Nightfall - Chapter 189

Published at 15th of May 2018 12:30:05 AM

Chapter 189: Looking Towards the West

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Sixth Brother looked at Ning Que and said, "If you change the arrow shaft into one made of mixed silver, you'd have to redesign your talisman. I'll bring you a few pieces of mixed silver to try out later."

Ning Que thought of the little handmaiden floating about in the Old Brush Pen Shop in the middle of the night. He scratched his head and said, "Sixth Brother, could you please help to prepare more of these materials. The previous talismans I tried were all very light. I think I need to make them heavier this time."

Seventh Sister gave the wok lid in her hands to Chen Pipi. She clapped her palms together and asked the two who were deep in discussion curiously, "Why don't you ask Master Yan Se to carve the talisman on the arrow shaft? Wouldn't a carving by a Divine Talisman Master be better?"

A normal talisman master could only activate talismans written by himself. However, this rule did not apply to a divine talisman master in the enigmatic state. Master Yan Se was a divine talisman master of this caliber. Divine talisman masters of his caliber could seal the Qi of Heaven and Earth in their talisman and the user of this talisman could simply activate it with their psyche power.

This was why divine talisman masters were important to the country's military and religious sects. However, the status of these divine talisman masters was sky high and regular martial arts cultivators would not dare to invite them to craft weapons for them. Furthermore, to have a divine talisman master carve on their armory would require them to have armor and weapons made of precious materials that could withstand immense power from the talisman. These precious materials were very expensive, which was why divine talisman weapons were very rare.

Ning Que was about to ask Seventh Sister to explain the difference between the two when Fourth Brother who had been silent in a dark corner of the room spoke up. "The power behind the symbols a divine talisman master carve is immense. However, it is still a talisman made by others. It is better for him to carve his own symbols for a weapon he has to keep close to himself. This is so that they will be irrevocably linked and might even be able to sense changes in their surroundings. It is very beneficial in raising one's state and give them a boost in battle."

He continued after a short pause. "Someone like Younger Brother here, who has an affinity with great opportunities can ask for Master Yan Se's help anytime. However, that is also why he shouldn't. He will find it hard to improve once he becomes reliant on a fixed divine talisman. Furthermore, where is he going to get the weapon fixed should it be damaged if he isn't the one who drew the talisman on it?"

Ning Que had once thought of asking the master to carve a talisman on his weapon. Master Yan Se's reply then was similar to Fourth Brother's. He nodded furiously when he heard Fourth Brother's words. He suddenly thought of the incident Chen Pipi mentioned when he first entered the Back Mountain of the Academy. He looked at Fourth Brother and asked curiously, "Fourth Brother, General Xia Hou's armor..."

Fourth Brother replied, "The talisman on his divine talisman armor was designed by Professor Huang He. Sixth Brother and I merely did the carving and metalwork. All we did was some art."

Ning Que was silent as he thought of the man wearing the divine talisman armor who had killed in the borders of Yan for more than ten years. His smile was filled with complicated emotions as he sighed, "This general of the Tang border is indeed someone to have Professor Huang He design his divine talisman armor and senior brothers work on it."

Fourth Brother shook his head, his face devoid of expression. "The Four Great Generals of Tang have no effect on any of our actions. I might not be a divine talisman master, but if I do not wish to, not even General Xu Shi can get me to do anything. In the end, it's about giving Professor Huang He "face". We did not reject since he asked us to."

"Are Professor Huang He and General Xia Hou close?" Ning Que asked nonchalantly.

Fourth Brother looked up at him. There was a slight pause before he answered, "Professor Huang He is a visiting professor at the Imperial Center Administration. He has helped our empire's army in raising their standards. This is just part of his job."

Ning Que thought of the token hidden beneath his robes when he heard the mention of the Imperial Center Administration. He had not visited it since he was granted the token by His Majesty. He only knew that it was a bureau of the country that managed cultivators. He couldn't help but wonder if he could gain any benefit from his position in the Imperial Center Administration.

He had walked by the stream and gave those arrows a shot by the lake. Time in the back mountain of the Academy seemed to pass by faster than anywhere else. The sun was already falling, glowing red and gradually darkening. Ning Que took over the silvers wrapped in leather from Sixth Brother. He bowed at the seniors and left the mountain.

