
to shoot out a blast from his palm, and it hit dead on. A terrible yelp and that thing
stopped moving. There was a strong stench of blood and Xie Lian was puzzled: if it was
a binu, then after having been blown up they would leak sticky bodily fluids, and the
viscosity was such that the smell of blood usually wouldn’t emit, so he approached to
Pushing the bushes aside, there was indeed a large binu on the ground, blown into
several pieces from the blast, but that stench of blood didn’t come from it, but from
something in its mouth – it was a scrap of skin off a human head with long hairs still
Binu’s were scavengers that foraged for scraps, and by the looks of it, a human had
been killed. It left small drops of blood in its trail in the bushes, and Xie Lian immediately
followed it, that young soldier tagging along right behind. The further they walked, the
thicker the spots of blood became, and the stronger that stench. Soon, they heard cries
that sounded weak and powerless.
That little soldier raised his sword and ran in front of Xie Lian to shield him, but Xie Lian
pulled him back behind. Winding past a field of blooming shrubs, a semi-large cave
appeared before them.
That cave was probably the resting place of some passersby, but now, corpses
carpeted the ground, and twenty to thirty binu’s were clambering over those dead
bodies, munching to their heart’s’ content. There were also several of them surrounding
a young woman. That young woman looked to be in pain, her guts split open, her
innards spilling all over, but she herself was still alive. It appeared she might have been
dressing herself, a bright red flower worn on her hair; the fresh blood complimented that
crimson blossom and the picture looked particularly cruel.
Those binu’s were licking at her fresh, steaming organs, ready to chomp, but hearing
the sounds of someone approaching, they all turned to look, and charged in their
direction. Xie Lian blew out a blast from his palm without blinking and slayed all of them
before checking the dead bodies immediately after. Among the corpses were men and
women, old and young, their faces ashen, their attire simple. They were no doubt
Yong’an civilians, and Xie Lian couldn’t help but be shocked.
He had thought the sudden appearance of monsters and demons were called forth by
that strange white-clothed being. That white-clothed being saved Lang Ying so they
must be allies, but then how come those binu’s would feast on those Yong’an civilians?
Non-human creatures would never form a pact with humans for no reason, so did this
mean this was the condition Lang Ying agreed to for the alliance? Were the lives of his
followers his bargaining chips?!
That young woman was full of pain and terror, blood spitting from her lips, and she
sobbed, “Don’t kill me, I didn’t do anything bad, don’t kill me!”
In spite of himself, Xie Lian recalled that family of three who died below the city walls;
and what sins had they committed? He knelt and bent down, leaned over and spoke in
a gentle, soothing voice, “Don’t be scared. There’s nothing to be scared of, we’re here
to save you.”
Yet that little soldier pointed his sword at the young woman, “Your Highness, be careful.
She might be an evil spirit from the deep mountains.”
Of course Xie Lian knew that was a big possibility, but after much consideration, he still
felt he couldn’t leave her alone, so as long as he was prudent it should be fine. He felt
the pulse of that young woman, checked her palm and fingers for prints, and instantly
confirmed that she was indeed a human, and one that had never practiced any martial
arts, her arms limp and powerless. He immediately began treating her. He took out a
bottle of medicine from his sleeve, twisted the cork open, and a faint, white smoke
permeated slowly, its scent fragrant.
That medicine could temporarily slow down any poison, and amazingly effective against
wounds. Xie Lian didn’t go stingy on the holy cure, and used up the entire bottle on her.
“Do you feel better?”
That young woman’s wounds were heavy, terrible to look at, but after sniffing in that
smoke, some blood returned to her face, and she weakly nodded her head.
“Are you from Yong’an? How did this happen?” Xie Lian asked.
Tears rolled down that young woman’s face, “…I, I am. I don’t know how this came to be
either. Every, sss, everything used to be just fine, but suddenly, my dad died, my brother
Xie Lian gently patted her shoulders, “Who’s the murderer who killed them? Or, what
That young woman sobbed, “The murderer who killed them was… was… was YOU!”
