Genuine cultivators tapped into the power of heaven and earth to travel thousands of miles in a flash, so in only half a day’s time, they arrived in a small town near Shangqing Sect. Wen Renhe had even reduced his speed in order to wait for Yin Hanjing, otherwise he would have arrived within a quarter of an hour.
In this world, the realm of cultivators could be divided into nine stages: Qi Enlightenment, Qi Refinement, Foundation Building, Golden Core, Nascent Soul, Soul Transformation, Soul Combination, Void stage and Mahayana. Each stage was further divided into another nine layers. Breaking through the ninth layer of Mahayana, a heavenly tribulation would occur and then the cultivator would cross over into the immortal realm. It was said that there were realms such as Scattered Immortal, Heavenly Immortal, Golden Immortal, Great Principle Golden Immortal, Immortal Lord, and Immortal Emperor in the immortal realm. Once a cultivator broke through the Immortal Emperor realm, they would cross over into the divine realm. The divine realm was also divided into countless stages, but no matter how acquired gods cultivated, it would be impossible for them to surpass the innate gods. Innate gods coexisted with heaven and earth, whereas, acquired gods could only tap into the powers of heaven and earth. The former regarded heaven and earth as their home, while the latter could be regarded as temporarily residing on heaven and earth. All in all, it did make a massive difference.
Devil Venerable Wen Renhe had already been officially recognised as the top cultivator of the devil path, but his current cultivation was only at the sixth layer of Mahayana. The female lead in her previous life had been many times stronger than all the people who appeared in the book. However, in order to follow He Wenchao, she had given up her divinity. It was no surprise that Wen Renhe thought she had a few screws loose somewhere.
He even suspected that He Wenchao had used some devilry to control the spirit of the female lead, but in the genuine cultivation world such sorcery, no matter how strong it was, would be useless on Baili Qingmiao, whose divinity had already infused her body. It was like a drop of venom dissolving into the ocean, a wisp of poisonous smoke being pulled into the storm. Being put against a much stronger force, all sorts of sorcery would simply be useless.
Wen Renhe was sitting on the second floor of the tea house and sipping on the tea Yin Hanjiang had served him, as he furrowed his brows deep in thought.
“This subordinate is low in cultivation and has wasted the Lord’s time.” Yin Hanjiang did not sit down and just stood behind Wen Renhe.
“It doesn’t matter,” Wen Renhe said, pointing to the seat next to him. “Sit down.”
Yin Hanjiang then obediently sat down beside Wen Renhe. If his Lord hadn’t ordered it, he would not have sat down; If his Lord gave the order, he would not say hypocritically, “Your subordinate doesn’t dare”. Under Wen Renhe’s command, even if he didn’t dare to, Yin Hanjiang would still do as ordered.
When Wen Renhe noticed that Yin Hanjiang was all rigid, he ordered, “Act more naturally and normalise your breathing. Both of us are now just martial artists who know a little bit about cultivation.”
For every instruction he gave, Yin Hanjiang only made a movement. The previously stiff back gradually relaxed, only leaving his muscles taut.
Yin Hanjiang seldom had eye contact with Wen Renhe, to the point where he practically did not lift his head up. He just held a teacup in his hands and stared at the tea which gave a light fragrance, but did not take a sip.
Like a wooden marionette, he did not have any thoughts of his own. He only moved each time Wen Renhe said something.
Yin Hanjiang’s cultivation was only at the first layer of Soul Combination, but in Xuanyuan Sect he had thousands under his command. The weakest out of the four major altar masters, Yuan Tanzhu, was at the ninth layer of Soul Combination, while the other three masters were at the peak of the Void stage. The Right Protector, Shu Yanyan, was at the sixth layer of the Void stage. Amongst the six who worked directly under Wen Renhe, Yin Hanjiang was the weakest.
Technically, he, in any case, should not have been a Left Protector. It was only due to his utmost loyalty and Wen Renhe’s trust in him, that he was able to attain such a high position.
When Wen Renhe found him in a pile of corpses, Yin Hanjiang was barely alive. He had been poisoned and half of his body was festering badly. No one would have regarded him as a living person, and even if they knew he was still breathing, no one would have saved him.
It just so happened that Wen Renhe was passing by. With his keen sense of life and death, he found the dull-eyed Yin Hanjiang, who was quietly waiting to die.
At that time, Wen Renhe, who was still a master of a small sect of the devil path, used the tip of his toes to kick Yin Hanjian’s body, then looked down at that child to say emotionlessly, “I need a sword.”
Little Yin Hanjiang raised his little arms to grab Wen Renhe’s shoes with such strength no one knew where it came from.
Ever since then, Yin Hanjiang had become an emotionless sword, only for Wen Renhe to brandish.
His cultivation had been developing at a rapid pace; in just a decade, he had advanced to the Soul Combination stage, which was even several times faster than Wen Renhe. Who would have known that after reaching the Soul Combination stage, no matter how hard Yan Hanjiang practiced, he just couldn’t advance any further. Hence, his realm had remained stagnant for one hundred years.
Wen Renhe initially thought that Yin Hanjiang had reached his peak when he had advanced to Soul Combination, but the book clearly stated that Ghost Face’s cultivation was at the peak of Mahayana.
