Beyond the Timescape

Chapter 749: Lending Requires Repayment
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Chapter 749: Lending Requires Repayment

They reached the end of the white jade road, and were now situated just outside of the capital city of humanity. Li Yunshan and the 30,000 swordsages couldn’t proceed any further. Compared to the imperial capital as a whole, their numbers didn’t count for much. But their relative unimportance didn’t mean they could overstep authority.

Li Yunshan understood that, so after escorting Xu Qing to the end of the white jade road, he took most of the swordsages back to set up camp. Kong Xianglong, along with a hundred swordsages, were assigned to stay with Xu Qing as he entered the capital city with Princess Anhai.

Because of the dramatic situation with the spell formation, the streets in the capital weren’t as busy as before. Although the situation had ultimately been resolved, many people still chose to remain indoors. That said, the place was still more bustling than Sea-Sealing County. And as time progressed, more and more people filled the streets.

As Princess Anhai led Xu Qing and the others through the capital, she continued explaining things to them.

“Xu Qing, the imperial capital has the Five Greater Celestial Divisions and the Five Lesser Celestial Divisions. But there are other things you need to be cautious about.

“For instance, the fact that the Mansion of the Thirty-Three Heavenly Kings... now has only thirty-two heavenly kings.” Princess Anhai hesitated briefly, then continued, “In addition to that, you have all the important officials from the imperial court, such as the prime minister, master of records, and the minister of war. [1]

“There are also the imperial princes, who have the authority to establish their own government offices, although their power is limited to the capital city itself.

“After that, you have the ten superpower sects of humankind. Those sects have profound reserve powers, and some of them have a history tracing all the way back to the time of the Ancient Emperors.”

Hearing that, the Captain blinked a few times and looked at Princess Anhai. “I heard that one of the most famous of those sects is called... the Summer Immortal Palace?”

The name caused Xu Qing’s heart to nearly skip a beat. He looked at Princess Anhai.

Ningyan, though obviously familiar with this place, didn’t know as much about matters as Anhai, so his ears perked up as well. Wu Jianwu looked excited as well; anything that had to do with Dark Serenity was something he was interested in.

In contrast, Kong Xianglong didn’t seem very interested in the subject, and was instead taking his responsibility seriously, as he was keeping an eye on the surroundings to make sure there were no threats to Xu Qing.

Princess Anhai nodded in response to the question. “The ten superpower sects are... the sect founded by Grand Emperor Starry Sky, the Star Emperor Preeminence Sect; the sect from which came Heavenly King Emptyspirit, the Godharvest Deep Universe Sect; the sect that wields the dao of the underworld, the Ghostwyrm Nethersect; and the sect the imperial preceptor comes from, the Prehistoric Cyan Moon Sect.

“Then come the organizations that have more modern origins: the House of the Nine Deviations of Darkfire; the organization that does business in many major regions, the Red Dust Emotional Suppression Pavilion; the terrifyingly powerful religious group called the Church of Departure; the sect that worships the broken face, and has long been searching for godchildren, Words of Truth; and finally, the sect located in the abyss beneath the Imperial Region, who has a very special mission, the Hidden Earth Society.” [2]

Princess Anhai had provided a lot of information. It seemed that every one of the superpower sects had their own unique characteristics. As for the Church of Departure, Xu Qing had long known that they wielded power all throughout Revered Ancient. They preached about departing from Revered Ancient and searching for the holy lands. It had adherents among all species, and though its leadership was generally mysterious, Xu Qing remembered that its leader was called the Arbiter of Destiny. [3]

When it came to the Hidden Earth Society, not even Princess Anhai knew the details of their mission. After all, she didn’t know much about Brilliant Heaven. But after hearing about them, Xu Qing already had some speculations. It seemed likely that a sect located in that abyss would likely have a mission that didn’t focus on the outside. Rather... they were standing guard over the main entrance.

Xu Qing had also heard of Words of Truth, even way back in the continent of South Phoenix. However, they were quite a mystery to him, as he’d never had any dealings with them. It was only now that he learned they were one of the superpower organizations in the imperial capital.

