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Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Chen Changsheng had already prepared himself for the sword intent Su Li had concealed in the letter. His cultivation had improved much after his return to the capital, so at the very beginning, he planned to see how long he could resist it. Yet he had not imagined that the sword intents within the letter would be so sharp and terrifying. Let alone resisting, he didn't even dare provoke them.
Of course, Su Li had no hostility, much less killing intent, towards him. Those sword intents that had flown out of the letter noiselessly cut many items in the kitchen into pieces and had even cut off a floating piece of his belt, but not a single sword intent fell on his body. They only danced around him in the air.
Those sword intents danced around him like falling leaves, like snowflakes, like drops of water.
It was like Chen Changsheng was standing under an autumn tree, a snowy sky, or a waterfall.
He faintly understood some things and gradually relaxed, sending his spiritual sense into the world formed by these sword intents.
These sword intents were precisely the letter that Su Li had written him, one of the gifts that had been left behind for him. So just what was written within this letter?
On one side, Chen Changsheng comprehended the sword intents Su Li left behind after breaking through, while on the other side, he quietly read the letter in his hands.
Su Li's handwriting was just like his sword and like his person, flowing and lucid, joyful and sharp. The brush was raised with incredible speed and brought down with incredible accuracy.
"You were actually able to beat Yourong. This is truly some surprising news."
Upon seeing the first sentence of this letter, Chen Changsheng understood that Su Li giving him this letter had a condition: that he defeat Xu Yourong. If he had failed to do this, Su Li would definitely have been disappointed in him, then these two letters might have been left to Xu Yourong, or perhaps…Qiushan Jun.
"But when I think about how you learned the sword from me, then for you to scrape out a victory against Yourong is understandable."
The words in Su Li's letter still perfectly displayed his self-confidence, or perhaps his self-love.
Soon after, though, his words became much calmer and indifferent.
"In my life, I have only taught three people: Qiushan, you, and Qi Jian. Qiushan is stronger than you; Qi Jian, weaker. Moreover, she's my daughter, so after I leave, if something happens at Mount Li, help me by taking care of it. As for why I left? After you live several hundred years and realize that someone has been waiting for you for several hundred years, perhaps you'll understand.
"I am the Junior Martial Uncle of Mount Li, so there's no need for me to explain a single thing to its disciples. I am Su Li, so there is nothing I need to tell to Old Man Yin and Tianhai. But I still want to explain some things, tell some things, so I wrote this sort of letter to you.
"In the future, if someone asks, you can relay these words to them. I have not conceded to this world, but she spoke true. I am Su Li—what need is there for me to be a second Zhou Dufu? Most importantly, you also spoke true. I've killed countless people and have no love for this world, but perhaps there is still a bit of kindness?"
As he read this sentence, Chen Changsheng's heart was filled with many emotions.
In the view of many, especially those southerners who opposed the confluence of north and south, Su Li and the Holy Maiden swiftly departing was an escape to shirk responsibility.
None of them understood that for a person like Su Li, only by wielding a truly wise and courageous sword could he truly cut open a path of departure.
But when he read the end of the letter, he suddenly felt that his praise and admiration of Senior Su Li had been mistaken.
Su Li had written something like this at the end of the letter.
"Have that wolf cub give it up. If he dares to pester my daughter again, even if I'm on the other side of the sea of stars, I'll ride a raft of stars back. My first strike will behead him, my second will behead you, and my final strike will annihilate your Orthodox Academy and that wolf tribe in the north. Don't say I didn't warn you!"
After Chen Changsheng read these words, he helplessly thought, why does a free and easy person like Senior Su Li take this matter so seriously?
As he thought this, the area around suddenly rang out with a dense and terrifying clattering of swords. Countless sword intents returned from every direction and fell back on the paper.
Those extremely sharp sword intents of nigh incomprehensible level cut the handwriting on the letter into complete disorder, transforming it into innumerable splatters of ink and making it impossible to make out the words.
Finally, those splatters of ink formed four big words.
"Burn promptly after reading."
Chen Changsheng could only vacantly gaze at these words. Wasn't it too much of a pity to just burn it like this? It must be known that the sword intent in this letter was an incredibly precious gift for cultivating the sword. He had originally planned to have Tang Thirty-Six and Zhexiu comprehend it tomorrow.
But since it was Su Li's order, he could not oppose it. He obediently threw the latter into the remaining embers in the kitchen oven, personally witnessing the letter transform into ash.
As he gazed at the ash in the oven and thought about the sword intent that was contained in that paper, he suddenly recalled that painter from the Pavilion of Heavenly Secrets who painted the scenes from when he challenged those initial level Star Condensation experts during the All-School Martial Exhibition. That painter most likely used a similar method, but comparing him to Su Li was like the difference between the mud and the clouds.
He then recalled that scribe he had seen on the street: the Heavenly Dao Academy's Guan Bai.
At the time, he had glanced at that man through the carriage window and felt a sharpness stab into his eyes and deliver an excruciating pain, almost causing him to cry.
Now that he thought about it, had this person cultivated on the path of the sword until his sword intent had become part of his body?
In next year's Boiling Stone Summit, he had to face such a powerful sword. Would he be able to win?
A little earlier, Guan Bai was in a study in the south of the city, reading a book.
