Joy of Life - Chapter 626 - The Pit In The Sword Hut[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:50:19]
Chapter 626: The Pit In The Sword Hut
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The strange smile disappeared in a flash, but the shock lingered in the Great Grandmaster’s eyes. Logically speaking, a Great Grandmaster should have experienced countless world-shattering things in their life. Before his collapse on Dong Mountain, he probably wouldn’t have let his eyelids even blink, but this shock was very clear.
Fan Xian had been watching Sigu Jian’s eyes the entire time. He had an accurate grasp of his inner thoughts. He smiled bitterly to himself and involuntarily felt some inklings of pride.
The reason he kept watching Sigu Jian’s eyes was that there was nowhere else to look at on his body.
The short-statured old man sat on a wheelchair. The bones in the left half of his face were all shattered and deeply sunk in. His left arm was also gone. The empty sleeve floated gently in the wind. Although the large hemp clothing covered his body and the injuries could not be seen, they had to be particularly disturbing.
This was Fan Xian’s first time meeting Sigu Jian, the most valiant man in the world and the sword saint who had protected Dongyi for decades.
In his imagination, this Great Grandmaster, who specialized in the sword, at least had some feeling of being not of this world, even if he didn’t float like an immortal. However, he had never thought that the Sigu Jian appearing in front of his eyes would look like as he did: wretched and pitiful.
Only his eyes were filled with innate ruthlessness and unyielding sword intent. Thus, Fan Xian could only stare into his eyes, terrified that he would make a breach of etiquette.
The atmosphere in the room was very subtle. Faced with a figure from the legends, Fan Xian should have appeared more excited. However, he could not become excited. Perhaps it was because he knew Sigu Jian would die in a few days, had lived with Uncle Wu Zhu since his childhood, or because both his mother and father were amazing people not below a Grandmaster.
The sword boy pushed the wheelchair under the morning light. The faint light lit up the horrifying wound on Sigu Jian’s face. The sword boy left the room. It was Sigu Jian who broke the silence. After staring at Fan Xian for a moment, he sighed in a raspy voice, “Admirable, admirable.”
This Great Grandmaster had the reputation for being idiotic since his childhood. After excelling in the way of the sword, he had moved unhindered between heaven and earth. He never thought about bending his back. Even though he had been grievously injured by the Qing Emperor and Ye Liuyun’s combined attacks on Dong Mountain, he was still just as stubborn. He laughed and cried to his heart’s content, refusing to lower his head.
He was the most powerful person in the world. It was almost impossible for him to admire anyone. Thus, when he repeated praised Fan Xian earlier, Fan Xian’s face flushed red uncontrollably. He felt slightly embarrassed.
Fan Xian knew what his “admirable” meant. He did not admire the Qing Emperor or Ye Liuyun, but he admired him. Naturally, this was because of the noises that had spread out the previous night.
“You’re too kind.” He coughed to cover his awkwardness and half turned his body.
The morning light fell down and enveloped the bodies of the elder and the youth. Naturally and habitually, Fan Xian stood by the wheelchair. Furrowing his brows slightly, a strange feeling surged in his heart.
The pitiful, short, and injured person on this chair was the Sigu Jian of legend, who was unmatched in his tyranny and numbed to killing?
Sunlight shone on Sigu Jian’s brow. It brightly reflected white light like his eyebrows had suddenly become white. Fan Xian stared dazedly, looking at the still perfect half of his face. He suddenly realized that this Great Grandmaster’s age was not as old as he had thought.
Three years ago, when Fan Xian had been escaping Dong Mountain, there was only Ye Liuyun on the boat. He had run into neither Ku He nor Sigu Jian. If he had run into them, he probably wouldn’t have escaped back to Jingdou. He wasn’t sure what had happened on the mountain. He didn’t see the mournful scene of a streak of cold sword light on the summit, the killing of all the Tiger Guards, and the mountain paths filled with blood.
This did not affect his faint fear of Sigu Jian. He knew this Great Grandmaster was indeed a bit crazy. If he could kill 100 Tiger Guards, he could easily kill him.
Although Fan Xian had never met Sigu Jian, he was familiar with the Great Grandmaster. After he entered Jingdou, Dongyi’s Sword Hut became the favorite scapegoat of the Overwatch Council, Eldest Princess, Qing court, and the Emperor. But, this Great Grandmaster never left the Sword Hut. He could only allow the Qing people to shamelessly throw dirty water on him.
