Han Shan’s Sword Unsheathed Chapter 3

Chapter 3: A Pack of Rogues

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The disciple’s pupils contracted sharply as he asked in a deep voice, “What do you mean?”

Meng Xueli replied, “He’s very timid, he wouldn’t even dare to speak loudly.”

The disciple’s expression seemed to be a smile but not quite, a smile that carried a hint of strangeness. Amidst the swirling white snow, his features gradually changed. His eyes elongated, his eyebrows became more slender, and his nose became sharper, transforming into a beautiful yet sinister face.

Stretching lazily, he walked towards Meng Xueli, his bones crackling as if he were a bamboo shoot unfurling. In the blink of an eye, his robe shortened by a section.


Meng Xueli casually punched him, saying, “I knew it was you.”

The Han Shan Sect was on high alert, especially during this sensitive time. If they detected anyone with unidentified identity sneaking in, they would be executed on the spot.

But Qiao Xianming wasn’t a human.

He was a peacock demon, relying on his innate bloodline talents, proficient in transformation and deception arts.

Qiao Xianming cursed, “I risked my life to come in here, secretly aiding you under the noses of the six major sects. You’re not moved to tears to the point of kneeling down and call me father? Do you still have a conscience?”

How many true friends can you have in your lifetime, those who will save you and run away with you in times of danger?

Meng Xueli felt warmth in his heart, but he wasn’t soft with his words, he didn’t let up with his words, “Why are you here for? I live carefree every day. Are you here to seek refuge and escape from trouble in the demon realm, fearing for your life?”

“Damn it, have you been made foolish by Ji Xiao?!” Qiao Xianming knew this person was just talking nonsense and couldn’t be bothered to argue. He activated three explosive charms, saying, “Demon fire leaves traces, so I have to use these human realm toys…”

Meng Xueli grabbed his arm abruptly, asking, “What are you doing?” 


“I’ll blow up this place and carry you out. ‘Under the Jietian Cliff, the mountain road collapsed, and Elder Meng fell into the abyss, life or death unknown, suspected to have sacrificed himself for his Dao companion.’ How do you like that? Right now, the Han Shan Sword Sect is too busy to care about you.”

“And then? Where can I go?” Meng Xueli said lightly, “I can’t go back to the demon realm anymore.”

“You won’t be going back to the demon realm, I have a secluded cave in the ‘Xukong’.”

At the junction of the three realms of humans, demons, and monsters, there is a vast wilderness. There are no laws, and the spiritual energy is depleted. It often collapses and is called the ‘Outer Boundary’ by humans and ‘Xukong’ by demons.

Qiao Xianming enthusiastically envisioned: “Even though it’s a bit remote, it’s safe at least. After you recuperate and rebuild your demon core, you’ll be strong again in eighteen years! By then, we’ll rise again in the East Mountain and laugh at the three realms! Let’s go, we can talk along the way.”

He thought that the most terrifying thing about Han Shan was not its protective formations and numerous prohibitions—those things didn’t frighten him—but the sword intent left by Ji Xiao. Although invisible and intangible, it was everywhere, chilling to the bone.

Ji Xiao was worthy of the title ‘Unmatched in the Mortal Lands’. Even though he was dead, his sword intent remained.

Meng Xueli shook his head, “You go first, I have unfinished business here.”

Quexianming grew a bit impatient, “What business?” 


Meng Xueli suppressed his smile, “Ji Xiao’s death is mysterious. I’ve been speculating these past few days…”

Who hated Ji Xiao the most in the world and who benefited the most from his death? However, the matter involves the entire three realms, with countless intricacies that are difficult to unravel at the moment.

Qiao Xianming was shocked, “You didn’t kill him?”

Meng Xueli was even more surprised, “He was my Dao companion, why would I kill him?”

“For freedom. Although he saved your life, he also trapped you in a cage.” Qiao Xianming looked towards Changchun Peak, stating matter-of-factly, “Three years, like a tiger trapped in a flatland, or a dragon trapped in shallow waters. You’ve endured it quite well.” 

