The Daoist Seal - Chaper 27
Good Versus Evil, Benevolence Versus Malevolence
The boy’s body was just too pure and unstained. This defied all reasoning!
“Tell me. Have you ever eaten anything unordinary?” Jiang Xiaofan asked the boy after receiving Bingxin’s message relayed to him through her spiritual awareness.
The young boy shook his head. The village wasn’t wealthy, so their lives were simple and meager. Whatever they ate and drank was very ordinary. If he really had to be narrow it down to the strangest thing that he had ever eaten, then it would be the wild fruits that he had picked from the mountain. However, nearly all of the villagers ate them as well.
Jiang Xiaofan shook his head at Bingxin, but the latter only icily smiled in response. Jiang Xiaofan grew despondent. Fuck! It was just an accidental peep! Do you have to be like this? Fine then. I’ll let you peep back at me all you want!
“Go to his house!” Bingxin motioned to them with a blank expression on her face.
Jiang Xiaofan answered “oh” and immediately lamented his situation. While living under someone else’s roof, one needed to lower his or her head at all times. He could do nothing about it since Bingxin was more powerful than him. He waved to Ye Yuanxue and said, “Xiao Xue’er, we’re heading to Ziya’s house. Your Sister Bingxin must be ravenous.”
“I’ll go make food!” The young boy separated from them.
Jiang Xiaofan’s lips twitched. He merely wanted to taunt Bingxin and didn’t think that the young boy would take it seriously.
After Ye Yuanxue had appeased the villagers by promising them that trio wouldn’t leave before they cure the villagers, they finally dispersed.
She giggled, naughtily looked at Jiang Xiaofan, and gently tugged on Jiang Xiaofan’s earlobe.
On the other hand, Bingxin frostily glared at Jiang Xiaofan as if she wanted to devour him.
Jiang Xiaofan felt very uncomfortable. Was this the legendary boundary between the realm of ice and fire?
Grandpa Zhang’s house was very dilapidated. He was now awake and allowed Ye Yuanxue to heal him by channeling her spiritual awareness into his body. There was only one table located in the center of the room, and very soon, small, steaming dishes were laid on top. The old man continuously thanked them for their help.
Jiang Xiaofan and Ye Yuanxue were amiable, but Bingxin kept coldly staring at the old man. This made Grandpa Zhang nervous.
Jiang Xiaofan had already noticed her attitude towards the old man but thought nothing much of it. From his perspective, Bingxin was always like that. She was always so cold and treated people as if they owed her money and didn’t pay up.
“When did you get infected by the demonic qi?” Bingxin suddenly asked Grandpa Zhang.
“That…. I’m not sure. I think it was about two weeks or so ago,” mumbled the old man.
Bingxin smiled, but her expression only became colder. She asked again, “Are you positive that you were infected by demonic qi?”
Jiang Xiaofan finally grew unhappy with Bingxin’s attitude. He reproached her, “Didn’t he already say that it was an infection? Can’t you show an ounce of respect towards an ordinary old man? At the very least, stop putting on that frosty expression of yours, okay?”
The young boy sat quietly to the side. He was a well-mannered child. When the adults spoke, he remained silent.
The expression on Ye Yuanxue’s face changed somewhat. She didn’t say anything but began to strangely look at Grandpa Zhang. When the old man opened his mouth again, he warily replied, “I am positive. It should be a demonic qi infection.”
“See? The old man already confirmed it.”
“Hmph! Demonic qi infection?” Bingxin wryly smiled and eyed Jiang Xiaofan with disdain. She retorted, “How would an ordinary old man know what demonic qi is, let alone demonic qi infection? Do you think that I’m stupid?!”
The old man’s body trembled. There was panic in his eyes, and he began to avoid their gazes.
Jiang Xiaofan’s mind had turned blank before he finally grasped the reasoning behind Bingxin’s interrogation. Why did he not express the least bit of skepticism towards Bingxin’s mention of demonic qi infection but instead directly told her the time period of when he got infected? This made no sense at all.
“I…. I….” The old man was now perturbed.
