Unsheathed - C.263 (2): A Talisman


C.263 (2): A Talisman

In the Osmanthus Palace located atop the mountain on Osmanthus Island, there was a young osmanthus guest standing on top of the roof. He gazed up at the surroundings, and an old woman was standing next to him with a worried expression.

The young boy was wearing a bright yellow changshan, and this changshan didn't appear especially eye-catching at first glance. Similar to Chen Ping'an's Sword Nurturing Gourd, however, a powerful person had also applied a high-level illusion technique to this changshan. If someone were able to see through this illusion technique and observe the changshan carefully, they would discover the unique nature of this outfit.

The changshan wasn't woven from silk or satin, but from countless yellowing bamboo strips that were intricately linked together. This was divine craftsmanship, and the thin bamboo strips were surprisingly tough as well. When wearing this changshan, one would feel warm in winter and cool in summer. The wearer would also feel as if they were in an exquisite blessed land. This was extremely beneficial for cultivation, and it was this that reflected the wealth and might of immortal forces.

The bright yellow changshan was named "Refreshing," and it was a renowned immortal robe produced by the Bamboo Sea Small World's Azure Divine Mountain. It was once the treasured possession of a ruler from a large empire in Middle Earth Divine Continent, yet it had gone missing for a long time after the empire was destroyed. Unexpectedly, it was now being worn by this young boy.

Speaking in the official dialect of Eastern Treasured Vial Continent that he wasn't fluent in, the young boy asked, "Grandma Liu, even the hundred li inch movement talisman of that Golden Core Tier sword cultivator was ineffective, so will my thousand li inch movement talisman be very risky as well?"

The old woman sighed and replied, "In reality, the cultivation base of that old flood dragon isn't very terrifying. It's only at the peak stage of the Nascent Tier. However, they've received assistance from a powerful person, and this trench has become like a small world. In this sense, that old flood dragon has transformed into the sage of this small world. He's the one guarding it, and his combat power is equivalent to that of cultivators at the Unpolished Jade Tier. At the same time, he has the advantage of time, geography, and popular support."

"Then what should we do?" the young boy asked with a frown.

"There's no need to be overly worried, Young Master," the old woman replied with a smile. "Even if it means sacrificing myself, I'll still help you leave this Flood Dragon Trench. However, you should remember to return following the same path and head to the colorful building atop the mountain cliff where the embroidered ball was tossed from. Tell them your name, and they definitely won't dare to neglect you.

"At that time, you can enjoy a smooth trip back to Pure White Continent. You can inform the patriarch about this, and divine punishment will naturally befall this place in due time, obliterating the Flood Dragon Trench and transforming it into flat land. That will be good revenge for this old lady."

"Grandma Liu, just how significant is life and death? How can you dismiss it so easily?" the young boy grumbled. "I don't want you to die here; we still need to return home together."

The old woman's expression remained calm, and there was a kindly look on her face as she looked at the young boy and said with a faint smile, "I am not resigned to my death. However, I can't sob and put on a worried expression in front of you all the time, can I? With my elderly age, I truly can't bring myself to act like this."

The old woman suddenly remembered something, and she glanced at the jade thumb ring on the young boy's hand and said in a soft voice, "Young Master, remember to take good care of this minimization treasure passed down by our ancestors. Don't be careless and take out treasures from it in front of other people. And when traveling around the outside world, don't try to rashly examine the character of other people either. The human mind is often unable to withstand scrutiny."

The dry and wrinkled face of the old woman appeared slightly adrift after she said this. After all, every old woman in the world had once been a young girl.

The young boy in the bamboo changshan pointed at the lone boat in the sea and remarked, "Grandma Liu, look at that young boy with the bamboo pole on his shoulder. He's around the same age as me, isn't he? How impressive, courageous, and dashing! He's far more impressive than me. When I return, I'm definitely going to ask a masterful painter to illustrate this scene."

Grandma Liu shook her head and chuckled, "Don't try to emulate that young boy's rashness. Young Master, you're not just the esteemed son of a wealthy and powerful clan. If anything untoward were to happen to you in this region between Eastern Treasured Vial Continent and Southern Whirl Continent, then that would truly be an incredibly troublesome matter."

"Grandma Liu, I've already gone through a lot of examinations and training. Don't treat me like a child all the time, okay?" the young boy replied in exasperation.

The old woman smiled and remained silent. free webnov el.com

Those examinations and training adventures had indeed seemed perilous, but had there not been some grand elder watching over him every time?

In reality, their journey this time was a long one that had started with a trip from Pure White Continent to Complete Reed Continent. Afterward, they had traveled south to the Eastern Treasured Vial Continent, where they had visited Divine Edict Sect, Lake View Academy, and the Cloud Forest Jiang Clan.

In the end, they had arrived at Old Dragon City and continued south to Parasol Leaf Continent. They visited both Parasol Leaf Sect in the north and Jade Tablet Sect in the south, and the young master had almost entered the Cloud Cave Blessed Land.

