unsheathed – Chapter 86 (1): Walking the Same Path

Chapter 86 (1): Walking the Same Path

Chapter 86 (1): Walking the Same Path

In the Yuan Clan's ancestral residence on Erlang Alley, Cui Chan was seated on his chair with his entire body drenched in blood, while his hands were locked in the Treasure Bottle Seal as he fought arduously to prevent his body from disintegrating.

He was doing this not just because this body had been extremely difficult to come by, but even more so because this body was like a prison in which his soul was confined. In the near future, he would be unable to release his soul to go on long journeys as he had been able to back in the capital city of the Great Li Empire.

Furthermore, if this body were to be destroyed, then he would be reduced to an incomplete entity with his souls and senses split apart, and that would permanently relegate him to the bottom of the Middle Five Tiers. If that were to happen, then all of the people who previously groveled in fear at his feet would've been able to kill him with ease.

Even though his body and mental state had both been dealt heavy blows, Cui Chan still forced himself to his feet after throwing up a mouthful of blood. He was grabbing onto the armrest of his chair and leaning heavily onto it for support, while his entire body trembled uncontrollably.

He knew that the worse the state that he was in, the harder he had to cling onto what little he had left. He raised his head to look up at the sky, where Ruan Qiong's voice had rung out earlier, but at this point, he didn't even have the power to use the mystical ability through which he could communicate with Ruan Qiong in secret.

"Come here," Cui Chan commanded in a raspy voice.

A young boy with a set of intricate and flawless features emerged from a side room with a horrified expression, and he made his way over to Cui Chan, where he was rooted to the spot, at a complete loss for what to do.

Cui Chan had faith in the spies under his command, but he only had faith in their loyalty to him, and he had no faith at all in their abilities. Hence, he didn't dare to place his hopes on them and expect them to keep him safe on a journey back to the capital city.

There was a very good chance that he would be targeted by a certain pawn planted among the four surnames and ten clans by Song Changjing or that woman even before he had a chance to make it out of the town.

With that in mind, Cui Chan instructed, "Go to the blacksmith shop and ask Master Ruan to pay me a visit. Tell him that I have something to ask of him, and that I'm willing to make a huge deal with him on a matter related to the assignment of a mountain god to Divine Elegance Mountain.

If you can't convince him to come and see me, then there's no need for you to come back. Without my intervention, the soul that I've temporarily gathered and placed in your body will only be able to last a few days before it dissipates."

The boy's face was deathly pale as he hurriedly nodded in response.

Cui Chan sat back down onto his chair in a defeated manner, then continued, "Make sure to act more natural when you go out, don't go walking around looking like your parents just died. Otherwise, even an idiot will figure out that something's happened to me."

The boy nodded fearfully in response, then quickly departed.

Meanwhile, Cui Chan closed his eyes, and the irony of his situation wasn't lost on him. In his current state, not only was he forced to imprison his soul in this body, he had to make running repairs on this self-imposed prison to restrict himself even further.

Right at this moment, the sound of familiar footsteps rang out, and Cui Chan immediately opened his eyes.

Right as he was about to scold his puppet for its incompetence, he caught sight of the uninvited guest beside the porcelain boy, and he immediately put on a welcoming smile as he instructed, "Go and bring Senior Yang a chair and some tea."

Old Man Yang was smoking his pipe with one hand clasped behind his back, and he averted his gaze from the miserable and disheveled Cui Chan as he inspected his surroundings, then said with a smile, "You personally set up the restrictions here, yet you were somehow oblivious to the fact that I've essentially broken into your house through your front door. Have you encountered some trouble? Do you need me to lend you a hand?"

"There's no need for that," Cui Chan replied as he shook his head with a calm expression.

Old Man Yang sat down onto the chair brought to him by the young boy, and he was seated in the eastern direction, while Cui Chan was seated in the north, directly facing the plaque of the main hall in the south. Old Man Yang took a glance at the timid yet curious young boy, and he mused, "You really are quite talented when it comes to soul manipulation."

"Is Ruan Qiong able to hear our conversation right now?" Cui Chan asked.

"Are you not aware of Ruan Qiong's personality? Why would he go out of his way to eavesdrop on you? If you hadn't repeatedly provoked him, he wouldn't have even taken a second glance at you!" Old Man Yang chuckled.

"Caution is the key to longevity," Cui Chan mused in a solemn voice.

This was the second time that Cui Chan had said this to Old Man Yang, and the first time was back at the old mountain of porcelain.

