Chapter 18 – Eden’s Secrets
Li Yiming tried to conceal his astonishment from the battle that unfolded before his eyes, especially when he saw Li Huaibei holding the power to destroy the city at his will. ‘Wow, so I meet a random person on the train and he turns out to be this strong? I wouldn’t think that this weird bird is any weaker than the phoenix back in Ning Village, and it got simply… handled by him.’ He was still sunken into his thoughts and mumbling when the chilling feeling of a blade pressed against his neck derailed his thoughts.
“Li Yiming?” Li Huaibei was very curious at discovering the identity of his target. He knew that the barrier he had cast was impenetrable to anyone below his own level. ‘So, this kid is level seven?’
“Ah, uh, Mr. Li.” Li Yiming hesitated. They had enjoyed each other’s company when they first met, but it was a different story when they were inside a domain.
“Why are you here?” Li Huaibei asked with a glacial voice as he stared at Li Yiming coldly.
“I, I saw that there were guardians fighting, and I just wanted to have a look.”
“You came from outside?”
“Yeah, I saw that blue barrier, so I was curious and I came in just to see,” Li Yiming answered truthfully. He would not dare hide anything, especially now of all time.
“Wait, you’re saying that you traversed my barrier?” Li Huaibei moved his sword away from Li Yiming’s neck, but still kept it unsheathed. ‘Odd, if he was inside in the first place, it wouldn’t be that hard to escape being sensed. But coming in after I put down my barrier… Unless he’s a level above me, he wouldn’t be able to. To become a sage at level seven and a god at level nine. He… he’s a level eight lord?’
“What’s your highest heavenly vein level?”
“Level four,” Li Yiming answered truthfully again, but he did not mention that he had reached level three for everything else as well.
Li Huaibei frowned and suddenly wrapped his fingers around Li Yiming’s wrist. ‘I can’t sense the strength of his vein, but there’s no doubt, from the strength of his limbs. Then how? Unless…’
A thought suddenly occurred to Li Huaibei and his eyes lit up. “You’ve met Mr. Kong, right?” He asked once more.
“Yes,” Li Yiming was perplexed. ‘Hasn’t he asked me about that already? But I guess I don’t have much of a choice now. There’s no sword on my neck, but I wouldn’t think that I’d be able to escape from him.’
“So it’s true, you’re just like him.” Li Huaibei suddenly laughed wholeheartedly.
“Just like who? Him?” Li Yiming was puzzled.
“Mr. Kong! You’re just like him!” Li Huaibei answered excitedly.
“What? Me, the same as him? What do you mean?” Li Yiming remembered the frowzy man who didn’t seem to have much interest in anything, the same man who, with elegant movements and utter composure, stopped the apocalyptic attack of the phoenix. ‘I’m the same… as him?’
“I can’t say,” Li Huaibei said with a smile.
‘Are you serious? The same thing every time? A charade when it really matters?’
“It’s not that I don’t want to say it, it’s that you won’t be able to hear it even if I did,” Li Huaibei noticed Li Yiming’s disappointment and explained.
“I won’t be able to hear?”
“You’re just like Mr. Kong…” Li Yiming listened carefully, but when Li Huaibei arrived at the crucial part, he suddenly stopped. It seemed as if the time-flow of the domain had skipped forward just enough to prevent Li Yiming from hearing anything useful, like watching a video with a bad internet connection.
“That’s what I mean. Do you get it now?” Li Huaibei said with a smile.
“That’s it?” Li Yiming was a little disappointed.
“You know, instead of saying that you won’t be able to hear it, I think that it’s more accurate to say that I won’t be able to say it.” Li Huaibei sighed.
Li Huaibei answered by pointing at the sky.
‘Heaven’s Laws? And it has to do with me? Even Li Huaibei, being as strong as he is, can’t say it?’ The answer came to Li Yiming’s wonderment.
“What? He’s gone?” Li Huaibei turned his head and looked at the sky far away. He then shook his head and waved his hand at the sky. The thousands of sword shadows receded into his palm.
‘Is he talking about that bird?’ Li Yiming suddenly remembered the terrible fight between Li Huaibei and his target.
“Well, it’s too bad that Bi Fang escaped. I’ll just go look for him later.” Li Huaibei did not seem to be frustrated at all by his temporary setback. He extended his arm and the giant blue bubble shrank until it turned into a glass bead and fell into his palm. The liveliness of the streets was restored.
“What is that?” Li Yiming looked at the blue bead with eagerness.
“I would call this a… Boundary. It’s a technique that you can learn when you reach level seven. When you reach that level, your power is enough to destroy the world, so to prevent that from happening, Heaven’s Law gives you a way to shield the world from unintended destruction.” Li Huaibei flicked his wrist, and the bead melted into hs skin.
“Boundary? Wow. Wait… Level seven sage… You’re level seven?” Li Yiming caught the most important part of Li Huaibei’s explanation. ‘I remember hearing from Bai Ze that level seven is nearly the peak of what guardians are known to reach. Apparently, no one has ever reached level nine.’
“Are you surprised?” Li Huaibei lit up a cigarette. He took out another bottle of water, emptied its content and used it as an ashtray.
“No wonder the people were scared of you back at Mingzhu tower,” Li Yiming said.
