⚠️ Gore, graphic description ⚠️
Since ancient times, cultivators would single-mindedly cultivate in their own little caves once they’d entered a sect. Rarely would they pay attention to the dynasties.
If you asked anyone in the Jianghu about the genius disciples of the Three Great Sects, they would answer as if recounting their family’s treasury. But if you asked them what experts the imperial household had, the number of people who would know that the current imperial surname was Li were already few and far inbetween.
In fact, if you ran into a senior who had just come out of seclusion, they may even owlishly ask you, “What? Great Liang was destroyed?”
It was normal for cultivators who’d formed their nascent soul to seclude themselves for centuries at a time. Often, they would find that the whole empire had changed in the blink of an eye, so naturally they wouldn’t care about something as routine as a change in imperial power.
If one were to pinpoint which conflict was the most memorable within this century, it would probably only be the battle for the throne before the previous dynasty’s destruction.
The reason why scholars and court officials couldn’t forget this fight was because the night where blood had washed over Chang’An had also been the opening curtain to Sheng Yuan Emperor Li Yi’s unification of the world.
For the Jianghu, however, it was because the Qing XuZi of back then couldn’t stand the suffering of the people and single-handedly quelled a dynasty’s unrest. Using reality to prove that just a simple gesture from Xuanmen’s Sect Leader could change who was in charge of the world.
It was also because that night, Qing XuZi picked up a dying child from a pile of corpses after that battle. That child would later become the renown Bu QingYun.
The world only knew that it was the beginning of Bu QingYun’s legend, but very few people still remembered why this battle had occurred in the first place. Xiu Niang was one of those few who still firmly remembered the complete set of events that led up to that carnage.
It was the last generation of the Western Liang Dynasty.
Ever since the first emperor had signed a contract with divine beasts, Western Liang had enjoyed the divine beasts’ protection and blessing, experiencing peace and prosperity. Nobody could have imagined that such a flourishing period would one day come to an end.
Like with every previous emperor, the whole of Chang’An was immersed in a festive atmosphere as they awaited the new emperor to ascend the Temple of Heaven1 to be crowned.
Everyone was guessing which divine beast the new emperor would be chosen by. However, it didn’t really matter which one it was, since they were all good.
Once the contract of heaven was signed, as long as the emperor stayed within their country’s borders Western Liang would have the power of a wandering immortal and he would become its next protector. Yet until the end, the next emperor never appeared.
The old emperor had already died, and the new emperor had gone missing. The entirety of Western Liang had suddenly lost its power balance.
In order to seize the throne, the remaining princes fought non-stop. Some demonic cultivators took this opportunity to cause some chaos. Like this, a prosperous dynasty completely collapsed.
Though it had been a hundred years, Xiu Niang would inadvertently remember how Zhao HuanZhi had looked when she first saw him even now.
That year, she had still been a noble lady from Western Liang’s Zong clan; she had worn her favourite pink skirt as she accompanied her parents on a walk outside.
The peach blossoms of that day had been in full bloom, and she had walked on the grass which was scattered with flower petals, a creek right beside her. As she walked, she’d found herself in front of him.
He was sitting under a tree with papers depicting the spring scenery spread around him. His expression was serious and his temperament elegant. When the wind blew, the peach blossoms fell one after another, brushing past his hair and his eyes, quietly drifting into her heart.
From that moment on, she became bolder than ordinary women; she fancied him, so she made her way to him and asked for his name. It was only then that she learned he was the current Third Prince, Zhao HuanZhi.
Ever since their first meeting, the two often went out and travelled together. Their love for each other was pure and innocent, like childhood sweethearts.
Later, he was chosen as the next emperor and she was his finest courtesan. They promised that when he obtained the divine beast’s power and controlled the world, he would make her empress and they would become lifelong husband and wife.
This was supposed to be a beautiful fairytale-like romance, but on the night before the coronation, this dream was shattered.
Before the emperor obtained the divine beast’s powers, he was just an ordinary man. Naturally, the palace would place all of their experts to protect him, but that night, he only brought a few shadow guards with him when he visited her room.
He told her that he would never make the prime minister’s daughter his empress. He asked her to wait for one more day before he made her his wife. At that time, no one could have known that someone made it through all of the palace’s security and into her room.
Before she could even make a sound, her love was taken by a man in black.
At that time, she felt like she was about to go crazy, she was so busy begging the Empress Dowager and other princes to go save him that she never stopped to think how a Nascent Soul stage cultivator could so easily locate the new emperor through the heavily guarded imperial palace. All of this was just the typical palace intrigue and scheming. For the sake of a throne, those people personally buried their sons and brothers, ruining her life’s happiness.
The court was in so much chaos, no one was looking for him. She could only go to the Jianghu by herself to search.
However, she was just a weak woman, so it took her several harsh months just to find Cloud City where the Xuanmen Righteous Sect was located. Unfortunately, Western Liang had completely devolved into war by then, and many of Xuanmen’s disciples were sent out to rescue its victims; the only ones within the sect were its weak outer-court disciples.
