Tome of Troubled Times - C.78: Scattering the Gods and Buddhas

Tome of Troubled Times

C.78: Scattering the Gods and Buddhas

Zhao Changhe’s attack could really be said to be as fast as lightning, as mighty as the claw of a dragon or tiger. Unfortunately, even this incredible attack was not enough to take the young man’s life.

The Cui Clan elders standing as witnesses were not incompetent. Every one of them had at least reached the ninth layer of the Profound Gate. How could they let a youth murder one of their clan members before them?


Countless fists hit the side of the saber at the same time.

Even with so many people striking the blade simultaneously, they were actually the ones to be flung back. None of them expected the force of the attack to be this ridiculous; it was more absurd than an adult hitting a child.

It was the rejection of the Dragon Bird of the Great Xia!

You mortals dare to touch Us!?

The elders, overwhelmed with shock, stumbled backward. There was even someone who was sent crashing into one of the walls of the copper pavilion by the force of the backlash.

However, the collective force of the backlash was still able to alter the trajectory of the attack. The saber just barely streaked across the lower hem of the young man’s clothes. He instinctively retreated, his body was drenched in cold sweat, having just avoided having his head lopped off.

“Zhao Changhe!” The young man, flustered and exasperated, leaped outside the pavilion and pointed his halberd at Zhao Changhe, sharply rebuking him. “Could it be that you were conspiring with my uncle!? To casually frame and murder someone and upheave the entirety of Qinghe!?”

“What happened?” Countless people outside rushed forth and surrounded him. “Why has a fight suddenly broken out?”

Cui Wenjue waded through the crowd and helped up the youth. He faced the pavilion and said coldly, “What is the meaning of this, brother? Are we letting the Qinghe sword weed out traitors, or are we watching this Dragon Bird flaunt its might?”

The young man was Cui Wenjue’s son, Cui Yuansheng.

Cui Wenjing stopped the elders that were hit back in the temple from surrounding Zhao Changhe and looked at him with a strange expression before shifting his gaze to his daughter, who looked like she was at a loss as to what to do.

He had not expected things to go in this direction. Though he had really intended to let Zhao Changhe secretly test his compatibility with the Dragon Bird of the Great Xia, he had not intended for him to participate in this matter of the Cui Clan. He also could not predict that Dragon Bird would show off its power. Oh well, not that it’s a problem. The outcome of this little accident is actually better than the original plan I had.

Cui Wenjing calmly brought out the sword and indifferently said, “I must apologize to everyone here. I have deceived you all.”

The witnesses’ voices rose up in a clamor.

No small number of elders frowned at his statement. “Wenjing, there is no harm in explaining to us what you mean.”

Cui Wenjing replied, “In the end, the sword is not a living thing. If we rely on it to judge our treachery, there will always be the possibility that it decides to kill someone because of something unrelated. We are all family here. How can I bear to part with any of you?”

An elder clicked his tongue in annoyance. “Then what is the point of having everyone tested, Wenjing? For your amusement?”

“It’s dark in the pavilion; the scabbard of the sword is also black. The younger generation’s cultivations are still low, so none of them can tell that I actually smeared a little something on the scabbard. If they had nothing to hide, they would naturally touch it and stain their hands. If they had something to hide, then perhaps they would have used their internal force to guard their hands. It would look like they touched the sword, but in reality, they would not have come into contact with it at all.” Cui Wenjing grinned. “This is my actual method for revealing the culprit. Well, maybe I should say this is ‘the’ method. I didn’t come up with it, I just read about it in a historical record.”

Fuck... Zhao Changhe was shocked. Many people knew the story, even him. But he had never thought of going about things this way.

Now, Zhao Changhe had a hunch as to why Cui Wenjing had gone about the test in such a tedious way. It was because he knew that the other party’s goal was to reveal whatever problem there was with the Qinghe Sword. From the start, Cui Wenjing had never intended to rely on the fantasy-like method he had initially explained to figure out who the traitor was. And with the actual method he had used, even if there was a problem with the sword, he would be able to cover it up without much trouble. Nobody would suspect anything.

In reality, Cui Wenjing wanted to bring out the Qinghe Sword to judge everyone so that he could create the scene that was playing out before them and openly prove to those that harbored doubts that the Qinghe Sword worked just fine. I’m not afraid of bringing it out before all of you and have everyone touch it. Everyone can stop questioning if there is a problem with the Qinghe Sword.