Chen Pipi escorted him down. He stopped suddenly in the fog, with bewilderment written all over his face. "Did Master Yan Se really say that you will be one of the greatest three in history with your talent in Talisman Taoism?"

Ning Que patted his shoulder in consolation. "Are you feeling a little dejected now that you've discovered that there is some aspect of cultivation that I'm better at than you are? Well, be more open-minded. Why would you want to compare when you can never enter the Talisman Taoism? Think of Liu Bai, the Sage of Sword. He will never be equal to me in this aspect."

Chen Pipi's expression did not lighten when he heard Ning Que comparing himself to the strongest cultivator on earth. Instead, he replied sarcastically, "I am a cultivator who is in the Knowing Destiny State. Will I be jealous of you, who are only in the No Doubts State?"

"You can't put it that way." Ning Que rebutted. "I have only been cultivating for a year and have jumped straight into the No Doubts State from the Initial State. That's skipping three whole levels. Who knows when I'll be able to enter the Knowing Destiny State?"

"You have only ten clear acupoints in the Snow Mountain and Ocean of Qi. You have to admit you don't have much potential."

Chen Pipi looked at him pityingly, "However, so what if the Headmaster forcefully trains your wooden block of a brain into the Knowing Destiny State? You'd only be a wooden block that knows destiny."

Ning Que wrinkled his forehead, "It is true that my Snow Mountain and Ocean of Qi is blocked, but that doesn't mean I'm a wooden block."

Chen Pipi stood before the mountain trail in the fog. He looked at Ning Que and smiled, "Anyway, I'm not sure if you really have the potential to be one of the top three in Talisman Taoism history. But I'm sure that you'll be the weakest cultivator in the Knowing Destiny State even if you entered it. You can only affect the Qi of Heaven and Earth no more than three feet away from you. Would you dare claim that you are a Grand Cultivator then?"

Chen Pipi said this with an emphasis on the words "Grand Cultivator".

Ning Que's ability to let words roll off his back had long been trained in the Min mountain and the frontier fortress. He did not mind the sarcastic jibe at all. Instead, he thought about how it was a pity that he hadn't seen the Headmaster of the Academy and the eldest Senior Brother even though he had been on the Second floor of the academy for months. His progress in cultivation might be even faster if the Headmaster of the Academy would guide him personally.

"When will teacher and Senior Brother return?"

"Nobody knows."

"They've been traveling around the world... Surely there must be a time where they will return to this country? It's been more than a year."

"They've been traveling, taking in the sights and meeting friends. They would, of course, be happier out there than cultivating in the boring back mountain. If I were them, I wouldn't want to come back either."

Ning Que smiled and asked, "I heard that the Headmaster brings only Eldest Brother when he travels. Why does he not bring you along? You used to brag that you are his most favored disciple back in the old library. It doesn't seem like it."

Chen Pipi shook his head and lamented. "You don't understand. The world admires and respects the Headmaster. No one would dare to disrespect him, especially his students. But no one can be like Eldest Brother who can serve the Headmaster in a way he likes. If it were you, would you bring a spoilt daughter on a trip or a woman who can cook?"

This was such a ludicrous statement, but Ning Que stood in the fog and considered it seriously. After a long deliberation, he answered, "I'll bring Sangsang. She can not only cook but serve as well."



The summer had almost passed in the wilderness. The field was carpeted in luscious greenery that was slowly fading and the temperature fell gradually. Unlike the loneliness in the wild, the central plains north of it was bustling with life. Hundreds of tents filled the ground like clouds and people were barbecuing lamb while singing and dancing.

After several bloody battles, the Huangs had finally moved southwards to the warm south after a thousand years in the extreme cold of the north, successfully defeating the barbarians of the Central Plains. The left and right tent had sacrificed thousands of elite soldiers but were still unable to stop the Huangs from moving forward. They had no choice but to move their troops in the north towards the fields of the Central Plains in the south, leaving the fertile land in the north of the plains to the Huangs.

The brave Huang soldiers have gained victory and a piece of land to build their homes anew. To those from the Central Plains, the climate and conditions were harsh. But to those who had worked hard in extreme cold in the north year round, it was practically heaven.

Not long ago, the last of the Huangs consisting of the women, elderly and children had finally arrived at their new home. The number of those who had managed to arrive far surpassed their expectations when they first decided to migrate South. This surprised all them.

