NARAKA: BLADEPOINT – Ultimate Guide to Lore

Yueshan

Chapter 2: Temporary Goodbyes

“You first, Yueshan.”

“No, you go first.”

“I’ll be heading to Yuanzhou. There’s a case there that implicates the remnants of the rebels at the East Palace.”

Yueshan looked at the young girl speaking in front of him. She wore the black officer uniform of the capital guards and was holding an oiled umbrella with an excited look burning in her eyes.

“Shayol…”

Before Shayol could finish, Yueshan interrupted her, indicating for her not to continue. Only then did she realize that she had almost blurted out secret information to him. Though Yueshan was the person she trusted most, even more than her own adoptive father, Lord Qi.

“I’m sorry, Yueshan. That was unprofessional of me.” She was embarrassed.

However, Yueshan did not seem to have noticed it and just answered with a soft hum. “Come on, I’ll head to the justice department with you.”

“Yueshan, you didn’t brave the rain to see me just to walk with me, did you? Wasn’t there something you wanted to tell me?”

The early spring drizzle persisted through the whole night. Shayol had waited until the rain was lighter in the morning before heading out. She was only planning to report in before heading back to pack her luggage, but there was Yueshan, standing alone in the alley as soon as she opened the door. Without an umbrella, his usually messy hair was wet by the rainwater, which traveled down to his armor, and the sword which he always kept a firm grip on also had water dripping off it. It seemed like he had been standing there for a while.

Shayol ran over in a hurry with an umbrella in hand. She was planning to go and visit Yueshan after packing her luggage, but she did not expect to be visited first. As if in tacit agreement, both opened their mouths to speak at the same time, informing the other that they had something to say.

“Your complexion doesn’t look good. Was it that nightmare again?” Yueshan asked Shayol without answering her question.

“No, I just stayed up reading documents and didn’t sleep well.” Shayol looked up at Yueshan, whose eyes were filled with worry, and squeezed out a smile before adding, “I haven’t had that nightmare as much since moving out from the Qi estate.”

“That’s good. You should smile more.” When he saw the rare smile on Shayol’s face, he said, “Even your nickname, the jade-faced judge has reached my father’s ears!”

“So you came to laugh at me?” Shayol blushed at his words. She stole a glance at Yueshan’s well-defined face and her heart felt as if it had been rammed by a buck. In order to conceal her bashfulness, she raised a handkerchief to wipe the rainwater from Yueshan’s armor before clicking her tongue. “It’s raining so heavily, why didn’t you bring an umbrella?”

Yesterday night, Yueshan had been uneasy while speaking with his father. Though he knew that Shayol, who was just like a little sister of his, was a firm and ruthless person, it was still difficult to see her as one of the terrifying members of Anicca as in the rumors. Even if he had already agreed with his father, Yueshan still wanted to try to probe her and mentioned the name, “Jade-Faced Judge”, on purpose to see what sort of reaction Shayol would have, but he never would have expected that it would be taken as a joke instead. So, he looked up at the dark sky and said, “I’ve been assigned to Cloudsparrow, and I’ll be heading up north tomorrow.”

“That’s good news!” Shayol grabbed onto Yueshan’s arm in excitement just like she would when they were kids. From how Yueshan struggled to speak earlier, her heart was going wild with anxiety at what he was going to say, and in her mind, she thought it might be about the two of them… After finding out that Yueshan had come to say his farewells, however, she did feel much more relaxed. The two of them were childhood friends, and she knew that it was his dream to gain great achievements on the battlefield, something that was difficult to do while standing guard at the imperial city.

Yueshan suddenly shook off her hand. This should have been something normal for the two of them when they were young, but today, it felt as if something had stung him. Shayol stopped in her steps and looked at him in surprise, but Yueshan did not notice her gaze. It wasn’t until he walked out of her umbrella and into the rain that he turned back to look at the confused Shayol.

“Have you gone to work on a case for the ‘justice department’, or is it ‘Anicca’?” Yueshan let his question slip in the end.

It was no wonder why he was acting so unusual today. He thought I was a part of the government’s assassin group, ‘Anicca’! Shayol’s blush dimmed.

“Do you still trust me, Yueshan?” Her quiet and husky voice broke the silence after a while.

“I’ll believe anything you say,” Yueshan answered with sincerity.

“I’ve never hid anything from you before!” Shayol looked into his eyes. “But Yueshan, you’re hiding something from me, aren’t you?” Her expression gradually turned serious, the same look she directed to her peers usually.

“No! It’s just…”

Should I tell her? From where do I start? The government? His father’s orders? Her past? The suspicions about the East Palace? Or the rumors about the ‘Anicca’? Countless thoughts filled his head, blocking up his mouth like a bunch of scattered mahjong pieces.

“The (yamen) runners are here.” The icy cold rain dripping on Yueshan’s face cooled his head a bit. Not far away, a guy wearing the uniform of the capital guards entered Yueshan’s vision, saving him from an awkward situation. “It’s a long way to Yuanzhou. Take care.”

With his head down, Yueshan walked past Shayol to leave.

The rain grew heavier, further wetting Yueshan’s armor. Shayol gripped her handkerchief, but she did nothing in the end. Quietly she put away the handkerchief, but she passed him it as he walked past.

“Hold onto it yourself. Better not get wet. Whatever you say… I’ll believe it.” Yueshan muttered a soft sentence before striding off into the curtain of rain without even turning back.

