Born in Jiangnan and died in Beimang.
Ming Wei stood at the wine shop at the foot of the mountain, gazing at Mang Mountain with its jade-like peaks in the distance.
Mang Mountain, located north of Luo Yizhi, serves as the final resting place for emperors of all dynasties. From this vantage point, each undulating mountain conceals an emperor whose name will be etched in history.
A truly mythical place where dragons dwell.
“Young lady, the snow is expected to fall for at least ten days. If you wish to ascend the mountain, you’ll have to wait for two months. By then, the snow will have melted, and you’ll have a clear path!” The innkeeper advised her.
Ming Wei shook her head. “Two months from now will be too late.”
The innkeeper wanted to persuade her further, but when she heard the boss’s heavy cough and received a subtle glance, she wisely refrained from saying more and stepped aside.
Ming Wei shook her head and smiled, fully aware of the situation.
The world was growing increasingly chaotic, and survival had become a daunting task for ordinary people. With countless imperial tombs and historical figures buried on Mang Mountain, some individuals resorted to desperate measures.
This inn, situated at the mountain’s base, served as a resting place for those venturing into the mountains.
Most of the current occupants of the inn had murky backgrounds, and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call it a hideout for rogues.
The innkeeper must have mistaken her for one of them.
Of course, she wasn’t, but the purpose of her visit was not something she could share with outsiders.
The world was in turmoil, with evildoers running rampant. Since the invasion by the Northern Barbarians a decade ago, starting with the destruction of Qi and the annexation of Chu, the land had descended into a hellish state.
Over the past ten years, her Master had made various efforts, but ultimately, he couldn’t reverse the course of events.
After her Master’s death, Ming Wei had searched through his notes and discovered that he had left behind the Tianxing Formation on Mang Mountain from his early years. She had inquired and scoured ancient texts, finally finding a method to reverse it.
She recalled the celestial phenomena she had observed the previous night.
The Purple Star remained concealed, the primary star’s radiance had dimmed, and the supplementary stars were scattered; this chaos had persisted for a decade.
However, in recent days, the celestial power was showing slight signs of resurgence.
When the time came, with the celestial forces above and the might of the subterranean dragons, she could activate the Tianxing Formation and seize the opportunity to change the fate of the world and, simultaneously, her Master’s destiny.
Thinking of her Master, Ming Wei touched the wooden plaque at her waist.
The next celestial power resurgence wouldn’t occur for another hundred years, and she couldn’t afford to wait. Moreover, since her Master’s death, she had been pursued by her enemies, and she still bore injuries. If she delayed further, her enemies might track her down.
Thus, this was her sole opportunity, and she couldn’t afford to let it slip away!
Tomorrow, she must ascend the mountain!
Perhaps, by some stroke of luck, the snow had lightened the following day.
While yesterday had seen heavy snowfall, today there were only scattered flurries.
Ming Wei received a hand warmer and some water from the innkeeper’s wife, bowing her head in gratitude.
The innkeeper’s wife smiled and offered a piece of advice, “Young lady, please be cautious. The snow is still falling, and the path is treacherous. Speak softly, for if an avalanche occurs, not even the gods can save you.”
“I’ll heed your advice.”
Ming Wei left the inn and started her ascent up the snowy path.
As soon as she stepped out, several rooms on the upper floor of the inn opened simultaneously, and several burly men armed with knives and swords hurried downstairs.
“Boss, she’s gone up the mountain!”
The leader, One-Eye, wore a menacing expression. “Let’s go! Let’s chase after her!”
One of the men hesitated, “The snow is so heavy; isn’t it too dangerous?”
Gazing at the path where Ming Wei had disappeared, One-Eye smirked maliciously, “Did you notice the badge on her waist? It’s a soul-suppressing token, also known as the Commander’s Order. Do you know what a Commander is?”
“The leader of the world’s mystics, known as a fortune teller,” the hesitant man replied.
One-Eye slapped him across the face. “Nonsense! It’s this cold, she’s been here for days without drinking, and she takes medicine every day. Either she’s sick or injured! Moreover, how old is she, and how much power does she have? She’s unheard of in the world, which means she’s the successor recently chosen by the previous Master. If we get the soul-suppressing token, we can command the mystics worldwide!”
