14th day of the 6th month, Tiger Cage Pass, Antique Town, Chen Kingdom. In the town, there was a mansion, known as Gu Mansion.
The interior of the Gu Mansion along with the streets surrounding it was filled with banquet tables, and an endless stream of guests. It was very bustling!
However, just now, a group of people wearing mourning clothes rushed in, stopping the originally noisy celebrations. There were a large number of troops stationed in all four corners, causing the originally joyous scene to be filled with a somber air.
“Isn’t today the 70th birthday of Old Man Gu? The battles around should have already been finished, why are there so many soldiers?”
“That’s not right, although Mister Gu doesn’t get involved in politics, there should be not one who dares to offend him.”
“The one earlier, dressed in mourning clothes, was the Crown Prince, following him are the civil and military officials!”
“How is this possible?”
“It’s true, it really is the Crown Prince, why is the Crown Prince wearing mourning clothes? Could it be……!”
The guests on the street all suddenly had a shocked expression.
There is only one instance when the Crown Prince would wear mourning clothes, that would be when the king had died.
Didn’t the king personally lead the troops into battle? Furthermore, wasn’t he winning?
The crowd had shocked expressions. It was clear that the news traveled too slowly.
In the front yard and the surrounding streets, the guests were all celebrating, but in the backyard of the Gu Mansion, it was quiet. In the backyard, there was a 7 story pagoda, it was also the tallest building in the Gu Mansion as well as the whole town, when one stood at the top of the tower, one could see everything in the town.
The name of the tower was Soaring Heaven Pagoda!
Under the Soaring Heaven Pagoda stood a large number of solemn and respectful people from the Gu Mansion, watching a crowd of officials dressed in mourning clothes kneeling together with the Chen Kingdom’s Crown Prince. Every one of their faces had an expression of grief and sorrow.
There was only one person who did not kneel, he was the third granduncle of Chen Taiji, the man dressed in white robes from the sect.
“Nephew seeks an audience with Uncle Gu, begging Uncle Gu to take revenge for my Imperial Father!” Crown Prince Chen Liangyi said, his face was clearly filled with grief.
The Chen Kingdom was about to be exterminated, this position of Crown Prince could not be held for long. Once the Chen Kingdom was exterminated, even he would suffer the wrath of the sect, his life or death would be unknown. His Imperial Father said that this person had the ability to overturn the situation. Furthermore, this person was also his Imperial Father’s sworn brother.
So long as he can overturn the situation, not to mention kneeling now, even if it was for 3 days and 3 nights, Chen Liangyi would not hesitate.
The people of the Gu Mansion, amongst them, many servants were flabbergasted.
This was the current Crown Prince! In addition, there were all the officials, how was this possible? Just to see the old master?
“Gu Hai, I am Chen Tianshan of the Clear River Sect, do you remember me? Crown Prince Chen already brought all the officials to kneel in front of you, what else do you want?” the man dressed in white stood and shouted clearly.
The people of the Gu Mansion were staring at them. Leading them was a 30 odd-year-old man, dressed in green garments, he had wide facial features and looked normal. However, outside the Soaring Heaven Pagoda, all the people of the Gu Mansion seemed to be led by him.
“Eldest young master? Should we……!” A servant seemed to want to say something.
The middle aged man dressed in green gave a cold glance, just that glance alone caused that servant to keep quiet.
With the reputation and prestige of the Gu Clan, they must not be provoked.
The young master in green just ignored the requests to meet, but he patiently waited outside the Soaring Heaven Pagoda.
“Uncle Gu, before my Imperial Father passed away, he sent nephew here to beg Uncle Gu, he wanted me to tell you sorry on his behalf, my Imperial Father had let you down that year!” Chen Liangyi was trembling as he cried out.
From the inside of the Soaring Heaven Pagoda, came a distant sigh.
Everyone’s expression changed.
From the inside of Soaring Heaven Pagoda came an elderly voice: “Immortal Expert Chen, you have graced me with your presence, this old man has been negligent. Gu Qin, invite Immortal Expert Chen up the pagoda, allow Chen Liangyi to come as well.
The young master Gu Qin, who was guarding the pagoda, had a solemn expression as he said, “Yes, godfather!”
