Chapter 24 – Prophecy
If one were to say that the entertainment of Cang Ya was in gossiping and spreading gossip, then the specialty of the citizens of Ye City were to observe commotion and spread commotion.
Long term stability and prosperity led to the people becoming increasingly bold and fearless. They dared to watch any commotion; they dared to spread any commotion.
They discussed the Eastern Continent’s demonic cultivators’ endless nefarious desire to revive the Demonic Palace and how the Northern Continent’s Imperial clan was extravagant and wealthy; guessed at just how beautiful the number one beauty in Lian Jian was; and even worried themselves to death over when their very own city lord will get married.
The people of Ye City were interested in discussing both the storms and showers of the world, as if they were all important people qualified to guide the world.
Even when night had fallen, TaiHe Pavilion was still bustling with business, not losing in the slightest against JinFeng Pavilion.
In the hall on the first floor was a raised platform. A storyteller garbed in a long robe rinsed his mouth with a top quality maojian tea and bowed towards the crowd, his hands clasped in a salute. The crowd immediately erupted into thunderous cheers and applause.
The hall on the main floor was already full, and in a remote corner on the second floor sat three young men. One had the refined countenance of a nobleman, one had the carefree manner of a young master; there was also another one wearing a black cloak, hiding his face from view.
But Ye City was always bustling, and strange cultivators were easily found here. The way he was dressed didn’t attract the slightest bit of attention.
As Yin BiYue sipped at the cup of Ba Shan Qiao She tea Duan Chatterbox had ordered, his heart filled with countless emotions.
He never fathomed that the three of them would actually come to listen to storytelling!
The storyteller downstairs had already begun to speak, his strong voice resonating throughout the hall.
“Everyone here knows in one month, on the ZhongMing Mountains, two li outside of our city, the Flower Picking Festival will begin. When the time arrives, various youths from every sect will gather here. Disciples from every continent will gather here to exhibit their skills; this truly is a rare decennial event!”
Just as everyone thought that today’s story would also be about the Flower Picking Festival, the storyteller’s words took a turn, “But today, let’s not talk about the Flower Picking Festival, but then what are we talking about? Let’s talk about the prophecy of the Central Continent’s Director!”
The crowd surrounding the stage once again erupted in cheers.
Although the Flower Picking Festival was exciting, it had already been the topic of the story for many days, and everyone had listened to it to the point of being able to recite it from memory. Talking about something fresh right now would naturally attract more people.
Yin Biyue’s heart skipped a beat when he heard the two words Academy Director.
The storyteller continued, “‘Twin stars appear , dragon and serpent clash, live and die together, a single survivor.’ This was what the Director said three hundred years ago at Lake Ming. Some of you may have heard of it before, some of you may have not.”
“But what do these two phrases mean? How would we decipher them? I’m sure everyone wants to know;let us thoroughly talk about it today!” Amidst the cheers of the audience he no longer dragged out the suspense.
“Out of the twenty-eight constellations in the night sky, there exists only one dragon, the KangJin Dragon, the ‘neck cluster’ of the seven asterisms of the Azure Dragon of the eastern sky; as for the serpent, it refers to the seven asterisms of the southern sky’s “wing cluster”, YiHuo Serpent!” 1
This wasn’t some kind of profound revelation; indeed, the ones who understood a little called out in agreement, “Well said!”
There were also people who casted some doubt on his assertion, “This is something that everyone already knows; how about you explain what these two constellations have anything to do with anything?”
The storyteller laughingly said, “What kind of character is the Academy Director! It could be said that he could even elucidate the mysteries of the heavens! These constellations are clearly referring to people! The KangJin Dragon and YiHuo Serpent, corresponding to the positions of the stars, I’d reckon that they represent ‘Cang Ya’ and ‘Bao Pu Zong’, and the prophecy is talking about the eldest disciple of Xi Hua Peak, Jun Yu, and Lin Yuangui of the Bao Pu Seven Sons. Those two are the strongest of the younger generation and could naturally bear the Director’s prophecy.”
The people in the restaurant were happily chatting away—they had no inkling that in this place, in this moment, there would be three Cang Ya disciples present.
Yin Biyue turned to glance at his two companions, neither of whom had any change in their expressions.
Someone on the first floor hollered, “Hey, we’ve got ‘dragon and serpent clash’, but what about an explanation for ‘live and die together’?”
The storyteller did not get angry; he waved his fan a couple times and said, “‘together’ merely refers to ‘the scenario’; it undoubtedly means that if they’ve been placed together into one scenario, then they will battle to the death.”
“Oh? You’re so confident; what if you’re wrong?”
The storyteller burst into loud laughter. “Haha! If I’m wrong then you can come find me to foot your tea bill!”
Everyone knew that paying for tea was just a joke. The stories told in TaiHe Pavillion were mostly conjecture and exaggeration. How could they take it seriously? The storyteller seized the opportunity to speak of old matters between Cang Ya and Bao Pu Zong, and the hall was once again bubbling with sounds of passionate debate.
