Translator:Nyoi-Bo StudioEditor:Nyoi-Bo Studio
Everyone’s eyes fell onto Ye Futian and Lian Yuqing on the sparring place.
Ye Futian answered that he knew a thing or two. He even knows how to play the guqin? And is he really trying battle Lian Yuqing using the guqin? Isn’t this going a little too far? Lian Yuqing isn’t like those Futian has beaten. He is a Grade One Noble, and furthermore, one who at the pinnacle of the plane, and ranked fifth on the Law Rank.
The progression of one’s cultivation was usually as most guessedthe higher one’s plane, the deeper one’s comprehension in all areas became. No one thought an outlier like Ye Futian would have appeared, let alone one capable enough to beat both the Tianxing Palace and Xiang Zhiqin. However, it was only natural that Lian Yuqing’s comprehension was definitely higher than Ye Futian’s, as he was, after all, a Grade One Noble ranked fifth on the Law Rank.
Just how did Futian think he was going to best Lian Yuqing playing the guqin?
This is a joke. It was true that Ye Futian had demonstrated extremely eye-catching talents prior to this and proved his worth as the champion of the entrance battles. He was even deemed capable of taking the entire Holy Zhi Palace in five years. His name on the Law Rank would have been incredibly distinct as well. However, now he behaved like a thug. If he were to actually fight Lian Yuqing, wouldn’t he just be trying to embarrass himself?
Of course, there were also those among the spectators who knew that Ye Futian was good at playing the guqin, like Zhuge Xing. Zhuge Mingyue was Ye Futian’s second older sister, and it was only natural that he knew where Ye Futian came from, as well as the reason why Zhuge Mingyue was able to go homethe guqin song played on Sky Mountain all those years back.
He knew what others did not, for many of the students of the Holy Zhi Palace had trained only within the palace for the past several years. They would not have known much about a nobody like Ye Futian. If Ye Futian had been unable to make it into the Holy Zhi Palace, those senior students probably would not have even learned of his existence.
But Zhuge Xing was nonetheless curious. Even though Ye Futian inherited the scores of the Ukiyo song passed down by the two emperors, is he actually capable of playing the subtleties of the song as intended? Just how does Ye Futian compare to one like Lian Yuqing in the art of the guqin?
Lian Yuqing’s eyes never moved away from Ye Futian all that while. Know a thing or two?
“So, you mean to test what you are capable of against me?” Lian Yuqing asked calmly. He felt something was amiss. Ye Futian playing the guqin against me?
Lian Yuqing recalled the day on the Law Battle Platform where Ye Futian said that he would like to hear Lian Yuqing play a song sometime in the future. By that day, did he mean this today?
Lian Yuqing became curious as to how capable Ye Futian was at playing the guqin and if Ye Futian was indeed as exceptional at the art of the guqin as he was at martial arts and sorcery. Even if he proves exceptional, so what?
“It would be my honor,” Ye Futian said slowly as he fixed his gaze on Lian Yuqing. Lian Yuqing’s gaze remained fixed on the silhouette on the Zhonggong Battle Platform. The tone Ye Futian had taken was similar to when he spoke to the Tianxing Palace sudents and Xiang Zhiqin; calm, yet brimming with confidence.
Lian Yuqing was puzzled about what Ye Futian actually based his confidence on, yet the origin of this said confidence hardly mattered. He believed Ye Futian would learn that while it was indeed important for cultivators to have faith in themselves, they were also required to know their place.
“You are a new one on the Law Rank, and it shouldn’t be someone like me to teach you anything personally. However, since you are so eager to prove your skills with the guqin, I am not in a position to refuse,” Lian Yuqing replied and began taking his steps toward the Zhonggong Battle Platform. He dropped onto the platform and came face to face with Ye Futian.
As both of them were standing on the Zhonggong Battle Platform and were going to determine who was better at the art of the guqin, it was only natural for them to do it with guqin songs.
Ye Futian wanted to verify the validity of his idea about the sparring sessions, and as such, he was forbidden from fighting directly. There was, after all, little meaning for a Grade Eight Noble fight a Grade One Noble.
“How do you want to go about it?” Lian asked Ye Futian.