Gu Qin pushed opened the doors of the pagoda and said to Chen Tianshan, “Immortal Expert Chen, my godfather has not met visitors for a long time already, we have offended you today, do pardon us for it, come in please!”
Chen Tianshan nodded his head.
“Crown Prince Chen, please come in!” Gu Qin solemnly said.
Chen Liangyi climbed up with a trace of excitement.
Gu Qin led Chen Tianshan and Chen Liangyi into the Soaring Heaven Pagoda!
The pagoda doors closed.
Outside, all the officials looked inside the pagoda with curiosity.
The two men found out that in all 7 floors of the pagoda, they were all filled with bookshelves, there were a countless number of books
When they finally reached the 6th floor, Chen Tianshan and Chen Liangyi met Gu Hai.
By the window, there was a gigantic Weiqi board, however, this board was different from normal ones. A regular Weiqi board had 19 vertical and horizontal lines, but this board had 29 vertical and horizontal lines.
The board was filled with Weiqi pieces, the arrangement could not be seen clearly.
Beside the Weiqi board stood an old man in black clothes, he looked to be about 70, his hair was snow white and had a solemn expression. Despite his wrinkles, his eyes were bright like crystals, those eyes seemed to be able to see through a person’s heart, causing Chen Liangyi to have palpitations.
This is the richest man in six countries, Gu Hai?
“You are Gu Hai? No, you are not Gu Hai! Your eyebrows……?” Chen Tianshan stared at him.
However, the old man just lightly smiled: “Immortal Expert Chen, do you still remember me beseeching you at the waterfall? This old man is indeed Gu Hai, just that in order to avoid some unnecessary troubles, I grew my beard out and drew eyebrows on!”
Chen Tianshan looked carefully, indeed he was Gu Hai. To think that the parts that left him with the deepest impression were actually fake. Even though he was the same person, his facial features may not have changed very much, but if he had not revealed himself, Chen Tianshan would never have recognized him.
“Uncle Gu, my father is already dead, he said that you are his sworn brother, I beseech Uncle Gu, considering that you were sworn brothers, please avenge him!” Chen Liangyi knelt once again.
Gu Hai squinted his eyes as he looked at Cheng Liangyi. After a moment of silence, he said, “In the past, I was once indeed his sworn brother, but he tried to kill me that year, our sworn brotherhood does not apply anymore!”
“Oh?” Chen Liangyi’s face went stiff.
Chen Tianshan frowned.
Gu Hai looked at Chen Tianshan and said: “I know your purpose in coming here. Three of the passes were defeated, Gao Xianzhi even killed the 600 thousand soldiers from the three passes. The citizens and officials are all united in heart, the Chen Kingdom is about to be destroyed. At this moment, we only have a scattered inferior army of 100 thousand, to defend against the Great Song’s army of 800 thousand elite soldiers, you do think it is possible?
“What?! Gao Xianzhi killed 600 thousand soldiers? But they were prisoners of war!” Chen Liangyi exclaimed in alarm.
“It happened at noon, 4 days ago!” Gu Hai said quietly.
“You! How did you find out?” Chen Liangyi asked.
However, Gu Hai did not say anything.
On the other side, Gu Qin was quietly serving tea, he first respectfully poured a cup of tea for Gu Hai, then Chen Tianshan.
Gu Hai indicated for Chen Tianshan to take a seat, before sitting down himself.
Chen Tianshan looked at Gu Hai, his eyes had a strange expression. Normally, when ordinary mortals met a person from the sect, they would treat him with great respect, but Gu Hai was actually not reacting.
“Chen Taiji said you can do it!” Chen Tianshan sat down and said in a heavy tone.
Gu Hai picked up the teacup and took a sip: “To destroy everything, only half a month is needed. Under the command of Gao Xianzhi, their army will push further until they reach Tiger Cage Pass. With regards to the standard of the 100 thousand soldiers in Tiger Cage Pass, you should be even more familiar than me. To use this bunch of people to resist the 800 thousand elite soldiers of Gao Xianzhi? Ha! Not to even mention defend, chances are this bunch of people will surrender, perhaps even without Gao Xianzhi, Tiger Cage Pass would destroy itself.”
Chen Tianshan and Chen Liangyi’s complexion changed, this isn’t Gu Hai saying things to scare them, but a very real possibility.