Between the tents on the central plains, families reunited, and everyone settled down into a wonderful but foreign new life. The scent of lamb stew wafted in the air. The burning dung was a little odd, but it smelt like utter bliss to them when all the scents in the air came together.

The celebrations lasted all night and day and only ended on the second evening. The Huang soldiers celebrated with alcohol plundered from the royal family of the central plains, rewarding themselves and their families who have made it thus far and in remembrance of those who have died on the road to the central plains. There was no need for oil lamps to be lit as everyone eventually fell asleep deeply as the sun rose.

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The light was lit brightly in a tent on the west of the field. It might look simple but was obviously larger than any other tent. The ten torches lighting it were hung high, coming up to a person's waist, lighting up the tent like it was day.

The elders and strongest leaders of the soldiers celebrated their victory for an entire day. However, they have all descended into deep thoughts and silence while ruminating about a problem raised by a certain elder.

"What's so scary about the Tangs?"

A burly general answered in a low voice. His face was filled with puzzlement. "We are all born warriors. We can defeat the royal family of the Central Plains with ease even if we were tired after our long travels to the south. Who can defeat us after we rest on this land for half a year?"

An elder sitting in the deepest part of the tent looked at him calmly. He spoke up after a short pause, "Pride will weaken even the strongest warrior eventually. "

The soldier who had spoken up previously looked incredibly nervous after being criticized by the highly respected elder. He lowered his head in repentance. However, you could see from his eyes that he did not understand the elder's fears.

"This land used to belong to us. We were once the strongest empire. Why were our ancestors forced from this beautiful fertile land and away to suffer in the cold north?"

The elder looked at everyone in the tent. His face was devoid of any expression when he said, "That's because we were defeated by the Tangs."



There was a pregnant pause. The elder said, "We want you to remember why our ancestors were forced to leave the grassland not because we want to encourage revenge. But it is to remind you how strong the Tang empire is."

"A thousand years ago, no one could defeat us as we fought on the plains. The West Hill Divine Kingdom had only wanted to spread their teachings and had no intentions of going against us. It wasn't until Lee Tang established his empire when we started losing and were almost annihilated. We eventually signed an agreement to retreat into the north and swore to never return south to save our descendants. "

The tent was deathly silent as the old man told the story passed down from fathers to sons.

"Back in those days, our ancestors had lands a hundred times larger than what we do now. We had a population a hundred times more than today. We had more strong men than the number of stars in the universe and they all died in the Tang's hands. Today, we have suffered for a thousand years, and yet, we only have a population of a hundred thousand. How can we compare with our ancestors? How can we look down on the Tangs?"

"The issue that we should concern ourselves with, is how we should deal with any issues arising from our contact with the Tangs."

The response was resounding. "We don't want the land that belongs to those on the Central Plains. We only take back the lands that belonged to us. Even if the barbarians were banished to the south, and begin a conflict with those on the Central Plains, it has nothing to do with us."

Someone spoke up worriedly,"Moving south is indeed in violation of the agreement we signed a thousand years ago. If the Tangs use this to create trouble for us, what should we do?"

The old man lowered his gaze. He said, "We are surrounded by enemies. The only ones who remain on the grasslands are barbarians after a thousand years. We, the true descendants of Heavenly Khagan have been forced to lead a difficult life by the Hot Sea. It would be fine if we could survive, but we can't. Moving south was a necessity. Darkness lays before us and death behind. No agreement holds any meaning now."

He raised his head, looked at the most important people of the Huang tribe and said in a low voice. "If we can avoid war with the Tang empire, we must. If they send an envoy, we should be on our best manners."

His statement was met with a resounding agreement.

Suddenly, the elder sensed the absence of a certain someone. His white brows furrowed. Even though the person would never speak up on his opinion at the elder meeting, he was the strongest warrior they had. His absence at such an important meeting was a little odd.

"Where did he go?"

"I don't know."

The elder was about to speak up when he felt a subtle shift in the Qi from the west. This Qi was not strong, but the uniqueness of it touched his elderly heart.

His body suddenly stiffened and an expression of fear and respect crossed his face. He moved his body quickly and kneeled towards the west, stretching his arms out before him in a strange show of respect.

The elders around him have also sensed the Qi from the west. Their expressions changed as they kneeled quickly and kowtowed respectfully.

The young leaders of each camp did not sense the strange Qi. They were startled and puzzled by the actions of the elders. However, they kneeled subconsciously towards the west and kowtowed as well. 

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