“Words of Truth worships the broken face?” Xu Qing asked, suspicion flickering in his eyes.

Princess Anhai sighed. “Some people revere the broken face. Some people loathe the broken face. So it’s only natural that some people worship the broken face. That’s the case among all the countless species that exist, including humans. Words of Truth is similar to the Church of Departure, in that they have adherents of all types.

“Their doctrines revolve around finding godchildren.... They believe that anyone who survives being looked at by the broken face is the family of a god, and has the potential to be a godchild. That’s why they look for such people all over Revered Ancient.

“From what I’ve heard, they highly value any living person out there who has sustained the gaze of the broken face many times, yet hasn’t died. And they believe that person isn’t just the family of a god, but rather, one of the godchildren they seek. By finding such people, killing them, and sacrificing them as food, they can acquire god power.”

Xu Qing didn’t say anything in response.

“The final superpower sect,” Princess Anhai continued, “is the one you mentioned, the Summer Immortal Palace.

“It’s a very unique organization. Supposedly, the Summer Immortal Palace was the very first sect to arise among all the species in Revered Ancient. In fact, in the early days, the Summer Immortal Palace didn’t just have human members. Eventually, it broke apart, and nowadays, all major species have a Summer Immortal Palace.

“Legend has it that back in the time of Emperor Ancient Spirit, the Summer Immortal Palace worked closely with the heavenly daos, and in some cases could surpass imperial authority. That’s why Emperor Ancient Spirit tried to supplant the heavenly daos, because of conflict with the Summer Immortal Palace.

“After the time of Emperor Ancient Spirit, it was Ancient Emperor Dark Serenity who went on to conquer Revered Ancient. After he did, he got rid of the Summer Immortal Palace system, ensuring that nothing could surpass imperial power. He also put treaties in place regarding the Summer Immortal Palaces among other species.

“After that, the Summer Immortal Palace closed their doors and ceased to regularly deal with the outside. Every few thousand years, they’ll send out a disciple, not to participate in fighting or wars, but to wander the lands and record the history of the species. Down to this day, the Summer Immortal Palace still abides by the treaties put in place by Ancient Emperor Dark Serenity.”

Around this time, they reached an eight-sided pagoda constructed of white wood. The entire structure was surrounded by a white wall; from the fluctuations pulsing off of it, it was clearly designed to keep out intruders.

“The imperial preceptor, who comes from the Prehistoric Cyan Moon Sect, is usually here in the Star-Plucking Tower. But even most of the highest ranking nobles and officials have never seen him. Only father and Fourth Prince know what he looks like.

“Fourth Prince is the imperial preceptor’s apprentice. People say the imperial preceptor has truly celestial abilities, and is a genius when it comes to strategy.”

Princess Anhai looked up at the clouds surrounding the auspicious tower surrounded by flying beasts.

Xu Qing nodded. It was clearly an expression of goodwill for Princess Anhai to escort him this far, and offer so many explanations.

At the moment, she was looking at Xu Qing. “Young sir, I need to return to my palace. Things can change in an instant here in the imperial capital. People here are complicated, and the relationship networks are even more complicated. Young sir, I just hope you can stay on guard and be cautious.”

She gave a curtseying bow. Xu Qing bowed back to her. It was obvious she wanted to make friends with him, and when people were kind to him, he would return the gesture.

“I hope everything goes well for you, Princess. As long as I’m here in the imperial capital, I’m happy to help you with anything. Just say the word.”

Anhai smiled and left.

As they watched her depart, Ningyan blinked a few times and was about to say something. Then he glanced at Plumdark and decided to keep his mouth shut.

Of course, Plumdark noticed that. Voice cool, she said, “Ningyan, let’s go to your mansion.”

Ningyan quickly nodded, then led the way further into the imperial capital.

When imperial princes came of age, they earned the right to live outside the palace. As a result, all of them had personal mansions in the capital city. Ningyan’s was located in the north district, which was some distance away. It could even be considered a quiet corner of the city.

