The Daoist Seal - Chapter 33
Bet on Your Life
The three words, “won’t marry him”, might not seem like much, but her tone was icy which reflected her stance on the matter.
The middle-aged woman looked at Xia Fengming and shook her head. “Xia Gongzi, as you can see, it’s not that I disallow you to marry her. It’s that she doesn’t want to. Within these walls of the Ice Palace, even the sect leader cannot force Bingxin to do something against her will.”
Jiang Xiaofan was speechless. This middle-aged woman is too…. Just say that the ice chick doesn’t agree to it. Why do you have to drag the sect leader into the conversation? Can it be that the Ice Palace’s honor rests on that ice chick’s shoulder?
Xia Fengming lamented the situation but insisted, “My affection for Miss Bingxin is sincere. It won’t change no matter what. I will keep coming until Miss Bingxin finally agrees.”
He waved his hand, and the elderly man behind him walked forth. With a flash of light, an intricately carved, wooden box appeared in the elder’s hands.
Xia Fengming retrieved it, walked up to Bingxin, and explained, “This is the Polar Ice Jade which can assist you in your cultivation. It’s also the hardest object in the world, a symbol of my unwavering love for you!”
Even the middle-aged woman was surprised as she stared at the object in Xia Fengming’s hands. The Polar Ice Jade contained the qi of extreme yin and extreme coldness. It was considered a highly valuable treasure among cultivators from the Ice Palace.
Jiang Xiaofan pouted and muttered, “Hardest in the world…. Unwavering love…. What a bold statement.”
His voice was soft, but everyone could hear him nonetheless. Xia Fengming grew sullen and retorted, “You don’t know anything, so refrain from speaking nonsense. There’s a saying that goes, ‘A fool's mouth is his destruction.’ Please be mindful of yourself!”
Fuck! You’re threatening me?!
Immediately, Jiang Xiaofan’s dislike for Xia Fengming grew. Coincidentally, Xia Fengming had just claimed that the Polar Ice Jade was the world’s hardest object, and this prompted Jiang Xiaofan to inwardly deride him. An interesting idea was just conjured in his mind.
He glared at Xia Fengming and disdainfully replied, “Hardest in the world? Don’t overexaggerate because it will otherwise become a joke. How can you casually display such junk and say those words? Aren’t you afraid that your tongue will fall off?”
“This person is?”
It wasn’t until now that the middle-aged woman had finally noticed Jiang Xiaofan and asked.
Bingxin answered, “He is Jiang Xiaofan from the Emperor’s Heaven Sect and here to retrieve the secret letter.”
The middle-aged woman nodded and inquired no further. Jiang Xiaofan then resumed his conversation with Xia Fengming. “Since Brother Xia has such confidence, why don’t we make a bet? How about it?”
The middle-aged woman furrowed her brows. Before she could intervene, Xia Fengming smiled and responded, “Fine then. Since you want to bet so much, I’ll play along. What do you want to bet on?”
Jiang Xiaofan looked at the wooden box and pointed at the white, mystical-looking, spherical jade that was about the size of a football. “Didn’t you say that that thing is the hardest object in the world? We’ll bet on that.”
“Okay. You’re on!” Xia Fengming nodded. His expression was calm as if everything was within his control. He glanced at Jiang Xiaofan and said, “Since it’s a bet, there’ll have to be stakes.”
“What do you want?!” Jiang Xiaofan challenged.
Xia Fengming’s expression turned slightly frosty. “Your life. Are you game?”
Everyone was astonished. They hadn’t imagined that Xia Fengming would come up with such a gamble. Not only was the middle-aged woman taken aback but so were Ye Yuanxue and Bingxin. In fact, Ye Yuanxue was ready to reject Xia Fengming on behalf of Jiang Xiaofan.
“You must think that I was born a coward! If that’s what you want to bet on, so be it!” Jiang Xiaofan sneered and waved his hand at Ye Yuanxue, motioning her to stay back. He leveled his gaze at Xia Fengming and coolly responded, “However, I don’t want your life. It’s of no value to me. Not one bit!”
Disregarding Xia Fengming’s darkening look on his face, Jiang Xiaofan cocked his head at Bingxin and eyed her. He continued, “If you lose, I want you to never bother Miss Bingxin again. She has no feelings for you!”
Bingxin glanced at Jiang Xiaofan strangely. Once again, her expression dramatically changed. What is going through that man’s head?! Why is he betting his life for me?! We have no relations between us! Is he out of his mind?!
“What are you doing?!”
Bingxin stood up and angrily glared at Jiang Xiaofan.
“Shut up!” Jiang Xiaofan glared back at her before staring at Xia Fengming again. He coldly jeered, “Well? Bet or no bet?!”
