Chapter 6: The Public Trial
What could be considered the greatest power under the heavens?
Was it the first bonfire the savage barbarians lit, the most primitive of powers? Perhaps it was the clang of metal from the armoured horses and men trying to enlarge their kingdoms on the battlefield, where people had a firm belief in strength ruling all? Or maybe it was the large river nurturing the cities and villages that settled beside it, the power of those civilizations engraved into time?
Walking on a cultivating path was also a common power in the world.
However, to thousands of cultivators, they believed that if one could ascend to the top of Cang Ya Mountain and gaze into the distance, they would have enough power to disdain the entire world!
This world was very big. It was divided into the East Continent, the West Continent, the South Continent, the North Continent, and the Middle Continent. In total, there were five large continents. Thus, there were countless Sects as well, adding up to many different martial art techniques under the sky.
But ever since someone successfully became a Saint two hundred years ago, Cang Ya Mountain from the West Continent became completely deserving of being called the top Sect in the world.
From then on, the saying of the ‘Three Mountain Sects’, the ‘Double Buddha Temples’, and the ‘Twelve Demonic Sects’ was also created.
Everybody was well aware that so long the Sword Saint was still alive, this hierarchy would live on.
Just the Sword Saint was enough to take care of all the important events or catastrophes occurring in the world.
The mountain range extended forever into the distance as clouds covered the vast sky. Hawks flew through the mist as cranes sang their songs.
Each of the six peaks of Cang Ya Mountain were all quite different from each other. There was a dangerous and fierce one, an elegant and graceful one, and a distant and serene one.
Xi Qian Peak specialized in spiritual cultivation, while Xi Hua Peak was home to the best masters of martial art cultivation.
Today, there was a major event occurring in Cang Ya Mountain.
For the sake of this event, the Qing He Palace Hall of the main peak Xi Qian Peak wasn’t as empty as it usually was. From the public square to the Palace Hall doors, the area was completely jam-packed with people. The whole crowd raised their heads and gawked while they rubbed shoulders and followed each other’s footsteps.
Many disciples had gotten up before dawn just to get a seat near the front.
The disciples of Cang Ya Mountain each had different expressions on their faces. They discussed with each other in whispered tones, lowering their voices because they didn’t dared to make a clamour.
But despite the crowd outside, the number of people in Qing He Palace Hall could be counted on one’s fingers.
This Palace Hall was so big, one practically couldn’t see the end of the main hall. Five square chi1 tiles made out of green jade were elaborately arranged on the ground, polished like the surface of a bright and clean mirror. In addition, the hall had an extremely tall ceiling. Twenty immense pillars made of white jade, so big that it would take the arm spans of three people to surround one, were divided into rows on each side of the main hall. Pictures of clouds and relief sculptures were engraved on them in an unorganized manner.
Six taishi chairs made out of sandalwood were placed at the end of the main hall.
An elderly man with snow-white hair and beard sat on the middle chair near the west side. He looked rather solemn and serene, and though there was no anger, he had an air of natural prestige. Behind him stood a delicate and charming girl dressed in pink.
Next to him, a young man with an expressionless yet handsome face sat on the middle chair near the east side. Behind him stood a woman with an extremely strong heroic aura.
These were the representatives from Xi Qian Peak and Xi Hua Peak.
The remaining Peak Masters sat on the four other chairs beside them, each with their personal succeeding disciple standing behind them.
Other than the Peak Masters and their disciples, there were another dozen or so people in the palace hall. Currently, a young man wearing bright, elaborate robes was arguing with the other ten or so disciples wearing Cang Ya Mountain’s uniform. He looked as if he was a son of a noble or a bigshot.
“Things haven’t been thoroughly investigated yet! What’s the principle in convicting someone before that?”
“What more investigating do you need?! Aren’t our personal experiences more than enough to testify his crime?!”
