Chapter 30 – Trigram of Fire
The din of summer was already thick.
The elms on both sides of Ye City’s streets grew more and more lush, and the sound of chirping cicadas could be heard everywhere. The girls on the streets wore more revealing clothing, sleeveless dresses covered by green muslin that faintly showed slender arms as white as lotus roots. The city’s street vendors began selling cold honey rice dumplings and cold sesame noodles. Stand owners stood on the side, enthusiastically calling out to the wandering customers.
And the courtyard by Lake Qiu, being shaded with rippling water and a lakeside breeze, seemed especially cool and refreshing in this kind of summer.
Today, the Cang Ya sect disciples left their quarters early as usual.
Maybe it was because of the particularly interesting match today, or maybe it was just the increasingly early dawn, but when they walked down the street there were many eyes on them watching both discreetly and blatantly.
Yin Biyue furrowed his eyebrows, he could use his Divine Sense to prevent spying, but he could not prevent other people from staring at him.
From the time they left the mountain until now, he already got an impression of the problem with his unusual hair color. If he could, he still wished to change it back.
A battle with a gap in cultivation realms was approaching, yet he had the mood to think about these things. It’s because his mind was calm, not at all worried.
Yin Biyue’s was not the first match.
But a lot of people knew he was fighting today. From the crowd below the stage to Ye city’s gambling hall, and even to the distant four continents, they would all pay extremely close attention to this match.
So much so that on the east side of the viewing platform, seating was already being rearranged because of the arrival of two important elders half a step into the Greater Vessel Stage, one from the Qing Lu Sword Sect, and the other from Ye City’s temple.
They hadn’t shown their faces in the past few days but appeared with this kind of timing, it seems like they came here especially to watch this white-haired youth fight.
This was naturally not because Yin Biyue’s cultivation realm was high, but because at his back was the shadow of the esteemed Sword Saint.
The longer you live in prominence, the more you like to make things complicated. Xi Hua Peak had never before participated in the Flower Picking Festival, but this year they came.
What was the Sword Saint trying to do?
The elders on the viewing platform sat under the lush trees drinking JunShan YunWu tea and chatting about frivolous matters of the mists and clouds. They sized up that group of calf-like youngsters, and in the end, waited for that young man to go up.
Yin Biyue and He Lai mounted the stage to and cupped their hands in greeting.
The previous battles on the other three stages had just finished, the attending disciple announced the result, the stage was cleaned up, and the people were carried off.
The two of them came too early, but as no one had announced the start of the match, they could only stand opposite each other.
Since there were so many people watching, they had so say something.
With an indifferent face, He Lai unenthusiastically spoke, “You’re not bad at all.”
He heard that his opponent been in Cang Ya sect for only three years and already reached the Soul Condensing stage, naturally he deserves a “not bad.”
Then his tone changed, “It’s a pity your luck is bad, and so you ended up here.”
The implication was: you drew me in the first round, so as expected, it’s impossible for you to advance.
The audience below the stage was in uproar.
But they couldn’t hear the mocking tone, because though He Lai was confident to the point of arrogance, he indeed had grounds to say it. If only in terms of cultivation realms, he was one step higher than Yin Biyue.
Everyone began discussing below; they wanted to see how the Sword Saint’s disciple would respond.
Luo Mingchuan furrowed his eyebrows. Shidi’s disposition was simple and pure, how would he possibly be able deal with this kind of situation?
Duan Chongxuan’s complexion was also ugly. Right now, he resented that he couldn’t be the person standing on the stage instead, raining down insults like blows down on that imbecile’s head!
Yin Biyue did not say anything.
He turned around and walked towards the large elm tree beside the stage, and under the watchful eyes of everybody present, snapped off a branch.
His hand gave it a shake, and the verdant leaves fell off.
He held the dried branch and turned to face He Lai.
He Lai understood his meaning, and his expression abruptly changed.
But he quickly calmed down and unconcernedly said,
“If you don’t wield your sword now; in the future you’ll never again have the opportunity to hold a sword.”
The crowd once again erupted in uproar.
“What is he doing? Is he going to use a branch as a sword to fight?!”
