My Future 20 Years…
The scenery that Wang Lu saw before him was not the true view of the valley. The Frozen Wind Valley was in fact a realm created and situated on the Ethereal Peak by an expert of the Spirit Blade Sect. From a single glance, the horizons seemed like they stretched on forever. However, that was simply an illusion. The realm was created as testing grounds for the many mortal disciples attempting to join the Ethereal Peak. The strongest monsters within this realm were of the third level. Thus, in order to cut down on cost, the realm was not made to be extremely strong. After all, who would expect a mortal disciple to wield a third rank spiritual treasure with full strength here?
Under the pressure from a full powered swing of the blade, the boundaries of the Frozen Wind Valley shattered and revealed a gigantic gap and the sight of the Ethereal Peak beyond it.
Wang Lu was flabbergasted. For a single swing to be so powerful was something beyond his imagination and comprehension. All he could do was to stare in shock at the gap that had formed at where the boundaries once stood.
When he opened the treasure chest at the Garden of Peaches, Wang Lu was certain that the treasure was bound to be a celestial weapon of great prowess. After all, he did attain a perfect completion of all the quests within the Garden of Peaches, including the hidden quest. He merely passed the early stages of the Spirit Blade Sect’s trials. Obtaining a lower grade celestial weapon was well within his expectations. If what came out was the most powerful sword like the Emperor Blade, Wang Lu would have thought he was dreaming!
Unexpectedly, it seemed like the beautiful fantasy Wang Lu had was not as fantastical after all. Upon entering the Frozen Wind Valley, Wang Lu was able to accomplish the impossible: traversing impossible distances in a single step, slaughtering the monstrous mutant mammoth with a single blow, and destroying the entire valley itself. In Wang Lu’s eyes, he felt as if he was clad with a thick cloak of invincibility and nothing stood in his path towards immortality.
However, just when Wang Lu was getting the hang of the sword, and the sensation of having cleared the trials of the Garden of Peaches perfectly was just setting in, it was over in a heartbeat!
“Come on, that was too strong!” Wang Lu thought. “That was it?!? I barely felt that!”
“Maybe this is also a part of the trial? After all, the path of a genius has always been a lonesome one. Perhaps this is to allow us to get a first-hand experience in that sense of loneliness to strengthen our resolve in seeking immortality?!? Hmmm… now that I think about it, this sense of loss and loneliness is definitely something that one could not relate to without experiencing it for themselves!”
Wang Lu was overwhelmed by a flood of emotions as he savoured this realisation. Unknowingly, the frost blade slipped from his hands and fell to the ground…
With a metallic ring, the impossible blade that seemed too good to be true, that seemed indestructible, shattered and disappeared upon impacting the ground.
The sound startled Wang Lu and stirred him from his thoughts. He glanced down on the shattered remains of the Frost blade and stared at it for a few moments. Though disappointed, Wang Lu simply sighed and nodded his head in acceptance.
It was impossible for the sect to grant a truly world shattering spirit weapon to him. Upon slaying the elite monster, the blade exhausted all its power and shattered. Clearly, it seemed to Wang Lu that the weapon was only for a single use and was specially meant for completing the quest before him. In other words, it was a quest item!
Although this quest’s design was rather excessive, no one could rebuke its ingenuity. The quest designer was a true mastermind.
“To be so daring as to provide an applicant with a quest item of such devastating power, without fearing any mishaps? Such courage. Bravo.”
Just as Wang Lu was thinking so, a flash of golden light emerged from the mountains in front of him. The golden light from beyond the horizon changed to the shape of a person, descending before Wang Lu.
With some difficulty, he could make out that the figure before him was a young woman dressed in a robe of pure white, around the age of 26-27.
The airs about her conflicted with each other, with the innocence of a teenager and the charm of a mature lady. Although not a ravishing beauty, she was still a rare find……
Wang Lu was caught up with evaluating her beauty, when he heard a nerve wracking shriek.
“Frickin’ hell!!! It shattered!”