Ye Futian crossed his legs and sat. A guqin appeared in front of him. He caressed the strings with both hands, and the aura around him changed into something else entirely in an instant. At that very moment, Ye Futian looked calm and collected, as if he had become one with the cosmos around him, and of course, one with the guqin before him.
“I will let you decide on that, senior,” Ye Futian said as he began plucking the strings. The sound of the guqin was soon heard, depicting a realm within the minds of those within earshot: tranquil and peaceful like a silent night, casting off all worries and being kept company by nothing else but the sound of the instrument.
The song was one capable of cleansing people’s minds, enabling those who heard it to relax. That demonstration was devoid of the prickly, antagonistic air demonstrated prior.
At the very moment, those who heard the song felt as if they were basking under moonlight while listening to a soothing melody, instead of being at the sparring place. The song was simple, yet the simple song was capable of bringing people of their levels into a realm that was so peaceful and quiet. Ye Futian’s skill with the guqin was indeed formidable.
Ye Futian’s mastery of the guqin apparently was far more than what he had described himselfknowing a thing or twoand he was definitely a master at it.
Seeing that tranquil and handsome young man playing the guqin made everyone feel as if they were watching someone else altogether, as the one playing the instrument was devoid of any hint of obnoxiousness that he so happily demonstrated before. The spectators felt as if they were seeing another side of Ye Futian.
Lian Yuqing knew what Ye Futian was trying to pull. He went on to sit cross-legged as well, and began playing the guqin across from Ye Futian. The sound of his playing melded perfectly with the feeling exuded by Ye Futian. Sounds of both sides melded harmoniously with one another.
“Spectacular,” many said to themselves. Lian Yuqing demonstrated his exceptional mastery at the art by blending in with Ye Futian’s playing.
While it was easy to learn to play the guqin itself, it was very difficult to draw pictures in people’s minds with it. Blending one’s thoughts playing the guqin with that exuded from the guqin songs of others proved even more difficult. They seemed to clash and spar, using their own ways.
Ye Futian’s guqin sounds went smoothly as intended, growing increasingly intense. It was as if a scroll painting was being unfolded gradually, being laid before the eyes of everyone. Ye Futian was not disturbed in any way by Lian Yuqing’s playing. He kept playing his tune. The painting seemed to depict a young man learning to play the guqin from a master. One simple guqin song after another was blended seamlessly by Ye Futian into one song, as if every song had actually been a part of one long one.
With the painting unfolded, the guqin’s sounds spread out as well. The Melody of the White Feathers Garment was heard and many felt as if they saw a palace before them. The young man was playing his guqin there for amusement, yet he also seemed to have been fighting and arguing with someone else.
Lian Yuqing was still playing. His style changed continuously, following Ye Futian’s changes, and went on to stick closely to Ye Futian’s tempo, blending his tune into the illustration. He played a dance tune as Ye Futian was playing Melody of the White Feathers Garment, and the two seemed to be benefiting from each other.
Lian Yuqing’s playing hardly affected Ye Futian’s sounds. The illustration of the songs was still in Ye Futian’s control. The World, a song depicting the grace and glory of the world, was soon quickly replaced by A Chaotic Nation, singing about the sorrows and bloody, noble sacrifices of the world in chaos. As the intensity of the guqin’s sounds grew, many were swept off their feet and taken into the realm illustrated by the guqin’s sounds.
Many saw Ye Futian’s expression change, blending many simple tunes and making one perfect tune out of them. He even infused the song with his own emotions. The resulting image depicted was rich and vivid. Is this what you’d call knowing a thing or two?
However, what Lian Yuqing was capable of seemed even more out-of-this-world. Regardless of the illustrations of the songs played by Ye Futian, Liang Yuqing had no problem keeping up, blending Ye Futian’s style with compatible tunes. There was never a hint of messiness, and it spoke volumes of Lian Yuqing’s mastery at the art. He must have mastered countless guqin songs, being able to play with such poise and composure.
Both men demonstrated their art at guqin through different means and styles.
“He is illustrating his own life and experiences using the instrument.” Many listened quietly and their eyes were filled with astonishment as they looked at Ye Futian. The ups and downs and joys and sorrows of his life were made into something like a fine brew, all found within one song. One was able to feel the impulsive youth gradually turn into someone composed, reserved and confident throughout his experiences. The state of his mind changed with the tune, yet the purity seemed to remain the same throughout.
