unsheathed – Chapter 112: Powerful Individual

Chapter 112: Powerful Individual

Chapter 112: Powerful Individual

The old man holding the lantern the palace minister of the Ministry of Rites' Ritual Office chose to walk down quiet and empty streets. After walking for a while, he eventually arrived at Red Candle Town's city god pavilion. Before he stepped over the door threshold, the lantern in his hand swung inside the temple first. It was as if the lantern had crashed through a curtain of rippling water that was used to separate yin and yang a sheet of water that prevented yin and yang from mingling. However, this ripple disappeared in a flash. Even so, wisps of whizzing light appeared inside the old man's large red lantern, crashing into its walls and illuminating the surroundings.

On the old man's lantern, someone had used bright red ink to write four small and ancient-looking characters souls, homeward ye go.

Inside the city god pavilion that dealt with matters pertaining to yin and yang along with the county office, a red-cheeked old man in Confucian robes bowed and said loudly, "The city god of Red Candle Town pays his respects to Lord Palace Minister."

To the left of the old man in Confucian robes was an official holding a jade ritual baton, while to the right of him was a military officer suited in armor and wearing a sword by his hip, with a leopard cat also sitting on his shoulder. Both of them were deities and heroic spirits who could be categorized as yin entities. The appearances of the three people were identical to the clay statue of the city god in the city god pavilion and the statues of the official and general in the Wenchang pavilion.

The old man holding the lantern nodded in reply. His expression was solemn as he said, "I'm sure the three of you have already received the secret order from the imperial court. Everyone within a radius of 500 kilometers whether they be major or minor mountain gods and river gods, mountain lords, river guardians, or deities honored in the city god pavilions and Wenchang pavilions you all have to hunt a saber-wielding man called A'Liang. His path of retreat is unknown, and it's possible that he might head toward either the north, south, east, or west.

"If anyone dares to shirk or flee from conflict, or if anyone dares to conceal their true strength, the punishment will be the obliteration of their gold statue when everything is over. The shattered statues of river gods will be buried under mountains, and the shattered statues of mountain gods will be sunk into rivers. Those who are honored in the pavilions will also face a similar fate if they dare to disobey the imperial order. Your names will be erased from the Local County Chronicles."

The palace minister smiled faintly and lightened the atmosphere a little, continuing, "We're not asking you to charge toward death; we're simply asking you to obstruct him to the best of your abilities. The emperor will personally strategize in the capital, so this is also a huge opportunity for you to make contributions and grow your status. The southbound cavalry of the Great Li Empire is unstoppable, so once we expand our territory, many new positions will open up in the lands of the conquered nations. As for what this means, and regarding what you should do, I'm sure that deities as experienced as yourselves understand fully well."

The three deities all answered with fervor.

"This subordinate wouldn't dare to act in a perfunctory manner!"

"I'll spare no effort!"

"I've already battled to death for the Great Li Empire once. Now that I've enjoyed offerings for several hundred years, I naturally have to behead that impudent dog here even if it means sacrificing my gold statue!"

The palace minister nodded in content, saying, "The Great Li Empire will definitely have to rely on deities such as yourselves to guard the fortunes of the great southern lands in the future. In any case, we need to work together to resolve this pressing issue."

Inside a shrine that was fairly close to Red Candle Town's Fine Wine River, there stood a burly man who had once appeared on River Viewing Street with the palace minister of the Ritual Office. His true identity was the palace minister of the Ministry of War's Martial Examination Office. It could be said that this burly man had the power of life and death over most people in the Great Li Empire.

Compared to the old man who was the palace minister of the Ministry of Rites' Ritual Office, however, he could be described as someone who interacted with small fries and bastards in a pond of mud. Meanwhile, the old man could be described as someone who heartily discussed longevity with gods and immortals.

Two formal river gods radiated with powerful auras as they stood inside the river god shrine. One held a shiny black iron spear that intermittently pulsated with golden inscriptions, while one had a lively green snake coiled around his arm that occasionally opened its jaws to hiss, releasing puffs of snow-white breath.

Foggy vapor permeated around the two river gods.

