Wuxiaworld > Nightfall > 297 A Step off the Cliff

297 A Step off the Cliff

Chapter 297: A Step off the Cliff
Translator: Transn Editor: Transn

The sun rose, gradually rousing Chang'an from its sleep.

Someone pushed the door to the Old Brush Pen Shop open, awakening all the eminences on the Lin 47th Street.

The weather was colder than it was last year yet it hadn't snowed for a long time. The remains of snow gathered under the trees turned greyer with each passing day. However, just as the door was open, snow began falling.

Second Brother lifted his head to look at the sky and then turned his attention to the opened door.

A black horse carriage was coming from the alley amid the falling snow, its heavy metal body scrapping on the stone-paved road noisily.

Master Yan Se and Great Divine Priest of Light came out of the Old Brush Pen Shop at the same time and entered the horse carriage.

A while later, a thin and frail figure also walked out of the shop.

Sangsang appeared solemn as she carried the new urn with her left hand and the old urn with her right. The urns appeared heavy that she fairly struggled to climb up the carriage.

The horse carriage headed out of the city.

It remained peaceful on the Lin 47th Street. The general in the front of the alley and the censor at the end of the alley didn't take any action, only watching as the carriage left.

Second Brother rose from his chair and brought Chen Pipi along with him as he followed the trace of the carriage with his hands behind his back.

It was only then that the eminences in the alley dared to make their moves.

That general ordered the Yulin Royal Guards hidden all over the city to return.

The censor entered the palace to make his report to the emperor.

Nation Master Li Qingshan watched the carriage that gradually disappeared in the snow and slowly made a bow.

North of Chang'an sat a relatively unknown mountain without any interesting backstory or beautiful sceneries, only trees. It was hard to walk on the mountain paths coated with the morning snow. Few travelers ventured here and a dead silence enveloped the mountain.

The black carriage stopped at the foot of this mountain. There were already cracks under the wheels made of fine iron. If they forcefully go up the mountain with the carriage, they would probably leave two gruesome tracks on the muddy path.

The two old men were walking up along the mountain path as their clothes billowed out around them. One of them wore an old but clean cotton-padded coat while the other wore a new but dirty Taoist robe.

Whether it was their clothes or their frail figures, both old men looked ordinary in every way. But as they walked along the paths in the snow, they left behind a deeply melancholic feeling.

Not far from them, the frail Sangsang walked as she carried the two heavy urns. Lowering her head, she bit her lips and watched the winding steps ahead of her as if there was no end to them. She chased after the men with much difficulty.

Master Yan Se moved away a branch in front of him. "I wonder which urn will be heavier later. Will it be the new one or the old one?"

Walking beside him, Great Divine Priest of Light smiled. "It's all up to Haotian."

Master Yan Se wiped his snow-stained hand on his Taoist robe and answered, "It's not a bad idea to fill both."

Great Divine Priest of Light nodded. "They can be neighbors if we put them together."

Master Yan Se gave him a look before continuing on his journey.

The two men took a break under a cedar tree as they waited for Sangsang to catch up to them.

Master Yan Se looked at his old friend's face and asked curiously, "Back then, did you ever make it to Tianqi Realm?"

Great Divine Priest of Light closed his eyes, seemingly recalling the things that happened so many years ago. "Yes, but I later was pushed into hell. I lost my chance of ever getting near to Haotian."

Master Yan Se looked at him in a daze. "What an incredible opportunity it is to break into the fifth realm! So many cultivators spend all their lives looking for that opportunity, only to never find it. You actually went that far so many years ago. No wonder the abbey dean has looked all over the Peach Mountain but still regards you as the No. 1 in your sect."

Great Divine Priest of Light sighed. "It's actually a kind of suffering to have it once only to lose it forever."

Sangsang finally caught up to the cedar tree. Her small face was red and she was panting heavily.

The two old men left no time for her to rest and started moving again.

Master Yan Se said, "Your failure only proves that Haotian knows your actions to be a mistake so it decided to withdraw its gift to you. You insist on looking for the shadow of Nightfall and Yama's son, but what does it have to do with Haotian? You actually only believe in yourself, not Haotian."

Great Divine Priest of Light answered, "There has been a question on my mind for decades. Why did every Divine Hall in history eventually leave the Peach Mountain? Why did those considered closest to Haotian would go down a path that Haotian would disapprove? That's how it was with the great master who set Devil's Doctrine thousands of years ago and the apostate predecessor. In the end, I'm also walking on the same path."

