Chapter 22 – Weiqi Empyrean Court and Elder Guanqi

In a small courtyard of Song Capital…

King Song and Crown Prince Song had been rescued and were in a rather sorry state at this moment. The two were kneeling on the ground before the Song Jia Sect Chief and a handsome young man.

“Sect Chief, Grandfather, I am incompetent, which resulted in the loss of Song Kingdom!” King Song said with an agonized look on his face.

“It’s all Gu Hai’s fault; that Gu Hai is simply horrifying. We-we weren’t able to defend against him!” Crown Prince Song followed with an anguished expression.

Song Jia Sect Chief’s face was laced with a gloomy look; he didn’t speak a word. The handsome young man next to him, on the other hand, coldly said, “Don’t call me Grandfather, I don’t have two wastrel offspring like you!”

“Grandfather, please forgive our mistake!” King Song begged as he kowtowed immediately.

“Alright, Qingshu, things are already over. The Song Kingdom is already destroyed, we still have to consider the future!” said the Song Jia Sect Chief calmly.

The handsome young man glanced at King Song and Crown Prince Song with a gloomy look before turning to Song Jia Sect Chief and speaking respectfully, “Yes! Teacher, this time my great-great-grandson brought shame to the sect!”

The Song Jia Sect Chief lightly took a sip of his tea as he looked at King Song and Crown Prince Song and said, “It’s alright, we have lost, let’s forget about it! I will reallocate your grandsons to other mortal regions. Although they can no longer be kings, being wealthy won’t be hard!”

“Yes! Teacher, thank you very much for taking care of everything!” Song Qingshu said respectfully.

“That Gu Hai is indeed a bit capable. He was actually promoted to Throne Master just after entering the Ascendant Hall!?” said Song Jia Sect Chief, narrowing his eyes thoughtfully.

“First level Xiantian Stage? That’s really funny! Can playing some schemes, intrigues, and a little bit of intelligence face absolute power?! That’s a joke!” Song Qingshu stated coldly.

Although he had just scolded his own grandsons, he was still brooding over the fact that Gu Hai cost his own children a kingdom.

“Both of you, go out first!” the Song Jia Sect Chief ordered solemnly.

“Yes!” King Song and Crown Prince Song withdrew right away.

“Teacher, do you want to tell me something?” asked Song Qingshu respectfully.

Song Jia Sect Chief nodded and narrowing his eyes, said, “From the beginning, Long Wanqing came to the Thousand Islands Sea for the Xiantian Endgame World that opens once every two centuries. You will follow them and enter the Xiantian Endgame World with them. After entering, if you have the opportunity to kill Gu Hai, take it!”

“Ah? Why?” Song Qingshu was taken by surprise.

“He should not have appeared; the position of Water Throne Master has long been set. I have an agreement with the other Throne Masters of Ascendant Hall. Think of it as you bringing them a gift this time! The majority of my Song Jia Sect Xiantian Stage disciples are gathered outside the Xiantian Endgame World, take my token with you, they will listen to your commands. Be sure to bury Gu Hai right there,” ordered the Song Jia Sect Chief in a heavy voice.

“Teacher, please be rest assured, I understand!” A hideous smile crept up on Song Qingshu’s lips as he said.

———

At Gu Han’s residence in the Song Capital…

“Godfather, you are looking younger than me!” Gu Han circled around Gu Hai excitedly.

Gu Hai smiled and eventually sat down. Right away, Gu Han poured a cup of tea for him.

Gu Hai took out a purple token with a flip of his hand.

Buzzz!

Six high-grade spirit stones and a bamboo slip suddenly appeared on the table.

“This is a hidden space?” Gu Han’s eyes lit up.

“You can say that! This token was given to me by Hall Lord and comes with its own inner space! Take these six high-grade spirit stones and divide them between you and Gu Qin equally. In the meantime, when I’m not here, quickly rush to the Xiantian Stage!” exhorted Gu Hai.

“Yes! Godfather, don’t you worry, Your Son will not bring shame to Godfather!” said Gu Han respectfully.

“I have looked at this bamboo slip a moment ago. It’s a Xiantian Stage exercise called [True Dragon Xiantian Exercise]. Presumably, the Ascendant Hall exercise could not be worse. Immediately make a copy of it and start reciting. If I am not here, you and Gu Qin should have Xiantian exercises so that you can at least cultivate!” urged Gu Hai.

