On 14th day of the 6th month, at the Great Chen Empire within Hulao Pass was Old Town. This town held a single mansion, named “Gu Mansion”.
Accompanying the inside of Gu Mansion, the street around it were also full of sumptuous feasts and a constant stream of guests were bustling about!
But at this occasion, a team of people garbed in mourning clothes arrived as the originally noisy and joyous feast abruptly halted. In all four directions, a large number of army soldiers stood making the original festive scene, in the blink of an eye, turn into a freezing cold atmosphere.
“Is it not Mister Gu’s 70th birthday today? Why have these soldiers surrounded us, they are capable of attacking at a moment’s notice, ah, how are these so many troops?”
“No, No. Mister Gu is simply not involved in politics. Not a single official would dare find fault with Mister Gu!”
“Wait, just then…. That was the Crown Prince! The Crown Prince was wearing mourning clothes and he was followed by all the civil and military officials!”
“How can this be?”
“It’s true. That was really the Crown Prince… and the Crown Prince was wearing mourning clothes?….Is can’t be….!”
Suddenly, a horrified expression was revealed on the face of all the guests on the street roads.
The Crown Prince wears the mourning clothes only once. Does that mean… the current Sovereign is dead?
Wasn’t the current Sovereign fighting in the front lines against the foreigners? Moreover, I heard that he was victorious in battles again and again!
Suddenly the guests on the street roads all had a shocked countenance with horrified expressions.
Everyone’s face became pale, as apparently, there was too much of a delay in their information network.
At the Gu Mansion!
Most of the guests in the front courtyard and street roads were enjoying the splendid feast, but in the backyard it was rather quiet. Here, there was a tower that was seven stories tall. In the Gu Mansion, no, even in the whole town it was the tallest building. One could oversee the entire town just by standing at the top of the tower.
This tower was named the Soaring Heaven Tower!
Next to the Soaring Heavens Tower, there was large group of people from the Gu Mansion solemnly standing there, watching the group of civil and military officials, along with Crown Prince Chen, bowing towards the Soaring Heaven Tower. Immense grief was clearly visible on their faces.
Among them, there was only one person who did not kneel. That was Chen Taichi’s third grandfather who was also the sect’s white robed man.
“Nephew Chen Lianyi seeks an audience with Uncle Gu and requests Uncle Gu to avenge Father Emperor!” exclaimed the Crown Prince Chen Lianyi while his face revealed an expression full of mourning.
The Chen Empire was on the path of utter destruction and the Crown Prince did not know how long he could keep the throne. The day that the Chen Empire is destroyed, even if he survived, he may have to face the Immortal Sect’s wrath and he didn’t know whether he will live or die. Father Emperor had said this person was able to turn the raging tides against them, and that he is also Father Emperor’s sworn elder brother.
Chen Lianyi would not even frown at kneeling and would even kneel three days and nights just to save the Chen Empire.
The people of the Gu Mansion, and many of their servants were staring with completely open eyes.
This, is the current Crown Prince! Also aren’t these the civil and military officials? How could it be? They came here just to see the lord?
“Gu Hai, I’m the Clear River Sect’s Chen Tianshan, do you still remember me? Crown Prince Chen along with all the civil and military officials are kneeling in front of you, what do you want!” shouted the white robed man while standing.
All of the Gu Mansion’s people who were watching felt their eyebrows twitch. Led by a thirty or so year old middle-aged man wearing azure gown, with an ordinary appearance, he stood beside the Soaring Heaven Tower, as if all the Gu Mansion’s people were led by him.
“Great Young Master? You must not……!” said one servant, as if wanted to say something.
The middle aged man garbed in azure robes coldly looked past him, and with one look with his eyes, it suddenly scared the servant into silence.
The Gu Mansion prestige could not be provoked.
The great young master wearing azure gown didn’t bother to pay any attention to everyone who came to see Gu Hai, but patiently guarded the outside of the Soaring Heaven Tower.
“Uncle Gu, before Father Emperor died, he made this nephew seek Uncle Gu. In addition to this Father Emperor asked me to say on his behalf that, in those days Father Emperor was wrong, and is extremely sorry!” said Chen Tianyi while weeping, while at the same time his whole body trembled.