Wang Lu turned to see the grieving Lady in White kneeling beside him, sobbing as she held the remains of the Sword of Black Hoarfrost.
“Is it the heaven’s will for me to die?!”
Wang Lu was so stunned by her shrill voice and coarse language that he fell over, “The hell? Who would have thought she was a boorish woman!?”.
However, before Wang Lu could give things more thought, the Lady In White rose quickly from the ground and grabbed up Wang Lu by his collars. “Tell me! Did that idiot Head Elder send you to make a fool of me?!” [TLN: The original Chinese literally translates to “Did that idiot Head Elder send you to play with me?!”- this is relevant for the next bit]
In his head, Wang Lu was cursing and swearing. “This woman is really ferocious! You can’t event make sense of what she is saying, like a lunatic! Don’t tell me…maybe she’s the public sex slave for the sect?!??”
Seeing Wang Lu distraught, the Lady gave up on saying more. She released Wang Lu, and stared at the remains of the blade. Slowly, her expression changed from one of sorrow, to one of great focus.
“Damn it, I’ve got to make someone else responsible for this…I got it, I’ll just say that it’s Liu Xian’s fault. Hmmm, let’s think of some reasons…”
Pretending to have heard nothing, Wang Lu asked, “Pardon my disruption, senior. The guardian of the Frozen Wind Valley has been slain, and the path to the peak has been opened. Does this mean that I’ve passed?”
The Lady paused for a moment, and subsequently sneered, “Yeah, yeah, you passed. And not just you, everybody passed. Damn it!”
As she said all this, a series of cracking sounds could be heard coming from the sceneries in the distance. After a short moment, one could start to make out a number of holes appearing in the existing gap, revealing a sea of lava, a mountain hidden in mist, and a path filled with ghastly figures.
Obviously, they were the sights of the Red Ridge Mountain, the Azure Cloud Canyon and the Nether World Path – the different branches of the Immortal Path. All these branches had been linked together, showing a path to the end.
“Not bad, you pierced through all four realms with a single swing of the blade. You could say that you’re famous now.”
After hearing this, Wang Lu realised that something went wrong. “Wasn’t this a part of the trial designer’s plans?”
Even before he finished speaking, the Lady in White began to rage and shout at him. “Give me a break you snitch! I’m not as crazy as some say I am. Doing all this, would give me a headache beyond anything your pathetic minds have felt.”
Wang Lu was once again shocked upon hearing this. “This boorish woman is the designer of the trials- the designer I had thought was similar to me? Truly, the path to Immortality is uncertain, and one can never judge a book by its cover!”
“ If you didn’t design it to be like this, then….what happened?”
The Lady in White looked lost and jaded as she heard his question.
“Who knows which idiot left the Head Elder’s Seal in the warehouse to be drawn by you from the lottery?”
Wang Lu paused for a moment, and took a golden seal from his waist pocket. “This thing?”
The Lady in White trembled in joy as she saw what Wang Lu took out. “Damn it, it really is the Head Elder’s Seal….. Just like I thought- how else would you able to wield the blade? It was really due to the Seal!”
Anyone who wielded this seal speaks in the name of the Head Elder of the Sect, and was able to command the whole sect without exception.
All spiritual treasures have a ‘spirit’, which is what makes them ‘spiritual’ treasures. Being a treasure of the sect, the soul of the treasure was definitely a member of the sect and was thus bound to the Seal. When Wang Lu wielded the Seal and swung the blade, the blade had no choice but act upon the swing, even if no spiritual power was being provided. Not only did it had to strike down, it had to do it exceptionally well and to the utmost of its prowess!
The Sword of Black Hoarfrost was a loyal sword with a strong sense of character. No matter how ridiculous the request of the wielder or how much damage it would take for forcefully executing the strike, it would still strike down. Thus, the Frozen Wind Valey was utterly destroyed, and the blade shattered
Now that everything had been revealed, the Lady quickly made sense of it all.