“Sword Saint disciples… Don’t tell me they’re all this domineering?!”
Yin Biyue still didn’t say anything.
Out of the corner of his eye, he caught sight of the elders sitting on the viewing platform and felt even more pressing were the two oppressive Divine Senses falling onto his body. If not for his strong consciousness sharpening his senses, he would be unable to feel anything at all. This was the Divine Sense of the Greater Vessel Stage.
His core energy was incapable of entering his sword.
Maybe someone in the Lesser Vessel stage wouldn’t be able to see the limitations of his sword art, but he could not take the risk in front of Greater Vessel Stage cultivators.
With no other choice, he could only snap a branch from a tree for battle.
Even though his past few days’ planning and ideas for this battle had all gone to waste, he still maintained an undisturbed demeanor; to everyone watching he seemed haughty, and to He Lai he seemed to be insulting him.
He Lai’s expression chilled further.
At that moment, The Qing Lu Sword Sect attendant disciple rushed over to that side and loudly announced, “Cang Ya sect’s Yin Biyue versus Bao Pu Zong’s He Lai.”
The opposing parties had already greeted each other, so the fight began immediately.
As soon as the attendant had finished speaking, the long sword at He Lai’s waist was unsheathed.
At the same time, a sword-light appeared more than ten zhang¹ away!
Splitting into eighths, it sliced through the air with an ear-piercing mournful hiss resounding through the plains!
The Eight Trigrams seal glowed with a flowing blue-green light, enveloping the entire stage.
The eight directions Yin Biyue could retreat in were all sealed off; no matter which position he might strike in, the seven other blades would all arrive in a flash.
The sword held the Eight Trigrams, and inside held the entire universe.
He Lai’s face was as calm as water.
He had been waiting for this moment for so long, he had practiced this move until it became almost too familiar.
To the point that the time between drawing his sword and making a move was almost nonexistent
He had used his strongest move right away!
From his use of his sword to control of his core energy, all were meticulous down to the finest detail!
This showed that even when angry he was cool-headed, and also showed that he refused to give Yin Biyue any chances.
The spectators below the stage had not thought the battle would escalate so quickly; suddenly seeing this kind of astounding blow, they were shocked into silence.
How would the Sword Saint disciple respond to this long-repressed blow?
Yin Biyue still did not draw his sword.
As he held the tree branch, his figure became faint, and he disappeared from his spot.
A moment later, he appeared on the west side of the stage. After that he distinctly stepped north two steps and his figure actually went straight back!
Even in the middle of this kind of swift sword-light attack, his expression didn’t change; as if he was simply taking a stroll in a courtyard.
Everyone had just collected their thoughts after the last move, marveling at how this was the real Eight Trigrams of Bao Pu.
The Eight Trigrams Sword they’ve seen over the past few days, when compared to this sword now, seemed like mere imitations.
One after another, they sighed over the magnificence of a sword art that even the Sword Saint’s disciple didn’t dare to meet, neglecting to notice that Yin Biyue revealed a strange movement technique.
But there were people who hadn’t ignored it.
The Ye City temple elder who half a step into the Greater Vessel Stage on the viewing platform narrowed his eyes, and then suddenly laughed, the fine wrinkles at the corner of his eye smoothing.
Her wore a nostalgic expression and sighed, “Traversing Peaks and Rivers”, it really has been a long time since I’ve seen it…”
Traversing Peaks and Rivers was the movement technique created by the Academy Director during his time walking through the Central Continent.
Everyone knew that the Director’s celestial magic techniques were unparalleled. Many people forgot that before his mysterious mastery of space, he used this ‘Traversing Peaks and Rivers’.
This technique was not some secret that was never passed down, but the people who mastered it were very few because it required formidable planning capabilities; every step was like taking a thousand steps, alongside fierce consumption of their Divine Sense.
So even up till when the movement skill book had accumulated a thick layer of dust, nobody learned it.
But today, Yin Biyue was able to use it. In the midst of battle, he used it to calculate the direction of his opponent’s sword strikes.
In the front of the Qing Lu Sword Sect area, standing in a space the crowd spontaneously left around him, ink-painted² robe clad Song Tang praised, “His reputation precedes him.”