From inside the Soaring Heaven Tower, came a distant sighing sound.
Everyone’s expression stirred.
Once again from the Soaring Heaven Tower came a sound from an old man, “Immortal Chen Expert, during your visit, this old man has neglected you. Gu Qin, welcome the Immortal Chen Expert inside the tower, and also, allow Chen Lianyi to come up!”
The Great Young Master Gu Qin guarding the entrance of the Soaring Heaven Tower, suddenly with a respected look, said, “Yes, foster father!”
Gu Qin, who now opened the tower door, faced Chen Tianshan and said, “Immortal Chen Expert was neglected, my father has not seen a guest for a long time, and has offended you many times today. Come in please!”
Chen Tianshan nodded his head.
“Crown Prince Chen, please come in as well!” Gu Qin respectfully said.
Chen Lianyi, with a sliver of excitement, climbed up right away.
Gu Qin lead Chen Tianshan and Chen Lianyi into Soaring Heaven Tower!
The tower gate once again was closed and started to rise up.
Tower have seven floors, both discovered that each floor is full of bookshelves, filled with countless books.
At the sixth floor.
Chen Tianshan, Chen Lianyi finally saw Gu Hai.
In front of the window of that Soaring Heaven Tower, at this moment a visible huge Weiqi board was placed, but it was different from the usual Weiqi board. Above a normal Weiqi board there are 19 horizontal and vertical lines, but, above this Weiqi board there are 29 vertical and horizontal lines.
The Weiqi board was filled with pieces, but even the layout of the Weiqi board was not clearly visible.
The Weiqi board aside, an old man garbed in black robes stood, and he looked about seventy years old, with snow white hair, and an extremely serious face. Although some wrinkles were present, but both of his eyes were very bright, and it seemed as if it could easily see the heart of the people, making Chen Lianyi, in his heart, a little afraid.
This is the richest man in all six empires, Gu Hai?
“You are Gu Hai? No you’re not Gu Hai! Your eyebrows…………?” Chen Tianshan’s eyes were staring at him.
However, the old man smiled slightly and said, “Immortal Chen Expert remembers me pleading next to the waterfall? Indeed this old man is Gu Hai. At that time just to avoid some unnecessary troubles, I grew a beard and drew the eyebrows!”
Chen Tianshan looked at him closely, and indeed he was Gu Hai, but the most memorable part of that time, was actually false? Nevertheless this person was the same man, and there was not that large of a difference between the current and the previous look, however because it was Gu Hai how was posing, Chen Tianshan was absolutely sure if Gu Hai hadn’t mentioned it before before he would’ve thought he hadn’t seen Gu Hai.
“Uncle Gu, my father is dead. He said you are his sworn great brother, and earnestly requested Uncle Gu, to consider the mutual affection between sworn brothers, and take revenge for my father!” Chen Lianyi once again knelt.
Gu Hai’s eyes squinted a little looking at Chen Lianyi, after a moment of silence said, “In those days he and I were sworn brothers, but then he also wanted to kill me, so you cannot count on the pretended mutual affection between brothers!”
“Ah?” Chen Lianyi complexion became stiff.
Chen Tianshan brows were slightly wrinkled.
Gu Hai looking at Chen Tianshan said, “I know why have you come to me. The three passes have fallen, and Gao Xianzhi has also killed the 600000 soldiers of all three passes. It doesn’t matter whether the high officials or lowly commoners are all united, the Chen Empire soon will be destroyed. At this moment, they have left behind 100000 inferior and conflicted soldiers, and you want to block the Song Empire’s Tiger Wolf Army of 800000 soldiers, you’re saying this is possible?”
“What? Gao Xianzhi has killed 600000 soldiers? They’re only prisoners!” Chen Lianyi exclaimed.
“It was done just before four days at noon!” Gu Hai calmly said.
“You, how do you know this?” Chen Lianyi exclaimed.
However, Gu Hai said nothing.
On the other hand, Great Young Master Gu Qin however was acting as an attendant on one side, and respectfully poured a cup of tea to Gu Hai, then once again poured a cup to Chen Tianshan.
Gu Hai slightly gestured to Chen Tianshan, and sat himself down.