Bingxin stood up and glared at Grandpa Zhang. Without any hint of surprise in her tone, she flatly interjected, “I’ll tell you why. You didn’t get infected by any demonic qi because the truth is that you are a demonic cultivator!”
Jiang Xiaofan nearly fell off his chair. He knew what the two words “demonic cultivator” implied. On Planet Ziwei, being a demonic cultivator was the equivalent of being the target of extermination by righteous Daoist cultivators around them.
“Grandpa’s not a demon!”
The boy abruptly stood up, guarded Grandpa Zhang in the front, and bravely looked Bingxin in the eye.
He might be small and didn’t understand what a demonic cultivator was, but he knew that the word “demon” did not have a good connotation. Not to mention, even if the old man was a demon, he would still protect him.
Bingxin didn’t reply nor did Ye Yuanxue. The just continued to stare at Grandpa Zhang. Meanwhile, Jiang Xiaofan placated the young boy and said, “It’s only a suspicion for now. We can’t be sure of it. Everything will be fine.”
The child was very filial towards his grandpa, and this really touched Jiang Xiaofan’s heart. Even though this what he had said to the boy, he subconsciously felt that there was truth in Bingxin’s words. That girl would never joke around and would especially never make this kind of joke.
The atmosphere in the tiny house turned gloomy. They didn’t know how much time had passed before the old man finally heavily sighed. He seemed to have suddenly aged more, and his face looked forlorn.
He gently stroked the boy’s head and then glanced at Bingxin. Although he was distressed, his eyes, nevertheless, were lit with praise. “Young miss, you have a good eye. My demonic foundation has been shattered, and I’ve lost all my cultivation. Even so, you were still able to see through me. As one would expect of the Ice Palace’s successor.”
“Thank you.” Bingxin’s expression remained icy.
She knew right away the moment she first glanced at the old man. After all, she was to be the future leader of the Ice Palace, and she practiced the Ice Palace’s most advanced cultivation methods. In addition, she was close to advancing to Human Emperor. Naturally, she knew about many things.
“What do you plan to do to Grandpa?!”
Still guarding his grandpa, the boy vigilantly watched the three of them.
The old man lovely smiled at the boy and patted his head. He assured him, “Ziya, be good. Nothing will happen to me. Go inside the other room. I need to have a discussion with them. Stay there and don’t come out. Got it?”
“But….” It was apparent that the boy was reluctant.
“Will you not listen to Grandpa’s words anymore?” The old man’s tone grew stern.
Eventually, the boy left. Just before he had entered the small room, he turned around to glance back at Grandpa Zhang.
“Please, be seated. I’ll explain everything to you.” The grandpa was the first to sit down.
After they were all seated, the old man began his story. As Bingxin had suspected, he was a demonic cultivator after all. He belonged to the infamous Celestial Demon Sect, and he was a confidant of the sect leader.
Jiang Xiaofan was astonished. He didn’t think that the old man would have such a distinguished background. This was because, from what Ye Yuanxue had informed him, the Celestial Demon Sect was once an extremely powerful entity that threatened the balance of power among the four largest sects.
The old man apparently hadn’t noticed Jiang Xiaofan’s surprised expression. Still dispirited, he continued his story. Around thirty years ago, the Celestial Demon Sect’s leader had mysteriously disappeared. This had led to internal conflicts within the sect. With the disappearance of the sect leader, some of the members had begun to seize individual power, and they turned against each other.
For the Celestial Demon Sect, that was a very bleak period of time in its history. Many of the powerful, high-ranking members had fought for the leader’s position, and that nearly resulted in a complete wipeout. After a month of conflict, the ever-powerful Celestial Demon Sect had been completely destroyed from the inside out. Even the base of the sect had become a ruin.
“So that’s how the Celestial Demon Sect vanished from this world!”
Bingxin was surprised. She was young, but she was very knowledgeable. A large sect like the Ice Palace had, undoubtedly, ancient archives. Therefore, there was no way that she wouldn’t know of the Celestial Demon Sect. That sect was the last of its kind on Planet Ziwei and the only one to self-destruct.
