unsheathed – Chapter 66: Looking Up

Chapter 66: Looking Up

Chapter 66: Looking Up

Song Jixin could see far and wide as he stood atop the mountain peak. After living in Clay Vase Alley for so many years, seeing nothing but mud walls, Song Jixin naturally liked this kind of feeling standing on top of a mountain and gazing into the distance at the undulating mountains and rivers. Everything was beneath his feet.

Song Changjing wrapped the expensive but old fox fur coat a little tighter around himself. He was in a surprisingly talkative mood today, and he pointed at a tall mountain in the west and explained, "That mountain is called Cloud Drape Mountain. In the future, disregarding the Five Mountains, it's going to become one of the 10 main mountains of the Great Li Empire. According to the rules passed down by our ancestors, a mountain god who will rank highly in the official genealogical records will look over this mountain. They'll be able to obtain a golden statue and enjoy worship from the people, and at the same time, they'll also hold down the Great Li Empire's fortune in that region and prevent it from dissipating to other areas and neighboring nations.

"We're standing on Dragon Head Mountain right now, and the residents in the small town will only be able to see this mountain if they stand on the summit of Cloud Drape Mountain. This is because Dragon Head Mountain is protected by a formation that prevents mortal eyes from being able to see it. This can also be regarded as a fated opportunity. According to the records in the office, several people successfully left this small world after summiting Dragon Head Mountain."

"Did they all achieve great success then? Did they become mighty figures in the Great Li Empire or Eastern Treasured Vial Continent?" Song Jixin asked.

"Two of them did fairly well in the Great Li Empire," Song Changjing smiled and replied. "There was a gap of 30 years between them, and one of them was a civil official while the other was a military officer. The future generations all refer to them as the 'two jade pendants of the Great Li Empire'. After his passing, the civil official was bestowed the posthumous title of Civil Justice. As for the military officer, he won the hereditary title of 'Pillar General' for his descendants, leaving them with his ancestral blessing.

"Even though I have terrible impressions of their descendants, I still have to concede that they did indeed make great contributions to the Great Li Empire. After all, if it hadn't been for their cooperation and their vigorous efforts to turn the tides, the Great Li Empire wouldn't have been able to overcome that difficult period of time."

Feeling the crisp and refreshing mountain breeze brush against his skin, Song Jixin felt as if he were about to grow feathers and soar into the sky. "Then what about the others?" he asked.

Song Changjing exhaled softly, and he appeared increasingly energetic and refreshed. He suppressed the lively Qi in his body, and it was as if he were using a single hand to hold down the rising sun. Song Changjing was extremely certain at this moment. Once he passed through this gate, he would immediately ascend to the 10th Tier, the legendary End Tier of martial arts!

Qi refiners under the Upper Five Tiers would have almost no chance of victory against a supreme martial artist at the End Tier. Being crushed to death would be their only fate.

Song Changjing calmed himself down and revealed a cruel truth to Song Jixin. "They're all dead. In fact, I personally killed one of them. I was a Seventh Tier martial artist at the time, and that person was a relatively powerful swordsman. Moreover, he was enjoying the most successful period of his life. We were both hunting each other at that time, and we covered almost 300 or 400 kilometers before arriving at a small place called White Fox Frontier in the southern reaches of the Great Li Empire. I finally caught him there, and I destroyed all of his artifacts as well as his bonded flying sword. After that, I snapped his neck. I was left with no choice. Since he refused to serve the Great Li Empire, it was inevitable that he would face the wrath of the Great Li Empire.

"The Song Clan is always lenient and generous toward Qi refiners. However, the prerequisite is that these Qi refiners must serve and remain loyal to the Song Clan, even if only in a perfunctory manner."

During the second half of the hunt, Song Changjing had advanced to the Eighth Tier.

Song Jixin wasn't interested in his uncle's fabulous deeds. Instead, he asked in curiosity, "Did the other empires promise him more wealth? Was that why he decided to defect from the Great Li Empire?"

Song Changjing chuckled and replied, "For most of the other people before that swordsman, yes. The Great Li Empire is relatively remote, leading to our people being more on the tough and physical side. Our nation also promotes martial arts, so it's only natural that there's no shortage of martial arts prodigies. As such, talented martial artists aren't worth a dime.