Their journey had been smooth sailing and trouble-free. All this time, however, the old woman was unable to understand why she had been tasked with guarding the young master by herself. Wasn't this too careless? A Qi refiner at the Nascent Tier wasn't weak, but just how lofty was Young Master's status?

Take for example the dire situation they were currently facing in the Flood Dragon Trench. If there were an Unpolished Jade Tier sword cultivator guarding the young master, the young master wouldn't even need to bat an eyelid. He definitely wouldn't need to feel afraid either. Instead, he could simply spectate the battle from afar.


Outside an ordinary courtyard located halfway up the mountain on Osmanthus Island, there was a young beautiful girl inside a small pavilion. She was wearing a top and a long skirt, and a colorful robe was tied around her waist. There was fury on her face as she confronted this mysterious calamity, and she felt extremely angry at Old Dragon City's Fan Clan.

Even so, she still composed herself and finished brewing the pot of tea. After finishing the tea, she put away the tea set piece by piece. Only then did she start to mull over a plan. However, she felt slightly discouraged when she witnessed the miserable death of the Golden Core Tier sword cultivator. Death was most likely inevitable.

The young girl appeared anxious as she lightly drummed the table with her fingers. "There's no reason for my fortune to be so bad," she murmured to herself. "I even performed divination on myself in Old Dragon City, and it was because of that divination that I chose Osmanthus Island over the Mountain and Sea Turtle. Theoretically speaking, the results shouldn't have been wrong. I should obtain one or two fated opportunities along the way as well. How can I possibly suffer an early death here instead?"

The young girl stood up and tapped her feet, jumping onto the roof of the pavilion. She looked down, and her range of vision instantly became wider than before. She gulped and slowly went from a standing position to a squatting position.

She started to pinch her fingers and perform divination, and she murmured, "Perhaps there's a mighty figure hiding somewhere? Or perhaps the person destined to resolve this situation hasn't arrived yet? No matter what, this shouldn't be a deadly situation with no solution. It definitely can't be... Allow me to perform a divination on you, woman who's facing off against the elderly golden flood dragon. Oh? As it turns out, you're Osmanthus Island itself? How strange, you're not the one destined to resolve this situation either...

"Now, let me take a look at this old boatman who's hiding his true strength. Huh? He's a Qi refiner who's fallen from the Nascent Tier to the Golden Core Tier? His wounds are still yet to fully heal. As expected, a real old boatman with many stories. However, you won't be able to resolve the situation either...

"As for this stupidly brave young boy... Forget about it. So be it if he's just carrying a bamboo pole on his shoulder, but drinking wine as well? Tsk, tsk, he's far too interested in showing off. Does he genuinely think he's an Upper Five Tier sword immortal? What an idiot...

"That being the case, does the key to resolving this situation lie on the mountain? Perhaps an immortal is currently observing the situation from the mountain? And when the old dragon lets its guard down, the immortal will deal a killing blow? Hmm, let's see.... Oh, there's genuinely a powerful person concealing their presence. However, it's a shame that... they're not the one destined to resolve this situation either!"

The young girl scratched her head with both hands. Her cheeks were flushed red, and it was clear that she was feeling slightly anxious and uneasy. The pearl hairpin in her bun also became crooked, causing her black hair to become messy.

"Don't fret, don't fret. Master personally said that all unstoppable momentums in the world have hidden within them a singular notion that can evolve into all matter. Even that Dao Ancestor is pursuing this notion. The same applied to that True Dragon, and the true mystical nature behind Jewel Small World also pertained to this. The Sword Qi Great Wall is also the same. Everything is the same..."

While the young girl was at a complete loss, Jin Su, the osmanthus girl from the Guimai courtyard, was looking back three times with every step. She saw her master having a dangerous face-off against the elderly golden flood dragon, and she saw the old boatman most likely the Golden Core Tier cultivator guarding Osmanthus Island. Of course, she also saw the young boy with a sword case on his back taking a boat back to cause more trouble.

Jin Su knew that she shouldn't feel resentment toward the young boy who was standing up in this moment of peril, yet she couldn't help but feel increasingly angry at him for some unknown reason. In fact, it was almost as if this entire calamity should be blamed on him. Only by thinking this could she feel slightly better.

Jin Su wasn't willing to dwell on this. She was even more unwilling to admit that her unfounded anger wasn't brought about by Chen Ping'an, an outside guest, not doing good enough. Quite the contrary, in fact, as it was his decision to resolutely stand up that silently highlighted her cowardice. In fact, she didn't even possess the courage to stand side-by-side with her master to face their enemy.

While teetering on the precipice of life and death, there were some who feared death and greedily craved life, choosing to yield to the situation and retreat from danger. However, there were also those willing to give up life for the sake of righteousness, choosing to march forward in the face of difficulty and seeking life from near-certain death.

To youths who had just set foot on the path of cultivation and the bridge of immortality, the former was not necessarily wrong, and the latter was not necessarily right.

On the sea in front of Osmanthus Island, there were two small boats drifting beside each other.

