Chapter 21: Yan Xing
The moment Yin BiYue received Luo MingChuan’s letter, he clenched it in his hand and immediately poured in his true essence. Following that, his figure disappeared from the harbour.
Yin BiYue vaguely felt the whistling of the wind and the waves, the racket of the marketplace, the rising movements of smoke and dust, and the glaring sunlight of early summer. However, all of this occurred in the span of a mere breath.
The next moment, Yin BiYue stepped onto genuine soil.
Practically the moment he appeared, before his vision had even cleared enough for him to see the forest in front of him, an immense force abruptly pulled him backwards!
Even though he had raised his guard to some extent, Yin BiYue still stumbled two steps. There wasn’t enough time for him to turn around. Thus, he stabbed his sword, still sheathed, backwards with the aid of boundless true essence. But instantly, the true essence disappeared with no hope of returning!
A strong Enlightenment stage cultivator!
However, Yin BiYue didn’t employ his pre-prepared back-up plan. This was because the force disappeared, before the person behind him spoke. “Wait a moment, brother! This one does not bear malice!”
That person released the hand on Yin BiYue’s shoulder, the one they used to pull him back. Then, they retreated two steps as the aura previously surrounding them dwindled till there were no traces of it being present. “This Daoist friend……”
Yin BiYue turned his head to take a look. A split second later, he began staring blankly.
He wasn’t staring because of this person’s appearance—they did not look overly beautiful to the point that it made people speechless.
Rather……they looked very familiar.
He wore a somewhat old, dark brown duan da1 and had a wine pot hanging from his waist in addition to a long sword on his back. His hair was a complete mess and was combed into a low ponytail at the back of his head, and there was even some stubble growing on his chin.
This kind of ‘wandering around the Jianghu while carrying wine2‘ appearance didn’t resemble that of a cultivator at all.
But upon a closer look, this person had distinct facial features; sharp edges and high eyebrows that slanted towards his temples. Due to the look in his eyes being too pure and bright, it naturally weakened the loose nature of those peach blossom eyes that appeared like spring rivers.
Only undisciplined nature and unbridled cruelty emanated from that body.
The person in front of him was also sizing Yin BiYue up. In fact, he appeared a bit startled.
In the end, he asked in an uncertain tone, “Fourth3?”
At this moment, the chatterbox’s voice rang out from behind him. “Third senior-apprentice brother! What are you doing here?!”
The person turned his head and was immediately shocked, “Fifth!”
Following that, he pointed his finger at him and Duan Chatterbox. “Weird! How did you appear out of thin air one after the other! ……Fourth, what happened to your hair? I almost didn’t recognize you!”
Yin BiYue thought, he finally knew why this person looked so familiar.
Because this person was precisely the third senior-apprentice brother who had seldom returned to Cang Ya in three years, Yan Xing.
The last time they met was when Duan ChongXuan had first arrived at Xi Hua Peak, where he had formally worshipped their Master (‘s portrait) and became his apprentice.
Yin BiYue gave Yan Xing a nod. “Third senior-apprentice brother, it’s a long story……”
He himself was also unclear as to why his hair turned white. Thus, he changed the topic, “The reason fifth junior-apprentice brother and I came to the South Continent is because we are participating in the Flower Picking Festival.”
The chatterbox took over and asked, “Third senior-apprentice brother, how about you?”
Yan Xing revealed an embarrassed expression, “This……would be an even longer story to tell……”
Suddenly, his complexion changed. “Withdraw your aura!”
Instantly, Yin BiYue and Duan ChongXuan became nervous.
Third senior-apprentice brother was already in the Enlightenment realm. What kind of a person would someone have to be if even their senior-apprentice brother needed to hide from them?
Yin BiYue’s gaze fell onto the spot he had emerged from just now. In a place that wasn’t even two inches away from there, a rune flag was stuck in the ground.
It could be assumed that the reason Yan Xing had suddenly pulled him back, was precisely because he had been afraid Yin BiYue would destroy this array.
There were eight more rune flags like that one, and they were placed down in a complicated pattern. In the forest, a perimeter with a range that covered approximately three zhang4 was drawn out, encircling the three of them inside.
Yin BiYue took a careful look. This was a Concealing Array.
However, the arrangement of the array was done in an awfully rough and crude manner. If it weren’t for the fact that Yan Xing, the one who had set up this array, had a high cultivation level, Yin BiYue was afraid that anyone who had casually learned some spiritual array arts would notice something amiss.
Yin BiYue’s fingers twitched slightly before a stream of true essence flew out. Between the whistling of the wind, two rune flags exchanged places. And then, after Yin BiYue’s fingers moved again, the rune flag that had been most north leaned half an inch southward.
Only a few, subtle modifications like this instantly made the entire array different from before. In fact, it seemed as if even the breeze that reached the centre of the array calmed down.
Yan Xing sensed this change and his aura immediately relaxed. Pleasantly surprised, he slapped Yin BiYue firmly on the shoulders and exclaimed, “Fourth! That was phenomenal!”
Yin BiYue felt somewhat embarrassed by Yan Xing’s bold manner. He bowed his head slightly and said, “Senior-apprentice brother is exaggerating.”
He understood things very clearly. If it weren’t for how Yan Xing trusted him, he wouldn’t have managed to alter Yan Xing’s array.
However, Yin BiYue still felt a bit baffled. If they were facing a powerful enemy who had a cultivation level higher than Yan Xing’s, how could they not see through this array? But if they were in a lower cultivation realm, why would Yan Xing need to hide?