"However, those fragile Qi refiners who speak in utmost sophistication are as rare as phoenixes and dragons. Because of this, the past emperors of the Great Li Empire have always treated them as if they were deities. The current emperor mhm, that would be my imperial brother is naturally no exception.

"One time, that swordsman entered the imperial palace to meet my brother. He didn't leave his sword behind, and he walked in with his nose in the air. He looked as punchable as could be. However, he was extremely lucky at the time, and he had just obtained a defensive treasure. This made his status soar even higher, so much so that he even decided to ignore me when he walked past."

"And then?" Song Jixin asked.

Song Changjing looked at his nephew as if he were looking at a retard. He shot a sideways glance at him and replied, "And then he died, no?"

Song Jixin found this utterly bizarre. "Uncle, you killed him just because he didn't greet you? You killed a powerful cultivator who could be regarded as a pillar of the empire just like that?"

"There are some people who you shouldn't accommodate," Song Changjing said calmly.

There was suspicion in Song Jixin's eyes, and it was as if he couldn't fathom how an imperial member as unruly and reckless as his uncle had lived till today.

"Perhaps you don't know this yet, but there's only a single empire in the entire Eastern Treasured Vial Continent where Qi refiners are forced to serve in the army and fight on the borders regardless of their status and background. They have to fight for three entire years. If their contributions aren't sufficient, then they can continue to serve in the army and enjoy the harsh environment at the borders. Only when they contribute enough can they go home to enjoy themselves," Song Changjing chuckled.

Song Jixin was even more puzzled. "Uncle, didn't you just say that the Great Li Empire treats Qi refiners as if they're deities? If that's the case, then why is there such a rule? Taking a step back, isn't the Great Li Empire afraid of sacrificing these people on the battlefield?"

Song Changjing roared with laughter, replying, "This unwritten rule was enforced by me after I obtained military leadership."

Song Jixin came to a sudden realization, remarking, "Oh, so that swordsman refused to go to the battlefield and caused you to lose face? And his actions inspired others to follow suit and therefore brought down the morale of the army and the common people? So that's why you decided to choose the lesser of two evils and kill him?"

Song Changjing shook his head and replied, "That swordsman joined the army and fought on the borders when he was young, and he fulfilled the required contribution quota in just a single year. He had quite a good reputation in the Great Li Empire."

"Then why on earth did you kill him?!" Song Jixin roared in rage. "Perhaps you two were fighting over a lover? Or perhaps he did something that was taboo for the Song Clan? Or maybe he secretly betrayed the Great Li Empire?"

Song Changjing's answer was extremely simple. "Qi refiners and martial artists are walking on two separate paths, with the former being more... mhm, in Embroidered Tiger's words, they're more refined and rare. Meanwhile, the latter reaches an end tier when they advance to the 10th Tier. However, Qi refiners still have the Upper Five Tiers to cultivate toward, so this leads to a fairly noticeable gap between the two. If we take a small sample of the most powerful individuals from Qi refiners and martial artists, those at the Upper Five Tiers can be represented as someone standing on this mountain peak. Meanwhile, the most powerful martial artists like me can only be represented as someone standing on the peak of Cloud Drape Mountain.

"Of course, it's not impossible for martial arts grandmasters at the End Tier to battle against cultivators at the 11th Tier or the 12th Tier. At the end of the day, however, martial artists are nothing more than crude people who only know how to fight and kill in the eyes of mortal people. Our status is an entire level lower than the status of Qi refiners.

"So, that time we walked past each other in the imperial palace, even though he didn't greet me, he still purposely shot a provocative sideways glance at me and curled up the corners of his lips. When I saw that, I simply wanted to teach him a life lesson."

Song Jixin was stupefied.

If you want to teach him a life lesson, then you at least have to let him live, right? Was there really a need to snap his neck?

However, Song Changjing didn't want to talk about that dead swordsman anymore. He changed the topic and asked, "Are you very interested to learn about that middle-aged man whom I fought a life-and-death battle with just then?"

Song Jixin involuntarily gulped upon hearing this. However, he didn't say anything in response.