Shayol watched his back as he left and forced down the rest of her questions. Taking her eyes away, she returned to the usual stony-faced “Jade Officer” and left toward her colleagues. 

Chapter 3: Bandit Encounter

Yueshan rode on his beloved horse, Moon-Chasing Snow Qilin leisurely on the forest road. This was Yunzhou’s boundary, which was half a day away from Yunzhou City. It has almost been half a month since Yueshan set off from the Imperial City, Zhongzhou, bringing no subordinates along and instead going north alone to Yunzhou with his transfer slip.

He had no idea whether Shayol’s trip went smoothly or not… Yueshan couldn’t help but think back to their parting on the back of his horse. Ah! He wouldn’t have cooled Shayol’s heart with his actions then, right? Yueshan shook his head and tightened his brocade robes. Yunzhou was slowly getting colder then and though the valley was filled with vitality, it was still mixed in with a hint of coolness.

*Bang—*

Following the sound of a gunshot, Snow Qilin kicked up a mass of dirt with its front hooves!

*Skid—*

It was only by pulling the reins hard as soon as he could that Yueshan could avoid being thrown off Snow Qilin’s back and onto the ground when the horse rose onto its hind legs.

*Shh, shh—*

Yueshan pulled the reins tightly with one hand while rubbing the platinum mane of his beloved horse with the other in an attempt to calm it down as quickly as possible.

A cacophony of noise from both men and horses emerged from the woods on both sides of the track. In less than a cup of tea’s time, a dozen burly men emerged from the trees and blocked Yueshan’s path.

“That’s a pretty nice horse you have. How much?”

Yueshan looked over to the source of the voice and saw a man on a black horse in front of the group, wearing a black robe and covering his face with a piece of black fabric. He was just passing the musket in his hands to the lackey beside him, so he must’ve been the one to fire that shot from earlier.

“This Lord wants to buy your horse, name a price!” Seeing no response from Yueshan, the masked man came forward on his horse and shouted again.

This was no friendly encounter. Yueshan knew that he must have bumped into a marauding expert. From the way the masked man spoke earlier, he seemed intent on scoring this “business deal”. He had no idea whether they could be so smug, however, if they found out who they had run into.

Yueshan scoffed in his heart, but he did not answer. He just silently took off the bright silver spear from the side of his saddle, which was enough to say it all!

“Oh? So you’re a martial artist, are you? Then let me be your opponent!” The masked man waved his hand to the side, and there was already a brawny man readily coming forward to present him with a gold phoenix-wing trident

Grabbing the trident, the masked man burst out in laughter before raising his trident and charging at Yueshan on horseback. When Yueshan saw the man approaching, he also prepared his spear and charged to meet him.

*Clang!*

The moment both horses crossed each other, both spear and trident clashed, drawing sparks in the air!

“You’ve got skills!” The masked man did not forget to provoke him while turning his horse around. He rested his trident on his shoulder and shouted, “But still a bit worse than me, your grandfather!”

Yueshan frowned. When he saw the masked man brandish his trident, he knew that this ape must have frightening strength. Sure enough, the burst of pain coming from the joint of his thumb reminded him to pay attention.

*Cling! Clang!*

As the bandits roared in the background, both men and horses clashed twice more, but neither could take the upper hand. Neither party seemed able to take down their opponent in a short amount of time, ending up in the continued bucking of their horses and preserving duel. The long spear in Yueshan’s hand shuttled back and forth like soaring dragons and dancing snakes while the masked man swung his trident like a fierce tiger coming down its mountain. The two sped up more and more as they fought, like two windstorms colliding, silver and black, the warhorses beneath their legs following suit.

“Since you won’t sell me that horse, then you shouldn’t think about living either!” A glint flashed in the masked man’s dark eyes. He heard him howl and wave his trident, bouncing off the spear tip and aiming for his chest. Then, like fishing for the moon in the lake, he swept the tip of his trident from down to up towards the head of Yueshan’s steed.

Yueshan reined his horse abruptly as soon as he saw this, and Snow Qilin, long familiar with its owner, raised its hooves high in the sky at the signal, evading the strike of the trident. Yueshan brought the reins to the side and Snow Qilin put strength in its back hooves, turning its body a half-circle in mid-air. As his horse was making the turn, Yueshan mustered up his energy to thrust his spear right at the masked man’s back.

“Nice try!” The masked man yelled. He seemed to have guessed that Yueshan would attack him from behind and dodged to the side. Hooking the spear tip with his trident, he locked Yueshan’s spear tightly in place with the winged tips of the trident head.

Both spear and trident were locked in place. Yueshan put strength in both arms, intent on retrieving his spear, but the masked man tightened his grip, intent on disarming his opponent.

“Hmph!” The masked man sneered, a murderous aura clear in his eyes. He turned the head of his trident slightly to the side and slid straight down the base of Yueshan’s spear. If Yueshan still did not let go, then the fingers on both his hands would be sliced off by the winged tips. Yueshan knew this, but holding the spear firm with his left hand, he pushed with his right hand, and the spear in his hand bounced forth towards the masked man’s face. The masked man turned his body around and the spear whizzed past the tip of the masked man’s nose, shooting straight into a tree trunk on the side of the road!

