On a clear day during the Qingming Festival, the moon rises above the willows.
In the desolate wilderness of Cangzhou where few people pass through, a group of merchants hurries along the road, pulling their goods in iron boxes. The clattering sound of horse hooves constantly raises dust.
The travelers wore raincoats and bamboo hats, looking like any other traveler on a rainy night. The leader, with a nervous expression, kept reaching for the sword case locked in an iron chain in his arms.
Of course, they were not really a group of merchants. Each of them carried weapons that had shed the blood of at least a hundred men.
Suddenly, the leader sensed something and tightened the reins, gesturing with his right hand to signal a halt.
The dozen or so horses slowed down.
The rain continues to fall, dripping incessantly.
No movement could be seen.
The leader relaxed and realized he was being overly cautious. He clutched the sword box tighter and urged his horse forward.
A sharp and piercing sound was heard.
In the empty sky, a small silver needle grazed the leader’s cheek, leaving a sharp bloodstain. It flipped his bamboo hat over as if using some kind of trickery.
The leader’s face was fully exposed in the pouring rain.
He looked horrified and gritted his teeth. “Close ranks, protect the sword!”
Immediately, the travelers, disguised as ordinary merchants, drew their swords and left the iron boxes that had served as a decoy. They gathered around the leader, forming a tight circle.
This last leg of the journey was certainly not peaceful.
The leader was surrounded by his subordinates, and he tied the sword case to his back. He also lit a firecracker to try to illuminate the dark night.
In the wilderness, the wind and rain were blowing. The shallow wild grass barely covered the horse hooves, and the dog-tail grass swayed arrogantly. In the distance, the riverbank was covered in white fluffy reeds, like a hazy mist covering the surging river.
The leader dared not move recklessly, and he looked around nervously, but the wilderness seemed empty except for them. However, one silver needle after another kept flying towards them but never hitting a vital point.
It was as if someone was teasing them like cats and dogs.
The mysterious person in the darkness was treating them as nothing more than playthings.
The leader straightened his back, dodging a silver needle that flew towards him. His face was covered in bloody marks, with fresh blood constantly dripping down.
He wiped his face, which was drenched in rain and blood, and drew out his curved blade. In a cold voice, he said, “Reveal yourself, sir.”
The fog-like reeds were finally dispersed. The pleasant laughter of a young man came through, with a hint of regret in his laughter. More footsteps came from behind him.
“I thought you could hold on for a little longer.”
As soon as he finished speaking, dozens of masked ghostly figures surrounded the people on horseback in a circle.
The leader finally saw the young man clearly, who was only seventeen or eighteen years old.
He was dressed in a tight-fitting black robe with narrow sleeves, and a gold and jade belt tied around his waist, which made him look tall, straight, and graceful. What was unforgettable was the pair of eyes on his jade-like face. Even though they were separated by heavy rain curtains, they still appeared clear and transparent, and people could clearly see the killing intent emerging from them.
The leader’s heart tightened, but he still tried to keep his voice calm. “Sir, we are just ordinary passersby. If you don’t mind, all the gold and silver goods in the carriage behind us will belong to you. We have wives and children at home, and we hope you spare our lives.”
The approaching young man shook his head and touched the wrist guard on his right sleeve. He was still very polite. “Old man, you should know the rules of the road. I only want the sword on your back.”
This meant that he would rather have the sword than his life.
The boulder in his heart seemed to have finally landed. He knew it was for this sword. The leader smiled bitterly in his heart and shouted, “Everyone, please help me!”
The people on horseback changed formation and turned into a sharp arrow, intending to break through the encirclement in the rain and kill their attackers. The clash of swords and knives was covered by the chaotic clangor in the rain, and the corpses piled up quickly under the horse’s hooves.
They encountered the same situation many times along the way, and many of them died as a result. A few were killed for the gold and silver behind them, which was only the simplest deception. The vast majority of people were killed for that divine sword.
A divine sword.
The young man let out a sigh, and the leader felt the sound of the sigh brushing against his earlobe and drifting into the pouring rain behind him.
He stiffly tried to turn his neck, but only saw the transparent black pupils of the young man’s eyes, and then his curved blade was lifted.
A head rolled under the hooves and into the dust, the leader’s eyes still wide open.
The neck was severed neatly, blood gushing out like the blood on the young man’s soft sword. In the cold light reflected by the sword washed by the rain, there was a pair of clean and piercing eyes.
The tip of the sword lightly picked and the chain snapped like a piece of paper. The young man sliced through the iron chain on the headless body’s back retrieved the sword case, and said indifferently, “I said I would come for the sword.”
