The Sage Who Transcended Samsara Chapter 473
None of the armed escorts had ever heard of the Six-annihilation Devilman. They were better known as the Destruction Sect by accounts of the Evil Spirit Cultivator as he was a minion, too. The words of their assailant was sure to be believed. There was hardly need to lie before its prey, whose backs were against a knife’s edge.
The Eight Skyscraping Devils and the Nineteen Devilmen were legends of the Destruction Sect, whose names were whispered with fear in Jianghu. Then again, this hardly comprised of the entire might of the Nine Paths of Evil. No one would affirm that the Shaolin boasted the powers of merely eight Exterior warriors and nineteen others close behind in strength.
Therefore, the might of the Destruction Sect had most certainly been underestimated. Many more evil beings of potent skills and power lurked behind in the shadows of the Eight Skyscraping Devils and the Nineteen Devilmen. The Six-Annihilation Devilman being excluded was quite normal.
“Have the Luo Denomination and the Destruction Sect of the Nine Evil Paths formed a union? ”wondered Gu Changqing. The very same thought flashed across the minds of the escorts defending the convoy. In the midst of the confusion, the chief of the convoy squinted his eyes. With a flash, he drew an object from within his robes.
There was a deafening explosion as a volley of bright light sprung from the barrel in his hands into the sky. The radiant bead flew up high and bloomed into a large fiery red blossom in the night sky.
“You summoned help?” The Evil Spirits Cultivator snorted, “We are all alone in the wilderness! To whom do you summon for help? A passerby? Ha, I would love to see who would dare thwart the plans of the Luo Denomination and the Destruction Sect!”
His hands rose as he spoke. His fingers transformed into talons. He hurled himself at the Chief, clawing at him with malice.
A dark greenish glow shrouded the assailant’s fingers that ripped with the keenness of a blade. The diabolic aura of his genuine Qi cast a cloud of darkness like billowing fumes that rolled menacingly. The Evil Spirit Cultivator lunged at his enemy with a battle cry much like the howls of ravenous wolves and vengeful spirits.
The clawing lunge filled the entire surrounding with a sinister aura as if it had came straight from the depths of the Nine Serenities. The overwhelming sensation of pure evil would have frozen anyone’s blood in an instant, rendering them helpless and powerless!
The escort leader rapidly pulled out a blade that looked like it had been dipped in a layer of gold from top to bottom. It was like a sun rising with hot flames rolling inside.
Weapons met claws as the genuine Qi collided in the clash, and the escort leader had to retreat a few steps. His face had turned pale, but his body still moved with agility. He shifted and changed positions with no sign of slowing down.
“Wow, the escort leader’s magnificent…” Gu Changqing and the other armed escorts were captivated.
They had never considered that the good natured old escort leader could go up against Half-step Exterior Scenery Evil Spirit Cultivators with such gusto. He had hidden this side of him really well!
“Could it be that the object being guarded actually is on him?”
They had only just thought of this when all of the Luo Denomination followers swarmed towards them, including the Emissary Vacation and other strong opponents.
In a flash, the top of the hill became a mass of screams with some of the weaker escort guards soon falling. They lay there on the ground, their mouths oozing black blood.
Gu Changqing brandished a long sword and utilized the Desperate Hit’s momentum to slay the Luo Denomination followers in front of him. He wanted to rescue the others but was surrounded by a few Emissary Vacations. He lunged to the left and right but could not get away from them. Gradually, his being outnumbered wore him down and he fell behind.
Struggling to hold on, he saw the Evil Spirit Cultivator leader storm forwards and overpower the escort leader. His eyes flashed green and his body rose up slightly, his right hand forming a claw.
His fingers had an odd curve to them, like very sharp canines. His right hand had become a bloody paw ready to swallow the escort leader’s golden blade.
There was a snapping sound and the saber Qi disappeared with his grab. It was as if it had been swallowed. The blade just snapped in two!
The armed escorts next in line could not help but run forward to face the devil claw. In a hurry, he performed a Lazy Donkey Roll to avoid that which would harm him. But five trails of blood still appeared on his back. These instantly turned blue and swelled up, oozing blood and pus.
In a flash of sword light, Gu Changqing, with no regard for his own safety, threw those next to him aside in a desperate attempt at a rescue.
“I am indebted to the Head of the Escorts who repeatedly taught me that it is a worthy act to throw down one’s life in order to facilitate the escape of an escort and their item to safety!”
Having been through a great deal, Gu Changqing was by no means afraid of death!
With a sickening sound, Refined Weapons entered his flesh and Gu Changqing’s torso took on multiple wounds. Fresh blood poured from them, but he ignored this and continued to the front of the escort head.
“You can die together!” The Evil Spirit Cultivator looked delighted. He swiped his left hand out and a ghastly cold spread over them. It was as if the Netherworld was nearby.
