Wu Chang Jie Chapter 1-10

Chapter 1

Mount Shu is a mountain with multiple ranges which pierced through the clouds. It is famous for its vast form, high peaks, deep valleys, and magnificent forests. It is also known as the first immortal mountain due to Wuliang Sect, the leader of the Immortal Alliance who lived in seclusion in this mountain.

For hundreds of years, there were those who ascended Mount Shu to seek help, education, and medicine day after day regardless of the season.

However, what caught Xie Bi An's interest was a mysterious flower in Mount Shu's Diancang Peak, which was rumored to bloom in autumn when other flowers had withered and would die when transplanted. The spring water in Mandarin Duck Pond was naturally sweet, and it was used to make tea, which leaves a rich aftertaste. Lanxi Town, which was at the foot of the mountain, produced all kinds of delicious food and wine, and he always had a big feast when he visited. 

It was a pity that on this trip to Mount Shu, he didn't get a chance to enjoy the mountains, water, tea, and wine, because the City God of Mount Shu came to the Underworld with a report and requested him to help harvest souls.

The City God's name was Sun Xia Zhen. He was once an elder of Wuliang Sect. When he was alive, he performed exorcism everywhere and helped commoners. He enjoyed his good reputation, but his cultivation was limited which prevented him from ascending. The Underworld allowed him to choose: to reincarnate into a wealthy and powerful family, and enjoy a lifetime worth of glory, or to become a local City God, where one day when he accumulated enough merits, he could get ranked among the ghosts and immortals and transcend reincarnation.

Usually, the deceased was taken back to the Underworld by the local City God or by the ghost servants. Only those that were difficult to deal with would be handled by the Underworld Generals.

The person Sun Xia Zhen reported this time was one of Wuliang Sect's high-ranking cultivators. The cause of the death was a terrifying one----he died from a dug-out golden core.

As an Underworld General, Xie Bi An traveled between the human and ghost realms with his master since he was young. He had seen many horrible deaths. What really terrified people from the deaths of cultivators who had their golden cores stolen was the fear of the comeback of the demonic practice which involved “using the inner core to train the outer core”. 

Since ancient times, this type of heartless cultivation method has been taboo in the cultivation world of the human realm. The outer core trained by using the inner core was called the "human core". The more powerful the golden core that was used to create the human core, the more the user's cultivation would improve by. Obtaining a core could improve a person's cultivation by a few years up to a decade, and it is not impossible to change one's substructure. The temptation was too great, making these demonic cultivators massacre others endlessly.

Because the golden core must be dug out when the person was still alive, the victim’s cultivation would be destroyed for his entire life, and most of them would die from severe injuries or from being silenced. In order not to fulfill the demonic cultivator's wish, those with an upright temperament would rather commit suicide. These types of deceased would have a very strong resentment, thus their souls were not easy to harvest and could easily bring harm to the world.

Xie Bi An, who still didn't know the details, already became worried after hearing the two words "stolen core". When he visited the City God Temple, Sun Xia Zhen was also very worried.

"Hey, Little White Master." Sun Xia Zhen's eyes went straight over Xie Bi An, looking behind him, "where is Heaven Master Zhong?"

Xie Bi An cupped his hands together in greeting: "Elder Sun, master has gone on a trip, and his return date is uncertain."

Sun Xia Zhen has a violent temper. He has a shallow cultivation because he intruded too much in earthly affairs. He was angry and anxious when he heard these words: "Where did that old drunkard wander off to again? Letting you come by yourself."

Xie Bi An said helplessly: "Junior doesn't know. Elder Sun might as well tell me the situation." He had been alone since 14 years old. He had seen stormy waves* before. Even if his master wasn't here, he wasn’t afraid.

"Little White Master, it's not that I don't believe you, it's just that this time this person is really difficult to handle. This person is my martial nephew's martial nephew..." Sun Xia Zhen was pondering for a while and still did not understand, "anyway, he is Xiang Qu Zhen Ren's first disciple*, Meng Ke Fei. Have you heard of him?"

"Xiang Qu Zhen Ren? Isn't that Alliance Leader Li's junior brother?"

"Exactly! Meng Ke Fei’s innate talent surpasses others. He could already be in charge if he was put in an ordinary immortal household.”

Xie Bi An suddenly understood why Sun Xia Zhen was so anxious. Xiang Qu Zhen Ren's senior brother was the head of Mount Shu's Wuliang Sect, the heir of Wuliang's sword, and the leader of the Immortal Alliance, Li Bu Yu. As the elder of Wuliang Sect, anyone who became Xiang Qu Zhen Ren's disciple was definitely not a layman. Even he died from a stolen core in his own territory with his cultivation level and status. Which demonic cultivator was so powerful and arrogant? Wouldn't everyone be in danger then?

"Wuliang Sect has always been leading all the immortal families in killing demonic cultivators. Although there are occasional core thieves throughout the year, only a few low-level cultivators suffered. The murder of Meng Ke Fei indicates that there are high-level demonic cultivators. I'm afraid that there will be another bloody storm in this place." Sun Xia Zhen stroked his white beard. His eyes condensed with sadness.

Cultivators in the human realm had different ways to cultivate. Sword cultivation, martial cultivation, instrument cultivation, alchemy cultivation, and talisman cultivation. There was no fixed method, but those who cultivated by harming or influencing others would be classified under demonic cultivation, and they were despised by the immortal families. However, it was not necessary to kill off ordinary demonic cultivators. The ones who stole cores were the only ones that had the right to be punished. Not only was it because of the cruelty of the method, but also because a hundred years ago, this method once produced a Supreme Demon, who almost overthrew both the human and ghost realms. It was the longest nightmare in the human realm's immortal cultivation world.

Sun Xia Zhen was just a little disciple at that time, who had experienced the horrors of the Supreme Demon, and Xie Bi An had also heard many evil legends since he was young. The world hated and feared these core thieves, and they were even more secretive about the Supreme Demon. No one even dared to speak his name.

Xie Bi An consoled: "Elder Sun, you don't have to worry. The demonic cultivator can't run away from Wuliang Sect's investigations. We should go see the deceased first. There might be changes if we are too late."

---

They were still too late. They hurried to where Meng Ke Fei was murdered. Xie Bi An sensed an unusual spiritual pressure---someone was setting a formation to call back the spirit of the dead.

Soul-calling formation was a forbidden technique. This technique was very dangerous. It used one's own spiritual power to force a dead soul to return back to life. Even a person with a high cultivation level might not be able to control the resentful soul. Any mistakes would cause self-immolation. A damaged cultivation level at the minimum, and life endangerment at worst.

Even if it's just possession, the self-inflicted damage was not minor. Moreover, when they were harvesting the soul, they have to face the problem of not hurting the living while collecting the soul.

It seemed like they dared to take the risk even though the death of Meng Ke Fei would have a great impact on Wuliang Sect. As the number one immortal sect, the sect leader's nephew had his golden core dug out in his own territory and lost his life. This was a blatant provocation to the Wuliang Sect as well as the entire Immortal Alliance. If the murderer is not quickly found, apart from throwing Wuliang Sect's face, it would be difficult to give an explanation to their disciples, allies, and everyone else in the world.

In order to find the murderer, asking the victim directly was the quickest way.

It was too late to stop. Xie Bi An and Sun Xia Zhen saw an elder with few other cultivators channeling their spiritual powers to activate the formation. They dared not disturb them, afraid that they would distract them, causing them to receive a backlash from Meng Ke Fei's soul.

Sun Xia Zhen was so furious that his beard flew up: "This Xiang Qu Zhen Ren is such a muddle-head. They are all idiots from my junior brother's side. They cannot escape unscathed from a normal soul-calling, let alone from a high-ranking and resentful cultivator's soul like Meng Ke Fei!"

The soul-calling formation was flashing with blue light, which was very strange. The cultivators from Wuliang Sect could not see it, but the two beings from the Underworld could see it vividly. Meng Ke Fei's soul appeared in the middle of the formation with a blank face. Initially, he tried to walk out from the formation, but after repeated unsuccessful attempts, his expression gradually became angry and sinister, and he started to go on a rampage, crashing against layers upon layers of the invisible barrier. 

The turbulence of the formation was causing suffering to the low-level cultivators. Some of them began to turn pale due to the lack of spiritual power. Xiang Qu Zhen Ren tensed his face, drew a talisman in the air, entered the formation, and shouted: "Soul return!"

Meng Ke Fei's soul was temporarily suppressed. A whiff of demonic wind rose, rolling up small dust and stones into the air.

Xiang Qu Zhen Ren shouted: "Meng Ke Fei, is that you? Master is here. Tell master, who did this to you!"

Meng Ke Fei was still at a loss.

"Ke Fei, tell master, who dug out your golden core!"

When a person just died, their three souls and seven sprits were slowly dispersing. Their consciousness would be in a state of confusion. Most of them didn’t know that they were dead. They didn’t even know what they were doing at that moment, but this sentence immediately caused fluctuations in Meng Ke Fei's memory. He lowered his head and looked at his abdomen. His clothes which looked normal, suddenly had blood rushing forth like a fountain. A hole had been dug in the dantian* area. The moment he remembered, resentment soared, and he roared to break through the formation.

One of the cultivators spat out a mouthful of blood. The formation was clearly extinguishing, like a flickering candle flame in the wind.

"Not good." Xie Bi An rushed over, grabbing the void with his right hand. A green jaded stick appeared in his hand.

"Who is it!?" Xiang Qu Zhen Ren looked at the person who came.

A young man dressed in white holding a jaded stick had appeared unexpectedly. His white clothes fluttered like snowy waves, his black hair was as beautiful as a sea of ink, and his tall white hat was inscribed with an ancient talisman. He had a handsome face, a heavenly appearance, dazzling and elegant like a fairy.

Meng Ke Fei's soul was like a hungry tiger and possessed that low-level cultivator's body. Xie Bi An held the soul suppressing stick, propped towards that person's back, and tried to force Meng Ke Fei's soul out, but because he didn't dare to exert force, he failed. Instead, he angered Meng Ke Fei. Resentment raged like a gust of wind, and numerous cultivators were thrown out. The formation looked like it was about to go out.

Only Xiang Qu Zhen Ren with profound spiritual power was left maintaining the formation strenuously: "Are you the Impermanence Immortal?"

Xie Bi An exclaimed: "Zhen Ren, quickly close the soul-calling formation!" Meng Ke Fei was absorbing spiritual power through the formation, and it would become more and more difficult to deal with.

"But I haven't asked about the murderer yet!"

Xie Bi An started fighting against the cultivator possessed by Meng Ke Fei: "He's already dead. Whatever he had gone through when he was alive, the Underworld will interrogate him, how can you violate soul-calling? If you can't get an answer, it'll endanger this cultivator's soul. If you don't close it, I will lodge a complaint against you and have your lifespan reduced!"

The possessed cultivator's eyes became bloodshot as if he was looking at his mortal enemy who was after his life. Meng Ke Fei had an outstanding cultivation level, and his swordsmanship was unpredictable and hard to deal with. Xie Bi An was afraid of harming innocent people, and he could only try his best to dodge the attacks. His right arm was soon stabbed by the sword.

Sun Xia Zhen was anxiously watching on the sidelines. He couldn’t help Xie Bi An as he is unable to touch the living. 

Xiang Qu Zhen Ren looked at the crazed cultivator, and had no other choice but to suppress his hatred and close the soul-calling formation to help Xie Bi An suppress Meng Ke Fei.

Everyone joined together and finally subdued the cultivator. Xie Bi An used his soul-suppressing stick to give a knock on top of the cultivator's skull. Meng Ke Fei's soul was knocked out. Under the pressure of the soul suppressing stick, that soul behaved itself.

Xiang Qu Zhen Ren was in tears: "In the end, who hurt my disciple? Impermanence Immortal, can you tell me?"

Xie Bi An gestured a blood coagulation enchantment to stop his injuries. He sighed: "My condolences. It's not that I don't want to tell you. I'm only in charge of harvesting souls. He has to go to Yanluo Hall for his life to get interrogated and judged. Matters of the living are matters in the human world. Matters of the dead are matters in the Underworld. They are insurmountable."

"But...Heaven Master Zhong does interfere with humans' matters occasionally."

Xie Bi An felt awkward: "Uh...Master and I have different statuses." His master always did things his own way. If he could go to heaven, he would even dare to interfere with Great Emperor Haotian's matters.

"So where is Heaven Master Zhong? Doesn't he hate the golden core thieves too?"

"He went on a trip, and his date of return is uncertain. Zhen Ren, farewell." Although he's a living being, he tried to avoid the living as much as possible when harvesting souls, because most living beings had motives for them. Xiang Qu Zhen Ren knew the rules of the human and ghost realms. Even if he sought answers, it was not excessive. Xie Bi An had encountered plenty of people who begged, forced, and bribed him in order to achieve various goals. Every time he encountered them, he had a headache.

Xiang Qu Zhen Ren was disappointed and grieving. Looking at Meng Ke Fei's corpse, he said with hatred: "Ke Fei, I hope you'll reincarnate well. Master will search for the murderer and avenge you!"

---

Xie Bi An brought Meng Ke Fei's soul to the Underworld and handed it over to the ghost servant. His task was completed. The following good-evil judgment was the matter of the Yanluo Hall. He was planning to treat his injuries when he heard a loud voice from afar: "White Master, White Master!"

A teenage boy rushed over, his face filled with fear as he shouted: "Heaven Master, Heaven Master is back!"

This boy was their close attendant, Bo Zhu.

Xie Bi An was surprised and delighted: "What? Master is back?" He hadn't heard from his master for months. Of course, he was happy at that moment, but when he saw Bo Zhu's flustered expression, he became worried that his master got into trouble again.

"He came back, and...and brought back someone."

"Huh? Master suddenly got into business."

"No." Bo Zhu panicked, "He didn't come back from soul harvesting, he...he brought back a living person."

Xie Bi An gaped: "A living person?"

"Before Official Lord Cui comes, you have to go and take a look quickly."

Xie Bi An broke into a cold sweat: "Let's go!"

Chapter 2

At the beginning of Hongmeng*, heaven and earth began to divide, and everything was in chaos. Heaven and earth were filled with inexhaustible spiritual energy, and all things were capable of cultivating. But as the earth deities, ghosts, and immortals continued to strengthen and expand, a rift appeared between them and the gods, resulting in constant fighting.

In order to stop the war millions of years ago, Zhuanxu Sect severed the path between heaven and earth, dividing the upper Jiutian*, the middle Jiuzhou* and the lower Jiuyou, so that the human, ghost, and immortal realms were not disturbed and kept in order.

From that day on, the spiritual energy in the human realm became thinner and thinner, and to this day, no one could attain the Dao and ascend when they were alive. Therefore, two new cultivation methods were invented: one was to use an outer core to assist and supplement the inner core, and the other was to go to the Underworld to replenish spiritual energy.

The former method was the reason why countless cultivators died tragically from core theft, and the latter was the reason why Zhong Kui, known as the number one person in the world, was now working as a messenger in the Underworld.

But Xie Bi An didn't feel that his master came just to cultivate. He was likely tired of playing in the human realm and wanted to have fun in the Underworld.

All those who had accumulated merit could request to cultivate in Mount Luofeng after death. Mount Luofeng was a place in Jiuyou where the spiritual energy was the most abundant. Cultivating in the Underworld was called ghost cultivation. The road to ghost cultivation was not smooth due to the loss of a physical body, therefore the speed of cultivation was slower as compared to living beings. The conditions were more demanding than corpse dissembling and ascension, so most people chose to go through reincarnation. The lucky ones would have a body with good meridians and bones in the next life and ascend after a hundred years of cultivation.

In short, if one wanted to cultivate in the Underworld, they had to give up their life. But this situation changed a hundred years ago. That unspeakable Supreme Demon broke the Fengdu barrier with his power, invaded the Underworld, and killed until the whole of Jiuyou became a complete mess. If it wasn’t for the Great Emperor Beiyin coming out of seclusion, that Supreme Demon might have unified the human and ghost realms.

