Tong Chen’s thoughts turned out to be true. Just a few moments later, the ground in front of Shang Qiang cracked in the other direction and was pushed upward, but soon came to lie still again. In front of them, only an earthen column was left to tell of what had happened here, pointing up at the sky like a memorial that would serve as a reminder of this day for generations to come.
When blue butterfly thought back to that moment when the ground had finally stopped shaking, the pillar in front of them obstructing their view of the chasm in front, she couldn’t help but turn in that direction, her eyes clouded over. The column was still there as if no time had passed at all. It still pointed straight toward the sky as if the souls of those who had lost their lives back then had tried desperately to escape from the chasm but had only made it that far, almost reaching their and yet forever being unable to gain back their freedom.
She shook her head at herself when that thought occurred. She knew full well that this wasn’t the case. It was just that she felt guilty about all the lives that had been lost that day so no matter what, she would always blame herself and think of the worst.
And why wouldn’t she? When they combined their strengths that day and created this chasm, they had buried not only a major part of the demonic practitioners’ forces but also a good amount of righteous cultivators and common people up in the north, none of them who would ever be able to see the light of day again. Who wouldn’t feel guilty about that?
Yes, they had won and secured the sovereignty of the righteous sects but at what price? Was it really worth it? In the end, maybe it would have been better to continue fighting with everything they got, even if it meant the end of the righteous sects. Maybe even with the demonic practitioners taking over the rule of the cultivation world, the outcome still would have been better than this. She still couldn’t help this thought even after all these years.
But then, she couldn’t know that. She could only guess. Maybe it would have been better, maybe it would have been worse. There was no way to say for sure and, to be honest, it didn’t matter. Anyway, it wouldn’t change anything even if she had Tong Chen’s ability and could see a future that hadn’t happened yet or some alternate universe where they had made different decisions.
Yes, it didn’t matter. After all, she couldn’t change the past. She could only live with the knowledge of what they had done for the rest of her life, no matter how much the guilt racked her.
Blue butterfly sighed, feeling that she somewhat understood why the righteous sects didn’t like to talk about that part of their past and only ever mentioned that they won the war but not how. Even if the Sect Master and Elders hadn’t been the ones who had come up with that plan, they had still acquiesced to it when the four of them brought it up. In a sense, that made them just as responsible for the price everyone had needed to pay.
Not to mention that the four great righteous sects had used the opportunity to drive the remaining demonic practitioners behind the line that the chasm had created, gaining even more from this than just that so-called victory.
The thought barely crossed her mind when blue butterfly’s expression slightly changed. She couldn’t grasp what was bothering her though and furrowed her brows, trying to think more deeply.
That line … when extending the direction the chasm had taken toward the north, this was precisely where the border region started. It had been a rather convenient way of splitting their continent in two, one that was marked by the landscape itself and allowed them to keep a close eye on the other side since the chasm in the south made traveling from one side to the other difficult.
Since back then, she hadn’t really gone to the border region anymore. After all, what they had done that day had scared the sects. They had been given the title of ‘guardian’ shortly after the battle and it had been announced as if it was a great honor that was being bestowed upon them as a reward. But they and the ones who came up with this idea alone knew that it was a way to control them. Yes, they had used this as a reason to lock them up on the sect grounds because they were afraid that they might turn against them and cause such a disaster once again, this time directly targeting them.
Blue butterfly shook her head, not wanting to think about that. No, that was old news but what she had just thought of in regard to the border region deserved to be examined.
She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, trying to think back to how the region where the chasm was now located had originally looked. Hadn’t it been a flat plain with lush grass all around, a couple of trees dotting the scenery here and there? Yes, she remembered it as a beautiful paradise, a place that common people and cultivators alike would visit every now and then to relax.
Who knew who had designated this as the place where both sides would confront each other? Anyway, since both sides had gone all out in the war, the trees had soon fallen, the grass had burned to the ground, and ash was covering the soil a hand’s width high.
That beautiful scenery was lost and instead, there was only a barren landscape left. A barren landscape just like the border region she had seen today when she brought everyone over there.
Blue butterfly’s brows furrowed even deeper. Yes, the border region didn’t look so different from the chasm nowadays, did it? As if this place had subtly influenced it over time, making it turn into the same kind of wasteland. If this was true … it went to show just what kind of place this chasm was.
Not that she was surprised. After all, this was a place where thousands of cultivators had been buried, their resentment screaming to the heavens, all concentrated in this one place. Damning its surroundings for eternity didn’t seem so far-fetched.