The old man said that if a weapon is stained with too much blood, it will become a deadly weapon, and countless tragedies will follow, nurturing a heart of resentment.

There are thousands of notorious weapons in the world, each with its own cruelty, but none has earned the notorious reputation of “Cursed Sword.”

In the instant when Frostblade drew blood, Cheng Qian, although unable to focus his mind on the sword, was shaken to the core by the ancient, hoarse, and sorrowful resonance emanating from the blade. At the same time, the disparity in power and the speed of extracting true essence between a renowned sword and a wooden sword was evident. Cheng Qian held the Frostblade, realizing for the first time that he struggled to wield the sword.

The few masked men did not expect a mere inexperienced youngster to be so formidable. They exchanged incomprehensible gestures and immediately abandoned their original targets, collectively surrounding Cheng Qian.

Cheng Qian exhaled slowly, feeling as if he had exhaled a breath of frost. The chilling aura of the Frostblade seemed to permeate his body, causing even his internal organs to turn cold.

Seven or eight sword auras pressed down on him simultaneously. Cheng Qian knew that meeting them head-on would be suicide. He transformed into a shadow, swiftly evading the sword auras like a fish through the gaps. He owed his agile evasion skills to Zhang Dasen and others who had been picking fights with him every day. The rigorous training made him exceptionally nimble in dodging.

In the midst of his evasion, Cheng Qian deliberately led the masked men away from Li Yun and the others by the water pit. However, just as he seemed to have some strength left, he suddenly stumbled, as if struck by a heavy blow. The sword aura of one of the masked men pursued him, and his left shoulder was instantly covered in a pool of blood.

Cheng Qian had no time to care about the pain. His mind buzzed— it was the puppet talisman he had given to Xue Qing. He distinctly felt the dissipation of the spiritual energy within the talisman. As one of the Seven Great Ming Talismans, how could its spiritual energy dissipate so easily? Xue Qing must have encountered a life-threatening situation.

Is he… Is he still alive?

He was just a young disciple traveling alone, possessing no valuable possessions, and having a mild and stable temperament. Who would have a grudge against him?

Was this an unexpected turn of events, or was someone deliberately intercepting him?

If it was deliberate, then what happened to the letter that the eldest senior brother had asked Xiao Yue’er and the others to deliver? Has it not been delivered yet, or…

What about Mount Fuyao?

For a moment, Cheng Qian, even in his composure, couldn’t help but panic. A multitude of troublesome thoughts flooded his mind. He was injured by the puppet talisman, and his anxiety exacerbated the situation. His vision blurred, his feet staggered, and before he realized it, a mouthful of blood surged up his throat.

“Xiao Qian!”

It seemed like Li Yun called out to him. Cheng Qian was suddenly startled, barely evading a strike from one of the masked men.

A cacophony of clanging sounds resonated. Cheng Qian’s back was already drenched in cold sweat. With a glimpse, he saw the eldest senior brother in the air, barely holding on. Even if ants multiplied, they could still kill an elephant, let alone these masked men, each of whom was no weakling. Yan Zhengming hadn’t even been in the state of concentration for very long, but he had managed to control his sword so steadily. Perhaps he was exceptionally performing under the pressure of a crisis.

The distracted Yan Zhengming was unable to focus his attention properly. With each distraction being slain by the masked men, his face grew paler. He had to constantly be aware of the safety of his junior brothers and sisters, wishing he had a thousand hands and eyes, or three heads and six arms.

Cheng Qian didn’t want to distract him. Determined, he suppressed the blood that surged to his throat.

The feeling was unbearable. Cheng Qian’s face turned as pale as paper, and he almost couldn’t hold the sword. It seemed as if the Frostblade also took advantage of his fluctuating emotions, showing signs of backlashing.

In the moment of confusion, Cheng Qian had a feeling of standing alone above the vast and tumultuous sea, where the sea water seemed to come from the desolate and lightless Beiming, cold to the bone and devoid of any human sound. Suddenly, a kind of inexplicable indignation surged in his chest—why should a divine weapon be slandered by the world? Why should a heaven-endowed prodigy bear so many insults in front and behind?

Suddenly, a scream belonging to a child sounded behind him: “Bad people! Go and stab the bad people! Don’t bully my third senior brother!”

