The first thing people saw while looking towards the direction of the Holy City was not the establishments themselves, but a huge mountain range. The city was erected right next to this mountain range.
The city was quite large, but it was like a small boulder compared to this mountain range, like a little boat in the middle of a vast ocean.
People called this place the Hidden-dragon Mountains. It spanned for millions of miles like a dragon lying on top of the endless Barren Earth.
The Holy City was tastefully simple and architecturally unadorned. It seemed to have experienced the weathering of countless years but still stood strong.
There was a saying in the Mortal Emperor World — Descent in the East, Holy in the South. This was referring to Descent City in the Eastern Hundred Cities and Holy City in the Barren Earth.
Rumor has it that the Holy City used to be called Heavenwatch City, but later on, cultivators never dared to act wildly in this city, so it became a land of peace. Eventually, people came to call it the Holy City instead. 1
On top of its simplistic style, an endless auspicious air permeated the space above the city all the way into the firmament. A violet aura sometimes condensed in the sky. Needless to say, there were gigantic trees in the area, painting a verdant picture. Waterfalls fell from the sky alongside the palaces and floating peaks above…
Outsiders had never heard of any unbeatable sect or imperial lineage in the Holy City. Only some clans were mentioned at best. However, they would be sorely mistaken if they looked down on the Holy City for this reason! The Holy City was the gathering spot of the human race and was considered to be on the same level as the Eastern Descent City; these were the two biggest enclaves of the human race in the Mortal Emperor World.
Here existed the bases of the most ancient clans while sects and lineages were not as imminent. For example, one could only hear about a few clans such as the Cao Clan. However, those who understood the city knew that these quiet clans had existed for countless years. They were even older than some imperial lineages.
According to the tales, for many generations now, quite a few Immortal Emperors had visited the Holy City. Moreover, they never showed off their auras here and only came like ordinary people.
Even Immortal Emperors didn’t want to disturb the peace of this place. After arriving, they would come to look at the old remnants of the wise sages.
Because of this legend, the Holy City had always been tranquil. Even those who had feuds would not fight inside the city. They would go outside to settle the score instead.
While standing before the gates of the Holy City, one would see another rolling mountain range in front of them. It was extremely majestic and magnificent, rendering the spectators breathless by weighing down on their hearts. This spectacular mountain range was a beloved topic of the inhabitants of this world — the Godwar Mountains; it is said that a battle between deities had taken place here!
Li Qiye softly sighed while looking at the distant Holy City. He turned around and saw the Godwar Mountains behind him and his mind became even heavier.
After the final battle that year, rivers of blood ran rampant and mountains made of corpses occupied this land. Eventually, a new dawn was ushered into the nine worlds, signaling the end of the Ancient Ming Era.
Back then, after looking at the generals and wise sages who survived to walk out from the ruins, he asked with a heavy heart: “Where shall you all go from here?”
After a long silence, some generals wanted to continue following him while others wanted to return home at last. A portion of the army said: “We are willing to guard this land to protect the last light of dawn for the Mortal Emperor World!”
Since then, a battalion of this army stayed behind in this land and started their own families. They built a gigantic citadel and gave it the name, Heavenwatch! It wasn’t until much later that it became known as the Holy City.
This was not a pleasant feeling for Li Qiye as he stared at the Godwar Mountains. The most gifted and brilliant geniuses along with many invincible wise sages followed him to battle back in that era.
However, a countless number of them died here. It didn’t matter if one was a blessed son or daughter of the heavens or a wise sage, if one fell in battle, another would take their place. Because of them opening the path with their blood and lives, the army was able to stop one wave of attack after another from the Ancient Ming’s forces!
That war was too tragic. Their enemies were not only Godkings but even Immortal Emperors! In the end, they were victorious and even Immortal Emperors were defeated. The new golden era began for the nine worlds! 2
“Brother Li, are we entering the city?” Ye Chuyun gently asked after seeing Li Qiye’s dazed state.