Even though the three carriages had left first, the battle between Song Changjing and Li Er had been absolutely earth-shattering. One time, Song Changjing had plummeted from the sky and smashed a huge crater into the ground just a few dozen meters away from the carriages. Another time, Song Changjing had returned the favor and smashed that solidly-built man into a small mountain with a single punch, causing rock and dirt to fly everywhere. Song Jixin had already climbed onto the roof of the carriage at that time, so he had been able to witness this incredible scene with his own eyes.

The two men were simply superhuman.

This was Song Jixin's only thought at that time.

In fact, the fight between Song Changjing and Li Er, who had suddenly appeared from out of nowhere, hadn't been graceful or ethereal at all. Instead, their attacks had all been brutal and on target, and it was as if they were exchanging wounds for wounds the entire time. It was as if they were trying to see who was more ruthless and overbearing.

Song Changjing suddenly patted Song Jixin's head and said in a surprisingly gentle tone, "My imperial brother has extremely wild ambitions. While the emperor of Great Sui Nation was still only focusing on the Great Li Empire, he had already cast his gaze onto Old Dragon City, the southernmost city in Eastern Treasured Vial Continent. Are you curious about why I'm still able to get along so well with your father even though I'm also a prince? Not only that, but I also command the empire's army and have a peerless reputation among them and the common people."

Song Jixin smiled and replied slyly, "Uncle, it's up to you whether you want to tell me or not."

Song Changjing retracted his hand and said in a solemn voice, "It's because my only ambition is to see the martial arts scenery that lies above the End Tier. My life will only be fulfilled after I achieve this ambition."

It was as if there were waves raging in Song Jixin's mind as he asked in a trembling voice, "Will I also be able to reach the same height as you if I give it my all?"

Song Changjing shook his head and chuckled, "You? If you practice martial arts, you'll probably only be able to make it to the Eighth Tier at most. There's no future for you here, so it's better for you to obediently continue as a Qi refiner. Your achievements will definitely be greater this way."

Song Jixin was unwilling to yield, and he asked, "Why would I only be able to reach the Eighth Tier?"

"Only?" Song Changjing retorted with a playful smile.

Song Jixin flushed slightly red with embarrassment.

Song Changjing ignored his ignorance, peering into the distance as he explained slowly, "Qi refiners... These are people who rely on the bestowal of the heavens. Thus, one's fortune and fate are incredibly important to come across a fated opportunity today, to run into an immortal treasure tomorrow, to encounter a hidden god the day after, and to attain sudden enlightenment while gazing at the scenery the following day. To these people, it's as if everything they do is an act of cultivation. However, we martial artists are completely different. There's no shortcut for us, and we can only take things step by step. It's extremely dull."

Song Jixin was filled with mixed emotions. He was slightly disappointed.

Song Changjing didn't pay any more heed to his nephew. He turned around and walked toward the carriage, and he caught a glimpse of Zhi Gui's back out of the corner of his eye. He hesitated for a brief moment before deciding to walk up to her. He stood next to her and also gazed up at the large gate.

"The Qi of a True Dragon can condense into a pearl. Meanwhile, the flood dragons in the world all value such pearls the most, just as cultivators value their souls," Song Changjing said to himself.

Zhi Gui didn't turn around to look at him. However, a hint of tension appeared on her face.

Song Changjing smiled and continued, "In order to obtain the four characters 'Rising Winds Crashing Water' on that plaque on the covered bridge, the Great Li Empire paid a huge price that outsiders can barely begin to fathom. Rising winds and crashing water why is this the case? This is naturally to create a smooth path for the passing flood dragons. I don't care too much about these things, and everything is thanks to the decisions of your Young Master's father. Once you leave this small world, no one will be able to boss you around anymore, perhaps apart from the capital's Embroidered Tiger."

Song Changjing turned around to face Zhi Gui, warning, "Even though your fate is intertwined with the fate of my nephew, with the two of you sharing in wealth and woe, I suggest that you don't try to push your luck. Don't give me any reason to punish you. Mhm, for the sake of the Great Li Empire and my nephew Song Jixin, I can make an exception and allow you to seek death[1] twice. However, you won't be allowed to overstep the boundaries for a third time."

Zhi Gui was infuriated, and she turned around before taking two steps back. She glowered at Song Changjing, someone who made her feel fear from the bottom of her heart, and she questioned, "I'm not human to begin with, so why are you trying to use the rules of humans to constrain me? Which one of us is being unreasonable? What have the laws and regulations of humans got to do with me?!"