Since then, the Underworld's vitality had been severely damaged. The Fengdu barrier was also heavily damaged. Internally, they had to suppress thousands of evil spirits from hell, and externally, they had to be on guard against human cultivators from stealing spiritual energy at Mount Luofeng, which was extremely strenuous.

One day, in a moment of desperation, Zhong Kui swaggered into Mount Luofeng and crossed the barrier, thus arriving in the Underworld. Not only did he have an unparalleled cultivation level, but he also possessed one of the four ancient magical treasures, the Eastern Emperor Bell, which could strengthen the barrier. The Great Emperor Beiyin made an exception to let him become an Underworld General as a living person. Together with Cui Jue, he was appointed as a civil and military judge, and could travel freely between human and ghost realms.

Living beings were strictly forbidden to enter and leave Jiuyou. Zhong Kui with his outstanding abilities; however, was an exception and he picked up Xie Bi An, who was still a baby and brought him back home. That had already caused a great commotion in the Underworld. Yet this time, he brought back a living adult. It was as if he wanted to throw the world into chaos. 

Xie Bi An ran back to Heaven Master Palace and he smelt the scent of alcohol from a distance away.

"Bo Zhu, go boil some hot water for Master. Prepare some hangover soup, and then get..."

"White Master, do you have time to care about this? Quickly send that living being back quietly first. If Official Lord Cui finds out, we will be given a severe scolding."

"I know how severe this is. You, hurry up and go." Xie Bi An thought that Zhong Kui might have his own reasons for his actions. Of course, he might have also just drunk too much. Anyway, Xie Bi An heard that the living being was a young man. Frail people who get stained with too much ghostly atmosphere would fall severely ill, that's why he sent Bo Zhu away. If he was going to send him back, he had to send him back properly.

When stepping into Jiuyun Hall, Xie Bi An heard a string of alcoholic snores: "Master? How much have you drunk this time?"

A green-clothed Daoist was sleeping soundly in a chair. His face was full of messy sideburns. His clothes were old, dirty, and reeked of alcohol. Even the dogs would have to make a detour if he had laid down on a street alley.

Xie Bi An had long been accustomed to such a scene. A thin figure standing with his back facing him caught his attention.

"You...are the one whom my master brought back?"

That figure's back trembled albeit subtly.

Xie Bi An said gently: "My master drank too much. Most likely he's confused again. Don't be scared, I will send you back safely."

That young man turned around slowly, as if he had to consume a lot of his energy to carry out this action.

Xie Bi An was stunned.

The young man was about 14-15 years old. He was dressed in black, his face porcelain white like a vase. He was exquisite beyond compare, especially that pair of fox eyes that were lifted at the corners. There was this unexplainable charm, yet his cold eyes looked as if there was a collision between fire and ice. After being stared at, his heart and soul began to tremble.

There was really someone in this world who had such a beautiful appearance.

The young man used his pair of eyes to stare hard at Xie Bi An, as if he wanted to engrave into his memory every inch of his flesh and every strand of his hair.

Xie Bi An heard a loud heartbeat in his chest. This young man gave him an unexplainable and never-had-before type of feeling, as if the two had met a long time ago and that they were definitely not meeting for the first time. But he couldn’t remember seeing this person before.

"You..." Xie Bi An said puzzledly, "What is your name?"

The young man pursed his lips. His eyes clearly contained flames, pain, longing, thirst, lust, hope, and hatred, which were constantly increasing.

It's a pity that Xie Bi An didn't understand. He had been living with ghosts for 19 years who were released from the cycle of karma, resulting in them being purer at heart than humans. For Xie Bi An who didn't understand the heart of humans, he thought that the young man was merely afraid: "I'm Xie Bi An, a living being. Don't be afraid. Although this is the Underworld, no one will harm you."

The young man suppressed his emotions and clasped his hands, which were curled up into fists, behind his back. Back then, he had thought countless times about how and what he should say when he met Xie Bi An again one day. In the past life, it's difficult to express in a thousand words. In the end, he only blurted out: "Why are you hurt?"

"Ah?"

The young man's eyes fell on Xie Bi An's bloody right arm.

"Oh." Xie Bi An looked down, "I just came back from harvesting a soul who gave a slight injury." He smiled brightly, "No worries."

The young man's heart was shaken. His eyes gazed elsewhere, seemingly unable to bear that smile.

How could he be exactly the same as before?!

Standing like a jade tree and smiling like a bright moon in an embrace*, he was exactly the same as "back then", nothing had changed.

"You..." Xie Bi An was suddenly startled by Zhong Kui's big alcoholic burp. He shook Zhong Kui's shoulder, "Master, Master, please wake up."

Zhong Kui's eyelids trembled for a long time before he opened them with great effort: "Hmm...Bi An?"

"Thank goodness you still recognize me*." Xie Bi An said helplessly, "Please wake up quickly. Where did this young man come from?"

"Good disciple." Zhong Kui patted Xie Bi An's hand, adjusted his position and planned to go back to sleep.

Xie Bi An pushed him harder: "Master, please wake up quickly. If Official Lord Cui finds out that you brought back a living human, it will be serious."

This sentence was effective. Zhong Kui opened his eyes and looked around blankly: "I came back?"

"You came back and brought back a living human." Xie Bi An cupped his face and turned towards the direction of the young man, "What is going on? I have to send him back quickly."

"Oh, him." Zhong Kui rubbed his face, "Who is he?"

Xie Bi An didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

The young man said coldly: "You owed me money for wine, and promised to accept me as your disciple."

Xie Bi An was stunned. If it was someone else, he would certainly not believe that a stack of wine money was able to allow a person to formally become a disciple of a rare and expert master, but if this expert was his master, any ridiculous matters were not surprising at all.

Zhong Kui was half believing and half doubting: "Really?"

The young man took out a receipt and shook it open. It was written in a fine brush on why he owed, how much silver was owed, and how to pay it off. The black letters were clear on the white paper with a dirty handprint printed below, "You said that you are very great and you'll be my master to pay me back."

Zhong Kui secretly peeked at Xie Bi An with a guilty conscience.

Xie Bi An snatched the receipt, looked it up and down, left and right: "Master, is this real?"

"...Seems like it."

"You are really..." Xie Bi An was inexplicably worried about the young man, "Master, what do you plan to do?"

When he was a child, he always begged his master to accept a junior brother or sister.  Best to have them both. The more the merrier. Unfortunately, he had not been able to have his wish fulfilled. Now, it seemed like there's a possibility of having one junior brother who was randomly picked up. In his heart, he wished this was real, but he felt that this situation was unreliable and would probably be just keeping his hopes up for nothing.

"That can't be helped." Zhong Kui murmured, "What is your name?"

"Fan Wu She."

"Alright, Bi An, from now on, he'll be your junior brother."

Xie Bi An was stunned.

Really? Did he really get a junior brother?

Fan Wu She said nothing, knelt down and kowtowed to Zhong Kui: "Master, please accept this disciple’s worship."

"Wait, wait a minute." Xie Bi An stepped forward and was about to pull Fan Wu She up.

Yet Fan Wu She dodged abruptly, not even letting him touch the corner of his clothes, as if avoiding snakes and scorpions.

Xie Bi An was at a loss for a moment: "...I'm really a living being."

Fan Wu She retreated to one side expressionlessly. His trembling hands were hidden in his sleeves.

"Master, although I really want a junior brother, this matter cannot be decided in a sloppy manner. This young man has not reached the end of his life. He still has a family waiting for him to return. Besides, Official Lord Cui definitely wouldn't allow you to accept another living being as your disciple."

"I don't have a family." Fan Wu She said coldly.

"Then...Then do you know what this place is?"

"Jiuyou, the Underworld."

"Are you really willing to live with ghosts all year round?"

"More than being around people."

Xie Bi An persuaded: "Lord Fan, you're still young, you have to think this through. Why don’t I send you back first..."

"Zhong Kui!"

Hearing a stern shout full of righteousness, Zhong Kui immediately jumped up from his chair in fear.

A scholar-like-looking person rushed into Jiuyun Hall. His face was like a crown of jade, refined and elegant. Even if he was in a hurry, he did not lose his demeanor, up till the point when he saw Zhong Kui, his face became blue with anger: "Zhong Zheng Nan! You actually brought back a living being again. Do you even have a bit of respect for the rules!"

Xie Bi An saluted and said: "Official Lord Cui."

This person is the civil judge, Cui Jue, Cui Zi Yu, who possessed the Book of Life and Death and the Judge's Brush. He is the editor of the laws in the Underworld. Morally upright, honest and fair, he is tasked with writing the life and death of all living things, with no case of favoritism.

"Ah... Zi Yu." Zhong Kui became half-conscious and said with a forced smile, "This is a misunderstanding."

"What misunderstanding? This person is a living being, isn't he? You're the one who brought him back, isn't it?" Cui Jue glanced at Xie Bi An, "That time, you brought Impermanence back to the Underworld, said he's alone and helpless, so I let you off the hook. So, what reason do you have today?"

"This kid is also alone and helpless."

"Nonsense! With hands and feet this big, did he not have anything to eat in the human realm?" Cui Jue ordered, "Bi An, send him back immediately."

Xie Bi An secretly glanced at Zhong Kui. Seeing that Zhong Kui was also looking at him, he quickly looked away, and stepped back quietly, not wanting to be further involved in the conflict between the two men.

Zhong Kui saw his disciple ignored him, so he began to act shamelessly: "But I promised to accept him as my disciple. I, Zhong Kui, am not someone who goes back on his words."

"As a judge, you repeatedly broke the rules of the ghost and human realms. Is the law of the Underworld not as important as your face?"

Cui Jue said a bunch of principles right in his face, and Zhong Kui was unable to retort. Zhong Kui admitted his mistake, yet refused to change it.

Just when the two parties came to a deadlock, Fan Wu She coldly interjected: "Since living beings are not accepted, would it be alright if I die?"

The inside of Jiuyun Hall suddenly became quiet.

"I've already paid respects to my master. I won't be going anywhere. Allow Official Lord Cui to draw out my life and let me stay." When Fan Wu She said this, his eyes always gazed at Xie Bi An.

"N...Nonsense!" Cui Jue said angrily, "You think the Book of Life and Death can be altered randomly?"

"Then I won't bother Official Lord Cui. I will commit suicide. After I die, allow Impermanence Immortal to guide my soul back here."

"Absolutely not!" Xie Bi An saw his serious face. He couldn't tell if what he said was real or fake.

Zhong Kui glanced at Cui Jue and whispered sadly: "Why do you have to force someone to die?"

Cui Jue was outraged: "Fine, fine, no wonder you want to accept him as a disciple. Both...both of you are jackals from the same lair*! Just you wait until the Emperor comes out. This is not the end of this matter!"

Cui Jue flicked his sleeve and walked away.

Zhong Kui smiled lazily: "This guy takes everything so seriously and doesn't even feel tired."

Xie Bi An lowered his head and tried to contain his laughter.

"Alright, don't disturb my sleep." Zhong Kui waved his hand, "Your senior brother will help you settle down."

Fan Wu She looked deeply at Xie Bi An, and called out two thought-provoking words: "Senior brother."

 

 

----

Translator Thoughts: 

oooooh~ they finally met! I think Zhong Kui is so funny LOL!

***magical weapon = magical treasure in this novel

***human realm = earth in this novel

Hongmeng*[鸿蒙]---primeval atmosphere of nature

Jiutian*[九天]-----heavens

Jiuzhou*[九州]----equivalent to human realm

Standing like a jade tree and smiling like a bright moon in an embrace* [立如芝兰玉树,笑如朗月入怀] --- a way to describe a man who has good looks. Comes from 《白石郎曲》宋代·郭茂倩

Thank goodness you still recognize me*[难为您老人家还认得我]----initially, I wrote "it's hard for you to recognize me, old man", which sounds really weird. Got help from a WeChat friend and I change to this current sentence, which is much closer to the original meaning. Eliminated "old man" at the end of the sentence because it sounds rude xD

jackals from the same lair* [一丘之貉] --- they are all just as bad as each other

Chapter 3

"Where are you from? Where do you live? Do you have siblings? Have you ever paid respects to any master before?" Xie Bi An settled Fan Wu She into his neighboring courtyard, helped him with spring cleaning, carried things and chatted with him, asking questions most of the time.

But Fan Wu She treated his words like gold*. Occasionally, his answers evaded the crucial point*. He seemed to be high on alert and had no interest in talking.

Xie Bi An spread out the bedding he took from his house and said with a smile: "Don’t mind me for being long-winded, I grew up here ever since I was young and rarely had any friends of my own age, let alone a living person. In fact, I always wanted to have a junior brother. I...Senior brother will take good care of you." He was a little embarrassed saying these two words "senior brother", yet he felt very pleased in his heart as if he had taken up some extraordinary important position. Finally, he was someone else's senior brother. Finally, he had a junior brother.

It's probably because he took over Zhong Kui's daily life since he was little. He always enjoyed taking care of people. Even if master was not around in the future, he would have someone to share the delicious food he made and the wines he brewed.

Fan Wu She glanced at Xie Bi An. He suddenly wrinkled his nose and sniffed hard.

Xie Bi An immediately reacted: "It’s the quilt, isn’t it? I put a sachet I made in the cabinet." He grabbed his quilt and sniffed, "You don't like this scent?"

Fan Wu She walked over and picked up a corner of the quilt and drew it close to his face, yet he didn't dare to inhale at all. Just letting the smell flit weakly across his nose had already made his heart flutter.

This scent...

The memories that he had desperately suppressed came spilling out. He remembered that year, deep in that magnificent palace, where the flickering five-stemmed lotus lamp candle was hanging overhead, casting layers upon layers of shadows. The golden and jade goblets were lying all over the place, the imperial robe and crown abandoned on the floor. The Agarwood bed shook violently, the misty silk curtains swaying along with its motions, pushing away layers of flirtatious ripples*. Inside the curtain, the jade was warm in the spring night*. The red quilt turned over like waves. As if he was insane, he pressed this person into endless collisions. At that time, he had breathed in this exact fragrance, just that it was hotter, thicker, and more enchanting...

"Junior brother?"

As if he was shocked from waking up from a dream, Fan Wu She threw the quilt away, as if his hand was scalded, and said dully: "Too fragrant."

"Too fragrant?" Xie Bi An sniffed again, "I put lilac, wrinkled giant hyssop, atractylodes, white aconite, green osmanthus and tangerine peels in it. This is a recipe for calming nerves and aiding sleep. For fragrance, I only used some orchids. Did I put too many? Maybe I put too many. I planted so many in the yard, it's a pity not to make use of them."

Gentlemen are like an orchid, gentlemen are like an orchid*, this person still loves to plant orchids so much.

Fan Wu She's eyes were dark and difficult to understand. Resentment welled up within him without warning.

Why, why could he forget everything? The things he did, the sins he committed, and the people he harmed, he had forgotten all of it. He reincarnated innocently and lived a carefree life under the shadow of a powerful master.

Now, he was living free and carefree as if nothing had ever happened.

How come I tried so hard to remember, and yet he forgot so easily?!

"Junior brother, you came so suddenly, so I couldn't find any new bedding in such a short amount of time. You'll have to put up with it tonight. Tomorrow I will bring you to town and buy some new ones, okay?"

Fan Wu She said nothing. He carried a bucket of dirty water and walked out.

Xie Bi An stared at the young man's back and mumbled: "His temper is a little weird." Then he smiled again, "Maybe he's just shy."

This courtyard, which had never been inhabited before, looked brand new after a quick clean up. Xie Bi An cut some fresh flowers from the garden to add some personality to the house.

After returning from drawing water, Fan Wu She didn't even spare a glance at Xie Bi An. As a junior brother who treated his senior brother so rudely right after he joined, he would have been punished if he was at someone else's house. Although Xie Bi An was a little depressed, he did not take it to heart, thinking that it was understandable to have some abnormalities when an ordinary person encountered such huge changes in one day. If Fan Wu She had been like this since he was young, then he must have lived a difficult life, which made it even more unnecessary for Xie Bi An to complain about it.