Li Qiye’s mind eventually returned. He looked at Ye Chuyun before shaking his head: “You go in first, I want to go to someplace for a bit. I’ll meet up with you later.”
“Okay, I have to meet a senior anyway.” Ye Chuyun was very sensible with her answer: “Just let me know when you are free.”
Li Qiye slightly nodded. Ye Chuyun didn’t say anything else and bade farewell before entering the city with haste.
Li Qiye sighed and determined his next destination, then he headed towards a certain peak.
There were many hills between the Holy City and the Godwar Mountains. In fact, the path to enter the city required crossing these hills.
Many people lived on these numerous and spiritual hills. They built their own little towns. Both cultivators and mortals entering or leaving the Holy City could rest at these places.
Apricot Peak was among these hills. This pretty peak was of average size and already had a master. There was an old expansive courtyard. The word “Xu” was inscribed on a tablet by the entrance.
Meanwhile, at the bottom of the peak was another old building. It was a winehouse that also had a plaque with the word “Xu” in front of the door, swaying with the breeze.
Apricot Peak’s Xu was a small clan. However, this winehouse that was so humble in size seemed to be timeless.
Both mortals and cultivators coming by this place would stop for a drink at the winehouse for a bit. Every once in awhile, someone would ask the old shopkeeper: “Were any of your ancestors cultivators?”
It was not strange to ask this question because at the Holy City and even the thousands of miles surrounding it, many mortals’ ancestors used to be cultivators.
The old shopkeeper only smiled and never answered this type of question.
One could smell the strong fragrance of liquor the moment they entered Apricot Peak. This was the same for Li Qiye. Smelling this familiar fragrance made many emotions emerge in his mind. He didn’t know what to say at this moment.
“Xu Clan’s aged wine, such a memorable and nostalgic smell.” Li Qiye murmured.
The Xu’s winehouse had been here for a long time. By the time the youths nearby began to be aware of their surroundings, the winehouse had already been around. After so many years, it continued to prosper for generation after generation.
There weren’t that many customers when Li Qiye stepped inside. Outside of several mortals drinking away, there were only one or two cultivators resting.
The shopkeeper immediately greeted him. Li Qiye went to the second floor and sat down by a window.
Li Qiye was somewhat absent-minded while looking at Apricot Peak outside. The shopkeeper asked him: “Sir, what would you like?”
Li Qiye calmed down and looked at the old shopkeeper and his familiar face before sighing. A descendant of the Xu Clan… He ordered: “Get me a bottle of wine and some snacks.”
The shopkeeper confirmed what Li Qiye wanted and was about to leave, but Li Qiye called him back and spoke with a soft voice: “Is your Xu Clan still doing well? How are the children?”
The old shopkeeper turned around and didn’t find this question strange. He said with a smile: “Sir, thanks to everyone’s blessings, my Xu Clan has been running this restaurant for a very long time now. Although we don’t have that many children, they are full of filial piety.”
“That’s good, that’s good.” Li Qiye nodded gently.
Li Qiye sighed once more while watching the old shopkeeper leave. Xu Clan… In that distant era, it was such a powerful and prosperous clan.
It was mighty to a fearful level. Even Godkings from the Ancient Ming Clan wouldn’t dare to provoke it.
When he decided to attack the Ancient Ming, he had tried to lobby many people. The Xu Clan’s ancestor was the first to answer his call. Moreover, the whole clan and its disciples joined in this drawn-out war!
At the moment of final victory, the Xu Clan only had the ancestor and their youngest daughter left. Li Qiye always became dejected when he recalled the little girl.
She was a very lively girl with exceedingly high talents. After the war, she became withdrawn and quiet, like a completely different person! She had lost too much during that cold war and couldn’t bear the shock.
Later on, he came to see the girl several times and saw how a lively girl became a silent shadow. The wounds of war wouldn’t heal, causing his heart to feel uncomfortable every time they met!
1. Similar motif to Heavenguard, but a different word. 2. Plurality is not explicitly stated here, but it can be plural. Assuming both singular and plural can be problematic in this translation, but I believe plural is the right choice here.