Translator: Silavin & Tia
Translation Checker: PewPewLazerGun
Editor and Proofreader: Leo of Zion Mountain & Dhael Ligerkeys
“When I was at Lang Ya Star City’s Void Dock earlier, I was summoned by a Senior Brother named Zong Yu Quan. After chatting for a bit, I casually tried testing him just before we parted ways and confirmed that he had been corrupted by the Black Ink!” Yang Kai quickly said.
Gu Pan was shocked, “Senior Brother Zong has been corrupted by the Black Ink!?”
He nodded solemnly, “Black Ink… Eternal! That was what Shi Zheng mentioned before he killed himself. I don’t know what those words meant, but it’s most likely a firm belief held by the people who have been corrupted by Black Ink. Saying those words to Zong Yu Quan was nothing more than a whim at the time. I never imagined that Zong Yu Quan would respond to me in the same manner.”
Gu Pan understood, “Is that why you used the same words to test me?”
“That’s right. I didn’t expect you to be so decisive and imprison me immediately, Junior Sister!”
Gu Pan explained, “Honoured Master told me about the people who have been corrupted by the Black Ink, so I know about the existence of the Black Ink Clan; however, information on the Black Ink Clan has always been controlled within the Cave Heavens and Paradises. Even the non-Core Disciples in the Cave Heavens and Paradises will not know about these matters. On the contrary, you are not a disciple of any Cave Heaven or Paradise. That’s why I misunderstood you when you mentioned the Black Ink out of nowhere.”
“So, that’s how it is!”
“Senior Brother, this matter is very important. We need to report this to the Sect Master!”
Yang Kai frowned slightly at that suggestion and said, “I’ve thought of doing that, but what if your Sect Master has been corrupted by the Black Ink? All the people who have been corrupted by the Black Ink are currently hiding in the dark. There is no way for us to figure out their identities. The only person I can trust right now is you.”
Gu Pan hesitated before saying, “I don’t think that’s likely. If that was truly the case, then I would have been corrupted by the Black Ink a long time ago. You might not know this, Senior Brother, but Lang Ya Paradise’s Sect Master is my Honoured Master. He is also the one who told me about the Black Ink Clan.”
Zong Yu Quan’s talent and future potential were certainly not comparable to Gu Pan’s, who advanced directly into the Sixth-Order Open Heaven Realm. Nevertheless, even he had been corrupted by the Black Ink, so there was no reason why Gu Pan wouldn’t be targeted if that were possible.
After listening to Gu Pan, Yang Kai also felt that it was unlikely for Lang Ya Paradise’s Sect Master to be related to the Black Ink Clan.
“Zong Yu Quan has probably identified me as one of their own. If there exists communication between the people who have been corrupted by the Black Ink, then the news would surely have spread among them by now. If I go and visit the Sect Master at this time…” Still, Yang Kai couldn’t help hesitating.
However, Gu Pan argued, “Lang Ya Paradise has a Dao Temple in the Star Boundary, so it can also be considered as having a cooperative relationship with the Star Boundary. Not to mention, you are a Star Boundary Great Emperor. It’s only natural for you to pay a visit to the Sect Master after coming to Lang Ya Paradise. Even if the people who have been corrupted by the Black Ink learn about this matter, it should not be a problem.”
This was true. As a Junior and a Star Boundary Great Emperor, there was no reason for Yang Kai not to pay a visit to the Sect Master after coming to Lang Ya Paradise as that was just basic etiquette.
As soon as that thought crossed his mind, he nodded, “Then, I shall trouble you to make the arrangements, Junior Sister.”
“Come with me, Senior Brother.”
Yang Kai walked out of the bamboo building with Gu Pan. Afterwards, they soared off and headed straight for the middle of the three huge Spirit Provinces. Along the way, they passed by many people from Lang Ya Paradise. Most of them would stop and bow politely from a distance when they saw Gu Pan. It could be seen that a Core Disciple like her enjoyed a very high status.
All of a sudden, Gu Pan stopped and bowed to an elderly man who slowly approached them in the void, “Martial Uncle Yuan!”
The elderly man with the surname Yuan glanced at Gu Pan with a smile and nodded in greeting, “Martial Niece, are you looking for the Sect Master?”
She replied, “Yes, Martial Uncle.”
