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Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Several decades ago, a young man came out of Tianliang County. His name was Wang Po.
The day he appeared, the era of blooming flowers in the world of cultivation formally began.
He was a genius in cultivating the Dao, and also a genius in battle. Whether in cultivating talent or battle prowess, amongst cultivators of the same generation, he had always been the strongest. After Zhou Dufu, he was the only person to surpass the rest of his generation's cultivators and was undoubtedly the strongest expert. From the Proclamation of Azure Sky to the Proclamation of Golden Distinction, and then the Proclamation of Liberation, he had always occupied first place. Compared to the present-day Qiushan Jun and Xu Yourong, he was even grander. Even cultivators of such privileged positions as Snow-treading Xun Mei who once obtained first rank on the first banner in the Grand Examination, or Liang Wangsun who was the successor of a noble family that had accumulated power for a thousand years and one dynasty, found it hard to catch up. It was even because of Wang Po that Xun Mei spent thirty-odd years bitterly cultivating in the Mausoleum of Books without leaving. Because the proud and insane Painted Armor Xiao Zhang wanted to surpass Wang Po, he was even willing to descend into madness and almost became a cripple.
Nowadays, he had already cultivated to the peak of Star Condensation. Below the Five Saints and Storms of the Eight Directions, besides the legends of the previous generation like Su Li, the peerless expert who wandered the world, or Divine General Han Qing, there was no one stronger than him. And it must not be forgotten that he had only begun to cultivate several decades ago. The human world was optimistic that he could enter the Saint realm and become a Saint of the next generation or perhaps take over one of the positions in the Eight Storms. There was even the high possibility that he could go even farther and enter the legendary realm of Concealed Divinity!
A deathly stillness hung over the streets.
The crowd looked at the blue-clothed middle-aged man standing in the ruins of the inn, not daring to make a noise. At one end of the long street, Liang Hongzhuang's face was abnormally complex as he thought about matters from the past. On his charming complexion that was not at all like a man's, several unhealthy smears of red had appeared. It was obvious that his mind was excessively agitated. At the other end of the long street, Divine General Xue He looked at the blade he was holding casually in his hand and thought of those words Su Li had said to him a few days ago, and in his heart grew an unsurpassable sense of defeat.
Back then, Xue He had asked Su Li for guidance. Why did everyone believe that it would be impossible for him to catch up to Wang Po? Su Li told him that Wang Po was too far away from him, in matters of both the blade and the person. He asked for the reason, and Su Li said, “Because you use seven blades, while Wang Po only uses one.” This answer made him somewhat comprehend and feel that he had understood, but now in that previous moment, when he saw the blade in Wang Po's hand send Xiao Zhang flying twice and cause the walls and courtyards of Xunyang City to collapse, he finally understood that Su Li's answer had just been lip service.
He was inferior to Wang Po, and it had nothing to do with how many blades he used. Even if Wang Po wanted to used three hundred and sixty-five blades, every day using a different blade, Xue He would still be inferior to Wang Po. The distance between him and Wang Po was too vast, and it had nothing to do with perseverance or willpower. It only had to do with talent. This sort of acknowledgment brought him a great deal of despair and sadness.
Right as Liang Hongzhuang and Xue He were about to leave, Wang Po's appearance dealt them an enormous psychological blow. It had also placed a massive pressure on all of Xunyang City, especially those people that wanted to kill Su Li, creating a deathly stillness. It was only Chen Changsheng who, in his shock, felt a boundless warmth.
Yes, it was not ecstasy, but warmth.
Ecstasy was often a shocked happiness, coming from something unimaginable. Warmth was more mild, more profound, and more lingering. It was gratification that arose from the perfect match of one's desires and reality. He did not know why Wang Po would appear in Xunyang City, but he was grateful for Wang Po's appearance. He thanked him on the behalf of Su Li and on his own behalf, and on the behalf of those naive and pure ways of thinking.
At this moment, Wang Po's body slightly swayed, and then he began to cough.
