Proofreader: Happy Bubbles
When He Ku returned to QingYun Hall, He Huan was sitting in front of the window and idly brewing some tea as if he’d predicted something like this would happen. The sunlight that entered through the carved windows scattered across He Huan’s intangible form, making him seem even fainter, like he was about to disappear.
Of course, this was just an illusion. He was already one of the world’s three strongest people. It had always been him who decided whether others disappeared or not.
Ignoring He Ku’s worried expression, He Huan held his tea cup and slowly opened his mouth, “So you know it all? Who told you?”
“It was Yun Ce. But how did you—” Subconsciously replying, it was only then that He Ku realized He Huan didn’t even look the slightest bit surprised, and couldn’t help but be doubtful.
“With what you’re wearing, it would be strange if someone hadn’t said anything. True, had it been You Jiang who broke the news to you, you would have been crying as you ran back.”
From as soon as He Ku left, He Huan had already expected that someone in the Palace would mention his past.
However, he had thought that You Jiang would make the first to move, since he was the most frightened that he would return to the righteous side. He hadn’t thought that He Ku would find Yun Ce first. In an unexpected turn of events, it just so happened that the Xuanmen disciple was where Yun Ce was.
To reach the Golden Core stage at such a young age, it could be assumed that he was that person’s disciple. It seems that even without him, Xuanmen still continued to live well.
Seeing He Huan return to staring at his cup after saying that one line, He Ku hurriedly sat in front of him and sincerely asked, “Were you really called Bu QingYun? Xuanmen’s Da Shixiong?”
In reality, he already made preparations to face a burst of anger, but instead, when this person heard his questions, all he did was calmly look at him and slowly start to talk about the Xuanmen Righteous Sect.
Previously, He Huan had told him that the reason why there were so many cultivators in the world was because there was once an immortal who had scattered cultivation manuals to every corner of the world, giving everyone the chance to set foot on the path of cultivation.
But what he didn’t mention was that because that immortal leaked out the secrets of heaven, the next day he was struck down by lightning. Nobody knew why he was willing to sacrifice an immortal’s long lifespan to do such a thing, they only knew that the place this immortal spent his last day was exactly the LuoXian Lake1 lit. Fallen Immortal Lake where Xuanmen currently stood.
Staring deeply at the tea leaves as they rose and fell in the boiling water, He Huan easily revealed the secret that no one knew, “In reality, everything he did was for one sentence— ‘All life is equal on the path to immortality’. A sentence that everyone else thought was empty and meaningless, became a young cultivator’s truth. When he obtained immortality, he was finally able to fulfill his heart’s truth.”
Finishing, he didn’t even stop to look at He Ku’s expression, only continuing to calmly recite Xuanmen Righteous Sect’s history.
Just before the immortal fell, he enlightened a lake fisherman. This fisherman harnessed the sword intent left by the immortal and stepped onto the path of cultivation. Through this immortal’s action, everyone could obtain a cultivation method, and inevitably, this gave birth to tyrannical, perverted, and pillaging mindsets. There were mountain bandits and wanted criminals who used their new found cultivation to commit atrocious acts. Things got so out of hand that even numerous major sects stole and monopolized the manuals from the normal people in order to raise their position in the world.
Right in this time of chaos and anarchy, a lone fisherman emerged from LuoXian Lake with his fishing rod. He defeated all the major sects by himself and gathered together numerous genius cultivators to establish an alliance founded on the Heavenly Dao to supervise the Jianghu. It was only then that the world finally regained order.
After that, this person started his own sect and became the first Xuanmen-zhangmen. It was also because people used to say “All cultivation stems from Taoism,” that people unanimously called it the Xuanmen Righteous Sect 2 I also just learned that the ‘Xuanmen’ in Xuanmen Righteous Sect comes from a foundational book in Taoism .
From then on, Xuanmen received the admiration and respect of the people. Yet, because the fisherman’s crusade had planted too many heart demons, when it came for him to face tribulation, he was dispersed between the heavens and the earth. Leaving only his fishing rod suspended at the LuoXian lakeside, keeping watch over the world he had spent his life making.