At this moment, a rustling noise came from somewhere in the forest not too far away from them. A vague amount of time passed before a white figure passed through.
That person got closer and closer. Their cloudy boots trodded across the dead leaves and weeds, producing quiet sounds. It was evident that this person didn’t have even the slightest intention of concealing their tracks.
It was a young man, who arrived holding a sword.
The young man got increasingly close, close to the point that they could see shan shui5 painted on the man’s wide sleeves and the dense, cold aura between his eyebrows.
Once again, Yan Xing’s expression became nervous as he kept silent.
Yin BiYue and Duan ChongXuan also became influenced by his anxiety as they solemnly gazed at the newcomer.
Between the gaps of the forest trees, a familiar voice suddenly spoke up. “Junior Sect Master Song.”
It was Luo MingChuan’s voice.
The young man who had been called ‘Junior Sect Master Song’ turned around. Slightly surprised, he said, “Senior-apprentice brother Luo?”
Yin BiYue could finally confirm now that the Academy Director no longer wanted Luo MingChuan dead.
Otherwise, he could have casually done something underhanded while Luo MingChuan had been travelling through space and time. That was more than enough to let him die quietly, and even his corpse wouldn’t be found.
Contrary to what Yin BiYue had thought, the Academy Director truly wanted the three of them to be able to participate in the Flower Picking Festival without a hitch.
However, Yin BiYue was afraid that even the Director couldn’t have foreseen the present situation. After all……the Director wasn’t that bored.
He couldn’t be bored enough to even include Yan Xing and this Junior Sect Master’s personal grudges into his calculations.
Outside the array, the two who had come across each other were already chatting.
“How did senior-apprentice brother Luo suddenly appear here?”
“There was a sudden outburst of beasts in Fu Kong Ocean, preventing journey by boat. Fortunately, the Academy Director sent over some letters. Using his remarkable space and time spiritual arts, I ended up here. Junior Sect Master, have you seen any other people in this forest?”
“I haven’t yet……however, since it was the Director’s letter, then nothing could have gone wrong. Perhaps your companions ended up somewhere slightly farther away from here. Senior-apprentice brother Luo has no need to worry. I am also looking for someone, so we can journey together.”
After hearing their conversation, Duan ChongXuan said, “The future Sect Master of Cang Ya and Qing Lu Jian Sect’s Junior Sect Master. Tsk tsk, their relationship with each other is unexpectedly not bad.”
Cang Ya Mountain did not use the term ‘Junior Sect Master’. However, the chief succeeding disciple had long been tacitly approved as the future Sect Master.
With this, Yin BiYue also confirmed this young man’s identity. He was Song Tang, the one who would take charge of Qing Lu Jian Sect in the future.
The Elegant Sword, Song Tang. He was senior to Zhong Shan, who was part of the same sect. His cultivation level was also higher than Zhong Shan’s, and he had become famous earlier as well.
On the other side, Luo MingChuan diverted Song Tang’s attention.
Yan Xing sighed in relief before saying, “That youngster also looks familiar……”
He stared at them with rapt attention before he suddenly realized, “So it turns out that he’s Xi Qian Peak’s Luo MingChuan……Fourth, Fifth, do you have any ways to make him lead away that guy surnamed Song?”
Yin BiYue nodded. He condensed his true essence into a bundle and then, using his divine consciousness to control it, he sent it into Luo MingChuan’s ear without even the slightest leak.
“Senior-apprentice brother Luo, junior-apprentice brother Duan and I are standing about a zhang north of you, inside senior-apprentice brother Yan Xing’s Concealing Array. Senior-apprentice brother Yan is precisely the person Junior Sect Master Song wants to find.”
The meaning of his words was very obvious. Since they were in an array, it meant they didn’t want to be found.
Luo MingChuan’s complexion didn’t change. The surprise in his eyes passed in a flash, and Song Tang, who was beside him, didn’t notice it at all.
Immediately, Luo MingChuan smiled and said, “Finding them isn’t that urgent of a matter. I plan to go to Ye City first and find a place near the Flower Picking Festival, one we can temporarily reside in.”
It was Qing Lu Jian Sect’s turn to act as the host for the Flower Picking Festival this year. Since Song Tang was the Junior Sect Master, he naturally had to manage many affairs. An example would be the accommodations of the attending disciples for the various Sects.
Sure enough, Song Tang said apologetically, “I am the one who is too inconsiderate for forgetting that senior-apprentice brother Luo has travelled from afar and is now weary. My Sect has long made preparations. I will immediately bring senior-apprentice brother Luo over there at once.”
The remaining people watched as the two departed. Very soon, their figures disappeared within the gaps of the forest.
Once again, Yan Xing gave Yin BiYue’s shoulders a hearty slap. “Fourth! You’re too amazing!!”
Yin BiYue only felt that this senior-apprentice brother Yan was very different from what he had imagined him as.
As such, he couldn’t help but recall many things that pertained to this senior-apprentice brother.
A type of ancient Chinese clothes:
“wandering around the Jianghu while carrying wine”, or 落魄江湖载酒行 apparently originated from a book and is a part of the quote落魄江湖载酒行， 楚腰纤细掌中轻.
Raws here say 老四 which means ‘old fourth’, a nickname commonly used in China, especially in families (children wise, they can be called old second, old third, etc by the parents. In this novel, DXC’s called Old Fifth). However, since this isn’t really used in western countries, I discussed with some other tlors and opted to just go with Fourth and Fifth!
丈 (zhàng): unit of measure, ten Chinese feet (approx. 3.3m)