Volume 1 Chapter 1 “Surviving Members of the Sword Furnace”
Summary: After destroying the Han, Zhao and Wei dynasties, the Qin Dynasty has welcomed an era of posterity never seen before with many powerful cultivators. People are proud to be Qin. But Ding Ning, a youth of the capital Changling whose birth is lowly and undoubted, thinks daily about overthrowing the Qin Dynasty and killing the Qin Emperor who has reached the unprecedented realm eight of cultivation.
Volume One “Great Rebel”
Chapter One Surviving Members of the Sword Furnace
In the autumn of the eleventh year of Yuanwu in the Qin Dynasty, a rare rainstorm enshrouded all of Changling. The black clouds, accompanied by terrifying roars of thunder, caused this capital of the Qin Dynasty to fall into a nightmare.
Outside the city at the port of the Wei River, countless officials and soldiers dressed in black uniforms stood, allowing the wild wind and rain to fall and blow on them. They stood motionlessly as though nailed to the ground.
Within the wild waves, an armored ship suddenly arrived!
The lightning cracking in the sky struck down at this moment, illuminating this black metal ship in snowy white light.
All of the officials and soldiers standing at the edge of the port changed expression.
The figurehead of this metal-clad ship was the head of a turtle-dragon! 1
Even dead, the enormous beast’s head, larger than a carriage, had flashing and murderous crimson red eyes, and its fiendish air was even more frightening than the wild waves.
Before the enormous ship docked, three officials immediately flashed dozens of meters across the water surface and landed heavily on the deck.
What astounded these three officials even more was the terrifying holes and shattered articles strewn around the ship. It appeared many great battles had occurred. Yet what they saw was someone appearing like a servant dressed in a straw rain cape standing at the corner of the ship like a ghost. They didn’t catch sight of the person they had waited so long for.
“Official Han, is Bureau Chief Ye present?”
These three officials bowed in unison and asked, suppressing their shock.
“No need for such courtesy. Bureau Chief Ye has already gone to where the survivor of the Sword Furnace is hiding.” The servant-like old person bowed minutely in response as he spoke. They couldn’t see the old man’s features clearly amidst the rain but his eyes were exceptionally deep and cold, giving off an intimidating dominance.
“Bureau Chief Ye has already gone?” The three officials shook at the same time and couldn’t help but look back towards the city.
All of Changling was covered in the heavy rain and the light of dusk, only the faint shadows of the tall pagodas could be made out.
At the same time, a black umbrella suddenly appeared on top of a river in the south of Changling.
The person holding the black umbrella walked on the raging river towards an alley on this side of the river-shore like they were walking on solid ground.
Six other black-uniformed officials of different heights, all holding umbrellas, waited at the shore for this person. Their features hidden by the black umbrellas.
When this person stepped onto shore, the six officials did not make any extraneous movements nor any sound. They silently spread apart and followed.
A normal courtyard in this alley gradually became the center of these black umbrellas that started to give off murderous intent.
The sound of water dripping mixed with the chewing of food.
A middle-aged man dressed in rough cloth with his sleeves pushed up was eating his dinner under the eaves.
This person’s black robes were worn out, his messy hair casually tied up with a grass rope. The bottoms of his cloth shoes were almost wore thin, and his fingernails dirty. His features were unremarkable and he looked just like any of the other laborers nearby.
His dinner was also extremely ordinary and simple. A bowl of rough rice, a dish of green vegetables, a dish of dried beans. However, this middle-aged man savored this meal, chewing a dozen time or more with each mouthful before swallowing.
After swallowing the last mouthful of rice, this middle-aged man took a wooden scoop hanging from the eaves and dipped into a water tank next to him. He drank the entire scoop before he burped in satisfaction.
As he burped, the first black umbrella coincidentally stopped at the doorway to his little yard.
A snowy-white official boot stretched out from one of the black umbrellas, eye-catching among the black color.
After the boot was a long snowy-white dress, freely falling hair, thin lips, and a light brow.
From the roaring river, she strolled out. This was a beautiful woman with an extremely attractive waist and a scholarly aura.
She walked out from under the black umbrella and allowed the rain to fall on her hair. She lightly walked into the middle-aged man’s yard and then bowed towards the middle-aged man. She said softly, “Ye Celeng greets Seventh Mister Zhao.”
The middle-aged man raised an eyebrow slightly. But with this movement, his features suddenly seemed to come alive, and his body gave off an indescribable charisma.
“I’ve been in Changling for three years, this is the first time I have met Bureau Chief Ye.”
He hadn’t returned the bow, he only smiled slightly. His gaze swept past this woman and into the alleyway where the wind and rain fell.
“Changling is boring after a long time here. Just like you Qin, your swords and your conduct, straightfoward. Horizontal is horizontal, vertical is vertical, everything at right corners and equal, even the streets and walls are black or grey, no sense of beauty. But Bureau Chief Ye lights up my vision, and seems at odds with this Changling.”