The second Xuanmen-zhangmen was a woman whose talent could not be rivaled. Every day and night she would guard the LuoXian mountain slope to cultivate before finally achieving ascension. Just when the people of the world thought that her nature as a woman would make her more pliant, or that she wouldn’t be like her two predecessors and change the world, she returned. Not only that, but she also brought with her the Heavenly Contract she had signed with the mythological beasts in the immortal realm.
From then on, each dynasty would obtain the heaven’s blessing. As long as the Emperor was diligent in his court affairs and led the country in peace and prosperity, then once they abdicated they would have their deeds weighed and be conferred an immortal position.
What’s more, she gave the dynasties the power of these mythological beasts with the condition that they protect their people. Since then, generations of Emperors governed with all their hearts, and for a while, cultivators never dared to oppress the people based on their higher cultivation.
She was the one who had truly made the mortal realm balanced, but because she violated heaven’s laws by daring to return to the mundane world unauthorized, her cultivation was scattered and her beauty stripped away. With a head of white hair, she spent her last days like any regular old woman by the LuoXian Lake.
The third Xuanmen-zhangmen was Qing XuZi. His character was upright and under his lead, the Heavenly Dao Alliance, and the collective power of the Jianghu, he intimidated the demonic side into silence. His two disciples were also unparalleled talents; his first one, Bu QingYun, left his sect at sixteen to bring justice to the people, and by eighteen, he was beloved by the Jianghu and respected. Everyone thought that he would be the only Xuanmen-zhangmen to have a happy ending, but that was until Bu QingYun was disowned by Xuanmen Righteous Sect.
Everyone knew that the Xuanmen Da Shixiong was destined to be the future Xuanmen-zhangmen. As the sect’s representative, once what Bu QingYun did got out, the Jianghu instantly surged.
Once He Huan spoke of Bu QingYun, he could no longer maintain his calm demeanor. He raised his head and looked at the white-clothed youth in front of him.
Xuanmen was the immortal’s legacy, so all their disciples loved their white clothes. Oftentimes, they embroidered cloud patterns over them and wore cloud-themed accessories in hopes that, in the future when they ascend, they would be able to experience the pleasure of freely exploring the heavens. Every Xuanmen disciple was proud to be able to wear this uniform and, naturally, Bu QingYun was the same.
It was just… He Huan had long stopped wearing white clothes. The colour was simply too easily dirtied.
“Every generation, the Xuanmen-zhangmen is a saint, but saints don’t live long. That is why the Bu QingYun who was so determined to be a saint was the same, he wouldn’t have a good ending.”
Clearly he was talking about his own past, but his expression was as unreadable as ever. The only tell was that when he spoke to the end, a haze gradually entered into his gaze.
“Xuanmen Righteous Sect has sat on its position as the first under the heavens for too long. It was inevitable that there would be some people who became dissatisfied. Precisely at this time, Bu QingYun let them grab onto his weakness. They came from all corners of the world to request for my punishment. How could it only be in the name of upholding justice? It was all because Bu QingYun was Qing XuZi’s disciple, so they used this as the pretext for flaring up.”
“If Shizun had protected me, he would have been charged with encouraging evil tendencies and would no longer be deserving of his saint’s reputation. If he had punished me, it would be the equivalent of Xuanmen admitting that their successor was a lascivious fiend, shaming Xuanmen’s centuries of reputation. No matter what they picked, Xuanmen would inevitably be pulled down from their pedestal; it truly was a good trap.”
In one morning, he had gone from a talented and beloved entity to Jianghu scum; it couldn’t have been a good memory. He Huan’s face gradually darkened, but his eyes slowly reflected a hint of cruelty. “They all didn’t expect that I would not return to Xuanmen Righteous Sect. I wasted my own cultivation and, through pleasure and happiness, I cultivated the Technique of Bliss. Using only three months, I made it all the way to the Nascent Soul Stage and then I killed every last one of those people calling for my death.”
