The First Arc: Blood Rain Reaching Towards a Flower
Chapter 20 (II): A Thousand Miles in a Step, Lost Within a Sandstorm
The name of this sword was in fact ‘Hong Jing’, it was known to be a treasured sword. Although it could not exorcise ghosts or slay demons, no demons and ghosts could escape its enchanted mirror. As long as they were not human, once the sword was drawn, the blade would gradually turn red, as though infused by blood. Moreover, the blood-red blade would reflect the true appearance of the one who had drawn the sword. Whether they were a Fierce or a Devastation, no one could escape!
Young people always had eyes for precious swords and horses, and would look upon it with particular interest. San Lang let out an “Oh?”. Seemingly very fascinated, he said, “Let me see.”
He held the sword in one hand, and grabbed the hilt in the other, then slowly made to pull the sword out. Both Nan Feng and Fu Yao’s eyes were glued intensely to his movements. The sword that had been unsheathed three inches was dazzling and as bright as snow. A moment later, San Lang let out a chuckle and said, “Gege, these two servants of yours, are they joking with me??”
Xie Lian lightly coughed and turned towards him. “San Lang ah, I’ve said it before. They’re not my servants.” Having said that, he turned back again. Nan Feng then spoke in his usual cold tone. “Who do you think is joking with you?”
San Lang laughed and said, “With a broken sword, how am I supposed to defend myself?”
With that, he resheathed the sword and tossed it back onto the table. Hearing this, Nan Feng’s brow raised in surprise. He abruptly snatched the sword and tore it from its sheath, only to hear a metallic clang. Within his hands, with an extra sharp edge was.…..a broken sword.
Hong Jing’s blade was broken three inches down from the hilt!
Nan Feng’s expression slightly shifted, before he took the sheath and poured out the remains, triggering a series of clanging noise. What was left within the sheath were the remains of the sword, all shattered into uncountable small shards.
Hong Jing could distinguish all kinds of demons and ghosts, this much was true. It was never heard of that something could escape it’s eye, but it was also unheard of that something could cause it to break into numerous pieces within the scabbard!
Nan Feng and Fuyao both pointed at San Lang. “You…..”
San Lang laughed out loud before leaning backwards with his black boots resting on the table. Taking a shard of Hong Jing, he tossed it about in his hands for fun before saying, “ I assume you guys didn’t purposely give me a broken sword to protect myself. It must have broken on the way here. But worry not, I can defend myself without a sword. As for sword or whatever other things, you should keep it to use for yourselves.”
Xie Lian was completely unable to look directly at the sword. To speak of it, this treasured sword, ‘Hong Jing’, was originally part of Jun Wu’s collection. After his first ascension, Xie Lian had once gone to the Martial God’s Hall to play and had seen the sword there. He felt that although the sword wasn’t very practical to use, it still had its charms. Jun Wu had then gifted the sword to him.
Afterwards, he had fallen, and there had been a time where it was truly too difficult. He couldn’t keep muddling through then, so he had Feng Xin pawn it off.
That’s right, pawned!
The money received from pawning it off had been sufficient enough for the two of them to have a couple of good meals, and then……well there was nothing further to add. During that time, Xie Lian had pawned off far too many things, so he had decided it was simply better to forget it all, lest he started remembering from time to time and make his heart bleed.
Thinking back, Feng Xin, after his ascension, had probably remembered this sword and couldn’t bear the idea of this rarity from his era being left wandering the mortal realm. Which led him to go back down in search for it, before he brought it back. He sharpened it, polished it, and placed it in Nan Yang Palace, where it was then brought back down again by Nan Feng.
All in all, upon seeing the sword, Xie Lian could only feel a dull ache and had to avert his line of vision. He sensed how the other three were starting to fight again, and thus shook his head before he focused on observing the weather outside. He thought to himself, “Looking at the momentum, I’m afraid there is going to be a sandstorm later. If we were to get back on the road today, it’s unknown if we’ll be able to find shelter from the wind.”
At this very moment, outside the building and upon the brilliant golden sand, the shadows of two people suddenly flashed by.
Xie Lian immediately sat up.
The two silhouettes, one dressed in white and one in black, appeared unhurried, and one could even say they looked rather laidback. Yet, clouds billowed beneath their feet, indicating their speed. The one in black was tall and lean, while the one in white was a female official with a longsword on her back and a hossu resting in the crook of her arm. The man in black did not turn around, but the female official in white turned back to give them a smile as they flashed past the small building. The smile was as fleeting as their silhouettes. For no reason, it overflowed with a treacherous and strange feeling.
Xie Lian kept his gaze fixed outside, which was how he witnessed said particular scene. Within the small building, the other three were only able to catch an approximate glimpse of the silhouettes. As for everything else, they couldn’t afford to take note of the details for the time being. Nan Feng suddenly got up and said, “Who are those people?”
Xie Lian also stood up and said, “I don’t know, but they can’t be ordinary people.” He muttered to himself for a few moments before saying, “You guys should stop playing around, the wind looks like it’s getting stronger to me. Let’s hurry and get back on the road. However much distance we cover is still distance covered.”
