Upon the front platform of the Guanyin Pavilion, a young man, drenched in blood, cast a wary glance back at the City of Death as a raging tempest threatened to engulf him.
The wind howled through the air, carrying the stench of death and despair.

Before him loomed the imposing structure of the temple, rising high into the stormy sky with its two towering stories.
Its steeply angled roof was a web of intersecting rafters, resembling the jagged bones of some ancient beast.
The signboard above the entrance was blank, devoid of any characters, adding to the ominous atmosphere.

With quivering fingers, Lin Shouxi pushed the gate open and stumbled into the sanctuary of the pavilion, grateful to find it unlocked.
He leaned heavily against the door, gasping for air as he struggled to quiet the searing agony that ravaged his body.
Though the rain outside had been muted by the pavilion’s walls, he knew that danger still lurked in every corner.

As Lin Shouxi took this moment to catch his breath, he began to reflect on the downfall of his sect.

Though he appeared young, he was the current inheritor of the Demon Gate.
A title that once held great reverence and commanded respect across the realm.
But now, in the wake of the sect’s defeat at the hands of the Tao Gate, his title meant nothing.
His senior brothers and sisters were now prisoners, and he himself had spent the last day fleeing for his life, wounded and alone.

What’s more, despite his best efforts to evade his pursuers, he had been relentlessly pursued from the treacherous Black Cliff to the menacing City of Death.
And to make matters worse, his unyielding hunter was none other than Mu Shijing, a formidable disciple of the Tao Gate, and the only one capable of ending his life.

“Mu Shijing…”

Her name escaped his lips with deliberate slowness, as the words of his elders echoed in his mind.

According to them, both he and Mu Shijing were born in this city fifteen years ago, and were the only survivors of the disaster that had befallen it.

Unfortunately, these two heaven-blessed talents were not destined to be an immortal couple.
From the moment they joined the Demon and Tao sects, their paths were set on a collision course that would lead to a battle of life and death.

Lin Shouxi’s eyes drifted closed, his grip on his sword tightened, the blade’s point touching the earth.

He had always considered himself a killer driven by inspiration, and if fate would grant him but a single moment of triumph, even Mu Shijing, guarded by the impenetrable Myriad Laws List, might fall, struck down by a single fatal blow.

Rain and wind careened into the straight window, a never-ceasing whistle piercing the air.

In a flash, his eyes sprang open.

She had arrived!


Mu Shijing perched atop a Chiwei, her robes billowing in the wind.
Her sword, a gleaming mirror of her tranquil gaze, was her constant companion as she surveyed the tempest-tossed city below.

The City of Death was her birthplace, yet if not for the edict of her sect, she would never have returned to its polluted border.
A place infamous the world over, it teemed with corruption and decay, where even the slightest touch could rot the common person.
Though she donned pure white icy socks as a talisman against evil, her feet still felt a sense of foreboding as they touched the ground.

The city held a certain renown among the cultivator circles, yet upon her arrival, she discovered that it was even more surreal and uncanny than she had ever imagined.

The city gates had been firmly locked by the government for a decade and a half, bound with heavy chains and bolts, forbidding entry to all.
Yet today, as Lin Shouxi sought refuge within its walls, the door mysteriously creaked open, its iron chains and wooden bolts snapping asunder and tumbling to the ground.

Before venturing into the city, the sky was clear and unmarred by clouds.
Yet, as soon as she crossed the threshold, the sky darkened and rain, heavy and relentless, began to pour down.

The city and its surroundings were two entirely distinct realms, a dichotomy beyond compare!

As she tracked Lin Shouxi’s tracks down the streets, smashing down the doors of ancient abodes, the rooms she entered were thick with cobwebs and dust, each one revealing a new and eerie tableau.

In the world, many families would set up statues of revered figures for blessings and protection, and the inhabitants of the City of Death were no different.
Yet, the statues they venerated were not of gods or buddhas… they were twisted and macabre, with heads like octopuses and bodies like serpents, and even the stones used to sculpt them had a texture akin to that of a serpent’s scales.

Could such evil entities truly exist in this world?

From a young age, Mu Shijing had devoted herself to cultivation, paying reverence to the divine and striving for a tranquil and unblemished heart.
However, since entering the city, she couldn’t shake the feeling of a voice whispering secrets of terror in the depths of her mind.
It was as if some sinister revelation was waiting to be uncovered.

The maiden, steeped in contemplation, cast her gaze far beyond.
Despite the downpour of rain, a delicate crimson thread beckoned her forth, guiding her to the location of Lin Shouxi.