This was the main motive driving this series of actions. Revealing the culprit was only a nice bonus.

He’s so impressive, so how can his daughter be so dumb...and cute?

The whispers among the clan members slowly settled down. Everyone knew what Cui Wenjing meant. His plan was indeed a very good one.

Cui Wenjing chuckled and looked around. “I’m sure all of you understand, so this should go smoothly. Everyone, reveal your hand and show us your palms.”

Cui Yuanyong and Cui Yuancheng immediately raised their hands. Everyone looked over; indeed, their palms were a little black. No one knew what they were stained with.

The other youths that had also been tested looked at each other and showed their hands in succession. All of them were similarly stained. Some were of a darker shade, while others were lighter, but all in all, it was clear they had touched the sword.

Cui Wenjing’s gaze finally landed on Cui Yuansheng who stood behind Cui Wenjue and smiled. “Nephew, it’s your turn.”

Cui Yuansheng’s face went pale and hid his hands behind his back. He even pulled back to his father.

The expression in everyone’s eyes changed. With this alone, they could tell that there were a lot of problems.

Cui Yuansheng stuttered as he shouted, “I—I didn’t manage to touch the sword before Zhao Changhe came at me with his saber. They did this on purpose. On purpose! They didn’t let me touch the sword!”

Cui Wenjing laughed. The elders standing behind him all shook their heads. When they went to deflect Zhao Changhe’s attack and save Cui Yuansheng, they were only doing it to save one of their nephews; it did not mean they were blindly helping him. Another elder sighed. “All of us elders saw it clearly. Yuansheng, you definitely touched the blade. In fact, you even touched it a good few times. But it turns out you covered your hands in your internal force and never actually came into contact with the sword.”

The truth had come to light.

Cui Wenjue had an ugly look on his face as he slowly said, “Brother, though your plan seems reasonable, there are still some problems with it. Yuansheng has always been rather mischievous from a young age. He’s oppressed the common people before. Perhaps he felt guilty and did not dare receive the judgment of the divine sword. There’s nothing strange about this. How can you arbitrarily judge that he is the one who tried to kill Yuanyang from this?”

Cui Wenjing smiled. “You’re right. But Yuansheng has no relation to Zhao Changhe, nor any grudges or grievances, so why did he direct his killing intent at him and provoke Dragon Bird to attack him?”

Cui Yuansheng straightened his back and said, “I cannot accept that a man like him is the 88th Hidden Dragon. And even if we put that aside, I cannot accept that a bandit is delusional enough to want to marry into our illustrious family. Is that not okay!? There are so many other people that see him unfavorably, so what does it matter if I despise him?”

Everyone was clear about this situation, and the young man’s words made sense. If Cui Yuansheng wanted to defend himself, it would be hard to refute him. After all, there was no solid evidence to be had unless they launched a rigorous investigation. Moreover, Cui Wenjue was no ordinary person. He was the number two man in the Cui Clan, the Commandery Administrator of Qinghe; had connections everywhere. There was no telling how many people in the clan were on his side. His connections with those on the outside and even the imperial court were troublesome. If he really wanted to defend his son, how could this matter be resolved cleanly?

Everyone looked at Cui Wenjing and waited for him to speak, wondering if he was about to decisively start a civil war within the clan.

Cui Wenjing grinned and, to their surprise, returned with a question. “Changhe, you are one of the victims here. What do you think?”

“Hmph. The shitty affairs of powerful families are really troublesome.” A sarcastic voice echoed from within the copper pavilion. Zhao Changhe strode outside with the broad saber on his shoulder. “If you ask me, I don’t care why this person has a problem with me. He directed his killing intent at me. Am I supposed to just let it go?”

Cui Yuansheng smiled grimly. “So what?”

“As for who the traitor in the Cui Clan is, I’m not the one investigating so I cannot answer. However, now that you wish to kill me, this has become a personal matter between us! If you’re a man, then stop hiding behind your father’s ass and face me in a duel! The Cui Clan is an old martial arts family. Don’t tell me you don’t even have the courage to fight me?”

Cui Yuansheng’s eyes were filled with hatred as he grinned coldly. “How can you be considered a great man if you face me with the divine strength of Dragon Bird? What are you without that saber? Am I supposed to face you as a trivial bandit? The 88th Hidden Dragon? What a joke!”