His words were soft just like the casual lament of someone who was chatting idly after a meal. Yet when these words were said, everyone outside under the black umbrellas turned cold in expression.
“You dare! Evil element of Sword Furnace Zhao Zhan! Bureau Chief Ye has personally come. You will not surrender and dare to say such words!”
A cold shout suddenly came from a black umbrella standing in the distance.
As though to deliberately have the middle-aged man and white-dressed woman see his appearance clearly, the holder of this black umbrella who spoke raised the umbrella. The speaker was an exceptionally handsome young man, white teeth, red lips, a white jade-like complexion, his eyes flashing like lightning.
A sound of surprise.
The middle-aged man’s furrowed brow relaxed slightly and his expression was one of realization. “No wonder your presence is weaker than everyone else … … so you are not one of the six academicians of the Astronomical Bureau 2, in other words, you should be an official of the Divinity Bureau.”
This handsome young black-robed official’s hands trembled imperceptibly. He appeared to have used a great deal of his courage in his previous action. Hearing the middle-aged man say his presence was weaker than the other umbrella-holders behind him, anger burned his eyes, but his breathing became more urgent.
The middle-aged man’s eyes left the youth and returned to the white-dressed woman. He smiled slightly at the white-dressed woman and said, “To be halfway into the fourth realm at this age, he should be a rare talent in your dynasty.”
The white-dressed woman smiled, and revealed two faint dimples. “Mister is correct.”
“He admires you, and wants to leave an impression on you.” The middle-aged man looked meaningfully at the white-dressed woman. “Isn’t it a bit of a pity?”
“What … … what do you mean?” The handsome young official’s face suddenly turned pale, his heavy robes soaked in cold sweat. He suddenly had a bad feeling.
The white-dressed woman turned to look at him, and smiled slightly. She appeared to not hold any negative feelings towards this handsome youth, yet a raindrop that fell onto her body suddenly stopped.
Then this droplet suddenly accelerated and lengthened into a small thin sword during this process.
“Pew.” A soft sound.
Blood sprayed the underside of the umbrella. The handsome official’s head had separated his body and landed with the umbrella on the ground. His eyes were wide as though he didn’t believe this was true.
The middle-aged man clapped and cheered. “Bureau Chief Ye has such spirit to kill a member of the Divinity Bureau that supervises your actions. However, Bureau Chief doesn’t seem to have great breadth of mind to kill a rare practitioner just due to a bd temper.”
The white-dressed female sneered, “Women do not need breadth of mind, they only need a chest. 3.”
The middle-aged man stilled slightly. He hadn’t expected the white-dressed woman would say something like this.
He laughed in self-mockingly. “Someone like Bureau Chief Ye, no matter what you do or say, you really do not have to care too much about the opinion of others.”
The white-dressed woman’s eyelashes flickered. Yet at this time, she seemed to feel something. Her brow furrowed slightly and she stopped talking.
The middle-aged man’s smile disappeared and the small wrinkles at the corners of his eyes seemed to be smoothed away by strange light. His skin flashed with jade-like light, and wave of heat caused the rain coming down the sky to turn into white steam. A fierce murderousness filled the small courtyard.
“While our cultivation focuses are different, the cultivators of the world are divided into nine realms, and each realm into three ranks. Your emperor, what realm is he at now?” When the white-dressed woman, clearly of high status, had bowed towards him, he hadn’t bowed back in response. Yet at this moment, he made a deep bow and asked seriously.
“I do not have any breadth of mind, so I will not answer questions like yours in a situation like this that is of no benefit to me.” The white-dressed female looked calmly at him, and said in a tone which did not allow for negotiation. “One person, one question.”
The middle-aged man thought for a moment and then lifted his head. “Alright.”
The white-dressed female directly asked without any discussion, “The disciples of the Sword Furnace cultivate the sword of death, they do not even care for their own life. But in the three years you spend hiding, you did not assassinate the cultiavotrs of my dynasty, nor conspire in secret, nor try to steal the cultivation records of my dynasty. What are you intending to do?”
The middle-aged man looked at her and sighed, “No matter how strong the secret weapons and arts in those cultivation places of yours are, are they stronger than what that person left behind?”
His rhetorical questions was brief, and he didn’t even say the name of “that person.” Yet those two words were a taboo. The five officials under black umbrellas outside, who hadn’t even been affected by the bloody beheading, upon hearing these words, shook their black umbrellas, water coming off in ripples.
That white-dressed woman immediately became displeased. She said with a cold smile, “So many years have passed yet you have not given up. You still want to see if that person left anything behind?”
The middle-aged man did not say anything else. He only looked with interest into her eyes and waited for her response.
The white-dressed woman looked at this middle-aged man who appeared more and more charismatic. She suddenly felt some sympathy for this person and said gently, “His Majesty reached Realm seven first class five years ago. He has not fight in the years since. Are you satisfied with this response?”