Song Changjing wore a carefree smile as he replied, "Don't misunderstand. I definitely won't be pedantic when it comes to trifling matters. Quite the contrary, in fact. I'll actually be your most powerful shield."

Song Changjing fixed his gaze on the young girl who had a pair of strange golden eyes. In the end, he said, "After that fight, I can actually be considered as your ally. Remember these words. Especially in the future when you have the right to make a huge decision, do your best to recall these words."

After saying this, Song Changjing turned around and left.

Next to the carriages, a coach driver who was filled with the intense and rough aura of someone who had been on the battlefields for many years stared at Song Changjing's eye-catching fox fur coat. In the end, he couldn't help but chuckle and comment, "Your Highness, when are you going to buy a new fox fur coat? Just how many years have you been wearing this one already? Even if you're not tired of it, the others have certainly grown tired of looking at it all the time."read latest chpters at n/v(e)lbi(.)co/m

Song Changjing stepped onto the carriage before bending down and pulling back the curtains, snapping, "We'll discuss that after we conquer Great Sui Nation."

The coach driver laughed heartily. He was surprisingly relaxed in the presence of this powerful man who was second only to the emperor.

Song Changjing had served in the army for 20 years. Even though he was a general and couldn't lead the charge every time, with most of his time spent in the tents strategizing and planning, he would definitely charge onto the battlefield every time a challenging situation arose on the borders of the empire. As a powerful prince, he never indulged himself in alcohol and women either. It could almost be said that he wasn't interested in any material matter.

Song Changjing crossed his legs and frowned deeply, murmuring, "That person told me not to immediately hurry to the capital after leaving Jewel Small World. He suggested that I wait for a while and look up a little. What am I waiting for? What am I looking for?"

Song Jixin and Zhi Gui also entered the carriage, and the three carriages were about to pass through that peculiar gate.

Song Jixin noticed Zhi Gui curling up in the corner and trembling, and he asked anxiously, "What's wrong?"

"I can sense countless terrifying things on the other side of the gate," Zhi Gui replied in a quivering voice.

Song Jixin smiled and comforted, "My uncle is here, so what is there to be afraid of? Don't worry, he can keep us safe even if the sky collapses."

Unexpectedly, Zhi Gui became even more terrified and panicked. She pushed herself into the corner and sobbed, "Even he can't deal with them!"

A rare guest arrived at the largest restaurant in the small town.

This was a scholar with graying sideburns, and he ordered a flask of wine and a few small side dishes before enjoying the food and alcohol by himself. He appeared as carefree and content as could be.

As it turned out, Qi Jingchun wasn't teaching in the private school today.

The young students were filled with utmost delight as they ran home.

When he finished the last cup of wine and the last mouthful of food, he lightly set down his chopsticks.

There was a soft clack.

The small world fell silent, and everything became still.

The small world instantly shattered.

At this moment, everyone in Eastern Treasured Vial Continent regardless of whether they were cultivators or mortals involuntarily looked up.

In the next moment, however, it was as if someone transcendent above immortals unleashed a powerful mystical ability to obscure the phenomenon gripping Jewel Small World.

High above the northern regions of Eastern Treasured Vial Continent, a sea of rolling clouds that measured thousands of kilometers in length slowly bore down.

A person with a snow-white body and billowing sleeves sat upright, his body seemingly measuring tens of thousands of meters in height. Before him, there hovered a shattered jewel the size of his palm.

The Dao Manifestation of this person was so colossal that it appeared as if he were treating Eastern Treasured Vial Continent as a classroom in his private school.

Above the boundless sea of clouds, numerous dignified and majestic voices boomed like heavenly thunder.

"How dare you act with such impudence, Qi Jingchun!"

"Utterly heinous!"

"It's not too late to repent!"

The scholar gazed down at the jewel. He then slowly retracted his gaze, looking up and announcing, "The backlash of the Heavenly Dao that the small town has accumulated for 3000 years... I, Qi Jingchun, will shoulder it all!"