“It really wasn’t me,” Meng Xueli said with a slight surprise, realizing that he himself had a motive to kill Ji Xiao.

But he quickly laughed, “Nowadays, I’m just a weak and powerless beauty.”

Qiao Xianming felt like gagging.

Realizing they couldn’t leave for the time being, he reluctantly put away the explosive talismans, cautiously transforming back into the appearance of the young disciple Liu Xiaohuai, and sat down with Meng Xueli on the ground.

The narrow suspended plank path was backed against the cliff, with a bottomless abyss below them, obscured by cold mist and drifting clouds.


“Alright, even if you didn’t kill him, you don’t need to flee in fear,” he said, taking the plum branch from Meng Xueli’s hand and drawing three vertical lines in the snow.

“Let me lay it out for you. First, maintaining the formation at Changchun Peak requires enormous resources. Han Shan already doesn’t like you, and without Ji Xiao, there’s no way they’ll continue supporting you for free. Your position at Han Shan is precarious. Second, when Ji Xiao was alive, he made many enemies. Those who couldn’t get to him might bear a grudge against you out of spite. Third, now that Ji Xiao is dead, all the treasures he left behind are up for grabs. How many people do you think are waiting for an opportunity to seize them?”

Meng Xueli interrupted smugly, “The biggest treasure Ji Xiao left behind, isn’t that me?”

Qiao Xianming wished he could just push him off the cliff and be done with it.

“Don’t talk nonsense with me. You, as Zhenren’s…” He paused, struggling to find a word, “widow, were originally the most qualified person to inherit Ji Xiao’s belongings. However, you’re temporarily unable to protect yourself and can only rely on Han Shan for shelter. With the three points I mentioned, it’s a dead end for you in the mortal realm. What other way out do you have?!”

Meng Xueli looked at him admiringly, took back the plum branch, and drew six circles next to the three lines.

“Not just three points. The six major sects are all here today. What do you think about the other five sects outside of Han Shan?”

Qiao Xianming said, “Are you thinking of taking the divine weapons left by Ji Xiao, leaving behind the pipa, and seeking refuge with another sect? Forget it, which sect can compete with Han Shan’s sword cultivators?” 


Meng Xueli shook his head. “Before Ji Xiao attained enlightenment, Mingyue Lake and Han Shan were evenly matched, known as ‘Southern Lake and Northern Mountain’. Among the other four sects, Wuyin Sect has a good relationship with Mingyue Lake. Songfeng Valley focuses on medicine, and Nanling Temple on Buddhist cultivation, so they can be considered neutral. As for the Beast Tamer Sect in Beiming Mountain, they don’t get along well with anyone, so let’s not mention them. Apart from the six major sects, there are countless smaller family sects with unclear stances. Next spring, the Hanhai Secret Realm will reopen, reallocating human cultivation resources for the next twenty years. This time, can Han Shan still maintain its position as the ‘number one sect’?”

“Internal troubles and external threats,” Meng Xueli snapped the plum branch in half. “Even if Han Shan is willing to take care of me out of respect for Ji Xiao, they may not have the strength to do so when the time comes. I’m destined not to live a peaceful life.”

Qiao Xianming fell silent, recalling a saying he had heard long ago—

The reverence for Ji Xiao maintains peace in the human realm.

“Why don’t you leave then? Are you waiting for Han Shan to sacrifice itself?” he asked impatiently, tapping his leg with irritation. “You only agreed to the companionship with him to save your life back then. What true loyalty can there be between fake Dao companions?”

Surprisingly, Meng Xueli didn’t get angry; instead, he laughed. “Take a good look at me. Inside this body are human organs, and outside are human muscles and skin. Ji Xiao reshaped my flesh and bones, I’ve become human, so how can I rebuild my demonic essence? I can only cultivate human techniques and start anew. Anyway, the demon realm thinks I’m dead, so let it be. Meng Xueli is the one who’s alive.”