Xia Fengming narrowed his eyes. He adamantly believed that even if the Polar Ice Jade wasn’t the hardest object in the world, then there was barely anything else that can compare to it. Even if there was an object whose hardness could match that of the Polar Ice Jade’s, such a thing would be difficult to obtain. Jiang Xiaofan’s cultivation was merely at Micro Realm. Xia Fengming didn’t believe that Jiang Xiaofan could come up with a similar object on the spot.
“As you wish!” Xia Fengming countered.
Jiang Xiaofan icily smirked. A dark black, long sword with a beautiful, slim blade and a skull on the pommel of its hilt appeared in his hand. There were no energy fluctuations radiating from it.
“What do you plan to do?”
“Nothing much. You claimed that the Polar Ice Jade is the hardest object in the world, yeah? I’m here to prove to you that your so-called hardest object is no harder than tofu.”
He smirked again, raised his sword, and forcefully swung down. With the use of his Buddhist Sutra’s Shadow Steps at such a close distance, his speed was so quick that Bingxin didn’t even have ample time to react. Needless to say, Xia Fengming had no time to evade either.
A light sound was heard. The Ice Polar Jade and its wooden box were cleaved in half and consequently knocked to the floor. The cross-section of the cleanly cut jade was as smooth as the surface of glass.
The atmosphere of the large Snow Hall sank into silence. Even Xia Fengming was stunned. The sturdy, hard Polar Ice Jade was cut just like that. For a while, he couldn’t recover from his shock.
The middle-aged woman was caught off guard. She looked at Jiang Xiaofan’s long sword and sensed no energy fluctuations from it, yet it was able to break the Polar Ice Jade. Just how sharp is this sword?! How rare are the materials that were used to forge it?!
The dark black blade and the skull on its hilt had everyone knitting their brow, and even the eyes of Xia Fengming and the green-robed elder glimmered with light. However, they said nothing because they could sense that there was nothing phenomenal about that sword.
“Well, Brother Xia?”
Jiang Xiaofan put away his Celestial Demon Sword and narrowed his eyes at Xia Fengming.
After Xia Fengming’s focus had returned, he looked at the halved Ice Polar Jade on the floor. There was no longer any hint of a smile on his face. Rather, his expression was brooding. He stared at Jiang Xiaofan and coldly announced, “I have lost! I will never step foot into the Ice Palace again!”
He then strode up to Jiang Xiaofan, peered down at him, and growled, “How excellent!”
Without care, Jiang Xiaofan shrugged his shoulders. “Everybody says the same.”
“I’ll remember you for this!”
Xia Fengming eyed Jiang Xiaofan for the final time and then eyed Bingxin. Without any words or any courtesy, he strutted out of the hall with the elderly man following him.
The middle-aged woman finally exhaled a sigh of relief. She turned to nod her head at Jiang Xiaofan and expressed her gratitude. Without saying anything further, she got up and left the Snow Hall as if she had some other task that she needed to take care of.
It was evident that Xia Fengming’s identity wasn’t an ordinary one since the powerful Ice Palace had to take him into consideration. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have permitted him to come and propose to Bingxin and would’ve deterred him at the base of the peak instead.
Bingxin was considered the most gifted successor in all of the Ice Palace’s thousands of years old history. How could the Ice Palace possibly marry her off like that? Due to the force behind Xia Fengming, even the Ice Palace had to tread carefully. All they could do was be perfunctory towards him.
As for the incident today, Jiang Xiaofan had settled the matter once and for all by making Xia Fengming swear that he would never step another foot into the Ice Palace. In other words, this meant that he will never propose to Bingxin again. The middle-aged woman had a strong reason to believe that with Xia Fengming’s identity, he wouldn’t eat his words. Otherwise, he would not only bring shame to himself but to that force behind him as well. He wouldn’t do such a thing, nor would he dare to!
“Yeah! Perverted Wolf is so cool!” Ye Yuanxue hopped over and tugged on his earlobe. “You’ve accomplished a meritorious deed today! Sister Bingxin will definitely reward you for it! Maybe she’ll even offer herself!”
Bingxin momentarily glared at Ye Yuanxue before turning to eye Jiang Xiaofan, looking at him “very seriously” and “carefully” until Jiang Xiaofan felt his hair stand on end. She flatly said, “You yelled at me.”
All of a sudden, Jiang Xiaofan grew numb. He just remembered the two words that he had directed her and hastily clarified, “Oi oi oi! Respected Miss Bingxin, you can’t be like this! Where’s your conscience? I just risked my life back there to help you out!”
Bingxin snorted *hmph*, turned her head the other way, and murmured, “Thanks.”