In the end, all she learned was that the person who had kidnapped Zhao HuanZhi was most likely the Palace of Bliss’ Palace Master— Feng Xie.
Feng Xie was originally a small keeper in Chang’An, but because he offended a nobleman he was tortured within an inch of his life. However, he survived by being discarded in the moat when they thought he had died.
There, he found the long-lost Technique of Bliss and entered onto the demonic path. That Feng Xie could also be considered a genius; within a few decades, he’d made it to the Nascent Soul stage. From then, he found pleasure in torturing young masters from noble households. It was unknown just how many talented youths were ruined under his hand.
At the same time, his skills truly were extraordinary, and even after being hunted down by the righteous faction for decades, no one could find neither hide nor hair of him.
Finally, the Xuanmen guarding disciple who gave her this information sighed. If the court had requested help the moment he was taken, then he might have some hope of being saved, but now that it’s already been so long, Zhao HuanZhi was likely crippled.
She spent seven days waiting at the foot of the mountain for Qing XuZi to return before she left. She abandoned her past and gave her body to demonic cultivators to enter the demonic faction.
She prostituted herself for eight years before finally entering into the Palace of Bliss, becoming Feng Xie’s love pet. But the person she was searching for had already become a part of the Palace of Bliss’ sea of blood.
His corpse was covered in wounds, his bones were crushed, his eyes were gouged out, even his soul was sacrificed by that demon to create a weapon. The person she placed in the deepest part of her heart to love, the person she gave up everything to search for, was completely destroyed in this way. From that moment on, she never used her name again. The only thing left in this world was Xiu Niang who swore to make Feng Xie die without an intact corpse.
That was why she would never forget the day Bu QingYun walked through a mountain of bodies and slain Feng Xie. From that day onwards, it didn’t matter if they faced a siege by the righteous faction or the schemes of the demonic faction, she continued to stand by that person’s side and became his first subordinate since entering the demonic path.
“Little Palace Master once asked me what my dao heart was. Today I will tell you. My dao heart is to kill Feng Xie, destroy Western Liang, and to condemn all of the Zhao family’s descendants to a hellish life on earth!”
This was the past that Xiu Niang had buried in her heart and never revealed to anyone. Even after a hundred years, she was still filled with heartbreak when she recounted the story.
Breathing out a deep breath, she raised her face. The red-robed youth in front of her was the same as when she had first seen him, but in his eyes was a sympathy He Huan had never shown.
The corners of her lips curled up as she slowly spoke of her dao heart. It was clearly the most seductive smile one could have in the bedroom, but under the light of the moon, it gave off a sense of mourning.
He Ku was more fortunate than He Huan; when he woke up the world was already in a state of peace and the current Palace of Bliss had also distanced itself from its filthy past.
He didn’t know how he should comfort the grieving woman in front of him, so he could only solemnly promise, “I swear to you that I will never allow someone like Feng Xie to live.”
Hearing his words, Xiu Niang’s expression changed. She noticed that the young man said ‘I’. With a hint of sorrow still on her face, she sighed. “Little Palace Master, are you still sure of entering the Jianghu after listening to these events? You must know, once you are discovered by the world, what happened to Bu QingYun could happen to you.”
“Xiu Niang, Bu QingYun and I aren’t the same. Behind Bu QingYun was Xuanmen, but behind me is He Huan. And I believe a person would never betray themself.”
Of course, He Ku knew that what awaited him was numerous people’s schemes. Maybe he wouldn’t be able to return in one piece from the Jianghu, maybe one day he’d become the same as He Huan – only able to reveal a genuine smile to himself – but he firmly believed that he wouldn’t regret his decision today.
“I think Little Palace Master is the happiest now. Remembering nothing and not having to do anything. How great is it to just live cleanly and peacefully.”
Seeing his expression, Xiu Niang already knew that whatever cautionary advice she had to say was useless. She could only sigh as she said, “Little Palace Master, there are no good people within the demonic faction, including the Palace Master… you… be careful.”
She seemed to be trying to say something more through her words. He Ku also didn’t know why she would talk to him about this today, but even though he didn’t understand, his heart never wavered. He just looked towards the QingYun Hall above them and calmly said, “While He Huan and I may have a lot of different opinions, I believe his original aspiration has not changed. After listening to your story, I am more certain that the demonic faction has become a hundred times better with him than what it was without.”
This expression was way too similar to the one she saw on Bu QingYun when she’d looked up from the bloodshed. If it was possible, she really wanted to personally see the Little Palace Master all grown up.
But, Palace Master, since you can’t redo the past, why would you let Bu QingYun reappear in the world again?
Despite how happy you are right now, in the end, are you still longing to return to being Bu QingYun?
As she looked at that face in a daze, her grip on her handkerchief tightened. A flash of distress showed in her expression as if she had a million things to say but no way to voice them.
In the end, she fell onto her knees and left behind a single sentence. “Little Palace Master, please pass on this message to the Palace Master, ‘Xiu Niang loves both the Palace Master and the Little Palace Master, so I beg you both to come back alive.’”
End of Chapter 28