Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Ye Futian looked at Old Ma by his side. Old Ma raised his head and stared at the sky, immersing himself in the memory.
“At that time, he was studying in the private school. The master liked him a great deal since he had extraordinary talents and remarkable abilities. Later on, just like you guys, some outsiders came to the village, including people from top forces in the Shangqing Domain. They found him, treated him well, and formed a close relationship with him. They even took him in as a brother. So he followed them and left the village.”
Old Ma slowly told Ye Futian the story. “After that, the villagers who had been outside told us that he gained great fame out there and was well-known to countless people. He made a name not only for himself but also for Four Corner Village. However, it was, in fact, against the master’s original wish. The master said that he shouldn’t mention the Village or spread our name when he was outside. Maybe the master knew that it would bring trouble to the village.”
“Following that, the villagers heard some bad stories about him. He came back shortly after. He was covered in blood, lost his eyes, and was in pretty bad condition. The master saved his life and helped him recover. Ever since then, he became Blind Tie and didn’t like to talk to people anymore. He spends every day hammering out iron in the blacksmith shop. We later heard rumors that Blind Tie was betrayed by his ‘brothers,’ and his unique technique was also stolen. The only thing he managed to bring back after putting up a life-and-death fight was a child. That’s Tie Tou.”
It sounded like a simple and even a little cliché story. But how many things actually happened behind this abbreviated version?
Perhaps only Blind Tie knew.
It took Ye Futian by surprise that Blind Tie from the blacksmith shop had such a story. No wonder he wasn’t enthusiastic about their visit. Blind Tie probably wouldn’t invite them into his blacksmith shop at all if not for Little Ling. He was certainly suspicious and distrustful of the outside visitors since he was betrayed by people like them back in the day.
“What kind of a person is the master? He doesn’t want Four Corner Village to be famous?” Ye Futian posed more questions. Little Ling, Tie Tou, and even the arrogant Muyun Shu were all extremely respectful of him. Old Ma still referred to him as the “master,” even at his age.
Ye Futian hadn’t heard anyone calling the teacher by his real name yet.
“The master has been in the village for many, many years. He is the protector of the village. When I was a kid, my grandfather told me that the master had been protecting the village ever since his grandfather was still alive. His grandfather’s grandfather’s grandfather said the same. No one knows how old the master is and how long he has been safeguarding the village. Everyone here, including people from those influential families, listens to the master,” Old Ma continued. “The master often says that good fortune follows upon disaster while disaster lurks within good fortune. Four Corner Village is a special place and shouldn’t be mentioned to the outside world. The villagers who left shouldn’t come back either unless they are in a life-or-death situation. Once they are back, they are not allowed to leave again.”
“The master spends every day teaching students. He has never left the village or even the school. No one actually knows him personally. But rumor has it that Four Corner Village was in danger many years ago due to its reputation. Outsiders swarmed in and tried to occupy the village until the master defeated them. After that, some big shot, who allegedly was the head of the Outer Realms, came and issued an order. Ever since that, no one dared to stir up trouble in the village; they have to behave themselves during their visits.”
Ye Futian nodded. He, of course, understood who was the big shot Old Ma was referring to. Donghuang the Great Emperor was here!
Donghuang the Great Emperor came and studied here. Then, he proved his path, unified the Divine Prefecture, and issued an injunction to protect Four Corner Village. That was why the village looked like this nowadays.
Moreover, according to Old Ma, the master was the protector of Four Corner Village and never took an interest in the affairs of the Outer Realms. He didn’t even concern himself with some conflicts that happened inside the village. Just like what Old Ma had said, no one actually knew the master personally.
“What did the outsiders want? Why was Blind Tie betrayed? What did they want to get from him?” Ye Futian grew more and more curious about the village. Since Old Ma didn’t seem to mind his questions, he felt free to make more inquiries.
“It has something to do with the tale of the origin of the village,” Old Ma explained unhurriedly. He turned his eyes to Ye Futian and asked, “You didn’t know anything about Four Corner Village before you came here?”
Ye Futian and his companions were probably the only people who didn’t know the village’s history. The other cultivators in the Shangqing Domain all had a thorough knowledge of the legend. After all, Four Corner Village was a famed place in the Shangqing Domain. Even though common folks might not be aware of it due to its remote location, the top forces in the Shangqing Domain were very familiar with the village.
“I came from the Donghua Domain under a senior’s recommendation. Indeed, I don’t know much about the village,” said Ye Futian.
Old Ma nodded slightly. He lounged on the chair and gazed at the sky and said, “Although the village is only a small village, there is a rumor circulating. The world was operating under a different order millions of years ago. Many gods controlled the forces of nature at that time. One of them was called God Sifang. He presided over a vast land and established the Four Corner Divine Nation, which Four Corner Village used to be in ancient times. Of course, many people don’t believe that. But people living in the village convinced themselves even if they had doubts. Who doesn’t like to have a splendid history? Besides, Four Corner Village really is a magical place. You can treat this as a story regardless of its veracity.”
“Yes.” Ye Futian nodded.
“According to the legend, the God of the Four Corner Divine Nation assigned seven people as the Lord Protectors. Because of their different aptitudes, God Sifang taught them each an extremely powerful technique. Together, they were called the ‘seven great divine techniques’ and were handed down to later generations. Although it’s hard to know whether the legend was true, the seven great divine techniques do exist. People in Four Corner Village may be born with different abilities. Some people are blessed by their ancestors and have an innate talent for one of the divine techniques. They said that some of the divine techniques were lost, but some are still here in the village. The Muyun family that Little Ling told you about before possesses one of the divine techniques. They are born with the Life Spirit of the Golden-Winged Giant Peng Bird and have incredible speed. Rumor has it that one of the seven Lord Protectors had the Golden-Winged Giant Peng Bird as his personal mount. Maybe the Muyun family has that bloodline.”
Ye Futian listened quietly. Although Old Ma was talking about the Muyun family, he couldn’t help thinking about Blind Tie. Could it be that…
“Tie Tou’s father also inherited one of the divine techniques—the Divine Hammer of the Protector. It’s said to come from one of the Lord Protectors who received a Divine Hammer of the Protector from God Sifang and inspired awe throughout the world with his tremendous strength. Therefore, both Tie Tou and his father were born with extraordinary strength.”
Old Ma continued, “I also heard that a treasure that took Blind Tie decades to forge, along with the divine technique, was taken away from him by the people who betrayed him.”
The story took Ye Futian by surprise. He was present when Muyun Shu showed off his ability. Muyun Shu was only a young man yet was already able to unleash incredible power. Obviously, it was an extraordinary technique. Still, Ye Futian was amazed by the story behind it.
That being the case, Tie Tou also wanted to display his skill before his father stopped him.
Muyun Shu apparently was aware of Blind Tie’s reputation. That was why he was too scared to attack him. Moreover, it might also be part of the reason why he picked on Tie Tou. They were both inheritors of the divine techniques and were eager to compete against each other.
Nevertheless, the Muyun family currently enjoyed a high status in the village. Ye Futian heard that Muyun Shu’s elder brother was also a remarkable cultivator in the Outer Realms who could send messages back despite not being in the village.
According to Old Ma, people who left the village couldn’t come back under normal circumstances.
“Then why does Four Corner Village allow visitors and even invite them as guests?” Ye Futian continued to ask. It was an important question. Li Changsheng told him that visitors would only have opportunities in the village if they were approved by the villagers.
But he didn’t know exactly what kind of opportunities they would have!