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Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
As people of virtue and prestige in the human world, the Storms of the Eight Directions were like gods in the eyes of the common people. In the mouth of Su Li, they were eight good-for-nothings, and it couldn't be forgotten that at the very beginning, he had said that Zhu Luo was an old bastard. This was nothing much, but from the tone of his voice, it seemed like he had the ability to slay every one of the continent's supreme experts. This was truly too arrogant and conceited, even if he was the legendary Junior Martial Uncle of Mount Li. All the people present who heard these words still felt that it was too excessive, even preposterous.
Zhu Luo's face did not show any derision that might have arisen from this absurdity, nor was there any anger. It was still indifferent. As the sect master of the World-Severing Sect, his Dao heart had severed emotion and destroyed his nature. This did not mean he was brutal and callous, but rather that he was like the bright moon shining over the snowy plains, lonely and pure, cold and absolute, not confused by external things.
He looked at Su Li and declared, "You no longer have the opportunity."
Yes, Su Li was about to die. Regardless of whether at his peak he had the ability to slay the Storms of the Eight Directions and even menace the Five Saints, he was on the verge of leaving this world. The result of a now-impossible scenario could only remain a mystery that would vanish in the long river of history.
But Su Li did not think this way. He looked at Zhu Luo and said, "Wait until after I recover from my injuries. The first thing I'll do is go to Hanqiu City and kill you."
He had said these words very casually and indifferently, as if he wasn't even aware that Zhu Luo had come to kill him, as if he didn't know that Xunyang City would be where his body would be buried, as if he would be returning to Mount Li in the next moment.
The long hair draped over Zhu Luo's shoulders wafted in the breeze, and his brows rose up at the same time. Finally, a hint of derision appeared.
"That's wrong, I shouldn't be going to Hanqiu City to kill you…rather I should go to Hanqiu City to kill your entire family."
Su Li corrected himself. Then he turned to Liang Wangsun, who was at the head of the crowd, and said, "This time, I will draw upon my past experiences to teach you not to make these mistakes again."
"Senior, this way of doing things is wrong."
Chen Changsheng was holding the reins. He turned his head to Su Li and said these words. Yes, such a thing as killing a person's entire family truly was wrong. Even cutting the grass and leaving the roots meant that there was a possibility that there would someday be a giant wildfire.
Over the course of their journey south, Su Li thought that he had obtained a very good understanding of this little kid called Chen Changsheng. But now, he realized that he had not completely understood him. After a moment of silence, he laughed and said, "Then I won't kill his entire family, just him."
This seemed just like a joke, but in reality, it had always been a joke.
Su Li was about to die, yet he was speaking about how in the future he would go kill Zhu Luo's entire family. How could he even have a future?
Zhu Luo looked at him and solemnly said, "When you're about to leave the world, can't you just act serious for once?"
Previously, the bishop of Xunyang City, Hua Jiefu, had said something similar to Chen Changsheng.
"Calmly welcoming death is acting serious? Then I don't like acting serious. Given a choice to die on the battlefield in the endless mountains or die comfortably in bed in the bosom of a beauty, I would definitely choose the latter."
Su Li continued, "Now that I mention it, I really don't understand what you old fools continue to live for…if it's about profit, then I can't really see how much profit you'll make from this. It looks to me that you're also in a rather miserable situation. After all, this is Tianliang County…those old fools can hide in their own caves, but in the capital, you can't hide anywhere."
Zhu Luo was silent for a few moments, then said, "There are some matters that must be resolved."
From beginning to end, this powerful figure of Tianliang County, this man of virtue and prestige, had no intention of appearing in Xunyang City. Because he was unwilling to personally kill Su Li; at the very least, his two hands could not be stained in Su Li's blood.
That was until Wang Po appeared, his blade cleaved through the snowy sky, and the crowd of heroes was forced to retreat. Now he was compelled to appear.
Su Li said mockingly to him, "Then did you ever think about how you would resolve future problems? There are many people in the south that want me dead, but no matter how you look at it, I'm also an idol in the south. If your hands are stained with my blood, then your Zhu family and the World-Severing Sect will bear the anger of the southerners. Have you mentally prepared yourself for that?"
Zhu Luo said nothing. For a person like him, his Dao heart was incapable of being darkened by worldly affairs. How could he possibly have failed to weigh the situation? But it was precisely as he said: since this matter occurred in Tianliang County, he was forced to come and resolve it.
"Even though you've lived for several centuries, in the end, you were still used by other people as a blade."
Su Li looked at him sympathetically. "How could your mother give birth to such an idiot? Once your father in the underworld learns that your decision today will lead to the gradual downfall of the Zhu family, will he regret giving birth to such an idiot?"
His speech was incisive and ear-piercing, every word condemning, but it wasn't because these words were filthy—rather, because they struck true. Words that were true were like swords. With Su Li's skill, even if Zhu Luo's Dao heart was as fixed as a boulder, there would still be some marks left behind.
Zhu Luo looked upon the feeble man on the horse, so weak that he could barely lift his arms anymore. "The torrential great river is divided into two shores. Even if you look and don't speak, you still have to pick a side."
This was speaking about Su Li, about why the entire continent wanted to kill Su Li.
Roughly ten years ago, after the bloody case of the Orthodox Academy, the Great Zhou was in internal upheaval. The Longevity Sect joined hands with the Liang Household and had intentions of invading the north. But Su Li was unwilling to allow this, so much so that he used the one sword in his hand to completely destroy the entire plot. Over the past hundred-odd years, the Tianhai Divine Empress and the Pope both wanted to unite the north and the south. But Su Li objected. Relying on the one sword in his hand, he stood in front of the south and made it impossible for the great powers to advance.