He turned to Yan Se and said after a long silence, "I've been thinking about this question for a long time, including during every step we took up this mountain. Now that I'm here watching the sun rising over the sea and basking in the red sunlight, I finally understand what we believe in is the light."

Master Yan Se became silence, having understood what his friend meant.

They both believe in the light, and Haotian might not necessarily represent the light.

By then, the two old men had reached the peak of the mountain. Sangsang was resting under a tall white poplar tree, with the two urns beside her reflecting her rosy cheeks. She appeared very warm.

East of the cliff, the sun had already risen above the clouds.

Snow was still drifting by the cliff, with snowflakes dancing before the rising sun. It was a very peculiar sight.

Master Yan Se walked near the cliff and swept away a stray snowflake floating before his eyes. Looking at the red sun in the east, he asked, "How did it feel when you entered the realm?"

If he took one step further, he would be stepping into the clouds surrounding the mountain and the warm light.

Great Divine Priest of Light walked up beside him and stared at the sun. "After your fight against Liu Bai in the Kingdom of Song, I became inspired by the falling red sun. But I only made it halfway there."

"Whether it's halfway or all the way, you still made it there. I really envy you." Master Yan Se sighed. "No wonder Liu Bai was looking at you so strangely. I'm still a person who realizes things too late."

Great Divine Priest of Light recalled the slash of a sword that cut open the skies as if it was heading for an appointment thousand of miles away from many years ago. He thought of the ocean-rippling talisman that his friend performed and couldn't help smiling. "Logically, Liu Bai should already be there. Why aren't there any news of it all this time? Is it fear?"

Master Yan Se thought of the strongest opponent he had ever met in his life and frowned, saying nothing.

Great Divine Priest of Light smiled faintly. "Many think you ended your chances of reaching the fifth realm because you cultivated as a virgin. But I think there's always a way around it. Since you can fight Liu Bai, dubbed the world's No. 1, and not lose, you're sure to reach it too. So how's that working out for you…?"

The wind billowed out Master Yan Se's Taoist robe in the snow. He watched that red sun shrouded in the clouds and said calmly, "I took Ning Que as my disciple and obliterated all my obsessions last year. I had a feeling I was going to reach that realm but I don't know why I'm not willing to take the step."

He turned to Great Divine Priest of Light. "It's like what you said of Liu Bai. It's because I'm afraid."

Great Divine Priest of Light frowned. "Of what?"

"The final destination of the Talisman Taoism is the ultimate law of heaven and earth. It's the essential law. For my entire life, I've been walking down the path toward the final destination. But that place is a place where only Haotian has the right to reach.

Master Yan Se said expressionlessly, "To cultivate talisman means having to reach that forbidden zone in the end. What we need is self-enlightenment, not guidance from the heaven. What would happen if we enter the forbidden zone? That uncertainty is my fear."

Tucked between clouds above the sea, the sun spilled its warm and bright light over every part of the cliff. It illuminated the people by the snow-capped trees and stones. That was the benevolent and generous Haotian bestowing the world with rules and life.

Great Divine Priest of Light said, "Though it seems like I've betrayed Haotian, what I cultivate is still divinity. Haotian gave me a pair of eyes that can see through everything and inexhaustible strength. The odds are with me during the day."

Master Yan Se shook his head. "Chang'an is my home. My feet once walked on every street in this city and traveled over all the mountains and rivers outside it. This mountain is considered my symbol. Your odds aren't all that high."

Great Divine Priest of Light smiled. "No matter what, it's best not to disturb other people."

Master Yan Se said, "That's why I ask that we leave Chang'an."

With a lift of his sleeves, a clear light flashed. The unpleasant smell coming from his sleeves suddenly dissipated, and a powerful and inexplicable talisman intent emerged from the crack on the stone.

"I haven't seen Shan Fu in a long time," said Great Divine Priest of Light lamentably.

He swept his cotton sleeves in the wind and stuck his hand out in the snow. The sunlight coming from the east instantly illuminated his skinny right hand. Countless dim lights appeared on his fingertips before scattering, like fireflies taking flight.

When the powerful talisman intent that emerged from within the crack of the stone merged with the dim lights, there weren't any terrible consequences. Instead, they stuck close to each other and fell from the cliff into the chasm, gradually forming an intangible shield. A seven-color streak of light danced on the shield, forming a beautiful rainbow in the snow.

The two old men looked at the rainbow shield that enveloped the entire mountain and nodded with satisfaction. Then, at the same time, they then turned toward the quiet little girl who had her head lowered.