Chapter 384: The Gold-Banded Staff (9)
Bang bang bang!!! All the qi flowers rushed Xu Yangyi. In a twinkling, they buried him. Although he was a Foundation Establishment cultivator, the corpse-qi accumulation here was to be noted at all cost! One realm, ten years. Even if all this qi was from mortals, it was enough to submerge him. Granted that he was only keeping up with the tail’s tip, this qi was like charcoal delivered in a blizzard to his current situation!
Crash… The familiar sound of flowing qi rang out from inside him again. He wordlessly sighed. Moments ago, he’d still felt that his loss of the Ketu-Rahu Sword was a little unfortunate, but this feeling now sprouted wings and flew away.
Since his rise to Foundation Establishment until now, this feeling of qi filling him was truly like eating meat again after three years. In this moment, qi swelled in his veins, clamoring and filling his dried-up body once more.
In his meridians, the heaviness of qi rose. He could feel the amount of qi being stored was steadily rising. Nonetheless, he furrowed his brows at this time.
This qi… couldn’t be cycled.
He carefully observed for a few seconds and realized what was going on.
If one didn’t look carefully at these white qi orbs, they wouldn’t see the sliver of black within. This blackness was the “impurity” of mortals. They hadn’t undergone cultivation. The qi accumulation of the Clearcloud Realm’s Yuenü Tribe stemmed from the mass production of qi corporations. This was not innately nurtured qi. Naturally, not all impurities would be gone.
Still, this wasn’t a major issue. All he needed to do was bitterly cultivate for about ten years and cleanse this colossal amount of qi he was now absorbing. In kind, he could press closer to middle-stage Foundation Establishment. And, this could be considered a third faster than Sunnihilator’s middle-stage attainment in fifteen years!
“Ten years of harsh gathering… it’s just ten years of harsh gathering.” He smiled as he closed his eyes and enjoyed the qi banquet as much as he could.
An unknown passage of time went by. The meteor shower of qi finally stopped. He slowly opened his eyes and squeezed his fist.
His body was absolutely brimming with qi! Even now, he was very, very close to middle-stage Foundation Establishment! He could even confirm that he only needed to transform this qi, and the moment he did was when he would assail the middle stage.
“Ten years at most,” he said certainly.
He gazed outside. The behemoth was looking angrily at him. He sneered, yet this sound caused the beast to unleash a furious roar that could shatter mountains and overturn seas!
Amidst the chaotic dance of endless tongues, an extremely unfamiliar voice suddenly rang out.
“Cultivator… you… have invoked great calamity…”
Xu Yangyi’s head snapped up. Who was it?
He looked all around. At this time, a pitch-black light beam rumbled and fired at Zhao Ziqi who was far away!
“STOP!!!” Xu Yangyi roared angrily. This light shot out from the behemoth. After firing this light, it suddenly went still, as if its soul had been drawn out.
Nonetheless, he was too far away. In an instant, the light encaged Zhao Ziqi. In less than three seconds, a silhouette formed of light slowly appeared.
The silhouette’s face was indistinct and it was only an outline, but right now Xu Yangyi could still feel the other’s wrath.
“If you dare harm him, This Throne will grind your bones and scatter your ashes.” These words drifted out from between Xu Yangyi’s gritted teeth.
Big bro… I’m okay… Zhao Ziqi’s voice echoed from around the silhouette. The figure snorted coldly, and Zhao Ziqi immediately went quiet.
“This Throne… is known as Bladevessel.” The figure glared angrily at Xu Yangyi. “Fellow Daoist, do you know where this is?”
Xu Yangyi raised a brow and said as he probed out, “The Clearcloud Realm?”
“Hehehe… the Clearcloud Realm…” Bladevessel laughed coldly, “Look carefully… at that which is behind you and that which is under your feet.”
Xu Yangyi seriously looked over. Moments ago, he’d been climbing up with all of his might. He really didn’t have time to look at the staff and stone platform.
The stone platform was triangle-shaped, and there was a stone monkey at each corner. However, for some unknown reason one was missing. There were only two currently.
If said something was different, then… there was a round entrance where the staff was inserted into the ground.