Only by abandoning his spear did Yueshan gain the initiative. He unsheathed the treasured sword on his back and before the masked man could react, thrust thrice towards the masked man’s wrist. The masked man was taken aback by Yueshan’s deft swordplay for a moment and roared in anger. Ignoring the trajectory of Yueshan’s blade, he thrust his trident out desperately in Yueshan’s direction. Even Yueshan did not expect the masked man to use such a reckless tactic and could only abandon his assault. As he dodged aside to evade the trident, he clasped its base underneath his arm.

Yueshan grabbed his opponent’s trident and raised his sword with the other hand, slashing it against the man! The masked man could only let go and allow Yueshan to take away his trident! Holding up the trident, Yueshan slammed it straight onto the head of the warhorse underneath the masked man, sending blood and gore flying in an instant…

The masked man’s horse swayed side by side before falling to the ground. And, as the horse fell, the masked man pulled a rope from his sleeve and lassoed Yueshan’s spear which was stuck on the tree trunk. While Yueshan made a second attempt to stab him, he tugged on the rope, lifting his body in the air and jumped towards the tree.

“You dare kill my horse?!” The masked man gritted his teeth and roared before pulling the spear from the tree. Kicking the trunk hard with both legs, he jumped away from the trunk, flying man-and-spear towards Yueshan’s direction.

*Clang!!!*

Yueshan may have blocked his attack, but he was knocked off his horse by the masked man alongside the trident!

Rolling on the ground with the spear, the man immediately got up and brandished the spear, thrusting towards Yueshan. Yueshan had just been knocked down to the ground, both trident and sword falling from his hands. He could only dodge to the side and avoid the strike which was strong enough to split rocks. Yueshan knew that if this were to continue, then he was sure to fall into a disadvantageous position. So, when he saw an opening, he ran towards the masked man and covered his view. Being run into, the masked man was bewildered for a moment. By the time he came back to his senses, Yueshan’s large fists were already bashing against his face…

Gritting his teeth, the masked man took the beating while forming his hand into the shape of a claw, thrusting towards Yueshan’s jaw. Yueshan could see a cold glint from the masked man’s hand, seemingly in possession of a sharp weapon. So, he raised his head to avoid it, but the bag on his body was snatched away by the masked man. Tearing apart the bag, the clothes and rations inside the bag fell out.

“Tsk, poor bastard!” The masked man spat. Then, he saw the piece of paper that fell alongside the contents of the bag, as well as the vermillion seal of the Eternia Kingdom’s military…

*He couldn’t be…*

“Scatter, brothers!” The masked man bellowed. While running back to his companions, he snatched one of the warhorses and got on as he barked orders at the men around him.

“Your horse will be mine sooner or later!” The man howled on his horse as he sped off into the distance.

In an instant, all the men were gone from the forest, leaving behind only the cool spring winds that scattered Yueshan’s hair into a mess. Even though Yueshan came out in a miserable state from the fight, the knots in his heart seemed to loosen up for some reason, filling with an indescribable sense of freedom!

Matari

Chapter 2: Assassination

“Is the secret treasure lair of the sand bandits really here?” Zhao Jia hopped down his horse and asked the meek young girl next to him.

“Y-yes. I wouldn’t dare lie to you, sir.” The young girl answered in a stutter.

“Don’t worry, I’m here. Nobody will harm you.” Zhao Jia put his arms around the girl’s shoulders and pulled her close so he could whisper in her ear.

However, the girl broke away from his arm as if she had been stung by an insect.

“S-sir, I’m sorry. I…” The young girl was worried that her earlier behavior might have angered the man, so she quickly kneeled down and apologized profusely.”

“Don’t worry about it. Lead the way!” Zhao Jia eyed the girl’s face which was red from either fear or embarrassment with a gaze of amusement, and his voice was soft as he gave the order.

The girl stood up and walked into the dark alley in small steps. Meanwhile, Zhao Jia tied his horse around a tree nearby and followed her in.

After walking for a while, the girl who walked ahead stopped all of a sudden, and her shoulders began to shake as if she had seen something terrifying.

Zhao Jia put his hand on his sword’s hilt and asked cautiously, “Why did you stop?”

“Sir, I’m scared…” The girl turned around with tears twinkling in her eyes.

Smirking, Zhao Jia went closer to comfort her. “Don’t be scared. I sent out a false report so those bandits definitely won’t even be in the city right now.”

“But sir, why didn’t you deal with those horrible sand bandits with the army?” The girl held the man’s arm tightly and looked up at him with an innocent gaze.

Perhaps this behavior pleased Zhao Jia greatly, or it might be the soft feeling against his arm that was making him waver, but he did not admonish the girl for overstepping her boundaries.

“That’s a secret…” Zhao Jia winked at the girl before whispering to her, so as to create a mysterious mood. “Let’s keep going!”

While having the girl lead the way, he thought to himself, of course this is a secret! The sand bandits have made Holoroth their territory for many years now and have robbed the city of countless treasures. If I could pilfer just a part of it, that would be enough for me to live a pleasurably luxurious life. As long as the Tang family doesn’t find out, that is…

“Hurry up! I’ll be right behind you, so no need to be scared!”

For some reason, hearing what he said caused the girl to blush. Though unwilling, she fixed her skirt and leaned down to enter the hole.

