Everlasting Immortal Firmament

Chapter 24 Book 1: 22: Heavenly Go Pavilion, Old Mister Guan Qi
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Chapter 24 Book 1: 22: Heavenly Go Pavilion, Old Mister Guan Qi

Book 1: Chapter 22: Heavenly Go Pavilion, Old Mister Guan Qi

[TL Note: Guan Qi is a character in the novel. The author of this novel also uses the pen name Guan Qi, which means watching Go.]

At a small courtyard in Song City:

Someone had saved the Song Emperor and Crown Prince Song. At this moment, the two appeared to be in sorry states as they knelt on the ground before the First Song Sect Master and a handsome youth.

“Sect Master, Great Grandfather, we are incompetent, resulting in the loss of the Song Nation!” the Song Emperor said bitterly.

“It is all Gu Hai’s fault. That Gu Hai is too terrifying. We…we could not defend against him!” Crown Prince Song also showed a bitter expression.

The First Song Sect Master appeared sullen, but he remained silent. However, the handsome youth at the side said coldly, “Don’t call me Great Grandfather. I do not have good-for-nothing descendants like you two!”

“Great Grandfather, please forgive us!” The Song Emperor immediately kowtowed.

“Alright, Qingshu, it’s over already. The Song Nation is already destroyed. You are better off thinking about the future,” the First Song Sect Master said indifferently.

The handsome youth looked sullenly at the Song Emperor and the crown prince. Then, he turned and faced the First Song Sect Master, saying respectfully, “Yes. Master, this time, my descendants have embarrassed the sect!”

The First Song Sect Master gently sipped tea. As he looked at the Song Emperor and Crown Prince Song, he said, “Never mind. Since we lost, so be it. I will move your descendants to another mundane land. Although they can no longer be monarchs, it would not be difficult for them to be wealthy.”

“Yes. Many thanks for Master’s care!” Song Qingshu said respectfully.

“This Gu Hai is indeed quite capable. To think that he became a division master the moment he entered Elite Hall,” the First Song Sect Master said with narrowed eyes.

“First Layer Innate Realm? What a joke. He is just good at scheming and some tricks. However, those are just jokes before absolute strength!” Song Qingshu said coldly.

Although Song Qingshu just scolded his descendants, he still took Gu Hai’s causing his descendants to lose their empire to heart.

“You can go out first!” the First Song Sect Master said seriously.

“Yes!” The Song Emperor and Crown Prince Song immediately left.

“Master, do you have further instructions?” Song Qingshu asked, feeling curious.

The First Song Sect Master nodded with narrowed eyes. “Long Wanqing came to the Thousand Islands Sea for that Innate Puzzle World that opens every two hundred years. You will enter that place with her. If you get a chance, kill Gu Hai there!”

“Huh? Why?” Song Qingshu appeared somewhat surprised.

“He should not have appeared. The position of the Water Division Master was reserved. I have an alliance with Elite Hall’s other division masters. When you go there, take it as you bringing them a big gift. Many of my First Song Sect’s Innate Realm disciples are outside the Innate Puzzle World. Bring my authority token over; everyone will obey your commands. You must make sure Gu Hai does not come out alive,” the First Song Sect Master said.

“Master, don’t worry. I understand.” Song Qingshu showed a ferocious smile.

——

Gu Han’s residence, Song City:

“Adoptive Father, you look even younger than me now!” Gu Han moved around Gu Hai excitedly, sizing him up.

Gu Hai smiled faintly and sat down. Gu Han immediately served Gu Hai some tea.

Then, Gu Hai took out a purple authority token.

Buzz!

Suddenly, six superior-grade spirit stones and a bamboo scroll appeared on the table.

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

“Something like that. This authority token contains a compressed space. The things in it can be considered things the hall master gave me. Of these six superior-grade spirit stones, you and Gu Qin take three each. While I’m not around, work on quickly breaking through to the Innate Realm!” Gu Hai instructed.

“Yes. Adoptive Father, rest assured. This child will not embarrass Adoptive Father!” Gu Han said seriously.