“Yes!” Gu Han replied.

“Just a while ago, the Clear River Sect Chief decided to hand the entire region north of Tiger Cage Pass to my Gu Mansion!” Gu Hai told him, narrowing his eyes.

“Ah? That’s a quarter of the Chen Kingdom!?” Gu Han asked, astonished.

“Oh, you think a quarter is too much? I have helped the Chen Kingdom regain three-quarters of its territory; moreover, I also delivered them the Song Kingdom. It’s just a small region, that’s all! Furthermore, as far as cultivators are concerned, does some mere territory counted as anything?” Gu Hai said calmly.

“Yes, I am too short-sighted!” Gu Han nodded quickly.

“You are short-sighted because you are not looking far enough. As long as you look, your sight won’t be narrow and shallow. Although I have not had much contact with them, I discovered that these sects cannot seem to completely disregard mortals. It seems that mortals are of great use. As for what their specific need is, I am still not clear. I will slowly sort this thing out. Before I leave, I have a mission for you and your brother!” went on Gu Hai patiently.

“Godfather, pray do tell!” replied Gu Han respectfully.

“Supervise the ten major cities under Tiger Cage Pass properly. At the same time, reconstruct the Tiger Cage Pass in accordance with these plans. Don’t be afraid to spend money; the more money you spend, the more it will flow, and the more we will earn. Rebuild the Tiger Cage Pass completely, it will be our home. In the future, even if the other five kingdoms attack us at the same time, it should remain impregnable!” Gu Hai explained calmly.

“Yes!” 

“At the same time, take note of geniuses in the five kingdoms. As long as they are talented, they should be with us for me to use in the future!” Gu Hai ordered

“Geniuses? Godfather, haven’t our Gu Family shops already screened out countless geniuses!? asked Gu Han, surprised.

“It’s not enough, it’s far from enough. You don’t need to be stingy. In the future, we will not only be up against mortal kingdoms, but much more. Educate them properly. You can start training them from childhood, don’t be a miser for geniuses. Our Gu Family is not short of money. As long as they can be useful for our Gu Mansion, my Gu Mansion will reward them with the best herbs and exercises in accordance with their loyalty!” Gu Hai stated sincerely.

“Eh? Yes!” Gu Han’s expression gradually turned serious and thoughtful.

“In the future, we will be up against the true world; any number of people are far from enough. Remember, loyalty first, talent comes later! This will be rather arduous work; you can discuss it with the various presidents of the business guilds, say that it’s my order. I will send a letter to everyone. This territory is my Gu Family’s foundation, you and Gu Qin should manage it carefully!” declared Gu Hai solemnly.

“Godfather, please rest assured!”

“Your temper still needs to be trained. In the meantime, while I am not here, if you and Gu Qin have disagreements, the decision will be made by Gu Qin!” repeated Gu Hai once again.

“Ah? Yes!” Gu Han forced a smile as he replied. However, a sliver of displeasure could still be found in the depths of his eyes.

Gu Hai ignored Gu Han’s feelings. This time, he was going to leave and didn’t know when he would return; he needed to arrange everything carefully!

———

Three days later, at Song Capital…

Gu Hai reunited with Long Wanqing. In a square, Chen Lianyi led a group of ministers, and people from the Clear River and Song Jia Sects to respectfully bid farewell to nine people: Long Wanqing, Grandmaster Liunian, three subordinates of Long Wanqing, Chen Tianshan, Song Qingshu, Gao Xianzhi, and finally Gu Hai.

“Alright, let’s go!” ordered Long Wanqing.

“Yes!” a servant dressed in azure robe answered, stretching out his hand and waved it.

BOOM!

A giant white ship suddenly appeared in front of everyone.

Both sides of the giant ship had a large number of arrays painted that were exuding an aura continuously, allowing the giant ship to float in the air.

Gu Hai was shocked by the sheer size of the ship. It was as big as large-scale cruiser ships from his previous world!

Long Wanqing, followed by a row of people, embarked onto the ship.

Having boarded the main deck, Gu Hai discovered a group of palaces distinctly present on the ship.

“This is my flying boat White Cloud. Let’s take off!” announced Long Wanqing with a smile.

“Yes!” answered one of the servants as he rushed towards a giant platform nearby. Atop the platform was a huge helm, as well as many controls.