“Hahaha, is that so?” Zhao Changhe laughed heartily. With a clang, he thrust Dragon Bird into the ground and took out the saber at his waist, the one that Cui Yuanyang had picked out for him. “If I use Dragon Bird to slay you, I’ll only defile such a treasured saber! Come! Let me see how the son of a powerful clan compares to a bandit!”

The situation looked like it was about to turn into a farce. The Cui Clan wanted to capture a traitor. How did it end up with two youths wanting to battle it out? Everyone looked at Cui Wenjing. He laughed. “Changhe is one of the people implicated. It’s not like he’s unrelated to the matter at hand. Anyway, this won’t take long. Everyone can think of this as a break and watch. What do you think, Wenjue?”

Cui Wenjue had a blank expression. “Since this is what you want, brother, don’t blame my son for making Yangyang cry if, by chance, he kills her little boyfriend.”

Cui Yuanyang looked at her uncle, then tilted her head to look at Cui Yuansheng. She did not say anything.

Cui Yuansheng was already at the fourth layer of the Profound Gate, while Zhao Changhe had only broken through to the fourth layer two hours ago. The martial arts that Cui Yuansheng learned were all top-notch martial arts from the Cui Clan. In theory, Zhao Changhe had no way of beating him without using Dragon Bird. However, Cui Yuanyang looked at Cui Yuansheng as if he was already a dead man.

She had seen everyone’s strength in battle. They were absolutely not on the same level. Before Big Brother Zhao broke through, he could have killed Cui Yuansheng in a one-on-one with a bit of effort. Now that he had broken through, it would be like slaughtering a chicken.

The crowd made a space in the center by themselves. Zhao Changhe calmly stood by Dragon Bird as Cui Yuansheng pulled out his sword—his expression was incomparably fierce.

If this bandit wasn’t here, how could things have come to this!

The more he thought about it, the angrier he got, until he roared and attacked first.

Light shone off his sword, like moonlight reflecting off the Qing river, as his blade slithered about and pierced toward Zhao Changhe as if it was threading through mountains.

“How can the mountains block the stream? In the end, the river still flows eastward[1],” an elder said in a low voice. “Yuansheng’s sword is like the clouds and mists—undergoing myriad changes. He’s already obtained a deep...”

Before he could say “understanding,” his expression suddenly changed.


Zhao Changhe unsheathed his saber.

The moment he drew it, it was already by Cui Yuansheng’s forehead. It was as if Cui Yuansheng, with his sword that seemed to coil through mountains, had presented his head to be lopped off.

“What a fast saber!”

I don’t give a damn about your myriad changes or whatever mountains blocking streams. If there’s a mountain in the path of my saber, then the mountain will make way for it!


Cui Yuansheng quickly switched to a hard block, but the impact sent him reeling back in a pitiful state, and his sword was almost hacked into twain.

The sound of the wind rose before him. From all sides, people shouted, “Yuansheng, careful!”

As they began shouting, Cui Wenjue’s had already rushed forward to try and save him.

Cui Wenjing had prepared for this and smiled as he blocked the other man with his sword. “Wenjue, why are you so startled by the quibbling of the youngsters ?”

Cui Yuansheng looked up as he staggered back.

It was as if the imposing form of a great demon was descending from up high; in its hands was a sanguine moon, and its eyes glowed blood-red.

Scattering the Gods and Buddhas!

Cui Yuansheng would have been fine had he not looked at his opponent, but after seeing this, immense dread gripped his heart. His feet turned to jelly, and he felt that even if he were an actual god or a buddha, he would not be able to block this demonic saber capable of deicide!

He heard someone bellow into his ear, “When you tried to kill Yuanyang, did you think this day would come!?”

Cui Yuansheng, terror-stricken, shouted, “But she didn’t die! Spare me!”

No one made a sound.

Cui Wenjue’s face was ashen.

The sanguine moon dissipated and the glare of Zhao Changhe’s saber faded.

The cold point of his blade stopped right at Cui Yuansheng’s neck. Zhao Changhe smile was very much unlike a smile as he jeered, “So the son of a powerful family is nothing more than this. The Tome of Troubled Times doesn’t even care that I beat you.”

1. “青山遮不住,毕竟东流去” This is from another poem by Xin Qiji. ☜

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