Nodding lightly, he glanced at Yang Kai and asked curiously, “Martial Niece, who is this? He doesn’t look like a Lang Ya Paradise disciple.”
She explained, “Replying to Martial Uncle, this is Void Land’s Lord, Yang Kai. Senior Brother Yang is an old acquaintance of mine who came to visit me while passing through Lang Ya Paradise.”
He was surprised, “Oh? You are Void Land’s Lord, Yang Kai?”
“Junior Yang Kai greets Senior Yuan!” Yang Kai bowed in greeting.
The elderly man with the surname Yuan stroked his beard with a smile, “You’re being too polite. This Old Master has heard your name often in recent days. From what I see, it’s true that talented individuals are born every generation!”
“You are praising me too much, Senior. This Junior is inferior to you in every way. It is impossible to compare with your prestige, Senior!”
The elderly man with the surname Yuan immediately looked pleased at being flattered and laughed loudly, “Boy, you have a keen way with words! Your future is promising indeed!” He then smiled at Yang Kai in a friendly manner, “If you’re not in a hurry to leave, you should stop by my residence. I have lots of fine wines. It’s a pity that I have nobody to share them with!”
Yang Kai nodded cheerfully, “If there are fine wines, then I can’t afford to miss this opportunity. I will definitely pay you a visit one day!”
The elderly man with the surname Yuan smiled in response and waved his hand, “Go on then. The Sect Master is free right now. If you go any later, he might enter retreat.”
“In that case, this Junior will take his leave now,” Yang Kai cupped his fist and continued forward with Gu Pan.
A short while later, Gu Pan sent a Divine Sense transmission, “Senior Brother, do you plan to go and sound out Martial Uncle Yuan?”
If that was not the case, he would not have answered so cheerfully.
Yang Kai asked, “Do you think there is a chance that this Senior Yuan might be corrupted by the Black Ink?”
Gu Pan pondered in silence for a moment before she shook her head, “I don’t know. Martial Uncle Yuan Du is one of the three Vice Sect Masters in Lang Ya Paradise. He is usually very kind and treats the disciples very well. His only weakness is that he likes listening to flattery a little too much. I hope he isn’t one of those who have been corrupted by the Black Ink.”
Yang Kai felt a little speechless. No wonder his casual flattery had made Yuan Du so happy just now. It turned out that Yuan Du liked receiving such praise. As for whether he had been corrupted by the Black Ink or not, there was nobody who could say for sure; after all, if Yang Kai had not come here today, Gu Pan would never have believed that Elder Shi Zheng was also one of those who were corrupted by the Black Ink!
The pair continued forward, and a short while later, they landed in front of a grand palace located in the central Spirit Province. Gu Pan walked inside with great familiarity and came directly to an inner hall. When she knocked lightly on the door, a stern voice soon came from within, “Enter!”
The doors opened slowly. Beckoning towards Yang Kai, Gu Pan took the lead to enter. The hall was not that large, and when Yang Kai looked up, he immediately saw a middle-aged man standing in front of an easel. He was holding a paintbrush in his hand and seemed to be wholeheartedly drawing something.
“Honoured Master!” Gu Pan called out softly.
“En!” The middle-aged man responded without lifting his head or pausing the movements of his hands.
Yang Kai took the opportunity to study the Sect Master of Lang Ya Paradise. Along the way here, he had asked many questions about this Senior and learned that he was called Li Yuan Wang.
Li Yuan Wang was at the peak of the Seventh-Order Open Heaven Realm, just one step away from advancing into the Eighth-Order. Even among all the Seventh-Order Open Heaven Realm Masters in the various Cave Heavens and Paradises, he was ranked in the top tier.
Seeing him at this moment, his aura was certainly extraordinary. The paintbrush in his hand seemed almost alive in his hands, drawing a beautiful scenery in a single motion. Moreover, the paper spread out in front of him radiated with a faint World Force. This World Force was not the World Force that he mobilised, but rather it seemed as though the drawing itself had become an independent world.
When Yang Kai met Gu Pan for the first time, he had found it strange that she used a paintbrush as her weapon; such an artifact was very rare after all. Judging from the current situation though, it would seem that this was an influence from her Master, Li Yuan Wang.