Under Gu Hai’s surprised gaze, the servant operated various controls and gradually the flying boat rose up in the air.

“We wish Hall Lord a safe journey!” Everyone’s shouts could be heard from below.

Gu Hai was still astounded by the scene around him. This is a plane?

“There is no need to be surprised. This flying boat is meticulously crafted by a grand refiner and has multiple arrays engraved upon it. It’s a flying magical weapon that uses spirit stones as an energy source, that’s all!” Long Wanqing seemed to be in a good mood as she explained this to him.

“Yes, This Lowly One is ignorant and ill-informed!” Nevertheless, Gao Xianzhi was still surprised. 

Gu Hai, on the other hand, calmed down quickly.

Gu Hai kept staring below as the flying boat got faster and faster. After it floated up high enough in the air, it suddenly headed towards the southeast at an astonishing speed.

WHIZZ!

The flying boat was quite fast and its speed only increased. Gu Hai carefully looked at the various landscapes passing by; he seemed to be memorizing the geography below.

“There is no need to look. If you are curious about the geography, you can ask Chen Tianshan. As your Water Throne is lacking in staff, Song Qingshu and Chen Tianshan are included among your subordinates, okay!?” said Long Wanqing, smiling.

“Ah? Yes, Hall Lord!” Chen Tianshan forced out a smile. Although he was a bit reluctant, as it was Hall Lord’s order, he had no choice but to obey.

“Yes, Hall Lord!” Song Qingshu acknowledged. As he turned his head to look at Gu Hai, a sneer flashed past his eyes.

“Nice to meet you, Throne Master!” Chen Tianshan and Song Qingshu saluted Gu Hai respectfully.

Gu Hai nodded, acknowledging their greetings.

“Chen Tianshan, previously, I was unable to leave the mortal region as it was surrounded by mountain forests which had all kinds of poisonous insects and demon beasts. Can you tell me about the lands below?” Gu Hai looked to Chen Tianshan.

“Yes, Throne Master! We are at ‘Nine-Five Island’. The Nine-Five Island has five sects, as well as six mortal domains. Each mortal domain has from several to a few dozen kingdoms, which are vassals of the five sects, just like the Chen Kingdom was a vassal of my Clear River Sect!” explained Chen Tianshan.

“Six mortal domains? The territory under the six kingdoms was just a mortal domain?”

“Yes.”

“All the kingdoms are vassals of the five sects? Wouldn’t that mean that the citizens here are chattel of the five sects?” Gu Hai’s eyebrows twitched.

“Well? If Throne Master understands it like this, that’s also okay!” agreed Chen Tianshan.

Gu Hai’s heart was, on the other hand, in a turmoil. Gu Hai’s guess was not far from the truth. These sects seemed to care about the mortals for some reason.

“Nine-Five Island? We are on one island?” asked Gu Hai in some surprise.

WHIZZ!

The flying boat quickly flew out of this land and over a vast sea. Looking far ahead, Gu Hai could see they were indeed above a huge island.

“Island? Such a huge area is just an island?” Gu Hai’s eyes flickered with solemn thoughts.

This island was too big. According to Gu Hai’s estimation, just this one island was as big as the entire Earth in his previous life. Such a huge continent was actually called an island?

At this moment, the scene before his eyes was no different than looking at Earth from outer space; it was just that this region was too big, too vast. Just an ocean was so boundless.

“Nine-Five Island? Then, where is the continent?” Gu Hai asked curiously.

“The continent is called the Divine Continent. We are in the Thousand Islands Sea, which is at the northeast of the Divine Continent!” elucidated Chen Tianshan.

“Thousand Islands Sea? You mean to say, there are as many as thousand islands as big as the Nine-Five Island?” Gu Hai looked at Chen Tianshan in surprise.

“Yes, there are a thousand huge islands. Of course, there also some small islands, but they aren’t worth mentioning! Our Nine-Five Island can be considered as an island of moderate size, that’s all!” Chen Tianshan explained to him.

Gu Hai remained silent for a while before nodding.

Indeed, after a while, he once again saw a huge island from afar. The speed of the flying ship remained unabated as the flying ship continued to hurtle along.

“Throne Master, This Lowly One has a map of Thousand Island Sea!” Song Qingshu, who was standing nearby, said with a smile.

While speaking, Song Qingshu took out a huge piece of leather, a thousand points marked upon it. Each point was annotated with a name.