The burly man's voice was solemn as he said, "Once we start drawing the net, that saber-wielding man will most likely flee toward the south. That's why I asked you two to meet me here. When the time comes, I'll step out to block him first. I would naturally prefer to sacrifice someone else rather than sacrifice myself, but it's entirely possible that His Majesty the Emperor is observing us right now. So, I wouldn't dare to shirk responsibility even if I were given 10 times the courage. I hope that the two of you won't disappoint His Majesty either."

After saying this, the burly man strode out of the river god shrine and turned to face Red Candle Town in the north. He decided to remove his shirt, revealing his firm muscles and wicked tattoos a dragon over his shoulders that ordinary martial artists definitely wouldn't dare to tattoo[1], and a hunting forest tiger crouched on his back.

Standing under the soft glow of the moon, the burly man crossed his arms and stood as still as an immovable mountain, his aura surging to a great height.

The woman who had tried to persuade Lin Shouyi to follow her to the Palace of Eternal Spring stood on the street that led toward Pillow Relay Station. She didn't walk far, and she instead chose to go into a tavern on the side of the street. There was a young and beautiful shop owner standing behind the counter and selling wine, and her expression didn't sour even when she engaged in vulgar and uncouth conversations with her customers. Beside her, her jittery and uneasy husband could only bury his head and busy himself with work.

The young girl who had paddled the decorated boat before sat next to the grand elder of the Palace of Eternal Spring. She was a lowly boat hostess who was born into a family of generational servants, and thanks to some divine fortune, she had been chosen by her master not long ago. She was soon going to head to the Palace of Eternal Spring to learn the immortal spells of the legends.

According to her master, she was a fairly talented person who had an innate affinity with water this was most likely because her ancestors had lived by the water for generations, developing an intertwining fate with the Rushing Tranquil River. As such, she possessed remarkable talent that would give her the chance to advance to the Middle Five Tiers.

The young girl didn't know what the Middle Five Tiers were. At this moment, she imitated her master and took small sips of the strong wine. She wasn't taking small sips because she was afraid of getting drunk boat hostesses were all extremely capable drinkers but rather because she was being involuntarily influenced by her master's innate aura of might. She instinctively wanted to imitate her master.

"Master, why wasn't he willing to come to the Palace of Eternal Spring with us?" she asked softly.

The woman, whose true age was close to 120 years old, smiled faintly and replied, "It would be a bit excessive to say that he doesn't know what's good for him. It's better to say that the destined moment hasn't arrived yet. Cultivation naturally implies cultivating one's strength. This is just like building a house, where one needs to strengthen the foundation. However, what determines one's eventual potential is ultimately dependent on their cultivation of the mind.

"Lin Shouyi has a resolute mind, and he's someone who's born with an innate aptitude for cultivation. As such, he can reach great heights even if he doesn't enter the Palace of Eternal Spring. If you don't want to feel ashamed and inferior the next time you encounter him, then you need to work hard too."

The young girl nodded in reply before lowering her head to take a sip of wine.

It had to be said that this woman, who seemingly enjoyed eternal youth, was quite magnanimous and tolerant.

At this moment, Red Candle Town suddenly shook for the first time.

Even though the commotion was huge, there was fortunately little effect on the buildings in the small town. Only the tables and chairs on the banks and the decorated boats in the rivers shook a little.

The woman's expression changed slightly, and she said, "Sure enough, it's a cultivator at the Upper Five Tiers."

Her tone was solemn, and she continued softly, "Let's hope they're not at the legendary 12th Tier or an 11th Tier Militarian Qi refiner."

She turned to the young girl and ordered, "When I leave in a moment, remember not to panic no matter what. Just stay here and don't move."

To say nothing of being wounded or killed, mortals might not be able to flee from the battlefield between cultivators and immortals at such lofty levels even if they understood the catastrophic nature of the situation.

If there weren't the 72 academies to watch over the regions, if the Militarian cultivators the most powerful force after the three teachings wasn't obliged to serve the empires, and if there weren't so many mountain and river deities to monitor the lands for the empires and suppress the immortal sects... Just how chaotic would the world be?