The mansion was by no means small. It had three main levels, and on the outside, there was a placid lake that was integrated into the architecture of the mansion. Both in terms of the scenery and the atmosphere, it was very stylistic. The architecture was delicate and refined. Bells hung from the eaves of the buildings, which chimed in the wind. That wind would stir up little waves on the lake, and would also cool down the surroundings.

Plumdark looked around and was clearly very pleased.

Xu Qing could see that this place looked different from the other residences they had passed along the way.

Off to the side, the Captain let loose an exclamation of praise. “A lovely breeze. Rippling waters. The sounds fill the heart and the mind. Very unique. Usually, places like this have some nice treasure sitting around.”

He looked at the lake and licked his lips.

Looking with melancholy at the mansion, Ningyan quietly said, “Mom had this place built before she died. She designed everything.”

He led them inside, not via flight, but by walking directly across the lake.

As he stepped onto the water, a seven-colored koi fish breached the surface. The sunlight shone onto it in glittering splendor, and its whiskers whipped through the air as it splashed back down. The water droplets made for a very beautiful scene. There were actually many such koi fish in the water, and they seemed intelligent. Recognizing their master, they leaped in and out of the water as they escorted the group to the shore.

Sadly, as soon as they stepped onto solid ground, the dreamy sensation from earlier vanished as they saw how dilapidated the mansion was.

From a distance, it looked fine. But getting close, it was clear that being uninhabited for years, the mansion was in disrepair. The red door was covered with mottled mold. The bells were rusty. And upon opening the main gate, the inner courtyard was full of weeds. It looked very desolate.

Despite the bitterness in his heart, Ningyan forced a smile onto his face and turned to Xu Qing and the Captain.

“I’m home.”

Xu Qing clasped Ningyan’s shoulder.

At the same time, the Captain waved his hand dismissively. “You have a nice home, Little Ningy. Come. Let’s clean it up together. The feng shui here is clearly amazing. Based on my calculations, it all conforms to the pattern of hidden dragons! And that means your future is going to be anything but simple, ya little punk!”

Heart swelling with appreciation, Ningyan nodded. And thus, they went to work cleaning up the mansion. It didn’t take very long. With everyone working together, it only took a short time before the mansion was spotless. Kong Xianglong took the swordsages to patrol the area and make sure everything was safe.

After looking through all the rooms, Ningyan felt more down than ever, and just stood there, almost in a daze.

“You okay?” Xu Qing asked.

Ningyan hesitated, and then decided to just explain how he felt. “There’s something missing. Something related to my mom. I left in a hurry all those years ago, and couldn’t take it with me, so I left it here.

“I don’t see it here now, so I just sent a message to Third Sister asking if she had any info. She asked around and found that Tenth Prince personally took it away.

“Tenth Prince’s mother comes from the clan that produced King Firecrusher, the number-one heavenly king of humankind. Ol’ Tenth has a domineering personality, and though the number-one heavenly king never liked him much, few people would dare provoke him. Since he took that thing, it’s not going to be easy to get it back.”

Xu Qing mulled Ningyan’s words over quickly, then turned to look at Kong Xianglong.

Kong Xianglong looked back with glittering eyes. He could tell what Xu Qing was thinking.

“Big Bro Kong, send a jade slip to Tenth Prince at his mansion. Tell him he has one day to return that item.”

1. The minister of war was mentioned in chapter 547.1, and his grandson played a significant role for a brief moment back in that part of the story. ☜

2. Words of Truth was previously mentioned in chapters 89, 104, 206, and 545.1. ☜

3. The Arbiter of Destiny was mentioned previously in chapter 104, which was when we got the first real description of the Church of Departure. Incidentally, there was a mention at some point that the Church of Departure was a subsidiary of something called (iirc) the Daoist Rite of Departure. Except, that never got mentioned again, and now that we’re actually here in the capital, it’s just called the Church of Departure. At some point I’m going to go back to change that earlier mention of the daoist rite to maintain continuity with what actually happens. ☜

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