“I also took a look at this bamboo scroll. This is an Innate Realm cultivation technique known as the True Dragon Innate Cultivation Technique. I believe Elite Hall’s cultivation technique should be pretty good. Immediately copy it down and recite it. Make one copy for yourself and one for Gu Qin. While I’m not around, you need to cultivate it up to the Innate Realm level,” Gu Hai further instructed.

“Yes!” Gu Han answered.

“Earlier, the Clear River Sect Master used his authority to give the Chen Nation’s Hulao Pass and the north of the Chen Nation to my Gu Residence,” Gu Hai said with narrowed eyes.

“Ah? That is one-quarter of the Chen Nation’s territory!” Gu Han exclaimed.

“Ha! Is one-quarter a lot? I helped the Chen Nation regain the other three-quarters and delivered the vast Song Nation to the Chen Nation. This is just a small piece of land. Furthermore, this region is nothing to cultivators,” Gu Hai said.

“Yes. This child is too short-sighted.” Gu Han nodded bitterly.

“You are short-sighted because you have not experienced enough. Once you have, you will no longer be short-sighted. Although I have not interacted with cultivators for long, I noticed that these sects seemed concerned about ordinary people, as if they have a great use for the ordinary people. However, I do not know the specifics. I will slowly investigate this. Before I leave, I’ll give you brothers a mission!” Gu Hai said.

“Adoptive Father, please speak,” Gu Han said gravely.

“Manage the ten big cities within Hulao Pass well. At the same time, rebuild Hulao Pass according to the diagrams I’ll leave behind. Spare no expense; the more you spend, the better. The more money flows, the more we earn. Fortify Hulao Pass and build up the surroundings with everything you have. That is our home. I want it to be impenetrable in the future, even if all five nations attack together,” Gu Hai said.

“Yes!” Gu Han answered.

“Also, scout out the talents of the five nations. Take in anyone with talent and build up a reserve of talents for me,” Gu Hai said.

“Talents? Adoptive Father, the various shops of my Gu Clan already have countless talents!” Gu Han protested, feeling startled.

“It’s not enough, far from sufficient. Don’t be stingy. In the future, we will be dealing with more than this mundane region. There might be even more to do in the future. Build up educational infrastructure and nurture people from childhood. Do not be stingy in dealing with the various talents. My Gu Clan does not lack money. Likewise, as long as my Gu Residence can use them, we can offer the best herbs and cultivation techniques as rewards, according to their loyalty!” Gu Hai said gravely.

“Huh? Yes!” Gu Han’s expression slowly turned solemn.

“In the future, we will be facing the true world. No matter how many people we have, it won’t be enough. Remember, loyalty comes first and talent second. This is a huge matter, so go and discuss this with the various merchant associations’ association chiefs. Say that it is my command. I will write everyone a letter. This is the foundation of my Gu Clan; I leave it to you and Gu Qin to manage,” Gu Hai said.

“Adoptive Father, rest assured.”

“Your character still needs some tempering. While I’m not around, if you have a difference in opinion with Gu Qin, listen to Gu Qin,” Gu Hai continued instructing.

“Ah? Yes!” Gu Han smiled bitterly, but a look of reluctance to submit flashed in his eyes.

Gu Hai ignored Gu Han’s feelings. After leaving this time, who knew when he could return. He needed to make ample preparations.

——

Three days later, Song City:

Gu Hai met up with Long Wanqing again at a plaza. Chen Liangyi, with his officials, the Clear River Sect, and the First Song Sect came to respectfully send off the nine people.

There were Long Wanqing, Venerable Liu Nian, three of Long Wanqing’s servants, Chen Tianshan, Song Qingshu, Gao Xianzhi, and Gu Hai.

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

“Yes!” an azure-clad servant answered.

Then, the azure-clad servant extended his hand and waved.

Boom!

A massive white ship suddenly appeared before everyone.

The massive ship had many ritual arrays drawn on both sides. As the ritual arrays emitted light, they allowed the massive ship to float in the air.

Gu Hai felt shocked upon seeing this massive ship.

That’s huge! Just like the cruise ships in my previous world!

Long Wanqing walked in front, and the rest followed.

When Gu Hai stepped onto the deck, he found a group of palaces on the ship that looked different from each other.

“This is my White Cloud flying ship. Let’s set off, then!” Long Wanqing said with a smile.