The woman didn't dare to imagine this...

...Even though she was also an immortal.

A'Liang arrived in an empty area outside the corridor. His sleeves billowed in the wind, and his hands rested on the hilts of the lush green bamboo saber and the sleek saber, Auspicious Talisman. He took a deep breath, and without the bamboo hat on his head seemingly obscuring his aura and suppressing his power, he was finally able to relax himself and move without restriction.

However, he still appeared a little anxious, and he looked at someplace and suggested, "Even though you're a Yin god who's successful in cultivation, the thriving nature of the Great Li Empire means that each major pass and city is often brimming with fierce yang energy. This is something that can innately subdue ghosts and yin entities like you. You can ask Lin Shouyi to refine the yang talismans in that stack of talismans I gave him. That will allow you to mitigate this issue."

When A'Liang finished speaking, a dark shadow appeared not far away from the corridor. A person slowly materialized before Chen Ping'an and the others. He was shrouded in black mist, and only his head and facial features were clearly visible. This allowed them to see his eerie white eyes that didn't have pupils. His tall and burly body was fuzzy, and he was much like a flood dragon soaring through the clouds, with only his head visible and his body hidden.

The so-called Yin god nodded in reply.

A'Liang smiled and continued, "Then I'll hand these children to you. Accompany them to at least Yefu Pass, and after that, you can leave the rest up to their fortunes. After all, we can't coddle them forever a thousand cowards are worth less than a single courageous person. I trust you."

"Senior, why are you willing to trust a yin entity with unknown origins," the Yin god asked in a hoarse voice, speaking the dialect of the small town.

A'Liang was amused, and he replied frankly, "Because of your appearance, of course! With such an unsympathetic appearance, it's quite clear that you're someone who's cold on the outside, warm on the inside, and chivalric of the mind."

The Yin god hesitated for a moment before guessing, "Is it because I'm similar to you, senior?"

A'Liang almost choked upon hearing this, and he muttered, "You're a bastard who's neither human nor ghost, but your words are... quite amusing."

The Yin god cracked a grin.

Li Huai had already scuttled behind Li Baoping to hide, and he tugged at the sleeves of her bright red jacket and stammered in fright, "Baoping, Baoping, it's a ghost! It's really a ghost!"

Meanwhile, Lin Shouyi had an expression of deep curiosity. However, he tried his best to suppress this curiosity, lest he offend the Yin god by looking him up and down too directly. There was a brief introduction to yin entities in Recite Atop Clouds Scripture, and it was detailed how such entities also had avenues to become gods. The first method was to rely on their believers' incense offerings and willpower, the second method was to attach themselves to the "courage" of Militarian cultivators, and the third method was to cultivate like Qi refiners.

The last method was the most bumpy and challenging. However, a yin entity would also enjoy the most stable soul out of the three methods if they succeeded through this manner. In fact, they could transform the punishment from the scorching sun, the hammering from the fierce winds, and the showering of chants into shortcuts to temper their cultivation.

The Yin god glanced at Chen Ping'an before turning his gaze to the scaredy-cat Li Huai who was hiding at the very back.

There was grief on Li Huai's face as he begged, "Don't focus on me! Why don't you stare at Lin Shouyi or Chen Ping'an? Or maybe even A'Liang!"

The Yin god who had been following them from a safe distance the entire time slowly dissipated his body, causing the eerie atmosphere in the corridor to return to normal.

A'Liang looked up and glanced toward the north. He was in no hurry to leave, and he chuckled, "There's been a small mishap, so we still have some time to chat. If you have anything to say, then now's the time to spit it out. Come on, quickly. If you have any words of praise or flattery, then don't hesitate to bombard me with them. Who knows when we'll see each other again."

Li Baoping was the first to speak, saying, "A'Liang, if the saber breaks, then you don't need to return me. Because we're friends!"

A'Liang laughed heartily as he raised a thumb at her and said, "Such heartwarming words! I like it!" However, I'll definitely return Auspicious Talisman to you in pristine condition. There's no need to worry."