“They’re scared of me… not because of my strength. In fact, I’ve only reached level seven not too long ago, and I don’t think that most of them even know about it yet,” Li Huaibei answered. He sounded a little distracted by his own reflections.
“Have you ever heard of Eden?” Li Huaibei sat down on the fence of the parking lot, completely ruining his image of being an elite guardian.
“Eden?” Li Yiming asked. It was the first time he had heard about that.
“Yes. Eden. The utopia isolated from the world described in that poem.” Li Huaibei’s eyes remained fixated on his cigarette. The color of its tip dimmed and intensified as gusts of nightly winds blew in from an unknown corner. 1
“Is that a domain?” Li Yiming tried his best to guess. He noticed that Li Huaibei was slowly sinking into dejection.
“I wouldn’t call it a domain. It’s a real… I don’t know how to describe it. Eden is an independent world outside of ours,” Li Huaibei reminisced in a sad voice.
“Yes. Eden is a world just like our own.”
“The same as ours?” Li Yiming was incredulous.
“It’s a lot smaller than our world. In fact, it’s only the size of a village.” Li Huaibei turned his head toward Li Yiming, but his vacant gaze suggested that he was thinking about something else entirely. “Eight years ago, I received a sign for the heaven that led me to participate in a special “domain”. The rewards for it were unlike anything we’ve ever seen. My friends and I were very excited, and our strength made us believe that nothing was impossible, so all four of us entered Eden.”
Li Yiming sat down beside him quietly. His eye lit up with curiosity at Li Huaibei’s tale. It was bound to be no small thing.
“When we arrived, we realized that it was a large domain. There were a lot of participants, more than three hundred in fact, and all of them seemed very strong. It was only until after the domain had started that we realized that access to it was restricted, and only those who were level five or above could participate.”
“Three hundred level five guardians? What kind of mission would require that?” Li Yiming could not hold the question in.
“The mission was simple. We needed to destroy Eden.” Even remembering about it seemed to be painful for Li Huaibei.
“Three hundred guardians to destroy a village?” Li Yiming thought of the massacre of Ning village by Zeng Qian and her friends. He knew that none of them were even close to level five.
Li Huaibei froze when he heard the question. He stayed silent and still like a statue for a long while, not even reacting to the cigarette that shortened until it burned his finger. After a while, he finally nodded stiffly.
“So? Did it work out?” Li Yiming wanted to know more. ‘With a team like that, even the real world would be destroyed in a few moments. But he…’
Li Huaibei did not answer him. He extinguished his cigarette and threw its remnants into the plastic bottle. He slowly stood up from where he sat and gazed hesitantly at Li Yiming. “I’ll make you see it.’ Li Huaibei sighed after pondering the matter for a long while.
“Make me see…?” Li Huaibei reached for his forehead. Li Yiming instinctively craned his neck to the side, but to his horror, he realized that he could not move an inch of his own body. The world began to spin as Li Huaibei’s hand touched him, and when Li Yiming was conscious once again, he found himself standing on the top of a cliff.
“Ahh!” Li Yiming yelled out. He looked at the clouds below him and was unable to see the bottom of the abyss. The wind whistled loudly in his ears and stung his face. Li Yiming wanted to moved away from the edge of the cliff, but he found himself unable to control “himself”. He could see, hear and think, but not move.
“Below is where our mission is.” A lazy voice was heard. A man wearing blue clothes stood in front of him. His squinted eyes made him seem like he was about to fall asleep. He had a big gourd behind his back and was kneeling down in front of Li Yiming.
“Don’t let your guard down Fu Shan. There’s something weird about this domain.” A woman dressed in old-fashioned clothing came from behind. Her long, silky hair billowed in the wind along with the veil that hid her face. The eyes that stayed visible suggested a breathtaking beauty beneath the piece of fabric.
“Xiao Bei, she’s worried about you!” The man who was called Fu Shan turned around and looked at Li Yiming with an amused expression.
‘Xiao Bei?’ Li Yiming wondered. Then suddenly, a blade the size of a door was thrust down into the ground before him. He saw his own reflection in the cold steel. ‘I’m… Li Huaibei?’
“And Little Lu here is right. We should be careful. I have a bad feeling about this.” The blade spun around and the face of the person behind it became visible to Li Yiming: a high nose bridge, short-cut hair, a poorly shaven beard, a prominent scar on the forehead and a pair of eyes that shone with determination.
“Let’s be careful. There must be a reason for the Heaven Laws’ gathering of all of us here. I’ve looked around a bit, and none of them seem weaker than any of us. We would have trouble finding even one of them usually, and now three hundred of us are gathered here.” It was very strange for Li Yiming to hear “himself” talking. ‘So this is what Li Huaibei meant by ‘seeing’?’
“It’s begun. We should go down. Stay together.” The man with the big knife jumped down the cliff after launching himself and breaking the stone beneath him.
Fu Shan stretched himself lazily and slowly stepped into the clouds.
“Be careful.” Li Huaibei turned around and looked at the girl and followed Fu Shan with his hands behind his back.
Epic music rollin’ in
1. This refers to a composition written by the poet Tao Yuanming, and now famous for representing the idea of a utopia isolated from the world. I’ll call Eden. A translation of the original poem can be found here. https://zhidao.baidu.com/question/54739175.html