When the song, Elegance, was played at its climax, everyone’s emotions burned alongside the sound of Ye Futian’s playing. Streaks of light emanated from the statue, draping over Ye Futian as if it had achieved some mystical resonance with him. Lian Yuqing continued matching him with a compatible tune. The long robe reaching the floor billowed in the wind, making him seem like some legendary figure.
“Lian Yuqing is indeed a Musical Sorcerer ranked fifth on the Law Rank, able to blend seamlessly with other people’s playing. While Ye Futian’s skills with the guqin are indeed those of a master, brimming with youthfulness, Lian Yuqing’s mastery is superior in terms of technique.” Many thought it impossible for Ye Futian to learn songs from Lian Yuqing.
However, Ye Futian paused and smiled. “Your art is definitely exceptional, befitting of one ranked fifth on the Law Rank, senior.”
“You are not bad yourself,” Lian Yuqing replied.
“The tune I will play next will not require you to play something compatible. If you were able to play something remotely similar, it would be my defeat,” Ye Futian said.
“If I’m unable to, I’d be the one defeated instead,” Lian Yuqing replied forcefully. He deemed himself unbeatable in the art of the guqin.
“It is a song that I have acquired by chance. I seek your guidance for it,” Ye Futian said, then lowered his head, plucking the strings. An illustration of some sort was born yet again, and it was different from what was played before. What Ye Futian was playing now was no longer about his own life, but was of a spectator telling the story of the life of another person.
Lian Yuqing’s expression was calm. He plucked the strings and played in a similar way. The faces of those around them began to change. They had heard the song on the day of the entrance battles.
The one who played back then was Bai Luli. Furthermore, there were also some from the Holy Sage Pavilion who had heard the tune before, like Hua Fan.
Ye Futian is able to play something like this? Many within earshot were swept into the intense illustration as the sound of the guqin reverberated in the air. Even the statues around them began to emanate beams of light, like they were being touched by the guqin’s sound as well.
Lian Yuqing began to look troubled. The tune seemed to be an exceptional kind. As time went by, he felt that it was rather difficult to keep up with. It was as if the tune was trying to knock him over.
Those adept at the guqin knew to appreciate the songs played. Ye Futian’s song directly interfered with Lian Yuqing’s mind. It was as if that song had no equivalent. At the very least, Lian Yuqing did not feel the songs he knew were qualified enough to match it. His fingers plucked on the strings furiously. The speed of the tune he played slowed, then was sustained by only his exceptional mastery at the art.
When the painting illustrated by the tune was unfolded, it was a mighty, brimming piece. The state depicted by the sound was that of a whole world, the heart of kings and emperors. All eight statues were influenced by the tune, emanating dazzling beams of light in pulses, showering onto Ye Futian. Spiritual Qi danced around in the air, and the Spiritual Qi in the Zhonggong Battle Platform pulsed to the tempo of the guqin’s sounds.
Lian Yuqing looked incredibly troubled by then, however, he did not stop. The tunes he played changed from one to another, and exceptional sounds kept emanating from his instrument. But then again, even his exceptional mastery proved inadequate to cover the one played by Ye Futian. His tune became encroached one time after another, for the tune of kings and emperors would not tolerate being defiled by other sounds.
Stronger illustrations were born. Wind danced on the Zhonggong Battle Platform and the eight statues emanated dazzling light that circled around Ye Futian. The beams were grew increasingly tall. Countless eyes were set on the silhouette of Ye Futian playing. With intense emotions welling up inside them, the spectators watched him play. Their minds seemed to have been entirely carried away by the illustrations drawn by the song, as if telling an incredibly epic legend.
It told of the Divine Prefecture, its history and culture, the chaotic world and the yearning for one to bring order. The illustration became increasingly powerful and vivid as the tune went on. All eight statues glowed with bright, tall beams of light. Air of terror seemed to have been swept in from nowhere. The clouds changed and endless Worldly Spiritual Qi rained down from above. Ye Futian remained seated cross-legged, losing himself in all of it. Many even began to look at him with dazed eyes of admiration.
Twang! A crisp sound was heard. Lian Yuqing’s playing was completely swept away, halting abruptly. The string of Lian Yuqing’s instrument had broken. The guqin was smeared with the blood spewed from his mouth!