The storyteller also knew a bit of astrology, and he stayed in a tea house full of stray rumours about various sects. With his serious intonation, the audience gobbled up every word.
Yin Biyue already no longer had any desire to continue listening. Luo Mingchuan detected his unease, and his hand atop his teacup moved imperceptibly. Suddenly the cacophony filling the hall disappeared around them.
Even if it were the table nearest them, they would only see three young men drinking tea in silence.
Yin Biyue felt an abrupt change in the air, as if there was an invisible barrier encasing them.
This was the first time Luo Mingchuan displayed a technique worthy of his Breakthrough Stage cultivation.
Thus Yin Biyue straightforwardly expressed the doubts swirling in his heart. He asked Duan Chongxuan, “This matter—is it true?”
He was well aware that Duan Chongxuan’s extraordinary background granted him unique channels of information. He knew of many secrets and rumours, not to mention one that implicated eldest shixiong.
Duan Chongxuan didn’t answer “yes” or “no” but instead said, “It was rumoured that three hundred years ago, the Director drank under the moonlight at Lake Ming and drank fourteen jugs of seventy year old LiuXian Wine, drunk out of his senses, singing at the top of his lungs atop a longboat.”
Yin Biyue could not begin to imagine that scholar brewing tea beneath the boughs of a locust tree had a time when he was capable of raising his voice in drunkenness.
”Just as the starlight descended upon the lake, rippling in rings for hundreds of li, the Director raised his gaze to the stars, in the midst of《Phoenix Journey》, he sang out ‘twin stars reveals the world, the dragon and serpent clash, live and die together; a single survivor’. The song ended; a fog arose from the lake and persisted for three days on end. Only when the night fog dissipated did the people realize the Director had an epiphany on the lake, and they followed the fair winds to go take a look. This prophetic song thus became recorded and became well known.”
“When the rumours first spread, quite a few sects proudly affixed the titles of the dragon and snake onto their disciples, but there was never any confirmation. As time went on, the clamour disappeared…. Until shifu brought back eldest shixiong, and in the same year Lin Yuangui entered Bao Pu Zong. Even later, when their reputations grew widespread, it was inevitable that the prophecy was brought up again. Over the following years, there were still many traces of the rumor to be found which were not entirely baseless. 2
After saying this much, Duan Chongxuan sighed. “Fourth shixiong, you’ve immersed yourself in cultivating, never entering the secular world, and would naturally not know these things. But the story being told today really isn’t anything all that novel. It’s already well known throughout the Western Continent.”
Yin Biyue asked him, “Do you believe it?”
“I also hope this isn’t real. But as far as I know, Lin Yuangui’s birth signs are a direct match for the ‘wing cluster’. Though it is said that to forcefully pry into the matters of heaven will cripple your cultivation and the myriad designs of heaven will change in a single moment, but the Director had just entered the ‘Self-Transcendence Stage’; and the epiphany he received was naturally more than a hundred times more clear. Furthermore… the Director never speaks nonsense.”
“What of eldest shixiong? Does he know?”
Duan Chongxuan nodded, “He should be aware.”
Listening to all this, Yin Biyue’s mood dropped further.
He used to believe that eldest shixiong bore the honor of Xi Hua Peak, ChunShan Xiao’s fame, and Cang Ya’s safety.
Only now did he realize that life and death were also his shackles.
It was not that he had no confidence in Jun Yu; it was just that Lin Yuangui was also very powerful. One could say that, excepting Bao Pu Zong’s Sage, it was he who was the most capable in combat.
If the Director’s prophecy were to be believed, then the enmity between them wasn’t one of normal long-time foes but one that commanded their lives and deaths.
To view life and death as if looking across a river was too cruel a fate.
Duan Chatterbox seemed to have guessed his thoughts.
He suddenly gave a smile, his tone softening greatly, “Fourth shixiong needn’t worry so much. After all, there’s still shifu, so there’s no way anything would happen to eldest shixiong.”
Yin Biyue was startled.
To be honest, he had absolutely no faith in that shifu who hadn’t returned to the peak in over a hundred years.
Luo Mingchuan also cracked a smile; the oppressive atmosphere immediately eased into something less tense.
Duan Chongxuan asked, “Fourth shixiong, do you know what score there is between us and Bao Pu Zong?”
Yin Biyue nodded, “It’s rumoured that shifu stood on the shores of Ba River, and using a single move of the ‘Clear Skies of Midday’ Sword, he crippled a Greater Vessel Stage elder from Bao Pu Zong.”
This wasn’t some kind of secret; that sword move was too famous, and it lit up the entirety of the Ba River through the night. Everyone on all five continents knew of this incident.