After instructing Fan Wu She not to leave Heaven Master Palace alone without authorization, Xie Bi An bid farewell and planned to visit his master.

Zhong Kui is a wine addict. He acted as if life revolved around wine. Every place in Heaven Master Palace was named after wine. For example, the main hall was called Jiuyun, Zhong Kui's bedroom was called Zhuyeqing, Fan Wu She's temporary residence was called Hantanxiang, and Xie Bi An named his courtyard Xiaoyaoniang.

When he arrived at Zhuyeqing Hall, he ran into Bo Zhu who was just leaving.

"Where is master?"

"Heaven Master went back to sleep after taking a bath." Bo Zhu said helplessly, "I don't know where he went again this time. He's so dirty and smelly."

"Sleeping again? He didn't eat anything to fill his stomach?"

"He only drank hangover soup. He said to wake him up after White Master stewed some pork ribs."

Xie Bi An smiled: "I'm hungry now. I'll go prepare something to eat. I guess junior brother is hungry too."

"Heaven Master really accepted that person as his disciple?"

"Yeah, though master does things a bit eccentrically and unreasonably, he always keeps his promises."

"But, what does Heaven Master like about him? Although he looks handsome, his qualifications, roots, and bones are unknown."

Xie Bi An didn't tell Bo Zhu about the matter regarding the wine money to save some face for Zhong Kui: "People who master takes a liking to are definitely not bad, it's just..."

"What?"

Xie Bi An smiled bitterly: "He doesn't seem to like me. He doesn't talk and ignores me. I wanted to ask about his history, but he isn't willing to talk about it."

Bo Zhu widened his eyes: "What kind of person is he? Who doesn't like White Master? He has Heaven Master as his master and White Master as his senior brother. He truly doesn’t know how to appreciate it."

"You don't have to put it that way. Maybe...maybe he got scared and hasn’t recovered yet." Xie Bi An rubbed Bo Zhu's head, "Luckily you informed me early today and I arrived before Official Lord Cui did. Otherwise, I might not even have a junior brother."

Bo Zhu felt a little worried and said: "Official Lord's side..."

"Official Lord has a sharp tongue but also a soft heart. Tomorrow I'll bring over some good tea and apologize on master's behalf." Xie Bi An smiled, seemingly in a good mood.

Bo Zhu said with jealousy: "White Master, you look so happy. If it's a junior sister, I will also be happy for you, even if it's a clever and well-behaved junior brother, but that guy...Anyway, I think he's a little weird."

"Don't judge a book by its cover. Maybe he's cold from the outside and warm on the inside. I guess he's just wary of us. It will be alright once he becomes more familiar with us." Xie Bi An instructed, "Bo Zhu, Wu She still doesn't know the rules very well. Keep an eye on him. Don't let him run all over the place."

He grew up here since he was young, and now that he had an official position he could roam freely around the Underworld without any hindrance. But when he was young, Zhong Kui never allowed him to step outside Heaven Master Palace. The vitality of living beings could supplement the cultivation of ghosts. Although those who serve in the Underworld were all ghosts with no grievances in their previous life, there was no guarantee that anyone could resist this temptation. Heaven Master Palace had a boundary, and Fan Wu She could only stay in it until he had the ability to protect himself.

 "Got it."

"By the way, help me find out which Yanluo Hall the person I brought back today was sent to."

"Oh, what happened to him?"

"He..." Xie Bi An knew he shouldn't concern himself with matters pertaining to the human realm. Humans and ghosts should draw the line clearly and not offend each other. Moreover, he and the Yanluo Hall performed their respective duties. He shouldn't meddle too much. However, the matter of core stealing was of great importance. After all, it was the core stealing demonic cultivator in the human realm who had burnt down the Underworld. If master knew about this, he wouldn't sit by idly and remain indifferent.

Bo Zhu stopped questioning: "I got it White Master. I will go now."

Xie Bi An went to visit Zhong Kui. Seeing that he was sleeping soundly, he relaxed and went into the kitchen to prepare dinner.

He knew master's taste very well, but what does his junior brother like to eat? He forgot to ask. Xie Bi An decided to make some common household dishes, which were neither spicy nor sweet, which people, in general, should be used to eating.

Xie Bi An made a table of dishes. There’s taro stewed pork ribs, crispy bean curd with sauce, braised egg with asparagus, steamed mandarin fish, rouge chicken breast, plus cold dressing shredded vegetables, and shredded pork and mushroom soup*. Usually, he would prepare two small bottles of wine for Zhong Kui, but he didn't need to do so tonight.

After preparing the meal, he woke Zhong Kui.

After napping for 2 hours, Zhong Kui slept off his hangover and felt refreshed. He had also freshened up, and he looked very different from his sloppy appearance from when he first returned. He was tall and mighty, with thick eyebrows and beautiful sideburns. Most accomplished immortals were very elegant and could only be viewed from a distance, but he was chivalrous, cheerful, and wild. It looked like he's from a different species.

But Xie Bi An felt that this kind of master was a good cultivator. He didn't avoid mortal's customs, came into the world, and entered the society based on true intentions.

The Path is not far from man. When men try to pursue a course, which is far from the common indications of consciousness, this course cannot be considered The Path*. If one ignored the suffering of people for the sake of cultivation and only aimed to ascend, wouldn't it go against the original intention of cultivation?

Zhong Kui sat down, his eyes gleaming: "When I was outside, I missed your dishes."

Xie Bi An served him a bowl of soup: "Master, you eat first, I'll go and call junior brother over."

"Wait." Zhong Kui gnawed the ribs without looking up, "How did you get hurt?"

"Got injured by a sword when harvesting a soul. It's alright now."

"You have the soul-suppressing stick beside you. Not many souls are able to hurt you. Did you encounter something troublesome?"

"I was just about to tell you." Xie Bi An briefly described Meng Ke Fei's death which resulted from core theft.

Zhong Kui didn't stop chewing, but his two eyebrows were pinched.

"I feel that this is not a simple matter, so I called Bo Zhu to find out where he has been sent to. After that...I haven't figured out what to do."

"Leave it to me."

"Okay."

"Wuliang Sect's elder dared to defy the law. It's really reckless."

"Master, Xiang Qu Zhen Ren lost his mind for a moment as he was anxious to avenge his disciple. He and the other cultivators have already learned their lesson and will not do it again. I'm thinking..." Back then, he just wanted to scare Xiang Qu Zhen Ren to close the formation. If he really filed a complaint to Official Lord Cui by performing a forbidden soul-calling technique, at least 10 years of life would be deducted, but this was not really a big matter. He didn’t want Xiang Qu Zhen Ren to be punished.

"Mm, you play it by ear then."

Xie Bi An heaved a sigh of relief: "T-then I'll go and call junior brother now."

When he arrived at Fan Wu She's residence, there was no light in the room. It was pitch black. Xie Bi An hesitated a bit before lightly knocking on the door and said softly: "Junior brother, junior brother?"

He couldn't be sleeping this early, right? Could it be...he's still unhappy about the quilt being too fragrant?

Xie Bi An thought for a while and turned back. He scooped out some rice, vegetables, and soup separately and put them in the bamboo basket, intending to send it over to Fan Wu She.

Zhong Kui was dissatisfied: "Let him starve if he doesn't want to eat. How can a senior brother deliver food to a junior brother?"

Xie Bi An smiled and said: "He's still young, and came into the ghost realm suddenly. Perhaps he's feeling nervous. I will take care of him in the next few days."

He took the bamboo basket to Fan Wu She's door and knocked again: "Wu She, I've put the food outside the door. If you wake up and see it, eat it while it's hot."

For a long time, there was no response. Xie Bi An left, feeling a little disappointed.

Inside the room, Fan Wu She wrapped himself in Xie Bi An's quilt. He was almost like an infant curled up inside the mother's womb. He heard Xie Bi An's footsteps gradually fade away, and opened his trembling mouth, biting the exuding orchid-scented soft quilt.

His eyes were bright in the darkness, except that a curtain of water gradually emerged from them. The darkness seemed to thicken into a thick fog, making it harder to breathe. A faint voice called out like a cry for help: "Big brother..."

Chapter 4

Xie Bi An wakes up between 5-7am daily. He meditated, ate, read, practiced swordplay, and took care of flowers. The mornings passed like this.

But after he woke up this morning, he went next door to check whether if Fan Wu She ate his meal last night.

Seeing that the bamboo basket had disappeared from outside the door, Xie Bi An was in a good mood. After eating the food that he made, his little junior brother would definitely get closer to him.

The deceased did not need to eat anything, so in this huge Underworld, only he and his master needed to eat. Although the two of them could refrain from eating, they didn't scrimp and save on every meal because they loved to eat. Even Bo Zhu wanted to eat with them. However, as Bo Zhu's cooking was too unappetizing, Xie Bi An had to do all the cooking himself.

Xie Bi An went to the kitchen to prepare porridge and side dishes, imagining the three of them sitting around a table and sharing breakfast. The elders were kind to the juniors, the juniors were filial to the elders, and the brothers were showing love and respect for each other. How warm. If his master found himself a wife, then it would really be like a family.

The meal had been prepared. Looking at the time, Zhong Kui would be waking up soon. He let Bo Zhu carry out the dishes and went to call Fan Wu She.

As Xie Bi An approached Hantanxiang, the sounds of air being cut from across the wall due to a sword dance could be heard. Judging by the sound alone, he could roughly estimate the speed and power of the sword dance. It was definitely impressive. 

Xie Bi An stepped into the courtyard. Indeed, it was Fan Wu She there practicing with a sword, but he only had time to see a clean and neat ending.

Fan Wu She's breath moved slightly. His nose flared, and a thin layer of sweat dotted his forehead like pearly beads under the morning sunray, which made his face look even more radiant. He looked at Xie Bi An: "Senior brother."

"Why have you stopped practicing? I expected your swordplay to be good. Senior brother wants to see."

Xie Bi An folded his arms, leaned against the wall, and beamed with joy.

His black hair was half tied, with a light green jaded Ruyi crown*on top of his head. He was dressed in snowy white clothes. His wrists, girdle, and collar were all silver-patterned with double-petaled orchids. That flower-blooming smile was faintly scented, standing under the scorching morning sun.

Fan Wu She's Adam's apple bulged slightly and rolled under his tender skin. He immediately shifted his gaze away from Xie Bi An, put his sword away, turned his head and walked back into his house.

"Who taught you how to wield the sword? Did you learn from a teacher previously?"

"A casual cultivator in Mount Qingcheng. He took me in when I was young. He went to travel around the world afterwards."

"Have you formed a core?"

"It's formed."

The first time he saw Fan Wu She, he had already felt that this young man's presence was extraordinary. Now it seemed like he is really talented. Those who could form a core at this age were outstanding people, plus Fan Wu She's teacher was a casual, nameless cultivator. From now on, with Zhong Kui’s guidance and the spiritual nourishment of Mount Luofeng, his future self should not be underestimated.

Xie Bi An followed: "I came to tell you to join us for breakfast."

"Okay." Fan Wu She picked up a cotton handkerchief and wiped off his sweat.

Xie Bi An took a glance inside the room and saw the bamboo basket on the table: "Did you eat last night? Was the food cold?"

"No."

"No means..."

"I ate it. It wasn’t cold."

Xie Bi An asked expectantly: "That's great. Was senior brother’s cooking delicious?"

Fan Wu She paused. His head hung down together with his hands, and said in a low voice: "Delicious."

Xie Bi An laughed and said in a clear and loud voice: "Whatever you like to eat or don't like to eat, later..."

"Are you this kind to everybody?" He lowered his eyelids and blocked the sinister gaze in his eye.

Knowing that the person in front of him was the same as the one in his previous life, with evil intentions hiding behind his gentleness, with thoughts as poisonous as snakes and scorpions beneath his kindness, yet he still...

Fan Wu She had also thought countless times about it, whether if this person was naturally like that, or if he was just blinded by greed. If those things did not happen, would his big brother be like this forever? Even if he pretended for a lifetime.

Xie Bi An broke into laughter: "Why would I? You are my junior brother."

Fan Wu She carried the bamboo basket: "Let's go."

Seeing Fan Wu She's face turning cold again, Xie Bi An shook his head and smiled faintly: "After eating, senior brother will bring you to Fengdu city to buy some new bedding and some daily supplies."

"No need."

"Why?"

"I'm used to sleeping with the quilt."

"But we still have to buy new ones. We need to have some spare ones to rotate them for washing. I’ll make some new clothes for you too. Feel free to tell me if you need anything. If you can't remember, you can write it down. I have to go shopping in Fengdu from time to time."

"Fengdu...How's the situation there?"

"What situation?"

"Didn't Zong Zi Xiao destroy the barrier at Fengdu?"

Xie Bi An was surprised, staring at Fan Wu She with wide eyes.

Fan Wu She frowned: "What?"

"You...you..." He just said the Supreme Demon's name so casually?

Although that Supreme Demon's name was considered as "unspeakable" by the world, Xie Bi An did not shy away saying it, because Zhong Kui care about such matters and often said that if he was born a few decades earlier, Zong Zi Xiao would have no chance to do evil deeds, and he believed his master. He was surprised that Fan Wu She was a newborn calf who is not afraid of tigers* , and even dared to call the Supreme Demon's name so overtly. Even the people in the Immortal Alliance did not dare to discuss it, and it’s an even bigger taboo in the Underworld.

Fan Wu She snorted coldly and disapprovingly: "He's already dead, why can't the name be mentioned?"

Xie Bi An's admiration of his junior brother increased. "You know, master said the same thing, word for word." Owning wine money was probably not the real reason for accepting him as a disciple. He has good roots and bones, and his temperament is also quite similar to master's, so master probably took fancy to him and decided to take him in.

"I heard that master used the Eastern Emperor Bell to repair the Fengdu barrier."

"Yes, without the Eastern Emperor Bell, the emperor would not have been able to maintain the barrier." Xie Bi An said, “Fengdu city is popular and bustling with prosperity now. People are above and ghosts are below. All of them depended on the Eastern Emperor Bell to live in harmony."

"That thing is really powerful." Fan Wu She seemed deep in thought.

"Yeah, the Eastern Emperor Bell is one of the first four ancient magic weapons. The owner can exercise magical powers and be domineering. It was because Zong Zi Xiao possessed 2 of the 4 ancient magic weapons that he dared to trample on the human and ghost realms." Xie Bi An said proudly, "Luckily the Eastern Emperor Bell is in master’s hands. Master is not tempted by greed and fame and would rather use that magic weapon to strengthen the barrier and protect the peace between the human and ghost realms."

Fan Wu She's eyes flashed with cold light: "If the Eastern Emperor Bell was there back then, the outcome of the battle at Mount Luofeng might have been uncertain."

"Yeah, master always says that if he was present back then, it would be impossible for the Supreme Demon to act willfully."

During the conversation, they have arrived at Zhuyeqing Hall. Zhong Kui was sitting at the table waiting for them.

The two greeted together: "Good morning, master."

Zhong Kui looked at the handsome duo dressed in black and white and nodded in satisfaction: "Sit down. Bo Zhu, you sit too."

"Do you feel unwell after spending the night in the Underworld?" Zhong Kui asked.

"No." Fan Wu She thought for a while, "The flow of spiritual power is not that smooth, but it's not a big problem."

"Mm, since you have a physical body, it's bound to be harmed by the invasion of Yin energy. Weak people cannot tolerate it. You should be able to get used to it after some time."

"Yes."

"There is a boundary in Heaven Master Palace, which has blocked a lot of Yin energy as well as other unnecessary troubles. You can't leave on your own now. When your senior brother thinks you can move about in the Underworld, then you can go out."

“Yes.”

"Master, I will take good care of Wu She. I plan to bring him to Fengdu to buy some stuff today."

"Go ahead."

Bo Zhu said excitedly: "White Master, are you going to Fengdu again?"

"Yeah, what do you want me to get for you this time?" Living beings would be affected by Yin energy, and the deceased would be affected by Yang energy. Ghosts like Bo Zhu who had shallow cultivation levels are unable to do activities during the daytime and be in places full of people and Yang energy. So, every time he went out, he would buy some stuff for Bo Zhu.