Fortunately, although these people were at times like bewildered flying chickens or scared jumping dogs, when it came down to actual business, they were all able to collect themselves and get things done. Presently, they stopped clashing with one another, cleaned up the shards of Hong Jing and then left the small building.
For some time, the four of them walked head on against the wind. And during this time, they walked for approximately four hours. But the distance they covered this time could not be compared to the four hours they had covered from before. The sandstorm was much stronger than before. The gales, bundled with sand, pelted down on them, causing the exposed skin on their faces and arms to ache dully. The more they walked, the more arduous it felt. With the sound of the wind rushing by their ears and the ever omnipresent yellow sand making their sight unclear, Xie Lian held down his bamboo hat and said, “This sandstorm came about very strangely.”
When there was no reply from anyone after some time, Xie Lian wondered if they had fallen behind. He turned his head back to look but saw that all three of them were still following him closely. It seemed like they had just not heard him speak. As it turned out, the sandstorm was too strong. The moment one opened their mouth to speak, the sound would be scraped away. Naturally, Nan Feng and Fu Yao would not need his concern. They walked steadily against the turbulence, looking murderous. But San Lang was always around five steps behind him, walking neither too closely nor too slowly.
Amidst the yellow, sand-filled sky, the young man’s expression remained undisturbed, without a single ripple of emotion as he walked with his hands crossed behind his back. Clad in red from head to toe, with his hair in an oblique disorderly dance, he appeared as though he felt no effect from the onslaught of the sandstorm. He remained completely unmoved, moreover, not even his eyes blinked once. Xie Lian had already been hit by the sand so much that his face hurt. Seen San Lang this way, with such disregard for himself, truly made him worried. He said, “Watch out for sand getting into your eyes and clothing.” He thought about it again, and realized even he himself could not make out what he had just said. Xie Lian then went straight to San Lang and helped him secure his clothes and collar. He wrapped him up tightly, preventing the wind and sand from getting in. San Lang was surprised. During this time, the other two caught up to them. With the four of them in closer proximity, they could finally hear each other. Xie Lian said, “ Everyone, be careful. This sandstorm came too suddenly, something doesn’t seem right. I’m afraid it might be of some evil doing.”
Fu Yao said, “The wind and sand is just stronger than usual. Other than that, what else could it be?
Xie Lian shook his head and said, “The wind and sand are fine. What I’m afraid of is if something else was added in the sand.”
Right at this moment, a sudden gale blew off Xie Lian’s bamboo hat. Once it was in the air, the bamboo hat was about to disappear altogether within the infinite yellow sand. Nevertheless, San Lang was deft and quick to react. Shooting out his hand, he reached out and caught the bamboo hat that was about to fly into the sky. Then, he once again handed the hat back to Xie Lian. Xie Lian thanked him and fastened the bamboo hat back on while saying, “It would be best if we could find a place to avoid the storm.”
Yet Fu Yao did not agree. “If there really was something wrong with this sandstorm, then its motive could only be to stop us from advancing. If that’s the case, then we have even more reason to keep going.”
Having heard this, Xie Lian hadn’t even uttered a word when San Lang began to laugh out loud. Fu Yao raised his head and coldly said, “What are you laughing at?
San Lang crossed his arms and snickered, “Deliberately going against people, does it satisfy you to be so utterly unconventional?”
Even before, Xie Lian had always thought that although this teenager was always smiling, his smile often made it hard for people to distinguish whether it was actually genuine, or whether it was mockery in the guise of compliments. However, this time, anyone would be able to tell that there wasn’t even half an ounce of goodwill in his smile. Fu Yao’s expression abruptly turned cold as Xie Lian raised a hand and said, “You guys should stop for now. If you have something to say, save it for later. When the wind gets strong, it can also become quite frightening.”
Fu Yao said, “ As if it could really blow people into the sky?”
Xie Lian replied, “Nn, what you said is very possible……”
Before he had finished speaking, the few people in front of him suddenly disappeared.
In reality, the one who had disappeared wasn’t them. It was him——This sandstorm had really bundled him up and swept him up into the sky.
It was a tornado!
Xie Lian spun violently around in mid air. With a wave of his hand, he said, “Ruoye! Grab onto something firm and reliable!!!”
With a swish, Ruoye flew out. A moment later, Xie Lian felt the other end of the white silk drop, as if it had wrapped around something. Grabbing it, Xie Lian finally stabilized himself in midair with great difficulty. When he lowered his head to take a look, he realized that he had actually been brought to a place that was at least ten zhang1 away from the ground.
Currently, he was like a kite, one only pulled along by a string with its centre tethered to the ground. Within the onslaught of yellow sand, Xie Lian grabbed Ruoye as he simultaneously strained to make out what Ruoye had taken a hold of. He looked and looked, before he finally made out a shade of red. The other end of Ruoye seemed to be wrapped around the wrist of a teenager dressed in red.
He had Ruoye go grab onto something sturdy and stable, but Ruoye ended up grabbing onto San Lang!