Suddenly, he sensed something. After a moment of silence, he quietly closed the book and walked out of the study.
After twilight, the snow had gradually come to a stop, but the weather was still chilly. It was difficult to walk on the snow-covered streets, so there were very few pedestrians.
He stood in the center of the street.
Confronting an old Daoist nun that was walking forward.
In truth, this Daoist nun's face could not be considered young. At the very least, a specific age could not be assigned to her. Her appearance was suffused with a cold and austere air, mixed with a strand of staleness.
Guan Bai watched as the old Daoist nun got closer and closer, not speaking a single word.
He did not know the origins of the nun, but he knew that her cultivation level was far above his, even above his esteemed teacher Zhuang Zhihuan.
Before the Boiling Stone Summit, he didn't want to cause too much trouble, nor should he be fighting an expert of such masterly cultivation.
But he had heard very clearly that in a distant alley, a wild dog had died.
It was just when this old Daoist nun was walking past.
This old Daoist nun was very powerful and assuredly had an extraordinary background. Compared to her, a wild dog blocking the road truly wasn't worth much.
Guan Bai also thought this way. If a wild dog died, so what? Was he really taking revenge for a single wild dog?
The problem was that the dog should have died faster.
The old Daoist nun would only need a glance to decapitate the wild dog.
But that dog had yelled out thirty-some times in the alley, each more miserable and weaker than the last, until it finally reached his ears.
He found it impossible to understand why such a powerful figure as the old Daoist nun wanted to use thirty-some attacks to kill a single dog.
He also found it impossible to imagine whether or not this old Daoist nun acted this way when she normally killed people.
So he walked out from the study onto the street to ask this old Daoist nun.
The old Daoist nun halted her steps and expressionlessly gazed back at him.
Guan Bai wanted to say something, but upon seeing the old Daoist nun's eyes, he realized it was already impossible for him to speak.
His hand gripped the hilt of his sword, but he found it impossible to pull it out.
The old Daoist nun's eyes contained a sea of blue-green, filled with decay and ruthless emotion. It was like a tide filled with green seaweed charging forward.
Boundless and endless blue-green killing intent surged forward from her end of the street, enveloping his body.
(TN: This is a play on a name. Wuqiong (无穷) means ‘boundless’. 碧 is a color that might be green, blue, or blue-green.)
Squelch! A spray of blood shot out from his mouth and fell upon the snow.
He was the pride of the Heavenly Dao Academy, an expert of the sword on the Proclamation of Liberation, Famous Name Guan Bai.
Yet in front of this old Daoist nun, he couldn't even say a single word or even pull out his sword before suffering heavy injuries.
"State your teacher," the old Daoist nun expressionlessly commanded.
Guan Bai's eyes were filled with shock. Only now did he confirm that this old Daoist nun's cultivation not only far surpassed his teachers, but had even faintly surpassed the scope of the mortal world and entered the Divine Domain. When he thought about the blue-green color in her eyes, he instantly guessed at her identity.
Wuqiong Bi of the Storms of the Eight Directions!
This was a peak expert of the human world. Why would she suddenly appear tonight in the capital?
"Heavenly Dao Academy's Guan Bai. My teacher is Zhuang Zhihuan."
Guan Bai was shocked beyond compare by this old Daoist nun's identity, but he did not fear in the slightest, staring at her as he spoke.
"For the sake of Mao Qiuyu, I will leave you with your life tonight."
The old Daoist nun slowly walked past and her figure gradually faded into the darkness.
After not much time had passed, Guan Bai finally realized that he could move. The right hand gripping the hilt trembled, and with a clang, half of his sword emerged from its sheath.
Then, his right arm severed at the shoulder and fell on the snow, staining a large portion of it dark-red with blood.
Tonight, in the capital, a wild dog in an alley had been cruelly chopped to pieces.
Guan Bai, the pride and hope of the Heavenly Dao Academy, the young expert of the sword with limitless prospects, had lost the right arm that he used to wield the sword.
The old Daoist nun that had done both these things felt nothing for any of this. Her expression was still indifferent, her eyes still ruthless.
In her eyes, a young man like Guan Bai and that wild dog in the alley were not too different. Even she had to respect the Pope and she did not wish to provoke the Divine Empress, but if this were not the capital of the Great Zhou, perhaps Guan Bai would already be dead.
In her view, leaving Guan Bai his life was enough to give face to Mao Qiuyu. To be more precise, she was giving face to the Orthodoxy.
This world contained people that were extremely strong, so much so that their worldviews became somewhat twisted. They believed that if they did not steal all the food out of the beggar's bowl, they were giving the beggar face, and to not kill all the people that they found displeasing to the eye was to give life face. As a result, they believed that the other party should also give them face.
The old Daoist nun had come to the capital tonight because she believed that the Pope had not given her sufficient face, so she had come to personally take some face back.
When she was very young, she married another member of the Eight Storms. From that point on, she believed that her husband was her most important face. Later on, after much suffering, she bore a son and believed that her son was actually her most important face.
The old Daoist nun stood at the back wall of the Orthodox Academy, emotionlessly looking up at those several snowy trees that peeked over the wall.
Several weeks ago, her son had been humiliated by a person.
That person was called Chen Changsheng.