He turned around and asked, “Is everything taken care of?”
The masked black figures nodded. There were no horses or corpses behind them, only the scattered bloodstains left by the rain. But once the rain stopped, nothing would be left.
The young man laughed cheerfully, wearing a mask. “I won. Just as I expected, it took only the time for one incense stick.”
The shadow of the laugh flashed by like a massacre that seemed to have never happened on a rainy night.
The masked figures were momentarily stunned by the young man’s crystal clear smile, but still knelt on one knee and held out their hands. “Ninth Guardian, please hand over the sword case to your subordinates.”
The rain gradually stopped, and small raindrops slid into the masked figure’s collar. Beads of sweat the size of peas trickled down his face.
The young man looked at the kneeling figure, paid no attention, and lowered his eyes, saying softly, “Seven, if you want the sword, come and take it yourself.” He reached out his right hand, as if to praise the masked figure, then grabbed his neck and snapped it with a crisp “crack.”
The body fell softly to the ground.
Suddenly, a sharp sword stabbed at the young man’s face, and the sword’s owner was still laughing. “Shuo Feng, you’re very clever.”
Shuo Feng leaned slightly to the side, as agile as a cicada, easily avoiding the attack.
Behind the fallen masked figure came a young man. Behind the young man, dozens of masked figures followed, dispersing like ghosts.
This time, Shuo Feng was surrounded.
Shuo Feng pressed a hidden button on his right wrist guard, and a silver, thin and light soft sword popped out, straight and sharp as ever. He clicked his tongue disapprovingly and said, “Killing our own people is pointless.”
The sky was getting bright, and the young man known as “The Seventh Brother” had an even wider smile on his face, revealing his white teeth. He grew impatient and said, “Shuo Feng, give me the sword. In the name of brotherhood, I’ll spare your life.”
Shuo Feng also smiled and said, “Seven, is being a yellow sparrow fun? I also think it’s fun. This way, the sect leader will be very pleased.”
The light rain fell gently on the earth, and the figures of the youth and the young man were entwined like lightning.
The masked shadows dared not make a move. They were no match for the two guardians of the sect and could only stand in the rain, waiting for the young man to slightly subdue the youth before joining forces to kill him.
The Nine Guardians were formidable opponents.
Shuo Feng impartially blocked the young man’s fierce attacks, even taking the time to chat with him, “Seven, didn’t the Sect Leader tell you that only one person can bring back the sword? Are you willing to let your subordinates die like this?”
In the morning rain, the light filtered through the clouds and illuminated the snow-white sword, making the boy’s eyes even clearer and calmer.
The young man grinned, “I used a curse on them. If I die, they die too. Besides, Nine, I’m willing to let you die too.” His sword wrapped around the boy’s neck like a silver snake, cutting through the cloud patterned brocade on his clothing.
Shuo Feng seemed to relax his frown, “Oh, I see. Then, Seven, I’ll gladly send you to your death.”
At the moment of the young man’s surprise, Shuo Feng’s soft sword was pressed against his neck. The young man playfully made a beautiful sword flower on his neck, then pierced through the young man’s heart without hesitation.
With a “pu” sound, the young man fell backwards.
“Seven Brother, you tore my clothes, I’m not happy,” the boy said. The black silk on his left arm was cut open, revealing a white undershirt, as well as deep wounds on his flesh and bone.
The young man lay on the damp ground, smelling the fragrance of the grass after the rain and the sweet blood in his chest, laughing and coughing at the same time. “Nine, I’m happy to have you accompany me to my burial. The Tianji Poison on my sword is unbeatable, even immortals can’t cure it.”
The north wind’s eyes grew cold, and he quickly cut away the large piece of flesh on his left arm that was turning black. Still smiling, he said, “Seventh Brother, I’m happy that you died in front of me.”
He closed the young man’s eyes with his hand and turned around, saying, “Okay, you can all go die now.”
One by one, the black-masked shadows fell to the ground. No one could see the fearful expressions behind their masks. Worms crawled out of their eyes and ears and burrowed into the mud.
The north wind stood up, the bloody soft sword re-wrapped around his right wrist guard. He shook his body, feeling that the sword case on his back was too heavy. So he wrapped the iron chain around his bony left arm, dragging the heavy sword case as he staggered towards the riverbank where the reeds were in full bloom. Then the boy fell headfirst into the river.
The sun rose from the horizon, and the white reeds waved in the wind, revealing the deep bloodstains on their fluff. Below the riverbank was a large pile of corpses.