These words ignited the spirits of the men. If they could command all the mystics in the world, they wouldn’t need to spend their days scheming to rob graves.
“Let’s go; let’s catch up!”
The group of men hurried away.
The innkeeper’s wife overheard and sighed with pity. “Another life at stake; it’s a shame for that girl.”
She shook her head and continued her work.
In this turbulent era, even surviving was a challenge; who had the time to meddle in others’ affairs?
She continued her snowy climb up the mountain, pushing onward until she reached the mountainside.
Surveying the surroundings, she saw the snow-capped mountains stretching as far as the eye could see.
According to her Master’s notes, the focal point of the Tianxing Formation was located where the mountains stood guard and where the five dragons drank water.
Mang Mountain was not small, and she, alone, would likely take three to five months to locate the spot.
Fortunately, her Master had also mentioned that he once entrusted a friend to guard the formation here. As long as she could find him, she could find the formation’s focal point.
A rustling sound caught her attention, and she halted her steps.
Blades cut through the air, descending from behind.
She gripped the long flute at her waist, scooped up a handful of snow, and flung it outward.
Though the snow was light and insubstantial, her toss turned it into a concealed weapon, striking several individuals in quick succession.
All the grave robbers who had been tailing her up to this point were sent tumbling out.
Ming Wei smiled faintly and said, “It’s you!”
They had shared accommodations in the inn over the past few days, so she recognized them. Her tone was gentle, as if she were exchanging pleasantries.
The large men were terrified. First, they were astonished by her effortlessly deadly skills, and second, they were wary of the reputation of a life master.
Seeing Ming Wei’s composed demeanor, One-Eye’s heart pounded, but when he glimpsed the soul-suppressing token on her waist, a wicked idea formed.
If they seized this talisman, they could become the leaders of
mystics across the world!
“Young lady, kindly toss the wooden token over, and we’ll spare you!” One-Eye demanded.
Ming Wei sighed, not anticipating that someone in this desolate wilderness would recognize the soul-suppressing token. She also hadn’t expected these thieves to dare to covet it.
This item was not something ordinary people dared to carry.
“Descend the mountain, for I have important matters concerning the world,” she calmly stated.
One-Eye burst into laughter. “Concerning the world? What an audacious claim! Come on, everyone, seize the Commander’s Order. We’ll enjoy fine dining and revelry!”
“Charge, charge, charge!” The thieves rushed forward.
Unexpectedly, at the last moment, their plans fell apart.
Ming Wei tightly clutched her waist wound and staggered to her feet.
She couldn’t descend the mountain; that would guarantee she’d miss her chance.
But she also knew that, with the weather so frigid and her injuries worsening, she might not endure until she found the focal point of the formation.
All she could do was gamble.
Gamble with her life, her Master’s life, and the life of the entire world.
Gods and Buddhas, please grant her more time…
The snowfall intensified, causing her to slip and fall. Her limbs were stiff, and she couldn’t stand up.
The scenery ahead blurred…
In her hazy consciousness, a pair of hands lifted her from the snow and guided her through the snow.
As her awareness gradually returned, she found herself lying beneath the stars at the mountain’s summit.
Water flowed beneath her, producing a soothing melody.
The mountains stood sentinel, and the five dragons quenched their thirst.
In her snow-blinded view, she discerned a tall figure with white hair and flowing robes. He lowered his eyes and caressed her flute.
“Are you a disciple of Tiansuan?” a deep voice inquired.
Tiansuanzi, her Master, and the previous fortune teller.
“The Tianxing Formation is about to activate. Rest assured.”
“Thank you… senior.”
Before losing consciousness, she caught a glimpse of the crimson sword he had thrust into the ground before her.
The blade was red, and its name was Chixiao. This was an imperial sword, rumored to have been hidden by the Northern Qi Dynasty’s royal family.
Her Master had mentioned that his friend was surnamed Jiang and hailed from the Northern Qi royal lineage.
When foreign invaders arrived and the land fell into chaos, he had singlehandedly defeated their leader with this sword, earning him the moniker Sword God of the world.
When the time came, the stars would shine, and the dragon veins of Mang Mountain would stir.
Starlight and dragon’s breath converged on the wooden token hanging from her waist…