In these two matters, regardless of what Su Li chose, he had never mired himself in any perilous situation. Then on the contrary, it was like he had never chosen at all. His attitude was extremely proud and clear: "I am like a firm rock, standing in the center of the great river. I am like duckweed, letting the water pass over me. I am Su Li; for what reason should I choose a shore?"
Zhu Luo decided to conclude his words. "Mount Li will continue to exist, but it will be without you."
This was respect, and also a proclamation.
The streets of Xunyang City were absolutely silent. Dark clouds gradually gathered and raindrops once again began to slowly drip down.
"Is a Mount Li without me still Mount Li?"
Su Li expressionlessly looked south, thinking about what could be happening in Mount Li at this very moment, his heart heavy.
This was no haughty declaration, but concern.
The entire continent took Su Li to be Mount Li, but he himself did not actually think this way. Ever since he entered the Mount Li Sword Sect as a child, he understood that Mount Li possessed the soul and spirit of a sword. But the fact was that over the last several centuries, he had become that young pine at the peak of Mount Li Sword Sect, offering shade and protection to the disciples of Mount Li Sword Sect. If he was no more, what would happen to Mount Li? There must be something happening in Mount Li, but what? Could the disciples of Mount Li hold on? This was the only thing he was currently concerned about.
"In the end, I'm still no match for Black Robe…in this aspect."
Su Li drew back his gaze and turned to Zhu Luo. "Although he hasn't killed as many people as me, he actually knows far more about the dark side of human nature than I do. The divine realm still surges with the red dust of the mortal realm, and he understands very well the hearts of you guardians of the human world, but do you all clearly understand just what it is you're doing?"
Zhu Luo replied, "There are times when the river of history must pull back before it has enough power to push forward."
"To resist external threats, one must first stabilize within?" Su Li looked at him and sneered. "Then won't it be fine if you advise those people in the Chen Imperial clan to stop thinking about becoming emperor? Or perhaps you can go advise Tianhai to voluntarily abdicate?"
Zhu Luo was silent, then he recited a line from a classic of the Daoist scriptures, layered with deep meaning.
"I really detest this mysterious and divine behavior you guys like to put on."
Su Li simply did not care about how profound the truth contained within this part of the Daoist Canon was. "It's really no fun."
"It truly is no fun."
Xiao Zhang, who had not spoken all his time, fiercely shook his head. The white paper over his face which had been soaked by the rain flopped around, sounding like someone being slapped. Xiao Zhang then turned around, his spear on his back, and began walking towards the other end of the street.
He had come to Xunyang City to kill Su Li. Now someone had come to kill Su Li and Su Li was certain to die, so why should he stick around? To kill a person like Su Li was still rather meaningful, even if he was so heavily injured that he couldn't strike back, but to see him die was not very fun.
Liang Wangsun did not leave, nor did those several hundred other cultivators. They stood in the increasingly heavy rain, silently watching those people on the street. They wanted to wait and see how Su Li would die.
Su Li caressed the wet hair of the fine horse he sat on, then said, "You all can go now."
These words were obviously aimed at Chen Changsheng and Wang Po. Although he detested such ideas as calmly welcoming death or returning to the sea of stars, in the end, he had to have a little bearing. After all, he was Mount Li's Junior Martial Uncle.
How should a person live their life? This was a question that Su Li had thought about many times, but in the end, he had never found an answer. The vast majority of the time, he relied on his likes and dislikes to guide his behavior. But as for how a person should end their life, he had long since reached a conclusion.
To die at the hands of one of the Storms of the Eight Directions, although starkly different from what he had imagined, was still something he could reluctantly accept.
Holding the reins of the horse, Chen Changsheng lowered his head and silently watched the raindrops fall in front of his boots.
Now that things had come to this, there was no meaning in doing anything else. It was this world that wanted to kill Su Li, and the person at the end of this rainy street was one of the supreme experts of the world. No matter how fast and how strong his dagger was, it would not be able to block him.
Wang Po also said nothing.
But he began to roll up his sleeves.
His actions were very slow, very focused, very careful.
He rolled the sleeve of his right arm up to his elbow.
With this, he could wield his blade a bit faster.
Su Li's expression turned a little cold.
Previously when had said those harsh words, claiming that a Storm of the Eight Directions like Zhu Luo wanted to kill a junior like Wang Po, he had been doing so to protect Wang Po's life…the blood on his hands was too great, so Zhu Luo could find many excuses to kill him, but to kill Wang Po was different. Without a firm enough reason, any action taken against Wang Po could be explained as jealousy of a junior and envy of ability, because he did not want a shockingly talented junior to replace him. In spite of the general interest of humanity, he would sorrowfully become a murderer.
As long as Wang Po did not take action of his own volition, under the watchful eyes of these several hundred cultivators, Zhu Luo had no means of doing anything to Wang Po. It might even be the case that he and the other Eight Storms would have to ensure Wang Po's life and safety for a short time afterwards.
But Wang Po did not have any intention of giving way.
He rolled up his sleeves and revealed his arms, preparing to attack.
The rainy street grew even quieter.
Su Li quietly looked at Wang Po.
Zhu Luo quietly looked at Wang Po.
Wang Po acted like he didn't know anything. He began to use his sleeves to polish his metal blade. His expression was calm and focused, his actions slow and serious.
Zhu Luo suddenly began to laugh, because he had finally gotten truly angry.
His anger could not be sensed from his smile, but Xunyang City could feel it very clearly.
The clouds in the sky were pressed down even lower and the rain instantly turned into a torrential downpour.
This was the august majesty of the Divine Domain, like the might of the heavens.
Then his smile disappeared and he impassively said a single sentence to Wang Po.
"You…are prepared to attack me?"