“Realm seven first class five years ago. Five years used for a breakthrough, that should be enough. In other words, he may have really reached realm eight?” A thread of frustration and sorrow appeared between the middle-aged man’s brow. But in the next moment, it disappeared completely and turned into sharp sword intent!
His entire body started to give off light like a peerless sword which had been sheathed for many years suddenly being revealed!
The dried weeds growing on the walls and roof of the little courtyard were cut by the sharp presence, flying into the air.
The middle-aged man took a deep breath. The white-dressed woman seemed to be the only thing left in his eyes.
“The seventh disciple of Sword Furnace Zhao Zhan, asks for guidance from Bureau Chief Ye’s Autumn Water Sword!”
When he said this, the white-dressed woman was silent and didn’t seem to respond. However, the five black-uniformed officials outside the yard made a groan in unison. Their figures suddenly spread to five corners of the courtyard, and their black umbrellas started to spin rapidly at the same time.
The shield-like black umbrellas spun out countless ribbons of solid air rather than raindrops.
The entire courtyard seemed to expand outwards like it was made out of paper and then exploded into burning pieces.
Muffled sounds came from out under the umbrellas. These burning pieces contained astounding power that caused an ear-splitting sound of friction to sound between the shoes of these five umbrella-holding officials and the smooth stone floor.
The ribbons of air formed an impenetrable wall of wind. Very few of the burning pieces managed to pierce it. The waves of heat and the burning sparks were forced to flow upwards. From afar, it seemed an enormous furnace was taking form suddenly between the earth and sky.
At the center of the furnace, a crimson little sword appeared in the hand of Zhao Zhan, the middle-aged man.
This sword was just slightly more than two feet. However, the burning fire from the body and tip of the sword formed a ball of fire dozens of meters in width!
The white-dressed woman he called Bureau Chief Ye disappeared from in front of him. Only millions of threads of rain shot towards him like tiny swords.
The moment the five umbrella holding officials attacked, dozens of swordsmen with different swords flooded this alleyway.
These swordsmen gave off the same presence as the five umbrella-holding officials. In this kind of storm, the raindrops that landed on them seemed to fly away as though in fear. A transparent bubble separated each person like completely different worlds.
This showed that they were the same as the five umbrella-holding officials. They were cultivators, rare in the world and with skills that people could not imagine.
Yet listening to the roars coming out of the little courtyard, and the water droplets vibrating into the air out of the surrounding puddles, they, who couldn’t even detect what the general state of battle inside was like, turned paled, and their hands sweated.
They had known before what the Sword Furnace of the country of Zhao had been like. But today, the finally understood that their opinion of the Sword Furnace had been too low.
It passed quickly. Even the nearby dwellers only thought that this was thunder and did not come over to see. A strange tearing sound came from the black umbrella wall surrounding the little yard.
One black umbrella could not withstand it any longer and drifted back almost a hundred meters.
The black-uniformed officials , attired with naked swords and scattered outside the little courtyard, changed expression at the same time. The four black-robed swordsmen standing behind the numerous black umbrellas shouted in unison, pulling out and holding their swords in front of them.
Clang clang clang clang. Four long swords of different colors curved backwards. These four black-robed swordsmen pushed with their feet, wanting to resist, but in the next moment, all of them expelled a mouthful of blood, and flew back like birds with their wings cut.
A wave of air flooded out of the crack in the black umbrella wall. It passed through a vegetable garden, destroyed two walls, passed through a wide street and flooded towards a sesame oil shop on the other side of the street.
The numerous door panels leaning against the door to the sesame oil shop exploded into countless pieces. Then half of the shop was destroyed, the roof tiles smashing to the ground and creating an enormous burst of dust and noise.
“Which damned person doesn’t look when driving a carriage during the night and at such speed! You destroyed my shop!”
A shriek came from the half-destroyed shop. A middle-aged matron holding a ladle charged grievously out of the shop, intending to hit people. But the moment she saw the scene, the oil ladle in the matron’s hand fell to the ground, and she gave an even more high-pitched shriek.
“The Astrology Bureau is conducing a case!”
A black-robed swordsman who had been thrown back to the slate road in front of this shop forced himself up when he heard the middle-aged matron’s scream. He shouted, the sharp killing intent causing the middle-aged matron to shake and stop screaming.
At this moment, what shocked this harsh-looking black-robed swordsman was a youth holding an oil bottle that walked out of the half-collapsed shop. This youth appeared thirteen or fourteen, yet his dust-covered young features did not show any fear.
He only showed curiosity, looking with clear eyes at the black-robed swordsman. Then his gaze swept past the black-robed swordsman and beyond the two destroyed walls.
In his view, a beautiful white-dressed woman walked out of the opening in the wall of black umbrellas.
The white-dressed female’s dress was soaked. She seemed extremely tired. When the black umbrellas gathered around her and helped her block out the rain, she only softly said these four words.
“Bury him with honors.”