That young man wearing the brightly coloured robes lightly fanned himself. “Heh. Then, according to junior-apprentice brother’s reasoning, the Sect Leader and my eldest senior-apprentice brother, and all the other Peak Masters, senior-apprentice brothers and junior-apprentice brothers made this trip here today for no reason? Since it had been so hard on you guys, I guess this public trial is just a rigged act as well.”
Just the elaborately dressed boy alone was eloquent enough to debate against ten other disciples. Within a couple of rounds, he calmly and efficiently made the other disciples’ reasoning sound as if they were in the wrong.
The elderly man who was sitting couldn’t help but furrow his forehead at the scene.
Suddenly, for an unknown reason, the people staying at the front of the palace hall burst out in cries of alarm and surprise. Almost immediately, all of the soft whispering came to an end.
Every disciple in the dense crowd outside made way for a path.
The people who were arguing in the palace hall seemed to have felt something as well. One after another, they glanced back to take a look.
A teenager wearing a black cloak and sporting a head full of white hair approached step by step. He passed through the tall palace hall doors with a cold expression. Within his gaze, there were neither traces of happiness nor sadness.
When they saw this boy, everyone sucked in a breath of cold air.
For a moment, the palace hall was completely silent.
On his whole journey there, Yin BiYue had been surrounded by others and stared at. Thus, he was currently feeling quite depressed.
What were all of you looking at? What was wrong with white hair?
Nowadays, chuunibyous2 all looked like this!
Teenagers with shamate appearances also need respect! Do you understand?!
“Junior-apprentice brother, your hair——”
The moment he entered the palace hall, Liu QiShuang’s worried gaze met his eyes. Yin BiYue could only explain, “I’m fine.” After thinking for a moment, he added another sentence. “Senior-apprentice sister has no need to worry.”
……But alhough he said all of that, why was Liu QiShuang’s gaze looking even less reassured?
Suddenly, he heard an aged and powerful voice yell, “Cang Ya Mountain, Xi Hua Peak’s fourth disciple! Yin BiYue!”
It was like the cry of an animal on an empty mountain, echoing endlessly in the crisp air.
Startled, Yin BiYue jerked his head up, only to realize that the seated elderly man was currently staring at him, his gaze almost electric as it pierced his body.
An expert cultivator with Mahayana cultivation was quite intimidating, even if they had already exercised restraint and made sure none of their power leaked out.
The original Yin BiYue’s memory flashed past in his head. This was Cang Ya Sect’s Sect Leader, Zheng YangZi.
He made a proper salute, “Disciple is here!”
The elderly man shouted loudly, “Early last month, with thirty-two disciples as witnesses, you set up the killing array ‘Bewildering One’s Guarded Heart’ in the Violet Heaven Secret Realm. Do you have something to say?”
Yin BiYue’s expression did not change. Instead, his gaze swept over every single person in the palace hall.
Although it was a public trial, those with lower statuses naturally didn’t have a seat.
Other than his famous master, all the other Peak Masters were here, their personal succeeding disciples following them.
Their expressions were either completely indifferent or full of disdain.
A young man sat in his Master’s seat. His gaze was completely chilly, and one couldn’t tell if there were any traces of happiness or anger in those icy eyes. In Yin BiYue’s brain, six words suddenly flashed past: ‘eldest senior-apprentice brother Jun Yu’. Behind him, the worry in Liu QiShuang’s gaze intensified.
The people standing closer to him were ten or so disciples wearing the Cang Ya Mountain uniform. These disciples were currently glaring at him in anger. They were probably the representatives selected from the thirty-two disciples, the ones that had nearly died because of his killing array.
As for that young man wearing the imposing and bright robes, he was still looking calm and composed——a completely serene appearance.
However, the original Yin BiYue’s memories still hadn’t reacted yet, so he didn’t know this person’s identity.
Suddenly, Yin BiYue began feeling anxious. Where was Luo MingChuan?
Why wasn’t Luo MingChuan here?