The old boatman failed to persuade Chen Ping'an to return after several attempts. However, he was genuinely unwilling to see the young boy lose his life here, so he became slightly frustrated as he scolded, "Lady Gui has already explained the power of the old flood dragon to you, so why do you still insist on staying here? What an absolute farce!"

Lady Gui smiled bitterly and said, "We're utterly surrounded, so we're left with no option but to fight to the death."

The old boatman suddenly lowered his voice and said, "Lady Gui, you have to live on. The Fan Clan..."

The woman shook her head and replied, "I've already made up my mind."

She turned to the young boy and asked in a gentle voice, "Chen Ping'an, is that talisman genuinely very important?"

Chen Ping'an nodded vigorously in response.

Lady Gui took a deep breath and said, "Things have already come to this, so what else can we do? That old flood dragon is hellbent on ignoring our past relationship, using the so-called rules to suppress us again and again. There's definitely something fishy about this situation. However, since you're willing to do something about this, then go ahead, Chen Ping'an. The two of us will help you buy some time. This won't be too difficult."

Chen Ping'an immediately sat down in the small boat with his back facing the elderly golden flood dragon. His mind was linked with Fifteenth, his flying sword which doubled as a pocket treasure, and it wasn't long before a sheet of azure-colored talisman paper slid out from his sleeve. The talisman paper looked like a page that was torn out from some sagely classic.

Chen Ping'an held the Wind and Snow Awl in his left hand and lightly breathed on the tip. However, Chen Ping'an was shocked when the tip of the calligraphy brush moved toward the talisman paper. Even thought it was engraved with the characters 'writing as if assisted by the gods', the tip of the brush felt like a traveler's feet stuck in a meter of snow. It was barely able to move!

Chen Ping'an's breath of True Qi as a pure martial artist was directly cut off.

Chen Ping'an had written several treasure pagoda demon-suppressing talismans and Yang energy illumination talismans on golden talisman paper before, and he had never once encountered such a situation.

Unexpectedly, however, Chen Ping'an was delighted by what he saw.

Chen Ping'an forcefully summoned a new breath of True Qi, willing to suffer internal injuries and rock his soul in the process. His arm pressed down, and the Wind and Snow Awl continued to approach the azure talisman paper.

People were allowed to help, but they had to first guarantee that they wouldn't make the situation worse.

In front of the abandoned temple in Yellow Court Nation, that group of youths in colorful robes and on majestic horses had attempted to perform a good deed in a passionate and righteous manner. However, they had almost ruined the big plans of those righteous Qi refiners, and they had almost allowed the sinister fox demon to flee.

This was an example of performing a bad deed with good intentions.

If he could guarantee that he wouldn't make the situation worse, however, then Chen Ping'an felt like he definitely had to do something.

Back in the city god temple in Colorful Garment Nation's Blusher Prefecture, the prefectural overseer's youngest daughter who had silver bells tied to her wrists and ankles had also stepped forward to provide help. She had restrained herself at the right moments, and she had always acted within her abilities. Thus, she had been able to help Chen Ping'an and alleviate the pressure on him. This was very good.

He remembered another ferry — Ceremony Mountain's kun ship.

This Osmanthus Island was something that his good friend Fan Er would inherit after he came of age.

Meanwhile, there had once been two young girls on the kun ship whom he had interacted with for many days and nights, Chun Shui and Qiu Shi. They were both very lovely girls. Chen Ping'an had always believed that with their young age, they would definitely see each other again in the future, no matter how many dozens of years passed, and no matter how far away they were now...

Chen Ping'an continued to exert more and more force on his fingers and arm. At the same time, he calmed his breathing and rapidly channeled the Eighteen Stops Technique. The pure and formidable breath of True Qi in his body needed to be quick and stable.

Having stable Qi would lead to a composed soul, and having a composed soul would lead to an effective talisman.

Thinking back to the past, everything ultimately came down to being stable and composed. When molding pottery and firing pottery, he had also needed to stabilize his mind in order to stabilize his hands.

The tip of the Wind and Snow Awl finally came into contact with the azure talisman paper.

A small speck of light instantly burst apart.

It was as if a bright moon were rising above the sea.

Chen Ping'an was unfazed by this, and his mind was completely focused on drawing the Lock Slashing Talisman. He needed to engrave eight entire characters on the azure talisman paper — concentrate on the task at hand, decree of the rain gods[1].

At this moment, the young boy was sitting cross-legged in the small boat and completely immersed in the act of drawing the talisman, losing his sense of self.

Chen Ping'an didn't appear anything like a pure martial artist as he held the brush and wrestled with the ancient talisman paper. He didn't appear like a sword cultivator either. Instead, he appeared like a scholar who was copying texts amid mountains and water.

He would worry about the success of this talisman after he was finished drawing it.

This attitude was identical to the attitude that he had held toward the Mountain Shaking Fist. Whether the fist technique was powerful or not, he would worry about this after he finished practicing it one million times.

If Chen Ping'an didn't do something today, he would feel like he was letting down his fist technique, his sword training, the wine that he had drank, and all the people that he had become acquainted with.

1. Eight characters in Chinese... (作甚务甚,雨师敕令) ☜

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