Qiao Xianming stared at him, seemingly unable to believe that these words were coming from his mouth.

After a while, he muttered to himself, “You don’t want revenge? You don’t want to be a Demon King? You’ve let it all go?”

Meng Xueli remained silent for a moment before slowly saying, “You risked coming here today, and I’ll remember that. But I owe Ji Xiao my life, I can’t leave.”

The north wind howled, and snowflakes swirled wildly around them. Beyond three meters, there was only a vast expanse of white, obscuring the direction of the path ahead.

Meng Xueli stood up. “As for your question about whether there’s a way out for me in the human realm, I don’t know the answer. All I can say is…” He smiled faintly, “The Great Dao has three thousand paths; there is no hopeless situation.”

“You’ve changed,” Qiao Xianming regained his composure, “I was a bit curious now, what kind of person was the Sword Sovereign Ji Xiao?”

These two sentences were linked, and the underlying meaning was clear; he thought Ji Xiao had changed the other person.

Meng Xueli thought to himself it wasn’t that, but he didn’t argue, “He, um, he was a…”

Qiao Xianming was prepared to listen to a lengthy discussion from the other side, narrating two or three stories of affection and enmity with Ji Xiao.

However, Meng Xueli hesitated several times, words stuck in his throat, and he only managed to utter four words: “He was a good person.” 

This answer made Qiao Xianming want to curse.

What is a good person?

One who sends a sword flying three thousand miles, annihilating demons and evil spirits, is a good person; one who helps up an elderly person who fell on the road or saves a child bullied by thugs is also a good person.

However, the former is often referred to as ancestors, Daoists, sages, Sword Sovereigns… and many other prestigious titles.

Only those who have lived a mediocre life, truly have nothing to boast about, and have fortunately not committed major wrongs, when people talk about them, they will vaguely say, “At least they are a good person.”

Qiao Xianming, who roamed the human world year-round and was familiar with human customs, sneered at this assessment.

Meng Xueli thought to himself, becoming a Sword Sovereign at the peak level is indeed very difficult. But becoming a good person after becoming a Sword Sovereign is a hundred times harder.


The truths in it, he pondered quietly on Changchun Peak for three years before gradually understanding.

He patted his friend’s shoulder, saying, “Let’s go, I’ll see you off. Perhaps we’ll meet again in the mortal world.”

Qiao Xianming was about to speak when he suddenly stopped. Faint footsteps could be heard in the wind and snow.

Meng Xueli mouthed, “Someone’s here.”

Nowadays, Qiao Xianming’s senses were sharper than his. Sensing that the approaching person was alone and of low cultivation, he didn’t pay much attention. Concealing his true appearance with that of a Daoist disciple, he followed Meng Xueli a couple of steps behind, keeping his head down. 


Meng Xueli held a small hand stove, walking with his head held high, exuding the demeanor of “Ji Xiao’s Dao companion”.

As footsteps approached from the opposite direction and the path turned a corner, the two groups of people met on the narrow path.

In haste, the young man in green clothes was startled and whispered, “Oh my, Elder Meng, the Sect Leader was looking for…”

Qiao Xianming raised his eyes. What a coincidence! Wasn’t this the disciple from Changchun Peak? Truly timid… Wait! I’m wearing his face now!

As Meng Xueli tried to sound a warning, it was already too late.

Two identical faces, four eyes met.


Liu Xiaohuai’s pupils dilated, reflecting another version of himself.


He couldn’t catch his breath, his eyes rolled back, and he fainted.

Qiao Xianming was so frightened that he was at a loss: “I didn’t intend to kill anyone to cover it up at Han Shan. He’s pretended I hit him!”

Author’s Note:

Ji Xiao: Have you ever seen a protagonist who hasn’t even appeared properly in the story but already gets labeled as a good person?

Luo Mingchuan: Calm down, buddy, we’re all the same here. Let’s put away the swords.

Huge shoutout to @_nyanmaru_ on Discord for commissioning this! The chapter will be posted regularly, show your support for Ciacia at Kofi.

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