Wayfarer - C.363: The Truth Revealed


C.363: The Truth Revealed

"Let me go, Sect Master! I'm going to take revenge for Haitang and Haisheng!" the black skeleton roared out. It was furiously struggling against the chains that bound it.

"Cui Heiyan, whether or not your children have betrayed the sect remains a matter to be investigated. You had better stay here for the time being. You've caused enough problems as is," the demonic sect master said.

"Me, problems? That was all after I was beset by demonism. Have I ever caused problems when I was clearheaded? Sect Master, have you forgotten how I fell to demonic influences? It was because that traitor to the sect was attempting to eradicate us all! I had no choice but to cultivate the demonic arts and invite a demon into my body to resist the traitor. That was how I managed to protect our sect. If not for the two Taiqing sects, would I have ended up like this?" the black skeleton cried out.

The demonic sect master was silent for a moment.

"I don't regret what I did. Preserving the Taiqing sect is an obligation worth putting my life on the line for. But how did the Taiqing sects treat me after my ultimate sacrifice? I left my son and daughter in your care. Is this the extent of your care? Not only have they been killed, they're going to be branded as traitors to the sect! Sect Master, do you think you've done right by me?!" the black skeleton demanded.

The demonic sect master sighed. "We've lavished your children with attention, and Cui Haisheng became the left division leader partially because of our full support. But I have been investigating them recently, and others do speak rather poorly of them. They may have truly have done something wrong."

"Others are branding them as traitors! My son might have been mischievous and stubborn in his youth, I grant you that. But think about how pure my daughter was! How could she have betrayed the sect? Are you going to leave their reputations tarnished even in death? I don't believe it. I won't stand for it. Sect Master, I ask that you stand for me! My life might well be over, and my children are dead—but I won't let them die bearing such a reputation. I intend to prove them innocent. Sect Master, I need your help. I beg of you!"

The demonic sect master was silent for a moment before he finally replied, "Very well. I will entertain your request. I need their possessions so that I might review their past history."

"Their possessions? Haitang's corpse is right here. Last time, when Haitang's subordinate used a portion of her soul to awaken my psyche, after I was suppressed by the left division leader's token, that soul fragment was absorbed within it," the black skeleton said immediately.

"The left division leader's token," the demonic sect master said, looking toward Tang.

Tang handed the token over immediately.

The demonic sect master waved a hand over the token, causing it to surge with blue light. Then, he retrieved a pitch-black mirror. After it absorbed the light, he tossed the token back to Tang. The mirror released a beam of black light that struck Cui Haitang's body, revolved around it, and then returned to the mirror.

"Inversion of the sun and moon, of the passage of time. Reveal what was lost," the demonic sect master exclaimed.

Scenes began to appear on the black mirror.

Xiao Nanfeng bisected Cui Haitang with his blade.

"Haitang!" the black skeleton cried out.

The scene persisted as Cui Haitang was saved by a group of paper snakes. In a secluded valley, the paper figure said its farewells to Cui Haitang, revealing the truth as it did so.

Cui Haitang's death had been orchestrated by the paper figure and Nalan Qiankun in order to force her to give up her position as empress to the paper figure. Even to her death, the paper figure and Nalan Qiankun had schemed against her and saddled her with the karmic debt that ought to have belonged to Nalan Qiankun. Xiao Nanfeng's mother's assassination, Hong Lie's death, Ku Jiang's attack, Lu Yan's disappearance—all that really had happened!

"Nalan Qiankun really was a traitor? That damned bastard!" the demonic sect master roared, a chilly aura flaring into existence around him.

The black skeleton was stupefied. It hadn't expected such a conclusion at all.

"Nalan Qiankun's a traitor! He tricked Haitang and Haisheng into going against the sect as well—and he's been lying to Haitang all this time! Haitang gave up her entire life for him, but he killed her in order to marry a cursed effigy? This is ridiculous. What a treacherous man—how could such a treacherous husband exist in this world? Why would my Haitang have married him? I'm going to kill him, I'm going to kill that bastard!" the black skeleton roared.

It struggled furiously against its chains. Boundless hatred fuelled its anger and madness.

"Calm down, Cui Heiyan. We'll deal with Nalan Qiankun. The more you let your emotions control you, the stronger the demonic influence will be," the demonic sect master urged.

Suddenly, he felt a sense of danger. All his hair stood on end as he whirled around and saw a man glaring daggers at them from a mountaintop not too far away.

"Nalan Qiankun? Aren't you fighting against Xiao Nanfeng? Is this an avatar of yours?" the demonic sect master exclaimed, sending a palm strike toward him.

However, Nalan Qiankun was even faster. He shouted, "Restrain, Gourd of Divine Flame!"

He activated a golden gourd in his hand, its opening directed at the gathered cultivators. A tremendous suction emerged from its depths and attempted to suck in the three cultivators and the coffin. Even the demonic sect master was unable to overcome it.

"One of the Spirit Emperor's peerless treasures?" the demonic sect master exclaimed.