Wang Lu must have obtained an impossibly high score for trial of Garden of Peaches in order to obtain the Seal. That was his own good fortune…..Of course, part of it was due to her own mistake in the formula used in calculating the score. She should have included an upper limit, but all that was no longer important. The only thing that mattered now, was the glimmering Head Elder’s Seal right before her eyes!
What did it mean to obtain the seal? Simple, it meant that she would be the Head Elder!
Of course, the real Head Elder had yet to die, but who cared? There could still be two ruling parties! At the very least, she could fight for control of the Sect’s finances.
Even if she could not gain the same authority as the existing Head Elder, she could still make use of the seal and drain all the resources from the Sect’s stores before the Head Elder found out. Making a rough estimate, the Sect’s reserves must be astronomical, with a sea of top grade spirit stones! So long as she could get her hands on that, she could foresee a carefree future for the next few hundred years! Fantastic!
In her eyes, the Seal became the embodiment of her hedonistic life ahead.
Suddenly, Wang Lu let out a cry of pain as the Seal transformed into a ray of light, and flew away.
The Lady frowned. “Trying to get way?! Dream on! You’re mine!”
A flash of white cut across the Tundra, and followed the golden light into the Ethereal Peak.
“Damn it, a mere seal dares to fly so fast!”
Above the Ethereal Peak, the Lady in White transformed into a flash of light as she flew by on top of her flying sword, following closely behind the Head Elder’s Seal. However, the Seal that embodied all of her hopes and dreams continued to be just out of her reach!
The Lady grit her teeth in frustration. Due to her cultivation level, her speed was not very fast. But to be beaten by a mere seal would be an utter disgrace!
Of course, she did not care about it. She was only concerned about the Seal. If she let it escape her, she would definitely regret it for the next twenty years.
One flew forward with all its strength, while another chased with all her strength. At their speed, they quickly flew beyond the Ethereal Peak, and flew toward an even higher place.
After who-knows-how-long, the seal seemed to lose speed. The Lady was filled with vigour once again.
“Hahaha, everyone can take turns to be the Head Elder. And today, it’s my turn!”
However, just as she reached out her hand to grab the Golden Seal, someone else grabbed it.
The Lady in White raged, “Ha, trying to steal my precious!? Who would be so daring as to try this? Who would be so daring as to defy me—Oh, good day Head Elder!…….
…h-how are you? Haven’t seen you in a while… ha, ha, ha…”
The Head Elder of the Sect gave her an expressionless look and replied, “It has truly been a while, how can I help you?”
The Lady chuckled, and slowly reached her hand out to grab the seal from his hands. “Ha, ha, ha… Well you see, I sort of lost something precious and now I’m looking for it. Who knew you would help me find it first? Thank you very much! Ha, ha, ha… I will certainly be more careful next time.”
“I think what you lost was your integrity, no?”
“Let’s not waste any time. I’m going to keep this simple.”
“Uh … Sure, sure. Go ahead……”
“Based on my initial calculations, your mistakes in designing the Garden of Peaches has caused the Sect to suffer the following losses: severe damages to all four realms of the sect; severe damages to the Sword of Black Hoarfrost; severe damages to the Cloud Hiking Boots. All damages total up to approximately twenty thousand top grade spirit stones. Don’t try to bargain with me, I’ve already included a 10% discount for staff members. Considering your current allowance, that should be approximately equal to twenty years of your wages. So that means you will not be getting paid for the next twenty years.”
“………….. ha, ha, ha… Senior Brother, this joke of yours is a little scary.”
“Is it? Well, you can use this time to temper your character. I’m not joking with you.”
“Senior Brother, this is forcing me into a life of crime!”
“Junior Sister, just ask yourself honestly. Did I really force you into your current predicament?”
“…… If you’re not going to pay me, I’ll just have to go out and be a bandit! Just you wait and see!”
“Hmm… If you are truly considering to help the sect with obtaining more revenue streams, I as your Senior Brother, will be more than happy. Tell me if you are going to do so. Maybe I can still help you with a certification as a Privateer.”
“…Damn it Senior Brother, have you also lost your integrity?!?”