Zhao Jia finally understood why the girl was blushing after they’d entered the hole. Right in front of him was the girl’s round and smooth rump that appeared even more plump underneath her tight chiffon skirt. As she slowly crawled forward, her smooth, fair, and firm legs would also come and go from his vision.

What a shame… Zhao Jia had to sigh as such a wonderful beauty was going to be lost soon.

What if he kept her by his side? Forget it. He couldn’t be completely sure that she wouldn’t run her mouth after what happened today, but maybe he could enjoy himself before she died… After all, even if the bandits were able to come back alive by chance, they wouldn’t be able to return so soon. Zhao Jia could feel a wicked flame thrashing wildly inside of his body. If only he could press down that beautiful body underneath him right then and there inside the hole…

Just as Zhao Jia was letting his fantasies run wild, his vision opened up ahead. They’d reached the end of the tunnel. He followed the girl out of the hole, only to see another short house on the other side that was no different from any other narrow house in Holoroth.

*What’s going on?* As he was about to question the girl, he realized that she was nowhere to be seen.

“Ah!!!”

Zhao Jia felt a pain in his midsection, then half a foot of a dark blade protruded from the front of his belly. 

“Sir, don’t you find this room familiar?” The girl silently appeared behind him with a teasing tone in her voice, completely unlike her bashful self from before.

Zhao Jia was about to unsheathe his sword, but his arm was caught by the girl from behind.

“Let me remind you that you’ve used the heads of several of Holoroth’s people and exchanged them for merits while parading them as the heads of bandits when you first arrived here.” While speaking, she twisted the dagger in the man’s body.

“Who… are you…?” Large beads gathered on his forehead.

“I’m Holoroth’s phantom.” The girl pulled out her dagger before stabbing it into Zhao Jia’s heart from behind. As the blade penetrated his body, an oddly shaped key was pushed forward by its tip.

“By the way, my name is Matari.”

Tianhai

Chapter 3: Defection

“Tianhai, hurry up and hand over the Mask of Immortality.”

“Senior Brother, give up now and we will plead with the elders for your mercy as a token of our camaraderie.”

“Tianhai, have you gone crazy? Do you wish to see all the living souls of this world perish alongside you for your own selfish desires?”

At a short canyon located southwest of the Helioth Kingdom, the Heralds who stood at the cliffside took turns shouting down into the valley. Not far behind them stood a middle-aged man with his hands clasped behind his back, dressed in fine robes and sporting silver hair. The look on his face was haughty and proud as he looked down into the gorge with a cold glare.

Tianhai, my ward. You did not fail my expectations after all. You alone were able to spin a dozen of the Heralds’ elites in circles for months on end, and it wasn’t until I personally stepped in were you forced into your wit’s end. Not even the Psylith genius from a thousand years ago, Orochi, was as difficult to deal with as you. With your abilities, you would make a fine heir to my post as leader of the Heralds without question.

A shame it is, a shame indeed…

That you would dare go against our greatest taboo, to take the Mask of Immortality as your own!

Bang!

Just as the leader of the Heralds, Omnius, dispersed his thoughts and was about to call upon his men to surround Tianhai, something happened at the canyon’s entrance. A great fireball blasted out from below, and two of the closest Heralds to the cliff were caught by surprise and sent flying by the hot gush of air into the skies.

“Shield!” A thick rock wall was summoned with a single thought from Omnius’s mind,  shielding his front. Despite that, the explosion had left him an unsightly, dirt-covered mess.

Boom… Boom…

He fell for it! Seems like Tianhai had made preparations at the canyon beforehand.

As a string of explosions rang out from all ends of the canyon, Omnius’s expression grew all the more wretched.

“Steady yourselves, do not…” With a tap of his foot, Omnius jumped onto the stone wall in front of him, but before he could finish his sentence, he saw Tianhai jumping through the dense smoke from the explosions with his sword aimed right at his face!

Ding… Clang… Clang… Clang…

In the blink of an eye, Omnius gathered energy in both hands, wielding it as a weapon. The blades of energy came and went, clashing against Tianhai’s sword a total of four times.

“Hmph!”

Omnius had seen through Tianhai’s old tricks and smirked. Then, the wind blades on his right hand disappeared, and his palm was thrust lightly in Tianhai’s direction!

Bam! Tianhai was sent flying by the seemingly powerless thrust of his palm, causing him to slam heavily against the rocks behind him. With a loud noise, dozens of cracks formed on the face of the mountain, and the treasured sword in his hand had also been broken into several pieces.

“Twine!” With a clench of Omnius’s fist, a dozen tendrils shot forth from the cracks, securing Tianhai firmly to the face of the mountain. The explosions outside of the canyon had just settled at that moment, and the Herald disciples who had fallen over from the tremors could finally stand up…

Omnius levitated into the air, slowly making his way above Tianhai…

“You’ve got guts, Tianhai!” Two energy blades shot forth from Omnius’s hand, piercing through Tianhai’s scapula before stabbing into the face of the mountain.

“I’d be willing to spare your life if you’d hand over the Mask of Immortality now. You should know that I’ve always been lenient with our kind…” Two more flickering blades of energy appeared on Omnius’s hand as he spoke.

“You want me to hand over the Mask of Immortality? Very well… But only if you can guarantee that it’ll never make another appearance in the land of the mortals!” Even though his entire body was tearing apart with pain, Tianhai forced himself to keep his head up and spoke with rigid determination.

His response drew a frown on Omnius’s brow.