Because of this, the Eldest Princess, Overwatch Council, and Dongyi’s Sword Hut had been engaged in battle for years. Starting from Niulan Street, each saw the other as the enemy. Each played their tricks until Fan Xian went to Jiangnan and used the Shadow to forcefully chase away Yun Zhilan and his people.
Fan Xian knew that this was because Sigu Jian had long disdained to deal with him. If he was going to kill him, perhaps he would have died many years ago.
After Fan Xian successfully inherited the palace treasury, Sigu Jian behaved like a mature politician instead of a martially powerful idiot. Sigu Jian had put down their past grievances and sent his last and favorite disciple, Thirteenth Wang, to Fan Xian to express his attitude.
Thus, Fan Xian was familiar with Sigu Jian. Rather, perhaps it was better to say he thought he was familiar with Sigu Jian. After meeting him, he found out Sigu Jian was still a stranger to him. He was an unfathomable and terrifying stranger with an unknown nature.
There seemed to be an invisible pressure in the Sword Hut emanating from the injured person on the wheelchair, making it difficult for Fan Xian to breathe.
“It wasn’t because I didn’t think highly of you that I didn’t kill you back then,” Sigu Jian suddenly said in a raspy voice and with a mocking smile. “The reason for not killing you was simple. It is just that you don’t understand.”
When Sigu Jian spoke, the pressure filling the room weakened slightly. Fan Xian relaxed and quickly said, “Please instruct me.”
“Your mother’s surname is Ye. Is this reason not clear?” Sigu Jian scolded him angrily and furrowed his brows. It was as if he hadn’t expected Fan Xian would be so stupid.
Fan Xian shrugged. He truly did not understand this reason. However, he had not come deep into the Sword Hut to reminisce about the past. He was there to talk about the future of Dongyi and the world.
Those with the authority to discuss the fate of the world had gradually reduced in number. Ku He had died, and Ye Liuyun had escaped. After the Dong Mountain incident, many people had died. In the Sword Hut now, there was only the Northern Qi Emperor, Fan Xian, and Sigu Jian. They all had the authority to discuss the fate of the world.
“I trust that you have already looked at the proposal I had Thirteenth Wang bring back.”
“Proposal” was a new word. In the fourth year of the Qing calendar, Fan Xian had once asked Fan Sizhe to write a proposal for the opening of Danbo Bookstore. This year, he had written one himself and delivered it to Sigu Jian. He hoped to convince the Great Grandmaster with strange temperament to accept his suggestion.
“I didn’t look at it,” Sigu Jian said very carelessly.
Hearing these words, Fan Xian’s confidence was heavily shaken. He didn’t know what Sigu Jian was thinking. He had thought the articles he had painstakingly written would at least move the other a little. If he hadn’t even looked at it, where would they start the conversation?
“The Qing Kingdom’s diplomacy group has not yet arrived. What’s the rush?” Sigu Jian looked at him mockingly.
Fan Xian fell silently then suddenly said, “In my letter last year, I had told you that I had confidence I could control Northern Qi. If you trust me, I can have Dongyi’s independence preserved to the greatest extent.”
Sigu Jian calmly watched him. His distorted and terrifying face contrasted with his calm eyes. He appeared particularly peaceful. Still, there was a sliver of craziness that made one shiver in fear caught in the peacefulness.
“I had truly not expected that kid to be a female, so that is why I said I admired you earlier. However, if you think you will be able to convince me that you can control the entire situation because of this one point, you are still somewhat lacking.” Sigu Jian said with a raspy voice. “That father of yours is not a common man. If you can’t please him, how will you muddle through?”
The Qing Emperor wanted to swallow Dongyi into its territory. Sigu Jian knew that after he died, it would be difficult for Dongyi and its surrounding vassal states to protect themselves. Their only future was to wait to be swallowed up. However, Northern Qi had come forward with an unexpected offer. Dongyi would wait for the best offer to try and protect themselves as much as possible.
These were two completely opposite directions. It seemed, to Fan Xian, that it was impossible to please both his Emperor and Sigu Jian.
Sigu Jian was the important one. As long as he consented, everything else could be discussed. Fan Xian began to push the wheelchair on the yellow dirt path around the sword grave. He pushed the heavily injured Sigu Jian into the sunlight to bathe in it.
Sigu Jian closed his eyes and enjoyed the sunlight washing over his body. Suddenly, he said, “You’re very well-practiced at pushing the wheelchair, much better than those children. How about you stay these few months to look after me?”