Just a single line was enough to summarize the spine-numbing bloodshed that took place in the Main Hall. He took a look at He Ku, who was completely stunned by their past, and the annoyance in his heart was somewhat abated. He smiled. “Therefore, the physical body is a great thing. It doesn’t matter how you are feeling inside, if the right place is poked, then it will be happy.”
He Ku wasn’t able to understand his current expression. He Huan was the type of person who was able to smile at any given moment, but it was a smile that never revealed anything it didn’t want to. So he could only reach his hand forward and watch as it passed through the other’s spirit body. As if having really touched something, He Ku desolately asked, “Do you hate him?”
“I made a mistake. For that, Shizun would have had to waste my cultivation. I have never hated him.”
He calmly responded with an answer that surprised He Ku. As if having known earlier that no one would believe his words, He Huan laughed self-deprecatingly. His gaze gradually drifted off to the boundless skies.
“What I cannot let go of was, when I still had the chance to turn back, I didn’t because of Xuanmen Righteous Sect’s centuries of good name. My bright future, life goal, path towards ascension, Bu QingYun wanted none of it. He gave everything he had to Xuanmen Righteous Sect. Carrying all the hate and infamy alone. However, it’s already been 80 years, yet Xuanmen hasn’t sent a single letter of comfort to him.”
He abandoned his sword for the demonic path and committed countless evils, pulling all of the Jianghu’s attention to himself. No one would be stupid enough to offend the most powerful Xuanmen whilst the demonic side was becoming stronger. And so, all those people directed their fangs and claws to the leader of the demonic side, the Palace of Bliss.
The world’s people only took it as He Huan’s schemes running extremely deep. He deceived Xuanmen and almost became the leader of the Righteous Side. Fortunately, Xuanmen was able to notice his true colours and expelled him from the sect, saving the Jianghu from another disaster. Xuanmen was still the legacy left behind by saints, Bu QingYun, on the other hand, became the Jianghu’s public enemy number one, He Huan.
Even when Bu QingYun wasn’t able to protect himself, he had used all of his efforts to preserve Xuanmen’s good name, yet to this day, not a single person from Xuanmen had been able to realise his earnestness. This was the heart demon that he could not resolve.
Finally telling someone about this heart demon, He Huan found himself oddly peaceful. Perhaps… it really had been too long, that longing towards his former sect had probably faded away until there was barely any left.
He remembered that, at the beginning of his demonic journey, he would need to borrow Xiu Niang’s medicine every night to be able to sleep successfully. As long as he remained conscious, he would inevitably think back to his past.
Since he was a child, when the cultivators beside him practiced in order to dominate a specific field or receive heaven’s enlightenment, these types of goals, he had spent all his time practicing swordsmanship, but what he had been thinking about was how to make the world better.
For his sect and the world, he abandoned any kind of personal enjoyment. However, living a selfless life at 20 as if pursuing the Heavenly Dao was his only focus, in the end, not a single person in his sect believed that he was anything but a villain.
Slowly releasing a breath that he had been holding for a long time, he raised his eyebrows and the depressing air surrounding them dissipated. His face once again carried the lawless haughtiness befitting the strongest demonic cultivator. “After Bu YaoLian was made the next Xuanmen Da Shixiong, I ordered that from henceforth, Bu QingYun was no more and all that was left was the Palace of Bliss’ He Huan. He Huan wants to enjoy all the world has to offer, he does whatever he wants to do, and never will he be bound by rules again. He Huan’s life was infinitely better than Bu QingYun’s.”
He Ku knew that he did it, but looking at himself, He Huan had once said that he had two heart demons from his youth. So far, he only knew the first one. Although it sounded light and distant, under closer reflection it was actually extremely painful.
He couldn’t help but ask, “But, at the bottom of your heart, you still think of Bu QingYun, don’t you? If that wasn’t the case, then I wouldn’t be here.”