“I’m beginning to feel disappointed in you, Tianhai! I was wondering why you’d keep the Mask of Immortality for yourself, but to think that you would actually…” Omnius did not finish his sentence. Instead, he leaned his head back and let out a long sigh.

“Hah…” After a moment, he withdrew the blades and sneered. “The realm of the mortals… Without us Heralds, do you really think that realm of the mortals would still exist?!”

“Just as well, we ‘Heralds’ would never exist if it were not for the ancient gods, Moonbane and Sunwing,” Tianhai snapped back at him, mimicking his tone.

“We can talk about sophistry after I bring you back to Kama!” Omnius clawed his hand on Tianhai’s chest, and as it moved back bit by bit, the oddly-shaped mask was gradually pulled from Tianhai’s body the very same way that Tianhai had taken it from the Flame Emperor’s body!

“You… can’t… take it!” Following his shout, a golden light burst forth from Tianhai’s body. In an instant, his body swelled more than twenty feet in size, and his spirited, handsome appearance suddenly transformed into that of a menacing god. Even more amazingly was that four thick and robust arms had grown out of his back!

Tianhai had transformed into a giant Vajra and shook off Omnius’s bindings. Then, as his body moved, a palm the size of a grown man was sent in Omnius’s direction!

Bang! There seemed to be surprise in Omnius’s eyes, yet he was not panicked. He simply moved his right hand, which held the Mask of Immortality, behind his back as he gathered extreme Yin true Qi in his left palm, clashing with Tianhai’s enormous palm!

Taking advantage of his large size, Tianhai clasped his hand to take Omnius into his palm. Only, to feel the extreme Yin true qi shoot through his hand before he could fully close it, rendering his entire arm immobile as if it had been submerged in the depths of an icy cold bog. Seeing that Tianhai was already an arrow at the end of its flight, Omnius retrieved the mask into himself before throwing out his right arm. Like cracks of lightning, ten consecutive punches were thrown in all parts of Tianhai’s body!

Tianhai’s large body staggered onto its knees before he returned to his original form…

“I never thought you would succeed in learning the Vajra transformation that had been lost in teaching for so long.” Omnius looked down at Tianhai who was still slumped on the ground, asking in fearful suspicion, “Was it through the help of the mask?”

“Hahahaha…” The complete defeat he suffered from Omnius gave him a strange sense of ease that he had never felt before. He turned around and lay on the grass, looking up at the ever-changing clouds in the sky, breaking out into laughter. “I would rather die than touch its accursed power!”

“You expect me to believe that you’ve merely been running away with the mask?” Omnius found himself more and more unable to understand the workings of his ward’s mind.

“No! I will travel the world in search of a way to seal it!” A flame was set alight in Tianhai’s once listless eyes.

“Fine. I will give you a chance.” Omnius made up his mind after a moment of careful thought. “In a hundred years, you may join the mortals on the island in the fight to seize the Mask of Immortality! However, if you are to fail, then I will be the one to waste your powers and keep you imprisoned for the rest of eternity!”

“A hundred years… Is that truly all the time that’s left?” Tianhai mumbled to himself on the grass for a while before crawling up and kneeling before Omnius. “Many thanks to Master Omnius for your grace!”

“No need to thank me. I have one more piece of advice for you,” Omnius spoke, “The Mask of Immortality has only appeared several times in the world of the mortals, but the fight between them has never stopped since ancient times. If you are doing this for the mortals, then I’m afraid you will still be greatly let down in the end.”

With that, Omnius took to the skies and left without regard for either Tianhai, who remained kneeling on the ground, or the rest of the Heralds’ disciples.

Wuchen

Chapter 1: Interrogation

At Morus Isle’s prison island, a frail and ashen young man was imprisoned within its dungeon.

“Junior Brother Wuchen, time to eat!”

The door to the dungeon was opened and a plump figure appeared at the door.

“Junior Brother, guess what your Senior Brother brought you today!” The person at the door called out to the chained young man as he went toward him.

“Who did this?!?!” He exclaimed furiously as he walked up to Wuchen, only to see two jade daggers pierced through his wrists, runic markings carved onto their hilts.

“Senior Brother Zhong, thank you for your kindness! But I’m currently…” Wuchen raised his head with much difficulty and mustered from his lips, which were pale and bloody from being chewed on.

“Hmph!”

A thunderous sound suddenly blasted into Senior Brother Zhong’s ears, and as he looked toward the source of that noise, a cold sweat broke out on his body. It turned out that he and Wuchen’s master—leader of the Heralds, Omnius, was sitting silently under the shadows on the stone seat opposite Wuchen.

When Omnius saw Zhong Er standing dazedly without moving, he shouted, “Get out!”

Stumbling, Zhong Er quickly clambered out of the dungeon as if he had been pardoned.

“He seems to treat you well!” Omnius glanced at the lunchbox that Zhong Er left on the ground, and with a light tap of his finger on the armrest, the lunchbox was instantly reduced to dust as if it were subjected to immense pressure, causing the soup inside to spill all over the ground.

“Now, continue!” Omnius spat as he looked at the pale-faced Wuchen before him.

“Master, I truly do not know why the Psylith rebel would revolt all of a sudden. She seemed to have known you would not be in Morus Isle,” Wuchen was anxious to explain, “This disciple would not dare to cover for those criminals even if I had been given courage from the heavens!”