If it were himself facing that sword, of course he could use his swordplay and cultivation realm to suppress his opponent, but would be unable to flawlessly dodge like this.
Zhong Shan standing beside him didn’t change his expression, only slightly raising his eyebrows.
The crowd only saw He Lai’s blazing sword energy and how Yin Biyue was forced to retreat. Naturally, they thought his “lives up to his reputation” was to praise Bao Pu Zong’s Eight Trigram sword.
The sword art’s energy already exhausted; Yin Biyue took eight steps.
Everyone just now took notice: eight shallow gashes appeared on the stage, and stone fragments scattered down.
The stage had protective arrays. If this kind of sword scar were to land on a person’s body, it would even be able to gouge and injure their spiritual veins.
But Yin Biyue completely avoided it, gaining equivalent admiration from the crowd.
He Lai did not think this attack would be avoided.
But he was the leader of Bao Pu Zong’s younger generation, one of the ‘Seven Sons of Bao Pu’; he naturally did not have only this one attack.
And Yin Biyue couldn’t possibly avoid all his attacks.
Not waiting for Yin Biyue to gain proper footing, He Lai brandished his sword again!
This attack was not at all fast, even the trajectory of the sword could be clearly distinguished.
It did not emit a sword light, nor did it have the Eight Trigrams seal.
He Lai grasped his sword, stepped lightly on his toes, and followed his sword as he struck forth!
Like a white crane soaring the sky, he leaped up high with incredible grace!
“What an excellent ‘Clear Sky Ascent’!”
The one who spoke this praise was a Bao Pu Zong elder, whose disciples standing behind him all echoed him one by one.
Fair winds with reliable strength, deliver me towards the clear sky.
‘Clear Sky Ascent’ is Bao Pu Zong’s lightness technique. That He Lai could use this method in perfect conjunction with his sword during this fierce fight, made Bao Pu Zong proud to no end. Even the Qing Lu Sword Sect disciples were in admiration.。
At this time, an astonishing thing happened.
The sword in He Lai’s hand that reflected the glaring midsummer sun, actually ignited with flames!
The spectating disciples nearest the stage felt a sudden wave of heat tear through the protective array, assaulting their faces.
The elm trees by the stage had their leaves and branches lifted and whirled about by the heat wave, and they even began to smoke slightly.
Where the blade passed, true essence expanded boundlessly, and flames carved through the air in every direction!
Where the sword was pointed, was the white haired youth holding a leafless branch in his grasp.
The Lesser Vessel elders on the grandstand felt pity for Yin Biyue, “Talents are good, movement technique is quick; it’s a pity that the gap between their cultivation realms is an insurmountable gulf!”
Nearly everyone present thought this way.
When He Lai brought forth that sword technique, Yin Biyue had already lost.
Because it wasn’t merely one strike; the entirety of the platform was now within He Lai’s sword boundary!
Just what kind of movement technique would be able to completely evade his sword?
Only leaving the platform.
Luo Mingchuan’s expression didn’t change, but his palms are soaked through with cold sweat.
Beyond anyone’s expectations, Yin Biyue did not move, instead raising the branch in his hand.
He’s already verified his guesses, of course he would strike.
The Seven Sons of Bao Pu isn’t to just fill the numbers, the seven of them, plus someone powerful, made up an Eight Trigrams Sword Array.
The anchor of the array, the qian trigram, could be an elder- perhaps the sect head. Qian as heaven, the stronger the qian position, the stronger the sword array.
And He Lai is the li trigram.
Because within the eight scars left by his attack; three connected qian, six broken kun, open jar zhen, flipped bowl gen, void center li, filled center kan, vacant top dui, broken base xun, the li trigram was the most distinct. ³
Li as fire.
His strongest strike is the li flame.
How would one defeat the li flame?
Of course by using frigid waters.
The sword form Yin Biyue was most familiar with was the Frigid Water Sword.
He merely lifted the brittle branch in his hand, and the wave of heat halted in its path.
A pearlessly exquisite chill spilled forth from the branch.
The disciples around the stage, to their shock and awe, found that the wind carried a hint of chilliness!
