Chapter 2: Coffin
Canglang Northern Territory.
In the moment that the golden water lily burst open, the cultivators were blasted with no time for preparation.
The invisible compulsion was like the ocean exploding outwards a thousand kilometers, beating everyone back a great distance away.
The swords and spiritual weapons of the closest individuals were all cracked and splintered, immediately ruined.
“Cough, cough… Sect Leader.” A small disciple fought his way out from the snow.
Pressing his chest, he wanted to use his sword to prop himself back up, but he found that only a handle was left in his hands.
“Sect Leader, my sword…”
For some of these disciples, their sword was more important than their life.
Especially for the main sword cultivation sect, the Feng Sect.
That small disciple was indeed from the Feng Sect.
“Throw it away, cast another one when we return.” Feng Juyan didn’t even look at him, her gaze still landing a great distance away, her brows tightly furrowed.
As the sect leader, she naturally didn’t fall pitifully to the ground.
Instead, she held her long sword in front of her body, blocking most of the compulsion.
Though she stood perfectly straight, blood still seeped from between her fingers, dripping into the design of her sword.
The small disciple saw the color of blood and was instantly alarmed.
He had just entered the sect, so he didn’t know much.
This was his first time seeing the Sect Leader bleed: “Sect Leader, what exactly was that golden shadow, why is it so powerful?”
“That should’ve been the Water Lily of Life,” Feng Juyan said softly.
“Water Lily of Life?!”
The young disciples’ faces were filled with shock and suspicion.
Legend said that the Water Lily of Life was solely possessed by the Tianxiu Immortal.
Because he managed punishment and pardon, death in one hand and life in the other, he had two mortal moves—one was to beckon dead souls, and another was to beckon all the living.
The Water Lily of Life was the former.
“We’ve only heard of it, but we’ve never seen it.”
“Who’s personally seen it? Everyone who’s seen it has died,” Feng Juyan said.
Besides, it was a mortal move.
The original intent of a mortal move was to trade one’s life for the move; the move required the complete dissipation of all spiritual energy.
Even for the Tianxiu Immortal, the cost was still great, so the move wouldn’t be so easily used.
The last time it appeared was twenty-five years ago.
That day, Taiyin Mountain collapsed, the Immortal Capital was destroyed, and three thousand spiritual platforms crashed down from the sky, most sinking into the Boundless Sea.
Some said that the day the Taiyin Mountain collapsed, at the place closest to the Immortal Capital, the golden shadow of a water lily had cast down from above.
After that, the demon Wu Xingxue was sealed in the Canglang Northern Territory.
From then on, the Immortal City was no more.
After the Immortal City perished, the human realm fell into chaos, and catastrophe and plague rampaged across the land.
Only with the gathering of sects, with temples and divine statues erected like forests, could the people forcibly regain a sliver of peace.
From then on, the cultivation sects changed the name of the era to “Tianshu.”
“Sect Leader?” The small disciple said hesitantly: “Why did the Water Lily of Life appear again? Didn’t the Tianxiu Immortal already… die?”
“Canglang Northern Territory was his domain after all, there might be some lingering spiritual consciousness remaining.
As for the sudden appearance of the Water Lily of Life.” Feng Juyan’s voice abruptly paused, “Could it be—”
Could it be that that demon was still alive?
Not only still alive, but even attempting to leave this place, thus provoking the vestigial move?
“It’s been twenty-five years, he’s been completely fettered by the heavenly locks for twenty-five years.
I thought that even if that demon was still alive, he’d be down to his last breath, at the verge of death.”
Who didn’t think that?
The cultivation sects almost all had the same impression.
They didn’t think there would be a difficult battle, so the people they brought were mostly young disciples.
The rest were left to protect their sect, vigilantly standing guard against that horde of demons from Zhaoye City.
Looking at it now, it seemed that they were too reckless.
“Personally, I think we should call some more people over,” someone suggested.
“That… isn’t that too battle-ready?”
“No, it might be the Wu Xingxue who washed the Immortal Capital with blood.”
As the cultivators discussed important issues, the Wu Xingxue who washed the Immortal Capital with blood was currently lost.
