While Yan Zhaoge had not gone to the Marsh of Illusory Sea before, he had long heard of its famed name.
It was a massive marsh that was situated in the south of the Lake Domain, passing through Lingnan, East Lake and West Lake of the Lake Domain’s Six Paths.
Countless illusory scenes were born within as vast and unpredictable, the place was filled with numerous dangers.
Even Martial Grandmasters, venturing within, might be lost, never to return.
Even Turbid Wave Pavilion, the Sacred Ground of the Lake Domain which had governed it for many years, had never completely grasped this place.
The Earth Domain which had mutated into ‘Hell’, the Great Western Desert of the Wind Domain, the Extreme Northern Snowy Plains north of the Mountain and Thunder Domains, the Southern Underground Palace of the Fire Domain, the infinite ocean beyond the seas, as well as the Marsh of Illusory Sea of the Lake Domain were together regarded as the six greatest danger grounds of the current Eight Extremities World.
The ten-year period which Yan Di had spoken of referred to the period of time once every ten years when the mistlike state of illusions within the depths of the great marsh would weaken considerably.
During that period of time, entering the Marsh of Illusory Sea would be much safer. At the same time, the strange phenomenon ‘Ten Character Heavenly Rainbow’ would appear within the depths of the marsh.
Two rainbows, not overlapping, instead running perpendicular to each other, one from east to west and one from north to south as they thereby ran past each other in the horizon to form a ten character, ‘十’.
Yan Zhaoge received that jade hairpin from Yan Di, looking at the snowy crane pattern on its head.
Yan Di said slowly, “The appearance of the Ten Character Heavenly Rainbow is most likely due to spatial distortions there.”
“After the space distorts to a certain degree, a spatial tunnel that leads to another world may open. Ten years ago, I went to the Marsh of Illusory Sea. However, even though I did see the Ten Character Heavenly Rainbow, a spatial tunnel did not open there then.”
“There may not be one this time as well, but you should go take a look.”
Yan Zhaoge nodded, agreeing, “Right.”
As he raised his head and looked at his father, Yan Zhaoge saw that the current Yan Di actually had on a seldom seen look of forlornness amidst the gentleness on his face.
Yan Zhaoge knew full well that that must originate from his mother, Xue Chuqing.
Actually, Yan Zhaoge did not have much of an impression of his mother from his memories, most of it having been described to him by others.
From what he knew, his mother was a solitary practitioner by birth. However, the martial arts she cultivated in had unordinary origins, seemingly not inferior to that of the direct lineage of the six great Sacred Grounds in the least, reminiscent somewhat of martial legacies stemming from before the time of the Great Calamity.
When she had begun roaming the world back then, many had, as a result, mistakenly thought that her martial arts had originated from Old Man Mo.
Afterwards, as Yan Di and his wife, along with other martial practitioners of Broad Creed Mountain, had traversed the East Sea, they had stopped by Verdant Pill Island to call on Old Man Mo. It was there that confirmation by Verdant Pill Island had proven that Xue Chuqing was indeed not descended of its lineage. Instead, it corroborated her words that she had obtained a martial legacy that originated from before the Great Calamity.
However, around twenty years ago, when Yan Zhaoge had still been young, Xue Chuqing had disappeared without a trace.
Someone had witnessed her vanishing amidst the Ten Character Heavenly Rainbow of the Marsh of Illusory Sea that occurred once every decade.
Yan Zhaoge glanced at Yan Di, his lips twitching, but not emitting a sound.
Yan Di smiled, “I know what you are thinking. Still, your mother did not perish within the Marsh of Illusory Sea, nor did she lose her way there.
“This is not me comforting myself.”
Yan Zhaoge asked curiously, “Oh?”
“Others would not know, but before Chuqing left, she once told me that we might meet again someday,” Yan Di said, “She did not speak in detail, and I did not ask further. Still, some things that I already knew let me guess something.”
“Your mother only appeared in this world thirty years ago. While she had always said to outsiders that she had lived a secluded life with her Master beforehand, only having ventured into the outside world after her Master died, her past before thirty years ago was a complete blank.”