Omnius sighed. “It seems you wish to taste the full punishment of the five elements before you’re willing to spit out the truth!”

“Master, no!!!” Recalling the Earth and Metal punishments his master had just inflicted on him, Wuchen could not help but tremble at the thought!

“Flood!” Omnius turned a deaf ear to Wuchen’s pleas and turned his right hand over, lifting it slightly.

Before Wuchen could react, the sphere of water that was conjured from thin air enveloped his head completely. Wuchen thrashed his head desperately to shake the sphere off his head, but to no avail as the water sphere clung to him as if it were a part of his body…

“Leech!” Omnius spat out a word after about an incense stick of time, just as Wuchen was nearing his limit.

All of a sudden, the water sphere enveloping Wuchen’s head split into thin streams before slithering into seven orifices as if they had a life of their own. Wuchen was on the verge of suffocating, but before he could even catch a breath, immense pain shot through the wounds left behind from the punishment of metal that he had just endured earlier.

“Ah…” Wuchen yelped with a voice laced with fear. He watched as a thin vine ripped through the still-bloody wound on his arm and probed out from the other side!

Even though Wuchen had known that his Master had given up on cultivating the Fervent’s qi manipulation techniques long ago and turned to the Five Element Arts, he never knew that his Master’s skills would be so… bizarre! But what scared Wuchen even more was not the pain that the parasitic vine brought him, but that the thin and soft living tendril was sucking the Yin-Yang energies from his body little by little! Wuchen watched unblinkingly as the skin on the back of his hand gradually withered and turned old. He was so shocked that he had even forgotten to plead for his life!

“True Flame!”

As Omnius summoned his powers once more, the inch-long vines that probed out from under Wuchen’s skin suddenly burst into flames!

“Ugh… Argh…!” Wuchen screamed from the sudden punishment. Even though the bright flames did not burn his skin, the heat and pain was transmitted into the very depths of his soul! Wuchen had not felt such pain and misery even when his soul was split apart back then!

Just as Wuchen thought he was about to collapse, all the flames dissipated from his body. Wuchen’s head hung limp, but he could not help the corners of his lips from turning up slightly, because he knew that he finally made it to the end of his punishment!

Omnius stood up from his seat and walked behind Wuchen, placing his right palm over his heart on the back. A short while later, Wuchen could feel the dried-up well of Yin-Yang energies gradually replenishing inside of him.

“Still reluctant to speak?” Omnius grabbed Wuchen’s rough hair and forced him to look up.

“It was my fault, Master. I failed to keep an eye on the Psylith rebel! This disciple is willing to accept any punishment!” Wuchen uttered weakly.

“This isn’t the nonsense I want to hear!” Omnius released his hand in disappointment.

“Fervent, Arisen, and Psylith used to be one, now differing only in the path in which we pursue. We have sealed the powers of the Psylith and imprisoned them on this island so that they can repent for their sins!” Omnius returned to the shadows. “I know that you owe the Psylith Tushan a favor, but I’m afraid I can’t consider the act of covering for a fugitive anything favorable, not for you nor anyone else.”

Wuchen thought he could breathe a sigh of relief upon hearing the tone of Omnius’s voice easing up, only to then hear him say, “Perhaps I’m getting too worked up over the escape of a single Psylith, but what I simply can’t understand is…”

Wuchen had just relaxed slightly when he was raised on tenterhooks again. He scrambled to explain, “I believe that Senior Brother Tianhai must have formed an agreement with the Psylith rebels, and that must be how those Psylith rebels knew to strike once you had left the island!”

“Is that so? Why do you think that?” Omnius asked as he stared down at the disciple kneeling on the ground.

“Yes. Without help, there’s no way that Psylith could escape Prison Island! The island is nearly a thousand miles from Morus Isle at the very least. Without outside help, it would still be a difficult task to escape with her ability!”

“That’s right… With her ability, she should have been no match for you!” There was a sharp glint in Omnius’s eyes that struck straight into the depths of Wuchen’s heart.

“It was my careless mistake. This disciple did not realize that her powers had been unsealed! When she knocked this disciple unconscious, it seemed that there was no less than a thousand years of power accumulated behind that strike!” Wuchen raised his head to meet Omnius’s eyes, which were filled with suspicion, and raised his voice anxiously to plead, “This disciple is willing to pay for his crimes by hunting down those rebels!”

“Prove yourself. Let me see your determination and ability!” Omnius gave a solemn command.

Prove himself?

Wuchen glanced at the dagger in his wrist from the corner of his eye and gritted his teeth. Then, clenching his hand, he pushed himself to pull his right arm toward his left. As he struggled, the metal cuffs dug deeply into his skin, and as it pushed against the dagger embedded through his wrist, it began to loosen slowly as well…

“Argh…” Wuchen’s hoarse cries echoed in the dungeon once more.

Omnius watched on as his disciple ripped his own right hand apart in order to free himself from both the chains and the jade dagger binding his wrist. Then, with his teeth, Wuchen bit down firmly on the dagger pierced through his left wrist and struggled to wrench it out.

“Enough!” Omnius flicked his sleeve, instantly shattering the shackles on Wuchen’s left arm and ankles. No longer sparing a glance at Wuchen, who was still kneeling on the ground, Omnius turned around and left the dungeon. Before exiting through the door, he left him with a few cold words. “Rest up and recover well. You shall be elected to join the tournament to become the next envoy of the Heralds. Do well and win, then do a good job and redeem yourself.”