Yang Kai waited quietly, observing Li Yuan Wang from time to time. Although Gu Pan could more or less confirm that Li Yuan Wang had not been corrupted by the Black Ink, nobody could say for sure. What if he had been corrupted by the Black Ink?
A long while later, Li Yuan Wang finally stopped painting. He took three steps back to study his work before he nodded repeatedly in satisfaction. Without even lifting his head, he called out, “Kid, come here. Tell me, how is this King’s painting?”
Yang Kai was startled when he heard those words, but he responded quickly, “Yes!”
Gu Pan hurriedly grabbed him by his sleeve and subtly shook her head at him, “Don’t go, Senior Brother!”
“What’s wrong?” Yang Kai looked at her in puzzlement.
She said nothing and simply shook her head with a troubled expression on her face.
Li Yuan Wang looked up at her and snapped unhappily, “What do you mean by that, little girl? This Master worked hard to produce this painting. What’s wrong with asking your friend to take a look? Hurry up and let go!”
Only then did Gu Pan release her grip on Yang Kai’s sleeve in a helpless manner. She also turned her head to the side, unable to bring herself to watch what would surely happen next.
Li Yuan Wang looked at Yang Kai with a smile, “This little girl has always made such a fuss over nothing. As her Master, I have failed to educate her well. Please do not take her words to heart.”
Yang Kai naturally denied those statements. Walking over to easel, which had been facing away from him the whole time, he finally saw the ‘painting’ and could only draw in a sharp breath of shock.
“How is it?” Li Yuan Wang asked earnestly from the side, “Hasn’t this King’s painting technique simply reached beyond the mundane and ascended to the highest heights?”
Yang Kai looked at the picture scroll in front of him as though it had picked up a dagger and stabbed him in the gut. The ‘masterpiece’ looked like it had a cloud of ink in the east and a drop of ink in the west, all smeared together in what could only be described as a chaotic mess. For a while, he didn’t know what to think and could only say quickly, “Senior, this painting is more. It has not just ascended to the Peak! It exceeds beyond and has reached the extraordinary! It shocks history and dazzles the present! There is a universe within this painting!”
[My conscience… it hurts! It feels like I’m going to suffocate!]
Gu Pan looked at Yang Kai with a shocked expression.
Meanwhile, Li Yuan Wang became absolutely animated, “That’s right! This King has cultivated his painting techniques for thousands of years. In this world, who would dare claim to be the best if this King claims to be second best?”
Yang Kai cupped his fist and said in a low voice, “I cannot speak about the future, but there are definitely no precedents to Senior’s painting skills!”
“En!” Li Yuan Wang nodded repeatedly while rubbing his chin and staring at his own painting. After a long time, he suddenly asked, “You mentioned that there is a universe in this painting. Tell me more!”
[Tell you what? Even the constantly wriggling Black Ink Smoke that is currently suppressed and sealed in my Small Universe looks better than this painting! No wonder Gu Pan tried to stop me from approaching earlier. She obviously knows her Master well. This painting is truly… an eyesore!]
“Go on! Why aren’t you speaking?” On the contrary, Li Yuan Wang did not seem to have any self-awareness and continued urging Yang Kai to speak.
Yang Kai’s impression of Lang Ya Paradise shattered immediately. [Even the Sect Master has such behaviour. It’s no wonder Yuan Du, a Seventh-Order Open Heaven Realm Master who serves as one of the Vice Sect Masters, likes listening to flattery so much! This is a prime example of the saying ‘If the foundation is crooked, the roof will be too!]
Yang Kai held his thoughts in for a long time, not knowing what to say in response. Gritting his teeth, he looked up at Li Yuan Wang and blurted out, “Senior, Black Ink Eternal!”
Gu Pan’s exquisite ears twitched slightly when she heard those words. She stared at her Honoured Master, watching for any changes in his demeanour while secretly drawing upon her World Force.
Li Yuan Wang stared at Yang Kai blankly. A long time passed before he asked curiously, “What did you say?”
Yang Kai quickly waved his hand dismissively, “It’s nothing! It’s nothing!”
The words had just left his mouth when a majestic World Force swirled and surged. The splattering-like drawing on the picture scroll instantly came alive, and the scattered patterns in the painting wriggled incessantly. With a flash of light, the world itself flipped upside down!
By the time Yang Kai and Gu Pan recovered their senses, they were no longer standing in the hall, but instead in some unknown world!