“In the version told by Bao Pu Zong, the Sword Saint acted arrogantly and could not be reasoned with. The Bao Pu Zong elder heard that the Sword Saint had accepted a head disciple and just wanted to take a look; but not only was he cursed at the door, his cultivation was also mercilessly crippled… Fourth shixiong, do you believe this?”
Yin Biyue was decisive and replied, “I don’t.”
If the Sword Saint was this kind of person, then eldest shixiong and second shijie wouldn’t have turned out the way they did.
Duan Chongxuan grinned. “In truth, at the time Bao Pu Zong had just split into two factions. The new faction advocated for a dharma that was more natural, that cultivation is for the cultivator to discover for themselves. The old faction insisted on preserving the destined path of the heavens. The more people the Sword Saint defeated single-handedly, the less people remained with the old faction. Now that Cang Ya has produced a Sword Saint, it’s already threatened Bao Pu Zong’s position as the undisputed number one sect of the Western Continent. Thus, with the emergence of eldest shixiong, they became exceedingly nervous, fearing that in the future Cang Ya might produce a second sword saint.”
Yin Biyue already had some vague guesses about the how the events proceeded. It must’ve been that Bao Pu Zong had done something to eldest shixiong.
“The elders of the old faction of Bao Pu Zong joined forces with the strongest cultivators from a few small sect, and took the chance while the Sword Saint was away to kidnap eldest shixiong. At that point, eldest shixiong was still a child and couldn’t even hold a sword steady. He was taken to the shores of the Ba River right outside of the area of Bao Pu Zong in order to force the Sword Saint to lower his own cultivation! No, not only lowering his cultivation, but they also demanded that the Sword Saint destroy one of his spiritual veins.”
Yin Biyue became more and more angry as he listened; however, he was still able to pick out a dubious point, “They? Wasn’t it just one Bao Pu Zong elder?”
Duan Chongxuan’s eyes revealed a hint of ridicule.
“There wasn’t only one; there were six people, adding on those few from the smaller sects, to a total of twelve people. They believed that no matter how strong the Sword Saint is, it was impossible for him to kill these many people. Or rather, that he didn’t dare to kill so many people. Did he still want to preserve his reputation or not? Only by adhering to the idea of ‘the law will not punish the many, righteousness will stand on the side of greater numbers’ did they dare to do this sort of thing.”
By this point, Yin Biyue already knew how it all ended.
Sure enough, Duan Chongxuan said, “It’s been too long since there was a ‘saint’ in the world, and everyone has forgotten the prowess of a Saint. The Sword Saint, by only a single slash of his sword, killed eleven people, while crippling that Greater Vessel stage Bao Pu Zong elder. That elder’s life was spared, only because he held eldest shixiong in his arms, and he feared accidentally injuring eldest shixiong.”
“After that incident Bao Pu Zong had lost much of their vigour. The new faction believed that they took the initiative, being in the wrong, and thus found this incident difficult to mention. Though the old faction’s elders were dead, their disciples still remained, and they began to secretly spread slander of the Sword Saint for being cruel, bloodthirsty, and unable to be reasoned with.”
After listening to all of this, Yin Biyue finally laughed. “A person like shifu, how could he be concerned about something like his reputation?”
This Sword Saint, who was like a blank canvas to him just an hour ago, vividly came to life just like that. He could even imagine the brilliance of that single sword strike on the banks of the rushing Ba River.
No matter the opinions of the rest of the world, Yin Biyue felt like this person was worthy of admiration.
Duan Chongxuan also smiled. “Shifu, that old man, naturally wouldn’t care about what mere fleas have to say… So fourth shixiong shouldn’t worry too much.”
He drank a mouthful of tea, and with a deep sigh, said:
“If we were to say that shifu had a bottom line, then that bottom line is eldest shixiong.”
2) 天上的二十八宿里只有一个龙，亢金龙，是东方七宿中的‘亢宿’……至于蛇，是南方七宿中的‘翼宿’，翼火蛇 – referring to the respective parts in Chinese astrology. Wikipedia seems to have it together. In short, the Azure Dragon represents the eastern sky, while the serpent is part of the Vermilion Bird of the southern sky.
3) 蛛丝马迹 – Chasing a spider’s silk and tracks of a horse. Essentially following any hint of a lead about a topic. 空穴来风 – baseless claim
Some Random terms for fun:
Maojian – A tea that means.. hm.. the tip of fur… here’s the wiki article on the actual tea. (go try it! It’s one of my favorites. Super strong grassy notes!) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xinyang_Maojian_tea
Ba Shan Qiao She – a tea from Bashan region in china, and Qiao She is sparrow tongue, for the shape they are when they’re dried. https://chazhidao.org/en/tea/green/bashan-sparrow-tongues
LiuXian – wandering immortal, the wine’s name
Ba River – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bahe_Formation Maybe TP is just borrowing the name?
Here’s the full prophecy, without the colouration of my own interpretation:Please download our sponsor's game to support us!