This word sounded very weak, almost inaudible. However, Jiang Xiaofan heard her and reflexively widened his eyes. This was because he was standing near her, and not to mention, with his peerless, primordial Buddhist Sutra, his senses had been heightened.
He couldn’t believe his own ears. The ice chick actually said thanks to me? Am I hallucinating? He cautiously neared her and whispered, “What did you just say?”
This time, there was no need to doubt anything. Her voice was definitely loud and clear.
On that afternoon, Jiang Xiaofan and Ye Yuanxue departed from the Ice Palace and embarked on their return journey to the Emperor’s Heaven Sect. The middle-aged woman appeared again. She, as an elder of the Ice Palace, and Bingxin escorted the two of them down the peak.
The Ice Palace owed Jiang Xiaofan a favor. As its representative, she solemnly promised him that whenever he was in a time of need, the Ice Palace would extend a helping hand and provide him with necessary resources as long as the actions and consequences were within the boundaries of morality. In addition, Ice Palace’s doors would forever be opened to him. He would be welcomed as a guest at any time.
Jiang Xiaofan was astounded. Looks like Bingxin is of exceptional importance to the sect!
Gusts of wind and snow blew across the ice field as usual. On top of the primordial peak was where the true, sacred ground of the Ice Palace rested. It rose into the sky above the clouds with traces of Dao and threads of spiritual qi enveloping the surrounding area. Powerful divine light emanated from it, looking like a true immortal realm.
It was here that the most gifted successor of the Ice Palace stood. She looked down from afar at the youthful pair teasing each other on the ice field. In a daze, she stared at an average yet extraordinary figure walking farther and farther away.
This man…. What exactly is he? His cultivation isn’t strong, yet he was willing to help out that old man and his grandchild. They were complete strangers to him, and he offended so many cultivators in the process. He looks lackadaisical, yet he elicits the desire of wanting to witness the Dao. He seems blustering but is willing to put his life on the line for others. What does he have in mind?
The girl wondered.
“Xin’er, what are you in a daze for?”
An aged voice sounded from above.
Bingxin turned around and looked towards the peak above the clouds.
The aged voice resonated again, “The prelude of a flourishing era has begun. Samsara is now on a new cycle. As the Ice Palace’s most gifted successor in history, you have what it takes to walk the Dao. Whether you choose to or not, that is your own choice.”
Bingxin’s eyes were clouded by mist, and her white-robed swayed in the wind. Frost danced in midair for her. Traces of Dao revolved around this naturally formed landscape with divine light radiating from the top of the peak. She was like the goddess of snow and ice. After a long while, her figure gradually faded into the background before finally vanishing from where she stood.
Meanwhile, a purple-robed man quietly stood on top of another peak located outside of the ice field with a morose, green-robed elderly man behind him. They blankly gazed at the pair walking down below.
“Young Master, should I make a move?” The green-robed elderly man asked.
“Now is not the time. There’s no window of opportunity.” The purple-robed man shook his head.
“Because of the Emperor’s Heaven Sect?”
“Emperor’s Heaven Sect? What worth is the Emperor’s Heaven Sect?!” Full of disdain, the purple-robed man retaliated, “A mere Emperor’s Heaven Sect has no room for concern in my eyes! What I have to worry about is that Ye girl!”
“That lass is certainly a bit strange, but she is no match for me.” The green-robed elder calmly stated, “As a matter of fact, I can make them disappear for good.”
The response given to him was the crisp sound of a slap across the face.
The purple-robed man icily glared at the green-robed elder and chastised him, “It’s because he’s with that Ye girl that I can’t touch him! How else do you think that he can walk away from this ice field safe and sound?!”
A strong, explosive qi erupted from the purple-robed man’s body. If Jiang Xiaofan were here, he would realize that Xia Fengming’s qi was too powerful, even more powerful than Bingxin’s. His cultivation level was at least at the ninth heaven of Phantom Saint, perhaps even higher!
Despite being slapped, the green-robed elder’s expression remained the same. He stood by his side with his head lowered.
“I’m warning you! Stay as far away as possible from that Ye girl! Don’t even think about provoking her! Don’t even touch one strand of her hair! If anything happens to her, all of Planet Ziwei will shudder in fear!”
With a look of indifference on his face, he gazed afar and coolly asserted, “I doubt that he’ll stick to that Ye girl indefinitely. Once he walks out of the Emperor’s Heaven Sect alone, I’ll personally make sure that he won’t make it back alive.”
- ^ six realms of rebirth and existence: Deva (gods), Asura (demigod), Preta (hungry ghosts), Naraka (hell), Tiryagyoni (animals), and Manusya (humans)