"Anything is fine." Bo Zhu laughed, "I will like whatever White Master brings back."

Xie Bi An smiled: "By the way, did you find out what I asked you to check yesterday?"

"Oh, I just told Heaven Master."

Zhong Kui said: "That Meng Ke Fei did not do any evil during his lifetime, so he didn't go to the Yanluo Hall."

Xie Bi An frowned, knowing that this matter would be difficult to handle.

When the newly deceased arrived in the Underworld, they must be brought to the Mirror of Sins first. The Mirror of Sins could reflect the degree of good and evil of a person. If the person had done good deeds in his life and cultivated great virtues, in the best case scenario he could ascend. If good deeds outweighed the evil deeds, he could directly enter the Human Path in the cycle of reincarnation. If good and evil deeds were equal, which is difficult to judge, or for people who have committed crimes, they would be randomly sent to one of the ten Yanluo Halls. Whether if the good offsets the evil or if they were to be punished in hell, the ten Yanluo Halls will make that decision. 

Most people in the world did more good deeds than evil deeds. They didn't need to go through Yanluo Hall. This also meant that no one would ask who murdered Meng Ke Fei. 

"Then what should we do? Can we invite King Qinguang to interrogate him?"

Zhong Kui shook his head: "After passing through the Mirror of Sins, he doesn't need to be interrogated in the Yanluo Hall. Yanluo only judges good and evil after one's death. No matter what karma he had when he was alive, it cannot be revealed to the human realm. These are the rules. If he went to Yanluo Hall, I could still shamelessly go there and ask secretly, but he didn't even go to the Yanluo Hall. Who knows, right now he might have already been reincarnated."

Xie Bi An sighed: "Then we can only hope that Wuliang Sect quickly finds the murderer. Whoever had the ability to dig out Meng Ke Fei's golden core, must be a high-level demonic cultivator. He probably already has a reputation in Jianghu*. It's really worrying."

"I'm even more concerned about why that demonic cultivator targeted him." Zhong Kui said thoughtfully, "Meng Ke Fei was Li Bu Yu's martial nephew. With such status, the demonic cultivator was bound to be hunted and killed down to the last cell by the Wuliang Sect. He might not even be alive to eat the golden core that he dug out. Moreover, Meng Ke Fei was murdered within Wuliang Sect's territory. Why did he want to take such a huge risk? It was like delivering a written challenge to Wuliang Sect."

"Yeah, who would be so daring? How did he ensure that he could escape unscathed?"

The master and disciple both remained silent for a while. Zhong Kui said: "Next time I'll go to Yunding and walk around."

"Master, bring me along," Xie Bi An looked at Fan Wu She who was immersed in eating, "and can you bring junior brother along too?"

Fan Wu She raised his head and a grim smile appeared on the corner of his mouth: "Mount Shu’s Yunding."

"Yes, that is where countless cultivators go. Although I feel that Wuliang Sect is too old-fashioned, going there to expand your horizons is also a good experience."

After breakfast, Xie Bi An brought Fan Wu She away from the Underworld and proceed to Fengdu city. 

The human and ghost realms coexisted in the same place. They were only separated by a barrier, but this barrier completely isolated Yin and Yang, life and death, which allowed the two realms not to invade and harass each other. Each realm kept their own order.

The two passed through a long, dense, quiet, and secluded path. In front of them a large, black, and square monument appeared. Two words, "Yin" and "Yang" were written on it. The strokes were powerful and vigorous as if it was not a monument, but a mountain.

"This is the Yin Yang Monument. It is the Underworld's one and only entrance. Passing through this monument will be crossing the boundaries between Yin and Yang." Xie Bi An summoned his green-jaded stick, "I'm a living being, so going in and out of the Underworld depends on this item."

"What's that?"

"This is a soul-suppressing stick that the emperor bestowed to me. I gave it a name ---Wuqiongbi."

Wuqiongbi drew an emerald, reflective arc in the air. Golden light surrounded the Yin Yang Monument. Like a powerful God moving a mountain, there was a rumbling sound, and the monument retreated to the side.

A path that led to the human realm appeared.

Chapter 5


The Fengdu city at the foot of Mount Luofeng is undoubtedly the land with the most stories and the topic of conversation in Jiuzhou.

It is the barrier between mortal and ghost realms, a gateway to the underworld. It was the battleground between the demon supreme and Great Emperor Beiyin a hundred years ago. It is a transportation fortress. It is the world's monastery where cultivators travel, hunt treasure and learn from each other. It is the black market and money-squandering establishments for influential officials and capable people.

Since the day Zhuanxu Sect blocked the path between earth and heaven and divided the three realms, there have been too many stories in this place. In Fengdu, the prosperity and desolation, secrets and markets, drunk and entranced, illustrious individual and hero among the ghosts, have jointly constructed this small world.

A Jianghu joke: a scholar with a three-inch tongue* cannot leave Fengdu city if remain poor for his whole life.

At this time, a pair of extremely handsome young men appeared in the street, dressed in black and white. Even among the crowds, they were exceptionally outstanding.

Xie Bi An introduced the local customs to Fan Wu She in a familiar manner. He had seen life and death since young, saw too many people squandering their lives to pursue flashy things and regret in the end. So, he was contented with what he had since young. Musical instrument, chess, poems, paintings, stars, moon, tea, wine, living a life of pleasure; there's none that he doesn't love.

After walking half a street, Fan Wu She already knows which shop has the best red date cake, which shop has the most accurate meat weighing, and which shop has the best fabric, but the tailor is the most famous among all. Xie Bi An was radiant with delight, looking as if very familiar with a matter. He watched quietly from the side, unwilling to disturb.

In the last few years, this man no longer laughs. Such a vivid and happy appearance, he thought he would never see it again.

"Boss, send these dishes to the third house in Qingtai Alley."

"Alright mister, we won't send to the wrong place even if you don't say it."

The two shopped all the way. Most of the items will be sent directly to Xie Bi An's residence by the vendors, except the little things he bought for Bo Zhu, which he held them himself. Not long after, both of his hands were almost full.

When Xie Bi An bought the third sugar figurine, Fan Wu She couldn't bear it anymore: "The sun is so strong, all will melt in a while."

"Oh, right." Xie Bi An got reminded, took out a cold ice charm from his arm, pasted it on the sugar figurine and asked Fan Wu She, "Are you feeling hot, do you want one?"

Fan Wu She's face darkened: "No."

"Seeing you are sweating, let's go see some fabric. The fabric shop I just mentioned is next to an ice jelly shop. Rose ice jelly is the best. Go there to make clothes, eat enough for free."

When they arrived at the fabric shop, Xie Bi An put down his stuff and picked up a cloth. The boss introduced: "Mr Xie, these new ones arrived yesterday, you look at this brocade with grass, clouds, cranes and dispersed flowers prints, lustrous, smooth and finely stitched. Initially, I only ordered pistachio colour, after seeing the sample, I rushed to get 3 other colours."

Xie Bi An touched the material and smiled: "This fabric looks nice, junior brother, what do you think of it?"

"Anything."

"What colour do you like? How about this lake blue colour? Looks more vibrant, you wear..."

"Black one."

"Little mister is young, it's so dull to always wear black." The boss said with a smile.

Fan Wu She glanced at the boss coldly.

The boss stopped talking immediately, thinking about how this person's eyes looked like a knife at such a young age.

"Alright, let's get a black one. The rest of the fabric, I'll pick some and make him a few more clothes."

After Xie Bi An picked the fabric, he sat down and ate the ice jelly delivered from next door while looking at the tailor taking Fan Wu She's measurement.

That tailor praises while measuring: "Little mister's body shape is so good, I've been a tailor in my whole life, never seen such a body shape, these arms and legs are so long, who knows how tall you'll be in future, at least...ought to be..."

"170cm."

"Ho yo, that's a real tall one." Xie Bi An smiled and said: "If you want to grow so tall, you have to eat more." He teased that tailor, "Uncle Xu, I've been here since young to get my clothes tailored, I have never seen you praise me."

"How did I not praise you, I've been praising so many times since you were young, isn't Mr Xie quite handsome now."

"Then can I still get taller?"

When uncle Xu was about to answer, Fan Wu She said: "You can't grow anymore."

Xie Bi An was a little unconvinced: "How do you know?"

Fan Wu She lightly curled the corners of his lips: "I just know."

Xie Bi An was surprised, and said: "Junior brother, did you just...smile?"

Fan Wu She's face suddenly tensed, that smile he hadn't noticed already disappeared, yet it left traces of guilty conscience on his face.

Xie Bi An blinked his eyes: "Don't feel embarrassed, you look really nice when you smile, you should smile more."

Fan Wu She turned his face away awkwardly.

Xie Bi An thought beautifully, he and his junior brother got closer a bit again.

After ordering the clothes, it's noon. The two went to a teahouse for lunch.

This Jinyixuan is Fengdu's famous restaurant, full of guests all year round. The two arrived late, so no pavilion was available. They could only sit in the lobby, just in time for storytelling.

The storyteller flicked his folding fan, talking loud and clear. After introducing himself, he said: "Today's talk will be about the four ancient magic weapons." "The sky is blue-black, the land is yellow, the universe is formed in the state of chaos. The sun straightens and slants again, the moon rounds and unrounds again, and the stars were all over in the boundless space. Since Pangu created heaven and earth, they were separated. This world was originally full of spiritual aura, you and I can become immortal. Unfortunately, the good does not last long. When the number of immortals increases, the Gods became dissatisfied. The Gods became arrogant and the immortals became unhappy. So both sides fought endlessly. The mortals, ghosts and Gods started a huge war, countless people were plunged into an abyss of misery. In the end, the Human Sovereign Zhuan Xu, blocked the path between earth and heaven, completely cut off the channel between heaven and earth. From then on, the three realms were divided. Although heaven is still the lead, in reality, each realm governs its own, that's how the three realms have peace." That storyteller's voice was cadence, his expression was vivid, which quickly attracted the attention of various guests, "After the war, the myth stated there were four ancient magical weapons stranded in the mortal realm. I believe most of you have heard before, that is the Eastern Emperor Bell, Shen Nong Ding, map of Shanhe Sheji and Xuanyuan Heavenly Secret talisman."

About the four ancient magical weapons, they are well-known to the cultivators. Xie Bi An knew much more than what the storyteller knew. He even saw two of them before, yet he still listens attentively.

"Magical weapons, they're not uncommon. The world's accomplished cultivators, who have not had one or two magical weapons, but these four ancient magical weapons, each have its own devastating power to destroy the world. Anyone who owns one will become prominent in the world, anyone who owns two..." The storyteller lightly coughs twice and shook his head, "Cannot be said, cannot be said."

Laughter and applause sounded from the audience. Xie Bi An also laughed.
Fan Wu She sneered, why do you like to laugh so much, what's so funny about it? A young waiter started to serve food. Xie Bi An took a big plate of braised fish head and put it in front of Fan Wu She: "This is their signature dish, it's very fresh, try it."

"Let's talk about the first of the four ancient magical weapons, the Eastern Emperor Bell. This is the magical weapon of the Eastern Emperor Taiyi, it can attack or defend, it can be invincible and strongly fortified. Everyone knows who this magical weapon belongs to and where it is."

Someone shouted from the crowd below: "It's in our Fengdu."

"That's right. The magical weapon was acquired by the military judge of the underworld, Zhong Kui, heaven master Zhong. Owning such a treasure, proclaim oneself as emperor and hero is not that difficult, but heaven master Zhong put this treasure in Fengdu to repair the barrier so that humans and ghosts do not disturb each other. In such a state, it's really admirable, making mortals be far inferior." The storyteller bowed to show respect.

"Heaven master Zhong is a living God." A vendor yelled from below, "I have the latest portrait of heaven master Zhong pasted at home, can ward off evil spirits, only for three pennies."

Xie Bi An chuckled: "They always painted him so ugly. Master always gets angry"

Fan Wu She glanced at the portrait of Zhong Kui. In the painting, a fellow with curly temples, eyes like bronze bells, tough and stocky, expression ferocious, it seems to be based on people's imagination, how scary it is, paint it that way. He then thought of Zhong Kui's drunken state, it's really absurd and funny.

"The second ancient magical weapon is the Shen Nong Ding. It is the magic weapon of Emperor Shen Nong Yan. Everything in the world can be refined. It can refine the top magical weapons and elixir, Making all cultivators in the world go after it like a flock of ducks*. But this Shen Nong Ding, everyone knows where it is, everyone can see and touch it, but no one can claim it for himself." The Shen Nong Ding in Kunlun, transformed into a fairy mountain. It is indeed visible and touchable. However, there are very few capable users.

"This Shen Nong Ding is an active volcano. Throughout the year, it is dormant with the real fire of Samadhi. This fire can only be activated with spiritual power. In the process of refining, unless the spiritual power is unending and the fire does not extinguish, otherwise all efforts will be wasted. Currently, no one in the world is able to move this Ding alone. Trying it once consumes a lot of energy. The latest time this precious opens up was 6 years ago. Jinling's Xianyue pavilion's master gave his eldest son Lan Chui Han a sword."

Xie Bi An quietly said to Fan Wu She: "That time master took me to watch for fun, Xianyue pavilion recruited a hundred high-ranking cultivators to protect Ding alternately for 3 days and 3 nights."

Fan Wu She disapproved: "Heard before."

Xie Bi An said admiringly: "That is a good, rare sword. Worthy of the reputation of the first mister in the world. Brother Lan's character is good, knew the I like orchids, and gave me a petal of orchid from the maternal plant of hundred years. It's extremely precious, I..."

Fan Wu She slapped his chopsticks down. Xie Bi An was puzzled: "What's wrong?"
Xie Bi An's expression of admiring another man made Fan Wu She overflowed with jealousy. He ground his molars and squeezed out a word: "...spicy."

Xie Bi An handed a glass of water to Fan Wu She: "Drink some water, I asked you just now, you said you can eat spicy food. time I will ask them to put less chilli."

That storyteller had already started talking about the map of Shanhe Sheji. "This map of Shanhe Sheji, is a magical tool of the Nuwa clan. Legend said that it has all-encompassing power, the power of moving mountains and filling the sea, has stayed in the treasure house of Emperor Song for hundred of years, and no one can use it, until someone stole it." The storyteller pretended to say mysteriously, "Everyone knows what happened next. In the battle of Mount Luofeng a hundred years ago, this map disappeared without a trace. This map of Shanhe Sheji, is the most mysterious magical weapon among the four ancient magical weapons. Opinions differ regarding how effective it is. It is said that this map can make people feel like they're in fairyland or in hell."

"Hearing "Emperor Song" this word, Fan Wu She's gaze became gloomy. "That Emperor Song..." Xie Bi An suddenly said.
Fan Wu She's heart suddenly stopped.

"If you're interested in Song clan's story, I will take you to Yulou next time. There is a gentleman who tells this story well." Xie Bi An picked a piece of fish with his chopsticks and gave it to Fan Wu She, "Careful of the fishbone."

Fan Wu She clenched his chopsticks tightly: "Doesn't the folks dare not talk about Song Zi Xiao?"

"That gentleman is bold and open-minded to listeners. Besides, he doesn't mention the name of the demon supreme and doesn't talk about the things after Song Zi Xiao became bedevilled. He only starts from the creation of Song clan to proclaiming an Emperor, to how the two brothers Song Zi Heng and Song Zi Xiao quarrelled and the collapse of their relationship, from prosperity to decline. His story was sorted out clearly. I only listened to it twice, after that I bought a book he published, which was quite interesting."

Fan Wu She's heart surged, unable to calm down. In a hundred years, everything has been reduced to dust. Back then, one forgets, the other one remembers. Listening to this person talking about their past lives in a tone of gossip, that innocuous appearance only made him resent and hate. The storyteller talked about the last magical weapon that the listeners were most interested in Xuanyuan Heavenly Secret talisman.