Chen Tianshan took a look at Gu Hai, his eyes had a strange expression, normally when an ordinary mortal saw a person from the Immortal Sect, all of them would be respectful to the Immortal, but to his surprise Gu Hai was so insipid?
“Chen Taichi said, if it’s you, it is possible!” Chen Tianshan sat down and said in a heavy tone.
Gu Hai reached out for the teacup, took a sip: “Mountain and rivers are destroyed, just in half month, Gao Xianzhi army next will directly push deep and will arrive at Hulao Pass, Hulao Pass have only 100000 soldiers, about this stuff you are more cleared than me, with these people you want to resist 800000 soldiers of Tiger Wolf Army? Oh, not to mention during the resistance, these group of people will defect as soon as possible, and perhaps Gao Xianzhi will not even have to take any actions, and Hulao Pass will be broken on its own!”
Chen Tianshan and Chen Lianyi’s complexion changed, as Gu Hai didn’t even need to alert them, because it was very likely to happen.
“Uncle Gu, I beg you to come out and just rescue the Chen Empire, you should be able to do something!” Chen Lianyi suddenly cried.
On the other hand Chen Tianshan also with affirmation on his face said, “Correct! Do you have any method for this to be possible?”
However, Gu Hai eyes suddenly squinted, said, “Oh? Since the Immortal Sect is caring for the Great Chen Empire in such a way, why doesn’t Immortal Chen Expert personally act? I think with your strength taking the head of the general inside the army should not be that difficult. Moreover, your Immortal Sect, among the secular empires, will not control just this one Great Chen Empire, why not make the other empires to aid Chen Empire? Instead why come to me, this old man whose entire body stinks of money?”
Chen Tianshan wrinkled his brows, after a moment of silence said, “This is a war between only two countries, and does not allow the other empires nor the sect’s people to intervene and aid them!”
“Is not allowed?” Gu Hai complexion suddenly changed, and in his eyes there was a sliver of a glint.
Although he only heard these words Gu Hai, on the other hand, in the blink of an eye, heard a lot of information, and it was as if he had seen one big opportunity. It was to the point that his heart was like an ancient well where there wasn’t a single ripple but at this time suddenly a ripple appeared.
Suppressing that single ripple, Gu Hai drank some tea.
“The situation the Chen Empire is in is already hopeless. Nevertheless, I’ll still ask, but if you cannot, then that’s the end of it!” said Chen Tianshan heavily.
Gu Hai didn’t speak, but took a glance at Chen Tianshan and Chen Lianyi.
After a while, Gu Hai solemnly said, “Saving the Chen Empire, it’s possible but………!”
“You can save Chen Empire? How will you save?” Chen Tianshan showed a trace of surprisement.
“I have one condition!” Gu Hai solemnly said but didn’t give any further explanations.
“Oh?” Chen Tianshan looked towards Gu Hai.
“Uncle Gu, what do you want, as long it’s something I have, I can give it to you!” said Chen Lianyi, who got up due to the pleasant surprise got u.
Gu Hai didn’t paid any attention to Chen Lianyi, but stared at Chen Tianshan and said, “I need, Clear River Sect’s Chief to empower me, and completely help me to breakthrough the Houtian Stage barrier! Attack the Xiantian Stage! Furthermore, also let me learn a Xiantian Stage exercise of the Clear River Sect.”
“What? You are at the Houtian Completion Stage?” Chen Tianshan suddenly stood up due to surprise.
Gu Hai solemnly nodded his head.
“Impossible, with your skeletal root, at that time I’ve seen it, you simply cannot cultivate using Internal Strength(内功). With such a poor skeletal root, and starting after 30 years,even cultivating External Strength(外功) for one lifetime, you would be unlikely to exceed the 5th level of the Houtian Stage and you say you’re at the 10th level of the Houtian Stage. That is absolutely impossible!” Chen Tianshan suddenly cried out.
“External Strength? What others cannot do, does not mean that this old man cannot. Houtian Stage cultivators lifespan is only 100 years, and once they reach Xiantian Stage, their lifespan is 200 hundred years, this old man is past his prime age, if I do not breakthrough Xiantian Stage, External Strength in my body is about to disseminate, well, I’ve already reached houtian complete Stage, even you at Jindan Stage isn’t enough to help me, only if it is your sect chief then it is possible, you go talk to your sect chief, as long as he agrees to my terms, I would save Chen!” Gu Hai heavily said.