At the last word, her face suddenly turned fierce, her two eyes flashed and bulged. She
opened her arms and pounced, clutching Xie Lian in her embrace!
That young soldier had always been standing by high on alert, and reacted extremely
fast, immediately piercing her heart with his sword. That young woman was already
severely wounded, and after being stabbed, her death should’ve been a sure thing, yet,
she started laughing uproariously in delight, clutching onto Xie Lian firmly refusing to let
go, and stayed in that position until she at last stopped breathing. She clung on so
tightly that the young soldier strained to pull her dead body off. He asked anxiously,
“Your Highness! Are you ok?”
Xie Lian had thought that young woman was going to ambush him as a last ditch effort.
Yet she had no weapons on her; she didn’t even bite or scratch, and only clung on to
him tightly as if that was enough, unrelenting even after death. Confounded, he replied,
“I’m alright, I…”
He trailed off as a sudden dizziness mockingly assaulted him.
That little soldier widened his one bright eye, “Your Highness?!”
It was like Xie Lian’s innards were on fire; he couldn’t speak, didn’t want to speak, and
didn’t want to hear anyone speak either. He shook his head and raised his hand,
unspeaking. All around them came the sound of a woman giggling.
The two of them startlingly realized there wasn’t a third person around. That giggling
came from that bright red flower!
Xie Lian instantly understood he’d fallen into a trap –
‘Land of the Tender’!
This ‘Land of the Tender’ wasn’t that Land of the Tender*. The Land of the Tender was a
flower demon that loved to gather and suck to feast on the essence of men, living off of
their blood. Their fragrance wasn’t anything good, and Xie Lian immediately cautioned,
“Cover your mouth and your nose tight, don’t breathe in that flower’s fragrance!”
That young soldier already had bandages wrapped securely around his face and had a
layer of filter, so he didn’t breathe in any scent. Hearing Xie Lian, he tightened his
bandages but then realized Xie Lian had nothing to cover with, so he ripped a piece off
of the cleanest part of his sleeve, rubbed it hard, patted it down until it’s cleaner, and
passed it in both hands. Yet Xie Lian said, “No need. It’s too late.”
When he went to treat that young woman, he may have been guarded, but he didn’t
guard against scent and was pressed closely, not knowing the flower pinned on her hair
was a blossom of ‘Land of the Tender’. Before she died, she clung on firmly to Xie Lian,
ensuring she wouldn’t fail. This meant Xie Lian had already unknowingly inhaled many
mouthfuls of that Tender Fragrance, truly “refreshing the spirit”.
Once that Tender Fragrance entered the body, men would become impetuous.
Numbness to start, then mania. Right then XIe Lian’s whole body was already listless
like all of his nerves were removed. Once the numbness passed, he’d become a cask of
explosives. If that strange white-clothed being was to appear once more, Xie Lian really
didn’t know how certain he’d be able to face it, and he couldn’t be sure of its might
either. His first reaction was to reach for his bottle of medicine, but then he realized that
bottle was emptied to help treat that young woman. Yet, in the end, the person still didn’t
He glanced at the dead body next to him. That young woman wore a happy smile as if
she was sincerely glad to sink the enemy into a trap before death and could finally pass
in peace to see her family. Xie Lian could only blame the bloody scene that softened
that flower’s dangerous shade, and the stench of blood that lightened the strange
fragrance of blossoms. He had never imagined that on the face of a young girl only in
her teens could bore such resentment, that she could commit such an extreme act.
Around him, the flower demons were exploding with excitement, muttering:
“He took the bait!”
“It’s really His Highness the Crown Prince!”
“He’s so handsome… my root, my root can’t hold back any longer, it’s going to thrust out
of the ground!”
That young soldier swung his sword to slash, cleaving a field of flower shrubs, yet those
stems were nimble, and that sword was worn; after one slash it became dull. Those
flower demons rocked back and forth, squealing, “My gosh! This little ge ge, your bush
hasn’t even grown in yet, but you’re so ferocious! I’m on the verge of blooming, how will
you repay me!”