Subsequently, a buzzing sound flew past Cheng Qian’s ear. He heard a crisp sound, and a soul-searching needle, seemingly sentient, flew toward one of the masked men. Pressured by the strange and evil nature of the soul-searching needle, the masked man had no choice but to retract his sword and defend. He hadn’t even grazed Cheng Qian’s clothes.

Cheng Qian immediately regained his clarity, hurriedly taking a few breaths. He realized that almost all of his true essence had been depleted by the previous backlash of the Frostblade, and what was even more dangerous was that he couldn’t let go of this sword—because the masked men were relentless and their numbers were growing.

Cheng Qian didn’t look back but reached back accurately, touching the head of the water pit, and whispered, “Shh, don’t cry, everything will be fine. Save your soul-searching needle.”

“The ship cannot sail. If there is really no way…” Cheng Qian glanced at Yan Zhengming, who was at the end of his strength, and thought, “Why not let Senior Brother take this junior and find a way to escape on their flying swords?”

It was already difficult for Yan Zhengming to carry one water pit. What about Han Yuan and Li Yun?

Cheng Qian hadn’t thought it through when he suddenly heard a cry of alarm from Li Yun.

When Yan Zhengming could no longer support his flying sword and numerous avatars fell from the sky, Li Yun quickly performed a hand gesture, and a transparent net rose from the ground, preventing their Sect Leader Senior Brother from hitting the ground face-first.

Yan Zhengming half-knelt on the ground, swayed, and even the strength to stand up disappeared.

Cheng Qian had to muster up another breath, stepped on Han Yuan’s shoulder, and leaped into the air. Frostblade cut through the sky with an extremely fierce arc. With the chilling aura of this unparalleled deadly weapon, he forced back a group of masked men, feeling a pain throughout his limbs as if countless times his true essence had been drained by talismans. Cheng Qian knew that his meridians were unable to bear it.

However, in such a situation, even if he couldn’t bear it, how could he retreat?

Cheng Qian tasted the flavor of rust in his mouth and unreservedly propped up the ground with Frostblade. He was not afraid of breaking this world-renowned sword. Frostblade emitted a sharp sound, launching him back into the air. Relying on his instinct, he struck with another sword, but his swordsmanship had deteriorated. The protective sword aura around him suddenly dissipated, and countless weapons pressed against Frostblade, seemingly intending to shred him to pieces.

Others couldn’t come to his rescue in time.

Just then, someone shouted, “Outrageous!”

Following that, a vigorous and gentle force swept through effortlessly, easily dispelling the sword auras that pressed against Cheng Qian, without harming him in the slightest.

Cheng Qian felt his body lighten, and he fell straight down, caught by Yan Zhengming as he pounced forward.

Yan Zhengming had no idea how he managed to pounce forward. When the several weapons almost fell on Cheng Qian, Yan Zhengming’s heart sank heavily, almost shattering his liver and gallbladder.

Cheng Qian momentarily lost consciousness, but it didn’t last long. When his scattered gaze refocused, he saw that the densely packed masked men on the entire pier seemed to have been swept away, leaving a large empty space. Some were lying nearby, unable to get up, and some had fallen into the sea.

At the same time, he also noticed that he was still tightly gripping Frostblade in his hand, refusing to let go even in the face of death.

Cheng Qian was about to stand up, but he was pressed back by an arm without a doubt. Even without listening, he could hear the frantic beating of Yan Zhengming’s heart. Yan Zhengming half-knelt on the ground, tightly embracing Cheng Qian, his hands trembling continuously. It was only when he opened his eyes that he let out a sigh of relief and whispered, “Don’t move!”

Tang Wanqiu landed nearby, seemingly having failed to take advantage of Zhou Han. Her face was ashen, probably injured as well.

However, despite this, there was little joy on her face when she saw the rescuer. Instead, her expression became more worried. She whispered, “Island Master.”

Zhou Han coldly glanced at Tang Wanqiu, as if he had mentally noted down the accounts with this madwoman. Then, he turned his face, putting on a face as gentle as a spring breeze. He elegantly waved the Three Thoughts Fan in his hand and saluted the Green Dragon Island Master, who was standing on a huge reef. “Greetings, Island Master.”

The Island Master didn’t even look at him, turning to Tang Wanqiu and saying, “Wanqiu, bring those children over. It was my oversight.”

Tang Wanqiu didn’t say anything, weakly turned her head, gave a “follow” look to Yan Zhengming, and walked up the small stone steps behind the reef.