Chen Tianshan stared at Gu Hai with an unbelievable look and his eyes were filled with surprise.
External Strength? How ridiculous, using External Strength to cultivate up to complete Stage of Houtian? This vulgar cultivating method, relies entirely on masochistic talent, and even if one exhausts their entire potential, they could not exceed the 5th level of Houtian Stage. Ah, it has never been seen before. This Gu Hai had actually reached Houtian Completion Stage?
“I only have this requirement! How is it?” said Gu Hai while staring at Chen Tianshan, and there was a sliver of expectation in his eyes.
“You first save the Chen Empire, then I’ll talk to the sect chief!” Chen Tianshan heavily said.
However Gu Hai slightly smiled, shook his head. Didn’t speak, simply looked at Chen Tianshan.
“Sect Chief is simply not here, how can I promise sect chief’s help? You first save Chen Empire, I will go and report it sect chief!” Chen Tianshan heavily said.
“There is at least two weeks before Gao Xianzhi’s army arrives at Hulao Pass, and two weeks is enough time for you to go back to sect and come back, and as long as your Clear River Sect’s Chief promises this one thing, I’ll instantly save the Chen Empire. However, after saving the Chen Empire, the kept promise should not be delayed, but I want your sect’s chief’s approval on the agreement!” said Gu Hai in a firm voice while staring at Chen Tianshan.
“Two weeks? Many things could happen in these two weeks, and perhaps we might lose Hulao Pass! At that time you’ll come and save what Chen Empire? Moreover, after two weeks, we’ll be under Song Empire’s Tiger Wolf Army of 800000 soldiers, and with just 200000 inferior soldiers how are we going to resist?” said Chen Tianshan unhappily with a frown.
“Two weeks? Rest assured, fall apart or not, how to defend, that’s my thing, you return a day early, Chen Empire is a day earlier away from danger!” said Gu Hai with a sliver of determination in his eyes. If the promise had not been confirmed, then Gu Hai would’ve not taken the risk.
Chen Tianshan staring at Gu Hai, with coldness surging in his eyes said, “Gu Hai, this is what you said, and if you cannot save the Chen Empire. If you deceive us you know the consequences…………….!”
Gu Hai didn’t paid any attention to Chen Tianshan, turned around to see Chen Lianyi, and said, “As Chen Taichi is dead, that’s the end of those past grievances, and although I live in the Chen Empire, every year I also paid a large amount of taxes to the Chen Empire. I’m also subjected to Chen Empire’s shelter. Today in the six empires, as long as I want to migrate, regardless of which countries will favourably greet me, I can go. The reason all these year I stayed in Chen Empire was only because I was not willing to give up some worries. Between you and me there is no grudge, and I also do not owe you anything. If you want me to save Chen Empire, then you will have to wait for Immortal Chen Expert’s news!”
“Yes, many thanks Uncle Gu!” Chen Lianyi suddenly respectfully said.
“First go back, today there are many guests in my mansion, that have not been served!” said Gu Hai while sending him out.
“Yes!” Chen Lianyi nodded his head.
Chen Tianshan stared at Gu Hai for a moment: “I’ll at once return to the sect, and request Sect Chief’s approval. I hope what you say is true, otherwise………….Humph!”
Turning around, Chen Tianshan with Chen Lianyi quickly left.
Nearby Gu Qi looked at Gu Hai, with a slight frown said, “Foster father, currently for the Chen Empire there is almost no solution, how can you save the,? Aren’t you………..!”
However Gu Hai once again looked at the Weiqi on the table, and after taking a deep breath said, “I know there is no solution, and listening to their tone, no sects are allowed to intervene, and only allowed secular world power to fight. It is tantamount to the saying, ‘a wounded baby fighting fiercely in vain’, but this is also this father’s last opportunity. The Houtian Stage and the Xiantian Stage is only separated by a border, however this separation is tantamount to heaven and earth overturning. If I enter the Xiantian Stage I will return to prime of my life! I only have this one opportunity to become young! Therefore, this great trouble must be dispelled!”