Chapter 3: Travel to Helioth

It was no wonder why some Heralds never feel like returning to Morus Isle after departing from it.

The thought suddenly came to Wuchen as he stood on a hillside, watching the sun rise from beyond the horizon in the distance. A habit gradually formed in him in the several dozens of years that he’d been away from Morus Isle, and that was the habit of watching the sunrise everywhere he went.

Wuchen turned around and looked upon the Spirit Valley at dawn, where vaguely a familiar aura seemed to appear in his perception.

Sure enough, it was here. It seemed like myths and legends weren’t all false after all.

“Run, Kurumi! Quickly!”

Wuchen heard the desperate cries of an old man deep inside the valley.

It was time for him to make his appearance. When he saw the wisp of “qi” stop moving all of a sudden, Wuchen no longer hesitated to leap into the valley, blocking off the path of the deep purple demonic mist.

Looking back at the wisp of “qi”, he found it to be a girl. She seemed to have tripped over a pebble earlier and was now lying on the ground, unconscious.

That may be for the better. It’s still early for you, so allow me to send you off.

As Wuchen began chanting, a Tai Chi Ward quickly formed under the girl’s body.

Viper

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Twenty-five years ago, the eighth prince of the Icurian Empire fled toward the snow mountains after his suffering defeat in the battle of Holoroth, where he was saved by a Maiden of the Yushan Whisperers, Aconita Ning. After Aconita’s ascension to the position of Matron, she found herself pregnant, but the eighth prince had fled with the next Maiden, Daelyn Gu. Consumed by rage, the Matron of the Yushan Whisperers pinned all her hopes and resentment on her newlyborn daughter.

Therefore, Viper Ning received extremely strict training since childhood. Once she became the Maiden of the Yushan Whisperers, Viper Ning became able to sense the world through the aura of the Yin god, Moonbane.

Unlike the previous Maidens, Viper was more like the executioner of the cult without feelings of her own, only a duty to kill. The prey hunted down by Viper were like hares falling into a venomous viper’s trap, waiting for slaughter.

After a mission she received in Eternia of the Icurian Empire, Viper met Justina by chance, and the two clicked immediately. However, the good times did not last long. Viper caught Justina using ice arts by chance and discovered that her mother was the traitor of the Yushan Whisperers from all those years ago. Daelyn exchanged a secret for her daughter’s life, but she died under Viper’s blade. From then on, Justina formed a grudge against Viper for slaying her mother.

In the following years, Viper earned herself a reputation in the martial arts world as the Crimson Night while avoiding Justina’s pursuit.

Now, Viper received a new mission: to head forth toward Morus Isle and seize the Mask of Immortality, the final chess piece to resurrect their revered Yin God Moonbane. This time, however, Viper had her own plans.

Justina

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The crown prince of the Icurian Empire came to rescue a young woman called Daelyn Gu at a mountain stream while searching for his missing eighth brother at the foot of Yushan Mountain. As time went on, the two fell in love and became involved with each other. Later, when Daelyn became pregnant, the crown prince brought her back to the Icurian Empire’s imperial city of Centralis.

The crown prince named his eldest daughter Justina, and young Justina was conferred the title of Grand Princess. The emperor had no daughters of his own, so he doted on this granddaughter very much. When Justina was five, the eighth prince returned to the Icurian Empire and launched a military revolt by burning down the crown prince’s palace under the pretext that the crown prince was raising a Yushan Whisperer witch with the intention to rebel. With the help of others, Justina and her mother fled from the fire, but they suffered severe burns.

Later, Justina’s mother was taken to sea by Darrus Cui, navy marshall of the Icurian Empire and trusted loyalist of the crown prince, but time went and they never heard back from the prince. In desperation, Darrus sent the pair to Lunazra to hide.

So that her daughter would be able to protect herself, Daelyn passed on both her ice energy and martial arts to Justina and temporarily changed her surname to “Gu”.

For more than ten years after that, they still received no news from the crown prince. Justina also gradually mastered the ice arts. Unable to wait any longer, Daelyn returned to the Icurian Empire with her daughter and opened an antique shop in Eternia, the Pluvial Pavilion, all the while secretly inquiring about the crown prince and her younger daughter…

Shayol

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Shayol Wei grew up in Lord Qi’s estate, and it was from his lips that she learned of her birth. Her father, Wei Changqing, was the Commander of the Golden Keepers, but the Wei family was destroyed during the retaliation of the remnants of the former Crown Prince’s accomplices in the Eastern Palace incident. On that day, the entire Wei family perished in the flames, save for a young Shayol Wei.

Shayol had been haunted by the same nightmare since her childhood. She dreamt of herself trapped in a maze of fog, unable to find her way out. The nervous and quiet Shayol spent her days in the company of Lin, her mute maid, until one day, when the Wuning Lord visited the eighth prince with his son, Shayol Wei got to meet a big brother who could finally give her the trust and peace of mind that she needed—Yueshan.

Instilled with hatred for the rebels at a young age, Shayol Wei volunteered to join the Kings Judiciary when she grew up as part of the Golden Keepers to keep peace within the Imperial City. During her tenure, she met with her partner-in-justice for many years forward, the fourth young master of the Tang family, Tang Zhi.