The person with the large sword had appeared for only a second.
When he disappeared, the enormous golden water lily suddenly wrapped around Wu Xingxue, abruptly pulling him down.
Then, Wu Xingxue thought: Oh no, I’m going to lose my cover.
Pitifully falling into the water under the stares of the crowd—his days of pretending to be a demon were over.
Just after finishing his self-ridicule, he heard the pitiful startled yells of his subordinates.
Wu Xingxue: “…”
Wu Xingxue: “?”
The expected water landing didn’t actually happen.
The cold pool seemed to be fake; not a drop of water got on him, but he seemed to still be speedily falling.
The ice-cold wind whistled across his body, and the frightened breaths of his subordinates never ceased.
He dimly heard someone yell: “What is this damn place?”
Another, more hazy voice said: “There are thirty-three layers below Canglang Northern Territory, corresponding to the Taiyin White Tower above.”
Another person said: “There’s something hidden in the lowest level.”
When he landed on the ground, Wu Xingxue felt a violent tug from the chains nailed all over his body.
Extreme pain burst across his chest, waist, wrists, and ankles, so painful that he almost completely lost his senses.
He couldn’t even tell how he had landed, whether it was pitiful or not.
But thankfully, when he finally recovered his senses, he felt that he was standing.
The golden water lily that had wrapped around him should have disappeared, as he could no longer smell that gust of sword qi that carried the scent of windy snow.
He nurtured his pain, thinking that this was truly abnormal.
Of the nobility of Que Capital, who wasn’t raised in utter luxury? It was very extravagant.
Even for a tiny injury, all of the people in his residence would fret over him, soothing him and offering up medicine and ointment.
He was used to that type of lifestyle; he himself admitted that he couldn’t stand pain.
But just before, it had hurt like his heart was being carved out, and he surprisingly didn’t even make a sound, swallowing the entirety of his reaction, just because those few subordinates were present.
I must have really owed you in my past life.
Wu Xingxue thought.
Thus, when those subordinates landed stumbling, they saw their own chengzhu slowly open his eyes, sweep his gaze over them, and coldly give a short laugh.
The crowd: “…”
They wanted to ask: “Chengzhu, where have we been dragged?”
Hearing the cold laugh, they again gulped down their words.
“Chengzhu you… why are you smiling?” The one who was always quick to speak still couldn’t hold it in, asking carefully.
When he was fourteen, he had cultivated the Poison Restriction Technique, and he didn’t grow anymore from then on.
So, in a crowd of peers, he appeared small and frail.
It was better when they were further apart, but now that only two or three steps separated them, Wu Xingxue appeared particularly tall in comparison.
When he spoke, he even had to tilt his head up a little.
He waited like this for a moment until Wu Xingxue lifted his hand, his long fingers sweeping beside his wrist and hooking onto something invisible.
He said softly: “Me? I’m laughing at how noisy these chains are, clanging everywhere, it’s too loud.”
I sure know how to ask.
The subordinate didn’t dare to tilt his face back down, but he didn’t want to open his mouth again.
Wu Xingxue swiped at his chains with a finger and threw him a sentence: “Lead the way.”
“Let’s go let’s go let’s go—hurry up!” Another subordinate quickly responded.
He probably was afraid that the one with the quick mouth would make more trouble for himself, and he forcefully pulled at him, squeezing the words from between his teeth: “Ning Huaishan you’re an idiot don’t use us to break your fall!”
Ning Huaishan was pulled back a few steps by him.
He lifted his head in bewilderment: “But, where are we going?”
The people abruptly halted: “…”
Right, where are we going?
They were a little confounded.
After hesitating for a bit, they still turned around to ask: “Chengzhu, lead the way to where?”
Wu Xingxue followed from a moderate distance, his steps had yet to stop: “You tell me.”
The crowd had nothing left to say, and they didn’t dare keep asking.
After all, they all knew that Wu Xingxue hated idiotic people the most.
They all looked around in circles.
This was a stretch of wilderness, covered with a layer of snow, grey as far as the eye could see.
Far away, there was a withered tree that reached towards the sky.