Gu Changqing’s circulation was frozen solid and he was unable to move his sword. All he could do was watch the ghostly claw attack. Countless thoughts flashed through his mind. He thought of his happy childhood with his elder relatives. He pondered the calmness of the Immensity Sea and recalled the pain of hearing of tragedy. He thought of the emptiness and excitement that revenge brought. He thought of all the striving and perseverance in his life. Finally, he let out a sigh,
“Compared to the Half-step Exterior Scenery, I really am utterly insignificant…”
Just then, there was a distant yell,
At the sound of the voice, Evil Spirit Cultivator was angered,“Who dares to stick their nose into Luo Denomination affairs?”
The sound of thunder reverberated in their ears and shook Vital Spirits, making it hard for them to hold themselves together. Purple lightening was everywhere, and the evil aura dissipated.
With some difficulty, he turned his head and saw the shape of a person up on the hill go rushing into the melee, saber radiance flashing continuously. Like clay golems, none of the followers could offer him any resistance. He just flashed past them.
Gu Changqing was thunderstruck. Shocked and slightly unhinged, he stood there as if he was made from wood with his pupils reflecting the black shadow of the tough hero.
Amidst the “rolling thunder” the Evil Spirit Cultivator gathered himself up and, slightly surprised, he let out the cry,
His reputation had preceded him. The Evil Spirit Cultivator’s pupils constricted and after a moment’s hesitation he let out a high cry,
As soon as the words were uttered, his crestfallen form had disappeared into the forest on the left flank of the hill top in a blur.
Meng Qi ran a few steps after them but did not take up the chase. His steps slowed, and he came to a rest in front of Gu Changqing.
Gu Changqing stood there stunned, having just shaken off the effects of the thundering scream. Blood dripped slowly off his saber and his vaguely identifiable, yet masculine features were reflected within his eyes.
Then the man in front of him dressed in black raised the corners of his mouth into a grin and gave a big smile,
“No matter how far away I am, I’ll always try to come to your aid as soon as possible!”
Just as the words were spoken, one of the Luo Denomination’s followers who had failed to escape fell to the ground with a plop. He was the one that had been passed when Meng Qi was in his hurry to get to Changqing. He now lied on the ground flattened like grass that a strong wind had blown past.
“We are very grateful for your assistance,” Gu Changqing took a deep breath, cupping one hand in the other in front of his chest and giving a bow.
Meng Qi smiled, “In the few years that we haven’t seen each other, you don’t look all that different to me. I recognized you right away.”
Gu Changqing smiled wryly, “Unlike you, I was already an adult when I began my travels. Without that Killing Blade reputation I may not have recognized you now that you’ve grown up.”
After a few light exchanges they stood silent for a moment, not quite knowing what to say to each other to reignite their relationship from three years ago.
“Let’s get out of here first, so as to avoid being around if they bring Luo Denomination masters back with them.” Meng Qi’s eyes glanced around them, worried that white-clad figures may descend on them at any moment.
“Right.” Gu Changqing did not mince his words. He squatted down beside the Head of the Escorts and searched his chest for something.
It was only when he had awoken that he discovered the Head of the Escorts had died from poisoning. It appeared that the wounds the Evil Spirit Cultivator inflicted were not so easily overcome.
He hurried away with Meng Qi after, as anticipated, he found something stuffed inside his chest.
They kept ducking and diving, changing directions to throw any pursuers off their trail. Meng Qi stopped running and turned with some confusion asking, “How did your Escort Agency manage to find trouble with the Luo Denomination?”
The Central Province Escort Agency, whose motto was that there was nothing too big or too small that they can’t handle, should have at least tried their best to avoid any conflict with the Nine Evil Paths.
“I don’t know either. After we escorted something to the Southern Province, the original plan had been to buy some local produce to take back to the imperial city to sell. Going back empty-handed would be a waste, you know? Who knew that a man in a black cloak would come to the door and request the job of taking a small black box to Luoyang. He said that when the time came, someone else would find us and collect it.” With this many dead colleagues, Gu Changqing had no mind to leave anything out. He racked his brain to recall everything that had occurred. Halfway to Luoyang the Head of the Escorts appeared personally to collect. Surprisingly, it was halfway along the road that we met…”
“When we got to the small town ahead, the Head of Escorts said that he had something he needed to do and parted ways with us.”
You cannot see the wood for the trees when you are involved in something like that and Gu Changqing had not been able to see what was wrong either. Now in retrospect, the more carefully the thought, the more it seemed like there was something fishy about the item they were escorting. He fished out the black box from his breast pocket and opened it very carefully.
“The seal has been broken. Somebody’s already opened it.” Meng Qi’s gaze was as sharp as ever.
Gu Changqing nodded without saying anything. Slowly, he opened the box to reveal what lied within.
The inside was lined with lifelike bright red flower petals with no sign of having withered. On them was placed an oddly shaped object that looked like it had been cast from gold. It was inlayed with red and purple gems with odd patterns engraved on it. It made one’s head swim trying to examine it in any detail.
The patterns and gems on the object were incomplete. It was as if it was only a part or half of a whole object.
“It looks like a token that someone has split into two.” Meng Qi said in a low voice.
