Chapter 534 – Within South Hub City
Feng Buquan burned with impatience as he flew as quickly as he could, traversing countless lofty mountains, cities, and villages.
An armoured giant that stood several hundred meters tall appeared on the horizon.
The giant that stood as burly as a mountain pressed down on his sword. At a closer glance, it was not a true giant, but a statue. However, it was unbelievably large and happened to resemble one in both appearance and spirit. Even every single crease in its skin was clearly visible, and its eyes shone with lustre.
He was the first lord of the Green province, bearing the title of the Mighty King of Chu. He raised his head and gazed at the boundless Ink sea, like he was warning and keeping the dragon king hidden in the sea at bay.
Beside the statue, on the shore of the sea, stood a grand city. The royal palace littered across the land that rose and fell as an unbroken chain, forming a single, lofty and glorious body. Combined with the infiltration of time, it was coated in a faint green lustre.
Waves surged and slammed against the city walls, like it was a huge piece of rock withstanding thousands of years of erosion and collision from the Ink sea. However, as it stood within the rising mist of the sea, it also seemed ungraspable.
Feng Buquan’s emotions surged inside. What a familiar sight!
Standing before him was the greatest city of the Green province, South Hub city.
When Feng Buquan stepped into South Hub city, he could not help but feel like everything was still the same, yet everyone had changed. With no time to lament, he directly made his way to the central region of South Hub city.
Guards wielding weapons and adorned in armour stood there like guardian kings in temples, protecting the place and eyeing up any passers-by. None of them actually possessed a cultivation below Foundation Establishment, and they both practised qi and tempered the body. They were powerful. They were figures who could dominate an entire region no matter where they went.
Feng Buquan had once been an esteemed guest of the provincial lord’s estate, so he was familiar with the process. With his presence reported up, he was granted an audience by the Dark Queen very soon.
Within a quiet and beautiful pavilion that could see the sea in the distance, a woman sat quietly by a window. A crescent moon hovered above the sea of clouds. Her expression was chilly as she gently caressed the cat in her arms as she cast her gaze outside. She was not looking at the sea, nor was she looking at the moon. Her gaze simply drifted about, gazing at the empty space.
On the contrary, it was the cat that used its dark green eyes that shone like fireflies to study Feng Buquan. Afterwards, with a meow, it revealed an extremely human-like expression of boredom. It lowered its head to lick its claws, revealing the delicate, silver moon that hung on her forehead.
Feng Buquan said, “Your highness, please dismiss everyone else.”
The Dark Queen finally turned her head and looked at Feng Buquan. The cat let out a meow, and all the female attendants backed away. Afterwards, she said indifferently, “Speak!”
Feng Buquan glanced at the cat, but the cat directly responded, “I’m not leaving!”
Feng Buquan remembered the name of the cat and sighed inside. He bowed deeply. “Your highness, I… found her.”
“What did you say?”
The Dark Queen suddenly stood up. Her voice was chilly and dignified, but it also trembled emotionally.
The cat landed on the ground lithely, glancing at her master in some confusion and letting out a displeased meow.
Feng Buquan said, “I found her. I sensed a hint of the heavenly secrets that belonged to her.”
“Where is she!?”
“I don’t know, but she’s definitely still alive, alive in this world!”
The Dark Queen clenched her hands firmly. Her knuckles whitened as her nails stabbed into her palms. Within the piercing pain, she forced herself to calm down.
“Feng Buquan! I recall you once told me that her life force was drained and death was certain. It’s been so many years, and now you suddenly come to tell me that she’s still alive? And you still don’t know where she is?”
Her voice and expression were both indifferent, without a hint of sternness. However, under the glow of the moon, the shadow behind her constantly grew, climbing up the walls and the ceiling. It was sinister and horrifying, dancing around madly and manifesting her inner perturbance.
Feng Buquan raised his head. “I did!”
“Make it clear for me.” The Dark Queen closed her eyes and let out a long sigh.
Feng Buquan told her everything that led to it. A powerful daemon called “Northmoon” had appeared in the Clear River prefecture and obtained a Water God Seal from somewhere, refining regions of water en masse. The four grandmasters could not find him even when they worked together, so the Marquis of Ruyi requested him to carry out a divination. In the end, he sensed the thread of heavenly secrets that had been severed for all these years again. That was her existence.
The Dark Queen asked, “And then? Did you divine again?”
“I did, but I found nothing.”
“Perhaps it’s merely a false impression.”
“My blind eye, my limp leg, my hunched back, and my heart are all telling me this is no false impression.” Feng Buquan was rather emotional too.
The Dark Queen had also noticed that Feng Buquan’s blind eye had become much clearer, and his hunched back had also straightened out. When he walked in, he no longer limped as badly as when he left back then.
These disabilities had all arisen from the backlash of the heavenly secrets when he clashed with someone in the past. A clash between practitioners of divination could be even more dangerous than a clash between regular cultivators at times. Just lighter consequences involved shortened lifespans, while heavier consequences involved dying on the spot. The injuries they suffered would not be as straightforward as flesh wounds either. Instead, they would be much deeper, closely related to fate.
Technically speaking, as long as a Golden Core cultivator like Feng Buquan did not die, they had methods to regrow their limbs and recover their sight even if their arms were severed and their eyes were blinded. However, nothing could heal the disabilities on his body, as they had already become his “fate”, like a dead knot.