Zheng YangZi frowned.
Then, the teenager replied in an indifferent voice. “No.”
His response was the same as admitting guilty.
This made a lot of people sigh in relief as they thought, ‘the result has been decided’. There was even someone who lightly snorted.
“What was your motive? Do you have any secret difficulties? Had you been bewitched by another person or forced to do someone’s bidding? For a serious crime like this, your punishment would be the destruction of your cultivation and eviction from Cang Ya Mountain. In addition, you may not re-enter the Sect for the rest of your life. Are you aware of this?”
Yin BiYue was very anxious. Zheng YangZi’s rapid-firing questioning made it obvious that the trial was just for appearance’s sake. Even if Yin BiYue said anything, the credibility of his explanation would be very low, and there wouldn’t be sufficient evidence.
That part of his memory was way too vague. If he fabricated an explanation without careful consideration, he would have no other choice but to end up with a hundred loopholes and mistakes. But if he pretended to suffer in silence right now, it would be too late. The only thing he could do after was to cry bitterly while rewriting the plot……
That young man with the elaborate robes closed his fan. He took a few steps forward before he stood in front of him, blocking other people’s view.
Yin BiYue once again sized this guy up.
Within the solemn and dignified Cang Ya Mountain, he did look quite exotic. The robes were embroidered with the autumn moon and clusters of Chinese crab-apple flowers. A ribbon with a green jade pendant was tied to his waist. On his head, his hair was combed up and secured with a purple and gold crown filled with pearls.
This manner of dressing was evidently very conspicuous and pretentious, however, on this boy’s body, it didn’t make him look vulgar or extravagant. Instead, he looked rather noble, with a precious air surrounding him like he was a treasure made from heaven.
When the original Yin BiYue’s memory finally decided to make an appearance, the corner of his mouth almost twitched.
For the original Yin BiYue, other than resenting the protagonist, he didn’t really feel much for anybody else.
In his memories, he used simple titles like ‘eldest senior-apprentice brother Jun Wu’ or ‘second senior-apprentice sister Li QiShuang’. However, when it came to this person……
There was actually an adjective!
“Chatterbox, fifth junior-apprentice brother, Duan ChongXuan.”
When did Xi Hua Peak have this kind of distinct and strange character?!
Although, he would never have expected that this person, one who usually didn’t speak much on their Peak, would actually start talking now just in order to help him.
Duan ChongXuan was about to open his mouth. However, unexpectedly, someone was a step ahead of him.
Everyone turned around to take a look.
It was a handsome teenager wearing a white robe. His long hair was scattered and draped over his back. With a firm expression, he entered the hall while holding a sword with both hands.
Abruptly, both the inside and outside of the palace hall were in an uproar, the roaring shouts almost reaching the skies.
“Senior-apprentice brother Luo!”
“Why did he bring his sword? Is it possible that he wishes to personally punish that guy with the surname Yin?!”
“Since he’s dressed in those clothes, I don’t think that’s the case……”
Zheng YangZi scrunched together his brows. Behind him, the girl clothed in pink was even more surprised as she let out a shocked cry.
Yin BiYue watched Luo MingChuan enter the palace hall. The other boy brushed past him, but he didn’t give him a single glance.
Protagonist, you came just in time! My defending side will be up to you!
Luo MingChuan kept walking until he was ten steps away from Zheng YangZi. Suddenly, he heavily kneeled down, the thud of flesh meeting jade echoing throughout the hall.
When he began talking, it was powerful and resonant. “This disciple has something to say!”
Everyone was shocked by the sudden turn of events.
On the other hand, Zheng YangZi’s eyebrow suddenly jumped.
When one’s cultivation level was as high as his, it became possible for him to get a glimpse of the world’s secrets. Zheng YangZi was so powerful, he had a keen premonition of things that were just about to happen. He did not know what Luo MingChuan was about to say. However, his intuition told him that it was definitely not something within his control.