"That's true," Old Man Yang acknowledged before taking a puff of his pipe.

Cui Chan waited momentarily in silence, then asked, "Are we alright to continue now?"

Old Man Yang nodded in response. "Go ahead and say whatever you please."

Cui Chan wiped away the blood seeping down from the corners of his lips with the back of his hand, then asked, "Should I refer to you as the Azure Child Heavenly Lord, or should I use your even more renowned title..."

"That's enough!" Old Man Yang cut him off in an expressionless manner.

Cui Chan knew that it was unwise to push his luck any further, and he was silent for a moment before remarking, "Truth be told, that battle still remains the stuff of legends in my heart."

He then suddenly burst into laughter for some reason as he continued, "I don't regret not meeting the gods, my only regret is that the gods don't know of me. This was my genuine reaction when I first became aware of the secrets lurking behind the scenes while I was studying under my teacher. At the time, my teacher scolded me for my arrogance. Thinking back now, he was right, and I was wrong."

Old Man Yang waved a dismissive hand as he said, "I have no interest in hearing about how you turned on your teacher or your fellow brother."

"In that case, did you come here just to ridicule me?" Cui Chan asked with a mocking sneer.

"No, I'm merely curious about something. Song Changjing of the Great Li Empire is a martial artist who possesses both the aspirations and the potential to become an 11th tier martial artist, so why are you such sworn enemies with him?" Old Man Yang asked.

Cui Chan shook his head in response. "I don't have any personal vendetta against Song Changjing. Instead, it's because there's a powerful woman in the Great Li Empire who resents him. She was the one who had orchestrated the shattering of Chen Ping'an's bonded porcelain, and she did this so that it would be easier for her son to grasp onto his fated opportunity.

Of course, I won't deny that I took advantage of the situation so that I could use Chen Ping'an to target Qi Jingchun, and this was one of the few strokes of genius that I've made in my entire life. Qi Jingchun played a superior game to mine, and I concede my defeat to him, but I still don't think this was a bad move."

Old Man Yang puffed out a cloud of smoke, and his eyes narrowed slightly as he mused, "After his bonded porcelain was shattered, Chen Ping'an became like a flame that attracted attention from all sides, so there were inevitably going to be some moths that tried to rush at the flame. The woman that you were referring to was correct in her predictions.

Initially, that girl who was manifested by the residual will and essence of that true dragon instinctively made Chen Ping'an her target. However, only after escaping from that dragon locking well and stumbling to Chen Ping'an's residence on Clay Vase Alley did she detect the rich dragon qi present in Song Jixin's house.

For her, that was the most alluring delicacy under the heavens, so she desperately wanted to knock on the gate of Song Jixin's courtyard, but in the end, she ran out of energy and collapsed in the snow in front of Chen Ping'an's house. After that, she was saved by Chen Ping'an, but she was unwilling to establish a contract with a mere mortal like him as doing so was no different from committing suicide.

Hence, she proclaimed that she was Song Jixin's new maidservant, and thus, Chen Ping'an foolishly handed over the greatest fated opportunity in this entire Jewel Small World. Come to think of it, at the time, Chen Ping'an really was like the very embodiment of misfortune. He was obstructed by the Heavenly Dao at every turn, and it seemed that no fortune would ever befall him."

Cui Chan listened to Old Man Yang's musings in silence, then returned to the subject at hand as he said, "Even His Majesty is convinced that his brother, Song Changjing, has never had any interest in the throne. One time, His Majesty asked me to play a teaching game of go with him, and that woman was also present to provide His Majesty with good moves so that the game didn't end too quickly.

All of a sudden, His Majesty asked me if there could ever come a day when Song Changjing would suddenly storm back to the capital city with his army and demand that he concede the throne. Of course, I gave an honest reply, reassuring him that Song Changjing would never do something like this, but what if there really does come a day when Song Changjing's subordinates decide that they want to help Song Changjing seize the throne?

At some point, he'll reach the 10th tier, or even the legendary 11th tier, and life will become very boring for him. With all of his subordinates urging him to seize the throne, who's to say that he won't give in to the temptation someday and decide to rebel?

After hearing my reply, His Majesty began to laugh, and he then turned to the woman beside him to ask her opinion on the matter, to which she replied that His Majesty didn't possess sufficient ambition, and that just half of Eastern Treasured Vial Continent would be enough to satisfy him. However, Song Changjing is different.