"This Xuanyuan Heavenly Secret talisman should have been told together with the map of Shanhe Sheji, because they were all possessed by one person. With these two magical weapons, this person almost destroyed the mortal and ghost realms."
Hearing the guests' surprised voices, obviously, they were excited. "Xuanyuan Heavenly Secret talisman is the magical weapon of the
Queen Mother of the West. She once dispatched Nine Heavens Profound Girl to help Emperor Xuanyuan to defeat Chiyou and taught her the "Three Palaces and Five Meanings of Yin and Yang, Taiyi Dunjia Liuren Step Fighting Technique, Yin Talisman Secret and Lingbao Five Talisman Five Wins's script", and gave her this talisman, which can command the soldiers of the three realms, Xuanyuan clan later wrote the [Emperor's Yin Talisman scripture], also known as the [Emperor's Heavenly Secret scripture] to describe the mystery of this talisman." The storyteller got excited and said passionately, "Rumor has it that this talisman wandered in the mortal realm, but no one has seen it for millions of years. It is said that this rumour is not credible, but it was found by that unspeakable person. Since then, the world has changed, the universe is turned upside down. One voice of command, obtain a million Yin soldiers. Gods and Buddhas cannot even hinder."

The inner lobby became silent.

After a moment of silence, a childish voice suddenly said: "Daddy, I want this talisman."

The serious atmosphere broke through in a second, and laughter rang. The storyteller tried to hold his laughter back and said: "In short, after the battle at Mount Luofeng, this talisman was suppressed somewhere in Jiuyou by the Great Emperor Beiyin, and never had the chance to see the sun again. This little lady, don't press your father la."

Xie Bi An joined the crowd to applause. The apprentice of the storyteller was in the lobby, shuttled back and forth asking a superior to bestow a reward on the storyteller for his merit. He also prepared a bit of silver.

Suddenly, there was a commotion in the street. Xie Bi An looked out from the window and saw a group of cultivators wearing Wuliang Sect's green robes were chasing someone.
three-inch tongue* [三⼨⾆] means a metaphor of eloquence
like a flock of ducks* [趋之若鹜] means to scramble for something
PS: I haven't proofread yet; rushing to read 2ha xDD Will proofread when I have time.........

Chapter 6

"Stop---"

The person being pursued has been wounded and is fleeing in embarrassment. A group of people are chasing that person in a city with heavy traffic, consecutively knocking over vendors and passersby, making the whole street in chaos. But seeing those are from Wuliang Sect, everyone dared to be angry but dare not to complain.

That person stubbornly resisted and was caught in the end but he still doesn't give up and shouted: "I don't know anything, why do you want to catch me? Just because you're from Wuliang Sect, you can just arrest people in broad daylight! Taking advantage of and bully people! Is there still any law!"

"Stop talking nonsense, don't think that no one knows what kind of business you're doing. Take him away!"

The waiter from the teahouse was coming over to replenish tea, Xie Bi An inquired: "Brother, do you know what's going on outside?"

"Oh, yesterday something serious happened in Wuliang Sect. Are you the middleman of an immortal sect? If you are, you probably would have heard it."

"Yeah, I heard it, is this person the murderer?"

"Naturally not, I heard that Meng Ke Fei is very powerful. If he's the murderer, how can he be caught by a bunch of Wuliang Sect's low-level disciples?"

"Brother has a reasonable analysis, then this is..."

"This person most likely escaped from Fumenghui. Last night, Guwujian Song Chun Gui brought some people to turn Fumengui upside down, heard that they want to catch those who are related to trading cores and bring them back to the summit for interrogation." The waiter curled his lips and said in a low voice, "They got crazy about catching people. There were a few men in our village who just went to Fumenghui to do some work and eat, all were taken away inexplicably."

Xie Bi An frowned, seemed lost in thoughts.

That reputation of Song Chun Gui is well-known even to those commoners who are not from the immortal realm. He's Li Bu Yu's youngest disciple, currently a well-known one-armed swordsman in the world. With only one hand, he can skillfully display Wuliang Sect's sword-play. Currently the most popular in Wuliang Sect. Li Bu Yu sends this person out shows the importance of Meng Ke Fei's death.

And the Fumenghui the waiter mentioned is only 30 miles away from Fengdu city. It is Jiuzhou's largest black market and leisure place. Everything in there is only what you dare not think about, there is none that dare not to do. There is only what you can't buy, there is none that can't be sold. It's the number one magical place in the world.

"Wuliang Sect is quick to take action, checking Fumenghui first." Fan Wu She looked outside the window at those people who were taken away and said coldly, "It's a pity to turn to any doctor one can find when critically ill*. Where the wind and the waves are highest*, who dares to trade Meng Ke Fei's golden core."

"Yeah, but if you caught some people who are related to core trading, maybe some clues may be detected. But spreading a wide net and arresting people indiscriminately does damage the reputation of Wuliang Sect." That word "prestige" made Fan Wu She sneered secretly. Time is really a whitewashed facade*. Who knows the Wuliang Sect right now, as the leader of the immortal alliance and the model of immortal families, has what kind of appearance a hundred years ago.

"However, as long as Wuliang Sect finds out the truth, they won't hurt innocent people." Xie Bi An said, "Wu She, let's eat first, after eating, I will bring you home to see."

Go home...

Fan Wu She's heart moved.

After lunch, they returned to Qintai Alley.

Zhong Kui bought a house here. The house is not small, but it is old, plain in appearance and unremarkable. This is the residence of the two of them in the mortal realm. When Xie Bi An was young and couldn't stay in the underworld for a long period of time, he grew up here half of the time.

Pushing the door and entering, a burst of fragrant orchid scent wafted and a sea of flowers appeared in front. This square courtyard was actually full of orchids of various colours and varieties. With numerous branches and clusters, each plant was elegant and fragrant, graceful and colourful. Such beautiful scenery, like a fairyland.

Xie Bi An forcefully inhaled the fragrance into his lungs and felt refreshed. He laughed and said: "I named this Orchid garden. I've grown this garden of orchids for more than 10 years."

Fan Wu She looked at this beautiful scenery, yet felt as if being run over by a nail plate. The spikes pierced directly into his internal organs. His eyes became fuzzy due to the inexplicable burning pain. Time and space became deranged one after another. This simple and elegant courtyard gradually overlapped with the palace garden with dragons and phoenixes. The same blue sky, sun, clouds, flowers and finally, the young man standing in the sea of flowers, smiling at him warmly, all matched. "Wu She, Confucius said, orchids have the virtues of a gentleman, the fragrance of kings, senior brother loves orchids the most, do you like orchids?"

"Xiao Jiu, Confucius said, orchids have the virtues of a gentleman, the fragrance of kings, big brother loves orchids the most, do you like orchids?"

Millions of arrows pierced through his heart.

Fan Wu She staggered and took a step back, his eyes were red.

Xie Bi An realised Fan Wu She's abnormality and asked nervously: "Wu She what's wrong, do you feel uncomfortable? Is it heatstroke?" He stepped forward and was about to support Fan Wu She.

Fan Wu She slapped Xie Bi An's hand away fiercely: "Don't touch me!"

Xie Bi An froze, his worried expression has yet to change, a deep disappointment has already climbed into his veins, which looked a bit amusing. He sighed and said softly: "Wu She, you and I have only met not more than a day, never have any disagreements, I don't know why you seem to...somewhat repel senior brother."

Fan Wu She looked at Xie Bi An's lowered brows and eyes, his expression looked as if it can swallow a whole person.

Xie Bi An continues to say to himself: "It is fate for you and me to be senior and junior brothers, senior brother wishes to live in harmony with you, cultivate and serve master together. I know you have an unfortunate life experience, lonely and no one to depend on, may be difficult to trust others, but I will treat you like a real blood brother." He said, raised his head and looked at Fan Wu She sincerely.

Fan Wu She turned his back. After a while, he whispered: "I just don't like to be touched by people."

I just can't let you touch me. I hope you don't treat me well, don't smile at me, don't touch me, because at any time, at any time I, don't want to expropriate you.

If you know what shameless things I want to do to you, what will you do?

I can't repeat the same mistakes.

Xie Bi An wanted to take a peek at Fan Wu She's expression, but couldn't see it. He hesitated and said: "Then, do you recognise me as your senior brother?"

". I recognise."

Xie Bi An immediately felt relieved. He is broad-minded, never cling to small matters: "It's alright so long as you recognise me as your senior brother. It's senior brother's lack of consideration. We only knew each other yesterday, so it's impossible to get acquainted with you right away. In the future, if there's anything senior brother make you feel awkward, it's ok to voice out directly."

Fan Wu She adjusted his emotions and turned around, his expression already indifferent: "Orchids are very beautiful."

"Yeah, I have spent a lot of thoughts on it. But I don't just plant orchids, over here there are some heliophilous plants. Jiuyou does not have sun. I planted plenty of them at Heaven Master palace. When we head back, I will bring you to see my garden at Heaven Master palace."

"Ok."

"Ah, you see." Xie Bi An pointed to a bunch of pink and white, an extremely luxuriant and beautiful orchid and said excitedly, "This is what I told you before, the petal from the maternal plant brother Lan gave me. This species is called Dangshanhe. The name is beautiful, and the flower is even more beautiful."

Fan Wu She squinted at that orchid. "By the way, you can't even think of it, when I mentioned it to Bo Zhu, what is Bo Zhu's expression." Xie Bi An mimicked Bo Zhu's expression and said in a surprise, " 'Ah! What kind of mother pig can live for a hundred years, doesn't it become a spirit?' Hahahahaha "

"......"

"Bo Zhu this silly kid, always say silly things, very adorable." Xie Bi An stretched out his white and slender hand, stroke Dangshanhe lovingly. His fingertips were so gentle, it almost melts at the touch, "He doesn't know, the price of this Dangshanhe can be up to thousands of gold in the black market. Even if Xianyue pavilion has thousands of orchid species, this is the only precious one. Brother Lan and I are people who love flowers, how can he give up what he treasures, I. "

"He just wants to please master." Fan Wu She said in a vicious voice, "If you are not a well-known cultivator, you think he will care about you?"

Bo Zhu in a mouthful, brother Lan in a mouthful, Fan Wu She feels that his scalp is burning. (FWS is jealous that XBA was talking about Bo Zhu and brother Lan)

More than a hundred years ago, he didn't know where this shitty Lianyue pavilion was, otherwise, he will relocate all of the orchids in their house. Also, he won't let this person keep talking and missing the goods of another man.

Xie Bi An smiled indifferently: "If you didn't say, I will still understand, but your senior brother also prides himself on being romantic and cherishes each other. Brother Lan is not someone who needs to cling to the high and connect to the rich*. He respects master and willing to associate with me. There's no conflict."

Fan Wu She was so furious that he wanted to dig out that damn flower.

A couple surnamed Liu lives in the house. They usually look after the house and take care of the flowers and plants. They know the true identity of Zhong Kui and Xie Bi An, so they did not question anything about Fan Wu She's arrival. They understand the rules very well.

Xie Bi An put all the things they purchased today into the Qiankun bag, ready to take it back to the underworld. Taking advantage of the good weather, he changed his clothes, put on a straw hat, went to the courtyard to earth up, weed and water the plants. He seemed contented and enjoyed his time.

Fan Wu She sat in the shade, watching in a daze.

He had seen Song Zi Heng took care of his garden like this way right now, and personally saw the orchid garden became impoverished, overgrown with weeds and deserted.

Xie Bi An is Song Zi Heng when everything it still good.

It's just the same 19 years old. The 19 years old Song Zi Heng, all the drastic changes started that year. The 19 years old Xie Bi An, they reunited across 2 lives.

If destiny has a fixed amount and the path has a fixed way, then he won't believe destiny and path. He crawled back into the mortal realm from hell, not for the repetition of everything in the previous life.

In the evening, after dinner, Xie Bi An handed the Qiankun bag to Fan Wu She and instructed: "Wu She, I've given you the Yin Yang tablet before, let Bo Zhu come and bring you back to Heaven Master palace, remember to put the food in the fridge, otherwise it won't be fresh. Senior brother will make wontons for you tomorrow morning."

Fan Wu She didn't reply, a pair of black fox eyes stared at Xie Bi An: "You don't go back."

"Senior brother still has business to do." "Fumenghui?"
"Yeah." "Take me with you."

"This trip might be dangerous, senior brother will go alone." Song Chun Gui only investigates people, but he can also ask ghosts. Maybe some clues can be found in Fumenghui.

Fan Wu She frowned: "Do you think I need your protection."

Xie Bi An laughed: "Senior brother knows you're great and talented, but you're still young, that's not a place you should go."

"Bring me there." Fan Wu She refused to give up, "Otherwise you shall not go."

Xie Bi An looked at him helplessly. "I won't impede you, and..."
"And what?"

Fan Wu She reluctantly whispered, "I'll listen to senior brother."

"So obedient." Xie Bi An smiled, "Alright, then you have to listen to me, do not act without authorization."

"Ok."

----Author's notes: Going to flashback to previous life soon, everyone don't panic

turn to any doctor one can find when critically ill* [病急乱投医] ---those in a desperate plight will try anything

Where the wind and the waves are highest* [ ⻛⼝浪尖] ---where the struggle is the fiercest

whitewashed facade* [ 粉饰门⾯] ---a metaphor of beautifying the exterior with decorations cling to the high and connect to the rich* [ 攀⾼结贵]---try to attach oneself to the rich and powerful

PS: I'm still laughing at FWS being jealous of that poor innocent orchid xDDD haven't edit yet.

Chapter 7

Ghosts crying at night in the underworld, floating dreams in paradise became empty.

This is the Fumenghui in common people's eyes.

Fumenghui is located in the southwest of Mount Luofeng, about not more than 20-30 miles away from Fengdu city. This place and Fengdu's prosperity supplement and complement each other. Initially, it was named Fengmenggui, because it was in the portal of the underworld, where all the deceased gathered at Mount Luofeng, and its landform was strange and deformed, which is how it gots its name. There are rumours that it is the battlefield of the Great Emperor Beiyin and the demon supreme, but there is no way to verify whether or not it's true.

Depending on the terrain blessed by heaven*, it gradually became a gathering place for all kinds of shady businesses. Later, it became more and more famous, and it became this piece of gold-sprinkled kiln for the living people to live as if drunk or entranced*. The name Fengmenggui was too ominous. Only after intimidating the bankroller, did he change it to its current name.

One barrier, two worlds. One side is a gloomy netherworld, the other side is a blessed place of pleasure, extravagance, greed, darkness, desire and sin. This is the mortal realm, and also a ghost city.

Fumenghui is a concave valley. The words "jagged rocks of grotesque shapes" are already inexhaustible. This valley is made up of countless large, small and other various kinds of peaks and caves that looked like skulls as if thousands and millions of evil ghosts were sealed in the mountain rocks. Whenever the wind blows, the terrifying, ghost crying noises will continuously sound between the valleys and deep caves.

Most of these countless large and small caves are interlinked inside, which are suitable for hiding and escaping. Therefore, at first, this was an illegal place for killing people, raising corpses and legendary venomous insects, and black-market trading. Many cultivators' golden cores were offered and traded here. The spring breeze blows again* despite multiple eliminations from the immortal alliance. Later, wine shops, pawnshops, concert halls, brothels, casinos, battlefields, auction houses, etc. were gradually opened here. Illegal transactions became hidden and hard to find, yet many commoners depended on this place for their livelihoods. The immortal alliance can only close one eye and acquiesce to the existence of Fumenghui.

Fumenghui during the day is quiet and murky, but once it's night time, red candles are lit up in each cave, illuminating the valley in a blood-red color. Stores open up and welcome people in, the guests come in on account of the shop's reputation, the human shadows move around in the cave, music and dances are endless throughout the night and the scene is strangely beautiful, which doesn't look like the mortal realm. When looked at from afar, it is like hundreds of ghosts walking at night.

Fan Wu She looked at the magical scene in front of him, seemed lost in thought.

"This is your first time coming here?" Xie Bi An asked, "how does this Fumenghui compare to the rumours?"

Ordinary people are unlikely to come to Fumenghui. One is because it is dark and sneaky here. Those who possessed nothing except bare necessities may fall sick after going home. Secondly, most people who came here spend money like water. If they don't dress well, they will inevitably get glanced at scornfully.