Lin Shouxi might have possessed a physique that was unmatched by any other in the world, but Mu Shijing’s senses were second to none.

Her eyes fixed upon the ominous Guanyin Pavilion at the end of the scarlet trail, she took a bounding leap into the tempestuous rain with nimble grace.

The young girl, no more than a mere fifteen summers, parted the veil of raindrops as she hastened along the expansive, bleached avenue, stopping in front of the two-story temple, which rose tall and proud with its two-tiered facade.


The rain fell with relentless fury, pounding upon the earth in a symphony of sound.

As Mu Shijing approached the threshold, Lin Shouxi’s senses were alerted to her presence.

This rival, whom he’d had but a fleeting glimpse of before, now stood but a mere door away!

Despite the Demon Gate’s disbelief in the deities of Taoism and Buddhism, a hushed prayer escaped his lips.
“May the merciful Guanyin Bodhisattva watch over me.”

In the holy halls of the Guanyin Pavilion, the statue of the thousand-armed Guanyin loomed behind him, its peak touching the brilliant ceiling.
He held his sword firmly, the massive shadow cast by the statue enveloping him.
His temples throbbed with pain, his body wracked with torment, yet his sword hand remained steadfast and unyielding.

The weapon he clutched had been his faithful companion for many a year.
In this moment, it seemed to awaken to its master’s intent, its blade retracting like a slumbering black wolf in the shadows.

The cacophony of the pounding rain, the rhythm of his pounding heart, the rise and fall of his breaths, the deadly intent of his sword, and the aura of violence all merged into one, clouding his perception and senses.

With the sky alight with the brilliance of thunder and lightning, the Demon Gate’s mightiest sword technique, the White Pupil Black Phoenix Sword Scripture’, reached its zenith, his mastery soaring to the eighth level in a single bound.
Lin Shouxi’s inner energy surged like a tempest, and with a lightning-quick chop, he shattered the wooden door and burst forth into the rain-lashed night.

The blade shone with a chilling radiance.

In but a heartbeat, the wooden door was reduced to splinters, and the rain was torn asunder by the sword’s energy, soaring skyward to form a cascade of mist.

Within the veil of the falling mist, the ringing of steel echoed across the air, the unmistakable sound of Lin Shouxi’s strike. 

With a deft flick of his wrist, he cleaved the sword that had hung suspended in the air, sending it careening towards the earth below.
It landed with a shuddering thud, embedded in the ground and trembling with the force of the impact.

This was Mu Shijing’s sword, yet its wielder was nowhere to be seen!

“Not good!” Lin Shouxi’s eyes narrowed in alarm.

The lightning had come and gone, but the deafening peal of thunder only now resounded.
And amidst its rumble, another, even more piercing noise echoed forth.

It was the sound of the roof being shattered, rent asunder.

Mu Shijing had left her sword outside, misleading Lin Shouxi with its aura while she herself had taken to the roof.

With her inner energy, she shattered the roof, swooping down from the towering structure like a bird of prey, armed with two shards of azure tiles.

The azure tiles hurtled through the air, slicing towards Lin Shouxi like razor blades.

Taken unawares, Lin Shouxi raised his sword to defend himself.
Though weary, he managed to deflect the two hurtling tiles.

The tiles shattered into dust, and he let out a pained grunt, nearly being thrown out of the Guanyin Pavilion.

Mu Shijing alighted gracefully, her feet touching the ground.
With the inner energy of the Tao Gate collected in her palm, she released it in an instant.

Lin Shouxi attempted to wield his sword, but his grip was torn away and he was unable to maintain hold of it.
He could only raise his left hand and confront her palm head-on.

The two palms met, inner energy erupted with a thunderous noise.

Lin Shouxi stumbled back, taking several steps to regain his footing and his sword as he planted his feet firmly apart.
Though he knew defeat was inevitable, he remained composed and steady.
As the youthful woman advanced, he unleashed an intuitive sword strike, abandoning all his prior sword forms.

The young woman’s visage grew taut as she gazed upon the blade thrusting towards her.
Though it appeared to be a straightforward maneuver, its lethality could not be underestimated.
Yet, fate would have it that she had to parry with her left hand.

With a fierce determination, Mu Shijing stood firm, facing the dangerous sword strike head on.
Her pride as the reigning martial arts master of the world would not allow her to take a step back.
Her jaw clenched, she leaned forward, her left hand outstretched and ready, the ultimate technique of the Tao Gate, the Wondrous Finger, summoned forth.

The metallic clang echoed as steel met flesh, the sword and finger, in a fleeting embrace of mortality.

The skies bellowed with fury as the lightning danced among the clouds, its jagged

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