"A'Liang, do I need to temper my physique to a state tougher than pure martial artists or Militarian cultivators?" Lin Shouyi asked in earnest.d new chaptrs on no/v/e/lin(.)com

A'Liang shook his head and replied in a solemn voice, "No, there's no need. This is suitable for some people, such as me. However, it's not suitable for other people, such as you. Your cultivation journey should be one that's focused and profound. You shouldn't waste your time on paths that are broad and shallow."

The hatless man's expression was extremely serious as he said this.

The ambitious young boy nodded in understanding.

Li Huai mumbled about A'Liang feeling the compulsive need to brag every day. He was just about to step forward and run to A'Liang's side to speak to him, yet the heavy hand of the elusive Yin god landed on his shoulder and held him still. "Don't run around. Senior A'Liang is... truly far too powerful. If he didn't purposely leave a safe area for us, then just his near-tangible aura alone is enough to obliterate yin entities like me if I venture within a few meters of him. Moreover, a huge battle is imminent, so Senior A'Liang's mind is already tens of thousands of kilometers away in the north. It's not good for us to distract him."

Li Huai faltered when he heard this. Perhaps he found this explanation to be overly shocking and absurd, and this caused him to forget his fear of the yin entity next to him. "Are you kidding me? He's A'Liang! Someone who even I can chase around and beat up! Do you owe A'Liang a lot of silver or something?"

There was a stiff smile on the face of the yin entity who was not far away from forming a godly body. He looked at the little bastard with a loose tongue and remarked, "It's a miracle that you've lived until now."

A'Liang unhurriedly drew some of his attention back to his body. He looked at Chen Ping'an, Li Baoping, Li Huai, and Lin Shouyi, and he suddenly felt like this journey one which couldn't even be regarded as a journey through the lands, and could only be regarded as a temporary trip filled with trifling matters was actually a fairly enjoyable one. The man, who was already doing his best to suppress his suffusing aura, smiled and said, "Alright, it's almost time."

His aura was boundless like a crashing waterfall, one that couldn't be fully contained or covered. Indeed, the bamboo hat that he had especially asked someone to custom make for him was for no other reason than to suppress this wild aura that was both turbulent and majestic.

Ordinary cultivators lamented the fact that immortal treasures and precious artifacts couldn't increase their cultivation base enough.

However, A'Liang was different.

He could walk around that great wall without fear, and the sword qi and sword intent that had accumulated there over tens of thousands of years could even help him suppress his overwhelmingly ferocious energy and aura.

A'Liang had slain a powerful demon queen and inscribed a character on the wall before passing through Stalactite Mountain and arriving in this world. Here, however, he had no option but to wear that bamboo hat and lower his head to act as an honest citizen. Otherwise, he would have been far too dazzling, and his movements would have been easily detected by the transcendent beings in the heavens beyond heavens as they peered down at this galaxy. A'Liang wasn't afraid of fighting; he was afraid of trouble.

A'Liang had never been afraid of anyone in his life.

In that profoundly barbaric and desolate world where 18 primeval great demons ruled, A'Liang's favorite pastime had been to enter the depths of their territory with just himself and his sword and engage in intense battles with 11 of the great demons. Their longest battle had lasted a whopping two months and spanned a stunning five million kilometers. In the end, that battle had taken them near the Sword Qi Great Wall, and the cultivators there had been left with no option but to dispatch four powerful sword immortals to cooperate with A'Liang and deal with the six great demons.

A'Liang laughed heartily and said, "Make sure to remember this, you four. The freedom of a powerful individual draws its boundary at the freedom of a weak individual! The true opponent of a powerful individual is the formless regulation of heaven and earth, the powerful inertia of the mortal world for people to experience the iron-clad cycle of birth, sickness, and death this is our invisible enemy. There has never been a powerful individual who became powerful because they trod on the weak. Rather, they became powerful because they rose to challenges and courageously tackled setbacks."

A'Liang raised a thumb and pointed at himself, continuing, "Take me, for example. After fighting these people in the Great Li Empire, I'm going to go somewhere else and fight with the most powerful people in that location."

Li Baoping waved her fists and exclaimed in exuberance, "You show them, A'Liang!"