On a moonlit night, the sound of gurgling water woke Shuo Feng up.
After a while, he was washed up on a shallow sandbar downstream, having just regained consciousness. It turned out that the sword case, still attached to his left arm by a chain, was tangled up and hung on the old abandoned ship by the riverbank, causing him to stop abruptly.
He had indeed picked up his life from the surging waters of Canglan River.
Shuo Feng frowned, he didn’t think it was fate that kept him alive.
His left arm had turned completely black, but his profound inner strength had prevented the toxins from completely invading his heart.
The Tianji Poison was indeed worthy of its reputation. He never thought that Seventh Brother would actually be willing to use this valuable poison on himself. No, it should be that the sect leader was willing to do so.
Shuo Feng felt a bit of strength returning to him. He stood up and felt for the bone of his right wrist, and the slender and light soft sword sprang out.
He thought for a moment and decided to dig himself a grave. This place was nice, nestled among the mountains and waters.
Shuo Feng even laughed, his curved eyes clear and bright. Since becoming an assassin, he had never thought that he would have a grave of his own.
This could also be considered a mercy from heaven.
Although his soft sword was sharp, it was light and thin after all. It took him quite a bit of effort to dig a shallow pit.
Shuo Feng never felt sorry for himself.
He hummed an unknown tune as he cut open the iron lock and opened the long-sealed sword case.
He had also died for this sword. If he didn’t even know the true face of the sword, wouldn’t it be a waste?
Shuo Feng saw the heavy and ancient iron sword, which looked like an ordinary sword. There were profound runes engraved on the blade, and there was a small iron ring at the hilt. When his muddy palm wiped the iron sword, the runes emitted a dazzling golden light and seemed to whisper.
Shuo Feng saw the thick and ancient iron sword, which looked like an ordinary sword. Deep and mysterious runes were engraved on the blade, and there was a small iron ring at the hilt. When his muddy hand wiped across the sword, the runes emitted a dazzling golden light, as if whispering.
Shuo Feng was startled.
So this was the sword. In the seventeen states of the mortal world, there was only one nameless sword known as the Divine Sword. One hundred years ago, during the reign of the Daliang Dynasty, the Divine Sword descended from the heavens with immortal music and Buddhist chants and landed in the Taiji Hall of the imperial palace. The emperor and hundreds of civil and military officials were present, and thus they named it the divine sword.
Accompanying the legend was also a secret. It was said that whoever obtained the Divine Sword would obtain the world.
But twenty years ago, the princes of Daliang fought each other, causing the world to be divided into five parts, and the whereabouts of the Divine Sword became unknown.
No wonder the sect leader sent out a large number of people to retrieve the sword, but did not tell them the truth, and even orchestrated a scheme to let them fight each other to reap the rewards.
But Shuo Feng didn’t care. He happily took out the Divine Sword and dug his own grave.
The pit was quickly dug.
Shuo Feng lay comfortably in the pit. But he still felt a bit aggrieved, having sacrificed his life for such a broken sword.
He rolled his black eyes and gripped the ends of the divine sword with both hands, snapping it in half.
This sword hadn’t seen the light or tasted blood in a long time, so it was quite dull. But to use it as his own burial object was still impressive and remarkable.
Who would know that the Divine Sword would accompany a killer to his grave?
Shuo Feng stopped thinking about anything else. He clasped his hands, which had been cut by the divine sword, in front of his belly and closed his eyes with satisfaction after looking at the bright moonlight in the sky.
By the time the tide rose and fell, this tomb would be buried by surging mud and sand, day after day, year after year. No one would know that a killer and a divine sword were buried here.
It was a good death. Shuo Feng whistled, and the birds on the mountain flew up, their voices getting louder and louder.
The earth seemed to be vibrating.
Shuo Feng calmly opened his eyes and reached for the broken sword.
The sword was buzzing and vibrating, and the broken edges were approaching each other, trying to join together.
But Shuo Feng did not pay attention to the sword’s movements because the phantom of a young girl was gradually solidifying in the moonlight, dressed in white and green, even brighter and more dazzling than the moonlight.
“She furrowed her brows, her features twisted together, but still beautiful. ‘Who are you?’ Shuo Feng asked hoarsely. In his heart, he thought, perhaps she was a messenger from the underworld, finally coming to take his life as a harbinger of death. But he couldn’t help but think, are messengers of death really this beautiful?
The young girl sitting on the edge of the grave heard Shuo Feng’s question, thought for a moment, glanced at the broken sword under his body, and her expression turned somewhat sorrowful. ‘Your sword,’ she said.”
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