“He Ku, once a person gets to a certain age, they start to reminisce about their younger days. This is simply human nature. However, reminiscence doesn’t equate to wanting to return to them. I believe, in the end, you will eventually make your way to my side.”
Eyes softening as he looked at him, He Huan’s eyes would forever contain a trace of unfathomableness. It was the same now, like he had already completely seen through his future. He sighed.
“When I had just entered into demonic cultivation, I so hoped that there would be that one person who would tell me what to do when I was helpless and at a loss. Someone who would tell me that everything I did was worth it when my heart broke from all the Jianghu hearsay. Someone who would be able to distance me from all the conflict and let me have a good night’s rest. But in the end, there wasn’t that someone.
But you are different, you have me. All the regrets I had from back then, I will make up for them on you. Since fate didn’t give me such a person, then I will be that person. Through this, my heart demon should resolve itself.”
He Ku thought that, sure enough, they really were from the same body; otherwise, why would his heart feel so stifled, like he was unable to breathe, when He Huan said these words?
He rubbed at his eyes before raising his head and mumbled, “Then why can’t it be me who becomes that person?”
“If you want to try, it wouldn’t be me who would refuse.”
He didn’t mock him for being overconfident. He Huan knew that Bu QingYun had long become used to being the one who protected everyone. Even without his memories and his outstanding cultivation, this instinct was engraved into his marrows and couldn’t be changed. He Huan was like this and He Ku was the same.
This was why he trusted He Ku; after all, no one knew Bu QingYun better than he did.
Nowadays, there was no one in the world who would ever believe Bu QingYun, that is why Bu QingYun had to believe in himself.
Smiling, he poured out the tea in his cup. Calmly, he said, “This cup of tea was originally meant to wipe your memories of today, but seeing you now, I don’t think it is necessary.”
He could have given the cup of tea to He Ku at any time during the conversation, He Ku definitely wouldn’t suspect him and would forget everything just as he desired. But in the end, he never gave him that tea. He also wanted to see what his past self would do if he already knew the outcome.
Hearing this, He Ku was also conflicted. Thinking of the missing vague memories in his head, he subconsciously asked, “Did you intentionally only let me remember our past life’s memories?”
“It’s better to not remember the sad things.”
He Huan didn’t keep it from him and admitted to it calmly. He Ku also didn’t mind; he only straightened his posture, raising his head and facing his future self with confidence. He may only be a separated fragment of He Huan’s soul made to comfort him – in fact he might not even count as an independent person – but he also had his own ideas for what he wanted to do.
Take now, for example, he looked at He Huan and with incomparable determination, said, “At the age of 18, Bu QingYun’s name shook the Jianghu, right? I am the 18-year-old He Huan, so I will definitely be able to achieve that as well.”
Not expecting him to say this kind of thing, He Huan stared at this extremely familiar body and could only sigh. “That would be something extremely difficult.”
“I’m not afraid!”
The young man answered very confidently. He Huan looked at him carefully, he suddenly had the impression that he had returned to when he was 16 and visited LuoXian Lake for the very first time.
Legend on the Jianghu has it that the Xuanmen Righteous Sect had a Soul Inquiring Mirror and standing in front of it for the first time will reveal the cultivator’s life purpose.
500 years ago, what a fisherman saw there was for the world to regain order.
400 years ago, what a female Xuanmen disciple saw was peace and prosperity for the people.
300 years ago, what a bawling young Qing XuZi hugging a dog saw as he was passing by was fairness to all living beings.
He Huan still remembered, when Qing XuZi brought him in front of the mirror the first time he was 16 and asked him for what he saw.
He said, “I see the world at peace.”
At that time his Shizun sighed, “QingYun, your future is limitless, but at the same time it is filled with suffering.
How had he replied?
Oh right, he used a similar expression as he raised his head confidently. “Shizun, I’m not afraid.”
End of Chapter 15
- 1lit. Fallen Immortal Lake
- 2I also just learned that the ‘Xuanmen’ in Xuanmen Righteous Sect comes from a foundational book in Taoism