Meanwhile, Li Huai was sobbing uncontrollably, with tears streaming down his face and snot running from his nose.

Beside them, Lin Shouyi's face was flush with excitement. The young boy finally had a role model to strive toward.

Chen Ping'an looked at A'Liang. In this moment of parting, he was surprisingly at a loss for words.

In the end, A'Liang turned to face the young boy who had a jade hairpin in his hair. He blinked at him and said, "It's not good to have such an overthinking mind at your young age. Chen Ping'an, remember that you're still a handsome young boy! Here, give Uncle A'Liang a smile."

Chen Ping'an squeezed out a smile.

"If a fight's inevitable, then I'll fight with the top dogs. Where's the fun in fighting with these small fries? Till later!"

Amid his loud laughter, A'Liang's figure immediately shot up from the ground and soared through the air, leaving thunderous sonic booms in his wake.

A large and misty vapor cone would form in the air each time a thunderous boom erupted.

The entire Red Candle Town shook violently, sending plumes of dust into the air and blotting out the sun and sky.

The Yin god was in a trance as he stood above the corridor and gazed up at the peculiar scene in the sky. "He's truly too powerful... Unreasonably powerful..." he murmured to himself.

In the capital of the Great Li Empire...

Following the lead of two chief eunuchs who were suppressing their auras, a middle-aged man who was dressed in brilliant yellow ceremonial robes arrived at an elevated altar that was used to worship the gods of soil and grain. In the eyes of the other empires and nations in Eastern Treasured Vial Continent, the Great Li Empire was nothing more than a place filled with uncivilized northern barbarians they were crude people who had little understanding of the Ritual and Music System. In truth, this assessment couldn't be regarded as slander.

Beneath the altar, there stood a tall and sturdy man in white robes. He was none other than Song Changjing, the god-like general of the Great Li Empire who had returned from Jewel Small World.

Observing Song Changjing and the middle-aged man in brilliant yellow ceremonial robes, one could vaguely see a hint of resemblance between them.

As unruly as Song Changjing was, he still lowered his head slightly and cupped his fists in respect, greeting, "Your Majesty."

Upon seeing Song Changjing, the middle-aged man smiled and patted his shoulder twice, saying in a pleased voice, "So you've reached the 10th Tier. Very well, very well, as expected of my younger brother. When are you going to advance to the 11th Tier? When that day comes, I'll personally set off some firecrackers to celebrate the occasion. If you feel like that's not enough, I can issue a decree for everyone in the imperial court to set off firecrackers together. Mhm, if that's the case, then I can start to secretly hoard materials for making firecrackers..."

Song Changjing felt slightly exasperated as he looked at the emperor whose mind had already wandered to some faraway place. He referred to him using a different title and asked, "Imperial brother, can we get back to discussing proper business now? We can chat about these things afterward. How does that sound?"

The middle-aged man smiled and nodded, replying, "Oh, right. Yes, proper business is more important. We can think about making money later."

He moved away from Song Changjing and walked up the altar by himself. Halfway up the stairs, he suddenly turned around and asked with a smile, "Want to come together?"

"I can't stand the strange temperament of those two old geezers. I'm afraid I'll throw hands at them at the first disagreement," Song Changjing said with a huff.

The emperor roared with laughter as he continued to ascend the altar. At the same time, he cocked his head and said in amusement, "Let me warn you first. I'll definitely side with you if it's only a minor conflict. However, I certainly won't help you if you truly want to fight to the death with them."

A serious expression replaced Song Changjing's smile, and he asked, "Imperial brother, is it really necessary to cause such a huge commotion this time? If I found out about this earlier that he's not Wei Jin from Wind Snow Temple or whatnot, and he's very possibly an extremely dangerous 11th Tier or even 12th Tier cultivator I would have definitely stopped you from taking things so far."

The middle-man had already turned back around. With his back facing Song Changjing, he replied calmly, "My Great Li Empire needs to send a message to the entire Eastern Treasured Vial Continent those below the 13th Tier... can all be killed."

1. In ancient China, symbols of dragons could only be used by the emperor.

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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