It was sealing a Taiji pattern. The staff just happened to be inserted into its bottom, separating a curved breach on this Taiji. And below this curve was endless darkness, unfathomably deep!
It was like the Nine Nether Hells… without the slightest base line.
“Where is this?” Xu Yangyi stepped on the separated Taiji. It was around six or seven meters in size. Evidently, it was a door.
“Hehe… this is where you shall go…” Bladevessel grinded his teeth and said.
“Why do I have to go?”
Bladevessel snorted coldly, “Look at the staff.”
Xu Yangyi stowed his gaze, cautiously extended his hand and casting his senses. In that situation a while ago, he hadn’t been able to carefully sense a thing.
The staff was made of stone, this was his first reaction. The surface was bumpy and uneven. He looked earnestly and discovered… that its surface was unexpectedly carved full of ornamental designs.
With rapt attention, he continued looking. This… should’ve been the staff’s middle section, and carved on it… was vaguely a great mountain. And under this great mountain, there seemed to be something?
He continued to look carefully. The entity… was covered in hair and it seemed to be… shouting?
One second, two seconds… three seconds later, his head whirled around, and his electric gaze stared straight at Bladevessel. “This… is the Five Phases Mountain? Great Sage Sun?”
Bladevessel jeered, “Your eyesight is not bad.”
Xu Yangyi took two steps back and look at the staff before him incredulously. Instead of immediately commenting, he totally concentrated on the design on the staff.
He saw… a group of people headed out from the east of the Great Tang and journey westward.
He saw… all kinds of nations of different styles and all kinds of continents of different appearances. All kinds of cultivators that could turn over heaven and earth, and a battle that could shake one to their core.
The Nine Holy Primordial Spirit, the Nine-Headed Insect, the Golden-Winged Roc-King, the Yellow-Browed Ancestor, Lord Jupiter’s Equal, the Nine-Eyed Demon Lord… These awesome names were all inscribed on the staff, as if… it was enough to bear their weight and furthermore… maybe… possibly… kill them. So much as suppress them!
He saw the legendary Mountain of Flames, he saw the Bottomless Pit, and he saw the State of Zhuzi, the State of Baolai, and the State of Biqu… Ultimately, he could no longer see. He closed his eyes, and his spiritual sense flared and went straight to the top.
He finally saw the never-before-seen top. There, a ball of golden light was radiating.
Bladevessel laughed darkly and waved his hand. He knew that initial-stage Foundation Establishment spiritual sense had no way to reach the top. As expected, Xu Yangyi furrowed his brows and floated up. Afterwards, he transformed into soaring white light and rushed straight to the top.
Swoosh… His speed was fast, but the faster he went, the more he felt the pressure become greater!
The golden lights were small and faint, but…
The sensation they gave him was that a mote of light was no longer golden light. Instead… it was Mount Sumeru! The Realm of Tathagata!
The higher he ascended, the heavier the oppressive might became! Just this mote was the night sky of vast stars. However, it caused him, who was 300 meters away from the top, to stop for the first time.
The golden light was like an ocean not in scope, but in oppressive might! As if he was facing an entire tsunami of a world! He could even hear brahmic chants in his ear, which formed a terrible vortex. It was like a giant mountain was pressing down, like Buddha’s legendary Five-Finger Mountain!
“Huff…” He absentmindedly looked at the staff. Already, a raging tide surged up in his heart.
Could this… truly be that object?
If it really was… then were those legends, legends that even Xiaoqing found cryptic and ominous, true?
Xiaoqing hadn’t said, and the sole mortal who might’ve known, Ming Guangzong, had interred this eternal riddle into the Thirteen Ming Tombs.
Almost twenty years ago in his conversation with Wei Zhongxian, he’d had this guess. Yet only this guess could explain this entity that successive dynasties of emperors couldn’t abandon. The imperial throne and long life weren’t unrelated parties in romance. It was a pity that Wei Zhongxian didn’t understand this, though.
Still if there were no immortals or gods, then what was Xiaoqing? What about Jiang Ziya who had cultivated four lifetimes? What was the Wolfbane? And what… could the thing before his eyes be considered?