“Yes!” Gu Qin with some concern nodded his head.
“I’ll think of some countermeasures, so do not bother me, and leave!” Gu Hai heavily said.
“Foster father, today is your birthday, you want or not want to……………!”
“No, just a moment ago I’ve received the best birthday gift, so go………!” Gu Hai waved his hand, gesturing him to leave.
Gu Qin nodded his head, then left.
Gu Hai leant against the window, watching below the army withdrawing. Playing with a black Weiqi piece in his hand, his brow knitted together: “On my 30th birthday, I collected 100000 endgame puzzles, and inside the library I stumbled upon this ‘Black Piece’.Who would have thought that you brought me from my world, Earth, to this world and in the blink of an eye it has already been forty years, what kind of secret do you really carry? Is it simply just for those 100000 endgame puzzles? I studied and tried to understand them for tens of years, and I also studied and understood most of them, but in these years, you however didn’t move a single bit, how do you want me to understand you?
Gu Hai slightly sighed, stretching out his hand that was holding the black piece and placed it in between the eyebrows.
To his surprise that black piece strangely penetrated the skin, and drilled in between Gu Hai’s eyebrows.
After entering in between the eyebrows it sunk into Gu Hai’s brain, and in that space between his eyebrows, in his brain, there was a space in which there were 100000 Weiqi boards, and one by one endgames were placed inside the space. These 100000 endgames were seeming to be constantly operating, pieces constantly changing inside, and this ‘Black Piece’ floated over the 100000 endgames, as if it was a king overlooking all 100000 endgames.
1.Neigong or Internal Strength, also spelled nei kung, neigung, or nae gong, refers to any of a set of Chinese breathing, meditation and spiritual practice disciplines associated with Daoism and especially the Chinese martial arts. Neigong or Internal Strength practice is normally associated with the so-called “soft style”, “internal” or neijia 內家 Chinese martial arts, as opposed to the category known as Waigong or External Strength 外功 or “external skill” which is historically associated with shaolinquan or the so-called “hard style”, “external” or wàijiā 外家 Chinese martial arts. Both have many different schools, disciplines and practices and historically there has been mutual influence between the two and distinguishing precisely between them differs from school to school.
- Weiqi: Weiqi is is is an abstract strategy board game for two players, it’s very much look like a checkerboard, it has black and white pieces and you capture a or many pieces by surrounding with pieces of opposite color. In japan it is called Go, in korean Baduk. More you can learn here. A standard Weiqi board have 19 checkered lines (19 horizontal and vertical lines).
(Also for context western chess has 18 lines including the outside ones)
- Endgame (puzzles): In chess and chess-like games, the endgame (or end game or ending) is the stage of the game when few pieces are left on the board.
- Some information about Dantian: According to Scriptures Of Numinous Treasure, human beings have three treasure, namely three dantian placed in three inch below the navel, in heart and in brain. Called lower dantian, middle dantian and upper dantian respectively. These three loci in the human body play a major role in breathing, meditation, and Neidan (Internal Alchemy) practices.
The lower dantian proper and is the seat of essence (jing). Different sources place it at 1.3, 2, 2.4, 3, or 3.6 inches (cun) below or behind the navel, and consider it to be the same as, or closely related to, other loci in the same region of the body: the Gate of the Existence (mingmen), the Origin of the Barrier (guanyuan), and the Ocean of Breath (qihai).
The middle dantian is at the center of the chest according to some authors, or between the heart and the navel according to others. It is the seat of breath (or “energy”, qi) and is also called Yellow Court (huangting), Crimson Palace (jianggong), or Mysterious Female (xuanpin, an emblem of the conjunction of Yin and Yang).
The upper Field is located in the region of the brain and is the seat of spirit (shen). Also known as Muddy Pellet (niwan) or Palace of Qian (qiangong, with reference to the trigram representing Pure Yang). As regards to upper dantian, one inch between the eyebrows towards the back of the head, there is Hall Of Light, an inch further lies Grotto Chamber, yet an inch further reveals the Niwan palace.All these lies along one line towards the back of head.