During that time, nobody had known how the powerful demonic sect had met its end. The truth had already been buried by time. Unexpectedly, thirty years later, they had finally uncovered the truth.
The old man nodded. Because he wasn’t able to avoid the internal conflict that had gone on, his demonic foundation had been shattered, and all of his cultivation had been forever lost. Even so, he had survived and fled to the barren mountain behind the village, carrying with him the sect’s sacred Celestial Demon Sword.
With the sect leader gone, the Celestial Demon Sword had sealed away its own power. It was now an ordinary sword.
Because the old man had already lost his cultivation, he had no way of awakening the Celestial Demon Sword. Despite being a demonic cultivator, he had never once killed an innocent being. Now that he became a mortal again, his perception of the world became much more simplified.
He had never wanted fame nor fortune. With the downfall of the Celestial Demon Sect, all he hoped for was to live to the end of this battered life. Thus, he had buried the Celestial Demon Sword somewhere in the mountain and retired to this small village.
However, thirty years later, something odd had happened to the Celestial Demon Sword. Not long ago, a faint demonic qi had emanated from the mountain. This obviously couldn’t escape the former demonic cultivator’s detection. The old man had dug up the Celestial Demon Sword and discovered that its seal had been broken!
Although the emanation was a slow one and the demonic qi was very faint, it still, nonetheless, posed a great danger to mortals.
The villagers often climbed the mountain to gather firewood. Along the way, it was impossible to escape the inhalation of the demonic qi in the air. As a result, their bodies became weaker and their life expectancies dropped.
Because of his loss of cultivation and that he had come in close contact with the sword several times, Grandpa Zhang’s health suffered the most. If he hadn’t practiced demonic cultivation back then, he would have no way of even being able to approach the Celestial Demon Sword and would’ve died long ago.
“Ah! So that’s what happened!”
The three nodded their heads in understanding. The source of the demonic qi was in the mountain.
Jiang Xiaofan was slightly dissatisfied with himself. Bingxin and Ye Yuanxue had guessed the answer before him. Damn it! Am I really that stupid? Fuck all of this!
“Given my identity, I know that I shouldn’t ask of you all of this, but I hope that you people will help me reseal the demonic sword and save the villagers. This incident has nothing to do with them. It’s all my fault. I will carry all the blame!”
As the old man beseeched them, he began to kneel down. This immediately caught Jiang Xiaofan’s attention who then stopped him. “Old man, don’t be like this. You can’t….”
“You…. But why?”
This was out of the old man’s expectation. He knew himself well. He was once a demonic cultivator. His status among others on Planet Ziwei was very low. He was synonymous with darkness and filth. He was like a rat who had to scurry across the streets and elicited everyone’s scorn.
He assumed himself to be the only demonic cultivator left in this world, and he was a wasted one to boot. Any righteous Daoist cultivator would want to remove all roots of demonic cultivation. Yet after knowing his identity, Jiang Xiaofan treated him the same way as he had done so before. He didn’t look down on him one bit.
Jiang Xiaofan calmly spoke, “You didn’t commit any despicable acts. What you had to go through is simply a matter of difference in our identities. What is good? And what is evil? There’s no such thing as orthodox versus unorthodox. There only exists benevolent beings versus malevolent beings.
The old man’s quivered. His eyes were a bit cloudy, but they glimmered with light.
Bingxin’s gaze shifted towards Jiang Xiaofan. There was a slight change in her expression. She understood Planet Ziwei’s universal concept of good versus evil all too well. If it was some other disciple from another orthodox sect and he or she knew of the old man’s real identity, then what would happen next is a clash of swords and the death of the old man.
However, Jiang Xiaofan was an anomaly. He didn’t believe in the abstract boundary of good versus evil. To him, orthodox and unorthodox didn’t exist. There were only good people and bad people. Jiang Xiaofan had surprised her once again.
Ye Yuanxue beamed with a smile and buried her giggles in the crook of her elbow. She chimed, “Sister Bingxin, I told you so! Perverted Wolf may be perverted, but he’s a good, unique, and kind-hearted man!”