Since early on, he held great doubt concerning so-called legends! Especially after he saw Xiaoqing!
Curbing his surging emotions, he pursed his lips. His gaze shifted up, and he could see another fifty meters up that there were no carvings. Instead… there were three lines of characters.
Gritting his teeth, he pushed against the massive pressure, raised his qi again and flew up. Each step brought puddles of cold sweat. Once he reached the final steps, even his bones were cracking loudly.
He couldn’t go any further… but he could already clearly see two lines of the three lines. There were four other large characters, but he could only see three of them.
“The great mist is at first opened to the nameless, to break ignorance one must comprehend nothingness…” He took a deep breath. Upon seeing this, he could almost confirm, not to speak of this object, but at the very least… there was a very important relation with this legend!
He looked to the final four characters.
“...Divine… Sea Needle?” Out of habit, he read aloud, and his eyes suddenly shone. He involuntarily cried out, “The Divine Sealock Needle?!”
That was right! The Gold-Banded Staff’s true name wasn’t the Gold-Banded Staff! But rather… the Divine Sealock Needle!
“Do you see clearly?” Bladevessel’s voice echoed again. “What do you think of an entity that the Divine Sealock Needle is capable of suppressing! And what is ‘capable’?”
Xu Yangyi said nothing. He floated down to the ground and stared dead-on at Bladevessel. “A word.”
“This staff… is it the Gold-Banded Staff?”
“It is.” Bladevessel’s words caused Xu Yangyi’s heart to tighten, yet the hazy silhouette’s next words left him in doubt and confusion. “But it isn’t.”
Xu Yangyi didn’t answer, but continued to look straight into Bladevessel’s eyes. “How can I believe you?”
“How can you believe me? How can you believe me?” Bladevessel seemed to hear a tremendous joke and laughed sarcastically, “Bladevessel… Think upon the history of my name, Junior!”
Big bro… Before Xu Yangyi even had time to think, Zhao Ziqi’s voice echoed out again, trembling with great excitement. “Bladevessel… Bladevessel! He’s also called the Yellow Matron, the Earth Mother! But he has another address…”
“Sand Monk… Sha Wujing!”
Xu Yangyi looked at the figure in front of him in amazement.
The Gold-Banded Staff?
After the Legend of the White Snake… was Journey to the West?
“You… are Senior Sha Wujing?” he asked incredulously. Afterwards, he looked to the black abyss all around. “Is this…”
“This is the Quicksand River,” Bladevessel let loose a stream of cold chuckles. “Or perhaps it could be said… a water drop of the Quicksand River. And I, am the stone sculpture casually carved by Master Sha Wujing in that year and tossed into the Clearcloud Realm.”
“Still, this is not the real Divine Sealock Needle… What realm is the Great Sage? The Divine Sealock Needle has millions and millions of incarnations, standing guard over a dozen Greater Thousand Realms. This is nothing more than a rod among them.”
“And this one… is suppressing a terrible entity! Yet you have opened its door!”
1. Great Tang (618-907 CE).
2. Names of these creatures in respective order: “九圣元灵，九头虫，金翅大鹏王，黄眉老祖，赛太岁，百眼魔君”. Without giving too much away if you haven’t figured it out yet, they’re characters in a very famous Chinese classic.
3. Mentioned previously, Mount Sumeru is the great mountain in Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain Myth. Tathagata is one of Buddha’s names, meaning “Having Come (to the absolute)”.
4. By now, you should really know who Ming Guangzong is. The unfortunate “One-Month Emperor”. Creator of the Animus Armament. Ming Guangzong is his temple name. His clan/personal name was “Zhu Changluo”.
5. These words originate from some Northern Song Daoist named Zhang Baduan, I believe. However, they are famously noted in, well, if you haven’t figured it out at this point, Journey to the West.
6. Bladevessel is a specific tool used to cut and measure things in ancient times. Look up “刀圭”.
7. Sha Wujing, one of the main characters in Journey to the West. He is a sand-demon that follows Tang Sangzang. A lot more information, but this is the gist of it.
8. Quicksand River is a place in Journey to the West.