Tome of Troubled Times - C.95: Attacking Anyone Deemed Unfaithful

Tome of Troubled Times

C.95: Attacking Anyone Deemed Unfaithful

Tang Wanzhuang looked at Zhao Changhe’s apologetic smile and thought of how he had always been so unruly and lawless. When had he ever shown such an apologetic attitude?

Is it all because of Xia Chichi?

It will honestly be quite troublesome if he has really fallen for the witch of a demonic cult... But regardless, during this early stage of our cooperation, I must not do anything that would force him away. I will just leave that matter for later.

She had no intention of messing with the mission and slowly began explaining, “The Four Idols Cult must have come here for the sword in the Ancient Sword Lake. The Four Idols Cult has performed many such sacrifices here in the past, so I am guessing that they have indeed found a way to summon the ancient sword... It’s very possible that they have even figured out some of the ancient sword’s characteristics.”

Zhao Changhe gave her a cup of tea. “What next?”

Tang Wanzhuang found his expression somewhat amusing and said leisurely, “The imperial court has its own reasons for not taking this sword a long time ago. With the collapse of the previous era, the universe fell into chaos, giving rise to numerous spatial rifts, or you could call them dimensional fragments, scattered in all directions. Through these rifts, you might encounter scenes from the past, drifting alone in the void. Alternatively, you may encounter violent and chaotic currents where survival is simply impossible.”

Zhao Changhe understood immediately. “So you’re saying that the bottom of the Ancient Sword Lake actually leads to a dimensional fragment? That means that it could be in a different world, in a sense. No wonder nobody has been able to find it all these years.”

“Exactly.” Tang Wanzhuang was very satisfied with his knowledge. It would have been difficult to explain the idea of dimensional fragments otherwise. “If we say that everything under heaven belongs to the emperor, do we also count these foreign spatial dimensions? His Majesty does not wish to forcefully take hold of these places; rather, he intends to leave them for those who are fated. These places often hold some ancient secrets, which are great opportunities. His Majesty believes that one should not cut off the path for people to explore and find their own path.”

Zhao Changhe was surprised. “Are these really the thoughts of an emperor? This doesn’t make sense... Wouldn’t it be better for him if he monopolized all the resources...”

Tang Wanzhuang glanced at him and said nothing.

This was indeed not in line with the usual character of emperors who wished to rule over everything. She admired His Majesty’s magnanimity. However, it did not seem to be a good thing. The world had become chaotic, and Xia Longyuan’s magnanimity certainly had some share of the blame.

It was not suitable for her to talk about His Majesty, however, so she just said, “Regardless, this is His Majesty’s goodwill toward the people. Although there are definitely many dangers in such places, heroes must rise amidst dangers—Yue Hongling is such a person. What she is currently relying on is not the inheritance of the Luoxia Mountain Village.”

Zhao Changhe nodded and said, “I understand. Please continue.”

“The same goes for the Ancient Sword Lake. We all know that there is a dimensional fragment inside, and there is indeed a divine sword hidden inside. The fact that the imperial court has not taken the sword does not mean that we haven’t explored the space. If anyone thinks that the imperial court is not retrieving the sword because we do not know of it, then they are simply mistaken. We know how to take it, but we consider the method to do so rather tricky and have never carried it out.”

“What’s tricky about it?”

“That sword is actually the sword of a pair of lovers in ancient times. Before the era’s collapse, perhaps the man was unfaithful, and the woman, heartbroken, chose to end her life. But just as the era collapsed, the sword’s spirit tried its best to protect its master’s remains and isolated itself, hiding at the bottom of the lake. It was turning summer at that time, likely aligning with that man’s cultivation. By employing certain spiritual techniques during such times of the year, one would be able to have the treasured sword appear.”

Zhao Changhe understood. “So essentially, it assumes that its master’s unfaithful lover has reappeared, and it emerges to avenge its master, ready to attack anyone it deems unfaithful, right?”

“That is not exactly the case. You have Dragon Bird, so you should know that the so-called sword spirit does not really have its own thoughts, it only carries with it a specific set of intentions. Its master’s strong hatred for the heartless man was poured into it before his death. If it does not sense such actions of betrayal, it may not actively kill the other party. But once it notices any such thing, it will kill them without hesitation. This includes those who break promises. The judgment given to them is similar.” Tang Wanzhuang sighed. “However, how many people in this world dare say that they would be able to fulfill such conditions... So every time it appears, someone loses their life.”

Zhao Changhe folded his hands and sat obediently.

He felt like he might end up getting chopped into pieces.

Chichi, that evil witch who rarely speaks the truth, is probably waiting to see how I would fare against that judgment as well...

Tang Wanzhuang said, “The Four Idols Cult is very powerful, and they may have found these clues. But after all, they act in the dark, and it is unlikely that they have been able to reach conclusions as detailed as we have. There is a much higher possibility that they know what is happening but not why. If they are still lacking in information, it is possible that they simply give up on it for the time being. On the other hand, if they insist on trying to obtain the sword, well, can you guess how they might carry it out?”

Zhao Changhe thought for a moment and then said, “Hm, it’s possible that they will rely on force and try to make use of some respectable person who might be able to stabilize the sword. Then, after making use of them to get the sword, they will then snatch it from them.”