With a wave of his hand, he sent Tang and the black skeleton flying against the pull of the gourd, then simultaneously freed the black skeleton from its chains. After that, he was sucked into the gourd.

"Die, Nalan Qiankun!" the demonic sect master thundered from within the gourd.

Flames surged forth from the gourd's opening. It looked as though the demonic sect master was about to rush out at any moment.

Nalan Qiankun blanched as he quickly capped the gourd, only to find the black skeleton having rushed up to him.

"You bastard, return my daughter's life to me!" the black skeleton roared, striking him with a palm.

"Damn it!" Nalan Qiankun cursed as he retaliated with a palm strike of his own.

The tremendous blow resulted in a shockwave of energy so intense that it caused the nearby mountains peaks to collapse. Nalan Qiankun attempted to flee, but the black skeleton immediately gave chase. The two cultivators left Yongding, one chasing after the other.

Tang clambered out of the rubble and gulped. "Sect Master, I didn't curse you to death. Don't blame me!"

In the city of Beidou, the capital of Tianshu, within a secluded cottage stood Xiao Nanfeng's avatar. Beside him was You Jiu, clad in black.

"Sir Xiao, Nalan Qiankun has headed to Yongding, but isn't it still a bit too dangerous for you to be coming here?"

"It is rather dangerous, but I know that Nalan Qiankun has a lot of plans set up. He'll surely make a move at Yongding, so Beidou's defenses will be almost non-existent."

"What if he destroys the Dazheng palace?" You Jiu asked in worry.

"A palace has symbolic significance, but only that. Even if it is destroyed, there's no need to worry. We simply need to rebuild."

"Understood!" You Jiu nodded, then asked, "Sir Xiao, do we need to set up the Immortal's Destruction here? We could ruin the draconic vein in this city and destroy Nalan Qiankun's fortune."

Xiao Nanfeng shook his head. "We can't. There are paper snakes roaming the ground underneath Beidou. If we set up the Immortal's Destruction, we'll be discovered immediately, and the paper snakes will easily be able to destroy the relic."

You Jiu frowned. "Nalan Qiankun clearly has thought deeply about this, hasn't he?"

"Now, prepare to enter the palace."

"The Tianshu Palace is well guarded. If we want to make our way in, we'll have to fight off its guards," You Jiu said in worry.

"Let's do so, then. I need to see if the Taiqing Immortal Sect's sect master is trapped somewhere within the palace."

"Lu Yan isn't dead?" You Jiu asked.

"I don't know. Regardless, he is the sect master. As a Taiqing disciple, I have the responsibility of searching for him—I want to see his body, dead or alive. If we can save him, he'd be a huge help."

"Understood, Sir Xiao!" You Jiu nodded.

The spectral guards directed the two cultivators to a carriage in service to one of the officials of the Tianshu Empire. They blinded the driver and the guards with a gust of wind and dust as Xiao Nanfeng and You Jiu took advantage of the opportunity to enter the interior of the carriage and threatened the weak official within.Very quickly, they entered the palace grounds in the carriage and passed through the first checkpoint easily.

At the second checkpoint, when they were stopped for an inspection, You Jiu made his move.

He dealt with the guards rapidly and froze them to the spot, so it looked as though nothing was amiss.

"Sir Xiao, Nalan Qiankun really was careful. There's a barrier up ahead, and we won't be able to sneak our way through it," You Jiu reported.

"Break it by force!" Xiao Nanfeng commanded.

"Yessir!" You Jiu replied.

The two cultivators struck simultaneously, shattering the barrier.

"An assassin!"

"Someone's broken through the formation around the palace. Activate all defenses immediately!"

"An enemy raid!"

The palace was instantly a hubbub of activity.

Xiao Nanfeng and You Jiu rushed into the depths of the palace, prioritizing areas that were protected by defensive formations. The more barriers there were, the more precious whatever lay within.

Crashes resounded throughout the palace as Xiao Nanfeng destroyed barrier after barrier, while You Jiu held off the attacks from all around them. Very quickly, the two cultivators discovered a region shrouded by fog deep within the palace.

There were countless paper snakes in the vicinity that surged straight at Xiao Nanfeng and You Jiu as they approached.

"Break!" Xiao Nanfeng commanded.

Countless lengths of red rope fell from the sky and tangled around the paper snakes. Xiao Nanfeng shot into the fog and broke the formation there.

Suddenly, he saw a sinister hall appearing from the depths of the fog, one constructed completely out of papier mache. It was only about ten meters tall. From its windows, he could see countless shadow cursed effigies trapped within. They were shouting for help and attempting to batter down the hall with their bodies, but were completely unable to escape.

"These are... the Spirit Emperor's shadow subordinates? Nalan Qiankun brought them all out of the Spirit Emperor's hidden realm and must have trapped them here! Yanluo Hall...?" Xiao Nanfeng exclaimed.

A paper signboard outside the paper hall proclaimed that this was the Yanluo Hall, a particularly sinister name. [1]

1. Yanluo = 阎罗, meaning hell. But Hell Hall doesn't sound very good in English... ☜

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