The further he advances down the path of cultivation, the loftier his aspirations will become. After hearing what she had to say, His Majesty jokingly said that we should've been executed on the charges of treason for what we just said, but it was an auspicious day that was unfit for executions, so he would spare us for the moment."

"Song Changjing must've done some terrible deeds in his past lives to have been struck by the misfortune of having to deal with such a devious pair of opponents. One of them is constantly badmouthing him by His Majesty's bedside, while the other is a trusted subordinate of His Majesty's," Old Man Yang chuckled.

"Why exactly have you come here today?" Cui Chan asked in a direct and straightforward manner.

In response, Old Man Yang said something completely inexplicable and unrelated. "We believe that fate dictates the trajectory of one's life, yet you don't share the same belief."

Cui Chan was completely unyielding on this subject, and despite how vulnerable he was in his current situation, he didn't display any fear or timidity at all as he sneered, "I don't have a very high opinion of the current batch, but I have an even lower opinion of you and the others."

Old Man Yang set his gaze on Cui Chan, then prompted, "Tell me what Qi Jingchun has selected Chen Ping'an to do for him."Fdd ew updts on n(o)v/e/lin(.)com

"Why don't you take a guess?" Cui Chan asked with a faint smile.

It was clear that he wasn't going to reveal the answer to this question no matter what as it concerned the integrity of his Dao Heart.

"Do you really think I won't kill you?" Old Man Yang asked.

Cui Chan nodded in response. "You wouldn't dare. Even a dog that I raised from birth would perhaps be willing to kill me for its own benefit, but you are the only one who wouldn't dare to kill me."

A faint smile appeared on Old Man Yang's face as he chuckled, "If you're this smart, how did you lose to Qi Jingchun?"

Cui Chan slumped back against his chair as he replied in a self-deprecating voice, "To answer that question, I can use a quote from Qi Jingchun himself: 'those who are pure of heart are the most unpredictable people in this world'."

Old Man Yang shook his head as he sighed, "You see? This is what you get for not believing in fate. It's inexplicable, intangible, and impossible to grasp."

Cui Chan burst into laughter. "Are you trying to persuade me to walk your path?"

"Don't you want to return to the peak of your powers?" Old Man Yang countered. "Besides, the path that you currently follow is not one that doesn't share similarities with ours."

Cui Chan was so amused by this that was laughing to the point of tears, and he pointed a trembling finger at Old Man Yang as he openly jeered, "I may not be able to compare with my teacher or Qi Jingchun, but you want me to become a lapdog for those bastards that I look down on, allowing them to order me around as they please just so I can attain a so-called Indestructible Vajra Body? Am I insane or are you the insane one?

I don't mean to be rude, but just how desperate are you? Could it be that you're also in the same situation as I am in that a certain plan that you've been working on for a very long time has been ruined by some unforeseen development?"

"Who do you think can order me around as they please?" Old Man Yang asked in a nonchalant voice.

Cui Chan suddenly narrowed his eyes with a solemn expression and fell completely silent.

Meanwhile, Old Man Yang sat with his legs crossed, looking up at the sky with a calm expression.

It was often said that there were gods in the heavens above, but in reality, that was no longer the case.

Cui Chan took a deep breath, then said, "Let me give you a piece of advice: if you've done something to Chen Ping'an, then I suggest you abandon your plans right away."

Old Man Yang shook his head in response. "I haven't done anything to him."

Cui Chan smiled as he continued, "I presume Qi Jingchun cleaned up everything before he died, and given that neither you nor I are planning anything, it seems like Chen Ping'an no longer has anyone to worry about in high-up places aside from that woman in the capital."

"I can see that there's no way for us to walk the same path, but that's fine. We can still make a fair trade," Old Man Yang suddenly said.

Cui Chan didn't even bother to ask what Old Man Yang had in mind before replying without any hesitation, "I accept."

After walking for about 2.5 kilometers, Chen Ping'an encouraged Li Baoping to take a break. The second break came after two more kilometers, and the third break was taken after another further 1.5 kilometers, where the two of them sat down onto the smooth rocks on the bank of the creek. In order to travel southward, they had to temporarily take a long route and follow the creek.

Otherwise, given how difficult the mountains were to traverse, there was no way that Li Baoping would be able to keep up. She possessed far superior stamina to other children of her age, but ultimately, she was still only a little girl who was about eight or nine years old, so there was no way she could compare with an adult, and Chen Ping'an knew that he couldn't go as fast as he would if he were traveling alone.

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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