"Not much difference." This was once Song Zi Xiao's last stop in the mortal realm. Fan Wu She travelled down his memory lane, yet his emotions were calm. His boiling hatred has calmed down in that hundred years and turned into a simmering flame, even thicker and longer. Only the person in front of him can add firewood to him and raise his salary.

"After you go in, don't run around. It's easy to get lost inside. You must follow senior brother."

"Got it."

The interior of Fumenghui is a huge cave. Relying on its natural mountain shape, a path opens when you see the rocks, bridges can be seen when you reach the valleys, constructing paths that are accessible from all sides. While looking up from the bottom, they are scattered about like stars in the sky or chess pieces on a board*.

The two, one black and one white, each has extraordinary poise. With one look, as if they are the sons of an immortal family. Immediately, there are people who come up to them to solicit business. Xie Bi An kindly rejected one, and another one refuses to give up. One fellow, who doesn't know how to read the situation, came up and was about to drag Xie Bi An closer to his workplace. Before his claws touched that snow-white corner of his clothes, he was struck by the scabbard on the back of his hand.

That fellow screamed in pain and withdrew his hand.

Fan Wu She said coldly: "Scram." The sharp sword was half unsheathed, guarding Xie Bi An by his side. No one dared to approach him anymore.

"Wu She, stay low-key." Xie Bi An whispered. Fan Wu She's face was sullen: "Just walk."
Xie Bi An shuttled between the passages, looking for something, and soon, he found two ghost servants.

This is the boundary of the underworld. There is no role as a city god, but occasionally there will be ghost servants patrolling around. It is a common occurrence to have a few people dying at Fumenghui. Sometimes a person disappears silently and no one finds out. Only ghosts will lead him.

Xie Bi An called the two ghost servants into a secluded corner. "White Master." The two greeted respectfully.
Xie Bi An just realized Fan Wu She can't see them, so he summoned Wuqiongbi and told him to hold it.

Once Fan Wu She touched that cool jaded stick, he immediately saw what he couldn't see earlier. The two ghosts looked surprised and looked at Xie Bi An helplessly.

"Don't worry, he's the new disciple Heaven Master accepted, and also my junior brother."

"White Master has come here, is there a new soul to harvest? We haven't found any."

"No, I just wanted to ask both of you some questions." Xie Bi An asked if there were any clues related to Meng Ke Fei's golden core.

Generally, after the core thieves dug out the golden core, either they brought it back home for practice, or sold it at a high price in Fumenghui. Xie Bi An also thinks that no one would dare to trade Meng Ke Fei's golden core when the struggle was the fiercest, but there are always traders here. Maybe there was a bounty on Meng Ke Fei. Maybe some people have inquired about his golden core. Maybe some people did discuss who killed Meng Ke Fei. In any case, the cultivation level of that core thief is profound, it is very likely someone knew his true identity or it was the work of many others. And those who dare not to speak in front of the people, are likely to be heard by ghosts.

"Reporting back to White Master, from yesterday 'til now, there are indeed many people talking about this. Last night, there was a one-armed cultivator who came here to arrest a lot of people." "Have you heard any useful clues?"

The two ghost servants thought for a while: "We don't know if it's useful. I heard someone say that the more powerful cultivators' golden cores are harder to practice with. Ordinary alchemists, ordinary metal, stones and medicinal herbs, ordinary furnaces are not good enough either. Only those with special skills are the ones who have the guts, and have the ability, to practice with Meng Ke Fei's golden core."

"What else? Has anyone offered a reward for Meng Ke Fei's golden core, has anyone heard who is the murderer is, even if it's just speculation?"

The two shook their heads.

Fan Wu She asked: "What is the basis for Wuliang Sect to arrest people?"

"They took away all the bosses and workers from the elixir shops, those who often go in and out to deliver goods, those who work and those who looked suspicious. I think the majority does not have any basis."

"That's just arbitrarily arresting people." Xie Bi An frowned, "To alarm commoners in such a way, I’m not sure if I can find any useful clues.” In his opinion, the ghost servants who patrolled here have not heard of anything important. Song Chun Gui most likely was also unable to get much information from those he had arrested.

The two asked some more questions, but there wasn't much they could reap. It seems that the identity of the core thief is really secretive, and it was very likely that it was done by one person. Xie Bi An did roughly see Meng Ke Fei's body, and judging from the injuries, there shouldn’t be a third person.

Fan Wu She said: "Senior brother, let's go back." Although there are no billows in his heart, after all, this place evoked too many dark memories for him, and he doesn't want to stay for long.

"Alright." Xie Bi An smiled at Fan Wu She, "But, we seldom come to Fumenghui, don't you want to walk around?" Common people are usually curious about Fumenghui, especially young people. "I don't want to."
"Then we'll go back."

Just as they were about to leave, they suddenly heard a commotion outside the door. When they looked down, a bunch of green-clothed cultivators rushed in. It's Wuliang Sect again.
There were repeated complaints around: "Why are you here again." "Fucking come again? Didn't you catch enough people yesterday?
Wuliang Sect is really pushing people too hard!"

"Then what can you do? Be honest for awhile, don't get ahead of yourself."

Listening to what Wuliang Sect meant, they wanted to take away all the workers from the elixir shop. Obviously, they want to confirm whether the people at the elixir shop are concealing the people who came in and out recently. But there will be too many people to arrest.

Xie Bi An and Fun Wu She took advantage of the chaos and went downstairs, only to find that the only entrance had been blocked. Xie Bi An was debating whether or not to leave outside the cave by sword flight when several cultivators walked over, looked them up and down and asked: "Which sect do both misters belong to?"

Xie Bi An said: "My brother and I are casual cultivators, we just passed by here to watch the excitement."

That cultivator glanced at Xie Bi An's sword: "Casual cultivators? Mister's sword doesn't look ordinary. Which furnace was it produced from, which master handed it to you?"

Xie Bi An said sternly: "It has nothing to do with you." "Wuliang Sect is tracking down the murderer of brother Meng, any suspicious person will be interrogated. Please come with me."

Fan Wu She has only one simple word: "Scram."
The cultivator laughed coldly: "Then don't blame us for being rude." "Wait." Xie Bi An didn't want to catch any unwanted attention here, "We
were indeed just passing by, Wuliang Sect is indiscriminately arresting people at random, wouldn't this be detrimental to the sect’s righteousness?"

"So I ‘invite’ mister to be a guest at the summit. Will mister honor me with your presence?"

Fan Wu She said displeasingly: "Why are you talking nonsense with them?"

Xie Bi An suddenly grabbed Fan Wu She's collar and jumped up the suspended chain ladder: "Go, get out of the cave."

"After them!" That cultivator gave an order, and a dozen people flew towards them.

The two fled back and forth between the passages. Most of the caves were connected inside and outside, and they could leave as long as they reached the main part of the stone peak. But the cultivators from Wuliang Sect gathered from all directions. As a last resort, Xie Bi An drew out his sword and instructed Fan Wu She: "Follow behind senior brother, try not to hurt people."

A couple of cultivators attacked with their swords. Xie Bi An stood in front of Fan Wu She, forced them back with two moves, and jumped to another pavement. Only hearing a cry, he looked back. Fan Wu She kicked a person off the chain ladder.

"Wu She, over here!" Not far from the front is a tavern, which just happened to lead outside. "Over here, chase after them!" A bunch of green-clothed cultivators cam one after another.

The chain ladder shook violently. The two steadied themselves but saw pursuing troops in the front and back.

Xie Bi An comforted: "Wu She, don't be scared, senior brother is here." Fan Wu She said solemnly: "Kill them."
"Do not kill." Xie Bi An said, "We shouldn't have been here. If anyone loses their lives, we will be creating karma, which is not good for anyone."

"You think they will let us go?"

Xie Bi An looked around and pointed to a shop below, "We'll go from there." After saying this, he swung his sword to the thick hemp rope of the chain ladder.

Fan Wu She understood and raised his sword to cut the hemp rope on the other side. The chain ladder broke. The two grabbed the rope and swung down towards the direction of the broken chain ladder. They steadily jumped onto the pavement and dashed towards that shop.

They rushed out of the cave at once and flew on their swords.

Just at this moment, a sharp sword pierced through the air and turned into silver-white lightning in the dark red halo, coming straight towards Xie Bi An.

That sword's speed was so fast, it was too late to make a move. Fan Wu She shot his sword out and Xie Bi An flew up.

With a "ding" sound, the weapons collided.

One after another, the two fell down from mid-air and tumbled a few rounds. The two swords pierced into the mountain one after another, while the third one snapped into two pieces and fell to the ground.

Fan Wu She looked at the broken sword on the ground, a pair of extremely enchanting fox eyes overflowed with a murderous aura.

Xie Bi An looked at Fan Wu She, wanting to comfort him but didn't know how to. This sword wasn't a good sword, but to any swordsman, a sword being broken is a great humiliation.

A slender figure walked out from the darkness, his face was straight and his eyes were sharp, even if he only had one arm, it did not diminish his dignity.

This person is Li Bu Yu's little disciple, Guwujian Song Chun Gui.

Song Chun Gui stretched out his hand, his sword swayed violently among the rocks. It pulled itself out and flew back into the hands of its master.

Xie Bi An also recalled his sword.

"If two misters are not guilty, why do you run away." Song Chun Gui said flatly, "Wuliang Sect will not harm innocent people, we’re merely inviting the both of you to go to the summit to ask some questions. When suspicion is resolved, naturally we will send both of you back safely."

Xie Bi An said angrily: "You all are too much." He was debating if he should take action or not. Song Chun Gui is not easy to deal with, and once he takes action, his identity would definitely be exposed.

Fan Wu She suddenly recalled half of his broken sword and looked at Song Chun Gui's eyes, as if he was looking at a dead person.

Song Chun Gui frowned: "Young mister, are you planning to use this broken sword against me?"

Fan Wu She said coldly: "It's enough to take your dog life." Song Chun Gui has been famous for a long time. He cultivates with his sword and has few opponents. He has never seen such an arrogant young man before.

"Wu She, you are not allowed to..."

Before he finished speaking, Fan Wu She already raised his sword and closed in on Song Chun Gui.

Xie Bi An originally wanted to stop Fan Wu She, but he was a little curious about his sword-play, thinking that it would not be too late to help even after looking at 1 or 2 moves.

At this sight, he was astonished. Fan Wu She used a broken sword to return Song Chun Gui with a complete move, without showing any ignorance.

Song Chun Gui also had a strange expression: "Who did you learn from, how come I have never heard of your name?"

Fan Wu She didn't answer, only attacking Song Chun Gui more fiercely, each move very frightening.

Song Chun Gui got serious and confronted Fan Wu She with a few moves, becoming increasingly more fearful. He forced Fan Wu She back temporarily and said sharply: "Who are you under?"

Xie Bi An has also been observing Fan Wu She's sword-play. Sword-play accounted for the majority of the immortal families in the world, and he can fairly distinguish every house's sword-play, but this one was very unusual. He has an indescribable sense of familiarity when he saw the moves, yet couldn't remember where he had seen it before. With this hegemony of sword-play, he should have become famous long ago, and he will never forget it once he has seen it before.

Song Chun Gui's expression was grave: "This is...Zongxuan sword?!" Upon hearing this, Xie Bi An was shocked. Zongxuan sword? Isn't that the Song's clan sword-play which failed to be handed down from past generations a hundred years ago?!

blessed by heaven* [得天独厚] ---be richly endowed by nature, enjoying exceptional advantages
live as if drunk or entranced* [醉⽣梦死] ---lead a befuddled life
The wildfire burns endlessly, the spring breeze blows again* [野⽕烧不尽,春⻛吹⼜⽣] ---no matter how mercilessly the fire burns, as long as the spring breeze blows, there will be green weeds everywhere, vividly
showing the tenacious vitality of the weeds.

scattered about like stars in the sky or chess pieces on a board* [星罗棋布] ---spread all over the place

PS: let's travel back into the past in the next chapter~~~~~ヽ(^。^)ノ

Chapter 8

Ever since the ancestors established the sect, they have been famous all over the world for their Zongxuan sword and Guiyuan heart method. The name of Song clan has ruled Jiuzhou for 3 hundred years, even if it violates the common knowledge of "when the great way prevails, the world is equally shared by all" in the cultivation world. It is openly and legally to ascend the throne and proclaim oneself emperor. All immortals in the world dare not to comment, only dare to acknowledge one's inferiority. Divide one's territory and become the king; having a Song Emperor as the Human Sovereign, will be the ruler of Jiuzhou.

It's just that there is Chang in Wuchang*, extreme prosperity forebodes the beginning of the decline, the change is unchanging since times immemorial. Until the generation of Emperor Ninghua Song Ming He, the power of the Song clan was already declining. There were many people of talent coming forth in large numbers in the immortal realm. Within that few centuries, the accumulating dissatisfaction with the Song Clan looked as if a seemingly calm water surface, yet it was already turbulent.

Actually, the decline of the Song clan has a lot to do with the failure of producing a good ruler in the past three generations.

Learning doctrines and cultivating, acquiring diligence and comprehension are of course important, but innate abilities often determine the upper limit of a person from birth, and the cultivation world is a person who has attained Dao in nine degrees of kindred to ascend to heaven. A leader who cannot reach great heights is difficult to convince people even just by relying on a large number of people. Song Ming He has nine sons and three daughters. The eldest and the youngest sons have great roots and have the potential to aspire to the path of immortality. Unfortunately, the confrontation between the immortals and the clan, the decline of the ancestral industry and the precarious situation cannot be reversed by the two young children.

Daming Mansion - Wuji Palace

There was a burst of laughter in the back of the garden. A teenager rolled up his pants and sleeves and was leading a group of children playing Cuju*. That round sheepskin ball looks as if grown onto his feet, unable to escape his control no matter what. Children of different heights buzzed around him and running around, all trying to snatch the ball under his feet. That scene was like a big dog leading a group of puppies.

That young man has a handsome look, eyes as bright as a starry sky, demeanour like a blazing sun, and a smiling face looks better than fine jade. He really is an attractive and elegant young man.

"Big brother...Ah!" A child tripped, landed on the ground with a thud and immediately started sobbing.

Song Zi Heng puts down the ball, pushed aside the crowd, smiled, carried the child up from the ground, pinched his nose and teased: "Aiya Xiao Jiu, you gonna cry just because of this?"

Song Zi Xiao had no tears in his eyes, yet still wants to act out a crying expression. He wiped his eyes with his dirty hands: "I fell on my leg, and you're still laughing at me."

"Let me see." Song Zi Heng lifted his trouser leg and saw blood on his knees, "Big brother bring you to apply ointment alright?"

"Ok."

Song Zi Heng picked up Song Zi Xiao with one arm and several children tug Song Zi Heng's clothes: "Will big brother come back and play with us?" Song Zi Heng rubbed their heads one by one: "The sun is too strong, you all should go rest, next time big brother will play with you guys."

Song Zi Xiao hugged Song Zi Heng's neck tightly, secretly revealing a smug smile.

"Big brother, it's so hot." He pressed his face into Song Zi Heng's neck and whispered his complaint.

"Then you still hug me so tightly." Song Zi Heng pulled one of his small arms from his sweaty neck and took a breath, "Big brother still can drop you ah."

"I..."

Song Zi Heng suddenly grabbed Song Zi Xiao's waist, swung him three times in mid-air and then swung his head down behind him, and finally pulled him out from under his armpit.

Song Zi Xiao screamed and laughed, his face flushed with excitement. Song Zi Heng smiled and said: "Not painful anymore?"
"It doesn't even hurt initially, I just didn't want to play anymore." Song Zi Xiao said coquettishly, "I want to eat ice white fungus soup big brother makes."

"Only you have so many little tricks." Song Zi Heng carried him back to Qinghui pavilion and tested him some homework on the way back. Seeing that he answers fluently and did not goof off, he praised him.

"It's delicious, so sweet." Song Zi Xiao sucked a big mouthful of white fungus and licked his lips to his heart's content.