The Bao Pu Zong elder fiercely furrowed his brow, the Cang Ya disciples’ faces were smeared with joy, and in the direction of the Qing Lu Sword Sect, Zhong Shan’s pupils shrunk.
Ye City’s elder from the temple still retained his smiling countenance.
Many people, as the battle reached its end, believed it’s only just begun.
Simply because Yin Biyue lifted his wrist and made a gesture.
He Lai’s expression remained unchanged, his sword has already been pushed to its peak! A cluster of raging flames appeared at his sword’s tip!
He had a feeling that something shifted in Yin Biyue, so he wouldn’t allow his opponent even one second more.
But not even a second has passed, and Yin Biyue’s sword art has already formed.
The strongest Frigid Water Sword, the fastest Traversing Peaks and Rivers!
A biting frost suddenly erupted!
Upon the stone platform in the height of summer, a thin layer of frost condensed!
But with only this, how could it possibly be enough!
Where his sword traveled is the direct opposite of the li trigram, the kan position.
Everyone only saw that the branch was clearly piercing towards the opponent’s flaming sword, about to collide with the sword’s tip!
Yet somehow, in the end, it landed on He Lai’s body!
Stabbing straight into He Lai’s shoulder!
The protective true energy barrier of a Breakthrough stage cultivator was pierced through just like that by a withered twig.
He Lai stayed in a striking stance, but the flame crawling along his sword abruptly extinguished, along with the receding luster within his eyes.
He slowly bent at the waist, trying his best to not show any signs of pain, but in the end still coughed up a mouthful of blood.
The burning cascade of blood dripped onto the frosted ground, searing two holes into the ice in an instant.
He watched the frost and blood, and up till now, still didn’t know how he could’ve lost.
Clearly his opponent could only feel wretchedly under his sword beforehand.
How could his Fire Trigram have a flaw?
Could it be that his opponent understood the Eight Trigrams Sword better than himself?
Not a single sound could be heard from the disciples below the stage.
This battle took countless twists and turns, their previous conceptions and range of knowledge completely destroyed.
How strong must his sword intent be to be able to pierce through a Breakthrough stage true energy protective barrier? It was unfathomable.
The powerful elders in the grandstand stayed silent- out of respect.
The pacof this battle was held by Yin Biyue since the battle started; yet he willingly allowed himself to be suppressed by the other’s sword art until he found the method to destroy it.
In the younger generation, for there to be a youth so proficient in the way of the sword is something to be respected.
Yin Biyue pulled out the twig, its branches dripping with blood.
He Lai staggered and fell to his knees.
Then, the white haired cold gazed youth inquired,
“Why would I bother?”⁴
After he finished speaking he threw down the branch and descended from the stage.
Why would I bother?
Since Yin Biyue stepped onstage till now, he said only this one phrase.
Only four words, but it had both the given and family name⁵, drew blood with a single needle. It seems like he was responding to the words that were said when they first stood here, He Lai’s taunting “your luck is bad”.
He said nothing before, not because he he had nothing to say, but because he felt it was unnecessary.
I’m here to defeat you, not to chat, to say nothing of the fact we’re unfamiliar.
Thus there’s no need to say anything to you, there’s no need to say anything to everyone else.
I came to fight, then defeated your sword art and grasped victory. That’s all.
1) one zhang is 3.58m. So this is like 40 meters away.
2) ink paintings, in the chinese watercolour style.
3) This whole mess refers to the eight trigrams and the meanings for each of the trigrams. The poem-like thing in the middle is basically a way to remember which trigram corresponds to which character. Read more about the whole culture: https://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/Chinese_Customs/bagua.htm
4) 何苦来哉. Hé kǔ lái zāi. The he and lai are the same as the ones in He Lai’s name so basically YBY is a pun making god.
I’ve translated the meaning, and only the meaning because I deemed the pun I thought up absolutely irredeemable. The phrase would read, had I the heart to… subject everyone to my shit sense of humour, “He now lies before me, why would I bother?”.. as in He now lies before me. Said out loud, lie sounds like Lai, and I directly went with He. I don’t think I’d respect myself tomorrow if I put this one in.
5) this refers to the pun that was made above.Please download our sponsor's game to support us!