“Yes!”

A servant answered and rushed to the bridge not far away, which had a large steering wheel and many other controls.

That servant worked the various controls as Gu Hai watched curiously. Then, the flying ship slowly soared into the air.

“Respectfully sending off Hall Master!” the people below called out.

Gu Hai continued to marvel at the scene before him.

This is an airplane?

“There’s no need to be startled by it. This flying ship is the exquisite work of blacksmiths. Large numbers of ritual arrays are carved on it, and it uses spirit stones as its energy source. This is just a treasure that can carry someone and fly!” Long Wanqing explained patiently.

“Yes. This humble one is ignorant and inexperienced!” Gao Xianzhi remained shocked.

However, Gu Hai soon calmed down.

Gu Hai only stared at the land below as the flying ship picked up speed. After the flying ship reached high in the air, it suddenly turned towards the southeast and accelerated.

Whoosh!

The flying ship moved rapidly, continuing to increase its speed. Gu Hai carefully observed the various regions below, appearing like he was trying to remember it all.

“There’s no need to keep looking. If you are curious about the terrain, you can ask Chen Tianshan about it. Your Water Division has very few people, so I’ll assign Song Qingshu and Chen Tianshan to it,” Long Wanqing said with a smile.

“Ah? Yes!” Chen Tianshan smiled bitterly.

Although Chen Tianshan felt reluctant, he had to obey the hall master’s orders.

“Yes!” Song Qingshu answered. Then, he turned to look at Gu Hai, a hint of coldness flashing in his eyes.

“Greetings, Division Master!” Chen Tianshan and Song Qingshu bowed slightly to Gu Hai.

Gu Hai nodded.

“Chen Tianshan, previously, I could not leave the mundane region, as the surrounding forces had large numbers of venomous bugs and beasts. Can you tell me about the surroundings?” Gu Hai looked at Chen Tianshan.

“Yes. Speaking honestly to Division Master, the place we are in is known as Nine-Five Island. Nine-Five Island has five sects ruling it. At the same time, there are six mundane regions. Each mundane region has several nations, and these nations are subordinate to our five sects. This is just like how the Chen Nation is subordinate to my Clear River Sect,” Chen Tianshan explained.

“So, our six nations were just one of the six mundane regions?”

“Yes!”

“Are all the nations subordinate to the five sects? In that case, are the ordinary citizens the five sects’ reared people?” Gu Hai asked while raising his eyebrows.

“Huh? Division Master can understand it in that way,” Chen Tianshan explained.

However, Gu Hai’s emotions surged. Indeed, it was as he guessed. The sects cared about the ordinary people.

“Nine-Five Island? We are an island?” Gu Hai marveled.

Whoosh!

Traveling very quickly, the flying ship soon left this region and entered the vast sea.

Seen from a distance, the place where Gu Hai came from was indeed a huge island.

“An island? That land is so large, but it is only an island?” A grave look flashed in Gu Hai’s eyes.

This island was simply too big. With a glance, he estimated that the entire island was about the same size as the huge continent on Earth where he stayed when he was young. Yet, this was just an island here?

At this moment, it felt like the group was flying in space and looking down on Earth. However, this place was even larger and vaster. The sea appeared boundless and endless.

“Nine-Five Island? Where is the continent?” Gu Hai asked out of curiosity.

“That place is called the Divine Continent. We are currently to the northeast of the Divine Continent, the Thousand Islands Sea!” Chen Tianshan explained.

“Thousand Islands Sea?! You mean that there are one thousand islands of a similar size to Nine-Five Island?” Gu Hai looked at Chen Tianshan in shock.

“Yes. One thousand large islands. Of course, there are some islands of unremarkable sizes that are not included in the total. As for my Nine-Five Island, it is only of average size!” Chen Tianshan explained.

Gu Hai remained silent for a while as he nodded.

Indeed, after some time passed, the group saw another colossal island in the distance. However, the flying ship did not slow down, continuing on its journey.

“Division Master, this subordinate happens to have a map of the Thousand Islands Sea!” said Song Qingshu, who stood at the side.

After Song Qingshu spoke, he took out a huge piece of beast parchment. The beast parchment had one thousand dots on it, each with a name written under it.