Song Zi Heng took a wet cloth and wiped Song Zi Xiao's dirty face first. At the age of 8, as if smeared with fine powder and delicate as polished jade, his face and his mother's, who is known as the world's number beauty, are almost carved out of the same mould, especially that fox eyes which are hooked at the outer corner of his eyes. When looking at people, his pupils shine like bright gems, as if wanting to speak but don't speak.

"Eat slowly." After wiping his face, Song Zi Heng wanted to clean his wound.

Song Zi Xiao shooked his lower leg: "No need, it'll be fine in a few days."

"At least rinse it clean."

After treating his wound, Song Zi Xiao's bowl of white fungus soup almost bottomed out. He blinked his eyes: "Big brother, I want to tell you good news."

"What good news?"

"I'm about to form a core."

Song Zi Heng was startled: "Really?"

"Yeah." Song Zi Xiao raised his chin proudly, "Big brother also formed a core before 10 years old, I want to be the same as big brother."

Song Zi Heng patted Song Zi Xiao's shoulder with gratification: "You will be earlier than big brother, Xiao Jiu, you must cultivate diligently. When you get the Great Dao one day, everyone one will not ridicule our Song clan having no successors."

"Big brother is here, who dares to ridicule us? " Song Zi Xiao's eyes are filled with adoration, "Big brother is the best!"

Seeing Song Zi Xiao's carefree and innocent look, Song Zi Heng secretly sighed.

"Big brother, can I have another serving? "

"Cannot, you ate too much cold food and had diarrhoea last time." "Just one more please."

"Dinner is in 2 hours. Do you want to drink fungus soup, or do you want to eat the large meatballs big brother make? "

"Large meatballs, large meatballs! "

There's a sound outside, Song Zi Heng popped his head out, took a look and stood up.

A lady was escorted in by a servant. She's an outstanding beauty with picturesque features, wearing a silk jaded brocade and gold dangling hairpin, her bearing dignified and luxurious.

"You're back, mother." Song Zi Heng bowed.

Song Zi Xiao also stood up "Imperial concubine Shen."

"Xiao er is also here ah." Shen Shi Yao smiled, "Came here to find your big brother to play?"

"Yeah."

"It's almost dinner time, don't eat too much cold food already." Shen Shi Yao pulled Song Zi Xiao in front of herself and used a silk handkerchief to wipe his sweat, "Xiao er stay at Qinghui pavilion for dinner then."

"OK, big brother said he'll make large meatballs for me."

Shen Shi Yao chuckled: "Only you love to pester your big brother. Go home and invite your mother here. After dinner, we'll go to the shore of Luoshui Lake to enjoy the beautiful moon."

"OK!" Song Zi Xiao scampered away.

After Song Zi Xiao left, Shen Shi Yao looked at his striking-appearance son, feeling relieved: "Zi Heng, how's your homework today?" "All done, just now I brought younger brothers and sisters to play for an hour."

"I heard the Emperor appointed you a mission again."

"There are ghosts mutiny at Pingyang dynasty, two batches of cultivators were dispatched. There are heavy casualties. Tomorrow I'll go out of the palace to take a look."

"Very good. Your siblings still haven't grown up yet, only you can share the Emperor's burden. You must perform well, don't disappoint the Emperor."

Song Zi Heng obediently said: "Don't worry, mother."

"I heard..." Shen Shi Yao's slender fingers stroked the exquisite red gold bracelet on her wrist, "Chi Song Zi has tested your 9th brother's roots, isn't his talent inferior to you?"

"Yes, Xiao Jiu has a superb aptitude." Song Zi Heng smiled, "Just now he told me he's going to form a core soon."

Shen Shi Yao paused slightly, her gaze drifted out of the window and said quietly: "The Song clan has not been able to produce such a root for three generations. Unexpectedly, there are two at once. The Emperor must be very happy."

"Father is very happy, with his son and his younger siblings, restore Song clan."

Shen Shi Yao turned around and looked at Song Zi Heng, her eyes dimmed: "You were born unusually lucky, and you are outstanding among the children of this generation. It's a pity that your mother's background is not good and burdened you."

Song Zi Heng turned pale with fright: "Mother, why do you say that? As a son born in the Song clan, no need to worry about clothes and food since young, I'm already contented and never have such thoughts." Shen Shi Yao took Song Zi Heng's hand and smiled warmly: "You are so talented. If one is the legitimate son, one will be the future leader of the clan in other immortal families. Mother just felt that you worked so hard, yet I am letting you down."

"Mother, please don't think this way." Song Zi Heng said anxiously, "What legitimate son and concubine's son, it doesn't matter. I am never bothered about it."

Shen Shi Yao stared at her son for a long time before saying: "Never mind, your 9th brother is also a son from a concubine, you're not the only one who's unfortunate."

Song Zi Heng knew his mother is eager to be first. She was very strict with him since young and was not allowed to lag behind others, but it was all for his own good. This is the first time he heard her say this, which is really weird.

He doesn't understand, so he temporarily stops thinking about it, consoled his mother for a while and went to make large meatballs for Song Zi Xiao.

When admiring the moon in the evening, Shen Shi Yao is the same as usual. She gets along well with Song Zi Xiao's mother, so they visit each other often.

After admiring the moon, Song Zi Xiao wanted to sleep with Song Zi Heng again. The two are 8 years apart. Song Zi Xiao is mainly brought up by Song Zi Heng, so he always sticks to him since young.

The summer is sultry and there were so many mosquitoes. Song Zi Heng pasted two cold talismans on the mosquito net and used a fan to fan at Song Zi Xiao, so he won't feel hot and flip around like pancakes, and slowly drifted into a deep sleep.

"Big brother." Song Zi Xiao said drowsily, "Are you going out of palace tomorrow, when are you going to bring me along?" "When you're older, you can come along with big brother to exorcise evil spirits together."

Song Zi Xiao yawned: "When I formed a core, what reward will big brother give me?"

Song Zi Heng smiled helplessly: "What reward do you want?"

"Bring me out of the palace. Since 12 years old big brother can travel out of palace, yet I didn't go out of palace before."

"Alright, when you formed a core, I will ask our father and bring you out of palace to play."

Song Zi Xiao turned around and slipped into Song Zi Heng's embrace: "You do as promised!"

"Aiya don't stick to me, it's so hot."

-not proofread yet-

there is Chang in Wuchang* [ ⽆常即是常] --- To answer from the Buddhist perspective, impermanence [aka Wuchang] means that there are
many variables in a person's life, and it is not accurate to calculate based on the current situation. "Chang" means that everything that happens in life is not for no reason, it is the past. Or a cause that was planted in the previous life or many lives.

Cuju* [蹴鞠] ---ancient Chinese football/soccer

Chapter 9

Song Zi Heng formed a core when he was 10 years old. When he went travelling since 12 years old, he subdued an evil mountain spirit that harms people all by himself. Since then, he became famous as a young man. Virtuous and handsome, he has always been a model for comparison among his peers.

Soon after, the once-every-4-years Jiaolong assembly is about to begin. It is a competition held especially for talented young people. It is a tradition in the cultivation world for hundreds and thousands of years. Only young children aged 12 to 18 are allowed to participate. Anyone who left their names on the way to immortal Dao were almost in the limelight since young.

Song Zi Heng has always been preparing for this upcoming Jiaolong assembly because Emperor Ninghua had high hopes for him and ordered him to take first place in Jiaolong assembly. He trains diligently every day, not giving up day and night. He knew that the Emperor didn't care about him and his mother before, and only got his attention after he displayed his talent. Even if it's for his mother, he didn't dare to disappoint her.

In fact, it is solitary and uninteresting to ask Dao and cultivate. As the eldest son, Song Zi Heng dare not to goof off and be lazy. But what he really yearns for is neither ascend after getting Dao nor have royal ambitions. He loves flowers, birds, mountains and rivers. He loves instruments, chess, books and paintings. He loves delicious food. There are so many interesting things in this world, and he wants to be more knowledgable. It is probably more meaningful than blindly pursuing cultivation and swordsmanship. It's a pity this kind of thought cannot be said, otherwise even his mother will reprimand him for being ignorant.

This afternoon, the Golden Crow (the sun) starts to set and it's not too sunny. Song Zi Heng remembered that there had been lots of snails growing in his orchid garden recently and gnawed his flowers in a mess, so he led Song Zi Xiao to catch snails and weed.

His orchid garden is built in a secluded area in the palace. The insides were planted with hundreds of species of orchids and other plants he'd collected over the years. During the season of flower blossom, all the beautiful flowers became scenery in the palace. Although there are servants taking care in the usual days, yet Song Zi Heng loves to do it himself. This is his hobby outside of cultivation.

While Song Zi Heng was squatting down and catching snails on the ground, Song Zi Xiao was running around in the flowering shrubs barefooted. He occasionally kept an eye, terrified: "Xiao Jiu, be careful, be sure not to step on my flowers."

"I won't."

"You should stop running, quickly come here."

Song Zi Xiao smiled cunningly, suddenly tripped his foot, and his whole body fell forward.

"Ah---"

Song Zi Xiao supported himself with one hand, and his body flipped up, somersaulted in the air once, steadily landed outside of the flower bed and laughed heartily.

Song Zi Heng said angrily: "You dare to trick your big brother? Is your skin itchy?"

"Song Zi Xiao opened his small hand: "Aren't I helping you to catch snails. So I throw it back?" "Throw it into the bucket."

Song Zi Xiao bounced and ran to Song Zi Heng, his whole body pressing against Song Zi Heng's back: "Big brother, why are you always managing these flowers."

"Aren't flowers beautiful?" "Beautiful."
Song Zi Heng handed him a shovel: "Come, get to work."

Song Zi Xiao squatted one side, mimicking his brother and got to work. Originally, he felt hot and dry from sun exposure. Now he's actually slowly cooling down.

Song Zi Heng turned his head and looked at him, revealing a very attractive smile: "Xiao Jiu, Confucius said, orchids have the virtues of a gentleman, the fragrance of kings, big brother loves orchids the most, do you like orchids?"
Song Zi Xiao nodded his head: "I will like whatever big brother likes." "This orchid garden has 171 types of orchid. Jiangnan is the orchid's
hometown. year, big brother plans to go to Jiangnan to collect even more orchid species."

"When I can go out of palace, I will accompany big brother to travel around Jiuzhou, bring all types of orchid in the world and plant them in this orchid garden."

"Really? " Song Zi Heng smiled and said, "You didn't say these nice things to pacify me just for food right?" He took a clean handkerchief and wiped Song Zi Xiao's sweat.

"Of course it's real." Song Zi Xiao's eyes sparkled like shooting stars, "You always said gentleman like an orchid. Big brother is a gentleman. Big brother is exactly like an orchid." Song Zi Heng said dotingly: "What do you want to eat tonight?" "I want to eat braised pork!"
While Song Zi Xiao was ordering food with mutters, he heard footsteps and conversation coming closer just outside the wall. The two are cultivators, so they have sharp ears and keen eyes. If they concentrate on hearing, they can listen very far away. When they vaguely catch the words "Consort Shen" in the conversation, they paused.

"When empress said those words today, did you notice Consort Shen's expression?"

"Aiya, I saw it, if it's not because everyone thought highly of Your Highness, how would she dare to show a black face in public?"

"Yeah, Consort Shen has changed, she's just an orphan with no one to depend on. That year she almost made that hot-tempered empress regret getting married, now she's depending on her son's rank*."

"If Your Highness gets the first prize in Jiaolong assembly, that would be even significant. Sigh, it's a pity that Second Highness is not as good as Your Highness."

Song Zi Heng's expression became unsightly. Before he flares up, Song Zi Xiao already leapt over the wall. The two girl servants were surprised.

Song Zi Heng rushed out and the two servants already knelt down on the ground begging for mercy: "Your Highness, 9th Highness, servant is wrong, servant is wrong."

Song Zi Xiao flicked his robe sleeve high up in the air and flung those two servants on the ground: "Loquacious slaves, do you still want your tongue?!" The voice young and tender yet filled with intimidation.

"Your Highness have mercy, 9th Highness have mercy."

Song Zi Heng was burning with anger: "As servants, still dare to have absurd opinions behind your master's back. Do you know this is a serious crime?"

"Your Highness have mercy ah, servant is wrong, please punish us lightly."

Song Zi Xiao raised his head and looked at Song Zi Heng: "Big brother, I'll slit their tongues."

Song Zi Heng saw those two who were just slightly over 10 years old, so terrified that they were curled up into a ball, and his temper has cooled off halfway. He took a deep breath: "I punish you...kneel here for one night. If you commit again, I will not tolerate it."

"Thank you, Your Highness, thank you for showing mercy!"

Song Zi Xiao frowned and said: "Big brother, just let them go like this?"

Song Zi Heng pulled Song Zi Xiao's hand: "Let's go." He lowered his head and saw Song Zi Xiao barefooted, so he carried him, returned to the orchid garden and let Song Zi Xiao sit on his thighs while silently putting on the child's shoes.

Song Zi Xiao's lips pursed into a line and suddenly wrapped his arms around Song Zi Heng's neck, the two of them so close together that he seemed to be able to experience a quiet sadness through the tremor of his big brother's suppressed breathing connecting his chest. After putting on his shoes, Song Zi Heng stood up, looking as normal: "Let's go." Shen Shiyao was taken in by the previous emperor since her family fortunes declined, and because of her superior talent, she became Song clan's enrolled disciple, considered as Song Ming He's senior sister. But in their teens, the two of them had a secret knot*. At that time, Song Ming He's fiancée had not even passed through the door*, and that matter embarrassed the two families, so they had to take her as a concubine. After giving birth to their eldest son, both mother and son were treated coldly. Song Zi Heng was not unaware of their status and situation in the palace, but as he grew older and came to prominence, after he had formed a core, the emperor thought more highly of him. He did not expect that after all these years, these palace people would still be unforgiving behind his back. If these words reached his mother's ears, how hard it would be for her.

"Big brother." Song Zi Xiao whispered, "Don't be sad, when you win the championship in the Jiaolong assembly, see who still dares to disrespect Consort Shen." Song Zi Heng sighed, "Zi Xiao, you are still young, you don't understand, the most powerful method in this world cannot block the mouth of others." "If you are a dragon, why do you need to care about the ants." Song Zi Heng lowered his head, looked at Song Zi Xiao and smiled faintly. Song Zi Xiao's mother's beauty was comparable with heavenly immortals and was highly favoured, and he himself was born with superior roots, so he had never suffered a single aggravation since he was a child. Such an unworn pride is truly enviable. Song Zi Xiao said seriously, "Big brother, don't be unhappy, when I grow up, all the people and things that make you unhappy, I will make them all disappear."
Song Zi Heng rubbed Song Zi Xiao's fleshy little round face to the point of deformation: "If you skip lesser classes, slack off less, and eat more green vegetables, big brother will be happy." "Then I'm not happy!"

"You dare to justify?" The two brothers laughed and joked, washing away the gloomy atmosphere. ----

As everyone expected, Song Zi Xiao formed a golden core shortly after his ninth birthday, six months earlier than Song Zi Heng.

If the age of fifteen is the proletariat's coming age of ceremony, then the attainment of the golden core is a sign that a person has officially entered the path of immortality. As long as one forms a core before reaching adulthood, it represents superior qualifications and unremitting efforts, not to mention that the Song family has produced two geniuses in one generation. Emperor Ninghua announced this happy news to the world and even hosted a banquet for the occasion. Whether as a father or as a king, this is an extremely proud moment.

During the banquet, everyone was overflowing with joy, but only the empress looked dull and absent-minded. She comes from a wealthy family, even the Song's have to be courteous. It's a pity that her son's roots cannot be said to be bad, but compared to the elder brother and the youngest brother, it is not good enough.

Shen Shi Yao took Song Zi Heng's hand, smiled and said in a whisper, "It's good that my son is striving, otherwise it would be hard to sit in that seat and watch other people's sons being better than my own."