“Uncle Gu, please come out of retirement and save the Chen Kingdom, as long as you save the Chen Kingdom, you can have anything you want!” Chen Liangyi suddenly shouted.
Chen Tianshan also had a face of certainty, “That’s right! Can you do something?”
Gu Hai suddenly squinted and said: “Oh? Since the sect cares so much about the Chen Kingdom, why don’t Immortal Expert Chen personally take action? I imagine that with your strength, taking out the person leading them should be easy, furthermore, the Chen Kingdom is not the only secular country your sect controls, why not just ask the other countries for help? Instead, you are here to look for this smelly old man?”
Chen Tianshan frowned a little, and replied after a moment of silence, “This war can only be fought between the two countries, we cannot recruit help from other countries, and people from the sect are not allowed to interfere.”
“Not allowed?” Gu Hai’s expression suddenly changed as his eyes flickered with an intelligent gleam.
Although it was just two words, Gu Hai had managed to get a lot of information from it, as though he had seen a great opportunity, causing his normally still heart to be a little excited.
Suppressing that excitement, Gu Hai drank some tea.
“The Chen Kingdom is already beyond help, I am here as a last resort, if you are not able to, then nevermind!” Chen Tianshan in a heavy tone.
Gu Hai did not say anything, but only looked at Chen Tianshan and Chen Liangyi.
After a period of time, Gu Hai seriously said: “I do, I can save the Chen Kingdom, but……!”
“You can save the Chen Kingdom? How?” Chen Tianshan showed a trace of astonishment.
“I have a condition!” Gu Hai did not explain further, he only said in a serious tone.
“Oh?” Chen Tianshan looked at Gu Hai.
“Uncle Gu, what do you want, as long as I have it, I can give them to you!” Chen Liangyi stood up and was pleasantly surprised.
Gu Hai ignored Chen Liangyi, but looked at Chen Tianshan: “What I need is for the Clear River Sect’s sect leader to infuse energy into me, helping me to break through the Houtian barrier! Allowing me to breakthrough to Xiantian Realm! Furthermore, to also learn the Xiantian Realm cultivation methods of the Clear River Sect!”
“What? You are already at the great perfection stage of Houtian Realm?” Chen Tianshan suddenly stood up in shock.
Gu Hai solemnly nodded his head.
“That is not possible, I have seen your Natural Endowments, you cannot cultivate Internal Strength. You only started cultivating after you were 30, with such poor Natural Endowments, you can only rely on External Strength, furthermore, you should not be able to go beyond the 5th level of Houtian. But you claim to be at the 10th level of Houtian? This is not possible!” Chen Tianshan suddenly shouted.
“External Strength? Just because others are not able to accomplish it, doesn’t mean that I can’t. The lifespan of a person in the Houtian Realm is only 100 years, once they reach the Xiantian realm, their lifespan will increase to 200 years. I have already reached the latter part of my lifespan, if I still do not breakthrough to be a Xiantian Realm, then my body cultivated by external strength would be dispersed. Fortunately, I have reached the Great Perfection of the Houtian Realm. You are only in the Golden Core Realm, and that is not sufficient to help me, only your sect leader would be able to. Go back and tell your sect leader, as long as he can agree to my condition, I will save the Chen Kingdom!” Gu Hai said solemnly.
Chen Tianshan stared at Gu Hai, his eyes looking bewildered.
External Strength? How laughable, one could actually cultivate to the Great Perfection using External Strength? This kind of crude cultivation method, is reliant on self torture, even if a person had done his best, he would not exceed the 5th level of Houtian. There never have been anyone who went past that, Gu Hai actually reached the Great Perfection of Houtian Realm?
“I only have this one request! What do you think?” Gu Hai stared at Chen Tianshan with a look of anticipation in his eyes.
“Save the Chen Kingdom first, then I will speak to the sect leader!” Chen Tianshan said.
However, Gu Hai just lightly smiled and shook his head. He did not say anything but just looked at Chen Tianshan.
“The sect leader is not here, how do I answer on his behalf? Save the Chen Kingdom first and I will report to the sect leader!” Chen Tianshan said.