Fan Xian smiled and replied, “It’s no bother to stay these months to look after you, but you’ll eventually have to look at those things. Dongyi’s tens of thousands of common people are all looking to you and waiting for you. You have to have some ideas.”
“As for pushing a wheelchair, I got used to it in Jingdou.”
“Oh, I remember. That old dog’s leg broke long ago.” Sigu Jian suddenly sighed. “During these 20 years, my biggest mistake was focusing on the wrong target. I had always thought of your Emperor as the biggest target. I had not thought about the fact that if I had killed Chen Pingping from the start, perhaps your Emperor would not be so arrogant now.”
There was a powerful confidence hidden in his calm words. Sigu Jian could kill such a terrifying figure as the Director of the Overwatch Council if he wanted to.
For some reason, the sea wind surrounding the sword grave paused slightly. Following Sigu Jian’s words, a sword intent congealed and moved. Fan Xian’s heart was ruthlessly pierced. His face became deathly white. Only now did he feel a Great Grandmaster’s true realm. The surrounding environment sensed and reacted to each of their thoughts and actions. The great rise in murderous intent was difficult to bear.
He pressed down hard on the back of the wheelchair and forcefully supported himself. With great difficulty, he said, “Given your cultivation, if you focused on killing Director Chen, he would not live for long. If you killed him, Ye Liuyun would come to kill the people of Dongyi.”
He breathed difficulty for a moment then slowly said, “Even if all your family is dead, you still have disciples. Dongyi still has a Master of the City. Sword saint, just as the Emperor said, such strange creatures as Great Grandmasters should not exist in this world. Since you have appeared, you cannot act rashly. You are just a dead thing used to maintain balance.”
“Yes, that makes sense,” Sigu Jian said with his head down.
Fan Xian continued to smile with difficulty and said, “Sometimes, I am glad for the people of the world. Regardless of whether it is Master Ku He or you, there is always something to hang onto, for example, Northern Qi or Dongyi. If you really were an idiot who did things as he liked but also had the power of a Great Grandmaster, I’m afraid the world would fall into chaos.”
“Of course,” Fan Xian continued more solemnly, “if that was the case, I would not try to convince you of anything.”
Sigu Jian was silent for a long time. He then suddenly said, “Last night, you brought me a great deal of shock. Your so-called trump card was on the little Emperor’s body. I admit, you have the right to negotiate with me. I also admit that I do care about the future of Dongyi. Perhaps it is a kind of habit, a habit that I will take to the grave with me. I am used to protecting the people of this city.”
He turned his head and said with a raspy voice, “So as long as you satisfy me, I will also satisfy you.”
“Surrender and pay allegiance in name, stationing of troops, and no change for 50 years.” Fan Xian’s heart began to beat quickly. Looking into his eyes, he tossed out these words with unusual speed. He had already said these words to Thirteenth Wang while in Qingzhou. He was just repeating them in front of Sigu Jian.
“Station troops?” Sigu Jian laughed. The sound of his laugh was particularly sharp. It sent a wave of pain behind Fan Xian’s eyes. No matter how much he used zhenqi to protect his body, he still couldn’t block it.
His face was deathly pale as he huffed. Cursing, he said, “You won’t kill me, so what do you mean by tormenting me like this?”
Sigu Jian involuntarily shrugged as he said, “I just laughed out of habit, what does it have to do with torment?”
“So, the Northern Qi Emperor is a woman.” Sigu Jian clicked his tongue and seemed to not have heard Fan Xian’s suggestion. He continued to be submerged in this reality as if he was very happy to have learned of some secret before his death.
Fan Xian finally realized that this Great Grandmaster’s nature was strange. Immediately, he thought of Zhan Doudou still catching up on sleep in the other room and the fact that the Great Grandmaster may have eavesdropped all night. His expression became strange.
He unconsciously looked below Sigu Jian’s eyes to see if there were deep under-eye shadows or if he had grown calluses. Sigu Jian also looked over. Seeing the shadows on Fan Xian’s eyes, he furrowed his brows and said, “Even if it’s a female Emperor and you can only do it every few years, you still have to go easy. If you die of lust, I won’t be able to agree to anything even if I wanted you.”
Hearing these words, Fan Xian felt embarrassed. But, a flash of understanding appeared. his lips trembled slightly. He didn’t know what to say.
The morning light gradually grew stronger and cast the shadow of the wheelchair onto the sword grave. It was as if the wheelchair was being impaled on countless swords. It appeared particularly pitiful. Fan Xian calmly looked at the shadow and suddenly thought of the familiar figure he had seen behind the doors when he had entered the Sword Hut being pursued by Lang Tiao and Yun Zhilan.