Cheng Qian gritted his teeth. Just as he was about to stand up with the help of his Senior Brother’s arm, he was suddenly lifted into the air.

Cheng Qian, who was already not fully conscious, was instantly startled awake. He was like a puppy that had fallen from a height, reaching out in panic and scratching a few times, nervously clinging to Yan Zhengming’s shoulder, fearing that his “delicate” Senior Brother would drop him and that the landing spot would be a problem.

Yan Zhengming had just been frightened out of his wits. His face hadn’t recovered yet, and his heart was raging with fire. He sternly said, “Stay still!”

Cheng Qian remained silent for a moment, frozen like a stone, allowing Yan Zhengming to move him as he pleased.

The Island Master’s stern gaze softened slightly. He looked at Yan Zhengming, and in the end, his gaze fell on the bloodstained Frostblade. His pupils slightly contracted as he stared at the blood and frost on it for a while. Then, he turned away and aimlessly scanned the surroundings, as if looking for someone. However, apart from the sea and sky, the sinister reefs, he found nothing.

The Island Master withdrew his gaze, sighed lightly, and the imposing pressure dissipated. He returned to his troubled and impoverished scholar-like appearance and turned around, saying, “Let’s go back.”

Seeing this, a few masked men were about to chase after, but they were stopped by Zhou Han with a raised hand.

Zhou Han looked at the back of the Green Dragon Island Master with a smile on his face and uttered coldly, “Who is Gu Yanxue, and what are you? What kind of death are you seeking by going up to find her?”

Tang Wanqiu, who hadn’t gone far, heard these words and looked back with hatred, saying, “Island Master, why keep such a petty person like Zhou around? We should have killed him long ago!”

The Island Master didn’t even look back, walking ahead with a resolute step. He chuckled in response, neither confirming nor denying.

Speaking of which, among the cultivators in Jiuzhou, there might be some who were unaware of the emperor or the prime minister, but no one didn’t know about Green Dragon Island. All the major sects cherished their relationship with it. Many wandering cultivators who had no chance to become disciples of the immortal sects stepped into the world of cultivation through the Scripture Hall on Green Dragon Island. The Island Master not only had profound cultivation, but he was also once known as the “Preeminent Master in the World.”

Mortals valued the “Heaven, Earth, Sovereign, Parent, and Teacher” hierarchy, but cultivators, who had long lifespans and thin familial ties, no longer acknowledged mortal emperors as their sovereigns. Thus, only the “Heaven, Earth, and Teacher” remained. The sects held their teachers in higher regard than their own families, indicating the weight of the title “Preeminent Master in the World.”

Who would believe that the esteemed Gu Yanxue, the Island Master and one of the Four Saints, would appear so destitute and oppressed?

Among the Four Saints, the Green Dragon Island Master might not have had the highest cultivation, but he was always regarded as the leader of the Four Saints, for this reason.

The group arrived near the main dock of Green Dragon Island, where a fierce battle was already underway.

As it turned out, the island’s night patrol and disciples had all gathered here, entangled in a fierce fight with another group.

The Nine-Yearly Immortal Fair on Green Dragon Island was a major event in the cultivation world. When a powerful figure from a prestigious sect arrived, they were treated with utmost respect. However, this time, the visitors seemed hostile, and storms had already stirred up at sea. Numerous large ships formed a hazy expanse amidst the dark ocean. The flickering lights of the flying sword practitioners floated in the air like stars, and the turbulent waves surged.

On closer inspection, it was true as the rumors among the gossiping cultivators said—there was a figure of a dragon roaming among them!

As if feeling safer by staying close to the Green Dragon Island Master, Li Yun finally snapped out of her panic and regained her vast knowledge. She said, “That’s not a Green Dragon. Green Dragons are ancient divine beasts. How could they appear in the mortal realm? It’s just a water dragon. Strange, isn’t that something exclusive to the West Palace? How did it end up in the Eastern Sea?”

Han Yuan said, “Who knows, maybe it was stolen by some demonic cultivator.”

Li Yun pondered for a moment, infused her eyes with true essence, and strained to look. Astonished, she said, “The Panlong Flag—there’s the Panlong Flag of the West Palace on that ship! But why would the West Palace…”

Green Dragon Island was listed among the top ten major sects, alongside the West Palace. It was secluded and focused on seclusion cultivation, rarely getting involved in worldly affairs. There were no reports of them having conflicts with anyone, so why would they cross the sea all the way to Green Dragon Island in such a gloomy atmosphere?