Gu Hai studied it

“Well?” Gu Hai’s eyebrows twitched.

“What is it?”

“Each island in the Thousand Islands Sea is arranged like a game of weiqi! Whereas the islands are like weiqi pieces,” Gu Hai said as a furrow lingered on his forehead.

“Weiqi? How is that possible? How can a thousand pieces be placed on a weiqi board? The weiqi board has a 19×19 grid, a total of three-hundred-and-sixty-one empty locations. At most, only three-hundred-and-sixty-one weiqi pieces can be filled, but here, there are a thousand pieces!” rebutted Song Qingshu, shaking his head.

In contrast, Gu Hai narrowed his eyes; he didn’t bother to explain. However, Gu Hai’s words happened to fell upon Grandmaster Liunian’s ears. Grandmaster Liunian’s complexion changed a bit, revealing a sliver of surprise.

“Mister Gu, what did you say? This is like a game of weiqi?” Grandmaster asked, staring at Gu Hai.

“Ah? This Lowly One was casually shooting off his mouth!” Gu Hai’s expression changed a bit as he immediately replied with a smile

“Grandmaster, did Throne Master said something wrong?” Gao Xianzhi asked.

“Shooting off his mouth? Mister Gu shooting off his mouth was but on the mark!” Grandmaster Liunian retorted, ignoring Gao Xianzhi while staring at Gu Hai.

“What? A game of weiqi? The weiqi board has a 19×19 grid, it only has 361 positions!?” Song Qingshu said in disbelief.

“Who said that the weiqi board can only have a 19×19 grid?” Long Wanqing shot back.

“Well…”

“When the number of horizontal and vertical lines each reach thirty-two, a thousand weiqi pieces can be placed!” Long Wanqing explained calmly.

“This Thousand Islands Sea is a game of weiqi? Using islands as pieces?” Gu Hai asked, surprised.

Previously, he was living on a weiqi piece? Who in the hells was bold enough to use islands for weiqi?

“That’s right, a game of weiqi with the endless sea as weiqi board and giant islands as weiqi pieces. This is an unfinished endgame, and also an array as well; a monstrously huge array which no one has been able to solve. No one has been able to crack this endgame! An endgame with a thousand weiqi pieces!” explained Long Wanqing.

“It’s truly a game of weiqi? Who was playing?” Gu Hai inquired, shocked.

These islands were not just common islands, they were as big as the Earth in his previous life. An island was equivalent to a planet in his previous world. In other words, a thousand Earths were used as weiqi pieces.

“Eight centuries ago, it was laid out by the Weiqi Empyrean Court Lord, Elder Guanqi!” explained Long Wanqing.

“Elder Guanqi? Eight centuries ago? Has this game not been touched for eight centuries?!” Gu Hai asked doubtfully.

“It’s because Elder Guanqi had already fallen eight hundred years ago. This outstanding endgame could reach this point only before it was finished!” 

“Who? With whom was he playing?” Gu Hai asked, baffled.

“Heaven!” Long Wanqing turned solemn as she spoke.

“Heaven?” Everyone showed perplexed looks.

“When Elder Guanqi felt his life coming to an end, he arranged this game to fight against Heaven. Playing a game of weiqi against Heaven in an attempt to win immortality from Heaven, so that he could gain an endless life force and live for eternity. 

Unfortunately, he finally made a bad move and suffered a crushing defeat. He was condemned by Heaven. Such a large clan like Weiqi Empyrean Court infuriated the Heaven, and hundreds of thousands of its disciples fell completely!”

“This Thousand Island Sea was where the Weiqi Empyrean Court was located originally, and it was destroyed eight centuries ago. All that is left is this endgame of a thousand islands which no one has been able to solve since!” Long Wanqing explained.

“Thousand islands endgame? Playing weiqi with Heaven? Elder Guanqi(观棋)?” Gu Hai’s eyebrows twitched with interest.

“Watching(观) everyone under heaven, treating everyone as weiqi(棋) pieces for Guanqi!” Long Wanqing explained.

“All beings as weiqi pieces, heaven and earth as a weiqi board? Quite courageous! I regret not being born eight centuries ago and being unable to witness the scene explained by Hall Lord!” Gu Hai murmured, shocked.

TLN:

Guanqi(观棋) – It means watching chess or weiqi.

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