He coughed blood, and every mouthful of blood was filled with spirit and boldness.
Everyone could tell that with a single cough, he became much more exhausted and haggard. Even for Wang Po, when confronting opponents on the level of Xiao Zhang and Liang Wangsun, especially in a one-on-two situation, it was very difficult to speak of certain victory. Wanting his one blade to push back the enemy, he had used his most unyielding technique and had even suffered injuries that he should not have suffered.
A breeze blew through the ruins of the inn. The white paper on Xiao Zhang's head flapped in the breeze, but it was impossible to dispel the bewilderment in Xiao Zhang's eyes. Liang Wangsun was unprecedentedly solemn and simultaneously intensely shocked and confused. In the battle, Xiao Zhang and Liang Wangsun had both exclaimed—they thought Wang Po had gone mad.
They were all on the Proclamation of Liberation and since they had been youths, they often exchanged pointers. They were both actually very familiar with Wang Po. They understood Wang Po's temperament, Wang Po's cultivation level, Wang Po's faction, Wang Po's likes and dislikes, and Wang Po's style and behavior. They knew that although Wang Po held half ownership of Scholartree Manor, he had never thought himself to be a southerner. In addition, it was impossible for Wang Po to have a single iota of good will towards Mount Li. Crucially, Wang Po did not like Su Li—Su Li was too carefree, like a cloud. On the other hand, Wang Po was too disciplined, like an account book that had been flipped through innumerable times. Why would he save Su Li?
They were all peak Star Condensation experts. Both of them had a clear understanding of what point Wang Po had cultivated to. Of course, Wang Po was outrageously strong, but there was absolutely no way he could defeat their alliance in such an understated fashion and inflict injuries which would be impossible to recover from in such a short amount of time. The only possibility was that Wang Po had used his most unyielding technique and had suffered heavy injuries of his own.
The injuries that Xiao Zhang and Liang Wangsun had suffered had also not been light. They no longer had the strength to battle while Wang Po still seemed to have some surplus strength. In reality, he had paid an even heavier price than they had, and had even possibly affected his future cultivation. Why? Why was his resolve so unshakable, why was he willing to pay any price? Why was he willing to pay such a great price for a single southerner?
"Why do you want to save him?" The white paper was speckled with blood reminiscent of plum blossoms. When the bloodied white paper was contrasted with Xiao Zhang's eyes, it made them seem even more bloody and dreadful. He unwaveringly fixed his eyes on Wang Po as he felt the destruction wreaked upon his meridians by the true essence. His voice was hoarse as he shouted his question, angry and uncomprehending.
Wang Po was rather exhausted, and the ends of his eyebrows drooped down even more. As a result, he seemed even more impoverished. Paired with his blue garments that had been washed so much that they had started to lose color, he really did seem just like a normal accountant for an inn. He asked a question back to Xiao Zhang: "Why do you want to kill him?"
Xiao Zhang did not pretend to think. Righteously and self-confidently, even heroically, he answered, "Because he upsets me."
Wang Po was silent for a few moments, and then, paying no more attention to this madman, he turned to Liang Wangsun.
Liang Wangsun's face was pale, but his dim eyes gradually began to glow. "There exists animosity between the two of us."
This was a calm and powerful reason.
Wang Po said, "Let's not fight for a moment."
Liang Wangsun replied, "I must fight for every moment."
Wang Po answered, "It does not conform with justice."
Liang Wangsun rebutted, "Your justice is not my justice."
Wang Po replied, "Justice, and also great profit."
Liang Wangsun said no more.
Wang Po turned back to Xiao Zhang and looked at those eyes behind the white paper. "He upsets you, so you came to kill him. Your killing him upsets me, so I won't let you kill him."
Just like Su Li's answer to Chen Changsheng, many things in this world were just this simple.
As expected, Wang Po of Tianliang was not simple. (TN: 不简单 can mean 'not simple', but it can also mean 'remarkable'.)