Song Zi Heng secretly smiled bitterly. The bright and dark contest between the concubines had always made him feel helpless. In fact, he and his siblings have good connections, even the second brother. The two are the same age and grew up together. There is never any bad blood between each other. In the future, when second brother inherited the throne, he and his siblings will support with all their hearts to build the Song's hundred- year foundation. So whether it's the empress or the mother, there's really no point in comparing.

But Song Zi Heng is also not good at sweeping his mother's face, so he remained silent.

"Zi Heng, the Jiaolong assembly, you must win the championship." Shen Shiyao held her son's hand tightly, "Although Zi Xiao is still young, one day, he may also overshadow you."

Song Zi Heng said warmly, "Mother, your son will definitely give his best in the Jiaolong assembly, but Zi Xiao and I... The sun and the moon will each become brilliant, there is no one to overshadow anyone."

"How can the sun and the moon be compared to each other." Shen Shi Yao glared with her pair of almond eyes, her voice was still her usual soft, but the tone had changed, "The sun and the moon cannot be in the same sky."

Song Zi Heng did not expect that a casual analogy would be interpreted by his mother in this way, he frowned and said, "Mother, Zi Xiao and I are brothers, there is no need to compare us like this."

Shen Shi Yao gazed at her son for a long time, let go of his hand and said faintly, "You are still too young." After the banquet ended, the guests gradually dispersed, and only the Song clan's people remained in the main hall.

Emperor Ninghua Song Ming He beckoned Song Zi Xiao to his side and looked at his young son with eyes full of pride and doting: "Xiao Er, today is the celebration of your core formation, father is proud of you, if you have anything you want, just ask."

"I want a good sword." Song Zi Xiao's attitude was natural and at ease, obviously, his request most likely could be satisfied.

"Haha, I have long been prepared for you, this sword is..." "I want a sword quenched by Shen Nong Ding."
The hall was suddenly quiet.

Song Zi Xiao's mother, Consort Chu Ying Ruo, scolded, "Zi Xiao, don't talk nonsense."

One of the four ancient magic weapons, the Shen Nong Ding, can refine all things in the world. The swords that this Ding quenches, are rare and famous. It is a treasure that every sword cultivator could only dream of, just that opening a furnace once requires great consumption of energy, at least hundreds of high-ranking cultivators are needed to sustain the fire with spiritual power at the same time,. A little mistake midway will lead to abandoning all previous effort. So this Ding may not be opened once in a few decades, even the Song clan, will only open the furnace for the family.

Song Zi Xiao was young and only wanted a good sword that everyone wanted, so he didn't know what waves his words would stir up in the hearts of the adults.

Song Ming He stroked Song Zi Xiao's head: "Does Xiao Er know that the sword quenched by Shen Nong Ding is not something that ordinary people can obtain?"

"I'm not an ordinary person." Song Ming He laughed out loud, "My son naturally is not an ordinary person. Good, I promise to quench a sword for you with Shen Nong Ding."

Several suppressed huffing sounds rang out in the hall.

"But..." Song Ming He tapped his finger on Song Zi Xiao's forehead, "you have to win the championship at the Jiaolong assembly."

"That will take another four years." Song Zi Xiao pouted.

"Four years? You want to win the championship at the age of thirteen?" Zong Minghe laughed, "So confident."

"Just four years." Zong Zi Xiao said arrogantly.

Song Zi Heng looked at Song Zi Xiao's confident look, his face subconsciously revealed a smile, whether this is big words or not, at least these four years Song Zi Xiao will strive to be work hard.

"Good, I will wait for you for four years." "By the way, Father, I have one more thing." "Speak."
"I have never been out of the palace before, big brother promised me last time that he could take me on a trip out of the palace when I have formed a core, as long as Father agrees."

Song Ming He gave Song Zi Heng a look, "Really, where is your big brother going to take you to have fun?"

Song Zi Heng said, "I can take ninth brother to exorcise evil so that he can gain experience."

"Also good, you can take him out, just in time to go with you to the Jiaolong assembly."

"Yes." ask Dao and cultivate* --- [ 问道修仙] ask the way (to walk the right path) and cultivate [the true definition is really complex, so I just simplify it into few words xDD]

depending on her son's rank* [⺟凭⼦贵] ---idk how to really translate this, basically, it means...In the past, in a family with multiple wives and
concubines, if a concubine (regardless of ranking) gives birth to a son first, her position in the family will be higher, or if her son became a government official, her position will also become prominent.

secret knot* [珠胎暗结] ---a human embryo was formed in the woman's body.; a woman conceives, having had illicit intimacy with a man.; be pregnant; become pregnant out of wedlock

passed through the door* [过门] ---meaning she hasn't officially married yet

PS: I have the tendency to write calm as clam, pardon my hunger...

Chapter 10

"If you win the championship at the Jiaolong assembly, have you thought about what reward you want to ask for from the Emperor?"

"This son hasn't thought about it."

"No matter what the reward is, it will not be a sword quenched by the Shen Nong Ding."

Song Zi Heng stared at his own reflection on the water’s surface, thinking about the conversation he had with his mother before he left, and couldn't help but be baffled.

"Big brother, the sweet potatoes are baked. They smell so good."

Song Zi Heng came back to his senses, "Coming." He hurriedly washed his hands and collected his emotions.

These days away from the Wuji Palace, Song Zi Xiao has almost gone crazy playing around. This is his first time going out of the palace since he was born. Everything looks fresh to him. He got tired of staying in the inn and insisted on sleeping in the wilderness. It just so happened that there was an evil spirit uprising up on Mount Gutuo. Song Zi Heng planned to deal with them at night, so he settled down nearby.

"Your Highness, try some." The roasted and tender sweet potatoes were handed to Song Zi Heng.

On this trip, Emperor Ninghua had assigned them two high-ranking cultivators as escorts. A pair of brothers named Huang Hong and Huang Wu.

Song Zi Heng said, "Bring us some wine."

Huang Wu brought the wine jug over, and Song Zi Heng poured three cups of wine and handed the two men a glass: "It has been a long journey for you two."

The two of them were flattered: "Your Highness, this is what we should do."

"There is no need to be so formal with your manners outside of the palace." Song Zi Heng laughed, "This Xiaoyaoniang is a good wine. It is light and sweet at first, but the aftertaste is endless, so it is like a god. It would be boring for me to drink alone, come on."

The two of them took the cups of wine and drank together. Song Zi XIao eyed the wine: "Brother, can I..."
"No."

"Just give me a taste of it, I've never had wine before." "How old are you? Who would dare to give you wine." Huang Hong and Huang Wu laughed together.
"There is no need to be so formal in your manners outside of the palace, that's what you just said." Song Zi Xiao climbed on Song Zi Heng's shoulder, "Big brother, let me try, is it really that good?"

Song Zi Heng looked skeptically at him and hooked his lips in a smile, "Okay, I’ll give you just a little taste." He took his thumb and dipped it into the wine and wiped it onto Song Zi Xiao's lips.

Song Zi Xiao curiously stretched out his tongue and licked it, his little face suddenly changed: "Yuck, yuck, so spicy." The three of them laughed out loud.

Song Zi Xiao said angrily, "That's disgusting!"

"You're the one who wanted to taste it, you can't blame others." Song Zi Heng smiled and put him on his lap, "Come, drink some water."

Song Zi Xiao took a few gulps of water and finally became obedient.

After eating, the sky was getting dark and the two brothers leaned against each other to enjoy the sunset.

"Brother, where is the evil spirit and when will it come out."

"You will have to ask it. For now we can only wait." Song Zi Heng flicked his finger at the spirit-attracting talisman placed at the side, which would burn up whenever a ghost appeared within a mile radius.

"Why are there so many ghosts and spirits in the world? We can't even eliminate them all."

"As long as there are people, there will be ghosts." Song Zi Heng said, "Are you not listening in class properly again? Why are you still asking such questions?"

"I'm just lamenting."

"Come on, let me test you. What is the difference between a soul and a spirit? What's the difference between getting rid of evil spirits among people and collecting spirits in the underworld?"

"Souls are divided into heaven soul, earth soul, and human soul. Spirits are divided into joy, anger, sorrow, fear, love, evil and desire. This is the three souls and seven spirits." Song Zi Xiao lightly hummed, "I remembered it."

"Good, continue." "The heaven and earth souls are originally the essence of heaven and earth, after death, the heaven soul returns to heaven, and the earth soul returns to earth. Only the human soul carries karma and is harvested by the Yin servants and underworld general. The seven spirits will gradually dissipate on the seventh day."

"If the human soul is not taken away, or the seven spirits have not dispersed, what happens?"

"Then it will become an evil spirit." Song Zi Xiao answered, "The soul and the spirit turning into a ghost are different. The soul has no physical body, so it can only possess other bodies. A corpse will rise when the spirits cannot disperse due to deep obsession."

"Right." Song Zi Heng nodded, "If it is the soul that causes chaos, the people will generally worship the local city god, ask the Yin servants and underworld generals to come harvest it. If it is the spirit that causes chaos, we need to step in. However, any kind of situation can be encountered when performing an exorcism. Whether they are souls or spirits, never ever take them lightly."

"Hmm." Song Zi Xiao leaned into his big brother's arms, feeling a little sleepy, "So what's the city god like? In the underworld, are there really a lot of Yin servants and underworld generals? Big brother, have you ever been to the underworld?"

"City God ah, is not a person, it is an official position. Each place has a local city god. As for the underworld, big brother has in fact been there. Big brother has been to Mount Luofeng. The underworld is in Mount Luofeng, but there is a barrier separating the two worlds. As living beings, we cannot see it."
"Then one day when we die, can't we be reunited in the underworld?" Song Zi Heng smiled helplessly: "Why mention death? It is so unlucky." "Because when a person dies, the living won't be able to see him again.
But I don't want to be unable to see big brother. Whether on earth or in the underworld, I want to be with big brother forever."

Song Zi Heng's heart warmed, and he rubbed his face against Song Zi Xiao's: "Big brother also wants to be with Xiao Jiu forever, but when people die, before they reincarnate, they have to drink Meng Po soup. After drinking the Meng Po soup, they won't remember anything in the next life. So when people are alive, we have to cherish it, and after death, let's follow the fate of heaven."

"Then I won't drink it, not even in death." Song Zi Xiao felt that he's going to die when he thought that he was going to drink it, and changed his words, "Dead or alive, I will not drink it, I don't want to forget big brother. Big brother also don't drink it, don't forget me. After reincarnation, I will go find you, we can still be brothers."

Song Zi Heng was amused by this childish talk.

"I'm telling the truth. You promise me big brother, neither of us will drink the Meng Po soup." Song Zi Xiao was very seriously anxious about this matter and must get a promise.

Song Zi Heng said with infinite warmth, "Okay, I promise you. Both of us will not drink it, and you will come back to annoy me to death in the next life."

"Hmph, maybe in the next life I will be your big brother, no, as your father."

"You're rebelling huh." Song Zi Heng hugged Song Zi Xiao and giggled, eliciting a cry and a laugh for mercy.

---

At midnight, Song Zi Xiao had fallen asleep on top of his big brother when he was suddenly shaken awake.

"Xiao Jiu, look." Song Zi Heng said in a quiet voice. A glint of fire reflected into the bottom of Song Zi Xiao's eyes. It was the spirit-attracting talisman! He jumped up violently, looking left and right nervous and excitedly, "Where is it, where is it?"

"Calm down."

Song Zi Xiao took a deep breath and spread his spiritual power to probe for ghostly resentment in all directions. His cultivation was still shallow and he had never fought in real life, so he concentrated his senses for quite some time, but still couldn't find it.

"Follow me." Song Zi Heng drew his sword and flew towards the southwest.

Song Zi Xiao followed his big brother, while Huang Hong and Huang Wu escorted in the back.

The ghost at Mount Gutuo has been infesting the local area for a year. Specializing in digging out people's bellies and intestines. There were at least 6-7 victims. But this place is located at the border of the Chunyang Sect and the Wuyun Sect. The two factions have been at odds with each other, and neither was willing to take care of matters here, which led to the ghost becoming more and more powerful.

Although the famous Song clan ruled over this territory, Jiuzhou was vast. Each place is always guarded by a local immortal family, the people pay taxes to seek protection from the immortal families. The immortal families then pay tribute to the Song clan. Those people from remote, poor, or caught between different forces, are often neglected because the tax paid is not enough, and they end up suffering from the scourge of demons and monsters.

Every time Song Zi Heng went on a trip, he would eliminate harm for the people, and there were few cultivators like him. The sky and land were vast, as if holding a sword all over the world, and living such a free life, was the life he longed for most.

They soon caught up with the evil spirit. Song Zi Heng said, "Huang Hong, Huang Wu, you guys come set up the formation, don't let him get away." This time, besides collecting this thing, he also wanted to let Song Zi Xiao gain a bit of experience.

"Yes."

The evil spirit was indeed a rising corpse, his abdomen was hollowed out with a large hole almost right through, extremely appalling. The corpse was already half rotten, emitting an unbearable stench in the middle of the summer night.

The walking corpse realized a threat was approaching, and lunged wildly at Song Zi Xiao.

This is the first time Song Zi Xiao faced a real ghost with a horrible appearance and the stench of decay. He was so scared that his face turned white. He gripped the sword, but for a moment he froze on the spot.

Song Zi Heng blocked in front of Song Zi Xiao and kicked the corpse away. He raised his sword and stabbed it. The corpse's speed was faster than both of them imagined. It dodged backwards and then pounced on Song Zi Xiao, obviously knowing who the one with the weakest spiritual power was.

Song Zi Heng held his sword hilt in his hand, forcing the walking corpse to back away, but not in a hurry to subdue him.

Song Zi Xiao finally came back to his senses, thinking that he had just been scared silly. In a moment of shame and anger, he took out a talisman from his pocket, which was written in vermilion, and he turned to the back of the walking corpse and struck the talisman out.

The corpse felt the spiritual pressure from behind and quickly dodged. He let out a mournful howl. The rotten, pitch-black holes for eyes fiercely "looked" at Song Zi Xiao.

Song Zi Xiao gritted his teeth and swung his sword to strike. The walking corpse stretched out its ten sharp fingers and grabbed Song Zi Xiao.

A white shadow flew by and picked up Song Zi Xiao to dodge the corpse's attack: "Xiao Jiu, don't be afraid, big brother is here, try again."

Song Zi Heng was in the front fighting with the corpse. Song Zi Xiao pulled out another talisman, using the same trick to try to sneak attack the corpse's back.

The corpse was also prepared, as soon as it sensed the spiritual pressure, it flew and dodged.

This time Song Zi Xiao did not retreat. His eyes were fierce and his small body shot up in place. Between the attack from Song Zi Heng in the front and the talisman in the back, the corpse was unable to easily dodge. Taking advantage of the flank attack, his sword viciously swung down.

A head flew up into the air.

Song Zi Heng was dumbfounded.

For the first exorcism, he did not want to give Song Zi Xiao a terrible impression, so he mainly subdued him, but he did not expect that Song Zi Xiao was born with a ruthless character, and seized the opportunity to chop off the head directly.

The head fell to the ground, and the corpse fell to the ground.

Song Zi Xiao stood with his sword, his small chest heaving violently, his face sweating like pulp, and his heart still fluttering with fear.

Song Zi Heng walked over: "Xiao Jiu, are you okay?" Song Zi Xiao shook his head, "Big brother, I'm not afraid."
Song Zi Heng patted his head, "It's okay for you to be afraid, big brother was scared to death the first time facing an evil spirit." "Really?"

"Really."

Song Zi Xiao smiled: "But I'm really not afraid, at most a little nervous.
With big brother around, I know nothing can hurt me."

Song Zi Heng also smiled, "You did well to end this evil spirit with your own hands. Father will definitely be very happy when he finds out."

"Your Highness." Huang Wu was examining the corpse, "Something is odd."

The two of them walked over.

Huang Wu frowned at the walking corpse, then looked at his brother and inquired, "What do you think, does it look alike?"

"It does."

"What's wrong?" Song Zi Heng was puzzled.

Huang Wu said, "Your Highness, this man's wound, it looks like a cultivator who had his golden core dug out."

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