This was also one of the reasons why the female lead never guessed that Yin Hanjiang was Ghost Face. Firstly, in the beginning, Yin Hanjiang had been so kind to her, that she wouldn’t have doubted him at all. Secondly, even though Yin Hanjiang had gained some luck from protecting the female lead, his cultivation was clearly at the first layer of Soul Combination. Hence, who would have guessed that Ghost Face, whose cultivation was at Mahayana, was Yin Hanjiang?
At the later stage of this abusive love story, Ghost Face was already the most powerful person in the cultivation world. If it was not for his obsession with using Baili Qingmiao for refinement, he would have long been able to break through and cross over into the immortal realm.
Baili Qingmiao had really been thrown into a cauldron by Ghost Face for refinement. It was a wonder how lucky she had been, as she had managed to fuse with her divinity right at the most critical moment, causing a terrible force to break out, which had then killed Yin Hanjiang instantaneously.
Yin Hanjiang was at Soul Combination stage, but Ghost Face was at Mahayana stage. There was a difference of two realms between both of them.
Wen Renhe looked at the side profile of his most trusted subordinate and said, “Hold out your hand.”
Yin Hanjiang held out his hand. Wen Renhe then locked onto the meridian point on his wrist and transferred some true Qi into his body, straight to the meridian point in his heart. After a round of examination, he was certain that Yin Hanjiang really was at the first layer of Soul Combination, without any adulteration. In addition, there was a massive amount of unconvertible soul force in his Dantian, which remained there after cultivating for one hundred years. It must have been for breaking through the cultivation realm, that he had forcefully accommodated this unbearable soul force there. It must have been really painful.
If it wasn’t for that book, it would have been impossible for Wen Renhe to understand Yin Hanjiang’s situation and he would have deemed Yin Hanjiang as not having enough talent.
Apparently there were still many seemingly bizarre plot points in the book, but in actual fact there were reasonable explanations behind them all.
“How long has it been like this?” Wen Renhe asked.
Yin Hanjiang did not answer the question but instead said, “This subordinate will try his best to breakthrough.”
Looking at him like this, some distant memories appeared in his mind. After he had brought Yin Hanjiang back to his sect, he had solely focused on defeating the rival sect, so he had just thrown him into the sect to be raised and casually left a cultivation method for Yin Hanjiang to practice on his own.
Ten years later, he returned to the sect and found that Yin Hanjiang had grown into a tall straight young man, who would swing his sword again and again at the back of the mountain. Ever since Wen Renhe had left Yin Hanjiang with the task of cleaving the waterfall apart with his sword ten years ago, he had been practicing it for the past ten years.
Persistence, firmness, and loyalty. These three words were enough to describe Yin Hanjiang.
“Don’t push yourself too hard,” said Wen Renhe. “Just take your time. This lord is strong enough.”
He thought this was a consolation, but who would have known that a trace of abandonment and grief would flash through Yin Hanjiang’s eyes as he asked hoarsely, “Does the Lord no longer need this subordinate?”
Actually, he was not really needed. At that time, Wen Renhe wanted to unify the demon path, so there was an urgent need for talents. Now that Xuanyuan Sect’s power had increased, the entire devil path had been coerced into submission by Wen Renhe. The four major altar masters, as well as the Left and the Right Protectors of the sect were all very loyal to Wen Renhe. Hence, he did not need someone, who was only at Soul Combination stage, to protect him.
This sword, Yin Hanjiang, had no chance to be unsheathed.
Wen Renhe did not answer his question, but instead took out a book that was even thicker than a brick from his Qiankun sleeve and flipped to a certain page.
It was the point where Yin Hanjiang was protecting Baili Qingmiao from the pursuit of Shangqing Sect. She said gratefully, “Brother Yin, you are too good to me.”
As Yin Hanjiang held his sword in his hands, the firelight revealed his smile. He said, “You are the Lord’s only one who requires a protector.”
At first glance, one would have thought that Yin Hanjiang was using his loyalty as an excuse to hide the feelings for Baili Qingmiao in his heart. When Wen Renhe looked at it again, he noticed the word “sword”.
Wen Renhe had left this sword, Yin Hanjiang, idle for far too long now. To ensure Baili Qingmiao’s safety, he had decided to use this sword again. Why was Yin Hanjiang smiling? It was not due to him liking Baili Qingmiao, but because he was once again needed by Wen Renhe.
Wen Renhe put the book away and once again looked at Yin Hanjiang. An unfamiliar slightly sour feeling arose in his heart.
“This lord doesn’t need a sword,” he said coldly.
Yin Hanjiang’s eyes gradually became lifeless, as he withdrew his hand from the table and firmly grasped the sword on his waist.
In the book, the phrase “holding a sword” was used numerous times to describe Yin Hanjiang’s actions. When cultivators reached the Foundation Building stage, they would be able to put away their soul-bound weapons in their body. Even at Qi Refinement stage, there were storage devices such as Qiankun (heaven and earth) bags, so there was no need for cultivators to hold their weapons in their hands. However, Yin Hanjiang was always holding his sword.
Wen Renhe didn’t know his eyes had softened, as he continued, “But this lord still needs Yin Hanjiang.”
Yin Hanjiang loosened his grip on the sword in his hand as he heard Wen Renhe say, “When this lord first got to know Yin Hanjiang, this lord’s name was not widely known yet. This lord didn’t trust anyone in this world but Yin Hanjiang.”
Mahayana – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahayana
Qiankun sleeve – sleeve modified to hold larger items.
Edited by : Rose