Zheng YangZi had a very bad feeling.
He immediately yelled in anger without even the slightest bit of hesitation. “Stop talking! Why should you get a chance to speak?!”
Luo MingChuan knocked his head hard against the floor before getting ready to make his case. However, Zheng Yangzi shouted, “You’re prohibited from speaking!”
The moment he finished talking, the person kneeling on his knees suddenly lost the power to talk.
Yin BiYue silently lowered his head.
Protagonist, you’re trying too hard. Don’t react this intensely ah. You only have to stand out and say a few sentences in a light tone before pleading for leniency. Then, that master of yours who considered you as his blood-related son would of course relent in order to save your face.
The situation outside the palace hall was similar to boiling water. Countless disciples tried sticking out their necks in order to see what was happening in the hall.
“Aiya, why did senior-apprentice brother Luo kneel?!”
“Don’t don’t don’t, you’re blocking my view!”
“The people behind me, what are you pushing me for!”
The poor disciples in charge of guarding the palace hall doors were now currently trying fruitlessly to keep order in the crowd.
Within the main hall, countless gazes were concentrated on the bodies of the Sect Leader Zheng YangZi and Luo MingChuan.
Many people were seriously shocked. What was the Sect Leader’s meaning by doing this? Luo MingChuan clearly had something to say. Could it be……was there another secret plot behind this matter?
Then, they took another look at Xi Hua Peak’s succeeding disciple, the eldest senior-apprentice brother of the Peak who was still sitting. Like before, he was completely expressionless, and it was impossible for them to distinguish if he was happy or angered.
Zheng YangZi inhaled deeply before waving his hand. “The results of the public trial will be revealed tomorrow. We will certainly give everyone an explanation. All of the Peak Masters and the disciples of Xi Hua Peak stay behind. The rest of you may go.”
This attitude made it clear that he wanted to close the doors before discussing anything more.
The disciples standing behind the Peak Masters tactfully retreated one after another. The group of disciples who had just been arguing against Duan ChongXuan took a look at the still-kneeling Luo MingChuan and also began retreating. One even said, “All of us trust senior-apprentice brother Luo!” before leaving the hall.
Duan ChongXuan returned to his place behind Jun Yu. The disciples guarding the doors began dispersing the spectators surrounding the hall. With a depressed noise, the tall doors closed with a creak, isolating the inside of the hall from the rest of the world.
The noise outside the hall gradually disappeared. All of those speculations and comments slowly turned into complete silence.
Yin BiYue swept his gaze over everyone left behind. Now, the remaining people were practically the entire force and core authority of Cang Ya Mountain.
However, the protagonist was really quite popular. Those disciples didn’t say they trusted the Sect Leader, or they trusted Xi Hua Peak. Instead, they said they trusted Luo MingChuan, tut tut.
His own cheaply obtained apprentice brothers and sister were also really amazing because not even a single one of them was asked to leave.
Zheng YangZi removed the speech prohibition command from Luo MingChuan before asking in a deep voice, “What do you want to say?”
Luo MingChuan was still kneeling in the middle of the hall. He turned his head around to take a quick glance. The green jade tiles reflected the figure of a teenager standing tall and straight. His thin lips were slightly pursed up, and his white hair and icy eyes hadn’t changed.
For some inexplicable reason, the agitated and anxious emotions that had been bothering Luo MingChuan for the whole week suddenly calmed down.
Regardless of what the results would be, he knew that he would not regret it.
Thus, everyone in the palace hall heard his serene voice as he said, “This disciple is willing to take junior-apprentice brother Yin’s place and receive his punishment!”
1. Chi is the Chinese foot, three chi would equal one meter.↩
2. Most of you probably know this already but chuunibyou is Japanese for Middle School Second Year Syndrome, which is equivalent to eight grade syndrome. Basically it described people who act like they are know-it-alls. They’re also usually arrogant and obnoxious.↩