It seemed like it had been burned, charred and patchy.
Even when looking up, they still couldn’t see the top.
They suspected that the dry branches Wu Xingxue had stood on before were the crown of this enormous tree.
“Have you heard? Canglang Northern Territory has thirty-three layers.” Ning Huaishan secretly elbowed his companion.
Canglang Northern Territory floated atop the Boundless Sea.
Surrounded by clouds and thunder in the winter, it looked like a huge black cliff.
Legend said that it had thirty-three layers, just like the Taiyin Mountain glass tower prior to collapse, indicating thirty-three iterations of heaven.
If the tree branches from before were the top layer, then this stretch of wilderness before them, atop which the enormous tree grew, must be the bottom one.
“Where did you hear this rumor from? So what if we know there’s thirty-three layers, how the hell does that help? Did the rumors tell you where chengzhu wants us to go?”
Ning Huaishan: “… No.”
He thought about it carefully again, “But the rumors said that the lowest layer has hidden treasure.
Look, just before chengzhu asked us to lead the way, maybe that’s what he meant?”
“Think about it, doesn’t that have a problem? How are we supposed to know where the treasure is, and how are we supposed to lead the way? If chengzhu really meant that, then that would be bizarre.”
“Tsk, don’t waste your breath.
Let’s look first, and if we somehow find it, then we won’t have led him astray.”
That huge tree was truly an eyesore, and the entirety of the wilderness didn’t have any other places that could hide treasure, so they started heading towards the tree.
When they came nearer, they found that countless swords were planted sideways below the enormous tree, like a boundless sword cemetery.
Wu Xingxue followed them as they cut through the sword cemetery.
They walked until their legs were about to fall off, but they still weren’t able to get half a step closer to the tree.
Is it too late to use my chains to threaten these people into sitting down for a bit?
Wu Xingxue stared at the back of their figures, thinking in his head.
“Chengzhu?” Ning Huaishan probably noticed the suddenly empty space behind him.
He turned around and said haltingly: “This sword cemetery is probably an array…”
Wu Xingxue didn’t show any surprise: “So?”
“Chengzhu, you’ve always known that we’re not that good at breaking arrays.” Ning Huaishan snuck a glance at Wu Xingxue and said: “Things like arrays, were always your…”
Wu Xingxue: “… My what, say it.”
He lowered the volume of his voice and carried no emotion.
He precisely controlled the degree to which he wanted to inspire fear, maybe he could avoid this calamity—
“Chengzhu, ah, don’t play with us for fun.” Another subordinate frowned with a bitter expression: “We know that we made you unhappy, after this we’ll do whatever.
But things like arrays, we’re really not good at.”
“Right, and besides, this is Canglang Northern Territory, what if we’re too rash and accidentally cause mishap, then that would be bad.”
“Right, chengzhu, you can break this type of array in two to three steps, why waste your effort on us?”
Wu Xingxue: “…”
—Seems this calamity can’t be avoided.
He looked at his subordinates, thinking ‘not to mention two to three steps, even if you gave me two to three years I’d still be stuck, are you afraid now?’
He took a light breath and was going to start brainstorming methods, but a smudge of white caught his peripheral vision.
It wasn’t the same white as the color of the snow; there was a warm brightness to it, like the jade at the top of a courtyard staircase.
He turned his head and, through a gap in the interweaving frigid swords, saw a corner of the object.
It looked like a white jade platform?
Wu Xingxue stopped paying attention to his subordinates and started heading in that direction.
Barefoot, he avoided the sword blades, and after a moment, he stood in front of the white jade platform.
He found out then that this wasn’t a jade platform…
It was a jade coffin.
It was an enormous white jade coffin, lying beneath the withered tree that stretched towards the sky, surrounded by thousands of frigid swords.
Coffin nails were nailed in all four edges, and a name was carved on each nail.
That name, Wu Xingxue had seen it not long before, tattooed on a person’s neck.
“This is Xiao Fuxuan’s coffin!”
 威压, a type of pressurizing energy that cultivators/demons/spiritual weapons can exude
 天殊, literally “death of heaven”
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