Yan Di said softly, “As if she had not even existed in this world.”
Yan Zhaoge’s gaze flickered, “In other words, mother was active in the Eight Extremities World for a total of ten years? Just like the cycle for the appearance of the Ten Character Heavenly Rainbow.”
“You suspect that mother was never someone of our Eight Extremities World, instead hailing from some other world?”
Yan Di smiled lightly, “Rather than a suspicion, it is something that I can be certain of.”
“Chuqing seemed to have some reservations. She never voiced them, and I never asked her as well, but the two of us both knew each other’s hearts well.”
“It’s just that I’m unsure if when she disappeared back into the Ten Character Heavenly Rainbow, it was to return to her own world or some other place. It’s because of that that I call it a guess.”
Yan Di’s gaze fell on the hairpin, “Right after she had disappeared, I searched in the Marsh of Illusory Sea for a long time, but could find no traces of her. I believe that she shouldn’t have perished within. In that case, the greatest possibility is that it indeed had something to do with the Ten Character Heavenly Rainbow. That’s why I’ve been checking the place out every ten years.”
Yan Zhaoge sighed, “Sadly, the dimensional tunnel there doesn’t seem to be stable.”
Yan Di said, “If it really were as stable as that passageway on the Outer East Sea that leads to the Flame Devil World, it might not be a blessing to our Eight Extremities World. After all, we don’t know how exactly the situation there is like.”
Yan Zhaoge nodded, “Mother’s martial arts were not inferior to that of our Eight Extremities World’s six great Sacred Grounds. In that case, the development of martial arts in that world should not be inferior to ours at the very least.”
Yan Di looked over, “I have to correct an error in your understanding.”
“The profundities in what Chuqing cultivated in were superior even to our clan’s Clear Qi Profound Art and Three Supreme Arts.”
Upon hearing this, Yan Zhaoge’s pupils dilated slightly, numerous thoughts flashing through his mind, “Oh? This really is unexpected…”
Yan Di said, “It’s just best that you keep this in mind. Before today, other than myself, there was only your Grand Master who knew of this. Even eldest apprentice-brother and the others were unaware.”
“While your mother and I did not transmit to each other the martial arts that we cultivated in, we often sparred. If I did not see wrongly, Chuqing’s foundational martial art seems to be some supreme martial art of before the Great Calamity, having been passed down in its entirety.”
Before the Great Calamity, the martial dao had developed for a long, long time, the martial civilisation of the world flourishing radiantly, various supreme martial arts of all kinds being improved upon unceasingly to reach unprecedented new heights.
After the Great Calamity, a majority of the martial civilisation was lost.
The current martial civilisation of the Eight Extremities World had restarted its footsteps upon the basis of legacies from the past that their forefathers had unearthed, still being in a developing phase.
It certainly had its own unique areas, but as compared to the peak martial arts of before the Great Calamity, it was as a whole still lacking in many areas.
This did not mean that the standard of martial practitioners after the Great Calamity must be low. Instead, it was due to the lack of accumulation of time and legacies.
Looking at the hairpin resting in his palm, Yan Zhaoge muttered to himself, “Supreme martial arts that were passed down in their entirety? That really is rarely seen in our Eight Extremities World.”
After pondering for a moment, he kept the hairpin in his hand, asking, “Father, since the Ten Character Streaking Rainbow appears once every ten years, the opening of that tunnel shouldn’t be limited to just one or two times? Other than mother, have there been other similar cases? Or have there been people of our Eight Extremities World who have left and gone to the other side?”
“I cannot easily confirm whether there were others,” Yan Di answered, “As for going to the other side? Since long ago, many have gone missing within the Marsh of Illusory Sea, and it may really be that some of them have left the Eight Extremities World. Still, there should be none who have left and then returned.”
Yan Zhaoge nodded.
Yan Di said, “There is still some time before the Ten Character Heavenly Rainbow appears. You should prepare thoroughly, and head out once the date draws near.”
Raising his head and gazing over, Yan Zhaoge saw Yan Di standing atop a ridge, his hands behind his back as he gazed towards the southeast in the direction of the Lake Domain, some incomparably slight ripples visible within that gaze.