That young soldier’s eye was flashing with rage, “You’re dead! I’m gonna burn you all to
The green leaves of those flower demons perched on the stems, yelling, “My, so scary!
We didn’t provoke you, why are you so mad!”
Xie Lian spoke up too, “Don’t burn them! They’re demons, if you set them on fire… they
will emit poisonous gas. You can’t pull them out either!” That boy immediately dropped
the hands that were ready to pluck, and Xie Lian explained weakly, “There are
poisonous thorns all over the stems…”
The flower demons flirtatiously gibed, “My gosh, Your Highness is so sweet, thank you
for protecting us. Just wait, we’re going to bear fruits soon! We’ll definitely take a good
care of you, hee hee hee hee…”
“Men who cultivated abstinence from birth are so hard to come by, even if your power
will drop a level if we deflower you, there’s no other way, sorry! Hee hee hee hee…”
The flower petals of the Land of the Tender rubbed against each other, giggling fraily,
their ambrosial perverse intentions more than obvious. That young soldier was
bewildered, not quite understanding the meaning of “abstinence”, “deflower”, or “level”,
but he could still tell they didn’t mean anything good, so he continued to swing his sword
madly, cutting down the flowers, roaring in rage, trying desperately to cover up the
sound of that teasing laughter, not wanting Xie Lian to hear. Xie Lian on the other hand,
was cracking his knuckles.
So that was it!
So everything that transpired tonight was truly designed especially for dealing with him.
Kidnapping Qi Rong was them counting on the pride and consideration he possessed
as the martial god of Xianle, that he would for sure choose to come after them alone,
minimizing the situation. And that heavily wounded young woman was meant to use up
his medicine, leaving him powerless to relieve himself. The cooperation between
humans and demons were meant to lead him to this point.
Xie Lian’s method of cultivation really did require a body of purity. The followers who
worship the ascended cultivators who practiced this stream were firmly convinced in the
transcendence of their gods who were untouched by earthly desires. Thus, if they
couldn’t protect their purity, their following would no doubt collapse, devastating their
powers. Although it wouldn’t be serious to the point of falling back into mortal man from
godhood, and there was still the possibility of redemption after many more years of
cultivation, but at that very moment, there’s no way, no time for him to sit behind closed
doors to cultivate for years!
The statute of purity was strict at the Royal Holy Pavilion, and Xie Lian excelled as the
number one in upholding those rules, never having broken or breached any of them,
and thought himself as steady as a rock of steel, not even gales could ripple the water
in his heart. He also went through many trials, completing them perfectly each time. Yet,
even if his heart was as still as water, he was still young and easily unnerved. With a
little, young soldier right beside him, listening to those flower demons blatantly splashing
words of depravity onto him, plus that lingering fragrance making his blood boil, his
mind tempestuous, Xie Lian couldn’t help but become embarrassed, his face reddening,
but no matter what, he just couldn’t stand.
He could still somehow hang on for the moment, but if those Land of the Tenders really
bore fruit, then it’d be very troublesome. The best course of action was of course return
to the royal capital immediately and have Feng Xin and Mu Qing shield him, but Xie
Lian’s legs were limp, he could barely stand. Without any other way, he called to the
little soldier with a strained voice, “You… come over here.”
●[溫柔鄉] ‘Land of the Tender’ has historically referred to a brothel or aphrodisiac.
MXTX is creating her own version of Land of the Tender.
For those who aren’t familiar, Land of the Tender is a common concept in
Chinese fantasy, and readers expect seductresses and/or love poison when they
see it in the text.
●MXTX Author Notes: Of course Hua Hua won’t be helping with rubbing one out or
X… but this will be Hua Hua’s sexual awakening… (?
Losing virginity will only damage spiritual power, not martial might. Although
martial might and spiritual power can be combined and amplified, their nature is
different. Besides, only Xie Lian’s chosen stream is this troublesome, that an X
life would damage his cultivation. Some heavenly officials are much smarter and
would choose a stream where the more they X the stronger they become; but in
most streams an X life and cultivation are completely unrelated.