A series of unusual murders in the capital was apparently connected to a mysterious cult from the south, the Valley God Sect (谷神教). At this time, a large-scale rebellion was brewing in the south, so the imperial court withdrew its troops from the north and sent them over to quell it, and the Yueshan would be the commander of that unit. When Shayol Wei was ordered to investigate the case, she discovered that the sect’s wealth was being channeled to the south through various means, and the Yue family was implicated, being imprisoned under suspicion of collaborating with the rebels.

Shayol had no choice but to head south in order to strip Yueshan of his military power and arrest him so that he may be sentenced. Yueshan, however, defied the order and chose to go with the leader of the rebels, Tessa, to a mysterious island called “Morus Isle. Left with no other choice, Shayol, too, headed toward the isle to give chase….

Lyam

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Lyam Liu, born in Jinling City of Fortuna. He was the young master of the Liu family, one of the five greats in Icuria’s martial arts world, a family wealthy enough to destroy entire nations.

Lyam Liu had been obsessed with martial arts from a young age thanks to his father’s influence, but due to his lacking achievements, friends and relatives often compared him with his extremely talented cousin, Tarka Ji. Fortunately, he was born with great tenacity and had never been discouraged. After rigorous self-training, he mastered the Platinum True Qi that had been passed down generation to generation in the Liu family.

Just as Lyam’s martial prowess was improving, his father quietly left home and disappeared. Two years later, his father appeared dead after falling off a cliff…

Holoroth

Holoroth and Surrounding Territories

The oasis amid the vast desert, nourished by the melted snow of the Yushan Mountains, had always been a resting spot for traveling merchants of both the East and the West. Over time, the oasis became a hub connecting several major trade routes: west to Lunazra, east to Icuria, and north to the Canis lands.

In the beginning, a Lunazran merchant and believer of Aquila funded the construction of the Plumed Castle in the oasis. The completed structure was like a large soaring eagle, and as more and more merchants settled down near the castle, the number of inhabitants grew, developing a small country on the trade road—Holoroth was born. Even the merchants who initially set up here did not expect their descendants to become kings of a nation.

Three hundred years ago, Canis’ collaborative forces entered into a fierce battle with Icuria. Supplies were tight, so the Grey Wolf King sent envoys to Holoroth, seeking to borrow funds. Due to the powerful influence that the Icurian merchants had in Holoroth, they denied his request and cut down his envoys. Furious, the Grey Wolf King changed his target and launched an attack on Holoroth instead. With the help of the warriors they recruited and their skilled craftsmen, Holoroth resisted Canis’ forces for five years. In the end, the Grey Wolf King personally led his troops to Holoroth and unleashed the Mask of Immortality’s power on them, toppling the kingdom overnight. During the war, the royal family of Holoroth was culled. Only two collateral princes survived, stealing the keys to the Plumed Castle’s treasure trove and each fleeing to Icuria and Lunazra respectively to seek refuge.

After that battle, Holoroth turned into a dead city overnight. For a long time after that, Holoroth was covered in dark yin essence, and the barriers of the sky and the earth weakened, unable to support each other; the riverbeds dried up and large boulders hung in the sky. It wasn’t until recent years that the destructive power of the Mask of Immortality subsided, and Holoroth gradually regained some of its vitality. An armed force claiming to be descendants of the royal guard took over the Plumed Castle and restored it, while the bandits and thieves that used parts of Holoroth as their secret bases would plunder any passing merchants.

During the 1648th year of the Icurian calendar, 26th years ago, a descendant of the escaped prince who fled to Icuria managed to convince the Icurian Empire to help him restore his country. The Eighth Prince, Lord Qi, volunteered to lead his personal forces to escort Prince Erus to Holoroth. Unexpectedly, Lunazra would also send out the other prince, Prince Haffe, to succeed the throne. Neither force would recognize the other as true and accused the other of impersonating royalty, and a fierce conflict broke out in Holoroth. The Eighth Prince was defeated due to a lack of troops and disappeared during the battle, but soon after, Icuria’s Crown Prince led a large army to act as reinforcements, repelling Lunazra’s forces, expanding into the state and taking rule.

Besides that, there was a secret hidden within Holoroth that only a few Heralds knew about…

Miscellaneous

The Heralds

The three sects of the Heralds: Arisen, Fervent, and Psylith. They have existed since before the Heralds migrated to Morus Isle.

Arisen signifies awakening. They cultivate and strengthen their bodies through circulating the energies of Yin and Yang.

Fervent signifies origin. They manipulate the energies of the world through the Yin-Yang energies present within their own bodies.

Psylith signifies enlightenment. They believe that will denotes Yang and instinct denotes Yin, and that this is true for everything in existence. The Psylith are proficient in spiritual arts and are able to connect with all beings, and even absorb their souls for their own use.

During the birth of the mortals, the Heralds helped them establish their own primitive civilization. The first to instruct the mortals were the Psylith, and as a result, the Humans began believing in and worshipping powerful beings, creating the first form of idol worship.

Volodymyr Azimoff
About Volodymyr Azimoff 13600 Articles
I love games and I live games. Video games are my passion, my hobby and my job. My experience with games started back in 1994 with the Metal Mutant game on ZX Spectrum computer. And since then, I’ve been playing on anything from consoles, to mobile devices. My first official job in the game industry started back in 2005, and I'm still doing what I love to do.

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