1. To seek death means to do something extremely provocative or against the rules.

Chapter end

Chapter 31: Beating Around the Mountain
Chapter 32: Peach Leaf
Chapter 33: White Dragon Disguising as a Fish
Chapter 34: Gathered Together
Chapter 35: Licorice Root
Chapter 36: Ancient Book
Chapter 37: Fist Technique
Chapter 38: Ninth Tier
Chapter 39: Cursing the Locust Tree
Chapter 40: Returning the Courtesy
Chapter 42: Prodigy
Chapter 43: The Young Boy and the Old Dog
Chapter 44: Coming to Light
Chapter 45: Sunlight
Chapter 46: Skirt Dagger
Chapter 47: Going Alone
Chapter 48: The Hunter and the Hunted
Chapter 49: Porcelain Shard
Chapter 50 (1): One Who is Destined for Great Things
Chapter 50 (2): One Who is Destined for Great Things
Chapter 51: Confrontation
Chapter 52: Shudder
Chapter 53: Gift
Chapter 54: Facing the Enemy
Chapter 55: Feeling Proud in the Spring Breeze
Chapter 56: Nodding Bodhisattva
Chapter 57: Sword Nurturing Gourd
Chapter 58: Teacher
Chapter 59: Sleep
Chapter 60: There's a Ghost
Chapter 61: Helpless Pawn
Chapter 62: Falling Tree
Chapter 63 (1): So That's How It Is
Chapter 63 (2): So That's How It Is
Chapter 64: The Three Chens
Chapter 65: Jewel
Chapter 66: Looking Up
Chapter 67 (1): Long Journey
Chapter 67 (2): Long Journey
Chapter 68: Spring Under the Heavens
Chapter 69: Night
Chapter 70: Daylight
Chapter 71 (1): I’ll Like You for a While Longer
Chapter 71 (2): I’ll Like You for a While Longer
Chapter 72: Black Cloud
Chapter 73: Wooden Figure
Chapter 74: The Fire Dragon Roams the Water
Chapter 75: Mountain Selection
Chapter 76: Back to Back
Chapter 77: Entering the Mountains
Chapter 78: Another Dream
Chapter 79: Spring Welcome Seal
Chapter 80: Leaving the Mountains
Chapter 81: Imperial Preceptor
Chapter 82 (1): Master and Student, Senior Brother and Junio
Chapter 82 (2): Master and Student, Senior Brother and Junio
Chapter 83: Dreams
Chapter 84 (1): I Have a Sword
Chapter 84 (2): I Have a Sword
Chapter 85 (1): Conclusion of the Examination
Chapter 85 (2): Conclusion of the Examination
Chapter 86 (1): Walking the Same Path
Chapter 86 (2): Walking the Same Path
Chapter 87 (1): Little Teacher
Chapter 87 (2): Little Teacher
Chapter 88: Grand Entrance
Chapter 89: Two Heads
Chapter 90: Heavy Rain
Chapter 91: Jade Hairpin
Chapter 92 (1): Bamboo Bookcase
Chapter 92 (2): Bamboo Bookcase
Chapter 93 (1): There's a Character on the Wall
Chapter 93 (2): There's a Character on the Wall
Chapter 94: A Feast for the Eyes
Chapter 95: Too Small a Place
Chapter 96: Demons in the Mountains and Rivers
Chapter 97: Bowing to the Mountain
Chapter 98: The Meddlesome Mountain God
Chapter 99: The Mountain God and the Bamboo Saber
Chapter 100 (1): The World Beneath One's Feet
Chapter 100 (2): The World Beneath One's Feet
Chapter 101: Guard the Mountain
Chapter 102: Soaring White Ray
Chapter 103: Bamboo Building
Chapter 104: Sharing the Spoils
Chapter 105: Rootless Duckweed
Chapter 106: People from All Walks of Life
Chapter 107: Fishing Net
Chapter 108: Spring Hunting
Chapter 109: The Young Boy Has Some Words to Say
Chapter 110: All Good Things Must Come to an End
Chapter 111: Bamboo Hat
Chapter 112: Powerful Individual
Chapter 113: Unparalleled Might
Chapter 114: Seeing A'Liang Again
Chapter 115: There's an Old Scholar In the World (1)
Chapter 116: There's an Old Scholar In the World (2)
Chapter 117 (1): There's an Old Scholar In the World (3)
Chapter 117 (2): There's an Old Scholar In the World (3)
Chapter 118 (1): There's Righteousness In The World
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