Before he finished speaking, the Green Dragon Island Master suddenly let out a long roar. The great dragon, which had been dominating the sea, plummeted into the water at the sound, causing splashes that flipped over three boats in a row. The scene suddenly fell silent, and even the previously raging sea and tides seemed to calm down.

Both sides involuntarily ceased their actions, making way for a path. The Island Master walked forward and shouted, “Fellow cultivators from the West Palace, you have come to visit late at night with such a grand display. I wonder what guidance you have for us?”

A horn sounded, and the densely packed ships on the sea suddenly split apart, revealing a Panlong Flag-adorned ship that seemed to emerge from the depths of the dark sea. A white-haired old man stood at the bow of the ship. Although he exuded an aura of approaching death, he still possessed an undiminished might. His gaze, as if tangible, swept through the crowd, and he spoke, “Gu Yanxue, it has been a hundred years. You, the Green Dragon Island Master, are still as remarkable as ever.”

The Island Master frowned slightly and clasped his hands, saying, “Friend Bai Ji has shown great courtesy.”

Yan Zhengming, who had been quite idle as the Sect Leader, only glanced through a few important records in the island’s annals when he first arrived. Other than that, he paid no attention to these matters. He whispered, “Who is Bai Ji?”

Li Yun leaned close to him and whispered back, “The Master of the West Palace. It is said that he is nearly a thousand years old. There were rumors that he would be the next immortal to ascend if he didn’t make it, and I’m afraid his lifespan is also coming to an end.”

Cheng Qian took a breath and struggled to push Yan Zhengming away, standing up on his own. Surprisingly, he asked, “Second Senior Brother, how do you know everything?”

“Shut up. It’s none of your business.” Yan Zhengming immediately forgot to inquire about Bai Ji’s identity, lowered his head, and held Cheng Qian’s pulse, frowning as he examined his injuries.

The back-and-forth between the two contemporary powerhouses caused a great commotion among the onlookers. The curious wandering cultivators from the Scripture Hall climbed trees and rocks nearby, observing and discussing the situation.

The Island Master calmly questioned, “If this is a visit from the West Palace, why didn’t they present an introduction letter? Although my island may be a remote and desolate place, should they not understand the etiquette of being a guest? What is the meaning behind Master Bai bringing people here so brazenly?”

The Panlong Flag-adorned ship had already arrived nearby, and Bai Ji responded, “I am not here for a casual visit. Five years ago, my unreliable grandson left home to travel. He heard that your island’s Immortal Fair was lively, so he joined fellow cultivators and came here to witness the excitement. Later, he communicated with the Communication Palace, saying that he had the intention to learn and broaden his horizons by joining the Scripture Hall on your esteemed island as a wandering cultivator. However, there has been no news from him in these years. We all assumed he was cultivating in seclusion on your island. But recently, the life lamp that he left in the palace suddenly extinguished. I tried to locate his soul using soul searching techniques, but to no avail. Only then did I realize that he… he…”

Bai Ji choked up and couldn’t continue speaking.

Han Yuan frowned upon hearing this. Unlike his oblivious senior brothers, he was someone who had to know about major events and minor matters. He had to listen to the island’s gossip and rumors, but he had never heard of anyone losing their life in the Scripture Hall.

The Island Master gestured, and a disciple hurriedly approached him, presenting a register and asking Bai Ji, “May I know the name of your grandson?”

Bai Ji struggled to suppress his sorrow and tremblingly said, “Shang Yanxia, Xia Li.”

The Island Master tossed the register into the air, murmured something, and the thick register quickly flipped from cover to cover without stopping, before falling back down with the spine facing up.

A disciple beside him said, “Island Master, there is no record of a person named Bai Yanli in the Scripture Hall.”

Someone nearby spoke, “Perhaps it’s an alias…”

Tang Wanqiu, who was standing nearby, interjected, “Ridiculous! What do you take Green Dragon Island for? A place where petty people can use aliases to infiltrate? If it’s not their true name, they wouldn’t appear in the register at all!”

As soon as she spoke, those around instinctively sensed trouble. Sure enough, Bai Ji became furious upon hearing her words, and his hair stood on end as he exclaimed, “What do you mean by that?”