“It will take Gao Xianzhi’s army at least half a month to reach Tiger Cage Pass. This half a month of time should be sufficient for you to return to the sect and come back again. As long as the Clear River Sect Leader issues a decree, i will immediately save the Chen Kingdom. It is not a problem to fulfill the promise after I save the Chen Kingdom, but I need your sect leader to issue a decree first!” Gu Hai stared at Chen Tianshan and said in a resolute tone.
“Half a month? Many things can happen in half a month. After half a month, Tiger’s Pass could already be defeated! What are you going to use to save the Chen Kingdom then? Furthermore, after half a month, The Great Song Nation’s 800 thousand elite soldiers will arrive at the entrance of the Pass, with just 100 thousand inferior soldiers, how are you going to defend?” Chen Tianshan frowned, clearly looking displeased.
“Half a month? Don’t worry, it would be destroyed. How will I defend? That’s my business. The earlier you come back, the earlier the Chen Kingdom will be saved from this crisis!” Gu Hai had a resolute look in his eyes. Without obtaining a promise, Gu Hai will not take the risk.
Chen Tianshan coldly stared at Gu Hai, “Gu Hai, This is what you said, if you cannot save the Chen Kingdom…… you know the results of cheating us……!”
Gu Hai did not seem to mind it, he turned his head to look at Chen Liangyi and said, “Since Chen Taiji is dead, then let bygones be bygones. Although I reside in the Chen Kingdom, the taxes I pay every year is quite significant, thus the Chen Kingdom is not the one protecting me. Within the six countries, as long as I wished to defect, they would welcome me with open arms. All these years I stayed in the Chen Kingdom was also because of my reluctance to leave. I do not have any gratitude or grudges with you, neither do I owe you anything. If you want me to save the Chen Kingdom, it is possible, just wait for Immortal Expert Chen’s news!”
“I will, thank you Uncle Gu!” Chen Liangyi respectfully said.
“Go back first, I have many guests today, I would not be able to entertain you any longer!” Gu Hai said in a tone that ended the conversation.
“Yes!” Chen Liangyi nodded his head.
Chen Tianshan looked at Gu Hai for a little longer, “I will immediately go back to the sect and get the sect leader to issue a decree. Hopefully what you said is true, or else……, hmph!”
Turning away, Chen Tianshan quickly brought Chen Liangyi away.
Gu Qin stood at the side, looking at Gu Hai and frowning, “Godfather, this time the Chen Kingdom is already on the brink of destruction, how are you going to save the Chen Kingdom? Are you going to……!”
Gu Hai just looked at the Weiqi board on the table and took a deep breath, “I know that it is difficult, but from their tone, the sects are not allowed to interfere, using only the forces of the secular nation, this is just like an ‘injured baby fighting against a fierce killer’! However, this is my last chance. Houtian Realm and Xiantian Realm, although there is only a difference of one realm, by stepping into the Xiantian Realm, it is just like heaven and earth turned upside down, I can become young again, back to the prime of my life! I am only short of an opportunity, I need to be young again! Thus, no matter how difficult the situation, I must unravel it.”
“Yes!” Gu Qin nodded worriedly.
“I need to come up with countermeasures for this situation, don’t disturb me anymore, go down!” Gu Hai said seriously.
“Godfather, today is your birthday, do you want to ……!”
“No need, I just received the best birthday gift already, just go…… !” Gu Hai waved his hands.
Gu Qin nodded his head and went down.
Gu Hai sat by the window, watching the soldiers march away. In his hand was a black piece. A deep frown appeared on his glabella, “During my 30th birthday, I collected 100 thousand Endgame Puzzles, I also found this black piece in the library basement. I could never have imaged that it would bring me all the way here from Earth. In a blink of an eye, it has been 40 years, what secrets are you hiding? Could it only be because of that 100 thousand Endgame Puzzles? I have been studying it for a few decades and more or less comprehended most of it. But there was no movement at all, how should I fully grasp your mystery?”
Gu Hai sighed and stretched his hands out to place the black piece in the space between his eyebrows.
The black piece mysteriously passed through his skin, burying itself in the space between his eyebrows.
Gu Hai’s consciousness sank into the space between his eyebrows as well, in the space where there were 100 thousand Weiqi boards, and on each of them was an Endgame Puzzle, there seemed to be constant activities on every board. Amidst all the changes, that black piece was floating above all of them, as though it was the king overlooking its subjects.