“Yes, I share the same opinion. That is, after all, in line with the behavior of demonic cults...” said Tang Wanzhuang. “But assuming that the sword allows itself to be held by that respectable person, it would then be equivalent to the sword having recognized its new owner. If its new master were to then be killed just a few moments after it recognized them and end up being snatched away, what do you think would happen? Why don’t you ask what Dragon Bird thinks?”

Dragon Bird: “...”

Zhao Changhe began dripping with sweat.

If the boundlessly arrogant Dragon Bird had the ability to move on its own, it would undoubtedly go berserk and kill everyone present. This held even truer for such a hostile and vengeful sword. As a sword that had passed judgment on unfaithful and disloyal individuals for who knew how long, how could it possibly not go on a rampage if its new master were to be harmed the moment it acknowledged them?!

Tang Wanzhuang said, “We have yet to pinpoint how many experts from the Four Idols Cult have come this time. They have hidden themselves quite well. But since they are trying to get a sword that has no relation to their beliefs, this can only be regarded as an ordinary treasure hunt. It is thus highly unlikely for them to have mobilized any top experts like Vermillion Bird. Additionally, many of those at the top of the Rankings of Man would most likely be unable to control such a crazy sword...”

“Right,” said Zhao Changhe with a nod. “After all, the sword is not a human being. It does not feel pain, nor is it afraid of injury. It is light and incredibly sharp. It is difficult to contain. Also, nobody knows how powerful it actually is. If its spirituality can truly compare to Dragon Bird’s, and it can fly around and kill people, then things could indeed get extremely troublesome.”

Tang Wanzhuang nodded. “That’s right, and with its ancient power, there is a high possibility that this sword could move on its own to kill people. Once it escapes the containment of the Four Idols Cult and goes out to wreak havoc, Sword Lake City may be reduced to ruin. We do not wish to see such a massacre happen; we intend to prevent such a thing from happening. That is your mission.”

Zhao Changhe asked: “Where are the people of the Four Idols Cult located? Does the Demon Suppression Bureau have any clues? Maybe I can just talk to Chichi directly.”

“They have been very cautious. They realized that the local Demon Suppression Bureau was strengthening its forces, so they relocated. They have not settled on a new location for some time now. This is partially the reason why this mission is being given to you, as you may be able to communicate with Xia Chichi. If you can persuade her to give up on their plan, that would be for the best. But if she refuses, then under no circumstances should they use that method.”

Zhao Changhe was worried about Xia Chichi. He had no intention of talking any longer, so he stood up, cupped his hands, and said, “I understand. I will handle this matter well. I shall be taking my leave.”

Zhao Changhe left the bamboo house feeling worried. Tang Wanzhuang slowly moved to the railing, leaning on it as she watched him leave. A breeze blew, and she coughed softly a few more times.

Finally, a maid came out from nowhere and put a cloak on her: “Miss, since you have come here in person, if you directly guard the Ancient Sword Lake, the Four Idols Cult would definitely not act rashly, so why would you have him take on this mission? He is only at the fourth layer of the Profound Gate, he can handle neither the Four Idols Cult nor the ancient sword.”

Tang Wanzhuang shook her head slightly. “I will protect him in secret. I will not let anything happen to him. This mission is just to give him a reason to integrate into the Demon Suppression Bureau. After all, it isn’t like the Four Idols Cult will stop what they are doing just because I tell them to.”

“Ah?” The maid was even more confused. “Since... Since he isn’t a prince, what’s the use of him integrating into the Demon Suppression Bureau?”

“The point is to provide him with the status of an official, not for him to actually join the Demon Suppression Bureau. This action will also allow onlookers to understand my judgment, that he is the prince.” Tang Wanzhuang coughed lightly again. After a while, she said softly, “When everyone believes that he is a prince, then he naturally becomes a prince. His denial then will be meaningless.”

The maid chuckled and said, “Miss, does this count as you swindling him? You claimed that you would no longer pester him about his identity, but are unable to do anything about the actions of others. So this was your plan all along, wasn’t it?”

“If asking him to be the emperor counts as swindling... Ahem... Then sure.” Tang Wanzhuang spread her palms and looked at the blood he coughed up. “After all, I... only have a few years left.”

When Zhao Changhe met Tang Wanzhuang in the bamboo house, Han Wubing also met the people from the Four Idols Cult.

“Mister Han, do you want a good sword?”

“Indeed, do you have any?”

“I do not, but there is one in the Ancient Sword Lake.”

“The legend is fake.”

“No, it’s true, and we even have a definite way to make it appear. Mister Han, you might as well take a look. If it really is there, then you can have it for yourself. If it isn’t, then just leave.”

“Who do you need me to kill?” Han Wubing’s first reaction was that the other party needed him to kill someone in exchange. Otherwise, there was no way that they would just tell him how to get such a sword for free.

“The Maitreya Cult’s Zhang Banfo. You should have heard of him.”

“Him, huh?” Han Wubing pondered for a moment. “That will be quite difficult. I will have to see the sword first before we can discuss further. Do we go there now?”

“No, at the beginning of summer.”

“I have an appointment that day, let’s change it.”

“If you are referring to the martial arts match, you can just hold it in the evening. You can pick up the sword during the day. This way, there should be no conflict.”

Han Wubing thought about it for a long time, but in the end, his desire for a good sword won. He nodded and said, “Okay, then how do I find you then?”

“You will know when you come to the lakeside.” The man smiled sincerely, then left.

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