Gu Hai looked at it, and he raised his eyebrows. “Huh?”

“What’s wrong?”

“The positions of the islands in this Thousand Islands Sea seem like those of Go stones, with the Thousand Islands Sea itself as a Go board.” Gu Hai frowned slightly.

“Go? How can that be? Which Go board can contain one hundred Go stones? A Go board only has nineteen each of the vertical and horizontal lines. That makes three hundred sixty-one spaces. At most, there can be three hundred sixty-one Go stones. However, there are one thousand here!” Song Qingshu shook his head.

Gu Hai narrowed his eyes slightly without explaining.

However, Venerable Liu Nian, who was at the side, had heard what Gu Hai said. His expression changed, showing some surprise.

“Mister Gu, what did you just say? It is like a Go board?” Venerable Liu Nian asked while staring at Gu Hai.

“Ah? My humble self was just spouting nonsense,” Gu Hai immediately said with a smile, changing his expression.

“Venerable, did Division Master say something wrong?” Gao Xianzhi asked.

“Nonsense? However, Mister Gu’s nonsense hit the nail right on the head,” Venerable Liu Nian said as he stared at Gu Hai, ignoring Gao Xianzhi.

“What? A Go board? A Go board only has nineteen vertical and nineteen horizontal lines, resulting in three hundred sixty-one spaces,” Song Qingshu said skeptically.

“Who ruled that there can be only nineteen of each line?” Long Wanqing countered.

“Huh?”

“When you increase the lines to thirty-two each, you can play more than one thousand pieces already,” Long Wanqing added indifferently.

“This Thousand Islands Sea is a Go board, and the islands are Go stones?” Gu Hai exclaimed.

Have I been living on a Go stone? Who is so powerful as to use the sea and islands to play Go?

“That’s right. This is a Go puzzle with the sea as the board and the islands as stones. This is a puzzle that has not been played to the end. Likewise, it is a vast ritual array, one that no one can understand. No one can solve this puzzle. This is a puzzle with more than one thousand Go stones!” Long Wanqing explained.

“It really is a Go board? Who plays using this?” Gu Hai said in shock.

These islands were not ordinary. Instead, they were as big as mainland China on Earth, where Gu Hai grew up. Each island equaled a celestial body of Gu Hai’s previous life. This was a Go board with one thousand “Earths” as its Go stones.

“This was laid out eight centuries ago, by the Heavenly Go Pavilion’s Old Mister Guan Qi!” Long Wanqing explained.

“Old Mister Guan Qi? Eight centuries ago? This Go game has not been touched for eight centuries already?” Gu Hai asked, feeling confused.

“This is because Old Mister Guan Qi died eight centuries ago. Hence, this Go game came to an end at this point.”

“Go game? Who played with him?” Gu Hai asked, feeling startled.

“The firmament!” Long Wanqing said with a solemn expression.

“The firmament?” Everyone showed confused expressions.

“Old Mister Guan Qi sensed his lifespan coming to an end, so he laid out a grand plan to fight against heaven, to face heaven in Go, and become immortal by defeating heaven. That way, he would have an endless lifespan, never aging. Unfortunately, he lost by one move, losing everything. He suffered the wrath of heaven, and most of the eight million disciples of the Heavenly Go Pavilion, a huge sect, died with Old Mister Guan Qi. The Thousand Islands Sea was where the Heavenly Go Pavilion was. Before the Heavenly Go Pavilion perished eight centuries ago, it left this Thousand Islands Go puzzle. However, no one has solved it yet,” Long Wanqing explained.

[TL Note: The raws for Heavenly Go Pavilion actually means “playing Go against heaven pavilion.” Unfortunately, I could not figure out a name holding that exact meaning that sounds decent and settled for Heavenly Go Pavilion in the end.]

“Thousand Islands Go puzzle? Playing Go against heaven? Old Mister Guan Qi?” Gu Hai raised his eyebrows.

“Viewing all life under the sky as Go stones. Guan Qi is his name!” Long Wanqing explained.

“Every life as Go stones and the world as a Go board? How bold! Too bad I am eight centuries too late, unable to see the scene that Hall Master described!” Gu Hai said in shock.

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