At that time, he had thought that person had come but looking at the shadow on the sword grave. He knew that there had been a problem with his guess. At that time, it had been Sigu Jian who had appeared behind the doors. He had just not expected that the feeling of Sigu Jian in a wheelchair would be so similar to Chen Pingping.
Seeming to guess what he was thinking, Sigu Jian said coldly, “No one can touch you under my watch.”
Fan Xian did not feel an iota of security. Calmly, he looked at Sigu Jian and quickly analyzed in his mind. Suddenly, he said, “No one can does not mean no one dares not. Yun Zhilan dared to put Thirteenth Wang under house arrest, made private deals with the Qi people, and tried to kill me in front of you…”
He was still astonished. Although Sigu Jian had easily thrown Yun Zhilan and Lang Tiao out of the Hut and intimidated everyone present, given his understanding of the Great Grandmaster’s realm, Sigu Jian should not have needed to appear behind the two doors. His attack only proved one truth. Sigu Jian’s present strength was no longer what it had been at his prime.
“I am unable to leave the Hut because no one dares to push me.” Sigu Jian’s gaze became strange. He once again guessed the thoughts in Fan Xian’s mind. “Your father and Ye Liuyun injured me too heavily. I should have died a long time ago. Although I have been lucky enough to survive until now, I cannot move easily and must sit in this damned wheelchair. Even if I want to kill someone, I cannot run anymore. Yes, as long as those people I want to kill stay far away from me, there is nothing I can do.”
A sadness suddenly flashed through Fan Xian’s heart. Such a Great Grandmaster, yet in the end, he had fallen to such a plight as to be self-sealed within the Sword Hut and unable to leave.
“Of course, no one dares to try.” Sigu Jian closed his eyes. “As long as you are by my side, you are still safe.”
Fan Xian suddenly asked, “How many more days do you have to live?”
Sigu Jian abruptly opened his eyes as if angered by this question. His gaze pierced like a heavenly sword into the depths of Fan Xian’s heart.
Fan Xian’s eyes pulsed with pain. He quickly closed them.
After a long time, Sigu Jian faintly said, “I probably have about a 100 days.”
Fan Xian opened his eyes and hardly dared to look at the Great Grandmaster, who could not suppress his joy or anger.
Sigu Jian stared dazedly at the deep pit below his feet and swords swaying slightly in the wind. He turned his head to listen to the chiming of the swords hitting each other, thinking about something only he knew. Perhaps he was thinking about the countless beautiful moments in this world, countless times that swords had been drawn, countless victories, and the people who had died under his sword. Gradually, his expression became dim.
He had only lost once in his life on Dong Mountain. He had lost so completely that he had no choice but to carry out a conversation with a junior by the sword pit that made him feel humiliated.
“I once controlled Dongyi and countless vassal states through the sword in my hand,” Sigu Jian suddenly said coldly. “In the final moments of my life, only then did I realize that all I can control is still this grass hut and pit.”
Fan Xian lowered his head in a deep bow. He knew that he had finally made up his mind. “This bow is on behalf of the soldiers of the Qing Kingdom and the people of Dongyi for your mercy.”
“There is no need to thank me.” Sigu Jian suddenly smiled self-mockingly. “If the person from the Qing Kingdom was not you, I would certainly not agree.”
Fan Xian smiled and thought to himself, The Northern Qi Emperor had come thousands of li, yet you did not see her. This meant that you had long made your decision. What need was there to say this? The picture was set. If Sigu Jian wanted Dongyi to avoid the crisis of a war, this was his only choice.
Sigu Jian looked at the joyful young man at his side and felt rather strange. He had to admit that although the kid’s strength was rather lacking, his luck was very good. He was able to use just one night to mostly resolve a major problem—the pressure of Northern Qi. He smiled again to himself and thought that this young man still did not know why his approach had always been with him.
Sigu Jian dearly wished to see Fan Xian’s anger when he finally understood. At that time, he would probably already be dead. He thought sadly ad then turned his head to look at Fan Xian. “You have to believe me. If it was not you, even if your Emperor had personally come and begged me on bended knees, I would still not have agreed to the Qing Kingdom’s conditions.”
Fan Xian did not understand.
Sigu Jian lowered his head and laughed strangely. “Ye Qingmei’s census register is still in Dongyi. Speaking of it, you’re at least half a Dongyi person. However, it looks like you never knew this.”