In the past, in order to remunerate Feng Buquan for these sacrifices, the Dark Queen had used the strength of both the provincial lord’s estate and the Umbral Yin sect, yet it was still unable to heal him. Yet now, it had taken such a clear turn for the better. The dead knot seemed to be showing signs of loosening.
Feng Buquan said, “In the past, I could calculate she was already dead, but now, I can’t even calculate whether she’s alive or dead.”
The Dark Queen was finally fazed. She was not absolutely clueless about the heavenly secrets and divination. A situation like this clearly implied the heavenly secrets had changed one way or another. She murmured, “Northmoon!”
“This is an extremely important clue. According to my understanding, this Northmoon is extremely closely related to the Soaring Dragon Elder of the Sword Collection palace’s death. The Sword Collection palace sent Fu Qingjin to the Clear River prefecture primarily to investigate this.”
Reaching there, Feng Buquan glanced at the cat on the table. Right now, she was the one who was most closely related to the Soaring Dragon Elder’s death. If she had not fled for the Dragon province, why would the Soaring Dragon Elder die there so strangely?
“You said Northmeown!? You said Northmeown!?”
The cat suddenly began calling out. When she heard Feng Buquan mention Northmoon, she found it extremely familiar, but she also struggled to believe it. When she left the Ice Sword cliff, he was still a long way away from Daemon General, yet now, even a group of Golden Core cultivators were helpless against him. That did not line up at all.
“Yes. He has a pair of horns, which are engraved with the words ‘north’ and ‘moon’,” said Feng Buquan. He had not brought the good news to the Dark Queen rashly. Instead, he specially carried out a series of investigations, particularly focusing on the only clue so far, the Daemon General called Northmoon.
“It can’t be wrong! It must be Big Blacko! It must be Big Blacko! I want to go to the Clear River prefecture! I want to go to the Clear River prefecture!”
The cat leapt up and turned into a young girl in dark green. She grabbed the Dark Queen’s arm and shook it forcefully. The tail behind her had yet to transform away completely, so it waggled around excitedly.
The Dark Queen was slightly taken aback. “Northmoon is the Big Blacko you speak of?”
“What’s Big Blacko about?” Feng Buquan did have a rough understanding that Northmoon and Xuanyue were both related to the Soaring Dragon Elder’s death, but he was not particularly familiar with the inside details.
The Dark Queen rubbed Xuanyue’s head. “Yue’er came across a daemon in the Boundless mountains…”
“Let me, let me!” Xuanyue excitedly narrated what she went through in the Boundless mountains after meeting “Big Blacko”. Afterwards, she smiled complacently. “He even admitted me as his master! Meowhahaha!”
“Do you know if there’s anyone else by Northmoon’s side?”
Even Feng Buquan had never expected the origins of the name “Northmoon” to actually come from the young girl’s claws standing right before him. The thread of heavenly secrets had clearly appeared that day to cover Northmoon’s location. He definitely had a close connection to it.
“That’ll be Li’l Whitey!”
“And who’s Li’l Whitey?”
“ A little skeleton who didn’t like to talk. Big Blacko is really nice to it.” Xuanyue wrinkled her nose, rather unhappy about this.
Feng Buquan suddenly turned his head and looked at the Dark Queen. There was nothing that was born as a skeleton. In order to be reduced to bones, it had clearly died once before reviving due to some certain reason.
The severance and reappearance of the thread all seemed to be explained now.
The Dark Queen was speechless. Her mind shuddered as she struggled to keep her emotions under control.
She had already heard this story from Xuanyue countless times. In the beginning, she had been perplexed by just how the Soaring Dragon Elder had died, but towards the end, she even lost the interest to investigate. She simply listened along quietly. She had not grown sick of it, but she did lose her initial interest.
However, never did she think it would actually be hiding such a deep secret. An insignificant, measly side character in the story might have been a crucial existence in her life.
The pieces of the shattered puzzle flew together one by one, vaguely assembling into an image.
However, there were still many points of doubt. If that really was her, if she really had been revived from death, why had she not returned? Why did she not tell Gu Yanying her identity on the Ice Sword cliff?
Even if it were all true, could a senseless and mindless skeleton still be regarded as her child?
The Dark Queen exhaled deeply, afraid to develop too much hope. She said in a cold tone, “I want to see them.”
Xuanyue called out, “Let me come along! Let me come along!”
Feng Buquan said, “Definitely not.”
The nine commanderies of the Green province had also been carved up by the three great sects. The Ruyi commandery was located towards the north, within the range of influence of the Sword Collection palace. Only the south was the headquarters of the Umbral Yin sect.
As a result, when Xuanyue escaped last time, the Dark Queen could only leave it up to Gu Yanying, unable to tend to the matter in person. And, the Daemon Suppression alliance also developed vigorously in the north, but it had absolutely no activity in the south.
The central region where the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga resided was a buffer zone. Basically as long as disciples of the two sects set foot in each other’s territory, they would be risking their lives.
Moreover, the war between the daemons and humans in the Clear River prefecture was showing signs of development. If a cat daemon like Xuanyue went there, she would be no different from walking into the belly of the beast. Even her nine lives would not be enough for her to use.
“You ugly monster!” Xuanyue pulled a face at Feng Buquan before turning to the Dark Queen and immediately behaving pitifully. “Please, master!”
The Dark Queen considered it for a moment before actually nodding in agreement. “Alright!”
Just as Feng Buquan was stunned, he noticed the dim light shining in the Dark Queen’s eyes and said, “Let’s go together.”