Gu Changqing pursed his lips, “Perhaps the Head of Escorts took it, so that we would split forces and enter the capital.
“I don’t know what is so special about this token… Anyway, we must get it back to the imperial city. The Luo Denomination running amok in Luoyang would not be tolerated.” Meng Qi examined it for a bit longer but failed to find any further clues.
“Hmm.” Gu Changqing put the box away, as there was no reason to bother Meng Qi with it further.
Following their discussion, the previous feeling of estrangement had dissolved significantly. As they made haste, Meng Qi inquired, “What made you want to become an armed escort?”
“When imposing on others and living off their charity, one has to get a job at some point. And those of us who have trained and practiced the martial arts usually crave an avenue for their art, lest it turns rusty.” Gu Changqing said briefly.
“It sounds as if the Xie household was not overly warm to you…” Meng Qi did not feel it was his place to say anymore.
Gu Changqing smiled, “I am very grateful for them taking me under their wing after my own family had disowned me. Later, after gaining favor with the Head of Escorts, my own strength improved a lot. The escorts have been very good to me.”
Meng Qi relaxed somewhat seeing that Gu Changqing harbored no resentment. It was just that he was not sure whether he still upheld the principles of eliminating evil.
A large river lay glistening up ahead and Meng Qi suddenly asked, “Changqing, what do you plan to do after avenging their deaths? Be an escort for your entire life?”
Gu Changqing looked shocked, “And what revenge would that be?”
Meng Qi replied seriously, “I am sure you must have unresolved pain and wish to kill Ze Luoju.”
“I was considering returning to my family. I was going to ask the family head whether he had reconsidered matters…” Gu Changqings eyes turned dark and gloomy.
Meng Qi said in earnest, “It is not my intention to prevent you from taking revenge, even considering my days of the Exterior would begin with Ze Luoju’s demise. No. I would like you to think about what you want to do after that, and not spend your life haunted by it.”
“And do what…” Gu Changqing was a little perplexed. These last three years, it had been revenge itself that had kept him going. He had not thought about what to do afterwards.
Meng Qi heaved a sigh, “Back in the day my Master’s family was similarly destroyed by the Crying Elder. Even today I believe he still harbors a hope for revenge. But if this was achieved, I doubt he would allow himself to be lost in it. One must repent after revenge is done and dealt with.”
Gu Changqing laughed cynically, “How can I stand level with the divine monk Xuan Bei?” His voice dropped gradually, “I would like to be good at the arts, as I would like lots of money just like I would like revenge. However, ultimately they’re all just daydreams…”
Meng Qi stopped next to the river, making it as if he was talking to himself, “If your arts could be exceptional, would you be willing to spend the rest of your life, making sure their impartation only improved them further as your life’s mission?”
“Huh?” Gu Changqing was both shocked and puzzled.
Meng Qi smiled brightly suddenly, “Let’s not talk about this for the moment. We can discuss it further when we get to Luoyang.”
At that moment, Gu Changqing really wanted to bash this grinning man like never before.
The canal that joined the large river carried all of the goods everyone needed for their daily needs, as such, it was dubbed Luoyang’s lifeline.
On the river it was vibrant. The waters rose and fell across its broad breadth. Many sails were unfurled, seemingly attempting to block out the sun.
On a junk ship, Yan Chong The Unstoppable was raising a glass with some people.
“With such a hero as Brother Xiong coming to visit me, I feel quite spoiled.” He emptied a glass as a sign of his respect.
The person opposite him wore dark red arrester robes. From his waist hung a small silver seal. He had handsome features; his chin a little pointed and his demeanor very staid. It was in fact the Martial Arts Scholar of the year, Fan Changmiao in person.
“Haha, Brother Yan is ranked number two on Ranking List of Young Masters, doesn’t he also grab just as much of people’s attention wherever he goes precisely for being number two?” Fan Changmiao added, “There’s no need to be so polite seeing as we’re both so close to His Highness.”
Yan Chong smiled wryly, “Becoming a number came about a little out of the blue, and was entirely dependent on the break throughs and deaths of those that came before me.”
“And what of it? The second place on the Ranking List of Young Masters doesn’t change anything wherever he goes, causing people to grovel at him.” Fan Changmiao said emotively.
Yan Chong was about to speak when he suddenly had a strange feeling. He turned his head violently to look out of the window. As it happened a junk ship came into view, on the bow of which stood a figure.
This figure was dressed in black clothes with a long saber hanging from his waist. He had handsome masculine features and both hands were behind his back. He stood up straight. He looked to be in total harmony with his surroundings.
It was as if he could sense Yan Chong observing him. He turned his head and met his gaze, then nodded in acknowledgment.
“He’s going as well…” Yan Chong muttered below his breath.
Fan Changmiao also saw the figure. “Who is it?”
“Killing Blade!” Yan Chong’s eyes narrowed.
Fan Changmiao’s expression went through some variations,
“He’s also on his way to Luoyang…”
The river surged, and the wind picked up, then another junk ship passed by blocking their line of sight.